Birthday Staycation

July 22nd, the day this queen was born, I went to bed completely stuffed with birthday joy, AND I woke up without a lick of guilt looming over my head. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is always another story (rolls eyes). 

Sunday, my Birthday Eve, was spent enjoying all things simple: friendship, belly laughs, flavorful food, mimosas, chauffeured rides, siestas, discovering a new fav place to dine, complimentary desserts, and being woken up to midnight birthday kisses all over my cheek from Lulu (aka best friend and soul sister). I guess that was my birthday theme this year, unelaborate and fulfilling. I wanted to soak it all in with positive people who love and support me. No club scene, no traditional sequin party dress, and definitely no 3-tier birthday cake. I was craving a 24-hour break from the word Mommy mixed in with some self-love, and that’s just what the universe delivered. In the words of June Osborne, praise be!

I floated into the 1 Hotel and let me tell you, what you see online is what you get, but much more (we all know this isn’t always the case). In the common areas there’s beautiful baskets of fresh fruit available, tons of white, beige, and green decor all over the place (ironically my wedding colors, go figure). It’s like being transported into an indoor magical forest of modern impeccable design and detail. A calmness and peace immediately covered my mind and body for the duration of my stay. And to top it off, my room was ready for an early check in at 1:00 pm…ayyyyyy! Birthday blessings and good karma make for unexpected and delightful surprises. 

Photo by 1Hotel

The room! It looked to be the work of Joanna Gaines, the goddess of HGTV. A sustainable art piece: plush white linen couch, textured white walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, beautiful wooden headboard, chalkboard on the nightstand in place of the usual pad and paper, hangers recycled out of homework (the teacher in me was tickled but not pink), a yoga mat (definitely not for me, but I appreciated the gesture), and the sweater-like cozy robe that put me to sleep. It was just what I ordered. At one point, there was a random knock at my door. Turns out the hotel team curated a generous display of sweet treats along with a celebratory message. I felt like a princess! It’s really the little things that mean the most. 

The next morning, I woke up with such gratitude and wholeness, the clouds from the year parted and light was shining all around me. This must be what happiness feels like. So, I danced, entertained myself with a few rounds of karaoke, courtesy of Spotify, had a breakfast-in-bed date with my selfie, a soak in the tub, and enjoyed the company in the room with me, myself, and I.

Birthday takeways: Take time to really appreciate what is pleasurable, nurturing, and sustaining to your soul. Delete or cut (don’t paste) what is annoying, frustrating, and hurtful. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Be present. Live. 

Writefully So

While almost everything around us continues to evolve, speed up, and offer instant results, we must not forget about those small but mighty gestures. The reality is, we all love receiving cards from our friends and family. Why? Because it shows us how much we are cared for. “Handwriting is intimate and reveals personality. We express emotion when writing a greeting card. Equally time is the most precious thing we have to give, so if we spend time choosing, writing and sending a card we are helping people feel valuable and worthwhile. Who would have thought a greeting card could do so much” (Shaw, Lynda)

Mysydneyjames offers inclusive contemporary greeting cards for almost every occasion or motivational words for your mood board. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this unique collection. Take a peek and make your purchase at Writefully So

Fear vs Want

Trying to figure out your next move? Chasing what we love can lead us to amazing places, and tackling our fears can do the same. Don’t believe me? Check out this journaling exercise that I mentioned on my recent IG post. This should make you a believer!

Journaling Exercise by Krista Suh

Draw two big circles to form a Venn diagram (a great tool for brainstorming and showing relationships). Label one circle “Fear” and the other “Want”. Write down everything you fear and everything you want, but if there’s anything that fits for both, write it in the middle where the two overlap. The place for overlap is where the fairy dust appears and the magic happens. If you want something but you’re fighting against it at the same time, there’s much more to unpack and sort through. You will reap major benefits from pursing what’s in the overlapping section with a laser beam focus.

Venn Diagram

Plus, if you fear something and have no interest in it, this exercise also communicates that we don’t have to take on all of our fears. I have real trepidation when it comes to heights. It even shows up when I’m driving over bridges, through mountains, or along elevated highways. However, while planning a summer trip to Canada, I developed a strong desire to walk across Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge and experience that raw feeling of accomplishment. It remains one of the best moments in my life, underscoring that my fears won’t stop me from living. On the flip side, I also have an inherited terror of snakes (thanks, Mom). But, I have not one small inkling of desire to hold, touch, or be in the room with this reptile (although, I’m sure they are lovely creatures). Therefore, there is no need for me to focus my energy here. 

Anything out there you doubly fear and want occupies a larger room in your mind. You truly care about it, but have talked yourself out of it with all the ways in which it could go south. So, in this case, would we call these real fears or counterfeit ones? Uncover your happiness the moment you get rid of those imposters living in your head. 

Too Soon!

“Owning your feelings and your truth.” A simple yet positive vibe that makes me feel empowered (insert power pose) and definitely aligns with my beliefs. Well, I can’t just talk about it…I have to own it through my thoughts and actions.  So, here it is…my truth…deep breath. Turning 36 feels f***ed up and completely terrifying. Besides the intimidating number, (technically speaking, in the world of math, my age rounds up to 40 and in dog years I’m pretty much dead), I’m just not ready. Literally, where has the time gone? I’m a single mom of two with so many more goals and aspirations. It feels like I’m on life’s treadmill. The longer I run, the more tired I get, and eventually I’m going to tap out. Do I have the time and stamina to get to my personal and professional destinations? Wait. Please hold….ok, rewind. The world keeps inserting its expectations and definitions into my thoughts. It’s so easy to let this noise cloud our beliefs. Inside of me is a person waiting to fully emerge. But, in order to successfully do this, I have to spend less of my priceless time focusing on what I could be by cherishing the life I currently have, my truth.

