Category Archives: Reflection

Financial Literacy Begins in the Womb


Last night tweeted that I will begin teaching my children financial literacy while they still inhabit my womb.  (For all of my friends and family, I’m not remotely pregnant and won’t be for a while longer).  As I watch my brothers, parents, grandparents, and ultimately myself age, I am realizing the importance of building and maintaining one’s financial health.  My last name is not Rockefeller, Gates, or Buffet.  Therefore, it is impertative that I plan wisely for my future seeing that I don’t have an endowment or modest trust fund I can tap into at any time.

I did a pretty good job of abusing my credit score in college and racking up a hill of debt once my student loans were added to my credit card bills.   I am proud to boast that I have “Good” to “Excellent” credit score, at least 10% savings for a moderately priced home in the DMV, and a well-funded 401K.  My sexy financial advisor pushed me to open a Roth IRA this year.  Thank goodness he’s fine because his nagging would be unbearable!  LOL!  (He really isn’t that bad.)

As I put the finishing touches on my financial foundation and prepare to move into new terroritory (homeownership, mutual funds, and investment properties), I think not only of myself but of the crumb-snatchers I will someday bear.  I plan to arm them with the best knowledge and financial habits as I and their future-Dad possibly can.  So, as they each (I hope to have 2-3 expensive bundles of joy) kick me in my ribs or lay comfortably on my bladder, I will start teaching them these basic tips:

Empty your change purse or pockets once a week and place those coins your piggy bank.  $.0.05 seems small as a lonely nickel.  Add a few quarters, pennies, and dimes and you have a nice emergency reserve in the house.  (And at least once, roll the coins yourself.  It’s theraputic and gives a great appreciation for money.)

Have two savings accounts.  One account that you dip into to cover bills and shopping trips. (If they are anything like me, they will thoroughly enjoy shopping.)  The other account should NEVER be touched unless absolutely necessary.  Buying a home counts as “necessary.” (Oh, automatic transfers makes savings much easier.)

Protect your credit at all costs.  Yes, maxing out your $5000-limit credit card seems like a good idea when you’re a broke college student or broke recent grad but it will haunt you for many years.  The high-interest rate I paid for my first car drove that point home many years ago.  I vowed never again.  So far, so good.

Lastly, plan for the future as much as you are able.  Rainy Day funds and retirement accounts are necessary.   (Though I’m sure by they time my kids are adults they’ll be like me, working until their last breath.  LOL!)  But it is important to save and plan ahead.  Accidents happen.  Roofs need repair.  New cars need to be purchased.  And as I hope, families are created that must be cared and provided for.  You can’t plan for everything but you can plan for a good amount of life.  

I look forward to adding to the list and learning a few new financial tips myself along the way.  It’s never too late or early to become financially literate!

WordCount Blogathon 2012: First post and only 3 days Late!


My dear friend, Angela, twisted my arm and shoved me to the ground until I submitted into participating in this year’s WordCount Blogathon.  Okay, she only sent one text message and an email. LOL!  I am starting the month of disciplined posting 3 days late but am committed to participating.  Unfortunately, I am no longer qualified for the writing prizes had I started on May 1st.  Kinda bummed…sigh. Well, the reward is in posting!

I’m beginning Blogathon 2012 with a tribute to my cousin, Lesleigh.  For followers of HoneySugaSweet.com, she was featured in the HoneySugaSweet Reminder: You’ve Got to Live! post.  Lesleigh lost her battle with cancer on November 30, 2011.  At times, her passing feels so raw and recent.  No more so than on special occassions l like her birthday.   On May 1st  Baby Girl (as her mother called her) would’ve turned 25.  It’s fitting that the first Blogathon 2012 post be in honor of her.  I hope Lesleigh celebrated her birthday in grand fashion…wherever she may be.

