5-time-management-tips-for-new-year

The New Year always brings resolutions of better time management that we never keep throughout the year! If we’re being honest, sometimes those time management tips just aren’t realistic! What is realistic, however, is five simple tips that are attainable and reasonable in helping you do better with your time in 2019!! 

1.) Wake Up Earlier

The obvious tips, of course, is to wake up earlier. I’m a natural person by nature, but I still crave and desire an extra few minutes in the bed! However, that extra five minutes, or in my case fifteen to twenty minutes in bed, easily racks up to an accomplished task. Think about it. If you sleep in an extra 10 minutes 5 days a week [most of us work a 5 day week], that’s 50 minutes that could’ve been devoted on a task! Now if you’re like me, you have to ease your way into new changes! I suggest waking up every day 2 minutes earlier than your normal wake up time. The next week, wake up 3 minutes earlier, then the following week, raise it up to 5 minutes every day. This way, you’re creating healthy and effective habits that are reasonable and realistic to attain.

2.) Plan It Out

Planning out your day is a great way to manage and maximize your time all at once. There are several different apps that deal with time management if you’re a techie! A few of my favorite apps are Google Calendar, Trello, and Evernote. If you’re a paper and pen kinda gal like me, then any planner will get the job done. There are so many planners that fit many needs that you’re bound to find the perfect one for you. My planner that I’m obsessed with at the moment is the Happy Planner because of it’s writing and customization options.

When planning out your day or goals, a rule of thumb is to group your tasks from most time consuming to least time consuming and knock them out from there. To do this, look at what you have to for the day and categorize your tasks in groups:

  • Important and Urgent – Consider these your ASAP tasks [In my planner, I use RED ink for these].
  • Important but not Urgent – Consider these tasks as the ones where you have a little wiggle room, but not much, to knock them out [In my planner, I use ORANGE ink for these.
  • Not so important – Consider these tasks like the ones that if you knock them out today cool, but if not, cool too. These kinds of tasks can be completed the next day if need be. [In my planner, I use YELLOW ink for these].
  • Not important – Consider these tasks as ones you can hold off doing until the end of the week or even later. [In my planner, I use GREEN ink for these].

Remember to check your tasks off as you complete them!

3.) Create a Daily To-Do List

Maximize your time by knowing ahead of time what needs to be done for the day. The first 20 to 30 minutes of each day, a lot time to create a daily to-do list of what needs to be accomplished for the day. Creating a list will also help you remain on track throughout the day,

4.) Give Yourself a Time Limit

Giving yourself time limits are key to managing your time and getting so much accomplished. Giving yourself time limits to complete each task hold you accountable and kind of forces you to stay on task since you’re under a time crunch. Experiment for the day and give yourself a time limit to complete each task and watch how much you cross off your to-do list!

5.) Put Yourself First

We all know how important sleep is to the daily functioning of our minds and body. The whole ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ mentality has to go. You’re no good to yourself or others when you’re running on fumes. Try to set a bedtime and wake-up time for yourself daily to get at least 6 hours of sleep. Also, remember that you can’t go to everything and be everywhere. It’s perfectly okay to say no! Peace of mind is a piece of mind!

And bam, there you go! Hopefully, you found these tips helpful! Remember ladies, we’re not wasting our time in 2019!! Rise and Grind is the motto! LOL.

Don’t forget to keep up with me on Instagram and Twitter and I’ll holler at ya’ll next time!

xoxo,

Raee

5-TIME-MANAGEMENT-TIPS-FOR-NEW-YEAR

 

 

 

 

vision-board-party

Who loves creating vision boards? I know I do! Which is why I decided to host my first one with my girlfriends to help set and plan goals for the new year! I thought it would be a good time to share what I learned and what I would and wouldn’t do for the next go round’!

To kick off the evening, we poured up a shot to get going and get everyone in the mood! I figured there was no point in planning and manifesting for the new year if we were still holding on to baggage from this year, so I passed around a slip of paper where everyone wrote down the things they are leaving behind in 2018. We took those slips of paper and put them in a balloon.

Now, the goal was to do a symbolic balloon release, but no one told me that you needed helium and not oxygen to make balloons float. So, we opted for plan B and burned the papers instead. After we released, we went inside to eat and socialize, and then we got to work.

We spent about an hour or so creating our boards before we shared out. We ended the night exchanging emails and phone numbers to hold each other accountable throughout the year, and a quick prayer.

