10 Random Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Me

Hello readers! While I do like to give you all tips and tricks for navigating this crazy thing called life, I also want you all to get to know me a little bit better. That is how the idea for this point came along. Today’s post is a chance for you all to know me on somewhat of a more personal level. Some of the things on this list aren’t even known by people who may have known me for years! Without further anticipation, here are 10 random facts you probably didn’t know about me.

My Mom stayed putting me in these extra ass dresses. Now people wonder why I’m so extra.

1.  I was born with a broken hip.

It’s hard for me to believe because I’ve never had hip problems *knocks on wood* but it’s true! My mom says I had a difficult birth and broke my hip on the way out.

2. I’m named after my dad and his best friend (at the time).

My birth name is JerMara and the Jer comes from my dad Jerome and the Mar comes from the name Marlin, who was my dad’s best friend when I was born. Apparently they don’t really talk anymore. A shame. I used to hate my name but it’s grown on me haha.

3. I started pre-school when I was 3 years old.

I also almost skipped a grade when I was in kindergarten to go to 1st grade. I believe this is why I was overdue for a break from school when I graduated college haha.

4. I have oral allergies to MOST raw fruits

It always surprises people when I tell them I like veggies more than fruits but raw fruits give me soooo many problems! The only fruits I can feel completely eat raw are strawberries. I also like apples, peaches, mangoes (without the skin).

5. I’m deathly terrified of snakes

I literally can’t even watch them on tv. Thanks to my dad’s side of the family for letting me watch the movie anaconda at 3 years old.

6. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 13

Before I wanted to be a lawyer I wanted to be teacher and an author. I still want to write a book (or books) some day but as a substitute teacher now I know forsure I would never want to be a teacher (hug a teacher and give them money, they don’t get paid enough for what they do!)

7. I’m so 16% fluent in Spanish according to Duolingo.

I should be way more fluent considering I took it 3 or 4 years in HS and one semester in college but just give me like 5 years! Haha.

8. I’m not a big fan of puzzles.

I also don’t like most board games. Maybe I’ll tell the story about why on instagram live one of these days. We’ll see.

9. I’ve been to 7 countries in Europe.

For my high school graduation I got a grad-trip that was two weeks long. I went to Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and The U.K. I loved Verona, Italy the most and Switzerland the least (our money is shit over there).

10. I want to live in Washington D.C. and Italy at some point in my life.

I loved the cities I visited in Italy and want to live there. I also visited Washington DC in 2016 and fell in love. I feel like at some point I have to live in both those places, even if it’s just for 6 months to a year. I want to visit Ghana and I feel like it will also get added to my list of places I want to live once I do. I just have a feeling.

Me in Verona, Italy under Juliet’s balcony

What’s a random fact no one knows about you? Leave a comment below and let me know! Xoxo.

How To Handle Life When Life Is Kicking Your Ass

There’s something about the dust settling from January (which always feels like an entire year in a month) that has made February particularly rough this year. In the short time that 2020 has been here I’ve already had quite a few wins. I’ve also taken quite a few L’s. Last week I took my first “mental health day” and didn’t class because my anxiety was very high and I got very overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I love my law school but law school as a whole is hard as hell. Every semester is  mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenging, in their own different ways.

While not everyone is in law school like me, life is still hard for everyone in different ways. In certain points in time it can be outright horrible. This being said, I have gathered some tips for dealing with life when it’s kicking your ass.

Cry

Okay so I don’t know about you, reader…but I love to cry. I try not to cry often but when shit gets too real, I definitely let the tears fall where they may. Sometimes a good cry is necessary to move on from a failure and keep it pushing. While I don’t recommend crying every day if life is rough (probably talk to somebody if you are crying everyday), a good cry every so often is cathartic. So if you feel like life is kicking you around let it out and then do the rest of these steps.

Declutter

I’m one of those people where my room reflects the current state of my life. If my room is a mess, 9/10 my life is also a mess and I need to get it together fast. Sometimes when life is doing me dirty I get a release out of throwing away things that I don’t need and straightening up my room. There is something about cleaning your room that makes you feel (at least for a little bit) that you have your shit together. If life feels like it’s spiraling out of your control, take control of your space to gain a sense of that control back.

