Friday, December 23, 2011

The Last Love Note of 2011 - Friday 12/23/11

Happy Friday!  Kim and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for reading our blog and sharing this journey with us.  We'll be on vacation for the next week or so and will resume posting on January 2.  We hope you enjoy the holiday and welcome the new year with open arms.

Isn't it amazing how time seems to fly by?  This time of year always makes me especially nostalgic.  The songs, the movies, the traditions from my childhood are all very fresh in my mind.  Now that I have my own family and we're creating our own memories and traditions, I'm trying to savor all of it and be present through all the phases of my life.

During this season, we hope that you will take time to reflect on where you've been, where you are and where you're going.  Release any limiting thoughts that you are harboring and be open to change.  Whatever your situation is, commit yourself to living a purposeful life and keep believing in yourself.

We'll talk soon!

Love, GG and Kim

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Find Your Truth" Series - Part VI

In the sixth post of our ‘Find Your Truth’ series, Jess shares some of her personal truths.

“I love me. I couldn't always say that. I'm proud of how far I have come.” – Jess

This I know to be true about Relationships:

Relationships are blessings. Even the bad ones, they teach us something about ourselves and the things we look for in others are the things we love and revere. I've learned that when it comes to romantic relationships, it takes two people who are committed to God's word (first) and each other for as long as it’s right. I've learned that the best relationships make you feel the most free. In the relationships that I would consider "bad" I can say that I felt constrained or confined to be a certain way; and conditional love or affection is a horrible foundation for a lasting relationship. Irony that we become the most free when we feel it’s safe to do so, so which comes first? Relationships are reflections, of us of God and of our hearts at any particular time in this life.

This I know to be true about Money:

Money is nothing more than a tool. I do not revere it, nor do I loathe it. It is something that we as humans have assigned value, but how much value it holds is up to the individual. I think it is important to save and I think it is important to spend, I believe in most things. Everybody may not have money but everyone has something of value and what we do with that precious currency shapes the direction of our life. Money comes and goes, love lasts.

This I know to be true about Friendships:

Well lately I've learned that friendships are only as strong as the commitment each person has to it. I absolutely love and adore my girlfriends; I rely on them for many things and vice versa. It takes a long time to develop really good solid friendships as with any relationship it takes love, communication, trust, honesty, respect, and commitment. Sometimes friendships wax and wane, but those sacred few will remain close because they are just as integral to you as your next breath or your heart beat.

This I know to be true about Family:

Family is everything; the ultimate teacher of love, acceptance, forgiveness, and all those virtues that serve us well in life. We can give up on friends, we can break up with boyfriends, but family will always have hooks in us, ties to us. They are the greatest learning tool there is.

This I know to be true about My Self:

I'm full of dichotomy and conflict. Sometimes I don't make sense and sometimes I speak straight to the core. As I grow up I am becoming more and more okay with my mess. I've been letting my ego (fear) run my life for so long that operating out of love and faith (God) sometimes proves to be difficult but every day I start again and keep trying. I am resilient, I am steadfast, I am stubborn and imperfect and I love me. I couldn't always say that. I'm proud of how far I have come.

You can further connect with Jess at her blog, Sincerely, Jess.

Click here to read the previous five entries in the Find Your Truth series.


We hope Jess' insight has inspired you to share your truths with us as well. Feel free to discuss in the comments section, or to email us at with the subject "My Truth" and let us know that you would like to be featured.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spirituality is a Journey, Not a Destination

In this month's guest post, Pastor/Professor Lawrence Ware discusses having certainty of beliefs surrounding divinity.

A part of philosophical reflection involves the reevaluation of concepts and notions formerly taken for granted. For example, many people inherit racial or political ideas from their parents without really evaluating if these ideas are logically consistent or helpful. For many of them, just because their parents taught it means that the idea they have inherited must be correct. Or conversely, just because their parents taught it, the idea must be incorrect. This is especially true of religious belief—there is no middle ground, they think: either the Bible is infallible or it is worthless. Either Christianity is wholly correct, or completely wrong.

Most times, it is neither—spirituality, like all else in life, is about the journey, not the destination.

Growing up, there were so many things about which I was certain: the Bible was true, Jesus was the only way to God, and hell was completely compatible with the notion of a loving God.

Then I started thinking: Gandhi was not Christian, is he a bad person because of it? What about people who never hear of Jesus, will they go to hell also?

I began to realize that certainty about beliefs is not a good thing. As we grow, as we mature, we change. We would be concerned if a child stopped growing; if we did not age; if seasons did not change. We should be equally concerned if our beliefs and ideas do not change as well. To change is a sign of growth—not weakness.

Spirituality is not acquiescence to static dogma or intellectual certitude about theological truths—it is a conversation between us and the divine. When we come to a place of certainty about the divine, we stop listening. Anything that sounds different, new, or radical is a threat to our certainty.

We must not live that way, for God still speaks—and we must be open to new ways of seeing the divine.

This might mean reevaluating what we have traditionally learned in church—or realizing that when we left a religious community, we actually lost something of value. If we desire to grow spiritually, we must be open to change. What we do not know is far less dangerous to us than what we think we do.

