Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pretty Things: Updo Tutorial

A few of you asked me to provide more detail about how I achieve this updo/bun thing that I showed here that happens to be my go to protective style.   There's no exact rhyme or reason to it, as it comes out differently every time.  

I start off with a shampoo or conditioner wash and deep conditioning treatment.

I section my hair into 8 - 12 braids.   Typically, more braids works better for this style.  I prefer to do braids over twists, because I like to put rollers at the ends and for me, the rollers stay in place better at the end of a braid.  I feel like the weight of the roller tends to unravel my twists a bit. 

Sometimes I will stretch my hair first by banding or blowdrying.  Often when I stretch the hair first, I prefer to do cornrows instead of braids.  Cornrows give the style even more texture.  I don't like to do my cornrows on wet hair because it gets too tangly.

I use a leave-in followed by a sealing oil or butter on each section.  I braid each section and leave about 2 inches at the bottom.  I smooth that hair at the bottom out with my oil/butter and perhaps a small tooth comb and put in a satin roller.   Putting the roller at the end is a great way to protect and stretch your ends and it also gives a nice finish to each piece of hair so you don't have to worry about any scraggly pieces sticking out.

At this point, I may put on a satin cap, but I've discovered that using a hair net and sleeping on a satin pillowcase allows more air to get in so it dries faster.  I prefer the hair net over just leaving the braids loose.
It must dry all the way for the set to hold properly. 

When I take it out the next day, I decide whether I want a high updo or perhaps a loose side bun.  Then I take a small scrunchy and just wrap it around once.  Depending on the length and thickness of your hair and the ponytail holder you use, you may need to wrap it around more but the general idea is for it to not be tight.    At this point I simply grap different pieces of hair and just pin it here and there until I like the look.  I don't separate the pieces.  The less you manipulate it and separate the hair, the longer it will last.  If you think of  the hair as coming out of the middle of the ponytail like a flower, I generally start with that shape in mind; but then I just kind of pin each section of hair where it falls and I try to make it look more random - sort of like a mix between a bun and a ponytail. 

To maintain this, I take it down at night - trying to manipulate it as little as possible.  I might spray it with a light oil or something if necessary.  Then, I'll either put it in just a few braids with rollers, or I might even just put it in a loose pony on top of my head and tie it down.  The more nights that you rebraid it though, the longer it will last and the waves will stay more defined.

Does this make sense?  I'm happy to answer questions.   I think this is a great style no matter the season, and it allows for some versatility while still giving your hair a rest.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Faking It: When Everyone Thinks You're Happy But You


A variation of this article was originally posted on The Write Curl Diary.

A few years ago, I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I was absolutely miserable. I was clingy and co-dependent. I didn't feel capable or worthy of anything good. I was obsessed with the idea of being betrayed and left alone. Every time I got in my car, I thought it was going to crash. I was convinced that I was a horrible mother and would ruin my children's lives. My finances were a complete nightmare, so I was always in crisis mode. I was needy, resentful, unhappy, and afraid. There was this overall theme of fragility in my life. Everything around me seemed totally unstable and false.

But from the outside, it probably appeared that nothing was wrong.

Only my closest friends knew that I was depressed. It's not that I didn't talk about it at all, but I bottled most of it up because I didn’t want to burden anyone. To the outside world, I was happy, healthy and generally a positive person to know and be around. I've always been a happy-go-lucky kind of person, so I wanted to remain that for people as much as possible. So, I put on a happy face and secretly marveled at people who seemed to have it all together. I'd wonder how they weren't haunted the way I was. I thought my state of mind was outside of my control.

Depression is real. If you have a cold that you can't shake, you go to the doctor, right? So if you have a sadness that won't go away, you need to see a therapist. You are not cheating on God if you seek professional help. In fact, part of my confusion had to do with my spirituality and relationship with God, so I wanted to speak to someone neutral in that regard.

