Vulnerability in being Vulnerable

Transitions, they’re a part of life, both scary and exciting as well as fresh and yet intimidating. Wise people always say “practice makes perfect”, but what’s practice to a perfectionist though? I have been very vocal on this blog, an advocate if you will, about my long battle with anxiety. Anxiety is wanting a fresh start but allowing negative thoughts and self sabotage to get in your way. You literally feel like you’re waiting for somebody to figure out you’re a fraud. Even when you do your very best.People often think it’s easy for anxiety suffers just to “turn it off”-man I wish it was that easy!

I am what many would call a creature of habit. I like my routine, I like my life, and any life changes that come my way often take time for me to adjust to. Life doesn’t follow a script, not the ones we write for ourselves and not the ones we expect life to write for us. The only thing we are guaranteed in life is that we are all born, we are all going to pay taxes, and eventually we’re all going to die. What we do with that ” – ” in between our beginning and our demise is entirely up to us but ultimately it could be very intimidating. Many of us are searching for meaning in every opportunity but sometimes opportunities come along to force us to grow.

When you’re a perfectionist in a world that demands perfection you often feel like you fall short of these expectations the people around you have of you. It’s like standing underneath a crumbling avalanche and waiting to be buried in a mirage of feelings. With age I am learning that everybody feels this way: the fear of disappointing our spouses, our parents, our partners, our relatives, our friends and our coworkers.  although I know it is important not to let this fear take the wheel and steer my life direction, some days I find it’s much harder to battle these feelings then others. Some days, I am confident in my abilities and certain of my success. Other days, I just want to crawl into a ball and hide from everything. These days which are so conflicting in many ways beg me to question: Is it really better to fake it until you make it? Or should we wear our personality flaws and struggles like battle scars? Is there truly strength in vulnerability by being accessibly vulnerable? I think there is, but today, I don’t have answers, only questions and sometimes that’s okay too.

This Week in History: A Woman’s Right to Vote

Many Americans with a basic knowledge of history know that the 19th Amendment guarantees American women the right to vote. A lot of modern-day women take for granted this very milestone which required a lengthy and difficult struggle from women who lived over a century ago; a victory which took decades of turbulence and strife.

The journey to give women their basic American right of voting began in the mid-19th century. This was a time when woman suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a revolutionary change for that time.

While women struggled with their rights to vote, believe it or not, the first woman to run for President in a major election took place in 1872. You probably won’t read about her in your high school US History I or II books; but her name was Victoria Claflin Woodhull and she was the candidate of the Equal Rights Party. Her opponents were Ulysses S. Grant (R) and Horace Greeley (D). Woodhull, fought hard for women’s rights and even founded her own newspaper. She became the first woman to own a Wall Street investment firm. Luckily, she would live to see her dream of women’s right to vote realized before she died 7 years later in 1927 but what does that have to do with the significance of this very week?

In order to answer that question, we need to go back to 1878, when the amendment we know today as the 19th amendment was first introduced in Congress. It all began when Victoria Woodhull addressed the House Judiciary Committee, arguing women’s rights to vote under the fourteenth amendment. This ideal was met with such distain that the Anti-Suffrage Party was founded and push back began. From that moment forward it would be 42 whole years later in 1920, when the amendment would finally be ratified! Could you even imagine fighting for something that men your age could do simply by being born male for 42 years? While this seems discouraging to many, it was all made possible by the early champions of voting rights for women. These women, like Victoria Claflin Woodhull, worked tirelessly to make progress on this basic American right. Their strategies varied and while some tried to pass suffrage acts in each state. There were nine western states which adopted woman suffrage legislation by 1912 these states included: California, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Washington State, Oregon, Kansas and Arizona.

Other states, like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts continued to reject woman suffrage. While many well-known women in our history books challenged male-only voting laws in the courts, some of the more well known public tactics included parades, silent vigils, and even hunger strikes. Supporters were heckled, jailed, and sometimes physically abused simply for the rights that men were freely given. I am reminded of the movie Iron Jawed Angels starring Hilary Swank in which she plays Alice Paul. The movie details Paul’s experience after she was arrested for “obstructing traffic” while picketing for women’s suffrage. The struggles she underwent when she was denied counsel, placed in a straitjacket, and subjected to examination in the psychiatric ward (simply for wanting equality!) is just baffling. When it’s concluded that Paul showed no signs of mania or delusion, she got returned to the prison’s general population, where she led the suffragettes on a hunger strike that ended with the warden force-feeding her raw eggs and milk.

