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Friday, September 30, 2016

#FineFellasFriday: A Love Letter to My #BlackBrothas, Lolo Hears You

This entry is dedicated to a man who knows my pain like it's his own: Apollo 
Apollo and on a Good Girl Chronicles photo shoot
#FineFellasFriday: An Love Letter to My Strong, Fine,
 Black Brothas
I want you to know, I hear you

Dear #blackbrotha,

I hear you boo. You feel you have to be so tough in this world. You see men just like you shot in the street sometimes at the hands of brothas like you, sometimes at the hands of people wearing a badge. You are shouting, you are pleading, “Don’t shoot.” But, you feel no one is listening. You turn on the television and see another black man down. Boo, I am sorry. I don’t know how to comfort you. 

If I could shoulder your pain, absorb it, and endure it so you didn’t have to I would. That’s what a good girl does. We comfort, we love, we sharpen like Proverbs, and prepare you to head out to a hard, cold world. I want to be your Ruth.

Stereotypes say you are aggressive, resisting arrest, you are a danger to those in the line of duty. They say this even when your hands are up, even when they don’t find a weapon, even when you die for no cause. My heart aches for you boo. I want to hold you, press your head against my heart, and tell you love you back through the heartache of injustice like Brandi did for Tre in ‘Boyz in the Hood’. I want to be the Janet in your Poetic Justice, the calm in your storm.

I am perplexed at the current state of things. We are Americans. Our ancestors were Queens and Kings. Our royal lines were torn apart on the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Yet our people endured, rebelled like Nat Turner, survived the ugliness of slavery, escaped like Sojourner Truth, and fought back like Malcom X. Our bloodline is full of warriors, conquerors, Martin Luther Kings, Rosa Parks, and Barack Obamas. They fought, they marched, and they told our story. It’s not an easy one to tell, but it the story of us. We are conquerors, we are survivors, we are Davids admist Goliaths. In 2016 we are seeing too many of our black men dying, on the way home from the corner store, selling cigarettes or being mistaken for a suspect. All too often the deaths are at the hands of an officer. I know you are angry. I am too. I’m a strong, educated, black woman and I can’t wrap my arms around this. But, 
I want to wrap them around you.

I hear you black brotha I do. You are crying out for someone to hear you, see you, let you live under the American flag that says we’re all created equal. The red, white, and blue is for you too honey. It contains the freedoms our ancestors fought for: the right to vote, protest, a right to have a say in this melting pot we call America. I can’t love away the pain, the hurt, disappointment, or anger. 

I can only say this, “I hear you. Keep crying out black brotha. Keep marching. Keep protesting until they hear you too. Stand tall, be brave until they open their eyes and see you bleed red just like them too. You are a father, a brother, a businessman, an uncle, a brother with a dream, you are human. Your voice, your march, your resistance to the status quo has power. I hear you black brotha. I do! You don’t need to lift your hands to fight. Fight with your words. You don’t need to bear arms to avenge. The mightiest warriors slay when they shine a light on injustice without inflicting more pain. Let’s make the world see the brokenness you are feeling. I believe in telling your story, we all can be set free from these tragedies of police shootings, black deaths, and human loss.  This isn’t just civil rights, it’s human rights.

Know this black brotha we sistas are dying too. Sandra Bland taught us that. We are mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, jilted lovers in formation; we are broken, and hurt just like you. We have pain too. I hear you black brotha. I can’t make the hurt disappear, but I hope in this letter you see…. I hear you…. I feel you… I understand you. I love you.

Remember this black brothas, God gave Moses a voice when he stuttered. He helped David slay a giant with a slingshot. He brought back everything the enemy took from Job, and God sent His only begotten son to a broken woman at well in the book of John, and showed her grace. That woman is me. I love you, but God loves you more. Keep using your voice. Ask God to guide and lead you in these difficult times.  Hold your head up high in these difficult times, and remember even when the world doesn’t see you…. God does. I do. You are more than a conqueror. By faith you are mighty. You are an overcomer.

John 15:18 says, “If the world hates you, remember they first hated me.” Even our Savior was tested, betrayed, hurt, lied about, and hated. Let that bring you the strength to exhale, let go of the anger, and keep using your voice to effect real change. I hear you. I see you, and YOUR LIFE MATTERS.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#WomenWhoSlayWednesday: When A Good Girl Gives Up: Part 3 'The Psych Ward'

#WomenWhoSlayWednesday: When A Good 

Girl Gives Up Part 2

This is a continuation of the #WomenWhoSlayWednesday entry, “When A Good Girl Gives Up” WARNING: This is my story of my first suicide attempt.

What follows is the tale of my voluntary commitment to Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center

I remember being taken to Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center in the back of an ambulance called Eagle Transport with two white emergency medical techinicans. I wasn't put on a stretcher or strapped in like I once feared. Instead, I hoisted myself into the ambulance and buckled up. 

It was a bumpy ride down Interstate 64. I remember looking out the window and seeing dusk turn to dawn. In the back of the ambulance one of the male emergency medical technicians took my information: name, address, insurance. It was all very informal. When we reached Virginia Beach Psych, I wobbled out of the transport ambulance and vomited in the bushes. 

