“Rise, Grind, and Shine; Making the Most of Your Mornings”

2020 is here and you promised yourself that you were going to make more of each day in order to accomplish more of your goals, didn’t ya?! Well, you ought to know that the morning time is very monumental to your day. How you start out can, and usually does, set the pace and tone for your remaining twenty four hours! Kinda nerve-wrecking right? Never fear because your Home Girl is here to share my guide to a healthier, more productive morning, which results in a steadier, more progressive day, which produces a happier, more successful month.. Well, you get the gist!

5:30 A.M.- 6:00 A.M.

Starting just a little before sunrise, I awake around 5:30 am to freshen up (wash face/brush teeth/etc.), meditate, and pray. Meditation helps to clear my mind and helps me set my intentions for the day. During prayer, I get to give thanks for having arisen to a new day. I immediately feel a spirit of Clarity and Protection encompass me and I am now even more ready to embark on my journey. This process takes me about 30 minutes but feel free to divvy up your schedule as your spirit guides you.

6:00 A.M.- 7:15 A.M.

Next, I’m off to prep my breakfast. I’m not going to cook it until a little later but it helps to be a few steps ahead and I get to confirm my “breakfast status” which prevents me from entering into someone’s drive thru! In this same instance, I’m going to pack my gym bag and scurry off to perform an action that I have a love/hate relationship with; Exercise! I hate leaving the comfort of my home so early in the day to sweat around strangers whom may or may not have even brushed their teeth before arriving BUT I love that period of solidarity and empowerment that is me burning calories on a treadmill in the wee hours uninterrupted with my noise cancelling headphones jamming my favorite tunes. I love having already gotten one of the hardest parts about life out of the way and ultimately, feeling that boost that it gives me to power through the day!

7:15 A.M.-8:15 A.M.

After about an hour of cardio, I’m back home to shower, feed, and walk Taz (my Chihuahua). Thirty minutes later, I am ready to toss my already whisked eggs and my pre-chopped sausage onto the fire. I can toast my bread and take out something to thaw for dinner whilst doing this. At this point, I’ve secured the meal for the start and end of my stretch. Not to mention, while chomping down on my breakfast for champions, I can brainstorm and set goals for the day. Whoo! Winning!

You really wouldn’t believe the increase in productivity you will experience from this schedule. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “the early bird gets the worm”, and this is precisely what it’s referring to. From the time I opened my eyes, to the time I clocked in for work, I’ve already reached so many milestones. I’ve also put myself in the physical and mental shape to reach many more throughout the day! People who awaken earlier than others or more apt to procure success. Making the most of your morning allows you to utilize your twenty four hours more efficiently and ultimately, allows you to utilize YOU more effectively!

Check out some videos!

“Short Term Goals, Long Term Success; Achieving the Art of Achievement”

A major part of life is overcoming obstacles. We all venture down separate paths but we all share one looming, but common obligation; to accomplish the goals we set, or that are set, before us. A crucial part to accomplishment is often times overlooked. It’s like that saying that goes a little something like, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” I’ve found that by minimizing the size of your goal by compartmentalizing it into several, more obtainable, so-called “short term” goals creates a way for you to reach the finish line sooner and makes the success of your achievement lengthier due to your newfound approach! Continue reading on to discover the methods you can use to get through and on to the next!

Outline Your Outcome

Define what a “short term” goal is. Your intentions need to be clear and your plan needs to be concise. Take the time to really measure your goal to determine if it can realistically be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot and have prolonged your chances off winning the race.

Rise and Grind

Take heed to the time of day when your energy is highest and utilize that to your advantage. Plan a call to action for whatever time of day that is and put that energy to good use working towards your goals. For instance, if you find yourself in front of the mirror twerking non stop to your favorite artist’s album everyday as soon as the bra is flung and the heels are kicked off after work, then you might want to replace that with checking a few tasks off your to do list, meditating on what it’s take to get it done, or anything else that could help you get to where you want to go.

One Goal at a Time

OMG! This is one tip that I need to take to the head because I am so BAD at multi-tasking. My idea of progress is diverting from one task to the next without having accomplished either one of them! Pick which goal is most important or most attainable and work on achieving THAT ONE before moving on to something else. If you don’t, you’re more than likely going to be “headed nowhere fast”.

If It’s Not For You, It’s Against You

If you really want to achieve a goal, you need to eliminate all distractions! If it not helping you get to your goal, consider it to be a hinderance that is holding you back from said goal. Look at it like this; if your mission is to become a body builder, shying away from the weights every time you go to the gym wouldn’t be seen as conducive to the process, would it? You’ve got to consume your time by performing actions directly aligned with whatever it is that you want to get done.

