I once overheard a colleague pose this question to another co-worker:
“What if Dawn Dean isn’t her real government name?”
It ticked me off, seeing how I had come so far to adore my name and its meaning (first light, to begin).
Yes! I had a problem with my name growing up because it did not have more syllables. I know, crazy, but I love it now and wouldn’t change it if I got paid to; then again, maybe I would consider it for a tax-free cool million. Nah!
See, I have always believed if I had nothing else, I had my name, my character summed up in a nutshell, representing me when I am not present in the flesh, sort of like a business card.
I quickly got over her ignorant remark and asked God to forgive her cause she clearly, did not understand that her words or actions could influence others and turn a person’s life upside down.
Besides, I know, and God knows my name.
Over my life, I have learned people will attempt to write your narrative to suit their desires of how they wish to perceive you instead of getting to know the nonfiction version of someone or something.
It’s just unbelievable how people are always so quick to spread untruths to make themselves feel good. Anyhow a name, brand, company is the sum of its character (products and services).
A business name
A business name and its logo represent the character behind the brand.
The name and visuals draw attention to the company or person and are, in most cases, if not all, the deciding factor if one should buy into the brand or try out the product.
Buyers first see or hear the product advertised via radio, television, magazines, and social media. They may or may not click the offer button or google the name and buy.
Once they like the products or services, the name becomes the face of the brand or business but, the quality of the products or services keeps consumers coming back for more at any cost.
The quality behind the name
Take this Hermes silk top and this power red yet sexy Escada skirt that will forever hang in my closet. Why? Not so much for the name per se. But because I love them, the quality of the materials, the classic silhouette and print, and their versatility.
Are you beginning to see why someone questioning my name, my character, my identity would tick me off? LOL
But like with poetry and painting, people will have their preconceived notions and interpretations of what the author is conveying or what the artist’s thoughts were behind the painting.
Sometimes that can be good if that is what the artist wanted but sometimes, in real-life, with people, it can be harmful to assume.
In my blog, the business look has changed as my life has changed. But the intention behind the concept has not.
Take Dominos. It started with the name Domino’s Pizza, offering a variety of pizza toppings and crust options. As the menu evolved, adding sandwiches and other products, so did the name.
However, some companies’ names are better left alone IHOP as an example. IHOP, the International House of Pancakes attempted to change its name to IHOB, International House of Burgers. Now, I will say, their buffalo chicken sandwich is delicious, but in the twenty-plus years of eating there, I have chosen to eat their airy, fluffy pancakes on most visits.
Adding products or services to your brand or business is a great way to expand your brand, reach and help others, but what I found most difficult in building my brand/business is choosing which product to be the star. Should it be my books or my story of how I have overcome adversity?
I’ve struggled, questioning if I should have two separate entities or merge the two things I wake up passionate about; writing and helping others together (blog).
Though my name is important to my brand, it helps build a relationship with my readers but getting the right message out is most valuable, and your sis intentions. Should my name never be remembered, but something I said or wrote is, I have served my purpose, met my exceptions, and won.
Because if I changed my name to Michelle or Kenya, it wouldn’t erase my life experiences or my desire to inspire others through writing books or blog posts. And like those restaurants I have mentioned above, I have my special recipe to offer sisters like us that encourages us to win.
Whichever flower you choose to be BLOOM!
And check out your sister YouTube spot Dawn Dean Sisters Like Us Win.
Does your mirror(s) have you feeling some type of away?
It is called the Mirror Effects.
We, as in women, feel good about the outfit choices we had to dig out from the back of our crammed closets.
Our clothes feel pleasantly comfy against our bodies until, something as simple as catching our reflection in a mirror; takes away what we had imagined looked like Kelly Rowland in a Fabletics commercial or Halle Berry on a strolling the beach. It was merely an illusion.
What do we do?
We begin to beat ourselves up, well, down.
Negative thoughts trickle in, we start to body shame ourselves; there is an energy shift, and we become an emotional wreck stressing over finding something to wear that covers all our outer flaws.
Years after much therapy, I came up with this brilliant trick.
