Monday, August 29, 2016

Hair Me Out!

Disclaimer:  Definitely talking more to my African-American readers today, but keep reading for some good info.  

I think it is safe to say Yung Joc won (or broke) the internet on Friday, August 26.  Don't believe me?  Well, all you have to do is a simple Google search and you will figure out exactly what I am talking about.  


Did you take a few minutes to go have a look, if you didn't already know?  Great!  If you didn't and just decided to keep on reading, I think I can sum it up pretty good for you. 

Yep, that's my tweet!  Sorry for messing up his name, but the way my phone is set up, it likes to spell things correctly.  Well, now we can get back to this post.  


For as long as time, the African-American culture has had an obsession for hair, in my opinion.  I'm only speaking for myself, but hair just seems to be pretty important.  When we are little, the person doing our hair gets to have the adventure of telling us to hold your ear, stop moving, or even give us an occasional slap on the hand (or shoulder) with a comb.  When you get a little bit older, the pain of the burn from the straightening comb turns into the pain of a chemical burn.  As you get older and can totally decide what you want to do with your hair (and probably pay for it yourself), you can either keep the perm or let your hair go back to its natural state.  

That's what I decided to do in 2013...I went natural.  In fact, you can see in my Twitter photo my hair in its natural state.  For me, I had absolutely no clue how my hair was going to turn out because my mom has naturally curly hair and my dad has naturally wavy hair.  I tried to not do the big chop, but my hair started breaking so I found it best to cut it all off. 

I thought I was going to be like my mom and have naturally curly hair, but then it got longer...and longer...and longer...and I noticed at each dramatic length, I had a different hair texture.  At my current, and maybe final length, my hair is extremely coily and I love it!  Don't get me wrong - I get a good arm workout each time I have to twist it and style it, but it's totally worth it!  I love the versatility of my natural hair.  If I want it straight, I can go get a blowout (because I don't have the patience to do it myself).  It I want to not really do anything to it, I can get in the shower (or use a spray bottle), wet it, use some product, and call it a day.  If I want a style, I take the time to do some twists and it can last for a few days.  Then, if I'm feeling really lazy, I will pay someone good money to give me a protective style to last me a few months.  Right now, I'm currently enjoying faux locs and I have about 2 months to go before I take them out.  So...why in the world is it so wrong for a man to want to change up his look, just like us ladies?

I wish I had an answer to that question.  Now don't get me wrong, I had a few good laughs.  Let's be real, some of the memes were (and quite frankly still are) pretty awesome.  However, now that I've had some time to think and see some other posts, I have a different conclusion.

Yung Joc did nothing no different than what I did so many years ago and what some women continue to do each day - make a change to their hair!  In fact, many men do this same thing, but nothing is ever said.  


For instance, James Brown was wearing a perm (or a wig) before my generation was even born.  Katt Williams is known for absolutely slaying the hair game at each of his performances.  And I think the last time we saw Michael Jackson's hair in its natural state was when he was with the Jackson 5.  I don't ever remember seeing any of them with hair looking like the photo to the left.  I mean, I could be wrong and if I am, please correct me.  However, even if you can find a photo, think about how many times you have actually seen them wear the style during a performance.  You might be able to count on one hand the number of times you saw their hair in their natural state.      

Main stream media, as well as our own mentality, wants us to see our men as thugs with nasty dreads or any other hair style that is deemed ugly or trashy.  Maybe that is why it is so hard for us to see them with any other style than those ugly or trashy styles.  I mean, personally, I'm a fan of locs, when they are properly maintained.  I'm thinking about doing it to my real hair, so why would I slam anyone who has them?  And anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a huge fan of the messy hair look (see photo to the right).  

I love getting up in the morning, shaking out my hair, and then heading into the office.  In fact, some of the women there tell me I am their motivation and that makes me extra proud of my melanin.  Although I have been working for the same organization for almost 5 years, I have only been primarily in an office setting for the last year.  Corporate America has a certain expectation when it comes to hair, but I am proud to work for an organization that accepts all hair types and even allows me to wear a head covering (in the form of a beautiful scarf) when my hair is just not cooperating.

So, I know when I need to be a big girl, and right now, I need to be that big girl.  Although he may never read this post and definitely probably not care to even know who I am, I want to sincerely apologize to Yung Joc.  Why?  Well, instead of just laughing at the madness, I joined in on it by retweeting a post on Twitter.  He didn't deserve that because he didn't do anything to me.  And ladies, seeing as how this whole natural thing is very new to us, we need to tread lightly.

  
I remember the start of my natural journey and one of my male cousins asked me why are you going around with a nappy head?  However, I had another male cousin tell me I like the change up!  Same bloodline, two totally different reactions.  Truthfully, my dad is still surprised I haven't gone back to the creamy crack, but he absolutely loves it when I wear my hair in bantu knots.  My mom is just in shock I cut my hair to begin with because I cut it when it was the longest it had ever been.

How about we do this - learn to embrace ourselves and all of the greatness of our versatile hair?  I guarantee you, if Yung Joc wanted to go back to a curl (or whatever is under the hair slay), all he has to do is get it wet!  Honestly, now that I've had the time to really look at it, I like it.  However, you know I like different looking stuff and this is truly different.  Hmmm....maybe you need to try something new.     

