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!

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?

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.

Vegan Mommy Things

Will He Hate Me?

This thought has run through my head time and time again, sometimes all day. When Malakhai gets older, will he hate me?

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that Khai’s dad and I don’t have the best relationship. In fact, we don’t have a relationship at all. We don’t coparent. I won’t get into all of the reasons why, but I always wonder of when Khai becomes old enough to understand, will he blame me for the lack of coparentship his father and I have.

Granted I will tell him the truth of everything, but will he forgive me? Will his father and his father’s wife say things about me to make it hard for him to believe me?

I always think about these things because if Khai ever resented me, I don’t think I could handle that. Granted as I grew older, I came to my own conclusion about my biological father and I’m hoping to do the same with Khai, let him see for himself.

If you are in a similar situation with your child’s other parent, how are you coping? Are your kids old enough to understand? How are they handling it?

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Daycare

Today my son started daycare. He was supposed tos tart awhile ago, but I wasn’t ready. I never wanted him to go to daycare, but he needs social skills now that he’s getting older. He’s becoming more mobile and talkative (baby talk that is). Luckily, his daycare is owned by a friend of the family (it’s a long story but there’s much history).

My mom drops him off and picks him up since I work late and have to be at work early. I also work clear across town, so her doing that for me helps a ton.

He had a good time and I received a great report. He refused to eat his baby food, only drank the breast milk. He just doesn’t like food which is fine by me. He gets all he needs from me anyway.

Today was only the first day so I’m not exactly sire how to feel just yet. Of course, I was a nervous wreck all day, but he adjusted fairly quickly. Actually, there weren’t any adjustments for him. He took to the daycare owner very well.

How did you feel about your child(ren) attending daycare for the first time? Any tips to combat this “mommy worry?”

All Black Everything

Top U. S. Cities for Human Trafficking

I was listening to Mahogany Momology podcast and something they mentioned really stuck in my head. One of them said the reason that they don’t let their child run around or pick up stuff or stop paying attention is because Dallas is the 3 largest city for human trafficking (Houston is actually number 3). They also mentioned little black boys being a target for organ harvesting.

I never thought of why black parents are so adamant about children sticking close or paying attention, or not being distracted by touching things. I really never thought of any of that until I became a parent, and even though Malakhai is not old enough to roam around, it’s still something that I will keep in mind once he gets older.

I wanted to share the top cities in the U. S. for human trafficking from lowest to highest.

15. Orlando

14. Baltimore

13. New York

12. Chicago

11. Los Angeles 

10. Dallas

9. San Francisco 

8. San Diego

7. Las Vegas 

6. Sacramento

5. Columbus

4. Miami

3. Houston 

2. Atlanta

  1. Washington D. C.

As you can see that California has the most cities on the lit, being that they have the highest issue with human trafficking. Being that I live in Houston and it’s number 3, that’s scary. Be sure, especially if you are a POC, that you are watching your children when you are out. 

Source:https://www.insidermonkey.com/blog/15-top-us-cities-for-human-trafficking-in-2018-651630/?singlepage=1

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Before Work Routine

  1. Wake up @ 4:30 am.
  2. Take a shower.
  3. Brush my teeth.
  4. Get dressed.
  5. Put coconut milk on to boil for my oatmeal.
  6. Pack up everything in my wagon.
  7. Put oatmeal in the pot.
  8. Fill up gallon water bottle.
  9. Pour oatmeal and toppings in a bowl.
  10. Wake up Malakhai.
  11. Change his diaper.
  12. Lotion him up.
  13. Nurse him.
  14. Bundle him up (weather is crazy cold right now)
  15. Strap him to me in his carrier.
  16. Turn alarm off and then back on.
  17. Load the car. 
  18. Head to my mom’s house to drop off Malakhai. 
  19. Head to work.
  20. Pump before school starts.
My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

After Work Checklist

1. Pick up Khai.

2. Nurse Khai.

3. Take him home.

4. Unload everything in the wagon and bring him in the carrier.

5. Spend time with Khai (watch his fave shows, play with toys, read a bedtime story.)

6. Bathe Khai.

7. Nurse Khai to sleep.

8. Change Vick’s pad in humidifier.

9. Shower.

10. Sterilize breast pump parts and then repack in work breast pump bag.

11. Layout clothes for tomorrow.

12. Clean kitchen.

13. Clean up bedroom.

14. Eat dinner.

15. Me time (journal, yoga, read, drink tea or golden milk, budget planner, catch up on YouTube videos, watch a show on the fire stick,  meditate)

