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Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Good Things Come to Those Who WORK!

I’m pumped up today.

Not just because it’s Thursday and there’s a new Scandal coming on T.V. tonight.

I’m in great spirits because I had a great, challenging workout with my blog world-turned-real world friend.

She is a hard worker in the gym and in life and I totally respect that.

I was thinking in general of how I have really hard-working friends who inspire me, just off of their ability to set their minds to doing something and just doing it.

2013, I’ve decided is the year of “doing something.”

Sometimes, just doing something can be awfully hard to do, especially if you’ve failed before, or are in a funk, or diagnosed as depressed. As I always say, “Mental health is real.” You can quote me.

I have one dear friend who is unemployed.

She job hunts as if it is her job. Job hunting IS her job right now. Nine-to-five, everyday she is sending out resumes, revising her resume, custom tailoring-cover letters. I’ve seen her do it. She is constantly trying to figure out new ways to stand out and connect to the types of jobs she wants.

By happenstance, I recommended to her that maybe she should look into a condensed version of a particular program that may help her chances.

Not only did this friend find an online certificate program, she started it the same day and hardly a week later, she’s on her way to completing it and will add it to her resume.

Now, I don’t know if my hard-working friends work so hard out of fear, or an intense hunger or necessity, or because they are innately this way, or if it is a combination of all of the above, but it’s inspirational to me regardless.

The other friend, who is a killer in the gym–can’t state this enough– worked hard and lost a significant amount of weight. She doesn’t only inspire people by working hard and being an example, she helps others too. She smiles and cheers people on in classes, she gives them high-fives and her energy is contagious. When she jumps higher, others will follow and instead of grunt, they’ll smile. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

I do hope that one day she creates some major fitness franchise. She’s off to a great start with her Facebook fitness group, where she shares tips on eating and exercise along with inspirational sayings with an emphasis on Bible scripture. I honestly think she should get with Heather Lindsay and do a health and fitness workshop at her next Pinky Promise convention. 2014! Do it, girl… I know you’re reading. 🙂

I often mention how my friends inspire me to be a better person. They each have talents and gifts that are unique to them, and I’m thankful I can see it and try to apply my own variation of it to my life and if I get off track, I have their example to show me how it’s done.

My unemployed friend is going to get a job, and a great one, because she’s working on it. Day after day. It has to happen, because you can’t put that much energy out there and not get a return.

My fitness diva friend is going to accomplish whatever goal she is seeking in the fitness world, professionally, and in her spiritual walk, because she works at all of those things, EVERYDAY.

These chicks taught me in a very real way that you can’t let up. You have to do something toward whatever your goal is EVERY DAY.

EVERY FRIGGIN DAY.

Because I’m tired of looking at all the extra I have around my waist and thighs, I’m going to do something EVERYDAY. It also did not help that one of my friends posted an uber sexy photo of me from South Beach in a bikini from 2003 recently, for “throwback Thursday.”

When I think about negative eating, and not working out, and gaining 30 pounds, I was great at it. Why? Because I was doing it EVERYDAY.

There were some days where I almost ate McDonald’s everyday, and maybe even twice a day.

Sweet tea? Always.

TV on the couch as soon as I got home from work? I had to watch my hour of Divorce Court to unwind!

EVERYDAY.

Missing breakfast?

I would do that EVERYDAY.

So from the way I see it, it takes a certain level of commitment, even if subconsciously, to even do negative things EVERYDAY.

Let’s take smokers shivering outside in the winter for example.

COMMITMENT.

Eating an entire pizza by yourself. (Which I have done) Couldn’t just stop at three slices. Oh no.

COMMITMENT.

Killing a family sized bag of chips during a one hour t.v. drama. Just not satisfied until it’s all gone.

COMMITMENT.

Staying in bed an extra hour instead of getting up to work out in the morning.

That takes commitment. It does.

Hell, I’m about to make a list of all of the negative things I have been committing myself to and next to it, I’m going to put a positive thing that I’m going to replace that habit with. At least five. I’m almost kinda perfect as you all know, but I think I can come up with five.

I think that I want to do all of the positive things for just one week to start and see how my life changes. Let me know if you try it out too! I’d love to hear your thoughts and feed back, especially if good things started to “magically” happen during or after your week.

WORK.

Because I am ridiculous and silly and an 80s baby, I bring you, Hot Sundae, from Saved By the Bell. Hmmm. I’m listening to the words. This song ain’t got a damn to do with working out. The hook ain’t got a damn to do with the rest of the song either… Enjoy anyway.

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Birthday-Holiday Shaftle

One of my dear and longest-known friends birthday is December 30th.

For years, I’ve told that dude I feel horrible for him because I know people try to play him with that “Oh, this is your birthday-slash-Christmas gift.”

People born within a week of that holiday are going to get screwed no matter what. You know why? Because people can’t resist twofers, and people who do take the time to spend money on the two individual occasions tend to burn out after a while.

Lots of people take the easy route.

As a person whose birthday comes a week before Valentine’s Day, I tend to wonder if my suitors are ever tempted to do the birthday-Valentine’s Day combo.

I have been fortunate. The men I have claimed around Valentine’s Day have made them separate occasions and given me gifts accordingly. As they should. I mean, it’s not like I’m the only one collecting a gift, or the day is just about me. I’m going to be doing something nice for them too.

