Monday, October 31, 2011

MTV Casting Call

This is a great opportunity to have YOUR voice to be heard and tell the world how important and hard we work for our children.


MTV is looking for Teen Mothers for their "Teen Mom" After show!

MTV’s hit series “Teen Mom” is getting ready to film a new after
show, with a brand new cast of Teen Moms,  and we are looking for real
Teen Mom’s, past Teen Mom’s, anyone with
close ties to a Teen Mom or any other story relatable to the show to join
in on
a discussion.

You will be a part of a discussion with the cast of “Teen Mom”. This is
NOT an
audience show. You will be asked your opinion on various topics of the show,
your own experiences and how you handled it, advice you have for the Teen
Mom’s on the show and a chance to ask the cast questions.

We are only looking for a small group, so this is a very exclusive
casting. You
MUST be outgoing, willing to talk on camera and share your experience and
stories, and be familiar with the series “Teen Mom”.

We will be shooting this on Sat and Sunday, Nov 5 & 6 2011 in New York
City. Please be
available before submitting.

This is an awesome opportunity to have your voice heard and to share your
experience for other girls in the country to hear.

If you are interested in this, and you fit what we are looking for, please do
the following:
Email us at RealityCasting@GothamCasting.com
and include the following:

NAME:
AGE: (Must be at least 16 years old)
PHONE:
EMAIL:
RECENT PHOTO:
YOUR STORY:

**Your Story should consist of a similar experience as the girls on the show.
Are you or were you a teen mom? How are you coping? Is your best friend a
teen
mom and do you see her struggle? Did you give your child up for adoption or
were you adopted?,etc**

Some examples we are looking for include having twins as a teen mom,
issues with your Mother, parents that are out of the picture, or any other
issue that you feel you have experience with that relates to the struggles
of the young women on “Teen Mom”.
Upon receiving your email, we will follow up with a Phone Interview and then
let you know if you’ve been chosen.

Early K Graduation !!

As you all know this year was Leilani's introduction to school.
Although she had been to daycares before this was her first time going to school!!

She and I were very excited about her first day of school  however, the honey moon soon ended.
Since I have been teaching Leilani at home for several years she was more advanced than the other children in her kindergarten class. I didn't want her to fall behind or worse become a distraction in class because she might develop a behavior problem since she is bored with the material.

I spoke to her teacher about this and she seemed like she really wanted to help but with a class of 26 students it would be understandably almost impossible for her to find time to specifically teach Leilani.

When I would pick Leilani up from school I would ask her the famous after school question: What did you learn in school today? Her answer was always nothing or I learned to sit quietly.
These answers did not sit well with me so I went to the director of Kindergarten and First grade and asked that Leilani be moved to the First grade.
After being tested and placing at a mid first grade level Leilani was promptly moved to the FIRST GRADE!!!

I am officially the proud mother of a five year old First Grader!!

Remember Mommies, you can and should fight for your children to always get the best they need and deserve.


This post is a bit dated. Leilani has been in the First grade for about two weeks now. She loves it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

One of my favorite songs

This is one of my ALL TIME favorite love songs!

The song is from the Broadway musical RENT!
Hell all the songs in that show are my favorite lol 
If you haven't seen it you SHOULD! You are not alive until you have seen RENT.

Thank you for reading :)

An Effective Resume Pt 1

Google

Your resume is the summation of all your skills, work history and character on one sheet of paper.
This is what sets you apart from several other applicants and is the key to getting an interview.

Without a great resume you will not get the job you want.

About a week ago I had a guest speaker come in to my class and instruct us on how to put together a spectacular resume.

Step 1: Introspection

You need to TRULY ask yourself:

  • What are my skills, ambitions and goals
    • Make a list of your skills and be honest with yourself about what you are missing. If you don't have knowledge and skill with Microsoft Office, get to know it. Technology is here and it's the future. Many employers at LEAST use Microsoft Office
  • What do I WANT to do
    • Do you want to learn new skills? If so, start right now on your own. This shows drive and ambition to YOURSELF which will come across on a resume and interview.
  • What am I willing to do
    • Are you willing to be a assistant for a year or so before you are promoted? 
    • Are you willing to stay late or come in early to make sure the project is done?
All these questions will lead you to finding out what type of company would suite you best.  Companies, just like people, have different cultures.

