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Advice To Myself: Past & Present
Posted on April 20, 2014
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You’re not going to have life figured out immediately after graduation. It’s a process. Some days will be fulfilling and others will be discouraging. Appreciate your triumphs and work on your weaknesses. Take heed to advice, but don’t feel obligated to live by it. Your life is yours to live and you should focus on your happiness. It’s okay to feel misunderstood. Somebody out there gets it. Find those people and talk. It will make you feel a hell of a lot better about your situation.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s okay to make pit stops along the way while finding your way to the final destination. Patience is a virtue. Feeling stagnant is normal during this time in your life. Feeling discouraged and uncertain are some of the scariest emotions in the world, but you overcome it. Continue to build day by day. Don’t settle. Just because you’re in a comfortable position, don’t make it final.

If you feel like you have something to share with the world and you’re not happy with the present, build towards the future. Being content and complacent are two different things. Don’t confuse the two.

Don’t follow co-workers on social networks. Unless it’s LinkedIn, keep it cute. Make connections in the workplace, but watch who you fraternize with. Mom and Dad may have grown up differently, but take heed to some of their advice. Not only are they more experienced, but they’re rooting for you even when it doesn’t feel like it. Don’t dim your light to make others happy. They won’t do the same for you. It’s hard being a Black woman with an opinion, but that’s what makes you, you.

Don’t listen to the advice of those who are hell bent on you having children and getting married. You weren’t put on this earth to be someone’s wife and mother only. It’s okay to want to be selfish and carefree. You’re nobody’s wife or mother, so do what you wanna do. If you want to start a family later down the line, great! If not, that's cool too!

Don’t put other women down to build yourself up for the sake of a man. It’s tacky and it screams, “low self esteem”.

Create something you can be proud of. Set an example for little Black girls everywhere. We need to stick together.

Drink water and eat fruits and veggies. Be active. Your body will thank you 20 years from now. 

And for the love of God, write more. If that's what you wanna do for a living, make time for it. 

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For Colored Girls Who Don't Watch Scandal When A Gold Star Wasn't Enuf.
Posted on April 3, 2014
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For the past four seasons, it's been a trend to categorize the prime time sensation, Scandal as a "Black woman's show". Some have even gone as far as writing articles to shun Kerry Washington's character, Olivia Pope and go on patriarchal rants about how women who enjoy the show are influenced by Olivia Pope's decisions and idolize her for sleeping with a white man. Some Black women have gone as far as writing articles to declare that they're a Black woman who doesn't watch Scandal or who doesn't agree with the hype around the show. 

Just because the main character and writer/creator of the show happen to be Black women doesn't make it the Black woman's go-to TV drama. Not only is it patriarchal, it's an ignorant assumption. 90 million "Gladiators" log in every Thursday night to indulge in the action-packed show, but the fan base doesn't consist of 90 million Black women. To say it's the Black woman's show would be quite the contrary. You have a gay white Republican couple who adopted a Black baby and Sally Langston whose a devout Christian.

With the lack of representation we're already faced with, you would think people would do a little bit more research and think about what they say before they pop up looking for a gold star or cookie for being a Black woman who doesn't watch the show. It doesn't make you special, you don't get a pat on the back. It's one thing not to watch because you're not interested, but it's another to bash the show and the people like you who watch it all in the name of trying to disprove a stereotype.

I'm a Black woman and I don't watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta and I never have. It's not because I think it's a stereotypical show to watch as a Black woman and I want to stir clear of that group. I've just never had any interest in it. Besides, I indulge in Love & Hip Hop and Single Ladies so who am I to judge? 

All I'm saying is, if you don't watch Scandal and you're one of those people who feel the need to blog and tweet every Thursday night that you don't watch Scandal, go find something to do with your time. We don't care. No gold star for you. 


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I'm Not A Cute Little Girl.
Posted on April 2, 2014
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For the past couple of months I've had to deal with a co-worker who constantly compliments my natural hair to the point that it's irritating. I bite my tongue or use my monotone voice to express that I'd like to be left alone, but the last straw was when she referred to me as a "cute little girl". 

She's seen my hair in two ways for the last four months we've worked together: a twist out & a puff (or bun). On days when I didn't want to do my hair and protect it from the harsh winter elements, I would wear a hat. I've even made a point of saying, "But you've seen my hair like this several times" and she has yet to get the hint. She's one of those people in public who will talk to you even if she sees you with headphones on (she's done this too).  It's to the point that it's no longer considered a compliment but some obsessive way of her trying to say she "approves" of my hair. I know my hair is awesome and I appreciate the genuine compliments I've received in the past, but she does the most.

I was having a conversation with my sister and she agreed that it was overkill. Not only is she my sister and one of the only people who understands me, but she's also a Black woman with natural hair in a predominantly white environment.

