It’s one thing to choose to be happy, it’s another thing to actually keep it up.  I think I’ve made strides in term of overall happiness, but sometimes I get bummed, sad or angry.  I try to not to stay in these states for very long.  Sometimes it’s easy to snap out of it, sometimes I need to try other tactics.

The first way is with affirmations.  If you’ve ever seen my room, you’ll notice two things. One, (to the untrained eye) it’s messy and two, it is almost covered in post-it notes.  Whenever I hear something positive that resonates with me, I write it down and  post it somewhere I’ll see it in my room.  Most are congregated by my computer screens and the rest of are my huge bulletin board/headboard.  They range from short and sweet (Choose to shine.) to long (success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.  If you love what you are doing you will be successful) to reminders of my general awesomeness (You are f-bomb smart Eva – really, really helpful during finals period).

If I’m not in my room, I turn to music.  On my ipod and iphone I have a “smile” playlist.  Very handy for dealing with shenanigans on the road.  These playlist hold a lot of “I’m so cool songs” a la Beyonce (except it actually contains very little Beyonce at all, but you get the gist).  When I play these songs, I find that I start to strut down the street instead of dragging myself.

And then there are the big dogs: call to Mom or Dad (my biggest cheerleaders) or America’s Funniest Home Videos.  If something really troubling happens, I just call my parents who will never fail to tell me 1. that I’ll be ok because 2. I can handle anything and 3. that they love me.  I always knew my mom was really good for these phone calls, I recently learned my dad is also pretty great for these calls to.  I’m sure you have someone that’s awesome at cheering you up and reminding you that you’re capable and awesome.

And America’s Funniest Home Videos – I literally cannot watch this show without dying.  Ever since middle school, whenever I watch this show I get sucked in and laugh  - and not just any laugh, that crazy laugh when no sound comes out.  It is just so silly.  So by the time I’m done with that show, it’s pretty hard to go back my funk.  Lately I’ve been saving random episodes on my DVR so I always have one ready.

So that’s what in my happiness arsenal.  What’s in yours?

e.

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Ask Bari

by Bari on September 14, 2011 · 1 comment

in advice,Ask Bari,Bari

Dear Bari,

What is the best way to tell a man you’re just not that into him? He’s really nice, but I don’t see it going anywhere.  Just seems wrong to drag this out any further.

Jasmine

 

Hi Jasmine,

Remember when you were little and your mama or grandmother or someone told you that “honesty was the best policy?”  Yeah, you do?  Well, they were right.  The key here is to be honest but kind and considerate of the other person’s feelings.  That’s just part one of two, though.

No one likes rejection.  You have to keep that in mind.  The second part of this equation, and equally important part I might add, is the method.  We have all this new fangled technology now that allows people to get out of doing things they don’t want to do by avoidance.  Well, simply put, that’s wrong when it comes to break-ups.  If you are going to break up with someone, at least have the decency to do it either face-to-face or by phone.

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT break up with someone via text.  It says more about you than it does about them or how you valued your relationship and their time.  It makes you look like a straight donkey.  Now, if you don’t care about your reputation or hurting this dude’s feelings, then have at it.  I’d advice against it because you also don’t know what folks are truly capable of until you hurt their feelings.  If you don’t mind having your tires slashed or bad things said about you in dating game version of telephone, then gon’head and break up with ole boy via text or email.  What happens afterwards is on you, though.

Lastly, treat others how you’d like to be treated.  If nothing else, remember that.  Someone may be wondering the same thing about you in a few months and you know what they say about karma…

Happy dumping!
Bari

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I was craving these so bad last week.  I combined a few recipes to make this one.

Ingredients:

  • 12 jumbo pasta shells
  • 10 ounces of fresh or frozen spinach
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese (I prob used a little more)
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella (shredded)
  • salt and pepper (enough to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce

Cook the shells as you would any pasta, but make sure you don’t cook them all the way.  You want them dente (so you can work with them).

Mix the ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella in a bowl.  Throw in your spices. Chop the spinach, add to the bowl and stir.

