Monday, March 21, 2016

When I Dare to Be Powerful



“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision,
 then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Audre Lorde

****************
Life is so complicated, yet it is also extremely forgiving.  I’ve spent days, months, weeks, and years being the person that I thought I was expected to be. Wasting precious time doing things that I thought I would grow to love and pursuing a career in a mind-numbing and tedious industry. I guess the real question is why? Well for starters, I am a perfectionist! I hate to fail or feel like whatever I am doing will result in anything less than perfection. Crazy, I know! But as I sit here at my desk on my lunch break from my tedious task, I realize now that I have not been cheating myself, but also the world of the gifts I have to offer.

Shonda Rhimes said it best when she said ….
“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that creates change.” Shonda Rhimes
I’m a dreamer! I have the perfect picture in my head but I lack the confidence to purse. Why is this? Well, plain and simple, it is easier to not try and settle than it is to try and succeed. Don’t get me wrong, I have been successful at many things but creating the life I know I deserve has not been one of them. I know that I am great and talented in many areas. I was born with a creative brain and I thrive off of creative environments. Truth be told, my ego and my pride has kept me from pursing my very best and settling for what I know I can achieve.  I don’t feel bad or ashamed to share this because I know somewhere at this moment, some young woman shares my same feelings and is probably writing the same exact things.
So how do I stop this self-sabotaging behavior? Well, by simply letting go and letting God!  It’s so easy to get in our own way and to block our blessings. I’ve learned this the hard way several times and now it is time that I learn from the lessons and move forward. My old habits will not benefit me in creating the life I want. So it’s time that I take control and start pursing the unlimited opportunities that the universe has to offer.
Let’s keep the conversation going…How are you creating the life you want? What are some of the things that keep you motivated to continue to pursue your dreams?

Xoxo, Nakia

 

 


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Financial Guru

My Financial Guru- The day I left "The Nest" - May 2010

I would like to think that I’ve been a savvy saver and frugal shopper for most of my adult life. But, let’s face it, life after college has been challenging; especially as it relates to money. This post sparked a new interest and I would like to start a new conversation discussing personal finance and how I’m working towards making wiser decisions with the coins in my purse. I’m not a financial guru but I had an awesome teacher that taught me all the small tricks and tips for saving money.

Here’s a little background. I grew up in a single parent home. My mother raised three amazing children in the wealthy suburb of Stamford, Connecticut. Growing up, I never thought we were poor because we always had more than enough and just about anything we wanted. We went on family vacations, participated in extracurricular activities and always celebrated birthdays at our favorite restaurants.  When I graduated college and moved to New York City, I often wondered how my mother managed to do all of these amazing things with three kids and I could barely take care of myself.  So I thought back and remembered a few tips my mom gave me thought out the years.

***There is a coupon for everything! - Seriously, nowadays coupons are just a click away on your phone.

***Clearance is your Best Friend! – Get creative and build a look off of the clearance rack. Why spend $50 bucks on a t-shirt when you could purchase multiple looks! (Shout out to Target!) 

***Buy what you need and save for what you want! - Self-explanatory!

***Be prepared for an emergency – The thousand dollar rule. Always, Always Save!!

***Splurge often but not too often – You’re entitled to a rainy day fund just not every day!

***Be grateful for what you have to appreciate what’s to come –Money is not everything but it helps!

***Plan for the future you want. – If you fail to plan…you plan to fail! 


My mom is my greatest inspiration and the true MVP in my life! Her words of wisdom, and encouragement has helped me get this far but now It’s time that I create the life that I really want. I’m making better choices with my finances by saving more, spending less and tracking my accounts by using the Personal Capital Finance app. It’s a really cool app that allows you to track your accounts in one place. You can access your accounts at any time from your phone, tablet or computer and have up-to-date information. The app also offers access to the Daily Capital Blog, Research and Insights, and access to an adviser to help you grow the wealth you desire. Check out the website here--->Personal Capital Finances and for more information.

