Sunday, July 30, 2017

Balancing the "Dynamic Trinity"

All of my adult life, I've balanced work, school, and familial responsibilities. With a great support system (I see you, FAM!), and a goal to leave something meaningful behind for my children, I managed to obtain both my Bachelor and Master degrees while balancing the "dynamic trinity". It's been exhausting, exciting, stressful, and motivating all at the same time. And it's been worth it. Each degree earned meant personal & professional advancement and an opportunity to relate determination and hard work to my children.  Hence why I am returning to school once again - this time Law School, because  I aspire to have an alphabet soup of letter behind my nameπŸ˜„πŸ˜„, showing the world that #blackgirlmagic is REAL.

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Why call this balancing act the Dynamic Trinity, well it takes a certain kind of individual to take on the responsibilities and obligations that entails managing a family, progressing along the career ladder, and embarking on a journey of knowledge, all at the same time. It takes tenacity, determination, resilience, confidence and faith to juggle these three very heavy containers. I mean have you watched a juggler, that skill is dynamic.

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The thing is balancing the Dynamic Trinity seems normal to me. And its actually the norm for so many of us - single dads, working the mid level position while attending online classes for that MBA; the 20-something sister who helps her older sister out with childcare, while attending GED/CNA classes 4 afternoons a week; or the at her prime, career shifter, who decides to go back to school and get that degree in Interior Design because she always aspired to have her own design boutique. The list goes on.

Photo Source: Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education

So how can WE successfully balance the Dynamic Trinity? Several colleges and universities offer their students handbooks and brochures on balancing work, life, and school. These are good place to start, because they offer you information specific and relevant to you.  If you're already in school, check with your school's student affairs office.

Photo Source: University of Wisconsin @ Green Bay

Here are a few tips, gained from experience:
  1. First & foremost, you need to identify your support system. This is the group of individuals who understand, support, motivate, and are rooting for your success. They can be your family, your friends, fellow classmates, co-workers, professors & supervisors, anyone that can offer you genuine support. Trust me, you CAN'T do this alone. Remember, to take time to thank your team, keep them in the loop (your schedule, career and school plans) and spread the love. 
  2. Time Management is a MUST! I'm not the most routine individual, so a planner (both print and online) definitely saved me from forgetting parent-teacher conferences, monthly staff meetings, and deadlines for school assignments. Schedule time for you to study, to spend time with family, and some time for yourself. It might seem odd, scheduling your life but being aware of your schedule, whether weekly or daily, helps you stay on top of everything, which decreases stress. The less stress, the better you'll feel and able to tackle everything on your plate.
  3. Listen to your body. If you're feeling tired, overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, etc., take time out to center yourself. If that means taking a "mental health day" and staying in bed, DO IT, you've earned it. While the journey is long and at times rough, there is no need to overwork yourself. You have to be at your best if you're gonna make it to graduation! 
  4. Set realistic goals, then be flexible. It took me an extra year to get my undergrad degree due to taking time off due to a high risk pregnancy. When I returned, I had a new job and gained experience from a brief stint in AmeriCorps. I was actually better prepared that last year. If I'd let that time off knock me off track, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. Don't let setbacks derail you! Life happens, better to change with it. The end game is the same, the journey doesn't have to be. 
  5. Look at all the options. Is it possible to take hybrid (online classes with some face-to-face days) or online only classes? Is your employer flexible regarding time/schedule or even book or tuition reimbursement? Does your school offer child care services? Explore every opportunity to better support your goals, accepting help and advocating for yourself is one of the main aspects that will get you through the journey. 
I have no doubt that ya'll are out there doing the damn thing, getting those grades, passing those classes, taking your seats at the table, and making those family memories while living life. I'm rooting for you, you amazing DYNAMIC juggler!

Have any tips? Questions? Interested in taking the Dynamic Trinity on? Hit us up, we got you!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

"Keep Grinding"

The last two weeks have been CRAZY! I was accepted into Law School (and the joint MPA program!), increased responsibility at work (I asked for it!), and I've been in a Duke's of Hazzard type situation with my local post office (like, come on guys, you have one JOB - deliver the mail!). Through all this, I'm happy to keep going, to keep doing the damn thing, to keep grinding. Like my grandpops used to say, "When you stop moving, stop striving, You die!"

