There’s nothing like a good sale when you have a few extra dollars.  You almost can’t wait to give your money away for whatever tangible item it might be.  Well, I must confess, I don’t like spending a lot of money.  I like the classic combo of a sale price coupled with an exclusive coupon.  So, one Saturday morning as I’m scrolling through emails I find this and jump right in the shower and prepare myself for the journey.  I mean seriously, how could I turn this sale away.  I love 1/2 off – not as much as 75%.  😉

The second-hand store has my heart. I’ve always had a love for old pieces.  As a child, we would visit the antique market in the Eastern Market weekly.  I didn’t get into buying clothes from the thrift store until I was an adult. It started in small boutique shops then I ventured into the larger chains. I’m hooked and I can admit it. Oakland County locations are the best and if you’re from around here you know what the OC means! So, I walked into the Value World location with no purse, comfortable shoes and nothing but time. Yup! I was prepared for the hunt through stale industrial detergent smelling items for little gems I could add to my wardrobe. (I’ll be sure to take you along for the next round in a few weeks to show you what it looks like.)

My methods are focused and success driven. I have an idea of what I need in my wardrobe and what sections may produce the unexpected steal. These are the areas I focus on when entering a large thrift store for fashion: work, trends, men’s.

 

The men’s department gave me a blue oxford shirt (I forgot to get a picture.) This is generally what I pick up from that section or a cardigan/sweater.  It’s the tomboy in me that keeps me in that section. I like oversized sweaters and men’s dress shirts for casual days and weekend attire.

My shopping didn’t end with those 7 pieces.  The journey continued as I sought out a few trending items. Kimonos, scarves, and sequins.  Only one of these were fruitful – scarves. I like to wrap my hair/head up from time to time.  Sometimes it makes an outfit grand.  I only wanted the ones with great pattern or silk.  Now, if a scarf embodied both of these characteristics, God bless us all. After searching each end cap’s selection of scarves, I walked outta there with 6.  Some restraint was displayed because at one time while in the store I had 14 in my cart. Then when I got home I realized one of these things was hiding a secret.  I’m not a label whore but I literally screamed when I saw it but it said Balenciaga.  SCOOOOOOORE!!!!

The only hang up I have with Value World is their lack of fitting rooms. I’ve been spoiled by Salvation Armies, Mother Fletcher’s (RIP), and Lost & Found. The majority of your goods are clothing items and the return policy is non-existent. So, why wouldn’t you want to have at least one small area dedicated to physically seeing if this garment works for you?  I mean, I literally had an in-store associate cover me while I got 50% naked to see if that black dress would fit nshit. Heaven help someone that doesn’t feel this motivated to make meaningful purchases in the second-hand store.  I don’t care if the thing is only $5. It’s my money and I don’t want to waste it.  Do better Value World!

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These are the tags from my haul. Okay, not all of them but 80% is damn good. LOL! Now, add them all up and divide that by .50. I walked away from the register with 20 items for $45. BINGO! The time spent was well worth it. All of these items haven’t been placed into the rotation. Some are scheduled to go to the cleaners. The scarves, shorts, and tops have been washed in Tide/Downy Scentables being dried with a Bounce dryer sheet.  That’s all I really need – ensure they are clean.

Since I began shopping at these type of stores, my anticipation about the mall is ever present. I don’t like spending full price and appreciate the individuality of secondhand finds.  It almost guarantees I’ll be the only one with a specific garment on at a particular time and I relish in my individuality.

Are you a fan of the secondhand/thrift stores?

 

 

As we age, we have to grow for true maturity. Staying in the same head space and sometimes even the same place can hinder us.  Evolution is uncomfortable. You’ve become familiar with one set of norms and growth challenges you to be someone different. 

I know it’s scary but with every day your life should become enriched with ideas and opportunities of growth. This in no way means you’ll have a new personality on a daily basis. If for some reason this happens, please seek professional assistance. At 30+, I don’t even think of things the same as I did at 30. I can truly say I’m growing, opening up to new experiences and looking for a every opportunity to smile. 🙂

The purpose of my life may not be clearly visible but I’m acknowledging I want to get there. I believe everyone on this earth wants to live in their purpose – but how will you know if you’re stuck in the same spot. In order to discover everything or even a portion of what it feels like to live in your purpose you have to break away from some norms. Embrace the uncomfortableness of the process and BE GREAT. 

Have you noticed your evolution? Was it a welcomed change? 

