Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Tuesday everyone!

This week might be a week of inspirational guest bloggers, as we have Part II to "Love Behind Closed Doors"...written - again - by our very own Serena Wills!

Dream on Dreamer...by Serena Wills.

I wrote this at first as one big story, but decided to split up "Love Behind Closed Doors" and this piece. As I'm learning about where to place my energy in regards to love, the same applies for dreams.

Some people might think a person got it made looking from the outside...but it probably took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get there. It might look easy to some, but it's not. An example is the fact that I've been published 5 times to date and more to come. It looks great as people flip to a page of one of the books I'm in and see my poem and/or story. However, it took a lot of work behind closed doors to get it from my brain...to my laptop...to being published.

I'm learning that I'd rather put a lot of energy, time, money and thought into making my dreams work, getting my writing published, cafe going, business plan for a bed and breakfast, etc. than putting it into a person or thing that doesn't appreciate me and/or the gifts I have.

Watching relationships, and being in a couple that didn't go right, has taught me to be careful about who, what and where I pour energy into and where I just shouldn't make the investment. Investment in this case is personal or financial. This year - 2012 - needs to be a year of focusing on self, my son, dreams and those around me that truly appreciate who I am and will give that energy back to me.

I want people to see I'm working hard for my dreams, and even though it might look nice from the outside, behind closed doors I'm working hard to make it both personally and financially. Unless you want to put in the work from behind the scenes, then don't put on a facade from the outside like it was easy. Also give props to those that helped along the way too.

Some people want to learn...they are hungry and eager! And some...well...they think they know everything, and that to me blocks the learning process. Those are the people that I think "talk to dag gone much."

Ask yourself, are you a person that wants to learn all about your gift, craft, etc. OR are you a know it all? It's hard for people to come to that realization. I encourage each of you to keep learning, watch what and who you put your energy into and reach back to teach someone else. As my boy DMoe says, "Stay Thirsty My Friends"

Serena Wills

Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Monday everyone!

If you're looking to make a lifestyle change by eating healthier AND saving money, this is a must read! I had to share these great tips with my blog family - thanks to our guest blogger, Ms. Violet Reign!

Tips for Healthful Eating on a Budget...by Violet Reign

In this economic climate, we’re all struggling to find ways to make do with less. With food prices soaring, it can be difficult to find ways to stay on task with our budgetary goals while also eating healthfully. With careful and creative planning, you can prepare healthy meals on a budget. Let’s review some fundamentals for healthy eating:

■Limit alcohol – It slows down your metabolism and adds unnecessary calories

■Drink water –Aim for one ounce per pound of body weight, but at least 8 glasses per day

■Avoid foods with high salt and sugar content

■Avoid eating out – Do so as a treat. Eating out multiple times each week wrecks havoc on your diet and your wallet.

■Variety – Don’t be afraid to try new foods.

Try the following to save money without sacrificing nutrition:

1.Know what your body needs. Numerous meal-planning programs are available on the internet. Understand your body’s nutritional needs. Get a sense of the ratio of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats in order to plan your meals effectively.

2.Set aside a few hours each week to plan, shop, and prepare your meals for the week. We tend to overeat when no plan is in place. Think ahead.

3.Search for recipe ideas. Try a new recipe each week to prevent boredom and give you something to look forward to.

4.Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Here you will find healthy proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and most of your unprocessed foods.

5.Don’t buy pre-made meals – Too much convenience translates into more money leaving your wallet and extraordinary amounts of sodium. When in doubt, see step 1.

6.Buy foods in season or on sale- Eat fresh fruit and vegetables in season for optimal taste and nutrition. Prices on proteins like beef, chicken, and fish occur in cycles. Start tracking the trends at your store. When prices hit a low, stock up and freeze. Ask the manager about upcoming sales.

7.Make seasonings your friend. Curries, marinades in moderation, herbs and spices are great ways to add flavor to foods without adding calories.

8.Use self-checkout lines – This helps you avoid impulse buys such as last minute items to snack on - items not only blow your diet but stretch your budget. There is a reason why stores place the candy at the checkout.

9.Use cash– Have you ever noticed how money seems to leave your account whenever you use your trusty debit card? Most financial analysts agree that if you use cash, you have greater control over your budget and spend less.

Finally, as with any journey, remind yourself about your commitment to healthy eating as part of a lifestyle change. There will be ups and downs and times when you resort to old practices, however to get yourself through, think of the rewards – a healthier you – both physically and financially.

Friday, January 27, 2012


So...question of the day.

If you and your partner were heavily in debt, and saw no sign of relief, would you let your boo/significant other/spouse sleep with a wealthy person for $5 million dollars? Think Indecent Proposal...cash, tax-free.

