Shelf Help: 12 Books to Keep You on Track in 2016

Best Self Help Books of 2016 BYOB Shelf HelpSo I was thinking, I enjoy reading, but life doesn’t always permit me to curl up with a good book. So while I’m out running errands, or driving back and forth to the mountains, I decided that my commute could be put to better use.

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of self help, aka shelf help, sprinkled with chick lit, in an effort to navigate this thing called life, even better this year. Some I’ve read, but could use a refresher. Others, I’m selecting purely on the strength of reviews or fondness for the author. All, filled with lessons, I’ll strive to implement.

Won’t you join me, in what I’m calling the B.Y.O.B. Club? Bring Your Own Book seemed too obvious, though it works. The acronym actually stands for Be Your Own Best.

You have the entire month to read, or listen to, the chosen book, which I’ll then review and open up for discussion here, near the beginning of the following month.

January – Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
Hollywood powerhouse, and surprising introvert, Shonda Rhimes realized that she was missing out on life, by constantly declining invitations and experiences, due to fear. Well, she decided, that for an entire year, she would say yes to everything that terrified her. In the process, she basically transformed herself into one of the badass characters she had previously only written about, and now wants to help us do the same.

February – The Compound Effect
Publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, Darren Hardy, demonstrates how seemingly insignificant choices, ultimately add up, leading you toward your desires or disaster. Repeat after me, decisions shape your destiny.

March – Rich Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together…Finally
If you can get beyond the title, and occasionally being referred to as a bitch, financial expert, Nicole Lapin outlines the 12-step plan that got her finances in order, and can help you too. Sharing a wealth of information, in an entertaining, refreshingly straight-forward and actionable way, Nicole will have you laughing all the way to the bank.

April – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
In this New York Times best-selling guide, readers learn the revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing. By the end of the book, and process, your home will not only sparkle, but you should only be surrounded by things that “Spark Joy.”

May – How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living
Pastor and New York Times best-selling author, Rob Bell, promises to shows you how to figure out your purpose, realize your dreams, live in the moment and joyfully do the things that make you come alive. I’m so here for it.

June – The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today
Essentially a book on affirmations, Pastor and New York Times best-selling author, Joel Osteen, asserts that you are inviting in, and manifesting, whatever words you use after “I am.” About so much more than just positive thinking, this sermon of sorts encourages us to reach new heights by claiming the victory and speaking it into existence; for your life follows not only the thoughts you think, but the words you utter.

July – Psychocybernetics
Doctor and professor, Maxwell Maltz, who paved the way for many of today’s most powerful personal development programs, maintains that failure and misery are habits, just like success and happiness. Thankfully, the negatively ones can be changed. Offering relaxation and visualization techniques, as well as ways to dehypnotize yourself from false beliefs, this is your personal how-to guide.

August – Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur
A growing group of female entrepreneurs, around the world, have discovered the secret to success and happiness, in both their personal and professional lives. Fortunately, this feat is not exclusive to these power players, according to author and Master Life Coach, Cara Alwill Leyba. Girl Code is described as an inspiring and empowering road map for female entrepreneurs, side hustlers and professional women alike; not to mention women who just want to become better versions of themselves. That means you too can learn how to think positively, drop the façade, rid yourself of jealousy, connect with, as well as support, other women, and ultimately have it all.

September – The Untethered Soul
Our inner voices can be relentless with the constant chatter, reliving and regretting the past, or worrying about some future event, that may or may not even happen. Well, this book will not only transform your relationship with yourself, but also the world around you. By tapping into traditions of meditation and mindfulness, author and spiritual teacher, Michael A. Singer, shows how the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts and memories that keep us from achieving happiness and self-realization.

October – Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges
If you’re one of millions of people, including Shonda Rhimes, who viewed Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on “power poses,” and then actually used them, you’re not going to want to miss out on Presence. Or should I say this present? This revolutionary book is a gift, revealing that we don’t need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. We can learn how to approach our biggest challenges with confidence instead of dread, and leave them with satisfaction instead of regret, by simply nudging ourselves, moment by moment, tweaking our body language, behavior, and mindset in our day-to-day lives. Yes please.

November – Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Insightful and inspiring, Big Magic, is filled with the pearls of wisdom we’ve come to expect from Elizabeth Gilbert. Encouraging us to uncover our own “strange jewels” hidden within, she unearths the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives, no matter the endeavor.

December – Rising Strong
Best-known for her work on vulnerability, worthiness and shame, Brené Brown’s latest effort, Rising Strong, tackles what to do after a fall. Regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. This, according to her, is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are. This, I believe, will be just the encouragement we’ll all need to wrap up, what I’m hoping would have been an amazing, but possibly challenging year; not to mention, come back stronger and ready for the next one.

Well that about covers it. Who’s ready to read about it and be about it?

My New Year’s Theme: Putting the Happy in My New Year

New Year's Theme Act Deliberately in 2016So I was thinking, we tend to bite of more than we can chew with resolutions and then, not surprisingly, fall back into old patterns circa February, when they feel impossible to maintain. Well, I for one decided not to make any this year, except for my hair goals.

I opted to pick a New Year’s theme to live by instead. Drum roll please…

Act Deliberately in 2016

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I’m a huge believer in the Law of Attraction, which, at the most basic level, states that we can be, do or have anything we want, so long as our thoughts (and therefore actions) are in vibrational alignment with our desires.

That essentially means embodying the spirit of who you intend to be, now; also known as “dressing” for the part you want, not the one you have.

