****This blog is no longer updated at this address!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

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tyra Banks and the Personal Mission Statement

Jam-packed and hung very closely together, I forcefully waded through the racks trying to keep my composure as a mixed scent of moth balls and black coconut incense wafted through the air. Grungy jeans I'd never wear, grandma's old night gowns, and pilling maternity knits all got pushed to the side as I continued on my mission. With the sun shining and the weather slightly warm, I had carved out a chunk of my day just to come there and do what I was doing at the moment. I was in a thrift store...and I was in heaven. The great thing about thrift stores is that one way or another, they are all alike. Though I happen to be a strict secondhand clothing connoisseur, there always seems to be a never ending supply of knick-knacks barraging the first 20 feet of the store.

True to form, on this particular shopping trip, I encountered a large, old television set, propped up on a crate playing none other than The Tyra Show. Mildly intrigued, I listened on as I continued my quest for vintage treasure. This particular episode was dealing with teenage girls who are trying to escape abusive relationships. To encourage the young women, Tyra had brought on Jaslene Gonzalez, America's Next Top Model Cycle 8 winner and admitted survivor of an abusive relationship. As the conversation drew on (and I became more frustrated as I couldn't find one gem in the mass of "gently used" madness), Jaslene suddenly turned to Tyra, eyes full of grateful tears, and sobbed as she thanked Tyra over and over again for giving her the opportunity of a lifetime and "taking her all over the world". Maybe I was just moved by the moment and of course I'm biased because I've always been a Tyra fan, but right then and there, I really respected Tyra's business dealings more than I ever had before.

In her own words, Tyra's mission is to use her modeling career as a tool to get other women (and the fashion industry) to change the way they think about beauty and the way they see themselves. Say what you want about Tyra, and long before Top Model and the Tyra Show, she has worked towards that end. I think this is really critical, because in essence, Tyra is saying that she has a positive personal mission statement that permeates the mission of whatever endeavor she may be working on. In a world where everyone from Bernie Madoff to Karrine Stefans has a personal mission statement of "get rich by any means necessary", it's both refreshing and a good reminder to make sure our personal mission statements are both positive and bigger than just ourselves.

As rule, women don't generally have to be reminded to weave some "do good" into their businesses or projects because women tend to be more nurturing than men. What I do see a lot of women do, however, is swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and feel that they have to be totally consumed by helping others, so they never do anything for themselves. I praise Tyra for walking that line well; her modeling and talk show career were obviously for her and to fulfill her own interest and talents, however she allowed her personal mission to drive her to "do some good" at the same time. Another role model in this area is none other than Hill Harper. No, he's not a woman and no, his work isn't directed to help women (unless you count his charm and amazing good looks), but Hill has used his rising star to spearhead a self-esteem building movement for young, black men. Not only was this an altruistic moves on his part, but a strategic one I think. No matter how you slice it, doing the right thing is always the best choice—even to your bottom line.

So how do you identify your personal mission statement? Think about who you are, what's most important to you, then write it down! Also think about which of the world's ill's speak to you the most, then think about how your God-given talents can have a positive effect. Get inspiration from other leaders and role models who are making an impact in the field that you want to be in. Most importantly, live out your personal mission and use it to guide you in your everyday dealings. When you feel overwhelmed by your activities and can't even remember why you got started in the first place, let your personal mission statement be a reminder that your goal is bigger than the obstacles that temporarily lay before you. After all, if Tyra can do it all the way to the top of supermodel stardom, then so can you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Video: What is a Think and Grow Chick?

Here's a little video I made the morning, properly introducing just what a Think and Grow Chick is. Are you a Think and Grow Chick?

"Master-Mind" Your Sister Circle

Women know all too well how important "kickin' it" with the girls can be. While our male counterparts are scratching their heads wondering why on earth two or more women are necessary for one trip to the restroom, social ladies know that keeping your very best girlfriends at the ready, all the time, is actually pretty useful for a multitude of situations. When shopping, for instance, it always pays to bring your girl who isn't afraid to tell you that (1) your butt looks saggy in those jeans and (2) you're only buying them because they're on sale. Of course, this is insight you should be able to bring to yourself, but sometimes the extra eye and your girl's particularly keen sense of style makes all the difference in accomplishing your ultimate aim—finding the perfect pair of jeans. I find it particularly interesting then, that many woman don't translate this approach to collaboration when trying to achieve more substantial goals like starting a business. The same thing that makes our personal "sister circles" great—diverse yet like-minded friends who have strengths that compliment our weaknesses—is the same thing that can help us achieve the goals that are really important in our lives. In other words, put your more ambitious friends to work by orchestrating your own "mastermind" group.

