Happy Mothers Day

5 Things Black Mothers Teach Their Daughters About Money

…Thank You to All the Mothers and Grandmothers Raising Smart, Savvy and Tenacious Daughters…

I should tell you none of the lessons I am about to discuss were direct lectures to me about money. They are simply the knowledge I gain by listening and watching one joyful and determined black girl from Mobile, Alabama make lemonade even when all she had lemons. The lessons handed down from our parents often come without fanfare. They love us so they advise us to “do as they say, not as they do” but the reality the lessons that stick with us the longest are the ones we learn from watching the “doing”. And for better or worse, these are the lessons that keep circling back as cautionary tales or legends of triumph. When it comes to money, there are a few lessons I learned from my mother that I want to share.

Women should always have their own money. I think this is the lesson that all mothers born in the 60’s teach their daughters. Whether you are married or dating, be sure to have a pot of cash to pull from should things go south. Divorce is ugly. I have heard it said that the person you divorce is not the person you married. People are hurt in ways they never imagined and act out accordingly. So as women we have to be prepared to save ourselves and often times, our children. Have your own money so you are not holding on to a bad situation so that you can eat and have a roof over your head. We all remember when Porsche Williams (from Real Housewives of Atlanta) was married to Kordell Stewart. She was his doll and it came to light that she would often be completely broke, only driving the car and wearing the dress he bought her. I wonder how long she was miserable, knowing she lost herself and her voice but had to stick it out because she did not have the means to leave.

For single women, this lesson rings true as well. It’s 2017, we are online dating, swiping and it’s going down in the DMs. We can date more often and with great abandonment for discretion (if we choose).  It’s not smart to show up to dates with strangers with no money.  I am not saying you should go dutch but when those red flags go up you should have no problem paying for yourself and getting yourself home. Even before the online stuff, I can remember being on a date or two with a person who seemed to feel like his picking up the check meant more than picking up the check. Thanks but no thanks!

Know how to survive the lean times. My mother is a southern girl who knows how to “make it work” and going off to college she taught me how to be the same. Life happens to all of us and sometimes you have less this year than last year. Learn how to survive either way. I learned early on how to do my own hair, nails, mix and match outfits and how to feed myself on a dime (Not eating trash either). Being on a budget does not mean looking/feeling poor and eating noodles. Be creative and find ways to sustain yourself even when the belt is tighter.

Let your partner be a partner. I was once the reigning queen of doing it all. As an independent woman, I prided myself on bringing home the bacon, cooking it up and cleaning up after. It was not out of doubt that the other person could not do it but it was pride and some would say fear of letting go. Allowing your partner to take care of you as much as you take care of them is a shared love for one another. If he feels like as a man, he should do XYZ..let him and say thank you (even when you would have done it differently). Don’t carry the weight alone just so you can say you carried the weight alone.

Learn to be Selfish. Women give a lot of themselves in relationships. We give a whole lot more when kids are involved – always make sure you are checking in with yourself and doing things to make you feel good. Lots of women feel like it’s a sign of valor to neglect themselves and devote their lives to partners and kiddos. In truth, this is not a badge of honor. It is not sustainable and when you fall apart you take everyone with you. So make some room in your wallet and schedule for a new dress and a pedicure.

Pay Attention. We hear stories all the time of women putting their head in the sand while their husbands are running them into the ground financially. Just because you do not handle the bills does not mean you get to check out of the cash flow in your house. Make sure you are checking on things and making sure you are involved in the decisions being made for you as a unit. Your mate determines your fate in a lot of ways but financially is the biggest. This person is essentially a business partner to your life and it’s not fair to put the pressure on another person and it’s not smart to assume someone else will always make the best choices for you.

I always think about how our mothers and grandmothers handled money when they were my age. The reality of it escapes me because my mother had 4 kids when she was my age and I have more resources than she had at this age. Even with the resources … HOW SWAY?! Thank you, mama. And thank you to all the mothers and grandmothers raising smart, savvy and tenacious daughters. Share your best lessons learned about money from your mother in the comments below.

Saving Money

How to Save More Money This Year

Chasing the bag is only half the battle, its keeping that will make it all worth it. Save more money with these quick tips.

Whenever people talk about getting financially fit, the first thing they recommend is to save. It’s basically the low hanging fruit of adulting but telling someone with bad money habits to “just save some money” is not the best way to help.

For starters, taking the money you have come to depend on and saving it is a hard adjustment. Even if you manage to get some money put away, it almost always gets taken back out before you have amassed anything real. I was one of these people – you get a few hundred bucks stashed finally and one financial hiccup sends you back to the savings account to retrieve your hard-won savings. It’s a revolving door but there are a few tips that helped me get some money saved and keep it that I want to share with you.

All Savings Accounts Are Not Created Equal. Of all the things I am going to tell you, this the one that was most important to changing my financial behavior. When most people start out they have one savings account and no goal other than to save something. It’s a doomed approach. Instead of having one catch-all account – have accounts with goals attached and segment the money.

For example, you have determined that you can afford to save $150 per month. Instead of directing the total $150 to one account for an emergency fund, break it up to cover multiple purposes. To start, try directing $75 to a mishap fund and $75 to an emergency fund. What is a mishap fund? It’s a savings account for things that are inevitable but low level like car repairs, covering unexpected bills, traffic tickets, etc. The biggest threat to our savings account is always the mishap stuff, right? So plan for it. Keep this account at $500 – $1000 (more if you can or have a family… cause kids).

Then you can take the other $75 and have an emergency fund for the really big stuff like a loss of a job or illness (it’s untouchable otherwise). As you earn more you can have more accounts with other goals like a travel fund.

The point is to save for the smaller things that used to wipe out your total savings and still have money for the big issues should they happen. Yes, it will grow slower but at least it’s happening and because you have a fund for that traffic ticket or blown out tire, they will not devastate all your efforts. 

Automate it. The worst way to start to save when you have never done so before is to assume you are going to move money manually. It’s 2018 and a better life exists so get with it. Set up a direct deposit to a savings account with your bank or employer. It’s super easy and on payday, you will have saved money before you buy that round of drinks at happy hour! For more on this read my post, 4 Quick Ways to Break Bad Money Habits.  

Pay yourself FIRST… no… really. When I say pay yourself first, I mean when you get more money put more money away before you determine that new car is “doable”. The worst mistake we make is spending more because we make more.

At this age, we are relatively early in our careers and just starting to climb the ladder and with that comes more money.  Once you have gotten out of the check to check and value meal phase of your life – start to think about how much more you are spending with every increase. Enjoy the spoils but remember the more we earn, the bigger that 6-9 month emergency fund should be.