She brought up the fact that "others" are so naive and privileged that they're oblivious to the fact of how offensive they can be and not think twice about it. Most of them are unaware of how offensive they can be so in turn we're supposed to brush it off and to me that's unacceptable.

Why should I have to feel uncomfortable in an environment I have to come to every day for 40 hours a week and deal with feeling singled out just so some older white woman can be comfortable and continue to disrespect me?

If I feel uncomfortable, I'm will make it my mission to make sure the person who offended me experiences the same level (if not more) discomfort. If we don't check them on it, then it will continue. It's sad when people who look like me say things like, "They didn't mean anything by it" like it's normal to be offensive. It's not acceptable and I won't let people get away with making me feel uncomfortable. If they feel like an idiot once I'm done calling them out on it, then that's their problem and I know my job is done.


I am not a pet unicorn. I'm a human being who happens to have darker skin and my hair isn't naturally straight. It's one thing to genuinely appreciate things you're not used to, but it's a totally different thing to be annoying and borderline obsessed with it. Learn the difference.

We are unique human beings, but we are not pets. 

I haven't been a "cute little girl" since '95. Try again. 

By the way, she finally got the hint. She doesn't mumble a word to me anymore. 

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Heaven couldn't wait for you. RIP, Karis.
Posted on March 30, 2014
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A good friend of mine passed away yesterday morning and I'm in shock and disbelief. I hadn’t spoken to her in almost two years and that’s what’s been bothering me the most.  I’m still in shock and disbelief. I’m still hoping it’s some awful dream. We used to talk almost every day in college.

We both graduated from college in 2011 and I guess you can say, "life got in the way". We get caught up in the web of post-grad life, the next step in our future, finding jobs to pay bills and we sometimes we don't keep up with friends as often as we used to.

There were times I wanted to reach out just to see how she was doing and I didn’t because I was too stubborn to do so. I assumed she didn’t want me in her life anymore because checking up on friends is supposed to be a 50/50 thing. The last time we spoke didn’t end on a bad note. It was just catching up on how post-grad life was going, but it still hurts because I should’ve made an attempt to reach out.  If you think about a friend or loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while and you want to contact them to see how they’re doing, please do it. Don’t take that person for granted. Life is too short and you just never know.




I thank God for the fact that I was able to speak with one of her family members and mutual friends of ours to get through this time. We spent last night asking how and why this happened, but we also spent time laughing about the good times and remembering conversations we had with her. She was gorgeous, hilarious and talented. She always talked about moving to California to pursue her dreams of acting and writing. Her cousin said she had just moved to California in the fall and enrolled in a graduate writing program so that brings me some comfort. To move clear across the country in the pursuit of making her dreams a reality is brave and I’m proud of her for that. She truly had a gift and it’s just a shame others won’t get to witness it.

She was back home in D.C. for spring break and passed away. I still don’t understand why or how. I’m not sure I ever will. This feels like an awful dream and I really don’t know what to do.

I’m glad she was able to do as much as she did in such a short amount of time. She would’ve been 25 in November. Tears are flowing as I write this because this shouldn’t be happening. My heart is so heavy. I haven’t been this hurt since both of my grandmothers passed away.

This year would’ve marked seven years of friendship. I still wanna send her a crazy text message and wait for her to response, but it will never come. It’s gonna take a while for me to accept she’s no longer here. To see somebody so full of life and so much promise in their future gone in the blink of an eye is mind boggling and scary.


Rest in peace, Karis. I’m grateful and privileged to have called you a friend. I’m proud of you for putting in the work to make your dreams come true. Last but not least, I'm sorry. I really did consider you to be one of my closer friends and I should've reached out. Please charge it to my head and not my heart. I know we hadn’t spoken in a while, but I love you like a sister and I will truly miss your crazy sense of humor and amazing stories. 


Love, Jai

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Quick & Easy DIY Makeup Storage
Posted on March 9, 2014
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Looking for quick and easy storage and don't wanna spend tons of money? Repurpose your candle jars! I am a self-proclaimed candle addict so I had no problem doing this quick DIY to free up space on my bathroom counter. 

Directions:

  1.  Once your candle has been burned to the point of the wicks almost being gone, stick your candles in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Take a butter knife to remove the wax from the jar. The wax should come out of the jar with ease as long as you kept it in the freezer for a sufficient amount of time. 
  3. Use hot water and dish detergent (I used Dawn) to remove any stickers, labels and excess wax.
  4. And voila! You have cute containers you can use to store whatever you want. 
*If you're feeling crafty, you can go the extra mile and jazz your jars up with paint, glitter, etc.




