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Lifestyle + Hacks

  • Lifestyle + Hacks

    Why I Stopped Holding on to the Past

    Hey, ya’ll, hey. Have you ever found yourself holding on to some experiences, mindsets, or moments from the past? Be that positive experiences you attempt to live over again, or negative experiences that haunt you in the present. I raise my hand silently because, in truth, that was me holding on to past experiences both positive and negative, but I learned to stop holding on to the past in order to make space for a beautiful present and worthwhile future.

    Past- adj| gone by in time and no longer existing.

    Testimony:

    I found myself haunted by past experiences. I had a tendency to hold on to less than desirable moments in history with others. In fact, I began to create walls in my present because I had been holding on to negative experiences in my past. I remembered and held on thinking recalling would help me not make the same mistakes or fall into the same situation. Yet, in reality, I realized holding on to those memories did more harm than good. They became toxic memories that turned into excuses for why I could not enjoy my present–my gift.

    Break it Down, B:

    We’ve all been there. Something bad happens and we never want to forget. Something in the past did not happen and we wish it did, so we hold on. Something good happened, so we attempt to live in that space for as long as we can bare it. Experiencing all three instances, I realized, these methods of dealing with the past are not the healthiest. In fact, holding on to the past, actually hinders our present, our future and growth. Below are four reasons, why I decided to break that habit.

    1. Holding on to the past weighs us down. Yes, yes. Bad memories or otherwise, keeping all of those moments in your mind and within your being becomes baggage and weight that keep you from reaching your full potential. Ultimately, we are go getters, winners, and trend setters. We want more out of life. We dare to reach our fullest potential. Yet, when we hold on to the weight of the past, our ability to fly becomes weakened.
    2. It causes us to recycle old mindsets. We want to be women of growth and progress. On the contrary, when we hold on to the past, we are also holding on to the mindsets that governed those past moments. There is no newness or growth, if we keep referring to the past even in our new gift–the present.
    3. Holding on to the past wastes new time. Each new second, minute, hour, and day is valuable. The new time gives us the opportunity to go for more, do more, and experience more. Unfortunately, when we hold on to the past, we waste the new time reminiscing on the old. Keeping our focus on the old keeps us from being able to fully embrace the new.
    4. It keeps you from being open to new blessings. I saw a meme that hit home. It said, “Don’t miss your blessing by being your feelings.” True enough. But I’d take it a step further and say don’t miss your blessing by holding on to the past. And we do. We can get so fixed on something that did or did not happen in the past, we don’t even realize God is blessing us in the current tense. (Ecclesiastes 3:6)

    Ultimately, we just have to stop.

    There is so much being offered to us in our lives right now. We have new opportunities to take hold of. We have new experiences to feel. We have new blessings raining down each day. Truly, if we are living and breathing and are able to witness it all, we must be excited and open to see it all. Letting go of the past will surely, put us in the right position to do so.

    Pay Homage:

    If you wanna fly, you got to give up on the shit that weighs you down.

    Toni Morrison

    Facts:

    1. Life is short.
    2. Each new moment is a gift.
    3. Holding on to the past hinders growth.

    Salute:

    Thank for reading!

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  • Lifestyle + Hacks

    Pull up to da Club, Gas Tank on E, but all Drinks on Me: Grown A** Budgeting

    At this point me and my circle of friends converse about different subjects. Important subjects like finances and budgeting come up often. Why? Because we are twenty somethings deep into our careers and ain’t, I repeat, are not striving to be on the struggle bus. We are striving to be debt free, shine, travel, sparkle, and be happy. On the contrary, I noticed many people in my community get anxious about finances. Yes. I’m talking about money, green, cheese, cheddar, scrilla, bags, ends, funds, young mulla baby, MOB. Here’s the thing, I find, most of us don’t have an income issue. We have income. In fact, I find the bulk of our money woes come from a spending issue. With that, I am listing 6 budgeting tips I used to get to my desired financial goals.

    Budget-noun| an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.

    Testimony:

    College might have been the richest time in my life. Refund checks, cafe food, housing that was paid for, old putt putt car with no payment. Taxes? Please. They did not exist. Those were the days. Well, my guy-my girl, those days are over. We are grown af now. With that, our spending habits must change to catch up with the time. For example, in college, I would spend an insane amount on take out food. What was the worry? Today, seeing a fast food sign is an insult to me. I literally think. “Umm humm. The golden arches made out of the french fries. I see it from from a mile away. That’s how they get you. They know I’m hungry too. Morphus get me out of here.” And don’t get me started on how Target will rob you and will make you feel like it was voluntary, but I digress.

