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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Beauty of Me-Time: Be Your Best!

Hey everyone! So tomorrow is the first day of April and I can hardly believe it! It's like the year just started and we're already four months in. I started panicking a bit looking at my white board of things still not done and had calm the fuck down. I have to keep reminding myself that the time I spend relaxing or not working on my goals is necessary. Turning off, and unplugging is just as essential to goal setting and goal achieving as turning on and staying plugged in. Last week was spring break and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and my kids. It was so nice to just take my time organizing my home, doing spring cleaning, spending a day in the mall, then doing nothing and going no where. I really appreciate the time off when school is closed because now that my daughter is in school it feels like I'm in school dammit.

When I was in school I couldn't wait for it to be over, and when it was over I was like thank God! I'll never forget that feeling of being free, but now I'm feeling like a caged bird with deadlines to remember, emails to keep up with, projects to get done, and most importantly a place to get to on time 2x daily [my biggest downfall]... I'm in my own little world as usual, and I want to stress without really stressing how important it is to take time to yourself. My friend thinks I need a hobby or a class because I'm in the house too much. Sometimes I feel that what I really need is to turn back the hands of time before I had serious responsibilities. Being a mother kills my spirit sometimes and I need extra time to myself more than ever before to stay focused on the big picture. Having me time enables me to stop and take care of my needs, reflect, evaluate and remain aware of everything inside me and around me. I'm always finding ways to reinvent myself.

Some moms just keep going at it nonstop, and don't take time for themselves because they feel like they don't have a choice. I'm here to say no more. Those of you running on empty, frazzled and frumpy, sloppy, hungry,  angry, sleep-deprived,  and sex-deprived...STOP!

Commit to being the Best You:
  • Go take that nap you really needed. 
  • Enjoy a new body scrub, yes you have time to use it! 
  • Enjoy your bathtub, light some candles, and put on the music. Tranquility is priceless. 
  • Spoil yourself a little. 
  • DANCE! 
  • Pay attention to your body. Quench your thirst, feed and nourish your body. 
  • Do yoga and/or exercise. 
  • Indulge just a tad. Life is too short to not eat that slice of cake. 
  • Paint your nails! Once it gets chipped, make a habit of doing it over. 
  • Buy new makeup
  • Always take pride in yourself
  • Get a haircut. 
  • Learn about Feng Shui and follow tips on how to re-energize your home and your spirit. 
  • Live in the now. Use this present moment to better yourself 
  • Ask for help. Ask yourself: "What do I need?" 
  • Spend time on yourself that will help you progress intellectually, and spiritually.

Listen to this POWERFUL message and leave your reaction in the comment box below. 



...And most of all: Trust that you're doing a great job!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Why We Stay Longer Than We Should...

After I wrote about Devotion in romantic relationships last week, I realized something that I forgot to mention. Devotion isn't giving so much that you have nothing left to give. Know your limits, know how much you can endure. Be smart and acknowledge how much of the time there is no reciprocated anything. Nobody should keep score, relationship efforts sometime wane or take turns in waves, that's just life. What I'm talking about is entirely different.

Lately I've been having a tough time with motherhood. Actually, from the time my kids learned to say "no" or could backtalk until now I have had a hard time with motherhood. What about motherhood? The devotion. Half the time I just wanna jump in the car and drive off. What kind of person does that? I lose my shit sometimes because I'm so used to not taking shit, from anyone. I'm aggressive, confrontational, and I know when I've had enough that I can just take off and you never hear from me again. I'm self-aware. With that being said, having children really shook my core. I 'm on a teeter-totter of emotional turmoil; on one side getting tons of crap from two small children while missing my freedom days and other the side reminding myself that this is what I signed up for, and that I have no choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other in this journey, because I have to be a good mom.  The best goddamn mom I can be. It's soul crushing at times, both the realization and the experience.

As natural nurturers we keep pushing through when the going gets tough with our children  and then we sometimes let that translate into our relationships. Does Devotion=Sacrifice? Staying with men who don't even realize they're losing us despite still being with us physically. Staying with the abusers, the misfits, the workaholics, the addicts, the mama's boys, the cheaters, the assholes, the jobless, the moochers, etc.

Think about a man though... when he's tired, he's just tired. How many more times is a man likely to leave a woman who's cheated on him more than once? How many times is a woman likely to leave after more than one occurence of infidelity? It's pretty clear there's a bigger likelihood of a man ending a relationship permanently more times than a woman would. Why is that?

