Dog Days of Summer: Dog Beach Safety Tips for Your Pup

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Dog Days of Summer

Safety Tips for Taking Your Furry Friend to the Beach

 

I recently took Miss Pepper Mint to Downs Dog Park and Beach and we had such a blast! It was both our first times at the dog beach and this will definitely become a frequent summer outing for us. I don’t take Pepper to the dog park very often, so she seems to suffer from “Napoleon Syndrome” and shows aggression towards larger dogs that walk just a little too close to us. I suppose that’s my fault, thinking trips to the dog park weren’t necessary since we have a pretty nice size backyard. Not to mention the fact that she’s very sociable and friendly with her fur cousins in Florida.

In prepping for our picnic at the dog beach, I made sure that she had a separate beach bag of all of her necessities:

Dog Beach Essentials

  • Leash and collar

  • Food and water

  • Dog bowls

  • Towel

  • Sunscreen

  • Beach umbrella (if no shade)

  • ID on collar

  • Poop bags

  • Chew toys

  • Garbage bags

 
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Dog Beach Etiquette

Downs Dog Park is right along the Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County. There is a large lawn that overlooks the bay, with large trees providing substantial shade. Thus, we found some shade, laid out our picnic blanket, and watched the waves (well I watched the waves) as we snacked on goodies. I made sure that Pepper and I practiced some beach safety and etiquette tips, not to disturb other dog owners and obviously to make sure Pepper didn’t get overheated from being in the sun too long.

Keep Your Dog on a Leash

Per dog beach rules, all dogs must be on a leash so that all dogs can enjoy the beach while in the control of their owners. I brought Pepper’s woven Vineyard Vines for Target leash, and a retractable 10 ft. leash, just in case the beach wasn’t too crowded and she seemingly enjoyed the water.

Pick Up After Your Dog

Don’t be that person that takes their dog to the dog park and beach and doesn’t clean up after themselves. If you don’t clean up after Fido, then you run the risk of local councilmen justifying the closure of dog beaches. Keep it clean for other pups.

Keep Your Dog Away from Other People

Granted Down’s Dog Park and Beach is a place for dog owners and their pups to enjoy outdoor activities, it is still open to the community. It’s important that you maintain control of your dog. Don’t allow Fido to interfere in other patron’s space, while they’re picnicking, beaching, etc. Pepper is a little 10 lb Pomeranian, who definitely suffers from Napoleon syndrome. She doesn’t like strangers, particularly if they get too close to her or I. The good news is, she won’t just run over to a random person and /or their dog. But, it’s still important that she understands basic commands and stays in her place. But I definitely allowed her to sniff fellow noses and greet other pups on the beach, when we had put our food and picnic away.

Don’t Mess with the Wildlife

Fortunately, there wasn’t too much wildlife on the dog beach. However, if you’re at a beach that has wildlife, such as seagulls, seals, etc., don’t allow your dog to chase after them. That’s another reason why local laws require leashing; it’s their habitat. We’re just visiting.

 
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Dog Safety Tips

Beware of Hot Sand

Hot sand can burn your pup’s little paws.  If the sand is hot, you may want to purchase a set of paw boots for Fido.  Pepper has some, which I did pack just in case; but the sand wasn’t hot in the beach area and we also picnicked in the morning, before it got excruciatingly hot.

Provide Shade and Water

I knew that there were shaded areas at the dog park, and beach areas.  Since I wanted to picnic first, we sat under a tree the entire time, to prevent overheating.  When it was time to pack up the picnic and head down to the beach area, there were lots of trees close by, for when Pepper was done playing in the water.  If there is little to know shade at your local dog beach, you should bring an umbrella or beach tent to prevent your dog from getting heat exhaustion.  

I also packed a cold large bottle of fresh water for Pepper.  I kept the bowl of cold water out for her the entire time we picnicked. 

 
 

Use Sunscreen

Both you AND your dog need sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Yes, dogs can also develop skin cancer (I had no idea either).  My local pet store did not have dog sunscreen.  However, according to PetMD (https://www.petmd.com/dog/seasonal/can-dogs-wear-sunscreen), I can use sunscreen for adults or children; BUT, only sunscreens that do NOT have zinc oxide and para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA).  I use Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen (SPF 55).  According to the back label and their website, it is PABA free!  And, there was no indication of zinc oxide.  So, I rubbed sunblock on Pepper’s ears and underbelly.  She has a pretty thick coat, so I didn’t put any on her full body or legs.  I could have put some on her nose, but I didn’t want to chance it since she likes to lick her nose.

If your dog goes swimming, you should reapply the sunscreen after they get out of the water.

Beware of Loose Dogs

At our dog beach, pups must be leashes at all times. However, you will come across an owner or two, that think their dog is the most highly trained and won’t bother other dogs. Whether your dog is well trained or not, dogs are curious creatures. Even though Pepper was leashed at all times, there were moments where I had to keep an eye on her as another owner’s dog would attempt to straggle over and say hi. Not knowing whether someone else’s dog is aggressive or not, be aware of you and your dog’s surroundings, in the even that someone’s pup isn’t leashed.

I hope all of you and your fur babes are having an amazing summer so far! If you have additional tips, leave a comment below!

