#10: Loving Myself, Michelle Obama’s Gems, and Weekly Reflections

What a week; I feel like time is flying by. And I can’t lie this week I wasn’t super productive, but I do have to pat myself on the back for doing a couple of things like continuing to listen to Michelle Obama’s audiobook titled Becoming, cleaning, grocery shopping, attempting to paint my nails, and most notably — going to the gym!

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Thank you, thank you *takes several bows*. Yes, I’ve been making it to the gym (after all, I can’t let this membership go to waste!). I’m working on distance running and toning up my body right now, so today I did 2.0 miles in 35 minutes including a warm up and cool down, with 4:45 seconds on and 00:40 seconds off. Then each day I alternate which region of my body I want to work. I’d say I’m off to a good start so far.  I’ve been working out with my best friend and let me tell you, she keeps me accountable.

I think a combination of going to the gym, eating well, and doing some end-of-the-year reflection has helped me love myself more as a result. Not only that but like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, journaling has been helping me out a ton too. It feels good to connect with my body and mind; to slow down and give myself that space. I feel healthy! Plus I’m here for the confidence boost too.

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This week I’ve also been collecting all of the gems from Michelle’s book. I love how self-aware she is, how real and candid she is about how her relationship with Barack started and how it’s evolved over the years, and how compassionate she is. Listening to this book is making me think about my own aspirations, patterns, relationships, and development. It also prompts me to ask myself, “What do I want my life to be like in X amount of years?” How do I want to write my story?

And on that note, here are some weekly reflections and favorites I came across this past couple of days:

  • Intuition is powerful. Listen to it. In silence, before making a decision, and before asking others for advice.
  • Our thoughts affect our mood. That may sound obvious, but we underestimate how amazing we can make ourselves feel through thought alone. When we think positively about ourselves and what we have, when we think in terms of gratitude, affirmations, favorite memories, and the like, we naturally raise our mood. We do that, simply by thinking! To me, that’s an incredible superpower.
  • Note to self: spend more time with the people that make you feel full and in flow. The feeling you get from that is unlike anything else in this world.

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  • I am more than enough. You are more than enough. We are abundant. We have so much value; our abilities, our manifestations, and our existence are magnificent.
  • Decide to decide, show up, and flow.
  • Favorite: The app Digit — I just started using it to work on saving for goals like paying off student loans and making a “fun” budget
  • Favorite: Sweet potato! Yummmm! I’ve been making a salad complete with leafy greens, sweet potato, hummus, avocado (if I’m feeling like it) and some dressing. Delishhh.
  • Favorite: Running!

I hope your week went well and that you recognize the power you have to make next week even better. Keep thriving, sis.

All the best,

Valencia

 

#9: Taking Care of Myself, “Becoming,” and Weekly Reflections​

This week mostly consisted of me sleeping in until around 10/11am, hanging out, watching lots of Marvel movies, and finding moments to center myself. And you know what? I’m soooo glad I got that time to reset, connect, and reflect. I think I needed a shift from the usual stuff, of being studious and mobile.

Speaking of shifts, this week I came to the conclusion that I’m in the midst of a big, energetical shift. In a spiritual way. Things are changing, and the best way I can describe it is that I feel as though I’m growing new wings; I’m learning new skills, adulting a lot more, and giving myself the space to BE. To create, and fail, and win, and work.

Perhaps the shift is that I’m prioritizing myself. The feeling of it feels new and beautiful.

It’s in the moments that I find myself coming back to myself, the moments when I get quiet and listen to my needs, that I feel amazing. I feel present. This week reminded me of that. I think what helped was that I finally picked up a paper and pen and started journaling again; that physical act of writing helps me ground myself. Do you have something like that? Something that brings you back to your present being and helps you tap into your intuition? For me, writing is my go-to.

 

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Source: Soul Pancake

 

Speaking of prioritizing myself, I got a gym membership! —- Nowwww, before you roll your eyes and peg that I only got it because of the new year, that’s not the case. I just happened to buy my membership at the exact time that an explanation like that would be predictable LOL, but in reality, I got it because now I feel like I have a better understanding of what works for me. And since I’ve attracted a lot of athletic people in my life, I have a little bit of guidance if I need it. Plus now I happily have a few gym buddies willing to go with me! Not only that, but I’ve been working on letting go of limiting beliefs about my body and my abilities.

