Friday, June 16, 2017

Photo Dump Friday: Its almost officially summer

I changed it from Photo Dump Wednesday (PDW) to Photo Dump Friday (PDF) because I am often too busy during the week to do a post. Hopefully, now that I have said that, I'll still be able to do posts on Fridays. 

I love that when I get up at 5:15am in the morning to get ready for work, it is already light out. A sure sign that summer is indeed close by. Summer officially starts next week Wednesday! Woohoo!!! I know Memorial day weekend is often the unofficial start of summer and truth be told, it has been light out in the mornings for a while but technically, we are still in the Spring. 

The only think I don't like about summer is the sometimes excessive heat. I know I know...DUH! That's what summer is about. Yes...but it doesn't mean I have to like the excessive temperatures. 

I am trying to figure out the best way to wear my hair this summer since I am not a fan of my hair getting plastered to my sweaty skin. If I can't come up with anything, you'll likely start seeing my hair in more updos a.k.a messy buns! Good thing I have beautiful headbands that I can wear to still dress it up a bit :-).

Anyways, I am now officially down 18-lbs. I feel so proud of myself and sometimes, I can hardly believe I am this close to losing 20-lbs! Hard work does pay off!
I got some summer dresses from Zulily and I absolutely love how they feel and look on me. I just might be doing more of this dress thing this summer :-). I am typically a skirt and work blouse girl but who knows? I may become a convert :-D.

How does the song go? "I'm feeling myself". LOL!!! This dress used to be snug on me and check it out! Seeing these pictures motivate me.



I am still wearing the aircast but that is not stopping me from clocking my steps on a daily basis. As long as I am not straining/stressing my foot, the doctor says it is OK and actuallt good for me. So I continue to workout/do my steps each day. The proof is in the mirror!


#GOALS


Lunch this week. It was minced meat and lettuce with low carb ranch dressing. Yes, I heat up my lettuce in the microwave. Believe it or not, it still has some crunch to it when I eat it. I only heat it up for a minute. My lunches were oh so DELISH!
I think I want to do salmon for lunch next week but I am always afraid of people being turned off by the smell at work. What to do...what to do...I know I shouldn't care about what others think of the smell BUT I have to be sensitive because I remember being pregnant and being pissed off and put off at the smell of people's foods. I wouldn't wish that on someone else.

 

I got these Teva sandals while in college. I can't believe they have survived this long! But I am glad I kept them because they are the only sandals that fit around my aircast. And since I barely wore them, they still look new. 

 

And so our basement work continues...We FINALLY finished installing the wood slats on the ceiling. Now, we have to work on painting them. That'll take multiple evenings after work and weekends. 
Then we will focus on installing the accordion doors to encase the storage area. 
In the meantime, here is video of our 85% finished basement. 
Clearly, J has a sense of humor. He said he was carrying the entire house. SMH...


I will do another video after we finish everything and furnish the area. I have been mastering my flower paper making skills. And I am on the hunt for a red couch so stay tuned!


I am always entertained watching JOE play. She takes the time to think of everyone and wants to make sure all her "friends" are OK. Here she is eating her dinner and also having a "tea party" with her friends.



Church flow. JAE was upset with us so when I said to smile for the camera, she moved away so she won't be in the picture. Obviously, her milk won. 
Oh and JOE was happy her new flip flops made it into the picture :-).


I am wearing the "Faith Moves Mountains" earrings from AyoBE Boutique. How cute are they? I ALWAYS get compliments when I wear them. 
Hey there curls! I have been using the Cantu Curl Activator for a few weeks. Alternating between it and the same line's coconut curling cream. I am undecided. I love both results.


Earlier this week. My baby was ready for the pool. She is such a fashionista!


If you know me IRL, you know I HATE HATE HATE clutter! I can't function with clutter. The girls playroom has been OVERFLOWING with toys for months now. But every summer, I go through their toys to sort out toys that are no longer age appropriate and to see what they no longer need. 
I FINALLY got around to doing this. Check out 1/3 of their toys! Yeah...this is just from one room. They have more in their bedroom and more in the basement. The toys are taking over!


I had both girls helping me and 3 hours later, check out their play area. Clutter free and the girls can actually enjoy the toys they play with often. Win-win.


2 bags and there will be more. I love knowing that someone else will get some good use out of the toys.



Since I plan on using paper flowers as part of the decor for our basement, I have been practicing. And have recently taken to making flowers as a stress reliever during my lunch break. 
Check out this giant one I made a couple of days ago. I think I am addicted!


