While I was pregnant, I used yoga to alleviate my back pain and for mental clarity through meditation. I've been doing yoga for a few years and since starting, my yoga practice has elevated from using rain forest and white noise sound tracks to full out Trey Songz, Partynextdoor and Bryson Tiller playlists. I had no idea what I was doing had a name and is recognized as #trapyoga where black girls are uniting their love for yoga and trap soul.
Although I am still a newbie, Yoga has been more than just a tool for my back pain, it has become a key element in my every day life especially after becoming incontinent from losing the muscles in my pelvic floor following my emergency c-section. Yoga allows for flexibility and also increases your libido through increased blood flow so it's also good for women who have lost their sexual appetite due to pregnancy.
Even though the majority of yoga you will see on this post is done in workout clothes, personally, I do it naked or in lingerie. Yoga is beautiful and can be sexy and should be treated as such. For those who are apprehensive about yoga, I recommend trying it in a mirror in whatever you feel comfortable in.
*KEY NOTES = click the link to be directed to each yogi's instagram
Who doesn't love a good arch? This cow pose in conjunction with the cat pose strengthens your kegel muscles for stronger contraction action and great orgasms.
Excellent for stretching thigh muscles and relieving tension in the hips. No tensing up! Also extremely easy to do for beginners.
Gets the blood rushing! Do I really have to spell this one out for you?
Calms the mind and cures muscle tension plus your ass is up in the air.
This pose is targeted to the vaginal area, focusing on the cervix. Once you release this pose, blood rushes through the cervix area prepping your coochie for some activity.
Wide legged Straddle
This was the first difficult pose I learned how to master. There are many variations of this pose including an aerial one which is easier for beginners. This pose is great for libido, increasing blood flow in the pelvic area. And, any sexual partner will appreciate a solid split.
It's Martin Luther King Jr. day and every year I am always conflicted about writing a blog post. I don't know how to describe my upset and disappointment. Racially, 2015 was an unmatched year. If black people weren't being killed by police or each other, we were being made fun of with black face, questions about our hair were taken as jokes and as a community we were taken for fools. Our valiant efforts in art were mocked as we were snubbed for prestigious awards. People outside of the race were using the N word as freely as the slave masters did back in the 1800's.
Martin Luther King Jr. did more than just protest for peace. He protested for the togetherness and activeness of the black community through service. We find ourselves hating everyone else for not assisting us when we don't even assist our damn selves. Since I was 20, MLK day was a day for me to listen to his speeches and reflect on the state of our people. Today, for the first time I decided that simply listening to him was not enough. I decided to walk in his shadow and do community service. As a woman who is still trying to navigate through life, the phrase "Be the change you seek" is becoming more salient by the day.
This post a testament, a promise to become more active in my community. Yes, I can always speak down on the generation behind me, what they lack, why they can't read properly or convey intellectual thoughts, or that they're consumed with consumerism and capitalism or I can stop talking shit and actually do something. Hopefully this post is a wake up call to my peers to walk in Dr. King's shadow. Donate your time, your money, your energy. Join your community board. Volunteer at your local elementary school. Do something to contribute to our neighborhood instead of hiding behind your keyboard and complaining.
Time waits for no one.
That's a phrase that annoyed the hell out of me when I was a teenager. Hearing my grandmother chant it over and over just gave me a real disdain for being timely with anything. I hate feeling restricted, being told what to do and I definitely hate being controlled. That is, until I woke up. Being an adult is all about control. Not you having control but someone else having control over you. Your boss telling you what to do and when to come in, how much you're worth, how many hours you can have. Your bank or landlord telling you when to pay and how much. Banks telling you when you will get dividends on your money, it's truly all about control and keeping you in place.
I'm writing this blog post from the second worst place possible. No not jail, but court. The powers that be just won't let me live, 5 days into 2016. The real world doesn't care about your excuses. The real world doesn't care if you're worth more than minimum wage or if you're tired. Time waits for no one.
I write this to say that in your journey to adulthood, be organized, be diligent and be prepared. Choose an apartment that has your lights and gas included. Choose a landlord that won't bitch if you have company after 12. Choose to stay home with your parents and save as much money as you can. Travel as much as you can. The feeling of drowning and helplessness is the worst feeling ever. Choose to keep your head above water. As adults especially with children, we don't have much say about how our life goes but the few details we can control, do it!
