Under Construction

I have been wanting to refresh my blog for a long time.
It started off as a pet project to pass the time. Then as I got married, purchased a house, desired to get pregnant - it became a venting place.
However, I realized that I have lost some of my steam. I don't post as I used to. Honestly, I am not even excited about my own blog yet, I have so many things on my mind that I want to share. I have so many projects that I have been working on that I would love to share. 

Then it hit me... 
My Blog needs more then a facelift. This is my life. My Blog afterall. 
It needs a name change -
Specifically, It needs to be consistent with all the other social media sites that you can find me on. 
So for now - 
You can find me in two places - HERE at Hello, Good Morning Sunshine....
and NOW you can find me at www.vashtijasmine.com
It is time that I own my name. 
There you will find the same chronicles of raising a toddler, being a musicians wife, antics from work, PLUS - I am writing a book, getting in shape, wanting to have another baby (yep I said it), going Natural plus SO MUCH MORE!
That way when you tell your friends about me, you know where exactly they should go. 
Love you lots!
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Easter and Egg Rolls

Easter has come and gone and I am just about to tell you all about how it was... (I would insert an apology for being away so long right about here, but then I realized - hey you're one person who works, is a wife a mommy to a toddler and then some and its just a blog and its yours so carry on). This was my baby girl's first Easter where she would be walking. Her first Toddler sized Easter and boy was I excited. I knew that I wanted to go all out as far as Traditional. I searched high and low and purchased options even. In the end I settled on this outfit which she loved! Complete with hat, pearls, ruffle socks and white patent leather shoes. 

I absolutely am loving the toddler years! She has a few words but can totally communicate and express what she wants and its so much fun to see her little personality blossoming. She is one who is absolutely happy all the time but grumpy when she is sick.

She kept her hat on for most of the day but took it off towards the end of church. I had cornrowed her hair straight back just so her hats would sit on her head just right. One thing about Gracie, she is truly her daddy's child. She knows what a microphone is for and loves to sing.
No surprise here - With her bottle in one hand and microphone in the other at age one - trust me I am saving this picture for when she gets older so that she can see how she was as a child.

 Its so crazy how much she has grown from last year when we took our annual picture in front of the HUGE tomb feature that my husbands church has on Easter. 
In regards to weight loss which was one of the things that I was working on- I was even scared to try this dress on in the store and kept milling about it because it was a size smaller than I am used to wearing on a good day and my husband just shouted for me to try it on already. I was SO happy when it fit and with ease. Its so good to know that gradually I am coming back down to my goal weight - I want to be curvy fit just to make that very clear. LOL. 
 We had reservations for Easter Brunch at the Golf Clubhouse and they had a small Easter Egg hunt for the kids in attendance. This was Gracie's first Easter Egg Hunt and she did so good.  She doesn't really get the concept of gather as many as you can but she got enough to look at and would say "Ooo" when she spotted another one.

She didnt want to come back to where we were to take a family picture because she was afraid that we were going to take her Easter Eggs from her. 

Daddy was trying to show her how to Hula Hoop.... that was clearly short lived.
He enjoyed it though. LOL


The next morning the whole family was off to the White House for this years Easter Egg Roll.

We were so fortunate to be able to go again this year and this time we were able to go with our Parents which made it all the more memorable.

Here is mom dukes and Gracie..
Mind you this day started off rather cool and turned into a rather hot day, so some of these layers definitely came off baby girl.
From here on out its pretty self explanatory - We did have such a great time on the lawn of the White House. She really isn't of age to participate in the crafts and games but she enjoyed the stage performances and seeing all of her favorite characters.

She was way past her nap time out there and the only thing that kept her calm was holding these two eggs that she got from this booth that shows where eggs come from and how you get them at the store. There was no way that you could take those from her if you tried.

Exhibit A: We were on the way home and she fell asleep and see where those eggs are - still in her hands..

In the month of April, Gracie turned 16 months old.  It trips me out the amount of non-children having people, particularly the men that I work with,  tell me about counting the months after one years old, however as a parent or person who works closely with Toddler you will know that there is a huge difference in understanding and the milestones therefore expectations when you are dealing with a 12 month old and a 16 month old. 

