Dating Outside the Box

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If you have been following my blog, you should be aware of the yearlong dating challenge I undertook last year March as a form of breaking my three-year dating sabbatical and stepping out and putting myself out there again. This challenge was an immense success and resulted in stories like the ones described in Dating the Dozen and the internal tumult of My Perfect Mistake.

“Did the experience make me better?”, many asked. Yes. It taught me the importance of knowing  who you are and what you have to offer as an individual and to not be swayed by the thoughts and perception of others, even if it means walking way from someone who came to mean a lot to you. This experience taught me to walk away from situations that made me feel less than who I am. Most of it, it taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and to laugh, have fun and enjoy the companionship of others, if only for a moment. There is no crime in budgeting time for FUN!

Now, a year of dating equivalents to A LOT of dates! We certainly won’t get into numbers…

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There are two things that persons who have been following my progress want to know:

  1. Where do I find the guys?
  2. What do I do for my dates?

We will leave #1 for another time but I must answer #2 because the follow-up question to that normally focused on whether or not my dates and I went to get drinks or a meal. Well folks, anyone who knows me knows that I am not a foodie.  A lot of food gives me anxiety issues if I don’t have help…. so… if my dates were just based on eating, I would have a problem.

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So, here you go! 12 fun activities that I have done in the name of dates:

  1. An evening out Painting and Sipping – This activity gives you and your date a chance to have a bit of relaxing competitive fun. Plus, paint, brushes, bad artists, cheap wine and good company is a good combination to spark a little chemistry and give an evening to remember.Image result for paint and sip gif
  2. Go picnicking in the park – A picnic has been on my bucket list of date ideas for like…forever! Can you imagine my excitement when that wish was fulfilled? Throw in a movie as dusk approaches and chocolate and you will have what can only be described as perfection. If you are not a fan of movies, put on some low music and talk/dance…
  3. Do karaoke together – I don’t recommend doing karaoke with someone who is a stiff-shirt especially if he can’t sing or take a little good-natured ribbing. Karaoke, good company and drinks are a great way to have a very memorable night.Image result for karaoke gif
  4. Shopping for ingredients and then cooking a meal together – I never thought going to the market and supermarket could be fun until I made a date of it. It took it back to caveman days of foraging for food to make a meal. Once the foraging is over, you and your date get a chance to do accomplish something together. Who knows, if you are lucky you might just end up doing a food fight.
  5. Going hiking – If you are a person who loves nature, this is perfect for you. There are a lot of wonderful spots to go hiking. Personally, I prefer afternoons because it is cooler and that also gives me the opportunity to see the sun set.
  6. Doing a 5K together – There is nothing like bonding while running/walking for a cause. and joking about dying during the process. While I did a 5K, you and your date can spend an afternoon volunteering for a cause that you are both passionate about.Image result for 5k gif
  7. Going for a walk and exploring a spot you are both interested in – Throw in some Jackie back, good company and laughter and have yourself a marvelous time
  8. Building a playlist together – If you are both music lovers (I am average), a great date is to have a music face-off that results an a playlist. It’s fun when you are trying to up the song your partner just played, especially if you both like music from different eras. This becomes a great keepsake….well if the date goes well.
  9. Going to a fair/theme park – If you have a big inner child, like me, going to a fair or theme park is a definite “MUST”! Try every ride, every slide and every attraction possible! Do not stop until you are done!
  10. Taking a dancing class – This experience was the one I found the most uncomfortable because I am not much of a dancer. However, taking a salsa class is something else when you have relaxed and become engaged with laughing and dramatizing every body bumps and toe steps! I can honestly declare that in the end, my beginning discomfort was worth it! One of the best dates ever! Bad moves and all!Image result for bad salsa dancing gif
  11. Going to a concert – Personally, I don’t like concerts that have too big an audience of sweaty people who are all up in my space. But there is something to be said about bonding while grinning ridiculously and screaming the lyrics of some of your favorite songs. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it… My personal favorite happens to be any concert that has a steel band. I have a ridiculous partiality to steel bands :).
  12. Having the person teach you something they like to do or via versus – like how to play pool… I totally never realized how fun learning during a date could be.

You should have noticed by now that I have not mentioned “Netflix and Chill” or some of the common date outlets such as going to watch a movie. The point is, there are many creative date outlets. Get dolled-up or dolled-down, put out your best personality and go out with the intent to have fun. A date is what you make it.