As for the time that you have left not being controlled, use it to it's full potential. If you're not at work, make plans to relieve yourself from working for someone else. Use it to invest in things that won't control you. If you have slacked on any of your duties or fallen behind on your bills there is help. Just make sure you're not abusing the help as your main plan.
One Shot Deal from HRA
Gives client a one shot opportunity with assistance to catch up on their rent arrears or if they're behind on their utility bills usually you have to pay it back within one year without interest
National Grid assistance in the form of a monthly stipend. You don't have to pay it back you can apply at any National Grid location.
Provides assistance for rental arrears, past due utility bills, employment and child care.
Provides assistance with Con Edison bills
Provides assistance with housing placement and utility bills
Provides assistance for utility bills
I'm a mom.
Geez. I can type the words but they don't seem to be true. I am a mom and with this world of new found responsibility, there has also been an influx of love and appreciation for the people that have helped me tremendously that I couldn't do without.
I know there are tons of new moms out there who like me probably spent countless hours on google trying to figure out why their LO was crying incessantly only because we didn't want to wake our parents up at 4 am.
The road to today was tough. From being in labor for an impossible amount of hours, to not having my spouse for the first few months of Sai's life, to popping my c-section stitches to now today deciding who is responsible for what when it comes to him.
Sai is at the amazing stage where he shows you something new every day that you had no idea he knew how to do or how to say. Besides the infant stage, I live for this.
Here are some things that I have learned that have helped Cor and I navigate parenthood for the last two years. (He's almost TWO omg!)
1. Boys give you terrible pregnancies
2. Boys are more gassy and colicky so spend extra time rubbing their back, moving their legs like a bicycle and giving them tummy time.
3. The infant stage is the only stage where they will need you every second of the day so take advantage of it and enjoy it!
4. Putting a baby on a schedule at 6 weeks will save you a world of headaches even passing the age of 1. Now, Sai tells me when he's ready to go to bed and it's usually before his bed time. To put him on a schedule I had to be very diligent with nap times and bed time and sometimes this required him crying it out.
5. The toddler stage is the cutest and most important because you get to mold their attitude and outlook on dealing with others.
6. Creating habits decreases tantrums because they know what to expect when certain things occur. I.E. once you give them a bath it's time to sleep.
7. Deflect tantrums by singing a song they love, or talking about an activity that they will do later. Bribing doesn't work for us because Sai always remembers the bribe. As is usually like "hey mommy, remember you said I could have a Nana"?
8. Keep baby in their own bed. I hear so many complaints from parents who have lost the sizzle in the bedroom because they can't get the baby out. As a new mom, I couldn't even imagine sleeping with the little one especially after the epidural wreaked havoc on my back.
Are you guys new moms? Or OG moms? If so what was your favorite stage? Don't say getting the kids out of the house lol! Also, drop any hints for the newbies. Thanks for reading!
The holidays are usually an extremely busy, happy time for Cor and I. This is Sai's second Christmas and although he was more active this than the last, for me, this year just seemed so much harder. We were mad broke. This broke was to the point where I couldn't afford to put lights on the tree. Nobody noticed. We didn't buy him gifts until two days before Christmas and we no longer have our car. At a time where togetherness seems to be the norm, our situation prevented us from truly being together. I was always at home because I didn't have the funds to travel with them to take Sai to school.
I do believe that hardships are a testament of our strength and commitment to ourselves and each other but this shit was "tew much".
Still thankful though.
My dad had taken Sai yesterday but Cor and I didn't have the funds to go out and have a good time. Instead we had a Chinese and Chill session (the Netflix has been off since last week)
We argued so many times this month. So much so that I lost count. However, hiding from our friends, pigging out on spicy pork fried rice, binge watching Quantico and cuddling on our couch was probably the best weekend I had with him in months. Just goes to show you that money doesn't mean everything.
For 2016, I have high hopes. I hope that Cor and I can keep the newly founded bond that we built over the poorness in 2015 but at the same time maintain the honest relationship that we worked so hard on. I aspire to be a better spouse for Cor and a better mom to Sai. A better friend to my framily.
The person above seems so long ago when it's only been 2 months. The last photo set was taken on November 8 and since then there's been significant improvement in the tummy area and in the butt as I have been busting squats.
