Monday, October 9, 2017

40 brings: 5 Things that changed when I turned 40

I feel like the last 10-years FLEW by! There is no other way to describe it. I met J a couple of weeks before my 30th birthday. So that means, I have officially known him for 10-years. :-). I guess I have also officially entered cougar category since I am 6-months older than he is :-).

I recently turned 40 and while I feel more energized and more confident in who I am, I have had a few things have me scratching my head so I figured I'll blog about what being in my 40s has brought so far. 

When I had JOE, there were a ton of things I had NO CLUE about and only found out with experience. This list is similar. There are few things I am starting to uncover that make me go ohhh---kayyy???

So here are 5 things that made me go hmm...

1. I got more hair: 

Ideally, having more hair is a GREAT thing. But alas, the hair I am talking about is not on my head. is in my nose! I now need a nose trimmer! Yes, you read right...I purchased this nose trimmer because I spent 3 weeks trying to figure out why I kept feeling something in my nostril and confirming that I didn't have something hanging out of my nose. One day, I finally decided to get closer to a mirror to see the culprit and sure enough, I had hairs growing out of my nose that were causing an itch all the time. WONDERFUL! Chin hairs? That's a whole nother story but let's just say I am thankful I have not reached the "waxing" stage.
If you are wondering, this is the trimmer I got and I love it. I wasn't sure of how it would feel but honestly, it was very comfortable and I don't feel any yanking but I know it is working. 


2. A bunion is not a special type of appetizer: 

I developed a bunion on my right foot. WHAT THE HECK IS THAT??? I wish I could say it is a bun that has an onion on it but alas, I would be completely off! Talk about having a foot issue. Since when did I become that lady that sometimes feels like I have just stepped on an annoying kid's toy? It has not been a pleasant experience but according to my Orthopidic doctor, this is normal. Sigh...
To help with the inevitable corns I have developed, I now wear these. It has provided some comfort. 

In addition, I get my nails done every 2 - 3 weeks to ensure my nails aren't growing too long and causing my discomfort. Incase you didn't know, I am a shoe girl and have a lot of shoes that I don't want to part with just yet.

3. I see you:

My vision has not been 20/20 for a while but I recently noticed that it is not as good as it used to be. I can see things but with each year, my prescription has gotten somewhat stronger. Thankfully, they aren't anything too crazy yet and I love the glasses I have chosen. 

4. I weigh 125lbs:

I am 125lbs in my head that is. When I turned 30, I immediately noticed a change in my body's metabolism. It was harder for me to lose weight. The same appears to be the case with turning 40. I guess my metabolism got even sloooooooower. I mean, is there like a timer in my DNA that tells my body "once you hit this mile marker, slow down"? It is really interesting and weird at the same time.

5. Like fine wine:

I feel like the experiences of the last 40-years have truly made me a better version of me. I feel like I am much more in control. Truth be told, this started shortly before I turned 40. I no longer let things stress me out as much. I have come to realize that my life and  my health is important to the ones I love and to foster positivity around me. 
When things happen, yes they may sting but I figured "God is in control. Better I know now than later."

Overall, I am loving this new phase in my life and I feel tremendously blessed to be surrounded by so much love and positivity. 

What are some changes you have experienced with a milestone birthday? Did it change your outlook on life?

Have a wonderful week and remember to be kind to strangers.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

This is 40

Yup...I began a new decade of life in early September. J, JOE and JAE made it an awesome experience. My friends and family all called, text and/or sent emails. I truly felt blessed and thankful to be surrounded with so much love. You'll see the words blessed and thankful a lot throughout this post. And that is because that's how I feel. 

The day before my birthday was a Sunday. We all went to Church and had a great time. Check out our Sunday Family Chronicles to see a bit of how we spent the day.

My little JAE is always making faces.

I wore the Poppy African Print Midi skirt to church. Keep scrolling to see pictures of the look. 

