Things You'll Learn In Your 20s - Happy New Year 2015!

2015 is a kinny big deal year because I will be turning the 
BIG 3.0


The period of October through December has been a roller coaster emotional and reflective ride for me.



Now that I have finally  gained the upper footing and found some balance, here are 29 things I have learned since my inception


1. Failure is going to happened. Being the perfectionist that I am, its hard enough to admit it so let's just leave it at that

                                                    
                                                Boarding School 1996



2. You will grow out of a lot of things. Example ; clubbing late + hangovers + unproductive gossip

3. You will eventually discover yourself and become UNAPOLOGETICALLY YOU ^_^

4. You will have a weird but colorful resume of jobs.
So far in the 3 years I've been in Boston, I have had 7 Jobs.......Currently, I have one main job and 2 side hustles.
This period isnt just about discovering yourself but finding your gift* and career path.


                                                 Florida

5. Sisters from another mother aka separated at birth college friends will dwindle from party of 30 to the fab 5. And that is okay.
                                 

6. Be Selfish. Put YOU first. 

7. Explore the world. Whatever that means to you. The town next door, the country next door or just something as simple as going to a foreign restaurant in your town.


8. Be Audacious. What do you have to loose? Going back to #1. You are going to fail at something. So be comfortable taking risks especially if you are not tied down with responsibilities like kids 


9. Fall in love with yourself and develop a deep understand of what your moral compass and values mean. How do you expect to articulate that to others if you don't understand where you stand?


10. Start thinking about the type of future you want to have and what you need to do to achieve those dreams





Texas 

11. Do cherish the friendships that weathered the dark storms of your life. Don't take them for granted and let them know you appreciate their support

California



12. STOP wasting your time and energy on unproductive, negative interactions/relationships.




                                                                               GSU ASA

13. SPEAK BOLDLY what is in your heart. Get comfortable telling people EXACTLY what you want. Whether its stating that a pay grade is unacceptable or not tolerating inappropriate behavior in a relationship; become vocal about your needs and expectations.
                                  Valentine's Day Buckhead, Atlanta

14. Learn to say NO when needed,without guilt ;understanding that you don't have to explain or justify it.

15. Stand firm in your conviction because society , your friends and family will have doubts, try to discourage you, before they eventually embrace your ideas.



16. Don't live beyond your means. Handle your finances with care if you want life to be easier in the long run. 

17. Give yourself a break. Have mercy on your body and mind. REST when needed. Live to fight another day.

 Undergraduate days 

18. Word of the quarter century life = STREAMLINE
Say no to thunder thighs,muffin tops, and unhealthy behaviors. You'll realize that your metabolism isnt like when you where 15.

20. QUALITY over Quantity in every aspect of your life. Gone are the days of 3000 Facebook friends. My rule of thumb for Facebook became, if I don't have your phone number, email or whatsup contact info, we are not friends.

                                                   Miss Africa USA, Maryland

21. To expand of #21, choose to work part time for a bigger pay than slaving for minimum wage. Its all about time management. You are better off spending the rest of your part time improving yourself be either taking classes or just enjoying your hobbies


22. Comparison is the thief of joy. Try not to compare yourself with your college mates. Yes everyone but you seems to be married with 2.5 kids and moving into their dream homes. Focus on your journey and dreams.
                                                   College Halloween Party

23.  You may have to kiss several frogs before meeting mister Right. Don't be pressured into settling for less than what YOU want.

24. Forgive Yourself. Stop Looking back at your past mistakes. Its Okay to move on. Just like anyone else you are HUMAN

26.Have an emergency funds savings account. You are replaceable in a moments notice in corporate america.

27. Know that not everyone is going to meet the expectations you've placed on them. Therefor set realistic expectations but also be prepared to be disappointed with broken promises.

