What a Life to Take

“Hey Siri, Cue: real sad girl vibes, loads of liquor, and a whole bunch of tears!” My fawking auntie died y’all!!! My girl, my dawg, my mama when my mama was getting on my nerves- GONE!!! I swear to GOD my heart is about to walk out my chest. Forreal forreal.

When I tell y’all these have been the longest 9 fdays of my LIFE?!?! This song has been in my head on the worst kind of repeat and I honestly don’t even care enough to find a new tune to take over. I miss my girl! I’m tired of losing family, seriously. I honestly got some questions for my homie Big G (God, not Greg- but Greg too, shit!) I’ve been here before- in the thick of grief and sadness and unknowing- but THIS??? This right here feels like my soul is outta my body. I ain’t ever been this sad and broken up before; and that’s saying a LOT cause I forreal though I was gone die without my god daddy.

I can’t seem to find the right or appropriate words to euoligize my auntie AunTee (I HAVE TO EUOLOGIZE MY MUHFUKKIN AUNTIE YALL!!!!) but this seems wayyy more appropriate and non-chaotic than continously rambling on Twitter in short threads about her. Or have I just let other people’s ideas of “oversharing” cloud my mind? EITHER WAY, I have to give honor to my AunTee and the life she lived so here goes. Bare with me, it’s going to be messy and chaotic and kinda all over the place. My heart seriously wants out of my chest these days.

Mkay so where do I start? I guess I should just frame this like a conversation with her- say what I need to say, raw and uncut, in hopes that it’s recieved properly and gets a laugh outta somebody.

Tanisha, I miss you. I am utterly heartbroken and pissed off that you left me and I know that’s selfish cause you didn’t leave *just* me but dammit AunTee YOU LEFT ME! I don’t understand the plan behind this one and quite frankly, I don’t think there was one. I think sometimes God be f*cking up and this was one of those times but like how could he take you then be like “Oops! My bad! Wrong Tanisha!” ya know? So I think he just kinda had to rock with this mistake-really own it and sit with it and just give us the strength to deal with it. I still think it was bogus as hell! I miss you. It’s been 9 days and I got like 900 things to tell you already. First one being, where the hell my little chewy candies at?? You promised ME that big bag then I seen Auntie B with a small bag of em. Wassup with that AunTee, huh?? Hella whack LOL! I like saying “hella”, it’s always reminded me of you. I used to think you were sooo cool when you said it; how the word and the Bay Area accent rolled off your tongue like honey. Did you like honey? I never really knew but I feel like you did. Remember how we used to tell stories- all around the point, lose the plot, then circle back? Imma miss that. Imma miss you sighing and saying “Niecey Pooh, what’s the story?” then the way I’d laugh and refocus. We had sooooo many more memories to make. I have sooo many more stories to tell you. Remember when I told you about Bean, how you jumped into Mama-Auntie mode and was instantly on my side, no questions? Where else Imma find you at Auntie? In who else? I’m so jealous Baby Crystal got you back! I guess it’s only fair though, I did have her Mommy for 22 years. 22 long and good years that, right now, feel very short and futile. How did 22 years go so quickly and where can I get more of em? You changed me. You gave me some of the best of you even when I was giving very much monster teenager/young adult. I’m carrying this grief in my shoulders and the “one boob I have”. I was SO excited to share my motherhood journey with you- to make it ours cause I know what it meant to you. Thank you for walking me through it, for holding my & Mommy’s hand, for loving Bean like she was really your grandbaby. Tanisha, I feel like I can’t go on without you. I feel like Imma pass out at any given moment. Like my breath is being withheld from me. I can’t figure out how to do this; how to cherish the good when it’s reminding me so much of the bad. I need you to tell me how to do this. How do I keep going? I miss your smile and laugh already. I’m so glad we shared so many of those. I’ve cried for 9 days straight but Auntie if you coulda seen that ugly mess I bought for the service? Baybeeee 🤣🤣🤣! I can hear you now: “Foo, what is that??” I gotta wear it though. The dress made me feel connected to you, reminded me of you in a good way. Plus, it was on sale for like hellaaaaa cheap so like I had to get it! Also, can I borrow a pair of your heels for this weekend? I know you got some pink or orange ones somewhere in yo house! Imma ask the boys! You taught me how to put on lashes, braid with weave, do a 27 piece, encouraged me to get my lash certification, believed in me EVERY time I took up a new hobby or venture. You gave me you and I just hope I can do the same. I miss you so so much. My heart hurts but at least you’re safe. Tell my folks I said wassup, tell Uncle Rodney he could’ve waited at least 5 more years before needing his big sis but I get it ya know. I hope I do you some justice. I love you AunTee, my Jill of All Trades (& master of MANY!)

