****This blog is no longer updated at this address!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

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Follow Fridays on Think and Grow Chick

Since joining twitter, I've gotten a lot of love on "Follow Fridays" (#FF, #FollowFriday) where everyone shares people they recommend following. This blog is really unique because it's all about achieving things important to young women like you and me—what better way to drive the Think and Grow Chick mission home then by taking time to introduce other "Think and Grow Chicks"...which is all of you!

If you're a cool chick trying to achieve something–anything—drop me an email at thinkandgrowchick [at] gmail [dot] com so that I can set up an interview. My goal is to showcase a cool, go-getting chick (or dude!) every Friday so that I can follow your progress, just how you all follow mine.

See you this Friday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Learn Something From Gary Vaynerchuk Today

During one of my regular web-surfing-for-freelance-tips-and-entrepreneurship-advice sessions (I seem to drift into one anytime I'm on the computer), I came across the name Gary Vaynerchuk. Curious about the funky last name, I went to his website only to learn that he's a young business guru, having brought his father's wine business from a few million a year to 50+ million a year using unconventional methods. The video below is of Vaynerchuk and other business men and women who have followed some of his principles, on the show Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

This clip was so good, I watched it twice, back-to-back and took notes. As you all know, I'm crazy passionate about starting businesses, projects, and whatever else; this video was the most concise and informative advice I've ever heard on starting something and making it great. Many of you that I follow on twitter and other blogs express dreams of starting your own clothing lines, boutiques, beauty lines and other small businesses. Hopefully this video will be as enlightening for you as it was for me.

Notes (they make more sense if you watch the video first):

  • Be as real or transparent as possible
  • Don't follow trends; find them! Talk to everyone you can to see what's going on. (i.e. Vaynerchuk knew that Australian and Spanish wines would eventually be bigger than California wines because people liked California wines for their bold, fruity flavor, and Australia and Spain had wines that emphasized that palette even more than California)
  • If you invest in anything, invest in talent (it's the people, stupid!)
  • Create a category vs playing in a category
  • Make friends outside of your obvious network (ex. Wine guy speaks at technology conferences instead of wine events)
  • 1 Million people is worth way more than 1 Million dollars; social equity is priceless
  • Sell something higher than just your product (i.e. Bose doesn't sell audio equipment, they sell an experience. Mercedes doesn't sell cars, they a lifestyle. Dior doesn't sell clothes, they sell high glamour. Find out what your target customer is really looking to buy, then sell it to them)
  • Position your product/service next to related products/services, not competing ones (i.e. Borba had Sephora place his vitamin water next to skin care products, not other vitamin water products)
  • Promote your product before it's ready (Borba got People Magazine to report on his idea 4 months before it actually came out, so that when it did come out, people were already excited about it)
  • Don't let anyone tell you how you how to get it done; do it any way you can without worrying about "rules"
What do you think? Are you motivated in to action? What are you working on? Share your comments below.

Global Inspiration for a Quirky Personal Style

Since I'm on a style kick today, I was doing a little research on one of my favorite magazine's website, luckymag.com and came across an article on global style. What was most captivating about the article was not what the women were wearing (even though all of them were well-dressed), but rather the specifics and limits each woman featured imposed on herself about her own style. Comments like, "I stay away from lipstick at all costs..." made me think about what it means to have personal style in the first place. When we're trying to reinvent a look, I think it's very easy to slip into the habit of subscribing to every look, trend, and fad in the effort to "be stylish". What the women of the article were all alluding to, was that they each have great style for the things that they don't wear as much as for the things that they do. The reasons why they don't wear certain things varied ("...I look like a 10-year-old girl who wants to look like her mother!") but their choices were intensely personal and made their style stand out as their own rather than that of some celebrity or fashion magazine.

Over the last few weeks, I've been working towards my goal of rebuilding my wardrobe and looking more "grown-up". While I totally recommend looking to others (i.e. my obsession with Tracee Ellis Ross) for style inspiration, it's important to keep your personal tastes and needs in the forefront. In an effort to follow my own advice, below is a list of my own personal style quirks that I'm keeping in mind on my quest for a more grown up look:

