Yes, I know, I have been missing in action for a few weeks. I started a new job and practically dropped off the face of the earth, well the face of CaraMia Why… I have to admit that my life has been pretty busy and crazy over these past few weeks and I’ve been lying to myself about finding the time to write, or a finding a new topic to write about. The Nitty Gritty has not been so pretty, although I have not abandoned my beauty and wellness routines… you know I’m still out here being cute!
It’s just a coincidence that around the time I created CaraMia Why, March 2015, I stopped writing a year later, March 2016. Most blogs don’t make it past year one, because it’s a lot of work, and not just the writing. There’s the work of staying connected to other bloggers on bloggy sites and link-ups, researching topics, promoting your sh*t on social media, fixing your blog when it breaks for the 3152 time, design, etc…. It’s a whole lot to keep up with, even for those of us who love to write and connect with others through detailed descriptions of exfoliationor Mommie Dearest life tipsorthe real deal about blogging Moms.
Balance is what I’ve been searching for, but I am not sure if it even exists? Work-life-balance lies…. My life is more of a work-life-spillover. When you’re at work and get a call from your kid’s school-spillover! When you’re at home and remember that you left something very important undone-spillover! Spillover! Spillover! When every dinner conversation with your spouse is about your job, even though you promise not to keep talking about your work- Spillover! Not to mention school-work-life balance. I have accepted the fact that my life will be messy for as long as I have little kids and I remain in a career that I am passionate about. In the meantime, I’ll do my best!
Meanwhile, while I was away dealing with my messiness: Prince is dead, Lemonade happened and Trump has a chance of being our next president. Who would’a thought? Anyway, I need to get back in here and give you more of the Nitty Gritty and sometimes Pretty Life Updates really soon!
OK so, I should have named this post, “the Do’s and Don’ts of hosting a Vision Board Party,” since I learned the hard way, what works and what will make you want to stab one of your guests with your crafting scissors.
First, a couple of definitions: Vision board: A board (either cardboard or bulletin board) on which you place images or words that represent your future goals and aspirations. The ability to see your hopes and dreams often will help them realize faster. Vision Board Party: involves a group of people creating their own vision boards in the same place, and is also an excuse for adults to enjoy snacks and alcohol while playing with glue and scissors.
I hosted a Vision Board Party this weekend at my parent’s house for a few family members and close friends and it was fun overall. I would like to do more of these, but make them better based on this last Vision Board Party experience.
Tips for Hosting A Successful Vision Board Party
Invite positive people who have the ability to be introspective. This is so important, since one guest can ruin the experience for everyone by making fun or comments that make others reluctant to create freely, or just be freaking distracting! I learned this the hard way and I felt that other participants did not get the most out of the experience or finish their boards because I wasn’t careful about my guest list.
Send out an invitation explaining the vision board activity instead of trying to surprise others with it. Vision board parties require clear and focused intent as well as a desire to share personal goals and dreams with a group. Give people an option to decline. Bye Felicia!
At least a week before the party, ask guests to start collecting magazines (all kinds), postcards, and pictures to bring to the party. You can also ask them to bring a pair of scissors and a glue stick, unless you have enough of these materials on-hand. Trust me, everyone needs their own scissors and glue! Fighting over materials during the Vision Board Party just kills the creative process and takes away from the positivity that is needed for this event.
Gather enough boards -one for each guest, with a few extra’s. cardboard works, so does posterboard, and cork. Glitter and other arts supplies are optional. I bought a bunch of patterned paper, in case anyone wanted to make her board a bit fancier. I like the idea of having different shaped cardboards available so that guests can choose the ideal size/shape for the space where they’ll keep their vision boards.
At the start of the Vision Board Party, explain the activity and show examples, there are plenty on Pinterest for inspiration, just search for “vision boards.” It helps if you have a computer or laptop nearby so that guests can go through a few examples, but you can do this on a smart-phone, too.
Provide paper and pencils for guests to plan out their vision boards before they start. Because, if you’re like me,you can get caught up in pretty pictures and cool sayings and forget what your major goals are if you didn’t have a plan.
Have fun snacks, desserts and drinks. I prefer alcohol, but not too much and snacks that are not too messy, since you do not want to ruin your or someone else’s board. Make a fun cocktail, or have a few bottles of wine ready.
