Music Monday: Maimouna Youssef- “We’re Already Royal”

A few nights ago, I was up late watching a program on Howard University’s television Network, WHUT. This is a talk show, and on this episode they were talking about music, and when they played this one video I fell in love. As you probably know, Royals by Lorde has received a lot of negative feedback from the African-American community for her seemingly stereotypical lyrics referring to our culture. While she condescended black culture, she no doubt displayed her desire to be apart of it, and proved herself to be ignorant of the African American struggle. It’s as if she thinks we are just materialistic and have all of these things, we in reality we are largely faced with poverty and unequal opportunities. And although people argue that she wasn’t talking about black people…. we all know the common stereotypes of Cadillac and gold teeth. And after watching several of her interviews, she even said that she was influenced by hip hop, which is undoubtedly black culture. With that being said, this talk introduced me to an artist named Maimouna Youssef. This fabulous young woman did a cover to Royals called “We’re Already Royal.” She touches on all of the topics that those ignorant to our culture, identity, and collective struggle seem to not understand. Check the video out below.

30 Day Fitness Challenge- Week One

I’ve finally finished the first week of my 30 day fitness challenge. I came up with this challenge to really RE jumpstart my healthy lifestyle. I’ve been in a transition stage in my life, and I figured now was the right time to start becoming the person that I’m striving to be. I admit that there were times this week where I just didn’t feel like doing it. But when you really want to achieve something then you just suck it up and do it and remember that the rewards are worth the sacrifice. Here’s what I did every morning this week. They are pretty easy, simple workouts, yet pretty intense. It’s a great way to start any fitness journey for a beginner. DISCLAIMER: ONLY YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR BODY CAN HANDLE. THIS IS JUST WORKS FOR ME. I AM NOT TELLING YOU TO DO THESE WORK OUTS. AGAIN, THIS IS WHAT WORKS FOR ME.

Day 1:
Jog .5 miles
10 eight counts
one minute plank

Day 2:
Jog .5 miles
10 eight counts
10 mountain climbers
one minute plank

Day 3:
Jog .5 miles
10 eight counts
15 mountain climbers
10 squats
one minute plank

Day 4:
Jog .5 miles
10 eight counts
20 mountain climbers
15 squats
one minute plank

Day 5
Jog .5 miles
10 eight counts
25 mountain climbers
20 squats
one minute plank

Day 6
Jog .5 miles

Day 7
Rest

Choosing to be Positive

A few days ago, I found myself overwhelmed with frustration and irritability. The day had started out so well! I made a conscious choice and effort to be positive and happy. I went to a job interview and sang and danced in the car all the way there. I got lost on the way but refused to get stressed or angry. And on top of that, they loved me (but I didn’t take the job). They could feel the positivity oozing out of me. But by the time I got back home, I felt the irritability set in. I made the decision to be happy and positive, but it seemed as if I didn’t get to make the choice on if I wanted to be irritated. Before I knew it, it was just there. And to be honest, I think it was because that wasn’t the type of job I was looking for, but I had been so excited to get it, and it turned out to be not what I wanted. Things in my life are not going the way that I planned at this time, and every once in a while I just get angry and fed up. And I think this was just one of those moments. Sometimes, most times, things just don’t go as we plan. We create these great expectations and visions in our heads, and they just don’t unfold the way that we want them to or in the time frame in which we expected. Then we get angry, frustrated, or irritated and sometimes take those feelings out on other people. That is the time when we need to realize that although things aren’t going quite as planned, we need to calm down, have patience, continue to be positive, and keep pushing towards our goals and visualizations. After all, the law of attraction says like attracts like. And we don’t want to bring any negativity to us. So let’s not be Negative Nancys. It can be hard to get rid of the frustration and negativity, but just how we make a conscious effort to be happy and positive, we can choose whether or not to be frustrated and negative. Even if those emotions have already settled in, you can change them. Whether it be a problem right in front of you that seems unsolvable or life in general, don’t let it overwhelm you. We control our emotions. They do not control us. When I found myself frustrated to tears after dealing with a few minor problems, I decided I didn’t want to feel that way. I wanted to be calm and relaxed. So, I made the effort to calm myself down. Here’s a few of the things that I did and always work for me:

1. Take a hot shower. The shower has always been my retreat when I’m feeling angry, depressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc. When I take a nice hot shower, I try to just focus on how the water feels as it hits my body. Sometimes I even play a little Erykah Badu to help set the mood. It’s very relaxing and I’m able to clear my mind.

2. Nurture myself. This has got to be one of the most important things. Sometimes we just forget to really take care of ourselves. I like to just oil my hair and put lotion on right after I get out the shower. To just run your fingers through your hair and really be intimate (not sexually, but if you want to, hey, do you boo) with yourself and appreciate yourself eases your mind.

