Menthol & Cigarettes

“Why would you stop there?!”

This is what the bus driver yelled at someone that stopped in a place where he couldn’t complete the turn he was making. Later on, he swore at someone else for doing something stupid.

Yep, it was that kind of day. I couldn’t fault the guy, though; I’ve gotten hot-headed on the road.

He ended up swearing later on at someone else that stopped in the most inconvenient of places. A young woman across from me look toward the front of the bus, and started laughing with her hand over her mouth. I laughed too, even though I was in a foul disposition.

Once again, I was up too early on my way to work, dozing until I got to my stop at the airport. At some point, someone brought on a floral and cigarette smell, but what was forever lingering in the air was that menthol scent that comes from cough drops, or the Vicks vapor rub that your mom slapped on your chest as a kid.

Maybe it was the Lord’s way of helping me breathe, because I was feeling stifled. As much as I enjoy my job, things just weren’t going the way I wanted, and I’m still not getting paid as much as I’d prefer. What I needed to do was stop being frustrated, just breathe, and allow things to get better. It may not happen when I want it to, but they’ll get better. The answer may not even be what I think it should be, but I’ll never hear it if my mind is moving too fast.

I got off the bus that day, leaving the smell of menthol & cigarettes on there. Later on that day, which felt impossibly long because of fatigue, I laid on the floor and breathed. I remember doing this when I had voice classes in NYC, and it’s the most relaxing thing a stressed out girl can do. In fact, I laid on that floor for about a good 20 minutes simply breathing and listening to singing bowls.

I can’t tell you how many days temptation nearly led me to lay on the floor publicly just to do this, but I haven’t yielded yet. It seems counter-intuitive, but it calms and centers you when your mind moves too fast. Remember the Vicks vapor rub when you feel like you’re being choked and just… breathe.

Bravery is Blue Lips

“You are one of the most courageous people I know.”

This is something that a man once said to me. It was a very high compliment because half of the time, I don’t think I’m being brave. I’m possibly more adventurous than most, and maybe that’s something that people like about me.

Let me tell you, though: nothing will test your mettle like wearing a bold lipstick colour in public.

Now, I’ve worn dark or bold lip colours publicly without thinking twice, and all with good results; however, they were all fairly normal dark colours, like dark browns and purples. I haven’t worn black yet, but that will be soon to come, I’m sure. Nothing, however, tested my nerve like wearing blue lipstick.

The first time I tried it on, I wasn’t sure if I liked it. I’ve never seen that kind of colour on me. I didn’t dislike it, though, so I tried it again in the comfort of my bathroom. Not even my family had seen me wearing it, and I live with them.

Then I decided that today would be the day. I didn’t have to work (because there is no way that I would wear this to work. It defies the conservative dress code), and I was feeling more comfortable seeing myself with this colour. I even liked it. So I shoved the lip colour in my purse, and walked out of the house. I applied it in the car and drove to the Starbucks, even though I could easily walk there. I just wasn’t ready for anyone I knew to see me rock such a bold shade… but for those that know me well, it probably wouldn’t surprise anybody.

As soon as I walked into the Starbucks, the women behind the counter were in awe. “I LOVE YOUR LIPSTICK!!” That reaction was the encouragement that I needed to keep rocking it. In fact, I wore it the entire day to a couple of different stores, and to Painting With A Twist, where I made a very cool picture! The artist that was hosting said she loved my lip colour so that everyone could hear it. There’s even a colour in the painting that matched my lipstick!

I said all of this to say that I relearned something today:

As long as you’re doing something that isn’t harming yourself or anyone else, do it. The fear of what people might think should never hold you back. Who knows if they may draw strength from your tenacity? I’ve gotta say that an unusual lip shade isn’t for the faint of heart because it does draw attention; however, it won’t all be negative. It also gave me a renewed nerve and confidence in myself and how cool I really am. I needn’t be fearful of anything or of how people will perceive me. I learned today that the right people will love the real you when you’re brave enough to show her (or him) to the world.

I bought a coffee mug today that I’d like to end this post with because I feel as though it encapsulates this entry very well: “Be yourself because an original is worth more than a copy.”

