Dealing with IBD: Going Gluten and Dairy Free For Real This Time

Greetings Daizies,

Health post here! Last year was a crucial year for me in finding out more about my stomach issues. Severe abdominal pain started becoming less of random flare ups a few times a year, to an every day occurrence. After several tests and months, the my stomach pain pointed to a form of Irritable Bowel Disease.

I’ve tried just about every supplement and suggested treatment for stomach pain there is. I even thought by minimizing my intake of desserts, cheese, and breads, that that would be enough. But after meeting with a naturopathic doctor, I learned that it takes about 6 weeks to get rid of the inflammation in your stomach. And right now my stomach has been inflamed every day for MONTHS. So treating myself with a tri-tip beef and peppered cheese steak and fries every week or so, sets me back. The stomach pain I feel can be from something that I eat days ago. Isn’t that crazy? So now I am on a mission to take cutting out Gluten and Dairy 100% for 6 weeks.

Reason

After doing the low-FODMAP diet, I noticed that gluten and dairy are trigger my stomach pain more often than other foods. It can be harder for my stomach to break down those foods and my intestines experience inflammation because of it. My first step, is cutting them out completely. Like not even a little treat, because even that little treat can have drastic effects during the week.

Although IBD isn’t described as a condition that’s caused by diet, what you put into your body does have an effect on how your system reacts holistically. I’m working with both a gastroenterologist and a naturopath so I can see both sides of the spectrum. I think the long term medicines work to help not feel the symptoms for a while, but I don’t want to be on immunosuppressive drugs the rest of my life. So I’m going to really try hard at this food thing. For the first 2 days of strictly not eating any of the foods I’m avoiding, I can say I haven’t had my usual flare ups. I know it’s only been a few days but that is a huge change seeing as how it’s something I’ve experienced daily for the past 7 days. I feel optimistic about not letting this control my life and that I will go fully in remission 🙂

Favorite recipes so far

Now I am not 100% perfect in identifying what is and is not gluten, but I’m trying. So if you see something that has gluten in it, let me know! It’s really day 2 with no slip ups. I’m making sure I’m eating enough so I don’t feel hungry and fall back to bad habits.

  • Ground chicken sandwich and fries (substitute the Hawaiian bread I was using for a GF bread)
  • Panko breaded chicken strips ( minimal oil, trying not to eat as much fried foods)
  • Spicy jammy drummies (LOVE this recipe from Chrissy Teigan’s cookbook)
  • Pan seared chicken and Spanish rice
  • Egg noodles and beef
  • Bacon, eggs, and GF cinnamon & raisin bread
  • Fruit smoothies

Non-food health changes

Another interesting thing I noticed is that when I’m on vacation outside of the country, I have NO stomach flare ups and eat literally anything I want. You know why? I am completely stress free on vacation and the food anywhere outside of the U.S. is just way fresher. This is eye-opening, because my body reacts to how I’m feeling (not worrying) and the state of the food I’m digesting (completely fresh and unprocessed). Stress manifests differently in different people. So I am trying to eliminate encountering the things that negatively impact my stomach on an everyday basis.

Food is just one part of my long term health for beating IBD. Along with making diet changes I want to make some lifestyle changes to help me deal with stress which affects my digestive system for sure.

  • Eat dinner before 9 pm
  • Get in the bed before 11:30 pm
  • Actually use mindfulness apps
  • Have more fun
  • Get monthly massages

Looking forward to a successful journey. I can do this!

Wishing health and wellness to you all,

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Reflection: Pushing Past the “Resistance” to Moving Higher

I consider myself a very imaginative person. I am constantly thinking of new ideas in my head and find myself brainstorming new business ideas and things I can create. Ever since I was a kid, I often jotted down ideas for clothing designs, hair styles, products, and even song lyrics. Being creative has always been apart of who I am. This is all important to consider because as we grow up, that imaginative side to us can seem to dim down and the reality and pressures of life can make you want to be “realistic”. You start dialing back those huge dreams and shape them into what you “think” you can do or what you think you’re good enough for.

