The Birth of a Coffee Snob

My relationship with coffee, is, what I would assume to be, the same as one’s relationship with cigarettes.

Blissfully addicting.

Sure, my head aches in withdrawal and my mind is foggy before I consume– but it’s really my heart that hurts without it. Coffee is my favorite ritual. Its hypnotic scent casts me into a spell of invincibility and opportunity. Just holding it in my manicured fingers is the same comfort level of my fuzzy bunny slippers or a back massage after a Tuesday full of conference calls.

It’s my biggest, little pleasure.

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Photo by Derek!

When Derek and I first started dating, he would make us coffee to drink together on his all-too-picturesque front porch. We’d sit there and sip and smile and just talk. Still so in love with finding out everything we could about each other. We were morning breath and bedhead and oversized clothes.

And we were perfect.

 

Coffee, like cigarettes, (I imagine), is an acquired taste. Obviously. No one is born with an affinity for South American whole bean dark roast. (At least, I don’t think they are? Maybe that explains all of this…) I discovered coffee early on, like you did, I’m sure. My mom drank it. My grandmother had a half-consumed pot in her kingdom of a kitchen that I spent endless after-schools in. It smelled weird and I knew I wasn’t allowed to have it… which just made me want it more.

 

In 7th grade, Kelsea The Teacher’s Pet Wiggins as I’m sure my classmates must’ve called me behind my back, was summoned to run errands for certain teachers. “Because I could be trusted,” I would tell myself.

Because I’m better. I really thought.

Regardless, my pretentiousness led me to the teachers lounge on more than one occasion to fetch afternoon coffee. (Something I’d learn a LOT about during my time at advertising agencies.) During the stillness of the forbidden teacher’s lounge in the middle of the afternoon, I’d concoct an extra cup of “coffee” (if you can even call 4 month old pre-ground Folgers that) for myself. It was really 1 part coffee, 8 parts sugar, 15 parts creamer.

 

And it was delightful.

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When I joined the workforce at my first “big girl job” I would make coffee as an excuse to be away from the isolation of my cubicle. My whimsical mugs were the ultimate social ice-breaker. I’d stop by my coworkers desks and ask them if they’d like to accompany me to grab a “pick me up.” And, like cigarette smokers, (I assume), we’d have precious conversation that unveiled to me the nuances of office politics. So and so doesn’t really work after 2pm, she’s just on amazon, shopping. IT knows this because they have access to all of our computers. So and so is getting fired soon. Can you believe so and so wore THAT to work today? Did you see so and so on their phone during that meeting? RUDE!

 

Noted.

 

But I was still just a social coffee drinker.

 

Coffee was just something I did to feel older and look cool and pass the time.

 

Like cigarettes. I’m assuming.

 

Then, one day, you know, you blink and you’re in your mid twenties, and your job is no longer a meaningless social game and your life is no longer a barrage of blacked out nights on Park Street and blowing your rent money on brunch and club clothes. You have a career that you care about and ambitions you’re nurturing. And there’s this human at your apartment after your day full of over-grinding at your career who like for real loves you. And you need something to legitimately drug you into motivation in the mornings because you’re legit giving 10,000% daily. And the 8 packs of Spelnda slowly turn into one or two teaspoons of stevia. The french vanilla creamer turns into a baby-splash of almond milk.

 

At least that’s how it happened for me.

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Our first Christmas together, Derek and I, was magical, to say the least. I was in my tiny one-bedroom apartment on the Scioto River. We put up an all white Christmas Tree, aka the tree of my dreams. We made our first “holiday” plans as a couple. Derek spent Thanksgiving with my family, so I would spend Christmas with his. We exchanged gifts before making the snowy trek to New Lexington. It was a song and dance of anticipation and excitement and “do you like it?” and “you can exchange it if you want” and “omg babe you shouldn’t have.”

That was until I opened a large box that he had gifted to me.

 

It was a coffee maker. Stainless steel. But not any coffee maker. It had a built in grinder and a timer and a digital clock and everything.

And it was perfect.

I could buy that $60 6lb bag of black gold that I drank every day (and into the evenings) at the ad agency I worked at. I could pulverize coffee beans and make excessive amounts of my favorite delicacy whenever I wanted. Derek and I could go back to sleepy Saturday mornings outside, nursing piping hot mugs and talking about everything and nothing.

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Cause that’s what coffee is to me.

It’s stupid and it’s important. It’s food for my soul and a death sentence for my teeth. It reminds me of who I am and who I want to be, but also what I wish I could change about myself. It starts me and ends me. It fuels and crashes. Soothes and irritates.

 

It’s everything and it’s nothing.

 

So bad and so good.

 

Like cigarettes, i’m assuming.

