Open Floor Plan

Thursday, December 27, 2018

San Francisco - Spring 2018

This morning, I looked at my half full closet and 80% occupied dresser...with much space for more stuff...but also feeling like I don't even need all the space I have. A sweet reminder of how much space I've created for the unexpected and how stuff really doesn't make me any happier.

2018 has been more than enough for me, and this is how it has shown up...

I am thriving in my own skin. I listen to my body, and I am learning to rest.

I am loving God and faith without constraints of what it should look like.

Writing. I've had so much time to write and blog, and co-blog with beloveds.

Continuing sacred's and rituals - cousin facetimes, bestie birthdays, 3rd of July reunions, pageants over Thanksgiving, 4th annual Giants game, and a yearly hello email to all my former student leaders and teams.

Co working dates, daily starbucks runs, and new happy hour spots.

Got to officiate my besties' wedding; Saw Drake in concert; Traveled to Mexico City.

Hosted 26 visitors between San Francisco and WA.

Walked through the streets of San Francisco after a rowdy rooftop bar night.

Went go carting on the gravel roads passing through my family's acres on a warm July evening.

Felt the worn out moving boxes holding my belongings that are mostly gifts and the art I feel connected to.

And with who I've become and what I've done, this is where it has left me into 2019;

I miss driving on the Bay bridge into San Francisco at night. The lights were bright enough to reflect off the water and warm enough to make me feel at home.

But the green and precipitation of the Seattle sound is enough to nourish my soul, and I know I'm blooming in a season of what feels like starting over, but really it's just a continuation.

Love really does exist.

I also learned what it meant to let go of someone you have love for because that's what that person really needs...and also hoping the absolute best for them.

I like my grey hairs and wrinkles around my eyes, and the stretch marks on my thighs. It shows a well lived body participating in the life in front of me.

My smile feels so real; My heart is a direct line to my smile.

Getting to see the fridge with my loved ones holiday cards on it - each one of them drenched in memories.

I like moons, flowers, reading books that I bought so long ago, but never had the capacity to indulge in. I love celebrating. I like cheering people on. I love all the things that make others feel good about themselves.

I'm operating this next chapter of life like an open floor plan.

My family is healthy, strong, and very happy. That's probably the highlight of this all.

Experiences over things.
Presence over presents.
Humanity over perfection.

& Turning 30 this year, and I feel like life is just getting started!

South Dakota - Summer 2018
Seattle - Winter 2018

Jayme Alexis LLC - In Review 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018


No matter what you saw on social media...transitioning a business to a different state and retaining clientele that are willing to do virtual communication over face to face was a major loss for me in motivation and in income...Let alone re-building a network of locals I could connect with about our specialized niches - I am still going through the growing pains of this process. I also hired an advisor to help me with the transition, because well, just like the 10 free growth strategies post, I knew I couldn't do it alone.

But today, I'd like to report that today's tears were happy tears, because despite starting over, I had a reminder tonight when my last client for 2018 texted me their job offer to a respected silicon valley tech company (Zuora)! They were one of the athletes transitioning to civilian life, and I couldn't be more proud of them! I needed to be reminded that no matter how rough this transition has been in many areas of my life, one of my favorite things is celebrating other people's wins, especially ones I'm working with!

And as I am learning to share more about me and what I do, instead of giving vague, awkward statements about higher ed, my side hustle, and what not, I thought I'd do a re-cap of client celebrations in 2018!

I feel very honored, and positively overwhelmed tonight getting the opportunity to celebrate these incredible people:

*indicates volunteer/partner/sponsor role & due to client confidentiality, you may inbox me for details, but unfortunately cannot give out identity details unless given permission.

  • Coached 2 side hustlers that made their side hustle come to real life
  • Coached 4 athletes transitioning from D1 sports to civilian life
  • Coached 1 semi pro league athlete transitioning careers; including a player rights agreement
  • Coached 3 clients in career changes; consultations and resume/cover letter make overs 
  • Coached 4 pageant titleholders in interview prep work (All 4 placed in top 5, including 1 divisional winner in ANTSO and 1 winner winning a full scholarship to Virginia State University)
  • Advised 1 pageant titleholder transitioning into a full time career while remaining a Miss titleholder for a major system
  • Recruited pageant judges for 3 MAO locals*, 2 TEEN USA state pageants, AP Nationals*, AEM Nationals*, 2 NAM state pageants, & 1 INTL Jr Miss state pageant, SUNBURST
  • Advised 1 fashion designer for committee assembly & line production
  • Coached 1 fashion journalist in a 2018 journalism contest - received job at TEEN Vogue
  • Advised 1 non profit board about values and diversity; Hired their college ambassadors 
  • Advised mayoral candidate and College President on talking points of college graduation attainment through career options in their city and state post graduation*
  • Advised 1 start up CEO on talking points of K-12 to higher ed pipeline
  • Advised 2 non profit board/CEOs on talking points of K-12 to higher ed pipeline
  • Advisor in Seattle Fashion Week - Hiring of production staff; Selection committee of fashion designers and runway production teams 
And what's not listed, but should get credit, is that there were over 50...yes OVER 50 people I referred to OTHER people. Because I know what I am good at, and areas I am not talented in...and I know some clients will be better serviced with a different company or person. I refuse to collect $ in areas I am not experienced in or will not assist in the intended results of a potential client.

