Merry Christmas and Happy New Year



2013 had more LOWS than highs for me. 

And honestly, I don't care to relive those moments.

I finally started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel towards the end of the year.

 Not the whole thing but just a gleams, a ray ....Hope?

Enough to give me a renewed sense of purpose.

I feel like there's nothing to show for the year but in my heart I know progress has been made.

 Small, invisible progress but its still something.

Slow and steady but at least am still on the "path"

Am just hoping its the right one.


For those reasons my resolutions will not change for 2014.  It will be a continuation of 2013 because its going to take me more than one year to attain those goals.



Yoga A day for December 2013

I can't believe its already December and 15 days to Christmas. Last year I worked all through the holidays but am hoping to take a break this time around.

 I'm also proud that in 21 days I can say I was able to maintain my 2013 new year resolution of staying fit without having a gym membership.


It wasn't as difficult as I thought it will be. 

Boston has a great fitness culture that includes exercise groups and other free fitness activities hosted by the city (Fitness in the city program at city hall plaza, Fanueil Hall, Hyde Park and YMCAs) or organizations/Clubs such as the  Fitness meet up groups, November project, black girls run - Boston and etc.

 It was also a great way for me to use city parks and other exercise infrastructures accessible to the public for free. 

Being active on social media and taking part in monthly fitness challenges was another way to spice up my work out routines. Some of my favourite challenges this year are #SweatADay  #PlankingwithAdura  #SimpleGreenSmoothies #YogaADay


One of the things I tried to work on towards the end of the year was nutrition. Exercise comes easy for me but food restraint is a huge challenge. Am still having difficulties and working with that. My biggest challenge has been living with others who don't exactly share my passion for healthy eating. Its difficult to eat healthy if you are surrounded with and have access to unhealthy options at home.



Midnight cravings or coming home starving after work are the moments when I have the least control and will reach out for whatever is available in the kitchen. If I had total control of the contents in the kitchen, I will only stock up healthy food choices. That way, no matter what time of the day it is, am always eating something that's good for my body.


 I haven't reflected on what I want to accomplish for 2014 ( I do that in January during my birthday week), but I think learning more healthy recipes will be on the list. Perhaps even learning to get into the routine of doing meal preps. For the reminder of December, am taking part in a yoga a day challenge called  December Bendy yoga. You can find many of these exercise challenges on instagram or pinterest.

 Let's end the year with the same rigor and resolve with which we started it.


AIB at Bourbon Coffee House - Book Discussion and Signing


Africans In Boston played host to African- born author S. A . Abakwue for a discussion of his most recent projects; Heavens at War and Boko Harem.

Heavens at War is a fictional religious narrative while Boko Harem is a collection of Poems. I thought it was interesting that he choose to use the name of a northern Nigeria terrorist group. Boko Harem is against western education and is known for attacking schools and christian churches.



Some of the discussion topics where

- Challenges faced by African authors to get their works published

- Africans telling the African narrative and how that perspective differs from the western point of view

- Boko Harem and its influence in Nigeria. Who is really behind the terrorist group

- Why we need more African Authors. Similar to the lack of good black shows and movies in american TV, African kids should be reading books fictions and non fictions about characters and environments that they can relate to. The reason most of us loved authors like Chinua Achebe was because we could identify with the characters in his novels. We were familiar with the backdrops of his novels. They were relate-able.





Bourbon Coffee
I didnt get a chance to look at the whole coffee shop but from the little I saw, I loved it. I plan on going back for a proper sit down and enjoy coffee date. Perhaps then, I can write a review about it. Bourbon Coffee is a Rwanda international brand that has stores in Cambridge, D.C , New York and Kigali (Rwanda).


Stretching

Its that time of the year. Where it takes me jogging 1+ mile in gloves and winter hats to get a proper warm up. Coupled with extending your warm up during the cold season, its very important to spend additional time stretching.

Our body's natural reaction in winter is to become lethargic + hibernate + conserve energy. Some of us experience seasonal fatigue (Seasonal Affective Disorder) that results in depression, tiredness and constant hunger. Also, our muscles are more tight than warm and loose. Tight muscles lead to tight joints.

Whatever time you typically spend stretching, increase it by 2X

If you are stretching outdoor, make it an active dynamic stretch. The last thing you want to do is sit down relaxed in 40 degree weather.

Use a stretching device if need be ( cord, foam roller, strap ) . Lately I've been using yoga blocks. These props are not only meant for beginners. You can use them in different ways to improve your stretching routine and flexibility.