I am under no illusion that this goal is easy to reach but it took me 8 years to be laid off one time. Think about that, for 8 years I could have been putting away money every paycheck to get to this emergency fund. Start working towards this goal today, even if you only get to 2 or 3 months – at least you know for 2 or 3 months you are ok

Like many of us, it took me a long time to realize I was living life wrong financially and I have still not mastered it (I do not expect to either). It’s hard because the older you get your needs change, you want more – you tell yourself “I deserve this”… more. The turning point for me was being faced with medical bills and later being laid off as I mentioned. My head was totally in the sand – I looked around and noticed I was maxed out and blowing money fast on things I either could not remember or was bored with already.

When you are thinking about your goals for 2018 making sure you have a plan to save more is critical because it supports all other goals. New businesses, better travel, better fitness all work better when you have made plans to be able to afford them.

If you have used these or other methods to save more in 2018, let us know in the comments below.  

 

Lisa Live Well, Book Review of Zadie Smith Swing Time Book Image

Black Girlhood Friends, Class, and Being Robin | A Review of Zadie Smith’s Swing Time

 

Zadie Smith writes about the intimacy of black girl friendships and its brilliant

British writer Zadie Smith’s new novel, Swing Time is a book about girlhood friendship and self-identity. It’s basically for all of us who have complicated relationships our besties from middle school. The book follows two girls, the unnamed narrator, and her best friend Tracy who meet in Ms.Isabelle’s Dance Class. Although the two girls share the same space, mixed-race identity and love of dance, they are very different. Tracy is the striking beauty, effortless dancer, and show pony. She is described is the beautiful girl who owns every room she enters. The narrator is the sidekick… always Robin to a Batman. She basks in others light, never really finding her own, even though you get the impression that she too, is beautiful and has her own unexplored talents.

Through the narrator, we learn about the girl’s interesting upbringings. Tracy is the daughter of a chronically institutionalized Jamaican man, who she says is “away” because he is one of Michael Jackson’s backup, dancers. She is the light in her mother’s world and her mom uses her to live vicariously. You can think of her mom as a pageant mom, using her daughter’s talent and beauty to fill something empty for inside herself. Tracy can watch as much TV as she wants and has all the latest and greatest stuff. The narrator’s mother is a Jamaican intellectual type and her doting father is a white. But, the father’s commitment to mediocrity clashes with the mother’s ambitions. Narrator’s life is filled with books and structure. Because her mother is “woke”, she snuffs out her daughter’s light, in an effort to make her daughter ready for a racist and sexist world where any “girlish light” is a weakness. You can almost say the two, Tracy and the Narrator,  are friends out of needing what the other’s life offers. Tracy yearns for the father and stable family the narrator has and the narrator yearns to not only have the freedom a single parent upbringing allows children, but she wants to be made the center of her mother’s life like Tracy’s mother makes her. She, the narrator, often complains about how her mother would read serious books and grow impatient at dance class while the other mothers looked on at their children with a kind of exhalation.

The book goes on the follow the girls through a rather interesting childhood as they grow up, grow apart, reconnect and then are separated by what the narrator sees as “a bridge too far”. As adults, their lives are very different but their roles are the same – Tracy is still the center of the universe and the narrator is still playing Robin but this time as the assistant to an international pop star.

While reading the book, one could not help but think of the girlfriends you had growing up, how different people’s lives turned out. It’s odd. Have you wondered how did you become friends with them in the first place considering how much you truly had in common even as kids? But truthfully, kids do not need real things in common and even though you never speak to those long-ago friends, there is still a bond that connects you.

The book was wonderful. Zadie Smith peppers the story with not just the reality of girlhood friends but with all the nuances of race, class, and colonialism. It is rare that a work of fiction uncovers so much truth. The novel is a great pick for books clubs and solo reads. But as always, let me know your thoughts?

You can get it here::

THE 3 BEST PIECES OF RELATIONSHIP ADVICE I EVER GOT FROM MY MAMA

The 3 Best Pieces of Relationship Advice I Ever Got From My Mama

We get lots of trash relationship advice in our 20s and one day I am going to make a list of the absolute worst of it but right now let’s talk about the advice we receive from our mothers that, if we had listened, would have saved us so much drama.

The relationship between mothers and their adult daughters can be a complicated one. You go from being a 16-year-old child, who thinks your parents cannot possibly understand you or what you are going through, to a 20 something single girl who cannot believe how often your mother was right. I will be the first to admit, my mama was right about a lot… more than I would ever admit to her face. She was right about friends, foes, and men – even these new age ones because, girl …still men. Since she has been so right about the ways of the world I have started to listen (better late than never) and there are a few lessons about relationships that have proved to be true more often than not. 

Let it Break. People change under pressure, especially when you introduce the weight of kids, aging families and new debt where there was none before – its life basically. I asked my mom “how you do get a glimpse of how a partner will handle the hard stuff?” After nearly a year of perfectly crafted dates and fun times, how can you see how the relationship will handle the possible bumpy road ahead when it has really been sunshine and rainbows up to that point? Her answer to me was “Let it break”. She does mean throw it out the window, she was saying “take the kids gloves off” and let life happen a bit. Be less of the “Stepford Wife” we tend to be when it’s all new and shiny. Let the arguments play out, have the more hard conversations, share some of the ugly stuff and let the uncomfortable happen– all while paying close attention. The point is not to cause harm to the relationship intentionally. Again, you are not causing fights to watch the other person squirm, you are just doing less of the dancing around touchy subjects that we do to “keep it chill” when we are still trying to be “the cool girlfriend“. You can be “cool” later in the relationship if you wish but right now you want to get a glimpse of who you are dealing with long-term and be watching for red flags. Does this person fight fair? Is he explosive or simmering? When you are discussing certain topics, is it an equal exchange of ideas or is he talking at you? Do you feel judged? When you are both angry, are you still a team or has it turned into something else? What kind of language does he use to talk about other women? And then, are the outcomes red flags for you? Doing this does not ensure perfection down the road of course, but it at least allows you to get a better sense of who a person is when things are not as easy.

It’s never too late to change your mind. This is one I carry in my back pocket all the time – for everything! It was one of those afternoons where mom was chatting on about things from her college years, I was half listening but perked up at this self-reflection, she said “as a young woman, she felt like she had to “go along to get along’ and she wanted me to know that I can always change my mind…even at the last-minute”. I stewed on this one and thought about all the times, I wanted to back out but felt committed to a date that did not feel right, a party that did not feel right and now as an adult a job/task that did not feel right. I am not sure if this is a girl thing but the ideas of “not making a fuss”, not waiting to spoil the fun and “going along to get along” sure feel like things women struggle with more than men. For the rest of 2017, let’s do less of that. The word “NO” is a complete sentence even if you previously said yes. This should be on a post-it someplace.

