Grow TF Up: Refusing To See Your Own Sh*t

I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me an uncomfortable truth about myself: basically, I’m an unreasonable bitch. Anytime someone does something to hurt me, whether intentional or not, I feel justified reacting as harshly as I can and will NOT hear anything about it. Why? Because they did ME wrong. So I can respond however I see fit, right? And if anybody tells me I’m wrong, I shut down on them. I pride myself in being extremely self-aware, so of course I knew she was telling no lies. However, before I could defensively inform her that this wasn’t news, she followed up with “You’ll say you know, but you never actually do better.”

After the initial dose of truth, my friend simply suggested that I grow up and handle conflict with some emotional maturity. I, of course, did not appreciate this and responded with a half-assed silent treatment (because she offered me food soon after) that lasted the rest of the night. But as soon as she told me this, I couldn’t pretend it wasn’t true. Every single word of it. I hated hearing it and I wanted to hate her for saying it. How dare she have the nerve to read me to ME? It hurt because I know I’m not perfect, but I spend ample time trying to hide that truth from other people. Obviously, my slip slipped.

So of course, I had to do some self-assessing. I did the following checklist to measure just how ridiculous I am:

Am I sometimes overly sensitive to the actions of others?


Do I punish people for not responding to my feelings the way I want them to?


Do I always communicate these feelings to others?


Do I always take the time to understand the perspectives of others?


Am I sometimes selfish?


Do I honestly expect people to accept the worst of me?


Am I willing to be better?

No, I’m perfect

Do I want to be alone because I’m too stubborn to be better?

That’s fine!

Is it really?


Do I really value my relationships with the people in my life?


Do I trust my loved ones to forgive my shortcomings?

Not sure.

I did not enjoy hearing the truth, but I hated the thought of losing my friend even more.  She wasn’t the first person to point out where I lack in relationships. Other people and situations have shown me my flaws many times, but I didn’t take the lessons because I couldn’t see past my own ego. I took any form of criticism as an attack or “hating”.  My constant conflict was everybody’s fault but mine. But if I keep finding myself in the same situations having the same feelings with people telling me the same things, I must have some work to do.

Even as a kid, my mother would tell me I had an attitude problem that would cause me issues as I got older. I told myself she just didn’t like me and was hating. When I got older and started losing friends because of it, I told myself they just weren’t good friends. When it caused me problems in my romantic relationships, I told myself the person for me wouldn’t offend me in the first place. As time went by, I didn’t even notice that I wasn’t as good of a friend/family member/partner as I thought, but people wouldn’t tell me to my face because they knew how I’d respond. Lord, I became the girl you can’t say nothing to! I feel ashamed of that because the people around me deserve a better me and I deserve to be in healthy relationships. However, my relationships can’t be healthy if I refuse to quit my own unhealthy behavior.

To me, hearing that I was wrong meant my feelings weren’t valid. I had to learn that my hurt feelings did not justify my hurtful actions.  I am learning that there are alternatives. Instead of lashing out at or dismissing people, I can simply say “You hurt me, and I didn’t like that.” I absolutely owe my gratitude and an open apology to every friend, partner, and family member who has tolerated my disrespect and childish behavior because they loved me. I am forever grateful for those who stayed in my life because they see my heart and believe that I can be better.

No more bullshit justifications!

So girl, I appreciate you telling me the truth. I needed to hear it, and I’m a better woman because of it.


Get Flynanced with The Queen of Travel

Yes the Corona Virus has us all in doors and waiting for better days but now is a time for you to think of future travel plans. Yes, travel plans for when we can all go outside and to the airport. With being home, hopefully you’ve been able to save some extra cash that you can put in the travel jar. facing-my-debt-1

Even though plane tickets and hotels cost money, there is one woman who travels at the same rate some of us change our underwear- for all of us that should be daily. At any rate, Cinneah is the queen of travel. She was born and raised ova West but currently resides in New York. Cinn attended Barnard College where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Africana Studies and a Master of Science degree in Management from Wake Forest University School of Business.

