Friday, July 11, 2014

Letting Go

As I embark on this new life - I actually want to stop here. I've been calling this discovery of my Christianity and what that means a "journey." But in typing this, it hit me that it's not a journey - but, a new life.

I visited Mt. Calvary Baptist Church while in Maryland this past week and the pastor spoke about how when death happens, people like to call it a "transition." She was under the assumption that it was because it sounds nicer and more peaceful - but, people don't transition, they die. She correlated this to Jesus' death on the cross - saying, what if he had of just transitioned? He had to die because death is what allows new life.

While writing this, that message came to mind. Parts of me need to die in order for me to truly have new life. I've been using this phrase of a "journey", but this new perspective actually helps to set up what I came to speak about really well.

As I've been coming to understand what it truly means to live a Christian lifestyle, I've been met with challenges - whether it's what I consume (books, music, television), my activities, etc. I'm finding that there's been tension with who I want to become and where I currently am. It's because I've only accepted transition, not death.

Matthew 10:37
"If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine." - NLT

The first time I read that verse, I didn't quite understand. Was this saying to separate myself from my family or for mothers to separate from their children? 

Matthew 10:34-36  
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household." - NLT

Let that sink in! It really challenges you to consider the depths of your commitment to God. If you love anything or anyone more than Him, you are not worthy of being His. So, to answer my earlier question, yes. Anything that separates you from Him you need to let go of it.

I write this to speak on things I've been noticing in my own life as it relates to the people in my life. As I began to feel the call to draw nearer to God, I also notice the distance this is creating between me and people that I have in my "household." I am  starting to see things in people that no longer reflect my values or align with my new passions. It's growing increasingly difficult to fully commit myself because those around me aren't seeking to do the same.

Something I've noticed is that I have the tendency to try to rationalize and think that I am strong enough or wise enough to discern what's best for my life and what decisions I should make for my life. As children, we often had this feeling when your parents tell you not to hang around certain people because of how they are and you convince yourself that you're not impressionable. But, influence does happen. So, as adults, we most listen to our heavenly father and heed his warnings without question - not just in this, but all areas.

Proverbs 3:5
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." - NLT

I've come to a place where I'm being shown that there is only two directions for my life and only one leads to the path of righteousness. But, that means leaving things, desires, interests, opportunities, and people behind. I've been given the opportunity to have new life and in order for that to happen that means parts of my old life must die.

Life Happens

I never got into the groove of blogging regularly, so not sure if my absence was noticed. But, I unintentionally took a three month hiatus. But, I'm back.

I was going through some growing pains - I think that's a good way to describe it. A couple months ago, I was lost. Not quite sure of what my life had in store for me and feeling that everything had been thrown off of its axis. I don't want to paint the picture that I hit some devastating rock bottom - Thank God for that. But, when I looked inwardly, I just didn't like who I was or the trajectory I was on.

So, I made some changes. In my last few posts, I'd started speaking on my spirituality and  growing in that direction. I'm still on that journey, but I feel better than I've ever felt before. I've gained perspective in areas of my life that I didn't have before.

But, most importantly I learned to let go. I spent (and am still sometimes guilty of this) a lot of my time worrying. In hindsight, about nothing. There's such peace in giving those worries over to God and understanding that as a part of his plan the next move isn't your will or concern.

My life is not my own. I'm working to accept this and let go of my desires, wants, and wishes. I'm exploring ways to help and be of service to others - with the belief that this is where I will find true fulfillment.

I started this blog to record my journey to womanhood and exploring what that truly means.  I mentioned here the scripture that I was led to when initially creating this blog. A scripture that at the time, I'd misunderstood. But, with clarity and new outlook, I've found the way.

My blog will continue to document my journey, but using Him as my guide.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week In Review | Grace (4/13 - 4/20)

What did I learn last week? 
I learned of grace. I don't have what some would classify as major issues or problems. But, it's amazing how even though I see how insignificant my issues are in comparison to others I still fall victim to the same sorrow. Last week has led me to a state of peace regardless of my circumstances.

This grace has allowed me to put into perspective some of my more long-term goals. The main thing being that it's necessary to commit myself to Him before making the decision to commit myself to anyone else.
Which moment from last week was the most memorable and why? 
Hebrews 5:12. It taught me that nothing is a coincidence. I have been being led to start the journey I am on now, yet didn't heed certain signs I'd been receiving. I'll expound on this in another post.

