Pandemics and Racism

It’s been nearly two and a half years since my last post and to say that life’s really happened in that time would not be an exaggeration. Now, it is 2020;  ask anyone and they will tell you that this was not what they were expecting in a new decade. Kobe Bryant’s death was the start of decline for hope in the year and now we are in a pandemic and also in a time of grieving, protesting and reacting to the deaths of more unarmed Black people due to racism. To have all of these tabs open isn’t comforting, but conversations that we as a people have long avoided are being had.

Anyone who knows me knows I dislike conflict, drama and disheartening news. It is exhausting. Personally, the years 2017 through 2019 served up enough drama for me. However, with people genuinely checking in on me for my health: physically, due to COVID-19 and mentally, due to the killings of people who look like me, it’s lead me to pause and think about my feelings.

From a very young age, us Black people are faced with the realization that our expiration date as a race tends to be quicker than our brothers and sisters with less melanin. We deal with higher risk of a number of diseases and although slavery ended 150+ years ago, the root of what lead to it and what kept it alive so long hasn’t been dealt with. Families were torn apart with slavery back then and today, it is with the prison system and being killed in situations that don’t warrant the loss of life. My constant fear is to grow numb as the hashtags of victims’ names rack up on social media like money being raised for a ’90s telethon.

My second major was African and African Diaspora Studies at UT, but to be honest, like most students, I probably skipped doing a lot of required reading and now I am not only regretting that decision of 20-something me, but wanting to (re)read those books and articles to educate myself outside of my personal Black experience and be better versed in sharing when friends, colleagues and associates ask me what they can do to help and how can they learn more about systemic racism. At times I feel like I’ve done myself and those who I influence knowingly and unknowingly a disservice by not fully utilizing that knowledge and my story to spark change.

My Black experience includes seasons of being told I acted White, seasons of self-hatred because I didn’t know where I fit in at, and my current season of continued self-discovery, the realization that my story as it is has value and finally keeping my crown on my head. I am still in the process of determining my personal plan of action in being part of positive change, but felt that I should just start by writing out my feelings and initial thoughts.

More than a Marathon

This is my first post since 2016. I told myself that I would be more consistent in 2018; we will see how that goes. 2017 was a great year for me. It was noted as the year of victory per the biblical meaning of “17” and I was determined to shoot my shot in many areas of my life. I got my edges snatched by loved ones at the beginning of 2017 which contributed to me rediscovering my power and my own light. Little did I know that those would be two of the things I’d put to work during the end of the year.

For two and a half years, I’d been stressed out at work because I didn’t leave when God told me to. This lead to gaining 20 pounds on to of the 10 pounds from the 2014-2015 winter holiday break because instead of being proactive with my career and seeing what other opportunities were out there, I stayed and was moved to a different team with a different dynamic than what best fits my work style. I was on a great team, we produced awesome work, but I felt stagnant and experienced burn out.

At the beginning of 2017, I sensed that this would be my last year at the company and started applying and interviewing for jobs that were promotions from my current role. I listened to books about pivoting in your career, read articles about how to “hold on” when you’re not digging your job any more, and even downloaded a book about how to quit. I never listened to the last book because in September 2017, I was let go from my job during the restructuring of my team.

Being let go was God’s unconventional answer to my prayer for rest and refueling. It happened at the beginning of my birth month the same week I started training for my first marathon. That was the best birthday gift that my last team gave me and I say that with no sarcasm. I had so much peace the day I walked out of the office with my box of things and that night’s 5K with my run group was even faster than my usual pace.

For three months, I balanced marathon training and interviewing for jobs. Although I knew God had me and would provide, I questioned Him about how long I would be in this season. My bills were getting paid, I had a small community of support who prayed for me, prayed with me, and sent me job posting information, but I’d convinced myself long ago that I was always supposed to have it together and felt like a failure.

During the last month of marathon training, two different companies I’d applied for numerous positions with contacted me. One was for a position I’d initially been reluctant to apply for and the other company reached out to me about a position that I didn’t apply for, but because I was in the system, my qualifications told them I was a perfect match. The latter company is in the same building as my old job.

I interviewed with both companies prior to the marathon. One interview was before the Thanksgiving break. The interview with the company within the same building as my old job was one day shy of being three months since I’d left that address with my cardboard box. Both interviews went extremely well and led to final round interviews following the marathon. Peace overcame me along with the sense that on the other side of the race, I would receive offers and would go into 2018 refreshed and with a new job.

I spent a good amount of the 6 hours and 48 minutes it took me to finish my marathon thinking about my final round interviews and how I would wear heels that week when I wasn’t thinking about what I had gotten myself into and why didn’t I decide to change to the half marathon at the last minute. Had I not been thinking about final round interviews, I probably would’ve gone faster but I’ll do better next time. Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment in and of itself ESPECIALLY when the van going to the finish line asks if you want a ride. Making it to my medal, my run family, my cousin and my cupcakes was the official close of a chapter for me.

