Boss Lady, Guest Bloggers

Boss Lady: Chrystallynn Block from AllThingsChrys

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I met Chrys through Jazzie (yes, the one from Jazzzie By Nature). I can’t remember what it was for but I do remember we didn’t hit it off right away. After some time had passed and we kept running into each other, we formed a relationship over writing and our love for books. We are a lot a like, yet different. She is an amazing writer, but let me stop there so we can get into their interview.

Hey Chrys! So first things first, tell the readers a little about yourself.

I am a mother and a writer. I really love to read, exercise and cackle with my friends. lol…I’ve just realized that I am information driven, which for me looks like learning on a continuous basis. I’m that person that knows a little bit about a lot.
How long have you been writing and what made you want to be a writer? 
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since my 11th grade English teacher Mr. Fisher affirmed my writing ability. He helped me to believe in myself. He said I was one of the two best students in the class. That meant a lot to me. Graduation came the next year so I majored in Mass Communications with the dream of becoming an editor for a major magazine publication like Essence, Ebony or Jones Magazine. I’ve been writing professionally since 2009 and launched my magazine in 2010 called The BAR Mag. So, it’s been 9 years now.
What are some projects that you are currently working on? (If there are any that you want to disclose).
I’m working on my next book. I’m also doing more of my own writing now. I’ve been focused on my clients so much that I haven’t written much for me. So, I’m stepping away from my consultant business and getting my work out there more. I journal and share my entries on social media, and that’s been a beautiful experience. Because of that, a friend of mine reached out to collaborate for a journaling challenge, so we’ll be launching that later this month. My writing is becoming a healing practice. My life is becoming a healing practice. So aside from writing, I’m becoming a Birth worker which I’m really excited about!

What is a birth worker and when did you realize you wanted to do that?

There are different things that fall in line with birth work. I’m in training to become a Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula and in addition to that, I offer Placenta Encapsulation. I think there are a lot of women, specifically Black women who are unaware of their options when it comes to childbirth. The c-section rate is at an all-time high and I want to be the wild woman standing in the gap for them. I want to advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves in one of the most trying times of their lives.

What do you want other women to learn from you and your experiences?

I want for women to know that you can change your life at any moment, that you are the creator of your life. Put your goals in motion even when you don’t see it, do it anyway. The Universe will match your efforts. Go boldly into what fuels you. I hope that women will also learn that they are not what happens to them. They are not what other people say about them. I want women to see me and know that they too can take back their power.

How do you find inspiration for novels and/or ebooks?
I think most writers find inspiration in all things. Sometimes scenarios come up in my head and I just create from there. I use my own life as inspiration too. I could be sitting in a park or beauty salon and inspiration will find me. Even in my sleep, ideas will come to me and I won’t be able to sleep until I write them down. 
How do you balance everything along with being a single mother? Is it hard? Easy?
I don’t. I don’t believe in balance. I fail at something every day. My goal is for it not to be the same thing every day. Yes, it’s hard being a single mother. However, I am learning to look at the challenges in a positive way. Instead of focusing on what’s missing, I emphasize what’s available. I let my child be my guide. I also listen to my own inner guidance. That’s how I know when to do what. I may suck as a mother on Monday, and not meet a deadline for Tuesday, but on Wednesday I’m back rolling. If balance is a real thing, that’s what I think it would look like.
What are you wanting your daughter to learn from you?
I want her to just learn. My parenting style has evolved as I have. I leave room for her to be and do what she wants with guidance. As I introduce her to things, I ask what she feels instead of assuming that I know what’s best for her. She knows what’s best for her when it comes to her desires. My job is to expose her to as much as possible and to live my life in a way that she feels liberated. I tell her the truth about everything. I want her to learn the truth in all things. That’s major for me.
Where can people find you?
I am @AllThingsChrys across all social media platforms and my website is www.AllThingsChrys.com
 
Thank you for having me be a part of this series! It was awesome. 
Guest Bloggers, Health + Wellness

A Guide to Living Off Your Own Garden by Joe Thomas

There is a huge growing trend in people wanting to become more self-sufficient, where living off your own garden can provide enormous health and environmental benefits. Give it a try for a cleaner, healthier, more environmentally friendly and cheaper way of living. The following is a beginner’s guide, informing on the benefits, how to get started, and a few tips and tricks to make growing your own food easy!

1

Health and Environmental Benefits

  1. Growing Your Own Food Without Pesticides.

Pesticides are toxic substances used to kill living things. In the garden the most common ones you will come across are herbicides, which kill weeds, and insecticides which eradicate insects.

Over 40 years of research has linked pesticides to a wide range of health problems in adults and children, from temporary issues like nausea and headaches, to long term problems such as ADHD, reproductive difficulties and many forms of cancer. Children are particularly at risk as they are more sensitive to chemicals, plus they often play in areas which have been exposed to pesticides. By using organic methods of gardening and natural forms of pest control, you can negate these issues. This is why it’s important to wash your fruits and veggies you get from the shops!