I love how I feel in this skirt. Beautiful, free and sexy all at the same time. :-)

A few weeks ago when I made this skirt, I couldn't fit in it. I guess even if the scale is moving at a very sloow rate, my body is changing :-). I intentionally made it a size smaller so I could wear it for a longer period of time while on my weight loss journey.

My birthday this year fell on Labor day. How fitting that my birthday would be declared a holiday! :-). OK...I know it wasn't done for me but since I have an early birthday, it often falls on the holiday. 
When my birthday rolls around, I try to take stock of what I have accomplished in the last year. Each year, I am THANKFUL for all that God has allowed me to accomplish but I also feel a bit disappointed at the things I have not accomplished. 
This year was VERY different. This was my bible reading the morning of my birthday. 
It really spoke to me and definitely gave me a completely different perspective. 

This is a long post so if you want to do a quick version, here you go. 

I came downstairs to the below from my hubby and kids. 

Check out my favorite coffee. I love love love my Kona coffee. Are any of my readers going to Hawaii? If so, bring me back some! :-). 
J got me mini pies for 2 reasons. 1. Blueberry pie is my favorite pie and 2. He didn't want to get a whole cake knowing I couldn't have it so he got mini pies that everyone can share. I had a whole pie to myself! Yup...I splurged. And no...this is NOT Atkins approved but it was my birthday and I figured it was OK to bend the rules a bit.

A card from my babies...

And as always, a beautiful and personal card from my hubby.

JAE also decided to give me a runway show the morning of my birthday. Check her out in her night gown and heels. 

J and the girls took me out for lunch to Red Robin. I love the appetizer wings there so this was perfect for me. 

JAE took this picture. Check us out in our matching tees. J really loves his AyoBE Boutique African Print tee! Want one? Go here. We also have a matching one for her here.

The hostess then took a picture of all of us. Me and my crew. Oh and did you notice my Zuma African Print wristlet?

Me and my #1. My partner, my confidante and my best friend.

This is 40. At least for one of us :-).

My wristlet making an appearance. 

Me and my babies.

The Saturday after my birthday, J took me out for my adult birthday dinner. This top is one I haven't worn since before I had JOE. Yes, it is a little snug but I was so happy to be able to fit into it.
Hey there muscular legs! All that walking is paying off :-).

I felt great!

JAE and JOE's parents out to dinner.

Clearly, we can sometimes be special :P.

And I got my favorite dessert. The flan. YUM YUM YUM! I ate EVERY SINGLE BITE of that dessert and felt NO guilt :-D. Granted, I was extra good with my meal choices and everything else leading up to our dinner.

J got his favorite Caramel Cheesecake and enjoyed every bite as well. 

Overall, it was a great day and I am grateful to all my loved ones for helping me usher in my new decade. 
The celebration continues with a birthday trip in November. This birthday was filled with so much love and I am THANKFUL to God for his many wonderous blessings on my life. 

So this is 40! So far, I am LOVING it!

Have a fabulous day and remember to be kind to strangers.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Prepping for Kindergarten

JOE's school sent us her school list to ensure we had the right items for JOE when school began. Since JOE will be the one carrying and using these items, I was sure to include her in the shopping experience. I let her choose and she did a great job. 
While she is still young when it comes to money management, when she choose something that we considered too expensive, we explained to her that she had the option to choose that but it might mean forgoing something else that she wants. I noticed that my daughter learned the important lesson of compromise, negotiating and accepting limits during this experience. 

In preparation for all day Kindergarten, these were the 5 main items that were considered essential.

1. Backpack: Of course, you KNOW she would choose a Doc McStuffins backpack. She said it will help her get ready to become a doctor. My girl was READY. This is a full size backpack and the school specified that this is what she needs. Her backpack came with an attached lunch bag. And since it can be taken out or remain attached, this has been helpful because it reduces her risk of losing it.

2. Slim ice packs: On the list was ice packs. The school does not hold the kids' lunches so to ensure that the food stays fresh, they said ice packs are good. I went shopping for a slim one that would fit into her lunch bag without being too bulky or too heavy. 
I found this affordable one that is just right. It came in a pack of 4 but she only needs one which means we have quite a few extras. This will definitely come in handy when JAE goes to school. 
It is also an easy clean up (rinse under running water) and put back in the freezer.

