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Life

New Things in Old Places

New Things
Hey Queens. I’m still getting my groove back when it comes to blogging again, but I wanted to share more about what you can expect and the direction this space will take. I hope you’ll all continue to follow along, but if not, no love lost. Promise. If there is one this to be said for this oversaturated, hyper connected, sea of content that we call the internet it’s that you MUST practice the art of taking what you need and leaving the rest. It’s life changing. So what can you expect here on This Brown Queen?

Natural Beauty | Soulful Living | Conscious Motherhood | Health + Wellness

Natural Beauty: If you’ve been around here the past couple of years, you know this blog originally started as a beauty blog. I had some lifestyle stuff sprinkled in but for the most part I was writing about beauty for brown girls. Beauty is still very much a passion for me–so much so that I have my own makeup and skin care line for brown girls–but my love for it has changed a bit. I’ll continue to share beauty posts but it will be much more natural focused. And as for natural hair, while I’m no longer a loose natural, I’m so in love my loc journey so I’ll be sharing as I go. Speaking of which, I’m co-hosting a green beauty + natural hair Twitter chat on March 1st at 7est. #cluelessbeauty Join us!

Soulful Living: The biggest change is that this blog will be much more lifestyle focused than it’s been in the past. When I fake started that other blog {insert side eye}, it was because I felt the need for a lifestyle blog but didn’t want to disrupt this space. But, lifestyle is really what I love writing about. But why soulful living? Well, I’m working on exactly what soulful living means to me in my home, work, spirituality and daily life so you’ll see many of my lifestyle posts focused on that part of my journey.

Conscious Motherhood: My parenting style is evolving as I do. Do you realize how difficult it is to parent when you’re still trying to discover yourself? If anyone can relate, please, let me know so we can talk about it. Our journey of conscious parenting is a long–and difficult–one. I want to share as I’m learning, what’s working, what’s not, and all the wonderful discoveries along the way. That can include everything from homeschool discoveries to how we celebrated Kwanzaa this year.

Health + Wellness: The last piece of the puzzle–which probably should be the first–is taking care of myself. With 30 so close I can feel it (literally, everything hurts) my health and wellness is a major priority. This is new to me. Healthy eating, exercising, whet? But I have to make some changes. I’ve recently switched to a dairy-free diet–crying real tears on that one–and have been experimenting with more whole foods and organic options. So yes, you’ll be getting my chia oatmeal and blueberry muffin recipes here as well :).

So here’s to new beginnings in old spaces. ~xoxo

I trust my creative process and embrace its depth and dimensions.

Life

Love Thyself + Trust the Process

Tyshia Shante
I have to say my 29th year of life has been the most transformative thus far. I mean, aside from the arbitrary ideas that come along with 30 steadily approaching–feelings of where I should be, what my bank account should look like, what LIFE should look like–there’s been something much bigger going on. Something deeper. Subconscious even. I didn’t expect to go through so many changes this year. It’s like everything I had come to know, everything I thought I wanted to be, shit…everything I thought I was…was challenged. But in a good way. A way that I needed to be challenged. A way that I needed to experience so I could begin to peel back the layers of this persona and get to know the real me.

At a few months shy of my 30th birthday, I’ll be honest to say that I didn’t really know who I was for a long time. Still don’t if we being real here. Oh, but I’m learning. I know it’s trendy, cliche even, to use the term “woke”. Everybody’s woke these days. But, lowkey, it’s fitting. The past decade, chile yes I said a whole decade, I’ve kind of just reactively gone with the flow. I’ve never been a really questionable, skeptical kinda girl (aside from the times my intuition has blatantly told me “girl this ain’t right”). I was primarily raised in a family of the same. I had some really tough experiences in my early twenties but still, nothing too eye opening. Nothing too life changing. It wasn’t until my mid/late twenties when I started to embrace the complexities, the quirkiness, the afrocentricity, and the spirituality within me that I had always, subconsciously, suppressed.