I saw this video about female compromise and authenticity. At first it was like ugh what the fuck is she babbling about for so long? Then there was the moment of clarity. It explains why we take so much shit sometimes. It explains why our tolerance is so high,  and what fuels our inequality with the male counterpart.

"Men have a stronger need for truth. Women have a stronger need for love."

It always baffles and blows my mind how you can give a friend proof of her man cheating and she's more mad at you then she is at him. She's known for quite some time. She will cry, she'll talk shit, she'll say she'll leave, he might even hit her and yet she stays...

No relationship is perfect but both people need to be equally loving, equally respectful, equally trying to make it not just work, but flourish. You can't hope for change without there being clear indications of someone's desires and actions for it.

If you're a woman reading this, think of a time you either brushed your feelings under the rug for the sake of saving your relationship. Think of your strength. How many times have you endured both physically and mentally, and dragged your ass out of bed to face the day and take care of whatever the day had ahead of you?

If you're a man reading this; Why is it that when men speak their mind they're just speaking their mind but when women do; she's a woman on her period, pms-ing, or being a bitch. She's automatically being too emotional? Isn't that what separates us as humans from animals? Our emotions and intelligence? How many times have you become a drama queen during a bout of the common cold?

Wondering About Your Relationship? Try this Exercise.

I learned something from the book "How Full Is Your Bucket?" and my daughter's school. They taught the Kindergartners about bucket fillers and bucket dippers. Get two (2)  jars and a bunch of marbles. When you do something nice for your partner, you put a marble in their jar (bucket filling). If you do the opposite, your partner can take a marble out (bucket dipping), vice versa. Taking something abstract as love and feelings, and putting it in a way we can actually see is extremely enlightening. I personally like to take inventory of how I feel in my relationships. I know what I want, what I don't and what I can't accept. Catalog your feelings. For women who end up with empty buckets remember this:


When you want to run back to such relationships, ask yourself: How am I  much different from suicide bombers?


15 Definitive Signs You Snagged A Good Man (As Written By One)

Marry A Man Who Knows You Are Real


Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down To 2 Basic Traits

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Topic of the Week: DEVOTION

In my article, The Garden of Marriage I briefly mentioned devotion.  I spoke about how we need devotion in our relationships in order to keep them thriving. Is it possible to lose sight of this effort? Absolutely. This week I came across article after article all on different topics but nonetheless having the same underlying theme: Devotion.




Today's world of smart phones and dumb people have led us on a path to destruction;

We're all devoted to different things believe it or not. Some of us are devoted to attaining wealth, some attaining health, some are devoted to their talents, some are devoted to their goals, their religion, their partners.... While others commit and devote to nothing. We're all cut from different cloths, and what drives us, motivates us, and inspires us to become devoted is another matter, possibly our culture and upbringing.



Check out this video on Spiritual Devotion for example:





I find myself pulled in different directions sometimes. I want to be a good mother, a good wife, a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend, a good everything. It's impossible to be devoted to all these different roles without giving up so much of yourself as an individual that you no longer seem to exist. In order to be happy, you kinda have to free yourself from all these mental/emotional obligations and prioritize. Me first. Him second. The kids third. Everyone else: fourth. People will be shocked and say whoa, she's got her priorities all screwed up. No I don't: "The plane is about to crash, secure your mask first, then help others. Without you, there can be no one to help them." My husband comes second because it was he and I first who created this family, and in order to keep this family intact, healthy, and prospering, we need to be okay if we are to give our very best to our children.

In the beginning of every relationship it's so wonderful, it's a beautiful 24/7 high, it's like you're on drugs and you can't stop the addiction to each other. Every moment of the day is spent in thoughts of the other person, until the relationship is well past the honeymoon phase.

Why do we stop making the effort? 
For a number of reasons... life can be hard, kids, work-life balance, being sick, burn outs, random emotional funks, fighting, loss of motivation,  no down time/alone time, loss of fun, loss of regular laughter, financial troubles, too many outside influences, the home environment not being conducive for intimacy, schedules/time, growing in different directions. The reasons are endless, however if we show more devotion, you overcome adversity and grow stronger.

How can we show MORE devotion in our relationships? 

