As we prepare to say good-bye to 2013, I thought I would countdown my favorite posts from this past year.... 1. How Shame Led Me to Take Action...And You Can, Too! This post is what started it all. It describes how I was so ashamed to show my face at a free bootcamp offered by one of my fitness and motivational sheroes, Erika of Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss that I ultimately teamed up with a local trainer and chef to offer my own health and fitness event. This led to the weekly workouts known as Work Your Curves. 2. Four-Way Tie: Dressing For Your Shape Series: Hourglass, Rectangle, Triangle, and Inverted Triangle. This series was a long time in coming. Even though I know how to dress my own triangle-shaped body, I found it challenging to respond to requests for advice from others who were shaped differently from me. So, I did a bit of research and came up with these four posts. They are now among my favorites! 3. How to Look Girly in a Pant Suit. I love this post for the simple fact that the issue of looking feminine while wearing a pant suit is something that I struggle with often. Usually I opt out of wearing suits when I can. But sometimes, you just can't avoid it. So, when I do...I add a little flair! 4. Who Watches the Watchers? I'm proud of this post because I feel like I said what needed to be said instead of being politically correct. That honesty in turn sparked some great discussion in the comments section. So, yay for free speech! 5. Does Being Fat...Oops "Soft" Hinder Your Career? After the humiliating interview of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the Letterman Show and then an article from Forbes that declared that successful people don't let themselves get fat, I had to ask myself this tough question...and my conclusion may surprise you. 6. Curvy CEO Asks: Does Losing Weight Change Who You Are? Another post that I loved not so much for the content but because of the rich discussion it produced in the comments section. This is an issue that I struggle with in "real life" and it was fascinating to see what some of you all had to say! 7. Monday Morning Memo - Wisdom from Essence Fest 2013. I love this particular Monday Morning Memo because it is a compilation of some of my favorite tweets during the empowerment sessions at last summer's Essence Fest. Can't wait to get back there next year! 8. "But I Don't WANNA Shop Online!" This blog post was crafted in response to a reader complaint about the price points of some plus-size shops as well as the fact that much of our shopping must take place online. By listing the various options available, I hope that I was able to meet this reader's needs and also debunk the myth that plus-size women must spend a fortune to find fashionable clothing that fits! 9. The Fear of Flirting. Yet another post where I put my issues on the interwebs for all to see. 10. Healthy Curves: A Progress Report. I end this list pretty much where I started it - with a focus on health. Although I still have a ways to go, progress reports like these allow me to celebrate my success along this journey. And that's what I'm learning...when it comes to health and fitness, you're never really "finished" because there's always some new goal to accomplish. A new weight to lift. A new time to beat. Another race to complete. BONUS: Guest Post: Curves Rock Fashion Weekend 2013 Recap. This was a guest post that I did for the fabulous Marie Denee over at The Curvy Fashionista. I love Curves Rock Weekend and I had a blast writing that post! Well, those are my faves from 2013. I hope you have a safe, healthy, and happy New Year's Eve - see ya in 2014!
"A year from now you will wish you had started today." - Karen Lamb, author A few years ago, I expressed frustration about having the same goals year after year after year. And recently, I was feeling this same frustration in contemplating my 2014 goals. But, then I began reading 52 Mondays: The One Year Path To Outrageous Success & Lifelong Happinessand the author shared a concept that semi-rocked my world: "A successful person is still working on their previous New Year's resolutions by the time December 31st rolls around." Huh. Perhaps, then, I'm not just spinning my wheels, staring at the base of the same mountains at the beginning of every year. Maybe I'm actually making progress, but too busy complaining about what I don't have or the fact that I have to even go through any sort of process to reach my goals, that I neglect to see my own success. So, instead of seeing myself as starting over again, I will instead pick up from where I am today. Instead of despising my journey, I will embrace the progress that I've made and allow that to take me one step closer to where I hope to be. This way I can help ensure that I'm not regretting the action that I didn't take today at this same time next year. To help me do this, I'm going to rely on my life-mapping calendar. (You know about my life-mapping calendar, right? I blogged about it here.) So, what about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in the coming year? What might be holding you back? Let's discuss so we're not swimming in regret a year from now.