  1. I recently read a quote in a West Elm catalog that said "I'm not a fan of brights. I think earth tones are good for the soul." I instantly thought, "Wow, that's me!" even though I thought I was a colorful dresser all l this time. I love grey, black, cream, and neutral colors, so I guess I can quit trying to force myself to incorporate colorful pieces just because I thought it was something you're supposed to do.
  2. I adore the look of heels and really do wish I could wear them all the time, but in reality, I love flats for their convenience and comfort. Despite my taste, I am a flats girl unless, as one .
  3. I think simple sneakers can be really elegant. The original All-Atar Chuck Taylors don't look good on me because my feet are too big (size 10, baby!), but the slimmer, skipper-style "Chuck Taylor Light" sneakers look great on me. They only come and cream and black, which is enough variety for me.
  4. I've always been drawn to that laid back, California style because I need to be comfortable. I wish I could dress as unreasonable as some of the things I see in fashion magazines, but at the end of the day, I need to feel as good as my clothes make me look. Jersey cotton, silk, and cashmere are some of my favorite textiles.
  5. I love a jean with a great fit, but I realize that can include more than skinny jeans. 90% of the time you can find me in low riding skinny jeans...I want need to branch out to straight legs, bootcuts, and wide-legs with a higher rise.
  6. Speaking of jeans, I really want to experiment with colors other than blue. Black, grey and pastel jeans will really add dimension to my otherwise neutral color pallet.
  7. Much to the chagrin of my boyfriend, I looove pockets and hoodies...on anything! Dresses with hoods, shirts with side pockets, it doesn't matter. Don't ask me why I like 'em, I just do.
  8. I had so many dresses in my wardrobe at one point that I had to remind myself to put on some pants. I am the queen of dresses. If I could wear a dress everyday, I would. I think dresses are incredible feminine, comfortable, and are the easiest way to look pulled together.
  9. I don't really spend a lot of energy picking out tops. I tend to make my pants, shoes, or accessories the focal point of an outfit rather than the blouse I'm wearing. When I do go shopping for shirts, I like to look for basic tops with interesting cuts, shapes or details.
  10. I love pieces that accentuate the waist—cinched jackets, wrap dresses and belted tops are all easy ways to add a little oomph to an outfit.
To keep these things in mind, below is a sampling of look I've been playing with on ShopStyle. If any of you do wardrobe building on ShopStyle, you can find my looks under ThinkandGrowChick. What are your fashion quirks? Have any of you had success building a wardrobe? Share your comments below or email me to be featured.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Revolution Will Not Be...Stylized?

Those of you who were following my tweets a few days ago heard a lot about my school, Howard University, and the protest the entire student body and faculty had outside of the Administration Building. I won't spend my time here going over what the protest was about, but it was so big that my lovely campus was to make an appearance on the evening news. As a student, I feel like my fellow students were totally justified in the protest and articulately conveyed our position to ABC's news anchors. That said, I can't help but cringe at the thought...

"What were my fellow students wearing??"

I know, I know, I shouldn't be preoccupied with my peers' fashion when there are serious matters at hand...but...ya'll don't understand how severe fashion is at Howard University. I do and will always love the creativity and progressiveness involved in the way many of my fellow students dress. Below is a slideshow a friend put together for his blog a few years ago.

Like I said, the fashion is innovative—even a little crazy at times. If you tuned-in to the news, I'm sure you and the whole world know what I mean. My dilemma is, as an engineering student, I can't do things like wear 5-inch heels and leopard print tights to class and still hope to be taken seriously by my professors. Since I lost all my clothes in a flood, I'm trying to rebuild my wardrobe so that I emanate that grown, ultra-stylish mystic. The question is how do I do that without looking like I spend more time in Bloomingdale's than in my Organic Chemistry textbook? Is it possible to be both fashionable and reasonable at the same time?

My fashion problem is compounded with my financial problem; not only do I need an ├╝ber-chic look that refrains from screaming "fashion slave!", I need it on a budget.

So what it one to do when in doubt? Look to someone else who knows what they're doing! Below are a few famous women with style that, at least I think, fit the "un-fussy fashionista" bill:

As one Concreteloop.com reader commented, "I want to be Tracee Ellis Ross when I grow up."

Now ya'll know I wasn't going to write a post about fashion and style and not include Tracee! Don't act like you don't know that me and Tracee are (imaginary) best friends...

Seriously, no matter where this woman is going or what she's doing, she always look SPOT ON for the occasion, which is what fashion is all about. A gorgeously ornate cocktail dress means nothing if you're wearing it to the grocery store. Contrary to popular belief, fashion is as much about context as it is about the clothes. Tracee artfully demonstrates this at nearly every appearance.

With her carefree air and frequent nods to vintage, Blake Lively (Yes, "Serena" on Gossip Girls for those of you who won't admit you watch it sometimes) is "stylish school girl" alter-ego. Most everything she wears is (obviously) chic enough to be featured in magazines, but is also easy, functional, and fit for someone like me who is in school 5 days a week. While my classmates are emulating Rhianna's super-tight acid wash jeans and punk-rock stilettos, I'll be taking notes on Blake's effortless jeans, boots, and t-shirt combos.

Who doesn't love Tia??? Watching her grow from a cute teenager on Sister, Sister to a talented powerhouse on The Game should be reason enough to fawn over newlywed, Tia Mowry Hardrict.

I love Tia because before anything, the girl is smart and talented. Behind the brains is then Tia's beauty and great style. I'm always amazed at how underrated she is as a trendsetter; Tia is the epitome of what it means to be "put-together". From her hair to her makeup to her nail polish, Tia's overall look is always just fantastic.

The above women are who I'll be studying this semster for effortless style in and outside of class. I know a lot of my readers are also busy women with a penchant for fashion. What looks are you ladies checking for? How do you keep it all together without looking overdone? Share your tips and stories below.