For us by us

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Trying to write has been extremely hard these past few months given all thats going on in the world. It’s hard to be a black woman in America and not experience every negative emotion possible during this time. It really stifled me for a while creatively. I was too upset to write about the things that I have watched unfold yet it almost felt wrong and counterproductive to make regular blogs meant to take my mind off of what is already staring all of us in the face. So I took my time and sorted through what I was feeling.

It’s really important for us to unpack some of what we’ve been through as well as what we are currently facing so that we actively heal to our best ability. It’s hard enough already trying to heal old wounds that we inherited while we are constantly facing hate and intolerance (from way more than just white people if we want to keep it 100). It’s ultimately up to us to nurse those wounds so that we aren’t victimized by them. It’s important to acknowledge how we feel during this time and allow those feelings to come and pass rather than judging them and ourselves. We can’t force ourselves to feel better nor should we have to, especially when it is not genuine. Patience is all apart of the process, and while in that process it is important to remember that healing is a life long journey not a destination. There is no place or space of healing, we take healing with us everywhere that we go and implement that goal of healing into our every day decisions, thoughts, and our purpose.

I will never agree with dwelling and sitting in our sadness. Black people are known to make joys out of our pains and turn nothing into something. Creativity and genius is embedded within us. I was really proud to see the multiple days that we kept our word at only buying from black businesses. I really want to see us keeping that momentum because there is so much power in the money we spend, and even more in uplifting each other. So I decided to start a series that I felt was necessary for us to continue spreading the wealth amongst the black community. For the next few weeks I will be spotlighting black artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs who I feel deserve more attention and support behind their work.

It is important that we are more than just pro black socially. We have to support our people and the products and services that they make with us in mind. I know many would like to use the excuse that black owned company’s tend to overcharge but there are plenty that don’t and often times we just don’t do the necessary research in order to find adequate black owned replacements for the company’s that we keep giving our hard earned money to. It’s as easy as googling and making a few lifestyle changes. I know those of us that are committed will enjoy this series and keep up the momentum. Many of us are only shy of the support needed to make a living off of our black owned art and services.

So be mindful and extend that support whether it be your friends or someone that you don’t know. I really would like for us to stop expecting free or discounted services from our entrepreneur friends. For many of them they make a living off of what they do. It’s not always a hobby or just something fun to pass the time. So stop expecting your loved ones to give you their hard work or precious time for free. It’s hard enough for us to make it in our desired industries so please don’t ask your friends and family to overextend themselves for free, and certainly don’t expect it. Be supportive and compensate people for their hard work if you really want to be supportive and show your love.

With that being said, I hope all of you enjoy this series and take the time to repost and share the work and interviews of those that I will be posting in the weeks ahead. Let’s continue to support and uplift one another through kind words, reposting and sharing, AND opening our purses and wallets because nothing of value is ever truly free.

 

 

 

Xoxo,

Nori

 

For My Curly Haired Qweens

I’ve been having a lot of good hair days during this quarantine ! My new side hustle happens to be my own start up with a beauty company, and with me now having the time to try and buy as much as I please it has lead me to get to know my hair and skin way more than I have in the past. My hair has been the the most healthy outcome of this extra time spent with myself. So I’d like to share with my curly hair Queens what has worked for me in order to have the longer and stronger bouncy curls that you see on my story (bc I don’t even have the mental capacity to post myself on the TL these days but I’m working on it lol). I’d never steer you wrong or try to rob you so I patiently waited specifically until Friday to post this so that I can still encourage responsible spending while also reminding you it’s important to treat yourself from time to time. So allow me to steer you in the direction of your best curls:

 

 

MONAT Intense Repair Line

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My absolute favorite haircare line right now is this one right here. It’s not even a matter of selling this product itself that had me sold. It’s the results I’ve experienced in a span of 3 months that really stole my heart after using this. The shampoo and conditioner aren’t thick and over bearing yet it’s concentrated enough that you don’t need to keep repurchasing products in a short time span. I’m still using the same bottles from 3 months ago and I’m not even half way done! In the grand scheme of things it saves me money and I have the best quality ingredients going into my hair. The entire line is free of parabens and sulfates AND it’s vegan. The company also doesn’t do any animal testing (I personally love a company who makes their products with love and good intent). The shampoo and conditioner repair your hair all the way from the follicle down to the ends. So in retrospect, they are repairing what is going on with your scalp and fixing the root of the problem while also hydrating your strands of hair and protecting it. If you’re looking to grow stronger healthier hair this is perfect for hydrating the hair you already have while also increasing new hair growth too. I typically have a lot of hair, but my grade of hair isn’t necessarily thick. But since using this product the volume and the thickness of my hair has increased by 50%. The rate in which my hair grows now is ridiculous. I highly recommend. If you would like to purchase do so here: https://shadesofnori.mymonat.com/

 

TPH by Taraji

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First and foremost I had a good feeling about this because it was by Taraji and I have no problem giving my hard earned coins to another black woman but when I tried it I was super impressed! This co-wash definitely gets the job done in between washes and it does exactly what it says it does. It cleanses the hair and moisturizes it. My hair is softer than ever after using it and it takes away all the buildup and excess oils. This is by far the best co-wash I’ve used. I noticed results after the first wash and I’ve been buying this one ever since. You can find this co-wash and the entire line at Target

 

