Why I Decided To Risk It All and Treat Myself

Okay, that title is being hella dramatic but bear with me here.

I get iffy about Mother’s Day. I still have a mother here and I’m one myself. But I always feel there’s someone missing. For those new to my blog, I lost our first son, Ethan, several years ago due to incompetent cervix and subsequent premature birth. He lived for two hours.

Ever since his untimely passing, I feel a bit awkward on Mother’s Day. I kinda treat it as any other day, honestly. I don’t go too out nor do I expect it from others. I’m sure to wish other mothers (including mine) a Happy Mother’s Day but that’s about the extent of it.

This year was a bit different.

I think I’m starting to turn over a new leaf in my life, a new page in a storied book. It seems things are finally settling down and everything I ever wanted is finally coming to fruition or within my reach. This is becoming one of my best years ever and it can only get better, honestly.

I decided to splurge.

I splurge once a year. If you were to look into my closet, you would see a variety of clothing from discounted Macy’s and it-had-to-be-on-sale Target. I only have 8 pairs of shoes (and trust me, I actually had to count them since two of them are winter shoes; I wear the hell out of my Sketchers.) I keep old, worn clothing because vintage is now in and I figured I can get a second life out of them shits.

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I do spend money on makeup but even I can admit I don’t wear a lot of makeup (honestly, I don’t. I’m actually makeup-free about 99% of the time). I decided this year, I was going to spend a bit of money and invest in something I’ve always wanted. My husband decided to treat me as well. It was a good weekend.

So, blah blah blah…here’s the loot:

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I’ve always wanted a pair of Uggs but let’s face it…I have to really love something in order spend a minimum of $100 on a pair of shoes, right? Not even my sneakers cost that much!

Still, when I was trying on the shoes and OMG, they feel so comfortable, I had to swallow my pride (and paycheck) and get them.

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I ended up getting the low ones because the higher ones I wanted were too hard to navigate my big ol’ clown feet in them (I’m a 10-11 women’s). I had a similar issue with the middle calf ones, but the low ones were perfect. I was bummed that the color I wanted – brown – was too tight on my feet but these black ones were perfect. I don’t get it, neither.

I also love how these really do look like typical boots so unless someone actually knows the brand or they’re staring a bit too hard at my feet (eh, why?), you can’t tell.

To purchase, click here.

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It’s been years since I’ve had a watch. I mean, at least 10. It’s been a very long time. I have nothing against watches but I also don’t waste my time buying an expensive one if I know it’s just going to look pretty collecting dust.

As I walk often (up to 20 miles a week), Maks has implored me to look into getting the Apple Watch to track my fitness. Previously, I was looking at getting a Fitbit. I wasn’t too sold on getting an Apple Watch for a few reasons. One, they’re very expensive and I was afraid it would’ve been an issue of me getting a watch that would collect dust.

Second, I don’t like to wear watches at all (of course, that brings the question why would I get a Fitbit since it kinda looks like a watch?).

I was finally convinced by reading this news story.

Apple Watches rely on photoplethysmography — a long, complicated sounding word with a fairly simple premise. Because blood with oxygen is red, it absorbs green light. The watch uses green LED lights paired with light‑sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through a person’s wrist, according to Apple’s website. During beats the amount of blood in the wrist is greater, and between beats it’s less. Flashing the LED lights hundreds of times per second calculates the number of times the heart beats. The sensor can support beats ranging from 30 to 210 per minute.

I decided I have a kid who depends on me and life is too short to keep waiting for the right time. It was time to get an Apple Watch.

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She’s purty, isn’t she?

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And it’s pretty accurate!

To purchase, click here. (You can also purchase through your cell phone provider if you have Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T)

So, this Mother’s Day has been better than the last years, but it’s not to say the last years were bad. They were pretty great as well. This year’s was pretty dope, tho. It just means I’m finally getting the peace I deserve.

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Eyes were intentionally closed. I was relishing in snuggles. 

Next post will be the creative ways I used some of the products in the latest Shea Moisture box! Post on Wednesday!

