5 Things I Wished I Knew in My Twenties

When we are young we are in such a rush to grow up and be older, be an adult. When we are older we live for the days when we were young and wish we could have the knowledge we now have, but unfortunately life doesn’t work that way. We have our elders try to tell us their wisdom, but deem them as “too old to know” and “times are different now”. I remember before going to high school my mother told me “ Vita (that’s one of her special nicknames for me), you’ll make a lot of friends going to high school, but when it’s all over none of them will be your friends.” Now I don’t know if she spoke that over my life, but she was right. To this day I have less than maybe 5 friends from high school and really the ones I do have are more like family than friends. I always took what she said with a grain of salt. The friends I had going into high school were solid people then. I couldn’t imagine not being their friend. The friends I made in high school I thought would be forever, but slowly they dropped off like flies.

The people I met in college became friends for life. They are stuck with me whether they want to be or not –lol.  

I was on Facebook mindlessly scrolling, when I came across a repost that was giving some advice on things you should know while being an adult. I thought it was awesome advice, things I wish I knew at that age. – would I have listened?  Probably not, but at least I would’ve had it in times of need.

Here are 5 things I wished I knew in my twenties

1.       Finances

I was given some great tips about finances growing up, but no one ever taught me about finances. It was as if it was something I was already supposed to know. I didn’t understand the importance of it until I was flat broke; borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. I treated money like it was disposable and like it would always come, because up until a certain point it did. I lived paycheck to paycheck and sometimes was flat broke with not a penny to my name the day before payday. I had no concept of balancing, budgeting, or savings. I think this is the common story for most people, especially in the black community. Either our Elders didn’t know much about finances or they failed to teach it.

I really started to get a handle on my finances later in my 20s. I began to change the way I looked at money. After researching and finding people who talked in a language I understood when it came to money, these few things  helped me: TFD on Youtube, 52 week money saving challenges, and learning how to properly budget for my income using the 50/30/20 rule, so I wasn’t living check to check.- another thing was listing out what I wanted so I wasn’t mindlessly buying

It still takes a lot of discipline for me when it comes to finances. I still slip every now and again, but I can manage it better.

2.       Education

Everyone tells you getting an education and having a degree is extremely important. Not just for income purposes, but for critical thinking life skills as well. Not every career in life requires you to have a degree, but it is nice to have to fall back on; a degree will never depreciate. College is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. When I started college in 2007 classes were about $500 a class. Now in 2021 some classes are triple that if you’re going online.

Even if you opt out of getting a degree, try for a certification or trade. Certification shows that you were trained in that job and know how to do it and it takes a lot less time than going to college. Jobs really love when someone knows how to do the job vs having to train them for the job. The key is to never stop learning, you may be good at what you do, but you can always be better!

What I wish someone would have told me is how to be smart with the loans and refund checks. I wish I would have paid the interest or at least the principle on the loan while in school. That way when I got out of school my debt wouldn’t have been as high. Or to save my refund check and use it as emergency funds while going to school, because your car will break down or you will need a little extra to cover rent one month, instead of blowing it on spring break or clothes. 

3.       Health is Wealth

I never took my health seriously. I was for the most part fit until after college. I could eat what I wanted and not worry about gaining weight-probably because I danced it all off at parties-. I was what a fitness trainer would call skinny fat. I had no muscle and could not run a mile to save my life. I went to the doctor if I was sick and that was it. It wasn’t until I started noticing I was tired all the time and generally never felt good, that I began to take a personal interest in my health.

Looking back I wish I would have taken exercising and my overall well being more seriously. I noticed that people who were physically fit at a younger age, like middle school and high school, have an easier time keeping up with staying fit than those of us who slacked off. Trying to get fit now takes a lot of discipline, a lot of tender love and care, a lot of I really don’t want to, but forcing myself to. I love how I feel after. I work at a desk all day so getting up and going for a run really loosens my body up, but working up the strength to actually go for the run and not sit on the couch and veg out or lay in the bed and take a nap that’s the hard part.-hell I’m sleepy now tying this! lol

4.       You will never have it figured all the way out, do it anyway!

Time is of the essence. This moment right now is all you have and you can not get it back.  When I was younger I thought I had all the time in the world to figure it out. What I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, the kind of life I wanted to live,  I felt I had the time to put the serious stuff off. Instead I partied and bullsh*tted.- but remember there should be a balance to everything.– After college life hits you fast! I still had no idea about any of it. I got a full time job out of necessity, but it was not what I wanted to do. In that job field, although I gained a ton of experience and learned a lot,  it wasn’t something that I was passionate about.. I didn’t have a plan, I wasn’t intentional about anything. 

Truth is you don’t have time. If 2020 has taught me anything it’s that you need a plan for longevity, but do what you can in that moment. I wish I would have been more willing to step out of my comfort zone and tried on different things to see how they fit. New experiences, different jobs, different men even, everything I did was out of comfort.  One day I looked around and realized everyone had moved on and I was still here, trying to figure it out. There was not one person’s life I wanted. Not that you should want someone’s life, but you should have people who you aspire to, and I for a moment, had no one. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying figuring it out is a bad thing, but don’t waste life away. Do what sets your soul on fire. Go and try different things on and see if they fit you. Most of us know what we want to do, we are just too scared to take the leap, too worried about what people are going to think or say, or afraid to fail. If we stop looking at failing as a negative and start looking at it as a stepping stone or a lesson on what not to do, we would be much further along.  Make the most of the time you have,  but have a plan just in case!

5.       Nobody Cares

Which brings me to my next point. When you’re young, no matter how much you say you don’t care what people think, we all know you do. It’s why you move through life the way you do. You care if your friends or family don’t support your dreams. You care if you’re not acknowledged. I wish we would stop saying that we don’t care because in some way we all do. In reality, no one should care more than you do. 

Your dreams, your passions, the things you choose to pursue are for you and nobody else. Those are the things that bring you joy and nobody else. So guess who is going to care about those things? Only you. Self-doubt, especially for an artist, stems from your fears of how you will be perceived or what people will think and how you’re judged in the world. Truth is no one cares. Most of your support will come from people who don’t know you, but relate to you and the ones who hate to see you succeed. No one will care more about what you’re doing than you. If it’s something that you’re proud of, that truly brings you joy without harming others, do it. I say go for it. Tyler Perry is heavily criticized for his plays and content, but guess what he still creates them and he is a millionaire now. He once said that he doesn’t create art for the people who don’t understand, he creates it for the people that do. Whatever it is that you want to do, do it. You will find your tribe and then you’ll continue to create it for them. There’s a million different brands of bread, still everyone has their own preference. SHINE ANYWAY!

Though I’m not disappointed in my journey or regret a thing, I’m exactly where I am supposed to be, still these things would have been great to know and not have to learn the hard way ha! I may make a part 2, writing this actually made me think of 5 more things I wish I knew.

Do you agree? What are some things you wished you knew growing up?

And Remember,

Dont be Bitter,

Be Better!

