Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Don't Touch My Hair: Kim K appropriates once again...
It seems almost ironic that as type these words, Solange's Don't Touch My Hair begins playing on my shuffled music.

The lyrics, "Don't touch my hair, when it's the feelings I wear. Don't touch my soul, when it's the rhythm I know. Don't touch my crown. They say the vision I've found. Don't touch what's there, when it's the feelings I wear. They don't understand what it means to me, where we chose to go, where we've been to know. You know this hair is my shit, rolled the rod, I gave it time
But this here is mine." are the perfect backdrop for our discussion today on Kim K and her recent appropriation.

That's right. Another week, another Kardashian/ Jenner Black appropriation story. (I feel like since I have been writing publicly, this blog has seen more than its share of culture vulturing from this clan, and it's beyond enough.)

I find myself in a difficult place with Kim K. On one hand, I don't like her because I find her problematic from a feminism stance, and from an authenticity space because I find her fake at times.

To be honest, it would be easy for me not to like her. Given the fact that I feel that she personally responsible for the demise of one of the culture's most prolific musicians to ever rap (shout out to Kanye's College Drop Out and Late Registration days) and sent him straight to the sunken place.

Then there are times when I am legitimately rooting for her. When she took the time to educate her followers on the Armenian genocide and donates to positive causes, that's the Kim I want to win.

As of this week, I don't particularly care for her.
Instagram @KimKardashian 
This week, she posted this pic of her, barely clad, as we have come to expect her in all of her exhibitionism, with a head full of cornrows and beads, calling them "Bo Derek Braids".

Insert eyeroll of all eyeballs here.

First and foremost, they are called Fulani braids, or at the minimum, cornrows. They are a hairstyle popularized by the Fula people of Western Africa. They are an ancient hairstyle that has been around for hundreds of years.

They certainly didn't start in 1979 and certainly not by Bo Derek's appropriating behind either.

Secondly, (Spoiler Alert) it's not just a hairstyle we are talking about. It's part of African culture that children of the diaspora have been frantically reclaiming, a culture that was all but erased from us during slavery.

For Black People, it's not just a hairstyle. This goes beyond mere aesthetics down to the cultural oppression and refusal to acknowledge privilege.

For years, Black Women were subjected to hatred due to our hair styles by popular culture  only to now have it appropriated by the same culture that deemed it all the adjectives for bad you could think of. Black women were once forced by law to wrap their hair to "keep order". Locs were once called dirty, and now Becky and Brittany be rocking them beneath flower crowns at Coachella. Slicked "baby hair", once considered "ghetto" is now walking down the runways of Marc Jacobs' shows (Like almost every season now, by the way).

Now...Bo Derek braids...

And influencers, such as Kardashian, stealing from a culture that is not their own is only fueling the cultural theft. She is a troublingly frequently and flippant cultural appropriator and, worse of all, refuses to acknowledge it as a problem ever.

Being married to a Black Man and having what the world will consider Black Children does not make you entitled to Black Culture. It will always be problematic, no matter what she does or when she does it, especially given her flippant, "deal with it" attitude.

It has become so frequent, Kardashian has become a joke to most of us.

So no, Kim. Just because Bo Derek wore them in the 70's doesn't mean the style can or should be attributed to her.

And for everyone who will say that this post is anti-feminism because I'm picking on poor Kim yet again: Feminism is not hand holding, singing Kum-Ba-Ya together. It is calling your sisters to a higher, transparent, authentic standard. It's calling out problematic behaviors, of which cultural appropriation is pretty severe, and educating perpetrators on their cultural theft.

Which is what I will continue to do because my culture is not a costume, it's not a trend. It is who I am, who my people are, and it's bigger than aesthetics.

Don't touch our hair.


Reclaimed Readables #WomenCrushWednesday

Happy Wednesday loves!

This week's #womancrushwednesday features Hollywood hype over natural may not be a trend, the 13 year old on Forbes under 30 list, every beautiful look from the Black Panther movie premiere, 5 successful women share their morning routines, 17 people who look amazing in Fulani braids (that are not appropriating anyone's culture or live in Calabasas).

