LXXXVII: Popular Shopping Sites — Waste or Worth It?

Let’s start with the most popular:

FashionNova

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Waste, or Worth It?

Honestly, FashionNova is worth it.

Now, this doesn’t mean that everything that you purchase from this site will be golden and great, but it does mean that, for what you pay, you get a fair deal.

A lot of the things that I buy from FashionNova work for me and I enjoy knowing that I have a go-to place to buy jeans!  

Now, I don’t have the typical FashionNova big hips, big butt body, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle when it comes to buying jeans. This site just seems to have put that struggle a bit on ease.  

FashionNova is definitely worth it. 

Venus

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Not worth it at all.

I think that they just take pictures of clothing from other sites and then sell the item on their site.

Now, this is fine because someone has to buy from someone else to keep consumerism going, but the quality also has to be there. For Venus, I am not so sure that the quality is there.

Now, there was a black and white dress that I made work for a while, but I feel as though I put in more work on the dress then Venus did (which should never be the case).

I’d say that this site is a waste.  

Pretty Little Thing

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If you can get past the display of this site to the actual clothing, then you are automatically less neurotic than I am!

In my opinion, the display of the site is a tinge off and it’s hard for me to get past that part! 

But, overall, PLT is definitely a hit or miss site when it comes to buying clothing. So many people have good luck when purchasing from PLT but I just haven’t. 🤷🏾‍♀️ 

Ah well, maybe it’s not for me? But this brand is certainly not one that I like. 

Let’s call this one a waste also.  

Romwe/Linkshe/Chic Me/Shein 

Now, these sites all pretty much have a huge overlap when it comes to the products that they offer. But, they also have amazing dresses!

They are definitely “buy at your own risk” dresses, but they’re dresses nonetheless.

These sites potentially just stroll on over to a warehouse, load up on dresses and get ready to sell them, so I’d be cautious when purchasing from any of them.

I’d call these a collective waste, but that’s just me!


Now, I’ve said all of this to say that I definitely do not want to deter any business to these sites, so I encourage you all to check them out for yourself! But, sometimes it’s just good to have a bit of a warning.

Happy shopping! 🛍 💕🛍

LXXXVI: Am I Being Irrational?

Do any of you have fears that other’s may consider irrational?

You know, the weird fears of things that others wouldn’t even think to be afraid of?

Well, I certainly do! So, this post is me just sharing a couple of my fears in the hopes that my readers will share a couple of theirs!

Here we go, it’s fear time: 

Ants

If you’ve ever been to Texas and/or stepped on an anthill, then I do not need to explain this fear to you at all.

For as long as I can remember, I have had the biggest fear of these little creatures. If I see ONE, then my whole day is ruined, I have to shower, & restart it!

There was even a time when a soda exploded in my freezer and by morning a trail of ants came from outside and into my apartment to get said soda. I screamed, I cried, & I called an ex who had to leave work to come to my place and clean my kitchen all because he knew how deeply this fear runs. 

This fear is no joke. I don’t think that there will ever be a time that I’ll be okay with ants, and this is honestly a fear that I’m fine with.  

Butterflies

This is true, I am beyond afraid of butterflies and here’s why: 

When I was younger, my family lived by Six Flags Marine World (it’s name before it became Discovery Kingdom). Because we lived so close, we found it necessary to get season passes and walk over every once in awhile. 

On one of our visits, someone had the grand idea of going into the butterfly exhibit. Now, let me stop right here and say that this place is wall to wall, floor to ceiling butterflies flying freely and ruining young girls lives.  

I go into this exhibit a very curious, young, bright-eyed girl and leave with a new and very real fear! Spring hasn’t been the same since.

Thunder

Let me just say, these are definitely in order of most feared to least, and I have absolutely no shame in any of them, so don’t even ask!

Now I’ve tried everything to get rid of this fear but nothing works! I’ve tried to learn the ins & outs of what thunder is, but nothing has helped me get over this fear.  

I just cannot do thunder. If I’m home alone and it starts to thunder, I always wait to see who calls because I think only those who have known me for a certain amount of time and who have also paid attention know that I do not play around with thunder. But if they don’t call fast enough, then I usually call my mom or my dad — two of my best friends.