Have you seen the movie Snow White and the Huntsman? Do you recall the part when Queen Raveena asks the gold-shiny thing the question, who is the fairest of them all?
Well, the Evil Queen does not see her reflection staring back at her as she frantically paces back and forth to see if there is news of someone somewhere across the land better than her.
She patiently waits for the round glistening tin to form into a man where her quest has sent him on a Google search across the wide web.
He collects the information as to whom is the most beautiful on Instagram and Facebook while gathering himself at her feet. For her to discover it is not she, the fairest of them all.
Angrily she deliberates how could it not be her after all her efforts to stay relevant?
That is how I feel, as the Queen did when my mirror tells me the truth about how I look in leggings: any clothing.
Getting dressed sometimes feels as if Tony Robbins put a spell on me like in the film Shallow Hal. I step out of my closet believing and feeling one way to facing the hard truth in the mirror, feeling another way.
So, I developed a foolproof technique. A trick better than any magic trick Harry could ever think to conjure up.
See, the trick to looking and feeling good all the time is to see yourself through a mirrorless mirror (picture frame).
Even if my reality is my stomach bulging over the top of my pants, tits dragging the ground like this new fashion craze; I am always beautiful because I can visually see myself; my realness inside.
Not the reflecting cinnamon rolls rising around my waistline or where gravity has stretched and pulled my triceps and sagging boobs so low my granddaughters could jump double dutch with them.
And we must not forget the loose neck skin that makes grandma look as though she has magically turned into a turkey.
You see, The Mirrorless Mirror is a magic wand that forces you to see you, the inner self, those parts of you that get you into heaven: the most important part.
Let me be clear!
Now let me be clear. I am not saying, in any shape or form. I will strut out into the streets wearing a jumpsuit that fits like my infant grandchild onesie; busting at the steams like someone accidentally punctured a can of biscuits because I feel so darn beautiful inside after catching a glimpse of my inner self.
No. But what I am saying. It that in those moments, when I begin to beat myself up because I ate too many fries, overly indulged in the Costco’s variety pack of Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes; eat an entire bag of Hersey Kisses in one setting, or womanly monthly things. Hanging an empty picture frame on the wall does the trick every time.
So, if you are tired of walking around with bruises and black eyes you give yourself. Try my brilliant trick and get your confidence back.
Warning: Do not try this alone. You will see the real you. Some parts may be scary for some.
Head over to @sisterslikeuswin on Instagram to see how the mirror effect affected me.
Remember, whichever flower you choose to be BLOOM!
I’ve gone from a 1010 square feet apartment that offered two bedrooms, two full baths with a laundry/storage closet within the unit to a 730 square feet one-bedroom apartment, one bath: without laundry inside the apartment unit (access in the building).
About ten years ago, we, as in myself and my children, resided in a five-bedroom single-family home. It had always been a dream of mines to live in a large house that had a big backyard surrounded by soothing noises of nature where the kiddos could swing or swim in a pool.
My children would all begin to exit high school by the time we moved into our largest home. But nevertheless, we got to experience the joys and pains of living in a single-family house.
The house did not have a pool in the back yard or in the community, but a wood swing set stood in the wide-opened backyard. I love the look and the easy care of the hardwood floors throughout and space to entertain family and friends during the holidays and special occasions like birthdays and baby showers.
Pruning the small flower garden in the spring and summer months was relaxing, but unfortunately, nature was not always so calming.
We experienced raccoon and fox invasions, spiders the size of our hands, the spawn of mosquitoes, and a lot of leaves to rake during the fall season: a townhouse would be easier to maintain.
So as each child earned their walk across the stage, grabbing their high school diplomas from the administrative hands. They were ready to spread their wings to take off into the real world and, downsizing begin.
I climbed and reached that goal to live in a five-bedroom home then downsizing from a four townhouse to a two-bed apartment with a den to two bedrooms, and now a one but I think I need a little more space.
And yes, they have all left the nest visiting often. I have to say I am a proud momma. But I never had imagined myself here in my smallest home to date (#lifeatdawns).
