This Blogger's New Year's Resolution

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Following the advice of social media guru Wade Kwon, this is my New Year's resolution:

In 2012 I resolve to live the life I want to blog about!

I hope you'll join the fun by following my life adventures here and posting your own. 

Reverb11: One year from now...

Reverb11 Prompt #31: Where do you hope to be on Jan 1, 2013?

On Jan. 1, 2013 I hope to be doing the same thing I plan to be doing on the morning of Jan. 1, 2012 -- having brunch. New Year's Day brunch has been a tradition of mine for several years and one I hope to continue for many more. 

But at brunch on New Year's Day 2013, things will be different; I will be different. My mantra for for this new year is Getting Well in 2012. Yes, I know it's a bit lame that it rhymes, but that doesn't take detract from its purposefulness. My goal for 2012 is to get healthy in every way. 

I want to be physically healthy and I plan to do that by adopting a regular exercise regimen, taking my medication as my doctor tells me to, and making better food choices. In fact, my hope is that  by the end of 2012 this junk food junkie will be a bonafide foodie.

I want to be financially healthy. So I'm going to freelance like crazy and use the extra money to pay off credit card debt. 

I want to be mentally and emotionally healthy. I'm going to stop being in denial about my depression and do something about it. 

I want to be spiritually healthy. There was a point in my life, just before I moved back to Birmingham, when I was so close to God it was as if I could feel God holding my hand as I walked down a sidewalk. I remember one day He seemed so close it felt like I was sitting in His lap while I had lunch with a friend. Seriously. In 2012, I'm determined to get that feeling back. 

So on Jan. 1, 2013, I plan to be at brunch as always, but I hope to be the happiest and healthiest Javacia you have ever known. 

Thanks for reverbing with me this month. Let's make 2012 our best year yet!

Reverb11: Note to Self

Reverb11 Prompt #30: Write a letter to your future self.

Hey you,

Guess what? You did it!


Reverb11: 12 for 2012

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Prompt #26: What are 12 things your life doesn't need in 2012? 
Prompt #27: What are 12 things you want to add to your life in 2012?

12 Things I Plan to Rid My Life of in 2012
1. Negative self talk. Every year I promise to stop calling myself fat. In 2012 I'm going to actually do it. (I hope.)
2. Credit card debt.
3. Depression. 
4. Clutter! I am such a pack rat. 
5. Self-doubt
6. My addiction to sugar
7. Guilt over saying "no"
8. Grudges
9. My tendency to be overly concerned with what others think of me
10. My tendency to compare myself to others (I must accept I'll never look like Beyonce.) 
11. My tendency to over commit 
12. My stupid Blackberry. (This year I swear I'm going to be a big girl and finally get an iPhone.)

12 Things I Want to Add to My Life in 2012 
1. A new BFF
2. More free time (not yet sure how I'm going to pull this one off)
3. More freelancing opportunities.
4. Healthy eating habits. 
5. Things to make my apartment welcoming, cozy, and beautiful. 
6. More quality time with hubs.
7. I want to spend more time with family.
8. I want to make time to actually talk to friends on the phone instead of via text, email, or social media. 
9. A new wardrobe!
10. A deeper relationship with God.
11. More blog followers (here and at
12. More social media knowledge

Reverb11: Run, Girl!

Reverb Prompt #28: What new strengths did you discover about yourself this year? 

One of the greatest strengths I discovered about myself this year was realizing that my body, despite its connective tissue disease and other chronic pain disorders, is strong enough to run. Here are a few things things that keep me going when I'm tempted to throw in the towel on my new sport: 

Reverb11: What About Your Friends?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Reverb11 Prompt #20 asks: How did you build community this year? 

That's easy. I started a group for local female writers called See Jane Write

Here I am with a few lovely ladies who spoke on the See Jane Write "So You Think You Can Blog" panel. 

I helped a local lady by the name of Katrina Watson build a social group for women of color with natural hair called Birmingham Natural Beauties. 

Birmingham Natural Beauties Leadership Team

I joined Black Girls Run Birmingham, the local chapter of a natural organization that seeks to encourage women of color to run and stay fit. 

A few ladies of Black Girls Run Birmingham after a run this fall. 

And I led a women's small group for my church. 

Here I am with a few ladies from my small group at this year's ReCreate Women's Conference

Through all these efforts to build community many new friendships blossomed (which prompt #21 asks). These groups added beauty to my life (prompt #24) and I pray that through them I added beauty to the lives of others (prompt #25). 

Yet despite all these efforts I must confess that as 2011 draws to a close I find myself feeling very lonely. Lately, I've even been asking God for new friends, a prayer that makes me feel like the lamest girl in the world. 