Through counseling, I realized that I needed to get back to the fundamental basics of who I am. Not as a woman, mother, daughter, sister, friend - just as a human being. I tried to think about a time when I was truly happy. What am I good at? What excites me? Comforts me? Sustains me? I thought about the qualities that came very naturally to me that I always undervalued like compassion, openmindedness, and empathy. I had to wrap my mind around the idea that I was made this way for a reason, and that I could use these qualities to make a positive impact on the world.

Within this idea that I could actually be loveable just the way I am, I began to see a glimmer of light. I’d spent so much time being sad over my supposed shortcomings that I couldn’t see all of the ways that I shine. Once I learned to reframe my mistakes into character builders, the things that once made me feel like an outsider began to be the building blocks of my authenticity.

Have you experienced anything remotely similar? Have you ever seen yourself behaving a certain way and wondered "How did I get here? Why am I behaving this way? This is not who I am!”

There’s no shame in admitting that what you’re doing isn’t working. Don't be afraid to question everything you were taught and create your own happy. You may need to change your environment by giving up people, places and things that bring you down. We're so used to being around negative attitudes and negative talk that we often don't realize how much it affects us. But once you start to see it, trust me, you will begin to move in the opposite direction. When we fill our space with abundant thinking and positive actions, we are inviting happiness and peace into our worlds. All it takes is a choice - a decision to see the world and your life differently.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

PLPT GEMS: Meet Mimi Scarlett

 PLPT GEMS Presents
Mimi Scarlett
Business Owner. Blogger. SAHM.

Tell us about your background and how you came to be a stay-at-home-mom and entrepreneur?

I graduated from college in 2002 and jumped right into my corporate career. A few years into working, despite my intentions to climb the "corporate ladder", deep inside I knew I would never make it. I pushed my entrepreneurial feelings aside and pressed on. After about 7 years of working I realized I was miserable and it was time to make a change.

I used to sit at my desk and dream of businesses to start; in 2006 I had the vision for Divinitee. During that time I started to notice a surge in shirts conveying all types of messages, but none of them positive. I started doing some research and found that the market at the time was very limited in its selection of apparel for the spiritually sophisticated woman. With some intricate planning and major support from my husband I left my job in 2009 to pursue my dreams full time.

Please share with us the first five steps you took when you decided to start your own business.

Getting started required a ton of research. I looked at other brands, and noted what I liked and disliked about their products and strategies. I then used my research to create a business plan. Although I have since changed my business plan numerous times, the structure remains the same. Some people say it’s not necessary, but I beg to differ. The logistics may change but it always serves as a starting point when I get off track. Next, I started the process of working out the production process. Making decisions regarding the type of shirt, printing processes etc. My goal was to find the best quality for the lowest price...of course! Marketing decisions came next. How would I get the word out? I looked at print vs. strictly internet based, vendor opportunities and sponsorships. Finally I had to get over my fears, and that is still a constant hurdle. After completing the first five steps I ran into a wall of self doubt, that unfortunately still erects itself in my way from time to time. I haven't completely knocked it down but I now know to just climb over it!

What are the biggest challenges to owning your own business while being a full-time mom?

Time management has to be the biggest challenge when it comes to being a full time mother and business owner. My children are 5 and 1. My first priority is being a mom, so I have a set schedule that often just looks good on paper but it works...some of the time.

How would you describe a typical day for you? What is your favorite part of what you do?

In the mornings while my son is at school, I will attack emails and other business tasks that can only be handled during business hours. After I pick my son up from school there is a window from 2:30 to 8:00 where I only handle business via my cell phone. All other tasks are completed once they are asleep. It is not uncommon for me to be up until the wee hours of the morning, and up and back at it at 7a. As stressful as it can be at times, my favorite part of what I do is being able to not only be accessible to my family but to also pursue my dreams and make my own schedule.

How do you stay motivated and overcome doubt, fear and negative thinking?

Motivation is not always at a high for me. When I feel it waning I look at other women who run businesses and are moms. I read my Bible and other affirmations that reaffirm that I indeed have the strength and ability to do anything I set my mind to even when I don't really feel that way. A lot of times I do things in fear while repeating the mantra, "The worst thing that could happen is you could hear a no." I am also constantly reminding myself that just one “yes” could change my life forever. Searching for that "yes" keeps me going on days when I would rather not.

