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Sunday, January 29, 2012

How's Married Life?

Originally this article was going to be about my husband and how much I love him and how he makes me proud, but then he went and made me mad. You see, that's just how marriage works. There's the time you kiss the ground your partner walks on, and then there's the moments you want to just kick them in the shins. I mean you still love them, but you hate them just as much at the same time. At the moment, I'd choose the latter. Anger aside, this is about marriage and how I, being a twenty something, am learning to cope. Besides the fact that I'm the only one of my friends that's actually married, I tend to come off as the old hag of the bunch. I must admit that I'm okay with that, I'll take my life of security over my single uncertain days every time.

One thing that does irk me is the constant, daily question of "How's married life?" Now before I start bashing that ominous question, I must admit I first thought it was cute. If someone asked me, I would gush about how awesome it is and how wonderful my husband is and so on, but now it just makes me want to yell, "It sucks!" I mean isn't that what they want to hear? They want to hear that it sucks so they can sit the young twenty something year old down who was "too young," to get married in the first place and wag their finger in my face as they give me the "I told you so lecture." Well guess what all you forty somethings, ask all you want because my answer will still be the same. I love being married and since you asked, I'll be happy to tell you how married life is.

In short, it's wonderful.

Yeah at the start of this entry I was more than aggravated with my husband, but now when I contemplate that that's what they expect me to say, I'm more than happy to prove them wrong. You see, being married isn't horrible. It's the two people in the marriage that can make it either horrible or magical. The need to be in control, to be the one calling the shots, lack of communication, the feeling of being in prison, losing sight of your personal dreams . . . these are the things that make marriage horrible. It's not about what you can take from your spouse or what they can give you, but about what you can accomplish together by working as a team and that's what I aim to address here. I hope through mine and Emad's mistakes and rants, it will help get you through some of your tough times because there will be plenty.

Does God still perform miracles? Part 2 of 3

Let's pick up where we left off last time with the ever lingering question, "Does God still perform miracles?" Well let me take you back to my college student days. (Which weren't too long ago). It was Winter break and my finances were dwindling so quickly I thought I would have to resort to standing on a corner, holding a sign, and begging for help! I was home for the holidays and my car insurance was due to be paid in the next couple of days.

I stressed, stressed, and stressed so more, knowing that my parents wouldn't have the funds to contribute so I did what I knew best; prayed and asked God to do something!

In order for you to fully get the situation, I had one hundred bucks in my account, my insurance was $117, and I was the type of person who would never ask for help. (Biggest mistake . . . Yes I know).

So, I didn't. Instead I asked the ultimate provider.

About a day later, I came home from my seasonal job and checked the mail. Between the stack of junk mail and bills, I found an envelope addressed to me from a law office out of New Jersey. I opened the envelope, bracing myself for bad news and was stunned to find a check for $120. I truly couldn't believe it. Was this some sort of joke? I read through the letter repeatedly looking for some sign of a scam or invalidity of the check, but it was real. A random $120 check confirmed for a struggling college student that her God was real and that he would provide.

Fast forward about two years and now I'm a teacher. The way I received a teaching position was a miracle in and of itself, or a curse to some; depending on your perspective but that's an entirely different story. Before you roll out the disclaimer banner saying, "Miracles only happen to you," listen to what happened next.

This miracle isn't about me at all but one of my students. Now in order to understand why this occurrence surprised me so much, you have to understand the state I was in. I'd gone to college to be a novelist, graduating at the top of my writing class only to be stuck teaching. Back then, I spent my days teaching and my nights writing young adult novels. I was adamant about becoming a book author and spending my days writing in a quaint little coffee house, but instead I got stuck in a classroom without windows, filled with a bunch of kids with germs. (No offense to my students, that's how I felt my first year).

As I applied to publishing houses, I prayed day and night that God would help me publish my book. For months I checked my email and begged God to answer my prayers but nothing happened.

Absolutely nothing!

I began to believe that God couldn't hear me, that he didn't care, or that he was just plain out ignoring me. That is until the day a student came to me and told me that her mom had been in the hospital dying over the past seven months because she needed a new liver. I gave her a hug and told her that I would pray for her mom; not understanding why she would share that type of information with me. I was just her teacher. She walked away, shoulders sagging and I returned to my desk in tears and started praying. What happens next shocked me.