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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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holding Myself Accountable: The 3 Lame Excuses I Use to Avoid Exercising


"Discipline means doing what needs to be done, even when you don't want to."

I hate to admit it but I have really fallen off when it comes to exercising on a regular basis.  I have fits and starts where I'll get motivated and go for a jog or do an exercise DVD at home.  But overall, I've been very inconsistent and I'm always making excuses (to myself) as to why I "don't have time" to exercise. 

Excuse #1

I do my hair pretty much every Sunday, so the last thing I want to do is sweat it out.  I have natural hair, so one would think that this would give me more flexibility.  I guess it depends on how I'm wearing it.  The most ideal hairstyle (for me) to wear when I'm working out is a bun or some type of protective style.  That way I don't have to worry about tangles or having to re-straighten or re-twist.  So, what's the problem then?  The problem comes back to my priorities.  If I were making my health a priority (over my hairstyle) then I'd make sure that my hairstyle did not inhibit my work out.   It's very simple.  But I make it hard.

Excuse #2

I belong to a gym at my job and most of my coworkers go to the gym or go outside to run during lunch at least 3-4 times a week.  So, I have the facilities, I have the encouragement of my peers, and I still don't go.  If I'm not going out to lunch, then I'm typically at my desk writing during my lunch hour.  With my full-time night job of mom to three, I rarely have time to write at home during the week.  While writing is definitely a worthwhile priority, I realize that my health is still more important.  It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  I should be able to alternate how I spend my lunch time so that I'm able to accommodate both of these positive outlets.

Excuse #3

Finally, I know I've had a hard time getting started because I'm afraid that I won't stick with it (again).  I truly want to be toned and in shape and have more energy, but I don't want to do the work to make it happen.  I remember there was a time when missing a day at the gym was torture!  I was so into it and I looked forward to working out everyday.  To go from that, to where I am now is pretty discouraging.  How do I know that I won't fall off again?  I guess I don't.   But I know that if I don't try, I'll continue to feel that I'm not taking the best care of myself that I can which is not good for my peace of mind.

What excuses do you make to not get in shape?   How have you made positive changes to make physical fitness a bigger priority in your life?  Do you have any suggestions for me?!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 12/16/11

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Find Your Truth" Series - Part V

We introduced our ‘Find Your Truth’ series as a means of discovery through shared experience: the experience of finding out what remains or becomes true for each of us as we grow older, more mature, and have more life experience.

We consulted some wonderful and brilliant women to discover what they have found to be their personal truths as they have worked to become the people they are today. If you’ve been reading the series thus far, you’ve seen that they are all relatable in some way. Through the sharing of their humorous, intelligent and insightful answers, we hope that you’ll begin to discover some truths of your own.

In the fifth post of the series, blogger Bethy Pierre shares some of her personal truths.

“Don't limit yourself. Who you are today may not be who you are a year from now. That's because you're always changing, growing and developing.” – Bethy Pierre

This I know to be true about:


It's an ever-changing entity that takes a lot of work. As easy as it is to not deal with people, relationships are essential to our beings. I've learned over the years: Don't take the actions of others personally, make yourself available to others and be open and keep your network varied. It's good to be connected with different types of people.


Being financially responsible is what separates those who are living paycheck to paycheck and those who are thriving. It's not about how much you make but what you do with what you have. And the sooner each of us realizes that, then we can be decisive in how money operates in our lives.


They say that the five people who you spend the most time with make up who you are. So it's important to be picky who you make your friends. Who you surround yourself with can either have a negative or positive impact in your life. So choose wisely.


I've given up trying to figure them out. It's not worth the headache. I'm better off spending my energy on more fruitful things.


It doesn't define you. It's only a facet to who you are.


Your family isn't always related by blood. It's the individuals in one's life that are always there for you. As for the blood-relatives, never give up on them. They were made your family for a reason. Love on them.


Without your health, you don't have anything. So, it's important to keep your body in check. But fitness for me, has been an awesome stress reliever. When one area of my life is out of whack, I can go for a quick run and for a while, my mind is off of my worries and onto something else.


I love me some sweets. And there have been times I've gone on binges of chocolate. While I'm indulging, I'm in heaven. But as soon as I surface from my chocolate coma, I regret it. As many times as I've done that I always come back to this point: Everything is best in moderation. Food tastes better that way and you get to enjoy it more. And you don't end up regretting any bite you take.


Don't limit yourself. Who you are today may not be who you are a year from now. That's because you're always changing, growing and developing. And it's always important to evaluate yourself and see where you've been so you can determine where you are going.

You can further connect with Bethy at her blog, B. Pierre Writes.

To read previous entries in the Find Your Truth series, click below:


We hope Bethy's insight has inspired you to share your truths with us as well. Feel free to discuss in the comments section, or to email us at with the subject "My Truth" and let us know that you would like to be featured.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lovely Links: A Declaration of Self-Esteem


I recently stumbled upon a lovely blog called ....But I Love Me More.  I knew right away from the name of the blog that it would be right up my alley.  The writer behind the blog is Nova Browning Rutherford and she's a motivational speaker, national radio personality, author, mentor, and activist. 

Her mission statement is as follows:

"...but i love me more" means making a choice to love yourself, as you are, before anything else. It's also forum to share stories and the realization that past pain CAN propel our future progress!