Step 2: RESEARCH

Yeah I know... you thought your days of research papers and hours of checking if its a reputable source were over but... they're not... they are just beginning. LOL

Unlike dreaded research papers this research should be fun and very informative. You are researching what it takes to get you and your family the life you need and deserve! So reach for the stars!

Pick your desired field and: 
  • Research the top companies in this field. Look at available job openings for the position you wish to attain, in the future. 
    • In essence, research the ideal career position you want.  
  • What are the skill sets needed to fill this position, do you have them? If not get to know them and learn them. 
Next
  • Look for entry positions or internships, some are paid, for the field and or company you want to go into. What skills are needed to attain this position? 
  • Make a chart. 
    • With you on one side and the job on the other.
    • Do you have the skills the job needs?
Very helpful sources for this are Onetonline.org and Glassdoor.com. Both of these sites have in depth information about companies and fields.

Know the industry
Study your company


Since writing a resume is a process I have decided to break the process down into different pieces as well. This way you get all the info needed but not all at once so your bored as hell reading a huge lengthy article.
Part 2 is soon to follow
:) 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Control Your Birth Control

We should all know by now that pulling out is NOT EFFECTIVE! *Raising my hand*
And there are far more effective methods of birth control.

It is important to realize that, just like our lives, birth control is NOT a one size fits all. What works for one or several of your girlfriends may not work for you and vise versa.
When choosing a birth control you need to ensure that it is right for your body, life style and also need to consider the amount of "time" it will take out of your day to take/switch your birth control.

Here is an insightful video I found on YouTube about the varieties of birth control and methods.

PLEASE LADIES DO NOT say you are not going to get on birth control because:
  • It is too expensive 
    • A baby is WAY more expensive even BEFORE birth let alone after birth. 
  • I don't like the way it makes me feel
    • With so many options out there try another one.
    • Remember how you felt throughout your pregnancy? All the cramps, "morning sickness", headaches and everything else in between? Do you want to feel like that again while already taking care of another child... HELL NO. So if your birth control gives you a headache or makes you gain weight deal with it. These are only temporary and are both completely in your control.
Both of these things are ridiculous excuses for reasons to not do your research and get on birth control.
Other sites with more information on birth control are Planned Parenthood.org and Web MD.com.
Think about all the research and time you put into planning the perfect baby shower or name for your unborn child. Now put that much effort into LIFE changing research.

Thank you for reading :)

Please remember that this blog/site in NO WAY is a viable medical resource and further education is needed on your part as well as with a physician.

Monday, October 24, 2011

FREE Fitness Classes

I am trying to get back into the swing of working out FULL TIME. Well... when I designate a time for it.

I have been extremely glutinous these last two weeks, my two vises: CARBS and CHOCOLATE. Talk about horrible. Lol

During the summer I attended a FREE yoga class at one of the many classes offered by New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The class was AWESOME! I loved it and vowed to go back for more classes.
Well... I never did.

I thought that the classes were only offered during the summer but I recently found out it doesn't!!
Free classes like: Yoga, Aerobics, Zumba, Afro-Cuban dance and several other fun and versatile classes to chose from run all YEAR long!

The fact that these classes are FREE and plentiful is great for anyone trying to find out their favorite method of exercise.
Often times we, because we all do it, make excuses that we don't like "this" form of exercise therefor we wont like any others. These free classes can help us find our niche!

If you are interested in Zumba check out our contribution from Maria a Zumba Instructor and check out our Fitness section.

Here is the link to the FREE CLASSES available during all days, all hours and for EVERYONE!

If you don't live in NYC no worries cities often offer FREE fitness classes through their park and recreation centers. You can always find great things for free, it just takes research.

