Unapologetically, Pam: Introduction


adjective  |  un·apol·o·get·ic


It all started with a simple question: what if...?

Internally, I've always been a cautious person. Never wanting to step on any toes, never wanting to disappoint the people I love. Scared to make a mistake, never wanting to seem less than invincible.

I've often put others before myself, which can be a good thing. But when it's against your own moral standing or your physical/emotional/spiritual well-being, that's when it's no longer a healthy self-sacrifice. At the expense of myself, I've kept quiet about things that needed to be said out loud. I held those secrets in darkness and in return, they held power over me. And I did that because I thought it was the right thing to do, to sacrifice me to protect the people I love. 

The truth, good or bad, always comes to the light. And over the last few years, that's exactly what has happened. The good, the bad, the ugly...the mess, the hurt, the shame...all of it has come to the light. In the process, I lost everything...every part of the foundation that made me Pam (or so I thought). No longer a wife, no longer a student, no longer a church leader (and those were my 3 biggest defining things: marriage, school, and church). On top of that, I lost 2 jobs, spent a few months being homeless & sleeping in movie theaters, lost friends, lost a lot of money...All of it, gone within a few years of living in Chicago.

It was like a hurricane came through my life. In the aftermath, there I was in the midst of the wreckage, naked and ashamed, with all of those secrets - abuse, mental health issues, trauma, fear - all of it, out in the open. And for the first time in many years, I had to think about me. No one else, no more protecting others, no more lies...

And that's when I started to think what if...

What if I became all of who I am, without regret or shame? What if I embraced every part of me, every part of my life that is both beautiful and tragic? What if I looked in the mirror and I loved every inch of me, mind, body, and soul? What if I was okay with not being right all the time or not having the answer to every question? What if I wasn't afraid to talk about finding love again? What if I accepted the fact that I'm human, with raw, extreme emotions? And what if I didn't repress those emotions in some false sense of righteousness, what if I let you see that part of me? What if I decided to live free of darkness? What if I shared what I've learned?

What if I became myself, unapologetically?

Hello...my name is Pam and I've decided to live an unapologetic life. Now, this doesn't mean I never say I'm sorry...I do all the time. However, what I won't apologize for is becoming all that the Creator has made me to be. No regret. No shame. No fear. I am a beautifully complex being and so are you. Why don't we embrace that together?

With that being said, I've re-branded! I thought about waiting to announce this in 2016, but I was like, Nah...why not now??!

I've upgraded from The Scholarly Woman into Unapologetically Pam. I'm still a scholar and a woman, but I hope to share much more under my new persona, unapologetically of course. Here you'll find posts about fashion, dating/relationships, divorce, food, fitness, weight loss and more! All of my old posts are still here on the blog, so take a look around and stay tuned for what's to come. Also, I got a YouTube channel (yay!!) where I'll also post videos on these things. Hit the follow/subscribe button on my YouTube, blog, and other social media accounts to stay updated on all things Unapologetically Pam (links in the menu).

Welcome to my world. Welcome to the unapologetic life.
#loveyourself #embraceyourself #becomeyourself

What I Learned This Christmas

We made it to Day 5 of BLOGmas!! Woooo!! Not gonna lie, I almost didn't post anything today. Trying to come up with content every day, staying on top of the editing game, and promoting yourself is not for the faint-hearted. Daily blogging/vlogging is extremely difficult and I have a new level of understanding and respect for the YouTubers/Bloggers that I follow regularly.

Today's post is a bit more of a reflective one. This time last year, my life looked very different. In fact these last few years in Chicago have completely turned my world upside down. I have loved and lost. I've given my everything to different endeavors, both in love and in life, only to lose it all in the end. I've nearly gone bankrupt (still trying to come back from that now, so pray for me). I've had some scary health battles. I've lost friends. I've been hurt. And I'm sure I've hurt others on this journey, even unintentionally.

I've felt smaller than I ever thought humanly possible. I've been in positions where I've been made to choose between people that I love and ultimately I lost myself in that process. I've been isolated, confused, broken...BROKE. All of that in the course of a few short years in Chicago.

So, what have I learned this Christmas?

Well...I've learned that you heal. Your heart heals. Your mind mends.

You keep putting one foot in front of the other until you learn to walk with stability again.

You find hope in the most unexpected of places.

This Christmas, I've been reminded that community is so incredibly important. And if you look around, you'll find people that you left behind in your pursuits who still believe in you, still love you without conditions, and still support you no matter how near or far you are from them. I've re-connected with some old friends and I still plan to keep reaching out to more. I've spent Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve with incredible people and my incredible boyfriend, which has been lovely. Also, this year, I'm more in tune with my family than I have been this whole time in the big city, which feels amazing.

