Self Care

The way we take care of ourselves in result is the outcome of how we will go about our day to day.  How productive we are, and how we treat others around us. Did you know that self care can boost your immune system? Yep! Getting lots of rest, taking your vitamins/supplements,  staying active,  taking hot baths, meditating.  All of these play a factor in maintaining a healthier you. Our bodies all need to reset + restore. All of this sounds like I walk a good walk right?! Truth is I ‘m a work in progress myself. I have not come close to mastering all off the check list. I would be a terrible liar/blogger if I came on here to tell you how I have it all together and my self care is on point + all my ducks are lined up perfectly. That’s BS! And you could smell that from a mile away. Truth is- I’m not here to tell you the perfect way to keep your life in order-because I mean come on-we know only Unicorns have their lives completely together! LOL. I honestly feel like the walls are closing in and most of the time I feel like crap-because being a Mommy with a busy schedule – I am always cramming crap in my mouth that is left over snacks from what the kids are eating or (NOT eating very much at all, like skipping meals)-chugging coffee to stay alert. Going to bed super late, getting a half nights of sleep. All this leads me to terrible headaches, grumpiness, and irritability.  After much annoyance with myself. I put my foot down and said “enough is enough” I am important + I have to take care of myself in order to take care of my loved ones. You guys know as well as I do -being a mommy+ wife we wear many hats-hats we didn’t even know we had. Now that I have had this epiphany , I want to share with you what I am doing now for self care. No, this is NOT  a New Year resolution (I hate those) I am just AWAKE now!

  1. Skin Care: I have been struggling to find the perfect skincare routine that works for me. Is this a part of self care you ask? Absolutely- We have to take care of our outer appearance just as well as the inner. First thing I did was grab + stick. What does that mean? Grab whatever product I’m interested in using at the time and stick with it. Naturally, we expect things to start working over night or see a HUGE difference in a few days. But that’s clearly not the case-I’ve learned to do my research on the product and make sure it’s in line with whatever the issue is I’m dealing with at the time. After using so many different products-using a minimal amount + tossing it. I got tired of spending money and watching it waste. So, after research + recommendations I am currently sticking to this skin care routine so far. I haven’t seen dramatic changes as of yet- nor have I had harmful changes.  I have purchased some new skin care items and gadgets that I will soon rant about after I have used them enough to give a review on. It’s safe to say  I may have a nice + easy skin care routine in place. However, we all know what the culprit is…moving on to #2.
  2. Diet: This should probably be #1, due to what we put in our body shows up in our outer appearance- but I’m going in order of how I got it together. So, when I grocery shop I always focus on the obvious of what the kids like , and what they request for their lunches for school-which are not bad things-they are just more “kid friendly snacks” After depositing the groceries on the kitchen counter-I realize there is nothing for me. Let me go back…I’m not feeding my kids crap, but I allow them to be CHILDREN and enjoy what they like to eat in moderation. I don’t think this is going to kill them. Ok, moving on… I have started implementing a salad a day in my diet. I have always been a water drinker-so that’s not a problem. But I have been drinking more of it. For snacks- I have made the choice for fruit instead of crackers, or something sweet. I have added more veggies to my meals for dinner-which is huge for me because I am not a consistent veggie eater. I am getting better with trying to eat “meals” actually eating breakfast, lunch + dinner. Truth is I have to get up really early and my body just doesn’t want to eat that early. So, by the time I attempt to eat breakfast-it’s really lunch. I’m working on it. Since my switch I can definitely tell a difference, and I am proud of the change, and the will to want to do better.
  3. Staying Active: Thiiiiiiis was a complete struggle for me. After work everyday I would be beat…so sleepy + tired I literally could not keep my eyes open ( I mean miserable). After I’m off work the kids are in route home from school and there is no quitting time. I have too much to do. Depending on the day the kids have activities they are involved in , and with my husband working I am the DD and I can’t fall asleep at the wheel. LOL. After being so annoyed with myself. I had to figure out something to do in between me getting off work + the kids coming home. An activity that I could do in the small window between me getting home and before the kids storm in with homework and a million stories about their day. BOOM! It hit me…. YOUTUBE! With having the YouTube app on the TV it was perfect. I pulled it together + pulled up some 30 min cardio workout videos…a solution was found. When I tell you guys this has made a HUGE difference for me. I mean what have I been doing this entire time. This has definitely given me a boost of energy that I was so in need of. I even have Kaylee working out with me! Win! Win!
  4. Rest: We all know lack of sleep can make you feel like a grumpy ol’ bear. I am not here for this at all.  It is just a miserable feeling. After the night routines of homework, dinner, picking school clothes out, and baths, etc. I don’t fall in bed until well after 11pm…. leaving me with a little rest if any, and the result of feeling annoyed the next morning. So, the plan is this….if whatever I don’t get done the night before it will have to be done the next day. I can’t spend all night preparing for the next day and still not mentally prepared for the next day.  As I still struggle to get to bed at a decent time (I’m working on it) I was gifted an oil diffuser that has been a miracle worker. I had to get use to it the first night or so…like the aroma. But when I did-it has been a good nights rest + in the morning I am ready to start my day.
  5. Vitamins/Supplements: As our body depends on good nutritious food-it also depends on extra care like our vitamins to step in and take care of what we may be missing on a daily. I am taking/have been for a while now … Women’s One A day vitamins. BTW -over the years I have tried to skip out on these and I feel like crap if I do. My body clearly communicated I needed these. What I added that is new is Biotin Liquid drops.  Did you know you benefit 98% of a liquid supplement than a pill? Yep, google it LOL.  I will give more of a review on the biotin later on.