Aren’t we all looking for peace within ourselves; the moment when we can comfortably stop the treadmill and retire to pure greatness, queendom. We want to be the architects for the lives we love, nourish our passions, and walk off that treadmill with no regrets.  For the rest of this year, I’m making a promise to work on staying more present and enjoying the now. I’m proud of who I’am. Why shouldn’t I be. I’m accomplished, a bada** mamma, a good person, a beloved daughter/sister/auntie/friend, always aspiring to be better than yesterday, aka Amber. This is what it looks like to reject the boxes created and recreated for us. Some days are better than others, so we have to constantly put our own selves in check until we no longer have to. This is my life, my path, my choices, my losses, and my gains. I’m feeling right where I should be. Getting older means valuing my odyssey and being true to myself at all costs. This year, getting older means learning to release my fears and enjoy the marathon. 

““Brown down, break through, break the shell, elevate, and fly.” – India Arie

Am I a Lazy Parent?

Here’s the Tea, Mamas

I recently scrolled across an article, by Brooke Hampton (a fellow mommy blogger), on the subject of being a lazy parent. Immediately, at first glance of the title, I became defensive at the idea of someone thinking I don’t already do enough for my lovable little time snatchers. This article better not even hint at the idea, or I might just lose it with my computer screen, I told self. To my surprise, everything this article touched upon left me in a 180 degree wonderment on just how lazy I could be. Unlike helicopter or lawn mower parents, “lazy” parents empower their kids to become independent doers, way before college and the real world starts knocking on the door.  How? You might want to get out a pencil and some paper for this part.  Even the notes feature on your iPhone will suffice. Personally, I still prefer the touch of paper and fancy writing tools, but I digress. Parents don’t usually think to entrust their toddlers with the dishes or their tweens with managing a household budget. So, are they expected to acquire life skills outside of the home when life has no plan to slow down and give them a one-on-one tutoring session? It’s more idealistic to prepare your children for life after childhood with you as their teacher, right? Yes, your toddler is not equipped to handle your favorite William Sonoma dishes that you found for a steal during that holiday sale…trust me, that stresses me out for the both of us. But, why not let him rinse, clean, and dry your fancy treasures with your guidance. Does it take longer? Yes. Does it feel unnecessary in the moment. Yes, again. Your 30 minute dishwashing session just became an hour-long ordeal with an added clean up of the mess your toddler is wearing. However, you are adding life treasures to his piggybank.

Still Undecided?

I get it. The more responsibility we release to our kids, may feel like we are being “lazy” parents. We get into a grind of thinking we should and must do everything.  This mindset allows us to manage our tight schedules with little room for lateness. But, don’t we want our kids to learn for themselves both inside and outside the classroom? I consider the home-front  to be the first place of development and risk taking. While my son learned to talk through our interactions at home, he also learned how to crawl/jump out of his crib. In my home I’m creating, I want my kids to have personal integrity, workplace literacy, civic awareness, and (of course) academic proficiency. Building confidence in kids is key, along with caring parents who have high expectations for their little humans to grow into good people. We all have different parenting approaches and that’s one of the beauties about having your own kids; you get to choose how much therapy they end up needing.  In a world that is constantly judging and criticizing people of all ages, any approach that empowers your kid to feel like the s***, is one worth noting. 

P.S. This is me working harder on being a lazy parent. My kids asked to ride their bikes through the neighborhood, so I followed along to observe their readiness (mine included).


The Genesis

The Genesis

I am…an all-girl high school graduate, empowered to project my voice within a world of male dominance. “Aspire to be a doctor, lawyer, or entrepenuer,” they drilled into me. “Women can achieve the same success as men.” So, I became a feminist. Not a mis’andrist but simply a feminist. I am an advocate for social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

After escaping the bubble wrap I was enveloped in and heading off to college, ready to run the world, I decided to reinvent myself. Well, not so much of a reinvention but more like a remix. Why not? I was still exploring the depths of myself and there was so much more unclaimed territory. At this time, naive and I were the best of friends. I only saw the good in people and managed to dodge more dark clouds than most. I was a bubbly eighteen-year-old, floating down life’s runway.

Itching to express my creativity and passion for film, I strutted into Norris Theater with my coffee colored, vintage Gucci backpack and felt fitted. I studied the phenomenal works of Micheaux, Hitchcock, and Coppola, to name a few. Soon, I found myself entranced with the powers of a camera and a well-executed script. I would from that point on, proudly wear my appreciation and fascination with cinema-television, everywhere life would take me. Perhaps a doctor, lawyer or entrepenuer were better suited for my other cohorts. I preferred to project my voice through my analysis and self-expression of art, whether it be film, television, fashion, music, or beauty. I am a storyteller (through various outlets), lover of fashion not style, music is my therapist, and I fancy the thought of cutting edge makeup to enhance my personal canvas.

Three years later, upon commencement, I was soon forced to add more to this remix. I unexpectedly toddled into parenthood feeling concerned, young, and completely unprepared. Being a “mommy” just wasn’t mentioned in college, or any of my private high school classes and I’m pretty sure that agreement was written in the fine print below the price of tutition. With a great support system and thirteen years of experience under my multicolored leather Louis Vuitton belt, I am a proud mom of two of the sweetest mini people I have ever met.

So, what’s the next part of the remix? How do I combine who I am…an educated, creative, soul who my kids refer to as mom, and further explore the rest of who I am meant to be, without neglecting any of the above? At this point, I’m still working on an answer. However, having a place to voice my ideas, frustrations, concerns and daily rewards along the way, is one reason this blog was born. I’m not looking for approval from anyone; just a place to continue expressing who I am and where I am going. You coming?