What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?

My advice for others as cliché as it sounds is to stay true to self, and your aspirations. Not everyone will be able to leave their jobs, but they do have the ability to put in the work needed even if that means no sleep, or cutting the budget to utilize extra funds to build a business. There is always a way to get things done--they may not come in the form you want them to but keep an open mind and work toward the ultimate goal. You will get there one day, but you have to start on the journey.

Name someone who has inspired you and why.

My mother has been a huge inspiration for me. Although she has passed away, while she was living she always had great ideas for businesses; however she let life get to her and she left this world not really pursuing any of her dreams or making an impact on the world. I don't want that for myself. In her honor I work hard to make my dreams a reality. I want to go a step further with my children. I want them to see me make my dreams come true, and hopefully they will walk in my footsteps and those that walked before me that didn't have the resources to give life to their ambitions.

How can people connect with you?

I write a personal blog, Lipgloss and Binky , that chronicles my journey as a SAHM trying to maintain some sense of "me", build businesses, keep house, and maintain a marriage all while rocking my skinny jeans!

Divinitee can be found online at http://www.divinitee.com/. I am working toward building a local presence, however right now shirts are only available via the website.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Celebrating our Followers with a Giveaway!

Afiya products

We recently reached 100 Google Friend Connect Followers!  While we're not at all obsessed with the numbers in and of themselves, we're excited for PLPT to reach another milestone.  We're excited that we have connected with people who share our passion for peace, happiness and self-fulfillment. For all of you who follow this blog, whether it's by email, rss, facebook or twitter - we thank you so much for reading and sharing with us. 

To celebrate, we're giving away some goodies that we hope you all will enjoy.  Check out the deets:

1.  Afiya, LLC is a small business we featured here that specializes in natural, handmade Shea Butter products. Their handmade Body Butters, Hair Butters, Body Sprays, and Soaps are all carefully formulated with the best ingredients available, to cleanse, nourish, moisturize and pamper your skin.  The lovely ladies of Afiya have graciously agreed to sponsor this giveaway.  The winner will receive a 4 oz hair oil and a 4 oz body spray

2.  How does a 24-year-old police officer transform herself into America’s first African American female combat pilot in just three years? As Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour describes it in ZERO TO BREAKTHROUGH, she did it by identifying her passion and harnessing the power of Breakthrough MentalityTM and then taking action—a combination of planning, discipline, and persistence. In ZERO TO BREAKTHROUGH: The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Objectives that Matter (Gotham; April 28, 2011), Armour has transformed her training and experience in both everyday and life-or-death situations into a inspiring, practical, no-nonsense guide to pinpointing one’s “umph” or passion, creating a plan to pursue it, and then making it happen.  The winner will receive a copy of Vernice Armour's inspirational book.

3.  Finally, we have a $25 gift card from Target.  I can't imagine what anyone could possibly need from there, but Kim thought someone could find a use for it.  ;-)

Here's how to enter:

1.  Leave a comment stating when you feel at your best. What hobbies, activities or guilty pleasures make you feel like your best self?

2.  You can get an additional entry by (1) Following us on twitter or (2) liking us on facebook.  You must leave a comment letting us know that you're following us.

The giveaway will close on June 30 at midnight! 
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 5/20/11

If no one has encouraged you this week, let us be the first to do so. A new friend and cheerleader encouraged me with these very words, and it made a huge difference in the energy I was projecting into my life. Believe in yourself. Have a beautiful weekend. xo
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Repentance Has Nothing to Do With Being Good

In this PLPT Guest Post, Pastor/Professor Lawrence Ware gives us a clearer understanding of what it means to be repentant.

There is this theological concept that I like: repentance. This idea comes from a Greek word: metanoia.

We find the concept throughout the New Testament. John the Baptist is in the wilderness shouting like a crazy man: ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.’

Repentance has always been associated with sin. The popular understanding of this idea is that we must be in a right relationship with God. So, if we would simply turn from our sins (our 'wicked ways' if you went to an old school black church), then we could be in right fellowship with God.