Though the term "Mastermind" was coined by Napoleon Hill in many of his books (Think and Grow Rich, The Laws of Success, etc) the "mastermind" concept has been around since people have been around. Call it a mastermind, a sister circle, your inner clique, or your "fav 5", simply put, having an informal group of people with different, complimenting talents working together for you is really the key to achieving any singular goal.

"But I don't have any money to hire anybody," some might protest. A mastermind group isn't about hiring people, but about electing people to help you because you can help them too. Do you hire a friend to listen to you when deciding about what to do with a wayward boyfriend? Of course not; your friend is there for you because she likes you and she knows she can expect that same dedication from you in her time of need. So it is with the people in your mastermind group—helping you helps them help themselves. A prime example of this is an informal arrangement I currently have with a good friend of mine. She's a phenomenal connector in terms of networking and gaining contacts, while I'm a great orchestrator in terms of putting talents to profitable use. When I came to her for help in learning how to meet the right people for my projects, she happily obliged as she needed help with selling her networking skills as services for her own consulting business. Though no money exchanged hands, we traded something even better: our time and devotion for each other. By keeping track of the other's progress and meeting every few weeks just to check in, she and I have collectively gotten a lot farther working together than we could have hoped when previously on our own. For our specific goals, she and I employed our own little mastermind group of two...each other.

One of my favorite examples of a successful, large scale mastermind group online (though they don't refer to themselves as such) is the hair forum at longhaircareforum.com. Literally as often as every few minutes, thousands of Black women from all over the world get together to discuss and help each other achieve, long, healthy hair. If you spend a few minutes browsing the members' picture albums of their hair, the difference between the growth of their hair prior to joining the forum and after is almost astronomical. No one's hair grew any faster after joining the forum, of course; however, being privy to the groups collective knowledge and being held accountable for their individual goals allows virtually every member to retain longer hair quicker than they had been able to on their own.

If you look closely at pretty much any success story, big or small, a mastermind group was operating somewhere in the background, at some point in time. Is collaboration with like minded individuals a part of your strategy for success? Share your thoughts in the comments box or email me at thinkandgrowchick [at] gmail [dot] com.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Celebrating the Hair and Now

With the record breaking "snowpocalypse" ravaging the east coast and trapping me inside for a full 48 hours and counting, I was free to unapologatically wear my pajamas all day, eat cheese snacks, and watch VH1 Soul for hours on end. It was during this marathon that I happened upon Laura Izibor, an up-and-coming neo-soul singer of Nigerian and Irish decent.

(photo credit: lauraizibor.com)

With funky tracks and a delightfully different and interesting voice, a video featuring Izibor was a pleasant interruption to the monotony of my day. So I laid there, on the couch, in lazy bliss as my TV set blared Izibor's latest, "From My Heart to Yours". As I toe-tapped to the beat, however, I was troubled to find my attention quietly seduced away from the song by...

you guessed it...

...her hair. As beautiful and stylish as her ringlets are, I was somewhat suprised at my own reaction to her 'do. Normally when I see a chick with a rockin' 'fro, she is instantly filed away into my mental reservoir of "Holy Grail Hair" and I spend the next few weeks researching her routine and trying everything I can to get my hair on an equally fabulous level. Sitting on the couch and studying Izibor's tresses, however, led me to a different conclusion.

For the first time, looking at someone else's remarkable hair gave me an uncontrollable desire to get out there and celebrate my own, just as it is.

Blame it on delusion induced by snow day captivity, but by watching Izibor bop around in her music video with her artsy clothes, big hoop earrings, and larger than life hair, I felt remiss that for the last few weeks, I hadn't been celebrating myself in the same way. For the first time in American culture, there is a wealth of information about natural, African-American hair and it can be easy to get lost in the "tips and tricks" that'll help you make your hair longer, looser, shinier, or simply "something else". Learning about and trying things with natural hair (as any natural diva can attest to) can be great, but it is such an involved process that I think sometimes we can lose sight of the fun in rocking our hair as it is.

