My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Getting an Abortion

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was devastated. During that time, I was set to move to China and start a new life and career. I had my visa documents and everything. All I was waiting on was my plane ticket. Then I found out I was pregnant. That brought everything to a screeching halt.

I was getting medical checks regularly because you have to be in good health. The doctor kept saying my blood pressure was high and I have never had high blood pressure. I thought maybe because I was stressed and I also didn’t like her. Unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant.

I found out I was pregnant on August 13, 2017. My period was late by a day or two and I just knew I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I laughed it off and took another. It came back positive too. I immediately stopped breathing. I literally felt my heart stop. I wasn’t ready to be a mom nor did I want to be one. I didn’t want kids.

My first stop was to my mother’s house because I was going painting with her and my grandmother that day. I told my mom through my tears and trying to catch my breath. If you know my mom, you know she was hella excited, this being her first grandbaby and all. I also told my brother and stepdad who were there. They were all supportive. Then I told my baby’s father and that’s when things changed.

We agreed upon me getting an abortion because I had life plans and so did he. I was going to fucking China!!! So, I called the abortion clinic and went the next day. I just knew I was doing the right thing until I got there. I won’t mention the clinic but it was small and not very attractive. I waited in the waiting room for what felt like hours.

Once I was called back, I sat in this hallway with a bunch of other women. The woman sitting next to me was telling a woman who was crying that she’ll be fine. She had had several abortions with her boyfriend and she turns out fine every time. That’s when reality set in. Women actually do this to fix what they consider a “mistake”. Some even do it repeatedly with no remorse. At that point I wanted to leave, but I stayed. Something told me to stay.

I looked a few seats down and there was this room I kept seeing women come out of with a nurse. These women were in a daze and could barely walk. That’s when I realized we were by the operating room. We were also by the back door where the women went out of once the abortion was done.

I started to really panic. By that point a nurse called me in to get an ultrasound. They couldn’t find the baby on the screen. I began to breathe hoping that meant those pregnancy tests were wrong. Then they made me take a pre test and blood test. The pee test came back as a light positive and I had to wait 24 hours for the blood test.

After that I went and saw a counselor and she explained to my how the operation worked and how the pill worked. Both options sounded horrific. I was mortified. I made my appointment for two days later, on a Wednesday. I came out and passed this room that was dark and I saw all these women in there. Some curled up, some crying and some sleeping. These women were waiting for their rides to come pick them up. They had already had their procedure. I quickly left the building.

I cried all the rest of that day and that night, into the next morning. I was scared and didn’t know what to do. One thing was for sure. I can’t remember at which moment it was: the woman telling about her numerous abortions, the operating room, the counselor or the room full of post-op women, but I knew I was going to keep my baby. I knew for certain I was not going to go through with the abortion. That morning the clinic called me back to confirm my blood test came back positive for being pregnant.

The morning of when I was supposed to get my procedure, I got a phone call from a school to come and have me interview for a teaching position. I ended up getting an interview and hired the same day. I realize now that had I gone through with the abortion, I wouldn’t have gotten this job. I would also be in China right now. This job was a job I had been wanting: it was a writing position. I was going to be teaching writing and I was happier than anyone could ever know.

I share this story because I know women contemplate abortions every second of every day and I know women who actually go through with them. Either way, both are difficult decisions: either keep or get rid of your baby. Ultimately, my decision to keep my baby was that there are no mistakes. I knew the outcomes of having unprotected sex with no birth control. This baby is not at fault and therefore, having an abortion, was not a solution because being pregnant wasn’t a problem. This was an unplanned planned pregnancy, meaning it wasn’t intentional but I also didn’t try to prevent it.

Now, almost 7 months later, I am in a better, happier place. I have an amazing job, a new car (not fancy though), a new apartment and a bundle of joy who will arrive in April. My child’s father is now on board and excited about having a child. This is a first for the both of us so we will be learning as we go. We have the support of family and friends. Even though I am single mom, the relationship I have with my child’s father is going to make for an awesome coparenting relationship.

Every time I feel my baby kick, I get more and more excited. I’m at the stage in my pregnancy where the baby is moving around a lot and making their little presence known. I know as I get into my third trimester, I will feel the baby kick and move even more. I keep thinking what if I had gone through with the abortion, what my life would be like now. Then I think about how my life is now and I’m happy. I can’t keep living in the what if’s or the past.

Granted, I could’ve still gone to China with my baby, but being a single, FTM in a country that I’ve never been to, that just didn’t seem logical. Plus, here, I have the help of family and friends.

It’s interesting to look back on how I started at the beginning of my pregnancy and how I felt, to now. I feel like I’m a completely different person. I’m already in mommy mode and my baby isn’t even here yet.

If you have a story to share, share it below or feel free to contact me if you want it to be private.

I want to let women know that they are not alone in whatever decisions they make. There is always someone who has been through or is going through the same thing. It may seem scary right now and like it’s not the right time, but everything happens for a reason. I think me getting pregnant and deciding to keep my baby, is going to make me a better woman, someone whom I never thought I could or would be.

So this is my story and I hope that it helps someone else.

My Life

The Snow Has Fallen…

It doesn’t typically snow in Houston, in fact it’s been about 9-10 years since the last time it snowed. I woke up Friday morning to the ground, trees, cars and rooftops covered in a white powder. Surely this was not Houston.

