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Welcome to PolkaDotTheory, where we are navigating through this thing called life, mid-life that is. Here you will find stories & theories all from a gal that's going through change.


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Oct 20, 2017

New Blog Series: Fri-Yay Faves!





Theory No.: 691 - It's the little things that tend to have the biggest impact on your heart. 


I don’t know about you guys, but for me it has been a crazy, stressful week and when I have days or weeks that are full of the crazies, I try to step back and think of things that bring joy to my heart. You know the kind of things that makes your spirit smile.

After spending a few moments reflecting on a couple of things, a light bulb came on. I thought why not share the things that I love with the hopes that maybe a few of you can relate or take some time to reflect on some of your favorite things.

So here goes... Welcome to the very first installment of PolkaDotTheory Blog Series called, Fri-Yay Faves!


 1. Sunday Brunch: Mimosa's & Conversations with #Him



2. Long drives with my sidekick, Ms. Michie 

3. Cheeseburgers!!! My go to comfort food. I will be posting the recipe for my ground chicken cheeseburgers soon.
 4. PolkaDots and Pedicures - Lilac was my favorite color this past spring and summer. Looking for new Fall favorites. 

Just a few of my Fri-Yay faves this week! Stay posted for future Fri-Yay Favs as this series continues to evolve. Enjoy your weekend! 
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Oct 19, 2017

#TBT - Falling In Love (All over again...)

In the spirit of TBT, I'm at it again, walking down memory lane.. An old post, but still super relevant today. I'd love to hear your thoughts, drop a comment below! ✌



Theory No.: 016 - You were created in love. You have the right to bask in it.  Give some of it away, and always keep a stash tucked away for you.

In my last post, which was “years ago”, (yeah I’ve been a bad blogger, more on that in upcoming posts) I shared two words: REFUSE & EMBRACE. I went on to announce a plan to refuse all of the unwanted, unhealthy things in my life and commit to embracing my goals and intent for a better, well-lived life. It’s time to move forward, carefully, thoughtfully, and obviously one step at a time.

Many of us come to the conclusion at some time or another that what we have, how we are living, and/or what we are giving our attention to is simply not cutting it. We look at our lives in search of the fruit of our labors and sometimes come up empty. But the question is why? This is what I had to figure out for myself, just like anyone else who wants to go forth and change.

One of the biggest challenges that I have been faced with is making me more of a priority. I get in the habit of putting any and everything before “me”: work, love, the pup, EVERYTHING. I thought that was what I was “supposed to do”. I became an afterthought in my own mind, watched myself disappear into the background and I ultimately lost my voice, my purpose, and the overall vision for my life. I lived like this for a while (years) until one day I woke up and made a decision …..It was time for a change…  


It all started with a conversation I had with God. I asked Him to forgive me for neglecting myself. I asked for the courage, strength, and knowledge that I would need to move get through this rut. I asked Him to help me to find my voice and make my presence known in my own eyes.  That part was easy, but the required work was hard and I had a lot of work to do. It started with figuring out why I felt that I didn’t deserve my own attention; an obstacle like no other, which ultimately lead me to face the deadliest demon of all, a lack of self-love.

After realizing that love, or the lack there of was the root cause of the rut I feel into, I began to heal. Things began to get better. I started to see the light; I began to open up to myself and to the world around me. I was able to reconnect and get to know and understand the woman that I have become. It has been an amazing ride and all so worth it.

So today, I am thankful for the season of my rut, if I had not been there, I would not be here – in love! I am in love with the woman who saw the need for change and found the courage to cry for help. I am in love with the woman who is committed to refusing the old way(s) and embracing the new.

Thanks for visiting! 

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Jul 20, 2017

#TBT Refuse & Embrace - 10 Mantras to help you stay focused on YOU!!


It's a wonderful day for a blog post, a #TBT post rather. Several years ago there were a few forums in which I had an online presence. From my online magazine for women of color to a personal blog about living and learning in this life that I penned. After putting both projects to rest and focusing on growing my career (or day job), I’ve realized that it was those very spaces that brought out not only my creative side but my voice. A voice that I truly missed connecting with and sharing, hence the creation of PolkaDotTheory.

At times I revisit these spaces to see if anything written could be applied to my life today. I thought that sharing some of those posts would not only inspire me to reconnect but encourage you to look back, find those things that once made you happy and reconnect as well.  So keep reading for 10 affirmations that can help you stay focused on you. 


 PS…. don’t mind the throwback photos, let’s just focus on the message, but trust me I was in style 😊. Enjoy!! 