That’s not all the company offers!  Personal Capital Finance also has an initiative to help women take control of their finances. Read about it here---> Creating Capital . Get access to information from other women, start your own conversation and set realistic goals.  I joined the initiative and I hope you will too! Taking control of your finance can be tough but with a little patience, control and some sisterly love, we can definitely do this together! Change your financial narrative and build a brighter future!

Who's your Financial Guru? Join the financial discussion and tell me how you are taking control of your personal finances!  Share this with a friend, like and subscribe. Love you for reading.


Xoxo,

Nakia 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Since The Last Time ......







"When was the last time you did something for the first time?"

Since my last post, my life had changed dramatically. I have made some major changes towards getting healthier mentally, physically and emotionally. I've learned some new things, traveled to a new country and even lost a little weight. My life is evolving and taking on different dimensions. Truthfully speaking, It's a bit scary and exciting at the same time. So what does all of this mean? Well, I  no longer want to discuss just fashion as I feel that there is so much more for me to talk about. 

I will be incorporating more topics and adding new things as I continue to evolve. I've missed blogging but my break was definitely needed. So stay tuned for my next post. I'm excited for new possibilities!  

Xoxo,

Nakia

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Family First




There is nothing like spending some good ole quality time with your family! I don't get to see my family as often as I like, so when I do travel back home I make sure to milk the trip for all it is worth. I traveled back to my home in North Carolina to take family pictures, catch up with my love ones and to partake in the NC State fair activities. I had not been home in two years so this trip was extra special. 

I love North Carolina and going home is always a treat for me. Living in the Big Apple is kind of tough and draining because I'm always on guard or on the move. On the rare occasions that I do get to travel back to North Carolina, I am always grateful for the sense of peace I feel and the joy of being around my family. 



My Mother has been insisting on taking family pictures for years so this was a great way to spend time together and make fun memories. My mother is pictured below. She is my absolute best friend on this entire earth. There is no one like her and no one that could replace her.  Our bond far exceeds a mother and daughter relationship because as I age, I appreciate her more to the wonderful life she has given me. Lol if she is reading this post- she is probably somewhere sobbing because she is extremely sensitive. It's okay if she is because I love her for her quirky stories and the amazing way she loves us. 


My little jelly bean is pictured with me below! I love this young lady and can't believe how fast she has grown up. We are exactly ten years apart but we have a great sisterly bond. She is growing so fast and maturing into a beautiful young lady. I often feel bad for not being closer to her to provided that sisterly support when needed. Nonetheless, I will say that I am extremely proud of my sissy and I absolutely adore her.


The handsome guy in the picture below is my big little brother. Words can't express the love I have for my brother! We are five years apart and have so many great childhood memories. He's an awesome, talented and intelligent guy that I am proud to call my brother. Just like my sister, he is growing up so fast and into a handsome young man. I am so proud of him and the future he is building for himself because I know he will do amazing things. 




 One thing you will learn about me is that next to God, family is the most important aspect of my life. I enjoyed spending time with my family during this last trip and I am happy we had the chance to really enjoy one another. Life is so short and you never know what can happen. So it is important that we cherish the times we have now and make beautiful memories. I love my family and this post is dedicated to showing them how much they truly mean to me. I may not get to see them every day but they are always on my mind and in my heart.

Love you for reading, 

Nakia 



Monday, October 27, 2014

Get Fit with Me



Today is the day I start my new journey towards better health. I decided to challenge myself to get back down to my pre-college weight and to do so before my 28th birthday. The challenge starts today October 27, 2014 and will end on March 27, 2015. My goal weight loss is 37.4lbs which will bring me to my goal weight of 180lbs and toned. 

Losing this weight is important to me because I've been putting off losing weight for far too long. It's also important because I have a family history of diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and the older I get, the more important it is to maintain good health. 


So What's the Challenge? 

