When I Grow Up

Even though I’m officially out of the 18-24 demographic and considered an adult, I still feel like I have a ways to go in terms of becoming a Grown Woman. You know, the boss chick who walks in and has presence. She’s smart, well-put together, and totally self-possessed. While there are a lot of potential sheroes out there for me to emulate- Michelle Obama, Oprah, or Kerry Washington to name a few- my ultimate classy dame role model is fictional. Jessica Pearson from Suits, as portrayed by Gina Torres.

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My favorite part of any Suits episode is whenever Gina Torres is on the screen. Her character is the senior named partner at  a top New York law firm. She swims with the sharks every day and always manages to come out on top, even when it’s her blood in the water. She steals every scene she’s in by deftly dressing down bad boy lawyer Harvey Specter, his protege Mike Ross, and Louis Litt (Harvey’s self-appointed nemesis).

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But even though she is undoubtedly the HBIC, Jessica never loses that feminine touch. She’s the queen of substance with style and she’s got a wardrobe to die for.

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Of course, Jessica isn’t a real person. But she presents herself the way that I want to be seen in my professional life. Poised, confident, polished, and always the smartest person in the room (or at least, the one who’s done the most research). It inspires me to try even harder at my job, seasonal part-time though it may be. It never hurts to overachieve and while first impressions last the longest, they can be changed. While I’m excellent at what I do, I’ll admit that I could better look the part. It’s time for me to drop some of the habits I developed in college and grad school (like staying up past my bedtime and not waking up early enough to fully put myself together). While I can’t afford designer suits or a weekly blowout, I can step up my business casual and throw on some lipstick and eyeshadow so that I people don’t mistake me for a high-schooler.

Who is your professional role model? Do you have any tips or tricks for looking put together at work?

The Return of Eloquii

Well, the wait is over.

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The new Eloquii has arrived and it’s completely different, but in a good way! Even though I don’t have a heavily trafficked blog in general, “Dear Eloquii” continues to get multiple hits a day and is by far the most popular post on my site. So I thought it only fitting that I blog about their return to plus-size retail. My first impression? I was blown away. The new Eloquii is sleeker and more daring than before. There wasn’t a single frumpy tunic top in sight! Instead, there are lots of beautiful, unique pieces that look exquisitely tailored. The attention to detail is key: lace insets on an otherwise typical floral blouse, a faux leather bodice that edges up a tulle dress, an asymmetric peplum hem. I love that there are a variety of hemlines and sleeve lengths, including a sexy crop top sweater. Eloquii knows that thick girls like to show skin too! ;-) The fashion is seriously on point in this resurrection and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of their new stuff.

The only potential  downside is that the improved quality and styling naturally mean higher prices. Shipping rates are now set according to how much you spend, and the markdowns are (smartly) not as deep nor as frequent as they used to be. Of course, everyone has different budgets so this may not matter to you. But since husband and I are moving back out on our own next month, we’re pinching pennies. I’ll have to wait until our next paychecks in order to responsibly indulge my shopping habit at Eloquii. But judging from the new pieces that dropped this week, I’ll still have plenty of goodies to choose from.

Stay tuned for an after purchase review within the next month! Meanwhile, some pics of my favorite pieces below.

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Houston vs. Atlanta

There are some very, ahem, unique things about Houston. It’s a totally different experience from living in Atlanta for sure. Below are a some of my observations about my new home state.

Patriotism. You can’t drive more than a 2 or 3 miles without seeing a flag. And please believe that wherever you see the American flag, you’ll see the Lone Star flapping proudly next to it. There’s a reason why everybody knows the phrase, “The Great State of Texas”.  People here are Texans first, Americans second. Get with it or shut up.

The food. It’s EVERYWHERE. There must be 40 places to eat within a 2 mile radius of our house, and that’s a lowball estimate. And they take their meat seriously here. You can’t go two blocks without seeing a barbecue or burger joint. Fortunately, there are also a good number of gym chains, no doubt in response to the growing tide of gluttony.

The men. Yes, I’m married (and happily so!) but I still get hit on.* And as a person who likes aesthetically pleasing surroundings, let me tell ya there’s a lot of eye candy around here! They’re taller (sorry but tall men in Georgia are in short supply**), muscular (must be all that Grade A beef), and know how to talk to a woman. By that I mean, they’re polite and full of compliments. Not in a sleazy way, but in a “we appreciate women” way. Husband says that over here, guys figure out that talking to a Texas woman the wrong way could you slapped in the face so they come correct. HA! Atlanta is a totally different story. There male/female ratio is skewed in the men’s favor and it’s diluting dating market. I keep saying I’m going to find Sunny a job here so she can move and land her a nice strapping Texas cowboy. LOL!