Photo credit: Shayla Em
Photo credit: WolfmanBlacque via Visual hunt / CC BY
Photo credit: ImagePros via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: DioBurto via Visualhunt / CC BY-ND
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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Decently confident

It has taken me some years for me to get to a point where I am ok with my body.  My body never stays the same, even though it stays within a certain size range.  My body isn't constant, and I have learned to deal with and dress for it!  Sometimes, I'm really bloated and I don't feel cute, no matter what I have on...so I will choose a dress.  Sometimes, I know I'm going out to eat, so I will wear certain jeans that will still look flattering even after having a burger.  Or maybe, I know I'm not going to be out long, so I will wear a cute pair of sweats and a cute t-shirt.  No matter the occassion, I still find a way to look presentable.  Another reason I always look presentable, I honestly never know where I am going to end up.  

Yesterday, I met up with some of my friends to go to a festival.  It was awesome, but it was also hot!  Jeans were not going to be my friend out there, so I decided to wear a cute sundress.  Well, another thing I didn't plan for was the wind.  The wind had me out there looking like Ms. Monroe at some moments, but at least I actually had on full panties.  Hey, there is a disclaimer right before you enter this site, so um...yeah...

Honestly, I think I looked cute yesterday.  Makeup was on, shoes were cute, and my crossbody bag just made it more awesome.  As I was leaving the festival, I had this thought - I wonder if i can find some shoes for another event?  Well, since I looked decent, I didn't mind stopping at one of my favorite little gems - Entourage!  

Entourage is a cute little boutique and it's just one of those places you just have to already look cute when you go inside.  I'm serious, it's just one of those places and I love it!  Well, ironically, the shoes I had on yesterday were purchased from that store.  As soon as I walked in, the manager recognized me and the shoes and complimented me and then I told her what I was looking for.  Unfortunately, they didn't have the shoes I was looking for yesterday, but I got something so much better - an extra boost of confidence.  


Although Entourage is launching a plus size line and I have already ordered from it online, not every store have them available for me to try on.  The manager, staff, and other shoppers could see me walking in and know I was not able to wear a single article of clothing in the store.  However, I still wasn't treated like a what are you doing in here person.  Grant it, I shop the store religiously for shoes, but the customers didn't know that.  I didn't get dirty looks.  I didn't get the eye rolls.  I was treated very well and I think there is another reason for that...

Skinny for fluffy, you have to know how to dress yourself and look presentable!  I'm so serious right now!  We know good and well that if you see someone out in public looking like they just got out of bed or someone in general who looks like they put absolutely no effort in getting dressed, we look at them with the why are you even in public face.  Don't act like you don't!!!  And if we are all honest with ourselves, we've gone out the house looking like that too...before we knew better!!!  

Presentation is everything.  You wouldn't be a chef and just send out a plate of food looking like it just fell on the floor.  You wouldn't be an architect and go out with the prototype for your design looking like a child put it together.  You wouldn't show up for an interview looking like you have no desire to get the job.  So, why would you go out anywhere looking like a bum?  Now, don't get me wrong, you will catch me having a bum moment.  However, if my friends decide they want to go out, please understand that I'm going to change clothes before we head out.  

Another reason to go out looking decent at all times, you never know who you are going to see out in public.  People can see you from a distance and you not even know it!  But let me assure you one thing, they are going to talk about you from a distance too.  We've all done it and it's also been done to us.  

What is today's lesson?  Look nice!!!  I'm not talking about wearing makeup and looking like you just stepped off a runway every single day, but look like people wouldn't mind being seeing out in public with you.  Forget other people, look decent for yourself. If you feel confident, it will show and no one will be able to stop your confidence! 

Outfit details:
Dress: Vera Wang from Kohl's
Earrings: Diva Dezynes
Shoes: Entourage

Photo credit: My wonderful friend via my phone! 

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Red Bulls Eye

It is not a big secret that one of my absolute favorite places to shop is Target!  I love Target!  I love going in there for my cleaning supplies, some snacks, plastic cutlery to take to work, and even to grab me a frap from Starbucks.  If you notice, clothing was not on that list...until now.  

Target was just not on my radar when it came to clothes, but my amazing friend has changed my mind!  I told her I can't wear jeans from Target and she took that as her personal mission to help me find some jeans from Target.  Well, this weekend was the weekend I had been waiting for - a shopping adventure with my friend and OMG, it was so worth it.  I didn't end up buying jeans, but I did get some good pieces!  

There is nothing more fabulous than a cute top.  I mean, your jeans, shoes, and accessories can be on point, but if your top is not right, there is a problem!  Tops pull together outfits, in my opinion, because they are the first thing people pay attention to!  I was able to get lucky over the weekend and score some beautiful tops from Target.  Now, I won't be mentioning labels right now, but you know when I start wearing these gems, you can find all the details on my Instagram page!  



Just because I want to have some element of surprise on my Instagram page, I'll just give you a hint of what I found over the weekend.  I'm not a big fan of flower prints.  Honestly, I think the print itself has a tendency to be a bit too much for me.  However, this shirt I found really stood out to me and I am really glad I tried it on.  Had I just looked at it on the hanger, I would have not even considered bringing this top out of the store.  On the other hand, my friend insisted I try on the top and she was absolutely right - it looked great on me and I am so happy I took the risk with the florals.  I have to admit though, I honestly loved the back of this shirt before I tried it on.  It just looks like something I would wear for a couple of reasons - I like different cutout sections in tops and I like tops that show my tattoo (because it is my first and favorite).  I think I'll save the photo of the back of the shirt for a later post!  


So, let's talk about these jeans.  I'm curvy and I'm short.  Typically, those things don't mix well in the plus size designer world.  I avidly shop at Old Navy for jeans and will continue to do so!  However, it feels good to know that if I cannot get to an Old Navy but there is a Target near by, I can find a pair of jeans to fit my plus body.  I was so excited to be able to wear these jeans, but it didn't start out like that.  