16. Say a prayer over Khai, then myself.

17. Tie hair up, wash face, brush teeth.

18. Turnoff all lights.

19. Recheck everything is ready for in the morning and turn alarm on.

20. Go to bed.

My Life

The World’s Greatest

Sometimes I sit back and think about where my life is and when I am going to get to where I want to be. I seem to not be able to appreciate where I am currently because this wasn’t what I saw when I saw my future.

So many people say, “Be grateful for where you are and what you have because not everybody can.” That sounds great, but can’t I for a second think about what I wanted my life to be like? Why is it so wrong to not be fully happy with all of the decisions I’ve made to land me where I am?

I think the only thing I’m happy about is my son. I’ve always said I wanted my first child at 30 and here I am, proof that you can speak things into existence. I knew that if I didn’t have my first child by 30, I would never have any kids. Now did I plan this, absolutely not. This wasn’t how I saw me having my first child, out of a committed relationship, but it is what it is.

My career was supposed to be me being a best-selling author or award-winning chef. Did I get either? No, but I am a self-proclaimed chef and I’m also an author. I became both of those things without the accolades and that’s okay. They will come. I’m claiming them both. I could be an award-winning chef with a best-selling recipe book next year. Don’t know what the future holds.

Definitely thought I’d have a house by now. I’m not sure why I set a timeline for things in my life, I just did and it’s crazy. I wanted all of the aforementioned before 30. I always wanted to be apart of that “30 Under 30” because it sounded cool, not realizing there were things I should’ve been doing in my early 20s to get there. The house is definitely on the horizon as soon as I get my finances straight.

Traveling has always been at the top of my list and even though I haven’t been to any of the places that I want to go, I know that I will go to these places. With hard work, dedication and severe budgeting, I will be a world traveler with my mini.

What are some things that you thought you would have or places you thought you would be by a certain age?

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

“I Ain’t Ever Scared…”

Of course about 5 months ago I didn’t have this mindset. I was scared shitless. I had spent two months at my mom’s house  after having my son, and I had had so much help between my mom and my stepdad. It was then finally time for me to go home. I was petrified at the thought of it just being me and Malakhai,

I wonder if I could do everything I was doing on my own, without the safety net of having someone there 24/7. Granted, they only live five minutes away, but I would be home…alone…with my child. How could I not be scared? What if something had happened? What if I messed up? What if he didn’t like me anymore because he was so (and still very much is) attached to my mom?

As you can see, a lot was going through my head back then. Now here we are, striving and thriving. We’ve settled in to a routine, I’ve become accustomed to it not just being me, and motherhood is suiting me well might I add. We play, he naps, I clean, he messes up a diaper, he nurses, we play, I clean, and it just continues, but I must say, it’s never boring. With Malakhai, there’s never a dull moment.

Sometimes I wonder how I could I be so scared of someone so precious and small that my body knew how to create? This little human loves me, he wants to always be around me and on me. How could I be scared of him? Not only that, I love him to pieces, a love that I never knew existed until I felt him kick, and then saw his face.

I say all of this to say mamas, it gets better, easier and less terrifying. What was/is something you are/were scared of when it came/comes to your child(ren)?

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Old Time Christmas Tree Farm

This past Saturday, I took Malakhai to the pumpkin patch and as you can see below, we had a grand ol’ time. He loved touching the pumpkins and pulling up the hay.

It was $5 to get in, and they had numerous activities to do such as a hay ride, vendors to eat or buy things from, as well as thugs for kids to do. Of course, Malakhai is too young for much of the activities, but I did think the hay ride would be fine, however, I brought his stroller I’m not thinking, and there was no way I was going to be able to get it up on the car.

They also grow Christmas trees, so if you need a Christmas tree, you are more than welcome to purchase one, but you do have to cut it down yourself.

The farm is located in Spring, Texas off of Spring Cypress Rd.

