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Cortney Inspires Us to Be Good

This month is all about being good to you and I’m happy to be able to know people who are really good at being them. So much so, that they inspire others to want to live up to those same standards. Minister Cortney Richardson is one of those people who knows what it means to be good. He is an international recording artist, songwriter, business owner, preacher, friend, and leader. With all of those titles, Cortney is always on the go, but I was able to catch up with him at his listening party for his soon-to-be released album, “Sing the Word.”

In 2013, Cortney released his first EP “In This Place” which debuted as Top 20 on iTunes. His first full album is coming soon, but today he released a special download, “Teach Me How to Pray” which includes “The Lord’s Prayer.” This release is right on time because May 4th is National Day of Prayer. Prayer is powerful and as we celebrate this day, Cortney’s “Teach Me How to Pray” will most definitely inspire us to continue to recognize God and his blessings. Prayer not only allows us to give thanks and place our faith in Him, but it is the ultimate form of self-care. I was able to sit down and talk to Cortney, his producer, Chris Carter, and some of the top gospel radio personalities about his soon-to be released album, “Sing the Word” and hear some of the ways he practices this month’s motto, “Be Good to You.

 

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Cortney’s Listening Party at the Grove Recording Studio-Hope Church (Left to Right) Stevenson Clark (WAVN), Chris Carter (The Rock Studios), Tracy Bethea (Hallelujah FM), Ron Briggs (Yes Lord Radio), Tabitha Adams (WBBP), and Cortney Richardson.

 

Q: You were very intentional with your first EP when it came to your message of making Jesus famous and now “Sing the Word” sends another bold statement. What was your thought process behind naming this album and choosing songs for your album?

Sing The Word is a declaration and commitment. I recognize the power of GOD’s word. I just don’t think that I’m clever enough to create words more powerful than GOD’s word. I believe GOD’s word is what people need to hear. People love music and need GOD’s word. I am committed to singing The Word of GOD. This bold statement is as bold as GOD’s word. Matthew 5:17 says, “Man shall not live by bread alone but my every word that proceeds out of the mouth of GOD.” That’s bold!

 

Q:  May is “Be Good to You” month on the blog and we’re talking about all things self-care. One thing that people may not realize is that if you aren’t doing what you love in some capacity, you aren’t really taking care of yourself. How have you managed to always do what you love in your professional and personal life even during difficult times?

I recognize that my life is not the norm. Many people dream of doing what they love to do and experience increase doing it. For the most part, I’ve only done jobs that I love. During difficult times I’ve tried a few other things. Experiencing a season working in an area that I wasn’t passionate about thrusted me deeper into my passion. I made up in my mind that I would make this work. I trusted that my passions are just as GOD given as the very breathe that I breath. Failure to pursue my passion is like cutting off my oxygen supply. I believe that to my core and I believe GOD supports that frame of mind. He created Cortney for a specific purpose. When Cortney operates in that, GOD provides for Cortney.

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Co-Producer, Chris Carter, plays songs from Minister Cortney Richardson’s upcoming album, “Sing the Word.”

Q: You have worked with a lot of good producers, writers, and singers for this album. They all have nothing but good things to say about you and this album. Your producer, Chris Carter, said “you are intentional about what you sing and you’re not going to half-do anything.” Ron Briggs from Yes Lord Radio, said “We play things that will be a blessing to people and I like that he stays true to himself.” Tracy Bethea from 95.7 Hallelujah FM said,”it’s quality production, relatable, and ministers to your heart.” What did it take to cultivate those good relationships?

Honesty, integrity, respect, honor, dedication, vulnerability, love, communication, AND MONEY. Proverbs 22:1 says “A good name is to be desired over riches.” I know that to be true so I look to work with people who have a good name. Korey Bowie, my producer from Atlanta, is a family man and a kingdom man. He is a solid guy. Chris Carter, my co-producer, engineer, studio technician, and brother, is a gifted, family and church going man, as well. These two people sat at the helm of this project. I’ve learned only to put major projects in the hands of folks who have stuff going on for themselves. It’s just something about working with people who have their personal business in order. I put money last for a reason. So often in business relationships money gets the contract, but sometimes the character is so bad that the money is no good. No matter how close we became as we worked through the tenants of the contracts, personal bonding never took the place of paying bills. I’ve kept the business in order and that has helped to solidify these relationships.

