Welcome to Your 40’s shaken but not stirred!

Hello. Welcome to my blog, Your 40’s shaken but not stirred.  If you are here, it must mean that you have an interest in what I have to say or  you are just nosey! Either way, I’m glad you decided to visit my blog and hope that you become a frequent visitor.

So let’s get right to it. Why did I decide to start a blog? Well, I did a self-assessment to figure out what I was doing with my second book that I’ve been working on for the past four years. I realized that while the content was good and contained information that I wanted to share with my readers was it purchase worthy? Meaning, was I going to make any coins? You see, my first book Laid off but not Laid Out, was successful because there was a need. My second book that I have been working on…well, there isn’t really a need.  However, I didn’t want my writing to go to waste and I decided to put a different twist on it. So….I started this blog that will be about me as a 40 something woman dealing with various issues in life.  Issues such as relationships, finances, parents, friendships, religion and a host of other fun topics.

I look at my 40’s much like a martini.  When you shake a martini, you want to ensure that every ingredient is fully integrated into the finished drink’s flavor.  Shaking will create a strained drink with a cloudy, effervescent look at first that will clear up within a few minutes after straining. Due to the more violent nature of the shake, shaking will also break down more ice and add a greater amount of water to the drink, which is desirable for getting a well-balanced cocktail. This reminds me of all of the situations, challenges etc. that you experience in your 40’s that all work together that may shake you up, but once the dust settles, you are a well-balanced stronger women.  On the other hand, stirring a martini is a more gentle technique for mixing cocktails and is used to delicately combine the drinks with the perfect amount of dilution from the ice.  When you are in your 40’s, you are no longer this delicate flower that needs to be handled gently. You can handle being shaken, because you know after it’s all over you will come out stronger.

I want this site to be a place where you can laugh, cry and be inspired.  Think of this site as “Sex in the City” meets “There’s Something about 40” and runs into “Insecure”.  You like how I did that right? Anyway,  I have four years of content coupled with a few other surprises that will be included in this site.

With that being said, I hope you sit back and enjoy reading “Your 40s Shaken but not Stirred.”

 

 

 

What COVID taught me

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week, and it’s even more hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner.  The crazy thing is that this entire year has been going in slow motion and then right after Halloween, poof we are almost at the end of the year.  I know many of us are really looking forward to a new year. In fact, have you noticed that all things Christmas have been popping up everywhere? Some folks have already put up their Christmas decorations and lights. You can’t get through a television show without seeing all kinds of ads about Christmas. I have to believe that the ads started running earlier to give folks something to look forward to.

Christmas is my favorite holiday and it always brings a smile to my face. From the holiday beverages from Starbucks, to some of my favorite Christmas movies, The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole, the chocolates, the cookies, the lights, I can go on and on. However, for a lot of people the holidays are hard because of the loss of loved ones. I must admit that the holidays can be challenging for me too as I miss those I’ve lost. But for some reason seeing decorations, the smells, the baked goods just make me feel a bit warm inside.

Let’s face it we could all use a pick me up. One of my friends posted on social media this – “So many people were saying that 2020 was going to be clear vision. The year has most definitely been showing us all who is who. I can see clearly now!”  I felt like that post was right on point. Do you remember when we were all so excited about 2020 and everyone was saying things like, “2020 vision” “2020, seeing more clearly.” “2020 – this is MY YEAR!”  Well, for some of us 2020 did not disappoint. We were able to have much clearer vision.  

A Global Pandemic

This year was unlike any other that I have ever experienced in my lifetime. A Global pandemic pulled the rug out from all of us. COVID-19 touched the lives of many people we all know in some way. Whether it be they got COVID-19 and lived or got COVID-19 and died. And let us not forgot that while a global pandemic was happening, real life did not stop.  Social injustice was still happening, people experienced job losses, financial losses, relationship losses and even deaths of loved ones not due to COVID. COVID put a damper on vacation plans and forced us to stay at home and not see our loved ones.  Life and COVID had a lot of us in our feelings mentally and emotionally.  Unfortunately, some of us had a hard time coping.

If I can be honest, I had some rough patches during COVID too. It was and is hard being away from my family for long periods of time.  Like many of you, I was tired of seeing the social injustice that was going on in our country. It was also a  challenge having to adjust my lifestyle from doing the things that I normally love to do, like going to lounges, going to concerts, going to certain restaurants/bars, getting massages, going to the gym, having social gatherings at my house. Now, I must be very selective on where I go and who I am around all while being masked up of course.  There was a time during COVID that I was tired of looking at my place, I needed a change of scenery I actually thought I was going to have a break-down. The isolation was taking its toll on me. So, I sent out a 911 to my friends and said, “I’m not in a good head space, I need to get out of here.”  We ended up doing a weekend staycation at a little villa not far from Atlanta. Let me tell you, that was the best three days. It gave me time to relax, relate and release.  I was able to escape mentally and physically. It felt so good.  

COVID-19 taught me a lot and helped me think about things differently. It allowed me to recognize what is REALLY important to me and it help me to understand that I really have to find time to take care of my mental health no matter what. Working remote every day, I have to make sure that I switch up my scenery.  Switching things up can include taking my laptop and going to a coffee house, taking a quick walk or sitting outside with my favorite beverage (Starbucks) while listening to some tunes in my ear.  It really does not matter as long as I take the time to decompress. Sometimes, I just like getting in my car and driving with no destination in mind. COVID-19 also gave me the opportunity to strengthen my spiritual relationship with God, being more intentional about the time I spend with him. Everyday I make time to read my daily devotions and pray. I have never felt closer to God than how I feel now. I find that being consistent with my relationship with Him has made our relationship stronger and made me understand what it means to trust HIM. And not only trusting HIM but trusting the process while on this journey we call life.

Peeling back the layers

Also, during this time, it forced me to peel back the layers of some of my relationships with family and friends. Some of the layers were good and some were a challenge to embrace. However, what I discovered through those layers were not deal breakers, they just showed me who they REALLY were. Now, I know how to navigate my relationships with them going forward.  Again, what I learned about some of these individuals was not bad, they were just eye openers into who they really are. Through that, I learned the art of accepting and meeting people where they are.

