Why I Babywear

Our ancestors have worn their offspring for thousands of years. Growing  up, I watched countless babies on the backs of their mothers and knew that I would carry my own children. But I live in the mid west. All I saw was babies in strollers. Luckily enough, after I went to a La Leche Leauge meeting, I met women in my local baby wearing international chapter and joined soon after.

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Here is what I love about baby wearing

  1. I get shit done. I would not have been able to work at my office with Thandie for 4 months if it was not for my ability to wear her. Thandiwe is content to hang out on my back while I do chores, blog (i’m wearing her right now), grocery shop, or walk my dogs.
  2. Unlimited snuggles and kisses
  3. Babies who are worn cry less, they feel safer, they learn faster. Learn more here
  4. Hands free breastfeeding! I’ve given presentations standing and moving around in front of groups of people while Thandie happily nursed.
  5. Its simplified my travel with an infant. I don’t have to worry about a stroller. She is going on 8 months and we still have never used one.
  6. Baby wearing builds a bond with her dad. Because I am her primary source of nutrition and comfort, Thandie spends most of her time with me. Baby-wearing brings my partner closer to her.
  7. Baby-wearing allowed me to meet a new community and make great friends.

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*full disclosure – I am a chapter support volunteer for my local baby wearing international  chapter so even though I am not getting paid for this I am completely biased*

If you are interested in baby-wearing, here are some tips:

Try out different carriers until you find the one that works for you. That is what is great about the baby wearing international organization. Its a non-profit that focuses on education surrounding baby wearing. Most local chapters have lending libraries that allow members to try out carriers for a period of time before they make their own purchases. I tried out several different carriers for 30 days before I settled on the best one for my family.

Look for a local baby wearing buy sell trade group so you can buy a pre-loved carrier second hand. It is cheaper and better for the environment.

Join a support group like babywearing while black  or a chat group so you can ask questions online.

Don’t give up, at first, Thandie hated being worn- but after I found the right fit for us, she loved it. I will write a post about my favorite carriers soon.

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Peace and baby snuggles

Farai

 

Spring cleaning – Kitchen Edition

IDGAF what the groundhog says, the warm weather we have been having has me READY for spring and with that comes spring cleaning! I am going to be sharing simple ways to make different parts of your home a lil’ more eco-friendly. Starting off with the kitchen.

  1. First tip is to always use what you have before going out and making any other purchases. Check your cupboards before you head to the store.
  2. Buy dish soap in bulk, or make your own. I have yet to make my own dish soap because I  am still using up a huge bottle of seventh gen that I decanted into a smaller bottle ages ago. I do not own a dishwasher so all our dishes are done by hand.
  3. Ditch the sponge! Get a natural sponge that is compostable or a reusable dish scrubber  that you can throw in the wash. I got mine  here: www.etsy.com/shop/FleetMade
  4. Say hello to compostable bottle and dish brushes made with natural fibers.
  5. Make your own cleaning solution. I simply use vinegar, water and some essential oils to clean all of my kitchen, from the fridge to the stove to even the floor. I add the ingredients to a glass spray bottle like this one.
  6. Ditch paper towels for simple cotton cloths or dish towels that you can wash when they are dirty.
  7. Invest in a mop and not in a gimmick. I have the Rubbermaid spray mop that I can use my own mop solution with and toss the mop head in the wash when dirty. I love it.
  8. Develop a cleaning routine and stick to it. Remember, keep it simple.

Next week I will share tips on how to make your bathroom a lil more eco-friendly.

Peace

Farai

My Beauty Regimen

Beauty is more than what you look like on the outside. How you feel on the inside is a big deal. With that in mind, I felt like sharing my favorite parts of my beauty regimen that make me feel beautiful inside and out.

Keeping a journal – Whether it is handwritten in a notebook, a poem, a weird thought I add to my notes on my phone, or a blog post-  writing my thoughts is extremely cathartic to me. I enjoy going back and reading past thoughts and seeing how much I have changed. Many people faithfully journal everyday but I journal when I can.

Therapy– Soon after Thandiwe was born, I started seeing a therapist. Not only because of my postpartum anxiety, but also because I wanted to put my best foot forward as a new parent and that meant dealing with some emotionally heavy stuff. POC rarely speak about mental health issues and African’s speak even less about it (we tell people who are mentally ill that they are bewitched or they have demons #gottalovemypeople) Getting  help was amazing and made me feel so much better.

