While I was pregnant, I used yoga to alleviate my back pain and for 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 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.
I'm a summer baby, but I absolutely love Men's fashion in the fall. I love the array of jackets, stylish sweaters. Fall is the perfect season for versatility when it comes to mix and matching bow ties, button downs under cashmere sweaters, suede blazers, pea-coats. On the casual side, wind breakers, hoodies and my personal favorite, gray sweatpants. Below are my top picks from UK site Stand Out.
Lately, I have been obsessed with radiant skin and my favorite type of product to help me achieve that is a clay mask. Late last year, I graduated from the regular face masks and deviated towards clay because of it's natural properties and it's historic healing abilities. Sometimes, when we're looking for solutions to common problems, natural works best. I previously reviewed a low end clay mask from Avon whose primary ingredient was salicylic acid. This e3 mask is more natural and features ingredients like Black Willow Bark Extract (natural form of salicylic acid), Bergamot Orange essential oil (astringent), Rosemary essential oil (pore refining properties), Eastern Red Cedar essential oil(fights acne, dermatitis and oily skin), Ellagic acid which is pomegranate extract and of course glacial the primary ingredient, oceanic clay.
I spent two weeks with the e3 Clay Mask and I absolutely love it. Initially, I was floored by the packaging. It's breath-taking, shaped like a diamond, definitely something you can put in your vanity next to all your make up products and comes with it's own brush which is super convenient. If you've ever used clay, you know it can get underneath your nails, on your clothes and just every where in general so the brush assists with that. Application with the brush was super easy and if I picked up too much product, I could easily put it back in the container.
After application, the mask gives a tingly, cooling sensation and then immediately starts to tighten the skin. The E3 started drying on contact with my skin and was fully dry and tight within 6 minutes . Like other clay masks, it highlights your trouble areas and large pores once it's dry. This mask was one of the easiest to remove and didn't require tons of scrubbing. I literally just used a wet, warm rag. After removal, my skin was red from the astringent properties around my nose and chin areas but went back to normal within 10 minutes. I moisturized my skin after with Charlotte Lacroix.
During the first week of using the clay mask, I did see one pimple the day after my first application. Once that bump cleared up, my face remained clear. I'm currently detoxing from drinking soda and eating nonsense so I've been using the mask to help me control my break outs. The major difference between Glacial Oceanic clay and say the Dead Sea Clay is that one, it has over 50 minerals in it and two, unlike Dead Sea clay, it doesn't require tons of processing to remove salt so we get a more concentrated version, the best version of the clay.
The problem with wearing make up is that no matter how many times you wash your face, remnants of your make up is still stuck deep inside your pores. This leads to sporadic break outs and problematic skin. Although, it is recommended that you use this mask 2-3 per week you can use the mask to spot check any areas as needed.
The left side is the before (after removing make-up, or so I thought) and the right side is after using the clay mask before putting on moisturizer. As you can see, my skin was peeling and the mask took care of that. It also made some of my pores less noticeable.
So if you've been keeping up with Miss Raye, then you know I have re-launched my Youtube page. I'm also doing a major re-branding with the website and working super hard on creating content focused to moms with post baby bodies. I have struggled with loving myself and my weight after the baby. I changed my lifestyle and eating habits late last year and now I'm content with who I am and what I'm doing. I've done all types of things to hide my body including waist trainers but I'm just over hiding and I'm ready to just be.
MY FITNESS JOURNEY
Last week, Nextmia which is a plus sized online shopping destination, reached out to me to collaborate for a review for my website. I agreed and ordered 5 items which came in two separate packages. The items came DHL in under 2 weeks. I wasn't alarmed about the items coming in separate packages because I already know that Chinese companies will send you what they have in stock and then send your other stuff whenever they're ready.
SHOPPING TIPS FOR CHINESE WEBSITES
What I did not know is that Nextmia is a sister company of Zaful. A website that we are more than familiar with on this blog. Unlike my order from Zaful, everything from Nextmia came exactly like the picture and actually fit! There was only one piece that I was dissatisfied with and that's because I feel like the seams weren't finished. I ordered mostly Summery/ early Fall items and the material was light and not see through (which is a major issue for me shopping with most Chinese sites)
My current size is a XL/1x on the bottom and a M/L on the top. I usually order my dresses XL- 1x because they never fit if I order anything lower. I was able to zip every dress without a problem and I didn't have to suck in my stomach. (WIN). I ordered one casual outfit which was so cute and comfy for lounging or working out.