But I have seen that as a woman, getting a man a gift for Valentine’s Day is rough. Silk boxer shorts are to mens Valentine’s Day gifts as corny ties to Father’s day.

Jewelry and flowers and candy and a night out never get old to us women, but finding ways to excite and connect with the man you like in the form of a gift is hard.

What should men get for Valentine’s Day? That they’d actually enjoy?

I think it’s narcissistic to think greasing up and putting on some lacy underwear and prancing about for your man is a gift.

I think men love food.

So, I think cooking a nice meal or if you bake, baking him desert is a great idea. If you want to wear your fancy panties then, that’s a gift.

There have been a few times I’ve crashed and burned on Valentine’s Day.

One year, my beau mentioned he likes Oreo cookies. So I looked up a cookie site, and they had valentine’s Oreos. Well, I sent them, but he wasn’t very appreciative. Honestly, I think he took me to a lovely sushi restaurant the day before Valentine’s Day so we could beat the crowds.

How romantic.

I thought the cookies were thoughtful, I thought it showed that I remembered something he liked. But I guess it was all wrong. There were a few gifts over the course of our relationship that he didn’t like and I’m glad we aren’t together anymore because he was quick to show how much he was underwhelmed and disappointed, hence making me feel shitty.

I had another boyfriend back in the day who always said the best gifts, in his opinion, were experiences (i.e. concerts, shows). He said anytime he could actually go out and do or see something special with someone, that’s how he preferred spending his time and money.

Then there are some men, where it really doesn’t matter what you get them. If they are smitten by you, they are glad you even thought of them.

I think I’ve dealt with all types.

That brings me to this year. Boo thang (we are still not official) waited too late to get tickets for a concert tomorrow night, so he has offered to take me to another show, by another artist who I love during the week of Valentine’s Day. Now the concert tix, I believe are a birthday gift.

So this is why I’m wondering if this is going to be a Valentine’s birthday combo. I mean we aren’t official, so should I not even care if this does serve as a Valentine’s birthday combo? I may have to accept it that way. Being that we aren’t official.  It’s weird, being with someone in a non-official capacity means the expectations you place on someone you are official with aren’t there.

Because you aren’t official.

But at the same time, I could be and should be taking advantage of our non-officialness, by not even worrying about it and letting the chips fall where they may.

Case in point.

We still haven’t exchanged our Christmas gifts.

Don’t know if he even bought me one. He says he did. He’s been to my house numerous times and he won’t take my gift, until we can exchange.

Don’t know how to feel about this.  I bought the gift with him in mind, I’d like him to have it, but it just feels absurd. It’s about to be February.

Before the holidays, he said he wanted to take me to his office holiday party in January. Well January is almost over, and I don’t think they canceled the party. Now being non-official, should I care that he never brought the party up ever again?

I’m not some person who just wants gifts all the time. But if I’m spending time with you and trying to build something, I do want to exchange some small token that says, “you’re specialer than everyone else because we are dating.”

I talked to my bestie about how I think things are at a crawl and how being the queen of long distance has ruined me and skewed my view on everyday, local relationships and the excitement factor.

She basically looked at me and said, yup. There’s a lot of just down time. When you went to visit your long distance men on weekends, yall were trying to be happy, spend time and ignore any drama because that’s the only face time you had, and within 72 hours you’d be apart again. It was exciting.

The day-to-day is not. My homie looked at me point blank and said, local, everyday relationships are more often boring than they are exciting.  Well damn.

Realizing this makes me do a dance that my engagement imploded. My expectations were going to be wayyyy unrealistic and waaay off and I was going to be waay miserable in cold ass Chicago.

My cousin also mentioned that the snail’s pace of this relationship, may in fact be just what I’ve needed to snap me into reality and reprogram me in terms of expectations.

We shall see.

 

 

My Tentative Message to the Girls’ Conference

I don’t even find it a coincidence that a few moments ago, I was invited to speak on a panel for a young women’s conference in my hometown in March.

I’m basically a week away from turning 31 (where I told my best friend, this is the year we ‘show em how it’s done, 31’), and I’m reflecting and such anyway.

I was asked about potential topics, and  the main one that came to mind was about talking to the girls about real things that usually result in success.

Folks talk about dreams and hard work, but no one ever gives the specifics like:

Making a Plan.

Revising the Plan.

Finding Mentors.

Doing what it is you want to do for FREE until someone can pay you.

Realizing that the people you may be helping for free can in fact help you later.

Not giving up.

Not listening to negative people.

Sticking to your mentor like glue.

Befriending like-minded people who have similar goals, so yall can eat Ramen by candlelight together and dream out loud. Those friends will hold you accountable and remind you of your dream when you forget.

Having the understanding that feeling tired and uncomfortable and frustrated and as if time is standing still and you are too– is part of the process.

The importance of giving back.

Finding other strong women who really love you and will nurture you.

If what you are doing isn’t working, doesn’t feel right. Then stop. Find the right thing. Do not waste time. Don’t be scatterbrained and mistake lulls for it not being the right thing, but if you are just totally miserable and can’t see a light at the end at all, you need to find something else to do.

You can’t do anything worth doing by yourself. You have to ask for help.

Mistakes can be helpful.

You have to take a risk. If you aren’t a little bit scared, you aren’t trying hard enough or putting yourself out there. You are playing it way too safe.