More than anything, I've learned that freedom is both beautiful and terrifying. The freedom to choose for yourself, to love yourself, to be yourself, unapologetically, is heartbreaking and liberating. And on this journey of life, I hope that I continue to become myself.

This Christmas, I hope you laugh, even if life isn't perfect. I hope your home smells like cookies and honey-glazed ham. Mine does!

I hope you feel joy. Happiness is more of an emotion, one that comes and goes. But joy...joy is something spiritual, something God-given. And that's what I hope you feel this holiday season.

No filters, no makeup. Just me ♥

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has helped me celebrate BLOGmas! This has been a wonderful adventure and I've talked to people from all over the world because of this (whattup Germany & Poland!!). My goal is to blog/vlog more in 2016. I hope to bring you along on the journey to becoming myself ♥


A Few of My Favorite Things ♥

Hi friends! Welcome back to BLOGmas, day 4! I can't believe 5 Days of Blogmas is almost over! If you haven't checked out my previous posts, be sure to do ittttt cause they're awesome.

Today I wanted to get a bit more intimate by sharing some of my favorite things.

One of the things I'm most grateful for in life is my room. Having been homeless at the beginning of 2014, my heart is filled with thankfulness at this space that I get to call my own. And I do my best to make it feel warm and welcoming.

The walls in my room are red and orange. There is a beautiful canvas of the Chicago skyline along with some of my favorite pictures on the wall. The addition of a string of lights makes this such a peaceful setting to fall asleep. 

Here's a closeup of my photo wall. It's filled with adventures that I don't want to forget.

This is what I call my "Happy Corner." I loooove having candles burning in my room. My favorite scents are savory/sweet - this one is banana nut bread (omg so gooood).

I also love having fresh flowers in my room. They just add an extra pop of brightness that makes me happy. These are from my man. He likes to surprise me with flowers (insert heart eye emoji here).

Alright, let's move outta my room and on to some more things I am LOVING right now.

First, movies!

These are my go-to's right now. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is one of those feel-good movies. The music is triumphant and the scenery is gorgeous. It makes you want to get out there and find the extraordinary in life. The Holiday is just a classic. Kate Winslet's voice makes me want to swoon. I fan-girl over her pretty hard. This is a romantic comedy that will make you feel all the feels and laugh too. Ugh, I LOVE it! The Other Woman is my guilty pleasure out of the bunch. I love Nicki Minaj in this, I think she's hilarious. Also, this movie really makes me want to have a night out on the town with my girlfriends. It's a fun movie about commitment and friendship. I can't get enough of Cameron Diaz! And last but certainly not least, The Princess and the Frog. Disney just does it right, man. I can literally have this movie on repeat in the background of my life. Tiana is beautiful, the characters are so fun, I love the music, the story, and it makes me nostalgic for New Orleans. 

I very much enjoy writing and nothing beats sitting down with a cup of tea, a snack, and putting a pen to paper. This journal is from Marshall's. I highly recommend you check out the journal selection there (Marshall's/T.J. Maxx/Ross) because they're super cute, affordable, and unique.

 Finally, I just had to share these sunnies in my favorites...cause, I mean, come on. They're dope! I got these on Hollywood Blvd which makes me feel extra fancy, too.

I hope you enjoyed this little favorites post! Stay tuned for Day 5 tomorrow. Eeeeek!!

*big hugs*

Get Up, Get Fit!

Hello blogosphere! Happy BLOGmas Day 3!

If you've been following me for a while, you know I've been on a weight loss journey now for going on 5 years. In 2014, I hit my goal weight and officially lost 100 lbs! More on that here.

Since then, my weight has fluctuated a bit as I've been sick throughout much of 2015. (Speaking of that, I'm considering doing a post on coping with chronic illness. Maybe that'll be in the new year). BUT the fluctuation has only been between 15 and 20 lbs, so I'm not too bummed about it. Plus, I've been keeping in shape - exercising when I can and eating as healthy as possible. I'm very happy with the way I look right now!

Because my post for yesterday's BLOGmas was one on healthy food (check it out here), today I wanted to do one on exercise.

Where do you work out?

I love to work out at home. In fact, if spending too much time or money at the gym is an issue for you, I highly recommend it. For some people, working out at home is not ideal because you feel there's a lack of accountability or you may feel that you're more motivated when you're around others. I fully support you! Do you, get healthy! But I actually enjoy the serenity of working out at home.

What kind of exercises do you do?

