Sunday, January 28, 2018

Consistency Makes All the Difference

Consistency makes all the difference in establishing effective habits and accomplishing one's goals. So this year I am establishing daily positive habits and routines that will push me into accomplishing this years goals and furthering my self development.

Fluency in Spanish

I am aiming towards reaching the intermediate level in Spanish. At the moment I can comprehend, and communicate beginners Spanish adequately. However, I need to push my comprehension skills further and absorb the Spanish language at a more accelerated pace. So I will be giving myself a curriculum with flashcards, Spanish textbook, Memrise app, and the Spanish media. A daily study of two hours a day is my daily language goal. Currently at my part time job I am surrounded by Spanish speakers, so immersing myself in the language several hours a day at work will definitely be beneficial for me.

$1000 Emergency Savings Fund

Having an emergency savings for a rainy day is so crucial and fundamental to being an independent adult. Many financial advisers and books I've come across seem to agree having at minimum a $1000 emergency savings is a good starting point. So for this year I will be following a build a $1000 emergency saving challenge that takes 44 weeks. Although this is one year long financial goal, I have several financial habits I want to establish routinely. One habit I am implementing rigorously is staying on budget. Whatever the established rules are I must follow and that includes having to focus on my needs versus my wants. In another blog post I will cover needs versus wants in budgeting. Staying on task with proper budgeting to me means being less of a mindless consumer. There is always going to be new things I want but sometimes you must delay instant gratification for long term satisfaction.

Thriving Blog
My very first published blog post was in January 2014. That was four years ago to be exact! I had so many topics, areas, and ideas I wanted to cover and write about. I still have a plethora of topics I want and will publish in the near future. However I want to see this blog go forward with a specific vision and thrive this year. So going forward I will establish weekly habits to research my blog topics, write, doodle, and plan them, and then publish on a weekly basis. Considering my usual posting style on this blog was not on a consistent basis, this year I am pushing my limits to do much better.

Clear Radiant Skin
Clear radiant skin has always appeared elusive to me due to my acne scarring and hyper pigmentation. This year I am adamant about changing my skin for the better. I've always had a decent skincare routine consisting of cleansing, moisturizing, and the occasional face mask. I love the idea of using both traditional skincare methods such as clay, rosewater, diy natural facial masks, and modern skincare such as advanced sunscreen, chemical peels, and vitamin extracted serums. Nonetheless, this year I am in the process of implementing a strict morning and night routine complete with double cleansing, moisturizing, vitamin c serums, peels, daily masks, and upping my water intake.

Reading Goals
I have a moderate sized and eccentric book collection that surprisingly fits in my closet shelf next to my purse collection. In my collection there are titles on the history of bohemians, art of seduction, hostessing for the modern woman, gardening, herbs A-Z, baking in America, history of spices, African American history, and novels of all sorts. However a good portion of these books are unread and sadly untouched. I unfortunately have that tragic habit of buying an intriguing book based on its subject or synopsis but never making the plans to actually read the book in it's entirety. This year I intend on correcting that tragic habit by reading all the books already in my collection and the necessary books on my pinterest list. The books I deem necessary on my pinterest list are to further my self improvement goals and become further well read. For every month I will have a streamlined book reading list that subjects will cover strategy, relationships, self-improvement, and biographies.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pleasing Sights and Pleasing Sounds: Linkin Park Fan Tribute Edition

I'm dearly sorry to all my readers to have been gone so long. It's been a while since I last published a blog post. I finished my last semester in college and now I'm standing at the crossroads between being a young adult and a full fledged grown adult. It's pretty scary to be honest. As of now my focus is on securing a job and saving money while living at home with family. My thoughts are on how I will branch out in the world and truly start living. In entering this new chapter in my life I'm centering my thoughts on homesteading, budgeting, being thrifty, and practicing a somewhat minimalist and zero waste living lifestyle. In this new chapter I'm reevaluating where my finances, work ethics, and where I place my time and efforts into. So look forward to seeing blog posts on these topics.