    Before I got to this:

    I had to learn how to grown ass budget, so I can do this:

    Break it down, B:

    1. Pay yourself first: Let me begin this tip by saying, I only get paid once a month. Yes, girl, once a month. It took me a while to get used to this, but the schedule has its advantages. The main one is that I can see my spending more closely. If I get to the 15th and I’m broke, I know I did something wrong. When I do get my monthly check. The first thing I do is pay myself. Uncle Sam, Duke Energy, the gas company, Food Lion, Quick Trip, Sally Mae, and my former renters will all get their money eventually, but that first transaction is for me. The first action I take with a new check is moving my desired amount into my savings account. I set a reasonable amount that will help me achieve my goals, and put it right where I can see it shining.
    2. Utilize the Envelope System: I’ve been doing this for a while and actually advance passed using actual envelops, but the idea here is that you take white envelopes and label them accordingly: Groceries, Gas, idk…travel…wine fund… etc. You put the money you intend to spend for the, month or weeks, in the corresponding envelops. When its gone its gone. The idea is that you use the money inside wisely. I have a strict grocery and gas budget for my entire household. Don’t cause us to go over, because now we have a problem. Grrr. Also, I include enough in my gas envelop to go to work and back for the month, some leisure activities, and take two out of town trips. You must be reasonable and make it so the envelops match your lifestyle without getting too crazy.
    3. Eat Out in Moderation: I mean this tip from the bottom of my heart. Limit your eating out. In college, I remember spending like 500 dollars eating out in one month. I don’t know how. I would never do that today, I can tell you that. I’ll give you an even better example. I notice my coworkers eat take out every day. EVERY DAY. They get together and order lunch. Yet, they look shocked when I tell them about my travel experiences and travel plans. In my mind, I’m thinking “You eat your travel money.” Let me break this down, on average they have to be spending 20 a day on lunch…JUST LUNCH…chile my heart is beating fast…LUNCH..ONE MEAL..but I digress. 20 dollars five days a week is 100 dollars. 100 dollars four weeks a month is 400 dollars. My plane ticket and lodging to go to Paris, France was less than that. You know what me and my man eat for lunch? Homemade sandwiches, salads, and left overs if we are feeling fancy. In fact remember the grocery envelope I was discussing earlier? Lunch is included in that. My last point about eating out is this: the amount of money we pay to eat out does not stretch. For example, you may spend 30 on a meal at a restaurant. I can take that same 30 and make spaghetti or peppered steak that will last my house hold three servings. (Dinner, lunch, and Dinner again).
    4. Consider what is important to you and plan accordingly: This tip will look different for everyone, but the gist is you figure out what is important for you to have in your life and plan accordingly. For example, in college I consistently got my nails done. When I realized the money I was spending on my nails was more than a bill and a significant portion of my monthly check, I quickly cut it out because what is important to me is seeing my savings grow instead of seeing my money getting chipped within weeks. Another example, I cut down on eating out because I have more fun traveling the world and creating memories with my man. We don’t eat out often in the states, but when we travel we experience everything. Traveling is important to me. Seeing my savings account grow is important to me. Saving for investment properties and building wealth for posterity is important to me. With that, I make room for what is important, dismiss what is not, and name every dollar in between. These dollars name is savings. These dollars name is baby stuff. These dollars name is new shoes. These dollars names is Italy.
    5. Go out with a purpose. Walmart is another one of those places you can walk in with the purpose of getting a loaf of bread, orange juice, and butter. Then come out with a new home mortgage, a new pair of glasses, pajamas, socks, party sized bag of Doritos, and a cooked rotisserie chicken, and ticket to the next Panther’s game real quick. (Seriously, being able to get all of those things at one store is a problem) The thing is the entire American system is designed for you to spend money. Everywhere you go, you must spend money. You cannot leave the house and not see hundreds of places that want your money and who have hired people to help them get it from you. You think its a coincidence you can smell the cajun season when riding past a Bojangles. Think again. In fact, spending has become a means for entertainment. We don’t need anything other than something to do, but we end up spending money in the process. With that in mind, go out with a purpose. If you need milk, stay focused on the milk, but refrain from stopping at McDonald’s for a fry and nuggets on the way home.
    6. Stay in your financial lane. Social media makes it easy for us to compare lives. Trust me I know. STEM majors out here ballin’ where as us liberal arts civil servant folks pinch pennies like its Saint Patricks Day and we don’t have on green. I get it. I’m guilty of the comparison game. What we can’t let it do, however, is allow what we see happening with other people to pressure us into bad credit because we are trying to keep up with other folks. The idea is insane. I may not be able to do the same things financially my friends in other career fields or friends with less financial obligations. I can, however, enjoy the life I have, be grateful for the income I do have, make smart decisions that will allow me to grow the money I worked for, and do with it what is important to me.