Current Weight : 217.4lbs 
Goal Weight: 180lbs &Toned 
Start Date: October 27, 2014
End Date: March 27, 2015

I will weigh in every two weeks on the blog, but I will update my Facebook page daily with motivational tips and updates on my journey. So my next weigh in will be November 10, 2014.

How will I Accomplish the goal? 

To obtain my goal weight, I will be doing Shaun T's Focus T25 program. The program was adapted for people who want to workout in their own home and with a limited amount of time. The program is very easy and will run for three months. Today, I will be starting with the Alpha phase. Take a look at the calendar for Focus T25 Alpha here Alpha Schedule. The Alpha phase is the core of the workout and the foundation for building stamina and increasing cardio. 

The second phase of the programs is Beta. The Beta phase focuses on the core and toning the muscles. I never reached this phase so I am very excited to get to this level. Take a look at the Beta Phase here Beta Schedule.

The final phase of the program is the Gamma Phase. This phase is optional but totally worth it if pursued. The Gamma phase focuses on getting ripped. Take a look at the Gamma phase here Gamma Schedule

Since this is a five month challenge, I will be doing monthly challenges in addition to Focus T25. My first challenge will start November 1st and will be a 30 day squats challenge. Each month I will post my monthly challenges so feel free to join. 

Now that I have discussed my exercise routine... It's time to discuss the diet. I love food so the diet portion of my goal will require extreme discipline. I'm and emotional eater. I eat when I'm happy, when I sad and even when I'm bored. I like a good meal so meal prepping will be a major task for me to ensure that I am satisfied with the food I will be eating for the next five months. To get started on the right path, I spent Sunday night prepping my meals for the work week. See pictures below.



It took me about 2 hours to prep my meals for the rest of the week. I must say I truly enjoyed prepping the meals because I will not have  any distractions or excused that will take  me away from my workouts. Prepping was also truly relaxing and exciting. I will share my weekly meals to show how I create new meals and as well as get more creative in the kitchen. 

So What's the next step?
The next step is to get started! Stay encouraged and disciplined. I know that this will be a challenge but I am excited and I have faith that I will get down to my goal weight. I am looking forward to sharing this journey with my readers and I hope that my journey inspires someone out there looking o get back on track.

So Maven's have you ever challenged yourself to lose a substantial amount of weight? What did you do? Were you successful? What were your challenges and success? I would love to hear your stories and any feed back or tips you can provide. I look forward to sharing my journey and learning more about things that have helped all of you obtain better health. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Confession: I'm Still Learning to Love My Natural Hair





I've officially been wearing my natural hair for eight months now and I must say, I've done pretty well. I didn't think I would last as a natural, but I did and I am very proud of myself. I've learned a lot about my hair over the past eight months. Some good things and a few bad things but I'm still learning and for that reason I see great things in the future.

Let me start by saying...Natural hair is hard work! My hair was severely damaged when I started my journey. However, over the past eight  months I have somehow nursed my poor strands back to health. My journey started out of pure frustration and a desire to stop depending on hair weaves. 

Funny thing is when I started my journey I thought I had to try every hair product under the sun that was recommended on YouTube. Boy was it a learning process! I spent hundreds of dollars on products that did absolutely nothing. Well as it turns out...My hair saw the most growth when I kept the process simple. 

MARCH 2014 - Length Check 
The photo above was taken in March a month after I started my natural hair Journey. At the time I was a product junkie using every product I could find that would give me defined curls, a big twist out or a big Afro. I realize now that my hair was not ready for those styles because it was severely dry and malnourished. 



OCTOBER 2014- Length Check
In the photo above... you can see that I have had a great deal of growth . I haven't done a link check since March because I wanted to be able to see progress in pictures. I am pretty pleased with the results and eager to continue the process. If I didn't see the progress in the pictures, I never would have believed that with better hair care my hair could actually grow so fast.

I learned that my hair LOVES water and hates overly complicated regimens. I keep it simple and do what is necessary to keep my hair healthy. I've listed my products and current regimen below.

