Sunday, December 21, 2014

Black Women And Their Hair

I love being a sistah! Like, I love being a black woman in America. We have our struggles but we are so free to be who we want to be here when you compare our lifestyle to some other cultures. I was blessed to be raised by powerful, motivated, black, female entrepreneurs. My mother named me Iyonna Hazel, after my Aunt Hazel, who treated me more like a grandchild than a great niece. My namesake, Aunt Hazel, was a black woman in the 60's who owned a salon. She owned the building and the business. The beauty industry generates billions of dollars in the United States and it was one of the first industries that allowed black women to partake in making millions. Madame C. J. Walker was the FIRST African-American woman millionaire turned philanthropist, self made in the beauty business selling hair products. I digress....

All of my family who lived in Baltimore worked in Aunt Hazel's salon. I think the name of it was Cosmos, but
Mama Fancy in her college days.
1970 something
we all called it "The Shop". Aunt Hazel's daughter worked at The Shop. My mother apprenticed at The Shop. She paid her way through college by working there as a stylist. My older cousins worked at The Shop, cleaning up, doing laundry, and running errands. Even I worked at The Shop, giving little $5 manicures at the tender age of 8 years old in the summers and on the weekends I spent with my beloved Aunt Hazel. So, I know the inner working of a salon. I grew up in one.

Aunt Hazel has since passed. But not before paying cash to build her retirement home from money made in The Shop and selling her business. I never really understood the advantages I had by growing around these things. I learned hustle and entrepreneurship. I got to listen in on mature conversations that taught me life lessons at an early age. My hair was always done. My hair was always healthy. My hair was always kind of long because of these things. It didn't hit me until I stopped relaxing my hair that black women have a "thing" with their hair.

When I was in graduate school, I worked part time in a salon doing natural hair, mostly braiding and loc maintenance. I was the only one. All the others specialized in "regular" hair styling. We had one stylist who was highly sought after for his weave and styling expertise. He was REALLY good and was usually booked. I was appalled when I would hear the receptionist getting cussed out because he did not have any appointments available. It was so crazy to me. I'd think "Is it that serious?" Apparently, it is. I just could never relate. I honestly felt like we have a serious problem in this society if people are enraged when they can't get a hair appointment or a pair of sneakers for that matter.

Styles Salons
One and only weave for my wedding by the
hair weave killah, Dariel
I got a relaxer when I was 11 because all my friends had relaxers and my mom was straightening my hair anyway, so what was the big deal? This made it easier, right? My mom has Indian in her family, literally. She was Pocahontas in her college years. Perfect brown skin and long flow-y hair down her back, no relaxer. Aunt Hazel churned out perfect bouffants and press & curls for years. That's just what black women did. We straightened and styled our hair. It seemed that a large majority of black women wanted long, flow-y hair and would stop at nothing to get it. Enduring chemical burns on the scalp, burned ears from curling iron or hot comb, hours under the dryer, pulling and tugging so much that the hairline recedes from the tension, and let's not forget the MONEY and TIME spent in the salon. Or basement. Or kitchen. All to achieve something that Jehovah never really intended for us.

If I were meant to have a brown complexion, I'd have a brown complexion. Other than tanning in the summer, I don't invest time and effort into making my skin looking like something it's not. If I were meant to be 6 feet tall, I'd be 6 feet tall. Other than wearing heels, which I do for style and not to look taller, I don't invest time and money in to trying to make myself taller. If my hair was meant to be long and flow-y, it would grow long and flow-y from my scalp. Why did I spend so much time trying to make my hair do something it was never intended to do?

As a "natural", I straighten my hair once a year in the winter. Just because. The rest of the year, I style my hair in it's natural texture. I know what styles work for me and my hair. Even with natural hair, I don't look to make my hair look like someone else's natural hair. I don't do much to my hair, I never did. Even when I had a relaxer, I did a wash and roller set once a week, if that roller set turned out kinda janky, oh well, I would have janky hair for the week. Same with my hair now, I style it bi-weekly and I just make adjustments to the hairstyle as the weeks go on. It's so funny to me that when I think my hair looks crazy, I still get compliments.

When I was 21, I told my mother I was going to stop getting a relaxer. She asked me why. I was a dumb 21 year old, I didn't have a legitimate answer other than I wanted big hair. LOL! So I continued to get relaxers
Wash and go "faux hawk"
After a year of transitioning
for 7 more years. Then I had a talk with my husband and we both decided it was time. Wearing my hair in it's natural texture is a personal choice. Even if you choose to wear your hair straight, with modern technology and advances in products, you don't have to straighten your hair with chemicals. We are all in a place of health consciousness. We are eating healthy, clean and organic. Why put chemicals on your body if you're making a conscious effort not to put them in your body? Just something to think about.

I hurt for black women who look at my hair with admiration and say "I wish I could wear my hair like that?" or "I wish I could go natural?" Who told them that they can't? The reasons I hear make me sad. They don't think they can wear their hair like that to work. Their hair is too nappy. They don't have time to style it. If your job has an issue with you wearing your hair the way it grows out of your head, you probably need to consider a new job. And if they fire you or limit your opportunities because of a choice of hairstyle, they know they will have some class action discrimination cases coming their way. What is nappy hair anyway? My hair seems nappy sometimes too. Usually when it's dry. Look at the products you're putting in your hair, there's probably some form of alcohol in it. Alcohol dries your hair out, making you think it's nappy and unmanageable when it's not. For those who really want to go without relaxers, take a good look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. What are you REALLY afraid of? And just how much time do you spend in the salon again? Oh.
Dry Twist Out after 3 years of being "natural"

All I'm saying is, you are beautiful just the way you are. Your hair is beautiful. Long and flow-y. Short and sleek. Loose curls. Tight curls aka *whispers* kinky. It's all beautiful because it's yours. Own it. Jehovah made you that way. Beautiful and in his image. Do what makes you feel beautiful but do it for you. Going through all those changes to alter your hair doesn't make you anymore beautiful than you already are.

Long, short, curly, kinky, or straight.....live your Fancy Life, embracing who you were meant to be.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free, LLC. is the manufacturer of quality products for hair and skin. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website, www.fancyfreellc.com, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest Fancy Free happenings.


