Words Sweeter Than Honey

black-and-white-photo-of-people-1905179I’ve been around long enough to know that how we talk to our spouse makes a huge impact on how the relationship goes. The more we speak life into our partner, the better the communication. The more we talk down to our partner, the harder it is to talk to one another about stuff. I’ve learned this the extremely hard way and made the promise that I wouldn’t fall into that pattern again.

My last partner used to call me fat, ugly, stupid, worthless, and a bad mother; this made it extremely hard to see a beautiful young lady when I looked in the mirror. It killed my self-esteem, and it killed our relationship. The amount of therapy that I needed afterward proved to me that how we talk to one another is extremely important. I made the decision to never allow anyone else to talk to me like that. And in return, I do not talk to others this way, including my children. Simple phrases like “you are your father’s child!” or “you remind me of your dad” hold more weight to a child than we know. Even in anger, I never talk negatively to my children. And neither do I to my partner.

In a relationship, your partner becomes your best friend. They learn you inside and out and know what buttons to push. This should NOT be the weapons they use during an argument. I can proudly say that in my most current situation, I do not argue with my partner. Well, he doesn’t argue back. Lol. He simply lets me get my anger and frustrations out, then we figure out a solution to the problem. When he does get angry with me to the point that he can’t talk, he calms down, then we address the problem. We do not say mean and hurtful things to one another- things that we cannot take back once the dust has settled. But it’s so much more than how we talk to our partners and children.

Have you ever walked down the street and simply said “good morning” to someone? The look of bewilderment that they give you is shocking. People don’t remember what being kind to one another is anymore. My neighbor shovels my snow every time it snows. He puts away my trashcan after trash has passed by. He speaks every single time he sees me. And all he asks in return is a simple conversation and a “thank you”. That is kindness. And it is so rare to come by. I tell him how much I appreciate him regularly. But he does the same for our other neighbors and they don’t even look in his direction, let alone say hello. When I call 800 numbers, I ask the customer support agent “how are you today?” and wait for an answer. One time, the agent told me “I’ve never had someone genuinely ask me how my day was when they called in; thank you”. We’ve lost our ability to be kind to one another and say kind things to each other.

Words have always had a major impact on people. When I was younger, I remember singing “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”. This is so far from the truth and I wish that I could warn my younger self about that. Too often, we hurl out hurtful and insulting words to one another, then try to cover it up with an “I’m sorry” or “I was just angry and didn’t mean it” all the while the person on the receiving end of the insults has to pick up the pieces of their hurt. I am constantly redirecting everyone around me with how we speak to each other. I like to think that I can make a difference, even if only in my small circle. Because whether we like to admit it or not, words hold more weight than sticks and stones. Those wounds last a lot longer and can cause a ripple effect. If we make more of an effort to use words filled with honey rather than vinegar, how much happier and closer would we be to the people around us?

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

 

Are You Procrastinating on Life Insurance?

By: Tiana Cuevas from Consumers Advocate

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If you’re a parent, and you haven’t purchased life insurance yet, the thought might have been hovering in the back of your mind for a while. So…what’s stopping you?

Maybe death is a subject that’s too scary to think about. Or you think your health history might prevent you from getting a policy at an affordable price. Or, like many, you’re confused about which policy to choose and for how much.

However, as this guide to the best life insurance for families shows, it’s just not as complicated or scary as many tend to think.

Simply put: while there is a wide variety of policies available, most parents would do best with term life insurance, which is inexpensive and covers the years when your children would most need your financial support. For example, for parents of very young children, a 20-year term life policy—one of the most affordable options—would be active all those years from childhood into college.

On the other hand, parents of kids who will need financial support for their entire life, like special needs children, will find that a whole life policy would keep them covered regardless of age. Although more expensive, that policy will remain active as long as the premium is being paid, without an expiration date.

Thinking about your family’s debt

Making the decision to buy life insurance accomplishes a lot more than just having X amount of money set aside in case the unthinkable happens. While nothing can replace the loss of a parent, having financial support can at least help children have a sense of stability by letting them stay in the same home and school that they’re used to, surrounded by friends and teachers who know them and can support them. Having a strong financial net also prevents a surviving spouse from having to seek additional income (which sometimes means a second job) all the while they’re still trying to grieve.

But there are other benefits to buying life insurance. Among them: modeling great financial behavior for your kids.

