Friday, June 29, 2012

Love Note - Friday 6/29/12

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Affirmations for Stepping Outside of the Box


We begin life with the world presenting itself to us as it is. Someone - our parents, teachers, analysts - hypnotizes us to "see" the world and construe it in the "right" way. These others label the world, attach names and give voices to the beings and events in it, so that thereafter, we cannot read the world in any other language or hear it saying other things to us. The task is to break the hypnotic spell, so that we become undeaf, unblind and multilingual, thereby letting the world speak to us in new voices and write all its possible meanings in the new book of our existence.   ~Sidney Jourard
Have you ever tried to change yourself for a man, a group, or a job?  Have you ever tried to be something for someone and forgotten who you really are? Have you ever felt misunderstood? unaccepted? uncool? Do you have ideas and philosophies that are outside of popular opinion?

Perhaps you've been teased and labeled when trying to express yourself? Does your family disagree with how you live or decisions you've made?   Maybe you've failed at something and been told "I told you so".  These things can all quickly rob you of your confidence and motivation.  These things can put out your fire - but only if you let them.

Today, I encourage you to remember what drives you and what makes you different.  If you're not completely fulfilled and inspired by your life, then you have the power to change that.  Consider the following quotes to help you keep an open mind when it comes to creating the unique life that you want:

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.    ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Attributed to Howard Thurman

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nothing encourages creativity like the chance to fall flat on one's face. ~James D. Finley

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

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

It is the eye of ignorance that assigns a fixed and unchangeable color to every object; beware of this stumbling block. ~Paul Gauguin

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Why It Benefits You to Keep a Journal

I’ve kept some form of a diary since I was probably about 8 years old--whether it was prompted, like my Ramona Quimby Diary; or a simple notebook where I jotted down scattered thoughts. I still keep a journal as an adult, and though I don't write in it as often as I would like, I always come back to it eventually. It’s the perfect sounding board for ideas, keeper of secrets I don’t dare yet reveal to anyone else and reminder about dreams deferred.

Here are some of the reasons that you might also want to keep a journal, if you don’t already:

- To chronicle your thoughts and help assemble them in a way that makes sense for you

- To help you sort out any unfamiliar or negative feelings

- It’s a judgment free zone; it lets you get it all out without interrupting or giving advice, allowing you to figure out what’s right for you

- To keep track of your growth, as well as any changes you’ve gone through; and manage your goals year over year (or weekly, or monthly)

- It’s a great place to conduct self-development exercises or self-evaluations. I still refer back to my 31 Day Reset journal from over a year ago because it houses so many of the wonderful discoveries I made about my values (learn more about 31 Days to Reset Your Life at the Happy Black Woman blog).

- To jot down notes, mantras or favorite quotes; or clip inspirational photos

- To draft blog entries, poems, shorts stories, sketches etc.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but hopefully a good amount of reasons to get you started.

Do you already keep a journal? In what ways does having it benefit you?

Photo via Pinterest
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Love Note - Friday 6/22/12

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

5 Practical Steps Toward Bringing Your Dreams to Life

So you have a dream that you want to bring to life. You imagined it, you told your best friend about it, you added it to your vision board…now what? Now you plan. The only way to bring forth what you really want is to set solid goals and action steps that can help you account for how close you’re coming to achieving it and how much work you have left to do. Here are a few practical steps that can help: 

Get organized. Obtain a daily, weekly or monthly calendar and set priorities around that same time frame. What do you want to have accomplished this week? This month? Having it in writing, and being able to consult your plan will help to keep you on track. With it right there in black and white, you’ll know exactly what you’ve done—and what you haven’t. 

Begin long-term planning. Where do you want to be in a year? Three years? Five? These are important questions to answer for yourself. Having clarity around where you want to be and what you want to be doing makes it easier for you to fight to get there. You won’t waste another year going through the motions and wondering at the end of it why you still feel stuck in a rut. 

