Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Year in Review

January: Brought in the new year in Chicago at Fellowship and a Pajama Jam at DV's (1 Day). Had the cold from hell for about 2 weeks, followed by the sinus infection from hell for another week, but I survived. Have a staycation followed by Super Bowl weekend in NYC (2 days). 

February: I think I stayed in Pittsburgh the entire month of February. Did I win or lose this month? I don't know.

March: Went to Chicago (2 days) for Kellie's baby shower.

April: Went to Ohio for work (1 day). D.C. for Work (1 day). Ohio again for work (1 day). Threw a birthday party in Pittsburgh. Whoda thunk it?!?!?!

May: Went to Chicago/Champaign (3 days) and gave the alumni convocation speech at the University of Illinois Department of Communication graduation. WOW! Went to Oklahoma City for Dorian's Baby Shower. (3 days)

June: Went to Chicago (5 days) for work, stayed for play.

July: Went to Barcelona and Ibiza via New York (8 days) for Ashlie's 30th. There are no photos. :-) Went to Chicago for a baby shower to party (2 days). Went to Chicago for my grandma's 75th Surprise Birthday Party. Went to the 8th Annual #EthnicQ (2 days) 

August: Went to Ohio for work (1 day.) Went to Chicago for the Broadview Baptist Church Young Adult Choir Reunion (4 days) Stayed in Pittsburgh for Labor Day (my first time being here an entire holiday weekend. It was really fun!)

September: I worked and volunteered so much this month. I didn't travel anywhere. It was exhausting and unnecessary. This month was a major turning point in learning to say no. 2015 will be full of no.

October: Ohio for work (1 day). Allentown, PA for work (1 day), Upstate New York (1 day) for work, Chicago (3 days) for work. 

November: Vegas for work (3 days), stayed to play (2 days). Chicago for work (1 day). Ohio for work (1 day) Chicago for Thanksgiving (4 days) 

December: Ohio for work (1 day) Ohio for work (2 days) Chicago for Christmas (9 days) Memphis for NYE (1 day)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Making a Lasting Impact

Here are things I have to remind myself when I get sad about leaving the girls that I no longer will be with. And I'll start with a little story.

When I told the girls that I was leaving, they started to open up to me in ways that they hadn't before. And girls who hadn't really said two words to me before I left told me they would miss me or let me know how they felt about my presence. One particularly memorable 18 year old with two children said:

"Ms. Tiasha, did you ever notice you make our birthdays special? Our parents ain't shit."

When I first started at Gwen's Girls, I thought I was going to have deep conversations about sex, and college and grades and respect and love and God, but the girls weren't going. I quickly figured that I needed a gimmick to get through to them. I brought my favorite game, Taboo, and BOOM! They opened up like car doors.

So then it occurred to me. Every respectable adult in their lives is trying to talk to them about the very thing I thought I would try to talk to them about. But VERY FEW adults are talking to them about having, good, clean fun. Just letting them be kids.

My game bag grew out of control: Jenga, Old Maid, Playing Cards, Checkers, Connect Four, Phase 10 and whatever else they asked me to bring. You need them games! I got them games!

Having fun in life is important to me, so I was able to share a little bit of myself just by being playful with the girls.

The second thing I did was create memorable experiences. I took four girls to their first, Pirates, Steelers, Penguins and University of Pitt basketball games, respectively. I gave them all pictures from the games, so they wouldn't forget. The gratitude they had for those experiences was truly overwhelming. Again, just sharing things that I like to do with them exposed them to new things and made an impact.

The third thing I did was celebrate their birthdays. I'm probably going to cry typing this because I cry every time I talk about this. I bought each one of the girls a cake and gift for her birthday. That cake and the gift I brought in EVERY INSTANCE, was the ONLY thing they received for their birthday. It makes me SO ANGRY because if I wasn't there, there is no adult in their life that took the time to make their birthday special. It's just like any other day.

Knowing this also takes me to this very unhealthy place of feeling like it's my responsibility to make their birthdays special. That's not true. I don't have any kids. I'm not obligated or required to do any of this stuff. But what one of MY mentors helped me realized is that by bringing my traditions to them (cake and gifts and celebrating what's clearly the most important day of the year), I modeled excellent behavior. And even though I won't be around on their next birthday, they can make a decision to celebrate themselves with their allowance or they can make a decision when they have a family of their own to make birthdays special. I did exactly what I was supposed to do, which was give of myself fully while I was mentoring.

And finally, what I'm most proud of, is my ability to model unconditional love. Teenagers are usually rewarded for doing something: getting good grades, making the team, winning a game in sports, getting scholarships by having good grades, getting accepted to college, etc. When the odds are against you (poor, teen mom, not good in school, not athletic, etc.), the rewards aren't exactly piling in.

I know as a teenager (and even as an adult, but I'm working on it), I would try to prove my worth by being excellent. And I feel if I make a mistake or don't hit the bar that someone's love or money or care or concern will leave me because I didn't do enough to deserve it. In college, I thought my crush, and later boyfriend wouldn't talk to me if my hair wasn't combed right (I was right. He was a jerk. I digress.)

The point is, I went to the group home, week in and week out, not because these girls are model citizens. A good half of them are clearly juvenile delinquents, even in my presence. I didn't play games with them because they had high IQs or becaus they came from a "good" home or family. I simply loved them because they existed.

That is the kind of love I hope they will seek in relationships from family, friends and lovers and for the time I was with them that's the kind of love I doled out.

So all of that to convince myself say, making an impact is not about how long you do something, but how you show up while doing it. I hope that in my nine months at the Group Home with all the girls coming in and out that something I said or did or modeled will have a lasting impact on their life and I am comfortable putting an end date on it to focus on other things.

As soon as I get my one-on-one mentee, I'll report back with how things are going with her. Fingers crossed that we can work together in 2015. 


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Last Wednesday, December 10th, was my last day at Gwen's Girls. Leaving the group home was one of the healthiest emotional decisions I've ever made and at the same time it was like ripping my heart out.

Let me explain.

Remember this post, when I was crying in the car about the two girls I'm closest with leaving. Well, I'm made inroads to formally mentor them one-on-one and while that process is slower than I like, it's moving and I'm not willing to do both.

So why am I skipping the group home experience:

1. I don't have time. You've seen my schedule. I post to this blog like once a week... if that, when it used to be five to seven times a week. Being anywhere once a week religiously, is not feasible and it's just stressful as hell.

2. It's not like it used to be. I don't get through to the girls that are still in the house the same way I get through to a lot of the girls who have left. I think them seeing me so regularly, has nullified my effectiveness.

3. Things need a start and end date. When I did mentorship training, they talked about mentorship (unlike parenting) needing to have an end. I think about it like being a 5th grade teacher. At the end of the year, you don't hold onto the kids you like the most, you let them go and they go to 6th grade.

4. Practicality. I'm turning in my car to the dealership tomorrow. I will officially be on the bus and I can't make it anywhere after work at 6 p.m. on the bus. It's just not feasible. 

5. I'm STILL going to be a mentor. I have been talking about wanting to be a mentor for years on this blog and this year I finally did it. I am so proud of myself and so touched by how the girls allowed me to be a part of their lives. I'm sure that I've made a lasting impact on them, which is what I set out to do.

More on making a lasting impact tomorrow.


Monday, December 15, 2014

#ByeFelicia

That's what I'm trying to say to Sallie Mae, which is now called Navient and ACS in 2015. I've never defaulted on a payment and even though, they aren't exactly breathing down my neck to pay them faster, something about the idea of paying off my debt is SO liberating and I want to do it and I want to do it NOW!

So in 2015, I'm turning in my leased vehicle. I'm saving money on a car note, insurance, gas, a yearly sticker for the city of Pittsburgh, a yearly sticker for the state of Pennsylvania, parking fees at work, parking fees at my apartment, COSTS FOR REPAIRS FOR ALL THE IDIOTS WHO HIT MY CAR, etc.  

I'll probably spend a bit of money on Zip Car or a once-a-month car rental or throwing friends a bit of gas money for coming to pick me up from the airport (or I can just hop on the bus that lets off two blocks from my house. It costs $2.50).

To accelerate my payments, I'll be adding all the money I save to my disposable income and dropping it like it's hot on my student loan payments EVERY. MONTH. next year.

This year I did that, but got a bit off budget/schedule in the summer. Lots of trips and shopping sprees and good living.

Here's what I think the difference will be. Every time I'm standing on a bus stop angry that I'm not in my warm car, I'm going to remember WHY I'm doing this. And hopefully, every time I'm in a mall or shopping online, I will remember freezing my tail off at the bus stop and remember my motto for 2015:

I don't need clothes. I need closure. It's been 10, almost 11 years since I graduated and they have gotten all the interest they're going to get out of me.

Bout to hit 'em with that NSYNC BYE! BYE! BYE!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

About Gaining Weight...

I think some of what I'm about to say may be insensitive to people who really struggle with obesity. If that's your and you're sensitive, please stop reading and just come back tomorrow.

I've been gaining weight. Living in this small town with its big portion sizes and pepperoni rolls and subpar public transportation. My love of red meat, sugar and french fries has not helped either.

For the first time in a while, I'm gaining weight and NOT really trying to lose it. I care no further. I look good! My clothes are hanging onto my body for dear life, but that's what they made malls for. So every day there's something funny [to me] that happens as it relates to gaining weight I'm usually by myself and I just laugh and laugh. Today, I'll share with you.

10. My pants rip. Bend over, squat down, drop my mail because I'm carrying groceries, my laptop and my big sack purse and SPLIT, another hole in the thigh of my jeans. Womp.

9. Speaking of jeans, I swear jump around every time I get dressed for work. I'm sitting there thinking, didn't there used to be stretch in these?

