Let’s Check-in:

As I was brainstorming what to write about this week, Courtney B. asked me two questions, 

“Where are you right now, as in mentally?”

-and- 

“What is something you’ve been thinking about often?”

So, here’s my response: 

I am actually in a great place right now. I’m surprisingly happy, excited and feeling empowered/motivated…mostly, but there’s the occasional anxiety, stress, and fear. However, the other emotions overpower the negative ones.

I say “surprisingly” because there are so many things going on in the world that are out of my control. However, I’ve decided to focus on the things that are in my control, and I just roll with the punches on anything else that comes my way. I’ve been working on not overthinking or stressing, and just living in every moment as it is. Nothing more, nothing less. That has given me a sense of peace. I am content. 

I’ve also found myself grateful for the small things more. 

Like a sushi date with my boyfriend on the back of his truck. 

Like being able to work outside while the sun is shining and  

Like being able to drive to my moms house whenever I want to (I haven’t lived this close to home since I graduated high school). 

But I’m also grateful for the bigger things that I took for granted before 

Like being able to pay all of my bills on-time 

Like being in good health 

Like having a strong support system. 

To the second question, I have been thinking about MANY THINGS! I’m thinking about new passion projects that I am very very excited to share with you all. I am thinking about ways to empower others and support our community, which is partially being done by showcasing and supporting black businesses on this blog and in real life.

Although we are in a very uncertain time, I am very excited for my future. I’m excited to see what’s to come for me, my family, my friends, and my community. I’m excited to see how far we’ll go. 

Because of this extremely determined state that I am in, I am the hardest on myself right now, so some days I have to give myself gratitude. You shouldn’t wait for praise from others. Give yourself the credit that you deserve. Pour all of the energy and love you give to others, into yourself sometimes, because you deserve it. 

Lastly, be kind to yourself. Something that I have been learning to be okay with is imperfection. If you are “perfect” at everything, you have no room to grow. There is no up from there. You have nothing to look forward to. Also, some days you are going to be at 100%, you are going to feel motivated, determined, and happy. But some days you are going to feel lazy, unproductive, and you’re just going to want to sit on the couch, watch movies, and eat pizza; and that is okay too. Self-care days and moments that you are working at a slow pace, are not signs of defeat. They are necessary in order to work at the speed you work at every other day of the month. 

Just don’t let those days keep you down. If you have 2 days this month where you’re “not-so-productive”, guess what? You have 28-29 more days to be on your sh** and that my friend is a win. You should feel proud of that. How much has that improved from last month? From the last six months? From the last year? Recognize that progression and applaud yourself for that. Keep growing, you are doing amazing! 

My two goals/self-care practices this month are: 

#2 : To read 30 minutes everyday for my pleasure. Right now, I am reading “We’re Going to Need More Wine” by Gabrielle Union. It is best paired with a glass of wine and a burning candle. I will be reading “Becoming” by Michelle Obama next month. I was also gifted her “guided journal for discovering your voice,” that I am very excited to start working in.

#2 : Complete the Toffi (I’ll explain more about what Toffi is in a later post) July 30 mile challenge. I was challenged by a friend to run a total of 30 miles this month. It is definitely holding me accountable. 

“Where are you right now, as in mentally?” and what are your July goals? Let me know in the comments!!

LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex

Design Essentials Hair Review

The next company on the list of hair reviews is Design Essentials, another black owned hair company. So, lets get into It.

Step 0: I decided to add a fun picture of my hair in its natural state pre-wash.

Step 1: I washed my hair with the Almond & Avocado Shampoo.

  • Hello Curls 😍. This shampoo left my hair so soft. I will definitely be using this again. I am not a fan of avocados so I don’t care for the smell, but I wouldn’t consider it a bad smell. 

Step 2: I used the Almond & Avocado Conditioner as my hair mask, so I let that sink for an hour with a Wal-mart bag (classy, I know 😂). Then, I rinsed.

  • When I first applied my curls remained the same, but the texture changed. After rinsing it out, the texture and curls changed. It felt a tad more brittle after the conditioner was rinsed out. 

Step 3: I separated my hair into 6 sections and finger detangled the Almond & Avocado Leave-In Conditioner into each. 

  • The softness began to come back, but not a fave. The picture shows that it made my curls a little more defined and tight compared to the other conditioner.