I brought up my marathon in both of my final round interviews. My marathon medal remained in the car while I interviewed with both companies. The woman I became in 2017 from the reality checks, a re-established fitness routine, a season of rest and checking something off of my life’s to do list that I’d back out of 2 years in a row shined through in front of potential bosses. It made finally sense that the reason I’d been attracted to yellow dresses so much that year was because I recognized and owned up to how lit God made me.

What I went through off of the pavement made my on pavement, in running shoe victory so special to me. I now work in the same building as my old job with a company and team I see growth in and on the welcome board the fun fact beside my picture is “I’m a marathoner.” There are times you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, times you want to keep your pride and not ask for help, and times you want God to speed up because you feel like you’ve learned what you needed to and are ready for the next stage in your life. However, keep moving, keep trusting, and remember faith the size of a mustard seed can push you further than you logically think.

My First Time…at Xoticy

On July 16 around 3 pm, my cherry was popped. No, not that one; I’m still holding out. The popped cherry was me FINALLY attending one of Monica Wilson’s Xoticy classes. Well…more like 3 back to back classes.

I was first introduced to Xoticy in early 2015 through an Instagram post by Jessica of J’Samone’s Stiletto Dance Experience. Of course I had to go check out the Xoticy IG page…followed by the YouTube channel. I can’t tell you which video made me want to try it out, but as a woman who likes being barefoot equally as she likes her high heels, I was down.

Fast forward to July 2016, I’d been on the fence about attending because I was supposed to leave for a work trip the Sunday after, but once my trip was pushed back, I registered and decided to go big or go home by signing up for all three classes. Even though I’ve been in and out of heels dance classes over the past year, I was nervous. You’d think I’d be less nervous as I’m barefoot with or without socks when I’m not at work, but I had butterflies. Although I’d mentioned the class, I didn’t invite my girls to come along because I felt it was something I needed to experience at least once by myself so that I could see behind the insecurities and get in my sexy.


Monica broke the ice at the start of class. I thought she was taller than she actually is, but because her hair is the definition of hair growth goals and her personality is larger than life – full of truth, realness, and a passion for empowering women to do sexy their way – you really couldn’t tell…unless you asked to take a photo with her and stood 6 feet tall.

Each class had different choreography with the first two classes being completely new dances. In class one, I was still kind of shy and nervous about really putting all my personality into it. By class two and three, I couldn’t care less because I was there for me. It wasn’t about learning moves I could do to dance for a guy. It wasn’t an experience I signed up for just to talk about it on social media. It was about me continuing the journey of discovering and defining my sexy. It’s easy to get caught up in the game of what do you need to change about yourself to be sexy – lose weight, straighten your kinky and coily hair, keep your face beat – but if you’re doing it to get someone’s attention – your motives are wrong. Throughout the classes, Monica would consistently remind us to throw out what we think is sexy, forget about the inner Beyonce and just do you. That was needed and appreciated. My alter ego Ari Bamboo had the time of her life Saturday and I recommend other women check out her tour or classes in Atlanta if you’re interested.

Save Dat Money

Lil’ Dicky’s “Save Dat Money” is my adulting theme song. After living in Dallas nearly 3 years with family, I found my own apartment which I’ve been in since August. Although I paid rent while living with my cousins, more bills are added to the equation when you live on your own. And when you know what you like and it’s a nonnegotiable, sometimes you have to pay more. That being said, I moved into a new apartment complex and I’m the first person to live in my little haven. It took me a while to get into the groove of accepting how much money comes out of my account for the roof over my head, but I finally hopped on board with a couple of ways I can save money on necessities and those moments in times I want to treat myself.

Ibotta is an app that allows you to get paid for in-store shopping. It’s inclusive of grocery shopping as well as clothing and other dry goods. Vicky Logan the YouTuber was the first person I heard speak about it and considering how much I spend on food a month, signing up was a no brainer. Regardless of the amount of your first rebate, you get another $10 for using the app within the first month of signing up. Also, manufacturer coupons can be used in addition to your Ibotta rebate. Won’t He do it? If you decide to download the app, please be sure to use this referral code: pemuxik

Ebates is the program that I wish I would’ve signed up for earlier in life because I am always online shopping. You can get a percentage back while shopping online with lots of well known online retailers – including Groupon! I’ve seen as much as 12% cash back during their double % time periods, so if you’re a shopaholic, you may as well get paid. What I like to do is go use RetailMeNot for coupon codes and the Ebates browser extension so that way I save even more. If you spend up to $25 within the first month or two months of signing up, you get a $10 gift card of your choice. Oh, and if you’re forgetful like me at times and think you’ll forget to sign into Ebates before making a purchase, you can add an extension to your web browser so it recognizes when you’re shopping online. Click here to sign up.

I hope exposing you to these apps and subscriptions will bless your wallet. There’s so many more if you do the research, but I wanted to share my newest finds. Save dat money, y’all!

