Friday, September 19, 2014

Money Short? Job Security Gone? Exhausted? Let's Change Our Mindsets in 10 Steps.

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Feeling exhausted? Insecure about work? Wish you made more money? Is your mountain of debt keeping you up at night? Do these thoughts invade your nightmares? I've had heart-to-hearts with friends, business coaches, fellow indie business owners, and professionals (even in formerly bullet-proof fields like nursing) and a common consensus has emerged: in this current economic climate there is a general feeling of insecurity and exhaustion, leading to malaise. 

Doing one of my favorite things: morning planning and happy time. More on this below.

We're comparing ourselves to others and even comparing past and current successes. I try not to let the pressure get to me but before my recent day-cation I was frustrated to near-tears from working so much and making so little for it during my current transition to a new blog/brand name. (I'm making less than minimum wage if I were to really sit and count the hours? Which I won't, too demoralizing.) It's hard for everyone right now. Yet when I'm in my work-groove writing, making, and creating everything's natural. Zen. And I know I'm making the right choices and sacrifices.

Here are some exercises I vow to follow to become more productive and more secure. I hope you'll join me and leave any suggestions you might have in the comments. Let's help each other get better! I hope to share progress on these steps on the blog.

Vow 1) Make a Killer Schedule and Stick to it: Frustration and exhaustion can be cured by making and sticking to a schedule. Schedule ALL the things. I even plan to schedule time to cook and freeze healthy meals ahead of time with friends/family to maximize productivity.

Vow 2) Work Harder in Less Time to Get Shit Did: Let's vow to set aside dedicated time and cracking away to get things done ASAP. Don't get distracted by social media, your house mess, nada! Set a timer and really knock out tasks fast and efficiently.

Vow 3) Set Aside Happy Time for Yourself: Now that you have more time because you're better scheduled and work was done in less time... get to crafting, traveling, relaxing with a book or video games, and spending more time with friends/family. You must recharge to work better later.


Vow 4) Sleep!: I ironically give you this advice as I'm typing this article at 11:59 AM and intend to pack some orders and do a little organizing before bed...to arise early and get some work done at my part time vegan kitchen job. Don't be like me, sleep so you're healthy and productive. I'm taking melatonin (natural hormone) to help get back into a healthy sleep cycle.

Vow 5) Establish an Un-Rushed "Morning Happy Time": When you're sleeping more you can arise early! Leaving for work in a rush starts your day in a frenzy. Get up earlier and spend some time with loved ones over tea or sit with our journal and take notes. I miss this part of the day (my fav, been so busy I've skipped it) and plan to re-establish it. When I worked an office job I'd wake up extra early to avoid traffic, sit at my desk with my tea, check e-mails and get situated. It makes the rest of your day smoother to start relaxed instead of frazzled. (Try listening to your favorite music while you're at it. Setting my Pandora to the Prince and Michael Jackson stations does the trick for me!)

I like a combo of inspiring photo-books and self-improvement reading. Can't wait to make time for reading stacks of books.

Vow 6) Start Detailed Journaling/Planners: I try to keep a journal for my business/work-out/healthy eating progress, planning and ideas. Writing it all out is meditative, I love experimenting with different types of journaling. Do you have any to recommend? I love the "Morning Pages" recommendation in The Artist's Way, you simply purge all your thoughts good or bad into your journal in the morning to clear your mind.

Vow 7) Treat Yo Self: I have big time buyer's remorse, but working hard non-stop without stopping to treat yourself is extremely draining. Stop to do something you love, buy yourself something nice (even if it's cheap or thrifted) every now and then. It raises morale.

I'm always making new tableaus. It's not perfect yet but the journey is relaxing and keeping things fresh/attractive keeps me working happy.

Vow 8) Get Organized and Keep Home Clean/Attractive: Not knowing where everything is kills time and work flow. Know where all your supplies are, establish rules to keep your home/work-space clutter free, and surround yourself with objects that inspire.

Vow 9) Daily Improvement: Stay up-to-date in your field and read books on self-improvement. Take notes and apply them. I'm working on Wake up and Live and The 7 Habits of Productive People.

Vow 10) Count Your Blessings Daily, Keep Positive: You're reading this now so you've yet to shed your mortal coil. You're alive; rejoice! Stay positive instead of self-critiquing yourself into an inertia slump. Maybe write what you're grateful for in your journal daily.

Bonus: Always gravitate toward doing exactly what you want to do. (Exercise to find what that is here). You may not be able to do so immediately, but life's too short not to work hard toward it.