Step 4: Lastly, I used the Almond & Avocado Curl Defining Mousse to rod my hair. 

  • I was pretty impressed with the slight shine that it gave my hair initially, as well as the lack of frizz. My arms were tired by the time I finished washing my hair, so I only roded half of my hair, that night and the rest in the morning. The picture that is shown is me air drying the rest of it on our morning walk. 

And this was the final product: 

I was very happy with the way my curls came out. They were pretty defined and the slight frizz that it does half is partially due to the un-rolling method that I have…I will work on that lol Anyway I loved this style.

I wore this style for about a week with no additional products, but added a headband by day 3. 

I more than likely only use the mousse for this style. I was also a fan of the shampoo, so I do see a repurchase in my future. I am interested to see if the other scents produce the same results. Is anybody else a fan of Design Essentials? Which products of theirs do you use?

LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex

I Am Not My Hair…Or Am I?

Does your hair define you? 

I am a part of a podcast, The Party of Four, and in our first episode we unpacked and discussed the Netflix series, Self Made. Hair, black hair specifically, was a major focus point of this short series. At the end of that podcast episode, we shared our perspective on if our hair defines us.

This is a summary and continuation of my response: 

I had traditional locs for 16 years. For so long, I did indeed believe that my hair defined me. I was 6 when my mom started them, so I did not know who Alex was without locs. If I cut them will there be anything of substance left? I have been known as the girl with the locs practically my whole life. Who would I be when I cut them? Would I be less attractive, less exciting, less confident? 

So I went short…real short, for many reasons. One being that I needed to let a lot of sh** go. This may sound odd to some but memories that I wanted to forget were trapped in my mind and in my locs, and it was holding me back. So, cutting them off completely, signified that process. 

This is my hair journey:

Pre-locs:

Beginning stages:

High School – College Years

My locs were a part of me, and I assumed that was the first and only thing people saw when they saw me. My mom is a natural hair consultant, so she did my hair until I began to do my own around the 5th grade, and for special occasions (birthdays, dance recitals, school dances, when I didn’t feel like it lol). Not many people my age had traditional locs, not at my school  anyway, so they made me stand out from others, they made me unique. I would dye them and style them in different ways and I would get questions and compliments all day. If I cut them what would be left? Would I even know how to do my own hair? 

I went back and forth about cutting my locs for years so one day I was just like no better time than now. I went to my mom’s house and asked her to cut my hair with no plan on what I was going to do next. She seemed slightly confused…slightly hesitant, but did what I asked. 

I felt free…for about 2 days… and then balled my little eyes out. What was I thinking? I didn’t have a comb or brush, because I never had to use one before. The only hair products that I had besides shampoo and conditioner was gel. What kind of hair styles could I even do with my hair at this length…so I went shorter.

Chavon actually was the one to cut it the second time. She then styled it for me for a girls night out and boosted my head UPPPP. I started to gain confidence.

About two weeks after that, I realized it was hard to maintain, learn how to do, and have it like I like it for work, so I went even shorter and dyed it. Honey, let me tell you, after that, you could not tell me anything. I was absolutely in love. 

I was then able to grow with my hair and perfect my hair styling craft as it grew out. It was still a slightly difficult process, but I was up for the challenge. I would go through periods where I felt beautiful and creative and the next I would be lacking confidence and feeling slightly defeated. I enjoyed seeing my progress though, my growth,  and how creative I could get. 

Once it did start to grow out, I didn’t realize how long it would take. Shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, detangler, oil, curling cream. “I took my locs for granted” is an understatement. After all that, I still have to part my hair, flat twist it, two strand twist, coil it, something. This was all very very new to me. Shout out to the many black queens that make hair videos and update them to YouTube because those were a life saver. 

So, after all of that, did my hair define? Does it still define me ? 

I like to view my hair as an extension of me. When I had the short cut, I was all that was left (because I barely had any hair LOL). Throughout that process, I started to realize that there is so much more to me. Who I am doesn’t change when my hairstyle does.

*plays I Am Not My Hair by India.Arie*

My hair is a factor that is considered when defining me but I am not defined solely on that. It makes me proud to see what I can do, even if it may seem like a simple style to others. As long as I like it, and I can recognize my progress, that’s all that matters. It’s a form of self-expression. It’s a form of self-love. We have a complicated and frustrating relationship but it’s a part of me that I love and am proud of. 

