All Summer ’18

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Summer 18

It’s crazy to me that I have not written a single blog post since January! Needless to say, life has been busy. I finished my first year as a fulltime faculty member and I am nearing the one year mark of my relocation. So much has happened!

My new location is gradually becoming home in every sense. There are some things I welcomed – less traffic, a lower cost of living, a slower paced lifestyle, and the kindness of my new community. And there are still things I miss about my former home, including my friends, diversity, and cultural experiences. But I am constantly working to adjust my expectations and see the wonderful things about my new home.

In February I adopted a fur baby. The first few weeks were the roughest as I tried to sort out how to provide a safe and secure home for him, while also enforcing the discipline he needs to be a great companion. Three months in and we are doing well. He still challenges me from time to time in relation to following the rules, but overall he is a joy. He loves to play and cuddle. He is extremely attentive. He forces me to limit my work hours and exercise more. And he has brought a great deal of joy to my life in ways I never imagined.

I feel fulfilled in every way in relation to my career. I have worked long, hard, and intentional to spend as much of my days doing what I love. I’ve found that. Being a faculty member is not without difficulties, but I enjoy being in the classroom. I love meeting students and hearing about their experiences. It is exciting to have a career that challenges me to learn each day and stay abreast of current events. And teaching in particular is one career that encourages me to remain humble: I don’t know everything and never will; there is always someone in the room who knows more than me about a particular topic; and being a professor is an ever-evolving craft – you can never perfect it. This I find enriching.

During the spring semester, I participated in the National Faculty Center for Development and Diversity’s Faculty Success Program. I learned a lot from this program and made some new professional connections. There are three primary questions I am taking from FSP that I’m working to incorporate in my life every day: 1) what standards can I lower today; 2) what ways can I treat myself each day; and 3) what do I need to asses and adjust? How can I continue to lower my standards in nonessential ways? How will I reward myself every day of my life for the work I have done and do? And one of the biggest struggles for me – in what areas of my life do I need to take a step back, reassess, and adjust my schedule, expectations, and/or tasks?

Otherwise, I am spending this summer focusing on research tasks, hanging out with my fur baby, and resting. As is typical for me, I wrote an extensive list of goals for the summer. I have since disregarded most of them. The overarching goal for this summer is to enjoy not being a student, not being a person packing up and getting ready to move, and rejuvenating myself enough to be ready for the next academic year. I hope to write more this summer – including on my blog :-). I hope to reflect more, including writing in my journal. I hope to spend more time with family and friends – new and former. I hope to share a little more of me with you. Stay tuned.



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Classes resume tomorrow for our university. While I am excited about the hustle and bustle of the semester, seeing bright eye and eager faces, and working with my colleagues again, I am also nervous. I have worked hard these last few months to develop a self-care routine. I have fought to establish a regular eating and exercise routine. In other words, I have indulged in taking care of myself. With the new semester comes the recognition of a new routine, new adjustments, and new challenges. I am trying my best to ease into the semester and be gentle with myself as I do so. Reading Sam’s post from 2015 was a perfect reminder. I hope you enjoy! 

I might be in the minority on this one, but as I’ve gotten older, New Year’s Eve has become one of my favorite holidays.

I am a lover of fresh starts – an empty journal, a big move, a new career – and I thrive on this feeling of possibility. There is nothing quite like the year turning over, and with it, the promise of good things to come.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always taken the New Year as an opportunity to reflect. With that reflection, I do make resolutions, too – though I’m a big believer that our resolutions should come from a place of loving ourselves rather than trying to “fix” ourselves, as resolutions can so often imply.

For me, my resolutions often center around my mental health. Since bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety are my constant companions, I take the New Year as a moment to check in with myself and decide what I might do differently (and what should stay the same!) to ensure that I’m taking care of myself.

This year, I want to share those resolutions. Here are 20 that I hope will inspire you to prioritize your mental health this coming year (with some f-bombs thrown in here, for good measure, brace thyself):

1. I will only invest in people who invest in me. I will not pour my energy into a relationship that is intentionally one-sided; I will not offer my time to someone who does not value our relationship.

