Sunday, April 21, 2013

Inside Out, Outside In

I've not been very successful in my health pursuits, and not for lack of trying.

I get up at 6am and work out. I run on the weekends. I stay away from bad snacks. I even gave up wine for 2 weeks straight. Despite all of that, I've been tired, moody, and depressed (I'm fine right after I work out, but as the day wears on, my mood plummets).

I do some part time work, I was taking business classes, I've been planning a new art project, all of this in addition to being a single parent raising a son in New York. My son attends middle school. An all-boys school, and the experience has left a lot to be desired, but thankfully he is involved in various academic programs, he maintains an A- average, and even though he tests the mommy-waters sometimes, he's an overall good soon.

I walk around my once decent neighborhood and I don't know what happened. People have gotten meaner (or maybe I've gotten softer). Walking out my door to deal with the mean streets of the Bronx, I feel myself putting on my Iron Man armor with the hopes of just doing what I need to do without getting into it with anyone.

I like to walk down the street with my head held high. It actually does a lot for my self-esteem to do that, but I can't because people allow their dogs to shit on the sidewalks, everywhere. It's like playing hopscotch, except you're trying not to step on dog shit, so don't date look up or you will, as I did one day, find your foot in a soft steaming pile of it before it's too late.

I just want to walk down the street with my head held high. Is that too much to ask?
Is it too much to ask that if I need to purchase clothes in my neighborhood shops, that at least one store supplies clothes that are fit for business? How many stores do we need selling the same ole stretch pants, cut out shirts, unitards, glitter tank tops, and 6 inch hooker shoes?

I've come to the solid conclusion that I have outgrown my hometown.

When I was a kid, I used to go outside and play. There are no kids in the neighborhood for my son to play with because it's all about video games, getting girls, and fighting each other to prove their malehood (since none of these boys are no where near being men).

A kid - one of my son's classmates - yelled at me. (Pause: I checked that ass, no doubt, but the fact that he didn't even think twice about it started to break the last bit of spirit I was feeling about being in my hometown. This morning, a neighbor yelled at me because I asked why she removed my clothes from the washer when I was standing right there (apparently, I didn't move fast enough for her and I don't respect people's time. Huh????). I checked her too, not for her actions, but for her being rude when I asked her about it. An employee flipped out when I told him his boss now requires all employees to fill out time sheets. I handled that professionally as well. But I have to say, these incidents took a lot out of me emotionally. I sat here today wishing I was that stereotype of a black girl from the Bronx who curses out anyone that crosses the line. I'm not a pushover, but apparently people think that when you're not hurling f-bombs at them. I shouldn't have to do that. I don't need to do that.  And yet I hate the feeling that they may think they're gotten the best of me because I didn't show my ass right along with them.

The last time I did show my ass was to a former supervisor. I had an Iyanla/DMX moment where I proclaimed that she will not speak to me (the way she did) ever again. I followed that up with a complaint to the HR department, and a week later, my services were no longer needed. I was relieved, but then I thought, well, if I was going to lose my job, I should have at least dropped an f-bomb or two since pride doesn't pay the bills.

Another time, I had to tell a man who I had dated in the past, to stop texting me inappropriate photos of his anatomy. What did I get for reminding him that I had standards and wasn't going to bite the carrot that he was dangling in front of me when we both knew he didn't want me? LOLOL... I actually have to laugh before I write this... he cut me off, blocked me... because I told him my favorite part of his body was his face (hint, hint, stop sending me pics of your junk).

Yep, it's been that kind of a time people. And as a result of the stress that has been building and building... no amount of push ups, and HIT training, and boxing, and running, and not drinking soda or eating candy or beef, or cake....none of that is helping me to get in the kind of physical shape that I aspire to.

Stress is a BEAST. I hate the muthafucker.

Stress is my biggest enemy.

Stress in increasing my cortisol levels, which is why I don't have my washboard abs.

Stress has me tired all the time, but I gets no good sleep.

Stress has me thinking I look 10 years older than I actually am (interesting, others think I look great, but I feel like crap. It's like people who suffer from eating disorders - it's not so much about how they look, but how they feel).

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I do ask that God wakes me up in the morning so that I can continue to sort through this mess because I'm not ready to give up yet.

I'm frustrated. Disappointed. Hurt. A little bit angry. A lot exasperated. Confused. Tired. Anxious. Achy. But I'm not ready to give up just yet. Not yet.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wine Review: Luscious Vines Coco Tropical

I thought I'd try something a little different - a wine review from a layman's point of view.

While I have a history with wines, I'm going to start with a wine I just tried for the first time yesterday: Luscious Vines Coco Tropical.

