Free Mother’s Day Gift Basket Giveaway!

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As many of you already know, the POPPED family includes this blog and Popped Handmade, my up-and-coming natural skin care business. I encourage all of my POPPED ladies to enter Popped Handmade’s Mother’s Day Gift Basket Giveaway! It’s completely free, but it is only for lovely ladies living in the Chi or the surrounding areas because you will need to pick up your basket if you win. The basket will include Popped Handmade luxurious, whipped body butter and some yummy treats for your sweet tooth, including Treasure Corn Oreo-flavored popcorn and Mickii’s Sinfully Semi chocolate chip cookies. Check out the Popped Handmade Facebook page for info on how to enter and for more details! Good luck!

Make Sure YOU Win

Hello all my popped loves! I hope that you haven’t forgotten about me! I know that I’ve been a bit M.I.A. but Lord, if you knew what I’ve been going through…I had some really bad news a couple weeks ago that really threw my world upside down. I’m sure that one day, I will share more details about it, but all that I have the will to say right now is that it was news that shook the very foundation of my vision for the next few years of my life. You see, I had a plan, but of course, it’s often said that God laughs at our plans and does what He wants to do anyway! Have you ever been there? Have you had something happen to you that shook the foundation for your future or maybe even made you question your identity?

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“Don’t let disappointment or tragedy be the end of your story. Use it to make you even more determined to win.”

If so, I want you to remember something, no matter how bleak things may look right now, your story doesn’t have to be over. You may not be able to control everything that happens to you or around you, which is frustrating to the control freak in us all. However, we have full control over our reactions to whatever does happen to us. We can let something defeat us and make us kiss the game goodbye. Or we can use the disappointment, frustration, or [insert expletive here] to propel us forward. Don’t let disappointment be the end of your story. Use it to make you even more determined to win.

The inner pain I felt due to my situation made me want to crawl under my bed and stay there forever. But, I realized that if not anything else, I have a family—a daughter—that is relying on me to keep my ish together to be there for them. Instead of focusing on the things I couldn’t control, I decided to throw myself into starting Popped Handmade—a luxury, handmade, natural beauty product line for the everyday positive, optimistic, & powerful woman or man like yourself. Do I feel completely ready to take on this venture? No. Do I feel a bit overwhelmed at the mere thought of it? Yes. Will those fears stop me from giving it a shot and doing the very best that I can to perfect my products and grow my business knowledge? Hell no. The thing about feeling like you’ve hit a rock bottom of sorts is there’s nowhere to go but up. If this project fails, I will be right back where I started in the first place, yet I will have gained knowledge about business and myself that I would never have acquired otherwise.

If you, like me, are going through a valley in your life right now, use your experience as motivation to flip the script and make your story have a better ending. Don’t let the struggle win; make sure YOU win.

Check out the Popped Handmade Facebook and Instagram pages and let me know what you think!

3 Motivational Podcasts You Should Be Listening to Right Now!

build yourself up createHer

See below for image copyright info

Okay so I don’t know if you all are into podcasts, but if you aren’t, you’re missing out! I’ve found that motivational podcasts are great for building myself up and providing a positivity boost when I start feeling discouraged. There’s nothing like the testimony of other people that have achieved things that you’re hoping to achieve to keep your eyes on the prize. The best part about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing almost anything–cooking, doing laundry, working out at the gym, or commuting to work. Even though I consider myself a podcast newbie since I’ve only been listening and researching podcasts for about a year, I’d still like to share three podcasts that I’m loving right now that I think my positively optimistic & powerful readers will love as well.

3 Motivational Podcasts You Should Be Listening to Right Now!

  1. Happy Black Woman Podcast with Rosetta Thurman

I just discovered this new podcast today and I am already in love! The Happy Black Woman website has been on my radar for a little while now, but I had no idea that the website creator, Rosetta Thurman, recently started a podcast. The Happy Black Woman Community is all about helping women change their mindset, leave their 9-to-5 jobs for their own location-independent businesses, travel the world, and pretty-much “live their ideal lives.”

The latest Happy Black Woman Podcast episode that still has me on a motivational high is Episode 001: Changing Your Story and Breaking the Lies featuring Dr. Venus Opal Reese of Defy Impossible, Inc. Dr. Reese went from being a homeless teen on the streets of Baltimore to a formidable millionaire motivational speaker and mentor. You will definitely end up taking notes by the end of this episode. I know I did!

2.  Black Entrepreneur Blueprint

This is one of the very first podcasts I discovered when I really started listening to podcasts about a year ago. It has definitely been the main one I turn to for inspiration on becoming a black entrepreneur. The podcast creator, Jay Jones, is a serial entrepreneur who loves sharing his knowledge to help aspiring and current entrepreneurs “launch, build, and grow successful businesses.”