 

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Allure of "Boss"


Nowadays errybody is claiming they're a "boss chick". No. Seriously. Every. Body. But if everyone is a boss, who is getting bossed and doing the work? Something doesn't add up. LOL! Let's be clear actually being a boss can look glamorous. Who wouldn't want to be the woman in charge who strolls in the office at any time of day then leaves early for a lunch date, mani/pedi, or salon appointment, while wearing tailored suits and designer pumps? Of course that life can be alluring. What most don't see is the dues that were paid to get to the point where these conveniences possible. You have got to pay your dues first. Then you get the boss privileges and can call yourself a "BOSS". 

What does paying your dues mean? When you pay, you get receipts. Receipts can be in the form of a college degree or multiple degrees, certifications, unpaid internships, documentation of past works, etc. These things make for a really impressive resume but are paid for with lots of late nights and plenty of early mornings. In my case, even hair loss and an expensive dental bill because I was so focused on my grind, I neglected my teeth-do not judge me, my smile is perfection now. LOL! You can only accomplish these things with discipline, consistency and accountability. The boss chick can come and go as she pleases because she is the boss and her higher ups or clients know that the job will get done by the agreed upon date whether she is in her office or not. Accountability goes far and she has proven that when it's in her hands that "It's handled." and she is allowed the freedom to come and go as she pleases. She's working even when she's not working. It's not unlikely to see a boss chick responding to emails and taking phone calls even while on vacation or at a get together. A real boss is never complacent. She sets high standards for herself and continuously raises the bar for what her next phase of accomplishments will be. To whom much is given, much is expected. She has worked hard to afford a luxury lifestyle and works harder to maintain it. 

The boss chick has mentors whom she seeks advice from and a mentees whom she is guiding through the "paying dues" stage. Insecure women hate her because they secretly want to be her. Boys know that she is out of their league. Some boys will even try to date her and be that bad boyfriend who ruined her. They only do that because she represents something that they do not deserve. Men want to marry her. A real man is inspired by her work ethic. Men know that anything he brings to her will be multiplied. Their ultimate merger will deem them a "Power Couple". 

No wonder she lives a lifestyle filled with fine dining, tailored fashions, lavish vacations, exclusive outings, and great company. "Opposites attract" is only true for refrigerator magnets. Like attracts like. Iron sharpens iron. True bosses attract boss friends and mates, opportunity, and prosperity. She has her family but a boss chick's close network of boss friends can relate to her struggles. Let's face it, this is a man's world and although a boss chick's significant other understands her grind, only other women can truly relate to what boss chick's have to deal with. They check each other when one is wrong, in career, relationships, and life. They cheer each other on and help maintain focus. They can let their hair down around each other without having to worry about being exposed on the internet.

Yes, studies do show that attractive people have it easier because they're, well, attractive. But a TRUE boss chick has worked hard to get what she has, no matter how attractive she is. She is a goal getter, not a gold digger. Joining forces with a successful mate is just the icing on the cake. She attracted that into her life. She did not chase it down. Please believe the she does NOT have it made. She worked hard for it and works hard to keep it but she makes a point to enjoy the spoils of her labor as often as possible. I mean, why not? She has much to celebrate. Being a boss is no easy feat but the results are worth it. So she enjoys it.

Bosses, continue. Still collecting receipts? Push through. It's worth it in the long run.

If you are a true "boss chick" and are open to joining forces with other positive, successful women to diversify your streams of income, click HERE.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fearless Fancy

Growing up, I was a busy child. Always taking at least one performing arts lesson and participating in at least one sport through out the year. Never any breaks, that means even through out the summer months I was doing something.
Participating in these kinds of activities as a kid gave me a different kind of mindset when it came to trying new things and stepping out into unknown territory. It helped develop my "thick skin" and self esteem.

I took piano lessons for about 10 years. I played classical music mostly. In those 10 years of lessons, the music became more difficult to master but the steps to mastering it were the same. You learn a new skill that's applied to the art, tackle the new music in digestible parts. When each part is mastered, put them all together. Voila! You are playing your classical piece like Chopin himself. At the time, I didn't realize that these piano lessons were actually teaching me life lessons. As adults, we are confronted with situations we have never dealt with before, it makes us uncomfortable. But this is the natural progression of things. After 10 years of lessons and coaching and scales and arpeggios and hand stretches to reach chords, my parents would be disappointed if I were still playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" with my pointer fingers just because it was easy for me to do that. They expected to hear me fumbling through on Chopin's Nocturne Op.9 No.2 until I got it right or they'd think they were wasting their money. LOL! In performing arts, we are always mastering new skills and testing our limits. No fear. We will get it with enough practice. Well, some times. With small hands, there were always some chords I just couldn't reach cuz it wasn't physically possible. Ha!

It's the same with sports. Although I participated in some team sports, I was never really an "athlete". It just wasn't in my blood. LOL! But, athletes have thick skin just like performers. Constantly getting critiqued. Being told how to improve. Getting scored. Getting judged. Winning competitions. Losing competitions. Auditioning for shows. Trying out for teams. Getting the gig. Not getting the gig. Making the team. Getting cut from the team. It's just what comes with the territory.

When I won a competition, there usually wasn't a big celebration cuz I was supposed to win. I mean, I had been practicing for 3 hours everyday. There was no reason I shouldn't have won. When I didn't win. It was not the end of the world. There is always someone out there better than you or with more natural talent. I'd just have to work harder before the next one. There are always more competitions for you to compete in and win. The scoring sheet would reveal what I needed to improve on so that I could work on it and win the next time.

Life is full of victories but you have to go through some losses along the way. The losses teach you character. The wins build your confidence. Losing or messing up or making a mistake never stopped me from practicing that show piece until it was perfected. A situation in life not turning out how I wanted it to never stopped me from living. Things are as they should be and when they aren't how I want them to be, I've realized that I have a lesson to learn and some things in my life that I need to work on.

Perfecting a new craft takes practice. You will fumble but that's just apart of the process. Don't be scared to push yourself beyond what you think you can do. You will surprise yourself. Test your limits. If you never test them, you will never know your full potential. Jump into new opportunities with both feet. No fear. And don't give up until you are a pro.

Live your Fancy life without fear.