All in all, it was a successful and well spent day with my baby love. Do you go to the pumpkin patch during pumpkin season?

My Life

Birthday Blues

Tomorrow is my 30th birthday and I have no idea what I’m going to do. Earlier in the year I had planned to go to Mexico and even got Boo’s passport once he was born. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s too late to plan a trip, though I could take a day trip to Austin.

I’ve always thought about what I would do for my 30th birthday day, and now that it is here, nothing. I am going out to eat a restaurant, but aside from that, I’m not so sure. I’ve never been the one to celebrate birthdays unless it was a special one, and this is a special one.

It doesn’t even feel like I’m turning 30, just like another birthday. I see people who have these huge celebrations for their 30th, but I’m not a party person. Haven’t been since college. Now that I’m a mom, I’m even more so not a party person. Do people really have parties anymore at my age?

What did you do for your 30th celebration?

All Black Everything

Nappily Ever After: Black Hair and the Struggle to Fit into a Society That Doesn’t Respect Our Beauty

Growing up, I’ve always had long hair and it stayed relaxed and straightened. Every six weeks I would be in someone’s salon, in someone’s chair, at someone’s sink, and under someone’s dryer. I hated it. It was all to meet this standard of society that my hair needed to be straight. From such a young age, I was indirectly taught that wearing my natural hair was unacceptable. During this time, I didn’t know what natural hair was or that it existed.

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My hair was always down my back and I swung it like the white girls, though I never wanted to be like them. I guess in the black community for girls, you are expected to basically assimilate and accept another culture while rejecting and suppressing your own.

I used to think that men only wanted women with long, straight hair. What I realized is most men don’t care or they prefer a woman to wear her natural, kinky, curly, coily, 4c hair (I say 4c because that’s my hair type). When I was about to graduate from college (circa 2010-2011), I stopped getting perms. My mom said I needed to do something with my hair because it was just nappy and everywhere.

So, every two weeks, I went and got it washed, cut, and straightened. This was gravely damaging my hair so I went the bold route and cut it all off with scissors. Everyone was shocked. The next day I went to the salon and got it all cut even, basically a bald fade. I rocked that for a little while then let my hair grow out for about 2-3 years and then cut it all off again. Can’t really remember how many times I’ve cut it, but I made a vow the last time to never cut it again and I haven’t.

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I’m really loving all of this women who live in the public eye who are reverting back to their natural hair. I know that in Hollywood there is a standard for what your hair must look like: bone straight like the white women. Well, as black women, our hair doesn’t grow like that and we have to do a good deal of work to get it straight.

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Nappily Ever After with Sanaa Lathan is an inspirational movie and not only that, if you check out her IG, she’s been rocking her natural curls. Many black women, famous and not, are rocking their natural hair and I couldn’t be more proud of our culture. I’ve been rocking my natural hair for 8 years now and I can’t see myself going back. I also am not a fan of weave, wigs, or makeup.

Why do you rock your natural hair and what does it mean to you? Also, what did you think of the movie?

Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Evenflow Manual Electric Pump

When I became I pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed, so I knew I’d need a pump. Well, at the time, I didn’t know manual pumps existed (I know right?!). I went with my mom to Just Between Friends which is like a thrift shop for baby and kid stuff. I found a bunch of bottles and pieces for my breast pump that was coming through my insurance.

In this pack was a manual breast pump part, one that you do by hand. I was intimidated by it and let it sit up for months. After a while, I pulled it out to use because I knew I’d soon be going back to work and didn’t want to bring my electric pump. I needed something mobile.

I tested out the pump and it was a game changer. It cut my time in half and I got out more milk. So when I went back to work, I used that one. After a while, I noticed that I had to use two hands and couldn’t multitask at work, which is something I need to be able to do. My breasts are too large to only hold the pump with one hand. So, I went in the hunt for an electric manual pump and low and behold, Walmart came through.

I stumbled upon the Evenflow breast pump by accident. Medela had the one I really wanted but it was $300 (gasp). I then saw this pump and the color of the box caught my eye (bright colors drive marketing). It was a manual, elective breast pump that you could use with the cord or could be cordless (insert batteries). I was too stoked.

