Simple Freedom: Be Open to New Things

Monday, October 31, 2011 1:00 PM




"As you seek new opportunity, keep in mind that the sun does not usually reappear on the horizon where last seen." 

~Robert Brault


Today's reminder is all about being OPEN to what's going on around you and recognizing opportunities that come your way. How many times do we miss opportunities because we are so fixated on a particular outcome? Or because we are not looking at life with a creative eye? We let our biases and preconceived ideas influence our viewpoints and we don't always make the most of what's presented to us. Here's an example.

I recently was presented with an opportunity at work that I immediately shut down saying that I didn't want anything to do with it. The opportunity has to do with managing people and I've always associated that with tons of meetings, processes & policies, evaluations, projects, and bureaucracy. I have to say, it's taken awhile but I love what I do now, and the thought of giving up my client work in order to manage people didn't sound like the right move for me...initially.

As I thought about it more and talked to some friends and family, I began to see things differently. What if I didn't have to give up my clients? What if I could keep some of them and begin working on training and developing some junior people on our team? I loooove training and development, and I already involved myself in that as much as possible. I also love relationship management (which is what I currently do). So, why not marry the two? I'm not sure if my manager would be open to the idea or not, but I can certainly propose it, right?

The more I thought about it, the more attractive the idea seemed. I found myself wishing that I'd taken time to think about it before I said no. Where are my negotiation skills? Where is this open mind that I'm always talking about? *sigh* In my mind, it's never too late so I went and talked to the person and ended up having an awesome discussion and throwing lots of ideas around. So, we'll see what happens.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about lifestyle and career and how I want to shape my life. I have the vision but don't necessarily know what all of the small puzzle pieces will need to look like to create that vision. And that's OK. This situation reminded me to keep my mind open and look for "myself" in all opportunities that are presented to me.

Remember,

*When approached with a new opportunity, always think and ask questions before you respond. Be creative with your thinking. Sleep on it, if possible. 

*Avoid people who complain and put a negative spin on everything. They can affect your attitude with you even realizing it and your negative perception could cause you to overlook opportunities.

What else? How can you apply this concept to your life?

Visit me every Monday for Simple Freedoms to enliven your week. xo

Simple Freedom: Expect the Unexpected

Monday, October 24, 2011 10:00 AM

   

"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."  ~John Gardner


I didn't expect to get pregnant right when I was on the cusp of twenty-something, professional woman fabulosity.  I certainly never expected to be a single mother.

I didn't expect to partner myself with such a beautiful disaster.  I never knew that marriage and family would become such a complicated issue for me.

I didn't expect to to acquire a lifetime of debt before I was 25.  I didn't understand the implications of what I was doing or how long it would take for me to recover from my "affluenza".

I didn't expect that some of the "closer than close" friends of then would be the "love you from a distance" friends of today.

I didn't expect to ever find myself at 28 sitting on a couch in my therapist's office crying my eyes out saying that I couldn't handle this life.  Completely and utterly disillusioned with the woman I thought I was supposed to be.

There are so many ways that life has thrown me for a loop.  And while I have my moments of regret and "what-if" just like everyone else, I wouldn't change a thing. 

This week's Simple Freedom is just a reminder to take life as it comes and accept everything that happens with faith, grace and courage. 

Have a thankful and thoughtful week!

Much Love,
GG

                  


Tender Loving Hair: My Current Staples (Fall 2011)

Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:00 PM

Roller Set  (not sure what i was doing with my mouth but my hair looks shiny :)


My Current Product Staples:

Shampoo:
KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo
Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Shampoo
Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo

*Typically, I shampoo every two or three weeks. If I'm using products with mineral oil, I will wash more often because it causes build up more quickly. 
*Usually I like to pre-treat my hair the night before I wash it. I'll use EVOO or coconut oil or a deep conditioner.
*I keep EVOO or castor oil in an applicator bottle mixed with a bit of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties. After I shampoo each section of hair, I'll apply the oil to my scalp and rub it in. Then I'll also apply the oil to each section of hair before I rinse out the shampoo.


Cowash Conditioners:
Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture
Aussie Moist
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration
Yes to Cucumbers

*This list hasn't changed since last time. I do use Pantene conditioners sometimes too. I rarely cowash in the fall and winter. If I do, it would be because my hair is extremely tangled and this is the only way for me to clear it out.