Surface Pressure & Other Encanto Life Lessons

I’m obsessed with Encanto; there, I said it. I’m obsessed with the movie Encanto and I want you to be too! If the soundtrack was on wax, I’d probably have run it down by now- that’s how bad it is over here LOL!! In my constant watching and analyzing, I’ve taken a couple of wonderful life lessons from the “Family Madrigal”, lessons I share with you below. Keep reading then tell me what lessons you took from the movie or if it’s next up on your watchlist!

Warning: This post contains movie spoilers. Don’t proceed if you hate spoilers!

Disney’s Encanto is now available on Disney+

Encanto’s opening scene shows Mirabel, the main character, and Abuela-one of the movie’s main antagonists- sharing a very intimate moment. As the movie proceeds, those shared moments get few and far between and you see the dynamic between the two change drastically. Mirabel is the only Madrigal that doesn’t possess a tangible gift and Abuela makes it obvious- and damming. Eventually, Mirabel’s gift is revealed and we see that her gift is the gift of chain breaking. By the end of Encanto, the message is made clear: You have the power to break curses. Birth order, magical gifts, and familial opinions be damned; YOU have the power to BREAK GENERATIONAL CURSES!

Mirabel’s older sister, Luisa, is the “strong one”. Her gift is strength; unsurprisingly she carries all of the family burdens. Luisa is the movie’s constant reminder to check on your strong friends, to give them a space to drop those burdens they’re expected to carry. As the movie progresses and we get to explore Luisa’s character I realized that strong doesn’t have to be my middle name, that it’s okay to lay my burdens at the feet of a trusted person, and that my worth is not tied to my acts of service. Lessons I needed and have since internalized. Thank you Luisa!

One of my favorite messages the movie emphasizes is: Perfectionism is the thief of joy. Isabela, Mirabel’s eldest sister, is described as “effortlessly perfect who’s never even had a bad hair day”. She is never allowed to misstep or make a mistake and her only gift to the town is her ability to create beautiful flowers. The girl is a friggin florist that has Abuela wrapped around her finger; the perfect depiction of the eldest daughter, actually. Once Mirabel frees her sister from the idea of perfectionism and the burden of the matriarch’s opinion, we really get to see Isabela blossom. You can never be truly happy if you’re focused on being “perfect”- I had to sit with that and then free myself as well.

Some gifts require a little soul searching. That’s it, that’s the message we got from Mirabel’s storyline. My mom often jokes that Mirabel’s gift is “empathy” and I semi-jokingly reply, “That ain’t no gift! Nobody wants to be empathetic!” But… it is a gift. Empathy is a gift and it is a necessary one; one that not everybody posesses. In the beginning of the movie one of the neighborhood kids jokes that Mirabel’s gift “might be denial” and..well… was it really a joke? How many of us run from the Mirabel Madgrial inside of us- the empathetic, trustworthy, “make magic without a gift” selves? I know I do, frequently. Or, I used to, I don’t think I want to anymore so I probably won’t. I think 2022 will be my year of sitting with myself and digging deep to find my “gift” even if it is revealed that my gift is empathy LOL.

Throughout the movie, Abuela is painted as the villian and this terrible, toxic matriarch but she’s really not. From an adult, and mom, lense she’s just an old lady with some baggage and some trauma; one who was never given the freedom or space to lay her worries down. Once Mirabel “snaps” on her we get to see a change in Abuela- a necessary change, that same freedom Luisa was given- and the lesson becomes: No one is ever really stuck in their ways. It’s a lesson that can be applied across many situations and relationships but especially to those family dynamics where you’re shaking things up. Positive Discipline and Conscious Parenting are such bold and “new” journeys that really push the status quo and force our own Abuelas to have to sit and reckon with some of their own shit; to admit that they did the best they could AND that they might’ve traumatized us in the process. I think that was one of the most important themes of the movie: push the boundaries, stand on what you say and believe, and be the change you want to see. When you walk in your true self it’s easier to convert and free others to be themselves, too. That’s a lesson I like to tell my workshop participants, and myself.

