8 Ways to Cultivate Happiness for Your Loved Ones

The most important gift we can give our loved ones is the gift of our own happiness. There will never be a time where every last detail of your life is perfect. So, why not go ahead and be thankful now?  And why not share what you've learned about happy living with your loved ones?

We all need "that person" at some time or another. I go through phases where I'm very hard on myself for not being as present as I'd like to be in everyone's lives, for not making more money, for not being able to stand on my head - you name it. When I do this, I'm robbing myself of the joy that the present moment has to offer. It can be a never ending cycle if you let it.  I'm so thankful for my family and friends for keeping me afloat when I feel like I'm sinking. 

Through good times and bad, here are eight ways to exude positivity and hope for your family and inner circle.

Be the voice of reason. When things get tough, someone needs to keep a balanced perspective to avoid things being blown out of proportion. Yes, things can seem like they can't get any worse, but remind yourself and those around you that stormy and sunny days come and go and we need to make peace with them both.

Be mindful of your body language. Just the simple act of smiling will boost not only your own mood but those around you. I'm a big advocate for hugging, too. There's nothing like a bear hug to remind you that you are loved and everything is going to be okay. Also, when someone is talking to you, take the time to look them in the eye and nod and show them that you're present and engaged and that they matter.

Focus on the present. For many of us, it's extremely difficult to move on from the past and not worry about the future. But what about what is happening right now? When you remind others of all there is to be thankful for in the present moment, they may not want to hear it, but at least you are planting a seed that will hopefully grow within them.  If the present moment is not so great, remind them that they do have people who love and care about them to help them get through it.

Point out the silver lining. Whether we are able to see it or not, there is a reason and a season for everything. Teach your loved ones to look beyond the obvious and find the lesson. For some of us this comes more naturally than others, so use your voice to help the people you care about from focusing on all the negatives.

Avoid extremes. We all have good and bad days. But you know how some people are like Jekyll and Hyde and you never know what attitude you're going to get? Yeah, don't be one of those people. Try to stay to yourself when you're feeling under the weather. Likewise, be tolerant and understanding of others when they're in a bad mood. When you can't stay to yourself, try to self-soothe through whatever outlet works for you. It also helps to feed off of the energy of people who are uplifting and give off positive vibes. 

Make observations without criticism. When people ask you for your opinion about their situation, it's important to practice honesty with compassion. Yes, they want your honest perspective but most of us are already hard enough on ourselves than anyone else could be. Sometimes the truth hurts enough all by itself without any extra punch added to it.

Be forgiving. Don't hold grudges. With relationships - romantic, family, and friendships - things go down. People don't see eye to eye. Harsh words are said. Promises are broken. Betrayal occurs. And yet holding on to all of the resulting negative feelings simply prolongs all of it.

Be generous without expecting anything in return. We all like to be appreciated, but some people crave it to the point where they essentially take on a victim mentality. Or they become resentful when they feel unacknowledged. When you sense this in your loved ones, remind them that the gift is in the giving.

How do you play a positive role in the lives of your loved ones???


PLPT is co-authored by Kim Jackson and GG Renee with the intention of connecting with women through messages of self-love and personal freedom. We believe that true beauty starts on the inside and radiates outward, so maintaining emotional health and balance should be an essential part of every woman's beauty regimen. We use this platform as an opportunity to share our personal experiences, and to help other women who are seeking guidance to find their own truths and live fabulously.

Reflections- Look at Sasha Obama's Hair!

 by Shelli of Hairscapades 

I just had to share this pic that I saw on Facebook yesterday and posted on my page. This picture just makes my heart swell with joy for two reasons. First, I always love seeing a little girl who adores her daddy and a daddy who adores his little girl.

But second … and this is what inspired the title of this post … look at Sasha’s hair. Which one of us doesn’t have a similar pic of us playing at some time, some place, hair everywhere … and having the time of our lives? To see this captured moment … the daughter of the President of the United States of America, not perfectly coiffed, but looking just like “every little black girl USA,” shoot, “every little black girl” period … no facades … no pretense …  no dolled up, whitewashed version of a black family that is “safe” for public viewing … feels like a really existential moment in time. I feel it in my bones. I feel it in my soul. There’s about to be a paradigm shift mannnnn!!! We are here, we are black, we are women and we are worthy just the way we are!!

That is all!

How to Confront Your Joy Snatchers

Do you ever feel like you're constantly being drained of your positive energy?  Or that you're so distracted by peripheral things that you can't focus on what truly matters to you?  Have you ever slowed down enough and taken a close look at your life to find the sources that are draining you?  In this post, we'll call these things joy snatchers.  This was originally posted on The Write Curl Diary

What are Joy Snatchers?

Joy snatchers are those little things that pick away at your peace of mind and make you feel like poop. Joy snatchers can be people, places or things. They distract you when you are trying to be productive. They cause strain and stress in your relationships. Perhaps they bring out a side of you that you don't like or pull negative energy out of you. They can trigger feelings of depression and self-loathing and are often responsible for those random bad days when you're in a funk and you can't really explain why.

What are your joy snatchers? Here are just a few possibilities:


Maybe instead of appreciating what you have, you feel slighted because you think others have more or better than you. Do you sometimes want to feel happy for people but can't seem to see past your own perceived lack? Have you ever started off the day feeling great and then heard someone else's good news and suddenly had an attack of self-pity? *Raises Hand* This is not a pretty thing to admit in the least, but we've all been there and this does not make you a bad person!

