Guest Post: #RelationshipsWhileAdulting – A Male Perspective

The birds are chirping, the days are longer, I can now break out those everyday dresses and sandals…do you know what this means?  It means SPRING IS HERE!  While summer is by far my favorite season *cough cough* leo season *cough cough*, spring is a close second. It’s the time of year when we have all had enough of the dreary weather, dark days, and cold, cold nights.  Spring is when we are all reborn.  Like a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon, we shed all of our outer layers and become a lighter, freer version of ourselves.  Springtime means exiting hibernation, going out and about, and in many cases the start of dating.

The below post is written by Chris, someone whose opinions and honesty I’ve found to be both endearing and refreshing.  Because of this, I thought he would be the perfect person to offer a male perspective on the Aurora Anew blog. So sit back, relax, and enjoy 🙂

(Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed by the aforementioned guest writer do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Aurora Anew.)

#RelationshipsWhileAdulting
 
“Oh yeah, I’ll DEFINITELY be married by 30.  I’ll probably have a kid, a son, and I’ll be gearing up to put in that work to bring my first boy a sibling *ehhhhhhh* within 3 years” said a very naïve 19 year old me.  I had grand plans back in those days – the golden years …
You see – 19 year old me saw future 30 year old me an already accomplished entertainment lawyer and family man; if that’d failed I was armed with two improv classes and the confidence of Jamie Foxx fresh off of his Oscar win to believe I could follow in his footsteps.  Black actors, man.
What I failed to see or acknowledge (and how could I?  I was 19.  An idiot by nature), was what we now know as the common phenomena: #Adulting.  Or real life, layman’s terms for the slightly older crowd.  Bills, bills, school loans and those bills, rent – which is kind of a bill I think, and more bills.  But because this situation isn’t solely my own, in the sense that we’re all dealing with the dream we were sold of being adults –no more curfews or parent/teacher conferences, living alone, no more having to get field trip papers signed, and the like – I’m going to touch a little on the other half of this posts title … Relationships.  In NY/NJ which happens to be my area of expertise, or lack thereof.
My father always told me that a marriage is going to be the toughest job I ever have.  Knowing that I would one day like to be married I took his words seriously; trying to follow a constant path of self-improvement so that when I did get out there and date, I was offering up the best me.  My teens were a wash in this department, I was still shy, and nervous, and short, and my voice crackled when trying to talk to those of the opposite gender.  My early 20’s were a little better.  Undergrad opened my eyes to a world where women actually found me to be attractive, which subsequently led to my developing a massive ego, which subsequently led to a bunch of empty, short lived flings.
My mid 20’s by comparison, were stellar.  I came into my own, I learned how to talk to women (“what’s your favorite color” was a PRIME conversation holder), and I knew the qualities that I wanted in a mate.  My late 20’s or the “I just want to focus on my career” age range were filled with wonderfully fulfilling encounters, cut short by one (usually me) or both parties deciding that we weren’t happy with our current professional situations – a lot of friendships forged here.  And now, 109 days into my 30’s I’m discovering that though my intentions were pure and innocent … I didn’t know sh*t as a 19 year old when it came to relationships!  Not to say that I couldn’t have come to this conclusion in my mid/late 20’s, but this blog post is forcing me to revisit my bold prediction of being married by now.
All of this to say, #RelationshipsWhileAdulting, not only marriage, are tough jobs.  No, not because it’s getting warmer out and less clothes are being worn, or because you want to slide in or on to the many options we have in our glorious metropolis; but because we as individuals, millennials, have been through a lot.  Financial crisis, wars, student loan epidemic, housing bubble, job market, etc. etc. have pushed back the timeline for a lot of us.  My father of all people has been the one to suggest that he’d like grand-churrin’ on a timely basis and I have to explain to him that I personally don’t find it difficult to be in a relationship, once in one.  I do however, find getting to a point where I feel as though I’m ready to be in a committed relationship, one where I share a large plot of land (i.e. life/heart) with someone to be increasingly difficult – especially with all of the extraneous factors we tend to face as a generation today.  I’m going to drop some age old knowledge on you.  Patience is a virtue and all good things come to those who wait, follow that advice.  Unless you’re 40 and still want kids, then you need to get on it (literally) ASAP.