I must say I am proud of all the steps I am taking to take care of me. Hopefully the changes I am seeing in myself will keep me going.  If Self Care is something you struggle with try switching it up with some of the ones above-Let me know how they work out for you or how you tweek it.

Thanks for reading ♥

 

Posted by: Ivy B.

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Embrace your Curly

Story Time: My six year old daughter came home after school one day and insisted I style her hair “down” meaning she wants to wear it straight. Let me just take it back-since the move this year which included the kids going to a new school-the environment has changed a bit. Let’s be honest it has changed a lot. There is no other little girl in her class that looks like her, has hair like her-there is no other girl Kaylee can identify with in that way. Which is not something Kaylee understands. She sees the majority of a difference and wants to blend in. Being a Mother of a little black girl-there is no way I can allow this to slide, and make it easy for her and go ahead and straighten her hair. No ma’am. Now, let me make this clear.,.. There is nothing wrong with wearing your hair straight-absolutely nothing wrong with it. However, it is my job to remind my daughter of her beauty in her natural way-and to make sure she has the understanding that she does not need to be altered to fit in-she is Kaylee, an individual and I want her  to act as such. Everyday I remind her of how beautiful she is and how amazing her curly hair is. Of course, Kaylee will get older and may want to wear her hair completely different-but as long as she is under my roof it is my position for Kaylee to embrace her curly with NO apologies. We live in a world were how you wear your hair sums up who people view  you to be. Sad. Yes. But it’s true. Many women find themselves more attractive if they wear their hair straight. Why? Not sure…..there have been several occasions where I have witnessed women prepping for an event and in a hurry to straighten their hair….feeling like they would be more accepted at the event if there tresses are straight? Or that’s what makes them feel at their best? Either way it’s imperative we recognize our natural state and learn to accept it if we make the choice to wear our hair curly. You are still natural if you wear your hair straight. It’s about choice and preference. As long as we don’t allow the way we manipulate our hair, manipulate our mind.  The world of #teamnatural has started a movement that is growing bigger + bigger everyday. And I am here for it. It’s a huge movement and it’s sending messages all across the board to embrace your curly in all forms, shapes and sizes.