Take these vows with me and exhaustion will be no more. We'll the energy and positively we need to conquer work and tasks and make that money! Security, here we come.

Planning on taking these steps with me? Do it! For real. Let's get shit done so we can relax and stop stressing. I would love any tips you have, do share in the comments. It's been crazy lately, but I'm determined to make it better.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Modern Boutique Hotel Stay at St. Augustine: A Peaceful Day-Cation at JayBird Inn

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I've been working more than usual the past couple of weeks; clearing out as much merchandise as possible, more hours at my lovely raw vegan kitchen job, freelance client work, shipping stuff out, pain forever. The day of the planned day-cation to St. Augustine with my boyfriend I was stressed to near-tear level (mad at myself for glitches along the week, I'm a grotesque pedantic work perfectionist). I nearly passed out on a bike ride (more on that later) and we accidently missed breakfast ("free" fruit I wanted you so!) but we had a wonderful time. I had to share photos of JayBird Inn because it's absolutely gorgeous, the only modern hotel in "Old World" St. Augustine, Florida. A welcome surprise.


JayBird's bills itself as a boutique hotel for "active" people, offering free bike rentals! I love feeling the wind in my hairs again, I haven't replaced my woefully stolen bike, yet. I loved the natural color scheme featuring lots of blues, whites, and browns, the lovely had just the right mix of traditional/Old World European architecture left intact (that is after all, the whole appeal of our nation's "oldest city) and fresh modern touches. Adored the tropical potted plants, complimentary computers, and book rentals. The right side had "free" books (the whole Twilight series was there, untouched, ha! If it was the 50 Shades of Gray series I'd have taken it in the heartbeat, I'm dying to read it as a comedy) and the left had an array of fitness books.


I loved how the room had track lights that glowed and super sexy tile floors that mimicked hardware floor. The room was immaculate, spacious and restful.


My small/efficient space fetish ensures I document every hotel room in detail. Who doesn't love a washroom "mini kitchen" combo spot. A microwave, mini-fridge, coffee maker, sink, ironing board and iron and plenty of storage space exist in one corner.


The shower was huge with an "open" concept layout that reminded me of Japanese bathrooms. Very beautiful but the water took a long time to warm up and the way there was no division between the shower and floor...flooded the floor! Surprised there weren't more complaints about that in the reviews, you have to be sure nothing at all blocks in the drain in the slightest.


Loved the soothing blue color of the bathroom, too. Beautiful.

Look at the photo above, the start of the bridge is that white line waaay back yonder...I'm an idiot. 

After quickly settling in we rushed to rent our bikes and set out to the beach. It's been hot and humid as hell this month. (I will hear nothing of your of Pumpkin Spice lattes, bitches. I'm going to the beach and drinking coconut water. HOT.) I set off like a banshee speeding away happily to my favorite beach. You have to cross a huge bridge to get there, once I reached the top I started to feel waves of nausea and had to get off the bike and lay down for a while for it to pass.

Views from the bridge where I was stuck laying my head on AJ's lap for a while; feeling pale, defeated, and frustrated by the weak sack of flesh called my 'body.' Joggers passing by asked if I needed an ambulance, it was a pathetic sight. 

 I've been working out more and keep forgetting that you have to eat a hell of a lot more as a vegan "athlete". Add more food to that if you're in the heat because your body burns more calories to keep you cool. EAT YOU FOOLS, eat! I keep learning that lesson the hard way. I hadn't eaten since breakfast at that point. AJ had to help me get to the Publix right off the bridge where I loaded my empty tank food and hydration and immediately almost-completely felt better.


And gorgeous, peaceful Vilano beach along with a sea dip is always good for the soul, too. Replenishing.


And hugs, lots of those.


The bikes were fixed gears (your back petal to break), not the best bikes for beginners but they made pleasant chariots to ride to the town center, ample nearby thrift stores (3 good ones- didn't go, by the by) and of course, my favorite raw vegan restaurant, Present Moment.


The outside of the hotel matches the city's rustic, Spainard-style Floridian charm, belying the modern rooms.


This is where we would have enjoyed breakfast if we didn't miss it! Boo! It ended a little earlier than most places I've stayed at. I noticed all the photos in the rooms and the photos above had a purple/yellow theme and where photos of natural landscapes. Nice consistency, and the rest of the immaculate lobby had photos of various birds in their habitats.


Had to share more shots of the lobby, perfect mix of traditional and modern to my eyes and nice brick detail, too. There's a little gym and a pool that could have used some landscaping, it's the only inn pool I've stayed at in Florida that didn't feature palm trees and colorful flowers. I love my plants, dammit.


