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Angry about Talladega?

4 Jan

News has been swirling that Talladega College will be performing at the President Reject Trump’s inauguration later this month. And people are not here for it, especially, alumni of the university. A petition has been circulating, asking the school’s president and band to withdraw from the performance. The reasoning is simple; Donald Trump and HBCUs don’t stand for the same things. Donald Trump believes all black people (aside from Omarosa) live in the “inner city,” and uses drastically incorrect facts when referring to black people. But anyway, the point of this essay isn’t to convince you to like or dislike Trump, or even to sign the petition for Talladega’s band to withdraw.
My point is simply this: If you’re angry about the idea of Talladega performing at the inauguration, it is time for you to make a donation to your favorite HBCU. At the end of the day, this is ALL about money. At this time, no details have been reported about what Talladega will earn financially from this performance, but the Trump team has been struggling to find entertainment for his inauguration, and sources have said they were “willing to pay anything.” So, one could see how a struggling HBCU like Talladega could be enticed by a big paycheck, along with the publicity from performing at an international event like this.

talladega

Money Talks. Money Talks. Money Talks. Talladega has been struggling with their finances for the past few years. This is in part due to lack of alumni giving and lower enrollment. In 2010, enrollment at Talladega dropped to 350 students. With that amount of students, it is difficult to keep up with the costs of running a college. This is where alumni giving comes into play. Alumni donations help increase financial support for the college. The donations also signify that its graduates support a particular college. There are educational organizations that donate to schools based solely on their alumni giving rates, because why support an institution that even their alumni don’t support Pride in your HBCU is a great thing to have, but it HAS to be backed up financially.

Many of you heard about Talladega and said, “My HBCU would never…” but let’s be real. The struggle that Talladega College is going through isn’t unique. HBCUs have been struggling. And though enrollment rates are rising, it is still important for you, as an alum or supporter of HBCUs to support financially. So in the words of MY president, “Don’t boo, vote.” But in this case: Don’t boo, donate!

 

 

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Will #ZzzQuil Help Me Stay Asleep??

2 Aug

OMG, so for the past few weeks, I haven’t been able to make it through the night without waking up. I wish I was waking up because I had to tinkle, because then I could understand WHY I was waking up. But that’s not why I’ve been waking up. I really don’t even know why. According to Huffington Post, it may be a sleeping disorder, or some other underlying cause. But I haven’t figured that out yet. If the problem persists, I’ll head to the doctor to try to figure out why.

In the meantime, I’m going to try Zzzquil. I’ve heard a lot about Zzzquil, and how it’s been helping people sleep through the night. So, tonight I’m going to give it a try! I’ll keep you posted on how it helps me sleep! IMG_7302

P.S. I got this Zzzquil from @Influenster to test for free.

Demolish. (Rose-Colored Glasses)

17 May

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. Today’s prompt is DEMOLISH.

“If you hate white people so much, why did you marry Dad?”

That question pained me. “I don’t hate white people,” I looked at my son with intense eyes. “But the injustice going on in the world these days is hard to ignore. And a lot of it comes from white people.”

“All of them aren’t bad, Ma,” he said.

“Obviously, I know that Thomas. Your father isn’t bad. Your grandparents aren’t bad people. In fact, I know plenty of white people that aren’t bad.”

“So why are you telling me to be careful? Like they’re dangerous?”

“Listen, Thomas. I just said all of them aren’t bad. There’s no group of people who are all good or all bad. I’m asking you to look around and see what’s happening to little black boys your age and younger. Pay attention, and realize that the world is a dangerous place for you.”

“But those guys are different from me. I’m not like them.”

My hurt turned to anger in an instance. “You’re not like them?” I asked. He didn’t have a chance to respond. “What makes you different Thomas? You are not special, you’re not different. Your accomplishments and your white father don’t make you better than those other people being murdered.”

Thomas had just gotten his learner’s permit, and I felt it was time to have the talk with him. My intention was to teach him the correct way to treat police officers. I didn’t include my husband in the conversation, fearing his privilege would cloud his vision. I was actually seeing for the first time that my son had his own rose-colored glasses. He didn’t understand the impact that his skin color had on his life. Instead he wanted to argue with me about whether or not I liked white people.

