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

Happy Half Birthday to ME!!!!!

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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!
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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).

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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

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12 Affirmations For the New Year

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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

Happy Birthday to Me!

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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

Drowning & How to Stay Afloat

Hello Beauties, I’ve missed you all so much and I know this blog post is coming to you late and I’m sorry about that. I am entering (well almost done with) my sixth week of my graduate school fellowship!

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About two weeks ago on Tuesday, I became extremely overwhelmed about the upcoming application season, my research project for the fellowship, and all my “adult” responsibilities. I’m not sure why but application season this time has become an extreme source of fear and anxiety. I really want to get into a specific PhD program – like more than anything. And as the time to apply gets closer and closer – I was just feeling so scared. I literally feel like I was drowning in my own created stress.

But I realized that it’s because I am trying to handle too much all at once. I am not superwoman and I don’t know why I try to be either. Its truly baffling. But I came out of that week of stress and figurative drowning knowing a lot more about myself and who I want to be. I realized that as I get older and more advanced in my career that the stress is just going to increase. Also, the way that I am handling the stress now will influence how I handle the future, more intense stress that is bound to show up.

What I need to do is stopping letting these stressors and fears get the best of me. First of all, I refuse to let these stressors and fears cripple or stop me from achieving my goals. Sure, they might cause me to pause for a hot second, but it wont hinder me from getting everything I need to get done, done.

So here are some new ways I am conquering my stress levels especially within the world of academia and I hope that they will help you conquer yours as well.

  1. Get the stress out of your head. This is actually something my mentor suggested here at school. She said, “instead of having all that stress in your head, write it all down. Every little thing that is stressing you out on to the paper. Once its all out of your mind, take a few moments and reflect on the items. Are these things you can change? If they are, change them. If they are tasks, finish them quickly so you won’t have to worry about them any longer.”
  2. Prioritize. One of the main things that helps get my stress when I have a lot to do in check is if I put tasks that need to be done into categories. I normally do three categories: urgent, can wait, postpone. Urgent means the task needs to be done first or within 24 hours. The Can wait category is for things within that week that need to be done, and postpone is for things that can be put off until the following week.
  3. Take breaks. I was told once that for every 55 minutes of work you do, you should take a 10 minute break. I really try to follow this unless I am on a roll in a project. During my breaks, I often go outside to walk my dog or sometimes I’ll watch an episode of my favorite show or just sit there with my eyes closed (just be careful not to fall asleep!). Also with taking breaks, whenever I feel like my stress is bubbling up out of control – I literally stop everything I’m doing and take a few moments just to breathe and relax. This stress is not the end of the world.
  4. Consider the stressors from your past. Thus far, you’ve conquered every stressor and problem thrown your way. You’ve survived every bad day, every bad situation that you thought you would never get out of, every negative interaction – you have conquered them all. I try to always remember that I have overcome a lot of stress and obstacles in the past so this one before me is not going to ruin my record!
  5. Talk it out. Take caution with this tip, but I’ve heard that talking about your stress to someone often helps. However, for me, sometimes when I tell people about my stress I feel like they diminish my problems and that stresses me out more. Find people in your life that you can go to about these stressors and that can help. For example, my grad and faculty mentors at school have been great sounding boards for my stress, but my friends not so much…

I strongly believe that stress is a necessary part of life but that it doesn’t always have to be a negative experience. Sometimes, at least for myself, stress propels me forward into success that I didn’t even imagine before.

You are a strong, stress handling boss and I believe in you! Share below some of your stress handling tips!

Until Next Time,

Tanesha

Tanesha’s Guide To Back To School (Tips & Tricks)

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I don’t know about you, but I am super excited for this new school year! Not only am I in an amazing grad program, I am able to get back to my first true love: learning (in school)! For some, I know a new school year causes a lot of anxiety because you want to be organized and want to start the new year off on the right foot! I would like to say that I am generally a SUPER organized person, at least when it comes to school work. I am going to share some of my best tips and tricks!

