health, parenting, self care

5 Tips To Help Get Kids Drinking Water!

We know that there are plenty of options out there to quench your thirst! Juice, milk, smoothies, pop/soda, and WATER! I think water gets a bad wrap with our kids because it has no flavor. If you are having a hard time getting your children to drink water hopefully these tips will help you!

  1. Infused Water! water infused with fruit is a great way to get kids to drink. The fruit gives it a little flavor, captures their attention with the beautiful colored fruit floating around. Itʼs health benefits include keeping them hydrated, detoxing their bodies, and improving their mood (we could all use a little mood improvement)
  2. Make it a game! Give each family their own water container each morning. Everyone starts with a filled water container and the first family member to finish their container throughout the day wins! Remind them they donʼt have to do this in one sitting but to remember to drink from the container throughout the day. At dinner crown the winner. Iʼd suggest making an actual crown and allowing that person to pick dessert or special treat.
  3. Lead by example! Letʼs face it our kids copy us. If they rarely see you drinking water then why should they. Explain to them why water is important to your body. Then ask them to sit down and share a cold glass with you.
  4. Because I said so! This is one tip I rarely use but it is in my parental arsenal. There are just those days where everything is a struggle including getting your kid to drink water. Weʼve all been there those days that make you question parenting. I like to call this move my Draw 4, if you’ve never played Uno you wonʼt understand. Itʼs the you have no other choice but to do it! Just drink the water so you can go play, have tablet time, or just not be bothered by mom. Like I said I rarely use this one, but note you have it!
  5. Creative thinking! Iʼve seen many water drinkers create encouraging gallon jugs. As they drink the ounces away there is a note there pushing them toward the finish line. You could do this for your kid. Design the jug or container specifically for them and help them reach their water drinking goal.

We know how important it is to drink water and itʼs health benefits. Plant the seed of health with your family today!

parenting

Positioning Yourself To Win!!!

positioning yourself to winIt’s the start of a new year!!! Every year we make promises to ourselves to do better, to live our best lives, to prosper more this year then last year.  We are hot and heavy for the first few months and then BOOM, something happens and we get less and less enthusiastic about accomplishing our goals. Why? Why can’t we keep winning all year-long? I’ve discovered the answer to this question. We don’t take the time to position ourselves to win. We have the vision board, we have the calendar, we have the map yet, we forget how to implement the tasks to keep pushing forward. So, how can you keep winning. Check out the steps below:

  1. Preparation is key! What are you trying to accomplish? Setting clear goals for what you want to do may seem easy to do. How you prepare to reach those goals is what will make the difference. Each goal requires a different plan, mapping out these individual plans will help you maximize your vision. You must first set the goal, then create the plan. With plan creation you must list out the step-by-step process, this will keep you on track and hold you accountable.
  2. Do the work! Of course when someone else is doing it, it looks easy, but honestly you don’t know that it’s easy for them. Focus on what you are accomplishing and set your mind to doing the work to achieve your goals. Nothing happens by chance, putting in the work to be successful is a major key in positioning yourself to win.
  3. Realize Rome wasn’t built in a day. Timing is everything. Most of us need to realize that our timeline is very different from those around us. Instant success is very rare! Making it a priority to realize that it may take time to achieve your ultimate goal will help you be successful. Think of your vision like giving birth to a baby (it really is) it takes time for the baby to form, to make connections, to come to the age where the baby is ready for birth, and then once the baby is born there is still more work to do. While you may accomplish one part of the goal there is still time needed to be put into nurturing that goal. All of this takes time. When you come to grips that everything may not happen instantaneously, you will learn how to best utilize your time.
  4. Create time & space. You need to stay focused, but how can you, there’s laundry, school projects, dinner to be made, babies to be changed, date nights, the list can go on and on. In order to win you must create a space where you can focus on accomplishing your goals. Whether at home, the library, coffee-house, the park, wherever you need to go to have a space to concentrate you need to make getting there a priority. Once you find the space dedicate time to working in that space on your goal. This is where preparation plays a major role. If you are prepared with the steps you want to complete in the time-frame allotted you are paving the way to achieve that goal.
  5. Connect with like-minded people. One of the things that stumps us in the winning process is getting stuck. So many ideas, maybe no ideas, we tend to get stuck and stay there because we can’t figure a way out. Having people who are going through goal achieving processes as well will help you. They have been where you are and may be there now, encourage each other to keep going, take breaks and enjoy life with each other. You need to find your tribe, people you can call on in those moments you want to give up. This group may be different from the friends you have had for years, the purpose of this tribe is to keep you focused on accomplishing your goals. (Guess what? It’s okay to have multiple tribes)
  6. Start & then start again! The first step in winning is getting started. You have the vision, you have the plan, now let’s do something with it. Most have no problem getting started, it’s when life happens and we get thrown a curve ball that derails our plans we STOP! Guess what winning requires you to know you may have to restart the plan at some point. You are not a failure if you have to restart, you only fail when you quit. How many times you restart is based on you. I will say this if you are restarting in the same area each time re-evaluate your plan and see where you need to implement change.

