Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mapping as Visualization

GG and I have decided that we are going to work on vision mapping as a means of goal setting and visualization. There are different methods for mapping, but the general purpose is to help improve creativity, increase concentration and clarify thinking; it’s a strategy for organizing your visions in a way that helps them to become concrete goals and helps you to subsequently bring these goals to pass.

This is a process that can be done alone or in a group setting, so we’re going to do this vision mapping project together as a means of bringing us closer, holding each other accountable for working towards these visions and also because we have joint goals that we plan to accomplish.

We’ll be utilizing Gwen Bell’s method from a post on her website entitled “Create Your Personal Manifesto”. The steps are as follows:

1. Gather the necessary supplies. Magazines of all genres, glue, markers, pens, cardboard in all sizes, scissors, water, music, snacks.

2. Put the magazines in the middle of the room. You get an hour to cut out any image that speaks to you. Inevitably an article will catch your eye that you want to keep. That's good. Cut it out and put it to the side. Don't engage it right now. Focus on cutting out images that resonate.

3. Once the hour is up, take a break. Get some air. Drink water and then get the cardboard and paste and markers.

4. Assemble your vision map. Don't be afraid to glue things that make no sense. Pretty images, frightening images. Doesn't matter. If it speaks to you, put it on there. I've seen all sorts of maps - those with a lot of white space, those (usually my own) with so many images I run out of space and have to start pasting on the back.

5. Share with the group what you've created. Why a particular image speaks to you. What you see yourself doing over the next year, five years, ten years.

6. Have your map laminated. Refer to them during days when you don't know what you're doing with your life (we all have them).

7. Note: a good moderator will keep judgments to a minimum. Even when you share an "example map" it's good to let people know their's will look nothing like yours. They are intensely personal.

8. Note: add a photo of yourself to the map - will help you really visual yourself living this life

We’re really excited about this project because we’re both intensely visual people. Both our homes are populated with vision boards, pictures and print outs of articles, phrases or statements that have resonated with us. You will also find both our desks at work cluttered with sticky notes that serve as gentle reminders to “choose to perceive this situation with love” “make the most of my current situation” or “relish my creativity to solve problems”. Vision mapping will be an extension of what we already practice in our day-to-day lives.

We will do our best to document this process so that we can share it here on the blog. In the meantime though, we would love to hear from you! Have you created a vision map before? Was your process similar to the one above? Have you seen any of the goals you mapped come to fruition? Let us know!
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

PLPT GEMS: Meet Carla

Our GEMS feature showcases women who are tapping into their unique talents and breathing life into their dreams.

GEMS stands for:

Grace and
Encouragement for
Motivation and

The women who are showcased as PLPT GEMS are accessible examples of women who are doing interesting things, overcoming challenges, expressing themselves and making a difference in a unique and beautiful way.

As they share their stories, we hope that you will read something that inspires you to reflect, laugh, cry, dare, question, create, understand, and most importantly - get involved. The world needs your perspective and your contribution. When you focus your energy on a goal that reaches beyond personal gain into a context larger than yourself, there are no limits to what you can create.

PLPT GEMS presents ~ Carla b. Jupiter
Artist. Creator. Free Spirit.

1. What is your passion and what is your outlet for it?
I'm most passionate about staying true to my life path, living my life's purpose, mainly through creating my soulful and funky paintings and spreading the positive messages within each piece. But I'm an all around creator, so I'm all about creating my own paths and opportunities, if I can bless others along the way, even better.

2. How did you get started? How did you prepare yourself?
I've been a lot of things in my life, but the only thing that has always been a constant for me was art. I was always an artist, I just went back home. My mom always loves to tell the story of how I shocked her with my artistic abilities at the age of two. I don't remember that of course. But in school I was the kid who always daydreamed and drew pictures instead of listening to the teacher. Crazy thing is, as a kid I never imagined myself growing up to be an artist, and even became disconnected from it at one point, especially during my teen years. I always knew I was different but I was too busy being caught up in the matrix. In my beginning adult days I started out trying to be all these things that I thought the average person was "supposed" to be.