I bought it and sterilized it at home. The next stay, I took it to work and used it for each of my pump breaks. It works like a gem and I don’t have to use both hands. It expresses more milk than my Medela manual one and the electric one.

The only con is it takes much longer, 20 minutes for each side. At work, I pump before school, mid morning (an aide steps in) and during my planning time. My mid morning break is only 15 minutes so that definitely won’t work. So I use the Evenflow at home, during nights where Malakhai sleeps longer than usual, and I still use my Medela at work.

The Evenflow pump can also be used when I’m driving since I only need one hand. For my breastfeeding moms, what breast pump do/did you use?

Vegan Mommy Things

No Days Off

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Today was a student holiday so the kids didn’t have to go to school. Today was supposed to be a PD day however, we too got the day off. And low and behold, yours truly gets sick. Not sure if it’s due to allergies, getting wet in the rain and then entering into the cold of my apartment and not changing clothes immediately. Who knows? All I know is I keep sneezing, I had a sore throat (it’s gone now), and I’ve been blowing my brains out (I wonder if you can pop a blood vessel from blowing your nose too hard).

Even though I had today off from work, I didn’t have today off from being a mother. As a parent, there are no days off, even if your kids are with relatives. You still worry if they’re  okay and anxiously waiting to be reunited. I knew this is true for me.

It’s hard being sick and having a four month old who still needs you to take care of them. My son wants to play with me and laugh and have fun, and all I want to do is sleep. However, I had to push through. Sure I could’ve dropped him off at my parents, but they keep him everyday while I’m at work. I know they need a break too (though they’ll never admit it).

Along side of needing to take care of my son, I had to do laundry, meal prep, speak with the people to get my Child Safety Kit, sign up for life insurance and re-enroll for health insurance. Today has been quite busy, as have been the last two days.

All in all, I perservered through the day and now it’s finally time to go to sleep. I’m hopping this ginger tea and the humidifier will knock whatever this is out.

Fun fact: when a breastfeeding mother is sick, she should still nurse her child. The antibodies that are fighting her illness will pass to the child through her milk to build up their immune system and antibodies.

How do you handle being sick and being a mother/parent?

My Life

Hello September…

It’s September and I couldn’t be more excited. My birthday is right around the corner. I’m still in the works of planning my bday but I think I’m going to book a local air bnb. Of course Malakhai will be with me. Can’t leave him out of my festivities.

I’ve finally accepted that I have some form of PPD and I have been talking to someone about it. I’ve been ignoring it and trying to make myself believe it was something else but it’s PPD and apparently, you can get it even when your child is an adult. Imagine that.

Last week I wrapped up my Boss Lady series and if you haven’t checked it out, click here. I will be beginning a new series either next month or in November, but I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.

I finished my first week of school (I’m a teacher) and I’m about to start the second week. Funny we have a three day weekend for Labor Day and next weekend will be another three day weekend. I’m wondering who I need to convince to make school four days a week instead of five because that extra day on the weekend is necessary.

Busgeting has been rough, especially for the month of August. I did not stick to the budget and went over in every category. However, I won’t dwell on the past. It’s a new month and that means I can start anew and try again. I’ve learned that with budgeting, it takes time. I can’t continue to beat myself up over the mistakes or going over in one or all categories. Also, I get my first check since coming off of my temporary leave of absence, tomorrow. So I’ll be setting up my budget based on that check for the next two weeks.

I’m renewing my lease in my apartment because I’ve decided it’s best I pay off my student loans before investing in a house. I also need to pay off that emergency personal loan I got over the summer to float me until I got paid. My budget was going so well and I budgeted from when I went on leave, up until now. Not sure where I went wrong, but I did mess up somewhere.

I’ve been making some goals that I want to seriously work towards, one being to pay off my student loans before 2021. It’s definitely feasible, but I need another side hustle, preferably one that brings in an extra $1,000 per month.

Malakhai is starting to try to roll over. He has the gist of it, he just needs to follow through. He’s getting so big now and it’s going faster than I’m ready for. He is definitely a mama’s boy.

