Gays in the Life

building our white picket fence.

7 minutes

I make it a point to meditate for seven (silent) minutes after a morning yoga session. It’s a great way to workout any lingering cloudiness before you head into the office. I must say, then zen is here today. I’m completely unbothered and calm, but I’m still a work in progress; Only a couple of emails have received a slight side-eye today. If any of you are familiar with corpse pose in yoga, that’s a great position to meditate and process in as well. 

Be zen, 

3 Years A Husband.

Anniversaries happen every year, yet I’m still unsure where the time goes so quickly. “So, does being married feel any different?” I’ll ask good friends after receiving a save-the-date magnet – I know they aren’t technically married yet, but come on – or during their wedding receptions.  It’s a question we got from family and friends after our courthouse ceremony.

Being married feels no different to us and I never expected it would. We’re the same two schmoes that met in a wild and crazy bar during our college years, but sure, we’ve calmed way down in the party category. While we now have a legal title, everything feels as it did when we first became boyfriends in Fall 2011; fun and mostly light (lol).

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Remember, not all relationships are the same. Having each other and keeping up with our joint goals is enough to drive our relationship and keep us flourishing. Nine times out of ten we are on the same page when it comes to any topic within our marriage. And if we aren’t? We take some time to discuss and get to the bottom of it.

A big factor that’s been adding to our relationship recently is encouragement. We’ve always pushed each other to do our best in all aspects of life, but it became extremely important this past year and a half when we ran into challenges in the corporate world. Wishing anything for an opportunity to run away from angst and frustration, we were able to keep each other focused and sane. I’m not sure how I would make some of the decisions that come my way without S.

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We truly take each day at a time. If there were some super secret to share, believe me, I would. I can count on one hand how many fights we’ve had in our almost six years together and we won’t be adding to that number anytime soon. I will say this: Keep each other level. It’s amazing what happens when balance is present in a relationship.

We’ll see what new lesson I’ve learned when year four is upon us.

Will You Go Out With Me?

Dating. It’s so important once you’re married. Any person that’s been in a long-term relationship knows this to be true. Long days (and nights) at the job start to eat away at you mentally and physically. Weekends seem to be the only time you can hang out, but somehow you’ve overbooked yourselves. You begin to question whether you’re slipping away from yourself and/or the relationship because there’s not enough time or energy for “us” time. That is when insecurity and doubt surface.

 

The great thing about S and I is that we can discuss these insecurities and doubts and figure out how to work through the fog. Just today we’ve identified that we’ve become too comfortable relaxing and hanging out on the couch together; binge watching old seasons of America’s Next Top Model. The mental fatigue that comes with working in the corporate world can’t rule every ounce of energy we have left in our free time together. It’s time to fight the lazy and rediscover who we are as a couple.

So what do we do? That’s the question. We’re both almost too easy to please and can never seem to decide what sounds fun; I know how that sounds. Thank goodness summer is near because at least we’ll be able to get back to our regular evening walks. Whatever it is we decide to do, it’ll be together. Our third wedding anniversary is next week – CRAZY – so we’re taking that as our cue to get regular date nights scheduled. In the past, I didn’t like the idea of scheduling time together. I see now that it’s a necessary pleasure.

Hello, There! Why is Vacation Over?

 

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Big thanks and WELCOME to all the new followers that joined us over the past couple weeks. I can’t express how much your interest and curiosity means to us as I grow the Gays in the Life platform.

 

We had some family visiting this past week from Alaska and Florida, so forgive the lack of content. Sometimes you just need to disconnect and enjoy the moment. Here are some things you can look forward to on Gays in the Life in the coming days:

 

  • More relationship and marriage discussion.
  • Interviews and topic reviews with S (and other couples)!
  • More vlog (video blog) content to highlight past, present, and upcoming topics.

Thanks again for all your support! Don’t forget to share Gays in the Life with friends and family, and to reach out on all social media @GaysintheLife. We look forward to getting to know all of you in the comments and the GITL inbox – gaysinthelife@gmail.com.

Let us know how we’re doing!

Stay zen,

Why I’m Canceling SheaMoisture.

After a lot of thought, consideration, and a recent purchase of a large bottle of Jamaican Black Castor Oil shampoo, I’ve decided to cancel SheaMoisture. By cancel, I mean I will not be buying anymore of their products or endorsing the brand to friends, family, or my followers. Now, I don’t plan on wasting any of my money. By the time the few SheaMoisture products I do have run out, I’ll have found replacements and will make the time to kick it fully natural again when it comes to my hair and skincare.

 

Earlier this week the brand released a video featuring young white women sharing their hair struggles. That’s cute and all, but seriously? Take a look at SheaMoisture’s cover photo on Twitter and tell me where all those women were in this commercial. I’m a black man who grew up in a mixed black family. When it comes to hair struggle? I know it all too well.

 

One young lady mentioned how she just couldn’t do anything with her pin-straight hair and the other went on about how she had to bleach her hair – leaving her natural red color behind. Girls – this includes you SheaMoisture – get out of here with that nonsense!