Keep It On the Hush Hush

Believe it or not, this commonly practiced by the Queen herself, Beyoncé. When you profess your declarations, it convinces the brain that you’ve already done it. You’ll then be less likely to work hard or find it hard to still work towards it! Truth be told, you’d be better off staying low key and aiming to impress yourself first.

Don’t mind me, I’m just over here daydreaming about how much better the world would be if it were filled with kick ass individuals who were confident in self because they know what it takes to make themselves happy. That kick ass individual is YOU! That kick ass individual is ME! Those kick ass individuals are WE!

“Funding Your Future; Fostering & Figuring Out Finances”

It’s 2020 and we’re all striving to live our best life! How can one do this without making ends meet?! Exactly! You can’t. You can only live vicariously through others who’ve financed their right to do so. In this article, I am going to share a few tips, in no specific order, that will reupholster your pockets. Drop down and get your savings on Homies!

1. “It’s My Money and I Need It Now!”

Would you believe there is actually a site dedicated to helping you locate money that the government owes YOU! No, its not the IRS’ site. Don’t visit that site unless you plan on dishing out some diñero. The site I am referring to is called, Unclaimed.org. You simply visit this site, enter your name and state of residence, and VIOLA! You could possibly have funds festering from folks you weren’t even fond of. I, personally, did not have any unclaimed money but there were tons of folks in my area who did. Ever quit a job before receiving your last check? Ever overpay a bill? These unclaimed monies could be used to finance your future.

2. “Drop It Like It’s Hot! ‘Cause It Is!”

You need to drop the amount of your monthly expenses because they’re burning a hole in your wallet! Re-calibrate your bills by inquiring about your charges to make sure you aren’t paying over, eliminate unnecessary debt by cancelling any unused memberships or swapping them with less expensive options, and inquire about any discounts you could be receiving from your current service providers. You’d be surprised at the amount of money you could save by just doing this! Don’t fret if your bills won’t budge because there’s tons more stuff you could do to lead your best self into living your best life!

3. “B***h Better Have My Money!”

Check your bank account, OFTEN! Now, this step, I am very familiar with! I check my banking accounts daily and sometimes twice daily. You can never be too certain about the funds available to you. There could’ve been an error in a transaction, an unauthorized purchase, and sometimes credits are mistakenly applied to your account. Most people overlook their pending transactions like tips for the bartender, any payments made with your account/routing number, and other misc. transactions that may not immediately post to your account. Spending without knowledge of how much you have to spend can result in overdraft fees, account closures, negative remarks on your credit report, and in worst cases, loss of financial stability. Download the app for whichever financial institution you use so you can have easy access to view your spending. It’s important to “be in the know” Homies!

4. “Give Yourself Some Credit!”

Part of living your best life is having good credit! Credit works in place of money. I don’t always have a wad of cash hanging around, but when I do, I still opt to put it on my credit! Credit Karma is a FREE application/website that retrieves your credit report from Experian & Transunion. It is accurate AND you can even dispute inaccurate accounts that have been reported to your credit bureaus. Credit Karma will remove them if no supporting evidence is found resulting in a boost to your credit score. Although, sometimes you find institutions utilize their own credit retrieval software programs, the accounts that are open and unpaid will still have an impact on their findings! Again, “be in the know”!

5. “Address the Elephant in the Room!”

If you happen to check your credit and discover there are indisputable unpaid debts, it is wise to pay off the highest debt first! Nine times out of ten, it has the biggest impact on your score and would do you great justice to reconcile. Now, with that being said, it is always worth inquiring if the debt can be settled for less and/or if you can make a payment arrangement. We all make mistakes and it’s a good thing credit can be rebuilt so definitely take advantage!

These are just a few tricks to forging finer finances for yourself. Take a stab at it and see if you can kill off some debt and start saving for the future. Remember, in order to live your best life, you have to put your best foot forward!

Check out some videos!

“Apps You APPsolutely Have to Download; The Swych App”

Unless you’ve got like, a bunch of gigabytes on your phone,
you’re probably pretty cautious about the way you use your
storage. I mean, you can’t have unnecessary applications taking
up your precious storage that you could be utilizing for more
selfies that you’ll never post, right? I totally get it! That’s why you
can trust me when I say, this app I’m getting ready to tell you
about is APPSOLUTELY worth the download! That app is
SWYCH.

