Sometimes You Gotta DIY

This post comes from the indie coffee shop a few blocks from my new home. It comes after my things arriving from Spokane, Washington yesterday evening and me being bent on unpacking as much as possible last night, but especially my bed. I was over the air mattress life. As I looked at the box with my brand new box spring there was a picture with two people and the wording read “team lift.” I told myself that it was a good thing the box didn’t need lifting because i was teamless. I mangled that box and within a half hour my bed, the frame, box spring, and mattress (mangled that packaging too) were assembled. I am not anti team but I also know that sometimes you gotta DIY. So this week I hope you get over the hump with a few DIYs to take care of yourself!

DIY Mani Pedi courtesy of The Every Girl

I used to be one of those manicure pedicure every two weeks types until I realized that was a waste of time and money. Seriously, It was upwards of $70.00 a month and depending on the wait, easily two hours a visit. Now I didn’t abandon them altogether. Not in the least bit. I just did my own in between visits. I also made sure to get the good polish, like Essie and Ten Over Ten. By the way, you can score Essie polishes at half the price at Marshalls and TJMaxx.

maniplaybuzz

Photo courtesy of Play Buzz.com

DIY Hair Hacks courtesy of Brit + Co

I have six signature hairstyles. Probably five and a half (I don’t know if a bun to the side counts as it’s own hair style as opposed to being at the nape of my neck) if I am honest. But I have been venturing out recently trying a few new things all with one real goal- keep the hair out of my face. It’s summer and I just want my locks to look lovely and not annoy me. So all the things I have been trying have been doing just that and perhaps you too could use some new hairstyle mojo.

off face hair pop sugar

Photo courtesy of Pop Sugar.com

DIY Facial courtesy of Refinery 29

I learned early on that my best accessory is my smile and runner up is good skin. I don’t care whether you are #TeamMAC #TeamSephora #TeamCovergirl, putting on loads of makeup will NEVER substitute taking care of your skin. Part of taking care of your skin is being sure to give yourself a good facial. Cleanse, exfoliate, tone, moisturize, massage, etc. You don’t have to hit up the salon or stalk Groupon for a coupon to the upscale salon to get one- although every now and then I say go ahead and treat yourself. Until then you can absolutely DIY. Might I recommend heading to Lush for some of their products? You will love them  (or at least really really really like them.)

Photo courtesy of Photo Editor

DIY Taco Tuesday courtesy of The Food Network

My aunt introduced my siblings and I to tacos. They were on the list of foods my dad didn’t eat which usually (not always) meant my mom didn’t cook it at our house. So when we would sleep over my aunt’s she would make them and I love them. I could eat them or any Latin or Spanish influenced food morning, noon, and night. Not to mention they are so festive. So much color and taste, God bless the creator of tacos. Oh right and Taco Tuesday. I think that’s a national thing but I know it’s a west coast thing and well I may be back to living on the east but my heart still beats west coast.  Next time it’s Tuesday and you don’t know what’s for dinner, might I suggest Tacos. Heck, next time you’re hungry, might I suggest Tacos. Might I also suggest inviting friends. The more the merrier!

Photo courtesy of Brit + Co.com

DIY Sangria courtesy of The Nest

What better way to complement tacos than with sangria? I know someone read that and thought tequila. Lo siento! I love a great glass of sangria, all of its color, flavor, and enticing cool. It’s like upgrading a good wine and every now and then who doesn’t want a good upgrade? Just be sure to let the sangria sit for a bit. It taste better that way. As per my suggestion with the tacos, I recommend sangria with friends. Tacos, sangria, and friends- oh my!

Photo courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction.com

Indie Spirits We Admire

Photo courtesy of E Online.com

The past few weeks of transition have meant I get to gather with and catch up with friends and fellow readers. And post coffee, or initial commentary on the blog…I pick their brain. Last week I shared a few of my favorite fashionable women who capture the  #IndieSpirit and today I am sharing what a few folks had to say about women in their lives or who have impacted the way they LIVE who capture the #IndieSpirit.

“June Ambrose. She is a graceful example of the balance of all things creative along with motherhood. She inspires me on a multitude of levels and does so rocking a style I admire, one that modestly covers the body yet s runway ready. She also eludes humility and openness. And finally, she didn’t’ let her “hip-hop” roots box her in.”  – Serena S.

weadmirerefinery29

Photo courtesy of Refinery 29

“There is a woman who is like a second mother to me and a spiritual mentor.  No matter what society deems the “norm” she remains consistent is and doesn’t waver for anyone. I think that’s really rare in the time we live in so I really appreciate and admire that about her.” – Brittney W.

“There are many women I admire and especially for their #IndieSpirit. My maternal grandmother is one of them. She had her own business in Haiti. She us an incredible gardener  with a keen sense of good soil and patience to nourish  seeds. Her gardening skills and produce were her claim to fame. And she also is a really good listener. She knows how to listen to people and not everyone knows how to hush up and listen.”      – Stephanie S.