On a non-winter related note, for those wanting to improve their flexibility, its important to practice daily. When you stretch, its okay to extend to a slight uncomfortable level. However, understand the difference between subtle discomfort and point blank pain. It takes time and consistency to improve your flexibility. And even then, some days you'll find your muscles too tight and unwilling to corporate. The key is to listen and respect your body. And to never "rush" it to a limit its not ready for.

Don't forget to B.R.E.A.T.H through your routine.

GoodLuck.



Sweater Weather TAG

I don't think there's ever been a tag post on this blog. Part of

 the reason is, I've never been tagged by anyone. 

Here we go. 


1. Favorite candle scent? 

I'm not crazy about fruity or food scents. I prefer scents like...Evergreen Forest, Pines, Clean 

Laundry, Burning wood  etc


2. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

Coffee - BLACK but am trying to be good and step down to healthy Tea options


3. What's the best fall memory you have?

It isn't so much a  memory but a state of mind. We spend more time indoors in the fall and 

winter seasons because of the weather. My indoor time during those months is spent catching 

up on books/novels, finding new music artists online, doing Yoga and rediscovering ME. I love

 fall for forcing me in a sense to get to that state of mind because its too cold to be outside. Its 

also a time for me to spend looking back on the year and accessing my growth or lack off...


4. Which makeup trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged eyeliner? 

Dark Lips. You can play with different colors. Dark Red, Dark Purple, Dark Brown......a wing 

eyeliner is a wing eyeliner. Plus I don't know how to do it. Everyone can apply lipsticks.


5. Best fragrance for fall?

I don't have seasonal fragrances. I wear one thing 24/7 until it runs out and then at that point I 

may try a new scent. Or not. I don't like to change my scent. Especially if my significant other 

loves it :)

6. Favorite Thanksgiving food? 

Green Beans Casserole. 

Sorry there's nothing special about the good old turkey.....#inmyhumbleopinion.

7. What is autumn weather like where you live?

Its Beautiful. Its Unpredictable. Its the best weather to run in. Its chill enough where its not too 

cold so you can run without many layers but at the same time keeps you cool when you're body

 heats up from exercising

8. Most worn sweater? 

The Ones I use to run outdoors. My Old faithfuls. 2 of which are my college soccer 

sweaters/jackets.


9. Must-have nail polish this fall? 

"Do You  Boo" . Does it really matter what season it is with nail polishes?


10. Football games or jumping in leaf piles?

Jumping In leaf piles and fraternizing with squiggly worms and the occasional snake #TrueStory


11. Skinny jeans or leggings?

Leggings.....they are more forgiving and more stretchable for those holiday food binges


12. Combat boots or Uggs? 

Combat boots. I WALK EVERYWHERE in ANY weather and sometimes I have to do things

 like.....climb a fence...... I thought I left that in my youths but apparently not.


13. Is pumpkin spice worth the hype? 

YES + YES + YES. Specifically pumpkin spice lattes, pies and soups.


14. Favorite fall TV show? 

The Originals. I thought I liked Damon from Vampire Diaries but seeing Klaus show so much

 vulnerability in the new spin off is sexy. I know he is a horrible person but he is my horrible sexy

 vampire. #DontJudgeMe


15. What songs really gets you into the fall spirit?

I'm not sure if there is a generic fall spirit that defines the season. My fall spirit is LONG 

DISTANCE RUNNING.  I love songs that allow me to get into the "zone" . Lately I've been 

running to a playlist made up of African artists which am currently working on a blog post about. 

Check the blog later for my fall running play list and let me know what  YOU<~~~ listen to.


Xoxo Mapetiteniche

I hope it helps you get to know me a little better. And feel free to answer any of these questions 

and tag me on twitter @mapetiteniche or Instagram @laurettaashu

FALL 2013 FAVOURITES

Here's what I've been loving or doing  this fall.

1. Eating well instead of exercising more because am recovering from a whole bunch of injuries + wears/tears


2. Trying to figure out where my money is GOING by reading books about money management and finding apps (MINT) that can help me.





3. Face Masks. I'm now crazy about them after trying the samples I received in my September Ipsy Glam Bag
 4.  If FALL was a human and had a middle name, it will be called T.E.A 
I've been loving the Earl Grey flavour from the Lipton Brand. Not because it keeps me awake but because it seems to do wonders than sleeping pills in its ability to KNOCK ME OUT and send me to sleep instantly. I've yet to finish a cup because am always asleep half way through.




Also a new discovery for me because it was a wedding party favour

 Organic Rooibos Tea - The Republic of Tea (South Africa)


I use to think summer was my favourite season but FALL in New England is very beautiful and Romantic. Last year I was busy being too depressed and homesick to enjoy it. This time around, am going apple picking, tea tasting and doing all the traditional new England fall must-do activities.

