You’re probably wondering why, but this blog post is a result of the article that will follow, 5 Red Wines For Beginners being written. During the course of writing, I wanted to share where my love for wine comes from, but I didn’t want to bother readers, who would come for the functionality of that article if they weren’t followers of my blog and didn’t care to know anything about me. So, I decided to share in a different blog post, rather than to mix the two. There’s certainly enough content to split, so here we are.

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We all have those apps that make our lives more interested or better or easier… So I thought I would share mine with you l. Keep in mind this list is in addition to WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

 

Toggl

This is a great app for time keeping. If you are working on a timed project, you can use toggl to track it and generate invoices. Definitely a plus to have as a freelancer.

 

Upwork

The UpWork app supports the websites. So you can do everything from job search to instant messaging.

 

WordPress 

I’m totally in love  with the WordPress app. I use it as much as any other social media app on my phone. It’s a breeze to manage multiple websites and blogs and to read and keep up with my favorite wordpress blogs.

 

Pocket

I love love love Pocket. It’s an app for saving articles for reading at a later time. It’s a reader’s right hand. 

Kindle

Yep! I love my kindle. Awesome to read on and quick buy for e-books.

Gmail 

I have a possibly embarrassing number of email addresses, but my business and personal emails are on GMail and GSuite.

 

Clue

This is a ladies app. Tracking the menstrual cycle. It’s wonderfully accurate. Psst! Used it after it was recommended by someone to get pregnant. Got pregnant month two. Recommended it to friend who got pregnant within the same time span. Soo… you know… haha. It’s good!

 

Remember The Milk

This one, I haven’t been using for very long but already hooked. It’s  an awesome to do list app. This is another that’s helpful to freelancers.

Google Keep

Google keep is awesome for notes and documents keeping that is available in the clouds. It’s a great way to share information in real-time with others as well.

 

Photogrid

This app has a lot of picture editing features that are quite useful. Resizing, editing, customizing, video creations, collages, etc.

 

Google Drive

Definitely a plus to keep important documents here. Plenty of time I’ve needed to send a quick email for one reason or another and this is where my important files are kept.

Do you know about any great apps you want to share?

P.S. This is not a sponsored post.

For a black woman of the tropics myself, wearing a full face of makeup daily is an absolute no-no. I just can’t do it. But most days, what does make it is at least a coat of foundation. I am a matte loving creature. If it’s matte or smoky, give it to me please, all day everyday...

Mind out of the gutter and focus! Lol.

Personally, I look for 4 things in my foundation;

  • Medium to full coverage
  • Matte
  • Durability
  • Lightweight
  • Look great in pics

I also need my foundation to be able to keep me fresh-faced for a trip to the store, and still give a stellar performance if I need to be beat to the gods. As you can see, my makeup needs simple and finite. I found all of them in the two foundations, I am about to recommend.

Maybelline Dream Matte Mouse

My Shade: Cocoa (Dark 3)

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This was my foundation for the last 2+ years. When I first bought it and I got a look at the packaging, I wondered what kind of rip off was this? But much to my satisfaction, a little product goes a very long way, it is truly a mousse like texture.

I didn’t think there was any other drugstore foundation this good. Beautiful colour (though not a complete match for me), light and airy, matte, and in pictures was a flawless. I could also get a decent (3-4 hours) before I would need to blot or touch-up. I didn’t look for anything else because I was completely happy with it. I still love it!

Maybelline Fit Me  Matte and Poreless

My Shade: Coconut (#355)

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So the other I decided to see what was on the market before getting my foundation. This doesn’t happen very often with my beauty product, because, well,… I am a creature of habit. If I find a product that supplies all my needs, I hold on for dear life. So when I came across this beauty, and the ravings about the perfect shade match, I thought now was a good a time as any to try it out.

When I put that first coat on, holey moley my spine danced! P.E.R.F.E.C.T. The shade is amazing, ladies. It’s matte, lightweight, a longer wear that than the Matte Mousse ( I got 8 hours very nicely) and is gorgeous in pics.It’s so beautiful I will be getting the dewy finish version as well.

