Let’s all stop fueling the Chris Brown Soulja Boy flame shall we?

We’ve seen this act before, and frankly it’s played out. Two black entertainers pinned against each other all for the amusement, or lack there of from the public. What is it that makes them lash out at each other so publicly? Why do we continually tune in and egg on this behavior? What are we truly waiting for, violence to erupt? I doubt a hit song truly comes from a Soulja Boy/Chris brown feud as it so classically did with Drake and Meek Mill, so why is it so hard to look away, and even harder for them to merely stop?


Regardless of what fueled the flames and what is keeping it alive at one point, you have to look outside of yourself and the bigger picture of what is going on with the destruction of black men in America. This image of two brothers tearing each other down so recklessly is in no way making anything better. I might not have the answer to what will make it stop, but I do know without an audience there is no show, and without fuel there is no flame, so how about we simply stop watching.


Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes vegetarian, spoken word poet, who doesn’t trust boxed macaroni or cats. keep up with her @ashleyreneepoet on twitter & instagram also check out her website. 

Vivacious beautiful African American woman holding a megaphone in her hand gesturing at the camera with an excited animated expression

5 Things You Have to Leave in 2016



If you are looking for the typical generic post telling you that you will reach optimal happiness in the new year if you simply follow these steps, you won’t find it here. Though I want you to be as happy as possible, that’s not something I can guarantee. If you are looking for a blog that is oddly specific to me, brutally and embarrassingly honest about myself and things i’m deciding to leave in 2016 that may also benefit you, hey girl hey (or guy) stay awhile.

2016 was an ok year for me. It definitely wasn’t as exciting as 2015 and though I accomplished a few things on my goal list, to me they were more so materialistic and not as valuable.


  1. I purchased my first luxury car, a 2 door Mercedes Benz C250
  2. I got engaged on my 28th birthday
  3. I took my fiancé on a cruise to Mexico for his golden birthday
  4. I published a few articles on blogs I’ve been a loyal reader to for years.

Let’s talk about the car first. I’ve always wanted a luxury car and honestly living in LA it’s something that you see more so than other cities. However, I don’t feel any happier now that I have it, it is definitely more expensive to upkeep than any other car i’ve owned and a part of me wants something better.

Getting engaged was something I’ve wanted for a long time. Planning a wedding is fun and it has brought me closer to my fiancé but it hasn’t changed any preexisting issues or insecurities in our relationship. The cruise was blah, my fiancé got seasick and I had disembarkment sickness once we returned.

Getting my articles published and my writing recognized was probably one of my biggest accomplishments this year because writing has always been something i’ve wanted to do my entire life but either didn’t have the motivation to do it, or simply thought I wasn’t capable of making money from my writing.

These being the things that stuck out to me the most during this year also made me think of things I feel are important to leave in 2016.

1. The belief material things will make you happier


There is nothing wrong with wanting things, heck my mom says I have champagne taste with koo-laid money, which is funny, true shade and kinda true actually. I love nice things and I especially love nice things that I can not currently afford. The problem lies when you deny yourself happiness until you acquire those nice things, or simply get them, are happy in the moment and then decide you need something else to be happy. Finding happiness in material wealth is dangerous because it simply is unattainable the more you get, the more you want. Being financially secure, should always be the goal. Being rich is a nice one too, but allowing yourself to place material possessions over your happiness will always leave you unhappy because you will always feel unsatisfied. There is always going to be a newer bag, more expensive car, bigger house or latest shoes. If you aren’t happy with what you have, you won’t be happy with what you don’t. Leaving the belief that you need things to be happy in 2016 will not only put more money in your pockets from all of the things you aren’t splurging on, it will teach you to appreciate the things you do have and find happiness in other places, like yourself perhaps.

