First 2017 Weigh-In

The scale and I have a love hate relationship. Really, its just a hate relationship. Weighing myself is typically never a good thing. If I’ve gained or not lost as much weight as I think I should, I get discouraged and start thinking it doesn’t matter. I think I’m just destined to be overweight and go back to eating whatever I want and quit working out. If I have lost a significant amount of weight I end up loosening up too much. I think I just lost 10 pounds I can afford to treat myself, and I never stop. So since I started working out consistently and eating primarily plant based  in January, I had not weighed myself. I decided I would weigh myself at least every month. I can adjust my diet and/or exercise if I need to but it not like doing it weekly which causes me to obsess over the numbers every weigh-in. So here’s what happened for the first weigh in of the year.

I lost weight! Yay…..but it was only a pound. I was shocked to see that I only lost a pound. I felt like it should’ve been

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Progress photo {before (right)-after (left)}

much more than that. I thought I could see a difference in my body, and I surely can feel a difference in how my clothes fit. I was thinking it would be at least 5 pounds. As a physical and health education teacher, I know the “muscle weighs more than fat” deal. But I did not think that my exercise regimen would cause that much muscle gain. I only do crossfit once a week on Saturdays. During the week I alternate between beachbody’s Cize and Insanity. I know insanity is intense, but its all with only my body weight, no heavy lifting, which is what I believed to cause the bulk up, gain weight effect. I may go to other ways of measuring my success, like monthly measurements and pictures.

I am staying positive and I am going to celebrate (mentally not with food) my pound of weight loss. At the end of the day I feel better and the numbers are going in the right direction, even if it is at a slower rate than I’d like.

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Luke Cage series Review, finally.

I know its been ages since the rest of the world saw and talked about Luke Cage. But its hard to see all the shows and movies I’d like to see. Between watching our current anime and Nick Jr for my son, there’s so much I miss. I actually started it a while ago, but stopped right at the last episode of the season, finally I finished it. I will do it in the form of a layered compliment sandwich; starting and ending with positive aspects, with some negatives in between. So here are my 2 cents, even if it is ridiculously late.

1. African American Representation

As an African American, thirsting for fantasy and sci-fi characters to identify with, it was a breath of fresh air. I know there was outrage over the “lack of diversity”, meaning lack of white people, but this is the same way people of color feel watching TV and other media outlets most of the time. This was not something that was created out of the blue “just for black people”. The comic was created like this. It was created to reflect the blaxploitation films that were popular during the 70s, like Foxy Brown and Shaft. This version is a modern day interpretation of that. There some variations from the original comic, like characters and settings, but that is pretty much to be expected. It especially liked the idea of the bulletproof black man wearing a black hoodie. It was a direct homage to Travon Martina and the other countless, murders at the hands of police. There were major white people in the show, most of them just happened to be the bad guys. This show and the comic is set in Harlem, where there are mostly Blacks and Latinos, so once again it all makes sense.

2. Bad Acting

Some of the acting is just bad. Particularly from the leading man, Mike Colter. Its just too corny and unauthentic sometimes. Maybe the corniness stemmed from his use of the phrase “Sweet Christmas”. I know his character had a lot of integrity and didn’t like cursing or use of “the n-word”, but I think it could have been accomplished without being as corny as it was.  The scenes that were particularly painful to watch were to romantic moments between Cage and Claire.

3. The Love Triangle

It was however spicy, to see the somewhat of a love triangle between Misty Knight, and Claire as the former and Cage’s relationship started to bloom. The scenes with Misty and Clair together in the restaurant basement gave some comedic relief to the drama that was going on around them. Their continuous use of the analogy of coffee was a bit overdone throughout the series though.

4. Mariah

She starts as kind of a victim; a politician who can’t let go and stop helping her crooked cousin. We later see that it is much more than that. She is the real manipulator, blinded by her lust for power. It saddened me so, to learn that Mariah was referenced to being in my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The “oo-whoop” (spelled this way on Netflix’s subtitles) which is actually typically spelled “oo-oop” (maybe they changed it on purpose), is a greeting for fellow sorors. Misty kept referring to a “skee-wee” which is the call of our rival sorority, I was hoping she was “one of them”, but she was corrected by her superior Priscilla. You’re probably confused if you are unfamiliar with Pan Hellenic council Fraternities and Sororities, but that’s neither here, nor there.  I can’t decide who’s running who in the Mariah-Shades relationship. What made me really cringe was seeing Mariah kiss Shades at the end of the last episode. Dear God, I hope that doesn’t become a thing.