The second thing I want to say is, there is money and clothes, cars and jewelery if you depend on your looks, your body and a man. But you still have to pay in some kind of way for that life too.

And now after spending the last decade trying to chase an amazing career and make loads of money, I want to really impart on the young women that everyone won’t be a doctor or a lawyer. Everyone won’t be famous or wealthy.

But guess what, if you aren’t, it’s ok. You are not a failure.  The worst thing you can do is something someone else wants you to do that you don’t want to do yourself. It’s wasted time going to school or picking a job because your parents or someone else told you it would make you a lot of money.

It’s about you finding your lane, honestly. Making an honest living that you are proud of , doing work you are proud of.

Even if you don’t go to college, or you join the military or do a trade, or start your own small business, pick something you are interested in. Figure out how to make a living out of it, then use the internet to track down all of the people you admire in that industry and ask them for advice or bounce ideas off of them.

If you decide I want to make enough money to travel once a year and pay my bills and that makes you happy and you aren’t selling your good good on the street or on Craig’s list, then hunny, you do it.

That was the lesson I’m learning in my 30s. I may not become filthy, stinking rich. It won’t hurt, but I’m proud of what I’ve already accomplished and I live independently and I go shopping to buy the things I like and I handle my business. Sometimes you don’t realize how blessed you are.

Have I been looking for a new job? Sure, but I can still pay my bills and splurge on great restaurants and theater and things I like to celebrate my upcoming birthday. I’m so blessed to be able to do that. Right now, that can be enough until it’s my time to do something else.

I’m looking forward to this event. And now, I have to plan something Olivia Popeish to wear to said event!

Love this song. Makes me want to go get em!!!

Emotional Aunt Mae. I Get You Now

I may have mentioned my Aunt Mae a few times throughout this blog.

I really loved this woman. Anyone who knew her loved her.

She passed from cancer back in 2010, and I just feel it. I loved being around her. She mostly lived in apartments, until eventually purchasing her own home, and she seemed to make any place big or small seem just teeming with love that you can’t even bridle. I mean, you didn’t want to, you just wanted to feel it all the time and she just brought that with her.

I loved the fact that she had a gap, just like me. She was always so funny and could rock a low-cut fade just as wonderfully as an afro, or a bunch of two strand twists. My Aunt Mae was natural before it was a movement.

But style aside.

One of the things I have been determined about, in terms of keeping her legacy of love alive is how she hosted her family and friends when they visited her home.

She worked so hard to keep her visitors happy, well-fed, and entertained. She was so serious about showing folks every cool thing in the city of Atlanta and the surrounding areas and sharing fun restaurants and activities.

I’ma keep it real.

My mom has always been a super private person, and not really big on hosting even before she got sick. So people came to visit, but we didn’t have a whole lot of folks staying over a lot or coming to dinner.

My Aunt Mae, on the other hand, made every gathering an event. She was particular and she wanted everything to be juuuust right.

As my friends can attest, I get the same way when I do decide to throw gatherings at my home, or when friends come to visit and they stay with me.

My friends can also attest that I’m going to take you to all of the restaurants, and walk you to death, so you can see whatever attraction in D.C.

Another thing that I’m finding I’ve inherited from my Aunt Mae is the overwhelming emotion she used to display when it was time for people to go home.

I mean she’d hug you and start tearing up.

My Aunt was a single woman for a large part of her life. And as a single woman, living alone, just from this week and other times family and friends have visited, I didn’t realize how lovely it is to have someone else in your home to talk to, or not talk to. To have breakfast or dinner with, to comment about things on television.

My dear best friend will be leaving tomorrow and I’m already sad.

We’ve had a low-key week. She actually instructed me not to go nuts with trying to find us things to do everyday. She just wanted a break. And that’s just what we did.

We went to a Korean BBQ, and then went to a Karaoke spot with private rooms, and proceeded to sing an array of interesting songs. “Thong Song,” “Can we talk?”, “I Believe I Can Fly,” and I attempted to sing “Love On Top” and frankly folks are trippin about Beyonce lip synching. That girl starts out on really high keys– I was struggling…I would have done it too. Even my friend saw what song it was and said, “Yeah girl, you got this one.”

Anyway, just sitting around and talking about life was fantastic. There are a handful of other friends who when they visit, I have these moments with them too and it’s just so special to me. Sometimes there’s cooking involved and a little bit of wine, ok. A lot of wine. And it’s just great.

I’m super, super fortunate.

Another friend who attended my inauguration/Ravens game party mentioned how she enjoys my gatherings because I tend to “collect” the coolest people. I agree. I was on cloud nine surrounded by friends, who were eating, drinking, having fun discussions and just getting along with one another even if they’ve never met or have seen each other before.

I was thrilled.

I’m going to really feel it when my friend goes back. The house tends to feel super lonely and not as fun when my loved ones return home. Then I get super sad.

So I understand why my Aunt Mae would hold us close and often cry. My dad would always make fun of her (Honestly, he shouldn’t even talk. He can get misty too and so does my uncle. We come from a long line of softies). But I get it.

I understand the joy and the thankfulness and how precious it is to spend time with the people you love, and those who just get you. On a larger level, she understood life and love and how fleeting these great moments are in time and that in an instant all they can evolve into is just a memory.

The folks who REALLY understand you…I mean, you can do anything, say anything, look any kind of way and they get you. They don’t judge you. Or if they do, they’ll tell you they are judging you, and everyone laughs.

