Category Archives: Features

My Latest Blog Obession: Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care

Hi friends!

You all know that I will never fail to share with you things/people/blogs/stuff that I like to obsess over. Today’s object of my blog-reading-affection is the hair care blog, Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care. The blog is authored by a lovely woman named Rory. She and her husband are parents to an adorable, three-year-old little girl whom they lovingly call, Boo. They adopted Boo when she was just a few days old and have given her the warm and loving home that every child is deserving of.  The blog offers a front seat view on what trans-racial option looks like, with the focal point being how Rory learned to care for the hair of an African Amercian child. That’s a daunting task for any new mom, let alone one that may not have any point of reference on what natural hair looks and feels like, much less how to care for it.

When C.C. was around three or four months old, I began to search the net for tips on how to start caring for her hair. Sure, I’ve been combing my own hair for almost twenty years (gosh, I’m getting old!), but combing someone else’s is an entirely different story. I wanted to get a jump start on what I could expect, even moreso with me being on my own natural hair journey. Some people I know thought I was jumping the gun a bit, but I’m a firm believer that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

After doing some Google searching, I happened upon CHVC one night. I think what struck me about the site (and what continues to make it successful, in my opinion) is that Rory offers step by step instruction on how to braid, cornrow, wash, detangle,etc. her daughter’s hair. She offers tips and PICTURES of styles and maintenance, which is what I was craving. I wanted to see examples (ya’ll know how I feel about pictures!) and she presented exactly what I was looking for. I was thoroughly impressed.

To be completely honest, however, I was slightly disappointed that this new insanely helpful resource that I had literally been searching for, was done by a white woman. Not to mention, another leading blog/site on natural hair for children, Beads Braids and Beyond is also run by a white woman. I asked myself, “Why haven’t WE done this for ourselves?” But as quickly as that thought came, it left (I’m seriously talking a matter of minutes, here). I realized that none of that really mattered. Rory is a mom of a beautiful-brown-girl, to whom she wants to give the best care…just like me. That’s it. Black, white, whatever. It’s a mother’s love. Period.

Since then I have become a faithful reader of CHVC. The site is growing and I’m a full supporter and believer in her success! We’ve chatted online a bit and I find her to be incredibly sweet and hope to meet her one day (she lives in California, too).

For your clicking pleasure, here are some more links that will help you get to know more about Rory, Boo, and the blog!

Feature Loop21 Article: The Creator of Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care Speaks

Feature Black Girl Long Hair: White Mother’s Opinion on Touching Daughter’s Natural Hair  – This post has garnered a whopping 294 comments! The subject matter of hair touching (in this case, Rory’s open letter about it) sparked a huge debate. Most of the comments are supportive, but there are a bunch that are mean and plain old nasty, which I find unfortunate. I wish people can get beyond the color issue (like I did) and appreciate her efforts to be a good mom, instead of tearing her down. SMH!

Please make sure to check the site out and show her some love!

How We Make This Work: The Grices

With the How We Make This Work series, I’m giving  married couples a chance to give insight into how they work out common issues we all face on the other side of “I Do.” The goal is to show that despite what marriage may look like in the mainstream, there are many couples that are willing to put the work in to maintain happy, healthy relationships with their spouses!

Let’s meet The Grices!

Hezekiah and LaTessia Grice are recent transplants from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Charleston, South Carolina. Hezekiah is a Gunnery Sergeant for the US Marine Corps, and LaTessia is an Administrative Assistant for the Marine Corps Community Services. They have been on the other side of “I Do” for four years, and are the proud parents of two sons, Christopher (10) and Matthew (1).

Before we get to their interview, please join me in THANKING this military family for all of their hard work in serving and protecting this county. Work that often goes unnoticed. Behind every man or woman in uniform, there’s a family – and we should be here to support them all. Thanks for all you do!

1) We make communication work by… talking everything out with each other. Sometimes it may be a hard task especially when you are upset, but it’s really important that each person gets their point across when they have something to communicate.

