Dear What should I do,

Hi, I’ve been in a rollercoaster relationship for YEARS now. It started off so promising! As most relationships do. We both fell in love, or atleast I did, and he says he did. But then after a while, he says he just fell out of love with me. We’ve walked out of each other’s lives a few times, but always seem to manage to hold on to the physical part, not necessarily sex, but cuddling and all that good stuff. My wants never change so I don’t understand why he keep coming back. Like thinking I would be okay with just sex! What should I do? I am still very much in love with him, and every time he comes back, I literally relive the memories and times of when we were good… – What should I do?

Dear What should I do,

If he is not giving you what you want or need then I would let it go. You may have to fight to let it go, but I’d let it go. There is no reason to wait around and keep trying to make the same thing work over and over again. Odds are it will be painful to let go off the thought of you two being together. When you let him go you won’t be letting go of those feelings with him so it may hurt a little. But that is the price we pay when we fall for the wrong guy. Love is a gamble, we win some and we lose some. When we lose it hurts like crap, but when we win it’s unimaginable.

And if you let it go, let it go for good. Don’t hold on to the physical stuff, no cuddling, no sex, no constant communication. I would just cut everything off so that you can start to rebuild yourself completely separate from him and with no distractions.

Let the memories remain memories and build yourself the future that you want. Don’t dwell on the past, but build a new thing.

-Heather 🙂

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The Big Chop Summer: Tips to Handle Your New Natural

Summer is popular for many, many reasons but in the Natural Hair World summer is the time for Big Chops! Who knows why exactly this is the best time to put the scissors to those relaxed ends, but I found it was easiest for me to big chop in the summer because the weather was better and I had more free time to learn just what-the-heck to do with my new natural curls. For whatever reason YOU may big chop in the summer, there will be a lot of surprises in store and new things to embrace about being natural. Here are five easy tips and tricks if you’ve already big chopped and find yourself facing serious #naturalgirlproblems or if you are considering “big chopping” but don’t know what to expect.

  1. Don’t Compare Your Fro

Before I big chopped I was constantly on Youtube and Instagram looking through pictures of other girl’s big chop results or TWA’s (teeny weeny afro). I was so excited, thinking that I would get these cute little ringlets of curls similar to the many pictures I was seeing. After cutting my hair, however, I simply didn’t look like those other girls because…well because obviously I wasn’t them! When you first big chop, don’t compare your hair to someone else’s. Natural hair comes in a million different curl patterns, and colors and grows in different shapes or to different lengths and so on and so forth. Enjoy your own fro, learn how to love it and embrace it for what it is from day one.

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  1. Nourish Your Fro

When you first chop and are left with little to no hair, it is easy to think that you won’t have to do anything to it for days on end. This is not true. Imagine your hair is a flower in need of being watered and nourished daily in order to help it to flourish. By “watering” I don’t mean shampooing daily (see tip 3), just spritzing it with a water and oil or water and conditioner mix in the morning should be enough. Also, remember that beautiful hair comes from the inside out so nourish your body by eating right and drinking PLENTY of water. Your hair will thank you for it.

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  1. Leave Your Fro Alone

A new fro is normally as tempting to play with as a brand new toy but trust me when I say: leave, it, alone! By this I mean that you should try to resist the temptation to shampoo, re-twist, re-bantu knot or re-braid your hair daily. Find a style that will last you at least 3-5 days, which will help you avoid stressing and breaking your new coils. Also, if your goal is to achieve long (or big) natural hair, then avoid drastic experimentations. If you can, try to stay away from dabbling in keratin treatments, hair dye or texturizers. You’ll end up having to big chop again to get rid of damaged hair or you’ll set yourself further back in the journey then where you started. (Disclaimer: of course you can do WHATEVER you want with your hair and hair will always grow back. So if you’re not worried about anything then by all means do what you want.)

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  1. Budget for Your Fro

The natural hair journey is NOT cheap! Ethnic hair care products are crazy expensive and as a new naturalista it’s almost certain that you will be tempted to buy everything on the shelves that the online hair care forums promise will bring you cute curls to your TWA. The trial and error stage with products will go so much more smoothly and you will feel better about going natural if you are realistic with how much money you are going to spend. So set aside a hefty budget (maybe of about $100-$300) as your natural hair fund to spend on products in your first year. This money can cover products such as co-wash, shampoo, conditioner, hair masks and oils (that you will probably end up never using more than once), new brushes, combs, rollers, dryers and diffusers. The budget will also help you fund protective styles (such as weaves, braids or twists) that can be cute, fun and will give your hair a break. Your hair and wallet will definitely thank you.

