Tuesday, January 31, 2012

@Racialicious said it best - Jan Brewer done lost her mind, yo

Hey all, I got nothing today. I was going to do a blistering post on entitlement. Who has has it, who needs it, and where can we find some. But the good folks at Racialicious handled some of that for me. Check out their post: Five Thoughts on Why Jan Brewer Should Keep Her Fingers to Herself.

Sidebar: Am I the only one who would've been hard-pressed not to catch a federal case smacking the shiggity out of her? A finger pointing in the face is like spit flying - it's a red flag saying Eff Yo' Presidency. I hope you good folks in Arizona don't need any federal assistance while old girl is in office... I'm just saying.

Go check out the Racialicious post and tell me what you think. Entitlement? Mad disrespect? Temporary insanity? All of the above?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bougie Bachelor Chronicles - Twitter troubles

Le Dude has a crew of guys here in Dallas that he knows from his Georgia days. Some were his line brothers, others they adopted to the crew along the way. We've come to call the main group of six the Georgia Boys. David found BougieLand first and then joined Twitter. Trey followed and eventually Jay, Shawn, Wes and Bryan followed suit.

When all of the Georgia Boys joined Twitter, they thought it would be a fun way to keep up with each other and folks they'd met on the Innanets. There were some growing pains - they had to learn the difference between what you text and what you tweet. There was a learning curve about how to check and reply to DMs. (Some of them are still challenged.) There were rules of engagement about how much to share and what to keep to yo' damn self. Others realized that alcohol and Twitter are a dangerous combination. And some were slower to understand that what happens on Twitter is pretty much broadcast out into the world forever. Forever ever? Forever ever.

So right after the New Year's Eve debacle where we all very publicly tweeted our displeasure with each other, we had a CTJ (Come to Jesus) meeting about how Twitter will forevermore be used amongst us. (respectfully with discretion and humor) At some point during that discussion - it was discovered that three of the Georgia Boys were semi-sort of hollering at the same chick in DMs. Two of them were in trouble for tweeting foolishness that their wives read. Another realized that his boss was following him and reading every word. Another found out that a girl he had broken up with (and considered taking out a restraining order against) was following him under an alias. Whelp!

Now these are smart guys but somehow sitting behind a keyboard in an open forum things got complicated. It was decided that perhaps a period of reflection would be in order? A review of what works and what does not? They decided to self-suspend for 30 days. The suspension lifts tomorrow. Welcome the wiser Georgia Boys back to Twitlandia.

BougieLand - are folks less careful on forums like Twitter than they are in real life? Do you pay attention to the people that follow you? Have you ever been involved in some Twitter drama. And any words of advice for the fellas? Do share...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Five things women say to men (and vice versa) that drives them crazy

So after yesterday's post about conversational miscues- there was a lot of commenting about things the opposite sex says that drive the other crazy. I've listed the top five of each. Enjoy...

Five things women say that men can't stand:
1. "Nothing" - As in the answer to, "What's wrong?"
2. "It's fine" - When it's clearly not fine.
3. "Whatever" - It's a cop-out. You know it, we know it. So be it.
4. "We need to talk" - Strikes fear in the hearts of men globally.
5. Nothing at all - As in, we say nothing. That's when they know something is really, really wrong.
Five things men say that women can't stand:
1. "Let me call you back" - Thanks. Now we know we'll be hearing from you on 33rd of Neveruary.
2. "Babe, we cool." - So you're just using me for cocoa and I'll never meet your mother.
3. "She's just a friend." - Really tho?
4. "Did you say something?" - Weren't you listening?
5. Nothing at all accompanied by a shrug. -  As in, the sanswer to "Can you go by the store? Did you take out the trash? Did you hear the last five things I said? Do you love me?" The male shrug is epic in its ability to enrage  while saying nothing at all.
BougieLand - any to add to the list?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Conversational miscues - Say What Now?

Heated debate ensued yesterday because I answered a question with the phrase, "Hmm... interesting." Now in my mind, when I say this it's because I 1) find what was just said interesting 2) need more time to marinate on what was said or 3) have nothing else to add at that time. Apparently however, when I use this phrase it is perceived as me saying, "I don't agree but I don't want to argue, keep it moving." Hmm... interesting.

I definitely have some conversational tells in my lexicon. 
As I'm becoming irritated:  "You know what..." 
When I'm flummoxed: "Uh... alrighty then"
Starting off a long-winded story: "So the other day..."
Wrapping up a phone conversation: "Well okay girl..."
In the middle of an argument that I'm losing: "This is not working for me"

But when I asked others how they perceived those phrases, they had a multitude of varying interpretations. One of my exes would ask me how I was doing and I would answer, "Just peachy." This drove him crazy - he thought I was being flippant. But um... I really was just peachy.

Another hated when I said, "Whatever!" He found that dismissive (it was). Another has a tell where every time he was about to spout some shiggity he started with, "Let me be honest with you.." I knew whatever came next was Pulitzer-worthy fiction. (Also "Can I be honest with you for a second?" Pauseworthy. Are you saying you haven't been honest all along? :-/)

One would ask, "How's your calendar looking?" That was code for "I feel neglected and you need to make time for me." Another would make sure I was understanding him with, "You feel me, right?" And I would co-sign, "Totally!" Had. No. Clue.

I had a boss who started a sentence, "Here's the situation..." we knew it wasn't going to be good. Phrases like "Do you have a minute?" (when the person plans on taking a half hour) "Now that you mention it.." (means they've been dying to say something and are so glad you brought it up)

Yesterday's conversation got me to thinking - what are the little throwaway phrases we use everyday and how are they perceived? Do you have a segue phrase to move a conversation along, wrap it up or express displeasure? Do share...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

All topics ain't for ev'body... or are they?