Image source: WeHeartIt

Life is about progression. To live is to be in a constant state of movement, of change. The things that drive you, your passions, your goals and dreams need you to keep pushing and striving for them. That's the grind! defines "grinding" as "working or studying laboriously". It's SO much more than that.

It's getting up everyday, whether your working two jobs while going to school, so you can get your foot in that door; or taking on more responsibility at work due to staff shortage, with little experience but a heart full of faith; or taking that leap of faith and taking your hobby of photography full time and quitting that sure thing of job that you hate. It doing what YOU need to do to get to WHERE you want to be.

Now the journey won't be easy, baby. There will be bumps, detours, and straight catastrophic events, but you'll get through them - that's the grind! Resilience, determination, and perseverance is what will get you through it, help you while on the grind. You have to keep going, achieve those dreams, simply SUCCEED! I'm rooting for you, luv!

Whatever your hopes, dreams, or passions are, NEVER stop striving towards them. Wake up everyday with a purpose to get just one step closer to that goal. Pound the pavement, knock on those doors, stay home to study and miss the 3rd "party of the year". Trust me, when you're sitting on that throne, that stage, that seat at the head of the table the journey, "the GRIND" would be well worth it!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Summer '17!!!!!!!


Summer '17 has OFFICIALLY started fam! Longer days, hotter nights, and good times to be had all around. LET'S GET IT!!!!!

We're working on bringing you new posts, reviews, GIVEAWAYS, and content - including videos,  guest bloggers, and recipes (Yasssss, you know we're foodies, check the IGs!!!!); and a little bit into the world of the Admins..

While you wait, check out some sites that offer some legit advice on career, relationships, finances, and parenting. Hit us up if there's a topic that you're interested in, have any questions, or just want to say Hi! We're here!

Seriously, ya'll send us your ideas, videos, inspirations. We want to give you what you want to see!

One a final note, Thank You! for sticking it out with us, We Appreciate You!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Know Your Worth

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This week I caught up with a few members of my tribe and over drinks and tacos we discussed how hard it is to truly know and appreciate your worth or value. Too many of us don't realize how much we actually bring to the table, whether in our personal or professional lives. We tend to ignore the gains, losses, and lessons that shape up and guide us. We allow other's perceptions of us define us; we revert into the "victim" when things don't go right; we take the blame for things outside our control. Making it happen in life requires resiliency, determination, drive, and self-awareness - all things that are internally motivated. Qualities that only you can nurture.

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Knowing your worth is more than being fairly and adequately paid for your work. Its being respected by all people in your life, its being appreciated & supported by your partner; respected & loved by your children; and trusted & adored by your friends. Its having faith and confidence in YOURSELF!

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Unfortunately, for me, it took obtaining a bachelor's degree, 4 years in an entry level Human Services position and a promotion to realize I have a lot to offer. I gained a new respect for my journey, my experiences, and my failures, the things that shaped me and brought me to the place of total respect of myself. That newfound respect translated into confidence and assertiveness. Qualities that have helped me move further, better accept and move on from obstacles, and work toward the goals I set forth for myself. Its FREEDOM!

How you see yourself, translates into how other people treat you. If you have negative thoughts, a lack of faith, or an overall ambivalence about yourself then others will treat you as less than deserving of respect, consideration or overall acknowledgment. The manner in which you carry yourself, shapes other's perspective of you. YOU own that narrative, it's your STORY!  Write it as you see fit and people will play along. Value yourself and others will follow suit.

Appreciating your experiences, your qualities and personality traits, passions and drives; the people in your life; everything that "make you, you" is the first step in realizing your worth. There is value in knowing, loving and appreciating WHO you are. That self love translates into everything aspect of your life - it guides how others perceive you, how they respond and respect to you; it guides your determination  and your drive. Its shapes you & your environment! So take a moment and determine your value, decide what you will and won't accept from others, from life. Make a decision to LOVE yourself and get ALL that you deserve.

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When did you determine "YOUR WORTH"? 