As it turns out, both money and debt are inheritable in more ways than one. Studies show that children will tend to model their parents’ financial habits—whether that’s the tendency to save for the future or the tendency to fall into debt. While some of this has to do with children’s personalities, much of it is learned from what they see their parents do, and how they see them approach money.

First, in practical terms—if you are in debt now and you’re ready to buy life insurance, it’s essential to keep that in mind when choosing coverage. You want to choose enough coverage to help your children pay for any debts and bills that they will be responsible for, including mortgages and household-related expenses.

But, just as importantly, purchasing life insurance can be a big part of a smart financial strategy, and in teaching your kids that, when it comes to finances, it’s best to think ahead rather than just reacting to emergencies as they happen.

The Truth About Being The “Strong Friend”

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I am known as the “strong” friend. The one who everyone goes to for advice, money, a sitter for their kids, a place to crash. You name it, I’m the person for it. But that becomes a very hard title to carry when you have your own issues beating down your door and you have no one to turn to for comfort…

I started to feel the pressure in early 2018. I was growing increasingly tired of the house that I was living in. There were people being shot on the next block over, there was always trash in front of my house, my neighbors argued at 3,4,5, and 6 in the morning, my children’s father was passing out defaming flyers about me to everyone in the neighborhood. I needed a change, so I fought to get one. I wanted to buy a house, but I needed to fix my credit. Then I needed a co-signer. Fast forward to 2019, now I needed a new mortgage person to help me because the person I was working with took 3+ months to let me know if I was approved or not. *Come to think of it, I still never received an approval OR denial from her!* I finally got my approval and for way more than what I was expecting. Thank you co-signer! Now I’m searching for a house. Did I mention that I decided to start a new business? And they cost money- lots of it. On top of the fact that I am still going back and forth to child support and custody court with my ex (and every court date means I have to pay my lawyer). I’m at a point now where I am literally spending over $3,000 almost every month; I have no idea where the money was coming from. House hunting is stressful. Down payment money is stressful. Closing cost money is stressful. Then I find out that I have a stalker that was actually coming INTO my house = stressful. I am severely understaffed at work = stressful. My kids are being abused at their other parent’s house which I am learning about from therapy = stressful. It got to a point where I would run my fingers through my hair and come out with a handful of hair. I dismissed it and figured that I just needed to take more vitamins and lay off of flat ironing my hair. So, I braided it up and threw some weave into it and kept it pushing. Never once managing my stress, just covering up the effects of it.

I started having extremely painful menstrual cramps- I usually never get menstrual cramps. I started having panic attacks. I started getting major migraines, and my face started breaking out again. Yet I still never stopped and paid attention to my body and what it was telling me. Until I got a period that was so bad that I thought I was having a miscarriage. I went to my doctor convinced that I was pregnant and didn’t know and I lost the baby. Me believing that was a wake-up call for me. I told myself that I needed to stop. Stop working, stop stressing, stop overdoing it with my body. Then, I took my hair out and this happened.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much of my hair at once in my hands, even when I was pregnant and my hair was falling out. I cried when I saw this. Then I cried again after I washed my hair and saw how much hair was in the sink. The reality of how much stress I was carrying on me hit me like a ton of bricks. This moment was it for me- this was the moment that I made up my mind to do everything that I needed to do to take care of myself. No matter who feels slighted, neglected, who’s angry at me saying NO, I have to put myself first. Because losing that much hair is absolutely a sign that I need to stop. My schedule is changing. My day ends earlier. I’m home more. And I am spending more time with my kids. I cannot change everything, but the things that I can change are changing. If I lose business, friends, and money over it, well… I can always get it back. Cuz if I die, they won’t matter anyway, right?

Situational depression IS REAL! I would have never known this had this period in my life not happened. And the effects of it can be detrimental. Just ask my hair. If you feel anxiety about a situation, it’s time to rethink and reevaluate it. If you’re having panic attacks, something is wrong. If you have unexplained migraines, something needs to be looked into. And LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Weight gain, weight loss, loss of appetite or wanting to eat all the time; lack of sleep, or always wanting to go to sleep- these are all signs of depression. Wanting to be alone all the time, having a short temper, not being able to manage your thoughts, or having trouble finding a positive side of a situation are all signs that something is wrong. And these are all signs that I had and I overlooked because I thought that I was “just tired and needed some more sleep”. Allowing depression to go unnoticed and unmanaged (either through therapy, meditation, or medication) can cause serious physical, emotional, and social damage- to you and others around you.

