Be Kind to Yourself

Be Kind to Yourself

Self-care posts on the internet are a dime a dozen. Each and every person has their own strategy to establish and implement self care. I even have ’em. Face masks at night, reading a good book, going on a walk, etc.

But perhaps the most important self care tip I have to reiterate to myself is kindness.

I am a bit of a perfectionist. Don’t do the white glove test at my house – because I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning. But when it comes to doing it all and being the best I can be, I leave little room for grace.

I overload my weekends with chores. I make a to-do list that is impossible to accomplish, and then on Sunday night when I’ve done nothing out of the twenty, I feel overwhelmed. It’s hard to even start when there is so much to do.

Be Kind to Yourself

Monday’s are my favorite days in the office. I go into work with my coffee and I sit down, schedule out a few things, and open up my email, and then make a to do list. Sometimes the list is incredibly long. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but like my dad always says – you’ve gotta eat your pancakes. You eat that elephant one bite at a time. etc.

Unless of course, your body says no.

I woke up from an unexpected two hour nap at 6pm. On a Sunday night. I You know what my Sunday night plans were? To cross off all the chores on my to-do list because I hadn’t been at my house long enough to do more than sleep in a week. My pancake stack was 50 pancakes high. Clothes were everywhere (they’re mine.) Books were everywhere (also mine.) And what was one my pristine office is suddenly overflowing with STUFF. For someone who has been on a material purge lately, I turn around and stuff is still everywhere.

But instead I accidentally took a nap. I never nap. So when I fall asleep unexpectedly, I know it’s my body telling me I need more rest. Rather than be annoyed that I accomplished nothing, I have to allow myself that space. If my body says, “SLOW DOWN YOU ARE TIRED” then I have to slow down. I spent a collective 30 hours driving in a car last week, battled a sinus infection/cold, spoke on a panel and attended two fundraising dinners. Without stopping. There was a lot going on.

I just want to insert a shout out here to all my mom-friends. I don’t know how you do it. I’m so whiny when I’m tired, and I know the tired I experience is not anywhere close to the sleep deprived exhaustion you face every day. Y’all are the real MVPs.

What I’m saying is this: keep yourself healthy. Listen to your soul. Does your soul need a social media break? Does your soul need a mental health day? Listen to your body. Does your body need broccoli? Does your body need a nap? If you can’t take care of your soul and your body, you can’t be kind to yourself. You can’t be 100% there for your friends and family. You can’t 100% enjoy your life.

So be kind to yourself. Throw away the to do list and take a nap. (Or just put the to do list off to the side until later.)

Be Kind to Yourself

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Halloween Costumes for Interracial Couples

Halloween Costumes for Interracial Couples

Last year on Halloween, we opted to stay on the couch and Netflix it up instead of go to any party. In effort to avoid the “old married couple” stigma that we actually embody, we are giong to try to attend a Halloween party or two.

If you follow me on Instagram (which you totally should if you don’t @christinamush) you may remember a poll I posted in my Instastories concerning a certain Halloween costume for the Mr. and me.

Being an interracial couple gives us a new, fun, and different dynamic when it comes to Halloween costumes. I mean sure, we could dress up as superheroes and whatever, but why not use our contrasting skin tones to our advantage?

Celebrity Dopplegangers

Kimye

 

I saw a couple from my college do this awesome costume coupling. It was hilarious, and I loved it. All you have to do is buy some ripped up clothes for Kanye, stuff a pillow in your butt to be Kim K, and carry around babydolls. Don’t forget to look like you’re disgusted by everything (Kanye) and don’t forget to only duck face – never smile (Kim K.)

John Legend and Chrissy Tiegen

 

Mr. M says, “How the heck would we do this? You’re not even Thai.” This is true, and I don’t want to culturally appropriate anything. So if you’re an interracial Thai/black couple, this one is perfect for you. John Legend – wear a black suit and carry a keyboard around. Chrissy Tiegen – wear a swimsuit and carry Taco Bell around.

Food Related Fun 

Salt & Pepper

 

You can always do the stereotypical salt and pepper shakes. For a cheap way to pull it off, wear a white and black shirt, respectively. Print “Salt” and “Pepper” on paper and attach it to your shirt. If you have a baby, you can make that little guy Paprika. (Thanks for the idea, Blue’s Clues.)

S’mores 

 

Chocolate and marshmallow goodness with graham crackers?! If that doesn’t say fall, I don’t know what does. Not only is the smores costume adorable and fun, it’s an easy go to. Cut out cardboard to make graham cracker sides, don a brown shirt and a white tee and you are all set!