    This piece was longer than I intended it to be, but I hope it was helpful. I know life is hard and money talk can cause anxiety and discomfort. Aside from that whoop, we have to do better for our children and generations to come. Nobody knew what to do with money in my house growing up. A lot of time, we don’t have the space to really know because we were surviving. But if we have it and we know better, we can do better. Lastly, budgeting requires discipline. It took years for me to get to the point where I was disciplined enough to not only realize that, but act accordingly. Discipline can be hard, but its the only way we can get ahead. (2 Timothy 1:7) Try it for the babies.

    Pay Homage:

    “How mama gonna teach you how to save your money
    When she barely on the boat got stay afloat money
    Blacks always broke cause we don’t know money
    Spend it before we get it and could never hold money

    J. Cole

    Facts:

    1. Working with what you have is possible.
    2. Discipline is a requirement.
    3. Money dreams can come true with time and vision.

    Salute:

    Thank you for reading!

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  • Lifestyle + Hacks

    How to survive Being at a Job You Hate

    Alarm sounds, hit snooze. Alarm sounds, hits snooze, again. Alarm sounds, hits snooze a third time. Finally gets up in despair. Brushes teeth. Puts on clothes. Makes lunch. Curse people out in traffic. Plot escape like life depends on it. Walks in the building with the fu** all ya’ll face because deep down inside you can’t stand those people or that job, but you show up because the bills aren’t going anywhere. Yup. That’s a reality for most. And was a reality for me. For a long time I felt miserable at my job. I would think “this can’t be my life, Lord. The bible says you have plans for me this can’t be it. Now, I’ve seen what you have done for others, sir, what are we doing here?” Along the way, however, I’ve learned how to cope with being at a job I hate, but needed.

    Job– noun| 1. a paid position of regular employment 2. a task or piece of work, especially one that is paid

    synonyms|task, assignment, project

    Testimony:

    Without going it too deep, I used to loath my work place. I’m a teacher. And for the record it was not the students. It was not the work load; although, I do teach three preps. In a nutshell it was the environment. I went from a working at a place I loved and felt joy walking the halls to working at a place I felt confused and defensive 85% of the time. The other 15% of the time I was in my classroom making English magic, but I digress.

    In situations like these, however, it can be hard to enjoy life. We spend the bulk of our days at work, and if the work place is not satisfying, negative emotions trickle into other parts of our lives. We can’t have that because we are indeed abundant people. At the same time, we can’t just walk out of our positions. I could not and would not dare leave my students in the middle of the year. I grinned and carried the burdened bleak environment I was doomed to return to everyday. Later however, it dawned on me, the job, the position I was in currently was not just a place of employment. I realized it was actually an assignment.(1 Samuel 8:12)

    Break it Down, B:

    An assignment is a task, or mission given as a part of a course of study. Here’s the thing, I/ we ask for prosperity. We ask for abundance. We are asking God to help us grow and refine into the men and women we desire to be. On the contrary, learning, growing, and refining does not come without a few assignments. So I ask? Is there something you are supposed to be getting out of your current position, job, assignment, that is designed to help cultivate your growth and development as a person or career? I’ll wait.

    Before you get to this:

    I Hate My Job Computer Smash GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

    Think about what you can be grateful for in this position, as well as, what God has for you to gain or contribute.

    What is there to be grateful for?

    1. You have income! First of all, and I had to do this. Humble yo ass. Straight up. There are thousands of people who are out of work and cannot feed themselves or their children who would love to be in your position. Your bills are getting paid and you have food on the table. Be grateful.
    2. You are in the position to see what you like and do not like as you plan your next moves. While you are in this space, you can see what you do and do not enjoy and carry that with you into your next season. You are not starting from scratch anymore. You now have experience that will help you navigate your life.