Although the goal is to leave with a completed vision board, advise everyone to leave space to add more inspiration later. You can even plan a Vision Board Update Party where everyone brings their boards and talks about which dreams have come true or what new one’s they’ve added.
Here are some pictures from our Vision Board Party
A Vision Board Party is one of the simplest but rewarding party themes. Try it for yourself, but don’t forget to tell me about it!
I’ve been MIA from Caramia Why for a while, but for good reason…
I’m starting a new job next month! A great opportunity that falls in line with my career goals! So, naturally I have been busy doing a lot of soul searching and planning to make the transition go smoothly. I feel that before a big transition (I’ve been at my current job for over 6 years) planning and self-evaluation are necessary. I don’t like to start new with the same ‘ole crap, just like I like to buy a new pair of shoes each season…..ok, maybe more than one pair! I felt the need to decide which things I want to take with me. No, I don’t mean my pens and stapler, but those things about me like thoughts and behaviors I’ve adopted a long time ago, as a defense that I may not need anymore. Mainly the ones that made me feel safe as a young girl, but now serve no good purpose. This involves really get to know me, including my habits –good and bad, what I really want and where I want to be. It takes time, and if you do it right it can be painful, but rewarding.
When was the last time you really thought about how you behave and why?
Do you usually act out of fear or take things personally that have nothing to do with you?
How important is it for you to be liked or to belong and why?
What are the lies that you’ve been told, that you continue to tell yourself?
The Grass Can Be Greener
Many of us leave a job a relationship or a city with high hopes and visions for the next phase in our lives. Along the way, we hear, “The grass isn’t always greener,” and other pessimistic sayings that we may try to ignore. But, there’s some truth to “the grass isn’t always greener” because if you don’t take full responsibility and inventory of you, you may be dulling every other lawn you step onto. This is why you cultivate your own grass, first! I didn’t want to contaminate my new chapter with the old stuff that I no longer needed. So, I took inventory of all the things under my own control that made me less than happy at my old job as well as those that made me happy. I thought about all of the things I did and didn’t do to make that experience better, including what I reacted to, what I failed to say or ask for. I also thought about how much I searched for validation and self-worth in the eyes of others because of my own insecurities and ended up feeling empty and resentful because I didn’t get it. Not realizing that they never had the power to give it in the first place. My happiness was my job and my responsibility, not theirs.
Ever since I was a little girl, I constantly gave other’s too much power over my joy for the chance of a gold-star on my forehead. I looked for someone to tell me what I deserved, if I belonged, or if I was good enough. I don’t’ want to spend my life searching for gold stars to be placed on my forehead! I want to make my own and shine from within. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am not done and still have a hard time breaking those habits that took years to form. I also have daughters who I want more than anything to look within rather than without for praise and approval. It’s not an easy job but somebody’s got to do it! What a great time to start!
To help with my introspection and getting my Sh@t together, I got an inspirational planner:
Hey! I hope you survived the holidays, including the shopping, cooking, traveling and family. Mine was more like a world-wind and I’m still not sure what happened. Here’s a compilation of what I could remember from my 2015 Holiday experience:
1. Not knowing whether to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or just good afternoon to people for fear of the response I’d get.
‘Tis the time of year when parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles spend too much on toys that are less fun than the packaging they come in. Holiday shopping season began on black Friday, which lead up to Cyber Monday, Cyber Tuesday, and Wednesday and eventually Cyber-please-come-and-buy-this-crap-before-the-holidays-are over-day.
With all the excitement, I see how easy it is to grab your child’s Christmas list and go nuts at the toy store, trying to make sure that you snatch up the latest pink or blue hued plastic piece of crap. You want to see your kid’s smile when they open their presents because for the most part, they’re good kids, even if Santa begs to differ.
However, I’m here to tell you that 90% of the toys on their lists are literally not worth the packaging they come in. And while buying garbage toys may crate brief smiles, those smiles don’t make up for the agony from toys that were never meant to be assembled by human hands, those that break before the days end, the ones that are likely in cahoots with battery manufacturers and have you on a weekly store run for 20 D batteries and the ones that end up under the bed, in the dog’s bowl or at the bottom of the toy chest because they just aren’t that interesting or fun. Face it, we spend a lot of money on toys that kids just aren’t that into, in real life. They may like the idea of them or the commercials that makes them look cool and fun, but they’re kids and therefore are not aware that they’re being played. Hey, I have my moments of weakness too with infomercials that sell products that clean your home, create beautiful French-braids and solve world hunger in one press of a button. So, how can I blame my kids for falling for such shenanigans?
