Things Breastfeeding Taught Me

I wanted to share things breastfeeding has taught me. This isn’t technical breastfeeding stuff, but abstract concepts of things I’ve reflected on after the end of my breastfeeding journey.
Breastfeeding has taught me the concept of having faith.

 There is no way to determine the amount of milk you have in your breast… no way

Even if you pump, that still isn’t an indicator of all the milk you have available. You are basically living on a hope and a prayer that you have enough milk for your baby.

Breastfeeding will teach you to have the utmost faith. Not only in faith in yourself, but faith in God. He crafted us so uniquely. Somehow, we can nourish and sustain life for as long as we need to with our OWN bodies! Come on now!

This is what our bodies were meant to do. Keep the faith!

 

Breastfeeding taught me to have confidence.

Not only has breastfeeding taught me about faith, but also about confidence. The confidence that I can provide and supply my baby’s needs.

Breastfeeding has been a confidence booster for me.  Seeing what my body is capable of and reaping the benefits of having a smart is health child is awesome. It lets me know that I have done something right on this journey of motherhood.

Once you realize what your body is capable of, there is no limit to what you can do!

 

Breastfeeding taught me self-love.

I can appreciate and love my body so much more. My body has gone through so many changes to make room for not one, but two lives to pass through. I’ve seen its resilience and it is beautiful.

How can I not love the home my happiness was birth from?

Women’s bodies are so amazing. We are truly a gift.

Breastfeeding showed me my truth.

Breastfeeding has shifted my perspective on how I feel about myself as a mother. While I was pregnant, I always contemplated if I was fit to be a mother. I foolishly listened to what others had to say about me.

I doubted myself. I doubted my abilities and everything that God told me was.

Now, I’m free of the stronghold I let people’s opinions have on me.  I’m a great mother.

No one can tell you your truth!

 

I’m happy I breastfed Luna for as long as I did. The obstacles I faced while breastfeeding, were there to help me realize I can overcome anything. There is nothing I can’t do.

 

I am woman, see me lactate!

 

What have you learned from breastfeeding?

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Dealing with Loss

 

Loss of a loved one is something that people handle differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. This post is about shifting your perspective in order help you move on a little bit more gracefully.

This past week was rough for me. Today, marks a year since my grandmother passed.  As the days grew near, I found my heart beginning to fill with bitterness, anger, and pain. Thinking about her death was bringing me to a dark place. Once I got to this point, it was imperative for me to sort through these emotions.

Dealing with death is hard. Undoubtedly, it’s the hardest thing we are faced with in life.  It is something that hits home for all of us.

Death brings on unexplainable emotions. For many, of us these emotions are nostalgic from the loss of other loved ones. We think we’ve gotten over their death, when in actuality we’re bottling up the pain.

Holding on to pain and hurt is easy.  Releasing and learning to manage pain is where true freedom comes from. But, like anything worth having, it takes work.

Rather than being bound to negative emotions, seek love and fight for your happiness.

Easier said than done, right? Trust me I know.

Honestly, I wanted to be angry and bitter about losing my grandmother. Being angry is a scapegoat.  It gives you an excuse to not be held accountable for your actions. Not being held accountable for your actions,  is where problems can arise. This is why fostering these emotions can be detrimental. It will begin to rub off on the people around you. This will create a perpetual  cycle of hurt. Before you know it being ‘in your feelings” will control your actions and thoughts. You will end up talking yourself into darkness.

Your feelings don’t know your future. So, why let them control you and tell you how to live? Be honest with yourself and take control your life. Life goes on and happiness is still attainable even after death.  This is principle is one of the hardest concepts to grasp. The fact that life will go on without your loved one is bittersweet. You want to be happy, but by the same token  you want your loved one to live on.

There is a way to achieve this balance. Choose joy!

You will get through this and come out fully functioning.

Although, your loved has made their transition, think of everything you have to live for. Think about everything good that has come into your life since they’ve passed and filled that void with love.

For me, being blessed with ,not only one,  but two children has given me a reason to live and love life. Yes, I miss my grandmother dearly, but I know she wants me to live out her legacy. At times, it hurts but I can think of more happy times to come.

If you are having a hard time dealing with the death, find a way to live. Be intentional on choosing happiness. Celebrate the good things in your life. Your loved one can live on through your actions and in your heart.

You have strength like no other! Hang in there beloved.

Love,

Ashley

 

 

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HASK Hair : Coconut Milk & Organic Honey Collection Review

I received the Coconut Milk and Organic Honey Collection complimentary of HASK Beauty. All thoughts expressed are all my own.

