****This blog is no longer updated at this address! Come check it out at http://thinkandgrowchick.com. All of the archives are available there as well****

This site is my online journal that documents my attempts to reach various goals inspired by the principles found in the book, Think and Grow Rich. Join me as I strive to meet financial goals, fashion goals, school goals, hair-care goals, and everything in between. I hope that other young women will relate and find my journey useful to read about; this blog is for me as much as it is for women seeking resources for personal development and freedom. To get a daily dose, follow me on twitter and facebook...and don't forget to follow my blog!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Blog Has Moved!

That's right ladies (and a few gents!) I had no idea that this blog wasn't being updated at the regularity of the new location until one sweet reader emailed me asking me where I had been for 3 months! I am such a jerk for assuming (1) that you all knew and (2) that blogger would automatically pick up my new updates. Anyway, you can check out all your favorite advice for "thinking and growing" at http://thinkandgrowchick.com. Come check it out!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mini Post: A Clothing Store That Helps You Set Goals?!?!

Hello everyone! I've made a commitment to post more regularly, so I'm shooting for everyday this week, but unfortunately, it's FINALS time here at school and I'm getting slammed with assignments. Nevertheless, I did have a chance to have a quick session of 'net surfing and I stumbled upon the coolest thing:

Yoga-inspired athletic store, Lululemon (pronounced, "Lu-Lu-Lemon") has an awesome feature on their website to help you set goals, called Goal Tender!

I won't have time today, but if you do, pop over to the site and start filling out the questionnaire. They even have a guide to help you get your goals out and a progress tracker! Plus, you can always print out what you wrote and stick it on your bathroom mirror for constant reminding :-)

Are any of you going to go for it today and fill our your goals on the site? What are your goals? Let us know what you'll be writing about by commenting below.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mid-Goal Check-in + Upcoming Topics

Ah! There is nothing like the coming of spring! From the first break in the weather, many of us get that uncontrollable itch to not only shed clothes, but to shed all of our unnecessary clutter. Old Magazines? Tossed. Roughed up winter boots? Out. Left over hearty beef stew? Garbage disposal.

While I'm certainly not one to stop anyone from getting down and dirty with their spring cleaning, I think it's important that we not forget to "spring clean" the most important item of all...

...our New Year/January goals!

Little more than a mere three months ago, I think we all made grandiose promises to ourselves about eating healthier, losing weight, transforming our looks, and making enough money to quit our jobs. (Well, perhaps that last one was just me...) Since resolutions only become realities if you actively pursue them, springtime is the perfect time to take a good look at where you're headed, and make adjustments as needed. I particularly need to check my goals with relative frequency, as you'll remember that my resolutions were not just for the year, but were set to be completed in 6 months. Since I'm the resident guinea pig for all things goal related, lets (1) take an honest look at the progress of my January resolutions and (2) see how they relate to the topics that I'll be delving into in the near future:
Goal 1: I will attempt to bring in a solid income of $2,350 per month. 

Progress: I look at my current budget and can't help but giggle when I'm reminded of this goal. I giggle not just because I'm still quite a ways off from it, but because I conjured up that figure in slight ignorance to just how much I need to get along as a college student and how much it's going to take to get rid of my debt. I am not only budgeting now, but I am taking free money management courses and I now know I can be effective with my money even if I make less than $2000. On top of that, I am currently averaging about $1200 per month, which I think is pretty darn good for a full-time student who previously was making zero. With the knowledge I've picked up from some great finance books and resources, I feel very confident about my progress towards this financial goal. I feel so confident in fact, I'm planning a few post dedicated to sharing the financial books I've been reading and the things I've been learning with you all. 

Goal 2: I will completely pay off my lowest credit card amount, $873.53

Progress: My current balance on the card in question is $723.53, meaning I've paid $150 to date. This may seem like a meager amount, but this is huge for me as I've never significantly paid down a credit card with running it back up in a few months. I've paid that $150 slowly over the last 3-4 months, and it's help me get into the mindset of regularly paying down debt before I spend my money on things that don't matter, like eating out and shopping. Also, I'm expecting a large refund check to come soon, and I plan on using that money to pay off this credit card in its entirety. I feel totally confident that I will hit my goal if not by July (my 6 month mark) then by a time shortly thereafter. As a little tip, two books that have helped changed my approach to successfully picking off debt are The Richest Man in Babylon and The Millionaire Next Door. I plan to go in greater detail about those two books in a separate post in the near future.