I like to combine yoga with strength training at home. Most often, I'll begin with some classic yoga stretches/poses and then move on to using free weights. I try to do reps of at least 20-30 for each arm exercise, 60 reps for crunches, and 20 squats.

Another common exercise for me is to get outside and walk/run! Luckily, we're having a pretty mild winter this year, so it's not too cold for a run. I'll walk/jog/run for 15-20 minutes then come inside and do some high intensity cardio - jump squats, jumping jacks, some tae-bo moves. Anything to keep my heart pumping.

If you walk/run outside, I recommend using the environment as workout tools. See some park benches? They're great for elevated push-ups. Or sometimes I like to sprint between benches and time myself. That way, I can track my progress.

At the quiet little park near my home - a.k.a. my outdoor gym

And always, always, always stretch before and after your workout. This is one of the reasons I love doing yoga & pilates. They both concentrate on breathing into a stretch or position to create long, lean limbs. They're great for cooling down after a workout.

Any tips that you'd recommend?

1) Do you have access to YouTube? If so, there are HUNDREDS of free full-length workout videos. If you do a quick search, you'll find a lot of inspiration on there.

2) Also, if you have a cable system like Xfinity, check to see if you have access to sports and fitness on demand. I've done lots of workouts on there that I recommend - belly dancing, Bollywood dance, yoga, strength training, pilates, you name it! Xfinity is great for that.

3) If accountability is an issue for you in working out at home, find a buddy who wants to get fit with you! Call them over to do an at-home workout on Xfinity or YouTube. Or go on a walk/run together.

4) You can also post your fitness photos on your social media. You'll be surprised at the number of people who will cheer you on in your journey. I know I was surprised. And having your support over the last 5 years has helped me to stay accountable.

These are all options if you want to save money (or don't want to put in the effort) at the gym.

Final thoughts?

Just get out there and try. Seriously. Some exercise is better than none at all. Maybe you take baby steps at first. Crawl before you walk, ya know? That's okay. Find what works for you. More than anything - DON'T STOP. It may take years before you see crazy amazing progress (hello 5 years!), but it's worth it.

That's all, folks! See you tomorrow for Day 4!!


Good Eats (At Home!)

Hello my darlings! Happy BLOGmas Day 2!

In my weight loss journey, people often ask me what I eat regularly. I've never done a post dedicated to my go-to meals. So, for today, I figured I'd share some typical meals that I eat at home. I know the holidays are coming up and we're all going to gain some weight (workout post coming tomorrow though, so eat up!). In the meantime, here are some healthy meals you can have at home (or draw inspiration from) in between your feast days (or just on regular days, like after New Years lol).

Disclaimer: I ain't no chef...so...ya know.


This is a very common breakfast for me. In fact, this is my go-to more often than not.

Honey strawberry Greek yogurt, granola, strawberries & kiwi with a drizzle of honey. Plus a chai tea!

The Greek yogurt provides some good probiotics for digestive health, the granola gives me some fiber, as well as the fruit. The drizzle of honey is for good luck (at least in my mind) and sweetness.

This next one is another typical breakfast of mine. I make this when I have a few extra minutes to spare and I feel like cooking a little bit.

Eggs, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and Greek yogurt with raspberries. Plus an iced chai.

And finally, this is for when I have a bit more spare time, usually on the weekend. Pro tip: sriracha is amazing on EVERYTHING.

Scrambled eggs with spinach & sriracha, sausages, toast, and a mimosa!


Alright, on to some lunch favorites! Basically, I always eat salads at home for lunch lol. It's what I love and it's healthy. 

Spinach & kale, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and meatballs. I don't usually have tea with lunch, but this day I did. It's lemon zinger tea.

Right now my favorite dressing is a combination of Greek dressing with ranch. Sounds crazy, but just try it. It's so goooood.

Spinach & kale, tomatoes, and chicken sausage.


For dinner, I usually have something I find comforting. Here's two yummy examples.

Butter chicken, steamed rice, with baked pita bread. And also, for whatever reason, I'm having iced tea. I promise I don't always drink tea lollllll.

Chicken apple sausage, baked brussell sprouts (with olive oil, salt & pepper), and a baked sweet potato.

"Fooood, glorious fooooood. Eat right through the menu!" lol!

That's it! I hope perhaps you found some of this to be useful or helpful. See you tomorrow for Day 3 of BLOGmas!!


Places #2

Welcome to Blogmas!!

I am very excited to be doing 5 Days of Blogmas all the way through Christmas Eve. I'm gonna share with you guys some of the things I love, starting with another installment of places!