Unplug

If anyone is familiar with sulking and scrolling through social media when I feel sad, it’s me. However, in the past few months I’ve noticed that this doesn’t help me feel any better and if anything, it sometimes makes me feel worse. As a blogger/aspiring influencer I do value transparency with my followers when I’m going through a rough time but sometimes the best thing to do is to just let people know life is kicking your ass and that you’re going to take some time to unplug and disappear. I’ve been doing this lately and it is so much better for my emotional health.

Write

Make sure you use a pen and paper to do so. Y’all know I always talking about journaling but writing out your feelings when life gets rough is a good way to process exactly how you are feeling. Once you write about your feelings, you are better able to know how and why you feel the way you do and possibly brainstorm ideas for progress. I personally recommend making journaling a habit so that you can regulate your emotions better. I notice that when I don’t journal regularly, my mood is all over the place.

Exercise

I know I know. Who has time to exercise when life is already kicking your ass? Sounds contradictory I’m sure but it’s not. Exercise gives you endorphins and is also another way you can practice control in an area of your life. You would be surprised how much better you feel even after only 1 hour of exercise. Any time I feel overwhelmed I find myself going to the gym. I felt amazing afterwards and had a clearer head to know what to do moving forward.

Adjust

If what you’re doing isn’t working, adjust some things around to see if something else will work. Life is a complicated thing and sometimes even the most minor adjustments can have a butterfly effect on the quality of our lives. I made some big adjustments to my school and personal schedule to try and achieve the results I wanted for the rest of the year when I felt like life was just messing me up. Sometimes life really is out of our control and nothing we can do will change certain things. In these moments, I recommend just adjusting your mindset. It’s very cliché but often times at least finding one positive aspect of life that we are grateful for will help us in hard times of our lives.

Life can be really hard. The last year or so has be really difficult, personally. However, by doing these things I’ve been able to get myself out of a funk from time to time while life kicking my ass every so often. The main thing to make sure you do is to take time for yourself and relax.

What do you do when life gets overwhelming? Let me know in the comments!

My Valentine’s Day 2020 Playlist

Hello my lovely readers! Apparently today is Galentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day is actually designated for February 13th. I really thought it was just an unofficial thing that gal pals celebrated on their own. That being said, this post is going to be about the holiday I knew the official day for…you know which one it is! Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day makes a lot of people feel different ways. Some people believe it is a made-up holiday (aren’t they all made up?) only created to sell cards and candy (I mean probably true but all holidays have turned into a way to make profit so…). Others believe it focuses too much on romantic love and reminds them of their single life. Some people literally just dislike it for no particular reason.

I personally enjoy Valentine’s Day even though I do think it was created to sell candy and cards, it’s still a reminder to express love to our loved ones. I love LOVE. I decided to share my love with you all by giving you a playlist featuring some of my favorite love/love-ish songs. I will place a disclaimer that this is by no means an all-inclusive list of my favorite love songs ever. I tried to make one of those and quickly became overwhelmed! The amount of love songs in this world is insane. It’s probably one of the most sung about topics in the world. I decided to narrow it down to 20 songs that catch my current feels and vibes with romantic love.

1. Put It On Me (Remix) – Ja Rule ft. Vita & Lil’ Mo

Nothing like a good ol’ Ja Rule throwback to remind me of the days I wanted to date a gangster when I was younger. Who was I? Hahaha. Anyways, I like this song because it’s playful and cute and reminds me of simple times.

2. Best I Ever Had – Drake

This song has so many different love related memories for me. For one, I put the remix with Nicki Minaj on a burned CD (y’all remember those?) for my high school sweetheart. Secondly, I once gave some special to me a heart shaped pizza and wanted to write “you can have my heart or we can share it like the last slice” on the inner part of the box but it was a long distance thing and by the time I helped the worker figure out how to deliver the damn pizza to the man my 15 min break from work was over and I was over it. It’s the though that counts though, right? He still enjoyed the pizza.

3. I’m Sprung – T-pain

Honestly if you didn’t dedicate this to your middle school crush (in your head) then we are not the same. This song is a classic in my opinion. Listening to it takes me right back to that youthful innocence of confusing a crush for being “in love.”

4. Lotus Flower Bomb – Wale ft. Miguel

I really just vibe to this song very heavily. Wale and Miguel really made an amazing song when they came together.

5. Play No Games – Big Sean ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Chris Brown

Idk if it’s the beat or the music video tugging on my nostalgia but I really love this song! When it first came out I literally listened to it on repeat for like 2 days straight. It’s a cute lil rap song about being in love and not playing games…which sometimes people like to do entirely too much. But anywho.