I’ve also decided that comparing yourself to people in unhealthy ways is a trash way to get nothing productive done. The reason I mention that last bit is that for a while, I think that’s what subconsciously held me back from putting my fitness first. It’s easy to compare yourself to someone you perceive to be in beautiful shape, feel bad about it, and do nothing as a result. That’s easy! And it’s limiting. You know what takes a little more energy but gives you a lot more satisfaction? Acknowledging the beauty in others, and realizing that it doesn’t minimize your own. Applauding those you deem as beautiful, and using it as motivation to help you. Almost like a little reminder to love yourself and work towards being the greatest version of yourself; the version that feels happiest and healthiest.

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This week I started and continued listening to the audiobook of Michelle Obama’s, Becoming, and I love it. Even though I’ve lived a very different life experience from Michelle so far, there are certain messages that stick out to me. As if she’s speaking to me. Some of those messages are that 1) failure is a feeling long before it’s an actual result, and that 2) We continually choose our partners. I felt, perhaps too well, her story of being asked by another black girl why she “talked like a white girl”. I remember experiencing that in 6th grade and being so confused and oddly offended because I knew it was mentioned to me in a way that made me seem “other”.

I listen to this audiobook when I’m doing practically everything, and now I’m up to the part where Michelle talks about meeting and interacting with Barack. I highly recommend picking up a copy or downloading it on sites like Audible.

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Some of my weekly favorites and highlights this week were:

  1. Movie: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (loved that movie!)
  2. Book: Again, Michelle Obama’s Becoming
  3. Song: SUMMER by The Carters
  4. Video: Jay Shetty on Impact Theory (I am fascinated by his story and mission; this interview made a real impact on me to the point where I’m ready to watch it over and over again).
  5. Weekly Highlights: Seeing the beautiful tree at Rockefeller Center, doing yoga, spending time with someone sweet, and calling my best friends.

I enjoyed this week. I consumed a lot of good content and, amongst connecting with others, I took some time to connect with myself. Sounds like a solid week to me! My intentions for this upcoming week are to enjoy the holidays, go to the gym, hang out some more, and to push myself a little further. Let’s see how the week unfolds and what manifests.

Wishing you wellness.

#7: Back at it again…

Hey peeps,

If you scroll down and view my earlier posts, you’ll be able to tell a couple things. For one, I fell OFF – I haven’t posted for well over a year. And second, I renamed my site. It used to be Valencia’s Voice, which was nice and all, but I like the sound of my full name a little more.

So what’s to come with this new round of posts? A lot of reflection, weekly favorites, and a whole bunch of creation without limitation or expectation.

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By creation I mean anything that comes from me; anything I produce. That could be blog posts, online articles, poems, songs, videos, or anything of the sort. Whatever stems from me. The bit about these creations being without limitations or expectations means that I am choosing to create freely. I am choosing to write, sing, record, and create in any way that calls me, without overthinking it. Without worrying about whether or not others will receive it well. Without trying to define and label what “it” actually is.

I hope you’ll stick around and check out what I publish and present moving forward. I’m excited to see what will manifest!

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#6: Blessed, Overwhelmed, and Braided

Happy Sunday! Let me update you on what’s been going on recently.

For starters I had a wonderful birthday weekend celebration FILLED with partying, food, friends, and cake. My friends threw me a surprise party, and for the first time I went to the Cheesecake Factory! Their ‘Oreo Dream Extreme Cheesecake’ is amazing, and I’m missing it.

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With another year under my belt, I’m really excited to start another one. As I read my cards and spend time with loved ones, I find myself more mindful of the fact that these moments matter. I feel a wave of gratitude wash over me as I receive hugs, beautiful words, and massive amounts of affection. I’m a believer that every day we are alive is a blessing; a blessing that prompts us to create and decide. I’d like to add to that.

Every day is a blessing for us to create, decide, and love.

Aside from all the wonderful birthday wishes, I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed by the amount of work I’ve taken on. You know when you bite off more than you can chew? I took a realllllly big bite.

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I’m grateful for all the opportunities that have been attracted into my life, but it’s been difficult trying to manage it all. As a student, I’ve found some helpful organizational habits that have put my schoolwork in place. If you’re a student, or know someone who is, check out this article I wrote for HerCampus with tips and apps that will make the semester less stressful.

Lastly, I put my hair into braids! I’m going natural, and wanted to try a protective hairstyle before I trim my hair (I’m transitioning instead of big-chopping). I’m looking to learn as much about natural hair as possible. I’ve searched up Youtubers, asked friends, and researched on various websites. If you have any resources or helpful information, please comment below!

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No, this picture’s not of me. It’s of a beautiful goddess named Amandla Sternberg! Also shout out to the beauty that’s in the header photo! Not sure of what her name is, but we should be friends. I like her glow!