8. I get asthma. Not real asthma, but I swear my bras are trying to kill me. I've never worn so many pajamas before the sun went down in my life.

7. I take my bras off in public. Bras are stupid anyway. I was at the airport like *snap, crackle, pop*. Then I exhaled. Aaaahhh!

6. I run into stuff. Add being clumsy ALREADY to taking up more space, no picture frame is safe. (and yes, I know I went from a 6 to an 8 and not a 22 to a 24, but it's still more space and it feels different and I don't care if you call me skinny, I know I'm 8x bigger than women like Kerry Washington who wear a 0... or is that really true since 0 times anything is 0)

5. I bought stock in tank tops so I can keep wearing all my button down shirts.

4. I finish entire Chipotle burritos. I remember a time, when I was more disciplined. I would cut it in half and eat the rest later. No. 

3. I get winded walking up a flight of stairs. I still exercise, but I'm at the end of every flight of stairs expecting a butler to be there to greet me with a Coke. I know it's not just me.

2. I turned into a complete hippie because being naked is better than wearing too tight clothes. I'm militant in my head until my logic doesn't make sense anymore: "Clothes are a social construct created by God... wait."

1. My closet looks like a mix between a department store and a graveyard. Come find your size. I have ALL the sizes. So much potential. My maxi skirt collection keeps getting bigger too. Lowkey summer is the best time to gain weight. In the winter, these cozy sweaters are like cable knit jail cells.  

And no, I'm not pregnant.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Do You Exercise AND Travel?

Two short stories.

On Exercise
When I'm on top of my game, I exercise on Sunday mornings before church. When I exercise on Sunday mornings before church, I get sleepy RIGHT around the time my pastor starts preaching. You've heard how close I am to my pastor, so he's liable to call my name in service if I'm sleep and/or talk about me at dinner, which is not ok.

So I pack trail mix. It's perfect. It's crunchy, chewy, healthy and the perfect amount of blood sugar to keep me going after working out, after breakfast, but before post-church dinner.

The End.

On Travel 
I travel a lot. I have a lot of zip-top 3-quart bags and I rarely pack them before I leave the house. They're just all over my purse. On my last trip... maybe second to last trip, but who's counting, I had so much lotion and hand sanitizer. Fortunately for me, I had ample zip-top plastic bags. I plopped my liquids, gels and aerosols into one of said bags and let it creep into the bowels of my purse. I did not get stopped by security. I passed go. I collected $200.

The End.

But not really...

This Sunday, I reach in my bag to get some trail mix. I'm like almonds, sunflower seeds, cranberries and pistachios SHALL BE MINE. Until I realized I dropped the hand sanitizer and lotion into the same bag with my trail mix. I laughed so hard in church at a time where it was inappropriate to laugh at church.

I crack myself up.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Let's Talk About It

I don't think I've talked about police brutality here. I don't think I've had the words to succinctly sum up what I'm feeling or what I'm watching or what these last 100+ days since Mike Brown was killed have felt like. They haven't felt any different from the days when Trayvon Martin was killed or when Derrion Albert was killed or when Hadiya Pendleton was killed.

But there is an uprising. My feelings coupled with the feelings of millions of Americans nationwide is that we will not stand for injustice and we will not standby while injustice is being served and my heart is pleased with the reaction.



I saw this poster on Facebook and it so succinctly sums up what I've been thinking and feeling about police violence, in particular (I hate all violence).

There's something about self-defense or watching a lifetime of Bad Boys-like movies that makes us think killing the bad guy is ok. Then layer that with people thinking everyone who is black is a bad guy and black people having the responsibility of managing other people's fears. I've never seen so many laws on the books that let you kill a person because of your fear. How can I manage another person's misperceived notions about me?

Some of us have to pay for this with bad annual reviews (and subsequently subpar pay raises) from our workplaces because while our work quality is stellar, white people are "afraid to talk to us" or think we're too "abrasive." Economic disenfranchisement much? Others of us pay for this mentality with the ultimate price of our lives. Slavery mentality [just like rape culture] affects us all and I'm happy the nation is rising up against it.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How Did I Get Here?

A lot of days I find myself reflecting on situations and thinking about how I got here. Usually, I'm sitting in skinny street traffic on some God-forsaken cobblestone road trying to get to the one mall in the suburbs of Pittsburgh that has a reputable Indian woman to thread my eyebrows, trying to figure out what happened to my much more convenient, fabulous, big-city, metropolitan life of years past.

Currently, it's 4 a.m. on a Thursday morning and I'm sitting in my apartment writing banner ad copy. I'm a public relations professional. I don't write banner ad copy. Copywriters write banner ad copy. It's like 20 words or less and it's giving me the heebie jeebies.

But... I'm a public relations professional, which means I do everything. I make Starbucks runs. I plan client dinners. I write strategies for top brands. I manage people, places and things. I make news when most people just watch it and my well-respected journalists friends just report it.

AND... I do things that are out of my comfort zone [and outside of my job description] to meet deadlines, which today equals writing banner ad copy from my living room at 4 a.m. because sleep and sensibility all went out of the door when I chose this profession.

Would't trade it for the world.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Low Places

There's something about taking public transportation that messes with my self-esteem. Sitting there waiting for a bus or a train for an extended period of time with no control whatsoever of whether it's coming or not makes me wonder am I really where I want to be in life. And not to mention all of the free time makes me extremely introspective and it turns my crazy switch right on.

This Thanksgiving weekend I didn't have a schedule and I didn't rent a car. If you know me, that would be shocking. I got in Wednesday night and the moment I opened the passenger door in my parent's garage my mom goes: are you about to get dressed and go out? I'm like no, I have no desire to be in these streets.

I saw some people. I missed A LOT of people.Then I skipped the Posh party and my close girlfriends throw that party, so I felt like crap about it. So while I'm waiting on the 146 after picking up books from Luvvie (and getting a much needed mani/pedi and these brows threaded for the gods), I'm thinking, am I a horrible friend? Is my life over because I'd rather play with my friend's two year old than go to a day party.

Have I made such despicable decisions in life that lead me to standing in the cold, sober with a bag full of books on a Saturday night when my peers are either spending time with their husbands and children OR standing on tables? How did I get here and is it ok?

Well, thank God for church and a word from the man of God. On Sunday, Pastor Hannah preached about how Abram got kicked out of Egypt because he had too much stuff. (Longer story. Genesis 13. Read it.) He made the parallel to how the devil will bring you down, but when he sees no matter what happens to you (sickness, losing a job, depression, loss of a loved one), you still give God the praise, he'll throw you out of [Egypt] whatever horrifying situation he catapulted you into because you are of no use to him. Even where you're low, you're still only of use to God.

Man that spoke to me. I was like let me turn this frown upside down. My life is amazing. Riding the CTA for four straight days almost had me thinking otherwise. If we're being honest car traffic is much worse. I read books on those train rides.

AND I wasn't a complete old fart. I went to a 90s party at Beauty Bar that night. There was no line, cheap cover, cheap coat check, cheap drinks and I wore flat shoes. It was a low stress, high reward partying experience. It was so lowkey, I might as well have been in Pittsburgh and I loved it. Wait.

Monday, December 1, 2014

You Dropped a Bomb on Me

So Thanksgiving's happening. I leave my mom's house to make a couple of stops with the other side of the family. Ah yes, the burden of the child who has two sides of the family when the parent does not. It's big fun, I assure you.

When I left my mom all of the sides were done. As far as I knew, the turkey was done. We're waiting on a couple of guests to show up and putting the table settings together. I get back 2 hours later. No one has eaten. Man, COME ON!

My stepdad has two homeboys that are eating with us. One is there, the other ran to the gas station. And by ran, I mean he walked. But then the one he went to was closed. So he went to another one, and we waited. Chile, we waited.

So he gets back and we go around the room and say what we're thankful for.

My mother, and her chipper behind, drops a bomb that she's thankful for health screenings and prescreenings offered by her employer (she works at a hospital). She had a procedure done and they found a polyp that was precancerous and they removed it and she doesn't have cancer and praise the Lord. Next.

NEXT?!?!?!?!?!?! MA! Seriously? How are we supposed to process that before the cornbread? I just acted like I didn't hear her and thanked God. That's too much. And the fact that she went through it without telling anyone... Maybe she told her husband.

Then my aunt says she's happy for a job. She's been unemployed for XYZ time and starts her new gig tomorrow. I had no idea. Heavy.

THEN my stepdad's friend says he had two broken legs, a broken rib, was in a coma for 7 months and they thought he was going to die, but God. Heavier. (Maybe he was in a car accident, maybe he was beat up. I don't know. No one asked. I didn't ask.)

I did not cry around that circle, a miracle among all the other miracles we discussed. I think we need to start having testimony service early in the day. Give us time to praise, worship, mourn and weep, then we can eat later. I just wasn't ready that close to the ham and potato salad. 

Also, if you know my mom, can you maybe NOT mention this post to her. She doesn't read this blog or really know remember it exists. If she can't even tell her firstborn child she's going through a procedure, imagine the scolding I'm going to get that I shared her testimony with the internets. Ex-honey said she didn't want to worry me and I should be happy because there was nothing to worry about. Ex-honey is right. I talk to ex-honey. Sue me.

I am truly happy for all the blessings around that dinner table circle and my family and our dysfunctional communication. God is good, anyhow.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

From Our Thanksgiving Kitchen

The holidays are the most wonderful times of the year... or whatever. I spent the majority of my holiday group chatting with friends I couldn't spend as much time with about how crazy my family is.

A couple of funnies from the weekend.

- We do this every year. Every year dinner is late. It doesn't matter what the issue is. This year it was my stepfather doing a bunch of household projects that were uncompleted. Then my mom and I get in from the airport and have to clean up a dusty kitchen vs. actually cooking. And when I say from the airport, I mean I took the train from Midway to Forest Park because my mom wasn't done grocery shopping when my plane landed and therefore couldn't pick me up from the airport. And when I say "we" cleaned the kitchen, I mean, my mom did it and I went to sleep.

