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Big Announcement: Moniqua LaShae 12 Month Meal Planner, Coming Soon…

The Moniqua LaShae Meal Planner

I’ve been pretty quiet lately about the things I’m working on and what I’ve noticed is that, when you move in silence, you’re able to execute faster and better. 

If you remember a few months back, I said I was working on a huge project, well one project with two parts. The first part is my meal planner. I’ve been asked so many questions about meal prepping and meal planning, so I felt it beneficial to go ahead and make something digital and tangible for you all to use.

I believe in saving money anywhere possible, and in the past my biggest issue has been with groceries and eating out. In the past month or two, I’ve finally gotten my meal planning down to a science and my budget has decreased in half. 

I honestly feel that in order to keep on track with money goals, buying groceries and eating out is where we need to start. 

This planner features:

• Weekly meal planning

• Shopping list

• Budget and Spent tracker

• Monthly reflection pages

• End of year review

With this planner, my hope is that you all will budget, become healthier by preparing meals at home and eating out less, save time cooking during the week, and enjoy doing other things you love to do with all of your free time. 

The print copy will only be available in increments of 10, so once the planner is live, gather you coins and scoop it up. 

Vegan Mommy Things

Nightly Skincare Routine

I get this question so often about how my skin is so clear and smooth. I even have people ask what kind of makeup I wear (I don’t wear any, btw). The number one thing to have clear skin is to drink tons of water. It helps to detox and purify the body, ridding it of all toxins and waste. It also unclogs your pours so your skin can breathe. Now, I’m addition to drink a gallon of water a day, I use the following products.

This cleanser is amazing. I found it at Burlington and it was only $4. It works wonders on my face and I can instantly feel my face being rehydrated. There are no harsh chemicals and it is not heavily scented. It has a gel like texture but lathers like any other cleanser. There’s also not an overpowering smell of tea tree.

Next, I moisturize with Africans shea butter. This shea butter is raw and unfiltered, straight from Africa. I bought it off Amazon. This brings add moisture and oils to my dry skin. I also use this for my son. He has really bad eczema and it has cleared it right up. Did you know shea butter has antifungal properties?

Last, I use a serum and this is the only serum I’ve ever used and I highly doubt I’ll switch to anything else. It smells amazing and is not highly potent. It does have a little tingle going on but that quickly subsides. My skin feels amazing after putting this on and I wake up with a fresh glow in the morning. I’d love to have something like this for the whole body.

As a mom, we don’t have to let ourselves go, and we shouldn’t. Make time for yourself and especially your skin. Yes, motherhood does wear and tear on the body, but we don’t have to look like it does.

What’s your nightly skincare routine?

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Death Becomes Me

I was never afraid to die until I had Malakhai. Now all I can’t hink about is what will happen if I’m not here? How will he survive? Granted I know the answers but I don’t want Malakhai to have to live in a world as a child without his mother. I never want to leave him but death is inevitable.

Of course, I have life insurance for the both of us so he’s taken care of, but even thinking about life insurance and last wills is disheartening, to think that Malakhai will have to eventually live without me.

I know we are all born to eventually die, but I always wonder why do we have to die? Why is there death? What’s the purpose of life if you’re only going to die? If I die, will I get to see my ancestors again? Will I be Malakhai’s guardian angel? So many questions that need answers, but no one to give them.

So I just sit and think about life right now and if I die today, will I leave this earth giving Malakhai the tools to succeed and will I leave a legacy and the answer to both is a terse “no”. So now, it’s high time I make a conscious effort to change all of that.

I will leave this earth with a legacy left behind in the hands of my son. He will know how to survive without clocking in somewhere.

How do you feel about death?

Vegan Mommy Things

Turning Over a New Leaf

Khai went to stay with his dad for a few hours yesterday. Let’s have a moment of silence for how much growth that took me. I know how important it is for a black boy to have his father active in his life. Saturday was also an important day for his dad and his family. It was the one year anniversary of his sister’s passing and what kind of person would I have been to not let him go?

I’m beginning to take owenership of a lot of things in my life, but I’m also beginning to let a lot of shit go and speak up for shot o don’t agree with. In navigating single motherhood, I’m finding my voice and standing my ground for my son. I’m also stepping back when I know I’m about to cross some boundaries.

This season of growth comes with so many blessings and a relief from anxiety. I was on edge the entire time Khai was gone and it’s not that I don’t trust his dad to protect and take care of him, it’s just I’m not used to him being away with other people than those I know.

When he returned, I felt a sense of peace. I realized it wasn’t so bad. Of course I busied myself with running errands and meal prepping (which took the entire 4 1/2 hours). He’ll be keeping him longer for the next few Saturdays while I work and it puts my mind at ease knowing he’s with his dad and they’re bonding.

How did you handle your kid(s) staying with their father for the first time? Does it get better?

My Life

First Quarter Down, Three More to Go!

The place I’m in now, I never thought I could be here. So much has transpired since last Thursday that I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll start from the beginning. First, my principal got promoted to principal of her graduating high school. That’s a huge deal and I’m extremely happy for her. To be able to be principal at a place you spent your last four years in grade school, is an amazing accomplishment.

My principal moving to a new school has inspired me to change my career path and get out of elementary teaching. I plan to take my journalism certification soon to teach journalism in grades 7-12. I graduated with a journalism major and I would love to be able to teach my craft. Fingers crossed!!

On last Saturday, my son’s father and I actually had a sit down conversation and are now somewhat on speaking terms. I still don’t care for him but at least this is one step closer to a co-parentship (he has a long way to go on his part).

Monday, I took my ESL certification exam. I was more prepared than I thought I would be. I should have my results sometime today, and I’ll be sure to post it across social media.

I wrote and finished two self-help books this week (it’s slring break so I had time). That’s a huge deal as well because I’ve never written a self-help nor had I ever intended to, but I got two done and was only supposed to write one.

My cookbook is coming to a close and the date has been pushed back to April. March felt a bit rushed and I’m a perfectionist so I had to push it back to add some finishing touches. I’m revamping the cover and doing something totally different. I’m also changing the name.

This first quarter has been nothing short of amazing and I can’t wait to see what this next quarter holds. How are you so far on your quarterly goals if you set any?

My Life

Spring Brings Change

So much has happened over the past couple of weeks and to be honest, some for the good, some for the worst. I won’t get into details, but one specific change that happened recently, made me reevaluate my career and what I want to do moving forward.

Since I started teaching, I really wanted to do something related to my degree and I’ve finally decided that I’m going to get my teaching certification in journalism, either in the middle or high school level. I love writing and I’ve loved teaching writing over the past couple of years, but now, I think it’s time to really use my skill set. I want to continue teaching but in a different area.