  • You're considerate of each other.
    • Mary had a long night and she's exhausted. John lets her sleep in, because even though he's also tired he sees that she's burnt out and she's done the same for him in the past. 
  • You're empathetic towards one another.
    • Mary's been stressed with the kids, and John's been stressed with work. Mary tries to do everything around the house without asking John for help. John realizes everything is taken cared of around the house and helps with things the children need that are overwhelming Mary. 
  • You try to meet your partner half-way consistently
    • Mary needs more quality time spent with John, he's been so busy working every weekend he just doesn't have the energy physically or mentally to spend with her. She voices her concerns, and John realizes he's been all work and no play. He decides to spend every Saturday morning with her doing something together for a few hours before he leaves to finish his project. 
  • You don't trivialize each other's feelings.  
  • You think of ways to surprise each other with random acts of kindness/love.  
  • You show affection. Sex might be considered overrated but hugs, kisses, touch, intimacy, and cuddling is not. Science proves the positive effects of physical love on depression, anxiety, sadness, etc. Making time for sex is a great stress reliever, and brings you closer to one another. It's the glue that seals us as a couple. 
  • You both focus on being Givers. See: Givers, Takers, Matchers.
  • You  both think before you speak or make a genuine effort to be nice to each other. 
    • John really isn't in the mood for conversation this early in the morning but he makes a point of delivering that message in a nice way that makes Mary feel understanding rather than rejected, dismissed, or attacked. 
Love: Blind Devotion


Devotion to Freedom:
A 24-year-old college dropout explains how he went from $10,000 in savings to $4 million in real estate

I Tied My Tubes at 28

Whatever it is you choose to show devotion to in life will prosper, blossom, or grow. Relationships are the #1 thing people stop putting as much effort after acquiring romantic love. That's how people drift apart, become careless, fall out of love, lose the spark, and stop being friends. One thing is for sure, both people need to show devotion.


"The Grass is Greener Where YOU Water It!" 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spanish Caramel Flan Recipe

This is a very special and exclusive recipe. It was my dad's famous dessert he always made for special occasions or just because. After he died, I never quite got the recipe right, until years later after many attempts. He always cooked the best foods and I enjoyed cooking alongside him. It was those ordinary afternoons that I will always remember and cherish, because it was more than just cooking, it was passing on memories, great food, culture, and love. Now I cook with my girls regularly, and write my creations down in hopes to cultivate a strong family bond and happy memories. Food is a personal privilege a lot of people take for granted and waste because it's abundant in some places. I know that food is more than that. It's closer to our hearts than we think, because we get pleasure from it, and share it with those we love. In memory of my dad I share it with you <3.

Spanish Caramel Flan

Ingredients:

8-10 eggs (large eggs; if the yolks are really small use 10) 
1 can condensed milk 
1 can evaporated milk 
12 oz whole milk 
3/4 cup sugar 
1 Drop of liquor (whiskey, vodka, whatever really, just to cure the eggs) 

Caramel (melt separately):
1/2 cup sugar, melted over medium heat until golden dark brown.

Optional: A few sprinkles of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Steps: 

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a large pan, like a foil pan, filled with water in the oven while it preheats. Your pan for the flan needs to fit inside. Like a bath.

2) Drizzle caramel in the pan, I love using the bundt pan. Put flan mixture inside on top of caramel 

3) Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. The middle should come clean with a toothpick. 
.
4) Let it cool and then cover and put it in fridge overnight before serving.  

5) To flip it over in a flat serving plate; run a knife around the sides of the pan and put a plate over the top of the pan before you flip it. 

 Enjoy!



Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Best Times to Cut Your Hair This Year Based on the Moon!

Lately it's been a little crazy around here. My family has been driving me bat shit crazy and I'm just going through days running around like a crazy woman trying to get everything I need to do done, and still have time to myself. I just thought I'd update you all on my hair. If you weren't aware; in the end of 2012 I started losing a lot of hair which was supposedly pregnancy related. I spent the better half a year buying a million sulfate free shampoos and tweaking my diet and exercise. I mean hair falling out is normal, but when you notice your hair being so thin you really can't ignore shedding anymore.

