Hello My Loves!

Yes it is been forever and a day, but I am happy to say that I officially finished graduate school last Sunday! Working on my 2nd Masters was definitely a challenge. I was in an accelerated program and completed what normally takes two years or longer for some people in 14 months. The program consists of six weeks of pre-course work, two 5-week intensives (five weeks for Summer I and five weeks for summer II) and a 10-month long internship. As I said in an earlier post practically everything suffered because of the intensity of the program. I was so busy I barely wore heels and if you know me, you know I love my heels. The last 2 1/2 weeks were the most intense. I haven’t pulled so many all-nighters since undergrad over eight years ago. Completing this degree was by far one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve done in my life. My degree will be conferred in October, and I will be able to walk across the BIG STAGE in May 2015.

Now that I’m finished I keep getting asked the same question…what are your next steps?

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Besides catching up on sleep and catching up with friends and family I haven’t had much time to really relax. While I was in school I decided to look for a new apartment. I know…what was I thinking right? Well this was my logic, I wanted to find a place before school was over, so once I was done I could just pack and move so I could be settled by September when the school year starts. Well I found a place and I am in the process of packing and moving. Don’t worry, my laptop won’t be packed up, so I will have time to blog!

I’m also planning a birthday/graduation/house warming shindig. I figured why not celebrate all three at once. This way I can catch up with my family and friends who I have not spent that much time with over the last few months because of school and the internship.

So what’s next? I need to relax, but I can’t get restless. I have to stay motivated and put to use what I learned over the last 14-months.

Yesterday in church was “Graduation Day,” and that is when everyone who graduated from high school, college, and graduate school go up to the altar and one of the ministers pray over everyone for guidance regarding their “Next Steps.” This brings me to my favorite scripture Jeremiah 29:11 (I reference this scripture all of the time to keep me grounded and to remain faithful to God’s promise). It says,

“11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” New International Version

I know what God has placed in my heart and I am not sitting around hoping for something to fall in my lap. 2014 has been a HUGE year for me and everything that I set to accomplish, I have by the grace of God. I gave myself a list of things to do before I turn a certain age (I’ll tell you what that age is in October) and I’m working hard to do that. I know that God is calling me to advance in my career, and I am taking the necessary steps to do that. Besides moving up the career ladder,  my next steps really are just following God’s word and plans that he has placed on my heart. That deals with improving my spiritual life, relationships, finances, health, and blog (Yes I pray about HGB constantly-this is my baby).

God has taken me in a totally different direction than I was going two years ago. Honestly, two years ago I didn’t think I would have my 2nd masters degree because I didn’t want it. I thought I was done with school, now look at me lol. I can only laugh and think about this:

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Of course I set goals…don’t think I’m just out here waiting for a “sign” from God, that isn’t the case. What I’m saying is that you  may have one plan for your life and it may not be what God called you to do, so instead of trying to do things your way, follow God’s plan because He always has your best interest at heart.

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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.

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?