 Over the weekend I encountered some internal thinking that literally aligned with the recent podcast episode from Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations titled “Unlock Your Creative Genius”. In this episode Oprah interviewed Steven Pressfield, the author of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, as he shared insights on how to express our deepest ambitions. He believes we all are creative in some way and shared his insights on how to break through those barriers we face to reach our creative goals. This episode was on time and in time for me. In 2018 I launched Curl Calendar. It was the first time I put something out that was a long-term idea that I thought of for well over a year. I felt like I had broken the obstacle of having an idea just stay in my mind. In 2019, I plan to keep going with my entrepreneurial spirit and ambitions. Within one week I had found some really great webinars on Facebook from women sharing their tips and steps to help people turn their hobbies into businesses. A lightbulb went off in my head about something I’m good at that I could offer as a service. I got so excited and the adrenaline of a new ideas was running through my head. I set out to plan my idea fully over the weekend as a business planning workshop for myself.

I started doing research on one element of my idea and tried to put myself in the zone of where I would begin if I was actually starting the project. I started to think maybe I wasn’t experienced enough to do this thing I wanted to do. Maybe there wasn’t a need for what I was trying to provide. Was I going to be good at it? I spent 15 minutes in self-doubt and almost became overwhelmed with the thoughts to the point I just wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon watching Netflix. I looked at the time and it was only 45 MINUTES into my workshop. In less than an hour I had negative thoughts darting into my glow and excitement to embark on a new journey. I recognized what was happening. It was fear, it was all negativity. I talked to myself and told myself to finish what I started and that I couldn’t quit before I even gave myself a chance to see something through. I had spent days exciting to write out my goals and plans for this idea and as soon as I actually started, my internal thoughts of insecurity and doubt wanted to hold me back. I said nope, not today and continued on with my workshop and made so much progress that day.

“What happens first is the dream and resistance is the shadow”. Resistance always takes the form of fear. A shadow trying to pull you away from the dream. You have to make the decision to move forward. ”

Steven Pressfield

The feeling was so familiar and now Steven Pressfield had put a name to it, resistance. Everyone experiences it. It always finds itself prevalent in our brains when we are headed in a new direction and about to push ourselves and embark on things like entrepreneurial endeavors, new career opportunities, or even evolve emotionally.

“The more important an activity is to your soul’s evolution, the higher resistance you’ll feel. The more fear you’ll feel”

Steven Pressfield

I said well would you look ah there. Every single time there is something new coming up, it never fails to have those feelings, that shadow of resistance that wants me to stay where I am and abort whatever idea, big or small, that I may have. I recognize it now and I am glad that I do because now I can be mindful of it and be strong to not let it defeat my purpose.

One thing that resonated with me in the discussion was that that resistance isn’t really us talking. It’s not our best selves, it’s not representative of our values and motives. So don’t beat yourself up…for beating yourself up. That energy that is doubting yourself, is apart of the process. It happens. It doesn’t mean you’re a negative person and that you don’t want to see your own self succeed. What’s important is that you acknowledge what’s going on in your head and not give those thoughts any more power and energy. It goes back to the notion of being mindful. I started being a lot more mindful which is why I ended up having that conversation out loud saying “Yup, there’s that voice in my head with these thoughts of doubt, fear, and insecurity. There’s no reason to feel like that actually. You are more talented than you think. Now let’s regroup and finish this”.

I think I did a good job. What I learned from the episode only further validates what I was thinking and how I practiced pushing past the resistance. With that being said, in 2019 I am stepping into all of my gifts and talents. When I was 12, there was a poster on the wall in class that said “you’ll never know the outcome until you try” and I decided that that was my motto a while back. I’m reclaiming that motto now at 23, unapologetically. Who am I to even stop myself?

Why Black Women Should Own a Cat

Greetings Daizies,

I’ve thought a lot about writing this blog post. There are so many reasons a person should get a cat, but I wanna speak directly to us black girls. I feel like cats have gotten a bad rep and even heard people say “black people don’t like cats.” No one really talks about it but I think cats are the perfect pet for black women. There hasn’t been enough praise for cats and more black women especially need to know why cats are the most amazing animals on earth.

1.Cats are your ride or dies for when it comes time to do your hair

Ladies, it takes sometimes several hours for a perfect twist out, braid out, or even just detangling. Not many people want to sit around and watch the process. Your hands are getting weak, your arms are trembling with fatigue, you’re almost about to give up when you look to your side and a beautiful and encouraging creature is sending you positive energy to keep on going with your natural hair tasks. Cats are there for you and your hair care. They want you to reach your hair goals! I could stop right there but I can keep going.

