6 Work-Life Lessons From HBO's 'Insecure'

In case you missed the news, Insecure is returning for season 2 this July (July 23, to be exact!) and the awkward black girl that is me couldn't be more excited! Before this hit series, the brainchild of writer/actress Issa Rae, I never really saw myself reflected on TV. Sure, I saw black women here and there, but never ones that were as awkward and quirky as me (with the exception of maybe Joan Clayton on Girlfriends) Needless to say: this show has truly become one of my favorites. 

But in addition to the personality similarities, Insecure does a great job of mirroring real-life situations; particularly the ones having to do with work. In between my giggles and "yes girl" commentary while watching the show, I found myself taking notes on how the characters handled various situations at work. Here's everything I learned.

1. always keep your cool

The first lesson came at the top of the first episode. The kids at the school Issa works with through her non-profit job clowned the hell out of her about her career choice, hairstyle and "white-sounding" voice. But while she was clearly taken aback and uncomfortable, she managed to keep her cool, crack a few jokes, and narrowly hide her awkwardness. Staying cool, calm, and collected isn't always the easiest thing (and Lord knows I know this to be true), but taking the professional road will undoubtably lead to more success than failure. 

2. Save the private convos for after-work...

...or at least until you're in a room alone. Molly's co-worker Diane eavesdropped on her conversation per usual, but one time she accidentally revealed Molly was dating someone new while she was on the phone with a guy she'd recently friend-zoned. Wouldn't have been a big deal, except Molly was trying to keep her options open, girl and Diane playing the guessing game only threw salt in the plan. Note to self: If I'm juggling multiple bachelors and sharing an office with a nosey co-worker, take all calls outside. 

3. Step out of your comfort Zone

Absolutely nothing , nothing, nothing grows in your comfort zone. Issa knows this all to well, particularly in the first episode when she's interested in impressing her ex. So despite her insecurities she gets on stage at an open mic night and raps an original piece about her BFF Molly's um, lady bits. While this move caused more harm than good down the line for Issa, in the real-world taking risks after making a solid plan (i.e. career changes, big moves) can pay off big time. 

4. Don't engage in ignorant ass co-worker convos

As someone else who's also a "token" in my office, I refuse to answer ignorant ass questions like the ones Issa's We Got Y'all co-workers asked. Luckily, I haven't really got any. At least not yet. Still, I have to say that nothing good can ever come from feeding into BS like this. The same thing goes for listening to office gossip around the non-existent water cooler (do they even have these anywhere, anymore?) or liking/responding to shady group chat messages. 

5. Don't be anyone's scape goat

Molly's bosses thought they had found a fool when they asked her to check her less-than-professional-at-times new colleague. But, Molly wasn't interested in scolding one of the only other black women at her law firm; espeically when doing so was completely out of her responsibility and pay-grade. And I don't blame her. Sure, it's great to help out in different areas here and there at work, but not at the expense of putting others down or making yourself look crazy. 

6. Bathroom mirrors are for more than selfies

Issa has taught us that if ever you need to vent or to pep yourself up before an important talk/presentation, the bathroom mirror is the perfect item to turn to. For far too long we’ve been under-utilizing and minimizing their power by taking useless selfies, when they were clearly meant for more. Not only can the mirror provide a judgment-free zone , but a few seconds of smiling at ourselves and repeating motivating mantras might be just what we need to slay the day. 

Are you excited for season two of Insecure? What lessons did you learn from season one?
Let me know in the comments! 

How to Make the Most of Self-Care Sundays

Hands down my favorite day of the week is -and has always has been- Sunday. In my humble opinion, Sunday's are just the best days to get things done, or to do absolutely nothing at all. I mean c'mon who doesn't love a lazy Sunday?

This is the reason I stress the importance of taking a chill day before the week starts. After grinding five days a week (or more!) at work and then trying to squeeze in a social life on Friday and Saturday nights, I don't see any reason not to have a self-care Sunday! They're fun, productive, and literally the nicest thing you can do for yourself. And trust me, your mind, body, and soul will thank you.

DISCLAIMER: Self-care Sundays DO NOT need to be expensive. For so long, I kept myself from celebrating them because not having an extra $300 to drop to do self-care the "right way" was stressful. Luckily, I found a few simple and expensive ways to make the practice work for me. And here's how you can make the most of your "me-day."

Find Your Mood Music

While I can't sing to save my life, my Sunday ritual always begins with dancing and singing in my bathroom mirror. Whether I'm lip-syncing or not depends on if my roommates are home, but regardless the right song has a way of boosting my mood and helping me relax. Grab your phone, pull up Spotify and blast a song that transforms you to a happy, motivated, or calming space. 

My go-to: I like upbeat songs for my mirror dances so I turn to Whitney Houston, but for calm moments or meditation it's all about Solange. 

Eat Something You Love

Oh, a cookie? Don't mind if I do. Sundays aren't the day to stick to a strict diet or deprive yourself of that cake you've been craving. Self-care is all about living your best life and making yourself feel good and if that means eating the forbidden non-fruit, then so be it. 

