The Dinosaur in the Room: Brick & Mortar Retail

I’m absolutely in love with Amazon. Whoever created it is a mythical genius. However, I know firsthand that my love for online shopping is quickly aiding in the demise of shopping malls.

The irony is, I’ve worked in malls for almost two decades and truth be told, I am completely over them. It is such a hassle to get dressed and drive over to a mall, when I can simply sit at home in my undergarments and buy all of my must-have items. The reality is that I’m not the only shopper who feels this way. With the evolution of technology, you can virtually purchase anything so why would I choose any other way to shop?

Unfortunately this new-age way of thinking/shopping not only puts stores out of business, but it also leaves their workers unemployed in the process. The decline of brick and mortar retail has put a huge strain on the physical retail industry. Online sites are booming with sales, while many brands are closing its doors.

On the plus side there may be many positive, social shifts with all of the empty and open mall spaces. Now smaller business have an opportunity to rent larger spaces at a fraction of the cost because of the bigger brands leaving with little to no intention of returning. There’s also hope that many of these empty malls will be restored into community spaces such as churches, fitness centers, libraries and art galleries. Another possibility is remodeling those older buildings into rental complexes. These possibilities give more entrepreneurs and small business owners an opportunity to invest in upcoming projects which is huge for economical growth in many communities.

So how will we benefit from all of these changes? Well it may take time before immediate change happens, however this could be a great rebirth for upcoming generations. Instead of having a local mall for hang out, there could ultimately be a local gym, recreational center or even a hip new gallery for teens and young adults to meet and interact. With our younger generations being so tech-savvy and heavily invested in their phones, these reinventions may be just the thing needed to improve personal and professional development amongst our youth.

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Philadelphia Housewifely

It was never my intention to become a stay at home girlfriend, this position kind of fell into my lap somewhat.

For months, I remained home working on a few projects, feverishly looking to utilize my degree, but ultimately taking care of my boyfriend was my biggest priority. My mother liked to call me “Suzy Homemaker”, making the duties feel a little more humbling. After waking up to shower, brush my teeth, make coffee or a smoothie and work on my own projects, the remainder of my day consisted mainly of taking care of my boyfriend. I would make sure his lunch was packed, clothes picked out, even down to his colognes which were picked out by me…

I was living a Housewife’s dream to say the least. My boyfriend made sure my phone had continuous charge before he was off to work, and I made sure to be available by it. Once he was gone, my job became household chores, errands and figuring out what’s for dinner. Of course I made time for myself, but ensuring my man had the best to come home to became my number one priority.

Initially, there were a few adjustments. Okay, many to say the least. When my boyfriend moved in, I saw firsthand of his male grooming and I was not impressed. But I loved him and he’s taking care of home right? So I thought the best thing to do was to correct and improve. In no time, I went from girlfriend to mom.

Talk about slow but sure romance killer. I was so torn because my boyfriend is the basic “ideal boyfriend”.

Flowers, candy, and jewelry. Diamonds, steakhouse and gifts. Sweet right?

But the bitter would come shortly after. He would do these lovely things and complain about how much he’d spent afterwards. The complaining would go from hours to days. Days, to me no longer being attracted. And the money complaining turned into complaining about everything, and I was still unhappy with the person that loved me so much.

And just like that, the tenure ended.

Back in May, I would’ve never seen this coming. However when the “coming” comes? Well it unfortunately leaves exactly the way it actually came in.

On Sunday, my boyfriend packed up all of his belongings in about 2-3 hours and moved out. I still, have very little to say. The truth is, I have so much to say but can’t really form the sentences to say it. As I laid in my towel on the couch watching him throw all of his clothes into shopping bags, the only words I could bring myself to say is, “It would be easier to use the 30 gallon trash bags,” followed by, “Can you make sure I get my key back? Thanks.”

That’s all I could say. I didn’t have any fight or argument left in me, and I damn sure couldn’t bring myself to beg him to stay. It’s sounds ice-box cold, but the truth is that we were way passed the point of begging one another to stay. Our relationship was the epitome of true bittersweet, because I’m sure I just might tell my future daughter to be with a man that will love her the way my ex loved me. However, the rest of his behaviors are major red flags for any woman including me. It’s also a bittersweet feeling because I really believed my boyfriend was a good man, and to be frank he generally is. But after living with one another I quickly realized this good man just wasn’t the good man for me.

My dilemma and fears of all the negative factors clouding our relationship just became too much for us to bear. I was a Philadelphia/Suburban Housewife(y), and any other woman might tell herself that she wouldn’t mess up that situation for the world. Well, meet a woman that didn’t want just that title and lifestyle, but to actually incorporate some spontaneous and spicy romance.

In addition, there was a bigger subject that secretly plagued. In this relationship, you could say that my name was, Faith and my exes’ was Fear. Have you ever heard the saying, “Faith and Fear cannot live in the same house?” Let me be the first to tell you that statement is absolutely true.