Emerge Back To Life Hair Mask 

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This is another line I found at Target. I was shopping one day and was really attracted to the bright colors on their product labels (if we’re being honest). When I read the description on the back I figured I would give the hair mask a try because I had been needing to deep condition after dying my hair. This stuff was AMAZING!! I use it at least twice a month and it makes my hair feel really light and soft like a pillow. I also find that this product helps with shrinkage without weighing down my hair. It’s great for controlling frizz as well. I highly recommend! It’s been the only hair mask I’ve been using for the past couple of months and unless Target runs out, I’d probably never use anything else. Get yours right here: Emerge

I hope you guys enjoy these gems I’ve came across! I definitely intend to share more than just haircare. I hope to make monthly product reviews a regular thing in the future. Enjoy and send me your feedback. Let me know how they work for you and feel free to share what you love as well.

xoxo,

Nori

 

 

 

A pep talk for those who are currently “Social Distancing” and in Quarantine

I honestly hate the term social distancing because it sounds so gloomy in already such gloomy times. But I wanted to remind everyone that they don’t have to be, and also share what my experience has been thus far. Ironically enough I’ve had to follow this coronavirus nonsense since the very beginning because I’m a Mass Communications/ Journalism major. My final special journalism paper was on the issue of the outbreak causing blatant xenophobia and racism. Now I’m taking an investigative journalism class and I am examining the financial toll this will take on our economy.

Keep in mind that through this I have my own life and quite frankly because of school and social media I am so tired of hearing about Corona, big Rona, Ms. Rona, and whatever else we’re calling it these days. A virus has single handedly changed life for all of us as we know it. It’s been the center of my universe for weeks now with this week being the peak that I was hoping it wouldn’t have reached. My graduation as well as my grad trip are now cancelled for the time being. The love of my life may or may not be stuck in another country right now and I’m off work for the next 30 days. Due to the outbreak and the type of mental space I’ve already been in, I am “social distancing ” at this time.

For me this isn’t something that’s hard considering I’m an ambivert (introvert and extrovert) by nature. I have phases where I like to be out all the time until I burn myself out on being around people and retreat into my introvert ways. Luckily all of this turmoil aligned with me being in stay at home mode, otherwise I would be losing my mind like everyone else. Keep in mind that for a lot of us not being able to work or move freely the way we usually do WILL have an impact on our mental health during this time. But there are ways that we can make the most of staying inside.

Take this time that you have yourself to clean your space and organize because your space usually reflects your mental state and if it doesn’t right now, it will later. Make your room or your home more pleasant to be in for the time being because we’re gonna be here a while. Also make sure that you have all you need while you’re at home. Given that the entire US is short of toilet paper I’m gonna assume we all stocked up and save my fingers the workout.

Keep calm and soothe your anxieties around the situation. This isn’t the first nor the last disaster we are going to see or experience. Some people would even say the end is near (It’s me. I’m “some people”). But that doesn’t change the fact that we woke up another day and life must go on. Meditate, listen to some calming music, burn a few incense, and binge watch a few amazing shows. Relax and look at the blessing that comes out of this. We’re currently on a staycation we would have never gotten otherwise.

We should also be throwing ourselves into our passion projects and hobbies while we have this unlimited amount of time to work on them UNINTERRUPTED. Those of us that create content, make art, or music need to make the most of this time. It’s a blessing in disguise that we get to be at home and do what we love most. It could also be an opportunity to put yourself to the test and see if you’re capable of making money solely off of your passion projects. Who knows maybe you might go back to work and put those two weeks in because you realize it’s time to bet on yourself. Anything is possible.

But most importantly I know we all have bills that need to be paid. Make sure that you notify all of the places of business that you owe monthly payments to that you are currently affected by the coronavirus outbreak and that you will need an extension. There are all kinds of forgiveness programs and extensions being allotted during this time. Take care of it now so that you can relax and not stress off of rent or your electricity being turned off. Also view this time as a potential time slot to save a ton of money. No bills due ? Nowhere to go? No job to spend gas money on getting to? No reason to eat out or drink? Look at life making you buckle down and save your coins! It’s all a matter of perspective.

Last but not least, just because we’re all cooped up in the house does not mean we can’t be social. Call and FaceTime your life away. Catch up with any and everybody that you wouldn’t have the time to talk to usually. Make sure you keep communication lines open and support one another even from a distance. Remind your loved ones that you love them. Another day is never promised. Enjoy every day that you wake up. You might not have woken up in Disney land (because it’s closed) but we’re still here, and there are some people that weren’t so lucky. So live it up (inside the house) on behalf of those who didn’t make it. With a little patience we’ll all be alright.

Xoxo,

Nori

10 Easy ways to start saving like a pro

 

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photo does not belong to SOP.

The process of saving money sounds dreadful especially when you have bills up to your ears and you’re in your 20’s trying to live your best life. But believe me it can be a whole lot easier and a lot more fun when you strategize and keep a positive attitude about it. I want you guys to actually apply this to your life and get started so you can tell me how it went for you. I’m ending my financially literacy series (for now) but I want to know how this series helped you and what more you would want me to dive into. I’ll keep it as short and sweet as possible! So let’s have at it and jump right in. Here are 10 easy ways that I save money:

1. Make clearing your debt your biggest priority

You can’t save if you’re constantly having to pay something off. Make paying off credit card debt and anything else that is a reoccurring expense coming out of your bank account A PRIORITY. You also have interest that builds up over time as you keep procrastinating paying off your debt. Do whatever you can to make the biggest payments possible without completely going broke each month.

2. Pack your lunch for work instead of buying it

Buying your lunch every single work day adds up quick! Challenge yourself to buy what you need for the month and make your lunch the night before. Less time taken out of your day and a whole lot of money still left in your pocket ! Make it stretch!

