ZarahereBy now everybody knows (In my Phaedra Parks voice) that I absolutely love being a Seasoned Woman!!! It really does feel good to love yourself, have confidence and know what and who you want in your life. One of the things I have learned from being seasoned is the way you carry yourself is important! Growing up my mother ALWAYS emphasized that as a woman you should carry yourself a certain way. As a child I never quite understood what that meant but now I understand completely.
The way you look, speak, treat other people makes up the way you carry yourself. I think the way we look is very important whether we want to admit it or not. It is not how other people should define us but our image is what gets us through the door whether its business or personal. And I am not talking about beauty. I am talking about class. Are you neat and clean? Are your clothes ironed and pockets tucked into your jeans (my pet peeve with my kids!)? Is your hair combed or out of place? Are your fingernails dirty? Do you smile or frown? All of these are things people see and make a determination as to whether they want to get to know you better.
Another thing which may be a touchy subject for the ladies is are you showing too much? I’m not talking about a little cleavage here or there or wearing a crop top. I’m talking about the barely there painted on dress. Don’t be shamed because I have done it but now I understand that leaving something to the imagination is way sexier than baring it all. Some celebrities and even influencers think it’s cute to show us everything they’re working with, but I am here to tell you it is not. Leave that for your man, woman or whoever you are dating in 2018. I’ll tell you another thing Sallie has said. If I can already see your whole city, state and country- why would I want to travel there anymore?
That was one of the main reasons I chose this dress as my Valentines look. I am almost completely covered but I am still SEXY (If I do say so myself). This dress is midi length which I love and has an open knit fabric which has a slip underneath but still shows just enough skin (size down for a more form fitting look cause the dress has a nice stretch). I don’t have to worry about tugging and pulling a dress down, scared I’m going to show all my mama blessed me with. I don’t have to think about a boob popping out or sliding up under my bra (Yes that has happened smh). I am still SEXY and SEASONED without giving everybody a peep show.
Don’t be scared, tell me how you really feel about women showing a lot of skin? Do you agree with what I said or think I’m too old school?
I pray you have an awesome Valentine’s Day whether you or boo’d up or single and satisfied. Remember to love yourself first because that’s how people will love you in return!
Yup we are going to talk about Self-Love. I know you are like GIRL I love me! And if you do then great! This post isn’t for you then. But for those who are still learning to love their selves you are welcome to read my story.
This post was originally a Galentine’s Day look. You know to hang with your girl crew. Maybe a quick happy hour or gabfest over dinner. The top is cute and comfortable (size down!) and snatches that waist! And because I intend to get a lot of wear out of all my clothes and shoes the red boots are back and I feel they are appropriate for this type of event (hello Valentines = Red).
Even though I bought a new wig hot flashes (at least I thought they were lol) kept me from wearing it. I decided to try out a natural hairstyle instead. You see my 12 year old daughter entered 6th grade which is considered middle school here in TX and the growing pains have arrived. She no longer loves and embraces her beautiful thick long and curly natural hair. And that saddens me. She wants her hair straightened and worn long (I’m thinking someone commented on her having short hair but we all know the shrinkage struggle) and even though I’ve done it for her I’ve explained this can’t be a frequent hairstyle because of the heat damage. I could see the disappointment in her eyes and Lord knows I want to make her happy but I’m also her mother and must do what’s best. So I decided to wear my natural hair to show her Mama loves being natural too. Now even though my youngest two daughters are natural and have never had relaxers and I can say I style their hair pretty well, mine ain’t like that! It’s gonna take some getting used to but I’m confident I can learn my hair.
