tips

Reality Check: Time To Get In Formation

” Your winter is someone else’s summer.”

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That quote unleashes some very visceral emotions inside of me; things I’ve kept tucked away while I try to keep up with the day-to-day busyness of adulthood. But it’s high time I let them go because holding on is doing me absolutely no good. I’ve realized, while amidst the thick of the fuckery I’ve been through this year, that I have a high propensity for being a perfectionist. It’s so high, in fact, that it keeps me from going after the things that I want and need to do. I’ll set out to do something and, midstream, I’ll freeze because I think whatever I’m doing isn’t good enough and the follow through ends up being super wack.

I haven’t updated my blog, worked on my business models, or any of my interests because I’ve allowed my circumstances to get the best of me. This year has been pretty tough, definitely the coldest metaphoric winter I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been homeless, I was assaulted, I’ve been abandoned several times, heart broken more than once, and many other trials and tribulations have ensued. I’ve let those things mold me into someone I don’t recognize when I look into the mirror, and that terrifies me. I’ve allowed myself to become this person who, when standing face-to-face with obstacles, she gets emotional and has a pity party for herself long before she attacks them. And when I finally do, I’m exhausted from the roller coaster ride I put myself through. I’m at the point where I’m sick and tired of not being in control of my own destiny. I’m completely over just existing and I’m ready to start living again.

I’m not sure what point you’re at in your life as you’re reading this. Hell, you could be doing great in life, and if you are good for you. Do that shit! But if you’re stuck in the same old rut and you’re ready to get back to where you were before, or even transcend beyond that point (which is always a good idea), then I’ll offer you three pieces of advice that have jump-started my will to live life more abundantly again no matter what my circumstances are. You can Google the phrase “How to get your shit together” and easily find 1.3 million articles on how to do just that, each one offering fifty plus ways to turn the lemons life has hurled at your poor peanut shaped head into lemonade (all hail #QueenBey!). But I think three is a good place to start. There’s something about that number that resonates with me; I think it signifies harmony, and we could all use a little more of that. Plus, I think these three things open the door to many more good habits that can and will help push you into the right direction. So, let’s begin.

  1. Get objective feedback from a trustworthy source.

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Emphasis on trustworthy. So not that one coworker who’s always having money problems, or your cousin Ray Ray who can’t hold down a job for longer than sixty days, and definitely not your super “independent”  man hating aunt who hasn’t had a bae since ’86. This person should be close enough to you where they know exactly what you may be going through, but are far away enough to see the bigger picture, and wise enough to point you in the right direction. You could be focusing too much of your attention on a problem at work or a relationship that doesn’t serve you, and that person has the ability to come in with a fresh pair of eyes and give you the perspective you would’ve taken longer to achieve on your own.

I have friends who keep me moving forward even when I can’t seem to pull it together sometimes. When I’m dealing with a tough situation in my personal life, or I’m entertaining something or someone that is challenging my self-worth (it really doesn’t matter what it is) one or all of them will individually or collectively say to me, “Bitch….no!” And they will proceed to snatch my wig to and fro until I get myself back into formation. They’re present enough to know the details of whatever the problem is but also able to take the emotion out of what I’m telling them in order to help me come up with solutions that will work to solve said problem. I am so grateful for them because I tend to be very dramatic all the time  sometimes and I have this annoying habit of making mountains out of molehills. Silly me.

2. Acknowledge what’s working

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You are incredible! You are a work of art, absolutely divine, and so so talented. Never allow yourself to lose sight of how special and unique you are. Focusing on the deeper reality of the spirit instead of where your ego is just may be all you need to pick yourself up and keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter how many times you think you’ve fallen short, it’s really about your perspective. You could be bombing at one thing but blowing something else out of the water in another area of your life.

One of my biggest adulthood boo boos is not saving enough money. And by enough, I mean none at all; I’m the worst at that. I’ll have the best intentions when I’m planning out my bills but then I’ll get so anxious and overwhelmed about deadlines and such that saving goes completely out the window. I have really bad anxiety about being homeless again. It’s at the forefront of my mind when I think about and handle money. “Oh I can’t get those shoes, gotta save for rent. I can’t be homeless again” “Nah, I’ll just eat at home. I can’t be eating out, gotta pay my rent so I’ll have a roof over my head” “I gotta get it together man, I can’t go back to that shelter”

I’ll get so caught up in what could go wrong if all the bad shit I cook up in my head happened simultaneously (which never does), that I rarely acknowledge all the things I’m doing right. For one, I actually care about paying things on time. That’s a win, because a lot of people really don’t give a shit. I’m responsible (did you hear that Mom and Dad?), or at least I try to be as much as I can. And as much as I panic about it, I do pay all my bills. I’m actually coming up with ways to say money that will have many long term benefits instead of short term ones; another step in the right direction. Doing that helps me focus on the future and gets my brain thinking about how I’m going to achieve my next set of goals. When I’m in this frame of mind I’m in problem solving mode instead of panic mode, which does wonders for my nerves. Instead of holding my face in my hands saying “Oh my God, oh my God. What do I do?” repeatedly I ask myself “What am I doing now that’s gotten me to this point?”, “What do I want to see happen in this area?”, and “What can I do to turn this shit around?” And then something amazing happens. I’ll remember that I’m pretty damn awesome and I can do anything I put my mind to. Perspective.