 I also peeled back the layers of myself, my character and how I want to move about the earth.  Often, people are afraid of digging deep and doing self-introspections because they are afraid of what they may find.  I can tell you, that you may be surprised at what you will discover about yourself.  I feel like my self-introspection forced me to be honest about some things in my life and recognized that I am stronger than I thought. I realized that I have a lot more to offer to the world and to the people who are in my life.  Another thing that I learned during COVID is that it is never too late to make your dreams come true, it is all about timing. During COVID, I re-launched my book from 10 years ago, I started writing a second book, started a merchandising line, and I helped jumpstart an online talk show. And not only am I the co-host of the show I am one of the executive producers. So, you cannot tell me I have not been productive during COVID. The last thing I learned about COVID that I am thankful for, is that it allowed me the opportunity to foster new relationships and make current relationships even stronger. 

In the end I cannot say that 2020 was a bad year, I am going to say that it was a challenging year.  Now, I still pray for those who lost loved one because of COVID and those who are still suffering from the after effects of COVID. However, I also feel that if this pandemic did not happen, we would not take a pause to reflect and take stock of what is important.  What did you learn from COVID?

COVID-19 A Disruption or an Opportunity?

If you are like me then…wait a minute! Of course you are like me. Just like me, you are at home staying safely indoors due to the COVID-19.  Boy this is something that I’m sure you all can agree that we didn’t know was coming. I tell you I’ve been walking around my house, and man I feel like we are in the Twilight Zone. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind staying indoors to recharge, refresh and regroup but that’s usually because it’s my choice. Having that choice made for me is another story.

Many of you may not know that I am a Change expert, as well as a communication and marketing professional. I like to call myself a triple threat! Okay, enough about my credentials. But I bring the Change expert part to your attention because I’ve been trained and certified to assist others on how to deal with Change. So, one would think that as a Change Professional I should be able to handle this COVID-19 crisis like a champ right? Well, let’s just say that it is a daily …mmm.. I don’t want to say struggle, but I have to push myself every day to be in the right mindset. I have to as my pastor said last week, “Feed my faith and starve my fear.” I have to do that every day.

Here’s the thing. Change is inevitable. You can’t avoid it. You can try, but you can’t.  Change happens every day. It’s how you choose to deal with it. Over the last few days, I’ve had candid conversations, email exchanges and text messages where on the other side of those messages, people are fearful, uncomfortable and feeling challenged.  And you know what, they are entitled to have those feelings. This is a “Change” that has disrupted the entire world.  Let me say that again, the entire world!  This is not an easy change to deal with. But believe me, this too shall pass and it will. We just have to be “obedient” and do everything in our power to get through this together. Change helps you grow. If you let it, it can stretch you to do mighty things. It will force you to step outside of yourself.

Let’s face it COVID-19 is a huge disruption. And what is a disruption? It’s usually something that you didn’t see coming. And it is difficult to accept. Why? Because you are uncertain of what your future state will look like. And then cue in FEAR.  But you can’t let your FEAR get in the way of your future state. You have to look at this disruption as an opportunity.  You see there are three stages to change:

  1. Current state – Where you are today with COVID-19
  2. The transition state- This is when you begin to process the change. Processing the COVID-19 Quarantine
  3. Future State – Where the change requires you to be. This the outcome of COVID-19

Most of us should be somewhere in between the current state and transition state.  Meaning, you have accepted what’s happening and now you are dealing with a bunch of emotions because your life and the way it used to look has now transitioned and morphed into something else. Something, that you may not feel comfortable with. You may be uncomfortable with how things look now because perhaps they are a bit messy, disorganized, less productive and you are emotionally charged.  I do get that.  But during this transition state, you have the power to control your messiness, your disorganization, your non-productiveness and your feelings.  You do…for real.  You can use this time to pour into yourself, pour into your family/friends, pour into your work. Basically, take this time to invest in yourself – whatever that means to you. But you have time to do that. You can come out of COVID-19 with an entire new outlook on life and I bet you will be surprised the lessons that you learned during this time.  You still not convinced? Okay, well here you go. Here are some tips to help you manage this change:

  1. Maintain a positive attitude
  • Be optimistic Maintain a good attitude regardless of what changes are going on
  • Your new situation might not be perfect. Find ways that you can best leverage your skills, experiences and network to maximize your situation in the midst of change
  • Being negative is not good for you or the people around you. If you have a negative attitude, your family and friends will notice (this includes your social media followers) We have to lift each other up with positive vibes.
  1. Recognize that change is constant
  • Adopt an attitude of anticipation and excitement. See the change as an opportunity. Be an influencer and driver of change – that way you feel empowered.
  • Accept that change is a reality. Change happens whether you like it or not.
  • Change is good. Change prevents you from getting bored in your current situation and challenges you. If you aren’t challenged, you don’t grow.
  • Acknowledge the change. Recognizing and accepting change is one of the first steps towards managing it.
  1. Take the time to learn some new skills
  • You are naturally forced to learn new skills. Were you interested in getting a certification? What about writing that book or blog? Starting that online business? It’s your time to do all of that.
  • Make a list of new skills that you’ve always wanted. Use this time to work on and develop these new skill sets.
  • For each new skill, give yourself a deadline to master it so that you can quickly become an expert and increase your knowledge and value.
  1. Communication is key
  • Take the time to reach out to family and friends. Call them, text them or utilize FaceTime, DUO or Zoom to connect with them on camera.
  • Don’t allow yourself to get lonely. Connection is key and it does help- especially if you live alone.

Well, I hope that I was able to help you all out during the COVID-19. Keep the faith, stay in prayer and remember God’s got this. We just need to be obedient. And more importantly….stay home!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Love Affair with Valentine’s Day!

You made it through Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Some of the biggest relationship holidays. However, there is one more holiday that you can’t forget which will give you the trifecta of relationship holidays. Yep, that’s right Feb. 14 otherwise known as Valentine’s Day! Honestly, Valentine’s Day is my least favorite holiday. I mean I dread Monday’s, but I really am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Why you ask? I mean how could I not love a holiday that is about love! It’s typically associated with the color red, hearts, flowers, romance, the exchange of cards and candy. Well, wait a minute the candy part I love because I’m a lover of chocolate…candy that is.

