Monday, September 30, 2013

Get It Right!

I was going to put this up as a Facebook status, but it's kind of rude, so I decided to put it over here where people actually come to see my content vs. getting it pushed out to them.

"She won't be snarky like this, so I'll take the opportunity. I think if you're going to wish my bff a happy birthday, you should spell her name right. *flips hair* As a side note in college, people used to misspell her name and I'd be all mad and she wouldn't care and I'm like Les, IT'S YOUR NAME. With an odd spelling to my own name, she started to do the same for me. So we just spent all of undergrad checking people for misspelling each other's names. #BlackGirlStories"

Friday, September 27, 2013

Key Message Help

There are so many slang phrases that are appropriate in the workplace. Some that I've used recently in my head include:

- She tried it
- It's deeper than rap
- I ain't on that
- Ain't nobody got time for that

(Don't judge me. Crap shows up at workplaces nationwide.)

Today, I'd like to come up with the professional way to say "This Ain't What You Want." I tried it and it came out like "I hear what you're saying, but I'm not certain that that would not have ended well for either party."

It's still too charged. Even as a person who obsessed with linguistics, I haven't QUITE found the phrase to inform people of what it is and what it ain't.

Who has suggestions?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hair Problems

More responses to Ishea...

Some problems I've blamed on Pittsburgh, but it's really a mix of Pittsburgh, poor planning and shifted priorities.

Girl, you would think I could fit a stylist appointment in when I go to Chicago. I got my ends clipped at the end of April, so I was due at the end of July. Howsoever, when I was there I was helping with my mom's 50th birthday party. I literally didn't have 2-3 free hours to tend to myself (Plus she would have flipped if I left for 2-3 hours to get my hair done on HER special day).

I'm going home for an impromptu trip this weekend. Now my hair budget is half of my spending money for the weekend. It's still crazy to visit Chicago because although I dine out a lot, I have to buy EVERYTHING when I go home, so I don't really have cash for big ticket items. Credit maybe, not cash.

So yeah, this is bad planning on my part. I need to EXPECT to pay to get my hair done about four times a year to stay fresh.

How crazy is this post to think I used to get my hair done about 12 times a year without a second thought. Natural hair is the truth.

These sound like excuses, but I swear they are valid reasons. I WOULD get my hair done, but the way my bank account is set up...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Phenomenal Ad: Tear Jerker

I cry on commercials. But this right here makes everyone cry. It's kind of predictable, but it's just so well done.



This is the kind of stuff we pass to each other at an ad agency. *passes tissue*

In Response to Details Matter

I don't know if you all read when I comment on comments, so I'm just doing a new post (plus I don't have anything else to talk about).

In response to Ishea...

I actually love ellipsis. I hate improper use of such a powerful grammar tool. LOL!

PGH social life is really cool for me because I'm a social person. It's super easy to sit around and do nothing, but I'm not on that. Have I told y'all about my church family? I spend every Sunday with them and have been to my Pastor's daughter (June) and son's (September) weddings. They make fun of me because I'm rarely in the 'Burgh two weekends in a row. So after dinner (after church), I do a round of kisses and am like: I'll see you in two or three weeks and they give me the sideeye.

The kids [kids=my Pastor's grown kids] are also starting to invite me to their non-church activities. It's hard to break into a circle of adults who have been friends since high school, but they've been welcoming and I feel truly blessed to have that. 

Summertime here is WAY better than the winter. I was definitely lonely when I first got here [not to be confused with being single because unlike right now I was NOT single when I arrived. I digress.] Even though I had a nice amount of connects the entire city is on lock in the winter. No one is really trying to come out of the house when it was cold and snowy. It was like go to work. Go home. Go to house parties and eat soup (and I didn't know anyone well enough to be in their house like that.) So I ordered good cable.

Now that I know more people, I imagine there will be lots of sports watching and holiday parties, so yeah, I'm satisfied on the social front.