"It just started doing that," the transporter guy said pointing to me hurling clear liquid. That statement was humiliating, and degrading. I wasn't even a person anymore I was an "it". 

The Eagle Tranport guys escorted me to the intake office (where you are processed for treatment) and left. Even though I voluntarily checked myself in, I was scared. I worried people would recognize me as Lauren Compton, the chick from the news. I was scared the numbness I felt would never get better. I wanted to run right out of that place and disappear. But, I couldn't.

My last headshot as a television reporter
The intake officer took my jewelry, cellphone, shoe strings, and iPod. I couldn't have anything sharp or electronic. I understood why I couldn't have my shoe strings. I could use them to strangle myself. I didn't understand why I couldn't have my iPod, a little device that was a coping mechanism for me when I felt anxious or sad.
Me, my last year reporting in Hampton Roads, Va

As the intake officer put  my information in his computer, I quickly sent an email to my station Assistant News Director. It stated I was in the hospital and didn't know when I'd be released. Then, the
intake officer, a white man with a shaggy beard and dark circles under his eyes, lead me to what I now know is the Emotional Recovery Unit. It was around 5:00 a.m. When the sleep deprived intake guy opened the door to the unit, I was struck by a smell. It was a mixture of old moth balls and cleaning solution. I looked down the long hall, and I saw women pacing.

The unit consisted of a long hallway with a nursing station at the center, rooms, and offices. I also noticed a lobby, game room, and
medication counter. Images of the movie 'Girl Interrupted' filled my head. If you haven't seen it here is a brief synopsis.  Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie star in this very real tale of two women institutionalized in a mental hospital for troubled women during the 1960's. (Angelina won an Oscar and Golden Globe for her provocative role in the movie.) The movie is based on the real life story of Susanna Kaysen and her 18 months stay in a mental hospital. It came out in 1999. I remember watching it and feeling so connected to Winona's depiction of Susanna. Susanna had tried to overdose on pill and throughout the movie is in a struggle to find herself. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 16, and often felt lost myself in an ocean of sadness. I hid my mental illness for years even into my television career.  In the future, I'll tell you more about how this movie imitates my life. 

As I stood in the hallway, I felt like I was outside of  my body looking at a broken form of myself. I wanted to escape again, but some part of me believed that Virginia Beach psych was the way out of my darkness.

A white woman with blonde hair approached me and the intake officer disappeared.

"I'll be taking your vital signs. Do you mind rolling up your shelves?" she asked. I obliged. 

She told me her name was Sara just like my little sister, and I felt some comfort in that. Sara quickly gave me the rundown of the Emotional Recovery Unit. Breakfast at 8:00 a.m., lunch at noon, dinner at 5:00 p.m. Lights out by 11:00 p.m. I'd have the chance to meet with a social worker, psychiatrist, and plenty of opportunities to share in group therapy. 

None of what she said really mattered to me at the moment. I wanted so desperately to run to my assigned room, cry, and sleep.

The first day at the psych ward was a blur. I had to give blood, meet with doctors, and attend group therapy. I do remember this though. I decided not to have my family come in for counseling. ( A decision in hindsight I'm glad I made) Being admitted to Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center is not a vacation. It is therapy. It is work. It is intense. It is hard. Somewhere in my heart I knew neither my father or mother would understand the pain that lead me to my suicide attempt. As a kid, they always told me to suck it, don't cry, hide your depression. So even when I had the chance to bring them with the appointed social worker in the psych center or the klink as I like to call I refused. 

"Trust me they won't get it," I said to the black social worker. I am only noting her race because I feel it's relevant. The church, church people, and the black community taught me at a young age that mental illness was not something we just didn't talked about, let alone accept. It's with this history I refused to have my parents involved in my treatment. 
Me, a year before my first suicide attempt
I remember feeling really happy that day

Two years later and I realize I was so right about that moment. My parents would never understand, or even try. But, that's OK. This is my life, my mental illness, and I will overcome.... 

Look at me NOW - stronger, braver, better

TO BE CONTINUED................

Monday, September 26, 2016

#EmotionalMakeupMonday: How A Little Rouge Brought A Lot of Healing

#EmotionalMakeUpMonday :How A Little Rouge Brought A Lot of Healing

I had planned to write about how to pick the best concealer, but my dear friend Caleb prompted me to write about something deeper.

Get a good girl shirt at 
 I’m a makeup blogger in training so sometimes I end up buying products that are all wrong for me. Such was the case with the Laura Gellar medium coverage concealer. The product was fine, but the shade was all wrong. I tried it out for a week and each time it wasn’t doing the trick so I decided to see my amazing friend and makeup artist Caleb AKA @indiecency at Sephora. I figured I’d grill him on concealer types, brands, and shades. It would have been a good #makeupmonday, but you can find that anywhere online. What I have for you today is how makeup restored a piece of me this year. 