Anyway, I’m not a big fan of this holiday because people put so much on it. They put so much pressure on the other person and themselves for this one day during the year. If your “significant” other doesn’t’ get you a gift, then your relationship is doomed or that person doesn’t’ really care about you or even like you. Give me a break, just because you didn’t get a box of chocolates on this one particular day, your relationship is in trouble? What about the other days of the year? Like Janet says, what have you done for me lately?

For me, Valentines’ Day has just not been that awesome, but to turn those negative feelings around I choose to celebrate this day a bit differently. I celebrate the women in my life. My mother and myself. I usually send my mom flowers, candy and a card and for myself I usually go to the movies or watch a movie, grab one of my favorite meals from a restaurant that I like and big box of chocolates. Then I go to sleep and when I wake up, poof! Valentine’s Day is over.!!! LOL. Hey who better to love myself than myself.

Ok, enough about my love affair with Valentine’s Day. This day of love got me thinking about some of the worst and memorable dates that I’ve had in the past. And not necessarily on Valentine’s Day. I could write forever but there is one particular date that will forever stand out in my mind as part of my hall of fame worst dates ever. Here we go!

You can only order one leg

Back in the late 90s in Atlanta there used to be a popular gym in Buckhead where one of my college friend was an employee. Because she worked there, I was able to work out at the gym for free. There was a certain trainer who made it very clear that he was interested in me. Every time I would come to the gym, he would flirt with me. Of course, him flirting with me was flattering, but I really wasn’t sure that I was that interested in him. He wasn’t bad looking, but I wasn’t really attracted to him.

Anyway, I guess he was tired of flirting with me and decided to take his chances and ask me out on a date. When he asked me, I was hesitant because like I said I wasn’t sure if I was interested in him. Instead of telling him no, I told him that I would get back to him. After careful thought and consideration, I decided that I would go back to him and say yes to a date. I figured, why not? I may feel differently about him after our date. Side note: I did feel differently about him after our date!

When I returned to the gym the next day, I told him that I would go out with him. We exchanged phone numbers. When we spoke on the phone later that night to plan our date, he said that we would go out to eat and then go bowling. I thought that was a cool date. Because I didn’t’ really know him, I didn’t want him coming to my apartment to pick me up. Therefore, we agreed that I would meet him at the gym, park my car and I would ride with him to our destination.

Here we go:

It was finally time for our date. I drove to the gym and parked my car. He met me in the parking deck. As we started walking toward his vehicle, I couldn’t believe what I saw. Do you remember the Geo Tracker? A mini version of a Jeep? Welp, he had a GEO Tracker and not just any GEO Tracker, a purple one. Now, you are probably saying, Kim you are so shallow. On the contrary. I just imagined him in a different type of ride. Back in the day, you typically saw females rolling around in a GEO Tracker dipped in the various crayon colors not usually men. But hey, if that’s what he was rolling in– no problem. I get into the car- no he didn’t open the door for me. Well, actually he did, from the inside. LOL!. We begin to pull out the parking garage, he turns on his radio and puts in a cassette tape. He turned up the volume on high. Tunes were blaring out his booming sound system. Do you all remember the group Troop? Whelp, he was blasting the song, “Spread my Wings!” he was singing loudly and was like…”oooo this is my Sh…..” I was confused! In my mind I was like, “That’s his song???” ok! When he finally took a break from singing, I asked him, “So where are we going to eat?” He said, “You will find out in a few minutes.” I said, “Ok…” But what could I do? He was driving so I guess I had to wait. A few minutes passed, and we end up in a packed parking lot. And as I was trying to figure out what restaurant we were going to, I looked to my right and to my left and…oh, there it was. BW3’s at Greenbriar. Those of you who live in Atlanta, remember that spot? In fact, BW3’s at Greenbriar was jumping during the weekend. I liked BW3’s so I was cool with getting something to eat from there. I mean their onion rings and those honey mustard chicken wings…makes my mouth water just thinking about the good eats there.

We parked the car and headed into the spot. It was jumping. We ran into some of my date’s homeboys. They were all very nice. We sat down and got menus and he asked me what I wanted to drink. I asked for a Vodka and cranberry. He said, “Um.. I don’t drink so you can’t have an alcoholic beverage.” Umm, I’m sorry, am I being punked? I gave him this funny look and said, “I don’t understand.” He said, “I don’t drink alcohol so, I’m not spending my money on you drinking alcohol when that’s not what I do.” I just responded by saying, “ok.” One of his friends, overheard our conversation and quickly chimed in and said, “Bro. let her have a drink!” My date said, “No man I’m not buying her a drink.” The friend started laughing and looked directly at me and said,” Sweetheart what do you want to drink? It’s on me.” So I said, “Aw thanks. I will take a vodka and cranberry.” I don’t think my date like that. Anyhoo, then the waitress came over to take our food order. My date asked me what I want to eat? I told him that I wanted the two honey mustard legs and an order of onion rings. He looked at the waitress and told her that we are going to have one order of honey mustard legs (they came in two) and one order of onion rings. The waitress wrote down our order and then said, “Anything else?” my date quickly answered and said, “no that’s all.” I was so confused. This fool was only going to give me 1 leg and we had to split the order of onion rings? I mean why couldn’t I have my own order? So far, this date was not going too well. Our order finally came…and there was absolutely no conversation between us. We ate our “snack” because it wasn’t dinner and we were probably out of BW3’s within 25-30 minutes. We did not stay long at all. We got back into the car, and my date popped in his favorite song by Troop, but this time he wasn’t as animated. I thought we were headed to our next stop, bowling. However, he had other plans for us. I noticed that we were headed in the direction of the gym. I was confused. I asked my date, “I thought we were going bowling?” He said, “I changed my mind. I’m taking you back to your car.” I was speechless. I had nothing to say to that. As we pulled into the parking deck, I couldn’t help but think, that I wasted my time getting dressed just to have a 30-minute date with someone who I wasn’t all that interested in. Wow! I got out the car and the dude didn’t’ even walk me to my car or make sure that I got in my car ok. Instead he just rolled up out of the garage and I never spoke to him again.  There you have it! I guess he didn’t like the fact that his friend bought me a drink and that I was not happy with my one chicken leg dinner.

That folks is one of the worst dates that I’ve ever had. Mmm…I wonder what ever happened to that guy and who he ended up with? However, I actually think that God was protecting me. Clearly, he was not meant to be in my life and for that I’m grateful. What are some of your bad dates?