She had me at hello!  I get so excited when I come across another black woman with a passion for encouraging people (particularly other women) to overcome their insecurities and struggles and be free to live their best lives.  Learning to accept our mistakes and our hard times with a graceful attitude is what gives us the awareness to make those things count for something.  I love that she shares real life experiences because for me, that's what really brings the message home.   We all go through things, so why not learn from each other? 

So as I was perusing her blog and eating it up, I came across this post: A Declaration of Self-Esteem.  Nova says that she found this declaration on the refrigerator of her husband's grandmother.   I knew that our PLPT readers would feel empowered by it just like I did. You will want to print this out and post it up somewhere where you can read it everyday to affirm that you do indeed love yourself and value yourself more than anything else.   Enjoy. 

I am me.

In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me.

There are persons who have some parts like me, but no one adds up exactly like me. Therefore, everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I alone chose it.

I own everything about me-my body, including everything it does; my mind, including all its thoughts and ideas; my eyes, including the images of all they behold; my feelings, whatever they may be – anger, joy, frustration, love, disappointment, excitement; my mouth, and all the words that come out of it, polite, sweet or rough, correct or incorrect; my voice, loud or soft; and all my actions, whether they be to others or to myself.

I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears.

I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.

Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts. I can then make it possible for all of me to work in my best interests.

I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know. But as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for the solutions to the puzzles and for ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is me. This is authentic and represents where I am at that moment in time.

When I review later how I looked and sounded, what i said and did, and how I thought and felt, some parts may turn out to be unfitting. I can discard that which is unfitting and keep that which proved fitting, and invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can see, hear, feel, think, say and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me.

I own me, and therefore I can engineer me.

I am me and I am okay.

~Virginia Satir

Check out Nova's blog for more self-lovin' goodness! 
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Create Quality Time by Starting a Tradition

We are officially in the holiday season, and it is ripe with traditions observed by family, friends and even co-workers. Quality time is at a maximum and we revel in the present moment with our loved ones, while enjoying a shared history. Wouldn’t it be great to have this feeling all year long? So why not start traditions outside of the holidays?

With your entire family

When I was younger, my family always had Sunday dinner together. Whether it was around the dining table or in front of the football game, there was one night where we knew we would all be eating together. Admittedly, Sunday dinners have fallen by the wayside in my household—but it’s such a beautiful way to facilitate quality time that it’s definitely worth reinstating.

Find something that your family enjoys that everyone can participate in: is there an annual event you’d like to make it a habit to attend? An arts and craft project where your kids watch their skill level grow as they get older? Perhaps an annual vacation?

With your children

Though it may not always seem as though children recognize the value of time with their parents when they are children, they will certainly see it clearly when they are adults looking back on the experiences that helped shape them.

My mother and I used to share “tea time” when I was a child. We would sit at the table over two mugs of tea and talk and giggle like girlfriends. She would also make tea for me whenever I was feeling unwell. And now, as an adult, I drink at least 2 cups of hot tea per day; partially because of the health benefits, but also because through the memory of that tradition with Mom, I equate tea with comfort, love and soothing.

Similarly, my son and I have had dinner “dates” since he was about 4 years old. During these dates, he has my undivided attention and we talk and catch up on the little things that sometimes get lost in the shuffle of other priorities. I also use this as an opportunity to subtly teach him how to conduct himself, and how to treat a woman when he’s on a real date. And it’s something that (I hope) we can do no matter how old he gets.

Tap into what your children like or respond to and find ways to connect with them on that level. If you have more than one child, customizing your experiences with them is a great way to show them you recognize their unique personalities.

With your friends

As we grow older, get married, have kids and take on more adult responsibility, it gets harder and harder to carve out time for our friends; but it is paramount that we do so. I find that girl time is an opportunity to recharge and reconnect with my friends, but also with myself—and what makes me “me” outside of roles that I assume in my day-to-day life. My friends and I have girls’ nights every other month (or so) where we all gather at one person’s place and curl up on the couch with snacks and drinks to catch up on each other’s busy lives.

Do you and your friends have designated times that you get together? If not, why not instate a monthly (or quarterly if it better accommodates) meet-up for brunch, cocktails, a movie night or a potluck dinner? The actual activity is up to you; just make it a regular occurrence and make it fun!

What are some of your favorite traditions—at the holidays, or all year long?

Originally posted at Chic Mommy, Cool Kid.
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 12/9/11

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Find Your Truth" Series - Part IV

We introduced our ‘Find Your Truth’ series as a means of discovery through shared experience: the experience of finding out what remains or becomes true for each of us as we grow older, more mature, and have more life experience.

We consulted some wonderful and brilliant women to discover what they have found to be their personal truths as they have worked to become the people they are today. If you’ve been reading the series thus far, you’ve seen that they are all relatable in some way. Through the sharing of their humorous, intelligent and insightful answers, we hope that you’ll begin to discover some truths of your own.

In the fourth post of the series, Randi shares her truth about Beauty.