If so, would you want to know the details? Or just "git dat money"!? Do you think your decision - either way - would have a negative impact on your relationship?

Let's go!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Random Thoughts Thursday!

- So...Giants and Pats in the Super Bowl...who you got? Do you care?

- I have sticky wings for lunch!

- I want to go to Orlando for All Star Weekend - DMoe is going! Hook me up!

- He's also going to Mardi Gras and walking in a parade. He's living it up! Jealous!

- What is up with Demi Moore?

- I'm not gaining, but I'm not losing weight either. What up wit dat? need to step it up in my training sessions.

- Just had a taste for deviled eggs. Weird.

- My EVP just gave me gourmet chocolate drizzled caramel corn. Oh my...

- It's time for me to write my annual self assessment for my review. I've been here almost 9 years...how many different ways can I say I'm awesome and give me a fat raise?! :-)

- I love Lisa Ling.

- Shout out to Elimu on The Game!

- Okay...I need to hide this popcorn from myself.

- My desk is a wreck. I kill a lot of trees.

- These people from Kicksbaby are really f*ckin' with me about returning these sneakers. I'm about to go off.

- Any chance I can get out of this ticket? Court date on Monday...wish me well...or send me $130! LOL!

- Today's double throwback!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy Hump Day everyone!

So I'm contemplating writing an article for a magazine that focuses on one question - Would you mind if your man/woman was close friends with an ex? I've been thinking about this for a while now, so I wanted to get my blog family's thoughts on it...as my research.

Let me paint the picture.

Your man (or woman) calls an ex daily - sometimes several times a day....early morning, late night, and always contacts her when you're NOT around. You've never met this "friend" - all you know about her is that he used to have feelings for her, they may or may not have slept together (they did), and he feels the "friendship" is extremely important enough to him to not let it go, despite his current girlfriend's objections. So...what would you do?

Being friends with an ex for most people can be tricky. I have exes who are friends, but I use that term lightly. We don't hang out. We don't talk on the phone. At best, we might be Facebook friends. So is that really "friendship?"

My exes are exes for a reason. That's not to say I think they are bad people, or that they were bad boyfriends. It just didn't work out for one reason or another. But none of my exes are on a level with me where I still call them to confide any personal details of my life. I've moved on.

I know for some, ending a relationship can be painful...and depending on who did the breaking up, we might even feel guilty. The thought of never speaking to a person you once shared your body with, as well as any emotional connection, can be scary for some people because it means you have to move on - so they feel that holding on to a platonic relationship is better than losing that person completely. But at what point does holding on to your past cost you your future?

This is the part where I want you all to weigh in.

I know some of you need more information - like do the exes share children, did a betrayal occur, was the breakup amicable and mutual, or was one person blindsided? Are both parties still attracted to each other? What will the nature of the friendship be if you decide to remain friends? Will you still have bowling nights? Feel free to imagine any scenario.

So...what say you? Is it cool to remain friends with an ex, especially if you have a new boo in your life, or do you stay away from them and move on? Should your current boyfriend or girlfriend understand and not be insecure about your friendship with your ex, or should you do more to make sure he or she feels secure? Let's hear it!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Let's kick off this Monday with a guest blogger - our VERY OWN Serena Wills! :-)

Love Behind Closed Doors...by Serena Wills

Sometimes love from the outside isn't what's going on behind closed doors - (Inspired by Heidi Klum and Seal, Jada and Will).

We all admire couples that we see making it happen! Will and Jada, Heidi and Seal. But what lurks behind closed doors we'll never know. Nana always told me to be careful of what the naked eye can see and not envy people's relationships.

She's so right. All I can do is trust in God and ask Him to show me MY path and not be envious of someone else's. In regards to love, I've watched so many couples over time that I adore. People that are my good friends and even family. I pray that their relationships are just as healthy behind closed doors as to what I see.

Then there are those I've seen that I just knew had it going on, and then I hear of the split. The stories of what was happening behind closed doors pour out after we discover they were putting on a facade to throw people off. Also, the facade was denial hoping that what was seen on the outside would trickle back down behind the closed doors.

I'm not saying the couples stated above didn't have love, but over time something happened and that love went awry.

I only pray that when a person is placed in my life that God wants for me that he will be ready to love, and open to letting what we have grow into a Divine love. I pray this prayer not just for myself, but friends as well. This year - 2012 - won't be the year for limbo or fake facades. It also won't be the year to pour energy into someone that won't allow themselves to be open to you.

I truly admire the couples above and hope the best for them - although they are celebrities. What I saw from the outside exemplified love. I've seen love before in what my grandparents shared. They loved each other inside and out.