The answer is different for everyone. This is just mine. 

As I am continuing through this process, I still haven’t found my ultimate go-to products, so I was very excited when my mom, Thump, had the idea to do hair reviews. For the rest of the week, we will continue sharing a series of these reviews from various companies. Today, I want to share one of my favorites so far, Taliah Waajid, a black-owned hair product.

Step 1: I started with the Silk Milk Curl Softening Shampoo.

It left my hair soft and my curls started to come through. The smell was subtle. It smelt good but not like anything specific.

Step 2: I applied the Repair & Restore Hair Strengthening Treatment Masque and let it sit for about an hour.

Now this did not smell good at all, but I have to say it really started to define my curls and allowed my hair to remain soft 

Step 3: I used the Great Detangler: Leave-in Conditioner and Co-Wash. 

I used it as a leave-in and first finger detangled. Then, I used my detangler brush to thoroughly detangle in sections. This had the same smell as the shampoo.

Step 4: I had both the Curl Sealer and Curly Curl Cream, but it is stated that they should not be used together. So, I used the Curl Sealer to do my two braids in the front of my hair.

Step 5: I then used the Curly Curl Cream on the rest of my hair to do mini twists.

I was very impressed with both products. They seemed to both leave my hair with a shine that I barely see with any hair products. My twists also stayed almost as tight as they did when I first did my hair, which also rarely happens.

Out of all of the products that I used from her, I will continue to use the Curly Curl Cream or Curl Sealer. The day after my initial wash, I twisted everything except the front two braids. Unfortunately though, as soon as I took the twists loose (which was my target hairstyle), it poured down raining outside and the style was ruined. I will definitely be using some of her products in the future. The Curly Curl Cream gets a 10/10 from me though. I’ve also tried a wash-and-go with the cream applied to seal my curls. I am still perfecting my wash-and-go skills, so if you have any tips, please let me know! 

Comment your favorite products below or share your experience with Taliah Waajid along with your hair type! 

LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex

My Hairitage

I love my hair, with all of its kinks, coils, and curls. Every strand made by me and my ancestors. I can’t remember if I always felt that way. Though my curiosity and fearlessness can explain my desire to experiment and explore everything my hair was capable of, I’m sure some of my hair styling options were influenced by family, friends, foes, society, television and magazines. I remember one Thanksgiving a friend of the family asked “What made you do that?”, referring to my new baby locs (1998). I said something like “I just felt like it”. She replied with “You were so pretty”. I knew then that I would wear my hair like that forever, lol. Why would being comfortable with and proud of what I was blessed with make me any less beautiful than before? Not to mention the fact that I was no longer putting harmful substances in my body through my scalp by trying to chemically alter the structure of my hair repetitively.

I use my hair as a form of self-expression. Always have. From rocking a fro, cornrows, beads, balls, bows and barrettes, to braids, bangs, ponytails, and asymmetric cuts. I can do as much or as little to it as I want.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

Baby Thump and her baby hair. Besides what I can see in pictures, I don’t have a recollection of anything my mother, grandmother’s or aunts did to or with my hair. My O’ma has shared with me, on more than one occasion, that I had the prettiest hair until my mother messed it up; “she was always messing with your hair”.

The first memory I have of my hair being done is from when I was 4 or 5. I remember being so I excited to get my hair pressed and curled. I loved the sound of hair grease sizzling and the curling irons being put into their mini ovens (don’t forget, I was 4). Being burned a few times didn’t scar me enough to dislike it until I was about 10 or 11 but my ears, forehead and nape never forgot. As soon as I was old enough, I told my O’ma that I wanted a “curl”, Wave Nouveau to be exact. And guess what I learned…that had the ability to burn my scalp also. I wore the curl from 4th grade to the 7th grade and I think the drip became more trouble than it was worth. By this time, I was ready for a permanent relaxer, and that shit burned too. A burn so deep that it made me not be able to control my body. I couldn’t sit still long enough, I had an urgent sensation to urinate, although it never relieved the pain.  Going to the bathroom would buy me another 2 minutes…every second counted. It didn’t take long for me to realize perms weren’t for me. I enjoyed the shop culture but as I got older, I did not want to spend all day in the beauty salon when I could be doing other things. I still have that same philosophy today. I was not the teenager who always had her hair died, fried or laid to the side. Special occasions were just enough. That’s more than likely when I became more serious about taking care of my hair myself.