My go-to: Tacos! Tacos! And oh yeah, tacos! Any Sunday I have a  chance I get to have them, I do and I've never felt better.

REcharge your soul

Yoga may not be my thing, but meditating I can get behind. A 2005 study at Harvard Medical School found that meditation increases the thickness of your prefrontal cortex, the area of your brain associated with attention and self-awareness. Plus, relaxing your body and mind with meditation helps you to stay centered when you inevitably encounter those everyday stressors—NYC train traffic, anyone? I sip a smoothie filled with Spirit Dust and think about my intentions with crystals in hand for just a few minutes every Sunday and instantly feel more centered. 

My go tos: Moon Juice's Spirit Dust, $30 and my healing crystals from Karma Bliss.

Treat Your Skin

Skin care during your self-care is a must. I was never really a fan of face masks until a few friends suggested I give them a try and now I love them! The best part is that most are super cheap (and still of quality) so you can have an at-home spa excursion without the itchy bath robes. 

My go to: Lush Oatfix Fresh Face Mask, $9

Journal like no one's reading

For Christmas every year growing up I always asked for the same exact thing: the latest Password Journal. Something about writing down my thoughts, feelings, and crushes names 100x in a locked diary was calming. But, I stopped journaling the older I got and just recently started again. Now, in addition to thoughts, feelings and even some poems, my journal includes colorful doodles and inspirational stickers. It's a great way to unwind and get everything I'm thinking (and with my anxiety that's a lot) off my chest and out of my head. Clarity is key when it comes to self-care and journaling is the easiest way to achieve that. 

 My go-to: Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes journal, $13

Crack Open a Good Book

Have I mentioned how much I love reading? Books, magazines, literally anything with words! Getting lost in a good story gives me the warm and fuzzies and I'm sure the same will happen to you. Seriously, just unplug for a few hours and turn the page, and then the next one. And if you're looking for book inspiration check out this summer reading guide

My go-to: Magazines! My favorite weekend reading material is and will forever be glossies. Good Housekeeping, Glamour, ESSENCE, Cosmopolitan, ELLE: all my faves.

Netflix and Actually Chill

No, don't do the millennial chill. Actually sit back and stream your favorite shows with no shame. Getting lost in the complicated lives of other people, especially one's that are fictional, can help you forget about your own work woes and relationship problems. Plus it's just effing entertaining and fun to watch TV--and a good laugh is always good for your health

My go-to: Right now, I'm catching up on these shows (and always looking for more suggestions!).  

Do you treat yourself on self-care Sundays? If so, how? Let me hear in the comments!

5 New Shows I’m Excited About This Summer

Confession: I'm known for canceling plans after work, or just not making any solely because I've got shows to watch on TV.  *Shrugs* Miss an episode of Pretty Little Liars or Grey's Anatomy? Not me!

Clearly, I love getting lost in the fictional antics of tv characters and this summer will be no different. With so many new shows popping up I find myself even more excited about being glued to the remote. From 16th-century dramas to nostalgia reboots, here's five new shows I'm excited to see! Hopefully you'll be watching with me. 

1. Still Star Crossed

Did you doze off in high school literature? Me too. No worries! You can still enjoy this Shakespeare-inspired drama from Shondaland. Taking place after Romeo and Juliet kick the bucket, Still Star Crossed follows the lives of their families, the long-feuding Montagues and Capulets in Verona, as they continue to find themselves entangled through tragedy, palace intrigue and even more ill-fated romances. Now playing on ABC Monday nights at 10/9c!

2. Daytime Divas

Welcome to "The Lunch Hour!" Featuring an ensemble cast of actresses (like veterans Vanessa Williams and Tichina Arnold), Daytime Divas chronicles the daily fireworks that erupt between five female co-hosts of the daytime talk show based on the book Satan's Sisters by former co-host of The View Star Jones. Now playing on VH1, Monday nights at 10/9c!

3. Claws

Niecy Nash! Niecy Nash! If anyone knows how to make a show funny, it's her. Set in a South Florida, this comedy follows the rise of five diverse and treacherous manicurists working at the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon, where there is a lot more going on than silk wraps and pedicures.
Now playing Sunday on TNT at 8/8c!

4. The Bold Type

Ever wondered what it's like to work at a magazine like Cosmopolitan? Here's your chance to see! I'm no stranger to the magazine world (it's my day job, hello!), but I'm excited that more people will get an inside view of glossies. Inspired by the life of former Cosmo editor in chief, Joanna Coles, The Bold Type peeks into the outrageous lives magazine staffers, their identity struggles, and how they survive on a shoe-string salary in the Big Apple. (And trust me, it ain't easy.)
Premieres on Freeform July 11!  

5. Raven’s Home

Oh snap! I just had a vision and it's telling me that Raven is back! The spin-off I've been waiting for has *finally* arrived. Featuring our favorite ebony-and-ivory BFFs, Raven and Chelsea, the show follows both divorced mothers who are now raising their children in a house together; a house that's turned upside down when they realize one of Raven's children, Booker, has inherited the same psychic powers as his mother. Premieres on Disney Channel July 21!

What shows are you excited to watch this summer? Let me know in the comments!