FLYING

To this, I want to add that there’s a time limit on this fear.

I am okay with flying on flights that are less than 5 hours! Around the 5 hour mark, however, I start to wonder how we are mechanically, physically and scientifically still in the air which then makes me quietly panic.  

Now, I’m adult enough to not publicly panic on planes because there is already so much anxiety attached to many who fly, so I’m very cognizant of this while in the air. But this does not mean that my fears aren’t in high gear.  

This definitely won’t keep me off of a long flight but it does ensure that I pack plenty of sleeping agents for whenever I do fly.  


I know that I am not the only person with strange or irrational fears, so feel free to share a couple by commenting below!

💕

LXXXV: To Be Me...

To be me is very challenging. I am a difficult person, shaped mostly by my past experiences. I do my best to learn, not to internalize, and to remain open.

At 27, I’ve seen a lot, done a lot, and learned more than I’ve wanted to.

So, I guess I can say that:

TO BE ME IS TO BE CRAZY

The way that my mind works is unlike any other.

I have the most outlandish ideas and the most quirky conversations, but I wouldn’t be me without this quality.

I like that I’m not like other women and that I’m not like other people, in general. It’s one of the best things about me — I am unapologetically me at all times.

So, you can call me crazy but you can never say that I’m like anyone else you’ve ever known.

TO BE ME IS TO BE BENEFICENT 

Some day these good deeds will be the death of me. But, until that day, you will know me for my good deeds.

Despite my exterior and the fact that I literally have no patience for people, I am a very giving and loving person. I would honestly give my last to those that I love (and even those that I don’t know). Some people see this as a weakness or as me loving myself less than others. But, I just see that as the mind fooling fools out of doing good deeds.

I pity those who do not have it in them to do good unto others, BUT where they slack, I’m fine with being great. 🤗

TO BE ME IS TO BE ATHLETIC

I am a full-blown participant in this workout game and have been for as long as I can remember.

Working out brings me a sense of calm and clarity that I can’t get from anything else. Even though I have to deal with some of the most insane things just going to the gym, I would definitely not stop going.

I’m someone who enjoys working out and can never understand it when others see it as work or a task that they have to get through. But, I always encourage others to join me for a workout so that they too can find the fun in healthy living.

TO BE ME IS TO BE OVERLY ANALYTICAL  

Okay, so I’m overly analytical but not in a good way. Remember how I mentioned that I come up with the most outlandish ideas and have quirky conversations? Well, I’m sure that that goes hand-in-hand with this little quality about me.

A lot of times this deals with a pattern from my past. So, basically if I feel that I’ve ‘been here before’, then I will over think whatever the situation is while making guesses about what will likely happen in the future.

Honestly, a lot of the time, I am right: the friendship ends, the person was lying, the guy was fake the whole time, etc… I got this over thinking thing on lock down, but only because no one has been honest or real enough to prove me wrong yet.

Although I am usually right, this is still not a good quality to carry unless applied to situations that should receive an extra thought. But, I wouldn’t be human if I did things correctly now would I?

TO BE ME IS TO BE COMPLETELY IMPATIENT

If you are at all religious, then you know that a lot of learning your way through the Bible is learning to be patient and have faith.

Now, patience and faith are supposed to go hand in hand, but I lack in a major way at having any type of patience. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have faith, but it means that I am still learning.

This world is quite vexing, so each day that I leave the house and don’t end up slapping someone is a gold star on my calendar (if I’m being all the way honest).

Apart from people however, I think that my biggest lesson in patience is the fact that I don’t know where my life is taking me just yet. I have worked hard at the things that I’ve genuinely wanted for my life and those doors have all completely been closed in my face.

Now the only direction that life seems to be kicking me in is towards the law, and it makes me nervous.

When I was younger, I wanted to be many things: a chef, a singer (don’t ask), a flutist, a teacher, an actress, a writer, a ballet dancer, but never did I wish to be an attorney. For some reason, this is what’s in store for me. This is apparently meant for me, and although I’ve met some of the most dishonest and disloyal people while in this field and have no faith that I will meet better people, I’M STUCK HERE.