3. Drink hot herbal tea with honey. For me tea just is just soothing and calming.

After I do all of these things, I have a clear mind and I’m able to see how small the problem really was. Then I can just work to resolve it. Don’t waste time or energy being frustrated. It’s just not good, and in reality, there’s usually always a solution.

Easy & Healthy Dinner Recipe

Last night I was feeling very exhausted and just didn’t feel like cooking. But I was hungry, and if I wasn’t going to feed myself then who was? Well here’s an easy lemon pepper tilapia recipe for dinner. I also sautéed asparagus with a little bit of garlic sat. The fish took about 15 minutes to prep and 20 to cook.

Ingredients
8 pieces of tilapia (or however much you want)
Canola oil
Onion
Green pepper
Lemon Juice
1.5 tbsp. Margarine (melted)
Garlic salt
Lemon Pepper
Seasoning salt
Pepper
Old Bay

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 F
2. While oven is warming up line a baking dish with foil and coat the foil with canola oil.
3. Cut onions and green peppers to your desire. I decided to dice mine. It doesn’t matter.
4. Melt butter and margarine in the microwave.
5. Pat dry the fish and coat each piece on each side in margarine.
6. Coat each piece of fish on each side with lemon juice.
7. Season to taste. I actually ended up not using the Old Bay after a few pieces.
8. Put the fish in the baking dish and cover with foil.
9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

The ingredients on top and how it will look before you cover with foil and bake

The ingredients on top and how it will look before you cover with foil and bake

Fresh out the oven

Fresh out the oven

Music Faves: Good Kisser by Usher

I absolutely love Usher’s new song Good Kisser. I love the drums, singing, and music video. I have to admit, after last year and Jay Z doing Holy Grail with Justin Timberlake, I wondered (and was actually a little upset)why he didn’t do it with Usher. Two great black artists on one song? Amazing. Usher had a rough year last year, though, with his custody battles and everything going on with his family. He definitely came back with a bang, and although I don’t necessarily like “kissing,” he sang about it in a classy and mature way. It’s grown people music for sure. This song makes me remember why I love Usher so much. I don’t know when the album comes out, but I sure can’t wait.

Finding Motivation in Depression

It is another one of those days.  The ones where I can’t seem to get out of bed.  The ones where motivation is playing a good game of hide and seek and has picked a damn good hiding spot.  The ones where tears threaten to fall at any moment.  Yea…. one of those types of days.  Depression.  It’s real.  I woke up this morning to my mother leaving out the door on her way to work, and I immediately began to feel so low.  I began to reflect on the reasons why all week I have not been able to sleep.  I started to think about my fears at night time.  The scary images I would see.  The dreams of a man chasing me trying to kill me.  And I just felt overwhelmed with fear, confusion, and sorrow.  I wept and the negative self talk took over.  ” I hate being like this,” my subconscious said.  “Why do you have to be this way?” she snapped again.  I literally lay there miserable and crying.  All the while thinking, “I don’t have to do this.  I don’t have to feel miserable like this.  I won’t let this happen to me”.  I started thinking of how I really wanted to complete my 30 day fitness challenge.  I though of the blog that I really wanted to get started and had planned on doing so today.  And I knew that if I lay there in defeat, I would not accomplish my goals.  So with all the strength I could muster, I fought back.  I would not let depression beat me.  Maybe I would still be in a depressed mood, but I would not let it keep me from doing the things I set out to do, and that’s what really matters.  I got dressed and completed this day’s workout.  I meditated and wrote in my journal.  I said some of my affirmations.  And to be honest, I felt exhausted.  So much energy was wasted lying in bed depressed, and on top of that, I hadn’t been sleeping well.  So after my morning routine, I decided to just get some rest.  When I woke up, my mood wasn’t much better, but I had a better attitude about dealing with it.  Sometimes it’s not about ridding yourself of the depression, but about continuing your life in spite of. When I’m depressed, here’s some of the things I like to do to get me going when motivation is lost:

1) Run/Jog.  This just clears my mind of everything.  I able to just feel the sun and the wind, see the sky, and enjoy the outdoors.  And I’m so tired from running that I can’t really focus on anything else.

2) Take a shower.  As hard as it is to move or get out of bed while depressed, I found that if I can just make it to the shower my day has improved.

3) Visualize achieving my goals.  When I do this it reminds me that wallowing in depression won’t get me any step closer to those happy visualizations.

4) Play with my cats.  Yes, I’m a cat lady.  If you have pets sometimes it feels good to just pet them and know that they love you.

5) Clean up.  Cleaning has a therapeutic effect.  I’m able to clear my mind, play some good music, and really just be in the zone.  Plus it looks pretty after I’m done.

If you are suffering from depression and just can’t seem to get out of bed maybe you can try some of these or figure out some activities that clear your mind. Of course, these are just some of the things I do, and what works for me may not work for you.