Caring For Sick Parents ▎No More Capacity

If I told you how much stress I’ve been under the past few weeks, you wouldn’t believe me.

Have you ever been in a season that felt like a punishment? That tests your faith? That made you question God’s intentions and existence? In a season where you couldn’t even pray? That is the season I have been in. Now let me say, there have been some very exciting happenings that have occurred in my life recently and still so much good that exists and for that I’m so very grateful, but the load I’ve been carrying has been heavy!

Earlier this year I wrote about aging parents, but today I want to address SICK & aging parents.

On Friday November 22nd my father passed out on IHOP. He was taken to emergency, evaluated and admitted into the ICU that same night. Now, when I say things escalated quickly, they escalated quickly. He went from eating breakfast to the family making difficult decisions about his health.

I’ll give you a brief health history. Some years ago my father had major surgery after discovering he had six aortic aneurysms. Two were left behind because his body could not handle any more surgery. He’s been watched ever since. This man is like an energizer bunny! He takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’! Let’s move on.

As the go-to person when it comes to the care of my parents and my disabled brother this incident has added an extra layer and this shit has been hard and heavy! Days spent at the hospital, talks with doctors, procedure after procedure and sleepless nights. At one point, I stopped answering my phone and responding to texts. Why? Because I have to remain sane and I have no more capacity, literally.

Let me say this, my “stuff” doesn’t compare to what my father is experiencing so this blog is not for pity, but I want people to understand how heavy things can get when caring for sick parents or family members and what you can do to help.

When there is one “go-to” family member handling the care and day to day affairs of parents or a loved one, here a few simple things you (outside family members) can do that cost you nothing and will relieve some stress.

  • Ask them how they are doing.
  • Send an encouraging text
  • Offer food
  • Acknowledge what they’re doing by saying “thank you”
  • Save your unsolicited advice
  • Offer help if you can

These few things make a huge difference!

As of today, my father is still hospitalized but out of ICU. He may be able to go home soon, but he has a long road ahead of him! I pray that this blog encourages and informs!

Until next time…🦋

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Just Call Me A Night Owl

I’ve never been a morning person and if I’m being completely honest, I’ve always been envious of those who were. They get up the second the alarm goes off. Some even get up a little before the alarm to take full advantage of the extra time.

Yeah, I can’t relate. I’m the snooze until the last minute person. The now I have to do my eyebrows once I get to work person.

I’ve tried everything. Books, changing habits and nothing has worked. I eventually gave up. Then I began to question why does it even matter? I mean, when I do get up early, I absolutely love the stillness and quiet of the morning. I love how watching the sunrise feeds my soul. How I always feel like I have so many more hours in the day. I find that I automatically get up early on days I don’t have to work. I could be on to something there…that’s another blog though.

Me in a nutshell…I’m definitely a night owl! I do my best work after hours…no, not that kind of work you dirty little minds. I’m my most creative at night. My ability to write is best, at night. My soul is also fed by the sunset. I’m calmed by the stillness that comes from a quiet house after it shuts down…well as much as it can with three teenagers and a young adult. I’ve embraced that mornings aren’t my thing. I’ve also made peace with the fact that I don’t have to be a morning person because it’s popular. I’ve read that early risers are more successful. My belief, an individual’s productivity and work ethic makes them successful, not the time of day.

Hello, my name is Jazmine and I love sunsets and late nights.

Are you a morning or a night person? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time…🦋

How To Stay Consistent With Blogging/Planning Tips

So many influencers/content creators are full time employees, I being one of them. We are also parents, wives and business owners. Do you ever wonder how they juggle it all?

Today I’m going to share with you how I’ve managed to consistently blog since January 2018, maintain a full time job, be an amazing partner, and parent to my four super dope kids.

Let’s Begin!

Planning & Prioritizing

This is one of the most important pieces to staying consistent. The ever so famous quote says, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Planning for me looks like planning everything from blog and video ideas, meals for the week and charging camera batteries. When it comes to writing blogs and filming videos, I like to write down what I plan to write and what I plan to film and the days I’d like to post it.

This is where a handy dandy planner comes into play. My preference, an actual handheld planner. I like to write it down. I purchased a personalized planner from personalplanner.com and I love it! If you’re more of a digital age individual, there are several amazing digital apps compatible with IOS and Android devices. Below is a link to an article detailing the 9 best planning apps of 2019.