Places #2 - Christkindl Market

Every year in Chicago, a wonderful open-air market inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Germany (which dates back to the 16th century!) takes place in Chicago. The Daley Plaza is set up like a little European village in the winter with international and local food, drinks, trinkets, and more.

We decided to begin our night of festivities by listening to the Christmas Carolers at Millenium Park. They put us right in the mood for Christmas cheer.

We then ventured over to Vapiano for a quick bite to eat. Vapiano is one of my all-time favorite places to grub here in Chi-Town, so perhaps I'll do a full places post on that in the future. Just know that we ate our fill of salad, pasta, and pizza before heading to the main event.


They have the yummiest mulled wine at the market! I made a beeline for this as soon as we got there.

My handsome lover, DeMico.

We love the Christkindl Market!!

Seriously...the best. And only $3 at the Market!!

I absolutely love the Christkindl Market and I've been every year since I've been living in Chicago. If you haven't been yet this year, it closes on Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. Get there!!

Since we were in such good cheer, we decided to see Krampus to end our night of Christmas festivities.

Our before-the-movie scared faces lol

I gotta say - while I'm not into scary movies, this movie was awesome! It was mostly funny rather than terrifying though, so that's why I loved it. DeMico and I plan to show this to our kids someday lol. Go see it!

That's it! Happy Blogmas Day 1!!


Places #1

Hey blog lovers!

I'm starting a new segment called "places" on le blog. There are so many places (restaurants, museums, coffee shops, etc) here in Chicagoland that I absolutely adore and I realized that I've never really shared any of those. I always take photos of my food/adventures (because the two go hand in hand, duh!) so I figured, why not start to share them here? So, here goes!

Places #1 - "Chill Bubble Tea"

DeMico and I ventured out to Skokie recently and found this cute little bubble tea spot in the Village Crossing mall area (7154 Carpenter Road). We absolutely love bubble tea, so when we saw this place, we had to jump in.

First thing that caught my eye: the decor. The wallpaper was a beautiful pastel color with words serving as the design - "peace" "chill"  "drink"  "think" all added to the atmosphere.

But I was mostly obsessed with their swing seats! Yes, these swings are there for your sitting enjoyment. They don't swing back and forth, but how cool is this? And there are flowers in the handles. I was in love!

The bubble tea itself was just as good as the swings! I tried the purple oreo and DeMico got the milk tea. Both were amazing, but I have to say, mine won the night!

We enjoyed our time in Skokie together and Chill Bubble Tea was a great way to end the evening. Bonus: the music was BUMPING! The radio was jammin' out all of the latest hip-hop tunes. They even had some old school stuff in there, which was dope. We will definitely be back to "Chill" yo!

Side note: I loved my makeup and outfit for our date night. So here are some extra photos.

I went for a dark blue smoky eye look. I'm no makeup guru, so I was quite pleased with how this turned out.

I also added a slight cat eye to complete the eyes and plum lips. This was a great fall combo!

Denim - thrifted
Crop Top - Wet Seal
Leggings - Local Boutique
Purse - Target (super old)

And I just had to add this one in because I look like a 90's dream! lol
Thanks for reading my first installment of "Places" !!! 

I'll see you soon.


Seasons (I'll Be Seeing You)

You came like rain in the Spring
bringing forth new life.
You led me into Summer
blazing with new light.
We walked into warm ocean breezes
careful not to get too lost in the waves.
Your Love was hot, it burned like fire.
Purifying, terrifying ablaze.

And for a moment,
as I followed Your breeze,
I was free to love the seasons...

Summer's freedom soon turned into caution
as You whispered scornful winds to my ears.
But I saw beauty in the coming change.
I saw there was nothing to fear.

Then Fall came and (over night to You it seemed),
I fell in love with Her colors.
You warned Me this view was only temporary,
but I stood in awe of Her glory.

Your Love turned cold as temperatures dropped
and I could do nothing for You.

I carried Fall with Me into the Winter
and You greeted me with desolate wind & bitter cold.
Together, We looked for You through the snowfall
but You were too far to behold.

Shivering under the cold of Winter's knife,
I called for You in the darkness.
From afar, You looked at Me through frozen eyes and
turned away in sadness.

Your breeze was conditioned on the temperature of Your own gust.
You failed to see the purity of Fall's colorful leaves.
But with wide open eyes, I saw the innocence, the hope.
Your jealous wind pushed Me to see...

I carried the wind of my own freedom.


Spring will soon come with Love's sweet showers
to see new flowers take root.
Summer will blaze and turn to beautiful Fall,

Maybe then again, that's where I'll be seeing You.

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