We all have a bucket list and even if you don’t there are a few things you’ve identified that you have to do.  I’m just like you.  Over the past few days, I acknowledged the things I want to do as soon as he is he goes away to school.  It may be safe to say these are the things I want to do after he turns 18.  It may not be impressive to you but I wanted to share and document it for myself.  Lord knows I don’t need another list running around me.  🙂

1. Watch the sun rise (DAILY).

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In the summer of 2014, I moved right on the Detroit River.  Two years have passed and everybody has been trying to figure out why I’m not in my backyard more often.  I don’t even have the answer to that.  Sometimes when I’m on my way to work, I look at the sunrise in my rearview mirror and I’m amazed.  The sight fills my spirit with optimism.  In the future, I’d like to take the time, have a cup of tea and take it all in every day.

 

2. Discover USA via Amtrak

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Train travel is exciting to me.  It’s not as quick as planes, involved as a car or luxurious as a cruise ship.  It’s practical.  This mode of transportation takes you to a time when this was the fastest method known to man.  There’s a great percentage of this vast land that I haven’t seen.  I didn’t realize Amtrak serviced so many destinations on my list of places to see.  The fares are relatively cheap.  A round trip from Detroit to St. Louis was $162.00. Chicago is the central hub of all the activity.  So, the plan is to travel to Chicago every other month and journey into one of these foreign places to experience them.  I might not make it to the West coast via train but the other locations look rather exciting.

3. Travel to Europe

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My passport expires Feb 2018 and I still haven’t made it across the Atlantic Ocean.  This will come to an end next year.  I’m gifting myself a European vacation for my 18 years of parenthood.  You can call this a Pull Gift – you know the reverse of the Push Gift.  🙂  (The one I wear almost every day.)  I haven’t narrowed down the exact location but the contenders are:

You’ll be the 2nd to know where I’ve decided to go.  😉

4. Purchase a home in Detroit

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I’ve been renting for a couple of years now.  Let me tell you – I don’t like it at all.  The amount of money I’ve paid out in the last 2 years was enough to purchase a small bungalow in Detroit.  The jig is up next year.  This year I have been focused on resolving some concerns on my credit report and rehabilitating my credit score.  My hopes are to raise it enough that I will not need a special program to purchase.  The downtown Detroit market is booming.  This area is first on my list due to my 7-10 work commute.  Right now, I am unsure if I want a house or condo.  I’ll know what’s best for me when I get there.  This probably should’ve been number one but who’s judging me.  lol

My Area

5. Start an aquarium

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This originally said get a dog or start an aquarium.  Then I did a “what type of dog is best for you” quiz.  Let’s just say the results didn’t appeal to me.  So, the fish won.  I know owning a saltwater tank is hard work but I have a secret method.  My dad!  He’s the guru on aquatic life and starting aquariums.  The freedom of fish is very calming to me.  I would get a bird but I’m terrified of them.  The dog would have made a great companion but considering my work schedule and travel plans that might not be the best idea.  I’ll swim with the fish and allow my dad to teach me how to maintain it.

6. Start dream car project

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It’s hard to be from Michigan and not have muscle car dreams.  This is the ‘Motor City.’ Home of the Woodward Dream Cruise.  On my vision board you will see several old model vehicles and I plan to start that collection soon.  The 1st vehicle I have selected is the classic 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS.  I don’t want to trick it out.  My vision is to restore it to its showroom beauty.  I have found a forum to purchase from and gather parts.  In addition, I plan to do part of the work.  I bet you can guess what the exterior color will be.  #itsMyFav This will become my Friday/Saturday car.

7. Learn to play piano

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I’ve always wanted to purchase a piano.  Where’s the joy in owning a piano if you can’t play.  Over the next several years I will make this dream a reality.  I think you all know how important music is to me. Yes, I may not become Roberta Flack but I will enjoy the learning opportunity.

There may be more things I want to do with this newfound freedom.  This is just a quick list off the top of my head that I wanted to share with you.  Just a few things to encourage my happiness.  🙂

 

As a child, I watched my mother become overwhelmed with the things the “reader” told her once a month or every other month.  I remember the notes she would write down and sitting in this woman’s home for what seemed like hours.  There was a specific time in my childhood when my mother kept a bowl of water underneath our beds to keep the bad spirits away from us.  I vowed to never get caught up in this type of thing in my adult life.  However, while enjoying some quality time with a friend I was personally introduced to something that I know will become a staple in my life.

Disclaimer: The way in which you practice your beliefs is not up for debate and neither are mine.

I was feeling a little down and per normal my friends don’t allow me to feel that way for too long.  On this day it was Eva’s turn to get my mind off of things.  On a gloomy Saturday afternoon, she came and picked me up and we adventured into the new shops littering the interior of Detroit.  She even got me to eat at Detroit Vegan Soul!  I had the smothered tempeh.  Don’t ask me what it is exactly because I kept calling it meatloaf and if I ever go back which I will because I like it – I’ll be having the same thing.  While we were talking and the rain began to come down, she told me about the Tarot & Tea place next door.  All I could think about was the way my mother would hang on the words of the “reader” and I said I would not be doing that.  This is what I love most about Eva – she understands when you say no and that’s pretty much it. Done deal!  As we were leaving the restaurant she says, “let me go in here and get you some white sage!”  Okay!  I’m thinking I just hang it up on the door or something.  We go inside the shop and it’s very pretty. Not like the “reader’s” home.  It was calming in there. Crystals, books and herbs aligned the shelves and I was caught up in a quartz that was so beautiful.  This was a distraction to keep me from making any real eye contact with the “readers.”  Eva made her purchase and we walked out to the car.