I hope you can take some of these lessons and apply them to your own life and personal growth, especially during these trying times. If you haven’t already, go give Encanto a watch and let the magic of the Madrigals transform you too. See you over on Instagram!

Taste Safe Play: DIY Gingerbread Playdough

It’s the most wonderful time of the yearrrr!

I haven’t been excited for the holidays in God knows how long but it is truly something magical about having a toddler around the holidays. There’s 15 days left until Christmas and I am pushing through all my grief, anxiety, and overall “cold weather” blues and aiming to give my baby a great Christmas while giving y’all some great content! First up, we have some sensory play ’cause y’all know how I get down!

I believe that playing is the key to life and since we have all our senses, we might as well use them. Chaotic Cutie- formerly known as Bean- is really into making messes and playing with her hands (albeit she hates being dirty ???) so we made some “Gingerbread Dough”! You can jump to the recipe or watch us make it over on Youtube.

Smells soooo good!!

C.C. had SUCH a blast helping me make this, then playing with it and I had so much fun watching her flex her independence. My mom and grandma have almost always had her in the kitchen with them and it is truly one of our favorite bonding activities. She provides sooo many laughs and moments of calmness while chaotically mixing and stirring ingredients; every kitchen should have space for a kid. This was our first holiday themed activity and it was so worth the dough that got in her hair, alphabet rug, and all on our skin!

Shoutout Pinterest recipes

Gingerbread Dough

Serving Size:
As much as you want
10 mins
Easy Peasy


  • Flour 1 cup
  • Salt 1/2 cup
  • Ginger (or Nutmeg, lol) 1/2 tbsp
  • Cinnamon 1/2 tbsp
  • Vegetable Oil 1 tbsp
  • Water 1/2 cup


  1. Mix all of your dry ingredients in a plastic or metal bowl. I let C.C. use a whisk but a regular mixing spoon will do.
  2. Slowly add in your vegetable oil and water. Let your child help you stir and watch the dough clump together.
  3. Sprinkle a sheet of foil, parchment paper, or your counter with some flour and spread the dough around.
  4. Let your child help you knead the dough until it is a playable consistency.
  5. Play and enjoy the gingerbread smell!

If you make some “Gingerbread Dough”, tag me on Instagram @THEHOTYOUNGMOM & show me what you and your baby made! Enjoy!

Christmas with The CauGlaManShis

There are FIFTEEN days till Christmas and I am SOOOOOOOO excited!!! I have not been happy for the holidays in so so so long! Like, seriously.

I thought last year- C.C.’s 1st Christmas- was going to be this overwhelmingly joyous occasion anddd it wasn’t, lol. I quickly came to realize that being a mom on Christmas is wayyy different than being a child- go figure, right? Anyway, last year I was overwhelmed with all of the family we had to see so this year I’m getting a headstart on my anxiety and stress. Keep reading for my top 5 Holiday Hustle Anxiety Beaters and let me know if any of these come in handy when dealing with YOUR family this holiday season!

Screenshot & save this for an easy reminder!

First up, BOUNDARIES!!! I see this allll the time in my mom groups and inner circle- new or first time moms stressing about how to tell Granma, Uncle, Dad that Baby makes the rules and the rest of us get in where we fit in. Ok, not literally but basically. It is VERY stressful to be the only, or one of the only, people in your family that doesn’t pop, force public displays of affection, gratitude, or fake positivity; trust me, I know. However, stress does not mean succumb! If you set a rule for your family then you stand on that rule and enforce it. Full stop! My favorite way to assert my boundaries is by repeating it simply then saying “Which one of us got the stitches?!” with a light laugh. That simple phrase lets my family- and myself & child- know that I’m not going to repeat myself and that the boundary has been set. Find you a “stitches” phrase and practice it before you get into the Holiday Hustle.