I kid, I kid.

 
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I hope you all enjoyed the second guest post.  Let me know what you think!
 
Just one last thing, if you haven’t had the chance to check out our Hair & Scalp Oil, you can learn more and purchase at auroraanew.etsy.com. You’ll love how beautiful and healthy your hair and scalp will be this Spring 🙂

There’s Something About Flowers…

I’ve been going through a really tough time the past couple of months, and even tougher times the past couple of weeks.  This has happened to me before, more often in recent years, but each time this has happened, I had plan that I worked at to get me be back in a better place.  This time is a little different though; each blow has come unexpectedly when I thought all was well.  And each turn of event just happened to be in the three areas of my life I’ve been working most on.  I’d love to pretend that through all of this I just turned the other cheek, and moved on to the next, but that would be dishonest.  I’ve done my fair share of overthinking, internalizing, regression and all that stuff that I know I should not be doing.  But the good news is that I’m not just sitting around complaining while not doing anything about my “predicaments”.  I’m working through everything, using a lot of the tools that I’ve shared on this blog previously, but am opening myself to some new methods that I will certainly be sharing with you guys if they pan out.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about flowers.  I absolutely adore flowers. A colorful bouquet in my home is enough to make me smile whenever I see it.  The thing I love about flowers is that they are beautiful and honest.  What do I mean by honest?  Well, if they have thorns, they are right out there for everyone to view.  Pollen is easy to view on a petal.  And when they begin to die off, and lose their want to be beautiful, their browning apparent.  Nothing is hidden with a flower…maybe that is why I love them.  They possess some of the same qualities I admire in people.

There is something about the beauty and aroma of a flower that can bring me out of the darkest of places, complete with a brighter outlook on life.  Even as they begin to wilt, I strangely focus on the positive, what they were at their peak, and the positive feelings the evoke from me.  Maybe, this is why I’ve been thinking about them so much…they force me to shift my mind to a positive space, almost instantaneously.  Funny how the human mind works, huh?  When you cannot consciously identify what you need, it helps you along subconsciously…dreams, daydreams, unexpected flashbacks…the mind is truly a wondrous thing.

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This morning I decided that I was going to buy myself some flowers. And I’ll tell you, for less than $6, this little bundle brightened my mood, and living room, considerably.  As I continue through this journey of achieving my newly revamped goals, I think I’ll be using flowers to add a little boost of positivity, and color, to my life.

So tell me, what is one thing that you know if you are down can brighten you up in an instant?  I would love to know 🙂

Last thing 🙂
If you haven’t had a chance, check out my natural Hair & Scalp Oil available at auroraanew.etsy.com.  You’ll love how beautiful and shiny your hair will be this spring (and beyond!)!

New Year, New You?

We are a month and a half into the new year, and should be a month and a half into our big goals for the year… right?  If you are anything like me, sometimes you start the year off strong, like really really strong, and then you just stall. Or something happens that derails your journey and you just give up….are you there now?

The good news is that it is only February and we have a lot of time to pick back up and work on our goals again!  Last month, I decided I was going to make health my priority.  I had a lot of weight I had wanted to lose, that had crept up in the past 3 years, and it was time to stop feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.  I immediately made a plan for myself: no sweets, no processed carbs, no desserts, and follow the Couch 2 5k running plan.  This plan had me lose 14lbs last month.  I was really excited, and only had 6 lbs to go in order to reach my final goal.  But then life happened.  I started being more lax with what I was eating.  I didn’t work out as much as I should, and began skipping days in the running plan.  Now I’ve gained about 5lbs back, and feel a lot more sluggish than I did two weeks ago.  And I’ve now decided that this is not ok.  Instead of just giving  up, I am going to pick back up on the plan I made for myself, and move forward to feeling good again.  And when I reach my goal, and I know I will, I will share exactly what I did to accomplish it.

