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The Case of The Ex

1 Sep

What do you do when your ex won’t stay away?

Not these two again...

I’ve held off on writing about this for a while because I firmly believe in the law of attraction: that whatever you focus on is what will be attracted to you. I have a few exes who, try as I might, I cannot shake them (or maybe it’s them who can’t shake me? hmm). In my younger years my solution for an old boyfriend was to replace him with a newer, shinier one but do I need to explain how problematic this line of thinking is? I didn’t think so.

After nursing my wounds from a bad relationship or toxic friendship I often make a vow to myself to be kinder, nicer, more compassionate to myself than the dearly departed were. It’s a vicious cycle that I have fought myself on for years and it goes something like this: make vow to be nice to self –> make progress –> get sidetracked/back slide into negative behavior –> pain –> back to square one. I want to touch on the step smack dab in the middle – getting sidetracked.

Let’s use a real scenario: you’re on minding your business one day and your phone goes off. Its an text or email from your ex – what do you do? I’ll be honest, on a good day I can ignore a message and keep it trucking. On a day where I’m not my best I might engage them but that never ends well. Or maybe you’re the one who is acting as the initiator, sending messages and  maintaining contact with your ex. Opening the door for your ex to communicate with you is never a good idea. I have my theories on why exes come back but this Madame Noire post explains them better than I can. Which brings me to my first point:

Stop Entertaining

Communication is 50 percent what you say and 50 percent what you dont say. In other words, that simple ‘hey, how are you?’ is never that simple. Your ex is an ex for a reason and depending on when you broke up usually no communication is for the best. You might be tempted to reply to that text but think about what it really means. You’ll be waiting by the phone for their reply, reading into the conversation way more than necessary and pretty much allowing this person to rent space in your head.

Distract Yourself

Work and working out are two of my coping mechanisms. When life gets rough I bury myself in work and torture myself with new and creative workouts. Ok maybe the word ‘torture’ isn’t the best descriptor but if my muscles are aching I don’t have time to think about my ex. The time I’ve spent pining over a failed relationship have never brought me anything but a headache. Putting that time to good use on a project or at the gym will always benefit you. Always. I thought I’d never say this but, my mom was right, time really is the best medicine.

Call for Reinforcements

If you’ve put in those extra hours at work, did all you could on the treadmill and you still can’t shake the feeling to call your ex then its time to call for help. Those friends who helped you during your breakup should be on speed dial because a friend who helped you through the break up will not want you to go down that road again. This is not the time to gloss over details or conjure up theories about the hidden meaning of the message he sent. Keep it real with your friends and ask that they do the same for you.

I don’t have all the answers. Writing this post is as therapuetic for me as it is for those of you reading it. What I can say is that usually communicating with my exes came from a place that remembered the good times of our relationship. I won’t lie – I can be a sucker for love. I get to thinking about the good ol days, looking at pictures, listening to some Jill Scott and BAM I’m actually giving the relationship a second chance. It happens to the best of us. What I’ve learned about myself over the years is while I can feel nostalgic for good times with an ex, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was meant to be (Belle touches on this in her book). If you go fishing for reasons to get back together I guarantee you will find at least one that makes sense to you.

The bottom line is this: someone out there is better for you than your ex and keeping in touch with your ex could be keeping you from meeting them. Think about it: how can you get a new living room set if you’re holding on to the old one?

-Nikki B.

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Decadent x Elyse Lauryne Pool Party

11 Jun

You and Your…Social Life

On Friday June 17th come out and join Roaring 20’s resident designers, Nikki B. Decadent & Elyse Lauryne, for a night of fun at the Grace Hotel. It’s gonna be a splash!

Forgetting Superman

16 May

I finally saw Waiting for Superman. Just like all of the other Netflix movies I rent, it sat on the table for a couple weeks. Then I finally opened the actual envelope, and then it sat on the table for a couple weeks more.

One sunny afternoon of running errands I decided to finally watch the film. I don’t know why I waited so long. Waiting for Superman was a great documentary. For those who don’t know what the movie is about, it follows students and their parents while they hope and pray they will be picked for a lottery to get into a magnet/charter school to receive a better education.

Don’t watch this movie on a sunny day. By the film’s end, I was teary-eyed and under the covers, curtains drawn and lights off. The stats in the movie made me slightly depressed. Most eighth graders in the country read below an eighth grade level. (I’m not going to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it. Just watch it!)

