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Friday, January 8, 2016

Vision Boards and an Awesome New Year

I had a vision for what I wanted my 30th year to look like but I always got caught up in the how and the how much of making it happen quickly abandoning dreams behind fear and the unknown but last year I used a vision board to help me focus on making it happen and surprisingly it helped! 

After Oprah endorsed the book "The Secret", vision boards took off if a major way and became the new "it" thing for New Year resolution makers everywhere. Last year I heard Lucinda Cross's story in Essence magazine and decided to attended one of her vision board parties here in NYC. It was so encouraging to hear her story and that of all the ladies in attendance and I quickly got swept up in energy of the room, flipping through magazines and clipping out pretty pictures with cool text to go with it.

Once I got it home this "master piece" I'd constructed was huge and bulky and something that would probably go out on the next recycling day. In March I was turning the big 3-0 and wanted to really begin living, the theme of the festivities leading up to my birthday was "All the Things I Want to Try" and my girls made sure I checked some of those things off my list before my big day. I HAD A BALL! By the end of my birthday weekend I was so grateful for them pushing me to do things I had only talked about and wanted to keep it going, so I gave the vision board another chance and some of the changes I made helped make it work for me:

1- SCALE! The size of my original board was just WAY too big for me. It was one of those science fair kind of displays and would end up taking too much space and bother me rather than inspire me. I chose the top of shoe box I no longer used that was a perfect square and size.

2- LESS HYPE, MORE THOUGHT. I realized I got caught up in everyone's hype and excitement and honestly the girl talk that started happening at the tables in the vision board party and didn't pay too much attention to the thought behind what I was creating. While I'm grateful for the connections I made that night, it left my vision a little haphazard so this time I decided to think about more of what I'd like to look back on when I turned 31. I found that I didn't really want to hike up a volcano and Jillian Michael is NOT my fitness bff so I chose better images that fit who and what I wanted to become with text to match.

3- POSITION. This is where scale came into play in a major way. Because of the size of the board I used I was able to easily find a prominent space for my vision to hang to keep as a constant and daily reminder of the goals I'd set for myself. To this day it hangs on my cork board over my desk where I was forced to see anything I left hanging and unchecked daily.

::TIP:: Break your board into sections to keep things from going overboard clipping, mine was mainly broken into 4 parts: Sprit, Travel, Motherhood, and Creative work.

I'm proud now looking up at my board and seeing how many of the goals I set were met. There were a few I didn't tackle but at least I'm reminded of the work I have left to do. While my "new year" is celebrated on my birthday and not on January 1st I've already begun thinking about creating my new board and might even throw a board party to celebrate, who knows! 

Did you create a board for your New Year goals/resolution? Are you a resolution or a word of the year person?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Choosing Your Word for the Year-2016

(never mind that this is 4 days late)

I'm not a resolution kinda girl but choosing a word for the year helped me keep things in perspective. Last year I remember complaining about how hard the previous year was to my godmother and that I was looking forward to 2015 and she got me together and shut my pity party right on down! With perspective aligned, I came to the realization that 2014 was a fight that I came through and declared 2015 my year to just keep going, my Keep Going Year. There were a few things I did to keep it in mind and it helped me choose my word for 2016.

In 2015 I pushed through! Professionally and in Motherhood, I really put in the work. 

*Professionally: I stopped complaining and DID more. I realized it was a toxic space and that there was but so much I could do to change it, so while my supervisor didn't "win" I wasn't happy there and who has time for that? So I finalized my projects and papers, put my resume out in faith, and landed a position I am so much happier in. I'm humbled to hear co-workers and administrators tell me how happy they are that I'm working with them and how much easier I've made things and I just started in September! 

*In Motherhood: I took a more aggressive approach to homeschooling because when you realize that these "advanced" classes are programed to just get your child to pass a test you step in the subsidize and now Chunks knows Thomas Edison did NOT invented the lightbulb as well as how to fill in a scantron sheet ::quick side eye:: I also maintained a better relationship with the Wasband and things there are healthier. 

*In All Things Candace: Taking time for me is not selfish and I know this now. I'm proud to say I've actually been paid for my photography and I'm looking forward to doing more of it and learning more. I didn't do well in maintaining friendships and relationships as well as I'd like but I've added more relationships to consider. Financially I'm in a MUCH better place than I've ever been, saving consistently, budgeting properly, and cutting back on emotional shopping.


2016 is all about building on all of that, I'd like to look back on this year even more advanced and productive at work, stronger in who I am as Candace, experiencing life with less fear, progressing with the Wasband, building my photography up more and more, seeing more of the world, and encouraging Chunks to just be great! I wish the same for you!

