Enjoy the Small Things

Last weekend, I had my Saturday planned out. I would drop off a few things at my family’s house and then go to the mall for the first time in 9 months. Although the CDC loosened COVID restrictions, I’m still practicing social distancing and allowed myself to go outside more as the weather changes. During this time in Georgia, we get the perfect combination of warm weather, sunshine, clear blue skies and cool breeze. This period is short-lived before 90% humidity becomes a mainstay for the next 3-4 months so I wanted to enjoy it while its here.

My plan was to walk around the mall, buy a buttery Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel and then decide what eateries to grab dinner from in the local area.

But my plan slightly changed after leaving my family’s house. What was supposed to be an easy drop-off turned into an hourlong conversation that left me feeling pissed and annoyed.

Typically I would sulk, complain, and brainstorm dozens of ways to fix a problem I’m not responsible for resulting in emotional and mental exhaustion.

Instead of doing that, I drove to the mall and discussed my frustrations with my sister for 10-15 minutes. It was 4:30 pm on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I was determined to enjoy myself. After our talk, we entered the mall and patronized a new Vietnamese restaurant. It was my first time trying Vietnamese style chicken egg rolls and they were delicious!

We walked around the mall and spent more time in Spencer’s than I anticipated. Their merchandise was a mixture of childhood nostalgia, Hot Topic tees, drinking games and sex toys. Oddly enough, I was curious how to use some of their sex toys because I was confused how it worked. The experience was like Hot Topic minus the emo and gothic component but with more lighting. So I accomplished my goal. I enjoyed my Saturday.

Then we went back to the mall Sunday and got my Auntie Anne’s pretzel. We didn’t want to go home yet but didn’t know where else to go. I was curious about a new biker-friendly park nearby so we went there. I enjoyed resting my head on my purse, laying in the grass, savoring the 80 degree weather, admiring the clear blue skies and not wearing my mask because the few people there were on separate ends of the lawn.

It was such a beautiful day. There’s nothing like that hour before sunset. We simply tried it and know that’s another place we can hang out.

Regardless of your goals and adversities, you still have the right to cherish the small moments.

Allow yourself to explore new things even if it’s a new restaurant nearby or a tea shop you pass regularly.

It’s better to try something new than to not try at all. Otherwise how will you grow?

What’s something new you’re doing this weekend?

7 Triggering AF Inspirational Quotes

We all need inspiration. Some of us follow social media accounts that post daily inspirational messaging for encouragement as a way to start our day or to improve our mood during tough times. But some of the messaging can be loaded statements that make growth and personal development sound effortless.

Here are seven inspirational quotes that are triggering AF.