My Heart Will Find You (For Lesleigh 1986-2011)
By Jovette Gadson
 
No matter where you are
No matter where I am
My heart will find its way to you
If your body is gone
Your ashes scattered to the wind
My heart will find its way to you
If your spirit roams free
Your soul dances with our ancestors
My heart will find its way to you
If I no longer recognize your face
Your ears no longer know my voice
My heart will find its way to you
No matter where you are
No matter where I am
My heart will find its way to you
Do Not Copy Without Permission

HoneySugaSweet Musings: “I’m Taking My -Ish!”


*This piece was inspired by Ntozake Shange’s “Somebody Walked Off…” from For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When Rainbows Were Enuf (pg. 49).  When I read the original piece after my break-up 7 months ago, I realized someone(s) had walked off with all of me.  The break-up was not unexpected.  The feeling that I wasn’t “me” anymore came as a big surprise. I gave away so much of myself not only to my ex but a few other ex-boyfriends.  But those former beaus didn’t take my stuff.  I willingly gave it away.  This poem is me willingly taking back my stuff !*

I’m taking back my shit

Yeah, that’s right

Call me Break-in Betty, Strong-Arm Sarah, Lockpickin’ Lucy

HELL! The name doesn’t matter

Because I’m taking back all my shit!

Not asking, begging, pleading

And damn fo’ sure not negotiating to get my stuff back

I’ve been confused and conflicted for WAY too long

Sobbing over my missing things

Lookin’ at my face on the milk carton wondering, “Who stole me? I wasn’t theirs to take!”

Today, I’m reclaiming and repossessing

Going to all the brothas that walked off with my stuff

And snatchin’ my shit BACK!

Grabbing me back

Gathering those fragmented pieces I recklessly left unguarded

Recreating the old me

Fashioning her into a new me that has always existed

I’m taking my pride, ego, flaws, time, back fat, big thighs, sunshine, laughter, ugly photo-taking face, tenderness, authenticity, prettiness, spirit, love…

MY EVERYTHING!

You! Mr. “I love you!” Mr. “You’re the one for me!”

I’m taking my shit, sir

The children you wanted me to mother

The wife you wanted me to be

The lover you never knew existed but knew existed for you

The lover you couldn’t inspire in me

The gift you couldn’t care for in the present

The facsimiles of my love you recklessly transposed on new thefts

I’m taking all that back!

Selfish bastards walking away with my shit

Hmph! I’m taking it back with vengeance

Passionately restoring the “me” I neglected to protect

Loving her the way I should’ve demanded

And when I get my shit back

Oh, because I’m going to get it back!

My fractured, fragile pieces aren’t going into a lock box

How selfish of me would that be?

Taking my stuff and hiding it away?

No! My recreated, redesigned, refashioned self will be on full global display

A touring exhibition of freedom, passion, and love

A collage of stolen and reclaimed moments called “Me.”

HoneySugaSweet Reminder: You’ve Got to LIVE!!


“Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.  You’ve got to Live! Live! Live!-Auntie Mame

The above is from the 1958 movie, Auntie Mame, starring Rosalind Russell.  The movie is about an eccentric woman, with an unquenchable thirst to LIVE, who suddenly finds herself caring for her deceased brother’s son.  Auntie Mame’s life is one adventure after another and most don’t believe it’s the best way for her young nephew to live.  But by the time he is a young man with a fiance it is clear how all of Auntie Mame mad-cap experiences shaped him into a well-rounded, well-ground person.  But for that to happen, Auntie Mame encouraged her nephew to LIVE!!!!!

This weekend, my 23-year old cousin was diagnosed with lymphoma. My baby is only 23!  The family and I are naturally in shock.  Who would’ve expected a perfectly healthy young woman to suddenly be facing cancer.  She’s supposed face work, school, her boyfriend, parties, her crazy family, and all the things  young 20-somethings are dealing with.  None of us expected her to battle cancer. 

I cried a bit when Mom gave me the news.  But then I thought about my cousin and her spirit.  She is a “take no sh*t” FIERCE! FLY! & FABULOUS! woman.  Though her energy is mellow, she is clear and sure about her wants and needs.  She always speaks her mind.  And she follows her dreams.  When she left college to study make-up artistry in New York City I thought she’d lost damn her mind.  She trekked from Philly to NYC for a year to become a certified make-up artist and esthetician.  My cousin made up her mind and did exactly what she wanted.  How amazing?  Remembering all of this let me know she will be fine.  She is a determined soul.  This moment in her life is just that one little moment. 