Then they can also call you out about why you keep so many plastic bags, or why you’re trash bags don’t fit the big garbage can you bought, or why you’re original kitchen garbage can was way too small to begin with. Yes, this happened. My friend intervened and we cleared out a bunch of bags and returned them to the grocery store.

When you have people so in tune to who you are, and can make references to how far you’ve come, it can sometimes be embarrassing, but it can also be so refreshing, because they were indeed, right there with you, growing and evolving too.

You were doing it together, all along.

I know my friend needed a break. I was happy to offer my home and my company. But she gave me just as much by just being right there filling my house with silly laughter. Besides, she cooks and cleans too. I ain’t mad at that.

Like my aunt, I feel emotional. I’ll miss having that access to my friend. And I won’t look forward to the sting of how lonely I know I get. I even slept better with my friends in my home.

So Aunt Mae, folks called you emotional. They may have even said you were a bit dramatic when you had to say goodbye. But now I see. You weren’t. You were honest about how you really felt about people you loved and you weren’t the least bit afraid to show it. And now that you are gone, I don’t have to ever wonder if you loved us. Because you gave it all you had when you fluffed a pillow, fed us, took us to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, or the Zoo. You gave it all you had when you hugged and kissed us goodbye and told us something funny in our ears, that was just for us.

I don’t think I’ll ever be quite close to the hostess you were, but you’ve certainly given me something to aspire to.

I love you and thank you.

Ok, let’s get it over with and just weep… lol. Patti LaBelle, “You Are My Friend.”

Going to the Inauguration? Helpful Tips

If you are going to be among the throngs of folks coming to D.C. to be a part of history yet again, I’m going to help you out.

It’s an exciting time. You won’t forget it. You’ll be telling your grandkids, you’ll be posting pics all over social media, but it can be stressful if you aren’t prepared.

1. Weather-– So four years ago, me and my best friend froze. I mean it was no joke. If you are traveling from other places and you want hand warmers, please buy them where you live and I’ll give you the money when I see you (lol). Basically, this week folks have gone to every store in this region and bought them all up so they can sell them to you suckers for $30 a pop when you get to the inauguration. And you will be desperate if it’s as cold as it was last time and you’ll buy it. There were so many angry fathers who had to calm down their cold wives and kids, and they paid. Oh, they paid.

1A. Clothes. Please wear layers. It’s easier to take stuff off because you are hot, then to freeze and be uncomfortable and mooody. You’ll be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people you want to be as comfortable as possible. Wear a hat. Wear long socks. Wear comfortable shoes you can walk and stand in. Bring blankets. You will be sitting on the ground trying to psyche yourself up until the big event happens.

2. Transportation. First of all. You have to leave early. You have to leave beyond butt crack early if you want to get a decent spot on the National Mall. Me and my bestie left my house, which is a good 20 mins away from dc at 3 a.m. to catch the metro. Don’t drive. You won’t find a spot. Don’t do it. If you already rented a hotel downtown, you are in good shape. Don’t drive. I decided to actually park in the garage at my job (and those fools were actually trying to charge people but I showed them my electric pass that opens the gate and was like don’t even try it with me) and we walked to the nearby metro station.

Metro is going to be bonkers all day. Prepare to wait to get in and out of turnstiles, in and on the trains and even in and out of the station. My suggestion to you is to actually go to stations that are a bit out-of-the-way and just ride in. The chances of you actually getting a seat will be higher. Same situation with leaving. wmata.com here’s a link. Get familiar.

Trying to leave from L’Enfant plaza, Waterfront, or Smithsonian will be a joke. You will have to stand in a line to even enter the station. This is to even enter the station! Me and my bestie are pretty healthy, so we were gangsta about it and basically walked probably for a good two or three miles, all the way to the Navy Yard station, but we still ended up getting on a train before most of those folks waiting at the stations closer to the National Mall.

Oh, don’t even think of waiting to buy a Metro card the day of. Don’t even. If you are in DC now, you better get your Smarttrip right, right now and buy some for your friends and loved ones who may not have arrived yet. It’s going to be a monster.  You’ll be glad you thought ahead. I’m telling you. I can tell you now folks will be folks up at the suburban Metro stations filling their cards and buying cards tomorrow. Which is what happened last time. Folks are just there to avoid the pain on Monday. The last thing you want to be doing on Monday morning is standing in a line trying to add money to your card. Also, have enough for your trip back. Once again, it’s going to be madness trying to get back on the trains. You do not want to spend precious time waiting to put enough money on your card to get you the hell out.

You will see a million charter buses. Please pay attention to every detail of your bus if you want to see it again and end up in the right place.

3. Health. Please hydrate. Hydrate slowly. But if you hydrate, you are going to have to pee. All of the major Smithsonian museums will be open so people can pee, sit down to rest their aching feet and keep warm. Take advantage of it. There will be a lot of people in these places, but you need to be patient. Bring snacks so you won’t be grumpy. There’s a lot of waiting going on before the ceremony starts. Some folks brought board games and books. It’s not a bad idea, just don’t get carried away, you don’t want to bog yourself down with a lot of extra crap.

4. Security– Security is everywhere. They aren’t playing. Keep things simple and pack light. Ladies, bring a simple bag that can hold water, some fruit, nuts and just the essentials. You don’t want to be weighed down. You will be tired enough.