6. The Way – Kehlani ft. Chance The Rapper

Kehlani was so young here omg. I love Kehlani and this is one of the songs that really made me love her love her as an artist (I was a little late to the party but I arrived). I also really like Chance The Rapper in this track as well.

7. Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars

The lyrics “Can I just stay here? Spend the rest of my days here?” really sum up how I feel when I love someone. My top 2 love languages are quality time and physical touch and this song definitely sings about both of them in the perfect way that Bruno Mars knows how to.

8. With You – Chris Brown

Freshman year in highschool Mara wanted my “boyfriend” (not high school sweetheart, just to clarify) at the time to dedicate this song to me soooo badly. He never did and then went on to dump me for another girl. All of that aside, this song reminds me of the simple times in high school even though at the time they felt like the end of the world. It’s also a really cute love song, regardless of whatever other things have happened with Mr. Brown.

9. Catch Me – Demi Lovato

I sang this song to my first love after we went on a date or something. It is kinda cringe thinking about it now but  at the time it was really sweet and he liked it or didn’t wanna hurt my feelings, both I fully appreciate haha. This song has always remained one of my favorite because I love Demi Lovato more than most people and it truly is just a sweet and pleasant song. It reminds me of being young and in love and care free.

10. Still Into You – Paramore

Okay first of all Hayley Williams is absolutely AMAZING and no slander towards her or Paramore will ever be tolerated. I currently have no memories attached to this song but it really is one of the greatest love songs to ever exist, in my opinion. Paramore did what the hell they had to do and showed the girlies how it needed to be done!

11. Dangerously In Love – Beyoncé

The fact that this is from BEYONCÉ’s DEBUT album is just…it leaves me speechless. This song is easily one of my favorite love songs of all time. Her voice is beautiful and this wasn’t even her final form as an artist. The talent is unmatched! The chorus is what I imagine when I think of true love.

12. Honey – Kehlani

Kehlani is one of the artist who just makes me feel better when she sings, no matter the topic. Regardless of if you can relate to this particular song, just listen to the lyrics. It is one of her most beautifully written songs. The video is also really cute. “I’m a beautiful wreck, a colorful mess, but I’m funny.”

13. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake

I get so emotional when I hear this song. I will know if I my life partner when this song encapsulates how I feel about them. It’s long as hell but each minute is worth it. 20/20 Experience was one of my favorite albums when it came out and still gets some play pretty often.

14. All of Me – John Legend

Can you even have a love song playlist without this song? I feel like it that should be illegal but I don’t know. This song makes me get all up in my feelings and feel all lovey dovey. When John Legend sings “what would I do without your smart mouth…” I feel seen.

15. XO – Beyoncé

XO is An underrated gem on the self-titled album. Beyoncé raspy vocals on this song are everythingggg and it makes me feel like I’m at a carnival & having the time of my life with the love of my life. I really love this song so much.

16. All Me – Kehlani ft. Keyshia Cole

This song is the only newer song on this playlist but it definitely gives me a throwback love type of vibe. Kehlani was playing in our face by almost not releasing this full track but we overcame. The lyrics and vocals between Kehlani and Keyshia are just *chef’s kiss*. It almost makes me want to post a man on my instagram with the caption “when you see him know that’s all me.”

17. Adorn – Miguel

When I picture myself having a cookout as an older woman, this is a song I can hear being on the playlist as I ask my grandkids “What y’all know about this?” like I haven’t been playing it every get family together since they were born. This song also is just grown and sexy and perfect. Makes me wanna slow dance and give my partner soft kisses on the forehead while holding hands.

18. While We’re Young – Jhene Aiko *

I don’t want to sound crazy but this may be one of the best love songs released in recent years and I’m not just saying that because I really enjoy Jhene’s Aiko’s music. I find myself randomly singing this song every so often and I just feel good. This is definitely a feel good love song that makes me feel at ease. The lyrics speak to my young-at-heart nature and make me want to forget the world and run off with somebody.

19. Latch – Disclosure ft. Sam Smith

This song will be played at my wedding. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it will be THE wedding song but it definitely is one of those songs that are timeless. Everything about this song is perfect. I literally don’t have a single critique. As a matter of fact, I don’t really trust anyone who doesn’t like this song. Definitely any love song playlist I have would have this song on it.