I stopped perming my hair when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I wanted to only put things in and on my body that would benefit the development of my growing child. I continued to commit to a more natural and intimate relationship with my hair. I became more and more comfortable wearing my hair without altering it. I wasn’t even coloring it. I became the example that i wish I’d had growing up. Natural, to me, meant no chemicals.

and no conforming. I soon started my first set of locs (traditional) and never turned back. It’s been 23 years.

Natural began to mean, no chemicals or alterations. Natural was what I was. A decade later, I cut those locs off only to install Sisterlocks, and 11 years down the road I am back to my hair, the way it was born…in an afro.

My parents

Both of my parents had beautiful, bountiful fros. When I look at photographs I am in awe. Comparing the civil rights and black lives matter movements, we are afflicted with another version of the systemic racism and cultural oppression; 1970’s to 2020, my whole life.

Once upon a time, when African Kings and queens ruled their land freely, hair was spiritual and an energetic life force. Hair styles were reflective of religion, class, rights of passage, tribal affiliation, social status, skill and even fertility. Hair was worn with purpose; a purpose that slavery attempted to slaughter. Hair was the one thing that was still ours, still a source of pride and joy, still strong and demanding attention. According to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, between 1525 and 1866, an estimated 12.5 million Africans were dragged, beaten, and stolen from their native land to be abused into not remembering, believing, or speaking the truth. That we are great, that we are ingenious, that we are brilliant, that we are resilient, that we possess powers specific to our people.

Many changes to our hair care rituals were direct results of self-care restrictions. That was done in order to try and break spirits and inject hatred. That evolved into using our hair to set unfair standards in regard to education, employment, and humanity.

*Pictured above (L) my paternal grandmother and my great-aunt; (R) my maternal grandmother and my great-aunt. Pictured below my mother and three of my aunts.

Our hair should be an extension of OUR minds, bodies, thoughts, and actions; not an extension of someone else’s ideologies or interpretations projected onto us. Our hair is regal and defies laws of nature. Onlookers can hardly wait to see what we’ll do with it next, knowing they will be confused as to how we got it to do that and perplexed by the versatility it possesses. Sooooooo many textures and shape variations.

So often, we inherit our ideas and feelings towards hair; how it should be kept, what’s acceptable and appropriate. I wanted to pass on a feeling of confidence and the idea that you don’t have to change who you are for anyone or anything. I wanted to foster self respect and individuality. My youngest daughter and I watched Natural Hair The Movie, together last weekend. At some point, halfway through, she turned to me and thanked me for never perming her hair. I don’t think she’d ever considered the health benefits until hearing it discussed on the documentary. Neither of my daughters have ever had relaxers applied to their hair. I feel great about that. They have a sense of self worth and satisfaction with themselves, as they are, that a lot of people don’t have, their entire lives.

As you can see, I am not my hair but my hair is definitely me, and my mom, and her mom, and hers. I am proud of my crown and I treat it accordingly. I am patient, lenient, nurturing, and careful with it. It can be elastic or brittle, unruly or tamed, impressionable or impressive, lustrous or, juicy or dry, wild or calm.

I love my hair, and my hairitage!

Thump out!

To Grow or Not to Grow…

Lately I’ve been thinking about my journeys and how much I think I’ve grown. Growth can be defined as a gradual development…of any kind.

I’ve just been growing…

and GROWing…

and GROWING…

and cutting and GROWING

Growth isn’t usually effortless. It takes some work or energy being used to fuel the process. Sometimes we have little control over the amount of effort being put forth, or the level of ability, capability and willingness of another person. If you don’t receive what’s needed to develop optimally as an embryo, infant, child or adolescent, your growth and could be stunted. Other times we have interruptions that present challenges that must be overcome before we can begin to regenerate growth. For me, that just makes growing more rewarding.

When I had my last child, I decided to nurse him exclusively, make all of his food myself, and I did not want him to have to be cared for by anyone other than me or his father. That required me to make sacrifices so that I could give him, what I thought was the best that I could give him. I don’t regret any of it. I can see the fruits of my labor (in each of my children).

Growth is not always inevitable but I know that if I take care of, feed properly, nurture, and love myself, my hair, my plants, my children, my mind, my faith: Growth is inevitable. Keep growing & glowing like my big baby-girl, Alex.

