Warm it up

I have a love for food that changes constantly. What I want in one moment could be trashed in the next. Literally- I can prepare my lunch the night before, go to retrieve it from the fridge in the morning, take one look at it and wind up dumping it faster than you can take your next breath. You could say this is a little strange, but it’s how I operate. 

In my healthier phases I love a good salad, usually with little to no dressing. A southwest salad from Chick-fil-a, caesar salad from my local pizza place, or BLT salad from Wawa. Trust me they’re all wonderfully delicious and approved by yours truly. 

If I really want to kick it up a notch I throw together a few of my kitchen staples and make a warm kale salad. I’ll tell you how you can tweak the recipe later. 

Ingredients: Kale (bagged or fresh), 2 colored bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, etc.), 1 red onion, 2 tablespoons of butter, and salt. 

Instructions: 

  1. Be sure to remove any stickers from vegetables and clean them under warm running water. 
  2. Chop peppers and onions length wise into equally sized pieces (about half an inch). 
  3. Cut kale into 2 inch pieces. You could also rip kale into smaller pieces, it doesn’t have to be precise. 
  4. Add butter, peppers and onions into pan and begin to sautΓ© for 3-5mins on medium/high heat. 
  5. Throw in kale with other vegetables and cook until leaves have darkened in color, but still have a crunch. Salt to to taste. 
  6. Serve and enjoy. 

Now let’s get to the variations. 

  1. Swap out butter for low fat cooking spray. I use either one, but I prefer the butter for taste. (That artificial stuff just doesn’t cut it!)
  2. Red for white onions-I like the color and kick of the red onions!
  3. Garlic! Fresh, powder, minced, whatever…throw in some garlic. 
  4. Cut the salt and opt for no sodium seasoning like Ms. Dash. 
  5. Add in some protein. One day I threw in some turkey pepperoni because I was being lazy and that was my protein/salt for the day. Chicken and bacon also work well. 

Thank you to my 2nd mother for this recipe. 

        -Jay πŸ––πŸΎ

        Work-versaryΒ 

        It turns out that good things do happen in March besides Spring. It’s my one year work anniversary!! I’m going to turn-up for God’s strength in keeping me during this time. 

        For those of you that don’t know, I am a first grade teacher at an elementary school in Philadelphia. If you’ve read my About Me page, I’ve worked my butt off since high school so I have a lot to brag about (even though I’m definitely the gangster moving in silence type). 

        Of course this year has been filled with ups and downs, fears, frustrations, but above all else, fuller faith. I used to hate when people would tell me:

        -You have a calling

        -You were born to do this. 

        -They need you. 

        I would look around and literally try to see who they were talking about. To this day, people come into my my building or into my classroom and this is the conversation I wind up having (my responses are always the same: 

        Them: How long have you been teaching?

        Me: Well, I was with toddlers for almost 2 years and I’ve been here since last March. 

        Them: (face drops/mouth gaping) Last March??

        Me: Yes, about a year now…

        Them: So this is your first year teaching in a school?

        Me: (shyly) Yes… 

        Them: (usually some combination of these words) Hats off to you, kudos, WOW, you’re amazing, loud clapping, fist bump, etc. 

        The crazy thing is that I love my job. Well actually not the “job” in itself, but the work that my job calls for. Each day I have children and families depending on me. I know it’s my first year, but I have so much to offer them. I challenge them to learn through the required curriculum, but I also incorporate music, art, and dance. Not in a cheesy way either. We move to GoNoodle, quick draw our story predictions, or sing silly songs about science and phonics. 

        I love being able to go into my little bubble of a classroom, close the door, and be with my children. Their faces light up when when they get something, help a classmate, or share out there answers. If you’ve never been able to see a child’s face light up when they’ve achieved something, it’s awesome-my reason for waking up each day. Here’s to many more days waking up to learn (teach). 

        No day is perfect, but every day is new. 

        -Jay πŸ––πŸΎ

        Dip, dip

        A few months ago I took a journey back to the nailry for the first time in over a year. I went consistently to the nailry before my son was born, but then I was just too big to feel like moving. You know how those final weeks of pregnancy go: fat feet, back pain, exhaustion…Anyway, after the constant harassing from my husband, I decided to go back to my old routine, plus my cuticles were looking a bit raggedy (yes, I get a little ratchet at times).  

