April 21, 2017


We groom ourselves for certain triumphs.  Study hard in high school for good grades to be accepted to the best colleges.  Practice our interview skills to land the best job.  Improve our craft to move up the ladder.  It's no different to being a single person wanting a certain type of relationship. 

People are not designed and engineered to be "made" for you.  We cannot expect a box from Santa with the perfect partner inside. (Dear Santa, I need a man over 6', who dresses well, does what he says he's going to do, a good protector, loves me with his whole heart, and makes me smothered pork chops when I'm having a bad day.)  Reality: We cannot expect for someone to automatically know how to respond to us.  What we can do is set guidelines for ourselves.

Be a woman any man can be proud of, whether associate, friend, colleague, or partner.

Top & Pants - Express | Duster - Forever21 | Accessories - Sam Moon | Shoes - I.N.C

The other day, I admitted to a man that I was a bit ashamed of the some of the choices I made when I first met him.  I explained that as a woman, I placed expectations of myself to NOT be a particular type of woman.  He differed with my words and stated I had no reason to be ashamed which, I can emphasis that a man's perspective will be different from my own and I don't expect anyone to always see my point of view.

As a woman, a single woman, a mother, a single mother, I personally feel I need to behave in a certain manner.  I need to make decisions that will not negatively impact my life or those who depend on me.  When it comes to men, I need to be extremely careful with how I behave because I do not want to be thought of as a woman who should not be taken seriously or a woman who can easily be broken.

I can honestly say, No man I've met in the last few years has placed me in the category of  a woman he can degrade or demoralize.  Yay me...but, if a man decides to talk to me cray, all hell will break loose!

It's not just grooming myself for a great husband, it's more so grooming myself to be a good, respectable woman with or without a husband. 

- Love Raya

EMAIL: xoxo.rayal@gmail.com

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April 3, 2017

No Time Nor Patience For Instability

I am a bit too busy these days enjoying the life I am creating for myself.  And I get perturbed if a man is expecting something instant from me especially, if we just met or if we barley know one another. I am not going continue to interact with anyone who has premeditated intentions for me other than to become my friend and learn the person I am before deciding if he wants a serious future with me.

And as innocent the following statement may be, hearing even once is one too many...
(No shade thrown, I'm just saying.)

"I want to know if I am wasting my time?"

Ummm...yes, yes you are sir if you feel the need to ask that.  To me, this means you are expecting something from me before even knowing anything about me.  Maybe other women are more receptive when hearing that, I don't know, yet when I hear it, I shut off completely.

Sir, let me not waste your time since....
You do not know what I have going on in my life.
You don't know what my daily schedule is like.
You don't know what my goals are.
You don't know what I enjoy.
You don't know what my peeves are.
You don't even know if my personality will be cohesive with yours.

You just know that I am appealing to you and you want to know where it can lead and how soon it can get there.

Granted, I must give men some credit for wanting to know BUT, you cannot predict the future and once you make an indication that something more serious can occur, you then open yourself up to an expectation that he now is waiting on you to meet.

No, that is not how I operate. 

What happened to simple pleasures of simple conversations?  For men I just met,  I don't know enough about you to have imprinted onto my life so, there is no love lost if I never interact with you again.  And if I never interact with you again, then it was never meant to be more than a brief meet and greet.  Let us not make this weird and fabricate a non-existent love story.  And if we meet again, so be it but, I will not push my personal wants onto someone, especially if we do not have a clear understanding of one another.

I may not be translucent on exactly what I want but, one thing I do require is Stability and I will not be able to learn that from a man in less than an hour or just because he tells me that he's secure.  This is something I need to witness and continually see.

Do you have stable employment? 
Do you have a stable residence?
Do you have a stable financial plan?
Do you have a stable outlook on life?
And if something happens to that stability, how resourceful are you to regain that security?
Or do you expect someone to help you figure it out?

If we share no finances together, no business together, no common space together, then I am not responsible for any setback you may have.  I can give you words of encouragement and give you my opinion but, you will need to pick yourself up and dust yourself off.

Is this cruel of me?  Maybe.  
Yet, I do not expect for someone else climb my obstacles for me.

I once dated a man who solely relied on me for just about everything, from creating his resume to calling his cell phone service to get details on his account.  At first it was just a little assistance here and there, then it got excessive and I was over it.  He was depending on me too much and the more needy he was the less of a man I saw in him.  There would have been no way to combine our households since he was barely able to manage his.

If I can afford or if I am laying the foundation to afford the lifestyle that I like and it is similar to what you like, then you should be able to do the same, not expect me to afford it for you.  Or expect me to give you the answers on how to achieve that goal.

Have your own stability to match my stability.

