May 17, 2017

Preparing For You

I'm a professional creeper, who is overly dramatic, living through filters, doesn't know when to stop eating, complains about my weight but, won't exercise, likes to shop, prefers my lighting to be just right, and is emotionally unavailable = why I am single.

There is some truth to my above foolishness, so let me explain...


For many years, I've not had to consider anyone's plans but, my own.  I've not had to coddle a man's emotions nor be extra affectionate when he's having a bad day.  I've not continuously had to think about anyone but, me.  This is not to say, I don't know how to be the type of woman who is in full support of her partner, I was her once, and this is also not to say I cannot be her again, I can.  I just did not want to be the woman who is immediately in the next relationship.  I've been so determined to reach certain levels in life that I've not opened up to the possibility of a relationship.  It would not be fair of me to expect a man to be completely ready for me but, me not be completely ready for him.

I don't want to be half a woman wanting a full man, nor do I want half a man.  Granted, there are some things that may improve in my life when I have a partner but, I am not relying on that potential.  I am relying on my own results and what I am able to do.


Many men could not comprehend my views or hesitation, so they would conclude the follow to be true for them: 

She's too high maintenance.
She doesn't know what she's missing.
She can't handle my honesty.
She just wants to play games.
Her standards are too high.
She must already have a man.
She's young-minded.

I really do not entertain these types of thoughts.  If that's what a man thinks of me to make him feel better, then so be it.  And one thing that irritates my soul is when a man is trying to justify how great he is and mentioning how many other women want him...Good for you Sir, you should go call them and get out of my way.  Let me not deflate your ego, and you can leave me all they way alone since you cannot be patient enough to really know me.

*I once told a man flat out, I was not interested in him.  I'm not sure how that could be misunderstood but, he proceeded to go on telling me how much of a good person he is...obviously that did not help him at all.

Top - H&M | Pants - Express | Shoes - Charles David (DSW)

Yes, I am a woman whom has went through certain experiences that has made me be very cautious; made me be more observant, more patient, more understanding, more analytical with a man's perspective vs. a woman's perspective.  This does make it more challenging for a man to get through to me but, it's not impossible...if he is secure with himself and accepts what I am willing and not willing to do, he'll be able to start chipping away.

- Love Raya



EMAIL: xoxo.rayal@gmail.com


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May 14, 2017

MOM

I started my family young. I wasn't prepared and honestly, I'm still not. Even when I decided to face a new change/challenge in my life and really become a "Single Mom", I was less prepared than when I started.  I promised them that I would never compromise myself to live an image of what a perfect family looks like.  My daughter has asked me if I'm seeing anyone and I tell her, "If he's good for us, he'll come eat with us." If he can't blend well with us, he can't sit with us...

No sir, this seat is being saved for....not you. 😊


The kids and I did as we usually do...EAT.  We tried out Mia Bella which was offering a Mother's Day Brunch Buffet.  Over the years, I've grown less impressed with buffets but, Mia Bella remained above the norm and had a waitstaff serving out the food, which was also covered, as opposed to people hovering over open trays and poking at what they may or may not like. 


As I enjoyed my meal I pondered on what I signed up for being a mom...

1: Being asked Why for EVERYTHING 
2: Over explaining EVERYTHING 
3: Cooking at odd hours
4: Being annoyed 
5: Being worried 
6: Learning good hiding places 
7: Spending more than I need
8: Arguing about Cartoons 
9: Playing cab driver 
10: Sharing my space
11: Crying 
12. Loving someone more than myself. ❤



I don't know what I am doing as a parent, or even as an adult.  I am also pretty sure these two do not know what they are doing as kids being reared by me.  Luckily enough were are here raising each other.


Vanessa & Gabriel


- Love Raya

EMAIL: xoxo.rayal@gmail.com


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May 6, 2017

High Expectations

If my topics are becoming redundant, it's because people keep doing the same things, so I have to keep these thoughts in rotation....


Never be the woman who demands a man to think about her ⚠.

We tend to create expectations for people we barley know.  We expect them to be considerate of our feelings.  We expect them to reach out to us often.  We expect them to make time for us.  Why?  What if this person does not want the same things or have the same plans?  What do you want that is opposed to what he or she wants? What did you misinterpret? 

Sometimes it's not the men, it's the women who have premeditated expectations or demands of him. (Yes, my sisters, we must take some blame for our heartache.)

The only expectation I have of a man is for him to be a man per his own definition. 🔀: Then it is my discretion to accept the man as he is because I refuse to invest time into changing someone who has his own thoughts and plans. ⛔: Unless you are already committed to one another and both identify that things need to change, the "We need to talk" can fall on deaf ears.  ℹ : And the list that you want to discuss, go over, and revisit is probably last on his mind, he may entertain it but, it's not his focus. Especially, if he has many things going on in his life that doesn't require you.

Overcoat - Forever21 | Dress & Sunglasses - Nordstrom

Many incidences result to: She says they're dating but, he says they're just hanging out. She is more involved than he.  Pay attention to your perspective in conjunction with his.

 I have discussed with several friends about their experienced and I never just look at their side of the story.  I consider the other the possibilities of their thoughts or feelings and my response is not always in favor of my friends.

You shouldn't have to ask "What are we?" (I've only ever asked that once. I was 18 then.)  A man who knows what he wants or doesn't want will make it clear.  And if things aren't transparent, he may still be figuring out parts of his life, you can chose to hang on or you can continue your life unaffected.  And if you can subdue your 'crazy' then you can do both.