        The last time I went to the nailry I was getting gel polish at the suggestion of my nail tech, instead of regular nail polish with a gel coat on top. I don’t remember being overly thrilled by the look of my nails, but I remember being very satisfied by how long my color would last. As I signed in to be serviced, I checked the boxes for pedicure and gel polish. 

        I was instructed to pick out my color while I waited, but I really didn’t have a vibe for where I should focus my attention. Did I want to be dark and mysterious or tame and nude? Decisions, decisions. I ended up deciding to go into the realm of my favorite hue purple, dark like midnight. Before I knew it my name was being called to sit in chair number 2. 

        I have to admit, I was a little too excited about my “little piece of heaven wrapped in vanilla bean cheesecake”…I mean pedicure. The water was blue, temperature was just right, and my back was being perfectly massaged. I enjoyed every minute of my pedicure and when it was over I was sad to walk away from the chair. 

        I had to wait for sometime after the pedicure to get my polish so I did a little social media lurking and drafting blog posts. “Chair number one please…” someone called out. The owner’s chair?? What the…

        After a few pleasantries she asked:

        Her: What are you getting today? 

        Me: Uh, I just wanted to get a gel color to match my nails. 

        Her: Gel? Okay. We don’t really do gel anymore. Have you tried dip polish?

        Me: Dip polish? 

        Her: Yes, dip polish. Instead of having to use a light like with the gel polish your nails are dipped into powder. 

        Me: Oh wow, so it takes longer? 

        Her: It actually takes less time than the gel polish.  

        Me: Hmmm…(long awkward pause). 

        Her: I actually have the dip powder on my nails now. 

        Me: Really?? (It looked so sparkly and neat on her fingers!)

        Her: It can last about 3 weeks and doesn’t damage your nails. 

        (Customer walks over)

        Customer: It’s true! I’m a nurse and mine last for that long and my nails are still healthy. I’m addicted!!

        As we all have a hearty laugh I decide to give the dip a try. 

        When she’s done with the whole process of dipping and painting my nails, I can’t help staring at them. They look so good and I don’t have to worry about ruining them trying to get my keys out of my pocket. Bye, bye gel and hello dip powder! 

        -Jay πŸ––πŸΎ

        A little kept

        So the other day I posted the picture below to my Instagram


        I was clearly thirsty, but what’s more important are the jeans I’m in. 

        As a mom of 2 it’s really hard adapting to the changes your body goes through each time after having a baby. It’s hard mentally, but physically trying to look just a little kept is a daunting task because there’s so much going on that’s far more important (doctor’s appointments, feeding schedules, SLEEP). However, I think that if you look good you will feel good too. (That inner confidence can send you over the moon!)

        Back to the jeans…

        Somewhere in there I was able to find a pair of jeans that moms everywhere would love. They are high waisted, stretchy, and look like “non-mom” jeans. The material has withstanded the tests of time: coffee, throw-up, even a little ketchup! Unfortunately, they aren’t sold anymore (sorry). The brand is…wait for it…

        Victoria’s Secret! Of course I had to research what happened to their clothing line and sad to say, they decided to focus on their “core items”. I was such a fan of their online store because the quality of products and overall prices. Actually, I’m still a fan, but I have no choice other than to let go because the powers that be have made their final decision. 

        For as long as I can I will hold onto these jeans and cherish them. May you find the best fitting jeans that help you through your journey. 
        -Jay πŸ––πŸΎ

        28 Days

        A month is all you got, but that’s about to stop. 

        28 days better be enough, nobody cares y’all had it rough. 

        They brought you over in ships, had some laying in a ditch. 

        Your mothers and fathers built their empires. 

        A person, book, or song is what we’re “worth”. 

        28 days is enough, what more do you want?

        They still got us in ships, moving us to and fro. 

        We go here and there, tethered to one another. 

        Anything we need won’t be free, we’ll just have to stick it out indefinitely

        The homes we lack, they build for “no photos, please”. 

        It’s ghetto and hood, it effects all the schools. 

        The ditches are now traps, set with promises of equality and acceptance. 

        We keep moving forward, but take 3 steps back. 

        28 days ain’t enough!