Next up, GIFTS! Do NOT let social media, extravagntly showy family, or even “ungrateful” (we’ll talk about this later) kids bully you into going into debt over Christsmas gifts! If you’re a last minute mommy like so many others: pace yourself! Your child does not need every “cute” thing that you see or they pick up. (Talking to myself here!) Since having Bean and seeing how outwardly loved and spoiled she is, I decided to take a Montessori approach to gift giving. First and foremost, see what your kid actually plays with and what piques their interest. Do they have 1-3 of these toys or items that are working, can be fixed, or are still age appropriate? If so, don’t buy another. Secondly, make a list. The list should consist of: Something to WEAR, Something to READ, Something they NEED, Something they WANT, and Something to DO. Now, you can choose the numbers of each item but I’ll start doing 5 Wears (Clothes, pjs, shoes), 4 Needs, 3 Wants (can be 1 big ticket item + 2 small), 2 Reads, and 1 Do (zoo trip). I also rotate her toys out almost monthly so she’ll be opening some birthday presents for Christmas while some Christmas presents go outside until next month. Rotating toys keeps them fresh, in good shape, and prolongs your child’s excitement for the toy.

Let’s talk PLAYING, yea? If you know me, you know I’m a goofball. Literally all I do is laugh- there is a reason for that! I get past my fears and anxiety by cracking a joke or finding a laughable deflector. I tell everybody to “laugh through the horror” cause it really does help. When your family is dog piling your parenting style, child’s behavior, weight, etc just laugh and say something snarky in response. They’ll either catch the hint and back off right then or they won’t but at least you’ll have gotten your quip in and can feel a bit better about yourself. When your child’s behavior is driving you straight up the tree, get eye level with them and just start playing. Grab a toy, ask for a hug then grab them up into a bear hug, wrestle, play PattyCake, whatever you have to do to PLAY! Laughter and childlike play give your brain and emotions a moment to calm down and regulate. Try it!

Ok now on to the Santa in the room- behavior. First, it’s important to remember that there are NO BAD KIDS just bad behavior and that misbehavior is miscommunication. Your child is not taking all the ornaments off the tree to spite you; they’re probably bored and exploring cause and effect. Give them something to throw and practice placing and removing. Dollar Tree has great felt trees for this and you can see them in action on my Instagram. If you’re taking pictures with Santa and your child hits him or starts crying, jump in and consider your child’s emotions. Are they possibly (likely) uncomfortable, anxious, or outright scared? Think of how you would feel if you were forced to flick it up with a stranger while your caregiver stood by and laughed. Are you at grandma’s house and baby or toddler or child won’t stop touching stuff? Are they maybe exploring all of the new things Grandma has set out for Christmas? Probably. Does that make it okay for them to touch, and possibly break, these things though? No. Ask Grandma for a safe place out of the child’s reach to put the most important decorations. For the things that can’t be moved, try to create a barrier around them or watch for what sensory pleasure the item is giving. Is the pinecone a cool new texture that can be recreated or satiated by going outside? Are the wrapped presents making a cool crinkly sound that can be recreated by crumbling foil or scrap wrapping paper? I bet it can.

Moral of the story: get in front of the behaviors you don’t want to see, your and your child’s comfort is more important than an elder’s hurt feelings, play and laugh through every obstacle, and enjoy the holidays. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems when you get through it. I’ll be checking on you!

Unloved, Unworthy, Understood

Trigger Warning: I’m about to talk about sexual assault. It will likely not get graphic but if you can’t stomach talks about sexual assault or rape. do not proceed. Thank you, in advance, for reading and letting me get this off my chest.

(insert a multitude of emojis, gifs, & memes that display anxiety. This is some scurry shit to write!)

Ight so check it… I was raped in my own house 3 (maybe 4? I don’t harp on the date) years ago. Literally, on a couch that my family owned, in a place where I should have felt strong enough to say no; I was raped.

I have only said that out loud maybe three times since it happened. I have typed it online twice before now. I still can’t come to accept that it happened to me- by somebody I knew and trusted. That someone who I loved platonically and maybe would have had consensual sex with took my power from me. In my own home. And I didn’t tell anybody until almost a year or two later. And I laughed (nervously) when I said it; as if laughter was going to ease the pain that I had been carrying.

I laughed when I spoke my horror and let the laughing emojis carry my story to eyes and ears that would have, otherwise, never known. As if laughter was the cure all. I wish I could laugh through this again. I wish my laughter and nervous giggles could take me far beyond this place of trauma and unworthiness. I might need to laugh again.

