Friday, December 31, 2010

Love Notes - Friday 12/31/10

On this last day of 2010, we are wishing you a safe and happy New Year's Eve and all the best in 2011.  We're looking forward to a year full of possibilities!

Remember to leave a comment here, if you want to be entered in the giveaway. 
In your comment, let us know your facebook and/or twitter name so we can find you.  We'll announce the winners on Monday.

 Take these quick reminders into the new year with you!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Affirmations for Starting Over

The new year is upon us, and this is the season where many people make lists of "resolutions" or things they will change in the new year. The problem with these resolutions is that few people actually keep them. After a few weeks or months, they fall completely off-course, abandoning the changes they resolved to make.

You'll find that we don't address the idea of "New Year's resolutions", as we do not embrace this idea in its entirety. We are of the belief that, while the new year provides a beautiful metaphorical starting point for changes and new beginnings, the day to start taking right actions toward the change you want to see in your life is always today--THIS day, moment or hour. Waiting for a specific box on the calendar, or tick of the clock to move toward our goals and dreams is often a trick of the ego to cause us to procrastinate, and to continue to live in fear. This is not to say: do not reflect on the lessons of the past year and make decisions on what to change going forward; but it is, instead, to encourage you to be in a constant state of reflection, and to honor yourself by being aware of what steps you need to take daily to reach your goals.

We encourage you to accept that your best life has already begun, and to carry these affirmations with you into the new year:

I know that the best time to start over is always right now.

My life is dynamic--in a constant state of change--and I embrace change as the catalyst for growth.

I evaluate myself continuously.

Each day, I align my actions with the intent of achieving my goals.

I walk the path toward my dreams diligently and without deviation--no matter how tough the terrain.
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Wrapping up 2010 with Giveaways!

"There are two ways of spreading light;
To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
~Edith Wharton

As the year winds down, we hope that we have helped you in some small way to escape from negative thinking, embrace your individuality, and believe in your authentic worth and purpose. 

Giveaway #1: Available as a magnet or mousepad

We aspire to be a source of comfort and rejuvenation when your spirit needs a boost.  You can use our search feature to browse the archives for posts on everything from sadness and depression to visualization and goals.  In the coming year, we look forward to more growth and interaction with you.

Giveaway #2:  Available as a laminate

To show our appreciation of your readership, we are giving away hard copies (magnet, mouse pad or laminate) of the affirmations above to serve as visual reminders for your office, cubicle, bedroom, or wherever you see fit to post up some motivational goodness.

In order to enter this giveaway, we are asking that you 1) follow us on twitter or like us on facebook and 2) leave us a comment telling us something you've learned about yourself in 2010.  The drawing will close on 12/31/2010 and we'll randomly select two winners that will be announced on 1/3/2011.

We have many more giveaways planned for 2011, so stay tuned! :)
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Love Note - Happy Holidays

As we enter this season of love and giving, we would like to take a moment to express our love and gratitude for all our readers. Whether you subscribe and read regularly, stop by occasionally, follow us on twitter or fan us on Facebook, connecting with all of you has been a beautiful experience and we are extremely grateful!

We hope that you take pause from all the hustle and bustle of this season to fully recognize and enjoy the important people in your life. The holiday season is about giving—but not always those gifts that can be purchased; it is more important to give of ourselves. The gifts of time, love and affection will last much longer in the hearts of those we share with than anything that can be bought. The holidays should be about being with those that we love—not how much we can do for them. Instead of swallowing the commercial meaning that has been attached to the holiday season, let’s create our own individual experiences of love this season that give it true meaning for us.

Happy Holidays,
Kim and GG
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pretty Things: Sustainable Jewelry

Monique Pean has turned the jewelry industry on its ear with her socially and environmentally conscious pieces. The 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner garnered the nod with her non-traditional baubles, including a bridal collection, made completely of recycled and sustainable materials. She routinely partners with organizations that draw attention to global issues, like Charity: Water (which seeks to aid in bringing clean water to impoverished nations), draws inspiration for her collections from the issues these organizations seek to draw attention to, as well as donates portions of her proceeds to their causes.