2. The Belief that a relationship/relationship change will make you happy


“I thought being engaged would make you happy.” My fiancé confessed to me the other day. Of course this was followed by me drilling him on if he was ready to get married and if that was the only reason he proposed, which of course he said “no” to,  reassuring me that he proposed because he was and is ready to get married.Then I did self evaluation, in between more questioning to him. “Do you think i’m unhappy?” I asked. “Yes, sometimes, I just thought since you want to be married, being engaged would have made you happier.” He reiterated. The truth is, I myself thought that as well. I felt that by not being engaged we weren’t where we should have been in our relationship considering the length of time we’d been together and once we got engaged I would be happier. This was extremely naive thinking of me. An engagement ring, wedding ring, marriage, etc will not make anyone any happier if you choose not to be. There are multiple reasons why at any moment I can feel less than happy some of which are things on this list that i’m vowing to leave in 2016. Though yes, i’m very happy with my fiancé, and my relationship, and the thought of marrying my best friend next year, at times i’m unhappy with other parts of my life which can affect all aspects of my life. Often, people feel like getting into a relationship or moving forward in one will make them happier. Yes during that two week, or few months honeymoon phase you’ll feel ecstatic but after that, what are you left with? The same feelings of unhappiness for whatever reason that you had before. Don’t rely on a ring, relationship or marriage to make you happy or for you to decide to start being happy once those things happen. Instead, you have to figure out what your underlying issues are. Why do you feel like these things will make you happier? What do you feel is missing that you need these things to change to be happier? Perhaps you don’t feel whole by yourself? Maybe you feel like you are being judged by not being married. Maybe you feel like this step will make things better in your relationship. Whatever it is for you, stop holding on to the belief that everything will be better once this happens because if you are unhappy, that ring won’t magically make you any happier once it’s on your finger. You have to take time to yourself to really figure out why you are unhappy and what you need to do to change it, because at the end of the day you are solely in charge of and responsible for your happiness.

3.Anything that doesn’t serve you



And I do mean anything. One of my close friends half jokingly told me she was leaving me in 2016 after I neglected to show up to a girls night out she had been planning for over a month. My head was hurting and I simply did not feel up to going so I opted to stay home. She definitely let me know how unhappy she was with my choice in not coming, and though I wasn’t feeling the greatest, considering the effort she put in, how i’ve cancelled or not been fully present for her lately, and she’s consistently there for me,  I could have at the very least stopped by. I stopped by her job a few days later with a few gifts for her to let her know just how sorry I was. The truth is, she’s extremely important to me, and I value her as a friend, and I wanted her to know that so in addition to my apologies, I showed up. Unfortunately, everything and everyone in your life does not value you, nor are they serving a greater purpose being in your life. Often times we hold on to things that aren’t good for us simply because they’ve been there so long we don’t know how to let them go. If it’s a “friend” who consistently shows you they don’t value you or your feelings, a bad diet that leaves you sluggish and tired all the time, alcohol, drug habit, a relationship you want out of, a job that leaves you sad and depressed, you name it! Whatever it is, and you know what it is because you’re probably thinking about it right now. That thing you’ve been saying you were going to let go of for months, maybe even years and haven’t gotten up the nerve or strength to let it go, leave it! Why? Why not? Why not leave something that is doing you no good in the past? Why not allow yourself to live with one less burden, why not grant yourself the happiness you deserve in the new year? Stop being afraid to let it go and simply do it. Move forward and don’t look back.

4. Self Induced Unhappiness 


I believe that we choose to be happy or not. Of course other people can do things that can hurt us, or circumstances can get us down but we have the final say in how we react to things. Two people can be in the exact same situation and choose to see it entirely different. A person in jail could be more free mentally than a person living in the free world all due to their emotional intelligence and how they choose to see their circumstance and themselves.If you know you are overweight and stepping on the scale only makes you sad each time, why keep stepping on the scale every single day? Instead do something that will make that number change, every- single- day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, hit the gym, make healthier eating changes, then you won’t have to rely on a scale to see progress because you’ll be able to notice it in yourself. If you are unhappy with any aspect of your life but are choosing to complain about it or constantly remind yourself of, your going to keep seeing it in your life, instead of the change you desire. Sometimes we go out of our way to make ourselves unhappy. Crazy right? Why would anyone choose to be unhappy, to make themselves unhappy at that? I saw a meme the other day, one of the kermit the frog, me to me ones, perhaps you’ve seen them.




This was not only hilarious to me, because I’ve been there and also so true, probably for many people. Intuition aside, why is it that when things are going good, no suspicions just pure happiness do we feel the need to in some way incite conflict or unhappiness. Let’s say you do go through the phone and find nothing. Do you say ok, my partner isn’t doing anything wrong, and never check the phone again? Or do you then wait a little while before checking it again because there is absolutely no way that your partner could not be doing anything behind your back? Most people check it again until they eventually do find something, anything that in some way will give them just the right amount of pain. Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it that we are afraid of truly being happy? Afraid of being hurt so instead we try to hurt ourselves to avoid being left in the dark? To be honest, that’s an answer that I myself don’t have. But self induced unhappiness is something I won’t be carrying with me to 2017. Life is too short to cause unnecessary pain on myself. At some point we have to allow ourselves to let go of trying to control every aspect of our lives, and just allow ourselves to be happy, and that is what i’m choosing to do because i’ve done the opposite and it’s never ever made me happy.