“Can you and will you dare to seek authentic beauty? Or will you live the mundane and always see obvious and blatant beauty?” – Randi

This I know to be true about Beauty:

“Love of Beauty is Taste. The Creation of Beauty is Art."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a young girl I was always observant of how people defined style and beauty. I am not sure why, but I always found myself people watching and seeing how each of us respond to the idea of what is beautiful. Maybe my fascination began because I was an average girl, but I always thought there was something so beautiful about me (is this narcissistic?).

One of my clearest childhood memories was being at a friend’s house and having an adult compliment my friend on how pretty she was. A few minutes later, almost as an after thought, she turned to me and said “Randi, you do have some pretty eyes.” Of course as a child I thanked her and made no further comments. That evening I went home and glared at myself in the mirror. I did a mini SWOT analysis on my beauty in comparison to my friends. My friend was pretty by society norms, she was fare skinned and had long hair, but she had obvious blunders such as crossed eyes and a subpar mouth. How was she immediately seen as beautiful? I didn’t get it! My eyes were super clear, my skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom, my teeth were whiter than white and perfectly maintained, ears proportionate, and hair neatly maintained. What made my friend so pretty to that adult?

I will never know her answer, but my biggest take away was my beauty cannot be defined by another’s opinion. I also learned that people are attracted to the familiar and obvious. Very few have appreciation for the outliers….the authentic beauty holders. I believe that childhood moment radically influenced me. It is that moment that drives me to look at most things through a different set of lenses. That day my eyes were opened to the limitless beauty on earth. I developed an acquired taste for beauty. Can you and will you dare to seek authentic beauty? Or will you live the mundane and always see obvious and blatant beauty? Nothing wrong with it, just a tad (yawn) boring!

Click the links below to read Parts I, II and III of the Find Your Truth series.


We hope Randi's insight has inspired you to share your truths with us as well. Feel free to discuss in the comments section, or to email us at with the subject "My Truth" and let us know you would like to be featured.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

PLPT Reading List – December

Currently Reading

I’m currently just about halfway through The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer. The subtitle of the book, “Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way”, indicates what the book strives to teach us to do.

We all know that our thoughts help to bring about our reality. In this book Dr. Dyer helps us to understand how to intentionally create the life that we want to experience; not by drive or determination, but by divorcing from our ego and tapping into the universal energy that allows the act of creation to take place.

That phrase might sound a little heady, but once you get into the meat of the book, it offers very practical advice. Here is an excerpt, by way of example:

Seven Steps for Overcoming Ego’s Hold on You

1. Stop being offended. The behavior of others isn’t a reason to be immobilized…Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place and leads to attack, counterattack and war.

2. Let go of your need to win. Ego loves to divide us up between winners and losers. The pursuit of winning is a surefire means to avoid conscious contact with intention. Why? Because ultimately, winning is impossible all of the time. Someone out there will be faster, luckier, younger, stronger and smarter—and back you’ll go to feeling worthless and insignificant.

3. Let go of your need to be right. Ego is the source of a lot of conflict and dissension because it pushes you in the direction of making other people wrong….let go of this ego-driven need to be right by asking yourself, Do I want to be right, or be happy? When you choose the happy, loving, spiritual mode, your connection to intention is strengthened.

4. Let go of your need to be superior. True nobility isn’t about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you used to be.

5. Let go of your need to have more. The mantra of the ego is more. It’s never satisfied. No matter how much you achieve or acquire, your ego will insist that it isn’t enough. You’ll find yourself in a perpetual state of striving, and eliminate the possibility of ever arriving. Yet in reality, you’ve already arrived, and how you choose to use this present moment of your life is your choice.

6. Let go of identifying yourself on the basis of your achievements. Notice it all; and be grateful for the abilities you’ve been given, the motivation to achieve, and the stuff you’ve accumulated. But give all the credit to the power of intention, which brought you into existence and which you’re a materialized part of.

7. Let go of your reputation. Your reputation is not located in you. It resides in the minds of others. Therefore you have no control over it at all. If you speak to 30 people, you will have 30 reputations… Leave your reputation for others to debate; it has nothing to do with you.

I’m learning so much, and reconnecting with some concepts that perhaps I’ve failed to apply since initially learning them. I recommend that you read this book if you’re working to create any kind of change in your life. You can purchase The Power of Intention from the PLPT Bookstore, by clicking here.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Affirmations for Letting It Go


It doesn't seem fair when he cheated on you and now he's happily married and raising a family with the woman he cheated on you with. It stings when the job that fired you for unfounded reasons is growing in leaps and bounds and you are having trouble finding a job just to make ends meet.

Where's the retribution? Have you ever felt this way?

I have a couple friends going through these things and the common theme I hear voiced through their frustration is that they feel they are being punished. They don't understand why it seems that the people who have done them wrong are being rewarded.

Why do bad things happen to good people? No one on this earth can answer this question with certainty, but what I believe is that 1) What doesn't kill us makes us stronger or teaches us something we needed to learn 2) We won't get stronger if we view ourselves as victims and 3) When we've been wronged, we need to focus on our own healing and let go of our fixation with the person who hurt us.

I know it's not easy. I've been trying to think of ways to comfort my friends through these situations, and I keep hearing myself say "Let go. This is not about them, this is about you. Don't worry about what they think or if they are laughing at you or feeling sorry for you. The only thing you should be thinking about is how you will heal and move forward. Take the lesson and let it go."

