How Diet Affects Vaginal Health

As you guys know, I am passionate about women’s health, maternal and child health, and as a result, I’ve decided to share more about the things I’m passionate about here on the blog. Today’s post as you can already see by the title is about vaginal health. Many of us live our lives trying to do the best we can to survive but how much attention are we really giving to our body parts? Let’s get into today’s post.

The human body is made up of intricate systems that are considered delicate. Our overall well-being depends on how we care for our bodies, this includes the types of foods we consume. Each body system and its functionalities are affected by our diet and this includes the vagina. This may seem a bit taboo because there are a lot of misconceptions about diet. Typically, when diet is mentioned, it is associated with the microbiome that resides within our gastrointestinal tract, general gut health, or weight loss. However, everything is interconnected one way or another and diet can affect vaginal health. 

According to general research conducted, the pH level of a healthy vagina usually ranges between 3.8-4.5 which makes it naturally acidic. I know that you may be wondering how on earth can an acidic environment be a good thing. However, the acidic pH level found within the vaginal microbiome provides protection from sexually transmitted pathogens and unhealthy bacteria that can cause infections. Hence, the foods we consume can create an imbalance and disrupt the natural function of the vagina.

For instance, if enough water is not consumed daily but there is an increased intake of alcohol, that can lead to a host of skin-related issues. This includes dry skin, flakiness, and wrinkles. As a result, both the external and internal parts of the genitalia may become dry which could lead to itchy sensations. Due to this uncomfortable feeling, one may engage in constant scratching of the area which can cause inflammation. Additionally, drinking enough water can help prevent possible UTIs and yeast infections. Remaining hydrated will naturally cause you to urinate and can help get rid of the unhealthy bacteria before it gives you an infection. 

The consumption of processed and fried foods daily can also affect the health of your vagina. Ultra-processed foods are known for containing high amounts of added sugar, fats, unhealthy preservatives, and artificial ingredients which are all harmful to one’s overall health. Ingesting processed or fried foods can alter the pH level of the vagina, causing an unnatural foul odor. Excessive sugar on a daily basis can create an environment in the vagina for yeast to grow because it has the potential to destroy the good bacteria in your vagina. Be mindful of eating meat or dairy with preservatives or animals who have been fed growth hormones. These growth hormones may block the body’s formation of estrogen; inhibiting the function of the vaginal mucosa, which as a result, can increase the likelihood of infection.

A healthy and balanced diet is key to maintaining your vaginal health. Experts recommend eating foods that are considered prebiotics and probiotics. These may include cranberries, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, yogurt, salmon, and foods rich in vitamin C.  It will help to fight against infections and maintain the normal vaginal pH range. If the foods that you consume daily affect your immune system and general health, they will affect your vaginal health. Be sure to make your health a priority. 

Benefits of Lemon Water

 

Remember when lemon water was just a drink you’d consume in restaurants while waiting on your meal? Now it seems to be the thing everyone’s raving about these days. If you’re like me, I have struggled with my daily water intake in the past. As a result of this unhealthy routine, I got into the habit of adding fruits including lemons into my water. Before making any lifestyle changes, I recommend engaging in research. It’s important to know about the nutritional value of the foods we consume daily so I’ll be listing a few benefits of lemon water.  

1. Hydration

According to Harvard Health, water helps our body systems to function properly which keeps our body regulated. If you do not drink enough water daily, you may risk becoming dehydrated. It is always better to stay hydrated to avoid symptoms such as weakness, headaches, skin-related issues, and susceptibility to illness. The addition of lemons to my water added just the right flavor I needed which made it easier for me to consume.

2. Digestion

The consumption of lemon water helps the body to digest food properly which prevents an accumulation of toxins. This may help reduce frequent constipation.  constipation. 

3. Antioxidants

Lemons are rich in vitamin C which is known to be an antioxidant. This protects the cells within our body from becoming damaged which can lead to health conditions. These include inflammation in the body, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. 

