Let me start by saying this post has nothing to do with actually riding in cars with boys. However, Riding in Cars with Boys is one of my favorite movies. If I had to remake the film based on my life, it would revolve around my nephews.
When I moved back to Charleston in 2011, I always said I was going to blog about my life with da boyz. At the time, I had 5 nephews waiting on me to move back home after graduation. So, take a minute to imagine what it was like transitioning from the house I lived in during college, also known as 710. 710 was like Party Down South on some days, and like Survivor on others–living with my nephews is like Home Alone, even when their parents are home. HAHA!
Within the 2 weeks I’ve been “vacationing” in Charleston this summer, my nephews have already given me lots of laughs and headaches. Here are my favorites…so far.
I ran out of shaving cream and they gave me this to use instead… (My legs are still recovering.)
The 8-year-old wrote, “Help me. Stranger Danger” on the cooler in the grocery store because he couldn’t get the frozen pie he wanted.
My face went crazy, and I had to share acne face wash with the 12-year-old.
The 4-year-old asked me if wine was for babies. This is the same 4-year-old who picked up a mini bottle of wine in the corner store and asked, “Auntie, you want this?” (I really did want it. I said “no” because the cashier was judging me with her eyes.)
They work my last nerves, but most of my funny stories come from their craziness. Are their little ones in your life who say or do the “darndest” things? I loooove hearing about them! Comment below or tweet me @TheAceAlexa so we can laugh together! 🙂
There are levels to being productive while listening to music. Like Donni said before introducing the jams on her Productivity Playlist, everyone is different. My levels include healthy distractions like dancing and daydreaming. While physical movement (dancing) relieves stress and releases endorphins, daydreaming is like meditation for me. Songs that make me happy bring on the visions of the positive things I want to have and experience–like owning a house with a huge yard in New Orleans, or going to Disney World for the first time. When I think about things like that, I get pumped about checking items off of my to-do list.
During my senior year of college, I’d head to the park in my neighborhood to clear my mind. Y’all don’t even know how Adele’s “21” and Beyonce’s “4” got me through life in 2011! I would walk/run 3-5 times a week listening to those albums–beginning to end. Some songs made me want to dance, and some would put me in my feelings. Either way, I’d zone out and pick up speed.
Back to the subject at hand–a healthy distraction can lead to a serious productivity session. And you know what’s a really good, healthy distraction? A TWERK-OFF!!! Twerking is a workout and working out is productive—so there’s that. On International Day of Happiness (March 20), I read an article on TODAY.com, about people getting together for pre-work dance parties at 7am to release “happy chemicals”. I hope my playlist helps you do the same!
WARNING: Some of my tunes are not for the young ears. Keep that in mind if you’re going to listen with the fam. 🙂
Productivity Playlist #2
Countdown by Beyoncé
Made Me [Explicit] by Snootie Wild & K CAMP
Limit to Your Love by James Blake
Lost Queen by Pharrell Williams
End of Time by Beyoncé
Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh) [Explicit] by Rich Homie Quan
Count Your Blessings by Nas & Damian Marley
Didn’t Cha Know by Erykah Badu
Baby Blue by Action Bronson feat. Chance the Rapper
Turn Your Lights Down Low by Bob Marley & The Wailers feat. Lauryn Hill
What are you turning up or turning down to while taking care of business? Comment below or tweet @PalmsInATL!
Donni wrote a post about Spring Cleaning her life, and included a to-do list. I started writing my own list shortly after that, but never published it. So I’m back…with updates!
Ace’s Spring Cleaning To-Do List
1. Become financially secure. A wise man named Meek Mill said, “The money turned the noodles into pasta”. I’m just trying to graduate from Oodles of Noodles to Olive Garden fettuccine. Although money doesn’t buy happiness–it pays my rent, feeds my body, puts clothes on my back and allows me to type this post via Xfinity WiFi. Those things make it easier for me to sleep at night, and sleep makes me happy. You know what else makes me happy? Hazelnut coffee. How do I get hazelnut coffee? I pay for it with money. No shade to myself, but I’m super basic. I don’t care about brands or labels, and I’d rather spend money on food than clothes–so it’s not about living a luxurious lifestyle. It’s about easing my mind. Don’t let my hippie vibes fool you, because unfortunately, I’m a worrier and a planner, which is why my list is beginning with making more money. [Update: I’ve been on a few interviews and will start a new job with real co-workers next week!]
2. Reduce my anxiety with daily meditation. I just finished Oprah and Deepak’s “Manifesting True Success” 3 week meditation challenge. If you haven’t tried meditating, I STRONGLY suggest it. You’ll be surprised how helpful 20 minutes of quiet time can be. That’s right, 20 minutes of silence with your thoughts. My goal is to mediate before my morning coffee and right before bed.
