Happy Half Birthday to Me: Fun Facts, Confessions and Lessons

Happy Half Birthday to ME!!!!!

plan the perfect (1)

Half inspired, half challenged by Courtney Saunders of Passionate Woman Blog‘s Post about being 25 and Winging It. This post will include fun facts, confessions, and lessons thus far.

Fun Facts

  1. I am a HUGE ANIME FAN. I feel like anime is becoming trendy, but I have been watching since I was in middle school (2006 to be exact). I started with the basics Naruto and DBZ, and I just fell in love. I don’t know what it is about anime – maybe it’s the reading of subtitles, the animation, the stories, or something. But I will always be a huge fan.
  2. Black is my FAVORITE color. I don’t know why I’ve just always loved it, black is just pure to me. It is also the color I wear the most of.
  3. I am a huge animal lover! I wanted to be a vet when I was younger (pre-my lawyer phase). My dad kinda ruined that dream by telling me I had to stick my hand up a cow’s butt when I went to Vet School.
  4. I am OBSESSED with my dog, Nehemiah. He has made the transition to living alone sooo much easier because without him I would never leave my apartment.
  5. I loveeeee flowers. Especially lilies. I believe it is because my dad always buys them for me, so I associate them with love.
  6. I love to watch weddings shows, wedding videos, engagement videos – honestly anything where people are in love. It brings such joy to my heart. It’s funny because I currently don’t want a huge wedding ceremony, just a reception with my closest friends.
  7. I cry at everything! Happy, Sad – it doesn’t matter. I am such a crier. Which is super ironic because if you ask my parents as a baby – I NEVER CRIED. I guess I am making up for lost time?
  8. I love the beach/lakes/ocean. The ocean/the beach makes me so happy and calm. Whenever I felt anxious or overwhelmed in college, I would go to the beach. Maybe because I was born on an island (Guam).
  9. I love to read, but not really non-fiction/self-help. I think it’s because I use books as a way to escape/live a different reality. I do think there is a great value to self-help and non-fiction books, just for some reason I am not into them. (If you are on good reads/interested in what I am reading – follow me here)
  10. I loveeee playing games on my phone – however, if a kid asks me I will always say no. Idk why but currently I have 19 game apps on my phone. A gamer at heart?
  11. My brother is probably my favorite person in the entire world, probably more than my parents. He can never do any wrong to me. We even got matching tattoos!
10325681_10204676438949257_7104118441854241485_n

Ancient Greek: φιλία, often translated as “brotherly/sisterly love.” | matching tattoos with my brother, cause no matter what we got each other.

Confessions

  1. #MeToo. If I say no, that doesn’t mean convince/coerce me. Listen the first time.
  2. I battle with imposter syndrome and severe anxiety DAILY. I am working on it. I am working on it by putting myself into more uncomfortable And working on my confidence especially when it comes to school. I know that my research and my academic perspective is necessary.
  3. I honestly feel every emotion super deeply. I’m not sure why but I do. And I also take on other people’s experiences and emotions and experience them myself. It’s hard but a gift.
  4. I am generally the person that everyone goes to with their problems, however, I have a hard time trusting people with my problems.
  5. I worry A LOT about being a Black woman whose professional life is BOMB but whose personal life is lacking. I feel like most people want me to focus solely on my professional life and graduate school, but my personal life is equally (if not more) important to me. I struggle with trying to balance both of these circles.
  6. I love blogging and vlogging – but sometimes I worry that my content isn’t that exciting or engaging enough to keep folks interested in what I have to say or produce (on YouTube).