The downside of downsizing
Making it work with one bathroom.
If you are thinking of downsizing: BEWARE. There are as many cons as there are pros to tiny living.
Many have been forced to downsize or are considering it due to these unknown times. And I am here to tell those thinking of doing so, it can be challenging. Well, I know for me it was the most challenging move to date moving amid corona.
The search for a place to live is stressful enough, but to add the corona lockdown on top of packing, working from home, and one flood issue after another I was experiencing in my then apartment had me stretched to my limits.
However, I survived the madness, experiencing the downside to downsizing: the lack of storage space is the biggest downfall.
I did a quick walkthrough of the unit I reside in now and decided on it because it has a walk-in closet in the bedroom, a coat closet, and a large linen closet: plus a small storage unit in the building.
In my mind, as I rushed through it: masked, it appeared to offer room to store my clothing, coats, linens, and DIY materials if I got rid of my five totes of Christmas decorations. Boy was a wrong (closet post coming soon)! I am still purging my clothes post-move in almost four months later.
Another con is not having a separate guest room when the g-kids visit and my daughter visits from out Florida.
In my old place, the second bedroom served as my office and guest room. Now I am trying to figure out if I should purchase a futon, sleeper sofa, or the chesterfield sofa I’ve wanted for many years for the living room. Whatever buy, I need it to be a transitional piece for when I upsize into a house.
Some other cons to downsizing are entertainment space, sharing one bathroom with guests, and purging of sentimental items.
I had an old Singer sewing machine that belonged to my mother that needed to be serviced.
I recall the day she and I walked into Walmart to buy it. She did not know how to sew, so I kept the machine at my house.
I didn’t want to let it go and wouldn’t have but, I had received a new one as a Christmas gift a few years back and decided to let my moms go in the move.
Why I Did It & Pros to Downsizing
Several things played a role in my decision to downsize. You can say I was somewhat influenced by this Tiny Living concept all over the home décor channels and social media but also the pros of downsizing.
I watched a TV show once where a family of six shopped for a tiny house to move from a 2500 square foot house to a 600 tiny square foot house to get out of debt and save for their children’s college funds and thought, if they could with a family of that size, I could easily manage to live in a smaller footprint.
But I have questioned my decision many times after moving in. And wish those television shows would follow up with a Where Are They Now series? I am curious to learn how they are surviving seeing how I still find myself all over the place to find a spot for what I still own.
Also, some years ago, I watched a documentary on the happiest countries in the world and how people living in Denmark have less stress and are happier having less stuff to worry about.
Viewing countless shows since then on how other countries: people are living longer lives than many areas of America living with so much and the benefits of tiny living. I said, why not?
The Pros and Benefits to Downsizing
The pros and benefits would be to have more time with my family and friends creating and writing, less time cleaning. It would permit saving more for traveling, investing, and education and less cost in utility bills in return for lesser energy usage that impact world climate.
As I stated, in the cons, sharing one bathroom with my guest is a big downsize: I kind of wish I had a separate half bathroom for them to use.
However, one of the best lessons I have learned in downsizing is what I want and do not want when buying a home.
Sisters, I am still settling into my small cozy space, so visit again to see how I decorator and differentiate zones for the apartment to function.
The photo above is sneak peek at how I decorated the bathroom to escape the DMV (D.C., MD. & VA.) weather this fall and winter based on my Florida trips.
I have learned the hard way about the importance of a clean and healthy mind, body, and spirit.
I have learned the hard way about the importance of a clean and healthy mind, body, and spirit.
Our health is our biggest asset and like all things, our bodies break down as we age and or overtime from poor diet or environment. And often it is the functions of our minds that tend to decline first.
After learning from trial and error, I started my journey to living a more fulfilling and healthier lifestyle. Making the required and necessary changes to be around for my family and to do what I was born to do: create and to serve others.
Below are 10 essentials for the mind, body, and spirit, I practice to allow myself to be available for my family and, to live with intention and purpose doing the two things I love; creative writing (content) and helping others.
