Not My Monkeys, Not My Circus

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Why do we do it to ourselves? We have all been guilty at some point or another. Taking on other people’s problems as our own. Or going out of our way to try to “help” someone, knowing good and well that we can’t fix what they started. But we try anyway. At the expense of our peace of mind, stress, and sometimes even financial strain.

I once found myself venting to a close friend about how a coworker wasn’t pulling their weight at work and how they were doing things that could cost them their job. I was conflicted because I was observing these things and felt some sense of obligation to say something to the coworker in an attempt to “help.” My friend asked me two very simple questions: Are they a friend? To which the answer was no. Are they your subordinate? To which the answer was no. She promptly responded with the Polish proverb that has stuck with me ever since, “Not your monkeys, not your circus.” In other words, not my problem! Let their boss deal with them about their work performance. Duh! Why hadn’t I thought of that?!?!

On a daily basis, I would be willing to bet that the majority of things that are stressing you out are things that are NOT your monkey or your circus. We take on other people’s problems, shortcomings, mishaps and drama as our own personal projects to try to “fix.” I’ve witnessed myself and dear friends and family spread themselves thin trying to “help” other friends, acquaintances, and coworkers to correct self-created messes. In the end, we always regret it. Here are some reasons why we may regret it:

 

  1. It becomes a habit. Once you start the business of fixing other people’s mess, they will consistently come to you to fix their mess.

2.  We are so consumed in other people’s mess, we don’t have time for our own mess.

3. We find that those we have helped aren’t available when we need help. (They are     always in some drama, how would they have time or know-how to help you?)

4. We feel defeated when we do not “fix” the problem.

So let’s say you still want to go around with your cape on being “Captain Save Em.”  While you’re being “helpful”, they are being handicapped. Some people need to fall on their face. At least once. If they are never required to be accountable for their actions instead of bailed out or “helped”, where is their incentive to change or improve their behavior? I have met so many adults who have clearly been “saved” too many times and their development has obviously suffered. They have no troubleshooting skills themselves. They keep repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. If the person in need of saving is an adult (especially anyone over 25) I’m sure they have a track record of making poor decisions. Do a background check. Fact check. You will be sure to find a long line of enablers as well. Well-intentioned parents, siblings, grandparents, family, friends, mentors…all “helping” them maintain their poor behavior. Every dilemma or problem they encounter is placed on someone else’s doorstep to fix. Don’t further enable this behavior.

I may be asking for a tall order, especially when it comes to people that you love and care about. In that case, you may consider them “your monkeys, your circus” – however , if you are not emotionally invested, you should not be allowing them to emotionally drain you!

Start asking yourself some important questions before you get involved in other people’s issues.

Am I responsible for this situation?

Does this situation really involve me?

What will it cost me to get involved? (Time? Stress? Money?)

What will happen if I decline to participate?

 

If you start vetting your involvement in situations through these filtering questions, I would be willing to bet that your stress and drama levels will significantly decrease. I dare you to try it! Click HERE to listen to the podcast.

XO❤

Loni

 

 

 

 

 

 

No One’s Life Is As Perfect As Their Instagram Feed

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It happens around this time every year. Your social media timeline gets flooded with nauseously happy couples and families sharing their “thankful for us” stories of love and coupledom. But what about us single folk? Or people sharing their good news of their amazing new job they will be staring the first of the year, but we just got laid off? Or people are off spending the holiday in some far away exotic destination, what about us that are slaving over-time at our job just to make ends meet and afford a few small gifts for those we love most this season?  Social media constantly slaps us in the face with everyone else’s joy, success, accomplishment and their latest luxury purchases. When you aren’t feeling your proudest, seeing “everyone else” succeeding can be tough. We internalize their success as reminders of our failures. They have achieved this, why haven’t or can’t I? It’s a question that many of us have asked ourselves at one time or another, yet probably haven’t been able to answer. Until today.

They have managed to do x,y or z because that was meant for THEIR journey. At that exact time and in that exact way. They have managed to do x,y or z because they made x.y or z decisions and sacrifices.