I was diagnosed with severe depression at the age of 16 and I've struggled with it ever since. Depression distorts your perception. It makes you think you are fat, unlovable, unworthy, and ugly. My last depressive episode sucked the life out of me. For two years I was drowning in my own pain, and I hurt myself in an attempt to feel something. I picked scabs off my face until they turned red, pulled my hair out, ate until my stomach hurt, and let my 150 frame grow to 230 pounds in a matter of months. I purposely started avoiding mirrors so I didn’t have to see the grotesque woman I had become. One night without warning, I looked up in the mirror, and I wept. Who was this woman? Her hair was undone; she had black circles under my eyes, a scarred face, and a broken heart. How did I let it get this bad? Where was Lauren? She wasn’t in that mirror. Depression, defeat, and heartache looked back at me, and I broke down in tears. That was in the winter of 2015. I’ve blogged frequently about how God intervened , and in 2016 I started to get back up from the depression that almost killed me.

When I was ready to start going back into society, I knew I had to do something about my face. It still bore the scars of my depression. I had three dark wounds on my right cheek, dark circles under my eyes from insomnia, and untamed brows. A friend took me to Ulta and introduced to this amazing concealer by Benefit Cosmetics called ‘Erase Paste’. After that like learning to walk again, I reintroduced myself to the power of makeup.

 As a television reporter I learned a lot over the years on how to cover up a hangover, a restless night, or acne. We also had makeup consultants come in and tell us what colors looked good for us. As a blogger I learned about makeup from YouTube videos.  But, what really rebuilt my confidence this year was finding two amazing makeup artists who taught me makeup enhances beauty, it doesn’t replace it. Meeting @indiecency (Caleb at Sephora) and @facebyjayvee (Jasmine at Ulta) was divine intervention. The two of them restored me in ways they may never know.
Me and the amazing Jamine at Ulta
Girl you are a light.
Talented, motivating, you are everything

As I was coming out of my depression, I’d spent hours in Ulta and Sephora. I wanted to play with the products, rub elbows with the beautiful people, and learn how to cover my depression scars. Over time the time spent paid off and I started to learn incredible things about makeup: brands, techniques, sales, and deals. It was heaven. But more than all of that @indeciency and @facebyjayvee helped me get my groove back. I can’t tell you how much both of them have called me beautiful, sexy, fierce, and strong. After a while I started to believe it.

I carried myself differently, held my head up higher, and over time started to find the confidence mental illness robbed me of. I adore you Caleb and Jasmine. You are part of my restoration.

 Case in point, yesterday I went into Sephora to find a new concealer, and Caleb asked me if I was OK. I broke down in tears. I was sad, depressed, and I felt alone. In typical Caleb fashion he made me laugh. I dried my tears, and Caleb helped me find the perfect Bare Minerals under eye concealer. Once I got my emotions in check I told Caleb I was sad my family abandoned me, heartbroken that I let men use me, and angry that I had gotten off course. With no judgement he comforted me, listened to me, and loved me in the way I needed at that moment. I left the Sephora looking amazing, but more important feeling loved. That is the real power of friendship and makeup. I adore you.

Caleb and I at Sephora.
He helped me find the perfect Bare Minerals concealer and did my eyeshadow here.
I adore you

I’d love to hear you stories of how makeup or friendship has restored you. Email them to

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Bravery of Telling Your Own Story : Good Girl Chronicles Mission Prt2

The Bravery of Telling Your Own Story: Good Girl Chronicles Mission Prt 2

What I’m about to say is hard to explain to someone who is not of faith. When I was young, I heard a still voice speak to me. It wasn’t like a human voice. It was a voice I felt on the inside of me.

 I remember the day very vividly. I was around 6 or 7, and sitting in front of this vanity mirror my mother got me. Me, my little brother, sister, mother and father were living on base housing in Jacksonville, Florida. On this particular day the sun was out, and I remember looking out the window to see white fluffy clouds. I was daydreaming of another tale to write.

I've wanted to write stories since I was a little girl fiction, non-fiction, drama, romance, you name it I loved it. The day I first heard God speak to me I was daydreaming about a story of an African girl. The girl in my story was free to roam the desert as she pleased. She had dark skin, and thick black hair. She smiled all the time, and had a lot of friends. She was peaceful. In front of my vanity mirror, I wanted so desperately to be her that day. I wanted to escape to that African Sahara were there no problems, no father going out to sea, no sad mother, or men coming in and out of her life. Like that African girl I'd be free to just be me. Her life was simple and she was at peace. As I put my pencil to paper to write her story, I heard someone say.
Baby Lauren and my little brother

“I hear you Lauren, and I love your stories.”

I remember turning around, and looking for someone else in the room. It was just me and that still voice.  “One day Lauren you stories will travel oceans. You’ll tell amazing things,” the voice said. I felt myself getting excited hearing this still voice describe my future.

“You will be on magazines. You will sell books, you will be everything you want to be. But… you will have a heavy cross to bare. I can’t tell you what that means right now, but with me you will be able to carry your cross, and you’ll use it to set my people free.”

One of my first television jobs, where I learned the power of story telling. #NBC12ANDME

I had no clue what any of this meant. When I was a child, I went to church, I knelt at the altar, I got saved every Sunday cause I felt so sinful, but no one ever told me about God speaking to His children this way. When I first heard the still voice I chalked it up to my vivid imagination, but I never forgot it. Decades and many moons later I now know that still voice was God reaching from his kingdom to tell a wishful little writer that her life had purpose, but that didn’t mean she was immune to pain.

December 2016 days after my Christmas Eve, that still voice broke through the darkness of my depression and shook me once again.

