All Black Everything

Why do Black Men feel so entitled?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stigmas Surrounding Black Families

The recent ad by Macy’s really struck a nerve. I already know how “other” people see us (Black people) and I don’t too much care, but to blatantly through it in our face, well that was unsettling.

On television, you see black people in interracial relationships, same sex, or single mother. Rarely do you see a Black family if it’s not an all Black show. Why can’t there be Black families portrayed on White shows? Oh, that’s right: the dynamic of a black family scares White people. Yes, I said it. A Black family with a mother, father, and children is powerful. It shows unity and solidarity. A black man and a black woman together are unstoppable and indivisible. That’s more dangerous than an educated Black man or woman. 

Also, a Black married couple is more likely to procreate, making more Black people. That kills the White supremaciat agenda of population control in the Black community. More married couples means more children, which means more Black people, and we can’t have that now can we? (Sarcasm)

But why is a Black married couple so dangerous? Well when we are single, it seems we are more easily manipulated into thinking that we need a partner of another race, especially Black women. With our men being shot or incarcerated, there is purportedly a shortage of Black men, leaving us to White men. We are made to believe that’s our men are gay, in jail, or dead. 

When it comes to Black men, and this goes back to slavery, White women are a step up. They bring money and opportunities that allegedly Black women can’t. Black women are painted as ghetto, dramatic, uneducated, broke, jobless, and the list goes on, so I’ll digress.

By taking fathers out of the home either by murder or prison, young boys are left with only a mother. This makes it easy for the White agenda to turn them gay. If they have no male figure, they take it upon themselves to maneuver these young boys. Now I’m not saying this is always the case. I’m not saying that at all. You do have Black boys who grow up in twonparent households, but for the sake of this argument, and this ad that doesn’t portray that, I said what I said.

Feel free to debate with me on this topic, but I feel like too many of our people are “missing the mark” when it comes to spending our dollars and raising our children.

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Don’t Complain if You aren’t Doing Anything to Change

It’s thanksgiving break and all I can think about ishow happy I am to be at home and not at work. The only thing I’m happy about in my life right now is being a mom to my son. 

I don’t hate my job. I love my job, but it doesn’t make me happy. I’m tired of living in this apartment, throwing money away towards something I’ll never own ($1000 a month). 

I’m not happy that I haven’t been writing another novel, or finishing one I’ve already started. It’s just maddening how quickly I’ve lost motivation to continue writing novels. My last novel was published in 2016: two years ago! I’ve started several since then, but I haven’t even made it halfway through one. 

I thought of writing a novel based on my life, but have I sat down to write it? No. 

I’m unhappy with my postpartum body, and I go back and forth between loving it and not even wanting to look in the mirror.

I think about all of these things that I’m not happy about and how I’ve not done a single thing to change my circumstances. So how can I even complain?

My point is, and I should take this advice myself, don’t complain about your circumstances and not being happy if you aren’t doing anything about them. 

Don’t be like me and say I’m going to start making changes tomorrow or the next day, or the next day. Do it today. Do what makes you happy, but first, find happiness from within.

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Bitter Baby Mama

There’s this notion that all single mom’s are bitter. This stems from people assuming we are mad because we can’t be with the father of our child(ren) or we are made that they don’t want us. Speaking for me and me only, both are false.

I am in no way bitter about anything, but me wanting my son and his father to have a relationship and me being passionate about it, comes off as being bitter. I didn’t, and still don’t, have a relationship with my father and I don’t want that for my son.

I think, and don’t quote me on this, most men who are on child support, are on child support because they aren’t financially helping the mother of their child(ren) take care of their child(ren). Because women are mainly the ones giving care to the child, men don’t see how expensive it can be to do it alone. They want to say we just want to take their money or we are trying to live off of them, when that it most certainly not the case.

Can I financially take care of my child on my own? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean I should have to, being that I didn’t get pregnant by myself.

My son is breastfed so in order for him to eat, I have to eat. I wash his clothes everyday since he has to be in cloth diapers. That’s water and electricity being used every single day. He has to bathe, right? That’s water again. Then, I have to be able to get him to my moms house and be able to get to work to afford a rough over our heads. That’s gas. He also has to have his booty wiped, his skin cleaned and conditioned, and his hair done. Then there’s toys and clothes.

See how that can get expensive? Then you have a man who doesn’t want to help financially, and thinks that all that’s important and being a good father is sololey just spending time with a child. No, dead wrong. A child needs emotional, physical, mental, and financial support.

