Engaging my Body.

Hello babes. Up front I want to give y’all a bit of a content warning. I’ll be ruminating on exercise, fatphobia, weightloss and eating disorders. Please care for yourselves and if these are not your jams, please take care. That said, I’m not going to be graphic about things but there’s gonna be some stuff.

First I want to preface this by saying a couple of things. I do not believe with any bit of my being that fat and health are the same thing ever. I don’t believe that thinness or even being a “normal” weight are the end all be all arbiters of health. You cannot tell the state of a persons health in any nuanced way by looking at them. Full stop. I will not argue that ever.

Second, with Adele’s weight loss in the news a lot of folks are in their feelings about it. Listen. A multi grammy award winning artist with an amazing voice losing weight is not the peak of her or anyone elses accomplishments. And if you believe it is, you have work to do. I also want to say that I believe that weight loss done from a place of fatphobia or self hate is not gonna be healthy. Sorry not sorry.

If you’re interested in point number two I encourage you to google around and read some stuff because I don’t really have the spoons to go full Fat 101 here today/

OKAY buckle in.

I have recently been as y’all know engaging with my health and evaluating and changing how I care for my meat sack. I’ve been really focused on getting my nutrition to a better place, I’ve been working hard to feed myself well, and the last bit of this has been me looking for movement I can engage in with joy and not hurt myself.

Being that I have a disordered history with both food and exercise, I’ve had to tread very carefully. One of my huge ED triggers is the allure of control over my body. Results. A huge trigger for me. Unfortunately, I thought I had a better handle on my feelings about it. I do not.

What started as me looking for some things to cobble together for some workouts turned into me planning and plotting ways to control my body. I was able to back off of being so triggered and that masochistic urge to continue enough to observe a few things.

This experience I’m having isn’t unique. I know a lot of people who fall into the same hole. Even super fat accepting, body politic heroes. And what I have come back to is that when we front load weight loss and results and massive fast body changes as the point of fitness, we just get swept up in disordered behaviours and feelings and it is not good for anybody.

This is what happens when we don’t separate ideas about being as health as you can be in the body you have, appearance, weight and what health is or can be. What I mean by that is, if you look at a lot of fitness related content the motivation is often based in creating shame in the consumer and turning it into “motivation”.

The language tends to sway between saying, OH you’re not fixing that flat/fat ass? You’re lazy and not worth X thing etc etc. Then the person seems to be pumping you up, following the shame there is the cheerleading. They look great, they are perky and yelling and telling you, YOU CAN DO IT. A lot of the discourse is framed like so.

If you really loved yourself you’d want the flat stomach/shredded abs/big booty/thigh gap and if you REALLY COMMIT you can have it. And if you don’t get the results, well you did it wrong. You ate too much. You’re too lazy. And frankly it is abusive.

This method of selling/gaining followers is the voice of my ED. I recognized that recently and it set me back a little bit. I realized that regardless of my political leanings, my love of bodies, all bodies, my respect for all bodies, I still have a hard time giving myself the same treatment. I caught myself and have been working through it but fuck y’all.

I think I didn’t see it to begin with because my intentions with my fitness are very specific. I have a lot of chronic pain I’ve had for many years and through many pant sizes. I enjoy moving my body and I’ve been really interested in reconnect to that joy. So I went looking.

It was really hard to even find say back pain relief exercises that weren’t also cuddled up with weight loss as a goal. I don’t want that. I don’t need it and it harms me. It harms a lot of us.

What if we could have something different?

What if I could easily find a workout designed for just loosening up and enjoying my body? What if we could skip the toxic messaging about weight and how we should want our bodies to be?

For me, I really wish more fitness professionals would take a step back to look at how their own language and methods can be harmful.

For me it has been a really difficult few months with this. On one hand I’m wrestling with those ED triggers on multiple levels. One part of me remembers the peak/low of my purging via exercise and the memories of having trouble walking because I’d spent 7-8 hours exercising is fuzzy but remembering the feeling of control and doing something “good” are strong.

I remember tearing an ab muscle and powering through it and the warm congratulations of my instructors.

I don’t want to do that again.

I don’t want to contribute to anyone else doing it on any level.

There will be more of this. I have other stuff to say but for now let’s leave it here.

The health, wellness and fitness industries really rely too heavily on toxic and disordered behaviour and we really need to figure out how to not engage with it.

Shit is hard.

I’m workin on it.

SALAD! Salad mix review and a bit of math.

Hello, my name is Shannon and I am a salad freak. I LOVE SALAD. Today we’re gonna mix it up *HA LIKE A SALAD* and have a little talk about intuitive eating, money, salad and I’m going to give y’all a review of the greens I bought.

Buckle up.