- My stepfather ended up frying turkeys (why isn't this spelled turkies?) like every year. Three funny stories here:

1. He was frying up turkeys for everyone in the neighborhood, so despite the sides being ready on time (I made mac n cheese and candied yams this year. Next year, dressing. If I keep this up, I'll just cook the whole damn meal myself and let my mom off the hook. [Never going to happen, but it sounds good.])

2. The process is oil the turkey with olive oil. Rub it in the rub, then stick it on the pole. Convo:

Stepdad *looks at dry ass turkey*: How much olive oil did you put on this?
Mom to me under her breath: Oops, I forgot.
Mom to stepdad: Um... not too much. Do I need to do more?

bwhahahahah. She eventually told him she forgot, but I was already in tears in the kitchen.

3. This year he had a rub and injections for our turkeys. Fried turkey tastes good without any seasoning, but he got excited. Bought some stuff online and was all hyped about it. My mom didn't want to do it, so she let him at it. Talking about he should be in the kitchen more often. Until it was done. Apparently, it's not a rub, it's a seasoning. You rub rubs. You sprinkle seasonings. He overdid. Anyone remember mom NOT wanting to do it. Then when the skin tastes like salt on a stick she goes: That's why men need to stay out of the kitchen. They think they know what they're doing, but they don't.

Ah, Thanksgiving!

More tomorrow. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

I Got Got

PSA: When you rent a car and you bring it back, take a photo of every angle of the outside of the video. If you do not, you have no proof that you did not damage the vehicle because your word is not enough.

Budget said I got in a car accident and damaged a car. I didn't. State Farm asked if I had photos and if I walked around the car WITH the agent while I was at the airport. I didn't.

State Farm is now paying Budget $437 out of my $500 rental coverage allowance. This costs me nothing, but I'm pissed about it.

It's definitely a scam and I don't want people to scam State Farm just like I don't want them to scam my grandma. It's easier for State Farm to pay it than to go to court without my photo evidence (a defense).

So now, I'm THAT CHICK at every airport, taking photos, writing down notes about the smallest scratches, not signing anything until I do a thorough walk-around.

You live and you learn.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

More on Mentoring

I knew the day that someone I was close with leaving the group home would come. The volunteer coordinator (VC) told me that if/when that happens, I could ask to formally keep in touch with whoever the girl is. I had no idea two girls would leave on the same day. It's kind of crazy.

I asked the formal questions, but the VC didn't get back to me until AFTER I saw the girls for the last time. Good news: I can definitely keep in touch with one of them. We just have to do some paper work with the foster care agency and I'm in there! The other one is a bit tougher because it's a different foster care agency and they don't know me and I have all these approvals to go through, so hopefully that will pan out.

The VC then tells me since I have a formal mentee, that I don't have to come to the group home anymore. They don't want to stretch me too thin. So at that point, I'm conflicted because there are other girls at the group home that I've built relationships with. THEN I remember I didn't really MEAN to be mentoring 13 girls at a time. But the way it's set up, if they just attach you to one mentee and she can't stand you, it's not really going to go well.

I've essentially been doing a test run to find one mentee for nine months. 

AND, I don't think I've blogged about this, but I'm practicing say no. These past 3-6 months have been bananas for work and outside commitments. I just can't live like that anymore. Saying no is going very well. I had agreed to do something and found out I didn't have the time and instead connected my contact to another woman to help get it done. I've said no to like 10 things in the past two months, but still have lots of lingering commitments.

ALSO, I'm letting the lease on my car go on 12/31//14, so I had a bit of anxiety about how I was going to get the group home every week sans vehicle.

As I'm struggling with this conundrum of how to honor my commitments and honor myself, 2 of my girls get moved out of the group home and an opportunity to ease up on my weekly commitment presents itself. Knowing that I've already poured so much into the girls that are there (and so many who have left), I feel really good about saying December 10th will be my last day visiting the group home weekly and I'll still be mentoring at least one girl, as I'd originally planned.

Praise God! While I'm trying to figure it out, He already worked it out!!!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Update on Mentoring

So I've been an official Gwen's Girls mentor since March of 2014. If you recall, I wanted to get connected to one girl, but that's not the set-up. So I go every Wednesday and work with all of the girls (up to 13 at a time). Just like in real life, I'm the engineer of fun. I let them use my wifi hotspot [sometimes], I play games with them and I take them to fun experiences (Usually sports games or cultural events.)

About a week ago, two of the girls that I'm closest with told me they were getting put into foster homes. When I found out they were leaving I cried like a baby... in the parking lot though, not in front of them. The reaction came out of left field and I analyzed it and realized I had so many things going on. I knew that I loved my girls, but I didn't realize how concerned I would be with their outcomes. I really want to make sure that they make it. High school, college, families of their own, I want them to be afforded every opportunity and if they are not within the parameters of the group home, then I don't have access to their outcomes.

I also was dealing with some self-doubt. My love language is spending time [or quality time, whatever]. That's how I show my love for these girls, or my friends, or my family or a significant other. I'm not the words of affirmation "you mean so much to me, let me tell you all about it" person. Sometimes I feel like that's a handicap and in not being able to express myself verbally to the girls [or anyone really], I was concerned that they wouldn't truly understand how much I care and that they would just leave and I'd never see them again.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday, the last day, I'd see them in the group home [and potentially ever again]. I got them both cards and photo frames with pictures of us at one girl's first Steelers game the other girls' first Pirates game. I hugged them and gave them all my contact info, since there was no way to know if I'd see them again. They LOVED the gifts.One girl told me no one had ever given her a photo in a frame before. [that broke my heart, but then reinforced what I knew. What I'm doing is important and you never know the large impact your small contribution can have on someone's life.]

It was at that moment that I decided to let this "you need to be more verbally intimate" notion go. [My therapist said] I beat myself up so many times for everything I'm not and rarely give myself credit for everything I am. I complete an accomplishment and forget I completed it and then get mad about everything I haven't done.

I digress.

I showed my love by taking them to games and leaving work on time [no small feat] every Wednesday to hang with them. And what I left them with, a photo of those good times, is something that's way more impactful than any string of awkward words I could put together to "say" that I care.

So, all of that to say: 1. Mentoring is going well. AND 2. Who I am right now, without fixes or changes or improvements, is enough. I am enough.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Solo Adventures in Vegas

My solo weekend in Vegas was amazing. It's actually so popular to travel to Vegas by yourself that there's an entire website devoted to it: www.vegassolo.com.

I spent a fair bit of time just maxin' and relaxin', which is what I like to do on vacation anyway. Here's the rest of what I did:

SHOPPING: Oh, the malls and outlets malls in Vegas. I busted out my grocery list (yes, I have clothes on my grocery list) and proceeded to find and purchase everything on it. Talk about being a task master.

Pool time at Ceasar's: I was staying at a low budget hotel at the end of the strip trying to save money, so their pool wasn't exactly the hot spot. Also, I'm not doing that anymore. That's not who I am. I can't stay at cheap hotels any further. Either, it's going to be nice or I'm not going. I digress.

In November, a lot of the pools are closed anyway. So I had to find a pool that was year round AND that allowed outside guests. Ceasar's was it. To my surprise, however, they didn't charge anything to get in or for towels.

Apparently in November the high is typically 50 degrees and while I was there it was like 80, so it was unseasonably warm. They weren't even serving food at the pool. The waitresses were wearing velour hoodies on top of their bathing suits and they were running out of liquor. I guess 80 degrees isn't 110 and they weren't restocking the bar until next summer.

The Linq - I went on the largest observation deck in the world. 550 feet in the air, by myself and my phone died. Ah well, I have to rely on my brain for the memories and it was quite dope. It's a 30 minute ride, costs about $24.95, but I got on for free.99 with a coupon from the [nice] hotel I stayed in earlier in the week. They have a whole community with things like Sprinkles (cupcakes, ice cream AND cookies and you know I smashed), Brooklyn Bowl and this brewery from Cali with 180 beers on tap. Vegas always looks so crowded, but somehow they managed to fit a new hotel and entire community of shops and a ferris wheel across the street from Ceasar's and I loved checking it out.

Supporting Women Chefs - I searched high and low and only found three women executive chefs at Giada's at the Cromwell (couldn't get a reservation), Border Grill in MGM and BurGR in Planet Hollywood. I made a 7:30 reservation for Border Grill, then bought tickets for the 9:30 Michael Jackson One by Cirque De Soleil. What had happened was... my hotel was at the end of the strip, I had to re-do my hair, I kept popping out of my shirt and leather leggings and the bus took forever to come... So I didn't make it to dinner.

Michael Jackson - One by Cirque De Soleil. When I tell you I was in there singing and dancing solo dolo, aw man, it was GREAT! I also paid the 5 for the souvenir photo because... I could AND there was no one else to take a picture of me AND to remind me when I'm old and married that I was a fun, happy, risk-taking single woman.

Eating like a fat cat - I went to a bunch of great restaurants while I was there. The one's I remember are Citizen's at MGM, The Palms at Ceasar's and Tom Colicchio's Heritage Steak House at the Mirage.

Have you ever taken a trip by yourself? What was your favorite thing to do?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Small Churches

I go to a small church. And you always hear: The Black church is a pillar in the community. The black church is a traditional, etc., etc. But never before have I experienced a community organization like I'm experiencing now going to a small church.

We had a business meeting after church and my Pastor told everyone to bring a dish. It wasn't a coordinated effort. There wasn't a budget for the culinary ministry.

