Dating // January 12, 2015

This article originally appeared on BauceMag.com and was written by Vanessa Walker.

We all wonder when is it okay to finally hit the sack with the man we’re dating. It’s a tricky subject and everyone has a different viewpoints on it. With the double standards between men and women, it is hard for liberated women to do what they want without being scrutinized for it.

The typical labels: if you have sex too quick then you’re easy but if you wait too long then you’re stuck up. Or if you have too many sexual partners you’re a “hoe” but if you don’t open your legs to everyone then you still manage to be a prude. No matter which route you decide to drive down, making decisions isn’t the easiest. Maintaining a sexual balance or defining it rather can be downright hard.

To add more fuel to the fire about when to have sex or not, the “90-day rule” wags its dirty tail and comes into play. This means waiting 90 days after you meet a man before you become sexually involved. This is three months of just dating, talking and learning about each other through intellectual conversation and fun activities besides sex. Usually sex tends to cloud our minds and leave us astray from experiencing the true qualities of a person. When sex seeps in between, you become full of lust and the physical attraction may distract you from the mental and emotional attraction you can create with that person.

If you think that the man you’re dating is someone you see in your future, trying to commit to the 90-day rule is important. You get to learn more about his personality and future long term goals. Women agree with this rule because it allows them to get to know someone better and not get caught up in the complications sex creates.

If you came out of a long relationship and you’re ready to have fun, at least give yourself a little while before hopping into bed with just anyone. With the rise of HIV/AIDS and STDs spreading, it is much easier to contract an infection. One night stands may be fun and sometimes are inevitable if you’re drinking back-to-back shots, but it’s still imperative to always be protected. And even if you're not dreaming of wedding bells, it’s important to have an idea of who you’re about to have sex with, whether it be a friend, acquaintance, or a complete stranger.

Protect yourself emotionally and physically and know your long term (and short term) goals when you’re meeting someone. Once you decide what you want from them, everything else is easier afterwards.

Published in Dating

Love + Dating // June 16, 2014

This article was originally posted on Baucemag.com and was written by Monique Gossett.

Relationships fail. It’s a fact of life. We’ve all had “the talk” with someone, and a few of us not-so-lucky ones have received “the text”, “status update”, or another equally trifling method as an end to a relationship. No matter who is at fault, someone wanted out and the relationship has failed. F-a-i-l-e-d. Failure. Ugh! The word is so negative. But guess what, you have the opportunity to get something positive from all the hurt, lies, and tears. Are you willing to see the rainbow after the storm? It does get better. Life goes on. If you can just embrace a few of the following lessons you’ll be a better woman for Mr. Right and be able to kick Mr. Wrong to the curb quicker! So grab a pen and a pad and take some notes!

1. Love yourself more.

If you start and end every relationship with this principle, you’ll always know how to make the best decision. How, you may ask? Well, if you love, value, and cherish yourself more than you do any man, you’ll demand the same standard of love from him. He will hold you in the same light you hold yourself in. Make him rise to the occasion!

2. Don’t believe the “Love conquers all” lies they told you!

Did I just say that? Yeah I did. Love is an action word that encompasses friendship, trust, support, accountability … need I go on? Believe his actions over his words. He’s gotta do more than whisper sweet nothings in your ear.

3. Trust your gut.

It’s really that simple. Don’t over-think it or try to justify it. Trust – your – gut!

4. Be his #1 fan, but not his groupie.

Adore him and seek to meet his every need. However, settle for nothing less than the same from him.

5. BUT…Don’t turn into his puppet.

It’s easy to lose your sense of self because you want to accommodate his every wish. Be the “you” that attracted him -- the vibrant woman who had an opinion about things, friends outside of his circle, and could go an evening or (gasp!) an entire day doing her own “thang” and not stalking his social media wondering what he’s up to.  A real man wants a partner, not a puppet!

6.  Say it with me – Compromise!

A relationship is a partnership. You must be ready to compromise and choose your battles wisely. But FIRST, have a clear understanding on the non-negotiables of what you must have to feel loved, valued, and respected as a woman. Outside of that list, compromise a bit!

7. Keep house at home.

Don’t air his dirty laundry or the arguments between the two of you. You’ll forgive his harsh words/deeds faster than your momma or bestie ever will. If it gets back to him you’ll also fracture the bond of trust and communication necessary to sustain any relationship. So keep everyone happy and keep ‘em out ya business!