We would have been even happier if JayBird Inn was right on the beach but this it's at a great central location for exploring the whole city, close enough to the beach (bike to it with a free bike if desired but beware that sun- and I'm an experienced urban biker, man, damn you sun) and the other city's famous sights. At $90.00 a night, quite affordable, too and literally right next to the red trolly tours for city newbies. We'll definitely give this one a try again one day, maybe even splitting a double-bed room one with friends sometime.

I have a lot of dreams and I'm the type of entrepreneur that seems to want to try everything I see, but I'd love to start a little boutique hotel, kitschy hostel or bed and breakfast style spot of my own one day. To start it would be fun to be hired as a stylist for one. Someone hire me, I've got an innate knack for balanced composition and a huge stock of unique wares! Let me at it!

Also See: The Incredible Mid Century Modern Magic Beach Motel || A Kitschy Retro Tampa Inn || Greetings from Mod Vilano Beach || More Travel Posts
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Easy, Natural DIY Dry Shampoo for Brunettes and Blondes + Your No Poo Questions Answered


You want to try the "No Poo" or "No Shampoo" Lifestyle for good reason; conventional shampoo is indeed full of shit- especially if you have insanely dry and fragile "ethnic" hair like I do. (I'm afro-Latina on the Puerto Rican side of my family.) The chemical sulfates in shampoo dry out already-dry and delicate hair. Then there's the endocrine disrupters...the suds going down the drain and poisoning our water supply...the horror, the horror. I'll get off the soap box and address the #1 reason why you're too scared to try shampooing less (and with organic shampoo) or forgoing shampoo all together: you think your hair will get too oily. Fear not! I'll teach you how to make your own dry shampoo that will soak up any excess oil between washes and leave your hair bouncy and beautiful.


To make your dry shampoo mix a 1:1 ratio of organic corn starch or baking soda and cocao powder. Blondes have it even easier, just use the corn starch or baking soda. Dust this with a fluffy blush brush right into your roots and wherever needed to absorb excess oil. I like to mix 1/2 cup baking soda and a 1/2 cup cocao powder at a time.

Your No Poo FAQs Answered:

1. Does that mean you never wash your hair? How often should I wash it? - General Question
I consider No Poo to mean no conventional, chemical shampoos or conditioners, which are full of alcohols and detrimental to most hair's health. I also take it to mean a reduction is hair washing rather than a full-on shampoo removal. I wash my hair well with  Griffin Remedy Restorative Shampoo and condition with their Conditioner before I straighten my hair. I wash about 2-3 times per month because my hair is insanely dry and can take the neglect. If I'm not wearing my hair straight I'll condition it with the same conditioner nightly and apply a teenie tiny bit of coconut oil while it's still wet. 

2. I've thought about doing this because I have dry/coarse/curly hair but my roots have become more and more oily over the past decade or so. What holds me back is the concern about odour... do any of you who do this notice any? I'm a bit sensitive to it, but if I smell someone's hair when it hasn't been washed in a few days (or if they have thick hair and obviously aren't getting the shampoo in around their scalp vigorously enough) that "rancid oil" smell just turns my stomach. Does this get rid of enough to prevent that smell? - Anonymous Comment

My hair never, ever smells. It was actually funny to surprise my boyfriend recently with my very minimally-washed hair revelation. He, too, thought infrequent hair washing leads to odor. (Who's always all-up-in my "dirty" hair and loving it, AJ!? Complimenting it, even. YOU! BWAHAHA!) How often an individual will wash their hair is a case-by-case basis. Some may need to wash it more to control oil. The organic shampoo or baking soda will do the trick, there should be no odor from a normal, healthy person.
Also, as a dry/curly girl to another: do it! This is the best thing I've ever done for my hair, it was so dry and miserable before I stopped washing it daily and using chemical products. The curls are soft and bouncy now and my hair rarely tangles.
3. I've never seen African black soap in liquid form and I don't think you can buy it around here, but you can get the solid bars in beauty supply stores. Do you think it'll work the same? - Holly


As long as it's 100% pure African Black Soap, it should be brown and texture in appearance and sweet smelling. African Black Soap made from natural oils, palm leaves, cocao leaves, shea tree bark, coconut oil and palm oil, it's incredible good for your skin and hair. A lot of people credit it for curing break-outs, my friends have had good results. I use and enjoy Alaffia African Black Soap. You can use it as a shampoo or body wash, great quality, cheap, lasts long. They sell the bars locally at flea markets and I've even see it at the Jarboe park Neptune Beach Farmers Market.
For more info on starting a No Poo lifestyle check out my detailed No Poo Post

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