Some of my goals for this month are:

• stick to the budget

• cut eating out to maybe 4 times this month

• meal plan every single week

• only but groceries that I’ll be eating that week

• limit my time on social media

• take Khai out more

• make a conscious effort to post at least two blog posts a week (this may be doable)

• be consistent with financial Friday’s and my money FB group

• make a schedule to post videos for IGTV

• workout (I’ve lost all motivation to lose this baby weight)

• go out at least two times to meet ups or take myself out

• better prepare my lessons each week and have materials ready for the week

• get better organized

I know this is a long list, but I do need to get better about a lot of these things.

What are some of your goals for September?

Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Black Breastfeeding Week

Today begins Black Breastfeeding Week and I have a short story to share. Earlier today, Malakhai and I met up with some ladies from this Facebook group that I’m in, Awkward Black Ladies. We met at this coffee shop called ThroughGood Coffee, which is black owned (though I saw no one black working there). It’s a nice quaint cafe off W 27th street.

After I sat down and mingled with the ladies, Khai became restless. So I tried to nurse him but he wasn’t hungry. I went to change him and there wasn’t a changing table in the restroom (I find that to be poor customer service but whatever). Three of the ladies left and that left just me, the moderator of the group (let’s call her Malissa since I didn’t ask permission to use her name), and Khai.

By this point, he had become hungry and so I nursed him. Then out of nowhere, I felt someone tap me on my shoulder. It was white woman in her maybe early 30s. She said to me, “I just saw that it was Black Breastfeeding Week and I just wanted to come over and offer my support and tell you to keep doing your thing.” I thanked her as I was in shock because I’ve heard such horror stories of white women coming up to black women breastfeeding and saying some atrocious things that include racial slurs.

Malissa just smiled and when the woman walked away, we both looked at each other surprised. Next thing I know the woman comes back and says, “Sorry to bother you again but I’m a doula and I just came from seeing a new mom and helping her to breastfeed, so that’s why I cam over and I’m glad you’re doing that.” I smiled back and thanked her again.

I just want to say how appreciative I am to see that there are still some decent white people in this world. From police brutality to the cops being called on us to us being called “nigger” for just being black, I was beginning to wonder. So to kick off Black Breastfeeding Week, here are some photos from today.

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My Life

Fall is fast approaching!!

fall_puzzler

It’s my favorite time of year and, yes I think I make this post every year, but I can’t help it. Fall is coming! That also means it’s pumpkin season. I’m an October baby so naturally I’m drawn and attracted to this time of year. I feel joyous and in my element. It’s also when I’m the most creative. I love the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin spice, leaves on the ground and sitting on my patio sipping tea.

I know I haven’t been on much and that’s because I have gone back to work. I started last Monday. School starts next Monday so I am doing the final touches on my classroom and getting ready to welcome the students back.

Fall reminds me of my childhood when all of my favorite movies came on Disney channel like Twitches and the Halloween Town quartet.

Though I live in Texas, we don’t typically wear fall wear until it gets closer to December and even then, it’s far and few in between. I remember this time last year I missed fall because I found out I was pregnant and was trying to adjust, also, Hurricane Harvey kind of swept in and damaged everything. I was also in the midst of packing to move into my new apartment. So it was all a blur.

This year, I vow to take in fall and all that it brings, though I’m sure it’s going to bring warm or scorching weather. There are no major hurricanes that are threatening to ruin yet another school year or fall, nine that I know of (🤞🏾).

Do you love fall? What’s your favorite part about it?

Boss Lady

Boss Lady: Amber Richbook from For the Love of Millennials Podcast and A. Richbook Coaching

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I met Amber through Instagram and I’m not sure who followed who first, but she’s such an inspiration. She’s dedicated to her girls and also empowering millennials. She has just this vibrant spirit about her that’s hard to come by. If you need inspiration, she’s the one to follow.

Let’s start by you telling me a little about yourself. Where you’re from, what you do, just whatever you want to share?

I am a single mother of three currently residing in Durham, NC.  I have a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting and one in management.  Fun Fact: I am a licensed cosmetologist in three states.  I host the podcast For The Love of Millennials, a podcast created to empower and uplift the melanin millennial. 

I learned that no matter what job position I am in, I find myself making connections to the people that I meet and learning about them in the unconscious effort to inspire and empower them to be the best of themselves.  

My favorite past times include writing poetry and searching for amazing vacation spots.

