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  • Dear Love | Happily Unmarried

    It really just dawned on me how annoying it is when people ask if I am married this past weekend. While traveling alongside my BF, multiple people have asked me if we’re married. I feel like the lack of a ring on my left hand may be the first indicator. But I understand some people forgo the rings. But second, why does that seem to be the topic of conversation after the age of 25? I also find myself trying to figure out why exactly that matters so much to strangers?

    In any event, the bottom line is that yes couples can be happily unmarried. Lol. It takes time to get everything together to move to the next level and quite honestly I have been a victim to the pressures of society and I am kind of tired of it. I have a loving, devoted relationship that I am certain is leading towards marriage, but the fact that there are all kinds of random pressures to rush that process is enough to make you start wondering “well what is wrong with me?” “Is this actually going to happen?” And to be honest that is so unfair.

    I want to just encourage you all reading this to take your time and don’t think about how long you’ve been together or how old you are and just do your best to live in the moment. Yes I have had the conversations with girlfriends like “do you think this is the year?” blah blah, I’ve browsed through rings and the like, but I have ultimately come to the point where I am literally tired of thinking about it.

    I’m not even into weddings at all, but I definitely do look forward to having that opportunity to say, “No, I’m his wife.” That holds weight in my book, but what I won’t do is drive myself absolutely nuts wondering and thinking about when it is going to happen. I am happy. He drives me nuts sometimes and I drive him loony, but the bottom line is, there is so much love there, so much laughter, and that’s some of the hardest stuff to find with another person after four years.

    It has always been difficult for me to define things for myself. I put more pressure on myself sometimes than anyone else, but at any time we have the opportunity to say that enough is enough. I realize that it bothers me when people ask, because eventually I do want to say, yes we are. But I have to just let it come. Focus on God at the center of our relationship like we’ve been doing and trust his timing. Period.

    So this post if for you out there, single or in long-term relationships and honestly for me too. Stop. Stop letting the world define your relationships, your life, where you should be at what age and honestly live for you. Because if you make a wrong decision, no one that was pushing you towards it is going to be there to help get you out. Make sure it’s right and most importantly, revel in the moments you share before things get more complicated and complex. As long as you and your partner have discussed and are on the same page about things, that’s all the truly matters.

    A gentle reminder of another area to remember to run my own race. (My theme for the year.)

    Do you ever feel the buildup or pressure about kids or marriage or where you are in your career? How do you handle it? 

  • First | Episode 3, S2 - The First New Chapter

    Let me just say first that I need my hair to look like whatever is going on with Jahmela's hair in this episode. I love it. lol. I'm all about this mane. But anywho, to hop into it, this was a cute episode for sure! After seeing Nikki and Charlie together in the last episode I was wondering whether I was going to be as thrilled when Robin was back in the picture and I was! LOL. I love them together! 

    Robin is kicking it in her favorite spot when her father comes to give her the low down about playing games in relationships as she ignores Charlie's calls. Have you found yourself playing games in relationships? How did that work out? 

    One of the things that stuck out the most to me in their scenes was when he talked about never really telling Robin's mother how he truly felt and letting it fester. I definitely see where both Robin and Charlie are super guarded. This happens ALL THE TIME in relationships and for sure, it always just leads to disaster when you can't fully communicate with your significant other. 

    Moving on to the guys, in the midst of their brotherly banter, Charlie's brother says something pretty important, "If I would have known Lana was just preparation for my wife, I never would have taken so long to let her go." BOOM. How many of us have held on to something that wasn't worth it and didn't realize we were blocking our blessing from the person we're really supposed to be with? 

    How cute was Brock talking about how the women don't love him, they love his poetry-style. LOL. But it was interesting to hear from him that he hadn't been in a serious relationship in years ... Whew, I think he said 2008. lol. But I digress. Charlie's brother urges him to try Meld, where he met his wife that makes the bomb chicken dip, the guys couldn't stop talking about. I guess we live in a new age for sure where many people have tried online dating. Have you? I won't judge. 

    It seems something sunk in with both of them, as once Robin returns home, she gets to run into the arms of Charlie who is waiting on her steps. Have you ever felt like your significant other's arms were the safest place in the world? That's how it felt when she ran to Charlie as if to say, I'm done running.

    "I wear a mask that always smiles." The start of Brock's poem that definitely hits home. How many of us are wearing a mask when it comes to love? When it comes to our lives?  