I encourage you to plan your party in a way that will create engagement and fun for you and your guests! Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to host! As long as there’s fun, everyone will enjoy themselves. To give you some ideas, here’s how I went about planning my party:

Food

As an appetizer, I kept it simple with chips, salsa, and spinach dip! For the main course, I was lucky enough to have my mom hook me and my girls up with a good hearty meal of beans. Now they aren’t just beans – that’s what we call them. It’s actually beans, sausage, and turkey meat, that we eat over rice and cornbread. It’s bomb ya’ll!! Lastly for dessert, we had chocolate chip cookies!

vision-board-party

 

The drinks were definitely in abundance though. I had unlimited bottles of wine, cognac, and vodka. Needless to say, my girls and I had a grand time!

Appetizer Options:

  • chips/dip
  • meatballs
  • cheese and meat tray
  • fruit tray

Food Options:

  • finger sandwiches
  • nachos
  • lil’ smokies sausages
  • hotdogs
  • tacos

Dessert Options:

  • cookies
  • cupcakes
  • cheesecake bites
  • ice cream
  • muffins
  • cake slices

Decor

How you decorate for your party is essential! I wanted to make sure I tell you that, because I didn’t do that! Yeah, I know, hypocritical. But it’s okay! Initially, I wanted to go all out on decor – ALL. OUT! I wanted a photo frame, glitter everywhere, balloons, the whole nine.

But my bank account quickly snapped me back to realization and told me to reel it in a bit, so I did. I didn’t think it wise to blow my budget on decor for just a few hours. So instead of splurging on glittery and cute decor, I picked a color scheme. My color scheme consisted of black, gold, and pink because those are classy and chic colors in my opinion. I incorporated these colors in the plates, cups, silverware, and a cute paper tassel border. The best thing about my decor was that it all came from Dollar Tree. I spent a total of $6 on my decorations!

My tip to you is to pick colors and decorations that will enhance your night as much as possible. If you’re in the mood to splurge, then by all means, but if not, then I’d definitely suggest picking a color scheme or ‘vibe,’ and going to the dollar store [the Dollar Tree where everything is a dollar] for all of your decorating needs.

vision-board-party

Supplies

There are many different ways you can get supplies for your guests. You can tell everyone to bring magazines, pitch in $5 to offset the cost of supplies or have them bring in scissors and glue. For me, I didn’t want my guests to worry about anything; I just wanted them to show up, so I had everything provided for them. I went to the dollar store to get all of the supplies except scissors [we had like 6 pairs lying around the house] and the magazines.

The magazines, I was able to get for free from my library at work. If you don’t work at a school, an option is to hit up your local neighborhood library for their free magazines or encourage your guests to bring magazines in themselves. Here’s everything I had prepared for my girls:

  • Scissors [several pairs]
  • Glue sticks
  • Glitter Glue
  • Poster Board [I opted for smaller poster board for my guests because to me, a full board was excessive, but do what you feel is best]
  • Glitter
  • Markers
  • Magazines [the more diverse your magazines are, the better – get fashion, food, wedding, lifestyle, exercise, etc]
  • Rulers
  • Stickers

vision-board-party

Gifts

This is something you can take or leave. If I had to do it all over again, I’d probably leave gifts out because they took up the bulk of my budget. I gave out three different gifts:

  • First to arrive gift [a glitter notebook -$5]
  • Ice Breaker gift [$10 Chick-fil-a gift card]
  • Gift bags: [roughly $6 per bag]
    • mini notebook with an inspirational quote
    • Pen
    • bath bomb
    • body oil
    • mini bottle of wine

I spent about $65 on gifts alone, which definitely could’ve gone to something else, so again, for your party, decide if it’s something you can take or leave. If you feel that you have to have gifts, opt for something that’s about $2 per person [notebook & pen, candy bar & soda, etc]

vision-board-party

And that’s it! I do hope you found this helpful! If you are planning on hosting a vision board party, let me know in the comments how you’re going to plan it!

As always, keep up with me on Instagram and I’ll talk to you later!

xoxo,

Raee

plan-perfect-vision-board-party

how-to-start-a-blog

Starting a blog can be an overwhelming process if you let it be. The good news, is that it doesn’t have to be. I’ve created a step-by-step guide in helping you start a blog. The bonus is, that you can start it for the low and not break your pockets in the process.

1.) The Hostess With the Mostess

I am not a tech savvy person and if you’re anything like me, then you also try to look for the easiest, most understandable technology there is. This was a major factor in deciding which platform I wanted to host my blog on. After reading blog after blog and review after review, I finally settled on WordPress.

