Sunday, October 25, 2020

Love: Setting a Wedding Date and the Planning Process!

Yes, you are engaged! Let the celebration begin. This is one of the most important times of your life. You are in extreme bliss! But how do you go about setting a wedding date? Where do you start, and how do you plan for this very special occasion? It all can be a little overwhelming if you do not know where to start. Here are 8 tips to consider when setting a wedding date and planning for your special day. They are as follows:

  1. Enjoy Your Engagement- What's the rush? The engagement process is meant to be blissful. During the wedding planning process, some of the enjoyment you feel during the engagement takes a back seat. Not intentionally, but usually there are more task to complete than what is initially intended to make your special day successful. So enjoy the engagement process. Your spouse will thank you later.
  2. Do Your Research- It is important to complete research on setting a wedding date and the wedding planning process. In doing this, you will be able to identify areas that need more time, and provide you and your spouse with a general outline in what works for you. But you have to be willing to put in the work. Research can be completed by: getting information from others who have completed the wedding process, internet, wedding planning sites, and/or books. Internet sites like, "Zola" and "The Knot" allow you to complete all of your planning and processes in one location. You will surely find a resource which will assist you.
  3. Enjoy the Planning Process- So, I am speaking from experience, sometimes you can bite off more than you can Trying to set a wedding date and planning can be a strenuous process. Everyone is experiencing different phases in life. What you may have been able to complete last year, may not be realistic for you this year. Speak up and ask for assistance. If it is in your budget, allow people who have experience and expertise in certain areas to help. The planning process is not as seamless as you may think. You want the process to be as enjoyable as possible. 
  4. Allow Yourself Enough Time to Plan- Time is of the essence, and many people get in over their head when enough time is not given to set a date and plan a wedding appropriately. There are many factors to consider when planning. A few are: location, distance from the venue for guest and wedding party, number of people in your wedding party, and number of guest attending your wedding. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has given us a little assistance in this area. Wedding party numbers have been small and intimate due to this pandemic.
  5. Choosing Your Wedding Party- Here are a few things to consider when choosing your wedding party. Your wedding party size and home location of the people in your wedding is a huge factor for your special occasion. Travel, accessibility, and wedding party participants budgets need to be considered. This can indirectly push back the wedding date and/or increase the wedding cost. It depends on how desperately you want certain persons in attendance and your cash flow. It is important to be financially honest in this area to stay on budget. Also remember, Covid-19 has impacted people who normally would be OK to assist in your nuptials. Keep realistic expectations for your union. There are many non-financial ways people can contribute to your wedding. 
  6. Variables in the Planning Process- So this information is for my type A personality Nothing is concrete in picking a wedding date and completing the wedding planning process. So rest assure, some flexibility is needed. Check off list are great as a guide, but many things can effect and change your completion list. Some examples include: weather, change in final guest list count, sickness, and etc. Please know these variations are not all inclusive, but are examples of some moving parts that may occur. So relax, and know this is a form of normalcy.
  7. Settling On a Date- When setting a wedding date consider the season, time of day, location, travel and holiday requirements. What is the season you and your spouse would like to marry? When picking a location consider traffic and accessibility. How are flights around the time of year you want to tie the knot? Is it during a holiday season when many people will be shelling out a lot of cash and travel expenses are high? Ultimately, the date chosen for your special day is up to you and your spouse? Although these are questions to keep in mind, remember whatever date you set for your special occasion should ultimately work for your union.
  8. Set a Budget- This can be a fickle area. We know every girl has a dream wedding in mind. But think, is your dream wedding worth starting your marriage in debt. That is not a blissful beginning. Know your max budget, and stick with it. Also, know there are many areas you can cut back on in cost and still have a swanky wedding. Why not save coins? This is where research and a little DIY may come in handy. 
Remember, the end goal is for you to enjoy your wedding nuptials with your spouse and prepare for a long lasting life together. Know you will be surrounded by family and friends who will love and cherish your union. Even if the wedding day doesn't go smoothly, you have now joined union with the spouse of your dreams.You and your mate will enjoy the wedding planning experience and your union even more. Good luck! You got this😉!