#TBT Refuse & Embrace
I'm back and feeling better than ever. Boy oh boy, what a little rest and relaxation can do for the body....Look at that smile - whoa!!  

 (Multi-Colored Tribal Tunic & Necklace: Forever21: Chocolate Brown Skirt: The Limited- so old)
Today I woke up with two words on my heart and I thought I'd share them with you today, Refuse and Embrace.Yeah I know, where did that come from and why are they on my heart so heavy? I have no idea, but there's always room for speculation. I think it is a message, not just for me but for someone out there reading this blog. 

If you're anything like me, sometimes you find yourself trying to be everything to and for everyone, while leaving yourself with a little bit of nothing, if anything is actually left. Don't get me wrong, it is okay to try and please those around you and become what you need to be for those that you love. However, what's not okay is giving so much of yourself until every bit of you is gone. Or even worse, becoming something you aren't for the sake of making other people happy. Both situations can do nothing but rob you of who you are and even worse, rob you of who you really want to be. They can lead you down a path to emptiness. Empty to the point where there is nothing left of you to keep YOU moving in the direction that you're intended to move towards. Another way to look at this is allowing yourself to become burned out or turning into something that you're not, and honestly, who needs that? 

What better time than now get off of that rotten path and start a fresh? Every day is a new day, we get another chance to get it right or work towards what's right. Today is the perfect day to save just a little bit of you for you, to invest in your hopes and dreams... So think about it, what will YOU do with these two words? Here are ten mantras that I will meditate on daily: 

Ten (10) affirmations to help you stay focused on you: 
  1. I refuse to be the last item on my list or better yet, missing from that list.
  2. I embrace my dreams and desires and live life to the fullest (what I define as the fullest).
  3. I refuse to continue to contribute to any type of personal pain or unwarranted stress.
  4. I embrace a way of life that can contribute to pure joy and happiness.
  5. I refuse to allow my past to control me.
  6. I embrace what the future holds.
  7. I refuse to live in mediocrity.
  8. I embrace the idea of abundance.
  9. I refuse to allow anything or anybody to have a negative impact in my life
  10. I will embrace new relationships with a whole heart.   
Have a fantastic day and thank you for visiting!




2 comments

May 9, 2017

#40Plus



Theory No.:017 - When you support others, you support yourself.
#40plusbloggers


Over the past couple of days, I have been planning content for the next few weeks of blog posts. I found that no matter how many notes I attempted to jot down nothing felt completely right. I didn’t understand why I was feeling so uneasy. That was until I was reminded of a recent conversation I had with a friend (a younger friend that is), things began to resonate.

As my mind replayed the content of this conversation, I found myself being reminded of the very reason that I decided to get back into blogging. After being away so long AND at the age of 41, it was very clear as to why I would embark on such a thing. The conversation eluded to inquiries such as, why would you start something like this now? What’s going on in your life that you need or even want to do such a thing? Is it a mid-life crisis because so many younger women are doing it? Are you that unhappy in your life/career that this is something you feel you need to do for some sort of validation? Is this some attempt to relive your past and former attempts at blogging? Wouldn’t you want to do something different? Like why a blog? I mean, hashtag 40 plus blogger, really?

Before you start judging, I’m going to assume that it was all out of love. Besides that, what I pondered on more than the mere quality of our friendship, was the fact that I really wondered why I stopped for a second to question my own motives as if I were unsure. I questioned if maybe they were right... As I think about a few if my favorite bloggers and how they have inspired me, I wondered how many of them are truly my counterparts? Am I fooling myself into believing there is a place for us on the web? Am I really over the hill and allowing this attempt to make me crash and burn?


Lucky for me, I snapped out if quickly and realized that they were wrong – Dead wrong. You see many women that have joined the 4-oh club (or fast approaching it), have come to realize that this decade represents a new season in life. A season where a lot of the hard lessons have been learned and quite a bit of life has been experienced. We are in touch with the things that we like and dislike, in the world and with ourselves. We begin to leave behind stereotypical ideals of who and what we thought we should be. We reconnect with who we truly are and dive deep into the things that we are passionate about. No matter how big or small it may seem. We find a way to build a path for the rest of our lives that inspire, motivate, uplift, and simply bring us joy. We find new hobbies, new ways of thinking, new ways of living, new friends, new dresses, new homes, new partners, new jobs, new destinations to explore, and much more. It’s part of the life cycle, it’s part of change, it’s growth, it is inevitable.

