Jan 21st, 2019

On January 21st, 2019 we celebrate Martin Luther King the man and the vision he had for our nation.

Yesterday, was one of the coldest days this winter. The temperature dropped to about 1°F. However, that did not stop my community from getting together and discussing development in the City of Newark.

“I Have A Dream”- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Before our meeting they showed a clip of Rev. King’s “I have a dream” speech. It was incredibly poetic, the room was full of a variety of enthusiastic individuals from different races listening to his speech. My only thought was “look at the effects of his speech, he made this moment happen.”


Life has a funny way of making things come full circle. When I was a little girl, I would hear the story of his life and I would cry. I would think about my mom her struggles and how much harder it would have been for us. He put his life on the line to make a statement and disturb the status quo. The Civil Rights movement gave minorities like myself the opportunity to be counted as an equal.

We still have a long way to go but just thinking about the impact he still has on my community, on my family and myself is truly amazing. I hope one day I too can give back and “Pay it Forward” like Dr. King.

Thank you for everything . Steph.

Treat Yo’self !

Happy Monday Everyone!

Today’s post is about treating yourself or yo’self (as I like to say). But by the means you can afford. I don’t want you to break the bank either.

This weekend my brother and I took my mom to a day spa in Ramsey, NJ called The Fountain Spa. We bought her a spa package for Christmas.

https://www.thefountainspa.com/spa-services/

Let me give you a little history about my Momma Dukes.
She is a single mother of two. She worked about 102 hours a week between our youth till our teenage years. She had no help raising us in this big city called Newark. I took care of my brother and he took care of me. In many ways the city also raised us but that is a topic I will touch on another day.

Back on topic! Once we became young adults and could make our own money, we promised to try to make it up to my mom as much as possible. She spent her own youth basically trying to provide for us. This thought crosses our mind every time we buy something for her or our home.

Referencing my previous post “Awareness” be mindful of your yourself. Take care of yourself and sometimes treat yo’self. We can’t always send mom to spa days. We sometimes find ways to pamper her in a low budget way so if you can’t book that fancy spa (link above)

Here are some ways to pamper yourself home:

Buy a bathbomb from lush, make yourself a nice bath, light a candle & put soothing music to just take it easy for about 45 mins.

https://www.lushusa.com/bath/bath-bombs/

Don’t have a bath, no problem! Buy some scents at any store put them behind your ears, put some soothing music on and take a slight nap.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/floras-fragrances-flora-peterson/1116345783

Don’t have money? Again no problem make your own natural exfoliant or moisturizer: Some great natural ingredients are Aloe Vera, Tea trea, cucumber, & mint.

You’ll thank me later, now go ahead and….

Awareness

First let's start off by defining the word. 
awareness:
/əˈwernəs/ knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.

About a week ago, I found out my boyfriend’s mother was very ill and she was admitted to the hospital. Little did we know, what looked like a minor infection turned out to be a very serious situation. I won’t get into any personal details because that is not my place nor would I like to disclose that information.

However, the purpose of mentioning the situation is to bring light to a problem I constantly see; we aren’t self-aware. People forget to take care of their bodies and unfortunately, we are not Wolverine (from the X-men) who can by mutation regenerate his immune system.

If you live in the Tri-State Area of NY, you are constantly on the go. Here, we all want to make money, and eventually retire. However, should that mean we sacrifice our health/sanity? If we’re not taking care of ourselves, will we even make it to retirement? These are real questions we have to ask ourselves.

Take this narrative and apply it in your life. Whether you are male/female/trans make sure you are taking the necessary measures to look after your health.

Speak to your physician & schedule your check up today.

My Practice ☮

img_3213
Zura Yoga – Montclair

2 years ago I was going through an emotional roller-coaster. My personal life encountered hardships I did not expect. I started neglecting my family, I didn’t take care of myself and I was sinking into depression. Mentally, I would constantly batter myself. 

Then, I made a decision to focus on my well-being. Over the years, I met and overheard so much about Yoga. The stories about how revolutionary the activity is, never sold me. If you told me 5 years ago I would be practicing Yoga today I would probably laugh in your face. But the joke was mostly on me.

The biggest mistake people make on a daily is limiting themselves.

Why do I say this? I say this because I thought my body was not capable. How could I for-see myself holding my foot on the back of my head, flexibility was an issue. I also always pictured very thin woman posing. Since I can remember I have had a big butt and a little extra meat on my bones. So I created this wrong notion that I could not do it.

My first class, I literally teared up ( I wasn’t being corny I promise). As I mentioned before I was really going through an emotional crisis.