2) We make child rearing work by… doing it our own way.

3) We make our finances work by… being good stewards over our money. We own everything we have and we also have discussions before making any big purchases.

4) We make romance work by…keeping the love alive! We try to go on date nights as often as possible. We also feel that making each other laugh is an essential part of our lives especially when you have kids. You have to make sure that you remember what it was like before the kids came, when there was only the two of you. When the kids leave there is going to be the two of you. Pure romance comes from the soul. So we try and keep the romance going at all times.

5) What advice would you give to newlyweds (or even oldyweds!) on how to make marriage work? Do what works for you. You can’t listen to everyone’s advice, because everyone’s situation is different.

Got some tips you’d like to share and want to be featured?

Send a request to be featured to theyeyodiaries (at) gmail (dot) com and include “How We Make This Work” in the subject line!

Do Not Read This Post Unless You’re Ready to Completely Change Your Life!

I have stated before that the book, “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey changed my life. How so, you say?

Well, it basically ripped to shreds every preconceived notion I’ve ever had about personal finance. This term is slightly overused, but Dave is truly a GURU when it comes to ridding your life of debt and thereby changing everything about your life. Permanently. If you purchase the book, I would venture to say it’d be the best $25 bucks you’ll ever spend. The thing about Dave’s message and plan is that it’s useless to you if you’re not ready to commit to making some serious changes to your financial behavior. My husband and I were ready back in 2007 and Dave has become an honorary member of our family as a result!

Today we got the chance to see him live, right here in our hometown. We bought tickets back in April. Yes, you read that right…APRIL. When I saw that he’d be coming to the Los Angeles area, there was NO WAY we were going to miss the opportunity to hear him speak! We waited a long time for this event and he didn’t disappoint!

His presentation was thought provoking, inspirational, and funny! He has an incredible sense of humor and he’s a dynamic speaker. If you’re starting to feel like this is a Public Service Announcement on the awesomeness that is Dave Ramsey…well…it is! His teachings are simple, sound, and Bible based, and  proven. No tricks, no gimmicks…just real talk.

Anyway, I posted on Facebook about us attending the event and a couple people asked for notes. I decided a blog post would be a perfect way to share the info with everyone! So here are the key things that stood out to me when I read the book a few years ago and that he went over in detail again today. Please note that this is all taken from the  “See Dave Ramsey LIVE!” workbook and promotional material.

  • The average American household has $91,000 in debt, and the total consumer debt has doubled since 1980. (Federal Reserve and U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Conflict over money is still the leading cause of divorce today (Multiple Studies)
  • 28% of Americans spent more time watching reality TV last month than they spent planning and preparing for retirement over the past 10 years. (AARP poll)

Myth: Car payments are a way of life, and you’ll always have one.

Truth: Staying away from car payments by driving reliable used cars is what the typical millionaire does. This is how they became millionaires.

Myth: You need to take out a credit card or car loan to “build your credit.” You must build your FICO score to prosper.

Truth: The FICO score is an “I LOVE debt” score. Why would you want to go into debt so you have the opportunity to go further into debt?

Myth: You need a credit card to rent a car, check into a hotel, or make a purchase over the phone or web.

Truth: A debit card will do all of that, except for a few major rental companies. Check in advance.

Dave offers 7 Baby Steps toward financial freedom. They are:

1) Start an emergency fund of $1,000

2) Pay off all debt using the debt snowball

3) Build a fully funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses in savings

4) Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement

5) Create a college fund for your children

6) Pay off your home mortgage early

7) Build wealth and give

My husband and I got to step two and living debt free was the only way we have been able to keep our heads above water during the recession and survive my husband’s layoff. After today, we are charged up and ready to pick up where we left off – building our fully funded emergency fund. We are proof that this plan works and look forward to getting all the way to Baby Step 7!

If you’d like more information, check out Dave Ramsey’s website. He’s got a variety a products that can help you get motivated and get started! You can also pick up a copy of “The Total Money Makeover” from any major book retailer and/or on Amazon.