The fight was long and exhausting by the time 1916 came, most of the major suffrage organizations stood united behind the goal of a constitutional amendment. When New York officially adopted woman suffrage in 1917, President Wilson (who was in office during Paul’s imprisonment) changed his position to support an amendment in 1918 and the political balance finally began to shift.

On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, and two weeks later, the Senate followed. When Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment on August 18, 1920, the amendment was officially adopted 100 years ago this past Tuesday. While decades of struggle to include African Americans and other minority women in the promise of voting rights persisted, the face of the American elections had changed forever.

As a woman in America, I feel honored and privileged to have been able to vote in every major election. To have my voice heard and not be denied simply because of my gender is something I never take for granted. It is hard to believe that only 100 years ago women gained the right to legally get out and vote, while today so many American women are unregistered to do so. If this post could inspire someone out there who isn’t registered to do so and make their voice heard, then I will feel I’ve done my part in honoring the legacy of the women who came before us, who fought tooth and nail to ensure women were included in “all” being “created equal”.

If you haven’t already, please consider registering to vote as it was a privilege up until the last century that was denied to many. Be sure to leave a comment below and tell me; are you registered to vote? How important to you is voting in elections both national, statewide or local?

Until next time…

Inside Brittany’s Makeup Bag: Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit

Well hello there fan friends!

I’m sorry, but not genuinely, that this post is for my makeup lovers. I can’t even accurately put into words how truly in LOVE with sharing and talking about cosmetic products I am. I especially love a product with good integrity (that doesn’t test on animals) and most of all LASTS ALL DAY while looking fabulous. Let me start this post by saying I am the first to admit I criticize the SHIZZ out of the Kardashian/Jenner crew, but I can also give credit where it’s due and I got to say: when it comes to makeup, those ladies know their products and put out quality products. I really love and use the product I’m going to discuss today so much that I wanted the opportunity to talk about why I put my seal of approval on it.

Before we get into how beautiful this shade is for a multitude of reasons let’s talk about the company itself. The company we know as Kylie Cosmetics came about in February 2016 after the lip kit releases made an ABSOLUTE killing. In fact, by the end of 2016, the company’s total revenue was over $300 million. Talk about striking gold!

Jenner credits the creation of her ‘lip kits which launched a brand’ to her former insecurity about her lip size as inspiration and is quoted saying it’s “one of the most authentic things I’ve done in my career”.

One thing that always bothered me about ‘celebrity products’ is you’re paying for the name 95% of the time and yet 5% of the time it’s like the anti-climatic Spider-Man 3 in the fact that it often falls short of our expectations. I set out to find out if Kylie could put her “money where her mouth is” literally, as in, is her lip kit products sold at $27.00 USD to pop really worth it? It’s been a best seller for so long that I couldn’t help but wonder: How many women out there were purchasing these products for the Kylie brand for prices they were ashamed to tell their friends?

I waited until the Black Friday sales to strike in November of 2019, I purchased Kylies’ Bare Velvet Liquid Lipstick Lip Kit for 15% off. The color looked pleasant, a nude pinky beige, that I could wear to work every day without looking too over the top. One of my biggest pet peeves is finding a lip liner that compliments and matches my lipstick and Kylie-you clever fox-certainly delivered on that promise! Each Lip Kit comes with a Velvet Liquid Lipstick and MATCHING Lip Liner. So, to reiterate with each Lip Kit you get: 

• 1 Velvet Liquid Lipstick (0.11 oz./ 3.0 g)

• 1 Pencil Lip Liner (net wt./ poids net  .03 oz/ 1.0g)

Let’s talk Lip Liner

Kylie’s website claims this ultra-long wearing Lip Liner has a creamy texture that glides across the lips for a very easy and comfortable application. I definitely agree, but as a general staple I ALWAYS apply chapstick 10 minutes before putting on the liner. Some reviewers claim it dries out their lips, I just avoid this possible ramification by going the extra mile with chapstick. I really LOVE how this Lip Liner sharpens easily in most standard sized sharpeners – just make sure your sharpener is not dull!

Next let’s talk the Velvet Liquid Lipstick…

I FREAKIN LOVE the Velvet Liquid Lipstick it definitely provides high intensity pigment for a full coverage lip and it looks very natural and not phony in the color Bare. I haven’t tried the reds or pinks but I have to say this is my favorite nude lipstick. It’s long wearing, ultra pigmented liquid lipstick and it does glide on for a creamy matte look that does not dry down, at least for me.

