Monthly Archives: October 2014

The “perfect” fit for me

The “perfect” fit for me

The “perfect” fit for me

Until I get the body I want through diet and exercise, I have to come up with creative ways to keep things looking marginally okay. Recently, my hubby brought home The Body by Victoria Perfect Shape bra, and you know what? It really is perfect!

If you’re looking for a bra that gives you comfort, coverage and lift then this might be the solution for you. However, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have heard from a few of my more busty sisters that thy cup might runneth over if you happen to be more physically endowed than the average person. So, it’s always best to be properly fitted.

Overall, I give this bra an A+. It gave me the look I wanted without the pain and expense of surgery. Yay!

 

I’m about to show my behind!

I’m about to show my behind!

I’m about to show my behind!

There are 99 reasons that I absolutely, without a doubt, 100 percent HATE Halloween. Chief among them is all that gooey, chewy, crunchy, sugary candy that seems to be everywhere this time of year! No matter where I turn, there are cute little dishes filled to the brim with individually wrapped morsels of cellulite inducing, artery clogging, CONFECTIONERY GOODNESS!

*Blank stare*

OK, I’m back. But, you get the picture. I have NO self-control. And, I think that’s really what I hate, along with the extra pounds I seem to pick up around this time every year. But, instead of complaining about how my pants keep shrinking, I’ve decided to drop the candy wrapper and take personal responsibility for my own actions … starting today!

I’m a huge fan (no pun intended) of the MyFitnessPal iPhone app, which claims to be “the best calorie counter on the iPhone.” I haven’t compared it to any others, so I can’t confirm that claim. But, what I can do is say how much I  love this app. I get lots of great information like fitness tips, low calorie recipes and inspiring stories of individual weight loss. I can even connect with friends who use it. And, it’s all FREE!

This week, I received an email about a 28-day squat challenge and decided, yes – I WILL make the pledge to take my butt into my own hands, starting with Day 1 of the “Beginner Squat Challenge.”

The first movement is called the counterbalance box squat, which is demonstrated above.  I’ve also posted a short video on SisterLadyGirl’s Instagram page to show you how the movement is performed, along with instructions for the first week of the challenge.

I hope you’ll join me on the road to getting fit and healthy. Then, meet me back here in about 30 days to share your before and after photos. I promise, if you show me your behind, I’ll show you mine.

Happy squatting!

 

A good “quickie” never hurt anybody

 

A good “quickie” never hurt anybody

I’m sure that title got your attention, but this post isn’t about what you think it is.

Actually, it’s about an article I read recently about an Emory University study that lists four ways couples can increase their chances of having a successful marriage. As my husband and I prepare to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary next month, I started thinking: What does it really take to stay happily married?

According to the study, in order to “divorce-proof” a marriage, couples should:

  • Date for at least three years
  • Make good money
  • Choose a partner for more than good looks
  • Go to church together more often

Hmm, let’s see …

  • We got engaged within a year and a half of going on our first date.
  • When we tied the knot, we were so broke, it was no joke.
  • If we weren’t physically attracted to each other, I don’t think we would have even gotten to a first date (I’m just being honest).
  • But, we have worshiped together in the same church for more than 20 years.

If this list is any indication, I’m in no position to offer relationship advice. So, I won’t. But, what I will do is share what has worked for us for more than two decades.  It’s my list of top four “quickies” to help keep our marriage strong:

  • Give a token of love: Nothing makes me feel more special than having my husband come home with one of those “out-of-the-blue,” or “just because” trinkets. It’s never anything fancy or super expensive, but it really is the thought that counts. And, that’s what makes it so special. It lets me know he’s thinking about me. It’s human nature to want and feel love. And, as much as you need it, your mate does too. So, it’s important to reciprocate.
  • Hug it out – And, speaking of wanting and needing to feel love, there’s nothing better than a good, warm hug. So much can be conveyed through the full-body contact of an affectionate embrace – reassurance, protection, satisfaction, even love. It’s no wonder why touch is one of our five senses. It truly is a gift from God.
  • Drop a note: I’m not talking about a grocery list or a note asking that the garbage be taken out. I’m talking about a sincere paragraph or two explaining what he means to you. Have you ever told him that your life would be empty without him? Or, that you feel blessed that you chose him to be the father of your children? I have. And, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t appreciate knowing their worth to you. Not good with words? A nice greeting card will do the trick too. The key is that it comes from the heart.
  • Plan a date night: It’s been 20 years for me and my husband, but I still remember the flutters I’d get deep in my belly when I knew he was on his way to pick me up for a date. Today, I’m still excited to go on a date with my husband. With the demands of work, home and community, taking an occasional moment just for us is a great way to stay connected, have unedited conversation and just share a laugh.