Almost daily around there here Innanets, I see people pontificating about various topics that they may or may not know a damn thing about. For the most part I let it slide. I mean opinion is opinion, right? But when those opinions start easing towards a "knowledge share" or advisory slant - I need the good people calling themselves writers, bloggers, columnists, whatever to leave expert topics to the experts. Or at the very least, speak from a position of intelligence.

My older brother is a doctor. I am not. The extent of medical advice that I give out generally sounds like, "Nyquil is the bomb. Heating pads are miraculous inventions. Migraines were created by the devil. Drink more water." See what I did there? I shared my experience and told you what worked for me, you are free to draw your own conclusions.

Similarly, do I not always (always, always) tell people that I'm not a relationship expert? I can only give my opinion based on the crazy-azz life I've lived and the out-of-pocket things I've seen and wish you the best of luck. You'll rarely see me give marital advice. Know why? Multiple engagements do not a marriage make. I don't know from married life, I've played at it, been near it, come close and backed away. All I can do is offer a witty uneducated opinion and call in Dr. Jayme.

I mean, I have seen the reactions when non-African Americans attempt to speak to "the Black experience" - it's not pretty. Does this mean that white folks should never write about black folks? Of course not. But it means that the writer should pen either a) opinion & commentary b) researched facts from reputable sources c) fiction or d) factual news reports. Any attempt to delve into an experience that is not only foreign but complex should be considered long and hard.

Similarly, there are some "female" topics that men should approach with all due caution and reverence. Yes, reverence. Pregnancy and all menstrual issues to name one or two. Basically all issues surrounding the vijayjay except sex. Men can blog about sex all day and all night as long as they are willing to accept constructive feedback and performance appraisals.

I was sent the link to an article written by a man about his opinions on rape and responsibility. Not men being raped, women being raped. I had to pump the brakes. Rape is one of those topics that is already ubersensitive and personal.  Because of that and a myriad of other reasons, it's not a "winnable" topic. The best you can say is - rape is bad, don't do it. And back gingerly out of the conversation. But when you start tiptoeing around blame and responsibility - the waters get mighty murky especially coming from a male.

I also read an article penned by a European woman about why Native Americans hadn't "pulled themselves up by their bootstraps" by now and reclaimed land that was rightly theirs. I read in stunned disbelief as she delved into revolutionary strategies she believed would make hundreds of years of shiggity magically right itself. I had to stop reading in fear that her next line was telling African Americans to get back on the boat.

These types of articles leave me wondering why a writer chose a particular topic? Was the writer just really passionate about it? Was it the use of a knowingly inflammatory topic for pageviews? Did anyone consider the long-term value add? I'm not taking shots, I'm just curious as the bigger picture.

So I ask, good people, are there just some topics certain folks should leave well enough alone or is it all just open season? Should there be more "this is just my opinion" disclaimers tacked on? Do share your thoughts...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Is the entire country grading on a curve?

There's a widespread epidemic I must address today. I'm sure you've seen it, lamented and wondered what can be done about it. I'm talking about the acceptance of things that are just so-so and calling them excellent. Taking C-level work and calling it A+. It's everywhere - music, movies, schools, work ethics, books, actors, politicians, opinions - people are cosigning and elevating some regular-assed shiggity to legendary status. It must stop.

I have to accept my part of the blame in this. There have definitely been times when I have described things as "epic" or "uber" or "best ever" when they really, truly weren't. They were good, maybe even great but greatest of all time? No. Here are a few pop culture examples of what I'm talking about:

Exhibit one from Facebook: "I think Fantasia is the next Etta James." And someone co-signing! Okay now, Tasia Mae is talented but ur.. uh... Etta James (RIP) level? Stop it. Let Tasia stand on her own and leave Etta out of it. If Tasia belts out classics that stand the test of time for 40+ years, then we'll talk.

Exhibit two from Twitter: Tyrese comparing his contributions to society to those of Martin Luther King. And someone telling him he was "just as inspirational". (You know how angry it makes me me to put those two names in the same sentence?)

Exhibit three from Politics: Newt Gingrich challenging Obama to debates. And a news guy on a channel that shall not be named saying Newt matched up evenly with Obama on intelligence and speech. New-New-G? Obeezy. Will. Slaughter. You. Trust me Gingy. You don't want none.

Exhibit four from a blog: Chick describes herself as a best-selling author and folks congratule her. Someone else asks "Where are you ranked?" and is called a hater. Um... selling 100 books at your church bazaar does not a bestseller make. Unless an accredited outlet awards you with the "bestselling" title, just stay humble and be glad someone bought your ish.

Exhibit five overheard in Target: "Drake is the best rapper ever" Me: "Really tho? Not Pac or Jay or Biggie or Em?" Uninformed dude: "Man, Drake would smoke Tupac." His friend nods. Me: "Oh." That sound you hear is Biggie & Pac backflipping in their graves.

People, I'm sorry. It must be said - a lot of the stuff that we're exposed to right now? C+ at best, yet folks seem determined to assign A's across the board. I don't kid myself, I'm a good writer with a nice career and a decent blog. On a good day I'll grade myself 92, on a so-so day 82. I'm not creating American Classics or dropping life-alerting blog posts but dammit I'm entertaining. I know my niche. 

Seriously, take this a level deeper - have we (as a nation) just gotten so used to basic-basic being elevated that we no longer recognize or expect excellence? Let's face it - people are not so smart. And they share their "not so smartness" with us everyday and we just nod because it's easier. People are not so talented and no one tells them that they suck. Folks declare themselves fabulous and we cosign if it's shiny enough. When is enough enough? Are we so happy not to be a nation of F's that we're giddy at a C?

When do we start pushing back on half-baked half-assedness and begin demanding that people try a little harder, dig a little deeper and give a little more? I'm not saying there is not excellence out there, I see it all around. I'm saying, let's not nominate racist narrow-minded cheating-azz bigots for the Presidency let's keep it real, shall we? Let's stop calling stainless steel platinum.

