REMEMBRANCE

REMEMBRANCE

Remembrance is a flashback of my recollected years, not just 2016. Whether it be my new blog posts or my life experiences – this is retroactively speaking of the plans made and accomplished in my past leading up to 2016. I’ve always been someone who has a vision and work at making that vision a reality. There are many thing from my past that I have conceived which became a reality. Getting married was one. Having two children was another. Owning my own business was an accomplishment all on its own. Taking a trip to Dubai – now that was a vision.

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At the top

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Burj Khafila
 

Dubai is a place a simple person, like myself, only dream of going. For me, the opportunity presented itself and I jumped on the next flight to the UAE  (United Arab Emirates). After losing our mother in 2014, my sister’s and I decided to make the most of our time spent with one another. What an amazing experience in Dubai, along with many more to come.

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My life experiences in 2016 isn’t something that will get published in People magazine – this I know. For me it is a form of therapy when I blog about them. Who knows –  maybe one word, one sentence or maybe a little nugget of what I share may help, encourage or inspire someone. I have always told my children that if they don’t learn something or become inspired from their own experiences then try to learn something or be inspired from someone else’s experiences.

2016 was a year of much reflection on my past, present and future. And now I’d like to reflect a bit on the year 2010. It made such a mark on my life – in a good way. 2010 showed me how much change was need or my loved ones would be planning and attending my funeral. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was in the ICU – my mother on my right side and my two handsome boys crying at the foot of my bed. I was in a really bad place in my life.

When I was alone, I had time to reflect on my life. You see – I’ve always had a relationship with our Heavenly Father and I always taken advantage of that relationship. I came to the realization that if I did not change what I was doing, then I would never see a change in my life. So with only $100 in my bank account and someone else’s promise I dropped – literally dropped everything. I packed a suitcase and moved south.

Yes I did – this is how it went down. “Hi, my name is April and I’m addicted to cocaine“. It’s true! I’ve been clean for six years and I must give myself a standing Ovation! This journey has not been an easy one, but I continue to press toward the best me I can be in this lifetime.

Someone once told me to be careful who I share my past with because people will judge me and they would not know how to accept me. Okay – If you want to judge – go ahead. If you don’t accept my truths then – Oh well rock the bell! My past experiences is what makes me. It’s not what makes me the honest, caring, giving, loving, and devoted person I am today. I love being me and I love who I’ve become. I have not let what has happened to me change or define me as a person. I made some bad choices – who hasn’t? And -I’ve learned from them.  Here’s what I’ve learned. I have learned, when I fall to get up, brush my dusty self off and pick up where I left off. Of course it sounds easy, but by no means has this journey been an easy one. And I do not take all the credit. I give credit to my Heavenly Father, Jehovah God. Without His help I wouldn’t be here today to share with you what I’m sharing now.

So – moving into 2017!  Awww man!  Im excited! I have a mental picture of seeing myself in one of many places I’ve never been before! Another trip to Dubai? Maybe or maybe not! What about Johannesburg Africa or Salvador Brazil? 2017 is full of opportunities. I plan to learn whatever there is for me to learn and see whatever there is for me to see to be a better me.

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Not My Layover

Not My Layover

“Hi family, we have a layover in Miami from 2:00 p.m. 12/24/16 until 10:00 a.m. 12/25/16. How far are you from this hotel?” This is the message four of my cousins and myself, who live  in Florida, received on December 18, 2016 in a group text message.

“How convenient! Always letting someone know on such short notice. Oh and holiday weekend too? We don’t work! We have no lives! No one travels to Miami during Christmas. Oh yeah we will be there with bells on! It’s a hop, skip and a jump away! See ya! Duces!” Is what I replied in the group message because I knew I had to work an eight to ten hour shift on the 24th of December. I would be extremely tired and in no way was I going to take an hours drive south for such a short visit. And it’s not my layover! Guess what? After much consideration, I made the sacrifice; took the ride south and I was so glad I did.

Seeing my cousin, Monique, again after almost twenty years gave me so much joy. After all the “happy to see you” hugs and kisses, we wanted  to go get something to eat. She found a Cuban restaurant down the street from the hotel they were staying at. After arriving at the Cuban restaurant there was an Honduran restaurant next door so we decided to eat there.  Patio Tipico Restaurant is the name of this hidden gem. The food was great and they made us feel right at home.

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We danced, ate, drank margaritas and enjoyed each other’s company in this comfy, cozy environment. I will go back because they treated us with respect. They didn’t speak much English but we communicated very well. If you have a layover or happen to be in Miami go check out Patio Tipico Restaurant, it truly is a hidden gem and the staff will make you feel like you’re at home.

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Our waitress
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Me and Monique
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La Familia

La Vie Nail Spa

La Vie Nail Spa

Pamper yourself because you deserve to be pampered. Standing behind the chair, I’ve heard people say that a lot. It took me a long time to get to a place in my life where I can say – “it’s okay”. It’s okay for me to be pampered and not feel guilty about putting myself before someone else. I’ve come to the realization that it’s okay to sometimes pamper myself.