2. I will ask for help when I need it. Fuck this struggle bus that I ride for weeks on end, thinking that I should pull myself up by my bootstraps and deal. I’ll call the hotline; I’ll give my psychiatrist a ring; I’ll message a friend.

3. I will take my medications as prescribed. Someone told me recently that bipolar folks have the worst med compliance of any group. Based on my history, I believe it.

4. I will challenge myself to say “yes” to the things that scare me. Because letting anxiety rule over my life keeps me from pursuing amazing opportunities that could bring a lot of happiness into my life.

5. But I’ll also say “no” when I need to, without judgment. Sometimes saying “yes” to everything can be just as harmful as saying “no.” So I’ll seek out a balance.

6. I will stop putting off that phone call. I avoid a lot of things because, well, anxiety. But in doing that, I end up creating more panic than it’s worth. So when I’m able, I’ll push myself to be proactive.

7. I’ll get enough sleep. Because, let’s face it, sleep is critical and getting an early start to my day helps me to be more productive.

8. I’ll stop placing a moral value on food. Food is just food. No more “this is so bad of me” or “I’m being so good right now” when I’m talking about cheesecake and salads. When we judge our food, we by extension judge ourselves. And I don’t need that kind of toxic bullshit in my life, controlling what I can and cannot put on my plate, letting the food I eat decide if I should feel guilty or happy today (or ever).

9. I will focus on being resilient. I have a history of codependency, and knowing this, I’m going to continue my commitment to building up my self-care practice and expanding my support network to ensure I am not putting too much weight on my partners’ shoulders.

10. I will not punish myself for having bad days. Sometimes when my mental health is suffering, I feel that I am personally to blame, as if I made this happen. But the last thing I need is to guilt myself when I’m already struggling. I’m going to opt for kindness instead.

11. I will find a form of movement that I love and incorporate it into my self-care. Not because I want to lose weight, not because I need to exercise to be a “good” person, but because physical movement can be really good for our mental health and can feel great.

12. I will take a break when I need it. Not “when I finish this,” not “if I find the time,” I will take a fucking break if I need one, as soon as I possibly can and as often as it’s needed, because no assignment or task is as important as my mental health.

13. I will buy the latte or go out for dinner with friends, even if money is tight. If I can swing it, I need to get out of the apartment. Frugality at the expense of my mental health is total nonsense. I won’t let myself feel guilty for spending money on “luxuries” if it means that I’m more stable.

14. I will spend less time responding to negative comments and more time responding to positive ones. I’ve spent way too much time replying to negative comments on my articles and just “liking” the positive comments. Guess what that’s accomplished? Literally nothing.

15. I will spend as much time on social media as I fucking want. There are all these ads and memes about going outside and “living.” But truthfully, my online community has helped me through some of the most difficult stuff I’ve ever been through. They give me life. So if being on social media makes me happy, I’ll tweet to my heart’s content.

16. I’ll stop judging myself based on how “productive” I was that day. Guess what? It turns out that we’re not robots. Who would’ve thought?

17. I will shut down the voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough. Or I’ll try, anyway. Because if I had listened to them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

18. I’ll indulge my inner fangirl. I’ll watch a new show on Netflix for four hours and spend another four hours reading up on all the existing conspiracy theories about the show. I’ll take up a new hobby and let myself get lost in it. I’ll find a new musical artist and read their biography eight times. It doesn’t matter how silly it seems – it’s okay to geek out on something that brings you happiness (as long as you’re not manic, obvi).

19. I’ll dance more. Dancing is literally the best thing. Why don’t I dance more often? I have no idea, but that has got to change.

20. I will vocalize what I need. Sometimes I’m afraid to ask for the things that I need. This year, I won’t self-silence out of a fear that I might be a burden.


If you like what you read, you can view more on Sam’s blog: https://letsqueerthingsup.com/ .



Happy New Year! I was supposed to post before the year ended and then I was going to post on the 1st of the New Year … but here we are :-).