5. Character Backstories

I’m a sucker for back story, so seeing the story of his relationship with Diamondback was good, but it still seems unrealistic that everybody knew he was he brother but him. I almost can’t stand it when villains just get obsessed with something like this. Ok, you were an illegitimate child, it happens. But it wasn’t Cages fault. At least be mad at the right person. But I guess if that happened there would be no villains. I also enjoyed the story of Luke Cages time at Seagate, it gave some real insight to his character and the thing he has gone through to make him who he is. This dang Super-Soldier serum keeps messing peoples lives up in Marvel. The flashbacks to Mariah and Cottonmouth’s youth were also good. Seeing how Mother Mabel influenced and molded them into who they turned out to be was interesting.  Cottonmouth was the classic villian, that could’ve been a hero, or at least a law abiding citizen, had he been given a chance. The real villain in this is Mariah, who ended up getting away, for now.

6. Lackluster Action Scenes

I understand that he doesn’t have Incredible Hulk strength, and that this wasn’t one of the blockbuster Avengers movies, but I think the audience deserved a little bit more than what we got. In one of the first action scenes, we see Cage punch and completely crush one of Cottonmouth’s men’s fist. They set it up so good, but almost nothing else lived up to this action. The story of each episode also, dragged a bit. I’m used to dealing with things being dragged on and on with anime, but not with a regular action television series.

8. Misty Knight

My favorite character of the series, was of course the smart, beautiful, and natural haired, Misty Knight. She had more of an emotional roller coaster in this series than anybody else.  She went from being the super confident cop, with all the right answers, to a confused woman trying to figure out who or what to trust. The ending of the series brought it all together for me seeing her in the quintessential big afto, hoops, and strapped red garb. I hope she’s found herself, and becomes the Misty Knight of the comics.

Even with the downfalls, Luke Cage was a win for me overall. I have to catch up on January Jones and Daredevil now, so I can prepare for the upcoming Defenders in the future. I hope any future seasons are able to rectify some of the issues, so it can be as great a show as it has the potential to be. What did you all thinkabout Luke Cage? Was it a hit for you? Or did it fall flat?

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Now I’m off to get some coffee….(I had throw it in there somehow)

Straightening my Mane

In the process of trying to get through this winter hair rut, and rejuvenate my mane,  I decided to straighten my hair. I do this every 1-2 years. I allows me to see how much my hair has truly grown and to properly trim my ends. I trim my ends a little when I twist my hair. I just cut off all the straggly ends that hag from the twist. But I know its not as thorough as if an actual stylist does it. I searched Groupon for deals on some natural hair stylist. I previously got a blow out at a Dominican shop, and while I was pleased with the results I was not pleased with the experience. The stylist made me brush out my own hair dry before she washed it. This, although seemingly outrageous, is not an uncommon event for me. The same thing happened when I went to get senegalese twist, and to make things worse I was 8 months pregnant at the time. I found a place in a nearby city that had a deal. It was quite convenient because my cousin, also my son’s God mom, lives there so she could babysit while I got my hair done. I was ready to give this place a try at styling my precious mane.

When I told the stylist the experiences I had with other “professionals” making me brush my own hair she was appalled. Her reply was “that’s what you pay us for, to have someone else do your hair, so you can relax.” It was music to my ears. She seemed well aware of how to work with natural hair. She finger combed through my hair a little before washing, then came shampoo and conditioner. After the wash and condition I sat at the chair, where she detangled my hair with…..a wide tooth comb! Can you believe it? She then proceeded the blow dry my hair, flat iron, trim, and curl it. I wish I had remembered my heat protection and anti frizz serum, but hopefully there isn’t any heat damage. The trimming stage hurt my heart, because it dramatically reduced my length. I had to get over it, because those were damaged ends and it would only cause more breakage to keep them. It still noticed a considerable amount of growth since my last blow out. The stylist has a sister that does braids. Although I typically try to do my own hair, or have a family member do it when I want braids, I will make this my go to shop when I want special treatment. Its even better that I can go to one place for blow outs, curl sets, and braids.

I wore my hair out for the rest of that day, admiring my length. That night I wrapped it, and kept it that way all Sunday. It was my goal to keep it up with as little heat as possible. It was very voluminous the next day, because it started to puff up a little bit. For the remainder of the week I wore it in various pony tails, something else I can’t do regularly without stretching my hair out in some way. I flat ironed it once again the next Sunday. Then for the rest of the week once it started to revert I did a bantu knot set.