By the time I was twenty five I woke up, accepted the fact that I was far from average and started realizing that my art could very well be on someone's wall just as I often saw the same paintings/prints in different homes. I began to identify with this and and decided to run with it. I started painting every chance I got. My first painting was a piece I quickly did to improve a bare wall in my house; I was living in DC at the time. In the beginning my paintings didn't really look anything like they do now and there were times when I didn't know exactly where I was heading as an artist, but I knew I needed to keep honing my skills. So that's what I did. As an artist, preparing yourself is an ongoing process. Your constantly learning and growing. So I guess you can say I'm in constant preparation, but looking back, I've come a long way.

3. What obstacles did you have to overcome?
I think for me, a lot of obstacles came from dealing with other people, especially when trying to grow. It's sad, but most negativity came from those closest to me. From those who couldn't see my vision, to those who tried to throw wrenches in my plans, to those selfish energy vampires. I'm very sensitive to people's energies, so I have learned to be careful who I'm around. Then there were times when I didn't have the resources to do all that I wanted to do, like build my own website but couldn't afford a website building application. My earlier art images were pretty poor because I couldn't afford a really good quality camera. And in the art world quality images are everything. I learned to work with what I had until I received what I needed. Everything happens for a reason.

4. Is your passion your full time occupation? if not, how do you balance it with the your other responsibilities?
It just recently become a full time thing, it was not always this way. As of yet, I really don't have balance. Its still something I'm striving for, I could really use a set schedule, that's one of my goals. When I did work I found myself up late nights trying to squeeze in painting time. Now that I no longer work a job, funny thing is, I'm still up late most nights painting. And once I start a painting I usually can't break myself away from it until it's complete, so other aspects of life sometimes get neglected. I have a teen daughter also, so I'm always between guiding and ensuring she has a creative foundation to follow her own life purpose and making time for my life purpose. That's usually when those late nights come in handy. All in all, I know I can't do everything myself, I try to incorporate outside help whenever I can. That gives me more time to concentrate on painting.

5. How do you stay motivated and overcome doubt, fear and negative thinking?
My art is like a drug, so I really can't stop. When I'm not painting, I'm thinking about painting! For me, there is no other way. I really don't suffer much from doubt or negative thinking when it comes to my art, because I intuitively know everything will fall into place. This is how it is when you are on a true life path, it has been so much bigger than me. When it comes to fear, I'm human, but I refuse to be paralyzed by fear. I prefer to face it head on. It may take me a little longer when fear is there but I will face it. My desire to go places by far out weighs my fear!

6. What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?
Go for it! Especially if you have strong convictions about it. If you can't take a leap of faith due to responsibilities(which is understandable), ease your way into it. Research and learn as much as possible about what it is you want to do whenever you can. Try and surround yourself around like minded individuals, or those who are already in the area of what you want to do. There will always be naysayers, let it go in one ear and out the other, brush it off, be strong and always believe in yourself! When trying to find your purpose, looking into your childhood usually holds clues. If there is something you can't stop thinking about, or that one thing you enjoy doing so much that you could even do it without pay and still enjoy it, this could very well be your life purpose. You just have to manifest it to work for you. If all else fails there is always prayer, ask God to show you your life purpose. I'm a firm believer in ask and you shall receive. Last but not least, there are no mistakes, only lessons and opportunities to come back bigger and better!

7. Name someone who has inspired you and why.
I came across a picture of Michelle Obama once where she was draped in blue. I couldn't get this image out of my mind, it was memorable and touching, something about that blue too. I created the painting "Mother Supreme". It isn't her, but Michelle Obama was definitely an indirect inspiration.