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guilt Less Photo

I was on Instagram the other day and found this and thought to share it with you all.
I know I've done this before lol

I do not own any of this photo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Need a Man

Google


I Need a Man (for single mothers)
I can do bad by myself,
I don't need nobody else.
I work day and night
night and day to pay the bills of yesterday.
It's ok and it's all right,
you know I can make wrong right without a fight;
understand I need a complete companion.
I need someone who's down for the grand haul.
I'm talking about that person who will pick me up when I fall.
What you want, isn't what you say!
Your actions speak louder than your words on any given day!
But you're going to play me like the fool anyway!
When I gave you my love and I gave you my time.
But you can't spare a dime.
It's not your lack of funds, but your dead spirit
That's what has me on the run.
I don't have room for dead weight.
Since day one I set it straight.
Why don't you come real, come correct?
Is it that you're not ready yet?
If you would've told me upfront, I would've understood,
that you were a boy, on the threshold of manhood!
Now I must question, if it was just for show.
That's right, I'm getting out this game, but it's a shame.
It's a shame I no longer feel the same,
because my baby still calls out your name.
I'm a single mother and doing all I can.
But I don't need a boy to help me raise a son.
I need a man!


This poem is from Venus Jones, a talented and accomplished Florida based artist. You can read more about her, her art and accomplishments on her: website Venus Jones.com.
You can also preview and purchase her book on Amazon.com.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Made It!!

Source

I MADE IT!!!!! 

I made it through my first series of exams at Baruch College. Although it was technically exam week I feel like it was exam MONTH!!
I started studying once the exam dates were announced and basically neglected any other activities or normal everyday things to ensure I spend as much time studying as possible.

So far I got the exam grade for my Literature exam, an A-, even though that's a good grade I know that I am capable of better. The note that my professor put on my test was that my writing does not convey the same understanding and knowledge that my additions to class discussions convey. I couldn't agree anymore with that comment. 
That's why I am starting to take advantage of any and all courses, meeting and lessons available to refine my writing skills. 
After thinking for a while I realized that I have no "true" language. 
I moved here, The United States, when I was ...one year old...? At home the only language that was spoken was Spanish so I learned Spanish through auditory learning. While learning English on the playground with other children that were new to English whether they were American born, which most if not all of them were, to other immigrant children. As I grew up I moved around A LOT and never stayed in a school long enough to really learn the art and skill of learning how to write grammatically correct English.

I'm not trying to paint myself like some victim because I am no victim, but it was just interesting to realize that.


By Benny Wan
Anyhow! I am very glad and RELIEVED that exam week is over! Now its on to the next thing :)

Thank you for reading!
 

Friday, October 14, 2011

YouTube Update

I am so tired but I need to do a video update so here it is :))

The Truth About Coupons 2

Samantha Gregory is back with the second installment of, The Truth About Coupons and tips on learning how to use coupons. You can read the first installment here.
Be sure to read the whole thing and watch the video at the end. 


source

Coupon Planning and Patience Required
To even save a few dollars, enough to save a significant amount, takes two things. Planning and patience. If you are new to couponing you will not save a significant amount off your grocery bill the first week you get into the game. You have to plan your purchase, watch the sales cycles, tap into well established systems created by extreme couponers, and collect several weeks of coupons in advance.

Start Small and Stock Up
I suggest starting off small and stocking up on the basics so you have what you need for a few months. Items like cereal, ketchup, soups, toothpaste, shampoo, etc can be stocked easily for the long term. Keep the size of your family in mind and the shelf-life of different products.

Collect Coupons Inserts
If you want to get started begin collecting coupons from the Sunday paper. It is recommended that you get two to three papers per week. Do this for at least four weeks. During that time check out the sales cycle in your favorite two or three stores (including drug stores like CVS and Walgreens). A shortcut for this process is purchasing whole coupon inserts or individual coupons online. Also check your library for coupon exchange clubs; ask the newspaper delivery person for extras; ask family, friends, and neighbors to save them for you; and ask the paper recycling plant to save them for you.

Track Store Sales Cycles
Create and keep a price book to keep track of the prices of your favorite products. Study the sales paper each week to see when things go on sale. You may need a two-month cycle to really see the trend. An easier way to watch prices is to check out websites like TheGroceryGame.com, ConsumerQueen.com, CouponMom.com, CouponQueen.com and TheCouponDiva.com. There are several other coupon bloggers that have coupon databases on their websites that you can check out for food prices.


Coupon Store Policies Vary and Change
Some stores offer double or triple off the stated value of the coupon everyday or on certain days. This additional discount is often for coupons valued at 50 cents or less. So if you have a 50 cents off coupon you could really get $1.00 or $1.50 off the price of the product depending on the store. Just think, when an item is on sale and you have a coupon for it, you could get it for pennies or even free!