    The music as always is amazing and I love the ending with "Better" by Ashley Dubose.  Man I can honestly say that there are truly moments in life, in relationships where I have certainly felt that it has gotten better. I encourage you that whatever you may be going through, there is joy on the other side. It, life, love, we, get better! 

    Check out the episode below and let me know what you thought about it in the comments! 

    Next episode is April 8th.

     

  • Growing Into Grace Twitter Chat

    So this is my very first Twitter chat that I'm hosting and yall better not leave me hanging on Twitter alone! lol. J/K. But really, to end the Growing Into Grace series, I would really love to chat with you guys about some of your views on growing pains, things you've learned as a woman and whatever else you want to share! 

    It's so easy to join in! 

    - Log in to Twitter

    -Search the #G2GChat Hashtag

    -There will will be 6-8 Questions asked. 

    -You just participate by responding with A1(2, 3, 4 ...) your answer and the hashtag #G2GChat.

          i.e. A2 - I loved the Growing Into Grace series and the features! #G2GChat

    Participants will have an opportunity to win a copy of Oprah's What I know for Sure! So you won't want to miss this! 

    Tonight at 8 PM. Be there or be square! 

  • 5 Things I Know For Sure - GG Renee

    As a part of the Growing Into Grace series, I decided to give you all some pearls of wisdom from some of my favorite bloggers as well! Oprah recently released her book, "What I Know For Sure" and I think it's so fitting for this month's focus on the life lessons I've collected as I grow into the woman I want to become. So over the next few weeks, you will hear from an awesome lineup of women about five things they know for sure! 

    I probably can’t sing the praises of GG Renee enough. She is just such an inspiring figure that I have also met through the world of social media. Her blog All the Many Layers just celebrates women and creativity in such a way that is necessary in this landscape. As the title indicates, it peels back the layers that many of us are hiding under and challenges us to be transparent enough to actually see growth in our lives. It’s amazing to see how there are tons of bloggers, but each of us have such a specific call and purpose and clearly GG is flourishing in this lane. I absolutely LOVED her #30Layers30Days challenge which actually made me think and write every day. So as you can imagine, I am really excited to share with you, her 5 Things She Knows for Sure!

    GG Renee, All The Many Layers

    1. Life is not about good and bad and right and wrong.  At least that is not how I live my life anymore.  It's about love and fear and choosing what energy to feed from moment to moment, every day. I spent many years of my life feeling unworthy because I wasn't perfect.  Every time I made a mistake or had a nasty thought, I felt even more convinced that deep down I was a bad person.  Love taught me that it is human nature to embody both light and dark and it's the energy we choose to feed that matters.

    2. Everyone is creative, but many of us are simply not inspired.  Far too often, the imaginations we were so free with as children become suppressed by the demands of life.  I believe that art and expression heals and that people can improve the quality of their lives by rediscovering their creativity.

    3. Gratitude is a game-changing way of life.  The moment we start focusing on what we don't have, what's not going our way, what's not happening the way we want it to -- we are allowing ourselves to be distracted from what is really important.  Looking for the big picture.  Learning from everything.  Valuing the journey.  Appreciating what you have.  These are some of the guiding principles that differentiate happy people from unhappy people.  

    4. A meaningful life cannot be captured on paper.  It's a very personal and intimate discovery of self that makes life truly fulfilling. This discovery isn't taught in the classroom or at a job. Eventually, we all encounter a moment where we have to face ourselves. In order to be fulfilled and connected to our purpose, we must come to understand our inner world and treasure it so we can know how to share it with the world and make the difference we were put here to make.

    5. Failure is necessary to advance.  When we design our lives around avoiding mistakes, we are basically building walls around ourselves that hold us in and limit our potential.  Failing is not losing, failing is being brave.  It's only when we don't try that we lose.

     

     

     

  • Growing into Grace – Choosing Your Battles  

    I don’t think I’ve ever met a debate in life I didn’t like. I was one of those mentally gifted kids that actually took a debate class in middle school. The thrill of it all, opening statements, facts, research, learning to be persuasive. What a rush!

    Oh but as I grow older, I have certainly learned the importance of choosing my battles. I mean yes I have been confused about why people have gotten awards, but no urge to storm the stage. But as a pretty opinionated person, I have no qualms about going back and forth with someone to try to make them see it from another perspective. And afterwards, we can be best friends. But everyone is not quite the same way.

    Over the years, I have realized that sometimes people take disagreements very personal, where I don’t. I just see it as a difference of opinion. At this point in my life however, I am tired. I no longer want to have to fight with people all the time. Where I probably saw debating as a sport, other people began to try to excite me just to get a rise. I no longer want to give someone that satisfaction. It’s not important to me anymore to have the last word.

