The Good The Bad & You: Are You Ready for Mr. Right?

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When it comes to relationships, there's the good, the bad, and You. You want the good but you keep meeting the bad. It looks like there are no good men left. You are at the point where you're ready to just give up on it all. The question is how much of it is YOU?

We start dating at a young age. In most cases well before we are mature. We don't even know enough to know what to look for. If it looks good to us that is all that matters. By the time you know what you should have, it's too late.

Think about how many "Mr. Wrongs" you had to meet before you knew what you didn't want. The disappointments and heartaches you went through were lessons. Throughout the process, you were learning about the good, the bad, and You. Or at least that's what should have happened.

You have to be ready for him and not just want him. The worst thing that can happen is meeting Mr. Right before you have gotten over Mr. Wrong.
 Some restrictions may apply! NOW ON SALE!

Some restrictions may apply! NOW ON SALE!

The problem is, most people never see themselves. It's always the other person. They don't even consider the fact they picked that person. Even when someone is not good for you or to you, you are still a part of the equation. After you've chosen the wrong person enough times, there's just no good ones left. You begin to develop an "I will just accept it" mindset. Expectations are lowered and before you know it, you just want a MAN. This will cause even more emotional damage.

When you finally realize you deserve better, there will be a wall built up. No matter how good someone is, it will be hard for you to see it.  Even the good will look bad to you. Their honesty will look like game. Their efforts will only be because they want something from you.  Remember, even no-good men know what a good man is supposed to do.

This is why after a failed relationship, time alone is important. You have to do a self-examination. Find out how much of what went wrong was you. You will have to take some responsibility, even if it was just being attracted to them. Take the time to fix you. If you're not willing to take these steps, you may not be ready for Mr. Right. If you meet him in that same mindset, you will lose him. You have to be ready for him and not just want him. The worst thing that can happen is meeting "Mr. Right" before you have gotten over "Mr. Wrong."


MEET ROBERT NOLDEN

A motivational speaker, author, and one of the country's premier relationship and life coaches with a mission to help black people get this thing called love right.  Prescribing antidotes to heal wounds of self love and romantic love, the self proclaimed Love Dr.  Rob creates personalized plans for clients to help them make a healthy emotional transition 

Carie, Jonell & Adalynn

I first met Carie & Jonell back in 2014. They'd recently hired me to shoot their wedding, so this particular blog is personal for me. As a wedding photographer and empath, I am incredibly observant of my clients, and what I remember most about the initial meeting was their energy and the way they connected with another. When people are truly in love, it shows in their actions. Honestly, if I had to sum it up, it's almost magnetic: when she moved, he moved. His consideration for and gentleness with Jonell showed me that Carie was a man that took great care of the woman he was about marry. And Jonell? She's completely enamored by him, stating that his free spirit, positive and light hearted personality makes him a joy to be around. His support for her motivates Jonell to be her best self, and I think we can all agree that's the kind of love everyone deserves. There is a lot of respect and admiration between them, and I'm honored they they chose me to witness and document some of their most memorable moments: their wedding, pregnancy and even their first born, Adalynn Rose.

We continuously court one another, focusing on our relationship, personal goals and individual needs. I believe this makes for a great combination of a healthy life and relationship together. - Carie

One thing Carie and Jonell do is focus on the simple things that make them happy, essentially sustaining the foundation of their love. A few of the things they enjoy doing include experiencing new places together (they have an appreciation for the great outdoors), going on hikes and walks in the park as a family.

And how do they manage it all as a new family? According to Jonell, she has one answer: communication!

"Communicating each other's wants and needs really helps to keep us both happy and healthy". With the birth of their first born, Adalynn (also affectionately known as Addy), their bond strengthened for one another. Black love translates to the continuity of our people, and when we asked what black love meant to them, Carie believes that "black love is powerful, life changing and I am constantly reminding myself that we can manifest and influence change for generations to come."

Our love has grown to new heights with the birth of our daughter. Parenting is a new dynamic that has shown us so much favor! Our family means the world to us.
— Jonell

One thing I will always respect about love stories like theirs is that it will transcend time: this is only the beginning for the Steed Family, but the impact of their love will be felt for generations to come.

 

Photographs by XO Quinntographer and Amber Wedd Photography


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Blog Curated by Quinn Gordon, Founder of BMWB

Quinn is a Lifestyle + Wedding Photographer, Content Creator and Writer out of New Orleans. Considering herself a Visual Storyteller and Content Creator, Quinn specializes in documenting love, life and art through her photography and personal blog.

Where Do We Begin Men?