One more note on social. They don't have anything fresh, fly, swanky, hot, happening, avande garde (Maybe like 1 thing, but I can't do that same thing every weekend)... Nothing like that is poppin' on the regular, so house parties are as good as it's going to get and that's ok for here and for now.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Details Matter

I love details. This is why I love weddings so much. This is why I love working in PR so much. I don't just love details, I think they matter. Here is why what I'm getting ready to tell you is so shocking. I think I've fallen off in Pittsburgh. The falloffability factor is just so high here. That AND it's hard as hell to find reasonably-priced, well-executed goods and services. Here are the top 10 ways I know something is seriously wrong with my psyche as it relates to personal details.

10. I'm bushy - I have not found a good eyebrow person here. I've been so traumatized by the eyebrow people here that I would rather have bushy unkempt eyebrows until I go back to Chicago than to let anyone here touch them. And I'm not Brooke Shield/Beyonce my eyebrows are thick and natural looking but really totally shaped bushy. Nah, I'm just a bushy mess.

9. I'm tacky - *hood chic hand clap* Chipped. Nails. Are. Tacky. So when I see my nails chip, I no longer immediately run to the bathroom and/or the nearest drugstore to get polish remover and take them off. No ma'ams and sirs. I will go like 2, maybe 3 days KNOWING my nail is chipped and just not fix it.

8. I'm broken - My big toenail broke on the far right side and instead of running IMMEDIATELY running to the nail salon... I just let it grow out. WHO DOES THAT.

7. I'm jagged - As in my fingernails will chip and I don't even keep an emery board in my purse any further. What self-proclaimed diva doesn't have an emery board in her purse? My mother may disown me.

6. I'm open - As in my hem was wide open. I wore a dress to a wedding with an undone hem on the slit in the back because 1. I didn't want to change what I was wearing. 2. I could not find any stitch witchery. I looked. 3. I did not have time to hand sew the hem and 4. No one would be taking pictures [hopefully] of the back of my dress. But I knew. So problematic.

5. I'm naked - I have literally walked out of the house without earrings on. Realized I didn't have them on... and kept walking. I wasn't even late for work. (Side note: A friend in a sorority told me their on-campus manual included things like "You must never leave the house without earrings on." She and I became closer when I realized how alike we were. LOL)

4. I'm hole-y. I wish I could say in the God sense, but nah. I pulled a sweater out of the crates for the fall. Put that jawn on, got to work and saw a hole in the shoulder. Like is this for real. In Chicago, I would have hit up the closest retail outlet and found a new cardigan. Here... there are no retail outlets near my job (that I would actually wear clothes from). I was just messy, messy, messy.

3. I'm wilderbeasty. Showing true laziness sometimes I will just not shave my legs and still wear a skirt, shorts or capris. It's really ridiculous y'all.

2. I'm split - As in I haven't been home for Cori to clip my ends since April. You'd think I would have learned my lesson after waiting 10 months to get my ends clipped last year and having to cut so much hair off. But here I am, in Pittsburgh, with raggedy hair.

1. I'm dry - I finally figured out what to do with my hair here. The air is SO dry. But it took me a smooth five months or so to figure that out and every once in a while I try a new routine that makes me look like I forgot to moisturize my situation.

I would say pray for me, but there are bigger things to pray about. Send me some Southwest gift cards, so I can go home on a schedule and get my ENTIRE routine right together.

You may be thinking, T, none of these things matter. But they do. And I'm scaring myself by not caring about them more. Like I always say , at least I'm pretty in the face.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Means...

When was the last time we talked about money on here? Well, since y'all brought it up. A few of facts and figures to share.

