****This blog is no longer updated at this address!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!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Freelancin' Hopes and Financial Woes

It's been maybe three weeks since I've started this blog, and as you all know by now I have a lot a goals I'm striving for, all of which I'm documenting via this blog. Two related goals that I haven't spent a lot of time on (too much hair talk, I know) but are still immensely important are my goals of making a living off of my own endeavors (i.e. quitting my job and getting people to pay me directly for some skill of mine) and saving enough money to pay for summer school this year, as I'm going to need it if I have any hope of graduating on time.

I started researching women who have kicked meaningless jobs behind in lieu of self-employment, and subsequently ran across the name Michelle Goodman. Michelle has been cultivating her freelance life for 17 years now, and frequently writes and speaks about "fleeing the cube" for more greener pastures. Though my desire is to flee the host stand since I work as a hostess as a restaurant, the host stand is cubish in shape, so I reason that Michelle's advice can speak to me too. I ran downtown first thing the next day to pick up one of Michelle's book at the library.

As you paint the picture of my eagerness walking into that library, all hopeful and set to be a successful, self-employed young woman once I got my hands on Michelle's book, imagine the utter horror I felt as I walked up to the checkout counter only to be told that my library card has been blocked because I owe $50.98. Yes, I, Think and Grow Chick, owe $50.98 to the PUBLIC LIBRARY. With my parade literally rained on, it began to thunderstorm as I exited the library and walked to the train, bookless.

The whole ordeal made me want to kick myself not only because I didn't get the book, but because this habit of owing money for the silliest things is one I have extreme difficulty in breaking. I keep myself in what I call "dumb debt"...debt I acquire for really dumb reasons, like losing library books. I had originally planned to read Michelle's book over the weekend then write about it today; however, now my focus is on getting serious about eliminating and staying out dumb debt, especially if I have any hope of accomplishing my original goals of self-employment and saving for summer school.

The biggest accomplices to dumb debt, for me, are not paying attention to my money and wanting things that don't really matter. I'm a college student with little money as it is, so both of these problems are having a devastating effect on my finances. To stay true to the T&GR principles that have inspired this blog to begin with, I started thinking of a plan that could save me from my dumb, debt ridden ways. After realizing that self-reliance is what got me into this mess in the first place, I've decided to "borrow" a plan from Trixare4kids, a reader on Consumerist.com that paid off nearly $14,500 in 20 months, after following tips she learned on the internet. The snippets I've decided to take from her are as follows:

Go Cash Only

This is the granddaddy of all personal finance advice, but it's amazing how many people don't subscribe to it. Trixare4kids simply states, "If I did not have the cash, I did not need it". This is so true; I've justified splurges with my debit card on hair products by reminding myself that my bank transfers money from my savings if I overdraft on my checking account. I know, I know, I'm cringing as I type it. Clearly, cash can be the only way for me.

Set up a budget

...Another nugget of often-ignored personal advice gold. My mother is a "G" when it comes to finances and has always kept our family on a budget, though somehow I did not seem to inherit such financial tenacity. I've never had a budget because I've always figured that I'm poor and poor people don't need to budget; we need to make more money. Now I'm thinking maybe I'm poor because I don't budget...hmm...

Cut back on Expenses

This piece of advice is almost trite because it's repeated so often, but it's true. The problem is, everyone underestimates what is really an expense to them. For example, I'm about to move into an apartment where everything is included—internet, gas, electric, everything. I could easily reason that my only expense is rent, food, and transportation, but anyone who knows me knows I spend hundreds of dollars on hair products. Yes, hair products. As silly as it sounds, hair products are a major expense for me, therefore I have to cut back.

So, like every other goal I document on here, we shall see how this goes. Any of you have problems with debt. Care to share a success story? Share your comments below.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Spirituality in Natural Hair?

Holed up in the house for the last few days because I'm too broke to go anywhere (ya'll know ya'll been there), I admit that I've slipped into a certain laziness when it came to posting on this blog.

Sorry, ya'll.

That said, my motivation has been renewed over a topic that resurfaces in the black community seemingly ever 24 hours...


A few recent stories have sparked me into blogging action; (1) Chris Rock's upcoming documentary called Good Hair, (2) Curly Nikki's article on natural women's "Superiority Complex" and (3) Tyra Bank's recent announcement of going "au natural" for season 5 of the Tyra Show.

Whew! Where to begin, where to begin? Well before I begin, I'd implore my readers to watch the following clip.

Crazy, huh? I have no idea who wrote this documentary or when it came out (I stumbled on it via Clutch Magazine) but the main thing that struck me throughout that clip was the narrators comment at the end, saying "They were the "darkies"...which resembled the Africans loved only by their Jesus."