Please- seek help if you think this is you!

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

4 of the Top Apps for New Parents Right Now

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Post By: Emily Graham

Welcoming a new baby is a huge milestone, and it’s the event that most changes couples’ lives. As Very Well Mind admits, having children adds another level of stress to a marriage. Fortunately, working together with your partner—and taking advantage of technological support—can help reduce stress and make you a more engaged parent.

Why Choose Apps for Parenting Tips?

Utilizing the power of smartphone apps can give you access to expert advice and information. When you second-guess every decision as a new parent, trustworthy sources get you through. Having an app at your fingertips is like having a good friend helping you through difficult times.

If you need a new device to help you manage the next few years (and thousands of photos) with baby, consider grabbing the latest iPhone. iPhone 11 gives you full creative control thanks to two cameras—perfect for snapping selfies, curating boutique baby snaps, and zooming in for quick shots. It also has upgraded security features, which makes it one less thing you have to worry about.

Water-resistance is a must, of course, and exceptional battery life will keep your device going for much longer than you, sans coffee. Not an Apple fan? Consider an upgrade to a newer Android device, such as a Samsung Galaxy S10 or the Google Pixel 3. Excellent photo quality and Google Drive compatibility make connecting and sharing simple. You’ll also find a long list of compatible apps for Android.

WebMD Baby

Every piece of advice from WebMD Baby is confirmed by a physician, making this a trustworthy source for parenting tips. Between videos starring WebMD’s pediatrician to over 400 articles on parenting and infant health, there’s an answer to every question you might have.

Plus, a built-in baby book section ensures that even busy and sleepless parents document their children’s milestones. Trackers let you note and review feeding and nursing times, sleep sessions, diaper changes, and even height and weight measurements.

Cozi Family Organizer

For new parents who struggle to manage their busy lives, Cozi Family Organizer can help get you and your partner on the same page. You can list events and activities in the app, then share with your family. Make grocery lists, note recipes, and even connect from the computer if it’s more convenient.

As Stanford Children’s Health explains, family meals are crucial for children’s development and family relationships. Starting when your child is an infant, sharing time enjoying food is an excellent habit to establish. Cozi Family Organizer can help you plan meals and get everyone to the table to enjoy them, too.

Cloud Baby Monitor

If leaving the room when the baby sleeps is nerve-wracking for you, Cloud Baby Monitor has the solution. You can transform your Apple or Android device into a Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitor. Leave one device with your baby while you take the other with you. Then, check in wirelessly from any room in the house.

Noise and motion alerts add another layer of security, and two-way audio and video lets you monitor your little one from afar. The range is unlimited (use 3G, LTE, or Wi-Fi), and you can use built-in white noise and lullaby functions to soothe from the next room or the backyard.

Baby Sign and Learn Lite

According to Psych Central, teaching sign language to babies is beneficial for both infants and their caregivers. Whether you use ASL or modified signs with your baby, you will enjoy bonding and better communication with your child.

For older infants who are ready to communicate, Baby Sign and Learn Lite is a helpful to-go instructor. You can review signs—with the help of a digital baby—and learn how to teach them to your child. Interacting with the app together helps you learn new signs and share them in conversation.

As a new parent, you have a lot going on. Fortunately, today’s technology can help in many ways. From long-distance baby monitors to white noise machines, there are many tips and tricks for moms and dads to survive the early years. And thanks to modern apps accessible from your smartphone, you can do so much more as a first-time parent than you thought possible.

 

 

Girl Code, Sis!

There are many things that I can share with my girlfriends and not think a thing about it. I can share my food with them, my drinks, my clothes, shoot I can even let them borrow my bundles if they need it! But one thing we will not share is my man. He’s off-limits, always and forever. BUT!! Is there ever a time where he isn’t?

I read a post on social media that explained that 2 girlfriends had a dilemma- friend A dated a guy several years back, but decided that it wasn’t going to work out because he was “too nice”. Friend B kept in friendly contact with him over the years, and the guy eventually asked friend B out and she accepted. Friend B then went to friend A and said that she liked the guy, and would friend A be ok with them dating. Friend A said absolutely not. What would you say?