Lack of Reciprocity

Do you overlook the meaningful relationships in your life and focus on the the broken or non-existent ones? Perhaps you invest a lot of time and energy into building a relationship with someone who is not giving you the same investment and you're upset about it - trying to figure out what's wrong with you? Why won't they like you or love you as much as you like or love them? They don't acknowledge your efforts or your gestures and you keep on trying to impress them to no avail.


Do you entertain any and everything that people have to say to you? The media? Your neighbors? Your family? Co-workers? If you're open to it, everywhere you turn, someone will be complaining about something, gossiping about something, spreading fear in covert ways and leaving you wondering why you suddenly feel so heavy. Sometimes it's intentional and sometimes it's not. It's up to you to restrict access to your consciousness and not let everything in. You are not a dumping zone or a vessel to catch and recycle everyone's fears and bad feelings.

How do you control Joy Snatchers?

First, you have to recognize them and their impact on the quality of your life. You have to want to be free of their control over you. Get to know the sources. Search yourself honestly and without judgement to determine why you are susceptible to these things. Begin to train your mind to embrace Abundance instead of Lack and Faith instead of Fear.

There's no magic solution and your journey to freedom will be unique. It has helped me tremendously to be brutally honest with myself and know my triggers.

 What has helped you overcome sources of negative energy in your life? Or, what specific joy snatchers do you need to deal with?

Follow Your Bliss.

by Bennii Blast of The Culture Pine

''Follow your bliss. That which you love, you must spend your life doing, as passionately and as perfectly as your heart, mind and instincts allow. The sooner you identify that bliss, which surely resides in the soul of most human beings, the greater your chance of a successful life.’’ [George Lois]
As children, our imaginations entertain us with the numerous roles we aspire to become when we are ‘big enough’. From doctors, to vets, designers, to models – we knew exactly what we wanted to be when we grew up. Sure enough, the years pass by; we become older and less naive to the world around us. In doing so, our dreams begin to fade as we realise that it is going to take a little longer and involve more work than we originally thought to reach our goals. We identified our idea of bliss - then let it slip away.
As an Undergrad whom is closely approaching the end of my schooling years, I have been inundated with the advice of those who have previously walked my path, but somehow lost the ticket to their dreams. With the need to survive as well as chasing their goals, working at a ‘temporary’ job is the obvious solution, but what happens when that ‘temporary’ job becomes permanent and you begin to lose sight of your passion?

As cultural provocateur and advertising guru, George Lois, highlights in the quote above; the sooner we identify what bliss means to us, the better the chance we have at achieving success. Even though you may have lost sight of your dreams; they are still there, waiting for you to re-ignite them. Everyone has that one passion that they would give anything to spend the rest of their life doing. Everyone has that something which makes them happy. The trouble is; some of us deny ourselves the chance to make a life out of what we are passionate about…ending up in a place that we do not want to be.
Sometimes we make too many excuses or come up with a thousand reasons why we cannot do something, giving up the fight for what we really want. It is never too late to start believing that you can achieve success and more importantly… 

Follow your bliss. 

What is your idea of bliss? Are you yet to follow it?

A Challenge to Pursue Life and Love Over Things

 by Kim Jackson of PeaceLoveandPrettyThings

There is a quote that is attributed to the Dalai Lama floating around the internet. When asked what most surprised him about humanity, he responded:
‘Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.’
How many of us live in the way described above? We are constantly running trying to keep our head above water, and then we look up and years of superficial happiness, but elusive joy have passed us by.

We are a consumer culture. We spend so much time and energy spending money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t really know or like. As a result of this, we clutter our lives with superficiality and miss out on what is substantive. 

I challenge you to live. To stop complaining; stop surviving; stop living a life filled with nervous anxiety.

I consistently see people who put off what they really wanted for a later date and died without that later date ever coming. Spend meaningful time with your children; with your parents; visit (not text) friends; cut out some of the TV; spend more time thinking about something more substantive than the clothes you will wear and the hair on your head. Life is not a collection of things. Things are fillers for a lack of life. Pursue life and love—not things.

-Lawrence Ware
(To read Lawrence's bio, click here.)
PLPT is co-authored by Kim Jackson and GG Renee with the intention of connecting with women through messages of self-love and personal freedom. We believe that true beauty starts on the inside and radiates outward, so maintaining emotional health and balance should be an essential part of every woman's beauty regimen. We use this platform as an opportunity to share our personal experiences, and to help other women who are seeking guidance to find their own truths and live fabulously. 
What steps are you taking to live in the present? 

What Have You Given Today?

 by Sherrell Dorsey of OrganicBeautyVixen

Let me be 100 percent honest with you OBVs. I’m trying really hard to balance my spiritual life with my natural desire to collect pretty things. Gilt.com is one of my favorite shopping sites (thank you for my new DVF wallet) and as soon as I can track down that H&M cobalt gown from their conscious collection in the Seattle area, that will be all that she wrote. While I spend time focusing on my next look for the next season, millions of children in America will go to bed hungry tonight before this post even makes its way around the internet. Even more children will die from cancer and other diseases due to our environment and lack of access to quality healthcare. Families will be evicted from their homes and one more individual will lose their job that was already barely making the rent.