Stuff the shells with your cheese mixture.  Coat the bottom of the pan with a marinara sauce and then place the shells inside.  Once all the shells are in, cover with another level of marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes.

 

It’ll come out look like this.  And it will be amazing.

Serve and eat.  (Although prob eat two or three, this meal below was entirely too much food. For realz).

Enjoy!

e.

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Man oh man, when I came across these two recipes, I was really skeptical.  I found them on Skinny Taste (which is a really awesome site) and what’s more is that they’re low fat.  She includes weight watcher counts for all her meals, I have no idea what the numbers but I’m sure they might helpful to some of you.  I’ve made these before and they taste amazing, I tend to couple the rice and beans with grilled chicken and home made salsa.  I could live off of this stuff and it’s super filling.  You can throw all this stuff in a tortilla and make a burrito.  Yum!

The Rice: Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup extra long grain rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 of lime’s juice (I used the whole thing)

The recipe is super easy.  Make the rice you usually would – boil the cups of water, add the rice, salt and 1 tsp of oil.

Once your rice is done, put it in bowl, add the remaining oil, cilantro and lime juice.  Stir and serve.

The Beans: Cuban Black Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 small or medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • pepper (recipe calls for 2 tbsp but I def used about a quarter of a pepper)
  • 3 tbsp of cilantro
  • 15 ounce can of black beans
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch pepper
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of oregano
  • 1 bay leaf

Chop the onions, garlic, peppers and cilantro (I didn’t have scallions, but you know, chop those too). Saute those veggies in a pot until they are soft. Add the beans (with the juice from the can), the water, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper  and bay leaf. Stir and let simmer. Serve with the rice.

I’ve made these before and they taste amazing! I tend to couple the rice and beans with grilled chicken and home made salsa.  I could live off of this stuff and it’s super filling.  You can throw all this stuff in a tortilla and make a burrito.  Yum!  Here’s my lunch for the day #holla.

 

Enjoy!

e.

 

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When I was in undergrad, my best friend went through a phase where everything and everyone was stupid.  All day long “this is stupid” or “you are stupid.”   It wasn’t until I called myself stupid (probably before she got a chance to) that she realized that this habit was destructive and she should drop it.  And she did.  Unfortunately for me, the habit of bad talking continued on and still does.  And it’s totally crazy because everyone thinks I’m smart, or at least, people only tell me I’m smart, no one’s called me stupid in a really long time.

I knew in the beginning of my happiness journey that the bad talk was going to be my biggest obstacle.  And it is certainly harder to stop than I imagined.  In my pursuit of happiness, I’m reading pretty much everything I can get my hands on about happiness.  I’m currently reading When Am I Going to Be Happy?: How to Break the Emotional Bad Habits That Make You Miserable (I know, I know, I hate the title too).  In that chapter I’m reading, she recommends talking tenderly to yourself when you normally would have said something negative to yourself.  The point is to be forgiving of yourself because we are humans and we make mistakes.  She recommends rationally and logically going through whatever set you off (in my case, it will most likely be this paper I’ve been working on all month, so something like “You’ve been working diligently on this paper for a month and it’s still not in the place you want it to be (read: finished), but it is in much better shape than it was in the beginning of the month and if you keep working at this pace, it will be done by next week.  This process is taking longer than you wanted, but that’s what happens in academic writing (hell, any writing)”) and ending with “It’s ok, sweetheart.”

So my goal, is to say something along those lines when inevitably I become frustrated with this paper instead of my handy “You’re stupid, this paper is never going to get done.” Oh, and I’ll end it with “It’s ok, darling.” Because I love darling so much more than sweetheart.  I’ll report back with progress reports.  Wish me luck.

So what say you friends?  Would you consider doing this to combat your negative self talk?

e.

 

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Seriously I do not get the point of all these stupid articles breaking down why Black women are less likely to get married than their White counterparts, most recently Ralph Richard Banks’ piece in the Wall Street Journal.  Unless these articles start offering a husband to go along with it, they need to stop.  Reading the percentages of how unlikely I am to get married, the poor “marriage market” (I hate mixing economics with love) and how Black men are living it up with every color under the rainbow but Black does nothing for my day or my life.