 
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DIY on a Dime: Summer Floral Arrangement

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Summer Floral Arrangement

Easy Steps Using Grocery Store Flowers

It is officially summer!! I am really starting to enjoy summer in my home, thanks to my growing garden, full of Knock Out Roses, a butterfly bush, pink peonies and hydrangeas.

This past Spring, I really enjoyed creating my Spring floral bouquet. So, I wanted to create another one with even more vibrant colors. BUT!! This time, instead of heading to the Potomac Wholesale Floral, I opted to pick up a few stems at my local grocery. I was able to get all of the flowers — with the exception of the hydrangeas, which came from my garden, for a total of $22!

 
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What You’ll Need:

 

First, cut your stems to the desired length. Remove leaves to allow more room in the vase for more flowers.

 

Once the stems are cut at their desired length, group them together, placing the peonies at the center, cupped by the lilies, then the hydrangeas, and finally the veronicas and craspedias on the outer most layer.

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Finally, instead of using a flower frog, I simply tied a rubber band around the flower stems (at the base of the flowers). I decided to do this instead of using a flower frog, like I did for my Spring bouquet simply becuase the vase I am using is smaller than the one I used last season.

Place bouquet in vase and enjoy. I placed new water in the vase every 2 - 3 days. These grocery store flowers lasted two weeks! I love how they came out.

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Pet owners, please remember that lilies are poisonous to dogs and cats. So, if you have a cat that is permitted to climb atop tables and / or counters, I would opt for another flower.

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My First Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic

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It’s Clicquot season!

I finally attended my first ever Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic at Liberty State Park in New Jersey this past weekend! I have seen this event posted all over social media for a few years now, so, I appropriately placed it on my bucket list of things to do in NYC. The champagne dynasty did NOT disappoint! Each year, Veuve Clicquot hosts a polo match for the kick off of summer on the East Coast. Since this was my first appearance — and decidedly will not be my last — I wanted to provide you all with a quick guide and answer all of your questions in the event that some of you’d would want to attend next year’s event, or maybe even check out the West Coast end-of-summer Polo Classic in Los Angeles.

 
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Don’t get left behind!

This year, the polo match took place on Saturday, June 1st from 11:00 a.m. (EST) to 6:00 p.m. (EST). It appears from their website that the event usually takes place on the first Saturday of June. Veuve Clicquot releases tickets every April. If you are an American Express cardmember, you could purchase early bird tickets before general release to the public, for $150 (NYC departure only). For General Admission tickets, there were three price points with the first release at $90; the second release at $110; and, the third release at $130.

For general admission, ticket holders receive:

  • Transportation to and from either Manhattan or Jersey City to the Liberty State Park.

  • Access to champagne bars, merchandise tents, lawn games and food trucks.

  • First come, first serve open lawn seating.

Veuve Clicquot also offers VIP access known as the Rosé Garden for $475. Rosé Garden ticket holders receive:

  • Transportation to and from either Manhattan or Jersey City to the Liberty State Park.

  • Priority boarding lane for transportation shuttle (Jersey City) or ferry (Manhattan).

  • One bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé.

  • Individual gourmet lunch.

  • Dedicated entry and photo moments.

  • Access to champagne bars, merchandise tents, lawn games and food trucks.

I bought a general admission ticket.

Granted, I greatly enjoyed my day at the polo match, in the future, I will be purchasing a Rosé Garden ticket. Why? Because although the general admission ticket was much cheaper, the lines to take photos at large photo props were an hour or more long, with little help from the staff in monitoring photo shoot times (and also people cutting the lines). In the Rosé Garden, it was less crowded (with much more gorgeous props) and you essentially avoid photography lines.

 
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Be Picnic Ready

Another reason why I’ll be purchasing Rosé Garden tickets next year? So I can travel light! Don’t get me wrong, my little picnic basket from Amazon is absolutely adorable. And, there are available food trucks on site, in case you don’t feel like packing snacks. Since it was my first attendance, I didn’t want to chance it and depend on the food trucks, so I packed a bunch of fruits, cheeses, salami and a small veggie platter. We also made sure that we had a heavy breakfast in the morning, since we knew we would only be snacking during the polo match and likely be there until dinner.

If you purchase the Rosé Garden, this is something you need not to worry about as you would receive an individual catered lunch. Almost no one ever posts pics of the catering in the Rosé Garden, but Gayle King came through on her Instagram and the food looks amazing!

 
 
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Game Time!

The polo match starts at 2:00 p.m. (EST) and the awards ceremony starts at approximately 3:30 p.m. (EST). If you paid for general admission, then it is open seating on the lawn (first come, first serve). It is possible to get to the event early enough to set up your picnic blanket as close to the polo match as possible. However, there is a fence that encloses the match to prevent attendees from walking onto the field. During the match, many people gathered around the fence, so if you were seated on the lawn, your view was likely obstructed.

Rosé Garden ticket holders had a view of the field that was not fenced off and allowed ticket holders to be close enough to even greet the players and horses.

Even though my brother and I were on the lawn, we still were able to get these awesome shots!

 
 

The Most Important Part — Pop Champagne!

