Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A KIA Soul-O Trip

*I was lent a car by KIA Motors for this experience but all thoughts and opinions are my own*

I often preach about women (particularly mothers) taking care of themselves even if I myself struggle with doing just that at times. Self-care is more than just bubble baths & massages right? It's feeding our souls and nourishing all parts of us, including investing in our businesses. Part of my business includes attending conferences and with that comes time away from the family and day to day duties of being mom. Solo time as it were. But it's not really solo time in that I'm usually carpooling with a colleague or two to our destination.

However, last month I traveled to Palm Springs for Altitude Summit all by myself and it was glorious. When I first found out I was going I was ecstatic as this conference has been on my list for YEARS (I won a ticket from my friends at Everywhere Society) and it was just the boost I needed to get my butt back in gear after a kind of lackluster January. 

My friends at KIA Motors were kind enough to lend me a car for the trip as I realized I would be travelling solo for the first time in forever. Most of my mama friends understand when I say, it's a rare thing to be in the car all by your lonesome. I was thrilled at the thought of a solo road trip. And then I looked at the travel time; approximately an hour and a half and realized, "well that's not much of a road trip now is it? It takes me longer to get to my SIL's house in the Valley!" 

But still, the thought of quiet time in the car thrilled me. And then they delivered this zippy little KIA Soul to my house  and my excitement mounted. It was bigger inside than I remembered from my last KIA experience and it had so many bells and whistles, like multiple USB ports and heated seats!
Also surprising was the trunk space. I'm no light weight when it comes to packing for road trips (my shoes deserve their own bag do they not?) so I was happy I could cram all my gear into the trunk with room to spare AND have the backseat free. 
It also gets GREAT gas mileage so that made me stupid happy. I drove around for four days before heading out and drove all the way to Palm Springs on the same tank of gas. Matter of fact, I only got gas for the return trip to quell my passengers fear of running out should we hit traffic on the road home. 

But back to my, ME time. After drop off I hopped in the car and hit the road. I turned up the radio as loud as I wanted and sang my heart out. Apparently all the radio stations new I was ridin solo and played ALL my favorite gangster rap. It was a good time. Shout out to all those who saw me jammin in the car on the freeway and just smiled. I was in the ZONE. 

Aside from doing my own version of carpool karaoke, I had plenty of time to just think. It seems my mind is moving at hyper-speed most days so it was refreshing to just zone out a bit and let my thoughts unravel. I set intentions for what I wanted to do at the conference and what I hoped to get out of it. That quiet time was so necessary y'all. Things happened so fast with winning the ticket and being chosen for the live pitch contest with Alaska Airlines that I hadn't had time to really process it all. So many things I had asked for were falling into place and I needed that drive, albeit somewhat brief, to really take it all in.  
And in no time, I hit the wind turbines that signal the arrival into Palm Springs and my heart did a little jump as my journey was coming to end. Or so I thought. It actually ended up being the very beginning of so much more than I thought. This road trip - turned into a soul trip. One that I didn't know I needed but am eternally grateful I had the opportunity to take.

When was the last time you got out on the open road?

Monday, February 26, 2018

A Little Spring In His Step

“This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh B’gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.”

My kid grows at an unheard of rate these days. It's incredible. It seems like we just bought a round of clothes at Christmas and here it is almost Spring and he needs new shorts again! 

While I don't love how fast he is growing, I do love to freshen up his looks each season with a few new items that he can work into his wardrobe. I'm also big on pieces that work for both school, weekend excursions and the always exciting family photo.  Thankfully OshKosh B'Gosh has a variety of styles and colors that meet all our needs. He gets to pick out clothes that reflect his personality and I find things that will look great all season long. This kid is all about the fun when it comes to dressing so it never ceases to amaze what he finds. 

We headed to the store one Friday evening as a family and found some cute pieces that work well with his current wardrobe and fit his personality. Letting my kids express themselves through fashion is a priority for me. I have such a love and appreciation for personal style and it's fun to see what my son picks out and then try to figure out how to make that work. Take this T-Rex shirt for example. 

