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It’s been WAYYYYYYYY too long since I’ve written a Motivation Monday post, so instead of giving you all of the fluff I’ll just tell you what’s been up.

1. Work- This year I had a lot more demands with work that occupied a lot of my time. I will have some of those same responsibilities, but with a more flexible schedule this September.

2. School- In about four weeks I will have completed my 2nd Masters program. I had a year long internship (at work), which consumed a lot of my time, so as of August, I will have a lot more time to dedicate to the blog.

That’s mainly it. My graduate school program has been extremely intense and I am almost at the finish line.

Although I haven’t been posting consistently here, I have been guest posting for my friend Kim on her blog Makeup By Kim Porter. So check out a few of my beauty posts.

One thing that I promised myself to work on for 2014  was to have balance. I would let work and school consume my life, but I have been managing my time much better. Although I’m not where I would like to be, my family and friends have been extremely supportive during this time. So that’s my update.

On Saturday April 19, 2014 I did something that I never thought I would do, complete a Tough Mudder race. I don’t mean that I never thought I could complete a Tough Mudder, I just thought I’d never participate in one. I’ve seen the Facebook sponsored posts and photos from a few people that I know that completed it and said, “Yeah they got that.” My brother sent an email early January about the race to a few people so we can join his team. I was a bit skeptical, but I let him talk me into joining his team. Only a few people obliged and the “Brooklyn Squad” was born, with three people from Brooklyn and two from Queens lol.

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Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile, 25 obstacle race that will definitely challenge you physically, but it is more mental than anything. Tough Mudder Poconos was 11.6 miles (I wanted to cry at mile 11 lol I was so happy). I joined a gym in January and began “training.” All of the work that I did was nothing compared to what was required to complete the obstacles. With the help of God (I called on His name and prayed through a few obstacles, especially the Arctic Enema), my teammates, my family and friends, and my fellow tough mudders I earned my orange headband.

Electro Shock-to get to the finish line you had to run through electrical wires....so yes you had to purposely get electrocuted lol.

Electro Shock-to get to the finish line you had to run through electrical wires….so yes you had to purposely get electrocuted lol.

When I first signed up there were many people that were like, “You are going to run through mud?” lol. As a fashion blogger and an all around girly girl who loves floral prints, feminine dresses, high heels, and lipstick I understood where they were coming from, so it made me want to do this even more.

I crawled and waded through 500,000 gallons of mud, scaled walls of varying sizes, jumped in a dumpster filled with tons of ice and the coldest water that you could imagine (34 degrees), tested my balance walking across beams over water, used my upper body strength to climb up a rope, jumped across mud filled ditches, carried tires, crawled under barbed wire and logs, and much more. At the beginning of the race we had our send off speech by Sean Corvelle, the Tough Mudder motivator. I think after our last Hoorah we were all amped and ready to go. One thing that he said that stuck with me was that Tough Mudder was a challenge not a race. It’s about giving your best and fighting though obstacles for yourself and your loved ones.

Here are a few pics from the challenge that our spectators (family and friends) took

Start of the race with our wave.

Start of the race with our wave. I was number 3432

My brother and his friend and Laurel. We were the only girls on the team. This was after our first obstacle- Kiss of Mud

My brother and his friend and Laurel. We were the only girls on the team. This was after our first obstacle- Kiss of Mud

Glory Blades! Yes that's me climbing over a wall with a little boost from my teammate Ian

Glory Blades! Yes that’s me climbing over a wall with a little boost from my teammate Ian

My brother Lloyd and sister's boyfriend Ian hoping over the wall for glory blades. They definitely inspired me! They were just jumping over those walls like pros.

My brother Lloyd and sister’s boyfriend Ian hoping over the wall for glory blades. They definitely inspired me! They were just jumping over those walls like pros.

Here is the team’s before and after photo

We started off smiling...lol

We started off smiling… Antonio and I kept smiling lol

Here is my before and after photo

Before and After

Before and After I was FREEZING if you couldn’t tell

Yes I was a hot muddy mess. I was able to get my muddy clothes off and change into something much cleaner for the 2.5 hour drive home. When I got out of the car I could barely walk. My body had never been through such an intense physical challenge at once like Tough Mudder. I managed to gain enough strength to shower because all I wanted to do was get in the bed.