With all of my love, compassion and free the world banter, I can’t help but feel guilty as I take a spin around my bedroom and re-consider all of the clutter that makes up my life. I have everything that I need. So what is this desire to want more? My life isn’t perfect. I’m no longer in my gorgeous Harlem apartment living above it all, shopping trips to 34th street nor evening rendezvous with my girls on a nightly basis. Between student loans, working on my independent projects and simply surviving through this “recession” I don’t have it to foolishly spend on “stuff”.

I’m sure that we are all guilty of putting ourselves and our needs before that of others. But to whom much is given much is required, so where do my personal values fit in to play? When I survey my life I realize that I have not given much. I give my voice, my words and my encouragement for all to witness via social networks and my random encounters with friends and family. But is that really enough? Absolutely not!

My goal is to step up my giving in 2012. Whether it’s through my time, my skills, or sharing a portion of what I have to help lift someone else up. It’s hard out there folks and sometimes all we need is the compassion and love of one another.

Let’s start each day by asking the simple question: “What do I plan to give today?”

How do you plan to give back? Do you support a cause? Share!

Sherrell Dorsey is an eco-glamour expert, writer, speaker, social entrepreneur and creator of the blog OrganicBeautyVixen.com - "A Brown Girl's Guide to Eco-Glam Living". Sherrell believes that going green with your beauty routine doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your fierce and fabulous style. Connect with her on twitter and facebook for all things beauty, green, eco-friendly, organic, sustainable and of course... Eco-glam.

Taneica’s Inner Beauty Mask Recipe

I did it. This week, I finally caved and bought The Most Beautiful People Issue. While paying for my magazine at the register, I was sure to tell the cashier that I was actually supposed to be on the cover, but was not available for the shoot in enough time, so they reluctantly went with Beyonce instead. The cashier and I shared a giggle and I was on my way. When I got home and began flipping through the magazine, I was inundated with tons of tips from the most beautiful celebrities in America. There were tips for the perfect amount of sleep one needs to make “beauty sleep” effective, how much water must one intake to achieve a glowing complexion and fabulous figure, and what lotions and potions they use to diminish laugh lines and crow’s feet so that you look forever 21. I read all of this with amusement and fascination. As I read the last page and shut the magazine, I wondered what tips would one suggest for inner beauty. Let’s face it, no matter how many times you go under the knife to perfect your figure or how many expensive serums you use to tighten and lift your skin, unless we get to the “inevitable alternative” first, we’re all going to get older and our youthful looks will fade. However, this doesn’t have to take away a drop of each of our authentic, beautiful, inner selves. We can still remain breathtaking even at 92 if we follow as strict of an inner beauty regime as we do an outer one.

I pondered a long time about what my inner beauty regime would consist of, and I came up with a recipe for an inner beauty mask. The cool thing about recipes is that you can follow them down to the last teaspoon, or you can add a teaspoon extra or another ingredient so that it is more appealing to your pallet. Please feel free to add whatever ingredients you need to this recipe to make it most effective for you.

2 cups of Confidence
2 cups of Self Respect
1 oz. of Humility
2 teaspoons of Optimism
3 teaspoons or Gratefulness
1 cup of a Sense of Humor
1 cup of Awareness
3 quarts of Forgiveness
A dash of Adventure
A pinch of Manners
1 gallon of God’s grace

Combine all ingredients and apply liberally with prayer and self affirmations at least twice daily. This recipe makes me feel beautiful every day….even when I look like I need a makeover. LOL!

What ingredients would you add to your inner beauty mask recipe?

Mom’s Jerk Nuggets!

Growing up, I can remember my mother dropping nuggets of knowledge on Sherica and me. Since we were kids, most of her nuggets went in one ear and out the other! However, on their way through our green little minds, the nuggets would leave crumbs on their way out. LOL! Now that I am an adult, I have managed to take those crumbs and make my own nuggets that I’ll feed to my kid if I’m blessed with one. The most hysterical thing about my mom’s nuggets though, was that they were smothered in jerk sauce or curry! My mother’s Jamaican accent was so thick that her already parable sounding quotes sounded like another language all together at times! Truth be told, my mom’s curry and jerk nuggets of knowledge have stuck with me forever. Sometimes, she’ll still use them. When she does, I either giggle or roll my eyes (when she’s not looking of course), but I always appreciate it. Below are some of my mother’s favorite quotes and how I have applied them to my life. Read on and enjoy my mom’s nuggets. Feel free to take extras so you can share them with your kids too!

1. Getty getty nuh wantee and wantee wantee cya getty. This translates to “The person who has it doesn't want it, but the person who wants it can’t get it”. Along the way, we see people with things that seem so awesome. Big houses, fancy cars, closets full of designer clothes and shoes, and gaggles of friends. It’s so easy to want these things for ourselves and even envy the person for everything they have. However, sometimes those same people struggle with some heavy demons. Though they have all this great stuff, they may long for the days when they didn't have any of it. Mo’ money mo’ problems. Sometimes the most beautiful and wealthy people have the loneliest lives. With that said, I’ve learned that it’s always a good idea to be grateful for what I have and for the people that God has put in my life for me to share myself with.