They aren’t telling me anything new, although they are contradicting what I’m seeing in my life.  I actually have seen three new Black on Black relationships start and flourish over this year.  I expect to go to three Black on Black weddings within the next two years.  In the article, it stats that 70% of Black women are unmarried, I thought this number was really high, so I started looking on the Census’s website to find it.  I found that about 70% of women between the ages of 25 to 29 are single, but for all Black women (over the age of 15) 45.5% of Black women are unmarried*.  This statistic shows that almost half of us aren’t married yet, but that that means about half of us are married or have been married.  While we can argue that 45% is still a large percentage, it’s nowhere as large as 70%.

Not getting married is not the worst thing in that could happen to someone.  Yes I know most of us want to get married but let’s think about the reasons why we aren’t married now.  We have chosen not to settle for someone that doesn’t share our values, doesn’t make us happy or some other very important and valid reason.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Would you rather be single and live happily ever after or get married (because you felt you had to) and be miserable with a man?  Come on now, we’re better than that.

But back to the topic at hand – these articles and books?  How many times must we read about “the crisis?”  And that fact that ole boy who wrote the WSJ article is a Black men?  Come on dude, you’re better than that.  He talks about men having too many choices and instead of calling them out and telling them to just make a decision and lock it down (I’m assuming he’s juggling Black women, although I guess he could be juggling the rainbow) you say Black women just have to deal with that.  Stop right now.  Let’s not act like it doesn’t take two Black people to form a Black marriage.

Yes, he does raise valid points about why our numbers are skewed and why available Black men might not be desirable to Black women.  But instead of tackling the issues of why Black men are disproportionally incarcerated or not obtaining education at the same rate as Black women, we instead are told to date men of other races.  I understand why Black women are loyal to Black men, who else is?  And if  a Black women chooses to only date Black men, knowing full well the odds are against her, that’s her business.  She knows what risks she is taking and she doesn’t need to be bombarded with messages that she’s living mission impossible (even though I don’t believe it’s that drastic and dire).   Besides with a divorce rate at approximately 50% it looks like we’re dodging an emotional and financial bullet because most of us end up at the same place – not married.

peace,
e.

*source: U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2010: Table A1 Blacks alone or in combination with one of more other races

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For weeks I’ve been trying to avoid the enivitable: watching The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and falling in love with it.  After my computer conspired against my first four attempts to watch the series, I finally watched all seven today and I died.

And then I had to acknowledge that I am probably more awkward than I thought and it’s ok.   I love it and I wanted to share. ( Although it appears that I am crazy late to the party since my facebook feed has been full of links to the latest episode.)
On the site, they also have a little segment about why shows like this are important.  I was having a discussion the other day about how women are portrayed.  And while we were discussing the lack of happy Black women on the television, I will happily accept awkward Black women on the tube.  So I’m asking you to support her and the show (ahem financially). And if you haven’t checked it out, do yourself a favor and do it right now.

You might as well start from the beginning.

peace,
e.

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Choose Happiness

by Eva on August 4, 2011 · 1 comment

in Eva,lifestyle

Today I want to introduce a new series to SASSY: Choose Happiness.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about happiness.  Maybe it’s because it’s the summer and I have more time to actually enjoy living life.  Maybe it’s because a lot of my friends have found love or are having babies and just seem to be oozing love and happiness.  I don’t know.

So what does choosing happiness mean?  What I’m striving for is simple: To be happy every day, not necessarily all day every day but every single day.  No matter where I am in my life, or what I have.  Currently I would describe myself as on the pursuit to happiness.  I think I’ve even become a little obsessed with it.  I don’t like spending time listening to friends complain about aspects of their life they can easily change – don’t like the way the guy you’re dating is treating you?  Stop dating him and move on.  Totally bored and uninspired by your job?  Figure out what your passion is and then figure out a way to get paid to do that.  I know these  things are easy to say, but I’m finding it’s actually not hat hard to do.  I think that people forget that they are actually in control of their life.  You choose who you let in and spend time with.  You choose how you spend your time.  Now chose happiness.

