Moving Mountains in 2015

18 12 2014
stolen from a friend's facebook page

stolen from a friend’s facebook page

Around this time every year, people tend to get really reflective. They start thinking about the good and bad they’ve been through during that year. They wonder if they did enough. Made enough of a difference. Laughed enough. Lived enough. They sometimes look forward to spending time with family and sometimes look forward to being alone (away from all the chaos).

Me?

I definitely look forward to spending a good week at home in New Orleans with my family. It gets crazy. It gets loud. And I’ll probably gain about 5 pounds. But I’ll be home with my peeps doing amazing things like hopefully watching the Saints play their way into a playoff berth, sentimental things like putting up Christmas decorations while singing all the songs from the Jackson 5 Christmas album, and silly things like rolling around on the floor with my godchildren, cousins, etc…

But even in the midst of all that, I’ll be working on some of the goals I’ve already made for myself in 2015. I’ll be pushing forward already on some things I know I want to accomplish, because I know without my works, my faith means nothing.

And since I believe my faith has grown over the past year, that means my works have to step up to the plate as well.

To that end, I have a laundry list of things I’ll be working on. Not to the point where I burn myself out, but to the point where I know I definitely won’t look back on 2015 with regret. And it’s not that I have regrets for 2014; let me not make it seem like that’s the case. By all accounts, 2014 has been a good year for me. I got a promotion at the beginning of the year. I’ve traveled around the country (a lot). I’ve spent a significant amount of time with some of my favorites in this world. I saw 3 really close friends get married in person (one in which I was in the wedding). I had an amazing 31st birthday. A lot started coming together for the book I’m working on. I’ve dated (some good and some bad lol) and was finally honest with myself about the person I really wanted to be with. I mean, it’s been good!

It’s just that I know, despite the things I’ve accomplished, there have also been a few times where I let my doubts stop me.

A few times when my doubts created mountains that I then had to move when they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

I didn’t have a phrase for that until earlier this week when I saw the above meme on a friend’s page, and it hit me like a lightning bolt. What I can’t do, what I won’t do, in 2015 is allow my doubts to create mountains in my life. That’s my resolution. That’s the overarching theme of the laundry list of my goals. Because listen, some of these goals are scary as all get out, but that’s what makes them so amazing. And that’s what’s going to make 2015 the year of mountain moving in my life.

Do you all have any goals you want to share for the new year? Any reflections you’ve been thinking of lately? I probably won’t have any new material for the next couple weeks, but I wish you all the happiest of holidays and the best new year to come!





Holiday Gift Ideas for New Relationships

16 12 2014
Photo: blog.navut.com

Photo: blog.navut.com

The other week, one of my favorite readers left the following comment: “You should talk about holiday gift ideas for men. That’s usually hard to do when it’s the first year you’re together and on a budget!”

Well, A) she’s absolutely right! It’s super hard to figure out what to get your new boo for the holidays. But also B) I was sadly mistaken that I’d already done a post about this. Nope. The horror!! And you all know how much I love a holiday blog post, so that’s kind of crazy. Alas, I’ve already talked about whether you should get a gift and things to do with your relatively new boo during the holidays and what I’d want (lol), but never suggestions on gifts for someone else.

Me: What’s a really nice watch you would suggest someone get a man for less than $600?

Friend: Oooh, let’s see: Movado (bold line), Boss, Burberry… wait, who are you buying a $600 watch for?

Me: Ummm have we met?! Not anyone anytime soon lol. This is a question from my sister.

Friend: Oh okay, just checking.

Me: Yea, she’s been in a relationship for 3 years now. So she’s bout that life. I…. have not and am not.

Friend: lol good… but back to these watches…

You see how quickly that conversation went left for a bit? It’s because my friend knows that there’s level to this ish. Y’all, please don’t think you should be out buying a $600 watch for someone you’ve been dating for 3 months. That’s not how this works. (That’s not how any of this works.)