I’ve always understood it like this: God will have nothing to do with sin. I do sin, so if I want to be in good with God, then I have to let go of these sins. Once that happens, God and I are straight.

Easy right? (Yeah, that was a rhetorical question.)

No, it isn’t easy. Here is the problem: I keep sinning. I try hard to do the right thing, but I just keep messing up. So I have to keep doing this repenting thing to be good with God. It’s exhausting. I spend more time feeling guilty about sin than I do loving God and people.

Here’s the thing: repentance has nothing to do with being good.

Metanoia properly understood means we turn our back on that which dirties us. Think of it like this: we are all made in the image of God. We are made special, beautiful, and unique. God has put his imprint upon us. We are one of a kind, meant to shine; however, there is a problem. We keep getting ourselves mixed up in things that dull our natural beauty. Hatred is denying the beauty of another human being. Envy is a deep-seated lack of appreciation for the beauty we naturally possess.

When we get mixed up in this mess, we need to be cleansed. Not because God requires us to be fixed up before he will love us, but because we are not our best when we are soiled by that which is beneath us. God loves us, and wants us to realize how special we are. So from time to time, it is necessary for us to see that there are things in our lives that keep us from being our best. Bad relationships; poor spending habits; negative attitudes; unhealthy lifestyles—these are things that keep us from being the best we can be. So, we need to repent—that is, we need to turn our back on those behaviors, attitudes, and habits that keep us from being our fully actualized selves.

Spend too much money? You need to repent. Eat too much fried food? You need to repent. Stuck in a dead-end relationship? You need to repent.

Repentance has nothing to do with adding quality to your life that you do not already possess. Rather, repentance is about recognizing how precious you are, and accepting nothing less than what you deserve.

Repentance; metanoia: Turn away from that which sullies the natural beauty God has placed within you.

Yes, repent because the Kingdom of God is at hand. It is within you. Repent so that it can shine.

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, May 16, 2011

I’d Rather Be Healthy Than Skinny

“I’d rather be healthy, than skinny…” It’s a thought, a revelation really, that came to me on one of the many occasions where I was doubled over in abdominal pain from my severe gastro-intestinal issues; magnified (I later realized) by an excessive intake of aspartame—the chemical sweetening ingredient found in Splenda and diet sodas.

I was at a point where I’d become obsessed with my caloric consumption, limiting myself to only 1200 calories per day (which was perfectly healthy, and recommended by a licensed dietitian), but cheating myself by substituting “easy” things (that were ultimately not good for me) for healthy ones. “If I just use Splenda instead of sugar…” I thought, “..I can eliminate calories in my hot beverages.” As if this wasn’t damaging enough, I committed to only drinking zero calorie sodas. Really? The saner approach would have been to just drink water, and/or reduce the amount of natural sugar I was using (which is what I do now).

My weight has been up and down a lot over the past few years—mostly due to doing insane things to drop it—like obsessive calorie counting--then feeling so great that I’d fail to continue monitoring my diet and stop exercising almost altogether. I am someone who has to monitor what she eats, and has to exercise consistently in order to even maintain her size—never mind losing anything. Despite knowing this, I’ve allowed myself to get lazy and fall off over and over again. Though carrying some extra unwanted pounds, I’m by no means obese, and the formula to my solution is simple: diet + exercise = ideal size. When I work out and eat right, my body conforms; when I don’t, it doesn’t. So why continue to the cycle of weight gain, and loss of self-esteem?

The race to skinny belies a bit of self-loathing--a feeling like I’m not good enough unless I weigh this much or fit into that size right now; in addition to extreme guilt over “letting myself go” and hurrying to repair the damage. But I’ve finally come to my senses, and changed my attitude. Ultimately, it’s more important to take the time to work with my body and to feed it the right things—consistently; then it will be easy to ensure that my body is exactly where it needs to be. While it’s okay to have goals, it’s better to set up proper diet and exercise as a way of life, even after goals have been attained.

So I’m back on track. I’ve re-joined my running group on the pavement, have committed to hitting zumba once per week, and am spending the extra money on the foods my body will best respond to—which includes packing a healthy lunch daily, instead of trying to scour the net in search of nutritional labels before buying pre-made foods.

