****This blog is no longer updated at this address!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

Friday, November 20, 2009

Youtubing Your Way to A New You

You'd be surprised at the wisdom you can run across on youtube. A lot of "average" people like you and me make some pretty cool videos. Below is one from one of my newly faved youtubers, LeobodyC5. The video below is a great one on healthy eating habits and new things to try for those of you trying maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Besides Leobody's California-esque attitude towards healthy eating and holistic living (she lives in LA), I especially like this chick because (1) here hair is fabulous and (2) she's got a killer vintage wardrobe, all of which she documents on her youtube page. She's like that fabulous 80s glamazon I would have been had I not been an infant in 1989. I couldn't embed the hair or vintage videos because she has embedding disabled, however you can check them out here and here, respectively.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Why a Shopaholic is Better with Money Than You

A few days ago, in between episodes of my beloved Bridezilla on WeTV, (delusionally conceited brides are, in fact, hilarious) I ran across the network's new series, The Secret Lives of Women. Normally reserved for ex-prostitutes, drug addicts, and cult followers, the last episode I saw featured shopaholics. From a teenage girl who stole her mother's credit cards to finance her habit, to a neglected housewife who had succumbed to compulsive bargain shopping to justify her mounting debt, I sat on the couch with my popcorn, gleefully entertained by the sheer ridiculousness of the rationals these women told themselves on a daily basis.

My glee, however, quickly morphed into a subtle feeling of personal failure when the show rapped up to feature their last shopaholic. Deemed the "responsible shopaholic" by her business partner, this woman lived the good life, compulsively shopping with cash only, because she knew that for every purchase—without fail—she could create a business opportunity to match or surpass the amount spent on her very frequent shopping trips.

I turned the TV off feeling salty...duped, even. "How in the world did this woman do it," I thought to myself. "Is it really possible to be that business savvy?" Before the thoughts even left my head, I knew my frustration rested not with the fact that this woman had impeccable business acumen, but that I didn't. Call me crazy, call me a lunatic for thinking I could master the art of business at only 21 years of age, but being fully in control of my own time, income, and passions has been a dream of mine since I was just 16.

Everyday, we turn on the news only to see good, hard working people plummet from comfortable salaries to poverty. Why? Because being in control of your own destiny is not taught in school. Only now, as corporations are forced to reveal that providing you with a paycheck is not, and has never been, their priority are people scrambling to make a living with the shirt on their back and the skills in their head.

As a college student moving closer to the "real world" with every semester that passes, let me be the first to say that I don't ever want to be dependent on someone else to give me the income to live my life. Though the lady featured on Secret Lives probably is a legitimate shopaholic and a slave to materialism (none of which I want to be), no one can say that she is not in control of her own income and destiny. She finances her exorbitant lifestyle with extra cash when most of us can't even make groceries without pulling out the credit card.

What's really going on here?

If you ask me, most people—particularly women—don't know what it means to be entrepreneurial. Just because you work for someone else does not mean you can't be entrepreneurial. In fact, working for someone else is often the best place to start. All there is to being "entrepreneurial" is taking the resources you have and using them to create an opportunity for yourself. Sure, your paycheck may come from your employer, but no one said your source of income had to stop at that paycheck.

What would happen if, every month you used your paycheck—even a portion of it—as start-up capital for the business called "You"? What if you spent $50 on some business cards and an ad in the newspaper offering services for something you do well? How quickly could that $50 turn into $100, even $200? Even though I work for someone else, just last week I spent $0 and 10 minutes to post an ad on Craigslist offering my services for writing business plans, and already I'm making money. Now I don't have to choose between taking time off my job for Thanksgiving and paying my rent—my income does not end at my paycheck.

The point is, your livelihood does not have to stop at your paycheck. If you are smart about it, your paycheck can simply be the foundation from which your true source of income flows, making you less reliant on your paycheck to begin with. Use your paycheck to invest in things that will provide you with additional revenue streams. The company you work for does not keep all of their eggs in one basket and neither should you. All you need is time to plan and a little creativity.

If a shopaholic can do it, why can't you?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Refuse to Choose" with Eisa Davis and Barbara Sher

I absolutely love this Gap commercial featuring Eisa Davis. In the clip, she explains her deep need to engage ALL of her passions and it really struck a chord with me, because I like to think that I operate the same way. 

A few weeks ago, I came across the book "Refuse to Choose" after it was recommended in an interview I read on one of my daily blog readings. Curious about the title, I previewed the first few chapters on Google Books and I instantly loved it so much that I ordered it online. I haven't finished it yet, but so far it details ways to get things done for people who have a lot of creative needs and talents (like me and Eisa Davis), whom author Barbara Sher describes as "scanners". I plan on doing a full book review pretty soon, but I figured many of you readers may identify with this notion of needing to do many things at once.

Have you been told to just "choose one thing?" Are you currently living a life full of different occupations and hobbies? I'm interested to hear some outside perspectives on this. Share your comments below...

New Years Hair...Planned 57 days Early...