Hmm...once again I'm stuck about where to begin. Such a comment is tantalizing to me because over a year ago, before I became a Christian, I got into an argument with my very devout, Christian best friend who had accused me of idolizing my hair. You may wonder what being Christian has to do with anything, but the biblical definition of idolatry is a lot different than the secular one, so I wanted to make it clear from the beginning that my opinion on the topic will be rooted in the Christian perspective, though the issue has religious and non-religious appeal.

It's no doubt that when black women decide to go natural, more often than not they describe it as a pretty intense experience. What starts off as maybe a quest for a healthy head of hair or maybe just a quest to save the money flying out of their pocketbooks every 8 weeks for a regular touch-up, generally ends in a self-discovery of sorts, centered around personal ideals of beauty and their perceptions of beauty in the Black community as a whole. Fired up with new opinions about beauty in the black community, new Naturals are often accused of being condescending and judgmental to their non-natural sisters.

I joke all the time that once you go natural, it's mandatory that you have to start shopping at Whole Foods, wear puka shells, bathe in patchouli, and make statements about "becoming one with the universe". I can't tell you how many times someone has assumed me to be a vegan and/or a Black Nationalist just because I have a 'fro. The truth in my jest; however, lies at the fact that "going natural" more often than not hits the transitioner spiritually, regardless of their reasons for deciding to go natural in the first place. I personally went natural almost 6 years ago just because I wanted my long hair back after the perm broke it all off, but about 3-4 years into it, I found myself getting into heated arguments with people about how my natural hair "brought me closer to God".


I look back now and go, "Boy I was trippin' !" but the crux is that the newly natural find a new identity in their natural hair. As shown by the video, hair to African-Americans is such a deep rooted subject that finding a new identity in one's natural, African-American hair can lead to an all over transformation—not just with the hair, but with mind, body, and soul.

The "soul" part is the nucleus for this post today. The above video suggested that the blacks who revered a European aesthetic and subsequently discriminated against their "natural" brethren were further from the Christian doctrine than those blacks who praised God for loving them just as the were. One of the commenters on the Curly Nikki post asking whether or not natural women have a superiority complex states:

Some black women tell themselves they relax their hair so it will be easier for them to manage (I know I did). But, I say they relax their hair because they are ashamed of who they are and what God created. Natural hair is not hard to maintain when you know what you are doing. In addition, if God wanted a black woman to have [straight] hair, God would have created her that way.

As someone now on the other side of the spiritual fence, I see that my friend was totally right about me idolizing my hair. I went way overboard in my devotion to my natural hair and the excessive desiring of things to further glorify my hair while simultaneously making little to no regard for the God who gave me my curly locks. The question now is: is it possible for natural hair to bring you closer to God, as several outspoken naturals suggest? Are we even justified in seeing hair as a spiritual thing?

Contrary to my own past beliefs, I do not believe that going natural can or will bring you closer to God. I know that statement will be obvious to some and utter blasphemy to others, but the Bible clearly states that our communion with God has everything to do the faith in Him, repentance, and prayer, and nothing to do with how closely we fashion ourselves to our original "God-given" state, which is where I erred before. Believing that "being natural" in any regard (no perm, no makeup, no deodorant, whatever) gets you some sort of special communion with God, I feel, is wrong because most of the things we consider "being natural" are superficial, we just attribute spirituality to them.

That said, I think going natural, or anything that causes you to abandon a previous lifestyle for a greater goal can be a great experience to draw on when getting closer to God. Getting closer to God, no matter what your religion, requires discipline, dedication, and an overall abandonment of the way you lived life before your quest. When you find friends ridiculing you for your belief in God or for choosing not to live a certain way anymore as a result of God working in your life, it can be a very lonely, humiliating ordeal. Sometimes it helps if you went through something on a (much) smaller scale that parallels (but is not equal to) your spiritual journey to refer to when the road gets rough. In a way, this is what I think most naturals really mean when they say that going natural helped them grow spiritually—not that going natural makes them closer to God per se, but that the experience brought so much ridicule and alienation before it became rewarding that they had something to look back on when hit with the inevitable tribulations one goes through when they seek God. Going natural, of course, is only one example of an experience that can parallel one's spiritual growth; dedication to a sport, marriage, getting through med school, etc, are all things that, on a much, much smaller scale, can be great reminders that "there's light at the end of the tunnel" when facing the hardships of spiritual growth. Doing any of those things, however, can't replace the journey of growing closer to God, in my opinion.

Since I plan to document my hair goals as well as my spiritual goals (when appropriate) on this blog, I felt the supposed spirituality behind natural hair would be a fitting topic, especially in light of all talk about black hair circulating the media recently. What do you readers think? Are naturals who claim deeper spirituality because of their hair justified in their claims? Does hair have anything to do with one's spirituality or "true self"? Share your comments below.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hey Peeps...