One of my mentors claims that I should be able to live on about 88% of my income. This means automatically shuffling about 12% of my income into savings. I think she trippin' #BadGrammarOnPurpose, but I trust her judgment. My budget actually includes me saving way more than that. My post-tax budget is like this:

25% - Savings Account
50% - Living expenses
10 - Tithes
15% - Who knows what? (I know what: Dunkin' Donuts, lunches, brunches, dinners, plane tickets, shoes, spas, beaches, salons, Monday Night Football wings and donations to friends' charities, that's what)

"Who Knows What" could also be called "Good Living," "Indulgences," "I'm Homesick, so I don't deny myself Anything," "I got a problem with spending before I get it," or "Feed Me, Seymour."

I digress.

In theory this budget is perfect. In practice, I use Savings and "Who Knows What" interchangeably. So if I have an expense that goes over what I've allocated for my disposable income (that's what the 15% is really called), then I just take it out of my savings. Big no-no.

I should also share that I've saved three months of "Living Expenses" and every penny that I put into my savings above that is supposed to be transferred student loans. Those bitches gotta go.

So extra spending is thwarting my debt-free efforts.

I know what needs to happen. I don't know how to make it happen. I need to embrace a spirit of sacrifice. I don't know how to do that without being extremely bored and lonely in Pittsburgh. (Entertainment costs money.) I don't know how to act like I don't have money... unless I don't have money. Like I could spend $0 in a week or I could spend $1,000. It just depends on how I'm feeling.

Has anyone ever paid their student loans off? How does it feel? How did you make the sacrifice? What brain shift did you have to make to spend an extra $200 on student loans instead of shoes? Did you find a good balance between pampering yourself and knocking debt down?

Chime in. I need your insight.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mentor Training

On Saturday mornings if I'm not in my bed, I prefer to be on a beach, at the mall or in a city other than the one I live. Last Saturday, I spent two and a half hours in mentor training... It was amazing. The trainer was full of life and was anti-reading the materials. She did a lot of role playing and it was crazy because you couldn't tell when she was in character or out of character.

She looks at me and says "I was going to wear my hair natural, but that was too much work. Everyone doesn't look good with natural hair, chile."

I was like O_O

But she was acting. Then she went into how we need to keep our judgmental attitudes to ourselves, etc. Besides the roleplay there were two things that I found very helpful.

1. A chart that showed how different people could react to the same situation with a child/student/minor. There were four categories: parent, teacher, mentor, friend. It really gave practical advice about how we should speak to our mentees and what's crossing the line. (We're not their homies, but we're not their parents. We're also not their therapists, etc.)

2. The second thing I found super helpful was calling out a list of words that a mentor should be and not be:

Should be: inspiring, available, open, passionate, FUN (and a host of other words I can't remember right now)
Should not be: Distracted, judgmental, mean, preachy, boring (and a host of other words I can't remember right now), inconsiderate.

As life is always a teacher, the trainer said it's not just in our mentoring, but in real life we shouldn't be the things on the "do not" list. And in real life we should be the things on the "do" list. Basically a wonderful mentor is a wonderful person. What a fabulous reminder to me to not be a jerk.

Coming up soon[er or later]: A list of the 18 things I had to do to become a mentor. I'm getting closer!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Event Alert: Townhall Meeting on the State of Our Community

Got this in my inbox and wanted to share. Lots of people that I respect on this panel. In my never-ending quest to figure out what to do that will actually matter, this is the type of forum that could help me get to some tangibles. I wish I could be home to attend.

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Please join us for a Town-Hall styled meeting to discuss the Trayvon Martin case. The aim of the discussion is to serve as an outlet for young professionals in our community to discuss what role we can play in counteracting the widespread perception of young black men and in discuss potential strategies on providing assistance to the potential Federal case against Zimmerman and finally to act as a launchpad for counteracting violence in Chicago.
 
