As bloggers/influencers, a lot of what we talk about and share is curated and aspirational in nature. But I’m a firm believer in the fact that in addition to being fashionable and fun, we should also aspire to use our influence to make the world a better place. Part of making the world a better place is using our voice to advocate not only for others, but also for ourselves!
In case you missed it, a few months ago, the mega-brand REVOLVE took a group of top influencers on a press trip to Phuket, Thailand. As the content started to go live on their Instagram page, users couldn’t help put notice that the girls on the trip all had one very obvious thing in common—they were all white (or white passing/fair skinned). In addition to there being little to no racial diversity, there was also a noticeable lack of body diversity and users wasted no time calling it out, igniting a media firestorm and the hashtag, #RevolveSoWhite.
A post shared by REVOLVE (@revolve) on Jan 7, 2018 at 6:09am PST
One of the individuals who spoke up about the lack of diversity was blogger and social justice advocate, Valerie Eguavoen (@onacurve). In doing so, she received a response from top influencer and one of the women on the trip, Aimee Song. In her response, Aimee defended and applauded the diversity of Revolve’s team and questioned whether the absence of bloggers of color—on the trip and in campaigns, in general—was simply a result of the fact that they’re “not as known.” The tone deafness of her response was…well…deafening!
What Song’s response failed to acknowledge was just how deliberate brands are when choosing who they’d like to make “known” in the first place. It ignores systemic exclusion. It ignores the industry’s favoritism of a particular (re: lighter) type of influencer. And it ignores the fact that social media growth is equal parts beautiful content and publicity.
There’s always the question of whether the influencers who land top campaigns do so just by virtue of their massive audiences. If a brand wants the most eyes on their products and the highest conversion rates, they hire the influencer with the furthest reach. It seems it’s simple math. No racism, favoritism, or colorism involved. But the reality of social media “stardom” is that no one starts with a million followers. Many of the household names we’ve come to love and adore got that way because they were elevated by other household names. This is not at all to diminish the incredible amount of work ethic these women all possess. Being a full-time blogger is hard work and these women not only do it exceptionally well, but they make it look easy. That is no easy feat and takes a lot dedication and discipline. We could all learn from mega-influencers in that regard.
That said, regrams matter. High level visibility matters. Every time an account with 3 million followers posts an influencer to their page, you can be certain that 2 things will happen—1) more people will know who they are and 2) they will gain more followers. That, too, is simple math. So, to ignore the fact that plus-size bloggers and bloggers of color are rarely given the same stage is shortsighted and clouded by privilege.
The bottom line is even when we don’t have millions of followers, brands who truly want to embrace diversity know exactly where to find us. They prove that when their Instagram feed changes overnight. They further prove it when they they email us in mass quantity when things hit the fan. And if they wanted to place us in positions of higher visibility and make us more “known,” they could.
“Begging for Inclusion”
The other (pettier) part of the conversation is the assertion that bloggers who speak out about these issues are simply jealous. That instead of “complaining” we should either work harder or “start our own sh*t”…rather than beg for inclusion. Such a response ignores the hard work of influencers at every level, but it also places a fork in the road where one shouldn’t exist. While investing in your own community is always important, it’s also not unreasonable for marginalized communities to demand equal space in mainstream society—particularly when it’s their culture that is being exploited and used to define mainstream culture in the first place. I don’t, in any way, think it’s about “begging for inclusion.” It’s about respect—respect for the work we do as content creators and respect for us as human beings worthy of such respect! I also don’t think we have to choose between either course of action. We are allowed to create our own lanes while also holding the brands who, more often than not, use our cultural contributions for their own personal gain—while actively excluding us from their platform—accountable for their discrimination. Requesting a seat at a table we played a big part in building is not begging. It’s the very definition of investing in one’s community. It’s self-advocacy. And while none of us want to stay where we aren’t welcome, I also don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to take that table—their brand equity, reputation, and profit—with us when we leave.