#IndieSpirit Style Spotlight

I love my style. I like what I like, know the importance of a well make and fitted garment, pattern play and color doesn’t scare me in the least bit,  and I never, never, NEVER underestimate the power of accessories. I also thoroughly appreciate anyone who curates a style of their own. A few of my style icons are women who know how to do sexy without taking everything off, amp up menswear with their own curves, curls, and pops of color, set trends as oppose to follow them, and adorn their bodies in clothes that are unapologetically reflective of them. I am pretty sure if the #IndieSpirit had the mother of all walk in closets that she’d choose pieces that would reflect the style of some of my favorite style icons Tracee Ellis Ross, Solange, Helen Lisichanh, Zoe Saldana and Kourtney Kardashian.

Photo courtesy of Tom and Lorenzo.com

Photo courtesy of Tom and Lorenzo.com

Photo courtesy of Photo Bomb Daily.com

Photo courtesy of Photo Bomb Daily.com

Photo Daily Mail.UK

Photo Daily Mail.UK

Photo courtesy of Refinery 29

Photo courtesy of Refinery 29

Photo courtesy of Who What Wear

Photo courtesy of Who What Wear

Independently Whealthy

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

Nope that’s not a spelling error. That’s me at best being creative at worse being lazy- it’s my marriage of the terms wealthy and healthy. Those with the #IndieSpirit pay attention to and cultivate both. Taking care of yourself is a must. So today I’m sending you a reminder to indulge in your whealth.

Health

One and done Every 12 months you should have a physical (with blood work), gynecological exam, eye exam.

Two to go- Every six ,months you should see your dentist for a cleaning and one of those visits should include  x-rays.

Three to five- No not the time you are available to get your hair colored, but the number of times a week you should be engaging in intentional exercise for 30 to 60 minutes. Walk, run, wun (walk with intervals of running), yoga, swim, play tennis, dance, etc. something that gets your body moving, heart pumping, blood circulating.

Four to six- Nope that’s not the happy hour schedule. That is the recommended number of small meal you should try to eat throughout the day to maintain a healthy metabolism, curb binge eating and grazing, and keep the body healthy.

Sixty four or more- This is the number of ounces of water your body needs. At a minimum drink 64 ounces a day. Some doctor’s recommend drinking half of your body weight in water which makes sense since the body is about 60% water anyway.

As you please (or need)- Seeing a mental health practitioner or life coach. I’ve seen counselors, even as I myself identified as a counselor. I’ve also worked with a life coach around some really specific goals and I knew I need more than the well meaning friend and family member to hold me accountable. Depending on the curve ball ife as thrown at me I will certainly call y insurance company and find a mental health provider. Now if you are not insured please know there are plenty of metal health provides who offer sliding scale fee (you and the counselor agree on a fee that you can afford) and there are free services through health clinics. To find a counselor near you click here.

Photo courtesy of Fit Sugar.com

Photo courtesy of Fit Sugar.com

Wealth

Dirty 30- I’m not talking bout celebrating your debut into a new decade. I’m talking about saving at least 30% of your income annually. There are a number of ways to do this and it can be divided up between various retirement accounts and savings accounts. I love love LOVE Capitalone360. It let’s me have multiple savings accounts, like for traveling, emergencies, even celebrations/gifts. The various amounts are scheduled to come out of my checking account once a month.

Cash only- I love my cute sunset hues debit/credit card as much as the next but it is so so so easy to swipe away and spend. Might I suggest whatever your budget is for the week you withdraw that cash amount and only use cash for your purchases. You will be surprised how many less lattes you have and how much you don’t need that top that is an extra 30% off at Nordstrom.

Keep the change- I have a delightful zebra print pig piggy bank courtesy of Old Navy and that is where I deposit all my change. Then every so often…I take that pig to the bank and get cash. What you do with the cash is up to you. Maybe it’s your extra cup of coffee stash. Maybe it ‘s your restaurant week stash. But keep those pennies, nickles, and dimes. They add up.

Photo courtesy of MYV.com

Photo courtesy of MYV.com

Wise counsel- After a year of paying a mortgage and rent my finances were just not where I was used to or wanted them to be. I wasn’t exactly sure of what my game plan should be and how to wisely invest money from selling the house. So…I joined learn vest and met Kirk, my financial adviser. I can’t even tell you how helpful it’s been so far and the amazing tools Learn Vest has to offer. And…did ? mention a woman started this company? #WomanPower #IndieSpirit

Spend well, not more, not less- I love a deal as much as the next person but I am also the same chick who notoriously cleans out her closet and has so much stuff to give away. I have learned however in more recent year it’s better for me to invest in a few really great products that are classic cuts and styles than really trendy ones that will somehow be so 2008 in the next 72 hours. While a few friends and family occasionally give me the side eye for heading to Nordstrom, Macys, or Bloomingdales, I know that the quality of the items those stores offer give me a lot of bang for my buck (which means in the long run i spend less buck)…and I look good. wink wink.

