I am not fashion icon for sure, but I do feel quite kitchy in this felt J.Crew Hat. I got this hat on clearance last year and ended up paying like $2.00 for it. AND IT’S J.CREW! Anyway, a blog that just said, “overnight oats” didn’t seem too interesting to me, so I added some flair. It’s me. I’m the flair. And can i be honest a second? When I got up this morning, I totally did my make up big time – because I am unsure what is going on with my outfit. I have on a vest, a tshirt, a ball skirt, and flip flops.

Well, I’ve been super busy. Working full time, taking a full load of college classes, trying to have a personal life – so blogging hasn’t been at the top of my list. But making things as easy as possible and staying organized? That has definitely been at the top of my list. I am a crunchy, granola, type of chick, so I stumbled upon overnight oats in my pinterest search for a healthy and easy breakfast.

Guys.

This. Is. Life.

This is the mother load. The best thing ever. The easiest thing ever. And all my people like it. I am going to give you the recipe, and you can send me all the undying love that you have to give, because it’s just that good. Remember, I am gluten and dairy free, so if you want the gluten and dairy knock yourself out.

  • 1 cup of Silk Almond Milk Original Unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup of Siggi’s plant based Greek Yogurt Plain
  • 1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp of Honey
  • 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds

Dump in a mason jar, put the lid on it, and stick in the fridge overnight. Breakfast is ready in the morning when you are. Get your favorite toppings, put on top, and Viola! My faves are peanut butter and frozen blueberries, my guys favorite is peanut butter and fresh strawberries. You could do coconut, chocolate chips, trail mix, you name it.

Now, here another great idea with it. Put some local bee pollen in it. I tried to get my guy to drink bee pollen because he has wicked allergies and it helps, but he hated it. Put a tablespoon in there – and he can’t even taste it!

So, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! If you have some favorite toppings, or a different way to make it, let me know. I am always up for fun recipes. And… stay tuned… I am going to have some fun DIY’s coming up, if I ever get a minute… LOL!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On. And girl, be brazen.

2020.

Twenty – twenty.

I don’t know which way makes a bigger statement. Well, whichever it is – read it that way. This year has been something else – to say the least. But what I want to talk about, is how I lost my happy place. Because I dare bet, if I feel this way, others do too. And sister (or brother), you aren’t alone.

I am talking about my home. Now, I am an essential worker, so during the pandemic – I went to work everyday. I am super grateful for that. I had my job, my paycheck, whole nine. So I didn’t lose my physical home, but I lost what was my place of peace. The place that I go to and relax. The place where I am happy to be. The place, where there is laughter, gratitude, and family. My home made me proud. It was private spot. Very few people have ever came to my home. I revere it. So if you have been in my home, you are special, LOL! But honestly, I wanted my kids to feel loved and protected in their home – and most importantly safe and happy.

My safe place turned into a bunker. An armory. A place to hide. While at home, I saw my kids plans fizzle out the window. A trip to Chicago – dashed. A trip to Austria – gone. Playing with their friends? Nope. Going out to dinner? Shut down. Home didn’t become a safe place of happiness – it became a bunker. Don’t get me wrong, if we are at war, an underground bunker is what we all want, right? I’d be jumping into that sucker before anyone. But during this – when you are starting to be afraid of the outside? That doesn’t seem too homey.

It started out fun, right? Like – no school. Or no “real school”. It was almost like summer started a little early. But then we got into it more. We couldn’t go to the parks. No family weekend fun exploring our city. We became four people – living under one roof – in our own rooms. My youngest two started bickering more and more. My youngest – was sad. He wanted to play with his friends. He wanted to go to school. He wanted to go.

We took for granted running into Starbucks and getting a coffee on Saturday morning. Even that seemed scary and diffiuclt. There were so many unknowns. Memorial Day – happened at home. Fourth of July – happened at home. Birthdays? Yep. You guessed it. Home. Home turned from a safe place to a makeshift jail cell.