 “Lauren, it's time to get up from this. I can tell you now what your cross is," the voice said. Your cross to bare is your mental illness, your heartbreak, your loss, your pain, the betrayal, the squandered dreams, your depression, your anxiety, your fear,” He said. “It’s time now my child to pick up your cross, and set my people free. Show them how God's children get up from pain and loss. Show them how I set you free today. Show them you are brave my child.”
I know now my truth sets me free....... 

I cry when I think of this beautiful, painful moment in my life. 

“Your story Lauren Hope will set my people free from shame, judgement, the stigma of mental illness, the pain of losing love, betrayal, loss, and difference.”

“Father, I have nothing to give. I am overweight, jobless, scarred, depressed, suicidal, and alone. I’d die today if I could,” I replied.

You can get up from this Lauren. It’s time to get up from this. I never promised you, life would be easy NEVER. I promised you I’d help you endure it. I will help you endure it child NOW GET UP,” He commanded."

“Father I ruined everything. I left the dream job, picked the wrong men, trusted the wrong friends, did the wrong things. I am of no use to you. My own family doesn’t understand my pain and we share the same blood,” I said with tears streaming down my face.

Taken my 32 bday. No family called, texted or gifted.
But  I've never felt so free.

“Let it go Lauren. The plan I have you is far greater than of those things. Just like I told you as a little girl your story will show the world how to overcome. And, when I restore you again…. You tell them that you love an amazing God. When I bring you riches, you tell them God brought you through. When you fail, you tell them you love a God that loves you anyway.”

That night I cried. I cried for the men I thought would love me forever, the friends I loved like family, the job that almost killed my spirit, and the past I was too ashamed to face. I have not been the same since. 

The next day, air was crispier, sunlight had new meaning, and Lauren Hope remembered again why God made her a writer, a journalist, a blogger, and a storyteller.  I believe the best story-tellers are lights in the world. They shine a light on injustice, discrimination, pain, loss. They shine a light on the good in the world, the victories, and the triumphs. They are seekers of the truth.

With my boy Apollo rocking a  'This is My Brave Shirt'
They motivated me to keep blogging
Check them out

The beautiful thing is the more I share my story, the more liberated I am. The more I share my story the less shame I carry, the less hurt I lug around, and the less depression lingers. It is true what the word says, the truth will set you free…. Now that I’ve seen what it’s done for me I want the same thing for other people. That is why I started Good Girl Chronicles LLC, a blog, social media consulting, public speaking, mental health advocacy company with a strong desire to tell powerful stories about people.

My first headshot as blogger, media guru,
founder of Good Girl Chronicles LLC

You can join this journey of mine as a subscriber, or I can help you craft your own story as a contributor. I’m blessed to have Jacquelyn Grace, my first and only contributor, who tells beautiful stories about love and friendship. I’d more writers like her.
Telling your story sets you free … I have a story to tell… I know you do too…. At Good Girl Chronicles LLC we want to listen.


The Bravery of Telling Your Own Story: Good Girl Chronicles Misson

The Bravery of Telling Your Own Story: Good Girl Chronicles

When I was a television reporter I had the responsibility and privilege of telling people’s stories; some of them good, a lot of them bad. The hard ones still haunt me, make me question humanity, traumatize me when all I want to do is see the good in the world. The images of a Newport News mother being gunned down in front of her kids, the crying family members I couldn’t comfort, the black men I couldn’t love back to life. These images overwhelm my mind sometimes. A therapist once told me it was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She explained that is could be fueling my sadness, and the darkness that made me not want to live. I was a reporter at the time, and I didn’t want to hear it. I thought PTSD was only for combat veterans and service members. I  now think she made have been right.

My goal as a television journalist or so I thought was simple, “Tell their story, be fair, and go home.” It’s all I ever thought I was supposed to do as a journalist.

My News Directors (tv bosses) told me to be bold, and harsh at times in the pursuit of the truth. Chase down the politicians, zoom the camera lens on the face of the grieving mother, you make the viewer feel something. No one said anything about me. What the images did to me as a story-teller, a person, a black woman, a friend, a sister, a future mother, a human. No one taught me how to deal with the pains of what I saw. No one told me how painful, grisly, and ugly it could get to be a journalist. As a blogger and writer I know now that story telling is BRAVE! All those people who shared their pain, pleasure, victories, and losses with me as a television reporter took a huge leap of faith. They trusted in me as a historian of that moment in time, and they took a bold move to share with the world a little piece of them.

Everyday, I wake up with a mission to put God first, stay real, and tell my story no matter how ugly it can be at time. These are my truths: I am clinically depressed, anxious, alone, scared at times, homeless, fat, childless, manless, complicated, struggling, naughty, sinful, broken. This is me. I am also bold, fearless, fighting, growing, loving, intense, intoxicating, magnetic, sexy, powerful. I AM BRAVE.

My Heavenly Father says I am beautifully and wonderfully made, an overcomer, a conqueror, the woman at the well, a David in the midst of Goliath, a lover like Solomon. I AM BRAVE. John 8:32 says, “The truth will set you free.” These are my truths, and now I’m unafraid to tell my truth to the truth.