As mothers, we want what is best for our children. We are natural born nurturers, whereas men, they just aren’t. I will spend my last dollar on my child for whatever he needs and wants, but I shouldn’t have to.

Next time you want to call the mother of your child(ren) bitter, don’t. Ask her what she needs and how you can help. Make her life easier, not harder. I can guarantee a myriad of men wouldn’t be on child support if they took the time out to sit down with the mother and laid out all expenses to see where he can contribute. All it takes is a conversation.

Now the flipside is there are many women who are bitter and vindictive towards the father, and do file child support to get back at him. What this does is make other women who file for financial reasons only, look like they’re bitter and vindictive.

Mamas, if he doesn’t want you, he doesn’t want you. Let that man and those feelings go. Worry about your child(ren) and your child(ren) only. You can’t be worrying about this man who not only doesn’t want you, but doesn’t want to be a father. Don’t battle with him. There’s a man out there who is going to love you and your child(ren) like his own. I’ve witnessed it numerous times.

What are your thoughts on the term “bitter baby mama?”

My Life, Vegan Mommy Things

Bedtime with Khai

Each night, I make it my mission to ensure Khai gets an excellent night’s slumber. I give him a bath in his new tub. He’s in a big boy tub now (cue the water works). I bathe him, wash his hair, let the water out and then fill it with clean water up to his waist. I let him play with his toys and I stand back and admire how much he has grown in the past six months.

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When we’re all done, I pat him dry. His hair is so curly and silky, that I have to make sure it stays healthy, as well as his scalp. I use either mineral oil or grapeseed oil in his hair. I rake it through with my fingers and then comb small sections at a time. Next, I lotion him up and put his footie pjs on. He either sleeps in a silk bonnet or one of his hats so his pores can close.

 

Now is my favorite part: bedtime stories. He loves for me to read to him, especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. I think he likes all of the colors and my animated voices.

By story’s end, he’s sleepy. I lay him down to nurse until he falls asleep. Once he’s sound asleep, it’s me time. I tend to clean up from his bath time and clean whatever else I need to. I also spend this time writing and scheduling blogs, journaling, meditating, taking long baths, or reading. Bedtime for Khai is usually around 7 o’clock, so I start getting him ready for a bath around 6 or 6:30. During the time from when I get off work until bath time, we are playing, watching Puppy Dog Pals, or singing.

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What is your night time routine with your little one(s)?

xoxo Moniqua LaShae and Malakhai Lee

My Life

“Never give up, it’s such a wonderful life…”

Relationships end. That’s just how life goes. I feel like since I’ve turned 30, I’ve developed more of a “fuck it” attitude towards a myriad of things. Whether it be people or things, my tolerance level for “fuck shit” is nonexistent.

My life is amazing right now, and I honestly could not be happier (well, I kind of could but that’s beside the point). My son is healthy and thriving, hitting many milestones early. We’ve been spending every free moment together and there are so many more moments to come. The pumpkin patch last Saturday was absolutely joyous and it was a beautiful day outside.

I’m working on my health and the betterment of my livelihood. I’m not necessarily trying to lose weight, but I am trying to build my immune system and keep my stamina and energy up. My skin is clear and my head is even clearer when it comes to many things.

The relationship between my son’s father and I is getting better. We have actually been having civilized conversations. Are we friends? Of course not, but we are cordial for the sake of our child. That’s all that needs to happen: we have to be able to be a united front when it comes to Malakhai and his well being.

My family is stronger than ever, and I feel like the birth of my son brought us closer. As a single mom, and even as a married or in-a-relationship mom, it truly takes a village to raise children, and my village is built Ford tough (see what I did there? You’ll only get it if you live in Texas).

Work is work. I love teaching wholeheartedly, but I think it’s getting close to time to move elsewhere within the education system. I am working on some things behind the scenes that I am not quite ready to share yet, but I will soon. Sometime next year.

My bills are paid, my son is fed, there’s food in my fridge, we have clothes on our backs, and we are living life. So to those of you, and you know damn well who you are specifically, don’t try to ruin my joy with your bitterness and misery. My life is good, live yours and stay out of mine with your negativity. We are grown now and that childishness, you can miss me with that. It’s true that misery needs and loves company, but I’d rather stay to myself and be joyful and happy.