Hosted By 
Loni Swain and Isaac Paul

Red Kiva
1108 West Randolph, 60607
Saturday, September 21st
2:00pm - 6:00pm

Discussion Panelists
- Mitzi Miller (Editor in Chief, Jet Magazine)
- Joshua Mercer (Founder, Swish Dreams)
- Deanna Mcleary (Editor/Founder, Truestar Magazine) 
- RyhmeFest (Musician/Politician, Co-Founder of Donda's House)
- Dr. Obari Cartman (Professor of African American Studies, Ebony Magazine columnist)
- Brian Sleet (Chief of Staff, Office of the Honorable Roderick T. Sawyer, Alderman, 6th Ward at City of Chicago)

Rsvp for free admission
http://metroboard-townhall-efbevent.eventbrite.com/

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tea's Tangents

  • I had the craziest dreams last night. I had a dream that I was dating Kevin Hart and one of my Twitter followers. And by dating I mean kissing them both in different rooms of the same party. Kevin was my dip. And I was madly in love with my Twitter follower. I was giddy about him. I don't really "DO" PDA, so the fact that we were making out in public both terrified me, but also made me fall more in love. Dreams are stupid.
  • On Friday my pants were flooding. Let me explain. I'm 5'5. I think that's average height for a woman, but the truth (I Googled it) is that average height for a woman is 5'4. So pants can be a half inch to a full inch too short on me at all times. It's weird. The pants I wore on Friday only look good with heels. But I refuse to wear heels to work on a Friday, especially when it's raining and I'm tired. And for some strange reason, I really wanted to wear these pants. I justified this with several things in my head. 1. Flooding pants are in style. I see "cropped" Audrey Hepburn-ish pants on sale all the time. I think they're hideous, but people are into them, so I'm going to act like I'm fashion forward. 2. It's just work and I changed before I went out that night. 3. I live in Pittsburgh, the worst dressed city in America. No one would know the difference.
  • I only open mail twice a month, on the best day of the year, when I sit down to pay bills. My bills are pretty fixed, so I don't need to rush to the mail to see what I owe. Unless it's a card or invitation, I'm not really trying to process what people are saying to me until I'm sitting down to pay bills. All that I get are credit card offers #DoNotWant and requests for donations... which I will process at the end of the year, in preparation for my taxes...
  • An ellipsis is three periods... I hate when people do this.. or this.... or this......... Ick!
I thought this was going to be short, but it's kind of long, so let's see if I have any tangents tomorrow.

Monday, September 16, 2013

We Do What?

I was a communications major. In my communications classes I learned a very valuable lesson that most people don't know. When you speak with blanket statements and you are a part of the blanket, you exclude yourself.

For example, if I say 30-year old women have no idea what they want. I'm talking about EVERY other 30-year old woman (because I know what I want), when really, that statement includes me. Given this insight, I realize that other people speak with blanket statements about categories that include me, but they don't mean to include and/or offend me when they say it, but they still do.

Exhibit A:

Around the way dude (ATWD): Black women are not with their men.
T: O_O WHAT?! Maybe you could state it a different way. Because right now, I completely disagree with you so completely that I can't even make sense of what you're saying. 
ATWD: White women, Asian Women, Hispanic women... to a degree, are WITH their men. Black women are not... But I'm not talking about you.

So I politely [I swear I was polite] tell him that if he's going to make a blanket statement about a group of people in which I am included, he needs to state it in another way. For example if he said something like "Ain't shit women are not their for their men." I would have let it ride.

So he goes on to say: "Good women circle the wagon around ain't shit women and men can never say what's true because you all are always taking up for them."

I swear I date for the stories. I'm not mad at this dude. His experiences with women have colored his commentary and I can't deny him his experience.

I reminded him that when he makes a statement about what black women do or don't do, he's talking about me, his mother, his grandmother, his aunts, his daugher and every black woman teacher or mentor he's ever had. He disagrees.

So we agree to disagree.

I will say, however, that black women are always accused of not taking up for each other. For being haters. For hating other women's success and happiness. [which is a bunch of BS, honestly] But when I took up for black women, I'm accused of going to bat for hoes to try to make an argument.

When it comes to rhetoric, women can't win with men. Maybe that's the #message.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Identity Crisis

Unknown left the following comment on my "Around The Way" dude post.

"...because unless you grew up privileged, most of us were raised by "around the way" men."