4. Helps Prevent Kidney Damage/Stones

Water is essential for the kidneys. Kidneys are responsible for filtering blood and with the help of water, it contributes to the removal of waste and extra fluids within the body. Lemons are known to contain citric acid which can help break up kidney stones that may form. 

If you do not consume enough water daily, you may be at risk of developing kidney related issues such as urinary tract infections and chronic kidney disease. 

5. Source of Potassium 

Lemon water is a source of minerals including potassium. This mineral helps to regulate the body by ensuring that our muscles and nerves function properly. It also contributes to normal cell function. It helps to prevent higher blood pressure which can lead to a stroke.

Make sure to consume water daily. Remember you can add fruits to you water if that will help you remain consistent with your water intake.

8 Ways To Show Up For Yourself Every Day

These days I’ve been focused on all things wellness, self-love, and personal development. This is the season of my life that I’m currently in. Part of doing all of this is showing up for myself. I’ll be honest I’m not always consistent when it comes to showing up for myself. I’m all about being intentional with my life, setting boundaries, and prioritizing self-care but to be honest, I’ve poured from an empty cup far too many times that I’d like to admit. However, I will say that I am learning the importance of showing up for myself and the different ways it can be done.

So if you’re one of those people who’ve been trying to put yourself first more and to show up for yourself, this blog post is for you. I’ve been trying different ways in which I can show up for myself because chileee I needed to cause your girl been out here pouring from the driest of cups ok! When we show up for ourselves it helps to boost our self-esteem and confidence. Here are 8 ways you can show up for yourself.

ACKNOWLEDGE WHERE YOU ARE

One of the first things you should do when wanting to show up for yourself more is to acknowledge where you are in your life. I’ll be honest, I’ve lived in denial. I knew good and well that I was living a lie when it came to certain things. So it is important to accept where you are and your surroundings so you can know what you need to change. This is vital if you want to start showing up for yourself.

NOTICE HOW YOU TALK TO YOURSELF

Be mindful of how you speak to or about yourself. When you realize or start to notice that you’re talking negatively about yourself and you start judging yourself, try to make it more constructive. Try to combat your inner critic that is trying to attack your self-worth. You know the type of negative self-talk I’m talking about. Change the direction of your inner monologue with daily affirmations. 

FIND YOURSELF IN AFFIRMING AND VALIDATION CIRCLES

It is imperative that the people you spend time with are validating and affirming you. You can do this by creating daily affirmations and personal mantras. These are good to recite and it helps to give a mental and emotional boost. This also helps to replace negative thoughts with uplifting and positive thoughts. Sometimes in life, we need validation from those closest to us. There’s no better feeling than knowing you have a strong support system.

JOURNAL OR MEDITATE

I always tried to journal daily but to be honest, I fell off the wagon a little because I wasn’t quite there mentally, I think this is as a result of me being stressed about my grad school journey. I will say this, even if you don’t meditate or journal daily, just make it something that is a regular habit or routine. If that means journaling or meditating twice a week that’s okay. The goal is to learn to be still, to find quiet time for yourself so that can you center yourself and listen to your voice. This is a way you can gain clarity in your life.

DEEPEN OR DEVELOP A NEW SPIRITUALITY OR FAITH

I come from a faith-based background so for me, these days I am trying to reconnect and deepen my faith by spending more time in the word and taking the time to learn more. It is good to believe in something. So if you’ve lost your way or you’ve been wanting to explore something new then go right ahead. Let me tell you, it sure feels good to know and feel connected to a higher power.

TAKE YOURSELF SERIOUSLY

Many of us tend to lack confidence when it comes to believing in our own abilities. I know first hand because that’s the case with me. It is so easy to feel like you aren’t good enough. When you think about it your skills, abilities and even your perspective are what makes you, you. So whether you’re a student, in the working world, or pursuing your passion, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF enough to be proud of who you are!