Carla Byrd-Estrada, aka “Carla b. Jupiter” is a NYC based artist that keeps her art down to earth, soulful & funky. Expressionism with an urban edge that people can not only relate to, but have access to. Working mainly with acrylics, she blends color, shape, and form, celebrating the love of life, dreaming, long summer days, friendship, roots, learning, and positive growth. Each piece of art carries with it, a moment, thought, or emotion, through it’s vibrant liveliness and movement, concentrating in the area of all things positive. Her work has been featured throughout NYC and can be found at several retail locations. She curates several art exhibitions throughout the year, providing business and artist opportunities while linking art with communities. In 2009 she started b. Jupiter Studio, and signs all her paintings Carla b. Jupiter. You can visit her online at

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meditation, Visualization and Change

One of the best ways to bring forth change in your life is to visualize. To (in your mind) see, hear, taste, touch and feel yourself living the life you want. This is how you use your creativity to bring forth abundance. Abundance is not always about material things--it is about living your best life, overflowing with love, peace, joy, good things and right opportunities.

There are several methods to aid us in visualizing the lives we want. One such method is meditation.  For the past couple of weeks, I have tried to begin every day in meditation. It spans anywhere from 5 – 20 minutes depending on how much time I have, but it helps me to zero in on my focus for the day and jumpstarts the flow of inspiration.  During these moments, I practice visualization. I create a mental picture of how my day will go. I conjure pictures of myself within my dream life: with my family, in my relationship, my career, my future home and even my future office. I imagine how I will feel surrounded by these things/people that I did the work to manifest. Then I work my way backward, asking God/Universe/Life to handle the specific details, but to provide me with guidance on how to work to create this life now.

There are no limits on which goals we can visualize to bring to pass. We can even visualize the smallest details of our lives. Two weeks ago I was inspired to change up the energy in my bedroom by moving around the furniture, reallocating space and storage and getting rid of things that I no longer need. I spent the past two weeks creating a vision of exactly how the space will look and feel when I'm finished and I've spent 2 days so far bringing it to pass. It is still a work in progress, but when complete, I'll have a new space to create in and be inspired by.

So how do you visualize? It’s kind of like “playing imagination” as you did when you were a child. Picture yourself doing what you love and revel in the feeling attached to it. Picture what you’ll wear or how you’ll do your hair. Get so excited about the prospect of having this thing in your life that you feel like you have it already. And when you come out of your meditation, take pictures of things you want and post them where you can see them; write about your dreams; jot down key words or phrases that make you feel the way you’ll want to feel when your dream comes to pass. The more you put out into the Universe what you desire, the more you will attract the necessary thoughts, ideas, perceptions, people, opportunities, etc. that will help you to achieve that goal.

Is meditation a part of your daily routine? Have you successfully brought something positive into your life using visualization—even if you didn’t recognize it as such when you did it?
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Friday, October 15, 2010

5 Principles for Transitioning your Hair and your Life

Happy Friday, Lovelies!

I wrote this post for my personal blog this week and decided to share it here on Peace, Love and Pretty Things, as well. Chic Mommy and I have both fully transitioned to natural hair, but are continuing to transition in other areas of our lives. It's a very exciting time. We look forward to continuing to share our growth and endeavors with you here.

For those of you who aren't aware, you can read more from Chic Mommy on her fashion blog Chic Mommy, Cool Kid. You can also read more from GG on my personal blog, The Write Curl Diary.

For now, have a great weekend and I hope this post encourages you, for I was definitely encouraged by writing it. xoxo


"Don't you know that,Patience is a virtue (yes it is),
And life is a waiting game
don't you know that,
peace must be nurtured..."
Seasons Change by Corinne Bailey Rae

Transition is the movement, passage or change from one position or state to another. The concept of transitioning reverberates throughout this blog in reference to my hair and to my life.

During my transition to natural hair, I had many days where I felt completely lost. Even now, I'm still learning how to handle the newness of my hair. I was relaxed for 15 years, and I've only been natural (as an adult anyway) for about a year and a half. Transitioning my hair has given me a new perspective on life. I've proven to myself that if there is something I want to do or change about my life, I can not only do it, but I can find amazing beauty in it.

