Friday, September 21, 2012

Life's About Risk . . . Right?!

There are things in life that may make us feel . . .

. . . scared, hopeless, or even left wondering -- "What the heck am I doing?"

Sometimes we may feel like all of the effort, money, and time we're putting into a project or passion is going no where. 

You clock in, you clock out, you stay out of trouble and pay the bills.

Doesn't that mean you're entitled to your piece of the wealthy pie? Doesn't that mean we'll eventually get recognition and praise from everyone who comes across us? Don't we all get a shot like everyone else in the Universe who has made it and achieved success?

Honestly, I go back and forth on my answer to these questions. As many of you know I have been working on a book for years now -- How to Get Real About Dating -- that I genuinely feel is going to be a best seller one day.

Does it feel good that I have spent thousands of dollars on marketing, coaching, and more? Does it feel good that I still work a 9-5 job and often feel exhausted as I work on my book? I just spent over $1,000 on media coaching in the past month and we won't even go into styling, make-up, clothes, and more for interviews.

Have I made a profit yet?  N-O.

Let's delve deeper. How does all of this make me feel? Going after the American dream in which I give my all, work hard, stay out of trouble, invest in my future (risk) and hope that it will pay off in the form of wealth and happiness down the road?


No lie, I'm scared out of my mind. I don't know what's going to happen in the next three months, three years, or three decades. Who knows if anything will happen with my passion project . . . I may still be working my current 9-5 in a few years (goodness, I hope not). Overall, the risk of losing everything and gaining nothing is simply frightful. 


If you're not taking a risk in life and going for you're dream(s), then what the heck are you living for? Sure, I could sleep a little easier at night and not feel so stressed about the unknown if i didn't pursue writing a book with my dad, but what's the flip side? I have more money in my bank account and live a boring, safe life? I think I have to go with taking the risk. It makes life more exciting.

I was watching this show on Food Network about contestants trying to win this food truck race. One of  teams consisted on three women -- a daughter, her mom, and their friend. The daughter was talking about how her mom seemed so happy now that she quit her job of many years to run the food truck with her. "I've haven't seen her this happy in years," she exclaimed to the camera with a bright smile. 

This was a sign to me, that I'm doing the right thing . . . and, so are you. Sure, you may feel scared like I do at times. But, look what you're avoiding -- that mother on the food truck spent years miserable because she wasn't LIVING. And when she started to live and took a RISK, that's when she was able to truly be happy.

So, whenever you're down and out and feel like you're never going to get a shot or will always be broke because of the sacrifices you're making for your passion, take a moment to tell yourself:

"I'm living."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chronicles of A Person: What Men Like...

I stand as I work hard to polish one of the many glasses in front of me for this evening's dinner service. 10 down, 50 to go. My mind starts to wander and lands on thoughts of love: what is important to guys? What makes them settle down with a woman?

I spot one of my co-workers who is always down to have a love talk. Plus, he's perfect for this question: handsome, middle-aged, bachelor, and very popular with the ladies. We'll call him Henry. 

I put down the glass and focus on the real matter at hand.

