My First Blogger Award + 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

versatile blogger award

Many thanks to Brandi Hawthorne of the blog Woman Live! (brandihawthorne.wordpress.com) for nominating me for The Versatile Blogger Award! This is my first time receiving a nomination like this so I really appreciate it, thank you Brandi! How sweet!

versatile-blogger-award

The rules for the nomination are to:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their site!
  2. Tell seven random facts about yourself.
  3. Pay it forward to thirteen versatile bloggers.

Well I sincerely thank Brandi for thinking of me when choosing 13 bloggers to pay it forward to after first receiving her nomination! Be sure to check out her nomination post to check out the other great bloggers she mentioned.

7 Random Facts About Me

Now, I have to come up with 7 random facts about myself?? Hmm…what are 7 random things that you don’t know about me…

  1. I’m terrible with knowing my right from left. Seriously, it’s pretty embarrassing! I’m one of those people who has to stretch out my forefinger and thumb on both hands to see which one makes an “L”, so I’ll know which one is my left. When I give people driving direction, I always use “north side of the road” and “turn south” because I screw up left vs. right all the time, haha! My friends think I’m just really precise with directions but little do they know…I can’t tell my left from my right!
  2. I’m an excellent ice skater! Maybe it helps to be from Michigan? I don’t know, but from the first time I ever set foot in an ice skating ring, I could just glide no problem. I can even skate backwards.
  3. I always sing the background, chorus, and the hook of every song while driving in the car as my secret dream is to be a background singer. This annoys my husband so much that he makes it a game to predict when I’m going to “come in” on the song, lol. To make matters worse, I’m only an okay singer, I have a very limited range — I’m an alto. I can hold a few notes but I would never perform on my own…which is why I want to sing backup!
  4. I named my car “Rocket” (but I call her “Rockie” for short). Yes, she’s a female car. As soon as I bought her, I drove her home, walked around her and thought “Hmm, what is this car’s name?” Instantly, a spunky girl with blue streaks in her hair (my car is blue) came to mind and I could hear her say, “Hi, I’m Rocket!” That was it, I’ve called her Rocket (Rockie) ever since!
  5. I lost my engagement ring on a business trip. That was probably the worse day I ever had while engaged. I was going through security at the airport and as I glanced at my left arm to take my watch off, I realized that my finger was bare. Oh, my, goodness, my heart still sinks when I remember that feeling! I immediately called my team and had them check the site where we were working, they looking in the trash cans in all the women’s bathrooms, and I raced back to the hotel where I was staying to search the room. No luck. However, I had my ring insured literally the day after my husband proposed (he proposed when we were out of town and I was paranoid that something would happen to it on our way home), so I ended up having to file a claim to get it replaced. My husband was soooo mad, he didn’t talk to me for like, 4 days! He ended up buying me the exact same ring with the insurance money though, so no one knows the difference. Still, sometimes I miss my old ring.
  6. Chicago (in the summertime) is my favorite city in the US. I have been infatuated with Chicago since the first time I visited it over a decade ago. I would never live there in the winter (been there, done that growing up in Detroit) but I think Chicago in the summer is a magical place. I love it. My hope is to one day own a summer home there.
  7. I am of Caribbean lineage. Sort of. My Grandfather and his family were from the Bahamas. Cat’s Island, Bahamas, to be exact. I didn’t find this out until I started doing a family history project in high school. My mom always said my dad’s side was “West Indian” but I never knew what that meant. My grandfather passed away when I was 8 or 9, so I never got a chance to ask him about this, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I think it’s cool that I have Caribbean lineage! I want to one day visit and find out more about that side of my family.

My 13 Versatile Blogger Nominees

I’m nominating the following bloggers in no particular order. Everyone who is on this list is someone who (1) hasn’t been nominated before (as far as I know), (2) blogs in a unique and interesting way and (3) deserves more promotion (in my opinion). These are my 13 versatile bloggers:

  1. Beta Motivation
  2. The Femme Focus
  3. MyFabFinance
  4. Ambitious Curls
  5. HeyGorJess
  6. RitaSpeaks
  7. Style and Grace
  8. The Inspired Cafe
  9. The Tiny Closet
  10. Black Girls Social
  11. Girls of Royalty
  12. She and Money
  13. Leanne Lindsey

***

Many thanks once again to Brandi for nominating me! This is a fun way to spread the love to other lovely bloggers.