Does anyone know what I'm talking about or am I dancing with myself (<~~also the title of Billy Idol song which is decent but not epic. See what I did there?)... Bougie out. Ya'll share your thoughts on this...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bougie Movie Review - Red Tails

Red Tails is a good movie, not a great one. If you are expecting a sweeping historical epic that takes you on a heart-racing journey, this isn't that. If you are expecting a pivotal snapshot of an important moment in Black History a la Malcolm X, this ain't that. Red Tails is an aptly-written, beautifully filmed enjoyable two hour movie. Period.

For those who don't know, Red Tails is about the Tuskegee Airman training program. The film was written by Aaron McGruder (The Boondocks) and John Ridley (U Turn, Three Kings, Undercover Brother). Anthony Hemingway (Ali, Changing Lanes, The Wire) directed the film. George Lucas executive produced this movie and felt so strongly about it, he wrote a personal check for upwards of $50 million when he couldn't get a studio to back the project.

I will admit, I felt compelled to support the movie after bitching about the TPization of the film industry and lamenting about "where have all the black films gone?" time after time. I have no desire to see Madea Flies Jets or Why Did I Get Married 6. So BougieMom and I hit the Studio Movie Grill for Friday's matinee.

The movie started off slow but picked up. Transitions between scenes weren't clear and you weren't 100% sure how much time passed from one movie moment to the next. You got the feeling that there was some stuff on the cutting room floor that might have filled in a blank or two. The dialogue had its moments, the cinematography and special effects were awesome, and you did find yourself engaged with the characters on the screen. No shocks, a few thrills, a few heart string pulls and a chuckle or two sums it up. If the story has a fatal flaw, it's predictability. Ya kinda knew what was gong to be said and done before it happened.

About the acting... I'm not a Terrence Howard fan. But this role was his least irksome in a while. I have a few issues with Cuba Gooding Jr but say what you will about dude (Snow Dogs, really son?) - his niche is playing that All-American character who delivers a catchy line and moves the story forward. Nate Parker played troubled squad leader Easy without much depth though David Oyelowo played hotshot pilot Lightning convincingly. To me, the surprise of the cast was Ne-Yo, playing a character named Smokie. He was surprisingly adept with comedic timing that stole many a scene. Andre Royo (Bubs from The Wire) was completely underutilized in his role as airplane mechanic.

The movie ended somewhat abruptly but still left you with the warm fuzzy wrapped up in a pretty bow. Overall, I give this movie 3.5 stars out of 5. It won't knock your socks off but doesn't leave you angry that you wasted your time and money. Not an instant classic but worth a look. Just one bougie chick's opinion.

In short, I liked it. Didn't love it, but liked it. BougieMom loved it (love, love, loved it) as did the others of her generation in the theater. The matinee was sparsely attended but when we walked out, the line was out the door and the ticket takers were already announcing that the next three shows of the night were sold out. Good for them.

Will you see (have you seen) it, BougieLand? Why or why not or what did you think? (no spoilers, please!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The more things change...

I have so many questions about this picture. Why am I sitting in the fireplace like Cinderella? Why am I leaned up against logs like they are super comfortable? What am I reading? WHAT AM I WEARING? Le Sigh.
You can handle birthdays a few ways - you can be shell shocked at where all the time went, you can be melancholy about time lost, you can be giddy that you're still here, or you can ignore the whole thing. I tend to be a little mood swingy about it. But this year, I'm just happy to be be here.

I did stop and think what's different, what's changed and what's stayed the same over the years. Here's what I've come with...
1) I used to be quiet and self-contained. Now I'm reserved until I'm comfortable and then I speak my mind.
2) I used to be a book worm. I still am. 
3) I used to be shy. Yeah, that ship set sail a while ago.
4) I've been an optimist then a pessimist than an optimist again. I'm firmly in the between of those now.
5) I used to be very sweet, seriously - I was a sweetheart. Now? I have my moments.
6) I used to be gullible and a shade naive. Surprisingly, I still find that I'm shocked and awed at folks' shenanigans.
7) I've never really been insecure but I've had different levels of security on different categories of my life. I worry a little less about the exterior more about the interior. I don't stress over who likes  me and who doesn't. I don't worry about my career, it always works out in the end as it was meant to be. Same thing with relationships.
8) I used to be a romantic. God help me, I still am. 
9) I wanted to be a writer. Then a lawyer, then a CEO and now? A writer. At last.
10) My priorities were God and family first, s/o and friends seconds, then career and ambition, a whole bunch of other stuff and then me. These are pretty much the same though I've moved me into 2nd place..
BougieLand, what's changed about you from childhood to adulthood? What's stayed the same? Do share...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bougie Timeout

Hey BougieLand. I know it's early in the year to be pressing pause and yet... I gotta. Just looked at the to do list for this week and something had to give. Unfortunately, it's the blog. In addition to celebrating a birthday on Wednesday, I'll be helping Le Dude pack up since he'll be spending the next two months traipsing around Europe, starting with Spain. Yes, I'll be crossing the pond for multiple visits. I also want to tighten up the first few chapters on my next book to present to the publisher in addition to planning the publicity strategy for Pretty Boy Problems which comes out this summer. And oh yeah, I guess I should pay some attention to the day job.

All that being said, this week - might post, might not. But I'll be around, if you haven't joined me on the Black 'n Bougie Facebook page, please do so and if you haven't found me on Twitter - don't delay. I'll be asking a few "question of the day" type things this week and I'd hate for you miss it. Also, we do have a Twitter list for the inhabitants of BougieLand, follow the list to see what yo' people are talking about.

Be back soon!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Shiggity Pegreaux Black Men Say...

Pegreaux = Pretentious + (sometimes) Nouveau + Negroes. <~~ Get into it. Ah yes, 'tis the age of the Pegreaux. That species of hustle-disguised-as-know-it-all-ness gentleman heating up airwaves, TV sets and these here innanets. They are everywhere. They are smarter than the rest of us (to hear them tell it) and  they have opinions. As do I.