When you purchase a General Admission ticket, you are provided a wristband with two (2) glass ticket stubs and one (1) bottle ticket stub. This year, Veuve Clicquot offered a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne Yellow Label for $105; the Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé for $125; and, the Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame for $275. If you purchase the VIP Rosé Garden ticket, a bottle of Brut Rosé is included. I really wanted a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé, however, it was only available by the glass ($28). One bottle of the yellow label was definitely sufficient for two people.

Each bottle purchase includes a Veuve Clicquot Ice Jacket ($127 value).

 
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The Fashion

Think southern flair, Kentucky Derby. Everyone looked absolutely gorgeous. Men looked dapper in bright colored suits and button down shirts. The women put on the ultimate summer fashion show with bright dresses, what you would assuredly find at the Kentucky Derby or Preakness here in Baltimore.

We got lucky this past weekend, and there was a thick haze that created an overcast over the NYC skyline. So, the heat was not excruciating and i barely worked a sweat. My maxi skirt from ASOS is very long and the field was muddy from a downpour two days prior. So, most of the time I was lifting my skirt as I walked to avoid the dirt and mud. Now, shoes…I only saw a very small handful of women who wore stiletto heels and instantly regretted it before they even checked into the park. DO NOT WEAR STILETTO HEELS. If you must wear heels, where a block heel or wedge shoes. There is no sidewalk to walk on around the park, since the entire event is gated off from the rest of Liberty State park. I didn’t want to take a chance with any kind of heel so I wore Zara flats and it was absolutely fine.

Another must — wear a hat and bring an umbrella. While the Rosé Garden is adequately tented for shade, the main lawn is not! Even with my sun hat, I needed my umbrella. Again, it wasn’t too hot but the umbrella still helped with keeping us cool as we picnicked on the lawn.

 
 

I can’t wait to go again next year! It was the just the jumpstart I needed to start my summer!

 

Shop My Outfit:

Bodysuit: AFRM Nora Bodysuit | Tiered Pleated Maxi Skirt: ASOS, similar here | Tassel Earrings: BaubleBar (sold out), similar here | Shoes: ZARA (old) | Boater Hat: Evrfelans | Handbag: Rue La La Fallon & Royce Pom Pom Straw Tote.

 

Shop This Post:

Picnic Basket: Amazon SatisInside 4 Person Insulated Basket | Picnic Blanket: Amazon California Picnic Waterproof Picnic Blanket | Umbrella: Veuve Clicquot, also available here.

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8 Tips on Keeping Your Dog Healthy this Spring

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8 Tips on Keeping Your Dog Healthy this Spring

From Allergies to Bees, Know How to Protect Your Pet

Spring time is so much fun because Pepper and I hang out in the backyard.  I’m usually gardening, tending to my roses.  Pepper is usually running up and down the yard with her ball or barking at the neighbor’s cat.  As dog parents, it’s important that we pay attention to our four legged friend when she or he is outside during this weather change.  For instance, dogs can have seasonal allergies, just like us humans.  I wanted to share some tips on how to care for our furry loved ones as we start a new season filled with fresh cut grass, new blooms, and buzzing insects.

Protect Your Dog from the Critters

Keeping your dog up to date with his or her flea, tick and heart-worm prevention is very important.  Spring and Summer, those little critters are out and about just waiting to feast on our paw friends.  Protect your pet’s health!  I visit Pepper’s vet for X flea and tick medication, where I drop the solution on her neck or base of spine (start of tail).

 

It’s Easter Time, So Keep Your Chocolates to Yourself.

For some of you, the Easter Bunny will visit your household and bring chocolate sweets to your family. Please remember to keep your pups away from chocolate, as the acid in sugary treats like chocolate can be deadly.  If your dog consumes chocolate, please consult your veterinarian immediately for assistance.

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Chomping on Greens

It’s okay if your dog eats grass. However, you should take note that if your dog is eating grass, it usually means that he or she has an upset stomach.  Grass soothes their stomach and helps with the nausea, sometimes naturally inducing vomiting.    Now, if your dog is eating grass, and the grass is treated with chemicals (e.g., TrueGreen, etc.), do NOT allow your dog to eat the chemically treated grass!  Again, if this happens, contact your veterinarian immediately.  Always read labels, when conducting or treating lawn care, and determine if it’s safe for your pet.  If not, keep your dog clear of those outside areas.

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Got the Itch?

My cousin previously had a Yorkshire Terrier who developed a skin disease where he was constantly itching and irritated.  Poor thang.  It was finally determined by his veterinarian that the little guy was actually allergic to grass.  I’ve also had dogs that get watery eyes and sneezing when they’re outside for too long, thanks to the pollen in the air.  My vet allows my dog to have half a Benadryl (it is dependent on weight size); however, this makes her sleepy).  If your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies, speak to your veterinarian about allowing your dog to take Antihistamines.

 

No Chasing the Bees, Please.

My cousin previously had a Yorkshire Terrier who developed a skin disease where he was constantly itching and irritated.  Poor thang.  It was finally determined by his veterinarian that the little guy was actually allergic to grass.  I’ve also had dogs that get watery eyes and sneezing when they’re outside for too long, thanks to the pollen in the air.  My vet allows my dog to have half a Benadryl (it is dependent on weight size); however, this makes her sleepy).  If your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies, speak to your veterinarian about allowing your dog to take Antihistamines.

