Increased Self Care

Who doesn’t love getting a mani/pedi? How about a salon trip? It feels amazing to pamper yourself or just continue your up keep. As much as these activities are awesome and can be forms of self-care, do not limit that to your only self-care. Increase self-care to those things that bring joy into your heart and life.  What about that hobby that brings the type of smile that can’t be wiped away?  What about making time with friends a priority? What about going back to school to accomplish a goal you left sitting? What about making time for rest and unplugging? We all need to dip deeper into self care now more than ever.

brown couch near pillows and mats

Photo by Kevin Menajang on Pexels.com

When I hear older folks make complaints such as “what is this self-care business, we didn’t have that growing up,” it irks me. Those be the same women that have the most insecurities, the most hard battles in their spirit that have gone unchecked. When you know better you do better. Why aren’t you practicing it yourself or encouraging the younger generation to focus on their mental health just because no one encouraged you? You remember them lonely battles you fought? Remember that feeling of being overwhelmed? Why would you want another woman or man to go through that?  Even it made someone 5 seconds better, it’s worth it. Encourage and then practice it yourself. 2019 is about accountability and that is even in how we treat ourselves. We can’t expect anyone to treat us well when we treat ourselves badly. Think about it from head to toe. What are you doing to make you whole? If you are still eating, drinking, not working out, have a thousand bad habits that contribute to your body and mind’s demise, these things need to be worked out.

adult art beautiful beauty

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Self care is about self-preservation.  It pulls you out of darkness and makes you alert. When you don’t practice self-care often times you are numb to things and people around you. It doesn’t stop bad things from coming but it can help you deal with it that much more. Think about the times you let yourself go mentally. You weren’t even ready for hits that life was about to throw. Self care is super important. I don’t care what you call it.  You can call it self-care, self-love, me time, whatever it is find it, be consistent, and then add some more. There is no such thing as too much self-care. That is impossible. Having joy in this world is what keeps people from feeling hopeless. That hopeless feeling leads people into paths that don’t bring about positive results. People need hope. Joy isn’t about walking around with a smile 24/7.  It means that you have things in your life that bring you real happiness no matter what. Self care is about preserving peace in a world full of chaos. Self care is about loving yourself even when the world wants to make you feel unlovable. Self care doesn’t care what your status is in life. Self care is important. Please invest in yourself. Practice some more self-care!

two woman doing exercise

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

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Hot Chocolate 15k Is a Wrap

I came, I saw and I conquered. Run number 1 for the season is done. I completed it in 1:23:10! Not too bad for running 9.3 miles! I’m super proud of my time, the training, and the medal!

Preparation

You don’t normally wake up and just decide to run a long race like that. I have been training each week with 2 run days, 4 workout days and 1 rest day. I know that seems like a lot but it’s necessary for me. Also one thing you know when you train is not only do you need the blessing of your doctor, sleep and nutrition play a huge part. Since going vegan nutrition has been pretty easy. As I learn more recipes it’s been helpful to make my goal. I still use my Fitbit app to monitor my intake, workouts and sleep. People think that sleep doesn’t matter but it does. Even with a hectic life I make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

2 days before the race I increase my sleep to 9 hours. One reason for that is pre race jitters will attempt to rob your sleep pattern. They hit me pretty hard this time. I wanted to make sure I at least got the rest that I need since I’m training for multiple races I also limit alcohol. Race week I have one glass if that of wine. These days I find without alcohol with so much on my plate the second I sit, I’m sleep. It’s imperative to keep my mind and system clear.

Night before the Race

I set everything that I need down to undergarments out. I make sure I go through what I need to charge such as my phone, wireless charger, and my wireless headphones. This way I’m less likely to scramble in the morning. I take my shower, and do my eye masks to prevent that puffy look as much as I can. I drink 20 ozs. of water and I get Luke warm water to drink in the morning. I also redo my running playlist. I use a different playlist from the one I trained with so I can give fresh motivation. This way I can be hands free and less manipulation of my cell. I use an arm band too so I don’t even look at my phone during a race!