3. Make healthier choices. Is it best for me to eat PB & J sandwiches and Ramen all the time? NO. Can I afford fresh vegetables, fancy ass chicken and gluten-free water (I probably made that up) everyday? NO. On top of that, I have a crazy sweet tooth, and I rarely ever have just one alcoholic beverage–so I’m going to start slow with changing those things. I won’t buy Sour Patch Kids every time I go to the store, and I….ok, I don’t have a solution for alcohol consumption yet. Work with me people. Healthy food maybe pricey, but physical activity and portion control are free–so I will try to keep that in mind. [Update: I have twerk sessions in my room on the days I don’t go for a 3 mile walk. Plus, the new gig will cause me to be on my feet and walking for at least 5 hours per shift. I’ve also been aiming to drink at least 64 oz of water everyday.]
4. Read a book. I really don’t know when I stopped reading on a regular basis. Maybe after the Accelerated Reader program ended, and I no longer got prizes for finishing Babysitter’s Club and American Girl books. Even though I don’t read as much as I should, I do admit that a good book or poem sparks my creative energy. It’s also a sweet escape from my own issues. [Update: I’m almost done with Chaka Khan’s autobiography, “Through the Fire”–an autographed copy, btw. I’m a sucker for bio-pics, so I loved being able to imagine how I think her life adventures really happened.]
5. Let people go. I do this thing where I want to keep people in my life exactly the way they entered it. It could be because I’ve lost so many loved ones, or because of my Middle Child Syndrome. It could also be because I hate feeling like I was stupid enough to not see a sad ending coming–ya know, because I’m psychic. (FYI, I also do this thing where I diagnose myself). You’ve probably heard the saying “people come into your life for a reason, season or lifetime”. Personally, I like to know right away a person’s purpose in my life, but it doesn’t work that way. My auntie (in my head) Maya Angelou said, “when people show you who they are, believe them the first time”. The signs are usually always there, but I’m a classic, stubborn Capricorn. The goal is to not think about another person’s purpose so much that it distract’s me from my own. I’ll deal with any bumps in the road when they appear–not before I even have a chance to get to them.
Inch by inch, y’all. Inch by inch.
Have you written your own Spring Cleaning To-Do List? Share it with me by commenting below!
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If you’ve read Donni’s latest post: Spring Cleaning My Life, you’ve seen how The Palmetto Peaches are embracing the Spring! On her Spring Cleaning To-Do List, Donni mentioned adding a little more happiness into her life. I’m tackling this by spending time with my nephews. Some of you may already know, but most of my G-Rated stories revolve around those fools, which is why having them in Atlanta for Spring Break is adding to my “happy” (even when they’re getting on my nerves). My squad’s ages are 3, 8 and 12–so you can imagine what my days are like: loud, adventurous and a little stank.
Yesterday we went to the Atlanta Fair. It was my first time going to a fair in 10 years! I first lost interest after realizing it was a “couples” thing, and again after some kid fell out of a roller-coaster in Columbia my freshman year of college. Despite all that, I was low-key excited to enjoy the amazing Atlanta weather aka try deep fried Oreos.
The 8-year-old got me to ride the Cliff Hanger: a ride imitating hang gliding. I managed to keep it together as he screamed the entire ride. I’ll admit I was a little freaked out, yet strangely inspired. Being able to stare into the sky (while wiping the drool from my mouth) was a little relaxing. I didn’t think about my overwhelming to-do list or sad bank account. My only mission was to take in the scenery, and laugh at the hilarious commentary. After that, we were tricked into playing about 5 games–all for the love of Ninja Turtles. About $20 and a few curse words later, we got that damn purple turtle.
Out of all the little adventures throughout the day, my favorite was being able to put my phone away and leave my computer alone for 6 hours. SIX HOURS Y’ALL! I used to take pride in getting bored easily. A little birdie told me everyday is different when you’re a publicist. I was all like, “Public relations is for me, because it’s more than sitting at a desk.” Long behold, that’s what I’ve been doing lately: sitting on the couch or floor with a hot MacBook in my lap. When I first began freelancing, I dubbed myself as #FUNemployed (meaning I could work from the beach, coffee shop or at happy hour). So, I’m adding it to my Spring Cleaning To-Do List to be #FUNemployed again. The Palmetto Peaches plan on taking this “Spring Cleaning My Life” to a-whole-nother level–so you’ll be reading my full list soon. The last few days with the boys have been a sketchy, local fair, roller-coaster ride. Even though my routine is all out of whack, it’s a great reminder of why living my purpose is so necessary. I want them to have plenty of “Remember when Auntie did this?” stories. However, I bought (and drank) two mini bottles of wine at 4:00pm today. It was much needed and deserved. And now I’m off to make Easter baskets. No worries–I have two more mini bottles left. Do you have any (kid friendly) Spring Break plans?
Donni and I attended The Brand Helena K.’s Basic Business: Lunch and Learn over the weekend. The amazing gouda omelet and mimosa I had weren’t the only gems being dropped at BQE Restaurant & Lounge. The guest speakers really tugged on some of my heart-strings.
Even though I claimed (and still claim) 2015 as MY year, the first few months have been a roller-coaster ride. (For the record, I’m not a big fan of roller-coasters.)