COMMIT TO YOURSELF

Let me tell you, I can commit to all sorts of things to the point that I’ve made commitments to things that weren’t even benefiting me so why is it hard to commit to ourselves?! Committing to yourself could be simple as taking a bath every night, saving money, pursuing a passion, reading a book, or even starting something new. Be sure to stick to your boundaries and stand in your truth. Do not, I repeat, do not allow anyone to let you feel bad for sticking to your boundaries. If you don’t set and stick to your boundaries it’ll leave room for people to think they can take advantage of you and they will continue to disrespect you. Take it from me, I’ve been learning about boundaries and I no longer apologize for being who I am. All it takes is for you to be consistent.

CELEBRATE YOURSELF MORE

You deserve all the goodness out of life. As you work on committing to yourself, sticking to your boundaries, and taking yourself seriously, remember that consistency is key. Nobody’s perfect but remember to celebrate where you are in your life and remember your dreams are worth it. We are all going through challenging times but it’s important to change your mindset. Inhale more positivity and exhale negativity.

Let’s connect! Make sure to sign up for my email list, subscribe to my Podcast, follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more updates and insights.

What Is Placenta Encapsulation?

A week ago I had the privilege of attending a placenta encapsulation class. As a Doula, my goal is to learn more skills that will be valuable for my clients and potential clients. I came across a beautiful young lady by the name of Kaci on Instagram one day while looking through a Doula hashtag and I followed her and we became insta buddies. I checked out her site and saw she was offering a placenta encapsulation class. I had an idea of what it was but didn’t know as much then as I know now. I consider myself a professional student and I’m always willing to learn new things especially in this birth worker space.

In this post, I’m going to talk about placenta encapsulation and what are the benefits. 

What is a Placenta?

The placenta is a temporary organ that develops in your uterus during pregnancy. This organ provides nutrients and oxygen to your growing baby during pregnancy, and it also removes waste products from your baby’s blood. The placenta attaches to the wall of your uterus, and your baby’s umbilical cord arises from it. The organ is usually attached to the top, side, front, or back of the uterus. 

What is Placenta Encapsulation?

The custom of consuming the placenta which is known as placental encapsulation is centuries old and is often practiced in Chinese medicine. Placental encapsulation is the practice of ingesting the placenta after it has been steamed, dehydrated, ground, and placed into pills. Traditionally, this is taken by the mother and is believed to impart numerous health benefits.  It is frequently taken shortly after giving birth, during a woman’s menstrual period, or during menopause with the belief that it helps counter some of the symptoms of menopause.

Benefits of Placenta Encapsulation 

There is little evidence-based research available in regards to placental encapsulation and its consumption benefits. However, tradition and holistic customs embrace numerous potential advantages which come from ingesting the placenta.

Some of these benefits are:

  • Increase production of milk
  • Increased supply of Iron
  • A decrease in post-partum depression levels
  • Better Maternal bonding with baby
  • Reduced PostNatal bleeding
  • Reduce hair loss
  • Increased in energy
  • Increased release of the hormone oxytocin, which helps the uterus to return to its normal size

Making Your Decision:

There is limited research available in either support or opposition of placenta encapsulation, although there are many reported benefits.  The potential benefits of placenta encapsulation include both mental and physical benefits.  An individual’s experience with their placenta is a very personal one.  Individual assessment of one’s risk of developing a postpartum mood disorder, having milk supply issues, or possibly struggling from blood loss after giving birth may be the most appropriate guide in determining whether or not placenta encapsulation is right for you.

I’m currently waiting on my official certification but if you’re in the Atlanta area and you’re interested in this service reach out to me via email and of course, reach out to my amazing instructor Kaci Griffin from Labor With Kaci, and also follow her on Instagram. We are committed to the safe preparation and storage of the placenta for those interested in experiencing the great benefits of placenta encapsulation.