However, if you want to get that special someone a gift and/or you checked out the diagram I featured before on the site, and it says you should, then here are some suggestions I have for you (and just your luck, I’ve had my fair share of new relationships around the holidays):

Keep it small and cute, but show you’ve been listening

One of my first adult relationships during the holidays involved a fella who loved cookies. So what did I do? I baked some for real, from scratch homemade cookies using two ingredients I knew he liked (because he talked about them a lot): chocolate and pecans. They were a hit! They weren’t that expensive to make, but once I wrapped them up nicely, tied the plastic with a pretty a bow, and placed it in a cute cookie tin, he was absolutely gaga for them. In fact, he talked about them for years afterward. Total cost? Less than $15. Look on his face: priceless. Your idea doesn’t have to be homemade cookies, but it can be something that doesn’t cost a lot, but that he talks about often. Maybe he likes a particular cologne or a Wii game or has a favorite football team — listen out for clues and then go for that!

Go for something DIY that he would like, not you…

Okay, this is for my DIY girls like me — Pinterest can be your best friend during this time. But don’t get too fancy with it and forget who the gift is really for here. My best DIY suggestion? A coupon booklet of cheap/free activities he can ask you to do later on. A) it shows you want there to be a later on, B) it shows your creativity, and C) the items should all be things he’d want to actually do, so he’ll be excited. Possible examples include a home cooked meal, a massage, a free zirbert (yes, I put that on there lol), you rooting for his favorite team at least once (especially if you don’t normally like them), etc…

Try an activity you can both attend

Do you both like go-cart racing? Or a specific band or artist? Maybe you’ve both mentioned seeing a particular Broadway play? Why not get two tickets to whatever that activity is so that it’s a gift for him, but it’s still something you can do together. This gift is also versatile, so it can be tickets to something worth $10 each or up to like $100, depending on just how “new” the relationship is.

And if all else fails, and you’ve already introduced sex into your relationship…

Tape a big bow on you, and enjoy a different kind of present with each other.

That one is pretty self-explanatory lol.

Any other suggestions?? I hope these helped for all my newbies out there! Happy holiday shopping!





Shoe Tip: Boot Tricks for Wider Calves

10 12 2014
Photo credit: Me

Photo credit: Me

Like most women, I looove a good boot in the fall/winter. And especially one that goes all the way up my calves. Yes honey!

However, along with my love of shoes, long ago, I was also blessed with larger than normal calves. So it’s a STRUGGLE trying to find boots that fit me that aren’t of the ankle variety. No shade to the ankle boots, but that’s not always the look I’m going for.

Well, three years ago, I lucked up on a pair of grey boots that fit all the way to my knees. It was like a little angel came down and showed me that I, too, could rock cute, flat boots like the rest of the fashionable women out there. And since then, I’ve tried to find other ways to make this fashion staple work. So for any other women out there who have wider calves, I hope these tips I’ve come across help you out as well.

Grommets and Ribbon and Hammers, Oh my: I saw this DIY project on Pinterest (of course) and was a little skeptical, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to try. Lo and behold, after some serious arm work putting the grommets through the material, I came out with rain boots that fit up to my knees with a pretty snazzy design in the back. The plus side — it doesn’t even look like it’s a project done to make the boots wearable! I’ve received several compliments just walking down the street on my boots (and not just from women with wider calves).

Don’t forget your local cobbler: I talked about the importance of finding a cobbler before, right? But even I didn’t think about the possibility of using that cobbler to add an extender into the shaft of your boots until someone else suggested it to me. And when she did, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Duh! Of course my cobbler could do that! It made so much sense… and so little sense that I’d spent all that time searching and searching when he could have been helping me out all along.

The Internet is your friend: Chances are if your calves are more than 14 inches around, you won’t find a cute pair of boots in the store in your size. But… you can find plenty of options on the Internet. From WomanWithin.com to OneStopPlus.com to Zulily.com and even Amazon.com, there are lots of places that sell wide calf, extra wide calf, and extra extra wide calf boots. I got my rain boots from this wonderful place called SpyLoveBuy! The plus side is that there’s a good amount of variety in these boots. The downside is that it’s online, so you have to gauge the quality of the material off of the reviews (always read the reviews folks!). But if you find a good pair, do what I didn’t do — buy a few of them in different colors. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. I’m dying now that my grey boots are reaching the end of their run, and no one sells them anymore.

Another caveat to buying boots online — I’ve learned that when you are shorter than 5’3 (like me!), you need to measure up an inch when looking at the size chart for the shaft of your boots. To wit: “boots get wider closer to the top of the boot. If you’re short, the widest part of your calf is going to be down lower than someone who is tall. So you’re going to have to get a wider boot than someone who is 5’8″, even if you have the exact calf circumference as that person.”