Relationships are unique - none are the same. Ask for a beautiful, endearing kind of love from the inside that will pour outside. I wrote this because too many times I hear people say, "I want the kind of love like Will and Jada" or some other couple. Heck, even I'm guilty of saying stuff like that - but I have learned that I want what God has for me. I just have to sit and be patient and know it's coming. When it does, the love we will share will be displayed from the inside out - and it will be a love that was Divinely designed by Him.

Serena Wills

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy Random Thoughts Thursday!

- Gettin' cold out right? BRICK!

- been having a bit of writer's block lately.

- sushi for lunch twice this week so far, I have a new favorite place!

- can't wait til the weekend so I can just chill.

- January seems to be flying by to me...let's get winter over with!

- I'm terrified of going ice skating, but it looks like so much fun....if you can actually keep from falling. I have a fear of falling...especially on ice. I'm broke up enough as it is.

- The question of the day this morning on the radio was: "Is it ever okay to go through your man/woman's phone if you suspect they're cheating?" What say you?

- I want that "trendy top" thingy that I see on tv.

- Who's going to see Red Tails this weekend? I am...let's go support!

- I had a conversation last night with coworkers about supporting films with a majority black cast - should we automatically support..."just because?"

- Speaking of black - if you are a person of color (for example, of African/Caribbean descent), how do you prefer to be called..."Black" or "African American?" Some would argue that if you are American, then you shouldn't call yourself "African American" unless you were actually born and raised in Africa and then come to the United States..ala Charlize Theron. Do you care either way?

- My hat is on too tight, giving me a headache. My head must be getting bigger...cuz I doubt my hat shrunk.

- People think that because I adore my nephews, I'm maternal. It's not the same thing.

- How do you know if you're meant to be a parent? Still trying to figure that out.

- I need new clothes. I'm bored with my old ones.

- and a nice new lipstick.

This week's throwback!



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy Random Thoughts Thursday!

- I'm hyped by the throwback of the day today....so let's lead with it shall we? :-)

This was my JOINT!! Haven Hall - HOLLA!!!

- Dreary day today :-(

- Just caught the woman in the next building over staring at me through her window. Creepy much?

- Paid bills today...always fun. Not.

- Thankful to be able to pay bills though.

- Here's a question of the day - how important is marriage to you?

- Anyone have any cool ideas for an article they'd like to read about relationships?

- I don't feel like doing anything but watch tv all day.

- Guess I shouldn't say that too loud where I work.

- People are silly.

- Women are A LOT stronger than men think. We can handle just about anything.

- Need my nails done...AGAIN.

- I don't have a 2012 calendar yet.

- How old is too old to suck your thumb? I say children should never do it...but that's just me.

- It's mid January already...let's just roll through winter!



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hola mi gente!

So unless you have no tv, no radio, can't read, or have no gossipy tabloid loving friends, you've probably heard by now that Beyonce and Jay-Z had their baby girl over the weekend - and her name is Blue Ivy.

It's an interesting name to say the least...some say it's strange, others love it. I guess I'm kind of indifferent to it...maybe it needs to grow on me. I instantly liked "Nahla" (Halle Berry's little girl's name) and I thought "Suri" was unusual, but fitting for Princess Cruise. I was kind of hoping, half expecting, that Jay and Bey would name their daughter "Brooklyn"...but I'm glad they didn't. That's going to be MY child's name...but I digress :-)

Seriously though, one of the first and singular most important tasks for new parents is to give their child a name, and identity, that has significant meaning as they embark on this journey called life. Many have speculated that the color "Blue" is important to the Jigga man, ala his album names "Blueprint"...2, and 3. He rocks an all blue Yankee. He even dated Blu Cantrell.

The name Ivy, they say, was conceived out of the Roman numeral IV, which represents the number four...a number with meaning for both Beyonce and Jay as their birthdays both fall on the 4th of their respective birth months (September and December). The couple also got married in the fourth month of the year - 4/4/08. So I think you get the picture.

Whatever Blue Ivy means to them, it seems they gave their daughter's name some serious thought. And while the name "Blue" may not mean "warrior princess" in Swahili, it has some deep meaning and significance to Bey and Jay - and with powerhouse parents like those, hopefully the name will embody the energy, drive and ambition needed to succeed in life as they have.

While success can be measured in many different ways, they say what you name your child will have a profound effect on their development, personality, self confidence...even their career path. Maybe that's why celebrities tend to give their children names that stand apart from the rest. Even non-celebrities try to give their children interesting names in the hope that one day their name will be known by millions. After all, with a name like "Plaxico," you just HAVE to be famous...right? :-)

One of the first words, if not THE first word, a child learns and recognizes is his/her name...so the hope is that they take ownership of it, breathe life into it and make our parents proud. I for one, am proud of my name simply because my maternal grandmother named me. I never met her, as she passed away before I was able to be cradled in her arms, but I feel connected to her in a special way simply because she named me. I was named after Brook Benton....a man - my grandmother's favorite singer. I would have been named Brook(e) whether I was a boy or a girl.

