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Early Administrators Appreciation Lunch

I work at a law firm and the partner decided we should do Administrative Appreciation day early so we can do it on a Friday. Yes all here for it and food was Delish!

Here are some pics from the lunch ūüėč (Yes, those are piranha heads in my display pic).

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AWESOME recipe – Pinterest Win

These German Sauerkraut Potato balls were amazing and the chunky salad I paired it with cleansed it right down.¬† Heavy + Light = balance ūüôā

Type the name into Pinterest for recipe.  

This will now be a MaiMuna’s Kitchen staple.

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>Respectfully Submitted<<     ~Mai

 

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Fish Dinner

Another Pinterest win!

I actually made the broccolini separately, just added a couple on here to broil for a slight bit of crispiness.  

Turned out very good!  Next time, will try with the mustard (hubby does not really care for mustard, so I left it off this time). 

The extra juices were a perfect compliment, because I poured it over the brown rice to soak it up.¬† Quick.. Simple… Easy… Yummy…¬† Baby girl even approved ūüôā

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#Igot5onit99 | Day.63

Sunday is my day to complete my classwork and it was a long one today! So glad to see my other assignments have been graded and I am sitting at a 99%!  To me, the most important thing is that I am getting graded on & feedback for my business and that is what I am truly looking forward to.

In other news, baby girl peed through her clothing this morning & pooped through another outfit this afternoon.  So, with all the saturated clothing going around, I cleaned her and let her run around free & bare for a little bit because:

  1. Uhh who doesn’t like to be naked sometimes?
  2. It’s good to allow ventilation to those areas that stay wet (especially today given the two diaper situation).
  3. Naked babies love to run, burning energy, & getting tired

So, I “released her to the wild” & she is running around loving it, while I go wash the clothing, put the diaper in the trash can out back, and go find yet another outfit.¬† By the time I come back around, she is seated on one of her toy cars… she peed on that too *sigh*

Tomorrow is going to be a full clean & disinfectant day along with attempting to meal prep for the week.¬† But to do all of that, I need to get some rest!¬† Workout completed & totals updated below ūüôā¬† ¬†And, I may have to do a burnout tomorrow if I have any spare energy.

2018 = 5 million!!!

Second half of challenge totals:

  • 280¬†each¬†of:¬†
    • push ups
    • squats
    • calf raises
    • (seconds) holding plank
    • (seconds) holding yoga pose
  • 130¬†minutes stretching
  • 70¬†minutes deep breathing

Totals for day 63/99:

  • 920¬†push-ups (+2 for the ‚ÄúLevel up‚ÄĚ #1)
  • 920¬†squats &¬†180¬†seconds holding seated squat
  • 350¬†plank rotations (+20 for the ‚ÄúLevel Up #2)
  • 480¬†seconds holding forearm plank
  • 670+ seconds holding yoga pose (Tittibhasana)
  • 575¬†calf raises
  • 265¬†minutes of deep breathing (+20 for the ‚ÄúLevel Up #3)
  • 160¬†minutes of stretching

Level Up #1 | Level Up #2 | Level Up #3 | Level Up #4 | Level Up #5 | Level Up #6 |      Level Up #7 | Level Up #8 | 

>>Respectfully submitted & Always thankful<<    ~Mai

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What’s For Dinner?…

Well, just another Pinterest Attempt and it came out yummy.  I made Chipotle Lime Baked Salmon w/ sides of Garlic Roasted Cabbage Steaks & Balsamic Roasted Pearl Onions w/ Brown Rice.  It turned out pretty well, images below!

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>Respectfully Submitted<<   ~Mai

 

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What’s for Dinner? Quick Breakfast!

Sometimes, you just want breakfast for dinner.¬† And my fiance LOVES breakfast, so meh… Why not try a recipe that I saw on Pintrest (Click Here!).¬† I ob course edited it since we only do eggs & fish for meat, so I roasted red bell peppers, sauteed some shallots, added garlic, cut up some fresh basil, green onions and vegan cheese (pictured below).

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While I was doing the above, the tater tots were cooking halfway in the oven.  Once completed, I then smashed them down to form the bottom.

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Next, I added the shallots and bell peppers, a small scoop of the eggs, then the fresh basil, green onions, garlic.  I then added another layer of eggs & then the cheese.

