to be hopeless & romantic . . .

“They say I’m hopeless, as a penny with a hole in it.”- Dionne Farris. “Hopeless”

It has been noted that , patience is a virtue. Let us dig a bit deeper into that. Patience is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay , trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.”  Where as, virtue is defined as “behavior showing high moral standards.” As I carefully read and comprehend these two definitions I am left with the unsettling discovery that I have neither. At least as it refers to love.  I must ask myself, was there always this lack? Possibly.  It seems, when it comes to love I am but two things, insufferably hopeless and overwhelmingly romantic. It is a blessing that, more times than not, feels like a curse. I sometimes fear sharing my ideas with my friends when it comes to love because it would appear that I am alone in my belief that real love exists. And I get it. From the inside looking out , love seems scary.  In a world where settling seems to be the norm , those of us who crave more tend to be ostracized; our views analyzed and belittled. My ideas on love have always been seen as fairytale notions and fallacies. But I , don’t agree. I think over the years, for some, love has become a watered down synonym for complacency. We’ve grown accustomed to being second, abused , used and we call it love. Where did we go wrong? How can I make it right ? So I write. And in doing so , I hope to ignite the flame within you that burns for something more .  That you may learn that love is never less , it is always more. I pray that you rediscover what it means to be passionate about love. And passionate people are rarely patient. We want what we want , when we want it. At times my urgency is misconstrued as desperation. But don’t be mislead. I just want love. I want real . And there ain’t a damn person on this earth that can convince me that it doesn’t exist. Your reality is not mine, and mine not yours. But I want for you , what you are too afraid to want for yourself. The kind of love that’s over the top , made for movies, “couldn’t be real it’s just too dramatic”. May you one day know the joys of being a hopeless romantic.

As always , thanks for listening<3

-A Hopeless Romantic

( Taj)

to be financially free . . .

“About the time we can make the ends meet, somebody moves the ends.”- Herbert Hoover

I don’t know about you , but that quote is so very true for my life. Whether it’s a rainy day I forgot to save for or a parking ticket that could have been avoided, it seems , every time I get on track with my finances something sets me back. I have never been good with money management; I am confident in expressing my flaws. It’s not been for lack of know-how but more out of an impulsive spending habit that seems to have been inherited. Over the years I have done my best to make a conscience effort to save more than I spend , but I seem to be good at only one of those things. The part that is frustrating for me is that this spending is never frivolous or for self- indulgence, if you don’t count food, I’m simply incompetent at budgeting correctly. And that leads to unbalanced accounts and unpaid notes; not good , I know. On the cusp of 25 years of living I am struggling to live in my purpose all while not being a slave to financial debt and the oh so treasured , FICO score. I am not afraid to admit that I have made many mistakes on this slippery slope to financial freedom, but if my mistakes can prevent my children’s , then it’s all worth it. You know what I did today ?  In movie theater dramatic fashion, I stormed the kitchen cabinets scouring for a golden pair of scissors! Once found,  I hastily dumped out the possessions of my pocketbook , searching for my square plastic pieces of debt and  one by one I cut them up.  I would love to say that a weight lifted from my shoulders and I breathed a sigh of relief, but nope , the debt is still there. But I will say, it felt good to know that once  the debt is paid and the smoke finally clears , I won’t have those square plastic pieces to tempt me with. I don’t think credit cards are bad and I thoroughly understand  the importance of credit, but until I am able to successfully budget and save , I am  better off without the temptation. Growing up I wasn’t taught the importance of credit and correct money management skills, they were learned through trial and error; maybe I am a better person for it. As I type this up, I am also working  on a spreed sheet that thoroughly lists all my debts and a plan for how I can pay everything off by 2017. It really helps to see everything all laid out in front of you; I like to tackle things head on. I may not have as much debt as most stories I’ve heard of, but , even a little is too much. So, based on my experience , I would like to give a couple tips and pieces of advice to help you all on your journey to financial freedom ( I should probably write these down too) :