Do you have any advice to share based on what you've been through? Are you going through something right now? Consider the following affirmations:

I am stronger and more resilient than I think I am.

My joy and peace of mind are not dependent on my current circumstances.

The quality of my life is defined by staying true to my values, no matter how others behave.

I don't need revenge or retribution to feel closure from a bad situation.

I can empower myself by not playing the victim, and looking at challenges as opportunities to overcome.

I believe in myself when no one else does.

I love myself unconditionally.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 12/2/11

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Find Your Truth" Series - Part III

We introduced our ‘Find Your Truth’ series as a means of discovery through shared experience: the experience of finding out what remains or becomes true for each of us as we grow older, more mature, and have more life experience.

We consulted some wonderful and brilliant women to discover what they have found to be their personal truths as they have worked to become the people they are today. Through the sharing of their humorous, intelligent and insightful answers, we hope that you’ll begin to discover some truths of your own.

In the third post of the series, Shivawn shares with us just how her truths have matured as she has grown.

"My flaws and imperfections are what make me relatable to other women.” – Shivawn

My Truth and 2 cents on Friendships:

As a teenager I thought the friends I had then would be forever. This isn’t always the case in life. As you grow as an individual your friends should grow also. If they don’t its okay to cherish the good times and to move on. Sometimes we hold on too tight to familiar comfy friendships and we end up missing out on the friend we need for that moment of our life. Your friends should be a reflection of whom you are and where you are going….

My 5 cents and truth on Money:

Your credit score is so much more important than your Social Security Number. It reflects your discipline in life and tells a story of how you treat your money. Money will motivate you to keep up with the Joneses, to stay after work late everyday and it will control you if you’re not careful. I recognize now to respect money but also to have my money work for me and not the other way around. An excessive amount of money doesn’t change you it just magnifies the person that was always there!

The TRUTH on Myself:

I used to believe that I had to be perfect and please everyone else. Now the truth is my Mess is what makes my Message so powerful. My flaws and imperfections are what make me relatable to other women. I am ever evolving and growing into who I am supposed to be. And now I realize that I must be pleased with myself first and worry about the rest later!

My Truth on Relationships:

I used to believe that relationships consisted of a white picket fence, 2 kids, a dog and a nice house. Now I realize relationships are about you being selfless but not losing yourself. Work, but not that 9 to 5 type of ‘I dread it’ work. But let’s work and communicate because we have a love and appreciation for one another. Relationships should complement each individual and add value to their lives. I believe that a relationship should always be taking you somewhere and if it’s not then you are in trouble!

Connect with Shivawn on Twitter!

Click the links below to read Parts I and II of the Find Your Truth series.
We hope Shivawn’s insight has inspired you to share your truths with us as well. Feel free to discuss in the comments section, or to email us at with the subject “My Truth” and let us know that you would like to be featured.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pretty Things: My Winter Beauty Arsenal for Smooth Skin

Hello Beautiful Ones! I have vowed to myself that this winter I will not let my skin get all scaly and stubbly and dry. I will not put lotion just on the skin that is showing. I will not walk around with ashy hands and dry cuticles. I will be soft and supple and smooth! I wanted to share with you all a few of the products I'm using to keep my skin moisturized and touchable without breaking the bank.

1. Amlactin - This is hands down my beauty find of the year. Amlactin Moisturizing Body Lotion contains an alpha-hydroxy acid (12%) that exfoliates and moisturizes very dry skin. It's recommended for the treatment of Keratosis Pilaris, which I've always had and never knew that it was an actual skin condition. You know those little "chicken" bumps that some people get on the backs of their arms? I get them on my arms, and thighs sometimes and I also get acne on my upper back. I've only been using this lotion for a week and THE BUMPS ARE GONE.

On top of that, my skin is so so smooth - even  hours after application. I also read here and here that other women bloggers that I follow have seen improvement in stretch marks and dark marks which makes sense because it significantly speeds up the cell turnover in your skin. It's fragrance free and the consistency is not thick at all, so it smooths into the skin very easily. You can find it online or in stores and the price seems to range between $16 - $25 for a bottle depending on where you get it.

2. Caress Evenly Gorgeous Exfoliating Body Wash - There are tons of expensive exfoliating scrubs out there, but you're probably overlooking this gem that is right under your nose at your local drugstore. I love it because it's not too harsh and gives me just the right amount of scrub. It smells amazing and feels luxurious. Also, when you wash it off, your skin already feels moisturized before you put all your lotions and oils on. You just can't be mad at it for less than five bucks.

3. Bio Oil - We all know that there's no true way to completely get rid of stretch marks, but we can minimize them through different methods. I kept hearing about Bio Oil so I decided to give it a try. The website says that it smooths and tones scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone and is also effective for dehydrated and aging skin. With consistent use, I found that the texture of my skin improved and my stretch mark seemed less raised, if that makes sense. I tend to be heavy handed with it, so I'd use it up really fast and the stuff is not cheap (about $10 or $11 for 2 oz!) I keep buying it though because it works. Now, I plan on using it in tandem with Amlactin. I don't plan on putting them on at the same time. I'll probably use Amlactin at night and Bio Oil in the morning or vice versa.  We'll see.

