What Would You Do For A Bon Bon

Strawberry Bon Bons are certainly one of my favorite hard candies. In fact, if I had to choose between a Bon Bon and anything else in this moment, then bring me one of those 1lb bags from the dollar store. As a matter of fact, you can bring me the 5lb bag while you’re at it. While I’ve always know that my dad enjoys them; I recently learned that my son has a sweet spot for them as well.

For those of you who are in the dark and are wondering what strawberry Bon Bons are; they are Classic hard candies filled with sweet strawberry flavor. Each piece is individually wrapped in a unique strawberry wrapper. They have been around for years.

Image result for strawberry bon bons

The earliest bon bons were most likely created in the 17th century by the Parisian royal court, and the name originated as a child-like play on the French word bon or “good” in English (TheCandyWarehouse.com)

So anyway, the funniest thing just happened and while it had me dying laughing, I did have to stop for just a moment to address the innocence.

My son and I are home for the summer visiting my mom and dad; his nana and papa kenny. My dad, having passed down his sweet tooth to me, can also always be found in the kitchen on a late night looking for a snack or two. When in the middle of the night, is not the case; it can easily happen on any given afternoon, where he and I both rummage through the refrigerator, cookie jars and cake containers feigning to satisfy a late-night craving for sugar. It’ works best when we have what I call “Snacks on deck, snacks on hand, snacks on demand, insta snacks.”

Red and White Mouth Plastic Toy and Food Plastic Toys

That being said, my dad returned home one afternoon with a grocery bag full of candy. It was a variety consisting of bags of sweet-tarts, bags of bon bons, peppermints etc., oh yea and those orange, soft peanut-shaped candies that I didn’t think anyone ate.

He gave my son the pick of the litter. My son returns to the room with a bag of Sweet Tarts. I did not allow him to eat them all in one session, but I know he would have if I didn’t take them from him. Shortly after I’d taken the tarts from him, he returned with the plastic grocery bag of candy that my dad left sitting on the couch. I made him take the bag back, insisting that he only keep the tarts that my dad had given him.

Scoop of Candies

The next morning, I dropped my son off with his grandparents on his dad’s side of the family so that they could spend the weekend together. Later in the evening when I returned to my parents’ home, I noticed the grocery bag of candy sitting on the couch. This is when I first discovered that there ‘had been’ some bon bons in the bag. But dang… My dad had eaten most of them but there were a few hanging around at the bottom of the grocery bag.

I kept eyeing the bag all weekend, waiting to give dad first opt to eat the bon bon before selfishly taking the remaining few for myself. He never ate them, so by the time Sunday evening rolled around I figured it was safe to take the last 6 from the bag. I pocketed 4 because I wanted my son to have some upon his return and I ate the other 2.

…. Meanwhile, my dad returns to the scene with a whole new bag out of nowhere. So, I did not feel too bad about having swiped the last 6.

Monday, following the weekend my son had been away, I asked him to come into the room with me and told him that I had a surprise for him. I reached under the pillow where I had stashed the 4 Bon Bons, I did the whole ‘close your eyes…. SURPRISE!!’ thing… placed them in his hands and said, “I got these from Papa Kenny so that you could have some before he ate them all.”

Image result for strawberry candy

What happened next, I never saw coming. He happily took the Bon Bons of course. But then he said, “Mom, I got a surprise for you too.” What’s that? I asked. He reached under the bed and pulled out the entire bag of Bon Bons and said, “I got these from Papa Kenny too, so that you could have some.”

This child had already taken the bag of Bon Bons from the grocery bag before he went away for the weekend. He had hidden the whole bag under the bed but had the modest decency to leave 6 in the big bag for my dad, of what I later took, thinking I was putting them away for him. Lord help us.

In that moment, I knew I had not truly stolen anything- but since I presented it to him as if I went through an obstacle course to get them for him; what was I to say to him about how he went about getting them for me? Head in hand moment for me, it was. Next time, I know to say, “I asked Papa Kenny if we could have some of his candy and he said yes. So here, I saved these for you.” Hopefully, in that he will understand that there’s really no need to take them without Papa  Kenny knowing.

I guess the love for Strawberry Bon Bons don’t fall far from the vine.