The class was Beginner, which means it was very slow paced. Given it was my first time, every pose felt tough. All I could remember was my teacher telling us, “Just keep breathing and focus.” I did just that. 70 mins later we were in SHAVASANA (aka Corpse Pose). The instructor proceeded to read us the Rumi Poem to your right.

Now, I am not sure if it was the relief of completing the class and not fainting, this poem or both of them combined but I slightly wept in silence.

Long story short, it has become part of my life. Once you practice the lessons you take aren’t just physical but in some sense spiritual as well. Patience, forgiveness, gratitude, and not judging yourself or anyone. These are the morals of every class. I invite you to partake and stop limiting yourself.

PS: That is my favorite mat. If you are interested in my mat, please go to: https://jadeyoga.com

Noodle Shop & Bar – Newark, NJ

Atmosphere:

Funky take on a Ramen Shop. This place has pretty cool chalk board sketches on top of each table. It also must get a ton of people during events at “The Rock aka Prudential Center” because there is a pretty big downstairs area.

Continuing on the atmosphere, it definitely rings true to name at least with the Bar portion. This is first Ramen Spot outside of NYC that I have gone to with a full bar.

I mean really… Who doesn’t like ramen and beer ?

Score: 4/5

Food:

Not sure if I just got lucky but I got the chunkiest pork belly ever! It was THE BOMB ! If I ever come back that’s what I’m getting.

Well let’s talk about the main theme aka the Noodles. The noodles are pretty good, and I liked the broth. However, my meats were subpar. Some parts of the beef were over cooked. I ordered extra chasu and immediately regretted it because it was also over cooked and had no flavor.

And finally, don’t claim you’re adding a Ramen egg if it’s just a regular egg that clearly hasn’t been soaked in the soy broth chefs use to make real Ramen eggs.

Score: 2.75 out of 5

Customer Service:

I have nothing bad to say I think the bartender was very attentive.

Score: 4 out of 5

Cleanliness:

I think the place can work on that. It wasn’t super crowded when I went and it looked like it needed a good mopping. The bartender floor as well.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

Overall score : 3.3

I’ll probably go back for the pork buns and beer 🙂

http://www.noodleshopandbar.com/

Shades of Skin.

Impactful!

YellowKorner, Millburn

During my lunch break I saw this amazing piece. At first glance, I thought this was hand painted. Much to my surprise, the artist is a foreign photographer and this is one of his photographs. Nonetheless, the portrait struck me immediately and halted my course.

I see a Powerful Indigenous Woman breaking through the barriers of color. She is shedding the colors to show you the empowered woman.

There is a sad reality, not only in this country but in many others around the world. Women of color experience a multitude of prejudice and hardship. They have to work ten times harder than a man to overcome the disadvantages they are predisposed to because of their background.

This is why I see this portrait in a different light than just a woman covered in paint. I understand the struggle and the fight to get recognized. The picture drew me in because of the message that popped out at me. Though, I am a woman of fair complexion, my heritage is part of my nucleus. I have indigenous ancestry from South America and I am proud of my culture .

Humanity should look far beyond colors or gender and recognize the humanity staring back.

Below is the picture without the window glare.

“Kameleon” – DAMIEN DUFRESNE
See link below https://www.damiendufresne.com/

A #MeToo story

Today, I just finished watching the 5 Hour, Lifetime docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly”. And folks, can I just say ” W O W” !!!

Limewire

About 12 years ago I remember hanging out at a friend’s house who downloaded the R. Kelly sex tape from Limewire. Shoutout to all the 30 something year olds who remember. If any of you saw the infamous video, you clearly saw the young girl was a minor, give or take 13 to 14 years old. Looking back, I’m not sure I truly understood what I was watching.

Currently, I’m not only angered but it truly saddens me these girls/women had to endure this. I recommend everyone watches the documentary because it opens your eyes to a great injustice. We let men with incredible power get away with murder (figuratively speaking of course); although, I wouldn’t be surprised if some have.

Today’s entry started out as a reaction piece to “Surving R. Kelly”, but as I began writing my mind wanted to tell you a story. The following is based on a true story about how we let men with power manipulate and control the situation.

During the fall of 2013, a friend of mine started working at a new company. She was the Executive Assistant to the Owner of the company. Her boss was very nice and showed a lot of favoritism towards her. She thought nothing of it, to her it was because she was new and he was training her. The owner would often ask her to work Saturdays and stay late to fulfill orders. Sometimes her boss made inappropriate jokes or remarks but they were often swept under the rug.

