Goal Check: End of the 2nd Quarter of the Year (Apr-June)

The month of June end a little bit ago which means that we are now 1/2 way through the year. Just as I checked in with myself and my goals at the end of quarter one, I will be seeing where I’m at now that quarter 2 is over. Now is the perfect time to reflect on what has worked this first half of the year and what needs to change. Y’all know I’m always trying to 100 dif things so I’m just going to focus on the main goals I have.

  • Travel out of the country:

I am officially going out of the country for the first time since after my EuroTrip when I graduated high school (not including Tijuana). I’m going to the Dominican Republic for about a week later this month! I will definitely be writing about this experience once I get back and having time to settle so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that!

  • Save $2,000 in a savings account

Okay so I’m not ashamed to say I suuuuuck at saving money but that’s mostly because I spend all my money on doing hoodrat shit with friends, and having a trainer! Lmao. Once I start school I want to be more conscious on being financially literate and establishing savings account. I think for the rest of the Summer I’m going to save a little bit of each check. If you have any tips for saving money let me know!

  • Lose fat & gain muscle:

I’ve made some decent progress on this goal since my quarter 1 check-in. Honestly, all things considered with my grandmother passing away back in April, I’m proud of myself for not turning to food for comfort, which I would have done in the past. I have been killing it at the gym and follow my meal plan 80% of the time or so. I’ve only lost about 5ish lbs since April but I feel myself getting stronger and I lost some body fat %. I think I’m on track to hit my first major goal weight for the end of 2018

  • Take my blog to the next level:

My blog has NOT been a priority for me since April and I’m okay with it. I don’t have regrets about putting my blog on the back burner once my life got crazy. The gym became my outlet so all I have been doing is going to work and working out. I’m just getting back in the hang of writing and managing my instagram so we’ll see where I’m at once quarter 2 is over.

  • Read one book every month:

I have read 2 other books since quarter 1 ended, both which I enjoyed a lot. In April I read The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz and Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I recommend both to everybody. I want to write a review on both of them but we shall see how that goes.

  • Get my driver’s license and a car:

This hasn’t been a priority this quarter so no progress has been made on it. I’m going to have my license by the end of this summer. However, I’m not really sure about the car. We’ll see.

All things considered for how HARD life came at me in April, I’m proud of myself for at least staying on track with my health + fitness and doing everything I needed to do to go out of the country. I also read 2 out of the 3 books I wanted to read so that’s I’m happy about that to. I do want to get back on track with my blog but I still have 6 months to make it happen. Quarter 3 check-in I will have made some progress on that goal for sure. Overall, I’m happy and that’s what matters.

What are some goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year? What goals have you made progress on? What goals could use improvement? Leave me a comment and let’s talk about it!

4 Podcasts You Need to Listen to Right Now

Long ago the only option for a commute to work or listening to something on your down time was the radio. Now, we live in a world where there are many different things you can listen to on your drive. One thing that has been gaining popularity is podcasts! In case you don’t know what a podcast is, a podcast Is basically a radio show mixed with a television series (only without the visual aspect, so maybe not a television series haha). Anyways, listeners can subscribe to them and download them on their devices. In this post I will be talking about some of my most favorite podcasts, why I listen to them, and what is my favorite episode.

1. Behind The Brilliance—Lisa Nicole Bell

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I love this podcast very much! I believe it might have been the second or third podcast I ever listened to in my life. I’m not going to lie and tell you I have listened to EVERY episode (I mean, she has over a 100!) but EVERY episode I have listened to I have learned something new and informational. One thing I admire about this podcast is the Lisa (who is a well accomplished genius in her own right) also interviews other amazing and accomplished professionals in various fields for many of her episodes. She describes Behind The Brilliance as “a weekly podcast featuring funny and smart conversations with accomplished innovators, fascinating creative, and mission-driven entrepreneurs.” Her solo episodes are always a great listen as she talks about new things she’s tried, books she’s read, and sometimes even gives advice in Q+A’s. While the reason I was drawn to this podcast is because Lisa is a fellow Black Woman, her guests range in ages, races, professions, and everything else! There is literally many episodes that everyone can learn from. My current favorite episode is Episode: 8 for 2018. This really helped me get myself ready to go into 2018  working towards my goals. However, I must note it was really hard for me to choose a favorite episode because all of the ones I have listened to are great. Give Behind The Brilliance a listen now on iTunes!