Does God still perform miracles? Part 1 of 3

The other night I received a phone call from a friend asking me to pray for her roomate's mother who had taken a turn for the worse with ovarian cancer. I must admit, my first reaction when I receive calls like these or have an impossibly hard situation sent my way is, "Lord why me? What am I supposed to do to help these people? I'm just Vonae, why do others continue to trust me with these awful tasks?" To no surprise to me, his answer is always "pray."

That leads me to my question . . . Does God still do miracles? I mean if we pray, does he really answer? You know like the Old Testament type miracles; parting the sea, raising the dead, healing the sick, sending checks in the mail, answering prayers.

I've thought long and hard about this topic and it's still a hard one for me to approach. One realization that I've come to is that if God is going to do anything in our lives, we must first start by asking him to. Think about it, if we never ask for anything but expect for it to happen then can we really say God doesn't do miracles or hear us? (Having God do something miraculous in our lives starts with us on our knees). Jesus tells us in John 14:14, "You may ask me anything in my name, and I will do it."

So does that mean we can ask for a job that pays us in the six figures, a house that's 4,000 square feet, or a Mercedes S63 AMG? (Love that car!)

Sure, we can ask for those things, but here's the bad news . . . (Well it's not that bad)

The truth is, if it's not God's will for your life, he won't give it to you. Like your parents God would never give you everything you wanted because frankly, if he did, we'd all be huge hot messes. You know, like those kids you see in Target yelling at their parents and slapping them in the face because they didn't get what they wanted.

So awful.

At this point, you're probably thinking "then what can I ask for and actually receive?" We can ask for healing, a better job where we can make a difference, transportation, Godly relationships, provision, wisdom, favor with others, and so on. The key is asking and knowing that if it's in His will for our lives, the prayer will be answered.

That doesn't mean it'll be like "Abra kadabrah." God isn't a genie in a bottle.

Sometimes it takes as little as a second, but sometimes it may take years before we see our miracle come to pass. How do I know? I'd love to tell you. See you back here next week.

To be continued . . .

"Not Another Christian"

So you've seen that I'm a Christian. Like most people, you've probably let out a less than enthusiastic sigh and maybe even rolled your eyes, but hey at least your still here. Believe me, when I meet Christians or hear that someone's a "Christian," I have nearly the same response.It's not the title that annoys me or anyone else for that matter; it's the actions of these so-called "Christians." They've made the word dirty and disgraceful. They walk around shoving their beliefs down people's throats and not in a nice way either. It's not out of love or kindness, it's to prove a point, win a "battle," and I like you am sick of it.

We don't need anymore "Christians" who are going to talk the talk but not live out their words in their everyday life. If we're going to talk about loving our neighbors, shouldn't we actually do just that? If someone cuts in front of us on the highway, are we going to speed up and "show them who's boss?" Way to show the love. Not to mention the cross or fish emblem you have attached to the back of your car. Way to be the "light in the world." What about the Christians who are one way in church and then at night they're so drunk, stumbling over themselves, blabbering on and on and making out with some random guy. To them, I have to sigh and roll my eyes harder than you previously did. You're right, not another "Christian." If we Christians are going to make an impact in this world, we need to stop judging and being hypocrites and be an example. If we're going to be a follower of Christ, we need to start living like one.

On the flip-side, there are true geniune Christians. I like to refer to them as the "normal" Christians (We actually refer to ourselves as followers of Christ) and our primary goal is to show the love of Christ. We have been called to be the hands and feet of Jesus by helping others, not casting judgement, and simply meeting people where they are. Whether that be on a street corner downtown, or a close friend in need, our true job is to love and bring others into a relationship with God the father. I hope you will stick around and come to know more about a faith that saves and is more than just another religion.

Are they really your friends?

Over the past year and a half, I've found myself looking very closely at the people I choose to be surrounded by. Gradually my list of "friends" has decreased to a staggering number with some relationships holding on by a thin thread. Now I must give the disclaimer that I hate talking on the telephone and I equally hate ignorance so that could be a huge factor in why I choose to let some friendships go. I'm the type of person who doesn't talk much and/or open up to new people easily, (Shocking . . . I know) so how I make so many new "friend" is beyond me.