Let’s start with intuitive eating and my goal this year of doing more of that within my budget. For reference I have a bit of a thing about this. I like to try and keep my work food out of our household budget. Mainly because we spend most of our food budget on staples and it eases my anxiety because I could eat cheaper but I want to eat what I want to eat.

I’m working on relaxing about it but yanno. Shit is hard.

After this winter and given the whole Covid shit, I’ve really wanted to be able to eat what I want naturally while at work to help with my stress. Then I was gifted a salad lunch bowl off of my wishlist and y’all…it has been LIT.

This is the bowl. It was a gift from a beloved friend and y’all, it is LITERALLy the best gift ever. I use it every single day. I just..>UNF. I had planned on doing mason jar salads but, real talk. I am very clumsy. Like….I don’t own breakable dishes and have broken every dish and glass I’ve ever owned. Except 2 that I’m not allowed to touch.

Next up, let’s talk greens and toppings.

Over the winter I generally was eating a lot of frozen sale stuff. A lot of Smart Onesmeals. We could usually find them 2-4$ a piece. I would treat myself with a certain brand (I cannot recall the name) pesto pasta frozen bowls or sometimes Lean Cuisines. Not bad food at all. A little bland but not bad. Also not really satisfying to me. I didn’t really want to eat them.

What I want to eat has been more fresh veg. My intuitive eater self, wants ALL the veg. I can’t afford to eat as much fresh veg as I’d like because of spoilage, prep etc so I’ve come up with this method.

I buy greens. This week I’ve discovered a new fave. Organic Girl Protein Greens. It has, sweet pea greens, baby spinach, baby kale, baby bok choy, mizuna and tatsoi. The latter two are types of greens. WOW this mix packs a lot of flavor. You get a lot of great earthiness from the sweet pea greens and it is delicious. I order it from Amazon for $3.99. If I want to save an extra dollar I will get a bag of spinach or anything else with dark greens that I prefer.

Now I like a LOT of stuff on my salads so I bought large bags of toppings. I picked up a pound of hemp hearts, a smaller container of sunflower seeds and I have some cans of artichoke hearts which I LOVE on salad.

For proteins I vary what I top my salads with. I’m perfectly happy to change them out weekly. My go to is tuna fish. Before we moved, I could get these at the dollar store but we live in a bourgie neighborhood so no dollar store. We buy these Starkist pouches of tuna and they work out really nicely. I use these for a lot of things. I love tuna but a lot of the time a can is too much for me and I hate trying to save it without it getting icky.

Other proteins. This week I bought two packets of on sale surimi (fake crab) and I get about 2.5 or so servings per week in each packet.

Behold my salad today:

salad

[image description: photo of a salad with bits of surimi and artichoke hearts. Sprinkled with seasonings]

 

 

I MEAN. Look. It was delicious.

Now my cost for the whole work week with enough left over for a little salad on Sunday my first day off, came out (not counting the larger toppings) 6.75. So really this is a way for me to satisfy my cravings, get that fiber etc for less than what I would pay for microwave meals for a full week. I still eat those sometimes but for summer at least I’ll be doing mainly salad.

Also, this plan would be easier if I was going to the Whole Foods (YES I know evil but it is in walking distance) but with the situation I’ve avoided it. That could change.

For variety I’m focusing mainly on my toppings for varying flavors. Last week I had tuna and corn. I can get at least 2.5 or so salads out of any canned veg. If I don’t have any I am also find just with greens and some dressing.

My other goals with eating this way (and I’ll talk more about my what I’m eating in a day soon) are as follows:

  • I need to eat enough. I haven’t been doing that.
  • I need more fiber in my diet. I want better poops. Unfortunately, one of my major stress reactions is I get terribly constipated and it hurts my butthole.
  • Honoring what my body tells me.

Now before I go a few protips for those who are meh about salad.

SEASON YOUR DAMN SALAD. Even just a lil splort of salt and pepper. USE SEASONINGS. Flavor won’t kill you. Experiment. Use a lil garlic. Use some red chili. If you are not creative in terms of seasoning, get you a pre made spice blend. No shame. There are TONS to choose from and really it just depends on your tastes.

So quick review:

Bowl: 15/10 stars awesome.

Organic Girl Protein Greens: 8/10 stars. I LOVe the flavor of the pea greens but find they can be a little bit of a weird chew.

Salad in general: ONE MILLION STARS!

Disclaminer, this has affiliate links.

Yo Wellness Web…we got beef.

Hello babes. It is yer problematic fave Auntie and I got beef.

We’re going to be talking about wellness, fatphobia, misleading shit a bunch of people say and how we can do better.

Recently I was doing some research, apparently this whole virus situation has sent me running back to my juices and berries witchy ways. That means I’ve been doing a lot of reading.

Listen wellness people…y’all.