 

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On Memory Making

Derek and I have a weird connection with nature. I, being the concrete-blooded city girl that I am, typically wants nothing to do with surprisingly damp earth, duck poop, and/or bugs of any variety. I appreciate Creation; I just prefer not to dwell too long in it.

However, Derek has a funny way of always forcing me out of my comfort zone and making me notice the beauty in the world I often choose to ignore. Ever since we met, our dates have been visits to waterfalls, morning hikes along the river, and coffee induced reflections over transitional deciduous foliage.

So when D surprised me with an early birthday present, (a fancy camera! Wahooo!), I knew a trip to the river would soon follow. Here’s some of the magic we were able to create together:

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Get to Know Me: 50 Questions

What is your full name?
Kelsea Danielle Wiggins
Are you named after anyone?
I don’t believe so.
What does your name mean?
It actually means “Island of the Ships,” which used to piss me off but now I kind of dig.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, USA
Where do you live?
Grandview Heights, OH
Where were you born?
These are getting a little redundant…
Which of your parents are you closest to?
My mom.
Which of your parents are you more like?
I, honestly, think I’m a pretty spot on blend of them both.
What is your favorite drink?
Black, Dark Roast, South American Coffee. And/or 2% Milk.
What is your favorite food?
Great question. Since I’m not eating carbs, my mind goes straight to French Fries.
What is your favorite holiday destination?
Uhm… my Grandma’s house?
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Definitely the vacation we took to the Outer Banks of North Carolina one summer.
What is your favorite way to pass time?
I honestly just really love being in my boyfriend’s presence. Even if we’re not talking or doing anything productive; just being close to him and feeling is love is the best. But if you’re looking for hobbies, I’d say writing, for sure.
What is your favorite snack?
Again, french fries.
What is your favorite sport?
Football, and not the American kind.
What is your biggest regret?
Not pursuing a relationship with Derek sooner.
Are you a fan of any sports team?
Arsenal FC
Are you a dog person or cat person?
Dog, for sure.
Are you scared of heights?
No.
At what age did you go on your first date?
I was probably 16? Maybe 15. I’m not sure.
What is an ideal first date for you?
Getting buzzed and smoking cigars next to a fire.
What is at the top of your bucket list?
Owning a home
What is something you are gifted at?
Writing. Singing. Public speaking. Definitely not dancing.
What is something you look for in a partner?
Only child. 29 years old. From New Lexington, Ohio.
What is something you wish you were gifted at doing?
Dancing.
What is the one item you can’t leave home without?
BOTH of my cell phones.
What is the best compliment you have ever received?
Oh wow. Hmm… it really like rattles me to my core when people tell me they’re proud of me. That’s like an instant happiness trigger for me. Not sure why.
What is the first book you remember reading?
Island of the Blue Dolphins
What is the first movie you remember seeing?
The Power Rangers Movie
What is the last book you read?
Men Explain Things To Me
Do you like pets?
Love ‘em
Do you have any pets?
Unfortunately, I do not.
What is the name of your first pet?
I had a fish named Trixie
What is your best physical feature?
I’ve got killer calves.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
My career– if you can call that one accomplishment. Getting as far as I have without a formal education.
What is your eye color?
Brown
What is your favorite color?
Red
What is your favorite fairytale?
I was never really into fairytales because I never saw myself in them, ya know? Mulan is my favorite Disney movie, doe.
What is your favorite ice-cream flavor?
Coffee
What is your favorite music genre?
There’s no way I could pick one. I’m really into R&B and like the new Alternative R&B that’s out now… but some of my favorite artists of all time are Rock/Alternative.
What is your favorite nickname?
My friend from college used to call me K-Tron. I loved that. I love when people call me “Kels.”
What is your favorite quote?
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” – CS Lewis
What is your favorite type of clothing?
Really into jumpsuits.
What is your most commonly used swear word?
“Dammit.”
What is your star sign?
Sagittarius
Do you have a best friend, if so, then who?
The Lord.
Do you have a tattoo?
I have three.
Do you have any allergies?
I’m allergic to amoxicillin
Do you have any birthmarks? If so, where?
Yeah, one under my armpit and one on my lower back.
Do you hold any convictions that you would be willing to die for?
For sure. I would die for my faith, for my family and friends, and for my civil rights. I’m certain once I pop out a kid, I’d be willing to lay my life down for him, too.

Currently

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Feeling: Healthy?!


I have always been the chick that can eat McDonald’s for breakfast, Wendy’s for lunch, and drink my dinner and still be under 120lbs. No matter what. No cardio, no lifting, no semi-fast walking, no nothing. My mom has always told me, “just wait until you turn thirty” or “wait until you have kids.” (Implying that my Baconator diet would eventually fail me.) She was right.

