To me, natural and healthy living start with looking at my habits and learning my options. It means I want to make the choices that align more with my own health and the earth's health. I have to do the best I can within my means. Right now, I feel like this plays out for me in a lot of the food choices I make. I've started buying a lot more fruit and fresh vegetables and making large-portion slow cooker meals, because if I'm going to be honest with myself — I'm not about to spend an hour in the kitchen every night making a healthy meal. But I can spend a few hours on the weekend making a couple I can heat up throughout the week. Balance!
Oh man, lol. There's self-care that I need consistently and then there's self-care that's like a cherry on top. I've learned that exercise is one kind of self-care that I cannot skimp on. I take yoga and cycling classes on a regular basis because yoga helps center both my mind and body and cycling makes me feel like a warrior queen. Then on top of that, one month I might get my nails done, or go grab some of my favorite chocolates from the store, or I might give myself a day off from all work and emails. I rarely plan those extra things, and sometimes they can be few and far between. I understand the need to hustle, but I've also learned my limits, and recognize how to step back before I burn all the way out.
My work fills my cup in many ways. When folks reach out to me and let me know that something I've written on my blog, or posted in The Educated Birth or Everyday Baby touched them — it just makes my day. And when my graphic design clients get their pieces complete and sent out into the world or printed and they're proud of them and feel well represented — that makes me feel so proud of what I do. And when I deliver photographs to clients who've hired me for that and they get excited to share them — it's wonderful!
I think the most draining thing about what I do is that — for the time being — I do so much at the same time, and also that I am emotionally invested in a good deal of what I do. I can't separate myself from my work and I think that's why I put more hours in so willingly.
My favorite healthy recipe is salmon with quinoa and broccoli. It. Is. So. Easy. I put olive oil, salt and pepper and sometimes rosemary on some salmon and stick it in the (cold) oven, then set it to 400 degrees and set my timer to 20 minutes. About ten minutes into that I put some quinoa in my rice cooker and some broccoli in the veggie steamer on top. The broccoli usually steams all the way before the quinoa is done, and then the quinoa is done and then the salmon. I'd love to learn a few ways to spice this super easy dish up in the future, but for now, I'm good. I'm really not a foodie. I'll take ease and practicality over glimmer any day of the week.
I don't follow the beauty world very much (I haven't even really worn make-up since college and then... pretty much just eyeliner). I've been encouraged to see the Fenty beauty line come out making space and products for many more skin tones. Affordability is big for me, but I understand also that quality comes at a price. I love beauty DIYs, like making your own lip scrub. That's on my list of things to do. My ask to the beauty world: Don't tell me how you think I can look better, show me what I can do with what I already have that can help me feel more confident and like my best self.
I really love the facial cream! I was noticing clogged pores and dry skin on my face before I started using the toner and the facial cream and neither of those issues have shown themselves since.
What would you say is the most surprising thing about you?
As a petite and quiet Gemini/Virgo, I think I carry a lot of opposites inside me, lol. I think people usually get to know the very quiet, serious side of me first. And then it can be surprising to see the light-hearted, silly side of me later. I also think that because I'm small and quiet I've been deeply underestimated by some folks in the past and it surprised them later to see how when I get my mind on doing something, I can really push through with a great amount of practicality and purpose and achieve my goal. I may be a bit of a dreamer but I'm not naive.
When did you start embracing your natural hair? What was that like as a woman of color?
If anything, growing up I wished my curls were tighter and denser like most of the women in the family. I came to a place in college where I was like, "Okay, so my Black hair isn't like my mom's Black hair, my sister's Black hair or my aunt's Black hair but it's still Black hair because I am a Black woman too!" I've definitely embraced my hair since then, but I feel like I'm still learning how to do my hair well. I look a lot online to see what other folks with my sort of curls do, because I don't think we're always spoken directly to in the general hair care world.