Talk To Me:

What are some of your favorite blogs?

*Astounding* Wisdom from Lauryn Hill at Age 25

lauryn hill knowledge

Oh. My. Goodness. Lauryn Hill is (was?) incredible. Firstly, I can’t believe she was only 25 dropping these truth bombs! Like, what??? I’m the same age now as Lauryn Hill is in this video and I am just astounded at the amount of knowledge and self-awareness she possessed at this point in her life. Right now, I’m on this kick where I’m really inspired by what I feel are “self-possessed” women, meaning women who are self-contained and confident in their knowledge of themselves and their quirks.

I like this video not only because Lauryn is just so cool, calm, and collected (I can’t believe she was only 25…) but because she speaks about things that many of use are dealing with, no scratch that, things that I am dealing with right now. It’s like she plucked all the ideas and concepts swimming around in my brain right now and went back in time to her 25 year old self just to shed light on them.

Gems:

“The music industry is just a microcosm of the world. So whenever you stand for something and you stand for goodness and truth you will always get resistance, period.

“Five years ago I was so thin skinned. Whatever anyone said…then one day I woke up. And it was like, my skin, it was so thick, it was impenetrable by those fiery darts. They just had no effect. And I realized that that was a strength and a confidence that only came from a higher source.”

“It’s better to be righteous than right.”

In order to be used by God, you have to really be used. We always want to be used for the glorious jobs…but that’s not being used. Sometimes being used also means you have to be humiliated…

“We don’t know love like we should. We always talk about ‘I have unconditional love”…unconditional love is…we don’t even know it. Because if a person stops stimulating us, we stop loving them. You’re not interesting to talk to anymore, goodbye. But that real love, that love that sometimes is difficult, difficult to have. That’s that love. And that’s a confidence builder.”

“The only reason The Miseducation was the album it was because of the myriad of experiences that took place before the production part. Before the creation. So what I realized is, you know what, I can’t create and not live. I can’t be in this vacuum of creativity, creativity, creativity, without life.

We’re all trying to get to this next level without the next level finding us. You know, life is peaks and valleys. Some people explain that as good times and bad times…but I actually think it’s learning, mastership, learning, mastership. Or study, mastership, study, mastership.

“Never be afraid of not knowing. Find out.”

“Let’s not be mediocre in our greatness. Think big. And think in doses. Think in experiences. And don’t be afraid of experiences that teach you.

Her thoughts on mastership resonated with me so. stinkin’. hard! I’m in this space where I’m really starting to understand not only the value but the NECESSITY of MASTERING YOUR CRAFT if you aspire to be great. So many young women and young people, people in my generation in general, want what their favorite musician or actress or entrepreneur or whoever has without first dedicating themselves to MASTER what it takes to get there. And mastery is hard because as Lauryn spoke about with her choosing not to record music at that time, mastery takes you out of the game for a minute. Mastery takes years. It’s like a “time out” that you call on yourself which means letting some opportunities go by. But if you appreciate mastery with the right mindset, then you understand that its better to let go of a good thing in favor of the more excellent thing. This is what I’m trying to will myself to do!

Many thanks to Keturah Ariel for sharing this video!

***

Talk to Me:

What do you think about Lauryn Hill’s comments? Anything in particular stand out to you?

Pause: How to Do a Mini-Reset When Life Gets Overwhelming

mini life reset
As I write this, I am 30,000 feet in the air on my way home from a work trip in DC. It was really nice to see my old stomping grounds again! While its great to “check in” on the city and see whats new and happening, without failure I always end up jam-packing my days, trying to squeeze in everything the city has to offer before its time to go home again.

This time was no different. I was all over the city tasting new and old favorite restaurants, checking out museums, and shopping at every consignment store in a in a 10-mile radius.

