Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 On Deck

It is hours away from 2014 and I'm sick. 

I wanted to be looking fabulous and partying hard at my friends house. Instead I'm going to pump myself full of medicine, look halfway decent, stop by the party and take myself home.

Last year was so unexpected it was hard to make resolutions for 2014. I kept them simple this year. Easy enough to follow through. 

The biggest thing I learned this year is that it is okay to take a risk. It was scary to return to California. It was something I really wanted to do but I was scared. Terrified. My husband and I talked about it. We prayed about it and we finally just jumped in. It was not easy. It was a little uncomfortable but I know it was the right decision. 

So for 2014 I wish you bravery, love, happiness, and a little bit of uncomfortable (it helps you appreciate the good times).

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas in California

This is the first Christmas I've spent with my family in years...seriously I can't remember the last time we were all together for Christmas. I'm trying not to build it up as a huge deal but I'm beyond excited and somewhat emotional about it. We rarely "did" Christmas growing up but when we did it was special. To be honest I  thought we were going to skip it this year. I didn't feel like celebrating however my mother swooped in and somehow pushed me into the Christmas spirit. 

These are a few of my favorite family Christmas Traditions:

1.  A non-traditional meal- We never have a traditional meal for Christmas. On the menu this year is gumbo and lamb. One year we had BBQ. We've also had salmon be the star of the holiday dinner. 

2. Hanging out in pjs- It probably will not happen this year (there are a lot more men in the family) but the last Christmas I remember my mom, sister, and I staying in our pajamas all day watching movies and...

3. Playing board games- We're a very competitive family. The board game competition is fierce and not to be taken lightly. This year my mom purchased the super fancy collector's edition of Clue, which just happens to be my favorite board game. It's about to go down. 

4. Christmas Eve service- I'm not a huge church goer but Christmas Eve service at my church is magical. The candles are lit, everyone is dressed up, the choir is fantastic, the band is playing their hearts out, and the sermon is short but meaningful. I cry every time. 

5. Holiday Sex- like Birthday sex but more naughty. 

6. Holiday music- When my sister and I were kids we would wake up to oldies playing on the record player.  Even though the record player is still in storage, there will be music including this Ceelo song I'm obsessed with...

What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

You Are Beautiful

I watched this Dove commercial and I'll admit it made it a little weepy. I know if I had to describe myself to a sketch artist I would probably be negative.

I think women are too hard on ourselves and each other. We want to be perfect according to some unattainable ideals. I'm sure if they conducted this experiment with men the men would describe themselves better than what they actually look like. Men are confident that way. 

This video made me start thinking about the power of being positive.  Although I am a confident person when I look in the mirror I see negative. I see the chubby cheeks, old acne scars, and thin lips. I rarely see the cute almond shaped eyes,  fabulous boobs, and killer smile. I shouldn't wait for a fantastic hair day or when I'm all dolled up to see positive image in the mirror. I shouldn't wait to until someone tells me I look fab before I tell myself. 

What if every morning I say something positive and life affirming? How would that change my life? How will it make me feel? I think I am going to make this my 2014 challenge.  

YES it's a little Pollyanna but I believe in the power of the universe. (I also believe in the power of prayer but what is the point in praying then being negative the rest of the time). 

I am going to try to incorporate positive thinking into more things that I do including this job search. Maybe I would have a awesome full-time position by now. (I am THANKFUL for my substitute position). 

**Update** I saw this and I had to post it. I'm not sure if the stats are true but it breaks my heart to know that this could be true. 

It makes me upset because I've seen this negativity manifest itself in our teenage girls. At my former job we had something similar to a photo booth experience. I could always count on the teenage girls commenting on how "ugly" and "fat" they were. Always.  The more shocking part is that as much as we love to blame the "media" for this behavior (and it should take some of the blame) it usually starts at home. I often watch the girls' mothers replay the same scenario when they come to pick up their pictures. The moms would comment on how "fat" and "ugly" they were. Guess what, your daughter is listening and emulating you. That is the message you're sending without even knowing it. 

I've been trolling a bunch of body acceptance blogs for encouragement and positive words. I will be posting this on my mirror so I can see it every morning. It may seem silly but I'm sick of feeling bad for not looking like everyone else. I have a husband who loves me just as I am (tells me I'm beautiful, can't keep his hands off me) and yet I feel like I'm not "perfect" enough for him. WHAT?? The only person putting pressure on me is me. So I'm changing my thinking. This doesn't mean I'm not going to continue to improve my health (read: workout and diet). I'm just taking the pressure off. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Give The Gift of Thoughtfulness

Every year I struggle with giving gifts for Christmas. Who should I buy gifts for? Do I give a family gift or just gifts for the children? How much should I spend? How much is appropriate to spend? Can I make a gift? 

On the real; I don't like giving Christmas gifts. I don't feel like Christmas should just be about gift giving.  Lately, that is what it all seems to be about, especially with black Friday sales starting before Halloween! 

Christmas should be about spending time with family and friends. In my mind Christmas is a month long Thanksgiving (lots of hanging out with people and amazing food). I love spending time with the people I care about. I also love the parties, dressing up, holiday music and food. Ok, I'll admit, smallish thoughtful gifts are great too. 

One of the best gifts I have ever received was pretty inexpensive. The gift was something that I mentioned I wanted months before. I was unable to locate it. The person was able find it and give it to me.  It touched my heart and meant a lot to me. 

Part of my Christmas struggle is not trying to buy the biggest/best gift.  First, I really don't have money like that and second, it's not a competition. I have to remind myself that there is no winning for giving the best gift. No need to go overboard. 

This year, everyone knows I'm unemployed and therefore broke. The gifts, if any, will be smaller, handmade and completely meaningful. My hope is that people will appreciate that I made the effort to show them love in a form of a gift.

Actually, my hope is that we all appreciate each other and enjoy the holidays with loved ones.  

SN: I did get a job as a substitute teacher. I'm on call until they hire me full time (fingers crossed) or I find something else. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Interview Hair

I finally scored an interview at a school! When I told my mother, the second question she asked me was how are you going to wear your hair?

I suspect if I was still wearing my hair straight  this question would not have come up, but in the last 5 months I've started wearing more natural hairstyles (twist-outs, puffs, braids). Currently I'm rocking a cute flat twist-out. It is completely face flattering but I'm not sure about wearing it to a interview.

There is no way I could graduate from Howard University and not know how to prepare for a interview. Experts always recommend you go for a conservative look for interviews unless you are applying for a really creative job. Unfortunately, I don't think teaching counts as "creative".  A conservative look usually means hair pulled back from your face, nothing puffy, big or showy. 

I hate that we still have to have this hair debate but every few months there is another article about how a school or workplace rejected a woman who was wearing her hair in a natural style. So it seems that the world still has issues with women wearing puffs, dreadlocks, braid-outs and fros. 

When I look at pictures of women in 1970s I see a lot of women rocking natural hairstyles. It seems like the natural hair movement stopped with the formality of the 1980s. I feel like this new natural hair movement is picking up steam. I hope it sticks. 

If I decide to straighten my hair for the interview and I get the job, when do I show up with my curly/kinky do? The first day? A week later? A month later? 

What do you think? What is the perfect interview hair? 

**update** I read this fantastic article on Is America Bent on Convincing Black Women that Their Beauty is Unacceptable. I have so many thoughts about this I might do another blog post but seriously I feel like black women are continuiously made to feel not as pretty as other races.