Apologies for the lack of consistent blog posts. I guess being too busy in the real world to blog is a good excuse right?

For more daily updates, follow me on Twitter @mapetiteniche or Instagram @laurettaashu

Rick Owens Spring 2014 - Paris Fashion Week

I am not a fashion guru.

I can barely dress myself appropriately for society.

But I do know, just like the rest of the general population, that there is a severe shortage of diversity in the high fashion modeling world. Which is why the Rick Owens Spring 2014 show caught my attention. Black girls....not skinny 6 feet tall with weaves black girls....but blacks girls, in all their natural beauty, dominated the show. Dancers. And not just any dancers but step dancers. A talent that requires athleticism, stamina and agility.



I'm not sure what kind of statement he was trying to make.

Everyone has an opinion on it....and that's what I care about.

That at least, now the issue has been brought to the fore front. 


Oya discuss. 

You cannot ignore it. You will address it irrespective of your opinion about diversity or body image.

Some people are mad that he used step dancers...and that they didnt dance well....First of all, this was not a step dancing competition. At the end of the day its a fashion show and the movements of the dance have to still show case the attire and etc....

Others say step dancing is not proper reflection of our community. 

Step dancing ...and dancing in general is part of the many components that make up our heritage. He picked something from this colorful rainbow to in cooperate into his show and his vision. 

Am tired of people feeling like somebody owes them something. He didnt have to do anything but he did something. Our judgement gets so clouded sometimes that we cannot take an act at face value. 

BET's Rip the runway has a similar concept. But does the black community cry foul? No....because its put together by black people?
We feel that everything and anything that has to do with someone outside the black community using something that's part of our community has an ulterior motive. 

Am sure all step dancers around  the world would appreciate that their craft was used as an inspiration by someone. Am sure they would have loved to be on the show as part of someone's artistic vision. 

I don't understand the backlash from the black community. We were cool with step dancing in all those movies showcasing Greek life across america's college campuses and we celebrated it........but how dare someone give a group of talented young women an opportunity to step dance at a very popular fashion event?.....

I feel that by choosing dancers and variety of body shapes, you get something bigger than just another skinny model who happens to be black. The issue with the fashion industry is 2 folds. Lack of Diversity and Body Image. His show addresses both.

Over the years I've learned not just to talk about diversity in terms of blacks but inclusive of all other minorities in the world. Because the term minority is relative to the issue or location. Blacks are a minority outside of Africa but not in the continent. Same with Asians outside of Asia and etc

So in the fashion industry when I say minorities I mean anyone but those with European features....

T444Z Hair Food for Natural Hair

T44Z Hair Food is a locally made hair product for natural hair. I met Brenda at the African Boston Festival this summer at the vendors booths . Even though I had braids on at the time, I was attracted to the product because of all the healthy ingredients listed in it.


After taking my braids out, I spent the last 3 weeks only using T44Z,  glycerin and water to see how it affects my hair. Am not a product junky. I don't believe in putting 5+ different products on my hair at the same time.




Ingredients
Aloe, Herbal Extract, Rose Oil,  Chamomile, Menthol, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Castor Oil, Peppermint, Papaya Extracts, Vitamin A, Carrot Extracts, Shea butter, Essential Oils

Label
For massive hair growth, volume and thickness. Repairs hair line. Stops balding, dandruff, scalp dryness, itchiness and hair loss.

Directions
Apply to whole hair once a week
For damaged areas such as bald patches and hair line, apply daily.

My Review
I was mostly interested in the repair hair line and scalp dryness remedies because those are the 2 issues I face with my natural hair.

When I initially opened the product, I was concerned about the yellow under tones and beads. I thought maybe it will leave a yellow streak on  my dark hair. Fortunately that wasn't the case. Even though it looks yellow, once you rub it on your palms, or even if you place it ..as is....on your hair, once melted, the oil leaves no colour residue.

Because of my thick hair, instead of once a week, I used it 2 -3 times a week at night before doing a protective style for bed. I prefer putting products in my hair at night because sleep is the optimum time for the body to undergo the process of  growth & repair.

Smell - Its smells fresh and minty. Probably because of the menthol added to it. Also the menthol leaves your scalp feeling refresh similar to what a breath mint or mouth wash does and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that feeling because the summer heat + evening cold always leave my scalp dry and itchy.

Lastly, even though its oily, it doesn't weight down your hair or leave it feeling or looking greasy.