8. Be a BAUCE, not a B*tch.

When the relationship is deteriorating, leave with love. You were sugary-sweet before him but he’s now turned you into a bitter, scornful woman with baggage for the next guy. Trust boo, the constant scowl and rolled-eyes you’re currently rockin’ are really not a good look! Go back to being the easy, breezy, beautiful woman that initially attracted him, so that it will catch the eye of the next guy.

9. Be the mate that you want.

What do you want in a man? Success? Stability? Maturity? Fit body? We’ve all got our  “must haves”, but how much of that can you check off for yourself? If you don’t embody most of the qualities you seek in him, work on yourself first. It’s a win for you and him!

10. Don’t beat yourself up.

Personally, I’ve made some mind-boggling decisions for prior boyfriends. These decisions affect me to this day – years after a break-up! And yet I’m not beating myself up over them. In fact, I refuse to do so. Why? Because I remind myself that although I’m still facing the consequences of those decisions I am now  a brighter, better, and wiser woman! I got there, and you can too, by learning your lessons.

Published in Dating

MW University // May 4, 2014

Lengthy classes, hours of homework, hefty loans: graduate school is stressful enough without the added pressure of dating and being in a serious relationship. Yet you’re actually preparing for your future as an adult, so you’re likely thinking that it’s time to settle down and find your spouse—or maybe you’re just sick of being lonely and would love somebody with whom you could share your agony over grad school. Either way, it’s tough to find somebody while you’re buried beneath projects and exams and staying in to keep up with the workload.

It’s also a difficult time to date during such an uncertain point in life. You may be attending school in a certain city, but what if your hometown is on the other side of the country? What if you have no desire to use your degree in the city or state in which your school is? Graduate school is probably the last, and most vital time, in which you should be selfish. This time is yours to work hard and succeed in school, so you can actually utilize that degree in which you’re investing vast amounts of time and money. Remember, to pursue your dreams before pursuing a ring on your finger, unless you are certain you could do both at the same time.

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That being said, if you’re still looking to date and are prepared to worry about a future with someone later, below are some great ways to meet people:

Tinder

Probably the easiest and most convenient app for (grad) students to meet.  It’s free and super easy to use. Tinder connects to your Facebook account (but hides your last name) so you know the people you’re looking at are least legitimate enough to have a Facebook account. You simply swipe through pictures of people and you can “Like” or reject whatever you see. If you like someone and they “liked” you back, it’s a match and then you have the option of messaging them. Be sure to actually put interesting details in your profile and your most flattering pictures.

DateMySchool

In order to fully use this service, you have to purchase a plan specific to your desires. It can be as low as $3 a month or as much as $18 a month, which isn’t bad since this site allows you to see people who have accessed your profile, exchange private messages, and customize your privacy settings so only people from the schools you designate with a certain age limit can contact you.

Networking events

Most graduate schools frequently host networking events or even parties where the students can congregate. Don’t skip these! Gather up your equally-stressed friends and have a blast. Get to know some classmates you’ve been overlooking because you never know who may be your soulmate.

Friends

However, if you don’t want to defecate where you dine (so to speak), simply ask your mutual friends to hook you up with someone they know from their job or other graduate school. In return, find a single pal from your school and bring them along for a fun double date. It might be an old fashioned, but it will at least keep traditional romance alive—meeting someone in person, rather than using a phone app to do so.       


Published in Dating

Style // March 25, 2013 

This article was originally published on Baucemag.com and was written by Evette Dionne

“Your [insert article of clothing here] is fabulous. Where did you buy it?”

“I can never find clothes like this at the store.”

“Are you sure you purchased that there? I can’t believe it.”

Apart from conversations about finding a respectable man, the state of full-figured fashion is what I discuss most often with fellow curvy babes. I don’t believe in bragging, but I will admit that I am praised as much for my fashion sense as I am for my intellect. No, I’m not Tanesha Awasthi or another self-professed fashion guru. But, I do know the power of clothing, and I use fashion to express myself and to communicate an emotion.

Since I have a passionate love affair with fashion, nothing pains me more than seeing other girls with extra curves who settle for less with their wardrobes. They believe there isn’t clothing out there that will accentuate their best assets and camouflage their imperfections. If this was 2001, and our options were limited to hideous flowered shirts from Kmart, then I would agree that we should issue a statement of emergency for curvy girl fashion. But since the curvy babe fashion revolution was sparked, we should never have to resuscitate our wardrobes.