I wish you the best in your financial endeavors! It’ll take a lot of hard work, but the result will be WELL worth it!

I’m being featured today!

Hello Lovelies!

I’m being featured today at this super cool blog that I love, called, Keeping Up with the Joneses! The blog’s author, Angela, is doing a series on confidence (what it is, and how you define it) and I’m so happy to be apart of it!

Click HERE to stop by and check it out! And while you’re there, hang out for a bit and show her blog some love!

How We Make This Work: The Karim-Kinceys

With the How We Make This Work series, I’m giving  married couples a chance to give insight into how they work out common issues we all face on the other side of “I Do.” The goal is to show that despite what marriage may look like in the mainstream, there are many couples that are willing to put the work in to maintain happy, healthy relationships with their spouses!

Let’s meet The Karim-Kinceys!

Sabur and Ashley Karim-Kincey have been married for a few months shy of two years. They live in Sacramento, CA, where she works in advertising and he’s an Audio/Visual Engineer.

1) We make communication work by having the courage to be extremely honest with one another about any and everything. In a marriage. more often than not, couples confide in their friends as opposed to their mates. This lack of communication can create a rift in your relationship; and can ultimately be the demise. We take the time to think before we speak and allow one another to do the same.

2) We make our finances work by first giving our tithes and offering. Putting God first in our finances enables to make wiser decisions. We make sure to sit down together and develop our list of needs, wants, priorities and goals as a family; because our individual desires may not be in line with what God has for us at that time.

3) We make child rearing work by…There aren’t any little Karim-Kinceys at the moment. For now we are the proud parents of our fur baby – a dog named Steve. 🙂

4)  We make romance work by trying to keep things exciting and fun. One tool we use (that I borrowed from my girlfriend ;-)) is alternating planning date night, where one week I plan and surprise our date, and the other week Sabur does. Romance and intimacy is not all about sex. Some of the most amazing nights we spend together are us, just sharing and laughing about our day.

5) What advice would you give to newlyweds (or even oldyweds!) on how to make marriage work?

The advice we would give is to be willing to compromise, to listen to one another and to have fun. We believe marriage is forever, so it’s important to put in the work, but also reap the benefits of a healthy, loving relationship. As long as you keep God first and put your mates needs above your own, you will have a fruitful and enjoyable marriage.

Got some tips you’d like to share? Send a request to be featured to theyeyodiaries@gmail.com and include “How We Make This Work” in the subject line!

How We Make This Work: The Goshas

The Romance Wednesday feature of the blog is evolving! I am excited to present a new series on marriage entitled, “How We Make This Work!”

With the How We Make This Work series, I’m giving  married couples a chance to give insight into how they work out common issues we all face on the other side of “I Do.” The goal is to show that despite what marriage may look like in the mainstream, there are many couples that are willing to put the work in to maintain happy, healthy relationships with their spouses!

Let’s meet The Goshas!

Cam and Lamar Gosha have spent four years on the other side of “I Do.” He’s an engineer and she’s a television writer-producer. They reside in the Los Angeles area with their adorable little boy named, LJ.

1)  We make communication work by… talking everything out and really listening. My husband turned me into a better communicator. He likes to nip things in the bud and talk it out! I’m thankful for that in him. I didn’t always appreciate it.

2) We make child rearing work by… We discussed how we wanted to raise a child before we had a child. By the time our son came we had some basics of how we wanted to raise a child were covered. The nitty gritty of parenting is a day by day process of listening to each other and listening to our child. We have made the conscious effort to treat him like a person who has an opinion and a voice that we value. I’ve seen to many cases of kids just being along for the ride and we want our child to be an integral part of the ride of our lives.

3) We make our finances work by…being open about everything. If there’s a purchase that exceeds a certain amount, we need to talk about it. It’s a matter of respect for each other as well as respect for what we’re trying to build together.

4) We make romance work by…by flirting!! We are always flirting with each other. I text my husband just to tell him he’s cute and he texts me just to say he loves me. It’s the little things that keep romance alive and well in our house.