3. Cutback on your streaming services

Sacrifices are necessary. Cut out the Netflix, Hulu, Disney plus, and whatever other streaming services you have for a while and see how much you save. Cheat code: ask your loved ones if you can use theres. I cleaned up a close friends throw up out of a sink once (because I would never ever let her go out sad) and now we’re Hulu and Netflix buddies for life LMAO! Although there has been times I’ve gotten my own or split an upgrade cost with her because the point is for it to be temporary NOT a moocher. Respect the people that love you, okay?

4. Thrift and get creative with your home furnishings and decor

There’s all kinds of hidden gems at thrift stores and even places like Marshall’s, Ross, and TJ Max will have some discounted cute items. Don’t go broke trying to have a cute apartment especially if you don’t have to.

5. Don’t sleep on the discount stores (99 cent store/dollar tree etc)

Get some of your snacks from the cheapest sources possible. It’s all the same and where you got it from hardly matters. If I can get something somewhere cheaper I absolutely will. Don’t sleep.

6. Eat out only once a week or less

Eating out kills your pockets quickly. Make it a treat. Reward eating at home often with a date with your friends or your boo and split the cost. Not only did you get to eat out, you both spent a little less. Your cravings are satisfied and your savings are still thriving. Everybody wins!

7. Turn up at home

Stop spending $100 on drinks with friends at the bar and make your own at home. It’s fun and you can get as messed up as you want to in the comfort of your home.

8. Eat before shopping

Eat before you shop. You’ll get what you need without spending the extra money on your cravings. When you’re hungry you buy unnecessary food that you don’t need.

9. Use True Bill app

True Bill puts all of your bills and monthly expenses in one place. It keeps me organized and I always have my bills paid on time. By doing this I also can easily budget how much I have to spend for the month. It gets no easier than that. We love an app that keeps us organized and aware of our money !

10. Make the process fun and reward yourself for your hard work

This shouldn’t be a depressing experience by any means! You’re doing this to better your life with a goal in mind, so reward yourself so you can stay on track. It’s no different than dieting, people who don’t have a cheat day or two usually quit on their diet and never see any results. Hard work deserves reward. Create a goal and then come up with a reward system for when you reach milestones toward that financial goal.

 

I am financially in the best space of my life and it took a lot for me to get here. I love sharing what I learn with all of you and I want to know what works for you or any questions you have! Flood me with DM’s and emails telling me all about your journey to financial literacy and bossing up your life. I want to hear it all!

Happy Saving!

Xoxo,

Nori

24 things I learned by age 24

In honor of my birthday passing I wanted to share some of the important lessons and advice I’ve learned through the years as a woman, although a lot of this can apply to men to. I am also still working on my financial literacy series (I go through the motions and learn for myself as I’m sharing with all of you). So I’ve been further getting my life together just so I can continue to share. BUT in the mean time a light hearted break about something other than money and adulting … 24 things I learned by 24:

1. Don’t give in to FOMO

We all want to have fun and be apart of something due to the fear of missing out. But I’ve always come to the realization later you’re never missing out when you’re getting your sh** together. I have way more fun when I’m out and my business is taken care of.

2. Learn to love yourself and take care of yourself now

From what I’ve seen it only gets harder as you get older. Enjoy your solitude and getting to know yourself and your traumas in while in your twenties. It’s a lot easier to get stuck in your ways as you get older.

3. Never make someone your whole world

…because when or if they leave, you’ll be left with nothing. Love hard, but practice healthy attachment.

4. Quality over quantity

This especially applies to friendships. You really only need a few solid people in your corner. Make sure they love you, support you, and hold you accountable. Anyone who makes your being feel uneasy needs to go. Always go where the love is. We’re too old for “frenemies” or whatever the kids call it these days.

5. Make sure that you love whatever you do

Going to a sh**y job that you hate every day takes a toll on your mind and body. Not to mention your loved ones whom you see every day will probably have to deal with your attitude when you come home. The people you work with or work for will feel your lack of interest and energy. No amount of money is worth it. Do us all a favor and find something you can tolerate at the very least.

6. Don’t ever force anything

An uncomfortable outfit, friendships, or a relationship. Not to say that great things don’t take work because they absolutely do. But don’t force ANYTHING. What is meant to be yours will always be just that. If someone gave you a gift that was clearly meant for someone else would you accept it? No, of course not! You would be offended and you probably wouldn’t like the gift because it was picked with someone else in mind. Allow what is meant for you to happen for you. Be patient. 

7. Always look and feel your best

When you look good you feel good, and when you feel good you most likely look good. The quote “happy girls are the prettiest girls” seems cliche but it’s actually pretty true. When I am happy and taking care of myself my eyes are brighter, my skin is clear and it glows, my hair looks amazing. It’s all a matter of your best beauty regimen starting with all that you have going on, on the inside. Take care of yourself and it will show!

8. Be exclusive with your time

Be careful with how you spend your free time and who you spend it with. Time is a currency just like money. Are you adding to your bank account or only subtracting to it? We all have the same 24 hours, but how we spend it is what makes all the difference. Be mindful and make that time count. Spend it with people who are just as interested as bettering themselves as you are. Be around those who inspire you and have something to offer your mind, your sense of peace, or your happiness. 

9. Monitor your self talk/thoughts

We create our reality with the things that we say. If we talk and think as though we are lacking that is exactly what we will experience. If we talk and think like the universe/god/whatever you believe in is working in our favor and that we are always abundant, we will see and receive that abundance. 

10. Stop wishing and start BEING

People always operate based on who they believe they are. If you believe you are a slacker and a procrastinator that is unmotivated, then you’ve already accepted that as your truth. If you already put into your mind that you are a boss, an entrepreneur, or whatever else you desire then that’s what you are. Start playing the role of who you want to be and stop wishing for it. The moment you claim and accept who you are is the moment you have chosen. Choose your “being” wisely. 