    One of my greatest teachers in this has been my relationship. When you are with another person for while it is so easy to find a lot of things wrong with what they do. But I realized that in order to stop seeming so critical, I had to choose my battles more wisely. No one always wants to hear you complaining. And I realized that for balance and for a healthy relationship, I had to let go of some of my idiosyncrasies.

    Whether it’s complaining or griping or always having to state your opinion about something, everything in life needs balance. Sometimes I log onto Twitter and just think, whoa these folks are experts on everything. Constantly stating opinions whether it’s based on any facts or not. And it helped me to draw back. It helped me to interject only when I am really confident in the subject and well read on it.

    We don’t have to scream and holler about everything. Find the things that really matter. And when you do speak on things, be intelligible about it. Don’t just spew what you have heard, research it for yourself. Stop picking with people. Stop caring about things that in the grand scheme of things don’t really matter. Or don’t. But I at least have learned that it has improved my life immensely.

    Yes sometimes my significant other will probably tell you I still want the last word. Old habits surely die hard. But I have grown leaps and bounds in The Art of Shut Up.

    Do you find yourself in the middle of battles and think how did I even get here?  

  • 5 Things I Know For Sure - Nickecia & Courtney

    As a part of the Growing Into Grace series, I decided to give you all some pearls of wisdom from some of my favorite bloggers as well! Oprah recently released her book, "What I Know For Sure" and I think it's so fitting for this month's focus on the life lessons I've collected as I grow into the woman I want to become. So over the next few weeks, you will hear from an awesome lineup of women about five things they know for sure! 

    Another reason why I love the interwebs! I met Nick and Court through the net! I was already following their page @BlackGirlFlyMag, so I was thrilled when they reached out to me about taking part in a month long self-love challenge. It’s been a great experience! They are so efficient and so dedicated to what they do and engaging women to take part had been amazing. Take a listen to what they had to say below about how they met and came together and their 5 Things They Know for Sure!

    Nick and Court, Black Girl Fly Magazine

    We have been friends for about 7 years now and have worked together as business partners for a little over a year. We believe we make an awesome team because of our common faith but also our love of celebrating and uplifting women. Not only do we work together, we pray for each other, and inspire and encourage each other to grow spiritually, professionally and personally. In our journey as friends and business partners, here are 5 things we have come to know as truths:

    1. We are blessed and highly favored-- Although there have been some bumps in our lives, we have been abundantly blessed in all aspects. There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t reminded of how blessed we are!

    2. I am my sister's keeper--As women, we have come to realize the importance of sisterhood; the power in receiving and giving love and support to other women. Our closest friends are our sisters and support systems.

    3. Proverbs 31:30- Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised-- This is scripture means so much to the two of us. We recognize in all that we do, we remain balanced by keeping God first.

    4. We are Queens and deserve to be loved fiercely-- Our movement is based on fierce love and we hold ourselves to very high standards; commanding not demanding respect and fierce love.

    5. Self-love is a revolutionary act-- We recognize that as Black women, society does not always foster love and appreciation of Black women. We know from beauty ideals, representation in media and entertainment industries. Nevertheless, we've vowed to love ourselves. It’s a quiet and simple revolution against societal norms that devalue Black women’s beauty, brilliance and existence.

  • WRITE - Dear Love Brunch #3

    I’m so happy to have the 3rd Dear Love Brunch under my belt. It’s not like the first or second because it’s the third time people actually showed up to something you’ve planned and that helps you feel really legit.

    I met with about 20 ladies at Mixto restaurant in Philadelphia and we decided to tackle the topic of Pride and Ego, which I touch upon in Dear Love. Funny enough after watching Being Mary Jane last night I personally felt even more validated in my belief that most often pride is the root of the demise of so many relationships.

    If you’re not tuned into Being Mary Jane, she finally kicked her back and forth beau for what may seemingly be the last time. But honestly it made me sad. I felt like the demise of their love really just came from pride, ego, and lack of communication. Things that in my estimation are all able to be fixed. But I’m off on a tangent, I was supposed to fill you on briefly on my Mary Jane reference.

    Nonetheless, the brunch brought out such a diverse group of women which I truly appreciate. Everyone is at a completely different point in their life from married, single, long-term relationship, divorced, etc. And this made for an amazing conversation and the opportunity for mentorship to take place which is so awesome to see. I love the idea of learning from different generations, which is why I hate narrowing my events to a demographic. We had women from 19 to 40+ and when we talk about these type of life situations, I believe that variety is key.