Tips for keeping your word this year,

  • Choose a word/phrase that you'd like to live out with meaning
  • Keep the word in a prominent space so you're always reminded of it (Screen-Saver, Vision Board, bulletin board, etc)
  • Lay out a plan to live that word/phrase out in REALISTIC ways (3mo, 6mo, 9mo attainable goals)
  • Keep reminders around that will help realign your vision in the thick of things and the year is 6 months old

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Letters to Our Children-November

"If there is any grace left for me, Lord, give it to him..."
I remember praying this prayer, holding my belly about 6 months into our pregnancy. Things were rough for Dad and me and emotionally I was drained in every area of life but it was around this time I had this great desire to pray for and over you. I felt like I had done so many things that would take me out of favor with God and yet he still trusted me with this life, with this little human I just knew was going to be something special, so I asked if there was any favor, grace, mercy, ANYTHING left for me, that he shower you in it and then some...and that prayer hasn't changed.

There have been and there will be more times where you don't get why I'm so hard on you to give your best and never to be satisfied with just your ok but I pray that when you are older you see my heart in the speeches and lessons. I wish for you to be everything you were sent into this crazy world to be. I wish for you to always find the one thing to smile about like you do now and cry and little less.

You are a light in any room you walk into and I hope that only grows stronger. Your dinosaur stories are epic! And no one can hit the Nae Nae quite like you. I am amazed that we've been on this journey for 6 years already but everyday (even those killer ones) have been nothing short of INCREDIBLE! I cherish our goofy moments and I LIVE for your hugs and random "Mommy, I love you"s and when "we" bake and make a mess. I love dreaming our big dreams together, I'm still searching for my 1st Mama hat for your inauguration Mr. President :-)

So, my wish for you my sweet boy, is that you know without question no matter what you do, where you go, or what bumps you make along your own journey if there is anything left for me, it's all yours!

Loving you Forever and a Day,

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


I meant for this post to actually be posted much earlier in the day but work life got all in the way of blogging life, so...better late than never??

I think so!

We had a pretty Fall weekend here last weekend, I don't mind 70*, sunny, Fall days AT ALL but the leaves in our yard were out of control! So it was time for the boy to get outside and do "man's work" which is anything he thinks his father would do that Mommy shouldn't do lol. Yes a lesson on chauvinism was had but seriously, if a man's in the house, I'm not doing yard work. ::shrug::

And a bonus just for good measure :-)

Are chores a part of your child's weekend/weekly routine? 
What are some of their responsibilities and are they getting paid (like someone boldly asked smh)?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

30 Things Series- Five Things I Am Passionate About

I'm picking up in my 30 Things My Children Should Know About Me series and this time we're covering the My 5 Passions. As I type I can only think of 3, but we'll see what comes to mind.

#1- YOU! My pride and joy, my entire reason some days. I've been crazy about you long before I ever met you. You and your siblings (if I ever get to meet them) have been on my mind since I was in junior high school and you are almost everything I thought you would be all along, of course you had to have your own personality, but I think it's perfect. Watching you grow and noticing all the small changes you're making in becoming a young man makes the dullest day bright again. Thank You for showing up for me, I pray I'm doing my part for you too. XOXO

#2- Giving Back: You're learning first hand how important helping others is to me. Some bumps in life made me a little bit guarded and cold in certain situations but my heart aches for those in pain or need in anyway and I always feel the need to give, even if it's to just show up. I hope that by watching what I do you get that strong urge too. Anytime you walk past a homeless person I'd love for you to remember that but for the grace of God that could be us too, so be a little giving. When one of your classmates is getting bullied for not having the hottest gear or not being able to afford the fancy lunch, I hope I get to tell you of the days I went on a "fast" because I didn't have enough money to buy food in college, so be a little graceful. Should there ever come a time when you can help someone up, think of the many people that did the same for you mother and try to be just a little compassionate. If ever there is a time that you can serve, SERVE, the blessings come back to you and yours tenfold, Mommy is living proof and I hope you respect that.

#3- My faith. I fell in love with God at a very young age and then later accepted Christ as my savior at the age of 10. As I get older and go through life, there are too many instances that ONLY God did it for me to believe He doesn't exist and that I'm not His. I will not force my faith on you but will show you all the others so you can decide for yourself, I just hope that in my walk I'm showing you the good in my relationship with God and I hope you get to know Him for yourself too.

#4- Photography. My cousin gave me my first film camera when I was your age (6 or 7). I can look back now and see she was trying to distract me from what was happening in my parents's marriage so everyday during Summer vacation we'd go to the park or the garden and snap pictures and I couldn't wait to see what would come back from the developers. Fast forward now, I've got the big guy hanging with me almost all the time and I know you get sick of me always pointing that camera in your face but documenting you is so important to me, yes even that yawn! Other than you, taking in everything around me and capturing what its all like now, in this moment has become such a passion for me because MY Brooklyn, is changing and I don't want anyone to forget the last of it's glory days. I hope I can do something with it all, one day...