2017 was amazing! I finished my doctorate program, relocated, and began my dream job. My first semester was full and rewarding. Winter break was refreshing and heart-warming. And here we are, in a new season. This year is the first in a long time when I can slow down – there aren’t many external pressing deadlines, no exams, and no papers to write for other people. It took a while for me to begin settling into my new normal and seven months after graduation, I finally feel myself doing so. It feels nice to set my own schedule. It is a wonderful blessing to actually have a salaried position again. I enjoy having evenings to do what I like and weekends that aren’t crammed with homework or studying. So what have I been doing? Taking care of me …

In November, I finally kicked my butt into gear to see a nutritionist and begin working out again. I have remained consistent for the last two months and just started a 6-week challenge with a few other women. I am stoked! I set up my meditation space and am working to recommit to a routine. I began practicing yoga again – it was has been wonderful for my mind, body, and soul. And I am taking things one day at a time. While I have other mantras for the year, one of my central affirmations is to slow down.

Another affirmation and theme for this year is pushing my boundaries. Attending a boot camp-style class is way outside my comfort zone, but is a constant reminder that I have to do something different if I want different results. I’ve committed to finding one new thing – no matter how small – to try each month (thanks to my amazing faculty mentor). And I have opened myself to receiving all sorts of things – friendship, love, companionship, excitement, and fulfillment – in ways that I have not traditionally accepted.

I truly believe 2018 is going to be the best year I have ever lived and that my life will continue to get better. So here is to me affirming my year and hoping that you have or are in the process of doing the same!



On Becoming a Better Me …


Image result for becoming a better me

An excerpt from last month’s post:

And then there are those areas where I am not doing as well :-(. Since work began, I struggle to maintain a realistic exercise routine. My eating habits have become shaky with one snack too many and much more eating out. I snooze a little more than I should in the morning :-). I am working on these things; slowly, but surely I hope to transition to a space where my work-life balance is more consistent with ongoing self-care. In the meantime, I remain thankful that I am here. I am happy. My heart sings. I am full of joy <3.

In an effort to celebrate the small victories and make a public proclamation in hopes of holding myself accountable, I am sharing an update. For exactly two weeks I have added another layer to the creation of my new life: I finally got my butt in gear related to my health and wellness! Two weeks ago I saw a dietitian to get assistance on a detailed eating plan – my visit was the launch I needed to make some significant shifts in my eating habits. A few days later, I went out for a bike ride – which I hadn’t done in over a month – and the next day I started boot camp. For the last 14 days I’ve followed a detailed eating plan and done some form of exercise every single day. Last Thursday I started practicing yoga … once again … as a way to help me create some quiet time and get some deep stretching in after cardio. The scale is slowly creeping in the right direction, but more importantly I feel amazing! I’ve slept better, I have more energy throughout the day, and I have a different level of internal joy. From experience, I know this is because I am taking care of myself and reaping the benefits of a healthy diet alongside regular physical activity. I guess I’d love to make it through boot camp with a little less pain or take an advanced yoga class and be able to hold every pose, but I am patient with myself. Otherwise, I don’t have any major fitness related goals – simply to be better each day than I was before. Stay tuned :-).

Here is to investing in becoming a better me.

Hello October: New Seasons + New Opportunities = New Blessings



It has been three and a half months since I moved and two full months since I’ve been on campus. Time is flying! There are so many wonderful and challenging aspects of my transition; here is a short recap.

The best news is today I sit and am grateful for what this new season of my life brings. I can’t say enough how different things are – the pace of the city, demographics, and options for recreational activities – but my time here has brought with it a unique set of adventures. For the first time in my life, my circle extends well beyond my age group. I’ve found great joy in welcoming people into my space who are decades or even generations away from me, but a delight nonetheless. I’ve spent more time close to natural bodies of water. The beaches and riverfront are beautiful here! I’ve done well by making it to one or both at least once a week and found these experiences calming and refreshing. Although I am still struggling with some of my new normal, I veg out a lot more now. After the hustle and bustle of work and school for the last five years it is nice to come home and do … nothing! I’ve enjoyed this down time and reminded myself this week that it is completely okay to allow myself to rest and recharge as much as needed. It has been so long since I have been able to do this that it feels strange. I enjoy my own company in a new way. I think this revelation may be challenging for some people in my life, but I am learning to embrace the occasional solitude of my evenings and weekends. I indulge in quiet mornings when I can look out the window and enjoy some calm before the work day begins. I welcome evenings when I am cell phone free and able to simply relax without the constant movement of conversation. Even as I sometimes wrestle with the quietness, I am slowly moving to a space where I am enough. While I have always been a hard worker, I am learning to create a balance where I give what I have and then retreat. The extent of what I have to give is generous so I am also embracing my capacity to authentically be me without feeling the need to diminish or undermine my gifts while acknowledging how much I can realistically do within a day, a week, or even a month. For this revelation, I am grateful.

