Top Five Friday

Words That Pay Off

Looking for that win-win situation that leaves everyone happy and no one feeling that the other has compromised? Then look no further; I think I may have discovered the answer. It’s as simple as speaking your mind in a kinder, healthier way to get more of the behavior you do want and less of the hostile pushback you don’t. The old adage, It’s not what you say, but how you say it, still holds true. So don’t discount the power of your words. Failing to effectively convey your thoughts, express your expectations, disappointments, and desires can mean the difference between losing ground or gaining the end result you are personally aiming for.

Fortunately, there is a method to all this madness known as COMMUNICATION.  According to a May 2008 O Magazine article, How to Say I Hate You More Lovingly, there is an Attack Mode and Smart Mode of communication.  Here are some examples of ways to say what you mean AND mean what you say, without coming across as the bad guy. Try using some of these tactics at home and in the workplace.

Today’s Top Five Friday topic: Words that Pay Off

 ATTACK MODE:                                                 SMART MODE:


 “You and your family are horrible every time we get together. When they’re not boring me to tears, they’re usually offending me.”


 “I don’t always enjoy being with your family.  I feel left out of the conversation, and sometimes I strongly disagree with what they’re saying.”


 “No, that won’t work at all. Just let me handle the client files the right way.”


 “I’m not sure if that will work. What if we did it this way?”


“You’re so bossy with the kids, they just run away, and I don’t blame them. You need to lighten up.”


“Like you, I’m concerned about the kids. And I’m tempted to clamp down on them—but I’m worried that it will backfire if we do it too forcefully.”


“I never want to go there again for vacation. We’re still paying for that stupid idea of yours.”


 “I didn’t like that place as much as I’d  hoped. Maybe we could go over a list of new places we might enjoy.”

  “I’m much better at the whole money thing than you are. Honestly, you need to listen to me on this.”   

  “I understand what you’re saying about our finances. I have some good ideas about it, too.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

          –Maya Angelou

Published in: on February 18, 2011 at 11:31 am  Comments (2)  

Real Housewives of Civil Rights

‘Spoof of the Real Housewives of Atlanta’

The all-black female comedy ensemble, Elite Delta Force 3, recently released a comedy sketch on Youtube called The Real Housewives of Civil Rights. The bit presents wives of civil rights leaders, including Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz, Maya Angelou, Winnie Mandela, as cast members on a Bravo-esque reality show. Marilyn Monroe is a curious addition to the group, but we think she might represent the Kim Zolciak of the bunch.

It’s hard not to laugh out loud at this production: when it’s time to leave at a “ladies-only” luncheon organized by Winnie Mandela, Rosa Parks refuses to get up. Betty Shabazz admonishes Rosa, “You don’t always have to refuse to give up your seat all the time.” The Elite Delta Force 3 should be celebrated for their hilarious critique of the Real Houswives franchise, but, in all seriousness, where’s Angela Davis in this skit?

Is It Just Me, or have you had enough of reality T.V.? Let me know what you think?

Comments are welcome.  To leave a comment or respond, please click below in the Tag line.

Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm  Comments (4)  
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Top Five Friday

Best of  Black Love

You’re awaken by a quartet of violins playing under your window as your lover proclaims his love for you, he looks deeply into your eyes, kisses you softly, and then says “You complete Me”.  Think this kind of thing only happens in the movies?  Yeah, well, it doesn’t have to.  No need to wait for Valentine’s Day to make your own romantic love scene.  While you’re at it take a look back at some of the most memorable moments on the silver screen of  black love and romance. 

Today’s Top Five Topic:  Best Black Romantic Movies


[image credit: John Holyfield]

Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Grown Folks Business


In your relationships are you the talker or a listener? Do you feel the need to be in control all the time, or is it okay with you to let your partner take charge? The reason I’m asking is because a recent conversation with my husband spawned the comment: 

 Most women do not listen to their man! Whether it be in the bedroom -OR- the boardroom.

Is this true? Or do you LISTEN within reason? I know the first thing most of you will say is that it all depends on what it is. Because of course, nobody wants to feel like your significant other is your ‘Daddy’, or you’re being told what to do either. 

Even more interesting is the fact that when a woman does ask her spouse for his opinion or advice about something she will generally follow-up with the same question to a close girlfriend or confidant.  And then depending on the outcome of that extended conversation, decide what she should do. Why is that? 

On the subject of  listening in the bedroom; that’s a whole other situation in itself.  Both men and women have an equal role to play in satisfying the needs of each other.  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying:

 What you won’t do, another women will.  

So, are you open and willing to exlore new experiences with your partner that will arouse and enhance your love life?  Or are you stuck in the same old routine of things?

What I wonder is if the reason sometimes women get the – I’m gonna do what I want to attitude, has anything to do with women devaluing the man in a relationship.  Especially nowadays that most families are a two-income household with women sometimes earning just as much if not more than their spouses. Could these all be contributing factors to the woman’s belief that she knows best?