When does “dating” take a guy off-limits? Is it immediately when you start talking to a guy that no one in your crew can talk to him? Is it if you guys have had sex? Is it if you were in a relationship with him? This is a tricky situation because as friends, do we honestly ever sit down with our girlfriends and establish these boundary lines? I have girlfriends who won’t even look twice at a guy that their friend dated, and I have friends who think it’s ok if one of us has never had sex with the guy, and the lines fall somewhere in between. So the question then becomes- can you really be mad at a friend that dates one of your exes or flings if you’ve never really discussed and established what is off-limits and what is not? Because like common sense, friendship-ex-dating lines aren’t commonly known. If I dated a guy 10 years ago while I was in college and I never slept with him, is it right for me to stop a girlfriend of mine from dating him? What if he is her soulmate and I am standing in the way of it? Me personally, I don’t even look at the guys my friends’ date. They’re lucky if I even remember their names (no offense to the guy and no shade to my friends dating them, but y’all ain’t married so he can easily be replaced. Imagine me remembering every single guy one of my friends dated. I can barely remember my husband’s name! Lol!) I’m just kidding boo, you know I know your name. Sometimes. Haha! I’ve put my foot in my own mouth enough times to refer to everyone’s current dating partner as “your boo”. On top of that, when I was still dating, a screenshot of the guy went into our group chat followed by “does anyone know this one?” Lol. I can’t cross any boundaries if I ask questions from the beginning. Maybe if more friends practiced that method, less would fall out over a guy that’s being double-dipped.

Do I personally have dating partners who are off-limits? Listen- if you wanna take your chances with my ex-husband/baby daddy, go for it. I need SOMEONE to make him happy so he can leave me the hell alone. But, I will forewarn you, his ass is crazy. My ex-fiance, you can have him. He’s currently in South Carolina and he’s still working as a barber. The sex was great. My first year of college boo was a wishy-washy user with great head and a huge peen. If you can get him to be consistent, go for it sis. My high school prom date is married- approach at your own risk. My point is, I’m personally not blocking any blessings. BUT!, if you know what he put me through and you still want him, whatever happens during that dating period is your own fault cuz you knew better. I myself have no desire to double-dip with any man that has had even a lengthy phone conversation with one of my girls. But my guy- my cuddle buddy? My peace when I wanna strangle someone? My kids step-dad? My sugar daddy, honey bear? Yeah- he’s off-limits. That one, I take super personal and I’m falling out with my own momma for him. I’m just saying. Even if (God forbid) we ever break up- because the bond there is super different. But again- can I fault someone for crossing a boundary that I never previously established? Because sisters sleep with husbands, moms sleep with boyfriends, and no one thinks that there is a line that is being crossed. Yes- we SHOULD know what is acceptable and what is not, but the truth is that many people do not. Let this here be me staking my claim: MY HUSBAND IS OFF LIMITS! Everyone else is up for grabs, take that headache if you want to sis. Will I look at you differently? I probably will never allow you close to my partner again, but that’s a choice that you’re choosing to live with. No game nights, no girls nights, no family dinners, nothing. Stay your ass home babe cuz if I catch you glancing in this man’s direction the plates will start flying. We can do lunch next week though.

Talk about the girl codes ladies. Once those lines are crossed, you can never go back.

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

PostPartum Almost Killed My Baby

alone-black-and-white-crying-2901191I had my first child at the age of 26. I had never been pregnant before, but by then I had helped to raise at least 4 children. I knew some of what I was getting into, but I had no idea I would deal with depression. And that depression almost killed my baby.

We always hear stories about people who suffer from postpartum and think “that wouldn’t happen to me”. I was one of those people. I actually didn’t think about it because in the black community we don’t talk about stuff like that. We just tell the women that they just “need a break” and blame them for either having a child with a man that won’t help them or not being strong enough to handle being a mom. We don’t actually tackle that subject, because it’s “TABOO” for us. So, when I started feeling like I was frustrated, tired, and couldn’t do it anymore, I kept it to myself and figured that I just needed to be around more people. I tried that, and it didn’t make the situation better. It actually made it worse because I started to feel like people were judging me for wanting to take a break from my child.