BUT HUNNY!!! If you knew me say 4-5 years ago I could not have stepped out in public with my natural hair EVER!!! I would have felt ugly. Period. I had low self esteem and hardly any self confidence. I looked haggard (my sister and mother actually told me that ugh) and I was about 225 lbs and you could have easily thought I was 10 years older than I actually was. It was sad. I was sad. And you could actually see it from the way I carried myself, talked, my activities EVERYTHING! My life was my kids and my marriage was not good. I just wasn’t in a good place in life. I considered suicide. Again. But I promised myself I would never leave my children motherless. At least not by my hand. I’ve always struggled with depression most of my life. When I was 4 & 5 years old I was molested. I don’t remember all of what happened but I knew what was going on wasn’t right. My mother found out what happened and actions were taken and people went to jail. But unfortunately I went with them to my own personal jail. It’s something about having your innocence taken away that makes you feel dirty, tainted, and unworthy. I can say my Mama did the best she could to make sure I went to therapy and group sessions but this was all while I was still very young. See you don’t really feel the effects of what abuse does to you until you are older. Until you are growing up and your body changes and you experience love or what you think is love and deal with the stresses of adulting. All of that took a toll on me. However I survived those things but I wasn’t living life. I was cold, mean, not affectionate, and confusing to people that loved me. The tiniest thing would depress me and I never ever felt someone would truly love me because of what I had been through and therefore I never let anyone be close to me. In October 2001 I attempted suicide after a break up. I took as many Xanax pills as I had which were quite a few and decided to leave this earth. I’m not sure if I really wanted to die but at that time I didn’t feel worthy enough to stay here. Fortunately I was awakened by family members and an ambulance and I was not too far gone so my stomach didn’t have to be pumped but I did have to drink that nasty charcoal (y’all you will have that stuff in your system for months!) and I was committed to a psych ward for 2 days. It was an experience I never wish to have again. Years later I wanted to live but I still wasn’t enjoying life because of the depression. I still was looking for love that I didn’t give myself. BUT GOD!!! He will let you know you are loved. I can’t say it was a church that helped me specifically it was just my prayers and I’m sure the prayers of others that were interceding on my behalf but I decided I wanted to love me. I wanted to love me like God loves me. I wanted to enjoy my life as Rickey Nicole. Not a wife or mom or daughter or sister. Just as me. And then the transformation began. Was it overnight? Of course not. But little by little I started discovering who I was and what I liked and didn’t like and what I enjoyed doing and started living a little. I experimented with new clothing. I discovered make up and hair tutorials on YouTube and I tried everything whether it worked or not lol. Those things might seem superficial but discovering my beauty and worth filled me with happiness and people could tell. I’m still an introvert (ha I bet you don’t believe that) but I talk to people now instead of hide. I laugh, I smile, I’m even a bit of a flirt (with my husband of course *wink*). Life has changed drastically since I’ve learned to love myself. And even though everyday isn’t peachy I still remember where I was and I’m grateful because I’m here to experience it all the good and the bad. This is also why I celebrate being a seasoned woman because I got better as I grew older and I hope to inspire other ladies that aging can be THE best blessing (I mean a birthday means you are still living right!) So I guess I’ll leave you with a tip to the secret of how I discovered self love. Remember you were created in His image and He even knows the number of hairs on your head. Tell me who knows that!!! God! And through Him ALL things are possible even loving yourself almost as much as He loves you. I mean cause you can’t out love God but you can come pretty dang close!
I am excited to participate in a collaboration with several other AWESOME bloggers showing you how to style those never ending black items that we love! Make sure to check out the other bloggers style picks via the links at the end of this post.
As ya’ll know from this post here I am re-organizing my closet and trying my best to include clothing I absolutely love. The little black dress (LBD) is definitely a staple I needed in my closet. I actually want to add another one more suited for our hot Houston weather. And even though we have had freezing temperatures here the dress I am wearing today fits our normal winter weather. This dress is made of a thicker ribbed sweater material and ruffles I love placed strategically around the armholes which helps to hide this big ole arms of mine! I found this dress on clearance at Express for additional 50% and ended up paying around $15!
I styled the dress for a date night in this post since V day is next month and kept the emphasis on the short hemline and plunging neckline. However I believe this dress can be styled with black opaque tights and a camisole or tank underneath for more conservative events.