As a teen, I quickly realized that my friendship to others sometimes meant what I could give them; provide for them. My family was never wealthy, but the amount of "stuff" we possessed drew people in from left and right. I would constantly receive random phone calls asking to borrow this or that or when going out to dinner with a group, someone would inevitably joke that I should pay the bill. Those attitudes disgusted me then and continue to equally enrage me now.

Taking a step back, I began looking at my list of so-called friends and slowly noticed this pattern was emerging again. Not so much with friends I knew from high school, but in new relationships which leads me to my first point:

1. A friend is not someone who expects you to pay the bill, let them borrow things constantly, or expects you to provide them with stuff simply because you can. In short, a true friend expects nothing of you but your friendship.

I know this may be hard to believe, but it's true. I spoke to my younger siblings about this topic recently and they both agreed that people in general should surround themselves with others who are like them. Those who as they put it "are on the same level," and don't make you feel guilty because you have more. The funny part is that you may have more because you work harder, make better decisions, and know how to spend your money and time wisely which brings me to my next point:

2. A friend doesn't make you feel guilty for what you have. Instead, they rejoice with you for your blessings and continually want the best for you.

Sometimes in friendship, it's not about the money at all; sometimes the friendship itself is shallow. I'll give you an example. I was friends with a certain young woman for many years; fifteen to be exact. We went through middle school and high school together and continued our friendship even after I went off to college. I considered her to be one of my best friends who I loved with all my heart. I helped her through difficult situation as did she and constantly motivated her to do more and to want more for herself. It wasn't until last year that the shallowness of our relationship hit me. After fifteen years, I knew absolutely nothing about her. I knew her family on the surface, but as I think about it, I don't even know her mother's first name. It was a friendship that was one way. She knew about me and everything that went on in my life, but I knew very little about her. In fact, her sister became pregnant (one family member I knew remotely well) and she never even mentioned it. Point number three:

3. Friendships aren't shallow or surface. A true friend shares their life with you, not matter how deep and dark it might be. In a friendship there's no need to be perfect. A friendship is a bond of trust; trust that you can talk openly, trust that you wont be judged, and trust that they will keep your secrets.

There's so many other points I want to share with you but I think this maybe one of the most important ones so I'm going to give it to you first.

4. A friendship is not a competition and no one person in the relationship is the boss of the other. No matter what the age difference!

This is a situation I see a lot. Not only in my relationships, but in those of others. Time and time again, the "I'm older than you so therefore I'm wiser," attitude rears its ugly head. To me, just because someone's older than you doesn't give them the right to boss you around and constantly challenge what you say.

I had a friend that I met that I truly adored. She was bubbly and honestly said everything I was thinking. It was like we were truly the same person. As our friendship progressed, I couldn't help but feel this nagging feeling that we were in competition. It was the strangest thing to me because I had never felt that with any of my other friends. She would make comments about how my car was too expensive, would always ask if my outfit were new, and would just generally challenge me on issues that weren't of any concern to her. It truly baffled me how we could go from being such great friends to feeling like I was in a competition. In a real friendship, there's absolutely no need to feel intimidated or compete with each other. It shows a lack of confidence and probably means you shouldn't be in that relationship.

While I could go on and on, I hope some of these things will make you examine your relationships a little closer. Below are two lists of what friendship is and isn't. I hope you'll take the time to read over them and evaluate your "friendships."

Friendship is:

Equality, Rejuvenating, Open, Trusting, Joyful, Loving, Exciting, Motivating, Happiness, Deep, Life-Sharing, Giving, and Caring.

Friendship is not:

Competitive, Draining, Shallow, Surface, Boring, Constricting, Guilt, Judgmental, Jealous, Hurtful, Demeaning, or Selfish.

Believe in Yourself!