keyboard-338505_1920

Lessons

  1. It is okay not to be okay. I have learned this really within the past year or so. With the passing of my dearest friend last year, losing my uncle a few days ago, dealing with a lot of rejections for graduate school, insecurities – I have been dealing with a lot lately. And honestly, I have been trying to hold it all together, but I can’t. It’s unhealthy for me to try to hold everything in. BUT I have found solace in confiding in the very few people I trust.
  2. Experiencing multiple emotions at one time is absolutely normal and you are not going crazy.
  3. Closure, for me, is such a blessing and a curse. A blessing when it closes a chapter nicely, however more often than not has been a curse and made me feel worse than not knowing.
  4. As much as I believe that I need to be superwoman, I cannot save everyone or do everything at once. It is okay if the only person I save is myself.
  5. I am learning that my worth is not dependent on ANYBODY’s ability or disability to see or acknowledge it.
  6. Change is inevitable, and the quicker you can learn to adapt or roll with the changes the better it will be.
  7. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. If you know me, you know I am such a planner and type A – but I am learning to just let go of my strict plans and remain strict about my goals.
  8. (BONUS) I am learning how to say no (and you should too!). For years I thought that saying no implied that I didn’t like someone or was trying to be confrontational. However sometimes, saying no is the kindest thing you can do for yourself or someone else.

Challenge: Do you have any Fun Facts, Confession, Lesson you’d like to share? JOIN THE CHALLENGE – OR share below 🙂

I challenge Samantha of Melanin Project Blog and Khari of Twelve-Eight

Best,

-Tanesha Renae

Advertisements

A Love Letter to Rejection

see & explore

To My Not-So-Dearest Friend, Rejection,

I am so sorry you get such a bad rep – I would say that you deserve better, but I am not sure that is the most fitting for you. You at least deserve for people to respect you.

You taught me what it means to be persistent.

You are so necessary in the world. And you have taught me so much about myself and about how I function than I can ever thank you for.

You taught me that every “no,” is an opportunity to learn something, gain more experiences, to enjoy the journey more and keep trying.

You taught me that you will not kill me. I spent years avoiding you, honestly, like the plague. I feared you. I thought that meeting you meant that I had failed in some way or form. But we both know that isn’t true.

You have changed me in many ways – you have allowed me to see my potential and the areas where I need to improve.

The more you come around, the easier it is to experience you. I am glad that I am learning to accept you more and more in my life.

You’ve pushed me out into the open waters of uncertainity and forced me to learn to float. To learn how to be in the “uncomfort zone” – where all my best work, my potential and my fears lie.

I won’t say that I love you, but I definitely need you in my life.

Best,

– Tanesha Renae

My Grad School Story – The Truth.

homemade recipe # 5

In an effort to be transparent and truthful about my journey to graduate school. I felt a blog post was in order, I tried twice to condense everything into an Instagram caption, but there was too much left out. I know, popular culture right now says to “move in private, live in private,” but that’s not me. I wanted to share my story in efforts to help someone else who is going through or about to go through the same process.

So, this story actually started in May 2017. I shared this tweet. I wanted to start speaking into existence this goal that had been on my heart for years now. Peep the date (and follow me on twitter!).

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 12.12.30 PM

Shortly thereafter, like 2 months later I was accepted into my Post-Baccalaureate program in Pittsburgh. Which has literally been the greatest opportunity ever. I have learned so much and gained so much knowledge about graduate school that I would’ve never gotten otherwise. One of the main purposes of this program is to “bridge” students into a graduate school program preferably a Ph.D. program.

I applied to 12 Schools, 10 of which were Ph.D. Programs. I was feeling pretty good about every application. I recognized that my new application was MUCHHHH stronger than the one I submitted during my senior year at Hampton. Next, I had to play the waiting game, waiting for interviews. For most clinical psychology Ph.D. programs, you have to interview to even be considered for one of their spots. In this field, there is a very limited number of spots available each year. No interview = no admission chances. The waiting game here was pretty alright. I figured I would at least get one interview invitation. The interview invitations started rolling in. 1 here, 1 there… then by the end, I had 8 offers to interview. 1 for a master’s program and 7 for Ph.D. programs. I was feeling pretty good at this point, I had definitely exceeded my expectations.

After all the interviews began the REAL waiting game and this is the part I felt like no one really prepared me for. Everyone was telling me and encouraging me that I would hear back in about a week or so after the interview. But I wasn’t, it was just silence – on all fronts. So naturally, I started getting stressed out about it, because I should at least get one offer, right? Wrong. I start getting rejected instead. Being rejected from schools really hit my self-esteem as a person and as a researcher. I also was being waitlisted and for several schools, I was 1st alternate. I was basically everyone’s second choice and it made me feel really really crappy. I was borderline depressed, to be honest.