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All the Pretty Flowers.

I have my outdoor rose garden, but I also have an indoor plant that I keep in the living room.  It’s very important that you monitor your pups, making sure that they do not eat your plants and/or flowers, as they may be toxic to our furry friends. 

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Tag, You’re It.

Keep collar tags up to date in case your loved one breaks free and makes a run for it.

Your neighbors’ furry friends are also out to play.  If your pup is a little advantageous, he or she may try to go say hi.  Unless your dog is well trained or in an enclosed space, keep him or her on a leash and make sure his or her tag is up to date with an updated address or phone number.

 

Don’t Overdue It.

Some people think that since their dog was inactive all Winter, that they should go jog a mile at a local park.  Whatever you do, don’t over exert your dog as you don’t want them to become overheated or exhausted.  Just as you would build up yourself to be a runner, the same goes for your pet.  Maybe do light strolls, when you’re first getting back outside, and increase over time, monitoring your dog’s energy levels.

 

Are there any additional preventive measures that you dog moms and dads use, that aren’t listed above? If so, don’t forget to comment so we can use those tips as well!

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Mother's Day 2019 Gift Ideas: Buy Black Guide

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This Mother’s Day, I decided to gift my Mom some of her favorite products available by minority and women owned companies. Here are some of our favorite items, from skin care to coffee and tea houses, that I’m sure your mom will love as well!

Home

 

Face and Body

 

Teas and Coffees

 

Books

 
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D.C. in Bloom! Top 6 Things to do in D.C. This Spring

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It’s Springtime in the DMV! This is only my third Spring in the Baltimore - D.C. area. Springtime is always pleasant in the Northeast because it’s not too hot and not too cold. The mild temps allow us gardening enthusiasts to get the most out of our plants since extreme temperatures in either direction can inhibit plant growth.

Since I have a slightly green thumb, and love to travel, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things to do in the D.C. area this Spring.

 

Have a Cocktail at the Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Pub

This year marks the Drink Company’s third annual Cherry Blossom Pop-Up bar. The pub consists of three main bar rooms. After passing the first bar, the two remaining bar rooms are covered in over-the-top floral decor. The fourth room is a ramen room where I had the best creamy miso pork ramen. So good! The cocktails were also light and delicious, embodying Japanese culture with flavorful sakes, and cocktail recipes with hints of honey.

This place was pretty cool. I made the mistake of going Saint Patrick’s Day weekend, so it was extremely crowded. When I went to eat in the ramen room, there was zero seating. Also, keep in mind that because it’s a pop-up bar and seems to be very popular on the weekends, there may be a wait to get into the pub. My friends and I waited on line for 20 minutes (totally worth it) but it was cold that weekend. Nonetheless, there is NO COVER charge to enter the bar. They also have the cutest little photo booth with - of course - more cherry blossom floral arrangements and decor.

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Take a Stroll Under Cheery Blossoms Along the Tidal Basin

If you’re in the DMV this Spring, you definitely have to take a walk along the Tidal Basin at the National Mall leading to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial to view the cherry blossom trees. These hundreds of trees, donated to the U.S. by Japan, are dubbed as “floral fireworks,” displaying different arrays of pinks and whites across the Capital. To visit the local sights is free; however, there are guided tours that charge up to $100. For a map of the cherry blossom trees along the Potomac, click here. And if you want to enjoy the Cherry Blossom festivities, they are happening along the National Harbor until April 14th.

 

Explore Indoor Gardening at the U.S. Botanic Gardens

I love botanical gardens like the Howard Peters Rawlings Botanic Conservatory in Baltimore and the U.S. Botanic Gardens. Nothing like taking in a new season of growth and opportunity than visiting an indoor garden and checking out new exhibits. This Spring, U.S. Botanic Gardens is showcasing their annual and gorgeous orchid exhibit. This is the one flower I probably have the most difficulty in retaining as a thriving house plant. Sigh.

 

Go Shopping at D.C. City Center

Food and shopping. What other reasons do you need to go?

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Sip Vino at the Mount Vernon Wine Festival

Enjoy wine tasting of numerous Virginia wineries all in one place. The annual festival takes place at George Washington’s mansion in Mount Vernon. In addition to checking out the mansion and garden, there is also a slave memorial dedicated to Washington’s former slaves that lived on the plantation. The Spring 2019 Mount Vernon Wine and Sunset Tour has tickets available now!

 

Dine at La Vie

One of my new favorite D.C. restaurants, La Vie, serves Mediterranean cuisine at The Wharf. This place is so dreamy in decor, I’m not sure if I’m just obsessed with the interior decoration or the food.

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La Vie also turned their Lavana Penthouse rooftop bar into a Cherry Blossom Terrace at The Wharf. The pop up bar is open now through April 20th. Checking out this space is not free! You must register online and buy an entry ticket (approx. $15.00).

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Who’s coming to D.C. this Spring? Hopefully, you make it in time before the cherry blossoms are all gone!