As extreme couponing becomes more popular, different stores are beginning to change their policies. You have to stay on top of this news so you don’t get caught with a bunch of coupons you can’t use. Plan your trip to the grocery store early in the day or late at night when there aren’t many people there. If you are using a lot of coupons it may take a while to checkout or you may get stuck with a new person who doesn’t know all the rules yet. 

How to Organize Your Coupons
With all these tools and resources in hand you will be ready to start using coupons to save money at the grocery store. To keep your coupons organized, use a binder. The kind of binder I recommend is one is large enough for regular notebook paper and that zips close. Use baseball card holders for the pages as well as sheet protectors to put in larger coupons. 

Take this binder to the store with you along with your grocery list and sales paper. Your pre-planning will help you stay on track and be efficient.   

You may find you will need to go to several stores to get the biggest discounts for the products you want. Again, these coupon databases will help you find the best prices.


This contribution is from Samantha Gregory. Gregory is an Atlanta mom, freelance writer, and editor at Rich Single Momma.com where she writes about single mom money issues. Follow her on Twitter @RichSingleMommaand @Samantha Gregory

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Leilani's Singing

I'm sure you all remember the Rugrats from Nickelodeon.
Google


Well Leilani has started to sing and singing her very own made up songs. While this is very cute to watch it's not so much fun to hear. Lol.

Google
To sum it up Leilani has: Susie's heart and spirit with Angelica's singing voice lol
Google
               

Nevertheless I still encourage her to sing and I've started recording her so she can watch it when she gets older.

Sky Writing

Some beautiful sky writing inspiration. Make your our positive interpretation.

ABC Sesame... I'm Hungry

 Our first best friends are at it again! 

The same cool kids that hang out on 123 Sesame Street are back to educate us, parents and children, on the important humanitarian issue that faces 17 million children in America, food "insecurity." Food insecurity can be best described as children who have limited or unreliable food sources.This means that they have no idea when, where or how their next meal will come.

It's very easy to forget the fact that many of the everyday "things" we take for granted everyday, like food, are really treasures.
These children are not in some far off country where you will never meet them, these children are the ones sitting next to your child in their class rooms. They get up on an empty stomach, got to school on an empty stomach, try to ignore the sharp pain in their tiny tummies while they do their work and then when lunch time comes they are RELIEVED that they can at least count on this one meal today.Children that suffer from food insecurity also suffer from self esteem issues and often times look down while talking.

Meet Lily

Lily is going to be coming to 123 Sesame Street in a special episode to educate us on this issue and hopefully give us some tips on how to help.

If you would like to read so more on how the character was developed you can read the article in The New York Times

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Feelings of inadeqacy

The weather is wonderful. Not too hot, not to cold and just the right amount of cool fall breeze. However, we are inside...
I really want to go outside, go down to Central Park (or somewhere else) and maybe get a cupcake or something from a bakery. The problem is I can't... I have basically no money and would rather stay inside and not have to face telling Leilani 'no' to whatever she ask for, whether she needs it or not.
It's moments like this when I feel inadequate as a mother.
Since I have no job there is no reliable source of income and everything we do has to be very planned and  free (which isn't always a bad thing). I feel like a failure when I can't buy the simple things that Leilani / I might want while out and about. So I'd rather be inside.

The way I do away with these feelings is ignore them, take advantage of the day and pack a lunch.

I made myself a promise earlier this year, when I was really bad off(emotionally, financially and moral wise).

First I realized that I am going to have moments of depression, inadequacy and down right:UGH!
Then I realized that it's normal and healthy to have these moments IF you handle them correctly.
Lastly, I promised myself that I would only allow my moments to be just that, a MOMENT!

You can't let these feelings ruin a perfectly great day! When I feel these emotions I have to use them as fuel to get me up and fight for our future. I am currently taking the necessary steps to do this and while I type this I'm thinking: Screw it! Get out there and enjoy the day.

Remember let these moments be A MOMENT and do not let it ruin your entire day.
So... what am I going to go do? Pack a lunch, get a metro card and get my ass outside. And just to prove it I'll upload some pictures later on tonight.