I'm my rush to try on clothes, I thought I grabbed the size 20 jeans.  By they way, the jeans in Target are cut smaller, so you will have to go up a size (I typically wear an 18).  Well, I was trying to zip the jeans and my heart dropped because I couldn't get them zipped.  As I was taking them off, I discovered I had tried on the size 18.  Oops!  Don't worry, the size 20 fit perfectly fine and felt good on my legs!  

Yes, the legs!!!  Truthfully, that is why I love Old Navy jeans so much because they fit me in the wait, the butt, and the legs.  For me, it is really hard to find that combination so when I found it, I stuck with it!  I'll continue to stick with it, but I also know Target is an option.  As you can see in the photo, I am having the typical problem I have being a short girl - the jeans are too long!  Don't worry, there is a wonderful lady in my city who takes care of all of my clothing alteration needs!  I keep her in business!  

Of course, I had to try on a dress!  I didn't walk out the store with this summer style, but it was definitely right up my alley!  I love tie dye.  I don't know where I get it from, but it just makes me happy!  My mom will even buy me tie dye gear because she knows my love for it.  Maybe I like it so much because it is different and so am I!  This dress felt good on me and I didn't feel like I was being cute in half.  I would definitely call that a win!  



Now that I've had some help shopping in Target, I can honestly say I will start paying more attention to their plus size clothing selection.  Also, don't knock the maternity section!  I found a cute top in that section and it is hanging in my closet right now.  No shame in my game.  If it is cute, I can wear it, and I can afford it, then more than likely it is coming home with me!  Another thing, I will also be checking out their bathing suit selection next summer!  I found a cute 2 piece (that wasn't a tankini) and I was actually shocked at how flattering it was on my body.  Nope, you will not be seeing a photo, but maybe next year.  

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised at all of the things I was able to find in a store I only use for the things previously mentioned.  I had definitely been sleeping on the plus size selection in Target, but I won't make that mistake again.  Now, I know this store might not be for you!  We all have different styles in clothing and that is fine.  In fact, it is the differences that make life so perfect.  So, whatever store you go to, happy shopping and I hope you find what you are looking for...and then some! 

And as promised, let me say a special thank you to Hope!  She was the lady working the fitting room area and she was so patient because we had to keep swapping out items because they have a 10 item limit.  She was absolutely wonderful and so helpful!  Yes, I know that she will probably never see this, but I have to give credit where credit is due! 

Photo credit: All taken by my amazing friend on my phone! 

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Fall into Fall

It is absolutely no secret that my favorite season is Winter.  I love Winter and Winter loves me.  I was blessed enough to be born in the Winter.  If I'm lucky, I will see some snow flurries and everything will shut down (except for my job).  If I'm really lucky, I'll get trapped in NC at the house of my parentals and my mom will make me some snow cream.  I just love the Winter and I cannot tell you that enough.  But, this post isn't about Winter, but instead about the season that carries us over into winter - Fall (or Autumn, depending on how you are feeling).  

I have a love/hate relationship with Fall.  Sometimes, I can get through the season perfectly fine and only have to worry about getting my wardrobe ready.  Then there are those times when I get the most horrible fall allergies and I just want to stay in the house and watch the leaves change.  I love the fall because I like it getting dark a little bit early, but then again I hate it because the most horrible drivers come out at night!  I hate fall because people get a little sense of a chill in the air and they turn on the heat, but I love fall because of that little chill in the air.  See?  It's just a weird relationship.  However, there is one thing I know for certain - Fall is upon us and we must be prepared.  

Let's go ahead and get this one out of the way - who's ready for some football?!?!?!  I know I am!  In September, I already have plans for an event and the theme is favorite football jersey.  I already know what jersey I will be wearing - #HTTR!  College football and pro football call my name!  Quite frankly, it takes a lot for me to not be in front of a TV during football season.  


Ok, so football is not the only reason to enjoy this cooler season change.  I love the sights and smells of Fall.  It is fair time!  Truth be told, I don't have to ride a thing - I just need to find me some cinnamon donuts and lemonade (which is basically lemon flavored sugar) and I will be perfectly fine.  Just the smell of the fair makes me happy!  I love being around all the people and listening to the screams of the people who realize they made horrible decisions getting on certain rides.  

Want to know another smell I enjoy?  Pumpkin spice!  Lawd, I cannot wait for Starbucks to bring back my favorite seasonal flavor.  I keep money loaded on my Starbucks app just for emergencies!  (Yes, it is that serious).  Another thing I enjoy is flavored coffee and hot cocoa!  I would add tea to this list, but I drink hot green tea year round (thanks, Lipton)!  

Alright, now let's get to the real reason you probably came to this blog - beauty and fashion.  Since I am going to devote a post later on totally to fashion, I'll keep this section simple.  It's time for a basic wardrobe change!  Of course, keep the jeans, but it's time to change up the shirts to fall colors.  Shoe game is going to be awesome because boots are going to be added to the outfit agenda.  And there is nothing better than a cute little jacket to putt everything together.  Like I said, since I'm devoting a post in the next week entirely to a shopping adventure, I'll just stop this one right here.  Let's move on to beauty!  

Peeps, I know you do not want to, but you are probably going to have to change some, if not all, of your makeup.  Eye shadows will more than likely remain (especially if you are like me and have so many colors).  Depending on if you just have a signature lip color, those may change for you too.  However, foundations and concealers will probably have to be changed.  How do I know this?  Well, over the weekend, I had to go get a new concealer.  It's just what happens.  The summer is fading and so are those tans (yes, I know I have a natural tan, but I do tan and I do burn and it is a horrible experience for me)!  Set aside some money, find a color that works for you, and then stock up for the fall and winter.  