If we're not careful, such an "on to the next" attitude can permiate other aspects of our lives. While I'm not saying that ambition, drive, and trying to better yourself is a bad thing (after all, this blog is rooted in such characteristics),  it is something to manage correctly, as you do not want to wake up one day and realize that nothing you have or did was good enough because you were always looking for that next best thing. I've been guilty of this when studying other people's path to success, and I 've certainly been guilty of this when admiring other women's natural hair.

So dear readers, I challenge you to celebrate your current state of being in whatever facet of your life you may be struggling with the most, today. For example, If you're newly natural and find yourself drooling over pictures of Corinne Bailey Rae's long curls, try using accessories, stunning makeup, or just a more confident attitude to make you feel like the 'fro you've got is "all that and then some" until you reach your ultimate hair goal. Life's too short--make the most of what you have, when you have it, and the rest will fall in to place.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Think and Grow Chick" of the Day: Meet the Fabulous Kimmay

For those of you who don't know, Kim of KimmayTube on Youtube.com is a phenomenal lady to both watch and glean life advice from. I was lucky enough to score an interview with her, and I have to say that it is a real treat. Before we dive into the interview, check out one of my favorite videos from her entitled, "Advice to a 23 year old me—My financial Fall, Pt. 2"

(embeded with permission from KimmayTube)

Hello Kimmay! 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'm a graphics consultant.  I help companies to see where they are going through info-graphics or other creative forms (like boardgames).  It has less to do with art and more with understanding processes and problem solving.  Having an art background has helped, but most people in my profession majored in business, journalism or marketing.

What is a typical day in your life like?

Honestly, there is no such thing as a typical day for me. Sometimes I have to travel, other times I work from home (in my pajamas). But a typical week includes exercise, preparing meals on my nights to cook and checking email/Youtube 50 million times. Now that I'm starting my new company LUV Naturals, I spend a lot of time researching, contacting manufacturers and making purchases for the website. I'm excited and everything is coming together nicely. But there is still a lot of work left to be done!

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

That is such an open ended question! All I can say is that I know what I want in life and I go for it.
I don't make excuses. Absolutely no excuses!  I'm motivated by the success and talents of others and I'm willing to plan & work for what I want out of life. That is key.  If you are discouraged by the success of others, that is a personal problem that needs to be worked out pronto! lol.  It will only hold you back and keep you from realizing your full potential. Even that slight tinge of jealousy or green envy is a sign that it is time to step up your game, not hate on theirs. I’ve been living by this “rule” for the past 10 years now.  It works. Lol.

What were your goals back in college or during your youth? Did they change over time, or did they always lead to what it is you are doing now?

There was no straight path to where I am in life today.  I've always known how to adapt and self-critique in order to improve myself. The only thing that has changed is that now I have a plan.  Having a plan is necessary to make your vision a reality.  You have to see it, schedule the steps required to get there and just do it.  Even if you don't have a full fleshed out plan, make a sketch of it, write something down. That will be the start of your journey.

Every lesson/skill that you've learned in life *should* automatically be applied to everything you do in the future.  Your unique experiences set you apart from the pack.

How did KimmayTube come about? What was your motivation?

I started kimmaytube because I believed I had something unique to offer to the natural hair community.  I love the entire creative process of taking a video from concept to final.

Also, I felt that if I didn't like the way natural hair was being presented, I needed to promote my ideals.  For example, I'm personally not a fan of weaves for naturals *ducks tomatoes*. Lol.  I'm not!  I think it sends the message that our hair can't be managed and worn on its own, without "help" in order to be beautiful and presentable to the world. So while I think it is perfectly fine for a natural to sport her weaves/wigs etc.

I want to help put forth an alternative message to the world (we are global on Youtube!) that we can.  At all stages, we can wear our own hair and be beautiful.

Plus the myth about afro-textured hair not being able to grow long needs to be dispelled! And then I won’t feel like weaves send a bad message about our self-image. They can simply be known as a styling option not a “crutch” or something to hide our hair beneath.