I am not going to sit here and tell you guys that I think I’m fat, or that my weight has ever been anything I struggled with. (In fact my coworker told me that I need a “diet” like he needs a new butthole. lol) But, when you walk inside of your own body everyday for 25 years, you notice the subtle differences. Like when your thighs are rubbing together all of a sudden. Or your face is looking rounder/fuller in photos. Or those high-waisted jeans you love give you a little bit of a… dare I say… muffin top!

So, naturally, I turned to the healthiest person I know, Derek.

I’ve listened to him tell me about the Ketogenic diet for months, now. I’ve even read blogs about it and published medical studies. It was always kind of “the thing Derek did.” But I decided to make it the thing Kelsea does, too.

(This isn’t the first time I’ve “decided to turn my life around.” It usually last 12 seconds.)

That being said, I have been chilling WAY out on the carbs and intermittent fasting from time to time (not eating until noon, and not eating after 6pm). I’ve also been occasionally starting my day with some yoga! (Fede… be proud!) I’ve only been at this for a week, but I’m already down a handful of pounds, and, more importantly, just feeling better overall. My clothes are fitting the way they did when I bought them. My thighs aren’t rubbing together anymore. (lol) I don’t wake up completely unable to function until I’ve had coffee, (<– accomplishment of the century if you ask me.)


So what’s made this lifestyle change different than the others?

Well– I have Derek, which has made every avenue of my life different/better/healthier/more exciting. But I’ve also just adopted the mindset that I’m going to take this one meal at a time. It’s hard because my brain, for 25 years, has been wired to, “Oh man, I’m hungry. Where will I stop to get food?”” Now, i’m trying to re-train it to sing a totally different song. It’s a process and it’s not always easy and I’m not always on cloud 9. But I’m digging it right now.

Listening To: Brittnee

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You know how as soon as I was like “I gotta get healthy” I turned to Derek? Cause he’s an expert? Cause it was the smart thing to do? When I need to refocus my long-term goals, my blogging goals, my “omg-I’m-losing-who-I-am” stuff, WHATEVER — Brittnee is my go-to. She’s the ultimate hypebeast. She sings my praises in the softest, most sincere key. She subtley nudges me in the directions I need to go. (Uhh… time to be a homeowner, I guess?) And she’s just slaying life. I want to be her when I grow up, for real.

Watching: Bachelor In Paradise

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For the record, no longer a Dean fan. ALSO: when the heck are we getting a new Bachelor?!

Celebrating: FALL 

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Not gonna tell you that I love Fall. Cause I don’t. Mostly because it lasts for 12 seconds and then it’s winter. (Hashtag, life in Ohio.) But I do love right now. Late summer. Crisp mornings, slightly shorter (but not too short) days, the start of The English Premier League (GO GUNNERS), open windows, fires, light jackets and dark lipstick. Mmmm… I love ya ALMOST fall!

Thinking About: What I’d Spend $758 Million On…

I posed this question to my Facebook Family.

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Your answers ranged from a personal chef to a lifetime supply of beef jerky. Pretty much everyone wants to pay off student loans, (except Aaron who actually just wants to go back to school forever) and take care of their family. There’s a lot of dog sanctuaries and country homes and world travel happening in this dream world, as well. I sat down and tried to work out what I would truly do with all of that money, and even after taking the lump sum and paying taxes (down to $360M) I still couldn’t even spend 50% of it. SERIOUSLY. I bought Derek and I a mansion in Grandview, paid off the student loans of everyone reading this blog, sent 3 imaginary kids to college and private school, bought us hella cars and clothes… and I was only down to like $200M.

I think its safe to say that we can plan and dream, but we will ultimately never know what we would do with all of that money. And probably for the better. Would my laid back evenings on the couch with Derek be the same if I hadn’t put in 8 hours in the office to pay for that comfy-ass leather sectional? Would weekend mornings “sleeping in” until 8a and drinking coffee on the back porch be as precious if I didn’t wake up early during the week? Would I appreciate this life, this blog, these friends, this everything–if I hadn’t put in some sort of work for any of them? I don’t know. And I don’t want to know.

Eating: PEPPERONI

We talked about the keto life that I’m easing my way into. Here’s what I’ve been eating:

Morning: XL Dark Roast from TIm Hortons (with whipped cream! OMG Gamechanger!) When not intermittent fasting, a sausage patty and slice of cheese, also from Timmy’s.

Lunch: Salad– romaine lettuce, pepperoni, cheese, ranch, LA CROIX. Went to PF Changs one day and got Hot & Sour Soup. (YUM!) Also went to The Eagle one day and got pulled pork without the bun. Also YUM!

Snack: cheese sticks + peppronis.. (i like ‘em, okay?)

Dinner: Salmon + Broccoli, Pork Chops and Salad, one day I just had a decaf cold brew for dinner. (<– that actually wasn’t a terrible dinner.)

Looking For: Clothes For Our NOLA Trip!

