Lessons Learned in Quarantine

Within the last month, our lives have slowly started to return to “normal.” Our kids returned to daycare and I am now working from the office one to two times a week. We have also resumed visits with our immediate family and a handful of friends.

From the middle of March to the beginning of June, our family of four was quarantined together, spending all day, everyday with no one else but each other. There was the occasional drive by to see grandparents, but those visits were few and far between. With two parents working full time, a preschooler, and a newly walking toddler all under one roof there were plenty of lessons learned. Today, I’m sharing four of the most important lessons quarantine taught me.

Lesson 1: It takes a village. 

The African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” couldn’t have become more clear to me than during quarantine. In March, we made the decision to pull our kids out of daycare. Social distancing meant no visits with grandparents, no play dates with friends, and no church. We were now the sole caretakers for our children. While I understand that is my role as a parent, we rely on so many others, like their daycare teachers, our parents, friends, and church community to help raise and guide our children as they grow and develop. In a matter of days, that village was ripped away from us. We wore the hats of parent, friend, playmate, teacher, and chef. Sometimes all at the same time. Let’s not forget our other responsibilities of spouse and employee. It was very exhausting. Needless to say, I have a greater appreciation for our village.

Lesson 2: Community is essential. 

I’m so grateful for my friends and church family. Just like our village was torn away from us, we were no longer seeing our friends. Thank goodness for all the tools we now have available to connect with others virtually. Under stay-at-home orders, I connected virtually with friends and my small group at church almost weekly. Those check-ins filled me with encouragement, hope, and joy. They also gave me a safe place to vent and share my frustrations. Even though quarantine changed what community looked like, it remained essential and will always be important to me. I don’t know what I would have done without all of my friends.

Lesson 3: Enjoy the ordinary, everyday moments. 

Quarantine was filled with ordinary moments that I sometimes took for granted before stay-at-home orders went into effect.With nowhere to go and nothing to do, it was easy to find the joy in the everyday experience of doing life with my family. Tickle fights with my one year old. A midweek movie night with my oldest. Staying up late, binge watching the latest Netflix series. Sleeping in (sort of…if you have young kids you know that sleeping in doesn’t really happen). Eating meals together as a family. Midday walks in the park. All these ordinary moments seemed to be magnified during quarantine. As things begin to return to “normal,” I don’t want to take the ordinary, everyday moments for granted. It’s in those moments that the best memories are made.

Lesson 4: It’s good to slow down. 

Our calendar was suddenly empty. There were no evening commitments that required us to leave the house. No weekend events to work around. At most, my husband continued the weekly grocery trip, but outside of that we literally had nothing to do and nowhere to go. Our lives took on a much slower pace, which if I’m honest was much needed. As a working parent, I was starting to feel the pressure of trying to “balance” it all. With an empty calendar, I suddenly felt a little sense of relief and freedom. I actually hope this slower pace is something that we can continue to cultivate as life returns to “normal.”

When COVID-19 began to spread, I could have never imagined we would be where we are now. I could have never imagined I would be working from home with my kids for over two months. I could have never imagined that I would be isolated from family and friends. I could have never imagined I would be forced to slow down. I could have never imagined the sweet moments I would experience with my family. I could have never imagined any of this. But I know now that if, or when, we are forced back into our homes for an extended period of time, the lessons I have learned over the last few months will guide me through.

Photo by cottonbro on

Hello 2020!

Happy New Year!!

As I lay in my bed this morning and think about 2019, the word that comes to mind is challenging. When you read that word, it may carry an err of negativity, but for me, the struggles I endured in 2019, while difficult in the moment, resulted in some of the greatest growth I’ve experienced in my life.

Thinking about 2020, the first word that comes to mind is simplify. For me, that means slowing down, focusing on what is most important, letting the non-essentials go, relaxing the expectations I have of myself, and creating space for me.

Hello 2020! Let’s see what you have in store!


Three Lessons From Therapy

Today is World Mental Health Day. I’m so grateful that people are beginning to have more conversations around mental health and that the associated stigma is starting to diminish.

