So my best friend from high school Chorlette got some exciting news and I wanted to celebrate her, so since she’s a pescatarian I just searched for seafood in a good location for both of us to meet up and stumbled upon Lolo’s Seafood Shack. It wasn’t until we got there that Chorlette pointed out that the menu had “Belizean Conch Fritters”. I lost it! See, I’m Belizean so I automatically put on for my people. I continued reading the menu and saw that they also served Johnny Cake (a type of bread made fresh by hand) and the Johnny Cake was the bread used for the sandwiches on the menu. I loved that idea but decided that I’ll order it on my next visit. I hope y’all didn’t think this was a one off for me lol I’ll be back to visit my play cousin’s place.
We ordered the “Belizean Conch Fritters” which were well seasoned and perfectly crisped around the edges and soft in the center. The “Crabby Dip + Plantain Chips” were delicious, the dip was the perfect balance of crab meat callaloo, manchego cheese, and smoked gouda pano crust. For my entrée I had the “Salmon + Shrimp + Broccoli Basket” which came with “Garlic Fries”, the salmon and shrimp were flawlessly seasoned and then there was the “special sauce” that reminded me of Belize, it was savory yet sweet, light and creamy. It was the perfect sauce to dip my broccoli in! The garlic fries were drizzled with a garlic sauce that was so divine I didn’t even need ketchup!
A meal isn’t complete without a drink now! We had Lolo’s Rum punch in a carafe and it came with an extra shot of rum in our cups!! They spoke to me with that move!
Lastly, there is outdoor seating that I must experience in the summer time but in this cold New York winter they provided a heated shed. We walked out and as I looked down the stairs to the shed I felt so at home. Like I was back in Belize about to eat the fresh bread my grandmother just made on the open fire! Chorlette said it made her feel like she was “back ah yaad”, which is back home in her native Jamaica. Overall, the entire vibe is welcoming and the food will make you a frequent customer. So if you’re ever in New York make sure you swing by Lolo’s Seafood Shack in Harlem!
I’ve strived for perfection my entire life and just realized it this year. I still don’t believe I purposely had to be great at everything, and not to sound presumptuous, I was just always told how exceptional I was at the things I could do. From being in the top of my class in elementary and high school to cooking. There was that one time I was ranked 2nd in the class (not 1st like every year before that) and I went home crying, like the hyperventilating type of crying lol. I was book smart and never got into trouble in or out of school. I didn’t fail and because I didn’t, no one had to tell me that it was ok to fail, that it was not the end of the world, that it is a part of life and growing up.
I knew what I liked and stuck to it. I never tried to play any sports, and that one time I ran in the relay race I was in the hospital a few hours later for “breathing troubles” so I never tried to do that crap again. I knew how to braid hair, I knew how to cook, I read books every chance I got and I was always patted on the back for doing those things.
Then I became a woman and the smallest sight of imperfection would cause a panic attack. I got fired from my first job, “it wasn’t working out” is what they told me but all I heard was that I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t excel at something. I found myself sleeping on the floor of my cousin’s apartment making trips to the library to look for jobs on craigslist. At this point I barely had anything left in my savings so this was the bottom for me.
That’s when it all started. When I started belittling myself and blaming my circumstances on what I thought were my horrible decision making skills. It’s been years now and I still speak poorly of myself when I make an error or if I’m not perfect and something I try to do. I don’t even read as much as I did before and I curse myself every time I notice I’m doing something trivial that’s time consuming and I could be reading a book. Negative self talk takes over and if I don’t take the time to realize and work through it then it will consume me.
Negative self talk is your inner critic that causes you to blame yourself, causes you to doubt yourself and what you are able to achieve. You think that you’re not good enough. You don’t believe that you can do something so you don’t even bother trying. If not managed it can cause a tremendous amount of mental stress. I’ve learned to manage my negative self talk by noticing when I’m being a “Debbie Downer” or “Negative Nancy”. When I notice it I take a minute to breathe and remind myself that it’s just life and I don’t have to be perfect at everything. It’s easier said than done but with consistency I can attest that it helps.
Practice daily by speaking positivity into yourself. Remind yourself of your beauty, your strength, your resilience, your passion. Look back to how far you’ve come and remind yourself that if you made it through that then you can make it through anything. Life is what you make it so make the best of it because tomorrow isn’t promised. Love yourself everyday no matter how hard the day may seem. Negative Self Talk is something we can all kick out of the door of our lives.