Q: As a minister, singer, business owner, and leader you are always on the go. It’s hard to keep up with you! What are some of your self-care practices and how do you manage to do it all?

Rest is really key. Rest goes a long way. Managing is a matter of being honest about what I can and cannot handle. Ever since I can remember I’ve had a lot on my plate. Over time, I’ve learned how to manage. I believe the fact that I love all of what I do plays a part in managing it all well. I don’t feel like I work. I get to do what I love. Most importantly, devotion to GOD. Time spent with GOD isn’t wasted time. It’s only through spending time with GOD that I’m able to be fueled for this journey, for this call. GOD is the true source of strength. I recognize my need for Him. Failure in that area leads to burnout and ultimately failure in all areas. GOD is #1. I work for Him. There is no better person to work for!

 

I can’t wait until “Sing the Word” is released. I definitely have my favorites, but for now go download Cortney’s newest EP, “Teach Me How to Pray,” which is available on iTunesAmazon, Spotify, and Google Play.  You can also catch Cortney’s inspiration at Cortneyinspires.com and buy tickets to his upcoming Mother’s Day Brunch and Gospel Cabernet.

 

Don’t forget that I’m giving away some of my favorite self-care items for the Be Good to You Giveaway! Click here to enter. The giveaway ends May, 15, 2017 at 6:00 PM.

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Be Good to You: Self-Care + Giveaway

I can’t believe it’s already May, but the teacher in me is very happy that this school year is almost over. The next four weeks will fly by, but I have a long list of things that need to be done before then. The next four weeks will be filled with the stress of teaching kids that are even more over school than I am, testing, and packing and preparing for next year. On top of all of that, I still have to maintain my life outside of work, so I spent this past weekend making sure I was on my to-do list this month. Taking care of yourself is widely known as self-care. You can buy self-care journals and attend self-care sessions. You can even be a self-care coach. Self-care can be anything, but social media will convince you that you don’t care about yourself if you don’t do yoga, drink green tea, or get mani-pedis. It’s easy to fall into the idea that you have to do something out of your ordinary or spend money to practice self-care, but you don’t have to. You should spend time thinking about what it means to you. Here are my thoughts:

 

Self-Care Is Personal

If you search #selfcare on Instagram, you will see lots of photos of people doing yoga. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that I’m really not a fan of yoga. I took yoga as a PE class in college and recently, I was inspired to start back practicing it, but I just couldn’t get into it. So, as much as I may want to get into yoga, I’m not and that’s okay. Self-care is personal. You have to do what’s best for you. Find something that you’re really into and do it because you like it, not because it seems like you should be doing it.

Self-Care Is Enjoyable

I don’t care what anyone says, but going to the gym is not my idea of self-care. I go to the gym because it’s a responsibility. I’m responsible for maintaining the body that God gave me and I need to be good to it because I only get one. Responsibilities aren’t fun though. Self-care should be. Self-care is usually something that you really enjoy, but put off because you’re busy doing things like going to the gym. I really enjoy bubble baths. But I can’t remember the last time that I took one. Showers are quick and get the job done, but this month, I plan to fill my tub with bubble bath, light a candle, and read a book until I’m wrinkle at least once a week. So, think about that thing that you really enjoy, but haven’t done in a while and make a plan to add it back into your life.

 

Self-Care Is Selfless

Taking care of yourself and doing what you love is selfless, not selfish. My life isn’t about me. But I must take care of myself so that I can walk in my purpose and be there for the people that need me. I want to be a good wife, daughter, sister, teacher, and friend. I can’t be those things if I’m not good to myself. Be good to you and then be good to others. With that being said, I’m doing my first “Be Good to You” GIVEAWAY with some of my favorite self-care items! I’m giving away all of the items below plus one surprise item! The giveaway includes:

A Kate Spade New York Put In A Good Word Take Note Medium Notebook

I love this little notebook. It’s perfect for jotting down thoughts and would be a great for a little self-care reflection.

A Circus by Sam Edelman Treat Yoself Bag

This bag is everything! I love the bold message, plus it can be used as a makeup bag or even make a cute clutch for a casual day look.