Here was my “After Tough Mudder” Routine

I needed to do a deep deep cleaning because that mud was thick! I had to give my skin the ultimate treatment. I was in and out of water and mud for hours. My skin was very, very dry.

Body
1. NIVEA Touch of Renewal Exfoliating Body Wash- I used this after I rinsed off the dust and mud. It was great for exfoliating, cleansing and moisture.
2. Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash- Restored the moisture in my skin in addition to cleansing my skin.
3. H20 Plus Sea Salt Skin Smoother-infused with natural oils and sea salt, this left my skin feeling silky smooth.
4. Boiron Arnicare Arnica Gel- I don’t remember where I got this from, but I’m glad that I had it. It provided immediate relief to my sore muscles and joints.
5. NIVEA Extended Moisture Body Lotion- After I applied the gel I used NIVEA’s extended moisture body lotion. This currently my favorite body lotion because of how moisturized my skin is after I use it. I love it because it is not thick and it is long lasting (48 hours)

Face
1. Simple Foaming Cleanser- I use this cleanser at night because it is gentle and does not leave my skin feeling dry.
2. Mary Kay Satin Lips Lip Mask- This is my favorite lip scrub. After the race my lips were dry! The sun, wind, water, and mud left me looking like Tyrone Biggums, well that’s what my sister said lol. I mad sure that my lips were kissable again with this scrub.
3. Ambi Even and Clear Daily Moisturizer- My favorite moisturizer at the moment. It is light weight and very moisturizing. Great for combination skin.
4. NIVEA Lip Butter- This lip balm left my lips very soft and smooth

Hair

1. Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo
2. Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner
3. Shea Moisture Detangler
4. Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner
5. Karen’s Body Beautiful Leave-in Conditioner
6. Personal mix of oils: Coconut, grape seed, avocado, extra virgin olive oil

Here are some of the products that I used:

 I also soaked in Epsom salt all weekend because my body was incredibly sore. I never felt so much pain in my ankles before in my life. And my brother laughed at me when I told him the back of my knees even hurt. Yes I was in that much pain. I thought I was in decent shape, but next year will definitely be better. This experience ignited something in me that makes me want to get more active. So our next feat will be a 5k, I’m not sure if it will be timed or not time, but I’m just getting started.

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I’m happy that I can call myself a Tough Mudder! This was a great experience.

Disclosure: With the exception of the NIVEA products, Arnicare Gel, H2O Plus Sea Salt, all products were purchased by me with my own money. The products mentioned above were provided in a gift bag from various pr firms.

Focus is a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity according to dictionary.com

My pastor preached this message for Watch Night Service on New Year’s. I found this quote by Tony Robbins that states,

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.

The part of this quote that stuck out to me is the first part that says, “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.” I found this to be exceptionally true for me. I consider my self to be a “goal digger,” and I set goals for all aspects of my life, but it is a struggle accomplishing those goals. I know that success is definitely a journey, but in many areas of my life, I feel like my journey could have been shorter if only I was focused. Some people may say that it wasn’t right because of God’s timing. God gave us free will so that we can make our own decisions. Some of the decisions that we make derail us from God’s plan, so he now has to redirect our steps and it takes us longer than he intended.

So in order to focus you have to know what focus is…

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Are you ready to focus?

On Saturday evening when I was supposed to be finishing a paper I found myself on Facebook reading through my newsfeed and came across this article by Kristen Dalton Wolfe for She is More called “The Husband List: 12 Non-Negotiables.” Now this post won’t be about relationships per se, but the importance of having non-negotiables aka standards.

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I get a lot of flack for my “non-negotiables” (which are almost identical to what Kristen outlines) when it comes to standards for men, but I refuse to settle. If I refuse to settle for a sub-par intimate relationship, then I should refuse to settle for anything sub-par in life.

Non-Negotiable is defined as: not open to negotiation or discussion.

They are the things that we cannot waiver on. Sometimes we get caught up in our emotions and feelings and we don’t think logically and agree to things that we would not normally agree to just to please people. We have to develop set standards that we live by and these are the principles that mean the most to you. As a believer of Christ my non-negotiables stem from the principles taught through Jesus as outlined in the bible. You have to stand firm on your beliefs. You know the saying,

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“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” -Malcolm X

This is true in all aspects of life. You have to set standards for yourself, for others, for your finances, for your time, etc. Essentially, you are asking yourself what values and principles are most important that if they are ever violated would change the dynamics of your life?