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Derek and I booked a trip to NOLA in November! To say I’m excited is an understatement. But, now, the never ending question that I have in every facet of life: WHAT DO I WEAR?!

Supporting: Non Racists?

Hahhaa… cuz… duh!

Wearing: Humility

 

I had the coolest thing happen the other day. A totally random chick sent me a DM on Instagram. It was a photo of her and her daughter. She proceeded to tell me that she had randomly stumbled onto my Instagram, and subsequently, my blog.  [enter nervous Kelsea]

She goes on to say that she had been nervous about getting box braids for her daughter  who is the only minority in her middle school because she didn’t want her to get teased or labeled as “too ethnic.” [been there, girl.]

BUT– after seeing my IG and reading my blog, she pulled the trigger. [WHAT?! Holy cow!]

So naturally, I’m flipping out. “Omg. What?! I’m so glad you went ahead with it. She’s gorgeous” blah blah blah.

She goes on to say that her daughter asks her to see pictures of “that beautiful girl that has skin like mine.”

OH. MY. GOD.

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Guys.

If you knew how hard I used to fold my little third grade hands together in my bedroom and how tightly I’d shut my eyelids and how FERVENTLY I would pray to God to just please make white. Make my hair do the stuff my classmate’s hair does. Make people stop asking me why my knees are always ashy and why my nose is shaped like that and why my lips are so big. Make my life less weird. Make me less noticeable. Make me not different.

GOD! PLEASE!

It took me almost 24 years to get to a place where I am cool with who Kelsea is, inside, outside, and everywhere in between.

24 years!!

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I don’t want anyone in the world to have to wait that long to love themselves. And if my selfies and my stupid blog have helped a little girl get closer to that place, then HALLELUJAH!

God uses all of us. Where we are. With what little we have.

Drinking: La Croix + Coffee

Duh!

In Need Of: Prayers

What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God’s eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling. For these may come from a deeper level than feeling. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us, as it were, off our guard.

C. S. Lewis

That’s all I’ve got:


Kels.

 

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How Kelsea Met Derek: Our Relationship Journey

I’ve been feeling “uninspired” as of late, friends. I won’t lie.

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 I asked my Twitter followers to let me know what they actually WANT to read, and “a relationship journey” post came up. (Shoutout Brittnee.)I thought, “I can definitely get inspired to write about Derek!” And you usually don’t get all the details about this stuff unless you come over for a wine-night or way late in the game on the wedding website.

So here we go!

 

A few very random and unfortunate things brought Derek into my life. One was a dead-end job working for the Plymouth Brethren (unfortunate) and the other was a very cute Instagram pic he happened to be in that caught my eye (random). I’m sure you’re more interested in the Plymouth Brethren part, so we’ll begin there. (DISCLAIMER: I only say this job was “dead end” because I’m a woman. A black woman, at that. And, ya know, the PB’s weren’t about me ‘working’ so much…)

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In early 2015, I was coming off of a TON of changes in my life. I had been fired the year before from my first big-girl job at the medical distribution company I had worked at for 3 years. (Sidenote: this is the only time in my life that I’ve ever been fired from anything. No matter what bitter people say. Mkayy?!) I had also left the longest, craziest relationship of my life the year before. I was working part time at Victoria’s Secret, folding panties and attempting to be a carefree single girl. But I needed more moolah, and some direction/purpose in my life. I applied for job after job after job. I went for a receptionist position at a local staffing agency. Although the interview process went very far, the job ended up falling through. The new friends I had made at this agency felt so bad that they immediately “hooked me up” at my first Inside-Sales position with a small-in-size, ginormous-in-revenue company in Eastern Columbus.

 

Colin

 

That’s where I met Colin. (Not my brother.) He was very nice, and very sweet and his job was training me on all things “this company.” I sat at his desk, I watched him take selfies, he told me about his amazing life in Grandview and something called “Tronfest” and all of his friends. He’d come into work and tell us all stories about his whole crew getting together for porch beers or hanging out at “Loose Goose.” Colin’s life was everything I wanted. I was still (yes, still) trying to navigate the single life. I was seeing this guy who never wanted to go out or do anything except workout and meal prep. I was trapped being someone that I wasn’t, but still trying to figure out who I was in the first place? It was a weird time. Important, but weird.

 

Anyways, fast forward a couple of months. I “dump” workout guy (even though he says I was never his girlfriends?), Colin and our other coworker start a furniture business and I start following Colin on every social account, ever.

 

One day, he gets tagged in this photo:

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Right? Hubba hubba. I was all about the hottie in the straw hat.

 

I don’t remember if I asked Colin for an introduction, or what happened? But before long, Derek knew I thought he was a hottie, and I knew Derek was into black girls, and my hopes were sky high.