She traveled to 25 countries by her 25th birthday. Her new goal is 40 countries by age 30. Aside from her travel expertise she is a Product Developer for American Express and founder of Flynanced – a blog exploring travel and generating wealth. Cinneah believes you don’t have to put your travel aspirations on hold to reach your financial goals. She says, ” I am passionate about making travel, innovation, and personal finance inclusive for the historically underrepresented.” She also volunteers as a Board member for the Black Alumni Council of Columbia University. Her passion for traveling started at a young age. The first five countries she visited were with her parents. (Shout-out to mom and dad, please!)

We at OWS were intrigued with her stories, photos, and mission. We had the pleasure of interviewing the queen of travel for her tips and tricks for not using money as an excuse not to travel. We also picked her brain about her favorite places. Read our exclusive Q&A below:

OWS: When\ how did you start traveling?                                                                                    Cinneah: I am blessed that my family had the resources to take me on vacations as a child. In fact, the first 5 countries I visited were with my parents. Those experiences coupled with more educational experiences in middle school (People to People Student Ambassador) and high school (Elijah Cummings Youth Program Fellow) ignited a passion for travel in me.

OWS: Why did you take the 25 before 25 initiative?                                                                Cinneah: I decided as a senior in college that I wanted to set an ambitious travel goal. At that point, I had been blogging (mostly to my family readers) about my travels with study abroad and other trips during college. Again, the generosity of my parents especially my mother helped me cross this goal. For my college graduation gift, my mother sent me on a month long trip around Europe with EF College Break. I was able to visit 9 countries, which helped accelerate my progress. So by 22, I’d been to 20 countries. From there, reaching 5 more countries felt within reach. I am blessed to say I surpassed my goal by my 25th birthday.

OWS: How do plan your trips? How do you decide where to go?
Cinneah: I love to travel with my close friends so most of the trips I’ve planned post-college have been based on our shared interests. For example, Cuba (country #22) ended up being a girls’ trip with friends of mine from college and back home. We all wanted to experience Havana and decided to go before we all were bogged down by school and work. Beyond that, I keep a mental list of places I want to visit and jump at the opportunity to do so when the right deal and options present themselves.
OWS: What advice do you have for someone who wants to travel but believes they can’t afford it?
Cinneah: First, I recommend really assessing your financial situation. Log into all your bank and credit card accounts and review your last month’s statements. Start by answering these questions: How much did you earn last month? How much did your absolute necessary expenses cost you, like housing, transportation, utilities? How much did you actually spend? What was the difference? This exercise usually reveals that many of us are not spending our money intentionally and we may be wasting money on things and conveniences that aren’t actually bringing joy into our lives. If you’re struggling with budgeting your money, check out my very first blog post:
OWS: What financial tips do you have for planning and saving for a trip?                       Cinneah: My biggest tip is to create a travel fund, which is a savings account you use specifically for travel. For me, I set up a direct deposit from my paychecks right into my travel fund. Since it’s automated, I don’t even have to think about it! I share how to get started with your own travel fund on my blog: From there, I focus on finding the best deals to save me even more money. I shared my favorite sites for finding airline flight deals on my blog:  
OWS: When are the best times to travel?
Cinneah: The best times to travel are when you can afford to do so without accruing unnecessary debt. Period. Credit cards, especially travel rewards cards, can be amazing tools to help you reach your travel goals faster but not if you can’t afford to pay off your balance. Beyond that, I believe the best times to travel are when your lifestyle can support them. Do you work full time with vacation time? Use your days to travel. Are you in school with breaks at the end of the semester? Plan a trip over one of the holidays.
OWS: What is the perfect packing list? What should every packing list have?
Cinneah: My essential packing list is a mix of items for comfort and convenience. I never go anywhere without a good neck pillow and eye mask for naps on planes, trains, and anything in between. If traveling internationally to a country with different plugs, I recommend bringing a plug converter so you can charge your devices. Packing cubes have been a recent life saver to fit more stuff into my suitcases. Most importantly, I urge all travelers to invest in Global Entry status. For a one time fee, you’re afforded years of expedited security clearance with TSA Pre-Check (all U.S. travel) and Global Entry (returning to U.S.) every time you fly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve breezed past hundreds of people waiting in long security or customs lines because of this benefit!
OWS: Why travel? What are the benefits?
Cinneah: I travel to satisfy my appetite for adventure, to connect with like-minded people, and to appreciate the beauty of this planet we all call home.
OWS: How long do you usually stay in each place?
Cinneah: The longest I’ve stayed in a single city is five weeks and the shortest is five hours – it really all depends on the nature of the specific trip. I prefer to stay at least a week in far away places with flight times over 6 hours so my body can get adjusted to any time and climate differences.
OWS: What country was your favorite and why?
Cinneah: It’s hard for me to pick my favorite country because I’ve had incredible experiences in so many different parts of the world. I’ll say some of my favorite cities to visit have been Paris (because of its iconic charm), Cartagena (because of the vibrant Afro-colombian culture), Tokyo (because of the food and technology), and Cape Town (because of its stunning natural beauty).
OWS: How do you feel before and after you visit a place? What do you take/ get from each place?
Cinneah: Before I visit a place for the first time, I am filled with anticipation on what I’ll see, experience, and eat. I try to stray off the beaten path a bit in each place I visit. I love to wander and find where the locals hang so I can have a better appreciation for a place beyond the tourist traps.
OWS: What places are next and why?
Cinneah: In 2020, I am excited to get back to the Motherland of Africa by way of Morocco. This country has been on my mind for some time now so I am excited to experience my first place in Northern Africa.
OWS: Tell us anything else you want us to know about you or traveling.
Cinneah: Traveling isn’t just about catching flights overseas, it can also be exploring more U.S. cities as well. While people are usually impressed by my country count, I am also blessed to say I’ve visited most of the big cities across the country. Don’t miss out on experiencing adventure in your own backyard because you’re only fixated on flying internationally.
Flynanced does more than gives us all the tips and tricks for travel. Cinneah is an example of living your passions. She is traveling and spreading her knowledge of financial literacy. Cinneah encourages and inspires us all to explore the world, whether that is your neighboring state or neighboring country.  So save some Corona cash and plan your next trip.
*Photos taken from