Try one or all of these little “quickies” if you want the ties that bind your relationship to be unbreakable. I’m a witness. They really do work! Be sure to drop a note and let me know how it works for you! In the meantime, here’s to happily coupled couples everywhere. Cheers!

20/20 vision

 

20/20 vision

photo-1

When I first met Marc, the man who would one day become my husband, I despised him!

It was on a blind date in college as a favor for my roommate. And, like a lot of guys his age, he was only interested in one thing. I on the other hand was sent to school with the idea that everything done in the dark would come to light, so I wasn’t about that life.

It’s true what they say, though. Hindsight is 20/20. And, looking back now, I realize that we just weren’t ready for each other yet. Fortunately for both of us, God had a plan. We didn’t see it then, but it’s become crystal clear that we belong together.

Since reconnecting in 1991, more than two years after Marc graduated, we’ve been pretty much inseparable; winning, losing, falling, rising, loving, laughing, praying, and raising two amazing daughters … all together. On Nov. 5, Marc and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage. I feel fortunate, blessed and most of all, grateful for this amazing life Im living. I’m looking forward to the next 20 years and beyond.

Eternal hope isn’t so bad after all

 

Eternal hope isn’t so bad after all

A popular news station here in Tampa completed a weeklong series today which delved into the minds of local teens. The stories covered everything from bullying and secret drug use to the effect of social media on their interpersonal skills.

My 18-year-old daughter Chelsea was selected to be one of the teens featured and I have to say, I’m really proud (and pleasantly surprised) by how well she handled herself in front of the camera. She appeared exactly as she always has: poised, level-headed and bright.

So, why am I amazed? As a parent, I’m always concerned about whether or not I’m doing the right thing by my children. I know they “listen” to me, but do they really “hear” me? Do they see my protection as oppression? Have I given them the knowledge they need to handle themselves appropriately when I’m not around?

I’d be lying if I told you I knew with absolute certainty that Chelsea would knock the interview out of the box the way she did. Going in, all I could do was hope.  And, it’s what I continue to do every day. I hope that we’ve provided her with a balanced upbringing. I hope that she feels safe enough to openly and honestly express herself. I hope she continues to go in the direction she’s been trained to go and never depart from it.

The word hope is simply defined as, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” And, based on this interview, my hope is becoming my reality.

http://www.wfla.com/story/26802961/brandon-teens-social-media-doesnt-affect-how-she-interacts-offline

chelsea-wfla

Go loud or low-key?

Go loud or low-key?

Go loud or low-key?

Ok, I admit it. I’m still THAT girl. You know the one: quick to jump on the latest trend. I love the idea of getting out of the box and rocking some socks with sandals or coloring my hair fire engine red.

But, I work in a fairly conservative environment. So, I started thinking to myself … maybe inside the box is where I need to be? Especially when it comes to nail colors.

When I was younger, I wasn’t one of those girls who just had to have her nails done. But, these days, I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m a color convert. Acrylics, wraps, shellac … the brighter, the better. I love ‘em all!

For the over-40 set, I wonder if it makes sense to go loud or low-key? What do you think?

Right now, I am completely obsessed with …

Right now, I am completely obsessed with …

Right now, I am completely obsessed with …

Alex and Ani bracelets. I love them for so many reasons, but two in particular:  they’re customizable and they’re affordable. Very rarely do I run across jewelry that fits both of these very important “must haves” for me … and so beautifully, too!

