Yes, New Friends!

I think that at any point in life we can realize that we need some new friends. Whether we went through a friend break-up, moved to a new area, or just want to add some variety to our life some new friends are always helpful! I recently broke up with some really close friends and have found myself in need of a new girl squad.

Now before you start the hunt, you need to decide what kind of friends you want. I think that it is best to look for people who are headed or currently in the direction of life you want. If you want to workout more and focus on fitness, get to the gym. You will start finding yourself surrounded by other people who are interested in the same lifestyle you are no matter how long you’ve been in it!

“Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe”

So once you know what kind of tribe you want, here are a few tips to find new friends!

1. APPS

While I hate dating apps more than the plague (Tinder is essentially dating hell), there are some apps that can prove pretty useful when looking for new gal pals or curl friends.

Bumble: Yes I am aware that Bumble is a dating app, but it has a BFF setting. Making it great for you to search for new friends in your area if you’ve just moved. It works on the same principles as the regular B setting but instead of showing you possible dates it shows others that are looking for friends in the area!

Hey! Vina: This app is made specifically for females to connect and find new friends around them. It starts with you taking a personality test so that you can find like-minded ladies. There are even separate communities for specific hobbies like running, bloggers, volunteers or stay at home moms! Your profile allows you to fill in details about yourself as well as asks some fun questions like “Describe Yourself in 5 Emojis”. The selection is similar to any other dating app but encourages you to meet each other. I have met two great ladies from this app and am throughly enjoying talking to new people! They even have their own WordPress VINAZINE.

2. ACTIVITIES

The best way to meet people who you might enjoy spending more time with is by participating in activities you enjoy! Join a gym if that’s your thing or take up a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try.

I love crafting so a great way for me to meet some like-minded people is at Paper Source and their monthly crafting events. Starting filling up that empty social calendar with things you will enjoy and you will find yourself with a new group for girls night.

3. WORK

Now, I am typically a firm believer in not mixing work with play, but when it comes to finding some new friends it could work out. First thing is to look out side of your department or people who you already work with. While some may enjoy talking about work when you aren’t at work, I prefer to discuss other things. Keeping your work friends separate from your direct coworkers should prevent this! Secondly, start with the easiest activity first, Lunch. We all have to eat so spend lunch with a different person in the office and move from there. Maybe she will be the next Samantha to your Carrie!

Don’t be afraid to talk to and meet new people. The only way to grow is to step out of your comfort zone and do things differently! Lastly, keep in mind that some friends are around for just a season in our lives. Perhaps they are here teach us something about ourselves or perhaps they are here to stay. Either way, greet them with open arms and get excited about all the new Brunch conversations you can have in the future!

-B


*It should go without saying, but I was not paid by any of the above companies. I downloaded or used their services on my own*

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Healthy Living

Being healthier seems to be everyone’s New Years resolution! Most don’t make it to February and the gyms get less crowded and stores stop marketing a healthier lifestyle. To make it past the first few months of the year you need to understand diets and lazy workouts aren’t going to work. It’s an entire lifestyle change. You need to be ready to change your entire life!

Loosing weight and being health is not just about going to the gym. You have to eat well too! When I started working out and eating well I wasn’t sure what I should do. I gravitated to Pinterest to help me with what I should and shouldn’t be eating. Over the past few months I have come up with a great plan  to help me with weight loss.

SO here is what a typical day of food looks like for me as well as other tools I use to help me develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Breakfast

img_4706I used to hate breakfast. Something about eating that early in the day just makes me sick. I do, however, love smoothies! So I started using Herbalife to turn my fruit shakes into a complete meal in the morning. For this particular smoothie I used 8 ounces of vanilla coconut milk, 1/2 cup of frozen mangoes, 3 slices of frozen img_4737peaches, and 2 scoops of the piña colada Herbalife Healthy Meal. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day its important to start out strong! This is super easy to make and take on the go so there is no excuse to having a full breakfast. I also pair mine with a cup of green tea!

Lunch
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I am trying to lower my carb intake as I lose weight ( I will increase it when I am ready to start building more muscle) so for lunch I try to limit my carbs so that I can have more for breakfast or dinner. Zoodles are great! If you aren’t familiar with them check here for some great recipes. This meal is rice cake pizzas! I crave pizza all the time. This is a great healthier alternative. Just put what ever toppings you’d like and microwave or place in the oven to warm up! Just make sure that for lunch you are eating plenty of protein and veggies!

