The little man in the background surely wants to know. I’m a writer, Gemini, and a city lover who needs her coffee. Don’t ever take me to the country, unless it’s in another country. I like to drive into DC to clear my mind. I squeal when I can drive past the neighborhoods in which my characters reside. Don’t let me drive past the National Harbor on my way to the MGM casino. Oh no. That’s where my readers’ book boyfriend Jackson lives. I swear I can pull over and knock on his door. Ladies, that man can do his thang in bed. Just ask Brooke! These people are very much alive to me as the crust is between your toes. Hmm what else??? Don’t ask me to kill bugs. That’s what my man is for; it’s in the contract. No kill bug, no bootie. Don’t ask me to help you move. If I’m a true friend, I’ll prove it another way. If you really wanna read my book but your budget is tight, I won’t make you put my ebook on layaway, just ask! I may have another ebook just laying around somewhere...🤔🤥.Well. I’m an amalgamation of crazy, and my books will reflect that as well.
Alrighty. You may be holding that job right now, but you never know when you’ll be dusting that resume off again. Not only do I hold a master’s in human resource management, but I have gone on countless job interviews. Even when I clearly don’t qualify for a job, I’ve still gotten called in. Even if I didn’t get the job, usually because of a test, haha, ohhh how I detest tests, or because I may fall short on that experience I mentioned above, one thing remains: more times than not, I get called back in for a second time.
Well, if you suck during your first interview, you probably won’t get called back. These days, second interviews are highly common. Remember, a job interview is also a time for you, the candidate, to determine how you feel about the company while the interviewers get to know you. It’s a two-way street. There were times when I showed up to an interview and had the steam knocked out of me as it progressed, and sometimes before it started! That’s because I didn’t like the way the atmosphere felt, or I didn’t like what I learned about the position or company as the interview went on. That’s when I secretly pray that they lose my number and hope that they can pick up on my weakened enthusiasm. All I’m saying is, don’t forget, they need you, too. They have to sell themselves to you as well. But, this post is about you, so let’s go!
STUDY THE JOB AD
Before you send your resume through, understand that job ad. Listen, when a proper HR isn’t in place it shows before you send off your resume. I can tell just by the job ad that someone is fulfilling a position that they shouldn’t be. This means that either the company is missing a legit HR team/department, or they have one, but the team is probably small and someone is crossing from a different department to fill in until that position is full.
Okay, the job ad that is quick and messy personally sends me red flags. Be aware of posts made of one paragraph that tells nothing about the job but just what they want. How are you supposed to tailor an effective resume/cover letter when you’re working with scraps? Chances are, this company is desperate to find someone quickly. Mark my words. Pay attention next time. Well-stated job ads that look like they uploaded a copy of the job description to the post will usually be the pickier and better organized companies who will take their time with the hiring process. Also, they usually have a legitimate person to handle the whole process.
A job ad should state the title of the job needed, a snapshot of the company background, your duties (hardest to easiest), your skills needed to perform (hardest to easiest), any restrictions, and maybe the salary! It should be a page long. These are the people you want to work for! Does it mean companies with paragraph job ads are no good? Errrrr, not necessarily, but you have to ask yourself what kind of people they’re trying to attract when they throw out a vague ad. Not a good look. Imagine being single with a summary of yourself on a dating site. You want the best mate possible. Are you gonna be vague and hold back, or give a proper snapshot of who you are and what you want? Are you trying to attract winners or losers?
2. RESEARCH THE COMPANY
So the job ad looks good. Now, take a moment and research the company, because they have a proper job ad, you know the name of the company. Nine times out of ten, you’ll see that they’ve listed their company name. Is this the kind of place you want to work for? Do you like what they stand for? That’s what websites are for. Use them. Don’t waste each other’s time if you don’t have to.
So, you like what you see, and you get a call back.
Head to their website and find out their mission statement and their ‘About’ section if nothing else. If you have limited time or a bad memory, at least read their mission statement and what they’re about and what they do. You know what’s even better? Learning their accomplishments, recent victories, milestones, etc... You want to already know how you can contribute and show an interest in their proudest moments.
3. SHOW UP SHARP AND ON TIME
Maybe no Coco Chanel or Armani suits, but please, no wrinkles, ill-fitted garments or strong scents. If your hair and clothes smell good, skip the fragrance. You just never know when smelling neutral will pay off. You don’t know if your scent is offensive enough to make the ones in charge worry that you’ll clog their noses up with your scent. Err on the side of caution. Also, have no visual distractions. Show up 15-20 mins prior to the appointment. Sometimes there will be paperwork and you can be done by the time of your actual scheduled time. Also, you already know how good this makes you look. It also lends to the idea that you’ll be on time once hired. And instead of saying how organized you are, this shows it.
You probably bragged on your resume that you possess excellent communication skills. You know you promised to possess the same basic traits. Well, great communication isn’t all in moving jaws, but knowing when to lock them until it’s your turn to speak. Don’t talk over an interviewer like he or she is your friend. You want to convey patience and professionalism. Wait. Also, you get a chance to formulate a well-thought out response that will also make sense and support your cause. And make eye contact, but don’t forget to share it if you’re being interviewed by more than one person.
Think it through before it falls off your tongue. Just don’t take forever to respond, of course. But some people cannot communicate without feeling tense. Don’t let this happen to you. As long as you have researched the company, memorized key points, and listened to the interviewers stories, job description, and additional information, you should be fine.
However, don’t say more than what’s necessary. Be careful about mentioning irrelevant things that can be used against you. This includes casual comments—in the name of relating to the interviewer—about your kids, them making you run late, admitting to past faults that the interviewer was never going to know or didn’t need to know (damaging info), bad mouthing past employers, discussing sports and teams, religion, and politics. When asked a question, simply stick to the facts, keep it concise, and answer the question. Repeat: facts, concise, answer. And it’s okay to show the interviewer that you’re thinking of your answer. No one wants to feel like they’re speaking with a robot. Interviewers appreciate a well thought-out answer.
