Taking Care of Self

The first time I went to see a therapist/counselor was three months after Southern Mom passed away.  While dealing with the grief of losing my mom I was also dealing with the loss of relationships with certain members of my mom’s side of the family.  I saw the therapist a few times, an older white woman, who was pleasant enough but not very helpful.  After my third session, she and I mutually decided (I think she guided me to this stance more than anything) that I was dealing with my grief appropriately and I should contact her anytime I felt the need to come in.  Needless to say, I have not seen her since.

About 10 months ago, I decided that I wanted to see a therapist.  Not because anything was wrong, but because everything was going right. But the therapist had to meet certain criteria.  She had to be black. She had to be a woman. And she had to be on my insurance. After doing some research, I found a consortium in the city and made a phone call.  At the time, they did not have anyone available that was accepting new clients.  So I waited a little over 5 weeks for them to call me and tell me they had someone available.  Since then, I’ve seen her a few times and she’s been awesome.  She’s had me open up about my familial relationships, dating, and other things that are going on with life.  She makes me think outside of the box.  She has me think about things a lot differently that I have in the past.  And for that, I appreciate her.

Now some of you may think I’m crazy for stating that I wanted a black woman therapist, but I respectfully disagree.  First, it’s my therapy, and if there is a particular person that I feel comfortable with, that’s going to be my request.  Second, I knew that a black woman would understand certain things that I may encounter in life because we have race AND gender in common.

I haven’t seen her in sometime (we have an appointment tomorrow), and I almost cancelled my appointment.  Not only because I have things to do, but because it’s hard to talk to someone about your most intimate thoughts.  Even if you have a relationship with them. Even if you feel comfortable with them.  It’s hard to honestly, really, and truly take care of yourself.  Yes, we may travel, hang out with our friends and family, go out for cocktails, or read a book.  But making sure that we are mentally fit is an important component of self-care.

This summer, I have pledged to live my best life, inclusive of having fun, taking breaks when needed, and talking to my therapist to work through stuff or just to say “Hey, girl!”

I kindly advise that you all do the same!  Figure out what not only makes you happy but what you need to do in order to stay healthy.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

PS The podcast is going GREAT!  To catch up on all the episodes, you can find us on, The Femme Noir Files, on Google Play, iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!  Be sure to subscribe, rate, and share! 🙂

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Summer Spirits

We all have them…a favorite summer drink, and I’m not talking kool-aid.  Everyone has a favorite drink that they enjoy during the summer, whether it’s by the pool, at a bbq, or at a happy hour.   Today we will discuss a few drinks that will keep you cool and happy during those hot summer days and nights!

First, the Mojito.  This has to be the ultimate summer drink.  A Mojito made the right way is one of the best things since sliced bread.  This Cuban drink has five main ingredients:  white rum, sugar, lime, sparkling water, and mint.  When you have a sugar cane and fresh mint in a Mojito, you know  you have the real thing.  My favorite place to get this drink is at a restaurant in DC, Ceiba.  A friend took me there when I first moved to DC, and I must admit one of the tastiest things is chewing on that sugar cane!

Pina Coladas have been a favorite of mine for a while.  And the good thing is you can have this drink shaken or frozen. When mixed in the blender, I get the combination of a milkshake with a little bit of a kick!   Rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice are the ingredients in this tasty drink.  Pina coladas are traditionally Spanish, but are enjoyed stateside and in the Caribbean.

A tall cool glass of lemonade is perfect on a hot summer day, and an Electric Lemonade is great for a summer night.  With a little vodka, curacao (add blue curacao for an Electric Blue Lemonade), sweet and sour mix, and Sprite you have some lemonade with a little extra.  Just make sure you don’t mix your drink with Grandma’s at the family BBQ!

I know tons of people who love a good pitcher of Sangria.  And it’s great that you don’t have to wait until the summer to enjoy this drink.   A few people have pitchers available for guests at house parties year round.   There seems to be various recipes for Sangrias, but the essential ingredients are red wine, fruit slices, sweetener, a small amount of another spirit, ice, and soda.  Most people have the fruit soak in the Sangria for hours on end before it’s served, thus ensuring that when the fruit is eaten, those who partake will have the ultimate Sangria experience.

As an avid wine drinker, I would be remiss if I did not mention Muscadine wine.  As a little girl in the South, my cousins, friends, and I could not wait until the Muscadines were in season.   A grape-like fruit, Muscadines were the essential for a complete summertime experience.  If you find the right batch, you could eat these all day.  They are so good that I requested my mother freeze some for me last summer when she bought some!  Muscadine wine captures the delicious taste of this fruit with the tastiness of wine.  Winemakers traditionally add sugar to make this a dessert wine, but in my humble opinion, this drink can be consumed during any meal.

So what is your favorite drink?  Do you have any yummy summer cocktail recipes?  If so, please share! Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Family Reunions

There’s nothing like family, and I’ve come to realize this now more than I ever have before this weekend.  I have had the pleasure of hanging out with “both” sides, maternal and paternal, of my family.   Every Father’s Day weekend, my dad’s family has a reunion.  It started out 50 years ago with my great-grandfather’s children honoring him and having a potluck during the first Father’s Day after my great-grandmother died.  I actually found out this weekend that the potluck was my grandmother’s idea.  In February of this year, my cousin sent a mass text to all of the grandchildren and requested our presence at the reunion, which is held in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  After my grandmother passed last month, I knew that I had to come back to South Carolina and attend the events of the weekend.  I was able to see my aunts, uncles, cousins, and was able to meet some new family members.  (I’m sure we’ll connect on Facebook soon!)  I had a great time; Friday was the fish fry on the family property, Saturday was the banquet, and Sunday was church and the Lowcountry boil and cookout under the tent on the family land.  Needless to say I got some good eating done, as only we Southerners can do!  I even got to hang out a little with my firstcousins, which is always fun in and of itself!

Once the paternal side activities were done, I travelled to Georgia where my mom’s family rented a house for the week.  A few years back, my family decided to travel every other year for a week and rent a house in a different location.  In addition to seeing my mom, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins that live in my hometown, I was also able to see my aunt that lives in Nebraska, who brought her two grandsons, and my aunt that lives in New York!  And I met my new 2 month old cousin, who is absolutely adorable!  And he is spoiled rotten!  It seems like I came on the right day because one of my uncles cooked out on the grill and I went to the beach with my mom and had some bonding time.  What was supposed to be a day trip turned into an overnighter as I went with them into the city and came back way too late to drive back to South Carolina.  So, as luck would have it, my mom had some extra PJ’s, which I’m tempted to take back with me to DC, and I had a scarf in the trunk, so I slept in one of the many rooms in this house.   We got up and had breakfast together, which was really nice and I knew was going to be good as EVERYBODY in my family can cook!  I’m so tempted to stay another day, but duty calls, so travel back to the city I must.  I’ve never been on the family vacation with my mom’s family, so this was a great experience for me.

This trip has been a nice change of pace for me and very refreshing.  My families are loving, supportive, and everyone has hearts of gold.  Now, I’m not saying that my families are perfect, but when we need each other, we are always there, and that’s what matters most.   Are there any traditions that your family has?  Do you participate?  What’s your favorite family memory?  Please feel free to share.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!