I don’t know exactly what caused it. I’m sure it was a number of things. Meeting my husband introduced me to a world of art and culture I never knew existed. He helped me unlock the creativity that I had hidden inside, pushed to the back of my consciousness. Blogging and social media introduced to communities of women who were like me and different from me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. There were a few other things that I’m sure contributed–making my own career path, transitioning to natural hair, growing in marriage, and motherhood. Regardless of how it started, this period of awakening over the past couple years brought me to the interesting space I am now.

And I’m just scratching the surface. I’m just now figuring out what it is I want–in this moment. I added that last bit because I’m aware that life is fluid, it’s a journey, and things will change. But, I’m learning what it is I want, who I am, what’s important to me, what I like, what I believe, what I want to teach my children. I’m learning. Everyday.

I’m envisioning the woman that I would love to become but I’m not her yet. And that’s OKAY. I’m a work in progress, but that doesn’t take away from the Queen that I am right now. 

~xoxo

I love that woman that I am, the one I was, and the one I will become.

Life

Let’s Talk about It

Let's Talk about ItPeeks in…is this thing on? Hey hey Queens. So…shall we address the elephant in the room? Where have I been??? It’s a long story and I’ve been procrastinating for awhile but I’m ready. Grab your wine or some coffee and let’s talk about it.

January 2016 – Around the last time you heard from me

Whew. It was A LOT going on. I quit my job. After blogging here for three years, I was able to build a somewhat stable freelance writing career writing for a few beauty magazines and websites. logistics-wise things were changing drastically at work. Not to mention, I had been having a hard time juggling a full time job, three kids, an increasing workload, and general life responsibilities. I was always stressed. Always rushed. Always upset. My body was giving me hard signals that I needed to change things and soon. So, I did. And full transparency: there was no financial safety net and no star studded roster of clients. There was only God, faith, and ambition.

I landed a pretty big freelance contract days after my last day of work. Let me tell you how writing the vision and doing the work can work out for you–insert praise hands emoji. I had set some financial and business goals at the beginning of the month and I wrote the amount I needed to make each month from freelance work to reach it. That contract was the amount. To the dollar.

February 2016 – That time I fake started a new blog

In hindsight, I should have known better. I had just made one huge change in my life, that should have been enough for the moment. But, with all my energy now focused on freelance beauty writing, I felt I didn’t have anything left to say–here. I wanted to switch gears and make this a lifestyle space but…I didn’t follow my gut. Which I should have. So instead I started a whole new blog. One focused on lifestyle and motherhood. I had monetized this blog a bit, but three years into the game I knew so much more and I had big dreams for the new blog. Spoiler alert…it didn’t work out that way.

Summer 2016 – New year, new things

Time flies so yup. Between starting the new blog, freelancing, enjoying my newfound work at home life around spending my days with a toddler in tow…I blinked and it was my birthday. I was still blogging over at the new spot but I didn’t have nearly as much time as I thought I was going to have to get it off the ground. Let me tell you…I thought I had struggles with balance before? It was nothing compared to life now. The difference though? The struggle was worth it. Or as Elizabeth Gilbert so eloquently put it in Big Magic, I was more than willing to eat the shit sandwich that came along with freelance freedom.

I celebrated my birthday at a mountain resort in Seven Springs–I blogged about it–learning more about how to get involved in the school community in my city. I also started to set my sights on something new-ish. A beauty brand had been on mind every since my very first post. It was a natural extension of the work that I do–helping women of color in the beauty space. I had been tinkering with this brand, testing, trying, mixing for a couple years along with my business partner. With my “extra”–ha!–time I had been thinking about really getting it off the ground. So we set a timeline and got to it.

Fall 2016 – #notricksjusttreats

Belle Marron, an all natural makeup and skin care brand for women of color soft launched on Halloween #notricksjusttreats. We launched with the Belle Box, a taste of our full product line, and started shipping orders on Black Friday. My other blog had like ZERO views even though I had been pouring my heart into those blog posts. My freelance career was stable. And every where I turned, every networking event I went to, I heard the same thing “what’s up with This Brown Queen”? I missed this blog. It fit me. It was me. This blog changed my life and nothing I did over at my new site made sense the way This Brown Queen did. I decided I would be coming back…just wasn’t sure when/how.