11. Always follow through on your commitments and obligations

Confident people always follow through with what they say they are going to do. They bet on themselves therefore other people bet on them too. The same applies to your commitments to other people and outside sources. Prove yourself reliable and the opportunities and support will never stop. Bet on yourself and don’t be flaky. 

12. DON’T burn unnecessary bridges

You never know who you will need for what later on in life. Be humble and nurture all of your relationships. Don’t just base them on what someone can do for you. Life will make you the footstool of the person you once thought was beneath you if you aren’t careful. Anyone is capable of being a lifeline at one point or another. 

13. Take care of your skin now, it will thank you later !

I don’t care how tired you are, girl wash your face! Don’t fall asleep with your makeup on..not even once. Don’t skip a single opportunity to exfoliate or moisturize. Use that eye cream now, your youthful liking bright eyes at age 50 will thank you!!! I’m no expert but I have a mother who looks 15 years younger than her age. Loving hard and taking care of yourself will do that for you. 

14. “I don’t have time” isn’t a valid excuse anymore

When my cousin who works full time just like I do and happens to also be a full time mom told me that she goes to the gym every day… I wanted to slide under the table in shame. I am ALWAYS saying I don’t have time. I’m busy but I don’t have a whole other being to tend to. Let’s all be like my cousin and MAKE TIME for what is important. 

15. Tell your people you love them daily

Love on your loved ones while they are still here. This year has truly shown us already through the examples of public figures how short life actually is. Another day isn’t promised. Make time to love on those who mean the most to you while you still can. 

16. Stop bleaching your hair so damn much

Invest in a wig! I cringe at my impulsive younger self. All that bleaching and changes of color killed my curls at one point and I regretted it later. Now I can be blonde for a night and look amazing and then come home and take it off and keep my luscious curly hair as healthy as it is. It gets no better. Wig it up ladies it’s so much fun. 

17. Stop saying “I’ll do it later” and do it NEOW

Later turns into never. Later is the phrase of a procrastinator. We might not even have later so just do it now. 

18. Take nothing in this life personal

We are all just living out our own realities. We have differing truths and reasons from our actions due to our very different traumas and circumstances. Nothing that is done is ever because of you. We are all just doing what is best for our individual selves and it doesn’t have to always make sense to the outside world. Don’t take any of it personal and don’t allow it to steal your joy. 

19. Go to therapy

It’s 2020 and we all have a therapist. Who ever insinuated that you have to be damaged to go to therapy LIED. It’s always good to have someone to guide you on your journey to emotional intelligence and understanding the self. We aren’t taught how to cope with certain things or even communicate and comprehend properly. Therapy is necessary for everyone. There are all kinds of time convenient and cost effective means for therapy sessions. I’ll probably write about this and link some resources at a later date. 

20. Pray and meditate daily

I’m religious and very spiritual and was raised to be that way. I was always taught that whether things are bad or good you should pray and dig deep within yourself. Whether you believe in a god, god(s), the universe, or whatever else take time for you. Be still and be silent and allow your feelings and emotions to pass through you without judgement. Pray and set intention for what you want. Pray and be grateful for what you have. 

21. Be open to love in all of it’s forms

Romantic love is not the only love there is. Appreciate all the love that is around you and focus on it. Nurture your family ties and your friendships the same way you would a relationship. This is your best practice at loving and receiving love. It all starts here. 

22. Always have a comfortable change of shoes

Keep some slides or flats in a bag when you go out! Looking cute is all fun and games until your feet start feeling like they’ve been ran over by a tractor. Some shoes were meant to look cute in and nothing else. walk to your destination in your comfy shoes and then stunt at your destination. You’ll thank me later.

23. Health is wealth

You can’t conquer the world if your body is ran into the ground. Invest in your health the way you would your business. If your body fails so will all your hard work. 

24. Until you own something more than Luxury items, you’re still broke…

I know broke people with designer clothing items and accessories and it blows my mind. A lot of your instagram faves have a ton of followers but no money. What you invest in should always be making you money. That Chanel bag isn’t making you money in your sleep. Invest in properties, a business, stocks and bonds. The rest will come as a result. Don’t live above your means! Being reckless with your money in order to flex isn’t cute. 

And one to grow on…..

25. Believe in yourself and in your vision ALWAYS.

Not everyone will like you or support you in the beginning and thats okay ! Hard work and consistency will prove itself over time. Your gifts are meant for a purpose much bigger than just recognition. That’s only the icing on the cake. Continue to do what you love and grow. The people who slept on you will be cheering in the crowd later on, I promise you. 

 

I hope you guys enjoyed this long overdue post and at least took a thing or two from it to apply to your own life.

Xoxo,

Nori the most belated of birthday girls <3

 

 

If your savings is looking dusty this one’s for you

After my last post I asked my social media followers what was their biggest financial flaw and inevitably every response had to do with 20 somethings not being able to save for the life of them. So I decided to look further into why that is and how our saving habits got to be as poor as they are as a collective. Hold on to your wigs and slick them edges because I’m about to tell you exactly why you are broke over the span of the next few weeks (which no one wants to hear). But relax and take notes, I am also here to explain how you can fix that and motivate you as much as humanly possible to do better.