If you’ve been following my blogging journey, you may know that earlier this year I struggled with my own mental health issue after the birth of my daughter. Like most new moms, I loved my baby so much. She was a complete joy, but something felt off on the inside. I didn’t really have words to describe what I was feeling. I just knew something was different. I was tired, irritable, sad, and disconnected from those around me. Long story short, I decided to seek the help of a therapist so that I could start sorting through my feelings. In my first session, the therapist asked me about postpartum depression (PPD). I didn’t think I was depressed because I wasn’t exhibiting what I thought were the “typical” signs of PPD. I loved my child. I didn’t want to hurt myself. But as I read more about the condition, I realized that what I was feeling and experiencing was actually indicative of PPD and anxiety. I later talked to my doctor and she confirmed what I already knew to be true. To work towards healing, I decided to continue therapy and invited my husband to join me. We’ve been doing couples therapy now for about 6 months and it has made a huge difference, primarily, helping us navigate through some of the challenges of life with two young kids.

Here are 3 lessons I’ve learned through therapy:

Lesson 1. Perspective matters.

One of the first things we talked about in therapy was perspective. The lens through which you view the world matters. Your thoughts matter. What you think about will eventually manifest. Focusing on negative things brings about negativity. Positive thoughts bring positivity. I’m learning that in order for positivity to flow in my life, I need to fill my mind with positive things. One Bible verse that speaks to this is Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I keep a plaque on my desk at work with those words to keep me focused.

Lesson 2. You can only change yourself.

I realize that while there are things that I would like to change about my spouse and vice versa, we can only be responsible for our own actions. I don’t have the power to change him. He can’t change me. We both have to be willing to do our own work to better ourselves, which in turn will benefit our relationship with each other and those around us.

Lesson 3. Let yourself be seen.

Be vulnerable. Often times vulnerability is equated with weakness, but in reality being vulnerable is one of the bravest things you can do. I am learning that in order to experience true connection, with my spouse, children, family, and friends, I have to let my guard down and open myself up. I have to let myself be seen, all of me.

If I’m honest, these lessons are definitely easier said than done, but therapy has given me the opportunity to learn practical steps for living out these lessons. I feel more empowered than I ever have in my adult life.

If you’re struggling in anyway, need help sorting through your emotions or a difficult life change, I would encourage you to seek help. Talk to a trusted friend or family member. Seek the help of a therapist. Even if you may not be experiencing a major life crisis, counseling can be a very effective preventive measure. Just as we see a doctor to maintain our physical health, seeing a counselor or therapist is a great way to be proactive in taking care of your mental health.

Need help finding a therapist?

1. Most employers include an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in their benefits package that provides access to a variety of resources to help employees with work life issues, including counseling. Through an EAP, an employee and any dependents can confidentially be connected to a therapist and receive several counseling sessions free of charge. This is the method I used to find our therapist.

2. Look online. Psychology Today has a section on their website where you can search for providers based on location, area of concern, insurance carrier, etc. A simple Google search may also be effective.

3. Ask others. If you have a primary care doctor, you can ask for a referral to a licensed mental health professional. Friends and/or family members may also be able to recommend someone.

4. Local churches often have pastors available who can help you or can make recommendations of licensed professionals in the area.


The truth is…I’m getting better

“When you shed light on something dark and shameful, it’s exposed and it begins to lose it’s power.” Rachel Druckenmiller

I came across this quote in an article I read at work related to mental health. The truth of this quote resonated deeply with me as I had just publicly shared my struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety. I had moments of darkness and shame, but after I shared what I was going through, those feelings began to weaken. A weight was lifted. Sharing my story was a catalyst for healing.

I have been on a journey to becoming a healthier, happier version of myself, focusing on the following:

  • Therapy
  • Engaging in activities that bring me joy
  • Being more diligent about self-care
  • Resting
  • Addressing relationship issues
  • Being more honest about my needs/feelings
  • Positivity – in my self talk and what I consume
  • Living in the moment
  • Being more intentional with my time

I’m blessed to have an awesome community of people that have supported me through the last few months and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I want to take the opportunity to express gratitude to a few people:

  • My husband – for being there through every moment. There are really no words to express my gratitude for his presence, consistency, and unconditional love.
  • Our parents – for spending time with our kids and loving on them so much and so well.
  • My friends – who have listened to me, encouraged me, spent time with me, challenged me and most importantly, recommended therapy.