5. Traffic— Traffic is going to suck take the metro. The metro is going to suck, so walk as far as you possibly can.

6. Be patient. Be in a good mood. What struck me the most about the first inauguration was how folks were so kind to one another, paying close attention to helping the handicapped and the elderly. Don’t complain. Everyone else is experiencing what you are too. So if you are cold, or hungry or have to pee, so does everyone else, and you droning on and on will make people even more annoyed. Some will even tell you so.  So please, in the words of Kendrick Lamar, “Bitch don’t kill my vibe.” Don’t bring a stank attitude and if you can’t stand this president, don’t show up popping off on some nonsense. Speaking of when people didn’t like Bush the second, I remember going to a dinner with a boyfriend inauguration night and seeing the president’s limo pass and people throwing tomatoes at it. Remembering that makes me feel a bit worried about how angry folks may react to Obama this time around.

7. Just because an email you got called their party an inaugural ball or gala, don’t expect the Obamas to run through it. There are a gazillion parties, and even about 13 official ones that the President will attend and if you just bought a ticket today, he won’t be at that one. I’m pretty sure.

8. Get your hustle on. There will be so many people selling cool stuff, and stuff that is so ghetto, you know they made it with photoshop and paper mache and plastic lanyards– but hey I don’t hate. Gotta hustle.  Have cash on you so you can support the great entrepreneurs and get yourself a piece of history to bring home.

9. Keep it sober. I recommend highly that even though it’s cold, leave the firewater at home. Once again security is not playing with people, and I really don’t recall seeing any drunk folks at 9 a.m. You have to be dedicated to drinking to do that, considering you have to get up at 3 a.m. to even make your way out there. Oh yeah. If you aren’t at least at Union Station by 6 a.m., just give up, turn around and watch it on t.v. You already lost one. You won’t get anywhere close to the action if you think you can show up even at 6:30 or 7 or 8. a.m. because you’ve lost before you could even get started.

10. If you want to go to a D.C. brunch on Sunday, go to breakfast. Like at 7 or 8 a.m. because Sunday brunch at the popular spots are hell on regular weekends. You won’t see no parts of a mimosa or the inside of the place if you and your party show up this weekend after 10 a.m. You’ll be short. Just saying. D.C. people brunch and they brunch hard.

For all things official, please see the Senate’s website. http://www.inaugural.senate.gov/

Never Satisfied

There are loads upon loads of things on my mind.

First, exercise, weight-loss and food. Lately, all I can think about is my weight, wanting to lose weight, and will I finally get a flat stomach again, and fit into my size 8 pants comfortably?

The answer to that last question is yes. Probably two months from now if I keep going the way I have been.

In comparison to other fitness kicks I’ve been on, I have been pretty consistent for almost two weeks,  doing some kind of physical activity in the morning and a few times a week, adding a physical activity in the evening.

I have been watching what I eat very carefully, and been mainly on a pescatarian diet. Today, I finally did introduce a small sausage and egg white wrap into my diet. I was a bit disappointed, but I needed protein and a good friend told me it was unrealistic to cut out meat altogether. As soon as I start to eat meat again, the weight will in fact return. So, now I’m aiming for common sense and moderation. And I’m going to have to stay away from fast food, period, point-blank.

The other thing on my mind has been my pseudo-non-relationship, relationship.

A few weeks ago, I was in quite the funk. I was in my shut down mode, so New Guy was getting agitated that my phone conversations weren’t very long and not as fun or engaging per the usual.

He said the best solution to the problem was for me to just call him and that he wouldn’t call me any longer, because he can’t anticipate when I’m going to be in a bad mood. He also said he didn’t want to pull teeth to have a discussion.

Issue one. He likes to call me when I’m working.

Issue two. As a veteran, long-distance relationship person, I understand that everyday phone convos are the life blood of the relationship.

He lives 40 mins away. Take me out during the week. And I don’t want to have to come up with ideas all of the time.

And when I did say in a text, “Gee, I’d love to blow off some steam, how about we go to Dave and Busters?” I get no real response on when to go.

After a few annoying and difficult conversations, we managed to go see a movie Sunday night, and we had a nice time. But the problem with relationships with no label is, neither party feels obligated to really pull for the relationship you both claim you are taking your time to head to and make sure it’s right.

I’m starting to believe that’s gar-baughe.

I already feel like we each have one foot out of the door.

He doesn’t want to be in a relationship right now because of his baggage.

I’m not rushing to be in a relationship right now because of my baggage, but for whatever it is we’re doing, I don’t want to be the one making sacrifices, or going the extra mile for someone who is waiting for the right time to decide they want to make sacrifices or go the extra mile for me, because that’s what people in relationships do.

Part of me feels like this situation is naturally headed into platonic friends territory, which would be fine by me. I’ve chased men, men have chased me. There has been intense mutual wanting to be in the oppostite person’s world, but this situation has become, meh.

So what am I doing folks?

It seems that if this nebulous situation continues, I may soon be discussing dating other people. Maybe I should have kept dating other people anyway to begin with.

To be frank, I don’t feel like I’m being courted, bad mood aside.

He wants to kiss me and do public displays of affection, but he’s completely shut down the courting. The same guy who brought me flowers for a lunch date at Panera a month ago, won’t take me to Dave and Buster’s when I clearly stated, I’m having a suckie time right now and maybe playing a little air hockey with you will brighten my day.