I decided to show a little leg (my children were not pleased) and instead of wearing the usual over the knee boots I wore my black boots (4 yrs old from Forever 21) that reach right below my knee. I was trying to keep it sexy but these knees are a little chubby hunny! Hopefully the Keto diet will take care of that lol!
I know I love black for several reasons (especially the slimming aspect) and you will see all black everything in my closet quite often. Please be sure to check out the bloggers by clinking the link below to see how fabulously they styled everyday black pieces before we get with all the colors that spring bring!
Let me start this post off by saying I am not a doctor of any kind. I do not have a medical degree and I do not have a PHD (I know that has nothing to do with medicine lol). I am only Dr. Mama to my kids when someone gets sick and that’s it! I encourage you before you start ANY diet especially where you are making a drastic change to your normal eating habits to consult a medical professional. I am only sharing my experience with Keto and some beginning tips.
I first heard of the Ketogenic diet when I followed Kendra on Instagram @blackketogirl . She had recently started the Keto diet and she shared lots of information and pictures of her meals, etc. I did more research on good ‘ole Google and YouTube and since I was already familiar and lost weight by lowering my carb intake before I figured it was something I would try. With Keto I could still eat bacon, seafood, meat and veggies and butter and coffee and creamy food and I figured I could make that work for me. With the Keto diet you are basically eating foods low in carbs and high in fat (preferably healthy fats) and moderate protein. Doing this will allow your body to not burn carbs (because you’re hardly eating any) and instead use your own body fat hence causing you to lose weight. This process is referred to as ketosis and once your in it hunny you will drop those pounds and inches! There are also so many benefits to eating a ketogenic diet such as: increased focus and brain functionality, increased energy, decreased inflammation and better sleep. Keto has been know to help lower blood pressure (I am a witness to this!), lower blood sugar, help with heartburn and migraines and even is being used as a form of cancer treatment. Also, women who suffer from PCOS and infertility have even become pregnant from this diet! Now that is not a benefit I want but if you want a baby go Keto! Now of course with everything there are disadvantages. When you begin the Keto diet some people get what’s called the Keto flu. This is where during the first 1-2 weeks you may experience brain fog, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. I personally have only experienced a bad headache and have been moody and irritable from lack of carbs/sugar. It is also a restrictive diet which can be hard for some people to maintain therefore it may not help in the long run. I began the Keto diet late May/ early June of 2016 and loss over 30 lbs by the end of July. I experienced a major increase in energy and I slept really well at night and lowered my blood pressure. I continued eating pseudo-Keto ( I ate carbs sparingly) as I like to call it up until August of 2017 and I can say until that time I only gained 5-7 pounds. I would encourage you to research the pros and cons of Keto for yourself and see if this is something you would like to do. I would say if you try it be prepared to eat this way for a month to truly see all the benefits.
What can you eat and not eat on Keto:
You can eat: Fats and oils-coconut oils, MCT oil, olive oils, butter, avocado, or avocado oils, lard, egg yolks
Meat- steaks, ground beef, chicken, seafood, fatty fish, Pork, some lunch meats (be careful with this because a lot of lunch meats are high in sugar)
Vegetables- above ground vegetables like spinach, lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, cabbage
Fruits (in moderation)- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
Nuts- pecans, almonds, macadamia, sunflower seeds
Almond and Coconut flours and almond and coconut milk
Beverages- Water (drink plenty! I flavor mine with lemon and a few frozen strawberries), tea, coffee, diet sodas and drinks (sparingly because they can increase sugar cravings) Non-flavored alcohol such as Vodka and Tequila. You can also use sucralose and stevia to sweeten drinks and food.
This is just a small sample of the many things you can eat. Take a look at this article from Rule Me for more detailed list here.
Foods to avoid: Rice, bread, potatoes, sugar filled foods, pastas, high sugar fruits (ex: bananas), oats and corn. Again refer to the article I referenced above for more.