One of my favorite things as a small business owner is when I see our items in action. It makes me smile and gives me the best feeling. 
Check out this little beauty in our Pocahontas African Print skirt with matching head tie


She is beautiful...


She loves to have fun...


And she is a fashionista!



I just love her confidence! 


I am a firm believer that when you look good, you feel good. And that's what AyoBE Boutique is all about. Making you look and feel good!

Have a fabulous weekend and remember to be kind to strangers!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Photo Dump Wednesday (on Friday): And time goes on...

June is here and it seems like time is literally speeding by! Perhaps because we keep ourselves busy, it just seems like Mondays come at lightening speed and weekends go by even faster. 
Someone once told me it is because we are older. Kids tend to take the time to smell the roses and for some reason, the fact that they take the time to do and experience things makes it feel like time is going by slower. JOE told me last week she couldn't wait to be older so she can buy her own dog. As much as that comment made me laugh, it also reminded me that she doesn't see the passage of time the same way I do. 
I on the other hand look around me and wonder how things have happened so quickly. My oldest niece just graduated from middle school and starts high school in the fall. She was born right after I moved to the DC/MD/VA area so it feels like I blinked and she is about to start high school. 

Feeling like that makes celebrations even more important. I look at celebrated events as a forced comma in life. Where you are forced to take a break, look back and appreciate how far you've come. 

Each day is a blessing. Each breath is a blessing and each moment should be treasured because like time, you can never get it back BUT you can certainly take a moment to appreciate just how far you've come. 

With that in mind, the next series of items below are just some of the beautiful gifts being offered through AyoBE Boutique in celebration of Father's day this year. So often, you hear more about the dads that don't live up to par. How about celebrating the dads that do?

These bracelets are beautiful gifts that dad will be sure to treasure. They include an elephant charm which is a symbol of good-luck. We could all use some good wishes in our everyday lives. 
Let dad know you are thinking of him and he'll be reminded every time he looks down at the bracelet of just how much you care.  





Speaking of the passage of time. In the summer 1996 (yes, I remember because it was the summer before my junior year of college) rollerblading was all the rage. I stayed on campus that summer to take some courses so I could graduate with both my major and minors on time. 
Anyways, I spent the summer rollerblading with my friends. I ABSOLUTELY LOVED it. The campus was not as busy with a ton of cars and since the roads were paved, it was always a good workout. Well, one day, I fell and sprained my ankle. You'd think that would stop me right? NOPE. I kept on rollerblading and refused to go to get it checked out. I spent the summer wrapping up my ankle, padding it with extra socks and going rollerblading. It wasn't until one day when my leg got swollen and I couldn't even step on it that I finally decided to seek help. Truth be told, some of my friends had to carry me to the health center to get checked. It was that bad. Anyways, I was given a brace and told to stay off the foot to let it heal. I didn't. Once the swelling went down, I went back to rollerblading. Of course, to be young and stupid!
Anyways, fast forward 21 years and I am now paying for it. I have always had flat feet which didn't help the situation. But with the birth of my daughters, my feet spread out and the extra weight just made things worse. Since I recently started walking and exercising more, it was putting more pressure on my feet. I started having back pains in addition to shooting pains up my foot. NOT GOOD!
I finally decided to see a foot specialist. I was x-rayed and left the office in an air cast. Turns out the injury never healed! DAG IT! Anyways, it caused a tear in my tendon and now I have to get that fixed to get fitted for feet inserts. WONDERFUL! Needless to say, this oh so trendy Jimmy Choo will be my footwear for the next 4-weeks. Was supposed to be 3 but the doc just called to postpone my appointment. OI!


The brace comes complete with a pump! So yeah...I pump up my feet to walk. Kinda funny!



For those wondering, I am still on Atkins. I have made the transition from phase 1 to phase 2. I am not doing so great on phase 2 because I often forget to count my carbs. However, I am still sticking with low carbs and the weight continues to fall. I have now lost 16-lbs since being on Atkins. WOOHOO!!! Definitely not a weight loss I have experienced in at least 10-years.



Lunch for the week.Chicken and lettuce. The chicken was so good. I sauteed it in taco seasoning. Quick, easy and healthy.

 

Last weekend after I did JAE's hair, I was pleasantly surprised as to how much it has grown and how much thicker it is. Doing her hair isn't as much of a chore and she can be distracted so it goes by much faster. Which is not to say she never has her moments because she sometimes does but they are often few and far between.