Since I'm on kick about moving forward for the new year, it wouldn't be right if I didn't have at least one post about my more shallow desires...namely, my hair. When I first started this blog, I said I was bored with my cute but worn-out 'fro and I was on the ultimate quest to find something new. I still want to remain natural, but I gotta find something that (1) is a little more sleek and grown-up now that I've reached my 21st birthday and (2) will allow me to grow my hair out and keep it healthy.

Now that I've narrowed it down to a few looks I want to try and mastered the art of the "set it and forget it", I think I've got my game plan together. For starters, the haircut I will have by Jan 1, 2010 is....

The Heidi Klum!!! Now before ya'll get in a tizzy because I'm adopting a straight haircut, you must first understand the genius behind this hairstyle for a natural girl. Firstly, a sleek face-frame like this is perfect for people who go back and forth between curly and straight looks. The overall longer length of the hair keeps the hair from being too tightly coiled when curly; however, the layers in the front maintain the face-framing effect even when in an afro. In other words, "The Heidi Klum" when curly easily translates into...

The Tanika Ray!!! See? Two great hairstyles for the price of one haircut...

Now what's a fresh chop for the new year without some fresh color? I oscillate back and forth between dark hair and bright blonde all the time, but for this upcoming year, I think the verdict will be...

...golden blonde and reddish highlights a la Amerie and Eva Mendes. I think it'll really set off the haircut when worn straight or curly.

For all you divas living in the DC area, I plan on handing this transformation over to Salon Revive on U Street with Yodit, the head stylist there. She did a bang up job on my natural hair over a year ago, and I'm quite confident in here ability to give me my dream look for the new year.

Any of you ladies plan on channeling something brand new for the new year? Share your prospective hair transformations in the comment box below.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's your game plan for 2010?

Not to scare anyone, but there are only 58 days until the new year.

Yep, less than a mere two months before the deadline for our 2009 promises come and slap us in the face. I don't know about ya'll, but I think I'm going to call 2009 a wash. Not to say that cool things didn't happen for me or that great things weren't achieved by me in 2009, but 2009 was definitely not my best year. Perhaps 2009 would be easier to look back on if all of my mishaps were unwarranted, but if I'm honest, that is definitely not the case. Many of the biggest disappointments were a direct result of promises I didn't keep to myself.

And those are the worst promises to break.

Because I'm a fighter, I refuse to wallow in my remaining 58 days, hoping for a better 2010. In fact, starting today I'm going to guarantee a great 2010 by preparing for it 58 days early—that means today.

If I really assess what happened in 2009, I'd say most of my lapses happened because (1) I did not prioritize my goals and (2) I did not give enough reverence to the process of achieving those goals. You might be thinking, "What are you talking about, Think & Grow Chick, this whole blog is about dreams and goals?" I'd say you are right, this blog is about dreams and goals; however, up until now I've done a poor job of managing those dreams and goals.

Firstly, most of the things we want in our lives are related. For example, you can't achieve your goal moving into a nicer apartment until you achieve your goal of being better about your finances. My issue was that I'd spend a whole afternoon pouring over apartment ads without spending a fraction of that energy to setup a budget to save up for that future apartment. No more in 2010. From now on, first things first.

Secondly, just because dreaming is fun and makes you feel hopeful does not mean that the process of making it happen will necessarily be fun and hopeful too. In fact, a good testament to whether or not you're working hard enough is if the initial dreaming phase is the only things thing that keeps you going through the hard work your doing now.

So that's it for me. 2010 = prioritization + action. What's 2010 for you?

"Think and Grow Chick" of the Day: Simone of Erstwhile Style

For today's "Think and Grow Chick of the Day", I have a true treat for anyone who loves (1) women doing their thang and (2) vintage clothes!!! I present to you Simone of Etsy fame with her fab online shop, Erstwhile Style. I've stalked Simone's vintage shop for a while now and she consistently has great stuff. Keep reading to get a glimpse of this vintage entrepreneur's world...

(Photo by Simone @ https://shop.marketpublique.com/stores/erstwhilestyle)

Hello Simone! 
Welcome to Think & Grow Chick, a blog were I document achievement of goals important to young, black women. Can you start off by telling our readers what it is you do?

I am the owner and operator of Erstwhile Style Vintage Clothing on Etsy and Market Publique.

What is a typical day in your life like?  

My day generally starts with a photoshoot (photographing new items for the shop). Listing new items takes up a big part of my day..and hunting for fab new finds is 24/7!

How did you get into your current space in life? Can you tell us about your background?

I am a woman of many trades, but my appreciation for vintage clothing began quite early. My mother used to take me around thrift stores in our town. I would watch scour basement church thrift stores; she would find the most fabulous cashmere coats!

What were some of your goals in "back in the day"? Did they change over time, or did they always lead to what it is you are doing now?

Well, back in the day I collected vintage for my own personal use, and still do, but it got to a point where my closets were literally overflowing and it was time to purge some things. So it started out as just a little online rummage sale for myself, but I received so many inquiries after that about specific items that buyers were looking for - then a lightbulb went off. :-)

Please describe some of the realities of starting and running your own business. How has it been for you?