Now? Home is school. Home isn’t home in our family’s sense. I want to speak to all the single parents out there, also. Especially the ones with little kids. I am sorry. I hear your struggle. I am praying for you. This is hard enough for me, and I have a support system. My job is amazing. My daughter who is doing virutal school also is 17, so she can help the 10 year old. I have cameras in my house so I can observe. My co -workers understand my plight. I cannot imagine. CANNOT IMAGINE. How scary it would be to have kids virtual learning – and really feeling as if you pick your kids or working. This is a decision that some parents are having to make.

On the flip side, I see a lot of parents being allowed to work from home. Creating learning stations in their homes – complete with laptops, markers, paper. Shoot, it looks like Chip and Joanna designed these learning stations! And these folks are relishing in the opportunity to spend more time at home. Time with their kids. And are ready to do this home school thing. And some of my friends who are seeing this as their new normal, that plan for this to be a lifestyle change – has said that they didn’t appreciate being home before. I think that is the issue for me, I did.

People like to talk about new and exciting things. Positive things. I am one of those people.

We like to talk about how something that was once bad, yes has turned into something beautiful.

We like to talk about the fear, the scariness, but how we have overcome. And now? We can speak positivity into our situation.

Not a smile. A smize.

We like to smile, and see the learning centers, and relish in the small successes in the pandemic.

While these are all amazing things, they can leave some of us, who are still struggling with the messy parts feeling like they’re “ungrateful” or “weak” or “a bad parent” because they can’t handle it as gracefully.

And I see you.

I see those who can’t see the bright-side still, even though they are trying so hard. Some folks came out of this situation better. Some came out a little bitter.

I see all the tears. The sobbing guilt as you leave your kids to fend for themselves because you have to work. The tears of your children who want to just play. I see the tears that you cry in your closet so no one else in your home sees them. I see the tears you cry – because you read the posts that say, “HOW ARE PARENTS SENDING THEIR KIDS TO SCHOOL! THEY ARE SO SELFISH!?” and “WHY WOULD YOU MAKE A KID WEAR A MASK! IF THEY NEED MASKS, THEY SHOULDN’T BE AT SCHOOL!”. I see you cry, because you only want what is best for your family. But every choice you make – you get disapproval from someone.

This is what home schooling has looked like. Crying. While I watch through a camera. Helpless. Not a cute desk. On the end of my bed. Messy as can be. Big Blue Button Crashing. Zoom Crashing. And we were both in tears.

I see the anger. The hair pulling. Teeth clenching. Sitting in your backyard just wanting to run away as far as you can. From everyone. No, not everyone. To a time machine. Forward or backwards. Either one. Because one more minute of this seems too much to bear.

The pandemic is ugly. The injustices are ugly. Getting through this psychotic time does not have to be beautifully poetic. It just doesn’t.

You are strong. You are resilient. You are still going. Don’t let Facebook, society, or anyone – make you feel ashamed or less than because you didn’t maneuver your way through this the way people think you should.

Love fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Hi! Been a few weeks, I know. I’ve been busy. Don’t judge me.

Alot has happened. My position at work has shifted. My bestie moved into a new place. My kid went on a weekend trip. And, I went to IKEA. So, it’s a wonder you are getting a post at all. It’s shocking that I am not still in IKEA.

That being said, while I was at IKEA – I experienced panic. True panic. And not for the great deals – or sytlish swedish furniture with their fun names. Nope.

I thought my nine year old was kidnapped. Literally. Scariest 45 seconds of my life. And I’m a widow. And that was scarier.

I asked Jacoby to return the shopping cart to the cart corral, (because we aren’t lazy people who leave carts all over the parking lot. It was literally 10 feet from my jeep. I put the last bag in the car, I get in the car, and I don’t see him. Back out we go.

I yell for him.

Nothing.

I full on scream for him. To the top of my lungs.

Nothing.

He vanished.

I am now walking quickly, and then break into a full on run – yelling for him. And then I hear, “MOMMY?”

This boy, is walking out the front door of the store. He took the cart to the front door. You see, he didn’t see a way to get the cart off the sidewalk. So, while I was arranging the bag in the car, he walked by me to the front door. I never saw him. He returned the cart inside.

He thought I saw him. I thought he was kidnapped by a pedophile rapist. What I am saying is this.

You never know what a day will hold. I had a happy ending. But my goodness – it gave me that “lesson” that your whole life can be turned upside down in an instant.