Should I be hired as a journalism teacher, I have somewhat of an idea of how I would set up my curriculum:

  1. The student’s grade would be based solely on their blog. In college, I took a social media aspects of journalism class, and out grades were based on our blog posts. We had to create a blog and our professor would give us assignments every week. I loved that class and I think it’d be awesome to recreate that in the classroom.
  2. My classroom would be solely technology based. With this, all updates, announcements, field trips, etc., would be posted to the class blog. It would basically be an online bulletin.
  3. Blog post topics would be based on whatever is hot in the news or on social media. The way to keep students engaged is to speak their language.
  4. I would demonstrate how to use social media responsibly, and how they can show their voice and be heard online.
  5. The focus of the class would be opinion pieces and it goes back to point 4: I want my students to be heard and feel like they have a voice.
  6. I would bring a lot of my expertise and passion to teaching journalism, for journalism has a special place in my heart.
  7. I would show the kids how to be reporters, how to conduct interviews, record and edit videos for their blog, and basically how to become even more tech savvy than they already are.

Though I haven’t even signed up for the test, my brain is working in overdrive on what I would do as a journalism teacher. I’ve been using teaching elementary as a safety net, but after recent events, it’s time to spread my wings and soar.

There’s nothing wrong with change, especially if it’s for the best and to better your life. Of course I will keep you all updated.

Has there been any changes in your life recently that coincides with the change did the season? Is there a change coming?

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Celibate 8+ Months

Single mom life can get pretty damn dry, Sahara Desert dry. I’m talking about sex. Being single is hard, being a mom isn’t hard, but not having sex is even harder. I miss the feel of a man and the way his hands would hold and caress me. The tender kisses. Our bodies rhythmically rubbing together as we make passionate love. I’m kidding; I’ve never made love before.

Being celibate was a choice I made for me and for my son. I don’t want my son to grow up seeing me with different men or always going out to get some play. I don’t want him to have this image of me or women in general that we’re hos. I also don’t want him to think that any penis comes before him.

So how am I getting through this dry spell you may be asking. Well, several things.

  1. My blog. I spend a great deal of time at night after Malakhai goes to sleep, creating content. Being a mom you really don’t have any free time unless the kid(dos) is/are asleep, and even then you are busy cleaning up and preparing for the next day.
  2. Projects. I just launched my meal planner and that was a huge ordeal for me, but not as huge as this cookbook coming out. A lot of time went into creating it and I’m still promoting it.
  3. Reading list. When I do find down time after he is asleep and I’ve already cleaned and everything else, I catch up on whatever book I’m reading. I’m currently reading “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah.
  4. Malakhai. I spend every moment he’s awake playing with him, reading to him, and just giving him all of my attention. He keeps me so busy that I don’t have time to think of anything else. If breathing wasn’t so natural, I’d forget to do that.
  5. Budgeting. Budgeting each check takes sometime. And not only that, I also have to update my budget planner and spreadsheet. It’s a necessity so that I stay on track.
  6. Friends. I don’t get out much, but when I do, I enjoy myself. To have adult conversations and interactions outside of work, is worth it. I’m making an effort to do that more.
  7. Candy Crush and Toy Blast. I tend to play these games often to occupy my thoughts and also to train my problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  8. Clean. Having a child, I’m often doing laundry, meal prepping for him, picking up his toys and sanitizing everything. That’s a chore within itself.
  9. Journal. I haven’t done this much lately, but I do plan to get back into it. Journaling has helped me a lot over the years, and now that I’ve started counseling, I think they both will do me some good.
  10. Self discipline. More like willpower. I’ve taken into consideration that I have a lot going for me and going on. Sex is the furthest thing from my mind. A man in general. And that’s not to say I’m not interested or I’ll turn down anyone who approaches me; I’m just notnout actively searching for these things. I lay all of my own bills and I take care of my son, so I won’t settle for mediocre, average, or a quick lay. I owe myself and my son better than that.

If you’re celibate, how are you keeping your choice?

My Life

STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE!

I’ve been in education for the past 6 years and 4 of those years were spent in the classroom as a teacher. Everyone knows teachers are severely underpaid, but have the most important jobs. Without teachers, there’s no education. So this brings no surprise that teachers in certain parts of the country, are on strike.

We deal with heavy workloads (we aren’t body builders), unsupportive administration and parents, poor behaved children, state testing, sacrificing our families, sleepless nights, lack of resources, and to top it off, we have low wages. We are extremely overworked and underpaid/under appreciated, yet we still come to work and are beasts at our jobs. Often times, we have nothing to show for it.

In Texas, there is a march in the capitol on March 11, the first day of our spring break. I would attend, but I am taking my ESL certification test that day. It’s sad that when you have such an important job as a teacher, firefighter, policeperson, and any other underrated career, you go unnoticed and aren’t paid for the services you do for this country.

In Texas, the legislation is proposing that we receive a $5,000 raise, and I believe that is the least that can be done. If people only knew the half of what teachers go through on a daily basis, I think we would have more people advocating for us, and parents would cut us some slack. Our job is no easy feat, nor is it for the faint of heart.

Do you think teachers should receive a raise? Why it why not?

Financial Advice

Emergency!!

I think it’s safe to say that many people, millennials mostly, are not set up to financially handle an emergency. If you follow Dave Ramsey, his first Baby Step is to have an emergency fund of $1,000. To be clear, I don’t necessarily follow his steps, but I do agree with having an emergency fund.

For some, $1,000 is a lot to attempt to save, while for others, like myself, $1,000 doesn’t seem like enough to save. If anything, I believe, to start, $2k-$3k is a good place to start. I know for many that will be a struggle, but in all honesty, it’s necessary.

Before beginning a debt free journey, while you’re being all gazelle intense (meaning throwing every cent at debt), it’s wise to have a cushion in case something was to happen. Outside of your bills, of you are throwing every cent to debt and working a $0 budget, that means you have no money left. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you are screwed. To literally have $0 in the bank, that’s ludicrous. This is why it’s best to have an emergency fund before starting this journey.

Things will arise, major things that you didn’t expect or plan for, that will throw a wrench into your progress. That’s life and you need to be prepared at all times for it. Unknown that when I started this journey, I had a car that was causing me problems. I blew threw my emergency fund for repairs. Despite having to empty my EF account, I was glad I had the money to do it. Had I not, I’m not sure how I would’ve been able to get to work and make the money to pay off debts.

I say all this to say, do not start any kind of financial journey that requires significantly large amounts of money to be spent, if you don’t have an emergency fund. Period.

All Black Everything

Parental and Administrative Accountability

If you’re a parent, than many of you have experienced or will experience projects. I haven’t reached that stage with Khai yet, but I am on the other end of the project, the giving end. I have my students a project for Black History Month on January 28, and it was due Feb. 25. So the students basically had a month to do them. Do you know 17 out of 78 students didn’t do them? That may seem like not a lot, but compare it to the fact that the project was worth 4 grades.

Out of the 17, two of them did their projects incorrectly they were to choose a famous black inventor, and one chose Harriet Tubman and the other, Martin Luther King, Jr. prominent figures, but certainly not inventors. Innovators? Possibly.