It's no secret that Baby Ninja is a dinosaur lover but the shirts he likes aren't always the cutest for say, an Easter egg hunt with family when I want him to look "Spring-like". 


 However, I also like that the clothes are durable so I don't freak out too much if he decides he wants to roll around in the grass. So long as it's after I've gotten a few pics in. 
This season OshKosh is all about bringing the fun back to kids fashion with quality pieces while still being affordable and I couldn't be happier about it. They have dope pieces that speak to both of our needs;dinosaurs, sharks and more for him and a variety of style options and colors for me. Win win! 

And because I want everyone to have the same experiences, I'm also excited to share a coupon (here's the code: In Store: 037686 and Online: OKBG3434 ) with y'all so you can stock up on cute things for YOUR kiddos as well as hosting a giveaway on my Instagram in few days!! You can go HERE and find a store near you.

So, what are you going to grab with your coupon?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

On Cutting My Hair & Other People's Opinions

Last week I was standing in line for free fro-yo while my son was wildin' out with a new friend he'd made while waiting and the kid's mom mentioned she liked my curls.
I responded as I always do, with an enthusiastic "oh thank you!" and then, before I could stop myself, I added "I'm about ready to cut it". Immediately I regretted it as she looked aghast and said "Noo. But whyy?"

Huh? Even though I knew better than to expect any other type of reaction I was still somewhat taken aback by a stranger having such strong thoughts about MY hair. 

got braids last year and people had THOUGHTS

 And it got me to thinking. Was I looking for validation in my desire to be part of the #cutlife and that's why I mentioned it? Or was it just me making conversation? But even if I was - why did she feel the need to suggest I not do it? What is it in folks that makes them think their opinions are valid or that they have a say?

image via @kekecameron 

Usually whenever one of my girlfriends mentions she is changing her hair I'm like 'ooohhh what are you gonna do?'
I don't usually try to talk anyone out of cutting their hair. Unless it's bangs. Everyone regrets bangs after the first week of forehead sweat. 
But I digress. 
I am team short hair don't care all day. Have been for awhile. It's only since Baby Ninja was born that I've been low-key growing it out again. But it's always interesting to me how invested we/some people are in other women's hair.
The number of people who have had opinions on what I should or shouldn't do with my hair is intriguing to me.

image via @kekecameron 

So much of who we are as women, especially black women, is tied into our hair. It's seen as our crowning glory and something to be shown off, valued and examined in it's various states. Black hair is the source of so much stress, struggle and love. It's also a billion dollar industry. Women of color have been fighting against their natural textures and patterns since forever. Looking for acceptance by adhering to societal "norms" and whatnot. It's a whole struggle y'all. 

Thankfully - I have some dope inspo for hair and keep getting messages from the Universe that yup, it is indeed time to cut it all off. Seriously, the number of women in my feed with fresh cuts has more than doubled and I take that as a sign. 

I'd be lying if I said I din't have some reservations about cutting it all off. It's been a LONG time since I've done someting super drastic (two years since I experiment w/ the blue) and I am hella nervous to see/hear people's reactions to such a drastic cut but one thing I do know - "a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life" - Coco Chanel. 
I am ready to be that woman. To make that change and shed my former skin and rise up to the next level. 

So I'm starting with the woman in the mirror. 

Cooking With Marcus + Macys

“This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.“

Cooking plays a huge role in my life. I am perpetually looking for new recipes to try or figuring out ways to put a fresh twist on old favorites. Because of this, I have a sort of a thing for chefs.  With the increase in culinary shows over the years, I’ve spent a fair amount of time learning about different chefs and following their careers.

image via Macys

On my second solo trip to NYC one of my best girlfriends took the train up from Philly for a quick overnight visit. While she was there and were traipsing about the city sans kids we decided to hit up Harlem and the famous Red Rooster restaurant to meet some friends. While I wasn’t able to eat there because it was after hours, I was still happy to claim I had set foot in the famed restaurant. 