Another important thing to do while on Keto is calculate your macros. Macros are simply what makes up a food and they are broken into 3 categories: fats, carbs and protein. It is important to know how much fat, carbs and protein to eat while on keto to effectively lose weight. Once you have calculated I suggest you plug in those numbers into an app and keep track of what you eat to make sure you stay in those guidelines. You can use this calculator here to calculate your macros.
Since we are talking about my Keto experience I will give you a sample of what I eat in a day:
Breakfast: Coffee – I wouldn’t say it’s bullet proof but here’s what I do: I brew a cup of medium roast and sometimes I use flavored coffee such as French vanilla just make sure you pay attention to the carb count and I add 1 table spoon of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, sugar free vanilla syrup and sometimes a splash of flavored creamer (again check the carb count).
With my coffee I will eat bacon and eggs in some variation. I will eat just plain bacon and an egg scrambled or fried in butter and the bacon fat with cheese on top. Or I will make an omelet with bacon and spinach and cheese. I also usually eat half an avocado.
If I am tired of bacon and eggs I will make a smoothie. I make one by blending low carb protein powder, unsweetened almond milk (vanilla), a splash of sugar free vanilla syrup, melted coconut oil (if I need to get more fats in) and either ice or frozen berries depending on my carb intake for that day already.
Lunch: Usually a salad with grilled chicken and real ranch dressing. I usually make semi homemade from one of those dry ranch seasoning packets so I can add the mayo and sour cream myself.
Dinner: One of my favorite dinners is stuffed chicken. I have a recipe for this here. I will pair this with a salad or steamed veggies. Normally I work my keto dinners around my family. If I am making something with ground meat I will put mine to the side and make a taco salad or stuff a bell pepper without the rice.
In my opinion Keto is an easy way to eat. As you eat it more your carb and sugar cravings will lessen and your appetite will decrease. A lot of times I have to make a smoothie because I am not hungry but if course you must eat to lose weight.
Along with Keto in the morning I also drink a shot of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother and lemon juice. Do not drink Apple Cider Vinegar alone. It will tear up your esophagus. This also helps with lowering your blood pressure, appetite suppression, and weight loss.
The first go around on this diet I did not exercise besides walking. I plan on exercising more this round in order to tone areas.
The Keto diet was successful for me and I am currently on it and have lost 9 pounds in 2 weeks. As of writing this I am sure I lost more and inches because my clothes are looser and my belly is definitely flatter! Check my IG for updates on my progress.
If you have any more questions about the Keto Diet again I am no doctor but I will be happy to answer or direct you to who can. Below I have listed some Youtubers and IG accounts I follow for Keto inspiration:
Keilaketo (YT and IG)
Dr Eric Berg (YT)
Yummy Inspirations (YT)
5 TIPS TO START THE KETO DIET
Don’t go out and buy a bunch of things. Because Keto has gained so much popularity as of late there are a lot of expensive fancy products that you DONT need. I would purchase everyday things like bacon, sausage, eggs and chicken and salad components. For fats I would buy unrefined virgin coconut oil (I buy from Aldi for under $5) and heavy whipping cream. In other words buy things you would normally eat but be mindful of the carbs. In case this diet doesn’t work for you you won’t have wasted your money.
Drink plenty of water and take a multivitamin. Because you are eating a restrictive diet you need to replace certain vitamins you are lacking. Also water will help you stay hydrated and help with the sugar and carb cravings.
Add fats to regular meals. It’s imperative to get your fats in with the Keto diet. Add an avocado to breakfast or a salad. Add coconut oil to your smoothie.
Meal prep (this will keep you from eating foods not on the plan) and input your food into a Food Tracker App. I use MyFitnessPal (the free version) and I can say this helped me to stay on track. It was also fun to see my weight go down!
Watch videos and follow other Keto people on social media. You will get recipe ideas and motivation from seeing what others do. I often just look at the #ketodiet or #ketorecipe hashtags on IG.