My life as a blogger and writer has not come without sacrifice. My family has abandoned me. Our relationship is more legal than love. Men are intimated and scared to love me. People I thought were friends threw the most pointed daggers when all I needed was for them to listen. People have taken advantage of my weakness, played on my tenderness, and walked away. When I pleaded for help from the world, they told me I was weak, not #adulting, ripped my character to shreds. I am human. I am flesh and bones so when the world shit on me it hurt like hell. But, I’m thankful I know and praise an amazing God; a God that loved the woman at the well, even though she was sexually sinful. I love a God that helped David SLAY Goliath.  I love a God that showed Daniel how to read dreams. I love an amazing God. I love a God who told me even as a child that I was a story-teller, a woman of discernment, and I’d touch thousands all because I dared to share my story.

If would love to hear your story-- if you have a powerful story of loss, recovery, love, life, faith, anything-- i'd love to share email me at TEAMGOODGIRL84@GMAIL.COM

Friday, September 23, 2016

#FineFellasFriday: Malcolm Malone & Ferlon: Men Who Comfort, Men Who Encourage

#FineFellas: Malcolm Malone, & Ferlon Webster: Men Who Comfort, Men Who Encourage

As I redefine the meaning of friendship in my thirties, I’ve taken time to really look around at the birds in my flock. And, I’m so blessed to say even with all the people I’ve had to cut out off in my life I’ve met some incredible ride or die #FineFellas. They are the kind of men you can call and cry with. They are the kind of men who give it to you straight, and legit want the best for you. This week Good Girl Chronicles honors two men who showed me mad love in some of the toughest situations of my life. I adore you, and I’m so grateful God brought our journeys together. I hope I have sharpened you as you have sharpened me. #proverbs27:17

Malcolm Malone: I won’t lie the first time I met Malcolm we got into a heated debate about love and relationships. I was leaving one of my favorite stores at the mall and I sat down to rest my feet at the massage chairs. Malcolm was working at a nearby cellphone kiosk and somehow we got to talking.  His co-worker Tre (also a Good Girl Chronicles featured #finefellas, a young bull named Marvin and I all sat and talked about relationships. It was the beginning of an unexpected friendship.

We don’t always see eye to eye in our conversations, but I can 
always say this about Malcolm he cares. He’s one of the hardest working brothers I know, loyal to his friends, and serious about his faith. It’s not a secret I’ve that had the roughest two years of my life, and every day is a fight to stay positive and lifted. It’s in this valley where I’ve learned the real people that care, the real friends, and who is about their word.

One night, some douche bag I was on a date with abandoned me at a Smokey Bones in Virginia Beach. I saw Malcolm was on Snapchat, I hit him up, and he picked me up no questions asked. I’m sure he had a million other things to do that rainy night, but he came out of his way to take me home. #FACTS And, when I had a major anxiety attack and I had to go to the hospital. I had no one else to call, and once again Malcolm came through. In this busy, crazy thing we call life I want to thank you for taking the time to help me out. As a man of faith I know he’s motivated by something higher than himself, and I’m touched the way he has sharpened me. Don’t ever change boo. #keepslaying

Ferlon Webster AKA Ferlonious: Oh Ferlon how I miss you. Ferlon and I worked with each other when I was a reporter in Hampton Roads. He was the photographer. I was the reporter. It’s usually a love/hate relationship. As a reporter, you love photographers because they are responsible for making you look good. They do the lighting, shoot your video, cut your audio. They can make or break you story. But, as a reporter you literally spend hours upon hours with the same photographers every week. After a while it’s understandable that reporters and photographers get annoyed with each other. Ferlon and I certainly had those days, but he’s one of few photographers I consider a friend.

Ferlon and I connected on so many levels when we worked together. We both had quirky sense of humors, loved Jesus, loved news, and had intense work ethics. I love Ferlon desire to tell powerful stories with his camera lenses, and his ginormous heart. I’ve met his cat, went to the butterfly garden together, and had dinners outside of work. He’s one of the few people from my news past who saw me unravel due to anxiety and depression. He never treated me different and tried hard to help me through it. I love you for that Ferlon. Thanks for loving me in the valley and the peak. #proverbs27:17 God is doing a work in me Ferlon and I walking back to the peak. I can’t wait to show you what God has in store for me. I’m so glad you’re living your dream of telling powerful stories at an amazing station. You are comfort, you are the definition of friendship. I Love You, Love God More

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

#WomenWhoSlayWednesday: A Definition of a Friend: Keyonna, Constance, Leigh

#WomenWhoSlayWednesday: A Definition of a Friend

Lately, I’ve really been evaluating the word friendship. The Meriam-Webster Dictionary defines it very simply:

Friend (noun) : a person who you like and enjoy being with
·         a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)

In this sense I have A TON of friends. Even as a child I’ve never really had trouble making friends. I’m a Navy Brat, so my family moved around a lot. When I look back on my childhood I always remember having a good circle of friends. I was bullied, and picked on but I could always count on a good circle of friends. But, that was when I was a child. At 32, I am ready to put down childish things, and step into my womanhood.