What is the number one thing I need to accomplish this week?
Packing for an upcoming work trip.

What can I do right now to make the week less stressful? 
I'm not sure. I have such peace right now that I can't even think of allowing something stress me.

Am I carrying any excess baggage into the week that can be dropped? 
I still have some emotional things that find a way to surface them self.

What am I looking forward to during the upcoming week? 
Last week, I said clarity and I found exactly that. I'm going to say continued clarity because last week was great.

Have any of my recent actions moved me closer to my goals
I'm realizing that measuring my progress on my 101 goals is the wrong approach. There are bigger things I need to be accomplishing. Those things don't have a timeline though, but my journey of clarity will help all things in my life align. I'm excited about that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Path to Understanding

If you've been reading my blog consistently, you'll notice that I've began to incorporate more spiritual undertones to my posts. I started this journey to "womanhood" because I was looking to grow into the woman that I'd always saw myself as being. Initially, I saw this in a plethora of areas: dressing better, cooking more, being fit, increased charisma. But, while on this journey I've been led to start on the inside and that mission has led me to God.

I stated in my post last Friday that I am no stranger to God. But, I'm coming to learn that my relationship with him has been very surface and that I need to embrace him in all aspects of my life, not just in prayer. I've been directed to testimonial videos of married couples and them speaking on living for God in your singleness.

As much as I hate to admit it, if I'm being honest, my journey to womanhood was kicked off in efforts to make myself more desirable for a man. I have yet to address it here, but if you've noticed, a lot of my most recent posts hint at the upset I've been dealing with regarding someone I had been dating. I've been really torn up about it and in response went into a lot of prayer as to why this happened and what was His purpose. Then in the midst of seeking these answers I was contacted by someone else and of course my first thought went to this being some sign from God.

But thank God for clarity! I came across a video about the enemy sending carbon copies of what we want to stray us from our purpose and God's plan for us. At that time, I wanted a male distraction - a rebound maybe? Let's just say, I don't think there was any mistake that I was contacted in my moment of weakness and emotional openness. God isn't the only one known for his timing.

I have received messages in my spirit, several times, that I should accept being single and find happiness within myself. Yet, that thought is always met by this other voice that keeps telling me that I can find that with someone else and that I need company on my journey. I'm now identifying that other voice as the enemy. I am coming to understand that just because I am single does not mean that I am alone, because God is with me.

I've always applied this laser focus on meeting "the one" and investing so much time and energy into dating, preparedness for dating, and all this has done was result in keeping me from building my relationship with God. I have been following my plan, not His.

In the latest video I watched, all from this couple, they spoke about how when you choose God you are accepting that your life is not your own and you let go of your wants and desires and accept those He has for you. I don't have any vices really, so it's not as if I need to let go of something that is considered major by most people. I'm not promiscuous, I don't really drink, or party, but rap music is my weakness. It sounds ridiculous but I can connect it to low points in my life and above else it's  been my connection to almost every guy that I've ever dated.

I've allowed my flesh to connect me with people versus what's in my spirit. I don't even have to go as far as dating, but in terms of the people I invite into my life that is the thread that oftentimes keeps me connected to them. It's also the one thing I struggle letting go of.

There's no conclusion to this. But, I wanted to share these thoughts as they've help me add clarity to the true purpose of my journey.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week In Review | The Silver Lining (4/7 - 4/12)

What did I learn last week? 
I learned while reading, "Let Me Be A Woman," that discipleship means discipline. Elisabeth Elliot, the author, says, "Worship is an act, and this takes discipline. We are to worship 'in spirit and in truth' Never mind about the feelings. We are to worship in spite of them.”
Which moment from last week was the most memorable and why? 
Late last week, I stumbled across a series of videos on YouTube with Meagan Good and Devon Franklin. The series of videos as a whole were what I needed to hear to get me out of the slump I'd been in for the past couple of weeks. It also put into action some plans around my spirituality that I'd been sitting on.

What is the number one thing I need to accomplish this week? 
Action. However that word comes to fruition during this week.

What can I do right now to make the week less stressful? 
Make better use of my time.

Am I carrying any excess baggage into the week that can be dropped? 
I've finally let go of the baggage I was carrying. I'm definitely walking into this week much lighter.

