Spicy Honey

The spicy honey sent a chill down Tandy’s spine. She pulled her honey laced finger out of her mouth slowly and looked over at the young girl. “I think I’d like a jar of that to take home. $5 you said?”

“Yes ma’am. $5.” The young girl with blonde highlights smiled back.

“What’s in it?” Tandy asked as she reached in her purse and grabbed her red wallet. She slowly unzipped it, making sure to not drop any coins. “Do you have change for a $20?”

“Yes ma’am. It has a hint of jalapeno!” The young girl pulled her fanny pack around from her back to her stomach. She unzipped her pack and pulled out three five dollar bills. “Here you go!”

Tandy gave her the twenty dollar bill, trying to get another lick of her finger. She placed the three bills in her wallet and zipped it back up. The little girl handed her a jar of jalapeño honey. “Do you need a bag, ma’am?” She asked.

“Yes, please.” Tandy took the honey and placed it in the brown bag with string handles. The bag read “Brussel Farms”. This farm was known for their strawberry picking and perfectly manicured bee colonies. Tandy made sure to stop by their station each time she came to the farmer’s market.

Today, she was mostly just perusing, looking for nothing in particular. A few weeks ago she bought fresh fruit and a beautiful bouquet of flowers to place on her kitchen table. The flowers came with the most unique glass vase. It was curved, as if someone took the time to make it shaped like a perfectly beautiful ballerina. The vase made the flowers more beautiful than they would have ordinarily been. The colors danced like the ballerina’s legs; pinks, blues, greens, and off white baby’s breath.

Tandy licked her finger once again before walking off after giving the little girl a smile. She roped her in by giving her the free sample. You can tell this little girl has done this before. Tandy walked past the jewelry tables and the art tables. She walked through the many fruit and jarred pickle stands. But with the brightness of the mid-day sun, something caught her eye.

There was a table across from her with perfectly carved wooden decorative home pieces. Some were large, some were small. She saw bookends and figurines. Side tables and picture frames. But the item that stood out the most, was the wooden platter with golden handles. The handles shimmered under the sun. Tandy walked over for a closer inspection.

“Good Afternoon ma’am. Do you see anything you like?” Levi asked as he panned his hand over the display of wooden items on his table. He stood there staring at Tandy, admiring her thick, curly hair.

Tandy moved closer staring so intently at the platter that she didn’t notice Levi staring at her. “Yes, I like this one!” She said as she pointed to the platter. “Did you make these yourself?” At that moment, Tandy looked up.

Levi smiled. He had such a beautiful smile. His teeth did not have perfect spacing or optimal whiteness, but his smile was warm. It drew her in. “I do. Would you like to touch it?” He asked.

Tandy looked at him hesitantly, “The platter right?”

“Ha ha!! Of course.” He let out a belly laugh. “That’s the best laugh I’ve had all day ma’am.”

“I’m just checking.” She snickered feeling like he meant something more. Tandy reached out and picked up the platter. She rubbed her hand across the inside. “Sturdy!”

“Yes it is. I made sure of it myself.” He replied.

“How did you get the handles like this?” Tandy admired the spirals carved into the golden handles. She gently slid her pointer finger across the indentations in the carving.

“Ma’am, I don’t kiss and tell. I mean, I can’t share my family secrets. We’d hate for you to take our ideas and run.”

Tandy could tell he definitely meant what he said. She was about to open her mouth for a comeback when another gentleman interrupted.

“Ma’am, this piece is $25. Do you want it or not?” He asked abruptly, giving a stern look to Levi.

“Actually, we’re having a sale today. I’ll give it to you for $15.” Levi winked. The older gentleman pulled Levi’s arm and dragged him to the side.

Tandy stood there not understanding what was happening. She could not hear what they were talking about. She could tell there was some tension brewing. So, she decided to head out. She slid her bagged honey’s straps further up her arm and she began walking towards her car. The sun was beginning to show signs of evening coming.

Once she got in the car, she placed her bagged honey on the passenger seat and whipped the tendrils of her curly hair into a quick updo and secured it with the hair tie from her wrist. She cranked up the car and slowly made her way down the windy dirt road. It would take her more than sixty minutes to make it back to Philadelphia. She loved the quiet, country drive to the outskirts of Lancaster.