There were a couple of posts around the web today that reminded me that I’m doing the right things. If you have some time, check them out. Hopefully you’ll find something that inspires you too.

Is The Idea of Motivation Merely A Myth?

“I wanted something to inspire me. Something other than me to tell me what I needed to do for me. I didn’t want the responsibility of telling myself to just pick my behind up off the couch and go, for some reason, as if that would’ve been too much ownership of the situation. I needed to wait on my epiphany. I needed to wait. And while waiting, I was doing nothing. Wasting time. Doing what I knew I shouldn’t be doing… while I waited on the thing that would come tell me to do what I knew I should be doing.”
Excerpted from Is The Idea of Motivation Merely A Myth? A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss. Read More

Is Black an Antonym for Healthy? 

“When unhealthy habits become embedded in culture, it perpetuates unhealthy behavior. Not only is it common for African-Americans to indulge in unhealthy food, but also eating healthy has become somewhat a cultural anomaly. Other than First Lady Michelle Obama’s mainstream push to get America to “move” and adopt a healthier lifestyle, how common is health advocacy within the black community?” Read More
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 5/13/11

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Black Girl Day - Link Love!

In honor of Happy Black Girl Day, we're spreading a little link love to our fellow happy Black girl bloggers. These are some of the posts that are inspiring us this week:

After the Love is Gone: Facing a BFF Breakup

I felt this post so deeply that it could have been written just for me. The end of a relationship with a bestie is just as devastating--if not more devastating--than the end of a romantic relationship. You expect men to come and go. Your girls? Not so much. If you've ever experienced this kind of separation, this article will comfort you and help you to put things in perspective.

"As you would after losing a lover, you must take the time to process the grief and frustration caused by the end of your friendship. Let the people in your life know what you are going through; even those who may not quite understand your feelings should at least be prepared to deal with a change in your emotional state. Don’t run from your tears or feel like it’s not “normal” to mourn the end of a friendship; romances are not hardly the only relationships of significance in your life and you shouldn’t feel that they are the only ones that can cause grief." Read more

Do Something That Scares You

If you aren't familiar with Ev'Yan's blog, you are missing out. You know how you have blogs that you read occasionally, and other ones where you wait anxiously for the next post? Sex, Love and Liberation is the latter for me. In this entertaining post, she shares her experience with overcoming her fears and pushing herself to try something that she always wanted to try--pole dancing.

"I know that it’s much easier to stay dormant, to live a predictable life as a hermit crab, snug in a shell of security. I understand how much better it feels to maintain a safe existence, one that shelters you from embarrassment, rather than propelling you into the unknown. I am all too familiar with feelings of self-doubt that hinders you from doing what you really want to do. And there is nothing wrong with those feelings; there is nothing wrong with protecting yourself from humiliation. But I am here to remind you that you house an ability within you to surpass your own limitations & to excel in things your mind is too shy to dream of. In trying new things & endeavoring in new experiences, you are enriching your spirit; you are taking full advantage of this beautiful life you’re living." Read more 

You Could Learn A Lot From A 300 Pound Woman

In this post life strategist, Lisa Nicole Bell, chronicles her work documenting a woman who is trying to lose weight. She leads us to lessons she garnered from her subject that can be applied to any aspect of life. The best part of this post is that it offers journaling and action prompts that you can apply instantly.

“Believe in yourself. She believes in herself and in her ability to do this. If she didn’t, all of this would be pointless. Do you believe in yourself? Maybe your challenge or addiction is something different – no matter what it is, your success starts with believing that you can do what you’ve committed to doing.” Read more 

For more information on Happy Black Girl Day, visit The Beautiful Struggler.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Post: How To Get An Eating Disorder