One of the things I’ve been focusing on is stress and anxiety reduction. Those two things are among my highest concerns.

Again, I’m seeing weight loss as the front loaded assumed goal rather than the actual ailments I’m looking to ease. This approach is not only problematic, it is generally misleading and dangerous.

Let’s start with why this is problematic. In the context of researching specific things like herbs and vitamins, especially those that have no connection to weight, you’re screwing up the facts. If you want to know what value adding say a vitamin supplement to your wellness line up could have and what you find is rah rah LOOK lose weight, that isn’t going to give you actual nutritional value.

Also, likely it is going to make you feel like shit. More so if you “should” (we’ll get to that) be doing “something” about your weight but maybe you want energy support or help with your digestion. For instance. I was looking at a multi vitamin and the first half of the list of benefits all had to do with losing weight in a way that was sharply marketed for women.

HEY look it’ll cure your jiggly ass and burn and detox and blablabla. None of those things were true or necessary. It is a multivitamin. Looking through the ingredient list rather than the marketing patter, I could see that it was formulated for women over 40 looking for support in immune health, digestion, fatigue and those wanting to get in more minerals and a higher level of calcium. And interestingly, the dude formula of the same vitamin with a little extra stuff for prostate health, did not mention weight or fat at all.

I’ll drop some resources about why fatphobia is bad below so folks can understand who’ve not learned about the issue.

Now, from my perspective what I don’t need is extra nonsense when it comes to facts about nutrition, herbs etc. There are already so many terrible and untrue things around this doesn’t need to happen. Further, when the marketing for a product with a certain herb or vitamin is focused on frankly untrue weightloss promises, how can we trust the industry to actually have our health and wellbeing in mind?

We know that capitalism ruins everything but in this case, especially in the wellness community it fuels dangerous beliefs and behaviors.

I put a lot of the blame for the rise in the dangers in our community on irresponsible and greedy influencers. If we take to instagram, I would be you my delicious chocolate bar I’m eating, that a lot of those huge influencers so many love to follow, are right now hawking things that are not okay.

Tummy teas are a huge one. Lately I’ve noticed a few companies targeting the Black community promising a flat belly and a big booty. I’ve seen youtuber/instagram influencers use their curated aspirational type of content to sell everything from scientifically questionable diets and supplements to tummy teas so work out programs that are, lets face it not good.

The impact of this can be seen all over. We’re seeing more children with eating disorders, may of us who have an eating disorder history can’t navigate these communities without being triggered and none of this fits into a good view of wellness.

My ideas about wellness include learning to care for ourselves in a holistic and whole way. That also means, putting a critical lens on what we’re being sold, how we’re being sold these things and thinking about ways we can engage with wellness without perpetuating harm. Front loading weight loss, using size or fatness as a morality compass, thoughtless selling of products that can contribute to eating disorders and yoyo dieting need to go.

What do I want? I want to be able to be in the wellness community without the bullshit. I want to be able to engage with wellness in a way that isn’t abusive, greedy or predicated on ONE thing, that thing being my weight.

We’ll talk more about sizeism, fat phobia and body politics later so I’ll leave y’all some links to get started.

Things I’ve written. Items with an * are behind the paywall on Medium but I’m giving you the free to read links. If you are a member of Medium please feel free to share from the page:

On “Inclusive” Sizing, fitness and fatness.*

Post FatAss: Current RageAss*.

Fatness links here in the blog.

Other folks work:

Basic Fat acceptance. 

Ragen Chastain

I See Fat People by Carolyn C. Ross M.D. M.P.H.
Here’s How Fatphobia Is Being Marketed to You – And Why So Many of Us Buy Into It by Kaila Prins.

Fat Acceptance history. 

Great reading list at Wear Your Voice. 

Before I go some extra disclosure. Once upon a time I was a fat blogger. As I’m diving into wellness and new approaches to my own health I’ve decided to dust myself off and get back into talking and writing more about bodies and fatness. I am not currently a fat person. I was now I’m not. I will defer to currently fat people when necessary and if you want to drop any lectures about how terrible fatness is, this is not the blog for you and I won’t approve your comments.

With that. Go forth. Happy reading and I’ll see you later babe.

Struggle Bus Naturals Post- WTF DO I DO NOW…

Ahem.

Hello my loves. It has been a while since I’ve made a struggle bus naturals post so here go.

My name is Shannon and I’ve been natural for years now and I struggle. I’ve been working on identifying my natural hair struggles and I’ve had a lil bit of a breakthrough.

  1. Problem number one. I have not updated my practices with my hair enough. I realized this when I tried to do a high bun and realized I haven’t done one in long enough that my prev methods were for shorter hair.
  2. Related to #1, I over trimmed again and my length is awkward.
  3. I fell off doing what works for me.

