Blog

Why Investing in $5 Sweatshirts Gives Me a Better Quality of Life

You really have to be in-tune with what has a mental hold on you. In my case, it was old apparel from my middle school, high school, and college career.

*This post contains affiliate links! So if you were to buy through my link, I get a small chunk of change from your purchase. But don’t fret, I only promote items that I truly love, enjoy, and use. =)

This isn’t meant to be clickbait, clothing can really be a mental block.

The irritation you feel when you remember you have to jiggle the handle on the toilet in order for it to flush…

The flash of disgust you feel when you see the mysterious stain on your carpet that manpower just doesn’t work on…

It all can add up to how your mindset functions.

I’m just talking about plain ol’ Haines or Fruit of the Loom sweatshirts you find in Walmart… and them being quality of life upgrades for me.

Now the reason why they’re upgrades all has to do with being aware of how feel, something that’s so so important to be mindful of when navigating life.

I’ll explain more down below. =)

Continue reading “Why Investing in $5 Sweatshirts Gives Me a Better Quality of Life”

Shaving My Head, and How to Survive the Policing of Alternative Black Bodies

I wanted to openly relish in my new color-coded electric clippers I had planned to use to shave the nape of my neck, but it was nearly impossible to do when everyone around me polices my body.

I’m a sound decision-maker, but for those around me? They feel I’m lost and confused when I want to style my body in a way that “isn’t me.”

You know… in a way that isn’t what your family “trained you up to be.” Which can be as simple as wanting tattoos when no one of older generations would ever dare get one.

They tell you what YOU think:

”Oh no no no… You like that kind of stuff on others, you mean. Not for you.”

No no no noknow the difference between styles I like for me versus styles I admire on others.

Why is being sure about what modifications I decide to make to my body such a major concern to others?

Let’s explore this as I shave my head behind my family’s back.

I’ve daydreamed about how I’ve wanted myself to look for over a decade. Written poems, short stories, saved pictures, and drew myself in all the possible ways I wanted to see myself.

But aside from life just happening to stall transformation, there’s also people/society/influences that can pressure us to postpone taking up what we’d honestly love to do with our lives.

Today, I wanted to talk about the physical aspect of running through a gauntlet when trying to just exist in wanting to mold yourself to be more…well… you.

““””

This whole head-shaving experience is fresh in my mind since it just happened, but it reminds me of the anxiety I went through during my ear-stretching journey years and years ago.

It was something I wanted to do, something I researched, and something I paid for with the money I made… yet to this day (a good 5+ years later) I’m still told from time to time that I regret them.

Yes… I’m told what I regret.

Shaving My Head Under a Conservative Roof

Okay, so I didn’t *completely* shave my head.

Just two or so inches from the nape of my neck, up.

But that’s still a big deal! I haven’t had less than an inch of hair on any part of my head since I was a newborn!

It h““””onestly should’ve been a super exciting experience for me, especially since it was something I had planned to (and did) do at home rather than at a barbershop (liberating!).

I was actually looking at how to care for shaved heads and electric clippers… that’s how geeked I was.

But instead of just openly doing it, I had to sneak off to my dad while everyone else was asleep and ask him to start me off, line up my part, etc.

It’s hard feeling liberated when you have to tiptoe and whisper.


My Sound Reasonings for Getting a Nape Undercut

Just like stretching my ears, contemplating new piercings, and designing new tattoo ideas… I think through changes I wanna make to myself, research what maintenance will be like in the future, and if I feel I can personally handle it.

Shaving the nape of my neck seemed like a brilliant idea:

  • It was a subtly edgy look (I LOVE edgy looks!).
  • I could test how well I’d maintain the look without it being blatantly in yo face if I got lazy.
  • I could see what it felt like to have a shaved (portion of my) head!
  • I’d have less hair to maintain.
  • Having less hair to maintain may mean I’d be more eager to wash/detangle/style what’s left.
  • I could get rid of the annoying hair at the nape of my neck that I can never thoroughly wash, pull into a pony tail, and causes my neck stress and overheating even when in a ponytail (byeeee!).
  • I can (I think!) still wear wigs (which I did anyway during days I simply couldn’t with my hair).
  • Hats can still be (and always have been) an option.
  • I absolutely HATE messing with my hair. HATE. H. A. T. E. (So the less hair to maintain, the better!)

Afro-textured hair is something I’m proud to have, and I loooove how others rock theirs. It’s MAGICAL… but NO.