Now I know you have a podcast, For the Love of Millennials. Tell me a little about how you started with that. (Came up with the name, what made you decide to do a podcast as opposed to YouTube, what it’s about and what do you want people to get from it.)

For the LOVE of Millennials Podcast.  is a platform created to inspire, empower, and uplift  melanin-enriched millennials to be the best of themselves. There are many podcasts that are published and have audiences that are targeted to the melanin enriched millennial.  Many discuss what’s popular today.  What sets this podcast aside from other millennial podcasts? While the podcast may discuss topics and events that are current, we aim to provide  information that has a long term benefit.  So if a listener tunes in months from the episode, they can still find value in the episode. 

For the LOVE of Millennials Podcast will not have a limited scope as to music/politics/fashion-beauty/or simply gender related topics, each topic, carefully chosen to provide value to listeners, will thrive with the intention to fulfill the podcast’s purpose to empower melanin-enriched millennials to live their best lives. For specific episodes that will feature a guest, it is important to me to have melanin-enriched millennial expert(s) as a guest(s).

For the LOVE of Millennials Podcast. supports and encourages the well-rounded development of melanin-enriched millennials in addition to inspiring and empowering US to live our best lives, whether as professionals (intrapreneurs) or entrepreneurs.  Who are millennials? There isn’t a clear timeline for the rise and end of millennial era, however most sources identify millennials as persons born in the early 1980s to the mid 1990s [approx ages 23 to 36].

I decided to do a podcast because I wanted the audience to be able to tune in whenever and whereever and not be so much distracted by the visuals.  However, at some point the podcast will introduce video. 

The name? For the Love of Millennials was a name I had for over a year. I wanted to have a YouTube with interviews to focus on regular degular successful millennials of color because there was starting to be a gap of  ‘successful”—I use quotations because success is different for everyone—people of color, from age groups to even careers/professions.  You can be successful as a technician just like you can be successful in music, or you can be successful in the arts just like someone can be successful in a professional sport.  I just wanted to reach the US that needed to hear some empathetic empowering conversation.  

You are now a single mom of three beautiful girls. How are you managing single motherhood on top of everything else you’re doing?

LOADED QUESTION. Lol. First and foremost as a solo parent you realize and understand that the well-being, welfare and security of your children rests in your lap.  SUCH a HUGE responsibility.  I remind myself daily that they chose me to be their mother, hence I say, “I get to” instead of “I have to.”  Being a mother is a choice in all actuality.  I get to be their mother doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes, but what it does mean is I am owning every aspect of parenting.  

I keep a schedule in addition to keeping myself and my children in a routine.  It provides the structure and balance that we all need.  It’s not rigid as it provides flexibility for us to do other things.  One thing that’s certain is their 8:00PM bedtime.  No matter what by 8:00 they are ready for bed. And then they wake up between 6:30AM and 8:30AM it all depends.  

I make sure to schedule my life via my calendar on my phone and using the reminders.  I’m working on implementing a consistent self care routine because I do realize that’s so important.  BUT I PLAN PLAN PLAN. If my plan gets thrown off I go with it and PLAN again. 

What do you want to teach your girls or what do you want them to learn from what you’re doing?

I want my girls to understand endurance through adversity is necessary for the journey.  To understand that failure is needed to appreciate success.  To see the I’m Possible when the world says “impossible”.  To know the sun is shining, on a cloudy day and even while the night falls.  I want my daughters to learn through my actions that they are enough, whole, balanced and filled with everything they need to accomplish their wildest dreams.  I allow them to explore their creativity, their ideas and encourage the imagination.  I teach them to understand culture and diversity and to love themselves as they are magical.  All in all, I teach them that they are valuable and loved.  As a person of value people have the responsibility to treat us well just as we have the responsibility to treat others well.  

What projects, if any, are you working on now? (If you want to disclose any)

As of right now I am working on curating  spaces for healing and growth conversation.  Something like a group coaching experience.  In addition to sharing my story with others via speaking, For the Love of Millennials Podcast and my A.RichBook/aRichLife Coaching is my primary focus.    

What else do you do aside from the podcast and being a mom?

Aside from the podcast and being a mom,  I provide one-to-one and group empowerment coaching.  I find that I attract the fulfillment of my purpose on a daily basis.  