  1. Time Management is the MAJOR KEY to success! I attribute all my success in undergrad at Hampton University to having great time management! I wrote about time management before on the blog (click here). But I wanted to recap and add some other things I’ve learned since this post.
    1. Set A Schedule (and stick with it!). There is literally no point in putting together the perfect schedule if you don’t follow it or if you don’t put everything in it. I personally like to use my iPhone calendar because it syncs across all platforms. I have multiple calendars going at once. For example some of my calendars include: Tanesha’s Calendar (for events), Pittsburgh things (for school), Family Calendar, Ladies&Co Calendar, Renae’s Calendar Schedule, and even one for birthdays!
    2. USE A PLANNER. It really doesn’t matter if your planner is digital or an old-fashioned handwritten one. It helps to have a planner so you don’t forget assignments. No matter how amazing you say your memory is, be sure to write down assignments and things you need to do. Not only will this keep your organized but it will help to physically see all the things you need to do. I used to put my assignments in my phone calendar but it began to get to cluttered, which is why I switched to this system. However what I will do is schedule time to study/do homework on the calendar which would be based on my assignments/things to do in my planner. Get it?
    3. Self-care and Rest are apart of your schedule! You cannot run on empty you must set aside time to just relax and get yourself together. If you are running at 100% all the time, your body will literally give out on you. Trust me, mine has done it before. Your body giving out might be you getting sick a lot more, headaches or fatigue. Everyone is different – some people need just one day a week, while others need a little time everyday. Listen and care for your body! Just be sure to have a good balance of being productive and taking care of yourself. Also, during this self-care time – be sure to set aside time to work on the things you’re interested in. Work on knitting, video games, blogging, vlogging, etc.
  2. Take Effective Notes! For me, I like to take physical notes in class and then as a study method I go back and TYPE my notes on Microsoft Word or Microsoft OneNote. When I type my notes, I use the textbooks to supplement my notes and fill in any gaps or things that I wasn’t understanding. When I am writing my handwritten notes in the margin I often write questions and if I don’t ask the teacher, I will use my textbook/google to find the answer and put it in my TYPED notes. But I suggest you use a note system that works for you! For me, Microsoft OneNote has literally become my lifeline! I absolutely love that I can use it across multiple platforms: my MacBook, my iPad, and my iPhone. Especially if I want to study on the go or on the bus, I don’t have to whip out the huge laptop. Just a little tip tho, make sure you are paying attention in class and taking really great notes! This will make studying a breeze!
  3. Make an assignment check sheet. What I do when I first get all my syllabi, I like to write down all my assignments in Microsoft Excel (or Microsoft Word) and sort them by due date order. So I normally make a table with Assignment Name, Course, Points (or the percentage it’s worth), and Due dates. I then print out the list and put it in my planner and remember to makeGo thru your syllabi and write down all your assignments in excel, then sort by date! Mark off as you go so you can see your accomplishments!

I think that is it! If you have any questions or even have some tips of your own – Share below in the comments! I would love to see your tips too!

XOXO,

– Tanesha Renae

Growth.

Growth.

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The crazy thing about growth is that it is almost inevitable. There are very few things in life that stay exactly the same from birth till death and most of them aren’t even alive. August it’s the eighth month and I’ve heard that means it’s the month of new beginnings. I’ve seen so many posts about I’m ready to grow, this month is going to be all about growth, growing and glowing, etc.

However, I haven’t seen very many posts about people being ready to be stretched in in unimaginable ways or being uncomfortable for seasons (not just one but for multiple seasons). In your season of growth you may have to let go of some things that you have been holding onto you so that you’ll be able to grow. These are things such as friendships, relationships, outdated goals and even your comfort zone. Holding onto a negative relationship or friendship stunts your growth. You won’t be able to grow in the way that you need to by holding onto what you want – you need both hands to be open to accept this newfound growth.

I think about a flower, if the flower is in a bad environment it won’t bloom. This is the same for you if you’re in a bad environment or surrounded by bad things or people you won’t be able to bloom to your fullest potential . Sure you might grow a little but it’ll never be as much as you could’ve. The conditions have to be just right for that flower to bloom, and even then the little seed is stretched and expanding in ways that were previously unforeseen. You could even think about a little caterpillar in the same way.

I have personally just came out of what I believe to be a tremendous season of growth. Growth seemed cool until I was actually going through it. I’m not gonna lie and say that my season of growth was perfect. I was praying for God to grow me in “tremendous ways,” but when I was actually being stretched and growing – I was low-key miserable. I was upset and I felt like things were not getting better and that my situation was actually getting worse. But as soon as I accepted the fact that this was a type of growing pain, things started to change for me. My outlook on the situation changed immensely. I started looking for things to push me more outside of my comfort zone than I already was. I figured since I’m already out of this box I might as well keep going.

The hardest part was actually realizing that this season of growth was not going to kill me. As much as it hurt, as uncomfortable I was, as unhappy I was – THIS WAS NOT GOING TO KILL ME. I think once I realized that I wasn’t going to die things started to turn around for me. I really had to realize that some of the best things are born of the struggle. And honestly if I had been given them, the first time I even asked for them – I wouldn’t have been appreciative of it. I would have just looked at it just another thing.

Basically to summarize, if you are looking to grow, be prepared for the growing pains that come with them.

Are there some areas in your life that you are looking to grow in?? What are they? Share below in the comments! I would love to hear about them!

XOXO,

– Tanesha Renae

3 Tips On Spring Cleaning Your Life!!

3 Tips On Spring Cleaning Your Life!!

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Spring time is a time to start new! Flowers are blooming, new little animals are being born, pollen is everywhere in the air and it just such a happy time. Many people (including my mother) love this time of year because it means spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is not just for the physical things but you can also use it as a time to clean up some of the non-physical things in your life. Here are three quick tips on spring cleaning your life!

#1 – Evaluate friendships. Now, this doesn’t mean get rid of every single person in your circle – but rather evaluate the people you’re calling friends. Consider the following questions: Does this person have my best interest at heart? Do I have their best interests at heart? Does this person tell me the truth or comfort me with lies? Do we encourage each other to do the right thing? Do I trust this person without hesitation?