Photo by: travisfitzwater

As I sit here writing, I'm fighting tooth and nail to believe in myself; hence the article. You see, it's one thing to tell others your plans and sound totally confident about them, but it's another to actually believe you can accomplish them yourself. With the start of the new year, I'm feeling the pressure to make something of myself, be different, and to just simply make my dreams work.
Who knew it could be this hard?
Just last night I found myself in tears, wondering what on Earth I'd become. Would I be an epic failure? Would I simply disappear into cyber oblivion with no one to share my thoughts with? Those thoughts danced in my head for a full day. They were crippling, unnerving.

I must admit it has popped into my head a few times today but at least now I'm aware of its presence and can fight back.

When my husband arrived home from work, on that tear filled night, he was more than sympathetic to my plight. In fact, instead of agreeing with my "short comings," he began listing all the things I'd already done; all the milestones I'd hit at the ripe age of twenty-four. As he tried to sooth me, I really didn't care to hear it because to me, I was still an epic failure.

But today as I pondered my situation something occurred to me . . .

If everyone believes in you, you sure better believe in yourself!

As women, we're ridiculously hard on ourselves. Even if we're skinny, beautiful, well-liked, successful, or outgoing, there's the tendency to find a fluke; some small flaw that cancels out every great thing people say or think about us.

Sort of like:

"You're so funny!"

Our response: "Thanks, I'm only funny when I'm not trying."

I'm the perfect example of this. (That was actually one of my responses). Every time I set out to do something, I allow fear to take over. Inevitably when this happens, instead of taking five steps forward and diving in, I end up taking a huge leap backward; slowly creeping my way forward towards the goal.

It's quite sickening actually.

Why is it so easy to set our minds to something only to persuade ourselves that we're not good enough to accomplish it? I can't tell you how many things I've started and then left unfinished because I psyched myself out.

This year no more doubting ourselves! We've already dreamed, now it's time to believe!

I know it's the time for "New Years" resolutions, but frankly I don't believe in them. They bring too much pressure and are mostly just restricting. I'm not into the whole, "This year I'm going on a diet," spiel. Really? Everyone knows diets don't work. Overall change comes from a lifestyle adjustment. Instead of making resolutions, I make a list of things I would like to do and go from there. You see, by making it something you would like to do instead of a "New Year's" goal, you don't feel disappointed if you cant make it happen. Since this year is about believing in ourselves, I want you to take a minute and write down the things you'd like to do.

I'll wait . . .

Now that you have it completed, put it in a place where you will see it daily but still allows for privacy. (Maybe your closet. I mean you do have to get dressed everyday). This list is for you, so don't show it to anyone. (Unless you feel like you absolutely have to). This is not one of those go around the dinner table and share your goals for the year lists. No, this is your own personal list of deep life changing things.

Side note: If you find you have to share it with someone, chose a close friend, sibling, or parent. Before you even share, prep them for the conversation by asking them to hold you accountable to your list; to be your advocate in believing in yourself and your plans. When they agree, then proceed with the list but the understanding must be that they gently keep you on the right track. Not make condescending remarks. You know the people who know you're trying to eat healthier but have the nerve to say, "Thought you were trying to get healthier, stuffing your face with that donut sure won't help." Yeah, don't share your list with that person.

Now that you've made your list, here are some practical ways to make the items on it happen and to believe in yourself on a daily basis:

1. Review your wants daily.

2. Concentrate on one item at a time. (Maybe even assign months that you would like to have completed it by).

3. Google a list of inspirational quotes or scriptures, write them on sticky notes, and read them to yourself when you start to doubt your abilities.

(Two of my favorites: "We never know how good we are until we are called to rise. -Emily Dickinson

"Blessed is she who believes the promises to her. -Luke 1:45)

4. Surround yourself with people who drive you to be better.

5. Embrace resources and wisdom from others.

6. Be aware of the thoughts that float in your mind. (This sounds weird but it works). When a negative thought comes to mind, reflect on your sticky notes and say them aloud (or in your head) until the taunting stops.

7. Have the confidence to protect your dream. No one will do it for you!

"Stop Playing the Victim!"

The other day I found myself aimlessly reading my Facebook news feed. As I scrolled through, I came across a status update that read something like,
"Everyday I see you begging on the side of the road, but the funny part is, it  always looks like you just came from the barber shop. SMH."