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Picture of his plate from the side.  I also made us some fresh squeezed blood orange juice to help cut the richness of the eggs.

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Picture of my plate from the top, it was quite delish!

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>Respectfully submitted<<    ~Mai

 

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#Igot5onit99 – Day Forty-Five!

So, today went more or less how I set out for it to go in my last post.  Only thing is, I am writing this blog late.  It is so amazing how quickly time slips by when cooking for, cleaning up after, bathing, and giggling with little girl is on the agenda.

I was able to do my workout & cook (see final meal below).

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Some of the ingredients (to the left was the coconut milk mix 1/2 completed, and to the right the shrimp was marinating.
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Finished product: Thai coconut, peanut, and pepper shrimp over brown rice & a side of sauteed garlic baby bok choy

Since today marks the ending of another “9th” day and end of the month I am going to space things out a bit.¬†

  1. Tomorrow, I will do my level up challenge Рburnouts only: A total of 45 push ups, 45 squats, 45 calf raises. 

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  1. Friday, I will choose my March book to read & review my February read: Book of Five Rings.
  2. Saturday I will have decided how I will amp up my next 9 days of working out as well as set a better schedule to get my classwork completed during the week. 

Here is to continued transformation & growth!

Totals for day 45/99:

  • 575¬†push-ups (+2 for the ‚ÄúLevel up‚ÄĚ #1)
  • 565¬†squats
    • 165¬†seconds holding seated squat
  • 330¬†plank rotations (+20 for the ‚ÄúLevel Up #2)
    • 110¬†seconds holding forearm plank
  • 375+ seconds holding yoga pose (Tittibhasana)
  • 225¬†calf raises
  • 190¬†minutes of deep breathing (+20 for the ‚ÄúLevel Up #3)
  • 20¬†minutes of stretching

Level Up #1 | Level Up #2 | Level Up #3 | Level Up #4 | Level Up #5 | Level Up #6 |      Level Up #7 | Level Up #8 | 

>>Respectfully submitted & Always thankful<<    ~Mai

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Changes.. Growth.. Maturity

[Quick follow-up: work-out completed!]

Paradigm Shift

Something happened to me around my daughter’s first birthday last Fall… I had a very real change of thought process & it forced me to really turn inwards.¬† Inwards in that I truly broke apart my insecurities, my own perceived shortcomings, my crutches, my dilemmas, my stagnation, and my abandoned goals.

Where was this mother I told myself I would be when I have a child?

Where is this business I told myself I would build years ago?

Who’s body is this and why am I always so tired?

Why do I say the things I say at times?… & oh my goodness, would I even accept the actions I showed to “xxx” if I was in their shoes?!

This was it, the moment that I’d needed to seize & here I am still riding out the energetic push towards my better self.¬† I am ever engaged in the beautiful struggle that is personal growth and transformation.¬† I am delicately entwined in a dance between fragile states of breaking & building, seeking a balance that will push me towards the path in which I seek.

What does this look like anyway?

Step 01: Well, it started with cutting my hair.¬† My baby and I chopped off all our hair and I released 10+ years of weight, emotions, parts of me that I was holding onto.. I chopped my hair off, one.. lock.. at.. a.. time..¬† I’d been feeling like I NEEDED to do this for months and knew that it was finally the right time.¬†¬†

Step 02 was completing the yearly 10-day fast during the 2nd week of January.

Step 03 was jumping into the gym to get my feet wet & jump start my next physical challenge.

Step 04 was choosing to read at LEAST a book a month to start off slowly & just get back to my absolute love of reading.

And here I am, simultaneously still on step “0” and step “5.”¬† Step five is my current #iGot5onit99 challenge of being active & step “0” is Maintenance… through each step and beyond.¬†

| Current status | 

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As I look at the progress I have made, I am thankful for carrying the resolve to do better and sticking with it, even through minor setbacks (like my recent physical challenges & emotional challenge last week).  I look at how the fast reset my diet and reiterated the importance of meal preparation to my family.  Removing my locks has shifted weight off of me and serves as a reminder that I can and will continue to redefine myself no matter how long I have chosen to stay at a particular stage in life. Being physically active is tapping into the muscle memory of what I know I am capable of and allowing my body to better heal itself and communicate imbalances with me.  Reading frequently again has opened my mind back up to the frequency of being a student of life & set the stage for this class I am enrolled in to get my business off the ground.  