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Don’t Call It a Comeback: Interview with Ricci Bester-Adams

Who said I was sane???? LMAO. No seriously, as I began this serious journey, I decided early on, “I’m a brand. You will find me everywhere with my ideas on everything. Like Kim K, without the porn tape and cosmetic work done on her, but more talent.”

For this week’s Mommy interview, I spoke with one of my oldest and closest friends, Ricci Bester-Adams. It’s difficult to describe Ricci without saying she’s a little bit of everything – mother, entrepreneur, activist, homegirl.

She recently shared with me about raising a special-needs child to adulthood, how she managed to leave her abusive marriage, and why driving for Lyft has given her some of the best stories.

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For those who don’t know you, introduce yourself!

Hiya! I’m Ricci M. Bester-Adams, I’m the owner of CSMenterprises. It’s an umbrella of companies, but what started it all was my parent blog, Common Sense Mommy. It gives tips and insight on our shenanigans with mah crew(my three kids, family, roommate, furbaby) career, and views on life.

Describe your parenting style.

My parenting style is just like the name, I use common sense. I think some parents go to one extreme or the other. Either too strict or trying to hard to me their friend. Now, I’m not saying I know it all, but if it works, it works. If not, we fix it and keep it pushin. When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure(shortly after I got divorced), I had to really look at my parenting styles and stressors in our lives. It’s one of the biggest keys to running the house peacefully.

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What made you decide to become a blogger?

Oh geez! I love to write. I’ve been writing since I was 12, but blogging came in when I was in my mid 20s. My eldest was still sick, so I didn’t get out much, but it was my way to connect with the outside world. It was my form of therapy at the time. Humor tends to get me through things and I began to write my thoughts on a blog. That blog has since died and gone to blog heaven.

The writing bug tends to bite you in the ass, and take a chunk like the acting bug. Another mom gave me the idea to chronicle my insights on being a single mom. My tips, humor, recipes, and everything in between, so Common Sense Mommy was born in 2014(damn 4 years??!!). Still a humorous, but a better reflection of our lives.

You have a hand in a little bit of everything – you promote small businesses, you’re in theatre, you write, blog, do videos. How do you manage it all and stay sane?

Who said I was sane???? LMAO. No seriously, as I began this serious journey, I decided early on, “I’m a brand. You will find me everywhere with my ideas on everything. Like Kim K, without the porn tape and cosmetic work done on her, but more talent.” I can never just sit because I’m a creative person.

Even when I’m hanging out with the crew, ideas for stories, blogs, my businesses, or career moves comes to me. A HUGE part to taming it is I carry around a 3 or 5 subject notebook with me everywhere I go. It helps me keep track of ideas or thoughts. It’s fun. I get paid for my hobbies. It’s a beautiful thing.

You have a child who is disabled and is an adult. Could you share the challenges you faced with his care?

I naturally love to learn, but I never knew this experience would always teach me new things. I mean daily. As a kid, for him it was constant neurology, orthopedic, and IEP (Individual Educational Plan) appointments. Just a ton of appointments, but now it’s finances and future planning.

It’s funny you ask this. We are in the middle of writing my will, and it’s not easy when you have an adult child on social security. I’m learning how to leave my assets between my kids and how not to leave too much to Brandon, so it doesn’t affect his social security benefits. Also, instructions for his sisters on care for him. Interesting stuff.

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Ricci’s son, Brandon

What advice would you give parents who have a special needs child and might feel overwhelmed?

Make sure your support system is intact. No extra drama! Anyone who knows us personally knows that we’ve cut off anyone who isn’t supportive or brings drama into our environment. You have enough to deal with as you learn how to be a special needs parent. I always tell other parents “you have to pick and choose who you give your energy to, and who you need to cut off”. Your family needs you to be the anchor at all times.

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I’ve known you for over 10 years so we’ve grown a lot! Over the past couple of years, you have become more vocal in politics and everything current events. Have you received a lot of pushback regarding taking a stance?