    We talked about being able to be vulnerable in relationships, not giving too much before marriage, how pride and ego will keep you from saying sorry and much more. At the end of the day, yes we should certainly have self-worth and esteem, but I feel those things are very different from being prideful. A prideful person cannot truly let love in to manifest. It’s a wall, period and keeps people every day from really finding the joy that comes with loving others. Even if not romantically, I am talking family, friends, co-workers, and the like.

    To make this easiest, here are a few things that pride can lead to when you don’t even think about it:

    • Unforgiveness – Your pride won’t let you forgive because you think “How will it make me look?” “I don’t want to look weak.”
    • Missing Out – You think so highly of yourself that you won’t participate in anything that isn’t of your “caliber” and could miss some of the best life experiences.
    • Being Right – Your pride leads you to believe that being right is all that matters, when you’ve hurt feelings, said mean things, etc. to prove that you were right.
    • Stubbornness – You are not fluid and willing to change your mind or to essentially grow. Detrimental to any relationship.

    One of the things I LOVE about this brunch is the feedback that women felt comfortable to share, like there was no judgment and that the responses were so positive. This my friends is the validation to keep going! This means so much to me to provide a safe space for women to share about love and personal growth. I mean we even made a potential love connection at the restaurant. LOLOL. (We encouraged an attendee to approach a gentlemen she struck up conversation with at the bar.)

    But really I hope that we can continue to come together quarterly and grow. The next brunch will be in June. Stay tuned!

    Below are the joy journal questions if you would like to answer on your own:

    1. Do you let a single moment of understanding poison hundreds of loveable moments?
    2. Relationship never dies a natural death. They are murdered by ego, attitude, and ignorance. (Your response to this statement. Do you agree, disagree?)
    3. Do you love people more than they know because you’re too prideful to show it all?
    4. Think of one way that pride appears in your life and what you can do to help fix it. 
  • 5 Things I Know For Sure - Tyece Wilkins

    As a part of the Growing Into Grace series, I decided to give you all some pearls of wisdom from some of my favorite bloggers as well! Oprah recently released her book, "What I Know For Sure" and I think it's so fitting for this month's focus on the life lessons I've collected as I grow into the woman I want to become. So over the next few weeks, you will hear from an awesome lineup of women about five things they know for sure! 

    Tyece is the fearless creator of Twenties Unscripted. Her award–winning blog started out as a sounding board for the adventures of a twenty something navigating through life and has slowly evolved into much more. Her words are inspiring but not with any sugar coating. She speaks on the hard work it takes to build a brand, general life experiences and even recently launched an important, multi-faceted piece on The War Against Black Women’s Bodies.

    What I love about Tyece’s writing is that she is unapologetic. And although she is still navigating her way through this thing called life, I love how poignant her points were! I think they’ll definitely resonate with you all. Take a look at the 5 Things She Knows for Sure.

    Tyece Wilkins, Twenties Unscripted

    1. Life is full of contradictions. This is always my first and absolute truth, the one thing I pull out of my back pocket when people ask my very green 25-year-old self what I know for sure. We arrest ourselves every time we think life is purely black or white, every time we refuse to see the color and complexity of most situations.

    2. The Universe always knows before you do. As bright and forward-thinking as I consider myself to be, I can’t count how many times I’ve misjudged a person or situation. Life has a way of always coming full circle, revealing why certain people came into our lives, why others left, why we didn’t get that job or opportunity and why we didn’t get a chance to say that thing that was on the tip of our tongue.

    3. Prevention is easier than the cure. My good friend Erica Nichole of EverythingEnJ told me this about a year ago, and it’s a lesson I keep learning the hard way. Sometimes it feels good to play with fire. Sometimes it feels exciting to toy with dangerous situations. But the fall-out can sting for a long time. As much self-discipline as it takes to sometimes walk away from something that you know will be delicious in the short-term, it’s usually always easier than having to clean up your mess.

    4. There is not any substitute for hard work. No amount of networking or schmoozing or worrying your way through a situation will replace buckling down and doing the work that’s required.

    5. To whom much is given, much is required. Every time I think I am doing something with my life and I want to twerk ferociously out of celebration, I remember that I am only giving back what the Universe has given to me. I have been blessed with family, friends, health, stability, ability and sensibility. I am not doing anything special; I am doing what the cosmos has asked of me.

