Thursday, September 29, 2022

A Book Recommendation for Plus Size Living and an Announcement

Yes, You Can Wear That: How to Look and Feel Fierce at Any Size by Abby Hoy is a pleasant change of scenery. Hoy's writing voice is chipper as it is welcoming and best of all, it's free of the divatude that seems to take over most plus-size living books and other media. Tired phrases like 'large and in charge' give women and girls of size the false impression that being human is super-effed up when you don't look like a 90s supermodel. Some phrases like 'bigger is better' feed into a negative stereotype that can give one a destructive sense of self.

Here, in between several colorful wardrobe changes, Hoy talks about work, love, and becoming a social media influencer. While some accounts are a little winded (hey, I'm older now), her practical perspective in navigating this thing called life makes a nice reading balance. In my first book review in several years, I'd definitely give this a solid 'A' and highly recommend for anyone looking to find their way through daily challenges

Back in the day, when GENEROUS had a more humorous or quirky edge, emphasis was placed on having a quality life and outlook regardless of size. While fashion wasn't our focus, I chose to take excerpts of my life and have them play out through cartoon art, memes, etc. Things have definitely changed in the past few years, as we have multiple media figures who are considered smart, sexy, and most of all, accepted by the masses. 

However, not all change is good. Social media has played a solid role in what people are doing to get attention or become insta-celebrities. This may be great for those with discernable talent or something meaningful to share but let's be honest, a lot of "authentic" content out there reeks of desperation.

So this is to say that we will be working back to our roots of providing information in a fun format. It's kind of like leaving your old neighborhood to live on the "right" side of town. For us bloggers, there's so much pressure to choose the right topics and do the whole SEO thing in order to gain revenue. Truthfully speaking, it felt better to create honest content that a small group can relate to. To bring to truth all the way home, the old brand/format brought in more revenue.

To wrap up, I want to thank all of you who've hung in with me. Since starting in 2007, there's been a lot of changes and since we've decided to ease out of this generic branding, I also want to thank Ms. Hoy for providing some inspiration. Love ya and see you soon. J. Swindell

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Being a Cheater and Loving It

This week, there seems to have been an abundance of online articles about relationships. How couples met. That one thing that hooked them and, ugh...maintenance. Nothing is cut and dry anymore, especially when the pandemic has changed the income and/or spending habits of most adults. Then you may be one of the many adults who realized their upbringing was screwed (regardless of whether it was a single parent or a couple of generations of parents). A Buzzfeed article about ghosting stood out the most, as I recollected (and shared), the last time I committed this immature crime in my relationships.

Do Cheating and Ghosting Go Hand in Hand?

Possibly, yes because you've already left the relationship mentally. Sometimes we derive satisfaction knowing our partner is completely oblivious to the possibility of engaging intimately with another individual. Isn't it easier to voice concerns instead of making another connection outside of the home?

Another online article, from the NY Post, explores how women cheated more than men. For me, cheating is lying and I'm with Chris Rock in a statement he made during his Never Scared standup years ago.

"Men lie the most ... but women tell the biggest lies."

Watch the video and you'll see Rock faced with a mixed sea of boos and cheers. While he keeps going, most people wonder why we women have to lie to maintain a relationship. Oftentimes, keeping quiet about a matter can compromise your relationship - either it will kill it or make it stronger.

What About Emotional Cheating?

The NY Post article mentions this with some opposition from participants. However, I say this is spot on. You may have fallen in love with the perfect person at one point. They look nice, are basically friendly (even though social awkwardness can be appealing to some), and seem to hold a decent conversation. For many, this alone is enough reason to make wedding arrangements and plan a life together...quickly.

As for me, I didn't discover the power of emotional cheating until I realized how much energy I placed into the maintenance of my last relationship. Early on, I was expected to understand and accept a home situation based on what's best for the kids (that weren't mine), reasons for underemployment (and sometimes a lack of it), and endless levels of insecurity.

What I'd learn later on is that no one, man or woman, should be programmed to carry that much luggage because there's no way to control it. The simple reason why some people avoid these types of relationships is that they get lost. As in zero hobbies or interests, little to no social life, and the list goes on - even if you feel you helped remedy the problem. All the sane person's energy goes into their broken partner.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Equal Partnership vs. Ride or Die?

It's no secret that women of all backgrounds are moving up and oppression is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Not only are we working in positions once intended solely for men but learning about long money. If you're not in the know about ways to earn residual income, inheritance, or ways to save for early retirement, it may not be too late to start today.

While the opportunities may be endless for some, we all know that life happens. The people we connect with can profoundly affect how we see the world and manage relationships. Particularly those we are closest to, whether platonic or romantic, can teach us the hardest lessons.