Check in on your goals. Many people reflect annually on what they have done, for better or for worse. But why not check in every 6 months, quarterly or even monthly? Checking in more frequently acts as a mechanism of awareness; you can tell very quickly if you’ve been spending time on things that are aligned with your goals and make adjustments where necessary. Rosetta at the Happy Black Woman blog does a great job of self-evaluating on a monthly basis to ensure that her activities are aligned with the best life that she envisions for herself. (Click here to check out her clarity reflection for May.) 

Get a mentor. Find someone who is doing what you want to do, and ask them to be your guide. Don’t expect them to do the work for you—but you should use them as a sounding board for ideas; ask them where to network or what industry groups/organizations are the best ones to join; get advice about how best to approach issues such as legal, taxes, how to set up your business etc. You’re going to make some mistakes along the way—and some will be vital and necessary to the development of both your spirit and your plan—but having someone who has already had a measure of success at what you’re striving for can help you to make fewer ones that could derail you completely. 

Be honest with yourself. Be honest about what you want and what you don’t want. Be honest about how hard you’re working on the tasks attached to your goals and where you could give more. After all, by slacking or pretending to be giving your best when you aren’t, you’re hurting yourself and deferring your dream. And why would you want to do that? 

*Photo via Pinterest

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Pretty Things: 5 Ways to Feel Refreshed and Beautified On the Go


Self-care is extremely important to your overall sense of confidence. When we take care to look our best on the outside, it creates positive feelings on the inside and we create a fulfilling cycle. Never allow your schedule or your responsibilities to become so demanding that you are not taking time to stay fresh and feminine.  Here are a few tips:

Wash Your Hands.   This may sound obvious but it's too important to overlook. This simple act, when done mindfully, can really provide you with a boost if you take the time to notice it. Too often we just rush through it so we can get back to what we're doing. Slow down and wash your hands thoroughly, under your nails, include your wrists and forearms if you can. Repeat. Then dry and finish with your favorite lotion. Now tell me this doesn't rejuvenate you! Not only do you feel good because you are keeping yourself clean and decreasing your exposure to germs, but you also will enjoy looking down at your clean, soft hands and getting occasional whiffs of the fresh scent of soap and lotion. Femininity is really found in the smallest details, isn't it?

Brush Your Teeth. A refreshed mouth just makes you feel brand new overall doesn't it? Keep a portable toothbrush and a travel size toothpaste in your purse at all times. Be sure to apply some lip gloss or lipstick (or whatever your lippy of choice) when you're done. Remember that your mouth is always a focal point when you're interacting with people, so it's natural that you will feel more confident after you freshen it up. Drink lots of water to keep the feeling going.

Refresh Your Face.  If your skin tends to get oily throughout the day, use oil blotting sheets like these from Biore.  They will absorb the oil from your face without disturbing your makeup.  Before I discovered these, I would just continue to add powder to my face when I got oily and by the end of the day, I'd literally have piles of makeup on my face mixed with oil and dirt and who knows what else.  Not only was this murder on my pores but it also wasted a lot of product.  

If your skin is feeling tight and dry, using a refreshing spray like The Body Shop's Vitamin C Energizing Face Spritz will hydrate your skin without leaving your skin feeling too dewy or greasy. I also love the fragrance - it's light and citrusy and my kids tell me that my face smells yummy after I use it. Remember, this spray will hydrate your skin, but it's not a moisturizer so if your skin is very very dry - this won't cut it by itself.

Revive Your Hair.  Depending on how you wear your hair, how you revive it in the middle of the day will vary.  Personally, I wear my hair in buns and updos often and sometimes I need to shake it out and put it back up to feel refreshed.  If I can, I'll take my hair down and massage my scalp for a few minutes.  Then I'll put my hair back up and keep it moving. If my hair is down, I may massage some oil or gloss into it.  It really depends.  No matter what, giving your hair a little mid-day love will lift your mood.  Don't overdo it though. Textured hair doesn't like to be overmanipulated. 

Stretch and Practice Deep Breathing Exercises. Take a moment to breathe deeply - in through your nose and out through your mouth. Clear your mind. Repeat your favorite bible verse or quote to yourself. In addition to deep breathing, do some quick stretches. What stretches should you do? I recommend doing a few sun salutations. These will warm up your muscles, improve circulation and along with the deep breathing you will have an overall sense of well being when you're done.

