Sunday, July 20, 2014

Changing Hats Along the Way

Cornrows under a vintage silk scarf

I'm approaching my two year mark of transitioning to natural hair. I did the "big chop" several months ago and must admit I'm in somewhat of a conundrum regarding hats now that my hair is natural. As a part of my hair prep routine, I wash, then cornrow my hair for texture. I prefer letting it dry naturally, so I usually use a scarf (pictured above) or wear a hat if I have to go out before my hair dries. When my hair is dry and the braids are taken a loose, it is full (sort of afro-esk) and wearing a hat is no longer an option. In the past when my hair was straight with a perm, fitting it under a hat was never a problem, but now with natural hair, fitting it under a hat 'cutely' is almost impossible. I no longer have this as a go to for those bad hair days or when I simply don't have the time to prepare it. This caused me to reflect on the days of old, when hats and I were like bread and butter....inseparable. Here's a peek at some of my favs.
This was taken with locs under a Kango
Roller set under my favorite Fedora
Blow dried perm under a floppy vintage sun hat

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spring Nail Color - Sinful Colors Bright Lucite

Bright Lucite
Base Coat
My nail color of choice for Spring has been Sinful Colors Professionals  - Bright Lucite. First,  I apply my Mineral Fusion clear base coat ($7.99). It's a safer alternative than traditional nail polish. Then, I apply the Sinful colors Bright Lucite. The price is right ($1.99) and the color is perfect for the season. It's my go to nail color for Spring...I just can't get enough of it.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hug Therapy


I'm a hugger and I'm proud of it. Huggers are a unique breed. A little touchy feely some might say, but overall our intentions are good. A hug at the right time can be like warm sunshine after a rain shower.

Allow me to share with you a recent hug story....the other day, while shopping at a local gourmet market, I ran into a young lady who attended a pre-marital counseling class my husband and I had facilitated a few years back. She had recently married and had a beautiful baby boy. As we chatted, she asked questions that most newlyweds do and I shared my advice and experience. At the end of the conversation, I felt the love rising up in me, so I asked the big question..."Can I have a hug?" She responded with a big smile and was quick to open up her arms to reciprocate. To my surprise, I discovered that this beautiful young lady was a fellow hugger. How do I know, you might ask? This was the dead giveaway- when we embraced, she pressed her heart against my chest and gently rested her head against my shoulder. That little sneak not only received my love, but she sent me an infusion of her own. As we stood there at the deli section holding one another, I physically felt her sending love beams my way.  I had had a very challenging week myself and that hug was just what I needed! There is nothing more powerful than love, and hugs are a great way to send and receive it.

Are you interested in hug therapy? If so, keep these things in mind:

A good hug is heartfelt.
A good hug is timely.
A good hug is never awkward.

Studies also show that hugs boost serotonin levels (happiness) & self esteem, relax muscles and balance the nervous system. Hugging also builds trust and a sense of safety. Are you a little curious? Give it a try and see how it feels.

Hugs,Hugs & More Hugs,

Mona Ashley
Ms. Magnet





Sunday, March 30, 2014

FREE FALLING - Trusting God, Even When You're Afraid To



There are many admirable people in our world today, but who I'm most inspired by are those who trust God completely. They could be facing some really dire circumstances and yet they have complete peace through it all. God in His word tells us often to "Fear not."  If He finds it necessary to repeatedly remind us of this, it implies that He is aware that it is our nature to do just that...be afraid when things get tough.

Not too long ago I found myself in a situation where I was tempted to be afraid. I talked to my older sister about it and she said, "Well, it sounds like you need to trust God." I was a little baffled. I wondered what fear had to do with trusting God. Could she be right? Was this an issue of trust? Was the root of my fear, the lack of trust in God? I finally conceded. I wanted my outcome for the situation. I wasn't trusting that God would see me through. I had lost sight of the fact that He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. I wanted the control. I was afraid to trust God.

Someone very dear to me was diagnosed with colon cancer several years ago. She is very courageous and very faithful. I spoke with her about my concerns. I shared how I admired her faith and fearlessness. I asked how it was that she was able to have such peace. She replied, "I trust God, I know He's got me." When the doctors give their report, she trusts that God is in control and that He has the final word. She went on to paint a verbal picture of what trusting God is like. "When you're in a very difficult situation or hardship,it's like being on the edge of a cliff and the only way to safety is to jump. God is waiting for you and assures you that He will catch you." Taking that first leap is your trust in God. As you're free falling, you're trusting that God will catch you. Your body is outstretched and relaxed. Your eyes are closed and the wind is blowing against you. You're filled with peace because you are fully assured that you will land in God's arms.