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  1. Fall in Love with Your Fro

Warning: big chopping your hair is going to change the way you look. You now no longer have hair in your face distracting from your features, and your style may even change now that you can pull off eccentric pieces you never thought you could have before. It may disorient you to see how different you look, but I promise, from the bottom of my heart, that you look beautiful. If you love your fro, I can promise that it will love you back and reward you by flourishing. Tell your fro how pretty it looks today. Take the time to appreciate how unique your hair is and how mature and sexy you look with such a daring haircut. Don’t be discouraged, don’t let comments get to you and don’t stop falling in love with your fro.
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And with that good luck on your natural hair journey! By the way, I would LOVE to see pictures of new TWA’s and if you would like, share your Big Chop story with us.

Love, Aliah W.

Father Daughter Trip to Alabama!

About two weeks ago, my boyfriend graduated from AFROTC Field Training, and when I found out that he was going, naturally I wanted to go because I am the best girlfriend in the world, I like to be supportive of what my boyfriend does. After looking at how expensive plane tickets were, I decided I was going to drive 10 hours to Alabama alone. It seemed like a good idea in my head. However, when I proposed the plan to my parents they shot it down like an experienced hunter shooting down a target that had been thrown in the air. My mom suggested that my dad and I drive down together since my dad does like to drive and take road trips. So it was destiny – my father and I would drive the 10 hours to Alabama together! So I drove 6 of the 10 hours of the trip! I am super proud of myself because I have never ever driven over an hour and a half anywhere

Anyways. So on our way to the hotel, we made a pit stop at Hampton University’s sister school – Tuskegee University! It was beautiful! Let me explain – Tuskegee Institute (Now University) was founded by Dr. Booker T. Washington, an illustrious Alum of Hampton Institute (now University). It is a historically Black university! It is the only school in the United States to hold a Nation Historic Site designation. It is ranked number 5, in the 2015 U.S News & Word Report Best HBCUs (right behind Hampton University!). And as if the school was not cool enough – educational wise – this year (2015), their commencement speaker was the beautiful and inspiring PhyIicia Rashad (she played Clair Huxtable on the Cosby Show). I only saw a little bit of the school, but I was surely impressed! It was so clean, and the buildings were modern. I really loved being on campus! Everyone we came in contact with at the University was so nice, and respectful. My favorite part would have to be the statue of Dr. Booker T. Washington. I really loved the statue of Dr. Booker T. Washington lifting the veil of ignorance off of the slave. It was really powerful to me.

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So we went to visit Selma, Alabama. In case you didn’t know the history of this town. Here is a brief history lesson from Black Past.org

 “On February 17, protester Jimmy Lee Jackson was fatally shot by an Alabama state trooper. In response, a protest march from Selma to Montgomery was scheduled for March 7. Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, and, led by John Lewis and other SNCC and SCLC activists, crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge over the Alabama River en route to Montgomery. Just short of the bridge, they found their way blocked by Alabama State troopers and local police who ordered them to turn around. When the protesters refused, the officers shot teargas and waded into the crowd, beating the nonviolent protesters with billy clubs and ultimately hospitalizing over fifty people. “Bloody Sunday” was televised around the world. Martin Luther King called for civil rights supporters to come to Selma for a second march. When members of Congress pressured him to restrain the march until a court could rule on whether the protesters deserved federal protection, King found himself torn between their requests for patience and demands of the movement activists pouring into Selma. King, still conflicted, led the second protest on March 9 but turned it around at the same bridge. King’s actions exacerbated the tension between SCLC and the more militant SNCC, who were pushing for more radical tactics that would move from nonviolent protest to win reforms to active opposition to racist institutions. On March 21, the final successful march began with federal protection, and on August 6, 1965, the federal Voting Rights Act was passed, completing the process that King had hoped for.”

So my father and I first drove over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and it definitely looked run down like it went through so much. I guess it was foreshadowing to all the history and emotions I was about to experience. To stand in the same spot as Martin Luther King, Jr. stood. To come over the bridge and see all those police officers, citizens and dogs, waiting to block (at all costs – meaning killing, beating, attacking) the civil rights leaders, as well as a great number of people from marching to Montgomery. It was really overwhelming to me, just to stand there and bask in that history. It took EVERYTHING in me not to just sit down there and cry. You know you always see pictures and heard about these things happening, but to see it in a movie and then actually be there is very gut wrenching. I don’t think I’m a super sensitive person, but it really gets to me. We also went by, well drove by the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Dr. King and SNCC held their meetings and a large meeting space for the movement. We had to just roll by because it was raining! But I am super happy I went and experienced being there. If we don’t know where we came from, and what we as a people experienced to get here to this point, we can never really advance, and keep moving forward.

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We also visited The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. Which was beautiful. This church is where Martin Luther King, Jr. preached at for a while. It was really nice, and they hold services in there. It was a great chance to just look history in the face. We also saw an interesting memorial where the Slave Depots where held in Montgomery.