Dear Lawd yes! I grew up in a military activist political family, with CSPAN, CNN, and nightly news playing at dinner. We discussed civil rights and minority issues over fried chicken and cheese potatoes. It was a family thing. Only close family knew about my grandfather writing to Presidents from Kennedy to Obama(RIP Grandpa).

By the Reagan Administration, he was getting invited to White House Dinners to explain his views on retraining drug addicts so they could be productive members of society, or how to make the living wage happen, instead of a minimum wage. Issues of the poor, disabled, and minorities always were topics in our house, and we weren’t too young to talk about it.

Though my grandfather and my mother were a tad bit old fashioned, I gave my generation’s view on these subjects. It began to ring through on my blog as Obama took office, and black kids were getting shot. It hits home so much for me. My kids were bullied so much when we lived back east, and I guess it was then I had to make my stance known.

I’m vocal because it’s my human duty to be. It’s also the mother in me to be this way. I’ve lost readers to my support of BLM, LBGT, and voting third party to start the process of cleaning out congress. I want to the best for my three, and a fair shake for them. Since I’m using my voice to blog, as a blogger, you must touch on current events, and sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth.

Their loss, I guess. I hope that by me doing this shows my kids to stand up for the little guy as well. They need to remember that they once were the minority and how it feels.

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You made the very strong, yet also terrifying decision, to leave an abusive marriage. I had no idea you were in one until the day you called me and said, ‘That’s it, we’re done. I’m leaving him.’ And you told me the full story. What advice could you give a woman looking to leave or even those supporting one who’s in a relationship like that?

Two things:

Be Strong. If you stay, be strong. Don’t forget who you were before this relationship. I learned that in abusive relationships, the first thing to go is your spirit. It becomes broken. Don’t lose that. You were strong before this, you’ll be strong after it too. I hid emotional and mental abuse for 10 years. He didn’t hit me until the last day we were together, but I was broken way before the physical contact. I grapple with my PTSD daily but I’m stronger after I realized he wasn’t going to break me ever again.

If you have kids, remember, your kids see it all. Now, as I write this, this is when I get the tears. Not because of the sadness, but they also see when you decide to fight back, even in the literal sense. If you stay, they see that this is a normal way of communication, when we all know it’s not. Hell, your partner may have thought it as normal because it’s all he/she knew. Everyone in some way must decide to break the cycle.

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Ricci’s oldest daughter, Annie.

No matter what you decide, seek therapy. It helps more then you realize. That’s why I teary eyed. We have come so far, and a strong unit for it. I showed my kids my strength and wanting better for them. Be open to re-learning to communicate. I’ve met women who chose to stay, and therapy. Of course it works when both are willing to go to therapy, but it can work. If you leave, seek therapy. It makes you look in the mirror. Not in the sense of it’s your fault, but in the sense of how did you get here, and where do you need/want to go from this point? Who are you truly? Then how not to repeat the cycle.

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Ricci’s youngest daughter, Emily.

Looking back at your life up until now, what is the one event you could say, ‘Hmm…I probably should’ve thought about that one a bit more.’ It could be any event. It’s not necessarily a regret; it could also be a triumph. But what is something that happened that makes you wonder, ‘I probably should’ve thought that one through…’

My last long relationship. It was 4 years too long and not healthy. It could have been if it was honest, but it wasn’t. It also began to change me to make him love me. He loved the person he molded me into, not the me that I’m comfy with. I loved the goofiness, great vibes, and dreamer but not at the cost of me unrecognizable. It’s ok, it did teach me what I want from Mr. Awesome when he comes into my life. If not, I’m fucking awesome they way I am (two snaps and a shimmy shake)!

Oh well, when I’m on everyone’s screen promoting my project, he’ll wish he didn’t fuck up…..

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For those who are starting out mom blogging, what tips can you give them?

Just be you. Readers will see the fake shit and call you out on it. Write what you feel. There is an audience for everything out there, so just be you. Also edit/spellcheck everythang like no tomorrow. The interwebs is a brutal place like that……

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Ricci in character

Fun time! Name five fun facts about you.