Hotties we can be winners all year-long as long as we determine we want to win. It’s up to you, you have the power, now use that power to start WINNING today!

How do you document your goals? What advice would you give to someone who’s stuck? Let’s help each other keep winning!

black women, health, women

Being Nanekia…GirlTrek A Walk To Self Discovery!

nik girl trekA little over a week ago thanks to #BlackGirlsInCle I had the opportunity to attend Girl Trek Cleveland Edition. I was excited 1. to find out more about Girl Trek, 2. To get out of the house on a Friday night for a little me time. Go on over and read my review of the event on www.blackgirlincle.com. The space, the vibe, the sisterhood was overwhelming and as with each experience I get to learn more about myself. So what did I learn this time around…Keep reading!

I’ve been living this outside my comfort zone lifestyle for a while. I’ve been many places alone, which no longer bothers me, this experience was different, it took me to a new level of being uncomfortable and I was completely there for it. I’ve had to do a lot of self reflecting and soul-searching lately, this was a decision I did not take lightly as in order for me to become better, to be available to encourage others to be their best selves, in order to live by example, I can’t be bullsh*tting myself. If there was any of that left, the #girltrek experience pulled it all out.

  1. All the ladies in the room were told to stand silently against the wall and leave all judgements including judging ourselves outside the room, there were a lot of ladies but we manage to do it. Then we were told to really think about ourselves and be honest with the answers we were giving. Step forward if you have improved your healthy living lifestyle, step forward if you have left an abusive relationship, step back if you remain in an abusive relationship, this went on with multiple questions until we were uneven. As I gazed around the room I saw women who were just like me, standing on my own in life figuring things out. I’d experienced some gains and losses and I wasn’t alone.
  2. As we remain in silence we were brought to a circle to do a rhythmic dance exercise. Honestly I had no clue what we were about to do, but the spirit in the room was refreshing and inviting. There were so many melanated faces in the room as we looked at each other the music began. First there was a slow beat, which we swayed to, then the build up and as the music began to heighten we were instructed to dig, scooping low (floor) then releasing at the top (above our head) as we scooped the sound was one of great pain from each person, but then the release was a roar, like we had found freedom and we needed everyone to know. The more we scooped the greater the release until you could feel the humming in the room get louder and louder with every release. Not sure if my description is giving you the full picture, but imagine being weighted down and you feel like you can’t get up, but then you manage to get up and now you can’t even feel the weight of what you were carrying. I felt all the pressure of that day being removed from me, the issues with co-workers, kids not cleaning up, missing date night, loss of friendships, too many meetings, goals not reached, the weight of all the issues I’d been having I could no longer feel. What did I feel? I felt my sisters carrying me, I felt with each hum of their voices they were helping me release. This was magical because let me tell you, a girl was extremely tired of carrying that weight!