Now, I did not plan all of this out from the jump.¬† I literally just did one and organically, thoughts and paths were presented to me & I listened.¬† I listened to the whispering in my dreams, the tug at my heart, and the yearnings of my body.¬† If you could imagine, it was like my ancestors were beckoning me to “get right” and as I began to listen, more breadcrumbs were found.¬† And the packaging to all of these things, are this blog – something I have been told many, many times – that I need to do & something I have been wanting to do.¬† To serve as my journal, a release of thought, a blueprint to this path, something I can look back to.¬†

Well, looking back – I can already see how far I have come & I am looking forward to pushing even further, deeper, higher.

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>Respectfully & Humbly Submitted<<    ~Mai

 

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A book a month… January = Complete!

It took til nearly the end of the month, but I SUCCESSFULLY started out the year correctly.  I am thankful to again have put forth intentions and completed the same.  I told myself that I wanted to read at least a book a month, and as of a couple of hours ago РI can check off January :).

The book I read is called “Efuru” and it is written by a Nigerian author named Flora Nwapa.¬† It was such a pleasure reading this book for many reasons, but most vivid is the complete way that it brings me back to my trips in Meritah as she speaks of Kola nut, palm wine, sitting on mats, the mudroom, preparing and taking herbs, the children, pounding out food, the customs, and so much more.¬† It transports me back to a simpler, but more robust culture and traditions.

I am unsure if any of you have traveled to Meritah (or what people call Africa), but experiencing such a rich culture always leaves me wanting more when I return to the U.S. and deal with the ridiculousness of abject poverty, willful ignorance, avoidable pestilence, prevalent racism, and more ills that should not be present in a so-called first-world country.  It is so curious how 

I will type out part of the book’s synopsis; but it is amazing to see yourself in a character.¬† I thought I was destined to live a similar life as she until I met my current fiance:

“Efuru is a beautiful, superior woman, who cannot marry or have children successfully.¬† Her neighbors acknowledge her distinctions, are grateful for her generosity, but cannot intervene in or comprehend her tragedy…”

So Efuru has issues bearing a child with her first husband, but after many consultations and following their instructions, she finally has a child, a little girl.  Unfortunately, her husband runs off to be with another woman and never returns.  Even after their young daughter dies, his face was never seen in his hometown.  Come to find out later, the woman he left his wife for, left him for a wealthier man.  After several years waiting for him to return, she finally moves on & opens herself up to another man.  She agrees to wed him and for years things are good.  But after not conceiving a child in 4 years and people talking, she decides (as is customary in traditional culture) to find her husband a second younger wife. 

The second wife becomes pregnant within the first year of marriage and bears him a son.¬† She finds out later that he actually had a son out of wedlock with another woman 2 years into their marriage.¬† She is understanding, continues to support him and their new family arrangement, but the younger wife, newly a mother, was upset and wanted nothing to do with his son.¬† He ends up getting into some trouble (never mentioned the source) and goes to jail.¬† He is away for 4 months and misses the death of Efuru’s father.¬† The gossip around the village, her missing husband, and death of her father could were a huge hit.¬† He husband comes back with no details on why he had been jailed, but she sticks with him.¬† It isn’t until she gets extremely ill and gossipers accuse her of adultery, to which her husband feeds into, that she is fed up and makes her exit from the marriage.¬†

“She is coming, the gossip.¬† She has never in her life said anything good about anybody.¬† I wonder who is going to be her next victim.¬† She is always running people down.”

We all know this person, and sadly, many of us know several people just like this.  I have tried to distance myself from all these types and it is such a challenge, they are as common as sunshine in the summertime.

I was in several … interesting relationships, one of which was a polygamous relationship which ended due to not all parties being able to resolve their psychological hangups.¬† Another relationship I was in, I became pregnant with twins shortly after my return from Meritah.¬† The would-be-father, moved out of state & I was left to suffer through a 2-month long miscarriage on my own & later told that I would never be able to have children, but IF so, it would not be naturally.¬† Found out he was with another woman and had a child not too long after, who knows if the relationship initiated while I was overseas.¬† Fortunately, mine has a happier ending of finding the man I was supposed to be with and having an amazing daughter who is very healthy.¬† I am thankful for the difficult relationships I endured which have molded me into the woman that pushes out these strokes to share her stories.