What am I looking forward to during the upcoming week? 

Have any of my recent actions moved me closer to my goals
I'm beginning meatless Mondays. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Rose Is Still A Rose

While editing this post, I was watching an interview between Meagan Good and her husband, Devon Franklin. During this interview she says, "don't settle for anyone who doesn't see you as close to how God sees you - perfect."

That really struck me and inspired me to do something different with this post - start at the end. Since I have a tendency to talk in circles and usually don't get to the point until the end. I figured, I'd try something new and start backwards. Here goes...

I hate the dating process, because I'm always left thinking how many times can I be disappointed and come back from it? The walls that have to come down to trust someone new get higher each time and the one thing I don't want is to be tarnished for the one who does deserve me.

Back to the beginning...

I've been sitting on this topic for weeks trying to decide how I wanted to approach it. I figured it best if I just dove in and let things manifest on their own.The idea stemmed from my growing interest in religiously rooted reality programming. These shows push me to act more in my spirituality and increase my desire for an increased relationship with God.

I've always "known" God and the importance of having a relationship with Him. However, outside of that, I don't think I could truthfully say I know what it means to live a Christian lifestyle or what it is to be a Christian. I'm not even sure I know what the values of a Christian are - aside from the moral codes that have been weaved through society and instilled in me since youth.

While watching Preachers Daughters, my latest reality guilty pleasure, I was introduced to a girl on the show named Kolby. She radiates this raw sense of innocence and purity. It's not purity in the virginal sense, but pure as in untarnished by the realities of life and having this energy of believing that there is good in people and their intentions.

That thought is what inspired me to write this. Forever, I looked at purity as a sexual thing. That purity and virginity were synonymous. I would even go as far to say that's the definition society has placed upon it as well. Based in my experiences, a woman's innocence (purity) has been very wrapped in her sexuality.

Earlier this year, I'd began to evaluate the word innocence and its applicability to me - not because I'd been off whoring, but because I just didn't feel "innocent." It sparked from a conversation this past Christmas, in which some friends surfaced this term as a descriptor for me. I found myself irritated a bit because internally it didn't match the view I had of my self.

In a period of self reflection, I tied this back to my childhood. For reasons I'd prefer not to get into at the moment, around my preteen years, I'd developed a negative outlook as it related to my ability to be dependent on others. I realize that this has set the tone for a lot of my interactions from then to even now.

On the show, Kolby's mom is openly, and obviously, against premarital sex. But not because it's sex, but because of the affect she believes sex has on a woman's heart.

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

I'd never thought about that until seeing that episode or at least looked at my approach to life through that lens. But, the concept of remaining pure in one's heart stood out to me. It made me look at how fragile the heart and the emotions that stem from there are. We all deal with things differently, but speaking from my perspective, repetitious bouts of sadness or disappointment lead me down a path of negativity and avoidance.

This brought me to the idea of purity rings and how it's the fathers that give these to their daughters. I used to think it was tied to the concept of women being a commodity and this exchange of rings as further emphasis on his ownership of her until marriage. But, the more I thought about it, I believe that it goes back to the saying of how a girl's father is her first boyfriend.

I'd misconstrued the full meaning of that as well, thinking that it was solely based in a girl's father being the first man to make her feel special or beautiful - in essence, building her self esteem. But, I now see the Christian view to this. As her husband is eventually responsible to do, a father's duty is to protect his daughter's heart -the essence of her being.

To start back at the beginning, which was originally the end, I hate the dating process because I'm always left thinking how many times can I be disappointed and come back from it? The walls that have to come down to trust someone new get higher each time and the one thing I don't want is to be tarnished for the one who does deserve me.

But at my age, and given my circumstances, the duty to protect my heart is my own. As Meagan Good said, "don't settle for anyone who doesn't see you as close to how God sees you - perfect." Someone that views you as such, I believe, would willing take on the responsibility of protection. After all, isn't that what most women want? To feel protected.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Total Truth Thursdays | Kids: Concessions, Not The Kind Involving Popcorn

I abandoned this link up a couple of Thursdays ago, but decided to start back today with this week's topic - parenting and/or kids.

Since I'm not a parent, I'm in no position to preach on parenting. So, I decided to focus on my views around having kids. First, I have to tell you all how much my mom hates when I refer to people's children, especially my future ones, as kids. She thinks it's impersonal and not endearing. Oh, Mothers.