 

Derek and I danced around each other a lot during this time. I met him at Colin’s house after a Clipper’s game and awkwardly maintained small talk. (He was wearing a cut off and looking… SO fine! And I was low-key drunk. Honestly, I was low-key drunk for most of 2015?) Then I made plans to meet him at the fabled “Loose Goose” for a Cavs game. He was playing sand volleyball there with his entire crew of friends. I show up in a fancy ass maxi dress (with as much side-boob as humanly possible for me) and gold earrings. Derek & Co. are all sweaty and barefoot wearing tank tops and gym shorts. I felt… awko to say the least.

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Needless to say, that encounter wasn’t… the strongest? But, it happened. There you go.

 

After this, I believe Derek and I had made tentative plans to hang out, one-on-one. This.. uh… this doesn’t go well. Mostly because I’m a stupid head and totally just flaked/cancelled our plans at the last second. Derek was obviously annoyed, and I decided that would be a good time to just never talk to him again and start actually dating someone else.

 

[Insert 8 Months of Settling and Babysitting a Non-Functioning Alcoholic]

 

Fast forward to January 2016. I dump my ex on his birthday. (Savage, I know.) And newly single Kelsea is ready to get back out there, again! This time, with a little bit more sense of self. Let me explain:

  • I am now working as a Digital Content Strategist with an emphasis on Social Media. (aka dream job) for an ad agency in downtown Columbus.
  • I am now living with one of my best and oldest friends in a rented condo right outside of Grandview, as opposed to the very toxic, very crazy living situation I was in the year before. (Another story for another day, I promise you.)
  • I have just said “fuck you” to insecurities in the form of butt-length box braids that I am now flipping around on everyone I see.
  • I am 24, and, ya know, just a little less egotistical and self-centered and naive.

 

… a little more ready for what’s coming my way.

 

SO! Newly single, newly confident, newly open-minded Kelsea is back on the market. She looks up Derek, because, let’s be honest, he never left her mind. (Not even that one night when she was still dating Alcoholic and knew Derek was at the same concert they were at, and attempted to text him to meet up which resulted in a 4 hour fight with Alcoholic.)

Even though she thinks she’s left a pretty harsh impression on him, Derek agrees to hang out anyway.

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Our newly rekindled relationship is built on a foundation of music and deep conversation. I remember the looooong talks we would have in the early days and the hours we’d spend “jamming.” Derek would play guitar and sing the melody, I’d find the harmony. (Foreshadowing of how our actual relationship would go.) We’d both get wide-eyed when something sounded really good. I remember fighting feelings of falling in love. HARD.

 

You see, with coming out of a toxic living situation and a toxic romantic relationship, and with suddenly coming into a place where I liked myself and who I was without anyone attached to me… jumping into another relationship felt like a move that only Insecure Kelsea would make. A dumb move. A silly move. A naive move.

 

I remember telling Derek things like “I don’t want to want you” or “It’s so hard for me to not tell you I love you.” (Shut up, I know it’s corny. I’m a writer, what do you expect?) I remember just fighting all the feelings, all the time. Mostly, I remember Derek being super patient with me. There were a lot of feelings of “he’s too good for me” or “there’s no way I wouldn’t mess this up.”

 

But then, one fateful day in March — the 14th to be exact —  I summoned all of my nerve and sent a bold ass snapchat to Derek. No… it wasn’t a nude, you pervs. I sent him a snap of me holding a Starbucks cup with freshly manicured nails and the caption:

 

“You’re dating a basic bitch.”

 

Ahhhh!

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What the hell did I just do?

 

I think he texted me and said “Dating, huh?” And I probably said something smart ass-y, but now on the 14th of every month, we listen to “our song” and (try to) go eat at our fave restaurant and celebrate that bold ass move I made.

 

…and that bold ass move lead to other bold ass moves. Like meeting each other’s families and moving in together and weddings on weddings on weddings. I finally made it to TWO Tronfests (was only really alive for one) and had a second chance at meeting all of Derek’s friends after that very awkward encounter at Loose Goose.

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And now we’re just in Happily Ever After Land. Fighting about things like whether or not to watch another episode of [Insert Netflix Original Here] before bed and what the letterboard on our bar cart should say.

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It’s pretty great. It’s been pretty great for the past 15 months and I’m anticipating a whole lot more of the greatness. I’m glad I stopped fighting it, ya know? Hopefully my story will inspire you to do the same. You deserve (extravagant) love! I promise. Accept it when it’s right in front of you.

 

HULE,

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Should The Bachelorette Get Rid of the Hometown Date?

As we dive into a new era of reality television where the lead on a decades long franchise is just now a black woman, and her suitors include more than one black guy– I beg you the question, should The Bachelorette consider changing up its entire gameplan?

If you tuned into last night’s episode of The Bachelorette like my reluctant boyfriend and I did, you watched a very anxious, very cute Dean struggle through his pre-hometown date with Rachel. I mean, this guy was pulling out all of his one-liners to get out of answering any and all prying questions.