Monday, July 3, 2017

#ProductReview - #Clasier Bamboo Cutting Board (#Sponsored)

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I've been making it a point to make more meals at home and give GrubHub and UberEATS a break. And to make those awesome, creative meals, you've got to have the right tools. One of those is a good quality cutting board. IDK about you, but the counters in my rental are NOT Granite and really cant handle too many knife marks or curry stains.

So, I was stoked to try out Clasier's Bamboo cutting board, courtesy of #Tomoson. According to their website, Clasier is a Brooklyn, NY based company (YASSSS! My Hometown!!), with the mission "to bring to the household quality supplies making the day to day family chore exciting and fun!" Classier states that their #Clasiercuttingboardwutensils is:
So you know, I had to give it a try and test it out. What follows is my honest review, but first check out the Flipgram for a look at the set.

First off, I appreciate the size, I can cut all the veggies for my stir-fry without having to waste any other dishes. Its sturdy with some weight but not too heavy. It can stand up to some chopping. It has an edge around it that it deeper than other boards so it can catch whatever juices or seeds you will come across.

When I first opened it, it had an odd smell. So I gave it a quick wash with lemon and salt and let it dry completely. Once dry, I "seasoned" it (like you do a cast iron skillet), by rubbing on some olive oil with a cloth and letting set overnight. Once set give a quick wipe w/a clean damp cloth and we're good to go (REMINDER - do this at least once a month to maintain your cutting board). Trust me, its WORTH it)

It is very easy to clean - wash with soap and water (but don't submerge in the water) and let dry completely before next use. I've had it 2 weeks and it has yet to stain - and I made some curry and spilled a little bit of soy sauce (provided you don't let it sit!).

It does seem to be made from a different material than tradition wooden cutting boards and doesn't absorb or retain as much water either (which is desirable, to avoid mold and discoloration). Its actually quite quaint and can be used as a cheese plate or the like.

Now these utensils are BAE. I run through utensils regularly, whether they melt (cheap plastic ones brought in a hurry); are lost (I have children, man), or due to regular wear and tear, I am constantly replacing utensils. I like these though, they are sturdy, have yet to burn, or melt, or stain, and the variety is cool. I particularly like the flat spatula one the most - breaks up my meat, great for a stir fry and making scrambled eggs - plus it's easy to clean. Like the cutting board - don't let these guys sit submerged in water.

Overall, I like this set. While its not the cheapest, its definitely a well made product and recommend it for any foodie's kitchen.

Interested in purchasing or want more information.... Click Here 

Want to try products in exchange for a here

#TRPSupports - Women's Health

As women, one thing that should be a priority but usually falls to the bottom of the list is - OUR HEALTH! We always put the health and well being of others, whether they are our children, relatives, significant others, or clients/customers. We tend to forget about taking time out to make sure we're running in tip top shape (YES! Even you, Wonder Woman).

With that, I'd like to focus a bit on our lady bits! Women's reproductive health is a BIG issue right now! With the impending changes to the Affordable Care Act, women's health is at risk. We risk access to contraceptives, to procedures and medications that can save lives, and the right to make our own decisions over our bodies.

One of the decisions regarding our health involves the ingredients that goes into feminine care products, more specifically tampons and pads. Products most women use regularly! According to Seventh Generation:
[Feminine Hygiene manufacturers].. "Aren’t required to disclose ingredients, many do include some basic information on their packages about the ingredients — unless they use fragrance. A ‘fragrance’ in a product can be made up of 50-200 different ingredients, many for which health data simply doesn’t exist". 
In other words, companies DO NOT have to disclose what in the products that we are using in the most SENSITIVE parts of our bodies! I don't know about you, but I DAMN sure want to know what is going into my body, especially something I am expected to use for a good 30+ yrs of my life. So how do we change this?

With........Women, like you, me and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY), are out there hitting the pavement and making moves with some very forward thinking companies (like Seventh Generation & Women's Voices for the Earth) to ensure that there is transparency in feminine care products. In fact,
On May 23, women from across the country gathered on Capitol Hill to send Congress a message: It’s time to care about feminine care. Period.

So join me and other women, in making a stand:

To Take Action and contact your local representative ⇉click here⇇

A special S/O to Seventh Generation for the inspiration and information! #comeclean #generationgood