Once she got onto the paved road, she increased her speed. She drove bopping her head left and right listening to her favorite female MCs. Her music was loud, bass pumping so hard that the water bottle she kept in the cup holder vibrated in pain. Occasionally letting out plastic pops due to lack of water inside. So loud, in fact, she didn’t hear the beep indicating she needed gas. Her car began to slow down, which caught her attention. She looked at the dashboard, “Shit!” She slowly pulled her car to the side of the road.

It was getting dark. She pulled out her phone to call for help. Dead. Her battery was completely dead. Her car concert ended like a stripper who attended Junior’s party on Player’s Club. She sat there in complete silence, in the dark, crying. She decided to step out of the car in hopes of someone passing by to help her. She grabbed her light jacket from the back of her car and stepped outside, making sure to keep her keys in her hand. She did not want to be locked out of her car in the night, on this dark back road.

After pining a few minutes, she saw head lights coming around the bend. She raised her hands up waving, hoping to catch their attention. The car kept going. A short while later, she saw more lights. Then, she saw red as they passed her by. After waiting what felt like an eternity, she heard loud steps. She became worried because she had never heard anything like this before. She jumped back into the car for safety.

As the noise grew louder, she placed her head in the center of her steering wheel praying that it wasn’t a killer or a large animal that could maul her car open. Suddenly the noise stopped, but she was too frightened to look up and stare the monster in the face. She heard three heavy taps on the driver side window. She felt herself shaking uncontrollably.

“Hey, are you ok ma’am? It’s late!”

Tandy recognized the way the voice said ma’am. She looked up at the window. “Hey! How are you?”

“I’m good. Are you ok?” Levi asked.

“No! I’m out of gas. And I’m guessing, you don’t have any huh?!” She began to cry again.

“Can you open the door? I can barely hear you!”

Tandy opened her car door. “I guess you don’t have any gas, huh?!” She looked at the horse and buggy he rode in on. She sat with her legs hanging out of the driver side.

Thunder began to roar in the distance. Levi looked up. “We can’t stay here. There’s a storm coming.”

“What are we going to do? Is there a hotel nearby?”

“Oh girl! Do you know where you are?” Levi laughed.

“Not really. I’m not usually out here this late. I just live a few minutes away, in the city.”

“Listen, you are in the heart of Amish country. There aren’t any hotels near here. You’re will need to come with me until morning. It’s not safe out here for you, if you know what I mean.”

“What do you mean? What’s Amish?” Tandy was confused.

“Listen. I’m Levi. This community has strict rules. I don’t have time to explain everything out here or we’ll be spending the night in your car. Get in the buggy.”

Tandy grabbed her purse from the passenger seat and slammed the door behind her. She locked her car, then dropped her keys into her purse. She climbed up into the buggy and sat beside Levi. “I’m Tandy!”

The ride to Levi’s farm was bumpy, causing Tandy to occasionally bump into Levi. As the pair made the turn to pull onto his land, the sky broke open. Rain began to pour down and streaks of light danced across the sky. Tandy dropped her head down and covered it with her purse. Levi paused in front of the barn, jumping down to swing the large doors open.

He drove the buggy into the barn steadily, making sure to not cause a noticeable stir. He backed the wagon into a corner and jumped out. He ran over near the door and lit a small oil lamp; he closed the barn doors. He walked back over and unlatched the horse. Tandy watched his every move. He walked the horse over to the other end of the barn, where her stall was. Afterwards, he came back over to Tandy; he helped her get down.

As her hand was in his, she could feel the heat between them. She admired his half buttoned white textured shirt. One tail in and the other hanging out. His hair was going this way and that from the breeze and rain. She stared, taking all of him in.

“Wait here,” Levi instructed. He ran over to the other side of the barn where a storage locker was located. He grabbed candles and thick blankets. He walked over into the center of the barn and arranged the blankets. Setting the candles on the bottom of a tin, that had been flipped upside down. He lit the candles. “Come sit down. I’m going to run out to grab a few things, but I’ll be right back.”

Tandy sat on the blanket, looking around to see if there was an outlet to charge her phone. There wasn’t. She gave up and placed her purse beside her on the hay strewn ground. “I hope no one is worried about me. Right, I live by myself.”

Levi walked back in with a wooden basket filled with a bottle of Riesling and a collection of meat, fruit, and cheeses. “You hungry?”

“I could eat!” A smile grew on Tandy’s face. He walked over and placed the platter in front of her; he sat really close beside her. He smelled like a mixture of freshly cut wood and a hint of rose. Tandy breathed him in, enjoying his incessant smile and the hint of mischief in his eyes.