What made the movie worse were the explanations for not firing bad teacher. If someone is a “bad” teacher, they are less likely to be fired for their lack of teaching ability because it is against their contract. And if a teacher made tenure? Those suckas ain’t going nowhere. Their jobs are guaranteed for life.

I couldn’t help but to think of all the teachers I’ve had during my school career — the nice ones, the boring ones, the substitutes, the bitches. Everybody has a unique school experience.

I grew up in the city and the ‘burbs. When I was in the city, I was considered smart. In school, they like to say you’re above average. I always read at a grade level ahead of me, but by fifth grade I was reading at an eighth grade level. (One teacher actually wanted me to skip a grade, but my parents decided against it.) Toward the end of fifth grade I moved to the suburbs, My reading may have been on point, but my math damn sure wasn’t. My new homeroom teacher said if I didn’t improve, I could be left back in the fifth grade. (I know, I was just as shocked as you are.) She said if I got extra help from her I would be fine.

Now, lemme tell you about this trifling teacher, Mrs. W. I had to see this chick for extra help during my lunch period which meant I had to cut my lunch short. When I got back to the classroom, Mrs. W was still eating, so in between bites of her dumb tuna sandwich and getting crumbs on my worksheets, Mrs. W helped me for all of ten minutes just that one time. Needless to say my mother wasn’t too happy. At the end of the school year, I noticed she whited out me going to fifth grade for the next year and put a six in it’s place.

Some teachers really don’t care about their students. Some would rather pass them then to deal with them for another year. I never really had a teacher I truly connected with or confided in. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I connected with one of my professors. Her name was Dr. Pozorski. She gave me encouraging words during a time when I felt down. It wasn’t much, but it was just enough for me. She actually showed she cared. I’ll never forget her.

Gems: Did you ever have a teacher/professor that you trusted? How would you feel if you had to enter a lottery to go to a good school?

— Cherie Redd

Shattering The Myth of The Independent Woman

31 Mar

You and Your…Ego

 

"They say I walk around like I got an 'S' on my chest..."

 

March was Women’s History Month so I’m just making the cut off for this post but I think it’s something we need to address. For all of the men and women who have fallen for the swindle, I sincerely apologize for what I’m about to say but it needs to be said: The Independent Woman does not exist. Yup, I said it. She’s a figment of your imagination. A mirage, if you will. In other words, she’s not real. Before you start quoting Destiny’s Child “Independent Women” or Neyo hear me out.

We need to get to the bottom of what it means to be independent. The phrase “independent woman” has gone the way of “hating” or “thick” – it’s been over and misused to the point of exhaustion where we can no longer recall the true meaning. Destiny’s Child dropped their girl power anthem in 2000 and if my memory serves me correctly I was 15 and a sophomore in HS. I was singing the mess outta this song and in my hormone driven teenage delusion I truly believed I was an independent woman. Never mind the facts that I couldn’t drive, vote or buy a pack of cigarettes; I was independent, dammit. The shoes on my feet? I bought it. I bought it with money I made working for summer youth but it was my money. I was goin for mine! Grinding all day, everyday, baby. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve worked for summer youth and I still couldn’t tell you what it means to be truly independent. Does it mean that I pay my own bills and am truly self-reliant in every sense of the word? Your guess is as good as mine on this one.

It just brings me to my next point: why is it so important  to be an independent woman?

The independent woman is a mythical being. She’s totally self sufficient, strong, sassy, financially well off, educated, a great cook,  philanthropist and in her spare time she fights fires and rescues people from burning buildings. She doesn’t take ish of anybody. You never see her cry. She never asks for help. She does it all. All she’s missing is the superhero cape and utility belt because she is straight out the pages of a comic book.

The Independent Woman Myth may temporarily satisfy our egos but it does little, if anything, for our personal growth. Its a very linear and one dimensional line of thinking that serves little purpose. If you think you can do any and everything absolutely on your own without any help from anyone else you are sadly mistaken. You’re selling yourself short and could be missing chances to connect with people who can help you grow into a better person. We all need help sometimes. Is there some prize in doing it all? A certificate for suffering in silence while you’re stressed and overwhelmed? Seriously, let me know where I can collect my martyr points and how I can cash them in.