2. Ah nuh everyting good fih eat, good fih chat. Translation: Not everything that’s good to eat, is good to tell others about. This nugget has reminded me time and time again to keep some of my business to myself. Mind you, there are people in my life that I can go to with just about everything. For those few things that only God will understand, I take those to him. I am very careful about how much I share about my life with people who I don’t know. Sometimes you might say something in passing that seems so harmless to you, and before you know it, your name is all over the place in a way that you did not expect or were prepared for. I try to live a transparent life so that people know exactly who I am and what to expect from me, but I keep some stuff tucked away in boxes, ie marriage, family issues that have yet to be resolved, and some personal struggles that I am still working through. It’s not a bad idea to keep some things in your life private. You usually don’t know a bad person’s intent until it’s too late.

3. If you cya hear, you must feel. Translation: If you can’t hear, you must feel. When I was younger, this used to be a warning that if I didn't shape up, my mom was going to ship out on my back side. LOL! Even though I am long past spankings, this quote has been one that rings through my head at least once a week. The lesson I have taken from this quote and experiences surrounding it, is that you gotta learn to listen to people when they warn you about certain things. Especially if that person is someone who you trust, who you know loves you and only wants the best for you. If you always find yourself being so stubborn that you can’t hear what advice others are sharing with you, you're liable to get hurt. The damage can sometimes be irreparable.

4. Good friends are better than pocket money. Cherish your friends. Whether you're rolling in cash or dancing on loose change, an awesome friend will stick by your side no matter what.

What nuggets of knowledge has your mom dropped on you? Do they have a flavor?

(Ages 18+) No Commitment. No Cutty.

via AroundtheWayCurls 

I, Antoinette Henry am tired of men not being held to certain standards. My friend and  somewhat ex recently told me that women are ones that hold this world together and that the standards we set for everyone around us are the standards they will live up to! We are the world's integrity and conscience. It is our job to make sure Earth always has a beating heart. He went on to say and I quote:
"Women need to collectively decide that men who: are not consistent, not reliable have no plan for the relationship and show their ass in the street (literally and figuratively) GET. NO. ASS. Women always say "Yes" and that's the problem."
I couldn't agree more! We need to wake up and understand that we run this. I hate to say it but wars were started over women and all that we posses. Ladies, we are precious! We cultivate, families and land and civilization. Yes, the men are Kings but they were born and raised buy a Queen. We are gold. We need to know it! And when we know it, our men will as well.  In the words of the philosopher Drake - "P*ssy runs everything, so eff that noise." (P.S. I'm sorry if I offend anyone with the language in this post but it's provocative and gets the people going.)

Join Our "No Care/No Commitment, No Cutty Campaign."  Bring Back The Gentlemen and the Lady!

Join the Campaign. Spread the word. M.O.B. Morals. Over. Bullshit. 


The Key to Your Happiness & Success

"Present yourself always
As who you would be,
And that is the person
The world will see."

You know me as GG. Mom, blogger, writer, hair enthusiast. Lover of pretty things and positive words. Always ready to point out the lesson and the silver lining.

If you know me in real life, then you know that I'm a serial smiler and a peacemaker. You might even know about the weird things I do with my hands when I talk or how I behave when I've had too much to drink. My quirks. My skeletons. All of the things that make me self-conscious at times, but also make me who I am.

I know that I'm a good person, but I don't feel that I always live up to my own expectations. I'm sure you know how that is. I also know that I'm talented and smart, but sometimes when I'm trying to create or produce, this truth escapes me. I'm intimidated by my own growth. Tracee Ellis Ross captured it perfectly when she said, "I'm learning everyday to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me."

Do you ever feel like a walking contradiction? Simultaneously pleased with yourself and yet conscious-stricken for no specific or valid reason? Don't allow this duality to discourage you.

The key to your happiness and success is directly tied to your ability to approve of yourself. I know it can be difficult to stay detached from the opinions of others, but it's necessary. And really, it's the only way to be free.

Don't think that you have to play small or sell yourself short in order to be gracious. Let go of your judgements and worries about how you're perceived. The most enlightening thing in the world is to learn to be kind to yourself and accept all that you are.

"At this very moment, you may be saying to yourself that you have any number of admirable qualities. You are a loyal friend, a caring person, someone who is smart, dependable, fun to be around. That's wonderful, and I'm happy for you, but let me ask you this: are you being any of those things to yourself?"

Please share with me in the comments why you are a self-loving, self-approved woman. I really want to know and writing it out will surely give you a boost.


PLPT is co-authored by Kim Jackson and GG Renee with the intention of connecting with women through messages of self-love and personal freedom. We believe that true beauty starts on the inside and radiates outward, so maintaining emotional health and balance should be an essential part of every woman's beauty regimen. We use this platform as an opportunity to share our personal experiences, and to help other women who are seeking guidance to find their own truths and live fabulously

Be Grateful for What You Have Right Now

by Kim Jackson of PeaceLoveandPrettyThings

The photo above is the view from my balcony. This is what I get to stare at as I sit outside, enjoying the warm air and writing this post. You can’t see them, but just to my left, and at the bottom of that hill are a family of deer, grazing busily—but glancing up at me occasionally to ensure I’m not going to interrupt their meal with any human silliness. This is my happy place; surrounded by nature and shrouded in quiet—save the sound of animal paws scurrying across the forest floor. It’s an easy to place to reflect, and to remember to be grateful.