So, Happy 16 Months Boo Boo.

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Freshly Picked Moccasins Review

Our daughter Gracia is now 15 months old. She started walking around 11 months old, closer to her first birthday and has not looked back since! When she started walking we noticed that it appeared that she may be pigeon toed, which is not too far fetched since I was as an infant. The initial focus as she was learning was finding shoes that would strengthen her ankles. Then as she would begin to fall and attempt to pick herself up, we noticed that the more flexible sole would assist her better in being able to get back up on her own. 

We looked for shoes with no laces and still do since she has a new found fascination with her feet. Nothing like having to worry about her tripping over her laces when she was already tripping over air. In my search, I began to follow some brands on Instagram to consider. 

An opportunity came to collaborate with Freshly Picked and I couldn't have been more excited to try these Moccasins out. They were so cute and fit all of our shoe must haves. 

I chose the Salt Water Taffy color, which I would describe as the perfect lilac color. When I opened the box, I inspected the shoes and noticed they had elastic that was perfectly hidden under the leather that would allow for me to not have to struggle to get the shoe on Gracia's foot but not too loose that she could figure out how to rip it off her foot and lose it some where. 

Gracia's feet measure at about 5.45" so we chose a size 5 for her. Freshly Picked makes it really easy to figure out what size shoe is best for your child with their easy to read sizing chart. I knew that she would have some room for her feet to move and for her to grow into over the spring. Interestingly enough she hadn't had a growth spurt in her feet - that is until recently. 

This would be her first time walking in soft sole shoes so I was intrigued to see how she would respond. I actually anticipated her walking around like she had on swim flippers for some reason, wondering what it was that I had put on her feet. I let her get familiar first just so that she would understand that they are shoes and go on her feet. 

We put them on her and took her outside. Time to break these bad boys in!
Now my initial guess was that with all the running and tumbling on the cement it would mean that she was going to scuff up her new shoes. Mind you, I have had to return shoes that had gotten destroyed after first wear and that was when she wasn't even walking. So I held my breath as we went outside to play on the first warm day of Spring for our area. 

After a while, chasing her up and down the side walk became a game to her.

She LOVED them. Thats all a mother really wants to know is if this child who is so picky will keep these shoes on her feet and will she be able to truly play and have a good time in them. The best part about them is .... THEY STAYED ON HER FEET! 

I wasn't chasing behind her picking up shoes and trying to put them back on so that she could continue playing. We try our best to avoid "reasons why she's crying" moments. I have picked her up from daycare with just her socks on because the shoes I sent her in were too heavy. 

Now came time to go back inside and I was hoping that she hadn't done so much damage on the cement and her running around that I wouldn't want to put them back on her. 

Much to my surprise the bottoms of her soles were next to perfect!
I honestly thought she was scuffing all the beautiful color and logo off the bottoms and that these wouldn't be a great play shoe. 

This is what they looked like once I took them off of her when we came inside


I can honestly say, that after this being our first time trying Freshly Picked moccasins, I would highly recommend them. The wear and tear is great. The color selection is even more fabulous! Our fashion style is focused more on dressing her in complimentary colors versus matching colors. They have a wide range of colors that fit right into a kids wardrobe because they aren't so busy and can go with everything.

I was impressed.  Absolutely.  And the best part is ... Gracia loves them!

We were able to giveaway a pair to one of our readers and hopefully we will be able to do it again in the future so that you can experience them as well. Until then, head over to their website and check out their latest clothing and shoe lines. You will not be disappointed. 

Special thanks to Iris Mannings for capturing our moments yet again! 
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Freshly Picked Giveaway

I am excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with one of my favorite brands of shoes. 

I first heard about Freshly Picked when I was pregnant with Gracie. Following recording artist Monica Brown on social media, she had posted one of her gifts that she received from a friend for her darling daughter Laiyah. They were several pairs of Freshly Picked Moccasins. 