Who Is Scrub Life Cares

If you’ve followed me on my social media, you would know by now that I launched a Non-profit organization last November. If you did not know, I need you to follow me on Instagram and Facebook. I’m here to tell you a little about my non-profit and what we do. This has always been my goal, so living out a dream can be overwhelming but oh so fulfilling. I’m often asked what influenced me to start this non-profit, and my answer has always been consistent. 

When I migrated from my home country of Antigua over a decade ago to further my tertiary education, it was always my dream to give back to the Island where I grew up in some capacity. I’ve had many goals and thought about different ways I could give back. It wasn’t until I started working in the Pediatric ICU here in Georgia and switched my major from Nursing to Public Health that I realized I could give back to Antigua, even if it were in a small way. I took a non-profit and a program evaluation and implementation class in college, and that’s when the idea of creating my non-profit came about.

My first step was when I first gave back to the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre Pediatric unit in Antigua back in 2019 and then last March 2020 when I gave back to the Sunshine Home for Girls. I genuinely believe it is my purpose to be of service to others. No matter how I try to stray away, I always find myself giving back and wanting to help others in some capacity. As a public health professional, I’ve seen firsthand how health and racial disparities, one’s socioeconomic status, and not having access to resources affect many of us. This is why I decided to start the non-profit to improve the lives of others in some way.

Scrub Life Cares is a non-profit organization dedicated to Improving The Well-Being of Youths in Underserved Communities, To promote health and education. My ultimate goal is to take the non-profit organization globally, but as of right now, our focus is Antigua; after all, when I moved, I made myself a promise to give back to my country. Being raised in Antigua is why I’m able to excel and survive here in the US. I know these communities will benefit from the different programs my non-profit will offer.

some of the Scrub Life Cares members

Our mission is to serve youths in the underserved, low-income communities of Antigua and here in Georgia by executing a diversity of programs to help alleviate food poverty, enhance their educational experience, provide counseling, and develop critical life and social skills for success after high school. 

As a Team, we hosted our first giveback initiative titled ‘Essentials For The Girls,’ where we donated Essentials items to the Sunshine Home For Girls, a home for girls who have been neglected, abused, and have nowhere to go. We’ve donated to Mount St. John’s Medical Center. We’ve hosted our first-ever fundraiser this April, which was a success. ( more on this in another post).

If you are interested in assisting in any capacity or would like to be a part of our organization, send us an email or visit our Instagram and Facebook pages to stay updated. If you’re interested in donating to our organization, you can do so here.

What Is A Doula And Why I Became A One

Just call me Tanya The Doula! Ever heard of the phrase “slow and steady wins the race?” Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you have. There was a time a couple of years ago where I had no idea what my purpose in life was. Although I had an idea, of course, I allowed doubt and fear to creep in. I now know that my purpose in life is to be of service to others; it’s who I am.

I mentioned the phrase “slow and steady wins the race” because it means if you work slow and are consistent, you will succeed better. My friends, this is what I’ve been doing. I have not accomplished all of my goals, but I’ve been working on them slowly and have been accomplishing some as time goes by.

This brings me to today’s post. I know you’ve seen the title, so you’re wondering why I was saying all of that instead of getting to the point, Ha! Last week was national Doula week, so I think this is the perfect time to announce to you and the world my newest accomplishment and business venture. I’ve had a keen interest in Maternal and Child Health for a while, and that interest was sparked even more as I pursued my Public Health degree. I’ve done many research on maternal health, especially among the African American community, and that prompted me to think of ways I can give back and help. I decided to do that by becoming a Doula. Last September, I trained to become a Doula. It has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. 

WHAT IS A DOULA?

For those of you who don’t know what a Doula is. A Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible. (DONA.org). So, to be honest, A Doula is the support system you didn’t know you needed. In recent years, Doulas have made a resurgence in today’s society. There has been much research done about the benefits of having continuous labor support. 