The snow was beautiful while it lasted. Within a few hours of the sky brightening up, the snow had melted, as if it were just a mirage. Many of my students had played in it before coming to school, for they had never seen real snow. It’s times like this that I appreciate Houston giving us all a once in a lifetime memory to share.

All Black Everything, Health + Wellness, Vegan Mommy Things

Eating Healthy is for POC Too

Podcast: Black Girl in Om

Grocery Haul:

Avocados

Blackberries

Blueberries

Strawberries

Potatoes

Tomatoes

Pumpkin seeds

Pecans

Raisins

Kale

Nutritional Yeast

Bolthouse Farms Non-Dairy Milk

Minimalism

Minimalism for the Avid Reader

1. Library

At the library you can check out as many books as you want and renew them. This way you can have books but not have books at the same time. The Houston Public Library now has a feature where you can check it ebooks that are delivered directly to your kindle.

2. Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads

You can purchase ebooks that can be delivered to any electronic device for you to read on the go.

3. Audio Books

You can purchase the audio version of books from Amazon or Audible if you aren’t into reading, or just don’t have the time.

4. Read in store

If you have the time, you can read books for free in Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Half Price Books, etc. Buy a cup of coffee and relax with a book.

Health + Wellness, Minimalism, My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Veganism, Minimalism, and Spirituality

I was listening to a podcast the other day (Minimalist Moms) and they were talking about minimalism and spirituality. I consider myself a spiritual person and that more so came to light after my transition to being vegan. When you realize that all these animal products, processed foods and fake foods are not needed to survive, it makes you wonder what else you can live without.

I think after the first year, I began to realize that I had way too many things. I lived with my mom at the time and we lived in this big two story house that had 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, an office, huge living and dining room, 3 car garage, the works. I was grateful, but I began to feel like I was drowning. That is when I decided to start giving things away. The Purple Heart would come to our house and pick up any donations we had, and every time they came, there was plenty to give away. Even my mom was giving stuff away.

Once I got ready to move into my first apartment, I had bags and bags full of stuff that I was not taking with me. Once I moved and set up my new apartment, I realized that I had so much empty space. I lived in a nearly empty apartment for 14 months. It was depressing. I rarely invited people over because I was embarrassed. I had this huge apartment and nothing to fill it with, nor was I going to fill it.

When my lease was almost up, I went on the hunt for a much smaller apartment. I was elated when I finally found the perfect one. The living room was much smaller and it had a separate dining area; the closet was half the size of the old one; the bathroom was also smaller with a smaller linen closet and smaller garden tub; and the bedroom was about the same size.

Once I had moved all of my things in, I realized I did not have enough space for everything, and again, I had to give and throw things away. Every cabinet and closet is full to the brim with necessities (which is not a lot given how small everything is). Even though I have a baby on the way, there is enough stuff for their things to go. I’m just going to have to let the grandparents and family know to keep things to a minimum.

Being vegan opens your mind to societal norms, values, and morals, and makes you see how everything we’ve ever been taught was a lie. We are told to work more so that we can buy more things. We are manipulated into wanting a bigger house to fill it with expensive things and nicer, fancier, expensive cars. We are told we need all these things to make us happy and to live the “American Dream.”

I often times think about people who are homeless or those who don’t have many or any valuables, and how many of them are happy. There are homeless people who are actually happy; one of them is a friend of mine. I watched his journey moving from Houston to New York. He lives in a homeless shelter and all of his things fit in a backpack. He is the happiest person I know and it amazes me at his spirit and joy. We have talked on several occasions, and I follow his blog, YouTube and social media.

I do plan to live in a tiny house one day soon, but we will see how things go.

Spirituality

My spirituality changed when I became vegan because like I said before, when you realize that you have been told lies all your life about food, what other lies have we been told?

I began to do my research on the history of Christianity and Jesus Christ and what I found out was disturbing. During the times of slavery, Black people were only allowed to read the bible, and only a select few at that, mainly Black men who were appointed pastor by the slave master to keep the slaves in check. The slave masters would drill these lies about Jesus Christ (a white man with blue eyes and brown straight hair, sometimes it was blond, with white skin), and how if we don’t worship him, we were going to this place called hell (funny thing is we already live in hell).

Christianity was forced upon slaves in order to keep them dependent upon the white man and the slave masters, to make them feel that they are all they have. That translates into today. Many Black people work for the white man and are dependent upon him for a paycheck. I did more research and came to the conclusion that church really wasn’t for me. When I lived with my mom, I went to church because that wasn’t an option. I first started going to her church where the pastor is a white man (oh, the irony). I quickly realized that that wasn’t the church for me. I went to two other Black churches and I felt like a slave, being brainwashed into believing the lies coming out of the pastors’ mouths.

Do these pastors not know the history behind the negro church and why only Black men are pastors? Does that not strike them as odd? When I moved out, I immediately stopped going to church and created my own altar for me to worship my ancestors, meditate and journal. It felt right, right from the beginning. I turn on my oil diffuser, meditate for about 10 minutes and then journal. It gives me a sense of peace. I do this normally every Sunday morning, and other times when I feel I need to (mainly when I’m stressed).