5. Fear



Fear can be debilitating . It’s caused me personally not to pursue my dreams, not to take chances, not to leave dead beat jobs and not to fully allow myself to be happy in my relationships. Why do so many people allow fear to stop them from growing in life? Fear has a way of telling us, not yet…you aren’t ready, take your time, which can turn into months, years and decades of living far below our potential. I’m leaving fear in 2016 because like everything else on this list, it has no place in my life. It isn’t making me a better person and is merely holding me back from my potential. My current life is full of changes that i’m both excited and happy about and I can’t allow fear to in anyway alter those feelings.

If you’re holding onto to any of the aforementioned things, I encourage you to let them go. It might not be easy at first but the more you actively work on making changes, the better you will feel and the better your quality of life will become.

Are you ready to make 2017 a year of change? 



Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes vegetarian, spoken word poet, who doesn’t trust boxed macaroni or cats. keep up with her @ashleyreneepoet on twitter & instagram also check out her website. 




Confessions of a Light Skinned Black Girl



I won’t pretend that I was always  woke —that there was never a time when I had smiled to myself when someone asked me if I was mixed, as if that somehow would make me unique — a question I eventually came to hate. I won’t act as if when I was getting my hair relaxed I didn’t try to get it as bone straight as possible, not knowing of the beautiful array of textures that I was hiding. I won’t pretend that I didn’t select a slew of races to show on my Myspace/Blackplanet pages growing up as if that made me appear to be anymore interesting. Despite my mother telling me we had Native American and Irish in our family and the obvious lighter skin and blue eyes of my grandfather, my reality was that of a black girl. My family was black, our culture was black, everything about me aside from my lighter complexion was black, a complexion I had a love hate relationship with. I hated being so light as a kid. I hated the attention it brought. I hated being teased for being so light, and the middle school nickname of Michael Jackson, which now is hilarious to me looking back, but as a thirteen year old girl going through puberty, yah not so funny.

In high school the difference my complexion brought was challenging. I remember a specific story where my best friends were hanging out with a group of guys they met outside of school. Almost every weekend was spent with them, and me wanting to be with my friends, was never invited to hang out. When I questioned them about it, I was told it was because I was light skinned and they didn’t want to “lose” one of the boys they liked to me. As much as I wanted to be upset by this, a big part of me understood it.

tumblr_nyvptxBJme1qmk8l2o1_1280.jpgI understood about the self-hatred many African Americans felt dating back to slavery and how many black boys felt it was almost an accomplishment to get with a lighter girl. I understood that society had a way of telling us that light was in some way equivalent to better. I understood that girls and women alike with beautiful dark complexions had to wake up every morning and gather the strength to love themselves that much more after society, the media and even the black men who they thought were supposed to love and protect them didn’t.

I would often wonder if the guys who liked me really liked me as an individual or was it my complexion they were after.

It wasn’t just the guys who had fallen victim to this form of self-hatred. I had a friend who was as light as me, when we were as young as nine years old tell me she was going to marry a light skinned man so her children would be light, years later she did. I had more friends tell me this all the way up to high school. As I scroll past my Facebook timeline and see pictures of their children all lighter than them with long stretched curls, I wonder if they remember. I wonder if they stuck with that mind frame throughout life or if they just so happened to fall in love with a non-black or light complected black man. I wondered who brainwashed them, that at nine years old she had already decided that somehow being less than black, would be better for her children.

My parents didn’t teach me about race, slavery or the aftermath. I had a hunger inside of me that wanted to learn more than the little I was taught in school that was fueled by my older sister. I watched her in confusion as she went from relaxed and extensions to a natural kinky 4C texture at a time before it had became as popular as it is now. I saw her rent books from the library about black history and the many men and women aside from the four or five names we learned in school that were complete bad asses and risked their lives for equality. I shuttered in disbelief as I overheard an adult family friend say that we all knew my sister was black so there was no need for her to wear her natural, as if the only reason for no longer getting relaxers was to show that she was a black woman.




It took a family member pointing out how damaged my relaxed hair looked due to the excessive heat I was using, tons of youtube videos, and watching my grandmother lose all of her hair to chemo therapy, for me to finally become brave enough to cut my own, a decision I never once regretted.

Being a writer it’s also been easy for me to be an observer. An outsider curiously watching people and wondering why they were the way that they were, what circumstances got them to that point, myself included. Though i’d like to say that I always was consistent and always empathized or tried to understand — I didn’t.

I scolded black mothers for putting heat in their children’s hair and friends for not going natural, as if my hair had always been natural. Encouraging women that it was so easy and that caring for my hair was a piece of cake. Writing them off and charging it to ignorance when they referred to my hair as “good hair” and confessed that they were afraid of what their natural hair would even look like, pretending I didn’t know that my hair was in fact easier to maintain than my own sisters and many of my friends.