 

 

 

Kitchen Conversations

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday. I’m sure I’m not alone.  Of course, Christmas brings up memories of those who are no longer here. However, I still love this time of year – and it’s not because of presents.  I mean let’s face it at this point in my life, there really isn’t anything that I need or want. I just love this time of year because of the lights, the smells, food, libations (especially my mom’s homemade eggnog) and mostly spending time with family and getting together with friends old and new.

A few weeks back or so I had the pleasure of getting together with one of my sister friends who was in town for the weekend celebrating her birthday. This particular weekend I was busy entertaining some other friends who were also in town so I wasn’t able to connect with my friend until that Sunday. We were so excited to get together with some of our other friends because we were going to “turn up.” The plan was to have brunch first, hang out at the house of my girlfriend who was hosting brunch and then we were going to hit up a day party.

Now, typically I don’t get my party on if I got to go to work the next day, but for the birthday girl I would make the sacrifice. Plus, it was a day party, so we knew that we would be finished at least by 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. Well, once we all finished eating brunch, we just kept on talking and laughing and just enjoying ourselves.  Then something happened that changed the atmosphere by just one phone call. One of my sister friends received a call about her father that got her pretty shaken up.  After she got off the phone, the rest of us could visibly see that she was crying. She didn’t’ say anything to us. Instead she went off into another room and shut the door and started crying. The rest of us just looked at each other and tried to continue on with our regularly schedule program of funny conversations and laughter. However, you could tell that we all felt a bit uncomfortable because we felt helpless in that moment. We weren’t quite sure what to do for our friend. Once we realized that she was gone for a bit, the birthday girl went into the other room to comfort her.  After some more time had passed, both of them came back into the kitchen where we were all congregated around the kitchen table.  My friend begins to tell us that her father was sick and was dying.  We all were stunned, and it took everything for all of us to hold back the tears as she was telling us her story.  As I listened to her pour out her heart, I couldn’t really imagine what she was going through at this time. Instead, I just listened to let her know that I was there for support during this difficult time. In between the tears, each of us went around to the room to offer her words of comfort. For me, all I could do to really understand her is tell her what I went through when my father almost died about 3 years ago and what it was like to see his health decline within hours. It was a hard situation to grasp. This is something that my friend is dealing with- watching her strong father decline in health at a rapid pace.  Another one of my girlfriends who has experienced a loss of a parent took the time to talk about what it was like dealing with the loss of her mother and what that did to her and how she has been dealing with it ever since.  She even read from a personal note that she had saved on her phone that her mother sent her before she passed. It was beautiful.

In that moment as my friend was reading the note from her mother, I looked around the room. I couldn’t help but notice that I was surrounded by not only some beautiful women physically, but beautiful women spiritually. And to think that two of my sister friends were even grandmothers. Amazing!!!! As I looked around the table, I also noticed that I have known these women for at least half of my life.

As we continued to comfort our sister, I realized that this conversation was getting very heavy and I thought perhaps some libations were needed. I just so happened to have some spirits in the back of my trunk. Don’t ask me why…I just did.  Side Note:  I think I may need have mobile bar from now. You never know when spirits are needed.

I asked the crew did they want to partake, and I got a resounding YES PLEASE! I left the house and went to my car to get the goodies. When I got back into the house, my sister friends were in rare form. All you could hear is laughter behind the tears.  We still had plans to go to the day party, but we thought we would be more comfortable having our libations and having “our say” in the family room.  Once we got to the family room or should I call it the healing room, some of my other sister friends felt the need to share. One of my friends was going through a divorce and another one of my friends was dealing with a daughter dating a less than desirable young man. It was a lot.  But we were in a safe space for sharing. We all felt comfortable enough to discuss our intimate thoughts and secrets with each other.  We were the mirrors to each other’s souls. We were in a room that didn’t allow for judgment or ridicule.

So, what was supposed to be the “turn up” ended up being a “turn up” in a different way. We “turned up” for each other and to me that is what “turn up” is all about. And in that moment, I took the time to say thank you to my sisters for sharing their most intimate thoughts and feelings, because they didn’t have to do that.

So again, Christmas time for me, is not about the physical gifts, it’s about the gift of family and REAL, genuine friendship.

 

Homecoming Chronicles

Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE homecoming. It’s the next best thing to Christmas, my birthday and if I may say this…my wedding day. LOL!  In fact, my girls always say that the order is Homecoming and then My Wedding. Homecoming is that time of the year where you have the opportunity to spend an entire weekend with your college family, drinking, eating, catching up and reminiscing on days past. Such a great time. Hey, let me tell you if you haven’t attended an HBCU homecoming before, you are missing out.  Each year at homecoming I tend to give back to those individuals who have been deprived of a REAL homecoming. I usually invite folks like my baby brother, other family members and friends who attend PWC’s.  And for the past at least 10 years or more anyone who I invited loved the HBCU homecoming experience. In fact they loved it so much that they kept coming back. Some even have it in their minds that it’s their homecoming too…even though they didn’t actual attend CAU. We are family and we don’t discriminate.  All are welcome.

throatOkay, so not sure if you read my post from last year (click here- shameless plug) but doing homecoming in your 40’s is not a game.  For me, my homecoming kicked-off on Thursday night at the Mbar and didn’t stop until 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.  Per usual, I started losing my voice on Thursday night and it didn’t fully come back until that Tuesday evening.  I’m not really sure as to why I lose my voice every year. I mean was I yelling? was I singing? I’m not sure what goes on with my voice.  I guess I talked a lot.  Anyhoo….let’s get down to the things that went down at homecoming.

Where is Sam?

samSo, the question that I kept getting at Homecoming all weekend was “Where is Sam?” As though my baby brother attended CAU. But my little brother is someone who knows how to fully embrace the homecoming experience and takes on the persona of a CAU alum. He tends to be the life of the party. But this year, he had other priorities and attending CAU homecoming was not at the top of his list.  I got asked so many times where was my brother that I felt like I should have worn a t-shirt that said, “Sam is not here! But seriously, it’s really nice to know how much love my CAU family has for my baby brother.  Maybe next year Sam!