  1. Love yourself. – Learning to love yourself is a lifelong process. If you’ve been living a life of self-sabotage rooted in self hatred or living a life based on society’s harmful messaging about worthiness and desirability, that’s a lot of shit to unpack. That’s a lot of triggers and negative coping mechanisms to identify, to understand why you engage in those coping mechanisms, how often you engage in them, identify the feeling/emotion and/or trauma that coping mechanism temporarily suppresses, and then create a healthy behavior to navigate the issue productively.
  2. Be kind to yourself. – Learning and practicing self compassion is a daily process. You have to think about what you say to yourself that’s unkind. How are you mean or cruel to yourself? Do you punish yourself? If so, how? How can you set boundaries with yourself? What positive affirmation can you tell yourself to replace negative self talk during specific situations?
  3. Practice self-care. – Sometimes, social media glamorizes self care as this fun, holistic spiritually enlightening practice. But you want to figure out what it looks like for you. It could be engaging in a hobby, journaling, yoga, meditation, etc. In addition, you have to figure out how to incorporate those practices into your daily routine.
  4. Just be yourself. – You have to decide whether you will show up as your authentic self and be prepared to defend yourself against naysayers or to operate in a way that doesn’t ruffle the feathers of others while suffering mentally and emotionally from minimizing yourself. It sounds simple but it’s quite a radical act. Will you operate from a place of misery or will you be courageous enough to come as you are? Either choice determines the trajectory of your life.
  5. Don’t care about what other people think. – But we do care. We care about how we’re perceived because it affects how we’re treated. We care about our work performance. We care about how well a major client receives our presentation that could result in a job promotion and a raise. Creatives care about how people perceive their work. You care about what suit you wear to the job interview because you want to exude executive presence. Living your life without caring about what others think is impossible. But living your life without allowing others’ opinions to dictate your happiness is doable. It’s a matter of finding a happy medium as my mother says.
  6. Life is too short to hold grudges so forgive and move on. – Sometimes, grudges and resentment are warranted depending on the person and the nature of your relationship with them. Yes, we’re responsible for making the best of the time we have. But that’s not a reason to quickly forgive without thoroughly understanding why you were hurt, how you were hurt, who you were hurt by, what you learned from the situation and how you can protect yourself moving forward. You have to forgive yourself and forgive for yourself when you’re ready.
  7. Let love find you, don’t chase it. – As a former pick-me, this triggered the fuck out of me. Growing up as a Disney princess fan who also watched American rom-coms starring Katherine Heigl religiously, I convinced myself I had to manufacture a fairytale romance. I was wrong. You don’t want to hear “be patient” when you’re fixated on hitting specific milestones by a certain age – especially as a woman. When you see your friends and other people around you booed up, you might feel left out. Then add internalized misogyny and ageism. You’re getting older, Prince Charming hasn’t arrived and the panic button in you says, “The clock is ticking you gotta make this happen or else you’ll be alone forever.” But the quote is true. Chasing romance is like chasing validation and the feeling of adequacy. If you’re chasing that, then you’re not ready for romantic love.

I don’t think the intention is to make life sound easy, but to prompt a person to take the first step toward improving a specific aspect of their life. If inspirational messages weren’t written simplistically, some may not read them if it were as long as this post.

What is your favorite inspirational quote? What does it mean to you?

Why I Was Gone

Why was I gone? The short answer: my hair.

I’ve been watching numerous video tutorials on how to properly care for my natural hair.

You might be thinking, “It’s just hair. Does it really require all that time, effort and research?”

Yes it does. As a Black woman, hair porosity, hair density and strand size play key roles in what types of products my hair needs in terms of moisture and hydration.

Shouldn’t you know this already?

Yes and no. I have a complicated relationship with my hair that has gradually improved over the past year. During my 27 years of living, my hair has been cared for by my mother and a professional hairstylist. I’ve historically been too low maintenance with my hair out of impatience and laziness.

My mother has told me for years, “You need to grease your scalp every other day. Or else it will become dry and brittle.”

Now COVID has forced me to prioritize my hair health. Last Saturday, I spent 3-4 hours detangling my hair with Cantu’s coil calm detangler to reduce knotting when washing my hair. Then I spent 12 hours diligently detangling and sectioning my hair into 20-30 twists while applying shampoo, a deep treatment hair masque and applying a leave-in conditioning cream once finished.

It had been three months since my last wash day. Yes, I said it. Three months. Again I’m impatient.

There was something therapeutic about thoroughly cleansing my scalp and adding the moisture my dry hair needed. I spent 1.5-2 hours applying Cantu’s leave in conditioning cream to my hair to maintain moisture and prevent dryness since my HVAC system disperses dry heat. Ultimately, it was a self-care routine.

Day 1

Although my hair has grown, there are several split ends I’ll be cutting off soon. But I love the shrinkage!

When I took my twists out the next day, I liked the results. My hair was softer and contained less knots.

Day 2

Overall I am very proud of myself for my patience during this process.

How do you practice self-care? Let me know in the comments below.