  • According to 23andme, I’m African, Jewish, Russian, Jamaican, Native American, Siberian, just to name a few. I’m in the process of filling in my family tree. That’s just my mom’s side though…..LAWD!
  • I’m a Thespian and History nerd, hence my Bachelors will be in Theatre-Acting Emphasis, Minor, US Social History.
  • I played violin and modeled in elementary school. I’m in a Chinese elementary health textbook somewhere. LOL.
  • We are a HUGE wrestling gaming family. I own 3 replica WWE belts, and purchase them every tax season. I’m frugal like a sumabitch.
  • I met Drake, a porn star, and Partick Warburton(Joe Swanson voice actor) after I puked on his driveway driving for Lyft. Long ass story with all of them. Thank you Lyft for the good times. LOL.

Drake approves this interview:

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Thank you, Ricci, for doing this interview for me! Please be sure to follow Ricci at her links below:

Blog: www.csmommy.com

Instagram: rmbesterbrand, csmenterprises, common.sense.mommy

Twitter: rmbesterbrand, csmommy2014, csmenter1125

Snapchat: fabredone5266

Facebook: @boutiquecsm81, @csmommy2014 CS Cocktails(Mobile Bartending Business)

Welcome to the Jungle

Woe is me. 

Eh, not really.

Bo is just a little over three weeks old now and I’ve learned quite a bit since his birthday:

  • When people say, ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’, that’s damn good advice.
  • I’ve questioned if being a mother was really in the cards for me. I’ve done it a few times, honestly.
  • Trusting my husband with our son is a challenge. I have to keep reminding myself that yes, Bo is his baby, too.
  • Ignoring our mothers’ advice was probably the best decision I’ve made since giving birth. It’s not so much they give advice but they give bad advice. Advice I’m wondering if they picked up from experience or old wives’ tales because I honestly can’t tell the difference. They weren’t concerned about us having a cat until we had a baby. Now they’re all concenned about what the cat does around the baby. Normally, I wouldn’t care if it wasn’t for the fact my MIL owns a cat and she expects to babysit Bo at her home. My mother has two small dogs that are constantly around her other grandchildren but she’s worried about my cat. Yeah, marinate on that for a moment. I’m also particularly disturbed that my MIL has had a conversation with M regarding my breasts (um, gross and what?). I’m really, really tempted to purchase this:

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No, I don’t care what you did 30 years in Ukraine nor do I care what you did 30 years ago in the U.S. And knowing my luck, I’ll be the same way when Bo has children. Good grief.

The first week of motherhood  sucked. Let’s just be real. I’m not going to say it was lovely and great and blah blah blah bullshit. One, I’m in pain from the C-section. My feet (and I’m wishing I took a picture of them at the time) were swollen like two hamhocks from the IV fluids. I have to wear an abdominal binder 24/7 to keep things tight (though now I can take breaks from it). One night I got only ONE hour of sleep. Yes, you read that right. ONE SOLID HOUR. That night…pretty much sucked. I think I questioned my sanity repeatedly that particular evening.

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These are hamhocks for those not in the know.

 

Two, I have to be a 24-hour buffet for a newborn. I’m exclusively breastfeeding and bottlefeeding. Whenever my boobs aren’t available, Bo eats from the bottle. But for the most part, my boobs are available and Bo gets fed every 2-3 hours. And if I’m real lucky like I was just fairly recently, Bo goes on a cluster-feeding spree, where I’m nursing him for hours.

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One late night when Bo and I were burning the midnight oil together…

Three, I have to somehow still play the role of wife and remember how things were before I got pregnant. This is particularly tricky. I told M that I want us to make a solid effort to make time for each other like we did before we had Bo. We decided whenever Bo is up late and fussy, we’ll pop in a movie. If we have to suffer, might as well watch something to pass the time.

Is that in the manual in this game we call Life?

Still, motherhood is a wonderful thing. When Bo smiles at me, I think, ‘Hey, this isn’t too bad.’ Even when he recently gave me a sampling of all three bodily fluids on the same day (yay for Mommy!), I still think he’s awesome. 

I’ll end this blog post with a rare photo of Bo with his eyes open. He was quite curious about the phone and what I was doing with it.

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