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Let them tell it, there’s no such thing as a faithful man. Him being a whore is just in his nature, so you just got to let him do him. That’s the B.S. that has many women messed up now. Because they assume that every man is going to be unfaithful, it doesn’t make sense for them to be. That’s cool, until you meet a REAL MAN. In all honesty, as young men we do a lot of dumb stuff. Our biggest problem is nobody ever taught us the importance of loving one woman. We are encouraged to have as many women as we can. The more women we have, the more man we are. Having received this misguided information and passing it down generations, you then question why so many of us have problems with fidelity. Our fathers walk around with stars on their chest when they see us behaving like this. Even many of our mothers have reinforced that same stereotype. Whether it’s hearing her say that's just what men do or watching her stay with a man who's cheating, it has a psychological impact on you. Conditioned to think if it was good enough for my mother, it’s good enough for you too.

In so many ways, society has allowed us the freedom to disrespect our women and ourselves. We are given a double standard and expected to figure out which is right. Treat her like you would want somebody to treat your mom, sister, or daughter; but cheating on her, not taking care of her emotions - that’s part of being a man.  Add all that up and tell me how is a man, any man supposed to know how to value his woman.

There is a time at some point many of us grow up.  We begin to long for something more. And as we mature emotionally, we develop a whole new respect for our feelings and the women involved in our lives. The scary part is at that point you have caused so much emotional damage, the one you want to love can’t love you back. 

There's a lot of adult males out here, but few REAL MEN. These grown adolescents are still running around putting more value on quantity than quality. They're still not sure of who they are, running from their emotions, and are afraid somebody might one day see their pain.  However, that REAL MAN, he understands it's his emotions that makes him a man.  He knows it’s not about how many women he’s had more of, it's about how he treats the woman he has. Once he has hit that emotional growth spurt, not only does his value of himself increase, so does everything and everyone around him. Simply put, if you never had a Real Man, you better get you one.


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A motivational speaker, author, and one of the country's premier relationship and life coaches with a mission to help black people get this thing called love right.  Prescribing antidotes to heal wounds of self love and romantic love, the self proclaimed Love Dr.  Rob creates personalized plans for clients to help them make a healthy emotional transition 

Black Beard Love: Amir & Vanessa Celestine

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Zora Neal Hurston once said, "Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place." That is the kind of love worth living for, the kind of love that protects and understands. It allows you to be your self with all of your imperfect parts, appearing perfectly in the eyes of your lover. And if you take a stroll down the Instagram timelines of Miami, FL couple Amir and Vanessa Celestine,  you will find your self caught up in the rapture of all things right and rich in black love. 

“Whether it’s creating a new piece on a canvas for our home, designing a jacket or trying to create babies, it’s fun to come together and use our God-given talents to mutually express ourselves. Even when we’re not creating together it’s euphoric. Some nights, we’re up until the wee hours of the morning drinking wine, jamming to indie R&B tunes, and just enjoying each other’s presence as we work on individual creative projects.”
— Amir and Vanessa Celestine
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Art is love and the bond shared between Amir and Vanessa is a creative necessity of existence and the power of a unit. The two recently took their affinity for creative arts (all things black love if you will), and created NouNou Home, a photo collection of their personal love abode, handmade goods and home design inspo, completely centered around the feel good vibes and aura of their love. Representation matters when it comes to the concept of not only love, but strong family units and the expression of ones self.  

We asked the couple how do they keep the romance is their relationship: one word, SEX. Don't be shy or a prude, that is after all, a very important ingredient! All jokes aside, Amir and Vanessa consciously make an effort to do the same activities that built up the fire and desire during their courtship, such as dancing, photo shoots, outdoor adventures and traveling to new places. What does Amir love most about Vanessa? Her fiery spirit is what attracted him. "She's a go-getter, and a great one at that."

“I love his beard. I thank baby Jesus for it all the time.”
— Vanessa Celestine

And how about Vanessa?  "I love his beard.  I thank sweet baby Jesus for it all the time, LOL," she says jokingly. Amir's calming spirit and integrity is what won her over. "I needed someone with his discipline and patience to complement my weakness." Your life partner should do that for you, and you in turn should put to rest any insecurities they may have with the power of your love.  Love is a beautiful thing, the strength and power that unites black couples together is something that's "truly divine."  We asked the couple for their definition of black love, and Vanessa's response snatched our edges and tugged on the strings of our soul. Black love personified came full circle for the couple during their honeymoon.