20. Love On Top – Beyoncé *

Have you ever tried to sing this song? It is insane. The amount of breath control and skill it takes to sing this song is not what I currently possess, even if drunk me thinks I do at karaoke nights. All of that aside, this song never fails to cheer me up when I hear it. Similarly to what I said about Adorn, this song will be on my cookout playlist for years to come and will definitely also be played at my wedding. I might even do a dance to it for my husband and the rest of the attendees, we’ll see. The point is this is one of my favorite love songs EVER and you cannot convince me it isn’t one of her best songs of all time!

The Playlist

Here is where you can listen to the playlist if you have TIDAL (which I’ve had since Lemonade dropped, btw):

I hope you enjoy this playlist and that you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, regardless of who you are celebrating with. Be sure to spread love and appreciate all different types of love in your life tomorrow!

What do you think of these songs? Do you have a favorite love song? Tell me some of your favorite love songs in the comments below! 

My Favorite Quotes from 3 of My Favorite Black Writers

HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH! In a public school K-12 education there are only a few Black figures we are taught about every year during these brief time. We learn about Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and MLK Jr. I watched “My Friend Martin” enough times in elementary school to probably still have it memorized. While I do think knowing about these historical figures is important, it’s also important to know the vast different monumental contributors to Black culture and literature. My attempt at rectifying this is sharing some of my favorite quotes from 3 (of many) of my favorite Black authors. Hopefully these quotes resonate with you and awaken your passion for life!

Zora Neale Hurston

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First of all, I absolutely love Zora Neale Hurston, the QUEEN of the Harlem Renaissance. She has been always been one of my favorite writers (overall, not any subcategory) and I really just love her. I quoted her in my graduation speech at SDSU’s Black Grad and I will probably quote her throughout my career as a creative because her words just speak to me.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

This quote has come to be one of the quotes that I use to navigate my life. In 2018 I had a particularly rough year that was full of me asking so many questions. I questioned God. I questioned myself. I questioned my relationships and if they were serving me. 2019 was a year of answers to the aforementioned questions. It was a great year full of more self-discovery and killing it on certain goals that I had set for myself. I’m not sure which type of year 2020 will bring but I trust the universe in knowing which one is that I will need. Zora Neale Hurston was onto something when she said this. I honestly live by ZNH quotes so i couldn’t pick one. Here’s another!

“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”

I love this quote because honestly it is such a mood. There was a time in my life when I was so angry with racist people existing. That’s not to say that I still don’t have days where the fact that this country was founded on racism makes me want to act a fool… but my current acts of revolution include living a happy life where I achieve everything my heart desires. Despite most things not being created with me and my fellow black people in mind, I’m out here living my best life and making shit happen, which is something many people like me can only dream of. So if people want to have a nasty, discriminatory ideas about me, forget them! Their loss, not mine. I refuse to be perpetually angry and base my life off of racist stereotypes held by others. I think many Black people should also subscribe to this quote and try to live as happily as they can given our circumstances. Although, I also understand the need for using anger as fuel to change the world and activism. We all are doing our best to navigate what it means to be Black in America.

 

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

The first time I read Audre Lorde’s work was in undergrad when I took a woman’s studies class. We were assigned various excerpts from her book “Sister Outsider” and I really enjoyed them. There is something that is so inspiring about a proud out lesbian black woman when our community is still learning how to respect & honor the LGBTQ community. Audre refuses to let anyone take her voice away or dictate her experiences and I love that. I have two quotes from her as well because they both are words I strive to live by.

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

Similarly to Audre Lorde, I live for myself. I’m at the point in my life where I am no longer living to fit anyone’s definitions or ideas for how they’d like me to be. I think it’s important for all people, especially black women, to remember that we have to define ourselves! We have one life to live and you don’t want to look back when you’re older and wish you had actually lived life the way you see fit. I really love this quote because it constantly serves as a reminder to ask yourself “Am I defining myself? Am I living life they want I want to and not based on what I think I should* be doing?” These are good questions to ask yourself every so often to make sure you are in alignment with your truest self.

Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison is from the same town I was born in, little Lorain, OH. While I’m not a small-town girl by any means, it’s always brought me great joy to feel somewhat connected to this wonderful writer and powerful woman. I’ve had a picture of her and Angela Davis as my Twitter header for years. I honestly have had it there so long I couldn’t tell you what I had before that. When she passed away last year I cried and cried and reflected on how her work impacted me. I could write a whole other blog post about that but if you’re not familiar with her works then you need to change that, ASAP.