 

Hey Beloved,

This post is a review of the HASK Beauty Coconut Milk & Organic Honey. This collection is specifically for curly girls, but HASK Hair does have a variety of lines that cater to different hair needs!

HASK Beauty recently launched three new Exotic Oil Collections – one for curls, one for all hair types, and one for blondes. I was sent the curl collection:  Coconut Milk & Organic Honey.  The collection consists of a shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioner. All the products are free of artificial colors, alcohol, sulfates, and parabens!  Which is great for you natural and holistic product lovers!

To start the review off, I just want to let you all know that CHILD these products smell BOMB! I don’t know about you, but I’m always either in the beauty supply store or down the hair isle smelling ALL the products. For me, a good scent plays a part in whether or not I’m going to purchase the product.

I’m not here for saturating products in my hair that make me want to gag. At the end of a hectic work week, I like to unwind and with a wash day. How can I distress if I’m dealing with stinky products?!

                                                                                 Okay on to the real review: I used the products over the course of one month. So, that consisted of 3 wash days.

For clarification, a wash day is a specific day I set aside to wash, condition, and style my hair. In short, a day dedicated to hair maintenance. Yes, it takes the entire day. Especially, with a toddler who is constantly touching, moving, and tasting products!

I wanted to get a feel for the products before posting my thoughts about them. Below is a breakdown of my thoughts on each product.

Products:

Curl Care Shampoo:  The shampoo was hydrating! It didn’t strip my hair of its natural oils, which is important. Being natural, I’m very picky when it comes to shampoo. I don’t shampoo my hair often (co- wash type of gal), so when I do,  I expect optimal results. A shampoo that is drying (typically full of sulfates and parabens) don’t produce the results that I want.  However, the Curl Care Shampoo wasn’t drying at all. The shampoo eliminated my product build up with ease. It left my hair manageable, soft, and of course clean!

Curl Care Conditioner: Initially, I was skeptical about the conditioner. The consistency of the conditioner through me off. It isn’t as thick as the conditioners I normally purchase. So, I assumed that it wouldn’t do my tresses any justice. But, I was wrong! The Curl Care Conditioner left my hair super hydrated. It left my hair squeaky clean, yet nourished with no additional weight. With any conditioner I use, I always leave it in longer than the suggested time. This method allows the product time to really penetrate your strands.

Curl Care Deep Conditioner: HASK Beauty has a variety of deep conditioners aiming to cater to all hair types. Depending on my hair needs, I’ll either condition or deep condition. Typically, I won’t do both on the same wash day. The Coconut Milk &  Organic Honey deep conditioner was hydrating like the conditioner and shampoo. It has a thicker consistency, which I liked. Most deep conditioners have that thick consistency for a deep treatment and hair repair.

When it comes to hair care I do my own thing. The directions might say ” Leave product on for 10 minutes then, rinse”, well that 10 minutes could easily turn into 10 hours (exaggerating but you get it). I apply the conditioner, put on my conditioning cap, and start doing stuff around the house.  I like to let deep conditioners saturate in my scalp for a while so my hair can really absorb the product. If my time permits, I’ll even add heat for maximum .

The only negative thing I have to say about the deep conditioner is; I wish it was available in a jar or bottle. The packet wasn’t enough for me.

Pricing

Often, I get questions about the prices of my hair products. I wanted to make sure I addressed it in this post. The HASK brand is affordable! The shampoo and conditioner bottles retail for 5.99 each. However with the deep conditioner, you’re looking at spending 2.99 per packet.

Great thing about this line is that it can be found at your local drug stores and even at Ulta Beauty.

Final Thoughts

Each of these products served its purpose well for my hair. This is my first time ever using the HASK brand. Surprisingly, My hair needs were met! I’m impressed with the Coconut milk & Organic Honey collection. The products left my hair feeling hydrated, nourished, and CLEAN!  I would recommend this product to all my curl friends.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

What are your thoughts on HASK products?

 

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SheaBassador Box #1

This post is going to be short & sweet. I’m not going to get into the details of each product. It’ll just be my favorite and least favorite item. Along with a final thought.

My first box as a SheaBassador, I received items from the Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Skin Care Collection.

The items were:

     Baby Foaming Wash & Shampoo

     Baby Lotion

     Baby Face, Hand & Bum wipes

I also received a SheaMoisture bib (these are not available for purchase)

Prior to this box, I’ve never tried any of the SheaMoisture baby items. So, it was fun to experiment with each product.

Okay let’s get to it:

The line is designed to calm & comfort baby, while moisturizing and soothing dry skin. It’s perfect for little ones who may suffer from eczema!

