I cannot believe how quickly 2012 has come & gone. I feel like I was doing this year-end Project 365 review post just yesterday and suddenly we’re approaching the dawn of a completely new year, and here I am again. My 20′s are flying by! Sheesh.
I have so many incredible things to be thankful for this year. 2012 was truly a year of growth and constant change for me. I think I experienced the most changes in my adult life during this year. From career changes to lifestyle changes to personal life changes and self-renewal, this was a pivotal year for me. I’ve learned so much about myself from all the trials & tests I’ve had to endure. My faith is way stronger and I have clarity of mind about where I see myself and what I truly want out of life. The Quarter-Life Crisis is real, y’all. But necessary. Most important lesson learned? Count your blessings.
Here’s a list of My 2012 Top 20 Things I’m Thankful For:
1. My first trip to San Francisco
San Francisco is a city after mine own heart. From the incredible sight-seeing, the beautiful rolling hills, the coastal views and the amazing green lifestyle there, to the tech vibes and the diversity of the city, I fell head over heels. I love it and I can’t wait to go back!
2. The birth of my newest nephew
There’s nothing more beautiful to me than the birth of a new soul. We added a happy addition to my family this year – my nephew Ezekiel. My other nephew Justice has made cameos on the blog from time to time (particularly this time I dressed him up in my Russian fur hat Ralph). I love these two boys with all my heart.
|My 3 year old nephew, and my new 8 month old nephew|
3. Taking Risks With My Look
Before this year, I hadn’t colored my hair at all since 2006. Big step for me! I mean, yes it was colored extensions so not actually “my” hair, but it was still major for me to embrace the color and the change. Dana Gibbs of Dana’s Loft did an excellent job on my BET Awards look. I think it was my best hair ever. Ombre ends might make a reappearance on this head in 2013.
4. My First Published Travel Story
I have always been addicted to travel. Any major trips I take, I document them right here on the blog and it’s always been something I was really passionate about. So it was a MAJOR deal for me to have my first travel story published in a print magazine. I had the opportunity to do so in the April 2012 issue of UPTOWN Magazine. I’ll never forget it!
5. My first “Home” away from home
So this year I started my new Home Improvement series. I moved into a new apartment in the city that just has so much character and, for once, really feels like “my” home. I’ve been really enjoying making it my own and giving it a personal touch.
6. Discovering LiSi Cosmetics
By far one of the best moments of 2012 was my first time walking into the flagship LiSi Cosmetics store in downtown NYC. From that day on, I have been hooked and the brand has been so incredibly supportive of me and my endeavors. I’ve had so much fun spreading the word about them. From the Digital Launch Party to the creation of my nail polish color. I’m beyind grateful for having stepped foot into that store.
7. My Trip to the BET Awards
The fact that this blog all started with a runway recap of the BET Awards in 2009, it really brought things full circle for me when I was invited by Ford to be a special guest in their Ford Hotspot in LA. Not only was it my first time in LA, but my Road To BET Awards series really hit home for me because it truly has been a journey since starting my site. The opportunities I’ve been given go beyond my wildest dreams.
8. My Trip to New Orleans
I almost didn’t make it to the Essence Music Festival this year. But I had always wanted to go and so instead of being rational, I threw caution to the wind and booked a last minute flight out to New Orleans. Best decision I made all year. I had an absolute blast hanging with my blogger besties in one of the most beautiful and culture-rich cities in this country.
9. My Successful Whole 30 Challenge
So towards the end of the summer, you guys who follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook probably recall me jumping head first into a full 30-day detox called The Whole 30. This was life-changing for me. It’s incredible to see firsthand how your body reacts to cutting out toxic foods. I never felt better. I’m already planning my next Whole 30 journey for 2013. It may be happening sometime in February, stay tuned.
10. Being Valued as a Voice
This year I had the pleasure of doing a number of speaking engagements and panel discussions =- something I’ve never done before! This year, I spoke at the Blogworld & New Media Expo, the Rising Affluent Conference, the BlogHer Conference, a Fashion Blogger panel for a Youth Women’s group as well as a PENN Alumni panel. You guys already know I love to talk, so being able to share some of my experience in this industry with other folks who really care? Priceless. I can’t wait to do more of it in 2013.
