Thursday, October 26, 2017

What Progress Feels Like

A few weeks ago, I made the decision that I was going to start showing up for myself in everything that I do.

I came to that conclusion because I was quite literally in the midst of being stretched too thin and having a breakdown. Again. 

I mean, I do so much for other people. For Aiden. For August. For my students. For my teachers. For my family. For HEB. But that whole notion of the strong black woman who does everything for everyone else and goes without? That no longer sits well with me.

Because while I'm doing all these things for other folks, who's doing things for me? Who's making sure that I've eaten, that I'm handling my stress and workload well? Who's making sure that I'm sleeping alright and working out and drinking enough water? Who's making sure that I'm doing well physically and mentally and all that jazz? Who's checking for me?

The answer? Not enough people.

Because I come off as strong and put together and kinda, sorta, maybe, quite alright -- whatever that means -- then folks are going to think that it's okay not to check up on me.

But you know what?

I'm learning to show up for myself. I'm learning to create boundaries and stick to them. Even if it means someone is going to be upset with me. They will deal! I'm learning to have difficult conversations with folks and stick up for myself. Even if it means they will be upset with me.

I'm learning to teach people how to treat me by showing them how I treat myself.

And you know what? It feels damn good, this progress.

I kinda like this version of Alicia.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fixer Upper, Apartment Style: Boys Room

HEB and I recently officially moved in together after unofficially living together over the past 3-4 years. Which means that the boys and I recently moved. Which means that I've been getting my Fixer-Upper-meets-Property-Brothers-meets-House-Hunters-Renovations on. And it's actually been really fun!

I didn't think I had it in me, but painting, sanding things down, and transforming furniture pieces and different spaces makes me feel very accomplished! Apparently I missed my calling as an Interior Designer.

I used minimal paint for the room since I had these cool peel-and-stick triangles sticker thingys that I wanted to use all over the walls. Also, it's such a quick way to transform a space -- it literally took me 10 minutes to put them up! I still may go back to paint the walls at a later time, but for now... white it is!

Because the room isn't large and the closets practically take up one full wall... and I wanted to keep Aiden's lofted Ikea Kura bed, I decided to paint the bed white. Ya know, to make it seem less bulky and sleek and whatnot. (At least that's what the design expects say to do.)

Here's a picture of what the bed looked like before:

I removed the letters A-I-D-E-N and the toy car, wiped down, sanded, and painted that bad boy with three coats of white paint. (Thank you YouTube and all the design blogs out there for hooking a sistah up!)

I kept some of his storage baskets and toy chest because the kid has mad toys and puzzles and little big boy things. I added a bean bag to his under bed area because he loves to sit and read there... or watch football videos on his iPad... or eat snacks. It's become his little oasis and I think it's so cute.

Then I threw some chalkboard paint up on some of the closet doors, hung up the kids' art work here and there, and voila! The #BROS room was made!

With the wall space and storage space above the closets, it was really fun designing different areas of the room. It all ties together, but they definitely feel like distinct spaces within the space. (Ha! I sound like an Interior Designer already!)

Also, I learned that the key to making spaces shine in pictures is... close ups. Seriously! It's makes a world of difference when showcasing a space.

Filed under: Things no one tells you about decorating and designs and pics and ish. #MindBlown

The big challenge was fitting Aiden's lofted bed and August's crib in the space, which took some navigating and moving things around several times before I settled on this current layout. I totally overestimated how much space the room had when I toured the apartment so next time I'll use measuring tape for things like this.

Another (less big) challenge was hiding the door that connects the boy's room to the master bedroom because I do not want them as extended roommate. Which is why the navy curtain is so important.

A third (more obvious) challenge was the shared space challenge. Space ain't all that full and plentiful in NYC so these bros had to share a room. And I wanted to make the space feel fun enough for a toddler, yet cool enough for a 10-year-old.

Mission accomplished, I think.

What are your thoughts on the space? Also, who wants to come help me paint the entry way hallway, master bedroom, and kitchen?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

On Learning How To Show Up For Myself

When in NOLA... #beignets #yum
"You look so happy!," read one of the comments on my Instagram page a couple weekends ago.