I definitely recommend getting these two foundations for everyday wear.

It didn’t occur to me that I could freelance full-time while living in Jamaica until maybe a year ago. The services I offer are not only perfect, they are a needed skill set. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to get started but the more I thought about it, the more I was sure that is what I want to do. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but worth it.

Why?

When I became pregnant, my husband and I discussed childcare options and going back to work. We immediately discovered that we both preferred that I be our daughter’s primary caregiver and each had no idea when we’d prefer I get back to working. It was strange that we had not considered this before given how many times we had discussed children. At the end of the conversation, my husband decided he would leave the decision up to me. So there I was with the decision to make all by myself. I suspect he left the decision to me because while we both wanted me to stay with our baby as long as possible, we knew I am no a stay at home mom material, nor did I want to be a stay at home mom.

I considered three months, six months, a year… the only answer that kept jumping out at me was ‘when she can talk‘. I guess I just wanted her to be able to tell me if she was being mistreated. But what would I do til then? I spent the better part of my pregnancy chewing my friend’s ear off about a business idea that would allow me to make a decent income while hitching my baby on my side.

I decided to jump all in freelancing full-time. This would not only allow me to steer my own career, I could start working again sooner rather than later, which is a much needed plus. It’s also monumental that my daughter doesn’t need to go out to daycare, saving us the worry and costs associated. This route also allows me to continue to exclusively breastfeed.

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Working  From Home

Somewhere along the line it hit me that I did want to be a stay at home mother. Not the kind that was doing domestic duties all day, but I did want to work from home. I had a freelance business I would need start doing full-time pouring my time energy and effort into it if I wanted to be successful. I started this blog because I had a lot of time on my hands while I was pregnant and I wanted to rediscover my passion for writing. I had stopped and though I can’t recall why, I never lost my fire for reading. I also wanted to share my pregnancy journey because I felt there wasn’t enough blogs that recounted experiences from the perspective I would have liked as a first time mother. So I wrote/blogged and decided I wanted to work from home. There are so many benefits;

  • I can choose my clients and projects
  • Staying at home with my daughter
  • Contributing to our finances
  • Setting my own hours
  • Career flexibility and freedom

There has never been as many career paths and choices as there are today. I plan to take full advantage of that. What about you?

If you’ve ever worked hard to achieve anything, especially while facing adversity, you understand that adulthood and adulting has its perks, as well as its costs. For most of us, the average Jane or Joe, we go through different periods or phases in our lives that has either sped up so fast it leaves us in a tail spin, pulling at us in a fast pace to keep up or in some way creating a lull that is sometimes so deep, you actively seek a little pressure to insert in your life and dismantle the routine. This is just the way it works… each phase has its place.

Hers

I haven’t yet decided what period this is for our family and in particular, me, because well… it seems to be both. I’ve gotten a handle (somewhat) on the whole “mom-ing” 24/7 thing and working from home. Depending on how a particular day is going, I can just lift my head and it’s 4pm or wait for 12 hours and when I check the clock it says only 2 has passed. Such is the conundrum that plays out when one starts a new business and career from their living room, with an infant to be cared for who’s exclusively breastfed.

I’m always tired, looking for rest and sleep. That  ‘sleep when the baby sleeps‘ narrative has never worked for me. So all systems are go anywhere between 5 and 7, and by the time the day ends I’ve very little in the tank to take me past a child’s bedtime hour. That’s just over here on my end. My husband’s view is completely different. 