You have to teach men how to treat you. I encounter this less now because the older you get the more natural it becomes to just stand in who you are and let them either rise to it or not. But as a young woman dealing with young men, this was pivotal. I was a teen going on group dates at the mall when my mom pulled me aside one day to tell me “When you are going out with a guy, make sure you demand the respect of meeting his parents properly – don’t let him sneak around with you”. This small lesson yields to so much of what we want girls to know today. You set the tone of the relationship with what you accept from another person. To an adult woman,  this means speaking up when you’re offended, not responding to “u up?” texts at 2 am when you want a relationship, and being ready to walk when the red flags go up because… loving another adult human into submission it not a thing (see: #HurtBae).

These are just a few of the many things I learned and held on to as I grew up. They have proved to be true beyond romantic relationships but hearing them in this context allowed me to begin having more healthy relationships. Feel free to share some of the pearls of wisdom you gained from your mother in the comments below.

Lay off, Black Women, Laid off, Fired, Lost Job, Lisa Live Well Blog, Things I wish I new before I was laid off

6 Things I wish I had Known Before I was Laid Off for the First Time

Being Laid off SUCKS, But it Was a Major Moment of Growth as Well

I was laid off for a month almost two years ago. The experience was the oddest mix of emotions I had ever felt… relief (the company was bad), anxiety, fear and whatever you call that feeling when you are asking yourself “is this a dream?”. I had never been laid off before then but I thought I knew how it would go if it ever happened – Nah. I was sitting at my desk on a Friday morning (before coffee) cruising facebook and HR walks over. “Can I see you for a second?” he says. I was always being pulled into something so I got up and pranced into a room, ready to take on some unexpected project.  Girl… there was a box of tissues and the other HR girl in the room and I still had no idea.

When they delivered the news I was thinking they had the wrong person because who gets laid off like this? My boss was on vacation, this is was super odd. Anyway, I packed up my stuff and left – there were no tears, no sadness (for me anyway), I smiled even… the relief thing I guess. I recovered quickly with a much better company and role but in hindsight, there were a few things I wish I had known before I was laid off.

That “the writing’s on the wall thing” is BS.  Before this happened I thought I would have some lead time because, unless I am fired, leadership would give us a heads up about cuts or I would sense some new volatility. There was none -nada. This does not always happen apparently and layoffs do not always make sense to you at the moment.  Example, I knew that the company’s best days were behind them and I was not busy but it was like that when I was hired nearly two years prior and I, nor the girl I replaced were ever busy. Silly me, right. Anyway, my point is you do not have time to get ready and there are not always “warnings”,  you literally can be here today and gone tomorrow. Trust no one and nothing in Corporate America.

The needs for a “fuck it” fund/emergency savings/nest egg are so real. This is the one that makes me most angry when I look back. I had a savings but not what I should have/could have had if I were financially ready for a layoff. It took me 8 years of working to be laid off once. In that time, I could have had enough savings to slow it down and have more #Funemployment. A good amount saved would have given me options and opportunity to travel, wait a while to look for a job, and/or just go hang out with my grandma for a few weeks. Because I did not save well, I was too scared to relax and missed that rare window to take a breath (with severance pay).

Second streams of income matter. Before being laid off I heard about this a lot and did not give it the attention it deserved. Finding your own leg to stand on, even partially can be a lifesaver. I made the mistake of having all my eggs in someone else’s basket. Having other ways to make money at the ready could have given me some independence and freedom to take other opportunities as well.

Unemployment pay is a joke. I do not know what I was expecting from this, but it was more than what I got. All I am going to say here don’t look at this as any kind of safety net. Sign up for it if you get laid off/fired etc but save your own money, girl.

Do not suffer in silence, You need your village. Being laid off is embarrassing – especially if people think “you have it together”. That pedestal life sucks! Get off of it and burn it down. Now, I try to burn it down often – as soon as someone starts talking to me like I have all the answers, I mentally light a match. But be smart about it – if you are at work and the authority on something, that is different. I am talking about with your people – your village. Keep those lines of communication open and tell people when something is going on. All too often strong women want to be the pillar of strength for all these people, do not be afraid to call in some of those emotional debts.

I had no idea how vital my philosophy of “staying ready” would be. I have said this before… many times and many ways to my friends, family and you… you do not have time to “Get Ready”. I may not have been financially ready to be laid off but because I never fully left the job market, I was able to pick up and move quickly to the next thing. If you have not read my post on this, do yourself a favor and do it now! Why You Should Keep Your Resume Updated

Nothing shakes up life like an unexpected job loss but, I have to tell you – it’s odd how much less you are afraid of it after it has happened to you. Facing that situation gave me a deeper sense of confidence than I had ever had before. It’s like you have looked that fear square in the eye and slayed it! #WhoElseWantsSome (I am kidding, let’s not tempt the universe) My point is being laid off is not the worst thing to happen, it’s the catalyst for a lot of entrepreneurship, side hustles, travel, and blogs … so get scrappy. You got this!

 

 

Why I Love Having a Sister

13 Reasons Why Sisters are Amazing

 

It’s National Siblings Day and although I am the oldest of 4 kiddos, my most interesting relationship is with my sister.

My sister is a generally awesome asset in my life as an adult but as kids… not so much. We fought about everything, we were jealous of everything and it was not until I was in college that I really started to appreciate having a sister at all. But now that I am older and wiser here are 13 things I love about having a sister:

  1. We can hold an entire conversation without speaking. You can be at a party, event, nightclub or whatever but with one look we know exactly what the other is thinking.
  2. The term “Ride or Die” is a compliment for sisters and we do it proudly. If I ever needed to rob a bank, sis would drive the getaway car.
  3. We have infinite clothing options. There is no lifesaver like needing a dress, because you already took pictures in all of yours, and being able to do a quick dress swap with your sister.
  4. Sisters make the best “wing women”. Because your sister knows your approach, she knows exactly how to play it cool and help you catch the eye of the delicious French/Cameroonian at the bar…ayyyee!  
  5. The inside jokes are the best because they are have been brewing your entire life. You can utter just a few words and both dissolved into side-splitting laughter.
  6. They get all into your junk in the best way. Sisters are not afraid to broach those touchy subjects with you. Literal “Sweat Pants Interventions” have happened… I am in recovery. 
  7. They call you on your bullshit, even the bullshit you have convinced yourself is not bullshit. Your sister will not sit by and let you lie to yourself about anything and there is no sugar to coat the comments.
  8. They get your perspective without context. Your sister is the only person you can sorta tell a story to and she will know all the stuff you skipped on purpose. Plus she can completely understand why you are so mad or just side with you because …sisters.
  9. You have a built-in ally against all family members asking about marriage and babies. It’s must be a crime to be over 25, unmarried and Nigerian/Southern.
  10. She knows all your baggage and has even helped you pack it and unpack it a few times so there is not need to be coy with the dirty details.
  11. You have in instant dance partner. Have you ever been out dancing, looking cute and feeling like a “show pony” so you jump on stage? Guess who will come too? Sis. Because we have to show out as a unit.
  12. Before venturing into the unknown, your sister has the complete rundown of plans and who you have them with. You are meeting a guy you met online for dinner – before the date, you make sure sis has screenshots of his profile, his first and last name, all the stuff you googled about him and the details of the date – you know,  in case she needs to ride out. This also applies to traveling to new countries because “riding out” is a global duty.
  13. Sis is always there for a micro-loan. Ever need a few bucks or simply been down at the Sushi bar enjoying life and when the bill came… noticed you forgot your wallet? uh…me neither. But Sis is the perfect person to come to the rescue even when she lives over 30 min. away.