The weather. Texas (well, Houston at least) is not the dry desert that many people think it is. There is PLENTY of rain. And unlike the multiple flash thunderstorms that sweep across Georgia, often lasting an hour or less, rain in Houston is consistent. If the day starts out raining you’re probably stuck with it. One time in November it rained for 4 or 5 days straight :-/ And there’s humidity too, unfortunately, so rain doesn’t always mean that things cool off. I have yet to experience the legendary Texas summer heat, but I’m told it starts in a few weeks.  O_O

Fences. Texans mean business about property lines. But given the fact that they have almost the same Stand Your Ground law as Florida, it’s helpful to have an obvious visual cue as to whether you’re on someone else’s property or not. Because otherwise, you could end up dead.

Lack of trees. There’s a good amount of grass and scrub brush, and a few palm trees, but no real trees in sight. The beautiful fall foliage is entirely absent from the landscape. On the other hand, that means pollen is minimal and I can breathe all 12 months of the year. I’ll take it. Who needs real trees when you’ve got screensavers?

Gas prices. Being in oil country means that gas is cheap! My jaw dropped when we crossed over the state line and I saw the price per gallon started with a “2″. GLORAAAYYYY!  *\o/*

To be continued….

*This may have something to do with the fact that Husband and I both forget to wear our wedding rings at least once a week. We’ll get the hang of it eventually :-)
**Pun not intended, but I giggled anyway.

Solomon’s Prayer

Behind every happy ending is a story.

I’m not normally vocal about my spirituality. Religion has always been deeply personal to me. But this year I’ve been working on strengthening my relationship with God. Praying more, reading the scripture, and focusing on honoring my mind and body. I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking because I turned 26 recently, an age which I never really contemplated. I knew that at 22 I’d have a college degree and by 25 I’d be done with grad school, but past that, the pages of my life were yet to be written. I want to make sure that they’re filled with good stuff, so I’ve been trying to bring God into my consideration of the every day. Today I was thinking about “the grass is greener” syndrome. In the age of Instagram, it’s all too easy to look at everyone else’s life and pass judgment. “How did she that?” “He didn’t do anything to deserve this.” “Why can’t I have…[fill in the blank]?” Despite our recent brush with unemployment and still living in his parents’ house, Tex and I are deep in newlywed bliss. So much so that strangers have commented on how happy we are in each other’s company.* So here’s my part of that story.

The ins and outs of love have always fascinated me because I used to think it was unattainable. And as a teenager, before I started dating, sometimes I would wonder why some girls seemed to have it so easy. Why did they always have some cute boy doting on them and not me? I was just as pretty and smarter to boot.** And because I’m a sensitive yet analytical creature***,  I put it all in my journal. I made lists of my good and bad traits, as well as an exhaustive inventory of the characteristics I wanted my ideal boyfriend to have. From there I made different iterations of my top 10, 5, and 3, dissecting how best to sum up what I wanted and needed. And then I prayed. I remember the story of Solomon as a young boy. When God offered to grant him any wish his heart desired, Solomon chose wisdom. Since God hadn’t come to me in a dream and asked for my one heart’s desire, I decided to pray for the entirety of what would make my life complete. I prayed for a cute, sweet boyfriend who would respect me, listen to me, and make me laugh, I prayed for the discernment to know who deserved my love and trust and who didn’t. And because I knew that too many heartbreaks would make me shut down emotionally, I prayed that if I had to experience a bad relationship to learn a lesson that it wouldn’t happen more than once or twice. I prayed this prayer dozens of times over the years, and occasionally cried myself to sleep while saying it. Middle and high school were rough for me. I had a few good friends but still felt very misunderstood. At a time where everyone else tried to fit into a box, I wanted to embrace my full complexity. My siblings got me, but of course that didn’t fill the void of romantic companionship. I wanted someone who would be my best friend and adore me even when I was difficult. Lo and behold: about 10 years, one silly boyfriend, and one cheating boyfriend later, I got everything I prayed for and more with Tex.

I tell this (awkward at best, pitiful at worst) story to say that you get what you pray for. If you pray for a job, you’ll get one. But it may not be full time, or pay the salary you want, or be in the city you most want to live in. Pray for a car and you’ll get one too. But it might be a lemon with no juice left. Nearly everything good that I have, I prayed for. I prayed to do well in college and get a scholarship to grad school. I paid for passing or better grades on my law school exams. I prayed for friends who would stick by me even when busyness, distance, etc. made it inconvenient. But even with that, I had to have patience. If you told me at 15 that I’d be happily married at 25, I probably would have been dismayed. That’s a whole decade, after all. But in the end it happened sooner than I thought and right on time. And the wait actually made me a better wife. You see, all those years I spent dateless I lived vicariously through the rest of the world. I read everything from Cosmo magazine articles to books about relationships. I listened eagerly to the dating exploits of my friends and soaked up every nugget of wisdom my brother and sister were willing to dispense. But most of all, I tried to build an interesting life of my own so that my future partner and I would always have something to talk about.