 

I’m all for a brand branching out and including all ethnicities, but black women basically made SheaMoisture the natural, fair trade beast that they are in the industry.  Why would you exclude the primary source of your coins and success from this commercial?

 

What made matters worse – because I was going to let this slide after their half-assed apology on Twitter – was thanking Tariq Nasheed. Tariq is an anti-racism strategist who got on the case of angry black SheaMoisture supporters for being upset about the flat and offbeat commercial.

 

Tariq tweets:

 

So yall don’t want 2 boycott businesses like:
*Asian nail shops that beat up BW
*Companies that support Trump
But Shea Moisture is the issue”

 

Excuse me, sir? Have you not been part of any post-election conversation since November 2016? We’ve got apps like Boycott Trump and a long list of known Trump supporting businesses and brands that we’re doing our best to avoid and guess what, the list of small, minority-owned businesses are just as long. Forgive us for taking our money and support to brands that support its community, and have marketing teams that are smart enough to find ways to include everyone without completely disregarding the customer base that gave you the most traffic and sales – the customers that put you in major stores like Target across the nation.

 

SheaMoisture responded to Tariq as follows:

 

“We can’t thank you enough for your loyalty and support.  It’s wonderful people like you that keep us going strong, Tariq!

 

They could have left that response in the PR crisis meeting. Wow. So you’re going engage this ignorance? One could ask Tariq how he feels, after he’s had more time to think on it; about how his ancestors would feel about all of this.

 

I’m fully aware that white women can have just as much trouble with hair and texture as any other person from around the globe, but why cast these young ladies with the lines they had in this commercial? You’re complaining about having red hair – red hair is GORGEOUS in my opinion – and having to bleach your hair? Okay, for one, bleaching your hair isn’t the best for it, but sure, go ahead and sell those restorative products; I love rocking blonde hair. What happened to nurturing the hair you have and maintaining that hair with products like SheaMoisture?

 

All these ladies had to do was get a cut and color. Where was the kinky-haired white girl chopping it up with other young ladies that have actual hair struggles? The struggles you use to sell your products currently. These ladies weren’t sitting under searing hot combs or feeling the rage of a screaming scalp as your mother, aunts, or grandmother untangled tight coils from each other. You want to talk about hair struggle? Talk to all the females in my family who have gorgeous and extremely challenging hair. MY hair is extremely challenging, but I’m going to let the ladies have this one for obvious reasons.  

 

So what good does canceling do? Well, it may not do much at first, but companies like SheaMoisture will get the picture when smaller companies, companies that started just like them, take their place at the top of the natural industry. On every bottle of SheaMoisture they share the story of how their grandmother gathered and sold shea butter and African black soap in Africa and transformed people’s spirits and changed her family’s life with her hustle. Where’s that commercial? Keep it simple, stupid. How’s that for some direction in your next marketing meeting, SheaM?

 

For some good discussion and reads on this topic, I recommend the following podcasts:

 

Gettin’ Grown, Episode “Shea Dry,” start about 14:10:00 into the show.

The Read, Episode “Plight of the Light,” start about 1:37:15 into the show.

A Deck of a Mess

Home ownership is the most frustrating thing at times. Our only goal today was to pressure wash our deck and clear it of old paint the weather had already begun to peel up. The plan was simple: Get to Home Depot right when the tool rental counter opened, pressure wash the deck, and return the washer with plenty of time to spare within our 4-hour rental window.

I don’t like housework that involves anything on the outside of the house. When it comes to the inside of the house and decor, it’ll always be on and poppin’, clean and sparklin’. Both our moods shifted when we realized this was going to take longer than we’d planned.

The plan never goes like it should, though. S and I of all people should know this with all the adventure we’ve had with our condo already. The tip we needed, for the spray nozzle,  to make the most progress removing the paint was broken. Not wanting to waste too much time, we immediately packed the washer up and returned to the store.

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We didn’t know the tip was the issue before the customer service rep tested our machine and the replacement in the store. Deep down we were thankful, because on the car ride over, we both thought “If something is wrong with our water pressure and this house, we will rage.” We ended returning home with our original rental and a new tip.

Sadly, the new tip made no difference in the rate at which the paint was coming off the deck. We imagined the paint would just fly off as the water made contact, but this was far from the case. S and I spent a good amount of time switching roles on the project. Scraping and spraying, we longed for larger pieces of paint to come up, but found we were barely making any progress. Our good friend, Google, ended up informing us that the machine we’d rented from Home Depot was only half the power required to execute a project like ours.

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This made sense. Why in the hell were we spending ten or more minutes spraying one spot, only to see a speck of paint chip off at a time? This couldn’t be right. We confirmed gas pressure washers were stronger, but were also instructed not to go that route because there’d be a high risk of damaging our deck. S called his dad and we’ll be borrowing his pressure washer next weekend. It’s the right amount of power, and our deck isn’t huge, so we should be able to get the work done in a decent amount of time.

