life curation · Uncategorized

Now is a Good Time . . .

Happy Thursday, friends! I have found it difficult to come up with a topic that is interesting enough to follow up the incredible interview I had with Tia Aya. I hesitated to write anything this week, because her story is so profound and I don’t want to follow that post with inane conversation.

However, I’ve taken a long enough break from posting on the blog, so I’m returning with (what I hope will be) useful information. Recently, Goldman Sachs announced a $10 billion initiative to close the wealth gap with Black women. I was thrilled to see this, as I am confident that this initiative will help many women, and perhaps it will even help some women that I know personally.

This initiative brings to mind the fact that many opportunities surround us, some big (like $10 billion) or small (a handy ebook that gives you a blueprint for financial freedom). Sometimes, we only recognize big opportunities, and neglect the small ones that may be seem insignificant but are actually sufficient for whatever phase of life you are in. Opportunities surround us constantly, if we just take the time to open our minds to what’s possible.

f you haven’t been steadily working toward your goals and carving out the time to do your work, then you may find that, when opportunities come along, you aren’t ready for them. Now is a good time to assess what’s working for you, whether you’ve been resting on your laurels, or in what areas you need to improve. If you find that you have to overhaul your entire life, so be it. The reward for doing your work is LIVING WELL. The work is well worth it.

Self reflection is key right now, because we are bombarded with messages that are harmful, and social media “controversies” that distract us from what really matters. There are a lot of things that can cause us to “take our eyes off of the ball”. The lack of attention to what really matters may cause us to waste time and money. We can’t afford to waste precious resources on trivial matters.

If I sound like I’m sounding an alarm, it’s because I am. I’m noticing that there are major shifts happening all around us, and most of us are too busy putting out small personal fires to notice the trends. Our best chance to thrive comes from recognizing opportunities and embracing them fully. But we can’t embrace opportunities that we cannot see, so it’s imperative that we pay attention and eliminate extraneous activities.

I’ll share more about this in future posts, but that’s all for now. I hope you all have a great day! Talk to you all tomorrow.

life curation

Reblog: Rooting 101 – The Importance of Investing in Self

Hello everyone! If you all recall, I mentioned last year that I would start reposting blog entries from my now defunct blog. Here is a post I wrote about investing in self and becoming the “whole” package. I thought it would be relevant at this time, with so much emphasis on leveling up and lifestyle enhancement. Enjoy!

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I wanted to write about investing in yourself, because I’ve noticed that many women fail to do this. These are bright, beautiful women that may be a perfect package in one area of their lives, but the rest is in shambles. Here are a few famous examples:

-Halle Berry is a physically gorgeous woman that bears the emotional scars from paternal abandonment and abusive relationships.

-Paris Hilton has money and is attractive but has a history of poor social interactions with other women and a string of failed relationships.

-Rosie O’Donnell is funny and famous, but has publicly struggled with obesity for years. (Recently, she has been successful in her weight battles- kudos to her!)

-Countless singers (including three of my favorites, Billie Holiday, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse) had wonderful voices but suffered from drug and alcohol addictions that eventually cost them their lives.

-Countless actresses (including two of my favorites, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe) were immensely talented but suffered from drug and alcohol addictions, as well as mental health issues.

Each of the women I listed above have/had golden lives: money, fame, beauty, access to the best of everything. Even with all of those perks, they still had messy lives in one or more areas. This is not a bash session: I sympathize with anyone struggling with life-limiting circumstances. But I want it to be clear, NO amount of “stuff” can make up for deficient interior lives. NO amount of stuff can cover over the insufficient coping skills that result from neglecting to invest in self.

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I’ve seen that the only difference between the girl that gets everything she wants and the girl that seems to always come up short is the amount of personal investment. There are a lot of women that are completely average in many ways, but they still live their lives in a way that makes them happy. However, I’ve also seen women that are above average, even extraordinary, in different ways, yet they are always unfulfilled and disgruntled about their lots in life. Many “average” women are proof positive that self investment, along with a positive outlook, WORKS.

I can’t take credit for all of the tips I’ve listed below. I have one friend that has employed most of these tips in order to create her dream life. She is well on her way to accomplishing all of her goals because of the time she has invested in herself. Most of these tips are things that she has recommended to others, especially since some people want to know her “secret”! Then, those same people seem discouraged when she tells them the truth and they realize that it isn’t a “secret” but hard work and self investment LOL! They seem disappointed that they can’t take a “shortcut” to happiness and fulfillment. Oh well: anything worth having is worth working for, right?