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Don’t Sleep On Small Surprises

I have read many articles about how we are all trying to figure out this thing called parenting. And we can all agree that no one has it all figured out. That’s because each child is different, though they may share similar interest. I think we can all agree that at the end of the day, if we can hear our child say, “Mom, you’re the best” Then we are still winning. We are not trying to blur the lines between parenting and being our child’s homie…. And we want to make sure that there isn’t just a fine line in between either. We want there to be a noticeable difference so that we can establish boundaries and respect.

While parenting is not all about pleasing our children and catering to their want and needs like we are their servant, we still want to hear those words, Mom, you are the best, thank you mom, I appreciate you mom, I love you….To hear those words are encouraging to parents. They are inspiring. They are just what you need to hear on some days when you are pressing on to be the best parent you can be. The simple things in life… in exchange for something so empowering.

It is true that we doubt ourselves at times, even when we know that we are doing the absolute best that we can. We do this because we are constantly trying to make sure that our children have all the essential things they need to excel. So, when they even so much as remotely show signs of unhappiness, we are back at the drawing board trying to figure things out. If you are a parent, just remember not to beat yourself up.

My son reminded me that I was the best and for the remainder of the day, I felt as though I was wearing a crown.

It was last week, leading into Independence Day, when I was online searching for some fun in the city. Something local and affordable, where he would be able to watch a fire-works show among other things to maximize our time together. I found out that there would be all-day activities for kids; including an inflatable waterslide, discounted prices for Museum Entrance, face painting, bean bag toss contest, food, drinks and more along the waterfront at one of the local attractions. I began to plan for the event that would also end with a fire works show over the water.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Upon our arrival to the park, the first thing that my son noticed was the inflatable water slide. His eyes widened, as I kept watch on his reaction. As we got closer and he was able to get a better look at it and saw the other children playing, he said ooh, mom! …then he said never mind. I asked, “What?” all the while knowing what he’d seen and what was going through his mind. He responded again, “Never mind… I would have to have swim clothes so it’s ok.” Just before we got to the water slide, I asked him to step into the bathroom. Once in there, I reached into my bag and pulled out his swim trunks and a tank. His face lit up! It was the highlight of my day. He said, “You the best mom!!!” These moments are what I live for. To surprise him with something so little and he be so grateful.

Image may contain: 1 person, sky, cloud and outdoor

Spending time with my child this summer has been most rewarding, even when out of spite one day he told me that my dress made me look fat. LOL. It was a funny story and I wish I could remember what exactly it was that he wasn’t getting his way with that day, which made him say it. But it reminded me of that sour patch kids commercial… (First, they are sour then they are sweet) Whatever it was, he had me standing in the mirror second guessing what I was wearing to church that day. I took it with a grain of salt and laughed because he wasn’t totally lying. However, he did take full advantage of the moment to make his opinion known.

https://www.facebook.com/NDKENNY/videos/10215987556579714/?t=1

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting, child and closeup

But anyway… We have a few weeks left in the summer. Here’s a few things you may want to keep in mind as you continue to make it the best one yet; while in the process, pull off a surprise of your own.

Always being prepared: Use your trunk for things like a cooler, an umbrella, one to two lawn chairs, a picnic blanket, a thermos for coffee or beverage of your choice and a cup for the kiddo. Take snacks with you to save on spending at fast food restaurants along the way or on expensive food trucks and food stands that are often set up at the park or venue and attraction.

Leaving ahead of time to give yourself ample time to arrive, park, make provisions for traffic and accidents which may have caused a delay on the highway.

Search for all the free or low cost local attractions and attend those rather than spending the bank on traveling away. Take advantage of what’s in the city.

Save on parking: If off street parking is cheaper than parking in a garage attached to an attraction, explore that as an option and use the time walking, to sightsee

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, sky and outdoor

Checking ahead of time: This one depends on the attraction. I only thought about it because you have places like Urban Air and other trampoline parks where there are a lot of parties being planned on the weekend. If you have time during the week or earlier in the day to visit these establishments it may be worth it rather than going while they are jam-packed or when a party is going on where they will have certain areas blocked off for a party, limiting your child’s activities while being there during this time.

Taking one for the team: Being outside in that heat, turning three shades darker, sweating and sitting… consider this: Take an enjoyable book or earphones to listen to music. Talk to people around you who may be able to swap ideas on what to do.

Covering the basics here, is what sets the stage for you to pull off a great surprise!