My hair is not in bad condition at all. Up under my wigs since forever, things are going well in there. I am a mostly juices and berries natural. I just am. I think I got a little caught up in the natural hair community again and that is not my jam.

I am a henna loving, handmade sheabutter using, oils and butters and herbs type natural. SO during the time where we need to be wearing masks I got me a whole ass new plan.

I am rebooting my routine and protective styling to fit what I LIKE doing with my hair, what my hair likes, and what suits my life.

The first thing I’m bringing back are henna glosses on the regular. I won’t be doing full henna treatments because our pipes are old but, a gloss goes all right.

I’m sticking with my hardcore LCO method. It is what my hair thrives on. I’ll do an updated post on individual treatments later.

I’m gonna keep doin my lil ugly Miss Celie braids.

New thing. I’ve purchased a few new headwraps. Since I am an essential worker and I ride mass transit I’ve been wearing masks out. I find it easiest to wear then around a headwrap bun.

I’m going to go back to studying more ayurveda and other herb type things. I love learning more about it and frankly I’ve done well using them.

Now, my goal is to get my hair back to full health with good ends. I’d like to repair or try to fix some of my stress hairloss. If i don’t..fine.

THEN next hurdle will be styling.

How y’all feelin babes?

And a foto of my hair as I was moisturizing and detangling yesterday.

20200422_180508

[image description: the author a brown skinned femme with naturally curly hair sectioned off, lookin tired.]

Y’all I was spent but I put my lil plaits in and got my hair fully detangled and moisturized.

Skin Care tips, tricks and bullshits.

HELLO my loves. I hope you are as safe as you can be and dealing with the bullshits as well as you can. Today let’s talk about some things I wish I’d known when I got into skin care. We’re gonna go over lots of stuff.

First thing, some of this some of y’all are gonna be like BUT OMG AUNTIE IT WORKS FOR ME. Yes it might right now. Some of the things will cause later damage or are things that are highly comedegenic. Also if you don’t know, yes I love natural but natural ain’t always great. Cyanide is natural and you still shouldn’t eat it. That said, everything that exists is chemicals.

Now, when we talk chemicals do keep in mind that a lot of the scare articles don’t tell you the manner or level of ingestion. Too much of anything can cause a problem. You can die from drinking too much water. Don’t get too into that. Do your research but keep in mind, it is likely you won’t be putting a chemical up your own butt every day for 10 years and thus causing yourself a scary illness.

ALL RIGHTY THEN lezgo.

Let’s talk about exfoliation. When it comes to your face, here’s the problem. A lot of us suffer weird textures, etc and it is super satisfying to use a physical scrub. I was a devout physical exfoliator for YEARS y’all. Scrubs, brushes. ALL OF IT. However, once I learned the dangers including:

  • microtears in the skin
  • Said microtears helping bacteria get in and cause acne
  • Compromised acid mantle
  • Long term damage

I gave it up and switched to chemical exfoliants. My skin is still pretty sensitive so it took some product before I found the one. Every now and then I’ll use a very soft physical exfoliant, I have a knock off of the Tatcha Soothing Enzyme Rice Polish*. The long term differences between physically exfoliating and doing it chemically has been night and day.

I started with adding a gentle retinol to my routine and followed with experimenting with BHA’s and AHA’s. Not all at once. Please don’t do that. For me, while The Ordinary Glycolic acid*was like..BOOM POW it was a bit too intense for my face. I wound up only being able to use it a couple of times a week. That said, over time exfoliating chemically has proven to help fade my hyperpigmentation and a lot of it hasn’t returned in the same spots. Spots I’ve had for years that were black/purple have faded. And overall, I feel like my skin is in better health. No microtears and my acid mantle is intact.

I am tempted by physical exfoliation. I used my rice stuff last night because it is high allergy season for me so my face is flaky. It sufficed.

Now if you already have scrubs what do you do with them cause we ain’t wasting shit at aunties house. If OMG PLS DON’T BUY you have one of the St Ives type scrubs, please don’t use that shit on your face. Use it on your feet, use it on your butt, use it if you have bumpy areas on your body. Keep that shit off of your precious face.

If you have sugar scrubs, pro tip using them in tubes (as they usually come for skin) use them on your body. SUPER pro tip. The Freeman Facial Charcoal & Black Sugar Polish Mask is AWFUL for your face over time. BUT y’all, it is an amazing body scrub. It is a bit perfumey for me but I really love how silky it leaves my body.  Use it in combo with something like an exfoliating towel on your booty…then moisturize heavily and just rub it. You’ll be happy.