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She explained that I was suppose to use this to clear out the negative energy in my home.  All I needed to do was burn/smoke the herb and walk through my clean house with a few windows open. (It’s so warm in my place there’s always a window or two open.)  While I was doing this, I am required to pray for God to remove the negativity.  I’ll be honest it sounded like a little voodoo until she said I could say a prayer.

A couple weeks went by and I hadn’t performed the cleanse.  Then one Sunday I couldn’t stand it.  I needed to get this negative energy out of my life.  I woke up, cleaned up thoroughly and started the process.  The details of the prayer focused on bringing peace and removing the negativity from our home.  I felt a certain positive energy soon after.  I began feeling a great pull of bad over the pass few weeks and decided to do it again. What do you know, I felt lighter again.  Itsasifasthough (that’s an inside joke between Shawn and I but I’ll share it with you- just read it like you see it) I’ve laid my burdens down by the river side.  I really can’t explain it but that’s how I feel.  Here’s a little video to explain it a little bit better than I did if you’re more interested:

After the follow up, I’ve offered this treatment to my people because of the way it makes me feel.  It may be the white sage or it could be the intense prayer I offer up for peace.  Either way – I’m a newbie to the white sage ritual and I’m positive this will be in my life forever.

Have you ever tried this or something of the sorts?

I’m pretty organized.  Every morning I’m up early – running through the things I mentally noted that I needed to take care of.  Somehow, I manage to stop at least once a day to concentrate on what I was “suppose” to do.  On occasion, I remember whatever it is and other times it comes to me as I lay me head on the pillow.  I’m not proclaiming that I’m forgetful but I will acknowledge when change is needed.  I was determined to get my schedule in in check and become more productive.

I purchased a daily planner from target the beginning of the year.  Things were on track but I didn’t have enough space to write down what I needed.  So, I only used the monthly view pages, which allowed me to see when I was doing things.  I needed more!  A colleague (HA! – I said colleague) of mine had shown me her Day Designer Planner early this year and I never forgot it.  So I thought maybe this is something I need to invest in.  Needless to say, I kept going with my poor method and wasn’t maximizing my day.  In this new position, I realized that I had to get some order in my schedule.  I was on the hunt.  I liked the Day Designer but it wasn’t me.  I went to my homie, YouTube for answers.  Through a few comparison reviews and unboxings, I found the one for me in the eRiN Conderen brand.


Here it is!  Isn’t it lovely?  If you would like to hear the details of the order and features included, please follow me on Periscope @stoical127 for the live review.  Why I chose to go with this company?  I like the customization options because I don’t want to walk around with the same planner as everyone else. That’s just one of my quirks.  The colors were bright and changed throughout the year in the planner. There are motivation quotes, sufficient space to write and the little welcome pouch was a nice way to get you to try out other products.  So I ordered the planner after I finally decided how I was going to decorate my work space.  I decided on the Cynthia Rowley Floral office collection to breathe a little life into my cube of beige.

After some very stiff competition, I went with my favorite shade of blue in navy surrounded by flowers and we know how much I love flowers.  In an upcoming post I’ll show you how I decorated everything.  There are still things to hang on the wall.  You all know decorating takes time.  It’s never as easy as HGTV will have you to believe.  Is it wrong for me to want a chic chair or should I hold of until I get my library?  😉  I’ll be looking forward to your feedback in the comments.

Other reasons why I went with this I like the layout. It allows me to break my day up into 3 sections that are important to me and provide room for changes.  I’m not taking about morning, noon and night.  My days consists of fitness, work and evenings.  I’ll have some pictures after I set it up for you to have a peek into my daily life.  Another unconventional criterion was the CEO‘s energy.  She put a face to and voice to the products.  I felt she understood what some of us busy people feel. We want to take care of everything but feel there’s NEVER enough time in a day.  Some people wouldn’t have cared that she made those YouTube videos but it mattered to me.

I’m in love and have picked up quite a few tips on how I can make planning fun and personal for me.  The cover is my very own (check my IG: @bmisunderstood) picture and the cover can be switched out with another.  This is awesome for me because I like to change things up from time to time and like the idea that I never have to lose my cover because it’s time for a new planner.