With so many things on our daily do list, someone that it was wise to coin the phrase “I’ll sleep when I die. But why starve ourselves from sleep to possibly dying early from a lack of it?
The adequate amount of sleep is overlooked because our minds are always focused on what we need to do if we aren’t already doing it.
But sleep is just as important for the body as water and food.
A lack of sleep can result in sleep disorders such as Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.
These conditions can lead to heart failure and disease, and obesity which can cause other health issues, like high blood pressure, stroke, and depression. Health issues like these can wreak havoc on an already stressed and unbalanced body and mind.
Try getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night by sticking to a bedtime schedule, not watching TV, or eating an hour or two before bed, and avoiding caffeinated drinks.
However, I understand everyone’s body is different. One person may be able to function from 4 hours of sleep where someone like me who requires 8 straight hours of sleep, so I do not wake up fog minded and tired the next day. But are you giving your body enough time to rejuvenate and correct (heal) itself?
Benefits of a good night sleep:
1. Brain function and emotional health: good sleep helps improves your memory
the body renews and heals itself
2. Reduces the stress level hormone cortisone and high blood pressure
3. It can help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is thought to cause body deterioration, causing things like arthritis.
4. Can help you lose weight by less stress less emotional eating while up.
It is said that little is required, having faith as small as a mustard seed. I always tell people; my faith is a watermelon full of seeds.
Believing in God and that my life has a purpose is what has led me to this day. Knowing I was created to build on the world created by someone…something bigger than me, bigger than human beings with my best interest at heart gotten me through the most difficult moments.
Causes me to believe in myself, my talents, and helping others.
When faith begins to dimmish, look back at all the things you’ve survived, how you survived, and be thankful for the lessons in the adversities. You did not give up or give in so, your faith is stronger than you know,
Life will knock us around and the test is sure to come but believing in my self, the universe is key
I like to move it move it!
I think the Madagascar charters were on to something.
I learned the hard way how important working out is for the body particularly stretching and cardio exercises.
As we age our bodies not only begin to lose muscle mass but harder to absorb calcium and vitamin D necessary for healthy bones. This opens the body for injuries like breaks and bone shrinkage.
Because everything in our bodies is connected in some sort of way, should one area of the body weakens; over time the connected areas will weaken may leading to conditions such as arthritis, etc.
Exercise moves like weight strengthening can help maintain muscle while stretching can prevent ligaments from tearing and cardio workouts help with blood circulation.
Benefits of moving (exercising):
1. Reduce body fat- excessive body fat can lead to obesity, diabetes, and poor heart health
2. Improve mental health-increases the happy hormone serotonin
3. Increase energy
4. Relieves stress
5. Strengthen bones and muscles
Our diets are one of the most crucial parts of our being, and the saying, we are what we eat is true.
Improper diet can lead to overweight in which then leads to more serious health conditions.
Water is the most essential to any form of life. It not only hydrates our insides and helps with blood flow, but it also affects our skin.
I always know when I have not had enough water by my skin will either become oily or ruddy looking.
Benefits and truths of a good diet:
1. A healthy body results in a higher performance
2. Veggies equal life, sugar equals problems
3. Water makes the blood flow around
4. Water promotes radiance skin
5. Healthy eating keeps diseases away
It is normal: human nature to socialize with other human beings. But with safe distancing due to this 2020 virus, we had been advised to stay inside.
Homeschooling, and working from the dining room, this pandemic has impeded our time to physically socialize as we normally and freely did. Thus forcing us to find other ways to communicate with our families and friends and the outside world.
Social distancing or interacting with others can take a psychological toll on a person over time. And we must interact with the elder and children who may be alone or can’t wrap their heads around what is happening during this time.
I believe it is important that children, especially, socialize to build the needed skills to learn how to interact with other cultures to learn how to handle conflicts and differences.
Socializing builds life experiences and people skills. So during this unpredictable time safety is practiced using technology.
The technology industry is forever changing. More and more apps are created and utilized to engage from the walls of our homes.
Platforms such as Zoom, Messenger, or face timing through our phone’s apps have allowed me to see my family and network with others.