Refinery29: Hollywood hype over natural may not be a trend
Hello Giggles: The 13 year old on Forbes under 30 list
The Cut: Every beautiful look from the Black Panther movie premiere
Career Girl Daily: 5 successful women share their morning routines
BuzzFeed: 17 people who look amazing in Fulani braids

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

I'm going on a Shoe Fast...

Happy #TuesdayShoesDay fam!

I know I say this a lot, but its true:
I have too much stuff. I am good for a quarterly closet clear out, but I find at the end of each quarter, I have amassed more crap. It doesn't help that I have a great thrift shop that has beautiful things for literally pennies AND I have fashionable friends who are also quite generous. Whatever the reason is, I have too many things.

After clearing out spaces like my bookcase (it’s HUGE space by the way) and my kitchen, I am turning my sights to my shoes.

I love shoes. I really do. And being a woman with a 9.5/10 size foot, its not easy for me to find my size. That aside, I have amassed a huge amount of shoes. A few years ago, I stopped the madness with my footwear and sold, gave away, and donated 40 pairs. Yes, you read that right. 40 pairs, y’all.

I am proud to say that I haven’t purchased too many additional pairs since, but I still have too many, more than I can or do wear.

So, in the spirit of my journey into minimalism, I have decided to go on a shoe fast.

Maybe fast isn't the right word , maybe I should say that I am abstaining from buying any new shoes for myself.

Not only will I be abstaining from purchasing new shoes, I will be culling my collection down to the essentials:

1 pair of snow boots
1 pair of dress boots
1 pair of Uggs
3 pairs of flats
3 pairs of heels
3 pairs of sneakers
1 pair of slippers

Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted....

Reclaimed Readables #TuesdayShoesDay

Happy Tuesday loves!

This week's #TuesdayShoesDay features 10 pairs of shoes that will replace your old white sneakers, ways to sneak Uggs into your favorite outfits, 19 pairs of shoes perfect for wedding season, how to style lacy shoes, and how to polish your shoes in 4 easy steps.

How to polish your shoes in 4 easy steps
10 pairs of shoes that will replace your old white sneakers
Styling lacy shoes
How to sneak Uggs into your favorite outfits
19 pairs of shoes perfect for wedding season

Monday, January 29, 2018

#MindfulMonday at work: 5 Top Tips on Regaining Focus and Eliminating Distraction

This morning, I shared with you all on my Instagram about how my frustration on how a small, albeit, annoying moment in my morning literally threw me off of my groove. It was a struggle to get my focus back after that.

Then, after sharing my top two tips for regaining your focus, I decided to think deeper on some of the ways I refocus myself. I did a little research and discovered there are literally dozens of ways to recenter and redirecting your energy back to the work you are trying to accomplish. Some are simple and practical, others are too woo woo and completely unrealistic.

But these that I share below are definitely the former, some thing anyone can do, and work in almost any situation. Here are my top 5 tips for regaining my focus.

Mind your multitasking

I’m so guilty of this:

When working, I want to get as much done as possible. I’ll have more tabs open than needed, have my phone in my hand, and will be listening to a podcast or training audio.

That’s too much.

And I am starting to believe that human beings weren’t created to multitask. Every time I focus on a single task, even if it’s only for an hour or so, I find I do a better job of it than if I had been multitasking.

Limit your distractions

I’m good for having my phone in my hand and trying to respond to texts and emails when I’m supposed to be writing.

What I have started doing is turning my phone on mute and placing it face down when I’m trying to work. That way, I can make it through a writing groove without being distracted by notifications that can most likely be answered later.

Adjust your stimulation

I love listening to good music or a podcast while I’m writing, which is fine for a while. But then I notice my focus going off by me getting drawn into the conversations or the lyrics.

Fun music may work for a while but after some time, it can turn to a huge distraction. By cutting off the music or even lowering the volume, you may notice a huge increase in your productivity.

Give yourself a break

Maybe you have been working too hard for too long. Maybe you need to stand up, stretch, walk around, breathe. Maybe you are hungry or thirsty and need a pick-me-up or a drink of water. Be mindful of what your body is telling you and give yourself that, even if it’s only for a moment or so.