Which is why I've been working on a referral directory for my clients. If you have a service you think could benefit the type of clientele I serve, please email me your information at info@jaymealexis.com, and we can connect on the details!

I like living in a world where we are all living lives we really love. Lives that we don't have to water down, lives that are as real in reality as they are on social media. Lives we aren't constantly branding because they are so authentically us. 

That is a wish for myself, for my loved ones, and for every client I work with. 



10 Free Strategies for Growth Management

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Failure is inevitable. It can be timing, out of your control, personal circumstances, or being on an unequal playing field. We ALL have been there. But I want to talk about self induced failure.

Self induced failure is what I liked to call - you knew how to avoid a failed result, but you proceeded with the path you chose anyway. Whether it be pride, greed, poor advice, ego, impulsiveness, etc....I mean, I know I've been there many a times.

And…self induced failure is usually a result of not evolving aka not growing with the change. Look at every major company flop. Look at every well known FORMER CEO, athlete, whatever it is...if they were not changing the formula for a winning strategy year to year….they didn’t come out with the gold medal, the winning sales, or even an existing company. Examples - Yahoo, Coach Doughtery, and no one even remembers the CEO of Apple post Steve Jobs the first time...Exactly…

Winning isn’t everything. I’m about the journey too. But I also think we set goals to also get the intended outcome as much as we do to gain the experience along the way.

So, in the last month, I’ve compiled 10 strategies from the following contributors, the advice may not be new, but has proved to work in managing growth & building a company or trust with employees/audience. I also don’t find it ironic that all of the contributors overlapped on many of their sentiments.

Contributors: In no particular order, I went with who responded first.
A Playboy Bunny (Her real name can’t be released, but if you want to touch base with her email me at info@jaymealexis.com)
    Career Coach - Kyle
      Pageant Coach - Elaiza
        Doula - Dav
          Fashion & Foodie Blogger - Teresa
            TV Host - Wendi
              Pageant Planet & Pageant Contestant - Paige
                Marketing Extraordinaire & Maxim Model Contestant - Hayden
                  Ready Set Glow CEO - Mojan
                    Eat Train Run Repeat - Jill
                      X Games Winner - Matt
                        So Oakland CEO - Shayla
                        10 FREE strategies

                        Change doesn’t mean changing your values, but you have to figure out how do you present your values to a world that is ever changing.


                        Competition is HEALTHY. Stop comparing yourself and reach out to your competition, get to know who they are...be-friend them.


                        You can’t do it alone...you need to make connections, find mentors, create a personal board of directors.


                        Treat your business seriously or no one else will.


                        Growing pains are temporary...and cheesy sayings make my eyes roll too, but it’s real that you have temporary pain for long term gain.


                        Remove or put aside things/people on the back burner that don’t belong in your life. Friends that aren’t good for you. Family that is negative and brings you down. Things that you don’t use.
                        Clothes you don’t wear. Shit that keeps you from evolving.

                        Be kind to everyone and treat people well; engage with your employees and your customers regularly about things that actually matter.


                        Be consistent.


                        Know your mission, value, and brand, know what you stand for.


                        Having too much pride or a big ego ends in isolation.


                        Stop making excuses.

                        If you think you know everything or learned everything, you've already failed.


                        20 Years with American Pageants

                        Wednesday, December 5, 2018

                        2019 National Titleholders - photo by My Heart's Desire

                        20 years.


                        Besides a few friendships, 20 years is the longest I’ve ever committed to anything in my life. 2 weeks ago I was at the 35th Anniversary of American Pageants, formerly known as Miss Teen of America.


                        My affiliation with the program was in 1998 when my Mom convinced me to be in this scholarship program called Little Miss of SD. From contestant to honor court member in the Teen division, I went on to choreograph, emcee, judge, direct at the state level, and then at some point recruited judges for our state, regional, and national pageant.


                        This program has been my consistent and familiar long after leaving my parents home, it’s the 1 thing I’ve taken with me on the journey of a dozen zip codes from South Dakota (minus my car, but even she was put to rest in November).


                        The program took a break with the transition of leadership and I won’t forget in April of 2016, getting a call from our President that she wanted me on the team. I had just quit a job I hated and moved to my dream city San Francisco while I shared a home with 4 other people. I was hustling as much as I could on the side and in my work as a Fashion Design Advisor to live in the most expensive city in America (We had just surpassed New York City - Manhattan). This offer was a piece of home that to me in a space I was just easing into.


                        It is easy to list off the reasons why I love this program. From recognizing all girls and women for their achievements, the lifelong friendships, teaching girls/women that we are not each other’s competition - that we are our biggest competition,  the life skills - interviewing, resumes, and personal development...all fundamentals that are evident everywhere in our pageant’s history and present. That’s just the shortlist.