5) What advice would you give to a newlyweds (or even oldyweds!) on how to make marriage work?

The advice I would give anyone is know that marriage isn’t easy. People say that all the time but you don’t really know until you’re in it. When you are as mad as you can be at your spouse, stop and try to think of the last thing they did that made you smile. Remember the reasons why you said “I do”. It’s not always easy but it helps me to put things in perspective. Also, when you take vows there are three of you up there. You, God and your spouse. Keep it that way.

Visit Cam’s blog Bibs & Baubles to get the scoop on her daily life as a wife, mommy, and super fab chick!

Got some tips you’d like to share? Send a request to be featured to theyeyodiaries@gmail.com and include “How We Make This Work” in the subject line!

Paying it Forward with The Young Mommy Life Scholarship

Hello Friends!

Please join me in supporting this new endeavor my by e-buddy Tara Pringle Jefferson. Her blog, The Young Mommy Life is the site that I’m a guest blogger for and that is rapidly becoming THE place online for young moms to read, learn, and grow. She’s offering a scholarship to present to two young student moms to help with the ever growing costs of an education.

Please donate! Anything you can give is appreciated.

Click on the link below for more information on how you can give back! I know when I was in college, every little bit helped!

The Young Mommy Life Scholarship

Thank you in advance!

Confessions of a Blog Stalker: Meet my Latest Obession

Sometimes I get lost in the blogger universe because there are so may great blogs out there that I want to read, but just don’t have the time to. Then there are some blogs that keep me from reading others because I get sucked in and check back for new content everyday (sometimes more than once a day #dontjudgeme). I start to develop…like…an obsession. Yes, I said it. I have blog obsessions and may even be classified as a blog stalker! 🙂

Remember how it felt when you first got that CD you’d been wanting for like, EVER and then you played it over and over again until it was scratched beyond recognition? It’s kinda like that, just with blogs! I don’t want to be the only one drooling over my fave new blogs so I decided to share a few with you (as my obsessions develop), so you can drool too. I enjoy reading blogs that offer great content and that make me laugh, think, and feel inspired!

The blog I’m currently stalking is Man Wife and Dog Blog, authored by Charli Penn-Watkins.

The tag for the blog is: Tales from a Rookie Wife’s Life and she hit the nail on the head! Her writing style is fun, engaging, and conversational (a woman after my own heart!). She writes witty and thought provoking posts about her experiences with being a newlywed. She and her husband make an adorable couple and their little doggie takes the cute factor to a level 10! If you’re an animal lover or parent to a “fur baby,” then this blog’s for you, too!

I enjoy reading Charli’s blog because she writes from an honest perspective about what being married means – to her and in general, making her posts easy to relate to if you’re a rookie or veteran wife. She gives great advice and even offers a space every Monday for other wives to share and offer their best tips and tricks for having a successful marriage.

Please take a moment to visit the blog and tell her I sent ya!

She’s also on Twitter (where I found her) and she tweets back, so hit her up!

Oh, wait! Annnnddd I forgot to mention that she’s also the newest Relationship Editor for Essence.com! Uhhh, can you say: big thangs poppin’?! Congrats, again! I love to see young, successful Black women making moves and achieving great things!

Why Tara Pringle Jefferson is a Rockstar: A Book Review

There’s been a lot of talk here lately on TYD about another blog called, The Young Mommy Life. If you follow TYD regularly, then you know that I’m now a guest blogger for YML (try and keep up with the abbreviations, lol) and that I la-la-love the blog’s author, Tara Pringle Jefferson! She personifies being a Superwoman! Que Alicia Keys’ track…

Tara is a freelance writer, blogger, grad student, wife, mommy of two, and now: author!!!! Yes, in the midst of all those titles – she wrote a book. It’s called Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide to Creating the Career You Crave and it’s available now on Amazon.com.