“I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.”

I love this quote because I believe it is so important to lift as we climb. I’ve always been someone who believed that when Black people come together as a community, great things happen. I can’t wait to be in a position where I can help fellow Black people pursuing legal careers or other endeavors with not only cheering them on but providing access to resources and monetary support. I still do these things now but I’d like to do them in a larger capacity. The main thing I can say that people should take away from this quote is to LIFT AS YOU CLIMB and HELP OTHERS. ❤

There are so many other beautiful & brilliant black people I could quote and I might make some other posts later on but I hope you enjoyed these. These are definitely quotes I always keep in mind and I hope they change your life!

Do you have any favorite quotes from historical figures in Black history? Leave a comment below and share!

Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

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Ever since I started blogging, many of my friends have come to me for advice about starting their own blog. I love this because it means they notice that I’m doing things and as a blogger, recognition is good. However, having to give advice over Snapchat or Instagram messages is harder and time consuming than I have time for so I decided to write this post. These tips can also apply to anyone in an online creative type of work such as podcasting or running a specialized Instagram page. From one amateur blogger to the next, these are the things I wish I knew when I started blogging.

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  • Put aside a few consecutive hours a week to focus on blog related things. (Really focus!)

Honestly, if you can master this and make it a habit, the rest of these things will come pretty easily to you. My biggest struggle over the last year and half or so has been finding the time to just sit down and work on my blog for extended periods of time, without distractions. I read a post from Mattie James (mattiejames.com) that discusses the concept of batch work. Batch work is basically creating a bunch of content all at once. My effectiveness in this comes and goes but as of lately it’s been something I am aiming to make routine.

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  • Figure out your main topics/focus aka niche (Keep this list small)

When I first started blogging I wanted to talk about everything under the sun: health and fitness, pop culture, social justice issues, self-growth and development, mental health, anything and everything. It wasn’t until after I tried writing about all of these topics and realized that I was headed nowhere fast that I decide to dial back on the topics I was going to focus on for my blog. Now I focus on self-reflection, self-growth/self-development, and goal-setting with a sprinkle of health and fitness and travel thrown in every so often. Keeping your list of topics small is key to avoiding being overwhelmed as a blogger. Even the person who loves writing more than life CAN’T write about everything. I know that once I establish myself as a blogger with a brand, other opportunities to talk about my various interests will present themselves.

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  • Consistently creating content (and posting it) is the hardest thing to master.

It’s so funny because whenever people ask me what advice I have about blogging I tell them “don’t underestimate how hard it is to consistently write and create content.” Many of the time they tell me they’re not worried about that because they have so many things to write about that creating content won’t be hard for them. Fast forward a few weeks later and either 1. They haven’t started their blog because they’re busy or 2. They have started it but only post once in a blue moon (like myself, guilty as charged haha). The thing people don’t understand is that writing a blog post isn’t hard (per say) but what is hard is writing a blog post worth reading. There have been many times I have written a post, read it back, tried to edit it, and just realized it wasn’t even worth reading for me, much less to put out. Creating consistent and worthy content is hard. Don’t underestimate it.

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  • Friends =/= Supporters and that’s okay! (Don’t take it personal)

Just because you are friends with someone does not mean they are obligated to support your blog. I know. That sounds insane. Why wouldn’t your friends support you? They’re your friends! That’s what friends do for each other. I know that’s what we’re taught to believe but the fact of the matter is that friends =/= supporters and that doesn’t make them bad people. Maybe your niche is just not FOR THEM. When I first started blogging I was sad that all of my friends weren’t reading my blog (the clicks don’t lie!) but then I realized that doesn’t matter. I love all of my friends and our differences in interests and hobbies. That being said if one of my friends started a horseback riding podcast I can’t necessarily say I would be tuning in every week to hear about life at the stables. I probably would retweet all of their new episodes but that’s as far as that would go. That doesn’t make me a bad person. Some people won’t even retweet you, and that’s fine too. We are all inclined to support things that interest us. I know my content isn’t for everybody, I focus on writing for the people who it’s intended for.