“Are you listening to me,” I yelled and snapped my fingers. “To some of these people, you are nothing but a nigger.”

The word stung coming out of my mouth. I hadn’t used it in all the years since I’d given birth to Thomas. I couldn’t even remember the last time. But, finally I had his full attention.

“I’m sorry, Thomas.” My anger reverted to sadness. “I need you to hear me though. You are an amazing young man. And I love you. That’s why I’m having this conversation with you. The racist people in this world can’t see how amazing you are just by looking at you. All they see is your black skin. And instantly they hate you, before you even open your mouth. And I know it’s 2016, but the danger you face is real.”

I was rambling. I didn’t have the poise that my parents had when they had the talk with my brothers and me. I didn’t have the strength to have the talk either. But I knew it had to be done.

It had to be done. In the 21st century, I had to have a conversation with my child, explaining to him that he’d never be good enough for some people. The world that his father and I created for him wasn’t reality. The sheltered view of life we provided for him wouldn’t protect him in the real world. Pain. Anger. Sadness. It was an emotional rollercoaster that had no end. And it was a rollercoaster my son would be riding the rest of his life, he just didn’t know it yet.

I hated the situation, but I loved him. So as his mother, it was my responsibility to shatter those rose-colored glasses before someone else did it.

Perfection.

14 May

Facebook is not the place to go when you’re feeling sad. In moments of self-doubt, the social network could be your worst enemy. Right in front of your eyes, everyone else’s perfect worlds are on display.

 

They just got engaged. You have no boyfriend, bae, or boo in sight.

He’s traveling the world. You might not even have a passport.

Her job is amazing and fun. You sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day bored to death.

She takes the best, sunlight filtered selfies. Your last pic update got only 9 likes.

 

Their lives are perfect, and it shows in every post, picture, tweet, snap, and update.

 

You’ve just got to remember: perfection doesn’t exist.

Love. (A Hair Story)

26 Apr

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. Today’s prompt is LOVE.

“Wow! I love your hair like that.”

“It’s so long.”

“You look pretty with it like that.”

“I didn’t know your hair was that long.”

“You should keep it like that.”
That was the comment that bothered me the most. That I should keep my hair like that – straight. As if the curls that grew naturally out of my head weren’t good enough. Or, that the hair on my head was for their viewing pleasure. It’s not. It never was. They liked me better when my hair was smooth and straight.
“So, are you going to straighten it again?”
“No.” I said it politely and with a smile. I loved me best with my curls, my coils, my kinks, my ‘fro.

I loved me best when I looked the way God intended.

Why #Goals Are Important. 🍋

23 Apr

Shortly after watching Beyonce’s new visual album, Lemonade, I checked social media for the reactions. The reactions were wide and varied. There were jokes about Jay-Z. There was appreciation for the many Black women in Beyonce’s squad. And of course most of the reactions were to the lyrics, mainly the ones about Queen Bey and Jay’s marriage. But, this post from my Facebook friend stood out to me.

 

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Sooooo, are Beyonce and Jay-Z still ya’ll #RelationshipGoals ?

 

Of course, most of the people who commented on this status answered with a resounding NO. The commenters reasoning made sense: You could see from Lemonade that Jay & Bey’s relationship wasn’t perfect. But what relationship is perfect? [Hint: none.] Just because someone’s relationship isn’t perfect doesn’t mean you can’t learn lessons from it.

Jay-Z and Beyonce’s marriage isn’t the picture of perfection, but they are two intelligent, hard working, powerful individuals. They’re both at the top of their game – winning many awards and accolades. They’ve set and broken records. They share a daughter that they love. They help out various communities. These are all things I’d love to do with the man I’m meant to marry. The Carter’s accomplishments aren’t an excuse for infidelity. I’m simply saying that making someone your #RelationshipGoals doesn’t mean you want your relationship to be exactly like theirs.

Setting #Goals for your life is important. And, there’s nothing wrong with finding people (“real” or celebrities) to serve as inspiration to help you reach your goals. All you need to do is highlight their successes to guide you in creating your own plan of action.