I read it last night and boy does she not disappoint! The book lives up to its title and offers clear, sound tips and advice for the young woman that desires to unlock the mystery of managing motherhood and a career – whether you work in or outside the home. I found her suggestions to be practical and easy to follow.

I personally have a short list of big goals…so many ideas about things I want to do, and Make it Happen helped to reel me in a bit and focus. It’s a must read for any young woman (not just moms, or young moms for that matter) that need that extra push of motivation to make their dreams a reality.

This was actually the first part of a series, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. At just 25 years old, Tara has accomplished so many great things and I find her to be a true inspiration. I celebrate this achievement with you, girlfriend…congratulations!

TPOG

Fab Dad of the Week: The Prince of Geekadonia a.k.a. My Husband!

Today is the last edition of the Fab Dad of the Week series here on TYD! (tear) We’ve heard some great advice and really good insight from our participating dads; Keith, Ryan, and Chris. But of course, I HAD to save the best for last!!!!!!

This final interview is from the love of my life, known to some of you as The Prince of Geekadonia! LOL Things are going super well in our kingdom, now that our Little Lady has arrived. As I’ve noted before, my love for her has brought an even deeper love for him. I told him recently that he’s the father I always knew he’d be and that’s a wonderful thing to see! It has been my pleasure to watch him grow in this role and I look forward to seeing their relationship as father and daughter develop over the years.

Without further ado…enjoy!

1) How many children do you have and what are their ages?

I have one beautiful daughter named Natalie who is almost three months old.

2) What has been your greatest reward or joy from being a father?

The greatest joy in being father is simply BEING a father. The fact that I am able to have children, and God saw fit to bless me with the responsibility of fatherhood means more to me than I can truly describe. In the past, I never considered myself to be the “marrying” type, let alone a father to a child. But when I look at my daughter’s face every morning and see that killer smile of hers, I can’t imagine a life without her.

3) Describe what you like the least about fatherhood (if anything…and be honest!)?

As a stay-at-home-dad, my least favorite thing about fatherhood is my daughter’s “entertain me” attitude. I love her to pieces, but during the day she has this need to be entertained 24/7. It’s a non-stop barrage of feed me, hold me, rock me, play with me, laugh with me, tell me I’m pretty. LOL

Some days, I’m just so burnt out, because I literally get too tired to even hold her after having to do so for most of the day. Thankfully her smiles make it bearable, but I long for the day where she can entertain herself.

4) What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about life since you became a dad?

The greatest lesson I have learned about life is that my life is not my own. When I became a husband this was evident, but when I became a father this became truth. As a father, I realized that my daughter is completely dependent on me. Whether it be for warmth and comfort as a baby or for inspiration and guidance as a young woman–Her life is solely dependent on who I am and what I do as a parent.

Because of this, I feel that I cannot afford to carelessly go through life making decisions for myself, but every choice, action, and message I preach, must be to benefit of my wife first, and my child second. And my wants and desires are always last. To me this is one of the truest expressions of self-sacrifice–Being able to give to others, what you would want yourself. And I do this gladly every day.

5) What advice from your own experiences would you give to a new father or father-to-be?

To all the new dads out there, if you truly feel blessed to be a father–trust your instincts. With all the parenting books, instructional videos, advice columns, and opinions from family members who always seem to know what is best for your child, the best resource you have is yourself. Within us lies the capacity for greatness, and fatherhood is one of those great things every man has a chance to become. But we have to allow ourselves to do so and trust in our ability to become it.

Before Natalie was born, I knew nothing about babies save what I have seen on tv and read on the Internet. I did not mindlessly read every book, watch countless tv programs, and ask advice from every supposed expert in parenting. I simply trusted myself to be the father I was designed to be. Now of course, there are many good resources that I have come to appreciate (Thank you Dr. Karp!), but I did not rely on them to determine whether or not I was a good father. Being a good father is more than knowing how to change a diaper, stay awake during the early morning feedings, and quiet a crying baby. It’s about loving that child more than life itself and letting her very presence motivate you to become the best man that you can be.

The Prince & Little Lady of Geekadonia