My channel is for everyone. No matter the race or hair type. People need to see more positive images of black women. To let the media tell it, we’re mostly, sad, angry, unhappy, unfulfilled etc. but this is the internet.  We can share our lives and show the world (and ourselves) who we really are or where we want to be.

Please describe some of the realities of promoting yourself using social media? How has it been for you?

I have found it to be incredibly easy because I AM A FAN OF YOUTUBE, period.
I don't just take cues from other naturals, I also watch what other non-hair related Youtubers are doing.  You can learn a lot from them (editing, graphics etc.).

Plus, I create videos on a regular basis. You have to be visible on Youtube in order to grow an audience. It happens gradually too (it has taken me 8 months to get this far).

And if the fans love what you're doing (and if you're helpful) they will spread the word about you (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc.). I LOVE my subscribers!  They show me so much love and support and I am deeply grateful.

What would you describe to be your greatest moment since becoming a success on Youtube?

I enjoy making the top 15 highest rated in the How to Style category on a regular basis.  I love the emails and comments I get from my subscribers telling me how helpful or inspiring I've been.  It can be overwhelming at times!  But helping & teaching others is rewarding.

I see from your last video that you have are promoting LuvNaturals.com, your up-and-coming business. Can you tell us more about this project?

I've started an online retail company for hair accessories, hair products and hair education tools.   It will launch on February 14th.  I'll have more to say about it in a future video. :0)

You seem to be both an entrepreneurial and creative person in general. What is your stance on entrepreneurship? What are some of your personal entrepreneurial goals?

My goal is to launch and run a successful company! :-)

If you had to work with a young woman like you and help her get a dream or idea off of the ground, what are some key principles you would be certain to stress to her?

Give yourself permission to do whatever you want to do.  You don't need the approval of others to start your own business.  You need to be prepared and be willing to put in the work to make it successful.  It won't be handed to you.

Clearly the internet has been instrumental in developing KimmayTube. What are some of your recommendations for promoting on the internet?

Give people something of value and they will come back.  Connect with them.  Be yourself. (so cliché but true).

I love, love, love your summer and winter fashion videos, and the pieces you that you model for your fans! Can you describe your personal style?

Comfortable, Flexible, Interchangeable.  It is important to build a wardrobe with the basics/ the "classic" pieces that never go out of style. You can always mix & match and add new accessories to freshen up your basics. ;0)

How has your personal style developed over time?

As my age, profession, marital status changed, so did my style.  I shop at stores that offer clothing made of high quality materials.  I can look at the way a garment is constructed and determine if it's going to fall apart and fade easily.  I want my clothing to say that I'm a grown woman but also that I have a whimsical spirit. I'm well read/cultured,  interested in the arts and that I take pride in my appearance.  But I know that the way I carry myself and my body language also tells
these things and more.

How does your personal style affect your approach to your line of work and clients?

My personal style doesn't affect my approach with my clients. My feeling of confidence and competence does. They only care about whether or not I can deliver. I'm probably ten times more stylish when going on a date with my husband or to the grocery store! :0)

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

My advice is to know your body type.  Understand what is flattering on your figure and work it!  Allow your clothing choices to say something about you because your outside appearance is all that most people (everyday strangers) are going to see. Be comfortable & confident.  Confidence comes from knowing who you are and embracing what is unique about you.

Has the economy affected your approach to personal styling at all? What is your advice for looking fly on a budget?

The economy has not affected my personal hair styling because I never really spent a lot of money on my hair. Before launching LUV Naturals, I tried different products, but my collection happened gradually.  Literally, over the years. Ex: Some of my Miss Jessies products were bought in 2006!

Wearing your hair in protective styles (like two strand twists, braids, buns, tuck and go's-like my first video) are not expensive at all.  In fact, if you take care of your hair and not focus on having it "out and fly" all the time, you won't need silicone based products to mask your damage.

My staples, aloe vera juice, castor oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil & shea butter are all fairly inexpensive.

Many of your subscribers also love you because you have fabulous natural hair. Can briefly tell us about your natural experience?

My natural hair experience is not at all typical.  I've been working on this "natural thing" for 13 years now.  I was natural before hair forums, before there was any mainstream language about it all. Words like "transitioning" & "big chop" weren't common terms.