However, it is also my belief that how we, as influencers, confront the “jealousy” response, is by first being very clear in our demands and then by knowing our worth when what seems like an opportunity is presented. It’s not enough to say yes to free clothes and, as I’ve said before, it’s not enough to walk through the door if you aren’t going to leave it open for others. So, when Revolve reached out to me in the height of their media firestorm, I decided to put my money where my mouth is. In my response, I welcomed the opportunity to make the conversation about more than free clothes and trips. I wanted to have a genuine conversation about diversity and map out a plan for more holistic inclusion going forward. I was less than impressed—in fact, I was furious—with Revolve’s response. As much as it’s important for men in Hollywood to talk openly about their salaries or for white actors and actresses to incorporate inclusion riders in their contracts, I feel it’s important that I use my position as an influencer to ensure brands are doing more than engaging in lip service and tokenism.
It is for that reason, I’m sharing the exchange.
The conversation began like any other brand outreach. Timing aside, it was a pretty standard email. I wanted to be fair and give them the opportunity to lay out their plans. I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t shutting down the conversation before it started. So I simply requested more details. It should be noted at this point that the “more details” I received was a 3 sentence email offer to be brand ambassador in exchange for 2 free pieces of clothing a month. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. And I expressed as much. The response I received back nearly a week later was even more disappointing. The moment I read it I knew it was a canned copy/paste job because it didn’t address anything I said in my email, but I later confirmed that fact when another blogger sent me a screenshot of the exact same response they received. At this point, I was done. I was so disappointed with the response and exhausted with the entire “conversation” that I kind of just wanted to move on. (Hence, the 2 month delay.) But when I received the same exact outreach email again very recently (from a different account manager), I couldn’t help but feel frustrated all over. Not only was my email completely dismissed, but they couldn’t even be bothered to register what they saw as a ‘no’ and mark my name and email off the list of possibles. The conversation was that inconsequential. There was no change. No introspection. No growth. Does Revolve—and brands like it—really want to give us a seat at the table? Or do they just want to say they made the (often insulting) offer? You be the judge. But at this point, I’m done. Completely. Because sometimes you really can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Hang in there just a little while longer, guys. Spring is so close! Before we know it we’ll be in florals and light layers. But until that finally happens, what better time to do a little pre-spring cleaning and maybe even refresh your space with a few new pieces? No time like the present!
Z Gallerie just launched its new Spring/Summer collection and I’d say that’s a great place to start. But I warn you, you may not make it anywhere else because everything in store right now is amazing!
Photo credit: Jules Kennedy
I recently took a trip to my local Z Gallerie and did a little shopping of my own. While I already have the bulk of my staple pieces for my apartment (I know, I know. I keep teasing a tour), I’m always on the hunt for the perfect accents and accessories and no one does accents and accessories quite like Z Gallerie. Whether it’s a ceramic planter, accent chair or adorable puppy tray, you can be sure that every piece is going to be extremely luxurious and ultra glam.
How gorgeous is this bedding situation? It makes me feel like maybe I should go out and get a bigger place just so I can have room for another bed. In the meantime, I made myself right at home in this one. And yes…it’s a comfortable and luxurious as it looks.
I already own two of these Mongolian pillows in my bedroom (in gold), but I definitely see more of them in my future. I’m obsessed with textured accents and these oversized pillows are about as good as it gets.
I’m obsessed with all things chandelier these days—especially this very modern one. Unfortunately, I have all recessed lighting in my apartment and therefore no place to hang one, but that should stop you from buying one and then inviting me over!
I could go on for days about all the things in-store and from this new collection that I love, but it’s probably best if you check it out for yourself. To see more of the full collection and shop my picks, head over to Z Gallerie’s website and grab yourself out something nice!
I’ve been very fortunate in that press trips have become a pretty common part of my job these days. But I have to say this is one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. International travel is always great, but it was nice to explore the US for a change and visit am unexpected place in my own backyard. For this trip, I joined 3 other bloggers—Lisa, Rebecca and Ashley—at Utopian Luxury Vacation Homesproperty in Park City, UT.
I’ll be there first to admit, I never had any plan of every visiting Utah. It’s reputation kind of precedes it and doesn’t create much of a draw for the average person. But I also have to admit that I’m really glad I said yes to this opportunity, because there is so much more to the state than we give it credit for. Not only are the views amazing, but even the people are incredible nice.
There are traditional houses and then there are the type of homes you’d expect to see on an episode of MTV Cribs. This vacation home—managed by Utopian Luxury Vacation Homes—is the stuff of dreams. You walk in and you’re immediately impressed. With 6 bedrooms, 8 baths, 3 fireplaces, floor to ceiling windows in every room, heated floors, and a built-in speaker system that can play music throughout the entire house, everything about this house is grand!