The Conversations have changed

When going to homecoming in your 40’s one thing that was made really clear to me this year, as opposed to any other year, is that the conversations really change. I can remember a time when the conversations were more like, “Girl, which party are we hitting up next?” to “Girl, what time does the party start? 9 p.m.!!! oh no, I’m usually in the bed by 8 p.m.”  You also have conversations like, “Girl, your party was all of that but, man I got in so late that I forgot to take all of my medications so that I can get up refreshed in the morning.”  You also hear comments like, “We out here partying like we in our 30’s!” Ummmm….. not in your 20’s but in our 30’s? Dang when did this happen. When did I get in my 40’s and start having conversations like this? I also heard folks talking about,” Have you gotten your AARP card yet?”  “Man, they have some great discounts. I take advantage of my card.” Look, when I got my AARP card in the mail, I had just turned 40 and I refused to embrace that card. I immediately threw it away. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t believe that I was at a time in my life where I needed the AARP card. It was unbelievable to me. Honestly, I didn’t care if AARP offers great discounts. To me that card symbolized being old. And I was NOT old.

shhAnother interesting moment that I will forever cherish, is the Homecoming car confessions. Yep, that’s right confessions. I felt like I needed to be playing Usher’s song, “Confessions” in the background. While driving around the homecoming streets of Atlanta, I was privy to a lot of …well, let’s say confessions from several of my female friends. From things happening in the rain, to hiding under a tree, to sneaking in a certain dorm in the trunk of a car, to secret crushes, to relationships that were had that no one knew anything about….and realizing that some of these women who you thought were innocent little lambs were more like little lions roaring in the jungle back in the day. LOL! But as much as I would love to spill the tea, those Homecoming car confessions will always stay a fond memory of my Homecoming 2019 experience. What happens at homecoming …stays at homecoming, especially if the confessions have to do with me. Lol!

Running into your ex’s …awkward

More often than not, folks come to homecoming without their boos, spouses or significant others – especially if their significant other did not attend the same school as they did.  This usually occurs, because of the Homecoming car confessions that may go down and you don’t want your significant other to catch wind of it– ha! Ha! Or they know that there is a strong possibility that you may run into your ex or ex’s. And sometimes you can’t really get loose like you want to with your boo waiting in the wings, as you socialize and get your party on.

Unfortunately, I dated a few folks at CAU- I mean I did spend 4 years there. So of course, I actually ran into most of them. I have to admit, it was good seeing most of my ex’s but then I ran into some where the conversations were just awkward for everyone. And I’m not sure why, there was such awkwardness, I mean we broke up at least two decades or more ago. We have both clearly moved on. And on my end, there is no love lost. When I think of them, I think of them fondly. But for some reason it was just an uncomfortable interaction.  Here’s what happened, it was Friday night at 6:30 p.m., homecoming weekend.  We had your typical banter, how’s the family? What have you been doing with yourself since we last saw each other? Which is really a loaded question considering that I haven’t seen this one particular ex in a year. So, a lot has happened in that year…but too much to go over at a social happy hour event.   Then as I thought we were done catching up, he talks to me about work.  Really? I don’t’ want to talk about work. I’m enjoying homecoming. He was talking to me like we were at a networking work function. He even asked me, “So…do you see an opportunity for advancement at your company?”  Are your serious? Is this a job interview or is this a casual event? That’s what was in my head.  Apparently, I must have had a look on my face that said, “please come save me from this dude right here before I scream.” Thankfully, one of my friends saw my face and came over to rescue me from the conversation and casually pulled me away. Whew!!! Of course, we never finished our conversation and luckily, I didn’t run into him the rest of the weekend. Don’t get me wrong it is always nice running into him, but we always have awkward conversations. I wish he would just relax and be himself.

Because this keeps happening to me, let me offer this bit of advice to the ex’s and just to mine – relax and be yourself.  I know it may be hard because you may have lingering feelings, and don’t know what to do with your hands – LOL! Just say hey, hope you are well and keep it moving. Having awkward conversations doesn’t serve anyone well.  It just makes things uncomfortable where you don’t know what do with your hands, or facial expressions for t LOL!!!

In conclusion, my 2019 homecoming experience was awesome. It was great running into all of my CAU peeps.  I don’t take my years at an HBCU for granted. They were indeed the best four years of my life. For some reason my mom thinks that there will come a time when I won’t participate in homecoming…ummm, not likely, unless it’s my wedding day and like I said homecoming trumps my wedding day. LOL!! If you went to homecoming this year, what are your favorite or interesting moments?

 

 

 

Renovate Me

This weekend I celebrated my 40 something shhh!!! Shut your mouth birthday. LOL. I know it’s been a minute. Did you miss me? Well, it’s been a busy summer and like I always say, if I don’t have anything good to write about you won’t hear from me.  So obviously since it’s been a few months you would think that I have some things to say right?  I do.  First and foremost, I am grateful and blessed to see another year. Unfortunately, along the way as I was on this journey to reach this next age, some folks in my life are not here with me. Which of course, is a reminder that life is short and time is precious. So, spend it wisely.

Since the last time I spoke to you all I’ve been in in a process called Renovation. You see over the last few months our church has been going through major renovations and in keeping with that theme, Pastor Oliver has been speaking on a series dealing with renovations. Renovating your mind, body and spirit. It’s been a real powerful series. And much needed for a lot of us – especially me.

Now, I’m getting ready to get deep on y’all so just hold on. For the past 90 days or so, I have been going through a lot spiritually, mentally and emotionally. And I’m not ashamed to share my truth with you all. I can say that when God has his hands on you …oh boy it is something else.  While I have always had a good relationship with God, I recognized that perhaps my relationship with Him was not as strong as it could be. If I was honest with myself, I can honestly say that I was not putting Him first. And what I mean by that is when I found myself struggling or at a crossroads, I would pick up the phone and call my mother or call my best friend. And then and only then after I phoned a friend, I would talk to God. And you see that is backwards. I should be talking to God first, hence putting Him first. And then if I felt the need to share with others-phone a friend.