I’ve seen people posting pictures of themselves court-side at the NBA finals with $1000 shoes and $2000 handbag, yet I know for a fact that their car is sitting in their driveway on flats with no gas and they don’t have a single roll of toilet tissue in their house. (And I guess they would have gone to the store to get some…but then there’s that flat tire and no gas situation I mentioned.) This woman that I described seemed perfectly content with how she allocated her money. However, someone scrolling her timeline may feel jealous of the perceived glamour lifestyle she portays, yet they wouldn’t be willng to sacrifice toilet tissue to achieve it. Its a trade off.

I personally witness people go to great lengths, myself included, to satisfy or create a public perception. Knowing this, it’s still impossible to scroll down your timeline occasionally and not think “he/she has it all” or “their life is perfect.” This is your reminder to not believe the HYPE!

The people in your social media feed may very well have the perfect life – FOR THEM. Something else to remember, regardless of your circumstances, there is someone staring at your posts thinking that you have it all together and they wish that some aspect of their life were more like yours. Believe it or not. If you’re single, married people may look at the amount of free time or travel that you are able to enjoy as something they wish for more of. If you’re single, you may look at the married friend’s pages and wish you would hurry up and find “the one.” There is always a trade off. You yearn for that perfect hair, but what if you had to trade your perfect health? Moral of the story? Enjoy where you are today. You won’t always be there. Things can happen as quickly as they can change. Comparison is truly the thief of joy. Honor your pace and enjoy the experiences of your journey, it was made special for YOU!

Unintentionally, I chose this subject for my next podcast as I was completing my last one and I think it is perfect on the heels of the Thanksgiving holiday. Tis the season to be thankful and appreciative for all that YOU have AND all that you do NOT! Go troll your own timeline and see all that YOU have worthy of envy!

XO❤

Loni

Click HERE to listen to the podcast.

I Am Thankful

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This time last year I was unemployed. Today I am gainfully employed.

This time last year I was being lied to by someone else’s man. I didn’t know it at the time, but the guy who told me that, not only was he single, he had been waiting for the opportunity to date me and he would make sure that nothing blew this “once in a lifetime opportunity” – yea, he was/is in a long-term relationship with another woman. Today my phone is extremely dry. I have told all my exes that we have nothing further to talk about and NO we can’t be friends. I’ve also gotten so much better at sniffing out bullshit quick, fast and in a hurry with new potential suitors! Hallelujah!

This time last year, I hadn’t travelled out of the country in over a year (despite my promise to myself to visit at least one new country a year). Today I been to 6 different countries in the past 7 months.

Today I am so thankful to not be where I was last year. I am thankful for growth. I am thankful for genuine people, friendships and soul connections. I am thankful for my amazingly loving and supportive family and framily (friends who are like family). I am thankful for new friendships that are continuing to grow and strengthen daily. I am thankful for new opportunities. I am thankful for the courage to start over, over and over again. I am thankful for all of the uncomfortable experiences and seasons that have shaped who I am today. I am thankful that those seasons are over. *praise dance* And I am most thankful that I am now more certain than ever that I can handle anything that this life throws at me. And so can you. *BOOM*

 

Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!

XO❤

Loni

My Hobbies Include Being Difficult & Ignoring Text Messages

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So- this post is all over the internet and it inspired my latest podcast. I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of both being difficult and ignoring text messages. However, the only person who thinks that its for “no reason” is the person on the receiving end of the so-called difficult behavior. I have learned that what is often considered “being difficult” is merely boundary setting. Nine times out of ten, anytime you tell someone N-O or do things in a way that isn’t their preferred way of doing things, they are going around thinking or telling people that you’re difficult. So what! Embrace it. Relish in it. I know I do. The alternative is being a nice doormat. What you allow is what will continue and people will only treat you the way you allow them to. I am all for being nice and accommodating, however, I don’t hand those privileges out to anyone standing in line with their hands out. You have to earn my niceties. I am cordial to everyone. Respectful too. But you want whipped cream and cherries on top? Plus answered phone calls and text responses? You’re gonna have to earn that access buddy! Its not even so much as having done something to make me not answer, but more so, what have you done to motivate me to want to answer? My time is far too valuable to sit around texting back and forth with everybody on the unlimited data mobile plans. Besides- half the time, the main reason I don’t respond to your text message is because you’ve proven that you are too lazy to ever even pick up the phone and CALL me! Tuh. But you claim to “want to get to know me.” That won’t happen via text message sir. And the fact that you are chronologically an adult and don’t seem to comprehend that lets me know that we have nothing in common or anything to talk about. If my selectiveness offends you, you need to up your interesting factor, as well as your confidence and maturity, and maybe you would be in the rotation for consideration.