“Close your eyes and open your mouth!” He instructed with a seriousness in his voice. Tandy felt nervous, but did as she was told. He drizzled some spicy honey over all the fruit. Then, slid in a piece of strawberry into her opened mouth.

“Mmmmm…” Tandy released a low moan. He drew closer to her, gently rubbing her face as she savored the strawberry. They could still hear the storm brewing behind them, but Tandy was less afraid being with him.

“Want some meat? Open your mouth!” Levi said.

Tandy opened her eyes. “Huh?! What are you up to?” She was perplexed. On the one hand, no one would know what she did while she was here. But on the other hand, she didn’t want to have some weird take home gift she wasn’t prepared for.

“Tandy, I have slices of sausage. What did you think I meant?” Levi stared at her with that big smile. “I won’t make you do anything you’re not comfortable doing. Do you not eat meat?”

“Listen, this is too much. What is your end game?”

“I do not understand your question. Have I done something that offends you?”

“No, but I’m not used to this. I’m from Philly. I don’t know anything about you, but you in here feeding me fruit and shit. Like, are you about to kill me and feed me to your horses? What’s the deal?”

“What? I’d never do anything like that. Where would you get something like that from?”

“I watch a ton of crime shows!”

“What are crime shows?”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Listen, I am just an Amish country boy. I work hard all day long. When I saw you earlier, I felt a sense of peace. Maybe it was the glow of your skin or how your hair reminds me of pillows. But, I wanted to touch you. To feel the peace that radiating from your skin. I’ve never been this close to someone like you.”

“What do you mean ‘someone like me’”? Tandy became offended.

“You. A city girl. Once, during Rumspringa, I visited the city. The people were beautiful, but much too angry for me. You don’t seem like them. I didn’t last long; came back home. You have an inner beauty that I’m longing to have.” He grabbed Tandy’s hand and placed it on his chest. Tandy could feel her anger melting away.

He poured a glass of wine. “Tilt your head back, dear.” He began to pour the wine in her mouth, making sure to do small measurements at a time. She closed her eyes. Levi used this as an opportunity. He leaned in and used his free hand to pull her face to his. He kissed her lips, parting her mouth to feel her tongue. Tandy was taut at first, but gave in. He could feel the tension leaving her body.

He laid her down and played in her hair. She laughed. His hands moved lower. He admired her entire body. He played with her like a kid in KB Toys for the very first time. She allowed him; she hadn’t been touched like this in a very long time.

As the night drew on, the candles blew out. They knew each other. Every crease and intricacy. It seemed to still the storm.

By the morning, the wine and food was all gone. The light revealed the wildness of what the night held. Tandy woke up lying in Levi’s arms. He kissed her forehead. “I guess we need to get you squared away.”

Tandy pulled her clothes back on. “Yeah, I don’t want my parents to think something has happened to me.

“Go get in the buggy. I’ll bring the horse around.” Levi pointed as he spoke. He put the empty wine bottle in the wooden basket and rolled the blankets back up. He walked over to the storage bin and placed all of the items inside. At the bottom, he pulled out a gasoline can. He grabbed it and walked over to the horse. He brought the horse back to the buggy and placed the gas tin at the back of the buggy. Tandy’s view was constricted by the lack of continuous light. He connected the horse, then opened the barn doors.

It was early and the dew was still all over the grass. The farm was vast and there seemed to be no one for miles around. They drove out to Tandy’s car. Levi stopped the buggy in the middle of the road.

“But what are we going to do? I don’t see any gas stations out here.”

“I got you!” Levi sprung from the buggy and grabbed the tin can from the back. “Unlock your car!”

“Wait! You had gas the entire time?!”

“Yeah, we use gas too!”

“You mutherfucka!”

“Huh, what does that mean?”

“Just pour the gas!”

Levi smiled as he poured the gas. After he was done, he placed the tin back inside the buggy. “I have something for you.” He pulled out the wooden platter with the golden handles. “I hope you enjoy this. Every time you use it, I hope you think of me.”

All of Tandy’s anger began to melt away. Levi moved closer and went in for one last kiss.

“If you’re ever at the farmer’s market again, come see me.” He jumped in his buggy and pulled away.

                  If you enjoyed this short story, be sure to visit http://www.shanahannibal.com

I Am My Own Soulmate

I heard a song a few weeks ago that really spoke to me. The song is “Soulmate” by Lizzo. After listening to the lyrics, I realized something. We need to change our definition of soulmate. 