Because at the end of the day, no one is perfect. No one’s relationship is perfect. No one’s family is perfect. No one’s career path is perfect. No one’s life is perfect. But that shouldn’t stop you from admiring others, and using the good things about them to create a life that’s perfect for you. 🙂

Don’t Get Caught Without It

31 Jan

Working at a credit union taught me a lot about money. I’ve always been pretty good with money, but there I saw many people’s mistakes and learned how to avoid them. One of the things I saw a bunch of times was people who had $0 in their saving accounts. Even a minor emergency could set them back for months, because they failed to prepare. Life can take you for an unexpected at any time. Illness, injuries, job loss, and relationship problems are all reasons to have an emergency fund.

You may say, “that’ll never happen to me.” And hopefully, nothing bad ever does happen to you. But the reality is emergencies are never planned. Life might be amazing for you right now, but that won’t stop an unexpected expense from popping up.

Bottom line – we all need emergency funds. Money expert Michelle Singletary recommends having a bare minimum of 3 months of your salary set aside. Having a year of your salary saved is even better. That takes A LOT of time to build, but it’s worth it.

So, how can you save that much? Here are 5 things I did to start my emergency saving account:

  1. Set small goals. Saying you need a year’s worth of your salary saved is too large of a goal to start with. It’s actually pretty overwhelming to think of saving that much. I began by identifying how much my average pay check was. Then, I made that goal #1. Once I hit that goal, I kept going. I’m nowhere close to a year of pay set aside, but slowly but surely, I’m getting there. Even Suze Orman knows it may take years to save this much. But you’ll never get there if you don’t start.
  2. Treat savings like a bill. Make it so saving money isn’t even an option. Figure out what you can cut out of your current spending, and put that money into your savings account.
  3. Out of sight, out of mind.  Your emergency fund should be somewhere you can get to it in a real emergency, but not in a fashion emergency. So, take it out of the bank where you do your regular spending & bill pay. If you can, have your job deduct it out of your paycheck and direct deposited somewhere else. Eventually, you may forget about the money, until you need it. Use an online tool to find a savings account that has high interest (this way your savings will make you money, too).
  4. Unexpected money isn’t yours. It belongs to your savings account. If you aren’t using your tax return to pay a bill, then it needs to go to your savings. And, as tempting as it may be to spend your work bonus on yourself, the majority of the money needs to go to savings. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
  5. Don’t Quit. If you must take a break from savings, hop back on the horse quickly. Using your emergency funds for an emergency, is fine. But work quickly to replace the money you took out.

6 Reasons to Cruise!

27 Jan

This past August, my group of friends from college and I went on a Carnival cruise🚢. We sailed from Miami, and went to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico. This wasn’t my first cruise, but it was my first as an adult. I have to say, cruising may be my new favorite way to travel. Here’s why:

  1. The Food. Because food is quite unlimited, you can taste whatever you’d like. I had my very first lobster tail, snails, and alligator. I ordered a cheese plate for dessert (which is something only Vacation Courtney would do). But why try these new things? Because I could. It was already paid for, and, I knew that if I hated the crazy thing on my plate, I could replace it with chicken tenders & fries with a *snap* of my fingers. And, after all the partying I did on the ship, 24 hour pizza was a necessity.
  2. The Drinks. Ok, so the drinks and the food kind of go hand-in-hand, but I had to separate them. When I get around my friends, we tend to drink-a lot! So, again there’s a basically unlimited number of drinks to have, and bonus: no one has to worry about being the designated driver. The ship we were on had bars all over the place so I had a long island or a shot for every activity.
  3. The Activities. So pretty much everything is included in the price you pay. I failed at took Michael Jackson dance lessons, played miniature golf, saw a flash mob performance in a night club, and got to be an audience member in a Newlywed Game knock-off. The cruise ship gives you 2 options: chill & relax, or stay completely active. I love that if I want to lay in the sun and people watch, I can do that. Or, if I want to be a judge of a drag competition, I can do that too.
  4. The Excursions. The activities and the excursions probably sound a lot alike, but they’re not. The activities were things you could do on the boat. The excursions were off the boat and (unfortunately) cost a bit of extra money. But if you’re a person who likes adventure, you’ll definitely want to do one. And scaredy cats like myself can find some type of adventurous thing to do. For me an my friends, we decided to ride ATVs in a Mexican “jungle.”  This is probably something I’d be too nervous to do in my everyday life. But, Vacation Courtney was down for it. After the ATV rides, I was able to lay on a sunny, hot beach and just relax. Best of both worlds.
  5. The People. This is probably my favorite part. I got to meet and interact with people that I’d never know in any other setting. On a normal vacay, you don’t run into the same people over & over again. A cruise is the only place I can think of where you’ll have the same strangers as dining companions for many nights in a row. I’m now Facebook friends with a 50-ish Real Estate Agent from Florida. Where else could I have connected with him? No-where. That’s where.
  6. The Disconnection. This may be an anti-millennial thing for me to say, but I loved being disconnected from the world. On a cruise, you don’t have access to the internet or cell towers. So unless you want to pay a billion dollars, your smart phone turns into just a camera & mini-boombox. I loved this. Before setting sail, I called my parents to say “see ya,” and after that, I was able to focus solely on the fun. It’s actually what made #1-5 even better. And of course, after the cruise was over, my friends and I were able to flood Instagram with our cruise pictures.