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A Black Girls Guide to Haircare

“Is that all your hair?”, “Is that your real hair?”, “How do you do your hair?”, or  “What products do you use on your hair?” Are questions I get asked A LOT. I always stray away from talking about my hair or giving tips because hair is so unique to the individual. What works for my hair may not work for others. –Literally me and my mother can not even use the same products. Her hair is nothing like mine– I have gone to war trying to figure my hair out and what works for it. Sure, I’ve looked to youtubbers, like the Glamtwinz, and stylists to help, but ultimately it is trial and error.

As black women our hair is our crown. We hold a lot of pride in the way our hair looks. We spend hours to perfect it- or days cause lord know washing my hair is an all day process-. I used to be ashamed of my curls because growing up natural curls were the standard of beauty. I am a self proclaimed pseudo-natural, meaning, I’m completely natural, but use heat to manipulate my curl pattern to straight. I’ve always been natural, but I’ve been heat styled since the age of 8. Though my curl pattern has loosened since then, my curls are still intact and my hair is healthy. I love that our natural curls and coils are being more accepted now, however, the maintenance isn’t for me. I absolutely love the look of it, but I simply cant put the time and energy into maintaining my natural curls- more power to those that can I envy you!– I hate that its assumed that since my hair is straight that it must be a perm, I must be mixed or that my curl pattern is wiped because that simply isn’t true.

I’ve recently reconstructed my whole hair care routine because my hair started breaking off and wasn’t reacting in the way I was used to. I completely went down to the basics and started from there. 

Hair changes all the time depending on your age, your diet, your water intake, the medication you take, and the vitamins you consume. It’s really hard to pinpoint what may be causing your hair to thrive or fail. I have found that these basics are my necessity. I have found that whenever I skip these or remove them from my routine, my hair isn’t happy. 

1. The Products

It’s really important to know what your hair porosity is and the texture of your hair to find the right products. I have low porosity with a fine texture on one side and a course texture on the other. z

For my hair, its a must that I prepoo with heat. I usually do a cocktail of oils, jojoba, olive, coconut, shea butter, tea tree, and argan oil, in a warm bath and massage that into my scalp. I let the prepoo sit on my hair either with a steam cap or under a hooded dryer for 20 mins to an hour ( an hour with the steam cap, 20 mins with the hooded dryer) 

I wash my hair every 2-3 weeks in the Summer or hotter months and every 3 to 4 weeks in the Winter or colder months. For shampoo and conditioner, I always use Joico Moisture shampoo and conditioner or Kpak shampoo and conditioner line. I don’t get too specific with the shampoo and conditioner. They aren’t in my hair long enough to do anything to it. I try to keep the shampoo and conditioner as simple as possible. Where I do get product happy is deep conditioners. I loveeeee deep conditioners. My holy grails are Shea Moisture Intensive Hydrating Manuka Honey deep conditioner, Joico Kpak intense hydration, Joico intense moisture, Cantu Intense deep conditioner 

Prior to blow drying using a spray leave-in conditioner is key. I use a spray over a cream because it doesn’t weigh the hair down while keeping the hair protected. The 2 I love are It’s A 10 and Aphrogee. Since I have thick hair, a blow drying spray that will cut down the time to dry is vital. The two I toggle between is OGX Blow dry spray and Kenra Blow dry spray. They both have many benefits and it’s an added layer of heat protectant for my hair while blow drying.  A heat protectant prior to flat ironing I like is Tresemme. I have been looking for other alternatives due to the chemicals that are in it, but honestly my hair loves it and I haven’t noticed any negative effects. I also use a light oil like argon or jojoba oil before the blow dry process and to finish and put back some moisture and shine.

2. The Base

 The key to get the perfect silk press is a solid bow dried foundation. I part my hair in 4 sections. In the section I’m getting ready to blow dry, I will apply my leave in,  blow drying spray and then I will detangle the section. I then blow dry that section on the lowest heat setting possible, starting from the bottom and working my way to the root with the fine comb attachment. After I have finished all 4 sections and they are 80% dry, I will add a small amount of light oil to my hair. I then blow dry on the highest setting possible to get it a little straighter for no more than 2 minutes. 

If I’m going for a silk press, I’ll part my hair in 4 sections, set my flat iron between 360-380 and use the chase method with a brush to flat iron. 

If i’m not silk pressing, but i want it to look uniformed and be easy to maintain, i’ll set my flat iron to 350 and curl large sections 

I try to get my hair trimmed every 3 months, it just curls better when it’s trimmed.  Due to medication I’m on I have to drink a lot of water or else my scalp gets really dry and looks like the before in the head and shoulders commercial.- and that ain’t sexy at all

I recently purchased 2 Babybliss flat irons. I use one for the silk press and the other for curling when I don’t do a silk press. The blow dryer I use is an Andis. I love this blow dryer. It’s easy to hold and gets the job done quickly- and the price point is the chefs kiss!

3. The Wrap

Protecting your hair at night and while doing sweaty activities is how to get your hair to last! It’s important for me to wrap my hair with a silk scarf. I use 2. One to hold my wrap in place and save my edges, and the other to contain the rest of my hair. I always lightly oil the ends of  my hair before I wrap it and I’ll spray it with a light oil once I have completed my wrap. 

If I am working out or participating in something that will most likely sweat my hair out -achem- I will pull it into a pony or a ballet bun and wrap the edges – if I’m trying to be sexy I will do this after said activity. This helps lay my hair back down. If it’s completely sweated out I will run the blow dryer through it on a low setting with the comb attachment. 

This is just a small glimpse of how I care for my hair. Though the most important tip I can give you is to take care of yourself from the inside out. Make sure your body is getting what it needs to thrive. Make sure you are getting your water intake, enough rest and the right vitamins. If you’re on medication check with your doctor to see if that could be affecting your hair, skin and nails.

What are you hair care tips? Lets talk about it!

And remember,

dont be bitter,

Be better!

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A New Way to Think About Budgeting: A Financial Journey

I feel like wealth isn’t talked about enough within the black community due to various reasons, such as lack of family time within the household, no mentorship, or no one else in the family educated enough on finances. This leads to children being uneducated on finances when becoming an adult. Leaving them to figure out how to manage money. Figuring out how to manage money when no one has shown you how to, is pretty hard. Most of us end up living paycheck to paycheck or blowing it on wants more than needs. We dig ourselves into these deep debt holes that we can’t get out of and then are judged heavily when we ask for help. Sound familiar? – it does for me!- 

I figured out money how probably most people do, by observing. I grew up in a single parent household. My mother didn’t have time to teach me. My grandmother gave me tips here and there, but I learned mostly by observing her. My grandmother spent money like she was always going to have it. There wasn’t one time we went to a store and she didn’t spend under $100. I thought to myself “I’m going to be just like her when I grow up”. And I was, only she knew how to budget and I didn’t. 