Today's guest post was written by Andria Cole

How to get an eating disorder

Scenario 1: Get born a woman. Or if you are very special, get born a man. Suffer some moment similar to this: You are seven and hungry as the devil Monday mornings. He spent all weekend harming people and forgot to eat. You’re hungry as him. So hungry you think of children in Third World countries and over on the West Side that go days and sometimes weeks, no food. You’re extra sorry for them now. How they do it? You and your family are gathered at the dining room table or around the TV. You eat one whole plate like it’s nothing. Sort of drink it down and it’s not soup. You can’t even tell if it’s good. Then stand to fix another. Feel your father’s fat pointer finger, knuckles so big he can’t wear his wedding ring anymore, jabbing through your jeans to your stomach (it is just spilling over your front and on around to your sides a little but everybody is looking at you like they don’t have palms deep enough to catch it. Listen to your daddy say, “That thang looking big enough already!” Watch everybody around the table crack up laughing. Sit down. Don’t eat just then. Wait until they are sleeping and empty the refrigerator in one swoop.

Scenario 2: Fall in a way unsteady love. Where you are all good and honest and worship him/her like Shiva, and where he/she forgets your name occasion after occasion. Go on and discover that instead of loving you your love loves everything with legs and genitals. He or she is like a sponge and soaks up everybody. Find telephone numbers on slips of paper and text messages that say, “Last night was…” Don’t sleep until you meet or see the others. Discover that they are way skinnier, way prettier, way lighter, way funnier than you with teeth bright as Wonder bread. Eat two tubs of butter pecan ice cream. Feel like a cow when you’re done. You’re so swollen your pants need to be cut off you. Turn on the television and see all sorts of people who resemble your Shiva God’s affairs. Dispel that ice cream rain, hail, sleet, snow. Now that you know there is a way to eat it and not eat it, commit to this activity until you turn beautiful.

Scenario 3: Have your momma die when she was the only one on the whole planet to love you right. Taste every food on Earth to see if any are sweet as her. When you discover none are, never eat anything again.

How to get rid of an eating disorder

Single Scenario: Remember, or if you never knew it, learn quickly, with the same fervor you destroyed yourself that you are one precious, precious something. Worth far more than a silly biscuit. Than anything that dissolves with a touch of tongue, a bit of teeth.


Andria Cole was the first woman we showcased in our GEMS feature.  This is my favorite quote from her interview:
"Inspiration comes in big old daily doses, sometimes too big to swallow. I am inspired by: the way my mother tells a story, my sisters and their refusal to be anything but themselves, my daughter’s shyness, Oprah’s strength, Toni Morrison’s wisdom, Toi Derricottoe’s honesty, Beyonce’s focus, Barack Obama’s eloquence, Malcolm X’s fearlessness…by films, by music, by individual words, photographs, commercials, good food, good wine ;0)…ooh, especially good quotes…deep down pain, injustice, anger…fabric, television shows, singing, dancing…hell, hot pink nail polish. I can use anything as an excuse for inspiration and it, like the sky, is all over everywhere."
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Monday, May 9, 2011

6 Lessons You Can Learn From Burn-Out

I fear I may be suffering from a slight case of burnout. I feel tired, uninspired, spent and overwhelmed. I am in desperate need of a vacation—one of the beach variety, which would involve only sand, sunlight and spirits. I know exactly how I arrived at this point, and it was completely avoidable. Here are six lessons you can learn from my current state of burnout—I am re-learning them yet again (as apparently I am quite hard-headed as well):

1. Listen to your body. The human body is a miraculous wonder. It knows when it’s being pushed too hard and will communicate this beautifully and seamless with your mind. Your body will whisper, then scream, and finally completely shut down if it has to, in order to get you to rest. For me, this notice comes in the form of lower back pain; if you think carefully about it, I bet you know what your physical trigger is too.

2. Don’t stress/have faith. This is likely the most important lesson I’ve (re)learned over the past few months. There have been several situations that have required my immediate attention, but not the high level of stress I attached to them. I’ve been emotional and allowed fear to seep in, causing me to forget that everything is always going to work out on my behalf. There are forces (God, the Universe, Mother Nature, or whomever you please) that are constantly conspiring to bring about your best life. Trust them. Have faith in them. You’ve heard this before, but it is oh-so-true: the minute you surrender to a power greater than yourself, everything you’ve been praying for will come to fruition. It may not materialize in exactly the way you’d pictured, or be what you thought you wanted—but it will be exactly what you need.