See, I’ve dealt with negativity from people for so long, from friends to even more so, family, but no longer. I have goals that I am trying to reach and anyone who knows what it’s like to be goal-oriented, knows that negative people will only bring you down and prolong reaching your success. I can see the peak of the mountain, and no one will be an obstacle on my way up. Stay at the bottom if you cannot be a positive rock in my life.

I say all this to say that, not everyone is going to be for you when it comes to your goals and being successful in whatever it is you are doing. Ctrl + Alt + del them with a quickness.

xoxo Moniqua Lashae

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?

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. 
Health + Wellness

Breakthroughs

I have nothing against therapy, it’s just not something I can do right now, so I have my own form of therapy: yoga and journaling. In my last journal entry I was writing about the negativity I have been experiencing and that has been lurking in my mind as well as the almost unfortunate events it has caused and may cause. Negative thoughts that I created about scenarios that haven’t even happened and may never happen, have cause some negative events and levels of stress and anxiety. Malakhai and I were in almost 3 accidents this week. I realized that those were wake up calls.

At these moments I wasn’t thinking negative thoughts but I had been earlier those days. Is there a correlation? I’m not sure. But I’m realizing that this bubble of negativity stems from somewhere and I finally pinpointed the causes (I can’t disclose them because they involve people close to me and it’s super personal). Now that I’ve pinpointed those causes, I’m on a journey to figuring out how to stop those negative feelings and thoughts when they creep in.

I feel exhilarated right now because I’m finally cracking things open. Journaling is where I came to these conclusions. I’ll admit I do talk to myself and when I journal, it’s basically the same thing. I let my pen do the talking and as my thoughts flow onto the paper, I can see where an abundance of my issues lie. For some reason, seeing it on paper makes a world of difference.

Not all the time do I go back and read my entries, but lately I have been, just to see if maybe I mentioned something before that can trigger something in me or cause me to have an epiphany. I’m always looking for messages or just something in my entires to give me some idea of when this negativity started, why and how I can possibly fix it.

I will continue to journal because it’s extremely therapeutic. What are some ways you deal with things or work out your issues if you don’t go to therapy?

Vegan Mommy Things

The Amazing Female Body

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It’s almost that time for boo’s arrival. Yesterday I had some cramping which was basically my uterus prepping for real contractions to begin. It’s funny because I am not the least bit nervous. I am more anxious than anything. As a first time mom, I am anxious and ready to meet my little mini. I have been growing him for 9 (in reality 10) months. I think it’s amazing to finally see what your body has done that is so amazing, beautiful and instinctual.

I think it’s beyond incredible that our bodies know what to do. They just know. I find it fascinating that our bodies know how to grow and nurture a baby, expand as baby grows bigger, create an embryonic sac and placenta, create an umbilical cord. How can anyone not think of how amazing that is. Not only that, but after all of those changes, our vaginas can then expand to push out something the size of a watermelon, though more cute, soft and cuddly.

I feel like women are the strongest creature on earth, especially with being able to withstand the pain of labor and childbirth. I think there is no greater pain than that. When it’s all said and done, our bodies miraculously heals itself and everything goes back to normal, well most of the time.

As baby grows, our milk changes to fit baby’s needs. Now that baby is on the outside, our bodies are still responding to this child that is no longer physically attached. Our bodies produce this milk that has protiens, nutrients and antibodies to help nourish and protect our baby, and then changes constantly. It literally blows my mind.

I learned something new today through the Ovia app (tells how baby os doing each day and also gives information as you get closer to birthing): let-down reflex. This is when your breasts leak milk anytime you hear a baby cry, and it doesn’t have to be your baby that is crying.

I know so many women who have had babies and I have seen the process, but to be experiencing it myself is overwhelming. I feel boo move often. He kicks, stretches, turns around, nestles, presses against my stomach with his butt, feet, or hands, and I just think to myself, “I grew him. This life inside me, I did that.”

I have been so conscious about what I consume because my body breaks down the food and gives boo his essential needs first and the rest is left to me. I have this internal pathway to get food to my child. Sometimes I think about what this process actually looks like. Call me weird, but I am just baffled and awestruck.

Do/did any of you mamas have/had the same thoughts about this? Let me know in the comments below.

My Life

Professional Quitter…

I’ve quit a great many things in my day. I would always get a great idea, start, get bored or become complacent, and then stop. That is what has happened with my journaling.

Growing up, I was an avid writer. I went through diaries like none other. I was an emotional kid who suffered from some trauma, and writing was my way of coping. As I got older, the writing became more intense. (Side note: I regret not keeping my diaries over the years.) It matured as I did. When I was in a dark place, which was often, I would write. It kept me from committing suicide several times.