I have gone through a lot financially and I’m still learning and adjusting. I am by no means a financial guru and do not give out financial advice. I am, however, your favorite lil sis here to give you just a few things I’ve learned on my road to financial wealth.

I’ve learned that small changes win the race. The first thing I did when I decided to get serious about my finances was, – you guessed it– research! Youtube, Pinterest and books were my saving grace. What got me started was Dave Ramsey Baby Steps. Of course I had to tweak it because I’m not saving for kids or college, but it was definitely a start. Then on Youtube I followed TFD ( The Financial Diet) , Camille Collazo, and The Break. TFD has 2 books (available on audible as well) that dive deep into money. They are good short reads and worth it. I do have a few books that I want to read, such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad ,which always comes highly recommended, but I’m a visual person when it comes to numbers and investing, so I started there with watching people talk about money. While researching, I also found a few tricks of my own.  

  1. Pay Yourself First AND last

I know you’re going, duh! This isn’t new, it’s what everyone always says! Well, that’s because it’s true! You did all the hard work, so when the check comes pay yourself first! In the beginning this was a little hard for me. I would pay myself and then I would take it back and spend it. If I could see the money in my account then I was sure to spend it. I had to figure out a way to save money without being able to see it in my account. I set up a separate savings account at a local credit union that had a 2.5% return without a card to the account. I have a percentage of my check direct deposited into that account as soon as I get paid. This way I cannot remove the money from the account without physically going to the bank. I never have to see it and I check the account by the monthly statements. 

Another way I paid myself first was a savings challenge. I would always see the money challenges going around on Pinterest and other social media apps, and I thought “What could it hurt?” I grabbed a mason jar cut numbers 1-52 and I pulled 2 numbers at random every 2 weeks ( I get paid biweekly, however, this challenge was weekly so I had to tailor it for myself). Whatever the numbers equaled went straight into my emergency savings at my bank. I think its important to have a bank and a credit union. Banks are everywhere and credit unions are usually local. You get more perks with a credit union than a typical bank account. I enjoyed this challenge because it really did feel like a game. I never knew what the amount would be and it was thrilling to see how fast the numbers added up. It even challenged me to see if I could save even faster. I actually became obsessed with how much I could save. 

One thing I started doing that most people don’t do is paying myself last as well. The day before payday, what is ever left in my checking goes to my emergency savings. This has helped a lot with savings and budgeting. Flexible bills tend to fluctuate so I over budget just to make sure I have it all covered. I also budget myself an extra spending fund just in case I forgot something, I call it a cushion. Normally, those funds are left over and I slide that money into my emergency savings.

I love to shop. – we should know this by now– so paying myself first meant budgeting being able to shop. Saving money is nice, but as Carrie Bradshaw once said “ I like my money right where I can see it… hanging in my  closet.” Yes saving is necessary, but so is enjoying it. One reason I could never save the money is because I would always take it out to eat or shop, it made me feel better. A little treat –or a lot of treats– always made me feel like the hard work was worth it. I carved out a spot in my budget to both save and be able to buy myself something –or a lot of somethings– nice. 

  1. Everything Counts!

Speaking of budgeting, having a budget is important not only for paying your bills, but also as a guide to get past living paycheck to paycheck. One major reason I failed at meeting any financial goals was because I left too much out of my budget. I wrote down my monthly bills in my budget, but things that were flexible such as; gas, food, going out, subscriptions, grooming, personal items etc. all got left out. I would pay my bills and whatever was left was up to chance. 

This was a big no no. It left me overspending and sometimes left without things I needed. I was living paycheck to paycheck and sometimes couldn’t even make it to pay day.  

I fixed my monthly budget to include every single thing possible that I needed money for. This took some getting used to because I hated having to guess at what my flexible spending would be. After a few months I began to pinpoint a number that pretty accurate for each of my flexibles items in my budget such as $80 for gas, 50 for personal items etc. this helped me stay on track within my budget You can always work backwards to find this. After all your bill are paid lets say you have $300 left, break that $300 down to each item and stay within the allotted amount.

Here’s an example of an old budget I did on NerdWallet

I have found some neat tools to help me budget. One of the best tools is the paycheck calculator. Whether you’re hourly or salary, make overtime or bonuses, it will calculate how much your checks will be with post and pretax deductions calculated. It will also give you suggestions for credit cards and savings!

NerdWallet is the next best thing to keeping you on track with how much you should have for each part of your budget if you follow the 50/30/20 rule. I have found this rule to be the best for me, especially with saving, i was cutting myself wayyy short when it came to saving. they also have articles on the site that offer advice for finances as well.

  1. Use all of your Job’s Benefits

So much money is left on the table because people do not use all of their job benefits! I’m not talking about matching the 401k so you get the maximum benefits- but that is important by all means get all the money they are willing to offer– but the other benefits that get left on the table. 

Say for instance stocks. You work for the company, why not buy a stock in it? One of my coworkers earned an extra 10k just from her stock alone! She was able to put down that money on her first house. 

My main full time job is a huge fortune 500 company in the healthcare field. Almost anything health related I get a discount for. Sinus meds, asthma equipment, gym memberships etc. I get a discount for. My job also offers a plethora of discounts with other companies for auto insurance, phone bill, to hotel discounts, to pay for parking at the airport. My job also gives us free money for being healthy if we have an HSA account with our medical insurance. That’s right, free money for being a non-smoker, or meeting certain health criteria’s, or for donating blood. We even get an extra $600 for getting pregnant. 

Your job can have so much to offer. I suggest looking into the company you work for and see where you can save or earn.   

I’m still learning and researching as I want to get into investing soon. I still have my setbacks, but I learn from them and continue to build. I hope some of these tips were helpful. How did you learn about finances and what are some of the ways you save? Let’s talk about it!

And Remember,

Dont be bitter,

Be better!

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ProductivityHack: The 3×3 Rule

Ahh yes, back here again! With the beginning of the year we are all challenging ourselves with New Year Resolutions and  goals to set the tone for the year. If you have been an avid reader, then you know my very first vlog post was about productivity and how to achieve your goals. I still use this method to date. It helps me focus so much better and plan better for the things I want to obtain. What is it, you ask? It’s the 3×3 Rule. 

I use this method in conjunction with a planner and a goal board. I am an anti-vision board person. They just do nothing for me. I need to visually see what I want and how far I have to get it. A vision board just helps me see what I want, but it lacks the action or the visual progress behind it. My goal board is simply a poster with a line down the middle. On one side I have sticky notes with my goals on there and the other side are goals that are completed. This helps me stay focused on my goals. I’m able to keep going by visually seeing the progress I’ve made. I get great gratitude by moving the sticky note over to the completed side. I will put my big 3 plus maybe smaller goals that aren’t as heavy. 

Why just 3?