3. Meditate on gratitude and appreciation.

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It may sound super cheesy, but a little gratitude goes a long way. Frustration has a way of making everything seem really really shitty. Your boss may have been a total douche to do in front of some really important people, and you’re so pissed off that you sit there and stew over it all day, then some jerk cuts you off in traffic, and you’re so hell bent on getting home that you forgot to hit up that one place you love because they’re having a 25% off sale on your favorite wine. Then you finally get home, after all that, only to trip over an ant playing soccer on a cotton ball and you hit your pinky toe on that same corner of the coffee table that you have at least two hundred times minimum. Stupid boss, this all your fault.  You work tirelessly to be amazing at what you do and your boss never shows any appreciation at all. You come in early, you leave late, you blow the roof off the place, and you get nothing in return. Not even a nod. Your life is absolute shit and it’ll never get any better, plus you won’t have any more functional toes left because of that damn table. It’ll never get better, right? Wrong. Sometimes a brief moment of stepping out of a disheartening situation to an appreciation of something general, no matter how small, can take you forward a few steps to detaching from what isn’t working. And when you do that you create space that gives you room to shift towards a better view.

I get so bogged down about bills, and adulting, and how I should be so much further along in life than I am right now. I beat myself up about not writing enough, or not having the funding to start my businesses, or about how bad I am at remembering to do laundry that I forget to be grateful for all the things that I do have and have been blessed with. I have a great living space that’s warm, and inviting, and it’s my sanctuary. When my mind becomes cluttered and I can’t think straight, I’ll look around and see that the state of my thoughts have manifested themselves into my living space. So I’ll clean it up; wash dishes, do laundry, clean my bathroom, reorganize my closet, everything. And when I’m done I get this overwhelming feeling of pride and gratitude; I’ll look around and say to myself “Wow, this is my place. This time last year I was staying with this person and that person, then I ended up living in a hotel, then a shelter, then somebody else’s place, then a place where the roof was leaking. Now I’m here, safe, warm, and back on track. Thank you Lord”.

That one moment gives way to many more that allow me to see just how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time. I thank God for everything, and every time I do the Universe takes note of it and I attract more great things my way. When I spend money, on whatever, I always thank God and the Universe for allowing me to have it; and I say to myself “There’s more where that came from”. When I’m cleaning up and I find a dime or a penny I say thank you out loud. When I make some bomb fajitas, I say thank you (out loud), because God didn’t have to bless me with the resources to make that party in my mouth happen but He did and I’m grateful. Gratitude really does go a long way and soon you’ll begin to realize just how much you really have, which takes the focus off what you don’t have and that makes room for you to get what you want to have. See how that works?

Life can serve a pretty mean uppercut, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle with getting your ass kicked everyday (bob and weave my G). I promise if you do these three things every time you face a problem, you’ll get through it and with a level of style and grace that may surprise you. It’s 2:30 in the morning and, as I’m writing this, my problems seem to be much smaller than I thought they were before I started this post. There’s freedom in that, I feel lighter. And my goals seem much more attainable. The same can be true for you, all you have to do is apply what I mentioned above and you’ll be Gucci. So go knock it out the park, kiddo.

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Girl Talk: First Date Prep 101

Okay so you meet a great guy, he asks you out, you giddily accept, then you freak out. In that order. What should you wear? Which YouTube makeup tutorial should you re-create? How should you wear your hair? Suddenly none of your cute clothes are cute enough and you feel the onset of an anxiety attack coming on. Relax, girl. First off, you should always wear what accentuates your best features. If you have great legs, then pull those bad boys (or girls) out. Most importantly, you should wear what you feel comfortable in. Beauty is not pain, pain is pain. The more comfortable you feel, the more relaxed you’ll be. *Woo!*

Now for the beauty prep. With date night beauty, the proof is in the prep. You need to make yourself accessible to being hugged, smooched, and touched. Below are some helpful tips to get you ready for a romantic night with your honey that’ll rock his socks off.

