Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year...New Goals!

With the dawn of the new year of 2013, everyone focuses on a having a fresh start and yes, I am too! A new year always gives you the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and excuse yourself from all of the things that you failed at in the previous year. Even though 2012 was a monumental year for me, the few things that didn't go well - were very intense and huge life lessons.

I realize that in 2013 things will have to change if I want to experience change for myself. The most pressing issue in my life is my being overweight. Skinny isn't as important to me as being healthy, feeling good and feeling invincible, I would like to be Wonder Woman when I grow up!
So, I will not be on a diet, I will be changing my lifestyle. Here's the plan:

1. Clean eating - ONLY fruits, veggies, chicken, fish and oatmeal
I have high cholesterol and have had it since I was a teenager. I am convinced it is hereditary but I will not make it any worse with my eating habits - and I LOVE all things cheese! I also need to take a break from the red meat and pork as a means to lower my risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.

2. Lots of exercise!
By June, my goal is to have lost 50lbs, be able to run 3.5miles and to have a body mass index under 20%. I will be doing a lot of cardio and circuit training, with Sundays off to allow my body to rest.

Overall wellness is the key so this year, I will be focusing on my health but I also have several other areas to focus on - Graduate school, the National Black MBA Association's Leaders of Tomorrow program and my maternal grandmother's development of Alzheimer's disease. I will be blogging about all of these things periodically and I will be working to establish my own event planning brand, Cosmo Creations! Stay tuned for more!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

...Act Like A Lady...?

Steve Harvey's best selling book, "Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man" and the box office movie "Think Like A Man," spews relationship advice to women and tells some of the secrets of the male pysche. The problem is, women were told how to "think like a man" but they still have no idea what it is to act like a "lady" in a relationship.

The role of the woman in the home and the workplace has changed in the past two generations. I see the difference from my mother's generation to my own. Traditional relationships have been thrown out of the window and with that so have traditional gender roles. A lot of women have no idea what it means to be treated like a lady! So here are the issues:

1) There is a delicate balance in being a strong woman and a lady. A woman's strength comes from being the emotional rock of her family. As a single mother it may come from being able to provide for her child so that an absent father is not missed. No matter what the family dynamic is a woman's worth is always measured by how well and happy her family is. Since the American family has seen a deterioration of the traditional family set, women are more likely to be the head of household, the sole or primary provider and sometimes better educated. If a woman is working, going to school, maintaining a household and raising her children...what would she do when a man steps into the picture?

2) Whether we want to face it or not,  it's confusing being a woman in today's society. The music my parents listened to were artists from the 60's and 70's and they were love ballads like: "Have You Seen Her" "Always and Forever" "Who's That Lady" "Natural Woman" and "I'm In The Mood For Love"
What is a young girl to think when listening to these lyrics other than she is a rare commodity...but the young girls that have come up behind me, have been listening to the lyrics of songs like: "My Bitch Bad (Ludacris)" "Birthday Song (2 Chainz)" and I can't really come up with too many more because I don't listen to them often. I wonder what they will think of themselves when they do not have any one to reinforce their worth?

The golden rule of being a woman is that: "A man will only treat you as well as you make him." So, you have to choose your role. Hoes are always going to have a place in society and they have always been around. Understand, money in a man's pockets does not mean that there is quality in his character. Hoes have part-time temporary positions, you want a full-time permanent position with benefits.

It is up to the parents to show their daughters that being a hoe should not be an aspiration of theirs just because the song or the urban fiction novel makes it sound like being a princess. Be a woman of quality. Mother's should steer their children to the stories like that of the Queen Sheba, who intrigued King Solomon with her inquisitive mind and not by how low she could drop it (1 Kings).

3) Trauma hits us at a young age. Twice the number of girls (38%) are abused before the age of 18 to boys (16%).  Here are some abuse statistics to put things in perspective:

If you are a woman who has experienced trauma at a young age, how do you ever get over it enough to trust the good intentions of a man again? I don't really know if you do.  Oprah overcame her struggle to be the most influential black woman in the world, but she's never gotten married...

A lot of sexual trauma leads to psychological damage, a tough exterior and a defensive personality.
I know that the first step in getting past a trauma is to admit that it happened. A lot of times admitting that something happened means re-living it.

Trauma is a lot like death, it calls for a grieving process -->

Women find it hard to allow a man to gain her trust after being:

  • molested
  • raped
  • abused
  • cheated on
  • divorced
It can be equally difficult to be a witness watch any of these things happen to someone else...

4) My male friends have all said that women are too hard to really be considered ladies A good guy is not going to react well to a woman who curses, will not submit in public and will always challenge him. Women, as ladies, do not know how to play their roles, how to be a partner to a man. It is wonderful to be self-sufficient, educated and independent but if you really want to have a companion, understand that a man will not feel like a man if you do not act like a lady. A man wants to feel needed in some way (this is what my male friends told me).