Here’s What You Need To Know If You Are Headed to The Beach or Pool This Summer

It’s that time of the year again where children are excited about getting out of school, taking a family vacation and just being away from the classroom for a while. For the adults, summer trips are being planned to the beach, water parks and community pools to escape the heat. This means neighborhood and community pools and parks are gearing up to host hundreds of children throughout these hot, summer months to aid in the cool down. There’s something you need to think about as you head off to these bodies of water: Water Safety!

This includes learning how to swim. Ladies, while I understand the work and cost that goes into keeping our hair up, getting our hair wet is not a good enough reason to not learn how to swim if we are going to be headed to pools and beaches this summer. This topic only came to mind after so many years of swimming myself and learning that a lot of women have not taken advantage of swim lessons. Their main reason was due to their getting their wet, messing up perms, damaging their hair from the harsh chemicals that are in pools.

It’s a sensitive topic, I know. Because usually when you make mention of someone’s hair as it relates to water and the hairdo- someone is bound to talk about how much it cost to get their hair done and how they do not want to waste “all that money” at the beauty shop, just for their child or themselves to jump into the water and mess it up. I get it. I wouldn’t want to either. However, if I am going to make the choice to go to the beach or pool, where I know that I am going to get into water, there’s a chance that my hair will get wet. Knowing how to swim is important to me. It is also important to me that my child knows, since he loves the water as much as I do. Even when you go and wear a cap or have your hair up with no intention on submerging your head, there’s always the possibility of going under, so you still want to be able to swim your way out.

On a trip to LEGOLAND last year, I learned with my own child that you cannot always rely on a lifeguard. Neither should you. It was my own vigilance at the pool and my ability to swim, which rescued him, as the Life-guards stood by watching and others were pre-occupied with talking to each other, distracted by their cell phones and never knew anything happened.

I don’t want to run drowning statistics on you, neither do I want to create a fear that we are never to go into the water again. But I would like to convey that it is a serious matter. While there are several people who drowned who were able to swim, it was under harsh and extreme circumstance. Most drownings were due to an inability to swim.

For the most part, children love water: They love to play in it, jump in it and often underestimate the dangers that surround water. When they see water, the first thing that want to do is run and jump in it.

The first lesson of swimming is that you are going to get your face wet. So, in getting them used to it, we would start with water splashing.  Remove those small fears and it creates an avenue for the beginner lessons to begin, such as putting your face in the water, holding your breath underwater, being comfortable with being submerged in the water…. etc.

Getting back to the hair: In a related article I offered suggestions about a great conditioner for the hair. This was an item that I personally use, but not on a selling trip… merely making the point that a good conditioner may tackle the issues of hair and pool/beach. Invest in a good coverage swim cap. Condition your hair daily, so that the parts that do get wet are safe. Sign up for a beginner’s swim class. Learn to swim.

Additionally, there are hair products such as Aqua Guard pre-swim, which act as a protect layer that you can use on the hair prior to getting into the water. There’s also a product called Ion Swimmers leave in and Surf Cream Rinse Conditioner. These products are designed for protecting the hair against the chemicals in the water. Too much hair for a swim cap? That’s cool…. Leave the cap off and explore those conditioner and pre-pool conditioner options. You can always explore the idea of braids for your child while they are learning to swim or for when your beginner swimmer heads into the water. This will help tremendously with the tangles. Tie the hair up in a tight ball while braided to decrease the number of loose hairs that would get tangled.

The Wrap Up: If we know that even the strongest swimmer can drown, we know that the possibility of drowning increases as we put non-swimmers in beaches and pools without proper training and techniques or even the basics of breathing and staying afloat.

We can tackle these numbers this year by making sure that all children take basic water safety and beginners swim class. Adults can also join in on the fun! You can still get your Friday night hairdo and skip the water for the duration of the time that your style will last but take time in those weeks where you are waiting for an appointment, to make sure that you learn to swim if the pool and beach is on your radar for summer fun.

Suggestions for Swim Class: American Red Cross, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of America, Private Lessons int eh community and neighborhood, Community Colleges and Summer Programs. There is a plethora of options.