I think this was a two day old twist out

Deep Conditioners:
Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner
Pantene Curly or Thick Hair Deep Treatment
Curl Junkie Deep Treatment

*I deep condition about once a month. Tyically, I don't use deep conditioner before shampooing and then do it again afterwards. I do one or the other.

*If I haven't added pre-treated or added oil during the shampoo process, then I'll probably add some oil to my deep conditioner. My hair loves oil.


Moisturizing/Detangling Spray:
Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner
Shea Moisture Hold and Shine Moisture Spray
Infusium Moisturizing Leave-In Treatment
Bottled or Rose Water
Fermodyl 619 for coarse/curly hair (comes in a vial)


Creamy  Moisturizers/Leave-In Conditioner/Styling Creams:
Kinky Curly Knot Today
Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
Giovanni Direct Leave-In
Oyin Handmade Burdock Root Butter Cream
Carol's Daughter Hair Milk
Shrinkage
Oils/Butters/Sealers:
Bee Mine Hair and Scalp Moisturizer
Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade
Homemade shea butter, coconut oil, aloe mix
Hot Six Oil
EEOO
Castor Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Tea Tree Oil
Pink Oil Moisturizer
Queen Helene Coconut Oil (with mineral oil)
Organix Shea Butter or Coconut Oil Anti-Breakage Serum

Honorable Mentions:
Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap Balancing Conditioner
Aveda Anti-Humectant Pomade
*I like to use this Shea Moisture Balancing Conditioner in tandem with whatever conditioner I'm cowashing with. It doesn't give enough slip to use alone as a detangler but it makes my hair feel very soft and it's good for your scalp.
*This Aveda pomade is expensive but I love sealing my hair with this when wearing my hair straight.


This post is getting long!  My Staple Care and Styling Techniques after the jump...

Start. Stop. Continue. - Vol. 2

Thursday, October 20, 2011 2:00 PM

   

       
START:
*Spending More Time with My Girls*

Besties
My sister and I


I remember a time when I talked to my friends everyday.  We saw each other every weekend and knew every minute detail of each other's lives.  Now that we all have families and careers, it's really challenging to fit into each other's schedules.  Probably 90% of our communication is through email and text messaging these days.  I've been thinking lately that it would be nice for us to have a standing, monthly get together.  There's a bunch of us, so obviously we won't have 100% attendance every time.  Maybe a monthly dinner or happy hour.  It's such an important outlet to spend time with your girls.  I always feel so refreshed and somehow my burdens seem lighter after I spend time with them.  How often do you get away from the demands of work and family to spend time with friends?

STOP:
*Slacking on my Skincare Regimen*


So here's the thing.  I have this oily, acne-prone skin.  I never expected to be in my thirties and still dealing with acne.  But here I am!  And it doesn't help that I like wearing my hair in my face and I'm always putting all kinds of products in it.  I wish I had low-maintenance skin, but I don't.  I invested in a Clarisonic last year and between that, Mario Badescu products and grapeseed oil, I figured out a regimen that my skin likes.  So why I don't stick to this regimen, I don't know.  My skin clears up and I get lazy.  I have to change my pillow case constantly, wash my makeup brush every few days.  It's really high maintenance.  But I know what I need to do, so if I choose not to, then I better be ready to just accept the results!

CONTINUE:
*Listening to my Kids*


As my kids get older and their personalities develop more and more, I'm learning to listen to them and learn from them.  It's very important that they have a strong sense of self and that they feel loved and accepted for who they are - even when their behavior is not perfect.  I especially love our bedtime talks.  I tuck them in individually and this is usually when they tell me things and ask me lots of questions.  Maybe someone at school is picking on them.  Maybe they're wondering if Santa Claus is real.  Maybe they're just trying to stall because they don't want to go to sleep!  Either way, I appreciate this quiet mommy and me time.  I hope they'll continue to be open with me as they get older.  I was anything but "open" with my parents when I was a teenager.  Oh well.  I can still hope!  ;-)

What are you Starting, Stopping and Continuing???  Share with me.

Captured: The Illustrator

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 6:07 PM


My son started drawing as soon as he could hold a pencil.  He also loves to read. He writes and illustrates his own original comics all the time.  Lately, it seems that he wants to read comics more than chapter books, which concerns me, but it's such a positive and creative outlet for him that I figure there are other battles that will surely come that are more worth the fight. 