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/best-planner-apps-4174743

Writing, Filming & Photos

Dedicate a day or a few hours on multiple days to write, film and shoot. I dedicate Sundays to all three. My current posting schedule is;

  • Tuesday & Thursday affordable looks of the day posted on Instagram
  • Wednesday- Blog
  • Thursday, Friday & Sunday videos in YouTube

A lot right? Here is how I do it. Because I post photos twice a week and there’s 4 weeks in a month, I shoot a month’s worth of content in one day. This consist of putting together all of my looks, packing them into my car and dragging my youngest son along who is my photographer to shoot the looks. Quick changes in the car and driving to different locations. Yes, this takes a few hours but, the time saved is priceless!

Batch Writing – when it comes to my blog, I usually write multiple blogs in one sitting. Now this goes back to planning and prioritizing and writing down topics. By far, subject is the most difficult part of this process for me. When you’re posting a blog or two a week, topics can be challenging so I make sure to have brainstorming sessions with myself. This usually takes place in the evenings after the kids are in bed. All of this allows me to write my blogs in WordPress and schedule them. I love it!

Filming – this process is very similar to writing. If I’m filming, I try to film a week ahead. That means three videos. If I mange my time properly, I can film two video in one day. Yes, that means changing looks and sometimes backgrounds twice and n one day, but it goes quickly when you know what you’re filming. Part of this process includes editing. If you’ve ever edited videos then you know that the process can be laborious. I like to edit in the evenings, but if I can squeeze it in on my Sundays, then I do!

Being an Influencer/Content Creator is definitely my favorite work and the tips I’ve shared makes working my full time corporate gig, being a mom/partner and maintaining Talking All That Jaz possible.

How do you manage it all? If you have an additional tips, feel free to share in the comments!

Until next time…🦋

Success is NOT Tied To Age

How many of us have set goals based on age? By 21 I’ll have this. By 30….this, and when you don’t meet those goals, you began to feel like you’ve failed?

I’m raising both of my hands! I had so many age specific goals it was crazy. Now let me say this, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but don’t let it be a reason to get discouraged, stop pursuing, or allow it to make you feel like you’ve failed. Now let’s move on.

By 26 I was a mother of 4 and at that point I can remember thinking, dang I really wanted to have x,y and z completed by 25, but I missed that so let’s aim for 30. Before my 27th birthday I was a divorced mother of 4 entering the workforce for the very first time without a degree. At that point, all goals had gone out the window and I immediately went into survival mode. I had developed a “by any means necessary” mentality. Before I knew it, 30 had come and gone and the thought of goals were nonexistent.

It took me years to forgive myself, to give myself grace. I started seeing so many stories of later in life success stories. College graduates in their 40’s, 50’s and 69’s. People starting successful businesses late in life. If you’re alive and you have a goal you want to achieve, it’s possible at any age!

I started this blog in January of 2018, three months before my 39th birthday. I started the blog as a means to get things off my chest. I planned to write my way out of depression and anxiety, and if in the process I was able to help and encourage someone else, I’d be happy! As of today, I’ve been able to do that and more!

Now that I’m 40, I’ve discovered my why and I’ve found my purpose. I also know that my success is NOT tied to my age. So today, if you’re questioning whether or not you should start that business, or finish that degree, or write that book, the answer is YES! Do it at 20. Do it at 30. Do it at 60. Just do it!

Until next time…🦋

Planting Seeds In Children

What’s growing from the seeds you’ve planted in your children?

I’ve said many times on the blog that parenting is one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs you’ll ever be blessed to have.

When planting seeds in the literal sense, once the seed is planted, it takes root. Once it takes root, it begins to grow. This same process applies to the seeds we plant in our children. How conscious are you of the seeds you’re planting? With your words, your actions and your reactions.

Have you ever said to your child, “I don’t want you to be like me, I want you to be better than me”. While I understand the intent behind this statement, what are you really saying?

Are we planting seeds of doubt by speaking about the things that we feel incapable of doing? Are we planting seeds of fear based on our own fears?

Children arrive here with a blank slates. They don’t think Brussels sprouts are nasty or roller coasters are scary. We teach, program and plant seeds. So much of what they do is learned behavior. Something as simple as food. Parents, have you ever said that something was nasty and your child followed suit? Sometimes without taking a bite. Now, 20 years later they don’t eat that particular item because they believe it’s nasty. That’s how it works, it’s that easy!

So what if we chose to plant seeds like courageousness, Faith, boldness, bravery, adventure and hope instead? Imagine what they could do!

I as a parent have planted some not so good seeds, but I’ve consciously made an effort to point them out and make corrections. That’s the beautiful thing about children, they’re pliable; teachable.

Until next time…🦋

An Epiphany about my Natural Hair

The other day I made a YouTube video talking about my natural hair, and in the video I said, “I didn’t know what my natural hair looked like until I became an adult.” In that moment, it was just something I said, but after I recorded the video it really made me think.