And can I give a special mention to the guys who you have attempted to date several times and it never goes anywhere far? Yea- your text gets ignored. Why? Because lets revisit exhibits A,B,C and D. This ain’t going no where! We have managed to prove that to each other on more than one occasion so why the need for exhibit E? What have enough evidence and case studies. You’re still you and I’m still me. We aren’t compatible. So why attempt to exchange pleasantries and repeat history. We   I’m too grown for that. Let’s just cut our losses and agree that it was fun for what it was and while it lasted. I’m trying to move on and forward so you will not keep making guest appearances in my future. Its counterproductive. Yet again, I have several good reasons why I’m ignoring you.

 

I will continue prioritizing my priorities and hopefully everyone else does the same. I spent a large part of my life being too nice. Worried about being perceived as rude or bitchy by people who were all too quick to take advantage of any perceived niceness. All the while, lacking any concern for my inconvenience or discomfort. WHY? Because thats what society does. Society will have you believing that being selfish is a bad thing. If something and someone doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. That’s your intuition talking to you. If you aren’t motivated to interact with someone, there is a reason. Honor that. The right people will inspire and motivate you to act. Until then, keep being difficult and ignoring text messages!

Listen to my podcast HERE

 

RIP: Herb Kent “The Cool Gent”

At 88yrs young, Herb Kent, “The Cool Gent”, passed away last night (10/22/2016). He had done his last radio show that very morning on V103 Chicago! He literally did what he loved until the very end. In 2009, he made the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest tenured deejay (70yrs). He is also in the Radio Hall of Fame and the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame. Aside from his professional accolades, he was such a sweet, charismatic and funny guy. So funny. I had the honor of knowing and working with him. So thankful for the many memories Herbie Baby!❤ RIP #HerbKent
 
Side Note: These pics were from the time I did “Battle of the Best” with him. I had Whitney Houston and he had Anita Baker. If you know Herb, you know he cheated and begged for sympathy votes so I lost lol The only person to ever beat him at “Battle of the Best” was President Obama I believe

Life Lessons From An Ingrown Toenail


So if you’ve ever had an ingrown toenail, you can especially appreciate this post. If you’ve never had an ingrown toenail, pray to God that you and everyone you love NEVER does. It’s one of THEE most uncomfortable things I’ve experienced to-date and I recently experienced it, for the second time in my life, three months ago.
Since this was my second time at the rodeo, I detected my second ingrown toenail really early. I knew the ropes. I knew the doctor that could fix this and what the procedure would entail. Done. However this procedure didn’t go as smoothly. This time there were complications with the procedure and, to make a long story short, I had to have the procedure RE-DONE two months later! 
Coincidentally, the only day that the doctor could see me was the morning that I was leaving to fly to Peru. I knew what to expect from the procedure, however I had forgotten about the aftercare process. When I told my doctor that I was leaving for Peru immediately after my appointment, she reminded me about the aftercare and suggested that I may want to come back after my trip to have the procedure re-done. At this point, I had come back to this doctor’s office 4 times in the last two months and my toe was still in pain. I literally felt a tear come to my eye and I wanted to scream and start balling crying in frustration. Literally. I had dealt with this pain and aggravation for long enough, I thought. I know what needs to be done, and the thought of delaying the healing process was most frustrating to me. I told the doctor to do the procedure. I was willing to make the sacrifice to commit to the aftercare. My toe and I have been happily ever after since. 