Anyhow, can I start by saying... pregnancy pact or nah? It seems like every week I'm finding out that another person is having or has had a baby. Unfortunately, my mom has noticed this trend as well, which has resulted in conversations about her relocating (she doesn't want to be the "other" grandma), baby names, and other topics that currently have no particular relevance to me.

Don't get me wrong I've been speaking babies on my womb since at least twelve - yet, several factors have prevented the conception of such children. The number one factor being the situation in which I'd like for this child of mine to come into existence.

I grew up in a single parent home and because of this I've mentally mapped out what it would take for me to raise a child on my own. Unfortunately, statistics also drive a lot of this thinking as well. Not that I wish this fate on myself or my future offspring, but the odds are stacked in opposition (being that I'm a black woman with an unwavering preference for black men). Statistically speaking, the odds are that my child's father and I will not raise the child as a couple and it's also likely that said father may not fulfill his parental responsibilities to his up-most potential. Due to this, two criteria have surfaced regarding what needs to exist in order for me to consider becoming someone's mother. The first being that I'm able to support my child financially, on my own. The second being that I am able to find a person that equally understands the meaning of becoming a parent and is willing to make any necessary sacrifices - as I would.

To that last point, as much I'd love to have a child and create posts of isms, I don't see parenthood as the right decision for me [now]. I believe that there are a lot of concessions I would be required to make and I'm not ready to sacrifice my sense of self and adapt to the title of being someone's mother. I say that because I'm the type of person that focuses their full attention to whatever requires it most at that time - relationships, work, etc. I fear that children would serve as a distraction that would be more harmful than good at this point in my life. The same goes for relationships, but I digress.

My above views aren't to say that mothers don't have their own identity or that in order to be a great mom you have to forsake your goals or ambitions. But, in the event that is required, I would like to be in a position to make that sacrifice. Which, currently I am not.

So, in the meantime, to all of you who've bit the bullet, or got hit by it, hats off to you. But as for me, and my womb, I'll try to keep my ovaries from influencing my ability to reason. Ladies, you know that thing that happens when you see an adorably cute child...I can't be the only one!

For those without children, but that want them, what are your reasons for postponing motherhood?

Total Truth Thursday

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Apology Letter To Spring. Friends Again?

Dear Spring,

I saw you threw a party and left me off the guest list. I usually don't make a big deal over these things but Facebook and Instagram have a way of rubbing things in your face and I just had to say something.

I know I took you for granted during my Floridian years, so I guess that explains why you've been giving me the cold shoulder.

We spent a lot years together while I was in Florida, so when I went to New York I wanted to experience something different. I'm sure this is all about that time I said Fall was my favorite. I shouldn't have said that. I hate to displace blame, but Fall and Winter have a way of weighing a person down and that Winter - she's quite persistent. Look, it's April and she's still around. I just want you to know that if I hurt your feelings that it wasn't my intent and I'm truly sorry.

You just never know what you've got until it's gone and that's my lesson in all of this. I came to New York and tried to adapt the ways and forgo my festive wardrobe. But I miss your flirty clothing adorned in bright colors and funky patterns! You were one of the only one that accepted my hot pink nail obsession. I gave into peer pressure - I had a weak moment. Fall and Winter were making me feel like an outcast and basically forced me into these neutral palettes. It was OK for awhile but Fall and Winter don't party like you and Summer. They even enforce this strict dress code of dreary color palettes, thick socks, high boots, and suffocating scarves. Don't get my wrong I was excited at first because it was new - but just like that small stint in middle school with uniforms, it got old after awhile. They don't understand a person's desire for change. Not, like you do.

I've gone on for too long and I know you like to keep things short. I hope we can let bygones be bygones and you find it in your heart to pay me a visit.

Sincerest Apologies,

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week In Review | In The Midst of Sadness (3/31 - 4/6)


What did I learn last week? 
That joy can live alongside sadness. Cryptic, I know.
Which moment from last week was the most memorable and why? 
Friday afternoon. Similar to last week, I don't really care to go into detail which will probably hinder my ability to reflect on this later. But, what I can say is that it was a switch for me to accept things for what they were and do my best to move forward.