It is mentally important to interact with others, especially now with the fall and winter shorter daylight hours, where the weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities.
Benefits of socializing:
1. Takes the mind off your worries
2. Increases the happy hormone
3. Offer growth by learning from others and, about yourself
4. Physical connection
5. Feeling of belonging: loved, needed
When we often think of escape, traveling (vacation) usually comes first to mind. But there are so many means to escape.
My mother was an avid reader, who I would find most times curled up at the arm of her sofa reading a book. She was well diverse in her studies with a wide vocabulary. I many times phoned her to spell a read. That was many years ago, I have since then picked up more books, and utilize Google’s dictionary.
Escaping does not have to mean booking a flight or hotel. It can be as easy as looking within ourselves, our imaginations, meditation in nature, if only for a moment.
Escape into your own imagination rather it be journaling, painting, or coming up with some new recipes off the fly.
I enjoy writing poetry and film concepts. I’ll play around with outfits and hair just to see what I will come up with.
Going through my health issues, poetry was my way to escape the madness of pain. This in turn helped me process what I was going through.
I wrote and published my first book of poems with a publishing company surrounding my daily debilitating pain.
I found myself writing my best poetry and best ideas when life looked bleak.
Creativity is freeing and expressive! Find something that speaks to your inner being and create from within.
Call me a free-spirit or a nature enthusiastic but walking along the ocean or between tall green trees is the most relaxing thing I do for my mental health.
It is my way to escape and refresh without cost and come away with so many benefits.
Throughout my Instagram postings, you can see how much I love to be out in nature.
Walking through tall trees, grassy roadsides; discovering how the other creations of God’s life are adventuring and enlightening.
The birds and butterflies seem unbothered by the issues concerning the world, giving a feeling of peace, a stillness I would say.
The believer looks at the birds in the sky, that do not reap nor gather into the barns, and trust that the Father will provide.
Nature walks always reminds me that there is a higher power than myself. It reveals how animals experience the same obstacles as we humans and everything will be ok.
When I am stressing over things out of my control, I turn to nature to re-center and re-focus on what is good in my life and in the world.
No, not everyone is an outdoor enthusiastic such as me but there are other ways to experience nature like nature recordings (soothing), nature and planet inspired television shows, and video (educational).
Mingle with nature. Create a place in the backyard, or on the patio to take in nature or, simply stroll a park. Trust when I say you will find it rewarding.
Let the music play!
Music is more than a sound to dance to, it is another way of escaping from the mundane of everyday living with influencing and transformational powers.
It forces us to conjure the energy to start and finish tasks that otherwise would not have gotten done i.e. working out or cleaning the house.
Like books, music can take us to a place in time letting the flight of the imagination swarm freely.
In the early mornings, I will listen to gospel music: it helps me to start my day centered around God and His plans for my life. With gratitude, my noon playlist consists of songs that evoke me to write poetry and or film ideas. And by evening, I must tone into a classical station to mute my mind circling with scenes before I rest for the night.
Some benefits I have found listening to music are:
For me, pampering is a little more than doing my hair or nails. It is the total package of self-care; the mind, body, and spirit. It is the power of having awareness when it is needed and knowing when to say no.
We as women will neglect ourselves to make sure our partners, children, and friends are ok first before we ask ourselves the very question.
Keep silent and not ask for help when we are drowning, so overwhelmed we distract ourselves by keeping busy with everyone else from our own needs. Superhero is our strength, but it is also what weakness and destroys our minds, our bodies, and dreams over time.
I’ve wondered if the cause of others mistreating us, is because we have miss treated ourselves.
Looking good, makes us feel good but, feeling and being mentally and emotionally good is what makes us good and overboil with confidence from the inside out.
Below is a list of things that may give reasons to step away from playing super mom, wife, or boss for some needed relaxing and rejuvenation-self-care.
1. Explained weight gain caused by stress
5. Feeling depressed or not worthy
6. Lack of concentration
I hope these 10 essentials will help and encourage you to live a healthier lifestyle and win.
I am thankful, to be aware of my family’s health history.