His

Three months before our daughter was born, he started post-graduate studies to become a specialist doctor in his field of passion. So in addition to several hours of studying he puts in prior to work which was the norm in our lives just because of his profession, he’s now also a full-time medical student as well as a full time working doctor and brand new father. With the rapid approach of the end of his first year of studies and major exams, his study sessions have increased tenfold, the addition of classes to his schedule. There simply isn’t enough time in a day, it would seem. It’s not unusual that he’s kept going by sheer willpower and coffee. In our house, our coffee maker is our friend. She’s part of the family…

Ours

Socially, our lives have lulled. No, that’s not true. Our social lives are currently so stagnant, they are virtually non-existent. Quite frankly, between now and the next few months, we just don’t have time for it. I am like a child praying for summer to arrive. Not that it will be a lot better, but I am hoping the edge won’t be as sharp. As close as we are, much of our time in the house together is in passing outside of a little family bonding time each/every other day.

This is nothing new. There is always a time and space in our lives when the work we put into advancing ourselves, our lives and careers light a fire under our rear and at least for a few weeks, suck our time and energy into a vacuum. This time, however, its been longer than I’ve ever experienced and longer still to go. 


Still, it is a conscious choice to adult, and when the cost of ambition knocks, you better answer that door and be ready to throw yourself at the mercy at whatever is on the other side. We must be ready face the opportunity costs.

Seven months ago when I started my blog, I had no idea where, if anywhere, I wanted it to go.  I was pregnant, bored and needed a creative outlet where I could share. So one day, I wrote a story about the morning I took that pregnancy test and got a positive. Then I wondered what to do with it.

It suddenly dawned on me that my husband had a blog where he wrote about football (soccer). Football is his passion so he wrote about the EPL and particularly Arsenal (that’s his team), and local football news surrounding the reggae boys. He’s even had his pieces published in the local newspaper a few times.

So I downloaded the app and published my first blog post. It was extremely surprising and enlightening how many people actually cared about what I was experiencing and writing about. The feedback was immediate, asking me when my next blog post would be, that they were “waiting” on it. People actually enjoyed my writing and were actively encouraging me to do something I’ve always wanted to do, write a book. I couldn’t believe it!

I used to write stories for my friends in the form of ‘series’ or a book where they would wait on the chapters back in high school, but at the time it was just something fun I did for my clique. Back then all I needed was my pen, notebook and my overactive imagination. Then, major exams  (CXCs) got in the way and I guess I forgot about it, how much I enjoyed it.


“Back then all I needed was my pen,  notebook and my over active imagination.”


Starting My Blog

After the first few posts on my pregnancy journey as a first time mom, a friend of mine asked if I was going to be a mommy blogger now. I scoffed. No way was I going to be writing just about pregnancy and motherhood. There’s so much more to me. So I began to write on my thoughts. My blog post The Modern Traditional Woman: The Married Individual was the first that seemed to gain traction outside my immediate circle. I thought wow! I’d been blogging less than a month when First Pregnancy Series: He’s Pregnant Too was published and brought double the number of views, I was ecstatic again. Within a few short weeks, my blog had attracted thousands of views. My husband decided to contribute a guest post, First Pregnancy Series: A Husband’s Perspective,  it brought hundreds of viewers for weeks. I enjoyed every minute of it!

So when I wondered what would be the theme of my blog, I had a dilemma. Every article or blog post l read suggested I pick a topic and stick to it. I wasn’t about to do that. So I’ve continued to blog about my life as it happens, opinions and topics of interest, even my freelancing.


Lifestyle Blog

I was content to have a theme-less blog, as long as I could keep writing on whatever interested me. After some research however, and some new topics I want to write on, it appears my blog does have a theme after-all. It’s a lifestyle blog!

So I will continue to write and add my life and experiences as they come. My blog is my space and if you’re reading this, you’re here. I love that you’ve come. I hope you stay…

Shan

 


When I had my baby, I was starting from ground zero on the knowledge of comfort scale. Most of the women I had giving me advice hadn’t had a baby in at least 10 years, so I kind of had to figure it out on my own as far as small comforts were concerned. So I’ve put together a list of things that helped me.