I ceased relaxing my hair back in 1997, wore braid extensions for a few years, then big chopped my hair several times between 1999 - 2005, got a texturizer in 2006 and hated it.  I had to cut drastically cut my hair until the texturized pieces were gone.  After that, I began to research about hair through books and when I discovered Youtube I really saw the amazing style options that I had never thought of doing. I practiced them on my hair and then discovered techniques on my own.  I've now grown my hair to the longest length it has ever been in my life. I continue to learn so much.

What are some of the products that you use? 

1) Giovanni Smooth As Silk Conditioner (I use for deep conditioning treatments)
2) 50/50 Hydrating Balance (as a detangling creme)
3) Kinky Curly Curling Custard (as a styling "treat" because I don't wear my hair in curly styles often)

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

Somewhere in between, because now I buy products to test them on my hair (and friends/family) to determine whether or not they are worthy of a review (or for selling on LUV Naturals).

What is your advice for those just getting into the natural blogging game?

Know your purpose and what you have to offer. Take the time to understand what is missing in order to create opportunity. There is SO MUCH opportunity.  Find your niche and make sure it's something you'd do for free, then it's less like work.  But believe me, it'll STILL be work, just more enjoyable. :0)

What is the response to your hair given your business and the types of clients that you work with?

My hair has never been an issue. I wear my hair in styles that compliment my more conservative dress code when working in a professional environment. 

Do you consider your look to be professional?


What is your advice for women who want to break out on their own, but are concerned about how their hair or sense of style might affect people’s perceptions of them?

I have no advice for them. If they are overly-concerned with what others think of them, then they aren't ready.  Wow. I know that sounds mean. lol. But I seriously can't relate to people who allow others to dictate their precious time on earth, sorry.  Our lives are too short not to be lived and enjoyed and be ourselves. Life must be honored and respected every day.

I personally appreciated the four-part series on financial advice that you recently did. What's the best financial advice you feel every fly, confident female should know?

Live below your means. And just because you can buy it or barely afford it doesn't mean you should have it. The Repo Man will get you. Believe that! lol.

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

Success is freedom to do whatever I want to do with my day. Everyday. Yes, I feel successful because I've accomplished many things I've set out to do, like traveling, establishing a reputation as person with an excellent work ethic, finding a life partner to love... I'm content with my life.

But I worked and continue to WORK for it. Sometimes that means literally working and putting in the time to perfect my craft or working on myself, personally.

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

I have no idea!  I'd never heard of the term until you presented it to me . I look forward to learning more though.  I think you’re on to something.  :-)

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?

No problem!  Thanks for asking me to share. :0)



Kimmay is freaking amazing. Make sure to check out her Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/kimmaytube

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Video: Natural Hair Routine Part I: The Pre-Poo


Yes, I'm a jerk for not being able to adhere to the posting schedule that I devised. Lets just agree that the Monday/Friday posting schedule is suspended as of now, and i'll simply try to post as often as I can :-)


This is the first in a series of videos I'm working on which will show you all my new hair routine and the progress my hair makes as I stick with it over the next few months. Enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Blogs are the New Black?

Via my twitter feed, I recently ran across Black Enterprise's "Be Next 2010" which is their yearly feature on young, up-and-coming black entrepreneurs. Hoping to get on that list myself one day, imagine my surprise and delight to see Natasha Eubanks, fellow blogger and creator of TheYBF.com among the ranks. 

With Black Enterprise featuring Natasha's success with turning her blog into a successful, full-blown company, I thought it'd be helpful today to post some tips about using a blog to launch your next project, since I know many of my readers are also bloggers with big dreams of starting really amazing ventures.

The number one reason to start a blog is that a blog helps you hone in on what you're trying to accomplish. You will never gain the readership you desire if you don't center your blog around a specific niche and purpose. The same can be said for your business or project—you will never gain the success you desire if you don't have a specific purpose. What problem are you solving with your idea? If you have an idea that will legitimately be useful to a group of people, then writing about it should attract a significant following. If you find that you're struggling to think of things to write about on your blog or people are not attracted to the things you are writing about, then perhaps that is evidence that your blog and your project need some tweaking.