TV Show Characters

Winston Bishop and Aly Nelson (or any other New Girl character, really)

 

This is the one I’m rooting for personally for Mr. M and myself this year. Even though he doesn’t know who Aly is yet, I’m a fan of a) buying policeman costumes and b) seeing my husband personify his alter ego- Winston Bishop. They even have the same facial hair!

But I digress.

To pull this off, you can get policeman outfits OR dress the real life Winston up with a bird shirt. To pull off Aly, you just get to wear comfy clothes. Or to be Jessica Day, find a fun shirt, some glasses, flats, and a quirky attitude.

Jackson Avery & April Kepner

 

This is possibly the easiest one to pull off. Buy labcoats; people will think you’re doctors. You get to correct them. Yes, we’ve dressed up like doctors. But we are also Grey’s Anatomy characters. Bonus points: you get to make out a lot.

Have any other fun costumes? If you’re in an interracial relationship, drop your costume ideas below! 

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When You Call my Husband the N-Word

When You Call My Husband the N-Word

You could say that I invited ourselves into this situation. There was a festival a few counties down the road that I wanted to go to for the last several years, and this was the year.

It was a rural county where the KKK is rumored to meet on occasion.

But my husband is the type who doesn’t allow fear to dictate his choices. So he sweetly obliged to his wife and set out to go to the festival with me, knowing he may very well be the only black person around.

The moment we got out of our car and started to walk towards the festival, we received a few stares. Hand in hand, we walked with the confidence and love a newlywed has. We fell in step behind a lesbian couple and their kid.

The streets were crowded with white people and hispanics; I kept my eyes peeled for anyone else who may look like my husband, keeping a running tally in my head.

We stopped at a vendor to say hello to a friend when a white man approaching, muttered the n word under his breath.

My head snapped around, heat rising to my face, my heart pounding furiously. I bore a hole in the back of his head, wishing he would turn around. If looks could kill. . .

I calculated the risk in my head. He was 8 inches taller than me and looked like he worked a manual labor job. If I punched him in the face I could either get pummeled, arrested,or worse. We were in rural, open carry East TN.

If I yelled at him to turn around, what could I say? I rehearsed my vehement monologue in my head.

Sir, when you call my husband the n word, you reduce him from a human to a one dimensional victim of prejudice.

You negate his humanity with your racism.

You disregard his soul, his thoughts, his being.

When You Call My Husband the N-Word

If your family were too poor to have a Thanksgiving dinner this year, my husband would be the one to set you up through a food drive. He is a respected man in the community, both secular and within the church.

He is the type of man who sees an old lady with a cane in the grocery parking lot, and loads her cart full of groceries in the car for her.

He stops in the street when he feels Holy Spirit to compel him to pray for a stranger.

He has been known to send money to a friend he met years ago at a conference, who is still struggling to make ends meet.

He contributes to his family’s ministry – a ministry that provides education, food, and wells for the impoverished, widows, and orphans in his father’s village in Zimbabwe.

He loves furiously and graciously. If he heard you, he would turn the other cheek.

When You Call My Husband the N-Word

But I can’t. I can’t allow myself to turn the other cheek. Because you and I have something he doesn’t have – white privilege.

You say what you want without worrying about the consequences. The freedom of speech only applies to the privileged.

I can be outraged and heard. I have the privilege to react. Should my husband react in the slightest, the rest of the white community would respond with their own political protest.

Respect the flag. Look at what this country has given you. 

This country has given him opportunities, but made it exceedingly difficult as a Zimbabwean immigrant to do so.

This country has given him freedom, but only freedom to move within the parameters we as a white community has set for him.

This country has given him privilege, but only the privilege he has carved for himself by standing up straight, being respectful in his tone at all times, dressing near-business casual, even if he is just going to the grocery store.

When You Call My Husband the N-Word

He carries himself in a way that makes the white people say, “He’s not like the others. He wears a belt.”

He speaks in a way that makes the ignorant say, “Wow, for growing up in Africa, your English is impeccable!” (English is an official language of Zimbabwe.)

But when you call my husband the n word, you take away the blank space of knowing and opportunity and instead fill it with the graffiti of your hate.

When you call my husband the n word, you reduce yourself.

You become one dimensional.

Maybe you’re a family man. Perhaps you love fiercely and work hard, just like my husband. I’m sure you laugh in moments of joy, and you’ve cried when you’ve lost something dear.

Your heart beats like the rest of us.

But all is lost within the label you’ve created for yourself.

Racist.

When you take away the humanity of someone else, you lose a piece of your humanity as well.

 

 

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Your Body Shouldn’t be Your Kryptonite

Friends! I am so pumped to share one of my all-time favorite encouraging bloggers with you. Megan writes for Apron Strings and Sticky Fingers, but she has gladly done a switcharoo with me. (After you read today’s post, head over to her page to read about Life’s Transitions!)  Today I have her on Hugs & Lattes to share an important topic that 97% of us women struggle with: Body Image.