I recently finished Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.  It’s an interesting book. Essentially her New Year’s resolution was to be happy and through research and a pretty intense reward system chart, she tackled different aspects of life that affected her happiness and documented the whole thing.  At first, I was giving her (and the book) the illest of side eyes because theoretically she was already supposed to be happy – she was married, she had kids, she owned her house and she was doing what she loved (after quitting a very financially stable and respectable job).  But then I had to check myself, everyone has the right to be unhappy, or rather, everyone has the right to want to be happier.  And so, I read about her journey to becoming happier.  And I had to admit, some of her tactics could work in my life.

I was struck by one of her revelations.  That some of her unhappiness stemmed from bad feelings she had for not doing something  said she would/ was supposed to/ needed to do.  When I look at my life, and the times when I beat myself up, it is normally because I didn’t do something I said I would (normally something I promised myself – like going to the gym, or attending a friend’s event, etc).  So she created a Nagging To Do List and listed every single thing she had put off that she needed to do (and had beat herself up about) and she took a month and completed them.  After creating my list, I know it will take more than a month to handle some of them (that 19th century Black fatherhood paper is just not going to get done this month), but other things, like getting my pesky stove fan fixed where really simple  – simple to avoid but also really simple to handle.

The point of this series is to remind you that you can choose to be happy.  It really is a choice to make and that is just the first part.  You have to choose to be happy, you have to realize that you do deserve to be happy and recognize how important happiness is to you.  While Rubin spends a lot of time arguing with herself about whether it is totally selfish to focus on one’s happiness, I am actually not having that problem at all.  Although others are having a problem with me following my happiness because it is almost contradictory to my current work trajectory.  I’m on the third year of my PhD program and the thought of being a full time professor is less than appealing.  My boss/mentor is about to jump through the window; he is so over me saying “but I won’t be happy doing this.”  But you know what?  I’m going to do what I want to do, which is not following the script of what I’m supposed to do, and choose happiness.

peace,
e.

 

 

 

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Seriously, we’re back this time

by Eva on August 2, 2011 · 1 comment

in Eva,sassy is

How embarrassing to say we’re coming back in January and then not actually post until July.  But we’re back, for real this time.

When I started SASSY back in 2008, I was looking to fill a void in the blogosphere.  Back then I didn’t feel like any site in particular related to where I was and in typical Eva fashion, when I couldn’t find it, I made it.  I got a bunch of friends together and we started SASSY and it was great.

Fast forward about two years later and about half of the original writers had left SASSY to write their own blogs.  In addition to that, there were many new blogs out there.  One for everyone, every identity.  And I was in my PhD program struggling to keep up with SASSY, school, my personal blog (which also went silent) and just life in general.  When SASSY ended, I wasn’t particularly happy it was over, but I felt comfortable knowing our readers had other places to go to get information they need and, I thought, to continue the community we had created.

But lately when I read blogs, particularly blogs directed at  young Black women, I can’t help but the notice the snark.  And to be perfectly honest, it pisses me off.  There is so much snark, and in the worst places.  I see “relationship experts” “helping” young women with snark.  It’s disgusting.  “Advice columnists” snarking the hell out of what could have been good advice.  I don’t get it and I don’t like it.  And so I’m back to fill a gaping void – the no snark zone.  I believe that if your offer to help someone, you should do so graciously.  If you don’t want to be bothered don’t do it.

And so, we’re bringing SASSY back.  There will be some familiar voices and some new ones.  As always, we welcome you to write with us.  We thank you for your patience, continued love and support.

peace,
e.

 

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We’re coming back!

by Eva on January 28, 2011 · 0 comments

in sassy is

Yes, we’ve been gone for a while, but we will be back very soon.  Stay posted and thanks so much for all your support.

~SASSY Women

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