press the restart button

2013 has been a whopper of a year for me. the worst ever, actually, but i refuse to dwell on the negative because so many other things went right in my life. as the saying goes, sometimes things have to fall apart so they can fall back together. and it may not look as you expected, but it will come back together in the end. be-lee-dat!!

so here’s the good side to my 2013 because the bad…well, it deserves absolutely no energy.



2013 kicked off with dutch playing sports…basketball!!! it’s always a good time watching him play. his game improves more and more each season and he really seems to enjoy himself out there on the court. and that’s what it’s all about.

and while most of the early year was devoted to the game, we took time out to celebrate my stepmama’s birthday down in old town alexandria, virginia. we walked and walked and walked for a few blocks and by the time we all arrived at the restaurant i was dizzy as all get out. it wasn’t the first time. i had a bad case of dizziness on the treadmill too. my husband blamed it on me being out of shape, but after an ekg and blood tests, i found out that my anemia had kicked in rather strongly. (and i have a heart murmur i never knew about too!!) so if you’re feeling dizzy and just plain ‘ol out of sorts, get your bloodwork done!!

in fact, there are a whole slew of symptoms tied to anemia that could be affecting your life: weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath on exertion, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, headache, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), irritability and other mood disturbances, pale skin (however, healthy-looking skin color does not rule out anemia if a patient has risk factors and other symptoms of anemia), mental confusion and loss of sexual drive. i have felt allllllll of those at one point or another throughout the years and although i’ve taken iron supplements before i never stayed on them long enough to feel the total effects. won’t be doing that again! having my blood iron back on track 100% improved my overall well-being tremendously. no more exhaustion, freaky anxiety attacks or nothing.

but anyway…enough of that and my oh-my-goodness-am-i-about-to-have-a-heart-attack scare.apr2013onto april!! it snowed during dutch‘s spring break! weird, but we rolled with it and dutch got to play in it for a bit. we spent loads of time playing outdoors and i finally landed a little job that drove me almost to the point of insanity. i blogged about it at one point, but then i deleted it. so, oh well… just know that it wasn’t a good look for your girl. or anybody for that matter. the job + trying to get my iron levels back on track + everything else going on in my world had my head spinning. but i’m a mama so i kept smiling and pressed forward.


and smile, i did!! next up was my cousin aliya’s baby shower. i love these chicks right here to pieces and it’s always a good time when we’re together. always. smack talking and drinks!!! laughing, joking and just utter silliness. no drinks for the pregnant chick of course, but you ain’t seen nothing till you’ve seen a woman with a preggo belly hit the hee-haw (dc, where you at??).

trust, you had to be there. it was a sight to behold. it was also nice to have my mama there to bestow her *ahem* wisdom on us youngins. mayjune2013

this is just a modge podge of 2013 randomness. a guitar i painted earlier in the year for my niece, a demin clutch i made from my husband’s old jeans, me and my mama hanging out in the backyard at a bridal shower cookout for my cousin imari, and me and my dutchie having a picnic at gravelly point park. to know my son is to know he never wants to go anywhere except toys r us. so i drug his behind out the house, grabbed a blanket and some food and we had a grand old time watching the planes take off and land. it’s a day i won’t soon forget because we had so much fun just being silly. mayjune2my sexy librarian look (as they called it on instagram!!). ha! well, i was going on a job interview and i got there a little early so why not selfie, right? well, i didn’t land the job, but daggone it, i looked good!!

and you just don’t even understand the level of excitement i felt when i was finally able to pull my curly bush back into a ponytail. oh yes, hunty was happy!!


my cousin imari jumped the broom!!! we had a great time celebrating with the new couple, but dutch was a little disappointed that we didn’t have a chance to dance at the reception. he wanted to get his party on!

shorthairremember that ponytail i was soooooo excited about having? well, i chopped that sucka right on off. not only was i just getting tired of all that hair and the heat of summer, but i needed change and i needed it fast!! not that short hair is that drastic of a change for me. i’ve been wearing my hair short like this for almost 20 years. at the beginning of the summer i began feeling more like the old me than i had felt in years so it time for the hair to go and for me to get back in my niki zone.