Actual Job Hunting Tips for Dummies

Who doesn’t know someone who’s looking for a job? Hating your job or not having one can definitely wear on your patience, so let’s not waste too much time. Here’s a list of tips that have actually worked for us in the past:

  1. Pay Attention to the Posting Dates

Most jobs posted online are filled within the first 10 days, so aim to apply to newly posted positions. You may also still have a good chance with job listings that are less than 30 days old. If you see that the job was posted 45 or more days ago, don’t waste too much time.

2. Take Advantage of Student Career Centers

If your university has a career center, please go. They will help with everything from resume building to scheduling on-campus interviews with employers. It’s best to see what the career center has to offer well before you graduate, but if you’re lucky, your school will still have opportunities for alumni. Some universities have their own online job systems that cater specifically to their students. This will be way more effective than shooting in the wind on other sites because those employers are looking for prospects like you!

3. Properly Design Your Resume for the System

You have to make your resume fit each job you apply for. Employers have applicant tracking systems that filter through submitted resumes looking for keywords. Carefully examine the job description and describe your work experience using the given buzz words. We’re not saying you should lie on your resume, but be creative. I came across one guy who wanted to work in IT, but lacked the experience. To make sure his resume made it to the top of the system’s list, he wrote a bunch of technical words in tiny, white-colored font at the bottom of his resume. Some may say it was unethical, but it worked!

4. Don’t Apply for Jobs You Don’t Want

Many of us believe that a job is a job, but constantly taking jobs that don’t interest you will only lead you into a cycle of dissatisfaction. Instead of searching for new jobs every other month or year, really consider what it is that you want to do and invest time in that. Consider taking a continued education class at a local college or getting a license/certification in a field that interests you. Check out to browse some options.

5. Look Out For Scams.

In this economy, it’s no secret that people are in dire need of better paying jobs and looking to supplement income. There are organizations that intentionally falsely advertise jobs to take advantage of your desperation. Here’s tips within tips:

  • Have you ever heard of this company before now? Always research the company online. No trustworthy employers are posting jobs without having their own well-designed website. If they do have a website and it looks too vague or shady in any way, move on.
  • If the employer is trying to sell the job to you, it’s likely a scam, a waste of time, or a super low paying sales job. Watch out either way.
  • Sex traffickers sometimes use job postings to lure victims. You have to be extremely careful because these listings can even show up in your school’s career site. Unfortunately, you have to make an effort to get the job you want. If it seems too easy, be suspicious!