You have to set boundaries to establish order in life and to give yourself a sense of protection from being violated. Non-negotiables include respect, commitment, and loyalty. So what are your non-negotiable?

2014newyearIt is official…HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I want to first thank all of you for your support throughout the year! I wouldn’t be here without you all!

I am super excited for 2014, but before I go into details about what I want to accomplish this year, I first have to do a recap of some awesome moments from 2013 blog related and some personal. Here are my goals for 2013 and here is what I accomplished.

In 2013 I….

1. Opened the Her Goody Bag Online Boutique!- It was quite a success too. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep up with the shop because of personal reasons, but it was on the list and I did it. If I reopen the shop, it will be done differently since I have new demands on my life where I am unable to personally maintain the shop.

2.  My hair goal was to reach BSL (Bra Strap Length) and when I last got my hair done, before my trim, my hair was at the top of my bra strap. Now this is a little difficult to say if I reached the goal fully because it honestly depends on the type of bra that you wear, but my hair grazes the top of my bra strap so I made it lol. I will be sure to take more hair pics of my new journey.

3. I wanted to network and made great connections! One of the highlights was connecting with the NIVEA PR Team and becoming a NIVEA Digital Influencer!

4. I went back to school and I am now working on my 2nd Masters Degree. I will be finished July 27, 2014 lol. I’ve also been given a new role at work so that has been very time consuming, in addition to my new responsibilities, I have an incredible amount of school work to complete, wh

 

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I was able to attend New York Fashion Week and cover shows, I worked with brands like OCC, Clairol, Pantene, Freeman’s Beauty, Smirnoff, Hpnotiq, AllState, U by Kotex, Coca Cola, Sally Hansen, Laura Geller, and Nair through various networks like Glam Media, Single Edition, and Klout and other PR Companies. I featured independent brands like Sui Generis Boutique, Trinket Rocks, and Fly Credentials.

This has been an incredible year for me and the blog! Although I had a successful 2013, I did not accomplish everything that I set out to complete. So for 2014 here are my goals!

  1. Time management! Manage my time between God, family/friends, work, social life, and the blog of course. (This will be my number goal forever lol)
  2. Continue to shop my closet (Who doesn’t love saving money?) I have major plans this year so I have to be smart with my finances
  3. Improve the health of my hair. In 2013 I wanted to reach BSL, well by the end of 2014 I want to reach mid-back length or lower (is waist length pushing it?). I want to focus on growth and and health this year. This means taking my vitamins every day, lots of deep conditioning and protective styling.
  4. Workout! When I created HerGoodyBag I wanted it to be a one stop shop to help you look good, feel great, and live better and health is important. I want to incorporate more posts about living a healthy life. When we are in shape our clothes look amazing! I was consistent for about 2.5 months and fell off terribly when I started school. I need stay focused and not fall victim to fattening foods.
  5. Network! I did improve last year and this year I want to do better! I want to start working more directly with brands and collaborating with other bloggers to provide better content for you all. I also want to feature more independent designers. It was great becoming a digital influencer for NIVEA and I would like to become an ambassador for more brands.
  6. Host another event! Fabulously Chic was a success in 2012 and Kim and I have been extremely busy in 2013 so hopefully we can  bring you another great event! I also want to host smaller events as well with brands and retailers.
  7. Continue to create better content! I think I accomplished that this year, but I will plan better and try not to have so many gaps between posts. I created an editorial calendar for the 1st quarter of 2014 so let’s see how this goes.
  8. Community Service! This was on my list last year and I did donate to a few charities, but I did not donate my time. It will be quite difficult with my work schedule, but I need to find a way to give back, in addition to monetary donations.
  9. Interact more with my readers and other bloggers! I truly appreciate all of you and I am thinking of ways to interact with you all more! This was a goal last year, I did host more giveaways, but that’s not the only interaction that I am looking for. I also want to interact with more bloggers and build a strong blogging community. Maybe through a link round, but just support more bloggers. I also would love a few guest posters! And definitely commenting more on blogs!
  10. Take my style to another level. I wanted to incorporate more prints last year and I did that. Now I want to take my style to another level. This includes fashion, hair, nails, and makeup. I want to wear more lipsticks, mix prints (not too crazy), and put different styles together. I’m great at doing that for other people, but for me I’m still a work in progress.

So these are my goals for 2014! What’s your plan for 2014?