My son, my only child, my baby—he turned 13 this past weekend. To celebrate, I took him on a surprise trip to NYC to eat, shop and hang out for the day. He had a blast, and his excitement and level of gratitude were priceless. I know the time is coming when he might not want to hang out with me, so I cherish these moments when we’re still buddies and I’m still one of the cool people. I remember when he was just a chubby little munchkin with a head full of curly hair, who loved to curl up and snuggle my neck. And I hope that I relished those moments enough while I had them, because it seems now that they went by before I could blink.

I encourage you to be present in your life—with your children, in your relationships and in your careers, or with whatever is most important to you—because things can and will change in an instant. As much as you muttered “I can’t wait until the kids grow up” or “I’m so ready to take this courtship to the next level” or “I want this promotion”—you’ll miss the sweetness of the moments when your children still needed you, the excitement of when you were newly dating, or the lack of stress that preceded your promotion.

While change is inevitable, if we take a moment to be still, be quiet, and be grateful, it will be much easier to enjoy where we are right now. A great exercise to help us to get to where we are going is reflecting on where we’ve been.

Happy Thursday. I hope you take a moment this weekend to acknowledge all the things you have to be grateful for.


PLPT is co-authored by Kim Jackson and GG Renee with the intention of connecting with women through messages of self-love and personal freedom. We believe that true beauty starts on the inside and radiates outward, so maintaining emotional health and balance should be an essential part of every woman's beauty regimen. We use this platform as an opportunity to share our personal experiences, and to help other women who are seeking guidance to find their own truths and live fabulously.

The Truth About Getting What You Want

It's all fun and games and positive affirmations when you're trying to accomplish something. But how about when you actually get the gig and you’re like “Oh Sh*t!”, what do I do now? How will I have time for this and everything else on my plate? What if I don’t live up to expectations?

This is it. This is what you’ve prayed about, visualized, and spoke into existence. And now that it’s here in your lap, you’re freaking out.

Maybe I shouldn’t speak for you. You’re probably poised and capable at all times. Not a hair or a mission statement out of place. That’s okay. I see you. And one of these days I’ll be like you.

But for now, I freak out. I question myself and I worry. All the while, there’s a calm place inside of me that knows without a shadow of doubt that doors will open, growth will occur, and amazing things are ahead. I try to live from that place as much as possible and let its enduring calm reign over my thoughts and my perception of things.

While on the subject of thoughts, I haven’t achieved supreme mastery over my thoughts just yet. Wouldn’t that be lovely? I feel like I’d be a zen rock star if I had complete control over my many musings.

No mean thoughts. No bad memories resurfacing. No paranoia.

But even with my wanderlust of a mind, I do know how to redirect my thoughts when they turn disturbia. First, you can’t dwell on things that bring you down. Second, no overthinking. Finally, no player hating or cock blocking. Even the mental kind. Those things cause inertia. Inertia keeps you from getting what you really want.

We know that getting what we want can be scary, so let’s all take a moment and make a list of what we are so afraid of. Let’s call the monsters out! Having a dream fulfilled is supposed to be a triumphant moment, so what are the drawbacks (whether real or bogus) that cause us to get cold feet when opportunity knocks? I’ll go first!

I worry that…

…my children, relationship, family and friends will not receive enough attention and support from me if I’m so occupied with my career and personal projects

…I won’t have the creative capacity to keep coming up with fetching ideas, thus my work will get boring

…people won’t “get” me/won't receive me well

…my income won’t be reliable or sustainable

...as an introvert, I'll struggle with networking and other ghastly things that I don't enjoy but are necessary

...I'll quit when things get tough.

What else? Share your little thought monsters with me below. I bet they'll seem small and unreasonable when you see them written down.


PLPT is co-authored by Kim Jackson and GG Renee with the intention of connecting with women through messages of self-love and personal freedom. We believe that true beauty starts on the inside and radiates outward, so maintaining emotional health and balance should be an essential part of every woman's beauty regimen. We use this platform as an opportunity to share our personal experiences, and to help other women who are seeking guidance to find their own truths and live fabulously.

If We Were Friends...

Let me set up the scenario. You’re sitting on a bus or waiting in your doctor’s office when you see a young woman, visibly upset, sitting by herself in a far corner. She looks shaken, tired. She may even look as though she’s been crying. Your initial reaction may be to walk over and whisper a kind word, lean in and give her a warm hug or just offer a bit of advice. But you stop yourself for various and sometimes obvious reasons. We all have boundaries and in an effort to respect others, sometimes we keep to ourselves and fight an inward struggle. We may even attempt to come up with alternatives to let the other person know that they’re not alone.

Welp, I know I have been in the above situation. Having a bleeding heart like mine makes it difficult for me to just look the other way, so sometimes I find myself offering a Kleenex and an understanding smile. I never ask and I seldom even utter a word. I just hope that my actions are enough. With that said, I felt inspired to write an open letter to all my dolls who may be going through some emotional turbulence right now. I typically don’t title within posts, but I figured this letter could use one.