I won’t pretend that I haven’t had two identities as a black woman and a light skinned black woman —that I didn’t notice when I got opportunities that my friends of darker complexions who may have been more qualified than me did not, that I had never been considered “one of the good ones” that I didn’t sometimes feel the guilt of being born with lighter skin in a world that sees being darker as a burden. I won’t pretend that I never felt the need to “act blacker” in grade school, that being made fun of for speaking proper made me emulate the “black girl voice” in hopes of fitting in. I silently vowed to never marry a light skinned man the same day as my friend vowed the opposite, not truly understanding why but feeling it made me more righteous than her. I’m now engaged to the most beautiful brown complected black man, and a part of me hopes our children will look just like him.



Despite the challenges i’ve faced  dealing with the guilt of my own complexion, I realize that God makes no mistakes.  I can be a light skinned black woman and still be a black woman without having to explain my complexion or answer questions about my hair.  I can love who I am fully and still attempt to educate people who compliment me based on my less than black features as if those are the only reasons for my beauty. I can empathize with my friends who deal with being overlooked for someone lighter and not hate myself because of it. I can speak my truth as a black woman and recognize my story is inherently different from my eldest sister of a darker complexion. I can understand that the roads that she, my aunts and family members faced from conception has been more difficult than mine. I can empathize with them without pretending as if their problems are no different from mine in order for me to feel more comfortable.



And I can smile. I can smile at every black woman I meet and understand the bullshit that she faces every day as she goes to battle with the world, as she has to be twice as good to be considered competent, as she puts on a brave face while worrying about the future of her own black children, as she encourages black men and prays that her father, husband, brother, boyfriend or son doesn’t end up a hashtag, as she carries their burdens with her, while ignoring her own, as she still has the audacity to smile, and laugh and be as bold as she pleases. I can smile, because regardless of her shape, complexion or hair texture, each time I see her, I see a part of myself.


Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes vegetarian, spoken word poet, who doesn’t trust boxed macaroni or cats. keep up with her @ashleyreneepoet on twitter & instagram also check out her website. 




7 Signs the Guy of your Dreams isn’t the One


We’ve all been there – some of us embarrassingly more times than others. We’ve fallen head over heels for a guy who simply is not the one for us. No matter how much we try to ignore the many tell-tale and even blatantly obvious signs, we continue to talk to him, see him and obsess over a man who is simply not the man we are meant to be with. Our friends and family can’t understand what we see in this man and often times we can’t either, but yet he somehow sticks around much longer than we should allow. Often times we are blinded by his potential while ignoring how we are being treated. In case you’re waiting on just one more sign to show you what you probably already know, keep reading!


  1. He’s mean to you



I mean this in the simplest way possible – is he simply not nice to you? It doesn’t matter if he volunteers at a homeless shelter every Saturday, has a rescue puppy named Precious, is a deacon at church, and drives his grandma to her dialysis appointment every Tuesday after mentoring at the boys and girls club. How does he treat you? Are you more often than not the butt of his jokes? Does he show little care for your feelings or how his action may affect you? Regardless of how “good” a person may be to the outside world, if he is treating you like crap then what is the point of keeping him around? So often we allow a persons image or persona to speak for them and not the actual actions they are showing us. Take away how treats anyone or anything else and start really thinking about how he treats you, and only you. If you feel confused, upset or sad more than happy, you aren’t being treated with the respect that you deserve.

2. He doesn’t pay attention to you as an individual 


It doesn’t matter how brilliant, beautiful or charismatic you are, he only pays attention to you when he has free time and has no interest in truly getting to know you as a person. This is easy to determine because he doesn’t invest time in getting to know you. Conversations are usually short, vague and lead by you. Any attempts at getting to know him further or even talking about yourself are usually cut short or made light of.  He uses this as a defense mechanism to either not get too close to you or not allow you to get too close to him. He keeps communication with you open though rather than ignoring all of your messages or never initiating contact with you because he knows he can keep you right where he wants you, should he ever want to take things further. These types of guys are usually players and like to keep their options open while leaving women confused and vulnerable. If he was truly interested in getting to know you, he would. He would take the time and even sacrifice time in learning your interests, hobbies and things you like and don’t like in a partner. Having a one time conversation about these things and never revisiting it, is not interest. Think about yourself, when you are truly interested in a guy you want to know all about him. Where did he grow up, what are his parents like, what does he enjoy doing. Most likely you do know all of these things about him or have tried to learn them in one way or another. If he isn’t showing signs of interest most likely he simply isn’t interested and you shouldn’t be either.

