Stupidest things I did this year while trying to be smart…

Broke Life - husband, my friends, people who know me well and people who met me yesterday all know that I am the queen of doing too much. I think I deserve a medal OR a dunce cap to remind myself of this, because I am always biting off more than I can chew. I’m studying and working at the same time. I’m not just studying actually. I’m basically trying to write a book. And not only am I working, but I’m supposed to be people’s boss all day long. This is all while being an expert doggie mum, a new batch cook, and an aspiring CFR fellow. In preparation for the end of 2016 and in an effort to put all this mercury in retrograde behind me, here are my confessions.

money blog1 – I changed my retirement withholdings to $1 per pay period. Yup, I did that stupid $hit! Why? You might ask. I’ll tell you why. I thought I was going to overpay the maximum withholding last year. So as to avoid this, I dropped down the withholding to bare bones on the last pay period of the calendar year. And then? You might ask. I just forgot. I forgot for 10 whole months and didn’t realize until I went on vacation, came up for air and looked at my pay stub without work fog in my eyes. And so… I did that.

2 – I drove up the offramp from Kenneth Kaunda street. If you don’t know anything about Maputo what you should know is that there are no real street signs. Actually maybe there are 3 or 4, but they just popped up in the last few months. In any case, there was road construction, I was late to work and rather than just stopping for a sec to see which way traffic was going, I kept going straight up the ramp until I saw a car heading straight for me. Then, I turned into the UNHCR driveway to turn around and head back the way I came and start all over. I remained late.

image13 – I ordered a bottle of Veuve Clicquot at Oktoberfest. Yes, I meant to order champagne. No, I did not mean to order a bottle. For some reason, while sitting in a large tent filled with drunken Germans in Stuttgart, I conveniently forgot that the 95.00 price tag was in Euro (and not South African Rand). Why would I think in Rand? Well, because the only times I end up in a big party full of 20something White people, I tend to be in South Africa. In any case, 95.00 Rand is about $8 USD, which is about how much any bottle of anything in South Africa costs, so there was also a bit of wishful thinking to it too. I messed up, mixed up countries, mixed up currencies and a shameless friend sent back the bucket and made me order a glass of some cheap fizzy stuff. It cost about $8 per glass.

14581584_10102690261571042_941430723435017587_n4 – I bought and read Mindy Kaling‘s book “Why not me? – This book is horrible, but it sounded like a great idea because I love “the Mindy project” and I had free downloads on Audible. So I’m not sure if I’m more upset that I had to listen to her voice for 5 hours OR if I’m thankful that at least I saved hours of life minutes I never would have gotten back if I had read it myself. In short, her retelling of her life experiences is boring. Maybe she does fun things in real life, but she didn’t talk about them in this book. And then she gave a revisionist telling of advice about being a confident woman years after actually having been asked. And even after years of rumination… her answer was still lackluster. I want my money & my life minutes back.

5 – Batch cooking – Ok, so this is actually smart. But, since we have no legit tupperware (just old plastic ice cream containers), I have no place to store the food except in the pots I cooked them in. They fill up my fridge and seem appealing & edible for dinners (though they were intended for lunch) and by Wednesday at 11am, I have officially ran out of meals for the rest of the week. I’m still working through this one, because I think it’s redeemable. I’m trashing the repurposed ice cream tubs and investing in glass containers with snap on lids… I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Hope you enjoyed my  “doing too much” calamity confessions. Laugh @ my pain…

The Women I Know.

If I learned one thing from Barnard it is that feminism is just activated confidence.  It is not a philosophy of how things should be, but a firm belief in what is true. Un-doubtful of one’s own capabilities and un-daunted by counter opinions, the women who embody my understanding of feminism are those for whom independence is just a way of life. In just the past few weeks, I have spoken with women who have stepped out on a limb to make public what they (and I) have known all along. They are not only great mothers, daughters, people, sisters, friends and partners, they are also great entrepreneurs – who can make a buck doing what they love. Here is just a smattering of the businesses that have been born from women I know.

Unaltered is a new t-shirt line that highlights the beauty of natural hair.  With so many women afraid to un-perm, un-process, un-texturize, and un-do whatever they’ve done to their hair, Unaltered is for those girls who proudly whip their natural hair back and forth. The brand is the brain child of two young women from Newark, NJ (yes, they’re my relatives, but that’s not why I’m plugging them), who have triumphed over their own hair struggles. Being from a city where the trend is either locks or weave, you can imagine what it means to let your soul glo in a ‘fro and keep your idea of beauty in tact. Support the Unaltered movement.

Mother of Men is by far one of my favorite jewelry lines. Each piece is hand made and unique – ensuring that you will not be like all the other girls wearing the same overpriced Tiffany’s charm bracelet.  Inspired by travel, design, and fashion, my friend, Nyakinyua Gill finally took her brand public by launching her collection online in 2012.  This Spring/Summer collection of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets celebrates island and sea motifs, with intricate beadwork and warm weather colors.  While Mother of Men pieces have reached the runway, they also accent day to day life just as well.  There’s finally a jewelry line that caters to the whimsy and fanciful nature we all deserve to flaunt.

Gail’Stuff is not new. I have personally been using it since I lived in NYC, which feels like ages ago now. So, that’s what? – at least 5 years ago. But, Gail has just launched her online store, making my usual BK corner hand to hand transaction of cash for shea butter souffle with one of her 4 kids a thing of the past! I know her products and I love her story, Gail’Stuff is good for the skin and the soul.

Jams by Kim is a brand I haven’t tried yet. But, that’s not because I don’t want to. Pesky international security laws may cause my boxes of canned liquidy goodness to get sampled for explosives. So, alas, I have to encourage you to try what I have not. Kim Osterhoudt’s story is all too common: the recession hit so she got creative. Kim went back to what she knew best – canning like grandma used to do. Word on the street is that the carrot ginger jam (as my parents would say) is ‘the jam!’

Avida Rae has nothing for you to purchase just yet, but you could pine over her voice for free This young woman hails from the suburbs of Toronto and when I met her on Yonge street back in 2008, she knew she wanted to be a singer. All her hymning and humming has paid off. She’s been working hard on a single and has a sample on youtube. Give a listen.