I am no financial expert but I am a 23 year old college student who has learned through trial and error how to not live paycheck to paycheck. At this point in my life I can confidently say that I have leveled up significantly in my finances but I got to a better place through understanding my mistakes and educating myself on money. But the most important factor was repairing my “money mindset ” which we will get to soon. Being broke is not just lack of funds, it becomes a lifestyle and way of thinking that we must break ourselves of. So let’s get into it…

Change your broke a** frame of mind & entitled attitude

Harsh, I know. But this might be the most important factor of all. If you’re anything like me, your brokenness AND your broke frame of mind have been inherited. You’ve watched your parents work their a** off and penny pinch. You’ve listened to them complain about bills piling up and going into debt. You’ve probably even seen them argue about spending habits if your parents are anything like mine. But do not take on these financial curses and core beliefs. They don’t have to be yours and I strongly advise you to leave them at the door before you even begin on your journey to saving and changing your spending habits.

I want to begin this with a story that a friend of mine felt was important for me to tell. I’m really weird about sharing my wins and losses so I tend to share neither, as I don’t like to feel like I’m “flexing” or bragging about what I have accomplished. But truthfully you’re not going to find my advise credible if I don’t tell you how I’ve acquired my knowledge on the topic of money.  So here it is (and I promise to keep it as short as possible):

Truthfully I’ve always been really good at acquiring money. I worked my first job at 15 and I was never the same. I really got off on making my own money and being able to spend it as I please. I became addicted to the feeling of independence and financial security pretty early. My parents have never had to tell me to get a job because I literally HATED not having one. I was extremely tired of being broke by my second year of high school. Skipping lunch so you can save up all the money your parents give you to buy cute clothes or a new phone was no longer worth it and ya girl was already a toothpick to begin with back then. When I reached about 19 was when reality had truly set in. I had once believed that when you work hard you get money then you get to spend it freely. By my first year of college I had realized that wasn’t entirely true because as hard as I work all of my dreams seemingly came crashing down one semester in.

In my mind I was doing everything possible to stay afloat. I spent my senior year working super hard to build a portfolio of my writing to get my way into my dream University. Which I did, and I was accepted with scholarships and a grant. But one semester in after tuition hiked ever so conveniently, it became really clear I wasn’t going to be able to survive (as in the cost of living all on it’s own) and go to school. I was commuting to San Francisco every day to work and to take my classes. I had gotten a good job at a high end (and very boring) store at Westfield mall and I had just secured my room and board situation (or so I had thought). When tuition went up I sat at home  with my mom and calculated how much my parents would have to come out of pocket. It was then that I knew I couldn’t continue my education there. My parents didn’t have it because I grew up the furthest thing from rich and I’m the oldest of three kids (they still have two more to put through college…in today’s economy…couldn’t be me!). I knew exactly what I had to do…

Be a stripper! Just kidding. Although it’s crossed my mind I have weak ankles and men easily irritate me. But in all seriousness, I knew I had to drop out. Because of the school I went to being a private school they had began instruction late, which ultimately meant I was ass out. I couldn’t get classes anywhere and I was stuck living at home with nothing to do for an entire semester. That lasted about a week and a half before I went nuts because I am the biggest busy body and workaholic that I know. I immediately starting looking for local job listings. Within a week I had applied to a million different places and it seemed like none of them had gotten back to me. Keep in mind I had very little work experience so all of the places I was applying to were in retail of course. I began to get discouraged because not even Walmart had called me back. I didn’t want to work there anyways, but the feeling was similar to having a phone full of men and you text them and not even the least desirable one texts you back. You start to wonder if you’re ugly. But instead I was starting to wonder if I would be a jobless bum forever.

But I wasn’t, and from this experience I also realized I’m incredibly dramatic. Within a week of feeling useless and bored at home I was suddenly getting calls from everywhere. I had gotten multiple job offers and I was extremely excited. But I didn’t know which store to choose. I narrowed them down to the top 3 highest paying options and I bet you can guess what I did next….I took all three because I’m clearly a psycho! I had two day jobs and one overnight job and I worked all three even into the following semester at community college. The plan was to only work all three jobs until classes had started up again but I’m a “have your cake and eat it too” kind of gal. During my time off from school I had also began modeling. I made sure I had nothing planned on my weekends so that I could fly out to Seattle and LA to my home agencies. Eventually I began taking all of my courses online so I could get more sleep. But right before I turned 20 it all came crashing down.

I was doing great in school and I made a lot of money between all my jobs. I had gotten some great opportunities through modeling and yet I was extremely grumpy and tired all the time. Everything felt like work and I knew I wasn’t enjoying any of it. Modeling was the first to go. Then two of my jobs. However, the convenience of online courses stuck and I took on five of them while working one job. I had finally quit working at Target because they weren’t at all considerate with the fact that I was in school and instead I started working at Forever 21 a few weeks later and started with almost full time hours. But this was no better. Yeah I got more sleep and had more time for school work, but truthfully I hated retail. I was literally getting paid to be yelled at and disrespected DAILY about our no return policy (which I have no control over) for only $10 an hour. Thank goodness they’ve changed it since because I’ve literally watched my coworkers be verbally and physically abused over it. Capitalism in America is a trip…you hate to see it.

I worked maybe one more retail job during my 20th year of life and I knew it would be my last. I started feeling defeated. I would work on my birthday, work holidays, and even work over time just for the managers to play favorites, never give me a raise, and hardly acknowledge my efforts. It finally hit me one day as I was working my crappy sales associate job at the Livermore outlets. As I was watching rich caucasians mess up my neatly folded polo table it became clear to me that these people who park in valet at the mall and use black cards to pay for the same polo’s every week were no smarter than me. They worked no harder than me, nor were they more talented than me. The only difference was privilege. I had managed to worked around my blackness and being a woman my whole life so where was I going wrong? After walking out days later and never returning to my crappy retail job I realized all this time working harder had gotten me nowhere. It was working smarter that always worked in my favor.