A lot of the advice given by the guest speakers related to my current situation. Bels Stacks, owner of STACKS Magazine, dropped a little knowledge on dream chasing. I needed another mimosa at that point, because it brought up all the things I’ve been kicking myself for lately. I didn’t have a strategy for chasing my dream. Hell, social media marketing wasn’t even my dream. I was just tired of working for whack managers and dramatic small business owners. I took the freelance route as a way to make money from a hobby.
There were A LOT of things I could’ve done differently in the past: I could’ve actually tried to enter corporate America after college; I could’ve went to grad school; I could’ve saved money while I was living with my sister; I could’ve demanded the pay I deserved from my clients–but I didn’t. And while I could keep dwelling on that obnoxious list of things when life gets rough; I just need to accept them and #CarryOn.
“Yesterday is a canceled check.”
When author/actress/HBIC, Faye Adams-Taylor, spoke those words, I wanted to slide out of my chair–but I didn’t want to embarrass Helena. All the things on my list of regrets are already done. There is literally nothing I can do to change the decisions I’ve made. However, I can put time and energy into cleaning up the messes those decisions helped create, and try my hardest to avoid making them in the future. As I mentioned before, engaging on social media was something I enjoyed doing and happened to be good at. It wasn’t this fire burning inside me that had to be put out, and that was definitely starting to show.
I started my path as a freelance social marketer for all the wrong reasons, which caused me to settle and get stuck. Over the last few months, all I could think about was how much I didn’t like the work I was doing. I wasn’t satisfied with the performance of my efforts, and when I tried to do something about it–I failed. In December, I reached out to three of my clients with a proposal to enhance my social media approach. When they basically ignored what I had to say–I didn’t care. I didn’t hunt them down or demanded a response. I was over it. It was hard for me to get pumped up and focused to make changes when they weren’t. So I continued posting and tweeting, just to make sure I got paid– all while complaining and sharing horror stories with my friends. The signs were all there for me to move on, but I stayed because I NEEDED the money.
Fast forward to today, and those clients are gone. Part of me, a very small part of me, is freaking out because this is the worst time for me to not have a reliable source of income, but the rest of me is relieved. Although I didn’t expect for it to happen this way, this is what I wanted.
The universe put me at a stopping point. From here, I move on. I focus on making all the things I daydream about a reality. It’s only been a few days since I’ve officially been “client-free”, but it feels amazing to be the only thing I have to worry about. They say “thoughts become things”, and this is proof. The real fun begins now as I figure out my next move. I really just want to escape to an island: run barefoot in the sand, grow my own fruits and vegetables, work in a local bar or coffee shop and maybe, just maybe, figure it all out.
But before I make my great escape, I’d like to hear from my fellow dream chasers. What words of advice or stories do you have to share? Comment below or tweet ya girl @TheAceAlexa!
Last week I wrote a post on how to survive a MARTA ride in Atlanta. This week I want to explain how to not be “that person” on the bus or train. Regardless of what city you’re in, you will come across a few folks who forget their manners. I get that public transportation isn’t as convenient as having your own car, so sometimes you have to get things done on the run–BUT, there is always a better way to do so.
Let’s start with phone conversations. The one really gets me. A few weeks ago, I was on the bus with a man conducting a training session via phone. SIR! He should’ve stayed where he was or postponed. If you’ve ever been on a bus, you know they’re noisy. You have to raise your voice, and basically yell sometimes, to be heard. Imagine him raising his voice trying to explain important information. It was tew much. Then you have those who want to spend 10 minutes with their conversation on speaker phone. If it’s not urgent, wait until you get off the bus/train. Imagine what it what sound like if everyone on the same trip did this?
Let’s move on to loud music. I like zoning out to my jams just as much as the next person, but I’ve learned to live with the mistake of forgetting my headphones at home. I’m sitting here minding my business, and you’re playing your music loudly, without headphones like this is a scene from Breakin’. If you’re going to do that, the least you can do is bust a move. On the contrary, doing it for the Vine or for the Gram might get you boxed off. Seriously. There is no need to draw attention to yourself if you’re not in danger. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always down for a good time, laugh and dance off–but why are you screaming and jumping up and down on a train ride? WHY?! Have several seats…literally.
Speaking of seats, let’s move on to where you should sit. If there are 100 empty seats, why would you choose the one right next to me? You can have all the personal space in the world, but something about my Resting Bitch Face told you to pick me? Nah. The least you can do is skip a seat. (Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the elderly or disabled, especially when I’m sitting in a seat close to the door.) Which brings me to my final issue, sitting on the outside seat and playing dumb when someone needs to sit there is the most basic thing you can do when the bus is full or almost full. Not only is it common courtesy to offer someone a seat, it’s common sense. Sorry not sorry if sharing a row is inconvenient for you, but that’s a price you pay for not using your own vehicle.
The craziest part of all of this is that I’m ALWAYS the one stuck next to or behind “that person”. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe it’s the law of attraction. Maybe the strug’ life chose me.
Sorry (kind of) if I’m coming off a little rude, but I’m a big believer in treating people the way I want to be treated. Think about this post before you decide to have a conference call or disco party during your next ride. Do you feel me, am I exaggerating or are you “that person”? Tell me all about it by leaving a comment or tweeting me: @TheAceAlexa!