11. My First Runway Fashion Show
BlogHer blessed me with the opportunity to strut my stuff in their very first runway fashion show. I had SUCH a blast being in the company of other awesome bloggers and walking down a runway for the first time. I even landed a beauty feature on Elle.com because of it. So much fun!
12. Hosting Social Women Brunches
This year, myself and Yoli of Yoli’s Green Living co-hosted a series of brunches entitled “Social Women”. We had esteemed guests like comedienne actress Kim Coles and even socialite/entrepreneur Angela Simmons. I’ve always love hosting events so this was a true accomplishment for me.
13. My First ATL Weekend (Turned Week)
There’s nothing like a plate of Southern food to make you feel at home, even when you’re away from home. I visited Atlanta for the first time this year and what was supposed to be a quick weekend getaway turned into an extended stay due to Hurricane Sandy. I didn’t complain. I connected with ATL friends, ate tons of Southern cuisine and counted my blessings, considering the tragedy that was taking place in my hometown.
14. My Successful 2 Year Natural Hair Journey
Two years natural guys! Can you believe it? I didn’t think I would make it without the creamy crack but I did! And the journey is still going strong.
15. My Daytime TV Debut (Katie Couric Show)
I had the pleasure of being Katie Couric’s behind-the-scenes live blogger on her daytime talk show this year. I got to meet Katie, I wrote a post for her website and I was treated to a front row seat at the show (with laptop in tow). It was a great experience.
16. Taking Part in Political History…Again
I voted back in 2008 for what I believed would never actually happen. Having a First Family of color for the past 4 years has been nothing short of amazing for me. Our ancestors fought so incredibly hard to make dreams like this come true. I was happy this year to participate in his re-election. Not because of his skin color, but because I believe in his values and what he plans to do for this country. I’m not really big into politics, but I was proud to do my civic duty this year.
17. Meeting Iyanla Vanzant
Guys, I am ONE degree of separation from Oprah! That’s right, your girl met Iyanla Vanzant at a launch dinner for her new show “Iyanla Fix My Life” not too long ago. I was honored, to say the least. She has such a warm presence, and her show on OWN network is really touching lives. This night was monumental for me.
18. My BlogHer Style Squad Appointment
I am a super proud member of BlogHer Publishing Network’s very first Style Squad. I contribute posts to their site and they now service ads right here on LoveBrownSugar.com (as you guys probably have noticed on the right sidebar and top header). It’s beyond my wildest dreams that I’m able to make a little chump change from doing what I love. I’m thankful to BlogHer for believing in me and supporting my dream.
19. LoveBrownSugar Nail Lacquer
What can I really say? This is something I can now check off my bucket list. I have a beauty product in my name! Even now, over a month after the announcement, I’m still in awe. My Limited Edition “LoveBrownSugar” nail polish is still available for sale HERE. I love & appreciate you guys who have supported me by purchasing bottles of your own!
20. Surviving 2012
From bad breakups to bouts of unhappiness and depression, nearly losing loved ones in my immediate family and feeling like all hope was lost. I even stopped blogging for nearly a month! God’s grace is really the only reason I can say I’m still here. So I’ll go forward counting my blessings and remembering how important it is to give thanks for the positive things in your life. One of which, for me, is your readership and your continuous support. I’m beyond blessed to have readers (and friends, really) like you all. I wish you guys continous success, prosperity and true happiness for the upcoming year!
It’s Day 1 of the 12 Days of LoveBrownSugar giveaway series and we’re kicking things off with all things beauty! You guys know I love gabbing about hair, nails and makeup so today’s gift pack includes a few of my absolute faves courtesy chic mega-retailer Target. For those of you like me who really can’t afford to dig deep into your pockets for holiday gifts this season, Target is the quintessential one-stop-shop. It’s dangerous, y’all. I’ve been known to walk in there for toothpaste and walk out with a whole new lineup of beauty products, a new bedroom set and toys for my nephews. It’s a trap!