My Natural Hair Journey + Curly Hair Routine

Lately, I’ve been asked by several people what products I use on my hair or how I achieve my wash and go. If you know me, then you know I almost always rock my hair in its naturally curly state. I love my curls, but this wasn’t always the case. Growing up, my hair was relaxed and it was always straight. Having straight hair was my standard look and I never really deviated from it. As I got older, I realized that I really didn’t need to relax my hair. I began to learn that my hair could thrive and be a lot healthier without relaxing it. As a result, I abandoned the “creamy crack” after I graduated from high school and have been natural for over 10 years.

The last 10 years or so have definitely been a labor of love in terms of growing to love and appreciate my hair and finding the products and styles that work best for me. While I love my curls now, I did not exclusively start wearing my hair in its curly state until two years ago. Even with being natural, I still mostly wore my hair straight and even experimented with color, both which resulted in limp, lackluster curls whenever I did try to wear my hair in its curly state. In 2016, I decided to cut my hair. I was pregnant with my son and just a few weeks from my due date. As I approached such a big life change, I wanted to do something new. I wanted a hairstyle that would be easy to maintain once my son was born and that would ultimately allow me to focus on getting my hair to a more healthy state.

Before After Pic.pngCutting my hair was one of the best decisions I ever made. My hair feels like it’s in a much healthier state and my confidence to wear my hair in its naturally curly state has increased significantly. I now love the versatility of my hair. I can wear it curly, in different styles, and even straighten it when I feel like it. The best part is that now when my hair is straight I literally crave my curls! For me, that’s such a huge shift from how I thought in the past.

As a curly girl, my go to style is a wash and go, primarily because it’s so easy to maintain, especially as I try to balance everything that comes with family life and work.

Here’s how I achieve my wash and go:

Step 1: Wash & Condition

I typically wash and condition with whatever products I have handy. More recently, I have been using either Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo and Conditioneror Tresemme Moisture Rich Shampoo and Conditioner. Next, I finger detangle using lots of conditioner. I then deep condition for about 5 minutes using Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque. Finally, I rinse out the masque with cool water.

Step 2: Prime with Leave-In & Oil

Once my hair is washed and condition, it’s time to prime with a leave-in conditioner. I have found I achieve the best results when I apply my leave in to mostly wet hair, focusing specifically on the ends. To seal in moisture, I apply coconut oil, again focusing on the ends. My favorite leave-in condition is Kinky Curly Knot Today. I have also recently tried Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Leave-In Conditioner. I like that this leave-in comes in spray, making it easy to apply again later in the week, if necessary.

Step 3: Style

To style my hair, I section my hair into four parts. Starting with the back, I apply a styling cream from root to tip, raking and smoothing the product through, making sure I coat each strand. Next, I apply gel to set the curls. I repeat this process through the remaining three sections. My go to styling cream is Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie. However, I recently tried Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Twist-Defining Custard. Although this product says it’s for twists, it has been perfect for moisturizing my wash and go. Plus, it smells amazing! Every time I use it, I always have people telling me I smell so good! The only gel I use on my hair is Eco Styler Gel (Olive Oil or Black Castor & Flaxseed Oil). I love this gel because it provides great definition and hold, without the crunch or white flakes often associated with gel.

Step 4: Diffuse

The last step is to diffuse for added volume. Before I diffuse, I apply a heat protectant. I then proceed to diffuse on low, warm heat setting for about 15 minutes or until I achieved the amount of volume I want.

To preserve the style at night, I put my hair in a very loose ponytail at the crown of my head (pineapple) and sleep with a satin bonnet. My wash and go will usually last all week, only getting more voluminous as the week goes on. Throughout the week, my hair will typically only require refreshing with a spritz of water or leave-in.

Curly Hair Routine