Buffalo Horn Earrings at Barneys New York

Fossilized Walrus Ivory and Diamond Necklace at Barneys New York

Pink Tourmaline Bib Necklace at Barneys New York
Of note, are Pean's engagement rings, formed from recycled platinum and gold, as well as repurposed industrial diamonds that are normally discarded as trash.

Refinery 29
I would be highly inclined to wear an engagement ring made of sustainable materials, and I find these to be both exquisite and unique. Is this idea appealing to you, or would you rather go the more traditional route?

It's fantastic to wear jewelry that makes you look beautiful, but Monique Pean's gives you the opportunity to feel beautiful inside about what you're wearing as well. While her jewelry is not currently at a price point that would make it widely affordable, the effort and the work behind creating these items--and the attention it draws to the issues surrounding some of the gleaning practices for precious metals and stones--is admirable and inspiring.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

The Spirit of Money - Part 3

The wise who are trained and disciplined
Shine out like beacon lights
They earn money just like a bee gathers honey without harming the flowers
And they let it grow as an ant hill slowly gains in heights
With wealth wisely gained
They use it for the benefit of all.
~Digha Nikaya

Two weeks ago, we began this series with a reality check intended to help us discover and acknowledge our financial patterns.

Last week, we talked about some practical ways to change those patterns and replace old habits with new ones.

This week, we want to share a vision with you. Financial freedom is not just about personal security and wealth. When we see the connection between our purpose in the world and the spirit of money, our financial goals can reach beyond personal gain into a context that includes our families, our communities, and the world. In other words, our financial maturity creates the capacity to be fulfilled and give back. Thinking of it this way, helps us to see a bigger picture and a compelling reason to keep building.

Sounds good, right? Well, in order for this perspective to actually play out in our actions, we must internalize this thinking and develop the conviction to support it. Conviction is our constant reminder of why we are doing something. So when temptation presents itself, we can zoom in on that bigger picture - that vision of our calling and the abundance we could share with the world. We can become aware of the role money plays in our lives and put it to work for meaningful activities.

Reflect and save these affirmations to keep your mind and spirit focused on abundance.  Click here to print out a copy for your inspiration board.  Just click on File, then Print (PDF).

Money is simply energy that I exchange for what it is that I need.
There is plenty more where that came from.
My understanding of the connection between money and soul can bringer deeper meaning to my financial life.
I have abundance of all good things in my life, including my finances, because I believe that I am abundant.
I honor myself when I stick to my financial goals.
I recognize that I confuse the Universe when I ask for something, but do not take the necessary steps in the right direction.
I deserve prosperity.
I have plenty of time and money.
The Universe showers abundance upon me.
As I express my needs, they are met.
As I give, I receive, receive and receive.
There is limitless supply and it is mine.

Did you find this series helpful? Share with us in the comments, connect with us on twitter, or tell us about it on facebook.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Love Notes - Friday 12/17/10

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What Role Will You Play Today?

In this PLPT guest post, Professor/Pastor Lawrence Ware helps us to evaluate the difference between being ourselves versus playing out the roles we identify with.

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We live in a time of role-play. We are all labeled as something: black, white, smart, stylish, mom, dad, employee, Christian, Muslim.

We all have a role—and we play our roles well. We identify with our roles. In fact, we feel empty without them. We take tests to figure out ‘what’ we are. Are we introverts? Extroverts? Visual learners? Type A personalities? Simply read the Facebook updates of your friends to see the role they have adopted for the day.

We love roles. We so identify with our roles, that if one were to be taken away—stripped, really—we would be lost. We see ourselves as the significant other of another human being, and when that role dies, a piece of us dies as well. We crave roles. We need to be something to someone.

There is just one problem. Roles can be confining.

We can allow ourselves to be someone’s something for so long, so intensely, that we forget who we were to begin with. We can spend so much time trying to be everything for everyone else that we forget to be ourselves.

The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard has something to say here that is of significance:

A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.

What Kierkegaard says here is simple to understand. Peace and joy are within, not without. The roles we play are all defined and sustained by what is external. They feel internal, but they are external. A mother must have children; a teacher needs students. Roles are what people and things say you are—not who you are.