  • Credit , good credit, is important. Parents teach your kids the importance of gaining and keeping good credit by means of good managing skills ( i.e paying on time.)
  • Know your credit score. What you don’t know WILL hurt you in this case. Be proactive. There are plenty  of free sites [Credit Karma, Credit Sesame] that can give you a rather accurate base of what your score is, but if you are really serious about monitoring your credit I would suggest getting your FICO score directly from the source. [ Myfico.com] You are also granted one free credit report each year offered by annualcreditreport.com. Make sure that everything on your report is accurate and belongs to you, if not , dispute it!
  • Pay your bills on time. Not only is it good practice, but it also will help to show future lenders ( think house & car) that you are financially responsible and reliable. If for any reason you fall behind  or have an issue with paying , don’t wait , call your creditor and explain the problem and see if there are any payment arrangements that can be scheduled to avoid you getting too far behind. Take the initiative , show a willingness to pay and trust me they will work with you.
  • Debt is NOT necessary to establish credit. Do not spend beyond your means , only spend what you are able to repay immediately.
  • Ignoring debt won’t make it go away. No matter how far behind you are , it will only get worse if you do nothing.
  • BUDGET. *50/20/30 rule. Ideally, no more than 50% of your monthly income should go to fixed expenses ( rent, car note, phone bill, etc), bills that don’t change (much) from month to month. 20% should go to savings ( rainy day, new car, new house) and 30% should be for flexible spending ( entertainment, groceries, gas , etc.) I feel like this model works for the most part and  provides a bit of structure to your  budget. Try it out , see what you think. Discipline and consistency will be your best friends.
  • Plan ahead. Think about how the decisions you make today will affect you 5, 10, 20 years from now. Today you might really want that 3,000$ bag , but can you afford it ?
  • STAY AWAY FROM PAYDAY LOANS. (READ THAT AGAIN) Seriously, it’s not worth it. Desperation will make you believe it is, but it is NOT. Just trust me.
  • If you make a mistake , don’t beat yourself up. Learn your lesson and keep on moving.

Money is not evil, the love of money is. It is so important to learn how to balance your finances without becoming obsessed  with monetary gain at the expense of your sanity. It’s simple,  spend what you have on what you need , and only get what you want , if you have it to spend. Don’t work yourself to death trying to impress this world because I’ve and learned that the saying is true

“The best things in life are free.”- A wise soul

As always, thanks for listening

-Taj

 

*Information provided by Learnvest.com

 

 

to be brown & beautiful . . .

“They say the  blacker the berry , the sweeter the juice. I say the darker the flesh, than the deeper the roots.”- Tupac 1993

In America.

To all my beautiful melaninated, majestic and magical sisters, this is for you.

For every time you were called pretty “to be” (darkskin)

Or all the nights you spent frying your curls to get your hair bone-straight because your boyfriend thought you look “better like that.”

For the women who know that most black men only love our complexion on their Instagram or Tumblr screen; fetishized instead of appreciated.

For every time a guy told you he doesn’t normally “do” women your complexion, but you were different, as if it were a compliment.

For the hurt in knowing that your complexion is only accepted if it’s “foreign.”

For the darkskin girl with lightskin sisters; constantly in unwarranted competition.

For the times you were afraid to play hide and seek at night because you’re friends would complain that they ” couldn’t see you.”

I see you.

I know what it’s like to be brown and beautiful and most days not even know it.

May we begin to love who we are, just the way we are

And raise women who don’t have to learn to love the melanin in their skin

And men who know and respect that it comes in many different shades.

to be brown & beautiful . . . bittersweet.

 

As always , thanks for listening,

-Taj ❤

 

Being Shameless . . . For Introverts.

[So I know it’s been forever , but you love me anyway. Right? I sure hope so.]