#2 – Declutter your social media/spaces. I personally love to change my phone background as a way of “freshening” up my phone. Lately, I have been into bright and airy photos for my phone background. I also would suggest clearing out old apps that you no longer use, or just cleaning up how apps appear on your phone/iPad/whatever device you use. I would also suggest clearing out some of your old things on social media, such as that old photo album you created on Facebook when you were 16, old tweets about a fling, or even IG pictures that are more than three years old. Take time to also purge your Facebook friends list – I hardly ever do this, but this year I am really going to evaluate the people that are coming up on my timeline and decide if I really still want/need them around.

#3 – Physically clean up! For me, this not only means to clean up your surroundings such as getting rid of old clothes and junk but also for me to clean up my act. Maybe you’re perfect, but I know that I am not and there are areas of my life that I want to clean up. Such as I want to stop allowing so many things to trigger my emotions as well as I want to love people the way that God loves me. So in order to do that I have to intentionally focus and work on changing these aspects of my life.

What are some ways you are going to spring clean your life this year? Share below in the comments because I would love to hear other ideas!

Love always, XO

–  Tanesha

SUNDAY SOAPBOX: Strong Heartedness

There has to be something to be said about the strong hearted folks out there. When I think about some of the strongest people I know, they are some of the most sensitive and kind-hearted people. No matter how much they are hurt or discouraged, they manage to keep a smile on their face, positivity in their hearts. Which isn’t easy – especially when the world is so set on being negative.

Despite all of the heartbreak, my feelings being trampled, people treating me worse than a stranger, I am strong. You are strong. Despite everything, you are still standing, still surviving and still moving forward. You have literally survived every single bad day, every single situation that you thought would take you out, every single failure – you are a survivor! And that is something to be celebrated.

Stay strong even when it’s hard

XOXO,

Tanesha

Sunday Soapbox: Don’t Live In Fear

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Even if the fear is illogical or nonexistent – it still so causes distress on your body. Our bodies are naturally to equip to handle day to day stressors and fears but perpetual fear and stress causes wear and tear on our bodies.

Fear can even cause you not to do things you once enjoyed. I feel like I live in a constant state of fear – I’m afraid of not getting into grad school, letting people who believe in me down, someone hurting me or my brother (or any family for that matter), afraid of hurting someone’s feelings and the list goes on. And it sucks. I feel like always having to push past that fear becomes so overwhelming that it drowns out the other positive feelings in my life.

But as I am living with this fear and learning how to deal with it – I often find that the fears are mostly in my own head – thought up from an overactive imagination. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this fear won’t kill me – it might hurt a little, worry me a lot, and physically cause me to be uncomfortable but I won’t die.

I saw on Pinterest once that you must “starve your fears,” which I didn’t fully understand until now. One of the main ways not to feed your fears, is to do whatever it is that scares you. For me, it’s applying for different programs or asking former professors for letters of recommendations or even going to Walmart alone. For you, it might be conquering your fear of heights or standing up for yourself when you’re not being treated respectfully – Whatever it is – do it anyway.

Another way is to purposefully counteract the fearful thoughts with more confident, strong ones. Sometimes you’ll have to go to a person with a strong, confident voice to counteract your fearful thoughts. My go-to person is my mother because she’s almost too straightforward and is practically fearless. Whenever I start to have fearful thoughts, I think about my mother telling me, “what’s the worst thing that will happen?”

Don’t let your fears control your life. You are the captain of your fate. 

What ways do you conquer your fears? Share below in the comments. 

XOXO,

-Tanesha 

Sunday Soapbox: Watch How You Speak To Yourself.

Sunday Soapbox: Watch How You Speak To Yourself.

Your inner monolog  or the voice you use to talk to yourself will literally make or break you. You have to be especially careful how you talk to yourself. I am a firm believer in whatever it is that you think about anything will manifest itself into your life. Your body responds to whatever it is you’re saying to yourself. If you’re always looking down on yourself, saying you’re not good enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough – you won’t be. If I’m being honest, some of the things I say to myself, I would never say to even my worst enemy. I’m a bully in my own right, to myself, and even just thinking about it makes me sick. Especially considering all the kind things I’ve said and how gentle I am to others about their feelings, I don’t even give myself the same in return, but I should. You and I both deserve to talk to ourselves kindly.

Personally, I’ve been trying to combat my negative self-talk. But it’s hard.  My favorite strategy currently is redirecting. If I notice myself becoming too negative about myself, I’ll immediately stop that thought, do 5-10 circle breaths (like in through my nose, out through my mouth), and rephrase the thought. For example, if the thought goes like this, “I am really screwing everything up, my life is never going to be the way it should,” – I rephrase it like this, “God’s plan is perfect and even if I don’t see how it’s working out right now, it’ll work itself out. I am still discovering who I am and how everything works, but it will be worked out in the end.”

I have been focusing on changing the way I talk to myself and think about myself for about a week now, and it has honestly been so worth it. I found that my mind is starting to go straight to the positive thoughts – this isn’t to say that I don’t sometimes fall short, but it is a work in progress.

What are some positive thoughts that keep you going when you get into a negative rut? Share below in the comments – I would love to hear them!

XOXO,

– Tanesha