It made me think about some more things I wanted to share.

On Pittsburgh vs. Chicago
As a point of clarification, I didn't [when I could help it] date around the way dudes in Chicago either.

On Privilege
Also, you could say I spent the first nine years of my childhood poor. My mom was definitely on public assistance at some point. We definitely had a family of six people in a two-bedroom apartment at some point. One the one hand my mom was a single mother, then a widow, then remarried. On the other hand from 3-9 (before my [step]dad died) and 13-17, I lived in a two-parent household.

My thoughts are based not just on my experiences, but also on my ability to apply critical thinking to what I know to be true. 

I'd say the last 8 years of my childhood were middle class. One could call it privileged. I don't know that having the basics equals privileged, but I see why someone would think that, all things considered. We were "rich" enough for FAFSA to say I don't qualify for ANY financial aid, but "poor" enough that after that first tuition bill, my mom also told me I was on my own. My brothers' private education was her priority at that time [rightly so] and I'd have to take out high-interest loans [that I'm still paying, Lord, help me!] to cover myself.

On "around the way" men raising "most of us"
My biological father didn't raise me. My [step] dad was in my life for six years, then he died. My stepfather and my mom got married when I was 13. I was pretty "raised" by that point. My mom was the only constant in my childhood, so when I think of who raised me a man (around the way or otherwise) doesn't come to mind.

And if I think of the man with the most influence on my childhood it was my dad who died. He wasn't an around the way dude. He was a tech guy at AT&T in the 80s. We lived in a two-bedroom apartment, but we had a home computer [and all the gadgets] before it was popular to have such things. We went places. He challenged our thinking. Challenged our views of the world.

For the sake of argument, let's say I WAS raised by an around-the-way dude (which I wasn't) I think I'd apply my critical thinking skills to today's challenges to know that that's not what I want for my future or for my children. (For example, just because my mom was a teen mom, it doesn't mean I'm going to advocate teen pregnancy in 2013. I made it DESPITE that, not because of it.) When thinking of a partner, I need someone who's going to challenge me, challenge perceptions, challenge his place in life if the cards weren't dealt to him in a way that's desirable. (I need a republican... I kid. I kid. Sort of.)

So I guess what I want to make clear that didn't come through in the original post is that my definition of around the way dude has less to do with where he lives and more to do how his mind operates. The basic, go-nowhere, do-nothing, survive, not thrive mentality is what I don't gel with and will not tolerate. Not in Pittsburgh, not in Chicago and definitely not in my heart and lifespace.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never Forget

On this, the twelfth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, I'd like to thank the families of the men and women who lost their lives on this tragic day. Thank you for sharing them with the world. Thank you for your bravery in getting through your loss. May God continue to heal you and reveal his plan for your life.

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I think today is as good as any to have a conversation about national security and the role of the federal government. I heard the President's speech last night about Syria and I was underwhelmed with the rhetoric, the delivery and the plan.

On the one hand, I can't see any option that does not include us having a full out war with a country whose leaders use chemical warfare. On the other hand, the President did convince me that if we do nothing we are sending out the weakest signal possible as the United States of America.

I know enough to know that I don't understand foreign policy. And I've voted for people who I think are smarter than me to make these decisions. They appointed people who they think are smarter than them to help them get to the conclusions they make. I have some level of trust in their process and I really don't want to be involved in this type of decision making.

Then my President said he wants congress to vote. Congress who was elected by the people, and therefore the voice of the people. I have no idea what side to stand on.

What about you? Do you feel strongly that we should or shouldn't attack Syria?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Around The Way Dudes

When I first started dating in Pittsburgh, I only encountered guys who were like me, transplants. Not from here and not staying here. The more people I get to know, the more local activities I participate in and I've started dating around the way dudes.

Imagine every negative stereotype that's associated with a dude who you consider to be local:

Baby Mama Drama - Check.
Close-minded - Check.
Passportless - Check.
Boring - Check.
Basic - Check. Check. Check.

