LIFESTYLE October 15, 2020
A few days shy of my 34th birthday, I became a first time homeowner! My journey began a little over two years ago when a close friend inspired me to begin thinking about home ownership. After a lot a blood, sweat, and tears I’m glad to have a place that my family calls home! If you’re in the market to purchase a home for the first time, here’s a few things you should know! CLEAN UP YOUR CREDIT! The first step in home ownership is making sure your finances are in order. Simply put, every detail of your financial history and profile will be combed through by lenders, so ensure that you are financially fit prior to applying for any type of approval. Remove derogatory items from your credit report, pay down debts, pay ON TIME, and save as much as possible. Though there are programs that will accept scores starting at 580, I highly suggest securing a 640 or above to get the best rates, access to additional programs, and the best bang for your buck overall. Once approved, it’s time to move on to the next step! YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY SECURE A TRUSTWORTHY REALTOR I cannot stress this enough. My realtor is the reason I was able to secure my home! Although she is a close friend, our relationship became strictly business as I became her client. Having a realtor in place afforded me knowledge on the best lenders, current programs to assist with down-payment and closing costs, and negotiations on my behalf up until we reached the closing table. I never felt alone during this process because my realtor was proactive through every step, ensuring that I was on top of the process. An added bonus was her continuous encouragement for me to “keep going” and see this journey through to the end. If you are in the Atlanta area, I HIGHLY recommend Shanterius Churn of Churn Real Estate. If you’re not, be sure to secure a trustworthy agent who can provide guidance. SAVE, AND THEN SAVE SOME MORE I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always been an amazing steward of my finances. Pursuing home ownership definitely changed that! While I was fortunate enough to find a program that covered my down payment, closing costs were still needed to seal the deal. Having a stable savings and building it consistently was key to being able to get in the home I desired. I was suggest saving at least $10,000 if you are serious about buying in the near future! SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS, BUT BE REALISTIC When I started searching for homes, I initially wanted a property near the city of Atlanta that had been recently renovated. As I began looking I quickly realized I wouldn’t find EXACTLY what I was I looking for. I wrote down my non negotiables, my wish list features, and things I absolutely could not live with it. I used this as my guide to keep me in check when touring homes. I finally found a new construction home in the suburbs, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice! GET THE INSPECTIONThis seems like a no-brainer, but because an inspection isn’t always required, some homeowners skip this crucial step. A home inspection is your safe guard against future issues, and gives you the opportunity to ensure the home is up to standards prior to moving in. A few hundred dollars can save you thousands in the long run! REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED THE PROCESSWith everything, you should have a reason why. My reason for wanting to become a home owner stemmed from breaking generational curses, and my desire to leave a legacy for my daughter. When the process got hard or seemed impossible, remembering my why pushed me to keep going until I reached the finish line! Home ownership is a true blessing that comes with so much privilege. If you’re in the market, don’t be afraid to questions and seek out assistance. If I can do it, you can too!