A “GETAWAY” is Not Always About “Getting Away” From Something You Don’t Like

beach, lady, laptop

Some of the best travel experiences I have had included Las Vegas, Nevada. Yup, right here in the United States. The first time I traveled there was in 2010, on assignment during the time I spent writing for Examiner.com. It was a media assignment to cover the Floyd “Money” Mayweather and “Sugar” Shane Mosley Boxing match.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley was a boxing welterweight non-title super fight, in which Mayweather won by unanimous decision with two judges scoring it 119–109 and one judge scoring it 118–110.

I visited again while writing for Examiner.com to cover another fight: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, billed as The Fight of the Century, or the Battle for Greatness, was a professional boxing match between undefeated five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather.

While I had a strong interest in the sport of boxing, being in attendance for both the weigh-in and the fight, along with the activities and events that surrounded the weekend; it was the time I spent sightseeing in my free time that I was able to fully enjoy being in the city. So many things to do and so many things to see was what inspired my third trip simply because I couldn’t pack it all into the first two.

architecture, attraction, building

Getting off the plane on that third visit to Las Vegas was majestic. It was hot as tamales of course, with temperature up to 110 when I arrived, but once I kicked the layers off, threw on some shorts, sandals, a tank top and tied my hair back, the rest was history. This time, I was still on assignment but was writing with a media outlet where I had more freedom to explore the city and share with my readers all that Vegas had to offer. So, while I was still working, I was having fun doing something that I loved to do. I had found a way to combine work with play.

Vegas is truly like one super-sized adult theme park on steroids! From the architectural designs of the buildings/hotels to the layout of the famous Vegas Strip. A sea of lights and it’s no wonder it’s called the city that never sleeps!

The highlights of my trip included:

The Mob Museum: Officially the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is a history museum located in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas Observation Wheel: High Roller is a 550-foot tall, 520-foot diameter giant Ferris wheel on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, United States of America. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Freemont Street Experience: Sprawling 24-hour mall featuring a huge LED canopy, casino & restaurant access & free entertainment.

Aerial Photography of City during Evening

The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is a public aquarium located at and owned by the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Its main tank is 1,300,000 US gallons, one of the largest in North America

Madame Tussauds Las Vegas: a wax museum located in the Las Vegas Strip at The Venetian Las Vegas casino resort in Paradise, Nevada. The attraction opened in 1999, becoming the first Madame Tussauds venue to open in the United States.

The Grand Canyon Tour: Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters – This magnificent helicopter ride provides stunning aerial views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West. Additionally, passengers will experience an exhilarating landing at the bottom of the canyon on our private plateau overlooking the mighty Colorado River. Upon landing, guests enjoy a champagne picnic with refreshments and have ample time to explore the awe-inspiring grandeur that is the Grand Canyon.

Vegas Shows: Baz! Set in a modern and intimate cabaret, BAZ is a celebration, a mash-up of music, and moments from the greatest love stories imagined by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award-nominated director Baz Luhrmann. Theatregoers follow the romances from Luhrmann’s iconic films: Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and The Great Gatsby as the lovers discover whether fortune is in their favor.

Las Vegas Strip Signage

I encourage everyone to do a little traveling in their lifetime. Even if it starts with visiting the next state or over from them. There is so much more out there to see. But here’s why I think that part is important: It broadens your horizons. You meet new people. It connects you with people. You learn about culture. You become more versed in communication.

Being knowledgeable/aware of different things helps you understand different people and with that understanding, it organically generates compassion in the vessels of the heart. Depending on where you go or how far you travel outside of your comfort zone, it opens your mind to the things going on around the world, in which you will most likely relate to or at least have more insight into.

I came across a post on twitter recently, where the twitter user referenced “people who have to getaway” It read: “People are always talking about getting away and taking a getaway. If they didn’t hate their lives and were to create a life that they are happy with or if you were a happy person, there would be no need for a getaway. You don’t need to getaway if you are happy.” She then referenced hotel and vacation advertisements that use the word “getaway.”

Now, I am not fully sure of her understanding of a getaway and the purpose that it serves for most people, but on the surface; it sounded (at least to me) as if she was confusing people who are in an unhealthy situation who are always talking about one day getting away from a certain situation, with people who have a natural desire to simply want to getaway to a different place to broaden their horizons.

adult, book, business

I thought to myself that this was probably the most least profound thing that she could have said. Especially being a motivational public figure… (that’s the title individuals give themselves when they have a lot of followers on twitter) LOL

It’s not always about “getting away” from something you don’t like. And just because you take a vacation, (A Getaway: a place suitable for a vacation; a vacation especially of brief duration) doesn’t mean it’s so that you can leave a life behind that you hate. A getaway is just relaxing. For some, it’s therapeutic. For writers, it’s inspiring to have a change of scenery. Sometimes you just want the adventure of exploring new sights, sights unseen… going to unusual places because you cannot live in 100 places all at once.