3. Water bottle: While this was not on their school essential list, I put it on mine because I didn't know what type of water arrangements the school has for the kids. It is easy for a child to go an entire day and not think about drinking water. So I make sure to have a full bottle of water in her backpack compartment (the one above has a side pocket for it). I check the bottle everyday to make sure JOE is drinking at least that amount of water. 
When she first started school, she would come back home with the bottle still full. Which told me she often forgot to drink any water during school. Considering she spends all day in school until we pick her up in the evening, I really didn't like knowing that she hadn't had any water all day. So this is a good way to encourage and measure how much water your child is getting in.

4. Hair organizer: With JOE starting school, she has been coming home with more creative hairstyle requests. Gone are the days of just one or 2 long braids. Now, she describes the styles she wants and I try to find similar ones on Pinterest. So far, we've been lucky. However, because of the new styles, I now need to keep her hair products organized to ensure that I am not running around looking for hair accessories when the time comes. 
We got this organizer and I LOVE IT! It saves us so much time and keeps everything organized. I carry things from room to room and even recently took it with us to the hair salon for JOE's monthly visit there. 
TIP: Go follow their site on Instagram and Facebook. They sometimes offer discount codes as well.

5. Cute Hair accessories:These are the new accessories I was talking about. JOE and JAE LOVE these! I have posted some pictures of their hair styles over the last 2 weeks. Apparently, this is a new thing with the kids. Mine sure do love it.

What are some ways you prepared your little ones for school? I'd love to hear from you. 

Have a wonderful week and be sure to be kind to strangers.

Friday, September 29, 2017

2017 Family Vacation - St. Maarten

In the middle of August, we took our annual family vacation. This year, we headed to the beautiful Island of St. Maarten.
We stayed at an all inclusive resort which was had everything right there so we were able to spend 95% of our time at the resort and only ventured out once to get souvenirs for our trip.

Our flight left early on a Tuesday morning. And despite the early hour, the kids were very good and traveled very well.
Since JAE now gets her own seat, we now have to sit in clusters. JOE sat with J and JAE sat with me. At one point, the kids switched up and overall, it was a very pleasant experience.

All smiles at 6am in the morning.

JAE loves being goofy.

The airport. Sadly, this airport suffered a lot of damage during hurricane Irma :-(.

On our way to the resort.

Our resort.

When we got there, this huge cruise ship was docked there.

Our resort.

When we arrived the Island, it was very beautiful. It was shortly before sunset and our room came with a beautiful view.

Due to a very short layover, we were STARVING by the time we arrived at our resort. So much so that all we wanted to do is drop off our luggage and get something to eat.
We visited their Tikki bar restaurant and that is pretty much where we ate our lunch most of our time there.
Can't beat the view.

For dinner, J had this pasta and meat sauce and said it was DELISH. 
I was a little disappointed at the fact that they didn't have any authentic Island foods. But given the fact that the resort is American owned, I guess I can see why that was the case.

I on the other hand had the almond crusted salmon for dinner every night. It was quite tasty. It came with mashed sweet potatoes, carrots and broccoli. I didn't eat those items so I don't know how they tasted and I ended up scrubbing the crust off the salmon but it still tasted DELISH.

The best thing about this trip is that we were able to keep the girls on their nap schedule. They took naps everyday. Mostly because we ensured they were quite active.
Each day, we worked out together as a family and also spent time at the beach in addition to letting them pick shells and spending time at the pool.

We spent time at the infinity pool that had a beautiful view of the Island. Can you see those houses around the mountains there? Talk about homes with a view!