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31 Self-Care Habits for Successful Women

Happy Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day! After refreshing my main bathroom, and giving the one room I hated the most a spa like feel, I’ve been focusing a lot on self-care habits. My daily commute into D.C. is approximately two hours each day. In addition, I work nine hours a day, Monday through Friday. When I get home, I am T-I-R-E-D. Thus, since moving to Baltimore and working in D.C., I’ve made it a point to maintain my life-work balance, keeping my home peaceful and developing self-care habits that reduce my stress levels.

Each day this month, I’m sharing 31 Self-Care Habits for Successful Women on my social media accounts. Here is the full list of all things self-care that we women can do to feel less overwhelmed and maintain our sanity.

 
  1. Schedule Your Appointment for Self Care

You should be scheduling self-care just as you would any other appointment.  I used to get a full body massage once a month, and would keep a recurring schedule with my masseuse.  Since moving to Baltimore, I haven’t been getting my massages as regularly as I used to.  However, I make it a point to schedule self-care.  Whether it’s a pedicure, waxing or hair appointment, PENCIL IT IN!  Otherwise, you’ll be so bogged down by life and interruptions, that you’ll completely forget to make that time for yourself.

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2. Meditate

I’ve been trying to get better at meditating.  I know that due to my work schedule and commute, it would be really difficult to do it every day.  So, I’ve been getting into the habit of meditating every Sunday morning.  Health experts insist that meditation reduces stress levels and controls anxiety.  It also promotes emotional health and self-awareness.  When I meditate, I clear my mind, as it’s constantly running over my to do list for work and personal.  I focus on my breathing, and often use meditation music to create my calming atmosphere.

 

3. Write in Journal


Who’s bad at keeping up with their journal?  *Raises hand*  When I read Becoming by Michelle Obama, I giggled at the parts where she talked about attempting to journal, then falling off, then picking back up only to fall off again.  I’m terrible at journaling!  I suppose this blog has become my new journal, and I’ve been pretty consistent.  But I also do some creative writing during my free time – which some would say is a form of journaling.  Writing truly helps me decompress from the day and organize my thoughts.

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4. Create a Peaceful Home

If your home is in complete disarray then guess what, so will your stress levels!  I get it.  Many of my readers have children, spouses, etc.  So, it may not be as tidy as my pictures (believe me, when Friday rolls around, it’s not at all “tidy.”).  Creating a weekend cleaning schedule keeps my space decluttered and organized.  I knock out all of my weekly cleaning Saturday morning, allowing me to spend the rest of the weekend and early work week in and orderly home, creating peace of mind.

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5. Put that Lipstick On!

I read somewhere once that if you dress up for work, dates, dinner parties, etc., it completely changes and lifts your mood.  So true.  When I dress up for work, or going out with friends or dates, I feel beautiful and confident.  There is something about slipping on a favorite dress or pair of shoes and walking into a room.

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6. Stretch it Out

I don’t like to go to the gym.  That’s just me.  It’s not necessarily 100% laziness.  I’m truly paranoid about my ankle, thanks to my previous injury.  But, the one thing that has helped me with both my physical and emotional health is yoga.  Ideally, I’ve set a goal this year to be consistent with my yoga and stretching it out every Saturday morning.  I’m really excited to see how this benefits me a year from now, health wise.

 

7. Your Planner is Your Friend

My friends and work colleagues tease me because I always invest in a new beautiful planner every year.  I have a work planner, which keeps me on task.  But, I also have a personal planner, especially now that I’m blogging part-time.  When you don’t use a planner, you are susceptible to losing your ideas and missing deadlines.  Planners are your friend.  Invest in a good one and use it.

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8. Listen to a Positive Thinking Podcast

When I’m not listening to a true crime podcast, like Serial, I’m listening to a positive thinking podcast.  Whether I’m at work, or in the car, these podcasts get my mind right and help me think about certain life choices:

 Therapy for Black Girls

Therapy for Black Girls is written by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, Ph.D. a licensed psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia. This podcast is so deep and amazing. When my mind is racing about issues that plague me as a 35-year-old single Black female, this is my go to podcast. Dr. Bradford talks about everything from toxic masculinity, to being an entrepreneur and managing your mental health. I really love this podcast and I’m so glad I found it. I also follow her on Instagram to keep up with her latest posts.

Design You by Tobi Fairley

Another one of my favorites is Design You by Tobi Fairley. Tobi Fairley is one of my favorite interior designers, and her podcast is brand spanking new, launching in 2018. I like hearing what Tobi has to say, particularly about self-care necessities like setting boundaries with others, controlling your mindset, and even recognizing whether or not your home is supporting your goals and dreams! I love it because she’s an interior designer and brings a unique perspective as an entrepreneur attempting to maintain her life-work balance like the rest of us!

The Power Seat

The Power Seat is all about teaching you how to win at your career and personal life, taking control of your destiny and making the best decisions that are right for you. This new podcast is hosted by Tanesha McCauley aka “Coach T” and attorney Nicole Rachelle aka “The Proper Diva.” The duo talks about intimate relationships, how social media postings can affect employment prospects, and how to navigate your career.