Moisturizing. Listen. Moisturize your damn face. Yes even if your face is oily. I used to have mega oily skin as in, sometimes it looked like I was sweating. However, once I started to focus on hydrating my skin it started to balance out. Look at being super oily as you needing to help your face realize it is moisturized so the excess sebum production slows down. It takes time. Your face will freak out. You might break out but, give it time.

What I settled on was using very rich, thick serious moisturizers at night and using something more gel like for day under my sunscreen. I often see in skin care groups folks being nervous about going to bed shiny. Go to bed lookin like a glazed donut. I mean it. Your pillow will soak up some product and also, matte is not important if you’re asleep. if you’re worried what your partner will think, maybe get them into skincare. Or tell them to fuckin’ deal with it.

I do not believe in rigid skin types. Skin is a living organ and changes. Also regardless of type, you need hydration. Drink water and moisturize.

If you find an oil you like, use that as well. I’ve used lots of them but my faves to use as my last step at night are squalene or rosehip oil. Other oils I like, hemp oil (shelf stable), vitamin e, argan oil, olive oil. Stop putting coconut oil on your face. Coconut oil can be highly comedegenic so use it elsewhere.

ALSO when it comes to products that will be on your face for hours make sure you check your ingredients. Essential oils are great for a lot of things but not on your face. Most of them even in small concentrations can increase skin sensitivity, irritation, etc. It can be hard to avoid so look for fragrant components at the end of the ingredient list.

Use SPF like it is your goddamn job. Especially if you are treating any type of pigmentation issues like melasma or hyperpigmentation. UV exposure will undo your work, put you at risk for skin cancer and overall fuck up your day. YES you too beautiful melanin rich people.

Also look.

Real talk. Three months or ten years of good skin care probably won’t give you influencer skin. Skin changes, hormones, weather, stress life, aging etc. Don’t give up because you’re not perfect after a few uses. What I’ve discovered is that rather than focusing on trying to attain that filter look or flawless glass skin, I concentrate on keeping my skin supple and healthy.

Also if you’re unable to keep up a full routine don’t give up on yourself. If all you can do is use a wipe or miceller water to take off the day, that’s okay. Don’t toss your stuff. Do what you can when you can.

Last pro tip from your fave Auntie. Treat your skin from your scalp to your toes like silk. Treat it good. Feed it well and put up with the bullshit it throws at you. If you can’t do it out of self love, do it because it holds in your organs and you need that.

As always affiliate links have a *. I encourage you to google for good prices. Go forth and glow baby.

20200318_170113

[image description: a photo of your fave auntie. Brown skinned, wearing glasses, a headwrap and a lip ring.]

Auntie is Old AF and it is good.

Hi darlings.

Yesterday was my 43rd birthday. Holy fuckballs. I am FORTY THREE YEARS OLD. Had you asked me at 20 if I’d see 2020 I’d have laughed in your face. Even though I’ve had a lot of anxiety about my birthday (I will explain) because people are very kind and I have people who love me, they helped a lot.

So why am I so fucking birthday anxious? It isn’t aging. I’m good with aging even the bullshit parts. I love my grey hairs, I love that. I love that I’m officially at Fine Ass Old Auntie Age. Being young was real hard and I wouldn’t go back unless someone gave me a LOT of money to have back then and I got to keep what I’ve learned.

The thing is, I have a lot of trauma around um, expressing that I want things that aren’t necessary for survival. I feel guilty when I window shop, I hear the “teasing” of my parents about being greedy. Or the exapseration when I was like other kids and would be like, OMG I want that. You know, normal kid stuff.

Parents I want to say what is coming for you. Pay attention.

Some kids will hear everything you say and how you say it. I was a kid who got sick a lot. I know now that my parents had little money but then, what I heard was how much of a financial burden I was. Every prescription of antibiotics for my ear or other infections. Trips to the ER. School supplies. School clothes. Food. I very acutely felt the weight. I don’t think they did it on purpose necessarily but a lot of that behavior, the “teasing” really damaged me.

For instance. I did not know this was a bad story until I was trying to be funny and told a friend a long time ago and they were horrified.

Scene: Me as a little potato maybe 9 years old. I tried to keep a running tally of how much money I would owe my parents when I grew up. I tried to figure out how much it cost for me to eat, how much my clothes cost, I taught myself to try and eat less. Be small. Years ago I thought it was a cute story…it is not.

There are other traumas but that one kind of sums it up. I honestly thought I’d dealt with this. In my thirties I was fine sharing my wishlists and kind of being more casual about this stuff. I don’t know what happened but for the last few years I’ve had the hardest time saying like, I’d like this stuff for my birthday or for christmas.

Even from my partner or my bestie it has just been so hard. This year, y’all. Full disclosure. So I made this birthday wishlist. Please don’t feel obligated to buy stuff. I used it as some exposure therapy on myself. I LITERALLY spent almost 3 full months curating it. I was terrified that, I’d  put too many things on it. I was anxious because I put things on it that my lil fam doesn’t need. It took me literal weeks to even share the damn thing and then I kept screwing with it.