The one thing that saved him was the fact that he said it bothered him that I had been so down lately and that basically he really wanted to talk to me so he could make me smile and make me feel better and keep my mind off of the things bothering me.

From that exchange, I realized that I have higher expectations from local men than I do long distance. I need the face time, I need to be taken out and treated. I need hugs and snuggles and tickles and kisses. I need for the person in my life to take charge and if they see I’m down, they call me, then show up at my door and say hey woman, let’s go play indoor mini golf, or let’s see this show, or let me cook you dinner or bring my favorite food with a dvd or bottle of wine I’d like. Or I got nosebleed seats to our terrible basketball team. Let’s just get you happy.

I know one shouldn’t compare people, or situations. But we do naturally.

Am I high maintenance? For a local guy, I just might be. For a long distance guy, I’m probably not. Do I need to give local men a break?

Am I crazy? Or do I have some commitment issues myself?

For some reason, this old, old school song came to mind. It appears as of late, I’m “Never Satisfied.”  LOL. Please enjoy. Where are these chicks now??? Ahh, before there was Envyi of K.P. and Envyi–and even before them, Teena Marie (RIP)– there was Good 2 Go. These chicks were like the white TLC. God bless em! They jammed!

Women, Negotiation and the $10,000 Rule

koratmember/freedigitalphotos.net

koratmember/freedigitalphotos.net

It’s a monster out here in terms of the job market and finding the right gig.

I read a disappointing, and yet truthful article this morning about how the way folks work and do business has shifted and that we basically will never see the days of staying with companies for 20 years, pensions, retirement and such.

As the world gets smaller, thanks to technology, only the hustlers and entrepreneurs will survive. Period. You’ve got to get your own hustle and work it to death and stack your money on your own terms.

It’s interesting that after reading this article with my breakfast, later I found myself  talking to a young woman at work, who I just love and want to see her do well. She has the same apprehensions I had as a young woman around 25, 26.

Her jaw dropped when I told her with a serious and straight face that I always ask for $10,000 more than my current salary for any new job.

A male I was dating, years ago gave me that successful gem, and I’ve never backed down from it. These days, I have dropped to as low as $8,000, but I simply cannot afford to go lower.

That’s bad business for my brand.

I am a single woman living in the DC area. It ain’t cheap. I gotta eat, pay rent alone and just live. Period.

And with my years of experience and what I’m bringing to the table, any move I make, I’m not doing it for less than $8-10,000 above my current salary. Period.

The young lady was shocked. She said in these times no one can afford to be so commanding.

I told her in these times, I can’t afford to work for less than what I am worth. I am a woman, I am automatically paid less than men. I am a woman of color, I’m often already paid less than my white, female counterparts.

The young lady I was talking to is a latina. I told her, asking for that amount is simply trying to break even. It’s basic math.

With time, you do build confidence. I explained to her, if I hadn’t asked for more money during various periods, the company would have never given it to me.

The second year with my company, I presented the evidence and I got an 8 percent increase to go along with the incremental increases we got annually. But at rates of 1 or 2 percent for those annual increases– if there aren’t any freezes that year– you still aren’t gaining much ground.

Closed mouths don’t get fed.

If I didn’t get the bump I got in the spring, If I never asked for the increase I got a few years ago, the pay cut we had to take in the fall would have been catastrophic.

Women, if you are putting in the work, and you have proven your worth you have to ask for the compensation.

You just have to.

You can’t be afraid. They can tell you no, but at least they know where your head is at and that if you do leave, they can’t be surprised because you did ask them for more money.

I’m not saying march up to your bosses’ office and demand a raise during crazy times, after a bunch of layoffs. No.

You have to read the climate of the economy and where the company is financially, before you have that serious talk with your boss.

Even in low times, it doesn’t hurt to remind folks that you have weathered the storm, contributed greatly and you want to be remembered for your dedication and service when times are good and the company has rebounded a bit.

Companies are always about their bottom line.

Women, we need to be about ours too. We cannot be martyrs.

Men have a tendency to not have a problem with feeling like they deserve more money than what they are getting. They’ll tell everyone so. Including their bosses.

There was a young man on my job, who had only been around for six months and was actually insulted by the 2 percent bump folks automatically got around review time.

Don’t be delusional, but don’t be a fool by not at least asking for what you deserve and what is an appropriate salary for your position and the region in which you live. Folks need to come correct at least in those areas, if nothing else.

And in my opinion, my male friend was right. $10,000 is the magic number.

By the time you are excited about a $5,000 raise, unless you are working at your dream job and most of your daily stresses have been completely removed, taxes have sucked out a good $2,000 and you’ll hardly feel it.

So tell me, am I nuts for thinking folks should tell a potential new job to shove it if they aren’t offering an increase of at least $8-10,000?

Isn’t the point of a new job/promotion to advance?

Are women getting better at the art of negotiation? Or are we still trying to keep the peace?

And I hate that. How is asking for what you deserve rocking the boat? I hate when women say, they don’t want to rock the boat or cause trouble because they had the nerve to ask for more money. Trust me, companies are counting on you not to speak up.  Once again, folks need to know where you stand and that you are aware of what you bring to the table, and that you know that they know you may not be getting properly compensated.

I’m just saying…

As Beyonce says, “Eff you, pay me.”