Work smarter not harder & stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.

After quitting retail I began to Nanny and it was much more convenient for my lifestyle. I liked being able to make good money while also getting my education which is pretty hard to do. I started out nannying part time and taking the courses that Chabot College required me to on campus. Then when those courses were completed I made sure to transfer to a university that would allow me to get my degree 100% online. Nannying allowed me to work up to 15 hours a day and get my work done. I had my laptop with me so that every chance I could I was able to get my work done. I made sure to take advantage of every snack, nap time, homework time, dance practice, or sport event. Hot spot was the best thing I had ever invested in at that time.

The best part was being able to make my own schedule and take off from work whenever I needed the mental break and then get right back to it. Things that allow me to have the freedom to work at my own pace and make my own schedule work for me because I have a natural discipline about myself. Being self aware and knowing this about myself has helped me to figure out what works best for me and what makes my life easier. When you know what kind of lifestyle works best for you that’s when things start to click. After 3 years of nannying and becoming restless and bored I knew I wanted to level up and stay away from more college debt. At this point I have zero help in paying for school. My own hard work and financial aid is fully what keeps me afloat. But I wanted more than to stay afloat I wanted to be comfortable and be able to invest in shades of pink. So I decided to work harder, save my money, and quit nannying.

I literally woke up one day and said “I’m going to be a teacher”. It sounds crazy, but I am much happier in a setting that has purpose but also makes me money. In California teachers aren’t paid amazing but to be paid what I am now at only 23 (and because I only have to support myself) I’m doing extremely well. I took two weeks to myself to enroll in child development courses and I became a teachers aid. I worked on my current major (and keep in mind I am a double major) while getting the needed credentials to teach. It was hard work yes, but I stayed locked into both so that I covered all my bases and I’m never a** out of a job. That’s what I mean by stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. At 22 I started thinking way ahead of just the next 5 years. I spent 6 months slaving, doing more homework than you could imagine so that I could coast forever after. Here I am a year and some change later a teacher with her own classroom and her credentials. I’m also a few months away from graduating with a BA in Journalism & Mass Communications. I run a blog and I absolutely love the life I have created for myself.

I’m able to take a trip if I wanted to, drive a new car, or even move out of my parents house tomorrow if I wanted to (but I don’t because I’m saving and I don’t want to have to live with 5 other people. Y’all can keep that), and I’m able to invest my money in things that will make me even more money (my biggest flex thus far).  So I say all of this to say, things looked up when I stopped thinking that it couldn’t be easier and that I can’t be happy in the process of making money. I absolutely believe there is beauty in the struggle because I learned so much while in that space. But truthfully, the struggle does not have to be your whole 20’s. It’s all up to you. You absolutely have 100% control over the decisions you make. Every day with every small decision we shape and create our own reality. You are broke because you are choosing to be. You are broke because you make broke a** decisions instead of productive ones. The reality is you might have to sacrifice the partying, the traveling, and the expensive eating habits. You may have to spend some months in solitude awaiting your come up. I sure as hell did a lot of that.

The sacrifice part is required and you can’t cheat it. But I can tell you this, I’ve never truly missed out while getting my sh*t together, it only feels that way. Feelings are temporary and so are these points in time where you’re feeling alone and left out. I’ve had to go without in every way imaginable at one point in time and sometimes I still do. But what I work for always supplies me with that and then some. When you have a vision for yourself and for your bank account be realistic about what it requires. Budget and stick to it. I’m not saying never have fun but make sure it’s within your means and don’t be afraid to say “Nah, I’m gonna have to sit this one out”. Your future self and your bank account will thank you later. Every sacrifice I made, I made in knowing that I owe it to myself to be disciplined now so that I can have everything I’ve ever wanted later. And I certainly have most if not all of the things I imagined I would have a few months ago when I was working for 2 degrees. I’ve paid off a good chunk of my debt, my credit score is great, my bank account is (almost) always hefty, I just bought a new car, I have a retirement fund (not a 401k and I have little desire to have one but that’s a blog for another time), my money is invested in stocks (the right way), and I have a job that comes with full benefits. But the best benefit of all being that what I wake up to go do every day is something I love.

There’s a lot I still have yet to accomplish but I do feel it’s a great start. I’m blessed to have people in my life who encourage me to celebrate myself from time to time. Sometimes I’m so busy being “in it” that I forget to step outside of all that I’m doing and just be proud of myself. I encourage all of you to do the same. Start where you are, stop thinking with a broke mindset, stop thinking the universe owes you money and go out and find what makes you money. Pay attention to the qualities about yourself that easily make you money and capitalize off of them. Tap into your other abilities that can make you money while you’re getting your degree and working hard to get to your ultimate goal or dream job. If you are multitalented use that as leverage to have multiple means of income. Never stop at just one. I kept it light this time so I can ease all of you into this but be ready to take notes and piece your edges back together real soon. We’re breaking these shi**y money habits together and I want you all to be ready to do the work. I want us all to be financially thriving by 2020. You owe it to yourself ! (And your dusty bank accounts).

Scared money don’t make money.