If you are interested in doing something different and mastering a new craft that will foster personal development, click HERE.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fancy Dating

I have been off of the market for a while now. Almost 12 years with the same guy. Seven years married. Prior to dating my husband, I had a steady boyfriend right out of high school and was with him most of my four years of college. I was engaged to him, but I had a come to Jesus meeting with myself and Jesus where He and I decided that there was something way better out there for me. So I broke it off and was single. Needless to say, I didn't get much dating experience during the time in my life when I should have. I was back in school after the break up, so I wasn't really pressed to have another boyfriend just yet but I'm cute so I was "talking" to a couple of guys. When I was telling one of my really good girlfriends about how aggravating boys were, she recommended that I read a book called The Rules. So, I did and it gave me some better dating guidelines and tips to adhere to. I'm going to summarize a few of them for you and add my "Fancy" twist but you should still read the book for yourself.

The 5Linx of Fancy Dating

1. You attract who you are.
If you are wondering why you keep attracting the same kind of guy. Take a look in the mirror, sistah. It's you. Leeches can smell the desperation through your perfume. Jerks can detect your low self esteem a mile a way. While an upwardly mobile man sees that you're a boss or at least a boss in the making by the way you walk in a room. The leech and the jerk may try a boss chick, but they will soon find out that they don't stand a chance. Long story short, work on yourself before you worry about getting a boyfriend. A mate does not complete you, he compliments you. Together you will conquer the world. Get your degree. Start your business. Lose those last 5 pounds. Go on a girl's trip. Just do whatever you have to do to be happy with yourself and you will attract an AWESOME man that is perfect for you and will encourage you to continue on your journey to success and happiness. Keyword is "ATTRACT", not find. The bible says it best, The one who finds a good wife has found something good, And he receives Jehovah’s favor. Proverbs 18:22 Notice that God did not instruct women to go out and search for a husband. Make yourself accessible but let him find you.

2. I don't call boys.
I quickly learned that a man who insists on giving you his number and is not begging for yours is not down for the chase. Don't let them men fool you and tell you that they "don't chase" women. Men are competitive. They LOVE the chase. They chase dreams and aspirations. They chase money. And when they see a woman they want, they chase that woman. Now, I did not say play games with him. Just let him pursue you. Do not call a man who offers you his business card unless it's for business purposes. If you exchange numbers, wait for him to call you. As you develop feelings and agree to a committed relationship, make sure you are calling him and making sure he knows that he got his prize.

3. He must make plans for you.
That means, under no circumstances do you accept last minute date invitations. He must schedule his time with you at LEAST 3 days in advance. Remember, you are busy being great and your calendar books up quickly. You are NOT sitting at home waiting for Prince Charming to ask you on a date. And even if you are sitting at home staring at the walls, he doesn't know that. You had plans. You planned to veg out on the couch that evening. LOL! If he doesn't get it after 3 attempts, he ain't the one. If he does get it and finally schedules time with you. Let him plan the date. Your job is to show up, look pretty and enjoy his company. You should not be worrying your pretty little head about where you all are going and what you will be doing.

4. Do not accept mediocre treatment.
We get treated based on what we accept. Make your standards clear without being a "mean girl". Men do not read between the lines. You must make things very clear to them which can be done without shattering their egos. His efforts must match his promises and words. Slick talk can keep on walking. Trust your instincts. If something seems fishy, it probably is. And most importantly, do not smash on the first date. Keep your legs closed until you are married.....or at least until you're sure about your feelings. Having sex prematurely can cloud your judgement, make him judge you and make you irrational if he puts it down but he ain't the one. On the other end of the spectrum, if you see that a man has gone through great lengths to do something for you, do not knock his efforts. Acknowledge them and offer suggestions in a loving way.

5. You must practice dating.
When I was single, I gave my number to any guy who asked because I know it takes a lot of courage to do that. No one likes rejection. I didn't have to be attracted to him or think he could potentially be my boyfriend. I did that for a few reasons. You never know the gem you'll get when you peel back the layers. But that takes time. You always have to give yourself options. Out of those men I gave my number to, I went on dates with the ones who asked me out properly, even when I wasn't interested. Of course there were a few that I wished had asked me out. But they didn't. So where dey at now? Finally, I needed to practice all the rules I learned so that when I did finally start dating "The One", I would know how to act. You don't get good at anything until you practice. So, I did just that. Went on some decent dates, some horrible dates, and even some good ones. I learned things about myself. I learned what works with men and what doesn't. I was able to be more clear about what I wanted in a relationship all before I started dating the guy that would become my husband.

If you are single and dating. Have fun! Still go out with your girlfriends and family, travel, and become even greater than you already are. Enjoy life. Trust me. Marriage is a beautiful thing but it comes with a whole 'nother set of troubles. Every guy you go out with is not your future husband. Don't get attached too quickly and watch what he does, not what he says. Some of these guys are slicksters and sweet talkers. If those words aren't backed up by actions, keep it moving. Life is too short for boy drama. Especially when you're living the drama free Fancy life!!!

If you are looking for an environment that foster personal growth and development, contact me by texting WOODS to 55469 or click HERE to visit my website.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Let Them Be Great!!!

I am no life coach. Never claimed to be one but I am pretty good at problem solving. Like, problem solving is my profession. My employer pays me to find solutions. My mind automatically starts looking for a solution when I see or hear a problem. I encourage people not to wallow in their situation being all sad and frustrated. Find the answer and apply it. Problem solved. On to the next thing that life throws at you. I don't like to see people that I care about depressed because of something out of their control *ahem* or repetitive poor decision making. I offer solutions or try to direct them to someone who may have the answers. When I don't have the answers, trust me, I have no problem sitting with Sway. However, as I have matured, I have learned when to keep my insight to myself. I have learned that unsolicited input is not well received in some situations. Even when I am called on, I say what I have to say and leave it alone.