Here are some tips to help you avoid falling into the crappy, overpriced toy trap. If I did not catch you in time, because you’re already done with your holiday shopping, locate your receipt and buckle-up for some buyers remorse….
Toys Less Fun Than The Packaging They Come In
& How to avoid buying more crappy toys
Explain media to your children, including commercials and the lies they tell. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under 5 do not know the difference between the television shows they watch and the commercials in between them. So they watch commercials with the same intensity as they do Dora the Explorer. Even worst, commercials are designed with your little one in mind, so the colors, voices, and graphics are meant to entice them. And entice, they do! You could swear off all commercial television forever, which is one bold mama move, or limit screen time to 2 hours a day. However, your children will be full-fledged consumers eventually so, why not make them aware of some of the media tricks and tactics, now? There are plenty of tools to help you do this effectively. I’ve added some resources for help with this below.
“For school-age children, the most important thing you can do is talk about ads. For example, encourage your child to think about what ads are trying to say. Focus on the ads that your child sees most often – for example, TV ads or ads in magazines or brochures.”- RaisingHealthyChildren.org
Tell them the truth about the toy, which may mean reminding them about similar toys that turned out to be plain not fun! The easy-bake ovens in their closets, the microscopic littlest plastic-piece-of-crap shops, the robot that just wasn’t robotic enough…. Kids forget and you can refresh those little memories by bringing up the toys-of-Christmas-past. I keep a stash of dead toy photo’s to help illustrate my point.
Ask them to tell you what’s great about the toy to help the both of you decide if it’s a good choice, or a piece of crap that should stay in the store. A toy that my kid wants, that’s just “cool,” may not cost more than $10. Anything over that, you’re gonna have to sell me on it. Use your negotiating skills, kiddo!
If your child is really sold on something, read the reviews. Many parents will leave reviews on a toy if it’s really bad or really good. And, nothing takes the edge off after hours of assembling a badly designed toy with parts that don’t fit right, like an angry toy review rant, and maybe a shot of vodka! If a toy has many more bad reviews than good ones and they point to malfunctions or the toy possibly being possessed, then you can make an informed decision. Don’t forget to tell your child about the bad reviews, or allow him to read them. If that little snot still wants the toy, look him square in the eyes and ask, “Do you have a job?” Just kidding.
Introduce cooler, but less mainstream toys, many times in these are in smaller toy stores. The plastic Barbie house is more popular but you can also search for houses for 11.5 inch dolls that are made out of sturdier stuff. There are also tried and true toys like Mr. Potato Head, Viewfinders and Lego’s that may not be the toy of the year, but will likely hold up and hold your child’s interest for a year or more.
I’m not telling you not to get your kids some of what they want. Just don’t place too much of an emphasis on their toy lists, since we all know that children up to about age 9 or 10 are still just as content playing with empty boxes.
Check out these links ⇓ for help with reducing family screen time and building media smarts for children:
The #Thanksgivingwithblackfamilies tweets have got to be the funniest thing that has happened to Twitter, since #askrachel. Of course, I may be partial because I can relate to them a little too well. Before you get your panties in a bunch over the generalization of the “black experience,” understand that there are some almost universally common experiences of #growingupblack, however, I’m including some disclaimers to go along with #Thanksgivingwithblackfamilies :
Families belonging to many other races and ethnicities may have experienced some of the same f@ckery on Thanksgiving, just like there are black families who haven’t experienced any of them. Therefore you don’t have to be black to read and laugh along, but no need to create a Thanksgivingwithallfamilies hashtag.
None of the information shared with the hashtag, #Thanksgivingwithblackfamiles should be used against the black community as part of a public health campaign, i.e, fat, sugar and seasoning salt content of meals, public displays of drunkenness, and the discipline tactics employed by our Aunties.
These memes are in no way a rule-book for surviving Thanksgiving dinner in black folk’s homes, but rather they represent the hilarious and sometimes painful memories of Thanksgiving memories that we so rarely share.
Anyway, I love these #Thanksgivingwithblackfamilies memes and in case you missed them, here are my favorites