Xoxo,

Nori

Creating with mindfulness and Intention: Shades of Pink turns 1

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Photo’s by Joel Ismont

Happiest of Birthday’s to my shade babes (a belated one to say the least, which is due to me getting my shit together for myself and for this blog). The best gift my blog could have possibly received was the major support and love that comes in the form of views and the positive words sent to me through comments and messages every day (even when I’m not posting, which absolutely warms my heart in a major way). I can’t say thank you enough. All of this love and support has kept me driven and put me in the position to monetize off of my blog. Thus far I am putting all of that money towards making Shades of Pink an even better experience for all of you. Through the ups and downs of being a new up and coming lifestyle blogger and being a twenty something here’s what I’ve learned during my time away:

The theme of “intention” seems to be really big in my life right now. I have learned in a few different aspects of my life, that nothing will change or improve until you move with intention. I used to think that mindfulness only applied to coping with anxiety and dealing with self when you are in a state of stress. But that is far from true. Being mindful opens your eyes to how you are living and coping out in the world. I am a firm believer that the mind and the body mirror one another. They send the conscious messages about what is going on in your subconscious. The subconcious is our ultimate truth underneath it all. Some of us are more in tune with this truth than others, naturally. But I think at some point or another that mindfulness beats our ass so crucially at some point or another that we have no choice but to shut up and listen. That without a doubt is mindfulness at it’s finest.

As a creative, being mindful (or not) affects your business and your brand both negatively and positively when we let it.  But furthermore it is a gateway drug to emotional intelligence (the best drug there is..let me tell you). I’ve kind of taken some time for me in the midst of figuring out who I am as a creative and what I want to do with my blog and my brand. Increasing my mindfulness and actually being able to identify what it is that I am feeling about myself, the people around me, and what I am doing with my life has given me an even bigger plan for Shades of Pink than what I initially started out with. I started with a small goal for myself and my potential, and now I have a plan. After getting myself together mentally, emotionally, and physically I can set my intentions. I know more often than not the cluttered mess in my mind and lack of time management is what keeps me from being consistent in my projects.

I had to remind myself the other day that when I first began working on my blog last year I actually had way more on my plate than I do now. What made me slow down was the pressure I felt to be the best at everything I was doing instead of being mindful of what MY best was. Understand this: THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. What feels good to me and what is standard for society and those we feel the need to impress are two totally different things. What you think is being required of you is not YOUR best. That’s someone else’s standard. That’s someone else’s best. What is expected of me by my peers, loved ones, and what society is projecting on to us is not necessarily going to be what I want for myself in the grand scheme of things. I have multiple driving forces in my life that cause me to spread myself thin and opperate like a chicken with my head cut off. For some creatives like myself, having the time to focus in on one thing is the hardest part.

It also doesn’t help that the world tells us what success is and then we feel disappointed when the success or achievement we reach doesn’t make us feel full. Through this realization and through excessive amounts of FOMO (fear of missing out). I know what my best is and I know what success means to me. Success and how we define it is a very personal thing. I have a better understanding of what is priority in my life right now because of falling on my ass a few times and feeling disappointed. It’s necessary. It’s necessary to go through the motions so that we can understand them fully. The hardest part can be figuring out how to verbalize what it is that we are feeling. For the longest time I’ve felt like I’ve been working way harder than those around me, yet I was feeling like I was missing the mark. My achievements were no longer doing it for me. The bigger picture was: I was falling short somewhere.

I’ve busted my ass for a credential (for teaching) and for my current grades with in my actual major (mass com) that made me feel like complete shit afterwords because of lack of sleep, little to no self care, and ignoring my mental health just to get an A in a class I don’t really care about when it’s all said and done. Then in the midst of that my blog posts are far few and in between and so is my YouTube content. I had a social life that was completely lacking (but is slowly but surely becoming more of a priority again), I had no time for a significant other, and I was barely spending time with my family. But during this process of going through the motions and realizing how I felt, underneath it all I felt burnt out and spread thin. I felt like I was being mediocre in all the other areas of my life that were important to me and what I feel my true purpose is.

By no means am I saying screw your education. I know a degree is worth a lot these days and it can save your ass on many occasions, as well as being an asset to financial stability. But I’ve learned that to me, my worth is not determined by a degree. Attaining a degree does not come before my mental health, and most importantly it will never mean more to me than this right here. With the understanding I have now, there are a lot more moments where I am facing a school v.s. self dilemma, and I choose myself. I choose to get the sleep I need and turn an assignment in a day late when it’s necessary. I choose a little less study time so I can get myself together after a hectic day. Sometimes I’m going to do C+ work so that I can cater to my blog. But I’ve learned that it’s okay for me to do so. If anything, its NOT okay to run myself into the ground for a grade. A degree will help further what I want to do but it’s not the end all be all for me. I’m no longer afraid of getting a B or a C. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t be the best at everything. But as long as I’m the best in the areas that are everything to me, I’m able to feel full.

With less than a year left of college I know where I stand with what I want and with that being said, my priority is myself. I won’t keep spreading myself thin and missing out on what is important to me. I am challenging myself to make more time to get a better balance on what works for me. I think that’s something all 20 somethings are searching for. How do we balance school, work, passion projects, friends and family, and a love life without losing our minds or spreading ourselves thin? Listen to your body and follow your heart. I would have laughed at that staement a year ago because I am always this “oh so logical, everything has to add up and makes sense” head ass, as I’d like to say. But the mind and body follow one another. If something doesn’t feel right (like your body telling you it needs to rest) listen to it. When your heart tells you something isn’t right listen to it. Work on what is lacking especially when you see signs of it wreaking havoc in your spirit.

I don’t have all the answers as to how to balance life and a busy schedule successfully, but I’ve decided I am dedicated to figuring it out and sharing it with you. I know it starts with intention. I know it starts with being mindful. I know it ends with emotional intelligence and being able to identify how you feel so you can identify what actually works for you and makes you feel whole. This comes with doing things that aren’t fun sometimes, so that you have time to spare. It will come with not being able to please everyone. It will also mean unlearning whatever you thought success was and redefining it for yourself.