CLICK THE PICTURES FOR LINKS TO THE DRESSES
Below is a little video I put together of two of the items I received out of the 5. I will update this post with the other outfits.
The autumn leaves dress I loved so much, I wore it to work today. It's super cute and I received tons of compliments on it already! I wore it with over the knee socks and patent leather loafers.
Which is your favorite?
I was on a roll back in December with my fitness updates. Since then, I've even given up meat. It hasn't been extremely difficult but it's been a major learning process. Learning where your food comes from and how it's made really begins to churn your stomach and makes your head spin. Coupled with the ideas and notions that certain illnesses that supposedly "run" in your family might not actually be hereditary. You start to question a lot of things in society from marketing to medicine and it really encourages you to focus on putting GOOD stuff in your body and on it. Being 100% truthful, I have eaten meat since I "stopped" eating it. Sometimes succumbing to temptation, other times out of human habit.
I started taking pictures to document my fitness journey in the beginning but after a while, I felt as if the pictures were distracting me from the entire purpose of why I started in the first place. My obsession became to look thinner for more obvious change in my pictures not really caring about my actual health or how I felt internally. I'm sure if I took a picture today, it would be WAY different from December, maybe I will do one soon..
Since we're being so truthful, in all honesty, I went on this whole fitness binge for Corey and not for myself which seemed to fail me miserably. I resented him for making me feel inadequate, unattractive and fat and I despised myself for letting him do that to me. After a few months of not working out, I was inspired to go out and pick up new hobbies that would make becoming fit interesting to me because Lord knows I'm not cut out for the gym, and I haven't enjoyed running since I was in college.
Here are some notes I use to keep myself motivated
- Focus on milestones no matter how small they are
People are always focusing on the big picture instead moving frame by frame. Instead of focusing on running a mile, work your way up and do a half a mile first. There's nothing wrong with working in small increments.
-Focus on how you feel versus how many pounds
Losing pounds is a tricky way to monitor progress. Eating the right foods can give you weight in different places and exercising builds muscle mass. You're not always going to lose weight when your body changes. Focusing on how you feel, if you're able to wake up in the morning, did you stop feeling heavy and sluggish instead of counting pounds.
-Remember it takes 21 days to break habit or start a new one
This is probably the most underrated advice that I tell myself. We think change happens overnight and time empirically proves us wrong over and over again. Habits aren't created quickly so give yourself time and a little slack to be where you want to be.
-Water not only keeps me hydrated internally but keeps my hair/face quenched
Prior to my lifestyle change, my face was riddled with large pores and tons of blackheads. Since cutting out meat, I've noticed a major change in the hydration of my skin and my hair. Although it's not the best it could be (I've picked soda back up to replace meat) I know that these milestones are positive signs that I'm going in the right direction.
-Social media can be detrimental to your positive psyche
Scrolling mindlessly on Instagram does have adverse affects on your mind. If every time you go on Instagram, there are some snatched women clad in bikinis subconsciously you are going to feel like you are less or that you should look that way. The majority of social media is definitely not a good place to seek self acceptance or body positivity.
-Change your thinking, TREAT day not CHEAT day
I honestly think I deserve to treat myself daily. Like, not even on some fat shit on some real legit, I deserve this just because. So once a day I treat myself to whatever my heart desires. Cheating has such a negative connotation to it, so you automatically equate the word "cheat" with something bad. Break that habit!
-Pick up a hobby
Some people love to do 1,000 fucking squats and run in a circle for 40 minutes. That's just too boring for me. I love to rollerblade and roller-skate. I love tennis, handball and jumping rope. I like to struggle swim. So, I used all the activities I love to come up with a workout routine that was intense but also fun for me and didn't feel boring.
If you read my blog or have been stalking my life on social media, then you probably know that May, 2015 I quit my job. It was a place that I loved, with some people that I adored but I felt like I preferred sanity over the work environment that I was in. Since then, I have learned tons of lessons about the work place and the way HR works(since I'm now in HR) and I figured I would share some of that wisdom (or lack of through trial and error) with you guys.