Day of race

I eat what I train to eat. I eat non dairy yogurt with craisins, raisins, and granola. I drink a glass about 4 ozs of orange juice. I do not drink coffee as I’ve found it makes me more anxious and makes to have to take numerous bathroom breaks that wouldn’t work out during the actual race.

My running belt has two small water bottles on them I only fill them half way each so I can use it splash water in my mouth when I run. I stop at least three times for the sports drink the race provides and I only take sips. I never finish a cup even though the cup is usually not even more than 2 ozs.

During the Race

I dedicate miles to my kids. Usually after I get through the first 5 the next three are for them. I give each of those miles my all because I know I wouldn’t let my kids down. It’s a way to push myself. Also whenever that curve that let’s me know we almost done about at mile 5 is magical. It lets me know that whatever I’ve done to get to that point I got it in me to finish! I talk to God and pray not to get me through, but anytime I run it’s always a release. Whatever is on my heart and mind, I’m leaving on the trail.

The last few final dashes are super hard for me. I’m talking about that 50 meters is killer! I find my emotions are at an all time high. Some can see the finish and get inspired to push harder but that doesn’t work for me. My mind tells me I’m done and my body knows that’s a lie. With that being said it’s harder for me at the very end. With tears in my eyes, I was able to finish today.

Every race has treats! This one being the hot chocolate Race they had hot chocolate, duh! It had a cute take home mug with a banana, marshmallow, Rice Krispies, pretzels, and an organic vanilla wafer. I brought most of the items home and gave a nearby kid the hot chocolate.

Post Race Recovery

Everyone is different. Today I had my coffee and a plain bagel with nothing on it. No butter not even my vegan butter and definitely no cream cheese. I sat on my couch with a towel and enjoyed it. My husband brought me a large fry and I fell asleep. After my hour nap I get up and do my foam roller. Mind you I always park close but far. After the race and I’ve had a great cool down, the walk helps me.

Epsom salt is bae. My great grandmother put me on years ago and I don’t care what new new new of muscle relaxing is out, epsom salt and a warm bath is the trick. After my bath I shower, no need to mention the why. I then do a facial mask, and wash or blow dry my hair, and comfy clothes are the only things I wear.

I then can assess injury which I can report outside of a toe blister I was fine!

I usually get a celebratory glass of wine but the way my legs are set up I’m sure I’ll get to it at some point! Right now I’m finishing up coffee and flooding my system with water!

So Broad Street is in one month and with that being said, the training doesn’t stop! Thank you to my BGR, Black Girls Run group and family who keep me on my toes. I also want to thank Urpower running belt as I had to replace my old one 2 days before the actual race. I hate anything new before a race that I haven’t tried and broken in. No new shoes, new pants none of that before a race! Shout out to my husband who has and will continue to be irritated by that light coming on at 530 am in the morning as I trained and continue to train. Thanks for being instahusband to get the before race pics I ask for! For watching the app to be sure my car didn’t get a ticket and for always making sure I’m race ready! To my children who were so excited to drive pass the location and as they swore they saw me. I also thought I saw them too! So it’s even! They didn’t even care that I smelled like a whole man when I came home! They just were excited that I “won.”

Shout out to my amazing friends who sent me messages before, during, and after! To my readers who hear the climatic countdown for each race!

On the Move: Crunchik’n Style

Shout out to #travelwithchefcherryl and the brunch buddies as we take you behind the scenes to local eateries. Again as a lifestyle blogger you are going to want to know the places to either get out, have new places to grab food with bae, your girls or even the fam bam. I enjoy getting around Philadelphia and yesterday’s spot was brought to us to by Crunchik’n.