Naturally, when I heard Chef Marcus Samuelsson was going to be part of Macy’s Culinary Council this month I was beyond excited. I have been following Chef Samuelsson’s career for quite some time and have enjoyed seeing him create his masterpieces on television. I am thoroughly looking forward to heading to Macy’s Costa Mesa on February 22nd   at 6pm to take part in a tasting of Chef Samuelsson’s favorite dishes.

image via Macys

While I still haven’t made it back to Red Rooster to eat, I think seeing him create live and in person will more than make up for that. Macy’s Culinary Council is simply on of the best things to me in that it allows the average person to experience culinary delights that they might not otherwise be aware of.   

 Go RSVP HERE and secure your spot! You don’t want to miss this! AND any Home purchase of $45 or more will earn you a $10 Macy’s Gift Card (and who doesn’t love an extra gift card?) The Red Rooster Cookbook and the opportunity to take a photo with Chef Samuellsson himself! How cool is that!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

5 things That Happen When You Get A Brazilian

As a woman, personal maintenance is something that kind of goes with the territory of womanhood. It's absolutely a choice on whether you even want to engage in it and if so, how far are you willing to go?  Keep it nice and neat with a simple trim? Get creative with a design? Dare to go totally bare? There are SO many options!
When you're a busy mother, personal maintenance is less of a priority than it was when you were single and trying to catch or how it was in the early stages of your relationship when you actually shaved your legs for a date. 

However, once you get on the waxing train, it's kind of hard to get off. Recently, my new friend Sara of Naturel Lash & Brow gave me a life changing Brazilian. I say life changing because it had been years since I had a professional wax (let alone one so risque) and it was like discovering a whole new side to myself. Naturally I shared my excitement with my girls in a group chat and we started talking about the kinds of things that happen once you get a Brazilian. Me being who I am, I thought I'd share those thoughts with you.

1) You reach new levels of intimacy......with a stranger.  Let's just be honest, in order to get a proper Brazilian wax your technician has to get all up close and personal and you had better be pretty comfortable with that. It's a strange thing having another person so close to your nether regions and you might feel like you need to take them to dinner later, but it's totally worth it. 

2) You start looking at 'sexified' undies on Amazon. Suddenly your regular degular underwear just won't cut it and you'll feel the need to step your game up. Because, while comfort is key, you've suddenly got your sexy back and need to see it as well as feel it. And let me just tell you there are some preeetty fun ones out there. 

3) You become kind of a bad ass. I don't know if it's the rush from the ripping off of the wax or the result of knowing there is negative hair down there but after a good Brazilian your inner bad ass comes out and you kind of feel like you can take on the world. You just willfully ripped hair from your nether regions. There is NOTHING you cannot handle. 

4) You start to wonder if you're the only one with a....secret. For some reason after a certain age you seem to discuss your maintenance matters less and less with your girlfriends. So it's only fair that after a wax you suddenly start to wonder if you're the only one who's been missing out or the only one still going through with it.

5) You have the sex. You could be totally mad at your partner and just not even be feeling them at the moment but get a Brazilian and see what happens. Suddenly, you are very aware of what's happening downstairs and you kind of want to share that with somebody. 

In short, you get your groove all the way back. Particularly if you haven't had a wax in a while. And I don't mean the kind you give yourself in a rush on date night. I mean, what you get when you have a certified esthetician get all up in there. 

Have you ever had a Brazilian wax? Did you experience any of these side affects? 

Kickin It With Chrissy Teigen

I don't fan girl over celebrities for the most part. Growing up in California and then working in the music industry in college, I've met/seen my fair share of famous folk and I get excited but not in a  jump up and down screaming way.

Until last week. I was invited to attend an intimate brunch with none other than Chrissy Teigen at the renowned Chateau Marmont. I may or may not have squealed in delight when I got the invite.

I've been a fan of hers for years. Last year when she launched her cookbook I pre-ordered it immediately and we've enjoyed several recipes from it since. So yeah - I was JAZZED to go brunch with her. 