 

In addition to my convos with Kaylee and our hair prep Sunday’s. I thought it would be a great idea for Kaylee and I to subscribe to Curl Kit (because I pretty much use the same products on Kaylee as I use on myself) . Curl Kit is a monthly subscription where you get five items each month delivered to your door step. It’s pretty much like a gift to yourself every month. I am definitely in line for this. So far,  we received our first box  (December box) with the January box on the way. It was so much fun allowing Kaylee to rip through the package- peeping , and smelling the products we would soon use on her hair.  I feel it is important for Kaylee to identify with who she is at this age. Children can be very impressionable but with a little guidance we can steer them in the right direction -and that direction is called “being yourself”. Hopefully , this box is something Kaylee will look forward to getting and enjoy un-boxing it together. Don’t get me wrong-she is a child and the attention span is short and there may be some days she is not feeling like indulging in the package as much as I am. And that is totally okay. But I will continue to encourage my daughter to embrace her curly and to love who she is naturally.

You can sign up/subscribe to Curl Kit  for a monthly subscription at http://www.curlkitshop.com 

 

Thank you for reading ♥

Posted by: Ivy B.

Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time. The Chaos….Where we all go crazy shopping like animals , working hard to pick out the perfect gift to put a smile on a loved ones face Christmas morning. Let’s be honest-some of us over due it. But you know-to each it’s own. Admitting in my most true form I am definitely a last minute shopper. Something about shopping too early gives me aniexty… WHAT? yes, I know that’s weird, but I work better under pressure lol! Anyway-moving on to why I am here. For those of you who are still shopping or who have just begun shopping I am sharing with you my Holiday gift guide with some great deals you don’t want to miss. Some items below I have purchased before and love -the others  I will be trying for the first time. They are shipped and are on the way to me. Let’s get into it shall we.

If you are into subscriptions-here is one for you. Have you guys heard of Curl Kit? It is a natural hair care monthly subscription. For the price of $20 + $5 shipping. You get 5 hair products delivered right to your door step. Wait for it….right now you can get your 1st box for $9.99 with free shipping! A bonus- this month all 5 items are full sized! I don’t know about ya’ll, but that’s a steal for me. Sometimes it is hard for me to get away and grab items I need for wash day, or items I need to complete a style. And ordering them online at that moment does nothing for me when I need them in hand on a right now basis. So, this kit is perfect for me-due to using hair products on my hair and Kaylee’s hair we run out fast. I need a stash I can rely on. I already ordered my 1st box, and it’s on it’s way. This will be my first time subscribing to a kit like this-so I am looking forward to it. This is a perfect gift for yourself or a fellow curly girlfriend. Yes, you can thank me now!! Coupon Code is: fall999 (hurry! I ‘m not sure how long this deal last)

 

ckit
http://www.curlkit.com 

 

Looking for the perfect graphic tee? ILY Couture has the perfect tee’s -the material and quality is very comfortable and also a frequent repeater for me. I have this particular shirt, and I’m always grabbing for this shirt to pair with jeans,, a statement necklace, a pair a sweats, or to lounge in. I have also ordered accessories from here that I still love, and are on heavy rotation. I must say for a tee-it’s a little pricey, but it’s worth it. They carry all type of graphic tee’s and hoodies. They have them for adults and children with different sayings .Perfect stocking stuffers for the fam or a Mommy friend.  Bonus: If you are a NEW customer 15% off your first order when you sign up with your email.

mom
https://ilycouture.com $38.00

 

Are there any Candle lovers?! Meeeeeeee! If you haven’t heard already Bath & Body Works is now having a sale online. All 3-wick candles are now 12.95. Originally 24.50 a piece. This includes new fragrances as well. I went ahead and ordered a few, and I am really excited about Champagne Toast-never purchased this one before-the packaging alone had me sold. If you know of any fellow candle lovers-this is the perfect gift of scent lol and grab a few for yourself while you are there. Looking for a stocking stuffer for hubby or boyfriend? BBWS also caries a men’s line-and the fragrances are heart melting… seriously. I am definitely a fan of the Noir Line. Right now they are having a  buy 3, get 3 free sale. Go ahead and hook your man up, girl.

