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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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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Dealing With Criticism

In life, you are going to receive criticism (a lot) regardless of your age, gender, or accomplishments.

For me, when I became a mother that’s when I gained my most critics (Hey y’all). Everyone was giving me advice and sending me information. It became overwhelming. Especially, because all this advice was unsolicited. As someone who takes pride in making her own decisions (stubborn just a tad), I began to resent some people for trying to help me. I became defensive, which fostered stress over time.

I decided to take a step back and think about what was being said. This is what I came up with:

There are two types of criticism: positive and negative. Or I look at it as: helpful and hurtful criticism.

I want to address the fact that all criticism stings a bit. But, it’s important to recognized the difference between criticism that is genuine vs. insincere.

Typically, helpful criticism is designed to point out your flaws. But, it gives you a chance to be introspective. This enables you to see the “flaw” for what it really is. You have to determine if this is something detrimental to your life and worth changing in favor of something better. Helpful criticism promotes a healthy space for change.

Negative criticism is just the opposite. It is dismissive and off-putting. This type of criticism is an attempt to magnify your flaws.

When you receive negative criticism, it says more about a person’s own insecurities, than your own inadequacies.  Negative criticism has no constructive value. Some people live off of pointing out the faults of others. It makes them feel better about their own flaws. Do not entertain these people!

Don’t ever allow negativity to cause you to step out of you character.  There have been many times when I wanted to clapback and set a person straight for something they said to me (and I have), but I realized that doesn’t solve a thing. Here I am trying to work on myself, yet I still entertained people whose opinion didn’t matter. Backwards right? We all fall victim to negativity. It’s all about controlling how you react.

Look at criticism as a challenge. Either you can accept the challenge or let it defeat you. Red or Blue pill?

Accepting the challenge consist of internalizing the criticism and letting it shape you into a better person. On the other hand, allowing the challenge to defeat you means you let what was said knock you down.

Always accept the challenge. Whether the criticism be negative or positive you have the ability to perceive it how you want to!  Challenge yourself to channeling negativity energy into positive.  We can’t control what people say, but we can control how we internalize it. Learn to process your emotions more efficiently.

Remember that we are our own harshest critic. If someone says something to you that isn’t in alignment with how you perceive yourself, don’t let it affect you. Easier said than done. We’ve been conditioned are whole lives to think that words don’t hurt. When in reality, they do. You have to recondition yourself into learning how to process malign words.

At times, I struggle with it myself. It takes patience and discernment to decipher between positive and negative criticism.  Once you’re able to see the difference between the two, your whole perspective will change. You’ll be more open to personal growth and you won’t let the negative easily sway you. Criticism is a part of life. Learn to deal with it positively.

Take care of yourself love,

Ashley

 

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