Give yourself a minute away from the tasks, that way, your mind can reset and you can return to it with fresher eyes and renewed energy.

Go outside

This one goes hand and hand with the tip above. Fresh air has a way of clearing a cluttered mind. If you can get up and go outside, do that. If you are able to take a 5 minute walk, do that. The more you can move and breathe outside, the better. Then, when you return to your task, you will have had a chance to move and breathe and stretch and you will be reset and ready to tackle it.

So those were my top 5. But I want to hear from you. What are your top 5 tips for redirecting your focus? Drop a comment below!

Reclaimed Readables, #MindfulMonday

Happy Monday beauts and beaus!

This week's #MindfulMonday features CRWN Mag "Love Issue" talks self love, letting go of things that don't really matter, 3 things mentally strong people do to overcome their toxic inner critic, 4 ways to combat seasonal effective disorder, and your self help reading list for 2018.

Byrdie: Self help reading list for 2018
My Domaine: 3 things mentally strong people do to overcome their toxic inner critic, 4 ways to combat seasonal effective disorder
21Ninety: CRWN Mag "Love Issue" talks self love, how to let go of things that don't really matter

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Reclaimed Heart: Commemorate

I usually have back stories about the poems I write but this one is a little different.

To be completely honest, I don't know where this poem came from, but I felt compelled to write it.

Let me start by saying this: to be Black in America is to be caught in a web of rage, sadness, and loss, all of which are not our own, some is. But most if it is inherited from centuries of slavery, rape, terrorism, violence, oppression, bigotry, and hatred.

It seems to be the trend as of late to assault people of color with racism, whether it's the teacher who sent their students home with an assignment to find 3 good reasons for slavery to the lynched black baby dolls found on university campuses across the nation to the high school cheer leaders and the college sorority girl caught on social media chanting the N-word and hate speech to the little bi-racial child who was left hanging from a tree by 3 white kids who thought it was funny, we have a serious problem that outrage won't fix and ignoring it won't heal.

For the people of the African diaspora, it all begins with the middle passage. We have all seen pictures of people hunted like prize game, chained together, forced onto the lower decks of a ship like baggage, never seeing their homeland again.

So many never even made the journey, succumbing to disease from the disgusting conditions they were chained into, heartbreak from being stolen away, or because they would rather drown than be property. Those who did survive the squalid conditions were sold at auctions, naked and filthy and treated like 3/5ths of a human being, a legacy that continues even unto today.

Until America and her people reckon with the irreversible, irreconcilable damage they were party of for an entire people, until her people recognize that this country would not be all it is without the abduction of , the sale of , the labor of the children of the African diaspora, until America finds and comes to terms with one of its most egregious sins, I am not sure we will ever truly be the United States.

I am not sure if this is the final piece, there may be more within me about this. Here is this week's Reclaimed Heart piece: Commemorate.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Happy Friday loves!

Today's Readables feature 8 lovely ethical lingerie companies better than the mall brands, 25 moisturizing sleep masks and night creams to save your face, 3 experts on their best winter skin tips, 40 affordable accessories from Target that only look expensive, 14 water bottles that will make you want to drink more water, and 9 monthly subscription boxes for everyone you know and love.

21Ninety: 14 water bottles that will make you want to drink more water, 9 monthly subscription boxes for everyone you know and love
Huff Post: 8 ethical lingerie companies
BuzzFeed: 25 moisturizing sleep masks and night creams to save your face, 40 affordable accessories from Target that only look expensive
Man Repeller: 3 experts on their best winter skin tips

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Inspiring Black Minimalists to Follow

Minimalism, the word itself makes people confused and fearful all at the same time. 
Let's face it, the landscape of minimalism was very absent of people of color. It once felt like it wasn't for us, like Black and Brown weren't allowed. Once thought to be merely decor and personal style aesthetic where the formerly rich abandoned their wealth in order to seek a more austere form of living, minimalism took the world by storm a few years back and left most of us thinking "Who in their right mind would want to give up all their stuff to have four plain white walls, wooden floors with one rug, one house plant and maybe a chair?"
However, since it's debut, some of us have gotten a hold of the concept and discovered what mama and 'em used to tell us, "Money can't buy you happiness." 
Nope, these women did not toss out everything they own except for the aforementioned chair and houseplant. 
They did, however toss out their need for consumption, items that no longer served them, and clothes that were not worthy of their bodies, in order to find something that most of us are longing for; freedom
They are relatable, down to earth women, still choosing the occasional shopping trip but now, instead of mindlessly spending on things that don't matter, they have found a deeper joy in their purchases, more freedom in their finances, and a deep connectedness to their actual desires.
Check out my full list on 21Ninety.