A Bath and Body Works Vanilla Bean Scented Candle

This is by far my favorite candle. I love vanilla scents and I burn it all the time. I hope you like it as much as I do!

A Green Tea Blend, Black Tea and Fruit Tea Blend from My Cup of Tea

My Cup of Tea is a local tea packaging and distribution business in Orange Mound. They also serve as a place for women in the 38104 and 38111 zip codes to learn cooking, sewing, and gardening skills, as well as take classes in computer literacy, child-rearing education, GED training, and job readiness. The tea is so so so so good and their mission is even better!

Plus a special surprise goodie from: Be Good to: YOU
Go ahead and enter the giveaway! The rules are simple: leave a comment on this post with one way that you take care of yourself (if you’re on your phone, keep scrolling until you see “Leave a Reply” and then enter your comment, name and email address to submit!)
The giveaway will end Monday, May 15, 2017 at 6:00 PM! The winner will be announced shortly after.
I can’t wait to find out what self-care means to you!
 

 

 

 

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Love Loves to Love Love

Poetry is my first love. I can remember writing little poems as a child and as I got older, I’ve always loved to read a good book of poetry. In college, I majored in English and half of my concentration was in poetry. I spent semesters in poetry workshops and it’s still on my to-do list to publish my own book of poetry. I love the way poetry compacts complicated things and captures feelings I never have words for. I have a thing for love poems because there is nothing like love — from being in love to falling out of love to searching for love. As simple as they may be, love poems are able to say so much.

Here are 3 of my favorite love poems from 3 poets that I can’t get enough of:

 

Bone

what love isn’t by Yrsa Daley-Ward

 

It is not a five star stay. It is not

compliments and it is never ever

flattery.

It is solid. Not sweet but always

nutritious

always herb, always salt. Sometimes

grit.

It is now and till the end. It is never a

slither, never a little.

it is a full serving

it is much

too much and real

never pretty or clean. It stinks – you can

smell it coming

it is weight

it is weight and it is too heavy to feel

good sometimes. It is discomfort – it is

not what the films say. Only songs

get it right

it is irregular

it is difficult

and always, always

surprising.

 

Love In My Language

Colorful by Alexandra Elle

 

I was made to love you.

I was made to love, period.

There’s not mistaking the love we’ve created.

You’ve splashed my life with vibrant colors.

This love is brighter than the rainbows that are

birthed from the storms of tomorrow.

I was made to love.

I was made to love you, period.

I will color your heart with joy and

leave it dancing for more.

I will love you forever.

All ways. Always.

 

Milk and Honey

untitled poem by Rupi Kaur

 

i do not want to have you

to fill the empty parts of me

i want to be full on my own

i want to be so complete

i could light the whole city

and then

i want to have you

cause the two of us combined

could set it on fire

 

Yrsa Daley-Ward, Alexandra Elle, and Rupi Kaur are my latest obsessions in the world of contemporary poetry. I can’t put these books down. You can buy Bone, Love in My Language, and Milk and Honey on Amazon.

I always could use some good poetry! Drop your favorite authors in the comments.

 

 

 

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5 things to say other than I love you

I love you. If you thought about it, you could probably tell someone the exact time and place your partner (or you) said those three words. You could remember your reaction, what you were doing, and how it made you feel. Those three words change the game in relationships. You spend a lot of time with someone, y’all are there for each other during some good and bad times, you have fun, you get each other, and on and on and on. And then someone finally admits it. It’s great in the beginning until you realize that saying I love you isn’t just a feeling, but a decision.

Love exists because we decide that we want to love. We decide if we want to show our love, put work in for love, admire love, praise love, uplift love with our words, and support love. It’s the type of consideration that goes beyond simply saying I love you. You can’t say I love you without saying other things. The way you speak to (and about) your partner says so much more than I love you. Here are five things you should say other than I love you.

Please

I always find it crazy that we can take all of those good manners that our mommas taught us and use it on complete strangers and not the people we love. It’s so easy to ask a stranger or your co-worker to do things nicely, but as soon as we get home, all our good manners go out the door. Somewhere, I suppose, it’s understood that we mean please even if we don’t say it. But we’ve all learned the lesson of it’s not what you say, but how you say it. “Take out the trash,” “Put the clothes in the dryer,” and “Bring me a towel,” would all sound better with please at the end.

