I'm currently trying to get myself back to a good place financially, so I've been working multiple jobs that keep me out of my house 7 days a week, with zero time to enjoy the simple things like the nice weather we've been getting. However, there was a networking brunch with the Atlanta Chapter of Black Bloggers United that I took off for on Saturday, and both my jobs were closed on Easter Sunday, leaving me with a full weekend off from work to do whatever it was I wanted. Excitement doesn't come close to what I felt!! This has never happened in the last few months of working lol. So believe me when I tell you all I really desired to do was run the city rampant. However, I was too exhausted to do that but still enjoyed myself nonetheless. And the thing is, both days didn't consist of much. On Saturday, I spent the day with friends at brunch soaking up the sun. I met new people of all different walks of life with one similar interest – blogging. It's so great to be in the same environment as like-minded individuals, and bottomless mimosas make the atmosphere that much more fun. Sunday was spent with family; Alyssa and I have been friends for so long that her family has accepted me as their own, so since I've been in Georgia, I spend all the holidays with them. After church, we went to Grandma's house for a family-filled dinner, with nothing but good vibes and even better food. Who knew something so simple could bring so much joy to my life?
Now as I sit here and reflect on the past couple days, I understand how simple it is and how hard I was making this "self-care" concept out to be: self-care is doing things for YOU, taking care of YOU, living for YOU! The fact that two days of no responsibilities excited me the way it did goes to show that I don't do enough for myself. I've got to start setting some time aside for myself. And even with such a congested schedule, I have to make a vow to do so. Special note to all of my hardworking individuals (including myself): Go out, live life, have fun. Surround yourself with great company. Stop putting it off and take the time to enjoy your life while you can, because tomorrow isn't promised.
Throughout life’s experiences, I was programmed to victimize myself when things went wrong. So much so, that it got to a point where I didn’t even question if the other parties were at all responsible…it had to be me. Dysfunction. It’s been one of my least favorable and most detrimental traits. Without laying out my life on a dingy silver plater, it has caused so much confusion in my life and a one-way ticket to a therapist (by the way: black people — stop thinking therapy isn’t for you; you aren't invincible and it’s okay to seek help). Overall, this way of life altered my views of my self-value and knowing what it was I deserved. If you ask anyone that’s close to me, they can tell you that some years ago — even some months ago — I was in a horrible mental state, and it was far from pretty. My mother hates when I claim things over my life but I’m almost certain I was mildly depressed, maybe even more than mild. And the crazy thing about this horrid mindset is that you’re willing to accept whatever you think will make you feel better, even if it’s for the moment. When people start to treat you poorly, you start playing the blame game and feeling like everyone is against you, which turns into a never ending cycle of blaming, sorrow and being mistreated. Let me tell you why this all occurred: you allowed it! Whether you want to believe it or not, you’ve set the tone for how other people can treat you.
That was me — broken and vulnerable, accepting poor treatment. I’ve let people use me for their own personal fixes and pleasures, whatever they may be, only to be left even more broken and vulnerable than before. When I say moving to Atlanta was one of the greatest things I’ve done, I mean that more than I could try to explain. I’ve grown and matured in ways that were once unimaginable. Those same friends and family members can vouch for me that I’m in a much better place, probably the best I’ve ever been in. And that’s because I’ve decided to put me first. I had a long conversation with myself not too long ago and realized the number one person who mistreats me, is ME! I’m way too intelligent and too great a judge of character to have allowed some of the things that I’ve encountered, all because I was trying to fill a void or two. Every time I start to feel down or emotional, there’s always one person I want to reach out to, but we don’t really speak and most times it’s just altogether a bad idea. In this moment of my life, that person is what I consider my relapse, and every time I think about relapsing, I have to think about the repercussions the minute after I make that call or shoot that text. It’ll be good in the moment, but I know how it makes me feel in the end. I had to decide to put myself and my well-being first. Breaking behavioral patterns falls under that. No longer am I readjusting my life so it aligns with the lives of others. No more bending over backwards. I’m taking everything I deserve, and that includes how people treat me. It’s 2018, and if you aren’t reclaiming your time, well, you’re doing it wrong. So, I hope that me sharing some of my truth inspires someone to make the necessary changes in their life towards self-love.
Welcome to Fashion Friday, the Spring edition!
Yes, according to science, despite the low temps, it's officially Spring. That means it should start warming up, but you know, global warming lol. I couldn't be happier because my first Georgia winter was WAY more frigid than I expected. I'd be exaggerating if I said it was brutal but in my mind, the South doesn't experience winter so the fact that we got snow multiple times baffled me. But moving forward, it's time to start shedding layers and adding beautiful bright and pastel colors to our wardrobe (side note: it's also white toes and colored nails season!!). For those of you that keep up with Fashion Week, we saw many trends, some of which are typical for the Spring/Summer season and some that are new & seasonal, all of which can be achieved with our current wardrobe. Remember it's not what you wear, but how you wear it.
