Getting Away From It All

 

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Happy Saturday! What are you doing with your weekend? If you don’t have to work and even you do, what will you do with the days you consider your weekend? I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some very trying weeks. It has been very physical and very tiring. However, enlightening. I have been longing to escape it all. I just want to get away! Preferably,  near the beach. But I will take anything that changes my scenery for now.

I am thinking and planning a few vacations. I think we are going back to Orange Beach, which I loved so much being there on the beach. The biggest vacation, and most expensive, is taking my daughter to Paris. It is a dream of hers and she is graduating from high school. The planning has been in the making for years. It is budgeted out as well. I want to do it now because I don’t know how long I will be able to travel far on long flights. Long flights and trips really do me in because of Rheumatoid and Fibromyalgia. But this will be a great and willing sacrifice of the body. However, I always have hope that things will get better physically and financially.

So, with that said, I don’t know if there is room in the budget for much more this year as far as vacations or get-a-ways. If so, they will be something near by. I am trying to pay off debt, get my credit score in good standing, which I paid off several big debts last year, and look for a home. I also have dreams that need funding.

~Nikki

 

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Friday Jr and The WKND Weekend

 

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Well, I had such a busy weekend I am just now getting a chance to sit down and blog about it. It was Thursday, also known to many as Friday Jr. (smile), that I got up the nerve to show up at a Memphis Bloggers Exchange Happy Hour. It was sponsored by the Nashville Bloggers Exchange. The place we met up at is new to Memphis. It’s NOT a club, but a place where you come to hang out, have great drinks, great conversations, good food, relax and unwind with friends or you can fly solo. Service was top notch from our entrance to our exit.

First, let me tell you when I walked I was nervous. Why? Well, if you have followed my blog for a while you know I have been through a rough few years. I was worried about meeting new people. Something that use to not bother me as much before Rheumatoid Arthritis came out of remission and brought fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and diabetes with it. Long story short, it changed the game as far as friendships, my social life, and the how I deal with people all together. Well, after walking into therapy with anxiety on level 8, giving myself all the reasons I should not go, I left with anxiety on 2 and all of the reasons I should go. I am so glad I did! I made so many great connections and diversified connections at that. These are just a few of the bloggers, writers, vloggers and photographers that were at the event. These wonderful group of ladies and more are right here in my city and now we are connected via social media.

We were invited to not only meet up, but to take photos, blog about our experience at this new hot spot in our city. We were able to try their entire menu! And everything was delicious! The cocktails were worth the money and I say that because if you are going to pay $10-$15 or more for a cocktail, you want your money’s worth. Tiger’s Blood Cocktail is what you see pictured above. I liked it so much I had two!

We were able to explore the venue and take pictures. You can reserve the booths we are in and they have several packages to chose from. They are also now serving brunch on Sundays! I love a good brunch! The patio was my favorite. It was very chilly that night, but the fire kept us warm as many of took advantage of photo ops. We were snapping it up and especially with a photographer on hand we got some great shots of our selves!

This was definitely a busy evening. I left there and drove across town to meet another group of ladies and we had karaoke, food, and wine. You know that had to be filled with laughter and great meet and greet. It was all positive vibes.

As the weekend rolled around, Friday I was invited to a movie. Saturday I purchased a small bookshelf from Facebook Market. I drove downtown to get it. I stopped by the Mississippi River to finish up my coffee from Starbucks and then off to ACE Hardware for paint. This was going to be an easy, less than 30 minute project.

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I painted the faux cherry wood bookshelf a dark espresso color that matches my new furniture in my room. It was the perfect size.

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And for the finale, Saturday night was epic and crazy fun. I went to a tribute for Bob Marley performed by some amazing reggae, funk, soul bands from my city, Memphis. It was a friend’s birthday week and I invited her to get out and enjoy herself. We met up with two others and it was so much fun. Too much fun lol! We ended up at iHop and I haven’t been there in about 15 years. I made it home safely and Sunday I slept in. I was home all day recovering from a very long week as I was at the hospital every morning with my dad and then coming home to do my own personal business and parent. Add the weekend to that and you have a run down chic! I was feeling the pre-pain before the big earthquake that landed Monday evening. Serious pain and mental drain. I have a heel spur I think from walking the long walk daily last week to and from my dad’s hospital room and serious back and hip pain radiating to the thigh. I know for sure my back and shoulder is a fibromyalgia flare. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade that wild and crazy weekend for anything and it brings me great joy to be there in the mornings for my dad to help or keep him company until he can home.