Comprised, 80% of women, who have shared information about breast, and ovarian cancer; diabetes, heart disease and many other illnesses.
Yet, I was disheartened to learn, that my elders; grandmother, mother, also my aunts. Neglected to share the changes that come with women aging. I’m referring to perimenopause.
I’ve suffered from reproductive issues; like fibroids and cysts, to name a few. So, my menstrual varied each month. I was delighted when they began to come less often. What I was not excited about are the mood swings, low energy, poor concentration and the sweat baths.
Struggling, getting a good night’s sleep, due to pain. And, taking sleeping aids, switching to 100 % cotton sheets from Egyptian (contains polyester materials). My nights became a total nightmare. Nightly visits from Freddy Krueger (Elm Street), tearing off blankets; putting them back on, one leg in-one leg out, horribly tossing and turning. It was like I was being trained by Mr. Miyagi (original Karate Kid) while I slept. Loosing very little weight, and gaining nothing, but stress.
Over time, the hot flashes decreased, with fewer periods. My gynecologist suggests using black cohosh (more info here). I had used black cohosh tea, for past issues. Eventually, with diet change, and fewer visits, my sleep increased and I begin to feel better.
For nine months, things were great. With no menstrual cycle, I had worn, more white pants, and shorts then I have my entire lifetime. Until I received a surprise gift-spotting. Yes, it came back! The first month was scary. Remembering a conversation with my mother, stating spotting after gone through menopause. A sign of a possible problem, like ovarian cancer, she was sadly diagnosed having.
Worries End and Sharing
I stopped worrying if the spotting (turned period) could be cancerous when Freddy showed up in the middle of a sweet dream. Angry, having to deal with the most unpleasant and frequently hot flashes popping up at any moment. I was furious.
But, I’ve gotten over being disappointed with my relatives not sharing their personal experiences with perimenopause. I’ve found courageous women on the internet, sharing their menopausal journey. A trip, we as women, will travel at some point in our lives. Take heed sisters! This is your warning.
Sisters, my opinion on premenopausal is this. It has its pluses and minuses. Trading in painful cramps, for hot flashes, periods showing up, interfering with life; for white jeans; and less bloating to looking great. Adjusting to summers are difficult, so learn to appreciate cotton clothing. It’s a natural material, that breathes.
Aspire to Inspire!
All rights reserved by D. M. Dean Productions and Dawn Dean
Today, September 20, 2016, marks the official launch day for Sisters like Us (SLU), a blog community of sisterhood.
I’ve been anticipating this day for many years (10+) now. Yes, you read right. For over ten years, I annually paid my renewal fees, to keep and own the domain name: www.Sisterslikeus.com.
Originally, I had one ideal for the use of the name, to later changing and modifying this baby into something entirely different.
My goal for SLU is to read more like an online magazine that inspires women to be the best woman they can possibly be, at any age. Here at SLU, you will find everything from home design, health and fitness, beauty and fashion, and so much more.
Sharing my own life experiences, and career expertise’s in home design, health and fitness struggles, as well as, the life stories of great women, I have met along the way and awesome women I hope to meet on this journey.
To be honest, blogging about my personal life is somewhat scary, seeing how private and reserve I am (most of the time). But I’ve put on my amour and is standing on the edge of life, hoping to help someone (women) who may be going through a situation that I’ve survived. Through sharing and giving advice to those in need of help to get through, what can seem impossible while in the storm.
I couldn’t wait for the day that I would look like most of the celebrities of Hollywood. Thin with legs stretching from proportioned hips, and buttocks, and plump firm breast; beautiful-visually.
Every year my new year’s resolution was to look like Halle Berry. At one point it was Tyra Banks, then, I moved onto Nicole Murphy-Eddy Murphy’s ex-wife. Nevertheless, it hasn’t happened, as I try to dress my lumpy frame like Sarah Jessica Parker and Eva Longoria with an edgy side. To this day, I look nothing look like the lovely women I mentioned; though I am fighting to be the best me. I know now to appreciate me, the small accomplishments, and progress I’ve made over the past few years. I accept that, I will never look like any of them and that’s ok.