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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Camille

Today’s post is probably one of the realest I’ve ever written. Since it’s Valentine’s Day week and that theme centers around love, I decided to talk about what most don’t really address publicly, and that’s #LovingYourself.

I’ve stated this before, but I’m going to say it again –Life is hard, and it isn’t easy. Sometimes things happen out of our control and other times we did it to ourselves and have to experience the consequences. It’s in those moments where we have to remember no matter what is happening around us to love ourselves through it all.

What I’ve learned over the course of my 20s is that loving yourself means showing up for yourself. It’s all in the small everyday details of how we treat ourselves. Do you get enough rest at night, what are you eating that isn’t healthy for your body, what toxic people are you hanging around because you’re lonely, do you exercise, are you stimulating your mind with knowledge and wisdom instead of trash mind-food, etc. These are the questions we must ask ourselves to determine the true core of what we think about ourselves.

I get it, some days you aren’t going to like yourself, but you have to continually tell yourself that you love you. Stop reminiscing on the past, there’s nothing you can do about it. Stop blaming yourself, get up and move forward – you must. When you’re on the road to self-healing, there will be inner self-doubt, self-pity and sometimes shame thrown at you, but you have to cast down those voices and know that you’re better than that. You are better than your past and that isn’t what defines you. The past helped shape you by the lessons learned, but that is not who you are or who you will ultimately be if you don’t allow those thoughts to consume you.

It's not anyone else's responsibility to give you your self-love, you do it for yourself. And often times the people we need love from can only give us so much. They may be on their own self-love journey so be understanding when people don't act the way you need them to - that might be their honest capacity.

This week show up for yourself even if it’s in the most minor way. Be committed to your decisions on what’s best for you, interact with those who genuinely love and appreciate your presence, but most importantly, forgive yourself and let that weight go. Look yourself in the mirror every day and say, “I love you XX, you are smart, resilient and a warrior. You can achieve what you set out to do and make it over any mountain. I appreciate you and I will take care of you to the best of my ability.”

Side note: If you need guidance on the journey to self-love and in the Birmingham area, make sure to contact Strive Counseling for all of your counseling needs.

Sending love and positive vibes your way! Yvonne Camille

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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Camille

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

Chef Eryka Perry has mastered the art of culinary dope-ness and flipping gourmet dishes in your kitchen. Her passion for food and helping others live a healthier lifestyle gives her a unique flavor to her overall brand. And did I mention she's also an #HonestVegan (same as last week's #FeatureThursday)? How she can sear the best scallops without tasting, I have no clue. To say the least, I've tasted some of her decadent dishes and let me publicly state that this woman will bless your soul.

Welcome Chef Eryka as this week's feature:

Name: Eryka Perry

Title: Executive Chef, CEO, Founder, Health Coach, Hospitality and Customer Service Specialist at "Not Just Catering" and Executive Chef at Michael's Restaurant

Location: Birmingham, AL

Background: Graduate from Culinard Culinary School with a degree in Culinary Arts and Business Management

YC: Let's start with your background. What's your story?

Eryka: I am Eryka E. Perry, I hail from the West Side of Heaven, most recently connected to two beautiful parents here in Birmingham, AL! Science and food have pretty much always been a major part of my life. I started cooking at the age of six and hanging around hospitals volunteering since the age of ten. Somewhere along the way my career aspirations switched from traditional medicine to more holistic health using food as a vehicle.

YC: How did you get into the food industry?

Eryka: I totally got into the food INDUSTRY by accident. I went to culinary school as a fun break from school (weird, I know). I was finishing up my biology degree and wanted a break. I was honestly shocked that people were actually making a career out of something I was doing for fun.

YC: Why do you love what you do?

Eryka: Ooo, that’s a good one. I love what I do because food is love. It really is magic. Since I made my first meal at six (breakfast in bed for my mom), I fell in love with the reaction of giving food. I love the science of it, knowing that you really are what you eat, that even your taste buds help signal your brain how to break down food cueing cravings for foods rich in nutrients that your body needs.

Then there is the science and magic of flavors. Combining flavors in mind blowing ways and figuring out new ways of presenting classic flavor pairings. Food really is all of the things, I just love love the exploring of all those things.

YC: What does the first hour of your day look like?

Eryka: The first hour of my day is TYPICALLY spent in silence. I get in at least 10-20 minutes of meditation, followed by journaling, followed by really visualizing and mentally rehearsing my day ahead. I truly believe that the first hour (and the last hour before bed) sets the tone for the day. [Check out her blog, Win the Morning, Win the Day]. It’s your first opportunity to show up for you and honor your personal commitments.