And I KNOW I KNOW how this shit sounds. I feel stupid but here we are.

That being said. I decided to really try this year. I got some gifts from friends and y’all, I wept. Knowing that there are people who were like, HEY lil potato have a good birthday. There has been sneakers (will post pics when I get a good one), yarn, snacks. A new stock pot. Having people give me things I’ve said explicitly that I want and not have them later on use it against me or to say, hey look I did something nice for you already. it has meant a lot.

The other thing is, I treated myself. It was also very important for me in my process of re-parenting myself, and being a good Space Dad to me. So below find some photos of me being a good Space Dad to myself.

20200315_202901

[image description: inside of an amazon box. from Left to right, a large container of protein superfood, a box of liquid biotin, a small bottle of toner and a bottle of probiotics]

20200315_202629

[image description: inside of a box. from left to right. Organic superfood protein powder and a large cannister of collagen powder]

I had a bunch of other shit in my cart but, I was freaked out enough that I had to edit it, think about it and edit it. So I got what is important to me. Nutrition and skin care.

I ordered a yoga mat too but I think it got stolen.

But overall, I was a good Dad to myself. I’m gonna keep working on it.

BUT happy mother fucking birthday to me. Holy shit I’m 43!

Self-care stuff, smol victories and homemaking.

Hi babes. Today we’re going to talk about self-care and some things I’ve been working on to help preserve my little bit of sanity and improve the quality of my lived life.

So for context, those of you who don’t know me, have probably not read the book I wrote about self-care. You can download and read it for free here (right click and save as, if you use the kindle chrome extension, you can open the link and send to kindle). Please don’t redistribute it or steal it, it is free. If you share it please direct folks back here or at least use my name. I have had the material stolen before and it makes me feel like shit.

I’ve written new material about it off and on but lately I’ve been very focused on using my habit of writing stuff down, to remind myself that basically I’m not totally failing. With the current news I absolutely feel like a lot of us need to claim our small victories because too much of the world is shit.

ON to victory.

For me, I’ve been working on making my house a home. This is something I’ve struggled with my entire adult life. This is mainly due to childhood trauma (YAY SHIT) and working on it has been…bad. After we moved into our current place, I promised myself I would do the shit. I been doin the shit.

First up, below look at a little photo of my hallway. Over the last few weeks partner and I cleared a bunch of boxes and junk from the area and it looked like this after.

20200307_064213

[image description: photo of the authors home there are drawers in the forgroung against a wood floor. also in view a closet, an open bathroom door and some random items]

One of the challenges we’ve faced at home is that it is very small. Partner and I live in a tiny studio and when we moved in we had to throw out most of our furniture because it wouldn’t fit or it was too old and raggedy. I purchased the two bin things as a set from Amazon* (yeah it isn’t “real” furniture but whatever fight me) and I love them.  One of the reasons I love these is that empty they are very lightweight and I can move them by myself. Also I am going to decorate them with tape.

I had a small one like this* that I was able to move into the bathroom and I organized my skin care, hair care and whatnot. WIN. Another thing I like about this sort of plastic stuff is that they are super easy to clean. And I can use them where ever I need to.

Being able to arrange things to my own liking has been amazing. I’m really focused on keeping our home accessible to both of us, easy to maintain and I’ve discovered I have a BIG OLE love of organization.

Next victory.

I purchased a shoe rack* from Amazon. Partner got it together and he put it in front of our front door. Our door has a full swing to open and my lil shoes are out of the way and displayed in a way I find very pleasing. AND no shoe germs in the house!

victory

[image description: a black shoe rack with assorted black shoes on it]

With the area in the first photo opened up more, that means I can get my exercise on right there AND we will have space for my next thing which will be a rack to store some kitchen stuff on.

So why is this such a big deal? First reason is that, I’ve never allowed myself to prioritize my own comfort in my home to spend money on things I both like and need. That is a big deal for me and I’m learning to enjoy the process. Second reason is that, I ENJOY it. Part of my philosophy surrounding self-care is heavily involved in allowing myself to enjoy things.

Yes things are shit right now but, I will snag the joy where I can snag it.

I encourage y’all to do it too.

So tell Auntie your small victories. Remember to cheer your friends on. Do a victory dance when the family or kids or partner or friends do something.

PS

Affiliate links denoted with a * as usual. If you enjoy the self care book feel free to come back and tip me out.

 

 

Recipe Day- Yummy Spiced Mocha Protein Drink

There will be Amazon affiliate links denoted by a *.