"She do it ALL!" *rolls eyes*

I can’t express how grateful I am for the network of supportive family and friends that I have in my corner. If I was still drinking the Independent Woman koolaid lawd knows where I’d be now but I know one thing, I wouldnt be this far into my journey for personal growth. Nor would I have pulled together five of my favorite ladies to start this blog. To quote Cherie Redd, “Team work makes the dream work, Baby!”

So how do we move past the Independent Woman Myth? For starters we can take a good hard look at how detrimental it is because the Independent Woman Myth doesn’t allow us to be true to ourselves. If you’re so caught up in being strong and independent you will never be able to have genuine friendships and relationships with others. If people don’t see the real you they will never be able to get deeper than the surface. By allowing myself to be vunerable I’ve been able to strengthen the bonds with my friends and family. There is strength in letting others see what you may think is a weakness. Humbling yourself can be hard but it’s vital for our survival as women. The fact is that we need each other and the Independent Woman Myth robs us of the chance to enjoy the fruits of sisterhood.

Push that Independent Woman off a cliff because she’s holding you back. Open your heart and mind to a new school of thought and allow yourself to be a be defined by something other than being “independent”. Reclaim your power and thank me later 🙂

-Nikki B. Decadent

Death of The Frenemy

7 Mar

You and Your…Friends

Don't worry, she's just playing. Tell them you're just playing *gasp* I can't breathe!

fren·e·my

noun \ˈfre-nə-mē\

plural fren·e·mies

Definition of FRENEMY :

one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy

When it comes to frenemies we’ve all had an experience with one: the girlfriend who’s quick to criticize your outfit when you look like a million bucks or the bestfriend who doesn’t hesitate to throw salt on your great relationship with your man. We’re quick to cut ties with a dead beat ex but what happens when you can’t sever ties with a bad friend? Many times we remain friends with people who have committed unspeakable acts of disrespect for no reason other than “we’ve been friends for so long!” Holding on to a dead end friend isn’t healthy and can prevent you from having healthy relationships with yourself and others.

Rihanna & Ciara: are they really friends? Methinks, NOT!

Identify whether this person is a good friend or not. The best way to properly assess this is to think about how you feel while you’re in the company of this person. Healthy friendships should leave you energized and feeling like you can take over the world. If you are hanging out with this person and feeling nothing but stress and misery then maybe it’s time you cut ties with them.  You’re not doing yourself any favors by sticking it out with someone who doesn’t value your friendship. A good friend is supportive of your goals, dreams and hobbies even if they don’t personally have an interest in them.  If the only time your friend can be there for you is when it’s beneficial to them then you might have a problem. Selfishness is a huge red flag. A lot of times women will try to overcompensate for a selfish friend by being a doormat but letting someone run over you to keep the peace does little for the friendship or for your self-esteem. Healthy friendships have boundaries and are built on mutual respect.  If your friend is overly critical of you, competitive, gives you back handed compliments or generally makes you feel self conscious then it may be time to move on.

A perfect example of this is the recent short lived “beef” between recording artists Rihanna and Ciara. Ciara made a comment  to Joan Rivers on E!’s Fashion Police in regards to a recent run-in with Rihanna. All she said was she (Rihanna) wasn’t nice to her. It wasn’t long before Rihanna took it to the e-streets and got confrontational on Twitter.

Well….alright.  15 minutes later…

I dunno about yall but that has got to be the fakest apology I’ve ever read! Maybe I’m looking too much into it but I definitely feel it’s laced with sarcasm. I could be wrong and totally off the mark but  this is a classic frenemy tactic. Ciara, I hope you didn’t fall for that mess. Which brings me to my next point…

Be honest with yourself. Why are you still friends with this person? Often times the length of the friendship can cloud your judgment. Sure, every friendship has its good and bad days but keep it real. Do a cost/benefit analysis of the friendship and list every negative transgression and good deed that you can remember. This is not the time to get soft; you need to face the facts! If the costs outweigh the benefits but you’re still on the fence about what to do it’s time to get a third party involved. Talk to someone who doesn’t know your friend and ask them for their honest opinion – would they continue to be friends with a person whose done x, y and z? Sometimes an outside view can open our eyes to things that we’ve been blind to for so long.