                        But I think it’s more than what’s on our social media, it goes beyond how it prepared me for a college essay or a job interview, it's prepared me for womanhood:


                        I text our President a week after the pageant that if it weren’t for some of the advice I had gotten from her and the friends I’ve made in this program, I would have settled in my life - in every aspect. I think I would have taken the first good life that presented itself. But that first path was not meant for me at 18 when I graduated high school, at 22 when I moved to Los Angeles, or at 24 when I finished graduate school, or now at 29 - where I am just feeling like life is just getting started!


                        This pageant has kept my character accountable. It’s really easy to cut corners and to copy/paste what’s out there. It’s easy to not be original and to replicate what’s been done. I would have made very different life choices in college, in relationships, and in situations that I could have taken an easier path, and no one would have known. But that wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying. On this same note, it also taught me to take RISKS. To explore, discover, to find what works for me. There are so many paths out there, that this pageant family no matter what decision I've made (even if they disagreed) has supported my journey of becoming.


                        Finally, this pageant taught me to CELEBRATE. We get so caught up in achievement, that achievement becomes the benchmark in all that we do. It’s why I’ve felt devastated after break ups, dissolving friendships, etc. Because I’ve been trained my entire life that achievement is what matters, and everything including things related to the human heart has a formula for winning…and obviously finding out that couldn’t be further from the truth. And by all means, achievement matters, it’s just not the only thing that matters. This pageant is a reminder to pause, and to recognize how far we’ve come...and that we can achieve, list out everything on a resume, and so forth, but what value is that if we can’t appreciate ourselves?

                        My trophies, plaques, tiaras, and sashes sit with dust at my parents house. But everything I’ve mentioned here are the most valued things someone can say about me - that I don't settle, my character matters, & that I celebrate the achievements of others and myself.


                        American Pageants & our AP fam, thank you for a decorated 20 years. I love the way you’ve shaped my womanhood in every possible way.

                        American Pageants, 2 years in a row has been named Top 10 Teen Pageant & Top 10 Best National Pageant by the Pageant Planet.

                        Death & Birth

                        Friday, November 30, 2018


                        While November started off as a total sham...Let me bullet thy ways.

                        • Got into a car accident, had to buy a new car, got a $1200 tow, and a parking ticket
                        • Grandpa died, bought last minute plane ticket to South Dakota for funeral (It was cheaper to fly to Ukraine)
                        • Found out a friend got cancer and then their little brother died...in the same 24 hours
                        • One of my best friend's dog died, who was her whole world
                        • I had 3 rounds of meds to get rid of my 2 month Pneumonia...to finally get better before Thanksgiving, only to now be sick again and breathing through my mouth like a Jurassic Park dinosaur...you can make fun of me, I know I am

                        Am I ready for November to be over? Uh yes. But with death, and well, adulthood - I can say that my life is truthful, good, and exactly where I want it be. And frankly, although November was a sham, it could have been much worse. Death has manifested itself in many forms in this transition, but it's also birthed a life I had never anticipated. A life that's been a subtly sweet surprise.

                        Here are some of my reflections from November, a month of death & birth:

                        Love
                        I thought I loved X, but I loved the idea of X. I thought I loved Y, but I just had mad love for Y. I tell Z I love Z, but that love has had so few hours on earth that only time will tell if that love will last.

                        Church
                        I reconciled the ways of how I do Church & love God a long time ago. But today? Today, I love the way I do Church...in nature, in relationships, in solitude, in journaling and prayer. In long conversations with those of us who grew up in Church, but have later reclaimed our relationships with God in a very personal and deep way that only God can really understand.

                        Priorities
                        Unless you are my Home Team, Hustle(s), Spiritual Rhythms, & Rest, you matter, but you are not a priority in December.

                        Address Changes
                        This week, I finished changing all of my addresses from California to Washington. Erasing CA from my address has felt like changing my last name. Knowing the best is yet to come, but leaving a part of your identity in your past - is a sad & seems like a too soon goodbye.

                        Decision Making Committee
                        I don't make a big life decision without mentors, home team, and essentially my decision making committee. But lately, I've learned that some decisions are best decided alone in a quiet room. I am my first relationship and I'll be my last relationship, best to make decisions that's best for her.

                        People I Don't Deal With
                        Shauna Niequist's book, Bittersweet talks about making a list of THINGS I DONT DO...and as counter intuitive as that is, it also helps me re gain insight to my priorities. But this month, I also wrote out people I don't deal with, because I refuse to do others emotional or intellectual labor, and this is separate from empathy and grace. But reality is that some people are looking for layers of me that I shed a long, long time ago. 

                        Practicing Hospitality

                        Sunday, November 4, 2018


                        There have been many perks about living in a larger space, and with a roommate (Cher bear) who also values the practice of hospitality. I learned hospitality from my parents, specifically my Mother. She is the hostess that makes a full course meal, makes your bed with love, and greets you in the drive-way even in a blizzard. 

                        In a season of recovery and rest, Cher bear and I wanted to provide that same experience for our loved ones while visiting...and we absolutely love it. 