As a woman I’ve learned the noun friendship is thrown around too liberally, and I want to be more selective about who I call a FRIEND. The word, the good book, the bible says this:

Friend (noun) #Proverbs27:17 “Iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.” I looked up this scripture when I was trying to find something nice to write about one of my ride or die friends named Jade. I googled scriptures about friendship and up popped Proverbs 27:17.  It’s a simple yet deep verse. (That’s just the way the word is sometimes)
Women who sharpened me.... love you dolls

Another #womanwhoslay love you Marsha

On it’s simple level #Proverbs27:17 says when two metals come together they are better because of that interaction. SIMPLE RIGHT? It’s comparing two people to iron. On the deeper level, the scripture says REAL FRIENDS MAKE YOU BETTER! If you take a look around you and notice your friends are not improving you, are they really friends? 

Since I’ve learned this scripture I’ve had to ask myself this several times. Sadly, I’ve had to realize there were so many people in my life who did not fit this definition of friendship. It’s with great sadness I’ve had to let those people go, defriend them, block them, and move on. Trust me it has not been easy. I miss a lot of people I let go of deeply. I pray for them. I love them from a far, but because we do not sharpen each other anymore I know it’s best we’re going separate ways.

I could literally write a book on this subject alone for days, but in the interest of time I’ll save that for another day. This week’s #WomenWhoSlayWednesday honor goes to three amazing women who prove to me that real friends improve you, support you, comfort you, and motivate you. THEY SHARPEN YOU!  Mad love to these amazing #TeamGoodGirlSupporters who are showing me what Proverbs 27:17 really means. Thank you.

#WomenWhoSlay: Women Who Sharpen
Keyonna, Constance, Leigh

Never in a million years did I think my blog would have regular followers. When I started my blog in 2010 it was a way to test out material for my memoir and to vent. I average 10 views a month usually. People from writing group read it, and a few of my television co-workers did, but I never thought I’d have followers let alone 30,000 views. But, that’s the reality of this amazing little blog. This blog has allowed me to create a business, reach these three amazing women I’m featuring, and hopefully impact lives.

The women I’m featuring today are all amazing followers of my blog, and have sharpened my life with their friendship.

That day I met Keyonna and I thought she was black
Keyonna- I’m not quite sure when Keyonna plugged into Good Girl Chronicles, but when she did she dove right in. Most people get connect to my blog through Facebook and that's where it reached Kehyonna. It wasn’t long before we started exchanging Facebook messages, and updates. We finally decided to meet in real life last month.

I won’t lie with a name like Keyonna I was expected to see a black chick. NOPE. When I met Kehyonna and her friend Stephanie at the mall and to my surprise two white chicks were waiting for me. I admitted my faux paus and we all laughed. The fact that Keyhonna could laugh about that let me know we were going to be fast friends. Our meeting was more than I ever expected. Keyhonna bought me lunch, donated amazing beauty products, and gave me something money can’t buy: COMFORT!

 During the course of an hour, Keyonna, Stephanie, and I talked about my business, mental health, family, and the God’s amazing grace. It was so spiritually fulfilling. Then, GET THIS! Turns out I knew Keyonna’s friend Stephanie. She was one of my bosses when I was working for Blimpies in high school. (Virginia Beach is too small LOL).  I left that lunch feeling restored, and a believer that there are good women friends out there. We vowed to stay in touch, and parted ways.

Ya know how some people say they are going to stay in touch, but never do? Keyonna is a woman of her word. We have met since then and each time it’s restored the faith I have in female friendships. I’ve been burned a lot by childhood friends (mostly girls) and at times I’m discouraged. But, Keyonna is one of those ride or die chicks. I can tell by her intense love for her best friend Stephanie, her intense love for her family, and her intense love for Christ. Thank you for sharpening me doll. I adore you.

Constance: Constance, Constance, Constance… I’ve known her for a handful of months and she’s done more for me than some of my high school “girlfriends”. Hard to say that but this chick understands me in a way some of my best “friends” haven’t. That’s a beautiful and sad thing to say. Beautiful because Constance is a testament to the restoration true friendship can bring. Sad, because Constance shows me I’ve invested in people who did not have my best interest at heart. She’s helped me take a hard look at the people in my circle and ask myself, “Are these people sharpening you? Are they lifters or drags?” as Joel Osteen says. Sadly, I’ve realized so many people in my life were drags. Constance has done so much for me and we haven’t even met in real life. That is the power of social media, namely Facebook.

Constance like Keyonna found me through my blog and Facebook lives. Turns out Constance and I went to the same high school and ran in the same circles. We didn't know each other in our teenage years but we shared a lot of the same memories.

I am blessed to have a few hundred followers on my social media pages, but not everyone does what Constance did. She messaged me personally, prayed for me, listened to me cry and help financially where she could. She was one of my spiritual rocks when I was in the hospital, and battling against my family. She is blunt, tender, funny and kind. 

I am humbled that this woman thousands of miles away took the time to care about little ol’ Lauren Hope. Her love and support helped me book a hotel room for days when I was homeless, eat when I had no money, and laugh when my heart didn’t have the strength to smile. I adore you honey. Thank you for everything you are and everything you will be. That is iron sharpens iron. I hope I am half the friend you’ve been to me.