The SWYCH app allows you to upload your gift card information
for immediate use! SWYCH provides a simple approach to using
their app by adding a “camera” feature that allows you to easily
snap a picture of your gift card for a quick upload. You can also
store available balances in your Apple Wallet for even more
convenient access.

How awesome would it be to have all of your gift monies in one
place for you to get to from your smart phone?! SWYCH comes
just in the nick of time to catapult your “going green” efforts. One
of the best things about SWYCH is you get to cut the plastic! Find
out what just what I mean by visiting http://goswych.com/cuttheplastic/

The reason the app is called “SWYCH” is because you can
actually SWYCH gift cards sent through the app for any of the
other cool brands in the app. Did Grandma try and pull a fast one
by sending you a gift card to HER favorite restaurant that YOU
hate? Simply SWYCH it to one of your favorite hot spots!

There are tons of other dope features that SWYCH has to offer as
well. For instance, my international peeps can send monies to
their friends and family all of the way in India! My millennial
homies can even send gift cards to loved ones using Crypto
Currency! You can buy or SWYCH gift cards from your favorite
brands like AMC Theatres, Best Buy, Krispy Kreme, Chipotle,
Sephora, and many, many more.
The possibilities are really endless! There’s even a “secret menu”
that has a few gift cards SWYCH-able only like Amazon, Target,
Walmart, and ITunes. They are not sold in the app but when you
get a gift card, you can SWYCH out it to one of these brands!
Visit http://goswych.com/swychs-not-so-secret-menu/ to check out
the “secret menu”.

With this app being so easy to use, so efficient, so economical,
environmentally friendly, and did I mention, FREE, how can you
not SWYCH?! Cut the plastic and SYWCH from using gift cards to
using the SWYCH app which is available for download in the App
Store, Google Play, and online as well. Happy SWYCH-ing Homies!

“How Deep Is Your Love? Appropriate Gifts for Where You Are in Your Relationship”

Valentine’s Day, and I did say “Valentines” day with an “N”, is coming and I want all of my Homies to embrace the love that is in the air. I do not want to see any discouraging posts degrading love or any discouraging posts that highlight how you, “don’t have to celebrate one day when love is shown every day.” If you are open to finding love, you should be stoking the fire, and if you are blessed enough to have found love then you should be fanning the flames! Now that your hearts are ablaze, don’t allow your fire to fizzle by freaking out over what to get your significant other. Drop down and check out a list of ideas I whipped up based on whichever milestone you are at in your relationship.

Single Self Care

Valentine’s Day is based solely around love. Loving him, loving her, but most importantly, loving you. Toss out the tissues, put the lid back on your buckets of ice cream, and manifest self-love in any form or fashion you wish. Whether you enjoy a calm, peaceful day at the spa, treat yourself to a nice solo dinner, or even attend one the singles mixer in town, you deserve to be loved! Who knows how to love you better than you? Set the bar high for anyone hoping to give it a try.

Will You Be Mine?

Crushin’ on someone and wanna make it known this year? There’s a subtle way to do it and trust me that is the best approach. If you two aren’t official or if you fall under the category of secret admirer then go “old fashioned”. Flowers, a card, and candy will show that you’re interested in addition, highlights how thoughtful you are. Accomplish your goal without applying too much pressure.

Slowly but Surely

Made your move and now you both are making moves, eh? Here’s to everyone who is exclusively dating which probably means you have admitted your attraction to one another, you like what you have seen in one another thus far, but may still be getting to know each other. The best thing you could spend at this point in your relationship is time! Make reservations at a fine dining establishment and plan for a nice, intimate dinner for two where you can indulge in the ambiance of your love.

Common Law Commitment

You and your significant other are on the same team, have won/loss together, but have managed to maintain solidarity and loyalty to the home team! That alone is a reason to celebrate. Provide your boo with a token(s) of love reminiscent of everything you have learned about and/or shared with one another. Purchasing her favorite perfume, preparing his favorite meal, assuming her responsibilities around the house for the day, and/or adding special details to an item(s) he already adores are all small gestures that remind your other half you remember why you love them, you appreciate their love, and acknowledge the love they extend to outside entities.