The photo below captures one of his doodling sessions.  I'd like to draw your attention to his attempt to capture FloRida's annoyingly catchy lyrics.  Can you spot it?  He recently saw the movie, Zookeeper, and that song is played a few times throughout the movie.  For some reason, it comforts me to know that he doesn't understand most of what people are saying in songs these days!




Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun. ~George Scialabba




Simple Freedom: Ask for What You Need

Monday, October 17, 2011 1:16 PM


   
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened unto you.
Matthew 7:7

The first step in receiving what you need is to ask for it. 

Every now and then, we get caught up in a superwoman mentality that leaves us overwhelmed and ultimately less effective.   It's important to pause and ask yourself what you need.   Acknowledge your needs in your prayers.  Learn to let people support you.  Asking for help is not an indication of weakness or selfishness.  Put your needs out there to the Universe and believe wholeheartedly that they will be met.

Do you assume that people won't help you simply because they have never offered?  Too frequently, I make that assumption.  I've even harbored resentment and self-righteous thoughts towards people because of my assumptions.  It's such a waste of energy. We never really know what a person is willing to do or capable of doing until we ask. Nothing is too big or too small to ask for if we need it. When we don't ask for what we need, the need keeps getting bigger and more distorted in our minds.

Think about it.  Is there a something you need to say or ask that you've been holding in? Have faith and let it be known. I guarantee that no matter the outcome, you will see the benefit of this honesty and self-awareness in your relationships with others and with yourself.

Look forward to more Simple Freedoms every Monday.  xoxo

            
   


                    

Love and Locks - This Week's Hair and Inspiration

Friday, October 14, 2011 11:54 AM



source

This is how my wall looks at work.  I post positive affirmations, scriptures, quotes and excerpts everywhere.  If you're not in the habit of surrounding yourself with inspiration, you should change that.  Make your world a vision board. 

So, how was your week?  I got a scary text from my sister on Thursday saying she'd been in a car accident.  She was shaken up, but otherwise unscathed.  Reality is so unwelcome and disruptive sometimes, isn't it?  I'm so thankful that she's okay, but I have to admit that sometimes I feel so resentful about the fragility of life, you know?  I have such wonderful people in my life and I love big and yet I have no control over what happens.  I picture all of my loved ones with a bubble of protection around them constantly, because somehow I believe that I can keep them safe that way. 

I've been feeling really goofy and awkward lately.  A couple weeks ago, I had to give a presentation at a work offsite and I got up in front of everyone and completely forgot what I was going to say.  I willed the earth to open up and swallow me, and nothing happened so I just try to salvage what I could of my presentation.  At least I finished it, but I was really disappointed in myself.  Even more disappointed when I felt the knot forming in my throat!  I didn't cry in front of everyone, thank God!   I remember thinking about when Carrie fell flat on her face on the runway on that episode of Sex and the City.  She got back up and kept walking.  Yes, I really thought about that in the midst of the ordeal.

But there's more.  (And all of these things keep happening at work!)  I've walked into a few doors and walls. Oh, and then there was the time a couple days ago when I was eating and flung food across the table onto two people.  I've been saying random things that I wish I could take back as soon as they leave my mouth.  The absolute worst fiasco occurred when I actually got my period on the guest chair in my MALE colleague's office.  Yes, I stood up to leave only to look down and see a huge blood stain on the seat.  WTF?  What am I, 13? (Fortunately, with the help of a friend, I was able to get the chair out of his office and switch it with a clean one, undetected.)

I think I just need to relax and accept my occasional awkwardness. It really is just part of who I am. I like to think of myself as very sophisticated and put together, but inside I'm just a girl who's a bit sheltered and a bit uncertain.  I see things much differently than a lot of people, so I'm always studying - trying to figure out how other people perceive things.  As a result, I'm often distracted or on another wavelength.  I'm in my own little world and I come out to interact and play and learn.  I guess that's what we all do to some extent.

The only hair update I have is that I'm preparing a post on my current staples and fall regimen.  That's coming soon.  I recently provided a couple quick updates here and here.

So, for now I'll leave you with some hair and style inspiration and remind you to try to be carefree and do things your own way.  Even if your way is a little bit sideways and goofy.  The world needs that too.






sources:

Weekend Whimsy

Saturday, October 8, 2011 1:08 PM



"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." ~Theodore Roosevelt









sources:

Texture Shots

Thursday, October 6, 2011 7:17 PM



These are some of my favorite texture shots.  When your hair is natural, you never really truly know how it's going to turn out on any given day.  I always feel a little extra pep in my step when my hair comes out just the way I wanted it to!   You know what I mean?  When your hair is putting forth its "best" self?  LOL. 