Get Therapy

This is a biggie. Too many women refuse to properly address what’s going on with them. There is a stigma associated with getting therapy: some people still believe that only “crazy” people need therapy. I’m convinced that the people promulgating this stigma need therapy more than most LOL! Therapy is a way to get an objective view of your circumstances, habits, and belief system. This is critical, especially when making life changing decisions.

Getting therapy is now easier and more discreet than ever. There are therapists online that accept clients from anywhere. Some people may benefit from having a face-to-face therapist, and that is fine. It’s just a matter of knowing what works and doing whatever is comfortable. If a person just needs to “talk”, there are websites that offer FREE active listeners. Options are available regardless of monetary and time constraints.

Speaking of comfort, therapists are just like any other medical professionals: people should only work with those professionals that make them feel comfortable. While the subject of conversation may be uncomfortable, the therapist should never be callous or cold.

Spend Time on Uplifting/Inspiring Things

How many times do people spend time on activities that make them feel bad? From church sermons that don’t nourish the soul, to family gatherings that leave one’s blood pressure high and spirits low, many people regularly engage in an assortment of discouraging activities. Most of this depressing activities are actually habits that have gone unquestioned and unchecked. It’s time to embrace uplifting and inspiring things only!

Part of spending time on uplifting things includes being far more discriminating about exposure. Limit (or stop spending) time with dysfunctional family members. Stop supporting churches that don’t leave you feeling closer to God. End your newspaper subscription (I’m serious: if the news is too depressing, limited contact is advised. If you *really* need to know something, someone will tell you; if the person that shares dismal news does so too often, cut that person off, too). Read the books that you want to read. Listen to music that excites your ears and heart. Learn what you enjoy and spend time doing those things.

Designate no less than 30 minutes a day to engage in self care

Self care goes beyond manicures, pedicures, and massages (though these are great self care options!) The concept of self care involves engaging in anything that takes care of some aspect of self. It could involve pouring a glass of expensive wine and dancing without abandon. Or, self care could be the “spa day” from heaven. It could be as simple as taking a nap or as complex as attending a retreat halfway around the world. No matter how self care is defined, at least 30 minutes per day should be dedicated to it. That’s just enough time to do something notable and enjoyable.

Those 30 minutes do not include the basic maintenance one engages in regularly (shower, tooth brushing, getting dressed). However, an extra long bath, that relaxes the nerves and soothes the soul, a thorough dental cleaning that makes one’s smile extra bright and clean, or spending some time playing “dress up” and feeding one’s inner child can be considered a form of self care.

Embrace a clean diet

It is possible to invest in self while eating junk food around the clock. But, those investments will be limited, because in order to enjoy them fully, good health (the result of healthy foods and exercise) is needed. This also connects to the concept of  “self care”: the best way to take care of self is to give the body what it needs to function at its maximum potential. “Clean diets” are a fad at the moment, but good, healthy eating habits never go out of style. As far as I can see, any eating regimen that consistently features nutritious food options and consistently eliminates junk or unhealthy foods with low nutritional value is a “clean diet”.

I’ve read and personally know of some people (including myself) that felt a massive energy surge after eliminating certain foods. Generally, food now is different from how it used to be (unless 100% organic or home-raised food items are consumed). So foods that used to be okay or “safe” may no longer be good for the body. Research, experiment, and stay consistent when things work: these are the keys to designing a clean diet that stands the test of time.

Start journaling

An important starting point for self-investment is self analysis. Understanding where a deficit may lie is the first step in fixing it. One of my dearest friends began her transformative journey by writing regularly in a journal, then looking back over her entries and learning what needed to be changed. Keeping a journal-even for a short period of time- can expose lots of inconsistent and damaging behavior and thought patterns.

Try keeping a journal for 30 days. Write in it every single day, and vow to cover at least a full page or two. Writing out frustrations can be extremely cathartic, and preserving happy moments in words can create a wonderful record to read and recreate those feelings. If it works well, then the journal can become a regular habit. Or, journal during unhappy times or exciting times. This can help with giving one a healthy channel to release unpleasant emotions or serve as a medium for capturing happy emotions to be remembered in the future.