I know that I can get through the work day wearing this lipstick and not have to worry about reapplying, which for me, makes it worth the price.  I have come to the conclusion that even though Kylie cosmetics is admittedly pricey it is really no less expensive than a quality MAC lipstick. While in some cases I do believe that the fans of a lot of these successful media personalities will buy and back a product for the sake of the name, in Kylie’s case, I think she’s got a pretty good product to back her brand. 

I honestly went into this product testing thinking I’d be slamming the youngest Kardashian-Jenner sister worth a whopping $900 million dollars according to Forbes 2019 edition for selling a crap product but WOW I am not only impressed but will definitely be purchasing again.

Now that you know the truth, I can share with you how I apply without getting any bleed out when greeting people with a customary kiss hello. I’ve learned some tips and tricks I’d like to share on both applying and making the most out of your lipstick. Cause who doesn’t want to look as fabulous as possible when you purchase a great product?:

1. I always apply Chapstick to my lips and let it soak in for about 10 minutes before I put on my liner. What this does is it smooths out any rough patches you have on your lips. It also hydrates your lips to give you a more fresh look.

2. Next, I apply the Kylie Cosmetics’ BARE liner. Since you’ve put on Chapstick a little bit tends to go a long way with the liner. Apply till they are coated and smack lips together a few times to evenly spread the liner. As I mentioned you shouldn’t need a whole lot because the Chapstick will help spread the color around as well.

3. Thirdly, you have the velvet liquid lipstick which you dab on very liberally. Let this sit for 5 minutes.

4. FINALLY (and this is my secret trick fan friends) take a tissue or a piece of toilet paper and place it over your lips. Take a smaller brush and using your setting powder (the one you set your foundation with) smooth it over your tissue covered lips. What this does is help set the lipstick so you are not getting any rub off when you give someone a kiss hello. Do this twice until you see little to no bleed out.

As you can see, this flawless application and trick to making your lipstick last really does actually work. What make up products will you spend the money on that are well worth the brand? Leave a comment below I’m really curious to hear about what products you stand by and if you think they’re really worth the prices. Have an amazing Friday, I’ll see you all next week.



Schmidt’s A Wonderful Recipe!: Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Hello Fan Friends!

Last night I had FULL intentions of giving you my lower carb grilled cheese recipe but Tom and I made such a delicious dish last night I couldn’t resist NOT sharing this recipe we found while surfing Pinterest on a Sunday night. I know it’s bad form, but I honestly can’t even remember who or where we received the recipe from but we always end up doing our own little twist to each one to make them our own.

Please be sure to read my full DISCLAIMER regarding recipes and the ingredients I list. I am neither a dietitian nor a nutritionist so please use your own discretion or consult a professional if you have any questions or concerns about making this recipe. Obviously, a well-balanced diet is the way to go, and while my lifestyle is geared towards lower carbs I try not to let it be too restrictive. The picture above shows my husband’s dish, he opted to have his bacon wrapped chicken with rice while I opted to have mine with green beans so aside from how freakin’ easy this recipe is to make what I really love about it is that the side dish can be as versatile as you wish.

My Recommendations for side dishes include:

-Green Beans

-Broccoli

-Rice

-Baked Potatoes

-Seasoned Fries

Depending on how healthy or strict you feel like being, this dish would really compliment these sides and many more-it’s really up to you! Although I doubt you came here to read about what side dishes I recommend when it was a recipe I promised to share so let’s get right into it!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Worcestershire sauce (enough to coat both chicken breasts)
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Brown sugar
  • 4 slices of bacon (uncooked)
  • Here’s what you need to do:
  • Take your two chicken breasts and liberally saturate them in Worcestershire sauce so that they are completely covered. Next, you’re going to generously sprinkle some garlic powder and chili powder. We honestly don’t measure so use your best judgement on how much or how little seasoning you feel comfortable with. Finally, generously coat the chicken with brown sugar and make sure to rub in-don’t be shy-show that dinner some love!
  • Once you have your chicken breasts seasoned, grab that bacon and start wrapping, Tom and I used two slices of bacon per chicken breast. If you’re a family of two; use four bacon slices if you’re a family of four; use eight slices of bacon. Or if it’s a bigger piece of chicken you can use three slices of bacon to ensure it is fully wrapped. As long and your chicken is fully wrapped in the bacon it will be fine, use your discretion. Now this last part is very important, once you have your chicken wrapped you may liberally add more brown sugar to coat the bacon on the top of your chicken breasts.
  • Your chicken should look like the photo above and when it does, YAY it is ready to be cooked! Now toss those tasty suckers on an oven-safe baking sheet that is covered with tinfoil. Be sure to spray your tin foil with a non-stick spray to avoid any post-cooking sticking to the foil. 
  • Pre-heat that oven to 375 degrees, in fact, I highly recommend preheating the oven BEFORE you start seasoning your chicken breasts because that way by the time you finish, BAM! It’s ready to rock and roll! Place your bacon wrapped chicken breasts into the oven to cook for 30 minutes and when you’re done…
  • While you let your bacon wrapped chicken stand for 5 minutes, prepare your side dish-or you can do it ahead of time to save yourself some trouble. Serve with the side dish of your choice and enjoy!
  • What’s your favorite home cooked meal? Leave a comment below, I love hearing for all of you!
  • Writers Block & Other Things

    Hello Fan Friends!

    I know it has been such a long time since I updated and I promise it’s with good reason. In addition to me having probably one of the worst writers blocks I’ve experienced in quite some time, I’ve had a lot of stuff going on in my personal life which prevented me from being as active as I wanted to be. For starters, I got a new job so the last few weeks post Fourth of July I have been focused on learning everything I need to be successful in this new professional venture of mine.

    My favorites for the month of July and August will be posted sometime this weekend and I can’t wait to share with you all the things I love, mainly Schmidt’s low carb bread. I am also really excited to share with you my low-carb grilled cheese recipe. Grilled cheese is one of the things I missed most about my old lifestyle since adopting more lower carb eating habits and I am BEYOND thrilled to share with you how you can still enjoy a childhood classic with sacrificing a ‘cheat day’.

    This week was really rough week where I am located on the east coast here in the USA. We were hit with a tropical storm, Isaias, which left us without power for over 20 hours. Let me tell you all, it’s amazing how much we take for granted the ability to plug in our cell phones into outlets within our homes. Having and trying to get a full night’s rest with no air-conditioning in the house was no fun either.

    I think the scariest part about the whole experience with Isaias was getting my first ever tornado warning in my 31 years of life living in my state. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a basement to head into so I needed to scoop Draco up and run us into the bathtub. Thankfully the tornado did not strike my town instead it hit a town about 20 minutes south of me. It was still a super scary experience for us, both Draco and myself, especially since Tom was at work when it was happening. Thankfully God provided and we weren’t affected with any damage just the loss of power but majority of my state lost power too so we weren’t alone. 

    The power at my job was also affected and not yet restored so as a result yesterday, after the power was soundly restored, I took Draco for a much needed walk with my best friend, Jen, who came by to join us. Draco was very happy to get out and get some exercise, I felt bad because I haven’t been able to walk him as much as I usually do as a result of going back to work. I figured I would take advantage of the fact that I didn’t have to go into the office and treat him to a nice walk. Boy was it hot though!

    I would like to give a very special shout out to MindBeautySimplicity (we share the same first name too, how cool is that?!) for her wonderful comment this morning. As a writer, we are motivated by the comments we receive, knowing that my blog has made such a positive difference in someone’s life motivates me as a writer to post more frequently. It’s also a reminder to everyone who stops by, please leave a comment, it’s nice to know I am missed and what I have to say matters. Keeping content fresh and relative isn’t always easy for us writers we have to stretch our minds and really think, “does my audience care about this?” Hearing from all of you and knowing what you enjoy reading about helps me narrow down what content to post.

    At any rate, I hope this update finds you all safe, well, and healthy. I look forward to posting more frequently as I adjust to my new routine. 

    Happy 4th of July!

    In lieu of a full post this week, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all those who celebrate, here in the USA, a very happy 4th of July!

    Those of us who live here in the USA were the privileged few to have been born in free country. We were able to breathe the fresh free air since our birth. We remember our national heroes today. Together we have proved ourselves worthy of freedom! On this special day, let us take come forward and make a promise to take our nation on the path of prosperity so that people can live a happy life. Happy Independence day to all.

    5 ways being a Dog Mom makes my life complete!