We were a little disappointed at the fact that the service did not include food, drinks and snacks by the pool. We had to get out and go to the restaurant to get that. While this is just a little inconvenience, I guess we were spoiled by the fact that in the all inclusive resorts we have visited in the past often included services at the pool as well. 
The other mistake we made is the fact that this particular resort is also a timeshare. We did not know this until we arrived there. 
What that meant is that since timeshare owners often didn't get the all inclusive package, they paid in cash and tipped accordingly. This obviously impacted the service we received because we felt a lot of time, the service we received was sub-par. 
This didn't prevent us from having fun though. Considering we have had a bit of a challenging year this year, we made sure to relax and enjoy our vacation.

Eating lunch one day. JAE and her many faces. She was TIRED.

View from our room.

One of the great appeals of the location is that a UNESCO site was right there on the resort so we were able to take that in and learn a bit about the Island.
It was also a good hike so we decided to do this hike every morning while we were there. Helped us to get a good workout especially since J and I often carried the kids on our back. The heat, walking up hill and carrying 30+ lbs each was definitely a good workout.

Thankful they had these benches at the top. We often took some time to sit down and catch our breathes. Check out the cruise ship that was docked at the port.


To ensure all my steps were counted, I would often pin my fitbit to my shirt. That way, it would still count my steps even though I was often pushing a stroller.

#attitude. It was hot and we weren't moving fast enough to get to the pool.

My daily breakfast. Bacon, ham, sausage and eggs.

While there, we decided to take a catamaran boat ride. The girls ABSOLUTELY enjoyed it. And spent the entire time talking about Moana and Maui and looking for the heart of Tafiti.

I tried to recreate a picture from my vacation to Greece in 2009.

They ride lasted almost 3 hours and by the time we got back, everyone was TIRED.

Relaxing on the beach and picking up shells for a memory jar.

This was my daily lunch and it was oh so DELISH! Honey sriracha wings. YUM!!! Not Atkins approved (because of the honey).

And of course, we encountered a lizard. It had such a vibrant color so I had to get a picture.

The ocean looked so beautiful here.

Clear waters. It was so beautiful and calming.

Relaxing on the beach after working out.

I took a day on and day off approach to vacation as far as my eating went. So every other day, I indulged slightly by having a drink and a dessert. J was so nice and stood in solidarity with me. If I wasn't drinking, he didn't drink around me.

I made it a point to try almost all of the desserts (on different nights) on my "off" days. YUM!

I asked J to come over to take a picture with me. Wouldn't you know the kids decided to be in the picture?

Finally got a picture with my #1.

The girls...

J spent a lot more time with the girls in the pool while I got some R & R time outside the pool. I did go in the pool a few times and my hair paid dearly for it. The chlorine was really bad this time around. Not sure why but I got serious matting in my hair from using the pool during our time there. Didn't stop me though.

Picking shells on the beach. This was a fun daily activity for us.

J giving a speech...LOL

Another view from our room.

We ventured into town on our last full day on the Island. The best part was when a vendor trying to get our attention yelled "hey, black and white!" It is funny now but at the time, it was rather irritating. 
For the record, calling people by the color of their skin is NOT the way to get a potential customer's attention.
We didn't get much but I did get some Island coffee grinds which is SOOOOOOO good :-). I think it is Atkins approved. Doesn't matter if it isn't.

The views from the top of Ft. Amsterdam was beautiful and just the right way start the day everyday when we hiked to the top of the fort.

There was a wedding on the beach one day while we were there.

And of course, to close out the evening, the girls were watching Moana. J was very engrossed in the movie. We have seen the movie a gazillion times.

Dinner selfies.

The water was so clear...

Me and my mini me.

Top of Ft. Amsterdam.

JOE giving her speech.

I told J that the line is an emergency pull for if someone gets stuck in the tub. He disagrees. What say you?

Our last day on the beach.

We managed to get a good family selfie with everyone smiling and looking at the camera. SCORE!

We found these yellow crabs on the beach. How cute are they?

We hung otu at the beach and picked more shells until it was time to head out.

On our way back to the airport.

Lounging at the airport.

We had such a great time and I am so happy we will be taking some more time again to celebrate my birthday in November. While I have never really been a beach girl, taking vacations with my family makes it that much more fun.  


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