"While on our honey moon in Paris, my husband and I watched the video of Philando Castile's last moments in silence. Once it was done, you could feel the atmosphere in our little Parisian flat change. The gravity of being black had laid heavy burdens on our shoulders. We felt helpless. We felt discouraged. We felt broken. And maybe a little defeated. As a black woman, a partner to a black man, how do I shield him? How do I encourage him? How do I position him to be seen as a king and a mighty man and not a thug in the eyes of society? How do I protect him? How can I assure him that his clean record, clean-cut, respectful demeanor and faith in God is enough to save his life? 

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I could feel the weight on his shoulders too, and see the pain in his eyes as he saw himself move down the food chain to become hunted prey. So I grabbed him and held him in my arms as if they could shield him from the outside world. I wanted him to know that I am with him. I wanted him to know that I would be defending him until we took our last breath. I wanted him to know that those vows we took before God (better or for worse - till death do us part) are pierced in my heart in allegiance to his well-being and livelihood. Then in one of the weakest and vulnerable moments in our seven-day marriage, we both got on our knees and prayed. We prayed for peace, justice, restoration, strength, discernment, and victory over the weapons of the enemy. That's black love. We suffer together. We persevere together."

Grabs tissue, slowly claps and reaches out for a strong hug because Vanessa just took us there! If THAT isn't what black love is and all about, I ain't black. Get into all the goodness of black love that is The Celestines' and follow their love story on IG. 

One Night Stand - The After Her Effect by Love Doctor Rob  

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It's funny how many men don't realize that they were the one night stand. I have listened to them brag. The story is always the same. They smashed her and didn't call her after. They never stop to think she didn't call them either.

Imagine the shot a man's ego takes when he realizes the script has been flipped. All the game he thinks he has ran and it was run on him. She is actually the one with the game. She knew what she wanted and got it. While he was lying and scheming she had already planned to give him some and not call him again.

One night stands are common these days. No one is even shy about them anymore. Even with that being said a lot of men still believe it is all about them. Their minds won't let them think that it is a two-way street. She was so into him that she gave in to him. He got what he wanted and he doesn't have to deal with her after. Not one time does he imagine she is feeling the same way.

A lot of men are aware that more women are in touch with their sexuality. The immature men figure that means that is only a benefit to them. They don't have to work as hard to get it, nor do they have to stay with them after. It is a win-win situation for them. Poor little tink tink, if only he knew.

The fact is many women have decided they want the sex without a headache. The headache is generally the person attached to the sex. They don't have to put up with the lies, b.s., and games. The already know what it is so when she is done she keeps it moving. Point blank ain't nobody got time for that. Though it is not every man, too many of them have played games with women. It is easier to just THINK LIKE A MAN. Men get what they want and leave all the time. If they do it why can't a woman do the same thing? She has needs too.

I'm not saying it is right. Karma is real and what goes around does eventually come around. The irony is what happens when it does come around. It is a whole different world when the shoe is on the other foot. Most men are used to being the predator and not the prey. The minute a woman does it to him she is a whole hoe out here. That's why he does what he does. You can't trust no of these women. He is scarred for life.

The sad part is this didn't just start happening. Men have been put in this position more times than they know. It is not until they meet that one that they want to call back that they notice it. That's when they feel the After Her Effect.

Love is...

Love is a deep appreciation and mutual respect for another; it is conscious striving for the beloved. It is is willful thoughtfulness - properly planned and executed. The season of love never fails us; it rolls around every February, sensual, romantic, and that adoring-burning-bubble of love burst in the form of what we like to call Valentine's Day (que 90's r&b classic). Melodic voices filling your heads now with the "Baby You Know I Love You" and the "I Wanna Love You for Life" - all those feels right! Love is an action word, unconditional and ever lasting. Prince Akeem so wonderfully sung it in "Coming to America".

Valentine's Day has been commercialized in a way that conditions lovers to treat your significant other extra special. There's no where you can look and not get gift ideas and baskets, make dinner plans and buy roses. With a holiday for lovers that seemingly focuses on women, we at BMWB wanted to hear from the guys. We spoke with a few good bearded men and got their recants of their most memorable Valentine's Day ever.


Omar

Status:  Single

What's your most memorable Valentine's Day?

Back in 2015, I got a hotel for the weekend for me and my woman. A weekend filled with laughter, fun and an aura you couldn't explain.

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Queyoun

Status:  In a relationship

What's your most memorable Valentine's Day?

My most momerable Valentine’s Day would have to be when I took my daughter on a date to show her what to expect from the men that she may date in the future .

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Jerome

Status:  Married

What's your most memorable Valentine's Day?

My most memorable Valentines Day was while in college, my wife made a mystery puzzle over the course of days where she dropped clues in front of my dorm room of a secret admirer and I had to put the pieces together. That was 8 years ago, and we’re married now but I still have and cherish that puzzle.