    What is there for you to gain?

    1. Build a new skill. It is possible you are in this environment to learn something new about yourself, your craft, humanity, or your field that you could not have otherwise learned. For example, maybe this job has equipment the other job did not have and viola! This is your opportunity to learn how to use it.
    2. Be inspired. So your job sucks. Consider why it sucks. Is it the leadership? The lack of something you feel should be there? If so, what tf are you going to do about it? Allow the lack to inspire your inner change agent spirit.

    What is there for you to contribute?

    1. Be a change agent. Referring back to the assignment aspect of a job, understand God does not place us in predicaments by chance. Not only is this position a space for your be employed with income, but also it is a space for you to possibly make a difference. In this space, you may have a spiritual or otherwise job to do. Consider the fact this opportunity may be more about you serving than you receiving. It is possible the thing you don’t like is actually designed to be a void only you can fill.
    2. Be the light in a most likely dark place. I know my experience with professional jobs has been this: if the environment is not up to par, you are not the only one who feels it. It may be your job to be the light and sunshine, or to help lift the spirit of complaining and unhappiness off of the rest. Be the person who brings the sparkle into the otherwise dull room.

    Finally, being an adult can suck especially when we are in spaces we do not want to be. Nonetheless, I recently had to check myself. In the last two years, I taught at two schools. The first I adored, but still had my complaints. The second, I complained, and still had my complaints. I had a moment, however, where I thought to myself, “I gotta be the most ungrateful b**ch that ever did it.” “How is it that I am complaining in one space and still complaining in the new?”

    At that point, I had to shift my mindset. When I did, I realized 1. I was blessed. 2 God had given me everything I asked for. I was complaining about not growing and being to comfortable. God said, well my child, I’ll throw you in a space where you will learn new things about your craft and your discomfort will provoke you to act. 3. I had been given and opportunity to serve and I almost missed it due to the complaining bug . All in all, we are not always in the ideal space, but again I charge you to consider: What is there to be grateful for, what is there to be gained, and how can you serve?

    Pay Homage:

    And when we work with love we create a loving working environment.

    bell hooks

    Facts:

    1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
    2. A job is also an assignment.
    3. Always be grateful.

    Salute:

    Thanks for reading!

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  • Lifestyle + Hacks

    Journaling 101

    Aye what it is. What’s up. *Cues bed frame squeaks* Nonetheless, I hope you are feeling okay today. I am. I’m hoping all this good feeling can transfer throughout your entire week..month..year..but I digress. So, journaling. What is it? Everyone is talking about it. But what does it really mean? In the time of self-love and self-care awareness, journaling seems to be the number one task to complete. On the contrary, I was talking to my best friend, and she being the G that she is expressed she understands the act of journaling, but not necessarily the process. Then, we thought about other women who have said the same thing. They get the concept, but the act is a different story. With that, continue reading to learn more about benefits and tips for journaling. Get comfy. Its a how to.

    Journal: verb| write in a journal or diary.

    Testimony:

    I’ve been journaling since I was in high school. Actually high school is when I embraced all things writing related. It was a friend, whom I just might name my child after, who put me on. I was going through a overwhelmingly frustrating time in my life, and she suggested I get a journal and write it all out. She said it would make me feel better, and it did. I’ve been taking my journaling life seriously ever since that point leaving me with countless notebooks full of feelings, ideas, poems, short stories and feats. It has been a process though. In the beginning I didn’t know what I was doing, now journaling is such a pertinent part of my life, when I do not, shit hits the fan.

    With that, the definition google gives for the word journal is insufficient. Let me dive in. The root word of the “journal” is jour meaning of or relating to one day. The root word jour is also found it words such as “journey” and “sojourn”. Therefore, to journal is related to your daily life path and current position in life. Your journal and what you write inside is a reflection of your whole being. It is a reflection of your daily, nightly, past, and present person. And the benefit of it is understanding yourself holistically–Mind, Body, and Spirit. The journal is your bff, main bitch, side piece, business analyst, and the fried chicken, glass of wine, or blunt you crave when shit gets tough.