It was just like, you were going to cook this at home anyway, bring it in to the church. All of the churches I've ever gone to are run more like corporations than families. The large masses of people who go to the church put on programs for the community, but they don't necessary seem like a PART of the community.

I have no problem with a church operating like a business or church members being community benefactors rather than community members.

But it is refreshing and enlightening to have new experiences with a small church and feeling like a part of a church "family" is a new experience for me.

Do you prefer smaller or larger churches?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Groceries are a problem...



I think to the naked eye, it would seem that my priorities are screwed up because this weekend [Read: the weekend I wrote this, but forgot to publish it] I got a mani/pedi, got my brows threaded, got a new iPhone (PRAISE! THE! LORD! My battery life struggle was realer than rap), did nonprofit work, partied, went to church and went to work, but I didn't go grocery shopping.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Women in Vegas...

Being solo is Vegas isn't all that bad. Being a woman, in Vegas, however, is a pretty dire situation. Since I'm out here by myself and looking to spend some money, I figured that I would try to find a restaurant with a female executive chef and support the cause.

There are only three restaurant in all of Vegas that have this:

Gordon Ramsey's BurGR, Christina Wilson, head chef. - You won't be surprised that when I said I wanted to spend some money, I meant on a steak and not on a burger, so I didn't pursue this option.

Giada's at the Cromwell Hotel - No open reservations, not even for one person. Sad face. (She probably isn't even the executive chef though, but let me cook.)

Border Grill, Executive Chefs, Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger - I was able to book a reservation for Saturday.

It should also be noted that the Cromwell Hotel is the only hotel in Las Vegas with an all-female executive team. That's by design as hotels in Vegas are looking to differentiate. It's in the same vein as the Vdara or the Cosmopolitan (both of which, I love).

Then it occurred to me that Vegas is ran by the old boys network. This is why all the conventions are here. This is why it takes 20 women to every one man in the club. This is why there are nude bars on every corner and those people on the street with those business cards with naked girls on them. None of this is a coincidence and I all of a sudden feel dirty and ridiculous for wanting to party here.

It's not empowering and sexually freeing, it's demeaning. (If there were women in high power positions that didn't include poles, it'd be a bit easier to stomach).

Finding out there are no women chefs in Vegas is like finding out there aren't any black people that work at Twitter. These things just don't make sense.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

When Did We Get Old?

I'm in Vegas for work right now. At 5 p.m., I'll be here on personal time at my own personal expense. Usually when things like this happens, I can get a squad (or at least 1 person) to join me for the weekend. Here are the reasons folks could not join me:

10. I'm budgeting to buy a house next year and I can't go on any unexpected trips.
9. I have a wedding next year and I can't go on any unexpected trips.
8. I live in a dumb city and the flight prices are too high and have too many connections to warrant me paying that much for a two-day trip.
7. I'm nursing my newborn.
6. I'm a stay-at-home mom and we can't secure child care that quickly.
5. My girlfriend won't let me.*
4. My wife won't let me.*
3. I have to work that weekend.
2. Oprah's Life You Want to Live Tour is coming to my city that weekend.
1. Just plain no. 

When did we get so old? When we were 21-25 (and not budgeting and/or not owning homes, having babies and planning weddings), it would've been 13 people here with me in the blink of an eye.

I should also admit that some of the people who could have made the trip are folks I can no longer stand for more than 3 to 4 hours at a time. So I'm getting old too.  

Ah, well. When I write my memoir, I can talk about all the things I did by myself and how they make me amazing. Or whatever.

*I didn't seriously ask my male friends with wives and girlfriends to come. Can you imagine a single woman asking your sigfig to join her in Vegas? It just sounds bad. This reasons are what I imagined they would say if I asked.

Friday, November 7, 2014

#ThatAwkwardMoment

When you start doing the Jamaican dance by yourself @ the gym

When you realize Tinder is a hook up site (it really depends on where you live and how old you are. For college students, yes. For people over 30 - not so much). It sucks as much as the next dating site though, but I tried it.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quotables

"Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don't expect it from cheap people." - The 3rd Richest Man in the World

I stole this from a friend on Facebook. I don't know who the third richest man in the world is, but I know he has some tshirt-worthy quotes. I know that.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Weigh In!!!

Ok, I've seen this video circulate a few times and finally got a chance to watch it.



It's only about 10 people that read this blog and I seriously want to hear from all of you, what is your reaction to this video? I have so many.

Disclaimers: I don't have kids, I'm not meant to be a teacher, my opinions are my own and not that of my company, my church, my mother or the Lord Jesus himself and finally, just because I find something funny doesn't mean I'm making fun of a serious situation.

Ok, ready.

1. The big student breaking up the fight must be on the basketball team because you hear another student say "don't get injured before basketball season starts." I feel him so hard. Look, this ain't your fight. You need to stay healthy to do your job. *cough* Carlos Boozer *cough*
2. There is definitely a Chris Tucker-Ice Cube "DAYUM" in there. Actually, quite a few. I don't care what you say, that's funny.
3. The student must have done something to get kicked out of the room because at the time the video starts the teacher is ALREADY out of her shoes.
4. If she had on flat shoes, what about taking your shoes off, makes you more able to fight? She looks like a cavewoman.
5. If she had on heels, nevermind trying to answer #4.
6. Everyone's not supposed to be a teacher. If you know you will f*** a student up, maybe just work at the post office or DMV or something.
7. At the same time, if these kids don't know they could get f***** up, they might not respect the teachers.
8. Did you see the student's grandma's lacefront on the Fox clip (not pictured here)? All on the evening news. smh.
9. The Fox clip had a typo in it. I expect better from my journalist friends.
10. I'm so glad I'm not a parent yet. I have so many things to be concerned about. This type of foolishness isn't one of them. 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Can I Bill My Weekends?

If you work in client services, you may know a thing or two about billing hours. Sometimes, I don't feel like I'm done anything unless I've billed the hour. Sometimes when I do personal work (nonprofit, blogging, personal branding) on the weekends, I feel like I should have somewhere to bill it.

Well, this weekend was a bunch of hours that belonged to other people and that has got to stop. I'm also coming down with a cold and that's a direct result of not taking a break, which is what the weekend should be a break.

If you figure the weekend is 60 hours from the time you leave work on Friday at 6 p.m. until the time you wake up at 6 a.m. on Monday morning to go back towork, here's how I spent my weekend:

26 hours - Sleeping
10 hours - Volunteering
7 hours - At work
4 hours - Church and dinner with the Church fam
3 hours - Watching Bey& Jay
2 hours - On the phone with State Farm.
8 hours - I have no idea where 8 of my hours went. I would assume getting to and from all of the places I went and maybe showering.

Next weekend I want it to look like this.

30 hours - Sleeping
30 hours - Chillin'

#WillNeverHappen, but I'ma try.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

About Ray Rice...

So Alex asked me on Facebook, how I would "spin" the "Ray Rice Situation." First, a bit of education.

I'm a public relations professional. As such, I am entrusted with the reputation management of my clients. I, am not, however, a liar. Most PR people are not liars, like most accountants are not liars, or most doctors are not liars, but some are... not because they work in PR, but because they are not ethical human being. Unethical human beings exist in every profession.

Generally, I have a client who is good at their craft, their art, their profession, but not so good at telling the world about their specialty. If they make floor tiles, they truly believe their floor tiles are the best and it's my job to show passion to the world. If there is a floor tile recall, it's my job to make sure all sides of the story are told - positive AND negative. PR people are diplomats, really. Because most people want to believe that the world is black OR white. That people are good OR bad. It's our job to proactively showcase all the good you don't know and in times of crisis, reactively show all sides of the story.

Now, that you don't think I'm a total scumbag, let me share one of my favorite quotes with you: "If you want people to respect your brand, HAVE A RESPECTABLE BRAND."

As a PR person, I stand on this philosophy. I cannot "spin" the "Ray Rice situation" because from what I can tell, he doesn't have a respectable brand. I can't make him look any better, because the facts are STARING in your face. There's nothing else to say. He messed up. He needs to move to Montana, finish his college degree and get a regular job like a regular person.

HOWEVER, as a PR person, I can't help but point out some facts that MAY make you think about the situation differently. And if Ray Rice WAS my client, here would be some of my key points to share with the media and the general public.

DISCLAIMER: These are not my thoughts. These are how I would counsel a client in talking points, IF I had a publicity client in the NFL who made a mistake, which I do not. 

1. It is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE for the media to play the Ray Rice video in its entirety over and over again. Imagine the worst thing that ever happened to you, in your life, now imagine CNN had that footage and showed it on a 24-hour loop, back-to-back? 

As a victim of domestic violence, there is no reason for Janay Rice to have to relive day-in and day-out the media's scrutiny of her decision to keep her family together OR witness the violence that endured firsthand on her TV screens. If news stations won't show injuries of sports players, due to their graphic nature, the women of America should be given the same respect. Our society should be ashamed of how it treats victims of domestic violence and impedes their ability to heal.

2. Ray Rice has admitted fault, he has apologized, he has served the sentence that was given to him by a United States court of law and he is seeking to reform himself and put his family back together, privately. Opening the wounds that he inflicted on his family more than three months ago will not help him, nor will it help any other domestic violence victims or families trying to heal from similar ordeals. 

3. The American justice system and governing bodies in sports (NFL, NBA, MLB) are extremely inconsistent in their punishment of players and that is what the public should be upset about. When a top quarterback in the NFL has settled a lawsuit of sexual abuse neither admitting or denying fault, one wonders if these bodies really hold their players to the high standard they claim to or if they, instead, take every opportunity possible to eliminate lesser-paid, lower-value scapegoats to change the conversation about what is and isn't acceptable in professional sports leagues. While Ray Rice has admitted his mistakes and paid for them with his job, the NFL and other professional sports leagues carry on like they haven't ignored player transgressions in the past. This culture of cover-ups must change. Our professional athletes must be excellent on- and off the field. This is what Americans should care about.