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So the main reason we went was for my boyfriend’s graduation, and it was beautiful! We had the greatest time! The ceremony was really nice – besides all the standing up, seating down, just to stand back up! It was kinda hot, so I felt bad for all the guys and girls that were out in the sun marching around. It was nice that they had the all the guests under a covered area, so we didn’t sweat to death either. I was a little upset that I only got to see my boyfriend for like a few hours, and then he had to go back. I wish we could’ve had the entire day to spend together, instead of just 3-4 hours. Then we couldn’t even take him off base to go to eat somewhere nice, we had to stay on base. I was kinda annoyed, but I am happy I got to see my boo.

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Overall, I had a great time in Alabama, and I am super glad my father and I decided to road trip down there. I am also ecstatic to have my boyfriend back from training. 🙂

Keep It Classy,

T.Renae

How to start working out (and stick with it)!

Decide you are going to change your lifestyle. Literally this is one of the hardest part of starting to work out. Make the decision to start working out. Start next week, or today, or tomorrow. If you pick a day in the future. STICK TO IT! Do not keep pushing it back. This is basically a date with yourself, why reschedule? Just start!

Pick somewhere you are comfortable with working out at. Maybe it’s the free gym on campus, in your dorm room, at home, Planet fitness, One Life or wherever! Just find somewhere were you feel good about going to work out! (Me personally, I love going to Planet Fitness. I don’t feel judged, or like I have anything to prove to anyone but myself. ) You could even start with doing a challenge like the one below.
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Get a workout partner. A workout partner isn’t just someone to work out with, it’s someone to hold you accountable to keep you on the right path! They can also motivate you to keep pushing yourself further.
Eat healthier. I’m not saying, Cut out all the junk food in your life cold turkey, unless you’re really about that life (I am not). I’m saying make healthier food choices, really control your portions, drink a lot more water, get healthier snacks.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you miss a day, or eat something super fatty, it’s OK! Just be sure to get back on track, and do not waver on you path. In my opinion I would worry less about the number on the scale, but more about how you look (before and after pictures!!) and how you feel.  And don’t compare your workout journey to anyone else’s. Your body is as unique as your fingerprints, so how your body changes and the rate at which it changes will be different from anyone else’s.
Overall, just start somewhere and keep going!
How I got started working out: I really started by doing the mini 30 day challenges, and then eventually upgraded to doing like 4 at a time, and then really upgrading to going to the gym. So right now I go to the gym, do a challenge or two, and starting Monday (May 4th) drinking a gallon of water a day (I will do a before and after review in 4-5 weeks)!
Slow and steady wins the race and good luck with your healthier lifestyle transition.
Keep it Classy,
– T.Renae

Fresh Start Friday: Experience Life

In my humble opinion, One of the greatest things in life to do is experiencing new things. I’m normally really apprehensive about trying new things but once I do finally go out and actually do it I love it! I especially love the rush of trying something new, like flying across the country to California for the first time, alone, last summer was so exhilarating. Life truly exists outside of your comfort zone and it’s a hard lesson to learn, however once you learn it and you keep stepping out of that comfort zone you’ll enjoy it trust me. You never know what types of things you really do like it and that you really don’t like, unless you try them for the first time! My mom always says “Old ways won’t open new doors.” Growing up I always remember her telling me things and go out and explore the world. She always encouraged my brother and I to find what’s out there because she said old ways won’t open new doors. So sometimes it’s good to just go cleanse your mind of everything that you thought was out there, and go out and seek opportunities and experience. Go for a run down the trail you’ve never been down before, or try some tasty new foods. You can even apply this to “experience life” mantra, to things that are not necessarily an expereince, but like a skill. If you’re very math and science type of person maybe go out and take an art class or even try your hand at photography. Life is so full of things we don’t know,  and it’s up to us to go out and find those things that we don’t know exist or that we don’t know we enjoy. We have to go experience them for ourselves. Go to also go experience things for yourself because somebody telling you how beautiful the sunrise looks is completely different than when you actually go and experience the beauty of sunrise yourself.  So this weekend I encourage you to try something go out and experience life at its fullest, in its rawest form. Take some leaps of faith this weekend and go experience life! 

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Keep it Classy,

T.Renae

My Top 10 Things To Do on a Snow Day

My school rarely ever gives us snow days, even if the weather is scary and dangerous! But on the rare occasion that they do, like today I always to to take FULL ADVANTAGE of the “mini break.” So here are some of my top ways to spend a snow day!