In short, sisters are amazing. Honestly, siblings are amazing (shout out to my two brothers). They are there to rescue you, support you, burst your ego and encourage you to “do better”. I am grateful that even when I wished to be an only child, I had sis by my side getting in the way of my plans for mischief (saving me trauma) and being my biggest cheerleader. In the comments below tell me about your sister, bestie like a sister or brother. I want to hear the stories.signature_xd1d3qpbai29p9qzxk

What Ride or Die Chicks Teach us about relationships

What “Ride or Die Chicks” Teach Us About Relationships

 

What Tiny and other ride or die chicks teach us about relationships

Tiny Harris (maybe not a Harris anymore because …divorce) is the very long time romantic partner of Atlanta rapper, T.I.P Harris. We have been watching the Harris family for years off-screen, and then the last few years on-screen. On-screen, their TV show highlights their cute kids and T.I.P is the Huxtable-like dad but, off-screen, we see the many mug shots, other women, and rumors of drug-fueled alterations. As much as their manufactured message was confusing, there was one thing we are absolutely sure of – Tiny was “ride or die” (this is not a compliment or an insult). This woman gave up her career as a singer, raised 7 kids, took a charge or two, and endured countless affairs and other scandals. It’s shocking what women will forgive for love knowing their men would never do the same for them.

We all know women who do this? #HurtBae, Amina and Tara, Tori Spelling, Huma Abedin, karrueche Tran, Porsha Williams…your mama, your sister, and your friends the list is long. It happens to everyone. The fascinating part of this is not the staying but it’s when they finally leave. The glow up is too real. You start to wonder if this the same person as before. We watch them fall in love with themselves again and plug into life like never before. I love it. I am here for it but how can we never lose ourselves in the first place? After observing them flourish after the break-up, I have a few ideas on how we can maintain that personal happiness and balance without the break-up. 

Be very honest about what you want and the kind of girl you are. Whether we realize or not we let a lot of bs cloud our perspective. Media tells us we should be everything to everyone.We have to be Olivia Pope, Whitely Gilbert and Rainbow Johnson all at once. It is a constant struggle to find your own baseline again and again. Turn off the TV and find out who you are and who you want to be independent of anyone else. Be completely selfish and unapologetic. If you want to stay home and nurse kids? Do it. Wanna travel full-time with a few lovers in a few continents? Do it. Are you independent or do you need a sidekick? The worst mistake we make is trying to find ourselves through another person – it is not fair to the person and it leaves you open to other people’s ideas of who you should be and what you should want. It’s exactly what leads you to…waking up 15 years and many kids, feeling regret.

Have conversations about relationship identity with your partner. When you are in the beginning of a romantic relationship and you are discussing the big stuff – kids (or not), money, family, goals…also talk about roles and identity within the relationship. Talk about independence, parenting, and how you want to feel personally in the context of this new love. Is it important for you to have time and experiences with friends independent of him/her? Are you a family person? Are you looking for a true partnership like a Bey and Jay or are you ok being in the background like Denzel and Pauletta? Do not assume he feels the way to you feel and one conversation will not be enough – you have to keep enforcing who you are and what you want over time. 

Take a solo day/weekend to just focus on yourself. (I like to call these “baseline” days thanks to a singer I love, Choklate.) Whether it is quarterly or bi-annually take some time to march to your own beat – no friends, no bae, and no hard set agenda. I am not talking about a day watching daytime TV and running errands. This is a day for you to personally reset. You want to do things like Yoga, long walks, hikes, coffee shops, personal pampering and/or just some light music and a journal. The idea is live in your own head, be silent, and think about what is important to you right now. Because we live so much of our lives on the go and at the whim of bosses, kids, lovers, partners etc – it can be hard to “Just Be”. But do it! Put it on the calendar right now, send in that time off request and enjoy!

Hold on to your friendships with intention. This is hard for everyone because when you have a great boyfriend/husband/Partner, it’s really easy for them to be the default friend. Single friends think it’s on purpose – it almost never is. We fall into it, like all bad habits as you get older and busier. You have to get intentional about connecting with people. Set up standing brunch dates, schedule girl’s nights, and take “staycations” together. Make time for your great girlfriends. They are just as important as your romantic relationship – these are the women who will call you on your shit, remind you of the dreams you gave up on, plan all your showers (bridal, baby, and sometimes divorce) and be there to catch you. Unlike a romantic relationship, the agenda for them is just about you not how you make them feel within a commitment. They know when you have lost yourself and how to get you back.

Love yourself more than anyone else. I am not going to go into the story people like to tell about the oxygen mask on airplanes but it’s the same message. You have to love yourself first. It’s the broken record of self-help but it’s a classic. #Keepthatshitonrepeat Fall in love and give it freely but love yourself more. Loving yourself more gives you freedom. When you know who you are, take time for yourself, and understand your value, the love you give is better and clearly focused. You are not showing up to a relationship needing a better half – you are a 100% whole and a happy girl seeking another 100% whole and happy partner. And since you are emotionally healthy, you can see the 48% person coming a lot sooner and avoid some drama.

Relationships are never perfect. People are never perfect. We enter them at different stages in life. At 20ish, you think about love completely different from you do at 30ish – mistakes are made by all. Beating yourself up will not change anything so “let that shit go” (my favorite phrase these days) and start today. If you are thinking the relationship you have right now is not healthy – this is not a call to break up or be ashamed. This is a call to take some baby steps towards the life you want and who you want to be. Start with a journal, record your feelings day-to-day – go back and read it after 6 months. The decisions you need to make will become unavoidable the more you focus on your own happiness. If you are single, you have a game plan. And if you are happy, *high five girl*!  In the comments below, tell us how you keep it centered and blissful.