Some of my favorite featured trends for Spring/Summer 2018 are: white accessories, prints & patterns, ruffles, and feminine silhouettes, with highlighted colors such as blush/pink, yellow, lilac and pale blue. We already know denim is a staple year-round, so it's displayed in almost all these examples here. Personally, I like minimalism when it comes to accessories so I'm a firm believer that less is more. And with fashion shifting towards smaller crossbody bags versus larger totes, I wanted to show you all how to keep it simple and cute. The clothing is full of texture (which is great for photography purposes). Also, colors colors COLORS!!
So with this inspiration, step into this Spring/Summer season with confidence - full of life, colors and style!
When I was brainstorming what I wanted to write about next, all these quotes were floating around in my head that related to purpose, goals, and mistakes/failures versus success. With it being National Women’s History Month, I felt it necessary to discuss since I’m all about empowering women, especially my melanated ones. We’re in our 20 somethings trying to figure it all out and at times it can be quite difficult (twice as hard, half as good). Then, I remembered an inspirational sermon my mom sent me some months ago called Discover How to Activate Your Potential by Dr. Myles Monroe — if you have a couple hours to spare, please watch it for great motivation. One thing that stood out in the video was when he was discussing vision versus sight, and that was all the confirmation I needed to bring you this month’s words of encouragement: Believe in your dreams.
His description of vision versus sight was broken down like this: vision is the ability to see the end from the beginning, simply meaning our dreams and aspirations are more than dreams and aspirations — it’s God’s way of showing us our future before it happens. Our sight shows what currently is, which often clouds our judgment and deters us from doing the things we KNOW we were destined to do. In other words, we should take the phrase living your best life and apply it to our aspirations as well. Don’t let finances stop you from starting that business or organization, or your lack of writing ability stop you from creating your New York Times Best Seller. And don’t let fear of failure deter you from greatness. What you see doesn't make it permanent because we have the ability to change things in our lives. A friend of mine sends me inspirational quotes every morning so let me share the wisdom — “A mistake is simply another way of doing things" - Katherine Graham -- meaning these are your God-ordained steps leading to your end, because “only God knows what your true divine calling should be in this life”. I’m a firm believer of this; your dreams and aspirations are a result of gifts and talents you have. That thing that's always tugging on your heartstrings, or the one thing you truly enjoy that you just don't find yourself devoting time to; yeah, that's it. Just seek God to help you tap into your gifts. After all, He's given them to you.
My parting words to you are this: believe in your dreams, for they were given to you for a purpose, YOUR purpose. Despite how things may currently look, you’ve already seen the vision. Trust the process. Step into greatness.
How do you price your value? What are the key factors when determining your worth, especially for my new and established entrepreneurs and freelancers? I’ve been asking myself these questions, as this is something I’ve recently been struggling with: putting a dollar amount on my worth. You never want to under or over sell yourself, but as my mom once told me “You can never overprice yourself.” What I mean is, I don't want to price my talents and services too low that I’m seemingly underestimating myself and diminishing my value, or price myself too high in which people won’t want to seek my services (staying away from cheap clients is a whole other topic that I won't even get into). But realistically speaking, who’s to determine how much I’m worth other than myself?
“You can’t please everyone, but you must also be reasonable,” I tell myself.
The answer is quite simple: KNOW YOUR WORTH! When you know what your talents are, and what you are capable of, others won’t question it. People will be beyond ready and willing to pay for your services at your rate because they know it'll be worth it. Be confident in your gift; I promise it will shine through. Demand that respect for sharing your craft with the world. Nobody else can do what you do, like you do.
For any entrepreneurs or freelancers that have some experience under their belts and are kind enough to spread knowledge, leave all gems in the comments please and thank you! We could all use some great advice. The working world wasn't built for people like us, and all we have is each other. Let's support one another!
It's Friday Jr. AKA Throwback Thursday, Style Edition! Most people post throwbacks from ages ago, but honestly, as long as it wasn't in this week or month, we can go ahead and consider it a throwback. Quite frankly, my style has evolved tremendously over the past couple years so all my best moments are semi-recent. Here at TSJ Styles, we're going to take this fun hashtag and highlight some of my personal favorite fashion moments. This week, we're focused on the art of a good shoe. I'm infamous for lazy dressing, so much so that I've found a way to make it look gewdt! The key is a bomb pair of boots, whether they're cute ankle booties or something a little more boss like over-the-knee boots. Either option will turn a simple outfit from "no" to a "go". It's an easy way to achieve an elevated look. Remember, it's not what you have, it's how you wear it.
So join me as I go down memory lane, and give you 7 times I elevated my look with booties or OTK boots. I hope it inspires you to dress up your casual looks!