I've spent a lot of time this past year working on myself. From pursuing healthy curves to leaning into my career...a sista has been on a self-improvement kick all year long. Yet, despite this, as December rolled around and I began thinking about 2014 and the areas of my life upon which I wanted to continue to improve, I found myself getting discouraged. Even though I did make some great strides in certain areas, I still have a long way to go in others. I'm still struggling to get into shape. Both my finances and my love life could use some attention. And I want to really take not only my blog, but also my brand to a new level in the coming year. To help me sort out my thoughts, I turned to a technique I learned from one of my blogging mentors and personal sheroes, Rosetta Thurman of HappyBlackWoman.com. At the Happy Black Woman Retreat in DC last fall, she taught about the concept of creating a life map - a visual tool that helps you to specify your goals in seven areas: lifestyle & fun, career & work, money & finances, health & wellness, family & friends, love & romance and personal growth & spirituality. (You can actually get a free life-mapping guidebook by signing up for Rosetta's newsletter!) During the retreat, I created a life map of my own and made it all nice and pretty. After the retreat I went home and created my own life-mapping template. I was determined to create a new life map for myself every, single month to help me to meet my goals. That was in September. I will let you guess whether I've so much as looked at my life map since then. And that's my problem really. My life is so cluttered (both figuratively and literally) that whenever I start a new project - whether it be journaling or life-mapping - I rarely see it through because I get distracted by pretty, sparkly things elsewhere. But I still love the idea of life-mapping because it covers so many areas of concern in my life. I just needed a way keep myself accountable to this goal. After days and days of trying to figure out just *how* I could discipline myself to do this, it finally occurred to me - I needed a life mapping calendar. Let me explain - in my kitchen, I have a wall calendar that I look at every, single day. By using a life-mapping calendar, I will have to at least glance at my goals whenever I walk into my kitchen. Also, because it's a calendar, I will have to update the goals with the change of each month. Plus, at the end of the year, you will have a record of your goals in each of these areas for the entire year! Perfect, right? So, when I went about looking for a life-mapping calendar, I actually couldn't find one. So...I went and created one! created a wall calendar others can purchase! (Each month actually comes in a different color!) But, what can I say, I was feeling inspired. So, I created a dry erase board, a journal, and a padfolio! Then, I was feeling even more inspired, so I created a bunch of apparel inspired by my Work Your Curves plus-size bootcamp - t-shirts, pajamas, water bottles, etc. (By the way, be on the lookout for important updates regarding the Work Your Curves bootcamp as well.) So, basically, I ended up creating my own Cafepress store! I am super-excited about this venture and hope that we will all benefit from it. Here is to a great 2014!
"Never, never, never give up." - Winston Churchill If, like me, you are at work this Monday before Christmas, I want to send you a bit of encouragement to keep you going. Hopefully it is at least quiet so you can catch up on emails, clean up your desk, and generally get yourself settled before taking a few days off for the holidays. Let's go get 'em ladies....
Hopefully, most of us will be able to take a few well-deserved days off over the next couple of weeks over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. I know that, for me, this is one of the few times of the year that things really calm down and I'm able to catch up on my rest and indulge in a few leisurely activities. Of course, I plan to clean out my DVR and catch up on my favorite shows like Braxton Family Values and Scandal (yes, I know - I'm *several* weeks behind so no MORE spoilers, please!) Also, a friend is re-launching her book club in 2014, so, if nothing else, I plan to read our first selection of the new year. (*sigh* Hopefully this will get me back in the habit of reading for fun regularly. I was a voracious reader growing up, but over the years, the amount of reading I had to do for school and work really took the fun out of doing any extra reading. Looking to get back into that habit.) I also want to tackle that stack of magazines I amassed throughout the month. Like I said on Twitter a while back....
After Sept, my fave mag issues are JANUARY! New year, new beginnings! @essencemag @instyle pic.twitter.com/poiB6j8hnv — Curvy CEO (@Curvy_CEO) December 8, 2013So yeah, pretty low key plans for relaxation this winter break. What about you? What's on your agenda?
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Last week, Pantone announced the 2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid. (If you ever wondered just how Pantone goes about selecting the Color of the Year, read this!) Personally, I think this is a great choice! It's the perfect blend of purply pink for folks like me who can't seem to decide which color (purple or pink) is their actual favorite. What do you think, dear readers? While you're contemplating whether you will embrace this color or not, check out these articles:
Fashionista - 10 Radiantly Orchid-Like Ways to Wear Pantone's Color of 2014 Now
The Frisky - Must Haves: Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of 2014
Huffington Post - How to Wear Pantone's Radiant Orchid and Not Look Like Barney
Sephora - Wear Orchid Now: Shop Beauty Inspired by the 2014 Color of the Year
StyleList - Shop the Pantone Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid
Wall Street Journal - Pantone's Color of 2014: Radiant Orchid
And my absolute favorite bit of link love...
Wardrobe Oxygen - How to Wear Radiant Orchid