Take it to the bank (or credit union)- Banks and credit unions have so much to offer these days. With your financial needs in mind do your research on where you choose to invest your hard earned money. If you are curious about the difference between the two, credit unions are non profit financial institutions with its members in mind while Banks are f or profit and while they are smitten with you they are in love with larger corporations. Doesn’t make either good or bad and I’d encourage you to consider both and choose an institution that best meets your financial needs and goals. My credit union offers really really low rates on a number of loans, for cars, mortgages, and student loans. They also have a great point system that I love and have allowed me to travel on a whim without paying anything. If ou want to learn more about credit unions and banks click here.

Credit- not the cards, your score. It is imperative to know and monitor your credit score which is indeed impacted by your credit cards. I use Free Credit Report.com for my credit score. It gives you three scores, lets you know what you can do to improve your score, and keeps you posted on inquiries about your score. Note that inquiries can also impact your credit score. The higher the score the better (850 is the epitome of great credit).

What’s not in the bank (or credit union)? – Then there are your assets to keep in mind. These are things that are of value and could be sold for cash, but you aren’t string in a financial institution. This is your house, fr example. It’s not stored anywhere but it has great value and can be sold for cash value. Other sometimes overlooked assets are antique or vintage items. If you can convert it (with some ease) to cash then you’ve got yourself an asset.

whealth5theguardian

Photo courtesy of The Guardian.vom

Whealth

Just so we are uber clear, physical, mental, and financial health are not the only markers whealth (wealth + health). I cannot stress enough how we are, you are, I am, much more than any physical condition, mental illness, credit score, or number of zeroes before the decimal point. When you think about your whealth I encourage you to think about

– Your resiliency and ability to bounce back

-Your relationships (not the quantity but the quality)

– The thing or things you do, see, read that feed your soul and renew your sense of purpose

– Your blessings (take a moment to seriously sit down ad start counting them)

– Your privileges (privilege is not just about Whiteness,there are a host of privileges to consider)

-Your experience (your experiences not just bullet points on your resume, but they are what make you who you are, and often provide insight into and strength to create a simply LIVED life)

A true #IndieSpirit, no matter what the circumstance knows they have whealth. Some days that whealth will be measured by physical prowess, mobility, and agility. Others it is what’s hanging out in the bank account. And everyday it is the experiences, blessings, and those with whom w have positive relationships with. So how whealthy are you?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02:  Jay-Z and Beyonce attends the Toronto Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center on May 2, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)

Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan

Latiaynna Tabb- An #IndieSpirit

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I didn’t think twice about chatting it up with Latiaynna Tabb aka LT and her views on independence and embracing the #IndieSpirit. Honestly, who would think twice about talking with a young woman who over the past five years has done nothing but commit to finding and making her own way in the world and making it her business to do the same for and with others through her company, Tabb Management. Whether she is managing the careers of talented artists, organizing prom dress drives for young women in the community, or researching ways to better support low income girls in urban areas, LT is making it happen. She is making her life happen. Besides, that’s what independents do. Today you get to learn more about how Ms. Tabb, how she embraces her independent spirit as well as her words of wisdom as to how you can embrace yours! xxoo

Me: So let’s start by you telling us how do you define independence?

LT: Great question. Independence is being courageous and bold enough to identify your wants, needs, and desires and then acting upon them. It’s making choices that are best for you and others around you. People confuse independent with individualistic, but you can be independent as well as self-aware and community oriented.

Me: What do you think is a misnomer about having an independent spirit? Being an entrepreneur?

LT: Independence is often confused with extroversion. I like coming home and having quiet solo time. I am on all day. I need to come home and recharge. As for as entrepreneurship, there is a larger and growing school of thought that everyone/anyone  can be an entrepreneur. It’s not easy and everyone doesn’t need to be one. It’s okay if you’re not an entrepreneur. During this past year I have been more reflective in the direction of my company and my role in it. As I  have reflected I see that I have become grounded in knowing everyone doesn’t do what i do how I do it. I have also been really particular about what I do well and if it is not something I don’t do well, maybe it’s not for me to do. Oh and another misnomer about entrepreneurs is that they are making money. Nope.  It doesn’t quite work that way at least not for a while.

Me: As an entrepreneur how does embracing Independence impact your work?