The other 15 just decided not to do it and majority of the blame falls on the parents because these kids can’t drive to the store or buy their materials. Out of those 15, three told their parents they had a project. I’m my classroom, I set high expectations and I expect those expectations to not only be met by the students, but also their parents.

The number of excuses o received as to why their child didn’t have their project was aggravating to say the least. My principal is allowing them to turn them in by 7:30 am February 26, however, I hadn’t planned on taking any late projects. These parents need accountability.

With working in a low income area, it is to be expected. So many of the parents aren’t invested in their child’s academics and I consider those people to be shitty parents. Parents don’t look in backpacks or folders anymore, which is where they need to constantly look before their child gets on their game console or do whatever else. What happened to parents sitting at the table helping students with their homework?

When it comes to education, parents, you have to be all in for your child and their success, and also be all in with assisting the teacher. You cannot felt aokely in teachers for all of your child’s academic success. It doesn’t work like that. You are your child’s first teacher and they learn the best parts of life from you.

I see it too often in schools that serve low income students that the parents don’t take any kind of responsibility for the behaviors and actions of their child. It’s even more frustrating when administration doesn’t take action either. How is a teacher supposed to uphold these expectations that the administration wants us to have, but at the same time have classroom management when the students know there will be no repercussions for their actions?

Having to constantly correct a student’s behavior during instructional time is unfair to the other students, as well as to the teacher who doesn’t send the child to the office because the child will be sent back to class. It’s almost like a slap in the face. Once the parent gets involved, teachers often times realize that we have no support. Too many parents, in my experience, believe their child(ren) can do no wrong, believing their child first and only.

Then there’s the flip side. You have parents who we explain their child(ren)’s behavior to and their response is, “Oh, they do the same thing at home.” So that makes it okay? Because what I’m hearing is that your child(ren) acts the same way at home so them acting that way in school, disrupting the learning environment, is normal. You don’t think you should correct their behavior?

What these parents fail to realize is that in middle and high school, those teachers will give no second, third, tenth, nor twentieth chances. Their child will be removed from the classroom, and given detention, ISS, OSS, or expelled. If there’s no accountability now, their futures won’t be too bright. This is where the “school to prison pipeline” comes in. Children who don’t receive consequences for their actions, will grow up with the mindset that they can do what they want, and no one will do anything to them or they won’t face any kind of repercussions. Then who will be to blame?

That’s often why there are so many adults who walk around with a chip on their shoulder because they realize that no one owes them a thing. Starting kids off at a young age to be accountable for their actions, begins at home, and can take them a long way. It creates a sense of independence, leadership, and accountability. This is why it’s so important to have black educators in black and brown schools, and to have an administration that has motions in place to handle and nip behavioral problems head on. It’s also important for educators to have the support of the parents.

Black parental involvement in academics is severely low and we as a people have to do something to change that. But, how?

confessions

Confessions of a Single Mom #14: I’m Bitter

So yesterday was visitation day with Khai’s dad and of course my anxiety levels rose. I’m at the point now to where my disdain for him is dissipating to tolerable. One day it’ll get to a point to where I just don’t give a damn and oh how I am yearning for that day.

So today he brought with him two little boys. Per usual he didn’t speak when he came in but his wife did. So I asked who the little boys were and he said his “nephews, Malakhai’s cousins.” Now I know people have play nieces and nephews but this didn’t sound like that. Now I’ve met his sister’s (God rest her soul) kids and I know his brother doesn’t have any kids.

So I asked how were they his nephews. He said they’re on his wife’s side. Before I knew it I said, “So they’re not his real cousins.” (I don’t count step cousins as real cousins.) he ignored my statement, but I meant what I said. Call me bitter, but his wife is of no relation to my son and never will be. They can’t be real cousins because she’s not his real mother, she’s not even his mother at all.

I do hope to one day get to a point where I can let the fact of her being around my son and acting like his mother go, but today, right now, in this instance, I can’t. I haven’t reached that level of maturity yet in this coparenting thing. (Still in early stages.) I’ll be damned if another woman tries to step in and take my place. Yes, I know that no one can replace me, but I’ll be damned if I let someone try. You want to be someone’s mother, have your own kids. My son already has a mother and she’s me.

Don’t judge my pettiness. I haven’t started therapy yet. Maybe therapy will sweeten up the bitter taste I have.

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Angela, The Novice Wealthbuilder

The #debtfreecommunity on Instagram is rapidly growing and so many millennials are becoming debt free. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m on a journey to becoming debt free. Through this community, I’ve sesrched for, found, and still searching for single black moms who are either debt free or working towards becoming debt free. Our guest on the blog is one of these moms who has recently become debt free, and here is our interview.

1.    First, tell me a little bit about who you are, where you’re from, what you do, number of kids, all that you would like to share.

I’m in my mid-thirties, mother to a pre-teen girl and reside in California. I work at a major tv network assisting with developing entertaining and educational tv concepts and programming. I’m currently at the low end of totem pole but rapidly working my way up the ladder!

2.    How did you accrue your debt? (Credit cards, student loans, personal loans, car loans, etc.)

My debt came from the usual suspects. Credit card, car payment and student loans. When I began my journey in 2014 the breakdown looked like this;

• Credit Card- $4,000

• Car Loan- $26, 315

• Student Loan- $27,465

            I decided to follow the snowball method and tackle the smallest debt first.

3.    What was your final straw to make you start tackling your debt, and what kept you motivated on the journey?

I was making decent money, for me, at the time. About 50k a year, yet I didn’t have anything to show for it. Yes, I had nice clothes, nails and hair done, and I was just learning about building wealth. I was contributing 10% to my 401k and additional funds to my HSA. The lightbulb hit when I started reading getting interested in purchasing real estate, specifically a multi-family unit. After tons of reading and research I learned that purchasing something of that caliber as a single woman and mother with no substantial savings and a ton of debt would be extremely risky, that it was a risk I was not willing to take. So, I decided to become debt free, build my emergency fund and then save for my property. I want my purchase to be a blessing and not a curse.

4.    What are some things that you stopped doing or deprived yourself of on the journey?

EVERYTHING! One thing that stands out the most was the decision to stay in my one-bedroom apartment. Once things financially started to pick up, I wanted to move into a bigger place so my daughter could have her own bedroom and we can live more comfortably. To keep my debt payoff momentum going I decided to stay. Housing is one of your biggest expenses so keeping that at a bare minimum is what allowed me to progress during my journey. Now that I’m debt free I have no desire to move, and I’m able to tackle my other financial goals rapidly as consequence to that.  To be completely transparent most of the deprivation came from simply not having any money. Over the course of my 4-year debt payoff journey I was laid off 3 times. I went from making 50k a year to 30k to 15k a year. Thankfully I was diligent with paying off my debts (credit card and car at that time) that I only needed to pay for basic living expenses which included rent, internet, cell phone, tuition and food.  When my income finally did increase it was easy to forgo birthday parties, events, concerts, spa days, hair appointments, restaurants, shoes, and weekend getaways.  I saw how easy it was to go broke and I was determined more than ever to finish off my student loans and save.