This was also the first time JAE got to pick out the band color for her hair. Often, I do JOE's hair first and JOE picks the color for the week so they often match. But since J was going to be taking JOE to the hair salon to get her hair done, I let JAE choose. She chose purple on both sides. 
Funny enough, when JOE went to get her hair done, she choose pink on both sides. Often, she chooses different colors.


J went to see a race with his dad and brother on Sunday. It is something they do every year. So while they were gone, I took the girls out for a long walk. JAE insisted we bring her PAG doll with us and wanted her doll to have on shoes. Check out the shoes! They didn't even match but she wanted them and to avoid the tantrum that was sure to ensue, I obliged her.


When we got back, they created master pieces in front of our garage. Check out JOE and her masterpiece.



And JAE undoing the masterpiece :-).


After we got back in the house, JOE decided to make a bracelet for her grammy. She strung the beads and I helped her secure it. Then we put it in a bag and she wrote a label for her grammy's bracelet. 



Earlier this week, I walked into my room and saw this. JAE arranged the Lion King plush toys on our bed. From right to left is Simba, Kion, Nala and a horse facing backwards. It was kinda funny because I was wondering if secretly she set it up like that on purpose. And since J got JOE the horse, I was wondering if that was JAE trying to tell us something. LOL...


So, as mentioned earlier, J took JOE to get her hair done and he took JAE with them. He sent me the below. 

Clearly, my daughter was a bit confused :-D.


Hard work pays off. I have been working on my weight for YEARS. As in the last 6+ years. And all I succeeded in doing was to pack on more pounds. This is the first time I have had consistent loss and it feels good. I got myself some dresses to wear to work. I love this dress. I got it from Zulily at an awesome price and it is so flattering!


That's been our last 10-days in a nutshell. Reminiscing about the passage of time, keeping busy and working on my weight loss. FUN FUN. 

Have a FABULOUS weekend and remember to be kind to strangers!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Photo Dump Wednesday: Busy Busy

The last couple of weeks for us have been ultra-super-mega BUSY!!! Try saying that 3 times :-).

As I have stated in the past, we are hosting Christmas this year and in an effort to do that, we decided to partially finish our basement. However, this is wicked expensive. So to save some, we are doing some DIY things in areas where we can. 
The Saturday before last, we spent ALL DAY in the basement doing the ceiling and that took FOREVER! More on that later. 

Let's just say that the weekend wa so busy that by the time Monday rolled around, I was very happy for the break!
One morning last week, after I got up to do some work, JAE came in and decided to be the Sheriff. Check her out in her Sheriff Callie cowgirl hat. How sure is she?
This girl is a born model! She just loves to pose :-). 




Trying to smile and say cheese at the same time :-). Her morning smiles are the best and everytime I see her and her sister smile, I say "thank you Lord for these blessings" in my head. For truly, they are wonderful blessings.



So, back to the basement. I promise to do a full blog post on the before and after. But for her, I figured I might as well share the pain with you. 
Instead of putting dry wall on the ceiling, I wanted to leave it all exposed and paint it all white. However, J was not really thrilled with this idea. 
Back to the drawing board. I went scouting on Pinterest (seriously, I plug this site so much that they should be paying me!). I found a few ideas and we decided to build on them.

We went to Home depot and purchased sheets of plywood. Then we had them cut to the specs we wanted. Note that while the sheets were relatively cheap ($14 per sheet), we had to pay $0.25 after the first 2 cuts. Each sheet gave us 11-cuts. So yeah...do the math...it added up. The total cost came up to about the same as what we would have paid for the paint. 
However, J liked this idea more so we went with it. 

Saturday was spent nailing the slabs to the exposed beams. We got through most of the basement. We ran out of wood so we have to get more to finish up the job. Then the last step for the ceiling will be to paint it. 
We are hoping to finish putting in the wood by this weekend.



Yeah...it took so long that my baby fell asleep! We had to work around her. Even the loud noise of the power drill did not wake her up. That's how tired she was.



By the end of the day on Saturday, I had achieved my highest steps in a while! Check it out. 
Both J and I were SOOOOO TIRED that all we could do was stay in bed the next morning and watch church online. 



Since we were home the next day, we decided to keep it low-key and only do absolutely what we needed to do to prepare for the week. 
While making lunches for the week, JOE decided to entertain me. She rolled down their rollercoaster and said "howdy cowboy!" At first, I didn't notice what she had done but then I looked up and saw this sight. As tired as I was, it really made me smile.  