I’m so glad I discovered the part of me that likes blue lipstick. She feels more like me than any bold colour I’ve ever worn on my lips.


Diner Run

Nothing beats a good ol’ diner run late at night.

When the munchies hit you around the time that everything closes and there isn’t much food in the house, or if you need to clear your head, a run to a 24-hour diner is always what the doctor ordered. These can be fun to do with friends, but can also be just as enjoyable alone. My favourite places to hit up for such a run are Tom Jones and Denny’s.

One night about 3 night ago, it was the end of a work day. I was tired and hadn’t eaten anything. The only thing close by my layover spot was Denny’s. I decided to eat in tonight, and was given a table near the door in a corner. The solitude was appreciated since it was a long day and I was getting sleepy, but wanted something to eat so I didn’t wake up late because of hunger.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one with the same idea. There were 3 or 4 people settled in the far corner of the restaurant. Then, in trickled a part of about 4 or 5 people, the youngest of them appeared to be middle aged. The staff greeted them warmly. “Hey mama! I haven’t seen you in a while! How are you?” These people that were strangers to me had to be regulars to be greeted like this.

Shortly after them came a party of 10 people, THEN a pair of people eating out, and about 4 younger gentlemen thereafter! Who knew that so many people would be hitting up Denny’s on a Tuesday at 10:45pm? I quickly regretted not ordering out, but I was ready to go shortly thereafter. No one was disorderly, but it was more crowded than I had anticipated.

Maybe they were looking for the same solace and a bite to eat that I search for when I drive out to the diner late at night. My fondest memories were of going to a Denny’s near me for breakfast. I was acting in a play at the time, and would always be hungry afterward. I was also looking to be alone for a bit. I always seemed to find my way to this Denny’s since the other late night diner only takes cash. Sometimes, a girl just doesn’t have enough money to remove anything from her bank account.

The staff got to know me very well, and the pancakes served at night always seemed to be bigger. I enjoyed a good cup o’ joe along with a stack of 3 buttermilk pancakes, hash browns, a biscuit and bacon. I don’t always order the same thing at restaurants, but breakfast was my mainstay at Denny’s, and I liked ordering it the same way. It was most disappointing when that Denny’s was closed down and replaced with another diner. The food was not as good; I ended up having the rare occasion on which I sent something back. I hadn’t returned since.

Now if I want to go to Denny’s, I go to one a bit further out than the old one, which is what I did Wednesday night. Instead of ordering breakfast (which I was wont to do), this time, I had nachos.


They were delicious, considering they were ordered from a diner! It was a different location (one closer to home, unlike the night previous), but it was just as busy! That familiar solitude and peace that I receive from a Denny’s, however, was still there.

Late night diner runs are good for the soul, and those college student memories and cravings. Besides, who doesn’t want breakfast for dinner?


New Ramen, New Life

So this entry will combine a life update and an entry where this SBF, once again, sought out Asian food. The best part about this meal was that I got to enjoy it with the aforementioned friend whom is the reason I am an SBF seeking Asian food.

This week was quite the week. I did a lot of things that were new to me, and that completely changed my mind about the way I was viewing life and, consequently, moving through it.

I spent some time with a young man on a layover this time last week. What’s significant about this is that he was someone I trusted easily and quickly, even though I didn’t know him. Leave it to me to find a decent young man online (I don’t think I would have the same luck if I tried this again). Considering how steamy things got, what was wonderful about it was how much fun I had with him. This completely countered the fear I had of being with the opposite sex for years due to past abuse. He was considerate and kind, and most importantly, I felt safe with him. It renewed my faith in the existence of good men, and revived the long lost hope that I, too, may find one someday that I like just as much as he likes me.

I also went on birth control.

I can see y’all being like “What?!” No, I didn’t do it with any intention of getting fresh. I did it for my overall health. I finally visited a female doctor now that I have health insurance. (Yep, it was the first time. No, it wasn’t that pleasant. But I’m glad I went.) She recommended a type of birth control that will only give me a period every 3 months. I may still have bad cramps, but at least I won’t have bad cramps every month. It sounded like a decent option to me. Taking this also means that I’ll have to be more serious about my health since it increases the risk of stroke and blood clots.