Can I…Can You

When Brandon and I started dating, I would always do this thing where I’d ask him, “Can I get…” I asked out of consideration. Some women tend to have this entitlement attitude when it comes to dating, but I’ve always asked for things that I wanted. So now five years later, I still ask him “Can I get…” The answer might be yes every time, but asking will get you much further than telling. We both have this thing where we don’t tell each other to do anything. We ask. “Can you stop by the store when you get off work?” “Can I use the joint account to buy…”

I’m Sorry

Brandon is very good at apologizing. And I’m working on it. It’s so hard to admit when you’re wrong. It’s hard to give up being right. I also struggle with accepting that I hurt someone’s feelings because that’s never my intention. But, it happens and it’s better to accept responsibility and simply apologize, move on, and make it better.

Thank You

For me this one is the biggest of them all. It’s so important to express gratitude to the person that you love. They do so much and put up with so much. A couple of weeks ago, I locked myself out of my car. Side note: I have a bad habit of locking myself out of my car. One time I locked myself out 3 times within 3 weeks. On top of me already knowing how bad I am about this, I decided not to renew my AAA membership in December because in my head I was like “Naw, I’m good.” But, of course, it happened. I was stuck at work and reluctantly sent Brandon that text. I’m sure in his head he was over it and me, but that’s not the text that he sent back. He got off work, went to pick up my spare key from my mom and drove across town without complaining! I’m so thankful because he could have easily told me to call a locksmith. Gratitude is everything. Practice saying thank you for the small things.

I Love You, More

You’ll find yourself saying and meaning this more once you start to put into practice the 4 phrases above. You’ll love your partner more and more because you both will feel appreciated, respected, and valued.

 

Until next time, be good!

 

 

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What’s In My Gym Bag?

My gym routine is pretty solid, but I still struggle with making it to the gym after work some days. Now that I’m back at work and focusing on this intention thing, I figured I needed a gym bag to keep in my backseat, so that I can head straight to the gym after work. I love how I don’t waste anytime in between and when I’m finished, I still feel like I have the rest of the evening to get things done! I try to keep the things in my gym bag minimal and only pack the essentials, so here are 10 things I must have in my gym bag.

 10 Gym Bag Must-Haves

 

  1. Socks- I hate socks and rarely wear them outside of the gym, so I always keep a pair in my bag just in case.
  2. Dri-Sweat headband- because, edges.
  3. Hair Ties- My hair is usually in a ponytail during the week since I work out, but if it’s not, I always spend so much time trying to find a hair tie, so I just keep a few in my gym bag.
  4. Apple Watch- The workout didn’t happen if it’s not tracked.
  5. Water Bottle- I like to track how much water I’ve had for the day and a water bottle just makes it easier.
  6. Headphones- Ever forget your headphones? It’s the worse thing ever!  I prefer listening to podcasts in the gym because they’re longer and seem to make the time go by faster.
  7. Snack- I try to keep an apple or granola bar in my bag. After spending my day with 21 8-year-olds, I need some pre-workout energy!
  8. Cute Workout Gear- I could always use a little motivation, so I usually always have on some type of slogan tee to help me look good while work out!
  9. Face Wipes-I have sensitive skin, so it’s a must that I wipe my face after working out to prevent breakouts.
  10. Deodorant- I usually go home after working out and hop right in the shower, but I never know if I may need to make a quick stop somewhere afterwards, so I always like keep my deodorant close!

 

There you have it! My 10 gym bag essentials have made my life so much easier!

 

What are some of your go-to gym essentials?

 

 

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Planner Essentials

Another year. Another planner. I stopped using my 2016 planner three months into the year. This year, I really wanted to buy a planner that would actually help me plan. Every year, I buy a planner, but unlike buying other things, I put no thought into buying a planner. I would normally just go to the store and check out the planners that were there and pick the one that I thought was the cutest. But, cute doesn’t cut it when it comes to planning. For my 2017 planner, I did some research until I found one that fit me. I bought the Ink+Volt Planner and it became very clear why my past planners didn’t work for me. If your 2016 planner was empty at the end of year, here are 5 things you need to have to help you plan better in 2017.