I hope this request doesn't make me sound ungrateful. I have plenty of wonderful women in my life I consider to be fantastic friends, such as the women I've met through the aforementioned groups. But many of my closest friends don't live in Birmingham and I’m also finding that many of my friends – those local and elsewhere – and I don’t have much in common anymore. We may have one thing that links us – such as our job or our church – but we don’t truly have similar passions or even listen to the same music. I don’t even have any local friends to talk to about Grey’s Anatomy!

Prompt #22 asks: Who do you miss? That's an easy one too. I really miss my gal pal Maisy. We worked together when I was full-time journalist in Louisville. We became instant BFFs not simply because we worked together (in an office the size of my bedroom) but also because we had so much in common -- our love for writing, pop culture, fashion, Mexican food, and even Hello Kitty, just to name a few. Our husbands had a lot in common too which was another plus. These days I'm in Birmingham and she's in Boston. She's also a mom now and I'm essentially juggling two careers along with all my community involvement so we don't get to talk much. Oh, how I miss her. 

Making friends as an adult is so hard. As kids you could just walk up to someone on the playground ask them if they’d be your best friend and you were set. If you did that now you’d probably be reported to human resources. 

Furthermore, I’m at a strange stage in my life that causes making friends to be even tougher: I’m married, but childless, and, right now, plan to stay that way. So I don’t fit in with most single women because I’m completely over the party scene, but I don’t fit in with most married women either because I don’t have children. I have the liberty to go out to dinner, to the movies, to my favorite winery for a drink or to my favorite trail for a run whenever I want and I don’t have to find a babysitter first. So my lifestyle simply doesn’t mesh well with that of a young mother. 

In 2012 I'm hoping to attract new girlfriends who share several of my interests (prompt #23). Because I’m a journalist I'm naturally curious about most things. So I can sit and listen to someone talk about their kids or their garden for hours even though I’m not a parent and don’t have a yard. But selfishly I want a friend who will listen to me talk about running and blogging and who will get my references to The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. And if it's not too much to ask, I'd love for her to live in Birmingham so we can have these chats over mango margaritas, not via Skype. 

In closing, here's a fitting video from the greatest girl group of all time (in my humble opinion). 

10 Things I Love About Winter

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm heading out of town in an hour or so and will be without Internet access for the next week. (I died a little inside just typing that). So Reverb11 will return when I'm back to civilization. 

In the meantime, I give you a slightly modified version of a fun little post I wrote last year for Georgia Mae


It should be no surprise that I hate cold weather. I was born and raised in Alabama and I lived in California during my early 20s. So I begin to dread winter pretty much as early as the first day of autumn. But in an effort to not be such a grump, this winter solstice I give to you 10 things I love about winter:

10. Conversation Hearts

Forget a box of chocolates, give me a pack of Necco Sweethearts for Valentine's Day and I will be your #1 FAN.

9. Hot chocolate

Why do the coffee house baristas ask if you want whipped cream? Of course I do! And I better not find out you have marshmallows back there that you're saving for your favorite customers. 

8. Snow Days

Now that I'm a teacher instead of a full-time journalist snow means I get a phone call telling me not to come to work instead of one telling me to come in early (and stay late). Furthermore, living in the Deep South instead of the Mid West means that even when it does snow I still have no use for our snow shovel. So no more of this:

7. The Snuggie!

Whether you sport the original Tibetan monk red, the breast cancer awareness pink, or a University of Alabama themed Snuggie like yours truly, do so with pride. Don't worry about haters like my husband. And get one for your dog too!

6. Cowgirl boots

Sure, some girls sport these even in summer with their favorite mini skirts but I think that's a bit weird and this girl lives in flip flops from March to October. So winter is the only time the boots get to make an appearance.

5. Layers

Really I don't need winter to dress in layers. I usually wear a camisole with everything but cold weather does mean even more layers. You'll usually find me sporting a cami under a quirky tee under a cardigan. And according to Family Guy, this makes me cool.

4. Scarves

The scarf is quite possibly life's greatest fashion accessory. Not only is it functional, keeping you warm on those chilly days, but it adds flair to any simple outfit. I'm currently on a mission to collect scarves in every hue imaginable. Feel free to contribute to the cause. 

3. Winter break

As a teacher I not only get snow days but also two weeks off every December. I guess they give us perks like this to make up for the low salary. 