Thump out

Growing & Glowing

Glow-Getter (noun): A driven busy gal who strives to achieve her goals in life while attaining a beautiful glow both inside and out. 

I found this definition and I think it fits perfectly. 

If you know me then you know that I stay “booked & busy” and I am very goal driven. Once I reach one goal, I am on to the next. 

I tend to focus on improving one aspect of my life a month. Examples of these aspects include improving physically, mentally, socially, professionally, and financially. The issue with that though is that sometimes when I move on to the next month, I forget about the aspect of my life that I focused on the previous month. 

So now that I have all of this extra time (since I am stuck in the house most days). I am focused on growing holistically, so that once I am back to my normal schedule I will already be in the habit of thinking holistically. 

Although some aspects are more difficult to focus on right now, I will not let that stunt my growth. I’ve mentioned before that I believe that this is an excellent time to focus on YOU, so I am of course doing the same. You may feel discouraged and unmotivated because of the craziness going on around you that is out of your control, but one thing that you can control right now is you and your mindset. 

“Like wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.” -E.V

Here’s some insight on my growth in just these 2 areas: 

Physically 

I have not been working out 6 days a week like I planned (this includes 3 days of cardio and/or long walks), due to classes restarting, but I have been consistently committed to at least 4 days a week. That’s progress from not doing anything physical a month ago, so I am proud of myself and I am starting to see results. . 

As far as food, I only order-in once a week and I have cut back tremendously on pork and starch, and increased my fruit, vegetable, and water intake. I have had more energy, making me more productive, thus increasing my mood. This is honestly only the beginning.

Mentally

This will forever be a focus of mine, as I’ve shared previously, I think that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Honestly, this blog has been very therapeutic for me. I am able to share my thoughts in a positive way that may be able to help and uplift others. Thank you to everyone that has been supportive and engaging. You are all very appreciated!!

As I mentioned before, dancing and painting are also therapeutic for me.

Since classes have started though, I have not been focusing on those things lately, so that is something that I will work on fitting into my schedule over the next week. Although, I am not able to get my nails, lashes, or hair done, go to the hot tub, go shopping, or take myself out to eat right right now, I have been practicing self-care in the form of learning and doing my own hair, learning how to do my own lashes, scheduling FaceTime calls with friends (because I am missing my normal day filled of human interaction), finding new nature trails, or even riding around in my car listening to music just because I want to get out of the house for a while (SINCE I’M HERE ALMOST ALL DAY EVERY DAY). I am also appreciating the opportunity that I was given to SLOW DOWN and not be on the go all the time. Self-care looks a little different to me during this time, but it is still very much a necessity and it is adaptable to what I need that particular week. 

If you feel comfortable, in the comments, share some areas that you have been focusing on improving, or any tips you have for me to continue my growth! 

When you’re glowing on the inside, it is translated to the outside. Your skin begins to glow and you have a positive aura around you. I believe you should always be striving for your best self. Things do not change overnight and the process is continuous and sometimes challenging, but very much worth it. When you feel yourself getting discouraged because you are not the person you envisioned, or you have not reached your ultimate goals in many of the areas that I mentioned, reflect on the person you were 2 years ago, or even 6 months ago. If you are closer to the person you want to be or closer to your goals, then you are succeeding…you are growing. If you are not, focus on you, and take the steps to do that. Yes, unexpected circumstances arise, but you are in control of your future. Take advantage of that for YOU.

LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex

You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile

“Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile”

Mother Teresa

What truly makes Chavon smile ??

1.   ME

2.   GENUINE FRIENDS 

3.   BEING ALIVE AND WELL

There are quite a few things I can think about that may put a smile on my face. This may sound a bit weird, but I (Chavon Parker) make me smile. There have been times when I would just sit and think about something stupid I may have done or said in the previous days or weeks and I’ll just crack a smile and laugh to myself. Sometimes I’ll catch myself talking to myself and just look around to see if anybody heard me. In most cases, they always hear me, lol.