2. ANGCODE

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While I do love a good motivational podcast, sometimes I like to listen to podcasts that will have me cracking up. ANGCODE is that podcast. It does not matter what episode I tune into  guarantee Ang and her guests will have me damn near crying laughing. On ANGCODE she addresses various topics in pop culture, as well as women and their sexualities, double standards in society, self-confidence, and more while also never forgetting incorporate her naturally hilarious opinions on these topics. Ang holds no punches and isn’t afraid to get real with her guests or her listeners. She has a segment where she takes questions from her listeners via an anonymous curiouscat (sometimes, some very WILD questions) and her and her guests answer them, no matter HOW crazy the question is. If you need a good laugh go check out ANGCODE like RIGHT NOW. My favorite episode is: Episode 21: Ladies Night- Sliding into DMs, Body Shaming & Spirituality. P.S. Did I mention Ang is my sorority sister? Make sure you listen and rate the podcast on iTunes, like right this minute!

3. Think N Grow Chick Podcast—Courtney Sanders

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The Think N Grow Chick podcast was the first podcast I ever listened to. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was cleaning dorm rooms at my old job one summer when I got tired of listening to music. Now don’t get me wrong, ya girl loves music but this was before I had any streaming service and was rockin’ with Pandora and I ran out of skips and I was like, hmmm let’s give the podcast thing a listen. I googled “black women podcasts” (representation is important for me sometimes, y’all) and she appeared on a few lists of must listens for Black Women). I played one episode and I was hooked! Courtney has an amazing story about how she went from being kicked out of college and in debt to being a successful entrepreneur (she was also recently featured in Forbes: check it out here!) She shares her own personal life tips as well as tips for being an entrepreneur and she is always dropping gems. My favorite episode is: Are You REALLY About This Life? The 3 Keys to Programming Your Mind for Success

4. The PlotTwist Podcast

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I can admit I have a preference to listen to podcasts hosted by women; The PlotTwist Podcast is an exception to the rule. Hosted by Daniel Coronado, PlotTwist is a podcast that has a little bit of everything! The topics range from serious topics like the Rescinding of DACA and Self-Care to more light hearted things like the worst date Daniel and his fraternity brothers have ever been on. I like PlotTwist because I never know what to expect when I press play, which I’m sure is one of the reasons the title makes so much sense. While many of the topics are serious, Daniel has a naturally funny and rambunctious personality that gives and interesting spin to the discussions of the show. Daniel and I have been friends for 7 years now and each year he gets more and more hilarious. Go check out PlotTwist! My favorite episode is: S. 1 Episode 5: Toothbrushing, Our Daily Purpose, Staying In Your Lane, & THE SEX TALK. Hurry and give PlotTwist a listen on iTunes.

These are 4 podcasts that I love to listen to right now! If you are in need of a new podcast, check these out. You will discover some major life tips, good books to read for self-development, catch up on pop culture, hear about social justice topics, and much more.

I’m always looking for new podcasts to check out. Are there any that you love to listen to? Drop the names of them in the comments!

25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

This weekend I turned 21, I mean 25 years old. Wow. If you had told me this is where I’d be at in life at 25 I wouldn’t have believed you but HERE I AM. While my life has been pretty good so far, I have had a lot of low moments too. I decided that for my 25th birthday I was going to share 25 things I’ve learned in these 25 years of life. Most of these lessons came from my earlier 20s. Some of them you may have read on lists similar to this but I’m going to give a little insight on to why these lessons are important to me.