1. Drink Hot Chocolate! Someone in your dorm is bound to have some mix. Just pop it in the microwave and make it work. I personally don’t care for hot chocolate, but I love some ice cold water! I usually sit it by a window to be cold when I wake up!
2. Read a good book. I love snuggling in some warm cozy clothes like sweatpants and a huge sweater and reading a book! If you don’t have access to a book, you may want to check if your local Library uses OverDrive. It’s like an E-book library, that uses your library card number to check out books! I absolutely love it!
3. Sleep in! Who doesn’t love sleeping in? I love the amount of extra sleep I get! Sometimes I even get a nap in!
4. Be productive! I am not always most productive when I literally have nothing to do! I always try get extra homework done, and work ahead on assignments. I try, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
5. Have a movie day/ catch up on all your shows. I love binge watching things on Netflix! It is like my guilty pleasure. It’s even more fun to invite some friends over, and watch movies and shows together! I suggest everyone watch The Walking Dead on Netflix… It’s AMAZING!
6. Mediation! I love mediating. It always has been such a stress and anxiety reliever for me. I always put on a zen music station on pandora, and just relax.
7. Sit and do nothing. Sometimes all we need in life is a lazy day. What better day to do it, than on a snow day.
8. Do some early “spring cleaning!” You can clean out your closet and get together clothes to donate to goodwill or the Salvation Army.
9. Take snow picture! Even if you just go outside for thirty minutes to get your pictures it’s always worth it! Or the alternative have an indoor selfie party in your room! Below are some of my snow selfies 🙂

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10. Read stuff on Ladies and Company! This maybe a shameless plug, however you could always check out our posts on here! There are nearly 200 blog posts on here, I’m sure you won’t get through them all. You know you want to! 🙂

All in all, snow days are meant for relaxation and fun! Stay Warm!

Keep It Classy

-T. Renae

Motivational Monday: Productivity

Hey Ladies, last week I had the BUSIEST week of my entire life. By time the weekend rolled around, I was sooooo drained. Normally the weekends are my most productive times, because I have hardly anything to do, or have any commitments. However that was not the case. So in an effort to motivate you, as well as myself for a very productive week (because we have things to do and accomplish this week!).

  1. My first piece of advice is to make a TO DO List. I know this sounds childish and minimal and whatever. BUT when I feel extremely overwhelmed with work, I always make a list. Now the downfall of this is, you may find that you have more work than you initially anticipated, however sometimes you have less work (I live for those days). So, I always attempt to make my list due date based. So the things that are immediately due go first, and then next week, and so on and so forth. I also sometimes have to have multifaceted list, for example if I have a project to do, and it requires a lot of little pieces, I will list those things under the initial task (see picture at the bottom for an example from last semester). It may seem OCD, but would you rather forget to do something, or a project? Exactly, no one wants to forget anything. The greatest feeling in the world is marking off something you have done or a task you have completed! You can mark it with a sharpie or highlighter, or check the box anything.
  2. An alternative to TO DO lists, would be to purchase a planner (my planner picture is at the bottom as well), which essentially you would put your TO DO List within. So you could follow the same tips. Only thing is remember to actually look at your planner. Don’t just write something down in it, and then never look at it again. I often have that problem with my planner, thats why I use both a planner as well as lists. As my best friend once said, “there is no way you can be organized and successful without one [a planner].” I personally use an Erin Condren Life Planner, and I ABSOLUTELY love it! There are tons of ways to personalize it, and use it in different manners. This planner is great for anyone!
  3. Work in a productive space. Beds are not productive spaces for me, so I know never ever try to get work done there. But for you, it maybe where you work the best! My ideal productive space is working at a desk in the library, or my desk, or in my department’s office (as long as its clean with minimal distractions), with my homework playlist bumping in some headphones, with water and my TO DO list, at any time of the day after 10:30am basically. Your productive space may be in the middle of the night, in your bed, in complete silence. Everyone’s productive space is different. Some people can work in clutter, while others absolutely cannot. It takes time, but you should be able to learn where YOUR productive space is, through trial and error.
  4. Next thing I would suggest is to work on the hardest thing first (if you don’t work by due dates, or you have multiple projects and assignments due on the same day). I know this seems backwards, but doing the biggest and hardest assignments first, make every other assignment seem super easy. You will be breezing through all your other assignments. Trust me!
  5. Give yourself breaks. You cannot work for 6 hours straight without any breaks. So for every 2 hours I work consistently, I will give myself a break. Maybe a break for a snack, stretch, walk arounds, social media, or anything thats a reward. Our brains need time for our neurons (the cells that make up the brain) to make connects with other neurons, and also if you reward yourself with something (whatever makes you happy) the brain is more apt to remember it. Some brains function better on a reward based system most of the time, however everyone’s brain is as unique as they are.
  6. Don’t give up. Being productive takes time and practice. It’s just like a muscle in your body, you have to use it and push it to its breaking point to get stronger, the same goes for productivity. You have to work extra hard, even when you don’t want to, to make your productivity muscle stronger.

I hope this helps you get on the right path of productivity! Feel free to leave your productivity tips in the comments as well!

Keep it classy, 

– T.Renae

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