Coping With Loneliness During COVID

I have felt a deep sense of loneliness over the past year. I haven’t hung out with my friends in over 14 months and February 2020 was the last time I attended an event. I applied strategies to keep myself occupied during the pandemic. However, the monthly virtual meetups, 1-2 day interactions on Bumble, and biweekly informational interviews aren’t enough to fill the void of in-person social engagement.

Am I meant to be alone?

Don’t get me wrong, I know how to enjoy my own company. I can jam out to my Soundcloud and YouTube playlists anytime. Hell, I laugh at my own jokes and talk shit while watching TV shows and films alone. But I miss meeting new people and having interesting conversations over appetizers.

Are you struggling with loneliness or pandemic fatigue? Here are eight ways to cope:

Stock Photo by Cathy Yeulet

Start a project. It is spring cleaning time. If you have a room to declutter or redecorate, do it! Start with one section of a room or one box.

Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels.com

Write. Journal your thoughts. Dumping your thoughts on paper might ease your mind after carrying a lengthy diary entry in your head.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Start a blog. There are communities you can connect with through shared experiences and interests. Creating a blog to discuss those topics allows you to engage with others.

Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels.com

Go outside. Getting fresh air can help clear your mind and organize your thoughts. Sometimes, you need a break from people, work assignments and other factors that cause stress.

Talk it out. Talk to your therapist, a close friend or a trusted family member. If therapy is inaccessible to you and you can’t confide in anyone, record your thoughts on your phone’s audio recording app.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Make a recipe. Try a new recipe or recreate a memorable dish you had. Google “how to make {the dish you want].” Pinterest is also a great place to find recipes.

Watch a random film or series. Staying at home has given us more time to binge-watch. But watching a series outside your preferred genre might surprise you. Who knew my grown ass would like Ginny and Georgia?

Plan your future social life. Think about your hobbies and passions. Think about what types of people you want to meet. Then research online groups and meetups that align with your interests. Reach out to join virtually or add those groups to your post-pandemic plans.

Remind yourself you’re not destined to be alone. You will socialize in person again.

You are worthy and deserving of meaningful human connection.

How do you cope with loneliness?

Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you and chat.

Am I A Sugar Addict?

My diet has changed drastically over the past few weeks. All of the artificially sweetened snacks I consumed excessively have been cut out of my life. Last month, I got a bad toothache after ordering Insomnia cookies three times in one week.

Yeah I know what you’re thinking. I have a problem. Maybe I do.

I love sweets. I love the way freshly baked sugar cookies and snickerdoodles melt in my mouth. I remember the first time I tried an Insomnia cookie. My friends and I had visited a friend at UGA during our spring break. Six years later, I almost crashed into a curb when my sister noticed Insomnia opened a new location two blocks away from me.

I know eating too many sweets can lead to tooth sensitivity and enamel erosion. However, I’ve struggled with eating them in moderation due to emotional eating and coping with loneliness during the pandemic.

Okay. So why the change?

I realized I didn’t want to experience gum disease, tooth loss or have to get my leg amputated like Big Mama in Soul Food when she battled diabetes. I knew I had the ability to refrain from artificial sugar consumption. As a result, I quit cold turkey and researched alternatives.

Photo Source: Daily Sabah

I bought plain Greek yogurt that my taste buds aren’t accustomed to. I bought carrots and pumpkin seeds to snack on throughout the day. I also purchased rutabaga aka yellow turnips, one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes.

Photo Source: Trader Joe’s

But I’ve been craving sweets lately. I miss the rich, buttery taste of Trader Joe’s brookies which have a perfectly even amount of chocolate chip cookie and brownie. I miss biting into a freshly baked sugar cookie. I thought about buying Grandma’s Peanut Butter Cookies from the Chevron two miles away and the questionable Keebler M&M cookie packs located in my complex’s leasing office.

If I give in to temptation, I’ll feel more guilt than satisfaction. So now I’m researching which nearby stores sell garlic knots. I keep envisioning thick, juicy garlic knots drenched in olive oil and sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese. If I buy them, it won’t be a guilt-ridden pleasure.