Add on to that the fact that I wasn’t getting much sleep at night because the baby was up every 2 hours wanting to be fed. And anyone who knows me knows that Kishna with no sleep is not a very pleasant person to be around. The situation became worse. I picked fights with her father for no reason, I always wanted to sleep- I started to feel disconnected from my baby. I cried constantly. I didn’t want to eat. I just wanted to be alone. I found myself yelling at my baby. All the time. For no reason (I can logically say that now, but at the time I felt like she wasn’t listening to me and was being difficult). She had collic and was always fussy and crying. That was NOT a good mix with someone going through postpartum. I remember one night sitting on the bed with her between my legs; she kept crying and crying and crying. Her father walked into the room, having just come in from work, and saw the look on my face. He asked me what was wrong and I yelled out “she won’t stop fucking crying!” I picked her up and threw her. He ran in the direction that I threw her, caught her just in time, and just looked at me. I walked out of the room, went down the steps, sat on the couch, and started crying. What I did just hit me. I actually threw my infant baby across the room as hard as I could to get her away from me. Something was wrong. Very wrong.

Her father and I came up with a night time schedule to help with the baby to allow me to get some sleep. I also started going out of the house more and started talking to other people. He and I never really talked about what happened, but something about that situation made me wake up. I have no idea how I came out of that on my own without therapy or meds, but it happened. All thanks to God is all I can say.

We do not give postpartum the attention that it deserves. Postpartum, or postnatal, depression is estimated to affect 10-15% of women in wealthier countries and an even higher percentage in countries that are less wealthy. Women who have postpartum depression develop symptoms an average of 1 to 3 weeks after childbirth, but the onset can be anytime during the first year after childbirth. Women who have moderate to severe postpartum depression at 2 months and at 8 months post-delivery were found to be more likely to experience depression 11 years later. And as we all know, depression doesn’t just affect us- it affects our whole family.

I never spoke out about my depression before. I always kept it a secret because hey- we aren’t supposed to be depressed and we damn sure aren’t supposed to talk about it. But I almost killed my baby 6 years ago. I’m hoping that me being open about my story will help someone else in a similar situation, and let them know that it’s not just you dealing with it. You can get help.

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

My Story Is Yours

Written by: Nikki Janet
“Ms. Roney, do you understand what’s going on?”
As those words echoed through the room, yes I understood what was going on but I mentally couldn’t wrap my head around just exactly what I was about to endure.
This was my first adversity as an adult, that mommy or daddy just couldn’t take away. I couldn’t grasp the fact that I was losing my first child.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” C.S Lewis
Almost every woman yearns to be a mother, our bodies are biologically designed for it. So suffering from Cervical Insufficiency was not apart of my “mommy” plans. I have read tons of books, took vitamins, watched what I ate but none of that could have prepared me for this.
I snapped back into reality. Watching my husband argue with the doctor because I don’t think he was able to emotionally grasp it. We watched our baby’s little feet move around on the ultrasound like he had not a care in the world. How could we be losing our son he looks fine. I held my stomach and let out the most gut-wrenching cry. I couldn’t see from the tears clouding my vision. I couldn’t hear over the nurse’s chatter and machines beeping along with my own sobs.
I could only feel, not physical pain or sadness but his movements. So, I took that moment to embrace the time that I knew we had left.
We rolled right into our room on the maternal delivery floor. Which was complete torture. We watched as new mommies napped with their newborn babies swaddled in the bed next to them. We saw as fathers rocked their child to sleep with glee in their eyes and we knew that today that wouldn’t be us.
As I was induced into labor it felt like time stood still. We waited patiently in the delivery room for it all to be over. For all of us to get out of that tight, uncomfortable ass room. No one knew what to say to me, so it was complete silence. No one knew how to console me, so my visitors hurriedly paced the floor looking down to avoid awkward eye contact at all cost. I focused on my son.
So many questions ran through my head such as: “Is he feeling what I’m feeling?”
“Can he sense the hurt that I literally feel aching in my bones?”
“Can he feel me?”
None of that matter, I just wanted to hold on for as long as I could.
Hours passed and the room was now dark from the sun setting.
Now was the time for me to push. I panicked because there had to be another way! I couldn’t imagine my body mustering up the strength to actually go through with this. I didn’t want to push, I didn’t want our connection to end. Pushing gave me the feeling that motherhood for me was over. The nurses took him to get cleaned up and I remember my mother in law coming back in the room. Her words were forced as if it hurt, more like a lump the size of a watermelon was in her throat. “He was a boy.”
Based on how I wrote you would have thought that was something we already knew. No. We were 4 days shy of getting the anomaly scan done. So, no we never knew we just felt. They brought in the most breathtaking baby I have ever seen. My heart jumped out of my chest. My son in all white. Though he was no longer with us in the physical presence, I just wanted to love on him in the physical form. He looked so peaceful as if he was sleeping.
“Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn how to swim.” Vicki Harrison
We went home as parents with no baby.
You know the hardest part about having a miscarriage or a stillborn is that your body doesn’t know. My body could not recognize that their was no baby. My breast still swelled and I still was bleeding. You start to blame yourself because it feels like your body betrayed you. I couldn’t have my baby, now I have to go through this! That happened until my body was able to catch up with reality. I write my story for people to understand the feelings associated with losing a child that you didn’t have a chance to build a bond with. For the women still on the journey to becoming mothers. Or for any woman yearning for her happily ever after. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel or that you’re young enough to have more or even that everyone goes through it. Does a paper cut hurt any less because everyone’s had one?
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found there way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
Nikki Janet