BENEFITS OF HAVING A DOULA

  1. A positive birth experience
  2. Fill in the gaps with support
  3. Individual childbirth Education
  4. Decreases the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience by 31%
  5. Provides support mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically
  6. Reduces the rate of C-section by 39%
  7. There’s an 8% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
  8. We have a great connection to local resources

I became a Doula to make a difference in the lives of women and families. To be an advocate and to ensure that every mother’s birth outcome is positive. I was trained to be a Doula, Childbirth Educator, and I’m working on becoming a certified Breastfeeding counselor. I have the privilege of being mentored by an amazing birth worker. I can’t call her just a Doula because she does it all and is amazing in this Doula community. I want to give a shout-out to my mentor Esther from the Metro Mommy Agency. I have all the tools to be the best Doula I can be and run my Doula business because of her. 

As time goes by, I will share my experience and share my clients’ experiences here on the blog, so I can continue to educate you more about this community the importance of having a Doula as part of your birth plan.

As a Doula, my purpose is to support your birth vision, bring oneness to your body and mind. I am here to amplify your experiences and, of course, empower you to find your strength from within.

call me Tanya The Doula

MY DOULA SERVICES

I’ll take this time to say I am accepting new clients. If you or anyone you know is expecting and think a Doula is a right fit( I hope you do consider), please send me an email, and we can set up a consultation. I am here to help you from the Prenatal stage, Labor support, and postpartum stage. I am all about educating, empowering, and promoting positivity!

  1. Prenatal: Birth planning, addressing your concerns. get your partner involved by teaching them comfort measures and what to expect.
  2. Continuous Labor Support: No matter how long your labor is, I am with you! I work on call. I’ll be your speed dial person. I do home births and hospital births. I will remain with you and your family up to 3 hours after your delivery.
  3. Postpartum care: 24 to 72 hours after delivery. I’ll be there once you’re discharged from the hospital. I will provide newborn care, light housekeeping, meal prepping during the first six weeks.

Have you or anyone ever had an experience with a Doula? Comment below what your experience is/was. Do you think you would have a Doula as part of your birth plan when that time comes?

My 2021 WORD OF THE YEAR

We’re almost at the end of the first month of 2021. So far, this year has been interesting, to say the least, but I’ve been doing my best to focus on the positives.

At the end of every year, I usually do a self-reflection to see how far I’ve come and the lessons I’ve learned, and what I need to work on for the upcoming year. Like most of you, I tend to come up with a Mantra or pick a word for the year. The purpose of me doing this is to serve as motivation to ensure that I’m on my A-game. I’ve had quotes that inspired me, words, and sometimes it could be a scripture. Now, let me just say I do a very good job at talking the talk, but I sometimes fall short when it comes to walking the walk or putting actions behind my words. I’ve had times when the first quarter of the year I would be on my A-game, and then I’d fall off. Life happens, but it takes discipline, which ironically was one of my words a couple of years ago.

As I sat and reflected on the kind of year that 2020 was, I realized that I needed to be more intentional with everything in my life. In my 2020 year in review post, I got emotional when writing it because I realized that I accomplished a lot in the middle of a pandemic and one of the most challenging years. This is not to brag but to show me AND you that we need to be intentional when it comes to our lives and put our best foot forward.

Last year my words were Commitment and Consistency. I did stay committed to most things but if I’m honest, I was not as consistent as I would’ve liked. However, after the year I’ve had, a small part of me didn’t feel the need to have a word or mantra for 2021, but I know that I have specific goals I want to achieve this year. This is why it’s important for me to have a mantra or word to serve as my guiding light. 

My friends, my 2021 word/ phrase of the year is: To Be Intentional.

I love to journal, and I’ve read and done enough research about the importance of manifesting and setting intentions. After the year I’ve had and the many challenges I’ve endured in the past, I’m making it my mission to be intentional this year.

According to dictionary.com, the word intentional means done on purpose, deliberate.