For any of you who follow me on any other social media site or who support my official website, thank you, you know that I have been doing anything but nothing. Moving to LA has been such a motivator as far as my creative ventures are concerned. I truly believe this is why God allowed the move to happen, to force me to create , even the days I don’t feel like it. I am in the process of publishing my very first book, I released a poetry album on Soundcloud and just shy of its 6 month anniversary my Youtube channel just reached 100 subscribers. Excited doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel right now. The only thing I am not doing right now is designing and that has more to do with my enviroment then my desire to do so, but I am working on moving into a place where I feel I can finish my newest collection.Even as personal situations and financial struggles plague my life my creativity seems to be in full effect and I am just happy that at least that part of my life is going right. And you know why? Because of a vow I made to myself , to promote myself as much as I do those I love and support. A vow to push my brand so hard that people have no choice, but to look. A vow to be

SHAMELESS.

Thanks to one of my new favorite YouTubers, Ms. Maya Washington aka Shameless Maya, I have decided to embark on the journey that started her on the path to being her best self, the #365ShamelessJourney. It all started when she asked herself a very basic, but necessary and life-changing question, “What would happen if I shamelessly promoted myself for 365 days?” If you wanna know her answer , watch her channel and be amazed. She inspired me to ask myself the same question and I did. By May 8, 2017 we shall have our answer. On the heels of accepting the channel of the #365ShamelessJourney I was given the honor of attending her birthday party/networking celebration , a sign of confirmation, and I realized a couple of things about myself that I forgot along the way.

  1. I am still an introvert at heart. I am naturally silly, outgoing, talkative and personable , but only when I am comfortable and know those I am surrounded by. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it can be a hinderance if I allow it to be.
  2. Big crowds incite a bit of anxiety for me . This isn’t something new , but I think it’s worse in settings where I need to be social because I haven’t yet learned how to manage it.
  3. Being shameless cannot co-exist with insecurity. I have to make the conscious decision to love myself if I want other people to.

Yesterday’s event showed me that I still have a bit of spreading to do with these social butterfly wings , but I am confident that this year will bring forth the best me and I can’t wait to meet her; it’s been a long time coming. I encourage you all to join me, the more the merrier, and let’s celebrate 365 days of self-love and shameless promotion. We deserve it!

—-Stay connected with me—-

Official Website: www.natajazanelle.com

YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/c/natajazanelle

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/natajazanelle

Social Media Handles: @NatajaZanelle (IG, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat)

 

 

As always, thanks for listening

-Taj<3

 

 

 

Passion vs. Pain

The past few weeks has been a bit rough on me , both mentally and spiritually. There has been just so many things going on and I haven’t been doing too good of a job managing my stress. I haven’t been to church in 3 weeks and I can’t tell you why. I am past due on the deadline for my spring collection and I am no where near on schedule for completing it. This time not for lack of inspiration, but simply because I don’t want to. I would consider this “the struggle to create when hurting.” Because that’s exactly what it is. I am hurting and not coping with it well. Everything from family issues to love life woes is weighing heavy on my heart right now. Normally I would be able to work through it; ignore the pain and persevere. But this time was just too much. Maybe because everything happened around the same time or it could be that I’ve just finally reached my breaking point. I don’t know if this is what a nervous breakdown feels like , but if not it has to be pretty close.  The worse part is that while my heart suffers my mind flourishes ; my creativity feeds off hurt. I am just now feeling like I have my head above water and I am working in overtime to get my life back on track. I’ve never felt so much pain to the point that hindered my passion, but I guess there is a first time for everything. I think though, that I needed that break to remember that I am human. Sometimes I suppress my feelings so much that I forget that I have them. I am not use to feeling vulnerable and open, but in those two weeks , I felt everything and it reminded me that old wounds only  close  when I take the time to heal them . Here is to maintaining and preserving our mental health because we are human and it only takes but so much to send us over the ledge; it is our job to make sure we never get that close.

Special thank you to all my friends who I’ve confided in , the ones who remind me of my dream & vision when I’m no longer able to see it. Funny how they are the reason I am still in LA and the very reason I want to go back home. Love you all.