How do you freshen up when you're out and about? 

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Love Note - Friday 6/15/12

We have to learn how to manage our self talk in a way that makes us feel positive about what we've learned, what we've accomplished, and what lies ahead. Let's practice speaking positivity over our lives this weekend. Are you in?! Good--me too. 

Happy Friday!
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Celebrate Fathers. Celebrate Fatherhood.

Fathers are under appreciated in Black-American culture.

Maybe it is the fact that many of us (myself included) grew up without a father. Or maybe it is because some of the guys who are fathers are minimally involved in the lives of their children. That may be the case, but that is not a reason to quell celebration of the guys who are doing what they are supposed to do.

Now, I’ve never been a fan of people who brag about doing what is expected of them. (I bristle with contempt with the guy who says with pride “I take care of ALL of my kids!” Congratulations, you now have done the bare minimum of what is expected of you as a biological entity capable of reproduction.) Yet, we should show appreciation where it is due.


OK, so what to do? Just grab some Old Spice, right? Will Aqua Velva do the trick? How about that tie you saw at the swap meet? No. He deserves better than that. Look, we all know you use a scarf to tie your hair at night, and though that scarf is stained, looks like it has been through World War 3, and needs replacing does not mean you want a replacement scarf as your Mother’s Day present. A guy doesn't want that tie or cologne either.


Do the unexpected. Take his car to get washed. Get his oil changed. Grill some steaks for him. Nothing is better than a surprise—except a surprise that gives him a break from doing what is expected of him. This is great for both significant others and fathers.

Give him a break. This goes without saying, but still someone should say it. Let him sleep in. Tell the kids to give him some space. Let him sit around and watch the NBA Finals with no interruptions.

Cater to him. There was once a time where this was expected of a woman—not saying that we should go back to those times, but fixing him dinner, bringing it to him, and, this is the kicker, asking “Is there anything I can do for you today?” Nothing warms a man’s heart like feeling he is respected, honored, and valued. Hint: don’t just wait until it is Father’s Day to let him know how much you appreciate him.

Thoughtful Gifts. I hope you will give him a thoughtful gift. Only you know your Father or your significant other. Watches, electronics, clothes, even books are all great ideas. 

Make it a celebration. The most important thing, however, is that you don’t just make Father’s Day a five minute gifting event. Make it a CELEBRATION. Make it all weekend long. Extend it to Monday. You can even make it a week long affair with little things done the week after to show how much you really appreciate him.

Celebrate fathers; celebrate fatherhood. We all need encouragement from time to time. This is a day set aside for fathers. Celebrate them.

- Lawrence Ware
(To read Lawrence's full bio, click here.)

Photo via Pinterest
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

PLPT GEMS: Meet Jamie

PLPT GEMS Presents
Jamie Fleming-Dixon
Speaker. Author. Entrepreneur.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your copywriting and editing business - Mocha Writer.

I'm Jamie Fleming-Dixon, and I'm founder of For Colored Gurls, an inspirational, personal development blog; I'm also an inspirational speaker and author and an entrepreneur. Mocha Writer is a boutique content creation and copy editing service, assisting women solopreneurs and small businesses with developing the content that grows their companies. I specialize in editing for books, e-books, blog posts and articles.

You recently added 'author' to your growing list of accomplishments!  Please tell us about your book - How to Change Your Mindset + Live Your Most Fabulous Life.

The book is as an inspirational guide to help you create and live the life you want. It gives practical tips for creating a more positive mindset, which will enable you to live the life of your dream. It's a really quick read, and in it, I share things like getting rid of limiting beliefs, how to determine your purpose and setting and achieving goals.

As an entrepreneur and newlywed, how did you find time to work on your book while managing your business and personal life?

It was definitely a struggle because not only was I getting back into the swing of business, I was also getting used to living with someone else and being a wife. But because getting the book and information out was important to me, I made time in the evenings and on the weekends to finish it. I'm someone who believes that if something is important to you, you make time for it, so that's what I did. It wasn't easy, but I'm glad I published it!