Reclaimed Readables

Happy Thursday boo thangs!

Today's Readables feature why we're broke and how to fix it, how to manage your debt, seriously frightening financial horror stories, and a money quiz to find out how good (or bad) with money you actually are.

Three Thrifty Guys: Why we're broke and how to fix it
Refinery29: How to manage your debt (and why you shouldn't be ashamed)
BuzzFeed: Seriously frightening financial horror stories, a money quiz to find out how bad with money you are

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Really Woke Signs from the Women’s Marches night why Black Women aren’t here for the “sisterhood BS

As I write this, I am vibing out of the quintessential woke black girl album, Solange’s A Seat at the Table. I have just rolled my eyes at J Holiday’s emergence from obscurity to attack women rappers like Cardi B while I have just listened to Kimberly Foster of For Harriet’s latest piece on Amara de Negra’s interview and the funny, not so funny ignorance of the male interviewers on colorism.

You can say I man in my black girl bag today. It amazes me that, even with the discrimination and oppression on the outside, and ignorance, misogyny, and issues within, Black women are a force. We are the glue to our communities, the pride of our universities, the bearer of the stories from the previous generations and the bearers of next generation.

Which got me to thinking about the recent “sisterhood” marches that took place around the United States this past weekend on the anniversary of last year’s inaugural record breaking March day. How was this year’s different from last year’s?

Well, to start, Black women are still continuing to save the United States from itself. Which makes these marchs for sisterhood quite interesting, particularly because while black women voted over 90% against the current administration, our supposed sister’s secretly or otherwise, voted for it. That coupled with the recent Alabama senate race where 63% of them voted for an accused pedophile racist bigot over a sensible, albeit dry, politician, a race that the good sista’s of Alabama rallied and pulled mightily to a win for Doug Jones, saving the nation from more of the current administration and saving little white girls everywhere.

Leave it to a black woman...

No wonder that, along with the historical shut out of the black woman’s narrative in feminism, that black women are looking at our white counterparts with a side eye. Are you really down for the struggle Becky? Or will you be choosing whiteness over womanhood again as you did for most of 2017 and back. Are we only sisters when you have something to gain from my voice? Or are you legit and part of a group who unfortunately votes against their own self interests for the illusion of security behind their ethnicity?

I digress.

We saw some pretty woke signs this past weekend. On this #womancrushwednesday, here are some of my faves.

Reclaimed Readables #WomanCrushWednesday

Happy #WomanCrushWednesday, loves! This week's femme Readables feature Amara La Negra and the colorism debate, over 100 years of Black Beauty brands, 8 Black Women whose minimalist living will make you 'bout that life, 10 woke moms to follow on the 'gram, and serious natural hair inspiration.

Racked: Over 100 years of Black Beauty brands
Curly Nikki: Amara La Negra and the colorist debate
Refinery29: Serious natural hair inspiration
21Ninety: 8 Black Women whose minimalist living will make you 'bout that life, 10 woke moms to follow on the 'gram

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ugly Shoes I Currently Love (under $50)

I am really starting to crush on some pretty ugly shoes. I mean, these shoes are not everyone's cup of tea, and they stand out in their own way. From clunky, loud sneakers to weirdly  shaped boots to pointed heels that look like they stepped out of a 50's movie, I have been majorly crushing.

Here are the ugly shoes I am currently crushing on, all for $50.

