Running into the Week Refreshed

Happy new week! I can honestly say that I'm starting this week the most refreshed I've felt in months. Why? Because I made a conscious decision to lean into rest heavily over the past few days and do nothing but engage in activities that I enjoy, nourish my soul and leave me feeling happier than when I started (like cleaning). This looked like spending ample time with my husband and son, creating content because you know how much I enjoy fashion, actually finishing two books I've been reading for months, cleaning up my apartment, cooking, etc. It also helped that I enjoyed 5 days off from work so I was basically on a staycation. So it got me thinking, how can we start every week feeling refreshed even when we can't take off 5 days from work to engage in self-care: 
Coat- Missguided (old), never version here | Sweatsuit- H&M | Sneakers-Nike also available here and here

  • Carve out some dedicated time before your workday begins to be still. I usually do this before going to bed because once I wake up to get ready for work, I'm in go mode. This time can be devoted to meditating, prayer/devotions, journaling, reading or whatever actives create calm in your atmosphere and nourish your soul.
  • Turn off notifications or designate certain times throughout the day when you're not going to check notifications and/or put your phone on silent so you don't get distracted. I find that the more I'm checking notifications or scrolling through social media near bedtime or when I first wake up, the less at peace I feel. 
  • Create boundaries with how you spend your time and honor them. I don't think we need to elaborate on this too much. So all I'm going to say is that wasted or misallocated time can never be recovered. Steward it well.
  • Do not crowd your calendar during your time off with too many social events. Also, we're in a pandemic so if you spend every weekend out and about socializing without a mask, I'm giving you the side eye. On a serious note, we all crave human connection especially now. As fun as it is to hang out, it's easy to feel tired after a day or night out with friends because having fun requires rest afterwards. So I don't pack too much into my days off. If I am spending time with friends during one of my days off one week, I probably won't make any social plans the next week or only group my social plans to one day of my weekend so I have a day dedicated just to rest and another day dedicating to getting things done around my home (yes I almost always have three day weekends because I work full time 4 days a week). 
  • Give yourself grace. It's not the end of the world if you don't accomplish everything on your weekend to-do list because you chose to rest instead. Your body will thank you for not being depleted. 


Time, Style and Taking Care

Living through the pandemic definitely made me evaluate the depth of my relationships, not just with people but with things, institutions and most of all my relationship with time. Before the pandemic, I viewed time as something that would always be on my side when I needed it to. Losing some “normalcy” and dear loved ones last year made me reflect. Before COVID My mindset was: There will always be time to do tomorrow what I neglected to do today, to reach out to folks, to rectify situations, to meet goals, etc.

The reality is that time is one of the most precious resources and how it is spent literally shapes the present and trajectory of our lives and relationships.
As we navigate through a life with limited time my intention is not to put off for tomorrow what I have the capacity to do today. How are you taking care of your time this year? Do you set intentions for how you spend your time?
Top-H&M | Jean-Uniqlo (old) similar here | Boots-Nine West

Like many people, I spend a lot of time at work. For the past few months, I’ve had at least one day in my work week that is extremely challenging physical and mentally. Those type of days leave me feeling tired down to my soul because those are the days I pour out all my energy but don’t always refill my cup. As tough as those days are, I’ve learned to not be defined by them but refined through them. A challenging day does not equate to a bad week. It means I simply have to do a better job of taking care of myself and prioritizing my wellbeing. So I decided to take off work today as self-care day to replenish me. How do you pour into yourself when you feel like you spent all your energy?

Thank you @mvmt for this watch! Use my code THEYSAYASH15 to gift yourself or someone else a special time piece.


Celebrating Black History Month & Family Style

How are we celebrating Black History? By doing the same things we do every month: standing in joy, moving with excellence, taking pride in everything that makes us who we are, being good examples for our son, showing him why representation matters, teaching him about the richness and diversity of black culture, and the list goes on.

Shirts are linked for each person: Ashley-sold out but shop the collection here | Kofi | Avery

As a black mom, it's my joy and duty to instill the love and pride of blackness into my son. I want him to see himself represented not just in our home, but everywhere as he grows up and continues to take space in the world. I want him to know that he is loved and celebrated and that he stands on the shoulders of giants! I want Avery to understand that greatness of the ancestors and the sacrifices they made for us to be in this country. Most of all I want him to know that he is perfectly made because he was created in the image of God!  I could go on and on but I'll keep this short and sweet. 

I was so excited when my husband and I found these shirts from Target's Black Beyond Measure Black history month collection (shoutout to #targetstyle). The fact that Target spotlight's black people and black owned/founded brands is another reason why it's one of my favorite stores. So if you're in the market for apparel celebrating black culture, check out Target or any of your favorite black owned brands! 