What is your ultimate goal as far as the podcast and your other projects? 

My ultimate goal for the podcast and any project that I associate with is that it empowers and inspires those targeted to receive the project’s message, and brings about change and transformation.  I want to see more people win, grow and blossom.  

Where can people find you?

People can connect with me on instagram @A.RichBook

Or visit my site arichbook.com

Vegan Mommy Things

Back to work…

Today was my first day back to work and I thought it would be a disaster since I’d be leaving Khai for longer than I ever have before. I expected tears, withdrawals, constant fidgeting and lack of focus. I experienced all of that minus the tears.

Luckily, I’m still decorating my classroom so my mom brought him up there. I got to play with him and my coworkers got to see him. It was perfect. Now tomorrow on the other hand will be a different story since my mom is not coming.

I did end up pumping two full bottles because I missed him so much and thought about him constantly. I thought it would be hard to pump but I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

I think I’m going to survive this year. For my mamas who went back to work after having your first child, what was your experience like?

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #10: I Finally Took a Bath

 

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Yes, you read that right. I finally took a bath. I haven’t taken a bath since before I was pregnant. I know many of you are probably wondering, “WTF? She doesn’t take baths?!” I know many people who use bath and shower synonymously, however, I’m specifically talking about taking a bath. Ya know, running water, adding bubbles, sitting in the tub,  soaking for 30 min.

I cant blame Boo for me not taking a bath. It’s my own fault really. I’m always trying to be so quiet when he’s napping since my apartment is so small. Then since he takes cat naps, I try to shower and be out before he wakes up, but not today. I turned the water on and added the bubbles and while it ran, I rocked him to sleep. Once asleep, I quickly undressed and hopped in the tub. It was so refreshing and much needed. I definiently need to do that more often.

What is something that you rarely get a chance to do for yourself due to having kids?

confessions

Confessions of a Single Mom #8: Single Mom Friends

*Disclaimer: This post is to piggy back off of Confession #4.

I can’t stress how important it is is to have single mom friends as a single mom. I used to trip off having single friends because most of my friends are either married or in a relationship, and then there were those who had kids, so we couldn’t really relate in life. It’s funny that I’m having an easier time finding single mom friends than I did finding single friends. Strange, right?

As a single mom, hanging around married moms or moms who are in relationships is not conducive to a relationship because they don’t know your struggle. Their kids have both of their parents in the same household, they aren’t searching for a man to potentially be a stepfather, they don’t have to deal with their child’s father’s girlfriend or wife, unless they were once together and now they are with other people, they have in-house help, they are a two-income household (majority anyway). They don’t have to go through what us single moms do so how can we relate other than both being moms?

I have a group of single mom friends and I’m thankful for them. We don’t get to hangout all the time but when we do, it’s so much fun. Having play dates and chatting it up about motherhood, our kids’s father’s, dating, sex, you name it, is relaxing and makes me feel sane. Sometimes I need adult interaction. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking to my baby, but he doesn’t understand a word I’m saying and vice versa.

Not having single mom friends can make single motherhood stressful and seriously boring and lonely. If you’re in Houston, well technically anywhere, follow @singleblackmotherhood on Instagram and join the Facebook group. I will be posting an interview with the founder, Kim Williams during my Boss Lady series.

Breastfeeding, mommy must haves, Vegan Mommy Things

Breastfeeding Series: Stop Wasting Breast Milk!! (Mommy Must Have #2)

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Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pumps Milk Pump Suction with Lid,Breast Milk Saving Made Easy,Flexible & Lightweight ,Pack of 2

 

 

If I tell y’all, every time I nurse Boo, I waste so much breast milk. How, you might ask? Well, the let down of the milk when he’s feeding on one side, leaks out the other. I legit waste 2 oz of milk every feeding. My breasts were not created equal. At any given time, I can pump a full bottle from my left breast but my right breast, I get 2 oz at best.

At my last group prenatal, one lady had a version of Haakaa, which is a manual breast pump but is like a suction cup to catch the milk from the side you’re not feeding on. Mind was blown so of course I went to Amazon to buy one. Works like an effing charm and now, I can stop wasting breast milk.