  3. The Wonder Stories of Wonder Women! This part of the evening was amazing. You all know I like a good story and these were stories of women right here in my community, sharing defeat and triumph. With each shared story I felt closer to these women I did not know. We experienced joy, pain, laughter, anger, so many emotions and so many divine connections made. Once the stories were over we were told to grab a sister, hold her hands and look her directly in her eyes. No smiling, just studying her face and seeing her story in her eyes. Have you actually ever looked at another woman? Not her outfit, make-up, shoes (we know I love shoes), not her smile, but what’s in her eyes. Staring into this strangers eyes I began to notice things I hadn’t about her and we had been sitting next to each other for at least 2 hours. If you are so inclined really look at someone, and you will see their story. This was magical for me and I’m not going to lie the tears began to flow, because I knew my story, that behind my smile, behind the jokes, I was crying my eyes out tired and I didn’t see rest in site. That sister hugged me so tight I felt my body go limp and finally rest!
  4. Finally we get to the walking part, LOL! I mean all this emotional stuff and now you want me to walk. If you read my #blackgirlincle article then you know that 137 black women are dying each day due to preventable diseases. For me personally I know stress correlates directly to some of my health issues. Being able to relieve some of that stress and set myself free was amazing. So what does walking have to do with this? It’s a form of self-care we should start taking advantage of. When I’m angry, take a walk, when I’m sad, try taking a walk, when I’m happy take advantage of that boost and take a walk. Our ancestors found freedom in walking and you can find it too just take your first steps.

Girl Trek is on a mission to get a million African-American women to join the movement by 2020, I’m one of those women! My road to travel in getting me together started when I decided to take that single step, to live a life that defines me and no one else. What will your walk look like? Will you join us?
onika jervisOnika Jervis, Chief Engagement Officer. Girl Trek

Veronica VeryVeronica Very, President & Founder, Wonder of Women

Morgan DixonMorgan Dixon, Founder & CEO, Girl Trek

parenting

The Ministry of Sisterhood: The Ansari Girls

img_0425If you haven’t been paying me any attention then you missed the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! Want to know what it is/was?! My sister, Ayesha, and I have launched a show on Facebook LIVE, IG LIVE, and YouTube to discuss the ministry of sisterhood. We are giving you a behind the scenes look into our lives. How are we handling success, balancing family life, being social, and keeping our groove, all while maintaining our sanity and our close relationship with each other and our devotion to God? That’s a lot to view. So what made us think that our lives were so special that we needed a show. Let me take you on a little journey…

It’s no secret to the people who know us that my sister and I DID NOT get along growing up. We were like oil and water, if and when we did agree it was probably to agree that we didn’t agree with each other. This is how our relationship was for most of our childhood and on into our teenage years. My parents were so annoyed with us, but the older we got, our bond began to form. Now we didn’t stop arguing or fighting, we just didn’t have to do it in front of our family or friends, we each had our own homes and our hang up game was strong. So when did our relationship finally turn around. I really can’t tell you, one day I just looked at my sister differently. I no longer saw her as the brat that was driving me crazy, I saw her as another woman, someone I enjoyed being around. I didn’t just love her because she was my sister, I actually liked her as a person, someone I WANTED to hang out with. As others began to see us together they noticed the difference in our relationship and wondered what changed us. Our conversations were now inspirational and encouraging, our phones calls ended in laughs, we began to appreciate our time together.