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  • Reading other bloggers, watching blogging webinars, and whatever else is useless if you don’t apply the knowledge! (Seriously, don’t waste your time)

I tried to read every blog post and watch every webinar I could about blogging when I first started. There where countless Google searches for content about blogging from my phone and laptop. If it was free, it was for me! After reading and watching all of this stuff I can say I have maybe applied 1 or 2 things out of the 25 I’ve learned. That’s because I was more focused on indulging in information to try to imitate the greats instead of reading/learning some and then applying it, reading/learning something else and applying, and so on and so on. I’m sure I would have gotten way farther in a quicker time if I took it one step at time. This whole blogger life is a learning process though and Mara went through it so you don’t have to!

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  • This shit is not cheap/free (If you want to be next level)

Okay so I never knew that I was going to have to spend so much money JUST to make blog appear legit. Between having my own domain, needing a PO Box for my newsletter, paying for stock photos, and eventually attending blogging conventions, this blogging life gets REAL costly REAL quick! If blogging is just a hobby for you it’s not something you have to worry about but I eventually want to take my blog to another level as a source of income like many of the women I admire. If you have similar ambitions as me, it’s going to cost you before it pays you. Don’t get discouraged and make sure you can finance your dreams.

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  • Engagement is a major key.

Okay so something I’ve recently learned is blogging doesn’t stop at the blog posts. In order to have people actually give a damn about what you have to say, you have to engage with your social media followers. I know that is so obvious…how didn’t realize it before? I don’t know, honestly. Even after reading it from many people who blog it never clicked until recently.

This is just a little bit of what I wosh I knew when I started blogging. Even with utilizing these tips there are still so many things left for bloggers to learn. The best thing is to do your research! Here are some of my favorite blogging resources where I read up on blogging tips and sometimes even score a free webinar or two.

  • MattieJames.com
  • Bloguettes.com
  • LostGenYGirl.com

If you are fellow blogger or have a postcast/website, I wish you luck and success! It’s not an easy task to be successful on these e-streets.

Are you a blogger? What is one thing you wish you knew when you started blogging? Let me know in the comments! 

An Open Letter to 2019 Me

Dear 2019 Mara,

Hey girl, it’s Future Mara here. Fill up your hydroflask and get comfy because I can already tell you this one is going to be a doozy.

 

First of all, congratulations on surviving 2018 because we both know how badly it kicked our ass. Whew, I wouldn’t wish our 2018 on our worst enemy (obviously we don’t have one because we barely have time to get enough sleep, do all of our readings for school, maintain a gym schedule, and not burst into tears at the drop of a dime but you get what I mean), it was rough! But you survived it girl so go ahead and give yourself a round of applause for that alone. I’m happy to report that 2019 was better but by no means was it easy. 2019 is going to teach you some lessons that quite frankly are well overdue and ya need to learn em, so that’s great. Love that for you!

 

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The most important thing you’re going to walk away from 2019 being grateful that you learned is that until you take care of your mental health, literally every other thing in your life is not going to go well. Ya semester? You’re gonna struggle. Your health and fitness goals? Well sis how are you gonna thrive in health in fitness if you don’t know how to manage your stress and anxiety? Hmm, riddle me that? You know you’ve wanted to talk to someone since 2016 when you started having all those anxiety/panic attacks so just call who you need to call to set up the appointment. Stop being scared. You’re not going to listen until Fall semester but only because the world literally feels like it’s closing in on you but better late than never. Next time don’t put off what you know you need you need to do, even if it’s scary.

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Another way to lower your stress this year? Mind your damn business and be a little bit more selfish. I know you have always wanted to be the person who prioritizes others and being there for everyone but this just ain’t your season for that sis. As a matter of fact, this just isn’t how you’re going to want to live anymore after this year. Even as I sit here and type this I’m a little bit uncomfortable writing it but you have GOT to be more selfish with your time, especially your down time. Stop showing up for people who have consistently proven that the relationship is mostly one sided. It’s not even about doing things and expecting something in return but true relationships consist of two people who value and respect each other. How can someone value you when they only pop up when it’s convenient for that? Obviously extend grace to people because we never know what they have going on but that doesn’t mean you can keep investing so much in one-sided relationships. Take inventory on the purpose of each relationship in your life and adjust your expectations and behavior accordingly.