I cannot deal with the mane I have, and ever since I fought to take over ownership of my hair in my early 20s, I NEVER wear it out.

Well, I did for a short time.

I just did twists all over my head, which took 8+ hours to do… Which is something I dread doing. Especially for a style that barely lasts two weeks.

So in conclusion… shaving the nape of my neck? Yaaaaaas!!!

But my family was very firm on their NO!!!

Which is unfortunate since hair just isn’t my thing… so why should it matter to them?

What Your Blood-Boiling Climax Probably Looks Like

The decision to follow through with my choice to buzz the back of my head became stronger and stronger the more eye-roll-worthy the things said to me became:

”You should’ve grown out of this phase back in high school!” (This is a pretty long “phase” then…)

”Stop acting like a child, you don’t need to do that.”

”You don’t take care of your hair anyway, why cut it off and give yourself more work to do?”

”You’re not gonna want to pay and go to a barber every week…” (Helloooo? DIYs exist, and I LITERALLY don’t care how short I cut it. Aside from a lineup, I’m not trying to do anything intricate to it.)

”I just don’t understand why you’d wanna do that…” (There’s nothing you need to understand when it comes to what wanna do to my body.)

”You’re not a singer or tattoo artist, so that style is not YOU…” (Fun fact: you don’t have to fit in a stereotypical box in order to be interested or partake in something you enjoy. #BreakStereotypes2017)

(Said to another in my presence in a condescending tone:) ”She just doesn’t know what she wants is all.”

Warning: do NOT talk about me like I’m a dense child.

Do you get similar comments when you want to drastically change your hair? Add color to it? Wear grunge clothes or platform shoes? Debate getting tattoos and/or piercings?

Yeah? Sucks, huh?

So how do you deal with constant pushback when you are just trying to live your happiest life? (!!!)

You find outlets, you find support, you find solutions.

““Shaving”

What to Do When Loved Ones Get in the Way of Who You Want to Truly Be

When you think of self-care and mentality and the like… you may think of someone who looks more in touch with the flowers than with a studed bracelet. But I feel as though I’ve clung to the concepts of self-care, personal development, and more in order to help me navigate all the pushback I’ve received for my “alternative” interests.

It’s a draining interaction to have whether you live with someone who doesn’t support your personal self-development or not. So I want to be of some help (cause Lord knows I’ve gone through the ringer over the years).

Outlets to Use

Sometimes you’re just trapped. So the best thing to do here is

I’ve written about Amina Mucciolo who suffered from depression and had an epiphany (post-suicide attempt) that if she was to live, she needed to be doing what she wanted to do with her life!

Otherwise, what was the point if she struggled to find joy (or any reason to be completely honest) in living?

It hasn’t made depression disappear, and I’m sure she stills has her share of bad mental days, but it helped her tremendously to just… wholeheartedly be herself.

Trying to fight living up to a standard set for you by society and folks around you is tough.

But your ultimate happiness is worth the battle in the end. 🙂

Where to Find Support

In-real-life friends (if available) is a support system to have… that, and family.

But in case you don’t have those resources, you can find plenty of people with the same passions and mindset as you online! I’m so serious.

I don’t think I’d be as far along as I am if I didn’t have people online in my corner who understood me and kept pushing (and rooting!) for me.

You can find your crew through my community, and other places like Twitter Chats and Facebook Groups.

Your Solution

In most instances, you may just have to bite the bullet when ready and do as you please. I know in most cases I prefer not hearing feedback about what I decide to do to my body.

And if I don’t think I can handle it, I give myself prep time before following through.

Because even though there’s a sense of self-care by doing what makes you happy, there’s also self-care involved by avoiding unnecessary drama however you can.

Something wonky happened to my Resource Library and I plan to add way more to it! 🙂

If you want in on it, and to be a part of my intimate bi-weekly email… sign up here for the password and to be part of the club!

See you soon, lovelies!

Warmly,
Cierra M

How to Easily Start a Blog from Brainstorm to Setup

Last Updated: April 2018

I remember my mouth dropping when I read an email that told me I could run a blog business about multiple things I was passionate about.

And do it from the comfort of my home.

Life got in my way at just the right time to make me truly believe that email was fate. Because lemme tell ya… nothing was going right.

  • I was a fresh post-grad with tens of thousands of dollars of debt (and no career path in sight).
  • My application for a fellowship to teach in South Korea (that I spent the entirety of my last college semester applying for) was rejected.
  • Literally around 3 days after I graduated, my mother’s hip gave its last hoorah, and I became a car-less at-home caregiver.