Red Table Talk

Although Red Table Talk is not a podcast, and more like a vlog or daytime talk show, it is my “chicken soup for the soul (remember that book?).” Red Table Talk is hosted by actress Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter and singer Willow Smith, and her mother, Adrienne. I recently watched the episode, “What Men Really Think About Love” with rapper Wale and Jane the Virgin actor, Justin Baldoni. It spoke volumes, particularly to my generation and the current dating world (e.g., online dating apps) and the difficulty in actually meeting someone who is ready for commitment thanks to social media, the deterioration of communication skills and the need for “instant gratification.”

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9. Eat Nourishing Foods

At the start of the year, I reduced my processed sugar intake.  I’m slowly weaning off sodas and cereals, but it has really helped my digestive system.  And, I lost weight!  Instead of eating ice cream every night (which I shouldn’t anyway because I’m really not supposed to have dairy), I’ve been eating sweet fruits like pineapples and grapes.  Eating nourishing fruits and vegetables really does affect your chemical balance – not just your weight.  It affects your mood and concentration levels as well.  Eat healthier for a healthier mindset.

 

10. Find Time for Your Spirituality

Part of my meditation process is centering my spirit by reading a Scripture from the Bible.  I meditate on the Scripture that I’ve just read and focus on its message.  What am I supposed to learn?  Maybe you are not religious.  That’s ok.  But you should still make time to find your center, meditating on what makes you happy.  Family.  Friends.  Pets.  Center your chakra alignments to reset your spiritual mood.

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11. Add One Thing to Your Resume

This has been my motto for several years now.  Each year, I add one new thing to my resume.  This doesn’t necessarily need to be a new job.  Maybe you can write a scholarly article in your academic field.  Maybe you can take an accredited workshop or lecture.  Maybe you can enroll in a new certificate program, expanding your expertise.  Add something new once a year, to keep your resume fresh and competitive.

 

12. Challenge Yourself

Are you challenging yourself?  I recently transferred to another department within my federal agency.  I found myself frustrated in my previous unit, not just because it was a very toxic work environment, but also because the work itself was not challenging.  I quickly realized, after moving to the DMV and joining my previous unit, that I had come from previous sectors of my agency that offered much for challenging and strenuous work.  So, once I got to D.C., the work was almost TOO easy.  I felt very unfulfilled and unsatisfied.  Now, I’m in a department that provides very challenging work on a daily basis.  I’m never bored and I’m back to feeling like I’m actually making a difference in the immigration world again.  What I realized about myself is that I’m not afraid of challenges.  I strive for them. Even when I was a student, I remember always purposely taking difficult classes in high school and college, selecting complex writing and research topics.  Harvard Medical School insists that challenging yourself sharpens your thinking skills and increasing brain activities.  I couldn’t agree more.

 

13. Educate Yourself

For my March book list, I read a few books on feminism and what the movement means to some of the most influential writers. I also read #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso. The book is not about feminism but is about empowering women on how to be successful entrepreneurs. I have the entrepreneurial spirit, but ever since I started to tap into my creative and innovative side, I didn’t really know where to start in terms “getting started.” I found #Girlboss to be really helpful in terms of providing advice on not only to be successful in your current career — or applying for a new job — but also holding on to your dreams and doing the proper research on how to bring them into fruition. I have always been resourceful when it comes to researching, so this book was exactly what I needed to kind of give me that boost to get started. It was also a very fast read, and I highlighted and wrote throughout the book.

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14. Have a Life Outside of Work

What do you do for fun? Play golf? Take salsa lessons? Are you a foodie that likes to wine and dine at new restaurants? Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, make the time to go do it. Get out in the fresh air and go for walks, take a yoga class. Do not spend all of your days cooped up in a cubicle and then in the house.

 

15. Set Intermittent and End Goals

Another habit of successful women is establishing both short-term and long-term goals.  What is the point of setting long-term goals, if you don’t know the steps in how to get there?  Whenever I set a new goal for myself, I do the research. Who did this before me? You’re not reinventing the wheel.  What did they do to get there?  For example, I get asked very frequently how I published my previous law review articles.  I did the research and set intermittent goals, since my long-term goal was to have a law review publication.  I researched the topic I wanted to write about and whether it was a current “hot topic” in the legal field.  I then researched the thousands of law review journals that would accept the type of publication I was seeking to write.  Next, I set a timeline for writing my rough draft.  Once I completed my rough draft, I would then send the manuscript to the various law firms I selected for submission.  Somehow, each law review article I’ve ever written has found its way to its new home with a law review journal.  If I hadn’t set the intermittent goals in doing the proper research on how to get there, I wouldn’t have my publications.

 
It takes discipline to do the things that are good for us instead of what feels good in the moment. It’s takes even more discipline to refuse to take responsibility for other people’s emotional well-being. And it takes discipline to take full and complete responsibility for our own well-being.
— Tami Forman for Forbes

16. Be Financially Savvy

I’m terrible at saving.  I blame my father, who is an impulsive shopper – quite opposite from my thrifty mother.  I think it’s because whenever my father wanted something, he’d just go out and buy it.  That’s what I saw growing up.  Whether it was a new big screen television or a brand new car, my father just went out and bought it.  I don’t have that luxury thanks to law school, student loan debt and working as a government employee.  Thus, I started reading Smart Women Finish Rich:  9 Steps to Achieving Financial Security and Funding Your Dreams by David Bach.  My goal is to be better at saving, especially since I’m a new homeowner and need to maintain an emergency fund.