3. Learn to say “no”—even to yourself. No matter how driven you are; how well you multi-task; or how high your level of organization, you too, have a breaking point. If you’re not careful, there will be a moment at which you’ll find you have been pushed to the brink and stretched to the limit. We play a game of Jenga with our lives, placing commitment after commitment on top of each other, watching as our tower threatens to crumble. Don’t over-schedule. Know your limits, and be firm about them—both with others, and with yourself.

4. Maintain your spiritual diet. Just as your body will eventually crash if not properly fed, so will your mind and spirit. All your clarity, focus, inspiration and peace will wither if not strengthened consistently and continuously with prayer, meditation, study, journaling—or whatever it is that you do to become spiritually sound. Yet, it is not enough to become—you have to remain as such.

5. Clarify. What is important to you? Are your daily habits and commitments in-line with what you’ve just named? If not, shift your focus, drop the things that don’t fit, and re-align yourself with your purpose.

6. Forgive yourself. You’re human. You’re going to forget, ignore and overlook all of these things from time to time. The most important thing is to evaluate why you got lost, forgive yourself, and to pick back up where you left off.

Is there anything you would add to this list? Feel free to share.
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 5/6/11

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas, grandmas, godmothers, aunties, sisters and friends who will be celebrating this weekend!  See you next week!  xoxo
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Thursday, May 5, 2011


“Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced.” Soren Kierkegaard

Tell us why you felt at your best in this moment:

This picture was taken while vacationing in Antigua last August. I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown when my cousin/lil sis suggested that I probably needed a change of environment. I took off from NYC feeling rather glum. After a few days in the sun, a few new friends, and the best two weeks ever, I realized things weren’t that bad. I had much to be grateful for. I returned to New York with a new perspective. I was determined to outlast my troubles. In this pic, I am my authentic self. I am the person I wish to be always, smiling even in the midst of adversity, exuding confidence, hope, optimism, and love always.

How do you define beauty:

Beauty is the ability to be sure of yourself, the desire to operate in love, and the resolution to be authentic. Beauty is what’s on the inside; it is that combination of positive elements, so engrained in your soul, that it becomes visible to those you encounter.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world…” Marianne Williamson

How do you define happiness:

We all have a role to fill and a task to complete. Happiness is finding, pursuing and fulfilling your purpose. It is the determination to operate at full potential, by chasing after your calling. Happiness is knowing what you were created to do, and, most importantly, how you can be of service to others. Once we figure this out, we will be magically catapulted, out of our comfort zone, to experience a world of people and opportunities.

"The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.” W.E.B. DuBois

Your turn! Send your pics in to PeaceLovePrettyThings@gmail.com and tell us why you felt happy and beautiful and at your best in that moment. Feel free to share your favorite quotes about happiness and beauty and we'll include them with your feature. Please put AT YOUR BEST in the subject line.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

PLPT GEMS: Meet Joanne Wallington

PLPT GEMS Presents
Joanne Wallington
Lawyer. Business Owner. Dedicated Mother

Tell us about your background and how you came to be a lawyer and entrepreneur?

I'm a lawyer by trade. I have the law school loans to prove it. I went straight from law school to a corporate law firm where I struggled for years to find a work/life balance. After six years, I finally decided to put my time and energy doing something I truly enjoyed doing that allowed me to spend more time with my children. I found out about the Lango opportunity while I was searching for Spanish classes for my daughter. And I never looked back!

Please share with us the first five steps you took when you decided to start your own business.

1. I conducted my due diligence. Corporations conduct extensive research before they invest in a new venture or purchase a new company. I did the same thing before I chose Lango. I looked at my market, the competition, the risks, the capital needed to start up among other things. Then I decided it was worth it to pursue this opportunity.

2. I spoke with my husband about it. I would have done this first, but there would be no point if my due diligence revealed that it was not worthwhile. He was on board also. This is major since he's far more risk-averse than me.