I was just looking over my personal hair album and reflecting on all the changes I've gone through with my hair over the last few years.   These pictures all remind me of good hair days where I thought to myself,  "Wow, and just imagine that I used to try to repress all this!" 

Just a reminder to each of you to work with what you have and let yourself shine.  xoxo


In a Word: Pretending

Monday, October 3, 2011 11:20 AM


I love this picture because it pretty much captures how I feel most of the time. 
I can't go around dancing and swinging my hair all over the place though, can I?
Well, I suppose I could.  But I've found that it's best that I let all this out selectively.

How many of us can honestly admit how much time we spend pretending? We pretend so we can cope. We pretend so we can fit in. We pretend to avoid judgment. Sometimes, we pretend just for fun. And other times we pretend because we don’t know who we are.

How often do you let your “representative” speak for you and how often do you speak from your heart no matter what the implications are?

Just this morning, I pretended to be asleep because I didn’t want to cuddle. I could have just turned over and said “I don’t want to cuddle, I don’t want to be touched or messed with – please just leave me alone.” Even though it was true, it would have hurt his feelings and I would’ve felt bad. So, I pretended.

Just last week during a conversation with some colleagues, I pretended to know what it’s like to not be overwhelmed with bills and financial obligations. I didn’t think that particular audience really needed to know all my business, so I played along. 

Outside of this blog, I open myself up to people very selectively. Here, I feel like there is a layer of protection that gives me the courage to be so transparent. I don’t have to look you all in the face as you read my words.  

As much as I encourage people to live their truths, the reality is that many of us temper our truths a bit in order to get by. And while I acknowledge that I am guilty of it, it can be very detrimental if you start to lose touch with who you are. Yes, be discreet. Yes, be kind and considerate. But say what you need to say and don’t be afraid to express who you are or how you feel.

Where do you draw the line between pretending and adapting? 





Love and Locks - A Hair Update

Saturday, October 1, 2011 8:42 AM




Hello Lovies!  I had a very full week, and I'm totally exhausted.   How about you?

I don't think I have the mental capacity to do a very thought provoking post, but I wanted to reach out and touch y'all before we go into next week.
 
Sooo, let's talk hair.  I have some updates since this post.  I posted a hair update to PLPT this week also.
This past Sunday, I pre-treated my hair with extra virgin olive oil then washed it with Creme of Nature Argon Oil Shampoo then conditioned with Tresemme Moisturizing Conditioner.  I didn't deep condition.  I had every intention of blow drying my hair a little bit then roller setting it, but I got tired (which is also why I didn't deep condition). 

While it was still wet, I put it in two sections and added Fermodyl 619 for coarse/curly hair.  Then, I put some coconut oil in it and wore it in a bun for two days.   This really helped to stretch the front, side and back of my hair. 

After the second day of bunning (my hair was still kind of wet on the inside of the bun), I took my hair out to put twists in it to help it dry and stretch out.  Detangling was a non-issue; or in other words -- i'm still enjoying fresh, healthy ends from my TRIM!!  I used Shea Butter Curl Enhancing Smoothie to twist, I wet my ends with water and sealed with coconut oil, then I used Organix Shea Butter Serum to double seal.  I didn't apply the serum until the twists/braids were done.  I put a dime size in my hand and this was enough to smooth it over all of the them (only about 5 or 6 total).  In the morning, I put my hair right back into a bun.

I only needed to remoisturize once all week, and the night that I did, I went to bed with a plasic cap over my twists and a scarf over that.  This method really helps the heat from your scalp and the moisture in the plastic cap to work together to remoisturize your hair.  I didn't put any water in my hair, and I only added product to my ends.  My hair was crazy soft in the morning. 

Does this make sense?  Does it sound like a lot of work?   It wasn't at all!  Remoisturizing once a week is perfectly manageable for me.


By the end of the week, I was tired of the buns so I wore it down and it stayed moisturized all day.  It still swelled and shrunk throughout the day, but low and behold, I was able to come home and run a wide tooth comb through my hair without having to fight with any tangles or knots.

'Tis good.  I have a renewed excitement about my hair and I feel empowered again.  Still learning and adjusting as I go and doing what works well for my hair. 

Have you made any changes to your hair routine lately that have made a positive difference for you??  What adjustments do you plan to make for the fall?