6. GO IN FOR THE KILL
Because you’re detail-oriented, and it’s probably written on that trusty resume, you would’ve spotted key elements on their website that you can mention in your campaign that you’re the best for the job. Now, insert your enthusiasm by speaking more than just using the blanket statement of, “I really wanna be a part of this team.” Blah! Words. It’s like a lover saying they’ll never cheat again. Anyone can profess.
Find a way to champion your skill set with their goals. Remember, their proudest achievements should support the mission statement. Be able to tell the company that you support, know, and appreciate their mission statement. Then, squeeze in a specific achievement listed on the company website and how you would love to mimic that same success by implementing your specialty. Weave mission statement talk and listed achievements naturally. It can’t be contrived, corny, or desperate. It means that you’re on board with becoming an asset That you’re not only worried about your needs. Of course, companies already know you gotta eat and that you need health insurance and want perks. It’s just a matter of them being able to afford this. But do they know you’re not just there to collect all the goodies? No. They want to know that you’re in it to win it. They want you to trust that they’ll take care of you.
7. ASK QUESTIONS
Do you have any questions?
I used to dread this part. Looking back, that’s just foolishness. Here’s my rule: Have at least three priority questions to ask. Because, you need to be able to feel out how much time these guys have to spend on you. I’ll never forget the one time this man just wasn’t too polite to me during an interview. It was like he knew he wanted to hire another candidate who happened to be a man, because I heard them connecting and laughing. When I tried to ask a few questions, by the second one, he seemed over it and by the third, he finished answering it and said, “Alright.” He stood up, maybe offered me his hand, and that was that. Every time I think of this recruiting company, I can’t help but think of his rude representation of it.
But if a company likes you, and you can tell, they won’t mind your questions, but still, know when to chop it off, and don’t ask something you can find out on your own time. The questions should include inquiring about what the culture of the company is, because other candidates may mistakenly take the time to focus on questions that may put the interviewers off. Be careful about asking too much about salary and schedules. They may read you as someone who is more focused on your bottom line than theirs. That’s right. They want someone flexible when it’s needed, and if you seem too concerned with pay and time, they may feel like you’re not likely to come through when needed. I never mention pay first. If they don’t bring it up, one way you could bring it up is by saying, “What does the compensation package look like for this position. Remember, compensation is more than cash. It’s health and benefits. Package means salary and any additional benefits. This sounds more sophisticated and reasonable. Or if you simply ask about the benefits, that may push them to just throw in the salary. Sometimes, when positions pay high, employers want to hold on to that information. However, most employers are willing to share this sooner than later.
8. GET READY TO CLOSE
You want to show that you’re organized, because to be quite frank, those basic selling points like detail-oriented, excellent communication skills etc., shouldn’t be listed on your resume anyway. It should show through your described experience on the resume. So, at the end, show that you’re organized by asking when you can expect to hear something. No one has time to keep waking up with fingers crossed.
Remember that two-way street? You need to see how good they are at holding their word and following through. This makes putting the ball in their court more official. You also don’t want to feel like you should be calling or emailing for a follow-up. You’ll feel better knowing that they gave you a date to hang on to. All you’ll have to do is be kind and hop on a thank-you letter.
That should be done ASAP. Make it personal so it doesn’t read like a pre-printed load of garbage. Outline something new that you learned about the company or job or remind them how you can’t wait to use your (blank) skills to achieve next year’s whatever. And do this before 24 hours are up. It won’t seem like an afterthought and they’ll see that you are diligent.
9. REMEMBER THIS ONE THING
Always take any and every opportunity to show employers what you’re made of, because it’s your actions that are under review. Your actions will back up an impressive resume, and remove doubt that you’re all talk. Do you know how many more people you can squash even if they have more experience, just because you exercise a spirit of trust, interest, and follow-through? I beat out one other person for my last job, because I connected with the interviewer, whom became my boss, whom admitted down the line that I beat out the other candidate even though she had more experience. Score! Just don’t make them regret it. Of course they expect people with great experience! But what they usually don’t get, are people who are ready to work with a keen sense of what’s on the line and what makes the company proud. Fall into the culture! That’s your goal.
10. DO THIS ONE THING THAT YOUR COMPETITORS PROBABLY WON’T
When you’re getting ready for an interview, especially for a company that geared you with a website and thorough job description, did you ever imagine that your resume was boring to them? I mean, think about it. Blah, blah, blah. That slip just gets you in the door, but you’re the star of the show. Your resume was the movie trailer. You doing this one thing will make them wanna pardon themselves and return with a bucket of popcorn. You ready?
Come in with a plan, but make sure it’s on paper, even if you can recite it. Why? You’re showing them everything! You’re showing them everything and without the finger-crossing risk! You’re showing them how you can get down to business. How you come up with this is your business. Even if they don’t need this project, at least your mock-up has gone over the competition’s head.
If you know the phone interviewer told you a problem within the role, bring a POA—plan of action. Chances are, they don’t even have the answer themselves and are looking to the newbie to sort it all out. How many of those B.S. basic points did you just knock out by doing this? They can assess your deeper communication, problem-solving, and detail-oriented skills. It’s a win-win!
Just think. No one wants to go on interview after interview, especially while working. Eventually, your boss may be able to sniff you out or dismiss future requests to take off. I once went on an interview that had a huge amount of money on the line, and I didn’t get the job. They never told me why, but I took one thing away for sure. My experience wasn’t quite there, and nope, didn’t have a POA. But guess what? My resume alone got me there. And if you can land a job interview with lacking experience, you’re already halfway there. (Smiles)
Speaking from the heart, there’s days when the sun can’t shine any brighter. You have your mind made up with 100 percent certainty, that you should unequivocally do things one way, and you gather your faith like dirty clothes on the floor that needs to be laundered, and place it all in one machine, because that’s where you know you’ll get results.
Then there’s other days when your mind takes you all over the place, like a tour guide, making you feel like you need a map in your own God-given territory. What happened to the laundered clothes that were dropped in one place? Did they not get cleaned? Did someone pull them out when you had your back turned for one moment? Sometimes, that’s all it takes is that one moment of doubt. Doubts. Are they okay? How long should you have them?