On another note, my genuine friends and family are such a light in my life. When I’m feeling blue, I know who I can turn to, just to brighten my day and in the blink of an eye, A SMILE or just plain laughter is expressed across my face. I cherish the few friendships that I do have and I love them with everything in me. They may not know it but on days I really need a good laugh, they always get the job done.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

—Anais Nin

Honestly, every single day that we wake up we should feel joy, but then when life hits us with a wave of sadness, disappointment, and so forth that may tamper with our energy. I encourage you to try and smile through it all. Be happy you’re alive and well. If you’re not too well, just be blessed because you’re still here to see your loved ones, the beauty of the outside world: trees, the sky, the sun, the moon, the birds, the bees…you get it!

 

Just think, there are more reasons to smile than you know because someone else may not have gotten the privilege of waking up to see another beautiful day. They didn’t get to take in a fresh breath of air. But YOU DID 😌

Until Next Time,

Chavon 💕

Smilin’ For What

“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.”

Maya Angelou

I used to give my smiles away much more freely and willingly when I was a child. Compliments on it were constant. People loved to see it, so I gave them what they wanted. What they expected, whether they deserved it or not. As I aged my smile was flashed much more selectively. You had to work hard to earn a genuine one from me.

Today I smile because I’m happy with myself, at peace with my situations and content with my space. Being thankful and grateful for everything. Understanding the lessons and blessings in “good” and “bad” situations. The act of smiling actually has the ability to activate neurotransmitter and neuropeptide release. In other words, we can fake a smile and fool our body into thinking we’re in a better mood than we are, which in turn helps us feel better (fake it till you make it).

Right now, I don’t have to fake anything in that regard. These kittens that I rescued have been a source of smiles, laughs and love. I can’t help but smile, even when I’m fussing about the sneak attack of my feet as I walk through the hallway. Things you hear us (animal scientists, biologists, animal lovers) say about therapeutic affects animals/pets have on mental health conditions (stress, anxiety, depression) are true.

*May is designated as National Pet Month to celebrate the symbiotic relationship between people and their pets.

In the midst of a pandemic, complete with possible food shortages and resource scarcity, decreased employment and homeschooling, I found four new reasons to smile…

…and a month later, just when I thought my heart would explode with feline love, another kitten emerged from my shed.

Somehow, she was not detected during the kitten rescue 6 weeks ago. Not somehow, animals are resilient and have amazing instinctual abilities. My children left the shed open and I guess she thought she would make a run for it (past my dog who patrols the yard). Everything about the birth, retrieval, fostering, them surviving and thriving is a miracle. I couldn’t be happier for them to all be reunited and alive; I’m just as honored to have been chosen to be their human mother.

Their biological mother lost her life protecting them and hid them where she thought or knew they would be safe. I take my duties as caregiver extremely serious. My skills and talents of animal intensive care and my ability to administer TLC (Thumper Loving Care) have served them well. Soon, some of them will be going to new homes and I know I’ll be sad to see them leave…but for now I’m smiling.

Now, when you see my smile…

It is organic, intentional and purposeful.

I’m expressing admiration, adoration, pride, pleasure and/or love.

I’m recalling a joyous and memorable event, feeling or thought.

I’m being my true, fabulous, shining self.

I’m doing what I love.

It’s the only outlet left to allow the overflow of joy within me to show itself.

I challenge you to find 3 reasons to smile each day; morning, noon and night.

  1. My son was born today!
  2. The kittens are so cute when they’re sleep!
  3. I’m Thumper!

See, not difficult at all!!!

Take a minute, be still, look around or close your eyes and look inside . What’s the first thing that comes to mind?..be thankful for it and smile.

Smile at the Sun



As the temperature is finally starting to warm up and flowers are blooming, it’s the perfect time to get out and get some fresh air. Outside is opening up for some, however we still need to be mindful. So going outside for a walk or a hike is ideal. Plant some flowers or herbs. Create a flower bed, I’ve been think of starting one myself. It would be nice to have some sort of rose garden in the backyard. I love roses, they’re my birth flower. The other day I took the kids for a walk around the perimeter of their school. We even went to the school parking lot to let them ride their bikes around. There’s a variety of activities to do outside to get some of that good vitamin D. It’s a natural source and is necessary for us all. With consideration of individual intake to prevent any medical conditions.

Picture taken on Ko Olina beach, Oahu

“Sun salutation yoga” is a great , peaceful outdoor activity to do as well. Sun Salutation or Salute to the Sun is a graceful 12 step yoga exercise that originates from India. This particular yoga consists of poses starting from upward to downward, then finishing upward. Each pose is also coupled with a different mantra. That being of sounds not words. While embracing all of the suns rays and vitamins.