Ugly Shoes I Currently Love (under $50)

Reclaimed Readables #TuesdayShoesDay

Happy #TuesdayShoesday loves. This week's footwear focused feature includes how to style rain boots, cute ways to style socks with heels, 5 under $50 shoes you're going to want to post immediately, Nike reimagines women's classics, and 15 ways to cropped pants with ankle booties.

5 under $50 shoes you're going to want to post immediately
Cute ways to style socks with heels
How to style rain boots
Nike reimagines women's classics
15 ways to cropped pants with ankle booties

Monday, January 22, 2018

Reclaimed Readables #MindfulMonday

Happy Monday family!

This week's #MindfulMonday features 7 meditation tools to enhance your calm, 15 ways to enjoy spending time with yourself, clean up you emotional energy, 25 creative things to do when you need to reset, 25 mental health glow-ups, and the best coloring books for adults.

21Ninety: 7 meditation tools to enhance your calm, 15 ways to enjoy spending time with yourself
Well+Good: clean up you emotional energy
My Domaine: 25 creative things to do when you need to reset, the best coloring books for adults
BuzzFeed: 25 mental health glow-ups

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Reclaimed Heart: Whatever It Takes

I wrote this after a conversation with my best friend. I forget what exactly we were talking about but I do remember trying to encourage her about her calling.

We often think of calling being something we are given or something we have to seek. But we rarely think of the cost of maintaining that calling.

Just having a calling is not good enough.

You actually have to protect that calling. You must guard it. That means treating it as you would a child that is in a constant state of growth and development. Just as you wouldn't bring your new born baby around someone you know was sick, you protect your calling from those things that could kill it. The opinions of people who aren't doing anything without heir own callings or those who are cursed with negativity or a critical spirit should be kept away from your infant calling.

You must also guard it from laziness, from complacency, from envy, from the trap of comparison, from things that are internal.

From calling, I started thinking, and this is what was born from that immediate string of thought.

Here it is: Whatever It Takes

Friday, January 19, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Happy happy happy friday loves!

Today's Readables features 4 ways of creating a natural hair regimen you will stick to, how to fold your clothes and save a ton of space, 20 uses for old tees, how to inspire, decorating with plants that need no water or dirt, 26 small changes that will make a big impact this year, and how you can give your closet a 12 hour makeover this weekend.

BuzzFeed: 26 small changes that will make a big impact this year
Well+Good: Decorating with air plants, how to fold your clothes and save a ton of space
BGLH: 4 ways of creating a natural hair regimen you will stick to
Huff Post: 20 good uses for old tees
Coveteur: Give your closet a 12 hour makeover

Thursday, January 18, 2018

How minimalism is leading me to financial, domestic, and clutter free freedom

2018 is going to be the year of freedom for me. Just like last year was the year of yes, this year, I am prioritizing freedom for myself, and one of those types of freedom I am currently seeking is financial freedom.

I have been blessed to not have a lot of debt. Things like school, marriage, divorce, all of which I have experienced, usually throw people into tons of debt, but I have really been blessed to have accrued much in my almost 33 years of life (praise Him!)

That all being said, I do have debt, mostly from my dwindling student loans and a bit on the one credit card I own.

And I want to be free of it.

And while I may not feel the crushing weight of debt as some people may, I just do not feel that it is responsible for the life I want and the future I want to be walking into that new season with old debts.

How I plan to do it is through minimalism. For me, adopting minimalism is not for a trend’s sake, it’s living in simplicity where everything I own has a purpose and a place. Life is complicated enough on its own without over complicating it with too much stuff, an insatiable desire for consumption, and not enough money to support bad habits.

This simplicity will require discipline, but ultimately, once i have created an inviting space, my own curated wardrobe, a healthier diet, it will be worth it.

Here is how is how I plan to do it:

Know what I have, keep what you love, and give away the rest:
We spend so much money buying things we don’t need but like only to bring it home and realize that we have something just like it or no place to put the thing. We accrue debt this way as well. By curating our possessions we know exactly what we own. Not only will that lead to a more spacious, clutter free life, it will prevent repeat purchases.

And that saves us money, y’all.

Not only that, but you can take the items you don’t need or fell out of love with and donate them to families who may need them. Doing good and clearing out at the same time.