Another blatant reason to start a blog is that blogs are a free/cheap way to get online. I don't know about you, but I never have a ton of cash to blow on web designers and hosting just to put up a website. Blogs are a perfect solution because in nearly all cases, they are free to start and come with free hosting. If you want your blog to reflect your own domain (i.e. www.yourbusiness.com), many blogs can do that for just the cost of the domain name (generally $10 for a whole year). When bootstrapping a new venture, there's really no reason to have a "standard website" when your first starting out, as many blogging platforms have free, professional templates you can use instead. Furthermore, a blog can provide all the information a standard website would have if you simply set it up right. Make sure all the info a potential customer would need about your company is easily found on your blog, and voila! You are good to go!

Speaking of customers, a blog is a great way to build your potential customer base. Once you gain a significant readership to your blog, you can begin marketing your project directly to your visitors, as they are likely to already have an interest in your idea since they keep coming back to read your blog.

A blog is also a great testing place for potential products or services. Thinking of launching a new t-shirt line? Write a few post about if first and get your readers involved. Read their comments and listen to what they have to say before you spend money on that new project. What you think is a great idea might not be so if you're truly targeting your readers as customers. Take you reader feedback seriously; it can save you from spending thousands on a new but poorly planned idea.

The point is if you have enough moxie to start up a blog a get it to a mildly successful point, then you can probably do the same with a business. 

Have you had success with blogging? Are you just starting out but are dying to be the next "YBF" blogger? Share your thoughts in the comments box or email me at thinkandgrowchick [at] gmail [dot] com.

Monday, January 4, 2010

How Going Natural Taught Me Everything I Know About Success

Though every new year brings about a renewed sense of self improvement and making changes, I find that my 2010 resolutions are particularly magnified because we're now moving into a new decade. With the pressure on, I find myself looking to things I've accomplished in the past for inspiration to being successful now. What prior success sticks out the most for me?

...going natural :-)

Now obviously, I've done things that carry more weight in the grand scheme of life than having natural hair, but I'm consistently inspired by my own natural hair journey particularly because there were clear, concrete steps I took to reach "hair success" that I often refer to when trying to accomplish something else. Going natural taught me to:

1. Beginning with the end in mind. Even though this bit of wisdom came from Yogi Bear, it's so true: "If you don't know where you're going, you might end up somewhere else!" I still vividly remember being 15 and seeing a full page picture in my Teen Magazine of this black model with the most beautiful, coily, kinky 'fro ever! I immediately tore the page out, ran downstairs to the kitchen, and frantically asked my mom one simple question—"Before I had a perm, do you think my hair texture looked like this?" Startled by both the randomness and the immediacy behind my inquiry, my mom answered with a puzzled, "Uh, yeah, I guess..." and the rest is history. That was all I needed and 6 years later, my hair is actually quite similar in texture and style to the picture that inspired me years ago. I had saw what my "success" would look before I even embarked on the journey, and I received confirmation that my "end" was in fact feasible. To accomplish anything in life, we have to know what the end looks like before we even start while never keeping our eyes off of the finish line

2. Research. Prior to going natural, I was a regular black girl with a standing, biweekly appointment at the local JCPenney hair salon. I would walk in with itchy, week old hair and walk out with the silkiest "wrap" a hoodied dryer and Motion's Foaming Set Lotion could provide. Needless to say, I didn't know much about my hair seeing as I rarely did it myself. Not one to be easily discouraged, however, it took all of maybe one month and an absurd number of hours spent in front of Google for me to become my own hair expert. Whether you're going natural or losing 50 pounds, research is crucial to meeting your goal successfully—you must become your own expert, as no one can reach your goal for you.

3. Identify and maximize your capabilities. Looking back on my natural hair care journey, I'm most proud of the fact that I did it with the meager resources I had as a 15 year old. I had school and a part-time job at the dry cleaners up the street, so under no circumstances could I afford (nor did I have the time) to see a stylist regularly, pay for elaborate sew-ins, or purchase expensive hair treatments just to transition out of my relaxer. What I could do as a 15 year old, however, was study natural hair in the same manner that I studied for school and perfect the art of "do-it-yourself" since I was young and able, which is exactly what I did. Sometimes we look at the things we cannot do and get discouraged about our goals when really, we should identify that things we can do and work the crap out of them.

4. Surround yourself with inspiration. Part of the reason I spent so much time in front of the computer was because the internet was really the only place I could see pictures and read inspiring stories about natural hair. Whether it's pictures torn from magazines, articles bookmarked online, or actual people in your life, you absolutely have to surround yourself with inspiration to remind you of why you're working towards your goal to begin with.