Me: Yo, Henry, got a question for ya.
He immediately puts down the plate in his hand; I knew he'd be interested.
Henry: What's good?
Why do guys talk like that?
Me: Be real with me. What do guys need in a woman to be in a relationship, or date?
Henry: Loyalty, to name one.
Me: What about, like, her taking you out and making you feel special?
Henry: Naw, we don't really care about that. I don't mind paying for my girl's stuff or when we go out as long as she's loyal to me and only me.
Me: That's so interesting. For me, I like to feel special by the woman I'm dating.
Henry: I think it's different for women, though. For guys, when a woman is loyal that makes us feel special. We also need support and to know that she's going to hold things down.
Me: Hold things down how?
Henry: If we have kids and a home and I'm taking care of everything, then she would need to make sure the home is on point. And take care of the kids as well. She wouldn't have to do everything, just help in that way. I wouldn't have any issue with paying for everything if she held things down.
Me: Wow.
Henry: Lauren, it's tough to find a girl who will be loyal, committed, and supportive to you and only you. That's why it takes me so long to settle down. Men don't give up their lifestyle for a woman unless she's coming with a lot on her end.
Me: Okay, so if she's broke and doesn't want to work but has all of those are cool with that?
Henry: Absolutely. I don't mind paying if she's contributing in other ways.
I absent-mindedly grab the glass again as I absorb everything he just said. Men are definitely different than women...right?
Me: What if you're broke and can't provide that lifestyle for her?
Henry: Then I wouldn't go out with her until I got my life together. Women want a stable man.
Me: Isn't that superficial if she wouldn't date you for that reason?
Henry: Absolutely not, and I get it. Just like now, I'm a server but women who have their sh*t together still date me because I have other goals outside of my 9-5. Plus, I get paid well. Most older women wouldn't date a guy who serves tables.
Me: I disagree with that. Women date me.
Henry: It's different for women who serve tables. Plus, you're young.
Another one of my co-workers walks by and picks up on our conversation. We'll call him James.
James: He's right. I never tell women I wait tables. They want to feel like the guy can provide for them. And, a big one is feeling like she can take me home to her parents. Women don't want to take a guy home who is a server.
Henry: So true.
Me: It sounds cold-blooded to me.
Henry: It isn't at all. But for women it's different. Guys don't care if a woman is a waitress. We like the idea of being able to take her out of that job and provide better for her.
James: I just met a woman last night and I could tell she came from money and was highly educated. She also told me she has a great job in the corporate field. I waited a while to tell her that I am a server.
Me: You make it sound like what you do is a bad thing.
James: To women like that, it is!
Henry: But, women like that WOULD date a server IF they felt like the guy has potential. Like, the women who meet me always say that about me. Plus, I have other goals. It just depends on how much the woman is willing to invest in you.
James: Yeah, if she thinks you're a loser with no future, she won't look twice at a guy.
Henry: There may be exceptions, but not many. Do you really think a woman who works at a Fortune 500 company would be down to date a guy who is a server or bus driver, even if they are the same age?
James: No way, man.
Me: I truly feel like it depends on the woman. If there is a strong connection, then yes! Damn, am I the only romantic out there left in the world?
James: It's the truth. Women don't want to date a loser.
Me: James, just because you're a server doesn't mean you are a loser.
Henry: Lauren, we're not saying we're losers. We're just saying to women we don't have a future lined up...we aren't stable and, therefore, aren't as appealing as a guy who is a lawyer or doctor. And I get that. Do you think it's attractive if a woman works as a server?
Me: I think it would depend on if she is doing something else with her life. If that's all she had planned, then, no, I wouldn't like that. But that's because I need a passionate doesn't matter what she does for a living.
Damn, this glass is taking forever to polish.
Henry: Exactly. And even if she had other goals, you'd eventually get sick of it.
James: Yeah, after paying for most of the bills and events you guys attend, after a few years you'd get over it.
Me: Hmmm. But, that's not with just serving tables. That would be with any job that the woman has if it isn't her passion. If her passion was waiting tables then I would support it.
Henry: What if you wanted to have kids? How would she support kids and a home?
Me: We'd have to figure that out between the two of us. But, for me, the main thing is that she's passionate about something. I don't care what the woman does -- just be passionate!
James: Well, men do care. And, so do women. That's why I have to get my life together.
Me: James, you're like 28 years old.
James: If I want this woman to take me serious, I need to step up my game. I'm going to go buy some suits tomorrow. I have to go check my tables.
With that, he's gone. I turn to Henry who is looking down at the plate.
Me: What's wrong, dude? What's good?
Look at me, sounding like one of the guys.
Henry: I'm cool. It sucks but women naturally want to feel provided for and what I do doesn't do that.
Me: Henry, don't you realize that the right woman for you won't care about what you do for a living? She will be everything that you just said -- loyal, supportive, and committed. You have to get it out of your head that this matters so much. You are going to be a huge actor one day. Believe it.
Henry: I just turned 42 years old. Come on. Anyway, you wanted to know what men like, so there ya go.
Me: Hold up. Sure, I'm a gay woman, but it doesn't matter. If I met a woman with as much drive, talent, and intelligence as you have I would stick by her no matter what she did for a living.
Henry: Cool.
'Cool' -- a guy's way of saying, "thank you". I'll take it!
Me: You're welcome.
I say this to myself as he walks away. My glass is suddenly starting to look very shiny. Only 49 more to go.

According to Henry and most of the men I talk to, they value loyalty, commitment, and support from the woman they are dating. And in return, they wouldn't mind paying for everything if she provides these qualities. But, wouldn't a supportive woman be understanding of Henry's job? Wouldn't she NOT care about what he does for a living, as long as he has a job and feels happy?

I truly don't believe these things are a matter of being a certain gender or sexual orientation. These are stereotypes and social pressures that are still prevalent, to the point that they create insecurities so deep that peeps like Henry/James feel unworthy despite how amazing they are. If a woman or man judges you for what you do for a living, then it's their loss and it is also THEIR ISSUE.