So... would you hire me?    

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tea's Tangents: Labor Day Edition

I am currently writing this blog post in order to procrastinate from doing the work that I have due at 9 p.m. What's worse, my coworker who's collaborating on this presentation with me just texted like: hey, I'll call you in 45 minutes to an hour. I'm like what can I do that takes about that long.

  • I just balanced my checkbook and I missed an entire trip to Chicago's worth of expenses. Sprinkles, Sweet Maple Cafe, Harold's, Gas for a rental car (or my car or my mama's car, I can't remember). Just a mess.
  • I stayed in Pittsburgh for Labor Day and it was a good time. Not a "I put up with this because I live here" good time. But legitimate fun was had. I went to two bbqs (free food for the win!), a wine bar in a hipster neighborhood (to kick it with my student boos who can never go out because they're always in the library) 2 club parties (at the same 2 clubs I always go to, but there were out of town people, so it was a better time) and a boat party (with a pregame with free food and drank). 
  • Except for two event, most of what I went to was for the Ques weekend. Shout out to my connect for the free tickets. He put me and four of my girls on. AND this was the most drama-free set of Greek events I have ever experienced. It was like going to a family reunion and all your cousins or uncles are Ques. If you want to visit me, Labor Day would be a good time to do it. 
  • Separate, but related, it's so cheap here. Went to the bar with a bootential and he bought two drinks and the bartender's like: $13. He's not from here, he was like wait... for real? LOL! Now that I know people come in from out of town, I may spend more holidays here. It's cheaper and more relaxing. 
  • This weather is disrespectful. It's ALWAYS raining in Pittsburgh. Now, I know you all think I exaggerate, so I have some numbers. *Phaedra Parks voice* Everybody knows it rains a lot in Portland, Oregon, Right? Well, on average, Portland gets 153 days of rain per year. Pittsburgh gets 152. This weather doesn't believe in seasons. It's like yeah, I'm going to rain every month, no matter what the season. 
  • Speaking of weather, I had a pumpkin spice latte today. On September 1, the unofficial last day of summer. I'm disrespectful too. 
  • Speaking of disrespectful, why are people wearing leather calf and knee high boots already? I swear, I JUST put my boots up. I'm trying to flip flop it out until it's less than 50 degrees outside. Oh, how I love summer.
  • Off to do work now... How was your Labor Day Weekend? Anyone do Made in America in Philly? Yacht week (wherever that was)? Concerts? Clubs? BBQs? Family Reunions? I know I'm not the only one who spent a better part of today working and checking email to make sure I'm not behind tomorrow. I can't be the only one living this life.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Story Behind the Neurosis

My [Chicago] friends know that I'm extremely punctual. I'm always early to the party, such that I'm helping with cooking and decorations. I'm not ashamed of it. It's who I am.

I got stood up for a date tonight. It's the second time this has happened in two months. Getting stood up in 2014 isn't like I'm sitting at a restaurant waiting for a date and no one shows up (though that has happened. Shout out to dating. It's so fun.) Getting stood up in 2014, is like we talked on Friday and said we'd meet on Saturday at 7, then you didn't call or text to say WHERE to meet... or answer my calls or text to answer that question.

This sucks. It sucks for anyone, but it sucks for me because it opens up historical wounds. My biological father has a substance abuse problem. If you ever know anyone with that problem, you know that they make promises they can't keep and they lie a lot.

When I was a little girl, he used to say he was coming a lot and never did. He would tell me things he was going to buy me for Christmas or my birthday and he, of course, never delivered.

My mom's first husband (my "dad" who passed away when I was nine) would talk to me like an adult when I couldn't have been more than 6 or 7 and say things like "Do you really think he's coming?" I was an intelligent, precocious child, but my cognitive abilities weren't that sharp yet. OF COURSE, he's coming. He said he was coming. Why would anyone say they were going to do something they're not going to do?

So, as an adult, I work to be upfront and honest (sometimes bluntly honest, sorry, y'all.) If I say I'm coming to your birthday party, I'll be there. If I have a deadline at work, I'll meet it. And to make sure no one is ever waiting for me to show up for hours on end and feeling abandoned like I did as a toddler, I arrive to things early.

So, yes, arriving to social events is crazy. Living my life by my calendar is crazy. Expecting people to do what they say they're going to do is crazy (or is it really). And maybe cutting a guy off who could produce a perfectly good story about how/why he couldn't make an appointment that we scheduled is harsh, but one never quite heals from being lied to as a child and I would rather not deal with all of the feelings that come up each and evey time this happens to me as an adult.

So the moral of this story is, when people seem strange, odd or even crazy to you, know that they are that way for a reason and try to empathize with the fact that you don't know their story. BUT, ALSO don't stand people up. :-)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Working On My Day Off...

I'm in the office today and everyone else got the day off as an incentive for doing something. I technically have the day off too, but stuff is due at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, so instead of wasting Monday night doing work, I just came into the office today.

Also, I do not like working from home. I do not have a home office. My job activities are stressful. I do not like stress or drama in my home. Once you cross my door step it's like a spa, a shrine, a sanctuary, a playhouse (on Fridays, LOL!), but it not an office. It feels like everything work is not. Just peaceful and wonderful and I don't want anything not peaceful and not wonderful in my home.

Here's the problem with working on your day off. There is no accountability. No meetings to make you get the work done before you go into another meeting. No responses from coworkers to questions you have with the answers you need to get to the next step.

There is also the "save for later" stuff you have been meaning to do that is work-related and billable, but really has nothing to do with what you ACTUALLY came into the office to do in the first place.

I'm getting ready to watch an hour-long video that is mandatory for me to watch that someone sent me in March because my time doing so will be uninterrupted.

Then after that, I will get tired, not do what I came in here to do, and go home and take a nap. Well, that's what USUALLY happens, but I'm not claiming that today. Today, I WILL finish the deck I came in here to work on (it's always a deck... planning takes way more time than doing.)

I will get it done. Meanwhile, I'm hyping myself up while writing a blog post... which is not what I came in here to do. Let me go see if my latest Facebook photo album has any more likes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Always Tired

It's 12:55 a.m. and I'm about to stop working. I'm not done, but I'm stopping. Last week, I only worked 41.75 hours, but I was just as tired as if I worked my regular 50 hours. And if I work 60 hours, still tired. 70 hours, still tired.

I had something to do after work every day last week. Doctor's appointment, volunteering, a play that my company gave me free tickets too, a team outing and restaurant week dinner with my friends.

My weekend was like this Sat: pay bills, volunteer at Family House, grocery shop, Steelers game with one of my mentees. Sun: Grocery shop for church picnic (Pastor called me while I was at the game, talmbout, can you bring a meat dish.) Cook for the church picnic, laundry, church picnic, work, Pittsburgh Black Media Federation "Still Feel Like Going On" teen boys photo exhibit, work.

This reminds me, I probably still have a load in the washer from yesterday.

Tomorrow I have to take a client's best friend's underage child to dinner after work. Wednesday, I'm double booked. I'm supposed to presenting to the Children's Sickle Cell Foundation and mentoring with Gwen's Girls. (My mentee told me she doesn't like it when I switch my days. I hope I taught her that being flexible does not mean that I don't care and that she can trust me to be there, but I don't know that the message came through. It did, however, make me feel guilty for not coming some Wednesdays. I love and miss those girls!)

Thursday, happy hour for a coworker that's leaving and I actually like her, so I'm going. Friday morning at 8 a.m. I'm driving to Chicago for a church choir reunion. 2 rehearsals, a meet and greet, 2 Sunday services THEN I'm driving back to the 'Burgh on Monday, which will be followed by another grueling 50-hour work week.

I'm declaring next Saturday (the Saturday before Labor Day) is Tea Day. I'm not doing A THING! (Unless a friend has a party, in which case, I'm going, but hopefully that will be Friday night and I can just chill Saturday).

I still need to send out an invite for the Black Marketers Network I'm creating and do nonprofit work for a board I joined. When am I going to do this, Lord?

I've said no to a lot of stuff [a ton of stuff] in Pittsburgh already, but I think I may, possibly, probably, kind of... be overextended. What y'all think?

Also have to be at work at 7 a.m., so this "nap" I'm about to take will be delicious.

Good night.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Asking For Help

So I have a problem with asking for help. Like most problems, I didn't know I had that problem until someone pointed it out. I had a recipe fiasco and my homeboy says, why didn't you just ask me, I love to cook. And I was thinking, well... I didn't know I couldn't make that recipe until I failed. In my head, why would I ask for help before I knew I needed it.

So yesterday, I couldn't come up with something to cook for the church picnic and I hit my cousin, culinary artist extraordinaire up and she helped me come up with some ideas.

The most exciting part about this is that I didn't have any heartburn whatsoever about asking. I just realized I had a deficit. I found someone with a surplus and I asked for what I needed.

I wonder sometimes, if people reading this blog, go DUH all the time, but I swear the simplest things are the easiest ways to stop me from progressing. And things may seem simple to everyone else, but this is a breakthrough for me.

So here's to asking for help whether I think I need it or not and here's to all the people in my corner and in my circle who are willing to provide it!

Happy Sunday y'all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In Corporate News

Lots of good stuff coming out of the east coast today: 

A local ad firm reaches out to high school students. Is it any wonder they now want to work in PR. *thinking of a master plan*

How to Choose Social Tools to Fit Your Business (written by my colleague). Many brands/agencies struggle with this, so she has some tips for ya!

Women in PR and Chicagoans especially, check out the Women in PR Summit

D.C., Philly, NYC folks check out this GOALS Conference coming up in Philly in October.