I always have mixed feelings when people compliment my straightened hair. My students say “OMG, you look so pretty”, as if I’m not with my afro. I try not to take it personally, because most people are trying to be nice. Although one of the older, teacher assistants took it a little farther. She said “I know your husband’s happy.” I proudly said, “actually he prefers my natural hair.”Not every one felt as that particular teacher assistant does. There is yet another TA at my school, who is always raving about my natural hair, because since her treatment for breast cancer she has never been able to get her texture back. She walked right past me and said “I didn’t even recognized you, it so long and pretty…but you know I love the natural, girl.” My husband also, love my afro. Even when I have braids, he bugs me about when MY hair will be out again. So, when I straighten it, he compliments my length, but then says “it’s just not you anymore.” I love that he is so supportive and admires me for who I am, from my head to my toes.

Straightening my hair is supposed to be like a reset for me to restart my healthy hair regimen. The next step is protective styling. I’ll probably get crochet twist to keep in for 6-8 weeks, then go from there. I just the versatility of my mane.

Mommy & Son Dates

My son and I go on dates more often than me and my husband. Its typically a weekend thing, either Saturday or Sunday. I try to make time for him because I know during the week I am very busy, and I sometimes have a short temper . I fuss every morning trying to get out the door to get him to daycare and then myself to work on time. The evenings are not much better.  Its kind of my way of saying, “I’m sorry for being so crazy all week, please don’t hate me.”

Our usual dates consist of getting something to eat. His favorite is McDonald’s, mine and Chipotle, so we alternate. We get free chocolate at Godiva. I get a truffle of the month for free, and/or they usually have some samples available. We might walk around the mall and window shop, and then we go to the indoor play area. There are two in our mall. One is for y20160828_142119ounger babies and toddlers, the other is for bigger kids. At our last visit I discovered he is almost at the height limit for the “little kids” play area. Sometimes we make a stop to the toys store and he gets to pick something out, and we walk to the gourmet popcorn shop nearby and eat samples. We might get daddy some snickers or bacon cheddar popcorn since he didn’t get to have all the fun.  When to weather warms up we will go to an outdoor regular park. And my idea is once he shows that he is consistently pooping in the potty and making it through the night dry, I might dish out some monies and take him to the science museum right up the road from us as a reward. When he gets older I imagine we will go to the movies and other activities that can’t happen right now while he is a rambunctious toddler.

I try to make this time, because I want him to know that I care even though I can be tough. I remember when I first returned to work after having him and my husband was a stay a home dad, he acted like he didn’t know who I was everyday. My husband started to encourage these outings. He said that he cherished the time that he spent with his mom going shopping and running errands. I only hope that I can create some worthwhile memories and he doesn’t just see me as some drill Sargent, dominating mother. He and his daddy are best buds. They play all the time. Sometimes I question whether he likes me. But, I know he loves AND likes me because of the way he treats me. He plays hard to get, but at the end of the day if he get hurt or feels bad he comes to get some loving from mommy.  I will continue to think of ways to create memories with my very first baby.

What are some ideas from parents out there they do with their kids for fun?

The Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by msliladiary. Thank you so much for this honor and recognition. Please check her out if you haven’t already.  Its always great to support others and show that you care about what they do. That you so much. Now its my turn to do the same for some others.

7 Facts about Me

  1. I am allergic to wheat, dairy, eggs, and peanuts.
  2. I am trying to be vegan, but I cheat occasionally on sweets and if I am cooking bacon for the rest of my family.
  3. My favorite superhero is X-men’s Storm.
  4. I was once a Zumba Fitness Instructor.
  5. I teach middle school physical and health education
  6. My favorite types of foods are Mexican and Asian
  7. I know how to play the viola and string bass, but I’m a little rusty. I brush up and perform with my students when they have concerts occasionally.

My 15 Nominees

TJ Luvs Being Natural 

avocadogypsy

Ally xoxo

Live.Simple.Good

NaptasticCoils

Dandy Daryl 

The Culinary Chronicles

The Identity Thieves

What’s 4 Dinner Solutions 

LemonVinaigrette 

Nerds4LifeBlog

Fabulous Frugality

Tales of the Mind

Fantasy and Anime

The Comfortable Coop

The Rules

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

As always, I hope you enjoy!