You are not the role you play. You are not what others need you to be. You are not the content of your bank account or your credit score. You are not your degree, your job description, or your resume. You are not a mother or a sister. You are not a lover or a fighter.

You are you, and all those things are in addition to who you are. Let roles be what they are—things you step into, but not things that define who you are.

The holiday season is a time for gifts. So let me give you one: yourself. Stop overly identifying with the roles you play. Stop feeling like you need to be the perfect mother, wife, or lover; be who you are, who you were born to be. Be free.

Lawrence Ware is lecturing professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University and Pastor of Christian Education at Prospect Church. He writes for Tikkun and Religion Dispatchers all while living in Oklahoma City with his wife and sons.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

The Spirit of Money - Part 2

“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can't buy.” ~author unknown

Last week, we asked ourselves some revealing questions our financial habits.  For some of us, the reality we uncovered was not pretty.  If you didn't read last week's post about the spirit of money in our lives, you can do so here.  

The objective last week was to acknowledge your habits and patterns. You can't begin to change anything without first having an understanding of what you are doing that isn't working.  Think of this journey very literally as a trip: if you are using a GPS for directions, you must first state your current location before you can proceed to your next destination. Consider that you are now traveling from point A (financial instability or poor financial habits) to point B (clarity around the purpose of money in your life), and view these posts as your roadmap. 

Now that we know what isn’t working, let’s explore various ways to change course.  The simplest way to do this is to replace your old habits with new ones. Ever notice how if you take something that a toddler is enjoying away from him or her, they will become upset? But if you take away one thing and replace it with another, their attention is barely diverted as they shift focus to this new and exciting thing. By switching out your old erratic behaviors with sensible ones, you are re-training yourself to exercise more practical habits.

1.  Document.   Keep a money journal or spreadsheet.  Be completely transparent as you capture everything you bring in, and everything you spend. This should include bills and “other” expenditures that are coming up - wedding gifts, girls’ nights, trips etc.  Microsoft Excel works well for this, as well as programs like Quicken or Quickbooks. 

2.  Get online.  Join an online personal finance service like or that helps you to manage your money, create savings, and generally works to give you an understanding of how you spend money.  

3.  Steal away.  Hide money from yourself.  Keep an emergency $20 bill hidden in your wallet, leave singles in the closed compartments of your car when you get change from a toll or a drive-thru, slip a $5 bill into a dresser drawer. You will be less likely to spend these funds if they are not mixed in with the rest of your money or in your checking account, and they’ll be a pleasant “surprise” when you need them.

4.  Sleep on it.  Give it 24 hours before you buy. This will help you learn to distinguish between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ and cut back on impulse spending.

5.  Always pretend like you don't have any money.  Be creative.  Make a conscious decision to live below your means.

6.  Educate yourself.   Read books on personal finance by authors like Suze Orman and George Kinder. Subscribe to money management emails like Daily Worth or Dave Ramsey’s newsletter. It doesn’t matter which resource you use as long as the information is presented in a way that you can understand. Choose which works best for you.

7.  Hustle.   Create additional revenue streams. Get that part time job you’ve been considering, take on some additional freelance projects or start that side hustle you’ve been dreaming about. 

8.  Pay yourself first.  Allocate to your savings before you pay bills; if you give away all your income, you will never be able to build any savings for yourself. Establish savings accounts with sites like ING Direct where it takes a few days for money to become available--making it more difficult for you to withdraw, and allowing you to pause long enough to consider if you really need whatever you are transferring the money for. Sites like allow you to save for a rainy day, but also towards specific goals. 

9.  Avoid payday loans like the plague. Period. The short term solution is not worth the long term interest that accrues against the loans or the potential damage to your credit if you can’t pay them off. 

10.  Tell someone about your financial goals. It is often easier to stick with a plan when there is someone cheering you on and holding you accountable for your actions.

These are just a few suggestions to help you achieve clarity around your spending habits and to aid you in making more sensible financial decisions. Please share any additional methods that have worked for you in the comments and stay tuned for part three next week.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Love Notes - Friday 12/10/2010

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Black Girl Day!