    There’s a debate amongst the Moms and the Dog Moms often about should Pet-Parenthood be considered Parenthood at all. Since COVID-19 came on the scene here in the US only 6 months ago, a lot of us began working from home and spending a lot more time inside with our fur children. Being a dog mom means planning your day-to-day life around my four-legged son’s schedule. That means coming home by a certain time, making sure he’s well fed and taking him on daily walks.

    But as you know, all of these dog mom tasks are more of a privilege than a chore, because being a dog mom to the best fur baby around is priceless. The snuggles, the unconditional love, the playtime romps around the dog park.

    What does being a dog Mom really mean to me? Glad you asked!

    1. Draco always makes me smile-no matter what kind of day I’m having Draco always brings a smile to my face! Whether it be a good day or a tough day he’s always there waiting to get excited with me or comfort me if I cry. Having that unconditional love at my disposal makes my life complete!

    2. I’m just as excited for Christmas Day and to see the look on Draco’s face when we watch him open his presents!-yes Santa Claus comes and brings presents to your children he also brings some presents to my fur child. While I do not post these pictures on social media, I do often get up very early with Draco so he can open his treats from Santa. It makes Tom and I very happy to see the way his little face lights up as he gets excited to see his new toys. This isn’t limited to just Christmas of course that “just because” presents are the best of all! Seeing Draco happy makes my heart burst with joy!

    3. I do talk to Draco as though he’s a little boy and not a dog-While Draco cannot speak “human,” I know he can understand and will certainly listen! Fur Kids are perfect to vent to and will never judge you for what you have to get off your chest. They also won’t give you an attitude or talk back. Having Draco to talk to makes Tom and I feel so complete as fur parents!

    4. I never miss an opportunity to celebrate Draco-Birthdays, holidays milestones or even just for being a good boy! Any chance we get to celebrate our boy by throwing him a party is an opportunity we jump on. Because that’s just the dog parents Tom and I are!

    5. My social media pages have more pictures of Draco than Tom and myself-Why post a picture of Tom and I when there are over 50 pictures that we’ve taken of Draco that day? Part of being a dog parents means annoying all of our friends on social media. And while many may think we’re posting too much, we feel as though you haven’t posted enough of your four-legged child!

    Do you have a fur baby at home that makes your life complete? Drop a comment below, let’s chat!

    June-what? Understanding the Historical Significance of Juneteenth

    Google pays tribute to Juneteenth 2020

    This morning was much like many during this Quarantine: I woke up, checked my social media accounts, e-mails and poured myself a cup of coffee. In these quiet moments I feel gratitude as I take my first sip of delicious French vanilla. Facing me, from my perch at the kitchen table, on the wall, hangs my bachelors degree in history. It’s a piece of paper that I paid thousands of dollars to be an accredited historian. I do not have my doctorate, in fact, I was encouraged by the chair person of history at my university that I should not pursue it because it was a lot of schooling and there was no guarantee that I would even become a professor or hired on full time.

    My original plan was far from building this blog. When I first set out and created this blog six years ago, I did it as a means of leaving my family and friends something, an imprint of who I was and what I enjoyed for the inevitable day when I’m not here anymore. I’ve talked a lot about my anxiety, I’ve also spent arguably a lot of time reflecting on my inevitable end. Why is this introduction necessary? Because I originally had goals and aspirations to become a high school history teacher. Unfortunately, the obstacles to become one are much too unrealistic, unethical and expensive.

    Imagine for one second, if you will, going in and paying close to $150 to take a test where you are timed. All the while focusing you can see the minutes and the seconds ticking down on the right side of the screen. So you do your best, you’ve studied after all, and alas you missed the passing score you need by three points. Initially you would think, ‘no big deal, I’ll look at what I got wrong and study harder next time’, the problem is that the Praxis is an unforgiving obstacle which doesn’t tell you what questions you got wrong. It offers zero guidance and it’s usually in favor of those who can retain useless information and great test takers.  After a while, this could bring down even the most confident person. Shelling out money simply to be told your just not good enough and we don’t fancy telling you why. Alrighty then!