As always, thanks for listening

-Taj<3

My LA Story: 1 Month Update

Today marks my 1st entire month in LA and I spent the beginning of it sleep in an airport chair. Fun, right ? As I type I am currently waiting in Gate 69B for my 7:10am flight that almost didn’t happen: but God. I have a spoken word show this Saturday that I am Uber excited for and due to human error I almost wouldn’t have made it .For whatever reason I was under the impression that my plane was leaving 1220 am on Friday not on Thursday and I was sitting in BWW stuffing my face as my plane flew off into the sunset. Talk about stressed ! I had to rush home throw some clothes in a bag, I’m sure I left something , and have my best friend rush me to the airport. Nothing but faith kept me from having a nervous melt down because coincidentally my tickets were non-transferable and not able to be exchanged ; my only option to pray I could fly standby . And pray I did , hard. And God definitely came through in the clutch ( Thank you Ms. Donna) and I was able to score seats on the first flight out in the morning ; this is my second time “sleeping” at LAX. Nonetheless I am flying out , a day early, and will be able to make my show! 

Today pretty much sums up my experience here in Los Angeles ; completely walked by faith . Within my first month here I was blessed to be hired on the spot by three different home care jobs and have been working at one of them for the last three weeks. I knew that coming here meant that I would still need to work as a CNA until I could become completely self-employed , but I didn’t want that to effect the real reason I moved , my creative pursuits. It has been so refreshing to be able to set my own schedule so that I can make money while still building my brand without feeling overworked and underpaid. Now this is not to say that there hasn’t been any bumps and roadblocks, I have no vehicle and no place to call my own yet, but I have chosen to find the silver lining and give of positivity instead of pessimism. There’s something so beautiful about being so grateful for what you do have that you forget to focus on what you don’t. God has blessed me to be in connection with two beautiful #GirlBosses that have helped me in more ways than I can count and I will forever be thankful for them ( Loren & T’Asia❤️.) I knew that this move wouldn’t be easy , but I’m prepared for the challenge.I promised myself that I would give LA atleast a  year and then decide if it’s really where I want to call home, and so far I’m sticking to it . 1 month down. 11 to go. 

As always , thanks for listening ❤️

-Taj

1st Generation Dreamer.

1st generation college student . It’s a phrase you hear all the time and I , for a while, thought that that would be my title . Straight out of high school I made the decision to pursue my Associates RN license to fulfill my then dream of being a registered nurse . Then life happened & my dream changed . I don’t regret my decision to leave school , but it does sadden me that I disappointed some people in the process. I’ve always been and always will be a fan of higher education ; I will get a degree before I return to dust. I just couldn’t see myself spending thousands and thousands of dollars on a degree for a careeer I no longer saw myself in . At my core I am a creative soul and not having freedom to create is a life that I saw for myself if I continued in the nursing field . I think it’s so important to love what you do and do what you love and I found myself living a life that contradicted that. Making the choice to follow my dreams and give up the lifestyle I knew was something I did after much prayer and consideration . My family doesn’t agree with my choices,  but I know I have their support at the end of the day . I feel like most people feel like theirs no room for dreaming when you have responsibilities and I want to change that status quo. I want to be the one to show my family that you can dream and that if you work hard enough that it will come into fruition . My younger sister is pursuing her college degree and I am so proud of her for that . She can have that life; it works for her . For me , I like the thrill of the chase and the idea of reaching for the stars as if they are eye level. Titles don’t define me , but I’ll gladly take this one ; 1st Generation Dreamer. 

As always , thanks for listening ❤️

-Taj

“Jumping”

I watched a video last night of Steve Harvey talking to his “Family Feud” audience ; well after the cameras had stopped rolling. His message was about “jumping” , going after that dream, that goal  & that passion you have. And it resonated so much with me because quitting my job and moving across the country was one of the biggest jumps that I have taken. While his main intention was to encourage, and he did, it also shed some light on the not so good parts of “jumping.” He so beautifully illustrated going after a dream and likened it to jumping off a cliff or out of a plane. And he said something that has never been truer today than ever before, that your parachute won’t always open at first. He said you’ll have to go through skinned knees and get beat up a little before you get there.