Products: I am currently using the following products. I alternate the products depending on how my hair feels.I noticed early on that me hair is prone to dirt and buildup so I  use  shampoo as needed. 
  • Shampoo: Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo
  • Conditioner: Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner
  • Conditioner for Co-wash: Hello Hydration or Tresemme Naturals
  • Deep Conditioner: TGIN or DIY Avocado hair mask 
  • Leave in Conditioner: Water & Aloe Vera
  • Styling Product: TGIN Twist & Define Cream
  • Oils: Grape Seed, Olive, Castor and Coconut oil 
Current Regimen
  • Prepoo with Coconut oil on wash day
  • Shampoo Sunday
  • Deep condition every Sunday 
  • Co-wash every Wednesday as needed
  • Seal with oil 
  • Protective style with mini twist
My wash days are an all day process but I absolutely love the time I have to dedicate a full day to ensuring that my hair is properly washed and styled.  I'm learning a lot about natural hair and I've decided to spend less money on products and start to move towards making products. I've also started doing more protective styling have been wearing my hair in mini twist for almost two months. Protective styling works for my hair type and I am definitely seeing a difference in texture and length retention.  



MARCH 2014-Mini Twist

OCTOBER 2014- Mini Twist 
 I will continue to share my natural hair journey and provide updates of things I learn and new things I try. In the meantime,  I would love to hair about more natural hair stories. So Mavens, what products have you used ? Do you like to create your own products? Have you seen a great deal of progress since starting your journey? I would love to hair your stories, so don't forget to comment, like or share. 

Xoxo,
Nakia



Monday, October 13, 2014

What are you Willing to Change?


What are you willing to change to improve yourself? I often ask myself this questions because I'm still at a phase in my life where I'm learning to adapt to change. While I understand change is necessary for growth, It is often hard to let go of habitual habits and things that take us out of our comfort zones. We are all creatures of habit and sometimes need a little push or reality check to get our lives on track. I know I have a hard time following through on things so it is important for me to improve on being consistent with the things I want to accomplish.We all have changes we would like to make so why not start today!


My change starts today! I give myself permission to be great and permission to start over and make changes in the areas of my life that I want to improve. So what changes am I making? Well truth is... I am making changes that are realistic, obtainable and measurable. So what can you expect to see more of? Take a peak below to see what's coming up on the blog. 


Health
 I started college nine years ago and over the course of nine years I gained 31.6 pounds. Given this is weight gained over a long period of time, however,I would like to drop the 31.6 pounds. I love my body but I am getting older I am becoming more health conscious. I have a family history or cancer, diabetes, fibroids, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In an effort to get fit and back to a weight I feel is healthier for me, I decided to challenge myself to lose 31.6 pounds by my 28th birthday. My health challenge will start on October 27, 2014. 

Natural Hair
I've been natural for over two years but my journey to better hair health started on February 2, 2014. I decided to fully immerse myself in getting my hair back to what it was before the perms,weaves and bad hair care. So to challenge myself, I decided to do more protective styling and creating natural hair products at home. This is a long term challenge to get my hair to bra strap length but Healthy hair is the goal!

Finance 
Obtaining financial independence may be the hardest goal of all! Like most college graduates, I have a ton of student loan debt! I am paying off the debt but there is always room for improvement. In an effort to combat my debt and create an ample nest egg, I am making some serious changes to improve my finances. I will be doing a series of challenges here on the blog to show how I save money and to discuss the things I am learning to become financially savvy! 

These are the three changes I am making in my life. Like I said before...change is hard work but I'm willing to put in the hard work to make the changes necessary to improve myself.  I'm using my blog as a tool to measure my goals. This blog is important to me and I want to share my life, my goals and my journey to a better self with my readers.  

So Mavens, do you have changes you would like to make? What are some goals you are trying to accomplish? How do you adapt to change? I would like to hear your thoughts. Be sure to share -

Xoxo, 

Nakia