For me, WordPress was basic enough for me to understand what to do without messing it up. Plus, I had previous experience working with WordPress in the past during my entertainment blogger days; it felt like a perfect fit. To customize my blog, I did a simple Google search of ‘feminine WordPress blog themes’ and came across Pipdig. I love Pipdig because all of their templates were crisp and clean AND their customer service was unmatched. They also have a very indepth and detailed FAQ section that helps users with anything blog related from setting up a blog to monetizing a blog.

start a blog

If I’m being honest, my Pipdig template was probably the most expensive thing I purchased for my blog. The template ran me a smooth $59, but hey, I love it and still think it was worth the purchase. Once I installed my theme, I dove headfirst into naming all of my pages, creating and linking my social media, and wrote my first welcome post! One thing I do want to point out about WordPress is there are two options to consider when creating your blog. The first option is to host on WordPress [www.yourblog@wordpress.com] and the other option is to self-host on WordPress [www.yourblog.com]. The pros and cons of each are the following:

WordPress Shared Hosting:

  • Pros:
    • Completely free
    • Low maintenance
    • Automatic updates
  • Cons:
    • Limited functionality in regards to options and customization
    • Not ideal for sites with large numbers of traffic [which is your goal]

WordPress Self-Hosting:

  • Pros:
    • Completely customize-able
    • Can sell advertisements and merchandise
  • Cons:
    • Have to pay for it
    • Have to stay up to date with the updates

If you are interested in self-hosting, then I’d definitely recommend GoDaddy. I’ve been working with them for years now and haven’t had any issues yet. Set up is fairly easy and any questions you have, you can direct them to their 24-hour customer service team who is so friendly, even at 3 in the morning!

Action Step: Decide what your blogging topic[s] will be and the projected purpose of your blog. From there, create a resource list to help you along the way. You can use my blog start up worksheet I used to help you fine tune the direction of you blog!

2.) Spice It Up

So I know that you’re hype right now because you finally set your site up! Congrats sis! Now, comes the fun part: making it yours! In the beginning stages of my blog, I struggled A LOT with finding pictures online that wouldn’t get me sued, fined, or ceased and delivered. I also didn’t have the money to be able to take constant photo shoots and edit them on fancy software to make them look appealing. So what did I do? Hopped on the interwebs and did some detective work to find free stock photos. It took me a few hours, but I finally hit the mother load.

My favorite sites to get pictures for my blog posts are Pexels [everyday style stock photos] and Styledstock.co. [fashion forward, clean stock photos]. To turn these pictures into visual content and graphics, I use Canva. Canva is a free design program with HUNDREDS of templates for you to create any kind of graphic your heart desires. Canva is also great because they allow you to upload unlimited photos of your choice when creating a visual design. The best thing about spicing your blog up aside from you creating your vision is that you can create your vision for the FREE!

starting a blog

Image courtesy of Pexel

3.) Creating Content

Here’s where the heavy works come in. Do you have your pen and notepad by you? Yeah? Good.

*deep sigh*

Creating blog posts in my opinion is an east challenge. I know that doesn’t make sense, but follow along with me. In the beginning it’s a challenge because you’re just trying to post something that sticks. Then that challenge turns into struggling coming up with blog topics and so on. But suddenly there’s a shift… you get into a groove and it becomes easy. At least it has somewhat for me.

Every blogger has their own style and way of creating blog posts, and you will cultivate your own style over time.

Blog Topics:

The written content of your blog can come from literally anywhere because there’s inspiration literally everywhere. The best way to always have fresh content is to stay active in what’s going on in the ‘world.’ What hot topics are being discussed? What books have a lesson that someone can benefit from? What branding lesson did you learn from Company A’s project roll out? There’s literally something always to write about. In addition to that, your audience wants to be able to connect with you. The easiest way to do that is to offer some personal stories and spin it into a life lesson to them.

Blog Photos:

We already touched on this but remember, relevant pics from FREE stock photo sites. Your phone camera can work wonders too if you know what you’re doing!

Blog Posts:

You’ve made it this far and this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. My best and only advice for creating a blog post is to stay true to you and your voice. When I first started, I was trying to sound like my favorite bloggers who found success. I thought if my voice sounded like theirs, then I would get support. In the end it was too much [living two lives] and I wasn’t myself at all. I decided to continue forward with MY voice and I’ve seen slow, but great success ever since.

Action Step: Follow the steps above. Check for grammar mistakes [Grammarly is a big help]. Don’t overthink it. Hit publish!