candle
http://www.bathandbodyworks.com $12.95

 

lotion
http://www.bathandbodyworks.com

I would be terrible If I didn’t share this personal favorite of mine. You know being the coffee addict I am and all. The Ninja Single Serve System. I received as a birthday gift last year from the fam. Since I am the only coffee drinker in the house. It’s perfect for me. I am sure you will love it also. It not only brews some great tasting coffee-it also includes a booklet of all the specialty drinks you can make, and it also comes with a froth handle. My favorite drink to make is caramel iced coffee- I know that’s probably boring, but that is honestly the only other drink I have tried to make. I seriously don’t know what it is, but it’s hands down the best iced coffee I have had. And that’s saying a lot. Now, if you are  not looking to fork the bucks out to gift this to someone-definitely put this on your list to receive. It’s a keeper and I’m sure you will fall in love with it. You can purchase it at Wal-Mart for $99.99. It’s going for $159.00 at Target online now-So, that’s a nice deal.

coffee
http://www.walmart.com $99.99

 

Well, that’s it guys! I’m done spreading the holiday cheer of knowledge. Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays ♥

 

Any deals out there I need to know about? Drop them below.

Thanks for reading ♥

Posted By: Ivy B.

 

 

 

Transitions for a Party of 5 (moving our family to a new home and new schools)

 

It all started with our summer move. Uprooting from where we planted our feet for 12 years-was exciting, unnerving, and most of all a challenge. Realizing  we would have to get to know a new community-change the kids schools, get them involved in activities in a new county and feeling out the area for convenient shopping aka (locating the closest target)

1st on the list: was getting acquainted with the neighbors. So, we hit up the community pool for a Sunday dip lol. We meet a few neighbors out there and gathered a little insight on the schools our kids would attend. We met a few parents who we would later see at  open house. I was hesitant about going the pool-just because I mean we were the new kids on the block-and I hate being the new kid. First off, everyone can spot out the newbies -so you stick out like a sore thumb-some people are friendly, and some are not. Some people look and speak, some look and stare-trying to figure “who the heck are you” ” And why did you land on our planet” lol Oh, boy…how uncomfortable-but you must swallow it all and keep on getting settled in. Because well, we ain’t moving no time soon.

2nd on the list: was getting the kids registered for the upcoming year and open house at the new schools. Which for my middle schooler that was a huge deal, and he wasn’t feeling it at all.  Let’s just say my husband and I spent a lot of time convincing him of what an amazing year he is going to have-meeting new people. We got the 7th grade side eye the entire time #FAIL. Of course, the elementary little’s would soon follow after big brother-and cry about how they didn’t like the new school either. My kids insisted on being Bergen’s for the rest of the summer.

3rd on the list:  was scoping out what the heck is there to do around here that’s family oriented. When in doubt find the nearest park and work from there. So , we did. And we found it had sprinklers for the kids that operated off times, food truck events and shaved ice trucks. A win win win!!! This would be our spot for the summer. We found our favorite fro yo place near by-Sweet Frogs! A movie theater , eaters, and bars for adult time. I found a nail salon I love , and of course a STARBUCKS.  All of this goodness near by without having to jump on the highway is satisfying me so far. However,  after all this the kids still miss the old digs. Which I can understand. Our first initial week in the new house-I was very homesick. Even though we out grew the space-it was home.

4th on the list: was getting settled. Learning the new space-filling the new space to make it feel like home (which I am still in the process of doing) We are coming up on five months post move and we are still taking it all in. It has definitely been a transition for everyone but so far so good. We are still in the process of selling our love shack or renting it out…the headache I don’t want to deal with right now. But it has to be done. All in all it was a good look  with adjustments. Now on to enjoying the  first holidays in the new place.

 

Have you guys faced any recent transitions with moving locations or switching your children’s schools? If so, how is it going?