4. Nivea Soft Hand Cream - I keep a tube of this at my desk at work, in my purse, and on my kitchen sink. I'm sure there are tons of hand lotions out there that get the job done, but I particularly like this one because it doesn't have a strong smell, it doesn't leave my hands feeling oily or sticky and of course, it moisturizes very well.  I must admit that I've always like Nivea because my mom used to use it. *shrugs* Oh, and it's cheap.

5. Exfoliating Gloves - I use these instead of using a loofah or poof in the shower. In my opinion, they give me the best scrub down and I really need the works for my skin. I use these along with the Caress Exfoliating Body Wash. Now, if I'm taking a night time and morning shower, which lately I often do, I won't use the gloves or the exfoliating wash for both. Most likely, I'll exfoliate at night (with the gloves and Caress) and then shave in the morning (and just use regular Dove soap to wash). By the way, what do you use to shave? I usually use a cheap Suave conditioner from the dollar store.

What beauty products and tips do you have for keeping your skin soft and smooth throughout the cold months??   Do tell!!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Be All the Things You Want in Your Mate

I hear a lot about women who have extensive lists of attributes, physical qualities and material possessions that they wish to find in a mate. The thing that strikes me most about some of these lists is that the women writing them do not themselves possess ALL the things they’ve listed, yet they expect someone else to come into their life that does.

There’s nothing wrong with calling in the things that you want—in fact, it is necessary that you do think and speak the things you desire into existence. But speaking abundance into someone else’s life, hoping they’ll bring it around to share with you to help you to be complete is not quite the right method.

Life is like a mirror, in that it reflects back to us what we are ourselves. It brings back to us what we project into the world. So in order to attract a man with the 35 qualities you have listed, you have to first become a person who exhibits those same qualities. If you want someone who will be honest: be honest in all your relationships. If you want someone who will be punctual: be punctual wherever you go. If you want someone who will be thoughtful and giving: be thoughtful and giving to others.

Spend time nurturing yourself and finding out what it is that you like; then do that for yourself. Cook yourself a nice meal, buy yourself a piece of pretty jewelry, or take yourself to the movies. Tell yourself that you’re beautiful. Whatever it is that you would like to have done for you by someone else, do those things for yourself. By doing so, two things happen: (1) You’ll set an example. If a person sees how well you treat yourself, there’s no way they’re going to come to you with anything less; and (2) You’ll become so accustomed to being treated well, that you won’t accept anything else anyway; you won’t get caught up in a situation that doesn’t serve you, because you’ll realize right away that it doesn’t serve you. Through each of these outcomes, you have created the positive energy that you want to be surrounded by, and initiated an attracting power that will draw people to you who are like you. You show the Universe that you value yourself, so you’ll attract someone who values themselves, and who will also value you.

If you feel that you absolutely have to have a list to serve as a reminder of what you’re attracting, try this: more than the “things” a person might have, try listing the way you want to feel when you’re with them. Will your ideal person: Be loyal? Be trustworthy? Make you feel secure? Verbally express how they feel about you? Figure out what a good relationship will feel like for you so that you can recognize it when it comes along. If a person makes you feel the way you want to be treated, maybe some of the items on that other list won’t matter as much.

There’s an oft repeated quote by Mahatma Gandhi that states: “ the change you want to see in the world”, and it applies here as well. Be the change you want to see in yourself. Or, be all the things you want in your mate.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 11/25/11

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Season of Thanks: What We Are Grateful For


We are so grateful for....


This year has been a season of receiving for me: a new home, a brand new vehicle, a new relationship with an amazing man, and new career & business opportunities. And I am so grateful for it all. It has been overwhelming (in a good way) to see everything that I prayed, visualized and work so hard toward come to fruition. This season of receiving has been proof for me that faith, patience and gratitude for your current circumstances all work in tandem to bring more good into your life in your future.

And through all of these new experiences, I give thanks for those things that have remained constant. My family who continually shows unconditional support for both me and for my son; my wonderful young man, into whom I have poured all my good intentions, and who continues to amaze me with his intelligence and strength of character; my very best friends GG and Vonnie who are my biggest fans and my most clear mirrors, reflecting back to me both my good and those things that I fear and need to push past; and several other wonderful friends who add such value to even the smallest daily interactions, like a g-chat conversation.

I am blessed, on so many levels that I just can't think of any reason not to express gratitude in this season of Thanksgiving and every other day of the year.


I have so much to be thankful for that it's hard to know where to begin.   I'll start with the inside then work my way out.  I'm thankful for the realization that everything in life is about gratitude. I know that I must give thanks for the goodness that I wish to receive in my life before I receive it. I must give thanks in the midst of hard times and appreciate the lessons learned; then give more thanks when the challenges are overcome and when life moves on.  I'm thankful for my career, the discovery of my purpose and every opportunity to continue to feed my passions and stretch myself.   I'm thankful for having this platform, Peace Love and Pretty Things, to commune with like minded women.  I'm so thankful for my friend and co-author, Kim, who I'm able to share something so unique and mutually beneficial with by partnering with her to develop this blog. I'm thankful for all of my friends and family who remind me that I am loved when I need to hear it most.  I'm thankful for my health, my home and all of the things that make life cozy and comfortable.  I hope that I remember every minute of every day to count my blessings, appreciate what I have and have an attitude of thankfulness in everything that I do.
In this season of Thanksgiving, we just wanted to take a moment and express our gratitude for all the wonderful things in our lives--including the beautiful platform we have in PLPT, and all the wonderful readers that we get to commune with weekly. We are grateful for you! Please feel free to share what you're grateful for in the comments section.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!
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Monday, November 21, 2011

