Annoying Habits…

It’s Monday and I’m back at work. Summer vacation is officially over! I’ve been thinking a lot about habits. Here are some habits I’d like to either start or stop doing.

STOP

– Allowing my unread e-mail messages pile up in my inbox. Even if I know it’s all spam or junk mail it low-key stresses me out to see 100+ unread messages.

– Waking up in the morning to prepare for the day. Must start preparing my work bag, my lunch and my outfit the night before. It makes me feel better prepared and get a better night’s rest.

– Drinking so much soda. I could’ve turned into a soda fountain this summer I drank so much of it.

START

– Meditating. With my blood pressure issues, I’ve realized that deep breathing actually decreases my blood pressure. Like I’ve watched the number decrease after concentrating on my breathing.

– Writing more. Another form of release.

– Scrapbooking more. I didn’t do much of it this summer.

What are some habits you’d like to stop…. or start?

A Year Is A Marathon… Not A Sprint

12805921-the-year-2013-in-sparkling-red-glitter

I used to run track in High School and as I enjoyed time off from teaching yesterday, I started really thinking about 2013. I love the optimism and the ambitious energy that surrounds the start of the new year. I too have my laundry list of things I’d like to do and accomplish this year. I get so excited, but I also had to give myself a reality check and a reality check for me equals a reality check for you too!

This year will be comprised of 365 days, 52 weeks and 12 months. We have to be prepared for the long distance which means we need to pace ourselves! You don’t have to lose weight, clean up, and do a full transformation in one day or even one month. Change takes time. Be patient with yourself and be patient with others but don’t give up on yourself.

I posted this on Twitter & Facebook today:

“With every thought we think, we either summon, or block a miracle.” – Marianne Williamson

Law-of-Divine-Compensation

I started reading The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson today. The first mention of the book came via Twitter from Bevy Smith (@bevysmith) who hosts high-profile networking dinners. The second mention of the book came less than a week later from Shanel Cooper-Sykes (@shanelcooper), during Midnight Meditation (a weekly conference call hosting 1,000 participants that starts with inspirational words/reflections from Shanel and ends with guided meditation). I respect both of these women and decided to download the book to my Kindle and have not put it down since I started!

I spent a lot of time organizing and cleaning my office which lead to me joining the Scrappypedia Scrap Stash Organization Club. You can join the club here: http://www.scrappypedia.com/article/join-scrappypedias-scrap-stash-organization-club/. I was able to order prints (for a “Wall of Fame” Project for my hubby and for regular scrapbooking) as well as to rekindle my relationship with Mozy (an online computer back-up system). I’m looking forward to the challenges this year! I also discovered Your Fairy Craft Mama who has a huge list of January 2013 prompts for blogs and scrapbook pages. The list is so good it was worthy of being printed out lol! A New Blog called Organized Scrapping launched today!

I spent time connecting with family and friends on the phone and via text. There are some people that I intend to get closer to in 2013! I intend to make more phone calls, send more texts, make myself available on Skype, send more emails, and hand write more letters.

I intend to update my blog at least every other day! You can also follow me on Twitter (@blkgrlunmasked), Follow me on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/donnienicole/), or e-mail me privately at donnienicolesmith@gmail.com.

I’m going to follow the advice of Farrah Gray (@RealFarrahGray), American Businessman and Philanthropist, who said via twitter:

“Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book, make sure you write a good story.”

Off My Playlist…

So I’ve started working out again. I’m trying to lose about 20 pounds and I’m giving myself until the end of the school year to do it. I’m doing it the good ol’ fashion way – with my treadmill, diet & weights. Here are five great songs that I worked out to tonight. Warning: most of the songs below have explicit lyrics and include Hip Hop & House. I will share a variety of songs throughout this journey but these are the songs that came up on my playlist tonight 🙂

(1) Hoez Get Naked by DJ Assault (Available on ITunes) Listen here –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_9Tt4i9oBg

(2) Bend It Ova Remix by Lil Wayne Feat. Drake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWg6vIvMeWU

(3) 6 Foot 7 Foot (feat. Cory Gunz) by Lil Wayne: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7tOAGY59uQ

(4) Juke Dem Hoes by Mic Terror: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OgGZjtOtA

(5) Stankyy Legg Dirty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pne1C8yD7Zc (great for weight-lifting & squats)

Also, if you haven’t downloaded Rihanna’s new album “Unapologetic” what are you waiting for. I like most of the songs but this is my favorite right now. Rihanna makes great music to clean up to. It always puts me in a good mood. This song is called “Numb”:

 

Project Office…

I’ve been working on decorating my office/scrapbook room. Today, my lovely paper trays from Display Dynamics arrived.