So what change? Our faith! As our own individual relationships with God began to develop he granted us access to see each other differently. I began to see where I’d slacked as a big sister (yes, the secret is out, I am the oldest) and I allowed her to see the vulnerable parts of my life I’d kept hidden. It was in these moments our bond was solidified and we could actually see each other. As we began to share our story, our struggles, our journey, people paid attention and they wanted to hear more. If you tune into Just One Hot Mom the podcast (available on Itunes) some of my favorite shows are with my sister. But Just One Hot Mom is my baby, and I can’t share it, so what could we do that would allow people to hear and learn from our stories. Nothing but get in front of the camera and share. So on Tuesday, October 2nd, we shared our first story on “The Disciplined Art of Essentialism!” (check it out on our FB page/YouTube channel The Ansari Girls) Every other Tuesday at 8pm, we are opening the doors of our lives and sharing them with you. Our hope is that by being transparent with you about our lives, you will become confident in who you are, inspired to share your story, and encouraged that you are not alone in this life. I wouldn’t want to do this with any other person.

So your assignment, go like or subscribe to our pages and share in our journey!

Facebook: The Ansari Girls
Instagram: thensarigirls
YouTube: The Ansari Girls

parenting

It’s A Shame! Part 2

IMG-0190So let’s just say in the last few weeks shaming has been at an all time high. I’m not sure why others take such liberties to tell you about how you should feel bad, but they do. I often wonder what do these people tell themselves when they look in the mirror or when someone corrects them about being who they are. How do they feel? Apparently not bad enough to stop doing it to others. In this week’s shaming story, it’s just me and this body that I am in, that I love but apparently someone felt I should not be so crazy about.

I was in my office minding my business, on this day my hair was wrapped up like a Nubian goddess, I had on a perfect floor length sundress, face was au natural, and my scent was a hint of coconut. I was feeling good, not just about my look but I was having a good day. Then I felt the room get dark and an evil presence enter who wanted to take my happiness away. I’m joking no evil presence just someone else who does not work in my office decided to tell us about the detox she was on. As I try to shy away and head to my office she notices. Excuse me, I wanted to tell you about the detox what’s going on with you?! Who me?! She then proceeds to question my head wrap and explain how a real lady does not wear that type of adornment outside of her home. She assumes that underneath my scarf my hair must be a mess and I should really take the time, just a few seconds and do something besides the scarf. She’s an older woman and I respect my elders so I respectfully nod at her suggestions. You would think it would have stopped there, but I guess because I didn’t completely lose it on her about the hair comment she thought she should continue. Next, apparently I need to detox because my face was super red and it was probably red because of the toxins in my body and not enough water. Again I just nod and try to respectfully move toward my office. 15 minutes later a discussion about how my spirituality was reflected in my look and I need to get right with God, I finally tell her to be blessed and to have a good day. Now I failed to mention earlier she wasn’t just having this conversation with me, but my other co-worker was present as well. Yeah, she was trying to shame me in front of someone else.

After she left, my co-worker asked why I hadn’t responded with a swift, you need to be checked demeanor. My response, I’m confident enough in myself to know that what her thoughts are, are not my own. Why would I take the time to explain that I’d been wearing my hair in a nice flat wrap waiting for it to dry before I removed my wrap, but that I was proud of myself for finally learning how to correctly tie the wrap up on my head ( I watched a billion YouTube videos), that I was in the midst of a rosacea flare up, that instead of covering it up with make-up I decided to let my skin breathe and for the first time in days my skin felt cool. Or why would I explain that me and Jesus are super cool, that we talk on a regular basis and all is well with my soul. I knew that she had already made up in her mind to judge what she didn’t know and she didn’t want to get to know. Why waste time and effort trying to get her to see beyond her own thoughts. And checking her would just feed into her already negative thoughts, so instead I just nod.

But what if I wasn’t confident in myself, what if I was at my breaking point and one more comment would have sent me over the edge? People don’t often think before they speak and sometimes they don’t realize that their helpful advice isn’t so helpful. For me I’ve been in love with who I am for a long time, but a lot of women I work with or speak with are just learning this, what damage is being done my others to take them off the path to self-love?!

I challenge each of us to not assume we know what a person has going on based on one glance and our opinion, but if you really care to get to know that person and if you don’t ZIP IT! Have you been shamed? How did you handle it?