Omitting butter from my life completely is non-negotiable, but maybe we can scale it back just a bit.

AND… (can you stand it?) I changed my hair!!!

Now, there was no way I was going to get a relaxer again, but I went to a hair salon for the first time in years! After I stopped using chemicals in my hair, I had a couple of bad experiences. I was scared to visit a salon after that, and the hair horror stories on YouTube didn’t help. However, I knew my hair was in need of some professional help. So I asked for recommendations from women on a Facebook group I’m in. They have natural hair and lived within reasonable driving distance. Lo and behold, a salon was recommended. I went for the consultation to feel the place out. I liked it and felt comfortable enough to book an appointment for the following week. I was not punking out now.

This was the end result.


It just so happened that ALL of these events happened in this one week, starting with last Sunday. A new Rachel has been birthed through all of this. I’ve always been the adventurous sort, but now I’m adventurous and feel free in all areas of my life. I feel free to love, and free to take care of myself in the way that I see best. It has produced a calmness in my spirit and soul that I haven’t experienced in a very long time. I feel unshakeable now and secure in myself and with the world around me.

In short, I feel the healthiest mentally that I have ever felt. Now I can really be me.

In this very same week, I went with an old friend to experience something new. I’ve had ramen before, but not at this place. I had the spicy ramen, and it was a bowl of happiness. Although I don’t enjoy eating pork normally (unless it’s bacon), I enjoyed the slices that were part of this ramen, AND ate the fat!


If you’re ever in Philly, I recommend this place. This ramen fed more than my stomach; it went straight to this foodie’s heart and soul. It ushered in all of the warmness of the cold seasons that are now upon us. Fall, and even winter, are the times of year that I relish. This ramen was the beginning of good times and better things to come.

Now let me sip this tea before it gets cold…


If we were having coffee

As I drink this spiced cider, I’m glad to have you to talk to. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but there were cool things that happened too.

My emotions were on a roller coaster the past week or so because in addition to feenin, I received some pretty rough news. It affected my family and the home situation. We were told we would have to leave our home.

If you’ve ever been in that situation, now I know how that feels. I especially had a rough time because I’ve been in this house since I was 5 or 6. On Thursday, I was so in my feelings that I laid in bed, unable to get it together. It felt like I was the only one that cared about us moving so suddenly. I didn’t realize I cared so much about that house until I realized I was being forced out of it. It’s not that I never want to move out one day and be on my own, but I wanted to choose to leave when I felt ready.

Mom got me to go out to the mall with her.

This was one of those cool moments I mentioned earlier. My mom is the greatest; when you put us together, it creates an interesting dynamic that spills over onto other people. You should see what it’s like when ALL of us (mom, sister, nephew and I) are all together. People can’t stop laughing!

We walked into a higher end store, and started talking to one of the saleswomen. She showed us leather passport cases. This led to an in-depth conversation about the current political race and climate, which led to a discussion about history. What I loved most about this is that we were 3 women having an intelligent conversation, which steamrolls over the backwards thinking of those misogynist types. Yes, we discuss more than shopping, clothes, boys and kids (if we have them). Hate to break it to you boys, but I can have a conversation that airs my well-formed opinions AND do my shopping! Can YOU handle that kind of multitasking?

It’s amazing how things can change in just one day. In this same day, we went from not knowing where we’d live to receiving a call that will allow mom to reinstate her mortgage. If I didn’t know that the Lord was good, I sure do now!

Now my love life… I don’t feel as confident about that, but at least I know I’ll have a roof over my head, and a home to come back to. I hope your weekend has been wonderful, filled with brunches and shopping. And, hopefully, a stimulating conversation with a retail worker. They’re people too… sometimes highly intelligent people.