Nene Leakes & Kim Zolciak of the Real Housewives of Atlanta have had a rocky friendship which ended before the season finale

Is this person your friend? You might find that the person who you thought was your friend doesn’t even like you! I mean, what else can explain the string of passive aggressive, disrespectful or outright nasty behavior this person has shown towards you? You’re going to have to take responsibility for what happened. This person only treated you like crap because, on some level, you allowed it. You might be experiencing a range of emotions right now: sadness, embarrassment, anger, and while it’s normal to be emotional but don’t dwell on your feelings. Being bitter about the situation is not going to help you move on.  Forgive them, let it go and whatever you do don’t publicly bash your ex friend. It makes you look bad and it gives the impression that you aren’t over it. There is power in silence and now is the time to take the high road and exercise that power.

Make a decision. Personally, I don’t believe in closure but if you want to talk to this person to give them one last chance to redeem themselves understand that you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. Don’t expect this person to apologize for mistreating you. Remember: the worse they treated you the less likely they are to give a damn. Do yourself a favor and move on with dignity. Delete their number and defriend them on Facebook if you like but do something to mark the end of the friendship if you truly want to move on. Leaving the door open for reconciliation is pointless and a bit desperate. By living in what is instead of what used to be or what could be you are allowing yourself to heal. You’d be surprised how much better you’ll feel once things are over. Almost instantly you will be able to appreciate the great things that will start to happen in your life. It won’t happen overnight but your confidence will start to grow and once it does you won’t second guess your decision.  You owe it to yourself to let go of negative people and situations: life is sweeter without a frenemy.

-Nikki B. Decadent

4 things to do with your income tax

2 Mar

You and Your….Money

4 things to do with your income tax…before you spend it all on nonsense.

I need to make a confession: I’m your stereotypical tax refund fiend. I can’t wait to see how much I’m owed by Uncle Sam and, like other child-free and unmarried twenty somethings, I usually get shafted every single year. According to Uncle Sam, the real money is in having kids. It kinda sucks because the cost of living is rising everywhere, major cities and small towns alike, we could all use the extra money. Why isn’t there an everyday working people tax credit? A paying your bills on time kickback? I could use a free Metrocard or something every once in a while, but I digress.

At times my eyes get bigger than my stomach, and I’ve had more than my fair share of post tax season buyers remorse. The excited anticipation of waiting by the mailbox or online bank screen for your check to arrive and the rush of dreaming new and elaborate ways to spend the money.  Before you run out to the outlets for the newest top of the line cappuccino maker or late night infomercial workout equipment (Shake Weights included) consider all of the options before you swipe your debit card.

Take a Vacation

Let’s face it: most of us do not take as much time off from work as we should.  No matter your profession we can all benefit from a vacation. Even if it’s to a neighboring city or state for a few days. Getting away from your everyday environment can be a nice way to psyche yourself into a better mood. When you come home from a getaway you’ll feel refreshed and happy. If you don’t already have one get your passport. It costs around $130 and the process takes about 4-5 weeks.  Check out bookit.com and kayak.com for amazing deals on hotels, airfare and vacation packages. If you’re like me, a 25-year-old non driver, go for your driver’s license. I’m actually looking forward to the freedom of being able to drive. Can you say ‘road trip’ this summer?!

Pay Off a Credit Card

If you don’t have a credit card you can give yourself a financial edge in other ways by paying your rent a month in advance or making a double payment on a utility bill or student loan. Putting money towards ‘constants’ (expenses that need to be paid every month) gives you a little cushion for months where you might overspend. By paying in advance you’re giving yourself a little wiggle room in your budget. While you’re putting a little more to your bills think about opening a new savings account to stash extra cash. ING is an online bank that offers great interest rates. Check bankrate.com for other banking options. If you have no credit (no credit can be just as annoying as bad credit) take out a credit card if you need to build your score. A department store credit card can be easier than a regular card. Just read the fine print and be mindful of the interest rates.

Stock Up On the Basics

You can never be too prepared. Again, take stock of your ‘constants.’ You know you have certain things that you need on a daily basis: favorite foods, clothing, beauty aids, etc. Why not take a chunk of your change and spend it on things that you need? Check out half.com for gently used and new books at crazy low prices, drugstore.com for beauty supplies and if you have roommates see if you can chip in for a membership to a wholesale club like Costco’s, Sam’s Club or BJ’s. Buying household items in bulk can cut down on your day to day expenses and save time on unnecessary trips to the store.