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by 2020. Between being quarantined, having to work from home, and learning to be a full time virtual learning supervisor, I’ve had my fair share of adjustment this year. Add on the social climate of America, and death within my family and it’s enough to overwhelm even the most composed person. We’ve put a lot of procedures in place to help us tackle new schedules, education, and safety. On the contrary, not much has been put in place to help us maintain peace and sanity through all of these changes. Today, I’m sharing with you some tips that have helped me stay focused, positive, and grateful during a challenging year. 1. Start Your Morning With Prayer I find that when I wake up on the “wrong side of the bed” prayer is the easiest way to turn my mood around. A simple prayer upon waking has the power to set the tone for the whole day. 2. Set a Morning Routine – And Stick To It! I’m still a work in progress on this one because I love my sleep, but getting up just a little earlier and setting a consistent routine is a great way to protect your mental health. Not only does it give us moms some much needed alone time, it allows us to knock a few tasks off of our to-do lists, leaving us feeling productive and empowered! So instead of hitting the snooze button, hop up! Make that coffee. Get the workout in. Blog a bit. Do what inspires you to feel good! 3. Girl, Read Your Bible. When I was younger, I found reading the bible to be very boring. Now, I love it! I find that when I read intentionally, I easily connect the word to current situations in my life, and find God’s continued promises to love and take care of me. What better peace is there?! 4. Therapy is Your Friend. I grew up thinking therapy was taboo. My family communicated often, but never did I hear about seeking professional help for the issues women face on a daily basis. When life hit me harder than ever, it was Jesus and therapy that literally saved my life. When your challenges or feelings become too much to handle alone, seek help to get the support you need to thrive. There is NO shame in taking care of your mind. Do what’s best for YOU! 5. Connection is Key. I’ve said it a thousand times. I can’t picture life without my girlfriends. Being quarantined and not able to see them has been extremely difficult for me. To keep from falling into the depression of isolation, connecting with your loved ones is key. Here are some great ways to connect virtually: -Zoom Wine Tasting -Virtual Sip & Paint -Book Clubs -Virtual Movie Night! 6. Go Outside! Outside has become such a luxury. We want to protect ourselves and families, but it’s so important to get outside! Take a moment each day to catch some sunlight via a walk around your neighborhood, enjoy coffee/tea on your front porch, or just play a fun game with your children in the yard. Sunlight will always be a quick remedy for a gloomy mood. 7. Get Moving! An idle mind can often be an overthinking one. Get moving! Whether that means a workout, organizing, or running an errand, staying productive can help combat feelings of hopelessness or boredom. Take 30 minutes each day to be active and watch how it impacts your overall mood. 8. Journal Anyone else feel better when they reflect on all they have to be thankful for? Instead of keeping a to-do list, I’ve started writing a list of things I’ve accomplished each day. After what seems like a hard day, when you write down your accomplishments, it makes even the challenges seem like blessings because you made it through! 9. Put the Phone DOWN! Hey, it’s me: GUILTY. Scrolling through social media is all fun and games until you find yourself going down the rabbit hole of comparison. Sometimes, putting the phone down to enjoy your own reality is just what you need. When we remove distractions to be present in the moment, we can often find happiness in our own homes, families, and lives in general. Set aside time to turn off the phone and be present! 10. Be Patient With Yourself. As we all adjust, grieve, laugh, have successes, and make mistakes, remember to be patient with yourself. Give yourself grace and space to feel everything, but don’t let feelings consume you. Know that you aren’t alone, and we are all just trying our very best. I hope these tips have been helpful to you. Share with me some tips that you’ve used to protect your mental health this year.
LIFESTYLE, MOTHERHOOD, STYLE & BEAUTY July 8, 2020
When you support a small business, you are supporting a dream! If you’re anything like me, it’s been pretty tricky to stay away from online shopping while being quarantined for an extended period of time. As you order, I encourage you to shop with small businesses to support those living out their dreams. In the spirit of uplifting the Black community, I’m sharing 5 Black-Owned Businesses that suit the whole family. Izzy & LivLadies, this is for you! If you’re looking for affordable clothing, accessories, and jewelry, I’ve found the perfect place to shop! Izzy and Liv offers all of the above with a dash of cultural flare to each product. An added bonus is that you can grab items for the kiddos while you’re at it! Savoir FaireIf you’re searching for the perfect gift for your lover, friend, or family member, Savoir Faire fragrances are always a win. In addition to offering a reasonable price point, the scent is potent without being overwhelming. He’ll thank you later! Just Like MeDo your children have literature that accurately represents who THEY are? If not, the Just Like Me Subscription box has you covered. Each month, your little ones receive 2-3 new books from award winning authors. A great way to entertain and educate, Just Like Me certainly won’t disappoint your little readers. Juvia’s PlaceBeauty addicts, look no further! If you’ve not yet heard of Juvia’s Place, get ready to be BLOWN away! Juvia’s Place offers all of your essential makeup products at prices that are incredibly affordable. I most enjoy the quality of their products and the vibrant colors that represent black culture. Be sure to check them out! La Bougie Parfait“The Perfect Candle” is an accurate way to describe these products. As an avid user of these candles and room mists, I’m in love with the beautiful packaging, the scents that fill an entire room, and the length in which they last. Another plus is the amazing customer service provided by this brand. Happy Shopping! Drop some of your favorite Black-Owned Businesses below!