Panic realized. Panic hated.

My Sweet Boy.

Love fully. Live fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.

Sitting back and thinking about it, I probably should have put this as the first part – buy hey. Here we are. You really want to know how I do it all? The big, huge, deep and dark secret?

I don’t. I don’t do it all.

It might seem like a lot to you, but if it seems like a lot-I am betting that it is our “all” is different. Maybe you are carting kids and their friends to ball practices, recitals, and maybe working four jobs. Who Knows!?! But, I bet – our all is different.

Let’s start with an important aspect to me. I have some health issues – and sometimes, my energy is in the toilet. Complete and utter exhaustion. I feel mentally foggy, physically lethargic, and all in all – just want to nap. Now, those times are much farther spaced now, because I have learned to take control, and not over do it. I know my capabilities, and if my energy is on the lower end of the spectrum- I don’t drain it any further by overexerting myself. I have to take care of ME so I am capable of taking care of those I love. And sometimes that requires me to say, “I’m sorry baby, but I can’t go out to dinner tonight. I know I said that I would, but I am really exhausted and I want to stay healthy for you!” Does it suck? Sure. It is also a hard lesson learned, because I wanted to ‘follow through’ on a promise when I wasn’t able, I end up stuck in bed all weekend long. Luckily – I haven’t had one of those in months!

Guys. Believe it or not. This is a filter! I don’t really have kitten ears and a gold glitter nose.

A key aspect to doing this with grace? Let all of the guilt go. You have to take care of you – to be the best for those you love. Let me tell you something, write this down Tattoo it on your forearm. Write it on your mirror. Memorize it. WHEN GUILT LEADS, YOU TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE. THE IRONY? YOU PLEASE NO ONE, ESPECIALLY YOURSELF.

So let’s use the dinner situation above as an example, shall we? Let’s say I go. I feel like utter crap, but I go. I’m slow. I am sitting, watching the clock, wanting to leave. I try to engage in conversation – but remember, there’s mental fog. It’s a struggle for me, which becomes a struggle for my company. No one is having a good time.

On the flip side, what if I say, “I don’t feel like it – but can you come over and sit in bed with me and we can order take out?” I say that, because that has literally happened. A few times. LOL! Please understand, there is a difference between being a flake, and taking care of yourself, too! If you are a person with commitment remorse, buck up once you commit. Because honestly, you probably need to get out for your mental health!

Give yourself grace. My friends will laugh when they read this – because I say that all the freaking time. But it’s true. I still suck at it. I beat myself up way too often. And often times, If a friends told me the same thing I was beating myself up for – I would be much more loving and patient. One thing that I beat myself up over? My kids extra curricular stuff. Tariq, although he is an adult-ish, I love to go to his performances. He is my kid. Bella and Jacoby – same. I want them to look out in the audience, and see momma. To know that momma is always there and cheering them on.

Last year, I missed one of Bella’s concerts? Why you ask? Long story short – Jacoby made a poor life choice, fell out of a tree, and I was in the ER. Good reason to miss, right? Of course. It took me about two months to get over it. No joke. I felt horrible.

Two weeks ago, Tariq sung in an event downtown. I had planned on going, but I was so tired, and it was a huge convention. Tariq is telling me to stay home. He said it was so short, it would take me longer to park and walk there than what I would hear. So, I stayed home. It was the right choice. I still had guilt. I had to talk myself through it.

To sum it up. There are some things you have to do. Laundry. Groceries. Work. There are other things that you have to do also – like kids activities, dating, vacations, relaxation, etc. Some days – you might need to let the laundry go, and go out on that date. Do the laundry tomorrow. It’s fine. Don’t feel guilty about it. I mean honestly, the crap is gonna get dirty again anyway.

So, I guess I just changed my mind again. I do – do it all. I just do it all on different days, different phases, and to my ability. I wrap myself in grace, I make sure that my energy and activities match, I know what I have to do, what I want to do, and then I try to arrange it.

Listen, we are never going to live in a “there is time for everything utopia”, it’s not gonna happen. Nor, or we going to be able to add more hours to our day. So, let’s make every hour the best we can for that moment, and go to bed, happy and content, and not running through all we didn’t do.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.