Until next time…

Until Next Time

I’m going to take a little time…a little time to get myself in order.

Lately, I’ve been feeling myself slipping. One of the biggest ways I’ve been slipping is on getting enough sleep. And it’s not like I’ve been staying up late for a particular reason. Earlier this year, I was so excited about starting this blog that I would stay up well until midnight or sometimes later to have a post ready for the next day. This wasn’t a huge deal because I would just take a nap the next day while my daughter took hers.

However these days, my staying up has nothing to do with being what I consider productive. I just find myself staying up web-surfing or lurking on Instagram instead of tossing my phone aside and trying to get some sleep. But even on those nights, like last night, when I put my phone away and get to sleep, I wake up in the middle of the night to tinkle and can’t manage to get back to sleep. I find myself lying there with my mind racing. Or falling in and out of sleep and having crazy dreams that scare me enough to have me running back to the bathroom. (That’s when I know I’ve been watching one episode of Criminal Minds too many.)

So I’m going to take a little time to work on me—to figure out my sleep/anxiety issues and to work on getting out of the writer’s block that’s been creeping up on me these past few weeks. Don’t worry, I won’t completely fade away because I’ll still be lurking on other blogs and commenting. But, I will be taking a much welcome break from Facebook so the best way to reach me will be emailing poppedblackwomanblog@gmail.com if there’s something my popped people want to tell me.

I’m planning to only be away from the PBWB (as far as writing posts are concerned) for a few weeks or so, but once I return I should have a ton of things to share with you. I should be able to check a few things off of my 101 Things in 1001 Days list like:

  • #2-Travel to a city/location in the U. S. and outside the U.S. that I’ve never been before (at least the city in the U.S. part)
  • #3-Have a reunion with my besties from college
  • #52-Go to a concert

I’m also getting low on that homemade lotion I made Memorial Day Weekend so I should be trying out a new recipe within the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to share that with you all when I come back from my hiatus. Wish me luck!

Of course, if there’s something I just have to share with you all whether it’s on the blog or on the Popped Black Woman Blog Facebook page, I will. I’m gonna try to lay low though and live life a little so that I have more to blog about later 😉

Until next time…keep it poppin’ 😉

Actress Lisa Nicole Carson: “I Thought I Had It All Together”

Hey Popped People!

I was really glad to see this article featuring an essay by actress Lisa Nicole Carson. She talks about her struggles with bipolar disorder over the years.

I think it’s really important for black women to know that it is ok to admit that we struggle with mental health issues and that it’s ok to seek help. There’s no need to suffer in silence in order to keep up appearances of being the “strong, black woman.”

Let me know what you think of what Ms. Carson has to say! And keep it poppin’ as always 😉

Fearless Friday 6.12.2015 (The Bawse Follower)

I like to think I'm the leader when it comes to this one, but sometimes I don't know...

I like to think I’m the leader when it comes to this one, but sometimes I don’t know…

It takes courage to follow.

Everybody knows that it’s great to be a leader. We applaud leaders for their vision and courage, but like Derek Sivers talks about in the TED talk below, starting a movement is really about the first follower. A leader isn’t a leader if no one is following. Once that first follower believes in the leader’s vision and jumps on board, the other followers come soon after.

Know that there’s nothing wrong with being a follower when you’re trying to create change or do something positive. Sometimes we might want to get involved with something, but our ego tells us that we don’t need so-and-so to show us how to do something or we want to do our own thing instead of having to compromise with someone else’s way of doing things.

This concept makes me think of how there are almost too many churches to count within a 5 mile radius of where I live. I wonder how much more effective they would be in having a major presence in the community if people united together as one body to start a movement. As the saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth.” Just my 2 cents.

Following humbles us and forces us to put our egos in check so that we can be leaders ourselves. On this Fearless Friday, have the courage to follow a leader for the sake of a great cause. Then tell me about it in the comments or on Facebook 😉


The Blessing of Rejection

all things work together for good
I imagine it would be hard to find one person on earth that has never been denied anything that they wanted, whether it was a person, organization, group, position, or situation. Most of us have been denied something at least once in our lives but more than likely it’s been numerous times. If you are in that slim minority of people that have no idea what it feels like to be rejected, this post is not for you so you can keep it movin’.

For the rest of you, doesn’t rejection have a way of stopping you dead in your tracks? A way of making you second-guess every single thing that you once believed in—even making you question yourself. It makes you wonder if there is something inherently wrong with you that caused the rejection. If it was a major rejection, it make even trigger a bout of depression and make you want to give up.