                        Whether it’s our mismatched towels freshly taken from the dryer, grabbing blankets that have many stories attached, late night airport runs, getting people’s favorite snacks, bringing home fresh flowers, the smell of brunch filling our home, or the excitement of writing WELCOME _____ on our white marbled marker board...we love exercising the practice of loving others and doing it well. 

                        Our Midwestern and Southern roots have felt so watered welcoming, by the end of next week our 20th visitor since July. Twenty people who we have gotten to fill our bellies with laughter with, exchange mutual love with, and created some new memories with.

                        Our home, truly is your home. 

                        Solace in Seattle

                        Friday, October 5, 2018

                        I have seasons of wild, chaos, or slow.

                        But this season is none of the above.

                        This season is about finding middle ground.

                        Finding middle ground habits I've been enjoying:

                        Being okay with night's IN...I know, I know.

                        Using a paper planner for personal life and digital planner for work and not mixing it.

                        Work doesn't come home with me, or as often.

                        Writing.

                        Reading more.

                        Slow walks downtown and watching the leaves change colors.

                        Making the right friends and saying yes to the right things.

                        Mini road trips.

                        Saying positive things out loud about the people around me, often.

                        Texting my parents more often

                        Listening to podcasts each week.


                        Writing more gratitude & thank you cards.

                        Learning to take my time.

                        Opening my window to listen to the rain...the closest sound I have to waves of the ocean. 

                        Collages and art.

                        Playing with my new tarot card set.


                        It's been nice. Nice finding some solace in Seattle.

                        Parents

                        Friday, September 28, 2018

                        Brunch with my parents over Labor Day weekend at my favorite restaurant in Redmond, WA - Woodblock

                        The more times the earth rotates around the sun, the more I recognize how valuable my parents really are.

                        I've lived away from my parents since I was 18 with the exception of when I broke my leg after college - HA.

                        And every passing year, it's always been a pain point for me to live so far away. I've missed Christmases, birthdays, Mothers day, Fathers day, anniversaries, and everything in between.

                        But South Dakota is my first home - I knew my neighbors. I was raised on a family farm. I knew my classmates. Teachers cared for us like their own kids. I knew my friends parents as well as my friends.

                        My parents gave me everything they could.

                        Even though we grew up extremely poor.

                        I remember having snow drifts in our house, or having leaks in our roof, all full well knowing we couldn't afford to fix any of those. We were lucky to have a working car that when we pulled into a parking lot, was often made fun of because it was that ragged. I grew up in a town that the average salary was between $11,000-$20,000 per YEAR, and that was a dual income.

                        But my parents made me feel like we had everything we could possibly have.

                        And I am so grateful and proud to be where I am from - An at the time 174 population rural town.

                        I love where I was raised. I love that my work ethic, my values for hospitality, and my love for my Faith are deeply rooted in how and where I was raised.

                        But I'm also different - my life philosophies, career, interests, where I feel like I belong isn't fully possible where I grew up.

                        And reconciling that has been one of the biggest challenges of my adult life.

                        But I write this for the people who like to remind me that my parents are getting older and their unwanted advice or guilt trip of thinking I should, "quit my job, move back near my parents, and take care of them"....

                        YES. I know. They're my parents...and have you met my parents? If I even mention they're "old" you would have thought I told them that the earth was a triangle.

                        My parents visited over Labor Day and I asked them what they wanted for their kids out of life.

                        They said they hoped their kids had faith, family, and a good job. More or less I have most of those crossed off. And I thought that without saying it, those are exactly the 3 things that I visibly prioritize to this day.

                        I then asked them if they ever thought I'd move home...and they told me ever since I was a teenager and saw how curious I was about the world, that it was unlikely I'd ever come back if I moved.

                        I love my parents, the ones that gave me everything they could, and of course I honor them and celebrate them in different ways since I live so far away.

                        But they also raised me to be self sufficient. They raised me to explore, pursue my passions and my paychecks equally. 

                        They raised me to live my life AND to value family ties, and that the mileage between us was not mutually exclusive to do both.

                        And to be real, I actually tried moving back to South Dakota 3 times (When my Mom had cancer, Spring of 2016, and Summer of 2018)...and a job fell through EVERY time...I took it as God, the world, whatever was telling me, it's not time yet.

                        So for the next friend, "family member" (the ones that talk shit behind my back about what I post or what I believe, but will never have the backbone to say it to my face) or whoever has a judgement to pass that I don't live near my parents - stay in your lane.

                        I may move near my parents in a year, 5 years, or never.

                        And that will be my burden to carry, not yours.

                        And that decision is so complicated that you can never possibly understand. My parents are not your parents, clearly - Because my parents taught me to not intrude on other families' affairs.

                        My parents are high on my priority list.

                        But your opinion as what I should do as a "Midwestern woman" is not even in the top 1000.

                        The 2-4 times a year I do spend with my parents, is rich, quality time...Asking hard questions, loving them, treating them well, and packing in as much connection as possible.

                        Some families are built to be spread apart and come together....and some are built to stay in their village...and both and all options are good because every family connection is different.

                        Thank you Mom & Dad - For the life you've created for me and for the support you continuously give as I live my love affair with my own life. 