Addictive Thai BBQ & Good Company

In this segment of “SBF Seeks Asian Food”, I traveled no further than my hometown and hit up La Na Thai French Cuisine. Today was a special lunch. I had the privilege of catching up with a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while. Said friend was actually the same friend that introduced me to La Na. She is also most of the reason I’m an SBF seeking Asian food.

At restaurants, I’m not one to have a usual. I do have favourites, I’m not wont to getting the same thing. La Na is no exception, though there are two entrées that I like to change between. Today has changed that.

Today mixed old and new; I rekindled a friendship with an old friend, and tried something new to eat, which was highly recommended by the waitress. I ordered jasmine soup, and went with a thai bbq chicken that came with sticky rice and a small salad. The chicken was a thigh that had a barbecue style sauce on it.


It wasn’t a thick smoky sauce like American bbq, but it was sweet and had a very slight kick to it, and maybe a little smokiness. Rice wine or rice wine vinegar was what I smelled and tasted. The flavors that had play in my mouth brought me to one conclusion: I want more. I must have more. Next time I go back, I’m going to break my own rule: I’m having the same thing twice in a row. And maybe a third time. In that first taste and moment, I understand why the waitress kept telling me how good it was.

Afterwards, K and I walked to Starbucks, then back to our cars because she had some work to get done before the school year starts. She loves her current job and I’m happy for her. She also lives back in the area now, so we can see each other more. This is great as I don’t have many friends that I get to see as often as I’d like. My job isn’t kind as far as keeping relationships going, but it’s nice to rekindle one even in the midst of it all.

I’m also grateful to have a new love. Honestly, I had given up on chicken and was considering relinquishing it from my diet. This has rekindled my love and hope for chicken. As I eat quesadillas for dinner tonight, I’ll be dreaming of the next time I can have that thai bbq again.



And A Deer Stood In The Road

…as I returned from my beach trip to Wildwood, NJ Monday evening. Even though it was only a day trip, to say that it was needed would be an understatement.

As much as I love my job, I was spinning my wheels. I wanted to save money to move out and also take trips here and there; however, my bank account and bills scoffed at the very idea. I honestly didn’t think I would make it to a beach this year, which is a travesty for a seasonal beach bum. When I first bought my car in January, I told myself that I would keep my boogie board in the trunk when the beach season started. I kept that word, but as the weeks went by, it sat unused in my trunk. In fact, it became an annoyance because it got in the way when putting in luggage.

Then I hit rock bottom. I was moody and sad, and I knew it was because I was stressed from constantly working when my heart and daydreams stayed at a beach. The reveries were so real that I could hear the waves and feel the wind, and smell the salty sea water.

It was then that I took what little money I had in my savings account, and hit up the beach on a Monday. I don’t understand why people hate Mondays; it’s always a good day for me. This Monday was no different. Finally, the boogie board was going to leave the trunk and be used in the Jersey shore surf. (I cried tears of joy. No, I’m not kidding.)

The reason I wanted to go to Wildwood specifically was because of Curley’s. A friend of mine has a shore condo in Wildwood, and I stayed with her last year. She introduced me to Curley’s. I already have a french fry problem, and this Jersey jewel further rationalizes said problem. They are thick-cut perfection: everything a girl could ask for in a french fry. I pined for them all fall, winter, and spring. Sam’s Pizza Palace right across from Curley’s was also in my thoughts as I waited for the beach season to roll around.

Needless to say, after a 2 hour drive, I finally got the fix I’ve been jonesing for all year long.


After enjoying good food, I frolicked in the waves, which were great for boogie boarding. I didn’t hoop this time around, which I habitually do at the beach, but there’s always next week. Yes, I’m going back next week, but with my family this time. I will get them hooked on Curley’s also, thus helping them understand why I needed to drive 2 hours for fries.

As I turned onto the road that allows me to turn onto my street, there sat 2 cars, waiting on an indecisive deer that stood in the road.

She was a beautiful doe that stood around 4 or 5 ft tall, her hide was a brownish tan, and her ears stood straight up. The stopped car in front of me honked at her to encourage a quicker response time. Sure enough, she ran across the street, scampering out of sight into a yard with a goal post.

Maybe she’ll play a little soccer in the cool of the day.