Bound for the promise land, kate clifford larson, harriet tubman, american hero

Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero by Kate Clifford Larson | A Review

You thought you knew her but you had no idea and neither did I, by the way

We have been learning about Harriet Tubman aka Moses since grade school. She is one of those black history month staples that people think they know but, we have no idea what she did outside of the underground railroad and even that was not explained well. Kate Clifford Larson’s book, Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero did an amazing job of shedding some light on not just Tubman’s life but also the institution of slavery on the eastern shore and the vibe of the nation as a whole before and after emancipation. I could go on and on about this book but I do not want to spoil it for you so here are some “themes” I am still stewing on. (but you have to read it and tell me your thoughts too) 

Harriet Tubman is the pioneer of black girl magic. Tubman was one of those simple women like the grandmas down south. She spoke plainly and had no agenda other than to do what she set out to do.She was not looking for fame or fortune in her pursuits.  Her entire journey started with not wanting her or her family to be sold. She found a way to free herself through the underground railroad and simply decided she was going back for her family. That is it. There was no ego except that she knew she could do it. This is a small, illiterate woman who was prone to blackouts making trips back and forth into slavery to free her family, other people’s family, friends, and kids- how? I  was just overcome with just how brave she had to have been to do this and keep doing it…even after slave patrols, punishments and rewards for capture increased.

White Allies and Abolitionists. A lot of the conversations people had about the role of white allies and white abolitionist back in the 1800’s persist today. Don’t get me wrong, if were not for the white allies on the Underground Railroad I am not sure we would be talking about Tubman the way we do today. Their role was pivotal but I was struck by the words “It’s for her people” and not people. Even though they were against slavery, the idea of full personhood for black people was still something out of their reach. For some, it was easier but for many, it was not helping fellow Americans or humans but rather “those poor unfortunate darkies” need our help. This kind of thinking is the foundation of how people talk about race today.

Harriet and the Civil War. Harriet Tubman’s role during the civil war was paramount. We know that she helped the Union win. The part I was interested in was gender. I had great trouble processing Tubman, Moses if you will, having to be given passes and constantly assert herself as more than a woman. She was rarely paid and often looked down on for her gender ….even more than her race in a war. The work of black women, like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman were all catalysts for the civil war and given the least respect. Even after the war, the government would recognize Harriet only as a nurse, ignoring the role she played in intelligence gathering and the recruitment of black soldiers.

Post-war and the lies we still tell ourselves. After the war, the backlash and resentment heaped on black people in the North was surprising to me. These are places that were anti-slavery and fought against fugitive slave laws and helps slaves evade re-capture. What changed? Was it fatigue of war or were they never “for black people” to begin with? I have questions. I was also shocked by how soon we wanted to soften the war, the institution of slavery and flatten the lives of black abolitionist leaders. We see this in 2017 but to think it started to happen almost immediately after the war was won. It makes you wonder how much progress have we actually made on the hearts and minds front.

The book was really good – it was hard to not just gush about all the things that happened and spoil it for you. It was one of those reads that left me with the screw face a lot. Harriett Tubman is one of the most amazing women in our history – she was incredibly strong and giving to a literal fault. There were so many times where I just wanted her to take care of herself but she had bigger plans and we are grateful for her sacrifice.

Pick it up for yourself!

Lisa Live Well blog, Reasons to avoid feelings of fuck it in corporate america

3 Reasons to Avoid Feelings of “Fuck it” in Corporate America

You may be burned out now, but you don’t have to stay that way

When a relationship goes sour, checking out is all too easy. It happens. You have tried all you can but by the end, you just want out. This is interesting for work relationships because unlike a bad friend or bf, you cannot just walk away. You work for a living but never the less we are over it and not smartly so in most cases. Before you have started a job search, interviewed or been offered anything, you have started to visualize telling your boss to “miss you”, packing your stuff and getting more money someplace else. It becomes almost impossible to care about the work you are currently doing.

If this were only mental it would not be a problem but it is almost never just mental… even when you think it is. It starts to show up in everything you do. Even if we cannot admit we have done it, you have seen a co-worker do it. You know because she is suddenly late all the time, negative about everything, her work gets sloppy and then the whispers about them from other co-workers start to happen. It’s a bad look – even if you don’t care about the job anymore.

To be honest, I have felt this shift in myself, which is why this post exists. But, a realization hit me one night, do not leave until you leave and here is why?

It’s about the work, not the place it happens… if you love it. No matter your industry, at some level, you work there because you are good at it and enjoy the work. When you decide to leave it is almost always about the people but your body of work speaks to the type of professional you are and that has nothing to do with outside forces. Stay engaged, plug into the work because if you get into a habit “don’t care anymore”, it may be hard to break when you finally do move on.

Your co-workers are watching and talking. You may think that checking out only hurts you but it’s doesn’t, someone has to pick up your slack. I know what you are thinking, who cares? Right. The answer is, you should. Most organizations are getting a large percentage of their hires from referrals, especially if your industry is connected, like marketing. Your co-workers are your potential network, even people do not work directly with. If and when people move on, you may find that someone moved on to a company you want to work for, but now they do not want to risk their personal brand referring you.

And finally… you do not know how long it will take you to move on. For some people, moving on is quick but for others, it can take 6 months to a year. You do not want to check out, start to suck at your job and get fired.

A way to combat the urge to “check out” is to get to the root of why you want to out and give it less power, while you are looking for something better. If it is about a boss or co-worker, just resolve to put your head down and be 100% about the work. If you are not growing, take growth into your own hands. The truth is work is always full of flaws, even in the best organizations. I am sure there is an employee at Google right now that is ready to bounce because of their direct report. It happens, you should move on but do not leave mentally until you have an offer (in writing) to leave physically.

International Goof Off Day, Day Off, Relax, Unplug, Self Care

How I am Spending My Self-Care Day

Yay for Self-Care!

I just found out today was International Goof Off Day and I think it may be one of my favorite holidays. With all the gift-giving, romantic obligations and forced family interactions that come along with other holidays, a day of sweet… sweet nothing is welcome. And it falls on a weekday makes it all the better because … you could be doing something but you are not and that makes the nothingness all the more delicious. My favorite way to goof off or unplug rather is taking a long, leisurely bike ride around my neighborhood, stopping only for a smoothie or a quick gaze at the world around me. When I return home hours later, my head is always clearer and my heart is more open. It is absolute perfection.

In the comments, tell me what is your favorite way to spend your self-care day?

Lisa Live Well, Interracial love story

An Interracial Love Story | How It Began…

Let’s start by saying, I am in a warm, loving, soul-satisfying interracial relationship with one of the greatest men I have ever known. But when it started (5 years ago), I had questions. I vividly remember cruising online blogs for information to validate all that I was feeling at the time. I heard from a lot of people who either had been married a long time or had some ax to grind in favor or against it but no one spoke to how I was feeling.

I wanted to know how they navigated the start of it. I had casually dated interracially before but this time it was different. Our relationship felt like home – I was thinking about kids, families and our day-to-day lives in this America. Because I had those feelings and questions then, now I want to answer them for someone else.