If you invite me on a trip and I agree to go, then I am already prepared to pay my portion...whether or not you tell me that you have it all covered.  If we are not married, I do not expect you to take care of anything for me.  Yes, it would be gentleman-like of you to do so but, I know every man isn't able and 'Today's Man' doesn't think that way.

One of my good friends invited on a trip once and I paid my half of the initial expenses.  He didn't reprimand me but, he was a bit discontent with what I did.  It was sweet to know that he was not fully comfortable with my actions but, I am adamant about my current notions.

- Love Raya

EMAIL: xoxo.rayal@gmail.com

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March 14, 2017

Vegas: The Venetian Life and Flying with Spirit

So, I headed to Las Vegas...

I kept my attire comfortable with a hint of Philly.

As I arrived, the "D" was in my face. 😝😜

I took a shuttle bus to the hotel. $11 for drop-off and $20 for drop-ff and pick-up; I did the round trip.  Although, my friends had issues with their shuttle service and drive, mine was pleasant and entertaining...I had no issues on the return shuttle either...Then, I checked into my room....

I got a pretty sweet deal on The Venetian Hotel which is on the north strip, about a 15 minute walk from Caesar's Palace which is more in the center...I initially wanted Caesar's Palace but, the Universe had other plans for me.

My room was in the Venezia Tower with a great view of the strip.

I got lost in the hotel after I checked in...THIS PLACE IS HUUUUGE! But, what I began to love about the hotel was all the amenities...spa, several pools, clubs and lounges, shopping, casinos, and plenty of places to eat ALL WITHIN THE HOTEL. 

Below is a little tour of the room....

And they supplied the room with goodies...be careful, each item comes with a price.  Luckily, there was a Walgreen's near by that's stocked with the same items at a lower cost.

The mini fridge is weight sensored, if you move it, you buy it!


The next few days was of exploration.
Take a stroll through my food escapades...

(For mini blogs and photos that do not make the website, head over to my >> IG.

The Venetian Hotel: Bouchon Bakery

On The Strip: Hexx Kitchen

On The Strip: Hexx Confections (Candy and novelties) 

I enjoyed Hexx Kitchen so much that I came back again!

Luxor Hotel: Rice & Company

The Venetian Hotel: Buddy V's Restaurant

 The Venetian Hotel: Carlo's Bake Shop

The Venetian Hotel: Zio Gelato


This visit was not my first time in Vegas, the previous time I was with family and we entertained ourselves with tours, shows, and the dying desert heat.  This time I went with friends.  I did hit the casino, just the machines, not the tables and I came up $200!  I learned very quickly to cash out when you are up!

Between Uber and Lyft I was able to get around fairly easily and for great prices.
*Click on either link for promo code.

I did some sight seeing and shopping....

I picked up some really spicy dry rub at JoJo's Jerky located in the Grand Bazaar Shops on The Strip.

And I caught a few Pokemon along the way...
**When you take pictures with any street characters or performers, they like tips, $1-$3 is good.

I also found LUSH FACTORY

Even before you walk into the shop, the smell allures you!

I bought a lavender bath bomb, a bubble bath bomb, and a small lotion.

More photos below.

I did manage to squeeze in some work...pretty much the one thing I'm faithful to.

And, I toyed around with the camera on my new phone...remember, I lost my last phone in NOLA. 😞


We only did one "dress-up" night.  
My bathroom had so many mirrors, I figured I put them to some good use.

Backless Dress is JLUXLABEL

The trip was amazing; better than I had anticipated.  I loved seeing my friends and also having time to myself to explore and get some work done.  Vegas is so much more than drinking and gambling.

SN: I was informed that 'legal' prostitution is called "Therapeutic Services" 😯  I was also told that certain hotels are known as Swingers Hotels 😮 and...men who wear silk ties are "tippers", meaning they pay big for what they want with a woman.  Although, I cannot vouch for this since I did not get into that part of Vegas...No, no, no, Vegas will not touch my soul!

EMAIL: xoxo.rayal@gmail.com


Flying with Spirit...

I have never flown Spirit Airlines before and I did not hear the best stories but, Spirit had the best prices so, I went with them...and paid for Travel Insurance.  

Let me give you a snapshot rundown of Spirit charges.

When you pay for the flight, that's it, it's just the flight...only the flight...well, taxes too.  What is not included in your travel charges is your bags, seats, and check-in.  See below.

Checking your carry-on and luggage:

Depending on when, the size, weight, and how many bags you have will determined the cost for each bag. (Most airlines have a checked-bag fee.)

I purchased my plane tickets through Priceline.com so, I was unable to get the Spirit.com booking prices.  It was $5 cheaper to check my bag ($40) as opposed to paying for the carry-on fee ($45)...imagine paying $100 at the gate to check your bag!

Before proceeding to the next step, I received a pop-up asking me if I want to be a member of their $9 Fare Club and save instantly.  The membership is $59.95 and it is a yearly charge...no, thank you.