But today, you officially have permission to get caught up. Get a load of this faboosh beauty bundle LoveBrownSugar is gifting one reader with:
Rules for Entry:
1. You must be following LoveBrownSugar on Twitter and Facebook.
2. Leave a comment below about why you should win.
3. For bonus entry, tweet @LoveBrownSugar @Target using the hashtag #TargetHoliday.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Target beauty bundle of 4 total products valued at $60.99. Sweepstakes ends 11:59PM EST 12/25/12. Open to U.S. residents 18 years of age or older. Winner drawn at random. Winner has 72 hours to respond with contact information before new winner is selected. Winning prize and compensation provided by Target. This program is not administered or sponsored by Target or its affiliates, but solely by LoveBrownSugar.
Last week was fun. Putting this recap together makes me excited about the cool things to come this week. Here’s a rundown of all I got into this week (clockwise from left):
- My hair is growing! I took my makeup off and my hair down for an au naturale pic on Friday and I’m so surprised at how fast it’s growing out. It’s been about 1.5 years now. Remember my Big Chop?
- I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my new backyard & garden. Had a few business meetings out there this weekend. Look out for a new Home Improvement series post this week.
- I’m crazy for Neon this summer. On Instagram, I hosted a giveaway/contest with this pic asking if my followers thought I opted for Essie Bright Tights or Funky Limelight:
- In beauty product previews, I tried out Ojon’s Rare Blend Oil this weekend and was thoroughly pleased with my results. It left my hair silky soft and moisturized. Full review coming soon!
Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe it’s 2012 already? I’m so incredibly happy you guys have been my faithful readers for another year and I’m wishing you the utmost success & happiness in 2012. So far Ive instructed you on how to make a vision board (Part I) and I’ve showed you how it helped me (Part II). To close out my How To Create A Vision Board series, I’m shining the spotlight on you! I had an open call for people to submit pictures and stories of how they did their own vision boards, and how they’ve achieved success. I received some amazing submissions from three special ladies. Here they are:
Ty of GorgeousInGrey.com writes:
I just read your post and I wanted to share a picture of my mini vision board that I created on my journal. I wanted to be filled with positive vibes so I put different words and things on the inside of my journal.
I even put the logo to our local newspaper, just because it was the letter b and my former last name is Brown. So I started actually reading the paper and thought about contributing.. about 4 months later I emailed the editor with ideas and I’m now a freelance writer for them.
Mia Anita of Bigger Than Hair and The Style Edit writes:
My board focuses A LOT on career paths and professional goals and desires. It has a touch of spiritual and romance but not as much as the financial, career, etc.
Last year when I still lived in L.A., I had a vision board party for my close friends. I didn’t tell them what we were doing, I just led them to believe it was a normal girls night event I usually had but just with a bunch of magazines. I then revealed what we were doing and we got to cutting. The process of creating the vision board really put into perspective of a persons goals or lack thereof. It makes you sit back and began a goal oriented thinking process that everyone doesn’t do automatically.
Blake of BlakeVonD writes:
I’m submitting a pic of my vision JOURNAL. I wanted to give the traditional vision board a little twist (see her post here). I like this idea because I can carry it around with me AND write down things that are important to me/pertain to those goals. I love the idea of having them in the same place. And I can add to it as the year goes on!
I’m back with another one! In Part I of How To Create A Vision Board, I walked through 5 easy steps to putting your visions and goals down on paper. If you haven’t checked it out, that’s a good place to start (click HERE). In Part II, I’m going to demonstrate from personal experience, how powerful vision boards can be. Below is a representation of what my vision board for 2011 looks like, and in this post I’m going to lay out how I accomplished each and every goal on my board.