PR people all over the world, check out the details of the National Black Public Relations Society Conference and Career Fair, November 6-9 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

I think that's enough for the day. Adds to my to-do list:

1. Create website for yourself
2. Host a professional blog on said website.
3. Just finish Tuesday. LAWD, I have so much to do!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fascinating Article...

About a Christian doctor who performs abortions in Mississippi.

It's long.
It's good.
It made me question some things I think.
It made me want to subscribe to Esquire.
It made me disable my comments to this post.

Enjoy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Bloom Where You're Planted

I saw someone post that to Instagram and it really inspired me. It's truly how I live my life. I live in weak sauce Pittsburgh, but people swear I love it here because they see my photos and I'm happy and I'm out SEVERAL nights a week, despite folks swearing that there's nothing to do here. You can take an extrovert out of Chicago, but you can't take the extrovert out of her. Here are things I've either done and/or am looking forward to in Pittsburgh.

What I've done already 
10. Rooftops. I have found some rooftops worthy of visiting. Namely, Uptown across from the Consol Center. I.LOVE.IT.THERE! Also, Six Penn is awesome and Tavern 245.

9. Family Reunion - My Pastor's blood family had a family reunion last weekend and they invited me to a couple of the festivities. My heart is swelling with gratitude. I couldn't have experienced that if I was at Ovio living it up.

8.  Family House - I only volunteer there on weekends and hadn't been since the first weekend in June. I'm volunteering twice in August, which gets me back up to my commitment of once a month. I may do more if my schedule allows. Giving back keeps me whole.

7. Pittsburgh Culture - I always score free tickets to things and last week I got free tickets to the Pirates game and Spamalot. You can't beat free with a stick AND most of this stuff is walking distance from my apartment.

6. Bar hopping - Every time I leave the house in Pittsburgh, I spend $0-$40 and still have a great time. I miss the cheapness of this city when I leave it.

What's coming up
5. Hosting get togethers. I'm throwing a pre-game shindig for a new friend at my house this evening and nothing makes me happier. I love entertaining.

4. Hot dog day at church. I'm on the Women's Day committee at church and we have some money to raise, but I haven't been here all Sunday. I'll finally be home to contribute and as lame as it may sound, I'm excited to get my grill on.

3. Dream Cream - It's Ice Cream that Makes a Difference. Can't beat that with a stick!

2. Hanging with new friends - This article states it best, but moving to a new place gives you an opportunity to hang with people you would have NEVER hung out with in your hometown. Did I say NEVER... no diss. I disagree fundamentally with so many people I spend time with in this city, but I'll be damned if I'm not building character.

1. No Line, No waiting! I can get into everything here for free... all the time. I did, however, stand in line to go to Art's last week, while two "VIP" dudes walked in front of me. It was one of the more humbling things that's ever happened in muh life.

FOMO

I have the worst case of FOMO in life. Not only am I missing Chicago like crazy today, but I feel like every weekend that I'm in Pittsburgh I'm missing out on something going on somewhere else.

Por ejemplo:

Over the past couple of weeks, here are the things I have not done.

1. Go to the Posh Paris Party in Chicago
2. Go to the Greatest Day Ever Party in NYC
3. Go to Caribana or Ovio in Toronto.
4. Go to the Beyonce concert anywhere (Going to regret this for years to come)
5. Lollapalooza

This weekend, here's what I'm missing in Chicago.
6. Luvvie's Blogiversary Party
7. The Red Pump Project's 5th Anniversary concert with Chaka Khan (I mean, come on!)
8. Thursday nights at Nouveau Tavern (I haven't partied on Thursdays in YEARS, but for some reason, I feel like I would enjoy this.)
9. Glenn's Bday. I know there were festivities.
10. The Bears/Eagles game at Soldier Field tonight (And I don't even like preseason).

Want to hear the good news, at least one of my friends made it to all of these events, so I live vicariously through them. I don't know if this is good or bad for my fomo. #KanyeShrug 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Blessing of Friendship



This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend my grandmother's surprise 75th birthday party. My mom and her six siblings put together a wonderful program where people from different parts of my grandma's life all spoke. We heard from her senior club, that she's been a member of for five years and never misses a Thursday fellowship meeting. We heard from one of the drivers from the church who picks her up for first Sunday service.

We heard from a school administrator who talked about her volunteer work as the "book store" lady at my mom, aunts and uncle's grammar school. Side note: Even as a woman with no college degree, she knew the value of education. When she wasn't working she was IN THE SCHOOL volunteering, watching over her kids and contributing to the lives of others' children.

The speech that really touched me the most was from her girlfriend of 60+ years. Ms. Lee Bertha. She noted how all it takes is a conversation with my grandma to make everything better. First, that's 'cause my grandma is awesome, but can you imagine what's it's like to share a problem with someone who's known you for 60 years? Ms. Lee Bertha and others noted how grandma is the epitome of grace and calm under fire and how when you tell her a secret, she will take it to the grave with her.

Speaking of graves, my grandfather passed in 1996. May he rest in peace. But now, 18 years later, who's still in my grandma's corner? Who's still her right hand? Her shoulder to lean and cry on? Her hand to hold, her arms to embrace, her ears to listen: her girlfriends.

I'm so happy that I have strong relationships with my girlfriends and can't wait to see how that dynamic is enhanced as I add family members (husband, children, grandchildren). If history is an indicator of the future, I can say with certainty that my relationships with my girlfriends will be the longest lasting [and possibly most fulfilling] relationships of my life. I'm so blessed to have a head start on 40+ years of friendship with so many women and even more blessed to have experienced grandma and Ms. Lee Bertha's relationship dynamic yesterday.

Wishing you all lifetimes of wonderful friendships!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Over It

I'm so over dating. It's like bills to me. I'm not going to stop paying my bills (or dating), but sometimes you just look at the money going out and you're like, you know what, I'm over this.

I'm sick of the getting to know you phase. I want to skip straight to cuddling on the couch after dinner. Let me humor you with some of my recent shenanigans.

  • I'm talking to a dude and he apologizes for not keeping in touch. He's "going through some stuff" with his ex. #Ew #DoNotWant 
  • I am so sick of asking dudes what they do for a living. It's like pulling teeth to get an honest answer. If I hear business administration, retail, I'm in the medical field or some other mask for a high- or low-paying job, I may scream.
  • A text conversation with a dude fron Tinder:

Him: What are you up to
Me: I just left church and dinner?
Him (WITHOUT ME ASKING): I just got in from the dealership... I want to drive to Pittsburgh to come see you.
Me: That's a long drive. Do you like road trips.
Him: Love them. Plus, I just got a new car.
Me: That's cool.
Him: proceeds to send me 3 pictures of his new Benz, complete with the jail pose in front of the car.

Something about my profile must scream: BASIC, 'cause he thought I cared.

  • And finally, I HATE repeating myself. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. New dude (but not THAT new) hits me up. Wants to know how my day was. It's 9 p.m. I'm still at work. I say: I'm still at work. He goes "Wow, Long day?" We've literally had this same exact conversation before. I work long hours. I try to keep them in perspective. Yes, I worked 12 hours today, but I could have also spent 12 hours LOOKING for a job. I'm blessed. I spent my entire weekend NOT working. It's OK. 
  • Unless you're inviting me somewhere other than work (which he is not), then I'm not really going to commiserate with you about how hard life is and how many hours I work. I can't with miserable dudes. (He's not just miserable because he asked me about a long day. He's miserable because he's never happy when I talk to him. He tries to bring me down with him. I ain't going fam.) 
I wish I was one of those people who wanted to take a dating/relationship hiatus. Those people are truly free. No partner bogging them down. No potentials wasting their time. I'm not them though. I like to keep my options open.

Thus, I deal with f*ckery daily.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tea's Tangents: Part 3

Ok, a couple more things from when I was unpacking last week. My who time flies.

1. I left my headphones in the pocket of the shirt I wore on the plane to Barcelona and then washed said shirt in our convenient washer/drying in our AirBNB apartment. Now the left side works only. On the bright side, at least the left side works!!!

2. Forget squats. If you want a booty move into a walk-up. My friend in NYC lived in a 4th floor walk-up and our apartment in Barcelona was a 4th floor walk-up and for some reason you had to walk DOWN two flights of stairs to every club in Barcelona, so at the end of the night, we were walking up 2 more flights of stairs. By the end of the trip, my little bump was sitting up nicely... or maybe it was all those tapas. LOL!

I really am going to try to use the stairs more at work and at home. Ask me about it if you see me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Can You Hear Me Now?


Remember when I got sick in January? Of course you don't. No one remembers when someone else was sick, but I remember it. It was a miserable month. I had a cold, followed by a sinus infection and leftover Eustacian Tube Dsyfunction.

I got to the ENT and they give me steroids to take off the pressure. The pressure was removed, but my ear was still clogged when the meds were done.

I go to my primary care physician for my annual exam and physical and she sees something in my ear and is like: you need to go back to the ENT.

Go back and they said my hearing was actually BETTER than it was the first time I went in. Makes no sense.

The thing is pressure in your ear doesn't affect your hearing as much as you think it was. The point is there was crazy pressure. It SEEMED like I couldn't hear and I was sick of it.

Short of surgery and waiting there was really nothing that I could do.

The doc removed some ear wax and looks at me and says: does that make it better? Naw dude. Some ear wax is not stopping my ear from unclogging. Then he says something that gets to the bottom on the conversation.

He said there was something strange about how my jaw was clenched. Hmm... well, I grind my teeth at night. It's mostly due to stress and I have a mouthguard, but I hate to wear it. I've gotten it sized and resized and it stills bruises the inside of my cheeks. So I can either have grinded down teeth or bruised cheeks. I guess at the end of the day, I can replace my teeth. My jaws are irreplaceable.

I also just feel like a 13 year old with a retainer. And I've never worn braces or a retainer so going to bed with something in my mouth just seems crazy.