* These 8 tips on setting a wedding date and starting the planning process is not all-inclusive. Rather it is information to get you thinking through the process. What guidelines did you use to plan for your big day, and how did it work for you? Please subscribe via e-mail on the right, and leave a comment in the comment section below.  As always, thanks for reading and subscribing! *

Monday, October 19, 2020

Life: Counseling and Support Groups in Minority Cultures

Let us discuss a topic which is is not spoken about in many cultures. Let us speak about counseling and support groups in the minority culture. For the sake of this blog, I will be focusing on the black community. I know I may receive a lot of flack for this one! During the current climate we live in, I feel this is a topic which needs addressing. 

Why is counseling in the black community taboo? Why does any form of counseling have a negative connotation? Do not get me wrong, we have come a long way, but have a long way to go when seeking outside assistance. "On average, White Americans are two times more likely to go to counseling than their African American counterparts (Carouthers, Zacchaeus. There's a Stigma with Counseling in the African-American Community. January 30th, 2014 (18 October 2020).

Pathway Clip Art

What is your opinion on support groups? Are they OK? In our culture, these topics are not spoken of very freely and are shunned. Many conversations are lacking in this area for fear of being labeled as weak, crazy, or having the inability to cope with life. The funny thing is, although there is a current stigma with counseling and support groups in the black community, there has always been some type of support within our culture. They take on the form of barber shops, beauty shops, coaches, pastors, and/or family members. 

So why is seeking assistance outside of our community looked down upon? I believe this thought process stems from history and has never evolved completely. In past history, the inner circle was the only assistance available for the black community. Currently, group support and counseling availability reaches far beyond the walls of our community. Furthermore, assistance can be beneficial in coping with life changes, trauma, and individual growth. Lets explore the difference between the two types of assistance.

  1. Counseling- Is defined as the provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties ("counseling." Oxford Languages, 2020. (18 October 2020)). Counseling may include:
    1. One-on-one sessions- This is a good option if you have an issue speaking openly in a group setting.
    2. Temporary assistance compared to long term therapy- You will receive guidance for a short duration and your sessions will be completed.
    3. Goal setting and providing tools to achieve these goals- Goals will assist you in the problem solving aspect of life changes, trauma, and/or individual areas needing growth.
    4. Provides an objective view of areas needing assistance- Outside counseling provides privacy and gives an objective view of area needing improvement.
    5. Usually a counselor is an expert in the area you are seeking assistance-You are given a piece of mind knowing they have experience in the area you are seeking guidance.
  2. A Support Group- Is defined as a group of people with common experiences or concerns who provide each other with encouragement, comfort and advice ("support group." Oxford Languages, 2020. (18 October 2020)). A support group may include:
    1. Multiple people in 1 session- Also can be completed in one-on-one sessions.
    2. Temporary or long term support- Usually a support group is always present. Number of meetings to attend are not solidified. You may attend when support is needed.
    3. Does not encompass goal setting- Life experiences are exchanged. Also, comfort and advise may be given. Sometimes goals are given as a group, but usually goals are set per individual based on individual needs.
    4. Experiences may be similar to other attendees- Usually there are different levels of experience present in a support group. This allows the group to share on different levels of the healing process. This is not a definite set-up for a support group.
    5. A Support group may not be managed by an expert- Usually the group is managed by someone who has experience in the area of focus.

Any assistance you choose, counseling and/or a support group will result in growth. If any form of assistance results in growth, why the negative stigma? Why is an individual viewed as weak, crazy, or unable to handle daily life when seeking assistance outside the minority culture? Why do we prefer to struggle rather than seek help? In actuality the opposite is true. It takes real courage to be vulnerable and say you need assistance. Whether this assistance is for life changes, trauma, and/or individual growth. There are many private forums available, including telephonic and via web if you do not want to be seen seeking assistance. 

The reality is, speaking openly on personal issues, indirectly gives others support, hope, and the strength to speak out . Also, being vocal may prevent generational cycles from being repeated in our culture. How can a cycle be broken, if the next generation does not know what needs to be changed? Being vocal doesn't make you weak, it may earn you more respect for speaking out on an issue, and you may realize you have more in common with someone than what you thought. 