I won’t pretend to have been perfect in this second go-around relationship with my ex, but one thing I tried to maintain consistently was the “Faith” in the positive directions over our lives. Call it, “head in the clouds or overly-optimistic”, but I truly believed going into this that we were bound to come out of this on-top and elevated. I was initially so sure about our future, and I’m sure he was too. But after moving in, and shortly after my work situations changed, my ex instantly began to hyperventilate. His financial cushion was one of his major priorities in addition to getting a home.

So as I stayed home in relentless mode trying to figure my next direction out, he would go to work and overly stress about any and everything. Again, I won’t portray myself to be the perfect saint. However I can confidently say that my ex didn’t have to step in on any of my personal bills while we lived together. All of my immediate bills were handled on my dime, however things needed around the house meant my boyfriend had to step up and for a good amount of time. Until my boyfriend became a walking accountant over his finances.

So, he was in fear of the financials, and not to mention my school debt accumulation. His thought process was all about how my debt could affect him in any way. He didn’t want any parts of that, which was fair. I again, agreed that my school loans wouldn’t intervene in any financial plans we had. I had the utmost faith in the future ventures I’d get into to be able to square away all of my college baggage. He had the luxury of living home until he was 32, so his debt accumulation was non-existent. I couldn’t resent him for this, but I couldn’t praise a 32 year old man for living at home with his mother either. Especially a mother that hated me.

Now this is unfair, and again I am not a perfect being, but I am faithful. My ex was taught on the fear of people, things and places. I’m certain his mother taught him to fear me as well, but more importantly I was raised in the faith system. So how do you live with someone that is in constant fear, when your goal is to live in constant faith? No amount of money could make these realities easier to bear.

Last Sunday as I cleaned, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was losing myself by the minute and I became resentful of who I became constantly trying to be perfect for his mother and prove her wrong. I spent so much time trying to prove to them that I was the best woman he’d ever had. I may have become successful at that but I was miserable, walking on eggshells about finances and his disapproving mother in my own home. I told him that night to sleep on the couch. He decided to pack his things and leave instead.

So I laid on the couch, watching him and didn’t say much. Now five days in, I keep playing the scenario over in my head suggesting I should’ve said more. But what is there to say when you’ve said all you could? “I love you, but I can’t stand the constant bickering?” I opted not to say anything based on my new found fears and resurrecting pride. The only faith I continuously have is that I will find happiness and love because the two shouldn’t be so far from one another.

10 Ways to Increase Your Yearly Income.

*By integrating these methods into my professional lifestyle, I was able to increase my gross by 32.4% in just one year. Add another 32.4% to your annual income and view the projected number. That should give you the ammunition to read further.

Disclaimer: I’m not guaranteeing a fixed 32.4% increase for everyone each year. You could generate up to if not more depending on how ambitious you are. This factor of the equation is simply up to you.

10. Be About Your Business.

  • That’s pretty self-explanatory , but just incase you didn’t understand: Put your priorities first.
  • No one can hinder your ambition away worse than you.
  • Stay focused on the main goal.

9. Game Plan: Prioritize

  • What things need to be done first? Sense of Urgency is imperative when increase is the subject.
  • How much time can I devout to each project?
  • Meditation time or regrouping with yourself: aka lunch is another must. Take a break daily, don’t deplete yourself.

8. Keep Yourself Motivated.

  • Family
  • Monetary
  • Recognition
  • What motivates you daily?

7. Network and Meet people.

  • You never know who could be sent in your path for a reason. Be personable.
  • Attend events or professional gatherings. Keep business cards handy if they have your name on it.

6. Know your projected P/L* numbers.

  • *Profit (How much are you making?)
  • *Loss (How much are you spending?)

5. Always Strive for Growth.

  • Look at short and long-term growth, and what you need to do to increase your worth. Education and/or training?
  • Take those needed steps and stay focused.

4. Stay Focused.

  • Its easier to be distracted than to stay focused.
  • The latter will always keep you successful.

3. Be Careful of Those Closest To You.

  • The worst thing is to keep people closest to you with the wrong attitude. They’re not really a part of your vision, and may not genuinely care if you succeed. Eliminate those individuals immediately.

2. Assess Your To-Do List.

  • Follow-up on your plans and timeline.
  • Review daily, weekly and monthly to ensure things are getting done as you intended.

1. Stick To Your Morals And Follow Your Instinct.

  • If you don’t believe in something, be honest and save yourself the agony.
  • It is better hold a firm no than go against your own values.
  • You set the standards, so hold yourself accountable at all time.

Mentally Infatuated

There’s so many perks to being a BBW. People don’t want talk about it much because being plus-sized has a “No-No” stigma.

