Here’s How Miko Branch Of Miss Jessie’s Balances Self-Care With A Multimillion Dollar Brand
In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
If you've never heard of Miko and Titi Branch before, I don't believe you.
Surely you've heard of their mastermind project, Miss Jessie's, which seeks to offer amazing products for all those in the natural hair community. Taking the natural hair market by storm in 2004, Miss Jessie's products are a staple in many of our beauty arsenals.
Of course, the first question you probably asked yourself was, "Who is Jessie?" Based around Miko and Titi Branch's paternal grandmother, Miss Jessie Mae Branch, the curly hair products are a true ode to their grandmother Miss Jessie and her mixtures and kitchen concoctions that have brought the brand its current successes.
Today, Miss Jessie's is a multimillion-dollar hair care business that many of us turn to, run by Miko, who has taken on majority responsibility of the company after the passing of her sister. However, Miko carries her sister's energy with her in all she does for the company, including tackling the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. With an Instagram following of over 88,000 users, it's evident that Miss Jessie's has no plans of slowing down — and neither does Miko.
So how does she balance it all on top of being a working mom? Read on to find out.
What is an average day or week like for you?
An average weekday typically involves a lot of work for my hair care company, Miss Jessie's. After building the business from scratch, with my late sister Titi Branch, I find myself continuing to be a student in my business — which requires a lot of my time.
A typical day involves working very closely with my team in-office from 9 am to 5 pm. Once I leave work, I try my best to decompress and let work go. A nice meal usually follows. Spending time with my loved ones has become a priority as I try my best to be happy and healthy.
What do you find to be the most hectic part of your week?
The most hectic part of my week would probably be the beginning. Mondays are usually the most hectic day because everything seems to pile up over the weekend!
How do you push through those busier times of the week?
I attempt to have all emails answered by day's end to stay on top of things. I feel a strong sense of accomplishment if I am able to manage that part of my workload. Prioritizing on every level is the best way for me to push through my workload. If I have a handle on things by mid-week, I feel more energized with the confidence gained from completing work during the first part of the week.
With everything that you do, how do you practice self-care?
My zodiac sign is Virgo, and we tend to very particular about most things. I've learned to extend these natural instincts into my personal life and found that narrowing my circle of friends down to the ones that really love and care about me has helped to create the loving and nurturing environment. This is something that has become part of taking care of myself.
Working on good and positive thoughts has become part of my existence, and it keeps me balanced when situations shift and can get hectic. Doing the things that matter, and doing the things that I really want to do are also ways that I care for myself. I try to get the most sleep that I can, and it's become more important as I take care of my health. A nice bike ride or walk does the trick.
"Working on good and positive thoughts has become part of my existence, and it keeps me balanced when situations shift and can get hectic."
What is your self-care routine?
First, I check-in with myself to make sure I am feeling balanced, harmonious, loved and protected. I try to go to sleep with positive thoughts and wake up with a clear mind. I also try to listen to what I am thinking or feeling.
A morning walk or bike ride is a really nice way to start the day off, then breakfast for nourishment. After work, I will eat something that I really want for dinner and almost always have a piece of chocolate.
I love Zen music and the sound of rain to decompress. But if I am up to it, I will watch something on Netflix. I drift off to sleep very easily these days so hopefully, my thoughts are positive and loving before I retire for the night.
How do you find balance with:
Over the years, I've narrowed my circle of friends down to the ones that have unequivocally let me know that they love and care about me. With my workload being as hectic as it is, they tend to understand so we find the time to do things together when we can. That could include a sleepover, cooking, talking, walking or simply doing the things that we love to do together.
I was fortunate enough to reunite with my first kiss and first boyfriend from the seventh grade. We were 13 and 14 years old. We've become inseparable and do a lot of laughing, cooking, exercising, talking and loving one another. Our friendship has become as equally important as our romance, so we do a lot of compromising to make the time for one another and to support our hectic schedules. We lost so much time after not seeing one another for 27 years so we make the time to be together.
Exercise? Does it happen?
Exercise is something that I truly need to do more of, but it takes a backseat to my business right now. When I get the chance to work out, I love to bike ride on the coastline or go to the gym. But my favorite thing to do is to take a long walk so I could exercise my body and also clear my mind at the same time.
Miss Jessie's LLC
"Over the years, I've narrowed my circle of friends down to the ones that have unequivocally let me know that they love and care about me."
Do you cook or find yourself eating out?
I have been eating much of what my boyfriend cooks, which tends to be very rich and decadent. When we eat out, we typically order all the things that we love which worries me. The good news is that I love fruits and vegetables, and I never tire of eating natural foods. It's important that I incorporate healthy choices as I'm often eating on the run when traveling for business.
Do you ever detox? What does that look like for you?
I actually do detox. For me, detoxing is clearing and removing any and all unwanted toxins in my life and body. I make sure to have positive energy and influences around me, drink water and flush out my system to get rid of any harmful build-up. If I've eaten terribly, it's not uncommon for me to do a natural laxative to help me to rid of unwanted toxins. Sometimes I just try not to eat too much and do a day of liquids in order to flush my system.
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
I have learned to trust and talk to God when I'm feeling uncertain or stuck. I realize that I'm not in control of anything and that everything that has happened or is happening are steps ordered from God. So I've learned to be a better listener, and tune in for his cue and direction on what to do.
The faith that I have tends to alleviate any oncoming anxiety or fear that I may be experiencing. I often have to remind myself, with a smile, that I am loved and protected and I should not worry about a thing.
"I have learned to trust and talk to God when I'm feeling uncertain or stuck. I realize that I'm not in control of anything and that everything that has happened or is happening are steps ordered from God."
What does success mean to you?
Success means freedom - that I am able to do what I want to do, and how I want to do it with a good conscience knowing that I was able to accomplish my goals the right way, positively.
What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance?
I think others forget what's important and they lose balance when they focus on things that will not be meaningful should the important things be taken away. Staying aware of what's important will help to give you the balance you need when prioritizing.
Featured image by Laretta Houston.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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Featured image by FOTOGRAFIA, INC./Getty Images