I only buy what I need:
We own a lot of things we don’t need. We buy things less out of necessity and more for other reasons, like we are bored or sad or happy or any one of a myriad of reasons. We live in a “treat yo’self” society. But there are better ways to treat yourself that clutter up your space and use resources that could be put toward something else for things you don’t need or really even want.

Why not put the cash we would spend on crap towards something like, I don’t know, our debt, for that vacation, or save for a rainy day? Every little bit matters and eventually it will add up to something substantial if you keep up with it.

Cook more that I order take out:
Do you realize how much money and food goes to waste when you have a full refrigerator but choose to order take out? A LOT! And I’m guilty of this. Some nights, after returning home, I would rather just order Chinese or Indian or Pizza just so I can hop back on my laptop and write while food is being prepared for me rather than taking 30 minutes to create and often healthier meal for myself.

Well, no more! I am choosing financial and physical health over perceived convenience and making more meals for myself than I order. Once in a while, it’s fine to get take out, but it shouldn’t be 3 or 4 times a week.

I sell what I don't love:
You all know by now I resell thrift finds and second hand clothes. It’s a bomb hustle and if you want to make a little extra cash and clear clutter, I highly recommend it.

These simple ways are how I am actively and intently clearing house out my space to create a home I can be proud of, clear out my closet to create a curated capsule wardrobe that is worthy of my body, and improve my finances that, while good, can be much better if I was more intentional about knocking out debt.

What steps are you using to improve your space, wardrobe, and finances? I would love to hear your stories and ideas. Drop me a comment below!

Reclaimed Readables

Today's Readables features how to negotiate your salary and know what you should be earning, test your savings habits compared to others, how to actually choose a credit card, how to let go of your financial baggage, why we should financially support the TimesUp movement, and why getting rid of stuff actually saves you money.

Apartment Therapy: Why getting rid of stuff actually saves you money
Hello Giggles: Why we should financially support the TimesUp movement
Well+Good: How to negotiate your salary and know what you should be earning, how to let go of your financial baggage, how to actually choose a credit card
BuzzFeed: Test your savings habits compared to others

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Michelle Obama

What can I say about Mrs. Michelle Obama that has not already been said?


But the sentiment remains that she will forever reign and the most refined, most astute, most intelligent, and most accomplished First Lady the United States has ever known.

Not to mention, she slays; whether it’s her impeccable fashion sense, her side eye game, her quick wit that is so fast it slices those who don’t do right without ever mentioning them by name.

Yes. Our Forever First Lady is refined, eloquent, funny, woke, and is everything real Americans can be proud of.

On this, her 54th birthday, The Reclaimed is honored to celebrate the queen herself; Michelle Obama through her most power, prolific, and just plain awesome quote gems.

“There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.”

“I never cut class. I loved getting A’s, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world.”

“Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.”

“If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn't be here. I guarantee you that.”

“Together, we can help make sure that every family that walks into a restaurant can make an easy, healthy choice.”

“The problem is when that fun stuff becomes the habit. And I think that's what's happened in our culture. Fast food has become the everyday meal.”

“The realities are that, you know, as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station, you know.”

“And let's be clear: It's not enough just to limit ads for foods that aren't healthy. It's also going to be critical to increase marketing for foods that are healthy.”

"When I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don't invest any energy in them, because I know who I am."

"Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals."

"Find people who will make you better."

"Women and girls can do whatever they want. There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish."

"I've seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are. It reveals who you are."

"No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful."

"We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list."

"You've got to make choices that make sense for you because there's always going to be somebody who'll think you should do something differently."

"Success isn't about how much money you make. It's about the difference you make in people's lives."

"We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make... that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself."

"Do not die in the history of your past hurts and past experiences, but live in the now and future of your destiny.

"Walk away from 'friendships' that make you feel small and insecure, and seek out people who inspire you and support you."

"Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude."

"I admit it: I am louder than the average human being and have no fear of speaking my mind. These traits don't come from the colour of my skin but from an unwavering belief in my own intelligence."

"Be passionate about something and lean to that strength."

"The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them."

"Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own." 

"There is no magic to achievement. It's really about hard work, choices, and persistence."