Where did you meet? We met online… OKCupid.com, to be exact. I had been single for over a year at the time. After being in a long-term relationship since college, I was on a quest to figure out my own ish… “doing the work“, as Iyanla would say. I had started online dating not too long before I met my now, hubster. One day I got a message and messaged back… a week later, we had a drink. After the drink, I was intrigued and here we are. 🙂

How did I feel when it all started? Like any other new relationship, I was excited and scared but what I feared was different this time. Any girl dating after 28 will tell you, you start to wonder if the guy you are dating is “forever bae” as soon as it’s serious. And in this situation, I had to completely recast the vision of what my kids would look like and the things I wanted to tell my daughter about her coiled hair, dark skin, and full lips. I now know that those things don’t change but for a moment I wondered about it. I marveled at the differences in culture, I mean… He didn’t know SWV and 90’s R&B is an American treasure but I had never seen a Star Wars movie so… we both had our things.

How did I talk about it with friends and family? I didn’t for a while just because I wanted to be sure before I pulled them into it, more so because I was 30ish and they didn’t need to meet anymore “friends”. But I also had no idea what the response would be. My mom is a Black American, raised in Mobile, Alabama. My father is a Nigerian expat who just does not like anyone. But I eventually told them or maybe I just let them find out because… that’s an awkward announcement. My dad didn’t care, my mother asked a few problematic questions about my intentions and my siblings well … they have come to accept that I am going to march to my own beat. In all, no blow ups and no one cared. By the end, everybody likes everybody.

How did his family feel about me? Great, I was really scared of this because I had heard the stories from friends in similar relationships where, parents were refusing to come to weddings, accept grandkids or just being super racists. But in my case, it’s been nothing but bliss. I got REALLY lucky as far as in-laws are concerned. Race aside, I actually like them all as people apart from the relationship. #BLESSED

Did I encounter any notable experiences in public? Well, I live in Atlanta (ITP). It’s a city of diversity that actually mixes and no one seems to care. I will say it has worked in our favor a couple times from black women who just seemed to like us together and granted us extra pours after cut off at bottomless brunch. But nothing bad has happened – no “hotep” confrontations on the street.

How has the relationship changed me? I went through a little internal transformation of how I saw myself. I started to think about my kids and the questions they may have about their heritage, so I have made it my business to learn more about not just being Black American, but Nigerian too. This transformation was coming anyway but it’s like being thrown up against a white wall – you are forced to find yourself and get grounded. Bottom line, I am blacker, “womaner” and firm in my truth.

I think when you both look alike, you assume you feel the same way on issues. But in our case, we are having the hard conversations and listening to each other – we agree sometimes and table it other times.

At this point, it’s like any other relationship. We are still having those conversations and still incredibly in love. We have learned a lot from each other but I am still working on him knowing more R&B and he is trying to convince me that U2 is the greatest band ever.

Finding a lasting connection with anyone is hard so my biggest lesson to anyone is to just leave the door open. Put your focus on finding a person with good character, values, and overall good vibes. All the other stuff doesn’t matter.

If you are lucky enough to be on the cusp of a love of any kind of love… swirl, black love, brown love, Gay love… whatever, dive in and hang on. In the end, people are really just people.

International Womens Day, March 8, Women, Ursala Burns, Mellondy Hobson, Lupita, Chimamanda

My Favorite Professional Women and Their Best Advice to Us

Happy International Women’s Day

Mellody Hobson on Passion

“Be a Fanatic and Own that YOU have to convince them.”

Tracee Ellis Ross on Full Womanhood

“I just want to say this. I love being a woman. I love playing a woman. I love being a whole and full woman. I am more than my parts, and we all are. And we all, as women, need to continue to change our gaze from how we are seen to how we are seeing. We are full and beautiful women. And let us live in that.”

Ursala Burns on Speaking up

“I didn’t learn to be quiet when I had an opinion;  the reason they knew who I was is because I told them.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Being Your Self

“All over the world, girls are raised to make themselves likable, to twist themselves into shapes that suit other people. Please do not twist yourself into shapes to please. Don’t do it. If someone likes that version of you, that version of you that is false and holds back, then they actually just like that twisted shape, and not you. And the world is such a gloriously multifaceted, diverse place that there are people in the world who will like you, the real you, as you are.

Lupita Nyong’o on Beauty

“You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion, for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty inflamed the heart and merchants the soul.”

Shirley Chisholm on Service

“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.”

Zora Neale Hurston on Discrimination 

“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”

 

 

Thoughts on Get Out

Thoughts on Jordan Peele’s Movie, Get Out, From the Perspective of a Woman in an Interracial Relationship

Let me preface this by saying, I have incredible future in-laws/BF Family etc. They are nothing like the people in Get Out. #HeyYall 🙂

Ok, let’s dig in…

I went to see Get Out this weekend with the rest of the world. It was a great movie that left my heart racing in suspense and my sides aching in laughter. While this is just a film, I could not help but think about some of the baseline truths within it. First, The movie addresses a deep seeded fear many people have about not just meeting the parents but meeting your white (or other) boyfriend’s family. This fear is isolating because it’s hard to explain that just because their parents voted for Obama does not mean they are cool with their “pride and joy” bringing home a black girl. You can be “woke”(I am starting to hate this term) until it shows up at your front door beaming ear to ear with an afro and a southern accent. Yes, you are dating the man and not their family but do you really want to knowingly get yourself into a lifelong battle with overt racism? Nah. Nope. I do not want to have kids who cannot go to grams house because they are black. Bottom line, it’s hard and the parent’s reaction can kill whatever dreams either of you has of marriage and babies. We have to talk more openly about this.

Second, I had never considered just how dehumanizing it is being poked, prodded and patronized with comments about the latest black phenom truly is. You hear about it, even experience a comment or two but watching it unfold on screen made my skin crawl. Standing on the outside looking in on that scene really opened my eyes and changed my thinking. That person doing this is not always just a jerk or insensitive, it’s deeper…to them I am 3/5th a person...in 2017. For black women, it manifests in the unsolicited hair touching but I empathize with black men on this one a little more. Not because their issues are more important but because the over-sexualization of black men is wrapped up in so much machismo, I am not sure its ever really discussed honestly.

Third, conversations need to be had, not just with your boyfriend but your friends as well. Having made all kinds of friends, I have often heard a non-black person say “will I be the only [insert race] there”. But when I show up to a bar in Buckhead (a preppy, mostly white bar scene) no one ever wonders about how I feel being the only black person even though from history, I have far more to worry about. I know we like to think we live in 2008 Obama’s America but we do not. We are not off the hook, we still have to talk about race, look out for each other and LISTEN to someone when they say they are “uncomfortable”.