Thank you for reading!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vegetarian Text Message?

Since I am very new and still getting used to the vegetarian life style I found a cool way to get and try new recipes.
I signed up for text message alerts from the Human Society!
Source

Once you sign up for the "service" you will get one text message a week with a new recipe you can try for Meat Less Monday or just to try!
Click on  -->  this to sign up for you weekly text message!

Small steps make a BIG difference :))

Truth About Coupons

Google

In today’s economic climate, with the rise in gas and food prices, people have had to get creative in their spending habits. They are using every trick in the book to bring down the cost of food for their families. One trick that has become very popular is to use coupons.

Coupons have been around for years, but only a few people have really taken advantage of them. During the years of prosperity here in America, when gas was low and food was relatively cheap, most people didn’t think about using coupons. Coupons were tossed away into the trash, which was equivalent of throwing away money.

Coupons Are Money
How can I equate coupons with money? I can say this because I’ve taken a close look at the wording on the coupons. In small print you will see the words cash value. There are instructions for the merchant (that word gives you a clue about how long coupons have been around) to redeem or turn in the coupon for a certain cash value or credit.

The food manufacturer issues coupons to get people to buy their products. When they are used at the store, the store owner or manager sends the coupons to the manufacturer to get cash back for the amount saved or a credit for future products.

That is why and how I can can call coupons money. The savings amount on the coupon is the same as cash off the price of the product. The more you have, the more money you save.

Extreme Coupons by the Experts
You may (or may not) have heard of the television show Extreme Couponing. It highlights different people who have mastered the art of using coupons to get their food bill down to pennies. Keep in mind the show is called EXTREME Couponing so it is not what the average person does. Those people find ways to save hundreds of dollars whereas the average person usually saves only a few dollars. But every dollar counts right?

Learn from the Coupon Experts Online
These websites also have coupon forums that are very active with people sharing where the sales are in your area. They also tell you how to use your coupons to get multiple items that are on sale at the time. Some website even go so far as to tell you what coupons to use. This is why it is important to collect the coupons for at least four weeks. 


This is the first post of a two part series about couponing. More are soon to follow, including a great video, with in depth information on how to organize, how to get started on the art of couponing and the how to develop skill of saving money.

This contribution is from Samantha Gregory. Gregory is an Atlanta mom, freelance writer, and editor at Rich Single Momma.com where she writes about single mom money issues. Follow her on Twitter @RichSingleMommaand @Samantha Gregory

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Quick Saving Tips

One thing people can agree on about me is my ability to save money.
When I have a job and money coming in I make sure to save for moments like this, when I have NO job.
A few things I do to help me save money:


Source

Change, Change, Change and ...Pickles?
Every time you get paid go to the bank and ask them to give you $5-$10 dollars in NICKELS! When you get the change go home, unwrap them and put the change in a good ole pickle jar.
  • Why nickles?
    • Because if you get quarters you'll have no problem reaching into the jar, counting and spending them. The same is true for dimes. Nickles are more tedious to count and a bit more embarrassing to drop on a counter to buy the frappuccino you really could go with out at the moment.
Don't be like him. Lol


A Percentage
When I worked at JcPenney the company had an option to put a certain percentage or dollar amount into separate accounts. This was helpful because it was like I never saw the money leave my check so I never touched it.
  • Find a dollar or percentage amount that you are both comfortable and intimidated to put aside. I say intimidated for lack of better phrasing, what I mean is set a percentage amount that is realistic to your budget while pushing the envelope a bit. If you set the percentage or dollar amount too low then you aren't really saving much.  
  • Now everyone's living or financial situation is different. Some of us have a lot of financial support, some a little and some of us have none at all. 
    • If you are making $250 every week take 5% out every check. This amounts to $12.50 every week and at the end of 3 months (9 weeks) you'll have an extra $112.50! Assuming you work 30 weeks a year and continue doing this you will have an EXTRA $375.00!
Now don't get me wrong I know "Things" and THINGS come up.
The difference "Things" are the frappacino or the shoes you "need". 
While Things are a FLAT tire, emergency shut off notice for a bill, or Tylenol you didn't expect you need to get for you or your child(ren).
The important thing is how to identity and tell the difference between a "things" and a things.