"Lauren, what if it's my preference to date someone with a certain type of job? Does this make me a bad person for wanting this from my lover?"

If that's your preference and desire, then okay. Just as people shouldn't judge others, you shouldn't be judged for your ideals in a love match. I would just consider hearing that person out and seeing if they have an ultimate plan. What if that person is in school studying to be a doctor and will be within a few years?

Are you willing to wait?

If someone judges you for what you do, what do you think he or she will do when tough times come? What if you currently work as a doctor and lose your job? What if you suddenly have no money? You think that person will stick around through thick and thin? I may not feel absolutely elated by the idea of what I do for a living, but I know that I have a lot to offer. So, when a woman judges me for my 9-5, I just think: "Her loss!"

So, really look at what you're looking for in a love match. And also look at YOU. Steve Harvey often talks about how he met his now wife years ago when he was broke and doing stand-up. For him, he needed to feel stable and like he could provide for his woman. He wanted to get his life together for himself. I get that. So, if you feel like you aren't secure and want to be, then hold off on seriously dating because if you bring that feeling into a dating experience it probably won't work out.

Stay positive and stay real, peeps.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chronicles of A 20-something...Life and 401Ks.

Today I watched the Suze Orman Show and felt super bad about myself.

I'm someone who doesn't have any debt. I'm in my mid-20s AND I have a little bit saved just in case of a rainy day (just like my parents told me).

So, when a 24-year-old woman called in to ask if she should purchase a purse that cost $1,500 I screamed, "No way. She can't afford it!"

And then Suze analyzed her current monetary situation, learning the following: she has NO debt, over $30K in savings, $25K in retirement, and $15K in some other account. Yeah, Suze approved her!

Okay, I'm officially a loser.

That's what I thought after listening to this young lady who is so ahead of the game in her life. Oh, and did I mention that her rent is only $600 a month?!

It makes me wonder if I am on the right path? Am I taking a huge risk by investing a lot of my savings in my passion--writing--and hoping that something comes of it? Well, yes, I am taking a risk. Will anything ever come of it or will I end up broke and alone with nothing to show for it?

Okay, I know, I'm being dramatic. But, I think it's a concern that MANY people have in life. WILL I SUCCEED? Will all of my hard work pay off so that I can sip on a margarita in Hawaii for the last twenty years of my life?

Here's what I think it comes down to -- what matters to YOU. If you are happy sharing a studio apartment with your smelly friend so that you can afford to live in Los Angeles, do it. If you are like that young lady on Suze's show who needs a nice cushion and a security blanket, I feel ya!

AND, if you're like'd rather risk it all so that you can at least say you tried -- adjust that a little bit. 

Even Oprah has a 401K.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Book--How to Get Real About Dating.

As many of you know, I wrote a book with my father about dating, entitled --

How to Get Real About Dating: A Father and Daughter's Guide to Finding Love at Any Age.

You can view our website here, as well as buy it on Amazon or by emailing me at,

On Thursday, June 28th, we will be featured on a popular radio show hosted by the "Oprah of Radio" at 3:30pm PST. We will be discussing the book and giving tips on dating and love. You don't want to miss it!

For more information and details on the radio show and host (Cynthia Brian), go here.

This year we will also be at the LABBX--Los Angeles Black Book Expo--which we are VERY excited about!

Tune in and also sign up to be on our newsletter by going to our website,

Stay cool, peeps.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Love and Strippers and Laundry.

I dated a stripper and loved her for a handful of months. Seven or so according to my memory. You might think it was a foolish idea and, looking back, I would have to agree. But if you had seen the way she moved on stage--those big, brown eyes of hers as she looked at you during a lap dance--you'd understand.

Right away, give or take sixty seconds, I knew it wouldn't work out. We were both unemployed, unmotivated, and by no means truly in love with each other. I'm sure she knew it, too. But our loneliness and determination to be unproductive tied us together, thus giving a false impression of liking the other person.

I remember, after we broke up the first time, calling her one afternoon. We ended up seeing each other that night--her, me, and our loneliness sat in a bar eating stale peanuts. Her eyes got me again. We touched each other. It was nice, but I felt empty . . . like before.

In the car later that evening, I remember crying (I did a lot of that with her) and saying, "All I wanted was to be happy with you . . . to wake up and drink coffee, write, and do the laundry without a doubt in my mind that you wanted that, too."

I had no idea what I was talking about.