I pretty much had nothing to lose.


Fast-forward a few years and I can say this has been one of the biggest emotional roller coasters I’ve been on, and one I’ve had zero regrets riding (and I HATE roller coasters!).

But despite this, I must tell you that it still sucks going into such a huge life shift both alone and overstimulated by all the information available at your fingertips.

But wouldn’t you rather start now and stop consuming all that information out there on how (why, when, where, etc.) to start?

That’s where this ultimate guide to starting a blog comes into play. Here’s the breakdown:

BEFORE YOU START A BLOG:

  • Why even start a blog? We’ll quickly go through why you may even start a blog if you’re on the fence and curious about it.
  • What should you blog about? If you’re anything like me, you want to blog about all the things that interest you. I’ll help you find the best route to

SETTING UP YOUR NEW BLOG:

  • How to Setup Self-Hosted WordPress! This is the meat and potatoes everyone usually looks for when setting up their blog.

SOME TIPS TO TAKE WITH YOU ONCE YOU’RE DONE SETTING UP:

If your blog is new, it can take up to a few days for it to establish itself and be ready to use. Until then, you can take even more steps to make your blog ready for the world (and for you to be ready for this journey!).

Before you even get a domain name for your new blog, you need to have a clear game plan for what you’re doing and why.

And we’ll go over all of that right now.


Why Even Start a Blog?

Whether you’re a personal writer, wanting to document your language studies, or are someone who wants to display your travel photos in one place, blogging is an excellent medium for doing so!

Starting a blog (a self-hosted blog, to clarify) meant I had something I could take control of, and grow and mold as I saw fit.

And when I say control, I mean you have total control of a self-hosted site:

  • You own your space. Free blogging platforms can shut you down for any reason they want, and all of your work would be gone.
  • You’ll feel and look more legit with your domain name. No more yourblog.bloggingplatform.com. You can direct people to yourblog.com like a boss and equally feel like said boss!
  • Same goes with emails, you can have it under your domain name! Need I say more?
  • The site won’t place its ads on your site because it’s YOURS! Because some sites you use for free will put their logo all over the place. And that ain’t too professional!
  • Customer service! If you have an issue, you’ll have someone to turn to when you’ve paid for a self-hosted site. Free sites? Not so much.

So starting a self-hosted blog is a step you can take to start gaining control over something that could become huge for you! The possibilities are literally endless as far as what you can achieve as a blogger:

  • Build a community.
  • Start a movement.
  • Make money.
  • Create connections.
  • Create a career.
  • Document a journey.
  • Learn a lot about yourself.
  • Develop your creative muscles.

So why wait?? I’m super excited to teach you how to start now!

What Should I Blog About?

It’s less important in the beginning to know EXACTLY what you’ll be blogging about for all eternity, and more important to just start.

Just keep these 3 questions in mind when trying to figure out what to blog about:

1. Are you passionate about it? Having an undying love for what you decide to write about is HUGE! It’ll get you through those burnout hiatuses because your drive to continue sharing that passion will overcome. It’ll definitely be the fuel for you to continue blogging for years to come! And if you wonder what you’re passionate about, look at what you invest your time and/or money on! Another way I’ve heard to check what you’re passionate about is to look at what you can talk nonstop about, but that didn’t work for me at first cause I’m pretty introverted and keep to myself. It really clicked for me when I looked at what I spent my time and money on!

2. Do you have a particular type of person in mind as you blog? This is something to definitely think about when you’re wanting to blog about all the things. What theme strings all of your topics together? Are you writing for newly single gals in their 30s? Stay-at-home mamas? Are you basing your posts on your location and what you can share from it? Remember to always ask yourself why you’re writing a post and how can you spin it to fit your overarching theme!

3. Is there anything you’re good at and want to share? Now, this never came easy for me because no one ever came to me to ask for any particular type of advice. I was complimented on my writing by all sorts of people my entire life but had no desire (nor clue) how to teach something that came so naturally for me. But now that I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and it’s being noticed. I can say I’m asked and referred to for blogging advice more than anything else because of how immersed I am in the space!

Even with these things in mind, there are blog topics that are profitable because of their popularity (if that’s even a goal of yours for your blog). Scrivs talks about the top 7 profitable niches to blog about in this post, and you could try to position yourself under one. Makes sense! But however you chose to monetize your blog, know that income streams don’t happen overnight.