Different strokes for different folks. I have my own life to worry about. Taking on other people's issues is not apart of that. You came, you asked, I gave you some knowledge, now it's in your hands. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. And I do not try to. Everything we do is in our mindset. Some people are so fixated on the problem and defiantly chose not to see the solution. Like, everything suggestion I make, they counter with a reason it won't work without even trying. Some people relish in a state of chaos. So much so that when they see calm waters ahead they turn back into the storm. These kinds of people tend to always have something to complain about. I am not that person.  I am optimistic. Sometimes the only solution I can offer is to look at the blessings that come from a seemingly bad situation. I know that someone who chooses to focus on the negative cannot be helped by anything I have to offer. I think life should be nice and drama free. I don't give any advice that I wouldn't take myself. I don't give any advice that is out of my scope of knowledge. Having trouble with your step kids? I don't know what to tell you. If you're looking for advice, talk to my auntie, she's great with her step kids.  Sometimes people just need to hear themselves talk through the situation, so they're not really looking for input just a listening ear. I do talk things out with my husband all the time. He's great at fake listening. LOL!

I am in the business of helping people who want to help themselves but I am not trying to control or force anyone's hand. I only want the best for everyone, so I speak honestly which can hurt sometimes. My loves know I am going to give it to them straight, with a chaser, of course. I mean, I'd rather my mother tell me, in a loving way, that my breath stinks and I need to get to the dentist ASAP than have people avoid talking to me. I am not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. Just open their eyes. If they chose not to take my advice, I am not offended, it's just my perspective on the situation. I will never know all of the aspects if I am not in the situation. Who knows. I COULD be wrong. LOL!

Anyone can live the Fancy life but everyone isn't up for the challenge it takes. Being a problem solver is associated with personal growth and development. We are all different and at different stages in our lives. I am alright with that. I let them be great at whatever phase they are in.

If you are up for the challenge and interested in making life changes. Click HERE for a free report on how to make that happen or visit www.fancyfreellc.com.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fancy Sistah-Mama Life

Me at 15 y.o. and them at 2 y.o.
In the case of Fancy, you ARE the sister...mother...sister-mother....sistah-mama. How did that happen? The definition of a sistah-mama or sibling-parent is when you have siblings that are young enough to be your children. So either, you were a mistake early on in your parent's lives OR your siblings were a mistake late in your parent's lives. Either way, you're stuck with one another, so you've just gotta deal with it. When the spread in age difference is greater than 5 years, the older sibling takes on a more protective role than stair step siblings who develop sibling rivalry. When the age difference is greater than 10 years, the older siblings becomes a pseudo parent.

Their 8th grade graduation
My younger siblings are 13 years my junior. Not quite young enough to be my children but, if we want to get technical, they are. LOL! Having lived practically as an only child for 13 years, I was super excited when my mother told me she was pregnant.....with TWINS!!! They arrived and I instantly fell in love. They were so cute and cuddly and sweet. I changed diapers, made bottles, gave baths, helped with potty training, braided hair and kept them safe. As they grew up and I became an adult, I played a role in disciplining them and handling typical teenage girl growing pains. They are now "adults" but in my eyes, they are like my children. I am proud of them and the influence I had on their successes.

High School Graduation
 As a sibling-parent, we can be confident that they are getting good, sound advice from an adult that has their best interest in mind. Most teenagers and young adults turn to each for advice because:
1. They don't feel comfortable talking to their parents.
2. They are scared their parents are going to be upset.
3. They just don't know any better.
Lawd knows the things my friends and I talked about when we were teenagers. Let's just say....Jehovah protects children and fools. In some cases, the word "fool" can be interchangeable with dumb teenagers. I digress. As we mature, we realize that our parents were right and they want the best for us but as kids and teenagers, we think our parents don't know anything. We usually end up learning the hard way that they were right all along. LOL!

Went to A&T's Homecoming with them
My parents had it made. They had an extra enforcer within their circle of trust. They knew my sisters would listen to me. They could trust that after I have "Olivia Pope'd" the twins, everything is alright. Grades slipping, it's handled. Boy drama, it's handled. Girl drama, it's handled. Explaining why you can't have your booty out at a rap concert, it's handled. My sisters knew they had it made. They had an adult ally who could come to their defense when our parents didn't understand. Because, let's face it, sometimes parents don't get that middle school kids with cell phones text and we need to have more than 200 text messages to our family plan. Parents need to hear from another adult why it is absolutely necessary that a high school student cannot have a South Pole jacket. It must be North Face and it will never go on sale so they might as well buy it now.

Their 21st Birthday
Having played this "sistah mama" role in their lives is one of the reason my husband and I hesitate to have children ourselves. Experiencing first hand how difficult raising children is. When they're young, it's physically draining. As they get older, it's mentally challenging, trying to make sure they make good life decisions when you aren't around. Not to mention.....they're still in our pockets, even as grown women. Asking for stuff. Us doing stuff for them. They do not care about our bank accounts and, quite honestly, we don't mind giving to them because they are AWESOME and are growing into phenomenal women.

I'm sure my girls will make great aunties or auntie mama's one day. Cuz I've put off having kids way too long to have big gaps in between them. What a relief it will be to know that my wisdom is being passed on through my sister's and finally letting them "handle it."




Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why?

Ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up and they will probably tell you something very prestigious. An actor. An astronaut. A basketball star. The President of the United States. A singer. And then.......life gets in the way and they forget about their big dreams. Some adult tells them why they can't accomplish these things. They are given all the reasons we cannot make these big dreams become a reality. And sometimes life's circumstances just get in the way.
At an early age, music professional recognized the musician in me. My father gave me some good sound advice based on his life experiences. He encouraged me to go to a college preparatory high school and work on my academics, get good grades, go to college, get a good job and THEN you do the things you "like" to do, as in play around with music. My father taught me to be practical. No more dreams of grandeur.

My husband's parents taught him the same things. The first six years of our relationship, we were in training. Graduate school, residency, training programs, etc. We were in our late twenties and still living like college students. I finally made it out of training. I specialized in my field. I became a Medical Laboratory Scientist Specialist in Blood Banking. I got my "dream job" -in quotations because who really WANTS a job- before the age of 30. I was managing a blood bank and making the salary I had aimed to make at that point in life. My husband had just finished residency when I started my dream job and we had negotiated a contract with his current employer. We were almost to exactly where we wanted to be in our professional life. Obstacles came when my husband's start date was not until NINE months after he finished his residency. How did that create an obstacles? Well, it means he was unemployed for nine months before that salary we had negotiated would begin hitting our bank accounts. 