All in all, great film! There are 53 million serious thought pieces on it that uncover all kinds of clues and discussions, I hope to not be one of them. I just wanted to share what I took away from the film.

Until next time,

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Pearl Cleage, Book Review, Things I should have Told my daughter

5 Things I loved About Pearl Cleage’s Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons and Love Affairs

Pearl Cleage’s book forced me to take a long look at the true womanhood of the women I admire most

Pearl Cleage is one of the most captivating fiction writers I have ever read. I have fallen head over heels in love with so many of her novels. I had never read her nonfiction work until I came across Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs. This book was about a mother, Pearl Cleage, looking back at her full life and thinking of all the things she wanted her daughter to know about her.  It was remarkable because often times it’s hard for adult daughters and mothers to really see each other as full women. I found witnessing Cleage’s attempt to build this bridge intriguing. She takes us on this journey by reading her old journals and revisiting the layers of herself. There are many things that stuck with me about this book but, here are my top five:

1. Throughout her life, Cleage kept mulling over these ideas of feminism and independence. She was a woman who wanted her marriage but also saw the trappings of it. Even with a willing partner, there are parts of marriage that are never quite equal. She gave an example of moving cities. If her husband wanted to move cities, she would be expected to be the supportive, trailing spouse. But if she wanted to move cities, he had to be in the mood and she would be expected to understand if he did not. The duty of it would be on her but it’s not the same for him. This is something many modern women have thought about. No matter how “equal”, there are duties for women that do not seem to loom over men in the same way.

2. In the book, she talked a lot about the Civil Rights Movement in the 1970’s and we gloss over so much of these movements. We know about boycotts, Bloody Sunday, and jail but in her reflection, I heard a much more gruesome story. In one section she talked about a man being jailed, starved and told to act like a monkey in order to be fed. I risk sounding naive here, but these little nuggets felt like a gut punch. I wanted to hear more and this stuck out in my mind long after I left the page.

3. Cleage talks about a rape and her outrage at the act made me ashamed of my lack of outrage at the act. I was immediately interested in how much we have accepted this as a thing and in many ways have given up collectively asking the men around us to “control their own”. As she says, more attention is given to if the woman pregnant from rape has the right to an abortion than the brutal act itself.

4. Pearl Cleage spent a lot of time as a mistress. At times she loved it and at other times she felt used in the process. I found this interesting because a woman this strong, self-aware and pro-woman is not the picture we have in our heads as the “side piece”. This definitely stretched my ideas of full womanhood.

5. After determining she is better off free and unattached for some time, Cleage finds herself in love again and has to decide if she is open to it. She finds it hard at first, to love men, high heels and her brand of feminism all at the same time. The ideas are contradictory. As she comes into herself and starts to understand the patriarchal society around her it’s harder for her to be her “woke” self in the confines of her relationship.

Overall Pearl Cleage’s book was great and left me with a lot of reflections of my own as well as a slight jealousy of her ability to journal so much of her life consistently. As much as we intellectually know that people are people, reading so much about a person you admire is always eye-opening and empowering. I recommend this book and look forward to hearing about the reflections it leaves you with. You can find it here.

 

Goals, Life Assessment, Vision, Better Life

Be a Better Goal Digger

Set Big Goals Today and Get Big Results Tomorrow

When it comes to goal setting, the truth is most of us are just doing it wrong. Our list of “to-dos” are too long and too much of a reach from where we stand today. But I get it, we want a lot out of our lives. We want a body like 90’s Janet, to start a profitable business, go vegan, and go from super single to married all within one year. I am not saying it’s never happened, I am saying it’s probably not going to happen to either one of us.

If the goals you have set are not working out so far, let’s take a step back and consider the real importance of the goals, where you are today, what is your vision of success and what are some action items you can take to achieve your goals.

Before you set goals, you have to decide what is important to you. I am not talking about the things that should be important, but what you really care about. For example, you may know that you need to lose weight, but you cannot seem to get moving on it. Yes, It could be that you are too “comfortable” but it can also be that it’s not important enough to get you going. There is value in forcing it maybe… but be really honest with yourself.

What are you fired up about? Maybe it’s reading more, saving more, or wearing less and going out more. I have found that reaching for the things closer to the top of my list get the ball rolling a lot better than…. for example, being skinny by my birthday; when, If I am honest, I was not skinny last birthday and did not care. Let it go for now.  Find the real goal…the fire starter. It’s odd how it works, you will start to feel “together” in one area and before you know it, you are taking action in other areas because one fire feeds the other.

After you have decided on your goals … the real ones, figure out where you are today. If your goal is to read more, when was the last time you read a book? If your goal is to save more, are you saving now? Access your starting point really well, then figure out what success looks like. Craft a vision of what you want. Your specifics will depend on where you are starting.  These two steps are important to do together. By considering these two factors you are taking stock of where you are and then deciding what would make you happy.

And finally, set some action items. Based on your starting point you may start small or go big. If you are starting small, focus on your baby steps. You may want to go 100% Vegan today but start with some Meatless Mondays. If you are going big, blow it up and create a path to success that gets you to your goals faster. Also, Do not try to work on 10 things at once, pick 2 or 3 goals, prioritize them and get moving.

 

 

 

Lisa Live Well Blog

After 20 Interviews in 30 Days, This is What I Learned

Being laid off was hard but the race to find a new (and better) job was even harder

The only thing that sucks more than the uncertainty of being laid off is looking for a new job. It’s a grueling process to look for work when you are out of work.  Part of you wants to climb the ladder and other parts of you want to just be hired by someone…anyone… please! I was laid off just over a year ago and after receiving the crushing news, I drowned my sorrow in a bowl of Pho and set off to work on it. After about 3 days of applying,  the interviews started to roll in, and I was excited that my resume was kicking ass! By the end of about a month, I’d had 20 interviews and two offers. I was tired, excited and full of reflection. Here are five lessons I learned by the end:

What got you here, will not get you there. I had heard this before but interviewing at this pace sent this lesson slamming into me by force. I am a good interviewer (I think). I know I read “likable and passionate” about my work.  I know these are my strengths. Early in my career I leaned on these two things a lot and got jobs rather quickly because of it.  The lesson of my needing to step it up came when interviewing for a job that was out of my league, as a marketer for a local TV network. I came in smiling, eager, showing how much I really love my work and by proxy will love to have this job. I bombed. I told myself it was not that bad at the time but I can be real here – it was terrible. What I missed? I leaned on those old strengths instead of really focusing on showcasing my skill set and understanding the industry. I could have still not been what they wanted but at this moment, after not getting a callback, I felt my interview game plan shift.  Book for reference: Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel

Be Honest. When you are looking for a job while being unemployed, lies are tempting. Being let go is embarrassing and you are eager to please interviewers. You have, to be honest (not negative, but honest). I had two instances where this paid off. First, when interviewing I did not try to hide the gap in my resume, I was upfront about my being out of work. I got a lot of positive feedback about this.  The second was the “what do you think of our website/brand” questions. I hate these questions and I typically dance around them but I had one instance where I didn’t.  I was asked about a certain bike company’s brand and in so many words I said: “it’s all over the place and this is what I think you should do”. I had no idea how it would go over and to my surprise, she loved it and called me in for the next round. It could have gone either way but I was honest and my solution happened to be on par with the company’s thoughts as well.