Which quote was your favorite? Let’s talk! Drop me a comment below to share your favorite Mama Obama quotes.

Reclaimed Readables #WomanCrushWednesday

Happy Wednesday beautiful people!

This week's #WomanCrushWednesday Readables features Oprah talks to the Times Up movement, study shows women are more resilient than men, 10 picks to start your feminist bookshelf, a pro stylist with some awesome curly hair advice, and how one woman learned to respond to racism with faith.

Refinery29: Oprah talks to the Times Up movement
Well+Good: Study shows women are more resilient than men
Apartment Therapy: 10 picks to start your feminist bookshelf
BuzzFeed: A pro stylist gives curly hair advice
Relevant Mag: How one woman learned to respond to racism with faith.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Reclaimed Readables #TuesdayShoesDay

Happy Tuesday, good people!

This week's #TuesdayShoesDay features the affordable boots you will wear until spring, 23 pairs of cheap and chic boots from Target, the shoes Emilia Clark proves is still going strong, 15 affordable ankle boots that only look expensive, and the prettiest Nikes ever.

Affordable boots you will wear until spring
The shoes Emilia Clark proves is still going strong
23 pairs of cheap and chic boots from Target
Pretty Nikes
15 affordable ankle boots that only look expensive

Monday, January 15, 2018

Reclaimed Readables #MindfulMonday

Happy Monday, great people!

This week's #MindfulMonday features ways to stop self criticism once and for all, 3 grounding questions to ask when you're anxious, 6 relationship problems millennials bring to therapy, a post for Colored Girls in their 30's and 40's who feel like life passed them by, 5 tips for Black Girl Bosses to manage our mental health, why self comparison is bad for your health and 19 ways to love your vagina.

The EveryGirl: How to stop self criticism once and for all
BuzzFeed: 19 ways to love your vagina
My Domaine: 3 grounding questions to ask when you're anxious
Nuff Post: 6 relationship problems millennials bring to therapy
The Root: For Colored Girls in their 30's and 40's who feel like life passed them by
21Ninety: 5 tips for Black Girl Bosses to manage our mental health, why self comparison is bad for your health

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Reclaimed Heart: Generational Sickness

My best friend has a saying "Secrets keep you sick." And it's powerful and poignant in its simplicity, its depth, and its truth. Secrets do indeed keep you sick.

My family has pretty sick roots. The deepest of which I only recently discovered.

I remember as a child getting together with my older relatives for a backyard barbecue or birthday party and having an aunt or my grandmother telling me to not go into the house alone. I didn't understand that as a girl. Why should I be afraid? This is our relative's home! It's not huge, I won't get lost, I'm a good kid, there is no danger here.

In my adulthood, I learned why that was. One of my great uncles managed to molest two of my aunts, one of whom ended up molesting my cousin, her own child, (which I never would have known if my cousin was not brave enough to trust me with that story).

Nobody talked about it. In fact, if you were to bring it up, it might even be flatly denied. But the wounds that were inflicted are prevalent. The horror and the vileness of these acts remained hidden from me, whether it was to protect my innocence or, as I am starting to discover, was more to protect the family from shame (the irony).

I only learned of these stories because my cousins were brave enough to tell them. I am certain that there are other dark stories beneath my family tree, rotting the roots and making the whole tree sick, if we are not careful.

I wrote this poem after reflecting on all of this as well as the sickness and trauma inflected on my people, those as the original inhabitants of the place we now know as the USA and those who were forcibly brought here.

I wrote this as a reminder to myself that whatever sickness that has come passed down to me, I have the authority and the right to reject it and to stop it here in my own generation. I have the responsibility and the opportunity to stop it here, with me, so that my children will never be so painfully effected by it.

I wrote this as a reminder to myself to be transparent with my future children, even in the face of fear, rather than to silently and complicity allow a sickening secret to be passed down to them.

It's called Generational Sickness:

Friday, January 12, 2018

Reclaimed Readables

Happy happy Friday, boo thangs!

