Self-Care is Self-Love

I try to engage in self-care. It’s difficult to do on a consistent basis as a busy mama. And it’s an internal struggle using extra funds to splurge on myself, and not on buying the kid a new pair of shoes.  Plus, self-care spaces (spas, yoga, etc.) have been heavily promoted and imagined as a pleasure for white women. When I celebrated my birthday last fall, I decided to treat myself to a soak and sauna, with a massage sandwiched in between. I found it interesting that the mostly white staff seemed surprised and even a bit hostile I was there.  I guess a Black woman wanting to focus on self/healing was unthinkable to them.

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This past weekend, I attended a fundraising event for an organization that is dedicated to encouraging Black/communities of color to practice self-care. I had a wonderful time and ate some amazing Thai curry chicken soup! I enjoyed all the guest speakers, especially Day Bibb. Bibb shared about being a survivor of domestic violence. She noted when she was seeking services to reclaim her life/sense of self after leaving her abuser, white medical practitioners were eagerly willingly to give her medication to “deal with the trauma.” However, she realized she was never provided self-care resources. She made the profound point that Black women aren’t seen as worthy of self-care spaces. We are just expected to “mule” and take the lumps and bumps of life, without recourse.  It reminded me of my experience at the spa. The look on their faces that read they didn’t think I belonged.

The truth is, self-care is more of a necessity for Black women than it is for white women. Let’s be honest. What do white women go through? They live in a society that puts them on pedestal, coddles their white woman tears, and pretty much let them get away with nonsense (all those 911 ones on Black people for eating while Black, swimming while Black, napping while Black, etc., were majority placed by white women).

Self-care spaces need to be more open and welcoming to Black women because we need/deserve it the most. This country was built off the bodies/labor of Black women, and we continue to be exploited/marginalized. Bibb stated Black children also need time for reflection/to breath, as they are even ruthlessly attacked under the system of white supremacy/oppression.

Self-care is self-love and I’m working hard this year to treat myself more and allow myself space to just be.

 

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Seasonal Bites #2

I love a scrumptious muffin. Especially, with a nice cup of coffee. Muffins make amazing treats on a laidback Sunday afternoon or a hectic work morning. So, when I saw this recipe for cinnamon sugar pumpkin muffins, I had to share the wealth. Can you imagine taking a bite of these delicious muffins after opening gifts and laughing with friends and family? This is an intricate recipe, but well worth it! It’s muffin time 😉

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Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Almond Breeze Almondmilk original
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line two muffin pans with muffin liners (24 total) and set aside.
  • Combine flour, salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and baking soda in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin, coconut oil, almondmilk, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  • Slowly fold dry mixture into wet mixture just until combined.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin liners about three-quarters full.

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • Combine sugar, pecans, and cinnamon in small bowl. Stir.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon or more of the topping on top of the muffins.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in muffin pan before removing to a cooling rack.

Recipe from: Mom on TimeOut

 

 

Seasonal Bites #1

It’s hard to believe we are just a week away from Christmas! 2018 has been the most bizarre year ever. While I am looking forward to 2019, I’m kind of scared to see what the new year will bring. Until then, I guess I will console myself with delicious treats. As y’all know, I love sharing recipes. I came across this mouth-watering dessert. I normally don’t care for pecan anything, but I will make an exception for this! A great dish for the season. Grab a mixing bowel and enjoy 🙂

Caramel Apple Pecan Pie

Ingredients
For the Apple Filling
  • 9 apples, peel, core and slice (Granny Smith)
  •  cup brown sugar
  •  cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
For the Caramel Sauce
  • ¾ cups butter, 1½ sticks
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
For the topping
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 stick butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
Additional topping
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
For the Filling
  1. Add sliced apples to large mixing bowl.
  2. Sprinkle brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, corn starch, lemon juice and nutmeg over apples.
  3. Stir until apples are coated then add pecans. Stir.

For the Caramel Sauce
  1. In a small heavy bottom pan, melt butter over low heat.
  2. Stir in brown sugar and milk.
  3. Bring to a boil over low heat and continue stirring constantly for 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp of vanilla. Stir.

  5. Let caramel cool for 10 minutes. Pour over apple mixture and stir (save a small amount to drizzle over the top. You will have to heat it up again so that the sauce is easy to pour).

  6. Pour into an ungreased 13 x 9 baking dish.
For the Topping
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt together.
  2. Using a pastry blender, mix butter into flour mixture until crumbly.