5.    What are some things you did to assist in paying off your debts?

I worked and sacrificed. I didn’t side hustle because that was time and energy that prevented me from performing exceptionally well at my place of employment and would prevent elevation. I did work overtime whenever I was able. I would dabble in focus groups but that wasn’t very lucrative. I made a budget, cooked at home, started an Instagram account to share my journey with like-minded individuals since I had no one in real life I could relate to. I also started my account to document my journey so that when things are at a halt or I get discouraged I could look back and see the ground I’ve covered and muster up the motivation to continue.

6.    Did you have a support system and how did people around you react when you said you were starting this journey? Did anyone understand?

My boyfriend at the time was a huge support to me. Mainly because he was getting out of debt as well. My friends were supportive by being offended when I turned down invites. Some even offered to find free to stuff to do and at times would treat me. My mother respected what I was doing and was amazed at the numbers I was throwing towards debt each month. When I explained to people why I was putting myself through such drastic measures it made sense and people understood. However, it’s very difficult to put into action. Lastly, my baby girl was my support system. She understood why she couldn’t do certain activities, why we couldn’t get hot lunch anymore or why we ate the same foods over and over. She would remind me that we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the house when I wanted to stop and get food on the way home.

7.    Are there people in your inner circle who you have inspired to do the same?

I inspired mother to be more aggressive with paying off her credit cards. She’s not gazelle intense but she’s moving. She’s also been thinking about paying her house off in 7 years instead of 15 so she can be debt free when she retires. Other than my mom, I’ve helped a few friends complete a budget to at least see where their money is going and how they can cut back and save.

8.    What was your feeling when you pressed the submit button on that final payment?

Words can’t describe the feeling. There were times when I wanted to give up and stop, especially after the layoffs. I had to take on jobs that paid practically nothing and rely on government support to get by, which I’m so grateful the option was there. Once the day finally came, that I would be making my final debt payment, an unexpected tear came down my face ( I know it sounds a bit melodramatic) but it came from a sense of relief and actual peace. I didn’t expect to be emotional. It’s probably one of my greatest accomplishments, and for my daughter to not only see but experience the ups and downs and then witness the end was just amazing. 

9.    Now that you’re debt free, what are your money goals? Will you still budget? Will you invest? Save?

I still budget and track my expenses. Now that I’ve gotten a raise so to speak, it’s even more important to assign each penny a job. I’m finally able to put into action what motivated me to get out of debt. I’m currently on month 3 of my 6-month emergency fund. I’m contributing 6% of my income into my Roth 401K, and in April I will save for 2 months to pay for a Disney Cruise  that my daughter and I will be taking in September (Our 1st out of state vacation together). Once my emergency fund is complete, I will up my retirement contributions to 15% and will begin saving for my investment property, which I hope to buy in 2021.

10.  Thinking into the future, how will you help your child(ren) when it comes to managing money and not taking on debt?

I’m placing a big emphasis on school and education right now, so that she can obtain scholarships to attend college. Whenever she gets money some goes to savings, giving and she can spend. I also have her plan out her month with events and activities she wants to attend, and she’ll budget and spend money according to what she has left in her spending pouch. I’m proud to say this experience has taught her a ton about not only budgeting but the dangers of debt and the rewards of building wealth.

11.  What are some last encouraging words that you have for other single moms out there who are embarking on this journey to living a stress-free, debt-free life?

JUST DO IT!  It’s so fulfilling and worth it.  Although my daughters father financially supports her there are many times when I wished that I didn’t NEED his support. Now, that I’m debt free, so much money has been freed up to continue offering her a great quality of life.

 Best,

“Angela” 

Uncategorized

10 Budget Moves for Debt Freedom

Disclaimer: I am not a license professional financial coach, advisor, or consultant. Just sharing what works for me in hopes that it helps others.

  1. Money goals – what money goals do you have? What is it that you’re trying to achieve financially?
  2. Lay out all debts/bills – seeing the bigger picture helps you to know where you need to start.
  3. Budget planner – write it down. If you’re a techy, create a spreadsheet. (Let me know if you would like one created for you)
  4. Kill old habits – clubbing, happy hour, restaurants, girls trips, and spas will always be there. Pay off your debts and you can do those things on a regular with no worries.
  5. Meal prep/plan – I can’t stress this enough. We are the fattest country with the most people in debt. Eating out plays a huge role in our debts. I created a meal planner just for that purpose: to help in cutting down on eating out.
  6. Become a hustler – side hustles are something millennials have had no choice but to do. We have the most degrees and the most jobless or working jobs barely making ends meet. My friend Valencia Morton has two ebooks on side hustles. I also created a video a while back on side hustles that help me.
  7. Gift cards – can never go wrong with free money to your favorite places or online stores.
  8. Sinking funds – save towards big purchases like Christmas gifts, travel, birthdays, etc.
  9. Stop using credit cards/personal loans – they are the devil and why most of us are in debt now.
  10. Emergency fund – if you don’t do anything else, at least have an emergency fund. Don’t get caught without one in an emergency situation. You’ll create more debt. I can attest to that first hand.
Health + Wellness

Be a Pro at Meal Prep in 10 Steps

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I’ve been an avid meal prepper for a few years now and I always get asked how. I’ve heard it’s too hard, time consuming, and just doesn’t work for people, meaning they can’t stick to their meal plan. Here are my top 10 tricks to help you out.

  1. Create a menu. In order to meal prep, you first need to know what you plan to eat. Best practice, use Pinterest. Pinterest is my go-to for new meal ideas that I can recreate to fit my lifestyle. Also, my meal planner is great to plan out meals as well as create a shopping list of what you need.

2. With creating a menu, you want to stock up on staple pantry items. Staple items are items you have in your pantry at all times. This saves on time creating a shopping list and money. I have a Staple Foods List that are foods I always have in my pantry at any given time. They’re items I always use.

3. Premade foods aren’t always on my list, but when I know I’ll be short on time, I’ll opt for those. I also buy prepackaged foods from time to time.

4. Kitchen essentials are a must. It’s more than just pots and pans. The right tools like a set of knives, a blender, a food processor, peelers, cooking utensils, etc. are vital to have woth your meal preparation. Even more important are meal prep containers. I bought mine off Amazon and they are amazing.

5. Switch it up a little. Meal prep doesn’t have to be boring or mundane. Mix and match your ingredients and meals. Spice it up. Keep things interesting and sexy. Yes, meal prep can be sexy. Have fun with it.

6. Batching is something I take part in and not just with blog posts and videos. I batch cook my meals and freeze some for future meal preps. I have a freezer full of already prepared meals that just need to be heated when ready to eat.