Doubts. I believe they’re okay. They give us a chance to reassess, to determine if we still want those same clothes after all. If nothing goes your way, or if dreams unfold slowly, if you find yourself still standing firm with the case of detergent even when the washer appears broken, then you’ve just learned how badly you still want that dream, how strong your faith really is, and that no obstacle will make you choose a different laundromat. That, my friend, is faith.
Speaking from the heart, you’d better keep hold of that bottle of detergent, because one day, when you don’t expect that washer to click, it will, and you will learn the power of faith and that dreams come true to those who refuse to leave their spot. 🖤🖤🖤
I've been gone for more than two months, and I apologize for that. I'd written so many blogs, that I just wanted to dedicate more time to my other projects. Well, starting now, I'm going to try to establish a new sense of normalcy. Alright, now to the good stuff!
Why are we underrating salads? Why aren't they getting the delicious praise that they deserve? There's more to salad than just the raggedy Cobb. Yup. Hand me a bucket--blahhh! So, just in case you envision yourself stabbing a pencil in your ear at one's suggestion of you having a salad, take a breather. I'm gonna tell you the best salads to grab on the go. Ohhhh, how I love my countdowns, so you know I had to do one again! Relax, there's only six of them. Anyway, you'll have a mouthgasm in no time, tho.
***Keep in mind, I don't eat a lot of carbs throughout the day, so any carbs I do take in are well below or within my threshold because it's usually my first or second/final meal of the day. Also, the fat content can be excessive, but don't worry about me, worry about your own restrictions or lack thereof. 😜We all take food in differently to serve our own unique purposes. You can either tweak or discard add-ons to meet your dietary preferences. Now, let's eat!
And, please, don't judge, let me explain.😔
6. Wendy's taco salad $7. 68 I think😋
Listen, you gotta do it right. For me, the stars of this salad are the sour cream and tortilla chips. It's lettuce heavy and scarce on cheese. Booooo! But once you add in the chili, you gotta add in the tortilla chips. This salad to me isn't the healthiest, and for me, it's due to the tortilla chips. However, if you're eating clean most of the time, let it fly and let the sin sit in. That crunch with the sour cream and chili is like a taco in the mouth. Again, my criticism is the lack of cheese and abundance of hard lettuce. It's like it was made with the pit of the iceberg lettuce, you know, the hard parts that no one wants but discards. But if you tire of the rabbit feel of salads, this is a good deviation from that. Just cut the lettuce down as much as possible so your bites aren't as bulky or out of ratio when forking the chili and chips. You'll definitely get that salty crunch when eating this one. At times, I wish there were more ingredients, like radishes, onions, garlic, and a spoon of corn. But it's coming from a drive-thru, so expectations have been successfully lowered. However, despite the lack in variation of ingredients, there's a reason why this salad remains on the menu after decades. It's homely.
5. Wendy's spicy chicken Caesar salad $same as above😋😋
This is the last Wendy's salad to make it on my list. I swear. It ain't that spicy, really. Sometimes more so than other times, but this salad is simplistic but delicious. It comes with grape tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, and the chicken. The dressing is of course--Caesar, and delicious. I'm a Caesar fanatic, and it's my favorite go-to salad when I feel shaky about other salads on a menu. You can get the chicken grilled or crispy. Of course I'm gonna go with crispy! I do unbreaded when I make my salads at home, soooooo, let me live! This salad offers dark, green lettuce, for which I'm a sucker, and that chicken tho. I wish it came with more cheese, but, hey, I come to expect this from Wendy's. Anyway, the acidic taste from the dressing really complements the chicken so, it's heavenly enough. Oh, don't forget the croutons!
4. Subway tuna salad $7. and some change😋😋😋
If you have to pay for extra tuna, do it. They give you those two little wimpy spoonfuls of tuna that knock the ratio of the whole salad off. Grrrr. Makes me roll my eyes every time. But what do I put on it? I'm very simplistic with my salads. I'm not the type of person to have a million ingredients all over my salad. I like there to be a defining ingredient that champions the rest. I request shredded lettuce, spinach, pickles, tomatoes, American cheese, lots of onions, green peppers (sometimes), tuna, and two crucial dressings: lots of oil & vinegar and creamy sriracha--or is that three? Whatever! If they have croutons, I'll take them, but the heat from the sriracha is just right and when combined with tuna. Honey, look out. Subway makes the best tuna, but that's because of their secret ingredient: lemon juice. Mmmmmm, squirt away. Aside from the pathetic heaps of tuna, this salad rocks!
3. Dawn's Homemade tuna salad $shrugs😋😋😋😋
I looooooove tuna. I loooooooove romaine lettuce. So when I hear about this Yuma, Arizona outbreak madness, I wanna hurt someone. I've had over 60 salads this year, and this salad of mine is a true kitchen staple. Well, you can choose arugula and leafy lettuce for now with spinach. I first add a pinch of salt and a generous amount of lemon juice (thank you, Subway) and mayo to the tuna. Heavenly. Over my romaine lettuce, I add the tuna, craisins, croutons--though tortilla strips are way better and highly advised, Caesar dressing or light raspberry vinaigrette dressing, homemade shredded cheddar or any expensive white cheese block, tomatoes, and sometimes onions. When I wanna eat veggies, I just steam and eat them. I don't really like to add too many to my salads, because they're clunky and override the smooth texture I crave against my tongue. The only crunch I like on my salads are usually tortilla strips and croutons. Well, anyway, this salad is too tasty and will keep you in the grocery store buying lettuce. Do you know how much lettuce my family and I have gone through?