I’ve found that more millennials have taken this route of spirituality, letting go of Christianity and the Black church. Our parents and grandparents don’t understand, and even find it demonic or heathenist or witchcraft, but little do they know that when they pray, that is a form of witchcraft. Praying is the same thing as reciting a spell. You pray for things you want, the healing of others, love, righteousness, happiness, etc. That’s casting a spell.

Back to the minimalist side, I keep my altar fairly simple. If you would like a tour, click here. I have updated it and added a couple of new pieces. I will do another post later on with the specifics of everything and why I have everything on it.

Veganism, minimalisim and spirituality go hand in hand.

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Dear Bitter Moms

Since I’ve been pregnant, you have been projecting your opinions and oppositions at me. It’s like once women have had children, they always feel like experts, but that’s not the case. Not every woman is the same, nor is every birth or pregnancy. Just because I choose to have a different birthing experience than you, does not mean that I don’t know what I’m talking about, or that I’m young and dumb.

I made a post on Instagram about hospital births and one bitter mom said that us “young moms think (we) know it all.” She went in to say that she’s been a mom for 15 years and that “medications are in place for a reason.” Well, that’s how you feel but not how I feel. It’s almost as if it’s wrong to have a difference in opinion.

I feel like FTM are always getting attacked because we want something different for our experience. To be honest I don’t plan on having more kids, so I want this experience to be memorable. My age has nothing to do with my knowledge and I think that’s where you “bitter moms” get things twisted. Just because your birthing experience with medications and what not was great, that is not the case for everyone else.

Now before you get your panties in a twist and let your fingers pull the angrily typing trigger, I’m not saying that having babies in a hospital is bad, or makes you a bad parent, or that I’m better than you. What I’m saying is, not everyone wants that. If that’s what you felt was right for you, then by all means it was right for you. It’s just not right for me.

People tend to go along with what they’ve been taught, have always known/seen, or just with what society says. If you follow me on social media, you know I go against the so-called “norm”, especially in the black community. It’s not normal to be black and vegan, non-religious, having a midwife and water birth, and practicing natural remedies for healing.

Why should I conform to black societal norms when I can live my life the way I see fit for me and my baby?

In closing, to all you “bitter moms”, keep your opinions to yourself. Just because you have had experience being a mom and giving birth, does not mean shit to me. We are nothing alike; we aren’t even on the same damn frequency.

Signed,

A fed up FTM

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

A Vegan Baby, Arriving Soon!

You read that right. There’s a vegan bun in the oven and I couldn’t be more excited. As I finish up my first trimester, here’s how things went.


When I found out I was pregnant, I was numb. I did not want kids and finding out you’re pregnant and not married or in a relationship, pretty damn scary. I took two pregnancy tests (yes two because I thought the first one was lying), and then immediately went to my mom’s house. I cried as I told her and she jumped for joy (not because I was crying but because this is her first grandchild). As the days and weeks went on, I came to terms with it. 

At my first ultrasound, the doctor said that my baby was measuring rather small, that the heartbeat was on the low side of normal, and that there were several reasons it could be happening.

  1. My last period dates were wrong.
  2. My ovulation was late.
  3. It could be a slow pregnancy, which meant the baby could possibly not make it. 

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I was on edge thinking the worst. I didn’t want it to be the third reason and was so scared. Apparently my mom and grandmother were too, they just didn’t want to stress me even more. Fast forward to my second prenatal appointment, the baby’s heart rate was in the normal range, it had grown tremendously, it was kicking its little foot and waving its hand. I felt so much joy and excitement. I had felt flutters since the last appointment but paid them no mind. Little did I know, that was the baby moving. 

My doctor said everything was normal, the baby looked fine and was growing as it should. Turns out, my ovulation was a week late and I do remember not feeling myself ovulate (I have severely painful ovulations but the month of July, I didn’t feel it at all). I am so glad that my baby is doing well.

Symptoms

I really didn’t have anything to notify me I was pregnant other than the fact that I missed my period. I keep track of my period like a professional watchdog and when it didn’t come (like a few days past) I took the tests. Now at about 4 weeks I experienced cramping, really sore breasts and outrageous avocado and kale cravings. It was on a whole other level. The sore breasts is what bothered me the most.

I did start taking prenatal vitamins, but my doctor didn’t like the ones I had, so she prescribed me another vegan prenatal . They are horse pills (meaning that they are huge), but for the sake of my baby, I’ll do whatever I have to do. 

Diet

My eating has been all over the place. I have not cooked much if at all. All I want to eat are samosas, fries, donuts, ice cream, and everything not healthy (but still vegan). Sometimes I have no appetite and sometimes I can’t stop eating. It’s really weird and fluctuates often. I have gained weight since my first prenatal appointment, which is a good thing. 

I was told come the second trimester, my eating will go back to normal, and I cannot wait for that to happen. I can’t stand leafy greens right now and I miss them, yet I have no appetite for them. 

Mood Swings

I will say that my attitude is not the best right now and absolutely everything and everyone annoys me (sorry y’all, but it’s true). I feel more sensitive to things that people say and I hate that. Everything just gets on my last nerves and I feel so annoyed at that. Usually I can let things slide, but not so much now. 

