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First Time Renter's Guide
Posted on September 5, 2016

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.

Is It Time To Leave My Dead End Job?
Posted on August 25, 2016

When you can't focus on your work or the concern for your performance stats start to dwindle, it may be time to move on. It's hard to pull away because I've invested 2.5 years into a place and I’ve seen no advancement.

I have benefits and paid time off stacked up, but is that worth staying? Being underpaid, unfulfilled and feeling stagnant has been my frame of mind for some time now. I worked in my first department for the first two years and I hated it. I interviewed and got offered a position 8 months ago and took it. It was a lateral move and I vowed to never make a lateral move, but I was desperate. The moral of the department was low. Management wasn’t consistent, favoritism was shown constantly and I was tired of being stressed.

Fast forward to eight months later and I’m starting to feel the same way I did in my previous department, stagnant and drained. My boss is fair, so management isn’t the problem. It’s just me. I stopped eating lunch with my coworkers a few weeks ago and decided to eat lunch solo. My attitude hasn’t been the best and we’re not on the same page regarding our long term goals so instead of trying to explain myself to people I’m not close too, I’ve opted to eat solo and read or write. I figured that’s the least I can do during my time at that place.

I wrote this while I should’ve been focusing on my work, but I had to get this off my chest because it's been bothering me for a while. If I'm not using my degree at my current company now, it'll probably be another two or three years before I do and I don't have any more time waste. Sometimes you just have to know when to cut your losses, take what you've learned and prepare to move on.  We all have bills, student loan payments and car payments to think about, but I’m starting to worry about my mental health. I’m already miserable when I’m there. I don’t want to become depressed.

While I’m at work, I’m thinking about everything else except the task at hand and it’s exhausting. I’ve thought about sticking it out until after I return from my fall trips to start job hunting again, but the thought of being there another two months is exhausting.

Between that and having to put things on hold because I don’t get paid enough, it makes me want to give up. I’m starting to feel like I did when I turned 25, except I have a job and my own place this time. Honestly, the only thing keeping me hopeful is the fact that I don’t live with my mom anymore and I have a place of my own so I don’t have to answer to anyone or be cramped up in one bedroom with all my belongings. Being back home for five years has helped me figure some things out, but I’m ready to grow more. 

It’s so hard to get caught up in the whirlwind of having to find a job, no matter how much it sucks, just so your bills can get paid.

I just have to hold on to the hope of there being a light at the end of the tunnel and doing things that make me happy to get through this. If you’re in a similar decision, I encourage you to do the same.


Letter To My Younger Self
Posted on August 13, 2016

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 you 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 across the complex 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 for a career. Start a savings account.

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

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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Relax, Relate, Release
Posted on July 5, 2015

I’ve fell victim to seeing what other people were doing and admiring it, but getting discouraged all at the same time because I didn’t feel like I had what it took to be successful.

For a while, I didn’t wanna write anymore. I didn’t wanna be a journalist anymore. I didn’t want any part of it anymore. I wanted a workaround instead. I’ve been overwhelmed, stressed and discouraged and I’ve allowed it to get in the way of something that I’ve always wanted to do.

It’s part of the reason while I’ve been going back and forth about grad school for the last three years. It’s also part of the reason why my blog isn’t where I would like it to be. I’ve allowed my fear to psych me out. I’ve allowed my full-time job to be the priority and doing nothing when I get home every night. While I’m trying to find out where to go next, I’ve put this space on the back burner.

I never feel like what I have to say is relevant enough to speak on. I just didn’t want to be another cliché blogger with a bunch of cliché think pieces and other crap I don’t care about for site traffic. Yeah, I want site traffic, but I want it for the right reasons. I want people to come here and be able to relate. I want people to come here and leave with gems. 

There’s nothing wrong with working a 9-5. Hell, I work a 9-5 right now, but I don’t want that to be my story.

I figured out my passion when I was 16-years-old and I thought it would come to fruition by the time I graduated from college. Well, shit happens. It all depends on how you handle what life throws at you. I’ve known this all along, and I can give other people the sermon, but when it comes to myself, I come up empty. It’s time that I practice what I preach. I know what I’m capable of and it's time to get to work.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

It may be cliché, but it’s true. I won’t know until I try. If I look up and years have gone by and I sit wondering about what I could’ve done and should’ve done, I’ll never forgive myself. I looked at my post from New Year’s Day and shook my head because the year is halfway over and I’ve got nothing to show for it. I’ve still got time to make 2015 count so I’m going to do all I can to make better use of my free time.

I don’t know where this is gonna lead me or how it will turn out. I don’t know if the people that claim they support me will actually support me. I just have to have faith in myself, go with my gut and do it. I’ve been doubted in the past. I’ve been told what I shouldn’t do or couldn’t do, but I did it anyway.

I’m scared of the outcome, but I’ll never know if I don’t put forth the effort to be better.
It’s time to be brave and stop talking about my dreams and doing all I can to make it a reality. It's so hard to get down when you see your peers doing well and you feel stuck. I've allowed that to hold me back for too long and I've decided to put an end to it. If they can do it, I can do it. Do it in your own time. Do it because will make you a better person. Everyone loves recognition, but don't do it solely for recognition. Do it because it's something you believe in. 

To those of you who read my little ol’ blog, thank you. To those of you who have given me words of encouragement, thank you.

I’m not big on posting every little thing I’m thinking or doing online, but just know that you can expect change around here.

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