Leave your desperation at the door. People can smell “trying too hard” from a mile away. Be hungry and not thirsty, as the kids say. You are looking for work, which can be a desperate thing but you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Take a step back and make sure where you are interviewing is where you want to be. If you take something you hate, you will be happy to have it for the first 90 days but soon after, you will be back on the job market. So choose wisely the first time.

Looking for a job is a job. I was more busy looking for a job than I ever was at the job that laid me off. It is crazy. Get yourself into a routine and be organized. I found this out pretty quickly as I was booking two interviews per day a lot. To start, I got all my documents together in one ready to go folder – writing samples, marketing samples, prints of my resume etc. Then my day would often be waking early, studying for an interview at 10 am, after that lunch and studying for another interview at 3 pm. Then going home to study for the next day and send “Thank you for your time notes”.Get yourself into a groove. It makes you confident in the interviews.

And Finally, I learned how much never leaving the job market would actually pay off. Even though I was completely blindsided by my job loss, I was able to move quickly because I was ready. If you have not read my post “Keep Your Resume Updated“, please do... it saved me time and consequently money in the entire process. Looking for a job is hard and looking for one when you don’t have one is even more terrible but it’s doable. 

I hope these tips were valuable to you, I am sure there are more but these are the lessons that have stuck with me over time. If you have an interview tip or experience to share, I want to hear about it in the comments below. 

Don't Be Anyone's Safe Bet

Don’t Be Anyone’s Safe Bet |Thoughts On One-Sided Relationships

Being dependable to others is a great but not when your time and energy are not valued

Not so long ago a good CEO said to his team “Don’t be anyone’s best customer.” He was talking about marketing vendors but I took it to mean so much more. Think about it… no one ever works on the relationships they have already secured. It’s the reason that companies give the new offers to new customers. His point to us was to always be negotiating prices, never just kick back and take what is offered because it’s easy. I am not sure what the others in the room heard but I heard don’t be anyone’s “safe bet” and I ran with the idea. This can be applied to all parts of life but the two biggies are where you choose to work and the relationships you have.

When it comes to the workplace, you want the organization you work for to be actively engaging and growing their employees. Are they supporting continued education and offering opportunities to grow your skill set? It’s important. If you are not growing, getting better, becoming a better leader, then you should think about finding a place where those things exist. And in the reverse, are you bringing ideas to the table, engaged in the industry and adding value? Of course, companies have the advantage they can trim the fat where needed but have you ever considered that you may need to do the trimming or at least ask for more in the relationship? The point is not to be job hopping but you should not park yourself someplace forever and just be “happy to be there”. You should be looking to get to the next level, all the time.

A similar thought can be applied to relationships. Have you ever been in a relationship where you are the only person initiating the texts or the suggestions to get together…and the other person has an 80% flake rate? Sucks, I know. But you girl, have become this person’s “if nothing else better comes along, I will meet up with you” friend (or date if it’s romantic). No one likes this. You should not tolerate this. Your friends should be working on having a friendship with you just as hard as you are with them.

The point is that relationships of every kind are “give and take”. For the most part, people consider this romantically but it’s easy to forget in other areas because frankly, it’s too easy to coast. We coast at work, we cost at play and we cost in where were spend our dollars (ie. that bank you should have left years ago). Our job is to get as much out of the things we care about as we give them. Right now – take stock of some areas in your life and start the process of getting rid of things/people/places that will not or cannot serve you and feel free to share the results!

Happy Library Lovers Day

Happy Library Lovers Day

I Just Really Love Libraries

Libraries are the center of communities, a place kids can have story time and adults can get materials for free. For as long as I can remember, I have loved Libraries. It is my most consistent form of self-care. I have been hanging out in them my entire life.

Being one of four kids, It was always a free get-a-way for us.  I still find joy in browsing the aisles, judging a book by its cover and plopping down on the floor to thumb through it. If you have not been to your local library lately, maybe today is a great day to do so!

Winter Style

Shaking off The Winter Style Blues

My Tricks for Shaking off the Winter Style Blues

Let’s start by stating “ I really hate being cold”. If you are allergic to frosty temps as well, you may also feel like the Michelin Man during the winter. After weeks (or months) of wearing whatever is warm and waiting until the last minute to leave the warmth of bed, your attention to style has well … dwindled. But we can jump start it again without spending money (unless you really want to).

Start the night before. It’s Sunday night, take this time to pull it together. Do some home relaxation by taking long, bath, shaving….finally, wash your hair (use the good stuff), do the mask, the salt scrub or whatever you have at your disposal. Your job here is to feel pretty – you know exactly what I mean. Also, lay your clothes out and be sure to overdress a bit. Find your tights, good shoes and a dress of course. Get it ready.

Get up early. It’s Monday morning! Yay. Get up early and take special care to do your makeup and hair. Dress carefully. You will not want to, but you are faking fabulous until you feel it, so do it. Getting yourself out of a frump slump is all in your head and certainly all action.

Now, take a look in the mirror – you look great and feel great, right? Good. Do it again tomorrow.

May the Slay be with you.

Lisa Live Well, Black History Month

It’s Black History Month| 5 Books on Black History You Must Read This Year

Happy Black History Month, Sis

I have not always loved black history month. I thought it felt …false. Black people are woven into every American story. From revolutionaries like Crispus Attucks in the 1700s to Barack Obama today – you cannot have the country we have without them. So the idea that we have just a month to celebrate these great and brave Americans feels marginalizing. While I still feel like it would be better to have black history intertwined into American story all year, now that I am older I have come to accept and enjoy it.

Black History Month (BHM) is a time where I delve into a history I am both familiar with and surprised by. There is so much to explore, I spent one BHM just reading about black women and another researching well-known figures to gain a truer knowledge of them. The history books have missed so many of the stories of all kinds of Americans – it’s an honor now to take the month to surprise and delight myself in a history about myself and people I love. If you are looking to do the same, here are some great places to start:

Books on People and Race:

Freedom Summer: The Savage Season of 1964 That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy by Bruce Watson  

Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine


The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

For Movies, PBS does it the best!

Click Here, to find 10 Must Watch Black History Documentaries.

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