Moving with a sense of purpose will require constant gut-checking, ideally before, but even while in the midst of, doing something, stopping to ask:

Is this the behavior of someone who does, is or has fill in the blank?

Would someone with beautiful skin, eat this pint of gelato? Go to bed without washing her face? Not drink her daily recommended allowance of water? Skip juicing?

These are just examples you guys. But I have been known to do one, or all of the above.

Would a financially responsible, or better yet, financially free, person buy whatever I just put in my virtual cart?

Would a career-focused person, binge-watch this entire season? Hit the snooze button again? Still be surfing the interwebs?

Would a spontaneous person, pass up this invitation or airfare?

Would a loving and patient person, utter the words I’m about to speak either to, or about, someone?

Would a faithful person, be sitting here throwing a pity party or worrying about a situation that was already “given to God?”

Would someone who makes herself a priority, skip “me” time?

I think you get the point.

Determine who it is you intend to be, and what the characteristics and behavior of said person are, and act accordingly.

Now, that inner voice, depending on how you look at it, well technically listen to it, could come across as a nag; like someone who wants to guilt-trip you, every time you want to do, or not do, something. But in the end, as long as that voice is going to be there talking, it might as well be an ally, encouraging you, thinking more about the long- or longer- term benefits, as opposed to instant gratification, which quite often ends up as dissatisfaction.

I do know that there’ll be days when I won’t feel like “adulting,” much less, doing so responsibly and purposefully. But in general, I intend to hold myself accountable, taking those baby steps, every single day, moment to moment.

Because EVERY choice is an opportunity to move closer to the person I intend to be. But in the process, I can’t neglect to love myself, exactly as I am.

Happy New Year, and as always, Happy Every Day.

My New Hair’s Resolutions

New Hair's Resolutions for Natural HairSo I was thinking, I made great progress with my hair this year, but just like in life, I also had a few setbacks. Well, I intend for 2016 to be all about growth, in every sense of the word, so I figured why not put together a 10-step plan for ringing in my new hair?

  1. Stop being my own Scissor Happy Stylist. I DON’T need to trim my hair every 6-8 weeks. The search and destroy method is sufficient. If I’m having an “ugly” day, I need to find another way to “fix” it. With that said, scissors are also banned if PMSing.
  2. Experiment with more hairstyles. While the topknot is easy and works for me, it’s time to explore the world of options out there for naturals, or at the very least, occasionally change the position of said bun.
  3. Put on a hat, beanie, turban, scarf, some cute form of headwear, but do NOT even start the process that is #WASHDAY unless I have enough time and patience to do it correctly. Detangling can be a beast.
  4. Condition! Condition! Condition!
  5. Pay special attention to my ends. Stop being lazy and moisturize and seal them as needed.
  6. Clarify once a month, possibly twice, since I really do plan on working out in 2016.
  7. Accept that what works for many naturals, no matter how much they swear by it, may not work for me. i.e. the wash and go, finger combing/detangling, using creamy leave-in conditioners, etc.
  8. Curb my inner product junkie. I know what products work for my hair and need to stop letting curiosity, pretty packaging and its promises, get the better of me.
  9. Step up my DIY game. Thankfully there are a few products I still like and companies I trust, but I enjoy experimenting with my own. It’s a hobby, and at times an expensive one, but this way I know exactly what’s going into them and can be sure that’s only the best, all natural ingredients.
  10. Eat right and take my supplements consistently. Beautiful hair (and everything else for that matter) starts on the inside.

Well that about covers it for now. Stay tuned for updates and Happy New Hair to You!

#OOTD: Birds of a Feather Skirt

feather skirt J. Crew SweaterJ. Crew SweaterOOTD Feather Skirt J. Crew SweaterFeather Skirt Nine West Rustic SandalsFeather Skirt Nine West Rustic Sandals J. Crew SweaterSugarlips Feather Skirt | J. Crew Sweater | Nine West Rustic Sandals | Bar III Earrings | Bar III Rings (Similar) | Bar III Bracelets (Similar)

So I was thinking, this feather skirt has New Year’s Eve, or even just a Girls Night Out, written all over it. Isn’t it flocking great?

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#OOTD: Mama Needs a New Pair of Snakeskin Shoes

limited belted shawl collar jacket michael kors snakeskin pumpslimited belted shawl collar jacketMichael Kors Snakeskin PumpsOOTD Limited belted shawl collar jacket Michael Kors snakeskin pumpsOOTD Limited belted shawl collar jacket Michael Kors snakeskin pumpsLimited Belted Shawl Collar Jacket | Limited V-Neck Sweater | 7 For All Mankind Dojo Flare Jeans | Michael Kors Snakeskin Pumps (Similar)

So I was thinking, I remember, when I was a kid, being so excited to get new shoes, I’d wear them out of the store and box the old ones to go.

Buying these felt like that, except my old ones, didn’t make it.

See, I was forced to finally let go of my favorite pair of Nine West snakeskin pumps, after they well, let go of me; the stitching that is.

Perfect in every way, I didn’t think I’d find another I adored as much. I’m talking the ideal combo of neutral colors and a comfortable heel height, not to mention price. Believe me I looked virtually everywhere. And then, I found these by Michael Kors, located in Italy (told you I looked everywhere), for under $100. There was only one pair left, in what I hoped was my size. Needless to say, I took a gamble that totally paid off.

And just like that, I was like a kid in a candy, well, shoe store. Merry Christmas to me!

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