How Dating is A lot Like Real Estate

I’m that single friend, the friend that everyone else is waiting to fall in love. I am the last of the Mohicans. While everyone is getting hitched, cuffed, and any other term you can think of, I’m packing my bags, loading boxes and moving back home with the folks. I’ve gone from living on my own, to having a roommate, to moving in with a boyfriend, to moving back in with a roommate to ending up back at my parents’ house on the other side of the state. I realized how unstable and nomadic my living arrangements have become and it got me to thinking how dating has become a lot like real estate.

I mean consider it, once you’ve reached twenty-five your biological clock turns into a ticking time bomb and dating now becomes an investment. Things become a little bit more complicated and strategic. There are a bunch of factors to consider, similar to investing in property.

Before you can even buy a house or rent property anywhere you have to get pre-approved. After a series of background checks and credit checks your records will indicate whether you are ready to move forward in the process. Before placing yourself back on the market, you have to do a lot of background soul checking and evaluating and ask yourself are you ready for this. Have you been pre-approved for the dating market? Are you willing to put the effort in to build with an individual once you meet the right person? Credit scores can either make or break you, so are you in good standing with yourself? Do you have a poor self-love score that needs repairing? Is your confidence score fair? What are some areas you need to work on for an excellent score? Sometimes we find ourselves single and lonely and we use people as void fillers instead of filling those voids ourselves and because of that we end up with the wrong people, wasting time.

Nowadays the process of owning property has gotten a lot easier, but those maintenance expenses hurt! Are you ready for that long-term commitment or do you like the idea of packing up and leaving when the time feels right? When dating often times we commit to long-term situations with people who should only be on a month to month basis and we make temporary plans for someone we should be investing in long-term. Is there room for negotiation? Sometimes we go into situations with caution to where we don’t expect anything serious, but find ourselves developing feelings. We become afraid that if we express that to the other person they won’t feel the same way, so is there room for negotiation if things begin to take a different path?

Before investing in property whether renting or owning we search the list of amenities to see if this place suits our needs or if we’re just paying for four walls. Does this place offer private parking? Are utilities included? Standards are very important when dating and building with others. They should address our fundamental needs and be mirrored in what we have to bring to the table as well. The older we get the less time we have to be getting blindsided by curb appeal. We need substance something that brings more than just good looks. Just because they look good on the outside doesn’t mean they’re of value on the inside.

Last, but not lease where are you looking? Locations are some serious factors when renting or owning property. Are you in a place with a high market appeal? Is it an expensive location or affordable? Can anybody live in this area or is it exclusive? I mean sure it’s fun to party with the tipsy guy at the bar/lounge, but after that does he have a high appeal? Is he accessible to anyone who bothers with him or is he a good investment?

As I sit in this soul checking, credit checking point in my life, I wonder when I will find an investment worth the long-term commitment.

Punch Drunk Love: Don’t Be That Girl

Shamefully, we can all admit that we have been the type of girl who would give her all to a man without the expectation of getting anything in return. We have all been with a man, whom we have cooked for, paid some bills for, did his laundry, and even cleaned up his place sometimes. As old as time, women have been conditioned to “cater” to their men. We have been conditioned that the only way to keep a man is if we take care of him domestically, play our parts, know our roles, but ladies there’s a difference between being his girlfriend, his wife or worst his mother.

Nowadays, people have the idea of “marriage material” all messed up. Granted, we all have different standards and qualities we look for in a life partner, but if you think cooking and cleaning up after someone equates to you deserving a ring or even a commitment period, then sadly, you are wrong.  Continue reading

Black Family Thanksgiving Tunes Remixed

If your family is anything like mine that means that they are extremely diverse. I grew up with two families. My maternal family and my paternal family who are extreme opposites. Either way there was a lot of love and classic oldies in my ear when I was growing up so I could always count on the good Motown classics to be playing on any occasion.

I remember when I was a kid, my pop pop would bring out his electric guitar and his amp and sit it in the middle of the living room and just play some bluesy strings while my cousins and I pretended to be his back up singers. Of course he would be tipsy off that Seagram’s which made for a very entertaining holiday at the Jones residence. There was always lots of food and loads of cousins. Even now as an adult when I go to my grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner those memories still ring loud and clear, never to be forgotten. Then we would always sit around watching Westerns or Karate movies while my older cousins sat around the living room table fighting over a good game of Spades. Of course I wasn’t old enough to sit at the table. Spades was a rites of passage in my family.

Having two families, I was always excited when I got to go to my other grandparent’s house or my Aunt’s house. Now this is my side of the family with no filter. I could always count on my other pop-pop to be cussing somebody out by the end of the night. Now this is my family where I had a lot of aunts and some uncles. This is my family that always reminded me of Good Times. We would sit around the tv watching blaxploitation films. I learned about Coffee and this was Pam Grier in her prime! Blacula, Superfly, Car Wash, etc. I loved these movies and I’ve always loved my aunt’s Mac and Cheese even to this day and her affinity for Rick James.

Even though my families are two different ones, there is a common bond in the black family household during the holidays and that’s the music. I thought I would find some classics with a new spin on them for us dancing kings and queens and for when that whiskey hits the system.

Thanksgiving has become almost synonymous to Christmas for me. As a kid when you wake up on Christmas the first thing you want to do run for the tree and see what you got and open everything up. When I wake up on Thanksgiving the first thing I want to do is EAT, but of course, we don’t have dinner until around 3pm which gives us enough time to make our rounds before we’re comatose. What time will you be eating dinner?

MOVE OVER GRAMS, THE KITCHEN’S GOT A NEW CREW!!!