During those nine months, we bought our dream home. We closed on it four months before he actually started making his big time doctor salary. Long short....we were broker than we had ever been for about six months during a time in life when were supposed to be living abundantly. It was really bad. Like, I was calling my father for gas money and we were alternating who's parents house we were going to eat dinner at every night. Broker than we had been in our pseudo-college student budget days. We knew it was a phase. But it was a very humbling time in our lives. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We were getting closer to his start date and we finally got a tenant in our old house. 

Jehovah will send you what you need when you need it but we don't always recognize it. I was talking to a college friend about life in this nine month period of broke-ness. I was joking about how broke we were at the time....laughing to keep from crying. My college friend was telling me about this "thing" he was doing and how my husband and I could make a lot of money. He suggested that we take a look at it. I was like "No." A flat "no". I was over  my hustling days of working 4 jobs. I had my one good job and I knew things would get better when my husband started working. And when he started working, things got better. We were taking our parents out for dinner. Going on vacations. Really, living the Fancy life to it's full capacity. 

Then...it happened. We filed income taxes for the first time when both of us had been earning at our full potential. We learned at that time why they say DINK for Dual Income No Kids. They call it that cuz "DINK!!" is what you say when you see how much you will owe the federal government in taxes when you fit in that category. It was really bad. My accountant suggested we buy a bigger house, have a baby, or start a home based business. That night, I called my college friend and got started with his "thing". I didn't even know what it was. I didn't care. I just knew a few things. I knew that he was my friend and wouldn't set me up for failure. I knew that he was making a lot of money with this thing, so I could make a lot of money. But most importantly, we needed a reprieve on taxes because it could only get worse as our salaries increased. So, I got started. 

It's so funny how you can start a project to make a small improvement in your life and the project can completely change your life. I started my home based business just looking for tax benefits that rental properties and donating money couldn't give me and now I am transforming. I am becoming a better person. This venture has taught me a lot about myself and gave me the desire to develop and improve. My "dream job" has become something I do because I like it and I'm really good at it, not because I need the money. This shift in mindset has totally changed how I manage "work stress" and life stress as well. I have never been around a group of more positive and helpful people in my adult life. My husband and I are able to dream again, just like we are kids. I can travel more than I used to, do things for our family, and, most importantly, not owe an arm and a leg to the IRS at the end of the year. It's been great!! 

Are you looking for something different but aren't quite sure what it is? Has adult life gotten in the way of you living the life you dreamed about as a child? Do you just want to finally get a refund when you file taxes? We can help you dream again. All these things are possible and more. Click HERE and we will contact you to share the details and get you on the path to live your dreams.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Fancy Wife Life

I am a married woman. Why wouldn't I be? I'm awesome, if I do say so myself. It was only a matter of time before some poor, unsuspecting soul would get trapped into my web and feel like he could not live without me. Don't get me wrong, my husband is a catch as well. He has been such a blessing to my family but more so a blessing to me. To a strong, independent woman, marrying a great guy has it's pros and cons. I blame society for the cons and thank him for being "great". I get to take advantage of all the pros.

Prior to being married, I was accustomed to a certain lifestyle, the Fancy life, that I financed on my own. So my husband did not upgrade my life. I been on. LOL! In fact, my Fancy life is one of the things that he was attracted to. There was a time when I worked 4 jobs. Yes, FOUR. Not because I needed to but because I had spare time, was good at somethings and a few people wanted to pay me to do them.
1. My career/what I went to school to do, Medical Laboratory Science aka hospital laboratory.
2. Natural hairstylist in my girlfriend's salon
3. Staff hairstylist for The Wire Season 4
4. Church Musician
I did all of this, while being in graduate school full time.

How can being married to an awesome guy have anything negative associated with it? It's simple, while we have built things together, he gets the credit for the fruits of all of things that I have worked hard for on my own.....just because of what society perceives as prestige with certain professions. That is a major buzz kill. I buy a new car. I pay for the car but people ask him how he likes HIS new car. I'm up at the crack of dawn and till the wee hours of the morning working on our home based business while he sleeps and people refer all inquiries about our team to him. So, I am in a constant battle with my pride and ego when it comes to my role as a wife. I often find myself swallowing my pride in order to be obedient to Jehovah as a submissive wife. I know my husband has our family's best interest in mind, so I have no problems letting him lead me. He is awesome when it comes to giving me credit. I appreciate him for that. We make a great team. Everything I do, I do better with him. However, a small piece of me dies every time some one refers to me as "the doctor's wife", I'm just being honest.

I get it. The portrayal of beautiful women of color in the media is that we are gold diggers or some loud mouthed, attitudinal angry person. It is implied that we are after the successful man so that we can have his babies and spend all of his cash while he is busy building the empire....alone. That is not the case, not if you're living the Fancy life. I was building my own empire prior to him. My parents raised me to be awesome. They did not raise me to chase a man or that my ultimate goal should be to become a wife. My parents taught me that I would attract what I become. My husband and I have been able to multiply what we brought to the table as individuals, but we do that together. He is a visionary but I am the executor. What is vision without action? A dream. Point. Blank. Period. I mean, really, would Jay-Z have risen to the stature of the mogul he is today without Beyonce? They were successful on their own but when he became associated with her, a different dynamic of the business world opened up to him just from the association.  I'll leave that there.

I have NO problems with being submissive and supportive, even when I do not agree. When he says move left. I move left. He is my husband and the head of our household. But I am NOT just the "doctor's wife". I am Iyonna. A boss. I am married to that guy, whom I love very much. I would've married him if he was an engineer, politician or computer geek. He just happens to be a doctor. But this here Fancy life BEEN fancy.....way before we were an item. I contribute just as much as he does. I motivate him to be better. He keeps me focused when I'm falling off of my grind. Being a wife is not easy. It takes balance, grace and lots of fake smiles and pleasantries when you really want to scream. Cooking, cleaning.....or at least knowing who to hire when you need those things done. Handling business. Staying fly. All while making sure your husband feels desired, needed and appreciated. This Fancy wife life ain't for the faint of heart but it's worth it...even when you don't always get credit.

Until next time, continue enjoying your Fancy life even when you don't get the acknowledgement you should.