Now a normal person would've probably read this, smirked and then moved on but I sat and pondered that statement for a while. As I thought about it, another scenario that has annoyed me forever came to mind. What about the women and their families who are on government assistance but always have a fresh pair of acrylic nails designed immaculately? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with getting your nails done, but if you're strapped on cash and can barely feed your kids is the best idea to go out and routinely get your nails done?

Call me crazy, but I think not.

It's human nature to feel like we're entitled to the success, nice cars, expensive cuisine and the like and when we don't have what we think we should have we become the "victim." All of a sudden,

Life isn't fair.

Everyone has it out for us.


The cards have been stacked against us.

Nothing annoys me more than people who play the victim card because they've been dealt a bad hand in life.


Our lives are not a deck of cards. (I wish someone would ban that stupid saying). Life is a series of decisions, outcomes, and sometimes consequences. Everyday we have a choice of where our lives are going to go and we can choose to make the right ones or continue down the path that we're on.

I'll give you an example.

Let's say you were just hired to do a job you've been dying for. In order to celebrate your friends volunteer to take you out for dinner and a few drinks. It's a Monday night and you're scheduled to start working Tuesday morning. You're excited that they want to treat you, but deep down you know you should be going to bed and preparing for work the next day. With a little more coaxing, they've convinced you to go out that night instead of waiting until the weekend. Besides you're an adult, "live a little," they say.

So you do.

Two margaritas, four shots, two beers, and a celebratory glass of champagne later you're feeling a little off and definitely certain that it's time for you to call it a night. What you thought would be a cozy night of resting instead becomes a night of toilet hugging. You see, you were never a big drinker. In fact, you could've been good after the first margarita but that wasn't enough.

You had to celebrate.

Finally you're back in bed, your stomach doing somersaults and the room spinning. Before you know it, you finally black out.


Turning over in your bed, you can feel the steady stream of sunlight beating against your face. That's weird because usually the sun is blocked by the tree outside of your window in the morning. You jump up in your bed, your heart pumping and glance at your wall clock. It's 2:00pm; six hours past the time you were supposed to be at work. To make things worse, you sat up so fast that you can feel the next reminder of last night's gathering about to explode out of your mouth. Consequently, you spend the next two hours projectile vomiting before passing out on your bathroom floor.

Day two doesn't look any better.

You've missed two days of work and receive a call that your job offer has been revoked. Oh poor you. I guess it was just bad luck.

Get my point?

This example might have been a little extreme but I think it sort of works. I pray that this has never and will never happen to any of you but what about our other life choices?
You know, purchasing a car, purse, house, clothing, or that large flat screen you didn't need. You put it on multiple credit cards and then complain that you never have any money or that you're extremely in debt. Is that the world against you or you against yourself?

What about dating someone who you know for a fact is horrible for you. You do everything for him; cook dinner, clean his apartment, pay for things, give him intimacy, and what do you get in return? 

Usually, a big fat nothing! Whose fault is that? Are you truly the victim?

Now don't hate me, but I only write these things because I care. You may say, but you don't even know me. That's okay. I truly care about every person have the knowledge and will power to have the best life they possibly can. Whether I know you personally, through email, or have never even spoken to you before,

I care!

We have to realize that the decisions we make control our outcomes. If we continue to make bad ones, we're going to slowly go deeper and deeper into a hole that we won't be able to get out of so do me a favor and stop digging yourself a trench!

If you don't need it, don't buy it!

If he's not good for you, run!

If you have a responsibility, fulfill it!

The bottom line . . . STOP playing the victim and start looking at your everyday decisions! You'll be surprised at how what you do today shapes your tomorrow.  

Things I loved this week

Things I loved this week
Since it's the end of the week, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of writing an article I thought it would be fun to write about the things I loved from the week passed. So here's my list:
Someone Like You - Adele
Beautiful Exchange - Hillsong United
Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine
Good Life - OneRepublic
My Hope is in You - Aaron Shust

Chicken Samosas from the Cheesecake Factory. Heavenly!
Pei Wei Spicy Chicken

Katie Schnack

What are some things you loved this week? Leave me note! Have a wonderful weekend!