How do we make it OK to speak about counseling or needed support groups in our culture? We can let individuals know they are not alone, and it is OK to be verbal. This can be done by actions and speaking freely about feeling. If you are not use to speaking freely, this will not just happen over night. It takes practice and an open mind. Also, when individuals do have the courage to reach out, do not shun them and let them know its OK to be vocal. If you are uncomfortable in the area of topic, point them in the correct direction of assistance in the area needed. We do not always need to have the answers, but should know some supportive resources. Usually work, insurance carriers, local churches, and hospitals have free information on support groups and counseling. Also, the internet is a very useful search tool to find counseling and support groups. 

As a community the negative stigma of seeking help needs to be broken. The negative labeling of individuals speaking out needs to cease. This can be achieved by our community by working together as a whole. Be vocal and project positivity on counseling and support groups everywhere. Remember, it took a lot of courage for the individual to ask for assistance. If change occurs one person at a time, it will be a start. Let a positive change start with you!

*The information above is on counseling and support groups. The information provided is not all inclusive, but a starting point. Please subscribe via e-mail on the right, and leave a comment in the comment section below. As always, thanks for reading and subscribing!*

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Life: Banana Blueberry Pancakes ( from scratch)

Who does not like pancakes? There are many variations of this breakfast item. The possibilities are endless. The breakfast item we are going to be working on today is my favorite. Banana blueberry pancakes from scratch. Although they don't taste like grandma's pancakes, they are pretty good. Lets get started!

  1. Here are the items you will need to gather to complete this recipe. They are:
    1. 2 cups of all purpose flower 
    2. 4 teaspoons of baking powder
    3. 1 teaspoon of salt
    4. (optional) 1 tablespoon of white sugar 
    5. 1.5 cup of unsweetened almond milk
    6. 2 eggs
    7. 4 table spoons of  melted butter
    8. 2 fresh bananas ( I prefer soft and semi ripened)
    9. 1 cup of fresh blueberries
    10.  and a cinnamon stick (cinnamon spice will work too)
  2. A few thing to remember when mixing ingredients togetherMix dry ingredients together in one bowl, then mix wet ingredients together in another bowl and combine the two. If this is not done, mixing is made difficult. Also, I find spices and flavors are not distributed equally. Now that you know this little tid-bit, we are ready to start the recipe😊!
  3. First- Mix together in a large bowl (dry ingredient bowl) flour, baking powder, salt, (optional-sugar), and cinnamon. This can be done by sifting and/or using a hand mixer.
  4. Second- In a separate bowl (wet ingredient bowl) blend unsweetened almond milk, 2 eggs, 4 table spoons of melted butter, 2 fresh bananas and hold the blueberries on the side (optional to blend with wet bowl). The reason sugar is optional, if using ripened bananas this will automatically sweeten the batter. Adjust sugar amount to your taste buds.
  5. Next- Mix your wet and dry bowls together. Make a well in the center of your dry bowl and pour in your wet bowl mixture. Mix until batter is smooth.
  6. Then- Heat a lightly oiled frying pan on medium heat. I do not use butter in this process because I add it afterwards and it makes it optional for others. Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup of batter in the center. Use this measurement for each pancake. Brown pancake on one side. As your batter is up facing you on the  non-browned side, sprinkle in fresh blueberries. Then flip to brown blueberry side. This step prevents the blueberries from turning the pancakes blue. If you do not mind blue pancakes, you may mix in the blueberries with the wet ingredients and omit this part of the process.
  7. (Optional)As pancakes come out of the frying pan hot, apply melted butter on top. Make sure to spread butter evenly. As you add each pancake repeat the process. Slice up 1 extra banana. Spread sliced bananas and fresh blueberries on top of each serving. Toppings are endless for this pancake dish. 
  8. FinallyAdd syrup of your liking. Each individuals amount and brand may very. Voila, you have completed your banana, blueberry pancakes!

*What is your favorite pancake recipe? Just a reminder, the banana blueberry pancake recipe is not a quick one, but becomes easier to make over time with practice. Just a quick note for those with dietary restrictions, this recipe is not low carb, low fat, or high fiber. But modifications can be made to achieve those dietary restrictions. Please subscribe via e-mail on the right, and leave a comment in the comment section below. As always, thanks for reading and subscribing!*

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Life: Love, Life, & Work Balance!