Click HERE to learn more about the opportunity that allows me to contribute just as much as my husband.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fancy Hair

Dry Twist Out that I didn't re-twist
I wear my hair natural. That means, I don't process it with chemicals to straighten it. I just let it flourish in it's kinky element. It's so funny to me because when I think my hair looks crazy, I get the most compliments. I get approached by hair admirers proclaiming that they wish they could wear their hair natural. I also get a lot of questions about my hair. Often from women who are trying to figure their own hair out. The most common questions I get are what products I use and what do I do to it when I style it. My cousin told me that I should start a separate hair blog, but quite honestly, I don't do enough to my hair to warrant a whole blog about it. I figured I post sporadically post hair stuff among the rest of my blogging.


In true "Fancy" fashion, I have some a few rules about how I view my hair and how I treat it. Here we go:
  1. I let my hair be great. Sometimes it's fluffy, sometimes it's bushy. I don't fuss over it. I don't try to make sure every strand is in place. I don't try to make my hair look like someone else's. All of our hair textures are different. I have about 4 different textures and curl patterns in my own head. It's all in your mindset.
  2. Moisture is the most important player when dealing with kinky hair. Keep your hair moisturized.....not oily.
  3. Experiment to find out what works for you. You have to experiment with styling and products. What's good for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else.
  4. Avoid products with the following ingredients. These ingredients dry your hair which lead to breakage. ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL, MINERAL OIL & PETROLATUM, PEG, PROPYLENE GLYCOL (PG), SODIUM LAURYL SUFATE (SLS) & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES), CHLORINE, DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (momoethnanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine), FD & C Color PIGMENTS, FRAGRANCE, and IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA and DMDM HYDANTOIN.
Up Do
My hair routine is very simple, I don't use a whole plethora of products and I actually don't spend that much time doing my hair. It can seem like a long time but it's less than or equal to the amount of time people spend in the salon.

Cleansing and Conditioning
I am very active. I work out 3-4 days/week and I sweat...a lot. So it's very important for me to get to my scalp and get rid of the build up. In the summer I may shampoo weekly but mostly every 2 weeks. When I've been swimming, I shampoo using a sulfate free shampoo. Make sure you read the ingredients. All things labeled sulfate free are not. When I don't swim, I do an Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse. Essentially, I section my hair and, using a spray bottle, I spray the ACV on my scalp and massage my scalp with my finger tips, not my nails. Then, I spray it on the length of my hair. This will loosen up the dirt and build up without drying it out like shampoo does. I twist each section as I go because my hair is super thick, getting long and out of control. LOL! Rinse. Then I do a co-wash. A co-wash is when you use conditioner instead of shampoo like you're washing it. I do the same thing I did with the ACV. Massaging my scalp and re-twisting. Rinse and repeat. If I'm deep conditioning, I apply the conditioner to the length of my hair. Sometimes I put a conditioner cap on....sometimes I don't. Rinse. I'm ready to style.
Wet Twist Out

Styling
My go-to style is a twist out. That works for me. In the summer, I twist it wet and pin it up into a style for a couple days. Then take it out when it's completely dry. In the winter, I alternate with dry twist outs and wet twist outs. The dry twist out tends to last longer. I can get about 3 weeks of styles from a dry twist out. Just witch hazel my scalp when it gets a little itchy.

Wet Twist Out: Results in tight, long lasting curls.
I don't have to spend time detangling because I did that while I was shampooing and conditioning. That also decreases the chances that my hair will dry out while I'm twisting. I take one section at a time, spray some leave in conditioner and comb it through. Then I apply the shea butter pomade that I make in my kitchen and comb it through. Two strand twist to the ends. Dassit.


Dry Twist Out: Results in loose curls that may require re-twisting every other night or super BIG hair.
Faux Hawk
Sit under a hood dryer to let all the excess water dry. Spray with leave in conditioner. Apply a little bit of my homemade pomade to each section. Then blow dry each section on low heat until it's no longer damp. For straighter hair, I may hit it on high for a couple seconds but not too much. I don't want to have heat damage. All dry, I part into sections and get to twisting. I spray a little mist of water and apply a creamy pomade as I twist to give structure to the twist. I might even spray the ends a little so they curl and the twist will stay in.
Up Do:
I don't do them often. They require daily up keep and I'm not about that life.

Dry Twist Out
Maintenance
Keeping your ends trimmed is important. I get my ends trimmed every 3-4 months. My stylist usually just blow dries and trims that way. I only get it straightened once a year, maybe twice. Straight hair requires too much attention for me and my hectic life as a medical professional and entrepreneur. Plus, it can cause heat damage if you're not careful. For a naturalista, heat damage is indicated by the straight hair when it should be curly. My twist out gets stuffed in a bonnet at night and fluffed out in the morning. Dassit. LOL!




Hair Product Details
After trial and error I have found that these things work best for me
Up do
I guess I can be considered a natural hair stylist. In my former life, I used to work in a salon as a natural hairstylist. If you would like individual coaching through your process, text WOODS to 55469. We can go from there.

Until next time....let your hair flourish in it's natural state or pass this on to someone looking for guidance in what to do with their natural hair.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Relationship Resources

Although I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, my parents taught me the importance of being resourceful. If you find a knack for creating unlimited resources, you are limitless in what you can achieve. Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. While, money is considered to be a very valuable resource, the greatest resource on earth is people. Yup. That's right. People are the best resource you can ever attain. I'm not suggesting that you use people. I'm saying that each and every person you come in contact with has the potential can add value to your life. Each and EVERY one. Why do you think they say "Your network is your net worth."? I mean....it would just be that your net worth is your net worth, right?

Now of course, anyone in their right mind would love to know the secret to generating an unlimited bucket of money but there are just certain things money cannot buy you. Let's name them, shall we.