There's no way we could have been happy together, but I said those words and believed them at the time. The many lessons from that relationship often hit me at the strangest moments--this one being in the employee lounge where I work.

Lesson #8,001: Learn how to do the laundry.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sweat Me A Compliment.

Today I went to the gym. I try to go at least 3-5 times a week.

I'm averaging two . . . and that's a good week.

When I actually make it there, I feel energized and ready to take on the world. The drips of sweat as I climb on the stepper or run on the treadmill give me motivation and allow me to see how hard I am working.

To get stronger

To feel sexy

And frankly, to not get fat. Again.

"Damn baby, you don't need to be in here. You already pretty as f*ck" said an attractive guy as I entered the gym. He winked at me and I sort of liked it.

Actually, I really liked it.

These are the kind of moments that inspire me to grow . . . to keep running and sweating and dripping. And his words remained in my head as I climbed the stairs to go lift weights. To be real, they stayed with me the entire time I was there.

It always amazes me how far a few kind words can go. A simple compliment, like the one I heard today, can lift a bad mood or give someone hope during a hopeless time. We all have the power to change lives, to change worlds. Sometimes all it takes is a split second.

I'll be at the gym tomorrow.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 = No More Bullsh*t.

I want you to hear me when I say . . .

Love doesn't hurt.

It should be joyful. Cool. Mellow. Nice. Sweet. Comforting. Kind. Full of butterflies and smiles.

There should be NO bullsh*t. No, I didn't say there should be little bullsh*t. I said there should be NO bullsh*t.

Why is it that so many of us have become accustomed to feeling negative feelings when it comes to dating, love, and relationships?

She doesn't call a lot but at least she texts me every now and then.

Yeah, he lied a few times but he always apologizes.

So what if she's still getting out of a relationship. She's over him.

No, no, and hell no.

We should not be settling. We should not be changing our needs and expectations out of loneliness or a feeling of I can't do any better.

We CAN do so much better. But, better isn't always that easy. Better may take a minute to come your way. What does better entail (at times)?

Being alone more often than you'd like

Nights in bed by yourself


Or, better can look like this:

Spending more time with friends and family

Working on your craft

Starting up a new hobby and rockin' da sh*t out of it

It's all a matter of what you're looking for in your life at this moment. Some of you may be willing to wait until that special somebody comes along. Or, perhaps you're the type of person who needs a body by your side . . . someone who is simply there, regardless of the fact they he or she may not love you. Sometimes it's easier to be with someone who doesn't treat you the way you deserve to be treated. I've been there. I was there recently and it took me a while to figure out:

Love doesn't hurt

Love isn't being nice one second and then calling you an asshole the next. Love isn't flaking out on plans you made a month ago. Love isn't missing your birthday. Love isn't cheating on you. Love isn't being passive aggressive. Love isn't being hot and cold. Love doesn't involve manipulation or abuse of any kind. Love isn't, "I'm in a relationship but unhappy. Wanna go out?" Love doesn't allow you to stay up late at night wondering when he or she will come home. Love isn't feeling like you're constantly on eggshells.

Love is sexy. Love is kind. Love is cool. And even when love doesn't feel so cool it's still cool because y'all know how to keep it cool.

Love is disagreeing while still respecting the other person. Love never allows name calling. Ever.

Question: was there a memo that was sent out to the world that said we should deal with bullsh*t? That we should be okay with getting hurt and feeling this way on a regular basis? Did Obama pass a bill that makes everyone not wait for the person of their dreams--who treats him or her like Gold? I can't help but wonder if that went down because, it seems, that many of the people I know (myself included) haven't experienced anything but a lot of hurting. And not just hurting once or twice during a two year relationship. But hurting over and over and over and over and over again within the first few months of dating.

We are getting too used to FEELING hurt. So much so that it's become normal. And now it feels abnormal when someone makes us feel LOVED.

When I meet a woman who makes me feel nothing but joy. Who is consistently loving, straight forward, plays no games, and--wait, that hasn't happened yet. I haven't met her . . . yet.

So what have I been doing because she hasn't come my way? I've been allowing myself to hurt and feel pain because I thought it was love. I was settling. I was allowing myself to put up with bullsh*t. I wasn't being kind to ME.

The good thing is, it's a new day. It's a new year. It's a new moment and a new second. Every experience is an opportunity for growth. All of the failures and mistakes that I've made, we've all made, have been worth it because they brought us to this moment.

And now, when I see her or anyone else who used to inspire hurt within me, I am now able to walk away because I know one thing:

I ain't putting up with no bullsh*t