Sigh… maybe we can hire some eye-candy to do this for us. Probably not, but a dude can wish, can’t he?

Let Love Be. Congrats, Serena Williams!

I love this tweet so much. Masculinity is so fragile. Beyond words, really.


Keep up with us on Twitter @GaysintheLife.

Brunch Fave: Sausage & Cornbread.

So can you tell bread was one of my favorite things before living a low-carb lifestyle? I’m telling you, I could turn anything into a sandwich. Sandwiches – no one in particular – were my favorite food and I’d have them often. That’s why so many of my last meal remixes have included keto bread. It must be a craving coming to test my will.

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Today, I put a twist on one of my favorite college brunch items: sausage and cornbread. The original recipe comes from an old friend and roommate. With a single box of Jiffy cornbread mix, baked over cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage, the epic breakfast dish is ready when golden brown.

 

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Instead of using the keto bread recipe to make biscuits or buns, I spread the uncooked dough over spicy crumbled sausage I’d prepared in the skillet. I doused the sausage with cayenne pepper, black pepper, and Italian seasoning as it sizzled in the heat, so this dish was going to have just the right amount of kick. If you can make it spicy? Make it spicy. Let the dish bake until golden brown and spread REAL butter over the top before letting it rest. After about ten minutes, cut and serve with sugar-free syrup.

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This looks like a heavy meal, right? I was pleasantly surprised at how light the meal was; the complete opposite feeling of the one you have after eating the original recipe. I had two pieces in the beginning and felt completely satisfied – not too full – after I’d finished them. We love to make this and bake the mixture in cupcake baking sheets. You get the perfect single serving if you make it this way. Side item? Scrambled eggs and spinach cooked in bacon fat.

Yum. Absolutely, yum.

Pepsi & Kendall Jenner Stir Up Controversy with New Jump In Ad

A fabulous wrap-up about the new Pepsi commercial featuring Kendall Jenner. Well said and presented.

Alexis Chateau PR

When it comes to public relations and marketing, Pepsi Co. is a brand to be reckoned with. Over the years, the mega-food company has attracted the endorsement of pop culture and music legends like Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Beyoncé Knowles, Aretha Franklin, and The All-American Rejects.

So why not Kendall Jenner?

The Backlash

But when Pepsi released the Jump In commercial, starring Jenner, on April 4, 2017, it was not to critical acclaim. Journalists and consumers alike labelled the ad “tone-def”, and called it an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter campaign to sell a can of soda.

Symone Sanders, a CNN Political Commentator said:

Literally, Pepsi just used Kendall Jenner to co-opt the resistance to sell a freakin’ can of soda. Okay?

There were no police pictured in riot gear as they often are when Black and Brown people are putting their bodies on the line…

View original post 422 more words

The Budget Queens Strike Again

So I went to Michael’s to get a couple posters framed over the weekend. The customer service rep at the counter was extremely nice, but there was no way I was paying $110, each, to get both of our Radiohead posters framed.

S and I plan on painting our loft a gray that is slightly lighter than the seal-toned color we had in our first apartment. I have a tendency to lean towards dark colors. Knowing this and the fact that our office/music/yoga space would be painted gray with pops of color throughout the space, getting white frames for these posters was my only goal at the popular craft store.

After learning the price to frame just one of the posters, and confirming the second would be the same or more because it was an odd size, I asked “…so where can I find your standard stock frames and white chalk paint?”

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Praise be to my mother, for blessing me with creativity and the gift of decor, and for a good sale on craft supplies. I was able to get two frames for $30 a piece and scored an additional 40% off one of those and my paint. I got out of the store for just over sixty bucks; NOT two-hundred and twenty plus. Go me.

S has always been a huge Radiohead fan. I had no idea who they were until they released In Rainbows – making a huge statement across the music industry, instructing fans to buy the album directly from their website for however much they wanted – no label involvement. I paid five euros and I can’t get enough of opening track, 15 Step.

We knew how we’d decorate the loft area in our condo from the moment we saw the space in person. “This space needs to be productive and filled with music” I thought now a little over three years ago. Keep this picture in mind as I describe how the loft space will look – things are rearranged in the living room now, but keep the color scheme in mind:

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The space will be gray-walled and trimmed in white. With a funky floral chair, resting on a spicy red rug, bookshelves (filled to capacity) and music art will surround what will be the funkiest corner of a library you’ve ever seen in a person’s home.

Our condo is open and the loft area is exposed, so picture the colors we have going on downstairs, suddenly shifting from chic, shady tones, to a color-punched and bold workspace. I do yoga in this space, S works in this space, and we hangout with friends, the most, in this space. Wait… I’m writing in this space.

The gray walls, paired with bright art and white trim, will make every piece stand out. Eventually I’ll have my trumpet hanging above one of the windows – serving as art and a reminder that I should pull it down and practice more – and my guitar and bass guitar on stands in the corner by the bookshelves.

Our Pinterest Palace is well on its way, I’d say, and finally having these posters framed will kick off the upstairs transformation.