...quick post to tell you all that I'm on twitter.

twitter.com/thinkngrowchick. Check me out ;-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mojo Spa, My Business Goals, and "The Lemon Bar" Explained

Okay, I thought I'd give up feeding my vanity for a while and start talking about something else...my greed! Now you guys know that I am 100% kidding; I am definitely not greedy, but I think it fair to say that us young women care about a lot more than just hair—we have tuition to pay, credit card debt to eliminate, dreams of being our own boss ladies...we're trying to do things with our money, and I am no exception!

If there's one thing that characterizes me besides my wild, natural hair; it's my wild, natural ambition to be an entrepreneur. I want nothing more in life than to make my own money and be my own boss lady; I've been pushing towards this goal since my freshman year of college.

You might remember me mentioning wanting to start something called "The Lemon Bar" on my Goal Sheet; The Lemon Bar (tentative name) is another one of my "campus business ideas" and I think it has the potential to be a big hit at Howard. First, a little background story...

For my birthday last month, I made the trip to Chi-town to have a little R&R with my girlfriends. We ventured down to the Wicker Park neighborhood in the hopes of padding our wardrobe with all those cool, secondhand stores they have down there, and lo and behold, we run into...

Mojo Spa! Curious at the banner that said "Handmade Beauty & Comfort Spa" we moseyed on in only to find...

The cutest freakin' natural beauty products in the world! Yes, you read correctly: beauty products, not baked goods. Everything in Mojo Spa not only looked exactly like the real thing, but it smelled like it to.

Noticing that we were gawking over all of the products, a friendly salesgirl came up to me and my friend and told us all about the store and what they do. Not only do they sell these completely original products, but they also host "Pajama Night" parties where the bring in a DJ, give away facials, and let their customers shop/party in the store well after closing hours. There was also a little nail salon in the back of the store in addition to cute jewelry and other clothing accessories placed in between the beauty products. The store was simply spectacular!

Being the wanna-be CEO that I am, I hammered that poor sales girl for details on the owner. I wanted to know who she was, what was her background, who her investors were, what did her balance sheet look like, where was her factory...okay, okay I didn't exactly ask all of that, but I was thinking it! The salesgirl did divulge; however, that the owner was a former chef, which is why everything in the store was so life-like. The owner lived in a studio not far from the shop, which was also where she and "some help" mixed and packaged the products.

I left that place with my mind racing a million miles a minute. Instead of daydreaming about how I could come back with next week's paycheck and go hog-wild in that store, I instead fantasized about how I could come back with next week's paycheck and start a competing business. Alright, maybe not a competing business, but I did have a business idea that was rooted in what I saw at Mojo Spa.

Now I'm not business expert (though I will be one day...) but from that one visit, I understand Mojo's success to be rooted in two things: experience and capitalization.


I have not tried Mojo's products, but it would be my guess that you could find many other natural beauty products for a much lower price that are way better than what Mojo sells. I would bet money on that. I don't say that to say that I think Mojo makes bad beauty products, but I think it's clear that beauty products are not what Mojo is really selling...Mojo is selling an experience. Think about what it would feel like if you went in to a store that sold beauty products, clothes, accessories, had a nail salon, and they occasionally gave out real food samples, but they didn't possess all the glitter and twinkle that Mojo does. What would shopping at that store feel like? No need to think too hard, you probably go to such a store a few times a week...that store is called Walmart. See my point? Think about even the difference felt from shopping at Target versus Walmart. People will shell out lots of money for an experience and Mojo Spa has that rule down pat.


According to the Oxford American Dictionary, to "capitalize" on something means "to take the chance to gain advatage from something." Again, I don't say this to make Mojo sound cruel or anything; I say this to make the owner of Mojo sound incredibly smart. She was a chef by trade, yet she runs a store filled items and services that are outside of her professional skill set. Granted, I don't know this woman, but from what the salesgirl alluded to and what I can see in the store, it would be my guess that the owner does not get down and "create" all that stuff herself. She's not sewing those cute tote bags, she's not crafting all the jewelry in those displays, she's not painting anyone's nails, and I don't think she's molding those soaps. She's probably being a good boss lady and running her business. In other words, she's capitalizing on other people's talents by putting all the puzzle pieces together for them and her customers, in the form of her store.

I think this so important for females who want to start their own businesses, because more often than not, women get into the trap that they have to be both the creator and the seller of a product or service. They get so attached to what it is that they're producing that they can't step outside of their one-person operation to make some real money. The truth is, you will make more money and spend less energy if you capitalize on, i.e. put the pieces together, for someone else's talent instead. If you do this correctly, this is a mutually beneficial business arrangement. The talent makes money and gets exposure they otherwise might not have while the business owner capitalizes on the talent's success. Producers make more than the artist. Publishers make more than the authors. The salon makes more than the hairdresser. The agency makes more than the models. The restaurant makes more than the chef. And Mojo makes more than the individual brands/service providers sold in that store, which is why Mojo is a success.