Floss Gloss – Most nail polishes are toxic and smell terrible. Up until a year ago I was on the look out for a great nail polish. Floss gloss is made in the U.S.A., cruelty- free, vegan and 7 free! I’m a fan and they are the only polish I use.

Probiotics – When everything is running smoothly internally, I feel great. I try to take a regular probiotic or eat fermented foods to aid my digestion and boost the health of my microbiome.

Almond oil – I know that coconut oil is having its moment in the sun, but almond oil is an unsung hero. I use it on my face, on my body and my hair and I find it more moisturizing than coconut oil .

Shea moisture – I cannot sing enough praises about range of this products other than that I wish their packaging was better. I’ve used their body creams, hair products, soaps and I love them. I am currently using their low-porosity conditioner on my hair and my fro is loving it. A happy afro makes for a happy me.

Homemade body spray – Several years ago I used to be a Victoria’s secret body spray junkie. I stopped after I discovered just what I was spraying on my body. Now I create my own body sprays with my essential oils and tailor them to my mood. My current favorite recipe is below.

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Whenever I incorporate these things into my life I feel amazing and look amazing. What are some things you have in your beauty arsenal?

Peace

Farai

 

Why I won’t spank my daughter

Spanking as a form of discipline is in my DNA. I was spanked, as were my siblings, my dad, my mother, my grandparents. Same goes for my partner and his relatives. Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Growing up In Botswana, most adults in my life adopted  a “it takes a village” mentality. Teachers, aunts, even complete strangers used spanking to discipline wayward children. But that’s the thing. We were kids. In our attempts to learn good from bad, we test our or environments in the most frustrating ways. We make decisions without forethought. Which is normal for a child. I was a star at this. My favorite misdemeanor to date was stealing my families entire months supply of pasteurized milk to feed my neighbor Rea’s new baby goat. This resulted in a spanking, with no conversation regarding my actions.  Whenever I got a beating… my mind wasn’t focused on my actions, I went in to self preservation mode. I was worried about the pain, how soon the pain would stop, what I needed to make it hurt less and how to not get caught the next time to avoid this pain. I was not aware of the fact that milk was expensive, that my family bought it in bulk coz it was cheaper that way and that if I gave all the milk to the kid, that we would have no milk for cereal in the morning. I was unable to think critically yet, but if these points had been brought up to me, I’m sure I would have made better choices.

I can joke about it now, as most people who got spanked can. Often times parents spank their kids in the hopes that the threat of violence will keep them from making poor choices. I remember when I would go outside to play I would be told “if you get hurt, I will beat you”. Instead of just saying hey, be safe out there, be careful when you are playing because don’t want you to get hurt.

This is obviously an opinion I have developed from a place of privilege. Both my daughter and I are safe and healthy, with a roof over our  heads. I recognize corporal punishment as a swift albeit temporary way to end behavior that may be unsafe for a child, especially when they are in different environment that Thandiwe and I are in.

Because of his experiences, my  father chose to never lay a hand on me. As a matter of fact, he only raised his voice to me once. I had done something bad, and he told me what I had done , why it was wrong and how disappointed he was in me and the consequences of my actions. You can bet I never did it again, and this experience has stayed with me far more than the numerous beatings I got from my stepmom. My goals is to never spank Thandiwe when she inevitably messes up. I will sit her down, we will talk about her choices and actions and go from there. It’s up to me to end the cycle of violence in my family .

 

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Thandiwe and I. Glass Lanter Photography 2017

 

It’s still ok to #punchanazi though.

As always, Peace.

Farai

Lush products review

I celebrated my birthday a month ago and treated myself to some Lush products. I wanted to buy myself something from an ethical company that was conscious of their packaging. The closest Lush is over an hour away and In a huge mall full of other tempting stores,  so I chose to spring for shipping. Sadly, the soaps did come wrapped in plastic, but the box and packing peanuts they used are completely compostable so that was a positive. In store, you can buy the soaps package free.

After a month of incorporating these products into my life, I am ready to share my opinion and whether or not I would repurchase them. This post is not sponsored in any way, I just enjoy sharing good products.

 

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Yes, Yes,Yes to everything about this soap. A little goes a long way. I use it a few times a week and I have not even made a dent. It smells good, it is cleansing and not drying and my hair responds well to it. Would definitely buy again.

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This conditioner was a huge fail for me. I was skeptic anyway. I have thick curly hair and I need a deep moisturizing conditioner that has slip for me to detangle my hair in the shower. I will not be purchasing this again.