African Maxi + Button Up




EARRINGS: Amani Ya Juu | LIPSTICK: NYX Cosmetics
BODYSUIT: Monroe & Main | SKIRT: Rahyma (herehere, and here)

Earlier this week, I posted about my experience at the Zuvaa Pop Up Shop in the DFW Metroplex. After trying on 3 beautiful items, I bought this skirt by Rahyma Clothing. I’m six feet tall, and it is the the perfect length for me whether I rock flats or heels. There are many colors to pull from within the wearable art piece, so the outfit combinations are endless for dressing up and dressing down. This skirt can be found on Zuvaa’s website and Rahyma’s Etsy.




Zuvaa Pop Up Dallas


This past weekend was a busy one. From meeting up with my small group for happy hour Friday after work to a college friend’s bridal shower on Saturday. Between it all, I checked out Zuvaa‘s pop up shop early Saturday morning. Zuvaa is an online marketplace for African inspired clothing and accessories that has been around since 2014. It was started by Kelechi Anyadiegwu, a woman who was recognized by Forbes as one of 30 under 30 in Retail and Ecommerce.


Despite the fact that I’ve been drawn to more neutrals (and camouflage) lately, my wardrobe still screams for colorful, wearable works of art in an African-inspired high-waisted skirt or dress. I purchased my first piece from Zuvaa in 2014 and received amazing customer service, so it only made sense to wake up early to check out what Kelechi had brought to the Metroplex. Of course, I couldn’t go without rocking the skirt I’d previously purchased from her.



I was one of the first customers to arrive and it took no time for other women to show up. After trying on a few pieces – 2 skirts and 1 dress – I bought a maxi skirt that fit my tall frame well. The dress almost came home with me, but I resisted the urge to step outside of the comfort zone of straps. I’m wearing my new skirt to work this week, so be on the lookout for an outfit post. Check out if you are interested in adding more color and creativity to your wardrobe!

3 Career Lessons from Being Mary Jane

As winter draws near, my favorite television shows are ending for the season. Empire’s finale was Wednesday and tonight season 3 for Being Mary Jane will come to an end. Between the coming to Jesus moment in Greg’s office a couple of weeks ago and last week’s call out by the students paired with Loretta Devine’s advice, here are a few takeaways for the young professional.

Recognize who your advocates are
When you want to move to the next level, you cannot do it on your own. You need a support system – a squad. Look to people who have been in the industry longer than you have. What can you learn from them? If internal promotion opportunities come up at your job, is there anyone who can put in a good word for you?

To be early is to be on time
Transparent moment: this is a current struggle. At some point during my adult life, I became complacent. However, it’s a bad habit I’m working to break. In my role, I’m expected to keep my team running smoothly and minimize the chaos. If my team starts sliding into my Outlook inbox at 9 am or was up until midnight sending requests my way, I owe it to myself and team to get in a little early, read through the emails, and plan out the day before it starts to effectively get things done.

Always be prepared
Someone once said, “If you stay ready, you won’t have to get ready” and that is true. Use the end of each day or first minutes of each morning to prepare for the work day ahead. Do your research. If you’re leading meetings or presentations, get the decks out at least an hour ahead so you can start on time. Even if there’s a casual dress code, your outfits should be put together as if your clients or CEO will walk by your desk. Develop a toolbox of alternative plans of action to pull from for last minute requests and fire drill moments by looking at past experiences and executions.

I’ve said it before: how you end this year will set the tone for how you start 2016. I’m determined to apply the above in preparation for the new year as well as the bonus point of not tearing down to build. Mary Jane Paul may not always have it together (see her love life) but her fictional career pushes me to pursue my non-fictional career goals.

Abs and Barres


My 25th year of life was a decline in working out to say the least. I didn’t run much and actually reneged on running my first marathon. Even when purchasing Groupons and specials for Bikram yoga, the only yoga I practice, I didn’t go the entire month. All of that laziest resulted in me gaining a good 20 pounds, 12 of which I still have to lose before I am back to my normal weight. The goal is to lose 22 pounds, but first, let me lose these last 12.

On Saturday, I attended my first barre class at The Barre Code. In addition to running track, I was also a dancer and cheerleader as a child, and after hearing great things about barre classes, I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, Facebook grabbed my attention with an ad that said that 11/21 was the day the studio closest to me would offer free classes to the public.

As I write this, I am sore. My abs is where I feel it most, but it is a full body workout. I attended the Barre Code Basics class, which would be considered strength training. Despite knowing that I need to incorporate strength training in my routine rather than just running, it’s difficult for me to stay motivated to lift weights. However, the Barre Code class incorporated exercises that involved utilizing your own body weight as well as the barre and between the instructor and other students, I kept going.

Here’s a short breakdown of what Barre Code included in just 50 minutes: warm up, ab & core work, lower body, and arms. From various exercises on the floor to using the barre as a dancer would to work the hips, buns, and thighs (which are a blessing and a curse to me), we kept our body guessing throughout the class. Also, there are modifications for a good amount of the exercises, so you can tailor the workout to your current abilities.

After surviving my first class and feeling the fruits of my workout the day after, I plan to attend more classes. I want to run a marathon in 2016, so I could see this being a cross training workout if I don’t feel up to yoga. If you have a barre studio in your area, check it out. As I continue my fit thick journey, I’ll keep y’all posted as to what’s working for me.