HI babes! The weather is warming up and I’ve been experimenting with my morning beverages. Today a new recipe.

You’ll need:

-Shaker bottle. This* is the one I use. It is WELL worth the price to have the hot/cold flexibility. Highly recommended. Alternately use one of those little milk frother things if you don’t have a shaker.

-Protein powder of your choice in chocolate. I use two. For most of the protein I use Amazing Grass Protein Superfood: Organic Vegan Protein Powder*. And for extra veg servings and a little more protein I use the Amazing Grass Green Superfood: Organic Wheat Grass and 7 Super Greens Powder*. If you’re not a fan of a slightly green grassy flavor, the first one will cover that in the second one. Or you can use just one.

-For the spice, I’m using this Tropical Heat Kenyan Tea Masala*. Y’all, I got it on a whim and it is fucking delicious. Like a lot of masalas the spice profile is clovey, gingery but I think the ratios of the spices give it such a nice smooth heat that works in both savory and sweet stuff. I love it.

-Instant coffee. I use a very strong dark one. It is the one my partner likes*. Chocolatey finish. I use it for flavor mostly. If you are caffeine sensitive, PLEASE do not use this one you will see through time and/or poo yourself. You could also use a bit of cold brew, leftover coffee. Or skip it.

-Your milk substance of choice. I’ve made it with almond milk, coconut milk and soy. The best for me texturally is almond milk.

OKAY now.

I also use nutritional extras. I add collagen*, MSM*, a sploot of hemp oil.

Because this is powder heavy you can’t just drump powders and go. Add about half to three quarters of your milk, then add your powders and coffee and masala. Shake it shake it shake it like a polaroid picture. Check it, add the rest of your milk and shakey shakey shakey…if you’re me you might also be shaking your ass while doing this because why not?

And voila. You have a deliciously spiced cold mocha.

A few other pro tips. If you have texture issues with protein powders, try altering how much you’re using. You don’t HAVE to use two full scoops or whatever. For about 18 ounces of liquid I usually do about half to two thirds of a scoop of the protein. If you want more protein but not that texture, add some looser protein like a nut butter. If you need sweetener use something liquid, I don’t use any.

If you aren’t able to physically shake it, blend it. Alternately, you can skip the nutritive powders OR use liquids. If you struggle to get in enough calories or veggies this is a great way to get them in. Also it is delicious.

SO if you make this, tell me your version.

GO enjoy!

On Intuitive Eating And why it kinda sucks.

CW: for a few non explicit mentions of eating disorder history below.

So today we’re gonna talk Intuitive Eating and why as the title suggests it kind of sucks. First if you aren’t familiar here is a quickie overview. From an article this sums it up nicely:

Intuitive eating is a philosophy that encourages us to listen to our bodies for hunger and satisfaction cues — to eat when we’re hungry and to stop when we’re full.

For our purposes we’re not gonna argue any of the following because ain’t nobody got time for that ahem:

  • IF U EAT WAT U WANT UR GONNA NEVER STOP EATING.
  • OMG FATASS UR GONNA GET MORE FATASS
  • OMG FATASS UR GONNA DIE….

We not doing that. If you try to comment with that bullshit I will see you out.

For our purposes here, we’re using Intuitive eating as shorthand for doing as the body wants.

OKAY let’s get into it.

I’ve been aware of Intuitive Eating and the associated principles for gosh, 10 years? More? I dunno. Previous to that, I hadn’t heard the term but understood the concept as a part of my life I aspired to make better. At the time, I was just too poor to really get into what I wanted to eat in any substantial way.

Fast forward to now and for the last few years I’ve been looking at how I feel about eating, what I want to eat, how I want to eat. I’m a habitual note taker and journal person, part of how I developed my self-care ideas heavily involved keeping tabs on myself and my body. One of the first things I stopped doing toward this end was I stopped assigning food and food intake moral value.

I have a background of eating disorders and disordered eating. From purging via an exercise addiction to anorexia to some other more murky EDNOS type things. Part of what fueled those EDs was my moral standing and assignments on what and how I ate. Looking back, when I was a vegetarian than vegan, I was deep into what is now called orthorexia.

So in theory, I really love Intuitive Eating. We know that I believe that food is medicine, I believe that food is a beautiful part of culture, of how we interact as a species and frankly I just love food.

My problem is this.

Like most other things related to wellness, there is a depth of privilege you need in order to fully engage. Access to food continues to be a problem in America. Food deserts exist. Beyond that, even when you have access to the food, we also have to look at the cost, how quick things spoil, if we have energy to prep and cook food, food intolerance and allergies, etc.

This is the problem I have with most wellness related things. Folks are so busy being aspirational and trying to secure the bag via being an influencer, we don’t get to have the important discussions about how these things actually function. This is how we get goop and frankly nobody wants it.