The only time I had certain expectations of a man was when it was clear that we were in a relationship and had plans to grow together.  And friends who knew me through this part of my life knew I went through the hell and high water! 📉😤


- Love Raya

EMAIL: xoxo.rayal@gmail.com



SN:  I am not ashamed to say that many of my pictures are filtered, background blurred, blemishes faded, color adjusted, etc.  So when people give me compliments, many times, my instant response is, "Thank you but, I don't wake up like this."  Social media has allowed us to live under tainted glass.  Every now and then, I like to show photos without my 'mask' and usually on the weekends I do leave the house au naturale.
⇊⇊⇊


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April 29, 2017

In Consideration Of

Being a single mother is more than just providing food and shelter for my children.  It is also providing stability for them.  I spoke about stability in a previous post, this is in conjunction to that thought...


I have 2 children and if I decide to embark on a new relationship, I have to think about them first.  I have to be sure of the relationship before placing a new man into my children's lives.  I have to be comfortable in knowing that he will love and care for them the same way I do.  We need to have similar parental instincts.  Also, there is no telling if he will have interaction with my ex...since I barley communicate with the ex but, that may become a factor and if it does, I cannot have a man who will shy away at something that I still don't know how to handle.

Don't just be a strong supporter and provider, be a strong parent as well.  And even if he has no experience with parenting, here's a newsflash...NEITHER. DO. I!  I am just winging it!  I don't have adult children, my eldest is barley a teenager so, I don't know what will work and what won't.  I can only use my best judgement and pray that my kids grow up to be positive contributors to society.


There is so much I need to think about in consideration of my kids...

Is this relationship leading to marriage?
First and foremost, if this man is not planning to have a committed future with me, he need not come around my kids or get to know them, other than what stories I tell him.  Previous men who may have met my kids in passing were not significant enough to say, Yes, he knows my children.

Will we need to move?
I am not opposed to moving into a home that my husband is providing even if it means a new city or state but, he and I need to have an understanding that I want my kids to be happy and for the transition to be comfortable for them.  They've been uprooted once before when I left their father.  If we are moving again, stability on both ends must be established first.  Will my employer change? Will my career change?  Will my personal income change?  What is he expecting of me when we move in?

How will their environment be different?
Since their father isn't proactive, how proactive will this new man be?  Does he have children already and how are we going to help both of our families to blend?  What of the mother of his children?  Do they have a cordial relationship?  Last thing I want is to bring my kids into a tension-fueled atmosphere. 

I cannot answer all these questions alone and whomever I begin a relationship with may not have all the answers either but, we definitely need to have a plan that includes all the babies.

Top - Express | Cropped Sweatpants - Target | Wedges - DSW | Hat - Amazon

I witness and hear stories of mothers whom are in and out of relationships, exposing their kids to different people all the time.  I don't want to be one of these mothers.  I'm not saying that mothers like this are bad mothers, I'm just saying that I don't want someone consistently around my kids unless I am positive he will be a great fit in our lives.  And if this keeps my single longer, then so be it.  There is nothing that I need from a man that can possibly derail me from considering my children.

Even though I do not want more kids of my own, I'd be wasting my time to be involved with a someone who can't or doesn't want to be a parent to Vanessa and Gabriel.

- Love Raya



P.S. - If you are an online shopper like me, you definitely need to sign up for Ebates!

EMAIL: xoxo.rayal@gmail.com


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April 24, 2017

Sometimes We Don't Know

Okay, so I do a lot of sh*t talking about men...but not really since I do make an attempt to defend you sometimes...SOMETIMES...

This post is for you, Fellas!


I was conversing with a gentleman and he was telling me of a story about a lady friend whom he invited to his home for a gathering.  Several people stayed over, including the lady friend, and the next morning the guys got up to do some cleaning and prepare breakfast.  The young lady did not partake.  When she woke up, she approached some of the men and said, "Where's my food?"

I can see where her statement came off the wrong way since I was told one of the guys snapped back at her.

She was a guest, yes, but, when interacting with a man and a group of his friends, it's not the best to have a demanding attitude where a woman feels she needs to be catered to by those around her; it may not be received well with certain personalities.  I do not know this woman and possibly in her defense, she did not know the protocol. Or, who knows?, she expected someone to come to her with a plate of food and became irritated when it did not happen.  Or, it could have been a misunderstanding and she was just joking with her statement. 

Just like some men do not know unless it is explained to them, women can be the same way.  Not every woman is accommodating, not every woman automatically knows how to behave in certain situations.  Again, the woman in the story was a guest, she may have figured that it was not her responsibility to assist with cleaning or cooking.

I've been around this group of gentleman before; when they put together something, they are very accommodating to their guests.  So, maybe the young lady thought the men were going to do as they normally do.  Yet, I've witness enough with this group to know that any woman involved with any of these gentleman needs to be just as catering.

Top - Express | Skirt - Nordstrom

Sometimes a woman gets it, sometimes she doesn't.  When I am invited to a gathering where one or more of my friends is the host, I automatically accept that I am also a partial host, even if I am not asked to be.  Last time I was at my girlfriends house for a birthday brunch, I helped with bringing food and cleaning up afterwards.  No one asked me to do so, I just wanted to alleviate some of the work off my friend.  Not every woman person knows or thinks to do this. 

So let's be fair, there are some times that a woman does NOT know what to do, whether because she was not taught, told, or has not conditioned herself to do so.  And if a man feels it is important for a woman to know particular behaviors, he should be able to communicate this to her in a way that it is not attacking her character and a way she can understand his perspective.

- Love Raya

EMAIL: xoxo.rayal@gmail.com


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April 21, 2017

Grooming



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 insult to those who've said it, I'm just saying...you need to find a better way to approach a certain type of woman.)

"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!