Anywho, I tell the ENT I grind my teeth. He suggests I wear my mouthguard. He then says: Do you chew gum. I'm like hell yeah, every day.

Side note: from the ages of about 9-12 (or something like that) I had tonsilitis. I didn't get frequent strep throat like the lucky kids. Nope, I had a growth in the back of my throat that smelled like death and dismemberment, so people who know me from that error probably think my breath stinks.

As such, I have a complex about stinky breath and you'd be hard pressed to find me more than 2 feet away from gum, mints or mouthwash at any given moment.

I digress.

The ENT doctor told me: stop chewing gum.

And just like that, I'm cured.

Let me run this back. I get stressed out. Grind my teeth. It locks my jaw and/or something connected to my ear drum. I can't hear. I chew gum and it makes it worse.

So if I stop chewing gum, I can hear.

This is the dumbest diagnosis on the face of the planet, except it was free and it worked.

Further, I still have high frequency sensorineural hearing loss and that will just get worse over the course of my life time. So when you ask: Can you hear me now, the answer is likely a strong maybe.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Keep the Party Going

Missing a flight is not the worst thing that can happen. For starters, I didn't even know where I was going to be staying Friday night. I could always go to my mom's house by default, but sometimes it's fun to stay with friends AND that's the only way I can ensure that I'll see them.

Here's what I did since I missed my flight.

1. Canceled Comcast (Usual bill $137.45. Final bill: $19.33). I have no cable, but I still feel like I'm winning.
2. Tried to cancel my Beyonce tickets to Houston. I got a presale, so they're not going. I think I'm going to donate them to charity. 
3. Set up my new internet. I wasn't going to get to do that until Monday.
4. Got my name on the list for a new club opening in Pittsburgh today.
5. Ate a sensible dinner.
6. Wrote two blogs

7. Painted my nails 
8. Caught up with Pittsburgh friends I haven't seen in at least three weeks
9. Got fly
10. Hit the streets

Worst things could have happened than missing a flight. The car could have blown up and my coworker and I could have died and/or had third degree burns.

I'm so happy I just missed my flight instead.

P.S. I totally forgot to call yellow cab and cancel that second cab. The cabbie yelled at me and told me to call dispatch to cancel. I forgot. It's about 3 hours later now. I think they get the point. That inconsiderate karma will come back to me (or maybe I already got it. I mean, I do frequent the Unitepost office). Ah well.   


Friday, July 11, 2014

A Day In The Life: Today, I missed My Flight

This is only the second time in life that I've missed a flight. I got to work at 6:45 a.m. this morning. I asked a coworker who lives near the airport to take me to the airport. We were supposed to leave at 4:30 p.m. She got a client email, then we were supposed to leave at 4:45 p.m. I had something to do and we weren't in the car and rolling until 5 p.m.

My flight to Chicago was at 6:35 p.m. I had a conference call for some nonprofit work I'm doing at 5 p.m., so I hop on that. They don't hop on the phone to 5:10 p.m. Go figure.

So then at about mm... 5:20 p.m. my coworker says "I don't know what to do." She pulls over to the side of the road and I think we're getting pulled over by the cops. I'm like what's happening. She says the car's dash said her car was overheating and to pull over.

Lucky for her, I've been in hoopties before (Her has is only 2 years old, though). I'm like roll down the windows and turn on the heat. But she didn't REALLY believe me and turned it on 2 instead of 4 and it still overheated.

So she called roadside assistance. I called the cab company. The cab company can't come pick you up on the side of the road. They need an address.

So she blasts the heat and we post up at Giant Eagle Market District in Robinson. I call the cab company, tell them I'm at Giant Eagle by Ridge Road. They rattle off some address on Centre Avenue and I think to myself, I didn't know Centre ran through the suburbs, but I confirm. They send the guy.

I spend 10 smooth minutes on the phone with this dude talking about he doesn't know where the drive through pharmacy is and he can't find me. Come to find out, the Giant Eagle I was at was NOT on Centre Avenue. This is what happens when local companies outsource their dispatch. Someone from Pittsburgh would have know that Ridge Road and Robinson have nothing to do with Centre. I didn't even know and I've been here for a year and a half.

Anywho, I call another cab. The lady on the phone goes: think positive thoughts. I crack up laughing.

My coworker's bf told her to put water in the antifreeze thing, so she buys some distilled water and we roll to the airport. We get back in the car and my coworker's gas tank is on E. She's on edge and I'm coolin'. She gets gas and we head to the airport. I get there at about 6:15 p.m. When I check in the flight attendant's like "I should be able to get you to Chicago tonight through a late night in Baltimore." I was down.

I have work to do. I have blogs to write. I have news and blogs to catch up on. I could use a night in the airport.

No such fortune. So I have a flight to Chicago tomorrow at 7:20 a.m., arriving in the Chi at 7:55 a.m. (or something like that).

I hopped on the bus and came back home. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Maybe It's Just Me...

Have you ever had a positive phone experience with a telephone, internet or cable service provider? There MUST be some happy stories of being on the phone with Comcast or Verizon. I just don't have any. Although, I'm excited to be canceling my cable, when I called Verizon to add internet to my phone service, we were on the phone for 30 minutes with them explaining my options to me. Then they transfer me to third party verifiers (required by the FCC) and the call disconnects. I call back and after another 30 minutes, the man on the phone completes my order and confirms that I don't need a third party verifier.

This is on Tuesday. A full hour of my life gone.

It's now Thursday and I get a voicemail at 8 a.m. saying I need to call them back to third party verify. Then I call and it disconnects the call. THEN I call back and I need my home phone number to finish the transaction. Fam. Who knows their home number in 2014?

This is why I decided to do this on my day off. Now, I'm at work wasting billable hours on the phone with Verizon because they FCC has extra rules.

Further, I don't think my internet box is going to come on time because I didn't verify until Thursday, therefore making me spend more money on cable when the point is to SAVE money. Chile.

Also, why do all people who work on the phone talk slow as hell. It's like all call centers are located at senior homes in the south.

P.S. I've been writing about Comcast and their customer care hit my comments. I wish their service was as good as their social media outreach. It's like companies with good marketing and bad products. You gotta meet in the middle somewhere and they just don't.

Anywho, please share you good phone and cable company stories. I'll wait.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tea's Tangents: Part 2

1. You all know I'm goofy. These kermit and Daquan memes have me in tears daily.

2. I'm not really jet lagged. Spain is 6 hours ahead of the east coast. Most nights we got in somewhere between 3 a.m. (if it was a chill night) and 6 a.m. (if it was a regular night), so it was like going to bed between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. on the east coast. I woke up at 7 a.m. (1 p.m. in Spain) like LET'S GET IT CRACKIN'!!! LOL!

3. I just finished cooking dinner. I think if I didn't have nonstick pans, I may not be able to cook. I didn't learn how to cook in nonstick pans. When I cook for Thanksgiving at my mom's, I don't use nonstick pans. But I have the irrational thought that my food will taste like crap if I use real pots and pans. Welcome to the crazy part of my head. This is what happens when you spend hours by yourself. Crazy run amok.

4. I am beasting my to-do list. However, I came to a swift halt when I tried to cancel my cable. Every two weeks, I try to cancel my cable. Pretty much every 15 days, when I sit down and look at my budget and realize that I'm paying way too much for cable and I'm not even in the house that much.

So my bill right now is $137.45 for Cable, Internet and phone through Comcast. I don't even use the phone, but it's cheaper to have it than to have cable and internet by themselves. Every time I try to downgrade or cancel it eliminates the bundle discount and so I'd essentially save $20-$30 to get SIGNIFICANTLY fewer channels and service and that's silly.

So I think about it and don't go through with it. Today, on the heels of a Euro-trip, two pending trips to Chicago and not being able to sell my damn On The Run Tour tickets, I'm like I MUST cancel my cable.

Internet at the same speed would be $74.95 plus tax. Fam... I'm not mathematician, but that just doesn't make sense.

So I started researching where I could get cheaper internet and I flip over my Verizon home phone service bill (inadvertently) and lo and behold I can get both home phone (which I have to have to buzz people into my building, so irritating) and high speed internet for $59.99. After calling, it's going to end up being $64 or something like that BUT that's still a savings of $100 a month, which is what I was going for.

Now the kicker is will I remember to call and cancel Comcast on Friday when the Verizon modem gets here. I'm actually going to Chicago after work on Friday, so I won't even know if it's there or not until Sunday. Wasting money by the day, but I can't go without internet for even a day. I would go mad. I'm going to send myself a calendar alert to call and cancel.

5. I'm about to workout, finish my laundry, eat this dinner that I cooked (YAY ME!), check my work email for the first time in 10 days and binge on cable TV since I only have it for another week or so.

Happy Monday y'all. 

Coming Up (So I don't forget to write it)
- European Observations
- Places to go in Spain
- Lala's Book review
- Can You Hear Me Now

Tea's Tangents: Part 1

Hey Guys!

I've missed you. I've missed blogging and your comments, but I haven't found the time I need to do it consistently. I just got back from Barcelona and Ibiza, Spain. I took another day off work to get my mind and body right before hopping right back into the grind.

As I unpack, I have all of these random thoughts. I'm just going to pause and right them as a blog and when I get to 10, I'll write another blog.

1. I just found 2 Euros in my purse, which is $3.50. I'm pissed. When you switch your money back, they don't take any change less than 1 Euro. I'm like, but I have .67 cents (Euro cents). LOL! Who's going to Europe soon? I want to mail you this 2 Euro coin. I'm only half joking.

2. The nipple covers I ordered didn't come in before I went out of town. They're coffee colored. I'm more of a peanut butter color. So they don't really work either. Chichi, your idea to DIY is great. I'm going to do that next.