let me tell you about that skirt in the pic. just before summer i was seeing the weight i had held onto for years sorta melt away. but i didn’t realize just how much it melted away until i headed down old town in that skirt and had to hold the puppy up before it hit the bricks! haha… i did. so it didn’t.

music soothes me and i did a lot of record spinning over the summer to calm my thoughts. i also played music on my kindle, on pandora from my phone, cd’s and i kept vh-1 soul on most times. music all around me. that’s how i like it. hey, like bob marley said, “one good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” unless the wrong song comes on, of course. but that’s another story. random_2see my baby complaining? it’s one of his most favorite-ist things to do in life. haha… we stopped thru eastern market on our way to my mama’s house to get her a bunch of flowers for her birthday. i also attended the wedding of an old friend over the summer and she had the cutest wedding and reception that included skits of her and her husband on a big screen. she was absolutely stunning! joy, joy, joy!!randomness3we attended a family member’s birthday party at a restaurant back in july and the guys were mostly bored, i suppose. but i got up danced because that’s what you do at a party with music, no? i’m all about making the most of any situation so if there’s music and a dancefloor that’s where i’ll be. thank you very much.

lemonade out of lemons, my friends.

that month a girlfriend and i also hung out at a little spot called puro lounge in georgetown. we sipped mojitos and had the most fabulous food! i hear the head chef has left the building so if you go there now i can’t stamp the new cook. sorry!


at the beginning of the summer we spent sooooooo much time at the pool. me and my boy…every day at the pool. worked fine for me, i got my tan on and dutch got his band-aid on from scraping those toes at the bottom of the pool. the upside is he became a much better swimmer and is absolutely fearless in the water. which scares me just a wee bit but we worked it out. perhaps next summer he’ll learn to dive off the diving board because the child begged me about doing that alllllll.summer.long.summer2013_2

and not just my tan, i got my workout on too!! i hit the gym when i could, walked a lot and changed up my diet. between that and my appetite decreasing (due too much daggone stress) i was getting right back down to my pre-dutch weight. well, helllllloooooooooo!! took long enough, huh? but remember what i said about the exhaustion from anemia?? i’d literally wake up every morning sleepy. hard to motivate yourself to workout when you’re dead tired all the time.

oh, and my fur baby charlie!! we bond over stare down contests. he likes to stare at you before he decides to attack your face and smother you with puppy love and kisses. he’s special.

pooltimemore pool time at my aunt jackie’s with the fam!! the kids had a great time dancing and swimming and so did the adults. these little people are amazing. smart. talented. just all around good kids. yeah, they can irk the nerves of their parents and all that, but we’re so blessed to have such cool kids.

summerwinddowndutch and i finally hit up a waterpark just before school started and before we knew it it was time for back-to-school with endless school supply lists and back-to-school nights. dutch went to school, we, the parents, went to the movies!!

but ooops!!! just realized i put the same pic up twice of me in a hippie rv at the gas station. i met an interesting trio at the gas station who were all about love and peace and happiness and hope. they coulda been high, who knows. haha… the chick offered me almonds, but i kindly declined. anyway, they invited me to sit in their rv and write a love msg on it. i did. why not? i love people. well, some of them anyway.

birthdaysbirthday time for me and the kid!! i made a birthday banner for my dutchie and then baked cupcakes for his class. the kids loved them!! then the following month i had the most awesome 40th birthday celebration ever!! definitely the highlight of my year. the love in that room for me that night was so thick and i needed it. i needed the laughs, the tears, the dancing, the shouting…the words. chiiiiiilllllld, that birthday will go down in the history books of birthdays for me.

funtimesmy fam… kindred the family soul! aja and fatin came in town for a show at the birchmere and it was a great show as usual. if you have not seen them perform live yet, please do! you won’t be disappointed.

a couple weeks later it was off to philly for fatin’s 40th birthday party at ms. tootsie’s. it was a quick trip but we packed in the fun…’cause that’s how we do it. good food, good drinks and GREAT music ’cause the dj was allllll the way on point! i woke up after 4 hours of sleep and it was just about time to hit the road again.