According to the online dictionary, a soulmate is, “a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.” But why? Why do we need someone else? Why can’t we be complete by ourselves?

What if we are our own soulmate? Lizzo’s lyrics goes as follows:

“Cause I’m my own soulmate (Yeah, yeah)

I know how to love me (Love me)

I know that I’m always gonna hold me down

Yeah, I’m my own soulmate (Yeah, yeah)

No, I’m never lonely (Lonely)

I know I’m a queen but I don’t need no crown

Look up in the mirror like damn she the one”

I agree with Lizzo. I think I’m my own soulmate. I figured this out a few years before this song came out. A few years ago, I was so bombarded with life: A husband, children, grad school, and work. But, I wasn’t happy; I was losing my mind. 

Then, I did something that changed the course of my life. I found myself. I decided to take myself out on a date. I left everyone. I didn’t call any of my friends. I didn’t have any romantic partners. It was just me.

I had to decide what I wanted for myself. This alone time gave me the space to learn myself and love myself.

I rented a hotel room. I went to a book signing. I ate chinese food in bed. I sat and figured out what goals I wanted to accomplish. This was the best thing I could have ever thought of.

I learned a few lessons:

  1. Love who you want. This doesn’t only apply to sexual relationships, but it could. Build relationships with friends, lovers, etc. 
  2. Forgive yourself. Every situation teaches you something. Don’t regret your choices.
  3. Love yourself. Despite anything you’ve done, love yourself and your decisions. You’re the one who will be with you for the rest of your life. You shouldn’t be the one hating yourself.
  4. Go solo. Sometimes you don’t have friends who want to attend certain events with you. Who cares? Go. Enjoy yourself.
  5. Set goals! Reach your goals. Live the life that you want.

You only have one life to live. Love yourself and enjoy!



For many of us, publishing the traditional route is not an easy option. Some choose to send their manuscripts to publishers or participate in #pitmad on Twitter to see if a literary agent requests a manuscript. For those of us, like me, who are impatient, eager, and sometimes frugal, there are other ways to publish and get your work to the masses without breaking the bank. 

A friend of mine said that if a publisher asks you to pay for them to publish your book, you may want to investigate. When I initially wanted to publish my first book, I researched local Charlotte publishers. I met with this “publisher” who wanted to charge me $3000 to publish my book. When I turned down the offer, he blocked me on all social media sites. Weird right?!?! Why bother doing business with a person like that? So, I decided to go the Indie route. I spoke with other authors and followed people vigorously on social media. Because of this, I was able to chart my path and learn a few things along the way.

What to write?

First, you need to decide whether you want your story to be fiction or nonfiction. Then, you’ll need to decide the genre/ age group. Either way, your story must incorporate a problem and solution. 

A great story has a problem that needs a solution. Some stories may have more than one problem. This is the first thing I think of when creating a story. Depending on the genre, the problem can be anything. Some of the problems of the recent projects I’ve been working include remembering, loss, and relationships. I tend to write in the genres of romance and suspense. Other problems can include dominating a culture (king, queen, etc), finding someone, trouble at work or overcoming obstacles. Whatever you decide, it cannot be a straight path solution. There should be twists and turns.


The next thing I like to do is name my characters. Or, if you’re writing nonfiction, you’ll need to research your subjects/people. I begin with my main characters. I name sub-characters once I actually begin writing the story. The names just come to me. I feel like they match the character’s actions and motives. Some people create this list ahead of time. I don’t have that type of foresight. I have to see how the name feels in a situation. Make sure to write down traits of the characters and keep the list close by. It would suck to write the wrong name or get your characters mixed up throughout the story.

Writer’s Block

Have you ever had this great idea and boom, you’re stuck. Yes, most writers have. I preach about this on my Twitter and IG page all the time. Whenever I hit a wall, I have to do something exciting. I’ve gone to retreats, paddle boarding, vacations, riding ATVs, tubing down rivers, etc. I have to spice it up. Stepping outside of the norm opens you up to new experiences. It helps you write through new eyes!

Steps to Self-Publish

Cover design, editing, and formatting: I would find someone on Fiverr. Some people on social media are fine, but some will just take you money and run. To have a safety net, I prefer to do business through a trusted site. On the site, you can see samples of their work and you are not charged until you see the product and approve it.

Copyright: To avoid anyone stealing your work, you definitely want to copyright it. You can do this before or after you publish. You can do it yourself on the website. Do not waste money paying someone to do it for you. Make sure to include a copyright page in your book with your information before publishing. For sample pages visit here. To copyright your work, simply create an account on copyright.gov and plug your information in. The fee varies depending on your final product, but starts at $65.