In closing: My friend said it the best, he said "Cherisse, we were lucky to grow up with our parents the way we did." My generation was the first generation of severe breakdowns in traditional families. In the 1980's we saw more and more families being divorced, more boys and girls growing up in broken homes, without a strong male role model which meant that the female role model was broken in a lot of ways (trauma #3). I am thankful that I have a mother who told me to always set a high standard for the man I invite in my life and how to carry myself as a respectable woman and a father who taught me that men shouldn't swear when I am in a room and should always hold the door for me. More than that, my parents showed me that a relationship did not stand on love alone but on mutual respect and teamwork, a lot of work...

Because I had a father who was always present, I know what to expect from a real man, what one looks like and how to treat/interact with one. If you aren't sure what a functional male-female relationship looks like, look past your situation and to a situation you would like to emulate. Do not ask your single friends for advice if you seek it, ask a male friend that you respect because he knows what men want in a woman.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Decide Yourself: (Part 4 of 4): Avenues of Style

Hello butterflies!

I am closing the series with Style...

Style is such a loaded idea to me! Where should I begin?

When I think of style these are the concepts that come to mind:
  • Swag
  • Comfort
  • Individual Expression
  • Initial Impression
  • Personal Brand 

Let's face it, in this day and age many of us wear many different hats (different roles) in our lives and we need outfits to go with those hats! Unfortunately, we all can't have Stacy and Clinton walk us through "What Not To Wear" but we can look in a mirror and decide if our attire is proper for the role we are playing or the brand we are selling. 

With all of the influence of pop culture, couture designs and hollywood icons we all fall victim to conforming to what the world tells us to wear. The major topic among bloggers and magazines is FASHION.  If mass media outlets put so much emphasis on what to wear, shouldn't we do the same? 

But, if we are being forced into a particular "style" because Vogue, Essence or Katy Perry implies that it is "swagtastic", how are we channeling individuality into our wardrobes?

Are the concepts of "fashion" and "style" really the same thing?
No, they aren't. In my world, fashion is what is trending and style is something that can only belong to one personality because it is more than just clothing.

My charge to my butterflies is this:
  1. Do not forget who you are as you matriculate through your life. Make sure you are dressing to make a statement, a stylish statement rather than a fashionable one. 
  2. Always dress to impress your audience; your husband, your children, your supervisors at work. You always want to look the best you can in whatever capacity you are in at the moment.
  3. Take pride in who you are and let that translate through your wardrobe - if you have a colorful personality, add a splash of bright color with a accessory. It's all open for interpretation. 
  4. Whatever you decide to wear make sure it is something that you feel physically comfortable in. Wearing something that is not comfortable will put you in a sour mood and distract from how awesome you are (i.e. Cherisse in heels)!
  5. Shop within your budget and for your body. Do not be discouraged because your body type is different from someone else's or because your wallet is not as thick as you would like it to be. Embrace your body and budget and dress it up! Every-body has the potential to look great!

Whatever your style is, my tip is to make sure it is a TRUE representation of the person you are, the person you would like to be and what matters to you. This means that your outfit is an accurate portrayal of your personal brand, from head to toe! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Decide Yourself (Part 3 of 4): Self-Esteem

Hello Butterflies!!

"Many people don't get what they want because they don't have the self-esteem to actually ask for it." -Mastin Kipp

The way the world is set up today it is easy for anyone to lose a large amount of their self-esteem. I lost my self esteem when I put myself in a position to be unemployed and I was not in school. I had nothing to look forward to and I was still carrying my grandmother's death with me, thinking that I could have done something to save her. Naturally, all of these emotions spelled out 


After a couple of months of being in a rut, I began to dig myself out. I applied to a ton of jobs and sought advice from my mentors and I applied to be readmitted to school. I did get back into school and I went on a few interviews. Just that made me feel better. 

Here are the top 5 things I did to boost my self-esteem:

  1. I Prayed - Prayer has always helped me to re-focus on my core beliefs and my conversations with God reveal what I am really thinking and feeling about the storm I am in at the moment.
  2. Exercise Helps - I decided to take a walk everyday and get some fresh air. It gave me time to listen to music (which always puts me in a meditative state) and get my blood flowing and in turn my mind working again.
  3. Getting to Know Me - I began to remember who I was, what I liked to do and that allowed me to feel good again.
  4. Set Goals - The most important thing I did was to set new goals for myself. I set short term and long term goals. The short term goals would give me the boost of confidence I would need to achieve the long term goals. Once you can set goals for yourself, you know that your mind is in a healthy state.
  5. Polish Your Image - Lastly, I had to take a stern look in the mirror and realize that there were parts of my physical appearance that I could change and feel better about myself. I set short term goals for my self-image in the form or new clothing, new accessories and better hair and skin care products. Long term I decided I would want to lose a certain amount of weight and that would make me healthier and feel more presentable.