The back of the bottle reads as follows:
"Luscious Vines Coco Tropical is a delicious drink with added flavor of fruit and coconuts and mixed with premium wine."

I don't know if it's because Spring is in the air, my taste buds have changed, or what, but I am digging this light, tropical (and very affordable) wine. When I take a sip, I feel like I'd eating an icee of a hot summer day. It has a refreshing taste that puts me in a sipping and relaxing mood. Does that even make sense? When I drink it, I don't want to guzzle it, I want to savor it slowly. I usually fill a wine glass up less than 50% of the way (sometimes it's even just at 24%), and it took me a half hour just to get through that little bit because I seem to be enjoying the actual experience of drinking the wine, and its flavors. I don't know if it's the island girl in me, but I love it's mixture of coconut and fruit flavors (almost like a high class, lightweight sangria).

Last night I paired this drink with some Tilapia fish balls (homemade), and sweet potato fries. I love fish and usually fill myself to the brim when I make it, but I ate a small portion of food, a quarter of a glass of the wine, and I was full.

Another cool thing is this wine is local - Washingtonville, NY... I might just have to take a trip out to the vineyard.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hair growth progress

My, how the time has flown.

I chopped off my hair in a fit of 'I don't know what' back in May 2010.

It started off as a trim, but I just kept cutting and cutting. There was so much going on in and around me, and when I feel chaos I do drastic things like move furniture, paint walls, purge items from my closet, or cut my hair.

I still do the other things, but I wanted to stop chopping off my hair when I got in a mood, so I decided to look more inward that react outwardly, however, that last big chop was more than necessary. I think I adapted healthier hair care habits, and tested my own patience, as well as learned a lot (and will continue to).

I went from this:

To this:

I won't say that things got easier (except for the fact that I am more comfortable with myself now than I have ever been in my entire life... jobless, loveless, and all), but I damn sure learned other ways, maybe more healthier, productive ways to get through things. I'm no where near my final destination as I embark on healthier living, getting into a bikini for my 38th birthday, lol!, becoming an entrepreneur, and being the artist I set out to be many years ago. It's hard ya'll, but worth the effort. Stay tuned!

Hairline Regrowth Progress

Earlier this month I took photos of my thinning hairline, which was a result of wearing my hair in a top bun ALL THE TIME. I got comfortable...lazy. And I paid for it. For the first time in my life I knew what many other women go through when it came to the thinning hair line. I literally was like "What?" And then I took action.

I immediately pulled out my unopened second bottle of MTG - yes, the -ish that smells like bacon grease! I was a horse losing it's damn hair and I needed help stat! And then I whipped out the Jamaican Castor oil. As mentioned in a previous post, I bought the oil and didn't find much use for it. I even threatened to give it away, but I kept it and used it as a carrier oil for my scalp oil. Well in this case, I mixed the MTG with the Jamaican Castor oil, and massaged my hairline daily.

I thought I'd seen a difference in a couple of days, but figured that was wishful thinking. I wanted to wait a while to take follow up photos to compare to the original ones, but I saw a major difference in the 3 weeks that I have been using this scalp oil, as well as continuing with the Shea Moisture Yucca and Baobob product line (if I could drink the Hair Milk, I would - it has been a miracle to my hair).

(for whatever reason, the date is not showing on the second set of 
photos, which were taken on March 31)

It is without question that I am satisfied with the progress that I am making, and will continue on this path. I also changed my hair maintenance routine a bit, as I've found that the longer my hair gets, the more work it seems to require (and here I thought I would be able to just throw it up in a ponytail or bun and keep it moving... NOT!).

This is the second week where I am wearing my hair in a partial blow out (I blow my hair out with cool and warm air, not the hot air that I used to use back in the day). And I have gone back to styling it daily (ugh!), but mainly because I oil my scalp and re-moisturize every night. That routine goes as follows:
  1. I finger-part my hair into 4 sections (I do not use a comb when my hair isn't wet, and even when it is wet, I detangle with my fingers - not a bit comb in hair fan).
  2. I apply a quarter size of the Shea Moisture Yucca and Baobob Hair Milk to each section, then apply a dime size of my homemade Hair Buttercream.
  3. I place the section in a ponytail and braid the loose hair.

In the morning I add a bit of homemade hair pudding followed by hair buttercream to the sections closest to the roots to control those stray hairs. Just before heading out for the day, I release the 4 braids, shake my head a bit, and peace out.

The one major thing I discovered after using the Shea Moisture Yucca and Baobob hair products (shampoo every other week, conditioner weekly, hair milk daily, and now the hair masque which I will use with every shampoo), is that my hair was soooooo soft, but strong. Strong enough that I feel confident with the blow out hair (I usually get nervous after a couple days and spray it to coil it up).