I have many favorite episodes of Black Entrepreneur Blueprint, but one of the latest ones that really got my juices flowing was Episode 61: Battlefield of the Entrepreneurial Mind, in which he talks about many of the internal and external influences that may hinder us from success as a black entrepreneur. Check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

3. The Ash Cash Show

The Ash Cash Show is another recent discovery of mine. (I swear I prayed and hoped to find more motivational podcasts and they just started popping up for me.) I actually stumbled on this podcast through the creator’s Instagram page (who says social media is all bad!). Ash Cash, a banking professional for over a decade, personal finance expert, motivational speaker, author, among other things, along with cohost Tashima Jones, discuss everything relating to financial advice and motivation. I especially love that just from the very few episodes I’ve listened to so far that it’s clear that Ash has a holistic approach to financial success; his slogan is “change your mind, you change your life.”

Recently, I really appreciated Episode 14: Millennials Revealed with empowerment speaker and millennial expert Tru Pettigrew seeing as how I’m a millennial (hey what’s up with the bad rep we’re getting nowadays?). Yet, this podcast is not only great for helping millennials understand ourselves in relation to our spending habits and professional engagement (amongst other areas), but it’s great for helping other generations connect with us a bit better.

Do you currently listen to any of these podcasts? Do you have others that you’d recommend? I’d love to know in the comments or on Facebook!

Image by I’sha Gaines of HoneyBeNatural Magazine. Location: Dallas, Texas at Main Street Gardens. Courtesy of CreateHER Stock. Licensed under (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Ask A Popped Brotha: An Intro

Welcome to the introductory post for the Ask a Popped Brotha series of the Popped Black Woman Blog. I’m excited to introduce you all to a man that I look up to a great deal who happens to be my husband and the father of my 1 year old daughter, Mr. Aaron Miles aka Brotha Aaron. We’ve been talking for a while about a way to share his financial advice with the world since he has lots of great advice to share. We figured this would be a great start. Without further ado, I’ll let him introduce himself.

Popped Black Woman Blog: Could you introduce yourself?

Brotha Aaron: My name is Aaron Miles and I majored in Finance and Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I’m focused on two asset classes, which are real estate and private equity. I love studying and investing!

Brotha Aaron with former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley circa April 2009 at a UIC function

Brotha Aaron with former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley circa April 2009 at a UIC function

PBWB: That’s great! Now, can you give a little info about your background and how you became interested in finance and entrepreneurship?

BA: It started when I was little growing up. I started a lawn care business when I was a 9 years old. I felt a rush and thrill with the thought of being able to empower myself by being a business owner. I remember one snowy day when I made $100 at the age of ten. I was sold! I am extremely passionate about entrepreneurship and its importance in our economy. Every product and service we do on a daily basis started out as a simple idea or dream. That is simple human ingenuity at it finest.

PBWB: Really inspiring! So why do you think financial literacy is important, especially for black women?

BA: To be frank, financial literacy is the new civil rights movement. We live in an ever-increasing class-based society in which economics is equally as divisive as race. It is important for black women to have knowledge of financial literacy. It is no different than your health, spirituality, and relationship. Often times is correlates to all of the above. Sometimes when I am at church, I wonder how many people pray for more money, but I challenge people to ask God or whoever you believe in to [help you] become better stewards [of your money].

PBWB: Amen Brotha Aaron. What do you believe is the economic state of the majority of black Americans today? How can we make it better?

BA: Sad. Our demographics consumed over 507 billion dollars in 2014. However, we are probably recipients of less than 3% of that consumption. We need to transition from a consumer-based society to producers/owners. The honest truth is I think we are worse off than we were 40 years. We have taken a step back in fundamental value in terms of home ownership and living debt free. We have positioned ourselves to live above our means, [while] renting and driving expensive cars. Not to mention [we are] saddled with student loans. It is a recipe for destruction. We need to start with financial literacy being a requirement in every classroom specifically in the black community. We need to stop chasing the Joneses and stop financing it with loans. We need to start eating mash instead [of] filet mignot and start paying with cash. It is the only way…

Brotha Aaron tearing it up at our wedding in Jan 2013

Brotha Aaron tearing it up at our wedding in Jan 2013

PBWB: This is really good stuff. Leave us with some of your favorite financial gurus so that our readers can do a little research on their own.

BA: Dave Ramsey, Robert Kyoski, Susan Orman, Jim Cramer, Larry Kudlow

Thanks so much for coming on board to spit some knowledge to the PBWB community. If any of you have general financial questions for Brotha Aaron, please email those questions to poppedblackwomanblog@gmail.com. Stay tuned for more positively optimistic and powerful info from Brotha Aaron each week 😉

Living on Purpose: 101 Things in 1001 Days (#61-101!!!)