My final reason I love falling into Fall so much is life change!  This is my semiannual life cleanse.  It falls perfect for me because although I'm born in the Winter, my birthday is near the end of the season.  I get to do another life cleanse during my second favorite time of the year - Fall!!!  My life cleanse is simple - purge the people, places, and things (basically the nouns) that are no longer good for me, re-evaluate my wellness, and make some changes.  I know it may sound simple, but it most definitely is not.  I actually put a lot of time into this process because it can be difficult to let go of the nouns, especially people, but when you know they are not good for you - YOU MUST LET THEM GO!!!  I don't care of you used to hang out in the crib (not the house, an actual crib) together.  No two people are on the same path and many times, the same people you started the journey with are not going to be there with you when it ends - not because of death, but because life takes twists and turns.  

I'm thrilled Fall starts is about a month!  I'm ready for cooler temperatures, evenings on my patio, and cool walks!  Plus, my power/gas bill will go down and I love saving me a little bit of money! 

Photo credit: sarae via VisualHunt / CC BY-ND 
Photo via Visualhunt.com 
Photo via VisualHunt

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Grow Up

Disclaimer:  There are some religious references in this post.  Just fyi, I'm a Christian!  


Life is one heck of an adventure!  It's a daily roller coaster with all the twists, turns, flips, dips, and motion sickness we can handle.  Then we get up the next morning (or night depending on your work and sleep schedule) and do it all over again.  Not every twist, turn, flip, and dip is going to be fun though.  It's those not so fun times where we are supposed to learn a lesson.  Unfortunately, not everyone uses the opportunity wisely and allows the bad moments to keep repeating to the point there are no more good moments to keep up with them.  Is that really the type of life you want to live?  If you answered yes to this question, I advise you to change your thinking and to keep reading (but only if you want to change).  If you are good with your miserable status quo, honestly, I pity you.  If you cannot find some type of goodness somewhere in 16 hours (I got that number since we are supposed to get 8 hours of sleep a night), then you really do have a problem.  

Life comes fast and in a lot of ways.  You can be fighting with your family, have bills on top of bills, friends that are awesome, friends that annoy you (which I like to call acquaintances because I try not to hang out with people who unnerve me), and the absolute unexpected (and that comes in many forms).  It's how you handle the situation that builds up your character and more important, it is what you learn from the situation that will hopefully keep you from repeating the past.  Now, if the past has been good to you and you are happy, keep doing what you are doing.  However, if you keep doing the same thing of the past and looking for a different result, you are actually the definition of insane and that might just be a problem.  


Families fight!  If you have siblings, you know this all too well!  If you have a large family of cousins, you know this all too well!  If you have two parents, you know this all too well.  It is a fact of life that not everyone is going to get along all of the time.  Take some space (whether that is 1 hr, 1 day, week, month, or year) and just let time do what it is supposed to do.  That's where some of us go wrong, we try to rush the healing process and for what?  For the same thing to happen again and you haven't healed from the first episode of madness so it drives you deeper into a mood.  Tell me, where exactly did that just get you because I would really like to know.  However, during this time of space, enjoy that time!  That's your time to move on and it the friendship is meant to be, it will work itself out.  Yes, family can be friends too - that part is a choice.  Nah, you cannot pick who you are related to, but friendship is totally optional.  One last thing - forgiveness is key.  Here is where people get confused...forgive them, yes, let them do it to you again, nope!  Remember that thing about being friends with your family?  It's not always going to work out like that and you just have to accept it.  Actually, you need to accept it.  If you are the black sheep, except your status.  If you are the one that no one likes to be around, accept your status (but at the same time, see what you can do to change that). There is nothing worse than you wanting to be around people and then wishing you would hurry up and leave.  



Finances are a beast!  We were so excited to grow up and be adults, but here is where a few of us got off track - this whole adulting thing meant making your own money, the government taking some of it before it even gets to you, and then (depending on your pay schedule) you have to figure out how to make you money last until you get paid again.  This is where you have to learn to have and keep a budget, but some of us are not quite good at that either.  For instance, stop trying to keep up with the people around you.  If you can't go out to eat, don't go out to eat!  If you know you cannot afford to go shopping, don't shop!  I mean, if your friends are going out and you want to tag along, fine, but don't be mad when they are coming out of the store with bags and you are not.  Quite frankly, I love window shopping and then splurging when things go on sale.  And when it comes to clothes, I love me some coupons and shopping apps!  You have to make your wardrobe, makeup, food, and whatever else that costs money (which is basically everything) fit in your budget.  I love to use the phrase baller on a budget because that is exactly what I am.  

On the other hand, you won't find me out here budgeting backwards either.  For instance, don't decrease your allowance for one thing just to add foolishness to the list.  Also, learn the difference between a want and a need - I promise you it will get you a long way.  Now, splurging is something totally different.  If you have saved up and you want that 300 dollar pocketbook, go get it!!!  


This is already personal (because it's my blog - LOL), but let me make this all the way personal.  I want a pet.  I want a pet so bad that I call my friend's dog my dog.  I have even tried to get my dad to get a dog just so I can have a pet when I go visit my parents!  But guess what I don't have in my place?  A pet!!!  Why?  That's an extra expense I do not need right now.  Pets have to eat, need a place to sleep, a cage for travel, food, toys, and health insurance because pets do get sick!  Yes, I'm fully aware that I probably missed some things.  And then, some of you have steps and need a baby gate so your clumsy pet don't go falling down the steps and adding a trip to the pet urgent care to your monthly expense report.  Why add an expense that you don't need to your budget?  Unless you need a pet for medical purposes, have all the seats and stop wasting!!! 