I've grown accustomed to not having soda. I demolished a can of Pepsi on Thanksgiving to reward myself as promised but it was way too sweet and bubbly for me. I think at this point, it's difficult to tone my tummy because now that I've lost all the water weight and now, this is where the real work begins. I've been slacking on my daily runs and due to budget constraints, I haven't been eating as healthy as I should be.
The hardest part of the fitness challenge is going out with friends and being around people not doing the same thing as you. In the beginning I pretty much stayed in the house by myself, so there was no temptation to eat all the bad shit. Last night I had a piece of Popeyes chicken for dinner because Corey bought it. I do have the power to say no, I always have but I was starving lol and didn't have the resources to buy something for myself to cook. It's much easier for me to talk myself out of a bad decision than it is to talk someone else out of it too.
On the bright side, while I still don't know much weight I loss, I can fit into a regular store jeans. I purchased a pair of size 10's from Banana Republic. Although I can still fit into a large bottom, it's become more and more baggy. I'm almost ready to make that leap into Medium life.
New Year's Eve is quickly approaching and I would like to be on fleek for it. After buying the Sparkle tickets, it will be back to healthy eating for me. You can check me out in clothing here. Also you can read the month one of the fitness journey, here.
*December 2016 Update
I've changed the products I use and my regimen.
I've completely switched to Eden's Body Works for my co-wash and deep conditioner. I use V05 when I feel like I have too much product build up which doesn't happen often because I don't use tons of products. I haven't had to use the L'Oreal straightening conditoner since I switched to Eden's Body Works which is incredible. I still use the same flat iron and blow dryer though. I went back to Dax grease and Razac's perfect for perms to keep my hair moisturized in between washes. My hair is approximately, 1.5 inches from waist length. Eden's Body Works Deep Conditioner has also replaced Camille Rose for stretching my edges. A little water and head tie and voila!
We all knew there would come a day where we would have to talk about my hair care regimen. I've been asked several times and after putting it off forever, I have decided to come clean about my hair care life. I've been natural for 3 years after my best friend Boobie and I decided to venture into this new lifestyle together. I kept that creamy crack on standby because I found myself saying "DIS TEW MUCH" way too often. One day as I was washing my hair, those single strand knots were relentless. They got the best of me. I chopped all but an inch of my hair off. I went into hiding for a few months. Refused to take pictures. I looked like Dora, but I learned a lot about the way the world truly works and the way people perceived me. Going natural was one of the best things I have ever done. In 2014, being pregnant accelerated my hair growth by 200% only to have every single edge in sight to just fall out on me. Life, give me a damn break. I decided not to cut my hair off last year and I just wore a middle part. Look where I am now! Okay, let's get down to business.
I am by no means what you call a "product junkie". The less shit I have to use the better. Luckily for me, I keep finding amazing products that blow my mind and occasionally, I step out of my regimen to try something new.
Here's what my normal arsenal consists of and their purpose to my soul:
v05 conditioner: Anyone because it's cheap, they all smell good and I like to lather it on for fun.
OGX conditioner: Favorite scents Awapuhi ginger, coconut or Moroccan argan oil, I use this as my main conditioner for detangling. I buy these in bulk because I use them generously and I also use them as deep conditioners.
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle: Only one scent, I use this conditioner sparingly because the bottle is super little and I only use it for super crazy, knotty, tangled hair. Think, wash and go and you just kept going... For weeks.
Johnson & Johnson: shampoo for when I need to strip the gunk products out of my hair.
Missiko flat iron (8 years strong baby)
Conair Yellow bird blow dryer (This shit right here!)
For buns & flat edges:
Camille Rose almond Jai twisting butter + a little eco styler + water and a head tie = magic.
Once I straighten my hair, I do not flat iron it again because it's so unnecessary. It damages your hair this is a known fact. If your hair poofs up just let it go. A flat iron is a convenience because you can achieve the same results without using heat, it just takes time. When you get home, wrap your hair or put it in a ponytail and lay your edges down. You'll be fine I promise.
The day after I blow dry my hair I usually put it in a bun or curl it with flexi-rods and rollers. It stretches my hair even further than the blow dryer does and then on day 3 or 4 I determine whether or not I need to flat iron my hair. If I do, for the first 3 days, I'll wrap it. The next 3 or 4 days I'll curl it and the remainder of the time it will be in buns or a pony until my next wash.