With anything this is a process and even though it has been the quickest way for me to lose weight that may not be the same for everyone. This might not be the diet for you but you won’t know unless you try! Wishing you much success and please let me know if you try it!
So I had planned another outfit for this post but last minute I had to pick something else. I couldn’t bring myself to wear much less promote anything from a company that obviously doesn’t want my coins and as a mother of a black son I’m just not here for it. So anyway I really had no idea what I wanted to wear and went to the mall for some inspiration. While browsing the clearance racks I found this gray duster and figured this would work with my favorite skinny jeans and a white shirt. But then it hit me! This outfit is so BASIC. No one will be excited about seeing these pics. I was on the verge of picking something else out, spending coins I shouldn’t when I said to myself this is a cute outfit. Why would I spend money I didn’t need to spend in order to impress anyone? I’m sorry that’s just not what a Seasoned Woman does. So instead I bought it and styled it (if you can even call it that) for the blog. I’m okay with being basic. And here are some reasons why:
Being Basic keeps my coins in my purse- When we try to impress people (people that don’t really care anyway) by being the flashiest or most extra, we are normally spending money we may not even have. Believe me ladies I know, I know. I’ve been the one with the designer bag and high heels trying to be the epitome of the Trina song we know so well. It didn’t do anything but leave me with no money to put in that purse and bad knees. As I’ve gotten more seasoned I’ve become okay with wearing basics. And this doesn’t just apply to clothes. It can happen when you try to be flashy and “front” as we used to say by being at every event knowing full well your gas light in your car is on or trying to keep up with Jones’ and having every cable channel, NBA league pass AND NFL ticket when no one humanly possible even has time to watch all that stuff much less pay for it! Hell I don’t even want cable anymore. I’ll Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime and chill any night. Or read a book (or listen to one).
Being Basic helps me stay in my own lane-A big part of being better (my word for 2018 -see the post here) is to focus on my strengths and improve upon my weaknesses and being basic helps me focus on that. When you’re not try to do all things and be everything and everywhere you learn to focus on what you love and what’s important. Suddenly losing so many loved ones last year helped me regain focus on truly living my life, discovering my passion and loving the ones I’m with.
Being Basic keeps me drama free-Nothing to see here cause I’m basic. When you give them nothing to talk about, there’s nothing to talk about. I’ll just stay over here making my moves in silence. Thanks.
Being Basic makes me unbothered- I don’t let too many things, people or situations bother me anymore. As a seasoned woman I have learned what is and what isn’t worth my time and energy. Sometimes that means being quiet, forgiving the offense and moving on to other things. I’ve also learned that worrying solves nothing and prayer solves everything. Saying just pray about it may be the most basic response someone can give when an issue arises but who can argue that prayer doesn’t work? I’ll wait.
Being Basic gets ish done- When you’re in your own lane, got a few dollars in that basic bag and you’re drama free and unbothered you get finish things. Honestly if I was trying to do the most, this blog post wouldn’t have gotten done. I think we all spend a little too much time on elaborate ideas instead of just executing simple plans, step by step. I always believe the mantra, progress is better than perfection. And who really wants to be fabulous but not moving forward in life. Not saying you shouldn’t present your best but just don’t get caught up that nothing is accomplished. Rather than trying to be the perfect most original blogger ever (in my opinion there is really no original idea only an original you!) I’ll just be basic and live my best life!
Hey y’all this recipe is delicious but it is also special. A friend/co-worker shared this with me almost 10 years ago. She made it for our team at work and when I asked her how to make it she wrote out the recipe for me. Now you already know people don’t like to share their stuff sometimes but she did it with no problem and also gave me a cake recipe which I will be sharing with y’all in the future. But the real reason this recipe is so special is sadly my former coworker passed away in 2017. But she will live on in my heart and I think about her generosity every time I make it! I truly hope you make this and share with your friends and family because I know she would have wanted that.