We live in an environment where we are often asked to split our attention between multiple things like family, career, and personal. It’s very hard to devote our attention to a plethora of things and give it our all. 3 things are about the maximum of what you can focus on that will get your full attention. Anything beyond that begins to get pushed back, passed on or forgotten about. This is because anything after 3 becomes overwhelming. The anxiety from asking ourselves to accomplish so much, will eventually take control to the point where we scrap all the goals and get nothing accomplished.-I don’t know about you, but when I get overwhelmed I shut down and nothing gets done.-

How does the 3×3 rule work?

The 3×3 rule consists of 3 major goals. You then break those 3 goals into 3 monthly steps, and those 3 monthly steps down to daily steps. Everything you write down should be geared toward helping you reach one of those big 3.

For example, let’s say you big 3 are to:

  1. Write a book 
  2. Be healthier
  3. Save 5k

So for your monthly goals you should have something like:

  1. Write 1 chapter
  2. Light exercise daily 
  3. Save 416

Then you’ll break this down to fit your weekly needs it to look like this;

Week 1.

  1. Set aside 3 hours to write=MWF
  2. Workout at 3pm during lunch break
  3. Set aside 100.00 by cutting out fast food and packing lunch

Week 2.

  1. Write time=2 hours T/R
  2. Yoga before work
  3. Set aside 150 from check

Week 3.

  1. Write time= 8 hours 2Sat/2Sun/1Mon/2tues/1Wed
  2. Up water intake
  3. Set aside money that would be spent on coffee this week 

Week 4.

  1. Write time =2 hours 1/W/1F
  2. Walk on 15 min break
  3. Set aside 150 from check

Boom! You have now completed your weekly goals, which resulted in completing your monthly goals, which brought you one step closer to your yearly goals!

I love this method. It has made my goals achievable and less overwhelming. Before I was introduced to this method my goals were lofty and I never accomplished any of what I wrote down. This method has enabled me to accomplish some goals faster even completing some before the end of the year. I re-evaluate mid year to see how far I’ve come. In the event I do complete a goal or I’m close to completing a goal I will add a new one, or boost the old one up. – say if one goal was to save $1k, I boosted that to 3k so I’ll have 1k in all 3 of my accounts.-

I hope you all find this method useful. What do you use to attack of your goals?? Let me know in the comments.

 And remember 

Dont be bitter,

Be better!

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Get Clear Skin with Curology

Skin care is something I have been focusing a lot more on in the past 2 years. It was a goal of mine this year to get into a skin care routine. I had major breakouts and all of the products I was using wasn’t working. No amount of water or clean eating helped clear it up. I got so frustrated and overwhelmed, I knew it was time to seek help. 

When I was younger I barely had pimples, let alone acne. This sudden break out in adulthood had me shook. I went to the dermatologist and she diagnosed me with cystic acne. The dermatologist prescribed me acne medication to prevent breakouts while we worked on the condition of my skin. I was initially against medication, but she assured me it was just to get my skin back to a healthy place, not forever. She also prescribed me a retinol to help with the big dark spots I had from acne scars. Initially when I went to the derm, I told her my goal was for my skin to look close to what it did in those pretty snapchat filters or Jhene Aiko’s skin- cause lets be honest sis looks like a walking filter-. I also wanted to brighten the burn marks from my laser hair removal- more on that in a later post.

Cystic Acne is when you have large painful breakouts deep in your skin. For women this is due to the hormonal levels due to mensuration. Cystic acne for women usually occurs along the jaw line and chin.

Of course, I got home and immediately researched cystic acne.-cause you know ya girl researches everything!-I found that I needed to eliminate a lot from my diet such as dairy. Which was hard because I love anything deep fried and smothered in cheese. I also ate yogurt daily for gut health, that was a no no. I cut the yogurt and started taking a probiotic pill instead. I drastically cut back on cheese, which was so hard. 

While my skin was doing much better, I wanted to get a routine down for it. I found myself using several different products for different things, but I didn’t notice a change in my skin. So I decided to simplify. I had been seeing Curology ads and it piqued my interest. My best friend tried it, which was the deciding factor for me.  

Curology is a subscription company that designs skincare specifically made for you by dermatologist that ships every 2 months. I loved this because I felt like I was using all these products because different ones did a different thing I needed. Curology made it so much simpler. 

I went online and took the short, but to the point skin quiz, and then took pictures of my face. My friend advised me to be very specific about my goal and skin needs while taking the quiz. I paid the introductory price $6.95 ( $4.95 shipping plus handling) for the trial products. About 2 days later, I got an email specifying what products I would be receiving along with a message from the dermatologist about how to use my serum in my routine and what formula consisted of. About 2 weeks later I had my products.- I’m assuming turn around time would be faster, if it wasn’t for Covid19. 

My package consisted of a month supply of their standard cleanser, moisturizer, prescription serum formulated for me, acne body wash and acne stickers. 

Trial Size

Cleanser

Ok. I love this cleanser! A little goes a long way and the formula leaves my face feeling clean, but hydrated and silky. I use this in the morning and night. I do find that on the days I wear heavy makeup, I would have to wash my face twice to really get all the makeup off. I take my makeup off in various ways. If I’m tired I will use a makeup towelette. If I have time, I will use almond oil or a cleansing balm like Ponds with a baby wipe or my makeup remover towel.- Ladies if you use coconut oil to take your makeup off STOP IT NOW!! Coconut oil is terrible for your face and clogs the pores.-Doing both ways I found I would still need to double wash. On days where I wore bb cream and foundation powder I would only need to wash once. Prior to Curology, I used the Neutrogena Hydroboost Lotion in the morning and the hydroboost gel in the evenings. I liked these, especially the lotion. The lotion is my favorite. Since Curology, I can’t see using another cleanser. 

Moisturizer

I cannot say enough about this moisturizer. It is so lightweight, but powerful. It leaves my skin feeling hydrated and silky. I use this both day and night. Prior to Curology, I used Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel Moisturizer, which I love. I would compare it to the Neutrogena Hydroboost or the Clean and Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Gel. Both are great for  spring/ summer months. In the fall/winter months I usually use CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. It’s a little heavier since my skin is a little drier during those months. I run through the moisturizer a little more than the cleanser. I now only use the moisturizer in the morning and my CeraVe at night.

Serum

My serum contains Zinc Pyrithione- antifungal acne medication, Clindamycin- antibacterial acne medication and Azelaic Acid- treats acne and lightens discoloration. I only use this at night after the cleanser. I was advised by the derm to only use this and no other salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or retinol products.  My skin did rebel, which the dermatologist advised me would happen while my skin adjusted to the products. I had a small break out on my forehead for about 3 weeks. The first week was the roughest. The second week I thought the breakout had cleared, but it came back with a few new pimples. By the third week I only had one or 2 pimples. The last week of the trial, I was able to see my skin progress and it was looking good! My skin was breakout free and my texture/color was evening out. You do have an option in your profile to chat with the derm if there is anything wrong or you feel the treatment isn’t working. Curology provides give you 2 free chats with the sign up and a free chat monthly. You can of course pay to have more sessions as well. These sessions do rollover monthly. I reached out once to the derm assigned to me to make sure it was okay to use my prescribed retinol from my local derm. She advised me to alternate my days, I use the Curology serum every other day and my retinol on the off days from the serum.