 

Thanks for reading ❤️

 

Posted by:Ivy B.

 

Regretting my Tubal ligation

When I was pregnant with my third child: I had made up in my mind that a Tubal ligation was the right way to go for me. We found out we were having a girl-(Goal Reached) Two boys and a girl-what was the point of going on?! I remember when I was in actual labor in mid push my doctor asked me if I was sure this is what I wanted-because if you have a vaginal delivery they schedule for you to have your tubes tied the next day. I was dead set that this is what I wanted. I didn’t want birth control, I wanted my tubes tied. Just to be completely done with it. Yeah , that worked for a few years until my daughter started getting older-and I started struggling with the thought..” Did I make the right decision?” The guilt really sank in when Kaylee asked for a sister… **insert crying**  I started thinking back on how there are so many women with infertility issues and it’s a process they have to go through in order to get pregnant- and here I am “Fertile Myrtle” and I made the decision to take away what is so natural-what God blessed me with- and what so many fight for on a day to day. Feeling bad is an understatement. I felt like I took away that right to have more children-when I feel like at the end of the day it is not up to me but it’s up to God.

 

Is a Tubal ligation reversible?: Yep! I looked it up lol!  The chance of pregnancy varies based on age. There is a 80% chance  for women under the age of 30 and 30%  chance for women under the age of 40 . Good to know right? But is this something I would put myself through? When all before my tubes were completely open and in attendance at the party. I am not totally upset by my decision, but it is something I struggle with from time to time. We all know having children takes a lot of patience , money, time, energy and all the above- we wait for our children to reach certain milestones, so we can breathe a little. It’s just something about that brand new soul that you bring into the world that you are responsible for-you get to nurture. I guess it’s just natural for a women to feel this way. We are nurtures by nature.

Living with the decision: This is why we have choices people. We make choices based on a particular moment-or a choice that could be a future changer. I guess ultimately when you choose it’s best to make sure it is something you can deal with. Honestly , I didn’t know how I would feel after having my tubes tied for six years now.  I’m not really sure if it’s something I struggle with because of the thought of not being able to get pregnant (if we decided we wanted to more children) or just not having that space to “choose” or have an “option” because I pretty much already made that decision. But living with it is in question.  Maybe next year I’ll be thinking ” Thank God I made that choice-otherwise I would be crazy to have another kid” Who knows?!

 

Have you been faced to make a decision like this? What was your choice and how did you handle it?

 

Thanks for reading ♥

Posted by: Ivy B.

 

 

 

Back to school Blues?

On the side Mom to Mom convos:

I was having a conversation with a fellow Mom at work-we were discussing back to school attire. Uniforms vs. Non-Uniforms. And we both definitely agreed on Uniforms/Dress codes. While she is already experienced in this area. This will be my first year where there will be a dress code in place. Well, at least for one of my kids. My youngest two however, have no dress code-which well…sucks! When I tell you I crossed my fingers in hopes for a dress code for my elementary duo- I ain’t lying. Why do I have the blues? Why am I going so hard for this Khaki/Polo situation?

Let’s get into it:

How many times do you wash clothes a week? With amounts of spaghetti stains, paint stains, and some stains that are questionable-you know the “what is that?” face. Yea, that. I wash at least twice a week-maybe three-depending on how bad it is. (I could be over-doing it or slightly OCD) Just trying to keep up with life…Which means when its time to head out for the weekend their clothes look like last years clothes.  Looks like they have been walking on their knees (as my co-worker homie would say) their long sleeve shirts turn into quarter length, and jeans turn into calf huggers- but seriously when it’s time to go out as a family…Let’s just say we don’t look good as a unit. Last year , I found myself putting away a few shirts and jeans that classified as ” Weekend attire” yes, it got that bad. These particular items of clothing I would avoid putting out for school-just so they could have a decent fit for the weekend. Simply because I refuse to buy school clothes and weekeend clothes. No, that’s not happening in this house. It’s called mix’n match and rotate…lol!