What’s your take on all of this sistahs? Do you agree with my husband’s assumption that most women do not listen to their man? Or do you believe this is just another attempt for the man to have the upper hand in the relationship?

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 9:31 am  Comments (1)  
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Do You Know Your Footprint?

If you are already in the habit of recycling, conscience about the conservation of water, and preservation of the Earth’s beauty than you are probably familiar with the term ecological footprint.  It is a means of measuring the amount of human consumption of land and sea that a person uses in their everyday lives and the earth’s ability to basically keep up with it.  If humanity does not begin to scale back to a more simplistic lifestyle, void of waste, eventually what can happen is the demand for space will become too great for the Earth until it is no longer capable of sustaining such high expectations.

The same could be said for a psychological footprint.  Which would measure the amount of emotional energy that a person expends every day on things that rob and deplete your life sources of the body’s daily requirements.  If we are not careful to replenish ourselves mentally we can exhaust all of our reserves and begin to run on fumes causing us to have detrimental breaking points in our framework. 

Be mindful of your daily footprint, take stock of your emotional capacity, and know your limits.

Published in: on February 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm  Comments (2)  

Top Five Friday

Behind the scenes.

I’m starting this weeks Top Five Friday off a little differently today. Think of it as a bit of a behind the scenes look at how most concepts for Top Five Fridays are created.

I frequently get asked the question, “How do you come up with your topics?” My short answer, “Ancient, Chinese Secret!”. (Remember that old Calgon detergent commercial?) Alright, just kidding. So ask me again; and I’ll tell you that generally my ideas stem from something that I have encountered in my everyday life. My topics may be spurred by a recent conversation I’ve had, current events, or I’m simply coaching myself through a woe-is-me moment; hence the tons of motivational posts. 🙂 Couple this with several late nights and there you have it. There’s no denying that it has been lots of hard work too, but it has been worth every minute of it.

So now I know you’ll understand when I tell you that today’s Top Five Friday couldn’t be more befitting as an end of week topic for the Like Water series. Case in point, you remember my winter storm adventure last Wednesday, Fail to Plan; Plan to Fail, The Nor’Easter Post Mortem. Well, can you believe that just yesterday I read an article from entitled “5 Ways To Keep Your Commute from Killing You”. The article is about ways of coping with your daily commute to and from work for a more healthier experience. See all the connections?! — my drama, personal health. It’s all relative. O.K.A.Y., you stick to reading and I’ll stick with this writing thing. 😉 Moving on…

when all you see is RED!

Ask anyone in the Washington, DC metropolitan area what the worst part of their morning is and you’ll most likely hear, “TRAFFIC!”  Just the mere thought of it can send your blood pressure sky rocketing, make you lose you religion, or damn sure push you over the edge.   And to add even more insult to injury, according to a 2010 Urban Mobility Report, the gridlock is getting worse.  Some try to find some solace from the commuter chaos by riding the subway, bus or train. Even then you run the chance of contending with crowds, delayed trains or buses, and the occassional abnoxious passenger from hell.  Still most of us are left with no choice but to drive our own cars and brave the rush hour traffic jam because of scheduling conflicts, distance, or even daycare arrangements.  In the latest article entitled “5 Ways To Keep Your Commute from Killing You” you’ll find ways to help you keep your sanity and at the same time get your health in check.  Below are a few of the main points of the article.  But, be sure to read it for yourself; your body will thank you for it later!

Today’s Top Five Topic: Beating the Commuter Blues

. Laugh to keep from crying: Listening to comedy while stuck in traffic will distract you from worrying and can lower stress.

A good laugh lowers levels of stress homones

: Avoid being bored to death, literally.  Instead turn up your favorite song or listen to an audio book.

Last year, British researchers published a papaer that suggested a link between chronic listlessness and heart problems. 

:. Relax, Relate, Release: Practice deep breathing techniques, and shoulder/neck exercises to release the tension.

Roll your shoulders, loosen your grip on the wheel and spread out your fingers.

:: Steer clear from road rage: Agressive driving makes the commute that much worse.

… instead of letting anger over traffic or agressive drivers make you act the same way, use this “downtime” in a positive, productive way. 

::. Think happy, be happy:  Don’t let the commute steal your joy.  Instead focus on something you are thankful for or appreciate.

… turn fatigue and resentment around.  You may just arrive at your destination in a more content physical and emotional state.

How do you beat the commuter blues? Or, share the story of your worse commute ever.

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 7:53 am  Comments (2)  


As we wind down our week of nurturing ourselves I want to remind you not to forget to continue finding ways to give yourself some “me time”. Try and make it a part of your weekly routine; and remember even the simplest things count. One of the ways that I see you are already doing this for yourself is by reading and enjoying the articles on Sista Space. The motivators, words of inspiration, and positive affirmations are here not only to encourage you and me, but allows us to connect with others who share the same desires for personal growth and wellness.

So, was I ever excited when I came across the article “It’s time for Natural Pampering” by D.Rene, fellow blogger at Grown Up For Real.  D.Rene shared a great article from WebMD 10 Ways to Pamper Yourself Naturally that offers advice on at-home spa treatments using everyday items we usually already have in our pantries or refrigerators.