Here is a Laiyah pictured in her Moccs. 

In getting ready for Gracia's Easter photos, I really wanted something new for her that would be cute and comfy especially since this Easter unlike last Easter, she can walk. 
Imagine my excitement when this brand said that we could collaborate and is sending me a pair for review!

Imagine how even more excited I was that they are allowing my readers - new and old the opportunity to win a free pair for your little one as well! 
Made for infant and toddler girls and boys, this would be a great shoe to add to your collection! 

Want to know how to enter?? 

Winner will be announced on March 21st! 

Heres how you can enter...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Mommy and Toddler Natural Hair Care

Let's Talk about Hair!

Natural Hair seems like a trend but I just think that the understanding of how to care for Natural hair has become more popular these days. When I speak about Natural hair I am just talking about the fact that my hair does not have any chemicals, specifically Lye in it whatsoever. 

I did without relaxers back when it was not popular and not even intentionally. 
Back in 2007 when I lived in Chicago, I got into a car accident that injured my shoulder and caused me to have to get physical therapy. My hair was cut short into a tapered bob then and I couldn't raise my arm to maintain my hair. So I got a weave so that I would not have to do much to it until my arm was healed. 
Then my logic kicked in - there was no reason to put a relaxer in my whole head just to continue to weave it. SO, I stopped. 
Then I realized once my roots grew in that my natural hair actually gets pretty straight just by tugging on it and pressing it one good time - there was no real need for relaxers. 

Luckily, in 2015 - there are more blogs and information, products galore for natural, non-relaxed hair. Boy am I excited!!!
It helps me in my decision to not relax Gracia's hair ever and hopefully instill in her a pride of her hair so that she will never want to do the same once she gets older. 

I think it helps that although she is one, she sees me looking just like her. 

The weekends mean that its time to get our hair washing routine on.. 

After much trial and error - I have discovered that the best method to keep Gracia's hair thick and growing especially on her edges is the L.O.C. method. 

The products that I love so far for this on her hair, which by the way are about three different textures, are these pictured. 
(not pictured: shea moisture conditioner and water mixed, pictured: Taliah Waajid for kids, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, which helps hair grow in and Lotta Body Coconut and Shea Oil Curl and Style Milk). 

Use these ingredients in this order, chunky twists and shower cap for natural heat to seal in the moisture because she is too young for a steam treatment. 

I was able to figure out a few of these products from subscribing to Curl Box as a Christmas present to myself. Plus it does save money because its about $25 for 5-6 full sized products that usually cost about $17-$20 each.

And you know who loves it too!

For my hair - I use a Max Hydration Method that I read about. 
This is for Type 4 hair - now hair typing is a whole OTHER beast however - if you have "African American" textured hair 9 times out of 10 you have a version of Type 4 hair. Heck, if you have dry hair THIS method will work for you. 

Based on the chart above, these are some of the products that you can use. I don't use all of these in one sitting but I use one of each type for each step.
I didn't like Kinky Curly on my hair so I used Shea Moisture Gel however, I am not loving that one yet either so we shall see how it goes as I am still searching.

I start with my hair in a dry state. Its usually the remnant of whatever style I had that week. 

After doing the Max Hydration Method is when I get the chance to see my natural curl. So umm, yeah I am still trying to love it because truth - I hate the fact that my natural curl pattern makes me look like I have a Jheri curl pattern and that the strands are so thin, but hey - I just started this method so we shall see how it goes. 

Sadly, the shrinkage on wet curly hair is real! My hair touches my collar bone when its dry, not so much when its wet. 

Using a Denman brush definitely helps me define the coils versus the larger, thinner coils that first appear after the Max Hydration Method.

With the use of castor oil and other moisturizing products, you can see that my edges have grown in. Can I just tell you that I am excited.  Well HELLO edges!

My favorite styles so far are crochet hair styles, which I have done on myself and my family and friends this winter...  

and Bantu knots to curl my hair without heat. 
Unravel them and pinned on one side and I am good to go!

Are you natural and what are your favorite products?

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