Who doesn’t need a break from time to time anyway? Are you telling me that you can never go to enjoy the fruits of your labor because if you do, it means you hate your life? If you can show me someone who says they don’t want or need a getaway, I will show you a liar.

But for now, I digress. I would rather balance the universe by stating that it’s perfectly OK to want to getaway. It absolutely does not mean that you are unsatisfied with your life. It means that you are open to discovering the world and that you are realistic about the common day to day life that invites the idea of wanting a break to enjoy the other side of your front door.

7 Simple Summer Must Haves for Every Savvy Girl

Springtime is saying goodbye quicker than it came to us this year. With that, Summertime is Bo-guarding’ it’s way into our lives faster than we can pack away the clutter.  Have you thought about how you will be spending the summer? It’s OK if you haven’t. So long as you have thought about the things you will need to get you through the Summer, it doesn’t matter what you end up doing or where you end up going. Here are my suggestions:

beach,

A great pair of sunglasses: Every Savvy girl needs a chic pair of sunglasses to protect her eyes from the sometimes-dangerous sunrays and overcast. Not to mention, accessories are a wardrobe staple and just what you need to top off that glamorous look that you will be sporting; whether its in your yoga pants while making a run to the store or headed out to brunch with the girls where you’ll be soaking up the sun from the rooftop deck or patio of some mouthwatering establishment. But listen… Some of my favorite sunglasses cost $5-$10, so you don’t have to spend upwards of that to achieve the look of a small fortune. When you keep the cost between $5-$10, you can splurge a little on a few more pair for the summer. If you are a hat person, top off this look with a nice one. Summer always has room for a Diva Hat! (Big Floppy Hat)

adults,

Sunscreen: If there were any lessons taught to me on my trip to The Bahamas, it was that the SUN did not come to play! When it says its hot outside and the sun is out, that is fair warning that you need to protect your skin. After one day in the Bahamas, I was already 3 shades redder. My face is still recovering from the sun, as I made the mistake of laying out without any coverage. It only took about 20 minutes for the burn to occur. Tanning is great, but I don’t think anyone wants to be burned. With adequate sunscreen coverage, you can accomplish your bronzing without the pain of a lingering sunburn. Not to mention, your skin will thank you years later. Pack a small bottle in your purse if you plan on doing any outdoor activities including but not limited to, the beach, the pool, the park, walking and hiking trails. Since were on the subject, don’t forget to pick up a lip balm with SPF 30 to ensure that your lips also get the coverage and moisture that they need for protection against the sun.

Red

Conditioner: Speaking of the damage that the sun can do, you will want to invest in a good hair conditioner for your hair. Whether its long and straight/wavy, short, curly or coiled or a combination of all; moisture is what it will need to keep from breaking or becoming brittle and damaged. This may vary across the board of course. The key is finding the right one for your hair type and there are several out there. I have found my fountain of luck in The TRESemmé Flawless Curls collection for Naturally Curly hair and it has worked wonders in keeping my curls hydrated! I have also used Garnier Fructis Butter Cream, which is a 3-day moisture for defined frizz resistant curls. These products lock in moisture and keep my hair safe against the sun while maintaining the look I am going for throughout the day. When consistent with using it, your hair builds up strength against the weather.

Assorted

Sandals/ flip flops: Yes! Remember that “look” I talked about. Never underestimate the power of a good walk in a comfortable pair of sandals or flip flops with a long sundress, a sleeveless jumpsuit, or romper. Every Savvy girl must have at least one pair heading into the summer. Wonderful thing about flops and sandals are that they come in many neutral colors and can be cross-worn with a majority of your summer wardrobe selections.