Flower buds are going to bloom into beautiful bouquets soon, so this is the perfect time for a permanent wardrobe revamp. Here are five tips for creating a runway-worthy wardrobe that is both chic and affordable.

Expand Your Horizons

No shade will be thrown here. Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, and my shopping heaven Torrid all have amazing and fashionable clothing options for curvy women. But I discourage limiting clothing options strictly to these stores, and others that cater specifically to us, for several reasons. The foundation for fashion is individual creativity, which can’t be created if you’re only selecting clothing from the Lane Bryant Spring collection. Ever considered wearing a XL Forever 21 dress as a top or a XXL Old Navy dress as a tunic? You should. Don’t be deterred by a designer’s original intention. Boldness is essential to building a chic wardrobe, so channel that inner diva and waltz into a local straight-size store. You’ll leave with a unique outfit, and a new perspective on the limits of fashion.

Peruse the Internet

The world-wide-web is the greatest creation since…well...ever, so use it! Outside of social networking and internet dating, the web should be used for online shopping. Online stores are one of the best solutions for most of our fashion woes. Some of the greatest fashion jewels, e.g. ASOS and Eloquii, are solely produced online. Internet shopping allows us to see a store’s entire inventory at once. Who wouldn’t want to avoid the hassle of browsing racks in exchange for easier and savvier shopping? Oh, and internet store coupons can sometimes cut the costs of shopping by 20 to 25 percent. For instance, Eloquii has a sale each week, and always offers free shipping. That is unbeatable from a fashionista’s perspective.

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Tailor Your Wardrobe

As I’ve followed blogger Gabi Fresh in recent months, I’ve noticed that she never allows the size on the label to deter her. She often has her clothes tailored to remove stitches; this gives her enough room to fit a size 8 shirt over her size 22 frame. I refer to this swift fashion move as the “Gabi Method,” and I love it! Of course, not all shirts and pants can be tailored and still maintain the original attractiveness, but cropped tunics and colored jeans are fabulous regardless of the season. Plus, tailored clothes seem much more polished and professional, so I encourage investing in a permanent local tailor!

Thrift Store Excursions

I am unashamed to admit that I am a thrifter. I make weekend excursions to local thrift stores and spend less than $100 and walk away with bags full of fashionable, chic, designer clothing. A vintage Chanel tote that would retail for $300 in a department store becomes mine for less than $20, and those popular lace blouses from the ‘80s that have resurfaced don’t leave a dent in my bank account. Don’t have too much pride. Thrift. You’ll find adorable pieces that are one-of-a-kind and save a few dollars. A win-win.

Confidence, Confidence, Confidence!

Despite what fashion blogs tell us, large rings and fierce wedges are not the perfect accessories to an outfit; confidence is. Regardless of what dress you’re strutting in, confidence is infectious. You want to command attention when walking into a room, and that comes with how you wear your clothes, rather than what you’re wearing. Be confident, and the rest will align on its own.

Happy shopping!

Published in Style
Monday, 06 May 2013 01:53

Dating | Dating Mr. No Ambition

Dating // May 6, 2013

This article was originally published on Bauce Magazine and was written by Ahyana King.

I don’t know how the dating/sex/marriage conversation went for most of you. But for me, it was this dance between random guerilla education tactics by my parents and the church. Then, it  was my human sexuality class freshman year, every Tuesday and Thursday, and church. Then, it was my work as an HIV tester and counselor, advice about relationships among my friends that had gone awry, and church. You get my point.

A pretty big influence on how or whom I dated was church. What impacted me most from the various church experiences was not so much “Don’t have sex while you’re dating, wait until your married,” but “Don’t be unequally yoked.” And whether you believe in God or soccer balls, I think there is something very practical about the idea of not being unequally yoked.

What does the saying mean exactly? Well, as a Christian, it means: if he or she isn’t a Christian, don’t get involved, and definitely don’t marry them. In a more practical sense: if he or she isn’t on par with who you are or who you are becoming, don’t bother dating, getting emotionally involved, and then being disappointed later and conflicted about how to end things because “We don’t want the same things.”