Tuna bowl served with rice, lettuce, salsa, Japchae noodles and a dumpling

Crunchik’n is a Korean flare restaurant. It’s amazing food at great prices that is made fresh to order and it tastes amazing. From their homemade dumplings to their marinated sauces each bite is special. We caught up with Jen who is part owner with her father, John Choi. She stressed that the goal was to make quality food that was made on the premises and that the sauces made was fermented and marinated to give the meat their fresh, unique taste. I think they hit a slam dunk. The selections are so good that even if you didn’t want to sit and eat you could order their half or whole chicken cut up and make dinner at home special too. Oh and if you’re wondering they are on Caviar for delivery as well.

Kimchi cheese fries

Since I’m vegan let me tell you that they had amazing vegetarian dishes that I was able to veganize. I didn’t leave hungry in the least bit. My suggestion is that this is a causal dining experience, good for all types since although they don’t have a specific kids menu, kids of all ages would love the chicken and other offerings. We even had some kids along and I heard a few to all ask for seconds. This is a great spot to gather friends as well or makes a causal date night or date day location.

Beef and vegetarian taco I personally had the vegetarian and it was amazing to keep it vegan I had mine without the sour cream and it was still full of flavor

Crunchik’n has been open for a little over a month. This means you need to get in and show them a little love. For new guests who go you will also receive a gift! Who doesn’t love gifts?

Beef dumplings on the right and the veggie dumplings on the left was made with kale and spinach. The veggie dumplings were super good!

So if you love Korean style food that is fresh, high quality, and served by awesome accommodating staff, make sure you add Crunchik’n to the top of your lists of go tos. You will not be disappointed!!!

Korean fried chicken can come in 8 house-made marinated sauces

They serve tacos, rice bowls, sandwiches, dumplings, Korean fried chicken and even small bites! What’s not to love?!

Spicy pork melt sandwich

The drinks are good too!! They have arrangements from Bubble Teas to fresh Sparkling Ade…

Strawberry lemonade and grapefruit

Mango and Matcha Green Bubble Tea

One last thing:

Crunch Balls which comes with either rice or potato and either beef or vegetarian

The hours are as follows:

Easy Transition With Go Vegan Philly

So last week on my Instagram I put out a call for any Philadelphia Vegan restaurants. I am happy to report that several did and today’s highlight goes to Go Vegan Philly

So I was able to have a successful full vegan weekend this past weekend.  In addition to that I was able to experience an amazing, flavorful experience with Go Vegan Philly. First of all let me share with you some of my personal reasons or my whys. I am transitioning to Vegan, one I believe with the assistance of my doctors this is the best meal plan for my life. If you ask the others in my house its a NO go. However that is not deterring me from choosing a Vegan lifestyle. My other issue is that I want to be able to eat clean. You know if you have been following me that over the past Summer I began substituting Vegan dishes and substitutes into my everyday eating. One of my issues that I experienced as I begin transitioning is the fear of having to only eat vegetables alone, meaning just salads. I love salads but let’s be real it’s not enough and I was finding even with several options for Vegans it was semi processed and definitely not whole foods that I need and believe will be better overall. I’ll admit a lot of it had a lot to do with ignorance of what it means to be vegan.

I feel I have had every salad combination there is. As I get more and more into it I am finding some amazing foods that can even surprise a non vegan. This is where Go Vegan Philly comes in. I had Jerk Chicken (Jack fruit) over rice with sautéed kale and cabbage and plantains.  Let me tell you I have personally been to Jamaica and had it from the natives and this dish is super bomb and close.  I kept telling myself to separate the platter. Have a little as a late lunch and then have the rest for dinner after a workout. NOPE! I ate the whole thing in a matter of minutes. Here’s my take. I no longer have to compromise flavor for a Vegan lifestyle.

I took the time to interview the owner of Go Vegan Philly and here’s what I learned:

Shaun Thomas has been Vegan for 4 years. He has had his home based restaurant for over a year and its taking off. I can definitely see why. His family is also vegan as well. He makes it all from mac and cheese to fried chicken and its ALL 100% Vegan.  From first to last bite I am super hooked.