So what conditions people to believe that someone is too old for anything? Old ways of thinking coupled with images in the media. The images that we see every day, even in the blogosphere. We see our millennial daughters, nieces, students, or what have you showcased as bloggers, vloggers, and brand ambassadors, which is absolutely awesome. I love to see real women no matter what age breaking through the barriers and making names for themselves, but it leads me to ask, are are my counterparts? Where are the women that truly represent the purchasing power in this country? Statistics show that 85% of consumers are women, and of that 85%, women between the ages of 35-54 are consuming the most. Whether it’s fashion, travel, food/restaurants, makeup, beauty treatments, life enhancing experiences, it’s our age group that is driving this market and experiencing these brands, so why not have a voice?

So to the countless women that are making their mark on the world by sharing their voices, stories, images and pictures, fashion and style, makeup, recipes, and everything in between. This is no mid-life crisis, a failed attempt for one more go around.. This is us being and doing what we love.

Cheers ladies, be proud of your 40 plus lifestyle, fashion, beauty blogger or 40 plus anything hashtag. Here's to you (oh and me too).   


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Apr 14, 2017

XO My Grits - A Quick & Big Easy Brunch Dish




Theory No: 106 - Home is where the brunch is!! 

Confession: I love to eat. As a matter of fact, I get great pleasure out of eating a tasty meal. I can't say where and how this love affair began, but I am sure I can attribute it to my upbringing.  A little about me, I was born and raised in a truly special place. Most would say there's no place like this city. I mean it's a place where everyone says hello or haaaaaaaaaay baaaaaybe; we tend to find any excuse to have a party; we often walk down the street with cocktails in hand any time of day... Can you guess?? Last hint, cooking and eating really good food is our religion as most of our dishes include the “holy trinity”.  


You got it... Nawlins baaaybe (translation: New Orleans, baby - yep I have an accent sometimes too)!!

Like most of my people I do enjoy being friendly to strangers, celebrating for no reason, and of course a cocktail here and there... But above all, whipping up a traditional New Orleans style meal is closest to my heart. It keeps me grounded and connected to my city no matter how far away I am. Cooking is also a way for me to pay homage to those that had a hand in teaching me how to prepare a good dish. Simply put, cooking is my peace. Here on the blog I will share some of my favorite recipes and hope that you join in my love for Creole Cuisine.

With Easter Sunday fast approaching, I want to share a brunch favorite. It has gained great popularity around the country including here in Indianapolis. Good ole Shrimp & Grits!!!

This is a very easy and dish to make, especially if you are good at making grits. With that said, I have a second confession: I CAN NOT COOK GRITS!! So how in the heck can I introduce this meal when I can’t make grits - LOL??!! Well insert the good Samaritan, the BF, who is an expert grits maker. His grits are the best DAMNED grits in the world. As a matter of fact, I solicited his expertise for this recipe and he did not disappoint.

With a batch of extra cheesy cheese grits as the base for the recipe, adding shrimp ( or another seafood option) with a delicious lemon garlic butter sauce, it is a  great dish to impress your guest with for the ultimate spring brunch. Pair with a mimosa or your signature brunch cocktail and you'll be the talk of the town for sure.

So here goes (full recipe can be found at the bottom of the post):

With grits prepared and simmering, start by chopping 1 (one) large onion, 4 (four) scallions, and 2 (two) garlic cloves (I typically use pre-chopped garlic). Rinse 1-2 lbs of peeled and deveined shrimp, pat dry, season with salt and pepper (or substitute creole seasoning), and set aside.

In a large skillet fry 6 (six) slices of bacon until brown and crisp, set bacon aside on a paper towel to drain. After the oil has drained, chop bacon to yield 1/2 cup. Next, add the shrimp to the hot bacon grease and cook through.


As you can see I'm heavy in the mix of cooking the shrimp, but there's a large pan of catfish frying as well. I'm a lover of all things seafood, but the BF stays away from some of my faves like shrimp. If you or your guest are shellfish adverse, the shrimp can be replaced with your favorite fish. Here I altered the recipe slightly and used catfish so that he could enjoy the deliciousness as well. 


Back to the recipe, after your shrimp has turned pink add 3 (three) tablespoons of butter, chopped seasonings (onion, scallions, and garlic), it's always a good idea to add the garlic last so that it won't burn or overcook. Saute seasoning until tender, next drop in the chopped bacon, and add 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper or if you'd rather kick your dish up a notch with a bit of spice, replace the salt and pepper with your favorite cajun/creole seasoning mix. I swear by Tony's Chachere's Creole Seasoning. Let this simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.

Once your shrimp mixture is done, spoon grits onto a plate and top with shrimp mixture and garnish. Here I added roasted asparagus and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes which complimented the dish really well and not to mention it added a bit of flair to the presentation. Such a beautiful and tasty meal - did I mention it was ready in no time?! Enjoy!!