Below are some pictures of my travels to Meritah that this story brought me back to with each turn of the page.

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>>Respectfully submitted & Always thankful<<    ~Mai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some excerpts from the book to mull over…

  1. …and nothing more will connect us with that family…
  2. Don’t they know that a man and a woman should not be seen together often whether they are married or not … She remembered when she was newly married … If they had to go to a place together, she allowed her husband to go in front while she walked behind him.
  3. It was not the thought of another wife for Gilbert that made her heart so heavy.  It was the fact that she was considered barren.  It was a curse not to have children.  Her people did not just take it as one of the numerous accidents of nature.  It was regarded as a failure.
  4. “That is what they learn in school, to disobey their parents.”
  5. “The white slave dealers were the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English, or the French.¬† ¬†The people regarded them as white men, their nationality did not make any difference, their actions were all the same.¬† The white slave dealers gave them the cannons, the guns, and the hot drinks.¬† The hot drinks did what the Indian hemp is doing in politics today.¬† The only difference is that the hot drinks were legal and the Indian hemp is illegal, but both performed the same function.
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Those moments…

You know, it was a tremendously scary thing to leave my stable full-time job, but I knew it had to be done…

I had to be more present with this little person…

Had to take a look at what is truly important in my life…

My logic and intuition necessitated that I review what is important to my family and I…

But… I did it.

We are here now…

I will not look back…¬†

Mommy loves you J.F.C ūüôā

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#igot5onit | Day#10

I completed my workout first thing in the morning as usual and I felt good the rest of the day.  I do not know if I would be as successful doing this daily if I waited until say, now, to get it done.  The only thing I do before I jump onto my yoga mat is go to the restroom.  I set myself up for success by putting my yoga mat at the foot of my bed.  It is the first thing I see as I go the bathroom and when I return, it catches my eye & I just tell myself better now than later!

Hey, whatever works ūüôā

So today was the first day on the new sets (15 each of push-up & squats; 10 plank holds, 10 seconds of the yoga pose, and I maintained the 5 minutes of deep breathing).  To be honest, I felt pretty good with the minor boosted sets.  I do think it could be beneficial to even wake up about 15 minutes earlier to ensure I am not rushing to get ready for work on the tail end.

I am kind of reticent in taking & posting my “pre” pictures, I feel like I need to get a little closer to where I want to be before posting.¬† I have not been able to shake the morning and evening stomach bloat since I gave birth & it is still hard to see extra handles where a once flat torso used to be if I am being honest.

I would like to get to the point where I either have a YouTube channel to track my progress, or just wait until I finish the 99 days to share my progress in video format?¬† Maybe I will continue recording once I hit my 18th day (2nd 9-day “Level up”) challenge…¬†

Day#10 was a success!  1.24.18 = Complete

Most Difficult:¬† Holding the Tittibhasana pose… I had to reset about 4 times, but I am still working on it!¬†¬†Currently Feeling:¬†Good! (outside of the typical random back pain). Went and dropped off my pregnancy pillow to my sis & still got back early enough to get this done before midnight ūüôā

Totals for day 10/99:

105 push-ups (+2 for the “Level up)

105 squats

55 plank rotations

55 seconds holding yoga pose (Tittibhasana)

50 minutes of deep breathing

>>Respectfully submitted & Always thankful<<    ~Mai

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31 & Beyond… | A tale of the Weekend

So, it was the most difficult thing leaving my daughter for the first time & come this morning, I was too hyped to get home to see this little girl. It broke my heart to see her little tears fall as she hugged tightly to my shirt & laid her head on my chest, telling me w/o words that I better NOT think about leaving her that long again! But I know she had an AMAZING time with LoLa – my mother has such a way with children ūüôā

BUT – this weekend though? Awww man, it was beyond what I could have imagined, even though there were a couple of small hiccups (YELP is FIRED!) the good made the small challenges melt away.

Where?