Blogger, Talker, Queen

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Questions/Comments: lipsiapp.com/liptease

Basic Financial Planning Advice That Every Parent Needs to Know

By: Sara Bailey

Although having a child can contribute to money stress, it can actually be the push you need to finally get your financials in order and help you better plan for the future. Whether you’re preparing to welcome a new child into the world or you’re finding it difficult to meet the financial demands of your baby, planning will help you accomplish your goals of financial stability. Follow these tips to help you get started.

Set Financial Goals

Setting financial goals helps you remember what you’re working toward. Instead of simply putting money in a savings account without a future purpose for it, you’re building up funds for your child’s college education, your own retirement, or for a down payment on a home. Have regular discussions with your partner to talk about your goals and evaluate your progress. Many parents make the mistake of spreading themselves too thin by trying to accomplish too many goals at once. Instead, The Balance recommends prioritizing your savings, whether that means starting by building an emergency fund or paying off credit card debt.

Make a Budget and Stick to It

Making a budget will help you evaluate your progress toward your goals and track your spending habits. This will allow you to make cuts if you’re spending more than you’re making. On the more positive side, a budget allows you to do more of the things you want to do if you discover a surplus. In essence, budgeting ensures you will always have enough money for the things that are important to you. If possible, try to set up a budget for your next six months to a year. This will let you plan for large expenses and ensures you will meet your savings goals.

Get Life and Auto Insurance

Consider getting life and disability insurance now that you’re a parent. According to Money Expert, your life insurance should cover the expenses of your family if you’re no longer around to provide for them. This should protect them from the costs of things like childcare, but also your mortgage and your child’s education. Similarly, disability insurance will protect your family in the event that you are no longer able to work and bring in an income.

While you’re shopping for life insurance, it’s also important to ensure to take a look at your car insurance. Should you have an accident, you want to know that you’re covered, especially if you suffer a severe injury. And while all states require you to have basic auto insurance, it’s important to consider upgrading to collision or comprehensive coverage if you don’t already have it. Full coverage could be your best and most cost-effective option but remember that insurance rates vary, as such, it’s important to shop around for the best policy. Note that your premiums will depend on a variety of factors: your driving record, the make and model of the car you drive, and your age and gender.

Track Your Net Worth

Keeping track of your net worth will allow you to monitor your progress toward financial goals, but also help you make better financial decisions. For example, it can help you decide if it would be more beneficial for you to pay off your credit card debt or begin saving for your retirement. Your net worth is essentially a report of your financial health, taking into account everything that you owe as well as the value of everything that you own. This includes things like savings accounts, investments, and your house. You can calculate this on your own, but you’ll need to figure out the value of your home while adding up your assets. You can do this by using online home value estimators or talking to a local real estate agent. You should also figure out the monthly costs of owning your current home and whether you can afford to live there with a child on the way.

Prepare for New Baby Costs

The initial costs of providing for a new baby can cause parents to go into debt. Make sure you plan for these costs when making up your budget so you can cut back spending in other areas. You’ll have to purchase nursery furniture, a car seat, a stroller, diapers, food, clothing, and many other accessories. You’ll be able to reduce spending if you look for second-hand items. However, don’t skimp on a good car seat, since this is vital to the safety of your child. Take a look at your household income and see if you can live off of just one salary before deciding to have one parent stay at home. Remember, this will cut out the cost of childcare, which can often be very expensive.

Becoming a new parent is scary when you think about your important role in raising a happy and healthy baby. However, add in financial worries, and parenthood can feel like an anxiety-ridden nightmare. Ease the burden and stop sleepless nights by doing some solid financial planning. That way, you’ll know that the future of your family is safe and sound.