  1. Exercise Benefits Through Gardening

Gardening entails a wide range of movement and this helps to build muscle and strengthen joints. It is also good for flexibility as you are often extending legs and arms to get to hard to reach areas. As with any form of exercise, to see any real benefits, you need to garden for at least 30 minutes at a time. This will burn calories and in the process help to lower your cholesterol levels; reduce blood pressure; decrease your risk of diabetes; and slow osteoporosis, which is particularly important for women.

Physical exercise also has a positive effect on the mind. It helps to alleviate depression and decrease stress levels. You are also working outside in the fresh air and this too has been shown to strengthen mental health.

  1. Benefits of Eating Fruits and Vegetables

We are all aware we should eat more fruits and vegetables. In the UK we have the ‘5 a Day’ campaign and in the USA dietary guidelines recommend that half your plate should comprise of fresh produce.

Fruits and vegetables are good for us for several reasons. First, they contain dietary fibre and this lowers the incidence of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Second, they contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents which combine to keep us healthy and ward off disease.

  1. The Environment

The biggest benefit for the environment, when you live off your garden, is the short distance the food has to travel from where it is grown to your plate. We are all being advised to reduce the ‘food miles’ of the produce we consume and the best ways to do this are to buy locally and eat seasonally. When you rely on the fruits and vegetables you have produced yourself you can only eat in season and it is always local. Furthermore, you will decrease your plastic wastage. Buying from the shop also entails bringing home with you a large quantity of plastic the food is packaged in.

A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables

2

Deciding Where to Grow

Vegetables grow best where it is sunny, so choose carefully when you are deciding where to plant. You can always add shade for more delicate crops such as salad and fruit bushes.

The majority of soil found in gardens will suit vegetable growing. However, if your soil is shallow, full of stones or clay rich, which will be cold and wet in winter, build raised beds or plant in large pots.

Dealing with Pests

One advantage of growing your own produce is the avoidance of pesticides and therefore you will want to deal with slugs and snails naturally.

Keep the plot clear of weeds and leaves and put a paved or soil path between beds, so you or the birds can spot pests easily. If you are having particular problems you could always lay down organic slug pellets.

Preparing the Soil

Before you start planting you should turn the soil over and remove weeds, roots and stones. This helps to prevent weeds returning and improves drainage. Some gardens will suffer the blight of perennial weeds and in this case cover the soil with newspaper and add a layer of compost about 5cm in depth.

Getting the Best From Planting

Follow the instructions on the seed packets as closely as possible, especially when you are new to vegetable gardening. Compost can be hugely beneficial to your garden so collect your lawn clippings, organic kitchen waste and anything you prune from the garden.

While you may read to let your ground lie fallow for a period, such as with crop rotation in farming, this isn’t possible in a small space. However, what you can do is grow different crops in a bed in subsequent years.

Easy Fruits and Vegetables to Grow

As a beginner you will want to choose crops which are easy and provide a wide range of nutrients.

Vegetables: Many people start out with courgettes and runner beans as these are particularly easy to grow. Broccoli, kale and spinach are excellent choices nutritionally and varieties of beans can be filling and protein-rich.

Root vegetables: Potatoes can be used in a wide variety of ways in cooking and are easy to store. Beetroot, carrots and onions are also good choices.

Salad: Salad vegetables and herbs are expensive and in the summer most families will consume large amounts of them. Tomatoes, peppers, radishes, cucumbers and spring onions are fast growing and plentiful. Herbs will add flavour to any dish and in the winter months can be grown indoors.

Fruit: Don’t forget about fruit as yields are high and will last through the season. They are easy to freeze and to turn into jams. Apples, pears, cherries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are wise choices for beginners.

Extras: It is best to keep in mind what you like to cook with when you are planting.  Garlic and mushrooms provide health benefits and spirulina, although less well known, is a great nutritional addition if you have relatively little space.

A Vegetable Calendar Will Help You Plan

One of the biggest helps to you as you plan your growing cycle will be a vegetable calendar. This tells you exactly the steps you need to take to live off your own garden. Highlighting when you need to plant each vegetable and care instructions until it is time to harvest. For example, if you want to grow radishes it tells you to plant them in the first week of April under cloches and that they will be ready to eat by the end of May. Gooseberries need pruning in the first quarter of the year, mulching in early April, watering in June and are ready for picking in July.

Once you have a plan and start working in your garden, you will soon enjoy the many benefits of living from your own land.

Guest Bloggers, Health + Wellness

Yoga: Fitness Fad or Fitness Heaven by @matr3moni

Yoga has been trending in the fitness world for a while now. It makes you wonder if it’s really all that people make it out to be, or if it’s just another fitness fad that will fade out for another to replace it. When looking on social media or even when just searching the web, you can find all kinds of information saying that yoga is the best thing since sliced bread for everyone- able bodies and those with injuries. There has been this myth circulating that yoga causes more injury than it does to help injuries. Well I’m here to say, as a disabled bodied, as well as a yogi in training, that this is totally incorrect. It’s always easy to blame an exercise versus the people who do them incorrectly. Today let’s talk about what yoga really is and some of the types that can actually help everyone.