A lifesaver Bag: A few years ago, I proposed a blog challenge to readers called “What’s in Your Purse” The idea was to discover the things that women carry in their purse and by what’s in their purse, we could tell them what they were ready for. IE: If you had a B/C Powder, you were prepared for a hangover. It was a truly funny assignment in seeing some of the non-sense that we carry around and when faced with the question of, “Why in the HECK do we have that”, you really should have heard some of the creative stories we came up with. But anyhow, I poured out the contents of a bag that I carried and couldn’t believe the things that fell out. I was appalled at how prepared I was for the world to come to an end. LOL. JK…. But I truly was prepared. From that, I aptly began to call it “The Lifesaver Bag”

Six

This bag has come in handy on some many occasions. From being stranded in airports on long layovers, to being out late and having to stay over at a friend’s house, to last minute trips where I would not have to shop for items I already had at home. So, what exactly goes into a lifesaver bag? Whatever you need that will fit into a small bag that you can throw into the trunk of the car. I just use the largest purse I have. In it, goes the travel sized hygiene kit/fem products and travel size items that can be easily slipped into a pocket, such as: Lotion, Deodorant, B/C Powder, Tweezers, Tide Pen, Gel, Hairspray, Wipes, Body Spray, Powder, Soap, Razor, underwear and a change of clothes. Seriously, just trust me on this one. Keep it in the car always.

Trunk Kit: So, the above blog challenge didn’t stop at the “What’s in your Purse” Challenge. It extended itself to the “What’s in your trunk” Challenge. Both challenges worked the same, so without further ado: An Umbrella, Pic-Nic Blanket and a Lawn Chair were the three things that I always keep in my trunk as I never know when my child will want to stop and take 6 solid hours in the park. I must always be prepared! Perhaps you don’t have

alcohol,

A GOOD Drink: What kind of Savvy would I be if I did not mention a Summer Cool Down! This is not limited to Wine… Liquor, because I do realize that there are people who refrain from drinking. And while I am not one of them, because I take my wine red and prefer a glass or two each week; I can suggest many cold Teas and Lemonades that will keep you refreshed this summer. Don’t forget a good Alkaline water and if I had my preference for any water, it would be Essentia or Fiji. Ahhh…. Refreshing and hydrating…Now, you are ready!

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Here’s What You Need To Know If You Are Headed To The Pool or Beach this Summer

It’s that time of the year again where children are excited about getting out of school, taking a family vacation and just being away from the classroom for a while. For the adults, summer trips are being planned to the beach, water parks and community pools to escape the heat. This means neighborhood and community pools and parks are gearing up to host hundreds of children throughout these hot, summer months to aid in the cool down. There’s something you need to think about as you head off to these bodies of water: Water Safety!

People Near Sea

This includes learning how to swim. Getting your hair wet is not a good enough reason to not learn/know how to swim if you are going to be headed to pools and beaches this summer. I hate to be the one to say it, but this topic came to mind after so many years of swimming myself and learning that a lot of women and their children do not know how to swim and do not care to learn to swim due to the fear of their hair “getting wet” messing up perms, damaging their hair from the harsh chemicals that are in pools. However, everyone wants to take a dip, float around and lay out in 12 feet of water on a floating device that if accidentally tipped, they wouldn’t know what to do.

Girl Wearing Green Wet Suit Riding Inflatable Orange Life Buoy on Top of Body of Water

It’s a sensitive topic, I know. Because usually when you make mention of someone’s hair as it relates to water and the hairdo- someone is bound to talk about how much it cost to get their hair done and how they do not want to waste “all that money” at the beauty shop, just for their child or themselves to jump into the water and mess it up. I get it. I wouldn’t want to either. However, if I am going to make the choice to go to the beach or pool, where I know that I am going to get into water, there’s a chance that my hair will get wet. Knowing how to swim is important enough to my survival and safety…more so than my hair is. I am saying that even when you go and wear a cap or have your hair up with no intention on submerging your head, there’s always the possibility of going under and you still want to be able to swim your way out.

exif_temp_image

On a trip to LEGOLAND last year, I learned with my own child that you cannot always rely on a lifeguard. Neither should you. It was my own vigilance at the pool and my ability to swim, which rescued him, as the Life-guards stood by watching and others were pre-occupied with talking to each other, distracted by their cell phones and never knew anything happened.

I don’t want to run drowning statistics on you, neither do I want to create a fear that we are never to go into the water again. But I would like to convey that it is a serious matter. While there are several people who drowned who were able to swim, it was under harsh and extreme circumstance. Most drownings were due to an inability to swim.

For the most part, children love water: They love to play in it, jump in it and often underestimate the dangers that surround water. When they see water, the first thing that want to do is run and jump in it.