Many of you have seen the various, multiple spins on Sh*t (insert any type of people) say. White Girls, Bougie Black Girls :-/, Purple Squirrels... good times. Everyone else has had so much fun compiling their lists, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon too. Of course when I write a list about Pegreaux... I actually know enough of them well enough to be accurate in my tongue-in-cheekiness. I get that it's hot in the streets to make up a list about the two chicks who deigned to speak to you at last week's Happy Hour because they thought your name tag was cute. I just thought I'd do my list a little differently.

So what's tripping lightly off of Les Pegreaux lips this days? Allow me to share..

1. "Buy my book, it will change your life!" (Or buy my t-shirt or my signature vodka or watch my show and come to my event. If you're particularly lazy - just click "LIKE"!). You have to know by now that words of epic wisdom and absolute pearls of intellectual superiority are to be found inside a Pegreaux-penned publication. Nothing is going to raise this race up or bring hordes of angry single black woman to their ultimate salvation like following the gospel of Pegreauxism. Let's raise a Hibiscus Martini at the next happy hour to this, shall we?

2. "But seriously, have you bought my book yet?" For Social Media's sake, you see me in all my Pegritude hustling and tweeting and blogging and you still haven't bought my book? That's no way to catch a man, ladies. That's no way to be on your Jay-Z-Z baller status, gents. And isn't that what this life is all about anyway?

3. I'm not doing this for me, it's all about you. A Pegreaux's battlecry is that he is not a pretentious  prick just on G.P. - he is out there grindin' for the betterment of all black people everywhere (especially those that have purchased their books).

4. "You need to get to my level." I love it when a man tells you to get like him only to later discover his life is a freaking shambles behind closed doors.  No sir, I'm good right up and through here.

5. "Everyone is hatin' on me." For the last time, it's only "hate" if it's not justified scorn, earned disdain and hearty ridicule. The perception that you are so on point that others are threatened by your clarity of thought is both laughable and slapworthy. Anytime someone starts hollerin' about how much exponential hate is directed their way, I wonder if there's an app for deluded self-importance? 

Last but not least:
6. "...And that's why all you women are single." If the alternative is a lifetime of what you're dishing out? We're happy to stay hungry. Kthxbi.

I'll let Stevie take us out of here today. Sing it with me now: "We are amazed but not amused by all the things you say that you do..."

Please note how the entire audience is gettin' a jam on. This is from 1974 and the lyrics still go hard in the paint. Bougie out... Thoughts, comments, insights?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Resume Remix - 5 ways to tighten yours up

It's that time of year. Usually at the beginning of the year, I end up helping folks out with their resumes. I've done seven so far this year. I don't mind doing it, I've spent over 15 years in recruiting and I know what catches a recruiter or hiring manager's eye. But every year, I see some of the same "old school" resume characteristics. Let's drag those resumes into 2012, shall we?

Your resume is your representative. It has to sell me on you at a glance. I need to know within my first scan that you are worth a follow-up email or phone call. I have 400 resumes in my inbox, yours needs to be the one at the top of the stack. I'm not looking for a reason to keep you, I'm looking for a reason to discard you so I can get to the next one. We're all about decreasing quantity and increasing quality in the HR field. Harsh but true.

Okay, so everyone knows the resume basics: name and contact information at the top. An introduction (see number 2 below) then work history, education, and certificates/licenses. No large fonts, no cutesy fonts, no funky colors, no all caps. Spell check is your friend, grammar check is your partner - use them!

1. The One-Page Resume is a myth - If you've been working for more than five years and/or have a robust work history; it's really not necessary to trim your resume to one page. In fact, many times the one page works against you. You want as many opportunities as possible to catch the recruiter's eye. Three pages is fine, more than that (unless you are an executive or highly technical) and you need to have an addendum. For instance, if you have a list of projects or technologies or published works you want to share - put that on a separate one sheet. 

2. Summary of Qualifications is a must - An objective line is take it or leave it. On the one hand, it's a quick way to tell the company what you are looking for. On the other hand, it's a quick way to get yourself disqualified. If you keep it fairly generic: Professional self-starter with over 10 years of finance experience ready to take next step in dynamic company - you're in a good place. I always (always, always) recommend that job seekers have a bulleted section at the top summarizing their qualifications. No more than 5 bullets identifying successes, skillset, background highlights and technical knowledge.

3. Descriptive but short is the only way to go - As you describe your employment history be sure to include company name, location, title, years of service. Your descriptions should be expressive but crisp. You should include duties, responsibilities, successes, accolades, budgets managed in snippets. Do not write lengthy paragraphs detailing all of your accomplishments for the past ten years. This is a place where if you're in doubt about content or format - go to the easy four bullet template. First two bullets should describe your day to day duties and over-arcing responsibilities. Next bullet describes your projects or long-term goals. The next bullet is your success. So if you were a checker at Wal-Mart your description would be
  • Brought efficiency and professionalism to customer service on a daily basis for this multi-national retailer. Handled sales transactions and merchandise bagging.
  • Assisted with inventory, sales & marketing, customer relations and other duties as needed.
  • Based on consistently stellar reviews, working towards management position over course of next two years.
  • Received Employee of the Month award twice in six month time period.
4. Leave off the personal stuff (we're begging you) - It's great that you kayak, mountain bike and lead Girl Scout troops on the weekend but unless you are searching for a job where those skills are revered - leave them off. On the flip, if you are going for a sales or marketing job there's no harm in mentioning that you were head cheerleader or president of the future tycoons of America. Also, never put your marital status on your resume. 

5. "References are available on request" is so last century - We know this. You absolutely do not have to tell us. In an age where companies can ask for a DNA sample prior to employment, you think we don't know you'll give us your references? Just leave that sentence off. It takes up space where you could have told us something useful.