Self-publish: There are several websites where you can self publish. The most popular are Amazon (KDP), Lulu, Ingram Sparks, or Barnes and Noble. The cost varies from different sites. I chose KDP because you only pay for your printed copies and your book is available within a few days online or print. Author copies typically cost under $5. With Ingram, the package costs more. Also, with KDP you do not have to purchase your own ISBN. They will assign one for you. Even Though I published with KDP, my book is available on Barnes and Noble, Walmart, and Indie bookseller websites.

I’m published, now what?!?!

The first thing you need to do before publishing is develop an audience. You’ll need to create pages on different social media platforms and tease your audience about your pending project. Make memes, give inspiration, show artwork. Anything that can entice your friends to want to buy your book. If you’re doing a children’s book, post unfinished drawings. 

After you publish, shout it from the rooftop! Post it everywhere. Tell everyone. You can even run ads on social media sites. If you don’t have a large budget, it’s fine. You can run ads as low as $1 on Facebook/Instagram. I believe it’s a minimum of $50 on Twitter. If you publish through Amazon, you can run ads on there too. One thing I highly recommend you NOT do, is pay some random on Instagram to promote your page. Many of them are scammers and know how to make it look like their page has high engagement. Stick to something where you can see the metrics. Make sure you learn your target audience, so you’re not wasting money on uninterested people.

Happy Publishing!!!

I Love My Shelf Podcast

Behind the Scenes filming “I Love My Shelf”

You may have also heard me here….

The Rainbow at the End of the Storm

My birthday is kind of a big deal to me. Let me explain why…

Growing up, as you know from most of my other posts, life was stressful. I grew up in a single parent household. That means finances were tight and my mom was not about to “waste” money on frivolous things. We never had birthday parties growing up. She would simply come home with a small cake. She and the four of us would gather around, sing happy birthday, then eat it. No balloons, no friends, no party, etc. However, we appreciated it. It was all we had. We were more concerned about what we would eat daily, school supplies, and paying all of our monthly bills. From an early age, we knew the essentials.

Fast forward to my early twenties, I had the most horrific birthday of my life. I was a younger person, living my best life. Trying to figure certain things out. I was giving my then “boyfriend” a ride to the dentist in Charleston. We turned towards James Island and stopped at a stop light. All of a sudden, an SUV rammed into the back of my car, nearly pushing my car into the intersection. Thankfully, we stopped rolling.

I jumped out of the car to go and check the damage. My trunk was pushed all the way into my backseat. The young lady and her male friend jumped out of their car. She came up to me, clearly upset, and said the most absurd thing you can imagine. “I’m so upset. Is it possible for you to run into the store and get me a cigarette to help me calm down?” 

I nearly knocked her out on the spot. Thankfully, clearer heads prevailed. I just glared at her until she walked away. We called the police and took care of all the formalities. But that’s not where the story ends.

Later that day, my birthday, I suddenly stopped feeling so well. I got up out of bed, I needed a nap after all the action, and I was dripping all over. I was not sure what was going on. So, my boyfriend took me to the hospital. Y’all!! I had a freaking miscarriage. I was only a few weeks and barely knew anything. I was so heartbroken. I was devastated. On my birthday! The only positive, I was surrounded by people I loved.

Although tragic, now, I choose to look at the brighter side. I look at it as the lord allowing me more time in life to get myself together before having children. We received a large settlement from the situation. It doesn’t fix the hole left from my loss, but at least I was able to use the money to secure a home and car after graduation. 

A year after that situation, I wrote a letter to my lost little one. I promised her (we found out later that it would have been a girl) that I would live my life to the fullest. I would celebrate myself. I would put forth the effort to live the life I want to live. And I am proud to do just that. I have a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees and am an assistant principal. Each year for my birthday, I take a trip or do something unique. I’ve been to Aruba, Spain, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Las Vegas, Miami, and countless other cities/states in the US. I’ve ridden ATVs, paddle boarded, flown in planes and helicopters, and tubed down rivers. I am proud of the person I’ve become.

Since the incident, I’ve been blessed with two beautiful children. Previously, I was not sure if the accident would have impeded that, but thankfully it did not. I’m grateful for God giving me a second chance. A second chance at creating the life I wanted to have and a second chance at having children. I never take anything for granted. Each morning, I tell God thank you because I truly am grateful. So, if you ever wonder why I laugh and smile all the time, just know that I’ve been through so many things and survived. And for that, I’m grateful in every situation.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Like, comment, share!

