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Year 29.
Posted on May 21, 2017
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Today marks the last year of my 20s and I’m still trying to figure out where the time went.

Yesterday morning I didn’t want to be bothered or go out. After reflecting on my last eight birthdays, I felt like I had squandered them away. I haven’t had any extravagant birthday bashes or trips, but I’ve grown a lot over the last eight years. Looking back on my 20th birthday all the way up to today reminds me how far I’ve come. 2008 seems so long ago, but it feels like I just turned 25.

After being in my feelings, I had to remind myself that there’s no timeline on life. You won’t have it “together” at age 25 and you won’t have it all figured out at 29 either.

I may not be exactly where I want to be, but I have another chance to work towards it. Extravagant birthdays are nice, but lessons are great too. I went into my birthday weekend thinking it was gonna suck because of the rainy weather and it ended up being sunny today. I’m grateful for all my friends and family who sent love my way today.


The last year of my 20s will be about me trying to become a better version of myself as always. Eating more veggies, taking my ass to the gym, not renewing a library book five times, ya know, little things.


So here’s to another year of growth, discovery and more life 🌺. Sorry, I had to do it. I love Drake and he just gets it. Deal

Anyway, here’s to Year 29!

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I'm Not A Procreation Machine
Posted on April 1, 2017
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Five years ago, I was at my best friend's baby shower and one of our high school friends asked, "Jaida, when are you having kids?" My response was, "No time soon." She dismissed my answer and replied, "Girl, that's what I said too." She was about three months pregnant at the time. That was in 2011 and I was fresh out of college (three months, to be exact). Fast forward six years later and my feelings haven’t changed.


We’ve been conditioned to think we’re “supposed” to get a college degree, get married and have babies by age XX. I don’t want to have kids right now and I’m not going to pretend I do because society says I should.

I'm at a place in my life where I'm still trying to figure things out for myself. All of that goes out of the window once you become a parent. I’ve literally been with my mother her entire adult life. She had me at 22 and my sister at 25 so she had to figure things out pretty quickly. My parents didn’t have a chance to fully focus on themselves until we were grown.

A lot of young people jump into parenthood when they’re not ready and it ends up affecting them and their children. I wouldn’t want that for anybody. Not only that, but I wasn’t put on earth just to become a mother. That isn’t my purpose.

I’m having a hard enough time trying to figure my life out alone. I couldn’t imagine throwing children in the mix. These are my years to be selfish. I don’t have anybody depending on me. I don’t have to take childcare and school districts into account when deciding where I’ll move next. As a single, childless woman, I’m stable for the most part. Besides, there are plenty of children in my life whom I can spoil and love on before sending them back to their parents.

Women are not obligated to have babies. Stop asking women when and if they’re going to have children. Some women do not want children. Some women can’t have children. Stop forcing that responsibility on us. I’m lucky to have parents who haven’t pressed the issue of wanting grandchildren. They understand where I’m at in my life and they respect it. If you want random women to have children so bad, go adopt a child in need of a loving home.


People don’t have to become parents due to some imaginary deadline. Leave people alone and mind your business.

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International Women's Day
Posted on March 8, 2017
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March 8th is our day on the calendar, but I make it a point to celebrate us year-around. We're a force to be reckoned with. Continue to shine. Continue to make your dreams come true. Don't let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. Be fierce. Be soft. Be hard. Fight for what you want. Cheers to some of the women that I love and aspire to be like: Beyoncé, Solange, Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Janelle Monáe, Zendaya, Yara Shahidi, Aja Naomi King, Ciara, Cardi B, Jourdan Dunn, Jackie Aina, Jessica Lewis, Whitney White and many, many, many more! Girls are everything. Women are everything. I love us and you should too. If you want to see non-stop girl power, be sure to follow me on Tumblr. 







First Time Renter's Guide
Posted on September 5, 2016
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I moved into my first apartment almost five months ago and I wanted to share the things I learned along the way.  If you’re moving out on your own for the first time and you’re not sure where to start, I hope this provides you with some insight to make your transition smoother.


·       First and foremost, create a budget. Be mindful of your monthly income and go from there. Be sure to include your current bills along with your future bills (cable, utilities, etc.) 

      Save. Save. Save.  If you don’t already have a savings account, now would be the time to start one. Most banks only require $25 to open an account. Open an account and deposit $25 (or whatever you can afford) into your savings once a month. 

Do your research. You can check out sites like ApartmentGuide.com, Apartments.com, ForRent.com and of course good ol’ fashioned Google, which is how I found my apartment complex.
·       
      Be sure to schedule an appointment to tour your prospective place.

While you’re on your tour, be sure to ask about your desired amenities. Will water, trash and sewage be included in the rent? Are there fees for having a pet or using the carport and garages on the property?

Ask about cable bundles that may be mandatory.  Some complexes may have an agreement with your local cable provider.

If you want a pool, gym, fireplace or any other amenities, be sure to inquire about those things during your tour.


·       Read the fine print before turning in your application.

The first complex I applied to wouldn’t refund my security deposit after I canceled the move-in date when I got approved for my first choice. That could’ve been $150 back in my pocket, but I was on a tight deadline to find a place and didn’t read the fine print thoroughly. Even if you think the rental office explained everything to you, be sure you read over everything for yourself and ask any questions before you submit your application.


·       Be persistent. My complex doesn’t have a waiting list so everything is first come, first serve. They weren’t able to tell me when a unit would be available right away, so I literally had to call, email and drive to the rental office to make sure I had first dibs on a place by my desired move-in date and I got in!