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Kenneth

Status:  Single

What's your most memorable Valentine's Day?

Last year, the staff and I threw a party for the kids at the Boys and Girls Club. So many parents and the community came with so much support it was really amazing, definitely my best yet.


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Eron

Status:  Single

What's your most memorable Valentine's Day?

Taking someone to Destin and having dinner on the beach at Seagar’s. It’s one of those, “After 5 attire” restaurants. There was a piano bar while you waited to be seated. We were the only Blacks in the entire restaurant.  There was a violinist walking around serenading the tables and when he saw us he literally stopped playing.  He was shocked that there were Blacks in there. He ran to our table and started playing, “Killing Me Softly.”  I guess that was the blackest song he knew haha.  After he played the first two bars of the song, I looked at him and he was making his eyebrows go up and down rapidly, as if to say, “Didn’t think I knew this huh?”  When the waiter came to ask if we wanted a glass of wine, I bought the bottle.  When he asked, “How do you want your lobster?” I replied, “FRIED!” Lol, Great times!


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Zamon

Status:  Single

What's your most memorable Valentine's Day?

Tough one, mostly because my B-day is 2 days before V-day, so the gifts are intertwined. If I had to pick, I’d say the one when the day started with breakfast in bed, then got a trip to NYC to a awesome hotel, and ended with a play off Broadway.

Happy Valentine's Day, But To Who?

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While February 14th is quickly approaching, and men are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They are doing everything from ordering flowers and setting dinner reservations, to buying diamonds. It’s almost like a part two to Christmas. The only difference is, it’s the women in their lives that have become the excited little kids waiting on a gift.

Most men haven’t even gotten a gift since elementary school, and that’s only because the teacher made the whole class bring something.
— Love Dr. Rob
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For the average man he’s not even excited. This ain’t even a day for him. Most men haven’t even gotten a gift since elementary school, and that’s only because the teacher made the whole class bring something. By the time you reach Junior High that’s dead. Your mama is buying cards and candy for you to bring your lil girlfriend, as she put it, and telling you not to expect anything back. Now how are we supposed to get excited about that?

Keeping it all the way 100, as little boys we’re not taught much about love. They tell us that having multiple women, and sex is what men do. With that being said, it’s no surprise that a day that is dedicated to love, is not geared towards us. Even the commercials only show us buying something for the woman in our lives.  By the time we become grown men, we are conditioned to not even expect anything on Valentine’s Day. If you do get something, 9 out of 10 men already know it's going to be SEX. Now as much as we like sex, it’s kind of like us re-wrapping something you already had and giving it back to you. It might take a couple of people a minute to get that one.  I think it’s important for women to know that a grown man, especially your man, also wants to feel special. The best way to get him amped up is to do as much for him as you want done for you. Treat him to a special night. Go out and purchase something for him that says “I Love You”. I’m not saying you have to get him flowers or diamonds, but imagine what would make your heart smile, and give it. The crazy part is because most of us aren’t expecting, the simplest thing will get us excited.


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MEET ROBERT NOLDEN

A motivational speaker, author, and one of the country's premier relationship and life coaches with a mission to help black people get this thing called love right.  Prescribing antidotes to heal wounds of self love and romantic love, the self proclaimed Love Dr.  Rob creates personalized plans for clients to help them make a healthy emotional transition 

Black Beard Love: Anthony & Sopha

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A marriage is between 3 people - Man, Woman, and God, and it's the God in him that won her over. Meet Anthony and Sopha, the loving couple from Dallas, TX. Getting married is one thing, staying married is another. Growing a marriage requires work and compromise; the effort of both spouses engaging each other mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It's their faith that draws Anthony and Sopha closer to each other.

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"I love his heart for the Lord. I love how he is constantly serving and mentoring young men through the sport of Basketball."  According to Sopha, Anthony has an enormous heart, making him love hard and do anything for anyone because that's just the kind of man he is. Supportive, caring and ready to help when ever needed. And Anthony? He adores Sopha, admitting she has one of the most beautiful smiles he's ever seen, her spirit radiating from within, and her compassion something to emulate. That type of selfless love she has for empowering and inspiring others makes Anthony love her more each day.

I love that my wife doesn’t know a stranger. She loves everyone she meets.
— Anthony

So what do these two lovebirds enjoy doing together the most? Having hectic work schedules during the week limits the amount of time Anthony and Sopha get to spend with each other, so they make it a point to designate Saturdays for some lazy love lounging by hanging out and watching movies.