I only wash my hair with shampoo when I see product build up otherwise, I do co-washes. So if I put conditioner in my hair and it doesn't lather, it's prob time for me to shampoo it. Occasionally I'll put olive oil in my hair as a deep conditioner when the seasons change because I get bad dandruff(and dry feet) and olive oil prevents it from showing. I do have to admit that from like June to the beginning of August my hair runs wild like a horse. I barely comb it. I detangle when I feel like and I definitely don't straighten. One simply does not have the time to deal with natural hair and summer humidity.
I also got some other questions about my hair dye. I bleached my hair earlier this year. It was bleached last year using a box dye and I put the Adore hot pink rinse in it. To get that out, I used baking soda. Then I bleached using Clairol BW2 and 40 developer and some shit the Korean man gave me at the beauty supply store. He specifically told me to mix it in with the bleach otherwise my hair would fall out. Not sure why I trusted him but I did and voila! I then lifted the color with Wella( cause it was orangey) and then took away the brassy-ness with purple shampoo. I know I have mad skills. You're probably surprised that I still have hair. I am as well. LMFAO. It just goes to show you if I can do it you can too. Right now, I have two colors both by Adore a baby blue and a midnight blue which creates a nice ombre until I wash my hair and then it turns green. I expect to be all midnight blue by January and prob purple by March.
If you're scared of the big bad bleach, you can use box dyes. It might take you 3 sessions over the course of 5 or 6 months to safely do it but if you're skeptical then that's the way for you. I've done both methods and I much prefer using the professional bleach only because if you wait too long with the box dye, you will have more than one hair color maybe several. And that's not acceptable Peggy.
Here's some things you should know about the products of my past that haven't made it to the team
CHI - Hair protectant, NOT MADE FOR BLACK HAIR
Kinky Kurly Knot Today - Was terrible for blowing my hair out. Made it hard and crunchy.
Any body's edge control - It's a terrible pomade that sticks to your edges and eventually pulls them out.
Aussie Moisture Conditioner - It just nuh mek it.
Dominican Magic - Smelled so good, but all those cones did my hair dirty. STIFF like a rock!
Shea Moisture - Too damn expensive
NO BLACK GEL EVER!
I think that covers about everything. Below is a pictorial story from struggle to sexy then back to struggle and now sessssssyyy. Drop a line if you have questions.
I CAME AND I CRIED.
Not out of disgust or pleasure but sheer curiosity. Why am I masturbating when I live with my spouse? Co-habitating is difficult. He aired his grievances to me recently, repeatedly. I've been working hard to keep up with the things that were important to him and I feel that my priority needs just fell by the wayside.
I really look to Google to answer life's toughest questions. "What's the weather?" "Why won't my baby sleep?" "What should I cook for dinner?" For this question, Google has told me everything from he's upset about finances, or he's really just too tired and my favorite, he's having an affair. Most of the problems in my life seem to have simple solutions but there's no solution in sight for this one.
Truth be told, we've have arguments and he's said things that he claims he didn't mean. I've said things that I did mean. In the back of my head, I can only think about those hurtful things that stand out like a sore thumb. He no longer loves me. He's just staying because I had the baby. I have that tiny voice in the back of my head telling me to keep my guard up, get my shit together and always be on my toes.
Is it fair to live my life based on the unknown? Corey has threatened to leave me on multiple occasions for the dumbest shit but not once through any of my discontentness have I fixed my lips to leave, talk to another person or even thought about cheating. Does my undying faithfulness make me a target for being neglected?
Things in my life are far from perfect. I'm partially employed, the bills are piling up, I can't carry the laundry to the laundromat, but somehow I still have a glimmer of hope. I have an amazing one year old, I clean the house, I cook, I started my lifestyle challenge, I'm eloquent, intelligent, read tons of books, I have great style and I'm family/goal oriented. To me focusing on the things I can change will create a way for the other stuff to change through that whole positive universe shit. So far it's been working.
I don't need tons of his time. We both live separate lives and the only time we're home alone together is 9:30pm- whenever he falls asleep which is usually by 10:30. It's a rainy day in NYC. I'm going to cook a fantastic dinner, clean the house, make some candles, throw on some fishnets and see if he can make me cry tonight.