Working from Home and Keeping Your Sanity

When I had a scheduled job that I went to everyday Monday through Friday I would often say, “I can’t wait until I can just wake up and write, nothing else.” I couldn’t wait for those work from home days where I could just sit in my PJ’s and write or get dressed up just to go sit in a cafe and type like one of those hipster kids. I thought it was going to be sunny days, outfit of the day posts, free as a bird in the spring and summer. I thought the winter was going to be cozy and easy and relaxed, working from home, but I didn’t anticipate becoming a couch potato, nor was I prepared for the constant cabin fever outbreaks. I wasn’t prepared for the endless…or what felt like endless days since my schedule was completely flexible, and I wasn’t prepared to lose days of the week since Mondays felt like Tuesdays and Tuesdays felt like Fridays and Fridays felt like Wednesdays…you get the point. Don’t get me wrong, working from home has it’s pluses until you find yourself calling upon the Justice League to help you fight the laziness that’s holding you captive in bed. It’s easy to lose motivation, to not feel like doing anything at any given moment and it’s easy to find yourself on the brink of insanity in the walls of your home. So I had to think outside the box to come up with some things to keep me sane when working from home.

Create a creative space that’s conducive to creativity. 

Modern creative workspace on yellow wall.

How’s that for some dope alliteration? But I found that working from home was most unproductive for me when done in my bedroom. A bedroom is a place associated with rest and relaxation and I always found myself sprawled out on my bed lounging and aimlessly surfing the web more than I was being productive. So I went out and got a little table and a nice accent chair and decorated a nice space with colors and art to keep me motivated and away from my bed. It also gives me something to look forward to because I’m excited to sit in my colorful chair in my colorful corner. *sings* “in my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be…” Of course Brandy sung it better.

Get A Change of Scenery

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I spent the past week in Baltimore visiting and touring the city with my significant other, but work had to continue because deadlines were still approaching. Even though I was working on the same content, I felt a fresh sense of renewal doing it from another city in another state. I sat by the harbor jotting notes in my Moleskine while taking in the scenery of the harbor, I toured the inside of an art museum, I walked a college campus and I was also a couch potato in someone else’s house, but the point is changing locations even if it’s as small and simple as walking to the local cafe, coffee shop or library or sitting in a park can make all the difference in boosting creativity, motivation and certainly combating cabin fever.

Step Away from the CPU…and nobody gets hurt!

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No, but seriously in the words of OutKast, you got to get up, get out and get moving. Sometimes cabin fever comes when we refuse to unglue ourselves from our screens. You find yourself having a brain fart and writer’s block and you’re just stuck. The best way to remedy that is to close the laptop, put the computer on hibernate and go do something else for a bit. Finish a workout DVD, fold some laundry, catch up on a missed show episode, make you some lunch or better go and buy you some lunch, take a walk, call a friend, etc. Sometimes you just need a mental break.

Create a routine

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If you didn’t have a 9-5 schedule at an office job and you were told to work around the clock would you? No? So why do it at home? Even though you’re working from home and can do so whenever you please as long as deadlines are being met, that doesn’t mean you work all day. Create a routine and set a specific amount of time aside for work just like you would at a regular office job including lunch and bathroom breaks. When the work day is over, the work day is over.

Captured Memories & Missed Moments

4E37FCD4-AC3D-42AB-A4C0-06840559D13DI had such a vivid dream last night. I was in an auditorium with a bunch of people I’ve met throughout my life: childhood friends, college friends, sorority sisters, co-workers from different jobs, etc. and we were all waiting on something. Something big. It was President Obama and he was coming to speak to apparently a bunch of students at an elementary school, but we were all there. As soon as he entered the auditorium, applause, screams, and cheers erupted. Everyone rushed to him for handshakes, hugs and selfies. I was one of those people, but when it was my turn, I couldn’t get my camera to work properly. The battery had died on me. So I pulled out my camera phone, but the memory was too full and no matter how much I deleted pictures and created memory space, it was still too full. Getting frustrated and feeling rushed, I pulled out another camera phone and whenever I pressed the camera app, it wouldn’t open. It kept crashing. So at this point, I’m getting anxious, the line is moving, my time is almost up so I’m begging people to use their cameras, camera phones, iPads, whatever so that I can take a picture with the President to post on social media. It was an epic fail. I did not get that picture with President Obama. I didn’t have a conversation with him. Nothing because I was too busy trying to literally capture the moment rather than create a lasting memory, gain some wisdom and make a connection. When I woke up this morning that epiphany dawned on me like cracking open a fortune cookie. I thought about how many times in my life I had done this.

How many times have I missed the marked? How many times have I missed out on a good connection, a teachable moment, and a lesson learned because I was too busy trying to capture the moment without making any memories? Think about it, we go to a fancy restaurant with an awesome person (maybe a date or a really good friend) and our plate comes and it’s this beautifully plated meal that we just have to capture. While we’re trying to set the table up to capture the beautiful set  up, our food is getting cold and our date is disinterested. We spend the rest of the date checking our notifications, seeing who’s liking what we’re eating and although we are paying attention to our date, they don’t have our undivided attention.

How many times have you gone to a networking event and didn’t network as much as you could have because you were taking selfies with others and speakers rather than creating conversation?

It’s like hey, I’m here and I want you to know that I’m here, but am I reeeaaaally here? Am I fully present in the moment?

The point is, be present in everything that you do. Put the phone down and make a real connection beyond finding people on social media. If you do meet someone on social media, reach out the them to meet in person if you’re in the same area. Make some new memories.