Pregnancy Pillow

My back pain started pretty early, around four months and is currently ongoing. I decided I wanted to try a pregnancy pillow. Wowzers, the difference it made! The shape I have not only completely alleviated my lower back pain, when my belly got bigger, it provided support and assisted with the pulling weight when I layed on my side. It is also currently functioning as support  (which I can’t do without when I nurse), so that’s another plus.

The drawback? It’s huge and takes up half of a queen size bed. We had to be very creative to  still manage to cuddle. If you know about Jamaica, you know the summer heat, is no joke! It was very uncomfortable when I needed the support but would sweat buckets being cocooned.

Where: I had made up my mind to have my mom make me one when I lucked out. I visited the Ping’s Half Way Tree store, and when I described what I wanted to make, the sales rep said she thought they may have one. She found 3, and I was able to purchase it there for JMD$3000. It was definitely a win!

This is the shape pillow I had, however, there are a wide variation of shapes.


Shea Butter Skin Mixture

I knew that moisture would be essential if I was going to have any hope of limiting stretch marks, but instead of relying on manufactured creams, I made my own. MOISTURE is imperative, not just oil. I bought unrefined Shea  Butter, coconut oil and olive oil and made a mixture that I used everyday on my breasts, belly, sides and lower back. I would encourage you to add your hips to your own regimen.

Where: Olive and coconut oil can be found virtually anywhere on the island. Shea butter a little more scarce. I bought mine on Amazon for USD$14.95 and had it shipped through ShipMe. I paid Shipme around $1000+ to collect. ( They charge per pound.) The good news is I have been using this EVERYDAY since March 2016 and have since made two of the containers (shown below). The second container is not yet finished and I’ve also been using the product in my baby’s hair for a few weeks now (It does wonders for a dry patch her scalp has). I also still have enough Shea Butter left to make another container or two of product.

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin

This little tube of product saved me from screaming bloody murder while my nipples got used to breastfeeding. I would never attempt to go without it if I had another child. It’s  safe for baby and doesn’t need to be removed before feeding (I removed it anyway and reapplied). It’s also great for chapped lips! It’s now a handbag favorite. It’s only 1.41 oz of product but a little goes a long way. I am still on my first tube though I no longer need it for breastfeeding (3 1/2 months later).

Where:  It costs USD$8.73 on Amazon and will be about $JMD800+ to collect through ShipMe. (Tip: Don’t order it alone. It’s better to order something else you may need to make up the one pound weight ShipMe charges for.)

Lansinoh Stay-Dry Nursing Pads

These are awesome! You can put them in your bra or stick them onto a close fitting top or dress if you want to go braless. They really do keep you dry. I never notice if my breasts have been leaking until I notice the difference in the weight of the pad. It never ever, ever feels wet.

Where: Amazon. It’s USD$9.99 for a box of 100 and like I said, if you don’t leak, or do very little, you can just pop them back in to re-use.

Silicone Breast Pump

So you know when your breasts are engorged and folks casually suggest express by hand? Nope, nope, nope, nope and oh yea… NOPE! It’s PAINFUL! Not to mention you’re there enduring all this pain for two drops of milk to casually drip. Nope! When I tried to find a pump locally, I found myself facing JMD$7000 price tags for single manual pumps. Again, nope! Considering I only pump if I’m engorged or need to go on the road for hours, I wasn’t about that life. I decided to try a silicone pump. This is sooo good! Hassle free and it’s great to take the edge off when engorged. The cap is only good to keep milk covered so watch out. If it turns over, all your milk is gone. I transfer to a bottle immediately so I’ve never had an accident.

Where: Amazon. It cost USD$13 .00 and is light (for ShipMe reference).


Ovia Pregnancy App 

I loved this app. It gives bits  of helpful information everyday and week as well as an update of what you can expect regarding symptoms each coming  week. There are helpful tips for alleviating them (symptoms), a community where you can ask questions and a cute little hand diagram that compares the approximate size of your baby’s hand in relation to the hand size at birth.

Where: Google Play  and Apple Stores. It’s free!

I hope this helps someone and congratulations on your baby!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post.