What is the number one thing I need to accomplish this week? 
I need to get a hold of my life. Not that it's completely out of order, but there are things that are within my control that I should focus more of my attention to.

What can I do right now to make the week less stressful? 
The same thing that I was supposed to do last week and failed to do - put myself first.

Am I carrying any excess baggage into the week that can be dropped? 
The same emotional baggage from last week - it'll probably be around for awhile.

What am I looking forward to during the upcoming week? 
Warmer weather.

Have any of my recent actions moved me closer to my goals
I began reading last week to reach my goal of reading thirty books. I also volunteered with Junior Achievement of New York to perform mock interviews with tenth graders.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Low Hanging Fruit

In my week in review series, debuted HERE, I will be tracking my progress in reaching the goals outlined in my 101 list. Since some are a bit high reaching, I decided to go after what we refer to in my industry as "low hanging fruit." For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the opportunities within reach that don't require any extreme effort.

I've been seeing a lot of the blogosphere making commitments to read more in 2014 and I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I figure it's a simple enough goal that I can begin right away and that won't require any immediate planning or additional purchases.

I browsed my bookcase to see whether anything jumped out at me and, of course, I was underwhelmed. My collection is made up of mostly fiction and I've really taken to non-fiction in the past few years. Start With Why by Simon Sinek managed to grab my attention so I'll be starting there. I received the book from a former boss of mine who really aided in shaping me professionally.

To hold myself accountable, I plan to post either a reaction or learning from what I'm currently reading on a weekly basis. I'm not much for reviews, so I figured this was a good alternative for me.

If any of you have any goals to read more in 2014, I'd love to hear them. Also, if there are any non-fiction fans - book suggestions are very welcome!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week In Review | Reflections (3/24 - 3/30)

I've been thinking of ways to maintain a more consistent presence on my blog. I thought Total Truth Thursdays were going to be my answer, but I've found myself opting out on a few topics because they weren't adding to my blog or on subjects I cared to discuss.

This rainy weekend afforded me the opportunity to reflect - resulting in the first post of my "Week In Review" series. A year ago I went through this phase of answering twenty questions at the end of the week in hopes of gaining some insight to carry into the following week. Twenty questions became a bit daunting, so "Week In Review" will be my scaled back version. Enjoy!

What did I learn last week?
I learned that I place too many expectations on people based on how I would behave or think that they should behave in a given situation. I learned that I need to accept people for who they show themselves to be and limit any expectations beyond my control.

Which moment from last week was the most memorable and why?
It's more personal than I care to divulge and too fresh for me to know why it was memorable.

What is the number one thing I need to accomplish this week?
I actually don't have anything [personal] that needs to be accomplished this week and that doesn't sit well with me.

What can I do right now to make the week less stressful?
Put Alexis first.

Am I carrying any excess baggage into the week that can be dropped?
Emotional baggage, always. I'm willing to let bygones be bygones. If it doesn't affect my personal safety or health, it's not important.

What am I looking forward to during the upcoming week?
Getting back to happy and prioritizing myself.

Have any of my recent actions moved me closer to my goals?
Unfortunately, no.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Flaw in Strength

I found myself watching Keeping Up with The Kardashians, the episode where Khloe made the decision to walk away from her relationship with Lamar, the other day.

"I hate seeing you stuck in this place, not making a decision when nothing's changing." 
- Kim Kardashian

I've always related to Khloe and her not giving a (whistle) attitude but this episode solidified us a kindred spirits. It started with her being at the dinner table and calling Lamar repeatedly and receiving no response. Then there was her dealing with his reckless regard for her feelings when his "rap video" surfaced. But, what really solidified it was her plea to her sisters and friend, Malika, to understand why she was sticking around, "I don't think he understands."


Granted, I've never been married or in any relationship with such extreme circumstances. But recent situations have put me emotionally in her shoes. I too feel that I'm oftentimes fighting a seemingly impossible fight for something on behalf of two people and then justifying the other person's actions when clear disregard for my feelings is demonstrated.

Not to put too much of my business out there, but for curious minds, I'm in what Facebook would define as an "It's Complicated" situation. I've always mentally snarled at that label --being of the belief that something either is or it isn't, but I'm now a believer. Somethings are just complicated and trying to fit it into the constraints of a label just further complicates what it is or isn't.

I digress.