I joke and tell those close to me that I’m going to be intentional even with which gas station I get gas from, lol. It may sound silly, but that’s how serious I am about setting intentions for my life and doing everything with the intent to have a positive outcome. This year I want to be more intentional about my Health and Wellness, what I post on this blog, social media.  I want to be intentional about the relationships I have and the ones I’ll make. I also want to ensure that I’m doing the things that I love and align with who I am in this current state of my life and the woman I’m becoming. I’m walking in my purpose and won’t be playing small. 

I’m working on leaning more into educating and empowering but ensuring that I’m having fun while doing so. The minute I’m not able to have fun or do things that are in alignment with my purpose is when there’ll be a bigger problem.  So I encourage you to give up the pressure to be perfect or to always be on. Take care of yourself and have fun in whatever you do. You should feel joy. Remember to be intentional in everything you do!

*cues Travis Greene intentional*

Do you have a word for the year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

My 2020 Year In Review

Hello, 2021! Can you believe it’s week two of 2021?! A lot has undoubtedly happened since the start of the year. Since this is the first blog post of the year, I’d like to wish you a happy new year. I wish you a year of growth and abundance in all areas of your life. 

 I had planned on doing a round-up of the year to upload at the end of 2020, but things didn’t quite go as planned. Again, a lot has been happening. Juggling two full-time jobs, working on my podcast, blog, showing up for myself has been a lot, but I’m not complaining. Better late than never. It goes without saying that 2020 was a rough year. When I think about it, there’s a lot I have to be grateful for, given the unprecedented year it was. I had a lot to celebrate personally, and I won’t take that for granted for one. In this post, I will share some of my favorite moments of 2020 that I didn’t get to document on the blog.

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED

MARCH: I Donated Back To My Country

Giving back is always something I’ve wanted to do and have been doing ever since I was a little girl. I think I learned this from my mother, who was always lending a helping hand to those in need, so it’s no surprise I’m doing the same. Back in March, before the world went haywire, I was able to travel home to Antigua, where I donated to the Sunshine Home For Girls, The Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, and the Family and Social Services Division.

MAY: I Graduated and Turned 30

I graduated with honors, and while this is a proud moment, it was still a bit disappointing because the moment I waited for, which was to walk across that stage and to hear my name called and with honors, did not happen. Because of the pandemic, my graduation was held virtually. Still, it is a proud moment, and your girl got her degree and is on to bigger things academically.

I turned 30! I can’t believe it. I had plans to travel to England to celebrate, but that didn’t happen because of the pandemic. I settled with an at-home self-care day. I did manage to write about 15 things my twenties taught me. Check out the post here.

JUNE: New Job

I started a new job working with a prominent non-profit organization testing covid-19 patients and then moved on to work as an Epidemiologist assistant. I won’t go into much detail about my job, but it is a rewarding job and my first official step in the public health field as a public health professional.

JULY: Public Speaking Engagement

I had my first public speaking engagement, where I presented to a group of high school and undergraduate college students talking about health disparities. This was such a fun experience. It gave me the confidence boost that I needed.

AUGUST: I made the best investment of my life thus far

I started therapy. I’ve often heard the saying, “investing in yourself is costly but rewarding,” but this rings true to me. After a lot of self-reflection, I decided to take the step to start therapy, and let me tell you; it has been the best return on my investment. I’m not going to lie; I was a bit reluctant about starting therapy. I thought my mind was playing games on me, and I was trying to follow the crowd on social media by going to therapy, but the growth I’ve experienced since I started has exceeded my expectations. I’m nowhere close to the finish line, but I’ve been making little progress, and I’m grateful for my therapist. Therapy has now become part of my self-care routine.

I look forward to my weekly meetings with my therapist. Also, I think every insurance should cover mental health services, but that’s another blog post in itself, so I’ll leave it there.