  3. Pour in boiling water and stir until combined.
  4. Spoon mixture over apples and spread making sure to cover all the apples.

  5. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top.

  6. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.

Recipe from Great Grubs Delicious Treats

Summer Thangs #1

The summer season officially kicks off this week. Thank goodness. As someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve had enough of cloudy days. My body is literally aching for sunshine (Vitamin D deficiency is a huge problem here). Besides absorbing some golden rays,  I am looking forward to fun summer thangs. Especially, a tasty summer drink.

If you’ve been a long time follower of the blog, you know I enjoy collecting recipes. Now, if I actually make the recipe is another thing. So, I was excited when I came across this drink recipe. This is something I can actually do. It’s easy as 1, 2, 3! The Raspberry Lemonade Cocktail is a great treat for the upcoming summer days 🙂

Ingredients:

1 container Raspberry lemonade
1 bottle Malibu Rum
Ice

Non-cooking folks…we got this!

Directions:

In a glass full of ice, pour the Malibu Rum about 1/4 of the way up. Add the lemonade next, filling glass the rest of the way. Stir and enjoy. *If you prefer your drink frozen, pour into blender with ice and blend.

Recipe from: https://thecookinchicks.com/2013/03/raspberry-lemonade-cocktail/

 

It’s June…

which means summer is just a couple of weeks away. Thank goodness. I’m ready for sweet sunny days, delicious dranks, and lip smacking bbq. This month also means the celebration of Juneteenth.

“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19ththat the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.”  http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

Juneteenth is a Black American holiday. It is an opportunity to honor the resistance of Black people and our contributions to this country. It must never be forgotten that this society was built off the backs of Black people.

My group, PDX Black Feminism, will be hosting our own Juneteenth gathering. It’s a time to connect as a community and hold space for Black liberation. We always welcome donations and/or promotion of our campaign. The funding helps with refreshments, self-care needs, etc.

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The Future is…Coreena

*My new series “The Future is…” highlights innovative Black women/Non Binary folks.*

A few weeks ago, I was reading my new favorite online magazine Divine Dark Skin, when I saw an ad featuring singer Coreena.  I love learning about upcoming Black women artists, so I double-clicked. I liked what I heard, and decided to follow her website. Not long after, I was pleasantly surprised to find out Coreena was a member of an internet forum that I’m part of. I enjoyed her vibe in the group, and decided to reach out to her. I almost fainted when she agreed to an interview. I’m glad I asked. What I found was an adventurous young woman, carving her own path/identity/career.

Coreena Pic

Hi! So, tell us about yourself…

Hello and thank you for having me. Just want to say your blog is the bomb!!! Okay, enough of me gushing! My name is Coreena, I’m a musician currently based in Seattle Wa., but in two weeks moving to Berlin, Germany! I was born and raised in Seattle, went to college in Boston, MA at Berklee College of Music. I got married in Southern California and was in that relationship for 8-9 years. I divorced and moved back to Seattle. I currently teach voice/piano and perform /record music.

After my divorce, I started stepping into the person I wanted to be. My favorite quote is…“your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your actions do.” So, I became an ethical vegan. I’m more spiritual than religious. I followed my true path of becoming a full-time musician, no more side giggin. I wanted to use all of my talents to make a living.

I started getting into activism for animals and made the connection of oppression, abuse and subjugation in all forms. I was always aware of social justice issues in the Black community, but I was a bit of an elitist. I used to think the Black Panthers were too “extreme” and thought that upward mobility and respectability politics was the path to success for Black folks. Thinking about it now I’m like…who was that woman? She had all the best intentions, but allowed fear to guide her.

Currently, my “politics” and/or belief systems may be viewed as radical or extreme. Although, I think its ridiculous that some would view equality for all as radical! I proudly identify as a Black feminist/womanist. Let me be clear this identity for me includes trans women and gender-nonconforming femmes. Black feminism has really taken heat and so many folks don’t have a clue of what this identity embodies.

When I interview Portlanders of color, I often ask “What do you like/dislike about Portland?” I know Seattle is a bit more diverse than Portland, but is also known for being a white city. What are your unique experiences as a Black woman in Seattle? 

