Thursday, June 16, 2016

Letting Go: Meaningless Relationships


Khadijah James, Maxine Shaw, Sinclair James and Regine Hunter were the epitome of friendship to me in the 90s. They had their ups and downs, as well as their highs and lows. They supported one another religiously, and called each other out when they were showing off. That is the essence of friendship, and their relationship was the blueprint for many of my adult relationships.  

"You have been friends forever, you do not know anything other than them, life would be so different without them, I need them, yada, yada, yada." It amazes me how we manage to come up with fifty eleven reasons as to why we cannot let go, and not one good reason as to why we should hold on. I need you to know that you are not alone. People remain in toxic relationships day in and day out, and lead miserable lives for it. It is quite baffling. I personally just do not get it, and maybe it is not for me to understand.

I am at the point in my life where I have zero tolerance for foolishness, in any capacity whatsoever. That mantra runs deep when it comes to my personal relationships whether it be friends or lovers. There are two type of people in this world: those who NEED friends or a romantic partner, and those who can do without either, granted it is not contributing to their lives in a substantive manner. I am the latter of the two. Do not get me wrong, I love to fellowship with my girlfriends, and I am beyond grateful for my man. But let me say this, not near one of them are going to run me up a wall and down a hill just for the sake of having "someone." Nope, not going to happen!

Relationships are not supposed to work that way. Relationships, much like love is not supposed to be rugged, hard, taxing and tiresome. Love is smooth, easy, carefree and comfortable. The same applies to your relationships.

I know for a fact that fear is a huge component in people "settling" in their relationships. Their fearful of losing someone or something. They are fearful of having to start over and build new relationships. They are fearful of change and what it can bring. Listen Linda...do you want to live or exist? It is really that simple. Life is about evolution, and often times change is necessary. Now I am not telling you to go out and terminate all of your relationships, but I am encouraging you to re-evaluate them.

Here is a shortlist of quantifiable measures in relationships:

Shared Interests

Do you and your friend/partner share the same interests, like to do the same things, or dig the same people. I am not saying you have to be 100% across the board, but you do have to share some interests. Otherwise I have to question what the hell you do together? How are we "hanging" when I like sticking my head in at the bar every now and then and my friend is a hermit, or I do not like the artist at the concert we attend, or I am not featuring any of the people they interact with?

Reciprocity/Balance

I practice reciprocity in every relationship that I have. I believe that what is given is required. No that does not mean keep score on who does what. What it does mean is that you should never be overextending yourself, running yourself ragged, and snatching your tracks out just to keep up with a relationship. One it is unhealthy, and two you are a damn fool! It is not supposed to be that way, I promise you that it is not. The business of over extending yourself to others has flat lined. No one should feel like they are available at the drop of a dime for others, but the moment they need others they are no where to be found.

If my friends need me, I will do my best to be there for them in anyway that I can. What you are not going to do is call me for every damn thing under the sun, have me zig zagging across town, bending over backwards to serve your needs and the moment I get a flat tire on the side of the highway and I cannot even use your auto club membership for a tow. That right their is a tell, tell sign of you over extending yourself to be available for others, and the absence of reciprocity.

Balance is a necessary part of life, and it should be practiced as much as possible, especially in your relationships. It is okay to give without an expectation of receiving. It is not okay to give until you have nothing left, and allow others to walk all over you. Remember that!

Purpose

I always felt that my tribe should add some form of substantive value to my life, and vice versa. I like to surround myself with dope people, who do dope shit. Let's get serious here people....I am a working professional with my own everything, who is out here grinding day in and out in the pursuit of something better. There is nothing positive that an EBT Queen who lives with friends and family could substantively add to my life, PERIOD.

My tribe has seen some world, navigated the corporate world like bosses, pursued entrepreneur endeavors, and so much more all while raising families, taking night classes, attending little league games and recitals, and meeting up with me for dranks! Their experience in life is more than enough added value to mines, yet they give more. We share tactics and strategies on how to live our best lives, and call one another out on our bullshit without recourse! This equates to shared purpose in one another's lives. #BlackGirlMagic

Bottom line, your relationships should be overflowing with life, love and loyalty. If any of these are absent in your relationships, you have reassess whether it is healthy and worthwhile to remain in those relationships. I am on a journey to living my best life, and toxic, useless relationships are not part of the equation that leads to greatness. Shoutout to my close circle of friends that give me LIFE! You guys are the Real MVPs!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Living For The Weekend: Laurita Winery



Summer is just about here on the east coast you guys. We pretty much had winter, two days of spring, winter again, and then went straight to summer. Nothing says summer like my feet kicked up, fellowshipping with my tribe of sister-friends, and a chilled glass (read bucket) of sangria. This is exactly how I love to spend many of my summer weekends. Yes, it is fun to partake in my favorite past time on my patio, or in the backyards of my friends, but it is even better at a beautiful, scenic winery.

I smoked my first cigar during my last visit.

We have no shortage of wineries in, or remotely close to Pennsylvania from New Jersey, to New York, to Maryland. This winery is relatively close to Philadelphia, as it is approximately one hour outside of the city. I have tried tons of wineries, but none of them resonate with my spirit quite like Laurita Winery in New Egypt, NJ. This place is near and dear to my heart, and I get excited just thinking about it.

Look at all of that wine.....

Laurita Winery is spacious, family-owned and operated, inviting, and an all around good time.  Unlike many other wineries, it is not stuffy or snobby, and you always feel right at home. Their vineyard has capacity to host thousands, there is more than enough indoor and outdoor seating, and MOST importantly they have Sweet Red Sangria that is to die for! Laurita Winery's Sweet Red Sangria is made with their Tailgate Red Wine and it is sweet, flavorful, and it packs an unexpected punch (my kind of drank). They have a host of wines available, with something to please every palette.

Potent Punch aka Sweet Red Sangria

They host affordable events throughout the year, and they really rev up the fun during the warmer months. FYI...the food truck events are the best EVER and my personal fave as I get to dibble and dabble in all sorts of good eats to satisfy my inner foodie. #EmpanadaGuy for the win any damn day.

                   Yum, yum, and then some. #GoodEats

Parking is always free, and they offer complimentary shuttles to and from the vineyard throughout the day. I round up all of my girlfriends several times a year, and we make the trek to Laurita Winery for a day of fun in the sun. We have so much fun, and are always yearning for our next visit.

#Tribe (My sister and girlfriends) Hey Y'all!

This winery is the complete package in my eyes, and a total WIN! So, be sure to check out Laurita Winery’s website, and their Events Page to see the calendar of upcoming events. Who knows…I may run into you there doing what I do best....see below. 

Pour up, drank! #cheerstothefreakingweekend

If you are not local, and cannot visit the winery in person, no worries as you can defer to my killer Sangria Recipe that I posted last year (it still goes hard in the paint). 


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