I was lucky enough to have my name drawn for the master suite. Jackpot! In my room there was a walk-in closet, fireplace, a sit down tub and spa style shower accented with a balcony and a gorgeous view of the mountains.
I made sure to take full advantage of all the amenities my suite had to offer. I unpacked and made myself at home in the closet, I luxuriated in the tub and I made sure to have tea out on the balcony despite the nearly subzero temperatures. The view was totally worth it.
And that’s just the upstairs!
Downstairs there is an entertainment space with a flat screen television, pool table, pingpong table, Xbox system, a heated pool, jacuzzi and a small kitchen perfect for mixing up cocktails. It’s the perfect party pad! Definitely putting this on my list of possible venues for my future bachelorette party (scheduled for summer 2045).
If a family vacation is more your speed, don’t worry…it works for that, too. The home sleeps 22 people and even has bunkbeds in several of the rooms.
If you guys remember my trip to Finland, you know snowmobiling is my jam! Having grown up in the South and only seeing snow once before moving to NYC after college, you’d think I wouldn’t be a natural at something like driving around in several feet of snow…but as it turns out, I’m a woman of many hidden talents.
The guys over at Red Pine Adventures took us out on the most amazing trail. What I loved about the trail is that it wasn’t just flat snowy terrain. There were tons of hills and curves to feed my inner adrenaline junkie. There was even one hill that I may or may not have said a brief prayer before heading down. But I can neither confirm or deny that fact.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner so love is in the air. But if you’re like me and you’re single, it’s not always the easiest day to get through. Especially in this world of social media where literally everyone seems to be in a happy healthy relationship with some of the finest people you’ve ever seen. (Yaaaassss ‘careful curation’!!! Lol.)
The great thing about love is the fact that there are so many different types—romantic love, love of food, the love you have for your friends and friends. This Valentine’s Day I wanted to focus on friendship and the love I have for the strong women in my life. So, I put together an imitate Galentine’s Day dinner with PRE Brands for a few of my gal pals.
When I started planning this dinner, I knew I wanted it to have an intimate feel. I wanted all of my guests to feel both surrounded by love and safe to let their guards down. So, I set out to create a really non-traditional Galentine’s Day setup.
Before all of my guests arrived, I was treated to a private cooking lesson with Chef Sarah from PRE Brands. It was her job to teach me to cook the perfect steak and keep me from burning their gorgeous kitchen down in the process.
I will be the first to admit I’m a “cook to eat” kind of girl. I don’t really enjoy the act of cooking…just the eating. I truly admire those people who use cooking to relax and even more the ones who pour themselves into every meal they prepare so their dinner guests always feel a small measure of their love. So, during my lesson with Chef Sarah, I really wanted to focus on finding the joy in cooking.
The first step in that process was taking the “anxiety” out of cooking. You know, all those questions you have—“Will it taste good?”, “Is this done?”, “Who has time for this nonsense anyways? I’m starving!”—that make you throw in the towel and order takeout. (O, just me?)
Chef Sarah helped me tackle each of my questions one at a time.
Will it taste good? Well, the work here was all but done. All PRE Brands is 100% grass fed premium meat with no hormones or antibiotics. I really appreciated this because my 2017 “resolution” was to make healthier choices when it comes to eating meat. I can confidently say I will never be a vegan or vegetarian ever, but I recognized that there was probably a healthier way to go about consuming meat. Using high quality organic beef is a step in the right direction and PRE had me covered.
Bonus: Pre Brands’ products are Whole30 approved and certified Paleo and Keto!
Since the majority of the flavor profile comes from the meat itself, we simply seasoned with large grain salt—massaging it in to insure it was soaked into the cut—and a little grapeseed oil for extra fat and crispiness.
Next, Chef Sarah taught me how to tell if a steak is done.
The first way is to simply set a timer. The perfect medium rare steak (I’m judging you if you prefer yours at a higher temperature) only needs to be cooked 3 to 4 minutes on each side. The second way is to feel the “bounce” of the steak. When you press your tongs against the cooked steak, it should have the same amount of “bounce”, or give, as the meaty part of your palm closest to your thumb.
And because the perfect steak only take 8 minutes to prepare, you absolutely have time for this delicious “nonsense”! (Just make sure you give it time to rest and allow the juices to redistribute before you cut into it.)