As she's currently an ambassador for VitaCoco we were there to talk about their new Coconut Milk. Confession: I don't particularly like actual coconut. BUT I do use coconut milk for my creamer. I'm not sure how that works but it does. So I was interested to see how the coconut milk tasted and it was so delicious in my coffee. I'm also digging how they've incorporated it into cooking so you still get that great flavoring without any over powering flavors. Which for me is kind of important! 

blueberry coconut pancakes! 

Breakfast was delicious with blueberry pancakes, avocado toast, granola parfait and of course bacon. I loved hearing Chrissy discuss how she incorporates coconut milk into her cooking and why. As well as how her tastes have evolved as she's become a mother and even now while she's currently incubating baby number two. I also loved that she was honest about how she uses the product as well as how she eats and how this partnership has affected her eating habits and cooking style.

At the risk of sounding incredibly cliche, she was just as dope as I imagined she would be. She comes across extremely professional but also very fun. Basically who she is on Twitter and Instagram is exactly who you're getting in real life. How do I know? Well after the brunch we were heading out and I ever so nonchalantly shouted "I love your cookbook" while she was sitting in the bar area and she waved us over to chat a bit more. I low-key died a little. But I played it cool. (read negative chill was had)
To make things even sweeter- while waiting for our cars at valet she walked by and said goodbye again and posed for a quick selfie! She declared us to be in good lighting so I knew I could post with her approval! So far it's my most liked photo which is bananas to me. 

 They even shared one of the recipes from her new cookbook and I'm excited to bring this to the next potluck! No cooking and it only takes 15 minutes to prep? I'm sold! 

Honestly, I cannot wait for the new cookbook to hit shelves so in the meantime I guess I'll just survive on the memories of a fun morning and these fabulous recipes they shared with us.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sunday Soul Glow: Rituals & Routines To Start The Week

In this fresh new year I've made a promise to myself. One to take even better care of my person than I have in years past. To get done the things that need to be done and not fret about the ones that I'm not able to get to. And to give myself permission to rest, relax and be still/lazy. 

Ridiculously lazy weekends are ideal but no longer a reality. Back before we had kids we could lay in bed and around the house all day not really doing anything. And it was fabulous. now, that we have kids  and they have birthday parties, rehearsals, and more that require us to be out of the house for hours at a time, lazy weekends are few and farther between. But, a key tenet to my theme this year is glow and the best way for me to glow is to nourish my soul both inside and out. That means making Sunday Soul Glow a thing in my house.

I'm focusing on being still when I have the opportunity and using that time to do things that make me smile and help ease me into the week ahead. 
so I've come up with a three point plan to make my Sundays all about getting my glow on. 

Soak: Making Sundays my day for a long evening soak makes the most sense for my life. The week day evenings are kind of hectic and I don't want to have to rush my luxuriating so I can finish washing clothes,so I'm saving my soaking for Sundays. It's also a great way to wind down in the evening before bed and I think it will help waking up on Monday less jarring. Maybe. 

Sip: Tea, coffee, champagne. Whatever seems to be fueling my soul in that moment while curling up with a book that nourishes my spirit and my mind. I do love hot tea on a cool day and this winter-ish weather is my favorite for pouring a steaming cup. But weekends are also for mimosas + coffee so that is definitely staying part of the routine. 

Smell: Candles are one of must have indulgences. I love them so much and I tend to hoard them for as long as possible but also burn them as often as I can. Smells play a huge part in moods and I often burn palo santo/sage to cleanse the house and then light candles before my morning meditation. I love having candles lit all over the house giving it a warm and inviting feeling. Not to mention the place smells great without me having to do any hard work! Double win! 

When I think of a relaxing day, I think of sipping coffee, tea and possibly champagne. Reading a good book. Lounging in pajamas with candles lit and just being still. Granted, that's not easy to do with an active five year old running around but you get the idea. Not every single Sunday will allow for me to be home and be still but having these rituals in place will allow me to 
It may not happen all at once but I make it happen. Well I'm making it happen. 

What rituals do you have to get you going for the week?


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