3. You always initiate contact 


You find yourself always contacting him first. You’re curious to know how his day is going or what he’s up to and you can’t help but to reach out to him. Sometimes the conversations are great but others he seems distant and rushed. Trust me, regardless of how demanding his life is, when a man is interested he takes the time to show you his interest. You don’t have to always initiate contact because he is constantly reaching out to you. The man who is meant for you, will do these things because he simply can’t help it. He wants to hear from you just as bad as you do from him.

5. Your friends despise him 


I’m not talking about your friend with the three cats, who hates all things man. I mean your easy going, vibe and energy reading, level headed friend. From the moment she laid eyes on him she knew that he simply was not right and though you tried to explain to her about all of the great things he’s done in the community, the positive quotes he puts on Instagram or how funny he is, deep down inside you know she’s right. Fortunately for us sometimes it’s easier for people outside of the situation to see things more clearly than we can. Their heads aren’t clouded with daydreams of how he would be so perfect if only…it’s safe to say your friend is looking out for your best interest as they only want to see you happy.

6. You feel like you are chasing him


Do you sometimes pause and ask yourself, what the heck am I doing? Have you ever found yourself cyber stalking, constantly contacting, or drunk dialing? It’s flattering for most people to feel wanted, but there are certainly limits on what is too much attention especially when it isn’t being reciprocated. The man of your dreams should be just as obsessed over you as you are him. You shouldn’t have to chase after him and he certainly shouldn’t be running from you.

7. You constantly are questioning his feelings for you


One minute he’s saying and doing all of the right things, the next he’s disappearing or mistreating you. Your time should never be wasted questioning how he feels about you because he should make his feelings and his intentions for you apparent. If he just wants to be friends he should say that, and if he wants to pursue a relationship with you he should show you. A man who is not being obvious with his intentions is easily allowing the door to be left open for another man to potentially come and sweep you off your feet. Would a man who sees you as the woman of his dreams allow someone else that opportunity?

Unfortunately, in a time where people live out their lives or high light reels on social media, and getting to know someone has been reduced to a two sentence byline on dating apps, it’s easy to confuse who a person truly is with who they want others to perceive them to be online. It’s even easier for us to feel connections with people that we feel we know based on their online presence or similar interests. However postings do not equal people and likes don’t always mean interest. If your “prince charming” isn’t exactly who you perceived him to be, and you know he isn’t the one for you, stop wasting time hoping he starts treating you how you think he treats everyone else.


When the right man does come into your life, you won’t have to question or doubt his intentions. You will know he is right because you will feel it. No he won’t be perfect but you certainly won’t doubt how he feels for you or how you feel for him. You deserve to be loved fully by yourself and the man of your dreams. So until Mr. Right crosses your path, ditch Mr. Wrong or Mr. Right now – so he’s not standing in the way, and fill your time only with those that are deserving of it. Your days will be much more fulfilled and you will learn the importance of not settling for a lukewarm love.

Did you fall in love with Mr. Wrong?


Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes vegetarian, spoken word poet, who doesn’t trust boxed macaroni or cats. keep up with her @ashleyreneepoet on twitter & instagram also check out her website. 




8 Types of Emotional Leeches and How to Deal with Them


We all have them in our lives. Emotional leeches come in many forms and usually once you have them, it’s pretty darn hard to get rid of them. They are your closest friends, family members, coworkers and relationship partners. They have a way of simply sucking the life out of you whenever they are near and perhaps even the sound of their voice has become a trigger for you. As hard as it is to separate yourself from them, or even tell them how their behavior is affecting you, it is something that must be done to ensure your own sanity. Here are several ways to deal with and rid yourself of emotional leeches.


1.The Venter 


The venter loves to talk about themselves.They often start the conversations with all of the horrible things that are going on in their lives, cut you off when you mention anything about yourself, or half listen to you before going back to their own issues. You only hear from them when they need to vent, they never return the favor or they make the situation about them and are off the phone before you get a word in about your day.The venter can’t see past their circumstance and act as though every situation is the end of the world. It’s hard for us to see our friends and family suffering but at the same time it is completely draining to have to hear the same issues daily, especially when the conversation revolves around them and the relationship is one sided. It’s time for you to let your loved one know exactly how you feel. They obviously have no problem laying all of their issues on you, so have an open and honest conversation with them. Let venting Velma know that you too have a life and it’s not fair to only talk about their issues. Let them know that as much as you love them, sometimes it’s draining to be bombarded with all of the issues going on in their life. If they continue to vent to you relentlessly it might be time to simply stop answering their phone calls. If they can’t respect you enough to stop plowing their issues on you, you need to respect yourself enough to give them a break until they can.