Choosing your seats:

You can choose your seating ahead of time at a cost or you can allot for random seating at check in for FREE.  I felt like playing musical chairs and opted for the chaos with random seating.

But, if you want to be choosy, the standard seats ranged from $21-$5.

Lastly, Check In Options: 

Again, I went with the free route and printed my boarding pass at home.

During flight: 

They do offer drink and snacks at a cost.  I opted to eat before I boarded. 

Overall, I spent less than $300 on my flight.  Not bad.

AND! On my flight home, the plane was practically empty!
I got the whole row to myself! SWEET!

March 2, 2017

NOLA: Phoneless Mardi Gras Edition

This is a sad, sad blogger post. 

During my time on New Orleans for Mardi Gras, I somehow managed to lose my phone.  I thought my pictures were already backed up to Google Photos because they usually automatically do that but, sadly no.....

I did not take many pictures of the festivities per say.  It was more of the city, the food, and live street entertainment.  Interestingly enough, even with Mardi Gras going on, it did not overshadow the beauty and culture of New Orleans.  I had been to NOLA one time before but, that trip was of special circumstances and arrangements, to which I very much enjoyed also. 

Below were the only 2 photos I was able to recover. 😬😞

*If any of my readers know how to recover photos from a now lost and turned off phone, please email me. PLEASE! I have so many good shots of more food, street art, and of my friends whom were with me.*

Above, my friends and I found this little gem called NOLA Cookery on 205 Bourbon St.  We ended up here because we wanted oysters and the other restaurants had long lines.  No, we were hungry NOW!  What's wonderful about being in a city that makes great food is that everywhere you eat, will have GREAT FOOD!  So, NOLA Cookery was amazing, we actually ended up there a few times during our stay.  What's pictured is the crawfish etouffee.  I asked for more rice and a side of greens. I also ordered a dozen raw oysters, plus we had fried catfish and dessert to go.  Don't judge, we were on vacation! 😀

Funny Side Note: Our waiter, Chris, kept calling me 'baby'.  I was a little taken back because I feel it odd to use terms of endearment with strangers.  I began to joke with my friends about it, telling them, "If he keeps calling me baby, then he's gonna need to buy me a drink.  This means we go together now since he keeps expressing his love for me." 😚 Then, when one of my friends went back the following day and had Chris wait on her again, he called her baby too...my new boyfriend is a hoe. 😁😮😐😆😄

Below was at Deanie's Seafood.  Again, I ordered the oysters with a side of 2lbs of crawfish.  Add some calamari to the table and we've got ourselves a hefty meal!  What I found peculiar was the waitress bringing potatoes out to the table instead of bread.  I meant to ask her why this was but, I was distracted by all the food around me.

I have hopes that I can still recover the rest of my pictures.  Until then, le sigh.

I did not get a chance to make it to Frenchman street.  I was told this is where all the locals hang out but, I did get a moment to have some beignets! Regular and stuffed!  I love beignets!

Oh, NOLA, we shall meet again.

So, my roller-coaster of emotions when losing my phone...


Lost it Sunday evening between 8-9pm while walking back to our hotel, I didn't know until the next morning when my friends and I were piecing the night together...and oh what a night it was...

I gathered I lost my phone after 7:30pm because I can recall I had last texted a friend about a funny topic around that time.  I had a few more drinks thereafter...


10am: Okay, it's cool, I can use someone else's phone if I need to make calls.

11:15am: What do I do with my hands?

11:30am: I guess I just have to look around at people to occupy my void.

11:45am: I'm okay. I grew up in the generation of dial-up and pagers. I can get through this.

12:50pm: Welp, I can't take any photos. Just have to make a mental note.

2:05pm: I wonder what's going on in my office.

....this is when shit got real....

3:20-8pm: I have to find this phone. I can't view emails. Something important could have came through. I can't make notes on my task list. I can't even view my list! I can't message my assistant. I've not looked at my stocks all day. I can't see my money manager app, so I can't record what I'm spending and what is being deposited! Now, I have to keep my receipts! I don't feel comfortable buying anything because I cannot digitally track it; I'm out of my element. I don't know what's going into my banks and what's pending because I can't see my emails!  Furthermore, I'm not able to review any of my business accounts. I'm not getting alerts. Things could be done wrong. Clients could be calling me but, I wouldn't know because I. DON'T. HAVE. MY. PHONE!

....and then I called the person who I should have called in the first place....Daddy Dearest!

He called Sprint. Shut down the phone and arranged me to get a replacement, which I picked up last Tuesday night. I am no longer stuck on stupid, waiting for dumb. The world is good again.

*This photo was taken during my stay at Hotel Ylem in Houston.  It is a gorgeous family owned boutique hotel with so much meaning in each square footage!

EMAIL: xoxo.rayal@gmail.com

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