Soon enough the new quarter started and they hired more staff. Everything seemed normal even with the semi perverted under breath jokes. A couple of month’s in, one of the ladies from the new group brought something startling to her attention. The owner tried to make a move on her. Apparently, it wasn’t his first time either; he tried before with other another former staff member.

There were rumors floating that he’d faced some accusations before and those too were swept under the rug. Another rumor was, he had a tough lawyer that cleared him of the charges. He didn’t even need to settle. The new staff member quit a couple of days later. It wasn’t like my friend trusted a lot of people at work so she stuck to herself.

One Saturday afternoon, the owner asked her to go to the storage space and help him find some products he brought back from China. He showed her several cheap marked down wallets, he needed to take some in for a meeting Monday. She grabbed five of them and he held one. He then, told her “This one is for you,” she nervously said “No, no need; thank you very much that’s very kind of you to do that but I don’t….”. Her boss came in for a kiss and she pushed him off and went back to her desk.

That was the first time in her life someone overstepped their bounds like that. She was unsure how to react and she left shortly after to her house. With only 4 months working there she was unsure how to proceed. She had no job lined up and she was stuck thinking about the sexual assault that just happened.

A month later she left that company and started working closer to her home and at a higher pay. She never told anyone about the situation for the thought of being reprimanded. After the rumors she heard she was too timid to file a lawsuit. It was very humiliating. She felt helpless and emotionally distraught for a very long time till she told some of her close ones.

And now I’m telling you …

Don’t let money overpower or silence women. There are real situations out there that can hurt and traumatize. We should not promote these men with power that use it and exploit it. We need to give everyone a voice.

Speak out and tell your story.

Happy Monday!

Remember to start your weekend on the right foot.

The Corner – Montclair

Pick a cause/Pay it Forward

If you clicked the link I shared on my first post, one of the things I need to accomplish this year is picking a cause I am passionate about.

See link below. https://gentwenty.com/bucket-list-30-things-to-do-before-you-turn-30/

Here’s a little history about my debate career: In HS I didn’t get to debate but while I was in college I tried out and trained for the RU Debate Team. During that time, I was attending NJCU and due to my situation I was unable to join the team. For Rutgers it would have been too complicated to get me involved with RU Debate since I was in a different University. However, I chose to stick around and aide the Jersey Debate League as a judge. For 3 years I spent several weekdays and weekends helping out Newark debaters. I would compare it to a family you randomly visit but look forward to seeing.

Fast forward 8 years later, this weekend I went to the Newark Policy Debate Invitational and to my surprise it was EXTREMELY DIFFERENT. To the point that it the re-occurring question during the tournament was “WHAT HAPPENED TO NEWARK DEBATE?” We went from having 6-7 competitive HS policy debate teams to now 1 debate team (Newark Tech HS) showing face and competing at our own invitational.

It was quite emotional for me, why are we losing debaters especially in such a huge city. Why does NY have to come into our house and sweep our trophies?

People become complacent and conform.

I’m not giving up on the NDA !
(Newark Debate Academy or former Jersey Debate League)

Going back to the beginning of this post. I have picked my cause! I will come back to Newark Debate to revamp/revive/ what ever you want to call it. I will not rest till we are a force to be reckoned with. This will also be my way of “PAYING IT FORWARD.” As my former principal and now superintendent of Newark Public Schools used to say “I want you to learn and succeed here and what ever you do make sure you PAY IT FORWARD!”

The tweaked list

1

1. Travel to a different country.

2. Become more committed in my relationship.

3. Start saving and reach 5K.

4. Take a risk: Go bungee jumping or skydiving or swim with sharks.

5. Invest more in the stock market.

6. Volunteer in Newark.

7. Stop holding grudges.

8. Start a collection.

9. Take a cross-country road trip.

10. Pay off your credit card debt.

11. Go see live music you love.

12. Thoroughly read several books.

13. Overcome a fear.

14. Get a tattoo.

15. Join a club.

16. Treat yourself to something really expensive.

17. Be the first person to apologize.

18. Run a half marathon.

19. Work on my overall ego/attitude.

20. Cook for your whole family.

21. Eat really expensive food.

22. Pay it forward.

23. Get healthy!

24. Lose 40-50lbs.

25. Attend a game far away.

26. Pick a cause and be passionate about it.

27. See a new Broadway play.

28. Get a raise. Pending, My boss said I was but nothing yet

29. Become a connoisseur in something.

30. And finally, make a list of 40 Things to do Before You Turn 40.

tenor

I’m nervous!

NOTE: Everything striken out has actually been done.