Snow Day Slay & How to Navigate a Storm

 


Coat-Zara | Jeans-Uniqlo (sold out) similar here | Ankle Boots- Nine West | Sunglasses- MVMT

When you find yourself in a storm you have two options: wait for it to pass or work your way through it. I'm a work your way through it girl! With all my 27 years of life experience on this earth I can say with certainty that storms are inevitable. You can prepare for them when they're forecasted and you know the end date (like with the snow we've been experiencing in the tri-state area on and off for the past week and a half). However, I've realized that most storms in life come with little to no warning. If you know the signs of an oncoming storm, you can brace yourself and strategize a way to get through it. 

So what do you do when you're in the midst of a storm with no end in sight? Well I take a few approaches:

  • Strategize and seek counsel: I know I'm not the only one going through the hard things I'm experiencing at times so when I find it difficult to cope I pray, seek the wisdom and knowledge of those who have successfully made it out of the storm I'm in, and make an action plan. One thing I have learned in my career in operations is that you will either fail without a plan or you'll win but won't understand how it happened which means you likely won't be able to replicate that win again. Unless you learn to review that win with good guidance, wisdom and study it of course. 
  • Savor the calm moments: last week Monday I had to drive home from work in the early hours of a blizzard. For starters my car was skidding which really had me driving on faith in God to get me home. Then my car got stuck on a back road and I felt frustrated until a good samaritan saw me struggling to move my car and pushed it out of the snowy rut it was in so I could drive again (God is always looking out for us). When I finally made it onto the highway I felt peace, the snow was still falling but the highway was much cleaner than the back roads I was on and I felt safe. The highway was well salted so I wasn't worried about obstructions popping up.
  • Do the things that bring you joy: Just because life is challenging you at the moment doesn't mean you can't lean into things that bring you joy. I have several sources of joy and two things that always brought me joy are wearing cute outfits and having them captured because I love creating content! When I saw these sunglasses from MVMT, I knew I wanted to wear it with a look that incorporated black and white, hence my black coat and white boots. Sunglasses are an easy way to elevate an outfit and instantly look cool! If you're interested in these or other cute pair of quality sunglasses, use my discount code THEYSAYASH for 15% off any item from MVMT.

Mapiful: The Perfect Just Because or Valentine's Day Gift



Let me preface this by saying that my husband and I usually don't buy each other gifts for special occasions. When we first starting dating 6 years ago we decided that we never wanted to use a holiday as a reason to gift each other something special, so we randomly give each other gifts just because. For example, my husband got tired of me borrowing his air pods last week so he decided to gift me my own pair haha. Around the holidays my husband mentioned missing home. He's originally from Tobago and has always wanted our family to visit for Christmas. Due to covid and work schedules, visiting the Island was not possible last year. So when Mapiful reached out to gift me with a custom print, I thought this would be the perfect time to give him a piece of his native home right in our apartment. So we went on the Mapiful website and designed a Trinidad & Tobago map just for him! He insisted on it being red, white and black because those are the country's national colors. With Valentine's day approaching in a few weeks I thought a Mapiful print would make a perfect gift for your special someone!

Boho Chic: Fringe Sweater & Yellow Faux Leather



Style: One of my favorite things to wear in the winter is a chinky knit sweater! I love this sweater from Lovestitch because it's warm, stylish and unique. The tassels pretty much made me get it and the neutral hues make it contrast well with bright colors like this yellow skirt I got from Zara a few years ago. I can also see this sweater going great with with denim or black faux leather pants for alternate looks. How would you style it?

Food for thought: Don't let a cloudy day dim your light. As you can see, I shot this outfit on a cloudy day and clearly it sparked a message. As you walk through this week remember that you can't always control your environment, but you can control how you respond to it. No day is perfect but your attitude can make a rough day better and a good day great. So be the light your environment is lacking and have a blessed week!

All You Have Is All You Need + Styling A Striped Sweater

I heard some say that "all you have is all you need" and that really resonated with me. How many times have we told ourselves that we are not equipped to to do one thing or another because we lack the resources. The truth is that if what you want to do is in alignment with your purpose, you already have what you need to start or continue. It's natural to want more. I want more money so I can buy a house, go on multiple vacations a year, buy more things I don't need and the list goes on. I want more time so I can put more energy into content creation, spend more time with my family, spend more time with my friends in person than on the phone...you get the point. 
Sweater-Asos (old) | Jeans-Old Navy | Ankle Boots- Target (old)
Truth is, maybe I don't need more, I just need to be a better steward of what I already have in this season. If I save more aggressively I can buy a house sooner and go on more than one or two vacations a year. That means I have to stop spending $50 here and $100 there on things I don't really need each month because those dollars add up. There are 24 hours in a day and that's never going to change, so I have to set more boundaries for myself to manage my time better. That could mean batch creating content on the weekend, respecting my screen time boundaries so I can spend more time investing into me than endlessly scrolling. Now, I started doing these things already and I'm already seeing the difference in my life. Lately my prayers have been less of Lord give me more and Lord help me to be a better steward of all that you have given me and He's shown me that all I have is all I need. If this blog post blessed you, share it with someone. Let's uplift each other!