So with all that in my head (I'm a nerd, I know. I try to find the business case study in everything...) I decided I want to start The Lemon Bar. The Lemon Bar will be a series of events done on campus and in the city, that features local boutique clothiers, natural beauty products, and other local products and services of interest to young women. The Lemon Bar will take a commission for every item sold during the event, and will feature local female entrepreneur as speakers to draw potential customers in. Cute snacks and drinks will be provided throughout the entire event, and The Lemon Bar will get local sponsorships in order to produce the event without charging admission.

This is important for me because the first business I ever started was natural beauty care line. It ultimately failed; however, because I was formulating the products, mixing the products, packaging the products, marketing the products, and selling the products ALL BY MYSELF. I didn't know the value in creating a business model that capitalized on talent outside of myself, but now I do.

The Lemon Bar is still a work in progress, but the point is to provide a chic experience a la Mojo Spa while capitalizing on the products and services of local vendors. It's a win for them because they have an opportunity to make sales they ordinarily might not have, and it's a win for me because I get a piece of every transaction made through my event.

It's called "The Lemon Bar" because lemons are "fresh" and we want the event to be a "bar for fresh taste". Personally, I think we can come up with a better name, but my partner and I have been brainstorming like crazy and we have yet to come up with anything better. Hopefully a better name will pop up soon...

What do you think of "The Lemon Bar"? Got a better name idea? Want to share your "boss lady" business idea with Think and Grow Chick? Share your comments below.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Try with Cassia: Nature's "Clear" Alternative to Henna

Besides the dry, frizzy bush, and the constant teasing from my boyfriend, there were actually a few perks to not taking care of my hair. First and foremost, I spent zero dollars every week trying the latest and greatest hair concoctions. Secondly, I never had to subject myself to late night, bleary-eyed, "fotki stalking" of the internet's most beautifully-coifed, natural haired women. Now that I am working to upgrade my locks; however, I have been reduced to the above afflictions. Just the other day, one hour after I woke up, I found myself scouring the aisles of Whole Foods for hair products.

What could possibly drive someone to make a 20 minute trip to an overpriced natural food store so that they can spend $22 on natural hair stuff first thing in the morning, you ask? Don't blame it on the alcohol...blame it on CurlyNikki, NaturallyCurly.com, and Henna instead.

As I've been discussing with my last few blog post, one of the many goals I will be tracking on this blog deals with me getting out of my "natural hair rut", as I like to call it. Instead of the lack luster 'fro I've grown accustomed to rocking, I'd like to fashion my hair into long, loose, thick, shiny, dark curls. To do this my plan included many of the recommendations from one of my favorite hair bloggers, CurlyNikki.

On CN's blog, she talks about how Henna changed her (hair) life and how she's such a proponent. She points her readers to this thread on NaturallyCurly.com for how she got her start using Henna.

Dear friends, that thread dates back to September 2007 and is 132 pages and counting. The amount of info on that thread about Henna is ridiculous. After sifting through that thread all week, I was nothing short of obsessed with Henna and what it could possibly do for my hair—hence me waking up first thing in the morning and speeding down the freeway to Whole Foods.

Once at Whole Foods, I purchased Light Mountain Neutral Henna because I wanted to get my feet wet with Cassia before I completely jumped in. "Whoa, whoa, ThinkandGrowChick" I can hear you say. "Neutral Henna? Cassia? Just what are you talking about?"

Well dear friends, after losing nearly a week of my life to reading that Henna thread on NaturallyCurly.com, I feel as if I'm almost an expert. To be clear, Henna is a plant indigenous to Africa, India, and other parts of Asia. Since forever, women in those regions have been using the plant in a paste to impart strength, shine, and a red tint to their hair. There is a second plant called Cassia that has similar effect to hair as Henna, but it is not permanent and does not leave the red tint (thus it's nickname as "neutral henna").

Though Henna is permanent, supposedly, continuous use will provide one with bionic hair. Judging from CurlyNikki and some of the other NaturallyCurly.com members, Henna is the truth and I couldn't wait to try it. I dashed out to Whole Foods to pick up some Cassia, in the hopes that if Cassia did well in my hair, I would try the longer lasting Henna.

Here's the Light Mountain Brand I bought at Whole Foods. Apparently, one should be weary of store brand Henna/Cassia because they tend to be lower grade and have harmful, metal additives in them, but I felt okay using this one because other NaturallyCurly members had success with it and the box clearly stated that the only ingredient in it was Cassia.

Next, I mixed the stuff up with freshly brewed green tea and a little lemon juice, and I let it sit for about 5 hours.