Married W/ or W/O Children

At this point, someone has commented, “#goals”, underneath your selfies. Many people fail to realize that at this level in a relationship, love can get “misplaced”. You both have settled into your lifestyles and you may, or may not, have miniature you’s running around, demanding jobs, and demanding expenses. Hasn’t the age old teddy bear with chocolates and haphazard sex gotten stale? It is imperative that you keep your love alive because you’ve got an eternity to go! When you’ve come as far as you two have and have covered as much ground as you have, it’s good to reflect back on where you started. Plan a date at your initial “date spot” or create a scavenger hunt marking all of your marriage milestones! It would be interesting to see where your love has lead you.

With You but Without a Sitter

No baby sitter? No problem!  *cues “We Are Family”* Display your love and affection for everyone to see! Just don’t forget to distribute that love evenly amongst the other members of your household.

Homies, you and I both know love makes the world go round. No matter whom you love on, dispel love whenever you can. Follow my social media pages for more information on V-Day happenings around the metroplex. Remember, Love Wins! Happy Valentines Homies!

“Ready or Not, Here I Come; Mastering the Art of the Start”

“Just do it already! What are you waiting for?” This is the way I have awakened ever since I thought of my dreams, goals, and ambitions. Day in and day out, I conjure up this redundant phrase in my head. Despite me asking myself this dead onset question, I still didn’t have an answer. Even worse, I still hadn’t done “IT”.

Procrastination comes in many forms. For instance, it can come in the form of fear, consuming you with thoughts doubt. It can come in the form of complacency, persuading you with a mirage of comfortability. Procrastination’s most common form is laziness. Being lazy prevents you from accomplishing anything and only enables you to keep putting things off.

One day, I arose and without a shadow of a doubt, I knew I didn’t want to continue holding myself back. I no longer wanted to be the reason I hadn’t fulfilled my purpose. Now, I wouldn’t be your Home Girl if I didn’t share with you how I was an am going to tackle this toxic trait. Below is a set of steps that I found conducive to this particular process.

Step 1: Wake up earlier! The early bird REALLY does get the worm; or the goal, or the task, or whatever it is you desire.

Step 2: Create a to-do list BUT set a DEADLINE. I cannot tell you how useless a to-do list is if you NEVER do any of it. Make it clear when those tasks have to be completed by.

Step 3: Post your tasks/goals where you can see them! Ever heard the saying, “out of sight, out of mind”? It holds tons of value which is why you need to PUT IT IN YOUR OWN FACE where you can see it and in time, cross it out!

Step 4: Tackle your most intimidating task first! You will hate doing it but will love getting it done, trust me.

Step 5: Find an accountability partner. Sometimes a little micromanaging can be a good thing!

With the assistance of these tips, I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in my productivity. I mean, I’m waking up before the roosters now so I’ve got complete solitude in the mornings to think, plan, meditate, and even complete a task or two. Finishing the projects that require a little bit more effort first relieves a significant amount of tension and frees up time to do more. Having someone in your corner to push you along the way really helps. Whether it’s a parent, friend, sibling, as long as they are aware of your goals and your efforts, they can motivate you to reach higher!

Being for real Homies, this can be “your season”. This can be your chance to “get out your dreams”. You have to start though! You have to try every day with every ounce to get where you want to go. You have to “Master the Art of the Start”.

“Not Your Average Date Ideas; Keeping Your Love Alive”

One of the most important aspects of being in a relationship is keeping it fun and fresh. Reason being is that you’re in the presence of one another majority of the time and this in turn allows you to get to know each other pretty quickly. With the “Honeymoon Phase” coming to an end shortly after becoming acquainted, the spark can start to fizzle later on. And when I say that, I don’t mean the chemistry you and your partner share; just the giddy, child-like enthusiasm that was there initially. That’s why you both have to do your part in maintaining creativity and spunk within your union. Start by taking your average date night and make it “not so average”.
Check out the following date ideas that I devised to keep your love alive; just don’t forget to thank me later! 😉

1. “Love Rocks”: A little friendly competition never hurt anyone. See if your better half has what it takes to conquer a wall of rock for your affection. As a woman, I always feel the need to “one up” my man just because women are already presumed the weaker sex. I challenge him any chance I get just to prove my strength and my love for this relationship is built to last. (Guys are normally impressed when a chick wins and losing to one just gives them a chance to reward her in a way that is also rewarding for them!)

2. “The Sunny Side Up”: Can’t wait to the end of the day to see your honey boo? Be the first face they see by taking them to a nice breakfast. This idea has become more popular over time since “brunch” was introduced, or shall I say, revisited and redefined! Take it as chance to witness their “morning glow”, or lack thereof. (You can also get a sneak peek of how bad their morning breath may or may not be!)