Full Size bottle supply for 2 months dont let the size fool you they last!

The next shipment auto ships, however you have the option to cancel whenever you want. Curology will send you an email letting you know to make any changes by a certain date and also to update you on the shipment. You can also change the time frame in which you receive the package. I changed my shipment to receive the cleanser, moisturizer, and the serum- which is required– which totaled $52 plus shipping and handling. I opted out of the acne body wash and acne patches simply because I didn’t use the trial size. I do tend to get breakouts on my shoulders and back sporadically, I believe from working out, however, I haven’t had any recently.

My honest opinion: If you are just starting out in skincare, are looking to get a routine down or have very troubled skin –I would start with physically seeing a dermatologist first with troubled skin-, I would def start here. There’s so much out its hard to figure what to use and what works best for you. While I love the cleanser and moisturizer, there are drug store cleansers and moisturizers that are dups, contain more product, and are a little cheaper. The serum, you cant beat. Since it is made for you and you can change your needs at anytime, I would most likely stick with this product until you have your desired skin.

Speaking of skincare, I recently had the opportunity to talk about some skin care tips and tricks that aren’t widely known about in the black community with Let’s Talk About It with Jackie Wade Podcast and Youtube. You can watch part one here and part two here.

Overall, I love Curology and what it has done for my overall facial skin care health. My dark spots have lightened up quite a bit and my skin’s texture is a lot better.  I would definitely recommend giving it a try! 

Are you thinking about trying Curology? Let’s talk about it!

And remember,

Dont be bitter

Be Better!

**This is not a sponsored post.

Ballin’ on a Budget: Secrets to Buy What you Want for Less!

A little known fact ab out me is I love to shop! Ok so it’s not that little known, it’s true, I know my delivery guys by name. What most people don’t know is, I never spend that much for what I buy. I almost always catch a sale or find a discount. If it aint on a deal, I’m not trying to spend my coins on it! I thought this was pretty common knowledge, but I was sharing some of my tricks to getting a deal and well, not as common knowledge as I thought. Keep reading if you want to save those coins, but get what you want!!

Discount Codes
Discount codes are by far the easiest way to get some sort of percentage off. You can usually find a discount code anywhere from 10 to 30 percent off or free shipping. Most stores will offer this on their website by signing up for their emailing list. One way you can continue to get this discount is by signing up for the email list and after you get the discount and make your purchase; unsubscribe. This will remove you from the list. When you go back to the site it will give you the same pop up to sign up for the email list and because you have been removed from the list, if you sign back up it will no longer recognize that you have already been given a code for the discount, thus a repeating cycle.

If you download the store’s app, they will give you consistent coupons and at least free shipping. Victoria Secret’s Pink app is the goat for this!. – I wish you could use multiple codes, but they only allow 2 so pick and choose.. Pick and choose– Forever 21 and LuLu’s offer really good exclusive discounts through their apps as well.

I don’t know about you, but I paid too much for college not to reap the benefits for life! If you sign up for sites like Unidays or Student Beans, they offer student discount codes, and let me tell you its clutch for stores like FootLocker and even Apple subscription.. All you need is an active school email- shoutout to MTSU, even though I’ve graduated my email is still active so I reap every last benefit! My Apple subscription is $4.99 a month!!-

Also, you would be surprised at the deals you can get on your birthday as well!

Another way to get a discount code is to simply google search. Type in the name of the store plus discount or coupon and it will give you a list of coupon sites to choose from. This one is hit or miss. Sometimes the coupons work and sometimes they do not, but it’s always worth a try.

My favorite way to get a discount code is to load what I want in my cart and check out all the way to the payment screen. Allow your browser to sit on that screen. After a certain amount of time, the store will send you a reminder email or text that you have items in your cart. To encourage a purchase they will offer a discount code.

I bet you didn’t know your job may even offer discount codes. Yes!, check those employee benefits! You never know who your job is connected to!

Social media is another great way to find a discount code. There is usually a fixed code in the bio of the brand’s page. Other times you’ll have to look for a post with a discount code in the captions. Brands will also use brand ambassadors. To promote the brand they will pay social media influencers to post sponsored content. To track how well the influencer does they will give a discount code which sometimes gives a kick back to the influencer as well. You can find brand ambassadors by searching the brands page or searching for a haul on YouTube i.e. search boohoo clothing haul, boom several brand ambassadors will be the top few videos.

One last way is by social media ads. Those dreaded, but alluring social media ads, especially Facebook, –gets me every time. On the top or in the caption of the ad there is usually a discount code for a small percent.

Sales
Of course sales are an obvious way to save some money, but knowing when a sale is coming a little harder. A good time to start looking for sales is about 2 months before the seasons change. Most stores try to start selling fall clothing in august, so you can bet by the end of July or August there will be a major sale. Of course you have your white sales and Black Friday is great for big ticket items, such as TVs. The best sale to go to is after Christmas. The day after Christmas stores are trying to bring in the inventory for next year so anything that is from the current year has to go! Dillard’s New Year sale is where you want to be. Shoes and clothing are almost next to nothing, plus you have all that Christmas gift money.

Resale
I used to be a little skeptical of sites like Poshmark or thrifting because you just never know what someone has done with their clothing or the conditions it will be in when you receive it. , However this is where I have found some items that were sold out or I have found an expensive item for much cheaper. Poshmark is my go to because it’s a little more secure when it comes to receiving items. Their customer service is awesome and works quickly to resolve any issues should you have any. I also sell most of my clothing that still has tags on it on the site-you can check out what I have here, on the banners posted on the home page.- You can find a lot of items still with tags due to the wrong size, just didn’t return it in time, or wanted money vs a store credit, whatever the problem was, you end up winning! You can send in an offer if you feel the seller is asking for too much or you can even switch an item you’re selling for the item you want and you’re not out of any funds, it’s a win win.

Split Payments
Sites like QuadPay, AfterPay, Sezzle, and Klarna offer to break your order into 4 smaller payments with no interest that auto draft every 2 weeks from the purchase date from your linked bank account or debit card. The great thing about this is it’s easier on your bank account, the downfall is if you get carried away and the balance gets too high. I was a little skeptical about using these sites at first. I tried it because of a store I frequently shop at that has constant sell outs on items I want. I decided to try it so I wouldn’t miss out on the items I wanted and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have a personal rule of not using these sites for orders less than $50.00 and I keep my total balance under $250.00, especially if using multiple sites. For example, if I have orders out with QuadPay, AfterPay and Sezzle the total balance together has to be under $250.00, however, I never let it get to that point. They also let you pay it off quicker if you want vs letting it auto draft from your account every 2 weeks. The other awesome part to this is these sites offer discounts if you purchase through them. My favorites are QuadPay and AfterPay. Both Quadpay and Afterpay offers a credit card option with no credit check, they use how well you have done paying off your balance with them as your credit and you can also use the split payment offer in stores. QuadPay typically has more popular stores to shop at like Apple or Fashion Nova. AfterPay is the one I use the most, one of my favorite boutiques is on this site. Again, these sites are great options if you have a large order and don’t want it to hurt your bank account too much. Just watch your balance or pay it off quickly!