 

Layout over Aesthetics

When I first started researching “good planners”, I was upset because I couldn’t find anything that looked good! Every planner was extra basic, so I didn’t try to see what the planners offered on the inside. When looking for a good planner, you want to pay more attention to the layout than the aesthetics. I bought my Ink+Volt planner because of the layout! I admit, I had to get over the fact that it was only offered in black (now they are offering a limited edition charcoal color) with no writing on the front (like can I get 2017 embossed on it or something?) But nope, it’s just black. But when I took a look inside of it, I knew that I needed it. This is a do it all type of planner. It comes with a 30-day challenge page for every month and a page for weekly goals. I also like the morning, noon, and night format as opposed to the time format of my last planner. I’m also in love with the yearly theme and achievements page! This year, my theme is “Intention.” I plan on being intentional with all things and this planner will keep me on top of it because it is so goal-oriented. Read about my new year’s theme here.

 

More Writing Space

My 2016 planner was cute (I remember buying it because it came in my wedding colors), but it didn’t have enough writing space. How can I plan if I can’t write down everything? Make sure your planner has the writing space where you need it.

Grab and Go

In order to plan, you will need to have your planner with you. You won’t want to carry a planner that is too big. I love that my planner is the size of a notebook and it doesn’t have a spiral bound like my other one, so it’s much easier to throw in my bag and go!

 

Not Taking Advantage of It

I took a look at the three months that I did use in my 2016 planner and noticed that I didn’t take advantage of having a planner. For the most part, I only wrote down things that I needed to do for the week and that’s not really planning. Take advantage of the space and plan everything. Plan your meals for the week, your workouts, emails, budget, etc. You will want to use your planner more if you feel as though it’s useful!

 

Have Some Fun

Just because your planner is simple on the outside, doesn’t mean it has to be that way on the inside. Buy some planner stickers, washi tape, and fun pens to encourage you to stay organized.

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How do you stay organized? Leave me a comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

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My New Year’s Theme

For 2017, I decided to come up with one word that I wanted to live by. My planner has a section to write down a theme for the year and I came up with the word intention. Living with intention means more doing and less being. It means to be more purposeful in all things. Leading up to 2017, I’ve been trying to focus on some personal goals and eliminate some bad habits. One major one being social media browsing. I rarely post things on social media, but the time I spend browsing Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram has become ridiculously time-consuming. I’ll be on Instagram one second, close the app and before I know it, five or so minutes later, I’m back on Instagram looking at the the same things (read: nothing). So, I’m starting my year off with being more intentional about my down time. Here are 3 things I want to replace social media browsing with:

Documentaries

I’ve never been that big of a TV watcher. Usually the TV is off if I’m home alone. I watched 13th the week it came out on Netflix and since then I’ve wanted to get into more documentaries. Outside of 13th (which is a must-see), I’ve really enjoyed watching Poverty, Inc., Jiro Dreams of Sushi, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, and The Racial Politics of Abortion (this one isn’t on Netflix). Every time I watch a documentary I feel like a semi-expert on the topic or I just learn lots of new things! Sitting in front of a TV is still kind of hard for me, so it usually takes me a while to finish a documentary, but I’m looking forward to watching more. Next up on my list is Rats.

Podcasts

I love to listen to podcasts when I go to the gym. My favorites right now are Myleik Teele, Dear Sugar, The Read, and Longform. I’m a multitasker, so I love that I can listen to a podcast and get some other things done. There’s literally a podcast for everything and I really enjoy listening to them. I need some more! So, if you’re into podcasts, drop some of your favorites in my comments!

Books

I have a bad habit of buying books and not reading them until months later! I would normally wait until a break from school to catch up on some books, but since I want to be more intentional with my time, I plan on finishing more books! Here are some books that I finally finished and I’m mad it took me so long to do so: Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons, and Love Affairs by Pearl Cleage, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi, and Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I’m a few chapters away from finishing The Perfect Find by Tia Williams and up next is Zadie Smith’s Swing Time!

Outside of using my time more wisely, I’m also looking to be more intentional about reaching my financial goals, blogging, and building better relationships with family and friends.

What are you focusing on for 2017?