I always recommend that you have a few different versions of your resume to target different fields or industries. If you're really struggling to decide what to write, go out to a job board and pull up descriptions for the kind of job you've done and the kind of job you're looking for and "borrow" key phrases that fit your background. Last but not least, if you are applying for a position that requires X, Y, & Z please make sure your resume addresses X, Y & Z somewhere in the content. Not the cover letter (80% of those don't get read) but inside the body of the resume.

I've seen some tragic resumes in my day. Just yesterday I opened up an attachment for a Project Manager position and the guy had written three sentences and then said "call to find out more" - no sir. Make sure your email address is professional. DoMeBaby69 at gmail dot com is going to get you the side eye. You can fluff a resume but don't pad the hell out of it. Had a guy who was a ticket taker at the fair call himself a Professional Courtesy Transfer and Intake Specialist. What? I'm just saying, when in doubt - leave it out. One of my favorites is the young lady who was imprisoned for four years and stated that as "Personal Sabbatical to Reflect on Life Choices Before Re-Entering Professional Word." Ooookay then. 

I could go on and on, but it's your turn. BougieLand, any questions? Any resume tragedies to share? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours...

Tonight! Catch me & @CarolynEdgar on The Return of BnB Radio

Have you missed us? Me and @CarolynEdgar are back this evening at 9:00pm central/10:00pm eastern with chatter, opinions and more chatter. Depending on time, we're going to talk about something we call Opportunistic Infidelity and why we call bullshiggity on it. We're going to talk about Why the GOP Doesn't Care About Black People and why they really should. We'll ask the question - why is someone calling FLOTUS an "Angry Black Woman" and why that's slapworthy. If time permits, we'll talk about the upcoming movie Red Tails and speculate on why Blue Ivy has folks heated.

Join us! You can catch us on the web (we'll have a chat window open) or dial in and talk to us at (347) 884-8748. If you miss it, the broadcast will be available for listen and download on iTunes, on the BnB site or on the BlogTalk Radio site. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ask a Bougie Chick - Is this love?

We have reached post number nine hundred (900!!!) on BnB. *throws confetti* In celebration, let's read the first Ask a Bougie Chick letter of the year...

Cue Bob Marley's epic Is This Love? for this one. We've got a 30-year old gentleman in Tracy, CA (eastern suburb of the San Fran Bay Area) who wants our opinion. Without further ado, Rodney's letter:
Love the blog! Found it from Three Ways to Take It and lurk regularly. I just turned 30 and I've been dating a woman (Tonia) exclusively for a little over a year now. We get along well, have a great time together. She's easy to be with and she gets me. We laugh a lot, spend most of our free time together. Over the holidays we met each other's families and that went well. 
At this point you are probably wondering why I'm writing to you since it's all good. Well I'm curious to hear your thoughts about something. 
From around the third month that we were together, Tonia started telling me that she loved me. I told her I wasn't there yet and she said she would rather I didn't say it if I wasn't sure I meant it. Now here we are over half a year later and I still haven't said it. I don't know if I feel it. I'm not sure I would mean it. I like her a lot and I don't want to lose her but is that love? 
Basically Chele & Bougieland, how do I know?
Hi Rodney! I have to admit my first thought was to send you a side-eye for the ages. But then when I thought about it... if you don't know, why not ask? Better that than to say it and not mean it. It's actually an excellent question. How do you know if you're just really comfortable with her and don't want to lose that or if it's love? 

Let me give my shoe analogy first. I have shoes that are comfortable and shoes that I love whether they are comfortable or not. Like I would cry if I didn't have that shoe. I will wear that shoe until it falls off my foot, that's how much I love it. No? Not a good analogy? Don't understand what it is with women and shoes? Okay then. How about this:

Do you not want to lose her because you don't want to be alone or because you would actually miss having her in your life? Fast forward your life six months, two years, ten years ahead - do you see her by your side? What were you thinking when you took her home to meet your family? Do you feel your life is enhanced with her in it? Marinate on these things and I bet the answer will come to you.

BougieLand, what say you? How's Rodney to know if Tonia's Mrs. Right or Mrs. Right Now? How do you differentiate between love and comfort/convenience? Do share...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rise & Grind? Sleep when you're dead? No thanks.

Every morning my FaceBook feed and Twitter timelines are chockful of uberhappy morning folks determined to hype me up with affirmations, energy and a kickstart to my day. If I had a dollar for every "rise & grind" or "you can sleep when you're dead" quote, I'd be retired to my tropical island. And I get it, I understand the theory behind it. Let's get up, be productive and make it do what it do. I agree... to a point.

With all of the ambitions and demands on our day-to-day hustle struggles and family/friend duties, sleep seems to be the one thing we are more than willing to sacrifice. When people think of "total wellness" most focus on diet and exercise not realizing that lack of sleep is just as detrimental to our health.

Sleep is like a reset button for your mind, body and soul. It's an opportunity to restore mood, regenerate energy, reduce stress, think without outside interruption and rest our bodies. The average person requires 6 - 8 hours a night to function at top performance. 

Stress is a killer. Long periods of prolonged stress have been attributed to all manner of fatal diseases not to mention mental fatigue. Sleep is one way to reduce that anxiety. I know, it's easier said than done. There are definitely nights when I cannot turn my brain off and sleep is elusive. So I've done some research which I'm happy to share with you now. Here are some tips to getting that good night's sleep:

1. Have a scheduled bedtime. I know it sound either really juvenile or really senior citizen but studies show that having a set window to shut it down for the night programs your body to rest regularly. 

2. Chill out one hour before bedtime. They say you should turn off all music, TV, computers, etc one hour prior to nodding off. I can't do it. I generally fall asleep with the TV on and then turn it off sometime in the middle of the night.

3. Make up lost time. If you only get four hours of sleep on night, you should try and make those hours up over the next two nights. Think of sleep as a deposit in the bank. If you're continually overdrawn, you never catch up.