I’m never going to be a person to tell anyone to give up on a goal that they are working towards, but if you are struggling with achieving something that you have set for yourself, and you’ve followed the steps that I outlined in New Year, New Goals, then I want you to think about something.

Why did you create this goal for yourself?

I know it sounds like a silly question, but really think hard about this.  Are you doing it to make someone else happy?  Are you trying to prove something to another person?  Is it something that you truly want and need to do for yourself?  In my experience, when you don’t make a goal for the right reason you are more likely to fail.  You are more likely to find excuses not to complete it, not work hard, and to just generally move at a snail pace.  What I’ve begun to do is to get really clear on what I want to achieve with every goal I make.  For instance, with weight, in the past I thought that losing weight would make me a better person; it would make me more likeable, more extroverted, more… something.  All of those were really silly reasons for me, and all had to do with how others perceived me, and as a result, I never achieved any of the small weight goals that I had set for myself.  Now when I make this goal, I think about energy, how my clothing feels, how my sleep is, my overall health.  Appearance is secondary.  In a way, I don’t really think about losing weight as a goal, I think more about my overall health and how my healthy habits are creating numerous benefits to my life.  And you know what?  It works.

As you continue to work towards the goals you have set for yourself this year, don’t get discouraged if you find yourself slowing down or going on a backwards slide.  Just take a moment, get really clear on what you are trying to achieve, and continue to move forward 🙂

Last thing 🙂

If you haven’t had a chance, check out my natural Hair & Scalp Oil available at auroraanew.etsy.com.  You’ll love how beautiful and shiny your hair will be this winter (and beyond!)!

It’s Ok to Feel Down

I honestly didn’t realize so much time had passed since my last post.  I suppose it makes sense because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to write about.  Since this is the last month of the year, it felt like it would make sense to write about something that not only affects me at this time of year, but I know affects many others.

If you are anything like me, your mood may shift as the weather gets colder.  Not necessarily to the level of having SAD, but enough to notice that you aren’t quite as energetic and extroverted as you were in the summer.  It could be the chillier temperature, the shorter hours of sunlight, or the fewer social activities occurring at this time of year.  Or it could be that 2015 is ending and you realized that many of the things that you wanted to happen this year just didn’t happen.  Maybe you only accomplished half of the goals you set out to accomplish.  Maybe you didn’t accomplish any.  Or maybe you never even set goals for yourself and are now regretting it because you are in the same place as you were this time last year.  No matter the reason, I’m here to tell you that it is ok.  So what if you feel like you’ve regressed, like life is moving backwards.  Seriously, it really is ok.

Last year at this time I was in a bad place. I was in a job that I no longer enjoyed, wasn’t in the best of health, and had people in my life that should never have been there in the first place.  To be honest, I let one area of my life that wasn’t going well take over every other area of my life.  I let that one area define my worth, which was absolutely the worst thing I could’ve done for myself.  Now I’m not saying that my life is perfect, but I no longer where I was back then and have no intention of ever returning to that place.  So what did I do when I was feeling down, to turn everything around?

1.  I told myself it was ok. I allowed my self to feel what I was feeling and didn’t beat myself up over it. You are allowed to feel what you feel, for whatever reason it is. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are being silly or you need to get over it.  You are entitled to your feelings, remember that.

2. I gave myself a time frame. I told myself that I could be down about something for a certain period of time. I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in self pity forever, after all, how could that really benefit me? Set a period of time where you allow yourself to just feel what you are feeling. Depending on the severity of the situation, this could be anywhere from an hour to 2 weeks.  Personally, I’d never go longer than 2 weeks, because honestly, I have a life to go live and I intend to be happy doing it.

