Neighborhood stroll...

Neighborhood stroll…

Over the weekend as I was walking to the post office to send my mother a letter (yes, we do that sometimes lol) I found myself staring up at the buildings around me-not only in slight disbelief that I am living this life, but also in slight disgust. There’s a substantial part of my being who despises paying rent, utilities and other money-pits that are offering me zero return or incentives. Reluctantly, sometimes I include college tuition/loans in this category as well. And that’s when I got to thinking…
Americans have got the game messed up.
When you look at other cultures in the world, African, Middle Eastern and Asian included, many require their young adults to continue living with them well into their adult years. They desire their youngest contributing members of the community to work, earn decent livings and save their money for many of life’s milestones that have yet to come. These will include marriage, children, and the eventual responsibility of the family’s elderly.
In addition they also encourage their children to work hard and find a vocation. By the time many of these kids are enrolled in somebody’s college, if they ultimately wind up attending college, they have a great idea of what they need to get out of it so that minimal time is wasted.
Here in America, the culture tells you to enjoy high school, then immediately enroll in some form of overpriced higher education that is supposed to eventually support the rest of your life-long endeavors, hopes and dreams. There’s a great chance that you will enroll in a program that you probably haven’t given the most thought to because who’s able to make those sort of life-long decisions when you’re just a kid yourself? Upon graduation your parents are kicking you out of the door, cutting off your insurance and wishing you good luck.
But what if American culture coddled their young adults a bit more? Allowed them to take a break after high school to really consider what working life is like? Would they not make better choices when it came time to picking a school, major and other activities? What if the young adults could hold off paying rent a little longer? Were encouraged to pay a light or cable bill, keep gas in their cars and be given enough time to adequately figure out the employment and relationship thing out? Because ultimately, in another 40 years or so it’s going to be these same parents relying on those kids to make sure they’re comfortable in their old age.
I guess I’ll continue to stew over this later this evening as I’m leaving a job/career I didn’t go to college for and consequently don’t see myself at long-term and to an apartment who’s rent is more than the average mortgage payment in my hometown.

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“What’s Love Got To Do With It?” Everything.

You had to have been living under a rock if you didn’t see a few of these memes late summer/early fall…

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I feel SO conflicted finding the humor in this…I’ve laughed at this more times than I’m comfortable admitting.

Because really, it’s not a laughing matter.  This really happened to somebody.  It happens to people.

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If this were a movie character, a made-up role created for entertainment, I might be able to laugh easier but even then…abusive relationships aren’t funny.  Unfortunately, this relationship really happened.

I don’t need to say much else.  Come on y’all, we gotta do better.

The Secret Behind That Tutu I Was Wearing On Instagram…

 

Over the weekend I wore this tulle skirt to a New York Fashion Week event.

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While the outfit felt incredibly obnoxious in the privacy of my own bedroom, once I was out walking the NYC streets, you couldn’t tell me I was anything less than fierce!  Folks’ compliments didn’t help-it seemed like almost every woman I passed was ogling over the exceptional tutu.  As a pranced along throughout the evening, I was nearly convinced I was a princess!  :p

I’m here to let you in on a little secret…  Would you believe me if I told you I made it myself?  Yes, it is a DIY project.  This past spring I sat down and made my tulle tutu.

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I spent $20.  Yes, twenty dollars.

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Blake Von D posted the tutu tutorial awhile back and after closely following her directions, I had a masterpiece of my own.*

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As hard as it is to believe, it really is as simple as stated on her site.  The most difficult part of the entire process for me was deciding which color(s) of tulle I wanted!

Happy tutu-making ladies! XOXO

*While Blake ordered three rolls of black tulle, I thought I would make two tutus, so I ordered three rolls of wine tulle as well.  Unfortunately, when I started adding the black tulle to my elastic band (from an old pair of leggings), my skirt was still extremely sheer.  It was at that point I began adding pieces of wine tulle between the pieces of black.  My two-toned tutu took six rolls of tulle and I couldn’t be any happier with it!

Stop Telling Women To Smile

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“Now you know you are too pretty to not be smiling gorgeous!”

Walking quickly down the street, my thoughts interrupted, I glance towards the male voice.  I see a middle-aged man staring hard, smiling brightly, pleased that I acknowledged him.  I shoot him a terse smile as I continue walking past.