Favorite item: I loved the Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Lotion! This lotion is rich & creamy, THICK (how I like my men), and long lasting. Since Luna has eczema, I tend to use thick creams to keep it under control. Sometimes, thick lotions and creams tend leave a greasy residue, but this product gave us no problems with that! I even use it on myself (mama gets dry too)! I absolutely love it.

Least Favorite item: I wasn’t a fan of the Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Wipes. The smell is very strong and lingers. It through me off! I only use scent- free wipes on Luna, so I wasn’t too fond of dealing with scented wipes. I’m just weird like that! However, the smell doesn’t take away from the quality of the product.

Initially, I thought the wipes would cause irritation because they’re scented, but that wasn’t the case. I used them for Luna’s face and bum. She never experienced any breakouts. The wipes were hydrating and left her skin soft. I did like that the wipes were durable, so they didn’t tear after one wipe. Personally, I just can’t get with the smell. That was my first and last time using those wipes.

Luna’s favorite item: Luna enjoyed the Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Foaming Wash. She just likes to pump it out and blow the foam everywhere, but hey what more can you expect from a toddler! I have not used it as a shampoo yet. I decided to salvage what’s left of the bottle and wait until baby #2 arrives! I’ll post a mini review via Instagram.

Everything in the collection (all SheaMoisture products) is natural so it can be used for baby or adult. I recommend this collection, but I would just advise you to smell it before you buy it! The products are quality and you won’t be disappointed.

 

Can’t wait for my next box!

 

What do you think about SheaMoisture Baby Products? Favorites?

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Partnership With SheaMoisture

I’m thrilled to announce that I was selected to be a 2017 Brand Ambassador for SheaMoisture!  Each month I’ll be receiving a box of SheaMoisture products to try and review. I was selected to be a SheaMom, so my boxes will be filled with items from SheaMoisture’s Baby Collection.  With, I’ll be posting reviews of the items from each box! I’m so thrilled about this opportunity and couldn’t be more grateful.

Thank you SheaMoisture!

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Honest Motherhood – mini lesson #1

Motherhood has shown me my resiliency both physically and mentally. No matter how distorted things may seem, I’ve bounced back…and ever so gracefully.

Whenever I find myself surrounded by darkness, one glance at my daughter makes the clouds subside. She is my light. Baby girl radiates so much love and happiness. I can’t pinpoint what I did to deserve her. Apparently, God saw me fit to be trusted with such a beautiful being. Who knew such a small person could have this giant spirit!

My daughter has given me great focus, making our possibilities infinite.

I have been bent & stretched beyond my limits, but I have never broken. Because. of. HER. 

Know the root of your strength.

Take care beloved,

Ashley

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The Comparison Trap

During pregnancy, I often thought about the type of mother I would be.  Would my maternal instincts kick in or would I crumble under pressure?

The uncertainty of motherhood lured me into the comparison trap.

I started comparing myself to other moms, especially those who were close in age. I would “look at” everything they had on their plates and I wanted the same.  At, the time I was more interested in recognition.

Comparison left me distracted. I began doubting my abilities. I thought maybe motherhood wasn’t for me. It was a struggle in the beginning.

I fell victim to the allusion that everything I was going through just pertained to my world.  I felt everyone had it together, but me.  Because I was busy comparing myself to other moms, I missed what was important. In reality, I had achieved a lot more than I gave myself credit for.

One afternoon, I was journaling and I wrote down everything I accomplished so far in motherhood.  I realized I surpassed my breastfeeding goals, attained my bachelor’s degree and I nurtured a happy baby.  At that moment, I had a perspective shift…

I am a damn good mom.

This shift in emotions allowed me to see myself in all my glory.  I was exactly where I needed to be in my life’s journey. There’s nothing more freeing than being happy with who you are even though you still have more growing to do.

What someone has or what their doing is meant for them.  It is specific for their life’s journey. Not you! Comparing your path with someone else’s, will keep you from seeing the future that’s meant for you.

                Below, I’ve complied a few tips to help alleviate the burden of the comparison trap.

Focus on you. When you are focused on what other people are doing you can’t invest time in yourself. You have to be willing to invest in yourself because no one else will. Take time to learn yourself and what you’re good at. Perfect your craft! Don’t ever think that your dreams are invalid. Try to set daily goals.

Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people. This creates an emotional safety net for you. When you sense negative thoughts are about to arise, reach out to those people. You don’t always have to tell them you’re going through. Just be casual. Most importantly be a friend.

Leave the house! This was a big factor for me. After my daughter was born, I just wouldn’t leave the house. My thoughts consumed me, which affected how I interacted with my new baby. Being at home all the time wasn’t healthy. So I took charge, and forced myself to get fresh air. We went for strolls around the park a few times a week. This helped to clear my head space.