Things Money Cannot Buy:
  • Love
  • Real friends
  • Happiness
  • Style
  • Class
  • Wisdom
It may seem cliche to say "money can't buy you love" but it's true. The richest people in the world search for love if they don't have it while people who give and receive love feel like they are wealthy. Having a circle that will never let them go without is priceless. There have been plenty of times when I didn't have enough saved up to buy things I needed or to pay for services that were long overdue. However, I have real friends and people that love me who step in and make it happen without them even knowing they are doing me a huge favor. For that reason, I have a few rules for myself when I interact with people. All people. You never know when someone can help you or will remember that time you talked to them harshly and decide not to help you out.
  1. Always smile when you greet people- I know. I know. At least try to smile. No one is perfect.
  2. When people are talking to you, be interested in what they are saying....well, at least don't let on that you are not interested if you aren't. People have feelings. It won't kill you to listen. You never know how just being a listening ear can impact someones life.
  3. Always try to offer kind, uplifting, positive words. There is always a silver lining. Find it and point it out.
First impressions are soooooo important. You can be the person that they don't mind helping out with a favor or you can be the person that they want to avoid at all costs. It's your choice. 

Living the Fancy life, I make an effort to bring value to people's lives. Be it offering a hug when you see someone needs it, connecting someone to a network they wouldn't otherwise have access to or putting someone in a position to build a business and better future for their family. Don't get it twisted. I know my limits. I don't allow myself to get taken advantage of. I wrote a blog about that too. LOL! I choose to interact with people who bring value to my life. I believe in positive vibes only. I have good relationships with people from all walks of life. It feels just as good to get a few extra shrimp on your salad in the cafeteria because the chef thinks you're sweet as it does for you to get the deal of a lifetime on your dream home because you've done a few favors for your real estate agent out of the kindness of your heart. All these things can come from establishing relationships and choosing to pay it forward.

Until next time, be nice to people and add value while you enjoy your Fancy life.




Friday, August 29, 2014

Ice. Cold.

A very close friend of mine modified my "nickname" by adding Ice Cold to it. So, sometimes he calls me "Ice" or "Ice Cold Fancy". We laugh about it because it's really not true. Well, it's not all the way true. My college roommate says I'm the most generous person she knows. I will give my last, even when that means I have to go without. I go above and beyond. People close to me benefit from my generosity. But what does that mean for me? Because all actions have repercussions...good and bad.

How can being generous, loving and caring have a negative consequences? I'll tell you how. I get hurt. I get hurt badly. I get hurt badly....repeatedly by people I love. I do things for people I love because I love them. I do for people I don't know because I'm caring. And it's totally out of the kindness of my heart. I get hurt when I feel like my actions are not appreciated. I know everyone isn't vocal and can't express themselves with words. Those people usually show appreciation with small gestures. I know I am appreciated. That's all I ask. Just show appreciation the best way you can.

Now, I am not going to let people change who I am at my core. Jehovah made me this way. I am genuine. Jesus taught us to love one another. I am loving. However, I will not continue to put myself in positions to get hurt. I am a strong believer that you teach people how to treat you. If I accept treatment that hurts me, the offender will continue to hurt me. It's a proven fact. So, I will love, support, treat, buy, chauffeur....you name it. I will do it for you. The very minute I am hurt, I expect accountability. Own it and apologize. I am forgiving. We are all human. I can't expect someone to forgive me when I have wronged them when I am not willing to forgive them. HOWEVER, if the offender is not willing to take my feelings into account and apologize for how their actions or lack there of effected me.....my eyes are opened. I realize that person will have to be loved from a distance. You will no longer reap the benefits of "loving" Fancy. You get cordial, professional Ice Cold Fancy. Take it personal. It's a defense mechanism. I have to protect myself because no human being cares more about me....than I do.

Having a big heart sometimes allows me to get hurt. However, I never stop loving people that I truly love. But I will not continually subject myself to poor treatment. Call me Ice Cold. I just don't want to become bitter and lash out on people who don't deserve it because someone else in my life didn't want to be held accountable for how they hurt me. I pull the weeds from the root and continue to enjoy my Fancy life. Unbothered. Loving fun. Giving freely. Performing random acts of kindness. While those who didn't prove to deserve that from me only see Ice Cold.

Until next time. Stay away from those people who hurt you repeatedly and enjoy your Fancy life.....without them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wearing the Crown

Do you wear the crown? You know. "The Crown". What is the "crown" anyway? Let's take a "crown" wearing quiz? Do people always come to you with their problems? Not just your close friends and family looking for a listening ear or a problem solving session. I'm talking about random people in the grocery store or doctor's office. How about at work? Does everyone in your office look to you for the solutions? Are you the one always caught in the middle of family feuds and everyone expects you to resolve it? Do you have an issue with mediocrity? Like, when you are put on task, you can only crank out stellar results? Do you go to great lengths trying to help someone we great? So much so that it seems that you want greater for them than they want for themselves? Are you constantly looking for ways to improve.......everything? Have you been challenged with doing a job better than someone else and you actually did it better?

If you answered yes to 90% of those questions, then you wear "The Crown". Don't cry. I know, it's a hard life. But, because you are awesome, you wouldn't have it any other way. You are the person that gets rewarded with more responsibility at work because you're so good at what you do. They know you will be top notch with more. You proof read your friends' and family's resumes. You get put on planning committees for family reunions and baby showers even when you insist on not being involved. You will eventually be the glue that keeps your family together when your parents pass and your parents know this. Your significant other looks to you when there is a disaster because history has shown that you can fix anything.

You may not have ever thought of it this way, but it is all your fault. If you weren't so good at everything, no one would look to you for help, input or guidance. It's a simple theory. No one begs Aunt Carolyn to bring those nasty biscuits to holiday dinner every year if they're nasty the first year. They ask Aunt Helen to make them because Aunt Helen's biscuits are delicious. She does a great job with each and every batch.

How do you cope with wearing the crown? You must have outlets. These can be regular outings with other crown wearers. You can bounce other Crown-like ideas off of each other. Maybe have a rant session about how draining it is to be so awesome everyday. LOL! This is the only place ranting is allowed.  Therapy is a good one. Therapist are trained professionals who can suggest clinically proven methods to fit your personality and lifestyle. Don't sleep on therapy. A few good therapy sessions can keep your anxiety levels low for years to come. Reading, shopping, traveling, cuddling, laying on the couch......pretty much anything that you do strictly for your own enjoyment can be used as an outlet.