The month of March was so hard because nothing was coming through for me Ph.D. wise. It was a very very very sad time for me (ask my parents). It was like I was grieving the loss of potentially going into these Ph.D. programs. I cried a lot, almost every day. It felt like a crushing blow, like being hit in the face with a brick. I pushed people way fearing that they would not understand, and even when I did open up to them – they didn’t understand. “Oh Tanesha, just do the master’s program. That’s okay too.” I felt like everyone was pitying me. I was overcome with shame like I had let everyone down who was rooting for me – my mentors, advisors, parents, friends, everyone.  Which wasn’t true, I am sure that they would’ve been supportive of whatever I chose to do. But it hurt. It hurt like hell. I felt like a disappointment, to be honest, I didn’t have the problem of having all these offers like I believed, and my peers believed I would have.

After the 5th rejection, I figured the Ph.D. life was not going to be for me. There was no way, I had just been rejected basically everywhere and was still waitlisted at two programs. I decided to throw in the towel. I had 3 master’s program admissions in my back pocket that I was holding. I started making arrangements to go into a social work and public health joint program. Let me note here, that even though social work was my back up plan – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that social work is super amazing because I do. I kick it into high gear with trying to get everything together to learn as much as I can about social work and public health. Essentially, going into both programs blindly because my focus has always been on psychology programs. I just wanna add here, shout out to all the Hamptonians that I reached out to about MSW programs and that helped me decide that this was going to be my next move. Also shout out to Dr. Duncan, who helped calm me down on several occasions.

By this time is the first week of April, I was fortunate enough to meet a woman who put me in contact with all these public health professions and set up meetings with them. And I was able to finally really see myself in these programs. I had a game plan, it might not be the straight shot for my goals that I thought it was going to be; however, it was nonetheless a round-about way to getting to do everything that I wanted to do. I was ready to transition my goals to this new journey!

I was ready, I was preparing to submit my deposit for the MSW program and submit my application for the public health program. For some reason, I got distracted and had to take care of something that was away from the data lab. I was gone for like ten minutes before I realized that I left my phone.  So, I run back to my office to grab my phone and there was an email from one of the advisors at the two schools I was still waitlisted at. I just figured it’s just another rejection email, so I decided to wait to open it.  Rejection hurts, and I wasn’t about to cry in the data lab. So, finally, I decided to go ahead and open it. And Y’all guess what –

I WAS OFFERED ADMISSION INTO A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY Ph.D. PROGRAM!

Have you ever seen the Pursuit of Happyness? I literally felt like this scene below. I sat at my desk and cried with such happiness and joy. I finally felt like someone was taking a chance on me and my academic abilities. There are no words to describe that feeling. Just an overwhelming amount of happiness and relief. I literally just cried, I couldn’t do anything else for a few minutes just sit there in awe.

 

After basically a month of crying, and rejection a program that I was waitlisted at offered me a spot of admission. I wrote all this out to say, if you are on this journey to graduate school – it is not going to be easy, but don’t give up! It’s super messy, emotional, expensive and it will challenge you in many, many different ways. This was my second cycle applying and honestly, I would not have done anything differently, as a matter of fact; I was considering applying again after I finished those masters programs. I posted this quote on Instagram, but I think it applies here as well: “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but NEVER the goal.” I think that even if you have to take a roundabout way to accomplish your goals – you should still do it. You deserve to still do it. You are smart enough to still do it. Be persistent. You (and your goals) are worth it.

Blessings & XOXO

-Tanesha Renae

12 Affirmations For the New Year

sessions

Hello Beauties!!

Welcome to 2018! I hope that 2017 brought you lots of love, joy and life lessons. I found out recently that the number 7 is the number of completion, of wholeness, while the number 8 is the number of new beginnings and new season! I hope that 2018 is going to be a TRUE year of new beginnings for you!