I hope these tips help my girls with more athletic or wider calves get out there and get their full calf boots on. And if you have any other tips to share, feel free to do so in the comments!





Y’all I’m Tired

4 12 2014

blmOnce again, I was in the middle of writing a cutesy post for this week when your justice system proved to me (again) how much it doesn’t care about the lives of Black people.

So I’m tired.

And I can’t finish this week’s post.

But I just had to say to whomever needs to hear it, I care.

I believe Black lives matter. I know when I look at the men and women in my life who share the same shades of brown and yellow and red as me, that they were put on this earth for a purpose.

That’s not to diminish anyone else’s life, but it’s to say, like @lincolnablades tweeted on Wednesday, that “our lives matter too.”

It doesn’t always feel like others believe this though. And after Ferguson and Charlotte and Cleveland and Florida, yesterday we received another reminder from New York. That a video recording doesn’t matter. That the coroner declaring something a murder doesn’t matter. That none of it matters when you don’t view someone as a person in front of you.

Earlier this week, I had a semblance of hope come up in me. That 1% I talked about before? It was starting to be restored. I saw video after video and picture after picture of young people across this world voicing their disapproval. I saw people in London holding up signs that say “Black Lives Matter.” I saw students from my Alma mater shutting down Union Station in D.C. I saw students from Loyola University and Harvard University stage walk outs in protest. And I remembered why I call myself Black. Why I scream it loud and proud. Again, that’s not to diminish the other parts of my ancestry. I recognize I am also French Creole and Cajun. I am Southern to a fault sometimes. I am very much a woman.. but when I say I am Black, I acknowledge the unity of that word. I acknowledge the “globalness” of that word. I acknowledge the struggles Black people of all countries have had to endure and the accomplishments we’ve brought about.

I proclaim that despite what others may believe, my people do matter.

Because God put us on this earth for a reason.

And I know He is not pleased with the way His people are being mistreated.





Can you tell compatibility by music tastes?

2 12 2014

If it’s one thing Twitter is good for, it’s to read some of the dating fodder people come up with. And one that’s always interested me is when people make comments about who they wouldn’t date based on the type of music they like.

You know how those look. It’s something like —

If she can’t recite all the words to every WU song ever, she can’t be #bae.

Or even…

The best way to turn me off is to tell me you like Drake music. #wecanneverevergettogether

(Incidentally, I totally wouldn’t meet the criteria for this fake tweeter.)

But he/she brings up an interesting point. When thinking about deal breakers in dating or relationships, should we consider music tastes? And what does someone’s music tastes tell you about him or her specifically to let you know compatibility would be a concern?

Let’s take me for example. I love all kinds of music, but that’s also because I hail from a musical town. So on any given day, you could find me rocking out to anything from rap to gospel to country to pop to zydeco to jazz to heavy metal and several things in between. Y’all remember when I gushed over the Grammy museum?  My love for music is real.

But… if you asked me to tell you what my favorite form of music is, what I listen to probably 85% of the time, what gives me the goosies or makes me break out crying or inspires me to write blog posts and maybe even mark a song down as a possible for a very distinct future playlist? It’s going to be R&B.

My first cassette tapes and CDs that I purchased as a kid were R&B. I listen to it while writing. I listen to it while on the subway. I listen to it while I’m working it out on the elliptical or treadmill. And you have to know it’s my go to genre if I need to come home and pull out my fake microphone and have a good dance session all alone.

But does that mean I shouldn’t date someone who would prefer to listen to KRS One and Rakim over Luther and Patti? Does that mean I’d need to throw out my Young Money CD collection (Drake and Wayne have made a LOT of music) if I want to date a guy who’s not into mainstream music? IDK. There’s something about that logic that seems a bit off.

I get where it comes from though. It’s great when you can enjoy something you love with your partner, and a lot of us love our music. We get invested in it, and the artists we like (hello Aaliyah movie backlash). I’m not exempt from this either. I’m in heaven when a dude likes the kind of music I like as much as I do. But I don’t know if I’m ex-ing him out the game immediately just because he’s not trying to go see the Tupac hologram in concert with me.

And while I’m not super big on the whole opposites attract thing, I also think there may be something to be said about dating someone who can expand your horizons. Or at least someone who can say, “boo I know you don’t normally like pop music, but watch what I can do to this Rihanna song and trust me, you’ll see there’s some merit to the art.”

What do you all think? Can compatibility be determined through music likes and dislikes?