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Monday is Coming

  1. Let the countdown to the end of fall break begin! It seems like Sundays always fly by. For a while, Mondays have always been one of the hardest days for me to tackle. I spend the weekend relaxing and running errands and usually find myself unprepared for Monday. As a teacher, I have to be prepared for Monday, so I came up with three ideas to help start my week off right!

 

Prepare on Sunday

Instead of spending my entire Sunday relaxing and pretending that Monday isn’t coming, I spend time early in the day preparing for Monday and the week ahead. Some days, I wake up before church and write out my to-do list for the week, review my lesson plans, or start on the following week’s lesson plans. (I spend no more than 2 hours on this). Once I’m done, I still can enjoy the rest of my Sunday. I write down the days that I have meetings so I can schedule things around them. This Thursday, I know have a TFA meeting and it will be difficult for me to go to the gym, so I won’t schedule a gym day for Thursday. I also make my small decisions on Sunday.  Small decisions are things like what I’m going to wear that week, what I’m taking for lunch, or what days I’m going to the gym.  If I go ahead and make those decisions early, I don’t waste time thinking about them during the week. I know I want to go to the gym 3 days a week, so I go ahead and schedule it. Instead of standing in my closet for 15 minutes every morning, I already know what I’m wearing. I also go to the grocery store and buy things I need to pack my lunch each day. Taking time out to prepare on Sunday has really helped me out!

 

Wake up extra early on Mondays

I’m working on waking up extra early every day, but it’s still a work in progress. However, since school started back, I have made it a point to wake up earlier than I normally do on Mondays to jump start my week. I usually wake up 30-40 minutes earlier on Monday to give me time to mentally prepare for my week. This is also the day that I may go to Panera or Starbucks before work to get that much-needed pick me up! Waking up earlier on Mondays means that I’m at work early enough to get a lot of things done before the day begins.

 

Write down 3 good things

I posted this on my social media last year, but this is something that I do at the beginning of every week as a reminder to focus on the good! It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s going wrong in our day-to-day lives and forget about all the good! I write down 3 good things that happened within the last week and recently I started to write down 3 good things that I want to happen in the current week. I think we spend so much time thinking that good things just happen (and sometimes they do), but ultimately we’re in control. Write them down and go out and make those good things happen!

 

 3 good things from this past week:

Two words: Fall Break

Finished my mini gallery wall in our living room

Brandon and I went on our first “surprise” date night (blog to come)

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LDR: Ways To Make It Work

Sometimes I forget that Brandon and I did the long distance thing. It’s been three years since I moved back to Memphis from Syracuse, so I really had to take some time think about it when I was asked to write about long distance relationships. But it didn’t take long for me to remember how much it sucked! I definitely think Brandon’s outlook on our LDR was very optimistic, so I asked him for 3 tips of his own to go along with my 3! I dated Brandon 8 months prior to moving to New York, so I honestly didn’t know if our LDR would work out since we weren’t together that long. I knew he supported my decision to further my education, but I had to mentally prepare myself for the idea of us not working out just as much as we were discussing ways to make it work. However, we made it through that year and now, we’re married! Long distance relationships can be tough at times, but I think these 6 things can help!

I’ll start with my 3:

-Talk About It-

Whether you been together less than a year or a couple of years, I think that it’s really important that you sit down and actually have a conversation about your LDR. LDRs are not for the weak or insecure and it’s easy to try not to talk about the way you really feel and just let it happen and then deal with it while you’re away. But if you talk about everything beforehand, you both will be on the same page. Here are some things to discuss: How do they feel about LDRs? Have they been in one before? Is it okay for your partner to hang out with friends of the opposite sex? If so, what are your guidelines? Which ways of communication works best for each of you, traveling plans, etc. Every relationship is different and you know your relationship history, so I would say to talk about any and everything that you feel you need to discuss. You can’t expect that things are just understood because you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. I remember automatically thinking that B was going to FaceTime me every night because you know, we’re in a LDR. But he was not having it! I was so upset, but we didn’t discuss it. I just made up in my mind that he was going to stare at my face every night before bed and when it didn’t happen, my feelings were hurt. But if I would have put it on the table beforehand, I would have known it was a no go and we could have already come up with a plan that worked for both of us. Save yourself some arguments and just talk about it all.