Writing helps to keep me focused and allows me to pour out and dump my emotions on the page rather than in someone else. I hate dumping my emotions on others to where they now have to carry that package, passing off negative energy. Yes, it is true that there are people who get paid to be dumped on (no pun intended), but I just don’t feel that comfortable dumping on anything but a toilet.

Over the last few years I have started and stopped writing in my journal. I remember year before last that I wrote in it everyday. For some reason during my pregnancy, I just haven’t wanted to write in it and I think that may be because I’m actually happy. On the other hand, that’s no excuse to stop writing in it. I should write when I’m happy, mad, sad, depressed, etc. Why is it that we always nurse the bad moments and sonwuick to celebrate the good then move on? How backwards is that?

I’m not going to lie and say that I vow to write in my journal everyday, but I will be more consistent, even in my happy moments. Sometimes I may take to my blog for journaling sessions and that’s okay. It’s fine to want others to talk to that don’t know you but may somehow understand how you feel and what you’re going through.

Have you ever found that you start and stop something often? Or are you the type that others envy because you’re so damn consistent? Share you thoughts below!

xoxo,

Moniqua LaShae, aka the quitter

All Things Writing, Sneak Peeks

The Aftermath

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It has been a long while since I have released a book or even a sneak peek of something that I am working on. I am pleased to give you all a sneak peek into my next novel which will be released this summer/fall. I haven’t been excited about a project in so long, I can barely contain my excitement. I am not nearly done with this novel, but I can say it will be well worth the wait. Without further a do, click below to read the beginning of my next piece of work. I would greatly appreciate if you left a comment about what you think, below.

Prologue and chapter 1

All Black Everything, My Life

#BWWPCHOU Meetup

A few weeks ago I attended a planner meetup with my mom. We had an amazing time in this room full of black women who plan their lives to keep it together. Some of these women were hardcore planners while we also had some that just started. As for me, I’m in between, with only 3 planners.

I stumbled upon this group when I found the main Facebook page for the entire country and didn’t realize there were smaller city chapters. Now I don’t feel so alone. I used to think planning and planners were for white women but now I see it’s for every woman, especially those of us who are mothers. How else are we going to keep from losing our shit?

Planning has helped me in more ways than one. Being pregnant, I forget things often. It can be something that was said less than a minute ago and already I have forgotten. I’ve found that with writing things down, I can go back and remember important information.

Budget planning helps to keep money in the bank. I have never budgeted j til now and when I sit down at the end of each month, I see where my money is going (mainly to food, shh).

I also have a teacher planner because, well, I’m a teacher and we have all sorts of dates and deadlines for things. I can’t keep up with all of that so what I do is take the district calendar and write down all the dates as well as my school’s calendar.

Below are some pics from the festivities. Definitely cannot wait until the next planner meetup.

All Things Writing

Writing a Book

I get asked all the time what kind of books I write and how to publish a book. Lately, I haven’t been writing and I actually feel bad because I am a damn good writer and I’m wasting my talent by not using it. People love my stories and what I have to say. I feel like I am letting people down. However, all of that will be changing soon, but I’ll save that info for another date.

You decided you want to write a book. You’re probably thinking about the title, the cover, the length of the book, if people will like it, how to market it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. None of this is important if you don’t have a book. Believe it or not, all of that stuff comes after the book is written. What you should be thinking about right now is actually writing the book.

I used to do outlines for my novels and it became hard because I would try my best to stick to the outline, never deviating. I found that if I had an idea and just began to write, it came easy. Planning out my writing has stopped working for me because I letting my fingers do all the magic on the keyboard has proven successful. That is not to say that planning won’t work for you. I am just saying it doesn’t work for me.

The first thing you need to have is a topic (nonfiction) or a plot (fiction). I dabble in both and find that neither is easier to write than the other. I can say that fiction is more enjoyable to write than nonfiction. So let’s talk about the process for each one, starting with fiction.