1. Every Company Thinks You're Replaceable.
We have this notion that if we don't show up to work, that the earth will melt and swallow everyone whole except for us and force us to be the ones to un-melt it when we arrive in the morning. That is not the case. To put it in perspective, the company has survived before you and will survive after you. It doesn't matter if you're the Queen of FIFO or the Hamburgular of burgers, you are indeed replaceable and they will without a doubt replace your ass. When I said I was leaving, not one person batted an eye or even sat down to speak about changes within the organization. So despite what you think, nobody gives a shit about you. The question you need to ask yourself is what is the price of your sanity.
2. Do Not Go To Old Work Events
Big no. I found myself attending the Christmas party and getting so drunk, and I'm sure that everything is on camera which will be replayed for years to come. So no, that's not a good idea. You can convene with ex co-workers on your own time but not a function that everyone attends. You'll end up bringing up old feelings for the one or two people you despised and when mixed with liquor that's not a good thing.
3. People Can Feel Your Positivity
That whole exude positivity and become it is actually not bullshit. When I first quit, I questioned my rationale and my common sense. Like, who quits a job without a plan or at least a back up job with bills. However, I felt like I was at my lowest point and I couldn't go any lower. I did not let myself slip into my old bad habits when it came to my views about employment including but not limited to giving opinions that I'm not paid to give, and offering to do shit I'm not paid to do. Not to say that you are not allowed to go above and beyond at your job but understand that our worth is displayed in dollar amounts. Once you start doing shit not in your dollar amount, you open the flood gates to be used and abused and that is bad for your mental health. Understanding that concept and the way business owners actually think helped me to get through the majority of the workplace bullshit and laugh at the unfavorable stuff that came my way.
4. Be Vocal Without Being Emotional
Many times in the workplace people confuse passion for bat shit crazy. Being passionate for something doesn't require you to act like a mad person going around ranting and raving all day. You can express your grievances without becoming too damn emotional. Emotion does not get you far but being a well spoken, well thought individual does get you places.
5. Make Sure You Are Worth Your Employment Before You Complain
The biggest mistake I feel employees make in a company is finding time to complain about shit when they are not up to par in their job duties. For example, if you want to complain about upper management, please make sure you arrive to work on time, don't call out and actually do your job when you're there. If you complain about your job but you don't do the bare minimum of your job, you should probably just sit down. Your complaints are null and void if you are less than a model employee. While I was the money clerk at MCU (last year right after quitting), it was literally just a job to me. I showed up did the bare minimum and left. Because of my nonchalantness, I was in no position to request anything of management nor was I in a position to dictate what I think they should do. I stayed in my place.
6. Job Titles Without Responsibilities Are The Best Jobs to Have
My whole life, I've been obsessed with titles. Want to be the "manager", "key holder" "head receptionist" but a big fancy title comes with big fancy responsibilities some of those that usually follow you home. As a regular ass employee, I come in do my job and go the fuck home. I don't have to worry about getting texts on vacation or on my days off about something I could care less about. When the Mets season is over, I will go back to my job of handing out flyers for 5 hours a day. Yes, it's true the lower on the totem pole you go, the less you get paid BUT that's more mental space for you to attribute to other things that you actually care about and want to do!
I've been MIA for a few weeks but I swear I'm doing purposeful stuff. I'm wrapping up this season at the Mets and after much contemplation decided to decline on the opportunity to work the US Open. I have re-started my YouTube channel and believe it or no there is actually content up there worth watching! You can check that out here.
On to the good stuff!
I stumbled upon SheIn through a LADIES only Facebook group that I belong to. The owner posted a picture of a cute ass top and she told everyone that she bought it at SheIn. I previously thought SheIn was just another overseas website out to get your coins similar to Zaful. Which I will discuss them in my next video and to see my last experience with overseas sites click here.
They sent me this dress for free but you know I'm about to be completely honest with my entire experience. The shipping is unlike any other company from overseas, it was here in 4 days. I was shocked. Speaking to some other girls from the group, this is not just something they do for bloggers, apparently their shipping is always on point which is A++.
I found the sizing a little off but that's mostly expected when shopping boutiques from another country. As you all may know I am no longer a smaller woman, I err more to the thick side and usually I'm a US medium on top, US medium or large on the bottom depending on the cut and material. Sometimes, I can fit into an extra large. After checking the sizing, I ordered this dress in a large . When it arrived, the mid area was still a bit snug (check out the last picture on the bottom right). It only bunched up after moving around(I decided to pick up stuff off of the floor and then take pics please don't ask) and I did need help to zip it up because it's one of those hidden zipper things.