Weekly Favorites

From Monday to Sunday I enjoyed lots of good food, music, and conversation. Here’s some of what I enjoyed most:

  1. Nine Track Mind (Deluxe Album) by Charlie Puth – My favorite songs are Suffer, Some Love, River, and of course Attention.
  2. Holy by Jamila Woods – this song makes me feel so calm and empowered.
  3. He Like That by Fifth Harmony. I can’t stop watching the music video for this song! These women are incredible, and their songs are really catchy!
  4. “Our mission right now is to get better, to get disciplined. It might take some time to master all the elements, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Aang didn’t master fire, water, earth, and air in one day” – paraphrased motivation from my accountability partner and best friend! (shout out to those who know all about Avatar: The Last Airbender… no that’s not the movie with blue people)
  5. The Cheesecake Factory! The avocado egg rolls made me melt. Also the cheesecake I mentioned earlier *drools on keyboard*

This week was eventful and beautiful. Cheers to another one filled with food for the soul, mind and body! I intend on being fully present, and productive this upcoming week. What about you?

All the best,

Valencia Saint-Louis

#4: After the Fog (Life Update)


Life update! 

After publishing my last post, I took some time off to understand how I was feeling. Simply put, I learned a lot about myself. 

I found that I wasn’t feeling useful, excited, and that I wasn’t as mindful as I usually am. I found that when I experience episodes of stress or moments in fog, that it helped to talk about these feelings with others. Even if they couldn’t do anything but listen. 

I took to revitalizing my self-care routines and practices, which helped recenter me. Once I had this time to reset, I came up with some conclusions as a result:

  • Every day is a blessing; another opportunity for us to create and decide.
  • Our lives are what we make of it. We have the power to decide what we want to do and how we want to perceive life. 
  • When you’re open with others about the stress that you feel, a lot of people are understanding. 
  • Sometimes you need a break, or to switch up your routine. 

Meditating helped me strengthen my personal connection with God, and I found that showering became another grounding ritual for me. Getting my eyebrows threaded and nails painted lifted my spirits as well. I feel like a lady again instead of Chewbacca! 


Now that I’m going back to school, I want to maintain being as mindful and present as possible. My accountability partnership has helped me become more aware of the progress I’ve made with my goals. I feel motivated to continue pursuing my goals with consistency and determination! 

My next post will be about the practices and resources I’ve used to help me be mindful of how I’m feeling. It’s important to tap into how you feel. We ask others all the time, but really, how are you feeling? And what can you do to feel better?

I’m grateful for what I’ve learned in this time off. And I can’t wait to share more!

Wishing you well,

Valencia Saint-Louis

#3: Stuck in Fog


Hello all! Part of my mission with Valencia’s Voice includes reflection, and being honest with myself and others about what’s going on. So that’s exactly what I intend to do in this post. 

For the past couple of days, I’ve noticed that I don’t feel present. I wake up and go through the motions of the day. The day passes, and I end up not remembering any of it. It’s as if night comes by faster than it did before, and there’s nothing new to report. The days all feel the same, and the nights are not all that different either. 

The best way I can describe this is by saying I’ve been stuck in fog. Things are pretty hazy. My feelings aren’t negative, but nothing is clear to me. And I don’t feel as if I’m actually here

As I reflect on it now, I see that it probably stems from the lack of sleep I’m getting. As well as the dissatisfaction I feel whenever I wake up late, which happens because I go to bed too late. It’s a cycle. Sleep late, wake up late, and stay in a dream-like haze until it’s time to sleep again. 

Here’s what I’ve decided to do about it:

  1. Go to sleep earlier – develop a routine of getting ready for bed and sleeping at the same time every night. 
  2. Meditate with the intention of being more present.
  3. Find grounding rituals – things that bring me back to this present moment, such as anything observable with my five senses. 
  4. Talk about how I’m feeling with others frequently. Additionally, engage in meaningful conversations that spark my interest. Perhaps a talk with my accountability partner could bring some focus and motivation into view. 
  5. Reset and assess what it is that I find stimulating, exciting, and motivating in life. 

Understanding this state of mind is an important step to getting out of it. Life is meant to be lived fully. We are meant to experience now. Truly, all we really have is this present moment to live in. I thought it would be important to open up about this fog I’ve been in, and to set up some steps to move forward from it. 

Have any of you experienced anything similar? And if so, do you have any suggestions as to how to move forward? I would love to start a dialogue about this, and create a running list of helpful tips for others who may be feeling the same way. 

All the best,

Valencia Saint-Louis