What’s Under That Mask???

I’ve always had terrible skin.


However, after having kids, my skin began to clear up a ton. Maybe the hormones; I don’t know. I was on a smooth ride for years, minus the occasional outbreaks during shark week, until Covid hit.

Once Covid hit, march 2020, we began wearing masks. The masks were making my face break out. So, once my former esthetician opened back up after the semi-quarantine was lifted, I went in for a facial. She “cleaned” my face, neck, and chest area. Worst Idea Ever!!! She used all sorts of scented products and it made my skin worse. 

I began to breakout all over my face, neck, and chest. When I get a break out, it sucks because my skin gets dark where the bumps were (hyperpigmentation). I was so distraught. So, I tried a few different products until I hit the right combination. FYI, I tried Fenty Beauty and it made me break out really badly. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with that $40 set that was only used a couple times.

Tiktok @divaap85

The best solution for my face was Urban Skin Solutions! Keep in mind, I’m not a dermatologist. This simply worked for my skin. These products work best for oily, blemish prone skin.



  • Wash your face with charcoal soap
  • Use serum
  • Lotion

Night (before bed)

  • Use cleansing bar 2 times per week
  • Use coconut oil or tea tree oil

What do you do to clear up your face? Like, Comment, Share…

What He Took

Copyright © 2021 S.R. Hannibal

Chapter 1

Present: January. News cameras and crews surrounded Olympus High School Monday morning following the announcement of a fatal accident involving one of the school district’s employees the night prior. This January morning felt crisp, even though the sun was out. The sun was shining brightly off the cars and vans that surrounded the school, making the ice crystals appear to be dancing. The crew anxiously awaited for the superintendent to arrive and discuss his thoughts on the matter at hand. Karla, the news reporter from WCOTV,  was the first to notice him stepping out of his white sports car. She could tell he was trying to avoid her, but she reached him too quickly for him to scamper away.

Looking back at the camera man and she walked briskly towards the man in the Italian suit, Karla whispered in a low tone, “Begin on my countdown. And 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. We are here with Superintendent Waymer to discuss the tragic incident surrounding one of his employees, the principal of Olympus High School. Sir, in your own words, how is the staff responding?” Karla breathed heavily as she spoke.

“You know, we are at a loss for words. We are still trying to wrap our heads around the entire situation. Something like this rarely happens in our community. Our priority is finding all the facts before making any decisions.” The superintendent appeared to be annoyed.

Reader Review

The staff of Olympus High School gathered in the media center waiting for word on how the school would proceed. The staff trickled in one by one, noting how silent the room was. Everyone stared at each other puzzled. The entire faculty sat in silence together, where it usually buzzed with banter from the staff and students. Mr. Johnson decided to walk over to the tv and turn it on while they waited for the superintendent to arrive. As soon as the tv buzzed on, they recognized his voice immediately.

“Dr. Barber is a key component in making our district successful,” Dr. Waymer noted. “She has implemented programs that greatly impact business owners, parents, and students. We are all waiting anxiously to see how this plays out. I’ll have no further comment until we hear the final report. Thank you.” Superintendent Waymer walked away from Karla before she could ask any other follow up questions.

“Back to you at the station, John.” Karla finished.

The staff sat in bewilderment staring at the television screen. Superintendent Waymer had asked the staff of Olympus High to arrive early Monday morning before the students did to discuss how the school would proceed. He advised the staff to turn off their phones upon arrival. He wanted to ensure nothing was posted to social media without him knowing it first. The staff waited patiently, wondering what the final word was.

It’s the Weight Loss for Me!

Like a cement block hit me, the nation closed gyms in March. I was devastated. I usually exercise three to five days per week. I didn’t monitor my diet much because the gym typically balanced me out. Along with keeping my figure in check, the gym also kept my mental health in check. So, needless to say, I was a wreck when the country closed down.

To maintain my weight, I went for a walk everyday and practiced intermittent fasting. I would not eat my first meal until noon, and I didn’t eat past 7pm. The plus is, I could eat whatever I wanted. I maintained my weight great over quarantine.

Crowder’s Mountain

This isn’t the first time I’ve had weight issues. I was always a thicker girl, as a kid. In high school, I joined the marching band and cut back on eating to lose weight. I graduated at a nice size.