Dinner

img_4701For dinner I try to focus on transforming veggies. Raw vegetables are great but for dinner I crave a bit more flavor. These spicy carrots are my new favorite! As someone who LOVES french fries, I want to find a way to get a similar feel. To make these I cut carrot into fry like strips (4-5 Carrots will fill a sheet tray) and place them into a ziplock bag. I add olive oil and what ever spices I want. Let them sit while you prepare your protein or for 10 mins. Put all of your carrots on the tray, but do not pour them from the bag. There will be to many juices and you won’t get crispy carrot fries. Place them in the oven at 375 for 15 mins, turn them and then put them back for another 15 mins. These are so good and my younger sisters loved them too.

Tools

There are some apps that I use to help me keep up with my fitness

Lifesum: I have a premium account because I love how easy this app is to use. You can take an easy quiz based on your fitness goals and it pairs you up with the best plan for you. Adding each meal is super easy and you can save the meals you eat for easy repeat entry. You can even sync it with other health apps you might already have such as your fit bit or apple watch. I try to use it every day especially when I am trying a new recipe or starting a new meal plan so that I can learn what is best for me. Also the app itself is free!

Apple Watch: Now, I will never tell you to go out and buy an Apple Watch because they are not cheap, but since I got mine in December it has been really helpful in working towards a healthier lifestyle. The Activity and Workout portions of the watch are what I use most. It calculates your calories burned based on actual activity and not the calories we burn simply from being humans. This, in comparison to my Fitbit, helps me see how much effort I put in each day to being active.

Pinterest: I feel that I use Pinterest for everything in life. It is the best place to go for ideas for anything you need. When it comes to fitness and health I love to use it to find new workouts for leg day or a recipe for whatever I might have left in my fridge. It has even been updated to help you find similar posts in an instant! I’ve linked my fitness Pinterest board in case you need somewhere to start!

Being healthy can be hard when you crave gummy bears on a daily basis, but you can do it! Hopefully this look into what I am currently doing will help you with your own goals!

I am still working on my goals so if you have any suggestions for me, please send them over. Happy gym day!

-B


*It should go without saying, I am not being sponsored or paid by any of these companies. Everything was purchased myself and they are actual items and tools I use everyday!*

Life Overhaul

I am not the kind of person to look back on my life and regret choices I have made. I like to think that even some of the really bad things that have happened or poor choices I have made have had an effect on my personal growth. I do feel that it comes a time when you have to look inwards and decide what direction you want your life to go in. Hobbies, Jobs, Friends, Apps on our phones, and Daily Routines are just a few things that need an overhaul every once in a while!

Now, spring cleaning your life doesn’t have to happen after a live changing event, like myself, but it does need to happen in order to propel yourself forward and give your whole live direction. As we go through life we update things around us based on who we currently are. Our clothing, music taste or exercising frequencies change throughout the year and over our life time. I’ve been applying that same need to change into other aspects of my live. These are some of the over looked facets of life that I believe need spring cleaning every once in a while and how it will benefit your overall life outlook!

Friends

By now we are aware that not all relationships will last forever. We move on and grow and life and sometimes relationships suffer because of this. From first hand experience I can tell you, your “bestie from the 7th grade may not be your bridesmaid at your wedding like you planned. Things change and people stop being apart of our lives. What we need to take a close look at are those that are still actively apart of our lives. Not only do the people you associate yourself define how others view you, but it can also change the direction of your personal growth. While some friends may seem great, you may need to take a step back and see how you have changed since meeting them and if you like that change or if you want your life to go in a different direction.

The decision to distance yourself from the people who are pulling you in a direction that you no longer desire can have a physical and mental impact on your health. I am no doctor (despite what my mother thinks!), but I have go through this friendship detox and even the simple act of spending less time with them makes you feel SO MUCH BETTER! Seriously, I am happier, have a more positive outlook on life and enjoy my days and weekends more. You can go as far as completely removing them from your life or just slightly distancing yourself from them. Either way you are allowing yourself to grow without their influence giving yourself room to grow and change the way you’d like to.