                        My 7 year relationship with California

                        Saturday, September 15, 2018

                        The Castro District - San Francisco

                        This post is dedicated to one of my longest relationships, my 7 year love of my life, California.

                        I wrote a year ago about how when I moved to Southern California, I was 22, scared, cried when my parents left me - this small town girl from South Dakota. In many ways, I am still that same girl, and in about every obvious way, I have evolved into a woman I am also proud to be.

                        Southern California was all about re-exploring the ideas and values that I was taught, and if they really matched me. It was about Disneyland runs, receiving my Masters degree, doing all the tourist things - the beach, Santa Monica ferris wheel, wine country, big bear, dodgers/angels games, and establishing my CA pageant family. It was a beautiful life, but I ended up moving to California's Central Coast, Monterey Bay for my first job post grad school.

                        Monterey Bay gave me the career I needed to define the type of professional I'd be for years to come. It gave me friends who I am so lucky to be officiating their wedding next month, a home 2 miles from the beach, students who I talk with regularly, and an almost reality show gig...Monterey Bay was slow, steady, and sweet. It breathed clean air into my life that felt polluted with personal mental health, my mom's cancer, and my dad going blind. Monterey Bay brought me to almost whole and it gave me space and community that held me when everything I mentioned piled in the same year.

                        But, like in every story, there comes the part where you feel this is the reason the story exists.

                        It is so cheesy, but I now understand the song, I left my heart in San Francisco. After Monterey Bay, I was looking for a faster paced life - filled with creatives, night life, and being close to an international airport for ease of travel. So, I moved to San Francisco.

                        San Francisco was all about my liberation of what it meant to be a woman...and a woman of color, and the power and sacredness it holds in my dark locks and my brown sugared skin. The light and energy that pour from my dark mocha, and beautiful almond shaped eyes. I was surrounded for the first time, with like minded peers & students who were organized and I felt like the student instead of the educator for the first time in awhile.

                        Despite the dramatic comments from family members gossiping about how, "Liberal San Francisco is making me sin"...Still makes me laugh out loud...San Francisco also gave me a great sense of who God is, what my faith actually meant and how it was practiced. It's where I started my side business, it gave me my first live in boyfriend, the best birthday parties I've ever had, it gave me friends who I consider family, friends who know entirely too much about me. I also came out of a job with skills that prepared me to move up the ladder in my field.

                        San Francisco was everything I ever needed AND wanted.

                        I've lived in DOZENS of cities. I have made places that felt like home, but as a friend said, they thought San Francisco was etched as my forever home. And all of these experiences have now spit me into the sound of the Seattle area. 

                        Seattle has been the easiest transition I have ever had, but when people ask if I miss San Francisco...You have to understand, I am the only blood relative I know, so finding home has been a life journey, and so I am going to respond as if I am recovering from a heart break.

                        This is a good life, even though I left my heart in San Francisco, I think rooting my dreams to bloom in Seattle is also going to be its own adventure and love of my life in its own time.

                        Sanctuary City Tales by Elise

                        Saturday, August 11, 2018

                        August's author is Elise. Elise was on the first team I oversaw post graduate school. In short, the supervisor before me tried to put Elise on probation aka get her fired because she had an "attitude" problem...But, I found the complete opposite, Elise was a dream to work with! She was bright, funny, great peer mentor, and she kept me accountable. That year she was nominated by her peers and selected by professional staff as Student Leader of the Year. Fast forward 5 years, she still teaches me, encourages me, and checks me when I need it. She wrote about the realities of house hunting while black in San Francisco...this was not an exaggeration. I tagged along for 1 home tour...and the racism she faced was blatant...Read her journey and please pass this to folks who need to hear this. Her story is real and of many:

                        Elise Washington is an unapologetic Black American woman who cares deeply about justice and equity. She was born and raised in Southern California, educated on the Central Coast of California, and is now adulting in Oakland, California. She is passionate about social justice, traveling, and unpacking the world’s most pressing issues with her homegirls.

                        Sanctuary City Tales: House Hunting While Black 
                        • “Can you pass a criminal background check?”
                        • “Do you have the right house?”
                        • Looks of disappointment when I arrive
                        • “No access to the kitchen!”
                        • “Do not make any noise after 10pm, be home by 6pm, no cooking after 7pm!”
                        • “Who is renting the room you or her (my former Korean boss)? Followed by a sigh and tone of disappointment
                        • “The price is $1,075 for you!”
                        • “I pay $875 but I want to save money so you’ll pay $900!”
                        • “I placed the ad on craigslist for $950, but you will pay $1000!”
                        • “I have 1 African-American tenant, he’s actually respectful. He’s my favorite”
                        • “How do you speak Spanish, but you and your family are black, where you really from?”
                        • “How long have you been in the United States?”
                        • “Most black people live in East Bay..."
                        • “It has nothing to do with you being black, it is hard for anyone to find housing in San Francisco”...