From my experience, the following fundamental principles will see you through any type of life transition that you take on. We can't rush through change. We must give ourselves time to learn and develop these qualities:

Patience. Anything worth doing requires patience and mindfulness. We live in an impatient world and we are programmed by our environment to expect immediate gratification. Life itself is an experiment in patience. Being a long-term transitioner, I was forced to slow down and pay attention to what was happening with my hair. As more natural hair grew, I took my time getting to know it through trial and error. Likewise, as I'm experiencing personal growth in leaps and bounds, I feel excited and I want everything to happen right away. But I realize that the gift is the journey of discovery. Where I used to see limitations and shortcomings, now I see creativity and possibility. Same with my hair. This change in perspective takes time.

Fearlessness. I used to be scared of everything. Scared to fail. Scared to succeed. Scared to try. Scared of disapproval. The only way to defeat fear is to stare it in the face and walk through it. Notice I said walk through it. Not over it or around it. Why? Because fear is an illusion. Think about the worst thing that could happen, accept it, and move forward. The first time I decided to wear my hair in a bush, I was so worried about what people would think and say. Since then, I've found so much freedom and self-confidence from wearing my hair big and natural. It can be fuzzy, bushy, and even frizzy - and I feel beautiful. Recently, a lady in a parking lot told me that I needed to go do my hair (long story). I immediately laughed at this lady and felt sorry for her. I love my big, unruly hair so much that I don't care who doesn't like it. As a direct result of this new found confidence, I now push myself to do new things in other areas of my life. What else have I been missing?? What used to be lofty aspirations of mine are now material goals that I am actively pursuing. I feel the uncertainty, but I am fueled by the excitement and the promise of more growth. I don't want to live in fear. So, I won't.

Consistency. Once we figure out what's working and what's not, we must make it a priority to maintain it. Stephen Covey says that it takes 21 days to make something a habit. Protect your routines ferociously. If you are seeking length retention, then set a low manipulation routine that keeps your hair moisturized and protected and stick with it. If you tell yourself that you don't have time, then you won't. I write everyday. I don't always finish what I'm writing, but I make progress. This is protection and maintenance for my spirit and my purpose. For me, there is an undertone of action in the word consistency. If I'm consistently working towards something, then I need to be doing not delaying.

Resiliency. Be prepared to roll with the punches and be flexible. Keep getting back up everytime you fall down. All successful people have failed at some point. The difference between them and others is that they don't allow failure to defeat them. We have to bounce back from plans that fall through, people who put us down, and inner doubts that challenge our resolve. When having a bad day or a bad experience, our defense mechanisms tell us that we never want to experience that again so we think that if we don't try, we won't have to hurt again. The way I see it, my feelings might be hurt for a moment; but if I give up, then I will only develop a deeper hurt that will linger on indefinitely.

Individuality. Don't see yourself as less than worthy than anyone else. Sometimes I see someone's hair and I think "Wow, my hair will never look like that." Maybe it won't. But my hair is, can and will be just as healthy and fabulous in its own right. There is enough abundance in this world for everyone to leave their own unique stamp and be memorable. The more you get to know your own strengths and weaknesses, the more you will be able to use them to affect the world. Instead of feeling envious of others, be motivated to find your own success. What works for others, make not work for you and vice versa.

What other principles have helped you transition your hair or reposition your life? What has been the biggest challenge for you? Share with us in the comments.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

5 Ways to Get Rich Quick

photo credit

"What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you."
~Oprah Winfrey

She is abundance personified, isn't she?

By rich, I mean in love and happiness, and by quick I mean it takes some time. I got your attention though, right? Hear me out. Once you start changing your thoughts to believe there is enough love and success to go around in this world, your realities will change drastically and you will become rich. I've been working on this for a long time, and like any other change, this can't happen overnight. When I think back, however, I realize that I've changed drastically. Even as a "positive person", most of my thoughts were centered on lack. We can change this pattern if we make up our minds to do so - it starts with the littlest things.