A girl needs to have her tools!

Revamp Your Living Space

You don’t have to do a total renovation but changing a few things in your apartment or bedroom can do wonders for lifting your mood and brightening your spirits. Just by changing the curtains you can change the way you feel when you step into a room. If you’re crafty and are feeling up to task try a new paint color. Websites like Apartment Therapy and The Nest are great sources of design inspiration.

Overall you want to invest in purchases that will boost your quality of life. A hair steamer could be a nice treat if you’ve been dedicated to taking care of your own hair (shout outs to my DIYers out there). I have had my eye on a candy colored Kitchenaid mixer and I just purchased a Jack Lalanne power juicer (it’s worth every penny and it puts my old Black & Decker mini juicer to shame). Be honest with yourself about your level of commitment to the purchase. If you think that buying an expensive treadmill or cross training machine is going to motivate you to workout more than you can kiss that dream goodbye. Owning a piece of fancy equipment doesn’t make you any more a fitness junkie than having a grand piano makes you a pianist. If you have worked out in months treat yourself to some new workout duds and recommit yourself to your health. Theres nothing wrong with wanting luxury items but there’s no use wasting money on something you’ll use once or twice then abandon in a corner. While yesterdays fad is collecting dust and finding a second life as a coat rack you’re out of good money that would’ve been spent on more practical uses.

The trick to buying big-ticket items is research and delayed gratification. Think ahead: summer will be here before you know it and you’ll be wishing you put a little money on the side for that stainless steel grill you saw on the food network. We just want you to show you how a little forethought can help you work smarter not harder to enjoy your money guilt-free.

-Nikki B. Decadent

Women Making Their Own History!!!

26 Feb

You and Your….Own History

We know the stories of black history month. The names of women we learned of in school. Even some women we had to learn about on our own. For example Phylicia Rashad, Mahalia Jackson and Ruby Dee. Today the Gems of the Roaring20s blog honors the women from our own community. Today our honoree is Nikkia Mcclain who is a black woman making her own history and the face of.

Tené Nícole

Tené Nícole is a PR (Public Relations) and Marketing firm. Self started by the lovely lady above. I got to sit down with Mrs. Mcclain at an event during Fashion week to ask her a few questions.

“Shelz : So where are you from?

Mrs. McClain: I’m from queens. St. Albans to be exact.

Shelz: Ok, that’s cool. How old are you?

Mrs. McClain: I’m 32 with 4 children (hahaha)

Shelz: That’s young but you look great to have 4 children. You’ve accomplished so much. So it’s black history month. I would like to know which black woman has influenced you on your journey?

Mrs. McClain: My Grandmother. Lois Biggs. She has been my inspiration!!

Shelz: I’m pretty sure your grandmother is proud of you. I would be. I have two more questions and I’ll be out of your hair. What are some encouraging words you can give young women in this age?

Mrs. McClain: NEVER GIVE UP……EVER!!

Shelz: Enough said. Now, my last question. What’s one word that can describe you?

Mrs. McClain: Nurturing.

I can agree with Mrs. McClain. The way she has nurtured her career driven by determination and executed with skill. I’m sure her children will also make their own history very soon. I encourage all women but, I’m a black woman first. It’s time we give praise to the women without fame. Bring their names to light, to show the world how they have made their own  history. With so much success I had to get a picture with her.

 

 

I mentioned earlier that Tené Nícole is a Public relations and Marketing firm. Talking with Mrs.McClain she introduced me to one of the her signed designers at the Fashion week event.  Her name is Koren Fung and she is the designer of Fungwear. YES, she is another black woman making history!!!

All I can say is……FIERCE!!!

Her clothes made me want to go back stage and rob the models….I’m kidding. Since you guys couldn’t be there, I’m here to share. Check it out!!!

 

 

 

 

This is Koren Fung. The designer of Fungwear. I enjoyed her work a lot. With her being an emerging artist I couldn’t tell. There was nothing amateur about her. She was humble, polite and polished. I wish her nothing but success. She has Nikkia McClain/Tené Nícole on her side and with them I know she will be fine.I wrote this post with honor. I look forward to both ladies making it big. Good luck on your journey!!

 

And if you didn’t know…….These are BLACK women making their own HISTORY!!!

 

Love is YOU

-Shelz