We topped the steak off with an amazing chimichurri sauce and olive oil and Chef Sarah finished out the menu with grilled balsamic carrots with almond cheese and kale mashed potatoes. It was all so delicious! I’m drooling a little just thinking about it!
The dinner conversation was not at all what I had expected. Also immediately we delved into the topics of love, friendship, race, political and social activism, and the differences in the Black experience across the African Diaspora. It was such a much needed and cathartic conversation.
We laughed. We cried. We bonded.
All in all, it was an AMAZING night and I’m so grateful to these amazing women for making it a special experience and to PRE Brands for not only serving up this delicious food and life lessons, but also for providing a safe space for us to come together as women and celebrate each other.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been looking for the perfect puppy to adopt for the past month or so. If you know me in real life, you know the search has been more like 6 months. I’ve been saying for months how I finally felt emotionally and financially ready to own a pet, but for one reason or another I never had the time to actually find one. Well, once I wrapped up all my traveling and projects for the year, I put all my energy into adopting a puppy. And man did it take a lot of energy—of the emotional variety.
I knew I wanted to adopt as opposed to buy, because I strongly believe it is the ethical thing to do. Why buy when there are so many adorable pets waiting to be adopted and snuggled? That’s really the long and short of it for me. So I set out to scour all the Chicagoland shelters. And when I say “all” I really mean ALL. I searched shelters as far as 250 miles away. Have puppy? Will travel!
I mentioned earlier that it was an emotional process and it was. A few weeks before I actually adopted my bundle of cuteness, I fell in love with another puppy—a short haired golden retriever. My goodness she was cute! I submitted an application for her right away…and then stalked her picture all day long. Unfortunately, I received an email a few days later letting me know that she already had an adoption pending and that there were 30 other applications in front of mine “in the event her pending adoption fell through.” I was heartbroken. I almost didn’t want to keep looking. There couldn’t possibly be another pup for me out there. But after sulking for a day or so, I got back on the horse. But it happened again. And again. And again. And again. Five missed adoptions later and I was seriously starting to understand why people use breeders. There’s got to be far less heartbreak involved in that process. But I was determined to do what I felt was the right thing. So I kept looking.
Fast forward to New Year’s Eve. While everyone else was out ringing in the new year with friends and family, I was on my couch binging crime shows on Hulu and…yep…searching animal rescue sites. Because I searched them so frequently, I knew if a new animal had been listed just based on the available animal count. As I browsed the PAWS Chicago website, I noticed that the number had gone up which meant there were new animals listed. Among the new listings, there he was! “Sean!”
One look at those eyes and I was putty. I knew I had to have him. But given my track record, I knew I also had to move FAST. The next morning was New Year’s Day and I knew it was likely they would be closed, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I got up early and headed to the Lincoln Park location so I could be there when they opened—if they were open. They weren’t. So I headed back home and took a little peace in the fact that no one else would be able to get him that day. But I would be ready again come Tuesday.
Tuesday I got up, didn’t even bother changing out of my pajamas or putting on make up and practically ran down to PAWS. I arrived at 11:35 (they open at noon) and luckily the staff was kind enough to let me wait inside because it was freezing! (Don’t worry. I had on approximately 6 layers and was prepared to thug it out.) There was no one else waiting when I arrived, but as 12 o’clock got closer, people started to pour in the door. On the outside I was calm, but inside I was panicking. Were they here for Sean, too?! I was sizing up every person who walked in the door and calculating whether I could take them in a fight.
When they finally opened Dog Town, I made a beeline to a volunteer and had her take me straight to Sean. A brief walk later and there he was! …Asleep. Lol. All the other puppies in the kennel with him were up and playing with each other. He was clearly not a morning person and opted to get his beauty rest. But even in his sleep, he was the cutest thing I’d ever seen. So I camped out in front of the door and waited for a volunteer to come get him so I could meet him. As I was waiting, another couple walked past and the woman stopped mid-stride, pointed at my puppy (yes, mine) and said, “OMG! I want that one!” I thought to myself in that moment, “Over my dead body, lady! …and not even then!” I knew that as long as he didn’t do something totally psychotic like bite off one of my fingers, he was going home with me. Period. End of story.