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1. Focus on who shows up for you, not who doesn’t: It’s so easy to focus on who didn’t go to your birthday party, or that really cool speaking event you told your friends about 10 times, or whatever else but honestly the quality of my life improved so much when I just focused on being thankful towards those who did show up instead of pissed at those who didn’t. You never know what people have going on.

 

2. You aren’t the center of the universe: Yes, I know this seems so painfully obvious but I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of thinking things that important to me are important to everybody. This isn’t true. Honestly with the exception of your parents (not even always), your close friends, your lover(s), and a few others, most people don’t give a fuck about you. Once you realize this, life is a little easier.

 

3. Do whatever the fuck you want to do while you’re young (safely): One thing I wish I had did before I had to come to the “REAL” world is have more fun. Granted, I had a lot of fun in undergrad but I know I would have had more if I told myself yes for more things than parties. I should have taken a two week trip backpacking through some random place haha. Not to say I can’t do these things now but it’s harder when you have loans to pay off and stuff. So yeah, if there is something you really want to do, DO IT. (except smoke crack, pls don’t do that.)

 

4. Don’t doubt your greatness: If I had a dollar for every thing I didn’t do/apply for because I didn’t think I was capable of doing it, I could retire and live a lavish life full of travel and mojitos. Okay I might be exaggerating but I could buy something nice. Honestly, I’m still learning to embrace rejection and not feeling inadequate.

 

5. Therapy is not just for “crazy people”, it’s for everyone: One thing I want to do this year is find a therapist. Now that I know I will be living in Vegas permanently, I want to get a therapist who meets my qualifications here. Often in minorities communities seeing a therapist is for “crazy people” but there is only so much “venting” your friends can take from you. Sometimes, you need to see a professional.

 

6. Avoiding being vulnerable will do more harm to you than it will protect you: This kind of ties into my fear of rejection as well. While I don’t believe I missed out on anyone I was destined to spend my life with, I know many of my past relationships were damaged by me being afraid to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.

 

7. Being judgmental of others doesn’t make you any better than them: This is a straight-forward lesson. Don’t judge others.

 8. Sometimes the way people act towards you is usually about them, not you: This is a relatively new lesson I’ve learned about others and about myself. This simply put in the quote “Hurt people hurt people.” Usually if somebody is unwarrantedly rude towards you, they have some other shit going on.

9. Letting yourself feel your emotions is important: There is a growing culture of “good vibes only” and while I do believe it is important to focus on the positive, you still have to let yourself feel the not so good feelings when they arise. They key is to not dwell on them.

10. Tell people how you feel about them: If you’ve ever had somebody randomly acknowledge you and all you do out of nowhere then you know how good that makes you feel. Do that for others. Also, if someone did something to upset you, let them know. Harboring those feelings will just lead to resentment and frustration.

11. Don’t loan people money you can’t afford to never get back: No matter HOW much you trust someone or how little bit of the amount, DO NOT lend people money if you NEED them to pay you back for your finances to be okay. You never know if people will be able to pay you back so just don’t lend it if you can’t afford to never see it again.

12. Find a workout you love to do and never stop doing it: In our younger years it is really important we focus on living a healthy lifestyle to try and avoid consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle in our older years. Exercising releases endorphins and those make you feel good. You will be more motivated to consistently workout if you love the workout you’re doing.

13. Call your grandparents often: When my grandfather passed away last year one thing I could be at peace with was that I talked to him regularly. I can’t say I called him every day and sometimes a week or so would go by but I can say when he died I didn’t have a guilty conscience about not talking to him enough. I was the last person who spoke to him on the phone the night he passed.

14. Make sure you call your friends just to see how they are doing not to talk about yourself: Don’t be the self-centered friend who only calls people to vent about their problems. It’s annoying and people will eventually get over your one-sided friendships. Call (not text because sometimes that shit takes too long) your friends and see how they are. Check in with them. You’d be surprised what people are holding in until somebody asks “how are you?”