Winter 2016 – Back like I never left…right?

Looking back…2016 was obviously the year of CHANGE. I started the year calling it the year of intention and maybe to an extent, it was. But more obviously, it was a year of change. Winter 2016, I started a loc journey. After about two years natural, I was over it and decided to loc my hair. Winter 2016 I officially shut down my old blog and transferred all my heartfelt posts to This Brown Queen.

And now we’re here. If you’re still here reading, thanks sis. I needed to get alladat out. If not, cliff notes version: I quit my job, started a new blog–that’s over, it’s cancelled–launched an all natural beauty brand and now I’m back.

Later days~ xoxo

I can reinvent myself as often as I need to. The only definition of me that matters is my own.

Life

The Year of Consistency

The Year of Consistency

As 2016 was coming to end, I started to think about what my focus word for the new year would be. I’ve been practicing using a focus word since 2015 when I decided my word would be action. By the end of that year I had put myself in the position to quit my job and freelance full time. Action indeed. Last year it was intention but if we’re being honest…the verdict is still out on how that worked out.

During the last few months of 2016 though, I kept thinking about growth. The word kept coming to me as I thought about what all I wanted to accomplish this year. The year of 30 has to be one of tremendous growth right? So just a few days before the clock struck midnight on the 31st, I was all set  to move forward with my year of growth. There was just one thing…in order to grow, one must CONSISTENTLY make an effort in whatever area of their life they are hoping to experience growth.

About that…

I struggle with consistency. Over the past few years I’ve had multiple blogs, in which I’ve struggle posting consistently. I’ve had a YouTube channel, in which I’ve struggled with consistently uploading videos. I’ve started many a budget program and have struggled with consistently updating it. I have started many challenges be it prayer, reading, writing, and have consistently failed in keeping up with it. I have set daily schedules, and business schedules, and household cleaning schedules and have consistently struggled to stick to them. I’ve launched a business and have struggled with consistently building my brand.

Growth? Yea, getting a bit ahead of myself there.

Instead, I’ve decided to commit to a year of consistency. Because I’m certain that if I’m going to improve anything in my life, it’s going to start with that.

So here’s to 2017. A year of consistency. And hopefully, if all goes well, the set up to a year of growth.

Life

Representation Matters…or Black Santa

Black Santa

A few days ago we were driving through my dream neighborhood. A diverse suburb right outside of Philadelphia. I won’t mention the name but just know, it’s on the vision board and written down plain, so you know it’s real. Anyway, we we driving through admiring the Christmas decorations when we noticed one of those big blown up Santa’s on a lawn. Pretty standard decoration right? Except, this Santa was black.

That caused me and the hubs to get hype. I mean, have YOU ever saw a gigantic black Santa just chillin on someone’s lawn? We sure hadn’t. So, hubs yells out “there’s a black Santa!” and we smile, cheer a bit, and keep it moving. That is, until our middle son asks something along the lines of “what’s the big deal”–that’s not the teaching moment here, it’s coming–and our oldest says:

Because all of the other Santa’s are normal. 

Hubs always says that I’m the parent who will catch a comment before it slips away like “ah ah not so fast, let’s talk about that.” And it’s true. Our society has allowed us to normalize so many things that, aren’t exactly normal, and I’m the mom who will quickly gather the children together for a teaching moment when those things arise. Read that as, daily.

What makes a Santa normal?

That’s what I asked our boy. It was quiet. I let the question marinate because, I don’t even think he really noticed what he said, before I asked my question. We were excited to see a black Santa, because it’s not something we see often. And because it’s not something we see often, our son had translated that as “not normal”. Now, okay you could say I’m being a tad overdramatic–it’s always 50/50 chance I’m being as such–but this wasn’t one of those moments. Normal, doesn’t equal white. And whether that’s what he was trying to say or not, it’s those subconscious thoughts, that I absolutely will not let fly around these parts.