Another things is REWARD yourself, don't let your efforts good unrecognized. I kept my rewards BELOW $20-$15 and I made FRIENDS with the clearance rack and thrift stores, this helped my $20-$15 go even farther. 


Happy Saving!

My Opinion On Farrah Abraham

Let me just say I think I look like a hot chick in this video ;) Maybe its the eyes. Lol or that incredible bald head. Okay I'm done

I would also like to add that every mother and child is different so what is right for one mother and child(ren) will not be right for everyone.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

TEST

School!
About a week ago I was talking to one of my classmates about how school has been really relaxed lately and how this puts me on edge because I know the test will be coming soon. Well... Would'ja know!
This last week of school three of my professors announced that the class will be having exams next week!

I immediately freaked out. I mean this is a test and then it's THREE test in one week and I don't feel ready at all.

The way I look at the first test of the semester as the first major grade in the grade book. Then depending on what that grade is depends on how hard you have to work for the rest of the semester.
I have a test in Literature, Philosophy (kill me now) and Interviewing techniques. Doesn't sound too bad right?

Well... in Philosophy we are reading and DECODING Aristotle. I have no idea what this guy is talking about! Ok I do a little bit but he just goes on and on and ON and in circles TOO. That's talent in itself!

Next up Interviewing Techniques. I'm not gong to lie this class has been pretty insightful and being that the professor spent many years in Human Resources is an added bonus. She is telling us exactly what interviewers are looking for in an eligible candidate and what to do to be FULLY prepared. Now the reason I'm afraid of this test in because there is SOOOO MUCH INFORMATION!! I don't even know where to start studying, well at the beginning but dam dude!

Lastly I have Literature, I'm afraid of this test because we have been doing a lot of reading and taking in all the symbolism, messages, underlying themes and trying to remember essential and pivotal quotes through out the text is crazy. Lol.

What I do know is, I see a lot of flash cards in my future. Like once I get off of here and get done reading bed time stories.

Free Museums in NYC

Being, as in my case, a single teen mom it can be difficult to take your child(ren) to museums, zoo and events because of the financial aspect.
However as everyone knows anything is possible! This is especially true in New York City where many museums offer admission for greatly reduce prices or completely free during certain times.
If you aren't in NYC you can look up or call the museums and zoo's in your area and ask them if they have anything like this or similar.

Below is a list of the days and times that many of the most popular museums are free. Remember all though they are free and donation is always welcomed and appreciated.

Always FREE:
National Museum of the American Indian
The location is also convenient to Wall Street, the future sight of the Freedom Tower and Battery Park.
Tuesday: 6-8pm
The China Institute
Thursday: 7-9pm
The New Museum of Contemporary Art
Friday: 11am-8pm
Bronx Museum of the Arts
Friday: 4-8pm
Museum of Modern Art
Friday: 4-8:30pm
The Whitney Museum of American Art
Saturday: 5:30pm -7:45pm
The Guggenheim
Saturday: 5:45pm- 7:45. However, the last ticket is handled out to the public at 7:15pm

Other popular museums like:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The American Museum of Natural History offer student prices that begin at $12. The admission to these museums is also recommend which means you can pay less then the stated ticket price just let the person at the ticket desk know ahead of time.
In addition to the museums above you can also check out the:
Bronx Zoo on Wednesdays for a donation.
On Fridays head over to the New York City Aquarium for donation based admissions.
The aquarium is in Coney Island and if you stay late enough you can catch the Friday night firework display during the summer months (Mid June- September).
Remember museums and school are not only fun but also very educational at the same time

myfirstyearnyc.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

11 Fake Health Foods


Remember Jessica and her previous post about eating healthy? Well as promised she is back and has a surprising list of fake health foods and how to replace or avoid these all together.

Below I have listed some foods that are commonly accepted in the American diet. These foods are not “health” foods and should be avoided whenever possible.

1.            Soy – 91 percent (or greater) of soy is GM (Genetically Modified).  This means that some of the genes of the soybean plant have been altered. American’s today consume a lot of soy products and some don’t even realize it. Anything from ice cream to cheese products are made from soy, so be careful about what you are buying. I realize that for those who practice vegetarianism or veganism, soy is in a lot of the foods that are available to you. Organic soy is okay if you choose to eat it. But it should be fermented and you MUST be sure that it is 100% organic to ensure that it is non-GMO.