2. Chik-fil-A honey peppercorn chicken salad $8😋😋😋😋😋
Made on a bed of arugula and leafy lettuce, y'all! This salad was discovered on my radar just today and inspired this blog post. I ate it and died from goodness but came back when I realized I had more books to write. Now, I am not into tons of ingredients on my salad as stated before, but when I pulled it out of the bag, I felt doubtful because of the minimal amount of ingredients used. Did it fill me up? For about two hours. My only regrets were that it does pack in a lot of carbs from the dressings alone and that I didn't order two of these salads. Anyway, I pull out the honey you need to coat over the chicken strips and then I open the bag of salted caramel pecans. Not to mention, they sprinkle dried cherries in there, too. It comes with bacon, but I'm super rigid about pork 🤮🤢 and had them leave that bacon off. Also, they put goat cheese in it--goat!!! Beaaaaaaaahhhh. Y'all! The goat cheese just kind of melts as you go and by the last bite, you've died. Anyway, the breaded chicken was shiny and well-cooked, and just . . . I cannot talk about this salad because hours later, I'm hungry and pissed that I don't have any lettuce in this house and don't know what to eat that will make me forget that salad until I go back for it. If this is a limited-time offering, I'm pissed some more.
1. Silverado Grilled Salmon Short Stack Salad $18😋😋😋😋😋😋
Ummmm, where do I begin? I'm sorry if you don't live near Silverado, but it is a part of the of Great American Restaurant Chain. I think this chain is exclusive to Northern Virginia, but I can tell you what's in it! First, you must grill a sexy piece of salmon. Then, you'll need leafy greens, some champagne vinaigrette dressing, dates that look like little barrels, sun-dried cranberries, tomatoes, and pine nuts. They used to serve it with small, cold pieces of potatoes, but I always kicked it to the side of my plate, because it always tasted like a chef’s afterthought. Luckily, they must've come to their senses on this, because I didn't see it in the salad the last time I went. This salad is offered with goat cheese for an extra buck, served warmed or cold, but I always choose warmed. Between the dates, cheese and grilled salmon, it only makes sense that a salad this expensive would sit at number one.
If you don't know what to choose, I beg of you to honor the rank in which the salads sit to make a rational decision. You have to recreate my salad at home, but you MUST stop by Chik-fil-A, because unlike Silverado, you can find their salad anywhere.
I know I haven't blogged in a while. And in fact, it looks like I haven't blogged since January 7th. I wish I can say that I apologize, but I needed the break and I have been busy with finishing the second book, Capital Consequences. I should be working right now, but I just had to document this moment in my life. I have been feeling somewhat guilty though, like I could've written this days or weeks ago if it would help someone else to keep pushing. So, for the year of 2018, so far . . .
I'VE BEEN WITHOUT BREAD
This is a huuuuuge deal to me. I have been bread dependent since pfft, I don't know. And my dependency has been deeper since leaving college. You know, when you leave college, you get to pay attention a bit more to other things, things that turn you on, make you happy. You no longer have to focus on a term paper or assignment, just work. So, the only time I've been without bread was in January 2007 for two weeks. That makes me wanna laugh. I was doing the SBD and couldn't have it and the minute I could, I did. Big mistake. I can't ration bread, I don't think. I'm a keto-seeking junkie now, and I live on YouTube to find out who has better ideas than I do, because as a neophyte, I don't have many. So, almond and coconut flour have been my road dogs, but honestly, opening the bag of almond flour is not the best greeting smell if you ask me. Others may like it, but it smells and tastes a bit too corny for me. But it does pair well with dark chocolate! Coconut flour smells good and beachy, but it dries out batter or absorbs it, pretty quickly. So, I've found coconut to be kind of a nuisance, and it also makes everything taste like coconut, yeah, duh, but you kind of hope it doesn't or expect it to make everything taste better when you do use it by lending a delectable taste of coconut. Unfortunately, I don't find myself to pleased with this flour--but it's pretty! But muffins made of almond flour with dark chocolate chips are delicious. I tried to make butter biscuits using almond flour and I ended up throwing out the whole batch. Some people's recipes are just not happening. And for that, you end up wasting a lot of ingredients at times. I also try to read the comments from people to see how it came out for them before proceeding. I could also buy a keto recipe book, but I haven't gotten that far, because I'm always on YouTube or the internet and it saves me from the bookstore or looking up books. Fathead recipes are supposed to be the thing, but I haven't been able to explore them yet. So, my friends, I wasn't craving a pizza, but I sure was curious to try to make one. I tried a cauliflower crust. It's . . . okay, and I love some parts that were firmer like real crust, but it got a little soggy, and I know you should also use hard cheese and at the moment, I didn't have it handy, just shredded. But, does the taste of cauliflower complement cheese? Ehhhhh, for some, yes. For me, so-so. Still, I trudged forward and tried cloud bread, also known as oopsie bread. It's made of egg and cream cheese. Bluh! With cheese on top, it was all just too overbearingly mushy on my tongue and after one-and-a-half slices, it made me wanna gag. It was all too soft, mushy. Then I tried the almond flour for it, and during the process, it felt promising, until it didn't. It was the most beautiful pizza of them all, the most identical to traditional-crust pizza. Now trust me, I don't bite into any of these foods with the expectation that they will or should taste like traditional recipes. Honestly, that's the refreshing part. You want to embrace a new taste and not be dependent on the tastes of processed goods or overly starchy and sugary foods. But, the almond flour tasted too corny and weird, despite the seasonings I used in the crust. Sigh. I was a big lover of pizza, and I'll just buy a new base this week and try it again. The key is that while I'm not craving these foods with a hard-on like I normally would be, it just feels good to know that if you want it, you can have it, and with satisfaction. I mean, you'll never want more than two slices of the pizza because these flours are very filling and that's the point. You don't feel ridiculously full or guilty afterwards. You feel like a human eating food that was originally made to keep you alive, not kill you. But when bread fails me, I don't really care because I'm so addicted to salads and veggies, then I'm cool. But you know, sometimes you want the old days back of being able to butter your sliced bread, eat a cracker with cream cheese, etc. Oh! I made biscottis for the first time, and they came out well. I spread chocolate on top but at that point, my chocolate had dried out and it didn't translate too well on the pics. But, they were satisfying after eating just one. I'd make them again!