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"A typical Saturday results in us making a fort in our living room and binge watching our favorite TVs shows," says Sopha. Being a creative and married to a creative, one can imagine the musing this love breeds. Sopha explains she enjoys capturing Anthony while he is behind the camera working. "There's something special about seeing Anthony photographing that makes me happy." Nothing like gazing at the one you love create beautiful art right? They also enjoy working out together, trying out new things together, and praying together. They also compromise on the things that the other wouldn’t normally do, like doing outdoor activities because that’s what Sopha loves, or doing something inside because that what Anthony enjoys. 

This is black love. The kind of couple you look at and can't help but to feel the love they have for each other, and the kind of love that you cheer them on from the sidelines because black love is communal. They are what we hashtag #goals: he protects her love and she nurtures his soul.

"Black love is beautiful. To us, its embracing and appreciating who we are and where we come from. It's celebrating as a culture, black families taking back what belongs to them.  Destroying this image of broken homes and statistics that have labeled our communities as impoverished. It's celebrating the beauty in seeing black families empower, inspire, and rise above all circumstances that were set up against them. It's celebrating the role models who give others hope in healthy love. Black love is magic and I am so thankful we get to celebrate and own our blackness."

Keep on showing off what we know to be true, that black love prevalent and alive. Follow Sopha and Anthony on IG!

Black Beard Love: Gabe & Witne

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Love is stronger than pride, word to Sade. Love is something we appreciate more from the actions of those we love and those that love us. If you let society tell it, the black family is struggling for existence, becoming a thing of the past and no one wants to be in a committed monogamous relationship (insert side eye emoji right here).

We're here to not only tell you but show you just how much stronger and thriving the notion of black love is with positive imagery of the resurgence of the black family.

Meet Gabe and Witne, a Chef and a Sales Manager living in the charming city of New Orleans. The love these two have for each other not only poured out of the beautiful pictures of their engagement session (they've been together since high school and are getting married on January 20, 2018), but can also be felt in the words they expressed for one another in their interview. When asked to describe each other using only verbs (words like grow, love, care, see, focus and motivate), it's clear that their love is genuine.

 Black love is when two people jointly understand, acknowledge and appreciate the uniqueness of and greatness in each other. Black love is the essence of self love. When our little black babies grow up confident and proud of who they are because we've been the shining example to them - that is black love. It embodies the strength, beauty and power in one another as well as together. Our relationships have been illegitimately demeaned for so long, the truth is, we are the strongest when we are together. - Gabe & Witne

Black love is when two people jointly understand, acknowledge and appreciate the uniqueness of and greatness in each other. Black love is the essence of self love. When our little black babies grow up confident and proud of who they are because we've been the shining example to them - that is black love. It embodies the strength, beauty and power in one another as well as together. Our relationships have been illegitimately demeaned for so long, the truth is, we are the strongest when we are together. - Gabe & Witne

Love is one of those things that has to be worked at and nurtured in order for it to continue to grow. When you're in a relationship, you have to commit to doing those things that got you to love even after the sparks simmer down. Gabe and Witne keep the romance alive by having dinner together every night, making sure to give one another their undivided attention at the dinner table by banning the use of cellphones. Witne mentions that her friends would attest that she hardly ever answers the phone once she is home with Gabe.

 "We're able to keep the romance by listening to each others needs. We eat dinner together almost every night. It's just the two of us, no cellphones or other distractions. Dinner time is our peace. This is the time we talk about what's to come in the future like where we'll travel together or how many children we'll have."

"We're able to keep the romance by listening to each others needs. We eat dinner together almost every night. It's just the two of us, no cellphones or other distractions. Dinner time is our peace. This is the time we talk about what's to come in the future like where we'll travel together or how many children we'll have."

Keeping active, doing those things that makes your partner happy and smiling, things that let them know they are not only thought of and cared for, they are demonstrating that love is a verb and not just a word. So how do Gabe an Witne accomplish this and enjoy each other as a couple? With food! Being in a city like New Orleans where food is made with love, the two are always on the hunt for the latest food festival or newest and hottest eatery. Even when they are traveling they make the exploration for good food part of their couple routine.

One thing that Gabe appreciates about Witne is her acceptance of him. For Witne, the thing she loves most about Gabe is his eageneress to make her happy.

"His answers are always catered to my liking. I can hear him saying 'I am always going to like what makes you the most happy'".

Their devotion to one another is the epitome of black love.

Keep up with Gabe and Witne on IG to see how their love unfolds!

 "What I love most about Witne is that she accepts me for who I am and she brings our the best in me." - Gabe

"What I love most about Witne is that she accepts me for who I am and she brings our the best in me." - Gabe

Keep up with Gabe and Witne on IG to see how their love unfolds!

Photography provided by Jeremy Tauriac