-An End Plan-

So you and the boo have discussed being in a LDR and ready to make it happen. But you need an end plan. Are you planning on staying where you are? Is someone willing to move? After you’ve been in a relationship and it becomes long distance, you’re definitely going to want to have a plan in place to end the LDR. I knew that my master’s program was a year, so we talked about what would happen after that year. Discuss your time frame and look forward to the time when y’all will be back together! An end plan with plenty of visits in between will help out a lot.

-Take Advantage of Free Time-

Find something to do. If you’re moving away for school, get involved in as many things as you can. Go to the school activities, meet new people, explore your new city, study as much as you can, get a job. Your partner isn’t going to be there to answer every call. Same thing goes if you’re moving for a job. Spend that time learning how to do be the best at your job. Meet up with co-workers. If you’re the one left behind, a LDR gives you freedom to do things that you might not get to if you were in the same city. Brandon spent a lot of our time apart at work so he could save more money! He didn’t have to take me out on dates, so I know he saved a lot! Spend more time with your friends and family. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. Take advantage of that free time.

Here are Brandon’s tips:

-Support-

“9 times out of 10 your partner is deciding to move to pursue dreams, so support is key.” I loved this point because it reminded me of how supportive Brandon was during that year. I struggled to find a job, I wanted to come home, I hated being cold, I got tired of people not understanding what the hell I was saying, and Brandon was there for all my complaints as well as my accomplishments. Once you sign up for the LDR, don’t leave that person out there. Support is everything.

-Discipline-

“When your significant other is out of town, you may want to be around the opposite sex, but you know you can’t put yourself in that situation.” You know yourself better than anyone and you know what lines you shouldn’t cross. If you know that hanging out with particular people will be a problem for your relationship, it’s probably best to not do it.

-Patience-

“Most relationships fail because the other person doesn’t want to wait.” If you talked about it and have plans in place then this shouldn’t be a problem. LDRs are hard and they take a lot of effort. You have to be patient with each other and work together.

I hope these 6 things help! I believe that all things work out the way that they should! So, if you both want it and work at, it’ll work for you. Look for the good, pray for the good.

5 must haves

Girls Weekend Must-Haves

It’s the weekend and there’s nothing like having a girls weekend! I spent last weekend in New Orleans with three other ladies and we had an amazing time! I haven’t been on a girls trip since college, so forgot how much fun spending time with a great group of girls could be! I returned from New Orleans full of motivation and inspiration. Along with a stomachache from laughing for 48 hours and a couple of extra pounds, but it was all in the name of good fun and definitely worth it! Girls trips can be a bit tricky. You have different personalities, different interests, and you feel like there has to be some disagreement, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are 5 tips for a successful girls weekend:

 

-A Good Attitude-

Instead of going into a trip thinking about all of the different personalities you have to deal with, go in thinking that you are going to have fun regardless! I’m definitely an introvert and was on the trip with three extroverts (ahhhhhhh), but their energy was great to be around! As women, we have to do a better job of embracing and respecting each other’s uniqueness and check the attitude at the door!

-A Nice Place to Stay-

A great place to stay makes you feel at home! This was my first time using Airbnb and for a girls trip, it’s definitely the way to go. Instead of sharing room(s) at a hotel, we had a beautiful home in Uptown New Orleans that felt like ours for the weekend.

-A Reason to Get Dolled Up-

Sometimes I feel like I have a closet full of cute clothes with nowhere to go! I was super excited to go on this trip because it gave me a reason to get dolled up! We went to  New Orleans for my line sister’s bridal shower and the theme was “Flaunt Your Florals.” It was such a cute theme and I couldn’t wait to put on my florals and makeup and head out with the girls!

-A Late Night Chat-

Girl talk is all about staying up past our bedtimes talking about everything under the sun! From relationship advice to health tips. I really learned so much this past weekend. I fell in love with blush, tried some new snacks, learned how to properly say “Neapolitan”, and more! I just love girl talk!

-A “No Diets Allowed” Rule-

Don’t pack your healthy diet! It’s only a couple of days and we all deserve to indulge a little bit! So, while you are brunching with the ladies, skip the oatmeal and get the pancakes, and the bacon, and the potatoes. Extra syrup, please! You can always add a little fresh fruit and water on the side to make you feel healthier! The gym and smoothies will be waiting on you when you return!

Watch Us Flaunt Our Florals!