I'VE BEEN WITHOUT CRACKERS
You gotta understand: I love tuna. I love, love, love tuna, and some things taste better with tuna, and a great cracker is one of them. I tried making a Cheez-it type cracker, because I love those things, just solo, not with a dip. I added a bit of flour to my cheese dough and it looked so promising, but I burned it after getting impatient and turning up the heat as they cooked in the oven. I wanted that hardened crunch, which I think is best achieved if you throw in dough made only of rolled-out cheese. Well, a few days ago, I made cheese crackers that were puffy and not bad tasting. I made my tuna the way Subway does and man! Well, the tuna was a foodgasm in itself, but the cheese complemented that and after about ten crackers, I was full and that was dinner. I look forward to playing around with making crackers, because you can always add a low-carb tasty dip and make it so delicious. Salivating. (Haven't had breakfast yet and I am hungry!!!)
I'VE BEEN WITHOUT CANDY
Okay, you're talking to someone who loved sugar so much, she could roll around in her bed in delight with something mad sweet in her mouth. But when you have to worry about diabetes, who has time for that? I loved my sweets, but diabetes runs in my family and my man knows that. So, do you think he would let me enjoy too much candy without making me feel irresponsible? I can't tell you how many times I got the preachy-toned warning. "Careful, Dawn. You don't wanna get diabetes." Come on, sir, neither do I, but have you tasted this sugar?! It's addictive! Aaaaand that's the point. Sugar is relentless and when you're a sugarhead like me, there ain't no walking away from your pimp with ease. He'll grab you by his sugar cane and snatch you back to his Cadillac like a two-dolla hoe. Well. Cravings for sugar, no? Craving for something that will seduce the sweet sensation of your tongue? You bet! I can only have dark chocolate and that soothes the itch. Although, I liked the nutrition facts of a box of strawberry pudding that I found in Whole Foods last night. It looked like what Valentines Day would taste like and tasted like it, too. I wanted to stab someone with my spoon it was so . . . satisfying. It leaves a less-than-desirable aftertaste in your mouth, but once you drink your water or brush your teeth, you're good. Also, Wegmans has that bulk section of heaven. If you want a candy sensation, I've found that a small serving of dried cherries and dried strawberries are sweet enough to please you, but careful! Only a handful, because you know dried fruit isn't really healthy, but you're just not opening a bag of Skittles and Starbursts, but you still can't feel too lofty. Too sweet is too sweet. Anyway, dark chocolate recipes convert to brownies, cake, cupcakes, and muffins--so basically, heaven! I tear up some dark chocolate. My favorite is eating dark chocolate chips with a side of blueberries. Can't stop, won't stop. Before, I hated dark chocolate, wasn't sweet enough. But now, oh yeah, it tastes just right.
I'VE BEEN WITHOUT JUICES
No regrets there, for sure. I like a Canada Dry ginger ale, and that was the only soda I would touch before this year. For me, it wasn't a real soda. But sugar is sugar and not water is not water. I used to drink juice in moderation as well or dilute it with ice. Now, it's been nothing but coffee, as usual, hot tea, and water! All unsweet, but when I want to spice it up, I'll request no more than three shots of a syrup flavor or nothing at all. Iced, hot, it doesn't matter, as long as it's not sedated with sugar. Yeah, lol, sedated. It's always good to lean on water anyway. A lot of people hate drinking coffee without sugar, but I was already a pro at that. Sometimes I go black, no cream, but I will always miss my five shots of vanilla, or pouring all the sweet coconut creamer in at my leisure. I use the coconut creamer here and there, but just not so much. Sometimes, a gal needs some spice in her coffee. Leave me alone!
I'VE BEEN WITH MOVIE THEATRE POPCORN
Yeahhhhh. *Sarcastic blink with a smug smile* You heard me. I enjoy my favorite carb snack in the world when I go to the movies. Are you kidding me? Live without this? Nope. Not gonna happen. I can probably eat this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! The smell, the taste, the taste, the-the taste! Butter and jalapeños. Yeah, back off, it ain't gonna happen. I can take a break for some weeks, but all in all, bring on the kernels! I like to shock my body with this treat. I don't wanna bore it. Salivating. Let's move on . . .
I'VE BEEN DOING MY SQUATS
Before 2018, I squatted alright. Squatted to sit. After one of my best friends proposed a thirty-day challenge, I decided to keep going, knowing during the challenge that I couldn't stop just because the challenge would. Unfortunately, I haven't done over 200 squats in one day yet, but I'm gonna try 300-350 one day. One day this week should be good, but we'll see. I like the side view of my butt and my legs feel hard like rocks, and when I'm stretched out in bed, I can't help but caress my leg. I needed more powerful legs. There's many stairs in my condo, so these things have come in handy. If you got any upper-body ideas, let me know. I can only think of wall pushups and haven't really given that my all yet.
I'VE BEEN INCREASING MY VEGETABLES
Always been a lover of vegetables. When I was a pescatarian for seven years, come on. But it was also easy to become carb-dependent back in that era, and soy-dependent as well. I love, love, love my green veggies, and green beans are my rock. But, for someone who was a French fry lover, but is used to being without that, I've done jicama. Jicama is cool and doesn't take long to cook. Love my mashed potatoes made only of cauliflower, oh man. Pair that with green beans and say no more. Think I'm gonna eat that tonight!
I'VE BEEN INCREASING MY SALAD INTAKE
In January, I had 25 salads, because they are so addicting! I have always been a chicken Caesar salad junkie, but not like this, only when I would decide to have a salad. I eat vegetarian salads, too. I love tuna salads as well, but Caesar is my man. That whole combination on the tongue is like--ahhhhhh. Yeah, I love my salads. Once you eat those, there's nothing much to say. Appetite gets satisfied quickly with salads. Problem is, when you eat too much sugar and carbs, why would you want a salad when you can have other stuff like Chinese food, pizza, whatever? And so, it's easy to ignore those little gems. But if I'm somewhere and know it's time to eat, the thought of my salads make me smile.