Honestly, am trying to think of some short coming for this product but so far I got nothing. For my hair and my hair issues, it does the job. I can not comment on hair growth or thickness because my hair is already naturally thick and grows very slow. I will probably have to use it for longer than 3 weeks for any hair growth comparison.  Although I will mention that my hair line has seen some growth.


Will I recommend this product? YES & OUI

To order
 call Brenda at 617-504-3727
Email her at Brenda@t444zhairfood.com
or check out her website www.T44ZHAIRFOOD.com







Shriiiiiiinkage will be the death of me this fall/winter. I'm tired of telling people, no I didnt get a hair cut over night. It just shrank.....

Why BMI doesnt always work

Recently, I went for a routine yearly physical provided by my insurance with no copay. I usually take advantage of this time to get everything checked out because outside of that, I rarely visit the doctor's office.

After all my exams, the physician came in to have a word with me. It wasn't t my regular doctor but someone new. She proceeded to say I was obese and recommended exercise. I was trying really hard to stifle a giggle because as an exercise physiologist, I knew she was wrong.

In her attempt to rush in and out, she made no effort to have a conversation with me (very typical of healthcare workers these days). Had she done that she would have realized I was an athlete with really muscular thighs and BMI is not a good indicator for a healthy body weight in my case.



Body Mass Index is a number calculation based on your Weight and Height.
Its been known to be wrong because it does not take into account several components.
1.Gender
2. Age
3. % Body Fat versus % Muscle Mass versus % Bone density

Other methods that can be a better indicator of your body weight health status are the skin fold test and under water weighing. There are more that use X-rays and etc but there are usually more expensive and not quite necessary.

I place BMI in the same category as using a weight scale. Don't.


xoxo
Lo

Yoga Socks - Fitness Basics

I don't know why it took 1 year of slips and mishaps for me to purchase these socks.

They are amazing. Comfortable.  True to size. And provide the necessary grip especially for yoga newbies who need to rely on the wall. Now that the  to weather is changing and its getting colder, am ready to revive my dying indoor yoga practice.





Eto retires from Cameroon National Team

Eto has been keeping me in a constant state of dumbfounded-ness (is that a word?).

First was the news that he will be joining my team CHELSEA! for a one year contract. Am still trying to be comfortable with the idea because even though I think he is a good player, I don't know how this will change the team's dynamic.


Fast forward to today. I am still rejoicing Cameroon's win against Libya in its qualifier game.

And minutes after that, its reported that Eto has decided to resign/retire from the Indomitable Lions.

As much as it saddens me, I support his decision for several reasons.

1. Having played at an international level , one can only handle the childish games of our FECAFOOT for a limited amount of time. The dishonesty, poor management, corruption and disregard for the players's earnings and well being is not something anyone will put  up with especially when you have better options.

I think he had good intentions to clean up the team and management but you can take a horse to the stream but you cannot force it to drink.


2. As a former competitive soccer player...and a darn good one at it if i may say so :) , I hate the idea of a team and the management to rely on one player for the success of the team. Soccer takes 11 PLAYERS.
Its time for the other players to rise up collectively and earn their spot on that team by putting in the work.


3. He isnt getting younger. Its time for him to graduate into other roles outside the soccer field. Consultant. Advisor. Businessman. Entrepreneur. The sky is the limit.

I wish him all the best and thank him for all his efforts to make the Indomitable Lions a great team despite opposition by the governing body Fecafoot. 


Honestly you'll think a sports governing body's main priority is to make decisions that benefit its teams and will ensure that they are well equipped and ready for competition. But not Fecafoot. Apparently, their personal agenda are not in line with the teams they delegate.

How to end the year + Fitness Inspiration from C.J. Senter

I just realized we have only 4 months till the end of 2013.
 I've maintained most of my new year resolutions but looking for a way to end the year on a good note.



I'm thinking, maybe sign up and train for another half marathon? Perhaps beat my PR?

Or embark on some other fitness related challenge.

I'm not quite sure yet. I believe there's something rewarding about ending the year on a good note no matter how it may have started.

Because as we all know, its not how you start but how you finish...that you finished and never quit, that matters.




Fitness Inspiration :  C.J. Senter


This kid is amazing. I wonder if there are any side effects for training so hard at such a young age.
Will have to research on that because I do believe in moderation in all that you do.





























Summer 2013 Update



I'm sorry for being MIA for most of the summer. What started up as a quiet season for me turned 180 degrees. It was very difficult for me to blog amidst the insanity of activities and new work schedules.
Now that things are finally settling down, I hope I can resume blogging on a regular basis.

For daily updates of what antics ^_^ I get into, follow me on twitter @mapetiteniche and on instagram @laurettaashu

I hope you all had a wonderful summer


xoxo
Lo

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