A few moments later I was in a room waiting to meet this animal I had been internet loving on for days. It felt like weeks before the volunteer actually brought him in. What was taking her so long?! Sheesh! But when he rounded the corner and beelined straight to me, all the stressing and waiting was totally worth it. I loved him immediately! SOLD! (So to speak.)
As they took him back to his kennel to wait while I filled out the paperwork, a small group of people had gathered in the hall to look at a few of his kennel mates. The second they saw him the group collectively went nuts! Not even kidding. Absolutely nuts. Everyone wanted to meet him and hold him. I beamed with pride as the volunteer told them, “Sorry guys. He just found his forever home.”
Paperwork complete it was time to take my new buddy—renamed ‘Bash’ (short for ‘Wabash’. #ChicagoOverEverything)—home. When they brought him from the back, another woman in the lobby turned to her husband and said, “Honey, that’s the one I wanted!” She asked me if she could pet him and I, of course, told her yes. It was the least I could do. I knew what she was feeling in that moment. It’s not a good feeling.
As we took our first picture together and prepared to head out the door, the woman’s husband looked at me and said, “It’s a good thing you got here before us, because we definitely would have taken that little guy home.”
It’s a good thing indeed. Welcome home, Bash.
An extra special thank you to PAWS Chicago for rescuing this little guy from a kill shelter in Tennessee and making it possible for me to meet my new best friend. If you live in Chicago and you’re looking for a companion of your own, I highly recommend you check their website for available pets. You won’t be disappointed.
Being an entrepreneur has its pros and cons. While being your own boss is certainly a pro, feeling like you never have a day off is definitely a con. When everyone else has paid days off and office closures for national holidays, for an entrepreneur, the work just seems to keep coming! And even though I recently admitted to not being the best at work/life balance, I’m definitely trying to do better in that department. Which is why I’m so happy to be on my own self-imposed holiday break until after the new year.
I completed my last branded assignment last week and have been taking it easy ever since. And even though my 2018 calendar is already starting to fill up with work and travel, I’m not paying any of it any attention until January 1st…at least!
Can you wear sequins to your office holiday party and still be taken seriously? ABSOLUTELY!
Trying to navigate the space between festive and professionally acceptable can seem a bit tricky. It’s an after work hours party, so maybe the same Monday-Friday rules don’t apply? But the person you’re hoping to get a raise from will also be there. What’s a girl to do? Cover yourself in sequins from head to toe…that’s what!
What about New Year’s Eve? Can I wear sequins and not have people expect me to drop at midnight? YOU BET!
I shopped Orchard Mile’s holiday collection to find the perfect holiday outfit. Their site is one of the chicest shopping destinations on the web and it was super easy to find a look that’s sure to impress coworkers, C-Suite members, and party goers alike!
Orchard Mile carries some of the most sought after designers of every price point and when it comes to selective curation, no one does it better. There were so many great items to choose from that picking just one office party outfit was the hardest part of my job.
One of the really neat things about Orchard Mile is that you can shop directly from each designer all in one place. That means you basically get to curate your own shopping experience from all of your favorite places and really be your own fashion editor. No more hopping from site to site. You can shop full collections in one destination!
Ultimately, I chose a sequin jumpsuit from Rachel Zoe and paired it with a matching blazer of the same designer and style. Both pieces are so luxe and stopped me mid-scroll! I knew I had to have them both.
I love the relaxed fit of the both the blazer and the jumpsuit. It keeps with the high end feel and keeps things office appropriate. Not to mention, leaves plenty of room for dancing and your favorite holiday dishes.
I have to be honest, there were a ton of other pieces from Orchard Mile that I haven’t been able to get my mind off—like this velvet maxi skirt—and I can’t promise I won’t end up owning them all. In the meantime, you should head over and take a look for yourself. I’m sure you have a ton of holiday and office parties to attend in the coming days and with New Year’s Eve right around the corner, you’re going to need something great to wear!
Last night a girlfriend from college came over—to be my taste tester for a new recipe I tried—and we ended up having several glasses of wine and chatting about our lives, careers, etc. After a few drinks, naturally the topic of relationships and dating came up.
The conversation was quite interesting, because while many of our enduring ideals about love and relationships are the same (we’re actually a LOT alike and even share the same birthday), we are currently in two completely different stages of our single-dom. She’s a few years younger than me and considering a career move from finance to med school and therefore has a more “I really enjoy being single and can’t really factor in someone else right now” mindset. Whereas I’m more “Sure, single is cool and I’m happy to go on being single. But I’d rather not, thank you.” Sum it up to say she’s hopeful and optimistic and I’m…tired.