1. Start and end the day with gratitude. Many of us were raised to pray daily. But how were we taught to pray? I can remember always praying for things. I would give thanks, but I was always praying for God to intervene and fix something. However you choose to center yourself and connect with Spirit, whether it's prayer or other methods, be sure to focus your energy on gratitude for everything that is going on in your life. Be thankful for the awareness that everything that happens is natural and beneficial. Pray for strength and peace no matter what situations evolve.

2. Manage jealousy and competitiveness. There is enough love to go around. I think I should say that again - there is enough love to go around. Instead of feeling jealous of someone else's success, be motivated by it. Convert any negative energy into positive energy by giving compliments and supporting those who are doing what you want to do. If you are waiting to meet that special someone, and it seems that everyone around you is coupling up and getting married, don't let those yucky feeling get the best of you. Be patient and faithful, believing that this is just one aspect of your life and the best thing you can do to attract someone special to work on yourself. Jealousy will create bitterness inside of you, which won't attract anything good!

3. Trust that you have all the money you need. This is a tough one. We all want more money, don't we? Until we learn to manage and appreciate what we have, we will not successfuly gain and MAINTAIN more. I've struggled with money management for most of my adult life, and have just started cleaning things up in the last couple years. I would spend money as if it was literally going to run away from me if I didn't hurry up and spend it. This comes from a mentality focused on lack. When we adopt a mentality of abundance, we always have enough and we create the space to have more. Try it and see for yourself.

4. Make your dream your most habitual thought. Instead of your thoughts centering around unpaid bills, loneliness, an unfulfilling job - think about the life that you want. Think about it all the time. See it. Dream it. Feel it. Imagine how it will feel to make your dreams become reality. You may not know how it will happen exactly, but you should spend ample time thinking about why this is the life you want to lead and use these thoughts as motivation. Take steps in the right direction and don't give up. This is the determined path of winners - they work through their fear of failure and believe in their dreams religiously.

5. Learn to be a giver. Even when you think that you have nothing left, give. Whether it's your time, a kind word, or a sympathetic ear. Learning to give will set you up to be ready and worthy to receive. When we cling to ourselves and our things, we are once again embracing the idea of lack. Don't listen to the messages that dominate this world and tell us that there is not enough and we must cling to our own. When we give our time and our energy to each other, we create a cycle of generosity that gets bigger and bigger as more of us adopt this philosophy. When you think of yourself as rich, and you give as though you were rich, you will receive in kind.

"When your mind is an abundance of ideas, when your hearing is an abundance of love, when your life is an abundance of good people doing good things with and for you, you are rich beyond words. Abundance begins in mind, extends to deeds and brings rewards you can bank on even if you cannot put them in the bank." - author unknown

Do you have any affirmations that you use to help train your mind to think abundance? Do you find it hard to quiet the messages of lack that surround us in this world? This post is a short list of ways to start changing your thinking. If you'd like to hear some specific affirmations that you can say, or other methods to learn this abundance mentality, please let us know in the comments.
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pretty Things: Tights

I am a bonafied tights junkie. They are my fall/winter staple and I seek out unique patterns, funky styles, and a variety of fabrics with which to update my wardrobe throughout both of the aforementioned seasons. I love them because they are warm and cozy, cute and functional. They can add zeal to an outfit that would be otherwise very simple, they can dial up the sex appeal and they are perfect for layering colors, textures and patterns.

Two-tone American Apparel tights as seen on

My favorites from last season include two pair of argyle tights I got from Uniqlo on a trip to NYC last year. Mine are in pink and purple argyle.

Urban Outfitters is a fantastic place to score tights as they often have 2 for $20 deals on their solid color opaque tights. What a great way to stock up on basics! They also have great sheers like these heart tights

and fun sweater tights like this polka dot version

Tights are a really easy and fun way to express yourself. What’s your favorite fall staple? How do you express yourself in it?
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