If We Were Friends

If we were friends, I would tell you that your tears aren’t tears of defeat, but they’re tears of resolve and are cleansing your soul so that you can start again with a clean slate. I’d tell you that no matter what your situation is, it’s worth fighting through, because YOU are worth fighting for. I would remind you that though your heart feels like it’s breaking, in actuality, it’s growing and taking in new experiences. The ache that you feel is your soul and spirit growing to a larger capacity. Stretching can be very uncomfortable, especially if you haven’t done it in a very long time. Whether you’ve just ended a relationship, lost a loved one or failed miserably at something that you tried very hard to accomplish, you will be okay. There’s a reason why though you feel so crappy, you’re still breathing! The biggest reason is because you can get through this. There are people to talk to and pray with, there are things that you can do and there are still lessons for you to learn. Allow yourself to grieve, allow yourself to cry, but also allow yourself to forgive and heal. This is a page, a chapter at most in your book of life experiences. Take this opportunity to mold the remaining chapters however you choose. There’s more good and a little more bad ahead, but you’re a tough cookie. You can make it! You are loved and you are NEVER alone. In closing I want to remind you that you are, always have been and always will be, a Shatterproof Glass Doll. If you don’t know what this means, hopefully the definition will make you smile a little. A Shatterproof Glass Doll is a fragile woman who can never be broken beyond repair. That’s you honey. Arm yourself with these heartfelt words of love, empowerment and positivity and keep your head up.

I’ve Never Seen That Before

by Noni of Three Naturals

It’s funny. Sometimes a natural girl just wants a little acknowledgement. Some positive reinforcement on the whole counter-culture natural hair thing. “Hey girl, that looks cute”, or “I’m gonna try that style when I get home”

Always when we’re riding high… one innocent comment comes along.

Was talking with a co-worker the other day and he says: “Hey that’s pretty cool, I’ve never seen anything like that . How’d you get your hair like that? It looks kinda like a toque.

Errrr….. *scrape needle offff the record*

A toque? A thick wool hat worn in winter on the bitterest coldest days? Whaaaat???

I promise you it took everything within me not to immediately pull out the hanging flat twist I’d styled at the front of my head. But as soon as he left the room I did. Found a bobby pin and worked some hair magic. Cause, somehow, my self-esteem just got shook. It was crazy, I found myself trying to explain to this clueless guy the history of black hair, shrinkage, blogging and protective styling in 30 seconds. I’m not mad at him. I was able to laugh. But, I realize that there are some things in life that you gotta make sure that you always have under guard… your heart, your beliefs, your self-esteem….

A toque?

Can you relate?

CN Says:

I would've been all, 'shut your mouth when you're talkin' to me'!

But honestly--I still get off the wall comments like that and although they 'shake' me less, sometimes, they have the ability to stop me in my tracks. It's easy to say that we should 'take less stock in family/friend/stranger's opinions', but much more difficult to put into practice. I regularly work with clients on this very thing, but still struggle with it myself.

How Have You Thanked Me Lately?

by Taneica of ShatterProofGlassDolls

Now, truth be told, I am not as much of a holy roller as some may think I should be, but I do love the Lord and talk to him often. Though I strive everyday to strengthen my relationship with Christ and strut fabulously down the path that he’s created for me, I’d be lying if I said that I haven't faltered. It’s also a stretch to say that I have never gotten so caught up in my own foolishness that I’ve forgotten to pray, read the word and most importantly say “thank you”. I’ve gotten better, but it’s still something that I have to make an effort to remember. I have to remind myself that this life is not all about me. I am here for a greater purpose and just like everything and everyone else in life, I don’t have forever. Six years ago, I had an awesome discussion with the man upstairs while driving somewhere and ’til this day, it sticks with me. When I wrote and posted the conversation, only about 20 folks viewed it. Seeing as our viewership is in the high hundreds daily these days, I am confident that this post will bless someone, somewhere this Easter weekend. Enjoy and until next time, stay gorgeous dolls!

June 26,2006

I have been getting a “word”, if you will, for the past month now and I think it’s time to get it out. Now I’m no sanctimonious, walk on water, holy ghost filled, “shebrrroughtahonda ha ha!” type a christian. But, I am a believer AND I am trying my best to follow Christ as best I can. With that said, me and the man upstairs have a rapport ya know? And he talks to me ALL the time. Lately he’s been saying the same thing though. So, Imma give y'all the convo the best way I know how ok?

Jesus: How have you thanked me today?

Taneica: *in my smart alek “duh Lord” kinda way* Um, well I prayed, surely you heard my prayer this morning, right? ‘thank you for waking me up this morning and clothing me in my right mind blahze blahze blah blah blah’…I did thank you!”

Jesus: Yea…I heard you say thank you, but how have you thanked me today?

Taneica: JC, is this one of your parables that you're trynna come at me with? Because I don't really understand parables in a quickness too often…and-

Jesus: Do you notice as soon as the sun comes up... 6:30 ish or 7, he’s singing? So much so that you have to scream at him to shut up? His squawking is music and praise to my ears. He is thanking me for making him. Not through words, but through his ACTIONS.

Taneica:…should I just let him sing then?

Jesus: That would be nice Taneica, but are you understanding what I’m asking you now?

Taneica: Yes…I’ve been slacking up huh?

Jesus: That’s why were chatting right now, yes. So whatcha gonna do to make it up to me?

Taneica: I’ll understand more and judge less. I’ll give more and take less. I’ll love more and hate less. I’ll pay tithes regularly. It doesn't have to be to a church, but can be to help someone in need. I could stand to curse less too. I will continue to smile and tell people how much you rock and stuff! How am I doing JC?

Jesus: You’re doing just fine kiddo, I put a good heart in you and a radiant spirit. Thank me by sharing both with as many people as you can. Drop my name into conversations a little more. I love you Taneica and you’re some of my best work.

Taneica: *grinning* wow! thanks! I love you too!

Jesus: and by the way, I’m God, I don’t “rock”.