Baby’s Gender

So I do not yet know the baby’s gender. I will find out on October 16, a week after my birthday. I don’t have a preference of the sex, just as long as the baby is healthy and has 5 toes, 5 or 6 fingers (6 fingers on each hand runs in my family), and has all the right body parts in the right place. My mom wants a gender reveal party, however, I am not keen on the idea because a gender reveal party just sounds stupid. Like no one can bring gifts if they don’t know, so then I have to have a baby shower on top of that. I am that odd child in the family where “normal societal behaviors” don’t interest nor impress me.

Final Thoughts

I am excited to be a mom. Though I will be a single mom, that is how I envisioned if I ever had kids. Do I want a husband and family? Of course, but I just never saw that when I saw myself having my first child. I know that’s really odd because most women envision being married and having a home and career when they have kids. For me, as long as I had my own place, my own car, and 2 careers, I’m set (yes, I have two careers: I’m a blogger and educator). As long as I could take care of myself and my baby financially (which is why I have been working my ass off to pay debts), then whether or not I was married or in a relationship, just didn’t matter. Did I plan to get pregnant? Not at all, but the universe doesn’t adhere to plans. The universe knows what you can and can’t handle and I guess this whole time I have been preparing myself to be a mother and I could not be more happier.

xoxo The Black Vegan Author

 

Product Reviews

Ruffles Green

Before I tell you about my experience here, let me just say that the best part of eating out as a vegan at a non vegan restaurant, is that your food comes out fast and is prepared fresh.

Now this restaurant is located in The Woodlands and if anyone knows the area, you know its bourgeoisie (that’s the correct way to spell the word, it’s not boujee or any other spelling), like for real for real. Walking up you see the outside area, and with the weather like it is in Texas, ain’t nobody sitting outside unless it’s night time, and even then, mosquitoes won’t let you be great and eat. 

Walking inside, they have a very sleek look. Lots of neural colors and white. It was pretty empty, guessing I beat the lunch hour rush, so there was no line. The lady who took my order was really nice and very patient.

I ordered as my appetizer the hummus with pita bread, which both are made in house, and as my meal I had the Veggie Nut Burger, 86 the cheese.

Both dishes were phenomenal. I would highly suggest them. The burger literally will melt in your mouth. The pita bread and hummus were the best I’ve had thus far.

What I also liked was it’s a self serve restaurant. You order and pay at the same time and then you get your own drink, silverware and napkins. You also can get your own to-go containers which is a plus because I feel waiters take entirely too long to bring the check and to-go containers. 

The only negative I have is that my appetizer and meal came at the same time. I would’ve preferred to get my appetizer before my meal. Not sure if that is something I should’ve requested, however, that’s the only negative I have. So, if you are ever in the Houston area, give them a try.

Health + Wellness, My Life, Product Reviews

Nourish Juice Bar


Located off W Gray, this juice bar is so amazing and I love the atmosphere. I had been there once before. I ordered the Pink Starbust juice and a Buddha bowl. Both were absolutely amazing. The juice really tasted like candy and the kick from the ginger was perfect. 


The Buddha bowl was a curry style bowl with kale, quinoa, carrots, chickpeas and so much more earthy goodness. The curry dressing added so much flavor. I definitely want to try to recreate something like this.

My Life, Product Reviews

Vegan Tamales and Cupcakes @ Dan Electro’s

I don’t typically go into Houston that often because I hate the traffic and it’s a helluva commute but when I saw this event was in The Heights, and that’s fairly close to me, I was down. 


It’s located off 24th street and it’s a fairly small venue with a backyard patio. I actually only came for the tamales but Sara the Cupcake Girl was there and I bought a dozen and a half cupcakes. 


I was rather disappointed that the tamales were not already heated and the guy brought a crockpot to heat them in and he showed up later than expected. The line was long, I got ate up by mosquitos, badly and ended up with room temperature tamales.


The tamales were good, however, they would’ve been better hot. I felt like he was ill prepared. At the end of the event, those who placed orders, he no longer could fill them, not sure the reasoning but Sara and her family are making them and I’m sure they’ll be awesome as her cupcakes are. 


I got to meet the president of the Houston Black Vegan Social, Snoddy, and I have been added to the team. I also met another one of the members, Kirby.


The venue was great, it’s just the mosquitos were relentless and it could be because my blood is sweet from all the fruit I’ve been, but I will be using my all natural big spray by my girl Jazzzie by Nature. 


There is another event this coming weekend at the same place and Sara and her family are making cupcakes and enchiladas, all vegan of course. I can’t wait.

Short Stories

Perish Island: A Short Thriller (Chapter 1)

It was the third time that I had woken up from the same dream. It was always the same. Scary. Daunting. Unreal. I could never figure out why I kept dreaming about the same thing. Was it trying to warn me? Tell me something? Or was it just a side effect from the pint of ice cream I had last night before bed?

I looked at the bed side clock. It was barely 3. That had to be a sign too. I laid in bed staring at the ceiling, checking everything off the list I had for things I had packed. Socks. Check. Underwear. Check. Pants. Check. Bra. Check. By the time I had gone through the list, t was 3:12. I rolled over and closed my eyes. Drifting back to sleep. The dream continued.

I was running through the woods! Someone, or something was chasing me. I couldn’t seem to shake them, or it. I heard the footsteps running after me, but barely over the sound of my heart racing. I was coming to the edge of a cliff, nothing but roaring waters down below. I still heard the footsteps, running.