5. Follow through. To be honest, my natural hair journey wasn't too bad for about six months. For the most part, I treated my hair as if I were stretching a relaxer and kept it pressed. Then the summer came leaving my hair perpetually sweated out and stuff really hit the fan. I wanted to go back to a relaxer SO bad, but kept in mind how big of a waste all my work up to this point would be if I didn't stick it out. If you commit to achieving something, then really commit and follow through to the very end. If you quit working towards your goal at the first sign of trouble, then you'll never get anywhere.

6. Enjoy your success... I loved my hair when it was finally all natural and I still do to this day. I was so excited when first going natural that I wore it in all sorts of natural hair styles, showcasing all of my hard work. It's important to really bask in the end result of your hard work because, well, you earned it. Which brings me to...

7. ...Maintain your success... You have to consistently maintain and improve all that you've worked for. After 6 years of being natural, I sometimes find myself slipping into lazy practices, leaving my with hair that isn't as great as it was in my early natural days. What got you there will not keep you there... Success is a journey, not a destination.

8. ...Share your success. I went from knowing nothing about my hair to knowing enough to share that knowledge and help other people. Even now, when I get compliments on my hair, I feel most rewarded when I can use that as an opportunity to share what I've done and help someone else attain the success that I've reached. Ask anyone, they'll tell you that I ADORE when someone tells me that I was a big help in them going natural. In part, that's why I even have this blog—I love sharing my journey to help other people :-) Why even bother being successful if you're just going to keep it to yourself?

So what do you think, dear readers? Is there a particular accomplishment from your past that inspires you to be successful in the future?

Help a Chick Grow: How Do I Craft a Proposal for My Business Idea?

***Over the last few weeks, I've been totally honored by all of the comments and emails I've received from you all over the whole range of topics that I talk about here. With this post, I'm officially starting the "Help a Chick Grow" Series—if you have any questions or problems about hair, beauty, business, inspiration, style, spirituality, etc, etc, you can email me and I'll post them so that I, along with the other fellow Think & Grow Chick readers can help you out. Below you'll find the first of this series with a question from Kenyan reader, Clara:

Dear Think & Grow Chick,

I really like your writing. You are very goal oriented and focused.

I am 21, live in Kenya and I am in 3rd year of college and I am starting a business. I had an idea similar to the Lemon Bar. I want to hold an event related to fashion and makeup. I want to approach a fashion retailer and a makeup company, get women together, teach them how to dress, find their individual style and how to apply makeup.

I already have a makeup line willing to participate, I just need to get a fashion retailer. To do this, I need to write a proposal. Any ideas on what to write?

Have a great year,

Thank you so much for following my blog, Clara! It's great to know I have a subscriber all the way from Kenya!

As far as your business idea, I love your concept; especially the part about teaching your participants about personal style. This is really what you need to drive home when crafting a proposal for a possible retail sponsor.

First, brainstorm a few retailers (large and small) that already target the audience that you are targeting for your business. No sense in writing a proposal for Ann Taylor if none of the women attending your even like to shop there.

Secondly, find a simple sponsorship proposal template (you can type those three words right in to Google) to use as a guide for your proposal. I found one that might be of assistance to you here. Regardless of what template you use or how snazzy it looks, you'll want to make sure that you include:
  1. An overview/introduction to your event including why you are doing this and who your audience will be...
  2. Sponsorship packages you are offering (how much do they have to pay and what does it get them)...
  3. Deadlines/schedule up until the event, and...
  4. Contact information (including who they make the check out to!)

You'd be surprised how much support a well written proposal will get from various companies. My best advice is to research your audience, research the retailer, and research proposals. The point is to prove to the retailer that you have what they want (customers) and that sponsoring your event will bring them more business. If you can do that in a well-thought out proposal, then your golden!

Good Luck,
~The Think & Grow Chick


What say you, dear readers? I know many of you are some business savvy phenoms; leave your suggestions in the comments if you have some advice for Clara. Have a question yourself? The hit me up at twitter.com/thinkngrowchick or thinkandgrowchick [at] gmail [dot] com.