What is Yoga exactly?

Yoga is a very self disciplined Indian ancient practice that focuses primarily on flexibility, breathing, and strength, to help boost your mental and physical welfare. Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago, so yoga being a fad is completely FALSE. It has been adopted in not only other countries, but is now one of the most common practiced activities in schools and fitness clubs, as well as in hospitals for post surgical procedures that produce the best results. Yoga is not always just about what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it as well.

What can yoga do for me and my injuries? 

Yoga has been studied and proven to be one of the most effective ways to strengthen the body, improve flexibility and also balance. For those who have injuries like me, it’s extremely beneficial. It helps with high blood pressure, depression, stress, heart disease, aches and pains, just to name a few. The list of benefits can go on. I know it is hard to believe, but it even helps with lower back pain.  Due to the nature of the practice, it allows those who have injuries to adjust poses to their personal comfort, allowing for a better result and less pain from injuries. Many people with injuries feel like they have to get into the gym and workout with hardcore fitness routines, or do water aerobics, in order to become healthy. Although these types of  exercises are great for some, this is really not true. I have talked to many men who have severe injuries who assume yoga is only for women and that absolutely is not true. I have gone into a yoga class where I was the only woman, and they were doing things I knew I  wasn’t going to be able to do. I say that to say, all exercise that helps your injuries so that you can function without hollering out in pain is great, no matter the gender.

My 5 types of yoga and their benefits:

There are so many different types of yoga and they seem to multiply each year. There are basic yoga practices as well as the more intense, but this allows the individual to choose what better suits their needs. Here are my top 5 yoga practices and their benefits:

  1. Ashtanga– is an arrangement of yoga that focuses primarily on connecting breathing techniques with all of the poses. The breathing techniques are designed to center the mind while controlling the flow of breath throughout the body which enhances flexibility and strength. This is strict a practice with poses being done in a continuous and specific order.                                                                                                                      **Some pose names: Standing still, sun salutation, thumb to foot pose, hand to foot pose, extended right triangle pose, resolves right triangle pose, half bound lotus pose                           
  2. Bikram or Hot Yoga– is one of the hottest, and I mean that literally, yoga practices where you practice in heated rooms of 95-100 degrees. If you don’t like to get sweaty, then you just need to skip to the next one. Bikram takes you through 26 poses whereas Hot Yoga can and may be varied in the amount and poses. These classes are very popular because they help with detoxification and they increase flexibility.                                                                                                                                              **Some pose names: Half moon pose, awkward pose, standing bow pose, standing head to knee pose, eagle pose, balancing pose, tree pose, toe standing pose, dead body pose                                                                                                                                           
  3. Hatha– is what I usually advise beginners to start off with in order to learn not only your bodies but also to get the hang of poses. Hatha is a “How to” type of yoga. This allows those practicing to learn the movements and basic postures. You get to choose the pace and style according to where you are and what injuries you need to cater to. If you are wanting to be a yogi or just beginning yoga, this is the perfect place for you to start.                                                                                                                                           **Some pose names: mountain pose, tree pose, downward facing dog pose, warrior pose, bridge pose, bound angle pose, easy pose, seated twist pose, staff pose                                                                                                                                           
  4. Vinyasa– is very similar to Ashtanga and Hastha but it centralizes poses around the sun salutation while also synchronizing  your breath to match the 12 poses. It can also be called the “arranging something in a special way” yoga. This type of yoga is great for beginners and the more advanced alike. Vinyasa strengths the core while connecting movements with your breathing. At the end of each class you do savasana, the final relaxation pose.                                                                                      **Some pose namescat-cow pose, crow pose, plank pose, 4-limbed staff pose, upward facing dog pose, downward facing dog pose 
  5. Restorative– is the most relaxing and soothing type of yoga.  Restorative is the absolute best yoga practice for those who have injuries. With at least 5 poses per class, you are able to completely relax you body. This type of yoga is better than a power nap and is also referred to as Yin yoga. Restorative is the best psychological  cleansing.                                                                                                                                   **Some pose names: corpse pose, child’s pose, adepts pose,                                                    

These are only my top five types of yoga that can help ease those who have injuries into become actively fit again. I know it can become hard at times especially when it comes to joint issues but you can still push through and make your injuries and/or conditions much better. The better you feel the more you’ll want to do. There is so much information on yoga especially on Youtube. At first yoga seemed like a fitness fad until I dove deeper into it, but now it is most definitely a fitness heaven for all, young and old. There is nothing like working on your body, mind and soul, all at one time. Yoga is no fitness fad but definitely fitness heaven for all. Make this the year you get out and try to become healthy, even if it’s not yoga. Get up, get out and do something-it may very well change your entire life.

Helpful yoga links:

mindbodygreen.com

breakingmuscle.com

pinterest.com

Expressing life from a 

SaltwataYankee Point of view.

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