Three Boy's Jumping Into the Water

Then, there are the children who are fearful of water even being splashed in their face. When I see them, I wonder to myself why are they even in the pool right now? (Unless they are in a swimming class, which I strongly encourage) The first lesson of swimming is that you are going to get your face wet. So, in getting them used to it, we would start with water splashing.  Remove those small fears and it creates an avenue for the beginner lessons to begin, such as putting your face in the water, holding your breath underwater, being comfortable with being submerged in the water…. etc.

adorable, beach, beautiful

Getting back to the hair: In a related article I offered suggestions about a great conditioner for the hair. This was an item that I personally use, but not on a selling trip… merely making the point that a good conditioner may tackle the issues of hair and pool/beach. Invest in a good coverage swim cap. Condition your hair daily, so that the parts that do get wet are safe. Sign up for a beginner’s swim class. Learn to swim.

Additionally, there are hair products such as Aqua Guard pre-swim, which act as a protect layer that you can use on the hair prior to getting into the water. There’s also a product called Ion Swimmers leave in and Surf Cream Rinse Conditioner. These products are designed for protecting the hair against the chemicals in the water. Too much hair for a swim cap? That’s cool…. Leave the cap off and explore those conditioner and pre-pool conditioner options. You can always explore the idea of braids for your child while they are learning to swim or for when your beginner swimmer heads into the water. This will help tremendously with the tangles. Tie the hair up in a tight ball while braided to decrease the number of loose hairs that would get tangled.

The Wrap Up: If we know that even the strongest swimmer can drown, we know that the possibility of drowning increases as we put non-swimmers in beaches and pools without proper training and techniques or even the basics of breathing and staying afloat. With that, it begs the question of why you would allow a child in or around any body of water when they cannot swim? Especially if you cannot swim either.

Girl Wearing Pink and Blue Floral One-piece Bikini Suit

We can tackle these numbers this year by making sure that all children take basic water safety and beginners swim class. Adults can also join in on the fun! You can still get your Friday night hairdo and skip the water for the duration of the time that your style will last but take time in those weeks where you are waiting for an appointment, to make sure that you learn to swim if the pool and beach is on your radar for summer fun.

Suggestions for Swim Class: American Red Cross, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of America, Private Lessons int eh community and neighborhood, Community Colleges and Summer Programs. There is a plethora of options.

Chapter 40: Gratitude Changes Everything (Still Standing)

Can I be honest with you? Do I have your permission to be vulnerable and transparent? Is it OK if I share something with you?

adult, blur, businesswoman

A few short weeks ago I came across a post on Facebook that one of my acquaintances posted which solicited participation from his followers and friends. The post asked that you post your age as the Chapter of your Life, (EX: 40) followed by the title of your chapter, (EX: Over the Hill). I thought to myself wow, this is going to be fun. However, after I typed in the number 40 and attempted to add a title- nothing came to mind. A deer in a headlight moment. Then a few single-word statements came to mind. None of which could be appropriated to my chapter 40, as it pertained to what I wanted it to say.

design, desk, display

I was finding it difficult to do something that I thought should be so easy for me since I have all this “self-awareness” about myself. The fact that I could not come up with a title as fast as I thought I should was nerve-racking grounds for a more solemn discussion to take precedent over the fun, Facebook activity before I could proceed. Now, I could have been over-thinking this moment and maybe I was, but it made me earnestly ponder the question of why I at a loss for words? I thought I had already reached the point of Self-Actualization, so what was the problem? Wasn’t this just an exercise that simply called for a reflection of the following questions: Where are you? Or, where are you going? And, where do you want to go? How will you resume and finish this story? I mean, seriously, this is how you write any book, right? Talk about a humbling moment!

Person Wearing Gray Long-sleeved Mini Dress in Front of Green Leaf Plant

I toggled a few more titles but still, none worthy enough to adequately described or depict what my title should be in CHAPTER 40 of my life.

I couldn’t summarize it in a Chapter title, so I bargained for answers with this approach: Niedria, do you even know where you are and what you want? What do you intend on doing at this point in life? That would be your chapter title.

I had to break it down: I began to focus in on the perfect title that would describe where I am as it related to where I have been and then consider what I want and where I want to go. (Side note: Sometimes we are so caught up in where we are trying to go and what we want, that we forget that we must acknowledge where we are first because that’s our starting point or our point of continuation) So having a complete, sound, embracive and merciful understanding of where I was, was important. Being transparent, forgiving and truthful with ourselves will open the avenue for this understanding to flow.