4. Exercise. 20 - 45 minutes of aerobic activity during the day positively affect your ability to get a good snooze on. You choose what kind of aerobic activity works best for you. 

5. Cut the caffeine and energy drinks. If you are a caffeine or energy drink junkie, save them for the early part of the day. Cut the sweets. Desserts = sugar. Sugar = hyperactivity. Hyperactivity = no bueno for bed. 

6. Eat early. You should have your last meal at least 90 minutes prior to bed time. Diving into bed after the taco platter is bad for sleep, digestion and hips. If you have a snack close to bed, it should be high protein with fruit. Cheese, a slice of turkey with grapes is the recommended snack.

7. No arguing before bedtime. Experts say if you have beef, sleep on it. The next morning if you're still ticked off - talk about it then. For one, you have time to think about it. Secondly, arguments prior to sleep (unless you resolve them) just disturb your restfulness. [I haven't mastered this one either]

8. Do something stress-releasing before you sleep. A lot of people prefer to read a few chapters of a book, others prefer le cocoa, prayer, some take a hot bath, drink hot herbal tea or warm milk. Whichever you prefer, studies show that people who actively reduce stress prior to bed have more productive (REM) sleep and wake up more rested.

9. If none of that works - nap. Even a nap as short as 20 minutes is considered more refreshing and invigorating than a energy drink. If you have a chance to close your office door (slip out to your car) at midday and catch a few winks, your mind and body with thank you for it.

So... I'll sleep now if you don't mind. Who gets eight hours a night? Who's on that Rise & Grind theory? Who (like me) is afflicted with regular bouts of insomnia? What's your favorite sleep remedy? Let's talk sleep habits, BougieLand. The floor is yours...

Monday, January 09, 2012

A letter to my 20-somethings out there...

Hey young uns!

How you doing? How's life treating you? Never mind that last question. It doesn't matter how life is treating you, blink twice and it will be a whole different world. Listen. No seriously. Unplug your seventeen tech toys, take two deep breaths and actually listen. There are things I wish that someone had sat my young behind down and told me when I was in my twenties. Even more importantly, there are things that people told me that I wish I had listened to. I did not. I was positive I knew everything or that the person telling me was too far removed to really know what they were talking about.

You, my double-decade friends, have an opportunity here. Read it and take in what works for you.

1. You are not entitled to anything or anyone. Nor are you promised anything or anyone. Whatever it is you are positive you deserve, figure out how to live without it. You may get it, you may not. If you do, great - appreciate it and keep it pushing. If you don't... these things sometimes happen.
I say this because in my early twenties, my plan was to run the world by 35. I was going to have 2 kids, the perfect husband, run a multi-billion dollar law firm and look fabulous doing it. Thirty-five is way back in the rear view mirror and all I can say is - I'm fabulous. But you could not have told me at 25 that I didn't deserve the best house with the best man and best bank account ever! As a matter of fact, I spent a few too many years in my twenties cutting brothers that didn't appear to embrace my vision of super-wonderfulness. 
2. Know what to do when detours happen. I'll go with Rascal Flatts on this one - Life is a Highway. But what they don't tell you is that the highway goes up mountains, down valleys, through deserts and jungles. Sometimes the damn highway is an unpaved one lane dirt road. Sometimes it's a tollway and unless you pay - you're stuck.
I say this because I prefer life on the plateaus and I attempted to walk a straight path from A to Z Which may be why I kept getting stuck on E, F, and G. Over and over again. I had no back-up, fallback alternate life plan. And once the first one went kaboom, I spent way too many years playing catch up.  
3. People you love are going to leave you and it's going to hurt like hell. I could spout a million clich├ęs here and tell you that you can bounce back from anything but the brutal honesty is that every loss whether from death, betrayal, growing apart or other life happenstances takes a little something from you. You have to decide what to put in its place.
When I lost the first guy I knew I was going to marry, I was one lost and bitter chick.These sorts of things happened to other people, not me in all of my wonderfulness. There's nothing to prep you for that and everybody has to recover differently. What doesn't work? Pretending everything's okay when it's really truly not. 
4. Your job is just your job is just your job. Rinse and repeat. Everyone tells you that the foundation you build for your career in your twenties will be the stepping stones for your entire career path. Well... sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. 
I had an ulcer at age 26 because I was determined to be the hardworking, best prepared vision of corporate perfection to ever hit a cubicle. For my 80-hour weeks, I got a layoff package and a lifetime of Zantac for my troubles. 
5. Don't be afraid to take risks in your twenties. (Okay this applies to most of your life) I'm not talking about skiing Mt. Kilimanjaro barefoot or whatever the latest extreme thing that could kill most of us is. I'm saying that 25 is a little early to get in a rut. If you find yourself doing the same things, the same way, with the same people week after week? It  may be time to change it up.
I had just turned 30 and was sitting in my townhome when I realized that I was having the exact same conversation with the same people from five years ago and five years before that. I had to get out. I pack three suitcases and headed to the Bay Area for six months. I spent close to ten years. Sometimes you have to hit the reset button.
Well, that's it for now. Take it for what it's worth. My life... your lessons. Bougie folks - have anything to add? Thoughts... comments... insights?

Friday, January 06, 2012

Rude Awakening

It was about 3:00am when the sound of raised voices yanked me from what was some truly extraordinary slumber. Grumpily I sat up to figure out where the noise was coming from. It took no time at all to ascertain that a man and a woman were in the middle of the cul-de-sac screaming at each other in the street... at decibels that were uncalled for in that time and place. Really, any time and place but let's move on...

With a sigh, I got up and peeked out of the window and sure enough, there were Dude and Dudette in the street in pajamas howling at one and other. I didn't recognize them as neighbors. As I looked on with disgust and confusion, Dudette picked up her foot and landed a roundhouse kick squarely in Dude's abdomen. Before I could blink, he bopped her upside the head. Oh. Hells. No. 