                        It is a shame black people have yet to be treated with dignity and compassion in the United States of America. I wish these quotes came from a book written by an author who wrote a juicy, drama-filled story about a black female house hunting in San Francisco. These are real life quotes from the mouths of white and people of color alike in San Francisco, California. Yep, I said it beautiful, liberal, progressive, culturally diverse, 420, LGBTQ, immigrant friendly San Francisco. It seems there is one population SF has not been welcoming to way before gentrification; the black race. 

                        Before, you write your defense statement below please understand these “quotes” are not isolated events, I am not being too sensitive, I do not own a race card, nor am I using the political climate to gas light social issues. The experiences I share are real, raw, and unfiltered. This is my experience looking for housing in San Francisco, California in 2017. 

                        Only 14 days after completing my undergraduate career I accepted a position in the Bay Area with decent pay and full-benefits. I could not believe it, I would be living, breathing, and working in one of the most progressive, liberal, diverse, and culturally rich cities in the United States. I knew the cost of living in the Bay Area was high, but I figured I have a decent-paying job, college degree, lit credit score what could stop me? Racism and discrimination is what stopped me. 

                        I had been actively searching for housing in three specific areas: OMI (Ocean view, Merced heights, and Ingleside), Daly City (outskirts of SF), and inner sunset. Upon arriving to the apartments, I had a notebook in one hand and a pen in the other ready to write down information. Y’all would have thought I showed up with an axe and a scream mask the way people greeted me at the door. Sometimes there was a look of genuine confusion, fear, disappointment or all the above. Now most folks who are reading this know, I am 5’5, 140-pound female, but apparently these folks saw something different. 

                        One landlord’s first question was, “Can you pass a criminal background check?” Excuse me while I get ethnic, but Bruh, REALLY? I brought proof of employment from my job stating I was hired as a case manager to work with CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. So yes sis, I can pass a background check in fact I had my finger prints ran that day. 

                        On a different occasion, I met with a woman who refused to shake my hand. This should have been the first sign.  I reached in my bag to pull out a credit report and proof of employment and she literally started backing up slowly in the other direction. She did not want to touch the paper so she said, “E-mail them to me and I will get back to you”. I e-mailed her the papers later that night and the next day she responded saying she rented out the place. So basically, overnight someone passed a background check, paid the deposit fees, and moved everything in. Maybe she was telling the truth, or maybe it was racism.

                        Each day I would organize one-hour home visits to view 5-6 rooms. Yes, I would give myself an entire hour for each visit and the landlords would give me five minutes max of their time. Majority of the landlords I met were White or Asian and/or males/females. I am not sure of the exact age, but it was an older generation of Asian folks. When I met with them there was an initial reaction to my presence that I could not and still do not understand. For the record, discrimination/racism is not always as blatant remark or a physical attack. Sometimes it looks like what I stated at the beginning.

                        Eventually I decided I would have to venture out or I would never find housing in SF. I found a place in East Oakland near Fruitvale station. The potential roommate (who will be called “K”, white female) and I talked over the phone and bonded over the women’s march (red flag #1).   

                        I expressed my frustration and dissatisfaction with my experience trying to find housing. She validated my experience and stated it was unfair and unethical for landlords to do this. She went as far to tell me she would help me take “legal action” if her landlord tried to do that. She and I agreed I would sub-lease from her as her roommate decided to move out before the lease was over. I felt good about the space, the roommate, and the location. I had my deposit, credit check, and proof of employment ready.  The landlord of the house told K he would prefer my name to be on the actual lease instead of subleasing. Originally K was advertising the room for $900, however once it came time for me to sign the lease from the landlord the price “suddenly” dropped to $875. Due to my previous experiences in SF, I knew something was off. I contacted the landlord and he disclosed the room had always been $875 and K advertised the price higher on her own. Yep, K was indeed trying to get over on me and “make a little extra cash and save on the rent."

                        K left me a message about how sorry she was, but she did not believe she was wrong. She felt bad for being misleading and she hoped there was a way we could work it out. She stated to me in the voicemail “it was a minuscule amount of money and it was not a big deal.” But folks, it is a HUGE deal, the fact that people feel they can scam people into leases, be dishonest AND feel it is “okay” frightens me. As a black woman, I cannot remain silent and not speak out against discrimination because of someone else’s discomfort with the color of my skin. 

                        I wish I could say this is not a common narrative, but I have connected with other black transplants who have experienced the same or similar experiences. The new mayor of San Francisco has plans to tackle homelessness and I hope those plans include looking at the intersection of racism, class, and homelessness. 

                        Fast forward I am living my best life in Oakland with my fiancĂ©. We have our own apartment and can afford rent. Oakland has given me the best welcome any transplant could ask for. However, I also want to acknowledge the gentrification and displacement of black people in Oakland as well. There will be a change in leadership in November, I hope the next Mayor of Oakland will allocate resources and take initiative to keep black folks here.  

                        Pro tip: the quickest way to get housing in the Bay Area is to get engaged and “shack up” 

                        KIDDING.

                        - Elise 


                        San Francisco to Seattle!

                        Wednesday, July 4, 2018


                        Christmas 2017 in San Francisco
                        During Christmas, I started to thin out my apartment - getting rid of excess clothes, books, decorations, and items that aren’t useful or memorable. I was starting to mourn San Francisco - I stopped making new connections, only strengthened ones I had, I started visiting all my favorite places, etc...