Due to the levels of poverty [and racism] in Pittsburgh, I feel sad when I encounter around the way dudes who actually like me. Once I start to talk to them I always find that their perspective is shaped by their experiences and the experience of being a black man in this city is not easy.

On the one hand, I want to turn down their advances because I already know we don't have enough in common to make it work. On the other hand, I dream of being the protagonist in a Tyler Perry movie where the business woman is woo-ed by the UPS worker (I really do. I think the sex might be worth the drama).

But I don't have a team of writers coming up with a tear-jerking love story for me. I actually have to make decisions that benefit my mind, body, heart, spirit, soul and wallet when it comes to these men.

I'm going to keep trying and keep reporting back, but so far when I date around-the-way dudes, we both lose.  

I Wasn't Ready

*Kevin Hart voice* Wait. No. Stop. I Can't Breathe. I Wasn't Ready.

The following was just sent to my inbox. VERBATIM. I thought I'd unsubscribed from all party emails back when I told y'all I traded club nights for lunches, brunches and dinners. Apparently some of them slipped through the cracks.

Where do I begin. First, Chicago is a city full of haters. I knew this when I lived there. I love this when I come home. Everyone is always trying to talk about reasons why they are better. Their side of the city is better. Their parties are better. Their Harold's is better. Their high school is better. A real conversation ensured about Honey Nut Cheerios vs. Frosted Flakes. I likely participated. We are petty as hell. But this.

Did they really call out red weave and wannabe-rapper faux-jewelry crowd. WHO DOES THAT? Y'all know those people spend money at the club too right? Like if you REALLY want to slow it down, hire a DJ and do this at your house with your friends. Don't hate on the club crowd, when you're promoting an event AT THE CLUB.

Moving along, as a marketer, this is the most basic, unimaginative copy I have ever seen in a party flyer. This is worst than the texts that say "It's 60 degrees and almost summer. Come party with your boy." Then turn around the very next week and say "It's 37 degrees out, but it's not cold in the club. Come party with your boy." It's worse than THAT. If you want to attract a certain crowd, use words that appeal to them. Inviting all connoisseurs of soul music to a mature set with a mellow crowd (This isn't quite right, but it took me 30 seconds).

I can't get the formatting right on this post and I keep losing content, but the point is: The following copy is poorly written, unimaginative, insulting and cliché (yes, Cherry Saturdays have been done). I want people do better when trying to market to me.

Who's going to this? Tell the truth!

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Saturday, Sept. 14th -

Cherry Saturdays Cherry Saturdays is the only EXCLUSIVE party in Chicago.

Strictly for the select few, this is NOT the party for the kool-aid red weave and/or the wannabe-rapper faux-jewelry crowd. No long lines, no riff-raff, no undesirables.

Imagine hearing Stevie Wonder, Tortured Soul, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Lenny Kravitz, Minnie Ripperton, Anita Baker and Mos Def all on the same night?

Well if this sounds like a good time, then Cherry Saturdays is the place for you.

FREE ENTRY B4 12AM if you RSVP now at cherrysaturdays@gmail.com

Doors open 9pm, party til 3am. Music by Nick Castle & Jay iLLa.

FREE ENTRY B4 12AM if you RSVP now at cherrysaturdays@gmail.com

Coup d'Etat (Did Shrine close? Someone put me up on game.)
2109 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Life Happens

I had a flight from Vegas to Chicago last weekend and I had the opportunity to catch up on my blog reading. I follow so many people and they've traveled to other countries, gotten married, divorced, had babies, had several babies, gone to grad school. It's been like six years and sometimes I expect their sites to be exactly how they were when I first started reading.

Then I realize... IT'S BEEN SIX YEARS! Everyone has grown in their own unique ways and has brought all of that to their respective blogs.

Thanks to everyone who's still writing and sharing their stories, their perspectives, their lives with me. And thanks to everyone who's still reading my musings after all these years.