I dialed 911 and was informed that six calls had already come in and Dallas' finest were already on the way. The words "the way" were still floating into my ear when the first patrol car pulled up. Dude and Dudette were full scale MMA boxing in the street. I went downstairs so I could stop the officers from ringing the doorbell and waking BougieMom (who didn't even twitch an eyelid). 

These two were visiting friends, got into a fight and not wanting to disturb their hosts... decided to step outside. Really tho? She announced, "We always rough house a little bit, it doesn't mean anything."

No. In fact, hell no. The one time I thought about fighting some dude was way back right after college. Not the brightest idea since he was Mr. Law Enforcement and all buffed up. I don't even remember what the fight was about but I got up in his face, he told me to back up, I did not and he gave me a little shove backwards. Again for those who don't know, I'm top heavy with tiny ankles and gravity hates me. I tumbled onto my ass landing painfully on the tile floor. I jumped up and swung my loaded purse at his head. He ducked. And laughed. I remember growling and landing one solid kick to his thigh before his best friend grabbed me around the waist and pulled me into the kitchen. Where he held me hostage until I calmed down. Ever since then I don't do physical confrontation. Ever.

One, I'd never win. Two, razor sharp words wound deeper and have longer lasting impact. Three, no one goes to jail for launching verbal missiles. And four, fighting in the streets is S.No.B! So I put the question to you - WDDDA? And WTH? Is there EVER a good reason to get into a physical confrontation with your s.o.? Would it ever occur to you to fight in the street in the middle of the night? Someone help me understand... The floor is yours.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Three Wishes

I blame Jayme for the lateness of this post. I actually had three posts half-written until she called and got me sucked into one of her "What would you do?" game. When she does family counseling, she uses an icebreaker where she tells each member of the family to wish for three things. They write them down, put them in a box and then she pulls them out and the whole family tries to guess whose wish it was. 

This led to us having a genie-in-the-bottle discussion. If you had three wishes just for yourself and couldn't wish for more wishes - what would you wish for?

I grappled around with wishes for acceptance of circumstance, tolerance of others, unshakeable faith, a size four body and an unlimited shoe budget. I got maudlin wishing for one more conversation with my father who would no doubt be displeased to interrupt his heavenly rest to come down here and chat with me about nonsense. I thought about peace on earth but thought that might be too much for a genie to deal with. After much debate, I landed on 1) Health 2)Happiness 3)Wisdom. 

So BougieLand - What What You Do? If you had three wishes that could only be used for yourself and you can't ask for more wishes... what would you wish for? Do share...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Bougie Tech Review: Kindles, Nooks & Tablets

I have to admit, when e-readers first came out, I wasn't sure how I felt about them. As a reader, I like the feeling of a book in my hand. I like the smell of old books. I like turning pages. I like cracking the spine and setting the book on the nightstand for the evening. I like hardbacks and paperbacks and glossy magazines. 

As an author, I definitely earn more from a print book than a digital edition. And there were questions about how lending worked and the integrity of the formatting on e-readers. I just wasn't sold on the technology.

Until I picked one up. I'll admit it. I was instantly seduced. I'm a voracious reader. If I have time, I'll squeeze in two - three books a week. The ability to carry twenty books at a time without running to the bookstore - it got me. Reading an author, loving their work and then downloading everything they've ever written sold me. So much so that I had to establish a spending limit for myself. Once I took the dive...

We are an e-reading family. Amongst the BougieExtendedFam we have 3 Kindles, a Kindle Fire, 3 Nooks, a Galaxy Tab and an iPad. David just got the Nook Tablet, I just got the Kindle Fire in addition to my regular Kindle. I have both the Nook app and the Kindle app on my PC as I am equal opportunity. C|Net had a great article comparing what's out there. But here are my thoughts:

If you just like to read without bells and whistles - get a basic Kindle or a Simple Touch Nook. They are easy to use and have super-long battery life. The edge that basic Kindle has over the Nook is the link to Shelfari which gives you all sorts of back info about the book, for instance - if it is number 3 in the middle of a 7-part series. I found this invaluable when trying to catch up on the Alex Cross series. I need to be handheld from book 8 to 9 to 10.

The Nook has the advantage of having a store and associates to go with it. When you walk into a Barnes & Noble with your Nook, it welcomes you home and you have all sorts of specials and freebies gifted to you for coming in. As you know, Amazon is all about the virtual. If you need help with your Kindle you have to call in and play the customer service game.

I think both the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire are fun. They are both interactive and loaded with a ton of stuff that has nothing to do with reading. The Kindle Fire is Android powered which I preferred because it synced with my phone and Google-isms with ease. But the Nook Tablet has better battery life.

If you are Team Amazon you pretty much have to go Kindle. All of my music, movies, tv shows and books loaded onto the Kindle Fire. [If someone ever hacks the Google/Amazon cloud - I'm done for] While I was on vacation, I found that I still preferred my basic Kindle just to read. If I read on the Fire, I'm always distracted by my email, UberTwitter, and Facebook updates not to mention the multiple games and apps I've downloaded.

My sister got the Galaxy Tab for Christmas. She also has a first generation Nook. She downloaded the Nook app onto her tablet but also preferred to take the trusty old Nook to the beach. My older brother has the iPad and uses it for everything.

So what does it all mean? I like them both. The costs are pretty comparable. I lean towards the Kindle because my comfort zone is there but I've got no beef with the Nook. As a writer, I say buy them both and put my books on them. Now. Today. Here you go:

What say you BougieLand? Who has an e-reader or a tablet? What flavor? What do you like? What would you change? Do share...

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Hardest Thing About Relationships...

The s/o called last Wednesday and said he and the fellas were heading to New Orleans. Awesome. I was in Florida soaking up sun. I was totally cool right up until the moment the phone rang Saturday and dude said they decided to stay one more night. But... wait. It was New Year's Eve. Our first New Year's Eve together. "Are you cool with that?"