I asked him again after a few moments silence. What makes a Santa normal?

It was like you could hear the realization coming to life in his mind. Quietly, he answered…”you know, I guess both Santa’s are normal.” I left it at that. Remember, I’m his mama, I know I had gotten through. Enough said.

Couple days later, I walk past the stockings we had hung on the railing a couple weeks ago. I purchase new stockings for the boys every year, the kind that they can color in and we always let them decorate the night we put up the Christmas tree. My oldest son had chosen a Santa stocking to color. A couple days ago, the Santa was white. He was…what was it he said again? Oh yea, he was “normal”.  At some point between our conversation and the moment I walked by, my son had colored the Santa black.

I know, I know. What’s the big deal right? Well, it’s actually a huge deal. Representation matters. Even when it comes to fictional characters. IT MATTERS. When our kids don’t see themselves, they form ideas about who are what they are. What they can become. They also don’t really question it, you know? It’s limiting. But when you show them, that black people are normal and can be anything, even Santa, it inspires hope. And it lets them know they matter.

‘Tis the season. ~xoxo

Life

A Quick Note

Hey friends. You know that moment when you realize the thing that you thought you got over, you didn’t? Yea. So that was me. My last post, I really thought I was back ya know? Like, sure the whole entire country may or may not have lost its mind, the white house is looking very…white, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around this new ‘merica situation but, I thought I was back. That I dealt with it. Nah son.

The reality is, I’ve been mustering about all the creative energy that I have to tackle my client projects. Anything left over after that has been going to Belle Marron. And in my spare time I’ve been trying not to feed the Facebook trolls–it may or may not be working–while also leveling up my volunteer work. All of that has led me to…well…here we are.

I almost don’t want to say it. But…me and nablopomo? That’s over. It’s cancelled.

Joanne the Scammer

Kidding…kidding… Until tomorrow then yes?

~xoxo

Life

Forward, Always

Forward, Always

Who else is dreaming of binge watching Netflix with a glass of wine and ice cream for the next 4 years weekend? Yea, me too. Hey, I didn’t say I was going to do it but transparency is key here people. Truth. Now that I’m halfway out of my pit of sorrows, I’m ready to starting thinking about what’s ahead. Yesterday, I wrote a reminder that we must seek the kingdom of God above all else. For me, that starts with what He’s put on my heart and in my mind so far. Remember, I don’t have the answers. Not by a long shot, but I do have some thoughts and opinions on what I can do so I’m sharing them here.

+ Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ~ 1 Peter 4:10. I’ve made it a point since I started freelancing full time to volunteer in my community. For me right now that looks like serving at my son’s school, one that’s part of an urban school district. Aside from serving as the VP of the SAC (basically a PTO), I write the school’s monthly newsletter and I’ve also volunteered to organize a newspaper club for students to give them a space to tell their stories. I plan to dedicate my time and gifts even more to my community and those around me. Faithful stewardship.

+ But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. ~ Luke 6:35. Now I did not say this was going to be easy. In fact, as a Christian I know that my path is one that will include hardship. But, if this election has shown us anything it’s that there is a lot of hate in this country we call home. I won’t add to that. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that she has studied God’s love for years and overnight almost lost everything she had come to learn. That can’t be us as children of God. That can’t be me. I’ll practice love. I’ll teach my children love. And let it be said…love can be from a distance friends. Self-care is a beautiful thing. 

+ Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. ~ Proverbs 22.6. To be clear, the votes showed than young people voted differently than the outcome we received. There’s hope for our future. There’s hope for us, as millenials, and for the generation that we are raising. I read an article about the election reactions from students in our school district and let me tell you…the babies are watching. And even though what they see is far less than the example we want, they are practicing empathy and compassion. Let us be mindful of this. No matter our feeling, let’s not raise up our children to be angry or to repeat the ideals of those before them. Let’s show them the acts and grace and love. Let’s raise a better generation than the one we see before us today.

Let’s move forward. In hope and love. We’re going to need it friends. ~ xoxo

Life

So…What Now?

So What Now?