i also caught up with my girls and former sister 2 sister magazine coworkers for an open mic night at the legendary bohemian caverns. it always freaks me out a bit being down in the caverns, hadn’t been there in years, but it really is a cool spot. it’s been around since 1926 and hopefully will be around for many, many more years.Christmasand then came Christmas! dutch’s excitement over his mile-long wwe everything list rubbed off on me a bit. i couldn’t wait for him to see all that he had gotten. i fell asleep waaaaaay before him on Christmas eve (i’m talking 8:30pm, y’all) but was wide awake before him and ready to get crackin’ Christmas morn’! nothing like family love to bring a smile to your face.

so now that 2013 is over and done i’m ready to press the restart button and begin new again.

happy new year, everyone!!


rings & things

a mixed bag of awesome randomness…because sometimes that’s how my mind works. ooooooo…a ring!! but wait, a journal!! i’m sure you’ll think these pickings are pretty sweet too!

galisflystackringboxgalisfly stack ring box, $99 knuckle rings

i’m a huge fan of rings and i own plenty, but what i don’t have is anything gold because i’m pretty much a silver kinda girl. i also don’t have any stacking or knuckle rings so hello!!! definitely on the dream wishlist!

celfieteesincerely, jules celfie t shirt, $39

a cute tee and beat up boyfriend jeans? yes, please & thank you.

makersgonnamakehandcrafted notebooks, $12.99 for three

i make stuff and i always keep a blank journal around. yeah-er!!

herringbone_papaya_grandeherringbone papaya scarf, $120

keep that neck warm and cute. who doesn’t love a great scarf?


el pozo de los deseos, $99

because i’m a sterling silver girl at heart and this baby is simple and solid. love.

freepeoplewe the free wonder woman top, $78

comfy, long and looks cute with leggings? sold! not to mention it’s called the wonder woman top. i’m wonder woman. i need this top.

mixedmetalstackingringsmixed metal stacking rings, $85

years ago i noticed that a friend had several bands on her ring finger and when i asked about it she told me the significance of each band. they were all given to her by her husband at different stages throughout their marriage. sweet, right?? the same look can be achieved by stacking rings that are sold in sets and there are so many to choose from these days.

ribbedupmaxicardiribbed up maxi cardigan, $78

i love a cardigan that i can just toss on and keep it moving and this particular is just too cute with its huge floppy pockets and dainty buttons.

10 ways to stand strong in your square

life is unpredictable. there’s no way around it. you can plan out what you’d like to happen: the places you’d like to go, the friends you will keep, the love you plan to nurture, the career path you’ll follow, but there’s always a chance that some humongous monkey wrench will be thrown right at your head and toss you off your square.

sky mama's got moxie

but you don’t have to be moved from your square, honey. oh noooooo, you can stand firm in your spot and deal with all of the mess with strength and courage to get through it!!

i know because i’m living it.

the past several months have been the roughest of my life, no doubt about that, but i’ve learned a lot about myself and gotten lessons throughout this season that i wouldn’t have acquired otherwise. so i ain’t mad. well, that ain’t true. i’ve been mad a bunch of times, but i absolutely refuse to moved from my square.

i’m immovable.



i always thought of myself as a pretty tough and strong chick, but now i know that without a doubt. there’s no question in my mind about being able to push through insane obstacles in my life. i know that i can, i will, and here’s why:

1. honey, my faith in the Lord is strong. i am not responsible for my strength, it all comes from the Lord. no doubt. i got to a point in my struggles where i just became tired of trying to do things my way. my way was not working and it caused a tremendous amount of frustration and stress. oh, the stress. the stress was thick and choking the very life out of me. it was time to let it go.

exodus 14:14 says, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

hello!! that was it for me. it was time to wipe off the war paint and put my guns down. this battle was not for me. i decided to give it up to the Lord. i’ve stayed in deep prayer over my life, started a prayer journal and the whole nine and guess what? although i wouldn’t say i’m stress-free, i have a sense of calm and peace that i haven’t felt ever during a time of heavy mess-ness.