This year, instead of reflecting on the last year, I wanted to do something different. Going along with the new beginnings, I wanted to go into the year with each month with a sentence/phrase of affirmation.

  • January – “I am enough.”
  • February -“I love myself. I am lovable and deserve to be loved.”
  • March – “Focus on your responsibilities and make those great.”
  • April – “I am committed to my goals and my success is assured.”
  • May – “Today, I’m moving in the direction that is best for me.”
  • June – “I am the creator of my reality, whatever I focus on I can create.”
  • July – “People only do what you allow them to do, whatever you allow them to do, they will do it. “
  • August – “I am perfect, whole and complete, exactly as I am. I am great because I am ME.”
  • September – “I acknowledge my own self worth; my confidence is soaring.”
  • October – “They say “time changes everything,” But YOU have to change things yourself!”
  • November – “I am grateful for the good things that happened in the past year, and for the lessons from the bad things!”
  • December – “I am worthy of being happy most of the time.”

 

Take each month’s affirmation – and meditate on it for the entire month. I meditate on it by saying it multiple times a day, you can meditate on it by placing it on a sticky note on mirror or whatever works best for you. I wish you all the best 2018 and the 2018 that you all need for your future. You deserve it. I love you all a bunch.

– Tanesha Renae

Man Crush of The Month: Marshal

HAPPY LAST MONTH OF THE YEAR!!!! December is probably my second favorite month, but December has my favorite man crush thus far! This month’s man crush is none other than Marshal! I actually met Marshal through Hampton University’s Student Recruitment Team in 2013. He’s literally one of the most chill and cool. Like he’s the epitome of a cool guy. Marshal is a single, 24 years old, from Chino, California! He is the co-founder of a start-up, The Greenrose Agency. The Greenrose Agency is a digital marketing products sand services retailer and their agents offer specialized consultation and support around their product catalog. He is also an aspiring polymath – He loves to create and produce creative content of all kinds. He’s an obsessive sports fan and fantasy sports player and he has a passion for the history of African American music. Now on to the questions!

IMG_2427

How would you describe your personality in three words?

Passionate. Driven. Balanced. 

Which do you prefer to listen to your heart or your brain? Why?

I honestly believe you should try a little of both. I’m as much an artist as a scientist. 

Who is your celebrity crush?

Always and forever Lauren London. 

Who do you think should make the first move males or females? Why?

I think if that person motivates you to make a move, male or female, you should listen that voice in your head saying, “shoot your shot”

What’s the longest relationship you’ve been in? What did you learn?

The longest relationship I was in lasted for about 4 1/2 years. And the biggest thing that I learned is that loving someone isn’t about finding someone perfect, but about finding someone your willing to accept is imperfect and also acknowledges that you are. If you know of that person, let them know.

What motivational words would you tell someone on the come-up?

The best piece of advice I’ve ever personally heard and have applied is “turn fear into a tailwind” sometimes I easily get caught up in anxieties around my personal progress. I’ve learned to use that fear and anxiety to propel rather than paralyze me.

IMG_2327.JPG

What’s the most awkward date that you’ve ever been on?

I don’t think I’ve been on an “awkward” date per se, but I did go on a date once to an art gallery with someone it felt like I couldn’t communicate with for more than 30 seconds.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In the next five years, I see myself beginning my second and third planned ventures and planning the IPO of the Greenrose Agency.

What do you usually do to let a girl know that you are interested in her?

I usually try to be straightforward about it, I have to feel comfortable being myself with her to even begin generating an interest.

What is your favorite and least favorite thing about yourself?

My favorite thing about myself is my confidence and optimism, my least favorite thing about myself is that confidence sometimes cause me to procrastinate. I play “hero ball” and place unnecessary pressure on myself (sometimes I think it’s because I like the pressure lol)

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

The most influential person in my life easily is my mother. She often says that we “grew up together” and to an extent it’s true. My mom gave birth to me when she was 20 years old, and raised me as a single parent for the first 10 years of my life. She’s my best friend as well as my mom.

IMG_2401

What’s your personal theme song?