Think about the amount of pressure we place upon ourselves simply because we are of a certain age. There’s so much pressure that we don’t even stop to be thankful for all that we have accomplished and how far we’ve come. No matter how slow the process is, we all grow as we navigate through life. Sometimes I like to take a minute to look back at where I was 5 or 10 years ago and it’s definitely an improvement.
I just found my voice a few years ago. Yea that sounds weird but what I mean is that I recently just learned how to speak up for myself. I was a shy kid and as a teenager and into my early 20s I just went along with a lot of things people wanted just because I was afraid of not being liked if I said no. That was a stressful way to live (half of my blemishes in my last post was a result of stress as well). I was just your typical “yes girl”, anything that was asked of me, I was doing it. I learned how to braid hair early and I was exceptional at it, but at one point I was braiding everybody’s hair so much that I started to hate doing something I once loved. I’m not sure when it actually happened but I just remember I was saying NO to a lot of things I use to say YES to and I was being questioned about it. When I started to hear a lot of “WHY’s” asking me to explain why I no longer wanted to do certain things that’s when I knew I had changed.
Personal growth is something I’ve learned to give myself credit for over the past couple of years. Of course I still have some more growing to do but I am really proud of myself for being in control of my actions. In this world, you will run into many people who will have an opinion on what you choose to do with your life. Caring about what they say is the fastest way to unhappiness and stress. Once you are secure in who you are, nothing anyone says will shake you.
1 Corinthians 13: 11 says “When I was a child I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a (wo)man, I put away childish things”. I share that to say, it is ok to change and grow, it is ok to not want or do the same things you did as a child, teenager or even when you were 5 years younger than you are now. Find the beauty in your evolution and embrace it. Most importantly, don’t ever let anyone make you feel defective for changing. The world itself is ever changing and we should be growing with it if not ahead of it. Some people may not understand your change and that’s ok, leave them behind, they might catch up to you one day…maybe.
Three years ago I really didn’t think my skin was a big deal until last summer when I took the pick on the right the exact same day a year later and compared the two. I blamed all my pimples and blemishes on my period or hair products. I didn’t know any better until I started taking better care of my skin. I started a routine that I have stuck to for the past two years and my skin tone is even and yes I still get premenstrual break outs but they disappear just as fast as they appear now. I must also add that I increased my water intake. Everything I’ve read said that we should drink a gallon a day but I only drink about half a gallon or a little bit more a day. So I will break down my routine that I go through religiously every morning and night.
Step 1 – Washing –
I have oily skin so I wash my face with cold water, yes COLD, to open up my pores while I wash to lessen the oil build up. I wash my face with organic African black soap. I’ve used Shea Moisture and Nubian Heritage brands of black soap and it felt no different than using Dove bar soap so when I stumbled upon Our Earth’s Secrets back in September I don’t plan on using anything else. I also always exfoliate with the wonder puff. I love these puffs because they have the right balance between coarse and gentle. I’ve tried a few other brands but I’ve been using these for over 7months now and I’m never using anything else.
Step 2 – Cleansing & Toning –
I cleanse my pores with witch hazel. I grab a cotton round with 3-4 drops of witch hazel and just wipe all around my face gently. I then follow up with a few splashes of rose water to tone my skin. Now, rose water is being sold all over the place with some outrageous prices. There’s no need to spend over $5 at Walamart or Sephora for rose water. If you’re lucky you can find it at your local grocery store, if not I’ve provided the amazon link for it below. >
Step 3 – Moisturizing!! My favorite part because it’s so calming! So this is the only part of my routine that is not the same in the morning as it is at night. Because of my oily skin I use to think that I had to dry out my skin and the oil it creates would balance it out…WRONG! Turns out I need to apply oil to combat my natural oils so at night I moisturize with Vitamin E oil. The difference for the morning is that I need a moisturizer with sunblock and that’s where my Aveeno daily moisturizer comes in, it’s so light and keeps me moisturized all thru the day.
Last updated: February 09, 2019
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Shawn was cute, 5’10” and Guyanese. He knew how to cook, planned some dates and was super nice to my younger sister. He was caring, charismatic and hilarious. I just knew he was the one. I was done with searching so it was time to delete the apps.