Now, that was my little chat with Jesus. I’m sharing it with y'all because it was laid on my heart to do so. I hope it makes someone’s day out there! God Bless! Till Next time!

What are you thankful for? How do you show it?

Becoming a Certain Kind of Woman

There's always been something very attractive to me about uncertainty. Attractive and agonizing, that is. How so, you ask? Like my pattern of falling for men who were slightly aloof and emotionally unavailable. Even as I expressed my disdain for their opaque behavior, I secretly savored the mystery. I would ask myself over and over why I always went for guys that challenged me this way. And yet for better or worse, when the ultimate ambiguity knocked, I not only answered but I allowed it to move in, settle down and make three babies with me.

Sorry, I digressed there for a moment. But I do want to talk about knowing yourself, your patterns and how you can use your natural inclinations to your advantage. You know, to become the woman you want to be.

Self-observation is good for the spirit, you know? In my example above, I talk about being drawn to uncertainty. I used to see this as a liability, but I've reframed it because, well simply because it pleases me to do so. Thinking of it in a negative way just wasn't working for me. We have to really search ourselves to find those deep rooted thoughts and stories we tell ourselves that define our self-perception. It's important because if we don't do this soul searching work, we'll continue to place limits on ourselves that are built on false truths and old ideas. For me, instead of wondering why I never could stick it out with "normal" guys, I accepted that normal is subjective and I prefer a little bit of "crazy". Just a little. I also prefer a little bit of emotional distance. Again, just a little. A healthy amount of detachment is necessary for me to feel free.

So when I say that I want to become a certain kind of woman, the statement has many meanings. To some extent, I am talking about certainty in the literal sense and knowing that my natural instincts are relevant and shouldn't be devalued. But speaking more broadly, I'm talking about the process of becoming a self-loving woman who lives her truth and exploits her strengths, weaknesses, preferences and idiosyncracies to her advantage.

I am going through some self-analysis right now to get clear on where I'm going and how to focus my energy.

Perhaps it would benefit you to join me in asking yourself these questions:

*What are my greatest strengths and weaknesses that I need to build on or deal with in my professional and personal life?

*What old beliefs about myself and my capabilities am I hanging on to? What false ideas are holding me back?

*Am I currently doing the work that I want to be doing?

*Does the bulk of my energy go towards what I have to do for money or what my spirit calls me to do creatively?

*What are my real feelings about using my creative outlets to make money?

*Do I currently have a support network that supports what I want to do?

*Do I have a mentor, and if not, why not??

*What are the top three things that I need to learn and how can I learn them?

**Questions adapted from Gail McMeekin's The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women**

Simply stated, GG is a mama who loves writing, hair and self-discovery. The Write Curl Diary is an outlet for her passions. You can connect with her on her blog, on twitter or at Peace Love and Pretty Things.

The 'Forgive and Forget' Theory

by Bennii Blast of The Culture Pine

During our lives we pick up a number of phrases that we may have heard others say, which then cement themselves into our own glossary. You know the kind; ‘you live and you learn’, ‘cat got your tongue’, or if you grew up with Caribbean parents you would have definitely heard; ‘those who can’t hear, must feel!’ Oh the memories….

One of those age old sayings that I pondered on for a minute today was the familiar phrase ‘forgive and forget’. How many times have you heard that one?

Let’s talk about the forgiving part first. Now, I am the worst person at trying to be mad at someone. It is almost insanely difficult for me to hold a grudge against anyone, because quite frankly, I don’t have the energy that holding a grudge takes. Also, forgiving is great food for the soul. Think about it…if you’re spending so much time and emotion into something that hurt you, you will allow it to hurt you even further by taking up energy that could be used to channel new, positive things in your life. Forgiving is something that should be done not solely out of pity for the other person, or because you’re a pushover – you should forgive to allow yourself to move on and do better. Not to mention that with Easter just around the corner…. we should acknowledge how our own sins were forgiven.

What about the ‘forget’ part? Well for me, I do not completely agree with this. Yes, to a certain extent we can forget as in to forgo, or refrain from continuing an argument, but I do not think we should forget in the sense of clean, erasing it from our memory. Why? A part from it proving to be rather difficult to simply remove parts of your memory, I think that we should remember them in order to learn from them. You can’t just forget the pain someone has caused you, and remembering that pain could be a defence mechanism in preventing it from happening again. It will provide you with a valuable tool in being aware of those around you, and learning from any mistakes.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that yes, we should learn to forgive for the sake of our own happiness, but we should never forget what we have been through as it has shaped the person looking back in the mirror today….

Sticking with the theme of forgiveness, check out this performance by the awesome India Arie, Heart of the Matter:

What do you think? Can you forgive without forgetting?

What's Holding You Back?

by Kim Jackson of PeaceLoveandPrettyThings

The simplest way to jump start progress in any area of your life, is to find out what’s holding you back and keeping you from seeing things through. Often we’re holding ourselves back, because of a fear or a lingering issue that we just can’t seem to move past.

By way of example: I have a friend (and I hope she doesn’t mind my using her story) who wants to lose weight. She has started over and over again, only to fall short. Many of us have this same issue—but what is odd about it for her, is that she is normally a very decisive person. She sets her mind to something, and accomplishes it without hesitation; and often on a whim. She just has an uncanny self-awareness that allows her to know what’s right for her, and to go for it. So why the block in this one area of her life?