While God is in my life, I recognized that I was not giving Him his rightful place in my life. Now, that is not to say that God was not blessing me or that I didn’t talk to Him, it’s not that at all.  I wasn’t talking to Him first. And if we are honest with ourselves, sometimes we want to hear a physical voice, a “live” response. Now, God does talk to me and I hear Him but it’s that voice within, not necessarily a voice that I can physically hear. So at times I believe because we want guidance or an answer NOW we tend to reach out to others first to give us advice, guidance or approval etc.. Well, what I know is that God can give you all of that. And it really hit me that when you do not call God first, you are not putting Him as the head of your life.  Which shows Him that you don’t trust Him….REALLY and that you don’t have FAITH…REALLY. Because if you did, you would know that if you give it to HIM, HE will guide you, give you advice and provide you with what you need when you need it.

What I learned from Pastor Oliver is that God has to renovate us from the inside out.  That is powerful. Although, you may look good on the outside hair done, nails done, everything….I think those are lyrics to a song right? Anyway, none of that matters if you are not together on the inside.  These past several months I started on the journey of really putting God first. Carving out more time in my schedule to spend with Him. Just like I make time to work out, to hang out with friends, I have to make time with HIM.  There’s a song called Make Room by Jonathan McReynolds. Check it out. It speaks to moving things over to allow room for God.  Have you made room for him?

As I reach a new year in my life, I realize that my relationship with God is essential for me to thrive. And I now go to Him first. And there are times when I don’t need to “phone a friend” because I trust the process that God is putting me through. And I know that He loves me and wants the best for me. But I have to trust Him in ALL THINGS.  That is the key- Trust Him in ALL THINGS! And boy he has really showed me who HE is. And it is amazing. And let’s be clear, everything that God has shown me has not been easy to see or deal with. But I know that even in the midst of things that may be hard for you, He’s in it and will  sustain you while you are going through it. He won’t leave you and that is a blessing indeed.

This birthday has been awesome. On my actual birthday, I spent time with myself after work. Folks couldn’t understand why I was spending my birthday by myself.  Okay here is the answer, if you can’t handle being by yourself or enjoy spending time with yourself, what makes you think that someone else will like to spend time with you? Yes, I know something to think about. I like Kim and I enjoy spending time with her.  And was I really by myself? Like I said, God is in the midst of everything, even when you are hanging out by yourself. ON my actual birthday, I spent time doing the things that I like to do, a birthday workout, getting my favorite Starbucks beverage, going to the movies and eating popcorn and Sno-Caps and grabbing one of my favorite meals from a restaurant.  I did everything that I wanted to do because guess what? It was MY birthday. No one else. And then over the weekend….I spent time with my friends. I am blessed!!!  And I don’t take my relationship with God or anyone else in my life for granted.  Take a moment today, and think about who do you call on first?

Girlfriend time is good for your health

I’m sure you have all heard the song by now, “Me, Myself and I” from Beyonce? If you haven’t, then candidly you’ve been living under a rock.  Well, this post is not about Me, Myself and I. Instead it’s about me and my girlfriends. Is that kind of a song too? Anyway, a friend of mine posted on social media this week, “Have you ever spent a day with yourself? Just you. Lounging, praying, thinking, planning, celebrating the victories of some, offering prayers and hope to others, checking in on people just because? I could totally relate to her post because there are times where I just enjoy being by myself, reflecting, praying, planning checking up on others. And sometimes you just need that in your life. You need time to yourself to just relax, relate, release.sisters

Now, while spending time by yourself is essential it is also essential to spend time with your ride or dies, your peeps, your girls, your besties, your click or whatever you choose to call them.  Did you know that you’re getting healthier, feeling beautiful and decreasing your stress level by spending time with your girlfriends?  Yep, studies say that a women’s overall health and well being is improved when they get together at least twice a week. And there are also some health benefits associated with spending time with your besties.  Hanging out with your bff’s, helps with faster recovery time from illness, a stronger immune system, a decrease in anxiety levels and increased generosity levels, which makes women feel better overall.  And as we get older maintaining those bonds becomes even more important, especially since most of us have a busy schedule with tons of responsibilities and often times we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.Charice

If you know me, then you know that I have different sets of friends. Some from high school, some from college, some from work and some from just maturing and growing as a woman. And all of my friends like to do different activities -which is nice. I know to keep my sanity, I need “girlfriend” time.  Most recently, me and a group of my friends decided to do a sleep over…a staycation on a Thursday. Yes, I said a Thursday. Two of my friends are married, one of them has children and the rest of us are dating, but no children. We booked a room in a nice hotel, ordered pizza, and brought in our own special libations. We ate, laughed, talked and even went for an evening stroll to grab some ice cream. We had a ball. We didn’t’ spend a lot of time talking about any issues or concerns that we had going on in our own lives, instead we just took the time to relax, relate and release. You see, when you get with your girlfriends you don’t always have to just talk about the issues or drama that you may have going one. Sometimes it’s just nice to talk about everything but that. Delaina

It allows everyone to take a break from what’s going on at home, at work, with the significant other or children etc… because let’s be honest, how can it really be a “stay-cation” slumber party with your girls if you are focused on everything that is going on in your life?Keeba

I am blessed to have some beautiful, intelligent boss women in my life. Being around them makes me better. They are all supportive chics and ALL have my best interest at heart. So do yourself a favor, takes some time out and hang out with your “click” it’s just good for the soul!

 

Mother’s Day, What to do?

So, the other day a photo popped up in my Facebook feed.  It put a big smile on my face. The photo was of my grandmother Laura Beck, myself and my cousins.  My grandmother is no longer with us, so seeing a photo of her pop up in my feed did something to my heart and my spirit. You see for as long as I can remember, every Mother’s Day weekend we would hop in our cars and make that journey down the road to a little town called Pembroke, Virginia.  I looked forward to those Mother’s Day weekends. It gave me a chance to spend time with my mom, my grandmother and at times some of my aunts and cousins if they chose to come to Virginia during that time too.   When we would get to grandma’s on that Friday late in the afternoon we would make that trip to Walmart for groceries and other goodies. You see Walmart was exciting, as that was like the only real store in Pembroke.  And this was the Walmart Super Store, not the regular Walmart.  So, it was indeed one of the highlights of the trip!GbeckJPG

Of course, the other highlight of my trip was spending quality time with my grandmother.  I just enjoyed sitting at the kitchen table eating meals with her and having great conversations.  I especially, loved our morning talks over a cup of coffee. My grandmother was a beautiful woman on the inside and out. She had the best sense of humor. And her favorite word was “Shit!” yep I said it. I think I inherited that word from her, as I find myself saying that all the time.  Another thing that I loved about my grandmother is that she paid attention to me and cared about what was going on in my life.  One day I remember her saying to me, “You know what Kim? I like your style!.” That meant the world to me.  I also loved sitting with her on the couch and laying my head on her lap. She would rub my hair and just be still. That was the best.