My cousin’s diagnosis also reminded me that life is unpredictable.   Because of its tempermental nature, it is imperative that we, who have been blessed to take another breath and see another day, live it as happily as possible. Each day is another opportunity to dream. With the opportunity to dream is the opportunity to realize the dream.  Remember to LIVE! LIVE! LIVE!

HoneySugaSweet Musings: I’m Still Here!


Wow…it’s been quite some time since I’ve written a post!  Many things have happened PLUS I’ve been busy enjoying Summer 2010 :)  (I’m thoroughly glad the seasons will be changing soon.  I’ve never done hot weather well!) Let’s see, after 4 years in an extremely committed relationship, I am single.  My blogging hiatus has been a time for me to redefine and find “Jovette”.  I always had my own identity but I didn’t realize how interconnected my life had become with another.  The last 3 months I’ve focused on myself and rediscovering my loves, pet peeves, boundaries, and of course the Art of Dating! (More on the last item in a future post ;)

My blogging hiatus has also allowed me time to get out and about.  Let’s see-My travels this summer have included Blacksburg (Go Hokies!!), Philly (twice), Los Angeles (who knew it would be so cold in the summer?),New Orleans (God save the Gulf!), and lastly Atlanta (my new “music” city).  I have enjoyed all of the trips with Atlanta topping the list.  I attended the Soul Music Summit and fell in love with music all over again.  Though oddly enough I realize ATL may not be the place for me as so many have thought.  I’m an East coast girl through and through.  Give me the mid-Atlantic, BABY!!!  LOL!

I have to admit that I’ve turned into a writing slug. (YUCK!)  I’ve neglected my love and its time for us to get acquainted.  Look for new Triple “F” Threat post and the sordid details of my Summer 2010 Blind Date Challenge.  The stories will be colorful and hilarious and of course deliciously sweet!

All in all, this FIERCE! FLY! & FABULOUS! HoneySugaSweet chick is doing well.  As Jill Scott sings on her Beautifully Human album, “I’m still HERE!”

FIERCE! FLY! & FABULOUS! Post #8: Its Good to Play in the MUD!


This weekend I danced in the Mud Band during D.C. Carnival…OMG!!!!  I had so much fun!  I had been looking forward to this day since I missed out LAST YEAR!  Being part of DC Carnival and the parade was on my bucket list (Another thing checked off!) making Saturday a great day in accomplishing life goals.

As I mentioned in the last Triple “F” post, I’m going through a major life transition.  This phase is truly about reconnecting with myself and loving all that I am.  I’ve been in a dormant cycle and apparently 2010 is my year of awakening.  One of the biggest awakenings has been accepting my body even though I’m not physically where I want to be.  Carnival definitely opened my eyes! :) I can admit now that my weight gain is equal parts inactivity and “hiding out”.  The inactivity is easy to explain.  I went from an active lifestyle in college, walking all around the biggest campus better known as Virginia Tech, to sitting in front of a desk for 8 hours a day.  My metabolism pretty much came to a halt.  But gaining weight isn’t just the result of being sedentary.  It is also a reflection of being scared of me. 

I have been “stacked” from a very young age.  When I was 12 I looked like I was 16.  I can’t begin to count the number of men astonished at my age after trying to hit on me.  I look older and have an old soul.  Add  my curvy frame…Good Lawd!  The attention I got from middle school on was RIDICULOUS!  I’m thankful for my family.  They love they gave definitely prevented me from falling prey to compliments from boys and men.  But part of my defense mechanism has also been to hide my figure.  In middle school it was baggy clothes (Thank goodness for ’90s fashion!)  My mother was horrified I would never wear a dress except for special occasions.  She HATED how lost I looked in all of my clothing.  She wanted to see her beautiful daughter.  I wanted bury her daughter in fabric.  It was easier to deal with life draped in layers.  Being bigger than my peers and learning to navigate the attention my body garnered was difficult at times.  I became much more comfortable in college (Yeah, your girl was good for leggings and a fitted tee) but that awkward girl was always in the shadows.  She took over again after graduation when the pounds began to mount.  Next thing I knew, she didn’t just pull out the fabric.  The chick buried me in flesh!!! 