Free Time

If you are so lucky to have free moments in the day then you are very lucky. What you do with that free time says a lot about you as an individual. Do you spend that time alone, with friends, drinking, watching tv, eating? Every activity aids in the your personal development. If you aim to be healthy and fit, yet spend your free time watching a “Say Yes to the Dress” Marathon (I did this yesterday!) you aren’t going to reach your goal.

I have made an active effort to spend more of my free time doing things that I used to do all the time but brushed off because life got too busy. I am exercising more, reading again, crafting, blogging, and inspiring others. Had I not shifted to doing these activities from watching Netflix and going out and drinking with friends I probably would never have started Melanin and Tea or a Fitness Instagram!

Food

I will be the first to say that I LOVE FOOD. I really do love everything and am willing to try almost anything. (If you have any food suggestions in D.C let me know!) It is proven that you are what you eat. Now that is obviously not a literal phrase, if so I’d be a cup of green tea and gummy bears, but indicates more that what you put into your body has an effect on  how you feel and who you are as a person. Some of us have some serious allergies and reactions to foods that we should stay away from, but for the rest of us everything is free game. Does that mean that you should go out and get a hot dog, chips, soda and a pint of ice cream? Absolutely Not! These foods are going to make you sluggish and lazy putting you further and further away from your daily goals.

Good for you foods are going to make you feel good. Fresh fruit and veg are going to give you energy to power through some of the tougher times of the day. I have incorporated 2 Liters of water into my day. Yes that is a lot of water, but it has changed my mental clarity and gives me a goal to focus on throughout the day. It also helps keep bloating at bay and makes my body feel better overall. Changing your diet from “Freshman in College” to “Successful Adult” will help drive you in the direction of personal growth and perhaps help you get rid of all of that college weight!

While I am not a doctor and can’t scientifically say that changing these things in your life every couple of months will make you a healthy person, I can say that I have done these things and feel better for having done so. I takes a strong-willed person to step back and look at your own life and make hard adjustments to make it better. In the long run it will pay off. I feel happier, have more clarity on my life, and enjoy the week and my Mondays more than I ever have.

Give it a try, spring clean your life and you may end up happier than you were before!

If you have any tips, tricks or suggestions about a life overhaul let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

-B

What is My Crown?

From the age of one I have had countless numbers of people gawk at the wonders of my 4C natural hair. I never understood why others were so fascinated by it or why people asked how my hair got so long after night when I would get braids put in. My hair was always the topic of conversation at school and when I was out in public. My hair journey is as extensive as the number of ignorant people who have touched my hair without asking.

I started getting my hair hot combed from as early as I can remember. My mom would straighten my hair and twist it into two strand twists all over my head. I would get mini head injuries from the little balls she put on the end of them. They were so hard! My mom would do braids for me every summer so that I could go swimming without having to worry about a swim cap. This was the routine for years until I turned 11.

I grew up in predominately white schools and lived in predominately white neighborhoods. Everyone I was friends with had long straight flowing hair. I wanted that so badly so my mom allowed me to get my hair relaxed. For those that are not quite sure what that means: I had a chemical, a pretty harsh one at that, placed on my hair to break down the curl pattern of my hair making it straight permanently. I was so excited to swing my flowing back length hair around and wear my hair in similar styles as my friends at school. I fit in and wasn’t set apart from everyone for something so basic as my hair.

I kept my hair straight or in braids until one of the worst days in my hair life. I was a senior in High School and wanted to get my hair trimmed before a big dance. My hair stylist cut my mid back length hair to right under my ears without telling me. I had so much breakage and damage in my hair that this was what she thought was best. I was mortified and cried for hours. This was the time I got my first weave. For those that are not sure what a weave is: I had tracks/wefts of hair (can be human or synthetic) sewn to cornrows of my hair to add length. This became my favorite hair style because my hair was growing underneath the extensions.

In college I finally had longer than shoulder length hair and decided to relax it again. This would be the worst decision I made after getting it relaxed the first time. My hair began to break off again and I didn’t know what to do. I ended up getting my first pixie. This is the perfect cut to begin a transition back to natural hair. I went to ARThur Christine in Vienna, VA and was thrilled with my new look, but I knew it was time to seriously take care of my natural hair. I am now, proudly at 2 years relaxer free.