In the picture, I was smiling... I was moving... I was grooving. And I was happy.

I was in NOLA for the weekend on a self-care retreat (shout-out to all the attendees of #HereWeGrow17). For the first time in what seemed like a very long time, I put everything off to the side and I focused on myself for three days.

I listened to inspiring talks from women who reminded me to take care of me; I got a massage; I tried acupuncture; I meditated and did some yoga; I ate good food. And beignets. Lots of beignets. I ate lunch poolside and had great girl talk; I had dinner with my sister-friends and we chatted about all things love and life and getting our minds right; I walked along Bourbon Street and drank 1/3 of a Hand Grenade (that drink was strong!); I soaked in the NOLA sun and replenished my mind, body, and spirit.

It was literally just what I needed to feel rejuvenated.

Tara (the mastermind behind the entire weekend), Amber, and Yours Truly
Throughout the weekend, I kept thinking how happy I felt that I made the time for myself. And showed up for myself. Leading up to the weekend, so many things got in the way of me actually going (like childcare!) and, at one point, I remember thinking that I was just going to cancel. That would have been the easier thing to do anyway.

But I didn't do that.

I listened to my heart and listened to what I truly needed. It ended up being the best weekend that I had in a very long time. And not just because I was in a different city or away from it all. It was because I showed up for myself and gave myself the permission to just be.

And what I needed was time to be... me.


Not the mom. Not the girlfriend. Not the Vice Principal. Not the blogger. Not errand-runner. Not the reminder of all the things that everyone needs to do and all the places that everyone needs to go. Not the house-cleaner or the laundry-washer or the lunch-preparer or food delivery person ('cuz, let's be forreal: I hardly cook and I don't like to do it anyway.)

Just... me.

And you know what? It made me happy. Very happy.

The look on my face when I
choose to show up for myself!
Real talk: I need to do more things like this for myself. And I need to show up for myself more often. Because my needs are important too. But no one is going to honor my needs if I don't honor them first. If I need sleep, I'm going to sleep. If I need to talk to a friend, I'm going to call. If I need to cry-it-out or dance-it-out or run-it-out, I'm going to do that. If I need to take 45 minutes to myself, I'm going to take it. If I need to create a boundary because I've had enough of something, I'm going to do just that.

And everyone else is just going to have to deal. 'Cuz this delicious mommy needs to recharge if I'm gonna be any good to anyone.

Showing up for myself. It's not selfish. It's self-care.

Monday, October 2, 2017

{Kids Style File} Twining With Mickey

shirt and jeans: H&M | kicks: Vans | vest: BabyGap | smile: August 

True story: August loves Mickey Mouse. Like, loves. With all his heart. Matter of fact, these days the kid has been watching entirely too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Mickey and the Roadster Racers on TV. And I ain't even ashamed to say it. Because: live your best life, August.

Live. Your. Life!

The other day when we got home from Aiden's homecoming football game, this little babe walked into the living room, walked up to the TV, turned it on, climbed into his chair, made himself comfy, and settled in to watch Mickey.

All by his lonesome. As if he had a rough day and needed to relax.

Babies these days!
Peep the smile, y'all!
A lot like love...
Since Mickey is his homeboy (he needs that on a t-shirt, by the way), it was only fitting to do a fall-styled photoshoot with Mickey.

And August was all for it. Because: love!

August: What up, M?

Side profiling
We recently moved (more on that later) and it's been a whirlwind with unpacking, getting into the grove of things, and getting my Fixer-Upper-meets-Property-Brothers-meets-House-Hunters-Renovations on.

I'll share pictures of the new place soon, but for now... I'm taking a moment to breathe and take it all in.

For the last three months of the year (seriously... where the heck did 2017 go?!), I plan on doing more of the things that makes me smile. Like loving on my babies, hanging with my friends, writing, and taking all the pictures of my cute babies (#DontDebateMeOnThis #TheyAreCute).

And you should too. Because: YOLO!

Happy October, lovelies! Let's all take a tip from Baby August and live our best lives!


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