I'VE BROKEN UP WITH MY DELIVERY DRIVER
Ha-ha! Okay, well, as obsessed as I was with Chinese food, I haven't had any in almost a year. I loved pizza and Paisanos, man they had some good fries and burgers, but yeah, they had to go, too. Haven't called them up way before 2018 started. I guess you can say, if I "eat out" now, it's been Wegmans hot bar only, like two or three times, but only when starving and still adhering to my guidelines. I won't bend just because I'm outside or hungry. I will literally starve till I get home if I have to. I won't do the bad thing. I've had something from Whole Foods, once, still something I would make at home. And lastly, I've had one or two salads from Wendy's. That's it. No order-in, drive-thru, oh! My boyfriend took me to IHOP one morning for breakfast. I only ordered what I make at home. So, that was the only thing that kept me from crying from the thought of eating outside my kitchen. I've been a cooker since . . . for a super, long time. I love to cook! You hear me? My man is so grateful for my skills, and I know this is one of his favorite things about me. I love his feedback and criticism. When he chews and gives me that look to say, "Mmm, mmm, MMM! Dawn, (not 'baby,' this is serious, now) your cooking has gotten even better." Victory dance! I've never been much of a baker. Mainly because it's rigid and all those sweet goodies would fall to my thighs in no time. But, baking keto dishes has become more like a self-competitive experiment for me. I like to see what works and what doesn't. Again, it's more about finding out what I have at my disposal if I ever find myself needing these items and knowing I have some sort of mastery of it. It's been fun!
I'VE BEEN KEEPING A FOOD JOURNAL
Never done that before! Now that I do, I can't stop. That's how I was able to tell you how many salads I've had in January after doing a quick skim of my journal. It's messy, but it records my squats done for the day, the date, and my food/smoothie intake. I don't document what I drink because for me, it's irrelevant. For me, it's not so much about reflection right now, but more about knowing that I am tracking how I am treating myself. It puts me more in touch with physical wellness, versus it being a tool of judgment. I don't add expressions or anything to it. I write down the facts and leave it at that. I eat from the same groups, just on different days, time, and in different combinations. It makes me feel serious to bettering myself, more committed.
LASTLY . . .
Do I miss my old lifestyle? No. Not at all. My life motto has always been to do the opposite of the masses. Be the one who does the weird, because chances are it's the better choice. Do I sit around and discuss my eating habits with others? No, I don't pay it any attention. I just do my own thing and let others do theirs. All bodies react differently to foods, and where my struggles may be, ain't where it is for others. Am I happy to eat from the outer aisles of the grocery store than from the inner aisles? Yes! It takes less time to shop since a lot of my options are closed, my food bills is only driven up by expensive flour, but I don't need to buy it frequently. So, because I use the same ingredients to make new meals, I'm good to go. Needless to say, lettuce doesn't survive long in my house, and it's easier to buy meat in bulk. I love seeing what I can make better, and I love to see how closely I can create keto-inspired baked goods to regular baked items. My blood pressure is very impressive, my skin is nice and matted, a bit dry though with this winter air, and my legs have been stronger than ever. Why would I wanna give this up? Right now, I've escaped from my pimp, and many hoes don't get to do that.
T H E T A S T E... strong and unapologetically bold. Some find black coffee tasteless and difficult to drink on its own without having it lightened or sweetened. It takes a unique individual to sip on it just as it is.
"Can I get a refill?" He asked.
I'd normally offer no response. Just turn on my heels, tilt the glass carafe and pour out the coffee.
No eye contact.
No cordial grin.
Just a refill.
But he was different.
The moment I glanced over my shoulder and saw him I knew it would be on between he and I.
He had dimples, deep ones. Eyes a shade of jade and faint freckles that hid around the curves of his nose too. His low cut wavy hair was dark brown and his skin the color of cacao powder. Now this guy was not normally my type but the contrast of his eyes against his skin tone made me hold on to my inhale a second longer when he caught my attention.
I mean… can I be honest with you?
I knew within seconds of meeting a man if there was a chance I’d sleep with him. I may not have done him right then and there, but it was always easy for me to decide if he could get it. It was his job to keep up the allure, the fascination, essentially my attraction to him.
Sadly, very few knew how to.
But this guy was the exception.
His name was… it was...
You know what? Forget it. His name isn't important.
The relevance irrelevant.
I like my coffee how I like my men... hot, strong and black.
So, we’ll call him... black coffee, okay?
Now, where was I?
When we first met, black coffee and I, he looked me in my eyes and held his stare until I smiled. He was deliberate in his gawk. With every caffeinated sip he took he made sure our eyes connected from across the counter.
Just fine without trying.
His energy was unforgettable. How could I forget? The memory of our first meeting was still fresh because it was created only 24-hours ago.
Are you judging?
Anyway, this morning, twelve days before Christmas, I'd been thinking of him from the moment the sun rose behind tall buildings and I woke up in an empty bed in a hotel room. But I kicked the habit of daydreaming about our night together when I arrived at the diner for work. It was the smell of coffee that triggered it. The memory of last night. The thoughts of his fingertips trailing the muscular line that highlighted my calf. Smoothing his fingers to the nook of my knee and hiking my leg high enough to prepare me to receive his first upstroke.
I stroked the handle of the coffee carafe slow and bit back a smile thinking of last night. My back faced the diner customers as my mind took me back to the hotel, against that wall.
Earlier that night, while at work, I ached… no craved some much needed attention. I'd bubbled in my final answer on the last test of my finals that morning and was finally free to think of something other than school. For months, I'd kept my eyes buried in books and off men. With exams out the way my mind became preoccupied with another finale. One I'd served myself. But now, I wanted someone else to serve me. And someone else served it right. Two miles from the diner and against a hotel wall. Pinned by his body and so close we shared the same breaths.
The warmth of his exhale on my neck. His tongue on the top curve of my breasts. Sending my temperature to a summer heat in the middle of December.