4.) Promote, Promote, Promote

If you thought your work was done because you published your first post, you thought horribly wrong. The work is just beginning. The only way people will know about your blog and your work is if you promote yourself. Now a lot of bloggers suggest promoting yourself across ALL social media platforms. I’m not knocking that tip at all, but in considering what works for me, that doesn’t. Promoting across all platforms was too much and too time consuming. So I focused on 3: Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Deciding which social media to use also depends on your audience. I personally don’t use my personal Facebook often so to get buy in for my blog from my followers was going to be a challenge. I knew that I engaged a lot on Twitter and Instagram and that would be my safest bet and it has been so far. Every time you hit publish on a post, it’s time to upload that link SOMEWHERE to start growing your following.

Action Steps:

  1. Create social media accounts [if you haven’t already].
  2. Link post on social media.
  3. Attach visually appealing, relevant image.
  4. Include captivating caption.
  5. Include relevant hashtags.
  6. Retweet, repin, repost, etc.
  7. Repeat step 6 a few hours later! 🙂

Take It a Step Further: Get my FREE blogging worksheet to help you gain clarity on creating your blog, deciding who your audience, and everything you need to set your blog up!

So you see how easy it is to start your blog!? I created my blog for a smooth $82 which is relatively cheap! Now that you know what to do, make sure to download my free worksheet to get you started on the road of creating an amazing blog!

Don’t forget to keep up with my on Twitter and Instagram! Drop your blogs in the comment section as I’d love to read them!

xoxo,

Raee

start a blolg

 

5 hard lessons blogging

Am I crazy that even though I’ve had 50 Shades of Raee for over a year, I consider this my first full month of blogging? If you’ve been rocking with me since day one, then you know that over the course of my journey, I’ve had to take breaks – long ones. For one, balancing graduate school and work was just too much for me to handle and then when I got back into it, self- doubt put a stop on my motivation. Now, I’m back and better and am excited about the upcoming content I’m coming with!

I took some time out to reflect on this path month regarding what I’ve learned so far and what I should’ve done differently and wanted to share with you all.

Here are five hard lessons that I’ve learned so far in my first month of blogging.

 

Lesson 1: You Have to Remember Your Focus

It’s easy with all of the content being dished out from other bloggers to want to try what they’re doing to see if it’ll stick. But that’s the biggest mistake to make! Whatever reasons you have for creating your blog, remember not to lose focus on you. If you want a travel blog, then focus on travel. Fashion? Work on dishing out quality style content. Whatever it is that your blog is about, keep that focus and keep it on you and no one else.

Lesson 2: Engagement Is Hard But It Matters

This was and still is one of the biggest things that I’m struggling with. Engagement is hard simply because it requires effort from other people. It is truly a challenge to get people to care enough about what you have to say to support you! For me, my question before I press ‘publish’ is, “Is this enough for someone to care?” If the answer is no, I go back to the drawing board. But engagement doesn’t just stop at posts. It deals with you engaging on social media also. Are you liking people’s posts? Do you ever leave quality comments? How about that Twitter conversation you see. Do you ever chime in? If the answer is no, then it’s time you consider how you can boost your engagement!

Lesson 3: Your Theme Is Actually Important

I would see other bloggers constantly talk about how important having a cohesive theme for your blog is and to be honest, I never paid them too much attention, until I started transitioning my blog into a brand. Now, I’m learning just how important your theme actually is and how it needs to be consistent across your social media platforms. The good thing about themes is that it can be completely customizable and you can use whatever colors and aesthetic you’d like.

 

 

For my blog, I knew that I wanted a crisp yet classy theme that had touches of femininity. As far as my colors, my two favorite colors are pink and black. If you look at my blog and all of my other social media platforms, you’ll see pink and black somewhere in the mix. This is important because when it’s my work, my followers will know and new followers will see the same thing across the board.

Lesson 4: Comparison Kills

I had to learn the hard way that comparison kills. Comparing yourself and your journey to other people will keep you grasping for straws and searching for something that will stick! I had to learn quickly to enjoy my blogging journey and to appreciate my blog for what it was. My blog is a representation of me and includes topics and content that I find interesting and that my audience will find interesting. I’m only in competition with myself and that’s how I move. As you are on your blogging journey, focus on yourself and ensure that your audience hears your voice and not the voice of three other bloggers rolled in one.

Lesson 5: Consistency Is Vital

Whewwwwww!!! This is a lesson that I’m still learning. But in sum,

Consistency Matters!

Consistency Matters!

Consistency Matters!