    That degree that hangs on my wall, is a daily symbol that sometimes the things we have so intricately planned for our life just don’t work out that way. It is also a daily symbol that when one door closes, another one will surely open. Sometimes the things we hold dear to our hearts, the things we are so certain we are going to do with our lives are not what we were meant to do with our lives at all. It took me the better part of two years to walk away. I am not someone who gives up easily, I am always willing to fight another day. One thing I am not willing to compromise is my self-esteem and self worth which were completely demolished and distorted during this period in my life. Today’s post, is a somber one, it highlights the struggles many African Americans faced since the very first Juneteenth. It is also an opportunity for me to teach you something I didn’t learn about until I was in college and probably wouldn’t have learned about unless I was a history major.  One of the many issues I have with the way schools are run here in the USA today is that so much of American history is left out of American classrooms. There’s an old saying, history books are written by the winners but who are the winners? Does anybody win when nobody is educated on the whole truth?

    Around Twitter I have seen so many posts saying ‘I was this years old when I learned about Juneteenth.’ and holy guacamole is that sad! Americans, regardless of their racial background, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity should know the actual history of Juneteenth. So what is Juneteenth? I’m glad you asked!

    Juneteenth is actually the oldest national commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It came about on this date (June 19th) in 1865 that Major General Granger of the Union army and his soldiers went down to Galveston, Texas to announce the Civil War was over and all enslaved African Americans were now free. Sadly, this announcement came two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s infamous Emancipation Proclamation ! President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into affect on New Year’s Day (January 1st) of 1863 but Texas basically chose to overlook it since there weren’t too many Union soldiers available to see to this new executive order being enforced.

    Once General Robert E. Lee surrendered in April of 1865, the arrival of General Granger’s regiment to Texas, ensured that this executive order was no longer being ignored or rebelled against but enforced! Why it took President Lincoln’s executive order 2 1/2 years to be carried out is debated often amongst historians. Some believe that the messenger who was sent down to Texas was killed, others believe it was just deliberately ignored to maintain labor force on the plantations. My personal belief is that it was the latter. I believe Texas deliberately chose to ignore and look the other way with the new executive order. The idea of the messenger that was sent was killed (while not totally unbelievable) definitely raises some red flags on accuracy.

    Think for a moment: If you were a Union general who sent one of your soldiers to deliver a message to a state which valued slavery that said slaves were now free and your messenger did not return, would that not be sketchy to you? The fact that we don’t know the name of this messenger and that there’s no actual historical backing that he was killed-it was merely speculation-tells me Texas got the message loud and clear but chose to ignore it.

    So as General Granger and his men arrived in Texas one of the first things he enforced was General Order Number 3 which stated: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

    As you can imagine, the jubilation and pure unfiltered shock amongst the newly freed African Americans was immediate and contagious. While some former slaves stayed on their plantations to navigate a new relationship with their former master now employer, as a now paid employee, others ran off as soon as word reached their ears about General Order Number 3. The celebration of Juneteenth is a reminder that even though President Lincoln had abolished slavery 2 1/2 years before it took a literal regiment to see to it that this new executive order was enforced everywhere. Holding Texans responsible for enforcing these laws reestablished United States’ authority in the newly rejoined southern states and ultimately freed all African Americans.

    For so many of these newly freed slaves, The most logical destination was to go north where many of them sought to find real freedom. Juneteenth celebrates these challenges that these newly freed men and women faced in new territories. It navigated their struggles in finding their place in a society that saw them for so long as lesser than. June 19th was coined Juneteenth and celebrated earnestly by the decedents of freed African Americans as a time to spend with family, reflect on their past and pray for a brighter future.

    When I look at the way our country is today, seeing the renewed vigor of the Black Lives Matter movement in marches on raising awareness and leading protests, there is no doubt that this Juneteenth will be very special. Even NFL football teams, such as the Carolina Panthers, have shown their respect for this little known holiday by closing their offices on this date. As for the question I posed above: If history is really written by the winners does anyone win if the true historical significance of a day isn’t remembered and shared?  I would say boldly, no. There are no winners when the citizens of a country remain uneducated about the historical significance of a day which impacted the lives of millions of African-Americans, particularly those in the southern states who cling to the abomination that was slavery as a means to control others deserving of human rights. Rather it’s a reminder, if you will, about how far we’ve come as a nation but also how much further we have to go to ensure that all men and women feel safe, equal, and valued within the country they call home.

    If you’d like to learn more, be sure to check out these fabulous resources:

    National Registry Juneteenth Organizations and Supporters

    What I love about this site is it tells you not only the history but customs which those who celebrate have such as foods, clothing and the history of festivals which struggled to be celebrated in public places before the Civil Rights Movement.

    What is Juneteenth?