The inspiration for this blog came right after I replayed that scenario in the previous paragraph. I had a revelation. If I applied that last line of thinking to every area of my life, I would be so much better off! To know what needs to be done and DO IT! Not just do it, but do it as soon as the revelation comes to me about what needs to be done. 

So often, I find that I know what needs to be done but I don’t do it. Instead I fight against the inevitable. I resist change. Despite how painful or discontent I am in the current circumstance. Why?!?! Why am I not equally as pressed to “get on with the healing process” when I find myself dating people that I know aren’t right for me or leading to my ultimate goal of  a long-term relationship? Why am I not as pressed to stop flat ironing my hair, when I know applying heat has caused my curl pattern to loosen over time?!? (Guys I know I lost y’all there lol) but I really started wondering why I didn’t cut the cord on friendships that were no longer healthy- as soon as I realized they weren’t? I always know early on what needs to be done. Yet repeatedly, I hem and haw about how to do it? When to do it? Why I need to do it? How the other person would feel about my decision? What type of person I would be perceived as if I made that decision? 
My wise friend Lakelle always references this quote “you have to want it more than you fear it.” And I think that, ultimately, that’s what it comes down to. If you truly want something or someone, your want has to outweigh anything else! Including your long list of fears and uncertainties about having what you want. We cling to the familiar, that may not be serving us anymore, simply because it’s comfortable. We know the pitfalls of our circumstance. I know and expect that every situation will have its faults, so I start to romanticize the faults of my current situation. Justifying that the next situation could end up being worse than our current situation. But what if it ends up so much better? 

You will never know if you don’t try. If you don’t seek greater, better, or at least do what you know to do to attempt to alleviate the pain (in my case)- you will never know greater or better or the relief. What you do know for sure is that your current situation isn’t working. You even know specifically what areas aren’t working and most likely you know or have a pretty good idea about why they aren’t working. Do something to resolve the issues! Do what you think would help you be in a healthier space. Do something other than what you have been doing! 
With the ingrown toenail, my body was telling me “something isn’t right” through the pain. Similarly our gut tells us when something isn’t right. LISTEN! You will always get what you settle for and what you allow will continue. If your mind, heart, body is telling you that something does not feel good, you owe it to yourself to be brave and step into the unknown. Step into the possibilities. Say yes to the things and people that intrigue you, yet scare you. Life is for the living and you certainly can’t experience anything newer or better by doing what you’ve always done and being who you always were. Rip the bandid. Remove the toenail. Do what you know needs to be done today.

My Current Go-To Meal: Quinoa Chili & The Super Easy Recipe

Easily one of my favorite meals to cook these days – Quinoa chili! Packed with protein & fiber, super hearty and delicious and best of all…quick and EASY! 😋 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Ingredients
1 cup quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (4.5-ounce) can diced green chiles

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, or more, to taste

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Juice of 1 lime, optional

1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced

Instructions
In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and 1-2 cups water, making sure to cover most of the ingredients; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in beans, corn, cilantro and lime juice, if using, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately with quinoa and I like to add avocado, sour cream, cheddar cheese and raw onions. Bon appetite! 

My Trip To Peru: What To Do & Not Do

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Loved my trip to Peru! I got lots of questions about it, so I figured I would answer them all in one place. So here goes…

DO book a tour to Machu Picchu.

Getting there is quite a to-do. You have to take a plane from Lima to Cusco, then a two hour cab ride to Ollantaytambo to catch the 2 -hour Peru Rail train ride, then a 30 minute bus to the Machu Picchu entrance! (The two-hour cab ride to the train is only because the Cusco train station is undergoing construction.) All of these modes of transportation must be arranged and paid for separately, in addition to paying the Machu Picchu entrance fee- which is like $68, and does NOT include a tour guide. I think that it would be much easier and less of a headache to just purchase a day-trip tour like THIS ONE and be done with it. This tour includes roundtrip transportation to and from your hotel in Cusco, to Machu Picchu and includes entrance fee and a tour guide.