Yall, we are going to have bad days.  Today, if truth be told, a couple of my hours at work were rough today.  A project I was working on wasn't cooperating with me and my computer had even started to say nope!  I literally had to get up from my desk and walk outside just to clear my head.  I even sent a text to my dear friend telling her about my work tantrum.  But guess what I did after that?  I moved on!!!  That project isn't going to finish itself!  Yes, take a step back and have a negative moment, but please do not turn that moment into a lifestyle.  Believe me when I tell you this - people do not want to be around that and people are not going to be around all that negative energy!  I'm quick to drop off the face of the earth when it comes to some people because I'm not going to deal with their foolishness (and that can be any number of things).    

If you are constantly complaining about your life, do something to change it.  If you are looking at your friends and their friendships and relationships and you sitting there thinking I wish I had what they had, then do something to change it.  If you are constantly focusing only on negative things in your day, I invite you to take a moment and remember that you are able to read this post.  That means, you have your sight and someone is not having to read this to you.  I think that's pretty positive.  However, if you just cannot find the positive in your life, I suggest you learn what it is like to live life alone because that is probably how it is going to be...unless you find someone to hang out with that is just as negative as you!  Why are you going to find yourself alone?  Well, most people don't like to be dragged down.  Also, most people are not going to allow themselves to be dragged down.  If you are a negative weight, you are probably not going to last in any circle of friends for a long period of time.  

Life is not easy, but I think it is worth the ride.  I have so many stories I could tell you in my short years on this planet, but I don't have the time!!!  With as much stuff that is not already easy about life, why would you want to add more on top of it?  I'm not trying to.  Yes, I know there are some things I have brought on myself (and you have too), but I'm learning to not keep stacking plates I'm just going to eventually drop.  I have found things to help me out along this journey and I would like to share a few of them with you.  


1 - I found a hobby.  Obviously, I love to write.  I also love to crochet.  Ok, I found a few hobbies!  If I am having a negative moment, I can usually write in my journal and feel a lot better.  I can also make a blanket in record time if I'm stressed and just need some quiet time.  Another thing I love to do when I'm feeling the negative pinch - I love to clean my place!  Just the fresh smell helps to calm my nerves.  Ok, cleaning is a habit to me, but I just wanted to share it.  Also, I love listening to music.  I can dock my iPod to its base or I can't put in some headphones and drift away.  It doesn't much matter to me! 

2 - Find a positive in everything!  My son was born still.  If you are a youngster and you don't know what that means, go have a chat with an adult.  As you can imagine, that was a horrible day!  Quite frankly, it's been some horrible years.  Where is the positive in that?  I'm glad you asked - my son's death is actually part of my story of salvation and I have been able to help a friend from college cope with the loss of her daughter.  I think getting a closer relationship with God and helping someone are both pretty positive.

3 - Therapy and medication!  I've done both and I'm still on medication for anxiety.  I'm cool with that.  If it is helping me, I'm fine with it.


 
I'm not saying one or all of these things are going to help you, but please find something to help your life be a little easier.  The more positive you are, the more positive energy will be around you, and the more people will want to be around you.  It's a fact!  I know magnets repel if a positive gets near a positive, but I can promise you it won't happen when it comes to people.  So, take this daily roller coaster and enjoy the ride.  Life's way too short to not be enjoying all the opportunities for happiness you have in front of you.    

Photo via Visual hunt
Photo via Visual hunt
Photo via Visual hunt 
Photo credit: 401(K) 2013 via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA 
Photo credit: mgrayflickr via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA 

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

I'm listening

Disclaimer:  I don't talk about my religion often, but I just have to share this experience with you.  I am of the Christian faith.  If you think this post may offend you, please stop reading and just wait until I get back to my regular blogger madness.  For those of you brave of enough to continue, here goes...

For the past couple of months, some of the really close people in my circle have known I have been torn about my current church home.  And just for the record, this was going on long before the church drama that recently occurred started.  I was feeling out of place.  Not disconnected, just out of my element.  Truth be told, I was in the process of looking for a new church and then this really great thing happened.  



I do my best thinking in the shower, even if I am listening to music while in there. The other evening, after having a fun night with my friends, I heard a small voice speak and tell me be still, the work is not complete yet.  So, skeptics and believers alike are probably thinking but how do you know that small voice was talking about church?  Well, I have several reasons to think that.  


Let me clear this up, I know that small voice was the holy spirit speaking to me.  It isn't the first time it has happened, but this is the quietest it has happened.   

My main reason for knowing the holy spirit was speaking to me about church was because my job is going fantastic.  Seriously, I couldn't be happier going to work.  I have an awesome boss, my coworkers are cool, and the office itself is one of the chillest places ever.  Nothing is wrong at work and that makes me so happy to be able to go to work and actually enjoy going to work.  

My second reason is a little bit longer.  I do several things at church.  I co-lead a small group (which is essentially a Bible study group).  I also write some of the devotionals that are posted on the church website.  In fact, I have one due tomorrow.  So, let's start with the devotionals.  As you can see, I truly love to write.  Writing for the church allows me to connect more with my spiritual side.  Believe me, after some of the days I have, I need a little bit more than just some quiet time with Jesus - I need to write!  This gives me a chance to do so.  The really cool part is that most of the assignments I am given are right in line with what I need to be learning at the moment.  Funny how that happens, but at the same time, it really isn't because I know it is the holy spirit.  When it comes to the small group, my reasons for staying go so much deeper.  Some moments, I'm scared the group will not stay together if I leave.  I'm sure we will have remain to have relationships with each other, but I know I won't be seeing them each Saturday that we have scheduled to meet if I were to leave.  There would not be this feeling of I have to make sure these ladies are ok this week.