During Khloe's plea that Lamar simply just doesn't understand, she breaks down in frustration and clear defeat. Kim, confused with how her sister allows herself to remain in this situation, then says to her, "you're the strongest person I know." If that isn't the same thing my friend told me when I called at my wits end regarding my own situation! I never let anyone get the best of me, yet here I am - defeated.

From that point [my own conversation], I've started to question myself. Why is it that I usually have the ability to shrug off problems and circumstances yet experience these rare moments where my sense of self is shattered? I came to the conclusion that it's because I cared.

I can't speak on Khloe and who she is, because I obviously don't know her. But, if she's anything like me then she also approaches life with the not giving a (whistle) attitude because life's proven that it's easier to not care about anything than to care about everything and feel the constant blows of disappointment.

The downside to that is that when you do choose to throw caution to the wind, you end up caring too much. Personally, it makes it harder to accept if a situation is bad because it's as if everything you did was in vain. Worst than that, you were wrong - again.

I find that I don't even recognize the person I've become in this situation. I am sensitive about every single thing - the slightest thing hurts my feelings or makes me cry. I am self conscious and in this constant state of needing approval or reassurance. It's like I've become some feeble representation of my normal self and I don't like her.

This doesn't end with some grand epiphany. I'm still in my complicated situation, still making excuses. Maybe there will be an update, maybe not.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Total Truth Thursdays | Marriage: A Single's Perspective

Blogging is hard and writer's block is real.

Now, that I have those truths out the way, I want to introduce the very first "link up" I've decided to participate in - Total Truth Thursdays. I'm still not quite sure how the whole "link up" thing works, but I stumbled upon this at Hey Kelsea Rae and decided to throw caution to the wind.

If you want more information about this link-up and the dates/topics click the button at the bottom of this post.

As the subject of this post indicates, the first topic is marriage. Let me start by saying that I am not married nor by any rational assessment of my current situation close to becoming anyone's Mrs.. Because of that, I decided to look at this topic from my stance on marriage (as a single woman) and the role marriage plays in my life overall.

Candidly speaking, marriage is a goal of mine (watches as any potential suitor of mine runs for the hills). It was only recent, in the last year or so, that I realized how much of a goal it really was. I use the word goal purposely, as it's something I'm working towards. However, I do want to make clear it's not a challenge or something that I take lightly. I say it's a goal, because like any other goal I have I am working towards it and preparing myself for the opportunity. I just don't know what, or in this case who, I'm preparing for (wouldn't that make life so much easier).

The bible says, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22)." Quickly, I think this is another one of those male ego booster things, because I'm quite positive I'll find him first and then have to wait for him to see the light. Anywho, if you read my post the other day, I talked about my views on womanhood and what being a woman means to me. As mentioned there, gender roles and the purpose of them have been skewed by society. I feel that the role of a woman is to take care of her family. Whereas a man is supposed to support his family. Over time, maybe in part due to the repetitive roles women and men assumed in society, people have equated "taking care" with domestic responsibilities and "support" with finances and stability.

To me, the words can be interpreted however as long as the interpretation works for that family unit. Taking care of one household may mean a woman needs to carry the financial burden while her husband continues education. For another household, the husband may need to "support" his wife's desire to maintain her career and be a stay at home dad. I think the definition of what it means to take care of someone or support a person has always been a constant, it's just how it plays out is what's flexible.

Unfortunately, marriage has loss it's value in society. I think that's partially due to the casual manner in which it's approached - also the stigmas that have been attached to it. I am a product of divorce, so I didn't grow up in a household that's helped to shape my ideals on marriage. But, I've witnessed (mainly in media) a lot of power couples. Besides the success and money, what I've always wanted and admired was how much of a team dynamic they seemed to have.

As I've been dating, I have come to the decision that all the dating I do is in preparation of finding my husband - my partner in crime, the person that balances me.  I have a sincere belief that life is not a journey intended to be experienced alone. I have things right and wrong with me, but so will my furture husband. For me, the puzzle is finding the person whose wrongs are my rights and vice versa. This obviously complicates the dating game for me, but having marriage in mind as my goal does help the process.

Tune in next Thursday, the topic is fashion.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Reason Why I'm Blogging [Again]

I relaunched my blogging presence a little over a week ago and I'm already feeling that lull I experience that usually leads to blog? what blog? oh, that thing! I think the challenge I'm facing is that I don't have an identity as a blogger. I don't really know what I want my blog to offer others. This next sentence may be selfish, and potentially something I shouldn't voice here, but I don't think this is meant to be for others - but, more so for me.