Mmm, green, muddy goodness.

Here I am with this ancient crap all over my head. By this time it was, oh, 3am, but I was trying not to look crazy tired in front of the camera. I had laid a towel over my pillow because it was my original intent to sleep in it. That quickly changed when the mix kept running down the nape of my neck and all over the towel. I couldn't sleep like that, so I decided to just stay up until it was finished.

Let me be the first to say that this stuff was quite a challenge to rinse out. I shampooed about 3 times, but still felt a lot of grit in my hair, so I just decided to condition my hair in the hopes that the "slip" provided my the conditioner would slide the gritty leftover right on out. I was correct; next time I plan to just co-wash instead of using shampoo. After my hair was clean, I sectioned it back into four parts a la maneandchic and added the all natural Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in conditioner. Next, I set my hair using the Twist n Curl method via CurlyNikki and I went to bed.

Ta-da! This is how I woke up. Well, obviously I had to take my hair down and such, but this is how my hair came out. I love it! It's so cute!

Here you can see the shine. Call me crazy, but I swore my hair was ever so subtly red, even though I used Cassia which imparts a golden tint, if any, on the hair. It turned out pretty good though, I'm excited to see how true henna will turn out on my hair.

Anyone else out their have experiences with henna? Did using it give you bionic hair? Share your comments below.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Develop a Plan: Think and Grow Fabulous Hair

Per my last post on the official kick-off of operation "Get out of your natural hair rut", I talked about my goal to have long, big, loosely curled, dark, shiny hair (say that 5 times fast). Today's post is about the second part of the Think and Grow Rich principles where Napoleon Hill states that you have to have a plan to get what you desire. I'm concocting a hybrid plan based on the recommendations of my two favorite hair bloggers, Maneandchic and CurlyNikki. My plan is to:
  1. Track my progress obsessively
  2. Tie my hair up every night or at least sleep in a silk pillow case to deter breakage
  3. Continue to wash and style my hair when it's parted into four sections for less breakage and easier manageability
  4. Keep hair inspirations nearby in either a physical or online scrapbook
  5. Use natural products
  6. Use Henna regularly
  7. Style my hair using the Twist n' Curl method to promote growth
  8. Get a support system! (i.e. naturallycurly.com hair forums)

Why did I choose all of these very specific things to do? Well let's assess...


Progress Tracking
I think the number one thing Maneandchic is famous for is her commitment to tracking her progress. I remember looking at her first post the other day, when she had a collar-bone length, relaxed bob, and she vowed from that point on she was going to have bra-strap length, natural hair...that was in April of 2007. Today she has reached past armpit length and growing.

The funny thing is, I had my hair goals long before I decided to write about them today; the problem is I never took the time to track my progress. I fact, Maneandchic's "Think and Grow Long" post inspired me to add my hair goals to this Think and Grow Chick blog. On previous blogs I started, I spent most of my time blogging about entrepreneurship because being an entrepreneur is my life's dream, but I always fell off of those blogs because I felt so limited. After all, my first entrepreneurial venture was a natural hair care line called Material Gurl, and my natural hair still remains an important part of me.

From Product Pictures

I thought people might think I was silly for talking about seemingly "superficial" goals like hair care on a blog where I simultaneously talked about things like financial freedom and spirituality, but being a Think and Grow Chick is about thinking and growing the WHOLE chick, not just the "serious" parts. So yeah, I could be doing anything in the world right now, but I'm using my precious time to draft and document a plan to reach my hair goals. Thanks Maneandchic for giving me the confidence to do that.

Tying hair up at night
Maneandchic attributes much of her growth to tying her hair up at night. She is so dedicated to keeping her hair under wraps while she sleeps, she's even known to "baggy".

Sectioning hair into four parts
Additionally, Maneandchic sections her natural hair into four parts for cleansing, conditioning, and styling purposes. She writes:
I do everything in four sections. It's easier to detangle my hair this way and also I'm ensuring that I reach every inch of my head when using this method to apply product. In fact, my hair was falling out by the handfuls up until two years ago when I first employed this method. I use it for everything. When I get ready for bed I part my hair in these four sections and apply oils. In the morning I co-wash in sections and then detangle in sections. I strongly suggest this method for transitioners, as it helped me transition for over a year successfully while retaining most of my hair.

Hair Inspirations

Maneandchic is also popular for he knack at finding and profiling inspiring models and everyday women with beautiful natural hair. There were many days that I would go to her site just to look at the pictures she posted. If I learn nothing else from Maneandchic, I know to keep visuals of my goal around me at all times.