Negative Body Image is something I started to encounter in my post-grad adult years. So I turned to my dear friend, Megan, to encourage us and speak into our lives about loving our bodies. She is a gorgeous lady with a gorgeous heart, so I am thrilled she is gracing my page with her wisdom!

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

I was thrilled when Christina asked me to write a post on this topic because basically it’s my thing. You know how you have that one thing (or maybe multiple things if you’re a teeny bit of a hot mess) that always slip you up. That one thing that is your kryptonite, your weakness, the devil’s foothold in your life?

Yep that’s body positivity for me. Or really the lack thereof.

For those of you who know me, you know I’ve got a little bit of history with loving my body. We haven’t always been the best of friends. Back in high school I developed an eating disorder and was trapped in a terrible cycle of restrictive eating, obsessive calorie counting and not very fun amounts of exercising (although to be honest no amount of exercising is really fun.)

 

Looking at photographs of myself back then always horrifies me because I can still remember how awful I felt and how much I hated my body, when in reality there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. I was a waif. I was wasting away day by day. I was so painfully insecure and I thought changing the shape of my body would fix that.

 

Well five years on and I am happy to say that God has done a marvelous job of healing the damage I caused. I’m at a happy weight (very happy thanks to my love of chocolate.) I no longer restrict what I eat or exercise like a mad woman. And most days I can genuinely say that I love my body.

 

But this body loving stuff…it’s hard work. And nothing is more annoying than someone saying just love yourself. As if it’s as easy as flipping a switch.

 

If you are really struggling with body positivity you need more than just an airy fairy answer, you need some practical ways to make this change. So I wanna share a few things that have worked for me.

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

 

How to love your body:

 

Be mindful with the media you consume

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

Stop reading women’s magazines.

 

Bummer I know because it’s fun seeing what Beyonce’s mansion looks like or who Jennifer Aniston is gonna marry next but these magazines are the worst.

Not only are they airbrushed, photoshopped and touched up so that nobody is even the slightest bit real. They also promote fad diets, body shaming and food fear. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Get rid of the fitspo

Hands up if you are guilty of having one of those fitspiration pinterest boards…because I sure was. A little bit of motivation never hurt anyone but the just do it, go hard or go home, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels (lies!) stuff is one of my pet peeves.

 

Exercise should be about feeling good, not going until you pass out from exhaustion. I say get rid of the fitspo.

 

And while you are at it, unfollow all of those fitness models on instagram. They’re just trying to sell you gross skinny teas and that nasty chalk dust, protein powder anyway.

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

Surround yourself with truth

First of all by reading what God says about you because obviously that’s the truest words you’ll find.

But secondly, follow body positive and encouraging people on social media. Fill up your newsfeeds and timelines with people of all different races, shapes and sizes. Broaden your definition of beautiful.

 

Stop trying to fit into your clothes

 

You know that pair of skinny jeans that are a little too tight around the thighs and make you feel awful every time you struggle to zip them up? Yeah well they’ve got to go.

 

Stop feeling guilty for not fitting your clothes. You are constantly growing and changing and so is your body…it just means an excuse to go shopping!

Your Body Should Not Be Your Kryptonite

Treat your body with respect

 

This one is kind of intuitive. You know what your body needs best. Start listening and taking cues from it.

Try to eat a vegetable every once in awhile. Make time for exercise that you love. Drink plenty of water. Sleep as much as you can. Laugh often and much.

 

You’ve only got one body so you should probably take good care of it!

 

Every time I’m having one of those days where I’m feeling especially crappy because my skin is breaking out or my hair’s a mess, I remind myself that right now I’m in my prime, this is the best I’m ever gonna look, it’s all downhill from here.

 

Right now I can get away with eating another piece of cake and not putting on foundation and sweeping my hair into a ponytail but one of these days that won’t be the case.

 

One day I’m gonna be wrinkly and need mascara to make my lashes even visible. I’m gonna be wobbly and unable to enjoy a brisk walk. And I’m gonna be on a bunch of medication that probably means I can’t eat as much cheesecake.

So I’ve decided that I’m gonna enjoy these fresh faced twenty-something years and not let a pimple or bad hair day stop me from living fully.  

 

Love your body but remember it’s simply a shell that holds all of the rest of you.

 

Megan is the sunny personality behind Apron Strings and Sticky Fingers a lifestyle blog for twenty-somethings who are learning to become the best versions of themselves. Megan is a sucker for cute shoes and paperback books and she lives all the way at the bottom of the world in New Zealand. If you wanna connect with her, you’ll find her on Twitter, Instagram and of course on her blog.  