Black & Denim, October 2016
T-Shirt & Jeans, April 2016
Dramatic T-Shirt & Jeans, May 2017
Sports Luxe AKA "I thought of this in the shower", January 2018
Grey Poncho Turned Dress, November 2016
All Black Errthing (That's actually a Men's long tee btw), May 2017
Brightening Up a Rainy Day, April 2017
As promised, I’m sharing my monthly “Words of Encouragement” from my planner and this month, it’s Do All Things With Love — how fitting! For me, I instantly thought of the law of attraction which is so relevant in my life: if you put out positive vibes and energy, you’ll attract that from other things and people, and vice versa. And who doesn’t want to attract positive energy? I think we could all use more positivity in our lives and in the world. In regards to doing things with love, when you love something, you’re passionate about it and completely involved; you let it consume you and it pours out of you. And often times, you ensure everything about it is perfect. When you do things with love, put your best foot forward. Treat it as if it’s your baby, care and nurture it. And that goes for pretty much anything from your career to your relationships. With Valentine’s Day just last week, let’s remember to do ALL things with love. Treat each other kindly. Don’t wait until the 14th or any holiday to tell your loved ones you care about them or to treat them like royalty. In the midst of the horrible tragedy in Florida last week, and many others like it around the nation, don't wait until it’s too late to express your true sentiments about anything or anyone. Do that ish always — keep that same energy (in the words of whomever was clever enough to create say phrase)! It sounds so cliché to say but spread love. We can never have enough of it!
If you’re like me, you’re single (and what most people call bitter) and probably hate Valentine’s Day. So if you know me on a personal level, you know this is my least favorite Hallmark holiday. Don’t get me wrong, love is such a beautiful thing. But all the extra emphasis on commercializing this day makes me sick, especially when acts of love and kindness should always happen. For us singles, it’s a reminder that we are just that..single. But aside from that, it takes away from the idea of true love and what it means to show someone that you love and care for them. I know there’s someone in the back screaming and calling me a hater… well #bitterbitchgang. I mean if you had all the reasons I have to fear men and commitment, you would too, but that’s neither here nor there.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more keen to the idea that Valentine’s Day does not need to be spent with a significant other. In the spirit of love, the point is to surround yourself with people you deeply care for. In this moment of my life, those people are friends. Both new and old, I can honestly say I have some truly incredible people actively in my life. So this Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to partake in the “festivities” and co-host a cute potluck dinner for my single friends, because what’s better than one drunk single? MULTIPLE!
I noticed I’ve taken a slight break from fashion because at the time, other topics were more fitting and relevant to myself and my audience. But what better way to return than with lovely Valentine’s Day inspired looks? Today, I’m here to help y’all create a Valentine’s Day slay for ALL occasions — date night with bae, girls’ night out, dinner and a movie, you name it. Regardless of your relationship status, go out and have a ball! Enjoy this Valentine’s Day. Remind your significant other or your besties why you got connected in the first place. Live your best life. Do something fun and exciting, and do it in style!
Day-to-Night Look: Work to Casual Dinner
Lunch/Dinner & Matinee
Another Day-to-Night Look
Girls' Night Out
Formal Day-to-Night Look
Happy Valentine’s Slay babes!
I'm sure you all saw this coming, me making my best friend this week's Woman Crush Wednesday. But it's not for the reasons you're probably thinking. I'm not being biased when I tell you that Alyssa Renée is truly a phenomenal, kindhearted, God-fearing woman. Oh, let me (briefly) count the ways she's amazing... For starters, she's probably the most motivated and driven individual I've ever met in life. Her ability to spread positivity despite the circumstances is unmatched, and her spirit is one that the world needs to experience. And not to mention, almost 18 years of friendship is starting to rub off on her because the slayage is here to stay!! But, most importantly, I have the honor to call her my bestest friend and my sister.
Back in September, Alyssa embarked on a two-week journey to Haiti to do God's work. The mission was to help people that are tremendously less fortunate than us live a better life, especially children. Many of them don't have the opportunity to stay with their families due to a deficit in finances, or miss the opportunity to attend school with the closest one being hours away in the mountains; not to mention with their lack of exposure, they only speak French or Creole and often times cannot communicate with individuals who also embark on this journey to assist them.
For those of you that follow her on social media, you know Alyssa eagerly announced that this year, she's been granted a greater opportunity to return to Haiti to continue efforts with the organization she previously ventured on the journey with last year. But this go-round, her trip will be approximately half a year from July to December! During this time, Alyssa will work as a consultant for Frontier Projects Haiti where one of her greater tasks will be teaching English in the orphanage and adult training center built and funded by FP.
Being that I'm with her everyday, I can honestly say I've seen the change in her. Her heart is gold and overfilled with joy now that she's found her life purpose. Her experience in Haiti has completely humbled her beyond explanation. She's so completely eager to continue to help the people of this community.
With that being said, what I ask of you all is assistance in whichever way you know how, whether it be financially or spiritually. This isn't me coming to you to seek help for my friend, it's me seeking help for people that are in dire need; people who aren't given the opportunity to strive for greatness or even the bare minimum to live a somewhat decent life. Every dollar, every prayer counts. I speak for us both when I say whatever you contribute is greatly appreciated. For more explicit details on her trip (both past and future), as well as ways to donate funds to her communal efforts, go view her blog: Creatively Biased.