Middle School

In college, I began dating my now husband. He would cook all these great meals and take me out to dinner. I slowly began to gain weight again. UGH!!! Senior year, I joined a gym with my good friend and we developed an eating plan together. By graduation, I had lost about 7 lbs and felt great!

Fast forward a few years, I got married and had kids. With both pregnancies, I gained over 60 pounds. I was so hungry all of the time. I would wake up in the middle of the night and make sandwiches. I’d eat greasy pizza. It was a mess! My doctor constantly asked if I needed a nutritionist. I kindly turned her down each time. I never developed preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. Thank God!

College Graduation

After having my kids, I weighed well over 200lbs. So, I hired a personal trainer. He was a retired NFL player. He kicked my a$$. Thanks to him, I lost all the weight. I got down to my high school weight. I’ve been able to maintain that over the years…until Covid hit. Well, after Covid, really.

My feature on a weight loss website

I worked from home during the months of March, April and May. Between walking and intermittent fasting, I did great. In June, I went back to work. My boss constantly rewarded us with food because of all the hard work we were doing. I happily ate all the food. We didn’t have to dress up, so I didn’t notice my clothes tightening up. My husband constantly joked that I look like a football player. 

In October, I took my kids to a pumpkin patch. While we were out there, my kids and husband were constantly snapping pics. We were having so much fun! We got home and started looking at pics to post on social media. That’s when I saw it. The BULGE!!! 

Fun Day at the Pumpkin Patch

I couldn’t believe it. I ran upstairs to check my weight. I had managed to gain a whopping 10 pounds from June to October. I was ashamed! How did I let myself go like that?!?!? I began to research professional help because I felt that I had gone too far this time. I found a 6 week fitness program on Facebook. So, I called to set up a meeting. At the meeting, they discussed the meal plan and the workout portion. Once I saw the meal plan, I knew I needed help. I searched Instagram and found a chef who does meal prep kits. Mid-October, I began my 6 week boot camp.

Meal Prep

After 3 weeks, I lost 8 lbs. and toned up dramatically. There’s no secret to losing weight, but consistency is the biggest factor. I exercise three days per week, for at least 1 hour. The biggest part of losing weight is what you eat. Drink lots of water! Here’s my meal plan:


2 Scrambled eggs and 1 cup of berries or 2 grilled chicken tenders with 1 cup of fruit

Mid-day protein unsweetened powder (mix with water or unsweetened tea)


1 meat (chicken, seafood, turkey) and a cup of veggies (except corn)

Mid-day protein unsweetened powder (mix with water or unsweetened tea)


1 meat (chicken, seafood, turkey) and a cup of veggies (except corn)

My favorite go to veggies are broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and asparagus. With the berries, I usually mix blueberries, raspberries and black berries.

I still have 2 weeks left on my cleanse, but I am so happy with the results thus far. I’ll post any updates here after my last two weeks. On a side note, make sure you keep some gum on you. That protein powder leaves your breath smelling weird. How do you stay motivated to stay healthy?

Good Luck on your weight loss journey!

Like, Comment, Share….

Boo Who?!?!?

I wasn’t always this stylish. It took a lot of work and time reading a ton of magazines.

I grew up in a tiny town. The only retail stores we had were Citi Trends and Kmart. Later, Rainbow came along. I thought I was dope when Rainbow opened. 

I somehow got a subscription to the Delia magazine when I was in middle school. I wanted those clothes so badly. However, my family was a working class family and never “wasted” money on something so frivolous as clothes. My parents literally took us back to school shopping in August and it had to last you for the remainder of the school year. We had 1 pair of nice shoes for church and 1 pair of sneakers for school. Nothing more. 

As I got older, I wanted to look more like the people on tv and magazines. I loved the outfits in “Boomerang” and “Clueless”. I feel better when I wear certain clothes and look a certain way. So, in high school, I got a job. Being that I bought a used car in high school, I didn’t have to worry about my paycheck going towards a car note. I pocketed all of my paycheck. Thanks parents for covering insurance! The game officially changed!

I began shopping at all of my favorite places. Sometimes, depending on the cost, I had to do a lay-away plan. It was totally worth it. Sometimes I would drive to the big city above my town and visit their malls.

As I entered college, my style shifted slightly. I needed club clothes! I began to shop at Bakers, Express, and Bebe. Everything was sparkly and highly inappropriate. Then, the change came. My last year of college, I had to get professional attire for my education internship. I headed to New York and Company to help me look more scholarly. I didn’t enjoy the look though.