In terms of my experience, I have noticed that I tend to crave and want to eat a pretty balanced diet. I love my veggies. I love variety. I love color. I love flavor. I want to eat fish a few times a week and once a week or so red meat. White meat as needed. Where I’m experiencing difficulty is that due to the cost of the REST of my life (rent, staying alive etc) I cannot afford to eat the way I want in a sustainable fashion.

Let’s break it down a little bit also if you’re not really familiar with looking at intersectionality and how it functions in life, this is a great moment to get into it.

We’re gonna go list style.

  1. I deal with a lot of chronic pain and fatigue.
  2. I don’t have the budget weekly or monthly to continuously eat the way I’d like to.
  3. I don’t have the time to shop often due to #1.

Let’s look at #1. The way my body is set up currently, a lot of days I only have energy to get back and forth to work, do a little housework if I’m lucky. I hate it but that is what it is. Emotionally and spiritually I LOVE food prep. I love it. I find meal planning and food prep exciting and calming. However, as it also relates to #s 2 and 3, the combination of these things makes it hard for me to do.

You see that?

That is what we mean by intersectionality, nothing operates in a void and that is missing in wellness culture.

We have to think about how we talk to each other about these things. When people recommend recipes, ways of eating etc to me, especially people who know me personally, I feel terrible when I realize they haven’t or don’t think about what it would take to do. Or put it this way, what happens when you say OH this is the One Twoo way to Health and you don’t think about the person who has a 200$ budget for food for a month.

Or the person who is disabled and can’t stand around cutting up shit for meal prep. Or the person like me who loves intuitive eating, but who cannot engage fully.

Before I go I want to leave y’all with another few thoughts. Think about the ways we talk about things like intuitive eating. If you are all the way the fuck in for it, think about people who can’t be and don’t make moral judgements. Don’t contribute to other folks feeling bad because there are reasons they can’t.

So yeah, while following a very intuitive eating based methodology is my dream, I can’t and it kinda sucks.

Wig Review-Janet Collection Natural Me Human Hair Blend Lace Front Wig – Ann

OH babes. I am so in love right now. I snagged the Ann wig from the really lovely Janet collection Natural me line from Divatress.

First up, let’s talk about the store Divatress. Divatress has become one of my go to places on the net for hair. They have a HUGE selection of wigs at varying price points and styles. Easy navigation, their customer service is pretty ding dang good too. They offer some bomb coupon codes and have reward points. Just on my last purchase of this wig and a few other things, I saved about enough to cover my shipping cost.

NOW let us discuss Ann.

From the website:

Product Description
Deep Part Lace
100% Hand Tied Swiss Lace
Ear to Ear Soft Swiss Lace
Special Knotting on Back Nape
Natural Hairline & Natural Yaky Texture

She comes in standard colors, black, brown, a nice caramel ombre and a burgundy and, the silver foxiness you’re about to lay eyes on.

20200204_070829

[image of the author: Brown skinned NB femme wearing a cute silver fox bob wig and smiling a bit]

OKAY now I mean……….I’m feeling myself okay. I’m feeling some Big Silver Daddy Energy.

And yes. Going full steely grey without an ombre root is a thing it is a statement. I had wanted a whole ass different wig but she was sold out literally everywhere after a lot of glowing reviews so, I found Ann and I love her.

Right out of the box I love the texture of the hair. It feels like a thicker version of my natural blown out hair. Slightly crinkly, fluffy, soft. The cap construction is pretty usual, inside the part the combs are a bit too close to the front of the wig for my liking so I might move them. Without a wig slip

She is VERY big head friendly. I have an average sized head (I forgot to put my wig grip on this morning) and had to tighten her up quite a bit for a secure fit.

The lace is decent. It says “soft” lace but it is not extra soft if you get me. It isn’t as scratchy as I’ve found some brands the shade is a nice sheer shade.

Pros:

  • Soft and fluffy
  • Gorgeous color mix. They really nailed a luxurious silver fox colorway.
  • Inexepensive. Most places are selling this unit for between 25-35$ and she retails for 49$.
  • Doesn’t need a whole lot of work can be worn right out the box.
  • Just a really pretty wig.

Cons:

  • AH LAWD she sheddin. I am not sure about the other colors but, this one sheds like hell.
  • The cap may just be too dang big. Without a wig grip, if you have an average to small head security is gonna be an issue.

I highly recommend this particular wig for folks who don’t want to mess with baby hairs or securing a unit with glue or whatever. If you don’t have wig customization skills, she is real cute right out of the box. If you are an older person who wants to try out going grey, do it. Or if you are in fact Old AF and just want to be a silver fox, do it.

Overall I am totally in love with Ann and might try out another wig in the line.

10/10 would buy again.