I’ll keep you updated on how everything progresses through the year and if this method works for me as well.  🙂

I really don’t know how long this “natural hair journey” is going to last.  The first big chop took place April 2, 2013 and I was making good progress.  A pretty good balance was created between protective styles and heat.  However, I developed a pretty nasty habit and it has been frowned upon.  After my appointment had to be cancelled, I had to figure out another plan. The results are bittersweet.  Stay around for the deets.

Let me start by saying, the time and effort that goes into natural hair care is underrated and appreciated.  These last few weeks have proven to be more stressful than any other week in my journey.  Every morning I’m brushing, twisting, fluffing, blending and styling to look presentable.  When I get home I’m thinking of a way to style it so I won’t have to manipulate it in the morning.  If the Mista wants to have a little QT, I’m out the game.  This whole routine had become very stressful to me.  Not to mention my almost non-existent wash days.  I’m up for work then out until the evening.  The domestic chores I need to complete are done during this time.  Then with extreme pleasure I head off to the football field for the games on Saturday.  On the seventh day, she rested and tries to get things together for the coming week.  Can you find the room for the detangling, pre-pooing, shampoo, condition, deep condition and style?  Right!  I couldn’t either.  I will honestly say that this journey has become very frustrating to me.  I wanted to do something about it and check the health of my hair.  You’ve seen the pictures of my hair over the year – it’s been growing.  It was time for someone to confirm the visual professionally.

I reached out to the 1st stylist to set up an appointment on a day I was planning to treat myself to a day of beauty.  She responded with her regrets due to travel.  Then I scheduled services with another stylist that I trust.  As we get closer to the day, I receive a text requesting I select another time due to an unforeseen event in their lives.  If I reschedule, I’m not going to do it at all.  Once I have my mind set on something, it’s either yay or nay.  I cancelled my appointment and was on the hunt for someone with education and availability.  I was recommended to a young woman in the Metro Detroit area that was familiar with the healthy hair practices. With faith the size of a mustard seed, I awaited for my appointment.

The location was nicely tucked away and welcoming.  I described my practices and the things I was interested in with my hair.  She talked with me about the products she was using on my hair and educated me on some of the things I have learned.  What I didn’t have much stomach for was her up sell of my need for a stylist on a regular basis, the phone conversations held while completing my hair and the amount of time used to complete the appointment.  The highest offense I took was her disparaging tone with regard to the education some of us naturalistas have adhered to on our journey.  Yes, all of these practices may not work to the favor and glory of everybody but they have guided and taught so many of us along the way.  Yes, my hair wasn’t in it’s best shape and I hadn’t retained as much lengthy as possible but I did grow my hair to collar bone length with no help.  I held my tongue and allowed her to do what I came for.  Wait, let me not forget how she talked down on the products I was using at home.  I knew in that chair I would never come back to this shop again.  Leaving crossed my mind several times but I was committed to the plan I created for the day.  She commenced to straighten my hair and it had grown tremendously.  I could have been prude and just figured it out for myself but I knew I needed to do this.  I had some problem areas and I needed her to resolve them.  She offered me a suggestion for Manetabolism.  I’ve never taken a vitamin for my hair but it’s worth a shot.  Let me give you the final diagnosis on my hair from the good doctor.

Even though my hair had grown substantially, I have been snapping the knots, split ends and being very rough with my mane.  It was discovered that there were multiple area of my hair where some strands were long and others were shorter in length.  She told me it may be “nervous energy” and you all know I had a lot going on over the past few months.  So she may have hit that disorder on the head and I told her to cut.  I’ve never been afraid of cutting my hair.  There’s another idea brewing in my head to retain as much length as I can in the next year.  Thant’s why I’m calling this BC #2.  Here are the final results.

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Does it look like mom hair?  I like it but I miss my fluffy 3c-4a hair.  The feeling of the wind blowing through my hair and wrapping it up every night brought back some old memories. I’m going to stretch this until Thanksgiving and then I’m getting back on the wagon.  After I straighten my hair I’m always worried about it not reverting to it’s natural state.  It’s so soft!  I refuse to fall in love with this because I can’t wait to see is all curled up.  Speaking of curls… those Lee beauty supply stores are only good for 3 things to me:

I was going to say 4 and add my wig but I just found some amazing placed to purchase from online.  Which I just ordered because I will need it in the off season coming up!  I didn’t even mention her “don’t wear wigs everyday” spill.  I think that’s what keeps my hands out of my hair most.  Anyway, I went and picked up some new flexi-rods because my sister lost the other set I owned.  In addition, I got some smaller perm rods for the shorter hair in the back and can’t wait to style it.  So, if you asked me if I like the cut?  I’ll tell you, yes, only because I’m thinking of every imaginable style I can recreate.


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I’ll post some style photos as I have a little fun.  The point of it all.  I’m still on the journey, experienced a setback but I’m positive it’s in prep for my comeback. 😉 Keep smiling!