When the Thanks Don’t Come Easy: 4 Reasons to Give Thanks In the Midst of Hard Times

via Pinterest
Balance is everything.  In order to have peace of mind, we must let go and allow ourselves to accept everything that life has to offer - the ups and the downs - without judgement.   Highs come with lows, mistakes come with success and pleasure comes with pain.  As we live through the extremes that create balance, we learn to ride the waves.  We don't get to choose balance, it's divinely a part of this life. Our choice is whether we accept it or fight against it.  When we look for meaning in the unpleasant and uncomfortable things that happen in our lives, we learn to embrace a consistent energy of gratitude that can sustain us through any and everything.

In the spirit of embracing balance, consider the following opportunities to give thanks even in the midst of hard times:

*Thanks for broken relationships.  This one's for the relationships that didn't last.  Over and over we ask ourselves what we could have done differently.   But if every relationship is about growth and development, then there are times that we just have to let go once we learn what we are meant to learn.  We can be thankful for the presence of mind to move beyond the emotion and look for the growth.  Somewhere beyond the grief and pain is an important lesson waiting to be learned.

*Thanks for disappointment.   Life is challenging.  There will be change, discomfort, betrayal, misunderstandings, obstacles, mysteries, and grief.  We will at times feel lost and forgotten.  There will be situations that seem unfair. What looks bad today, can turn around and bless us tomorrow.  We should ultimately be thankful for all these things because they are necessary detours we have to take to get where we're going.  We can't avoid disappointment, but we can reframe how we think about it. 

*Thanks for criticism.  Let's be thankful for the critics in our lives that push us to gain a firmer understanding of who we are.  Through criticism we learn to develop a thick skin and a strong sense of self.  Thanks to criticism, we learn that we can't please everyone, so we might as well shine and be fulfilled from within.  Likewise, we can stop taking everything so personally and looking for reasons to feel sorry for ourselves.  Some criticism is constructive and some is not, but we have to go through it to learn the difference.

*Thanks for being alone.  Many of us fear separation; the idea of  being alone, and seemingly unwanted can be terrifying.  We keep buffers around to avoid spending too much time on our own.  There's a special kind of wisdom that comes from appreciating and cherishing time alone.   Sometimes we have to step out on our own and make a new way. Sometimes we have to spend time alone to discover that special thing that we love to do.  We don't necessarily welcome that alone time at first.  But here's to loving yourself enough to take time out to relate to your inner world, even when it's not easy to do so.

What challenging aspects of life are you thankful for?  Can you think back on difficult situations that you've faced and see the opportunities for growth and self-awareness?
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 11/18/11

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Find Your Truth" Series - Part II

Last week, we introduced our "Find Your Truth" series as a means of discovery through shared experience: the experience of finding out what remains or becomes true for each of us as we grow older, more mature, and have more life experience.

We consulted some wonderful and brilliant women to discover what they have found to be their personal truths as they have worked to become the people they are today. Through the sharing of their humorous, intelligent and insightful answers, we hope that you’ll begin to discover some truths of your own.

In the second post of the series, Adriene shares what she finds to be true about several facets of life, with complete honesty, and a dash of humor.

“This I know to be true about …Men: They get on my damn nerves. I know that to be true. Lol” - Adriene

This I know to be true about Relationships:

Healthy relationships are great for the soul. Any person you build a deeper connection with qualifies to me as a relationship. Strong healthy relationships are necessary to navigate your way through life. Relationships are more than romantic ones, but they are the human connections between friends, family, or colleagues – essentially, they are every healthy human connection you hold valuable. I work hard in life to maintain successful substantial relationships with those I deem worthy.

This I know to be true about Money:

Money does not equal happiness. However, when you have a good understanding of what money can do for you, it can alleviate some stress in your life. My golden rule: I work too damn hard for my money, not to pay myself before PNC, BGE, AT&T, Geico, etc. Even if you cannot save much, start with $20 a paycheck and work your way up! :-)

This I know to be true about Friendships:

They are AMAZING! Friendships mean the world to me. Over the past 26 (almost 27) years, I have developed an amazing circle of friends. I am not talking about acquaintances, those are nice to have, but I mean true ride or die friends which are absolutely necessary. “Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant." Socrates

This I know to be true about Family:

Coming from a small family, I value every moment I spend with my family. Family is the pureness of unconditional love. With only four people in my immediate family now, the bond is only getting stronger. If no one else on the planet is honest with you about your actions, it should be your family.

This I know to be true about My Self:

I always follow my intuition and my gut feeling. I firmly believe that you are the only person who knows what is best for you. I trust that inner feeling when intuition speaks to me. I listen carefully and chart my next path, adventure, or decision accordingly. My internal compass has not yet steered me wrong, because every situation is primed with a valuable lesson needed in that very moment. I am self aware enough to understand that the person that I am will influence the lives of those with whom I have developed relationships. What I put into the world will be exactly what I will get back from the world. Therefore, I have made the choice to put as much positive energy into the world as I can.