If it wasn’t for Facebook, there probably would be no current pictures of me anywhere.  For the last 8 years I have made a conscious effort to avoid the camera (until more recently).  Pictures document all the weight I’ve heaped on over the years.  Pictures chronicle how I have/had yet to accept my sensuality and sex appeal.  But what’s crazy, it still comes through.  Even though the extra pounds have distorted my shape, it hasn’t distorted my sexiness, beauty, and vibrancy.  The awkward girl tried to cover it up but she can’t hide the essence of me.  On this Triple “F” Journey, I’m learning that I shine no matter what I do.  I have two choices: 1) Keep attempting to dim my “light” and continue burning myself (Burning = Weight Gain) or 2) Dance in my light and enjoy the glow of my spirit. 

I choose #2 by being in the Mud Band.  Extra pounds and all, I put on leggings, a tank top, and a whole lotta mud!  OH!  I felt free and beautiful and sexy and desirable and uninhibited!  My body may not be where I want it to be but it is attractive to me and a lot of other people!  The looks and the compliments felt so good.  They were so needed to remind me I am FIERCE! FLY! & FABULOUS!  I just gave into the music, let my body find the rhythm and let me shine brightly!  The men were like moths to a flame!  LOL!  Maybe not quite moths to a flame but I was my “flame” was appreciated.  

I’m no longer “hiding out”.  Right now, I’m a size 18 Woman.  That is fact.  The great thing about my Triple “F” Journey is that I’m changing that fact into history.  It starts with accepting  now matter what number is on the clothes label or what jiggle I can’t stand, I am gorgeous!  Some will be attracted to the light.  Others will seek shade.  But my shine is heavenly beautiful.  I learned that from playing in the MUD!!!!! Continue reading

Fierce! Fly! & Fabulous! Post #7 The Words Will Come…


Its been a minute since I’ve posted anything about my Triple “F” Journey or any HoneySugaSweet Musings for that matter.  Many things have happened.  My life looks much different than I expected.  I’ve been taking time to get accustomed to my new “appearance”.  Many of my friends (Ms. Goldie especially!) have encouraged me to write.  God blessed with a flair for the creative so why not use it to tailor my new “life look” to fit my curves.  I hadn’t been hit by the desire or the words.  Finally those words came today.  I’m sure more words will come.  And in true Triple “F” manner, I will create something beautiful as the words continue to flow…

(Untitled)
By Jovette Gadson
*Do Not Copy Without Permission of Author*
 
 Where are you?
I’ve searched all over
And you still can’t be found
Not in a stranger’s smile
Not in my lover’s embrace
Not in my dreams
You’re lost
Everyone says stop searching
I refuse
I refuse such a foolish notion
You want to be found
I hear you
Your voice echoes through my soul
I feel you
Your fingertips stroke my ego
I smell you
Your scent lingers in my thoughts
I taste you
Your sweetness succulent like strawberries
I see you
Your image fading in memory
 
Where are you?
I’ve searched all over
And you still can’t be found
Not in a stranger’s eyes
Not in my former lover’s embrace
Not in my dreams
You’re lost
Everyone says you’re there
But
I am blind
I am blind to what is obvious
Obvious that you’re searching for me
Perhaps we have crossed paths
But when?
Perhaps we have stolen glances
But when?
Perhaps we have shared a laugh
But when?
When will you appear
Stand by my side
Be my soft place to land
Bring yourself to myself
So we can become ourselves
 
 Where are you?
I’ve searched all over
And you still can’t be found
Not in a stranger
Not in a lover
Not in my dreams
You’re lost
Everyone claims you’re near
I am waiting…