Evenings are so much better when I am able to take a selfie with my girls. But why won't they smile though? I say smile and they stick out their tongues. What gives?




After dinner, we all play together. Then it is upstairs to get ready for bed and helping the kids brush their teeth. 
One evening, while J and I got ourselves ready for bed, I looked out of the bathroom to see why they were so quiet and I was greeted with this. 
Apparently, our bed is the most comfortable place to watch the ipad. Often, JOE is in our bed doing that and JAE is on the floor with her legs crossed in the air. 


Last week Wednesday, our neighbor's kids came over. JOE and JAE had A TON of toys to play with. But of all the toys, they chose to play with pool noodles. It was all out war in the house. Hearing all of the laughters and screaming really made my heart feel full because it reminds me of my childhood playing with my siblings. Being from a big family, it was almost always noisy.



PROGRESS PROGRESS!!! Yes, I had to bold AND underline that! Why? Because I am seeing my weight loss progress in the mirror! I got a few Spring/Summer dresses to wear to work and this was one of the dresses I wore last week. I think it is my new favorite dress because it is just so flattering on me! :-D.



In addition to all the work around the house, I have also been busy with orders and ideas for AyoBE Boutique.
First, THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your support. Your sharing my posts, commenting, liking them all make a HUGE difference because others are able to see them and it reaches more people. I definitely don't have the number of friends that view my posts on Facebook or other Social media so BIG THANKS to you all!

Here are a few things I have worked on in the past couple of weeks. 

Since my boutique focuses on Africa, I decided to do something fun for everyone. This art will look ABSOLUTELY beautiful adorning a nursery wall, office wall, family wall or cubicle wall. Elephants are supposed to bring luck. They make excellent and unique gifts as well. 
Go check it out here.


Hakuna Matata comes from the movie The Lion King and the words are Swahili for "no worries". Well, do you know Nigerians also have a pidgin saying for "no worries"? It is "No wahala". Pronounced "no wah-hah-lah".

Why use the same saying as everyone when you can stand out and be different? These tees are now listed on our website here and will make a thoughtful Father's day gift. 



While you're at it, why not "say it with a card." Include a beautiful African Print card for dad to tell him just how cool he is! These cards are one of my favorites. 



After the very busy last couple of weeks, it was nice to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful long weekend. 
We decided to head over to NC to visit with my brother and his family. We always have a great time and since JOE and cousin C are only 4 months apart, they always have the best of times. 
Here are some of the pictures from our weekend. Also, I have posted a video here you can view of our drive back home. 

Sitting on their front porch enjoying a tasty ice pop. This pop was the size of her arm when she got it and she devoured it!



The kids spent 2 days at the pool. Here is my parent's oldest grandson and the youngest grand-daughter. JAE LOVES her cousin B. She was all about him and followed him everywhere. It is just so cute! And he does so great with kids. Gosh...I can't believe how much he is growing. I still remember when he was born and in a year, he'll be starting high school. HOW???


And JOE and her cousin C. Everyone thought they were twins!



With my other nephew A. I love this kid! He is just so smart and thoughful and always wants everyone to be happy. He helped me with the girls and was very considerate of the fact that they couldn't do everything he can. 


 Sunday at the pool after Church. They LOVE LOVE LOVE the pool. Now, I just need to find a way to get them swimming lessons without having to deal with hair issues every week. HELP!!! I need ideas.



After the pool, it was lights out for this little one. She was so tired that she could barely finish her milk. And she LOOOOOOOVVVVEEESSSSS her almond milk.



Saturday night was a little bit of a challenge. At 8pm, I looked at my fitbit and had only completed 6200 steps. I wanted to just crawl into bed and sleep but J encouraged me to step it up. So I got out of bed and decided to do some steps (playing music in my head...thanks to taking step classes for like 8 years). And I did some lunges too. I was tuckered out!

I did pretty good with my eating over the weekend and stuck to my steps goals. I also did my steps on Sunday since I figured I'd be spending most of the day on Monday in the car driving back. 



I'll update my weight loss in my next post. I missed my Friday and Sunday weigh in since I was not home. I know I made some progress and I am eager to see the numbers reflected on the scale. More on that next week. 

I hope you had a nice long weekend and I hope you had some time reflecting on why we have Memorial day. It is not a day to honor the living but a day to remember those who paid the ultimate price for freedom. I am reminded on such occassions that freedom is not free. 

Remember always to be kind to strangers!

AyoBE

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