    In essence, I have three main objectives for journaling. And in true fashion the objectives vary according to my needs and emotional stance. They are:

    1. Release all frustrations, worries, and concerns
    2. Gain insight through introspection
    3. Breathe life into my thoughts, ideas, and dreams

    Break it Down, B:

    Now, it is highly unlikely that you will hit all of those objectives at the same time, so I will break down what steps should be taken for each objective.

    Objective 1. Release all frustrations, worries, and concerns

    Somedays all I want to do is scream, cry, yell, punch a wall, or take a nap in hopes things get better in the morning like the bible says. The gag is, when things are on my mind I cannot sleep even if I wanted to. This is where my main bitch comes in. It can be 4:00 in the morning, and my journal will not care if it is summoned. With that said,

    Step 1: When your goal is to release frustrations, worries, and concerns complete the following step: Free-write. Simply get it all out. Dump all of those worries, concerns, questions, frustrations. Don’t worry about how it looks. Keep your cute gel pens at the bottom of your purse. Don’t worry about how it sounds. These pages are for your release. Release whatever it is on the pages–burn them if you are feeling froggy. Then take yo ass to bed.

    Objective 2. If your goal is to gain insight through introspection.

    So maybe you’ve noticed some growth areas you need to address. And say maybe you want to understand your feelings and habits better. Well, this is the objective for you. This objective deals with the self-evaluation, self-reflection, and deep emotional diving. This is the part of self-love and self-care we want to avoid because it can get hard, but we cannot avoid it if the goal is to grow. That said, let’s take the sting off with the following steps.

    Step 1: Write out emotional dealings, feelings, concerns of the heart, etc. Whatever is bothering you or whatever you notice, write it out. This could be an insecurity or something that you’ve carried for a long time. This could be a habit. This could be the root of a habit. I don’t know, and I don’t mean to get too deep here all the time, but damn our people have to heal, but I digress. Write out the bug, but don’t leave the journal.

    Step 2: Respond to yourself with hope and action. You probably just wrote out some real shit. You might have come to terms with some things about yourself and your life you didn’t want to. But don’t leave it there without out following up with something that will inspire hope, peace, and prosperity. For instance, follow up that free write with a gratitude list. Jot down the things you are grateful for in reference to your life or your being as a whole. Write a list of the things you love about yourself. Follow up with personal advice. If it was your girlfriend expressing what you wrote, what would you tell her. You know we give our best advice away. Keep it for you this time. Follow up with a full prayer. You can even make it a prayer you will recite daily until the issue is resolved. Follow up with action steps. What action steps will you take to reverse or change this thing? Think about how you want to alter the reality you just wrote and map it out. Take a moment. Pause. And ask God or your inner spirit woman to advise you. Believe it or not, asking my inner spirit woman to write through me is how I gain all my wisdom. Let that marinate.

    Objective 3. If your goal is to breathe life into thoughts, ideas, and vision

    This objective is a personal favorite, but it still requires work. Maybe you just want to become a Boss and you have all the ideas. Awesome. The journal can be used for that too! Within this objective do the following.

    Step 1: Write out your fantasy, dream, vision, and/or goals. This step needs no explanation, but break out those colorful gel pens.

    Step 2: Write out your why. I suggest you write out your why, so you will not forget when going for your dreams and goals get hard. The why will later be used as inspiration and fuel to keep going after your desires.

    Step 3: Break down your long term goals and short term goals. Think about what you want long term and create SMART short term goals to support them.

    Step 4: End this journal session with actions steps and an immediate to do list. Write out 1-3 tasks you can complete within the next few days or weeks that will get you closer to that ultimate vision. Repeat this step until you walk into your vision.

    LAST THING: Bring your writing to the Women’s Circle Open Mic.

    Oh Yeah Yes GIF by Gatorade - Find & Share on GIPHY
    Yep.

    Pay Homage:

    Write it down on real paper with a real pencil. And watch shit get real.

    Erykah Badu

    Facts:

    1. Journaling is more than writing. It’s a lifestyle.
    2. Women’s Circle Open mic welcomes all stories, testimonies, and writing.
    3. As always, you got this!

    Salute:

    Thank you for reading! I hope this helps.

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  • Lifestyle + Hacks

    How to Handle a Loaded Plate

    there is a way to handle a life filled with many obligations and responsibilities. I, for one, had to learn to appreciate my plate, learn how to sop up its contents like a homemade biscuit and gravy, and trust the nutrients to help me grow into the woman I was created to be.

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