2.            Artificial Sweeteners – Just because the product you’re buying says “sugar free” doesn’t mean it’s “healthy.” Most of these “sugar free” items contain artificial sweeteners that are more harmful than the sugar itself. Avoid all artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame which has been linked to very serious health problems, such as headaches, migraines, nausea, abdominal pains, fatigue, sleep problems, vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, asthma, chest tightness. 

3.            Peanuts and Peanut Oil – Some fast food chains have recently claimed their fries are healthy because they are fried in peanut oil. Well, they may be “healthier” than the other oils used for frying, but they are far from healthy.  Peanuts are commonly contaminated with aflatoxins. This means that the oil is also contaminated. Avoid peanut oil and all peanut products whenever possible.  This includes peanut butter. Organic peanuts are better, but still can contain mold.

4.            Margarine – I don’t know why some people claim that margarine is healthier than butter. In moderation, like everything else should be, butter is not this terrible thing that most people claim it is. Butter has antifungal properties and can actually be good for you. Margarine, on the other hand, is a chemical and is ONE molecule away from being plastic. You don’t want that in your body.

5.            Diet Soda – Diet sodas are NOT better for you than regular soda, in fact, it’s probably worse. It has been shown to cause damage to the heart. It contains the artificial sweetener, Aspartame, which we talked about before. With that in mind, regular coke is bad for you as well and should be avoided. Stick to herbal teas, water, or fresh, organic fruit juices.

6.            Alcohol (specifically red wine) – Some people think that red wine is good for you because the resveratrol has been shown to be “heart healthy.” Now, this is true. Resveratrol is very good for your heart; however, wine can be made from moldy grains (or just straight up “Mold Wine”) and contains traces of mold and yeast. Instead of putting this in your body, why not avoid it altogether and drink some fresh, homemade grape juice or take a grapeseed extract supplement? You still get the heart benefits without the negative effects of the alcohol.

7.            Fat-Free products – So many people think that fats are bad for you. They think that they should always choose the “fat free” or “low-fat” over whole fat products because they are the best, the healthiest.  I am here to tell you that this is not true.
Fat free products are stripped of all their fats and it is not uncommon for that fat to be replaced by high sugars to maintain consistency. Choosing ‘whole fat’ products won’t make you fat (provided they are healthy fats), but ironically choosing ‘low fat’ products could.
Your body needs fats to function. However, having said that, it is important to know that IT DOES MATTER what types of fats you are consuming. Avoid fats like Canola Oil, Peanut Oil, Trans Fats, [Partially] Hydrogenated Oil. These are only a few of the fats that are harmful to your body.

8.            Enriched Flours – Chances are you have products in your house that consist of “enriched white flour” or “enriched wheat flour.” They try to tell you that, because these products are enriched, you are getting the vitamins that you need. This is false. Flours are enriched because they are originally stripped of ALL the nutrients contained in the grains. However, only SOME of the vitamins are added back. Two problems with this are that 1). The vitamins that are added back in are synthetic. They aren’t real, whole food vitamins and 2). Only a small portion of these vitamins and minerals are added back, even though all of the beneficial whole grains are stripped. Stick to WHOLE GRAINS (organic, sprouted are best) and WHOLE FOOD vitamins. Always avoid synthetics.

9.            Corn Syrup –High fructose corn syrup is a highly concentrated sweetener that is used in everything from hot dogs to canned fruit. It is used to cheaply sweeten products.  The truth is IT COMES FROM CORN and, like peanuts, corn crops are contaminated with aflatoxins and should be avoided. This means ALL corn products  (also includes high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, etc.)

10.          Energy Drinks – Yes, energy drinks give you energy. No surprise there. They are loaded with sugar and caffeine. We all know that consuming a ton of sugar isn’t good for you, neither is consuming a ton of caffeine. Doing this will give you momentary energy and then a guaranteed crash. Most energy drinks are loaded (and I mean loaded) with (synthetic) B-vitamins. B-Vitamins in such concentrated high doses can cause serious health and heart side effects. There are many natural, health food items that can give you a boost of energy, without the ill effects of energy drinks.