Here are just a few:

1. Avocado mask. My kids think this is hilarious, but after you eat an avocado, rub the skin lightly against your face. Leave the leftover avocado bits on for skin for about ten minutes and then rinse.

2. Sugar scrub. A few years back, I used a sugar scrub at a friend’s house — it was amazing! But, when I found them in the store, I suffered a bit of sticker shock. It seemed like an easy enough product to make at home and it turns out it truly is. I found dozens of recipes on-line — the simplest is 1 cup sugar, ½ cup olive oil, and a few drops of essential oil (optional).

3. Regular rejuvenation. Mix 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt, …  continue reading for more ideas: 10 Ways to Pamper Yourself Naturally

You’ll be surprised at what you find! Come back and share the spa treatments you lavished yourself in, or a few secret tips of your own home remedies for rest and relaxation.

AND, don’t forget to stop by Grown Up For Real, a blog about a woman’s realization that the ladder has to be climbed, the kids won’t raise themselves and relationships are hard work.

Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm  Comments (4)  
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Just Be

by guest author Melissa Ricks,

On our daily pursuit to try and cope with LIFE, we look to all sorts of aids to help us make it through.   Recently, on one of my daily routine adventures, I was rushing my kids to get in the car so we wouldn’t be late for school and work. This is nothing new, because it seems no matter how early I get up there is always something that derails our haste to “Get in the car” by 8:00 a.m. Well, as I am rushing my kids, my 9 year old turns to me and says: “Mom, we are always rushing.” And like a ton of bricks it hit me! Why are we always rushing? Why can’t we just be still sometimes? Is it that hard to just be?

When we were little we couldn’t wait to be 16 so we could drive. When we were 16 we couldn’t wait until we were 18 so we could get out of our parent(s) house. Boy, what in the world were we thinking??? When we were 18 we couldn’t wait to be 21 so we could legally drink. Now in adulthood we can’t wait until Friday so the work week can end.

I spend my whole day rushing so I can get to the next activity on my “list.” Even when I try to “Just Be” I find it hard to just let my mind wonder. In the words of Eckhart Tolle (spiritual teacher), we should practice just listening to our heartbeat for a few minutes each day. He says that it will help us become better at “just being.”

So this is the challenge for this week. Sit silently with yourself for a few minutes each day. Stick a posted note on your mirror that says: STOP and SMILE. Enjoy a laugh with a friend. Watch a child play or better yet join a child in play. One day this week, do away with the routine, just for one day. Try skipping down the hall…so what if people think you are a little…off! Turn up your favorite song on the radio and JAM! Watch a TV show you haven’t seen in a while. Take a bubble bath. Go for a walk if you can stand the cold. Have a snow ball fight!! Do whatever it is that will help you pause and enjoy life!

This week, I challenge you to take a moment and Just Be, and then stop by SISTA Space blog and tell us what you did!

[image credit: My Solitude Painting by Padmakar Kappagantula]

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm  Comments (12)  
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In The Silence of Words

Have you ever found yourself lost in translation of some nit wit’s joke, statement, or comment that clearly left you scratching your head? Happens most often in awkward situations like on an elevator, subway, standing in lines, and none other than the workplace.  I’m not saying to be rude, but why not just a polite “hello” to acknowledge the other person, and a “have a good day” upon your departure.

It’s this sort of nervous energy that is emitted in the air that makes one think they must engage in senseless conversation.  Afraid of the newness or oddity of being still or silent. What’s so wrong with taking in the moment for what it’s worth as an observer instead of a reporter all the time. To just be and delight in your own surroundings.  It will give you a heightened sense of awareness of who you are and your intrinsic purpose with nature. 

Instead of the unnecessary banter, why not challenge yourself to arouse your other innate senses of smell, tastetouch, sight or hearing. While you may not be able to explore these possibilities with a complete stranger; there are some ways to have fun with your senses in your personal life.   Here are a few ideas:  rediscover your likes and dislikes by tasting foods from a different culture, rejuvenate lost feelings or emotions with your partner by sharing a passionate kiss, and rejoice in your inner peace and solitude by taking a relaxing aromatic bubble bath, and don’t forget those candles! 

Tune out the audible disturbances and get in touch with the beat of your own drum.

What are some other benefits of going into the ‘silent zone’ that you can think of?

Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Like Water

Today is the beginning of the “Like Water” series of topics that will deal with the essentials of  nurturing our faith and spiritual based needs for a healthier lifestyle and a healthier body.  The constant demands on our time and struggles with juggling homelife, careers, and personal relationships can wreak havoc on our overall well-being.  We can’t ignore our personal  needs.  It is important that we establish, practice, and respect our own core set of values that will maintain balance and order in our lives. 

Sometimes, that means doing something as basic as being silent.  This week is all about self.  Find ways in which you can love and pamper yourself.  It doesn’t have to cost a thing and can be quite rewarding to your mind, body and soul.

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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