2. Give and receive love from a breathing being that requires very little from you

As black women we take care of just about everything. Kids, intermediate families, work, school, the bills…everything. We’ve been responsible for juggling many demands ever since we were old enough to and sometimes even before then. Imagine coming home to a breathing that doesn’t need much but your love and your love only. They are just as independent as you are and aren’t looking for you to do basic things like bath them, but just want to be cuddled and pet. If you’re feeling drained during the day, you won’t have to worry about another thing just zapping your energy from you. Cats give you the love you may sometimes feel like the rest of the world isn’t giving. All of this without the constant maintenance that other pets may require *cough cough*dogs.

3. Cats support you in your self care journey

As I type this blog, my cat Spencer offers his support

As I mentioned with cats and your natural hair journey, cats are patient with you in your journey to improve your overall self care. They are still, they are calm, and they are understanding. Lots of self care habits take time, such as doing yoga, journaling, or a face mask. You know what has the patience to sit by you throughout all of these processes? A loving and doting cat. Just wanting to support you and your heart’s desires. If you’re doing sedentary work like writing an essay or brainstorming, you’ll have a cuddly ball of joy to sit on your lap and make sure you finish what needs to be done. When you look down at them you won’t want to disturb them unless absolutely necessary which in return results in more productivity and a better chance of finishing what you start.

4. Be entertained but not agitated

Get lost in the antics of a cat sprinting across the room. Watch them unravel a bundle of yarn. See how interested they are as you unbraid your hair and take down the kanekalon. Or watch your cat simply watch you. Cats are can be a form of calm or upbeat entertainment without having to pay a monthly subscription like Netflix.

5. Cats increase health

The soothing vibration of a cats purr can stimulate the happy brain cells and increase overall happiness. Just letting a cat lay down on you and purr can relieve so much stress. The vibration of a cats purr is in the range of 20 hertz to 140 hertz and vibrations in this range are known to be effective in treating many diseases. Owning a pet in general helps reduce stress and lower our blood pressure. But cats in particular help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The American Stroke Association found that people who don’t own cats are 40% more likely to have heart disease or strokes. SO while you’re actively getting your life together, the extra added bonus of having a cat in your life just further adds to your black girl magic.

More black women should have cats. If you had a bad experience with a cat or two back in the day, don’t let that have you write off cats forever. They are truly pleasant little angels that are necessary for self care and will be there as you grow and thrive.

Essential Oils and a Beginner’s Experience With Aromatherapy

Greetings Daizies,

When I first got my apartment I was so excited to get an oil diffuser and essentials oils and begin my experimentation with aromatherapy. I imagined walking into my home with relaxing scents and just an amazing vibe. I knew the oils would make the rooms smell good but I was more curious about if I would actually experience any other benefits with my mood or health.

How is aromatherapy health related?

Aromatherapy is a natural form of medicine described as “the art of science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit” as defined by the Natural Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. Some of the benefits of using essential oils, often topically or by diffusing, are reduced stress, relaxation, calmness, and joy.

It’s been 4 months since I got my first diffuser and set of essential oils kit and I have since added a new kit to my collection. I purchased both kits from Amazon for about $15. The first kit was from Pure Body Naturals and included lavender, eucalyptus, sweet orange, tea tree, peppermint, and lemongrass. The first diffuser I bought was from Bed Bath and Beyond but it broke just 3 months later. I bought a new one from Amazon recently but I don’t like how quick the 150ml of water runs out so I will be in search of a new one. Around the holiday season I wanted to treat myself to another kit and this time I wanted to try some oils that aren’t talked about as much. I ended up getting a relaxing essential oils set which included ylang ylang, bergamot, frankincense, lemon, cinnamon, and lavender again. All together I have 12 essential oils and have noted some of my favorite mixtures for mood, overall smell, and health.

Sample Kit for Beginners
Relaxing Essential Oils

Mood

Lemongrass+Lavender

For a while I used lemongrass oil to help me fall asleep. I rubbed a few drops of lemongrass on the bottom of my feet right before bed and I do think it helps my mind slow down and my body fall into a restful sleep. I stopped using it every night because I didn’t want to condition my brain to thinking I could only sleep with some oil on my feet. However, lemongrass is one of my favorite oils to help me unwind.