Being plus-sized has its perks. (I actually stopped while writing to look in the mirror to admire, and yes I am indeed thick, plus-sized and a BBW). The best and greatest thing I can do is to live in my thick and plump truth, and share it with others because the stigma is so 2002.

Yup, the curves still here under my Forever 21 paper thin leggings, BCBGMaxazria sweater, Victoria Secrets boy shorts and Clarks leather combat boots. Oh, and today I’m wearing a bra. Not just any bra, my bad-ass Torrid caged bra that gives the vibe of me being two to three notches kinkier (which could ultimately be the case depending on who you ask).

There actually becomes a moment where looking in the mirror is an addiction, I promise. The more you do it, the more you’ll want to take a glance at that reflection. The more you stare directly into it, the more you’ll see things you’ve never noticed before. Maybe even things or parts of you that other people are always seeing, but you never really stopped to notice.

But what about the deeper, intangible parts of you unseen to the human eye? All of that, could and should be so damn attractive.

After working in a unisex shoe store for the last three months, scenarios began to play out that typically didn’t when working in a women’s only store. I began to notice men initially talking to me a lot more, then smiling with me much more…to downright hitting on me a lot more. Now I know what you’re thinking: Have you never been hit on in your life? Girl! Well yes, but this time around is truly an eye opener! Of course, there has been physical, obvious attractions inside and outside of the job. The parts of my body that I can see in the mirror. However, what happens when someone becomes attracted to something deeper than your physical appearance and you’ve only just met? They’re intrigued with your intellect, energy or tone of voice even? The way you greet them or stimulate them mentally sparks an interest? How out of the box is that and low key hot is that?

One evening when working alone, a gentleman stopped in with a magazine in hand. He had been in the doctor’s office and came across a prominent men’s boot we carry in the latest GQ, and wanted to try it on. I could tell by his disposition that he was more seasoned. Between him constantly scrolling through his phone and giving me minimal eye contact, I presumed that he was a very busy man. So I gave him just enough conversation to keep him focused on the shoe, without distracting him from whatever had him preoccupied in his phone.

“How was your day?” I politely probed.

“Good, I just finished a novel I’ve been working on.”

At this point my interest was sparked. Who isn’t interested in hearing a good novel or from an author for that matter?

Seasoned Gentleman filled me in on the book, which was mildly impressive. I told him some of the writings I venture in, including this blog. At this point the “intrigue” energy shifted from me to him, because he was now a bit curious to learn more about my writings. After jotting down the link and handing it to him, I didn’t think much. I was certain the odds were slim of ever running into him ever again.

About an hour later, he came back into the store to tell me how good my work was and I should actually keep pursing it. I was flustered. I thanked him a couple times for the feedback and innocently exchanged numbers….one writer to another right?

Wrong. So wrong.

Later that evening around 10pm, I received a text from guess who? Seasoned Gentleman inquiring about my day. Now, to be quite honest, any communication I receive after 10pm should be personal or an emergency at this stage in my life. His initial texts began in an extremely harmless manner; curious about my day which still was perplexing given the time of night. A professional connection is going to text between professional hours. Right?

My correspondence ended abruptly after he started to tell me about his bath that night. This was where I drew the line, because obviously he wants to talk about topics other than just writing.

I’m flattered this seasoned gent took a keen interest; in my writing, me and all of the in between. I’m even more flattered that he didn’t initially point out my physical attributes he found attractive when first meeting. What captivated me the most, is that his infatuation came from something more than I can see in the mirror. In spite of how inappropriate he may have come across, his infatuation stemmed from my nerdy, intellectual brain based off of my writings. I say respectfully, that when someone can see you, skin-deep and more than what you look like or what you’re wearing, is s really weighty compliment. They notice the richness and beauty of your mind, and that is a strong and enticing attraction.

Aside from physical, a mental infatuation is the strongest attraction someone can want to share with you…….When you’re not in a relationship, and they’re not in their tub. Besides those two things, mental infatuation is extremely hot.

LA ✈️ UK & Back to PA.

7/24/16

I’ll just come right out and say it: this celibacy journey is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Not only have I been abstaining from sexual intercourse, I’ve focused a lot of my energy into trying to catapult my professional career to the next level. Working 50+ hours a week combined with a “no-sex” diet equals a lot of cheesecake and emotional eating. Going to the gym is satisfying in the moment once I muster up the energy to finally get there. I won’t kid myself; I still felt the urges to express a “bad girl” factor, so the gym and clean eating seemed like a lot of “good girl” all at once. I needed to make love to cheesecake. A lot of cheesecaking has been going on right now.