LT: As I have embraced independence it’s impacted my confidence. I am confident about the work I do and what I put out. I never decided to become an entrepreneur. It happened. It’s independence in action. I just kept telling myself that I can figure this out. On my entrepreneurial journey these past five years I have learned to really trust my instincts and that impacts how I do my work, with whom I work, projects I take on or support, etc. I guess that’s a real female way to respond,” trust my intuition,” but it’s true and I am instinctual. I’ll also add, as someone who has an employer, there feels like there is a dichotomy between people with jobs and entrepreneurship. Doesn’t need to be that way. Working for someone or for yourself still demands that you are an  independent thinker. I am and independent thinker and I work for someone. I can make my own choices within the organization.

Me: When you think about the people you work with, whether people you hire, manage, or partner with for events, is independence a characteristic you value and if so how have you seen it manifest in others?

LT: I do value independence and I look for it in terms of autonomy and intuitiveness. I value these characteristics and seek them in others. Autonomy and intuitiveness allows me to confidently delegate and trust individuals I have hired. I also strive to work with independent thinkers. I believe there are so many opportunities for creativity that come from people who are willing to think differently or suggest trying something different. Other people’s ability to think independently isn’t a threat to my independence.

Me: When it comes to gender, would you say Independence is admirable across genders or do you perceive a disparity?

LT:  I think it depends on who’s looking. I want to say it’s admirable for everyone, but some people don’t think women should be independent. I remember when Destiny’s Child Bills Bills Bills came out and the DJs were going in criticizing the song. Then Independent Women came out and that got flack for that too. Some women think independence in women is cool while others do not. I know some men support it and some don’t. In the Black community, we expect women to be strong which I would say we use as a synonym for independence. This strength is seen as a positive thing. I personally think it is an admirable quality

Me: Can women really be independent or does that make them a bitch? For Black women in particular does that just make them an angry or bitter Black woman?

LT: Independence is state of being and mind, bitch is an attitude. My independence and my choices are not at a cost to someone else. I get a lot of people saying “Your aggressive,” and that pisses me off. Why does me being direct mean I am aggressive (negative connotation). If I was a male or different skin tone I’d probably be considered as someone who knows what they want. Currently I’m researching messages of strength among low income adolescent girls of color in metropolitan areas. Why can’t we just be?

Me: So sticking with independence and gender, how has being an independent spirit impacted dating? friendships, and family relationships?

LT: Sometimes it impacts the male relationships. I appreciate the guys who don’t mind. However some just don’t know what to do with my directness or boldness, so they either shy away or over compensate. But I am not interested in living my life for anyone else. Some men say they want an independent woman, but Then don’t not to really know what to do with one.

Me: What about family dynamics?

LT: They love me and what I do, but they  also assume I am busy and I miss out on stuff because they don’t invite me. They figure I’m out doing my thing. So I just remind them from time to time to just send that text or make that call and I might actually be free and up for whatever they wanted to do.

Me: Who in your life do you admire for their independent spirit?

LT: Dr. Norma Gaines Hanks who is a professor of human development and family studies. I was her graduate assistant at University of Delaware. For the past 10 years she has been going to various countries in Africa and Barbados for research. She has enjoyed her work there so much she actually goes to Barbados for vacation and will go on her own. She chose not to have kids and has expressed feeling satisfied with the way she has nurtured and mothered the students she has taught over the years. She is the only woman of color in her department and it hasn’t diminished her Black womanness as a member of a very White campus community. She is a straight shooter and doesn’t water things down. She’s just happy. An indication of her choices, independent choices that make her happy.

Me: What independent brands/business inspire you?

LT:  Recently admiring the work of Melissa Alam. She opened up The Hive Philly, an all female coworking space in old city Philadelphia. I admire in her and you. You’re both willing to rebrand and do something different. You two welcome change and that’s so courageous. I am like I need to reflect on keeping the decision I made. I am also inspired by Chill Moody and Jade Alston, two musicians from Philadelphia. Jade Alston initially came out as an R&B artist and made that 90’s feel good music. More recently she has done more folk music. Switching it up like that is ballsy but she did it and it’s still really good music.

Me: What advice would you give someone who is defining what independence is for them?

LT: Be deliberate in learning yourself. Take time to learn what you like, don’t like, want, don’t want, etc. I have a few self help books that I keep handy. One of them shared you have to learn to remove the annoyance in your life to be successful. If you’re wasting time thinking about the things that annoy you then you take time away from things you could do that makes you happy and leads to your success.

#IndieSpirit Soundtrack

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

One of the best parts of celebrating my independence day in San Francisco this year was the music festival in the Filmore. It was block after block of food, art, live music, DJ’s and dancing, dancing, and more dancing. Hands down Brooklyn Circus had the best DJ and we were not ready for them to shut it down when the festival was over. Just like there isn’t a good party without good music,  there isn’t a true #IndieSpirit without her own soundtrack! Here are a few of my go tunes that keep me motivated and doing what my independent heart desires. Until Monday! xxoo