2.The Borrower



The borrower knows exactly how much your income is after taxes, has your pay date saved in their phone and has your paypal account in their recent history. They know just what to say to guilt you into “loaning” them money and never seem to have it on the day they promised they would pay you back. Despite their horrible financial state they never seem to miss a party, expensive dinner date or sale at Saks. You’ve purchased them books on financing, offered to help them create a budget, and bailed them out more times than you can count. Every month they are still begging you and asking you for help. As much as it hurts, you are going to have to cut them off financially. By you constantly giving your loved one money you are hurting them more than helping. As an adult it’s time for them to learn how to responsibly handle their own financing without begging for help the second their funds run dry. The cycle will not stop until you stop it. Whether you have the funds to give or not, let your friend know that you can no longer help them out financially as you have your own financial responsibilities. They might say they understand until they hit another financial crisis but regardless of how much they beg, you can not continue to support them. By cutting them off financially you will be able to save more money, be less stressed and help your loved one mature.

3. The Gossiper 


The gossiper tells everyones business but her own. She knows who is sleeping with whom, whose house is in foreclosure, who is behind on their car payments, who the pastor was preaching about at church on Sunday and who has been skipping on their tithes and offering. It may have been entertaining at first catching up on a little tea but now it’s full on draining. The gossiper has nothing positive to provide to your life and if she isn’t spilling tea she doesn’t have much else to say. You always feel drained after talking to her and are starting to question if you can even trust her, given she tells all of her friends business. Let miss gossip girl know that if you are dying for gossip you will head over to the shade room. What you require from her is friendship and positivity. If she keeps dropping the latest gossip on you, simply refrain from talking to her. If you continue allowing her to tell everyone else’s business to you, soon she will be telling yours as well if she isn’t already.

4.The Liar


We all know that one person that comes up wih the most ridiculous lies.They post on Instagram about how they just got done shopping in Dubai when you saw them at the corner store the same day. They lie about anything and everything and everyone seems to know. No matter how much you beg for their honesty they repeatedly lie to you and further disregard your trust. It’s time you stop being taken for a fool and let them know how disrespected you feel by being lied to. People lie for a multitude of reasons and it’s not your place to try and figure out why they are doing this. Let your loved one know that you love them for who they are not the fallacies they create for themselves. Tell them that it hurts when they lie to you and you respect honesty. If they continue to lie and or manipulate you despite your pleas, once again you have to distance yourself from them and allow them to hopefully get the help they need.

5. The Drama Queen


She calls you at ungodly hours letting you know that she feels like she can’t go on in life. Her boyfriend of three days just texted another girl and she is dying inside. You spend hours trying to calm her down and console her as she weeps helplessly into the phone. Two hours later she texts you and tells you she met someone new and swears she’s going to marry him. She is a whirlwind of emotions and takes everyone in her path on the rollercoaster with her. Despite your advice, your consoling, your constant pep talks, and late night conversations she just doesn’t get it. Your friend is a drainer. She lives for drama and often causes the storm then cries bloody murder once it starts raining. Have a sit down with your friend and let her know how her drama is not only affecting her life but yours. Remind her of the many times she thought she couldn’t go on and how she is still alive. Life is too short to sweat over the small things, especially when it has absolutely nothing to do with you. Drama queens are nothing without their audience. Slowly but surely start separating yourself from her dramatic outburst and hopefully she will wise up and grow up.

6. The lover and leaver


He tells you that you are the most beautiful woman in the world. He spoils you rotten, attends to every need of your mind and body but leaves before the sun rises. He reassures you that you are the only one for him but has a million excuses on why he can’t commit to you. You are left feeling empty inside each time he departs and find yourself doing everything within your power to prove to him that you are a good woman deserving of his love. If you haven’t figured it out yet, he is using you. This is a relationship of convenience  for him. He has you doing backflips to prove something to him, that he hasn’t proven to you. You deserve much more than late night phone calls and visits only for him to be gone before the sun rises. If he refuses to commit it is because he doesn’t see the need to. He knows he has you right where he wants you and nothing is going to change that. Until you start to value yourself he isn’t going to see your value either. Let him know it’s time for him to shape up or ship out. Until he can give you the love you deserve he doesn’t deserve your presence. Stop responding to his 1am texts pleading to see you. Ignore his late night phone calls the same way he ignores you during the day.