I’m not exactly sure at what point and by whom, but somewhere along the line the question was posed, “Do you think people in relationships are genuinely happy?” We both got silent and said, “I don’t know. Good question.” So being me and never comfortable with non-answers, I took the question to Instagram and boy did I get more than I planned for! I expected a few responses, but I got dozens. And not just “yes” or “no” responses, but really well thought out and heart felt answers.
The responses were so good that I thought I’d bring the question here for further discussion and to pull out some of the reoccurring themes I noticed.
Compromise vs. Settling
One of the very first responses I received was about compromise vs. settling…noting that there was a very fine line between the two. I agree. There is a difference between settling and compromise. However, I think a lot of people do the former and convince themselves they’re doing latter. (There’s also a fine line between compromise and being a doormat. But we’ll come back to that.)
It’s important at this point to define terms. When I say “settle,” I’m not talking about a superficial checklist. I’m not talking about ending up with someone who’s 5’8 when you’d prefer a taller tree. I don’t believe physical attraction should be the last and least important thing on your list (shoot me), but I don’t think not ending up with Idris is necessarily settling either. What I’m talking about when I mention settling is choosing someone who only makes you “kinda happy” simply because they don’t make you miserable. Someone who isn’t emotionally mature (with no desire to learn to be so) or who doesn’t want to grow with you, simply because they don’t cheat on you or because you have children together.
I especially think this is truer among women. But I won’t speak for all women (or even Black women), but rather for myself. As I’ve gotten older and my friends have paired off and gotten married, I can admit to feeling the need to “redress” my wants and needs. On the rare occasions that I date someone, I find myself fending off that voice who says, “He’s successful, driven, attractive, and smart. You’re not going to find that again. TAKE IT!” All of the wonderful resume attributes present, it’s the emotional connection that’s missing. You feel like you’re constantly pulling at this person, desperately trying to bring them closer to you…down the same path, but you convince yourself that relationships take work and, if you throw this catch back, you may not get another bite.
At the end of the day, you compromise because you want the person to stay. You settle because you don’t want them to leave. The goal of compromise is a harmonious life and the result of settling is resentment. Compromise is rooted in love and compassion, while settling is fear motivated. It’s important to be honest with ourselves about just which emotion has us by the reigns.
Everyone seemed to be on same the page with this one—you can’t love someone else fully and wholly if you don’t first love yourself that way. I’ve always been adamant about the fact that I’m not looking for someone to complete me, but rather someone who complements me. I have no desire to stand in front of the man I love on my wedding day and tell him how I wasn’t whole until I found him. Nothing would make me sadder. I want to live my life fully and in big bold colors without someone else so that when the right person comes along we both know I’m capable of sustaining my own happiness without them. But again, defining terms is important.
By “happiness” I don’t mean every day is a cake walk and we never drive each other nuts. I fully expect to drive whoever falls in love with my dramatic self crazy on a regular basis. Lol. But what I mean is that when things get rough, when the money looks a little funny, when work is overwhelming and we don’t spend as much time together, that I am sincerely and genuinely happy with the person I am—in and out of the relationship. That we both still act in each other’s best interest—physically, emotionally and financially—even when things are hard.
The one thing you guys kept saying over and over is that, “Your happiness is not your partner’s job.” And I agree! No one can withstand the pressure of being your everything, all the time. It’s not another person’s job to be my life raft and sole means of [emotional] survival. I also have to learn to swim! I have to love myself enough to be okay when my partners is less focused on me and more focused on their own survival…because it happens.
How Much Is Too Much?
The last point kind of combines the previous two. It’s the idea that you can compromise to the point of losing yourself.
I’ll be the first to tell you I do NOT believe in struggle love nor will I ever be the “ride or die” type. If you’re looking for someone to stick it out while you cheat because “ain’t nobody perfect” and “I’m a work in progress,” you absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, have the wrong woman. I’ll leave you so fast your head will swim. I hate this notion that women—especially Black women—have to accept a man at his worst in order to deserve him at his best. That you have to give and give and give until there’s nothing left in order to prove yourself worthy of love and loyalty. That’s not love. It’s desperation.