 

I purchased the paper trays from Scrapbook.com for $59.99! You get 10 trays for that price and it fits perfectly in the Ikea Expedit shelf. You can find out more information here: http://store.scrapbook.com/dd-st-010.html?t12-13=display+dynamics

Last week I picked up my Ikea Expedit shelf. I’ve owned 3 of them because they are so stylish and practical.

 

You can see the paper trays on the second row. I’m planning to go to Archivers this weekend to pick up paper to fill the trays.

I hung up my bulletin board and you can see my $30.00 vintage Olive Green file cabinet that matches my Peacock theme perfectly. You can see my vision for this space here: https://donnienicole.com/2012/09/27/office-idea/.

 

Thinking About Being 30-Something…

I’ll be turning 29 soon and I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means for me.

In my 20s I’ve tried to lay a foundation – graduating from college, establishing a career, finding & committing to love, etc.

The 20s have also been about making mistakes & analyzing them. Thinking about questions like “this was wrong because…” and “These steps lead to this reaction…”

I’m planning a few things to dance out of this decade. I’m creating a list of 30 things I want to accomplish before I turn 30. I’m also making a list of 30 things I’d like to do (action wise) before turning 30. I’ve been spending so much time inside of my mind lately and I know that it’s because I’m very happy with my life but I also want to turn up the heat. I want to challenge myself to be better in every way – physically, emotionally and spiritually. I want to build wealth and create more financial independence. Now that I have a solid foundation, I’d like to start building my legacy…

Web Round-up

Here are some links from around the web that I’ve found that may be useful or interesting to you.

1. 150 + Lunch Ideas – great for yourself or your children. Step outside of the sandwich box! With photos and everything! http://easylunchboxes.smugmug.com/The-Best-Lunchbox-System/Yummy-Lunch-Ideas/10136835_YSuyb#!i=696914291&k=YxmUd

2. How to Create An Organized Linen Closet – I’m not even going to discuss the shape my linen closet is in right now. So much stuff! http://honeywerehome.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-to-create-organized-linen-closet.html

3. 4 Essential Tips for Managing the Family Calendar – my current weapon of choice is iCal and color-coding each family member so that we can quickly know who is doing what each day. The calendar syncs to both my husband’s phone and my phone so we’re always on the same page. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/4-essential-tips-for-managing-the-family-calendar.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LifeHack+%28lifehack.org%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

4. 35 Quick & Simple Tips for Better Productivity – There is definitely a theme this week with the links. Can you tell I’m going back to work soon lol? http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/35-quick-and-simple-tips-for-better-productivity.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feedutm_campaign=Feed%3A+LifeHack+%28lifehack.org%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

5. Free Home Management Printables – Do you have a home or family organization binder? Mine has been a lifesaver. http://home.yourway.net/new-home-management-printables-one-page-calendar-bill-pay-tracking-home-inventory-more/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-home-management-printables-one-page-calendar-bill-pay-tracking-home-inventory-more

If you don’t have a home organization binder you can read more about creating one here: https://donnienicole.com/2010/06/27/project-organization-home-management-binderfamily-binder/

In response to the escalating violence my husband, along with the Black Youth Project created a CD Called “The Pledge” Mixtape. The goal is to highlight artists (mostly youth) who AREN’T glorifying violence, sex and drugs. There are artists that you’d recognize like my husband Rhymefest, Lupe Fiasco and Mikkey Halsted + others. Download the project for free here: http://action.blackyouthproject.com/pledge-mixtape/. My favorite tracks are “Pain” (Track 8), “Letter” (Track 10) and R.O.A.R. (Track 11).

Hope you enjoy the links this week!

Let Me Introduce You To Two Amazing Artists!!!

This is not a music blog, but sometimes I come across music that moves my soul and I can’t help but share. Today, Tuesday, August 7, 2012 is a wonderful day. TWO divas are releasing full albums that you must buy!!!! These women have incredible voices, inspiring and touching lyrics and they’re both beautiful.