Over the weekend, T'Yonna Wallace daughter of slain rapper Notorious B.I.G., made news for putting up her Brooklyn home as bail for her boyfriend/baby daddy. The young man had been on the run after being at fault for a hit and run. This was not a few hundred dollars some people may not miss but because he caused injury to others (trying to run from police because his license was suspended), his bond was set at $1 million dollars.

I've never been a fan of The Real but this 2 y.o. clip makes interesting points about being a ride-or-die chick. For those out of the know, being a ride or die is really an extreme example of being loyal to a romantic partner. While this applies to couples of all preferences, most situations are between a man and woman...where the man usually benefits. Money, a place to stay, a professional connection; watch any daytime TV court show and you'll see how far some situations go. You never hear about a ride-or-die dude.

Many times, these situations sometimes result in the man/male admitting they're proud to have a woman with this trait. Sometimes it goes back generations. However, many of these modern cases are not what our parents or grandparents went through. Working as a secretary or domestic while the husband goes to law or med school doesn't carry the same weight as someone who supports a chronically unemployed or mentally unstable partner. Yes, your love may be strong but some relationships can kill you.

Without getting too preachy, I'll make this blunt but short. Youth isn't forever. There are too many things that can happen in a short period of time that can permanently affect your paper (even your coins). Sickness, loss of income, familial structure changes, and even unfortunate circumstances can flip things around beyond your control. Save your sanity, enjoy what life has to offer, and let the deadbeats fend for themselves.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Save Money Doing Yucky but Necessary Things Like Car Repair

Courtesy of Creative Commons

You've been doing your best to keep up with the economy and its fluctuations. Maybe you've mastered being frugal or cutting back on things like clothes no longer feels like going cold turkey. Whatever the case, there's something out there waiting to catch you slipping. It's nothing you did deliberately but possibly a stereotype or something you witnessed growing up.

So what did you do? Waited to check your oil, vents, or that strange sound coming from a place that attracts dirt and oil.

Say Goodbye to Shady Mechanics

The predator is the serviceperson you may have to pay an insane amount of money for something that could've been prevented. Service tradespersons rely on (nope...LOVE) the individual who's one or more of the following:

  • Too busy to look under the hood 
  • Unfamiliar with (or intimidated by) basic machinery
  • Too cute to be bothered
  • Unknowing when it comes to prices for basic services
  • Having money to throw away

While none of these are crimes or you may have enough to pay and go about your business, having knowledge saves. In these times, no one deserves to get gauged into the poorhouse. You can do small things around the home or with your car in as little as a half-hour.

And this isn't to say that having knowledge may protect you entirely from these predators, but for us women, it's a start. You must ensure that your car and home are safe and free from possible damage. Even if you don't have a mechanical bone in your body, knowing how things work will make a shady mechanic or other tradesperson think twice about getting over on you.

Car Care Resources for Women

Here are a few resources that can help out but if you have an older vehicle, it may be better to take an in-person class or workshop, if possible:

Mechanic Shop Femme hosts a number of virtual workshops that cover buying, insurance, and tires. While there are a number of price points, some only ask for a donation. You can also reach out to Chaya with questions.

Girls Auto Clinic offers a number of workshops and easy-to-read guides that will help you sort out things when buying or making minor repairs. Sign up to receive more information or learn about a new career as a shecanic.

Essential Car Care - this book goes back to 2013 but I'd imagine the information is just as relevant as it was nearly a decade ago (with the exception of later electric/hybrid models).

You can also check out your local colleges for short-term noncredit classes that may be taken in the evening or on the weekend. Sites like Eventbrite also have virtual and live listings for these types of events. If you have time this weekend (July 30), AAA is hosting The Girl's Garage series online

Friday, July 1, 2022

Three Books Small or Aspiring Women Business Owners Should Check Out

It's the beginning of a new fiscal year and you may be looking at making a change or two. Maybe the conventional methods aren't panning out or you find yourself overextended. If you're like I was years ago, which is successful yet flying by the seat of your pants, it's time to find your narrative.  In other words, don't let the clients control you.

Yes, we grew up believing that the customer is always right and that if you work hard, the rewards will follow. This was during the time of brick and mortar businesses being the majority and mail order, outside of the Party Plan business model, was simply taking a chance for the seller and buyer. While e-commerce is an excellent way to earn a living, it takes a little bit of street smarts to survive.

Anywho, here are three books that either defy or simplify the solopreneurship process. In other words, playing by your own rules can pay off in the long run. At the same time, these can be useful in defining the structure needed in a particular area of your business.

My All-Time Favorite!

Yeah, those AT&T commercials may have been super-annoying at one point but Barbara Corcoran lays it down in Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business. Part autobiography. Part enterprise manual for women. If you're not a reader, the alternating (personal/professional) chapters may take getting used to but it begins to come together at the midway point. Instead of focusing on degrees and other BS credentials, Corcoran narrows in on using our natural gifts to prosper. Oh yeah, also common sense. Outside of her accomplishments, how she got over on then-real estate mogul Donald Trump is priceless.