I saw the shadows but I couldn’t tell from which direction. Was it more than one? I weighed my options. If I jump, I die by drowning. If I stay here and get captured, I die. Neither option had a good ending so I went with the first one and jumped. I screamed on the way down. I felt hands on my shoulders, someone shaking me and calling my name.

“Iris! Wake up! Iris! Iris!”

I jolted up in my bed. It was daylight. Already? How long had I been dreaming. I looked at the clock. It was 7 in the morning. I rubbed my eyes.

“You were having that dream again, weren’t you?” asked my sister, Tasia.

“Yeah, and I’m so sick of it. I don’t know what any of it means and I feel like something is going to happen soon. That I am going to actually live out this dream.”

“You know mom always said…”

“Yeah, mom always said, ‘My dear, you have the gift of premonitions. Use that gift wisely.’ But hell, I die in this so called premonition.”

“Well, maybe it’s not a premonition, maybe you’re just stressed about this trip. It’s a big story for you to try to uncover and you’re under a lot of pressure.”

“Yeah, maybe you’re right.”

“Well, you should probably be getting ready. I packed you some food for the bus and boat ride,” she sad before leaving.

“Thanks,” I called after her.

I showered and got dressed. Bringing my suitcase down the stairs, I could hear the television.

“Breaking News! We just got word that the storms are brewing around Perish Island. Any travelers, we highly advise that you hold off on your trip until the storms have passed.”

I walked in as my sister turned to look at me, with that look in her eyes.

“Tasia, don’t be silly. That storm could end up going the other way.”

“Iris, you know the stories behind that island, which is why you’re going there. You know it’s dangerous as is and now these storms? You want to risk your life just for some views on your blog?”

“Tasia it’s more than that. You know I want my blog to turn into a source of income and for other bloggers and websites to take me seriously. All of these pieces lately haven’t been as buzzworthy and you know I can’t stand celebrity gossip.”

“I know but still, I worry. We are all we have left,” she sulked.

“We have Jermail.”

“You have Jermail.”

“Hey, you know he loves you too.”

“Just be careful.”

“I promise,” I said as I went over and hugged her.

“I’m glad Jermail is going with you.”

“I’m glad he is too,” I lied.

I hadn’t told my sister that Jermail and I had broken up a week ago and that I was doing this trip solo, hence why we broke up. He didn’t approve of me going alone, so I ended things. But I definitely wasn’t about to tell her that.

I heard the horn of the Uber and got my things and food she packed for me. She stood at the door and watched me off. I looked out the back window and waved. At that moment, I now realized, I should’ve never gone to Perish Island.

All Black Everything, Health + Wellness

Black Girls Mental Health


I came across this IG page, @blackgirlsmh, and I was blown away that there is a page like that. In the Black community, there is a huge thing about seeking professional help. Growing up we are told that as Black women, we don’t have issues and we are to get over it. Black men from a young age are told by their fathers that hugging past a certain age, men just don’t do. They don’t say I love you to each other and they are not to show emotions.

Black people have suffered for a long time in this country and people wonder why we have problems. Mental health issues in the Black community has been passed down since slavery. I know White people hate when we bring up slavery but we have suffered a lot in this country. When a White person goes in a shoots up a place, they can plead insanity but if it is a Black person, they are in they’re right mind. All that shows is that White people are seen as crazy, not us.

Black people do have mental health problems and because we don’t get help, we lash out in other ways whether it be violence, anger, drugs, alcohol, sex, just like anyone else, though when we do it, it is seen as more extreme. I am here to tell you that it is okay to admit that you need help. It is also okay to seek professional health.

Black women, you are not alone. We all suffer from some sort of mental issue whether it spawned from the past or happened recently. I personally have seen a therapist and though I did not like my therapist because immediately she prescribed antidepressants and I am against medication, that is not to say that it won’t work for you.

If you know you need and are afraid, check out BlackGirlsMH. Another great site to check out is My Black Matters.

Afro Hippie Vegan

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Minimalism Saves Money

I posted the video above on YouTube earlier in the week. Minimalism is something that I have always been into but haven’t practiced until recently. Growing up and having almost everything that you want, you start to take things for granted. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the vandwelling and tiny home movement that I realized that this was my destiny all along.

In the past few months I have given away and sold a lot of my things. I had stuff that I’ve kept since high school and that was almost 10 years ago. Since then, I accumulated so many more things and it was really impulse buying. I would go to the stores and because I had money, I would spend it. I knew that I wouldn’t use or wear the things I bought but I bought them anyway. Most of those things, I no longer own.

I always wonder if I had a better sense of finance at a younger age, would I be in the financial state I’m in today? If I had lived a minimalistic lifestyle and only bought the necessities, would I have a savings or be able to afford a vacation? I think about these things often.

Advertisements on television are targeting certain groups of people; minorities and millennials. These two groups typically have no sense of financial knowledge and tend to fall into the trap of sales or products made to seem like “necessities”. I have fallen into that trap numerous times, seeing as how I am a minority and a millennial. My parents had no financial knowledge growing up so there was nothing to pass down to me or my brother.

I had to learn on my own about budgeting, not buying things just because I can, and that having a lot of stuff just shows how much money you wasted. I have been on a serious purge lately, getting rid of things that I have not touched in years. I am a huge fan of getting rid of things now and not buying new things to replace the old ones. I know some people have the philosophy that they will only buy something if they get rid of something to replace the new item with. That is absurd.