DO brush up on your Spanish.

Or bring someone with you who has! The locals do NOT speak much English. Even the ones in roles that deal with tourists (ie. airport workers, taxi drivers) did not speak much English. Luckily, I can string enough words together in Spanish that I was okay, but be aware before you go!


DO plan to eat seafood or meat.

As a part-time vegetarian, my food options were very limited. The main fare is seafood (ceviche is very popular) and meat (guinea pig was the local specialty in Cusco) and to my surprise there were NOT many vegetarian options. Maybe only one or two items on the entire menu. Plan accordingly!

DON’T be afraid of the altitude.

I feel like I had hyped myself up about the increased elevation. Reading stuff on the internet and talking to doctors had me slightly paranoid. Of the group of friends that I traveled with, I was the ONLY one who took the elevation meds as prescribed. Two of the people in the group didn’t take the meds at all and never needed them. Myself and the other woman that took the altitude meds actually felt weird FROM the medicine! I would say go to the doctor and have the meds on hand just in case, but only take them as needed. Just make sure to hydrate and take your time hiking or climbing stairs (any forms or exertion) and you will probably be just fine.

DON’T be afraid to haggle!

If you need to practice being assertive, the shops of Cusco and Lima are prime territory! The shops all sell virtually the SAME items at different prices. Haggle! Name your price. If they don’t agree to it, walk away! Watch them offer you the price you asked for. The only place this didn’t work was on the Peru Rail. (They do a fashion show on your way back from Machu Picchu and have some nice items. I wanted a scarf & a coat and they would NOT budge on the price.)

DON’T forget a jacket!

Lima is warm and humid, but Cusco is at a higher elevation and gets very cool at night. So much so that we had heaters on in our hotel! Seriously, it was like 40/50 degrees at night. Pack a jacket! and some long sleeves if you plan to be in Cusco.

DO the Choco Museo tour.

Fun. Informative. and Chocolate! Duh! But its pretty fun and you get to make your own chocolate to take with you and it makes for great souvenirs.


Send any other questions you may have to info@loniswain.com

 

 

Monday Motivation: New Week, New Goals!

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If you didn’t do it over the weekend, take today to set your goals for the week. Be as specific in your planning as possible, the time you want the goals completed by and map out the days and times that you plan to work on your goals. For your long term goals, set aside at least 30-minutes a day to do SOMETHING to help you get closer to that goal. It could be something simple, like making a phone call, sending an email or even researching something online. No matter what it is, it should be something that you would eventually have to do in order to achieve your long term goal. As long as you are better off today than you were yesterday, you are moving in the right direction. Celebrate all of your victories, no matter how small. Now go get to scratching things off your to-do list and being the amazingly productive person we both know you are!❤ Loni

By Popular Demand:::My Crawfish Monica Recipe

 

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Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Total Time: 40 min

Step 1: Boil rotini noodles, drain and set aside

Step 2: In a dutch oven or large pot, melt butter. Add green onions and stir and saute for about 2 minutes on medium fire.

Step 3: Add crawfish tails to the butter and onions and stir/saute for about 5 minutes

Step 4: Add Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic and stir for 2 minutes

Seafood Magic

Step 5: Add heavy whipping cream & bring to a boil.

Step 6: Reduce heat to simmer and add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (to taste). Stir and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it starts to slightly thicken. (I add a handful of finely shredded cheddar cheese, but that’s optional)

Step 7: Add rotini noodles to the mixture. Cover and let cook for 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

*NOTE*

If you have ever had the Crawfish Monica at the Jazz Fest in NOLA, this is the same or closest thing to it! (If you’ve never been to Jazz Fest, or had the Crawfish Monica there, make plans to change that immediately!!) I used to use half & half instead of the heavy whipping cream, but it comes out way better and wayyyyy creamier (more like Jazz Fest) with the whipping cream. Small tweaks make a major difference! I also sometimes serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and I’ve also substituted the crawfish for shrimp when I can’t get my hands on any crawfish tails. I’d love to hear how you enjoy the recipe and ways that you make it your own – Bon appetite!