Honestly, I’m waiting for berries and cantaloupe to get in season to pair them with plain yogurt.

What foods do you eat to curb your sugar cravings? What are your go-to healthy snacks?

Let me know in the comments below.

Worry Spirals

Have you ever experienced a worry spiral?

It can last a few minutes or a few hours.

For me, it was several days.

Last Friday, I woke up with an itchy nose and couldn’t stop sneezing. By Saturday afternoon, I was experiencing throat sensitivity, chills and fatigue. Although my symptoms felt like the onset of a cold, I panicked.

I thought about people who had few symptoms that were now fighting for their lives or had passed due to coronavirus. I thought about hospitals’ morgues overflowing.

Cue the spiral.

What if I have it? Do I need to get tested? I don’t want to die. I can’t leave my family. They can’t afford a funeral. I can’t abandon my sister. I’m not finished with life I’m just getting started.

These dark thoughts led to paranoia. I was afraid to fall asleep.

I don’t have the coronavirus. I just need more rest and suffer from pollen allergies.

When I discussed it with my therapist, she recommended I recite what’s happening around me to be present. For example, “It’s 11:40 pm EST April 23, 2020. I’m laying in my bed with the lights out. I should be sleep but am typing this post. I can breathe. I am resting my head on my pillow. It’s relatively quiet. I hear my father snoring in the next room.”

Being present can break worry spirals. For specific strategies, check out this Shine article.

How do you manage your worry spirals?

What’s Next?

We’ve been inundated with free course/webinar offerings, how to level up your career during a pandemic, how to start a successful side hustle, how to build a brand, etc.

Although there are many options to choose from, the influx of content has become overwhelming.

Where can you start if you don’t know?

Consider a few things.

1. What skill(s) do you need to improve on?
2. How can you leverage it within your personal and/or professional life?
3. What skill or subject matter are you most curious about? Why?

Self-reflection can help you set your intention and determine what works best for you.

Here are some free course offerings:

Coursera has made 80+ previously paid courses free for a limited period of time. You can explore subject matters like public health and social psychology.

General Assembly is now offering free Friday workshops from April to June. These workshops range from career development to entrepreneurship to personal development.


What skill or subject matter are you exploring? 

My 26th Birthday Celebration

Hi guys!

Because my birthday was three days after Christmas, I celebrated my birthday as a birthday week and created my own holiday: My Birthday Eve. Typically, I celebrate by having dinner with my family or brunch with friends but 2019 was different. It was a year where I learned so much about myself through adversity and many triumphs.

Though I had several professional accomplishments I’m proud of, I am more grateful for what I accomplished internally.  I am much more self-aware of my thought processes and emotions. I admitted to myself stubbornness causes me to get in my own way. As a perfectionist, I want to fix everything  I can’t control, get overwhelmed and quickly become mentally exhausted resulting in less time spent on the things I can control.

What do I want to get rid of? What can I do to make my living space more comfortable? What do I want that will bring me peace of mind? What do I want to try? What have I been meaning to do?

Continue reading “My 26th Birthday Celebration”

Being Present

I graduated from the real estate associate program and received a job offer after five interview rounds with a technology firm! I am really excited to start with this new company and my new role. After nine months of job searching, I’ve found a role that aligns with both my career and personal goals.

The last 10 weeks were a whirlwind of evening classes 2-3 nights per week, networking events, in-person and phone informational interviews, multiple video and in-person interviews.

The following week after my program I told myself, “Request more informational interviews, and conduct extensive preparation for my first day at work.” – Self

However, that did not happen.

Instead, I started my Thanksgiving vacation early. I relaxed at home, made a list of holiday films and series to watch for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I went to Walmart, scoured every food aisle to find Pirouette’s cinnamon sticks and found french vanilla, chocolate fudge and chocolate hazelnut flavors much to my chagrin.

Continue reading “Being Present”