11.          Milk –Non-organic milk that most people get from the supermarket can have terrible effects on your health. It can cause allergies (especially in children), upset stomach and a number of problems. Regular, non-organic milk is loaded with antibiotics and steroids. Bacteria that is in the milk is killed during pasteurization but they don’t strain the milk…leaving YOU (the consumer) with loads of dead bacteria to drink (yum)! However, raw and organic milk can be good for you, if you choose to consume dairy.


Remember that you don't need to cut out all of these items at once and educating yourself is the first step. If you are feeling overwhelmed at all of this information pick one or two things off the list and do away with them. You can either cut them out indefinitely or phase them out of your and your familie's diet.
Personally I don't think I can give up my red wine all together, lol, but we shall see.

Jessica Campbell is a writer,certified Nutritional Coach, self proclaimed fashionista and lover of the finer things in life, living in Nashville, TN. I follow Jessica on Twitter and was excited when she agreed to give us some insight on how to start eating healthy.
Jessica can be found on Twitter @jeskahoney or on her blog at Glitter and Gravel, you can find healthy eating tips, creativity and witty post on both. You can also email her at
JessicaCampbellNutrition@live.com

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Meet Ani R.J

I met Ani, by fate, on the subway. She had her handsome little man with her and I could not help but overhear the conversation she was having with another passenger. After she was done speaking to that passenger I moved in and gave her my business card.
The result is a growing friendship and this interview.
Nyleek and Ani


Can you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
My name is Ani and I have a son who will be turning four in November and his name is NyleekI. I had Nyleek when I was 19 and in my Sophomore year at Binghamton University.

Wait! How did you get in college so early?
[Laughing] I was able to skip from 8th to 10th grade. During the summer I had to take a course to get into the college and that's where I met his father. His father had such a charisma about him, that and his ability to make me laugh is what drew me to him.

That's so awesome!
So what were you like before you got pregnant?
I was all over the place; getting arrested, partying, fighting, drinking... you name it.

Wow, how did you find out you were pregnant?It's funny because I was at a friend's house and out of no where I said "I want a baby." I guess it's very true, ask and you shall receive, because I few weeks later my period was late. I remember taking the pregnancy test with another girl who also thought she was pregnant, turns out she wasn't but I was. [Laughing] At that very moment I was determined to have my child and whatever anyone else said did not dis-way me from my choice.


[Laughing] How did people react to the news?
The father was so excited! He used to work at a diner so he would get me all sorts of snacks and treats. Then a few weeks later, out of no where, he dumped me. He said he did not want anything to do with me or the events I was putting on any more.
My mother wanted me to terminate and my father was furious. I still remember him telling me " I was now a ghetto statistic."
I LOVE this picture

Oh my goodness. That sounds like it was a really tough time to go through. You all have come a long ways, right? I mean you are now living with your parents and Nyleek spends time with his father often.Yeah, we have come a long ways. After his father dumped me, while I was pregnant, we got back together and got our own place. We were soon engaged and then he decided to confess a series of damaging news about things he had done. I couldn't take it and we broke up. I got my own place and shortly after graduating college my mother told me to move back in.

You have had quite the journey, which is only beginning. What is life like now and what do you see in the future for the both of you?
Right now I am busy being a super star. I actively help seek out talent and lend my time, resources and efforts in anyway possible. I have met some very talented people who are passionate about their cause and about the mark they what to leave on this world, two things I am always conscious of. My dream is to buy a series of islands and have my own world to share with other like minded individuals. The islands will be a place that capitalizes on the whole hearted talents and skills these individuals have, as the world should be.


Ani is a true Harlem child, born and raised and full of Harlem heart and spirit. She is a multi-talented young mother that surrounds herself and Nyleek with positive and talented people. Ani's writing talent can found at  UNcollege.org where she wrote a great piece about self education and she recently did a photo shoot. As for Nyleek, he is following in his mother's footsteps and is modeling for Toy's R Us. He is going to be featured in their Christmas catalog, which will be coming out on October 31st. Ani and Nyleek are also learning Spanish.
I am so glad that we met and look forward to doing a lot of work with the both of them.



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