3. I spoke with the company and asked A LOT of questions. I considered the opportunity for about 4 or 5 months before I committed. While I was considering, I also applied for other jobs in the federal government, but I kept thinking about Lango. One thing that provided me comfort was that there was no pressure from Lango to get me to sign on.

4. I developed a business plan. I had to read thousands of business plans as an attorney, so I wasn't thrilled about drafting one. But this was a necessary evil to keep me focused, and occasionally remind me to stay on target with my plan.

5. I set really low expectations. I started my business at the height of the recession. I had to spend time getting comfortable with the possibility that my business may fail miserably. And I set a monetary figure of how much I was willing to invest before I made the decision to walk away. Fortunately, I have never hit that number, and I recouped my initial investment at the end of my first quarter!

What are the biggest challenges to be self-employed?

The unpredictability from session to session. I offer classes in ten-week sessions. Some sessions are busier than others. It is very scary waiting for the start of each session since I never know how full classes will be.

How would you describe "a day in the life" for you? What is your favorite part of what you do?

The morning always begins with getting the children ready. I have to take my daughter to school, get my boys dressed, make sure everyone is fed, and hopefully feed myself.

Once they are situated, I usually either start work on Lango matters (phone calls, emails, follow-ups) or do legal consulting when Lango business slows down.

Around 4 p.m. I am back in Mommy mode and I am usually preparing dinner, helping my daughter with homework, trying to play with my busy boys.

After 8 p.m. if I have an ounce of energy left in my body, I get back on my laptop and work some more. My favorite part of what I do is definitely the flexibility of my day.

How do you find balance between family and work?

I wish I could say that I have found the way to have COMPLETE balance between family and work, but I have not. One great thing about working with children is that I can spend more time with MY children. Also, my flexible schedule allows for me to attend more school field trips and extracurricular activities.

How do you stay motivated and overcome doubt, fear and negative thinking?

It can be tough, but I often remind myself that I am already blessed beyond measure if I don't make another cent. I have three beautiful children, and a fantastic husband. And generally, when I start worrying about cash flow, a new session is right around the corner.

What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?

You cannot be afraid to step out on faith. I think what made my decision that much easier is that I knew I would also only become more miserable being a corporate attorney and mother of two if I continued working at a law firm; so pretty much anything was an improvement. But calculated risks often pay off. So don't be afraid to take them.

Name someone who has inspired you and why.

I am inspired by my Aunt, Sue Ellen Goodson. She not only opened a daycare center while she was a single mother of 3 children, she maintained her business and offered children (including myself) a high-quality early childhood educational experience for over 30 years; that kind of commitment to educating children is largely absent with this generation. I hope that in 30 years, I can sell my Lango business and retire as she did.

How can people connect with you and/or get more information about Lango?

Lango is a national program so you can find out if there are classes near you by visiting http://www.langokids.com/, and entering your zip code where it says "Find a class". If you're in Prince George's County, you can visit my website directly by going to princegeorgeslango.com. We offer classes year round in Spanish, French and Mandarin and awesome Spanish summer camps in July and August. If you mention you learned about us on PLPT, you can receive 10% off of one week of camp, or a session of classes!

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Don't Let Facts Get in the Way of Your Imagination


Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. ~Albert Szent-Györgyi

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~Mark Twain

Trust that little voice in your head that says "Wouldn't it be interesting if..." And then do it. ~Duane Michals

Imagination and fiction make up more than three-quarters of our real life. ~Simone Weil

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. ~Henry David Thoreau

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein

I believe in the imagination. What I cannot see is infinitely more important than what I can see. ~Duane Michals, Real Dreams

To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted. ~George Kneller

This week, I challenge you to step out of the box and let your creative side get some airtime.  Overindulgence in work and worry will not help you reach your goals any faster.  Take time to play and enjoy yourself.  If you're in a rut, maybe you've stopped dreaming.  If you're feeling down, revisit something from your childhood that always made you happy.  For me, there's nothing like a fresh box of crayons and a princess coloring book!!   Creating a richer, fuller life is sometimes as simple as realizing that you are an artist and your palette is your life.  You're only limited by your own perception.  xoxo
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