What is the most fulfilling aspect of being in business for yourself?  Likewise, what is the most challenging aspect?

The most fulfilling aspect is being able to inspire others and to help them bring their dreams to fruition. And I also love the freedom I have with creating my own hours and being able to choose the projects I take on. The most challenging aspect is balancing work time and personal time.  Because I love what I do (and because my husband works long hours), it's easy for me to work for long periods of time, but I know that having time for myself and just relaxing is important. It's something I'm working on.

Who is your support system and how do they help you reach your goals?

My main support is my husband and my mentor/business consultant. My husband supports my dreams and what I do 100 percent. He may not understand it at times, but he is there for me in every way. My mentor and business consultant, LaKesha Womack, believes in me and what I do, and she is always there for me, giving me the best advice for both business and life; we can talk about any and everything, which is really great. I don't know what I would do without those two fabulous people.

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

If someone is searching for her purpose, I would say take some time to get quiet, pray, meditate and journal so you're able to focus and go within yourself to figure things out. Also, to find your purpose, you can ask yourself questions like What are my gifts? What am I good at? What would I do if I knew I couldn't fail, if success was guaranteed? For someone who is afraid to take the first step toward her dreams, I would say “feel the fear and do it anyway,” which is my motto. Yes, taking that first step can be scary, but if you just go ahead and begin, you'll be amazed at what doors will open and where life will take you. So, just take that leap of faith!

How can our readers connect with you?

People can find out more about what I do on my website, Also, they can connect with me on Facebook (;, and on Twitter (@MochaWriter , @forcoloredgurls).
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Your Vulnerability is Pretty Too

Often, when I think of allowing myself to be vulnerable, I worry about being judged. I worry that my not being completely put together and on top of everything all the time might somehow make me less likeable—less lovable. Sound familiar?

But in truth, it is when we are vulnerable that we are at our most beautiful, because we become that raw, open, honest human that has the ability to share a connection with another person. 

In truth, our fears, insecurities and emotional hiccups are part of the roadmap to our growth and success. It’s when we feel at our worst that we get up and do something about it, and learn about ourselves in the process. 

Know that your vulnerability is just as gorgeous and wonderful as your strength—in fact, it sometimes takes a stronger person to be willing to open up and to accept whatever consequences may come with that, for better or for worse. 

One of my best friends is finding her way to a relationship with a parent who wasn’t formerly in her life, and it’s causing her to soften and to be honest with herself about desires, hopes and wishes she didn’t dare speak of before. And I admire the light and the beauty I’m seeing in her eyes because of it. 

Another best friend and I finally gave a voice to the disconnect we’d each been feeling separately for a while. We acknowledged that we’re in different places in our lives, each valuing differing experiences right now. And that’s okay! Despite those differences, and because of that honest, vulnerable conversation, I feel even closer to her than before. I know something about her that I didn’t know before. 

Allowing myself to become emotionally naked has helped me to become a better friend and a better girlfriend. The people in my life know now that I trust them enough to share even what’s scary and buried—something that would have NEVER happened in the past--and ultimately, I think, that makes me a prettier person to them as a whole. 

Despite what you may have been told in the past, your vulnerability is pretty too. It’s a major part of who you are. How might letting go of your emotional armor allow you to better connect to the people in your life?

Photo via Pinterest
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

National Running Day

You may have heard by now, but today is National Running Day. I’ve been seeing some of the cutest little “I run to ___” photos, like “I run to eat French fries", and “I run to drink wine”; speaking to the enormous amounts of calories that running burns, and the subsequent treats you can ingest when you have run hard. We all have our vices, right?

While there are certainly numerous dietary and physical benefits to running, there are other, non-physical benefits as well:

The ability to connect with nature

Sometimes we forget to appreciate the little things that happen so seamlessly all around us like birds singing, trees losing leaves and flowers blooming. We know a little bit about how these things happen, but remembering that they happen on time, season after season, without much human intervention--can help calm stress and remind us that the things we’re hoping for in our lives will happen, and that we’ll continue to grow and move forward from season to season as well. Getting outside in nature for a run lets you get back in touch with the very basic systems that make our universe function.