SHRIMP & gRITS (OR cATFISH)

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 cups of water or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of grits
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined or 3 catfish filets
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper then add grits and cook water is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese. Set aside and keep warm. 
  1. Rinse shrimp or catfish and pat dry season with salt and pepper. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned and crisp; set cooked bacon aside to drain. 
  1. Add shrimp or catfish in bacon grease, and cook through. If cooking shrimp, cook shrimp until pink and move to step four without removing shrimp. If using catfish, remove catfish from skillet when thoroughly cooked. 
  1. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, onion, scallions, and garlic. Saute ingredients for 3 minutes or until onion is translucent and garlic is tender. 
  1. Spoon cheese grits onto into a serving bowl or plate and top with shrimp mixture. If using catfish, place catfish on top of grits and glaze with sauce. 
  1. Best served while hot. 
NOTES
Garnish with your favorite green veggie and red pepper flakes (asparagus used here) and enjoy!!! 


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Apr 11, 2017

Keep On Movin - 4 Affordable Brands That Will Rock Your Workout.


Theory No.:003 - When you find your groove, you'll find a way to keep moving...

Growing up I was always slender, under weight some may say. I was the girl that the boys looked away from because I wasn't what was considered "fine". Simply put I was the skinny girl that stood among friends who's bodies developed a lot sooner than mine. I would cry to my mom, who's argument against the adolescent tragedy was "just wait until you're in your 20's, you'll see the benefits in all of this. You'll have the body that these girls have later". While my mom's argument proved to be correct and took me well into my 30's, she didn't advise is what would happen when I reached that mere tipping point in life,  "the 40's".

Like most women approaching the big 4-Oh, I adhered to a diet and fitness plan to ensure that I would be able to flash that confident smile when I coyly confessed my age. I admit, was successful in the first year, but not maintaining seemed to have had its costs - 13 pounds to be exact. 

So sitting at the crossroads of feeling uncomfortable, fed up, and wanting to maintain good health I decided to take on a challenge that consists of putting down the cheesecakes that I've grown to love and partaking in the sweetness of a healthy and fit lifestyle [insert double eye roll here - lol].

Fast forward 3 weeks in.... I must say it is a struggle to go from lack of activity to full on workouts 3-4 times a week. Finding my groove has not been easy. While an expanding waistline and overall good health is my primary motivation, on some days I need just a little more. It's these days that I look to my love of fashion because a great outfit is always good motivation and tends to make a woman (me) smile (even at the gym).

Choices in activewear are rather unlimited, however, I do my best to stick to low-cost, budget-friendly options to kick myself into gear. And for the record, low cost doesn't mean low quality. Here are a few of my favorite go-to labels for fun, functional, good looking activewear.

First up: Fabletics offers up activewear for all sizes and shapes. I love how they help customers choose options based on the type of activity. Also, keep an eye out for a store opening near you. As we're used to seeing Fabletics as an online store, there are many storefronts opening nationwide. Here in Indianapolis, Fabletics will be opening really soon at the Keystone Fashion Mall. Visit their website for a location near you.

While I try my best to avoid Forever 21 - because let's be honest, who wants to be 21 Forever? Lord knows I'm over it. Now if someone creates a Forever 31 we can talk (lol). Seriously, while the store caters to my little niece and her friends, often times women like myself can find great buys there as well. Trust me, I've popped in for deals on everything but I've got to say the activewear is a good option. The cost is reasonable as you would expect and the quality does not disappoint. These mesh panel leggings are not only cute, they are quite functional. Anything that allows a breather during heavy workouts is a must.
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My darling Vicki, oh how I loooove thee!! I don't know what they put in the kool-aid, but I drink it heavily. Expanding their brand outside of intimates and swimwear, activewear has been a great product line for VS as well. With a host of not only functional but "Very Sexy" choices, these optiosn would make anyone want to drop and do a burpee or two.  Featured below is the Anytime Legging, which is not only on trend with the cutouts they allow a breathable option for your body to stay cool. 

Last but certainly not least, Old Navy's active wear is not only an affordable option, it brings functionality and motivation to the table. This Good Vibes tank is my favorite, I wore it to the gym yesterday :). It's comfortable and has the Go Dry technology that helps you stay dry during those heavy workouts. Newsflash - 50% off activewear while supplies last (today only)



With all of these fashionable items, who wouldn't stay beasting and killing their fitness game. What are some of the ways you stay motivated and keep moving through your fitness goals?
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