                        What. Was. Happening.

                        Every time, high school, college, grad school, my 3 moves in Northern California...this was a trigger that change was in the air.

                        When I was in South Dakota back in March, my friend who is getting married this weekend also on her 3rd move post college, asked me, “Are you a pre griever or a post griever?”...I never even thought of it like that, but I am a PRE griever.

                        I didn’t want to leave San Francisco. I don’t want to leave San Francisco.

                        But when I was talking to my best friend, I said that "I don’t know what it is, but truthfully, my life was evolving more a year ago:...and I can’t let another year go by without making some changes in my life.

                        So, I started slowly to job search.

                        In reality, my contract at work was up this next year, I am in a phase of life where I want to slow down, invest in more personal projects, and start making moves to move closer to home eventually. Professionally, I knew this was the time to move up the ladder in my field and that I needed to build new skill sets that don't currently exist in my experience.

                        Similar to every next life chapter, I made a list of requirements: X amount of salary, must be in a city that is diverse, title and responsibility bump, healthy work environment, room for creativity, near an international airport to get home quickly, and a role where I had less emotional stress compared to my current role.

                        After 29 applications, only 10 call backs, and 2.5 on campus visits...this was quite the process.
                        But in May, this small tech school interviewed me and gave me the salary range...I immediately declined. Taking advice from friends and mentors, and wanting to practice the advice I give, I knew that salary amount was not competitive to the city I’d be living in and it was about a $600 pay cut per month on my paycheck. Last week, they reached back out counter offering more money to the range I had asked for. 1) This meant my potential new supervisor likely advocated for the role and for me to receive a more competitive compensation. 2) This meant, I finally found a mutual fit!

                        I will be at a small tech school in the Seattle area! Although I am extremely sad to be leaving everyone in San Francisco...a post for later, I am also looking forward to a fresh chapter while I continue to move up the West Coast.

                        Seattle 2018

                        It's funny as I mentioned I was a pre griever. Because I've made every life decision not very excited about the future...when I was picking a graduate school, it made logical sense I go to this East Coast public school, but no I went to the private expensive Christian liberal arts school in Southern California. Then, I was set on the University of Connecticut as my first job out of graduate school because of the pay and the name behind the school. My mentor told me I needed to visit Monterey Bay since they offered an on campus...and guess where I went? Monterey Bay. After that, I was hesitant to move to San Francisco for a job and live with a family that I didn't know, but it got me into the city and then when a role popped up at San Francisco State, and after being asked 5 times to apply for a Residential Life role where I'd be on duty / on call again, I said NO. And then on the 6th time, I said yes...and although SFSU had its moments, its been the biggest learning and HEALING experiences of my life. So...if you ask me if I am excited to move to the Seattle area, I am...I am just a pre griever who has to take about 6-8 mos to warm up to change.

                        Although this 3 week turn around time is short, some things I still continue to learn - don’t settle, speak into existence what you desire, WORK FOR IT, and regardless of what happens, enjoy what is. You will never have the phase of life you’re in right now ever again. I will never be the Jayme experiencing what July 2018 has to offer again. So many celebrations to be had in the midst of transition and the space of no longer and not yet.

                        I am also now accepting moving boxes, tissues for tears, hugs, and get togethers :)

                        The Conductor Finally Sets Down His Baton

                        Wednesday, June 20, 2018

                        Introducing June's Author of the Month, Kyle Elliott. Kyle and I became fast friends working at San Francisco State University. After going through what I'd call a self-worth crisis, we both read Shauna Niequist's Present Over Perfect, and realized we needed to change our lives if we wanted to feel nourished and fulfilled in our day to day's. This led to Kyle leaving his job and going full-time as a Career Coach, a very successful one. You can click the link in his bio to set up your own consultation! 

                        It is amazing what a year can do for someone. I barely recognize either of us from where we were at a year ago. We are much happier, joyful, and always filled to the brim with lattes :)


                        Hello! I’m Kyle Elliott – a friend of Jayme’s and the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. Through my work, I help people navigate career and life transitions. I also help them find happiness. I love coffee (if you couldn’t tell), writing and eating the same thing at different restaurants. I also love sharing my whole truth; as such, I share this story with you so you may sit with me in my journey to slow down and find silence – something that is becoming a little easier for me each day.


                        The conductor keeps waving his baton faster and faster and faster.

                        The orchestra produces more and more music to keep up. But really, they just want to slow down. They just want a break. They just want to pause. They just want to breathe.

                        The conductor has been waving his baton for far too long. He won’t slow down. He won’t take a break. He won’t pause. He won’t breathe.

                        The conductor’s passion has allowed the orchestra to produce truly beautiful music.

                        The conductor’s passion has also drained the orchestra. They are incredibly tried. They are exhausted. They want to slow down. They want a break. They want to pause. They want to breathe.

                        The conductor is my compulsions. My need to keep going and going and going. My impulse to work on projects at 2 o’clock in the morning even when I’m exhausted.