Leigh:  Oh  honey how I adore you. Leigh is the first legit Good Girl Chronicles fan/supporter. I met Leigh on Facebook. She very quickly tuned into my blog and business. She’s the type of supporter we all want as social media personalities, a ride or die, loyal, loving cheerleader. That’s Leigh. She likes, tweets, shares, subscribes to everything Good Girl Chronicles. More than that, Leigh has sent me encouraging letters, prayers, and personal messages. To have a stranger go this hard for Good Girl Chronicles LLC is a huge boost to my confidence. I no longer consider Leigh a stranger. She’s a supporter, friend, and a #womanwhoslays.
When I was in the hospital Leigh sent messages, tried to help where she could, and has even invited me to visit her in Ohio. (I’m working on it boo) Thank you Leigh for believing in me and my big dreams. I admire you strength, poise, humor, and braveness to be you. Your confidence encourages me to love MYSELF NO MATTER WHAT! I adore you doll…. And, I have a package coming your way.

Thank you to all these incredible #WomenWhoSlay who teach me so much about friendship, life, and love. I adore you.

To my amazing dolls that I did not mention don't think I forgot you. Erin, Bethanny, Shay, your time is coming boo...thank you for everything. I can't believe all the wonderful things you've done for me in this valley of my life, and all you asked in return was that I never give up. You got it dolls. 

Love You, Love God More
Lauren Hope

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Good Girl #THROWBACK "Is The Good Girl Dead?"

Is The Good Girl Dead? Will All My Good Girls Stand-up

The Good Girl Chronicles
The ‘Good Girl’ is very much dead and we’re still trying to find her murderer. Television reporters say it was slow death. While it certainly didn’t begin with celebrities like Britney Spears, we’re definitely a long way from good girl images from Full House or Laura Winslow from Family Matters. These days our young girls and daughters follow in the foot steps of semi-adult stars like Miley Cyrus. A star known for dating a 20 year old, posing partially naked for a Vogue cover, and calling it  apart of growing up.

The original good girl is a girl with wholesome values and innocent beauty. A girl who knows beauty comes from the inside. She’s the girl men settle down with after playing their way through the dating field.  She’s the girl who knows her heart and isn’t afraid to follow it. But sadly, her image has been slashed several times in movies and sitcoms as an uptight, inexperienced virgin, who passes judgment on those who lack her moral fiber. The images of the good girl are fading and are being replaced with the all elusive, seemingly powerful bad girl.
In our reality TV, push-the-limits culture, we’ve become too familiar with the bad girl prototype. The idea of a free, unbridled, no holds barred woman firm in her sexuality and wild in her pursuit of it. She is a little jaded, bored of the rigid gender roles society has placed on her. Somehow that image has become powerful.  For instance when Britney Spears discovered “I’m not yet a girl, Not Yet a Woman”, meant stripped down to bare nothing and Las Vegas runaway weddings, we all said she was becoming a woman, evolving…. Her “In The Zone” album was full of sex laced tracks, touch myself lyrics, and the power and pleasure of a innocent “good girl” turned bad.

As if there was something tired and faded about being a good girl and being a real woman meant getting dirty. Is that what being a woman means? Is this what we want our little girls to aspire to? And somehow we’ve come believe that there is no real good girl. We’ve learned to expect the “bad girl” transformation. Learning that sweet-faced Jamie Lynn Spears (sister of Britney Spears, coincidence????)  was now pregnant and therefore undeserving of her highly popular teen show “Zoey 101”, or that fifteen-year old Miley Cyrus thought posing naked was artistic, was not really that surprising...... We’ve come to expect these thing.. But these are imperfect examples. Celebrities….  They couldn’t possibly live normal lives if they wanted.  These people make 10 million dollars a movie and have handlers controlling their life… that’s not real life. But we definitely take a lot of our social norms and roles from the lives of celebrities. They are often a reflection of our culture. Good girl and bad.

While I understand both labels good girl and bad girl are just that labels. I’m ready for a reemergence of the good girl. I think it’s time when we can appreciate her again. Bring new life to this slain star. A girl not sexualized before her time, teaching our young girls how to be ladies. Let’s bring back the girl who understands that true beauty starts on the inside. It doesn’t mean dieting at 12 to look like their favorites stars. It’s not sexting your boyfriend naked photos like Vanessa Hugdens. Let’s tell the toymakers we don’t want a “Sexy Dora”. The makers of Dora plan to repackage our fun loving Spanish speaking toddler with longer hair, painted nails, and a more slender body. I happen to love the Dora’s bob and small pop belly, because she’s not teaching my little girl how to dress or attract a boy she’s teaching language skills.

Let’s get back to building self esteem. No matter what our favorite teen boppers say about eating burgers and French fries and managing to keep a size 2 figure, we all know they don’t live under normal circumstances. So let’s teach our girls about healthy body image and good eating. These little girls are our future. And while a stylish First Lady is nice, we all know Michelle Obama is more powerful, because her incredible intellect and passion. 