I find myself absorbed in my thoughts again.  “I’ve gotta hurry and make this train.  It’s running once every 10 minutes and I can’t afford to be late because…”

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“What’s wrong Honey? Why aren’t you smiling?”

Approaching the crosswalk, I see an older gentleman peering out of his driver’s side window.  He’s probably been watching me for a few moments now, waiting to say something witty.  I resist rolling my eyes and instead opt for a smirk accompanied by a slight hand wave.

Approaching the crosswalk I spot the train station a few paces ahead.  My brow furrows as I listen intently-is that the sound of an approaching train?  Am I going to make it?  “Oh God, please let this train be held up because right now…”

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“Hey ma!  Smile for me!  Your life can’t be THAT bad that you can’t smile.”

Rolling my eyes, I wonder, “Why won’t they leave me alone?”  This time I don’t bother turning around.  Instead I run across the street, down the stairs, swipe my metro card and just barely make my train.

Too many women experience this street harassment every single day.  While yes, a sincere compliment can brighten someone’s day, too many men take advantage of the opportunity and take things too far.  They completely turn her off.  It’s gender-based, demeaning and frustrating.

Smile 1Fortunately, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh feels similarly.   This Brooklyn-based artist has created “Stop Telling Women To Smile,” a project where she creates oil paintings of women, posts them in public spaces, and encourages them to fight back.

While the paintings are currently displayed in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, she has created a Kickstarter campaign to bring her project to other cities including (but not limited to) Atlanta, Kansas City, San Francisco and Baltimore.

I think this is AMAZING!  I believe more men should be held accountable for being obnoxious.  One way to do that is through awareness, which is exactly what Fazlalizadeh’s campaign is doing.  What do you think?  Ladies, are men’s “polite” cat calls getting out of hand? Men, do you think women are taking it too seriously?  Share your thoughts!

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Labor Day 2013: A Day In the Life of the Unemployed*

I’m here today to talk about my experience thus far as a member of the undercaste of America’s labor force.  This undercaste doesn’t have the liberty to complain about their unpaid, 30-minute lunch break that never seems to be long enough.  They also don’t have the option to attend protests about the country’s minimum-wage laws for America’s fast food workers either.  You want to know why?

I had to pay them a visit last month and we were given the option to watch an unemployment video or read the script.  This gentleman who was trying to date me exclaimed, "I aint tryin to read $h!t!  Where the video at?!"  Fail.

I had to pay them a visit last month and we were given the option to watch an unemployment video or read the script. This gentleman who I’d met only moments earlier and was trying to date me (it wasn’t happening) exclaimed, “I aint tryin to read $h!t! Where the video at?!” Fail.

This is because this undercaste is America’s unemployed.

Overall, when I’m honest with myself unemployment actually hasn’t been the worst thing in the world.  A perk of being registered with the unemployment office is that I’m able to collect my weekly unemployment checks.  Now granted, they are a mere fraction of what I was earning before, but something is better than nothing.  My rent’s paid every month!  (There is a yin to this yang however; perhaps I will share that another day.)

Since many know I’m unemployed, I’ve been questioned how I spend my time.  While my days do have their share of job-hunting and eating home-cooked meals, all while chatting with my girlfriends about our upcoming free plans for that week(end), a major part of my unemployment experience has been my rededication to my life’s first love, reading.

I read a lot.  When I was employed, it might have been four hours or so a day.  Now, at the very least it’s double.  With my increased reading, I’ve noticed my vocabulary has shifted a tad…I have more words to choose from, new ways to use old words and I have a bunch of new stuff to talk about.  Below, is an average day in my life as an unemployed reader lol.