7. A slow cooker is you’re friend and also helps with batch cooking. I use this mainly for beans, soups, and chilis.

8. Turn leftovers into new meals. I hear many people say they don’t eat leftovers which is crazy to me. Take those leftovers and create something else.

9. Freeze meals. Sometimes I’ll make too much of something and won’t be able to eat it all in that week, so I’ll freeze the rest. This is especially so if I’m making burgers, meatballs, or anything else from scratch.

10. Have fun! Turn on some music, listen to a podcast, add your kid(s) to the mix and make it a family affair.

Meal prep doesn’t have to be this daunting feat. It can be as easy or as hard as you make it.

Happy meal prepping!

Health + Wellness, My Life

21 Reasons to be Happy and Why I’m Not

I’ve been unhappy for quite sometime now, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay all the time. What’s not okay is to continue on this path and not do anything to change your emotional direction. I won’t go into specifics of what I’m not happy about, but let’s discuss why I should be happy.

  1. My son is healthy, thriving and hitting every milestone.
  2. I’m almost at my one year mark of breastfeeding.
  3. My Budget is finally working for me.
  4. Debt is dwindling.
  5. My tax refund is going to help me out a lot.
  6. My meal planner is coming out tomorrow! Wooohooo!
  7. I’m finally coming out with a cookbook sometime in March.
  8. My students are progressing significantly in writing.
  9. I’m not living paycheck to paycheck.
  10. I went to the doctor on January 21, and all of my results came back negative and/or normal. I have an absolute clean bill of health.
  11. I can afford to pay all of my bills.
  12. For once in my life, I have no bills that are late and I have nothing in collections.
  13. My son and I wake up every morning: alive and kicking,
  14. I’m finally going to start therapy.
  15. I’ve been able to let go of a lot of toxic people, and I’ve been able to recognize my own toxicity.
  16. I’ve been consistently practicing yoga.
  17. Drinking a falling of water a day has become increasingly attainable.
  18. My skin is clear and my bowels are regular.
  19. I’ve been cooking more and eating out less.
  20. I still have money in the bank from last check.
  21. There’s food in my pantry and fridge.

The list could go on, but with all of these positive things, I’m still unhappy. I’m excited to be starting therapy soon to be able to better understand this emotional turmoil I’m experiencing.

Have you ever felt unhappy despite everything in your life going perfectly well and it’s all positive? How did you cope with it? Did you ever get to the root of your unhappiness?

All Black Everything, Health + Wellness, My Life

God and Religion

I, like most other black millennials, was brought up in the church. I was told we had to go to church every Sunday for worship, and every Wednesday for bible study. I was told I had to be in the choir until I was 18 (church rule). I was told that I had to be baptized and asked numerous questions about Jesus Christ that all the answers had to be “yes.”

When I went off to college, I still went to church because I felt obligated to. Even after college because I was living at home, it wasn’t an option. If I lived at home, I had to go to church. Most Sunday’s, I’d sit at Starbucks until church was over. I didn’t belong to the same church as my mother (for that very reason. I didn’t want her checking up on me.). When when I moved out on my own, I would still sometimes go to church. That stopped 3 years ago.

Growing up, I always had questions about church and why things were just so. If you are a black millennial, or a black person of any age, more specifically a black womanizer, you were taught to be seen and not heard, meaning you question nothing. You sit there and question nothing. That didn’t work for me. I was quite the inquirer.

Growing up, anytime you asked question that went against what you parent said, you were always hit with the “becuase I said so.” That’s not the way to raise or teach a child: to just follow what someone else says. That’s why we are all in the rat race now, following what someone else says, doing what we are told and not thinking for ourselves.

When I would sit in church and listen to the pastor, I felt there were so many holes in their stories. For one, the day “Jesus” rose, changes every single year. Why? In the Bible, Jesus is described as having hair like wool, yet he has always been depicted as this tall white man woth blonde brown hair and blue eyes. There are these 10 commandments that we must follow, which I agree with all of them, but isn’t that more so common sense of things we shouldn’t do? Isn’t that something that is expected?

Jesus was born to a virgin. Be that as it may, why is it that woman cannot bare children today without a man? It’s said that when Adam ate the fruit from the tree, Eve was punished and that’s why women have periods and are made to carry and birth a child. So god punished female animals too, becuase if I’m not mistaken, some femal animals have periods, and they birth babies.

We are told that our bodies are temples. People worship in temples. So in essence, shouldn’t I worship where my body is? It’s also said that avid is within all of us. Doesn’t that make us all God? God is everywhere, so couldn’t I worship my God wherever I choose? So if God is wherever I am, then can’t I worship and pray at home? Is my own home not a temple?

I don’t believe in religion for several reasons. All of these religions apparently worship the same God, they just use a different name. So that leads me to believe religion is man made. Also, religions have these tiles of how things should go (rest on the sabbath, can’t eat certain foods, can’t indulge in too much of this or that, you have to worship this way, you have to come to church, you have to give tithes, etc.). Isn’t religion supposed to be about living a purposeful, righteous, fulfilled life, helping others and being an upstanding person? “Suppose” being the keyword.

I believe that God is within me, therefore, I am God. Do I feel people need to worship me? Absolutely not. Another thing, God created and brings forth life. Don’t women create and bring forth light? I believe in pantheism, in that God is everywhere and is everything that is good. I believe in my ancestors and praying to them for guidance to watch over Malakhai and me. I believe in the spirituality of my history.

I’m not willing to believe in something becuase someone else said so. Most Black millennials don’t attend church and here’s an article on that.

As for the Bible, I think it has good intentions, but much gets lost in translation. It’s like trying to directly translate from Spanish to English: it just doesn’t work.

I will teach Malakhai to believe in a higher power, and that he needs to live his life as a good black man. I want to teach him to have his own mind and beliefs. To know that there is always someone watching him and watching out for him to ensure his safety. If you don’t stand and believe in something, you’ll fall for anything.

I don’t knock anyone who is religious at all. I don’t think anything less of them. I love everyone, no matter their beliefs. I think that once we all find our purpose and live in it, we will lived and lead much happier, healthier, stress free lives.

Health + Wellness

Yoga for Constipation

Many people practice yoga for different reasons, whether it be to tone, meditate, or to become more flexible. However, did you know yoga is a way to help with constipation? No? Well you’re in luck. Just a disclaimer, I am not expert, but I know what works. Over the past week, I have gotten back into yoga and I’ve noticed I’ve been having bowel movements 3-4 times a day. That may seem like a lot, but in reality, it’s not. You should be having a bowel movement after each meal. Let’s look at some poses that have gotten things moving.

Poses that involve side bending, or side bending period, energizes the digestive juices by stimulating the gallbladder and liver. This twisting motion tones the obliques, or love handles, and wakes up the abdominal organs.