#5-Wow didn't think I'd come up with five, but here we are and it's definitely a tie between trying new foods and music. My tastebuds are always seeking the next great bite so recipes and new restaurants are always bookmarked somewhere for me. Not a day goes by that I don't a) pray, b) kiss you a million times, and c) listen to music! I'm passionate about Hip Hop, not the foolishness you'll have to grow up listening to, but REAL Hip Hop and R&B and of course Reggae. Gospel and Jazz run a close third and fourth. I'm leaving you my Jay Z collection whenever the time comes, don't sell unless absolutely necessary I'll come back and ask WHY?!?! lol

What passions do you wish to share with your little ones?

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Truth About Needing a Mommy Mental Health Day

Mommy needs a break!

Something's been off with my energies lately, completely exhausted by 6p, completely knocked out by 9, jolted awake by nothing by 2:30a with no hope of falling back asleep until about 4:30a, and then the alarms go off at 5:20a. SIGH

My father in law was buried yesterday and it's on my mind very heavy today.

I'm a creative, which means if I'm not stimulated and inspired my vibes sucks!

This weather is drab, and cold, and draining and I don't want to do homework and answer a million and one questions. HANGS HEAD.

I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to feel however they feel, to sit in and feel your emotions unapologetically. An issue only comes up when we either a) ignore our spirit's need to stop and wrap that Super-Mom cape tighter and "conquer" our worlds or b) stay in those feelings too long and become useful to no one. Here's the one issue in needing a mental day while you're a single mom, there's no one to easily pass the responsibilities of your day to so you must improvise.

1-FIND A WAY! Just like when you have 15 minutes to get ready and out the door and your child reminds you they don't have lunch and you storm through those cabinets and make something to impress the lunch room and still make it to work on time-there's always a way. I've found that at those 2am wake up calls my spirit is unsettled about something and needs my attention so I get up. One night I tried prayer, another night I sat still in the darkness of my room, and by morning I wasn't 100% but definitely not dragging. So I did no social media, I barely answered my phone, and I'm trying to get to the bottom of why when things are finally falling into place I'm feeling so scattered.

2-REMIND YOURSELF THIS TOO SHALL PASS! Every way you're feeling is real because your body is responding to something, what you're feeling might not be. That problem that seems insurmountable, the next move that seems bigger than your abilities, that person you can't get through to, it's not true! It's your story but it's not true! You've got this, I've got this-it's all about reminding ourselves when we go through the waves. This isn't my first round with the mean reds and it probably won't be my last but each round teaches me more about myself so I've got to ride this thing out and see what the end's gonna be.

3-KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE! In truth, you've got to figure your stuff out and no one can do this for you. FACTS! While all of your decisions rest with you, there are thousands more feeling and dealing with everything you're feeling and dealing with and then some. They can come through and so can you! Draw from the strong around you, even if in silence (I sure am), encourage  yourself to avoid going in too deep into those feelings, and eat something GOOD (Talenti anyone??)

The truth about needing a Mommy Health Day is: WE ALL NEED ONE every once in a while and that's O.K.!

Take your day and come out of it with insight and maybe even a solution. See you on the other side!

In the meantime, this commercial seems like every part of my life right now, ENJOY :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Perfect Day for Apple Picking at the Alstede Farm

Checking off one of our Fall To-Do items Chunks and I chose a perfect day to head out to Jersey for our day of apple picking. This year we decided to try something a little closer to home and coming in at 1 and a half hours from NYC, Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ sounded perfect. The website promises several varieties of apples and other fruits and veggies for picking but with our experience that meant, apples and a few tomatoes, we were shocked to find that Alstede totally undersold themselves, this place is HUGE! The excitement started from the parking lot as we entered past the petting  zoo and pony rides.

Then it was time to get to picking! We loaded up on a hayride through the orchard to the fields that were ready for picking. I had my eyes wide open for the Galas but Chunks noticed the peaches first, so we hopped off not expecting much but once again, totally pleasantly surprised!

There were so many varieties of raspberries, blueberries, peppers, and eggplants that looked like pumpkins! �� Alstede Farms is beautiful! I'm always amazed that quiet, "country" life exists so close to the busy of NYC life.

The day started of with a little of a Fall chill but once we got to picking the sun warmed things up, making a good trip even sweeter. 

Once our load got too heavy to carry we knew we were done. My copilot was such a gentleman and insisted on pulling our batch in, thank God the tractor came back around to relieve him of his duties though.

After check out Chunks rushed right over to the animals and jumped the hay bales! Let me tell you I wanted to tear up a little because a year ago he would NEVER attempt this, but here we are and he never even looked back at me until he made it to the top! 

We got a few snacks from their yummy market which was so warm and inviting and got back on the road. It was the perfect day and I think we've found our go-to spot.  

There is an entrance fee in addition to what you pick but you can choose the all inclusive pass or one just for picking but it is so worth it. If you are anywhere in the area looking for an apple picking place, definitely check out Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ.

Have you gone apple picking yet? Do you do a separate trip for pumpkins or two birds one stone?

**Disclaimer** I was not compensated for this post we just had a really great experience. Would this smile lie to you??


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