Although I enjoyed my visit, to say I’m beat would be an understatement. I’ve had a lot going on these last three weeks and I am ready. to. go. home! As free spirited as I can be, after too long I start craving my bed, my food, my surroundings, and my routine. If I go too long without those things I can get a little “off” and overwhelmed.

Lucky for me, as soon as this plane lands, I’m going to go right into what I call my “mini reset.” When life gets crazy and I just need to get my mental, physical, and spiritual “groove” back, I call “time out!” on everything and spend a few days getting myself recalibrated.

The following are steps you can do to “reset” at anytime you are feeling overwhelmed. These steps aren’t hard and you can do as often as you need to. Also, you can do any of these steps on their own, but I find that if you do each one at a time, in order, you’ll feel the greatest impact. Here’s the process I like to call my “mini-reset on life”: [Read more...]

Should You Use All-Natural Hair Products? Cheryl of FoxyMango.com Weighs in

should I use all natural hair products

Years ago, I wrote a post called Should Naturals…well, Go Natural? that explored whether or not women forgoing perms to wear their natural hair texture should also forgo traditional, chemical-laden hair products in lieu of all-natural ones.

Back then, my conclusion was that all-natural hair products were generally worth it…but I still liked a few traditional, commercial products (*cough cough* eco-styler gel…) and I wasn’t quite ready to give them up!

Fast forward to today and lately, I’ve been reconsidering. I’ve been working on overhauling my diet as I’ve learned more about the dangerous chemicals found in virtually all processed food. This has me thinking: if what you put in your body radically affects your health, maybe what you put on your body does too…

Lucky for me, I’ve recently connected with Cheryl, owner of foxymango.com, an online retailer of all-natural hair and skin products. Cheryl is a sweet, thoughtful lady with a lot of knowledge about safe and natural personal care product ingredients. I asked her to weigh in on the safety and “natural-ness” of common natural hair product ingredients and she did!

In fact, not only did she share all her knowledge about this topic but she is also offering 10% off from anything in her store (including the Soultanicals line — love that brand, they are a MUST buy) to all Think and Grow Chick readers! Just use this code: TGC10.

And without further ado, let’s see what Cheryl has to say about natural product ingredients and whether YOU should be using them:

[Read more...]

B-Side Mastermind: Monthly Meeting #2 (April)

b side meeting 2 Hello and welcome to The B-Side, a mastermind group for entrepreneurial women! On the first of each month, I share my business-related goals, challenges, and triumphs while inviting you to do the same! I’d love for you to join me; you can learn more about participating by clicking here.

Time flies, no? It’s already been a month since our first B-Side meeting! So how did you do on your March goals? Here’s how I did on mine:

Last Month’s Business Goals & Results

  1. Get my blogging schedule down. I did really good at this! I was pretty consistent with my blogging and managed to get 3-4 posts out every week.
  2. Come up with an effective social media plan. At first I was really struggling with this, but the blogging course I’m involved in, Bright-Eyed and Blog-Hearted has been very helpful. Rachel, the course creator, sent out some really great worksheets to map out your social media effort for the week. I still want to get better at actually implementing it, but what I’m doing now is a lot better than the haphazard way I was going about it before.
  3. Complete the blogging course I signed up for. I haven’t completed this course yet because its still in progress. I didn’t realize it was a 6-week course, which is great! I am a little behind on the course work but I’ve been making steady progress.
  4. Guest post on two blogs in my niche. I didn’t get to guest post on two blogs…but I did guest post on one! I’m a contributor for the wonderful site, ForWomentoWomen.com. You can check out my guest post here.