This pose is a familiar pose and is one of the most well known ones. Down Dog allows the spine to tract, creating space in the body that’s usually compressed. This is a full-body stretch that permits a release of tension, adding to a build-up in the digestive tract.

This last pose really does it for me. Sometimes I have to stop in the middle of a flow to run to the bathroom. It’s similar to wringing our a wet rag, but you’re wringing out waste. This twisting pose massages the digestive tract to encourage detoxification, or a bowel movement.

These are simple poses for whenever you need to get things moving along. It’s always helpful to add in a little bit of yoga to your daily routine, even if only for a few minutes.

Uncategorized

Confessions of a Single Mom #13: I’m Going to Therapy

Saturday was a tough day, a day that made me take the plunge and seek a therapist. On my way to visitation with Khai’s dad, I felt an anxiety attack coming on. I was able to make it through visitation (only lasted 45 minutes), and head home to practice yoga. The one time I really needed Malakhai to sleep so I could at least get 45 minutes in, he did. He slept two hours.

After yoga, I just sat in silence. It was deadly silent. I let my thoughts float away. I drank some ginger tea and ate some grapes, continuing to sit in silence. I felt renewed and my blood pressure started to come down. I felt like me again. It’s that very reason why my mental health needs to be taken care of, as well as my physical health.

I feel like they both go hand in hand. There’s so many ways that mental and physical health support your wellbeing. I’ve gotten back into yoga and I’m sticking with it this time, I have to. Yoga is the only exercise that makes me feel good and can ease whatever feelings I’m feeling that aren’t positive.

I went online through my insurance and found the perfect therapist that can cater to all of my mental health needs. She’s black, my age, has experience, has hours that fit my schedule, and I can afford her.

Have you been to a therapist? Did it help and if so, how? If you haven’t, how do you take care of your mental health?

Uncategorized

Stay Hydrated Sis: Benefits of Drinking Water

“I can’t drink plain water.”

“Water tastes nasty.”

“Water is boring.”

“Water has no flavor.”

I’m sure you’ve heard some of these before and I must say it does annoy me quite a bit. It’s funny how many people don’t consume even a quarter of the amount of water they need per day, despite their bodies being made up of over 70% water.

Not drinking water can cause a myriad of health problems. Dehydration sucks, and so does being in the hospital. Here are some benefits of drinking water that I’ve seen work myself:

  1. Clearer skin
  2. Think better to make the best decisions
  3. Clear urine (this one makes me happy)
  4. Reduced body odor
  5. Better lubrication for sex
  6. Aids in digestion and gut health
  7. Aids in weight loss
  8. Balance vaginal health
  9. Aids in oral health
  10. Lubricates brain to prevent headaches

These are just to name a few reasons as to why drinking water is important. An awesome app to track your water intake is Water Tracker. Do you drink enough water?

Health + Wellness

Yoga Makes Me Horny

Yes, you read that right. I’ve been practicing yoga for over 9 years and I have to say that after a 30-60 minute session, I’m ready to get it on and get it in. I’ve always wondered why and I finally decided to put Google to use and this article came up.

The Workout That Increases Your Sex Life

Yoga consists of many hip openers and stretches that open the entire body. For some who sit all day, aren’t getting any blood flowing in their pelvic region, which can stunt your libido.

For someone who is on a celibacy journey, having an increased libido is not easy, so I’m order to combat that, I’ve tried adding cardio to burn off that excess sexual energy. No such luck. Add to that, I’ve increased my veggie and fruit intake as well as adding protein smoothies.

Being vegan and practicing yoga puts your sex drive through the roof, but one of my goals this year was and is, no sexual activity of any kind. So I guess I’ll have to deal with it.

If you are a woman experiencing decreased libido, get in downward-facing dog so you can get in downward-facing dog. (See what I did there?)

Health + Wellness

Don’t Let the Smile Fool You

In the above pic, even though I’m smiling in all three, only one I’m actually happy in. That’s the one from 2018. The left two are from my freshman year in college. I was attending Stephen F. Austin State University. I was severely depressed. I was self medicating through alcohol and sex, tons and tons of sex with different men. I’m not ashamed of where I’ve been, because it has made me stronger and the person I am today.

During this time, I was trying to build a bond with my biological father who didn’t want to build a bond. I even went to this university to be closer to him. No such luck. Even though he lived 10 min away, I rarely saw him.

I only had one friend there and my roommates disliked me. I was alone. I begged my mom to let me transfer to the University of Houston over Christmas break, but she made me finish out the year. I don’t think she knew how desperate I was. Had she made me stay another year, I’d likely not be here writing this post.

I gained 60 lbs from indulging in food and alcohol. I didn’t workout and I stayed in my dorm room. I was experiencing life being on my own and not having any structure. It was devastating to say the least. You’d think I’d be glad to have gotten out of my parents house.

The following year I transferred to UH and things turned around. I had more structure, I was working out, lost the 60lbs I’d gained and I was with my friends from high school. I started therapy (and ended shortly after), I published my first book, was still having sex but not as much and not with nearly as many men.

Now, in 2019, I’m a completely different person. Have you ever suffered from depression? What caused it and how did you get through it, or are you still going through it?

All Black Everything

Why do Black Men feel so entitled?

I already know I’m going to catch heat behind this, but I don’t care. I’m only speaking from personal experience so clearly I don’t men all black men. I’m going to preface this article by giving a little back story.

This guy I went to school with has been after me for years, roughly 17 years to be exact. I was never interested in him and once we graduated high school, we parted ways. Thank goodness. However, it seems year after year he seeks me out on social media (not that I’m hard to find).

So about 2-3 years ago, I made the stupid mistake of finally sleeping with him. He’s been hounding me ever since, wanting to be with me. He’s a very aggressive person and I honestly didn’t and don’t feel safe in his presence because he tries to pressure me to have sex.

The last time I saw him was in 2017 at my ten year class reunion. We said “hey” in passing and of course he later on hit me up wanting to come over and I said “no”. We had a huge argument and again, parted ways. He hit me up last year and I was still not interested because I had just had a baby.

Let’s go back a couple of days and he messages me asking did I miss him. I was honest and said I hadn’t thought about him and I hadn’t. I have a child. I’m not thinking about any past men at this moment.

So then he asked why I didn’t want to “fuck with” him. That is where the conversation took a turn for the worst. As a grown ass man, that is not something you should be asking a woman and for certain not in that manner. I explained to him that he wasn’t the kind of man I wanted around my son, nor the kind of man I would want my son to look up to.

He of course was offended and said he’ll talk to me again when my son is old enough to understand what a role model is. I told him don’t bother. So he proceeds to comment on my breasts and I asked him to refrain from that. He asked why and I asked him if I told him to not touch me, would he ask the same question. He said since we had already slept together that would be weird for me to say no.

