Year of Wins

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By Veronica

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2019 is here, Besties!  Let me be the 100th person to say “Happy New Year” to you!  It’s something so special about the moment the clock strikes midnight on January 1st.  The new year is filled with such promise, such opportunity.  The beginning of a new chapter that is written, illustrated, and performed by you.  And I don’t know about you, but this fresh start is exactly what the doctor ordered. 

The past two years have been filled with challenges, growth, and transition.  I’ve lived through some of my darkest moments while experiencing miraculous blessings.  I’ve been strengthened in ways I didn’t even realize were weak.  Now, more than ever, I realize my potential to succeed.  This year, I am ready to win!

Now, I must be honest in saying that, in the past, I’ve often equated “wins” to luck.  I’d look at the successes of others and think, “dang, she always gets the good (man, job, body, trip, etc.)”.  I thought that maybe winning wasn’t something attainable for everyone.  Somebody’s got to lose, right? But, when I really thought about the people I consider to be in the winner’s circle, they all had some very similar characteristics.

  1. Winners have specific and measurable goals.  Winners are prepared for success.  They know where they are going, and how they will get there.  Winners study other winners.  Winners are always learning something new, and tweaking their craft.

  2. Winners expect to win. I am telling y’all!!  There is power in words.  You have the ability to envision and speak the things you wish to do/achieve, and those things will manifest. If I expect positive things to occur, I am motivated to persevere even when faced with challenges.  Perception is everything. 

  3. Winners work their ass off.  Winners try.  Winners do. Winners take risk.  In the end, your results come down to the amount of effort you are willing to put in.  When others are sleeping (figuratively and literally), winners are hard at hustle.

  4. Winners acknowledge EVERY win, big and small.  Small victories become big triumphs.  They are an important part of the journey. Winners build momentum by celebrating each step along the way.

  5. Winners looks for wins in moments of adversity.  Here’s the thing, the greenest grass comes with some hardship. Instead of seeing failure as a defeating loss, winners use the lesson as an opportunity to attain their goal on the next try. (Sidenote:  Winners stay in their own fucking yard.  Stop comparing your journey to those of others in 2019.  Seriously! You is kind.  You is smart.  You is important.  Spend more time perfecting your own shit, and relishing in your growth.) 

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In thinking about these observations, I realized that winning is less about chance and more about intention.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Some people are in the right place at the right time.  But even if luck gets you in the door, preparation and hard work is what will keep you at the table.  So the real question I need to ask myself is:

How badly do I want it?

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Wishing you a winning year, Besties!  What are some of your 2019 goals?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Love Without Fear,

Veronica

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In All Things Give Thanks

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‘Tis the Season…for Gratitude!

We are so fortunate to be partnering with Upscale Magazine. In the December 2018 issue (on stands now), we are featuring a few reasons we are so very grateful. Read below for a snippet from the article and get your copy today!

Eboni

Eboni

Eboni

“I stepped into this year with high hopes and landed in several pitfalls. From life changes in family dynamics and experiencing financial challenge to even loss of friends-each hit me like a hurricane. But I am grateful for it all-the setbacks, the uncertainty of my next steps, the tears. Who would be thankful for tough times? Someone like me.”

Tahlee

Tahlee

Tahlee

“Thank goodness for “framily”! One of my customers has adopted me into her family when I can’t get back to Chicago, and for that reason, I never have to worry about where I will spend the holidays.”

Ryan

Ryan

Ryan

“He has shown me what it really means to love and so much more! He is a true man, a great dad to our girls and the most fun travel buddy one could ever imagine! Terrance, thank you for helping me put things into perspective. Thank you for supporting me in my dreams.”

Veronica

Veronica

Veronica

“This year has taught me that, even though I try, I can’t do it all. Countless persons have stepped in and stepped up so that I can continue to work, get mommy breaks, and live life a little. They have made the load lighter, and that has made all the difference. “

Nikki

Nikki

Nikki

“The one thing that I live by-and challenge you to do as well-is to take the bumps and bruises that life gives us. Never sit in your grief, sorrow, anger, disappointment or whatever too long. You deserve happiness! Find the gratitude in it all. It’s there.”