At the end of the day, if you want your blog to grow, you have to be consistent. If you want more followers and more engagement, you have to be consistent. If you want your blog to turn into a brand, you have to be consistent. Now for me, it’s almost like calling the kettle black, because consistency is hard for me, especially when I have life and work going on. But I will say, I’ve gotten A LOT better at it due to my editorial calendar! My advice is to take small steps when aiming for consistency. If you know you’re going to get burned out from posting four times a week, then only post twice a week and fill in your day spaces with social media posts instead! Do what works for you as long you stay consistent!

—Have you learned anything in your blogging journey? If so, leave a comment below and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram!

 

hard lessons learned blogging - pinterest

We all know that Monday’s set the tone for the rest of our week! When are Monday’s go well, we feel unstoppable; when they go bad, we feel defeated! It doesn’t have to be this way at all! Today, I’m sharing four things that I do on Sunday night’s to prepare my mind and spirit for my upcoming week! These tips keep me calm and create a revitalized mood and energy that is needed to carry me throughout the week!

1.) Cleaning your space

You can’t be at your best, when your living space isn’t at its best! Period! We spend TOO much in our living spaces and clutter in the home serves as a variable in the clutter in our minds and our daily lives. To keep my mind clear, I keep my space clean! Now I’m already a neat freak so I never have to take hours to clean my space because I’m picking up daily, but weekly, I take the time to do a thorough cleaning of my apartment. Cleaning the bathroom top to bottom, wiping baseboards to pick up dust, wiping the fan blades, disinfecting door knobs, mopping floors, washing clothes and so on. Now you personally don’t have to go as hard as I do [Lol], but maybe start by cleaning your kitchen every other day or tending to your floors every Thursday or create a schedule that works for you! However you do it, you’ll notice your focus shifting and your mood lifting!

2.) Re-Map Your Calendar

Depending on who you are and what you do, your days are either busy or chill. Me, trying to balance being a teacher, graduate school, an internship blogging, AND my personal life, a sista be stressed! Lol. I HAVE to have a planner because without one, my life would be in more shambles than it already is. Now I am an old school, buy a planner, write it down type of girl. However, a lot of us out there are able to survive with our technology. Whatever your choice is, once a week, take a few minutes to sketch out your week in your planner. Take time to map out your weekly or monthly goals, schedule gym time, relaxation time, and don’t forget to schedule time for YOURSELF -whether it be a mini/pedi, time at the bookstore, time to mediate- make sure you always have your time written down somewhere in your planner.  A few of my favorite planners are the Passion Planner which gives you the most creative freedom any planner ever will; this Successful Black Woman  planner by Legendary Rootz which is a constant affirmation and reminder for my Nubian queens  out there, and this journal from the amazing Mykeil filled with tips on making the most of your day and taking steps to accomplishing your goals!

3.) Meditating and Essential Oils

Thanks to Hey Fran Hey I’ve become a fan of essential oils. I took to Amazon to buy a good selection of oils and an oil diffuser which I use almost daily. One of my favorite distressing activities to get me relaxed is to blend a good mix of oils [lavender and chamomile is my absolute favorite] and just sit in my bedroom in the quiet. This gives me time to meditate and let all of the thoughts and ideas that I usually don’t get to tap into because of life, to seep through. As I sit in the moment, I sometimes also journal, writing down any thoughts or phrases that come to my mind as a form of release.  Then I follow that up with prayer time and just spend one on one time with my God.  This process helps me unload all of the mental weight I’ve been holding to and refocus my attention to those things I’ve written down.

4.) Clean Your Car

I don’t know about anybody else, but my spirit is just unsettled when my car is not clean. Lol. If you really think about it, we spend a lot of time in our cars driving to our various destinations. That leaves us with a lot of time to our thoughts and our ideas. Just like your living space, you can’t really think clearly when your space is cluttered, so I am a firm believer in keeping a clean car. Like most people, my car wash day is Sunday, so every other month, I get my car professionally washed and cleaned [vacuumed and wiped down]. In between professional washes, I go to the drive through car wash and detail my car myself. After a good wipe down and new smell goods [my favorite is the Black Ice scent], I’m ready to hit the road.

 

Again, these aren’t the end-all-be-all- ideas to have a good productive week, but these are some things that I do to make sure my Monday or Tuesday [because it doesn’t always work out on Sunday] starts off calm and relaxed. What do you do to revitalize your upcoming week? Leave a comment below and spread your wealth!

The Nightly Show wine alcohol relax drinks GIF

 

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