28. PROTECT YOUR JOY. This may mean losing some friends and family members but that's okay because without you're sanity you cannot be the director of your life


29. HAVE FUN!!!!!
Jamaica 2011

Honestly when I look back at my life and some of the pictures....it definitely brings a smile on my face.
 So many fun memories and no regrets.

Where there periods of headache? 
Yes of course! but the good times definitely out weight the bad . You have to make a conscious choice. 
Do you want to hold on to bad memories or the good ones?

Cheers to everyone blessed to see the new year. 
I intend to keep having fun and making more memorable memories with my friends and families.




What's In My Bag

Runner's Bag Edition

Since this bag is primary used for running, its small and I don't necessary want to carry a lot of things in it



1. BGR BAG
Probably my best goodie from the Black Girls Run conference in Atlanta earlier this year.
As my running distance continues to increase, I need to carry things like extra fluids and etc without causing any inconvenience to my running form.

This bag is just amazing for that. The size and inside compartments are perfect. I might do a separate in depth review of the bag if requested.

2. Water Bottle
To stay hydrated I fill my bottle with water or any electrolyte replenishing beverage such as powerade 

3. Lip Balm for chapped lips from dehydration or harsh winter weather

4. Body Butter Lotion.
Sometimes I run to a destination to perform another activity such as soccer. Winter makes my skin extremely dry and irritating. I keep moisturizing lotions in all my bags for when my skin starts itching from dryness.

5. Earphones
Because I need every motivation I can get and it allows me to multi-task. From taking phone calls, listening to music or an audible.
Speaking of Audibles, I am currently listening to "The Big Little Lies" by Lian Moriarty

6. Whistle
Because I teach Physical Education and I am a run ambassador.
People Obey the Whistle = They pay attention when I need them to.
I have never had to use it as an ER-tool to call for help in case my phone isnt working but I guess it can serve that purpose too. 

7. Arm Band 
For my cellphone, especially if am using an app or program as a training tool. I need to be able to access it on the go so I put the phone on my arm instead of inside the bag.

Not Featured

1. Heat Pads for winter

2. Winter Cap

3. Winter gloves

As we transition into colder climates, these items will find permanent domicile in my bag. Sometimes I start a run feeling extremely cold but it gradually becomes hot and having the bag helps me to put away the hat and gloves....vice versa; where perhaps 30-mins to 1 hr into a run temperatures drop and I have to put on some protective gear.


Dealing With Sore Muscles

I experienced my first NOVEMBER PROJECT Workouts last week Wednesday at the Harvard stadium.

This meant doing an infinite (in my feeble mind at the time) number of stadium steps.

I honestly don't know where I got the mental perseverance to finish it. My only evidence was the jello-like feeling in my legs and slight dizziness that occurred afterwards. Also I experienced 3 days of excruciating muscle soreness.

Here is how I dealt with the muscle soreness after doing that many steps.

#1. Post Workout Stretch

I knew I had to do some intense stretching immediately to prevent stiffness

#2 Hot Shower Stretch
This can be substituted for having a "heat" pad which is usually a luxury reserved for athletics trainer rooms. Warm water relaxes your muscles and that's the best time to take advantage and stretch them some more. Reach down, with your legs straight, touch your toe and stretch those hamstrings & Calves

#3 Roller Foam 
This is the best thing for rolling away those extra tight muscle knots and trigger points. It also helps improve blood circulation in the legs.


#Yoga4: Specifically Yoga for runners
You can google up many variations. I use many videos on YouTube but for dealing for this specific week I used BrettLarkin's 40mins post run yoga. This video is more than 1 years old but I still love it and have used it several times. 



The sequence stretches your whole body with great emphasis on the limbs and shoulders. Basically she focuses on the major muscles used in running.

 I also like that it is 40 mins instead of 10 mins. While a 10 - 20 minutes routine is better than nothing, my body needs more than that.

If done properly , your previously tensed muscles should feel a great deal of relaxation, openness and calmness. If you're in tune with your body, you should feel them "give in" to the manipulations*.