7. The Problematic Parent 


This is a tough one. What do you do when the emotional leech in your life is the person who gave you life? When it is your mother or father that is causing strife in your life? Parents can be draining in many ways. Maybe they have a drug or alcohol problem, maybe they are disrespectful to your spouse, financially draining, dependent on you, the list goes on. Now to be clear, i’m not referring to an aging parent that has health issues and needs extra help. I’m referring to an able bodied parent that simply has not grown up. Either they are dependent on drugs or alcohol or simply not being very parent like. If you haven’t already you need to have a one on one with mom or dad. It’s best to address this topic very sensitively with them and speak to them with respect. Let them know their behavior is hurting you and possibly others in the family.Bring up specific examples of how you were affected by their behavior. Tell your parent you love them very much and you want to see them happy but their actions are stopping them from fulfilling that happiness and hurting those closest to them. If this is a long time problem your parent has had most likely they are not going to change it overnight. However, if you are able to clearly get the message across to them and they are receptive, they will make the necessary changes to shape up. If your parent continues this detrimental behavior you may need some time apart from them.

8. The Constant Competitor


There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, but what about when it comes in the form of a close friend, family member, or coworker who always has to compete with you. You should never feel like you are in competition with those closest to you. You and your friends should constantly motivate, encourage each other and celebrate your victories. If you have a friend that always seems to have to try and one up you at whatever you do, or always has to find a way to downplay your accomplishments, she isn’t a real friend. Most likely she has some insecurities she needs to deal with and is probably jealous of you. Friendship and jealously certainly don’t mix. If you feel like this is a friend worth holding on to let her know how you feel about her need to always compete with you. If she doesn’t agree or continues to compete or try to tear you down, ditch her. You deserve a friend that wants to reach the top with you, not pull you back so she can beat you to it!

Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes vegetarian, spoken word poet, who doesn’t trust boxed macaroni or cats. keep up with her @ashleyreneepoet on twitter & instagram also check out her website. 




7 Simple Reasons Why Being Single is Pretty Amazing




daily-beauty-quote-woman-smiling.jpgI haven’t been single since I was a teenager. Seriously single anyway. I’ve never experienced living on my own, or dating as an adult and all of the ups and downs that come with being single. While some of my single girlfriends may envy me I often look at them with the same envy. Not because I crave to be single or am unhappy in my relationship but because as an adult I understand the importance of getting to know myself outside of my relationship. Though many women especially in their late twenties to thirties may feel like time is running out in their endless search for a partner, it’s important to not rush and make just any man your mate in hopes of making it to the alter before your younger sister, best friend or stranger on the street! Some of you may be asking why and the answer is very simple. You have the rest of your life to be married. You have years upon years to make memories, build a beautiful family and grow gracefully with the man of your dreams. In the grand scheme of things, if you plan on being married to one man for the rest of your life, your time being single will be much shorter than your time being married. Here are 7 reasons why you should enjoy your time being single.

1. You can be selfish


Seriously, is there really any better feeling than spoiling yourself rotten and not having a man look at you like you are crazy when he sees you bringing yet another pair of shoes home? Being single means not having to answer to anyone, not having to explain yourself, not having to worry about anyone other than yourself and your personal needs. Being selfish is not always a bad thing. Trust me you will encounter plenty of times when you are selfless in a relationship, and marriage for you to spend some time being selfish while you are single. Buy that bag, put money up towards your future, invest in your education, take yourself to that expensive restaurant your ex never took you to! Date yourself. Again, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself.

2. Get to know yourself


I can recall countless habits I took on from exes. It got to the point where I didn’t even know what type of juice I liked because I was always drinking someone else’s coo-laid. Literally, being single allows you the time to truly get to know you. You realize what you like and don’t like. You are able to heal from past relationships and recognize behaviors in yourself that can be detrimental. When you take the time to really look in the mirror and get to know yourself you are not only making yourself a better partner for the future but a person in general. When you are open to discovering what truly makes you, you also are opening yourself up to receiving feedback from friends and family that can truly help you grow. Being single allows you the time to get to know what makes you tick without having to worry about getting to know another person and taking on aspects of their personality.

3. You can date


Who doesn’t love a good date? Bad dates can be fun too because you at least get a great story out of it to tell your girlfriends over cocktails. Dating allows you to test out potential partners and see what you really like and don’t like. You get to meet new people, network and just have a good time. When you take the pressure out of dating and don’t expect to meet a husband on the first date you go on, it actually can be quite enjoyable. It’s important to realize either you will have a connection or you won’t. There is no need to force it or try to make the guy see how great of a catch you are, simply go out, have a good time and go home. No pressure.

4. You are slimmer


Most women almost inevitably put on a few or..ahem…a little more than a few extra pounds when in a relationship. You get comfortable, date nights become movie nights. Pizza and Chinese food become staples in your diet, and you get requests for fried chicken and macaroni and cheese on the regular. One great benefit of being single is you aren’t cooking for a man, meaning you are probably eating less and quite possibly spending a little more time at the gym or being active than you are cuddled up at home. Enjoy this time girl! It’s only a matter of time before the relationship weight, marriage weight, baby weight and slow metabolism are all knocking at your door!