~Nikki

The Danger With Pretending Everything Is Okay

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The problem with pretending everything is okay when it’s “not” okay is you begin to accept behavior that is not okay. Once you begin to accept behavior that is not okay, you begin to NORMALIZE this bad behavior and mistreatment. You know what is worse? Anything that points to you having to confront or deal with REALITY sends you into retreat or lies to protect that which you don’t want to disturb. You make excuses. You don’t want to deal with the elephant that once was simply in the room, but is now on top of your head or chest. You are cracking up on the inside. You are miserable as hell. You will have a nervous breakdown, a heart attack,  before you deal with the elephants. Yes. With an “s” because an elephant not dealt with becomes a heard.

~Nikki

 

Make Up Haul. On Clearance Of Course!

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Make up can be expensive and there is nothing better than beauty blogging when you can do it on a budget. Along with a few beauty products, here is some make up I got on clearance and marked down.

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I had to “face” it. I could no longer put off the fact that it was time for some new brushes, but I wasn’t going to go in depth or sacrifice quality. Plus, I’m not a MUA, but I like to put on make up every now and then. I found these at TJ Maxx for a reasonable price and the makeup was on the clearance rack. $4.50.

 

I found this at Target and I usually grab things like this in advance for Mother’s Day to give as gifts to single mothers. I got a few and one for myself! I tried the scrub and I do like it.

20190128_163057_Film1.jpg20190128_163115_Film1.jpg And while nosing around in basket on the end caps of Target, I came across all of this! Oh yes! I felt like I’d hit a mini haul scratch off ticket. Really great polish for less. I can’t recall paying full price for expensive polish unless I REALLY needed the color.

It’s time to clean put my make up drawers and add these finds in.

~Nikki

 

Guess What I Did?

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I got my hair cut. Gone. Chopped. It was the first week in January and it was a decision made over years. I like it and that’s what matters the most! I have to care for it and no one else. My hair wasn’t damaged, but I felt like I needed to start fresh. It was a burden trying to do my hair with Rheumatoid Arthritis and not having the funds to go to a salon regularly. So doing it myself was a task that many natural hair girls understand and it was a task on top of a task with my hands, arms, wrists, and fingers.

I am learning to maintain this style. It’s easier to wash and detangle. I still have to twist it, but it’s not too bad. I guess because the hair is shorter! People are so opinionated about what we do to our hair. I could never understand why so much fuss about my hair or our hair. How superficial we can be! How obnoxious and even discriminatory we can be as human beings. Over…hair! I often find people think you should fit into their culture or subscribe to their definition of beauty. It’s very closed minded to think your culture should set the standard for all of humanity and it’s beauty. It took me some time to love my hair. My natural hair growing out of my head. You know, like your natural hair growing out of your head. It’s mines. God gave it to me. It’s up to me what I do with it and not you.

~Nikki

Simple but Delicious Slow Cooker Pot Roast

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This is a simple slow cooker pot roast recipe. You know me! When it comes to cooking most of the time I love a quick recipe so that I can get on with my evening or day.

  • About a 3lb beef roast (or your choice)
  • 2 cups of beef or chicken broth. That’s correct. You can use chicken broth as a sub!
  • Seasonings can be as simple as salt and pepper or your choice of seasonings. Just remember to over season your roast a bit because you’ll sear it and then it has to go into liquid so you’ll lose a little seasoning. My seasonings were: Weber’s steak and Chop (heavily) and then Garlic Salt, Black pepper, crushed Basil leaves (lightly)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or whatever oil you use)
  • 1 small onion or onion flakes (my daughter hates onions 😢) You can chop half or all…up to you or skip it
  • 1 can of cream of celery or mushroom
  • Celery flakes (optional)

1. Season your roast. I pierce my roast with a fork or if you have a meat cleaver use that as it is the proper tool. But, I like using a fork because I can pierce deep. You don’t have to do this at all.

2. In a large skillet add the olive oil and turn to medium high. Once it’s hot place the pot roast in and sear each side really good. About 4 minutes each side Remove pan and let the roast sit as you prepare the slow cooker.