Pause. Only a rapist would say that because that’s rapist mentality. How dare you tell me that if I tell you not to touch me, that you should still be able to? What right do you have? You still have to have my permission rah and every time you want to touch me. I am not your possession. He then told me to grow up and I blocked him.

Now to my point. What is it that makes some black men feel entitled to do as they want to black men? What makes you entitled to date me, touch me, make me talk to you? Since when do you own women? Like the man who killed the woman because she didn’t want to dance with him, or men who call women “stuck up bitches” when they cat call and a woman turns her nose up, or say that she’s “ugly anyway?”

Where does this sense of entitlement come from? I’ll be damned if Malakhai grows up and thinks that he’s entitled to any woman he wants and she has to submit. Fuck that. If a woman says no then dammit she means no and vice versa. There are women too who feel entitled to men.

This topic also comes in loo of the documentary Surviving R. Kelly. He is the largest entitled piece of shit excuse of a man and I feel like some other black men are taking after him, thinking it’ll work for them.

Could it come from past sexual abuse? Lack of a father figure? How they grew up and seeing their father’s or, mother’s boyfriends, doing the same thing? Past relationships with submissive women?

If you are a black man reading this post, please give me some insight as to where some of your fellow specimen get this notion that every woman has to be with them. Also, why aren’t we holding these men accountable?

confessions

Confessions of a Single Mom #12: I’m Tired of being a Mom

Do y’all have those days where you aren’t feeling too well and all you want to do is rest? You don’t feel like being bothered? Or those days when you’re sick with a cold and bed rest is recommended? However, you still have to take care of your child(ren) regardless of all the above? Saturday was one of those days for me.

I woke up that morning not feeling too well. Malakhai hadn’t slept too well the night before, so I didn’t sleep too well either. I woke up with a headache and my body was hurting. Despite that, I still went ahead and went to Soul Food Vegan for the grand opening. Big mistake.

On the way there, my stomach was severely hurting and cramping. I felt nauseous and my headache hadn’t subsided. After leaving, I felt much worse. My stomach was bloated and I had really bad gas. I was still also cramping.

When I got home, I put Malakhai down for a nap and ended up taking one myself. I woke up after almost 3 hours, more nauseous than before, stomach hurting and head banging. Malakhai then woke up and wanted to be all over me, but I just had to keep pushing him away. He was pressing on my stomach and made me throw up on of the times. He was fussy and that was understandable because he wanted me. Even nursing made me nauseous.

Eventually, it was time for him to go down for the night and that took two hours. In the midst of putting him to sleep, I made some ginger tea to settle my stomach and ate some toast. Mind you I hadn’t eaten since one and it was now 9.

I really was feeling terrible and I didn’t want to be a mom that day. I felt so guilty. It’s times like this where being a single parent is difficult because when you’re sick, you still have to be a parent. Sure, I could’ve dropped him off at my mom’s house and picked him up the next day, but he hasn’t spent the night anywhere without me.

I say this to say, it’s okay to sometimes feel like not being a parent. We all have those moments, but they do pass.

When have you ever felt like not being a parent?

Uncategorized

Soul Food Vegan, for the Culture

I had been waiting for this day for over a year y’all! The first vegan soul food place in Houston, Texas, and what better place to put it than in 3rd ward on Emancipation Ave.? The grand opening was at 12, but was pushed to 12:30. I was the fourth person in line. As I was about to place my order, I saw the line go around the building and down the street. When I say the community showed up, we showed up.

I ordered the Soul Food Vegan Platter (cauliflower steak, greens, mac n cheese, and dirty rice), strawberry watermelon sea moss lemonade and a brownie. When I say it did not disappoint. The flavors were rich. Honestly, all that was missing was some cornbread.

The restaurant itself is quaint and not really a place to gather with a large group, however, Emancipation Park is directly across the street, so you can get your food to go and eat in the park. Service was friendly and fast. The place was clean and there was ample parking. For me, besides the food and service, parking is always my biggest thing. If there isn’t convenient parking, I’m less likely to return. I got there early so I was able to park in front of the door.

This restaurant is something that is needed, especially in the community that it’s located. I love that so many of us showed up and wanted to eat vegan food. Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good. I’m hoping that people left there and wanted to change their lifestyles. If I wasn’t already vegan, I believe they would’ve converted me because that food tastes like the food I grew up on.

If you live in Houston and the surrounding areas, or you’re visiting, stop by 2901 Emancipation Ave and get you some vegan soul food.

My Life

5 Reasons I Won’t Be Buying A House in 2019

So, my biggest goal this year was to buy a house. I set this goal in the middle of last year. After talking to a friend who is a financial consultant and listening to the latest podcast on Experiencing Motherhood Single and Black, it seems that buying a house just isn’t logical right now. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. I haven’t saved enough money for a down payment. Yeah, I was banking on using my income tax, but at the same time, I have debts to pay and bills that are due now.
  2. I don’t have the money to furnish a house. Not only would I need a down payment, I would need money to buy the things that go inside the house.
  3. Maintenance costs, cost, which again, I don’t have the money for. In an apartment, maintenance is already covered in the rent. In a house, you’re on your own, even with home buyer’s insurance.
  4. My credit score isn’t where I want it to be. Yeah, it’s better than good enough to get a loan and a good interest rate, but my debt to income ratio is not at all appealing to lenders.
  5. I decided I really need to focus on paying off debts and not adding on debts. Two of my other goals for the year was is to pay off my CC and personal loan. I need to start with small milestones.

As you can see, clearly I am not ready to buy a home and I’m glad I hadn’t gone to view any homes or started the home buying process. Once I get my debts down and my income to debt ratio is better than superb, I will revisit this. Until then, I’ll be kicking debts ass.

My Life

No New Friends? Drake Got It Wrong

Raise your hand if you have the same friends you grew up with. Anyone? Yeah, you’re not alone. Many people can’t say that their childhood friends are still their friends, and those who can, well, they’re far and few in between. As we grow and mature (some of us anyway), so do our needs from friendships.

From my childhood, and I wouldn’t even say childhood, from high school, I still have one friend. As for best friends, well, don’t have them anymore. As I’ve gotten older and entered my 30s, I’ve realized that my needs have changed when it comes to friendships.

As kids, we just wanted friends to have someone to like us. As adults, we need loyalty, someone who can help us grow, a go-getter, someone on the same page as far as goals, basically someone who matches us or is at least a step ahead knnthe direction that we’re going. If this person can’t improve my life, there’s no need for them to be there, and vice versa.

This too reigns true for romantic relationships. Forget bringing something to the table, if we both can’t be the damn table, it’s not going to work. I don’t work off of 50-50. It’s 100-100. Period.

I’ve also noticed that my reasons for old friendships still baffle me. Some people that I used to be friends with, for the life of me I can’t remember why. Do you remember why you were friends with someone you’re no longer friend with? Don’t worry, I’ll wait (not really, but you can post your response in the comments).

How has your requirements for friends changed? Do you still have some of the same friends from your childhood?