*Sidenote. Please have proof that you are killing it in the work place. Write down your accomplishments, save emails from superiors who praise successful tasks, bring back info from conferences… etc. If you are a lazy, unproductive bum, do not march your raggedy self anywhere asking for more money. Please have a seat.

Tips to Get Non-Morning People Up for Morning Workouts

Hey, hey folks.

I’m so not a morning person. Ask anyone who has had the pleasure of trying to wake me up.

I’m always about that 10 more minutes life, that usually extend to 25. I do not want to move until I feel like it. Period.

But now that I’m trying to be a better me, and I can’t wait to have a super hot body so I can just feel good about walking around my house in shorts and a sports bra again, it’s time to get it in gear.

Interestingly enough, non-morning people will probably benefit the most from getting up early enough to get a workout in.

This is what I’ve learned from this last week, where I successfully got up, every morning, no matter how hard it was and got in at least about 30 mins of exercise, if not an hour.

1. If you always need 10 more minutes, then set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than you need to get up. You will trick yourself into believing you beat the system.

2. Turn on every light in every room. This will wake you up. I can navigate my house in the middle of the night in the dark and even with my eyes closed. So if you think you can get to the living room and turn on the t.v. and get that DVD player going, and not be in sleepy mode, without turning on a light to get there– you are kidding yourself. Turn on those lights.  All of the lights!

3. Make your bed. I read from another blogger that no matter what, she learned to make her bed right away. A loved one told her once how could she expect to get anything done in her day if she couldn’t get that basic thing right to start off. And making your bed basically lets you know, you can’t go back in it. There’s no turning back, handle business.

4. Keep your workout clothes for the morning out “where your hands can see. ” You don’t want to waste time. You want to be able to get your workout in without feeling rushed and be able to eat breakfast to get your metabolism going, and be able to shower and get out the door to go to work or in time to power up and set up shop for all you folks who work from home. Scrounging around for clothes is just going to waste more time and irritate you further, and you want to devote your energy to getting your workout in.

5. Brush your teeth. You just don’t want the yukmouth thing going on and all those funky tastes, and it also helps wake you up.

6. My personal preference for A.M. workouts are anything that involves cardio. I want to be jumping up and down, I want to be moving. The only non-cardio thing that I don’t mind doing is Pilates with my reformer bar or yoga, because of the stretching. I think good stretching also helps wake up the body.  One day last week, I made the mistake of starting my day with an ab dvd. It was a great workout, but my heart wasn’t in it, because I didn’t get moving enough. GOT TO MOVE IT IN THE MORNING.

I love this song… and if this doesn’t make you want to move and go get whatever it is you are trying to get in life, someone needs to check your pulse. Go Melanie!

Talking About Progress, People

Alrighty, so after my post about making promises to your self, even if it’s day-by-day, or week-by-week, I was asked to write about my progress.

This week taught me that you must have daily goals and you’ll feel better that you accomplished SOMETHING.

This week also taught me that if you don’t do every single thing you set out to do, as long as you accomplished something everyday, you are not a complete loser.

Mission one was to do an exercise in the morning and in the evening, everyday.

Ok. I did that on Monday. The other days, no dice. I started my period and things went to hell. But I did make sure, come hell or high water I have my morning workout.

Mission two was to be vegetarian all week to help jump-start the weight loss along with the everyday exercise.

Welp, I went pescetarian because I just needed more, um substance in my life and I was looking for good vegetarian recipes, but I wasn’t really inspired. Fish is my friend. In terms of food, I think I did really well this week with food choices. My snacks consisted of apples, baked Pepperidge Farms crackers and 80 calorie cheese sticks.

I said I was going to drink just water all week. Well, I went to the grocery store, so I picked up Tropicana 50 juice, almond milk and some orange juice, all low in calories. The majority of liquid I’m consuming is water, but I will have an ocassional glass of the low-calorie juices or the milk. All still good in my book.

So while I made some amendments to the promises, the point of training myself to live healthier daily is still prominent. I’m proud of myself. Especially today.

I’ve been bloated and angry, and this morning it was a struggle. For starters, things went wrong with my workout because I didn’t get up on time, so I felt rushed, and now I’ve learned in order to wake myself up morning workouts gotta be some form of cardio that gets me moving or some kind of yoga that allows me to do a lot of stretching.

No strength training, no abs (billy’s ab bootcamp workout is the truth!). So, even though I felt like today was a fail and I really wasn’t energetic or giving it my all, I pushed through. And I also realized what I needed to do to have an effective morning workout that would make me feel good about myself for the rest of the day. So it wasn’t a total loss although I was disappointed in my energy level and that I couldn’t lift it.

I learned an important lesson about myself.

Taking action on my fitness and eating has prompted me to take action in other ways.

I started looking for a new place and I found one that is bigger and more awesome at a price I’d be willing to pay, for a bigger spot. Now, pulling the trigger is something else, altogether.

I stopped waiting for that dream job to call me back and broke the promise I made to not apply for anything else until I heard a yes or no.

I saw two jobs I think I’d really like, (one of which would be totally different from what I do, and would be associated with a fantastic cause) and I went ahead and applied for them. There is no point in me just waiting and waiting and torturing myself. Would I like the “dream job”? Sure, but all of this inactive waiting is making me feel like I’m just standing still. And what’s today’s lesson?

Everyday, DO SOMETHING. ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING.