2. My birthday

I love celebrating birthdays, especially my own! I hope you'll join me for whatever party I concoct this February. (And bring gifts...low salary, remember)

1. New Year's Eve

Winter may mean no flip flops but it also means my favorite holiday of the year - New Year's Eve, a night that for me is not about the parties, but the possibilities. It's about all the hopes for the year to come and the magical feeling I have on this night that I can make all my dreams come true.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Reverb11: My Favorite Things

Monday, December 19, 2011

 I decided to tackle prompts 15-19 together. Here they are: 

15. Which blogs did you enjoy most this year?
16. Oprah asks you to write an article on your favorite things of 2011. What are they? 
17. What were your favorite songs of the year? 
18. What books did you read?
19. What movies did you see?

And so here are a few of my favorite blogs, songs, books, and movies from 2011.

Blogs I Love

Danielle Hampton of Sometimes Sweet
image via Hello Giggles

Hampton's site Sometimes Sweet is a fantastic lifestyles blog that reminds me to cherish every moment of every day.  

Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess

Larson's blog A Beautiful Mess inspires me to fill my world with beauty and she recently wrote something that completely describes my own approach to life: "The older I get the more I feel like I live for goals." You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. 

Nik G. of Nik Star Was Here

I always feel like I'm hanging out with an old girlfriend when I'm reading Nik G.'s blog Nik Star Was Here, which features fashion, food, fitness and more. Check out my Q&A with her

Sarah McColl of Pink of Perfection
image via The Haystack Needle

I can always count on Sarah McColl's Pink of Perfection for inspiration or a quick pick-me-up. 

My theme song of the year!

Books I couldn't put down...

The nerdy girls always read the book before we see the movie. And speaking of movies...

My Favorite Films of 2011

What were your favorite blogs, songs, books, and movies of 2011?

Charlize Theron thinks I'm "messed up"

Friday, December 16, 2011

If you've known me even for a short time and even if it's only through my other blog,, you probably know that I love Hello Kitty despite the fact that I'm 30 years old. 

Apparently Charlize Theron would say I have issues. 

US Weekly reports that during The New York Times' Times Talk panel the 36-year-old actress said she does not understand why so many women in their 30s wear Hello Kitty gear or why people seem to be OK with this. 

"I'm pretty amazed by Hello Kitty. I see so many women in their 30s walking around in Hello Kitty sh*t and nobody is concerned for them," Theron said. "It's the one iconic teenage symbol that seems okay for women in their 30s? The world seems to not have an issue with it."
She went on to say most women are "messed up."

Funny enough, the one rule I made for myself regarding my Hello Kitty mania when I hit the big 3-0 was that I would no longer wear Hello Kitty clothing (not counting my beloved Hello Kitty bathrobe). I'd keep the Hello Kitty key chains, notebooks, and rear windshield sticker, but no more T-shirts featuring the Sanrio superstar. (Although, I don't scoff at 30-something women who do still rock HK tees.) So perhaps Theron would say I'm just a bit messed up. 

I also won't decorate my apartment with Hello Kitty paraphernalia, but that's probably just because I'm married. If I were single my kitchen would certainly have this:

But I feel that as long as I'm taking care of adult responsibilities like going to work, paying my bills on time, and cleaning my apartment and I'm emotionally mature enough to be a great wife and a trustworthy friend, I should be allowed to be a kid at heart. So I will do just that even if Charlize Theron thinks I'm stupid. 

P.S. -- Dear friends, I need a new wallet. Hint. Hint. 

What do you think about women in their 30s sporting Hello Kitty gear?

Reverb11: Quitting Time

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sorry, I've been a bit behind with my Reverb posts, but allow me to try to catch up. 

Prompt 14 reads "Write about a time this year when you persevered." This was a hard prompt to consider because honestly, I feel I'm still in the midst of trying to persevere. I've been struggling with a lot emotionally, spiritually, and physically this year and I've frequently wanted to throw in the towel on my dreams, my community activities, my writing, and even my social life. But I'm doing my best to keep things moving along. 

image via

On the other hand, prompt 13 asked, "Write about a time this year when you gave up." This one is pretty easy. Last month I foolishly decided to sign up for National Novel Writing Month. I actually thought I could find time to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Let's remember that I work full-time as a high school English teacher (which means I spend most evenings grading papers), I maintain two blogs, I freelance for several publications, I'm training for a half marathon, I was taking an online college course and I was leading a small group for my church. And somehow I thought I would be able to write a novel too. As my husband would say, "Playa please!"  It was a horrible idea and I gave up one week in. I don't regret quitting that project. I was insane to even attempt it. Maybe I'll try again next year. Maybe not. 

Dance Dance Revolution

Who has two thumbs and the cover story for this week's issue of Weld for Birmingham? *Points thumbs at self* This girl! Click here to check it out. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Danielle over at Sometimes Sweet shared this fun post late last month and other bloggers have been playing along too. Lately, I’ve been having a hard time blogging so I decided to join the fun in hopes of getting back my blogging mojo. Enjoy!