So stop worrying about what you think you should have. Go pray for it, and then go and make yourself worthy of it. You’ll never quite meet the mark, but the trying will get you as close as you can possibly be.

 

 

 

 

*And FYI Maya, we are not kissing & canoodling in public like we used to. I know you were making a face. :-p
**What can I say, I’ve never suffered from a lack of confidence regarding my intellectual prowess.
***ISTJ on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

 

New Lang Syne


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I really need to stop worrying so much.

It never fails. Just when I’ve hit rock bottom and gotten to my most anxious and finally decide that instead of making myself sick, I’ll just let God do His thing, something amazing happens. In this case, I got a second tutoring client and MY HUSBAND GOT A JOB! I’m excited but it also doesn’t seem real yet. I’m so glad for him though. Unlike me, he’s know since he was young what he wanted to do, and he’s passionate about only a handful of things. There are easily a dozen different things that I get excited about, so even though I’m underemployed I still have many other things to console me. Plus, since I haven’t yet taken the bar I know I can’t do what I want to do right this second. He had no such limitation, which I’m sure made it even harder that nobody would give him a chance. But he finally got it! I remember praying for the Lord’s favor over his interview (thanks to Joel Osteen’s sermon about being favor-minded). I always pray that he performs well in the interview, but I think I was praying for the wrong thing. God’s favor will cover you regardless of whether you make a mistake.

I’ve decided that I need to get serious about my total well being in 2014. I don’t want to call it a resolution because that’s too often associated with thought, not action. I’m making a firm commitment to myself to be as conscientious about my physical and spiritual health as I am about my emotional and mental health. I’m always trying to learn, absorbing new ideas and nurturing positive relationships. However, the other part of my life is out of whack. I’m not as fit as I could be, and God and I can be more like long lost childhood friends than BFFs. Only I can change that, though, and it starts from the inside. I’ve started a reading plan on my Bible app to get back into the Word, gotten a gym membership with Tex (we want to get fit together!), and will be dipping my toe into clean eating with a 21 day challenge. I’m excited, a little bit nervous, but I’m ready. 2014, hear I come!

 

 

Spaceships

“I’ve been workin’ this grave shift/ and I ain’t made sh*t/ I wish I could, buy me a spaceship and fly. . .”- Kanye West

I spent my New Year’s Day working. Although the store wasn’t that busy, I clocked out feeling drained. Retail/customer service work is light on pay and heavy on emotional labor. Smiling and being pleasant even though the person in front of you is all but calling you an idiot. Swallowing a snarky reply when the voice on the other end of the line is serving up attitude because they don’t like the answer you gave them. It’s hard. Bad enough that I’m working way too hard for the minimum wage I’m getting, and that I haven’t yet found a position that in any way utilizes my natural talents or the skills I developed through 7 years of postsecondary schooling. Nope, I’ve got to put up with being belittled and pretend that it’s okay. Not to mention that people treat the store ten times worse than they would treat their home. The kinds of trash that people leave and where they leave it is horrifying. (Pro tip: If you didn’t know already, make sure you wash your new lingerie before wearing it if it isn’t in a sealed package. You can thank me later.)

I’ve never been a nightmare customer. My parents taught me to acknowledge and respect everyone, even the guy mopping the floors. When I shop, I leave the things I don’t want at the fitting room or back on their proper rack. I throw away my trash and if I have a question, I ask politely because I know that whatever problems I’m dealing with have nothing to do with the person in front of me. So of course I was shocked at the complete and utter disregard that I experience daily. I used to feel a bit miffed when a salsesperson wasn’t appropriately cheerful, or got impatient with me when I asked for help but now I get it. 8 out 10 customers you encounter are helpless at best (asking you for the price without bothering to check the tag, walking through the department they’re looking for to ask you where it is), and a complete a-hole at worst. It’s discouraging. I really want to quit, but I’m holding out for what few post-holiday hours I’m getting because I’m not sure how many I will get doing taxes. I’m only on the schedule for 12 hours my first week, and I haven’t been scheduled past that but I think it’s incomplete. I have an office meeting on Saturday so I plan to find out then. If I can get at least 30 hours a week I’ll have some breathing room.

I hadn’t applied to any jobs since I started the retail gig. I honestly didn’t have time since I was so busy. But things are slowing down and I’ve put in several new applications this week, including a non-profit position much like the one I almost obtained in Atlanta back in the spring. Fingers crossed. It’s only about $30k/yr, but so much more advantageous to my career, in addition to being personally fulfilled. Big bro says things are going to turn around for me and Tex in 2014. I hope he’s right. It’s getting harder to be optimistic but I haven’t given up hope. I know that I’m meant for better things, if I can just hang on through the storm.

“So I’mma live hard, I’mma dream big/ Cause in the end, homie I’m just tryna live good” – Ryan Leslie