So we’ve come to the end of the road…but it’s only the beginning! I’m done working on my list of 101 things that I want to conquer in the next 1001 days, roughly by the end of October 2017, and I’m ready to start checking things off! I must say that this final part of the list left me with moments of being completely stuck and having to take a break to get some fresh ideas. This happened somewhere around #’s 61-80. But, after searching Pinterest for inspiration, I was able to use other people’s 101 things to get my own creative juices flowing again. I’m thankful that I found Design Darling for a great deal of inspiration as I got down to my last 10 or so items on my list. Without further ado, here are numbers 61-101:

101 Things in 1001 Days #’s 61-101

61. Make a vlog entry and put it on YouTube
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This will be a stretch for me since I’ve always been more of a writer than a talker, but it’s worth a shot! Not sure what the topic will be yet! Image source: Oejitv, “Logo YouTube,” Copyright October 11, 2014 CC-BY-SA-4.0

62. Have a real spa service done at a real spa (i.e. body wrap, facial, massage, anything!)
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Doesn’t this look amazing??? Image source: Avilash behera, “Spa Interior,” Copyright June 30, 2011 CC-BY-SA-3.0

63. Reach one hundred followers on this blog

Currently, at 21 followers. I hope to make content worthy of 100 amazing people like you tuning in for each post. Let me know any ideas to make the blog better and/or how to attract more followers. I’m a newbie! Check out my contact info in the “About” section.

64. Find out how to read at a baby/toddler story time at the library
65. Do a real push up
66. See a live boxing match
67. Take a CPR refresher course
68. Make a cheesecake
69. Research the foster parent licensing process and pray with family over starting the process
70. Make a pair of earrings
71. Come up with a consistent Bible study plan and stick to it
72. Start/join a book club
73. Join a Toastmaster’s group
74. Attend a networking event or empowerment conference
75. Learn to step (a Chicago line dance for those that don’t know)

Semi-random pic, but he looks like he knows how to step. Pic taken at 70th & Jeffrey in Chicago by yours truly.

Semi-random pic, but he looks like he knows how to step. Pic taken at 70th & Jeffrey in Chicago by yours truly.

76. Go to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN
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So much history here. Thank God for those that came before me so that I can be where I am today. Image source: Carl Wycoff, “National Civil Rights Museum – The Lorraine Motel – Room 306 – Memphis TN-28,” Copyright December 26, 2010 CC-BY-2.0

77. Watch a TED talk/other personal development video once a week for at least 3 months
78. Take little L to a children’s museum
79.  Create a cookbook with recipes from family members and friends
80. Research meditation and give it a try
81. Spit some poetry at an open mic event like I’m in “Love Jones”
82. Seriously research starting a food pantry at New Exodus Baptist Church
83. Clean out my “junk” room
84. Go at least a month without surfing the web on my phone before going to bed
85. Go one entire month without eating any fast food or dining in at any restaurants
86. Read 5 African/African American history books written by people of African descent
87. Clean out my gmail and yahoo email accounts and unsubscribe from junk mail that floods my inboxes
88. Upgrade my phone
89. Take a photography class
90. Feel cultured and special at Jazzin’ at the Shedd

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This is an event at the downtown Shedd Aquarium in Chicago that takes place after museum hours where you hang with friends, have drinks, and check out exhibits without the usual museum crowd present. I worked at the event once for a non-profit I interned with, but I’d love to attend as a guest. Image source: Sage Ross, “The central Caribbean Reef exhibit at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois,” Copyright November 15, 2009 CC-BY-SA-3.0, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic, 1.0 Generic

And now, we’ve come to the final 10 things on my 101 in 1001 list. Are you ready???

91. Go to a concert with my mom
92. Take my husband to an NFL game
93. Redesign my blog
94. Reach 500 views in one month on my blog
95. Start a new interview series on my blog
96. Attend a blogging conference
97. Take a self-defence class
98. Buy 1 original piece of art
99. Have a date night where hubby where we do something we’ve never done before as a couple (not dinner and a movie, concert, the usual)
100. Buy a needed item from an African American-owned business
101. Donate 50 cents for every task completed and $1 for every task not completed to the American Cancer Society 

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My father died from lung cancer in 2008. Why not make this a way to contribute to research for the cure for all forms of cancer? I better start saving now. (Side note: why am I wearing a shower cap in the pool…smh)

I will have the full list as a page on the blog in case you all want to see it without going through several posts. As usual, let me know what you all think in the comments! And keep me accountable if you don’t hear an update on the completion of this list for too long! I’m P.O.P.ed and out… 😉

Living on Purpose: 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge!