3. I purged everything. After I finished my time where I was allowed to feel my emotions, it was time to get over it and move on. I wrote about any and everything that was bothering me, multiple times, until I couldn’t write about it anymore.  I began deleting numbers in phone and connections on social media to people who only served to bring negativity to my life.  I even reached out to someone who I had been close to in the past, not because I wanted them in my life again (because I most certainly did not), but because I wanted to wish them well and bring closure to that situation.  All of this didn’t happen at once, it happened over a period of a few months, but I certainly felt lighter after it was done.  And it gave me room to introduce new positivity into my life.

4. I thought of solutions. What do you do after you feel all light and sunny again?  Start working on a plan.  Hate your job?  Figure out how to get a new one that you like. Feeling like crap, physically? Take the time to make connections to what is making you feel bad.  Making terrible choices in the people you are bringing into your life? Take some time to reflect on why you keep making theses choices.

5. I planned my goals. Need help setting up your goals?  I’ve got you covered here in my previous post about goal setting.

Now I’m not saying that everything will be perfect if you follow the path above, but I am saying that it is perfectly fine to feel down and sad if you plan to do something about it.  It can be hard, and it certainly was at times for me, but it is definitely worth it to go through the process from being sad to planning out your goals.  The great thing about all of this?  I have some new goals to set for 2016 🙂

Last thing 🙂

If you haven’t had a chance, check out my natural Hair & Scalp Oil available at auroraanew.etsy.com.  You’ll love how beautiful and shiny your hair will be this season (and beyond!)!

What’s In My Medicine Cabinet…It May Surprise You

Over the past year or so I’ve been getting into herbal remedies and holistic medicine.  So much so that my product junkie ways have morphed into me having quite a vast selection of herbal supplements in my medicine cabinet.  There were periods where I was taking numerous supplements at a time; at one point it was almost 10 pills a day!  I’ve calmed down over the past few months, trying to find the right combination of supplements for myself, and I figured I would share it here just in case there is someone who is interested in adding some new supplements to their daily routine.  Below are the supplements I am currently taking.
multivitamin

I started taking multivitamins once I realized that my sometimes odd eating habits meant that I wasn’t getting the amount of nutrients my body needed on a daily basis.  I’ve tried many brands over the years, and recently have been looking for an affordable, natural, once-a-day formula, and here is where I landed.  Now I don’t think this is as natural as I can go, but it is a long way from the Target brand multivitamin I took for many years (not going to lie, I still really love the Target brand).  I bought this particular formula because I can always use a little more energy in my life.

ashwa

My nutritionist recommended this one to me.  Ashwagandha is great for stress and all of the negative side effects that come with stress, such as lack of sleep or weight gain.  You can take it in the morning or before bed, whenever you need it the most.

EGCg

Ahh, the magic of green tea.  We have all heard what this magical tea can do for us.  I take this product for the energy it is supposed to give.  There are people who say that it helps them lose weight, and while this is possible, I haven’t noticed weight changes while taking it.  And, if you are a sufferer of uterine fibroids, there have been some studies that say that EGCg can help shrink their size.

Magnesium caps

Another supplement recommended by my nutritionist, magnesium can help you have a more restful sleep.  It doesn’t help you fall asleep, but can help you stay asleep.  Added bonus: it’ll help your system be regular once you wake up in the morning, and who doesn’t want that!

Melatonin

A friend of mine recommended melatonin to me a few years ago to help me with my sleep.  I believe I was either having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep at the time.  Melatonin helps me to fall asleep, and I usually will take it when I know I need to wake up very early, or if I absolutely need to be well rested.  I will usually take magnesium and melatonin at the same time (about an hour before I want to go to sleep), and once I do, I usually have a really restful sleep.