Here are 5Linx to maintaining your sanity while you sport your precious crown:
  1. Never reduce your standards. You wear the crown because you are great and no one can take that away from you.
  2. Be kind but firm. We have to maintain our high level of expectations. However, we can communicate in warm tones. Season your words with salt. They will be received better.
  3. The word "no" should be an integral part of your vocabulary. Your peace of mind is your most valuable asset. Some times you have to say "no" in order to maintain that.
  4. Help out where your help is deserved. Sometimes we want to lend a helping hand where we see a need but we know our efforts will not be appreciated. Never allow people to take your efforts to be wasted.
  5. Always look for the silver lining. Perspective is EVERYTHING. Having a positive outlook can completely change the outcome of a situation for the better.
When you accept your "Fancy" crown, it comes with benefits as well as challenges. Wear your crown with pride but remember to utilize your outlets to maintain your own happiness. If you wear a crown and feel the need to collaborate with others who wear the same crown, text WOODS to 55469. 

Until next time, wear your "Fancy" crown with pride....

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

But it's hard.....

When I was about 10 years old, I was extremely active. Piano lessons, modern dance, karate, basketball team, girl scouts and let's not forget church activities. I'm talking ushering, choir, and any community volunteering activities offered. I specifically remember aching pains in my knees whenever I participated in any physical activity. It happened so often that my parents took me to the doctor to see what was wrong with me. The doctor diagnosed me with "growing pains". What the heck is that?!?! My grandmother could have told me that. I eventually stopped experiencing that pain in my knees and I reached a disappointing height of 5'4", shattering my dreams of becoming a runway model. LOL! However, life still had some "growing pains" for me to experience. While I stopped growing physically, I had a long way to go in this thing called life. I went through typical high school/teenage girl drama. I learned some valuable lessons about love and money while in undergrad.
When I was 24 years old, I started graduate school. I had taken a year off from school after completing two undergraduate programs and was working full time at night. I purposely took a night shift position so that I could pursue my Masters degree in Forensic Science full time during the day, so not to take longer than necessary to complete the program. This proved to be one of the most difficult times in my life. I had just purchased a house and moved out of my parents' home. So I went from being surrounded by people, love and lots of noise to nothing. Silence. No one to wash my clothes, cook dinner, wash the dishes, talk to, sit and watch tv with. Nothing. I didn't realize how depressing that was, even though my parents checked on my everyday because I had only moved 5 blocks down the street. LOL! I was working at night in a pretty stressful environment. The work itself could be stressful but it didn't help that the people I worked with had preconceived notions about my abilities because of my appearance. You get my drift? The director of my graduate program gave me a hard time about working full time while I was in school. Like, literally called me in his office to tell me that I shouldn't be working while I'm in his program. All of these factors led to a monthly conversation with my daddy about me quitting school. My dad made sure I didn't quit when it got hard. I graduated from graduate school on time.

What did he say in those monthly conversations? To sum it up, he said, "Life is hard. Five years from now, you'll look back at your life and think 'I went through that and it wasn't so bad.' If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and everyone can't be in charge." 

And he was so right. The work and school drama I was going through at the time totally trumped not having a date to my senior prom. And the anxiety of not knowing who I was taking to my senior prom overshadowed the devastation of getting an Unsatisfactory on my progress report for Algebra I in the ninth grade. We live and we grow. It hurts at the time but when we get through it, we have grown in the process. If you aren't growing, you're dying.

I am an ambitious person. I reached my career goals in record time. Now I am on to the next phase of my life. I am working on something completely out of my comfort zone. It is a different kind of challenge. Challenge = HARD!!! But I hold my father's words near my heart. I can see the growth in my personal development and bank account as a result of it, so I know it's worth it

If you are dealing with a situation that seems "hard", push through. Congratulations, you are growing! Everything you ever wanted in life is just outside of your comfort zone. If you are contemplating making a change in your life but you are afraid that it may be difficult for you, dive in head first, it will always be hard if you never get started. Whatever it is, being scared of it is a sign that it's something you should strongly consider. Jehovah created us to be great. Remember, the easy thing to do is usually what the majority of people do. But we are living the Fancy Life, so we want more. We are exceptional. We do what's hard now and it eventually becomes easy. We can add these accomplishments to our list and move on to the next set of challenges, building your confidence along the way.

No, living a Fancy Life isn't always easy but it's definitely worth it in the end.

If your are looking for something more but aren't exactly sure what it is, click here, I'm sure we can help you. Text 'woods' to 55469.

Until next time......

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Never Let Them See You Sweat

What were thinking when we decided to become adults? No. Seriously. What were we thinking? Being a responsible adult is stressful. Between dealing with family, work, and relationships, you hardly have any time to yourself to wrap your head around everything that you are doing. Then it happens, some catastrophe comes along out of nowhere and you feel a nervous breakdown coming on. What do you do? Welp. It depends. I've seen stressful situations handled in many different ways. The shut down and can't move forward. Others just breakdown and cry. I've watched someone just act like nothing ever happen. I have dealt with these types of situations in several different ways. Well, two different ways.

  1. I shut my office door or go in my closet or go to my car and have a good cry. Only for a little bit. I give myself 30 minutes.
    After that's done, I get myself together, touch up my face, and handle my business.
  2. I handle my business without a glitch. When it is all done, if I'm still overwhelmed, I shut my office door or go in my closet or go to my car and have a good cry.
Notice how my business always get's handled. Emotions should never effect you getting your coin. Why? Because if you missed your money in the name of a feeling, that missed opportunity cannot be retrieved. You will never have a bad feeling when you're getting paid. Trust me.

Have you ever seen a duck or swan swimming? They look like they're just gliding along. However, under water, those feet are paddling as if their life depends on it. When you are facing adversity, everyone does not need to see you panic. If you are living the "Fancy Life", you know people are watching and taking notes. Your "Get it done" mindset can flow through you and drip on your colleagues, creating a winning team attitude. This is what living a Fancy Life is all about. Being a pilar of light in the darkness. You solve the problem with your head held high and when no ones looking, cry like a baby now that it's OVER. Notice, cry once it's over but it's ok to breakdown. Never let your emotions stall your productivity.

Until next time, never let anyone see you sweat. You're living a Fancy Life and you don't sweat....in public.

If you are would like to join our winning team. Click here. All are welcome. Open mind and heart are the only requirements.