Downtown Los Angeles. A city I spent many years traversing through my growing pains, but did not spend too much in the city center as I did this trip. I was practically a tourist in a city I called home & living through experiences I never though I would right there.

We stayed at the OMNI Hotel, which was O.K. – for the price-point, the Kimpton in La Jolla & the Signature (Grand) Penthouse in Vegas were much nicer & more our style. BUT, it had the proximity that we were interested in for the main reason we were there.

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What?

The Orchestra we went to see was the Final Fantasy Symphony for the 30th Anniversary – and it was sooo amazing! I am unsure if you all are familiar with the show, “Mozart in the Jungle” or if you ever saw Mickey Mouse Fantasia, but these are a few of the influences that let me know this was a definite bucket list thing I needed to do. I may have mentioned it to Nuineb once and just like that – he planned it and it took my breath away!

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How?

In my birthday dinner post – I showed you our Ethiopian meal, which was deslish! But, the Vegan brunch we had Saturday afternoon was so outstanding, we are still talking about it, and trying to plan another trip out there to get some more! If you all ever find yourself in Downtown L.A. – please do your stomach a solid and grab a bite or two:

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Beelman’s Brunch!
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His Drink
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Her Drink
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#igot5onit99- our food#
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Vegan! Pretzel Bun ūüôā
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Vegan Chili Cheese Tots
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Impossible is Nothing “Muhammed Ali”

This morning, we grabbed breakfast and some vitamins from one of my other favorite destinations in L.A. “Simply Wholesome”. I forgot to take a pic before I jumped in, but this was the last bite!

To add, we stopped by the beach on our way home and basked in the sun, in awe of creation. Timeless is the beach…

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Why?

All I can say is THANK YOU soooo much to my fiance for planning this all out, footing 99% of the trip, and truly taking the time & putting in the effort to making this a memorable and special trip for me. Stepping into my 31st year was probably the most I have celebrated a b-day, as I have never been one to make a big fuss, throw myself a party, and have always downplayed it so others will not do anything either. Irregardless, he simply let me know that it is just another opportunity to express his support and appreciation for the life that we are building. 2018 has already taken me to a Distant World and I cannot wait to see how many more worlds we will unlock next..

I am all smiles!

(p.s. all photos taken by Nui or I)

> Respectfully and Humbly Submitted<< ~Mai

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Post a.m. #igot5onit99 workout in hotel room, please excuse the messy bed!
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#igot5onit99 | Day#7 Pt. 2

WOW!  It was such an amazing a beautiful time this weekend, spending time with my fiance and just to get away.  We both were able to cross something off of our bucket list by attending a live Orchestra at the Downtown L.A. Microsoft Theater.  It was TRULY an amazing experience, and I look forward to the next one down the line.  I will delve into the details in my next post now that I am home!

It was DEFINITELY a tad more challenging to complete my 99 day challenge and I actually initially thought to improvise & did not get the chance to record it.¬† On Saturday (the day of the show), we woke up super late since we got back in super late, and basically had to rush to get ready to hit the (SUPER BOMB) Vegan brunch spot.¬† So I thought about it and we decided to walk (hey, can also check out the Women’s March on the way) & it was a solid 15 minute walk one-way and there were hills.¬† I figured I could adjust today’s #igot5onit99 challenge to focus on brisk walking instead of my typical 5 exercise regimen.¬† Don’t get me wrong, it was indeed a little bit to get the heart-rate up, but I honestly did not fee like I had completely stayed true to what I initially set out to do.¬† That being said, I decided today to complete two sets to stay on track.¬† If you did not get the opportunity, the initial post is here.¬† I was out and only used the app, so I was unable to do the standard f/u tracking that I had been doing my previous posts.¬† \

I definitely feel much better having done the two sets today & do not think I will deviate from this moving forward.  I still have so much more to work on, especially as it deals with form & muscle memory, so I want to continue this trajectory towards perfecting the simple & go from there.  

The beautiful struggle continues!

Today was a success 1.21.18 = Completed 2 sets!

Totals:

70 push-ups

70 squats

35 plank rotations

35 seconds holding yoga pose (Tittibhasana)

35 minutes of deep breathing


>Respectfully submitted & Always Thankful!   << ~Mai