YC: Do you believe that the people you surround yourself with make a difference in your overall success?

Eryka: HECK YES. My friends push, pull, motivate, teach, support, and mold me. One, I really believe that you have to see what you want in order to achieve it (visualization is life). If the people around you aren’t doing and being greatness no matter how “motivated” you are, you will start to feel as though mediocrity is ok. The reverse is true if they are out here LIVING. Two, what you watch grows. If you are surrounded by/watching poverty, laziness, complacency, etc. those things will grow in you.

YC: Whew girl, that is GOOD STUFF right there. Those things will grow in you so we MUST be careful about who is surrounding us. Let's all highlight that part.

YC: Who inspires you the most, and why?

Eryka: Ooo, that is hard if you want just one name… “most” are always hard for me, because that usually changes. But if I can cheat a little, I will go back up to the last question and say for sure my friends and family. I really really am blessed to have some of the world’s dopest friends in the world. Like not just in my mind, my real life friends really are celebrated around the world for their dopeness. I am truly blessed.

YC: What's the main thing holding you back?

Eryka: Oooo another really good one. I don’t feel that I am “held back” everything happens in its time. I am learning, loving, and growing. I believe that everything I was created to be/do is already so. The universe is simply waiting for me to catch up.

YC: What's the biggest lesson you learned on your overall journey? Eryka: Ooo, “biggest” is one of those words like “most," it really is relative. Yeah, I am sitting here pondering so hard on this one. *skips ahead.* *comes back.* All of this right here. I have to choose me, develop me, trust me, love me FIRST.

YC: What's your definition of success? Eryka: My definition of success is being at a point were I can and do honor all of my commitments to me. So being able to show up without hesitation or limitation for the things and people that are important to me. I also believe that as I grow and evolve this grows and evolves with me.

YC: What's the best advice you would give to anyone striving to reach their goals?

Eryka: The best advice I can give is trust the process. Know that “failure” is apart of the process. Not knowing is ok, not knowing and pretending that you do is not ok. We have to acknowledge and admit our weaknesses in order to grow. SEEK HELP, be transparent, listen and act. Know that it ALWAYS starts with self. Self-development and self-care are KEY.

Wow, another awesome feature for all! Thanks Eryka for being on Yvonne Camille's #FeatureThursday series. If you want to learn more about Eryka, make sure to check out her social platforms listed below:

Instagram: @notjustcatering

Facebook: Eryka Perry/@notjustcatering

For 2019 weekly meal prepping/catering info. and pricing, email Eryka's team at

Check back every Thursday for a new feature. If you know someone I should feature, email me via the Contact Page.

Sending love and positive vibes your way!

Yvonne Camille

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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Camille

Today's post will be more of a venting session which will most likely relate to all. For me, I came into 2019 swinging - actually, I've been swinging really hard since September of last year, and last week it all finally caught up to me. Often times we can be going so hard that we don't even take the time to stop and breathe.

I hadn't honestly realized that I was going nonstop - from leaving one job in October to starting a new one in November (with only a short weekend in between to prepare and switch gears). I had to decompress 5 years worth of knowledge of my various clients to learning a completely new way of doing things on a daily. Of course I was excited (still am by the way), but now that it's the beginning of a new year things are really starting to move. And not to mention just the everyday life tasks/obstacles we all deal with. Your girl started to physically feel it.

So last week I caught a "simple" cold, but I felt so bad that I missed work. Let me tell you that I was #EXHAUSTED! I can't even tell you how long I'd slept. Being sick mixed with exhaustion that you don't even realize you have will make your body say "You need to chill out!"

However, during my time getting myself back in order for the following week, I thought about everything that I'd prayed for last year, how hard I'd worked, what mental obstacles I overcame and it hit me that when we ask God to grow us in certain areas, it doesn't always necessarily come the way we want it. He will stretch you and it will feel like you're about to burst, and if you can't handle it you most definitely will pop.

I asked God for increase in every area of my life, and sure enough that's what I'm getting, just not in the way I expected. These last couple of weeks, I've made a declaration to stop, breathe, release and just trust this year with no questions asked. Because when I look back on every challenge faced from big to small, there isn't one that I hadn't gotten through without the help of God's grace. I can't do it all myself - and if I try to, I'll clearly get exhausted.

This week take a chill pill and know that everything and I mean it, always works out! It may not be what you want, but it always works out for your good. Go above and beyond, but also take care of yourself, be present and don't get caught up in the hype of "grinding all day and night" - it isn't healthy mentally, physically or emotionally. Stop, breathe, release and trust so that you can be ready to handle the new season you've just entered.

Sending love and positive vibes your way! Yvonne Camille

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