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But, through the power of threatening producers and TV magic, by the time the pair got to their candle lit dinner, Dean was ready to open up. It took some serious eye-contact and digging from Rachel though.

 

When Dean finally parted his lips and exposed his unusually amazing teeth to tell Rachel (and all of America) why he was so not himself, I couldn’t help but audibly sympathize.

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He dove into the story of his mother’s death — which we are all privy to — and unveiled the ugly part of that tragedy: his family now. Under a very heavy sigh, he describes his father in the kindest, but craziest way possible and let’s out, “I wish you could’ve known my family from ages 0-15.”

 

I literally squealed on my sectional and almost dropped my pink moscato.

 

It had never occurred to me, but I felt the exact same way. After my parent’s divorce in 2010, my family dynamic completely changed. I wish so desperately my beloved boyfriend (who was tagging me in memes on Instagram instead of watching. lol) could’ve met the family I used to have before my parents split. Then he would see how much he reminds me of my dad, how spontaneous my Mom was, how much fun my brother and I used to have doing absolutely nothing– and how close we all were. But that family has since deteriorated and reformed as a, we’ll say different, one. Not better. Not worse. Just different.

 

Regardless, it doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem fair that this person that I love more than anything will never know that part of my life. And there’s nothing I can do about that. In fact, it kind of really hurts. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to hug Dean through the TV and tell him, “Omg. I get it. I totally get it.”

RACHEL, NICK VIALL

So why does The Bachelorette/The Bachelor insist upon these stupid hometown dates anyway? I’m sure we can deduce the obvious reasons. American society seems to place “meeting the family” at the ultimate level of “serious relationship” status, people seem to want to date people that ‘come from a good family,’ and, of course, families equal drama. (And I looooove drama.) But here’s why I think that idea (along with having a 100% white cast every season) is totally outdated

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  • We can’t choose ‘what family we come from.’ Ya know? Up until I was 19, my family was “Bachelorette” perfect. But once it all fell apart, I lost that status. Was it my fault? I’d like to think not. And we all know that this notion that coming from “a good family” (whatever that means) automatically makes you a good person is complete BS. We’re all adults. Yes, our parents and siblings have a lot of influence on our lives as we develop and grow, but the ultimate definition of our character is ours alone. I believe that 10,000%.

 

  • “Families” no longer have the final say on who we end up with. Did they ever? I mean, maybe if you’re Sansa Stark, but, I mean, nah. If my family didn’t like Derek (which is literally impossible because everyone on this planet is obsessed with Derek) that would not stop me from being with him for half of a second. But maybe I “come from” a different kind of family…

 

 

  • Ultimately, all of our families are effed up. Even if you want your ideal life partner to come from a perfect family, after a year or two of Thanksgivings and Christmases, you will come to learn that the “perfect” is a facade for “totally crazy.” Families equal drama. All the time.

 

 

I’m not saying that I think the Bachelorette is like the ultimate gauge of relationships in Western Society or anything. (Or that meeting someone’s family is a dumb move!) I’m just saying that since it seems to be taking a giant, very delayed leap into the 21st century, maybe it should consider every aspect of the show. Including “Hometown” dates. Maybe the final four should go run their credit and attempt to get a loan together, or get totally wasted and have to take care of each other’s drunk asses, or scroll through each others Timehops. Either way, the “Hometown” may be setting some great potential spouses up for failure.

 

That’s it.

xoxo

Currently

I am winding down on the tail end of 25 and I have to say, it’s been a glorious age. I was terrified to be this old and now (as is the case with all of my fears) I’m not sure what I was so stressed out about. But before I get closer to the magical, car-insurance-dropping age of 26, here is everything I am currently…

Feeling: Settled.

Derek and I have just moved into our new home together and… guess what?! It feels exactly the same. (lol.) We both keep getting asked if anything is different or “what it’s like” to live together… and (so far) neither one of us has noticed a difference, other than an undying urge to decorate and several trips to Target a day. Maybe in a month I’ll be writing to you about how totally different our relationship is, but I highly doubt it. The only real change is that we have more room for all of our things and are splitting bills. So. Win win.

 

Listening To: Momma.

You know by now that my Mom is my No. 1 source of counsel and wisdom as I walk through life. Luckily, she’s only a call or text away. She’s so much of an authority on all things life that I recycle her advice for my other friends and confidants. I always get a “your mom told you that?” or a “Is your mom a psychiatrist?” or even a “can I call your mom?” Here’s why she’s my go-to for every facet of life:

 

  • She, legitimately, has my best interest at heart. Her counsel is never self-serving. It is always selfless and intended to better me. I can rely on that, whole-heartedly.
  • She’s been through it all. From crazy jobs to car wrecks… sometimes just hearing he say “Oh, that’s happened to me a million times. It’s normal,” is like exactly what I need to hear. #clickitorticket
  • She knows me. Inside and out. Backwards and front. She can predetermine how I will probably approach a situation and advise me against myself before I even know I’m being stupid. Magic, right?
  • She’s my cheerleader. (Always has been.) Every tiny accomplishment is refridgerator-worthy in her eyes. And all the time sometimes I just need a “OMG you’re seriously SO amazing!”