Peeks out from under the covers Okay okay okay. I know I was supposed to post yesterday. But y’all, for the sake of my sanity I had to take a mental health day. It took everything in me to pull together some creativity for a few deadlines I had to meet and even those were kind of iffy. I was sleep all day. Not like the trendy term “sleep” as in opposite of “woke”–stay woke y’all–but physically sleep. I was up until 1:30am or so Tuesday. Staring at my computer screen in a state somewhere between disbelief and pain. Notice I didn’t say surprise. Because if there is one thing I knew before going into this election is that there’s a lot of “talk” that goes on behind closed doors. Seeing those conversations play out on a national stage via the 2016 election was painful, but not shocking. I mean…just because you know the girl down the street talks about you doesn’t make it feel any better when she says it to your face.

As I watched state after state go to our now President-Elect though, I was speechless. Again it’s one thing to know the girl down the street talks about you but to find out everybody on your street does too? I mean sheesh. Tell me how you really feel. So yea…I needed a moment. Self-care is a beautiful thing.

In the words of my son “welp…today is a new day.” It’s time to move forward. Today the real work begins. What are we going to do in the next 4 years? In our communities, in our homes, in our hearts.

If you came here for the answers sway, sorry to disappoint you because answers I do not have. But, here’s what I do have.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. ~ Matthew 6:33

It’s so important now more than ever, to be seeking God constantly. All day. Everyday. To guide our steps, our words, and our actions. To give us comfort, hope, and peace. And please don’t take that comment as dismissive. It’s okay to feel pain, it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to cry.

Love & Blessings ~ xoxo

Life

The Superwoman Complex

Superwoman

What day are we on? Oh yea, day 8. Yesterday’s post was full of bright spirits and happiness. I’d like to warn you that there’s none of that here. It got all used up yesterday. Sorry, not sorry. Today….today I write from a very different place. And no, it has nothing to do with the election. That’s a whole other post that’s not going to get written because quite frankly, I don’t know how I feel and shit…I’m just too exhausted to figure it out right now. Le sigh, I’m rambling so let me go ahead and get to it.

For those of you unfamiliar, let me just drop the wikipedia definition of superwoman on you real quick:

In sociology, a superwoman is a Western woman who works hard to manage multiple roles of a worker, a homemaker, a volunteer, a student, or other such time-intensive occupations.

Oh. Multiple roles you say? A worker? Check. Homemaker? Ch-depends on who you ask. Volunteer? Yup. Student? Not anymore but can I replace that one with mother and wife? Okay cool. Check. Or other such time-intensive occupations? Can we just file that under life? Managing these many roles is basically mission impossible. Wherever one area flourishes another lacks. Work has been flowing, clients are happy. Oh, I missed a WHOLE month of writing my son’s monthly school newsletter. I’ve been cooking multiple times a week, healthier wholesome meals. Oh, laundry has taken over my basement. Finally signed the boy up for basketball, got the oldest in a talent show, and the baby in an art program! Oh, hey babe…love you…mean it. Get the picture?

Contrary to what you see in the comics, being a superwoman is straight up unfeasible, impractical, and impossible. But trying to be one? Well, that shit just sucks. I would go into to the pressures that come with being a black woman intensifies this by a million, but we don’t have the time. Yet, even though I know this to be true, whenever I fail at being this mythological creature, I feel bad.

What is that? Who feels bad about not being able to achieve something that is actually impossible? Me. As hard as I try to block out the noise of the world, the judgments, the “you don’t my life so why are you concerned about it” people…whenever I fail at being superwoman those are the very first things I think about. That’s the superwoman complex. I’m trying desperately to rid myself of it. I’ve written about it before. I’ve given up on trying to achieve this imaginary notion of balance. I’ve stopped comparing myself to the perfectly crisp, clean Instagram homes, moms, and babies…and most days it works.

But some days, like today, the superwoman complex takes over. It sucks.