Ladies, we do this A LOT,  especially when it comes to men and their ambition. We are eternal hopefuls, fully convinced that we can lead by example, partner with him, and encourage him. And when we have two degrees and he’s still struggling to get the one he was working on when you met six years ago, you’re baffled, and resent him and his good looks. Therefore, in the case of ambition, do not be unequally yoked. Here’s why:

1. You risk getting stuck. Slowly, but surely, you will find yourself re-adjusting your own goals to fit the comfortable space he is in. You will find yourself not looking for the dream marketing position at a firm in San Francisco because all he’s known is Prince George County, his family lives there, and you already moved there from New York. “Be stable with him,” is what you will tell yourself. That will sound good at first, until your ambitious friends are uprooting, globetrotting, and out living their goals.

2. You risk your happiness. I have yet to meet the who is truly happy with herself and accepting of her lifestyle, while being resentful and bitter toward someone. However, I have met the woman who has “sacrificed” her dreams to stay with a man in hopes of changing him, motivating him, and being his “ride or die chick,” so that together, they can become the next Barack and Michelle. When she realizes that he is not into the responsibility that comes with managing a team at his job, starting a business, owning instead of renting, or going back to school, she often becomes hurt and bitter toward him and disappointed and unhappy with herself. You can do bad all by yourself. No need to be in a relationship with a guy who is not interested in doing anything more than what he was doing before he met you or since he met you.

3. You risk not being in the healthy relationship you want and deserve. When his lack of ambition frustrates you, the dynamics of the relationship will change. The likelihood of you being less understanding and forgiving will increase. The likelihood of you continuing to value and appreciate what made you fall for him is likely to decrease. Granted these dynamics can happen for a variety of reasons, even if your man is just as ambitious as you, your frustration with his lack of ambition can hasten and heighten the intensity of such changing and challenging dynamics.

When I posted the question, “Why shouldn’t you date someone who isn’t as ambitious as you?” to my Facebook page, the feedback came pouring in. Most people were writing some variation of the three reasons I listed above. However, one responded with a reminder that I think is important to share.

While he may not be as ambitious as you, you may carry enough ambition for the two of you. Lack of ambition is not the same as being uneducated, incapable of being a supportive loving partner and provider, or having the other qualities that are important when considering a potential mate. If ambition is one of your non-negotiables on your list of desirable qualities in a mate, then don’t negotiate it. If it is negotiable, consider the three risks mentioned above, as well as all of the great (and they better be great - Made Women deserve great) qualities he has before deciding how important his lack of ambition is.

For more great content, check out Bauce Magazine.

Published in Relationships
Monday, 25 February 2013 04:06

Do Your Friends Think You Are An Alcoholic?

Health // February 25, 2013

It may be fun to get those bottles popping right before a party – but have your friends been telling you that you might be overdoing it?

Alcohol addiction is a very serious and common condition that affects more people than one would imagine. Some people drink to ease themselves into social situations, but oftentimes they may not recognize that this consistent trend can make them alcohol-dependent, causing them to drink whenever they go through problems, big or small. What is even scarier is that many people do not realize they have a problem until it is too late. So, here are seven telltale signs that will help you recognize if you or your friend is falling into alcoholism:

1. You drink when you first wake up. When the first thought is on alcohol that means it has already consumed your body and mind, which leads into the next sign…
2. Your body has developed a physical dependency on the alcohol so much that your body cannot function without it. You have consumed so much liquor that now it is functioning as a part of your body.
3. You feel guilty after you drink. If you are always regretting something you have done while you’re drinking (fighting, cursing, yelling, etc.)
4. You feel so uncomfortable in social situations you feel you need to drink in order to “loosen up.” Your personality has adapted and you feel drinking makes you better.
5. You drink alone. You can feel comfortable by yourself thinking and drinking away your problems.
6. Your drinking is messing up relationships with friends and/or family. You have displayed so much destructive behavior that now it is starting to affect the people closest to you.
7. You are reading this trying to figure out if you have a drinking problem. If you have to question being an alcoholic or even think that you have a problem, you probably do. Remember, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

If you do have a drinking problem, it is not the end of the world. There are so many ways to get help overcoming your problem and with the help of friends and family, the journey could be a lot less rocky. You should talk it over with your family or someone you trust so that it will be an open issue and they can help you and hold you accountable too. You are going to need the support.

If things are really serious, consider attending your local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Another option would be to go to a rehabilitation center. Many of them help you alter your emotional habits and relationship towards drinking, which can help you rebuild your life. You may think that drinking is okay, but it can lead to worse problems like substance abuse, which often triggers a mental health issue. Don’t be afraid to identify your struggles or to reach out to a friend. With the right help and support, you can overcome it.

Published in Health