Moving On to Today's Post:

My tribute to the late Chester Bennington, lead singer of my childhood favorite rock band Linkin Park. Linkin Park was my first ever taste of rock music in middle school and the first music group I could claim as my own. Linkin Park was not music that my parents or grandparents introduced me to, this band was for me and my ears, my emotions, and my style. My family didn't understand it and my attraction to the music, but my soul could understand it. Their music was the refuge for my sadness and my feelings of angst. Their music was my way of overcoming my shyness and befriending others who shared a mutual taste in music. Their music was the gateway band that led me to truly becoming a music fiend. It is truly saddening to see how Chester's haunting and heartfelt vocals comforted me and many other fans, but could not save him in the end. This band saved me from my depression and utter feelings of loneliness in my childhood and teenage years. Now as an adult almost 15 years later I still am in love with their music. I'm truly sorry I never was able to see Linkin Park live in concert. May there music live on forever and may Chester Bennington rest in peace!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cultivating Friendships

My grandmother has a daily ritual of laying down in her bed, pulling out her address book, and dialing up the number of a loved one she wanted to speak with. She does this everyday, calls someone she hasn't heard from in a while or she calls someone she spoke with just recently. The length of time never really mattered to her. See my grandmother in her old age values and cherishes her friendships simply because she has valued them in her youth. She sees the value of wonderful healthy friendships, so she has actively cultivated them in her younger years. Tending to them with love, and attention, growing the friendship with time and devotion and patience throughout the years. I unfortunately cannot the same thing for myself. I have, and have had wonderful girlfriends but somewhere along the line the phone calls become less frequent, the lunch dates began to dwindle, and the friendship ends short. So I'm at this point in my life wondering where did I go wrong and how can go forward and do better? The other day I was recently listening to a television show in where the judge said a very important line that caught my attention: "Some people are so self-involved, that they don't have room for anybody else." That particular line tugged at my heart because I saw myself in what she said. Sometimes I become so self involved with myself and my own life I forget to check in with others and touch base. I essentially become a ghost to the people that were originally close to me. When your by yourself so long constantly consumed by your own thoughts and feelings its difficult to jump out of your self indulged world and into reality. One of the reasons I'm writing this blog post is to be more intentional about cultivating and maintaining my friendships. The habit of not keeping in touch with others is a poor and an inadequate way of navigating life. In fact it's a terrible character flaw I need to work on immensely. Having lasting friendships is about being committed and being supportive of someone other than myself.  This is one of those beneath the surface issues that I tend to ignore and not face reality about. However, it's something I can no longer ignore. So in going forward and doing better I will intentionally work on cultivating and continuously nurturing my friendships. These are some of the ways in which I am intentionally going about cultivating lasting friendships:

  • Open your phone book at least twice a week and pick a friend to call
  • Check in with a local friend and schedule a lunch date for the month
  • Take the time to think and reflect and write a personal touching letter to a dear friend
  • Make a care package for an out of state friend
  • Be more flexible and less flaky on scheduling time together
  • Be thoughtful and offer help in any way needed gas money, studying together, a listening ear, babysitting days
  • Write down a friend's accomplishment in my agenda and find a way to celebrate it. Perhaps bake their favorite sweets, offer dinner, buy a bouquet of their favorite flowers
If you have any ways of cultivating and maintaining lasting friendship please share below in the comments.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What's On my Bookshelf

Lately these past few months my head has been swirling with the concepts and topics of: mobility, class, manipulation, and power tactics. Below is a few books that have grabbed my attention and provided good reading material and learning lessons. A fictional book about a character named Eileen who marries Ed Leary and hopes to claim a stake in the American Dream. The book really delves into the daily aspects of marriage, education, social mobility, on one's values, and growing old. I identified with the lead character Eileen on her staunch values, hopes and aspirations of moving up from working class, and her conviction on staying married. 
There were so many good tidbits in the book with such passionate writing that I will mention here:

  • She wore neat shoes, but they covered a sprawling account of an overtaxed life, and there was no hiding the truth when she took them off.
  • Money was not a guarantor of dignity.
  • In that regard he was more prepared for the loneliness of senescence than she was, He'd been a stranger in the world for most of his life.
  • Every move he made had the imprimatur of purposefulness.
  • This was his final gift to her: to silence her regrets about the paths she hadn't taken.
  • "There's a reason he can't accept nice things" he said. "His family's been in this country a hundred years, they never owned a house. That's a sin. If you're not in a house by the time I'm dead, I'll haunt you from my grave."
  • She resented the way Connell walked around oblivious of how carefree his existence was, how little responsibility he had.

Everyone has an agenda and everything is fair game. That is something to always keep in mind and remember when reading this book. Accepting that everyone has different personalities and different pulls of attraction is a good start in understanding the rules of attraction. This book does not center on being attractive to all but rather details the tactics to become seductive and use that to your advantage. One of the key points I've noticed this book mention is to always have good timing, and to always work on mastering your skills and seductive traits. It's about being a beacon of seductive and pulling energy. Being seductive requires thinking before you talk, feeling the other person's energy and feeding their ego, being less self absorbed, and possessing a charismatic personality.