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Not my favorite scent, but this deodorant does its job. And it lasts a long time, which I love.

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This adorable scarf is made from 2 water bottles. How neat! You can use it for several different things around the house, but I have been using it to protect my curls from my daughter’s grabby hands. It would make a great gift for eco-friendly peeps and it comes in different prints.

 

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This soap has fennel in it,  which I am not very partial to, but it does a great job of cleansing my face. It has a big job on its hands as I have continued eating like trash since the holidays. I may try a different cleanser, but this one is still good. I would repurchase.

Often times hygiene and beauty products come in a lot of wasteful packaging. I’m glad I get the chance to switch up my routine for something better. 

Peace,

Farai

How to make coffee and tea a little more green

People are nuts about their warm beverages. I’m more of a tea drinker myself, but once in a while, I’ll have a warm cup of bean water too. Let me share with you 4 ways you can partake in this past-time with a little less impact on the environment

If you must buy your coffee or tea –  I encourage you to visit a local coffee shop as opposed to a chain. Support local and small businesses ❤

Take your own cup to go – Ask the barista to make your beverage in a reusable cup you bring yourself Most cups you get at the coffee shop are hard to recycle. Find out more here. Keep one in your car or bag so you always have one.

Make your own! –  This goes without saying but, if you already own a coffee machine, USE IT! There are ways to make it more eco-friendly.

  1. Buy your beans or tea leaves in bulk, in your own containers or in reusable, compostable, or recyclable materials. Look for a teapot that you can steep loose leaf tea . Or you can look into a single tea infuser like this cute sloth.

Buy Fair Trade – When you buy fair trade products, not only are you getting a better product, but you ensure that the people who harvested the beans or leaves are getting fair wages for their hard work. It stimulates economies, reduces the demand for child labor and much more. Read up on it here.

 

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Sweet hand thrown mugs thrifted by my sweet friend @natalie.moon.mama

As for me, recently, my daughter has deviated from the norm and views regular bedtime as a casual suggestion. Because of this new development, I see myself appreciating the benefits of a caffeine boost more and more and more. For tea on the go,  my friend Erin gifted me the cutest tea infuser. It is a godsend! Especially because I forget my hot drinks often and it is double-walled and also has a lid, to protect little baby hands from hot liquids.

When it comes to coffee, Thanks to my friend Natalie,  I apparently prefer the taste of pour over coffee (who knew my tastebuds were so hipster) and luckily enough for me, there are a few zero-waste options out there for when I am ready to take the plunge.

Peace and Happy Drinking,

Farai

 

Things I am doing differently this year

I unabashedly love the new year. I love starting a new planner and setting goals for the next 12 months. Admittedly, I have set goals and made plans that I did not, and never planned on keeping. But as I get older, I have found it easier to stay true. Here is what I am doing differently in 2017.

More H20 – I love water.  I want to drink, swim and be around more water this year.

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Enjoying Mother nature

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8 months pregnant with Thandiwe

Bye bye bra’s – You know that amazing feeling you get after you take off a bra you have been wearing all day? Imagine that feeling all day.

Make more things – I get great joy from creating things. My DIY attempts are not quite pinterest-worthy but the satisfaction and joy from the finished project is all I need.

Make time for meditation – I want to become more mindful this year and meditation is a great key to that. Between my work, my kid, my dogs, my spouse, and life, I rarely slow down…and when I do, I spend my precious minutes on my phone. So, mindfulness is important to me.

Read more – I recently got a Kindle so I could read in the dark while Thandiwe night-nurses. It’s been great so far. My most distinct memories of my dad are always of him reading, a book in one hand while he twisted his beard in his other hand. I’m certain I got my love of books from his example and I want the same for my daughter.

Go outside more – This one goes without saying. I would like to visit state parks in Kansas and be outside in mother nature more.

Be more eco-friendly –. Everything has an impact. Where I spend my money when buying clothes, to how much plastic waste I am responsible for when I go grocery shopping. We often do these things without thinking. I want to continue being savvy about where I am putting my hard earned cash towards and how it is affecting the earth.

Take no shit – There are so many things I could say about this. But basically, I am going to put me first this year and stop sparing myself for the sake of others.

Write more letters – My friend Chuck writes and friggin paints the most beautiful handwritten letters that make the people who receive them feel *so* special. Engaging back and forth with her through snail mail has been a treat that I want to continue with all my friends all over the globe.

Peace.

Farai