Lemon+Cinnamon

Lemon is a sharp smell that I use when I want to be upbeat and productive. I decided to mix it with cinnamon one day and really enjoyed the mixture. The health benefits for cinnamon are suppose to help relax your muscles and joints. I haven’t yet experienced that with cinnamon but I overall just love the smell.

Frankincense+Lavender

I was most excited to try frankincense oil since it’s super ancient and in the bible. Upon research I found that it has benefits that reduce stress and anxiety, helps boost immune system, and reduce pain and inflammation. I’ve combined frankincense with lavender to ease any stress and when I want to feel peaceful.

Bergamot+Lemon+Frankincense

Bergamot is a new oil that I just recently discovered. It is often used to foster an uplifting mood. Because of this, I mix with lemon and together the scent gives me a feeling of rejuvenation. I mix with frankincense especially when I want to be productive but in a relaxed way. Just getting things done but not being tense about it. I like using these types of mixtures when I am feeling creative.

Favorite Scent Combinations

Sweet Orange+Lemongrass

This is a citrusy but warm smell. It makes my house smell like Bath & Bodyworks but not in an overwhelming way. I use about 6 drops of sweet orange and 4 drops of lemongrass.

Lavender+Bergamot

I’ve always enjoyed the scent of lavender and often combine it with just about any of the oils I have. I combine lavender and burgamont for a flowery forest type of scent.

Cinnamon+Sweet Orange/Lemon

The smell of cinnamon reminds me of the holidays or just a warm, cozy home. I love cinnamon oil because I get the natural smell of cinnamon and can mix it with other warm smells. I think of cinnamon in the food form when it comes to mixing. Cinnamon with other fruit flavors mixed well in my head so I tried them out.

Health

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus has definitely helped me with headaches. I noticed it was used when I was getting a massage in Mexico. When I would get antsy or move around, the masseuse would have me inhale a towel with eucalyptus and it made me relax. I tried the same thing last week when my mind was just clogged and I had a headache. I sprinkled a few drops of eucalyptus oil onto a warm towel and laid it on my face first, then directly onto my forehead and my neck where I felt tension. The headache went away before I fell asleep and I woke up quite refreshed.

Eucalyptus+Peppermint

Both of these oils are refreshing when I mix them together. I use them when I am feeling a little tired, headache, nauseous, or not quite balanced. It’s kind of like when you have a cold eat something spicy to clear your nose. This combination feels like I’m clearing my head.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is used often in hair and skin care because of it’s anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. I saw a pimple on my chin at night and dabbed some peppermint oil on a wet q-tip. I gently applied the q-tip to the budding pimple and the next morning it was gone.

Tea Tree

Tea tree is also another oil I love for my hair and also skin. It worked wonders for ingrown hairs and dark spots. I don’t like tea tree for diffusing at all, since it smells like a cleaning supply being diffused, but I love it for hair and skin.

Lavender

Lavender really is a calming oil for me. I’ve noticed it has helped me when I am trying to slow down my thoughts and relax. I place a drop or two on my finger tips and gently massage my temples while taking deep breaths. All of this combined helps ease the stress and tension I may be feeling.

Overall Experience

I see my collection growing this year as I get more acclimated to essential oils. I don’t see essential oils as controlling my mood or emotions. I see them as something that can aid a mood but not control itOften times I am already feeling a certain way and I will use oils that match the mood or other oils that are said to help decrease negative feelings. Using essential oils is just a portion of the holistic habits and actions in wellness that have positively affected my wellbeing.

I hope you all are having a wonderful New Year so far. Maybe you can go out and try some essential oils as a new experiment this year!

As always,

Each Step Led to This Dai… UW GRAD 2018!

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Greetings Daizies!

I finished school a few months ago in March and since then I’d been patiently awaiting my official graduation ceremonies that would commence in June. I spent time visiting family and evens started a brief part time job tutoring and cherished my new relaxed pace of life remembering my vigorous schedule from college.  Oh yes I remember waking up to a to do list of “class, class, study, office hours, practice for interviews, homework, midterm practice” and then sleep and do the whole thing over again. I put all of my energy into making sure I did everything I could to get the best grades possible and secure a job for when I graduated. The actual graduation ceremonies would signify that I was completely and totally done. My college experience would come to an end.