2. i had to accept some things about myself. i am not perfect. i have said and done things that have caused pain to people i love and i had to recognize that. doing a self-examination is not comfortable. it ain’t fun. in fact, it’s pretty funky to look at yourself and say, you know that thing i do…it’s a pretty wack way to be, but it’s something that has to be done. self checks are important. but recognizing my ugly stuff was only half the story…

3. change. recognizing your ish is one thing, but changing how you move about life is necessary. especially if you know how you have behaved in the past had a negative impact on people and situations. own your mess and change it. simple as that. as an adult it can be difficult to change your ways because, well, you’re grown and you’ve been a certain way for a long time. but hey, it can be done. i’ve looked at some things in my life and said to myself, “now niki, you know, that wasn’t cool…next time, this is what we gon’ do. how we gon’ handle that type of situation.” and i’ve been doing it ever since, haven’t looked back once.

4. if your behavior has hurt anyone, apologize and ask for forgiveness. they may not be able to accept your apology or even offer you forgiveness, but at that point it’s out of your hands. ain’t a daggone thing you can do about that because it’s not on you. it’s on them. your part is to be honest about what you’ve done and sincerely ask to be forgiven in the situation.

5. forgive those who have offended you for whatever they’ve done to you. and i mean, whatever. this is a tough-y for a lot of people. but as i wrote on instagram a while ago we tend to think that forgiving a best friend, spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent, child, boss/coworker or whoever is about granting THEM a gift, but the true power in forgiveness is about YOU. it’s really not about the person who has offended you.

forgiveness allows you to kickstart the healing process of your heart and you grow as a person because of it. harboring hate and anger towards another person is stifling in our lives no matter what it is they’ve done to hurt you, but releasing those ill feelings is freeing.

mark 11:25 says, “and when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

6. know that forgiving and asking for forgiveness may not change a darn thing about your situation. if a person is unable to move past a negative situation, there’s nothing you can do to change their mind or heart. ya heard? nothing. you can apologize but what you can’t do is go back in time and erase whatever you’ve done. it just ain’t possible. you could offer them the moon on a platter with five unicorns with skittle necklaces dancing around it and it ain’t gonna change the past. and you can not change a person’s heart or what they feel about you or the situation, and if they choose to dwell on the negative then so be it. it’s okay. you’ve done your part.

7. understand that you can’t change people. you can only change yourself. there will be people in your life who will do or say things you may not like and it may cause you a lot of pain, but ultimately you have no control over what they do or say to you. but you can control your reaction to it. how you react is totally up to you. we all have the capability of making choices for ourselves and whether you choose to respond positively or negatively is something you have to weigh. and if it’s negative, just know there’s a great chance of you having to deal with the aftermath of the decision you made to respond in a non-healthy way.

what i’ve learned during this rough season in my life is to be still before reacting. be still and pray if necessary on what your response should be. whatever you do, don’t respond out of emotion. been there, done that a million times. it doesn’t work.

8. watch your words. you know the old saying, “if you don’t have nothin’ good to say, don’t say it?” yeah, pretty much. the Bible even speaks on the power of the tongue.

matthew 15:11 says, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

i’ve always been the type of person to say what’s on my mind, especially out of emotion and in a heated argument, but most of what is said in anger is not true for most. you’re coming from a place that’s heated and emotional and most of all, you’re trying to hurt the person who’s pissing you off. so don’t even go there because once it’s out there it’s a done deal. you can’t take your words back. choose your words wisely and watch yo’ mouth.

9. don’t dwell on the negative. look, we all go through tough times, it’s just a part of life but you can not sit in the muck of it all and bathe in every wrong thing that has gone wrong in your life. i’m not saying to thug it out and not be sad, but don’t let that sad feeling overtake you. there’s life to be lived, you can’t be under your comforter soothing yourself with pints of ice cream for weeks on end crying streams of tears and singing woe is me. child, please…

address the issue, give yourself a little time to cry it out or whatever, but brush yourself off and get back to business. ’cause you best believe, the world is not going to stop spinning because you’re going through some mess. and if you’re down because of a person, nine times out of ten, they’re not nearly as affected as you. they’re laughing and hahaha’ing and having a grand ol’ time in life. so why aren’t you, dear?