Goal 3: I will have at least $1000 in personal savings in 6 month's time

Progress: This one is a doozy because in addition to meeting this goal, I'm working to pay down debt at the same time. I'll be totally honest here—I've only saved $148.38 as I right this. When I look at my savings in relation to the where I want to be, I am not even close. That said, part of why I have so little is because I literally didn't start saving until last month. Up until last month, I felt like there was no way I could save because I didn't make that much and I felt like I was spending everything I had on rent, bills, and food. It wasn't until I read one of my new favorite finance books, The Richest Man in Babylon, that I learned that I should at least attempt to save 10% of everything I make. Once I started saving 10% of my income before I had a chance to spend it on anything else, I was able to amass almost $150 in little over one month. When I look at my savings in those terms, I fill pretty pleased with myself, as having any sort of savings is a major accomplishment for me. While I can't honestly foresee hitting my $1000 savings mark by July without receiving some unexpected financial windfall. Because I'm not one to bank on anonymous checks in the mail, I do feel confident that my newfound slow and steady savings approach can get me to at least $500 by my goal due date.  

Goal 4: I will be enrolling back in school part-time for the 2010 summer session, and full-time for the 2010 fall session

Progress: Why is this goal crossed off, you ask? Because I've completed it!!!! I've enrolled full-time at The University of The District of Columbia and I am so freakin' excited. If you missed all the details on my complete meltdown at Howard, I invite you to check that out just to put in perspective how amazing it is that I'm back in school. Come May, I will have officially completed the sophomore year of my new program, Marketing, and I am on track to graduate in 2012 (earlier if I take summer school). Since I'm officially a resident of this city, I qualified for the reduced, in-state tuition and was able to take out federal loans to cover the cost of this semester. I'll also be eligible for a scholarship next semester if I remain above a 3.0. I could go on and on about how grateful I am for getting a second chance to pursue my education, but I digress... 

Goal 5: My hair will reach armpit length (APL) or longer in six months or less

Progress: Bam! I completed this goal too, just this April! Check out my April Length Check post for details, but given the support and response from everyone on my progress, I shall post my detailed hair routine soon. 

Goal 6: In 6 month's time I really want to tone up my physique

Progress: This goal really grinds my gears because I've had it in my grasp several times, only to let it slip away. Not to long ago, I jumped on the Jillian Michaels bandwagon (love her!) and lost 10 pounds with her 30 Day Shred DVD. Since then, I have not been exercising regularly and all of that beautiful definition that was just starting to sprout in my arms and abs has all but melted away. In short, this goal could have been crossed off, but I got lazy. I have since committed to a gym routine I found on bodybuilding.com for women. To better chart my proposal, I will write some future posts on exercising and overall wellness soon.

Goal 7: I want to improve my wardrobe

Progress: I have crossed off this goal not necessarily because I've completed it (though I did get my hands on a few really cute items a few months ago), but because it's really not all that important in the grand scheme of everything else I'm trying to complete. One may argue that hair might not have anything to do with my other goals either, but I disagree in the fact that (1) at least accomplishing hair goals are free, and (2) dedication to growing out hair, especially as a black woman, can really teach perseverance in other areas of life and achieving what was once though impossible (like being a black woman with long, natural hair). I feel like "improving my wardrobe" places too much emphasis on spending money at a time where I find my mindset conforming to financial diligence and a focus on financial freedom. Not that they're mutually exclusive, but I'll take financial independence, fitness, healthy hair, and a college degree over an immaculate wardrobe any day, and I feel like my focus is better spent on the above for that reason.

Goal 7: 6 month's time I really want to develop this blog

While this blog has definitely made some progress in terms of readership, interaction, and facebook fans and twitter followers, there is always something more to achieve and if I'm lucky, this will be a goal that I'll never be satisfied enough to cross off. As it stands (and as many of you have pointed out), I really need to get my posting schedule together. At the end of my 6 months, if nothing else, I want to have a consistent posting schedule. Currently I am aiming for daily posting during the week, so we shall see how it goes.

Whew! Sorry so long, but many of you have asked and this is how my goals are coming along. I'm pleased with my progress for the most part, though I definitely plan to ramp it up so I can accomplish all that is important to my by July. So how are your January resolutions going? Are you due for a "mid-goal" check-in?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April Length Check + a Word on Protective Styling

At first, I thought the day would never come when I would wear protective styles. An ardent lover of the afro since the beginning of my natural days, I had since resigned that "hidden hair" was simply not for me. When I finally did bite the bullet and agree to start wearing protective styles, I did so begrudgingly as I thought the day would never come where I actually liked it.