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How I Imagined My 20s vs. Reality
Posted on February 20, 2014
2 comments

How I Imagined My 20s 

When I entered my 20s, I was halfway through my college years and transferred to a university out-of-state, but during my late teen years I admit I was a bit naive about what was to come. I imagined graduating in four years, having a brand new car, living in a metropolitan city in a gorgeous condo on my own with an amazing job as a staff writer at the publication of my choice. 


And then I woke up.

Reality

By 2008, the journalism field had changed tremendously. Print publications were folding left and right and internships at major publications are hard to come by unless you're in major cities such as Los Angeles or New York City. Luckily for me, I took initiative and wrote for my alma mater's newspaper for the two years I spent at TSU in addition to editorial assistant positions along the way. I'm at a point where I can't afford to continue to write for free for major publications with no compensation. "Exposure" is no longer considered compensation to me, especially since I have my own space online to create whatever I want when I want with no boundaries. I get that you have to "pay your dues" to earn your bylines, but bills need to be paid first. 

Five years ago, I wouldn't be caught dead still living at home at 25-years-old. Well, life happened. A terrible economy and no guarantee of a job and place to stay happened once I graduated so I didn't have much of a choice. I've had my bouts with being back home, but I'm grateful I have a place to call home. Most people my age are forced to fend for themselves after college, so I'm grateful my parents have given me that option to live at home so I can prepare myself first so I'm not living paycheck to paycheck once I do decide to live on my own.

 It's been confusing and frustrating, but things have gotten better. I may not be exactly where I want to be right now, but I've learned that it's a process. Patience and tenacity are essential during your 20s. As bad as I think I might have it, I have to count my blessings. I'm single with no children. I don't have other people depending on me and that's a blessing, 'cause Lord knows I don't need that added stress. I still don't know how my mom did it with two little girls by the time she was 25, but hats go off to her. Granted she was married, but it's still a lot to take on once you're a wife and a mother. 

I'm at a place in my life where I'm allowed to be selfish and figure out what I need to do to make myself happy and become a better me. 

Now let's hope I can get it right by the time the big 3-0 rolls around. 




Product Review: As I Am Coconut Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner
Posted on February 16, 2014
0 comments

I've been on a sabbatical from buying tons of hair products for some time now just to avoid clutter and overspending. I've found that since going natural it's easy to get sucked into wanting to try every single product on the market and I wanted to get away from that and use what I have before buying new things. I've been co-washing with regular conditioner for four years and I've always wondered about conditioners made specifically for co-washing. After hearing nothing but good things about the product, I decided to pick it up at my local Target. Let's get into the pros & cons!



Pros

Cons
  • the jar can make it messy 
Using it out of the jar isn't a huge deal, but I know if I used it straight from the jar, I would make a mess and waste product. To avoid that, I just recycled one of my hand soap pump containers from Bath & Body works and it works perfectly! I can control the amount of product I use with no problem. Because I have finer hair, a little goes a long way. If you have longer or coarser hair than me, I think you could be pretty generous with your use and still have tons of product to spare. All in all, I give it five stars! 

Recycle your hand soap pumps from Bath & Body Works! 


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Defining Life Moment.
Posted on February 15, 2014
0 comments

My defining life moment thus far would have to be the month before I graduated from college. Picture it, Nashville, Tennessee, July 2011. I had my moments where I just sat and reflected over my life and cried tears of joy. I felt happy, triumphant and blessed. Not everyone finishes what they started and believe me I had my trials and tribulations from start to finish, but I made it. I set out to do something and I did it.

It was a long, hard road and I couldn't believe that it was finally over. All the stress, late nights, early mornings and tears were all worth it. As exciting as it was, it was also a little scary. College had been my safety net for four and a half years, especially the last two and half years at my alma mater. I was engulfed in being a full-time student and active in extracurricular activities. Leaving home and meeting people from different walks of life really did open my eyes and helped me understand people better. I learned that you have to fight for what you want and I met lifelong friends from all walks of life in the process.

We created memories that I'll always hold close to my heart. It was a major moment for me because I'm my parents' first born and I was one of the first to graduate in my family. Not a lot of people in my family are college educated, but my sister and I vowed to break that cycle and start new traditions within our family in hopes of setting an example for our baby brother. It was a trying time, and it was scary once I realized that I had to figure out what I was going to do next, but that's all a part of growing up.

It's normal to be scared and nervous, but you get through it. It's almost been three years since I crossed that stage and I'm still trying to figure things out, but I can honestly say I'm better off than I was six years ago before I left home to complete my education. My alma mater gave me so much more than an education and for that, I'm forever grateful. Deciding to attend an HBCU was one of the best decisions I've ever made and I'm proud to be a part of that legacy.

Graduating from TSU taught me that you can't expect to have anything handed to you. You have to fight for what you want and create your own opportunities. That's one lesson that will stay with me forever. 

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