I got into minimalism because I had a bunch of crap, to put it plainly. If y’all could see some of the stuff I got rid of and how long I’ve had it, you would be surprised. Check out the video on my latest purge below.

What I am learning about minimalism is that the less you buy, the more money you have to pay off debts, which is something that I am doing. Being debt free is a huge goal for me and I really want to do that so I can afford an RV or tiny home in the next few years. With that, being a minimalist is a must. Both of these types of homes are small places and you can’t have a lot of stuff.

I want to really get this message out to my people that we need to stop buying stuff just because we can. We need to be satisfied with what we have and stop accumulating useless things. I encourage everyone who reads this to pick a day that you are off and go around your house. Pull everything out that you own and sort it into different piles; things you need, things to give away, things to throw away and tings to sell. You can thank me later.

Financial Peace and Minimalism,

Afro Hippie Vegan

Product Reviews, Uncategorized

5* for Sunshine’s Health Food Store & Vegetarian Deli

3102 Old Spanish Trl., Houston, Tx 77054

I have been seeing this restaurant posted on social media by different people for the past few years and still had not gone until June 17. I think it was because before they moved to this location, it was somewhere weird and far. The location they are at now used to be Beaucoup, a Cajun seafood restaurant and I went there a lot with my ex, before I was vegan and holistic (basically before I knew better).

What I like about this restaurant other than the fact that it is Black owned, is that it’s a health food store and you can buy supplements and all kinds of other things. When I walked in, it just felt right, just natural and the atmosphere was clean. The staff was super friendly and accommodating.

I ordered the nachos, which were bomb might I add. Even though the cashew cheese was sweet, the flavors blended together so I didn’t mind. I also had this Lemon Essence juice which was also really good (I like anything with ginger in it). I will definitely be going back. I am a huge fan of black owned health food stores and eateries. It gives me hope when I see my people trying to help each other out.

It is located in what we call 3rd Ward, which resides a lot of Black people, so having a healthy place to eat, is a huge step. I do hope to see in the future more stores and eateries in Black neighborhoods, hopefully owning one myself.

I highly recommend checking them out if you are in the Houston area or even just visiting.

Afro Hippie Vegan

Health + Wellness

Simply Vegan: A Guide for Newbies & the Curious

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My book finally came out last Friday and I am excited! I have gotten great feedback and it has been doing well. If you haven’t gotten yours, please do so. It is in the side bar to the right. This book has so much information like recipes, a meal plan, shopping list, staple items, books to read, documentaries to watch, how I went vegan and so much more, in only 90 pages!

This book did not start off as a guide. It started as a recipe book because so many people asked me about recipes. I wanted to do a recipe book but that is information I don’t mind giving away for free. I make videos on YouTube of recipes and I post them on here. I changed my mind about this book because I have done so much research and have a lot of valid, useful information that I wanted to share with people. So I took all that information and past blog posts and put them in one place.

I am working on the contents of the next book that will be coming out in the last quarter of the year. It will be a book specifically for Black people and how they can get their lives together. It will have statistics, what “soul food” really is and so much more. I am in the process of creating an outline right now. This book will have so much information. I really want to help my people.

The book above is for those who have questions about being vegan and how they can stay vegan. It’s the beginning process. The next book will show why Black people should go vegan and why the system is set up against them, and it will all start with slavery.

So if you haven’t gotten this book, do so now before the next one comes out.

Afro Hippie Vegan

All Black Everything, Uncategorized

Being Clothes Free is Black Culture

White people have been appropriating Black culture for forever and a day and I’m so sick of it. Though I am proud of the fact that many of my people are waking up and noticing what’s going on and taking our culture back. Sadly, there is one part of our culture that black people aren’t taking back and has become a majority White thing: living clothes free.


I have hated wearing clothes since I was a child. Even to this day, I hate wearing them. Always having to figure out what to wear depending upon where I am going. Having to dress appropriately is a hassle and the fact that appearance is everything, makes it worse. This is why I don’t work in corporate America. Back to the topic.

I have not been in public clothes free due to many of the gatherings being majority older, White males or majority White. I would feel more comfortable around my own people. What many don’t know, the reason Black people wear clothes is because Europeans, when taking my people from the Motherland, saw them naked and were instantly jealous that our body parts tended to be much larger than theirs. Some of them even paraded us around like animals in a circus. Some have done it as late as the 1950’s.

We were the first to have lived clothes free lives and White people have taken that from us, just like everything else, and made it their own. They have a history of stealing from other cultures and making it theirs. Now not all white peoole are like this, but vast majority are, especially those voting for Trump (racist pig).


I write this post because being naked today is always sex related and it doesn’t have to be. I don’t get turned on every time I see a penis. It’s all in our heads. I love my body and the beauty of it glistening in the sun. The way the sun makes my melanin radiate is uncanning. Those who lack melanin can’t say the same. 

In closing, strip off your clothes and embrace your bodies, my Black people. After all, we did it first and have for centuries.

You can find this shirt on My Free Life.

Happily Clothes Free,

Afro Hippie Vegan

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Debt, Debt, Go Away!