The ability to connect with a higher power

Whether you meditate, chant or pray--running is an opportunity to connect with your higher power. Running and concentrating on your breath lets you communicate all your problems and stresses without ever saying a word. Your mind gets quiet and your spirit opens up to receive divine guidance.

The ability to connect with yourself

Running is a great way to test your limits. You can discover how fast you can run, or how far you can go--and ultimately, learn how to exercise your mind’s control over your body. There’s no better feeling than the one after you’ve pushed yourself harder than you ever have before. Your endorphins are firing and you are jamming with feelings of positivity and achievement; and these feelings will help you conquer in other areas of your life too.

So why not get out for a run today? Even if you don’t label yourself “a runner”, you can treat yourself to a brisk walk or a slow jog. And you’ll be amazed at how great you’ll feel afterward.

Happy National Running Day!

Image via Pinterest
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Monday, June 4, 2012

8 Ways to Cultivate Happiness for Your Loved Ones

The most important gift we can give our loved ones is the gift of our own happiness. There will never be a time where every last detail of your life is perfect. So, why not go ahead and be thankful now?  And why not share what you've learned about happy living with your loved ones?

We all need "that person" at some time or another. I go through phases where I'm very hard on myself for not being as present as I'd like to be in everyone's lives, for not making more money, for not being able to stand on my head - you name it. When I do this, I'm robbing myself of the joy that the present moment has to offer. It can be a never ending cycle if you let it.  I'm so thankful for my family and friends for keeping me afloat when I feel like I'm sinking. 

Through good times and bad, here are eight ways to exude positivity and hope for your family and inner circle.

Be the voice of reason. When things get tough, someone needs to keep a balanced perspective to avoid things being blown out of proportion. Yes, things can seem like they can't get any worse, but remind yourself and those around you that stormy and sunny days come and go and we need to make peace with them both.

Be mindful of your body language. Just the simple act of smiling will boost not only your own mood but those around you. I'm a big advocate for hugging, too. There's nothing like a bear hug to remind you that you are loved and everything is going to be okay. Also, when someone is talking to you, take the time to look them in the eye and nod and show them that you're present and engaged and that they matter.

Focus on the present. For many of us, it's extremely difficult to move on from the past and not worry about the future. But what about what is happening right now? When you remind others of all there is to be thankful for in the present moment, they may not want to hear it, but at least you are planting a seed that will hopefully grow within them.  If the present moment is not so great, remind them that they do have people who love and care about them to help them get through it.

Point out the silver lining. Whether we are able to see it or not, there is a reason and a season for everything. Teach your loved ones to look beyond the obvious and find the lesson. For some of us this comes more naturally than others, so use your voice to help the people you care about from focusing on all the negatives.

Avoid extremes. We all have good and bad days. But you know how some people are like Jekyll and Hyde and you never know what attitude you're going to get? Yeah, don't be one of those people. Try to stay to yourself when you're feeling under the weather. Likewise, be tolerant and understanding of others when they're in a bad mood. When you can't stay to yourself, try to self-soothe through whatever outlet works for you. It also helps to feed off of the energy of people who are uplifting and give off positive vibes. 

Make observations without criticism. When people ask you for your opinion about their situation, it's important to practice honesty with compassion. Yes, they want your honest perspective but most of us are already hard enough on ourselves than anyone else could be. Sometimes the truth hurts enough all by itself without any extra punch added to it.

Be forgiving. Don't hold grudges. With relationships - romantic, family, and friendships - things go down. People don't see eye to eye. Harsh words are said. Promises are broken. Betrayal occurs. And yet holding on to all of the resulting negative feelings simply prolongs all of it.

Be generous without expecting anything in return. We all like to be appreciated, but some people crave it to the point where they essentially take on a victim mentality. Or they become resentful when they feel unacknowledged. When you sense this in your loved ones, remind them that the gift is in the giving.

How do you play a positive role in the lives of your loved ones???
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