There it is. Those are my secrets. Go forth and save those coins!!! Happy Shopping!

And remember,

Don’t be Bitter

Be Better!!

 

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How to Deal with Getting Ghosted

Have you ever been getting to know someone romantically and then boom, that person has suddenly disappeared? Have you ever been in a friendship that suddenly ended unbeknownst to you? Suddenly, you can’t find them on any social media platform?

You my friend have just been GHOSTED!

Ghosting– the practice of ending a personal relationships with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.

People ghost for many different reasons, but the most popular reasons are to avoid hard conversations or to keep one foot in the door. Rather than saying they need some time or they just aren’t ready, they will cut communication instead. When they are ready they will show up like a ghost from the grave and usually never acknowledge the really shitty thing they did or give some whack excuse as to why they ghosted in the first place.

However, ghosting has the opposite effect of what I think the point is. People ghost as a way to not have the awkward conversations of why they don’t want to continue the relationship anymore. What it actually does is drive the person to continue to reach out until they get the hint and move on. What could have been settled in one conversation has now taken weeks… sometimes even months. Most of the time you run into the person and still end up having to have that now awkward conversation.

The worst kind of ghosting- well being ghosted in general is pretty bad– is when they cut all communication with you, but talk about the situation to other people like it won’t get back to you. It’s one thing to have an issue with someone who you wont talk to about it, but it’s another to have an issue and tell everyone, but the person you have the issue with.- I mean who raised you?!?– This is where immaturity comes into play. If you won’t talk to the person who is the best to solve the issue, why talk about it at all?

I used to feel it was a very childish thing to ghost someone and to some extent it still is. If there is an issue you should be able to communicate that as an adult even if you don’t want to further the relationship. What ghosting does for the person who has seemingly disappeared is bring them peace, but for the one who got ghosted, it leaves them left in the dark questioning and going over everything that happened to see where they went wrong. It places the blame on the wrong person.

It wasn’t until I did the ghosting, did I understand it’s not you, it’s them; Let me explain.

I have been ghosted a few times by lovers, friends and family.-I believe mostly because people have this perception that I’m argumentative because I like to debate. It’s a difference. I can have a civil conversation if you’re willing to have a civil conversation.- I was the person left in the dark trying to figure out why. Not wanting to reach out, afraid that I may look creepy or desperate.- And I can be a very prideful person– Instead, I would drive myself crazy asking “What was wrong with me that would make someone want to treat me that way?” or “What did I do to deserve that?” Left to believe that if I could just figure out why I was being ignored, then I could fix it.-See that opposite effect thing I was talking about?”

There is an exception to ghosting. I believe it’s ok to ghost someone if you are being or were abused by the person. By all means, cut all ties. I ghosted someone for this very reason and I do not regret it at all. You do not owe anyone that is physically, mentally or emotionally abusing you a reason, a conversation, or even a text message as to why you are leaving. Just leave and don’t look back.

What I’ve learned from being ghosted and doing the ghosting, is that in most cases it is not about you, it’s about them. Most people ghost because they don’t want a serious relationship or they are dealing with something personal. Not because you’re shy, have fat rolls, or because you fell that one time and completely embarrassed yourself. – although these could certainly be reasons, childish, but nevertheless– Often times it’s much bigger than that.  I believe ghosting is manipulative, egotistical and childish. Any time it happens to you consider yourself lucky you dodged a bullet. This person doesn’t have the skills it requires to be in your life and they saved you the trouble and drama of having to find that out the hard way. Don’t take it to heart, don’t dwell on it, or drive yourself crazy thinking about it. Remember it’s them, not you. However, don’t allow the ghost to return from the dead.- No boo, don’t allow that type of behavior, we are better than that!!– Dust it off and keep it moving.

Have you dealt with any ghosts or have you been the ghost? Lets talk about it!!

As always,

Dont be Bitter,

Be Better!

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Dont be Bitter be Better: 3 Reasons Why I Chose to be Single

Reading the heading of this post, I know you’re wondering why would one choose to be single.-Let me explain.- I found myself in an odd place. I was in a situationship that ended on good terms, we even decided to still remain friends. Even after the romantic phase was over, we would meet up for drinks and still text as friends. One day, I found myself blocked and ignored. This was someone who I had a fifteen year friendship with so to be suddenly cut out of their life was odd. I would speak when I saw them and nothing, not even a hello back. The need to know why I was suddenly being treated this way was growing inside of me. The more it happened the angrier I became. –I know what your thinking why did you continue to speak?- A part of me was all kill them with kindness, but another part felt it was probably agitating them that I did– that was the petty part of me.

Privately, I was very hurt by losing the relationship and the friendship. – I was hurt hurt. Mariah Carey’s breakdown ft Bone-Thugs and Harmony has never made more sense than that moment in time

The guy a dated after that 5months into the dating phase –not relationship but casually dating– he got engaged to someone else. Yes, you read that right, engaged to another girl while we were dating, and to add insult to injury I found about it 2 weeks later from someone who didn’t even know I knew him, let alone was dating him.- the audacity, tuh!-

I felt myself becoming bitter. I didn’t want to shut love out, but at that moment I didn’t know how I could continue to be so open to something that was literally ripping my heart apart. I prayed to ease the pain and bring me understanding. In the past, I had taken a break from dating before and dated myself, but I was still open to invitations. Initially when I took the first break, I was a 20 something year old who was lost. My 20s were rough and flew by. I am now a 30 something who has experience. I’m more settled now, I feel wiser like I have a new lens on life. I don’t feel so desperate to get to a finish line of a goal, until I started comparing my life to where I thought I should be for my age. So this decision didn’t come lightly. This time I decided to decline any interests. No dates. I didn’t entertain someone who was interested in dating. If they weren’t pre-existing non-romantic friendships, I wasn’t available for it. I wanted to completely focus on me and pour into myself. My prayers were eventually answered, but in praying I realized a few things about myself and how I approached dating:

1. Relationships were the goal
My goal was to be in a relationship. That’s it. That’s all I wanted. I had no clue what I was going to do after I got into one, but as someone whos never been in one, that was my goal. Somewhere along the way I began to be desperate to be in one. To be claimed, chosen, picked from the bunch. The older I got the more important it became. Towards the end of my 20s dating began to feel more of a hassle than fun. Dating was supposed to be the time of your life, but for me it felt like a means to an end.

If you listen to society, being single will have you feeling worthless. You cant possibly be anyone of value if you’re not in a relationship or married, your advice is worthless, you don’t understand anything as it relates to relationships and you can’t hang around the couple crowd if you are single. I have lost so called friends for being the single one. To be deemed “worthy” by society, I needed to be in a relationship.