Because of this, I have to think that maybe I am here to be the change. Maybe I am here to be the difference. So, while all of this works itself out, I have to practice patience and continue to be me.

TO BE ME IS TO BE THE MOST LOVING

My heart is the thing that will forever get me into the most trouble.

I don’t give it out often, but when I do, it’s usually to the wrong people. This is not to discount those who are handling my heart like they have a sense of humanity at all. I see all of you great people who know how to act! LOL 👀

But, the ones that are ingrained into the back of my mind are those who have inched their way into my heart only to leave it scarred.

My heart has worked overtime to expend itself and then to mend itself. Time and time again.

Luckily, for me, my heart is most protected by the love of my family! When all other love fails you, familial love will not. It certainly hasn’t failed me!

TO BE ME IS TO BELIEVE THE FALLACY THAT I AM AS MEMORABLE TO OTHERS AS OTHERS HAVE BECOME TO ME

Life is nothing but a bunch of memories and I love making memories with different people.

Nothing means more to me than to have moments that I never want to forget with people who I hope will always be there.

A lot of the times, that’s not the case, but for those who have stuck around, I am truly appreciative. My blinders are on to those who have chosen to make me less than a memory or to those who have come into my life for just a season.

A lesson that I will forever be forced to learn is that, not everyone is able to be good to others. Some people have it in their minds that the proper way to treat people is as though they are disposable. I’ve seen it time and time again, and it will forever be my reminder not to be like those people.

I cannot express how forever appreciative I am of those who have ever treated me like I was forgettable or disposable — You’ve all taught me a more valuable lesson than you will ever know. And although I may not be memorable to people like YOU, I know that, where it counts, I am so much more!


I could honestly go on forever about what pieces make up the Brianna J. pie, but that’d be boring and ever-changing!

All-in-all, I am a food-loving, studying, loud-music-playing, cynical, always honest, never patient, irritable, movie-going woman who is always growing, learning and changing. My secret weapon is that I know who I am. I am always unapologetically me. I fight for what I want, love and care about. And, no matter the turns, I always win.

I guess you could say that, to be me is to be simply amazing. And, if you don’t feel this way about yourself, then you’ve got some work to do. 😉

LXXXIV: To Be A Child...

To be a child today is to be fearful and [hopefully] religious.

I want to start by saying that, children today have to be way stronger than I had to be as a a child and, for that, I feel so badly. They deal with issues that force them to grow up way faster than I could ever fathom having to grow.

We see it in the news, we see it in their actions as they get older and we see it in their faces, children have to deal with a lot, and this post is just to bring attention to a couple of the things that children may be dealing with that we may be ignoring.

FEAR IN ATTENDING PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Unfortunately, school shootings have become a thing that we see all too much. If there isn’t an actual school shooting, then there is a threat of yet another.

Students in elementary, middle and high school can’t even deal with the pressures and hard work tied to getting their education because they have to worry themselves with whether or not today will be the day that someone goes through with such senseless acts.

I remember being young and being afraid of the fire alarms going off, so I can’t even imagine having to deal with this type of fear as a youth.

EXPOSURE TO DEATH/SUICIDE/HOMICIDE

Never have we seen an influx in child suicides similar to what we have seen in these past couple of years.

The rate at which children are committing suicide, or turning on the television only to see senseless killing, or are otherwise exposed to death is alarming. It results in them learning these ways and starts the manifestation of these thoughts and actions.

When I was younger, I had no clue what suicide was let alone how to commit it myself, so the fact that children who are younger and younger, know what it is and how to do it is insane to me and, I’m sure, to their parents as well.

It takes additional work, but there has to be some elements of youth and innocence that we allow children to keep for a while — for their adulthood sanity and for their survival.

SOCIAL PRESSURES

When you’re young, you’re usually also impressionable whether you’ll admit it or not. The social pressures of everything around you seem appealing and, sometimes, you cave into things that you know are wrong.

These days, the pressures are endless, and I feel so badly for the children and the amount of strength that they have to exercise daily!

Now, when I was younger, I wasn’t interested in people apart from my family. I hung out with my grandma, dad and aunt all the time and when I wasn’t with them I was following my older sister around. They were my people of preference (and still are). As far as everyone else was concerned, it was hard to even get a word out of me until the end of middle school. So I was not fully exposed to social pressures the way that the youth are today.

