One Lovely Blog Award

I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you so much to Apunkwithms for this honor. If you haven’t already, please visit her page, its awesome.

One Lovely Blog

Rules

  • Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  • Post about the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate at most 15 people
  • Tell your nominees the good news

7 Facts about Me

  1. I want a really big dog like a Great Dane, Newfoundland, or Saint Bernard, so I can name him Hagrid.
  2. I enjoy going to Walmart early on a Saturday or Sunday morning to grocery shop.
  3. Right now I have an obsession with Colourpop lippie sticks. (Ultra Matte, Matte X, and Ultra Satin)
  4. My favorite musical artist are Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, and Bruno Mars.
  5. I am currently almost done watching Dragon Ball Z for the first time ever!
  6. My favorite food is avocado.
  7. The only place outside the U.S. I’ve been is Costa Rica. 😢

My Nominees

naturalprideblog

billziegler1947

Jean

Middle American Geekery 

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Nerd Rambles 

Lesley’s Anime and Manga Corner

deb’s pots

Your Very Own RD

Small Things Bring Big Joy!!!

Thank you for reading. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Our Curly Hair Family

For about the past 1.5 years everyone in my household has been rocking their natural curls. My journey started in the summer of 2009 when I started transitioning, I did the big chop in December. My son was born and he has not had the “coming of age” hair cut of African American boys at the age of 1 or 2. My husband is multi-racial and pretty much because nobody knew another way, he always got low haircuts, like black men he was surrounded by. Since September of 2015 he’s grown it out. He didn’t even know his hair curled before that. We’ve all had our own separate journeys in this process, but I have major pride for my curly haired family.

Me

My path as naturalista is pretty steadfast and permanent. I have no intentions of going back to the creamy crack. I have however, though of getting locks. Although, I would still be natural, I wouldn’t be able to show off my curly texture. I have seen people that have taken their locks out, I used to think the only way to not have locks anymore was to cut them off. At least now I know that if it did choose to lock my hair I wouldn’t have to cut all my growth and although it would be a laborious process, I would comb them out and have my curls back. Yay! I think I will make that transition, either when I am grey or if my husband and son cut their hair.

My Husband

My husband is happy with his curls. I think its a part of him realizing and accepting his heritage. His curls are soft, shiny, and thick. When he first started growing his hair we though it would be wavy, but as it grew longer to our surprise it started to curl into these thick rings. I LOVE his hair and hope he doesn’t cut it short again, but he gets frustrated when it is hot and hanging on his neck. I have also found that he is very particular about his hair, we just didn’t know before because it was always so low maintenance.  Now if it isn’t curling or falling the way he likes he thinks its a mess. I think it glorious however. I wish he would rock his man bun or pony, but he is convinced it isn’t long enough yet. I’ll get him when its time for Otakon though, he won’t be able to resist wearing a samurai top knot.

My Son

My son has been growing his hair since birth. Once he really started growing hair, he has shown a lot of growth. He always had curls, but I think at 1.5 years they really started to turn into the cute bouncy curls he has now. My students say he looks like Corbin Blue. I will keep growing his hair until he gets older. I’d say at least by 2nd or 3rd grade and if he wants it cut, I’ll get it cut. Although, even if its cut, I’d prefer if he kept an inch or 2 to still have curls. We did go through I brief moment of weakness, when we wanted to cut his hair on his 3rd birthday, coming up next month. He was getting so fussy each night when I had to wash and detangle it. I had to co-wash it every other night, otherwise it would look wild and unruly. I did figure out a system that would work. I started washing his hair on Sundays and doing box braids. He wears the braids for 2-3 days, then I take them out. He wears his defined curls a couple of days. Once they reached the end of their road I’ll put his hair in a bun or ponytail. One day I will learn to cornrow, but for now he gets that done when we’re visit my mom or if his aunt does it.

This spring we HAVE to take some family photos to show off these wonderful head of coils. I’m not sure what the future holds for us. I do know that at the very least my son and husband will grow their hair until its long enough to donate to Locks of Love. Until then I will enjoy us being a beauty bouncy curled family. Whatever everyone’s choices or preferences we’ll be a beautiful family not matter what.

The Miseducation of Xavier

As an educator I am ashamed to say that I am guilty of letting the tablet teach and babysit my son. I know all the studies that say too much screen time is bad for them, but its so easy, and he enjoys it; so its one less thing I have to fight about. He watches cartoons on Netflix and Hulu as well as playing games on ABC mouse, but mostly he watches YouTube kids. I don’t understand his fascination with it but, it keeps help quiet, and some of its educational….right.

Next month is his 3rd birthday, and I have sworn to kicking it into high gear to make sure he is prepared for Pre-K and ultimately Kindergarten. At this point he can recognize most letters, numbers 1-10 and a few beyond, basic colors, and shapes. He also can understand simple Spanish commands and know some basic phrases and numbers. This is on account of his teacher at the home daycare he attends being Hispanic. She speaks to the kids in Spanish, they sing songs, and do activities to learn Spanish. I would like to keep him there long enough get a good start on being fluent and continuing him in a duel immersion program when he starts school. As a teacher I know I have to do more with him than just what he learns at daycare and later school. I can’t be a hypocrite, I have to be the parent I wish my students had.

Don’t get me wrong, it not like I haven’t done ANYTHING with him. Since he was a newborn I’ve read to him every single night. I know that is a big factor in him developing fluency and literacy skills. We used to do puzzles and flash cards all the time. As he has become more active and sometimes his behavior down right unbearable, I’ve settled for just keeping him subdued. He has a table that he uses in the living room for eating mostly, but it flips up and he can draw on it. Sometimes I give him one of his coloring pages and some crayons and he’ll color.

I have to do right by my son and offer him the same opportunity for advancement that I had. My mom is a teacher too, and she was a BEAST at making sure we had the tools we needed to succeed. She taught me to read by the time I was in Pre-K. Now being that she is an elementary school teacher, she has more skill at teaching reading than me, but I know I can do better. My goal is to create interactive games for him to play, so he can learn as well as get some of his seemingly never ending energy out. I’ve seen a bunch on Pinterest, now its time to stop pinning and start doing. My goal is to spend 30 minutes-1 hour with him each day on some kind of educational activity outside of our normal reading.

It is my responsibility to set the foundation for his education. I already feel guilty for the slacking I’ve been doing lately, hopefully its not to late to make up for lost time.

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.

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?