I’m always looking for the next great experience, when it comes to pampering myself. A friend of mine and I were having a conversation and this nail spa came up. She spoke with such enthusiasm about this place I had to check it out. The name of this nail spa was La Vie Nail Spa

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My niece and I decided to walk in La Vie Nail Spa and get a pedicure. The greeting was nice and there was no wait. Every time I’ve been to a nail spa/salon, the whole staff is Asian and I find it rude to speak in their native younger while servicing me. I’m not at all stereotyping I’m just speaking of my past experiences. After sitting to get my service, something stood out about the staff. They had a somewhat multicultural staff. I thought to myself – what a smart idea to have a staff who can communicate and vibe with just about any guest who walks through their door. I was impressed!

As our service began the host walks over and explains the different types of pedicures they offer. We both asked for the “Deluxe Pedicure”. There were a choice of flavorful scented sugar scrubs to choose from. I asked for the lavender scented sugar scrub. They offered us a choice of white or red wine to compliment the service which I thought was a nice addition to such a relaxing service.

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I was impressed to find out they use the  Dermalogica brand skin care system. This is a skin care system I am very familiar with and it works well with any skin type. You can learn about Dermalogica by clicking on the blue  Dermalogica link above.

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All I can say about my experience is WOW!

 

Uncontrollable Itch

Uncontrollable Itch

There are times where the skin on my legs, stomach or back itches so bad I scratch until my skin bleeds. I’m scratching uncontrollably. Then I developed these ugly scars on my skin from scratching uncontrollably.

Being a Cosmetologist offers many perks. My client base is very interesting. After a few visit, they get pretty comfortable with me as I do with them. I talk about things most stylist probably are to embarrassed or afraid to talk about like my uncontrollable itch.

I have a client who’s a physician and she’s in the beginning stages of her own skin care line. Since she and I have similar skin concerns she gave me a few of her products to try. She gave me her “Lift & Plump” kit and a “Body Hydrator”. These products are made in the USA, paraben free, and pet safe.

Inside the “Lift & Plump” kit is an Instant Eye Lift cream, an Instant Lip Plumper and an Instant Face Lift cream. This kit is great for traveling because it comes in a little travel pouch with each of the three items being less than the two ounce minimum required when flying with airlines. The Body Hydrator will moisturizer your skin without feeling heavy or greasy and lasts twenty four hours.

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I have been using the Body Hydrator for a week and I’m in love with it. This Hydrator has a very mild smell and it goes on creamy without that sticky, greasy feeling. This stuff is amazing enough for me to say I have not had the uncontrollable itch since using it. Before using the Body Hydrator I was using Aquaphor. In the dead heat of summer I’d use Aquaphor all over even on my feet. As I have finished getting dressed and looking really cute – I walk outside in my cute flip flops and dirt would stick to my heels. I know there are some of you women out there who can relate to what I’m talking about. What a nasty look and dirty feeling. YUCK! The Lift & Plump kit is still virtually new to me since I really don’t need to lift anything as of yet. I have used it a few times but not enough to know if I really Iike it.

If you’d like to find out more about these products, go to the the website.

www.statcosmetics.com

Virgin Hair

Virgin Hair

After returning from a short visit to the UAE, I have come to the realization that I am so in love with who I have become. I do not know exactly what may be found in my rich ancestral lineage, but I am in love with every bit of me.  I am in love with the extremely tight curl in my hair. My gumball sized eyes are so big and round; not to mention my large nose. I love all of me from my hair follicle to the creases on the bottom of my big feet; yes I love me!
Most of us must have, at one point in our lives, come to the realization that we must love who we are. If we don’t, then tell me how can someone else love the person we don’t. Let me put it to you like this; how can I expect someone to love me and “I” don’t love me. Well enough about the love of oneself, let’s talk about hair.

My first attempt, as an adult, to do the natural thing was back in 1999. I cut all my hair off and began to let it dread up. My mother told me I was a rebel. She hated the way I wore it and she never hesitated to tell me. I must admit she was right. I was at a very rebellious stage in my life.

Dread Head

After wearing dreads for about two years I decide to relax my hair again. Yes I gave in to the “creamy crack”. I wore my relaxed hair for years. Then it hit me…. I wanted to be natural again. Round two! In 2010 I cut all my hair off once again. This time I wanted to try the twist and go styles. Obviously I was doing something wrong because it wasn’t at all looking like the girls on the YouTube videos. Look at the picture below. It at first looked like a hot mess, but the more I looked at it the prettier it looked.

I wore this natural hair style for about three years. Then I decided to relax my hair again because my career was not moving in the direction I wanted. I have conformed to the way society say’s I should wear my hair for some time and now I’ve decided to go back to my root-tee, root, roots. You know – that curly, tight of a curl most of us African America women are embracing today? That’s what I’m going for. I’m excited to go on this journey with my hair and see where it takes me this time.