Seattle is my home so I’m sentimental and nostalgic about my physical surroundings, seeing familiar family and faces. I like that some of the younger Black folks and POC are already clued into radicalism. Maybe these younger folks can make the changes I’d like to see. What I don’t like is how Seattle prides itself on being very liberal, yet drinks diet racism. Many fail to ask the question, “How can I use my privilege to help and contribute to equality?”

Has music always been a passion of yours or did you have other interests? You are also a songwriter/producer. Do you think it’s important singers be “multi-talented?” 

I started singing when I was a wee little girl 5-6 years old, but professionally my career started when I went to Berklee at 19. It has ALWAYS been a passion. I can’t imagine doing anything else, maybe little things on the side like acting as I did in high school. My other interest was history, it’s so fascinating and important to know. You don’t know where you’re going, if you don’t know where you came from.

YES! I think its very important, but not necessary. It’s not public knowledge that a lot of “singers” are actually multi talented. Aretha Franklin played piano, wrote her own music and was her own music director at times. Chaka Khan played drums and did many of her own back up vocals in the studio. Bjork writes and produces. And the list goes on and on…

Your music has an electronic/Afrofuturism flavor, that reminds me of Kelela and FKA Twigs. What are your thoughts on the current state of Black women singers/artists?  How do you define your music? 

I’ve been making music in this genre and have had this sound for the last 13 years. It was not popular to see Black faces let alone a Black woman doing this back then. One of the main reasons I’m going to Berlin is because electronic music and its sub-genres are thriving there. As a Black woman who is an indie artist I get questions like…do you have anything that sounds like Beyoncé? Don’t get me wrong I really DIG Beyoncé, but I’m not her. I can get down singing some R&B/soul music tho! Don’t sleep! LOL!

I think the U.S. has a long way to go still in its acceptance of Black women “alternative” artists. I define my music as Electronic/Ambient/Trip Hop/Alternative/Beat Driven/Downtempo…with hints of jazz.

Your YouTube channel “CoCo Reena Goes International: A musician’s guide to travel, food, and discovery” chronicles your move to Germany. What do you hope to accomplish in Germany?

I decided to go to a place where the genre of music I do is celebrated and not tolerated. I’ve always want to spend quality time abroad and I do not want to get to a place in my life and look back with that big regret. After the election of #45 that was my push…escaping the U.S. in the era of Trump. I’m so disgusted by him and how bold his supporters are. The current climate in the U.S. is not healthy. I told myself I need to go be a citizen of the world for a while.

I’m girl crushing for real! I think your beautiful smile, exemplifies the positivity that radiates from you. What keeps you joyful/optimistic? Do you engage in self-care? Do you have any tips for Black women maintaining a healthy sense of self? In our “white supremacist capitalist patriarchy” society (to quote bell hooks).

Oh, Thank YOU!!! What keeps my mind in a productive place really is music. Thru music I have the opportunity to do my passion while expressing all my feelings, thoughts and activism! Music is my self-care. I also get those books out, take those baths and veg out!

I think for Black women to obtain a sense of self and foster healthiness is such an effort that it has to be done EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Specifically, for those that are dark-skinned Black women such as myself. We are perceived with so much bias. The images, social media, and person to person contact…just about everything in the outside world will remind you to “stay in your place.” What I do to fight this is surround myself with media, books, and people who reinforce what I believe to be the truth. Black is beautiful. Black is diverse. Black does not mean wrong or bad. Black is me and I love me.

Thank you for your time

Thanks for having me!

HOW TO SUPPORT COREENA

Website– https://www.coreenamusic.com

Patreon https://www.patreon.com/coreena

Youtube (Coco Reena)https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC432n57Sb0mnmcNnr2zzlyA

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/coreenamusic/

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/reena0519/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/coreenamusic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Yummies

I’ve pretty much given up trying to keep healthy foods in me and my youngin’s mouth this month. The holiday yummies are too hard to resist. Plus, when we are out and about, there is always someone handing my son a candy cane, cookie, etc., because “he is so cute! Merry Christmas!”  🙂

Oh, well. We will try to get it together next month. In the meantime, here are a couple of fun recipes to add to all of our poor eating habits this Christmas season!

I’m off to another quick blogcation. I wish everyone a wonderful rest of the year and a happy 2018. I will return in January!!