 

This is not to say that I have a super traditional relationship with my Mom. (Cause I don’t.) I’m not at her house every Sunday night or on the phone with her every two seconds. She doesn’t jump at the opportunity to do my laundry or buy me stuff. We don’t have matching tattoos or necklaces or bracelets. (Are these aspects of a traditional Mom-daughter relationship, or do I just have weird friends?) But I would not trade what she and I have for anything. I can see, now, (finally) why she was never the Mom I thought I wanted. I can see why sometimes her answer to my cry was “figure it out.” She was grooming me. Preparing me. Teaching me. Loving me. And I am so thankful, everyday, for her unconditional love. For her unconditionally TOUGH love.

 

 

Watching: Homeland

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When I tell you that I am hook-line-and-sinker for this show, I truly mean it. Carrie is the craziest character I can recall ever “rooting” for in my 25 years of TV watching. Saul is a saint amongst carnal idiots, and Brody… well… nevermind. If you’re 6 years late to this masterpiece of writing and acting like I am, I encourage you to sign up for Hulu and start watching. You… won’t be able to stop.

 

 

 

Celebrating: Dennis + Marie’s Wedding!

 

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I’ve been waiting for this wedding… for way too long. (Says the girl who isn’t planning it or getting married.) I just know it’s going to be so flipping fun! Also, I always consider it a HUGE honor when I get invited to a wedding. Here’s what’s really cool to me about being invited to and/or apart of someone’s big day:

  • The Responsibility — weddings are essentially you gathering your entire network together, throwing them a lavish party, and declaring your love for one person, forever. And for us Christians, it’s asking everyone in attendance to hold the bride and groom accountable to their vows, to pray for their union, and to be an example. No small task, but one I appreciate.
  • The Cost — obvs, weddings ain’t cheap. Thanks for telling me I’m worth $85, or whatever it costs you to feed and booze me.
  • The Memories — we all know by now how much memories are worth to me. (MORE THAN GOLD!) There may not be a more memorable event in two people’s’ lives than their wedding day. A fuzzy image of me doing the Cha-Cha-Slide in the background of those fond thoughts is more than I could ever ask for.

 

 

 

 

So if you ever send me a wedding invite, (whether I RSVP in a timely fashion or not), I truly appreciate you letting me be apart of something so monumental. (And I will be on the dance floor!)

 

Thinking About: BABIES!

 

Oh, sweet reader of the blog, you read that word right. I. Been. Thinking. About. BABIES. That might be TMI, but the whole point of this blog is vulnerability, and, frankly, catharsis. So, there you have it. Babies are on my mind all the time. What mine would look like. What I’d name them. What I’d look like pregnant. If I’d breast-feed or not. How many I want. What gender I want. How I’d raise them. What I’d teach them. Where they’d go to school. Where they’d go to college. What my baby shower would look like. Walking around Giant Eagle with a kid on my hip. Driving a mini-van. Getting a Mom-Bob. Car-seats. Nurseries. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Now, let me set the stage for why this is a big deal. (I will do this with a bulleted list as I have clearly grown very fond of these.)

  • Never wanted ‘em.. Ask any and everyone I went to grades 4 through college with. I’ve always told everyone that kids were just not my thing, and that I would much rather travel the world with my husband or retire early or whatever! I’ve never wanted to deal with pregnancy. Never wanted to do the whole labor thing. And then RAISING a kid? All I ever saw were 10 million cons and a handful of pros. Not. Worth. It. And you know what made it worse? Everyone telling me I would change my mind. That made me want to prove them all wrong so badly that I swore to myself that even if I ever did change my mind, I still wouldn’t have a kid. Just.. to be petty.

 

  • Not ready for ‘em. Ha. Obviously. I’m not even ready for a dog. Or a house plant. Or fresh produce. I can’t have a kid. I can’t be responsible for someone’s entire life. But… gahhhh they’re so freaking cute.
  • Nothing to blame. My biological clock is not ticking. I’m not swimming in pregnant friends or babies. Hell, my mom has even eased up on asking me when she gets to be a grandma. So how come everytime I close my eyes to go to sleep, I see myself in a milk bath with surrounded by rose petals, rubbing my enormous baby bump?!