15. Always return phone calls and reply to your e-mails: It’s the professional thing to do. You want to build these habits before you enter the actual work force where an e-mail that isn’t responded to can lead to being reprimanded.

16. Sometimes all you need for a better mood is a good night’s sleep: “I’ll sleep when I die” is tired (no pun intended.) Get some damn rest. You would be surprised how much more pleasant your days are when you getting enough sleep. If only somebody had told me this in undergrad (or if I had listened).

17. Unless people ask you for your advice don’t give it to them: Honestly, save your breath. People are going to do what they want to and sometimes unsolicited advice can be annoying. If people don’t ask, don’t tell them what you think they should do. I still struggle with this one.

18. It’s okay to remove yourself from one-sided relationships: I used to be the person that felt I needed to be there for everybody but when I evaluated tough times in my life I could count on two hands who was there for me. Focus your energy on those relationships, not people who always take.

19. Go to the doctor at least once a year for a check-up: DO THIS, no explanation needed. You gotta stay on top of your health, even if you hate the doctor’s office like me.

20. Be mindful of what you say and do in front of children, they are always watching: I hear the craziest things when at work (as a substitute teacher and day camp counselor). You would be surprised how much kids soak up from adults and repeat.

21. Perfection doesn’t exist, just try your best: Don’t beat yourself up about not being perfect, literally NOBODY is. It’s okay. (Mostly a note to self).
22. Don’t get caught up on planning something and the small insignificant details, make a choice and focus on execution: As a creative this is one of the most important things I’ve learned. Nobody gives a shit if you use font one or font two, just pick one and move along.

23. Procrastination is self-sabotage, cut the shit and get it done: Calling all undergrads, grad students, and creatives: Don’t procrastinate. If you “work well under pressure” think how great something could have been if you gave it the time it deserved.

24. People can love you even if you don’t love yourself but you won’t be able to accept their love: I’m sure I’ve had many people who loved me or at least cared about me deeply that I couldn’t handle at the time because I hadn’t learned how to love myself and think I was worthy of it, thus pushing them away and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
25. Love yourself: Self-love is important. Love yourself, flaws and all and forgive yourself for anything you need forgiveness for.
I hope you enjoyed reading the things I’ve learned about myself and others in my 25 years on planet Earth. If you related to any of these or found it helpful, please share it on your social media!

Is there a lesson you think every twentysomething should know that I left out? I’m always open to learning more. Share it in the comments! 

Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

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Ever since I started blogging, many of my friends have come to me for advice about starting their own blog. I love this because it means they notice that I’m doing things and as a blogger, recognition is good. However, having to give advice over Snapchat or Instagram messages is harder and time consuming than I have time for so I decided to write this post. These tips can also apply to anyone in an online creative type of work such as podcasting or running a specialized Instagram page. From one amateur blogger to the next, these are the things I wish I knew when I started blogging.

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  • Put aside a few consecutive hours a week to focus on blog related things. (Really focus!)

Honestly, if you can master this and make it a habit, the rest of these things will come pretty easily to you. My biggest struggle over the last year and half or so has been finding the time to just sit down and work on my blog for extended periods of time, without distractions. I read a post from Mattie James (mattiejames.com) that discusses the concept of batch work. Batch work is basically creating a bunch of content all at once. My effectiveness in this comes and goes but as of lately it’s been something I am aiming to make routine.

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  • Figure out your main topics/focus aka niche (Keep this list small)

When I first started blogging I wanted to talk about everything under the sun: health and fitness, pop culture, social justice issues, self-growth and development, mental health, anything and everything. It wasn’t until after I tried writing about all of these topics and realized that I was headed nowhere fast that I decide to dial back on the topics I was going to focus on for my blog. Now I focus on self-reflection, self-growth/self-development, and goal-setting with a sprinkle of health and fitness and travel thrown in every so often. Keeping your list of topics small is key to avoiding being overwhelmed as a blogger. Even the person who loves writing more than life CAN’T write about everything. I know that once I establish myself as a blogger with a brand, other opportunities to talk about my various interests will present themselves.

