At the beginning of the year, a vlogger I follow on Instagram uploaded a picture of herself holding a flat tummy tea type product in one hand and a mug in the other. I was immediately disappointed because 1) she was already skinny in my eyes, 2) her vlog gave me the push I needed to start lifting weights and snack smarter and 3) it felt so desperate and off brand for her.
I wasn’t the only one, the comments under the picture were flooded with opinions about how effective a tea could really be for long term weight loss. Eventually, trolls came out and it got so bad, she turned off the comments.
Before I go any further, there is something I should disclose: I’m fat. I have been fat my entire life, even when I shed 80 pounds in college, I was still “the fat girl.”
First day of sophomore year, after a 90 minute workout. I was exhausted.
The new year, new me crowd has died down and officially turned into the “I gotta get my summer body, NOW” crowd and it’s all too much. I hesitated to write this because I’m not sure I—someone who is not the pinnacle of health—should be writing it. But I decided to write it anyway because everyone assumes only skinny women deal with disordered eating and body image issues, because not eating at all isn’t the only way people try to lose weight fast.
My pastor’s words hit me so hard, I stopped dead in my tracks. Do the work. I thought. You have to do the work.
My 2017 wasn’t ideal, I got laid off, again. I entered a long distance relationship for the second time, something I swore up and down that I wouldn’t do again and honestly, I entered 2018 with no idea what the hell I was going to do.
The thing that no one makes clear when you’re in college and growing up is that you are literally on your own. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a support system, but at the end of the day, you are the only one with the power to determine your destiny.
Happy New Year y’all! I know it has been a minute (or five) since I’ve written anything. To be honest, I keep going back and forth on what the purpose of this blog is. While I’m not sure the break gave me a clear cut answer, I do know that I missed blogging semi-regularly and want to get back to it this year.
There is so much going on in our world. Our president is a literal child, North Korea is ready to throw hands and men can’t keep their hands off of women. It’s really easy to get bogged down by all the bad news, but there’s so much to be thankful for and so much I’m looking forward to in the new year.
I love the holidays. The home-cooked meals, cuddling up by the fireplace, the constant smell of cinnamon in the house. It’s my favorite time of year and as far as I’m concerned, November 1 marked the beginning of the festivities.
One thing I don’t love about the holidays: finding the perfect gifts for my loved ones. While most people are probably cool with a card full of cash, I like to put a lot of thought into my gifts. So, I usually start a list for friends and family over the summer (yes you read that right). I’m hoping to get all my Christmas shopping done on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
I love shopping, but after six holiday seasons working in retail, I try to avoid malls during this time of year. So, if you’re trying to avoid the mall this year too, I’ve rounded up my faves from this year that I either hope to be under my tree or to give this season. And if you must go to the mall, here’s a pro tip: shop the deals online early in the week and try get as much online as possible. If you must hit up a mall make a schedule–in true Randall style from This Is Us.
Now, onto the gifts!
For the Techie
Popsocket These are a must. Seriously, they have made using my phone so much easier. Plus, they can add character to your phone with all the different colors and designs.
Echo Dot I rolled my eyes so hard when bae broke down and bought this, but it’s actually a really cool product. I recommend this smaller version for those with apartments or wanting one in their room. Spring for the light bulbs too. You’ll never have to get out of bed to turn the lights on and off again.
Google Home Mini I’m sure I’m committing some type of tech faux pas by including this and the Dot on my list, but I really like both of these products. I will say, this is more of a speaker than the Dot, so if you’re wanting something louder that can read your morning news and set the mood for date night, I’d go for this. It’s also important to be product aligned, so if you own a lot of other Google product, this is also probably a better bet.
iPhone 8 Plus Real talk time: I was underwhelmed by the iPhone X. It is definitely the most innovative design Apple has ever given us, but that’s about it. Facial recognition was not convenient, took longer and though making poop talk is entertaining, YouTuber MKBHD pointed out that the software could easily be included in the next update for all the phones since the camera is what makes the animojis possible.
Dapper Black Box I love supporting minority owned businesses as much as possible and this is a recent favorite I found for bae. Not only is the box put together by black men, but the products inside are all made by black men as well. Perfect for anyone who loves to dawn a suit and (bow)tie on the regular.
Old Navy Long Moto Jacket I tried this on in store when they had their first winter sale and it was so warm and comfy. Great for wearing to work! ON usually has a 50% off sale around and on Black Friday, so make sure to scoop this up then.
Girlfriend Collective Leggings These are THE BEST leggings I have ever had. They’re sliming, lifting, so comfy and made with sustainability in mind. You will never want to wear another pair. Trust me.
Radical Dream Pins Okay, so there are a lot of great pin makers out there, but my favorite so far has been Radical Dreams. Shipping is fast, the packaging is brand aligned and Tasha is just so talented. She also runs Black Pin Maker League for FREE to support other black pin makers. These gifts are such an easy stocking stuffer and there’s one for all personalities.
For the Secret Chef
Chrissy Teigen Cravings Besides the fact that everything Chrissy makes on Insta looks delicious, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Get this for the chef in your life, then plan a dinner party where they make a recipe (or three) from the book. They’ll get to throw down in the kitchen and your stomach will thank you.
Food Processor I may just be late to the party of this one, but a food processor should on every household counter. It’ll make chopping veggies and mixing ingredients so much easier.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet These take a bit more care than regular skillets, but I mean it when I say you will never buy another one again. Take care of this baby and you will keep it for life. My mom still has ones my grandma used with her mom growing up! Don’t forget the handle holders!
For the Magical (Natural) Black Girl
Eva NYC Hair Masque A new edition to my hair routine, I’m loving this product. Best of all it come in a 17 oz jar for only $12!
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle I am a product junkie to the max. I’ll try a new product real quick. Still, this conditioner is my holy grail, my one and only, my true love when it comes to co-washing. Best of all, it’s affordable. At $4 a bottle, this makes a great stocking stuffer for us natural girls with a lot of hair.
Hot Head Thermal Hair Care I’ve been eyeing this and it’s definitely on my list this year. I deep condition every week, but now that it’s getting colder out, some heat would do my hair some good for strength.
Curlformers or Flexi Rods If you’re buying these products for the natural in your life, don’t worry about how they’ll use them. That’s what YouTube is for. But if you feel led, look up some tutorials on YouTube and write down your favorites to share with the curly cutie in your life. Perfect way to add a personal touch.
Curl Friends Pin Full disclosure: I work for this brand, but I genuinely love this pin that celebrates, black women, our kinks and curls and friendship all rolled into one.
What’s on your holiday list? Let me know in the comments below!
This posts contains affiliate links for Amazon, but all thoughts and reviews are my own. Items not sold on Amazon are not affiliate links and are based on my own opinions.