Christmas Grinch Punch
Prep time:  
Total time:  
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle Green Berry Rush Hawaiian Punch, chilled (1 gallon or 3.78L)
  • Two 6 oz. cans Dole Pineapple Juice, chilled (1.5 cups)
  • 1 bottle Sprite {2 liters}, chilled

Christmas-Grinch-Punch-Recipe 

http://diythrill.com/2017/11/01/easy-green-punch-recipe/

Easy Snowman Cookies

Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Ingredients
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Vanilla Cake Mix {15.25 oz.}
  • ½ cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 container Betty Crocker Creamy White Frosting {16 oz.}
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 bag Nestle Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 container M&M Minis (1.77 oz.)

Snowman-Cookies-Recipe-at-TheFrugalGirls.com_

http://thefrugalgirls.com/2016/12/snowman-cookies-recipe.html

#GivingTuesday

Today marks the sixth year of #GivingTuesday. The event was created as an answer to the commercialism of Black Friday. While the purpose is to celebrate the work of non-profits, I also encourage funding grassroots activists,  particularly Black women/folks. Honestly, I find some non-profits to be problematic. There are too many times, when money goes mysteriously missing. There are literally hundreds of millions of dollars still uncounted for during Hurricane Katrina. There tends to be a lack of accountability with some non-profits.

I feel that smaller organizations, tend to be a bit more transparent. These are folks who are often sustaining their work with their own money/resources. I think it’s important to remember these amazing people, as well as huge non-profits.

I want to give a shout out to my group… PDX Black Feminism. We are working hard to address issues affecting Black women in our city, as well as nationally.

Support this #GivingTuesday with donations and/or share with networks! 🙂

Here are a few social justice activities that might interest folks

Support the POC Herbal Freedom School/BIPOC Communiversity

The #BlackTransPrayerBook

Black Kidz Can Cook

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Self Care in Color

A few weeks ago, I attended a virtual self-care retreat for Black women (how cool is that!) It was an amazing experience. The only drawback, the daily videos were scheduled 8 am eastern time, which meant I had to be up by 5 am Pacific. Of course, it wasn’t that difficult for me to get up.  I have a toddler. Those with small children know kids are usually breathing in your face at the crack of dawn. So, I was semi-awake for this inspiring event.

I enjoyed all the guest speakers, but especially the conversations on what is self-care (Tara Pringle Jeffersonand Black motherhood and self-care (Danielle Faust).

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Bloom Beautifully Self-Care Box

Jefferson talked about the importance of thinking deeper about self-care practices. The rhetoric tends to be go get a manicure or go to the spa, and all will be well. Jefferson encouraged Black women to take a more holistic approach. It could mean getting rid of toxic people in our lives. Or cutting out destructive habits (overextending ourselves, smoking) etc.

Faust discussed the challenges of finding time for self-care, especially as  Black mothers. In/outside the Black community, there is expectation of Black women sacrificing themselves for everyone else. The pressures triple, once we have children. We are raising Black children in an anti-black world. We have to protect our children differently than non-Black mothers. How can Black mothers indulge in self-care without feeling guilty or judged?

Recently, I celebrated my birthday. A good friend gave me a gift card to one of my favorite stores. I had to force myself not to buy my son a new outfit. It was a struggle to only spend the card on myself. Honestly, I kind of failed. I did get him a t-shirt. It’s this dilemma as Black mothers of knowing it’s okay to self-indulge, sometimes.

The self-care retreat was interesting and fun. When the organizer asked about ideas for next year’s gathering, I suggested more interactive opportunities. But she did a wonderful job for her first time!

She sent a link of Black women owned businesses that include coaching, counseling, products, etc. Personally, I’ve got my eye on Jefferson’s self-care boxI will make self buy it. I will make myself buy it… 😉

Support Black businesses this holiday season!!

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summer eating #3

“this is only for the grown and sexy people…”

Well, you don’t necessarily need to be sexy, but you do need to be grown. This recipe combines two of my guilty pleasuresanything fried and tequila. I love the simplicity of the recipe. Perfect adult snack for a summer evening with friends or alone. heh.

Deep-fried tequila shots

“Only five steps separate you from deep-fried boozy bliss. First: make an angel food cake (or, you know, buy one). Next, cube it up into poppable bites. After that, soak each cake cube in tequila, then deep-fry the cubes in oil until they’re golden on all sides. Finally, sprinkle your shots with powdered sugar. Placing them all in an actual salt-rimmed shot glass is up to you, as is deep-frying the worm.”  Recipe from: https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/deep-fried-tequila-shots-recipe-by-oh-bite-it

Wow. Life is good 🙂