And then there are those areas where I am not doing as well :-(. Since work began, I struggle to maintain a realistic exercise routine. My eating habits have become shaky with one snack too many and much more eating out. I snooze a little more than I should in the morning :-). I am working on these things; slowly, but surely I hope to transition to a space where my work-life balance is more consistent with ongoing self-care. In the meantime, I remain thankful that I am here. I am happy. My heart sings. I am full of joy <3.

Interviews with My Favorite Fashionistas


Through the decades I have become clearer about my strengths – those areas where I excel and am sometimes a role model for others. Unfortunately, fashion is not one of them :-). While I think I put pieces together to look nice enough, I struggle with things like accessorizing, matching unconventional prints, or choosing daring pieces to add to my wardrobe. I have resolved to do my best, but continue to want to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to fashion so I consulted with my three favorite fashionistas. In the post you’ll be introduced to each of them, learn why I selected them for this post and hear their perspectives on the following statements/questions: describe your fashion style; who are your fashion inspirations; how do you shop and coordinate pieces; and what tips would you offer women wanting to be more daring when it comes to fashion and coordinating? I learned a lot and hope you do too!

I met Denny while attending college. She has always been one of my fashion icons. One thing that sets Denny apart is her ensemble is always coordinated from head to toe – literally. She changes her hair style a few times a year, experiments with colors, is not afraid to shake up the color of her make-up, and adds unique accessories to finish it all off. One of the unique things I appreciate about Denny is that like me, she is a curvy woman and constantly reminds me that fashions knows NO limits. Here are her responses:

My fashion sense is a mix of vintage and eclectic.  I’m obsessed with previous fashion eras and one-of-a-kind pieces. My fashion inspirations are Tracey Ellis Ross, Solange Knowles, Lauryn Hill, Grace Jones, Bianca Jagger, Alexis Colby, and Crystal Carrington – my favorite characters on DYNASTY – LOL! [I shop] anywhere that I go; I sift through racks and grab the pieces that jump out at me.  I seldom go for wardrobe staples.  Once I get my go to, I coordinate around it based on color and texture, usually going for the color that is least obvious.


Her words of advice for people like me: I meet a lot of people that say “That looks great on you.  I couldn’t do it though”.  You won’t know if it’s for you until you try it.  I say go for what you like.  You’d be surprised how amazing it would make you look AND feel.  You can always add a piece that makes you feel comfy to that outfit.  It’s like bringing a friend to a party that’s not really your scene, but you promised you would attend and ending up having a ball.

Mik was a part of a crew that I called my brown version of SATC! We met during a time when I’d relocated across the country away from all of my family and friends. Mik was rocking a pixie cut before I knew what the hairstyle was and before it caught on in mainstream circles. Two things stood out to me about Mik: her ability to put any room to shame with even a $5 ensemble and her taste in shoes. A former co-owner of a shoe boutique and true entrepreneur at heart, Mik inspires me to step away from thoughts that I have to invest oodles of money in clothes to feel good about what I’m wearing. She replied in the following words:

I am a combination of bohemian chic and classic wear with a touch of vintage. I like structured pieces paired with clothing that is flowy and comfortable. I tend to mix bold/trendy with classic staple pieces. I don’t necessarily have certain individuals as fashion inspirations, [but] I do enjoy seeing what Solange is wearingJ! I [also] have favorite brands that I like to recreate depending on which look I am going for. For Boho/whimsical: Free People; Classic: Chanel, Tahari; Funky: Betsey Johnson; and Edgy: Diesel. When I’m shopping I start with a statement piece (asymmetrical top, bright color, dope shoes, bag) and I will build from there. I don’t like busy prints or “matchy-matchy”. Only one item will tend to “stand out” at a time. The rest will act as a backdrop. I am an avid thrift store shopper who refuses to pay top dollar or ANY article of clothing.