Him and his cousin Charmain Quarles are the chefs. I watched them in action as they prepared these dishes. They serve each meal with love and smiles. They worked extremely well and I just blended in the background to see how their chemistry meshed and it was amazing. I love food and I love to eat. I don’t want to just eat salads and then feel like I lost something by switching. That is exactly what Shaun’s vision is. He wants people to feel like they are getting the foods that they grew up with that is flavorful but remains healthy and a great alternative to those who are transitioning. When he made the decision to go Vegan, he woke up and just did it and stuck to his commitment. That is truly admiral. I aspire to take that full-time leap.  So far I am doing well.

Jack fruit “Jerk” chicken, plantains, and sautéed cabbage and kale

The dish I had blew me AWAY.  From the reviews of even non Vegans, its spot on. The food was more than amazing.  I was full and not looking to snack on things or revert to a meat based meal later on that day.  If I am honest,  I ate around 4pm and didn’t feel the need to eat again until the next day at breakfast.  I asked Shaun what are his dishes and his response was simple, tell me your favorite meat based meal and I can make into a Vegan dish.  Take a look at some of their other dishes and you can be the judge:

 

If going Vegan looks like this and has my taste buds in full bliss, you can kiss meat based meals goodbye.  So as the journey begins send good vibes.  Also for those wanting to know, Go Vegan Philly does offer a meal plan service that I will be taking part in.  As I type this, I have already eaten the second platter.  Thank you Shaun, Charmain, and Go Vegan Philly you got a solid customer here!

Follow Go Vegan Philly on Facebook

Also follow them on Instagram

All orders can be placed by calling/text 610-616-3083

Hours are Tuesday-Friday; 5-9pm and Sat/Sun 1-6pm

Go Vegan Philly is located in Delaware County

As with any lifestyle change be sure to make the decision that best suits your end goal. Also be sure to research and have an open mind. Often times we are afraid to try new things because it challenges us to possibly end what we “always” known. Research! Research and then stick to your commitment!

Let’s flood Go Vegan Philly with orders and love! It’s well deserved!

 

 

 

Women History Month: Deja E.

This year we are talking about failure.  Why? We all experience it but rarely talk about it. Yet failure is the one catalyst that often brings success. It doesn’t mean that you HAVE to fail to succeed but in life if you think you won’t ever fail towards success you have a lot of life to reach it. I remember being in freshman year and failing a math test and how devastated. I was used to getting all A’s. I needed that fall from grace to help me not take college life for granted and get focused. I ended have to really work my butt off but I still graduated and that failure wasn’t on my record because I had to retake the class and get it right.  Now fast forward to stubbornness.  That in itself can be a lesson. Women have all had at least one or more failures in life. If you’re like me you have way more than you can ever count.  However if we are to carve a slice of life in this world and continue to make history in this world, failure is a by-product.

Failure to listen to your body will either make you sicker or take time off of your life. Deja learned how not taking head to the doctors and your body will put a pause in your life that you can avoid.

What is one failure you are comfortable sharing that taught you the most lessons?

Procrastinating on my temporal lobectomy. In 2006, I began having uncontrollable seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. After seeing numerous specialists, it was recommended that I have my temporal lobe removed. I was scared and prayed for other solutions. As my quality of life deteriorated, I began to realize that pushing the surgery off was worse than undergoing surgery. In 2014, I did it! And my seizures ended.

I can’t imagine fully what it was like going through seizures. I also can’t imagine being told to have such an intensive surgery either. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is the very thing that you need. If it hadn’t been for that surgery who knows what your quality of life would have been.  Yes procrastination is a failure because in that you fail to make a move it usually has a domino effect.

From that or any failure, what other lesson have you learned?