The Insecurity Curse

The Insecurity Curse
We've all felt the pull of insecurity at one time or another. It's like a dark cloud that looms around us, pointing out every flaw; highlighting and accentuating some more than others. As  women, it's become almost natural to have an insecurity; sort of a curse! If we actually take a step back and look around us, where do these curses originate? The obvious culprit is the media, but everyone blames them right? So for the purpose of this article, we won't blame them specifically because we have our own minds and can formulate our own opinions.

So who am I going to blame?

I'm sure you've guessed it by now . . . it's you and I. In our minds, we have a tendency to create images of what we think is perfect, beautiful, and/or normal. Someone I might find beautiful may appear unattractive to another onlooker because we all value something different. To make matters worse, most of the time, we ourselves don't even fit into the mould we've carved out for ourselves.

Signal the insecurity.

The problem with insecurity is that it can be paralyzing. We can get so wrapped up in our picture perfect images, lives, jobs, and relationships that if they don't measure up we tend to think we're inadequate.

Why do we continue to beat ourselves up?

Believe me, I'm not any different. As confident as I may appear to people on the outside, my husband and family know me well enough to know I'm highly insecure about one thing in particular. The thing is, it's not a new insecurity so you'd think I'd be over it. On the contrary, it's one that has plagued me since I received my adult teeth. Before my baby teeth started falling out, I had a beautiful smile. I would happily take a photo without the slightest hesitation; smile without any forethought on how I should position my tongue behind my teeth to try and make my smile a little fuller.

It may sound ridiculous, but it's true.

Of course everyone assures me that you can't notice my misfortune, but honestly how can you not? I actually woke up the other morning in tears because I couldn't understand why God would allow me to have such an ugly smile. If you haven't figured it out yet, I have a large amount of space between my two front teeth. Now if you don't agree that our insecurity regarding our image is paralyzing, I would beg to differ based on the amount of pictures I've taken in my lifetime. Compared to any normal person who takes on average two thousand photos a year, I would probably take about fifty of the two thousand.
While I wouldn't want anything more than to have a beautiful smile, I can't continue to let something so small paralyze my life. It not only affects the way I smile, it controls my confidence, my life, and who I'll let myself become.

For me, it's time to break my insecurity curse and I hope you'll join me with breaking one of your own. It won't be easy, but in order to start we have to:

Stop comparing ourselves to others.

Recognize the impact our insecurity is having on our lives.


Make a plan to tackle the situation and stick to it. (Whether it is losing weight, fixing teeth, getting a new job or whatever else is plaguing you).

Now What?!

  Now what?

No one ever said being a twenty-something would be easy; they certainly didn't mention it would be this hard either. Add in the instance that you may call yourself a believer and you can just forget about it. Your life as you know it just went up in flames. The life of a twenty-something is tough, confusing, and all together conflicting. Most days I find myself stuck between wanting to be young again to forget some of my responsibilities, and others wanting to be older in order to gain some sort of respect from my co-workers. I'm sure it doesn't help being the youngest person on staff at a middle school where most of the kids look older than me.

Beside the point,

Why didn't anyone prepare us for life outside of college? We're carried from high school to college, always having a title, a purpose. At first we're the Varsity cheerleader, Student Council president, and then the ever so self-righteous English major and sorority president. When people inquire of our occupation, we proudly announce "I'm a college student," and then proceed to divulge our concentration and after college aspirations. No, we weren't bragging, we passionately believed deep within our hearts that we would make those dreams come true . . . then we walk across the stage.

 All of a sudden we find ourselves plopped right into the real world; no title, no class schedule, and no one asking us our major. The only things left are us, our degree, and our array of dreams we can see beckoning us from off in the distance.

So how are your after college aspirations working out for you?

Mine? Well mine included being a novelist, actress, screenplay writer, movie producer, fashion columnist . . . need I go on? While I'm not saying that these things won't ever happen, I've put them on a shelf in order to answer my calling.

What's that?

Among many things, the answer in short is YOU. My desire is to see every one of my readers grab hold of their lives, challenge their situations, and be everything they imagined they would be. Believe it or not, sometimes our dreams are a lot closer than they may seem, we just have to re-evaluate ourselves and decide that we will get there. How do I know? I know because I'm fulfilling two of my dreams right at this moment. 