Today's Readables feature 4 experts on what they would spend $60 on ay Sephora, This brand getting called out for its lack of diversity is sparking a movement, 15 tips and tricks to read more books this year, 5 mindful habits that lead to a minimalist home, 11 new books by women of color to read immediately and how to make downsizing less painful.

The Cut: 4 experts on what they would spend $60 on ay Sephora
Refinery29: This brand getting called out for its lack of diversity is sparking a movement
BuzzFeed:15 tips and tricks to read more books this year
Apartment Therapy: 5 mindful habits that lead to a minimalist home, how to make downsizing less painful
The EveryGirl: 11 new books by women of color to read immediately

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Reclaimed Life: 3 Questions That Are Helping Me Stop Emotional Spending

I have a lot of crap.

I know we have talked about this since this blog has been around, but I really do. And I have started to feel that way more and more the more whole I have been feeling.

Backstory: When I first moved into my first solo apartment, it was a difficult time. I was going through a very painful separation, I had experienced a miscarriage, my younger sister and I were going through a pretty rough period I had experienced loss, life was hitting hard and it was the loneliest time of my life. Because I was lonely, I quickly filled the approximately 850 square feet of my 3rd story walk up with anything and everything I could. Books and clothes and art and candles and objects that filled up the physical spaces in my home but did nothing for my heart.

I then began to pay more attention to what was going on in my heart. I turned towards the unaddressed things I was feeling. I looked at how my life was shaping, a cycle of feeling bad, sad, glad, or mad and going shopping to deal with it all. And there was so much crap, emotionally and spiritually that I now had to deal with.

And finally, I got sick of the crap.

I got serious about crap removal. I started selling most of it on ebay and Poshmark. I gave things away to siblings and friends. I donated back to the very thrift stores where I had purchased it for penny's in the first place.

This year, I have taken some pretty major steps not to simply reduce the amount of things, but to also re-craft my spaces, and self, into a more accurate version of where I now see myself. I am whole and healed. And now, instead of things, I crave space. I crave room to grow. I desire emptiness, the thing that used to scare me the most, now is something that I long for and love.

Last year, I really looked at the way I was spending my money and what I was spending on, what I was filling my home with, and how I want to live. I learned some pretty rough things about myself, but I am learning nonetheless, and that will always be a good thing.

This year, I have been taking pretty extreme measures that I have been documenting on Instagram. And I have been feeling so good about releasing these things and the opening space that has come as a result with no desire to fill these spaces.

I now ask my self these three pretty simple but very introspective questions before purchasing or accepting anything into my home or closet. These have really helped me, I hope they can help you as well:

Ask yourself what you really want.
We ask ourselves what we want, but in a very surface way. When analyzing our wants, we typically hang out in our most immediate, mindless wants instead of digging deeper.

For example, you spot a beautiful dress on the rack of some store. Forgetting price for a moment, you are drawn to this dress and want to buy it. But, instead of buying it, ask yourself this: Do you want the beautiful dress or do you want to feel beautiful in your body, in your presence, in yourself? The two are very different desires. What is the deeper desire behind this purchase?

Ask yourself what you need.
We don't usually ask this question, but it's a good and very intimate and transparent, and quite a tender question, and we in our society don't really do those feelings very well. But we need that introspection. Think carefully about what you need. What is missing? What is absent that you really need? Do you really need another pair of boots or do you need to take that money and put it towards a vacation or paying down debt or saving it for a rainy day?

Ask yourself what you deserve.
I used to pride myself on not spending more than a certain amount on my clothes. But, often, the things I was finding, while beautiful, did not fit me. I am not talking about size or shape, I am talking about my own aesthetics.

What ended up happening is that I had created a beautiful closet of high end labels found for cheap, but that I was not present in at all. I could not find me anywhere. My closet was full of all of the women I wanted to be over the years.

And I deserve better. I deserve to have clothes that are not only great quality, but that honor my body, the body that I have now. I deserve a wardrobe that is reflective of me, my style, my mood, myself. I deserve a home that is comfortable and peaceful and clean and clear. And I deserve a live that is free from clutter and open for this next chapter.

These are ways I am moving towards liberated living.

How are you clearing your space and your mind? I would love to hear from you. Drop a comment below!