 

I also met one of my 2019 goals and created an investment account with Fidelity Investments.  It’s been a goal of mine for many years now to start investing and I finally did it.  Managing my Fidelity account is so easy!  It took me literally five minutes, and I was purchasing stock the same day!  Now, I research potential companies for stock purchases and beginning to develop my financial portfolio.

 

17. Have a Thankful Heart

Always say thank you.  Maintain a heart of gratitude and it will get you a long way.

 

18. Find Your Creative Outlet

Since purchasing my home, I paid more attention to my creative side.  Decorating my new home allows my creative juices to flow.  I’m constantly on visual social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, researching decorating ideas for my home.  Putting a room together allows me to use my thinking skills and my hands.  Once the room is complete, I feel accomplished, just as I would at work, adjudicating a case.  When I’m not decorating or doing something for the blog, I’m doing some creative writing.   If you like to sew, sew.  If you like to draw, draw.  If you like to write, write.  Schedule time for your creative outlet.

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19. Decompress

Sometimes, I don’t feel like reading a book or watching television but still want something creative to do.  Adult coloring is my new decompression outlet when I want to be creative but don’t feel like putting in a lot of effort.  Naturally, I found an adult coloring book that focuses on interior decorating.

 

20. Read at Least One Inspirational Book

If you’ve been following the blog or social media, you know that I LOVE psychological thrillers.  But sometimes, it’s a little exhausting, constantly reading about stalkers and serial killers.  Every once in a while, I’ll search for a non-fiction book that provides inspiration.  I recently finished reading The Source of Self Regard by Toni Morrison.  First, let me say, this was my first Toni Morrison experience.  I know.  Shame on me, an avid reader and had never read any of her fiction or non-fiction pieces.  Nonetheless, I’m so glad that this was my first Toni Morrison experience.  She talks about everything from current events and immigration to the root of racism in America.  She also included several essays about literature as an art form, what it means to write profound pieces that address race and class, and the state of art itself.  Those pieces were just as important to me, given that I am a writer by nature.  My favorite essay is “Cinderella’s Stepsisters,” which focuses on feminism and ending women to women violence, particularly in the workplace.

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21. Create a Music Playlist

I haven’t danced like no one is watching in a really long time.  However, I will sing like no one is listening on a weekly basis.  Music is the universal language.  Belt it out like Beyonce.

 

22. Develop a Nighttime Routine — And Stick to It!

I previously posted “Spa Day Funday” on the blog, and provided my nighttime routine.  Developing a nighttime routine, and sticking to it, is important in maintaining good sleeping habits.  When I have a good night’s sleep, I am energized and refreshed in the morning.  I’m not a morning person, so my sleep is very important to me.  I also think that when you have children, it’s important to develop a nighttime routine for you and your kids. For example, growing up, I remember my mother set a bed time.  There was no leeway in maneuvering that bed time and it only increased with age.  Now as an adult, I keep the same habit of having a bed time for myself, making sure I’ve turned the diffuser on and phone off.

 

23. Clear Out Junk and Clutter

Have you watched Marie Kondo’s Tiding Up on Netflix?  I greatly enjoyed it, as it encouraged me to start decluttering certain areas of my home.  My main task for decluttering the home this year are tackling my closet space and my basement.  There are so many clothing items that I haven’t worn or probably seen in forever.  Clearly by Marie’s standards, they are no longer bringing me joy and need to go.

 

24. Disconnect from Technology

Turn the Netflix off; put your phone on silent and read a book. Read on the train. Read in the bathtub. Go for a run in the park. Do something where you can turn the power button off and relax without interruption.

 

25. Go to Your Local Museum

Last summer, I took my mother to the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  Support your local art museums.

 

26. Use Aromatherapy and Candles

When I’m home, I always have candles burning.  I love aromatherapy and how it relaxes me.  I recently attended a candle making workshop, hosted by 228 Grant Street Candle Co. in Baltimore.  It was so much fun!  I got to learn about how soy wax candles are made and how to care for the candles to increase longevity.  I will definitely attempt to make my own candle and mix fragrances.

 
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27. Apologize and Forgive

My father always says that he doesn’t believe in apologies because most times, the individual intended to perform the act that was committed, and disregarded it’s potential offense to others.  Whether it’s true or not, apologizing is often just as important as forgiving.  I am a firm believer in being responsible for myself and my actions.  Even when I don’t agree with the other person – and agree to disagree – an apology may be needed in an effort to move forward amicably and getting to forgiveness.

 

28. Rid Your Aura of Toxic People

I can’t stress this enough.  If someone is not bringing value to your life, bringing more negative rather than positive energy, let them go.  If that person is costing you time and / or money, let them go.  Not everyone values you the way you deserve.  Using your power of goodbye and removing toxic people from your life will save your energy for those who genuinely appreciate you.

 

29. Make Time for Family and Friends

My family has all moved to Florida.  So, in between traveling south and visiting my parents, I also try to visit close friends.  I meet my girlfriends once a month for dinner and drinks.  I reach out to long-distance girlfriends via FaceTime.  We are all very busy with our work, spouses and children.  Schedule time for your family and separate time for your friends, to maintain a healthy balance outside of your work schedule.