#5 Low Intensity Follow Up Exercises
Usually to experience such intense muscle soreness means you really work HARD. Extra weight lifting session in the gym, extra mileage on your run and etc. Give yourself a break and go easy for the next 2 days or so. For me, walking to work and after work helps with relieving some of the tension. I take deliberate large steps that stretch out my groin. I also keep stretching any chance I get at work. Even though I still ran on the same day, ( BGR run ambassador duties), I kept my miles under 3 for 2 days.

In 2 days am heading back to the stadium for another session with November Project. I can't wait to become so strong that I will be running up the steps like some of the monsters :) "amazing athletes" who show up and kill it like its a piece of pumpkin pie.

Happy Working out and Remember to be kind to your muscles.

Also if November Project is in your city, do check it out.
Its Amazing.
Everyone is super NICE & Encouraging
Most Importantly the workouts are FREE!






Exercising during menstruation - Just Do it


During menstruation you may feel one of these side effects;
Cramps

Sluggishness

Tiredness

Emotional Imbalance

Maddening cravings for anything with an unhealthy dose of SUGAR

It might take you 2 hours to summon up the will and strength to leave the comfort of your bed but just do it.


The rewards will justify the effort.

Running will get your blood circulating and get rid of the sluggishness. Preferably do sprints instead of a slow long run.

Worst case scenario. Go for a walk. It's better than anything but I'll rather run myself to exhaustion and enjoy a good post workout nap.

I find that sprints have a way of "waking up" my body. Everything comes alive. I feel more light weight at the end of the workout.

Practice yoga and channel those crazy bi polar emotions into a state of peaceful meditation . Its healthy for your mind and muscles.

Unless you have a medical condition, I am not comfortable with the idea of taking pills to "cure" pms. It's a natural process that our bodies go through for the greater good of our health.

This is how I deal with periods and exercise. Science and research will tell you a lot of Dos and Donts. Unless your period lasts for many days, give yourself a break and indulge in whatever your heart desires in moderation. 

That's my policy. 

Being a woman is hard work ^_^ 


Run Chat : Self Evaluation

Two days ago I went for an after work run to evaluate my preparation for a Thanks Giving Day Half Marathon.

My performance was depressing. It was a bad run day.



It felt like I may as well have been walking backwards or speed walking for the dismal pace of 12 mins a mile. This run made me take an honest look at how out of sync my fitness routine has become. Plagued with meeting deadlines this month, running has been pushed to the back burner.

I have also put on some weight ....and not muscle mass .

Posting this is a way for me to share with you all that not every workout is going to be perfect. The social media culture is one were people only post about their perfect successes, never mentioning their struggles. But Life does not work that way. We all struggle...daily.

 You are not going to beat your PR with every run. You are going to have bad days. Bad weeks. Bad months. But the bigger picture is over coming those obstacles and getting back into sync with your goals.

Black Girls Run Conference - Atlanta



As part of my summer vacation, I planned a trip to Atlanta for the Black Girls Run 2014 Sweat with Your Sole Conference.
I also registered for the 5k instead of the 10k because I was running with friends who were not good runners.


 This was my first time attending a BGR conference.
 I felt a little bit overwhelmed in a positive way at the sheer amount of black women who turned UP! for this conference. This validates that the message of health and fitness is being spread out  and people are listening to us.





 I was also surprised by how popular ALL the fitness classes offered where. Every class was filled up with people like me trying to get into them

There was a lot of networking opportunities to meet other members from different states.

I took a day off from BGR events and headed south of Atlanta to do a 5k at my former school Clayton State in preparation of the Sweat with Your Sole race.

I never forgot about Clayton's ninja geese who chase you around campus. But I had forgotten about the Campus's beautiful lakes.

It was nostalgic running on the same route we used on the women soccer team for the 12mins/2mile cooper test at the beginning of each season.