My time off has been a break long needed and deserved. I loved being able to plan out my graduation photoshoot and all of the exciting details without having the stress of studying for classes and finals. Eventually June 3rd rolled around and I was so happy I was finally going to walk the stage after 4 years of hard work!

June 3rd – Foster School of Business Graduation

I spent my entire Saturday watching the latter half of season 3 of Parks and Recreation and doing the twist out of my life. It took my 5 hours to do my hair.  Small, precise twists with no gaps, tangles, or bulges. I fell in love with Shea Moisture’s Red Palm Oil and Cocoa Butter stretch pudding. After my grad photo shoot, I knew it was going to be a twist out product staple. Anyways, I was confident that my hair was gonna be poppin’ for my very special day. I answered as many last minute questions from frantic and excited family members as I could. But overall I was focused on maintaining a relaxed mood and taking the experience in.

That morning I woke up an hour before my alarm. My stomach started pulsating and my heart was beating fast. I was so nervous and excited. I always wake up early when it’s a big day for me. It wasn’t an interview, a big test, or anything I had to endure over the past 4 years… it was MY GRADUATION! When it was finally time to get up, I did yoga as usual but this time my eyes began to water as I began to contemplate how hard I worked, the obstacles I faced, and how much I dreamed of this day. For many years it seemed so far away but I was finally walking through the end of the tunnel to experience the light.

I thought back to 3 years ago, freshman year. I was taking my remaining prerequisites to get into the business school ranked #1 in the PNW and #14 in the nation for public universities. I was ready to take on the challenge and knew that that was where I belonged. I worked long nights, went to tutoring almost every day for Math 111/112 and breezed through Stats 220. I was so happy for the Daizha that was crushed after BARELY passing the Econ 201 and 200 prerequisites. I could clearly remember how anxious I was thinking about having to choose a backup majors just in case business school didn’t work out. I thought about how vicious the curves were in weed-out classes like ACCTG 215. I had an extra prep class at 7 IN THE MORNING *now i could never see myself taking an 8 am class in my entire life* but I sacrificed a comfortable start time for extra practice for accounting. And when I submitted my application I checked it over and over again before submitting only to have to wait for an entire month to find out the results. As I waited for the results, I had to calm myself down as my heart raced each night thinking about if I would have my dream of being in the business school. Fast forward to June 3rd, I was in my room, doing yoga and preparing to graduate with a bachelor’s in Business Administration majoring in both Marketing and Information Systems!

I was so excited to get to the stadium. I tried to eat as much as my nerves would allow me but don’t worry, I had some snacks in my purse lol. I saw some people I never saw in my life and some familiar faces from group projects I’d had over the years. I found my front row squad and we walked around to find our entrance. I could hear the crowd buzzing and we actually were about to start. I was one of the first people to walk out and the energy was amazing. I saw and heard my family cheering for me! It was an amazing experience. The ceremony just about flew by and I walked across the stage with a huge smile on my face and a twirl for the gawds.

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Graduation selfie

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Dubs up!

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Pure happiness

Even though it was cold and rainy at first, it made me feel so good that my family planned and decorated for my graduation beach party. I felt warm on the inside no matter the weather. It just felt good to be celebrated and congratulated for something I worked for. I loved my mom’s idea of every guest going around in a circle and saying their memories, thoughts, and favorite things about me. Words mean a lot to me. I’d say words of affirmation is my love language. And hearing how I’ve made others feel and all of the nice things my friends and family had to say about made me feel so special and appreciated.  I will always look back at that video when I need it.

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The sun came out for us! Family photo 🙂

 

June 8th – Black Graduation

I had a some days in between my first and second graduation. I was just having a pretty awesome week. I got to show my dad around Seattle for the first time and spend time with him while he was here. I had so many leftovers from my grad party that I’m still craving till this day. But low and behold it was time for Black Graduation 2018! I would finally be one of the black graduates receiving their kente stole. This day was a little hectic in the beginning I must say. Nails falling off, couldn’t find my preferred lashes, unexpected things, more rain, etc. I was feeling a little off for a minute but once the ceremony and speeches started I was just like ” oh well let’s just enjoy this” and decided to be in the moment. It was still a good week and the celebration must continue. This graduation was special because I was with all of the black students I experienced UW with. It’s a small small world as a black student at a PWI so it was beautiful to have a celebration just for us. I had fun on the stage too! Peep the video below lol.