Thank God I'm a terrible psychic, because that day has come: I am totally in love with my protective styling! Why the sudden change of heart? Allow me to present the evidence...

From November 2009 Hair

Here I was back in November 2009 with my very unhappy hair. As I mentioned when I first posted this picture, my love for wearing my hair "out" had caused me to slip into a state of unapologetic negligence. I forgot to moisturize my hair for days. I slept on cotton pillowcases without covering my hair up for bed. I used the blow dryer constantly to stretch out my roots. My hair was dry with frail ends and virtually no length retention. As you can see by my face I was a very unhappy camper.

Fast forward to February, I had finally gotten the hang of my hair regimen and started to wear protective styles as a way keep my hair from drying out in the harsh winter air.

From February 2010 Protective Styles

From February 2010 Protective Styles

From February 2010 Protective Styles

By this time, I had my routine down pat. Usually on Sunday or Monday, I would wash my hair, put it in twist and pin it, then wear it like that all the way until Friday, where I would take the twist out and rock it curly for the weekend. Come Sunday, I'd do it all over again.

Just this past Easter, however, I noticed something peculiar. Upon taking my hair down so that I could wear it "out" for church, I was really shocked at how my hair looked.

From April Hair (in Philadelphia!)

From April Hair (in Philadelphia!)

From April Hair (in Philadelphia!

Never before had my hair sat at that length in its curly state! I decided to do some investigating...


From April 2010 Length Check


From April 2010 Length Check

In six months I went from just below shoulder length to armpit length with protective styling. And I never thought I'd see the day...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Evolution of a Protective Style Series, Part 2

Hey everyone! Here's the next video in my series showing the styles that helped me get over my irrational obsession with wearing my hair "out". Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things to Do When Waiting for Water to Boil*

Though my mom has since expressed guilt for allowing my dad to subject me and my sister to such an unhealthy habit, one of my favorite things to whip up in the kitchen with my dad as a child was none other than Top Ramen Noodles. With a full 800 mg of sodium in every pack, I was delighted by the various flavors these little noodles possessed, of which was only enhanced by my father's inventive additions of smoked sausage slices. Though this simple meal generally took less than 10 minutes to make, my childhood appetite always felt prisoner to the 5 or so minutes it would take just to get the water boiling. Instructing me to go play until our lunch was ready, my father informed me on my way into the play room that water always takes longer to boil if you watch it, and that before I even had time to get into a second round of make-believe with my stuffed animals, my little bowl of noodles would be ready.

Though I've since (mostly) kicked the habit of Top Ramen lunches as a young adult, the principle of trying not to watch "water boil" has remained. More often than not, many of the goals we want to achieve require both time and patience before they can come to fruition. It is interesting then, that as children we learn not to watch water boil, but we keep an eye on our progress towards our personal goals like a hawk. I'm most guilty of this with my goals related to my hair (and I suspect that many of you are too) but this can be a problem with almost any kind of goal. As an easy remedy for all of us, here's an easy list of things to do when waiting for your particular "pot of water" to "boil":

  1. Since you can't watch your hair grow on a daily basis, add other positive activities to your line-up that can be performed on a daily basis. For example, you can start exercising so that you have something to direct your attention to daily. Plus, by the time you hair (or whatever your goal is) gets to where you want it, you'll have a nice, toned body to go with it.
  2. Become an avid reader. You all know that my philosophy is that you can never read enough books on a subject that interest you, because you should never stop learning. Use this opportunity to even read books directly related to your goal, as the information you read might help you get to your goal that much faster. Or, if you think reading books about the goal you're working on will just make you crazier, find an easy novel or fiction book to dive into instead.
  3. Help someone else with their goals. Yep, take the focus and pressure off of yourself and reach out and help someone else with their dreams. There's a reason why helping others is more than a nice virtue; helping others is also a way to help yourself.

And would you look at that? The water's ready...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Evolution of a Protective Style Series, Part 1

They say you can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results, so I finally bit the bullet and did what I'd never thought I'd do.

I started wearing my hair in protective styles more often.

Formally a ride-or-die 'fro enthusiast, my hair hadn't seen so much as a ponytail since I escaped the grip of my mother's box braids and barrettes during my childhood. Below is the first video of my series, chronicling how I achieve my style and maintain my sanity without having my hair out all the time.

I know many of you readers vary in your affinity for (or against) protective styles. How do you rock your hair when trying to achieve your length goals? What works for you the best?