2. Add 2 cups of broth, onions or a cap full of onion flakes (about half a teaspoon & they will become soft), sprinkle basil and pepper into the mix and turn slow cooker to high (5-6 hours) or low (8-10 hours).

3. Add roast. Take a spoon and put some of the broth on top. Let it cook for the time above but see next step!

4. One or two hours before your roast is done, mix one can of cream of mushroom/celery with half a cup of water. I added celery seeds. About half a teaspoon. Mix well and pour into the broth. Mix in. Take a spoon and pour some of that mix in the slow cooker on top of your roast. Let it finish cooking.

4. You’re done!

I like to make this when I have leftover vegetables from another meal I can add as sides or if I don’t have potatoes, cartots, celery. Also, I may simply want roast with mash potatoes or rice. Either way this is simple! And as my mom would say, “Add something green (a green vegetable) to your plate!”

 

Isn’t she a beauty?! But more importantly it’s DELICIOUS!

~Nikki

Prepared To Be Myself

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Prepared to be myself and only myself. I have done the ground work in the previous years and now I am building upwards. Who I thought I was, I was not ( I discovered this when I turned 26 and had my daughter. But, that was all I did. A shocking truth, but it would take another 10  plus years to ACT upon that revelation). And that is the case for most of us living in this world. We really believe we are who we are. But, I am here to tell you unless you have taken a real journey within yourself you may be surprised to find out you are not who you think you are. You’re more than likely a product of what you have been taught and what life has shaped you to be. I am not saying all of that is bad, but I am not saying all of it is good either. How about it can be neither bad or good? It just “is”. You can take the journey by force or by choice. And even by force you still have a choice not to examine yourself and the situation. There is much more to you than you know. Much more authentic power. Much more than a body. Much more than a religion or not.

Question your actions, examine your choices in life, and ask what was my part in this situation? If you did that and answered yourself honestly, you may not like who you are  or you may discover something wonderful. It takes work to discover who you really are and for me it took Divine guidance from the one I call God or Creator. I am talking about REAL HARD WORK. UGLY, DIRTY WORK. GROUND BREAKING AND HEART BREAKING WORK. BEAUTIFUL and AWE INSPIRING WORK. HEALING AND REVEALING, REFLECTIVE WORK. STILL WORKING. It takes faith, courage, and strength. It’s why some don’t like me and why others don’t know what to think about me. HA! Prepared to be called not a real Christian by my peers and prepared to be welcomed into a circle by those who “get me.” Michelle Obama said in her book, Becoming, “You have to learn to live with the doubters. The great ones always do.”  (Something like that).

But let’s talk about this pretense. The ability to walk into a room without pretense means you are not pretending to me something or someone you are not. You are the same in the room as you were in your car, on the job, at home. You are not trying to impress anyone by being something or someone that you are not. The best impressions are made by being yourself. If not, you will have to be that other person each time you are around that group and it is exhausting. I’ll never forget the day in recent years I thought I knew someone and was developing a good friendship with them and was shocked to see another side of them once we were in close quarters with another group. I expected the bitchy behavior from the others, but not that one. I was more disappointed and honestly hurt. I got over it. If I don’t know who you are, I just don’t deal with you because I don’t have time to figure it out. So, be who you really are. If you are not a “mean girl” don’t become one in front of other women who are. If you are not a gossiper, then don’t become one in front of others. If you are any of those things, seek help soon. (hahaha).

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From the movie “Analyze That” 

I am prepared. Even with fear, anxiety, or what ever emotion moves through me, I am prepared to be me. Unapologetically, nice. Kind. Emotional. Sensitive. Chill. Weird. Artsy. Nerdy. Sexy. Spiritual. Open. Closed. Reserved. Wild. Quiet. And more. Dispensing those sides of me however and whenever I feel comfortable or necessary. I think that harmony with one’s own spirit is a merger that is sometimes out of focus. I hope to become completely in harmony with my spirit. I use to think that meant being a certain way all the time. It doesn’t. It fluctuates sometimes as you learn and are presented with situations to grow. And that, too, is okay. You can always come back to the core of who you REALLY are. You can always refocus or re-center and ground yourself.

~Nikki