I found out today that my mom is going into surgery tomorrow morning.

2,000 some miles away and my favorite person in the world is about to go under the knife and I won’t be there when she opens her eyes. All because I’m chasing a dream. If that ain’t a closed parachute I don’t know what is. I don’t know how many times I can almost lose my mom until I break. That’s my heart, and this little girl has no desire to live in a world without her mom.

Really going to need that parachute to open sometime soon.

 

As always, thanks for listening ❤

-Taj

Searching . . .

*pauses job search*

For the first time in over 7 years I am back in the pool of the unemployed and having the darnest time finding a JOB. This is such a different experience because I am so used to working and being busy that I can’t truly appreciate this standstill that I am at. I feel like I am being unproductive and I hate to admit this , but I am really missing the familarity of routine. I know, the very thing I moved to get away from , is now what I desire. Crazy. But I think we have established that my sanity is still in questioning. I am drowning in a pile of resumes , references and coverletters; oh joy. I’m trying not to complain because I knew the risks and consequences before I moved and I did it anyway , but the unknown is definitely scary. I wrestle with my emotions and self-doubting tendencies a lot, but I know that I am built for this, I just need to get out there and get what I asked for. Being alone gives me a lot of time to sit and think and we all know “an idle mind is the devil’s playground.” So I am trying my hardest to get out , meet new people and try to make new connections and relationships. I really recommend “MeetUp” which is an app available on your mobile device that can connect you with different groups of people in your area with shared interests and hobbies. I had the pleasure of attending an event on Saturday ( Yes, the day after I moved ha-ha) with a group of ladies , it was a 2016 Vision Board Party. It was perfect because I was already a bit leery about meeting up with people I didn’t know , but the vibe of the event was very welcoming and not intimidating at all. I felt very relaxed and I really enjoyed my time. My vision board came out AWESOME and it made me excited for this new year! VB

And as an added bonus I now have a new friend in the area; we went for happy hour last night. That was a wild and crazy experience! So while part of me is freaking out about being unemployed , the other half of me is very much at peace with my decision and knows that if I give it my all nothing but good can come from it. I don’t know who this is for, but I want to encourage you to dream and reach for everything that your heart desires and more than that , to trust the gifts and the talents that God has given you. Trust yourself enough to go for what you want. It’s okay to be scared . It’s okay to second guess. But don’t you dare allow it to stop you from walking in the greatness that is destined for your life. Give it your all and God will respond. I am living proof. Okay, enough preaching.

*returns to job search*

As always , thanks for listening ❤

-Taj

HELLO LA! (Literally from the other side)

So I did it.

Did what, you ask?

I  (in no particular order) brought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, quit my job & actually boarded the plane to a place where I know not a single soul.

Crazy. Ballsy. Courageous. Stupid. Did I say crazy? Insane.

Did I just describe a dreamer? I think so.

I am currently typing this post from an AirBNB home where I will be staying until I can find a more permanent living situation and hopefully a J O B! Yes, I moved out here without either.

Did I say crazy?

I DO NOT recommend you do any of the above, but I will say , I didn’t die . Haha. I am simply taking risks & trying to live life the best I know how. I am stepping out on faith and praying that I don’t sink. My favorite quote in this season of my growth is

What If I Fall?

Because its so true. While there is a real possibility that you might fail, there is also an equally real possibility that you will succeed. I for one, am so inspired but the latter that the former isn’t a factor in my decisions.

I am not sure how long this journey will last, but I am going to do everything in my power to give it my best shot. After all, what’s the alternative?

I pray that my life inspires, motivates & encourages someone to dream, again. It’s never too late to do what you love!

Follow my journey on my YouTube channel : Nataja Zanelle

Quote of the Day:

“Do what you love & the money will come”

As always, thanks for listening ❤

-Taj