This Month’s Business Goals

This month, I want to kick it up a notch and do some things I haven’t done on the blog before. Since my ultimate goal is for TGC to be an on- and offline personal development company for women, I want to start offering things on the blog in that arena. My goals for this month are to:

  1. Spend more time writing and editing blog posts. Though I was really consistent in getting 3-4 posts out every week, I’ve found that writing that frequently doesn’t give me a lot of time to mull over the post and really refine them. Initially, I was hoping to write all the posts over the weekend and schedule them throughout the week, but its very difficult to sit down and blog for 4-5 hours straight, coming up with everything from scratch as you go. Instead, I’ve decided to blog 2-3 times a week so that I’ll have more time to let me ideas develop and improve my writing. I think this will allow me to create really detailed, helpful posts more often. (Aside: If there is anything you want me to post more about or a topic you want me to cover, LET ME KNOW!!!)
  2. Make site improvements based on blogging course. The great thing about this course is that it teaches you to make all sorts of improvements to your blog, including updating your about page, making navigation easier, etc. This month, I plan on sitting down, going over all the suggestions from the course and actually doing them on the blog.
  3. Conduct some interviews/panels. One of my favorite things to do is interview inspiring women on a variety of subjects. I’ve done several interviews before, but I want to get back into it and make it a regular thing for TGC. This month I’m shooting for at least two new interviews.
  4. Plan my first event. Holding a live, local event has been a dream of mine since I’ve started TGC. I don’t know why I haven’t done it yet! I think I’ve made hosting an event a bigger “thing” than it has to be and my perfectionism is keeping me from just doing something already! Last month, I met with Tori and Kellee of Black Girls Social here in Dallas to get some advice about hosting my first event. Tori and Kellee were so sweet and agreed to be my accountability partners on this! Tori just emailed me in fact, so by the end of the month I want to have a rough plan (event topic, location, prospective sponsors, etc) of the event in writing so I can finally move forward on this.
  5. Begin working on an e-book. Another dream I have for TGC is to write a book! To get there, I thought a short-ish ebook (maybe 30 pages or so) offered for free on the site would be a fun place to start. I haven’t done this yet because I’m like uh…what should I write about?!? I have no idea what my topic will be but my goal this month is to figure it out!

Current Challenges

  1. Writing Schedule. An annoying habit I’ve fallen into is writing and finishing my posts right before I have to publish. This is a stressful way to write — you can’t really do a whole lot of editing or exploring different ideas when you have to get that same post out within the hour. I need to figure out a more consistent writing schedule that allows me to work on and tweak my posts over multiple days.
  2. Newsletter. So I’m really excited that people are signing up for me email list! But now that I have sign-ups I’m like uh…what do I send?!? What should I talk about? So if you are on my email list — help a sista out! What kind of information do you want to receive?
  3. Facebook. The beast that I still can’t conquer! I will say the engagement on my Facebook page has improved, but I still don’t quite know what my “fans” want to see on my Facebook page. Definitely a work in progress…

Current Successes/What’s Working

  1. B-Side Facebook Group. Let me just say, wow! I had no idea that the B-Side Facebook group would be such a hit but it is! The ladies who have joined thus far are PHENOMENAL and a lot of great information is being passed back and forth. I’m really enjoying connecting with everyone!
  2. Blog Tools. As you already know, the blogging course I’m a part of has been a big help. In addition to the course, I also bought this amazing blog planner from Party Over Hair creator, L. Providence that has changed my life! I’m going to review it in a separate post, but it was only $12 and has radically improved my blogging organization. In general, you should invest in your blog or business. Get some tools and take some course to help you do whatever it is you do. It makes a difference.
  3. Showing Up. For years, being consistent with TGC was a challenge for me. By simply showing up, posting regularly and working on it everyday, I’ve moved that much closer to my ultimate goal! Whatever it is you are trying to do, just be consistent.

Your Turn!

Mastermind Rules

  • Share your goals, challenges and successes in the comments.
  • The goal of this mastermind is to support each other, so be sure to read all the comments and check out all the participating blogs and businesses! If you have something to offer, leave a comment and help each other out!
  • If you are a blogger, feel free to create a post sharing your entrepreneurial goals, challenges, and successes (via the format above) on your blog and link back here. You can even grab the button and include it in your post:
Think and Grow Chick

B-Side Facebook Group

Be sure to join the B-Side Facebook group! Since the B-side post will come out monthly, this women-only Facebook group will serve as a “hub” for us to ask questions, share what we have going on, and generally connect with each other on a day-to-day basis. You can join right now: http://facebook.com/groups/bsidebythinkandgrowchick