“In My Lifetime (Remix)” – Jay-Z

What are your lifetime ambitions?

My lifetime ambitions are to achieve personal peace and become the best version of myself. If fortune or even fame fall somewhere in there, even better.

What are your career goals?

My career goals are to be a serial entrepreneur and investor.

How are you changing the world?

Today, we have made it so that businesses and enterprises are the catalysts and drivers of our society. I honestly believe that it is the responsibility of those who recognize that this is true, to build and design businesses and enterprises that are responsible and do their best to empower the people the they directly effect. I feel that the co-founding the Greenrose Agency to help small business owners is just the start of me doing so.

What’s one thing you want the world to know about you and who you are?

I feel like this is the part where I assert “I’m taking over the world”, but I’m definitely much more of a “show and prove” kind of person.

Why do men often look over the average girl?

I don’t believe they “look over” them, I just believe men fail to mature fast enough to realize things they need instead of things they want early in our lives. It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s true.

Why do guys tend to hide their feelings and not fully express them?

I’ve recently tried to do better at expressing my feelings. I’m a believer that being emotional and masculine are not mutually exclusive. Many men may tell you different, but there are a lot of hurt women who can definitely tell you otherwise.

What do guys do to make them feel better after a long day? What are your forms of self-care?

I actually practice meditation, taking sometime to tend to your mind and your thoughts is really important. We can find ourselves carrying around a lot of baggage.

IMG_2428

What are you most afraid of living in today’s society?

I’m most afraid of the lack of empathy I see from people everyday. I believe that too few people are trying to widen their perspectives and actually understand other people.

How do you seize and take advantage of every single day?

I do my best to be present, my lifestyle requires me to think a lot about the future and what will happen tomorrow so a lot of times I try to remember to be in the moment to really take in and process what’s going on at that moment.

What do you feel men aren’t recognized enough for?

I actually think that in general, men are recognized a bit too much. We hear about the accomplishments of men all throughout history. I actually believe that it should be men’s responsibility to acknowledge the accomplishments of women. Who else will?

 

What’s the most discouraging part about being a man? How do you deal with it?

I’ll specify a bit more to being a black man…However, the most discouraging part of being a black man is the fact that we are conditioned to live fearful lives and to make fearful choices. Black masculinity is predicated in fear and insecurity. We are told that we shouldn’t let someone disrespect us, so we fear the result of allowing it to pass without displays of greater masculinity or violence. We are told that we shouldn’t show emotion, as a result we fear the doing and fight it adamantly. Our nature is not predicated in facing our problems, but instead fearing the appropriate courses of action and waving them off as “soft”. Once you’ve realized that mindset does not stand to benefit you in any way, as a black man you feel cheated of a truly free life…

Do you have a brand? Share what it’s purpose, mission and goals here –

As I explained before, I’m the co-founder of The Greenrose Agency. Our goal is to empower small business owners and individuals through digital marketing products and services to grow their businesses and brands in a cost effective way. We are striving to create an unparalleled consumer experience within the digital marketing industry, a brand and retailer people can trust to help them navigate a murky and intimidating landscape.

IMG_2429.JPG

Want to connect with Marshal – Here’s His Social Media:

To check out his photos, follow him on Instagram.

To follow all of his adventures – check out his Snapchat or Twitter

Also check out The Greenrose Agency’s Instagram here.

Happy Birthday to Me!

recipe

Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s my 24th birthday – and I gotta admit I’m feeling a little weird. This will be my first birthday without doing something to celebrate with my parents, and honestly it is kinda bumming me out. But I refuse to be sad on my birthday (plus ain’t nobody got time for that, I have a whole final due on Monday). This year, instead of reflecting on what I’ve already learned – I want to focus on changing for the better. The past year has been very revealing to me about the type of person that I want to be. Not because I am unhappy with who I am, because let’s face it – I’m pretty lit. But rather because next year, at 25, I want to be happier and just overall better as a person. God has put it in my heart to start laying the ground work in my 24th year, so that the next quarter of my life will be the best.