The general recommendation for people pursuing goals like this is to tear things they like out of magazines and save them in a folder. Again, I'm both a bit lazy and a bit of a tech nerd, so what I've vowed to do is take things I like off of the internet, and clip them to my Evernote. For those of you unfamiliar with the greatness that is Evernote, it's an digital notebook system that syncs from online, to your desktop, to your iphone/ipod and back again. I use Evernote for all my goals, not just hair, but I'll do an in-depth review of Evernote at another time.

Natural products
I've always liked natural products and felt they were better for your hair, but I fell off because the Korean beauty supply store is IMMEDIATELY off campus and it was just too easy to stock up on all the petroleum-based crap they sell in there. This is particularly sad because, as I stated previously, I started a natural product line my sophomore year in college. Following Maneandchic reminded me how important natural products are to my hair goals, so I'm working to get back on track.


I found out about CurlyNikki through some youtube videos done by fans of hers and through Maneandchic, and let me just say that this chick has some gorgeous hair! Check out her site and you'll see why I've incorporated her routine into my hair plan.

CurlyNikki is a HUGE henna proponent having started using henna herself in 2007 (you can literally follow her henna journey day by day on this thread of the naturallycurly.com forum). Via CurlyNikki's testimony and her hair pictures, Henna apparently makes hair very strong, shiny, and healthy. Though henna is a little messy (it looks like thick mud once mixed) and more inconvenient to do then a regular deep conditioner, I'm totally down for the challenge if it'll give me the hair it's famous for.

Twist n Curl
The "Twist n Curl" is CurlyNikki's signature hair-do and her method for maintain hair length. To do a TnC, section and twist hair like normal for a twist out, but wrap the ends around rollers to deter split ends and breakage. CurlyNikki claims she used to be a "wash-n-go" kind of girl, but her hair never got passed shoulder length. With the help of her TnC and Henna use, CurlyNikki's hair is quickly approaching waist-length.

I'm lazy so obviously I love to "wash-n-go", but I've hit the same shoulder-length brick wall CurlyNikki mentions, so I think it's time I try something new. CurlyNikki also maintains that she either ties her hair up at night or uses a silk pillow case, so I think both the Twist n Curl and a silk pillow case are in my immediate future.

Get a support system
CurlyNikki is an extremely active member of the NaturallyCurly forums. I used to think it was dorky to join a hair forum and talk about natural hair all day, but I've noticed nearly all of the women active on those forums meet their hair goals. I think the forums provide you with fellowship and accountability, both of which are so important that Napoleon Hill spent a lot of time in Think and Grow Rich talking about "Mastermind groups" —a group where you can fellowship and hold others accountable over reaching your goals. I've already joined naturallycurly.com and I plan on posting soon...check me out as Think&GrowChick.

So that's it! How does my plan sound to you? Have your own plan for fabulous natural hair? Let me know what you think by commenting!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Finding My Hair Inspiration

In an effort to appease my vanity, I've decided the first goal I'll post about will be about...hair!!! My beloved, afro-ed hair...what to do, what to do. Let's assess...

Um, yeah. I technically have been natural my whole life, but I never knew my hair texture because it was always braided up or pressed out when I was a little girl. When I turned 13, I begged, cried and screamed for a perm...only to receive it and beg, cry and scream when all my hair broke off. What was once super long and super luxurious hair was now truncated at my collar bone by the time I was a sophomore in high school. At the wise age of 15 1/2 (yes, a whopping 2 1/2 years later), I informed my mom she could cancel my standing touch-up appointments at J.C. Penney because I was "growing my perm out".

And so my journey began.

5 1/2 years later, I'm still natural and still loving it, but I can't deny that I've sunk into a total rut. What's both wonderful and dangerous about natural hair is that you can literally wake up and go. I'm a college student, so "wake up and go" is essential. Couple that with being in a serious relationship where you feel you don't have to "impress anybody anymore" and you have arrived at my intersection—dry, no style, mediocre hair.

Luckily for me, turning 21 has renewed my passion to find my "inner grown woman", so my former, haphazard 'fro just seems very unacceptable now. Though I now know what I don't want, the key is focusing on what I do want. We return to principle #1 of Think and Grow Rich where Napoleon Hill states that you have to fix in your mind exactly what you desire. I'm cheating a little bit because the following looks aren't exactly what I desire, but the inspire and invoke the presence that I think I'm going for.

Wayna!!! I love soul music and I get mistaken to be Ethiopian a lot, so Wayna is my Ethiopian-born, soul singer alter ego. Though her hair is straight here, Wayna is natural and rocks a curly look on a lot of her older promo pics. Surprisingly though, I like Wayna better with straight hair. It's healthy, long, and dark and I would love to at least to have the option to wear my hair like this whenever I felt like it. My hair is not nearly this long or this healthy, but it could be...

Tracee Ellis Ross!!! This wouldn't be a proper post about natural hair without mentioning Tracee! Her hair inspires black women worldwide and I am certainly no exception. My boyfriend always makes fun of the fantasy friendship I've developed with her in my head...she is so cool. I love her hair and her style.