Which brings me to my question(s) of the day: What does your name mean? Is there any special significance your name holds that you'd like to share? If you have a child, what is his/her name and why did you choose that name? If you don't have a child, but plan to one day - do you have a name already picked out, or will you decide once you see your child's face for the first time what his or her name will be?

Let's share :-)


Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy Money Monday!

Post Holiday Financial Assessment...by Austin the Realtor

Welcome back and I hope your New Year has started off prosperous and fulfilling. As we continue on the journey of financial awareness and success, it's time to make an assessment of where we are and where to go from here. Holiday spending is long gone, and now it's time to get on track and utilize some of the tools we discussed in previous Money Monday discussions.

1 – Lay it all out on the table: Literally get all your bills and lay them on the table to see what you are dealing with. As discussed, prioritize by interest rate and setup up your payment amounts and schedule.

2 – Grab your list of “Trimming the Fat” items and keep it close so we can keep up with it as much as possible. Post on your fridge if needed so that it can be reviewed every morning. Go for the gusto and see how far you can go and make small adjustments as needed.

3 – Track your spending and the differences so you can see if you are actually making a difference or see if an adjustment needs to be made in your daily spending to maximize the value of your money.

4- Lastly, let’s try a change in mindset. Ask yourself, “If I can’t pay it off by months end, can I go without buying it?” It’s easy to charge an item and say, "I’ll pay it off later." Think about this statement: “I’ll eat this entire cake and work it off later.” How often do you immediately work off calories consumed, pound for pound? Debt works the same way! It’s much easier to maintain it as you go along as opposed to spend, spend, spend and then say, "let’s fix this."

I’ve found the more you repeat something, the more you grasp it and it becomes second-nature, so this is a recap of what we already discussed as a refresher. In the coming weeks, we are going to discuss various saving and investment objectives so we can put all that money saved to work.

Topics to be discussed:
Mutual Funds
401k tips
529 Plans (saving for college)
Real Estate – the process of buying and tips

Let’s make this your best financial year yet!

-Austin the Realtor

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy Random Thoughts Thursday!

- My whole body is sore from training last night. Not a good look for me, but it means I did something right! Can't wait to get back in shape.

- Need to paint my nails...gonna do it myself and save some money.

- I have a good lunch today, can't wait to eat it!

- But I need some fruit.

- SU basketball is #1 - just thought I'd throw that out there :-)

- Someone offered me a Snapple yesterday and I turned it down. That may seem minor to some folks, but Snapple is like crack to me!

- Please send prayers out to DMoe - he lost his grandfather yesterday :-(

- Gotta run to the bank...for some reason that's such a chore to me. Let me stop complaining cuz at least I'm making a deposit!

- Baby Jordan is 5 months old already!

- I miss my family in Philly.

- Can't stand when people let their children act a fool. Your child is NOT as cute as you think he/she is.

- My arms are on fire.

- I've been thoroughly entertained by Facebook lately :-)

- Universal's been slacking on my movie screenings...unless the mail room guys have been jackin' me for them. Waiting on one for Contraband. I think that's what it's called...Marky Mark :-)

- Let's try an R&B throwback this week - thanks to L-Train...aka LaDante McMillon!



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy Hump Day!

So this morning I'm listening to the radio as I pull on my thermal top (it's colder than a Witch's tit outside!), and the "rumor of the day" was about Amber Rose calling Kim Kardashian a "home wrecker." It went something like this:

They were both cheating! They were both cheating on me and Reggie with each other. She was sending pictures, and I was like, ‘Kim, just stop. Don’t be that person.' I thought at least she’d be woman enough to respond to me. She never responded.

It’s very important that us women stick together and we don’t f**k each other over like that.

Read more: Amber Rose Blasts Kim K As A Homewrecker: ‘They Were Cheating On Me & Reggie With Each Other’ Necole Bitchie.com

I normally don't give a rat's ass about anything Amber Rose has to say - although she rocks a baldy better than anyone I know - but her comment got me thinking...and thus the question of the day.

Should other women (and men) respect someone else's relationship?

I've heard everything from, "Well, if she was doing her job, then he wouldn't be coming to me." Or, "He must not be hittin' it right...which is why I break her off."

But is that disrespectful, or should the blame soley be placed on the one who is in the actual relationship? Are men and women obligated to look out for each other and not screw over (literally) someone else by infiltrating their relationship - or are all bets off if everyone involved is a consenting adult - and out to get theirs?

What say you? Have you ever been the "other" person? Have you ever held a third party responsible for the breakup of your relationship?

Let's go!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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