Photographed by: Chuck Olu-Alabi

Why are you grateful? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Happy Holidays!

6 Things I Wish I Knew Happened After Having A Baby

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By Veronica

When I thought about having a baby BEFORE I actually had a baby, I visualized this cuddly, cute, small creature that smelled yummy and had the ability to literally change the atmosphere.  No one told me about all the other stuff!  The weird things that happen to your body after you give birth (as if labor weren't enough).  All the more proving that the woman body is a matchlessly amazing thing! 

I will preface these 6 things by saying while most of them may seem weird or outlandishly uncomfortable, this too shall pass and the joy received from your little one far surpasses any and all challenges.  Even with what I know now, I would gladly do it all again if it meant I got to be Bailey’s Mom.

1.  You are still pregnant…or at least it looks that way.

In the days and even weeks after your baby is born it is very likely that you will still have a very firm belly.  Do not be fooled by the Eniko Harts of the world!  Even with a relatively decent snapback situation, the after body looks very similar to the before.  I am presently 4 months postpartum and still on the struggle bus on the road to getting my body back.  I try to constantly be kind to myself, remembering that it took 10 months, a week, and a day to form this body…it’ll take time (a lot of time) to get it back.

2 Weeks Postpardum

2 Weeks Postpardum

2.    Bowels Be Trippin’!

Regardless of how your child comes into the world, be it vaginal or cesarean, the process of child birth shifts and changes the other organ's ability to handle bodily functions.  In layman’s terms, shitting is scary!  Like clinching the wall scary!  I have heard that some moms named their first poo because of the intensity and labor required!  Make Colace (stole softener) your bestie. 

3.     Fluids Runneth Over.

Mounds of fluids accumulate in your body to protect and sustain the life of your little one.  When that little one leaves your body, the fluids go too.  So the menstrual break you were on for the past 10 months is officially over…and it will make up for lost time as you will likely have a heavy period for the first several days.  Additionally, I had major feet swelling occur after birth for several days to the point that I could not fit my shoes.  Drinking water to flush the fluids out helped immensely.

4.     Breastfeeding is Hard AF.

Everyone talks about the benefits of breastfeeding…how it's good for your little one, how that bonding time in nursing offers a closeness that no one else has.  I wish I knew breast-feeding is NOT for the faint of heart!  First of all, latching is seldom a perfect process.  Bailey and I are just now getting a rhythm with it (4 months later).  And oh the pain of milk production (your milk “coming down”) and engorged boobs that leak!! If I didn’t know what a real contraction felt like, I’d say it’s the most painful thing.  And pumping…chile, that’s an entirely separate post!  Let’s just say, there are other things I’d rather do.  Try to find other breast-feeding mamas for support.  I attend a support group through the University of Chicago Hospital that has been very helpful.   There are several other support groups and lactation consultants.  You can also find support online.

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5.     Emotions! Emotions! Emotions!

The combination of imbalanced hormone levels and sleep deprivation will likely have your emotional state out of sorts.  Baby blues is REAL!  And it should be…you just had a WHOLE HUMAN for goodness sake!  Take time to rest when you can, step away from the baby from time to time, and talk to someone if it goes on for too long.

 

6.     There Isn’t ANYTHING Too Hard for Your Body.

A close friend of mine gave me some great advice before Bailey was born.  “It will be the hardest work you’ve ever done, but it won’t feel like it.”  Nothing in this process is too hard for your body to handle! You survived LABOR. You can survive ANYTHING!!  Even with my experiences as a new mom, I would like to have another baby(God willing).  It has truly been a wonderfully interesting ride, and I am so grateful to of had the opportunity to travel it!

Bailey and her PROUD Mama

Bailey and her PROUD Mama

What other things do you wish you knew about childbirth?  Or the process after?  I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments below!

Love Without Fear,

Veronica

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