Obsessing over: Running. But most of you already knew that. I’m training for a half marathon, which I’ll run in February. So each day I plan around the question, “When can I squeeze in time to run?” Sunday my running group, Black Girls RUN Birmingham, had a meet and greet with the goal of helping us local black female runners get to know one another better and introducing aspiring runners to the group. We had a great time, great food, and great music – including Beyonce’s “Run the World” which I thought was definitely in order.

Photo by Kimberly Bishop

Working on: Finishing up the semester. Today I give two more exams, tomorrow I’ll spend the day cleaning my classroom and preparing for next semester, and Friday after a faculty luncheon I’ll be on winter break. Yes, I am counting down the days!

Thinking about: Goals. It’s December, which means it’s the month I spend a lot of time thinking about and jotting down my aspirations for the upcoming year. Along with running a half marathon, I have hopes of traveling more next year, becoming a foodie, freelancing more, and just living the life I want to blog about.

Anticipating:  New Year’s Eve. It’s my favorite holiday because I’m such a dreamer and on this night I have a heart full of hope and I’m utterly convinced I can and will make all my dreams come true. As of now, I don’t have any plans, so if you’re in Birmingham and you know of some good parties going down on Dec. 31, please let me know. This year I want to get dressed up and dance until my feet hurt.

Listening to: Robin Thicke’s Love After War. It’s his best album since his spectacular debut release, A Beautiful World. 

Drinking: Water. Wish I had a more interesting answer like Cupcake Chardonnay, but when I was typing this I'd just run several miles so a girl was thirsty for some H2O.

Wishing: I could be one of those people who get sickeningly excited about Christmas. I wish I loved decorating and baking, sending Christmas cards and singing holiday tunes. Instead I get a serious case of holiday blues this time of year and all the aforementioned things make me want to gag. Now that I’m an adult (supposedly) I do like that Edd and I have been collecting Christmas ornaments over the years. It's one of those things that makes me feel like we're a real family. So perhaps that’s a start. Here’s one of my favorite ornaments:

(You can't see it in this photo, but she's holding a mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows. I love it!)

How about you? What are you up to today?

On the 12th Day of Reverb...

Monday, December 12, 2011

So on Day 7 of Reverb11 I decided to torture myself by reflecting on all the goals I failed to accomplish in hopes that I would figure out what I did wrong so I could bring those dreams to fruition in 2012. Instead I just got depressed and didn't post for the next few days. 

No, I'm just kidding (sort of). I didn't post for a few days simply because I was busy writing a 31-page exam, grading 70 article summaries and 16 oral presentations, trying to complete an online college course, and trying to squeeze in regular runs and holiday parties. Whew! 

So today I'm going to pick things up again. 

Prompt 8: Looking back on this year, what would you do differently?

To be honest, I would listen to my husband more. As I've expressed in responses to other prompts, this year has been very overwhelming for me in part because of health issues but mostly because I got involved in far too many things. Edd warned me that this would happen. But I was stubborn, said yes to everything and ended up drowning in tasks. 

Fortunately, he's sweet enough to never say I told you so.

Prompt 9: How did you have fun this year? 

Even though being involved in so many community activities has been the source of so much of my stress this year it's also been the source of so much fun. From mixers with other local natural hair beauties to meetings with my running group to creating a networking group for local women writers, these organizations have helped me fall in love with my city. 

Here I am with the lovely ladies of Birmingham Natural Beauties

Here I am with a few of the amazing women of Black Girls Run Birmingham.
We were volunteering at the Ruben Studdard Half-Marathon and everyone said we had the best water station.

Prompt 10: Where did you visit?

I spent several days in Louisville, the hometown of my heart, and we took our usual trips to Virginia to visit the in-laws. Here I am at Virginia Beach:

I also spent a lot of time in Atlanta this year attending conferences. 

Prompt 11: How did you celebrate and take care of your body this year? 

I made a decision to stop worrying about how much my body weighs and start focusing on what it can do. And right now I'm determined to prove that this body can run a half marathon!

Prompt 12: What or whom did you let go of this year? Why? 

I'm not sure why I chose this prompt because honestly I don't think I've let go of anything this year, but I mean that in a good way. As challenging as this year has been, I've actually found so many of my deferred dreams revived. I don't know if I've hit rock bottom and, therefore, figure things can't go anywhere but up, but oddly enough, even though I feel really down most days I am still hopeful that things will get better, that a change will come, and that one day all my dreams will come true.