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  • Consistently creating content (and posting it) is the hardest thing to master.

It’s so funny because whenever people ask me what advice I have about blogging I tell them “don’t underestimate how hard it is to consistently write and create content.” Many of the time they tell me they’re not worried about that because they have so many things to write about that creating content won’t be hard for them. Fast forward a few weeks later and either 1. They haven’t started their blog because they’re busy or 2. They have started it but only post once in a blue moon (like myself, guilty as charged haha). The thing people don’t understand is that writing a blog post isn’t hard (per say) but what is hard is writing a blog post worth reading. There have been many times I have written a post, read it back, tried to edit it, and just realized it wasn’t even worth reading for me, much less to put out. Creating consistent and worthy content is hard. Don’t underestimate it.

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  • Friends =/= Supporters and that’s okay! (Don’t take it personal)

Just because you are friends with someone does not mean they are obligated to support your blog. I know. That sounds insane. Why wouldn’t your friends support you? They’re your friends! That’s what friends do for each other. I know that’s what we’re taught to believe but the fact of the matter is that friends =/= supporters and that doesn’t make them bad people. Maybe your niche is just not FOR THEM. When I first started blogging I was sad that all of my friends weren’t reading my blog (the clicks don’t lie!) but then I realized that doesn’t matter. I love all of my friends and our differences in interests and hobbies. That being said if one of my friends started a horseback riding podcast I can’t necessarily say I would be tuning in every week to hear about life at the stables. I probably would retweet all of their new episodes but that’s as far as that would go. That doesn’t make me a bad person. Some people won’t even retweet you, and that’s fine too. We are all inclined to support things that interest us. I know my content isn’t for everybody, I focus on writing for the people who it’s intended for.

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  • Reading other bloggers, watching blogging webinars, and whatever else is useless if you don’t apply the knowledge! (Seriously, don’t waste your time)

I tried to read every blog post and watch every webinar I could about blogging when I first started. There where countless Google searches for content about blogging from my phone and laptop. If it was free, it was for me! After reading and watching all of this stuff I can say I have maybe applied 1 or 2 things out of the 25 I’ve learned. That’s because I was more focused on indulging in information to try to imitate the greats instead of reading/learning some and then applying it, reading/learning something else and applying, and so on and so on. I’m sure I would have gotten way farther in a quicker time if I took it one step at time. This whole blogger life is a learning process though and Mara went through it so you don’t have to!

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  • This shit is not cheap/free (If you want to be next level)

Okay so I never knew that I was going to have to spend so much money JUST to make blog appear legit. Between having my own domain, needing a PO Box for my newsletter, paying for stock photos, and eventually attending blogging conventions, this blogging life gets REAL costly REAL quick! If blogging is just a hobby for you it’s not something you have to worry about but I eventually want to take my blog to another level as a source of income like many of the women I admire. If you have similar ambitions as me, it’s going to cost you before it pays you. Don’t get discouraged and make sure you can finance your dreams.

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  • Engagement is a major key.

Okay so something I’ve recently learned is blogging doesn’t stop at the blog posts. In order to have people actually give a damn about what you have to say, you have to engage with your social media followers. I know that is so obvious…how didn’t realize it before? I don’t know, honestly. Even after reading it from many people who blog it never clicked until recently.

This is just a little bit of what I wosh I knew when I started blogging. Even with utilizing these tips there are still so many things left for bloggers to learn. The best thing is to do your research! Here are some of my favorite blogging resources where I read up on blogging tips and sometimes even score a free webinar or two. 

  • MattieJames.com
  • Bloguettes.com
  • LostGenYGirl.com 

If you are fellow blogger or have a postcast/website, I wish you luck and success! It’s not an easy task to be successful on these e-streets. 

Are you a blogger? What is one thing you wish you knew when you started blogging? Let me know in the comments!