In celebration of Happy Black Girl Day, let's take a moment to be thankful for the women who came before us and paved the way for us to be outspoken, independent, creative--and whatever we darn well please!

Debbie Allen
Debbie Allen, in her own words, is an artist.  She's a dancer, actress, producer, playwright, choreographer, director, composer and author.  She is a creator and a visionary.  I admire her for her talent, her longevity and her contributions to the arts over the years. I'm inspired by her determination to stay true to her passions through racism, failed relationships, and failed projects.  She says that her poet mother raised her to believe that she is a citizen of the universe and that this makes her limitless and boundless.  I hope to instill this same creative freedom in my children, and I'm thankful to Ms. Allen for providing me with another example of a phenomenal woman whose life is her testimony.

Diahann Carroll
Diahann Carroll first graced the silver screen in early roles in the cinematic features, Carmen Jones (as Carmen’s friend) and Porgy and Bess. From there, she blazed a trail for Black women through the movie and television industry: in 1962 she won the Tony Award for best actress (a first for a black woman); in 1968 she starred in the television series Julia--which made her the first African American actress to star in her own television series where she did not play a domestic worker; and in 1984 she became the first black actress to star in the award-winning night-time series "Dynasty". Growing up, I always admired Ms. Carroll’s poise, the way she walked, and the slight sass with which she sometimes spoke. Through marriage, divorce, birth, death and even breast cancer, her apparent vigor for life and openness has remained constant. Though she was once quoted as stating, “I like to think I opened doors for other women, although that wasn't my original intention”, her accomplishments serve as a reminder that just because something HASN’T been done, doesn’t mean it CAN’T be done—and completed with beauty, style and grace. Her book published in 2008 entitled, The Legs Are The Last To Go, is high on my “to read” list.
-Chic Mommy
Lena Horne
Lena Horne is probably most widely known for her beauty and her talent on stage and in film—but she was also passionate, creative and outspoken. The most poignant quote I ever read from her speaks volumes about the unique strength of her character: “My identity is very clear to me now. I am a black woman. I’m free. I no longer have to be a ‘credit.’ I don’t have to be a symbol to anybody; I don’t have to be a first to anybody. I don’t have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.” This clear sentiment about self-love and freedom from being limited by others’ judgment speaks to the intention I set for myself daily. We can also be reminded by Ms. Horne’s civil rights activism that it is imperative that we remember to serve others, particularly when an abundance of opportunities has been given to us.
-Chic Mommy
Diana Ross
Few women have had as much of an impact on music and the entertainment business as Diana Ross. She evolved from the lead singer of The Supremes to an acclaimed solo performer and actress.  Throughout her career, she continued to recreate success, as her identity and audience evolved.  Since I was a little girl, I have viewed Ms. Ross as an icon of beauty, fashion, grace and charisma.  I remember having her concert in Central Park on VHS tape and watching it over and over. I knew every song, every dance, every tear drop, and I wanted my hair to look just like hers.  As a grown woman, I have a deeper appreciation for Ms. Ross and how she has had such an amazing career while experiencing the ups and downs of her personal life.  Her story reminds me that we shouldn't be afraid to pursue our dreams and create a path where there is none.   She has been quoted as saying "I'm not really a songwriter - I'm an interpreter. So in a sense I am an actress first and foremost. I act out the songs, and I lead with my heart."  

For more ways to celebrate Happy Black Girl Day, visit The Beautiful Struggler.

Before you leave, have you visited our fan page on Facebook?  Be sure to Stop by and Say hello, Like us, and Spread the love.  You can also follow us on twitter for Peaceful Tweets just when you need them. 
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Monday, December 6, 2010

The Spirit of Money - Part 1

"Do not value money for any more nor any less than its worth; it is a good servant but a bad master." ~ unknown author

Do you sabotage yourself financially by overspending, undersaving and not living within your means?
Do you feel stuck in a job that limits your ability to express yourself and stifles your freedom because you simply need the money to pay your bills?
Do you pursue money to keep up with the Jones' and maintain a certain appearance of status and wealth?
Do you want to support an aging or struggling family member or give back to your community, but find yourself unable because of your financial limitations?
Are you always in debt, playing catch-up, and barely making it paycheck to paycheck?
Are you living a hood rich lifestyle with lots of material things and no real assets or savings?
Do you think that you will never achieve financial freedom or wealth, as you perceive it, so therefore you might as well live it up now?