·       Inspect your future haven. If there’s any damage to the place (i.e. dirty carpet, chipped paint, etc.), be sure to take pictures and inform your rental office before you sign the lease so you’re not held responsible when you move out. You wanna be able to get that security deposit back, girl!

Hire a moving company. If you’ve saved a decent amount of money and you don’t want the hassle of having to round up family and friends to help you move, hire movers. I was only moving my bedroom furniture so I used You Move Me. They were reasonable, friendly, and quick. They even gave me a plant as a housewarming gift! You can always research other moving companies in your area. Most companies charge by the hour and may also charge based on distance, so keep that in mind.

Do not procrastinate! Moving little things from Point A to Point B was a pain towards the end because I was just ready to get it over with. Not to mention, we were moving off the third floor. Any small things such as clothes bins, etc. that can be moved by the company you hire, have them throw it on the truck and save yourself some time and energy. If you get your keys before your actual move-in date, take things to your new place little by little to lighten your load towards the end.

Last, but not least, enjoy your new home! Make it your own and make it a place you can’t wait to come back to after a long day.




Letter To My Younger Self
Posted on August 13, 2016
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August 13, 2006 (Age 18)

So you’re done with high school and you’re starting college in a week. I know you wanted to go away for school, but you have some maturing to do. You’ll get to leave, I promise. You may feel stagnant sometimes and things might get tough, but you’ll get through it. Besides, you’ll be busy as hell three years from now in a totally different environment. All of this is temporary. Just knock these prerequisites out and keep it moving.


August 13, 2011 (Age 23)

Well, you did it. You graduated from college. You thought the day would never come, but it’s here! You were a totally different person when you came to TSU at 20-years-old, but you’ve learned valuable lessons and made lifelong friends in the process. When you think of this place, think about what it took for you to get here and never take it for granted. You gained much more than a degree.

Even though you matured and learned a lot about yourself, college was still a safety net. It’s gonna be scary and stressful trying to figure out what’s next, but do yourself a favor and relax. Listen to Dad. He may sound insensitive now, but you need to go home. You didn’t have a plan mapped out for post-graduation so the best thing for you to do is go home. Go home and enjoy not having to do anything for the first time in five years. You’ll be able to eat home cooked meals again and the days of sleeping in an extra large twin bed and dragging your clothes to the laundry room to wash clothes are done! Appreciate the little things.

Be prepared for growing pains. Be prepared to feel lost. You’re gonna argue with Mom and Dad because parents don’t get it. Take everything as a lesson and apply it in the future so you know how to navigate it or help someone else navigate it. The same way you had to fight to get your degree, you’ll have to fight even harder to find your place in the "real world". Oh yeah, start a savings account. You'll need it. 

And last, but not least, do not put deadlines on your life. Don’t stress yourself out because you aren’t living in a condo in NYC by age 25. We’ve been trained to think we have to set all these unrealistic goals by a certain age in order to be “successful”. Five years from now, you won’t even wanna move to New York. It sounds crazy now, but trust me on this. Be thankful for the things you have and continue to work for the things you want.

Last thing, don’t become complacent, because that’s not who you are. Be good to yourself and stay encouraged.


Love, Jaida




Be Intentional In 2016
Posted on January 16, 2016
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So here we are with an update – six months later I’m terrible, I know. As if I wasn’t already a slacker, the last five months of 2015 had me all over the place and overwhelmed, but here I am and happy new year! I hope the first couple of weeks of 2016 have been good to you. They’ve been okay and I feel a lot more driven this time around. I know in the past I’ve said that this year would be “the year” that I did this and did that, but I’m not gonna do that this year because it hasn’t been effective thus far.

I’m a procrastinator who gets so overwhelmed at the thought of all the things I want to do that I end up doing nothing at all. Simply put, I want to put an end to that this year. I acknowledge that I suck at resolutions so I chose to stray away from that this year. I wrote out my goals for the year, big and small. Things such as using my library card and drinking more water are things I want to do.

(By the way, I’m participating in the Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge. Feel free to follow me here. I’m open to reading suggestions! I’m almost finished with #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. Next up is, Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht.


I also have major goals, but I’ve chosen not to speak on them out loud. I’d just rather work towards them little by little. My friend pointed out making monthly goals for herself instead since she doesn’t do well with long-term goals. I’ve decided to give that a try. Because I get overwhelmed to the point of not doing anything at all, I’ve decided baby steps are better than no steps at all. You have to start somewhere. I realized that if you sit idly waiting for the “right time” to do something, you’ll be waiting forever.

“Don’t talk about it, be about it” is the mantra for my life this year. Too much talking and complaining won’t get you very far. Believe me, I know firsthand.

I really had an epiphany during the last week of 2015 and it got my gears turning. All I really want is to be intentional with my actions this year so that I can grow as a person. Try not to get caught up in social media. Some of it’s real, some of it isn’t. It’s so hard not to compare yourself to friends and peers when you see people getting promotions and taking trips to the Dominican Republic.

I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t do it! Been there, done that. It doesn’t do you any good. Besides, I got my passport last April and it’s valid for 10 years. I’ve got plenty of time to stamp it up. Baby steps sis, baby steps.

While I’m not working on being intentional and purposeful, I like to run my mouth on social media. You can catch me on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.


What are some ways you go about accomplishing or tracking your goals? I’d love to know! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section or leave me a tweet or comment on the ‘Gram.

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Just a 20-somethin' trying to find my way and be great.
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