Thank You!

Hi, everyone!! If you are following my Instagram or the official Lex in the City Facebook page, you will have seen that I reached 100 follows on my blog on Monday!! It’s not ground-breaking per se, but that’s not going to stop me from celebrating this win. 🙂

Last week, I wrote a post about how I have felt stuck creatively and more specifically on the blog. It has of course prompted me to confront the ever-looming question of “Should I keep doing this,” or “Am I wasting my time? Who even reads blogs anymore?” But seeing that there are at least 100 of you with WordPress accounts that officially follow me, and at least a couple more that take the time to visit my page to read my new posts, these are reminders that I DO have an audience and I SHOULD keep posting.

Since getting back on a regular posting schedule in July of one to two posts per week, I have gained roughly 30 followers, so that shows me consistency definitely makes a difference. I would love to maintain the biweekly (twice per week) posts which is why I am so eager to claw my way out of this creative rut. My insights also show that the majority of my readers come from Facebook and Internet searches. Since recently learning a little more about SEO, I have definitely been trying to optimize my posts, and now I have my sights set on reaching even more people. I figure, “Why limit myself?”

I really just want to reiterate that you all have no idea how much it means to me when I receive messages or comments complimenting my writing. When I say, “thank you,” I mean it with every fiber of my being. Though I have been doing this for nearly six years, it really doesn’t feel like it has been that long. I still feel strange accepting these compliments as though I don’t consider myself a real writer. As if I am a fraud. But if I learned anything from my own video about overcoming impostor syndrome, I am a writer. Accolades, degree, portfolio or not, I have had a pen to paper (or cursor to document) since I was eight years old and I don’t intend on stopping. So, this one is for all of you.
Thank you, thank you, and if I haven’t said it enough, thank you! ♥️
xx, AE

Go Vote

I have sat here for 30 minutes trying to think of a way to introduce today’s post, but considering it won’t be long, I will just get straight into the facts. We all know how important it is to vote and to exercise that right as American citizens. We also see that there are arguably many plausible reasons to not vote depending on how you grew up and/or your demographic in this country. As someone who is a part of two major marginalized groups–being black and being a woman–I am here to tell you that I understand why you may think it’s pointless to vote. We see the way certain people are treated in society, regardless of who’s in the White House, and we ask ourselves, “How is a vote for one person going to erase or change the history that has laid the groundwork for the continued ill treatment of anyone that’s not a straight white man?” The short answer is one vote will not change that. It is important to grasp, however, that voting goes beyond the person in the White House that we elect every four years. We need to do the work to start electing people from the top in D.C. to the ground floor of our local counties that we feel best represents our interests at the time of an election.

Obviously we cannot go back in time and redo anything, but here is what I have come to learn. There are so, so many resources to break down politics for those who either do not understand it or get overwhelmed by it. A lot of people have spent time creating infographics and slides on social media to break down basic concepts; from there, you can do further personal research about candidates or policies that you would like to better understand. Growing up, I was absolutely overwhelmed by politics and, quite frankly, I still am. How can we trust individual people to represent multitudes of diverse, independently-thinking people? We know people are motivated by greed, so we hope for changes that logically benefit more people than not and when those changes don’t happen, we know it’s because there are handshakes and threats taking place behind closed doors (thank you, Shonda Rhimes). The system is broken, corrupt, outdated, you name it. How can anyone remain hopeful? It is extremely difficult. But after I realized that every decision I make and my pure existence as a black woman in this country is political, it clicked that I have a responsibility to people like me that have come before me with far less freedoms than I have, and to be a part of the change to benefit those that will come after me. This is why it is important to find a way to better learn this information for ourselves and for future generations so we can shake up history instead of allowing it to be cyclic. Before you say, “Why do I need to think of future generations if I may not get to see the change myself,” well, 1. I sure wish someone thought of my generation before I became part of the voting demographic, and 2. I don’t know how to tell you you should care about other people. There is nothing wrong with being realistic, but cynicism has never benefitted anyone.

For my Texans, TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE!!!!!!!!! Please do not register to vote through social media. Visit Vote Texas for all information on the voting process. If you are confident you are already registered to vote, check again as acts of voter suppression are already in full effect. Verify that your address matches what is on your voter registration card or driver’s license; if it does not, change it ASAP or be prepared to go vote in the area that is listed.
Early voting by personal appearance (in-person) in Texas begins October 13th and ends October 30th. Speaking of voter suppression, it is important to note two major changes that can 100% discourage people from hitting the polls:
1. Absentee ballot voting locations/drop-offs have been limited to one per county. Y’all know how big Texas is… some of these locations can be up to 50 miles away from where you live and if you are an elderly person, a person of any age with a disability, or someone who works around the clock to support your family, this may be impossible;
2. Straight-ticket voting has been eliminated. Previously, you could select a political party and it would automatically place a vote for anyone at any level of administration that is in the same party. Now, you will have to individually elect each person and I already know how many people are thinking, “I’m expected to stand in a long line, wearing a mask, and then have to go through a long ballot? I’ll sit this one out.”

Both of these changes are reasons why you should take advantage of early voting!! Go get tested for COVID, carpool with someone else who has also tested negative for COVID, and make a day out of going to vote. Go vote on your lunch break at a less-populated polling location. If you feel safe to do so, volunteer at a polling location. If you are not an American citizen, be a ride for someone that could be impacted by these voting changes. If you live in a non-English-speaking household, be sure that older family members are obtaining their election information from more than one source. On the Vote Texas website, early voting sites will be updated a few days before early voting begins. We have 18 DAYS to vote early–let’s do this!!