5. You are able to focus on your career


I remember after high school I had a small retail job, nothing major at all. However whenever my ex and I got into any confrontation it made it so difficult for me to put my all into my work, sometimes I even found it difficult to work at all when we were having problems. Though emotionally i’ve matured a lot since then, it can be difficult focusing on one thing such as work, when you are having problems in your relationship. Whether you are a starlet on the rise, a young professional, or student, when you are single you have nothing but time to focus on advancing. Many times in relationships us women have a way of putting our partners needs before our own even when they don’t ask us to. We focus on making sure all of their needs are met before our own. It’s important to take the time to discover not only what makes us happy but what we want to do as a career. When you are single you are able to focus on what exactly it is that that needs to be done to advance to the next step. You can put your energy into your work without having to worry about your relationship suffering or whether or not you are giving your partner enough attention. Sure you can have a career as well as a relationship but when you are single it makes it that much easier to not be distracted from your goals.

6. Limitless time with gal pals 


If it were a perfect world we would live close to our girlfriends, days would be spent sipping mimosas by the pool, shopping and exploring, while nights would be dedicated to dancing and making memories we would never forget. Unfortunately, relationships, marriage, children, career opportunities and moves can separate us from the women we thought we couldn’t go a day without talking to. Being in a relationship means a little less time will be spent with even the best of our girlfriends and with marriage and children comes even more time apart. Being single is the absolute best time to spend as much time with your girlfriends as possible. Of course true friendships stand the tests of time, marriage and children but nothing is like having tons of free time to spend with the women who mean the most to you.

7.No one’s leaving the toilet seat up


I mean that both literally and figuratively. You aren’t cleaning up after anyone’s messes besides your own. You aren’t stressing out over anyone else, you have all the time in the world to merely enjoy life! You are the queen of your singledom. You control who comes and goes in your life. You don’t have to put up with anything you don’t want to. There is no sacrifice, there is no meeting halfway, no compromise. The possibilities are endless. No need to mope around about the guy who didn’t call back after a date, go get a manicure, catch up on a good book, go for a jog and allow yourself the time to enjoy your life. You will meet someone when the time is right. Go on as many or as few dates as you please. Take the time to truly enjoy being alone, there is plenty of time for a relationship later. Remember, you aren’t able to really have a fulfilling relationship until you yourself are both fulfilled and happy.

Are you taking the time to enjoy being single?

Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes vegetarian, spoken word poet, who doesn’t trust boxed macaroni or cats. keep up with her @ashleyreneepoet on twitter & instagram also check out her website. 

I got a job :-(


I’m not going to lie, when I first got my job I thought about not telling anyone except my close family and friends. Why? Because honestly, a part of me was embarrassed. After proudly boasting about quitting my previous job to pursue freelance writing and working on my book I felt like I was giving up by going back to work a regular job. After a friend joked in the past about me being a slave to the clock and working for the man, I really, really didn’t want to tell anyone. So let’s play catch up shall we? Unfortunately my plan didn’t pan out exactly how I wanted. I wasn’t getting many stories I was pitching placed and I didn’t have much work coming in. Despite my efforts I simply wasn’t able to live comfortably and pay my bills without getting a job. I knew that I absolutely could not work another telemarketing job and cringed at the thought of customer service.

So I searched for something I could do, writing. I applied for quite a few social media jobs and writing gigs along with going on auditions and continuing to pitch writing jobs. Randomly I received a call from a staffing agency letting me know that I was a great candidate for a job I applied for. I sent over a few writing samples and within a few days I was hired to be a writer/blogger and social media coordinator working in house for a makeup brand/skincare brand. Being a licensed esthetician and an avid lover of all things beauty, that is right up my alley. So though now I will be juggling a bit more with actually having to go to an office to work full-time as well as freelancing and working on my book, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that God provided a way for me to provide for myself as well as be able to utilize two things I love while working. I’m grateful that for the first time in my life I’m working in an office not doing sales or customer service. I’m grateful that no matter what twists, turns and set backs I take on this journey that I have so many people rooting for me and cheering me on. I’m thankful that I have friends and family who support me and I’m thankful that God has gifted me with something that no person could ever take from me.

I thought it was important to share this because so often we only see a person make it from point A to point B without knowing the in betweens. It’s not always easy. There are always going to be set backs but when you are motivated, passionate, living within your passion and following the path God has set for you, eventually you will come out on top. I’m happy to share my journey no matter what set backs or comebacks, i’ll continue to share.


As always, thanks for reading!


Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes vegetarian, spoken word poet, who doesn’t trust boxed macaroni or cats. keep up with her @ashleyreneepoet on twitter & instagram also check out her website.