Thinking back on the reason I decided I wanted to blog again, it came when I had the ephiphany that I wasn't the woman I saw myself being at this age. This isn't related to reaching career goals or living in a particular city - those things I accomplished. It was more about the basics of being a woman. I'm not the cook my mother is, I don't possess that feminine charm to change the energy of a room, I couldn't honestly say I know how to "take care of a man," I'm not crafty in the Martha Stewart sense of the word, I don't know how to remove really bad dirt stains from a white tiled floor...I feel when it comes to those aspects of being a woman, I'm not there.

This portrait of being a woman might ruffle a few feathers, especially for my fellow professionally driven "modern" women. But, these are the skills I want to be able to say I possess as a woman. It's kind of hard in this society to justify this frame of thinking - especially living in NYC. The city where gender roles are constantly being challenged and women are being encouraged to do more, be more and I love that. But, I've been so focused on becoming this modern woman - one of intellect, ambition and independence, that I lost focus of the values of the traditional woman. 

I created this blog and my 101 list around becoming the woman I want be - one that finds balance between modern feminist values and the traditional standards of womanhood. The result: pretty, smart.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Happy Birthday | Letter To My Twenty-Six Year Old Self


Girl, you are old! But fortunately, the none the wiser piece doesn’t apply. I’ve been putting off this letter for sometime, but after a recent breakthrough I felt this was as good a time as any.

You always have these goals of being happy and having a less negative outlook on things. Conveniently, you always chose to overlook the piece about finding happiness within yourself. I can’t tell you that you’ve found that ability or that I’ve discovered some magical trick to help you do so. But, if the past twenty-five years have taught you anything, it should be what happens when you allow your happiness to live and die at the hands of someone else.

I don’t think this is the year for reflection on where you’ve been and where you’re going. Don’t make any plans on how to get from point A to point B. Just live! You have your thirties and beyond to make plans and worry. Twenty-six is your sabbatical year.

If you hear it from no one else, know that I’m proud of you. You’ve accomplished more than I ever imagined that you would. You’ve far exceeded the standard that you initially set for yourself. I’m not saying this is the time to slack off but cruise control should be fine for the next year.

Continue to be strong, determined, and to demand happiness for yourself. Love without the fear of heartbreak. Remember that life is what happens to us while we are making other plans. So, be fearless and just live.

Yourself at age twenty-five

Thursday, February 20, 2014

101 Things To Do in 1001 Days

 I am keeping a list of 101 things I'd like to accomplish in the next 1001 days. I’ve attempted and failed this challenge several times in the past. I’m restarting this 1001 days (2.75 years) journey in attempts to achieve my goals, take chances and experience life in way I haven’t before. Keep up with my progress below!

Status: 10 complete, 91 to go! 
End Date: October 4, 2016 
(Last Updated: 7/10/14)