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Some people are going to be shitty this year (because that’s human nature) and you will probably do one or two shitty things too, whether or not that is your intention.  Remember to not take things personally but be self-aware enough to know when you fucked up and need to apologize. How people act is usually a reflection of what they have going on but sometimes YOU are the problem and it’s only a problem if you refuse to acknowledge it and do better in the future. You’re growing and becoming more self-aware this year but that’s not going to happen until you learn some lessons.

This year is going to be full of so much greatness! It’s also gonna have some sucky moments but it’s okay…you will overcome them like you always do boo. So just go out there and live your best life!

Sincerely,

Future Mara aka 2020 Mara

 

4 Podcasts You Should Listen To Right Now

In the last few years I’ve strayed away from watching TV shows and gravitated towards listening to podcasts. Whether I have a flight to catch or want something to listen while I’m grocery shopping, podcasts always come in clutch. This past Monday was International Podcast Day and I decided there was no better way to celebrate than to list some podcasts I’ve been listening to lately. These podcasts are listed in no particular order and you should definitely check out ALL of them after reading this post.

1. Slay Girl Say Podcast

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The Slay Girl Slay podcast, a podcast for women of color, encourages WOC to do things to promote their own wellness, professional lives, and so much more. Slay Girl Slay is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to while I shop at Trader Joe’s on Sundays. Host Ashley Leggs always has a personal anecdote to relate to life’s greater messages and encourages her “queens of color” to level up! The topics of the episodes range from tidying up our spaces,  being a woman of your word, getting your “ish together, and everything in between. Some days I don’t have the energy to sit through an hour long motivational podcast episode and the thing I love the most about the Slay Girl Slay podcast is that most of the episodes are 30 mins or less. They are perfect for when I wanted to hear something uplifting that is also short, sweet, and straight to the point. I listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts but it is available on many different places podcasts are listened to.

Recommended Episode:  “Be A Woman of Your Word”

2. Dique! Podcast

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Sarah Vega, a Dominican Afro-Latina, started this podcast and her own media company of the same name. I discovered the Dique! podcast after I started listening to The PlotTwist Podcast. The PlotTwist Podcast is on the Dique! Network. I can’t remember which episode I listened to first but I remember being blown away by how honest Sarah was about everything she’s gone through in her life so far. One of the things I value in my own life and brand is being upfront without oversharing and I feel that Sarah also approaches all of her work this way as well. Listening to the Dique! podcast feels like gettin’ put on game by an older homegirl who has been through some things in life and keeps it real with you. She holds no punches and sometimes I get a gut check when she’s not even talking to me. I listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts as well.

Episode I Recommend: “This is what I learned…” Series Introduction. This is the most recent episode of the podcast and it gives you just enough to know what Sarah delivers in her podcast.

3. Tea with Qwns Podcast

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I went to college with hosts of this podcast and I love what they’re doing with their platform. Hosts Jerralyn and Janine are two sisters who weigh in different topics from pop culture to politics, self-love to sex, and whatever else they feel like having candid conversation about. The ladies sometimes bring different guests into the conversations as well which often leads to an even more likely listening. While the podcast is titled “Tea with Qwns” it isn’t just targeted towards women. As the ladies say a qwn is “a fierce and fabulous individual who overcomes adversity and keeps their head high while strutting every step of the way.” This definitely a podcast that 20-somethings want to check out.

Episode I Recommend: “Episode 2.2: The Tea on Friend Breakups”

4. And That’s Why We Drink

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I always have a podcast I listen to that’s a bit of a palette cleanser from listening to self-help/get your shit together type of podcasts I listen to and And That’s Why We Drink is currently that podcast for me. This podcast is a Paranormal and True Crime podcast and honestly I’ve been obsessed since the later half of this past summer. Em tackles the supernatural while Christine Not only do I love spooky things but the hosts Em and Christine’s banter is hilarious. There are some episodes I literally can’t listen to in public because they will have me cracking up out loud (when LOL actually means laugh out loud and not “hahaha”).

Recommended Episode: Just start with episode one and work your way through it. They reference previous episode topics sometimes and you don’t want to be out of the loop.

Podcasts have honestly become of my favorite things. Sometimes I like to give my eyes a break and just listen to something entertaining that’s not music. I’ve also thought about starting my own podcast but that’s a whole other blog post hahaha. Hopefully you find your new fave podcast from this post! I like to think I have good taste.

I’m always looking for new podcasts to check out. Are there any that you love to listen to? Drop the names of them in the comments!