I started to look at every possible love interest as “the one”. After the initial contact, I daydreamed about our life together. -if I really found you attractive.- I had an unrealistic expectation for every man who entered my romantic life. I was never in the present moment. I never saw it for what it was until it was over, and I was heartbroken, more so by the possibilities than by missing out on the person. –cause lets be honest, if relationships weren’t my goal there is no way I would have been with some of the dudes I entertained. They were definitely “what were you thinking?” type of guys, especially the 2 mentioned at the opening- I focused very little on the person and more on the end result.

2. Dating with Intention.
I investigated my dating history and they were all pointless. There were no clear intentions or standards set in the beginning. They were all “I like you, you like me, lets see what happens”. – 4 words no woman should fall for-. There were no clear boundaries. No clear communication. It was all unhealthy. Not only were the relationships not clear, but neither was I. I had no clue what I wanted in a relationship. I didn’t understand the value of what I was bringing to a relationship and what I should be receiving from one. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had no clue how relationships worked. Sure, I had examples, but they all seemed to be unhappy or settling for things that didn’t align with their morals or values. –and I did not want to be one of those people.- Even though I knew what I didn’t want, I still wasn’t clear on what I did want.

I’m a researcher, I have to have understanding. The “why” must be answered. So, I did what any researcher would do; I read. I read books, 4 specifically; The Conversation– Hill Harper, Relationship Goals– Michael Todd, Judge This Cover-Brittany Renner, and The Game of Desire– Shannon Boodram.

I have read The Conversation many years ago. I remember it being so packed with gems, that I wrote notes in the margins and highlighted sentences throughout the book. I decided to reread it. The gems were still valid. It is, however, geared more toward people already in a relationship, but it gave me insight.

I loved the Youtube series Relationship Goals so much! It was actually the first thing I watched while struggling through the pain of losing the friendship. I learned a lot by watching the series. So, when Michael Todd wrote a book, I brought it on preorder. The book was so different from the series, which I loved, no one wants to read something they’ve already heard verbatim. There were some parts of the book I disagreed with, but he does speak about all kinds of relationships as it relates to God. I had to keep reminding myself that the book isn’t just talking about romantic relationships. Also, every relationship doesn’t have to work according to someone else’s interpretation of the bible. Overall, I enjoyed the book and got a real grasp about faith in relationships.

Ill admit, I was a little reluctant to read Judge This Cover by Brittany Renner. Brittany Renner is a social media star who is best known for her sexy photos and fitness on Instagram. She has made a name for herself by posting workout videos and promoting fitness products. Brittany has been known to date some very famous people. It is said that most of the relationships she refers to in her book are about those famous people, although the names have been changed in the book. I was really shocked by how insightful this book was. I related to her and her struggles with dating. Though she was a little more free in her sexuality, I admired her willingness to bare it all in the book. She also gave a different perspective and some great advice. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone. Most people I know that did read it, did so to be nosy about her life, but ended up loving the book for her insight. I’m telling you it was a great read!

Lastly, I read The Game of Desire. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. If you’re not familiar with Shannon Boodram, she is a certified intimacy educator who teaches people to be more competent and confident as it relates sexology. My judgement of the book pre-reading it was that it was going to be mostly about sex. While there is, of course, sex talk in the book, the book is mostly about you. Discovering who you are, your love language, your personality traits, your intimacy language etc, and how to use that to be present in your dating life. There is a workbook you can fill out prior to reading which I highly recommend. I learned more about who I am as a person reading this book, than I did about dating. I honestly wished I would have read this book first. This is a book I highly recommend everyone read.

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

3. Self-Love
You knew we were going to end up here! I preach this. Every time I think I have finally obtained the highest level of loving yourself, I find something that could use extra work, a little extra love. When it came to intimacy and body positivity, I lacked majorly. I noticed in the bedroom or times of vulnerability; I was very mean to myself. –You know the talk “suck it in don’t let them see you have a gut, eww” “wear something to cover your arms no one needs to see those Hammocks” “ you want to wear shorts, have you seen your thighs??” “Make sure it’s dark when you take your pants off gotta hide those stretch marks, that’ll be a major turn off”.– Being sexual with some one may have felt good, physically, but mentally I was beating myself up with negative talk the entire time and after was worse.

I have struggled with my weight ever since I took the depo shot. My body has been through a lot. I have gotten trainers, changed my diet, taken weight loss pills, different diet fads all to try to lose weight. I cant remember a time in my adult life that I actually loved my body. There were certain things about myself I wanted to change, and I would, only to gain it back. Doctors would tell me to change my diet or to eat smaller meals more frequently and if I got sick they would say it was just a stomach flu. It wasn’t until I landed in the ER twice with the same doctor that pointed out that something wasn’t right; did I really start to find answers.

After getting diagnosed and getting a treatment plan together, I really began to focus on my health as a whole. I began to make the correct changes and my body actually responded. I began to look more and more like the person I saw in my mind. My self-talk became positive. Sure, there are still somethings I’m a little self-conscious about, but the positive outweighs the negative. The negative is what I strive to give the most love to. Constant reminders that we are regular people and look like real people. We don’t have tiny waists and giant asses. Our breast will have a little sag to them. Stretch marks are a part of growth your body is constantly changing, and facial hair is a thing, almost everyone has it. Society and social media will have you out here changing who you are to fit their standards of beauty rather than loving the way God created you. No knock to plastic surgery, if that’s a path you want or need to take to love who you are, more power to you, go forth and do that, but make sure it’s for you and not for the world. “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I have been purposely single for a year. Every now and again I’ll feel alone, but I’m not lonely. I have found less of a desire to be in a relationship and more of a desire to be comfortable with who I am before inviting someone into my space; my peace. I’m more understanding about my love life and what I need and require to continue to flourish and grow. I’m no longer feeling bitter…. I’m better.-does my tagline make more sense to you now?-

Would you take a year off from dating to learn yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

As always, remember,

Don’t be Bitter,

Be Better!!

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Coping with Quarantine

This has been an interesting time for America.COVID-19 has come in and interrupted our lives. We have been halted and moved around. Most of us made plans for 2020 that we now have to change or forgo completely. We are learning to be flexible and how to go with the flow.

This time has felt stripping. We are forced to put into perspective what matters. We have been stripped down to necessity and thrown into survival mode. I don’t know about you, but I feel like my people, black people, have been training for this our whole lives!

I am a natural homebody, so when the stay at home orders went out; it was a cakewalk for me. I continued doing what I always do.