One, to spend my days writing.


Two, to help others be the best they can be.

As much as I thought I wanted to do all those other things when I graduated, it took real life experiences and two years post-grad to get here. For me, this is a place of happiness and contentment that after all my searching and applying for jobs, just sort of fell into my lap. All I had to do was do what I love; sit at Barnes & Noble and read magazines.

A lot like many other women, one of my favorite things to do is flip through magazines and just be a part of a different world for an hour or two. To my dismay, on a Saturday afternoon, I found myself stuck between a magazine designed for my mom's generation and a magazine designed for women who only cared about new positioning.

Disgusting! Both publications shall remain nameless.

To sum it up, both were not my style and didn't offer the advice or connection I needed in my life. I found that while they were all a tad bit interesting, I was mostly bored and disconnected. They didn't relate to me or speak to where I am; right here, right now. So I decided right there as I sipped on a Frappuccino that I would create the world I longed for. It wouldn't only be what I needed, but what the women of my generation need. So this site is for you. If you're a twenty something, I want you to feel welcomed, inspired, and loved. Feel free to leave me a note and let me know your thoughts and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Style Smothering. Tisk Tisk!

I recently had the privilege of having dinner with my beautifully stylish friend Allyson. Hanging out with her is always a fun time because she's fabulous and carries herself in that fashion.

As I sat outside the restaurant waiting for her, my phone buzzed with a text that read "I'm coming as fast as these heels while carry me." I chuckled to myself looking a little crazy to those passing by because that was classic Allyson; always refined and put together. A few seconds later, the clicking of her heels made their way to where I sat and I took in one of the chicest pairs of boots. (I'm definitely a sucker for boots). Giving her a compliment we hugged and proceeded to dinner where she explained she didn't really have a place to wear her boots because her husband disliked them. (Not just those, boots in general. Isn't it crazy how people influence what we wear?) I could totally relate. Before I started seeing my husband, I had a fabulous array of pumps, wedges, sandals, and what ever else you can think of. I was in shoe heaven. Month after month that changed and then four years later I looked at my shoe collection and almost gagged. It was made up of a selection of flats and flip flops. What had happened to the fashionista that was Vonae? The one who proudly walked around her university campus with heels everyday as if it were the norm?

I'll tell you what happened to her and most women. Her surroundings smothered her style.

My surrounding . . . oh how I detest it. I currently reside in Palm Beach County. A place nestled in South Florida about an hour north of Miami. We're known here for beaches, world class golfing, famous residents galore, food, and shopping; lots and lots of shopping. In fact we have some of the best shopping in all of the United States so how on Earth can my style be smothered?

You see, while we have the best selection of everything, we're also a much laid back type of town. Think Malibu/Los Angeles without the mountains. Everyone wears flip-flops as a normal part of their wardrobe and I've come to notice most people are just nonchalant about what they put on. Now this works to my advantage when I'm having a lazy day, but too many lazy days kills your inner fashion lover.

Yes, they've murdered me.

It wasn't until this past summer when my husband, myself, and a group of our closest friends went to New York for the week of 4th of July that I was reborn. I could wear whatever I pleased; be as dressed up as I wanted to be. Wear red lipstick! Gasp! And no one cared. They just nodded, smiled, or asked where I found my outfit. I was alive and I loved it.

That brings me to my point. How is your style going for you? Have you been smothered by your surroundings? Your boyfriend, husband, GIRLFRIENDS, (Oh yes they can be the biggest smotherers of all!) siblings, the city in which you live?

One thing my mom used to always say to me was "Why do you care what others think about what you're wearing. If you like it, that's all that matters."

And to that I say AMEN!

Our style is simply that, OURS! Why do we put so much emphasis on how others dress and then change ourselves according to that? If we want to wear heels everyday, we should wear heels everyday! If we want to get dressed but know we'll be way overdressed, we should go for it. There's nothing worse then suppressing your style and becoming someone you don't even recognize. Believe me, it can happen! It's time for us to stand up and stand out. Will you join me?

Here are some ways:

1) Pick out things you love. (Don't worry about what someone else will say about it. If it drew your eye, try it on and decide for yourself).