There’s nothing wrong with knowing where you want to go or what you want, but you must know where you are first.

I arrived at a title by telling myself to instead, first come up with a title that would speak to where I am at this moment which would address the question. In doing that, I would clarify some things for myself first. And so, I decided to use a statement to describe what I have learned, which I believe is helping me to live my best life in this present moment at 40, which provided dual-purpose in moving forward: Chapter 40: Gratitude Changes Everything (Still Standing) From where I am, all I can say is that I am grateful that I am still standing.

Woman in Blue Jeans Standing on Clear Glass

I came up with the title only because I considered where I was at 20, at 25, at 30 and at 35. (Being through a lot, but having done a lot of things) Just like any book, you want the next chapter to be an extension of the last chapter, expounding more on the story. So, you must know where you are in your book. I had to scan back over my life so that I would know for myself where I was. I am still standing. That’s where I am.

Since we are in a current and constant state of living, we know that life is an “on-GROW-ing” thing until we make our final departure. All we can do to make it better, is to make sure that we are “living” out our best life. Chapter 40 is not about one thing. It’s a culmination of things that I have learned and how I am applying gratitude, to make it my best life today in order to have fulfillment in the rest of my life.

With consideration given to where I am going, what I want and what I intend on doing; I must apply gratitude. What I have learned about gratitude and how it has and is changing things is that when we recognize the lessons and value the experiences we’ve had and are able to see the good in it all and be grateful that we were chosen for those assignments which made us stronger, better and wiser-it manipulates life by altering our mindset. This new set of lenses changes our lives as we are then able to elevate to a higher state of conscious awareness, acquiring the ability to then utilize everything we have learned and apply it to the next steps of life.

My life went from “You don’t know My Story” to “Let me tell you my story” to “This is my Story” to “I didn’t choose this story; this story chose me.” It’s only fair now that I’ve told my story, that you know that I am grateful for my story. That’s precisely what it is all about. So, I am grateful for the lessons, experiences, journeys, friends, family –and most of all, the good and bad of it all. I am grateful for those who told me no and those who said I couldn’t. I am grateful for those who supported me and were equally happy to see me prevail. That gratefulness and gratitude for those things is what enables me to eradicate mendacities spoken about me. That gratitude is what authorizes me to write the next chapter.

Woman Drinking Water Beside Mountain

Switching Gears: With that, this is what I think living your best life is: It is knowing where you stand today. Deciding where you want to go from here and what it will take. Deciding what you want, no matter if it is to live more of a healthy lifestyle, pursue a more lucrative career, go back to a more simpler life, embark on a new journey or pursuit and all around doing what makes you happy despite what anyone else thinks of it. It is taking your given set of circumstance and making the absolute best of it as you continue in life and expound into new territories IE: New Chapters. You must make sure it’s the best that you can do though. Have you done the best you can with what you are working with?

On a much broader note: Living your best life works best when you concern yourself with yourself. Be selfless when it comes to helping others but selfish when it comes to taking care of yourself. Focus on what you want, stay in your lane and take care of your business. You may not be exactly where you know and feel that you need and want to be. It doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong. You don’t have to settle in who you are today, but you can accept who you are now and still be determined to have more in your life and live more abundantly.

Sometimes we get tossed around in the wreckage of life (divorce, break-ups, lay-offs, illness etc.) where we get lost or set back. Other times, we get caught up in the wonders of the world while living the fab life (leisurely travel, marriage, children, promotions, new homes, business ventures etc.) Whatever life we were living, it’s quite possible to forget where we are at times. The need for awareness that life is still happening when those joys or heartbreaks become things of the past is a reality that we face one day when we are trying to determine where to next. To avoid feelings of displacement, a Full assessment and inventory of our life is required. If you remember that life is on-GROW-ing, you can make changes along the way that will be conducive to the lifestyle that you want.

Everything you have done and have been through (good and bad) in your life has prepared you for this moment.

Yesterday is a chapter of the past but even if it is still a part of your story, you can turn the page into something new and improved because now it’s time for the story to go on. What would be your title?

Article originally posted on SheSavvy.com and was recently selected First Place for the “Best Life” writing contest.