  • Growing into Grace – Sexy and Classy

    I’m sure I haven’t experienced the last time I’ll be called a prude. Lol. I remember when I was in high school my now best friend would buy me sexy clothes for birthdays and they would find their way to the weeeee back of my dresser drawers. Being extra sexy has never been my thing. Sometimes to a fault for sure but back in the day especially, I would take a pair of Nikes over ballerina flats in a minute.

    But as I grow, I most certainly have embraced my womanhood. I am no longer self-conscious of my breasts somewhat being the biggest thing on my body. I don’t care that I am not included in the popular body aesthetic currently that has women looking like lollipops with tiny legs and humongous derrieres. I kind of like me just the way I am.

    But what I am growing weary of is the hyper sexualized time we live in. I literally can’t imagine how hard it is to convince a young girl today that she doesn’t have to show everything she has to be popular. I am all for women feeling more liberated, but how did that become no longer caring about maintaining a bit of class?  

    I remember when I used to shop with my mom that I would want to get some of the things that the other girls my age were wearing like halter tops and that type of thing. And she would always say to me “You can wear that type of thing when you can handle the attention that comes with it.” Of course I would always be so pissed and didn’t understand what that meant at all. But it was my first experiences of being a young woman and growing into my body and seeing the way that men responded to me that showed me she was absolutely right.

    Yes we want to dress freely and we should have our rights and all that. But the bottom line is, people are constantly going to judge you by how you look. You have to put on a certain type of clothing when you go to work right? Well what’s wrong with wearing a certain type of clothing so that people will take you seriously or so that men will respect what’s in your head?

    There is NOTHING wrong with being sexy, I repeat, nothing wrong with it. But I have learned that more is more in the grand scheme of things. I’ve never had to compete for the attention of men by wearing less clothing. I’ve always been approached even wearing my cargos or Polo shirts which I love. Sometimes mystery honestly goes a long way.

    I’ve always liked to show my back instead of having tons of cleavage or show my shoulders. For me, those are the things I find sexy to share. I even love the trend of high waist pants and crop tops, showing just a bit of stomach or sometimes showing off these track legs. Those things in my opinion are sexy without trying too hard and sexy in a way that I will attract the type of man I actually want. You can’t want one thing and do everything to attract something else.

    We can embrace our bodies, love our bodies and show them in ways that we want. But we cannot ignore the implications of our choices and worst be mad about how people around us respond to us. I have learned that I can be sexy, without being a prude about it and I can be sexy and classy. They can co-exist together for sure!

    What have become some of your favorite ways to show off your sexiness? 

  • First | Episode 2, S2 - The First Love Story

    Now we all know we were left hanging wondering why this chick Nikki was at Charles’ front door. Then there had the nerve to be technical difficulties. But let me just say that this episode was so beautifully done. Always the music slays my life first and foremost. And the voiceover was so poignant.

    We get an inside glimpse into what really happened between Nikki and Charlie. And it was surprisingly charming. I mean I am clearly rooting for him and Robin, but this episode was important because closure ends up being so important for most people to properly move on.

    Let me tell you it completely sucks when it’s not a catastrophe that drives you apart but the subtle things. Another reason that I love this show is because it depicts VERY real life situations. The wedges that come in between couples are sometimes wider than the love that those two people share with each other and that is not always easy to get over.

    We can see why Charlie might be so guarded towards Robin, afraid to be hurt again. He also seems to have a habit of masking his feelings instead of saying, “Don’t Leave.” Which I guess can be selfish, but at the same time, the person then at least knows where you are coming from. But I digress.

    You can’t let your past stop you for sure. I hope that with this chapter closed, the relationship between Robin and he can flourish. But that would be too easy right? LOL. There has to be some more drama!

    I know I wasn’t the only one thinking that Robin was going to be on the other end of that door at the end though right? Lol. I was like oh no! But I’m glad that it was the friend instead of causing some extra unnecessary drama.

    Life surely does go on doesn’t? Love is not easy. It’s full of tough decisions and full of battles. You have to fight for want you want. If not, it will surely evade you and go on.

    Next Episode is March 25th! 

    I loved their listing of the things that they loved about each other. Have you ever thought about what you love about your significant other? I dare you to list it in the comments. Haha. I will go first!

    -        I love his generosity.

    -        I love his faith in God.

    -        I love his dimples.

    -        I love when I make him laugh.

    -        I love his strength and resilience

    -        I love how he cares for me.