As of today, I have paid off two debts. Wooohooo! That is a huge accomplishment. I have paid off the IRS and a personal loan. Two steps close to being debt free! Even though those are two milestones, I am not ready to celebrate just yet. When I pay off my two credit cards, I will really celebrate. Those are the most important things right now (other than moving out of my mother’s house).

I am so happy to no longer have these two debts hanging over my head. Now I can really focus and go for the gold. I am in the process of getting two new hustles so I can have more sources of income. Right now I have three sources of income and I am working on a fourth and fifth. My hustle game will be strong this summer.

I have so many goals that I want to accomplish on my vision board. Even though that’s only $3000 that I have paid off in three months, it is still an accomplishment. That extra money that was going towards those debts, will go towards these credit cards. I am so serious, like y’all don’t even know how hard I am about to hustle to get these debts paid off as quick as possible. Then to top it off, I still have student loans. This will be a summer of absolute grinding.

Let me know if you have paid off any debts and if you have some tips for paying them off faster.

Journey to Financial Freedom,

Afro Hippie Vegan

All Black Everything, Uncategorized

Mind+Body+Soul Monday: Black Women Control Food

In the Black community, whose food do we always relish over? That of our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunties, etc. Basically, a Black woman. As Black women, we are the soul creators of delicious food in our community. We do the grocery shopping, preparing and cooking. We have the health of our families in our hands. Never thought of it that way, did you?

As Black women, we prepare food without any thought of if it is going to benefit our families or not. We prepare it to feed our families and make sure that it tastes goods. As millennial Black women, we hope to have husbands who love our cooking as much as they do their mothers and grandmothers. What if I said that as Black women, we have the ability to keep our race alive and thriving? Hear me out.

We love the foods that are fried, fatty, salty, artery clogging and heart attack causing. I used to be one of those women. Going vegan, I have found and made many vegan versions of my mother’s recipes and even those of my favorite ethnic foods. I am an avid cook and have been since I was in grade school. I want to one day cook for my future husband the foods he loves, but in a way that will be beneficial to his health.

Black mothers pay no mind to what they feed their children as long as they are fed. If you love your children as much as you say you do, stop feeding them death, violence, abuse and disease. Everything a Black woman feeds her child(ren) and family, needs to be of nutrients, health, healing, and above all, from the earth. Black women, our ancestral women before slavery, did not feed what we feed our families today. In the tribes in Africa, they fed them food of the land with a side of a little fish.

We grew our own foods and picked our own foods to ensure great health and healing in our men who worked all day, and children who played and worked as well. We need to instill that of our heritage and history in our daughters so that when they grow older, they can do the same for their children and families, and so on.

Black women,  have the power to change the declining population of our people. We have the power to heal those who are sick and dying. We hold so much power. We give life after all, so why not elongate it? We can make a huge change in our community. There are so many resources and Pinterest is a huge win with me, where you can find vegan recipes for absolutely anything.

My final words, Black women, love your families by giving them food that will keep them alive.

Mind, Body and Soul,

Afro Hippie Vegan

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: Why are Black People in So Much Debt?

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL COACH OR ADVISOR

Out of all Americans, my people are the most in debt. We have the highest debts, even those of us who live in low income areas. Why? I blame lack of knowledge, the environment, rappers, Black reality shows, financial ignorance, etc. There are many things to blame and I want to express my reasons for a few.

Rappers

Everyone wants to be a rapper nowadays. To most it is the quickest way to get rich and they all want money to throw on cars, clothes, jewelry, etc. These rappers promote a lifestyle that is not attainable by most, and this keeps my people down, struggling, dying and who knows what else. This lifestyle that so many want to attain, is not even real. These rappers aren’t happy with this lifestyle and are selling their souls to promote it. All these rappers rap about are drugs, sex, women, drinking, cars and money. But reality is, most of these rappers have never experienced any of the things I listed above. My people, stop letting these rappers lyrics fill your head with empty hopes and dreams. Either the person becomes broke, lands in jail or is murdered for not paying their dealer on time, in full. Yeah, drug dealers don’t have payment plans.

Reality Television

Excuse my French, but reality television is shit and it is a damn shame that my own people would act so ignorant, foolish and like a stereotype for the entire world to see, just for a paycheck. Why would anyone want to be like that? This shows us in a bad light and we watch it, wanting to be like them and have money and be fancy and show off for people when we don’t even have that kind of money. Many of these reality stars don’t have that kind of money. Stop going broke just to be able to promote ignorance like these reality stars. Many of these reality stars are doing reality television because they are broke and in debt. That is not an excuse but it’s the truth.

Lack of Knowledge

Many of our parents grew up poor and in low income areas. We tend to be like our parents because they are our first teachers. We mimic what they do. Many of our parents didn’t finish school or get a proper education and some of us fall victim to that. They didn’t have the mindset of wanting to get out and not be like their parents, which causes them to make horrendous financial choices, then we follow suit. Many of our parents didn’t and still don’t know about credit cards, loans and any money that you have to pay back. This is our downfall. Many credit companies target Black people to get them in debt and keep them slave to a system that has been out to destroy us. I fell victim to that.