So by just sending out those apps two nights in a row, I felt better.

I did something. I took an action for my life.

For four days in a row, I exercised. I took an action.

Because I was tired of waiting on the dream job, I emailed the receptionist, with whom I believe I built a lovely rapport. I asked her if she heard anything. She told me there has not been an announcement about the position being filled just yet. She suggested I call the person I interviewed with to follow-up.  I may do that tomorrow.

From this, I deduce that either they are about to fill it, they’ve selected someone and the info just hasn’t gone public yet.

Or,

They haven’t filled it yet and they are still trying to figure it out.

Either way, all is not lost, just yet.

So that information still managed to be useful.

I took an action. I’ve been very cautious to not over kill on sending follow-up emails or phone calls, but I think I didn’t overstep my bounds in this instance.

So today’s point again is there is no progress without action. You have to take a step, you have to just do something. It may be painful, it may be risky, scary, uncomfortable, but doing something and knowing you put forth an effort does make you feel better and feel alive.

Even the King sang about action…

Lucky Girls

Great wall of Lucky covers! Ultimate Lucky Girls.

Great wall of Lucky covers! Ultimate Lucky Girls. (Screencapture Google Image Search)

When I was a bright-eyed college student, one of my roommates always bought Lucky magazine.

I’d read hers, and eventually I was hooked myself.

In the beginning, during the college years, I would marvel at all of the great clothes, shoes and handbags I couldn’t afford.

But what seemed to get me the most were the women they featured. Not the celebrities, but the “regular” women they called “Lucky girls.”  They really inspired me. Especially the ones who were editors and writers and gadget queens.

*Sidebar, I don’t know what the hell happened over at Lucky, but they have really stepped it up in terms of diversity. There are way more women of color in there now and I’m loving that they are doing features with plus sized and regular sized women with curves. They have made me fall in love with them all over in a very real way.

They weren’t much older than me, but they wore the awesome clothes, shoes and handbags and they had great jobs…IN NEW YORK and other ridiculously expensive places.

I wanted nothing more than to one day be able to attain enough professional success, and effortless, classic style so I could land in Lucky’s pages.

I’m 30, and I look at those pages in a different way. I’ve managed to work my way up from grinding as an editorial intern, a metro desk reporter, to a web editor, and I guess you could say, hey throw on an outfit and Lucky, where’s my close up?

But, I look in the pages and now I see these uber fabulous women who are younger than me. I’m jealous again. But knowing fabulous women personally, and being one myself, it’s hard. It’s lonely. It’s frustrating and difficult. The expectations fabulous women place on themselves are enough to cause permanent scoliosis. There is pressure, there is wanting to stay ahead of the curve and the fear of falling behind and never being able to catch up. There is keeping up the appearances. Making others happy, staying sane, proving you deserve everything you’ve got and everything else you’re trying to get. They are duty bound to their loved ones, they are leaders in what they do.

I take nothing from the gals who grace those pages. I’m certain they had to work very hard, but as I reflect on my career, and my closet (which doesn’t have that many luxury brands, but is still friggin fab) , I’m wondering, am I a Lucky girl?

Did I do enough? There are some over 30’s in the magazine, don’t get me wrong. But seeing 27-year-old powerhouses who still have early 20’s bodies and dream jobs, luxury apartments, etc. it makes me feel some kind of way.

When you feel like you’ve hit a rut, even the most supportive people in the world like me tend to lose it when they see people who are too fabulous to be true. A friend emailed me an amazing article in Apartment Therapy about this stunning woman who had an insanely awesome apartment in a chic area of Northern Virginia. Something about it kind of sent me in a funk.

Then, one of my best friends, who was in a funk, just whisked herself away to a resort out of the country for the last 7 days.

I am jealous of these people. I just am. Keep in mind, in comparison to other people I know, I’m blessed beyond ridiculous belief. I can afford to live on my own, and even though I had to suffer a pay cut last year, I’m still able to pay my bills comfortably– something I could not do two years ago, for sure. I’ve rebuilt my credit. I actually have a credit card again and I know how to use it properly now.

I don’t have to take care of any children or anything like that.

I know with more money or with more anything, one has even more stresses and responsibilities, but there are days where being the Lucky girl seems so far away.

On the flip side, the current economic climate isn’t a joke. I’m well aware, which makes my bellyaching sound so self-indulgent and insensitive to the millions of people who are unemployed and working very hard to really get their lives going. There are so many young people coming out of colleges and universities to a very bleak situation. I have friends with multiple degrees, struggling.

Ask any of them, and I’m sure they’d slap me for this woe-filled post of rambling.

Bi*&^, you are a Lucky Girl. Shut up.

I am a Lucky girl. I don’t need a fancy title or to be a 20-something with a multimillion dollar startup and $500 pumps.

I am where I am right now. And that needs to be ok. It’s fine to keep dreaming and to keep striving, but to keep beating myself up, because I drive a 13-year-old car, I rent an apartment in an area that is increasingly annoying me (the smell of weed wafted into my place last night), or going nuts over and over about my current job. It’s exhausting.

And the college girl who looked at those magazines and dreamed would probably be in awe of the 30-year-old writing this post right now. She’d probably be thrilled that we actually made it this far and not figuring out which relative to ask for money this month because she asked so-and-so last month.

I’ve come a long way, and for that and nothing else,

I am a Lucky girl.

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