6. Practice Your Writing

You may not need much calculus after high school if you aren’t an engineer, but trust and believe you will need to know how to write. We cannot stress enough how many job applications are rejected because of a poorly written resume or cover letter. Many adults struggle with language composition well into their careers, and employers practically beg universities to send candidates who can write. You do not need to be *insert famous writer* to get by. Search YouTube and Purdue Owl for language tips and guidance. Or ask for help!

7. Be Yourself in the Interview

Relax and let your natural charm shine through! You are qualified for whatever job you are interviewing for, otherwise you wouldn’t have been called. This means you already know what is expected of you, so avoid putting yourself under extra pressure to be or talk like someone else. Your accent is just fine. Do not think you have to become a whole new character to be professional.

Please share with your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin and them who need a job! If you have additional tips or suggestions, help us out and comment below.

A Little Jab at Gentrification …

Eventually every big city faces the sad reality of change. The question becomes who does change effect the most. For the “inner city” citizens and the urban dwellers, aka Black people and poor people, who are usually forgotten (until property and infrastructure are involved) it’s usually us with furrowed brows. We wonder what is going to come next. This is not just a simple matter of change construction-site-2858310__340but the buzzword of the century: gentrification. Everyone has some definition in one form or another of what this means. In layman’s terms, gentrification is when wealthier, mostly white people see something they want, and they take it. They take it, restructure it and manufacture it for white audiences. For example, the small cafes and restaurants popping up in what is called “Station North.”

Station North is blocks away from what would be considered dangerous or “ghetto” even, but “redevelopment” has started in the area. Redevelopment that allows white academics and art students to benefit from poverty (having lower rent) while being close enough away to feel safe but close enough to say they care about the plight of Black people and issues of poverty in Baltimore city. The gradual change in Baltimore has been happening for quite some time. The big universities started their bidding wars on properties on East North Avenue. The results are things like Parkway theater and (sorry folks) the notorious anti-establishment Red Emmas (which has left its North Avenue location). As nice as these places are, they both have an unspoken, “we only welcome certain types,” kind of vibe. You should be somewhere between wanting to free the nipples and having a Sinead O’Connor look with a septum piercing and tattoos of a dream catcher, geometric shapes, or the lunar cycle. They have the “I’m a cultured artist who is down with a revolution, some days, and I bike to save the environment” kind of vibe.

Look up the word in the dictionary and its synonyms are refurbishment, restoration, renovation, urban renewal, and even improvement. There is a constant question of what is being improved and who asked for the improvements. The problem with the “urban renewal” becomes losing the people who built the infrastructures around what is being “improved.” The problem becomes white people start moving in and pushing Black people out. When the hipster liberals come in, preaching peace, love, and all lives matter while taking your row home to hang ropes of paper lanterns from Target.

Gentrification becomes so important, especially to Black people in Baltimore city because it is more than a word or a synonym of “restoration.” So much culture has been built and erased in the city. From club music to style of dress and even the way we talk. You know someone is from Baltimore when you hear them! Higher rent and destruction of once were homes make life a lot harder for those relocating and reminiscing on “the good old days.” Gentrification is having your childhood memories become a portion of history because Johns Hopkins needs homes for residents and of course expansion of its famed facility. The Hippo, most of East Baltimore, Hammerjacks- places like these are no longer apart of the breath of the city. Instead when people think of Baltimore, they think of Natty Boh and Camden yards – which is a part of Baltimore but every neighborhood is not Canton or Camden yards.

East Baltimore should now be called “Hopkins Town.” Hopkins has changed most of it and is trying to mold it into a uniform, almost carbon copy of other cities. Baltimore once had a flair that is bitterly hanging on. That’s a problem with “urban redevelopment.” Gentrification is not just a textbook synopsis of the many inequalities Black & poor people face. It is the feelings, soul, and authenticity of a place being diffused brick by brick. It is almost as if Thanos snapped his fingers in much of East Baltimore, devouring the city. Higher rent and fancier grub makes nice for tourists and people who can’t afford New York and don’t want to stare D.C in the face, so we meet here in the middle, in Baltimore.