10. stop wasting time and brain space on the negative!! dig deep into your passions, travel, pick up a new hobby, ride a bike, take a class, play your favorite records, dance with your kids, go see a movie, take a walk, hang out with your girls, travel, read a book… set some goals for yourself. make some dreams come true. take the tags off that special dress you bought for some special occasion that never happened and rock it down to the coffee shop. buy a new lipgloss, dust off your heels and be as beautiful on the outside as you’re now feeling on the inside.

basically, don’t let your current situation bring your life to a halt. life is far too short to not be able to move through the bad times into the good days. your life may take some turns you hadn’t expected, but go with it. change can be good. choose happiness and rock it out.

i won a bunch of stuff!!! woohoo!!!

i’ve been following justina blakeney’s blog for quite a while now and i absolutely adore her jungalow style. i go back and forth on whether or not it’s necessarily the style for me, but i still adore it at her place nonetheless.

justina recently held a block-print your home giveaway on her blog, i entered and then found out via suzy over at tapa living (on instagram of all places!!) that i won!! whaaaaaaaat?!! i never win anything.

well, hardly ever anyway.

the giveaway included all kinds of cool stuff like “john robshaw prints,” a book about the celebrated textile designer’s block printing inspiration and technique, notebooks and stationery from his collection, two pillow shams from aalamwaar textiles and a huge, vintage indian textile.

john robshaw

excited to see it all when it comes!!


workouts will make her dizzy

so…new year, new body, right? even if you didn’t make the official resolution to lose weight or work out chances are being physically fit is on your mind. and if it ain’t on your mind it’s on your best girlfriend/coworker/mama/cousin/aunt’s mind. you or someone you know wants to lose this or tighten that. i know i do. not worrying about suckin’ in my tummy if i’m wearing a fitted shirt would be pretty nice and i’m sad to report that the days of eating what i want without exercising have long gone.

*enter cry here*

that doesn’t necessarily mean that i woke up at 6am on 1/1/13 to get my fitness on. nope, sure didn’t. it wasn’t until yesterday morning (on a tuesday no less, who starts ish on a tuesday?? niki does…) that i woke up with a huge “W” on my chest.

W” is for wonder woman in case you’re wondering.

i was finally ready to kick off this fitness routine and bang it on out. to be completely honest, i felt as if i had no choice. my sister does almost daily twitter check-ins with me and a few of her girlfriends asking how our workouts went and well, i beginning to feel a bit lame that i hadn’t even started. she sent me an email last week about these fitness chicks over at tone it up who have crafted a plan, called love your body, to be fit by valentine’s day. silly me, said, okay, i’ll do it!! and then i didn’t.

truthfully, after checking out the tone it up app/site my excitement waned a little. helloooooo, these girls are clearly a good decade (maybe a decade and a half) younger than me!

see what i mean? they look so good ’cause daggoneit, they’re supposed to, right?! give me someone who has experienced the dreaded metabolism slow down after 30, who’s had a kid or two…something. has nicole murphy released a workout video yet? that’s what i’m talking about.

but since i wasn’t doing anything to kick off this fitness thing myself, i figured, well, why not go with this thing she suggested? and who knows, those tone it up chicks could very well be over-30 mamas.

and so i started with the tone it up itty bitty bikini workout. it was the first thing i stumbled across on their app (which is not very user-friendly, in my opinion).

yoga mat

i locked my charlie pup up (’cause he always gets in the way during floor exercises like he’s my personal trainer or something), threw on a tee and some sweats, rolled out my mat, and for the next several minutes i cursed every cheeseburger/french fry/krispy kreme donut/chocolate-y thing/salt ‘n vinegar potato chip/tall glass of simply lemonade with raspberry/bowl of mac ‘n cheese and candied yams/slice of pizza/strawberry shortcake/strawberry daiquiri/strawberry milkshake/strawberry flavored now & later that EVER passed my freakin’ lips!!

i cursed it all.

i really wanted to cry long streams of hot, burning tears because that. ish. HURT!! it hurt so bad that once i was done i wanted to reward myself with two big ol’ scoops of haagen dazs coffee ice cream with extra whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles (’cause yes, i have all that here in my home) just to ease the pain, but i figured that would be…well, dumb. but i didn’t. i pulled my aching body up off of the floor and plotted my next move.

must’ve been because of that “W” on my chest.

i was pumped!! ready!! sore but ready!! i decided i’d hit the gym. yeah!!! walk (briskly!!) on the treadmill for two miles or more!! woohoooooo!!