Do you agree? What are some of your favorite date ideas?

XOXO,
Chañel.

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What Do You Say About You?

On my first solo business trip, I had several experiences that made me realise something integral. I’ve always spoken about the fact that I am interested in doing all the good I can before I die. Why? I am deeply interested in shaping what I will be known for. In my first solo week-long trip, I realised that your actions can say a lot about you.
One of the things, I am very purposeful in doing is ensuring that I sincerely thank whoever serves me. This, sometimes, resulted in me internally cringing when I realise that throughout the course of a meal, I end up telling the waiter/waitress, thank you for:

  1. Pouring my water
  2. Taking my order
  3. Bringing my order (multiple times if the meal has multiple courses)
  4. Asking if I am ready for the bill
  5. Bringing the bill
  6. Processing my payment
  7. Removing my dishes

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Lift them cheeks. Show some teeth

Today I want to talk about one of my most favorite things to do in the whole world… If you said or thought  “SMILING” then you are most definitely correct! Whether a full or half smile, I just can’t seem to help myself! I just love to smile and you know what? This inability to stop this ability comes with the most amazing benefits.

  1. Smiling makes you more approachable People generally avoid strangers but if they need help, they are more likely to approach a person who looks nice and approachable. Studies have found that people are more willing to engage socially with others who are smiling. A smile is an inviting facial expression that tells people you are willing to talk and interact with them.
  1. Smiling improves your mood I’ve had cases where I started my day badly and even though I don’t feel like it, I put on a smile. You would be amazed at how many persons will respond to a smile and “good morning”. Within the 20 minutes it takes me to get to work, I begin to feel a lot better and my smile becomes totally genuine! This is because endorphins (endorphins are the same chemicals you get from working out or running, resulting in what is known as a runner’s high) released lift your mood.

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Lessons to live by

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Recently, while browsing Amazon for free books to add to my Kindle, I came across a couple of book titles by SJ McCoy that perfectly titled some of my philosophies in life. See the list below and the reasons why I believe you should make them your life philosophies as well.

  1. Love like you have never been hurt. Getting hurt stinks royally, that much I can attest to 100%. What stinks even more is when your inability to forgive the person who hurt you prevents you from getting and giving the love you deserve. Don’t let someone who callously hurt you in the past have a hold in your future because you can’t forgive him/her. The best revenge is to forgive, accept the lessons learnt then go ahead and find someone and love like you have never been hurt!
  1. Dance like nobody’s watching. I’m sure we have all watched that movie or seen a video where there is just that one guy/girl who is insecure about being themselves but then gets drunk and let loose (Katy Perry’s Last Friday night comes to mind). Don’t need a “MUST GET DRUNK” policy to loosen up. Learn to have fun. Be silly, be you. There is only one you and there certainly will never be another like you so be who you are and not who you think people want you to be.

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Stop and smell the roses

I don’t know about you but I love nature. Nature, in many ways, soothes my soul. I used to find it so amazing just to get up on a spring morning and hear the bees buzzing away in the three ackee trees that surround my house. Their work always filled my yard with yellow blossoms. I used to love walking to work in the mornings and would make the extra effort to be early because the lignum vitae trees, lining the street, covered in yellow butterflies was a sight to stop and behold. I was always marvelled by the colours of the different flowers as they all seem to rise their heads in adoration to their Maker.
There were times when I would just stop, early in the morning, lift my face to the welcoming rays of the sun and just smile and feel at peace. Have you ever taken the time to behold a sunset or sunrise? It is a sight to behold that will leave you in awe. I have a love-hate relationship with the rain. I hate the wet but I love the scent as the raindrops first hit the dirt and grass and I love the after product: sometimes the rainbow, other times the sun peeking through as its finger roll away the dark clouds.

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Contemplations at 23

April 16 was my last day as a 23-year old. I’ve been very contemplative as I review the year that I have gone through. The highs, the lows and the in-betweens. As usual, I’ve learnt a few lessons that I want to share.