The key to removing the blocks on her heart and mind—and to removing yours--is self-evaluation. You have to ask yourself the hard questions and really get honest about the answers:

1. In what areas of my life do I find that I’m spinning my wheels, but never getting anywhere?

2. What are the given circumstances of this situation? (The things that are out of your control; where you have to change yourself instead)

3. What past fear or hurt still lives in my heart today that is affecting my ability to thrive or to make progress at this thing in particular?

4. How have I been using that fear or hurt as an excuse?

5. What do I need to do to let go of the past?

The answers might come to you in meditation or stillness. They may come to you through goal-setting or action planning. They may come to you in prayer or while on a walk. Maybe you can’t come to the proper conclusions alone—talk to your pastor or a therapist. Do whatever will help you to gain the most clarity. Then, walk freely into your future.

And feel free to use the comments section here as a forum for discussion--you never know who else might benefit from your story.


PLPT is co-authored by Kim Jackson and GG Renee with the intention of connecting with women through messages of self-love and personal freedom. We believe that true beauty starts on the inside and radiates outward, so maintaining emotional health and balance should be an essential part of every woman's beauty regimen. We use this platform as an opportunity to share our personal experiences, and to help other women who are seeking guidance to find their own truths and live fabulously.

Learning the Truth About Yourself

by Kim Jackson of PeaveLoveandPrettyThings

In order to reach your full potential and discover your purpose, it is vital that you learn the truth about yourself.

I have a deep seated belief that I’m not as smart or creative as I think, and that my endeavors won’t necessarily be successful or that people will hate what I’ve done. I know that this is because of the messages that were drilled into my head by my peers when I was a child and a teen. I skipped two grades in elementary school because I was an advanced learner. School just came easily to me. So my peers were, for the better part of my formative years, two years older than me and very often—just plain old mean. They didn’t understand why parents and principals and newspapers were so fascinated by me and would be sure that I knew they were certainly not impressed. And let’s be real: at that age it’s really your peers’ approval that you’re seeking—not your parents’. And so I shrunk against the weight of their scrutiny and tried not to be so “good”.

Even now, I continue to struggle with feelings that I could and should have done more and that I would be so much farther along in life and career if I had only done "X" (notice all the words there that don’t belong? “Woulda, coulda, shoulda” much?). So it is a constant struggle to allow myself to be a success at anything—oh I do well at things, but I have to push myself mentally and emotionally to really excel. I have to get really good with my self-talk to not only be unafraid to fail, but to be unafraid to succeed.

In order to establish and maintain healthy relationships, it is important to learn the truth about yourself.

I have a little bit of relationship baggage. I have an ex boyfriend who, every time we had a disagreement or he perceived me to have done something ‘wrong’, would stop speaking to me. Well—I’d get a few choice words via text or email and then he’d stop speaking to me. For days. And when he had been really offended, he’d break up with me (only to later come back). This cycle went on for way too long, and even though I eventually became immune to it with him, I still occasionally have moments of fear in my current relationship. When the honey and I have a disagreement there’s a moment where my stomach flips, and I’m terrified that he’s going to leave, before I remind myself that this is just my egoic insecurity and talk myself off the ledge.

My point in each of these stories is that I’ve learned enough about myself to know when I’m operating out of fear, or reacting based on past pain that is completely unrelated to my current situation. And that is how you too can overcome whatever it is you fear. Learn what your triggers are so that you are able to control yourself when they are tipped. You can start to take your power back just by being aware.


PLPT is co-authored by Kim Jackson and GG Renee with the intention of connecting with women through messages of self-love and personal freedom. We believe that true beauty starts on the inside and radiates outward, so maintaining emotional health and balance should be an essential part of every woman's beauty regimen. We use this platform as an opportunity to share our personal experiences, and to help other women who are seeking guidance to find their own truths and live fabulously.

Acknowledging Your Accomplishments

by Bennii Blast of The Culture Pine

So my days as a 21 year old came to an end this week as I turned 22. With every birthday that rolls by, I get this sudden urge to assess everything that I have done thus far but more often than not, I tend to focus on all those things that are STILL on my to-do list. The latter, is usually filled with a slight hint of disappointment as I torture my mind with thoughts on all that I haven’t accomplished yet. Yep…I’m just a real party animal when my birthday comes around.

As I consumed myself in self-pity at the wonder of how fast the years seem to fly by the older you get, I stopped and took a deep breath. Why do we focus on the negative? It was this question that encouraged me to ditch the melodramatics and realise just how much I have to be thankful for.
This prompted me to compile a list of things that I HAVE accomplished – big or small – instead of reminding myself of what I haven’t done yet, in a bid to create a more positive energy:
  • Go to university
  • Live abroad
  • Strengthen my relationship with God
  • Go natural (11 months in – woohooo!!)
  • A good relationship with a man who is also my best friend (boy that took a while!)
  • Join the gym – and actually use it =)
These are just a few things on my ‘things I’ve done’ list and damn it I’m proud! It put me in a much better mood and allowed me to focus on being thankful to God for another year, than feeding negative energy. This however, is not just something that is experienced around Birthday time, but can creep into our everyday lives. Acknowledging our accomplishments at any time can sometimes be just the thing we need at those low times, because we all deserve a pat on the back every now then.

Have you acknowledged your accomplishments lately? What is on your ‘things I've done’ list?

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