Please understand, I love everything about being a co-leader for this group, but partially caring for the spiritual well-being of other people is a tall order.  I'm responsible for not only my spiritual well-being, but the well-being of those who have trusted me with that (and right now, that is about 8 other people).  If I were to leave, I would be concerned about missing important events in their lives.  But at the same time, if they really wanted me there, they also know I'm just a phone call or a text away.  Then, there is this feeling of if I were to leave the church, I would basically be breaking up with some of the people in my group.  Don't get me wrong, there have been people who have left the church and I still am in contact with them.  I don't talk to them or see them as much as I would like, but we are still in contact.  However, at the same time, I admit I stay in contact with the people I want to stay in contact with.  That one is a bit of a double edge sword, but I will direct you to my post about being an introvert to help you understand the madness a little bit more.  


There are a few more things, but those will remain between God and I.  It's weird because those nearest to me know exactly what I have been going through and now those who read this will know too.  However, this has just been a hard process and I know that God is not done with me or the journey He currently has me on.  It has been a rough few months concerning this issue, but I am thinking since He has spoken to me very softly and clearly, He was just reminding me that He is working in a mysterious way. 

If it weren't for some of my close friends (that I basically talk to every single day), I honestly think I would have lost it by now.  I love the fact I have close friends who understand me and accept me for who I am, even on those days when I feel all over the place.  

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Photo credit: Jonah Short via Visual hunt / CC BY 
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

No Vacancy

To this very day, I still feel bad when I'm not available to people.  I can have a hundred things going on, but if a person says they need me, I try to make myself available.  I know, that's not the healthiest thing in the world to be doing, but I have just always tried to make sure I help as many people as I can.  However, I've learned there are some people who are never going to return the favor.  Those are the people you have to love from a distance.  You still support them, but you cannot let their madness get in the way of what you are doing.

I'm learning to be a little bit more selfish with my time and energy.  I want to make sure I devote time to The Plus Diaries and everything I have going on under that umbrella (blog, podcast, and other projects).  Of course, I work a day job, so I have to have energy for that!  Bills have to be paid.  Then I have a pretty solid circle of friends I hang out with.  I make sure to do my bullet journal page each day.  On top of those friends, I have a group of young ladies I have the pleasure of leading in a small group for church.  There are other things too, like my TV time and sleep, but those times vary.  

I think I get annoyed when I see myself pouring out so much, but yet I see so little coming my way in return.  This next statement goes for any relationship you are trying to have, whether it is true love, just a friendship, coworkers, whatever you can think of where it is two or more people - if you feel like you are doing almost everything and you need a break, take a break!  Seriously, step back and take some time for yourself.  You've earned it.

 
In my writing life, I'm known for taking a break around this time of year.  I'm trying not to do that this year because I want to stay in contact with all of you.  However, I have learned to take small breaks throughout the year, and I am not just talking about holidays.  

Burn out is real!  If you feel like it is happening to you, do something else for a little while or take small steps back from what is burning you out.  It's really bad when something you used to enjoy feels like a job and it was just a hobby.  That's not fair to the people around you and it's definitely not fair to you. Being burned out basically means you've earned a break, so take it!  

Here is what I enjoy most about everything I do - I actually enjoy it!  I don't just decide to do something and then stick with it because it is profitable and because it can make me famous.  I do it for the love of it.  I make blankets because it feels good to make something I know someone is going to be able to use to keep them warm or even comfort them.  I enjoy blogging and staying on social media because I absolutely love connecting with you and this is a safe place for me to express myself.  I enjoy my bullet journal because on a bad day, I can look back on a good day and find some happiness.  

That's what it's all about - finding happiness even if it is just for a small moment.  Find that place.  When you feel down, go back to that place.  But never let the madness of other people pull you out of a place you have worked very hard to get to.  Take a hiatus, even if it is from your family and friends.  Length of time for the hiatus?  That is up to you, but I will admit, in some cases it may be forever.  Grow during your hiatus.  You might just realize what or who you thought you needed isn't what you needed at all. 

Things to do on your hiatus:
1 - Grow
2 - Daycation
3 - Staycation
4 - Do something for yourself you haven't done in a long time
5 - Take care of you
6 - Look at the beauty in everything around you
7 - Be happy

Sometimes we need the hiatus to really see what is going on around us so we can take our next steps in life.  Slowing down let's you see things really fast.  Why don't you give it a try?

Photo credit: kevin dooley via Visual hunt / CC BY
Photo via Visual hunt 
Photo credit: taz + belly via Visualhunt / CC BY

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

4'10"

Think back to a time in your life when the only thing you wanted to focus on was the task at hand.  Have you thought about it?  Good.  Let me tell you about a few of mine.

Last year, I needed to keep my nerves in check because I was doing makeup for a bridal party.  Small wedding, but I still needed to be on point.  Talk about focusing on other people and not letting them see you sweat, even when I had to do the flower girls.  All the times I've had job interviews, I focused on answering the questions to the best of my ability.  When I had a piano recital, I made sure I hit every single key in perfect rhythm.  Was I nervous?  Of course, but then I got steady and got to a place where it was just me and what I was doing.  No outside thoughts.  