Also, I’m not afraid to say that wanting to monetize your blog doesn’t make you a monster. It should never be your top priority because the desperation to make money shows big time, trust me. But being intentional, strategic, and aware of the possible income streams out there is absolutely fine. Taking it slow is absolutely fine. Whatever you decide to do with your blog is absolutely fine.

Now, let’s move on to the physical act of starting your blog!

 

Picking a Platform for Your New Home

I love using metaphors when it comes to blogging, so with this step you’re going to be “house hunting”!

Now if you’re going to be running a self-hosted blog, I’d only recommend WordPress or Squarespace. I am 100% loyal to WordPress despite its learning curve because the amount you can customize on self-hosted WordPress is endless.

Plus there are tooooooons of tutorials of all shapes and sizes that’ll help you naviagte WordPress. Plus, you have me. 🙂

As far as Squarespace goes, I’ve tried a free trial of it once and it didn’t quite click for me. I didn’t like that I couldn’t choose my own hosting, and even though there is a lot of beautiful and customizable design options to chose from, they’re not virtually endless like what’s capable with WordPress.

If you just like to simply make things pretty and don’t have specific looks in mind that you wanna flesh-out, and need something with less of a learning curve, Squarespace may be for you.

But WordPress is the top dog, and the most-used blogging platform for serious peeps out there. And that’s exactly what I’m gonna cover here because it’s what I know best!

And hey, like I said before… I’m always here to help walk you through any questions I can when it comes to WordPress navigation! But let’s get your WordPress blog actually set up, eh?

How to Setup Self-Hosted WordPress!

Now it’s time to get into the meat and potatoes of starting a blog… actually setting up your blog!

I’ve been with more than just SiteGround in the past, but am very happy with my switch to Siteground. Haven’t looked back! =)

So here’s your step-by-step guide to physically set up your self-hosted blog with SiteGround:

1. Find your domain name!

Namecheap Domain for your Blog

First stop is… choosing the name of your baby/new home! It can be as all-encompassing as your own name or as clever as you can get.

Protip: whatever name you chose, it may be best to not make it too specific (like CopywriterAllDayEveryDay.com) so it gives you and your brand room to grow. This way, you won’t trap yourself in a box when you want to expand your content!

I haven’t used Namecheap before, but always hear good things about buying domain names from them (and it can possibly save you $4 buying your domain from them instead of on Siteground directly).

If you 100% know you want to do something super specific with a particular blog you’re setting up (and don’t mind making other blogs when/if you wanna switch things up), you can make the name have some type of keyword that hints to that (like pinchofyum.com… you can tell it’s a site that pertains to food!).

Or it can be something a bit abstract! Just compensate for the abstract URL you’ve fallen in love with by having a tagline that creates clarity for your reader, and have the rest of your blog spell it out for them easily as well (with the categories, blog post names, branding, etc.).

Just know that a name you want may not be available (at this point you can put the URL you want in the name field and see if it’s available). But once you find a URL name you like, check to see if the same or similar social media handles are available as well! Having similar names all across the board makes it easier for readers to look you up without having to try and guess that your name on Instagram is @ButterflyKissez85.

2. Chose a plan.

Blog Setup with Siteground WordPress Self-Hosting

You’ll want to pick a plan that’ll serve you best, and if you’re a new blogger you’ll be choosing the “StartUp” Plan.

But first, be sure to pick the “WordPress Hosting” option for easiest WordPress install!

Done! On to the next step!

3. “Pick a Domain Name”

Siteground already have a domain name

I have this in quotations because you already did this in step one over on Namecheap. So when you get here, you’ll be clicking the, “I already have a domain” option.

And see at the bottom?? If you already have a website (not just a domain), you can get it transferred over to Siteground for free as well! Tell your blogging friends!

Now on to the next step!

4. Fill Out Personal Info, and One Tip for You…

how to start a blog with privacy settings

All of this is common practice when you are about to buy anything online, except right at the bottom make sure to bubble all the options except the privacy one. You don’t necessarily NEED the privacy one, but without it, your private info is open to the public and that is not only potentially dangerous… it’s ANNOYING! I wondered why I kept getting random emails and phone calls all the time, and I believe it’s because I didn’t make my domain private in the beginning!

Your discounted total for your first 12 months will be at the bottom. Pay and say, “yay!”

You’re now an official blog-owner! (Don’t forget to Pin this post to refer back to it! I’ll be updating it when needed.)

How to Easily Start a Blog from Brainstorm to Setup | Starting a blog can be very overwhelming, but I give you not only the step-by-step tricks on how to start, but advice all in-between. Help your blog's longevity and value by reading this guide!