From 2013 until about four days ago I wore relaxed hair. I did the “big chop” ( cutting most of the relaxer out) and I don’t know what I’m going to do with it but here I am.

So I’ve been using Curvaceous by Redken. It’s a hair styling agent used on curly hair. The “full swirl” is a sculpt and shine serum that helps control the frizz and good for dry hair ends. The “ringlet” is a lotion that helps transform the unruly spiral in our hair. I love it! I’ve been getting so many compliments on this look. However I don’t know how long I will wear it because if you know your local Cosmetologist, that would be me….. I’m always trying something new. The products cost about $19 each. A bit costly, but well worth the price. I shampoo my hair with the Curvaceous low foam shampoo then follow with the conditioner. It’s the best thing for right now.

I have not tied my hair up before going to bed since cutting it. In the mornings before going about my day, I wet my hair and put about a quarter sized amount of the “Curvaceous full swirl” in the palm of my hand, emulsify it and rub it into my hair. Then I take the “Curvaceous ringlet” and squirt about three pumps in my hand and distribute it evenly throughout my hair. I like the way it defines the curl in my hair. As you look at the front part of my head, in the picture below, you will see some relaxer on the ends. I will cut that out gradually. But overall I am digging this product.

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine Addiction

Here try this….


“But first – let me tell you what it will do to you…. How it’ll make you feel” (Little did I know – I would become addicted to snorting cocaine).

These were the words he said to me that night.  I had a long drive ahead of me after working for ten hours behind the chair. He told me it would keep me alert and I didn’t have to worry about falling asleep at the wheel. I trusted him because I knew he loved me, or at least that’s what he said. Skeptical, but I tried it anyway.

A slight ringing in the ear…. Feeling a sense of relaxation and stimulation both at he same time; and oh so keen to my surroundings.

It was hard for me to welcome the fact that I’m addicted to coccaine. When I tried to test the effect of quitting or at least slow down, I could, but only for a little while. The cravings would then come back and I was on the “dependency roller coaster” all over again. Then one bump after another turned into a spending frenzy.  When I wasn’t doing it…. I was thinking about it. And the more I snorted, the more I wanted. I must have known I had a problem because I began to hide how often and how much I spent on doing it. ADDICTED? I guess I am.

The roller coaster of chemical dependency happens when we experience some sort of problem in our life from the use of mood altering chemicals but fail to change our using behavior. I did not connect my use of cocaine with the problems which resulted from that use. I denied that any of my problems were the consequence of my drug abuse.

I learned that there is something called the “pleasure connection”. During the time I snorted, I never thought about what activities I used to do, in the past, that had truly given me a natural pleasure. For me – chemical dependency produced an artificial sense of pleasure. And one way of looking at chemical dependency is- as an attempted quick way to, feeling pleasure.

Coccaine was my friend for ten years. I never missed a day of work. I made sure my kids were clean, fed, and well dressed. And oh yeah…. I never got in trouble with the law. I would say that  I didn’t know how to live life on life’s terms so I self medicated to numb the feelings. Then one day as I was getting high, I came to the realization that I was no longer in control. The cocaine had taken over. I was chemically dependent on cocaine. In the beginning I felt free, excited, happy and -believe it or not….. Smart.

“Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant, creating a quick, intense euphoria, accompanied by a decrease in hunger, indifference to pain and fatigue, and illusions of great physical strength and mental capacity.” This is what I learned in therapy and this is how cocaine made me feel. When I began my therapy, I was given a phamplet which told me how and if my treatment would be successful. All I had to do was to meet several criteria. I was not at all one of the perfect ones meeting all seven bullet points outlined in that phamplet, however my therapy was successful.

Reality Therapy was the best part of my therapy. The name, although catchy, can easily be improperly interpreted as having to do with giving someone “a reality check” but, it is not at all like that. There was no “ten step” process however I did do a “Step One” workshop. And in this workshop I learned that “the pathway to clean and sober living begins with the first step. Until you are able to accept the first step, contented sobriety is not possible”. That first step is at first admitting you have a chemical dependency or an addiction. Every dependency starts with an underlying problem and being honest with ones self is key during therapy. After overdosing, I finally admitted, to myself and the ones I loved, that I have a problem. So if you’re fighting with some type of chemical dependency I encourage you to seek therapy…. I did.

Just a taste of what helpes me….

“Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

“All you have to do to change your world is change the way you think about it.” – unknown

“Every morning you are handed 24 golden hours. They are one of the few things in this world that you get free of charge. If you had all the money in the world, you couldn’t buy an extra hour. What will you do with this priceless treasure? Remember, you must use it, as it is given only once. Once wasted you cannot get it back.” -unknown

“Man cannot always control the conditions with which he is confronted, but he can control his responses to them.” – Viktor Frankl, 1969

“When you change the way you look at things…. The things you look at will change.” – unknown