I can't lie, The dress is gorgeous, the eyelet material, the sheer parts just everything was on point and EXACTLY as pictured on the website which was a major plus. It was a little shorter on me than pictured which was expected because I am a little thicker therefore knee length stuff tends to be shorter than that on me.
It's also totally appropriate for work minimal skin is showing and basically everything is covered. It's extremely lightweight, I've worn this dress twice and both in dead NYC humid ass heat and I felt cool. Another thing I wanted to note about this dress. Usually when I wear white on NYC subways I get off looking beige, this material didn't hold dirt at all and I didn't have to use bleach when I washed it because it wasn't soil. I really despise using bleach so that was another thumbs up on my list. I have a SheIn wishlist and will be doing a review soon on their sister site MakeMeChic. So comment below and tell me if you've ever ordered from them or will you in the future.
Since becoming a Pescatarian(someone who only eats fish and veggies), I have been very conscious of what I allow inside my body as well as on top of it. I've been battling blackheads and spots since the birth of my LO, and my ultimate goal is to have beautiful glowing skin without a shit load of highlighter.
I’ve changed my skin routine several times, learning as I go. Differentiating oily vs dry, how the seasons affect our skin, how our dietary intake plays a role and that a large majority of us have combination skin (me included). It can be overwhelming when walking into a Sephora or Rite Aid and seeing tons of products and not knowing which ones to pick. Through my research(trial and error), I have learned that salicylic acid, Vitamin e and Argan Stem cells are my best friends. My ultimate goal was to find a regimen that cleans, tightens and moisturizes BUT also keeps me glowing.
Like every other aspect of my life, I love mixing high and low brands. I wear Louis Vuitton with Danice, David Yurman with Forever21 and it’s not a surprise that my skin care routine is no different. I purchased a Rite Aid brand pore facial scrub and I exfoliate twice daily. I use Lush and Avon masks once a week and I’ve been rocking with Charlotte Lacroix every day.
Usually at night, I remove any makeup but since I did the #nomakeupchallenge I had none to remove. I rinse my face with hot water. Then, I used the Rite Aid scrub that has two percent salicylic acid. After the scrub, twice a week, I use a lush clay mask or my Avon Clay mask(which also has salicylic acid in it) to penetrate pores and pull out and gunk that accumulated during the week. I rinse with cold water to close my pores. Following these steps, my skin is soft but way too dry. To bring it back to life, I apply Charlotte Lacroix firming face serum. Two pumps is more than sufficient for my whole face. I pat the product all over until it has been absorbed. I sleep with it over night and in the morning I wake up with skin smoother than a baby’s bum. I use the scrub again and moisturize with the day cream and go about my day.
After my face dries, I use Charlotte Lacroix serum for moisturizing at night and the day cream during the day. Unless it’s like 1,000 degrees outside then I also use the face serum during the day, sparingly though. The day cream reminds me of being a little girl, as when I was younger, my grandmother made me use Pond’s cold cream in the morning before school and told me to take care of my skin now so I can look like her when I get to her age. However, that Pond’s cold cream is absolutely unbearable in NY summer heat.
Charlotte Lacroix’s products visibly rejuvenates the collagen in my skin. The night serum is light and slightly fragranced. The use of the facial scrub with salicylic acid in conjunction with the the Charlotte Lacroix moisturizes have drastically reduced the size of my pores and the amount of blackheads over time. I’ve been abusing the under eye cream which was a tad bit harsh at first. It turned my skin red initially but it’s wonderful for a little pick me up after a night of no sleep. Yes, that still happens occasionally even with a two year old.
I’ve been receiving tons of compliments even from my love Corey who, one night touched my face and asked me if I was wearing make up. For once, I was enthused to tell him that it was just my face. Charlotte Lacroix’s products have been the topping on my cake for my skin routine.
I'll be posting photos on my twitter with my mask after using Charlotte Lacroix and my new regimen. The mask shows any large pores you may have. Below is a picture of my first time wearing makeup, I still have some large pores but a large majority of them have gotten visibly smaller in 15 days. My complexion looks cohesive and my skin super smooth. (SN: I'm not wearing any highlighter!) This is without changing my diet. I’m excited to see how far Charlotte Lacroix’s products can take me with water intake and diet change. I will post a review update in another 2 months.
Before you leave, let me know your night routine, your favorite products and what works for you!
WHY I QUIT MY JOB