  1. Go to Canada
  2. Visit three city/states in the U.S. for the first time Bentonville, February 2014
  3. Take 10 flights Bentonville, February 2014; Atlanta, February 2014; New York City, February 2014; Los Angeles, April 2014; San Diego, May 2014; Houston, May 2014; Jacksonville, May 2014
  4. Buy a nice three piece matching luggage set
  5. Be in Vegas at the end of the 1001 days
  6. Visit Nantucket, MA
  7. Write my name in the sand  La Jolla Cove in San Diego, May 2014
  8. Visit the museum at Ellis Island
  9. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
  10. Ride the ferry in NYC
  11. Ride bikes in Central Park
  12. Go to Coney Island
  13. Have a coney in Coney Island.
  14. Eat at a famous New York pizza place
  15. See something on Broadway All The Way, February 16, 2014
  16. Attend a blogger conference
  17. Buy the domain name for my blog
  18. Establish blog presence
  19. Hire a designer for my blog Danielle Burkleo, February 2014
  20. Purchase a camera for my blog ventures and traveling
  21. Write a short story
  22. Get a Brazilian Skin Spa SOHO, March 2014
  23. Have tea at The Plaza
  24. Clean out my "intimates" drawer
  25. Purchase two sets of pretty pajamas/lounge wear
  26. Invest in a handbag
  27. Get my driver's license
  28. Put $10 in savings for each goal accomplished
  29. Get my teeth whitened
  30. Take a bubble bath
  31. Buy a clarisonic
  32. Finish all hair products before buying new ones
  33. See the sunrise from outdoors
  34. Do something crafty
  35. Go people watching
  36. Have a conversation with a stranger
  37. Play laser tag
  38. Updated: Complete an online/social challenge
  39. Celebrate St. Patricks day besides wearing green.
  40. Fly a kite
  41. Updated: Do something adventurous
  42. Go ice skating
  43. Read in the park
  44. See a movie outdoors
  45. Go to an official sporting event
  46. Have a picnic
  47. Play tennis
  48. Buy dining room set (March 2014) and accompanying mirror for dinette vision
  49. Buy a wreath for my front door
  50. Have company over twice for dinner, drinks or games (0/2)
  51. Have a Christmas tree in my apartment
  52. Buy something for my home from Etsy
  53. Hang three photos of family in my apartment (0/3)
  54. Purchase curtains for my living room (March 2014)
  55. Adopt or get a dog; unless I have a kid
  56. Buy flowers
  57. Subscribe to an interior design magazine
  58. Go to church at least once a month for a year (2/12, Jan., Mar.)
  59. Purchase something that gives proceeds back to charity in some way.
  60. Support only small businesses for 2 weeks
  61. Volunteer with children (JANY at the office, Apr 2014;Full day teaching with JANY, June 2014)
  62. Donate my old clothes/shoes/purses
  63. Leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find
  64. Purchase gifts for everyone in my immediate family for Christmas
  65. Help Jonathan move out
  66. Send 20 handwritten notes (1/20)
  67. Make an address book with contact information for friends and family
  68. Visit a friend in another state
  69. Reconnect with an old friend
  70. Have all Christmas gifts purchased before December
  71. Send out New Years cards one year.
  72. Spend a day with 4 friends doing whatever they want.
  73. Get to work on time for a week straight, twice (0/14)
  74. Earn two pay increases/promotions
  75. LOVE my job
  76. Create a profitable side hustle
  77. Order personal business cards and stationary on Etsy
  78. Have an at home dinner date
  79. Kiss in the rain
  80. Plan an amazing date
  81. Have first long-term relationship (+2 years)
  82. Be happy in love
  83. No fast food for a month
  84. Participate in Meatless Mondays for two months
  85. No fried foods for a month
  86. Drink only water for one month
  87. Do hot yoga
  88. Make 10 recipes from Pinterest
  89. Have lobster in Maine
  90. Visit a restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
  91. Try a different kind of sushi roll, instead of shrimp tempura
  92. Try a new drink at Starbucks (Vanilla Machiatto)
  93. Have wine and cheese at a wine bar or go wine tasting
  94. See a comedy show
  95. Watch a movie for each letter of the alphabet (0/26)
  96. Attend a Jazz festival
  97. See four independent films in a theater at four different theaters Philemona at Landmark Sunshine Theater
  98. Watch a movie that was released in 1988 (birth year) Beaches
  99. Read thirty books (0/30)
  100. Take a picture every month and make a calendar with the photos; caption the photos
  101. Take photo booth photo

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Just In Time For Valentine's Day

I was browsing the blogosphere and came across this post at The Word Of A Nerd on how the love for her husband grew over time. Yes, an argument to the theory of--the hopeless romantic’s dream--love at first sight.

This isn’t the first time I’d thought of my feelings on this subject. As I’m still on my single and dating journey, this has definitely been one of the questions I’ve asked myself - “how do you know when you’ve met ‘the one.’” To be completely honest, I’m still not sure that I know.

I’ve met guys that I’ve connected with immediately due to us sharing a passion for a given subject. There’s even been guys that I’ve been instantly attracted to and maybe experienced a more than normal surge of that “love drug.”

But, as I grow older, I understand more that love is a mature emotion and maturity represents growth, development. I no longer believe that the surface sensibility to gauge love rests completely in sight. I do think it’s something that takes time to develop. Is this to say that I don’t want the eye-gazing, lapse in breath, or all of the other classically defined signs of “love?”

No. What is means is that as I've matured, the meaning of what love is has matured for me as well. Just as I've had to evolve into who I'm becoming, so does love.