"Um, not really." Why would I be okay to spend that night apart? Especially knowing he's heading to Spain in a week or so and will miss my birthday. I felt my temper going on simmer.

Who made this decision? Shawn. After I announced that I hoped Shawn would be cuddled up next to him at midnight, I hung up. I was tart. I mean, really? New Year's Eve? With the fellas? Nah son. So after fuming about it (tweeting about it), I called back. And made my displeasure known. Vehemently. I might have been on full boil.

Him: "So... it's not okay. Got it."

None of these dudes thought this through. Bryan's wife had sent the kids to her mother's house and had "plans" for her husband, it was Joy's first NYE with Jay, Wes' wife don't play like that. 

Not only had these geniuses let Shawn talk them into pissing off s/o's, they'd changed their flights and couldn't get a flight out for Saturday. Next thing I knew, Dude David was in a rental car motoring north with the guys along for the ride. They made it into Dallas before midnight.

Oh, I don't blame Shawn. These are grown assed men who collectively lost their minds for a minute. As Jay shuffled out of the house with Joy's six inch pump somewhere near his hindparts, he muttered, "Relationships are hard." Yes they are. Especially if you make them so.

So today, something interactive. Fill in the Blank:

The hardest thing about relationships is _______________. Here's my list for now:

1. Making sure sure everyone's priorities are aligned.
2. Keeping well-meaning friends out of the middle.
3. Learning to shake off momentary stupidity when you really want to harp on it.

Now you... fill in the blank. What do you think is the hardest thing about relationships?

Monday, January 02, 2012

BougieNation at a glance - Wrapping up 2011

It's time for our annual look back. What did we like, what did we learn, what do we look like - the entire demographic.  We had 272 posts this year and over 30,000 comments. Close to 1000 of you took the time to answer the survey. You are appreciated! Let's get it started with the most basic information.

We picked up 2% more men this year. We do love the fellas. 

We also aged. Last year the average age was age 37.2 years of age. This year we're almost 40. By the way, whoever the 14 year old is that answered the survey? Nah, young un - come back in four years. To the 75-year old - that's awesome. Speak up and say hey. We are evenly spread out across our 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s for the most part.

We lost our Asian contingent this year but were represented among all other races. We do, however, remain predominantly black and bougie.

We're still global! Almost the exact same country breakdown as last year:

Our largest US readership is in Texas and New York.

We did pick up a reader in Idaho but we lost our three readers in South Dakota. No one can skip over to Mt. Rushmore and read some bouge?

You all liked or loved almost everything this year but the hands down favorite posts this year? The Bougie Bachelor/Bachelorette Chronicles.

You would like to read more stories about:
We also had a lot of requests to hear more from Dr. Jayme. We'll see if we can get a regular column out of her this year. You still don't love my music shout outs or my movie reviews but you like when I pontificate on the random. Bless ya'lls hearts. 

We didn't have any suspensions this year but we did forcibly eject two people from BougieLand, never to be heard from again. 

The comments waxed and waned this year. Sometimes you were feeling it, sometimes you weren't. Either way, we generally had a good time. So out of all those 30,000 comments - who was our favorite BnB commenter?

Riley. Hands down. To the two ladies who asked for his phone number - the man is on Twitter. Get your DM mojo working and holla. Second fave was TiffanyNHouston. Followed by Cali & Roz tied for 3rd and AGrownAzzMan 4th & JaymeC 5th. We did have two people overwhelmingly voted least favorite and I'll reach out to both of them directly. Moving on...

This year's top 10 posts were:

In addition to the Bougie Bachelor and Bachelorette Chronicles, the other favorites "theme weeks" were Online Dating, Is It Wrong, After The Broom and Lessons Learned week.

The most Tweeted/Posted on FaceBook posts where the posts on Jalen vs. Grant, Alpha Females/Males and Ginger White. Interesting, don't you think?

It's been a good one. More to come! What do you think about the results? Any surprises? Thoughts, comments, insights? 

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year but...

Woo-hoo! Happy, Happy! We made it! We still here! *snoopy dances all over BnB* 

But wait...

The calendar changing from 2011 to 2012 is not like a Monopoly "Get out of Jail free" card.  It's not a magic reset or a do-over. It's just a new day to keep living hopefully better than you were before. There's no need to resolve to do a whole bunch of shiggity that you said you were going to do last year and the year before that. Time's a-wastin' - tomorrow ain't promised - all you've got is now. Need any more truisms?

Here's one. 2011 is gone bye-bye. Put it in the books. It was what it was for the good, the bad, and the bougie. Don't dwell on it. Learn from it and keep it pushing, people.

We lost way too many far too young in 2011. So instead of resolutions - let's make plans. Some of you have been longing for a relationship, go ask someone out. Like today. Back away from the keyboard and go flirt over a caramel macchiato with extra sprinkles. It may not lead to the love of your life but at least you're taking a step.

Some of you want to feel better. Right after you finish the 2012 soul food plate, drink 24 ounces of water and vow to do better tomorrow. Some of you want to make more money - so what's the plan? What's the side hustle? See where I'm going with this?

How are you going to use 2012 to get from A to B and onto C and D. Because A is already been-there, done that and B is about to be yesterday. So I don't want to hear your resolutions this year, I want to hear your action plans. Let's get it, BougieLand! Who's with me? *shakes pom-poms*

2011 was good to me. I did better in almost every area of my life than I did in 2010. Sometimes that's all we get - a step up and chance to keep going. Happy New Year everybody. Tell me, who's happy to wave bye-bye to 2011? How are we planning global takeover and domination for 2012? And for the love of all that is holy, who is with me to help Obeezy #OccupyTheWhiteHouse for four more years?

2012 is not a game, ya'll - it's today.


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