        Media Madness

        My apologizes in advance for using such a pretentious title, but WOW. This is literally all I can say. If you have access to any type of media source, you’ve probably experienced the same amount of shock and awe as I have. Here’s where I get a little crazy…

        Is there a person alive that isn’t subjected to the negative perspective of our current media? Turn on the TV, pull up the internet, even fold open a newspaper (prehistoric, I know)- what is happening to the world around us? 

        In my eyes the media is so skewed and twisted that we can barely see the light at the end of the tunnel. For me it’s hard to even sit through a full segment of the local news, sometimes Chuck Todd on Meet the Press has me looking sideways at the television. Why, oh why must the world be at such odds?

        That’s it. This is THE WORLD. As time progresses I can see why we aren’t meant to stay here forever. Would you want to live in chaos, death, and destruction for eternity?
        -Jay πŸ––πŸΎ

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        Water transforms.Β 

        As I dig through the archive of photos stored on my phone, I notice something quite amazing: I don’t have the face that I used to have. I got a face transplant! Okay…you called my bluff. My face hasn’t been transplanted, but transformed and I owe this difference to my “new” face routine. 

        A routine is something that is done consistently. I would say that I have followed this routine at least 5 days out of the week for over 6 months, so I’m pretty consistent. The difference that I can see is subtle, but awesome. 

        I’ve been told that I have pretty normal skin (by makeup professionals). I’m not quite sold on this statement, but I have noticed that I don’t need to focus my battle on too many pimples. My new fight is with black heads and occasional breaks outs (yay). 

        Here’s what I do: 

        In the morning my routine is very minimal. I cleanse my face with warm water, pop in my contacts, and then moisturize it with Neutrogena Naturals. That’s it! My time is precious and the morning and once I read an article about the benefits of water only in the morning I knew that I had to give it a try. 

        At night I cleanse my face with Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Face Cleanser and don’t moisturize. I tried using their Nourishing Night Cream for awhile, but it was too much for my face. I noticed my face was oily and I was having frequent breakouts so it had to go. 

        I plan on sticking with this routine because my complexion has improved overall: more even color and better elasticity. It’s also affordable (click the links for pricing) and easy to follow.

        Note: I also do not put a rag to my face to wash it or dry my face off with a towel. 

         
        Cheers to water, 

        Jay πŸ––πŸΎ

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        Life’s Journey

        Life is a painting of time gone by.

        The flow of limbs,

        The need to say goodbye. 

        We all fear the unknown, 

        But is there a true reason why?

        To rid ourselves of pain, let go of hurt, 

        To fully erase our memory banks. 

        I’m down for that. 

        By any means, be free. 

        From all the hurt and disloyalty. 

        Free for free. 

        Free for nothing. 

        Free so your soul search is undaunting. 

        “Seek, and ye shall find.” 

        Let your feet walk in the path of your heart. 

        Shall we dance?

        It’s you. You’re the reason I can’t sleep. 

        Damn, I can’t even eat. 
        You’re the reason I can’t drop this broken beat. 

        1-2-3 and repeat. 
        It’s a fucking song and dance, but I know I don’t stand a chance. 
        That mistro is in your back pocket. 

        He’s holding your wallet. 

        All the things you told me don’t do, he’s doing right to you. 
        Let’s pick up the pace. 

        We all know I’m out of place. 

        Thanx for this chance. 

        It better not be our last dance. 

        Hello, Autumn

        Hello all, 

        Welcome back, welcome home. 

        Autumn is a time of change that signals the beginning of cold temperatures and darker days for the east coast. I love autumn because I can wear my favorite things…sweaters! Oversized sweaters are the best, but I’ll pretty much take any sweater that flatters or hides my my figure (depends on the day). 

        It also begins the sights of all things pumpkin. Yay for YOU guys! I’m not a huge fan of all things pumpkin, but I will take some pumpkin things in moderation. Things like pumpkin cheesecake (BB), pumpkin cookies, or pumpkin seeds are right up my alley.  

        I also really enjoy taking the kids to our local farm. We usually go for our annual hayride, pumpkin picking, and candy apples. If you’ve never been to Linvilla and are looking to indulge in any of these things, make sure you: arrive early, pack water, and wear your walking shoes. 

        What are some things you enjoy about autumn? What will you pull out of your closet. 

        Happy autumn. 

        -Jay