RACE DAY


All in all, I had a great time at the conference and am looking forward to BGR 2015!

Peddocks Island

Over the summer the Boston Harbor Islands National Parks, in collaboration with South Shore SHAPE - UP, organised a free all day fitness event at Peddocks Island.

Even though I was on the Island for work, I still manged to have a good time and enjoy the activities

The events included a 1 mile jogging guided tour of the island, Zumba, Yoga, and many other classes for visitors to the island to try out.




 This is the perfect getaway for the nature and trails lovers. 

Am all for taking a moment out of our hectic lives and  spending 

some time in nature.


 There;s something about being surrounded by nature, pausing to 

admire and take in all the living things around you that is 

mind blowing.


When you come to the understanding that, No matter WHO YOU 

ARE and WHAT YOU DO, we will all come to pass and LIFE as 

we knew it will CONTINUE without us.

It makes you stop taking it for granted.

Admire how the creatures in the woods interact with one another.

Pause and think about the strong and mighty oak tree that was once just a small feeble seed.

No matter what you believe in, science, God, Nature......How can you not be in awe of the millions that things that go on following the circle of life

Review : Marika Sports Bra


Recently I had been trying to revamp my fitness "closet" as part of a large scale attempt to get my mindset back on track.

I went into TJ Maxx with the intentions of picking up a couple of Under Armour sports bras because I love the brand. However, I was not prepared for the price tags that accompanied the awesome bras.

After browsing the racks for alternative options, I spotted the Marika sports bras. At first skepticism crept in because I did not recognize the brand.

But what I did like love was the price tag. I could afford to buy one and test run it without feeling bad about the money spent if it did not work out

PROS
- Extremely good support. Especially for ladies who are blessed in the bosom

- The quality of the material and design are great

- Affordable for those on a budget who still want to purchase something of great quality

- The additional bra-like straps in the back allows you to customize the tightness or looseness to your preference
This is especially great for people who tend to loose weight in their chest region. Instead of having to purchase a whole new set of bras...you can just adjust the tightness of this bra

CONS
- Initially it felt like perhaps I had bought the wrong size.

I don't know how else to explain it but because of the material, you have to "break" into the bra . Overtime it molds into the curves of your chest ....into a perfect personalized fit.

I kind of don't want to put it down as a con.....its like breaking into a new pair of shoes.....

I am only putting it down as a con so anyone reading this will not think there's something wrong with the bra or that they bought the wrong size.





Summer Favorites 2014

I didn't want to put this in the update post for fear of making it too long.

Here are the things I have been enjoying this summer.

1. V8
but not straight up. I have been mixing it with other juices to tone down the tomato flavour.
It's funny. I love raw tomatoes in salads or sandwiches but its a little over bearing in the V8 drinks.

2. Remember this ?

Not only did I love it but my dad basically hijacked the vanilla one and used it all up.
Am almost done using the chocolate version and will be looking into purchasing another soy protein powder

3. Shoes
New Balance vs NIKE
To inspire me to get back into running, I bought some new fitness apparels and gears.
The Nike shoes are a size bigger but the cheap sales tag made me rationalize the purchase :)


4. Gastronomy
I have developed an obsession for marshmallows.
Maybe its because they are tender on my sensitive teeth or they are a great to-go, non messy, healthy snack. Its hard to restrain yourself to just one. They are definitely my summer guilty pleasures.
Hmmmm now I wonder if they are responsible for my weight gain.

(bonfire and smores at George's Island)
Post workout brunch for the BGR Jamaican Plains meet & greet

5. Products
One of the reasons I love shopping at TJMaxx is because you get to see a variety of products from so many different brands.
Am always willing to try something new and so far, I've yet to have a serious adverse reaction to any products from Tj Maxx.

HUGO Naturals shower gel and lotion (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Multivites Gummy Multivitamins
Home & Body Essentials Vanilla (with Jojoba oil) Massage oil