I am learning so much about my hair now that I don’t rely on getting it straightened. I have learned that I actually have multiple textures on my head and how well my hair responds to certain products. I am more comfortable rocking my hair natural, in braids, faux loss, or twists than I am with it straight.

I allowed the strength of my versatile hair be taken away from me simply because it didn’t fit with the norm. My hair is magical! It grows up towards the sun, it is strong, it is soft and most importantly it is healthy. I have come to refer to my hair as my crown. While any  woman’s’ hair is important to her self-expression, it is also a reflection of self-awareness and self-love. When a woman no longer hides behind her hair, but makes it a display of who she is, her hair becomes her crown.

Each woman’s hair journey is going to be different, but I hope that every woman ends up with a crown, a display of who we are rather than a shield to hide behind.

Where are you in your hair journey?

-B

Single on Valentines Day


Valentines Day is creeping up on us and as a single lady most would assume that I will dread every moment of love filled joy on February 14th. If you thought that you’d be very wrong! I actually love Valentines Day. I will be 26 this year and have been single every single year for V-Day. For a while it sucked! I hated being the only one without a valentine or not getting flowers from some cute guy. ( I mean who hates free flowers?!?!) Over the years I have began to change what defines Valentines Day in my life. I believe that it is more so about self-love. Before you could learn to love your significant other you had to first learn to love yourself.

For me self-love is really important. As a teenager I dealt with body image issues and rejection, as most teenagers sadly do. My issues with my body ranged from weight issues to fear of embracing my race and my natural hair. I’ve struggled through the years with my relationship with men-boys-males. I have yet to have a positive lasting relationship. For years I thought that it was my fault, that I was undesirable. It has taken me years to get  where I am today and its all because I started out my 2017 getting dumped! (yeah, he had the decency to do it on January 1st!) Over the past month or so I quickly have learned that there is nothing wrong with me, I am not to blame. No matter what reason he could possible give me, I was strong enough to not fall back on old tendencies because I loved myself more than I could ever care for him.

Self Love is a difficult thing to master. I have a tattoo on my wrist of a plain and simple red heart. I got it when I was 18 or 19 as a way to signify the start of my trying to learn to love myself. I honestly forget it’s there most of the time, but the fact that it is there constantly sits in the back of my mind. When I think of loving yourself, specifically as a black woman, I think that there is more than just accepting what you see in the mirror. Being a person of color is hard, really hard. When you learn to love yourself you have to also learn to love your strength. The strength that gives you the ability to love your natural hair, your beautifully melanin dipped skin. The strength to face criticism, racism, judgement. So while looking in the mirror and loving what you see is important, you must have the strength to love what you see despite the fact that it’s going to make life difficult. And that’s okay, because you are STRONG.

I would say that the Black Instagram community has played a big part in my journey to self-love. Until recently I had never used words like queen and crown as a way to positively describe myself. Now I’ve taken it upon myself to teach my younger sisters the importance of describing oneself in a positive black light. Check out #queen, #mycrown, #melanin, and #blackgirlmagic on Instagram for some girls showing how much they love the melanin they are in!

I wouldn’t say that I have mastered self-love. I am still growing and learning everyday. For those that are learning to love your self, do these things everyday:

  • Take a Selfie and Share it!
  • Dance and Sing
  • Treat Yourself to something that makes you happy
  • Treat your body with love and respect
  • First find approval from yourself before seeking it from others
  • Allow yourself to learn to love yourself before trying to love someone else
  • Wear your hair HOWEVER you want
  • Embrace and Highlight aspects of yourself you may not like

For Valentines Day try loving yourself and stop waiting for someone else to treat you to the things you want. Go treat yourself and your girls to a valentines dinner or brunch, go buy yourself some flowers or chocolate. Go do anything except wait for someone else to do it for you! Eventually you will find someone who loves you simply because of how much love you have for yourself.

-B

Black History Month 2017

Black History Month always seems to be a time of the year, while it is the shortest month in the year, where people apologize for all that happened to black people in america. I have decided that yes it is important to know about our past and to understand and teach what really happened, but it is equally important to rise from our past.