SEPTEMBER

I accomplished another goal I’ve had on my list for a while.  I made another decision to invest in myself again and got trained to become a Doula! Yes, you read that right, your girl is now a Doula. 

For those of you who don’t know what a Doula is. A Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to a mother before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible. (DONA.org). I’ll be sharing more on this very soon. I’m so excited to share more with you.

I WENT LIVE

I started an Instagram live series called Tea With Tanya. This was another milestone. This was my first time going live and let me tell you, my nerves were through the roof! I began going live every first and third Monday, but I started going live every Monday with the support and encouragement from you. Well, you guys enjoyed the live series so much that you pretty much demanded that I go live every week, and I have no regrets. The purpose of me going live was to gain more confidence with being in front of the camera, learning to love my speaking voice, getting comfortable speaking to a group of people, and educating and empowering you. 

I’ve had some fantastic guests, and I’ve learned a lot. This series has opened doors for so many different opportunities. I wrapped up the Instagram live series 13 episodes later, at the end of November. I may not go live every week, but I am thinking about going live at least once a month. We shall see.

NOVEMBER: The Birth of Scrub Life Cares

I officially launched my non-profit organization Scrub Life Cares. This has been years in the making, and I’m so proud it’s finally happening. When I first migrated to the US, my goal was to give back to my country in some way and help those in underserved communities. Our mission is to serve youths in the underserved, low-income communities by executing a diversity of programs to help alleviate food poverty, enhance their educational experience, provide counseling, and develop critical life and social skills for success after high school. To keep up with my non-profit and see how you can get involved, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Our website will be here soon. Thank you to those who continue to support.

DECEMBER

Drumroll, please… I launched my podcast! This has been another goal of mine, but I never dared to do it, but with the feedback from my Instagram Live series, I thought, what better time than now! As you know, I am a public health professional by day and your average Tea loving millennial and content creator by night. I’ll be sharing public health stories, self-love, and wellness tips and just promoting positive living. I’m excited to share with you what I’ve been brewing.

Be sure to subscribe to Apple podcast and Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast, tell a friend to tell a friend. I couldn’t have done this without your consistent, generous support and feedback.

I also did my first ever blogmas on the blog. It was fun, although I fell off towards the end, lol. I look forward to blogmas 2021.

THE WRAP UP

This pretty much sums up my 2020. With all the challenges the year brought us, I can’t be anything but thankful. I’ve lost family members; I’ve had family members who had covid-19 but thankfully recovered. I’ve worked nonstop and haven’t had a break to be still. As I was writing this blog post, I got emotional. I tend to complain about how things are or how I wish things would be, or I’m always thinking about the next moment and not taking the time to sit and acknowledge what I’ve done. Looking back, I was able to accomplish some goals and also do some good in the world. Normalize Celebrating wins no matter how big or small.

My blog views surprisingly increased since I started blogging three years ago. I’ve had the most views this year than ever before, with most of my readers coming from search engines and Pinterest. Let me tell you, Pinterest has become a significant part of my blogging experience. I’m committed to putting in more work to grow and produce quality content and, of course, try to be consistent. 

In 2021 you’re going to see a change coming to the blog and my overall brand. I’m working with someone who’s a BOSS at what she does, and I can’t wait for you guys to see what’s in store. I’m so excited!

I am not playing small in 2021 and beyond. I’m going after the things I want to do. I’m planning in 2021 to lean in more on the wellness and self-care aspect of my life. I’ll be documenting more of that on the blog as well. I also want to do more public speaking engagements, putting that out there, so if you have a panel, YouTube, podcast, etc., feel free to book me!😊

If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed my recap, and it provided you some encouragement to do the things you want. 

THANK YOU for reading, liking, commenting, and sharing my blog posts. I still get butterflies whenever I upload a blog post, so to have your support truly means a lot!

Until next time. Practice social distancing, wash those hands, drink water, and mind your business and stay safe!