Respecting the Space Between the Rock and the Hard Place

I ran across BeautifulBrwnBabyDol on Youtube when looking for fitness tips and I have to say, I really love this chick. Besides posting her very inspiring weight loss journey (she lost a ridiculous amount of weight by just eating right and working out, sometimes only using workout DVDs!) she comes off as confident and as "a real black girl", as she so aptly puts it. The video that I posted above was particularly inspiring to me for some not so obvious reasons. I invite you to watch the entire video (but you can fast-forward to 6:29 if your pressed for time and just want to get to the core of what I'm talking about) then read on below.


Now I'm not an ex-fat girl as I've been tall and slim my entire life, but I think many of the things BeautifulBrwn speaks on are universally true, regardless of what kind of transformation you are embarking on. What she describes as "the journey" I call "the space between the rock and the hard place" and it's so important that you respect it for all the reasons BeautifulBrwn talks about.

As you all know, I am on a pretty daunting "get-out-of-debt-and-get-back-in-school" journey for 2010. I have to admit, this is a "down" point in my life and it is CRAZY how different people will treat you because you are not "up"! Where BeautifulBrwn has people vying for her attention now that she is fit and "skinny" but couldn't catch a break when she was "fat", I had people fawning over me left and right when I had a scholarship and was attending Howard University, but now that I'm in debt, waiting tables full time, and saving up to go to the local public university you would think I had leprosy or something! Even my own family is giving me the side eye because they're not sure I can really pull this off. But you know what? I'm alright because I know this is my journey, not my destination and I'm learning to love me for who I am and not any of the titles I carry—impressive or otherwise—at any given point in time.

More importantly, BeautifulBrwn hit it on the head when she says not to advertise your progress in a way that seeks validation from other people. As she puts it, "Pop up and be the hotness" and this is so true. When my school and finance issues first hit me, I felt like I had to put a disclaimer on my chest when meeting new people or telling old ones about my situation. Instead of just saying "I'm saving up for school right now" or telling people about the new university I plan on attending, I found myself still telling people I was a Howard student or avoiding the whole topic of school all together. I now see that all of the stammering, half-truths, and drawn out anecdotes were totally unnecessary because it doesn't matter what anyone thinks. No, I don't go to Howard anymore. So? Yes, I'm working to pay off some debts. And? Both God and I know what I'm doing is the right thing, and in a few short weeks this ordeal has fine tuned my character and helped me appreciate my faith, my opportunities and my life in ways that I was totally blind to when I was a "successful" yet arrogant and unappreciative person. Furthermore, sharing my story has helped me connect with and reach out to other young women who are going through the same thing. I couldn't ask for a better silver lining, but I might have missed it if I refused to respect my journey in the first place.

So how can you respect the space between your rock and hard place?

1. Don't be in such a rush to "get there". Making a true, long-lasting change in your life is a transformative thing, which means a process is involved. You cannot make progress if you ignore the process. For instance, if your going natural, commit to the several months it will take you to grow out that 'fro, and love yourself on the good and bad days. I can't tell you how many women run back to a relaxer because they weren't committed to the entire process of going natural–ugly hair days and all.

2. Recognize that it's lonely at the top. BeautifulBrwn pretty much described this throughout her entire video, but it's worth repeating: not everyone is going to be happy about your transformation. You may have to drop some people and make new friends. This is okay, because a better you demands some better company. In the words of Will Smith, "You can often project your success in life by looking at the top 5 people you spend most of your time with. If you don't want to be those people, you know what to do..."

3. Never forget where you came from. This is so important! In reality, staying grounded in your journey and not basing your self-esteem on your success after the fact will save you if, God forbid, you face another hardship. We hear all the time that you shouldn't care what others think about you, but this goes both ways; you should be unaffected by both the hate and the praise you receive externally. This was the hardest thing for me to deal with; all my life I was great at ignoring negative feedback, but I swung to the opposite extreme and wrapped my confidence in my success and the adoration I received from my family, friends, teachers, acquaintances, strangers, etc. When all of that stopped, I didn't know what to do with myself! I had totally forgotten where I came from, but now I will always remember.

So that's all I got, beloved readers. How are you respecting the space between the rock and the hard place? How are you growing on your journey? Share your thoughts via the comments, or email me at thinkandgrowchick [at] gmail [dot] com.