When Sara lost her husband, she quickly learned there is no handbook for those who have lost a partner and suddenly find themselves raising children on their own. She created TheWidow.net to support her fellow widows and widowers.

Women Don’t Ask To Be Raped!

I am a woman. I like to get dressed up when I go out. I wear tight clothes, heels, makeup, I do my hair really pretty. I get with my girls, and we go out to have a good time. That isn’t an invitation for a guy to have his way with me.

I’ve had conversations with friends, conversations with police officers, and now I am watching this documentary on Netflix, and I am baffled at how people blame the victim for being raped. “She wore a tight, short skirt”; “she was by herself in the alley”; “she was drunk and all over him”. No matter what “she was”, no one asks to be violated. No one asks to be taken advantage of. There is never a reason for a man to use his strength, power, and control to overpower a woman and rape her. It’s not our fault. We can wear whatever we want- that doesn’t mean that we want it. I’ve had too many conversations with men who say that women ask for it when put in a compromising situation. Think about it- whenever a female says she’s been raped, the very first questions asked are “how do you know you’ve been raped”, or “what were you doing?”, “what did you have on?” What I wore doesn’t qualify me as a candidate for being raped. Me drinking shouldn’t make me a contender for being raped, nor justify someone taking advantage of me. And I have to prove, aside from the bruises and tears on my vagina and or asshole, that someone did something to me that I didn’t ask for? Now- let’s take a breathe and admit that there are women who lie about being raped for whatever reason they do so. I am in no way justifying or condoning that. But for ACTUAL rape survivors- why is being a female automatically the reason why we are raped?! If I do not openly say yes, it’s rape. That means don’t kiss me, touch me, finger me, fuck me, nothing. If I’m drunk, let me be drunk. If I’m high, let me ride my cloud. I shouldn’t have to cover up or wear baggy clothes or not be at a party alone because a man doesn’t know how to control himself. I am not your toy. What saddens me is that other females will shame a rape survivor rather than go to her defense. Another woman will quickly blame a rape survivor for being raped- like the exact same thing couldn’t happen to them!

I have a rather large behind and large lips. I hate going out because of it. The stares, the gropes, the sexual advances. I was told that I had “dick sucking lips” all throughout high school. So yeah, I believe that I could easily go out at night and have something happen to me. Because in a room full of people and cameras, men still make unwanted advances. At this point, I’m thinking thank goodness that I am not a drinker and I don’t go out alone. I don’t believe that any woman should ever be raped (and yes- that includes transgender and homosexual people as well). Getting someone to sleep with you in this day and age is extremely too easy. There’s no reason anymore why anyone should feel the need to “take it”. I’m not going to change my clothes, I’m not going to button up my shirt, I’m not going to not drink. Men need to learn that NO means NO! Not maybe, not in a few, not after another drink. NO!

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo

3-Meat Chili

I have a major love for food, cooking, eating, and savoring good food. I like to try different things, throw some stuff in a pot, and hope it comes out tasting amazing. It usually does, so I think I can call myself a master home chef. While I was “way on vacation” (as my mom used to say), I watched an episode of the chew and saw a recipe for chili that I wanted to try.

So to make this chili, you’ll need ground turkey, spicy beef hot sausage, shrimp, onions, green peppers, chili powder, chili beans, chicken broth, cayenne pepper (if you like spicy food), white rice, and love. I’m Haitian so we don’t measure stuff- we just add some seasoning and taste until it’s perfect.

I start off with cooking my ground turkey and chop up my spicy beef hot sausage and throw them in so they’re cooking together. I also add chopped onions and peppers in to cook. Once everything is added and cooked, I add the chili beans and some chicken broth. I then start adding some seasoning, the chili powder, and the cayenne pepper. Season to taste. Once you’ve perfected the taste, the last thing you add in is the shrimp. They cook quickly so they don’t need to be in for long. In another pot you can cook the white rice by putting on a pot of water, salt, and a 3 tablespoons of oil. Once it boils, add rice to the middle of the pot until it pokes out of the water. Spread out and turn down the fire to simmer and let it cook.

It’s easy- simple to make and tastes amazing. I have neighbors and friends who are constantly asking me to make it for them. Lol. Check out my highlight on Instagram (@_flawed_beautifully) labeled “Dinners!”. I have a video of the final product that doesn’t do this picture any justice!

Try out the recipe and let me know what you think!

As always, be legendary KINGS; be extraordinary QUEENS!

-tootles!

xoxo