1. The Prep

How to prep in the shower or bath: Hop in the shower and apply a moisture mask. Vitamin E oil also works great too. The heat of the shower will allow the moisturization to penetrate skin. This will create a dewy, touchable face that is snuggle ready. And while you’re at it, apply some whitening strips to your teeth for a picture perfect smile (Instagram selfie anyone?).

2. Soak & De-Bloat

If you don’t feel as fit or maybe need to reduce a little bloating, take an Epsom Salt bath. Add in two cups of Epsom salt to your bath and soak for ten minutes. The Magnesium in the salt will help pull toxins and excess fluids from your body.

3. Exfoliate

All you need for this step is a gentle scrub and exfoliating gloves. The gloves will make getting every nook of your body a cakewalk, and the texture of them will rev up your circulation and energy. Vroom vroom! Remember to exfoliate your hands and feet to get them mani/pedi ready. He won’t be able to let them go.

4. De-Hair

Post exfoliation is the perfect time to de-fuzz your body. Since the dead skin cells have been removed, this allows a closer shave. Apply a moisturizing shaving cream and get to it woman.

5. Fragrance Yourself

Next lather up with a scented, moisturizing body wash. Are you noticing a pattern here? Moisturizing is vital for healthy skin. Now its time to start layering your favorite scent. It should be one that makes you feel sexy and beautiful. Mine is Pure Seduction by Victoria’s Secret. The smell of red plums and freesia send me into fits of sheer euphoria, and the body butter leaves my skin soft, supple, and ripe for the picking. I like to start with the body wash, follow with the body spray, and finish with the body butter. I found using the butter after the spray helps lock in the fragrance for a more lasting effect.

6. Mini Mani/Pedi Time

After your shower apply cuticle oil to your nails (hands and feet). Then push back your cuticles and apply a therapeutic moisturizer (yes again) to your hands and feet. And finally, choose a shade of polish that you love. I usually do bold colors, but my last mani I went with a pretty green with a teal undertone. It was a nice change from the black I had my last go-round. You can really get a feel for the teal (rhyming master, what what!) in natural light, and under florescent light its a gorgeous green. I loves it.

7. Romantic Hair

If your hair is long, loose curls with a one inch curling iron or a nice side braid is a lovely look. If you choose the curls: After sectioning your hair in to equal parts, take another section (about an inch thick) and curl it with the curling iron. Once released hold the curl in your hand and let it cool, this will give it more volume and bounce. If you’re feeling waves: Follow these steps and once you’re finished curling, brush out the curls. Take a dime sized amount of your favorite volumizing conditioner and rub it into your palms until it becomes translucent. Next, scruntch it in starting in the middle and work your way down to the bottom. Use what’s left on your hands and massage it into your roots. Bam! And short lock babes fret not, there’s some sexy for you too. If you’re rocking a bob, try a deep side part with a swept bang for a sophisticated and romantic look. Waves on short hair look absolutely amazing as well, so go for it sister!

8. Romantic Makeup

Start with an illuminizing primer and follow with a foundation to give the skin a dewy, fresh look.The illumination will shine through and give the illusion of glowing skin, while the primer provides the perfect base. Next apply a pink-toned blush to the apples of your cheeks. Eyes can be pale and soft or extra smokey.

For sultry, smoky eyes: Try a grey-toned palette. Begin by applying the darkest color by your lash line and gradually lighten the shade as you move up. Follow with black eyeliner rimming your top and bottom lashes. Finish with two coats of black mascara. And for a softer look: Get romantic with a nice pale color and sweep it across the lid. Add a soft brown liner on top and bottom. Follow with two coats of brown mascara.

9. Soft Brows

If you are a brunette, try lightening your eyebrows 2 shades to create a soft, feminine look. If you have blond hair, your eyebrows should be 1-2 shades darker, but be careful not to make them too dark. And try to keep the shape and length as natural as possible ladies, no one likes Anime eyebrows.

10. A Smoochable Kisser

Exfoliating is not just for the face, show a little love to those lips too. Exfoliate your lips with baking soda and a cotton swab to create a nice, smooth feel. Take  about a  teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with water to make a paste. Next, use an old toothbrush (with soft and straight bristles) or washcloth to rub the paste across your lips in a circular motion. Rinse off your lips. Neither baking soda nor water moisturize your lips, which is why you should apply a moisturizing lip balm after the treatment. Follow with a red, pink or nude gloss. If you use a hydrating gloss it’ll soften the look of your colored lips without skimping on the drama.

Well girlies, I hope this helped. You’re all set for a romantic night with your cutie. You look amazing which also means you feel amazing as well. Have fun, be safe, and stay beautiful ❤ 🙂