What I Learned From: Y Membership (And Why I Switched to Another Gym)

I initially joined the local YMCA during the summer that my daughter was turning 5, to get a discount on summer camp.  The main draw maintaining my Y membership over the years since then has been TurboKick classes.  I loved the combo of hip hop music and moves mixed with martial arts-infused flair. Once I became certified to teach classes myself (and eligible to purchase my own TK rounds), ironically I started slowly falling out of love with it.

Don’t get me wrong–I still enjoy my old-school rounds, but gradually, I became less attached to it than ever before (from 2008 to present).

Source: In Montgomery

During the past several months, I still enjoyed my group exercise classes at the Y, but couldn’t easily fit some of the classes into my schedule. I also found myself wanting to do different things in the classes and be more independent with the exercises chosen.  For example, one instructor in particular, although very fit and good at instruction, seemed to always want to do the same exact warm-up and same leg and butt exercises when she taught every Wednesday.  It got on my nerves after awhile, especially when I thought about all the other moves we could be doing.

Yes, I’m a certified instructor, but I really don’t want to teach classes. I guess it was more like a form of (expensive) self-enrichment. Continue reading “What I Learned From: Y Membership (And Why I Switched to Another Gym)”

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What I Learned From: “Going Natural” (And Why I’m Back on the Creamy Crack)

I don’t regret “going natural” 4 years ago. I mainly did so to teach my daughter to love herself as she is.

She’s worn her natural hair all her life. I started “relaxing” since about age 13 for manageability, independent styling (Mom was no longer braiding me as a teen), and to fit in.  20+ years later, I bravely did the big chop.

When I took my daughter to the airport to visit other family members for the summer of ’13, she sternly told me not to cut my hair while she was gone. “You should let it grow back and get long the way it used to be,” she said.

She missed my long straight hair, and honestly, I did too.

Continue reading “What I Learned From: “Going Natural” (And Why I’m Back on the Creamy Crack)”

What I Learned From: Homeschooling (And Why I Don’t Anymore)

This story is not profound.  I still condone homeschooling for any family who has the time and money to do so, and I don’t rule out doing so again in the future.

 

I was actually prepared to have my daughter attend our state’s Connections Academy this school year, but her old charter school notified me of an opening. What I wasn’t prepared for was all the back-and-forth between administration and myself regarding documentation and proof that she successfully completed the previous grade.

Although I was challenged and my daughter was tested (literally), we succeeded and now she is back. There was almost no adjustment since she attended the school three years ago and remembered the environment, staff and students from before. She liked being home with me, and it made us closer. But she loves her school experience now.

I don’t expect to make another school change decision again until she is finishing up 8th grade, which is the last grade there. But even though I don’t do or teach her lesson plans anymore, I’m ever vigilant and involved in her education.

My Encounter with Heartbreak Hill

IMG_0551Sometimes I like running more when I’m not doing it. 🙂

Enter Runner’s World magazine. I read each issue from cover to cover, usually as soon as I get it. And of course, it’s chock full of race ads and recommendations. So when I first saw that RW was going to have an inaugural race in Boston, I was stoked.  I started running a few days before the marathon bombing in 2013, and I have some special friends there. So I when I made my 2014 race calendar, Heartbreak Hill (HH) was a firm fixture on the list. I chose the 10K.
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The expo was at the Silvio Conte Forum at Boston College. Bib pickup was well-organized, in the hallway outside the Forum, while the main floor had the vendors and the area to pick up your tees. I think I was spoiled at a previous race because I was able to exchange my hoodie for a different size–not so here though. Thankfully I actually picked the right size– it just looked too small in my hand.IMG_2928

I got in a short line to take a picture for a mock RW mag cover, and then popped over to get a branded tank. The weather report was looking good for the weekend, and I wanted to be cool and comfortable for those hilly 6.2 miles. Continue reading “My Encounter with Heartbreak Hill”

The Not-So-Average Black Girl: April 2014 Highlights/Recap

Since I spent this month in journal-mode, I didn’t mention notable things I saw or did. So here goes a few highlights for the month:

 

  • I had 3 interviews about my new book (including one tonight)!
  • I celebrated my one-year “Runnerversary,” clocking 535.45 miles (up to that date), including 1M, four 5Ks, 6K, 8K, 10K, and one 15K races. I did another 5K a week ago, so that makes 10 races total! My next race will be in Boston at the Runner’s World
  • I was nominated for Most Versatile Blogger by Brandi Hawthorne

 

The Average Black Girl is Not So Average

Two really cool things I saw in pop culture this month:

 

A spoken word performance by Ernestine Johnson on Arsenio Hall on 4/10/14, entitled “Average Black Girl,” which I SO relate to. She gave me life with this poem!


Standards of beauty have long been “light” in Hollywood. The breakout star of one of the most important feature films of 2013, 12 Years a Slave, changed all that.

Enter Ms. Lupita Nyong’o.



This month she was named #1 on People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful Peoplegiving long-overdue validation to colored girls who rarely see their dark skin celebrated on the big screen.

 

 

 

 

Does What You Wear Reflect Who You Are?

(Throughout the month, I’m blogging 20 questions from this month’s feature article in O magazine.) 

 

QUESTION 17 – Does What I Wear Reflect Who I Am?
My lovely flower stilletos from VictoriasSecret.com
My lovely flower stilletos from VictoriasSecret.com

For me, shopping is a chore. I like fly shoes as much as the next woman, but looking for clothes is WORK.

I’m not the “typical” woman who likes to shop.  I don’t like looking through racks of clothes in stores, trying on clothes, or driving from one store to the next in search of something specific. Online shopping is easier in this regard except for the fit factor. Add to that my frugality, and my penchant for good deals, and shopping gets even more complicated.

 

As far as my style, it is sadly not often reflected in how I dress from day to day. I’ve been working from home for almost 10 years and most of my wardrobe screams two things: comfort and boredom. I have tons of sweaters, shirts and skirts that are plain jane (one color, no visual interest).

 

In my constant struggle to reduce clutter, I’ve given away many clothes that I never wear or no longer fit due to my weight loss last year, but I’ve known about my need for a stylist a while now. I’m just too cheap I guess… and a lazy shopper.

Twenty QuestionsWikipedia: Twenty Questions is a spoken parlor game which encourages deductive reasoning and creativity.

What Are You Afraid Of?


(Throughout the month, I’m blogging 20 questions from this month’s feature article in O magazine.) 



QUESTION 11- What Am I Afraid Of?

In the past I’ve been afraid of being left out from what was going on with the cool kids. Lately I’ve been afraid that I’m missing out on enjoying my life, if I just base it off of emails of happenings and various Facebook posts.  It’s one of the reasons why so many people get hooked on social media. “FOMO.”

 

But the fear I’m going to address here is literal. You may want to ask yourself this question two or three times each time you answer it to get to the root.

 

What are you afraid of?
But then what are you really afraid of?

 

I love families and I love mine. I don’t want to lose my parents–not so much afraid, because I know someday it will happen–its just that I’m not looking forward to living without them.

 

I hope that I will not be alone when my daughter grows up– there’s no guarantee that I’ll get married again.

 

I’ve been afraid that the one that I care about so much doesn’t really care much about me.

 

Sometimes I think I’m afraid of success. Other times I’m afraid that I’m not as good as others that do what I do. Or that I’ll be overlooked even if I am.


Now that you know what you are afraid of, what are you going to do about it?