One of the things I’m loving about my new blogging life is all the amazing fellow bloggers I’m getting to know via some truly inspirational blogs. Recently, I was inspired by Jhaneel Lockhart’s post about her update on how her 101 things in 1001 days is coming along. She graciously referred me to where this fabulous idea began on the Day Zero Project website. Basically, the idea is to compile a list of 101 things you would like to complete in 1001 days, which is almost 2.75 years. The idea is to choose things that are attainable, but require you to stretch yourself at the same time. I really love this concept because it forces you to be intentional about living. It pushes us all to be proactive about our lives instead of being reactive or simply waiting or wishing for good things to happen. A major part of being positively optimistic and powerful (aka POPed) is to live on purpose.

You would think that the hardest part about this project is actually checking items off of the list, but actually coming up with 101 things is HARD! So far I’ve only gotten to thirty-something so I think I will share my list in increments of thirty. I plan to keep you gals posted every time I complete 10 things or so. I’m not attempting to complete them in any particular order either. I’m just gonna let it fly!

101 Hot-ish in 1001 Days

1. Build a profitable business

Just realized these are all singles...

Image source: 401(k) 2012. “Money-Savings” December 1, 2011 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.

2. Travel to a city/location in the U. S. and outside the U.S. that I’ve never been before

Dying to get to Paris to drink café au lait in front of Le Louvre...

Dying to get to Paris to drink café au lait in front of Le Louvre. Image Source: damonnofar. “Paris…” June 23, 2012 via pixabay, Creative Commons Attribution.

3. Have a reunion with my besties from college

The usual club pic. Miss these girls.

The usual club pic. Miss these girls.

4. Learn how to shoot a gun
5. Learn enough basic coding to make a website from scratch
6. Taking a drawing class geared towards children’s literature

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I’m such a stereotype…

7. Take a cooking class
8. Become an advanced hair braider
9. Read a new book each month for 6 months straight
10. Start a garden
11. Become conversational in either Spanish or French
12. Get a makeover
13. Have a stylist consultation
14. Make a new friend
15. Go to a film festival
16. Participate in Bike the Drive

Sweet home Chicago

Sweet home Chicago

17. Eat a multiple course meal at a fancy restaurant
18. Become an advanced Yogi
19. Run a half-marathon
20. Get a real massage
21. Don’t say anything negative for a day

Happy, happy, happy

Happy, happy, happy

22. Become a member of a church
23. Create a family tradition
24. Write a personal mission statement
25. Write a play
26. Have a piece of writing published
27. Write a children’s book
28. Donate blood
29. Open an investment account/buy stocks and/or mutual funds
30. Create a will.

Extremely important no matter your age or financial situation, especially when you have kids.

Extremely important no matter your age or financial situation, especially when you have kids.

Whew, that took a lot of energy, but I have about 71 more things to come up with so wish me luck! Will you try the 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge with me or something like it? Do you find lists helpful for getting things done? Do you share any of the goals I’ve listed? Hit me up in the comments! Stay p.o.p.ed pimpin’ 😉

I’m Not Sorry No More

mellodyhobsonccEarlier this month, my husband sent me an article by Beth Kowitt from fortune.com featuring two videos about a woman that I really look up to, Mellody Hobson. Hobson is the President of a Chicago-based mutual fund company and investment management firm known as Ariel Capital Management, LLC and is pretty much a boss in every conceivable way. One of the many things I love about her is that she isn’t afraid to discuss the challenges caused by race and gender in corporate America.

In the first video (found here), Hobson boldly proclaims that she has stopped apologizing for being black or for being female. I’m sure that any black woman that has been in either spaces where you were the only black person or the only woman or maybe the only black woman, you can relate to not wanting to make other people uncomfortable by pointing out your otherness. When I first saw this video, I nearly cried because it made me realize how I’d been apologizing not only for my race and gender, but for every part of me that made me different from those around me.

Growing up, I loved to read and write, and I simply just loved the sound of the English language. Certain black people would say that I talked too “proper,” or talked “white.” Certain non-black people would say, “She’s so articulate” as if I was not expected to be articulate. The moment that I got POPPED (positively optimistic and powerful), I stopped apologizing or feeling guilty for talking in a way that felt natural to me because of someone else’s insecurity. I realized that living in purpose and on purpose is about being bold about who I am. No one can happily reach their version of success by apologizing for who they are. Simply, “I’m not sorry no more.”

In the second video of the article, Hobson talks about something that everyone can relate to, no matter your race or gender, which is the company you keep. Hobson talks about how the people around her make her want to be better, work harder, and think bigger. Everyone can relate to having at least 1 person (or several) around you that always has something negative to say whether it’s criticism of what you’re doing or complaining about their situation (without taking any responsibility for their own hand in it). For every two steps that you take forward, these type of people will pull you one step back. When I decided to be positively optimistic and powerful, I made a pledge to myself to be the type of friend that I want to attract and to put myself in social environments with people that I want to be like. It is up to us to become the type of people that we can be, but we can’t do it surrounded by people that want us to stay the same.

My (imaginary) mentor talked about a host of other things in this article so I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but that’s all I got so until next time, stay POPPED and hold it down.