Blogmas Day 7: What Christmas Means To Me

Merry Christmas Eve to you! I’m back with day seven and the last of blogmas. I initially wanted to do 12 days, but I didn’t get to, but I am proud that I was able to do at least seven days. 

This post is going to be all about what Christmas means to me. I’ve had some time to sit and reflect on how this year has been and what it means to me to celebrate Christmas. 

I’ve always loved Christmas time ever since I’ve known myself. Christmas was a time where spirits were lifted and brought an absolute joy that I never had the months prior. Christmas is a time of the year to give back and be merry.

Christmas to me means the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. I mean, that’s what I’ve been told in Sunday school ever since I’ve been a little girl, and it’s something I still believe. I’m a church girl at heart. Other than that, Christmas means togetherness and unity. It’s a time where my family gets together and celebrate each other. It’s the one time of the year where we all get together, those who are near and far all come together for this one day. FOOD, who can forget food lol. Christmas is all about eating. Overall, Christmas means love, joy, and happiness to me. This year, unfortunately, I won’t be with my family back in Antigua like I initially planned, but I am grateful that I still have two of my siblings here with me to celebrate the best way we possibly can. I know for many this holiday season is looking a lot different, but I want to encourage you to find something that brings you joy no matter how big or small it may be; once it brings you joy, DO IT!

Here’s how I celebrate Christmas back in my country (Antigua).

The church plays a significant role in our Christmas celebration. There are Christmas plays both in the schools and church, and food is also a major part of our celebration. There’s a particular food that you only eat around Christmas time. Just like Turkey is the star of Thanksgiving in the US, ham is the star of our Christmas in Antigua, and Sorrel drink is the favored drink of the season. Celebrating with friends and family is how we ultimately celebrate Christmas. For my family and me, watching Lebron James take on whichever team in the NBA on Christmas day has become a tradition of ours and, of course, playing many cards and board games, opening gifts, and drinking some ponche Kuba (this is similar to Coquito).

I also developed another tradition, and that’s giving back to the community. Every year I volunteer at the rescue mission, and every holiday season, I assist in serving those in the low-income communities food and other care packages. This is ultimately one of my favorite things to do during this time.

I know 2020 has been a whirlwind of emotional roller coasters, and many people have lost so much this year. Finding the joys and spirit of the holiday season may be all that some of us have left to get through the rest of the year.

In my recent podcast episode, I spoke with psychiatry resident Dr. Atasha Jordan about navigating our mental health during the holidays. You can listen to the episode here. I hope it helps you to find some joy during this season.

Merry Christmas and have a happy and safe holiday! I will be celebrating Christmas, eating good food, watching a basketball game and a few Christmas movies, and then going to work because I’m an essential worker (no days off over here).

What does Christmas mean to you? Do you have any Christmas traditions? Let me know in the comments below!

Blogmas Day 6: How To Make Homemade Hot Chocolate

There is something about hot chocolate that makes me feel extra cozy around this time of year. I personally would like to spend every morning or evening drinking hot chocolate. When it’s not tea, it’s hot chocolate. I get the best of both worlds. 

Ingredients : 

▢ 4 cups whole milk

▢ 2 cups half and half

▢ 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

▢ 1 cup milk chocolate chips

▢ 1/3 cup granulated sugar

▢ 1/4 cup cocoa powder

▢ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or extract of choice)

Instructions : 

Place the pan/pot on the stovetop and heat it up. Combine all the ingredients in the pan/pot. Be sure to maintain the heat on medium-low and stir until all ingredients are combined. Ensure that the mixture does not boil over. 

RECIPE 2 

⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ cup white sugar

1 pinch salt

⅓ cup boiling water

3 ½ cups milk

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup half-and-half cream

Instructions: 

Combine the cocoa, sugar, and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla—divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

I got both recipes from Pinterest you can check them out here and here. 

I like to top my hot chocolate with  marshmallow or whip cream. What are your favorite topping for your hot chocolate?