Do a social media fast

When I hear of people that are news- and information-weary, I immediately think of how much social media these individuals use. Information overload is exhausting, and social media is rife with both unsettling and useless “news”. Not only does social media wear on the soul, but it is an immense time suck. Consider the concept mentioned in the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell (I’m sure I first learned of this book from a BWE blog, just can’t remember which one). It mentions the 10,000 hours to mastery rule. How many of those potential mastery hours are squandered on social media? Unless the goal is to master social media, those hours are wasted and cannot be recaptured. The best solution is to take a break from social media.

The harder it is to disconnect from social media, the more likely that the temporary break is needed. Social media addiction is real! Even fasting in small doses that increase over time (a few hours, then a day, then a few days, then weeks) will work. The best way to make a social media fast more tolerable is to plan something else during the time that the fast will occur. Perhaps some therapy, self care, preparing a clean meal, or journaling should be done during the social media fast. Or, plan to work on that 10,000 hour goal during the social media fast.

In conclusion, I believe that the self-investment is truly the key to a balanced, happy, fulfilled life. Understanding one’s value, and preserving it, is critical to living well. Employing some of the tips above (or any other tips you may have found effective ) should result in a higher quality of life.

luxury · style

My Top Three Tips for Finding Luxury Fashion Bargains

Hi friends! The roads are being cleared in the Mid-Atlantic region, only for more snow to fall in the next few days! I’m still staying warm and dry, and I hope the same for you all.

A few weeks ago, I went to one of my favorite thrift stores and just decided to check out what new finds they had. I walked out with two large bags of clothing and spent only $40. The bags contained several designer suits and some beautiful vintage blouses. I had gone to the same thrift store several weeks prior and gotten two lovely winter coats.

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Now, as you all may recall, I like to shop selectively. I don’t enjoy spending my money on items that won’t last very long. I like high quality pieces for great prices. This is part of the reason why I’ve distanced myself from some of the bargain retailers that I used to enjoy . . . I need clothes that will give me the best bang for my buck.

I also don’t like to clutter my wardrobe with a bunch of items that won’t last beyond the season. When I shop, I prefer to purchase investment pieces. This applies even when I’m at thrift stores. Just because the item has been pre-owned does it mean that I don’t hold it to a high standard! My family and friends are always amazed at some of the incredible buys that I can find, especially since these items are usually designer pieces. Their questions led me to creating this post just for you all to describe how I can find amazing luxury item for great prices. Enjoy!

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  • Do your research

What good is saving your money, picking an item, and purchasing it if you find out later that you invested poorly? It’s important to do research before investing in any luxury item. Remember that cost does not equal high quality: there are many items that label themselves “luxurious” but are in actuality overpriced, low quality goods. So do your research before purchasing any luxury item. Learn about the items best features and why it’s superior to its competitors. Compare it with similar items. If you find an item that’s being presented as a bargain, it helps to know the average selling price so that you can determine for yourself whether the price that it’s being offered for is a true bargain or if it’s too good to be true. There are a lot of high-quality knock-offs on the market, that are being sold for a pittance. If you are interested in buying true luxury goods, knowing the regular retail prices can help you avoid purchasing a good-looking fake.

  • Never be in a rush

When buying a luxury item, it’s crucial to take your time. Some of the best items can be purchased for  a steal if you time it right. Timing is not only about waiting for Black Friday sales; Actually, when it comes to most luxury goods, Black Friday is not the day that you can expect to find your best prices. Some retailers have seasons, or certain times of the year, when they clear out their overstocked  items. Patiently waiting for discounts can save a savvy consumer quite a bit of money when purchasing luxury goods.

  • There’s no shame in buying used luxury items

The beauty of pre-owned luxury items is that many of the previous owners have taken excellent care of their possessions.  if you don’t disclose when and how you bought an item, no one will know that you purchased it used. Also, depending on the luxury item, having previous owners may be unavoidable. Think of fashions from the 1920s and 1930s: surely you wouldn’t be the first person to own those items! So when purchasing used luxury items, just make sure that the items are in excellent condition or, at very minimum, in a condition that is suitable to you. Some items, such as furniture or home other home goods, may not need to be in pristine condition for what you’re intending. In fact, depending on the item, a slightly used, worn-in look maybe preferred.

Since this conversation is about luxury fashion, you would want to make sure that the clothing is in great condition before purchasing. Even vintage items should be scrutinized for signs of wear that can detract from the attractiveness of the garment.

Those are my top three tips for finding luxury fashion bargains! Do you all have any other tips? If so, please let me know in the comments below!