The first time my hair was pressed (straightened) according to my mother, I was about two years old, two!

By the time I was four I was rocking a Jheri curl.

Natural hair wasn’t really a fad. We had just left the era of the Afro and moved into the era of the press and curl.

Growing up you pressed “bad” hair, or you pressed hair that refused to grow as a way to pull it from the scalp, encourage it to grow. As a child you have no opinion and no say, and as a parent, you do what you feel is in the best interest of the child…and sometimes your self.

Nappy, something always used in a derogatory manner when I was growing up. Nappy meant bad, not manageable. “Girl, get that kitchen (a.k.a back of the neck). You don’t want no kunka bugs showing.” I can remember the countless Saturday’s spent in my grandmother’s kitchen while she pressed my hair using an old school pressing comb that went straight from the stove onto my hair. The holding of ears. The beads of sweat forming on my top lip from fear of being burned. Burns treated with butter (Lawd, butter is NOT for treating burns y’all. It traps the heat and makes the burn worse), and the repeating of “be still”.

Let’s look at the history of hair straightening in the black community. According to the BBC, in early African civilizations, hairstyles could indicate an individual’s family background, tribe and even social status. It is said that, the close proximity of ones hair to the sky suggested that it was the conduit for spiritual interaction with God.

So when did it all change?

It was said that after the abolishment of slavery, many blacks felt the pressure to fit in with white mainstream society and adjusted their hair accordingly. That’s deep y’all!

My first child was a girl. She was beautiful with a head full of hair! Thick, beautiful hair.

I followed in the footsteps of my mother and I pressed her hair when she was very young, about age four.

Damnit, thinking about this infuriates me. I can remember telling myself that I needed her hair to be easier to manage for me. My daughter hated getting her hair combed. She would hide all of the combs and brushes in the house. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with straightening hair, I’m just saying that in the process I forgot to remind her to love her natural hair. To remind her how beautiful her natural, God given hair was. Fortunately for me, I embarked on this natural hair journey while she was still young. It allowed me to teach her about her natural hair, and to remind her how beautiful it is. She’s been natural since middle school.

This really got me thinking about the irreparable damage (in some cases), and introduction of self hate (in some cases) in our communities so I dug a little deeper. Growing up my definition of good hair was soft, long and easy to manage curls. I’d always wished that my hair was more like that or like the hair of my mixed or white friends. I often questioned why God gave them the straight hair and us this “nappy” stuff. Y’all see where I’m going with this? I never looked at my desire for something other than what God gave me as subconscious hate. In my mind, I just wanted to fit in.

Forty years old, while recording a YouTube video I discovered something about myself that I never paid attention to. “I didn’t know what my natural hair looked like until I became an adult.”

Dear Little Black Girl,

Your natural hair is beautiful.

Jaz

Until next time…🦋

Step Away & Breathe, but don’t Give Up

Sunday 10/13 was a day. I’d had a discussion with someone that put me in a bad headspace. Im normally strong enough to brush it off, but today was a little different. As a person who suffered for years with anxiety and depression, every now and then I’m reminded that there’s still more work to do.

After this interaction, everything began spiraling (thoughts are powerful y’all). You know those moments when you lose control and everything seems to go to shit in a hand basket real quick? Those who have suffered with anxiety and depression know exactly what I mean. One thing happens which triggers a deluge of negative thoughts.

Throughout the course of the day my children kept asking me was I okay. Now, I’m really bothered because I’ve allowed this mess to affect my exterior. Suffering with anxiety and depression as long as I did, you learn how to mask. You learn how to exist on autopilot, presenting a pseudo happy exterior, however, there are moments when the facade doesn’t work.

Remember the spiraling right? Well, earlier in the day I went into my closet to get clothes. I currently have organizational storage that I built and installed, nothing extravagant but it gets the job done. While pulling out a shirt, the bins come apart on the end. As I tried to repair it, that triggers a domino effect and half of the unit falls apart and all of my clothes fall to the floor.

I take a deep breath, put the clothes aside in nice neat folded piles and began to rebuild. As I’m reattaching the last piece, it falls apart again. Y’all, I literally screamed, threw all the clothes into a pile and cried like a baby. I had a full fledged meltdown. I gathered myself, got up, stepped away, showered and went on about my day. At that point, I had given up. I was not going to rebuild that damn thing.

It’s now late in the evening and before my children went to bed, I talked to them. Providing them clarity is important to me. We talked, said our I Love You’s and they were off to bed. I sat downstairs by myself in the quiet to go over the day. Here is what I know for sure, I’m human. Too often we are too hard on ourselves. We don’t give ourselves grace

What I learned that day:

  • I am human
  • It’s okay to no be okay
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself
  • Walk away but don’t give up
  • It’s better to face an obstacle with a clear head

Every morning I post inspirational messages on my Instagram stories, and this particular day I had to watch them for inspiration. This is one the one that helped me!