 

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June 9th- UW Commencement

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The next day was big graduation with all of the graduates from the entire school, from bachelor’s on up to doctorates. Tons of people had been saying how long and boring the graduation would be or had been for them but I was still determined to go because you only graduate from university for the first time once. The rain held out this time for a while, thank God, because it was on the football field. I was literally running to my entrance so I wouldn’t miss the walk out time but I made it! I was so HYPED seeing how a huge football stadium filled with people all excited. I was so so happy to see my mom stand up and cheer for me in that huge crowd as I walked in. It was my final graduation of the week. This one was for the college experience as a whole. This stage in my life of so much growth and accomplishment. I was celebrating all of that.

All of the departments sat with each other and when it was time to present the business school, we were formally granted our degrees! OFFICIAL OFFICIAL OFFICIAL. A pleasant surprise was actually walking the stage to shake hands and receive my beautiful degree case. I thought we were only going to stand up and sit down but yay I got to walk the stage in the stadium. Literally this day was just so fun and the ceremony didn’t feel long at all.

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At the end, when the seats were almost empty, I gazed the entire stadium and took a deep breath. I really finished. The chapter was completely over. And I was like wow I’m actually going to miss this school. My eyeballs started watering again lowkey (aka crying) but it was like saying goodbye to an era where I became the adult me. I really took my whole life into my hands and learned how to take care of myself on my own. And now my life really changes from here on out.

I came in with a mission and I completed it. A college degree is a privilege that I am so grateful for and I don’t take lightly. It means so much to know that I can take care of myself financially and have the career that I’ve dreamed of having.Generational poverty no longer can have a hold on my lifeI can be a role model for my younger families and they can see that it’s possible to go to college, to travel, to take risks, and to do anything they want to do!  I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to receive a degree from a 4 year university. I’m grateful for all of the challenges, trials, and tribulations that I experienced while in college and because of college because they made me even an even stronger person.

Graduation season was everything I could’ve imagined and even more! Through the ups and downs I know that …. Each step led to this, Dai.

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Love always,

-POP

Mission Accomplished | I Graduated from College!

Greetings Daizies,

Two weeks ago I finished my last final, walked out of school and became a free woman ready to enter the real world. My last blog post I wrote about my feelings regarding my upcoming departure of school and I thought I would miss it. But let me tell you, I have never felt more relaxed and chill in all of my 4 years of college. I actually don’t miss school lol. The days leading up to my last final, I was just so excited. I worked so hard each and every quarter, so to finally get to the point of reaching my goal felt well deserved and like a huge relief. My overall feeling is relaxed and accomplished.

I have about 2 months until my actual graduation ceremony. I’m so excited to finally have this experience. It seemed like 2018 was so far away but these last few months flew buy and it’s finally my time to shine and celebration graduation season. I have quite some time between now and when I start working so I’m fully taking in my extended time off with some planned travels and also going with the flow, taking it day by day. I’m still carrying on with not planning every single thing of my life which continues to bring me peace and comfort in knowing everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

I’ll be writing a seperate blog post about my trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.

In my spare time, I started a new Instagram blog called FroAndTravel dedicated to the beauty of natural hair while being flawless abroad. I hope this wonderful break will bring out my best creative juices and I’m excited to have more time to put my energy towards things I love.

Here’s some pics of me living my best life 🙂

Shirt: H&M $7

Shoes: Payless $15

Pants: Forever 21 $18

Photo cred: Martha Girma

 

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-POP

Happy New Year! | 2018 I’m Ready

Happy New Year Daizies!

Letting go of the trials and tribulations of 2017 and accepting my blessings for 2018! I’m feeling relaxes, excited, and just ready for what the year has to offer. I’ve taken time to write in my journal and this time organized my goals in categories such as health, finances, career, school etc. This is just a short excerpt to bring in the new year and post my favorite New Years pictures!

 

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Cheers,

-POP