At some point or another, we all have a cliff that we are forced to stand on the edge of. Some of us are on that cliff right now. It could be a financial crisis, a very serious health challenge or relationship gone awry. No matter what it is, God wants us to know that if we jump (trust Him) He will be there to catch us with big, strong & able arms. He also wants us to remember to:

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you.; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)

"...and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28)



Saturday, February 15, 2014

3 Red Flags for a First Date



Ok, so you're really excited about your first date with the guy you met at the coffee shop the other day. You haven't spoken on the phone much, but you have been sharing text messages. Today is the day you will get to know him. Beware of the following 3 red flags, which in my humble opinion are an indication that he may NOT be the one:

1. He Shows up Late and Doesn't Seem to Think it's a Big Deal. This might not mean a lot to you, because afterall stuff happens, but if brother man doesn't give you a call to tell you he got caught in traffic or if he doesn't seem to value your time because he is arriving late without any remorse, I'd think twice about seeing him again. If he has this attitude on the first date, he will absolutely carry it over into future dates. Who wants to be sitting by the phone, all dressed up with no where to go because this guy doesn't value your time?

2. If He Invites You on the Date, but Wants to go Dutch Treat on Everything. Call me old fashioned if you want, but if dude is expecting you to pay when he invited you out, he is either cheap, broke or clueless. Now being broke isn't a bad thing, afterall everyone goes thru hard times every once in a while, but if that were the case, he could have chosen to do something affordable like visit the museum, a picnic in the park or a free outdoor concert. These are all very affordable, thoughtful and romantic things to do with someone you care about. Now on the other hand, cheap and clueless are not viable options.If this is the case, he may not be ready for you! Upward and onward ladies.

3. If He has a Roaming Eye. We did mention that this was the first date, correct? If you're on your very first date and this guy is checking out everything that wiggles by in a skirt, then you should definitely think twice about seeing him again. Think about it, if he can't contain himself for the two hours he's spending with you on your very first date, then this will more than likely be something you'll be dealing with all the time. In a nutshell, if he is rubbernecking on your first date, he is just not that into you and he definitely doesn't respect you. Going out with a guy who gives you his undivided attention is the ultimate complement to any lady. Kick him to the curb if he doesn't. You don't need or deserve that kind of treatment.

Ladies, don't lower your standards. If you respect yourself, men will do the same. You are to be treasured and adored. Don't settle. If a guy doesn't appreciate you and chooses to treat you without respect, don't waste your time with him. When you show that you love yourself and can live without them, they take notice and give you what you deserve.

That's just my humble opinion.

Love & Hugs,

Mona Ashley
Ms. Magnet


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Count Your Blessings

It's a new year and what better way to kick things off than to start recording your blessings. At the end of each day record something, just one thing you count as a blessing. It could be that big hug your child gave you this morning, or the quiet time you had with a cup of hot cocoa. I've been doing this for years. Why? You may ask. Counting my blessings daily helps me to have a thankful & grateful perspective. When God sees a thankful heart, I believe it pleases Him. This habit also helps you to focus on the good instead of dwelling on the bad. It helps to open up the doorway for more blessings.   A wise man once said "What you measure & monitor grows." That being said, wouldn't you prefer your blessings grow rather than your troubles? Just a thought!

Give this a try and I am confident you will begin to feel less heaviness and more joy.

Peace & Hugs,

Mona Ashley

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How I Destress During the Holidays.

This is one of the happiest times of the year, but for many it can be very stressful. This is how I destress during the holidays...

  • Disconnect - I unplug all my devices. No emails, texts or internet. As a practice I turn them off at around 6 P.M. during the week and for most of the day on Sunday. It's just the way I'm wired.
  • Have a Calgon Moment - I take a long hot bath with aromatic bath oils & scented candles. My favorites are lavender bath oils & peppermint candles.
  • Stop Multitasking - Multitasking has it's place, but during the holidays I like to take my time and smell the pine trees!
  • Listen to Soothing Sounds - I listen to "Instruments of Peace & Rest" and "Prayer & Meditation" CD's. They never fail to calm me down.
  • Shoulder Massage - When I'm wound up too tight. My husband comes to my rescue with a massage to my neck & shoulders. 
  • Watch the Yule Log - This might sound corny, but if you don't have a fireplace at home this will do the trick. I'll have a cup of hot cocoa, or eggnog while listening to the holiday tunes. It's soooo relaxing.
  • No Worries - Instead of worrying about the tasks ahead, I focus on the present, taking one moment at a time while remembering the reason for the season.