Let's take this to another level.  The Olympic Games.  These athletes are performing their respective sports, but not just for them...for their entire country.  Someone is looking at them in person or on television thinking I want to do that.  They are focused.  Someone, even with all the cheering, they have their eyes set on the task in front of them because this may be the only time they get this opportunity.  They have worked their entire life for this one moment.  They've missed family events.  They've missed proms.  They have missed vacations.  They have missed the simplicity to do the incredible.  They have trained.  They have devoted their life to their sport.  They have endured injuries and managed to get back up.  This list has to be longer than I can imagine because I know what I go through to live a normal life that doesn't have me on worldwide display every four years.  

So, they spend their whole lives learning to focus on the task in front of them and represent an entire nation with pride...but yet some in the general population think it is cool to just sit at home and be critical.  Gabby Douglas rocked out four years ago and didn't do a bad job this year in Rio.  However, some people still thought it was necessary to comment on her hair.  Seriously?  She out her winning and defending gold medals and the only thing you can discuss is her edges?  Some of you really need to have all the seats.  But then I see someone else being the subject of just pure meanness and horrible jokes.  

AFP - Getty Images
Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno (pictured above) is a 4'10", 99 lbs, 22 year old woman.  Yet instead of looking at her power on the vault or any of her other competitions, some people decided to call her a pig.  One person even told her she should have gone on a diet before going to Rio.  Please help me to understand how someone not even in triple digits in their weight needs to lose weight?  If that is what people are considering fat these days, I don't stand a chance.  

This really hurt me for this woman because to someone out there, they looked at her body and said I look like her so maybe I can do that too.  Alexa is perfectly fine to me.  Grant it, she may have some things she doesn't like about her body, but she was still obviously fit enough to go compete at the Olympic games.  I mean, don't you think her coaches would have made her go on a diet before competing if they thought it was that big of an issue?   

Those two people in particular who were talking trash about her did delete their tweets, but not before the amazing power of a screenshot was used.  Oh yes, we know who you are.  Nope, not even going to state your twitter handle because you don't deserve anything from me or my followers. 

I've always wondered if the body shamers of the world actually look like their social media posts?  Seriously, they could be lying.  I post pictures of myself all the time, so you know what I look like - no shame in my game.  It's rare that we actually see the face of a body shamer, unless you are Dani Mathers.  (Yep, called her out again).  But usually, the body shamers are just trolls sitting behind a screen with nothing to do except hurt other people.  How exactly is that being productive?  

It's not being productive, but Alexa Moreno was just very productive.  For a country to hardly have a program, she's done a lot just by going to the Olympics.  Nope, she didn't medal, but she took a chance and hopefully, she has memories and photos that will last a lifetime.  If you get the chance, go check out her floor routine on Youtube.  It wasn't all the tumbling you have come to expect, but she didn't fall and I didn't see her step out of bounds.  If you ask me, the only thing holding her back was the degree of difficulty and nothing else.  Also, if you just happen to know her, please give her a shoutout from me!    

Get it together, people.  It's time to stop tearing people down so you can feel like you are up.  It's not worth it.  But, shoutout to everybody out there doing something and trying to make something of themselves without shaming other people.  You're the real MVP! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Anxi Overload Weekend

Last week, my Friday started off pretty normal.  I knew I was leaving work early and was super excited about that.  I had a few errands to run, so that gave me plenty of time to get my stuff done and not worry about the weekend traffic. I knew I had all these wonderful plans for the weekend and I was really looking forward to it, but then, all hell broke loose.  

Friday around 10ish, my desk phone rang.  That doesn't happen often, but I was definitely surprised at who was on the other end.  I had told someone they could use me as a reference.  Well, it came to my attention this person is lying on his job applications and he is lying on me!  Needless to say, I'm correcting the lie, but it is making him look bad in the process.  Quite frankly, that isn't my problem.  However, let me tell you what you are not going to do - you're not going to mess up my career by telling a lie about me.  In a huge twist of fate, the person on the other end of my phone was a guy I had met on a job site a couple of weeks ago.  So, when we realized we had seen each other, he started talking about me and asking me about my career.  Well, we had to get back to it.  He asked what can you tell me about this person?  I was honest and since he told me a little bit more than what I needed to know, I'm pretty confident this is not going to go in the person's favor.  

I hung up the phone and I sat at my desk and thought about the call.  The more I thought about it, the more upset I got.  I just could not believe that someone would be actually dumb enough to lie on a job application.  They always find out about the lie, whether you finally tell the truth or someone tells on you.  Either way, it's just not going to work in your favor!  Needing to cool off, I text a friend of mine who has helped me so much in my career and told him I was getting ready to call him because I was livid.  I called him, told him about the situation and because he's worked with this company longer than me, he knew exactly who I had talked to.  He told me I did the right thing to be honest about the situation and that the guy I talked to would remember the words I told him.  He also told me I needed to take care of the person I was being a reference for because what he was doing wasn't right.  

Ironically, my Friday got a little more annoying before it got better!  I mean, it really had no choice, right?  Well, I saw someone I hadn't seen in a while.  Then I had a wonderful bowl of cereal for lunch.  Hey, sometimes I have to satisfy the cereal craving.  Then, I went over to my old office to pay some people a visit and to pick up my love.  While I was there, I told my old boss about what happened earlier in the day.  He's another person who has been instrumental in my engineering career.  Yep, that's my day job.  He couldn't believe what I was telling him and he basically told me you need to handle that.  Well, since I was annoyed about the situation, I haven't handled it yet, but it will get taken care of this week.  

The other annoying situation - well, I think it comes from another lie that was told about me.  I get an email from someone at church asking me to contact someone...and it basically boils down to this feeling - someone lied and said I did not contact them.  Well, I save emails.  I love to save emails!  Needless to say, this came in handy.  I forwarded all the emails to the person who contacted me and basically showed her all the times I had contacted this person and hadn't heard a single thing from her.  Well, back and forth between she and I and she finally asks, do you mind if I send her your number?  I didn't mind, but it took hours for the person causing the madness to text me.  