How to Easily Start a Blog from Brainstorm to Setup | Starting a blog can be very overwhelming, but I give you not only the step-by-step tricks on how to start, but advice all in-between. Help your blog's longevity and value by reading this guide!
How to Easily Start a Blog from Brainstorm to Setup | Starting a blog can be very overwhelming, but I give you not only the step-by-step tricks on how to start, but advice all in-between. Help your blog's longevity and value by reading this guide!
How to Easily Start a Blog from Brainstorm to Setup | Starting a blog can be very overwhelming, but I give you not only the step-by-step tricks on how to start, but advice all in-between. Help your blog's longevity and value by reading this guide!

5.(!!) Enjoy Your New Blogging Space!

Once you have bought your blog, you should be good to go with setting up your WordPress blog!

If you have trouble navigating either Siteground or finding out whether or not you have WordPress installed, please please please chat with customer service!

They’re prompt and so so helpful! They’ll get you set up smoothly, and once you are sure you have WordPress installed… you can log into your WordPress site through this URL: yourdomainhere.com/wp-admin

That’s how you get to your self-hosted WordPress dashboard (aka the paid, wordpress.org one), versus just simply going to wordpress.com (the free version). 😉

Feel free to let me know how everything goes!

See you soon!

Warmly,
Cierra M

How to Practice Mindful Money Manifestation

This post contains affiliate links! So if you were to buy through my link, I get a small chunk of change from your purchase. But don’t fret, I only promote items that I truly love, enjoy, and use. =)

Money isn’t everything. And once I learned that, it just came.

Here it is! The follow-up blog post to the success I experienced practicing the power of thought as an ex-skeptic.

Have no clue what I’m talking about? Click here to read and catch up!

Now, on to the last part of my power of thought practice. And this time we’re talking about money manifestation mindsets that have personally worked for me! Continue reading “How to Practice Mindful Money Manifestation”

The Truth About Manifestation: A Skeptic’s Testimonial + Tips on How to Start

*This post contains affiliate links! So if you were to buy through my link, I get a small chunk of change from your purchase at no extra cost to you. But don’t fret, I only promote items that I truly love, enjoy, and use. =)

I wouldn’t have ever believed manifestation was possible until I lost almost everything I had hoped for.

This summer was life-changing for me, and not in the “this was the best year at summer camp EVER!” type of life-changing summer.

Instead, I went from feeling worthless and invaluable in every way (financially, physically, spiritually, etc.), to landing two small jobs I had applied to three months prior (I wrote a whole post about that magical blessing and how it occurred) and GENUINELY being grateful for everything that is, comes, and goes in my life.

I love myself now in a way I didn’t even know was possible, and all of these changes transpired thanks to me learning and mindfully implementing manifestation in my life.

My mindset was the only thing left I could change at my rock bottom, and I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned and experienced. Continue reading “The Truth About Manifestation: A Skeptic’s Testimonial + Tips on How to Start”

How to Make Time for Yourself When You Don’t Feel Like It

You’re laser-focused on making the business you’re building from home, work.

Or maybe you’re in the trenches of your work and have hit overwhelm. Paralyzed over the thought of making a decision, you become stuck and no longer desire to do much of anything.

Regardless of the process, you eventually begin to neglect some vital things in your life:

  • Eating meals period, let alone healthy meals (and no, a daily protein bar, though filling, doesn’t count).
  • Spending time with family and friends.
  • Showering consistently.
  • Housework.
  • Washing up.

You tell yourself you’ll make time for yourself today, but the “priority” gets pushed back further and further until you decide you’ll, “do it tomorrow.”

But tomorrow never comes.

So how do you make time to take care of yourself when you feel like everything else truly is more important?

Or if you’ve fallen into a depression and can’t lift your little finger without moaning about how big of a waste of time it is.

Listen, I’m still hard at work on this myself. But I’ve learned some pretty cool techniques recently that I’m excited to both try and share with you. Continue reading “How to Make Time for Yourself When You Don’t Feel Like It”

A Shoutout to Everyone During Graduation Time

Keep going, life is a Journey no matter where you are.

//

Life is built upon pleasure and pain, highs and lows. I’ve seen so many people graduate after years of blood, sweat, and tears.

But I’ve also observed many follow a different path. Voluntary or not.

This message is for everyone scared about their future–graduate or not. Continue reading “A Shoutout to Everyone During Graduation Time”