3. I don't really need nipple covers in Europe. They don't even wear tops on the beach, so who cares if my nipples are showing at the club.

4. I completely overpacked. I even grabbed my mom's bigger luggage when I was in Chicago (which is really my little brother's... it's family luggage, really.) It was probably like 52 pounds. Mostly... hair products, but I packed options. You don't need options on vacation. You need to repeat outfits on vacation.

5. It wouldn't have been THAT big of a deal that I overpacked if the luggage wasn't broken. One wheel on the bottom was worn, so the luggage was dragging the ground. So I was basically lugging 52 extra pounds while traveling. Ouch.

6. In Europe the carts are free. Got back to the states $5 for a cart. Really?

7. Unpacking and there's sand EVERYWHERE

8. I'm unpacking, washing and repacking because I'm going to Chicago on Friday.

9. I'm trying to sell Bey and Jay tickets for Houston on Friday 7/18. No one wantst them. I guess all the fans already have their tickets. I want to go in an irresponsible way. But responsibibly, I really hope I don't have to use these tickets myself. I need my bank account to re-up

10. Listening to the new Trigga. I haven't heard any bad reviews. The lyrics are messy, per usual. I can't turn it off. LOL!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Something About Nipple Covers

Family. Why do I have so many problems purchasing nipple covers? It's because I'm black. This is a small breasted woman problem I'm having. Women with big breast can never go braless, so they don't have to worry about if their nipples are showing under shirts. My issues are unique. LOL!

I literally wrote about this years ago. I paid too much money for shipping and handling for breast petals. Today, in 2014, with all the diversity in the world and all the technology in the world, I am dealing with the struggle of even finding a brown or toffee or cocoa or mocha breast cover. I've been looking since Monday and Amazon, Google, Ebay and every lingerie site known to woman has failed me.

I finally find some and the overnight shipping on a $20 purchase is $99. iaintgonebeabletadoit.

So I put the brand name in a Google search and the first place that comes up is David's Bridal. Now, I don't know why I didn't think of this first. If ever there was a time to be modest, it's on your wedding day. I was looking on stripper sites and they were giving me glittery nonsense. But when I purchase this, you know they're going to think I'm someone's wife.

Just like when I start playing on diamond sites, they start sending me "the nest" magazine for free. For those of you that don't know that's a magazine for new couples. #NoThankYou

Actually... David's Bridal overnight shipping is 6-8 days because they have to do deal with processing. #AintNobodyGotTimeForThat

I wonder if you live in some countries in Africa or Jamaica or another place where darker skin is more common if the color "nude" is black people's color. I have the color nude. I want to scream it from the rooftop that nude is not nude. Nude is white people's color, but no one hears me.

The search continues...

I found some called Braza Petal Tops from a company called Baretique in Cocoa. The fashion forms breast petals in toffee are extinct. I don't think those will be here before my vacation, so I'm about to be in Spain on my Rihanna flow. There won't be any photos, so we'll all just act like it didn't happen. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Things That Make Me Happy...

Sometimes it's hard to remember the good times, so I'm writing this post because I have so many good things to be happy about and look forward to. I'll refer back to this post when I'm down.

Here are things that are making me happy right now:

1. My friend moved to Pittsburgh from Chicago. I have a Plus 1, a rider, a ride-or-die, an old friend, IN PITTSBURGH! Fam, we've been out four times and she's only been here 10 days. Anywhere you are can be like summertime Chi if you have the right person to spend it with. I'm loving it!

2. I threw said friend a party at my house on Saturday. And by party I mean, I invited 30 people and only five came... because people in Pittsburgh underestimate the power of a good house party. I mean, I make cinnamon rolls with bacon in them... they don't know. Anywho, I was happy to host her and the other five folks because no one did that for me when I got here and it would have made life so much easier!

3. I'm bringing a gift, a card and cupcakes for my mentees tonight. I'm so excited! I hope this is a fabulous kickoff to their weekend. I love those girls and I'm happy they get to be a part of my life.

4. I organized a meet and greet for African-American professional in PR, Marketing, Communications and Advertising. I started with a list of 19, it's since swelled to 53 and I have 20 RSVPs (which means about 16.5 people will show up). Man, I'm so excited to possibly create this network in Pittsburgh.

5. I'm going to Chicago next weekend! Impromptu trip. And, without me even asking, a friend says "do you need a place to stay?" She's going out of town for the weekend, lives downtown, has a rooftop deck... now I don't have to rent a car. Man, I love my life. And I especially love my life in the summer... in Chicago. YES!

6. I feel like I had an accomplished week at work. There were so many things I didn't get to, but there were SO many things that I downright beasted. Gotta be happy about that.

7. I'm going on vacation in 2 weeks. The beach is calling my name. CALLING! MY! NAME! SPAIN, HOLLATCHAGURL!

And you know what else, I'm happy for my friends. We are getting new jobs, getting married, getting pregnant, finding Jesus. Their happy is my happy and I'm so happy right now.

What are you happy about today?

Monday, June 9, 2014

What's A Good Gift?

One of my girls at Gwen's Girls is having a birthday. She's turning 17 and she's a mom of a toddler. (I think Tyshaun is almost 2 by now.) I want to get her a gift that all of the other girls can share (like a cookie cake), because it's SO hard to get just one thing for one girl. It's like saying which one of your kids you love the most.

OR I want to get something that I can buy 13 of and maybe she gets the big one. Like a journal or something like that.

I wrote all of their birthdays down, but there's no guarantee they'll be in the group home when their birthdays actually come around, so I really have to live in the moment with this group. 

So I want her birthday to be like EVERYBODY'S birthday, but I also want to make her feel special.

Any ideas?

P.S. If you haven't guessed by now, mentoring is going well! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Busy, Unfulfilling Lives...

I saw this post on LinkedIn and immediately had to click it. You all know I am the queen of doing the most (calendar-wise). As I type this, I started checking personal email on Sunday night before I switch to work email because I had to leave work on-time on Friday and have been going nonstop ever since (Friday, Bonfire at a coworker's house, Saturday: Brunch, get together at my house, Arts Fair, Rooftop Deck, Late Dinner. Sunday: Children's Sickle Cell Walk, Church, Dinner w/ my church fam, shopping with my homegirl and soon-to-be 4-5 hours of work before getting up to be at work early tomorrow).

I loved this weekend. It was full of people I love and things I love to do. Rest was not one of those things.

This article is pretty cool because while I don't agree with all of it, it is a reminder to stop and smell the roses and not to be so busy living that you don't have a life.

Reminders make my soul happy. Enjoy.

By Greg McKeown

I recently met with a capable and driven executive and asked him, “How are you?” He gave me a rapid-fire answer of all of the things he was doing: traveling, business updates, career changes and his children’s innumerable activities. It sounded like an intense but satisfying life.

Then I asked him again, “How are you really?” And the moment I did, he became emotional, and the reality of his life flooded out of him: his stress, his frustration of trying to juggle it all, his sense that he had no time to really think, or play with his children, or enjoy any of it.

The (cute) summary is this: his schedule was always filled but his life wasn’t fulfilled. What’s less cute is that, for most of us, living in this way is one of the surest paths to a life of regrets. 

Read the rest here

Friday, June 6, 2014

Please Donate a Latte!

In case you missed my emails, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram messages, I'm walking in the Living with Sickle Cell walk on Friday for the Children's Sickle Cell Foundation (a local Pittsburgh org that does national work). (Tomorrow if I haven't met my goal, I'm going to start calling people like I'm the Obama campaign in the last stretch before election day.)

My goal is to raise 100,000 pennies to represent the 100,000 people living with sickle cell disease. This organization is amazing because it truly represents innovation. The director, Andrea Williams, noticed a need in the community and stepped up to meet it. The difference between her business model and a for-profit business model is that she's changing people's lives (and in some cases keeping people alive) with the research, outreach and support programs that CSCF

I could go on and on, but read the story of why I decided to help out and please consider donating a latte ($5) or a week's worth of lattes to this great cause.

www.gofundme.com/tiashastevenson

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tea's Tangents

1. I'm not permanently cranky. I would also like to say thanks to everyone who prayed for me on being cranky. Was having a moment, then like magic it was lifted. I thought, that was definitely somebody's prayer for me. If it was you, thank you!

2. I said I was going to focus more on work and sacrifice my social life, but if you know me, you already know that was a lie. I AM however going to start saying no to stuff after work and I'm going to stop double booking as much as possible. The point is to find balance not to be all work or all play. That's clearly a struggle for me.

3. I'm writing this as I sit on the phone with State Farm because I've gotten into a second car accident in Pittsburgh. That's right. 19 months in this city, 2 car accidents. 29 years of life, never been in a car accident before (or one that required insurance's help, anyway). I think it's safe to say Pittsburghers can't drive.

I'm fine. Someone hit my car while it was parked. As my friends from Chicago noted: "I figured since it was Pittsburgh, they would have left a note."

Apparently you can be a jerk in any zip code in the nation.

4. I bought 14 tickets to the second Pirates game of the season. Now they think I'm a fan. I've actually been to three games and I bought a t-shirt, but I'm not about to be a season ticket holder. I got an ad that said I could go to six more games this season for as little as $96 each. Bruh... I paid $20 and some change for 14 tickets. I'm not about that $96 per game life.

5. I bought tickets to see Beyonce in Houston, but iaintgonebeabletodoit. Let me know if you know any Houstonians who need some tickets.

6. Just got word that I need to go to Chicago for work in June and I wasn't even planning to go until July. Long weekend on deck! Hello, yes! If that happens, I will have gone to Chicago 5 out of 7 months by July, vs. every other month, which seems a bit more manageable. It doesn't FEEL like I spend any time in Chicago even though my Southwest airline miles say otherwise.

Happy Thursday!