Vegan Mommy Things

MyGym @ Atascocita

Saturday, Malakhai and I went to a class at MyGym. It’s a little gym for our tiny humans. There were about six other little tykes there. We began with some warm ups then stretches with out minis. Afterwards, we had free time to roam around the gym and enjoy all that they had. There were slides, a ball pit, a parachute ride down a ramp, swings and so much more. Towards the end, there’s what’s called separation time where the parents leave the kids in the circle to play with toys and each other. Malakhai did so well!

I’m going to see if I can work MyGym into my budget. It’s only $82 a month which is awesome and we would be going every week. It’s worth the investment. I bonded with two other moms there and it’s a great way for Malakhai to meet other kiddos outside of daycare. If you have a MyGym near you, I highly suggest it. The first class is always free.

Playing in the circus!
Doing a flip on the bar. Of course he cried.
He didn’t too much like the ball pit.
He seemed to like one of the teachers.
Clearly he loved the swing.
He did not like the parachute ride lol.
Separation time.
He did amazingly well!
Just chillin!
Vegan Mommy Things

Sensory Time: DIY Paint

So, Malakhai has reached that age that he wants to touch any and everything. I open the fridge, he has to touch everything in the door. Anything I have in my hand, he has to touch. I figured it was time to start some sensory activities, and I can’t wait to continue this series.

I wanted to start with painting but I didn’t want to use actual paint because it’s toxic and he’s at that age where everything goes in his mouth. I wanted to make something that I knew I wouldn’t care if he ate it. I chose vegan vanilla yogurt. I got just a small cup and I split it between two containers: one for red and one for blue, although they came out a pinkish red and purple.

1 container of vegan vanilla yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, clothes you don’t mind messing up, and a fun attitude

I squeezed 3 strawberries in one container and stirred it with a spoon. In the other, I tried mashing blueberries, but they weren’t juicy like I expected. So, I took a handful and put them in a small pot. I added water just to cover and let them boil until they popped. This made the water a dark blue. I poured that in the other container of yogurt. It actually turned out purple but oh well.

I tried getting Malakhai to paint on paper but he just wanted to rip it up, so I poured some paint on the towel between his legs and let him have at it. He rubbed his hands and feet in it. It was a new feeling for him and he thoroughly enjoyed it. He even decided to paint me as well. Here are some pictures from our painting session.

Health + Wellness

Open and Fearless

I’ve never been the one to do the whole “words for the year” thing. It just wasn’t me. Still isn’t. I’m all about manifesting this year and I want to manifest openness and fearlessness. I’m going to be open about just about any and everything in order to not close off any opportunities, relationships, career advancements, anything. Nothing is off limits. But in order to be open, I have to be fearless.

Fearfulness causes you to be afraid and closed off to anything new and positive changes. In order to manifest, you have to feel and say what you want with no hesitation, stipulations, or conditions. For me, I have to let the fear of rejection, failure, and not being enough, die. No more living in the past and going off of past experiences. All of that last fear is going to interfere with future endeavors.

What are you manifesting this year, or do you have word(s) of the year that you want to work on?

My Life

10 Things I’m Leaving Behind in 2018

Thinking back on all that 2018 has brought me, good and bad, there are some things that I want to leave behind.

  1. Letting people and there toxicity effect me. Too often do I continue to give people chances whether they be friends or family, and I have to stop that. It doesn’t matter who you are, your toxicity is no longer welcome and is not conducive to my wellbeing.
  2. Anger from past hurt. I’ve been hurt more times than I can count, and I have continued to hang on to it. The problem with that is I believe it effects my thinking, my emotions, and being an effective communicator. When someone upsets me, the first emotion I go to is anger and my reaction comes off that way. What I want to try is breathing before responding. Let the anger have a chance to come and then dissipate.
  3. Thinking that I will always fail in everything I do, that I can’t succeed. This is why I often start something and then quit. If I don’t see immediate results, what’s the point? This pertains to exercising to lose weight, eating habits, novels, my blog, youtube, past jobs, relationships. I tend to never stick with something because I’m always thinking about the little failures, which honestly could be leading up to huge success. Motherhood is the onot thing that I can’t quit, even if I feel like I may fail him at times, it’s not optional.
  4. Negative self thoughts tend to control every move I make, especially when it comes to dealing with men. It’s sad that when a man flirts with me, I don’t see him as flirting because I’m thinking, “Who would want to flirt with me?” I’m sure I’ve passed up potential future husbands over this past year and because of my negative thoughts about myself, they just moved on. I have to do better with how I view myself. Hopefully therapy will work.
  5. Feeling sorry for myself is probably the most detrimental thing to my mental and emotional health. As someone who can’t stand when a person feels sorry for themselves, I have often felt that way and it’s not okay. Why should I pity myself? I have a lot going for myself to just be sitting there wallowing in my own sorrows. Girl, good-fucking-bye. Brush the shit off and keep it moving.
  6. Keeping thoughts and emotions to myself has been so easy, but it’s just building inside me. I am going to quit that bad habit and start opening up to people when they do or say something that they shouldn’t. I too often let things slide but not anymore. I will no longer let others have control over my mental and emotional health.
  7. Laziness comes and goes depending on what the task is. I want to leave this behind because laziness in one area of my life, can trickle over into other areas and being a mom, you really don’t have time to be lazy. I’ve been lazy with my blog, publishing material that really wasn’t thought out or planned. I just posted something just to post it, and this goes for social media too. I’ve had days where I stayed in bed all day and did nothing but watch Malakhai play, when we could’ve been out and about, playing at a park or MyGym. I’ve been too lazy to record, edit and post videos, frequently telling myself I’ll do it the next day, and the next day, and the next day until finally, it doesn’t happen. Laziness, be gone.
  8. I tend to listen to a lot of ratchet music, and when I say a lot, I mean a lot. I especially listen to it in the car on my way to work, which I shouldn’t because I find ratchet music doesn’t put me in the best of moods. I also listen to it with Malakhai in the car and that will no longer happen. I’m leaving all that ratchetness, well most of it, not all, in 2018, and focus more on listening to podcasts in the car. I find that podcasts are extremely helpful. (I’ll be doing a separate post about my favorite podcasts.)
  9. Masturbating has taken a toll on me. When orgasming, you lose pieces of yourself. If you ever notice it’s like this energy washes over you and then disappears. I’ve been celibate from actual sex for 6 months and I want to be completely celibate. So, I’m leaving masturbating behind. If I give too much of myself to myself, what will I give my future husband?
  10. Finally, I’m leaving behind everything else that needs to stay in 2018. There’s so many things that I just want to leave and will be left. This month I’ll be focusing on getting rid of things in my home that no longer has value to me. I feel like holding on to things year after year is just letting the past keep its hold on you. I want to wrangle out of its grasps and move forward with my life.

What are some things you are leaving behind in 2018?