But, I am here to say to any youth that come across this post:

The real strength is shown by your own restraint. Save ‘taking chances’ for the things that can change your lives for the better.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is super present in the lives of children. Parents are giving their kids tablets for games and Youtube; teens are requesting phones and registering for apps like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; and within all of these apps are those whose goal in life is to, in one way or another, harm children.

We all know that social media is a huge problem when you get the youth in the mix, so I am not even going to touch this topic apart from acknowledging that it is a problem.

LACK OF ADEQUATE PARENTAL FIGURES

Now, I’ll preface this by saying that there are a lot of good parents out there who are doing their absolute best to raise upstanding children, but there are also a lot of people out there who are completely neglecting their children. This leaves them to be raised by their surroundings, or what they see on the television or in movies, or really just anything else.

Even for the parents who are there and provide financially but do not talk to their children, or check on their children, or who just shove electronics into the faces of their children instead of being in their lives — these acts are, by definition, a lack of parental presence.

The youth of these upcoming generations need their parents more than ever. They need guidance more than ever. And, they need good examples more than ever.

Simply being there and listening to your child can go such a long way, but it’s something that so many parents forget…

Children will forever be the future, so why not be an integral part of the reason that they are great?

LXXXIII: To Be A Woman...

To be a woman is to wait...  

In our teens, we wait for the moments that make us feel most like a woman. We wait for that group of friends that we believe we can’t live without. We wait for love — a deep, all-in, scary type of love. 

We wait for those little glimpses into our futures that show us what our passions will likely be. We take chances never fearing the risk. We try without the fear of failure. We leap knowing that life will catch us.

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Once we reach college age, we wait for the work that we’ve done on ourselves, thus far, to be realized.

By now, we’ve experienced friendship, betrayal, and love [for many]. We’ve had to pick ourselves up, persevere and be our own heroes. We’ve done all of this while under the lens of those around us while trying not to crack under the pressure.

Being a woman is tough. If we aren’t waiting for recognition for our hard work, then we are waiting for men to realize that many of us require that they actually treat us right. We are forever seen as the weaker sex and forever waiting for equality, civility, humanity, and appreciation.

At this point, this woman has been waiting to see a couple of things and I’ve noticed a couple of things... :

HARDWORK’S PAYOFF

There are some women out there working their buns off on a consistent basis and I think that it is worthy of so much applause.

Without getting into the things that women deal with, all too often, while working in the professional world, the way in which women still reign supreme in a number of professional arenas is astounding.

Women are simply amazing. But, sometimes it’s also the case that women are overlooked for their hard work. There are a ton of women out there who have to work behind the guise of a man just to keep their jobs; there are so many women who are the geniuses behind works that will never be known; and there are so many women out there who could do the job 10 times better than their male counterparts but will never even see anything past an interview.

I know that there are many women, including myself, who are waiting for all of their hard work to pay off, and I am just here to say to all of us:

Keep your head up. Your day is coming…

FRIENDS ACTUALLY BEING FRIENDS

I say this and will always stand by this, “it is so easy to be there for someone when they have nothing for you to be there for them about”.

I am a complicated person as it is, but in all of my arduousness, I still manage to be the friend that those around me need. As a woman, I found it necessary to pay attention to the needs of each friend (because they are always different), and work at being what each person needs and when they need it.

Again, I don’t see the point in being in someone’s life if I am not there to enhance or change it. So, as a friend, I make sure that I am exactly what that person needs: if they need an ear, then I listen; if they need a night out, then I’m going; if they need to vent, then I’m right there volunteering to beat up whoever needs it; if they need a shoulder, then I do my best, but honestly I hate contact so, you know, give and take.

All I’m saying is that, I understand what it is to be a human. I understand what it is to be a woman. I understand what it’s like to have emotions, and I understand disappointment very well. Life is not easy for everyone, and I get that it is 10 times harder if you’re doing it alone. So, I do what I can to make sure that those around me know that they are not doing it alone. I’m always here.

But, when it comes to my needs, if really take a look at my life, not many of those same people even try to be there for me, women included.