Hanging in there. Until tomorrow ~ xoxo

Life

Giving Myself Permission

Permission

I bought Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic a couple months ago. Remember that “In Between” space I was in? Yea, I picked it up then. From what I’d heard about it so far, I felt that in the midst of me trying to find my footing with blogging, writing, and running a business, maybe it could shed some light on things. I didn’t read it for months. Busy trying to figure things out on my own ya know? When I picked it back up at the beginning of this month–inspired by my new creative goal I suppose–my eyes were opened. Big Magic is exactly what I needed to read at exactly the moment I needed to read it. Divine timing.

There’s so much magic in that book. I mean, literal gems of insight and wonder. I would be sad I hadn’t read it sooner if I didn’t understand that I may not been as receptive before. I could do a whole book review, breaking it down bit by bit but that’s not what I came for today. Today, I wanted to talk about Permission.

In Big Magic, Liz writes about giving yourself permission to be creative. To do thing, write the thing, make the thing. She goes beyond that too. It’s not just about the permission to be creative, but it’s permission for your creativity to just be. It doesn’t have to be original, or done to help someone. You can do the thing for yourself, to save yourself, entertain yourself, help yourself. Y’all, it doesn’t even have to be important. It just has to be authentic.

When I decided, a mere 12 hours after launching my business pre-sale that I wanted to do a blogging challenge for the month of November there was this small voice in the back of my mind that was like “for why girl?” For what? I had no real answer. I mean who does that? Really. Who launches a new project and then turns around and does a personal blogging challenge? Me. Because I realized a long time ago that writing is how I learn about myself and blogging happens to be my preferred outlet to do that. But even with that realization the voice still questioned “what’s the point?”….

Big Magic is helping me understand that I don’t need a point. I don’t need an answer to that small voice’s question. I’m challenging myself to blog everyday simply because I want to.  And that’s that.

This reminded me of an affirmation from one of Tracy G’s audio vision boards: “I am not stalling my life for someone to grant me closure. I write my own damn permission slips.” ~ Middle Finger to My Old Life x Tracy G

Later days ~ xoxo

Life

The One Thing

The One Thing

As the holiday season comes upon us, I’ve already lowkey found myself starting to think about all the things. Will I be hosting Thanksgiving dinner or just keeping it small with my boys at home? When should we start working on these Christmas lists and where is all this money going to come from? Oh, I want a new Christmas tree, one of those big ones with all the lights. I wish I had the budget to go all out with decorating and holiday traditions! It’d be nice start some new ones but, I never have time to do anything. And so the list goes on.

Yup. The holiday season, in all of its cheerful joy, is also the same season that some of us lose touch the most. We easily become overwhelmed and lost amongst the details that we lose focus on the one thing that truly matters. Jesus. My devotional today was a divine reminder of this: Luke 10:38 – 42.

(38) As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. (39) Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. (40) But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” (41) But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! (42) There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. ~NLT

As we journey through this holiday season and beyond, let us remember this. The details? They fade away. The food will be eaten. The decorations will come down. The gifts will be forgotten. And all of these material things can be taken away in an instant. But Jesus? His love, guidance, teachings, presence, word…they will be not taken from you.

I’m focused on the one thing. And I will not be distracted by the details.

The devotional that inspired me today was Simplify by the YouVersion Bible App. It’s a 10 day study for the “overscheduled, exhausted, overwhelmed” to help you unclutter your soul <3.

With love & blessings ~ xoxo

Life

Day 5: Pushing Through

White Pumpkins

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with white pumpkins. I had every intention of sharing a recipe post today. Cheesesteak sliders. They might be the only Facebook recipe I’ve gotten right. Unfortunately every single person I know is sick, getting over being sick, or starting to get sick and well, here I am. Right in the middle of it. The good news, I can work from my bed because things still need to get done. The bad news…my sinuses won’t let me think. What’s a girl to do? The recipe will be up soon…I mean I already bought the things so I have to make it. Not today though. Today, I lay in bed sipping Echineacea tea (Traditional Medicinals come through!!), with a bowl of chunky chicken noodle soup (Campbell’s no shame in my game), pretending to write but really watching Netflix. There’s always tomorrow right? Until then, enjoy this random photo from last year’s visit to Linvilla Orchards. White pumpkins because why not? Later days…(that means tomorrow because NaBloPoMo).