So these are the 5 supplements that I take regularly to be at my best.  I’m sure the brands will change, but for now, I am pretty happy with my core products.  Remember, I am not a medical professional, I am just sharing what is working for me right now.  If you decide you want to try any of these, please do your own research and speak to your doctor before trying any new supplements.  Please feel free to let me know what supplements you are taking to remain healthy!
Last thing 🙂
If you haven’t had a chance check out my natural Hair & Scalp Oil available at www.etsy.com/shop/auroraanew.  You’ll love how beautiful and shiny your hair will be this season (and beyond!)!

 

Goal Setting – A Little Extra Help

I woke up this morning thinking to myself, “Wow, it is almost September.”  That means my favorite season is coming to an end, cooler weather is just around the corner, and before we know it New Year’s Eve will be here.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not finish the year with a list of goals that I did not accomplish.

This post isn’t going to be about making goals, because I already talked about that here New Year, New Goals.  If you haven’t read that post yet, I suggest that you take a look before continuing reading this one.  Don’t worry, it is worth the read.  This post is about actually doing the work to accomplish your goal and maintaining your motivation, all with the help with one site, Stickk.com.

Stickk is a great site if you want regular reminders about your goals, someone or something to remind you to actually log in your progress, or a way for you to actually bet ON yourself.  The site allows you to set a goal, pick how you want to be monitored, and have you put money on it to make it happen.  The site says that people who actually put money on their goals are 3x more likely to succeed.  Is that a fact?  Well, I can tell you I’ve been using the site for a while, and I am currently working on a weight loss goal that has been going better than any other my others before.  What can I say, I really don’t want to lose my money.  You can set the money to go to a friend, a charity of your choosing, or an anti-charity you wouldn’t want your money to go to.  Right now, my money would go to a cause I do not believe in so I am working my butt off (literally) to lose this extra weight.  To be honest, this is the one remaining goal I will be really disappointed if I do not achieve it this year.

I definitely suggest you try out Stickk.com if you have a few more goals to accomplish this year; you only have 4 months left!

Two random things:

1. For my weight loss goal, I have been abiding by the South Beach Diet.  If you are looking to shed some weight, I totally suggest this book. I’ve used it before and I shed some weight fairly quickly. I bought it for a pretty low price on Amazon. Remember though, I am not a doctor; I am just sharing what I am doing and what has worked for me, so please speak to your doctor if you want to begin a new diet.

2.  Also, if you haven’t had a chance check out my natural Hair & Scalp Oil available at www.etsy.com/shop/auroraanew.  You’ll love how beautiful and shiny your hair will be this season (and beyond!).

Let’s achieve our goals for 2015!
Jessica 🙂

The Elimination Diet – Let’s Try This Again

I’ve mentioned before that health is one of the big areas of my life that I am currently working on.  Well, right now it has become the number one priority for me.  I’ve been indulging a little too much and going to the gym a little too little, and now I’ve been trying to figure out the best course of action to get back to better health.  I’ve been going to the gym more, but have been looking for ways to step it up.  Right now Crossfit is on the table.  So what about my diet?

I bring all of this up because part of the reason I have been sliding backwards is because I have been feeling sluggish, and just entirely too tired physically and mentally.  And even though I try to spend more time resting, and sleeping more when I can, I know that a big part of it is because I am not taking the time to work out as much as I should, and also because of some of the food I am consuming.

The reason I bring this all up is the reason I am going to talk a little about the elimination diet I plan to begin this month.  At the end of it, I hope to have a lot more energy, have a clearer mind, and feel better overall.  Also, I am hoping to have a better sense of what foods I need to eliminate from my diet for good.

An elimination diet isn’t something people typically do to lose weight.  You can try it to lose weight, if you want, but that isn’t the primary purpose. This “diet” is more about figuring out what food makes you feel exhausted, give you stomach issues, eczema, brain fog, etc.  In other words, the elimination diet gives you the opportunity to determine which foods are you sensitive to.

There are a few formal plans on the internet if you Google “elimination diet”.  If you choose to go this route, I suggest you pick a reputable site.  Try this link to get you started http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergies-elimination-diet .