Just 5-30 minutes of sun a day can help improve your emotional well being. Increasing your serotonin levels. While elevating your vitamin D intake, you’re helping to decrease high blood pressure, improve brain function, and fighting against inflammation. Such things like weak muscles and hair/skin issues come from lack of vitamin D. However, always be mindful and wear sunscreen. And take in as much sunlight that is good for you.

⁃ Orange or Red Koi fish represent “Mother” of the family. Photo taken at the “Valley of the Temples Memorial Park”.

I’m a summer baby, so I’ve always enjoyed the warmth of the sun. The heat of the sun has almost always given me a sense of comfort as well. Its one of the many things that make me smile. On my life journey, I’ve come to realize how much of the sun is honestly necessary to not only the planet but to everyone of us.

The Sun is an alchemy symbol. Alchemy is the transformation , creation, or combination. Spiritual alchemy meaning freeing yourself from your fears, pain, unreasonable expectations etc. As you continue to travel on your own path , there may come times when you challenge your own beliefs. Question and analyze what you’ve thought you once understood. Release what no longer serves you . Then go on to create a clearer reality , so to speak. A better mental being, a better spiritual being. Now that’s just a light overview of course. 😅But just as the sun rises and sets, it’s a journey that I believe never truly ends nor should it spiritually. As we rise everyday to meet new challenges, blessings, lessons, and gifts we must also rest and embrace the beauty in that. So take a moment today and just embrace Mother Nature’s life source. And smile.

Until Next Time, E ✨🙌🏽💃🏽

Guilty Pleasure

I’m guilty, and it was pleasurable.

Some of the guilty pleasures I have be indulging in is randomly practicing cursive. It looks pretty bad at the moment, but it is getting better. I use my computer and cell phone so much that I rarely utilize my penmanship. I will say that there is something peaceful about a pen to paper interaction. It’s grounding and reminds me that I here. No crash of a hard-drive can erase this moment in time. I have to go back and dot my T’s and c dot my ‘I’s ‘and cross my ‘T’s ‘because there is no automatic system put in place to do the work for me. (mmm that was good)

“you should think about, take a second” DING (what song did this come from?)

One thing I absolutely do not miss is the indentation reflected on my finger-nail from writing. I had one ugly finger on my right hand from the pen/pencil being pushed so hard against it.

For me, physically writing gives the space to be hard on myself, to rewrite and rewrite again a word or phrase a million times because I hate the way it looks. This however, will lead to flawless penmanship… nothing to harsh, just a little self-push.

While I have been being using a lot of the left side of my brain for writing, I have also been using the right side, getting in tune with my artistic ability. Each week I have recreated at least one picture I adore by painting it on a canvas. I haven’t gotten to the point of generating an original piece just yet, but I am honing in on different techniques and my ability to drawn lines without erasing a thousand times. It’s a belief of mine that we are born artists in some shape or form. We were created to create. As we get older that gift and natural ability somehow gets suppressed. Why is that? I’m making it a point to get back in-touch with the creator that lies within me.

My favorite desert of all time is drumroll please…

CHOCOLATE-CHIP cookies fresh out of the oven. Cooked just enough to be edible. I need the whole cookie light in color and soft. It must be eaten with a spoon directly from the aluminum foil which should be folded for sturdiness, and once on the spoon, dipped into a cup a cold vanilla almond-milk (sweet or unsweet is fine) for 3 seconds. This is the only way, and I will have it no other way. I’m guilty. I have eaten a whole roll of cookies in two weeks… okay a week in a half, but I promise not to purchase any this grocery run. Plus, I’m starting to cut dairy out of my diet. The last guilty pleasure of mine I have given into is a cold glass of Michelob Ultra. I loathe the taste of liquor, and wine is for when I’m with my girls and we are chatting. Now Michelob… with 2 limes that is, is an every occasion type of drink. A movie drink, a beach drink, a nice drink before bed. I will say it does not give sexy vibes, and you immediately think beer belly but that’s why you buy cute koozies to block those negative thoughts. Shout out to my girl Diahsia for buying me the cutest one for Christmas. I am enjoying all of these “unhealthy” goodies now because when the gym opens back up I’m going hard. But until then…you know the rest my beautiful beings.

-Courtney B.