A couple of things worth mentioning are that:
  • It was only after increasing my calories, protein, and healthy fats consumption that my hair started shedding considerably less. 
  • I've gone back to 100% sulfate shampoo as of the last month, I feel that sulfate-free shampoos made my hair a lot worse. Sometimes we just have to go back to basics. Expensive fancy shampoo wasn't doing shit for me. 
  • I do exercise but within reason as my Dr mentioned, excessive anything will cause your body to be too stressed and it will affect your hair.
  • Sleep: I feel that this is the #1 thing that I had to change. The late nights was really taking a toll on my body. My Dr. was very clear about this. 
  • Diet: I started by resetting my metabolism. I was eating too low calories for years in a failed attempt to keep my weight down. Our body needs    X    amount of calories to function efficiently if we were laying in a bed all day, it's called a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Most of us are moving, running around taking care of our families, and doing things, so if we ate below our BMR, we'd be deficient in calories/proteins etc, which deteriorates us from the inside out. The total calories needed to sustain an active lifestyle is called the TDEE. Calculate your TDEE here: TDEE Calculator Whether you're trying to lose fat, maintain, or build muscle, this calculator is the best. I started to reset my metabolism by eating 2,000 calories a day. I did gain somewhere between 5-10 lbs, but I just stayed consistent for roughly six months. That's when I started exercising and cut calories by 15% and started seeing weight-loss.
  • You will always shed hair, but somewhere around 25-30 years old I read that the hair life cycle renews itself and you'd typically see a spike in hair shedding. 
  • Hair vitamins work but biotin made me break out more and I found that it's impossible to keep taking it forever. We're all looking for a magical pill for whatever ails us but in the long term it taxes our kidneys too much. 
  • To reduce stress, I take baths, exercise, get some me-time whenever possible,  read books, enjoy my hobbies. Soon I will be starting yoga classes. 
After having kids, everything changes. Mostly my skin and hair changed. So last year my friend told me about this website that tells you when is best to cut your hair based on the moon. It sounds outrageous but I've been doing it for a  little over a year and I really love it. I saw enough results to keep doing it. Before you become skeptical think back the the Mayans, Aztecs, Native Americans, Indigenous tribes etc. They followed the lunar cycle for harvesting crops and aiding fertility. 

The Lunar Chart displays the 5 optimal dates each month for cutting your hair based on your specific hair goal. With the five goals: Thicken, Beautify, Lengthen, Root Work, and Strengthen, this chart displays especially beneficial cutting days noted on the calendar in red. In addition, there are seasonal dates for the solstices and equinoxes which are particularly powerful cutting days.

 Don't miss out on the Spring Equinox this month! 
The lunar charts are as follows for this month of March-December. If you do decide to try it this year, please leave a testimonial in the comment box below letting us know what your results were like:













                          




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

West Indian Chicken & Dumpling Soup Recipe

Soup is something I think we learn from our families in terms of how to make it or when to eat it. Whether this is an authentic Guyanese barley soup or not, I'll never know because being born and raised in America really made me different. I've never even been to Guyana to be honest. Everyone makes things differently as it is but my entire life, Guyanese people say that I'm too Americanized. I don't know any other way to be so I put my own spin on these traditional dishes. Cilantro and Turmeric were never part of the dish growing up but I know that the uses of Turmeric benefits medicinally only strengthens my soups' power. Cilantro is great for detoxing heavy metals we are bombarded with daily so I included this as well. Together the soup is delicious yet nutritious. Growing up in a West Indian home, soup is something you typically make if someone is sick or if someone gave birth. If this the type of soup we make for when someone needs their strength my thought process was that this is what we need to eat regularly to keep us healthy and get proper nourishment. So I make this soup on a monthly basis. 



West Indian Chicken & Dumpling Soup with Turmeric & Cilantro

Ingredients
6-8 cups water 
2 lbs. chicken (chopped, washed, drained and seasoned with dashes of ginger, black pepper, chilli pepper, & Adobo complete seasoning)  
2 Boniato sweet potato
3 reg potatoes 
2 stalks celery 
3 large carrots chopped 
1/2 cup barley
5 cloves garlic
1 onion 
 2-3 tbs turmeric 
1 tbs. pink himalayan salt
Cilantro chopped (keep aside for topping)

Dumplings: 
2-3 cups flour 
2 tbs grass fed butter 
1/4 cup sugar 
1 tbs baking powder
Approx 1 cup water for mixing. More if needed to create a sticky consistency. 
Kneed and drop rounded spoonfuls of dough into boiling water. They will all be raised on the top of the soup when they're fully cooked. 

Steps: 

1) Put all your vegetables/grain/salt/spices to boil in water while you prepare your chicken. 

2) After adding the chicken, start preparing your dumplings. 

3) Drop spoonfuls of dumpling and let the soup boil for another 20 mins. 

4)  The soup should have boiled for about 45 mins total. When it's done, top with handfuls of fresh cilantro.

Enjoy!