  1. Wake up/read social networks for news that I missed while I was sleeping.  CNN is especially clutch for this.
  2. Shower/dress/breakfast (yes I get dressed even though I probably have nowhere to go except the store).
  3. Read social networking for more news I missed, and to get details/full articles I briefly learned of when I first woke up.
  4. It’s inevitable that one of the sites leads me to popular culture-now I’m reading celebrity news.
  5. I begin to feel guilty so I begin reading health/diet/wellness related news.
  6. I then feel guilty I’ve wasted my entire morning reading tons of nonsense so now I head over to Craigslist and start sending out resumes.
  7. I then head over to Indeed.com and other more professional sites and apply to jobs.
  8. It’s inevitable that I need to research one of the companies I’m about to send a cover letter/resume too, so I begin reading recent news articles about them.
  9. I now find myself reading current, updated business stories.
  10. It’s now late afternoon/evening and I recognize I’m getting hungry.  I head off for a store run and cook a nice dinner.
  11. Now I’ve realized I’ve spent all day bullcrapping and settle down to try to write something of substance for my blog and other sites.  Sometimes I’m successful, many times I’m not.
  12. I now am sick and tired of reading AND writing, so I turn on Netflix and watch a few hours of whatever show I’ve recently become obsessed with (Weeds has been my current obsession until Orange is the New Black comes back on).
  13. I now need to wind down so I pick up one of the actual books I’m trying to finish reading (right now I’m in the middle of both The New Jim Crow and The Four Agreements).
  14. I then hop back on social networking to catch up on any news I’ve missed throughout the day and read until I fall asleep.
  15. If I wake up in the middle of the night, *surprise surprise* I hop on social networking and read about some more news.

My life isn’t always the most exciting, but for right now, this chapter of my life, I’m managing to deal with it okay.  Many of my closest friends are in places of transition so we are able to offer each other uplifting words of encouragement, entertainment and good cheer.

So what about you?  What does Labor Day mean to you this year?

*This post was inspired by Shelby Stone-Steel

US Open!

Chillin while I'm sippin :)

Chillin while I’m sippin 🙂

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of attending the US Open.  An old friend was in town and asked me to tag along.  How could I say no?  Because I have no experience playing tennis unless we’re counting the lessons I took in high school gym class it was awesome that they are not only a tennis fan, but an avid player themselves.  Any questions I had were answered clearly and concisely, so I was able to not only understand, but enjoy, what I was watching.

Roger Federer is the little figure in the blue lol

Roger Federer is the little figure on the left in the blue lol

I was rooting for Heather Watson, the underdog in the blue dress.  She lost. :(

I was rooting for Heather Watson, the underdog in the blue dress. She lost. 😦

Speaking of watching, I witnessed the first major upset of the tournament when 17-year old American, Victoria Duval, beat a former champion, 29-year old Australian Samantha Stosur.

Her dress is from Venus Williams' EleVen line :)

Her dress is from Venus Williams’ EleVen line 🙂

Duval is Haitian-American, dominating in an area that has so little Black representation.  She had a team of her family and friends in the corner of the court going wild.  Seeing that open display of celebration was awesome.  It reminded me of the Gabby Douglass Olympic victory just last year and of Venus and Serena Williams’ tennis domination that is continuing, albeit slowing down.  I can see Duval being the next rising star in this game, walking down the path that Althea Gibson, the Williams sisters, and others have trailblazed for her.  It’s inspiring.

The Oil Pulling Bandwagon

If someone told you that swishing a tablespoon of unrefined, coconut oil around in your mouth for 5-20 minutes daily could detox your body, clear sinus congestion and drastically improve your dental hygiene would you believe them?

After trying oil pulling for the first time this morning, I do!

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I first came across an article touting the health benefits of oil pulling on a healthy living instagram page.  The article went into detail about many of the health benefits that can be achieved from swishing and pulling unrefined, high quality vegetable oils around your teeth for several minutes a day.  Among the benefits that stood out to me are as follows:

  • Whitens teeth
  • Clears up acne, psoriasis, eczema and other skin issues
  • Heals cavities, gum issues
  • Limits migraines and other aches and pains throughout the body

Initially oil-pulling was a bit uncomfortable as I waited for the gobs of solidified coconut oil to liquefy in my mouth.  After a minute or so, swishing became effortless; the oil reached every crevice so I felt like it was ridding my mouth of all toxins and bacteria.  After rinsing, my teeth felt incredibly clean-so much so that a post-pull flossing session yielded zero plaque-the flossing proved to be useless and unnecessary.  While I pulled for a mere six minutes this morning, I immediately noticed congestion had cleared and a sensitive molar that had been irritating me a bit had stopped bothering me.

I am excited to see what other changes I notice throughout my body in the coming weeks.  I’ve shared this information with my health-conscious cousins, Shelby and Mia, as neither of them had ever heard of it before.  They now are on board and will be testing these results along with me.  Will my seasonal eczema clear up?  Will acne no longer be a nuisance in my morning make-up routine?  Will flossing sessions continue to be in vain?  I can only hope so!