If you are not a Texan and early voting hasn’t taken place in your state yet, get familiar with your early voting dates and local resources. Every election at every level impacts us all in great and small ways. Exercise your right as an American to vote as many Americans did not obtain the right to vote until 1965…55 years ago…when my parents were children. Do your part.
xx, AE

Places I Hope to See in 2021

It’s pretty safe to say I have no intention of hopping on an airplane in the year 2020, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t spent my fair share of time making a list (and checking it twice) for hopeful trips in 2021. Obviously, this is all contingent upon the status of the virus next year, but I already have some places mapped out:

Arizona
One of my oldest friends, Blake, is getting married!! His wedding will be in Arizona which I have never visited before. I cannot wait to explore the natural beauty of the desert and finally do a canyon hike. It’s going to be even better to have local guides as my boyfriend’s friends (recently featured in my vlog!) live there. There’s no telling how long I would be there, but I’m hoping to at least see Papago Park or Desert Botanical Garden.
papago
desert botanical
Continue reading “Places I Hope to See in 2021”

Summer in the House

It’s crazy to think it has officially been three months since I moved into this house. I feel that when I moved in, I was ‘wide-eyed and bushy-tailed,’ as they call it. I believed that a house would surpass any and all issues I previously had with apartment living; however, I have learned that renting in general would always provide new or different obstacles. Moving from what was labeled a ‘luxury’ apartment four minutes away from downtown Dallas to a duplex in a suburb has surprisingly pnly posed minimal challenges, but I want to share with you the changes I have noticed between my living experiences.

There are so many pros to renting a house compared to an apartment:
1. No upstairs neighbors
2. No street or tenant noise
3. No garage door, gate, or key fob glitches
4. No delivery issues with packages or food
5. Having a front and backyard!
6. No stairs or elevators
7. Having a garage
8. Having a full-sized kitchen
9. Not having to pay an additional fee for valet trash (despite its value within complexes)

There are also some cons to renting a house:
1. Leaks, cracks, impractical design due to being older
2. Lack of storage
3. Low chance of walk-in closet
4. Restrictions on individual room designs due to outlet and window placements
5. Longer response time on maintenance requests
6. Usually have to configure your own alarm system
7. Lower chance of all appliances (refrigerator, washer/dryer, dishwasher) included
8. Outdated or lower quality ‘upgrades’ in certain areas of the home
9. Higher electricity bill

These are just a handful of pros and cons I can think of off the top of my head, but obviously not everything applies to every apartment complex or house. I think the common denominator around not finding the ‘perfect’ place is obviously that you are renting. Still, these varied living experiences (living alone, living with a roommate, living in a house with my boyfriend) have all taught me what I am and am not looking for in the future home I will own: flooring, storage options, closet design, living/family room size, how many bedrooms I will need, etc.

Since it has only been three months (a.k.a. one season), I figured I could do another update when I see how this house weathers through the colder months. To wrap this up though, I will answer some of the most common questions I’ve received since the move:

1. How is the house?
In general, I really like this house. It serves my current needs and I could not be more thankful to have a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a nice backyard and fridge, washer, and dryer included at the rent that we pay. There are some design flaws that have been super annoying to work around. We have also had a higher number of maintenance issues than I originally expected. We do, however, have a pretty responsive landlord that we don’t really have to chase down when we have an issue, and he is always polite and works well with us.

2. What has it been like living with your boyfriend?
This is my first time living with a boyfriend and it has been great. Much like anyone you live with, you learn people’s habits and when to give them space. Thankfully, we do have two bedrooms and a living room, so we are not on top of each other. With us being in the middle of a pandemic, it has obviously been a very different experience; there is not much to talk about day-to-day and you’re with each other all day, so the exciting parts of dating like going out to eat/drink, traveling, going to events, etc. are pretty much off the table. But I also think it is kind of a blessing because you are forced to be with another person all day and see all sides of them that won’t be a ‘surprise’ later down the road. We have been making it work and I have become more interested in videogames just as he has become more interested in reality TV. 🙂

3. How is it living outside of Dallas?
Dallas is a driving city anyway, so it’s not like my life has drastically changed. Downtown is only about 20 minutes away, but there are very few places that are a less-than-10-minute-drive to begin with unless you are living in the area I used to live in. Once again, we are in a pandemic, so I haven’t felt that annoyance of having to arrange Lyfts regularly for going out or getting to and from the airport which was previously a part of my budget. Additionally, I am working from home, so I am saving on gas altogether since I literally do not go anywhere, haha. It has been the best and worst thing to have moved out of the city during a time like this, but it does suck that I now have a space I could entertain in (especially the backyard!) and cannot have people over. Though I do miss being able to see the skyline and feeling like a city girl, I am happy to be in a house now.

4. Do you miss living in an apartment?
There are specific elements that I miss like my old closet, my old bathroom, and the additional freedoms I felt when I lived alone. A good and bad thing about this house is that it gets a lot of natural light, but the living area does not have a ceiling fan, so basically…it gets hot. This requires me to run A/C at the hottest times of the day. Further, even if quarantine were not a thing, my former roommate was rarely home whereas my boyfriend and I are home bodies, so between the A/C and the amount of electricity we use for our hobbies, the electricity bill is so much higher despite having a little less square footage (excluding the backyard and garage) than my previous apartment. But overall, no, I do not miss living in an apartment.

Did anybody else move during quarantine, or more specifically move in with a new person during quarantine? How has the adjustment been for you?
xx, AE