I thought I was over this. I thought I had laughed the feelings of disgust, distrust, & betrayal to the depths of my soul. I think they’ve resurfaced and forgot to bring the laughter with them. Sigh. I don’t think I can laugh my way into trusting a new person with my love, my body, my loyalty. And quite frankly, I never did. Where I thought I was healed and “over it”, I found myself in the arms of my baby daddy. Someone I knew already- could catch his cues & knew his ticks- and trusted. Here I was calling myself running game when the game was running me. Ain’t that some shit?! To think you’re healed when really you’re going back to places of comfort… darkness, “Imma get what I need & leave” type spaces. That’s what they never tell you about sexual assault. The recovery is just as brutal as the initial attack. Healing is not linear and every time you think you’re on the up something snatches you back down & connects itself right back to that moment. You stop laughing & running game & being “okay” and realize you’re standing knee deep in that same shit. Ain’t it funny how loud and boisterous unworthiness can be? How he snatches your confidence and your power and dances away with it; arm & arm with low self esteem?

I was raped in my own home and I’m scared to trust again. That’s my first time typing that sentence out. I’ll yell it to the moon later today. My dignity was stripped from me and now I’m fighting to get it back. To understand me again and do it with a baby on my hip, while parenting with somebody who used to be my comfort. Ain’t it funny how loud and giggly and obnoxious life can be?

Why Not Play?

My mom is always telling me I need to “work on my poker face so Bean doesn’t think everything is funny.” Well, here’s the thing, everything IS funny- to me, at least. I literally get through my days by laughing and playing.

I need laughter. I need humor and good times and foolishness and fun in my day to day. I tried to work on my poker face but for what? Why can’t I laugh when my baby is doing something funny and silly? Who says it’s bad to laugh while also setting boundaries and being “firm”? Will Bean take everything for a joke or will she one day learn to assert herself and boundaries, even in fun moments?

Yes, she will, actually think everything is funny AND she will be disciplined! Go figure.

There is a parenting approach called “play-based parenting” and it generally follows the child’s lead; allowing them to create and solve problems for themselves while strengthening their emotional and social development. I know you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking “not another one of those parenting styles! That’s that new-age parenting!!” But it’s not! Play-based parenting directly aligns with the Montessori lifestyle and Positive Discipline. NAEYC says “rough and tumble play—has been shown to promote early brain development.” There is a method to childcare centers’ “madness” and their love of play centers, after all. Playing helps children learn emotional regulation, social skills, social cues, problem-solving, and conflict resolution-among other things. Play-based parenting, or just playtime with a caregiver involved, teaches children that they are fun to be around and fun to engage with. It builds emotional intelligence and boundaries. Fifteen minutes of play is really all you need to create lasting memories and help build your child’s brain better than any book ever could!

So I said all that to say: Sorry mom, I’m actually not going to work on my poker face! I’m going to keep laughing my way through my frustration and turning on my most goofy face when I need to power through a tantrum; because my baby needs it and I need it. In Sunday’s post (and all weekend on Instagram *wink wink*) I’ll be sharing some of my favorite ways to play with Bean and how I “laugh through our loco”! See you there and remember to keep on laughing!

P.S. Check out the links below for some articles to support play-based learning!



Match Me, Mommy

We’re a day away from Halloween and I have 555 costume ideas. We have a very full weekend so I have finally narrowed down my top three ideas for the last-minute parents like me.

First up: Matching pajamas! They’re simple, cheap, and easy. We got ours from Walmart and found some for everyone in our house; sizes infant & toddler (2T), adult women (M, 1X, and 2X). We wore ours to Bean’s daycare for her Fall Festival and despite it being cold out, we stayed incredibly warm! Go Walmart!

Next up are mermaids. I put a costume for myself together with this seashell bra and this very cute and comfy mermaid skirt; both from Amazon. I found an accompanying headband and faux rhinestones from Dollar Tree that I’ll be pairing with my costume. I got Bean a custom crotcheted full-body mermaid outfit from Etsy. I love Tiffany! She is an awesome woman and creator and her talent exceeds expectations every time!