I grew impatient, waiting. Hungry for the strong glide of his erection to feed me and my sodden walls. Longing for him to rim my cup, the head of him getting glazed with my hot sugar. I gasped when he angled his hips, bent his knees just enough to slide in slow. The drip of molasses... slow. My head leaned back, and my bottom lip retreated in my mouth. Held still by my teeth as I contracted, released, the pleasure on repeat like a juke box tune. It turned me on the moment slick sounds replaced talking.
The thrill of getting pleased by black coffee was euphoric.
A mental aphrodisiac, my mind starved of judgment.
Against the chilled wall, he planted one hand beside me. His heated sighs tickled my ears as gusts of air echoed his pumps. In and out motions made my muscles quiver, my free knee shake, and my heart increase in rhythm. The rhythmic pace of his strokes caused my back to slide up and down that wall. The friction mirroring his strokes. We watched as our pupils dilated until the sight of seeing the other climax was too much to witness in real time. I wanted to express gratitude for him serving me like that but decided giving in to the release rippling through me to be thanks enough. Showing my body the kind of attention its been missing since September.
Sleep wasn’t even an option that night and I didn’t miss it. It was worth it being kept up and filled with black coffee.
"EXCUSE ME, HELLO!" a customer yelled, slamming the side of her fist on top of the counter. "I've been trying to get your attention for the last few minutes now. Damn."
I turned to face her and noticed the familiar look. Wrinkled school tee, frizzy ponytail, red rimmed eyes, and books propped up against the space behind her elbow.
"Sorry." I smirked. “Finals, right?”
She rolled her eyes and slid her mug across the counter and over to me. "Not to be rude, but I really couldn't care less for the small talk."
She pointed and said, "I only want a refill of that black coffee."
I reached for the glass carafe, tilted it, and watched the liquid pour into her coffee-stained mug.
"Yeah.” I smiled to myself. "Me too."
It may be junk to you, but it could also be the very thing that bonds you and me or keeps me sane in an ocean of responsibility and endless tasks. What am I talking about? I’m talking about good old-fashion TV shows.
Some peope snark at the sound of TV bringing one pleasure, but I say, as long as you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing in life, you know the common core that forever binds us all: chores, exercise, bill-paying, family and friends time, and work of some sort etc... then enjoy! Besides, you ain’t hurtin’ nobody and escaping from reality is one of my most favorite things to do. Duh. I’m an author of fiction. Escape is my middle name.
This list below comprises the shows that allow me to forget about politics, worldwide issues and anything personal going on at the moment. It’s also a great time for bonding when with family, spouses or lovers. Whatever works for ya!
But in no particular order, here are the shows that set my mind freeeeee!
Love this gorgeous woman here!!! She’s everything we’re taught not to praise in regards to beauty—to hell with society’s boring standards of beauty—and when I see her ole melanin-infused self sashay around like she has a broken foot when wearing heels, I just wanna flick my wrist at the screen and shout, “You go, Mama!” Her. Take a moment and just gnaw on your knuckles in awe. Let a tear fall. She’s amazing!!!! When Chaka Khan sang, “I’m very woman...” was she talking about this queen right here? She commands that role though. Like, Viola, teach me how to act. Okay, I failed to mention the show, but she IS the show. In seriosity, I love this show. It can be a bit to follow, so try to stay quiet and keep up! 👏🏽
Don’t. Don’t suck your teeth, throw shade or roll your eyes. I’m a creative and watching people create a novel with clothes—okay it feels like that—is just amazing. It’s indescribable! Okay, it’s not. Listen, it feels like an inspiration unfolding in front of your eyes. To see someone with a creative idea make something that goes on our backs every day is relaxing. It’s a real treat to see what each designer produces and how they stand out against one another one after the other on a runway. I like to see if the judges will agree with me or not. I loooooooooooooove this show.
I used to want to hurl something at my TV when their stupid commercials came on. There’s nothing stupid about this show. It’s wondeufl!!! Started watching since season 16. The psychological warfare it plays on the contestants’ minds as well as us viewers... Man, don’t you just wanna strangle the houseguests sometimes?! I could never live in that germ-infested house. Ew. Have you seen how nasty they are in the kitchen? Nah, bruh. Anyway, the moment I hear Julie Chen’s voice, I squeal because it’s real. But I cannot get enough of this show. Gives. Me. Summer. Life. Looooove this show.
Hahahaha. Don’t sleep on this show. I used to until my man got me into it. You can’t help but want to find out what will happen as the love may or may not unfold. The cultural differences and expectations are a trip! Seeing how the Americans handle the demands of their foreign lovers is too entertaining. Watching the Americans naively think their lovers abroad will just culturally “fall in line” without a hitch while helping the lovers assimilate with blind regard for the difficulty is just a hoot. Sad. But a hoot.
New York. J-lo. Guns. Crooked cops. Nuff said. It all works. 😊
I know this show is still in its inception, but Freddy Highmore won me over with the Bates Motel—him and his ole crazy mom. Pulling off an autistic character is effortlessly achieved by Highmore. Nailing underrepresented characters ain’t in every actor’s wheelhouse. And it’s nice to watch a show with a main character diagnosed with something that’s been barely touched on versus the typical sex addict, alcoholic, or any other overdone diagnosis. While not to belittle any condition that challenges a person to function with ease on a daily level, it’s nice to know that someone was willing to write outside of the box. We’ve been waiting for TV like this with an actor who is highly capable of pulling it off. I see great things for this show. It’s a winner already.
I like this show. This season was the most entertaining. Do I wish that he’d change that freaking menu? Absolutely! But I’m not over Gordon Ramsey yet and clearly not enough viewers are either. So he stays. I’ll take another sharp-tongue insult—though I prefer the donkey days. 😁 I love to cook, so this stays on my DVR to automatically record right no. By the way, he should do All-Stars more often. Their egos just get bigger at this point.