    PBS gives an in-depth timeline and historical walk through on Juneteenth and its impact on African Americans in this easy to read, highly educational article. Plus it’s PBS, which fondly taught us so much about our nation’s history in our youth so I’m not going to lie, it’s nostalgic too.

    The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

    The Smithsonian is a historical accredited institution that has a wealth of information on all things historical. The post linked has a brief overview of Juneteenth as well as historical images which give information regarding regarding this lesser-known holiday.

    I really hope you take the time to do your own research and learn about this historically important day. Wishing each and everyone of you a blessed Juneteenth! Have a wonderful day!

    DIY Rooting and Planting A Pineapple Crown

    Hello Fan Friends!

    What a week! As everything prepares to begin to opening in wake of the Coronavirus here in the United States I’ve been trying to plant roots and seeds of my favorite fruits and vegetables to see if they grow.

    Now two weeks ago I had promised that I would update you on my attempt to grow a pineapple plant. So far I have zero germination on the seeds in the jar, however, I did learn that they can take up to three months to actually grow and germinate. 

    If I learned one thing from this whole experience so far it’s that patience really is a virtue. They really are the sloths of the plant world in terms of growing and fruiting. Before we dive right in though, here’s what you’ll need:

    1. A Pineapple
    2. A knife for cutting up the pineapple
    3. Paper towel to allow your root to dry out on
    4. A pair of scissors for trimming the leaves.
    5. A standard pot-for planting!
    6. Soil-experts recommend perlite and sand-I used ordinary soil.
    7. A semi shaded room and space for the plant to receive adequate indirect sunlight.

    Before we make it to step 7 we’re going to need to accomplish step 1 and that’s picking a pineapple! Any old pineapple from the grocery store will do just make sure it looks healthy and hardy. You want it to be just right by that I mean not too soft or soggy and not too firm and unripened.

    When looking for a PERFECT Pineapple:

    Stay away from any pineapples with soft spots or bruises (these are signs of damaged fruit).

    Avoid pineapples with no darkened “eyes” (this means it’s “old” and has soggy flesh.

    Avoid choosing over-ripened fruit (this means if you can easily pull off the leaves).

    Pick a ripened pineapple that is YELLOW from the base up, however, some are green on the outside in color depending on the species. If the pineapple smells sweet and gives in just slightly to a soft pressing than congratulations! You’ve just found your perfect pineapple!

    Now here’s the fun (and delicious part!), you’ll be amazed when I tell you just how just how simple the instructions are in rooting and growing pineapple crowns.

    Once you’ve brought your pineapple home, you’re going to start by cutting off the leafy top about half an inch below the leaves. Next be sure to remove some of the lowest leaves. Once that’s complete you can trim off the outer portion of the pineapple top at the bottom of the crown, or stem, until you see root buds. These buds resemble small, brown-colored bumps around the stem’s perimeter.

    I brought my pineapple home on a Monday and did not plant my root until Friday. It is absolutely important to make sure it has a few days to dry-some websites recommend a week but I was anxious-before planting. This helps the top of the plant heal and makes it less likely to rot. I also made sure I enjoyed the fruits of my labor, literally and figuratively, by making a delicious fruit salad which consisted of pineapple, mango and grapes. I posted the recipe last week, if you’re interested you can read about it HERE 😍.

    There are SEVERAL resources online regarding the how to go about sprouting your plant. There are some people that even claim to have success growing them in water but most (like me) stick to soil. Gardening enthusiasts tend to recommend a light soil mix with perlite and sand. I didn’t use this, rather, I simply used regular soil and said whatever happens, happens. Now that you’ve got your soil, plant the pineapple crown in the soil up to the base of its leaves. Make sure to water your plant thoroughly and place it in bright, indirect light.

    I placed my plant outside on my screened in porch table, it gets indirect sunlight via the bamboo blinds I have up over my windows. They THRIVE in hot and humid weather so you can totally get away with leaving your plant outside overnight in the spring and summer months as long as it’s semi-shaded and your local temperatures don’t dip below what is considered first frost. In the winter months, you’ll need to keep your plant INDOORS or it will die according to nearly every gardening YouTuber and blogger I’ve come across in my research.

    Remember: don’t get discouraged: pineapples are slow-growing plants, and forget about expecting to see blooms for at least two to three years, if at all. I’ve read about ways to “force fruit” your pineapples plant but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there! In the meantime, I truly hope you have a wonderful weekend, stay safe, stay kind and stay true to YOU!