So, there you have it. I’m already planning my next cruise, so I can see if there are even more reasons to go.

Real Date

25 Jan

Quick Rant:

What is so difficult about taking a girl on a real date? Going to a guy’s house, drinking and watching TV is not (!) a real date. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be taken out, and so, I won’t accept a Netflix and Chill.  I assume that if your first date is Netflix and Chill, the most you’ll get from this person is a situationship. Again, not what I want.

To be honest, I’d much rather Netflix and Chill by myself. I’d rather be in my pajamas, in my own bed, watching Bernie Mac Show reruns.

Remember, there’s a solution for most problems. So, if money is tight, just know a simple google search will lend you ideas for several cheap and free dates. And, these dates don’t require sitting on your bed or couch watching Grey’s Anatomy.

And, last point, a lot of you don’t even pay for your own Netflix. You have a password from your mother, cousin, or friend, or somebody.

Rant over.

Goal – See The States

7 Jan

I have a goal to see all 50 states. It’s important to me to see different parts of the US. Below is a list of all 50 States, and a note about if/where I’ve been in the state. I’ve got 31 more to see. Maybe I can scratch one or two off my list in 2016.

Alabama

Alaska

*Arizona – I’ve never really visited Arizona, but when I was in Nevada, I did touch the Arizona border.

Arkansas

California – My bestie lives in San Diego, which I’ve now visited twice. Still no LA.

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware – No taxes!

Florida – I’ve been here a few times. Disney and Miami. The 1st time I ever flew was to Florida.

Georgia – Savannah, ATL.

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois – Chicago once with my family

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky – When I was in Ohio, I asked some locals what they did for fun, and I was pointed to Kentucky.

Louisiana – New Orleans is my favorite city.

Maine

Maryland – 25 years of life.

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada – I spent my 21st birthday in Las Vegas. I also visited another city to see the Hoover Damn and went to a restaurant that was on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

New Hampshire

New Jersey – Garden City Mall, I think.

New Mexico

New York – Seeing a play on Broadway has become an annual trip with my mom. One spring break in college was spent here as well. I love the Brooklyn Museum. I also have family in Niagara Falls, NY. I’m sure I’ve been to other cities.

North Carolina – I’ve been here a few times. Contemplated going to NCAT, so I visited during my senior year of High School.

North Dakota

Ohio – Cincinnati, had some great chili at Skyline Chili. Everything seemed to close early.

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania – I have family that lives in Pittsburgh. I also visited Drexel University with someone who was thinking about going there.

Rhode Island

South Carolina – I spent a birthday in North Myrtle Beach. I’ve also been to Hilton Head.

South Dakota

Tennessee – Had a great time at the Opryland Gaylord in Nashville! Good food is here.

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia – Aside from Maryland, the only other state I’ve lived in. College years. Also, I live in the DMV, so to find myself in Northern VA isn’t hard to do.

Washington

West Virginia – I drove to a casino in West VA to see Dru Hill perform. They can still saaanngggg. lol

Wisconsin

Wyoming