I discovered Lianne La Havas thanks to my dear husband who played a song called “Night School” for me. I’ve been stalking the internet to find more music by her and out of nowhere her album Is Your Love Big Enough pops up next to the album I was looking for on I-tunes. It was released in the UK on July 6th (my boo’s birthday) and is probably just now seeing a US release. If you like Adele, you will LOVE her! Her lyrics are incredible:

I’ve loved Elle Varner every since I heard her jamming “Can I get a re-fill?” Her music is fun and like Lianne, she has a great voice with superior range. Her full album Perfectly Imperfect dropped today and it’s only $7.99! Seriously?!

Thank me later and go buy both albums now!!!!!

Life Is About Planting Seeds

In life we have to plant seeds and we can’t just rely on one type of seed. It’s not enough to simply plant the seed and walk away, we also have to cultivate the seeds – add water, provide sunlight and protect the seed from pests that may ruin the crop.

When we water our seeds we give time, energy and attention to them. Perhaps we have a project and we need to have meetings or do some research and write some things up. That is how we water and provide sunlight for our seeds.

There are pests that we have to protect our seeds from. These pests can be other people, or they can even be ourselves. Procrastination is one of the worst pests that will ruin your crops. It will cause you to neglect your project and not nurture it. Neglect will instantly kill your seed.

Another pest is the ego. We have to realize that we can’t do everything by ourselves and the things that we can do on our own, there may be someone who does it better or who may be able to serve in a supportive role – allowing you to delegate the task to give you more time to work on other things.

Finally – there are other people who may come to destroy your crop. Some intentionally and some unintentionally. There are some people who are so pessimistic or so skeptical, that they may discourage your creativity or distract you from your mission. Before you know it, your passion or your motivation is gone ultimately killing your crop. And then, there are those who will intentionally ruin your crop. People who are so full of self-hatred or insecurity, that they radiate negativity. Keep those people away from your crop by not sharing your dreams with them or deal with them from a distance.

Everyday when I wake up, I ask myself what seed am I watering today? I’ve planted so many in my life’s garden that it’s time to bring more into harvest. Some of the best seeds that I’ve planted were in education. When I earned my Bachelor’s Degree I was able to then start my career as an educator, and when it comes to instruction and curriculum I am now a master. Another seed that I planted was my marriage. The harvest has allowed me to grow as a person and it has added so much happiness to my life. I have a life partner and when we combine our energy and our resources and our passion – amazing things happen.
What seeds have you planted and when do you believe you will see the harvest? What are you doing to nurture the seeds you’ve planted?

My Natural Hair Journey…

In about an hour I’m going to see my fabulous stylist – Ray Elle to get a fresh hairdo. I discovered the joy that is Curly Nikki who offers incredible advice and commentary for naturals: http://www.curlynikki.com/.

My natural journey started when I was 17 years old. I did a big chop and decided to loc (dreadlock) my hair:

I was in the middle of an intense self-discovery mission. My theme songs were “Video” by India Arie and “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” by Lauryn Hill. It was the first time that I was hearing songs on the radio by women that looked like me and they had both embraced their natural hair texture.

Here are some photos from my loc journey that lasted 10 years:

My loc journey taught me so much. There were some days where my hair would not behave the way I wanted to. I had to just embrace it and accept it. When my hair was really short I had to get used to the shape of my head. It brought out my bolder, more assertive and more charismatic side. I had my locs combed out (You do not have to have them cut, you can have them picked out, it just takes forever and you can’t be “tenderheaded.” You also lose a lot of length and may experience some thinning). Essentially my natural hair forced me to fall in love with the woman in the mirror. I made eye contact with the God(dess) inside of me.

I added some color and some weave (*gasp* you’re never supposed to tell!!!) The thing I like about weave (sew-in) is that it is very versatile and easy. I also didn’t have to perm my hair and could keep my natural texture. Basically, your hair is cornrowed/french braided and whatever you like is “sewn” in to the braids. Sew-ins are great “transitional” styles:

And here I am today, with my little Afro. I don’t plan on getting a perm ever again, after all I haven’t had one in 12 years. So I’m planning to rock different styles the same way I did with my locs. Check back Monday, I have some fierce hairstyle ideas for all the afro haired ladies!

Check out this gallery I published for loc hairstyle ideas: https://donnienicole.com/2010/06/13/loc-hairstyles/admire1-vi/ and remember to come back Monday for more natural hairstyle ideas 😉