Turn on the news, and what you’ll see is a country that is bleeding from the consequences of racism, inequity, and injustice. As a black woman raising a black child, I feel it’s important to not only step up to end...
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by your snack closet during this quarantine. I certainly have. I initially stocked up on ALL the goodies, not knowing how long this would last. For most of us, food is a type of comfort, and indulging in our favorite treats brings us a bit of normalcy and happiness for whatever reason. It also brings on the extra pounds pretty quickly! So today, I’m sharing with you some ways that I’m avoiding unwanted weight gain while staying at home. I will preface this post by saying that I am not a licensed nutritionist or health practitioner. Nor am I implying that weight gain is a negative thing for every person. For me, avoiding weight gain is about my overall health and ability to stay in shape for my body type. Take what you need and apply it to your own profile. Tip 1: Intermittment Fasting Intermittment fasting is no new trend, but it’s something I’ve recently adopted to monitor my eating and avoid snacking from sun up to sun down. Though there are many variations, I stick to the 16:8 schedule. This means that I have an 8 hour eating window, and then fast for the other 16 hours of the day. This method has been pretty easy for me as I’ve never been a big breakfast eater. It also helps me keep my calorie count lower as my eating window is smaller. Keep in mind, it is essential not to “binge” during your window of eating for optimal results. Tip 2: Calorie Deficit Speaking of lower calorie counts, let’s talk calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is needed to lose or maintain weight without gaining more.A caloric deficit is any shortage in the amount of calories consumed relative to the amount of calories required for maintenance of current body weight. I monitor my calories to ensure that I am consistently at a deficit each day to avoid weight gain (and in my case, lose a few pounds). I currently consume about 1,300 calories each day during my eating window. Tip 3: Balance So counting calories, fasting, it all starts to sound a bit restrictive. One huge key for me in staying healthy is BALANCE. Listen, I’m not the girl who is never going to pick up Popeye’s Chicken. If you know me in real life, you know how I feel about Popeye’s. I’m not willing to absolutely give up my faves in order to be the perfect size according to society. Balance for me means enjoying my favorites but having the discipline enough to know that I can consume them all day everyday and expect to be healthy. I’ve found alternatives to curve my sweet tooth (fruit, sugar free jello/pudding), and am trying really hard to cut my eating out down to once or twice each week. Small changes provide big results, believe it or not. Tip 4: Drink Your Water Sis Drink your water, mind your business, and pray. My new life mantra has been my whole mood. I’ve never been thirsty in my life (see what I did there), so consuming a ton of water each day was admittedly not one of my common practices. A little while ago, I read up on all of the amazing benefits of consuming water and something just clicked for me. Though I knew water was great for you, it was the idea of maintaining healthy weight and skin that got me on board. Right now, I’m challenging myself to drink a gallon each day. I’m currently on day four and am surprised at how easy it has been for me. Moving forward, my goal is to drink at least 64 oz daily to flush out my system, stay hydrated, and stay energized! Tip 5: Get Moving Unless you know me personally, you wouldn’t believe that I’m surrounded by men who are in love with fitness. I used to DREAD working out. Going to the gym seemed so daunting for me. Being stuck at home, I decided that I would join a few live bootcamps being offered by various trainers. I instantly fell in love with the idea of working out from the comfort of my own home, in my own style. I generally spend thirty minutes each day dancing, lifting, or doing a HIIT circuit. Not only do I feel like I’m healthier, I feel better mentally after each and every workout. Check out my favorite trainer here and my favorite dance routines here. Being stuck at home doesn’t mean purging your kitchen all day. Avoid the “Quarantine 15” with these easy solutions that yield major results. How are you staying fit during this quarantine? Share some tips with me below!
Girl’s Trip Loading! Winter is the perfect time for a mommy getaway! I’m headed to Canada for the very first time with a few of my best girlfriends! No matter when or where I’m traveling, packing my...