My Goals are as followed:

Stop Allowing Folks to Treat You Like You’re Regular. I have this really bad habit of allowing people to just treat me any type of way. It is because growing up and even into my undergrad days, I used to be really afraid of being alone and not having any friends. But now, after moving to Pittsburgh alone, I’ve realized that – I don’t need them. I pride myself in being a good friend to people and if they don’t want to act right – that’s on them. Friends are great and as much as I want to have that “group of girlfriends” – I can’t keep trying and trying and trying.  Especially when I’m not reaping any of the benefits. If you’re my friend cool, but if I feel like I’m putting in more than I am going to Imma fall back and stop expecting that reciprocation. I’m still gunna be there for you if you need to be as a listening ear. I just have to stop expecting them to do the same.

Live More In Love and Be Positive. Most people who know me know that I am a pretty optimistic person. But sometimes my positive energy gets hit with other people’s negativity and I absorb it. Not on purpose, but it happens. I want to be able to keep my positivity and energy clear of other people’s baggage. Which is sometimes really hard for me because I take on other people’s stress often. Also, I want to live in love more. I wrote a blog post about how to put love in your daily lives. But I want to be a more loving and kind person. When people are around me, I want them to instantly feel loved and cared for. There was a girl once at Hampton, while I didn’t know her personally, I could see and feel the energy she radiated. I want that.

More Jesus. For a few months now, I have been feeling like something is missing from my life. I felt like all this good was happening around me, but still something was missing. And honestly, it was yesterday that it hit me. I wasn’t spending as much time with God as I should be. So this next year, I want to take my relationship with God to the next level. I feel like I haven’t been taking my relationship with Him as seriously as I should be. But starting today, I am recommitting myself to God, His word, My Prayers, and His people. I will be studying His word and doing daily prayers – every day. No excuses. God has done so much for me, the VERY LEAST I could do is spend time with Him.

There are probably more things, but these are going to be my main focus right now. I am so excited about my next year of growth and wisdom. 23 was a year of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, growth and new opportunities. I cannot wait to see what 24 brings.

Love yall bunches.

– Tanesha

Thankful Tuesday,

ThankfulTuesday..jpgThankful Tuesday,

November has been deemed the “thankful and grateful” month, rightfully so with Thanksgiving and the beginning of the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR! On Facebook, you see most people doing the 31 days of thankfulness and the world just seems a bit nicer. I really love it and this time of year. I try to practice being thankful regularly because it is so easy to forget how blessed and lucky we all are (even with our problems). At least once a week, I try to reflect on the blessing in my life and look at all the things God has done for me (even when I haven’t deserved them).

With Thanksgiving approaching quickly (like in two days!), I encourage you to do the same! Carry this into your next month and next year – Germany Kent once said, “Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions. Once expressed, it changes attitude, brightens outlook, and broadens our perspective.”

I really believe that. I really believe that being grateful for each moment is the key to living a fulfilled life. After my reflections, I always feel full and happy. Like wow, God has really blessed me.

Take time out today (and at least weekly) to really reflect and be grateful for the people, things and opportunities we have – and equally as thankful for the things to come and the things, people and opportunities that God protected us from.

I am especially thankful to all of you reading this! I really love and appreciate each and every person who reads anything on my blog. You all are what keeps me going. Share in the comments one thing (I know, its going to be hard to just pick one thing) that you are especially thankful for today!

XOXO,

Tanesha

 

The Hate U Give Book Review

Image result for the hate u give bookThe Hate U Give Book Review:

The Hate U Give was published earlier this year (February 2017) by Angie Thomas. It is a fiction book about a teenage, African American girl (Starr) who is somewhat forced into becoming an activist after witnessing her friend get killed by a White police officer after leaving a party. The story follows Starr’s reactions and experiences after her friend’s death – but Starr didn’t want her friend to just become a hashtag, she wanted and eventually made her friend’s life matter.