I mean don’t get me wrong -obviously you would wash the crap out of the uniforms because they would acquire the same stains -but they (here comes that word I love) “ROTATE” and they are uniforms forms for crying out load- only to be worn at school. Think about it-you spend all your hard earned money on clothes just for them to go through the fire at school. That just doesn’t make any sense. I seriously wish ALL schools required a dress code. Okay,  okay, with an exception of picture day and dress down days if it means that much.

Think positive?:

So , my tweenager has a dress code this year-which by now , ya’ll know I am here for it. However, he despises the khaki and polo get up. I explained to him that it wasn’t that bad- It’s a basic polo shirt and khakis (with a choice of colors to rotate in between) Easy..well since he is stuck with a dress code -he had the bright idea to “THINK POSITIVE”and inform me that more sneakers should be an option to also “ROTATE” clever? I think we can work that out (with a huge annoying sigh) I just can’t WIN. Now, I’m back to my old tricks-stashing clothes for the weekend for the younger two-and breaking the bank for the middle schooler’s sneaker fetish.

 

Do your kids go to a uniform based school? If not, what do you do to keep their clothes weekend ready? Are you stashing clothes? Tell me your secret below↓

 

Thanks for reading ♥

Posted by: Ivy B.

Big Chop #2

7/14/07 -Marks the day of my 2nd BIG CHOP.  It’s been close to three years since I joined the natural hair community. I’ve learned so much- what my hair likes, what it doesn’t like-styles I will re -visit, and styles I wouldn’t dare do again.

What I will do differently: I will no longer be co-washing my hair. I have put a stop to this for sometime now- this technique does absolutely nothing for my hair- My hair is not completely cleansed and I still have a good amount of build up on my hair-my hair feels almost waxy. I’m not a fan of that at all. So, I have gladly added shampooing back in my wash day routine. I figured- how is your hair suppose to grow when your scalp is not completely cleansed ?

What my hair likes: My hair likes to be shampooed lol! My hair likes gels with a firm hold, butter cream products-I cannot use stylers that are light weight-like that lotion consistency. I can’t achieve not one thing with runny products. I have to use what’s going to hold my hair in place and super moisturizing. I also, can’t use too many products at once in my hair-I need at least a leave in, butter cream and gel-I can’t be doing all this extra-ness- my hair NO likey!

Less Manipulation: Protective styles have been my friend since I have been in the in between stages of trying to grow out my damaged hair- Now that this is my second big chop- I have gotten use to all the different styles I can do to my hair-Now, I can calm down and give my hair the breaks it needs to grow and flourish. I have noticed such a big difference when I tuck my hair away. Of course, continuing to give my hair a good wash day in between with a great deep condition session.

The difference in BC1 and BC2: BC1 I did it myself- I transitioned for seven months, and my roots were not acclimated to their natural curly state-My roots were wavy , but not completely in the curly state- so that took some getting use to-it was like my hair was hesitating to curl up-until it started to grow a little more-which didn’t take long at all. I also missed a few spots. I didn’t cut all that needed to be cut because I was scared. I just hid the crazy looking parts! BC2- Was done by a pro hair stylist, and since I have been natural going on three years-my hair new what to do-It was use to it’s curly state and it acted as such. Would I take matters into my own hands and BC my own hair-Nope! Not after having it professional done. My hair was cut precisely and even. Just what I needed to get my hair to grow back out even and healthy.

Do I regret the BC for a 2nd time: Hell No! May hair needed it. I would rather have healthy short hair, than long damaged hair any day. This time round getting my hair cut wasn’t so shocking considering I have been around the bin once before. It was more relieving because I knew I was making the best move for my hair-and I am so excited about this healthy natural hair journey. Learning the do’s and don’ts the hard way definitely paid off . Now that I know better- I will only do what is best for my hair.

 

Thanks for reading ♥

(second time around Naturalista)

Posted By: Ivy B.