My Grandma Beck is gone now…she lived to be 103 and it’s that time of year when I really miss her.  But in keeping on with the tradition of Mother’s Day weekend. I make sure that I spend every Mother’s Day weekend with my mother Sarah.  And that is the best!  Speaking of Sarah, she will be in town for Mother’s Day and I can’t wait.  Which brings me to this? What do you have planned for that special Mother in your life? Well, I got some ideas for those of you who live in the Atlanta area.

Breakfast or Brunch

Have you been to Gochas Breakfast bar?  Well, if you haven’t been you need to make it there this weekend. The food is fantastic. My favorite meal is the Avocado Toast with home fries.  The food there makes you want to slap yo mama…but don’t actually slap your mama!  Their pancakes, fried fish and shrimp & grits are also good choices.  And if you want a breakfast cocktail, they have everything from Kahula & Coffee to mimosas.  You choose because they have a full bar.  Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Did someone say manicure & pedicure?

One of the things that my mom likes to do when she comes to visit me is get a mani & pedi. One of my favorite places to go is Sugarcoat .  You and your mom can have a girl’s day out where relaxation and pampering is the theme for the day.  Unlike most places, the team at Sugarcoat will allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy time by yourself or with your girls – meaning, there won’t be a lot of talking. Because let’s face it, when I go for services I like to be pampered and left alone so that I can relax. You can even bring your own libations to sip on while enjoying that nice foot massage.

Take a flight!

I’m sure the mother in your life, would love a flight to a destination of her choice…but that’s not the kind of flight that I’m talking about.  If she likes wine, take her to this nice spot located in the Battery called Cru Wine Bar.  You don’t necessarily need to sit at a table, you can just take a seat at the bar.  They have light bites, like cheese, olives, Bruschetta, pizza etc.. to go along with your wine flights.  The atmosphere is nice and the service is fantastic. Cru is where I fell in love with Port Wine, so you never know what wine you and your mom will fall in love with.Wine

Shop! Shop! Shop!

Yes, you read that right. I didn’t mean Shots! Shots! Shots! I meant Shop! Shop! Shop! Now, I got the shopping gene honestly. I enjoy shopping. I especially enjoy shopping with my mom. So instead of hitting up the malls, we will take a relaxing road trip to Dawsonville, GA to the North Premium Outlet . They have all kinds of stores where you can help your mother spend her money or better yet, you can spend your money on her!

Did I spark any ideas in your head for that special lady in your life? Now, I plan on doing most of these things on the list that I mentioned including taking my mom to see the handsome Brian Mcknight at City Winery. Unfortunately, tickets seem to be sold out for all shows but you can be added to the waiting list. And we probably will take in a movie, church and brunch on Mother’s Day. Now, I can tell you that if you haven’t made your reservations for brunch you may want to put it in soon. If you don’t know where to take your mother, google best brunch places in Atlanta, and you will get an entire list of restaurants.

Well, I hope that I helped you all in coming up with ideas to spend time with that special woman in your life whether it be your mom, your grandmother, aunt, godmother, sister, etc. whoever you want to celebrate Mother’s Day with.  Remember, spending quality time is really the best present that you can possibly give, it’s the gift that is priceless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Intentional!

Happy New Year!!! I know I’m a few months behind on saying that. Yep, it’s been a minute since you’ve heard from me.  Where have I been you ask? Dealing with life. There have been some ups and downs since we rang in 2019.  But that’s a part of life.  While the beginning of the year started off with a bang, who knew that in just a month later or so, a tremendous blow would hit our family.  My cousin who was only 40-years-old passed away suddenly.  Even writing that sentence is unbelievable.  I chose not to post about his passing on the social media outlets because it was just different…meaning it just didn’t sit well with me to post it on social media. I think because if I posted about him, it would make it more real. And quite honestly, for the last month I felt like I was walking in a fog…just going through the motions.  My cousin’s passing was a tremendous blow to our family.  There are only five grandchildren on my dad’s side and he was #4 in the lineup. My brother is the youngest. So, as you can imagine, we are more than just cousins we are like siblings.  Now, don’t get me wrong I’ve experienced loss before, but this was a bit different. It was different because he was young, and it happened suddenly. Even today as I write this, I still can’t believe that he’s gone. In fact, when friends or family ask how I’m doing, I reply “It’s the new normal.”  Life still has to go on. I can’t crawl up into the fetal position and just let life pass me by. I have responsibilities and I am still here, and I have to live my life, because one thing that I am certain of is life is precious and short.

When I have moments of disbelief that he’s gone, I choose to go to that place in my mind when I saw him last. The memories that I have of him make me smile and at times they make me laugh. I am thankful for the time that I spent with him. I saw him a few short months after he came into this world and even held him in my arms, and although I didn’t see him leave this world, I was glad I had time with him before he passed.

I opened this post by saying that the beginning of the year started off with a bang. It did indeed, but another reason why it started off with a bang is because I chose to embark on a new term for my life that is better than any New Year’s resolution. However, I can’t take full credit for what I am about to write.  I have to credit my pastor, Dr. Craig L. Oliver. His word for the New Year is being intentional. What does that mean you ask? Being intentional. Don’t just say it, do it. Unlike, New Year’s resolutions I believe that if you are intentional, it won’t be fleeting. Meaning it won’t just be something that you say you are going to do…but don’t really mean it or don’t really do it. You know when we make New Year’s Resolutions, we say things like, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds,” or “I’m going start that business” or “I’m going to stop eating meat!” But often times, we start on the path of honoring the New Year’s resolutions that we set for ourselves and then something happens and we don’t complete that resolution. However, with being intentional – I don’t think it has to be so final. Here’s what I mean. You say, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds.” OK, living the life of being intentional goes beyond that of losing 10 pounds. Be intentional about living a healthy lifestyle. Don’t just focus on losing the 10 pounds. Why put so much pressure on yourself? Focus on living better. Changing those bad eating habits, incorporate better sleeping habits, add some physical activity several times a week (walking, taking a yoga class, do some cardio etc.)  that to me is being intentional. It’s not a one and done. This is something that can carry you through the years.  You say you want to start that business? Again, don’t put all that pressure on yourself. There are several things that need to happen before you get that business off the ground. Be intentional about setting reasonable goals for yourself to start your business. For example, do you have a business plan?  have you done research about the business you want to start? have you set up your business legally? Do you have any money? Like FOR REAL! There all kinds of steps that need to happen, so be intentional about putting your plan in motion. Once you’ve taken care of all of the steps then you can start your business.