And her advice for those like me :-): Make sure whatever fashion risk you’re considering represents you. Nothing is worse than seeing a woman uncomfortable in her clothes, i.e. tugging at garments, not being able to walk correctly in a shoe, appearing tense or self-conscious. I say get a few fashion magazines and see what catches your eye. Start small. Try a pop of color, mixing a print or two, or simply adding accessories can change an outfit dramatically [like] a ring, necklace, bag, or sunglasses.

And last, but certainly not least is Yeezy! I met Yeezy in graduate school and realized immediately that it is impossible to miss this fashionista. An avid runner and vegan, Yeezy’s style is complimented perfectly by her calm and caring spirit, infectious smile, and some sort of accessory that gives each outfit a pop. Yeezy wears chunky accessories, has a daring clutch to match, and often finishes out her ensembles with some mixed pattern. The irony is that most of my experiences with Yeezy were in the classroom – so she brings her A-game no matter where she goes. I love it! Here is what she had to say:

I would describe my style as feminine (I love playing with tulle, ruffles, lace, and bows), creative, and versatile. I’ve been told that my style is also a little retro. I have a few style crushes and Yara Shahidi and Michelle Obama top the list. For someone who is into fashion, I also feel like getting dressed is its own creative process. I am inspired by different things, whether it’s scrolling through Instagram and discovering a new designer or blogger, or traveling and exploring other cultures. I draw inspiration from different places and ideas and make it my own. In the past, I have been a creature of habit. If I found a store that I really liked, I would continue to shop there over and over again…for everything – LOL. More recently, I have enjoyed discovering new designers and brands. With the internet and social media, it is easier than ever to find unique pieces from all over the world so I have also been shopping online more for the past few years. I prefer to not wear what everyone else is wearing so thrifting is also a cool way to find one of kind pieces. When it comes to deciding what to buy, I try to be intentional. I purchase things that I love, that I am drawn to, and that I will want to wear over and over again. I can also imagine different ways I can style it, which doesn’t mean it must be something completely plain, but that you can style it in different ways – maybe it’s layering it over another shirt, wearing it casually and then dressing it up, etc. Coordination is key. For me, coordinating pieces starts with the overall look I am trying to create and then I go from there.


Her fashionista words of wisdom: Have fun and try something new! Naturally, my style has evolved over time and there are plenty of times when I have looked at pictures from the past and have thought “What am I wearing?” LOL. At the time, I owned it though. So, do not be afraid to move out of your comfort zone when it comes to trying out new looks and whatever you wear, wear it with confidence.

You can follow Denny on her Facebook page and Yeezy on her blog: Style in Full Bloom.

Happy Birthday to Me!


Birthday 17

If you’ve been following my blog or if you follow me on social media, you know I love a great celebration and I LOVE celebrating my birthday. This year is no different, although special in its own right. In many ways, I feel like I have come out of an incubation period. Attending school full time for the last five years has brought both challenges and rewards. I’ve grown a lot professionally and personally, made some tough decisions, re-aligned my vision, and feel ready for this next phase of my life. If you read my last post, you know it’s been almost 5 weeks since I relocated. In just a week and a half, I’ll begin to explore my new campus as a full-time faculty member. There are lots of exciting happenings so I am pausing this morning to reflect on where I am today and what I’ve learned along the way. Here you go:

  • Each year I am reminded of how much people will put themselves first. And day by day I am learning to do the same – put me first, establish and maintain boundaries, and not apologize for protecting my peace.
  • This journey has reminded me that life is definitely about grace, but also about intentions. We have the power to reshape our paths – to say yes, this is not how my story is going to end. But this requires work. It requires that we are clear about what we want and willing to stay the course until we have it.
  • Life is beautiful! More than anything else, this new journey has reminded me of how beautiful life is, how kind people are, and how much love there is out in the world. The media tries to convince us of otherwise, but my faith in humanity is restored time and time again.
  • And to that end I will close by saying I love my life. I’ve had seasons when I wasn’t able to say this and mean it wholeheartedly, but it feels damn good to say from my core that I have created a life that I love. I recognize both the blessings and responsibility that comes with that so I fully commit myself to serving and sharing my gifts with others.

Happy birthday to me <3!

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