As a former Big Sister mentor I know our little girls are hungry for role models. And while the Mileys, Vanessas, and Britneys are cool let’s start personally giving our little girls a wider range of roles to aspire to. It starts with us; the big sisters, the moms, the godmothers, any woman who has the ability to influence a little girl. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

#MakeupMondays: How Lolo Slays For Less

#MakeUpMonday: How Lolo Slays For Less

A love affair with makeup can be quite costly. Mascaras for 20 bucks, eye palettes for 50, it can all add up.  When I was a television reporter, I dreaded buying makeup because it was so expensive. And, in the early days of my career it definitely showed that I did not invest in good skin care or good makeup. Why didn’t
My early television days makeup.
someone lead me to some good coupons, Ulta, or a good makeup artist? Full disclosure the television stations I worked for did pitch in for makeup consultants, but honestly I rarely retained anything those lovely ladies said about makeup. And, when you're reporting in a snow storm, hurricane winds, or a blistering hot day the last thing you think about is your foundation holding. (At least I didn't)

 As a self-proclaimed #makeupfiend I’ve learned how to slay in rouge, color, and foundation for less and I want to share.
I’m all about a good deal so below are the ways I buy glam, name makeup for less.

-Shop the Sales:  You’ll save tons of loot if you surf sales before you jet out for some makeup.  I’ve found some amazing deals, percentage off, and free shipping by going directly to makeup company websites. I fell in love with Tarte this summer so I signed up for their mailing list. I got 15% off just for signing up for their email subscription list. 

Ulta (my makeup heaven) also offers additional savings online and
free gifts with purchase. It’s usually a free gift with a $50 purchase. But, I have to tell you those gifts slay. I’ve gotten to try out so many fun products this way. If you shop at a particular makeup store a lot consider signing up for the store’s app, Ulta has a great one where I can view all my points. The more you shop at Ulta the more points you get which adds up to money off. Can you tell I love Ulta? I don’t shop at Sephora as much, but I have learned they are the kings of samples. If you are interested in product but not quite sure ask the makeup associate for a sample. Most will comply, MOST!

-Make Friends with a Makeup Artist –  What girl doesn’t like to shop? Well make that shopping experience work for you. If you go to a particular makeup store often get to know the associates and their specialties. I am always cruising Sephora and Ulta to learn new makeup tricks. Here are two of my favorite makeup associates from Ulta and Sephora. I'll use their Instagram handles so you can go show them some love too.

I heart @facebyjayvee because she always gives it to me straight. She will tell me if a color is working for me or if I need to stop the madness. She has taught me the beauty of eyebrow liner (I’m buying the Benefits Ka-Brow girl) and a good foundation. Her makeup is always on fleek and she is super motivating to every customers she encounters. She lets me know about upcoming sales and how to get the most out of makeup. Love you doll!

I adore @indiecency because he’s amazing. Seriously, I love his spirit, his laugh, and his way of making every woman feel special.

It’s truly a gift. I wrote about this #finefella in a previous #makeupmonday post. The only reason I shop at Sephora now is because of @indiecency. I told him about some bad experiences I had at other Sephoras and he promised to do right by me. He suggested the perfect colors for my skin tone and even showed me how to apply it. Learning how to apply makeup the right way actually saves you a lot of product. (more on that later) Also @indiecency is so comfortable in his skin it motivates me to be comfortable in mine. I could literally write a novel about his vibrant personality, but we’d be here all day. I love you, you #finefella you.

-Coupons, Coupons, Coupons – Girl clip those coupons. You’ll be amazed the dough you can save with coupons. I search in the Sunday paper for makeup coupon and online. There are tons of places to find savings. I also subscribe to coupon bloggers. YASSS HUNTY they exist. This lovely angels gather all the cool coupons and post them in one place for you. I love a new app called ‘Retail Me Not’ , I also use the $3.50 off coupon at Ulta like it’s going out of style. (You can’t use it on the fancy name brands like Urban Decay, but you can use it on drugstore brands like Maybeline, Covergirl, and Revlon.

Also don’t sleep on CVS Pharmacy. I’ve received tons of great beauty coupons from there. If you use your CVS card when you buy makeup it tracks your beauty buys and sends you coupons based on your purchases. COOL Right? I love it. I love NYX Cosmetics so I get tons of coupons from CVS for NYX.
 I always ask the sales associate if I can use a certain coupon before I get to the register to save myself from embarrassment later.

-Learn Proper Product Use – When I was in television I would lather
The first MAC makeup brush I bought as a reporter.
foundation on my face because I was desperate for it to last me through several live shots. I was always running through foundation and powder.  Little did I know primer and toner would have gone a long way.  I used neither in my television days. Now that I use these beauty must haves my foundations last much longer, and I’ve learned that a little dab will do you when it comes to applying foundation.

That time a makeup consultant did my face for tv.
I was never able to replicate this look again.
-YouTube It Boo – Youtube has taught me so much about applying makeup especially eyeshadow. But, honestly YouTube has taught me how to save money with makeup. For example Kylie Jenner lip kits are all the rave right? Well we all know Lolo has limited funds, but I was going to scrap up the little money I had to buy a lip kit…. That was until I watched the YouTube reviews. Absolutely not. Makeup YouTubers complained about late shipping, containers not being full, and faulty product. With that in mind I put my limited funds away and continued to slay with Nyx Cosmetics matte lip cream which is just as good if not better than Kylie Jenner. That is just one example. So if you’re unsure about a certain beauty purchase YouTube it and see what the experts are saying. 

I love this chick so much. She has a bit of a potty mouth (which I love) but she gives it to you straight.

Remember makeup is supposed to enhance your beauty not define it. Have fun doll.

By the way did you all see my new Good Girl Chronicles logo. Made by App Daddy