This book also tackles something that some Black Americans do every single day – code-switching. For those of you don’t know what it is, code-switching is defined as the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation. But in the Black community, I believe it’s a lot deeper than language, it includes mannerisms, tone, behaviors and more. (See this very interesting Ted Talk about The Costs of Code Switching – here. )  So with that being said, this was the first book I’ve ever read that accurately portrays this “code-switching” as a Black teenager. Starr has to balance how she behaves (and ultimately how she wants to be perceived) at her predominately White prep school with her “poor, Black”  neighborhood and upbringing. In the book, she struggles with keeping her two worlds separate. I remember literally living in this world (and still living in it if I’m being honest) so it was super relate-able for me.

This book is labeled as a Young Adult book, but really you should ignore that label – this is literally a book for ALL ages (well, maybe not too young because the book conquers some heavy themes that an 8 year old might not be able to handle). I believe that this book was very well written with a lot of character development. I really enjoy the style the book was written, entirely first person and revealing Starr’s inner thoughts. I also really enjoyed how the author moved time in the story – often times, I find with young adult books that the entire story took place in basically a few days which to me is too short of time to cram everything in. One of the main things that really gripped me about this book was its literally about what’s going on in America today, not a few days or years ago, literally today, right now. This book echos the messages of the Black Lives Matter movement and honestly gives a voice to so many people that experience the effects of police brutality in a way that was utterly unforgettable.

This book hit me in ways that I was not expecting. It made me confront my own feelings about my dear friend’s death (If you really wanna know about that – click this link here.). Many times Starr is riddled with the guilt of not being able to save her friend, I literally felt it. I don’t know if I was really feeling these things because the author did amazing job writing it or because I still have some unresolved hurt and issues surrounding my friend’s death.  Either way, this is a book you are going to feel deep in your heart. I would honestly just grab some popcorn, warm blankets, tissues (just in case) and maybe some wine if you’re of age and spend a day reading this book. It changed me… and hopefully it will change you too. I recommend this book to literally everyone! and I give it a 5/5 Stars! 🙂

What books are you currently reading – share below in the comments (I’m always looking for new books to read!!)

XOXO,

– Tanesha Renae

Man Crush of the Month: Tavon

Happy November!!! This is one of my favorite months – not just because of Thanksgiving but because Tavon is our Man Crush of the Month! He is such a sweet guy, I really adore him so much. He is a single, 23-year-old from Warner Robins, Georgia. He absolutely loves being a dad! He also loves to cook and do spoken word. He also is a huge sneaker head and is addicted to shoe-shopping. Something that is interesting about Tavon is that he is a Chef, owns multiple businesses and is a movie junkie!

Tavon4

How would you describe your personality in three words?

Giving, Goofy, Spontaneous

Which do you prefer to listen to your heart or your brain? Why?

My heart. Your brain doesn’t have that “instinct” to judge personal situations.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Fantasia – Country, Thick and Chocolate.

Who do you think should make the first move – males or females? Why?

I’m from the Deep South – where chivalry is extremely serious at least to me. So, males should make the first move in my opinion.

What’s the longest relationship you’ve been in? What did you learn?

6 years, sometimes it’s just best to walk away and not force things. Forcing something leads to resentment.

What motivational words would you tell someone on the come-up?

It’s not gonna be easy, but keep God first and push through.

What’s the most awkward date that you’ve been on?

I didn’t know she had a boyfriend, but we ran into him on our date. And she didn’t know her boyfriend had a boyfriend who happened to also be on a date. It was weird.

Where do you se yourself in the next five years?

Married and opening up my 3rd or 4th restaurant and opening up my 2nd or 3rd detailing garage.

Tavon1

What do you usually do to let a girl know that you are interested in her?

I speak directly to her, Steph Curry at all times.

What is your favorite and least favorite things about yourself?

I love how outgoing I am and I hate how naiver I am (I think everyone is my friend).

Who has been the most influential person in your life?

My dad, he taught me how to be a man before he was killed. Then my son, he made me a better man.

Tavon3

What’s your personal theme song?

Don’t laugh, but it’s Rich Gang – Lifestyle.

What are you lifetime ambitions?

Just to be successful and be the best father I can be.

What are your career goals?

Build something that my family can keep running when I’m gone.

Why do men often overlook the average girl?