2) Don't allow others to stifle your style with their opinion. (One of our biggest downfalls as women is our need for approval. We always have to ask, "How do I look?" stop asking others. How do you think you look? If there's excessive skin showing or an outfit is unflattering, most of the time we know it. Take it off. You know what looks good on you and what's pushing the border into trashcan land.)

3) Be proud of your style and wear things you love with confidence.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What is Style?

Style, an inherent characteristic some women are lucky enough to be born with, while others strive to grasp hold of their very own. Being stylish is every woman's aspiration; whether you have a million dollar budget or a few hundred bucks. In my opinion, every woman deserves to feel and look her best. It's what makes us who we are. As I thought about style, there were a few things that came to mind that for me, really pinpointed what style is.

STYLE is confidence. It's the inkling to know exactly what you want to convey to others, create that image in your mind, and then go out and make that image reality. When you have a sense of style, getting dressed is always about you . . .

Never anyone else.

Take a moment and think of the most stylish person you know. (They don't have to be the most beautiful). What is it about them that brought that person to your mind? Is it the clothing they wear? Most likely not. What makes you notice them is the confidence in which they wear a particular outfit. They walk with their heads high, shoulders back, and everyone notices. They never ask how they look. In fact, they're so confident in their style, they really don't care what others think.

We could all use a dose of that type of confidence. Take my little sister Anna for example. I would describe her style as rock-chic. To culture, she's not the perfect size, but to everyone who meets her, she's absolutely beautiful. She's a curvy, confident beauty with the ability to take anything and make it stand out. I refer to her as my little fashion designer. Recently I gave her an old blue jean jacket I purchased back in college. She was ecstatic to receive the piece and immediately went for her scissors. I stood watching her (eyes popping) as she proceeded to birth new life into that old jacket making it into a tailored vest. I had to admit it was a good idea and twenty minutes later she showed me just how great of an idea it was. She'd put together the fiercest outfit I'd seen in a long time. It wasn't just the pieces that made it great; it was the confidence in which she wore it.

Confidence is what makes you stylish, iconic, and memorable.

STYLE is eternal. To me, there's nothing better than flipping through look-books and seeing the re-emergence of styles from the 1920's, 40's, 50's, and 60's. I adore the old-Hollywood glamour and the impeccable sheath dresses of the 1950's. Watching the film, "The Help," I almost died eyeing the fashions of the housewives. (Although they can keep the big hair). True style is eternal and outlasts any trend. Think destroyed denim, frayed shorts, acid wash, mid-drift showing tees, gauchos, and my friends will kill me for this one, but would someone please stop the TYE DYE!


A true stylish wardrobe acquires and maintains pieces that can be worn year after year. I update my closet regularly, but I always go back to my staple pieces; many of which I've owned for five years or more.

Do yourself and your wallet a favor. Skip the trends and develop your style.

STYLE is respect. I can't think of any woman who is held at high esteem that lacks a sense of style. The way they carry themselves when they walk into a room demands it. The catch is, you will never see them ask for it. It's freely given. Style shows that you care about yourself and the image you project to others. When people notice you care for yourself, they can't help but be drawn to you.

A facebook friend from college recently asked, "Do pretty women have it easier in life?" While some may answer with a lame "Pretty is subjective," I'll be straight forward and say absolutely! (Although, I will substitute pretty for stylish because beauty comes from a full package, not just a face). You may disagree and that's fine but reason with me a little. Who are the women you see at the top of companies, leading organizations, and influencing the world?

The answer is "beautiful," stylish women. Why?

It's because people are more open to learning from a woman who values herself and dresses accordingly. More doors open for these women and amazing opportunities are just thrown at their feet. In short, they advance up the success ladder much quicker because people respect them and the image they're projecting.

Aren't convinced? Okay, here's a little activity for you. Without thinking too hard, read the pairs of names.

Ke$ha or Reese Witherspoon
Jennifer Lopez or Lady Gaga
Zoe Saldana or Nicki Minaj

So, out of the pairs, who do you respect the most? Get it now? No matter how much you think others don't care, image is everything and frankly, you should care about your own personal image!

Always remember, style=respect.

What are some characteristics you think embody style? Leave us a comment below.