A few minutes ago, I was surfing the web to find a little inspiration for a blog post. I’ve been having a bit of writer’s block lately as you may have guessed by me skipping my usual Sunday night post. During this web-surfing inspiration-hunt, I stumbled on an article that reminded me of a rejection I experienced within the last 5 years.

It was an interview featuring a popular blogger, she-who-must-not-be-named, who I briefly worked for. Although the work I did was nothing fancy—just some editing and affiliate marketing work mostly—it was huge for me. The opportunity first came during a low point in my life (shortly after college) and it gave me hope.

Growing up, writing was as easy as breathing. I wrote poems, stories, song lyrics. I didn’t have to try to write or force it. Writing and reading came naturally and were even coping mechanisms for me during tough times. But during college, I started having severe writer’s block and began to question my writing abilities and even my passion for all things literary.

The part-time work I did for this she-who-must-not-be-named blogger gave me hope again because it showed me that it was possible to do work in a field that I loved and that success was possible (based on the founder of the blog’s success). When this blogger told me that my work was great, but that I wasn’t needed anymore, I felt crushed. I wondered what the real reason for terminating our working relationship was. This blogger had other people working for them, why was I cut?

My mind went straight to questioning my abilities, work ethic, my very being. What did I do or did not do that caused this to happen? What’s wrong with me? But looking back, I’m (mostly) at peace with the way things turned out with that situation and with other situations when I felt rejected.

If I had continued to work for that blogger and gained more responsibility, would I have had the desire now to blog for myself and stick with it no matter if I get 1 view a month or 1,000,000?

The same question can be asked for every situation or person that made me feel rejected or less than. If that person had not turned their back on me as a friend, would I have missed out on learning the importance of loving myself no matter how other people treat me? If that company had hired me full-time as soon as I graduated from college, what other experiences would I have missed out on? If that professor had not told me who I wasn’t, would I still have this burning desire inside of me to prove what type of person I could be?

Although rejection hurts, we should thank God for it. If the door of mediocrity never closed in our face, we would miss out on finding something of greater value through a different door down the road. So the next time you want to throw a pity party over being denied something you really want, remember that every obstacle strengthens your backbone and changes who you are for the better.

Although it may get dark and lonely as we go through those valleys in our lives, we have to remember that all of it works in our favor in the end—to mold us into people that can truly appreciate not only the moment when we reach the mountaintop, but most importantly, the climb as well. It’s the climb that really shapes who we are and really makes us savor being on the mountain top when the day comes. And if we keep going, that day will come.

Let me know why you’re grateful for rejection or tell me about all the haters you plan to prove wrong in the comments or on Facebook 😉

Fearless Friday 6.5.15 (Being About It)

dunes with quote
I’m declaring this summer to be the summer of “not just talking about it, but being about it.” Not to be confused with being “bout it bout it” because that’s something completely different.

So I told you all about how I enjoyed the lotion-making class I took at Magalie Naturals last weekend and about a bunch of the stuff I learned about the lotion-making process and various ingredients, but I did not dish on all of the emotions that surrounded the whole ordeal. You may say, “Okay…so you went to a lotion-making class, what’s the big deal? You want a cookie?” But, it was a big deal for me because I almost didn’t go.

When I stumbled on the class by doing a google search, I was excited, but only put the class on my radar. I had to let the idea marinate for a few days, do chores around the house, watch Game of Thrones, google a bunch of random things, then assess my financial situation to see if the $35 for the class was manageable. Seriously, for some reason I came up with a bunch of excuses why I couldn’t or shouldn’t go to that class. Who’s going to babysit? Who’s going to go with me? Will I be the only person of color there and feel awkward? A few days before the event, I simply told myself that I would do it. I would go alone and expect to have a great time and learn a lot of new things. And whatdoyaknow? That’s exactly what happened.

Sometimes we, by “we” I mean “I,” can psych ourselves out of doing something for no other reason but that it’s something we’re not used to–it’s an unknown situation outside of our comfort zone. Well, I’m tired of staying within my comfort zone. I’m tired of telling myself black girls don’t do [insert the blank] or I can’t do [insert the blank] by myself. I’m tired of trying to stay within a box that has never fit me anyway and I’m tired of making excuses for why I can’t do new things. I’ve been telling myself that I want to make changes in my life and that can’t happen if I never change anything that I’m currently doing.