 

 

 

I’m going to blame the whole “I-found-the-right-guy-and-I’m-super-in-love” thing? Or maybe the whole “we-built-a-home-together-what-else-can-we-create?” thing…

Or maybe the “I’m-twenty-five-and-every-other-plan-I-had-for-myself-at-this-age-was-wrong-so-why-not-kids?” … thing. Who knows. Don’t worry… I’m not planning on making one tomorrow. Just letting yall know… they’re on my mind.

 

 

Eating: Hot Dogs. (On the grill, baby!)

 

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Looking For: Patience

 

Where did mine go? I can feel it draining from me every evening like losing a buzz or a sugar high. I wake up positive enough, but by 5pm, I am void of almost all of the fruits of my character. My patience, my joy, my kindness, my love. I am quick to anger and justified, entitled and irritable. And the worst thing about it all is that I can tell. I can hear myself being judgmental, I can see myself being stand-offish. Maybe I’m just moody, maybe I’m just going through something, maybe I’m just spiritually not sound. I’m working on it, yall. I’m a work in progress, always and forever.

 

Supporting: Black Creatives

 

 

I’m in a lot of “groups.” (Why the quotation marks, Kels? Great question.) Because the groups I’m in all serve a purpose. They’re all meant to be a community. A sounding board. A union of like minded people who edify one another. As a result, the groups foster vulnerability and openness.

I am often the only person (or of a small minority) who looks like me in said groups. Even in the women’s groups or the creative groups or the digital groups. And, don’t get me wrong, I am all about finding your tribe and loving them hard. I love my tribe. I love the women and the creatives and the nerds that I get to hang out with in all of my groups. I am vulnerable with them just as I am with you. I open up to them and I listen to them. And listening to the struggles and triumphs of people who look nothing like you, I think, is one of the most powerful, intelligent things you can do.  But I would love to be a part of one group (just one) where I am not in the minority. (Why does that even matter, Kels? Great question.)

 

Think about it, and answer honestly. How many times have you walked into a room, driven onto a street, or entered an event, a job interview, a networking function, whatever, and been the only ___ person. The only white person. The only female person. The only digital marketing person. The only young person. Whatever.

 

You notice it right away. It sticks to you like humid air. It’s not bad, but it’s, there. It’s on your mind and on your face. You’re different. You stick out. Everyone here probably has some preconceived notion about you. Your insecurities heighten. You can’t be your best self. Your natural self.

 

That is pretty much every day of my entire life.

 

Imagine trying to be creative in that environment. Or extroverted. Or genuine. It’s… hard. It’s unnatural. It doesn’t come easily.

 

I know that the Creative Community (at least in Columbus, and from what I can tell, the nation) is not home to a lot of POC (people of color). I just want to change that.

Stay tuned for how I’m going to do that.

 

 

Wearing: Strength and Dignity.

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“She is clothed in strength and dignity. She can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25

Coming from a lifetime of Christian education, I am fascinated by the verses in the Bible that seem to “go viral.” The ones that become Marilyn Monroe posters on every girl’s living room wall. John 3:16. Philippians 3:14. Psalm 23. These are the verses that end up in Instagram bios and foot tattoos. (No offense if you have one, they’re dope verses.) Why are they so popular? Why do the resonate with people who don’t even subscribe to this religion?

 

I have no idea. (Well, I have some ideas, but this blog post is already like 18 pages.) But I can tell you why Proverbs 31:25 resonates with me.

 

The Proverbs 31 “Woman” (I’m not sure why I used quotation marks there, don’t ask me) is not necessarily something I can say I have aspired to be. The entire passage talks a lot about submitting to your husband and caring for the children and being a good homemaker. Which are great virtues, but have never necessarily appealed to me. (Don’t worry, God’s not gonna strike me down. We’ve already chatted about this.)  And, honestly, I think I can still be the Proverbs 31 Woman without kids or a husband, and with a full time job.

 

Because the Proverbs 31 Woman is strong and dignified. She places her trust not only in The Lord but in the values and beliefs she holds. In her work ethic. In her capabilities. In the partner she’s chosen. In whatever season of life she’s in. She laughs at the days to come because she knows she is doing all she can to make them great, and the rest just isn’t up to her. And probably because she has a super cute laugh and a gorgeous smile.

 

So I am “wearing” strength and dignity, for now. For as long as I can. And I’m laughing at the future as it comes.

 

 

 

Drinking: Tim Hortons XL Coffee. (shot of espresso)

 

 

Currently, as I type this.

 

 

 

In Need Of: An Interior Designer

 

 

Moving in with Derek has been amazing. And, honestly, I think our place looks awesome. (Photos above.) But I wish I had that designers eye to like take it up another notch, you know? I wish I could walk into Target and say “Yes, we should get that gold lamp because it will tie in the gold thingie we have in this vase and the legs on the coffee table.” But… I can’t. I just say “this is cute and it’s the same color as the rug so let’s get it.” Meh.

 

 

That’s all I’ve got. What are you #Currently?
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