YOLO… you only live once
Dont risk losing time out of stubbornness

YOLO or you only live once means just like it sounds. Living requires stepping out of your comfort zone to carve the life you really want to live.  It doesn’t mean you can yell YOLO and life is perfect. Far from it.  However if you learn to apply that mentality you stop worrying about taking a chance on things especially yourself.

What are is the 3 things you would want to tell other younger woman in regards to lessons learned?

Trust your intuition… it doesn’t lie
Dont compare- this is your life, live it how u want to, not based on someone else’s
Take care of yourself- life can change in a blink of an eye, make sure you are on your A-Game

If you could sit down with any woman past or present who would it be and why?

Maya Angelou
Her wisdom and eloquence would have me mesmerized! She went through so many ups and downs in her lifetime, I would love to hear her story up close and personal. What an inspiration!

I would have to agree, Maya Angelou defied what life threw her way, made mistakes and then taught us all how to rise above anything. Deja you are a Maya Angelou in your own right!

IF you have any projects  that are coming up in the future what are they?

Everyday is a project
My 2019 ‘project’ is to lay a new brick everyday. Take that extra step, step outside comfort zones, and reach higher
That in itself is a project

She is being truly modest. Deja is a beast everyday eating better and working out being her best version.  She is definitely an inspiration.  When you get that second chance at life and I know all about that, take it. Live each day like you want that day to reflect your true essence.

What is the one thing as a woman that has helped or helps you make your mark in this world?

Strength!!! So often, women are perceived as weak or incompetent. Being able to prove the naysayers wrong is empowering

Thank you Deja. You are an inspiration. Don’t take your health for granted. Get your check ups.  Its important. Health is wealth.  Without being healthy you can’t do much else. Who would want to live like that? Certainly not me and you don’t want to either. I know sometimes we think that because we are afraid of what we will find that its better to not know. What you don’t know will kill you.  What you know and fail to take care of will kill you too. Take care of you. Women fail everyday but one thing is we don’t have the time to stay there. Get up, brush yourself up, and succeed.

Words Do Matter; You Matter More

So while at an event in my hometown I had someone say something to me about my weight. Now you all know I had documented my journey and that when I was over 200 pounds very little had comments about my weight and at that time I was way over where I needed to be. It was devastating. Now I am at weight goal and tightening up and I am still getting comments about my weight.  I was taken back if I am honest. I talked to my husband and he was like “keep it in perspective some folks aint seen you since you were a kid. You’re a grown ass woman with an amazing body and 3 kids, stay the course!”  Can we just clone him?  He made me feel like the beautiful woman who I am.

This is the conclusion I have come to. A lot of folks will only see you at what they last remember. I went to college a size 0 and came back a size 4 that was an issue. Had a baby and was a size 6 and now I am holding at a size 8 and sometimes 10 depending on how the pants are cut. Issue.

I am not here to worry about what other people’s eyes see me as. I am perfect at the size that I am. I am not in competition to be at high school weight. I was unhealthy to be honest. I ate what I wanted, rarely went to the doctors and the only saving grace was a high metabolism and sports. Skinny isn’t always healthy.  I know folks smaller than me with high blood pressure and a whole gambit of health complications.

What I know is from head to toe I am finally in the best shape of my life and I can run and do 6 or more races a year. I can keep and outrun my kids and run up and down a flight of steps without losing my breath. I eat as well as I can and work out 2-3 usually more a week. I am fine!  I am enough!

There is a woman who is struggling right now with a lot of whispers and you may not be as confident as I feel or feel like you’re not. You are just enough. You are enough even in the state that you are. Its one of the things I felt I needed to say. I need to release it. I had a family member say oh you sure are hippy meaning curvy. I am supposed to be. Newsflash, I have regular amazing sex and I have 3 kids. They didn’t know when I had the athletic build in high school I used to want to have a curve. Now I have them and they are here to stay. I looked like a boy body shape and folks would either like it or have an issue.  So to the curves and the butt that I now have, please stay. We are going to tone up these next couple of months but we ain’t dropping you!