College

Because of a want for diversity, many colleges target kids in low income areas, bribing them with huge scholarships, not telling them that eventually they will have to take out student loans. This false advertisement is for the student to come to their school so that the school gets money, with no regards to that student’s financial future. Schools purposely do this because they know these kids can’t afford to go to college, and even though they may drop out, the schools still get that money. Or you have those like myself who did not qualify for free money and had to take out student loans my entire college career with no knowledge of how loans would affect me financially.

Conclusion

There are many other reasons like credit cards, not being able to manage money, the death of a family member who’s financial burden falls on you and so much more, but this post would be exceptionally long. There are so many factors that play a part in why Black people are in so much debt. I want my people to educate themselves on credit cards, loans, leases, mortgages, anything that requires money. Below are some resources to help you out.

Resources:

Financial Peace,

Afro Vegan Hippie

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: My Plan To Get Out Of Debt

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISOR OR COACH.

Editor’s note: I noticed that I had forgot to include that I owed the IRS money in my last post. I owed them almost $500 and as of yesterday, have paid them off. That freed up $25 every month that is now going to one of my credit card payments.

In my search for ways to get out of debt quick, I found there is no quick way to pay off debts when you work as a substitute teacher, part-time tutor, and freelancer. It’s just not going to happen. Nevertheless, I have created a plan and I have been sticking to it.

  1. In my last post I talked about a personal loan I took out with the bank due to my job at the time not paying me. Because I was so behind on payments, it went to collections. I knew nothing about collections or what it was. It just so happened that I watched a scope about how you can “pay to delete” a debt that has gone to collections. What this means is, you can pay a certain amount, less than what is owed, to have the debt removed. I was elated when I heard this. My loan started at $2500 but was $1500 when it went to collections because I had been paying what I could on it. Anyway, instead of paying the debt collector the entire amount, I ended up only having to pay $876. That’s a little over half of what I owed. This happens because the debt collectors buy the debt for like 10% or so of what the debt actually is. Granted 10% is $150 but of course they won’t let you pay that. They have to make a profit. But $876 is better than $1500. Now, I only have $200 left to pay on it (which will be paid at the end of this month) and that debt will be done.
  2. My two credit cards are maxed out and since I am behind on those payments, the accounts have been closed. I have been paying on one consistently to lower it and pay it off faster. $200 here, $100 there, as much as I can afford to pay without risking going hungry or without a car because I can’t pay for gas.
  3. As for my car, I have been making regular payments only because I am paying so much on my credit card. Once that credit card is done, then the next, my car will be the last thing that I owe my bank. Boy,  I can’t wait for that day.
  4. My student loans are in forbearance for now and they will be until I can get a teaching job to pay them. I am praying that one of these schools calls me soon and I can start paying on them in the fall. I know that after working for five years as a teacher, the loans are forgiven, but um, that is not soon enough.

This is my plan to get out of debt. Come back next Friday to see how to manage your debt.

Love and Finances,

Simply Moniqua

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: How I Got In Debt

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISOR OR COACH

My goal is to be out of debt by this time next year. This goal is still feasible but I am not going to stress myself trying to make it happen. I owe $21k in student loans and $10k+ to my bank. So, in essence, I owe over $31k. I know that’s a lot and being that I will be a full time teacher in the fall, it’s manageable. Now, you may be wondering how I plan to get out of debt by this time next year. I will save that for next Friday, but first, let’s talk about how I got in debt.

  1. As for student loans, I mean that’s self explanatory. Many of you reading this have four year degrees of some sort and racked in a surplus of loans. We all know what a pain in the ass they are. I know some of you may have more and some of you may have less. But yeah, being the child of parents who made too much money, I did not receive any free money. My four years in college were borrowed. Originally I owed $26k, but now it’s $21k (interest). I will talk about how I paid that down next Friday.
  2. I got my first credit card in college because I heard that was the thing to do. It was a way to get credit and before I know that having a credit score was BS, I wanted to have a line of credit. My limit was $2500 and I maxed it out quickly and not by going on shopping sprees. Soon as I got the credit card, my car broke down. The A/C went out, my fan broke, I had to replace all four tires. That $2500 went fast and not by choice either. It seems every time you get more money, something always happens to where you have to spend it. Just my luck, my car hated me. I eventually had to get a new one. All that money just wasted.
  3. I got my second credit card a few years after the first because I was working for a nonprofit organization and I could not make ends meet. I was legit struggling. I never made it to my next paycheck without being in the negative. That one maxed out pretty quickly due to more unforeseen events. That limit, too, was $2500. So now I am at $5k that I owe my bank.
  4. I then took out a loan for $2500 from my bank because I worked for another nonprofit, and the last month of my contract, they decided to not pay me and it was two months before I got a paycheck from my next job. I was pissed. I had no money to pay bills, buy food, put gas in my car, nothing. So that put me at $7.5k that I owed my bank. Oh, it gets better.
  5. Remember how I had to get a new car? My old car was paid off and I am so sad that I ended up having to get a new car. So, I had to take out an auto loan to get my new car and that was $9500. That put me at owing my bank $17,000! Yes, all to my bank. I cried a lot because I was like on top of loans, how am I going to swing this?

This is how I got in debt, not by careless spending (that’s how I stayed in debt and still am), but by unforeseen events. I couldn’t help any of my situations. Stay tuned for the next Financial Friday post to see how I now only owe my bank $10k and my loans are now $21k, and how I am paying some of my debts down.

xoxo,

Simply Moniqua