For women to see how difficult this life can be and still not be there for another woman is disturbing. And I see it as a cycle of women running into the wrong types of women throughout their lives. They reach a point where it’s impossible to trust a good one when one comes around — and so begins the cycle of selfishness that we are currently knee-deep in today.

Women loving women, genuinely, is so absent in today’s society. For two women to be friends and not talk behind each other’s back or not lie to each other’s face is near impossible to find and it’s sad. There is nothing more powerful than a woman truly supporting a woman — how could we not flock to this?

We have to do better because there is nothing more beautiful than women truly supporting and rooting for other women.

REAL LOVE

I’ve heard it time and time again. It is so easy for a boy to tell you that he loves you, but I have yet to see a man show me that he loves me (with maybe one exception years ago).

As a woman, when a pattern makes itself known, we cannot help but to internalize… “It must be me”, “Maybe I am asking for too much”, “Maybe I should lower my standards”. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is true, sometimes it is us! Sometimes we do ask for unreasonable and unrealistic things! And I’m not even touching that last one because I will never lower my standards.

But many times, it’s the fact that these boys haven’t been held responsible for their actions (see To Be Man post); they haven’t been required to try or put forth effort beyond getting in a girl’s pants, they haven’t been told to be the role model or the man. It’s never required because there is always a girl in the background that he can spend his time and energy on who doesn’t require these things like the woman does.

In this regard it’s like we’re fighting ourselves because we’ll continue to be the home for his womanizing ways, lies and failure to accept or admit the things from his past that have hurt him. Things that he hasn’t even taken the time out to work through because he’s never been required to.

Being a woman is hard — being a woman in love is the hardest.

Strength and “Real Love” have to go hand in hand in this world. I’m waiting for the shift that doesn’t only call for a woman’s strength but that also includes a man showing strength, restraint, loyalty, and love… and I do mean Real love.

COMPETITION

For some reason, women always seem to be in competition with each other as if we aren’t all fighting the same evils.

That competition even becomes the very demon that destroys our relationships, our friendships and our own well-being.

I don’t compete with the women around me because I really don’t see a point and I don’t see what we would be competing for (I generally see myself on different levels across the board). The energy put into competing at things that probably won’t even matter 5 years from now could easily go into, oh I don’t know, ANYTHING.

I just see the world as insanely difficult when it comes to people because our focus gets stuck on things like competition instead of on things like working through problems, or being there for each other, or being a friend…

I mean, maybe the fact that I honestly cannot wrap my mind around why or what women are competing for is exactly why I don’t understand this concept of women competing against women — and I do refer to the negative competition and not the fruitful/sportsman-type of competition.

HUMANITY

Chivalry, compassion, dignity, love, tenderness, kindness, consideration, generosity, goodness, sincerity, honesty and loyalty — Where art thou!?

I’m waiting for the world to find it’s humanity [again]. For some reason I have this idea that we once knew how to treat each other. And I could be completely wrong, but I honestly feel like there was a time where men had manners, at least made an effort to be honest, and tried to treat women the way they deserve to be treated.

Maybe because of the way that I was brought up — you know, with common sense, common curtesy and decency, do I believe that others should exercise the same.

I think that the world is so caught up in the pretend lives that they’re living for social media and viral culture that they are completely forgetting to be human and to treat others as if they are also human.

As a Black woman, my experience is much different from many others when it comes to humanity. Many women reading this post probably do not feel that humanity has died, but being a Black woman (the most unprotected, the most attacked, the most forgotten kind of woman) only shows me in technicolor that the world is lacking in the humanity, compassion, loyalty and decency department, and I want us to get it back. I believe in us!


Women spend their lives trying to find themselves and then to not lose it to the world, trying to determine who and what is worth caring for, trying to protect what’s nearest and dearest to them, nurturing, loving, caring and being compassionate and remaining strong. All while being used and abused by damaged guys (and girls), being betrayed by lifelong friends, and being placed in insane situations in the workplace while being looked over for things and positions that they can [more likely than not] do better than the guys.

Being a woman is hard… And I think that I continue to return to this point because it is too true. But, to all of the women who are loving in this world, working in this world, caring in this world, trying in this world and who are remaining true to themselves in this world, I see you and I applaud you all.

🖤