Well, like any business, you must know your market, and have more than a working knowledge of what you are selling. Knowing how to spot and date vintage is an acquired skill. And you have to love what you do.

Do you run your company full-time, or do you still work for someone else? Are you a one-woman operation?

I run Erstwhile Style full time almost all by myself. My hubby acts as my photographer but I do everything else. I have other personal aspirations and I spend time fulfilling those dreams as well. But this business is my sole source of employment. I love it! Its finally at a place where I don't have to work for anyone else. It took about a year to get to this point.

What is your stance on entrepreneurship? What are some of your personal entrepreneurial goals?

I believe that any business, like any goal in life, requires dedication and hard work. You get back what you put in. Ultimately, I would like for Erstwhile Style to be its own website, with advertisers, and personal shopping services for our customers.

If you had to work with a young woman like you and help her start her business, what are some key principles you would be certain to stress to her?

Again, know your product. Know your market. Find a niche.

How do you attract shoppers to your online boutique?

Well, as you know, Twitter and Facebook are wonderful avenues for promotion. I also advertise on other sites. Blog features, like yours, also help. And word of mouth goes a LONG way. We have many repeat customers who refer their friends.

How important has the internet been in promotion? What are some of your recommendations for promoting on the internet?

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Ning,..

You have great personal style! How does your personal style affect your approach to your shop and the pieces you select?

Thank you! Many people equate vintage with old, dusty, smelly..NO.  Quality always comes first. My motto is that I will never offer anything for sale that is not up to my own standards. That way, I never go wrong. I also have the ability to select items that, while may not be my own PERSONAL style, I can envision it on someone else. I can see something and immediately envision what it would look like with the right accessories. I would like to think I have what I call ''the eye''. Haha.

How has your personal style developed over time?

Well, my style has evolved over time as I have gotten to know myself, and what looks good on my body. I think fashion is a reflection of my personality and how I'm feeling on that day. So one day I'm in heels, the next day I'm in cargo pants. But I always find a way to put my own signature stamp on every outfit.

What are your recommendations to someone looking to develop their own personal style?

Never copy what you see in a magazine exactly. Just because something is the ''hottest trend'', does not make it right for you. Know what looks good on your body, and more importantly know what doesn't.

Has the economy affected your personal shopping budget? What is your advice for looking fly on a budget?

Ugh, the economy has affected everything. We all have to make smarter buying choices. Looking fly on a budget? Vintage of course! Its generally a fraction of the cost of what you covet in the magazines and you can generally find something comparable that is within your budget. Even if you are not buying vintage, as a general rule, a good rule of thumb is to buy some key pieces, or what I like to call supporting acts, that can help make the rest of your wardrobe work. For example, knit tops, jeans, a blazer, etc.

Anyone who catches a glimpse of you modeling your great pieces will notice that you have fabulous hair. Are you natural?

  Oh no, my secret is out! I am the model; I only do it because I am cheap labor..haha..Yes, its all real. We are a family of HAIR. My mother has dreads down to her waist; my brother has long hair too. 

What are some of the hair products that you use?

Well, not much; it real simple. I use regular olive oil from the grocery store on my ends (not everyday or it looks greasy), Mizani deep conditioner at the salon. And my hair dresser slips me some of her Kerastase on my way out to use at home. ;-)

Would you describe yourself as more of a minimalist or an addict when it comes to caring for your hair? How about fashion?

I am a minimalist when it comes to everything, though I take my hair care, style, and health very seriously. I TRY not to shop outside of my budget (ladies, you know that is soo hard when you see something you like!). But for me, less is more.

What is your advice for women who want to try vintage, but are unsure of what to look for or how to wear vintage in a modern way?

I would say that the easiest way to start would be to identify pieces that you really like and try to find a vintage adaptation of it. Most often it will be cheaper with better quality. For example, right now the sequin/shiny trend is really hot. I see pieces in Vogue, Glamour, Ebony by top designers that are in the upwards of $1000 or more. You can find some in our shop, or anyone else's for a tenth of that price.

Do you have any upcoming projects for Erstwhile Style, or otherwise?

We are starting to offer personal shopping services on a small scale for some of the repeat customers and its working out great. Stay tuned..

What are your personal measures of success? By your own standards, do you consider yourself successful?

Well, not having to punch that time clock on a daily basis is a big one!

What is a “Think and Grow Chick” to you?

If you can think it, dream it, you can be it. That simple. Go get it.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to share some insight with my readers. You are truly a “Think and Grow Chick”! Is there anything else you’d like to share or that you want everyone to know about you? What are the best ways for one to get in contact with you?

You can find the shop/s at www.erstwhilestyle.etsy.com or shop.marketpublique.com/stores/erstwhilestyle  Follow ES on Twitter too! twitter.com/erstwhilestyle

Well, there you have it; promote online, know you market, be stylish by wearing vintage and... use olive oil on your ends!

Are you a true "Think & Grow Chick" that would like to participate in the interview series? If so, email me a short bio and links to whatever it is that you do so that I can prepare an interview for you!