*DISCLAIMER: I may earn a small commission for any link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you real information about motherhood, health, writing and all things lifestyle.

mommy must haves, Vegan Mommy Things

Mommy Must-Haves #1

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may or may not get paid per link click.

As a new mom, there are things that make life so much easier and allow you to get things done. I had a baby carrier before he was born and after he was born, I wore him in it. It did not have any back support, so he was just hanging, which pulled on my back and my not yet healed stomach. I knew that wasn’t going to work. So, I headed to Amazon and found a carrier that I knew would work.

This carrier by Infantino is the absolute gag. It offers great support, he sits up higher and he’s not just hanging. He’s actually sitting in it. I can now do so many household chores, cook, go on long walks, etc., with him attached to me. I swear by this carrier. I don’t know if I would ever be able to do anything without it.

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One thing I did everyday when I was pregnant was walking. I knew that once he was born, walking would become more consistent. My coworkers got me this stroller as a gift when they threw me a surprise baby shower. It’s pretty much a jogger, though I stopped jogging a couple years ago. This stroller is lightweight and it comes with a car seat. Once he gets older, though he won’t be able to always fit in the car seat, he can still sit in the stroller.

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Breastfeeding, Vegan Mommy Things

Breastfeeding Series: Benefits and Challenges

Breast milk is specifically tailored to fit a baby’s nutritional needs, all nutritional needs. It changes as your baby does when they grow. There’s nothing else on earth more fitting for a baby than breastfeeding.

When your baby is born, the first milk the receive from your breast is called colostrum. It is rich in proteins and antibodies which protect the baby from environmental diseases and illnesses outside the womb. This colostrum is how your baby begins to build their immune system.

As your baby grows, the mature milk contains a higher fat and sugar level to meet the demands of your baby. Breastfed babies have a decreased chance of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and diabetes. They also have better cognitive development. Aside from all of that, breastfeeding creates this bond between the mother and child.

My son will be two months this Thursday and he can already push himself to stand, hold his head up, can turn his head from side to side while in his tummy, talk baby talk, focus in on objects, laugh, smile, has tremendous strength, scoot, turn his body so he can face me while he’s in his stomach, reach and grab objects, and can turn on his side while on his back. He is far developed than other babies of the same age and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that he’s breastfed.

Some challenges are that around the world, according to the World Health Organization, only about 40% of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed. Given the number of people in the world, that is a great number, almost half.

Many mothers face difficulties likelatching issues, pain, discomfort, and not enough milk coming in. Another issue is babies feeding on demand, most mothers feel like they can’t get anything done or they’re always holding their baby. It almost becomes a burden.

You then have women of the older generations imposing their beliefs that babies should have solids earlier than 6 months in order for them to sleep longer. Why would you want a baby to sleep longer? That’s increased risk of SIDS. My son typically will sleep in 4-5 hour chunks. He will occasionally sleep for 6 hours if I bath and then nurse him. In my opinion, wanting a baby to sleep longer is for selfish reasons and not the best interest of the baby.

Breastfeeding is a learned skill for the baby and the mother and many mothers get too frustrated. For the new moms, don’t let the beliefs of others influence your decision to breastfeed. Don’t let the temporary pain and discomfort discourage you, because it’s just that: temporary.

If you breastfeed/fed, what are/were some pros? Cons?

confessions, Vegan Mommy Things

Confessions of a Single Mom #3: Dancing Fish, Talking Dogs & Loud Houses

I didn’t believe that when you became a mom, what you watch on television changes. I don’t have cable, but I do have a fire stick (best thing ever invented in my opinion). While staying at my parents’ house, I spent a lot of time watching Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol and The Loud House. Needless to say, now that I am home, that has not changed.

What’s funny is I now know the them song to each show and actually dance with Boo when they come on. I also want to give a shoutout to YouTube for making these shows available and the networks that they’re on (I was able to purchase the entire series of Bubble Guppies on YT for $5, talk about a win!).

So now, I have to watch my shows and YT videos during me time, which is after 9 PM, but I don’t mind. Fascinating thing is Boo actually watched the shows when I put him in front of the television. He’s content at max for 30 min, which is sometimes all I need.

What is something that you find yourself doing as a mother that you never thought you’d do?