Teyana Taylor, of Super Sweet 16 fame. I know the "authenticity" of this chicks hair is constantly called into question, but for a 17 year old, I'm sorry, she's fly. Her hair is gorgeous! I love it and I want it asap...

After going over my hair inspirations, I think the key things to note are length, volume, and color. All of these women have big, long, loosely curled, dark hair...and that's what I want. Just how will I attain this fabulous hair? Stay tuned for my next post on second principle of T&GR...planning!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Initial "Think & Grow Chick" To-Do List

Alright. If this blog is going to be my online journal for achieving my goals via the T&GR principles, then I guess I should state which goals I'm trying to achieve. I'll go into detail about each of these individual goals in later posts, but right now I just want to lay my initial goals out so I know what I'm working with. As the T&GR principles state, determining exactly what it is you desire is the first step to success. As I'm sure most young women can relate, my main goals fall into the following categories:
  • Money/Employment
  • Style
  • Beauty
  • Health/Fitness
  • College
  • Organization/Time Management
  • Spirituality
Let's take a look at what exactly I'll be working towards this year...
(This is a long, detailed list, so if your lazy, you can just skip down to the bottom of this page to look at a summary of my goals without the commentary)

Think and Grow Rich

All my goals dealing with money, work, and entrepreneurship will hence forth be labeled "Think and Grow Rich". Napoleon Hill's plan should be especially applicable to this category in my life because, well...that's what his plan was developed for! The three main immediate goals I have for thinking and growing rich include:
  1. Starting a series of beauty and vintage fashion events on campus tentatively named The Lemon Bar
  2. Developing a network on campus comprised of student businesses then promoting them to local, non-student businesses in the city
  3. Have enough income from my own ventures/freelance initiatives to not have to work a part-time job while in school
In a nutshell, I have competing passion for both entrepreneurship and vintage fashion/beauty/generally creative stuff, so every hour that I spend at a part-time job feels like a complete waste of my time. I would love nothing more than to devote all of my free time to a business I've started in creative industry and get paid for it. So no more dreaming about it...I'm taking T&GR's advice and I'm planning on it.

Think and Grow Stylish

If you're rolling your eyes here, then you probably should be reading a different blog. I can't help it; I love fashion, particularly vintage fashion. Vintage is great because it generally cost less than new clothes, yet the quality tends to be better and it's completely unique. As a poor college student, you can't beat that.

While I'm always tweaking and re-tweaking my look just to keep things interesting, my current quest for a great wardrobe comes at after the Armageddon of my flooded apartment. Not only was everything soggy, but mold had taken over the room. Here's a pair of some never worn vintage Stuart Weitzman for Neiman Marcus pumps...

...RUINED! I wish I could just put it behind me with days worth of retail therapy, but the problem is I'm very tight on cash. I also attend Howard University, a school where style is required, not an option. Therefore, my goal is not simply to snag some great clothes, but to do so as close to $free.99 as possible. Hopefully the T&GR principles are up to the challenge.

Think and Grow Pretty

T&G Pretty overlaps a little bit with T&G Stylish and T&G Fit, but this section deals with my superficial goals about changing up my look. I recently just turned 21 (woo-hoo!) and I've come to realize how bored I am with my look. Now don't get me wrong...I think I'm cute, but I've been riding the same wave for a while now, and as a legal, bona fide adult, I desperately want that "grown" look. I won't deal to much with clothes here because I already went over all of that in T&G Stylish, but my hair and makeup goals will be handled here.

Speaking of makeup, I've donned the same look since high school; a bronzy face with pink lips. I desperately need to not only new makeup, but new technique as well. Truth be told, I'm actually not the greatest at applying makeup. This may shock my friends because many of them say I taught them about makeup, but in reality, I only know a few basic techniques that work, and I've been pimping them since I was 16. Granted, my makeup generally looks good, but I have a hard time changing it up, and nothing I do exudes the "grown and sexy" look I'm going for.

As for the hair, I've been natural for about 6 years now; I love my big, curly afro and would never think of going back to a perm. *However*...I do feel like I've exhausted all of the popular natural hair-doos out there and I definitely need a change. Most of the stuff for natural hair online deals with transitioning out of a perm or mastering basic styles. The internet has yet to tackle what happens when you've been natural for a while and you love it, but you're a little bored with the monotony of a 'fro?

Hopefully I can successfully do that here; my goal is to find new signature look for both my hair and makeup.