Without going into too much detail, I decided to be more intentional with my time with God; and more intentional with how I spend my time and who I spend my time with.  My time should be spent doing things that I like to do -whether that may be  spending time with family and friends in my circle, traveling, working out, writing and also working on the steps to having my own business, but my time is valuable and wasting it is not an option.

I will say this, losing a loved one really puts a lot of things in perspective for me, but losing a loved one who was younger than even me really got my attention. While my cousins was on this earth for 40 years, he enjoyed his life. He was a son, a father, a brother, a nephew and a cousin. He will forever be missed.

It also hit me that by me saying, “I’m living the new normal?” what I realized is that I’m actually living with peace. God has given me peace. And not that my grieving has ended or that it’s not painful, but while I’m dealing with this lose, God has given me peace that surpasses all understanding to get me through my bad days. As you are aware, God didn’t say you weren’t going to experience pain. But what he did say is that he will be there while you are going through it. And that my friend is called PEACE.

The lesson today, don’t waste your time. Live a life of being intentional.  God has blessed you with the strength and ability to shine brightly in this his world, don’t miss out!

 

 

 

Surviving Homecoming

Well, homecoming season is coming to an end. Boy,I love this time of year. My homecoming  – Clark Atlanta University, CAU!!!! owes me nothing once again. I tell you, there’s nothing like an HBCU homecoming. It is the best! Homecoming is much like Vegas. What happens at homecoming stays at homecoming. Let me tell you, in case you didn’t know, a lot of things go down at homecoming. For example, the married folks or those who have  a significant other who didn’t attend their school, tend to leave their better half’s at home.  They leave their significant others home because they have been granted the Homecoming Hall Pass.  This Hall Pass is something that they usually work on a few months prior to actually going to homecoming by way of being extra nice, handling those forgotten chores etc.. All this so that they can “live their best life” at homecoming.  (Side Note: I’m about tired of hearing that saying!)

I’ve also found that during homecoming, you might run into your old flames from back in the day who think they still look like they did back in the day. More often than not…they don’t look the same  AT ALL!!!  However, they still think that they have that hold on you like they did back in college…ummmm no! There is a reason why you and that old flame aren’t together anymore.  Heck, isn’t that why they call it an old flame? You will also run into folks who may have liked you back in the day and they use homecoming every year as an excuse to try to kick it to you …even if they are MARRIED!!!  Really?? They will say things to you like “It’s still complicated?” or  “ Between me and you, we are co-parenting” well, if it’s “Between me and you” the chances are the spouse doesn’t know that you all are just co-parenting.  And mind you, you don’t hear from this person any other time of the year except during homecoming. And i’m sure you all can relate to getting a flood of DM’s or Facebook messages from interested parties trying to get their flirt on  behind the scenes right? Anyhoooo… all in all homecoming is a blast. It’s that time of year when you can relax, let your hair down and really get loose and don’t feel bad about it. However, if you are 40 something…the recovery time is no joke. You definitely can’t do it like you did in your 20’s no way.  In fact, the 40’s ARE NOT the new 20’s. For those three days of partying which started for me on that Thursday, it took me like a week to recover.  But I have to admit,  I can’t just blame it on homecoming festivities. I find that since being 40 something,  if I hang out for more than just one day, I tend to get a bit tired. The good news is that, it’s not just me. Most of my girlfriends who are in their  40’s say the same thing. Listen, I just got back from spending the weekend with my high school and college bestie and we kicked it hard that first night, and then the next day we were in our pajamas ALL DAY until it was time to go to dinner. And then we went to bed early the next night because we were still recovering from the first night. Really!!! Well, I did some research and found out that there is an actual name for what we over 40’s are experiencing. It’s called “The Fatigued 40’s.” It’s everything from stress to hormonal fluctuations during pre-menopause to the changing seasons. Additionally, I found out that tiredness among women tend to peak in the autumn…which guess what? it’s that time of year now.  Also, let’s add managing a career and or raising children, having a husband/significant other, being involved in the community, working out etc.. all of these things contribute to being fatigued. So here are some sure fire ways to help you get through being fatigued:

  • Curb the sugar- and wine – Ummm……..I don’t know how this works for me since I LOVE Chocolate and  I am a fan of wine.  Apparently, the sugar from candy and  those sweet coffee drinks from Starbucks spike your blood sugar which leads to you crashing at your desk.  And wine…well it can deplete your energy levels. I believe that, because when I drink wine I get sleepy and um….well a bit frisky!! Experts say instead of wine opt for Vodka, Tequila or Gin. I think I can handle that.
  • Calm the voices in your head – If you are like me, you are always thinking. I have a million and one things on my mind and at times I can’t seem to shut it down. It can be exhausting and overwhelming at times. To help with the voices in your head, take a few minutes and just breath—woo sa!!! Or in the evening take a warm bath, read a good book, take a yoga class, get a massage or perhaps go on a nice leisurely walk.  You can also binge watch some of your favorite shows that you’ve missed or catch a movie. Just do something to quiet those thoughts for even just an hour or so.
  • Break a sweat– Not my favorite thing to do, but I love the results. You got to keep moving. Working out increases the blood flow to your brain and helps with awareness. You don’t have to do two hours of cycling or anything high intensity, a brisk walk 30 minutes a day will do just fine.
  • Get your sleep on- This is the hardest thing to do. I typically only get about 5-6 hours of sleep at night. However, it is important to stick to a routine. You should try to go to bed the same time every night. No matter what, I try to be in the bed by 11:00 p.m. or 11:30 p.m. Bottom line,  you have to find a time that works best for you.

I hope some of these tips will help you out with “The Fatigued 40’s” syndrome, because let’s face it we aren’t as young as we once were. The 40’s IS NOT the new 20’s! Don’t believe the hype!!! LOL!