Fiction Books

  1. Fiction books require a plot, settings, characters, beginning, middle, end, rising action, climax, falling action, a genre and most importantly, an imagination, which is so much more than a nonfiction book. Usually an outline helps with this or some kind of graphic organizer/plot diagram. I do outline from time-to-time just to get the basics. An outline can be as in depth or surface level as you need it to be.
  2. Next, once you have all of your story elements, find a comfortable place to write that you know you won’t be interrupted. Make sure you have snacks and something to drink. Silence cell phones and maybe turn on some music if that helps. 
  3. Decide if you want a prologue or to just jump write in with chapter one. Regardless of which one you choose, make sure, and this is important, make sure that your first sentence, the topic sentence, is fire. If you don’t have a soul-snatching first sentence, your readers will stop reading. You want that first sentence to make your reader continue on. 
  4. Write the rest of the book. I honestly cannot tell you how to write a book. Many people go to college for creative writing to learn how to write a book, but in all honesty, you can’t teach someone to write a book. You can help someone to better their craft, but writing is something you’re either born with, or you’re not. I will do another post on how to develop storylines for fiction books, so stay tuned for that.
  5. After writing your book comes the most tedious part: editing. I swear this is not the part that I look forward to but it is just as important as writing the book. Editing is for fine tuning, making sure the story flows, there’s no grammar mistakes, spelling is on point, dialogue makes sense, and even though it’s fiction, it needs to have a real element to it. You can always pay someone to do it (yes, I offer book editing services) or you can do it yourself. I do all of my own editing.
  6. Then comes the task of deciding on a title and book cover. There are a number of websites that have premade book covers and I have used several. You can also create your own on Canva.
  7. Once it has been edited, get some beta readers, people who will read your book and give you honest feedback. This will also help when your book launches to have reviews that people can see so they know whether it’s worth a read or not. Don’t fret about negative reviews. Your book will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay.
  8. When you are ready to publish, decide if you want to go the traditional route (going through a publisher) or the indie route (publishing yourself). I will do a post on this later about the difference between the two.
  9. Last is promotion and there are different ways to promote your book: book promoting service, self promotion and word of mouth.

Nonfiction Books

Nonfictions books don’t require as much as a fiction book does but they can be harder to think of a topic for. There are so many nonfiction books out there that it’s hard to keep up and know whether or not your topic has been written about and how many times. this process requires research and reading other nonfiction books similar to whatever topic you are wanting to write about.

  1. Choose your topic and research that market. See what others have written, if it has been written, and if how yours will be different. Many people write about the same topics but each book is completely different.
  2. Once you have researched the topic, research if readers are interested and if so, what number (just a ballpark estimate). If it is not the number you were hoping to reach, choose another topic.
  3. For these types of books I do make an outline because each chapter is different. I have to plan out each chapter and what all I want to talk about. Length does not matter, but making sure I get all the information in does.
  4. If your book requires sources or for you to gather information from other places, make sure you have a works cited page, footnotes and you cite your sources within the sentences or paragraphs.
  5. Once you have finished your book, again, the editing process, title, book cover, publishing, etc.
  6. Marketing will be different than a fiction book because you will have to find the audience you are targeting. Most fiction books can be targeted towards anyone but when it comes to nonfiction, let’s just say there are more fiction readers than nonfiction readers.

I really hope these tips helped in some way. If you want me to elaborate on something, feel free to let me know. Also, click the services tab to check out my book editing/writing services.

Product Reviews

We’re Going to Need More Wi…Sparkling Water

I made a vow this year to read 25 books. Well, starting on the first, I read one book, cover-to-cover. It was just that good. “We’re Going to Need More Wine…” by Gabrielle Union was a helluva read. It was nonstop laughter, sadness, anger and so much more. Fortunately, I had no plans to leave my house on Monday, so I figured, why not read a book that I digitally checked out from the library (checking out books is part of my journey to minimalism)?

I won’t get into too much detail, but majority of her book had a lot to do with her not being comfortable in her own skin as a dark skinned black woman. Growing up she felt like an outsider having gone to PW schools and being the only black girl, a dark skinned black girl at that. She talked about wanting to have her hair straight to make her less of a target to be bullied, which is something that I can relate to. I always wanted me hair straight and even though I was at a mixed school (Channelview), I was always picked on for some reason or another, but I think it mainly had to do with the fact that I was a dark skinned black girl who had long hair and spoke proper English.

She goes on to talk about the boys she dated, the boys she wanted to date, and the boys that didn’t show interest because of her skin. When she brought up the topic of her first husband, Chris, making it big in his career and how he wanted someone who more so fit the part, a lighter skinned woman, it made me think about how black men today and when they get a little bit of money, they go for the light skinned black women, Latinas, Asians and white women. It always baffles me how these men, our men, can think that we aren’t worthy enough to be on their arm when their status changes.