Take a break from social media, from time to time. Yes, social media can be an excellent source of motivation and inspiration, but it can also trigger negative emotions like self-doubt and other inadequacies. Think of your break as a detox. You’re clarifying your mind for the better. Doing this will help to foster peace in your emotional space.

Daily affirmations: “You is beautiful. You is kind. You is smart.”  Write down positive attributes about yourself and read them daily. During the day, if you begin to struggle with comparison, read those notes. I have daily reminders on my phone that remind me of my greatness.  There’s nothing wrong with affirming yourself.  Self-love is the best love!

Know that you are enough. What you have is enough. What you’re doing is enough.  At times, these are some of the hardest concepts to grasp because we think have to have everything together. But, you don’t need to have it all together to be great!

Where ever you are in life, now, isn’t where you will end up. As you grow, you will see the beauty in both your past and present self.

It takes strength, willingness, and consistency to change your thought process. This won’t happen overnight. It’s a slow progression. Be proactive and fight for change.

 

Don’t worry, you got this boo!

Ashley

 

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Getting Name Brand Products for Less!

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I love keeping up with the latest hair products just like the next girl. But once motherhood called, those luxury items had to be put on hold. I still had desires to slay, so I had to figure out how to budget.

I turned to couponing! Every Sunday, I get the coupon ads from the paper and cut out items I plan to purchase. Sunday is when stores run their weekly ads, so it’s a perfect day to see what’s going to be on sale.

Now, with couponing manufactures don’t release the same coupons every week. This means you have to keep an eye out for “rare” coupons i.e. SheaMoisture. So, checking the paper weekly. There’s tons of websites that release the coupons that will be in the Sunday paper on Saturday. Just make sure you find a credible source.

How I got my products for the low low: I waited until they were on sale to use my coupons.  Research before making a purchase entails of waiting for sales.

Walgreens had all SheaMoisture Products on sale for BOGO (buy one, get one) half off. On top of that, some of the products were on clearance.

I chose to only purchase items that were on clearance in order to get the best bang for my buck.  The clearance price of these particular products was marked down to half of the original price. In addition to the store sale, I had SheaMoisture coupons I saved from the previous month. Then, I had a SheaMoisture coupon which I printed from Coupons.com #winning.  From two coupons, I had a total of 5$ to save off of my SheaMoisture purchase.

The OGX Argan Oil was marked half off of the original price. I didn’t have a coupon. But I like the product, a little goes a long way, so I decided to just make the purchase. For three SheaMoisture full-size products and the OGX Argan Oil my total came to 10.64$ (tax included)! Come through coupons!

  • A few tips: if you’re buying products that are significantly lower than the retail price, don’t only purchase one! Treat yoself Buy a few items at a time. Build up your supply when the price is low.
  • When you see a product on sale/ clearance, purchase it then. Don’t wait! Sometimes, items are only marked for quick sale.
  • After a sale or mark down occurs the item may be increased back to its original retail value. This could be over the span of a few days or a month. There is no way of deciphering this so make the purchase when you feel you’ve found the best deal.

Keep in mind coupons expire. Every expiration date is different. Be mindful while you wait for a sale or price reduction.

Couponing can be tedious *Kanye shrugs*, but it’s well worth your time. You’ll quickly notice money you save. Just do a little research.

 

 

 

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New Beginnings

Writing has become a thing I’ve grown to love. For a few years now, I’ve been writing in my leisure time. But I’ve never had the heart to share any of my work (besides articles I wrote for the university paper).

Motherhood has sparked a new space of creativity for me. Often I get asked questions in regards to motherhood, so I thought I’d share my journey on a larger platform. We are all natural born storytellers. It is one of our purposes in life; to share our struggles and experiences with others. This creates healthy space for healing and growth. You never know who you will help just by sharing your life’s journey

Naturally, I’m an introvert (so I’m good on people) and being in my own space is really where I thrive. Putting myself out there wasn’t appealing to me, it was never # goals. However, the dreams and visions I have imperatively require me to step out of my introverted being and into who I was created to be.

I kept coming up with reasons why didn’t put action to my goals. These reasons became nothing more than excuses because they carried no weight to them. Making excuses promotes a perpetual cycle of inaction. Falling into this cycle makes it harder for you to see your objectives.

Honestly, there is no perfect time to step out on your dreams. Stop waiting for an ideal circumstance to execute a dream. After a while you grow tired of watching everyone pursuing their dreams and you’re still waiting on the perfect condition to cultivate yours.  Just step out. Once you’re able to step out of your comfort zone and pursue one of your goals; the hard part is over. This me taking the first step.  So I give you: Mommy & Moon.

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