~xoxo

Life

In the Kitchen: My Real Life Cooking Hacks

Real Life Cooking Hacks

“How do you do it all?” I feel like I get this question every other day. I seriously want to answer “all what?!” Maybe it’s because I mysteriously get asked this question on the days where I have done none of the things but for real, all what? The most recent question though was about cooking of all things. You guys already know, I’m no Chef Curry–did you know Ayesha has a blog? I love her more everyday–but I can whip up a meal or two that tastes pretty legit. I posted my salmon salad on instagram and snapchat and got all of these “Girl how do you eat healthy like that being so busy?” That’s when I realized, I should share my some of cooking hacks because let me tell you something. The answer to that is simple: I chose my battles.

Aside from being a pretty okay cook, when it comes to feeding my family I have a few non-negotiables and a few I could care lesses (lesses? Yea um okay). I really do try to do the whole organic thing as much as I possibly can when it comes to meats, fruits, and vegetables. It doesn’t always work but that’s why you shoot for the stars. For us, that means they’ll have something organic a couple times a day. Since organic meat is not cheap we always have a meatless day which brings me to COOKING HACK #1: Meatless Mondays. They’re easy. Super fast to cook. And probably our healthiest meal of the week. The best part, everyone knows it’s coming so need to look at me crazy when it’s dinner time :).

I feel like somebody somewhere is going to gasp at this but onto to COOKING HACK #2: I buy all the pre-chopped things. Listen, one of the biggest obstacles as a busy WAHM of three is time. I don’t have much of it. When I say I chose my battles I mean it. Sure I could get the unchopped whole onion for .59 cents. Or, I can pay $1.29 for the pre-chopped onion. Saving me like a good 15 minutes of meal prep. To me, it’s worth it. So yes, I buy all the pre-chopped things. Onions, peppers, watermelon, pineapple, there is no shame over here. Buy the pre-chopped thing.

This. Is. The Remix. I sincerely hope you said that in Diddy’s voice in your head. Or nah, suit yourself. Anyway COOKING HACK #3: Remix the good meals. Whenever I stumble upon those really good meals that everyone likes, I just make them over and over again swapping out ingredients to make it a “new meal”. For example, everyone is a fan of chicken alfredo. So I just mix up the veggies each time we have it. Another one is how I’ve perfected this “salsbury steak” recipe (quotes because I don’t really think it qualifies as salsbury steak…maybe hamburger steak? I don’t know) and I know they love it so I just mix up the sides.

Pre-packaged foods get a bad rap. They do man. And I get it, I understand. But what you gotta understand is we’re talking about choosing our battles here. And not all pre-packaged foods are created equal. COOKING HACK #4: Even though I don’t always make it to the fresh produce aisle in my local grocery, I am typically in a place where I can pick up some pre-packaged food (read that as Target) and so, I do. You’ll typically find a few frozen salmon filets in the freezer (wild caught of course, Simply Balanced for the win). Or a pre-mixed rice side that only takes a few minutes to reheat (Archer Farms because what else?). Along with that, I’m not opposed to grabbing the pre-cooked variety of stuff (Archer Farms again!) as long as I’m giving the ingredient list a good look over.

When it comes to cooking and my pursuits to give my family healthier meals and better eating habits, I’m just determined not to let it drive me crazy. I can get really particular about things but keeping the WHY at the front of my mind helps me make those “fine line” decisions. At the end of the day, we just want to eat better and eat good. So if a pre-chopped veggie, remixed meatless monday meal is the way we get there, that’s the way we do it.

Do you have any cooking hacks to share? Drop them in the comments so we can take notes!