Vegan Breakfast Bites

Avoiding dairy, wheat, and meat sometimes makes for a depressing breakfast. As I am moving towards a more plant based diet, this is a major struggle. Popular breakfast choices like pancakes, bacon, sausage, toast, eggs, and yogurt are off limits. I know there are a lot of recipes outs there, but have trouble finding replacements for some of my favorites that I truly enjoy. Workdays are especially difficult as I don’t have time to prepare a kale and sweet potato hash. This is when I was happy to find Protein Energy balls. This is something I make a batch of and eat 4-6 for each morning. They stop me from dipping to the guidance office for candy, give me energy, and keep me full well into my planning/lunch break. These are two recipes I use:

  1. “Chocolatey” Version

Ingredients: chia seeds, flaxseeds, oats, cashews, almond butter, honey/agave nectar/maple syrup, coco powder, orange zest.

2. “Vanilla-y” verson

Ingredients: same as above except no coco power, and add banana, and vanilla extract.

Directions: Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse until crumbly yet mushy consistency is reached. Scoop spoonfuls out and roll into balls. Refrigerant until time of desired consumption.

energy-bites

Notes/Variations:

  • I will sometimes add dried fruit like cranberries, but have lately refrained because they typically have added sugar.
  • I know that honey is not vegan. You can choose whichever natural syrupy sweetener suites you best.
  • For the “vanilla-y” version I sometimes used lemon zest instead of orange zest.
  • Adding cinnamon and/chili powder to the “Chocolatey” ones adds a nice kick.
  • I usually use 2 of either chia seeds, flaxseeds, or oats. I rarely have all 3 stocked at the same time.  Omitting the oats will make these paleo friendly.
  • You could absolutely substitute other nuts such as walnuts or almonds instead of the cashews.
  • I’ve recipes that roll with in coconut.  I wish I liked coconut like that, it seems like such as great idea. Fell free to do this if you enjoy the taste of coconut flakes.
  • The banana in the vanilla-y ones can make the ball very mushy as it warms up. I would freeze these for a little bit and eat quicker so it doesn’t get too messy.

I hope you find this useful and enjoy!

Anime in Physical Education

I never miss an opportunity to show my students how much of a nerd I am. I might  teach them Muggle Quidditch  or have a bulletin board of the Physical Education components each represented by a different superhero. The health room I have created a word wall called “Wonder Words” it is decorated with a wonder woman theme and has vocabulary from the current unit. The current unit we are doing is Martial Arts. I am in no means a martial arts instructor, but I teach them what I’ve learned from self-defense, cardio kickboxing, and Tai Chi classes. They are working to earn a class from a martial artist that I bring to class. I want to also focus on the character building aspects of martial arts. We discuss topics such as confidence, discipline, and respect. What better way to explore this than inspirational anime clips.

I begin each class with a video clip and they answer a reflection question. The first two I used were from “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Karate Kid”(the remake with Jaden Smith). Even though they aren’t anime they were still very meaningful messages. With the Karate Kid clip we watched the “Jacket On, Jacket Off” scene. We discussed the importance of following directions and understanding how to learn form mistakes and experiences. The Kung Fu Panda clip was about finding inner peace.  I also intend to show a clip from “The Last Samarui” this will tie in Social Studies concepts of imperialism (you like how I did that). These are just some of the things I want them to focus on rather than fighting.

Now to the best part, the anime. Action anime are full of inspiring scenes and characters I could draw from. At the top of course are Naruto and Goku. I’ll lean towards those because I fell like those are characters that the largest amount of students would be familiar with and therefore draw a connection.  For Naruto I intend to have students establish their “Ninja Way”. In Naruto they work in integrated teams. Meaningful collaboration is a huge buzz word in education. Cooperation and teamwork is major in Physical Education. Using some of the teams in Naruto to illustrate this only seems natural. Goku uses determination and consistent training to reach every goal, even after death. This is another important concepts I want them to understand.  I also think using some “Attack on Titan” would be good. I teach at an urban school, with the majority of my students being at-risk. In this anime the characters live in constant fear and struggle, I think a lot of my students can relate to this. Fullmetal Alchemist, Hunter X Hunter, and Bleach are some others that come to mind that I think would have powerful messages.

I always strive to teach my students to be open minded. Everyday my goal is to teach them how to improve their physical, as well mental, and emotional health. These are themes that run throughout many Anime. These strong fighters battle personal conflict and keep their morals along the way. Hopefully they don’t think its too lame and are able to gasp the message I am trying to send.