If you’re having a bad day. Allow yourself a moment, but don’t stay there.

Speaking of NOT staying there, I did indeed repair my closet. Grant it, it was about 12:30 AM on a work night, but I did repair it. I refolded all of my clothes, and put them away nicely. I didn’t give up, I did step away to breathe though.

How do you deal with breakdowns?

Until next time…🦋

Weekly Style Roundup – Week of 9.30

Weely Style Roundup

This week features two different looks paired with my favorite head wrap and no, it’s not because my braids were half down or maybe it is. Mind ya business….lol! Let’s get right into it!

 

Look Number 1: Features a men’s crewneck and a pair of amazing joggers! Ladies, don’t be afraid to look in the men’s section for clothing items. You’d be surprised by what you find and the many different ways to rock them. This graphic crewneck reads “No Thank You” and I loved it because it represented how polite I am saying No Thank You to BS these days. The shirt is from Forever 21 and was $9.99. Now let’s talk about these joggers, I purchased them from Zumiez. Yes the same Zumiez that sells clothes and skateboards. I found them while school shopping for the kids and my philosophy is two for them, one for me. The quality of these joggers are amazing! They are thick with a lot of give and us bottom heavy ladies love a good give. They also feature a super cut gold and black belt. The pants were $29.95 making the Grand Total for this look, $39.94.

 

Look Number 2: Well hello duster season…well not quite but let’s pretend. Let me say, I love love love this look. The duster, I purchased over six years ago from Monroe and Main so I don’t remember the price. Monroe & Main is a boutique catalog they send through the mail, you know the ones I’m talking about. I was skimming through and saw this duster and it was love at first sight. I bought it and I regret nothing. The tank is a spaghetti strap bodysuit purchased from Marshall’s for $8.99 and I’ve worn it with so many things! You’ll see it again before 2019 ends. Last but not least, my Fashion Nova jeans. These are the jeans I talked about a few blogs back. They are my first pair of Fashion Nova jeans. In one of my blogs I talked about being underwhelmed with them, but they’ve grown on me. I purchased them for $24.99. Grand Total, $33.98.

 

That’s a wrap on this week’s looks! Until next time, keep it cute, comfortable, and most important, affordable! Come back next week for all new looks!

Tasty Thursday~Hearty Vegetable Soup

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Last week the weather here in the bay area cooled down significantly and I was craving a good hearty vegetable soup! My craving manifested as a dream!

Soup is one of those dishes where you can throw your favorite things in a pot, add the stock of your choice, and voila!

I decided to go through my fridge and pantry to see what I had. I found canned kidney beans, canned diced tomatoes, farfalle pasta, chicken broth and chicken bouillon cubes. Checked my veggie drawer in the fridge and found celery and carrots that were on the verge of ruining. I thought, let’s see what I can turn this into.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 14.5 oz can of kidney beans
  • 1 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz of farfalle pasta
  • 5 small size celery stalks
  • 3 carrots
  • 6 cloves of garlic (trust me)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 48 oz box of chicken broth + 2 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbs grape seed oil

*Vegan substitutions: replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth, the chicken bouillon cube for a vegetable bouillon cube, and the pasta for a vegan pasta. Oh and a vegan cheese.*

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Let’s get cooking!

For this recipe I used my Dutch oven, but any large pot will do.

  • Begin by dicing the carrots, celery and garlic.

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  • Next, heat the 2 tbs of oil on medium heat until hot. Then add in your vegetables, salt, pepper and oregano. Cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots and celery begin to soften. This takes about 5-7 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently so your garlic doesn’t burn.

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  • After the 5 minutes, add in the can of diced tomatoes with juice and the can of drained and rinsed beans. Pour the broth and two cups of water right on top; throw in the bouillon cube and bay leaf. It’s going to look like a lot of liquid but it will cook down and the pasta is going to absorb a good amount of it. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook on a slow boil for 30 minutes. Stir once or twice. During this time, taste your soup and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  • Optional step: after about 25 minutes I removed 1 cup of the soup contents, blended them and added it back into the soup. I like a thicker soup so this helps.

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  • Now it’s time to add in the pasta. At this point keep an eye on it and stir frequently to prevent the contents from sticking to the bottom. Cook for 15 more minutes or until the pasta is tender.

Time to eat! I topped my soup with freshly grated Parmesan. I would pair this with a good crusty French bread and a good glass of red wine.

Bon appétit!

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