Chicken- Note: I normally use Chicken breast but they weren’t on sale (I feed six ppl who all eat like adults) so this was my very first time trying it with chicken thighs and I’ll never go back to breasts! I prefer boneless skinless but the bone is fine just pull off the skin.
Chopped onions, bell peppers and mushrooms
Seasonings of your choice
Dry ranch dressing seasoning
Shredded Italian cheese mix
Frozen spinach, cook it in the microwave and squeeze out excess water
8 oz block of cream cheese
Sauté your onions, bell peppers and mushrooms in olive oil or butter
While your veggies soften mix up your cream cheese and spinach. If you forgot to take out your cream cheese earlier like me then pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds or so with the spinach and that will make it soft and easy to mix.
Now add the softened veggies and cheese to the spinach and cream cheese and mix together. Add the dry ranch seasoning. Season to taste with your spices of choice. I used garlic powder, Tony’s, black pepper and onion powder.
Set your oven to 350 degrees and in a large frying pan on about medium high heat place in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil or oil of your choice.
Set your mixture aside and wash your chicken. Now I know washing chicken can be controversial but it’s what I do. Do what you do and we won’t have any issues.
Cut a small slit in your chicken. It doesn’t have to be real deep and PLEASE don’t cut yourself. You just want to make a pocket to put the stuffing in. Season your chicken.
Stuff your chicken with the mixture and then set aside until you’ve stuffed each one. Don’t try to overstuff because you will have stuffing left over. Don’t worry, my family doesn’t let me waste food so we will use it!
Now I place each piece in the pan to sear and brown. This sears in the juices and also I don’t like light chicken. It is just not appetizing. Put some brown on that chicken so I know it’s real!!!
Also don’t worry about the stuffing coming out. Just use your tongs and stick it back in. Or leave it out. I wouldn’t but you are an adult so you make that decision.
After you have browned the chicken place it in the baking pan. Pour the leftover stuffing over the chicken. Told you we would use it! Bake for about an hour. You may need more time if you used breasts as those are bigger pieces. I encourage you to try the thighs though because they were so juicy and tender! Chicken is done at 165 degrees but if your seasoned like me you know to just cut it open in the biggest part to check lol.
And you’re done!!! I served this with roasted potatoes and a salad but I just had the salad because I am not eating carbs (sad face). This dish is Keto and Low Carb friendy for all my people trying to lose weight in the new year like me! No judgment! I hope you try this and make sure you share this post so my friend’s generosity can live on thru her recipe.
So probably by this date you are sick about hearing about goals and all that jazz so I won’t carry on or be long today. All I want to say is that you can write your goals down, pray over them, memorize and meditate over them whatever you do but none of that means anything if you don’t take action! Those same goals will be sitting in that pretty planner until next year and the year after that until you get up and start taking some steps even if they’re tiny ones. I think everyone wants to talk about the pretty side of goal setting but you have to know that nothing works until you do. And that may mean sacrificing time or money on other things or doing something toward your goal when you don’t feel like it (kind of how I felt today lol) but I say if you REALLY want something you’ll do whatever it takes. So go ahead and write that goal down (and subscribe to the blog so you can get your goal action plan download 😉 but make sure you put in the work too!!!
Now on to this dress hunny!!! This dress was definitely apart of my closet goals. To me closet goals is being able to go into my closet and wear whatever is there and look and feel good in it. No more never feeling like I have anything cute to wear! Am I the only one that feels like that? Anyways I absolutely love this dress except even though it fits everywhere else it is quite snug around my chest. Ugh!!! Fashion retailers if you’re listening you need to create sizing for us larger busted women. Okay rant over now let me tell you why this dress is amazing. First the pattern is classic and it’s a midi length shirt dress so it’s perfect for the office or church but I certainly think that you can dress it down for a brunch or happy hour (check out that split). And this Zara beauty is also goals because I can rock it with boots now but later in the spring some sandals and a colorful belt would look good too. You will definitely see me in this again just in a different way. Now tell me do you have closet goals too?