Click here to read Part I of the Find Your Truth series.


We hope Adriene’s insight has inspired you to share your truths with us as well. Feel free to discuss in the comments section, or to email us at with the subject “My Truth” and let us know that you would like to be featured.
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Black Girls Who Rock: 3 Bloggers You Should Know

I was reading one of my various hair and beauty blogs awhile back and someone commented on how there are so few blogs by black women that are focused on inner beauty and personal development.

Huh?! (in my best Kanye West voice)

That comment reminded me that there is still a huge audience that we have yet to reach.  And when I say we, I mean Kim and I, as well as all the other positive black women out there who are passionate about uplifting each other.   As I watched Black Girls Rock last week, I was so proud of our blog and so thankful for any positive impact that we may have on our readers. 

If you love this blog and have had a hard time finding others like it, we want to inform you.  If you have a blog or website that is designed to empower and inspire black women, we want to salute you.  And if you have lost faith in sisterhood, and think that women don't know how to respect and support each other, we want to educate you.

As such, today we're highlighting three bloggers who we love and who share our passion for inspiring women.

Dreamer. Lover of life. Goal getter. These are just a few words to describe Jamie Fleming-Dixon, a South Carolina-based copywriter and blogger.

Jamie’s intention is to empower her readers, inspire them to live their most fabulous lives and to motivate them to reach for their dreams and goals.

In addition to FCG, Jamie owns a copywriting service, Mocha Writer, where she specializes in creating fabulous copy and content for small, women-owned businesses.

Some of our favorite posts:

Mind of a Diva serves as a vessel that's redefining what it means to be a diva through the life and thoughts of a woman in her twenties. There is so much that we have to deal with as we make the transition from childhood into adulthood, and this is my story along with those of the people around me. 

Some of our favorite posts:

"I think our generation is more aware that we don’t want to spend our prime years working in jobs we hate, or buying needless crap to fill the empty spaces in our hearts, and asking ourselves, “Is this it?”

My thought process when creating this space: “If I feel there is something more out there, then other people must feel it too. And if they feel it, they might want to talk about it.”

I’m on a mission to build an online community that connects people who want  to build kick-ass lives for themselves."

Some of our favorite posts:

To find more black women who aim to inspire, check out Rosetta's 50 Blogs by Happy Black Women.  

Stay tuned for more of our favorites in future posts!
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Monday, November 14, 2011

3 Ways to Drink to Your Health

There are tons of ways to ensure you’re taking in the amount of vitamins your body needs, and one of my favorite methods of vitamin intake is to drink them. It cuts down on the amount of pills to swallow, you can conquer your hunger without feeling the heaviness we sometimes experience after a meal, and liquids are easier to take with you on-the-go. Here are three ways to drink to your health.

Hot or Cold Tea

In addition to being a comfort beverage, many teas have healing properties*.

White tea is high in antioxidants, is said to support healthy skin and detoxification, and has very little caffeine (about 1% of that in a cup of coffee).

Green tea is also high in antioxidants, is said to give your immune system a boost, and has little caffeine—though more than what is typically found in white teas (about 5-10% of that in a cup of coffee).

Red tea or Rooibos tea aids in digestion and is naturally caffeine free.

Black tea can give you an energy boost, and has about 20% of the caffeine found in coffee, so it’s a great substitute for that morning cup of Joe (try Tazo Awake tea). It’s also said to promote cardiovascular health.


Smoothies are a cold, yummy treat that are so good, you don’t even notice that you're having something healthy! But they are—and the great thing is you can combine any number of fruits, veggies and yogurts to make them your own. You can add supplements like protein or energy powders, or even caffeine to help jump start your day; you can drink a fruit smoothie as a snack or in-between meals to help you feel full; and you can even have a smoothie as a healthy dessert.

Make your smoothie at home in a blender by combining your favorite frozen fruits, Greek yogurt and ice chips.

Keep your fridge stocked with pre-made smoothies with specific properties like the Bolthouse Farms brand. My favorite is Green Goodness which has 8 servings of both fruits and vegetables.

No time to buy groceries? Visit someplace like Smoothie King, instead of Starbucks, during your morning commute and put together your own smoothie chock full of all the ingredients you need to “stay healthy, trim down, get energy, shape up, snack right, or indulge”—your choice.


Probiotics are said to be “healthy” bacteria that help to maintain the balance of micro-organisms living within our bodies. According to studies, they can aid in digestive and immune function and contribute to overall health.

One (pseudo controversial) source of probiotics is Kombucha**, and most people either love it or hate it. An aged tea elixir, it is said to provide the healthy enzymes needed to replenish much needed energy and to restore health. While it is supposed to be very good for you, Kombucha does not taste very good; you’ll definitely want to drink to your health and not for taste.

These are a few of the things that I consume to stay energized and healthy. What are some of your favorite ways to drink to your health?

*Tea facts pulled from the Teavana website.
**There were some warnings issued against the classic version of this beverage, citing that it contained small amounts of alcohol. Since then, a second formula has been released, the Enlightened version, that is said to be suitable for consumption by all ages.
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