Are you dishonest with yourself about money, avoiding prudent money habits and ignoring your anxiety about it?

Do you chase money and find yourself never having enough no matter how much you make?
If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then like me, you would benefit from taking a deeper look at your perceptions about money and its role in your life.  For example, this might sound crazy to you, but I never believed that I was cut out to be wealthy (yeah, as if there is a wealthy gene and I didn't get it).  Honestly, it seemed like a lot of work and I didn't think that I was passionate enough about anything to work that hard. Based on this belief, my approach to money was to spend it when I got it because I never expected to be able to afford the things I wanted based on my own success or hard work.  I can't say that I consciously was aware of these beliefs at the time, but now I am quite aware.
Are you?  Are you aware of your emotional patterns with money?  Do you realize that you have the power to change those patterns and therefore change your life?
Today, take some time for reflection to be honest with yourself about your finances.  Ask yourself the questions above and answer them without fear or judgment.  Think about your first experiences with money and the messages you received from your environment growing up.  Are you clinging to old ideas that you know are false?  How have your beliefs and conditioning around money hindered you and caused suffering in your life? 
We hope that this soul searching and reality checking will help you 1) discover your patterns and let go of them  2) achieve clarity and sensibility and 3) learn how to create the life you want based on a deepened understanding of your purpose and the spirit of money in your life.
Please share your reflections with us in the comments and stay tuned for part two next week.
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Love Notes - Friday 12/3/2010

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not Buying It

**As you can see, PLPT is undergoing a makeover!  Bear with us as we continue to post while we're under construction.**

Photo credit
I don't subscribe to the notion that there are "no good black men out there". I know that there are, because I know good black men personally, and I see them in my day-to-day life. I know that there are, because I was raised by a good black man, because my black male friends are good black men, because my girlfriends are being loved by good black men and because I have dated good black men.

I think some women get tripped up because they confuse "perfection" with goodness; or because they confuse material possession with goodness. We have to be careful about determining someone's worth based on what they have acquired, as opposed to what they inherently have inside. Being a good man is not always about having things or giving gifts, but it’s also about giving time, love, respect, esteem, etc.--the non-tangibles that frame a loving, healthy relationship. We must also have enough clarity to recognize a wonderful man when we receive him, no matter what the label in his jeans reads, the type of car he drives or the title on his business card (if he even has one). I’m not saying not to have preferences surrounding such things; I am simply nudging you to look a little deeper.

It is important, nay paramount, that we remember that we receive what we call into our lives through our own words and actions. If you say "there are no good black men" you will not attract good men. If you lower your expectation on what constitutes good behavior, the men in your life will lower their behavior to fit the bar that you've set. If you excuse the behaviors of men who are of poor intention because "there are no good black men" anyway, they will continue to behave poorly because they can.

I am raising a young black man and I refuse to tell him that he can't be good because he is black and black men are not good. I'm going to continue to show him how to respect and treat a woman and continue to help him to aspire past being just good, and onto being great.

I recognize that there are larger issues at play here—issues that are rooted deep in the psyche of the black race and embedded in the history of this country. I've seen and heard the statistics on the number of black men in jail, and I'm aware of the uneven ratio of black men to black women in the U.S. I understand that, if you're still single, finding your good black man might be more difficult than it has been for others. My point here is that it's not an impossible task, nor do any of the hurdles to their coupling with black women negate their existence. I just can’t hop on the black male bashing bandwagon when I know so many intelligent, creative, honest, respectful, educated and responsible black men--whether they are available or taken--and I tip my hat to them for being more than a statistic, more than a stereotype or a generalization and for being even better than "good".

Before you leave, have you visited our fan page on Facebook?  Be sure to Stop by and Say hello, Like us, and Spread the love.  You can also follow us on twitter for Peaceful Tweets just when you need them. 
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