My grandma bought Beanie a “rainbow witch” costume from Walmart and in true matchy mommy fashion, I thrifted this really cute dress. I’ll probably pair the dress with a plain black floppy hat and some long press-on nails in similar colors to Bean’s leggings. These will probably be our Disney On Ice costumes since we’re sitting by the ice and it’ll be cold.

How are you dressing your baby or babies up this year? Will you match at all?

Feel It Friday

Fridays are reserved for feeling!

Today has been full of sensory play and fresh air! The weather here in Cali is still pretty nice so Bean & I took advantage by picking some tomatoes from our garden and then playing with this quick & easy sensory tray I made 👩🏾‍🔬

My grandma was cleaning out the silverware drawer last night and Beanie took a particular liking to this old silverware tray so we reused it today got our sensory play! The multiple slots made for an even more engaging and challenging play experience as she had to figure out how to position her hands and toys to remove and replace them.

Anywho! It took me all of about five minutes to make this sensory tray so here are the details:

For the colored rice, I just took some plain white rice, a dash of water, and some yellow and red food paint and mixed it together! The water beads were purchased at my local dollar tree and after adding some water and yellow food coloring they were ready to sit for about 4-6 hours. I did them overnight so they would be good and ready for us the next day! While on one of my weekly trips to Dollar Tree, I also snagged those super cool eyeballs, foam (and glittery!) skeleton heads, faux vampire teeth, AND the animals! I then threw them all in the tray and outside we went!

P.S., The water color play was just some water and the Crayola Bath Fizzies but food coloring would have worked just as well!

As you can see, Miss Bean had a world of fun and this actually held her attention for about 20 minutes. Once she realized the eyeballs could bounce we were on to the next activity- bouncing and chasing eyeballs!

If you try this activity, I’d love to hear about it in the comments or on Instagram @ THEHOTYOUNGMOM 😊 Enjoy your play!

Fall Family Fun

The weather is changing so y’all know what that means; it’s my favorite season! I love all things fall and I’m so glad my Beanie is finally old enough to engage in some fall fun. Below is a list of some toddler-approved, family fun fall activities we love and will be engaging in. Comment below and tell me what your favorite activities are!

Go to a pumpkin patch. Pumpkin patches are generally low cost, visually and sensory stimulating, family fun. I love going and picking my own pumpkins to carve! Some pumpkin patches go all out and include hay rides, corn mazes, and even a small farmer’s market.

Find a local childcare fall festival and stop by to support them! Seriously, go. They are usually so much fun and the staff puts so much time and effort into them.

Fall fests are often hosted by a local organization and are loads of fun; equipped with games, face painting, door prizes, and even enterainment. Yelp or Google a local one and check it out!

School’s sometimes host their own haunted houses and I remeber always having so much fun at our annual ones. It was even more being on the planning committee and watching my community members enjoy our efforts.

Trunk or treats held at local churches are often safe and simple fun that require you just showing up, basically lol.

Bike ride or a picnic. Or both! The weather is nice enough to throw on a light sweater and be out almost all day.

Boo at the Zoo was always super fun for my family, especially on the weekends when costumes are encouraged- and allowed! It’s a fun first time zoo experience for family members of all ages.

I hope these ideas come in handy when you’re trying to plan your next family outing! Let me know, in the comments below or on Instagram THEHOTYOUNGMOM, if you’re going to partake in any fall themed fun!

Hey BOO!

It’s nearly Halloween and for the first time in YEARS, I am excited about the holidays again! In the spirit of passing the joy and giving my baby a memorable Halloween, I have come up with the idea to “Boo” my village. Well… in a way.

So, the tradition of the Halloween “Boo” game was first introduced to me by one of my favorite aunts. It is usually a community game, held only in the neighborhood in which you live and “played” by your neighbors. Well, Bean and I don’t really have neighbors so we’re going to do this Sisters of the Traveling Pants style!

If you’ve never heard of the sisterhood let me explain it to you real quick. There’s a group of women who all will share a pair of pants- how this ever worked I still don’t know- as they travel through life and distance tries to separate them. The pants are their anchor; the buckets (or boxes) will be our anchor. In our version, each family will be paired with another family to “Boo”. The spending limit is dependent upon each family’s budget and will be discussed between the pairs. If you are interested in participating, download the attached PDF and then please send you and your child, or childrens’, names to DESTTHEHYM@GMAIL.COM for further details.