Waiting with Bated Breath

26 11 2014

You’d think I would be done getting to this point.

I thought I was.

I thought I was cynical enough that I wouldn’t be surprised or heartbroken. And yet, there I was Monday evening, waiting, knowing full well the result — that they would decide not to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, for slaughtering him in the streets and letting his body lay on the ground for 4.5 hours.

How could you not know the result, right? All the tea leaves were there. They kept putting off the announcement like a man avoiding a conversation with his girl when he knows he’s wrong. They called for the National Guard to assist them. They waited 50-11 days to let us know the decision. You don’t do all that to say, “yes, there will be a trial.”

Still, I waited.

I waited with less than 1% of hope that this country would surprise me. I waited knowing differently, but hopeful. Past the initial 6pm est promise and past 9pm est.

And when I walked into my place at 9:29pm and turned on MSNBC, I wasn’t shocked to see Bob McCulloch saying what I already know he would say. I was exhausted. And hurt.

Tired of letting that 1% of hope shatter my whole heart. Hurt because I know to so many people Michael Brown might as well have been an animal. They certainly don’t see him as a human being, as an American, as a frightened child knowing he was about to die by the hands of a man sworn to protect him.

Exhausted because Michael Brown is but one of many. He, as his own person, shouldn’t be forgotten in the midst of people working to create and support the movement. But he is certainly not alone.

My heart breaks for his family and his friends. My heart aches for the mothers and fathers who fear for their sons. I weep for the soul of this country and its citizens. But I still am not shocked. I’m not surprised there are those who don’t get the anguish; they’ve never had to worry about their son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, love one walking out the door and being killed just because of who they are.

I’m not shocked that ABC reportedly paid that officer (I refuse to type his name anymore) $500,000 to tell his side of the story. I am not surprised.

I am exhausted.

I am filled with sorrow.

I am trying to pray my way out of these feelings, but I am not not hopeful that will change. I am not hopeful this country will change.

They took away my 1% Monday evening.

It’s all gone.





Throwback Thursday — In Honor of Montana: Giving Thanks

20 11 2014

This past Monday marked 7 years that Montana passed away. Seven is a really long time y’all. But I think he would be happy to see how I’ve grown as a woman since then. And so to honor him and the part that he played in that growth, I want to dedicate this throwback Thursday to the first man who told me that my smile made him smile.

Rest in peace babe.

________________________________________________

In Honor of Montana: Giving Thanks

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” ~ Psalm 119:71

It’s been five years. Five years since I met the man who would change my life and my perspective on so many things in less than a 2 month time period. And while it doesn’t seem that long ago, this past Saturday actually marked 5 years since he died – since he was killed, actually.

It’s kind of amazing how time works. There are days when it feels like I met him a million years ago. Like the girl who I was at that time wouldn’t even recognize me. Like it was another life being lived, and I only watched it on TV.  And then there are times when it seems like just yesterday that this cute, tall, dark chocolate drop of goodness slipped me his phone number in one of DC’s most popular eateries. He was so slick about it, in fact, that for a minute, I didn’t realize it had happened. It wasn’t until I walked out that I noticed the receipt that read “Simply beautiful. Call me.” It listed his number and name, and that was it.

I naturally thought this man was a smooth operator and was not to be trusted. Who could be that slick and not be a shyster, right? It should be noted that I met him at a time when I was beyond jaded about the men in my life. I didn’t trust anyone, and without realizing it, I’d created this slightly dark and twisty outlook. I didn’t want people to hug me. I didn’t like cuddling. And most importantly, I didn’t believe anything any man said to me. Anything.

And yet, over the course of 2 months, this man knocked 90% of those walls down. I don’t know how he did it. One day I was doubting that he even actually knew who I was, (When I was finally convinced to call him, I argued him down that he probably gave that message to several women and didn’t actually know who was calling him. I shut up when he described my entire outfit and gave a very accurate description of me, down to the freckles on my face and the nail polish I had on.) and the next thing I knew we were texting each other silly high school ish like, ‘just thinking about you boo,’ and ‘I heard this song today that reminded me about you.’

Somehow, this man had taken me (dragging and screaming, mind you) to the point where I was not only ok with seeing him everyday, I wanted to. To where I was growing comfortable with having honest and vulnerable conversations with him. And then, of course, out of nowhere, it was all gone.

Read more here.








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