  1. Laughter and smiles are important: Life will never be fulfilling unless you remember to enjoy it. Laugh until your tummy aches and you are forced to stoop. Smile until your cheeks hurt. Smile, even when you don’t feel like smiling or people think you are crazy. Eventually, it will transform your heart and your day as it becomes genuine.
  2. Whatever you do, have fun: I believe there is some level of fun to be had in whatever we have to do. Sometimes we get caught up with experiencing the dark clouds of things we don’t want to do, that we forget that one silver lining that changes the equation. Life is fun, it’s just a matter of perspective. Find your silver lining and enjoy the hell out of it!
  3. It is okay to cry: I’ve cried many times this year. I’ve cried when I’m ridiculously happy. I’ve laughed until I cried. I’ve cried when I’m sick and feeling really vulnerable and my friends tried to force me to eat. I’ve cried when I’m sad. I’ve cried when the sad part in movies connected with my soul. I’ve cried just because. A few years back, I would have been mortified to admit to crying, but now, pssshhh, crying is healthy. 
  4. Be Kind: Persons may forget your name or even how you look but they will never forget the way you made them feel. Practice being kind in words, thoughts and deeds. You will be memorable for positive reasons.
  5. Your level of faith determines your altitude: Some of us can’t envision beyond what we can see. This is a terrible injustice to you and the world. In year 23, I committed to reading 100 books. I didn’t have the time, I couldn’t even imagine how I would do it but I DID. If you can conceive it, you can achieve it. Dare to dream and reach out and actualize.
  6. Be comfortable exiting your comfort zone: “Great things are on the other side of your fear.” 23 was a great year for me because I did several things that scared the crap out of me but left me feeling exhilarated, once completed. I had a lot of firsts! I did my first radio and television interviews. I wrote my first newspaper article. I gave my first live speech for a cause I care deeply about. I ran my first full-blown project! And the great thing is? I loved it! Great things are not born in comfort zones. If I can step out, you can too. I guarantee that you won’t regret it.
  7. Don’t force it: Anything that is meant to be yours will be. It’s preordained. If the puzzle piece has to be forced into a spot, chances are it is not the correct piece. Don’t force friendships! Don’t force relationships! Don’t try to force destiny! I can assure you that it’s probably one of the few things you will regret doing in life. Let things flow naturally. If that spot belongs to that piece, it will fit!
  8. Be comfortable in your skin: Sweetheart, if you think you are weird, it’s obvious you haven’t met me 😂. I am the woman who walks around fake-shooting and high-fiving people in the office. Though I wonder if I’m the crazy one, because, they actually return my gestures. I talk/sing to myself as I work or study. It took our CEO, who sits beside me, just a week to realize this habit was just one of my super qualities. The point I’m trying to make is: BE YOURSELF. No one will ever do you as well as you do you.

I’ve began declaring into the atmosphere that year 24 will be a great success. I will spread my wings and soar.

I am looking for some creative firsts to try in year 24. Any ideas? Drop me a comment in the area below.

XOXO,
Chañel.

A Toast to Friendships: To and For My Close Friends

I had a conversation with someone yesterday where I made the comment, “Friendship is earned and never taken for granted.” This got me thinking about the friends I have who have, over time, become the key roots on which I rely heavily on for love and support. I will now show you the best set of friends in the world.

William aka Will aka Willie-Wonka (when I’m being mean)

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I am excited to share with you, one of my best friends! William and I are as different as two people could be yet we share so many similarities. Although we generally have differing opinions on almost everything, he always accepts me for who I am and has no qualms about goading me into doing me. He is one of those friends who will do stuff like going shopping with me (I’m a nightmare to go shopping with) when he truly hates it or accompanying me to a wedding he had no business attending, all because I didn’t want to go alone. Will goes over and beyond the call of friendship to help and support me in whatever ways he can. It doesn’t hurts that he gives fabulous, though sometimes condescending, advice as well.

Lavanjah aka Lav

Has there ever been a moment that you thank the Lord for? Well that moment for me was November 2010 when I made a post about becoming a nun and this very annoying young man decided he had to reply. We quarrelled that night but that moment birthed a very precious friendship. Lavanjah (the second best friend) is, in many ways, the wind beneath my wings! He has been a constant through the many seasons that I have gone through. When you find a friend who doesn’t blink or hesitate when you ask to use his credit card, you know you have found a gem. We argue a lot, mainly because we are both very stubborn, but I wouldn’t have him any other way! May I say that it doesn’t hurt that he is a prayer warrior who has this annoying but well-meaning habit of praying guys who are no good for me out of my life.

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