Too often we’ve been taught that enduring our partner’s selfishness is simply part of the maturation of a relationship. It’s just growing pains. It’s not. It’s abuse. But no one calls it that. We call it “being understanding.” We call it “strength”—something women are expected to exhibit in unlimited quantity. We label it #RelationshipGoals. So we put on a happy face, smile for the ‘gram and relish in the fact that if we stick it out, we’ll win the prize. They’ll choose us and we won’t have to start over.
But when you’ve given that much, when you’ve bowed to the point of breaking, it’s almost impossible to be happy—with your relationship or anything else. So it’s important to know that when you reach that point, it’s okay to choose yourself. It’s okay to walk away. It’s okay to actually go be happy!
This conversation really took on a life of its own and I wasn’t expecting all the feedback and personal stories you all shared, but in doing so I realized that it’s definitely something we should talk about more. Whether you’re in a relationship and happy, single and happy or somewhere in the middle. We all deserve happiness!
“There are too many mediocre things in life. Love shouldn’t be one of them.” – Dream for an Insomniac
Hey guys! Blake here! I’m here to let you in on yet another secret.
If you’re anything like me, you like to keep a watchful eye on your bottom line…making sure to spend wisely. Well, the holiday season can make that just a little tough. With so many friends and families to buy gifts for and a million and one holiday parties to attend—which, of course, means you need a new outfit for each—the expenses can really start to add up. Which is why I love shopping at Lord & Taylor!
Lord & Taylor carries a wide variety of brands so you can always find the perfect look to fit your budget. I’ve picked out a few of my favorite holiday pieces from L&T all for less than $500 so you can see just how easy it is.
The first item I picked out was a tuxedo dress from Misha Collection. At $270, some might consider this a bit of a splurge piece, but I personally feel its a worthwhile investment. It’s great for the holiday season, but also for so many other occasions beyond that. It’s both versatile (can’t you just see it layered over a great top?!) and timelessly classic. It’s a piece I’ll be able to wear for many years to come and worth every penny.
I paired the dress with a pair of sequined slouch booties from the Jessica Simpson Collection. I really don’t have to say much about them. Just look at them! They’re actual literal perfection! And what I love most about them—besides everything—is that the material holds its shape on its own. So I don’t have to worry about trying to keep them up on my legs. They just stay put and flawless all day!
For a lot of people, the holidays can be really tough. There’s a lot of time spent with family and if you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of family, it can feel a little…less than merry. But one of the great things about getting older and striking out on your own is that you get to establish your own holiday traditions with the people who mean the most to you!
This holiday season, I’ve teamed up with Lucky Brand to share some of my favorite holiday traditions as well as new ones I plan to start this year with friends and family here in Chicago.
Growing up, one of my favorite holiday traditions centered on Christmas Eve. As a kid, it’s hard to top Christmas as a favorite holiday. Because who doesn’t love getting gifts?! It was like you waited the entire year—and if you were young enough to still believe in Santa, being on your best behavior—so you could get everything on wish list. So, my favorite tradition was being able to open one gift on Christmas Eve!
My wishlist was never very long, but instead had 1 or 2 items that I knew there was no way I would ever get them unless it was for Christmas. I usually asked for expensive jewelry or overpriced electronics. So, by the the time Christmas rolled around, I knew almost for certain what I was getting. The fun for me was running full speed at the Christmas tree for the one item I knew was there but couldn’t wait another second to get my hands on.
Another thing I could always count on getting for Christmas was clothes. Now, they were never anything that my tween/teenage self would have been caught dead in, but it was always there. I wish instead that I had gotten some really cool pieces from Lucky Brand instead.
This first look is a super comfy look I would wear for holiday shopping or a casual coffee—well, hot chocolate for me—date with a friend.
A holiday tradition I will be starting this year is a New Year’s celebration at my place for friends. I love the idea of fresh starts and new beginnings and I feel like it’s a great chance to celebrate new goals with loved ones. (I also, like the idea of not having to brave the Chicago winter and large crowds to watch the ball drop with a hoard of strangers.)
This look is something I would wear to such a get together at my apartment. It’s slightly dressy and festive, but still comfortable enough that I can play hostess without having to fuss too much over my clothing.
When it comes to comfortable and unique holiday wear, Lucky Brand just gets it! So, yet another holiday tradition for me will always be shopping their collection.