She finally texts me and she asks me some general questions, which most could have been answered on the website she had to look at.  Well, I told her the location of the meeting and instead of her saying ok, she instead tries to correct me on the location.  In my mind, I was thinking, how are you going to tell me about where I've been meeting people and you haven't even had the common courtesy to contact me back after I've emailed you countless times?  But, I did the bigger person thing and simply gave her the address and told her to have a good day.  She apologized, but she was still out of place.  

Let's move on to Saturday.  She said she would meet us there, but instead 10 minutes before the meeting was supposed to start, she sends me a text letting me know she won't be able to make it, but it was her excuse that floored me!  You cause all this trouble and then you have this dumb excuse as to why you not going to show up and you do it 10 minutes before the meeting?  She had said she wanted to meet up with us Sunday too.  Needless to say, we didn't hear from her.  Are you really shocked though?  I don't have the energy for her or her madness.  

Basically, my Saturday morning just went down hill!  Luckily, God (yes, because that's the only way I can explain this) stepped in and worked this stuff all the way out!  One of my besties was able to show up and it honestly made the difference of my morning.  Actually, it made the difference in my day.  I'm not sure if I would have survived the day had she not been there.  Nope, not saying I would have done anything cray cray, but I would have not been as nice of a person and probably wouldn't have laughed as much!  Seeing as how she had an inside scoop on the drama that was happening, she really came in during a clutch moment for me.  She knew my anxiety was on a different level and she also knew I had actually forgotten to take my anxiety med.  

That brings us to Sunday.  I think I already told you this, but ol' girl from Friday didn't even make an attempt to contact me. Oh well...moving on.  So, sat beside my awesome friend at church and then we went and had brunch because I had a pancake craving I needed to satisfy.  We laughed, we talked, and then we laughed some more.  

My anxiety gets weird when things start happening to me!  I don't like to be lied on.  I like a schedule and to know what I'm walking into.  Well that was thrown off too!  I don't deal well with last minute madness and that is basically what happened all weekend!  However, I'm still learning to cope.  Had my friend not been there, I would have just gone on about my day and did some more work in my blog...which I had planned anyway.  I probably would have taken a longer nap.  I would have gotten some drafts done.  I would have tried again at Starbucks.  Woah, totally forgot about that story - Starbucks was taking so long, I had to back out of the drive-thru so I could go on about my day and be on time for what I had to do.  Funny part, my gas light as soon as I got out of line, my gas light came on.  I definitely would have lost control if I had run out of gas trying to get a frap.  It wasn't that serious!  

So, all madness aside, I ended up having a pretty good weekend.  I didn't get things worked on that I wanted to get completed this weekend on the business side of my blog, but I did get some things done.  I got an application completed.  I got some rest.  I did all of my laundry.  And most of all, I proved to myself I am capable of getting through a really rough anxiety weekend!  I'm sure this won't be the last one, but I hope to not have a weekend that rough ever again.  


Photo credit: Unlisted Sightings via VisualHunt.com / CC BY
Photo credit: Sean MacEntee via Visualhunt.com / CC BY 
Photo credit: FootMassagez via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Friday, August 5, 2016

Backstage Pass with Stacy Kearns

Many people who live in Charlotte, NC are transplants.  Either a person grew up there and were ready to leave on the first thing out of the city or people moved to the Queen City for a job.  That isn’t the case when it comes to Stacy.  Career Coach and Talent Manager Stacy Kearns was born and raised in Charlotte.  She loves her city so much, she remains there today!  

Although Charlotte, has a lot to offer, Kearns is more focused on her personal business - to help people reach their goals concerning their careers and help them go further than they ever imagined with their talents.  However, when she is not focused on helping people further their dreams, she does take the time to enjoy some hobbies.  Those include shopping, being a foodie, enjoying a good movie, and being a huge fan of the Carolina Panthers.  Recently, she added a new addition to her family - a beautiful Shih Tzu named Charlie.  

Kearns herself is a motivation to many people.  While growing up in Dixie, a former country area in Charlotte, she did not have indoor plumbing and used a well to get water.  Due to the fact her family had their own farm for meat, vegetables, and fruit, trips to the grocery store did not happen often.  Although she appreciates the lessons learned from her upbringing, she knew she wanted more for her life.  



Although a self-proclaimed tomboy, Kearns is well-versed on how to dress to impress for job interviews.  During the economic downturn of 2008, not only was she not unemployed long, but she also was able to get a promotion in a declining economy.  It is during this time, someone pointed out her success and people began coming to her for help.  That is when SKY Unlimited was born!

Kearns has a straight-forward, no nonsense approach when it comes to her clients.  She wants them to reach their full potential and she will push them until they do so!  If you are not doing what she thinks you should be doing, you may just get a visit from Storm, which is her favorite superheroine.  

When she is not working hard or focusing on any of her hobbies, she enjoys vacationing by the water.  Whether it is on the beach or on a cruise, she loves the calming effects of the ocean.  

Kearns’ biggest inspiration is her mom.  Her mom sacrificed so much in order to provide for the family.  It is the sacrifices, strength and courage of Kearns’ mom, as well as her grandparents, that has shaped her into the woman she is today.  

If you are looking for a job or looking to get a promotion, her best advice is to not give up!  Never be afraid to jump to reach your goals.  You will never know if you don’t try!  

To reach Stacy, click here.  Once you have completed your consultation, you will work together to determine the path that is going to work for you!  She’s already looking forward to working with you!