okay, two miles is quite a distance. did you know that? you probably do. you’re probably the type that runs like 15 miles a day. well, i’m not talking to you. i’m talking to the person who is pretty sedentary. the one who, like me, counts scrubbing the tub, walking up the steps at home, strolling around target and even having sex as exercise. and it is, sorta, but it ain’t like getting on the treadmill.

i jumped on that sucka with my mp3 player plugged into my ears, music bumpin’ and my bottle of water right at hand. i started off slow. like, real slow, with my incline low. i’m a lightweight on the treadmill and i’m not afraid to admit it. then i bumped up the speed a couple notches, raised the incline. 20 minutes later i finally got to the one-mile mark.

i was tired and sweaty and looking a hot mess i’m sure but i was glad that i had made it that far. it was more than i did the day before so yaaaayyyyyyyyyy, me!!

i hear you sucking your teeth. whatever.

my doc said exercise for 20 minutes a day and i did. so yaaaayyyyyyyyyy me!

i punched in the cool down mode and started bringing it on home, but when i got off the treadmill i had this wobbly leg thing going on and i felt dizzy as all get out! you know the feeling you get after exiting a roller coaster ride? yep, it was pretty much like that.

thank goodness no one was in the gym at that time to witness the dizzy chick trying to make it over to a chair to get her bearings. or notice that even once the dizzy girl stood up she was still kinda…well, dizzy.

i don’t know exactly where that feeling came from…maybe the big ol’ cup of extra strong coffee i had just before? or perhaps my body was trippin’ like girrrrrrrllllll, you know we’re supposed to be home on the couch right now web surfin’ for jobs. or it could be an inner ear thing. i hear that causes dizziness. whatever it was, and i’ve been to the doctor recently so it’s not a blood issue, it wasn’t right so i’m thinking today i’ll be hitting the sidewalk.

will i ever have a ponytail? geesh!!

curly hairso here i am, still on my little hair growing journey hoping to have my full, sorta longish, luxurious ponytail someday. as you can see, my hair ain’t quite there yet. it’s heck-a full, but just long enough for a ponytail. an itty bitty, pulled back so tight ponytail that only lasts about five minutes before the sides begin to ache for freedom and bust loose leaving me looking like a frizzy dandelion.

oh, the frustration of growing hair. the in-between phase just utterly sucks. there just isn’t much i can do with it. it’s just kinda there. sticking up in every direction, looking nuts. a lot of days i cover it with a beanie.

beanies are my best friends.

i’m fighting hard against chopping it all off and getting back into my short-do comfy zone. i’m holding tight and envisioning that hopefully one day sorta soon my hair will look something like this…


this woman’s hair is gorgeous!! curls are healthy and poppin’ and flowing in the wind. i luv it!

and if i’m really patient enough maybe one day i can go back to this…

Source: via niki on Pinterest


a girl can dream, right?

me?? in charge of wedding planning??

why, yes!! apparently, if you put together your own wedding in less than a year and it went off without any major catastrophes occurring throughout the day you are then qualified to coordinate/plan a wedding for someone else.

oh my!!

my younger cousin became engaged last year and she asked yours truly to plan the wedding. exciting, right? well, they first planned to wed in 2014, but these two little, lovely lovebirds decided to bump the date up by a whole daggone year!

what?!? who does that??

i’ll tell you who. two folks who really, really, really want to be married…like now! so a sista is feelin’ just a wee bit frazzled since the whole shindig has fallen in my lap and i’m like wholly responsible for the biggest day in the lives of these two people. and oh, did i mention they want a june wedding? you realize that’s like six months away, right? yep, six whole months.

pressured much?

so far the venue has been chosen *whew*, the menu has been decided (thankfully, the groom-to-be has a chef in his family), the colors have been picked (coral and gray…nice, right?), the list of 133 guests lovingly recorded, and for the most part the budget has been all figured out.

coral gray wedding palette

{1} jenny cookies {2} bridal musings {3} one wed {4} wedding chicks {5} inspired by this

with my inspiration palette in mind (and here on my blog to gawk at when i need a creative jolt) and crazy ideas swirling in my head, i’m hoping that the pieces fall into place and it all turns out wonderful and beautiful with rainbows and unicorns on their special day.

anybody know where i can rent a unicorn?