Aside from adding in the pretty frame digitally (I didn’t have it in a frame this year, but it’s actually a pretty chic idea for decoration), this is exactly what I looked at, day after day throughout the 2011 year. I put my visions up in my bedroom on the left side of my bed so I literally saw it when I woke up in the morning and before I went to bed at night. Like I mentioned in Part I, what worked for me was separating my visions into different categories. My three main sections were focused around Career, Health & Beauty. Here’s a breakdown of my board:
In this section, I included images of women I look up to, who demonstrate the level of success I want to achieve and images that embody or represent goals I wanted to achieve in my career. Starting from the top left and going clockwise, here’s how I accomplished these goals in 2011:
1) Goal: Entrepreneurship
My fave girls Ginger & Liz, who own the nail lacquer line of the same name, represented entrepreneurship for me. Hence the “I’m A Hustler Baby” phrase underneath.
Accomplished: This year, I finally applied and got myself a real business license. On top of that, I placed runner-up in a local business plan competition, which gave me the confidence I needed to know that when I do officially start my business, I’ll have support.
2) Goal: Meet DVF
Diane Von Furstenberg represented excellence for me. As a woman of distinction, she really inspires other women to be who they truly want to be. I’ve also always wanted to go to her show at NY Fashion Week, literally since I was 14 years old.
Accomplished: This year, I met Diane von Furstenberg three times! I was blessed to win a FREE wrap dress at her Fashion’s Night Out party (see here). I was privileged to attend her Spring 2012 show at NY Fashion Week (see more here). And I was also selected to participate in her NYC Wrap Rally to launch her Diane fragrance, which garnered major press (see pic below, I’m on the right!)
3) Goal: Become a Contributor
Since I started my career in journalism, I dreamed of becoming a contributor for some of my fave magazines. I added the word “contributors” to my vision board, and also put up a picture of Essence Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief at that time, Angela Burt-Murray.
Accomplished: This year was huge for me in regards to contributions. This is the first year I was featured in major national publications! I had an advertorial in Essence Magazine’s October Issue:
On top of that, I was quoted as a blogger/expert in Ebony Magazine’s Beauty Awards, LoveBrownSugar was declared one of Essence’s Top 40 Fashion Blogs, I landed my first article on The Huffington Post and I secured contributor status in a plethora of other publications, which I’m truly proud of.
4) Goal: Travel
This year I wanted to get into worldwide travel. I placed images on my board that represented that, like the main character in Eat, Pray, Love and pictures of the Caribbean. I also put words like “Passport” on there.
Accomplished: This year I visited Ecuador for 10 days (see HERE), and just 3 weeks ago I spent a luxurious weekend on St Thomas and St John. Two unexpected places, but two amazing experiences I’ll never forget. And both trips were sponsored, so I was able to do them without suffering financial strain.
1) Goal: Develop a healthy lifestyle
Another major part of my goals for 2011 was improving my health. This year, I focused less on losing weight on more on developing healthy habits like working out regularly, eating less fast food & processed food, and drinking more water.
Accomplished: This year I participated in a 6-week program called NY Lean (see here). On that program I lost 12 lbs in a 6-week period and I felt absolutely amazing. It showed me that these health goals weren’t as hard as they seem. I also eat much more organic food, and I barely eat fast food. Of course, there’s more work to be done, but I did manage to accomplish a few goals and for that I’m proud.
1) Goal: Stay natural & grow!
As most of you know, I’ve battled on & off with going natural for over 5 years (see here for my hair journey). I was natural all through college, then I broke down and relaxed my hair when I went into the corporate world. Shortly after that, I regretted it and went natural again. So this year, after doing the big chop in November of 2010, my goal was to maintain my natural tresses, learn more about them and keep my hair growing beautifully.
Accomplished: I grew my hair from teeny weeny afro to almost collar-bone length over the year. I couldn’t wait to out my hair in a high bun!
I also successfully waited an entire year until I got my hair straightened or applied any heat to it, which I’m proud of (see my video at Hair Rules Salon here).
All in all, I’ve had an amazing year and I’m looking forward to a successful 2012. Stay tuned for Part III (update: see it here) where I highlight how others have successfully created vision boards. Have any of you created a vision board? If so, I want to chat with you!