Think and Grow Fit

I'm a little embarrassed to admit, but I have gotten SO out of shape lately. What once was the body of both a track and field athlete and a ballerina, has now been reduced to that of a girl who spends too much time on the couch. I've only gained about 10 pounds, but because I have a naturally round face and was always muscular and lean my entire life, and extra 10 pounds looks a really flabby to me. More than the way it looks, an extra 10 pounds is an indication of active lifestyle I've all but abandoned in favor of lazy afternoons in front of my Macbook. I'm kicking my sedentary butt into shape; I'm using the T&GR principles to get fit and to tone up.

Think and Grow Studious

This is my senior year of my chemical engineering program in college. Though I'm not graduating because I'm on a five-year track, this year is very important because it'll determine whether or not I'm graduating on-time. I've flip-flopped in the past, both with my grades and my major (I changed to Finance for a semester, but I decided to switch it back this year) so I really have no room for mistakes this year. Though Think and Grow Rich was not written to help someone will school, this might be the most important goal it can help me reach. I'm retaking a lot of classes this semester, so my goal is two-fold; I want at least a 3.5 this semester and I want to save up enough money this year to be able to afford summer school sessions so that I can graduate on time.

Think and Grow Organized

Organization is so overlooked yet it's so important. I feel like I don't even really have to go into detail on this one; I simply need to stop procrastinating and learn to keep important things mentally and physically in their place. That's part of the reason why I started this blog ;-)


I obviously do not need to use the Think and Grow Rich principles for my Christian faith (that's what the Bible is for), but that doesn't mean I don't have spiritual goals, because I do. Spirituality is without a doubt my most important goal and the crux of any success I have had or ever hope to have in my life. Without Christ, I am and would have, nothing. Therefore, I will document my spiritual growth on this blog when appropriate because it's such an integral part of my life, but I am making the conscious decision to be discerning about it on here because one's walk with God is a very intimate, personal thing.

Whoo! You are dedicated if you read through all of that! If you didn't, no fear; I summarized all of my goals below:

Think and Grow Rich (Money/Employment)
  1. Start a series of beauty and vintage fashion events on campus tentatively named The Lemon Bar
  2. Develop a network on campus comprised of student businesses, then promote them to local, non-student businesses in the city
  3. Have enough income from my own ventures/freelance initiatives to not have to work a part-time job while in school

Think and Grow Stylish (Style)
  1. Rebuild a my funky wardrobe on the cheap!

Think and Grow Pretty (Beauty)
  1. Find a new, wearable signature look for my makeup and learn the proper technique to apply it.
  2. Get out of my natural hair rut and while working to make my hair healthier.

Think and Grow Fit (Health and Fitness)
  1. Return to my active lifestyle, drop the excess 10 pounds, and tone up my whole body.

Think and Grow Studious (College)
  1. Earn at least a 3.5 GPA this semester and save up enough money this year to be able to afford summer school sessions so that I can graduate on time.

Think and Grow Organized (Organization/Time Mgmt)
  1. Quit procrastinating and mentally and physically keep things in their respective places.

  1. Grow closer to God!!! (via prayer and The Bible, not T&GR)

Now go forth and read my blog to see how my goal chasing and the Think and Grow Rich principles work out!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Hello and welcome to my blog!

By reading the title of this blog, you've probably noticed that I'm relating to Napoleon Hill's classic book, Think and Grow Rich. If you haven't heard of this book, it chronicles "the secret" to being rich per Hill's study of wealthy men over 20 years.I originally read the book a few years ago, but didn't finish it due to the book's frustrating habit of never saying out right what this "secret" to wealth was. It wasn't until attending an entrepreneurship conference in June 2009 that one of the motivational speakers present laid it all out for a small group of us to understand. According to chapter 2 of the book, America's wealthiest individuals become so because they:

  1. Fix in their mind exactly what it is they desire
  2. Determine what they intend to give in exchange for what they desire
  3. Establish a definite time for when they intend to possess what it is they desire
  4. Create a definite plan
  5. Write out a statement for what it is they want and the time limit for its acquisition
  6. Read their written statement aloud twice daily

The motivational speaker was so adamant about the aforementioned steps that she placed them on a laminated notecard and passed them out to us. "This will change your life," she said. This blog will ultimately see if she's correct.

To be clear, this blog is not about getting rich. If the above Think and Grow Rich steps have any merit, then they should be able to help someone do a lot more than just be rich. What if money's not an issue, but staying organized is? What if you're dying to lose 10 pounds? Write a book? Get a 4.0? Get fluent in Arabic? Become a fashion designer?

As a 20-something college girl living in a big city, my goals are numerous yet very specific. I want a 3.5 this semester as much as I want an extensive vintage wardrobe. I want to start a business on campus as much as I want to grow a huge afro. The point is, I'm always attempting to "think and grow" into something; what better way to see if such a famous book works then by applying it to my own life?

Therefore, I am the Think & Grow Chick and this blog is both my online journal and a running how-to guide for "chicks who want to do everything". ;-)