I am fortunate that my plans/life didn’t halt, if anything they kicked into overdrive. Both of my jobs offered more hours and I am very blessed and grateful for that. I haven’t really had the time to relax, and that’s ok. That is my mood for this time period I feel grateful. –I am also grateful for these sales, but well get to that later lol– 

I am a believer that where you are, is exactly where you are supposed to be. When I am in a tough spot I always ask, what am I supposed to be learning form this? In our toughest moments that’s when we learn the most. Instead of griping and complaining about what you’re not able to do, focus on what you are able to do. When I got laid off from my job in 2016, I panicked for a moment, but once that moment passed and faith kicked in, I realized I now had the opportunity to create. I had never had the time before and now I did. And here we are. I would not be blogging if it weren’t for that layoff. –I also started a YouTube channel; more to come on that later wink wink

It kind of drove me crazy listening to people complain about having to spend time with their family and the frustrations from losing their employment- trust me I completely understand– but some times perspective is key. Focus on the positives and continue to thrive on those.  Here are some of the things im grateful for:

  • You guys know I am a shopaholic so im thankful for these sales! I have had my eye on some big ticket purchases and these sales have allowed me to buy them for next to nothing! Allowing me to get what I want without killing my bank account
  • Speaking of bank account, before quarantine I would treat myself to eating out, and I still do thanks to uber eats, but the price has been much cheaper thanks to zero delivery fee and the alcoholic beverage that im not able to enjoy. I actually haven’t been drinking during this time.
  • I have been natural most of my life so I have been doing my own hair for years. As for my eyebrows, I had a bomb threading lady that moved about 10 years ago and I had her teach me how to do my own as well. 4 years ago I made the decision to get acrylics and now when the nail shops closed I have been back to my natural nails and I realized how much I actually like them. 
  • Is it me or have people been extremely kind during this time? I know there are some cases where its not, but for the most part when I do have to get out for essentials people and employees have been sweet and kind.

I have been seeing a lot of post saying that you should use this time to be productive come out of quarantine with that business plan you’ve been thinking about, start that blog, make that YouTube channel, and if you have the will, time, and drive by all means do it! However, if you use this time to be still and rest that is ok too. A lot of people have been using this time to clean, purge, and organize and that is also ok. There’s no right or wrong way to do this and only you know what’s best for you. I know some of us have it tougher than others, but lets try to be grateful for the moment and focus on the positive that this quarantine has created.

working my second job

Also, let’s keep in our thoughts and prayers the people who are suffering from this illness, the people who are fighting for their lives, and the people on the front lines working tirelessly to combat this virus.Im not on the front lines but work in the environment and guys its serious. Let’s do all we can to overcome this. Do your part. Use discernment.

How have you been doing during this time? What are some things you are focusing on during this time? Lets talk about it!

Until next time!

Don’t be bitter

Be better!

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Tips and Tricks for Working from Home

 

I am fortunate to work for a company that allows me to telecommute. When I first started, we were only allowed to work one day from home. I soon got a promotion that allowed me to be full time work from home.  I’ll admit, I was the laziest work from 

home employee. I would get on my laptop at the last possible minute and would waste my breaks by scrolling through IG or Facebook or napping. And you guessed it, my production fell soon after. I learned pretty quickly that it was important to get a routine down for working from home. I didn’t necessarily need to do the routine I had for when I had to go to the building, but I had to get some sort of routine together, so I wasn’t rushing to get to work and struggling to make it through the day.

I Youtubed a lot of work from home videos, but everything was very entrepreneurial, where people didn’t start their workday till 10am. i have to be at work at a certain time and i am tracked at work so most routines didn’t work for me. I needed to do something that was tailored for me. I needed a routine that would work for my work schedule. I took little tips I saw in previous videos or blogs and it looks something like this:

How to start your day:

It’s weird to think that you need to get ready to go to your living room, but I needed structure in my work life. I started with a time I wanted to go to work. One perk of my job is flex time we can get to work between 6-9am. While I was working in the office, I would get to work between 730-8 am. So, naturally I shot for getting to work at 8 am while working from home. This allowed me to wake up between 630-7am, allowing me enough time to get ready for work and do things like shower, brush my teeth and make my bed without having to rush. I’m an intermittent faster, so I don’t eat breakfast till 10am, fortunately for me I have a conference call that allows me the down time to make a quick meal while still working. Since I am on a special diet for my health issues, I usually have toast, hard boil egg and orange juice for breakfast.

What to wear:

Next thing is clothing. I absolutely hated working at a desk all day wearing jeans. They were just so uncomfortable! One thing I hated more than jeans was pajamas. I found that while wearing pjs I was unmotivated to work. I just wanted to lounge around and be lazy. On the days I would need to leave work early or come to work late, I would get dressed and I felt more motivated to work. I looked at a couple of options, and ultimately decided to buy some cute 2-piece lounge sets. They were stylish enough that I could wear out the house, but comfy enough to, well, work in while sitting at a desk. While I’m not a huge make up wearer, I do have to comb my hair, even if it is to put it back into a neat top knot and look presentable. This helps me show up ready to work.

Break time:

While working in the office, I would go for walks on my fifteen-minute breaks and for my thirty-minute lunch. That ceased when I became a telecommute. I would either nap or lay around, which was nice during that time of the month, but soon became a nasty habit. I have a little toy poodle and a neighbor who has a large hound mix, I walk them on my lunch or late break if the weather permits. This allows me to get some fresh air and a little exercise.

Work time:

During the workday I am chained to my desk, but there are some perks. I have my desk set up next to my balcony windows so I can see outside. I do get distracted easily so I try to watch things that I can follow easily on my iPad. YouTube is mostly playing. A few channels I enjoy watching are, Raven Elise, Patricia Bright, The Real Daytime, Jayla Koriyan, The Glam Twins, and more recently Living to DIY with Rachel Metz –her room make overs are everything!– when I’m not on YouTube, I’ll most likely be catching up on my weekly shows on Hulu or bingeing a loved show on Netflix. Occasionally, I’ll have a concert and sing my heart out or listen to a podcast. A few podcasts I have been loving are – in no particular order -Happy Hour Necole XOXO, She and I podcast, Force of Habit with Shantel Taylor, Small Doses with Amanda Seales, and My Favorite Murderer. I also listen to audible, but I have found that this is hard to do for fantasy or science fiction books as my imagination takes over and distracts me. I mostly will listen to biographical or self-help books. I really enjoyed Gabriel Union- We’re Going to Need More Wine, Brittany Renner- Judge this Cover and Shonda Rhimes- The Year of Yes, just to name a few. 

 

Before I know it, my workday is over, and I can resume my usual at home activities. I have found that this routine keeps me motivated to work and feeling good at work. If I do overtime-which my company has been on a mandatory overtime for a little over a year, this I have to limit myself to certain hours for the day or else I burn out 12 hour work days are a one time thing, however 10 hour shifts are doable. Its important to break down my overtime vs doing it in one lump on a Saturday like I used to especially with working a second job. I will usually do my 8-hour workday and then add 2 hours of overtime a day for the week. If I have more than 8 hours to do than I will do the rest on the weekends or I may 3 hours extra during the weekday.

I hope this helps anybody who is new to the telecommute life or anyone looking for an easy routine to get them started! 

I’d love to hear your routine or tip and tricks for working from home, leave them in the comments below!!

As always,

Don’t Be Bitter,

Be Better!

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