Do not let anything stop you from being your best version of you.  Trust me you can change your body, but be the best version of yourself inner and outer and trust me you will always shine in darkness.

What if you aren’t at the place you need to be and someone does make a negative but true comment?  Remember when the lady asked me how far along I was and if I was having a boy? Devastating. I cried. I was hurt. I made up in my mind that I wouldn’t allow myself to get to that point.  To prevent that I only keep my size clothes in my drawers. I don’t wear baggy clothes. They actually let you look bigger FYI.  Wearing form figuring clothes helps hold you accountable. I didn’t say tight, I said form-fitting or figure flattering clothes. The other day I found a size 14 pant in my closet, tried it on and it was drowning on me. I gave them away.  I keep myself accountable by weighing myself weekly just like I did when I was going to Weight Watchers meeting. It’s important for me to stay the course. So when that comment was made through the help of my husband and getting on the scale to see what was going on, I was fine. I knew it was a comparison of what they remember me from my past. I am still at goal weight. I am in training season for these runs. I can’t let words distract me. If I do I might not be able to get through my vigorous races ahead.  I got to keep running forward.

One of my favorite songs by Kirk Franklin, Imagine Me:

Imagine Me

Weekly Recap: Friday February 8, 2019

Blog Life

So this past week has been a great one. I was able to attend the preview for Theatre Week here in Philadelphia. Remember theatre week started yesterday, February 7 and will end February 17th! So take some time if you’re in the area to attend one of the shows. Tickets are free, to $30 so definitely affordable.  Also Valentine’s Day is the next week so we are going to be throwing back a few blogs within the week and not just on Thursday. So with that said make sure you are following me on Facebook so you don’t miss anything as well as we are having a blog fresh a day. Thank you to everyone who has been following the blog! We are definitely growing.  Tonight I will be attending the American Premiere of Box Clever by Monsay Whitney. I will be at this year’s Be Free II that is being held at Saxby’s on Sunday night.  There is time to register.  There will be speakers telling their stories and providing inspiration. There will also be cold and hot drinks and small snacks provided by Saxby’s! Register, Be Free II

One final announcement, all participants of the Women’s history blogs for next month your interview is due today!  Thank you so much and ladies let’s shine but especially during our month!

Fit Life

I have been sick this week but still managed to hit 10k and usually more steps in a day as well as do my 3 days of working out this week. I think that in my mind I know April is around the corner. So that is what is helping me to eat a lot better and getting my rest. I haven’t even been able due to being sick to enjoy a few adult drinks. So whatever is motivating you to show up for yourself-keep it up!  Also this week I won a giveway given by Phillyfoodgal included was snacks by Rind Snacks which is a company that specilizes in dried fruit snacks. The snacks are amazing. Follow my Instagram to see me reveal them.

Kid Life

My kids have been doing super well. I have been doing their love notes a day on their door. They have been loving the notes. I love finding ways to show them love everyday and during love month I usually do more outward manifestations. My kids are real jewels. When I was sick, they worked together to make sure I could sleep.  I am glad they are the age that they can assist.  Also shout out to my oldest for being selected for the Girl Scouts regional choir! My youngest will be 5 next week and my son is killing it in his soccer games! I am really blessed!

Personal Life

This week has been about timing. It has been about taking it easy and resting my body in-between eating right and working out. I am grateful for getting sick because it allowed me to slow down a bit. This week has been challenging me to show up to blog events and I had to take a time out. I will be back in gear today for a play which I will blog for Saturday. However early in the week I had to decline a few invitations which hurt but it was necessary. Working, working out, mom and wife duties is a lot. Blogging is a joy but I can’t go to them all. I am grateful for every opportunity. I also look forward to increasing a few more therapy sessions. As my birthday comes in May I always make sure that I am okay by attending more therapy. It’s always important for me as my schedule becomes more jammed to take care of my inside self. I want to encourage others to do the same!