Union talked about how she found out her dad was cheating on her mom with a woman who looked exactly like her mom. Why cheat on your significant other with someone who favors them? I’m not seeing the sense in that. Then the fact that her mother knew but stayed because she loved the life they had. I think what parents don’t understand about their choices is that their kids see these choices and often times end up making the same poor decisions. It’s the domino effect that just keeps trickling down from generation to generation.

Rape is a huge part of this book and she explains how it has affected her life and her relationships. She was raped by someone she didn’t know, but often time that isn’t the case with rape victims and survivors. Coming from someone who knew their rapist, it’s not something you can move on from. You have to worry that you may one day run into this person, if your family will believe you, if they threatened to hurt you if you told. She talks about the kids that she mentors and the groups that she’s in and have worked with.

If you see Gabrielle Union and her resume of work, you would never know that she grow up hating herself, dealing with people who did and dealt drugs, binge drinking at a young age, having sex just because and so much more. I definitely will be reading this book again because it’s relatable and inspiring in so many ways.

I have always been a fiction reader, but over the past year, I have really gotten into nonfiction and memoirs, self-help, self-care, and anything to help better my life. If you haven’t read this book, I highly, highly recommend it.

Product Reviews

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

This coming of age story follows Nadia Turner, a girl who goes through life trying to find herself. From losing her mom, losing her virginity, getting an abortion to losing herself, there’s so much to take in.

This novel was beautifully written and though I can’t relate to any of it, I personally know some women who can.

This was a book I could read cover to cover and it is a page-turner. The imagery and character development makes this story into the beauty that it is. The friendship that develops between Nadia and Aubrey is beautiful and the way it ends as the book comes to an end, makes you feel like things could be okay.

I’ve dealt with older women in the church who were gossipy and that’s what they lived for. I think that’s a common theme in the black church. It’s also a reason I left the church.

If you have some time (though I highly suggest making the time), check this book out. The way it draws you in, you’ll go with no hesitation.

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

Goals for 2018

A new year means new goals. I don’t believe in resolutions. I believe in goals, something to work towards. I do these posts every year on this day because it’s something to look back on. My goals for 2017, crushed majority of them. I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store. Without further ado:

  1. Have a happy, healthy baby.
  2. Run a successful lifestyle and mom blog.
  3. Pay off half of my student loans.
  4. Put a down payment on a house.
  5. Have a fire post baby body.
  6. Continue to be a writing teacher or write full time.
  7. Featured in Black magazines/YT channels/blogs.
  8. Make Forbes list.
  9. Do more freelance work.
  10. Fall in love.
  11. Travel.
  12. Work from home.

These goals are very attainable (Forbes list is a stretch but dammit it will be one of my goals until I make it). I always tell people when setting goals, make sure they are logical and within reason (also have one or two that are a stretch, something to work harder towards).

What are your goals for 2018?

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.

Financial Advice

Financial Friday: My Top Financial Gurus

Disclaimer: This will be routinely updated.

Debt Free Black Girl – debtfreeblackgirl.co

The Budgetnista – www.joinlra.com

Clever Girl Finance – www.clevergirlfinance.com

Shanaan Dawda – www.frompaycheckstoower.com

Akira J Dixon – www.akirajdixon.com

Financially Intentional – www.financiallyintentional.com

 

My Life, Uncategorized

4 Years Vegan!!

I can’t believe it has already been four years that I have adopted a plant based lifestyle. I remember like it was just yesterday (it was actually last Friday that made 4 years, November 17). It was right before the thanks-for-killing-millions-of-Indians break, and I was so sick. I had spent the weekend in Huntsville, Texas, on a field trip with some of the kids from the YMCA that I was working with. I was vegetarian at the time and that weekend was full of just cheese pizza. When I came back, the constipation was so real.

On November 17, 2013, I made the decision to give up all dairy and eggs. No transitioning or anything. I didn’t like the constipation and stomach pains, and I really had no reason to continue eating dairy and eggs. My family thought I was crazy and didn’t think it would last, but here I am, 4 years later, thriving and about to have a little vegan human soon.

I won’t say that being vegan has been easy; there were times that I slipped and ate something that was made with dairy or eggs. Funny thing is, I couldn’t finish eating it because it tasted so different and weird. Once your taste buds become accustomed to not having something and you finally have it, you don’t want it anymore. Meat is the only thing I have not slipped up and eaten simply because the thought of it makes me want to vomit. Although, I still love the smell of bacon cooking.

If you are having doubts or wondering about this journey, check my shop page for my guide to veganism and meal plans.

 

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.