 

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Funny Marriage Quirks & How to Handle ’em

Funny Marriage Quirks & How to Handle 'em

I remember while preparing myself for marriage I read a lot of marriage books, listened to podcasts, etc. In fact, I still read marriage books, listen to podcasts, etc. Because are you ever really ready for marriage?

Marriage is a lifetime of learning and relearning things about yourself and your spouse.

Because Mr. M and I chose not to live together before we got married, we got to learn about each other’s living habits after the honeymoon.

Funny Marriage Quirks & How to Handle 'em

A Clean Kitchen is a Sexy Kitchen 

I didn’t realize how much of a clean freak I would turn into after we got married. It’s not that I’m a clean freak per se, but I’m quite miffed by a dirty kitchen. When I lived by myself, I had no one to blame but me. If I didn’t do the dishes for two days, that’s my own dang fault. Now that there are two of us, I’ve turned into a dishes nazi. I like to come home to a clean kitchen, go to bed with a clean kitchen, and wake up to a clean kitchen.

This was likely an adjustment for Mr. M, considering he had seen a messy person at work for the two and a half years before we lived together.

Don’t Move the Chargers 

The other day I took a phone charger out of the car and forgot to put it back. My husband is so gracious, though. He didn’t actively act annoyed with me even though I knew he probably was. He’s so kind in his responses that it encourages me not to go ballistic when one little thing goes wrong.

Funny Marriage Quirks & How to Handle 'em

To Speak, or Not to Speak

A list of times to not talk to my husband about serious things:

When he’s watching soccer
When he’s playing FIFA
When he’s reading a really great book on leadership

A list of times my husband shouldn’t talk to me about serious things:

When I’m in the bathtub with my book and my bubbly
When I’m writing a blog
After 10pm

Seriously, my brain turns off after 10pm, and this is when Mr. M wants to discuss theology and how to solve the world hunger crisis.

Whenever Mr. M is watching soccer or playing FIFA, that’s when I tend to want to discuss a new blog post or I’ve come up with a list of chores.

Marriage is all about timing and giving each other space.

How Hot is Too Hot? 

Getting married in December is getting married in optimal cuddling season. East Tennessee only had one big snow, but it was quite chilly from January until March, which meant heating a 1940s house isn’t quite enough – we need teh space heater.

I joke that my husband likes to keep our house as hot as Africa. This isn’t entirely true – it’s not our whole house, just mainly our bedroom. My prime sleeping temp is 69 degrees. His prime sleeping temp is hot.

There was one night in the first month or so when I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. The space heater was still on. It was 3am. It was 300 degrees. I was on fire – with anger and heat.

In a fit of anger, I threw the covers off me and shoved them towards Mr. M. My shove was so forceful that I hit him. He woke up, frightened and confused, and I played innocent. “Oh I hit you? I’m sorry.”

A week later I told him the truth.

*I need to note here that I do not hit my husband. This was sleepy Nina. Sleepy Nina is irrational and full of rage.
**Also you may be wondering how high our electricity bill is in the winter with all the heat. I don’t know. We got lucky and pay one flat fee for the house. When we eventually move and have to pay our own heat bill, I’m sure we will go the down blanket route over keeping the space heater on.

Funny Marriage Quirks & How to Handle 'em

Loving Your Spouse and Loving Their Quirks

Before you get married, it seems like your partner can do no wrong. They’re little quirks are endearing.

After marriage, you can do wrong, your partner can do wrong, and those idiosyncrasies walk the line between endearing and annoying.

But it’s all about how you swing it.

I get annoyed by my husband, and I annoy my husband (sometimes on purpose.) If I choose to allow every little thing he does to annoy me, then we will have a joyless marriage. I will be too focused on what is irritating me rather than what is delighting me.

This is WAY easier said than done. And remember: I’ve only been married 9 months. I don’t have all the skills.

So far, I’ve found that it is easier to embrace my spouse when I embrace their quirks.

I love that he wants to call and talk to me on his way home from small group (when it’s my scheduled bath tub alone time.)

When I find myself starting to get annoyed that he’s wanting to talk and I’m just wanting to soak in silence, I recognize the selfishness that is in me. I always want to choose my husband over myself. Even if that means I only get 10 minutes of quiet bathtub time and 15 minutes of getting the privilege to talk to my husband. I love that he wants to talk to me so much!

I love that my husband is just as particular as I am, but in different ways. The joys of two first borns marrying each other.

When I take an extra step to accomplish a small task for him in a way I know he likes it, I know that I am loving him by adjusting an old habit that isn’t a big deal to me and showing him that I care even about the little things (like keeping the car clean.)

Marriage is really just two quirky people learning to live together and love each other.

I’ll have to revisit this post and update it once we have kids in the future.

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