  • Seduction is all about focusing on the other person, good seducers pay great attention to detail, the other persons facial expressions, gestures, etc.
  • Seduction should not be rushed at all, because all great seduction takes time.
  • There is no better word than a rightly timed pause.
  • Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without having had asked a clear question.
  • Noticing a persons weakness and playing it to your advantage, by making a person more reliant on you. 

Money, religion, and politics are three topics that are touchy sensitive areas at the dinner table among peers. It would be a lie to say class does not exist here in the United States, an even bigger lie to say class differences one day will cease to exists.. Classes are apart of all human societies but the traits, characteristics, values, and commonalities differ across cultures. This book is as witty as it is informative. The author's detailed observations are extremely on point and accurate even 30 years later after this was published. It's very interesting how even values are different across class lines in America. For example having a housewife in considered respectable in the middle class but with the lower and upper classes working women are the praised norm. I find myself rereading this book with new sentences to highlight every year since I've bought it.

  • The this life are esteem and admiration of others - the punishment are neglect and contempt.
  • Because he is essentially a salesman, the middle class man develops a salesman style. Hence his optimism and his belief in the likelihood of self improvement if you'll just hurl yourself into it.
  • The degree to which your work is overseen by a supervisor suggests your real class more accurately than the amount you take home from it.
  • the upper class'es inattention to ideas is why Arnold call them Barbarian, and he imputes their serenity specifically to they're "never having had any ideas to trouble them."
  • Another way to estimate a city's undesirability is to measure the degree to which religious fundamentalism is identifies with it. 
  • Because 62% of Americans are overweight, a cheap way to achieve a sort of distinction is to be thin.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Natural Hair Talk

I have natural hair texture privilege.

Please let that statement sink in for a moment. To further explain, my hair when soaking wet and dry is naturally curly without any product. It morphs into a curly afro that always elicits compliments. My hair is afro textured but falls under the curly end of the spectrum in which it's labeled the "good grade" of hair. I don't ever recall in my childhood having been mocked for my hair, teased, or ridiculed. In fact, all my life my hair was praised and admired by everyone, especially the Black women in my family. All the same while, cursing their own hair and considering it unruly. Now this is not to say I never had my own hair problems. I do remember at one point begging for a relaxer in the 6th grade because I wanted long straight hair like all the other girls in my class. I am thankful to this day that a good friend dissuaded me from doing, so I was never initiated into the relaxed hair circle as the other Black girls my age were. However, this did not stop me years later from severely damaging my hair due to my increasing addiction to my newly fangled flat iron. So yes, even with all the adoration and compliments from everyone around me, growing up for years I still had daily battles with my hair.

However, even with my own hair battles, I have always known, even more so now, that I have hair texture privilege in the natural hair community. I hear comments from other Black women complimenting my hair not for it's hairstyle, but its defined curls. Usually in the same sentence lamenting their own kinky hair. This observation is important to mention because of the increasingly prominent position curly hair has as the face of the natural hair movement. While Black women with napps, kinks, and poofs are pushed further back as secondary or non existent. Black women with kinky hair are not glorified and exalted in the same manner as curly hair is in advertisements and online communities such as YouTube, pinterest, and Tumblr. The same can be said in real life surrounding conversations on natural hair. I watch the way some YouTube beauty gurus lament over not having defined curls or hair resembling the actress Tracee Elliss Ross. I understand it, I really do, but I am here to say natural Black hair, the curls AND the kinks are lovely and divine. I used to be offended when my hair was not seen as Black enough because it was that "good grade of hair." Someone was always commenting on how I must have Indian somewhere in my family. I'm no longer offended, but deeply saddened on such comments but more understanding of where that line of thinking originates from.

Natural Black hair in its afro textured state is not a curse or a flaw. Rather, it is a gift and it is beautiful, period, point blank! The whole point of the natural hair movement was to learn to love, embrace, celebrate, grow, and have pride in an honest and positive manner, specifically for kinky textured natural hair. Now that I am more aware, I make it a point to always compliment Black women on their hairstyles, never emphasizing curl texture. I always talk with little Black girls about their hair on how wonderful, lovely, and unique it is. I share tips that I've gathered from books and internet sites to family, friends, and strangers on properly caring for and growing natural hair. However, most importantly, I monetarily support quality Black women owned hair care lines and businesses that use healthy and non-curl obsessed ads that exalt both kinky and curly natural hair as beautiful and lovely. So here is my tribute to lovely Black women in their natural tresses curls AND kinks.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pleasing Sights and Pleasing Sounds:

I am both a lover of music and a lover of film. Three things I pay most attention to in a film, besides the plot and the actors, are the directors, the cinematography and the soundtrack. Films with marvelous soundtracks are golden to me. So here are a few of my favorite film soundtracks.