I had the amazing opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture last week for a members talk with the curators of the Slave and Freedom exhibit. We were able to listen to stories and choices about the direction they took in regards to the flow of the entire exhibit as well as pieces in the exhibit as well. I know everyone may not get a chance to look at the museum if you are not near DC, so I took a couple of photos from the beginning of the exhibit for you all to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to not give a description of the images because I wanted you to have an honest reflection as to how the images made you feel. Images are so important and can tell so many different stories based on the viewer. Visiting the museum created a desire to strive to honor the memory of so many that came and survived before me. I say survived because slaves that made it here (most died on the ships here) endured through so much and I am happy to be a product of that survival.

What desire did these images give you?

 

-B

The Hunt

the-hunt

Job hunting has become my new job! I have learned some tips and tricks in the past two months and wanted to share them with you all.

  1. Take Some Time

Whether you are freshly unemployed or considering leaving a position, take this time to relax. The job hunting process can be stressful and difficult, and in my case LONG. Self health and management is so important during your job hunt process. Go to the gym, hang out with friends, or even watch that new series on Netflix you’ve been dying to watch. It is important to still have a life because sitting at home, looking for a job is going to kill you!

2.   Work on your Resume

This is what recruiters and employers are going to be looking at. If you are well into your career, just staring out or looking to transition to something different you want to be sure this represents the best of you. For a while I was hesitant to purchase a professional resume template, but once I did I was so happy. I got mine from Landed Design Studio. Liisa, the mastermind behind LDS, is super helpful and all of her designs are beautiful and really easy to use. She also provides tips and tricks for you to use when editing your resume and making it shine!

3.  LinkedIn

If you do not already have a LinkedIn account go get one! It is easy to set up and makes job hunting easier as well. I have had my account for a couple of years but didn’t get any real action on it until recently when I did a major overhaul to changed how everything looked. I also am currently trying the free trial of the Premium account as a job seeker. It’s only been a few days but it has helped me get a better idea as to where I stand amongst other job seekers.

4.  Leave your House

Yes, leave you house to go see friends of course, but also leave your house of your comfort zone to job hunt. Go to a networking event or a hiring event to make new connections. Send an email or Inmail (on LinkedIn) to someone you admire or someone that has a job you want. You never know what you will get from stepping out of your personal box. I have decided that I want to be an educator and one of the first things I did after that was reach out to a friend that teaches and someone at a school near me. They provided me with so many ideas and suggestions.

5.  Take a Step Back

I have found myself feverishly staring at my computer and phone for the past two months and have realized, before it was too late, that I need to take a step back every once and a while throughout the process. Take a few days off and do not think about job hunting. Allow yourself to focus on other aspects of your life. Find an activity like the ones mentioned above to help yourself grow. This stage is in your life should be about self growth. As you move to, hopefully, a more fulfilling job you should also be growing as a more in touch person.

These are just a few things I have learned over the past few months. Job hunting is hard so grab your computer, pen, paper and a big cup of tea and get going but make sure to take care of your self during the process.

I also have a few hiring events that I will be attending for those looking to work in a school either as educators or administrators. Check out the calendar for details on those. Lastly, if you have any job hunting tips or tricks send them over!

-B

What is Melanin?

melanin

The word Melanin has become widely used in social media recently. It is one of those it words that people are drawn to. It sounds nice rolling off the tongue and provokes the same feeling that R&B creates in ones mind.

Melanin is a pigment in our skin, eyes, and hair that make us the black queens we are. The more or less you have determine where on the spectrum of color you are. It is all very scientific, but I believe that Melanin has another meaning.

Melanin is beauty. There is such a large spectrum of color and skin tone; such a large variety of the varying degrees of this pigmentation. We have gotten into places in the past of classifying ourselves based on how dark or light we are instead of focusing on how magical and beautiful all of our skin is.

I grew up not knowing the word melanin or other words to identify the beauty of black people. I grew up confused as how to determine how beautiful I was. In my past 25 (almost 26) years of life I can say that I have loved being unapologetically black for 3 years. That truly saddens me, but I love the growth that I have made at seeing myself as truly beautiful.

While this Blog is titled Melanin and Tea, I encourage all races and genders to read along. I think that sometimes we can focus to much on what makes us different and not what unites us.

-B