Once I graduated and became a teacher, I was more able to find a look that was affordable and professional at the same time. I’ve decided to show you a few looks and share my favorite stores. The stores are affordable and super cute. With standard shipping, you typically get your items in 5-7 days depending on if circumstances are normal (global pandemic slowed everything down).



Shoe Dazzle

What’s your favorite boutiques? Like, Comment, Share!

Loc’d and Loaded

I have had hair issues since I was young. I am so grateful now for my hair journey because it helped me appreciate where I am and how I take care of my daughter’s hair.

When I was a toddler, I had no hair. Ok, maybe I lied, I had a few square patches of hair. My braids typically looked like Coolio. As I grew older and prepared for kindergarten, my mom hooked me up. Not really. She gave me Jerry Curls. Lord have mercy. I bopped around kindergarten dripping everywhere. I didn’t know enough to be embarrassed, but I knew I didn’t like it.

My aunt Wendy and I in front of Burger King

When I got to first or second grade, my mom began putting in those box perms (relaxer). She didn’t use Just for Me or other kiddie perms, she used the actual grown women ones. It tore my hair up! My hair became dry and brittle. Part of the problem, looking back, is that my mom didn’t take care of my hair after putting those chemicals in my hair. She rarely moisturized or conditioned it. It was just dry from wash to wash. She never taught me how to take care of my hair.

Wednesday Bible Study

After years of anguish, I became a teenager. A friend of mine had a sister who did hair at the local mall. So, I spoke with her and she agreed that if I swept up periodically, she’d do my hair for a discounted rate. Best decision ever!! So, I got my Halle Berry cut and rocked it all through high school. My hair was the healthiest it’s ever been. The next problem was college.

Senior Year at OW

I went to college in a different city and didn’t know anyone. Before I left, I got braids done, hoping it would last long enough to find a hairstylist. Luckily, I was blessed. I met two great friends who hooked me up, Mikey and Krystal. By the way, Mikey is now a well renowned hair stylist. These two would do my hair for little to no payment, as we were broke college kids. I am forever grateful.

College of Charleston

Once I graduated and began my career, I went back down a familiar path. I resumed going to the hair salon. Now, I could actually afford to pay full price and not have to clean up. But, around this time (2008) something interesting happened. The movie “Good Hair” with Chris Rock came out. I watched the documentary and was dumbfounded. No one had ever explained how terrible hair chemicals were, especially to black women. Women had calcium build up on their skulls and were losing hair. I felt aghast. I knew I had to make some changes.

So, I immediately decided to go natural. I decided that my last relaxer was my last relaxer. I had to do a ton of research to figure out how to take care of my natural hair. There wasn’t much information out there since many black women hadn’t made this transition yet. I decided to do a slow transition as opposed to the big chop. I wasn’t ready for that. I slowly let my hair grow out, week by week. However, after a few weeks, I went ahead and chopped it off because having the straight ends on super curly hair looked crazy.

I rocked my fro for a few weeks before I became tired of caring for it. My stylist didn’t like caring for it either; she was old school. She was not very pleased that I was no longer paying a million dollars for a relaxer every 6 weeks. I began to take care of my own hair. I went on a spending spree buying all of these different products. My styles rarely turned out how I wanted them. I settled with rocking an afro. 

After a year, I became inspired by Lauryn Hill, Ledisi, and Lalah Hathaway. I decided to grow locs. Working in schools and having old school parents, this was not a popular decision. However, I knew it was right for me. I had no hair care experience and I needed something simple, easy, and adorable. I began my loc journey in 2009. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I began with small little twists. I used to wash my hair with a stocking cap on to prevent the twists from unraveling. It took nearly 3 months for my hair to bud. Budding is when your hair begins to form locs and grow together. At this point, you’re in the “ugly” phase. But I don’t look at it as ugly. I look at it as a time you grow to love yourself. You begin to understand your hair and accept who you are as a person.

Taking care of locs is simple. I wash my hair once every 3 weeks. My favorite hair care line is TPH by Taraji P. Henson. After washing it, I retwist it. This can take between two and four hours, depending on how distracted I am. Then, I either wear it straight, do braids for curls, or use pipe cleaners for wavy hair. Each day, I moisturize with a product that has biotin. It keeps my hair strong at the roots. My styles typically last until my next wash.

I have been growing my locs for nearly 12 years now. I am so glad I chose to do this. My only regret is not starting sooner.