Yessssss. Gimme teams of people galloping around the world arguing with partners over directions and other pissy issues we can relate to. I say it all the time. I could not take my man with me to compete on this show. Well, I have no interest in trying out anyway, but still. They reflect what I believe to be true about my relationship. When it comes to moments like reading a map, which would be my boo’s job, I hate reading those things, I fear we’d argue over the stupidest thing and I’d pull stubborn. I’d shut down and wanna ignore him. Baby, let’s just stick to overcoming the mundane where we won’t win a cash prize for it. I’ll take my college bestie to compete instead.
Mannnn I love this show! Will they or won’t they take home at least a million? Hell, it can be hard rolling away with just $300k, but it’s been done before—yes, the million. LeBron warns that contestants can walk away with 12 million total. Yeaaaaaaah, don’t bet on that. This wall can be brutal! One moment you’re rolling in the deep like Adele, and the next you’re praying your partner didn’t destroy the contract of guaranteed money that usually falls shy of $200k. Either way, you’re rooting for the ball dropper and calling the question-answering contestant stupid for missing answers you know. Nail biter.
🧚🏾♂️Well, this concludes my list. Not all my shows are listed, but you get a taste of my taste. I’m a Gemini, relax. We like nothing that seems to be consistent for trivial things and thrive on randomness. Some of you may be wondering where This Is Us is and why I didn’t post it. Love that show, too. I was just afraid that one peek at its banner would make you cry.😁🧚🏾♂️
What used to feel like a hassle has now become my routine. A better skincare process at night, blogging regularly, and incorporating my “supplements.”
I’ve never been one of routine, but as you get older, you realize that you don’t wanna pay the price for laziness or unconcern at a later age. Doing what we don’t wanna do for the greater good is a part of life. As I told my friend earlier on the phone, if we waited to do what needed to be done only when we felt like it, nothing would ever get done. It’s not that I never did what I didn’t want to do, I just overthought it. When we overthink things, we cause ourselves to let dread win. Dread doesn’t help anything. It increases anxiety and creates excuses, and usually, we miss our deadlines.
So, in order to establish and commit to a new routine that needs to happen throughout the day every day, I just stopped overthinking what I didn’t feel like doing and reminded myself why I decided to make it a crucial practice every day in the first place. Results. Results keep me looking forward and committed to my routine no matter how busy and/or tired I am. For example, I love, love, love seeing flawless complexions on people but love it even more on myself. I feel ugly when my skin loses it’s even complexion or when pimples come one after the other and sometimes two at a time. I’m not used to pimples, but I do get them when something’s not right. And sometimes, the time of the month can play a major role. When I feel ugly, it takes a few weeks to turn things around. However, the key is not to implement a short-term routine just to get the results and then turn around and do the minimum without expecting the undesirable results to return. Once a routine works, stick with it.
It’s not all about beauty. It’s about anything that brings you prosperity and organization. It’s about cleaning when you don’t want to, working out when you don’t want to, and eating well when you want junk. It’s about caring for and loving ourselves enough to do what’s best, even when we want what’s wrong.
Thanks a lot, Shonda. Yeah, that one. The one whose last name ends with ‘times.’ Shonda wrote a book about the year of yes. So, yes. Now we all have to say yes!
Why do I have to listen to her? I must obey her. She’s my modern-day Oprah, well, not like Oprah ain’t so modern, but you know. Oprah is a tad behind the shadows ever since the end of her show. But she’s still . . . out there. We see her in commercials and what not. Now, my girl, Shonda! I must obey her because she’s the best. I want a job fetching her coffee. For real, y’all, I’d move to California and give up the Washingtonian lifestyle just to pour this lady some coffee, even if she barely paid me enough to cover rent, it don’t matter. I’m there, Shonda. Shonda, ya reading this???
Well what did I say ‘yes’ to? Too many damn things. Said yes to blogging thirty days in a row and boy this just gets harder but easily consistent as time goes on. Said yes to throwing my snacks to the side. And finally about ten minutes ago, I saw an Instagram challenge from a dear bestie proposing friends to join a squats challenge. I warned her I’d die, but then something made me agree. Will I go through with it? I mean, I’m still blogging, but then again, blogging doesn’t hurt my body, now does it?
Stay tuned and wish me well! 🖐🏾
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Let us not hope. Let us not curl up in a corner with worry. Let us take 2018 plan and strategize with action. And I write this post in the middle of a casino with noise and people.
You see, nothing comes to a worry warrior. You got to look inside and tell yourself that you will be what you gravitate toward, what you thirst to do, what you bleed for, and that’s that. No excuses, no overthinking, just action, even if it’s just baby steps. At least baby steps means you’re moving, and whatever spot you were in yesterday you won’t be in tomorrow. Stand up. Mark your spot. Now take two steps forward then stop. Turn around. That’s day one. Behind you is yesterday. Did you go far? No. But are you in the same spot? No. Celebrate! And then when you do this every day for a month, you’ll see measurable progress, but as long as you are consistent!
We authors send out thick and thin books. But come on, how many of us wrote it in one day? Not many. And even if we did, do you think the editing process will take one day? Nope. You see finished products all day, every day. We see it with models, movies, and singers. Honor the process! It ain’t going nowhere.
Today, we were given another calendar year. Take advantage. Forget about 2017. It’s gone. Look forward with your eyes wide open and be responsible and go for the gold. Create your vision board, make it reasonable, obtainable, but daring. Think highly of yourself enough to make goals so drastic that you’ll impress yourself once you’ve conquered the board, but make it obtainable so you don’t freeze up with unrealistic expectations along the way. Then write down where you’re at currently, and think of how to get there. And whatever you do in 2018, cancel out the things that won’t get you there and the people who don’t bring anything to the table. Remember, don’t rely on motivation or willpower, because I write or work on other book aspects whether I’m motivated or not. It’s a false and inconsistent emotion and if we only worked when feeling like it, man, this country would be in a sad state. Besides, you’ll grow when you just do it without the desire. That’s dedication to yourself right there. And don’t worry about whether or not people or your friends cheer you on. Baby, you got to move that ass even when no one is looking. Honor you. Do you. We’re not in high school; ain’t nobody got time for cheerleaders.
Knock ‘me dead, baby.