When Your 9 to 5 Don’t Love You

As a child, my parents made it very clear that when I grew up I had two options: go to school or go to work. Going to school, being the more encouraged “option,” was supposed to all but guarantee me both financial success and the approval of my parents. As far as they were concerned, no child of theirs would grow up to be a bum. They made sure I was successful academically. They saw to it that I completed my homework. They checked every report card and got to know every teacher. They came to every parent-teacher night until 11th grade. While I eventually slacked off later in high school, my parents and early educators had already laid a solid foundation for me.

See: Elementary, My Woe

As I grew up, I saw the toll that the daily grind of employment took on my folks. Both of my parents worked consistently my entire life. Long or frequent periods of unemployment were never a thing in my house. Neither of my parents had college degrees, but while we were miles from wealthy, the lights stayed on. They were working class, 9 to 5 or 2 to 10 having folks. The paycheck-to-paycheck way of life was no doubt a struggle, but it was perhaps better than what they knew growing up. Over the years, I watched them grow tired, irritable, and disappointed with what life had offered them. It took a toll on the relationships they had with both one another and their family members.  This included their children. The exhaustion after decades of being overworked and underappreciated with no pleasant outlets strains the spirit. It causes one to search for release any way they can. Whether it manifests as an affinity for liquor, sex, or overspending, the soul will search for nourishment. So many people end their lives left unsatisfied.

I was determined to never live my life that way. I wanted what my parents wanted for me: a career, not a job. I remember growing up thinking that if I graduated college, I would automatically be rich (Whew, chile! The imagination!).  As I became aware of the ways of the real world, I did not seek riches, but instead happiness and passion. A Bachelor’s degree was the way to avoid the entrapment of a lackluster, tedious 9 to 5 job. So you can imagine my surprise (and disappointment) when shortly before graduating, I learned that my little degree would only land me a slightly higher-paying 9 to 5. Despite the four years spent chasing a 4.0 GPA to secure that magical piece of paper, I would be waking up at ungodly hours to sit in a cold, dark office for 8-10 hours a day like everyone else. After my graduation day, no one ever asked me about my GPA again. Literally not one single time ever. It’s like college didn’t even happen honestly. At the very least, the offices I worked in had good lighting. Yay me.

With every day job comes a huge lack of appreciation. The typical 9 to 5 can make you feel so small. So insignificant, ignored, and isolated. You probably aren’t working in a field you’re particularly passionate about, and you probably don’t have any friends at this job. You are far from making the six figure salary of your dreams, and if you do make that much, you aren’t happy either. Your parents think you are rich because you have a degree and live on your own, but you are merely (hopefully) comfortably paying rent. Every day, someone over the age of 45 will make a “joke” about millennials and our entitlement before they ask you to do a part of their job for them. They may have a point, but at least we can follow the directions on a printer. Nobody works all day at their job, so you sit on Twitter and Instagram all day watching people tweet about money and freedom from their own cubicles (or offices if they’re fancy). In my particular case, this was where I was, so I had to do my best anyway. It was the way I was raised and I needed to pay the rent. Unfortunately, sometimes your best just isn’t good enough, and your 9 to 5 will simply not care about your GPA or your formidable upbringing. Bring in the axe.

“When your 9 to 5 don’t love you, they gon’ throw your ass out with the trash.” – YGTUT

It is completely against your best interest to fully commit yourself to any one job, company, or even industry. They are in no way committed to you.  Chances are, you will be fired or driven to quit a job at some point in time. If you find yourself in that position, use it as an opportunity to make a change for yourself.  Change has been forced on you anyway, so you may as well take advantage of the circumstances. That time that you will spend unemployed could be used to build your own creative outlets while you look for paying jobs. Start that YouTube channel. Take up that course you’ve been thinking about. Do at least one of the random things you’ve googled this month. Do anything but waste your time feeling miserable and end up stuck in the same cycle of dissatisfaction and lackluster living. Enjoy yourself. Spruce up your resume and get to it. In the meantime, take care of your credit and health.  Tap into your talents and, take control of your own life, and make these jobs work for you.