3. “Animal Love”: Animal lover much? Set a date for a nice stroll through your local zoo. Besides the on again, off again whiff of animal flatulation, this is a really nice date idea. Zoos have lots of cool features besides animal sightings like interactive activities, and some even feature theatres and restaurants. Find out how much of an animal lover your partner is and determine if you mammals are a match made in the animal kingdom. (If he/she doesn’t comment at least once about how the animals should be freed, dump them!)

4. “Picnic at the Park”: Everyone has witnessed those cute, sappy scenes in the movies where two lovers are having a picnic at the park and it’s okay to believe the hype. Picnics at the park are the bees-knees! Customize yours by making or ordering sandwiches for one another. Maybe you’ve been missing out on pastrami and pickle all this time and who knows, your sweetheart may have never known meatballs and mayo made such a good combination. In addition to the extra coins you’ll be saving, the tranquil environment would be good for you both!

<p”>5. “Dress Up Your Love”: Discover the style sense of your future spouse by visiting your local thrift store and letting them dress you. This is fun because you get to find out what the other is attracted to and you might even find out that you’ve got a little bit of flexibility in your wardrobe. Take away some vintage pieces for next to nothing and spend some quality time with your sweetie at the same time. You never know, this may become your new pastime.
(It’s for sure mine; bae, not so much!)

There should be something for everyone listed above, but if you don’t see anything that you find interesting, do your research. There are articles dedicated to providing you a different date experience. A few that helped me compile this list are Thrillist.com, Buzzfeed.com, and Redbook.com. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep the love alive. It IS what makes the world go round after all! 🙂

“Getting Through Thrifting; Finding YOUR Style in THEIR Stuff”

Photo: Entire ensemble (minus the headscarf) put together with thrift store finds!

“There are so many perceptions surrounding the act of thrifting. There are too many to count and too many deterring you from finding your signature style. Ever heard the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? I can guarantee a bargain shopper coined that phrase. Thrift stores are full of hidden gems that are just in need of a good polish (speaking figuratively and literally) and with a little time, gumption, and know how, you can make out with a trunk full of exciting pieces to add to your wardrobe! But first, there are a few tips that I’d like you to take with you on your trip. Being mindful of these easy tips can make your thrift haul that much more successful!
For starters, you MUST go with an open mind! When I say this, know that it may be crowded, there may be odd odors, and you may even flip through a bunch of “bull” before you find something you like. It’s not Forever 21 guys and gals! (Even though you may find something from Forever 21!) On a serious note, you should check your energy before entering anywhere. Remember, energy can determine the results yielded by the universe, so be optimistic! If you’re worried about remaining “trendy”; go online and search for images of current styles, make a list or take pictures with you, and pull items that match the latest trends as closely as possible (which is totally doable)!
While shopping, don’t overthink. If you have a piece in your hand and you can’t almost immediately see a future for it, PUT IT BACK! If you don’t have a “That’s So Raven” moment where an item sends you straight to your closet and pairs well with what you’ve already got, then you don’t need it. Just because it’s only a $1 doesn’t mean buy it. It will sit in your closet, become “wear-around-the-house” clothes, or be donated. That’s what you call “shopping backwards”.
Before your newfound goodies make it to the cashier’s counter, be sure to do a quick scan for any holes, hard stains, or aging. If the thrift store you’re at has fitting rooms, TRY IT ON! Most of the time, these items are from a different era, one where tacos weren’t so prevalent, and may not fit “true-to-size”. And again, we do not want to “shop backwards”.
Lastly, something that should go without saying, WASH YOUR ITEMS! They’ve been on someone else’s body guys, really? Now, 15% of the time, items are new and have never been worn. That’s pretty seldom though. Make sure to read the tags because as I mentioned earlier, these clothes are from a different era, one where cotton wasn’t so prevalent, and bad laundering could ruin your grand new finds! In addition, this is a good reason not to shy away from that irresistible piece with an old coffee stain on it. You’re going to wash it all anyway

. Also, if you know how to sew, it may be worth buying the retro blouse with a missing button. You be the judge!
Saying all of that to say, you’d really be surprised the amazing pieces I find while thrifting! I always set a budget for myself (usually around $20) so I don’t overspend. If I’m not able to try on, I’ll usually buy a size up just to be on the safe side. Those are just a few extra tips to tuck away. Overall when shopping, remember to be unique, stand apart from the rest of the who’s who, and do so by purchasing quality, gently-used items on a budget! Check out the look I created below with thrift store finds! Happy Thrifting! 🙂