I already have a good idea of what foods I am sensitive so this is my tentative plan below:
1. Eliminate sugar, wheat, and dairy.
2. Do this for at least two weeks.
3. Slowly introduce one category at a time to see how I feel.

Once I see which foods make me feel terrible again, I will work to reduce it out of my diet as much as possible.

An elimination diet is not complicated; just takes more motivation and self-discipline than anything else.  I will definitely let you guys know how it goes, but I highly suggest you try it if you have been feeling really sluggish.  Continuing to consume foods you are sensitive to can have some really unexpected side effects.  Do some research if you want to know what other health benefits an elimination diet can provide for you.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!

Guest Post: Dating in the Spring & Summer – A Male Perspective

Hi everyone!  I mentioned in my previous post that I would have a guest blogger for at least one post this year, and here is the first in what I hope is the beginning of guest posts.  I promise I won’t have too many of these posts because I don’t want my voice to be lost, but I do believe that hearing different perspectives from your own is important in life.  The below post is written by my friend Jason, with whom I have often talked about dating over the years.  I have always enjoyed listening to his dating exploits and very interesting (and accurate) opinions/advice on males and dating, so I thought it would be perfect if he could write something for Aurora Anew.  So here goes its first guest post!  Before you read this, I was told that I should set the mood with this song:

(Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed by the aforementioned guest writer do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Aurora Anew.)


Amerie – Why Don’t We Fall In Love


Dating in the Spring & Summer – A Male Perspective

It just hit 80 degrees in the tri-state area, so you know what that means?! Ladies in cut-off shorts, sundresses, and tank tops will be on full display. Sadly, along with warmer weather and less clothing comes the end of many relationships/situationships.
Yes, cuffing season is pretty much over for those who partake in it. 
I’ll be the first to say that the idea of breaking up with someone because the weather is nice (and because you want to be a hoe) is probably the dumbest idea ever, but to each his own. 
Personally, I’ve had relationships end coincidentally with the onset of nice weather, but not BECAUSE of the weather.  Maybe. somewhere in our psyche, our patience runs out faster when spring hits, which makes perfect sense. What is it about a blizzard that will cause people to stick around a little longer?  (I know we are all breathing a huge sigh of relief that we made it through that miserable winter.)
Now comes a rush of newly-single individuals who are looking to mingle.
I wonder if websites such as Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, Black People Meet, etc will see an increase in activity due to the warmer months.
The only advice I can give to anyone navigating the dating waters this season is to keep an open mind, and just take things for what they are. This is the time of year you should be dating/mating with as many people as you can. Most people do not want to be tied down during the summer months; this could be a pro or a con depending on what each person is looking for. 
For men, the biggest pro for dating during this time is the abundance of free and low cost activities. I am old school, so I do believe that men should cover the cost of the first date. However, the first date should not be $200! Hell, half of that is too much, if you ask me. From concerts to picnics, day parties, festivals, bike rides, and ferry rides, the options are endless. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a beautiful place for a first date. You can grab some fro-yo and take a pretty young thing out there and just set up shop out by the water. A quality woman will be impressed by the scenery.   
I say all of this to say, fellas let’s step our game up (while respecting our wallets) this summer.
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I hope you enjoyed the first guest post. Let me know what you think!

Also, if you haven’t had a chance check out my natural Hair & Scalp Oil available at www.etsy.com/shop/auroraanew.  You’ll love how beautiful and shiny your hair will be this season (and beyond!).

What’s Coming Up + Why Is There Another Video??

Hi Guys!  I wanted to give you a little update on what is going on with Aurora Anew, so click play to find out!

Remember to check out my Etsy store if you haven’t already at www.etsy.com/shop/auroraanew.

Also, if you are interested in donating to the fundraiser my leadership team is hosting, you can learn more about it at www.youcaring.com/lp28legacy2.

Thanks so much for continuing to read my blog; can’t wait for you to read what I have in store for the rest of 2015!