~ xoxo

Life

A Goal without a Plan is Just a Dream…

A Goal without a Plan is Just a Wish

Every year around this time–and again around the end of the school year–I start to think about new planners. I am a planner, sometimes to a fault. Seriously. Even my plans got plans. It’s just part of who I am. When I don’t have a clear plan for my day, week, month I feel off balance. And nobody has time for that. But, if I can be real…even with all this planning, I have yet to find a system that works for me consistently. I’ll use a time blocked planner for a few weeks and then start to feel too restricted. The next few weeks I’ll bullet journal and then feel like I can’t really see what I have going on ahead. I’ve tried big planners, little ones. Separate planners for my business and personal life, and one big planner to keep them altogether. It’s always the same thing. Something works for a few weeks and then…it doesn’t.

That doesn’t stop me from searching though.

Recently I’ve been using this combined three planner system. I know it sounds crazy but hear me out. My Google calendar is a must. If it’s not on my Google calendar, it’s not real, I won’t remember it, it’s just not happening. I use a little notebook–it’s gold and my fave–to write a long list of things I have to do each week. Just get it all out my head and onto paper so I don’t have to think about it. And then I have a weekly planner so I can plan out what needs to get done when. Yea…it’s a lot. But this is a no judgment zone here okay?

With it being November and everything though, I’m on my bi-annual hunt for a planner that gets me. I’m looking at two in particular plus an extra, because why not?

Get to Work Book – This is a daily planner and goal setting workbook that I’ve had my eye on since it first launched a couple years back. I listen to the creator of this planner’s podcast and it’s been really helpful to me on my journey as a multipassionate creative entrepreneur. That plus the fact that this planner seems to cover everything you need when you’re working on something big, makes me feel like it might be the one. Or really close to it ;). It’s pretty pricey though, so it would be a splurge for sure…

The Passion Planner – The instagram posts alone are enough to make me want to get this. Seriously, #passionplanner is like all of the goals. This planner was born from the creator’s analysis paralysis, so basically I feel like she knows my life. Remember I’m the girl whose plans have plans…I get it. The passion planner has so many aspects I like, the passion roadmap, monthly goals and reflection pages, the free space on the weekly layout. The only thing that makes me nervous are the time blocks. I don’t work well with planned time blocks. As much as I want to…I don’t. Decisions.

Hustle Goal Setting Journal – This one is a more of a journal and it’s by my favorite “mentor in my head”, Myleik. She has an interesting way of planning days that she broke down in her first journal Learn More to Earn More. Truth is, I’m getting this anyway, even if it doesn’t work as a daily planner for me. I’ve been using these as a business journal for the past two years and I like having a place to track all my wild ideas, wins, setbacks, new goals etc. I do want to make business journaling a more regular practice now that I have so many different things going on. Have to make sure I’m acting with intention and journaling is one of the ways I reconnect.

Full transparency…I’m leaning towards one more than the other but I still have a couple weeks to go.

Until tomorrow ~ xoxo

Life

Worth the Wait

Worth the Wait

When I was younger I wanted to be a lawyer. I changed my mind once I learned how many years you have to go to school in order to become one. My stepmom used to tell me “the years will pass anyway”. But I wasn’t trying to hear that. Ah hindsight. It’s 20/20. The good news though? I’m not a lawyer. That definitely wouldn’t have worked for me. Oh, and the lesson hasn’t been lost. The years will pass anyway.

Monday, I launched a new business venture with my friend. A three year long dream that has finally manifested. And I almost didn’t do it. Oh I had a million and one excuses–read more here. One of them? It was going to take too long.

I did it anyway. Days turned into weeks. Weeks into months. Months to years. The time was going to pass whether I was working on it or not. So I worked. Not all the time, though I should have, there’s goes that hindsight again. But, I continued. For three years.

The products were crafted. The designs were finalized. The supplies were ordered. The website was created.

On Monday our dream went from vision to life. And it was definitely worth the wait.

If you’re on the fence about doing something, creating something, writing something…there are many things that can pop into your head of why you shouldn’t do it. One of them should not be time. The best things are worth the wait.

And if not…I mean…the years will pass anyway ;).

I grabbed this prompt from GG Renee’s #30days30layers challenge. Stretching my creativity for #NaBloPoMo. Catch you tomorrow.