As I start my journey, I want to begin with getting back to what I love most. I’m pushing myself to write even more often than before. I’m challenging myself to post every Sunday. I’m challenging myself to share a lot more of this journey of figuring out how to navigate life through all of its craziness. I’m challenging myself to be vulnerable. I want to end this with saying thank you to my friends who push me and are on my ass about me posting and continuing what I started. I also want to remind everyone that it is never too late to change how you think and process the world around you and start new habits. If you have a new habit you wish to create for yourself: Start today. Start where you are. At this very moment do something that will further move you into the direction you need to be in. Even if it’s a small task, get started. Fall back in love with what you do and prepare to have to make the effort to fall in love with it over and over again. The grass is only greener where you water it. To everyone who continues to read and share S.O.P thank you for your love and support. Happy Birthday Shade Babes !

20 something, stressed, and doing her best,

Nori <3

Kicking Seasonal Depressions A**

I don’t know if it’s the stress of finals that had my brain on such low functioning levels last week but I totally forgot to add my latest video on here. It means so much to me that people have reached out and told me that they enjoyed this video and the tips that I mentioned. All I truly want is to create a platform for myself so I can continue to share and help as many people as possible. I think our quality of life needs to be our top priority. If anyone ever made you think being happy and enjoying your time on this earth comfortably was wrong… Tell them to kiss your ass. PERIOD. I hope everyone is making it through winter and spring comfortably. Summer is almost here, so soak up that sun and good vitamin D my babies. Don’t forget to follow me on instagram and twitter: @shadesofnori and to like, comment, and subscribe to my youtube Channel Shades of Nori.

xoxo,

Nori <3

 

Hot girl or hot mess?

Ladies… I know its’s 2019 and we are in the midst of our hot girl & City girl summers. I know that in today’s times we think very highly of ourselves, our financial stability, and the value of our time. I am genuinely here for all of it. The girl boss entrepreneurship and attitudes, and the transparency of our standards is amazing to see. However, this confidence does not replace one small but important factor: nobody owes you a damn thing. I know Megan Thee Stallion said “yeah I’m in MY bag but I’m in his too”…. but some of y’all forgot the “MY bag” part.

I encourage every woman around me and every woman reading my blog to require from a man what you require from yourself. It’s important to be equally yoked and for your requirements, wants, and needs to be met. But what is NOT okay is that some of us carry this mentality of looking at a man as a check and overlooking good men because they aren’t offering to pay your rent. I’m never opposed to a man wanting to take care of me, but I don’t find it okay or the least bit flattering if that’s what’s happening and I can’t take care of myself. It’s one thing if you’re down bad temporarily and the man in your life offers to help you out.

But more and more over social media I see women talking about requiring men to pay for their every expense. I’ve seen arrogant statements about certain women not even wanting a man to call them unless it’s about paying some of her bills. Statements like that are why I feel genuine love is hard to come by. A man helping to take care of you is the icing on the cake. The cake itself is the important qualities like compatibility, love languages, and common goals, which are being over looked. Then as a result of this mind set men my age are walking around thinking everybody wants something from them.

I think some of us have taken the lyrics of today’s female rap artists and ran with it in the worst way. I think the bigger picture here is to boss up and expect stability from yourself then require it from someone else. There is nothing hot girl-esqe about not being able to support yourself but requiring another individual to, in return for your time. We have to stop acting like having a vagina is all we have to offer and that because of it a man should pay up and worship us. Unless you’re looking to live a sugar baby or escort lifestyle (which I am not judging at all, get it how you live girl. I respect everyone’s hustle and look down upon no one.) leave it out of your relationships.

Your love interests and boyfriends are not a bank, they’re not your pimp, they’re not your father and you look like a bum treating them as such when you can barely pay to get your own nails done. Get realistic and decide what you actually want. Do you want a boyfriend ? Do you want a check ? Do you want both ? Figure that out before you call the next man a bum for wanting to take you on a real date instead of taking you shopping on your first encounter. Something else to consider is the position you are putting yourself in.

If your relationship is centered around money and you, yourself barely have any… that never ends well. The amount of stories I’ve heard of where women wind up stuck in a relationship they’re unhappy with because they are living off of a man and have no other option is ridiculous. When you move in with a man make sure you have the means to exit that situation in case it doesn’t work out. If a man does love you and value you enough to pay your bills make sure regardless you can still have the means to pay them in case the day comes that you no longer want to deal with this person or they decide they no longer want to deal with you.

Even more importantly think of the power you lose when you don’t have your own. You give men a lot of power over you when you’re driving in what he paid for, your living in his home, and living a certain lifestyle with his money. There are certain men who will use their financial power to control you or keep you. Men like this will view you as a possession rather than a person.Truly ask yourself if that is worth any amount of money or perks ? You can’t be a boss b*tch with a bank account that is in the negative while also living a lifestyle that is completely funded by someone who can decide to stop catering to your financial needs at any time.

Have your own and require someone to meet you at that level. If he happens to have it more together than you and wants to spoil you it’s a plus. But don’t stop your grind and the potential you have for anyone. Don’t allow these lyrics to have you stuck and using your femininity as your only means of income. Value yourself and your mind just as much as you do your female power. I’m not saying it’s bad to allow someone to spoil you. I think all of us deserve that kind of love. But make sure with a man present in your life or not that you are taken care of. Always always always have your own and spoil your damn self! I promise every man you come across will respect you more. It’s a lot harder to keep a woman who can’t be be bought. A real man will rise to the occasion.

Xoxo,

Nori

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