                        The conductor is afraid that if he stops waving his baton and producing music, he won’t be able to start again.

                        While this has allowed the conductor to produce truly exceptional music, he has also exhausted the orchestra.

                        The orchestra is my drive to succeed and the music is my output — work, work, work.

                        The music that the orchestra produces is exceptional, but they never get to enjoy their music. The orchestra is exhausted. They just want the conductor to slow down so they can enjoy their own music. They just want to breathe.

                        They want the conductor to wave his baton a little slower. The conductor doesn’t even need to stop. He just needs to slow down so the orchestra can experience the music and catch their breath. So they can experience the music. So they can enjoy the audience and not be overwhelmed by the loudness.

                        The orchestra wants to push the conductor off the stage. They want to tell the conductor they are tired and out of breath. They want to end the busyness. They want to reap the rewards of the music they produce. They want to experience silence.

                        But they can’t push the conductor off the stage. They can’t gather the courage. So instead, they keep playing faster and faster.

                        Until someone in the ensemble stops playing.

                        And then another person in the ensemble stops playing.

                        And another person in the ensemble stops playing, until eventually only one person is playing.

                        The conductor notices, so he waves his baton faster and faster, with the hope that the audience won’t recognize members of the ensemble have stopped playing.

                        People in the audience do notice. It has become a solo performance. But to the conductor’s surprise, the audience starts clapping and cheering. They appreciate the show. While the ensemble was good, the soloist is even more beautiful. He is able to shine without being drowned out by the other members of his orchestra.

                        The conductor is in awe – he recognizes that he can slow down. That he can take a break. That he can pause. That he can breathe.

                        So the conductor sets down his baton and enjoys the music.

                        The Art of Feeling Sexy

                        Sunday, June 3, 2018

                        Taylor has been part of my life since she was a Resident Advisor (RA) at California State University at Monterey Bay in my first year as a Community Director back in 2013. I love the fun, creativity, and her ability to make anything a fashion statement that Taylor brings to this world. Read for what she has to say about feelin' yourself!

                        Taylor was born in a small Bay Area city in 1994, and moved to Monterey in 2012 to pursue a degree in Business Administration from CSU Monterey Bay. She graduated in the fall of 2016 and lived in Monterey until January 2018, where she then moved back to the Bay Area. In her free time she enjoys tackling DIY projects, blogging (sometimes), and reading corny romance novels.
                        From a very young age, I realized my body was different. As girls grew vertically, I was growing horizontally. My body was taken over by stretch marks, and cellulite dimples; I became overweight, unable to eat junk food without feeling judged, and overall I was unhappy. I was so obsessed with looking like a model in a magazine, an actress, or even just looking like a normal girl in my high school that it was a chore everyday to get dressed in the morning. When we would change in the locker rooms before and after gym class, I wanted to hide and be invisible. When we had to do swimming for school, I wanted to curl into a ball and disappear. It was bad enough that boys had to see me in a hideous bathing suit with a shirt on top to cover any rolls, but then I had to get butt naked in the locker room. I tried dieting, exercising, Weight Watchers, calorie counting, and a million other things that just didn’t work for me. It wasn’t until part way through college when I realized I was stuck with the body I had until I got up enough drive to change it. I started experimenting with my clothing choices in the past year or so and haven’t felt this good about my body in a long time.


                        That’s not to say I overcame my body image issues. To be quite honest, I don’t believe that will ever be the case. And it’s not that I think I’m ugly, but I have never considered myself to be anything more than cute or pretty. The words hot and sexy just don’t come to mind when I see myself, but I wanted that to change. Back in December I asked a close, talented, friend of mine how comfortable he would be taking boudoir inspired photos of me and he agreed. For those of you who don’t know, in photographyboudoir refers to a style in which women pose for photographs partially clothed or in lingerie (see here for a BuzzFeed video). This was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I had ever done. As the days got closer to the shoot, I became more and more nervous and insecure, but I wasn’t going to back out. I bought actual lingerie like a grown ass woman and fortunately enough there was a no return policy. But I knew this was something I needed to do for myself, so I did, and the results are pretty epic if I do say so myself.   

                        Photographer friend Daniel Duddy (Instagram: @dan_duddy_)

                        But, my reaction to these photos weren’t as I expected at first. I was appreciative of my friend but I felt slightly embarrassed to look at them. All I could see were my flaws: the stretch marks I hate, the rolls I try to hide, and the dimples in my fat. It wasn’t until I showed some of the photos to a few close friends that they started to grow on me. I started to see parts of myself I always thought were ugly, as beautiful. My stretch marks have been with me for as long as I can remember, they’re a part of me. When I see my body I can’t picture it without them, or without the rolls of fat I have. They are what make me who I am and who I’ve become. I’m sexy because of them, and because of my growing confidence. To anyone who struggles with seeing their body as sexy, or feeling confident about it, you should do something that makes you stare at your body in a different light. That’s not to say you should go get naked in front of a camera, but do something that makes you feel good. Get dressed up in your favorite outfit, go out, and be around people who love you for you. You can feel confident without changing your appearance. Accept it and embrace it for all its differences because you’re worth it. 
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