 

30. Keep Smiling

I smile a lot.  But when I’m in the worst mood, or some random anxiety is kicking in, I don’t want to smile. I’m stressed.  Just remember, the storm doesn’t last forever. Smile.

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31. Make Time for Yourself

Even if it’s just one or two hours a week, make time for yourself.  Soak in the bathtub.  Read a book.  Go get that pedicure and massage.  Make time for yourself.  You’ll drive yourself crazy if you don’t.  Self-care is so important for our mental, emotional and physical health.  How can you truly maintain a healthy lifestyle if you’re constantly stressed, overworked and overwhelmed?  Make that necessary time for yourself and then start the reset button. I recently read “Self-Care is Not An Indulgence. It’s a Discipline,” and the entire article emphasizes that although self-care can be rather boring, it is necessary and takes discipline. Self-care makes you mentally and emotionally stronger, a better spouse, parent and employee. Start disciplining yourself now and make time for yourself.

 
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Spa Day Funday

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Spa Day Funday

My Home Beauty Regimen

I try to do an at home self pamper day at least once a month. I think of it as a reset button. Now that I’ve refreshed my bathroom, I’ve been more inspired lately to have the spa experience more frequently.

 

Mask that Face

There are so many different cleansers and masks for all different skin types. It’s important to pay attention to your skin’s individual needs. Try not to use a cleanser that dries out your skin. Keep your skin clean and hydrated.

I use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser. It’s very gentle and minimizes the look of pores. Honestly, I don’t have dry or overly oily skin. I do not have acne; however, my skin does scar easily. This cleanser is awesome because it contains natural oils and is pH-balanced.

But my mask, I LOVE this stuff. I’ve been using it for years now! My skin is so smooth, after I rinse it off. After washing my face, I apply the mask and leave it on for several hours. Once I rinse it off, my face is hydrated thanks to the nutrients found in avocados and oatmeal, like Vitamin E.

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Scrub that Dead Skin

Face

A good routine is to alternate days between masking and exfoliating. But if you don’t have the time to mask every other days, at the bare minimum, I exfoliate two to three times a week. Washing your face with a good facial cleanser gets the dirt off, but your skin is constantly shedding.

For the past year, I’ve been using SkinCeutical’s Micro-Exfoliating facial scrub. This micro scrub is very gentle on my skin but does the job. I use it about every other day, and when I come out of the shower, my face is smooth and polished. According to their website, this exfoliator promotes new cell growth.

Body

Don’t forget to exfoliate the rest of your body! Sometimes, we’re so busy, that we forget the rest of our body needs a good scrub as well. I’m obsessed with Asquith & Somerset’s Argan oil Exfoliating Sugar Scrub. OMG. First of all, when you open the container, it smells divine. Secondly, after I apply the scrub to my skin and begin to rinse off, the argan oil leaves me completely moisturized. My skin feels completely revitalized, soft and smells good too!

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Take your Vitamins

I take wayyyyyy more vitamins than this, but I especially wanted to share what I take internally AND apply on my skin.

I have a Vitamin D deficiency. No, I don’t avoid the sun. It’s just some weird thing that chemically happened to my body after I turned 30, I swear! I started subscribing to Hum Nutrition, which offers Vitamin D supplements. These not only help with my hormonal imbalance (which attributes to the deficiency), but also helps my immune system (I’m rarely sick), digestive system (which has been so much better since I started using Hum), and bone health. We all know I need that!

For my skin, I recently got this sample of AMOREPACIFIC Youth Revolution Radiance Concentrator. I apply a drop on my forehead, each cheek and chin area before smoothing out all over my face. This sample came right on time considering we’ve had an interesting winter here in Baltimore-DC. One day it’s freezing cold temperatures. The next day, it’s warm and feels like Spring is on the cusp. This little bottle is a Vitamin A and C serum that reduces my look of wrinkles and helps with evening out my skin tone, reducing the appearance of scars.

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Soak the Day Away

My seller installed a jacuzzi tub in my bathroom and it has been a godsent. I try to soak often. When I do, I always use a bath salt mix that I created. This helps reduce my muscle tension, relax my mind with lavender before I head to bed, and take away any aches I carry in my ankles and feet thanks to my injury.

I use Himalayan salt, lavender epsom salt, a small amount of lavender buds, and lavender essential oil. Drop the ingredients in your steaming bath water and soak the day away!

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Stick to Your Bedtime Routine

Once I’m in the bed, I usually use my rose quartz face roller until I’m ready to turn the tv off. Once I’m done massaging my face, for at least 15 minutes, I then apply Estée Lauder Night Repair Synchronized Recovery. This is a nightly moisturizing cream that does it’s work while you’re asleep. Again, it’s all about keeping that face hydrated!

I sleep with an eye mask because sometimes I have really bad insomnia. I drop lavender and eucalyptus essential oils in my diffuser and it has really helped. Now, I rarely have to use any sleep aids to fall asleep — and stay asleep. These smells knock me out and I’m not groggy in the morning, thanks to this more natural routine.

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Shop My Outfit

Pajama Set: J. Crew Factory (Sold Out) Similar Here | Headband: Sincerely Jules by Scünci Pink Sequin Turban Headband

 
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