In all the way you see yourself is how others will receive you. Be confident, be polished and be happy!
I did not see a change in my life until I began to ask myself to change. No one person on this earth can help you, if you do not want to help yourself. Ask for what you want and overcome your fears. Success is just a mindset away...

Have you ever experienced a moment in life when you didn't like yourself as much as you thought you should?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Decide Yourself (Part 2 of 4)

Hello butterflies!!

I say butterflies because I am hoping that everyone is getting something out of this that will change the way they live life.

My second "S" is Sensibility. I originally chose sensibility to mean someone that is sensible or has common sense but I realize that that is not the correct definition for the word. So we will use "sensible" for our purposes.

Sensible: having, using or showing good sense or sound judgement.

Do you live your life in a sensible manner?

After people watching for 26 years, I have observed that not everyone is born with a knack for common sense. Lifestyle choices should not be based on rap lyrics, a superstars' Facebook status or the opinion of someone you're dating. If you can improve your common sense IQ, you're a winner in my book.

“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.” 
― Jane AustenSense and Sensibility

Having good judgement simply means that you are aware how your decisions are going to affect your affairs, long term and how they will affect the people in your life:
Pay your rent before you take that trip out of town or spoil your child before you decide to splurge on those new shoes.

I am in a position where I do not have any children, I do not have a mortgage and it isn't because I do not want to own a home or have mini me's, it's because I know that I cannot handle the responsibility. If you have any obligations to meet, those should be the foundation of the lifestyle you choose anyway. Do not take on any responsibility, role or bill unless you can dedicate 100% to it...that's common sense.

Main goals: Budget yourself, weed out unnecessary things, realize what your goals are...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Decide Yourself (Part 1 of 4)

I had to ask myself the question that every person has to make sooner or later, how do I want to be known?

I have come up with "Four S's" that I relied on to help me decide: Spirituality, Sensibility, Self Esteem and Style.

#1 Spirituality "Be led by the spirit"

I am bias in the topic of spirituality because I am student of the Bible and a woman of Christ. When deliberating over how I would want to be known by others, I found that my decisions were largely based on Biblical principles.

As I have grown older, I noticed that I no longer feel good about making choices that are directly against the teachings of the Bible. The guilt I feel is incredible when I do decide to go against what I know as a Christian. Now I know that I will not choose to go against those principles.

This does not mean that you are the same way. I would suggest that you take some time to yourself and contemplate the decisions you have made that you liked and discover what fueled that choice. Hopefully, the result will be that you will understand yourself better, formulate a course of action to make future decisions and that you will make an effort to develop your system of belief.

Self-reflection is vital for everyone. It is impossible to understand and love others when you do not understand your own motives and are not at peace with them.
Objectives: Peace of Mind, Confidence in Reasoning

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Better Life With Sports and Fitness

My first victory in life was to embrace sports and fitness. By the time I was eight years old I had already tried and quit tennis, ballet/tap and cheerleading. I only wanted to play football! I settled for basketball and at thirteen years old I started to play organized basketball and continued through high school.

Any sport encourages the competitive spirit that everyone needs to make their dreams come true in life. Basketball became my metaphor for life and I became a part of a team and worked unselfishly for the prosperity of "us" as a group.  I was never great at basketball but it was an outlet and it was fun. 

Playing a sport adds a different dynamic to you as a person. It's a social boost and guys love it when you understand "sports talk". Any sports outing is always a fun one on one date or group date. 

I believe that women can become healthier, more competitive, more attractive and outgoing at any age. The best way to get fit is to find an activity that you love to do and do it well. I yearn to play recreationally now, at the age of 26 but I settle for the normal gym workout. This week I tried three alternative workouts.

Tuesday, August 7th
Yoga was wonderful! It cost $12 for a one time fee and lasted an hour and fifteen minutes. I went to Triad Yoga (Greensboro, North Carolina). It offered great poses for an intense core workout but there was also a serenity and balance once breathing was done correctly. The best part of the class happens at the end when you are allowed to relax, breathe and meditate. 

Wednesday, August 8th
Hip Hop Dance Class
This class was really fun. It was free to try for the first time and an hour long. I went to BreakNOut Dance Studio (Greensboro, North Carolina).  Sunny, the instructor, made the class fun, kept the moves upbeat and challenging enough so that everyone worked up a sweat and burned enough calories. All the routines were broken down until the entire class had the moves down, which was nice for a beginner like me.

Thursday, August 9th
I know I am a lot late with this...Zumba is fantastic!!!!
This was my favorite class of the week. Rhonda taught the class with a perfect blend of hip hop, latin, soca and belly dancing. I moved parts of my body I did not know I had and I felt sexy doing it. I know that I was sweaty and tired at the end of this hour long class, also at BreakNOut Dance Studio. It was only $5!

I would participate in each one of these workouts again. It is a great break from the monotony of the gym and treadmill.