Oh yes the apps, because I met Shawn on an online dating app, like Tinder – did that too and a few others but this one was POF (Plenty of Fish, because apparently there are a lot of them in the sea *insert eye roll*). After a full day of exchanging messages we realized that we lived a block away from each other. Sure he could have been some stalker/murderer but I was living my life dangerously. So we decided to meet after a week of messaging. We had exchanged numbers and he was suppose to meet me at the train station when I got off work. He was 10mins late when I called with concern and not anger as he may tell it. He was at the auto shop dropping off his car, so I was ready to write him off because why didn’t he tell me he was going to be late or couldn’t make it? Why did I have to waste my free anytime minutes to call him to find out he was at the auto shop?
Well I started to walk home since I clearly wasn’t meeting him then decided to stop to get some curry chicken roti because I deserved it after the kind of day I just had. As I’m getting ready to leave the restaurant with my to-go bag I get a call from Shawn, he’s done from the auto shop and is a few minutes away from where I am. I’m not so annoyed anymore because I have food so I wait, he pulls up and I get in the car. He looks like his pictures thank goodness, accent even stronger in person, which finally made me comfortable with speaking with my own accent. See, he always asked if I could understand him because I claimed I was born in Belize but he couldn’t detect an accent. So now that he’s hearing it, my sexy just got bumped up 10points okkuurr! He drops me home after a great 5min car ride convo and as I open my door he calls me to say he wants to talk some more (but of course you do cutie). So I grant him his wish and we sit in his car in front of my apartment just talking and laughing.
So now it’s been about two months of us being in a relationship. My cousin sends me a screenshot of a profile on POF that has Shawn’s face, the other screenshot is the bio which is his exact bio. I’m actually at his house when I receive these screenshots so I’m laughing hysterically and he’s juts so confused. So I show them to him and he simply says that he just never deleted it, that he’s not active at all and hasn’t been messaging anyone on the app. He shows me his inbox on the app as proof. There was nothing to worry about, he gets up to bring me my dinner that he cooked.
Only my roommates at the time and my sister knew about him. I had this thing where I wouldn’t make him known to my family until we reached our three month mark. Well here we are at three months and after him spending the night at my apartment we kiss goodbye because I’m heading to Boston for my annual cousins’ weekend. I’m catching up with my cousins and I reveal that I’ve been dating this cute ass Guyanese dude and I have pictures of us together to prove it (my ex never wanted to take pics with me so he always seemed to be a mystery lol his story is coming soon). After my trip has ended and I’m home all comfortable I call my boyfriend Shawn who does not answer. I text him and no response. Three days pass by and finally Shawn sends me a text saying we should break up because we don’t make time for each other. Between me working 9-5 then going to school 6-8pm and him working 12-11pm we would spend nights at each other’s apartments and go on occasional dates when he wasn’t working on weekends. That schedule actually worked for me and he never complained about it so I was completely shocked.
So my online boyfriend of three months broke up with me right after I decided to tell my family about him. As upset as I was at the time I got over it quicker than my previous break up. Shawn was great but he never wowed me. With all of Shawn’s good qualities I always compared where he lacked to my ex, the ex that had broken up with me three times in four years but he was still the blueprint for the man I saw myself with. I call Shawn my refresher relationship. He was my first non long distance boyfriend and it was so weird going out on a Tuesday night, I was so use to only going out on weekends when I would travel to see ex bae. He was my last online boyfriend, and now three years later I got on another online dating app for just one week to realize that the online dating world just ain’t for me and I’m ok with that.
Dating isn’t what it use to be and we can go back and forth about what we should do now because times have changed but I’m going to stick to the old fashion way of meeting someone when I step out the house. My next boyfriend might be the next man I run into at the train station, or it might even be someone I’ve already dated. Either way, I’m looking forward to the next dating adventure life throws me into.
It’s just pure luck that I still have this pic (I delete everything after a break up), I was so secretive back then lol, but that’s Shawn’s hand from our Vday date circa 2016.
My own apartment (no roommates) but my place still doesn’t measure up to my cousin’s spot in Virginia. My hair is full and past shoulder length when blown out (shrinkage is real!) but my twist outs still don’t come out as nice as Naptural85’s (look her up on Instagram she’s dope). I can give a few more examples of me comparing myself and my life situation to someone else’s but doesn’t that take away from me appreciating my own blessings?