Great for girls and women of any age!

She's So Boss: The Girl Entrpreneurs Guide to Imagining, Creating and Kicking Ass by Stacy Kravetz may sound a little juvenile (or trendy) but there's a lot of good information to be found. While some chapters focus on teen/young adult female entrepreneurs, there's a lot for us older gals as well. Loaded with resources and spoken in plain language and highlights business owners of many backgrounds. One thing that impressed me was this book (unlike many other popular titles) teach business owners how to use social media marketing responsibly. Anyone who's taken a basic business class knows that the super-aggressive tactics the "experts" push is just BS.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

What TPTB Need to Consider When NOT Choosing Pro-Choice

Courtesy of Dreamstime

This is close to my heart for many reasons, I'm using this platform to state some simple truths, supported by solid resources. If you're a pro-lifer and proud (LOL), you may find this somewhat educational. If you can't think of those who may have made a wrong judgment, been a victim of unforeseen circumstances (like family or money problems), or worse, a victim of sexual assault. Overall, the decision to abort is seldom an easy one but very necessary for many women who've undergone a certain level of personal trauma.

  1. The world is already overpopulated. If you knew how fast populations grow under legal abortion, this latest ruling will certainly magnify things. Real estate developers buy land and destroy single-family homes based on population growth forecasting. This not only creates an inflated monopoly on rent and mortgages but destroys many of nature's resources as well as communities.
  2. About 30% of homeless families have underage children. Again, this is before the Republicans jacked things up. If you look at the link, California and New York lead in homelessness. This is not a Hollywood movie where some kind, generous stranger will rescue these people out of the blue and live happily ever after.
  3. Single parenthood is serious business. Before you read this long list of challenges single parents face (starting at #4), comedian Chris Rock once had a routine about single parenthood where not enough men (and sometimes women) lived up to the responsibility, resulting in some bad-ass kids. His point: single parenthood can be done but it shouldn't be this way because it's impossible for one parent to be everywhere.
  4. Kids cost money. Even with the most practical or humble child-rearing, there are expenses parents (or guardians) cannot get around. Being poor seldom results in a quality lifestyle (though I've seen some recent remarkable exceptions). And the working class can find themselves being "too rich" to afford things like reasonably-priced medical care.
  5. It literally takes a village to raise one child. If you're young and live in the big city, having a group of responsible peers as part of your support system isn't easy. It's harder for those who are introverts or haven't been exposed to genuinely good people (in other words, you're too trusting). When it comes to your kid, protection tops the list of priorities.

Those are just five things off the top of my head as to why I'm pro-choice and have been for years. In over five decades on earth, I've seen a lot of shit go down with unprepared parents of all races, income levels, societal standing, and so on. Other real but possible issues that go into raising a child are - 

  • Mental health
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Crime (as a victim or perpetrator)
  • Physical impairments
  • and anything that challenges a normal person's quality of life. 

Finally, there's the fact that the mother may not be in well enough health to carry a baby to term. If people cannot be reasonable in their judgments, please try to show compassion towards women who are simply living life...even if their choices aren't ideal.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Getting Business Grants Targeted to Women

Despite a pandemic and an increase in crime in most major (and some much smaller) cities, commerce has yet to really slow down. In fact, more people are having meals delivered, using financial planning services, and choosing a work-life balance. You may have noticed other industries experiencing a surge in popularity and wondering how this change may impact your small business efforts.

As the fiscal year comes to a close, there are often new opportunities for women business owners of all sizes and industries. These range from nonprofit organizations to government agencies. While the Small Business Administration (SBA) may be a solid grant lead for women and minorities, there are other links throughout this post. While I haven't applied for all of these myself, these resources are very solid to my personal knowledge.

The Real Truth About Getting Business Grants

As indicated, the SBA doesn't provide small business grants but when you work with a small business development center (SBDC) or approved entity, they can get things going. The process is still lengthy but for those who can't handle loan fees, the wait isn't bad. However, the paperwork process can be daunting.

It's been more than 15 years since I applied for several grants for my business. From what I understand today, the process is a little tougher but it can be a learning experience. Back when I applied, I was working with a new SBDC (which has since closed its doors) located inside a small Crenshaw area church. After attending a series of workshops, it was time to get down to business.

What May Surprise You

As an aspiring entrepreneur, all I knew was what I wanted to sell online or in certain offline markets. I hated working for the public school system, as it paid less than corporate America and seemed to have more drama attached. While applying for grants, it was revealed that I would target low-income opportunities but even after putting in around 30 hours/week in a classified position...I still made too much money.

Yup, my estimated $1500/month (before taxes) was considered above the poverty level by the government. And no, this wasn't 1989...but 2005. So this meant my business representative (I don't remember his exact title) had to get creative when it came to how my finances would go on record.

The Other Thing of Importance