The generation we live in glorifies the wrong girl. We don’t know what a real woman is because we overlook them.

Why do guys tend to hide your feelings and not fully express them?

Pride. Simply put, it’ll make you lose out on a lot.

What are your forms of self-care?

I personally lift weights and play with my son.

What are you most afraid of living in today’s society?

Falling by the way-side. Not living up to my expectations or potential.

How do you seize and take advantage of every single day?

Take it one minute at a time. Schedules help you out a lot too.

What do you feel men aren’t recognized enough for?

Being fathers, fathers are automatically looked at as a “no-no.”

What is the most discouraging part about being a man? How do you deal with it?

We’re looked at as something we’re not a times. It’s okay for a guy to feel hurt at times.

What’s one thing you want the world to know about you and who you are?

I’m an educated black man and a full time father. I’ve made mistakes but I am not a bad person.

Tavon2

Want to connect with Tavon – Here’s his social media:

To check out all of Tavon’s pictures follow his instagram

Tavon’s Adventures Via Snapchat and Via Twitter

Or Add him on Facebook – Tavon James

Everything, Everything: Book Review With Spoilers

 

So, if you don’t know I am one of those crazy people who have to read a book first before going to see a movie. When I saw the commercial for this movie, I immediately wanted to see it ASAP. I was telling my parents that I have to see this movie. And then I found out it was a book first, I literally couldn’t contain my joy. I love books – more than I can explain. Reading has always been a huge part of my life growing up. It makes me sad that I can’t read as much as I used to in high school, but I am trying to get back into the flow of reading.  Anyways! To the book….

9780553496642

I started this book around 7PM on Thursday night and finished it Friday morning at about 9AM. It is a quick little read – very easy to read and get wrapped up in. There’s pictures and drawings throughout the pages and the main character Madeline is so easy to love. She’s a sweet 17 year old who’s very very very very very sick. So sick, that she has to live in a bubble to protect herself from her triggers. She has been sick her entire life. She loves to read (a girl after my own heart) and loves architecture and all things learning. Her life is pretty “content,” and then Olly moves in next door.

Let me tell you, Maddy and Olly’s interactions will literally have you blushing and remembering how it felt to be that young and in love. The book is so well written that you literally feel the excitement and giddy-ness of meeting a boy. In Maddy’s case, this is her meeting a boy for the very first time. Do you remember when you first started noticing boys (or girls) in a romantic way? I think I remember, in third grade I was in love with this boy named Morgan. Anyways. So Olly basically challenges Maddy in ways unimaginable. He even unintentionally causes her to leave her house for the first time and every time thereafter together. Olly has a great impact on Maddy, in my opinion. This was a great little read for someone who is into Young Adult fiction books and wants to get started reading with a light hearted, coming of age romantic book.

Here come the spoilers part.

I believe that Maddy and Olly going to Hawaii was literally the best thing. Like Olly says (and Maddy reintegrates) that chaos theory says that one little thing changes the course of everything else in a person’s life. I’m glad they went, even though Maddy almost died – had they not run away Maddy probably would’ve never learned the truth: that she’s not sick at all. I believe that what Maddy’s mother did was horrible. Just horrible and selfish. In effort to protect herself from feeling the loss and hurt from losing her husband and son, she literally gave her child this “rare” disease. She literally displays classic symptoms of Muchasuen by Proxy Syndrome. This is a type of child abuse that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker. This is a type of mental illness that requires treatment, which the mother towards the end of the books sought.

I somewhat understand why Maddy’s mother did what she did… She just lost two of the loves of her life and the third was gravely sick. I get it, she’s scared… BUT I don’t think it was right for her to contain her daughter in the way that she did. Grief and love for that matter can make a person do crazy things. I do think it was a waste of settlement money from the accident. All that containment equipment, air filters, glass, and decontamination things – waste of money.

Overall I would give this book like 4/5. It was a great, quick little read. However I do wish it went into more detail about the characters after this discovery and more of their lives.

If you’ve read the book (or seen the movie), share below in the comments about your thought?? And If you have any book suggestions – Share those too.

XOXO,

– Tanesha