Throwing myself into work hasn’t been completely horrible, definitely stressful but not horrible. I’ve taken on a multitude of projects in attempts to keep me occupied, gained new clients for my company, traveled to LA for a half vacation half business trip, and managed to meet a British Gent in between. Sometimes I don’t realize all of the things that I actually do until I visually see them in writing. In a matter of two months, I did a bucket list of things that some people spend their lifetime trying to do. This is where I insert the smallest pat on my back and remember to be grateful for all the feats I experience and overcome in such a sort time.

With all the traveling, dating and overwhelming feelings that I would’ve normally concealed in sex, I’m handling head-on in celibacy. This is no walk in the park or “hee-hee, ha ha” situation. Everyday feels like another day that my patience is running low and getting weary. I want sex. Good sex. Memorable sex. Sex that will lead to something real with someone just as real. 

I’ll know I’ve completely lost it when I start grinding my teeth down in my sleep. Chain dating hasn’t made anything easier either. I end up wondering if every guy is thee guy worthy enough to have sex with, so you can imagine how things in my mind may escalate quickly and I end up yet again, heartbroken and making out with cheesecake.

British Gent, I can’t even consider him much of a gentleman. Again not horrible, but there’s always that notion of not settling. Call me picky, but I tried to imagine settling and of course in my mind we were a great episode of “Pleasantville”. In real life, he was standoffish with little to no desire for commitment. Obviously, there were signs he displayed that I tried to overlook. He always wanted to chat via Skype but never wanted to make eye contact. I even noticed in many of his pictures, he didn’t make contact with the camera and if he did he was wearing sunglasses. Call me crazy, but I took this as a sign of someone with commitment issues. He won’t even commit to the viewfinder on the camera for goodness sakes.

The way we met was a modern day Pretty Woman scene (minus the prostitution of course): “We met while he was out of town on a business trip…”. That was the beginning of the story, however the way I scripted the end was far from the way it actually happened. Thankfully, I managed to get out of the situation without sexual intercourse. (You can sarcastically insert, “Yay you” here with a bunch of eye rolls). I’ll completely understand.

He wasn’t the only one I dated without giving away the cookies, just the only one I really wanted to attempt something serious with, and the furthest international zip code. He was like something you order off EBay or Instagram: You know there’s risk involved but you’re willing to take it anyway.

The GodMother

My number one goal in life is to teach the unteachable, and guide the misguided. There are those who have been counted out for one reason or another, whether it be their financial, demographical, racial or educational background. These are the individuals that I aspire to teach because for some reason, I could’ve once been in their shoes. Untrainable, unreachable and definitely a lost cause by various definitions. The greatest part of my story is that I was fortunate enough to have a handful of people who believed in me. They believed so much, that I had no choice but to believe them also.

The first person outside of my family to see something in me was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Preggler. Unfortunately I wasn’t a shining star in her classroom or academically with my stellar grades. No, I was the outcast on her playground who taught all of her students about sex. I can still recall that day I stood in the middle of the playground, educating a bunch of elementary students that they were actually brought into this world because their mommy and daddy had sex. There wasn’t any stork, birds or bees. Their mom laid on her back, and their dated inserted his penis into her vagina. That was how they came into this world or (ended up on the playground that day). That was my explicit conversation to a group of bewildered kids.

Talk about the horror on their first grade faces when I exposed their parents’ truths, and the horror on my first grade teacher’s face when she eventually had to sit me down and tell me she would have to tell my mom. The horror came full circle when I burst into tears, and informed my teacher there was no way in hell she could tell a Jamaican mother that her child got in trouble in school. Much less the contents of the trouble. I assured my teacher I would come back to school with my behind split in half if she told my mother.

That was the first time I had someone believe in me. She believed in my truth, and I’m pretty sure that first grade teacher took my secret to her grave. From that moment, my destiny of leading and mentoring others became my purpose. My first grade teacher mentored me about sex and made me promise to never talk about sex on her playground again. I promised and learned my lesson. Teaching my peers about sex in exchange for my behind was nota question at this point. Those little white babes would’ve had to learn about sex on someone else’s watch.

Fast forward more than two decades later, my purpose is to not only teach and mentor others about adult topics, but how to become a great human. I’ve realized in 2018, we may need a refresher course of what it means to be a great human now more than ever. Through my education and experience, I’ve had no choice but to be a greater, stronger, yet ethical person and I love to share what I’ve learned with others. If I didn’t share what I’ve learned, I believe I would be doing those inspiring individuals that believed in me a great disservice.

Rules for the Exes

Lose contact if there’s still feelings or unfinished business there. 
 


The End…
Lol, that would be so rude to just leave you like that right? Probably. But nonetheless, that sums it up. If you and your ex are playing “who’s better off”, then stay away. Focus on the present, because the past doesn’t have much for you right now. 

What else can I say?  Tons of water and good eyeliner? That’s a good segway. 

So yes. God is good. The universe is in my favor…continue being Prayer Warriors. 
Trump is our President (Sigh).

Xox,

Tamara