There is a difference between aspiring to be like someone because they spark inspiration in you and actually envying them and wanting what they have. On Instagram, TheShadeRoom sometimes posts beautiful surprise proposals from couples. Some people see it as inspiration saying “One day that will be me” while some envy and even criticize the couple (usually the woman) saying “Well if she can get a man I just don’t see why I’m single”. Comparing yourself to someone else is the ultimate slap in the face to God (if you’re a believer) as He continues to bless you with things that you take for granted. We don’t know the path that led these individuals to their fortune so we shouldn’t desire their fruits without being aware of their labor.
I remember when I found out my ex got married two years after we broke up. I didn’t care that I knew he wasn’t the one for me, I was just upset that somebody else got the ring. I bashed that women passionately, calling her ugly (but she’s not) and saying things like “I made him better for her…that’s all my hard work”. You know, all the things to make me feel better because I felt like I lost. Not realizing I was just making myself miserable wondering why her and not me. As I matured I realized that there was a different path for me and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. And who’s to say I would’ve been happy as a married woman in my early 20s?! I would have missed out on all the glorious life experiences I’ve had so far.
The miserable feeling is a choice. You are choosing to rob yourself of the joys of your own life as you spend an enormous amount of time wondering why you don’t have what the next person has. Appreciate your apartment because there was a time when you only could afford a room in someone else’s apartment. Love that hair on your head because you probably had a perm once and never had this type of volume and you most likely did the big chop and didn’t even know if it was ever going to grow back. Be happy for that woman who got proposed to in Paris and don’t wonder why her and not you, just simply be happy for her. Your happiness lies within the appreciation you have for your life even if you know there is room for improvement. Your life is yours and no one else’s and you should choose to cherish it and never think that you fall short of anything.
Four years ago on my 25th birthday I felt grown. I’ve had a steady job for the past four years, my relationships with my friends and family were striving and I had finally stuck to a workout plan and ya girl was looking snatched and yes I was single!
Now as we fast forward to me approaching 30, with a new job that I’ve only had for the past three months, some deteriorated family connections and friendships, and don’t even think of asking me when was the last time I did some cardio. I am still single and somehow I have been categorized as “lonely” from people ranging from a 10yr old child to a 40 something male. It might be based on the fact that I have not introduced my family to a boyfriend since, well, never. There was this one dude back in 2011 that one side of my family met but he’s still a myth to the other side, I’ll give you the story on him later on.
By definition, single is “unmarried, unattached, without a partner, free (which is a personal fav)” — loneliness is “feeling sad and unhappy about being socially isolated.”. I am not sure when these two words became coupled but I believe them to still be mutually exclusive. Sure some may say that they feel lonely when not in a relationship but feeling that way sometimes does not make you a lonely person. There is a stigma on being a single woman that makes it hard for the majority to believe that she can be happy while single. That her jubilance can only stem from companionship. That her joyous exterior is only a façade and deep down inside she is secretly wishing for a partner. I am currently in the “when are you gonna have kids?” phase, because I am not quite a full woman until reproduce. Interestingly enough, I don’t hear “when are you gonna get married?” anymore, as if they gave up on that dream for me.
The most frustrating part is that I have friends and family members, females ranging 25-33yrs old questioning their entire existence. “I’m 27 with no kids, that’s crazy”, “I’m almost 30 with no man, why did this happen to me”, “I’m tired of seeing these young girls getting proposed to on Instagram”. Age has put us all in a panic, thinking that we should have a certain status because we’re getting older and maybe it’s linked to the fear of dying alone, I’m not sure, but what I do know is that it’s sickening and quite heartbreaking to hear these grown women with many accolades negate their life achievements and being consumed by the chase of a certain social status.
I use to chase the same thing. When I was 17 I just knew that by 25 I was going to be married with a child right out of college. Well, as you live you learn and I had to learn that God/the universe (yea religion is another subject I’ll talk about later) had a different path for me that what I had convinced myself to be true.
As a 29yr old single woman I would like to tell my sisters that you are not alone. Just because you see happiness through companionship all around you does not mean that you are defective. I’m not saying to give up hope of your dream of having a family of your own with a husband and child/children. I am saying to find happiness in this stage of life that you are in. We only have one life to live so why spend it worried about what we don’t have and when we will have it? Enjoy your days of being single, take up a new hobby (like I’m doing with blogging lol), take yourself out sometimes (I love my solo sushi dates), read more (I just started “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones…yea I know but it’s not what you think), just do more of whatever you love to do and spread that joy to those around you. Your heart will thank you and your mind will stop punishing your spirit.