I’m finding that the older I get, the more comfortable I become with expressing myself. With sharing those bits and pieces of myself that make me uniquely me.

In my 20s and 30s, I thought I had to “get in where I fit in” or “fake it until I make it.” Now that I’m a little older and hopefully a tiny bit wiser, I realize that it’s my willingness to laugh at myself, my intense dislike for pedicures (no matter how many of my friends swear by them), and my unwavering belief that one day I’ll wake up a little taller and thinner, that make me the fun-loving, God-fearing, loyal, never-met-a-rom-com-I-didn’t-like woman I am today.

Right now, I can honestly say that I’m okay with me. And, thanks to my growing collection of bracelets, you get a glimpse into why.

It’s just genes, gel and water

 

It’s just genes, gel and water

The idea for this blog sprang up from a very simple idea: my hair.  More specifically, it was people’s reaction to my hair. It’s rare for me to make it through the day without someone asking me about it.

The conversation usually starts with: “Excuse me … I love your hair.” Then come a series of rapid-fire follow-up questions like:

  • How do you get it to curl like that?
  • What do you put in it?
  • Can I touch it? (Yes, you read that right!)

Don’t get me wrong. The compliments are flattering. But, when I tell people that my “look” is accomplished through a mix of genes, gel and water, I sometimes get the combination side-eye/duck lip smirk. You know the one I’m talking about: It just screams, “Chil’ pleeeeze!”

Seriously, I haven’t had a chemical relaxer in my hair in over 16 years. But, I get the feeling that more than half the people I give my answer to just don’t believe me. So, for those who still have doubts, check this out!

Wallflowers

Wallflowers

Wallflowers

In my world, it’s the little things that make me the happiest. Right now, I am in love with these little “Wallflowers” pluggable home fragrance diffusers from Bath & Body Works.  They make my house smell like a day spa. When I walk in from a hard day at work, the aroma just washes over me, relaxing my mind and body almost instantly. They’re not obnoxious either. There’s such a large variety to choose one, you can probably find one to fit just about any home’s décor.

I’m okay with raising an angry black woman

I’m okay with raising an angry black woman

I’m okay with raising an angry black woman

For a little more than two weeks, New York Times TV critic, Alessandra Stanley’s characterization of Shonda Rhimes as an “angry black woman,” has ruled the headlines and ironically, angered thousands of other black women across the country with her trite stereotype.

Maybe I’m a little different because I didn’t feel anger. Instead, I felt motivated. When most black women were asking the question: Who does this chick think she is for insulting the award-winning creator of Grey’s Anatomy,”  “Scandal” and the ratings powerhouse, “How to Get Away with Murder,” I was asking: What’s wrong with being an angry black woman?

I’ve always told my daughter it’s not necessarily the name they call you that matters, only her response to it. There’s a lot of power in the phrase, “angry black woman.” And, rather than run from it, I’ve tried teaching her to embrace it.

Consider this:

  • When statistics show that black women are murdered by men at a rate more than two and a half times higher than white women  (Violence Policy Center, 2013), I tell her it’s okay to be outraged enough to stand up to violence because no man has the right to lay his hands on her or any other woman.
  • When society says that professional success means she’ll never be married to an equally or even more successful black man, I tell her it’s okay to become indignant about having to lower her standards to accommodate others. While it’s true that roughly 70 percent of black women in America are single, I say, don’t be pressured to settle for “Mr. Right Now.”  I tell her, “Just do you, boo,” and “Mr. Right” will come along.
  • When it’s revealed that roughly 35 percent of the S&P 250 don’t have a single black board member  – male or female (Black Enterprise Magazine, 2013), I tell her it’s okay to be incensed and commit herself to becoming the change she wants to see.
  • When she finds out that 72 percent of all teen births in 2012 happened to girls who are in her current age bracket (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2013), I tell her it’s okay to get heated and buck the trend by staying in school and getting her education.

If being outraged, offended, incensed, and heated motivates my daughter to take a stand, be true to herself, commit to making positive change and get an education, I tell her it’s okay.