How many individuals place happiness before their career? How many people think they would never walk down the isle? Many healthcare professionals are career focused, and believe marriage is not an option. Many working females feel they have to choose between work and life, or at least keep them separate in order to achieve work success. Many healthcare professionals work endless overtime hours to ensure other peoples love-ones are healthy. Love and life are placed on the back burner in this career field. The current pandemic makes us realize the importance of the balance between love, life and work. Here are 5 helpful tools to keep love, life, and work balanced. They are as follows:

  1. Figure out what is important to you- In balancing love, live, and work you should pick which one has the highest importance to you. An example would be: An employee who is more focused on a new born and home life. This would fall in the life category.  Doesn't mean the individual devalues work, but extra hours are not allowed at this time. Does this mean this person is a less stellar employee than the next? No, their balance has shifted on what is the most important out of the 3 areas.
  2. Be mindful of what is important to others- Get to know fellow coworkers. I'm not saying be nosy, but figure out what is important to them. Not only can their skills be used in the area of importance, it will decrease the chance you ask them to do something in an area that isn't their focal point. You might be surprised of individuals strength and focus areas (love, life, & work)!
  3. Know your limits- Some people have a happy medium and will be successful in balancing all three areas (love, live, & work). These individuals are rare😃! Know your limits and try not to take on too much responsibility. Make sure you communicate your limits. Lack of communication and too much responsibility will cause failure in all 3 areas. Setting limits does not make you less valuable.
  4. Find happiness in everything you do- Happiness is a state of mind. But it makes balancing appear more achievable. Why not enjoy the process? It is normal to shift importance of categories throughout life. As shifting occur, being stressed and uncomfortable is normal. But you will be an expert in the new category of focus in no time. Just remember to limit your goals to set yourself up for success.
  5. Mark small achievements- I have mentioned this in a prior blog, achieving small goals make you feel you can accomplish bigger ones. An example in this area is shifting from one area of importance to another. The life area was important prior because your children were school age. Now they are in college and your balance focus switches to the work and love areas. Transition can appear unachievable. Reward yourself for the small achievements accomplished in the new areas of focus. Before you know it, you have accomplished a big goal in the new area.

*These are 5 tools you can use to assist in the balance of love, life and work. How do you balance these categories? Please subscribe via e-mail on the right, and leave a comment in the comment section below. As always, thanks for reading and subscribing!*

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Life: Quick Salmon-Shrimp Recipe!

 Who doesn't like fish and shrimp? There are a plethora of ways to make fish. No wonder it's the go to dish in our house. Being full of nutrients is an added bonus! I want to share with you an easy salmon-shrimp recipe you can complete in 5 steps. The recipe is as follows: 

  1. First: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.While oven is heating, take out a whole piece of fresh salmon with skin, and defrosted fresh shrimp. Cut Salmon into 1/4 sections after cleaning. During this time, clean defrosted shrimp.
  2. SecondCoat medium size baking pain with olive oil, and black pepper. Place sectioned salmon in pan, skin side down. Add additional spices of your choice on top of salmon. My spices of choice are lemon juice, and a Mrs. Dash lemon/garlic spice blend.
  3. Third: While waiting for the oven to heat, slightly saute shrimp on stove stop. Use olive oil on low heat as the base. Add minced garlic during this process. This process should take 5 to 10 minutes. Place saute shrimp on top of fish in baking pan.
  4. Fourth: The oven should be ready to go. Cover pan with foil and baked fish for 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Fifth (Optional): Make avocado chive dip. For this sauce you will need 1/4 cup of sour cream, a 1/2 cup of melted chive cream cheese, and 1/4 cup of frozen avocado chunks. Blended all 3 of these ingredients together. You may adjust these 3 ingredients to your liking. 

* The end result is a delicious salmon-shrimp dish! Meal takes 35 to 40 minutes to complete. The second day the leftover shrimp was used to make a salad. Please share some of your quick-go-to recipes in the comment box below. You can subscribe via e-mail in the column on the right. As always, thank you for reading, sharing, and subscribing😊.*