This is the summer of being about it–being about living the Popped Black Woman Blog Affirmation, trying new things, and meeting new people. So all of this should mean that I will be checking off a bunch of things on my 101 Things in 1001 Days list and have lots of stories to report back to you all by the end of summer! Guess I better get to planning 😉

Who else will be living positively optimistic & powerful this summer and not just talking about it? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

Lotion-Making Fun: My First Class

Magalie Naturals Storefront

Magalie Naturals, Chicago

Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of taking my first real, lotion-making class at Magalie Naturals, a French handmade cosmetics boutique in Chicago. The class was called “DIY Natural Protective Wild Verbena Lotion!” and it was taught by the CEO and owner of the boutique, Magalie D. According to her website, she has been making natural, handmade cosmetics since she was a 12 year old girl in France. She offers several classes on an ongoing basis that range from learning how to make “Shiny Smooth Conditioner” to “Sweet Chocolate Night Scrub.”

I must say that I enjoyed the class and learned a lot, especially about different kinds of ingredients and when to use a certain kind. In addition to being extremely informative, the class was also pretty laid back. It’s BYOB so you can bring liquor and Magalie is super-friendly and has an adorably thick French accent that I’m sure you will love.

During my small class of 4 (the class usually has up to 15 people I believe), we made Wild Verbena Lotion as the title of the class suggests. Here are the ingredients we used:

Natural Protective Wild Verbena Lotion Ingredients from Magalie Naturals

The set-up and all of the supplies looked extra professional and clean.

The set-up and all of the supplies looked extra professional and clean.

For the Aqua Phase

–   Aloe Vera Juice
–   White Verbena Floral Water
–   Floral Water infused with Dried Grapefruit
–   Caffeine Powder
-for toning (must be added in the aqua phase to release benefits)*

For the Oil Phase

–   Avocado Oil
-great for a moisturizing body lotion*
–   Rice Bran Oil
-10x more antioxidants than Vitamin E oil and less expensive*
-good for fine lines and for under the eyes*
–   Karanja Oil (with Urucu Macerate Seeds steeped inside)
-the urucu macerate seed has more beta-carotene than carrots, has antioxidants, and offers UV protection*
–   Emulsifying Wax
–   Soy Lecithin
-not mandatory but helps make lotion creamier*

Additives added to the Oil & Water Mixture

–   Honey Powder
–   Guar Gum
-thickening agent*
–   Benzyl Alcohol & Cedarwood Essential Oil
-to help extend shelf life*

The * means “according to Magalie.” Magalie was great about explaining the benefits of all of the ingredients and the role each one played in the final outcome of the lotion.

The final product.

The final product.

While I have no doubt of the hydrating and other benefits of the ingredients used, I wasn’t crazy about the scent of the lotion after all was said and done. At first I really liked the scent, but after applying the lotion at home over the last few days, I ‘m definitely not crazy about it. It reminded me of green peas and smelled earthy in a not-so-good way. Despite the fact that the scent didn’t mesh well with my naturally sexy and poppin’ scent, I wouldn’t change a thing as far as signing up for the class. Different strokes for different folks; what smells good on you may not smell good on me and vice versa.

The Wild Verbena Lotion is very moisturizing and a little bit goes a long way, despite the fact that it is a little thinner than the Lavender Shea Butter Lotion I made Memorial Day weekend. Another difference is the Wild Verbena Lotion may only have a shelf life of 1-2.5 months since no chemical preservative was used. I don’t see that being a problem since I’ve already used about a quarter of the bottle a mere 2 days after the class. I can’t wait to use everything I’ve learned from Magalie’s class to experiment more on my own.

I’m going to leave you all with some general tips and insight from the class in case you want to try making lotion or for when you’re out checking product labels on lotion you’re about to buy at the store.

Tips from “DIY Natural Protective Wild Verbena Lotion!” Class at Magalie Naturals

  • Grapefruit is good for toning skin.
  • Quality floral water should require refrigeration.
  • Floral water can be used in place of a toner and it’s usually much cheaper
  • Know the difference between a dry oil and a regular oil.
  • Regular oils don’t penetrate the skin well on their own and should be mixed with a dry oil.
  • Dry oils can be applied on the skin as a moisturizer without adding anything to them.
  • It’s good to use a regular oil when making lotion. If using a dry oil, mix 50/50 with a regular oil.
  • Some dry oils are coconut, hazelnut, sesame, and macadamia nut oils.
  • Some regular oils are olive and avocado oils.
  • Hazelnut oil is good for oily/combination skin (like mine!) because it balances sebum production.
  • Add the oil phase to the water phase when making night creams and other products designed to penetrate and nourish the skin–for denser products.
  • Add the water phase to the oil phase when making a protective lotion like the one discussed in this post.
  • It’s best to mix the oil and water phases when both of them are at 70 degrees Celsius.

Have any of you taken a DIY cosmetic class? If so, what was it and what did you think? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. And as always, keep it poppin’ 😉