Declare Your Own Independence!

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declare your own independence
Hi beauties!

I hope you spent this wonderful long weekend catching up with friends, hitting the beach, sleeping in, and eating as many burgers as you possibly can. Although I certainly partook in a host of holiday festivities, this year something was a little off. It was a little hard to celebrate in the midst of so many national and global tragedies, especially the burning of a whole series of black churches and Donald Trumps assertion that most Mexicans were criminals. It’s hard to feel for a nation that quite possibly might have a more compassionate culture if it was still owned by the British. I took my moments of reflection in church, and then suddenly a light hit me.

Exactly 10 years ago, I came to one of the most expensive cities in the US and made a life for myself. There have definitely ups and downs. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This is the year to go full gusto! I am mostly there, but I need to tweak some things to help catapult me into the place where I know God wants me to be.

So, here is MY declaration of independence.

1. I declare my independence from credit cards. It starts innocently enough. You need a little help and before you know you are beholden to a bill that’s the same as a down payment on a small house (or a 200 sq ft studio in NYC). I am declaring that if I don’t have it, I don’t have it. It will have to wait. Being financially solvent is more important than any material thing I can “buy”.

2. I declare my independence from an unhealthy work life. Work is supposed to enhance my life, not be my life. During the long days of summer, I declare to leave my office while it is light outside and go out and see some world.

3. I declare my independence from unhealthy relationships. We all have that person. The guy with the killer smile who doesn’t treat you nearly as well as you treat him. The friend who is always in crisis, but when you need to chat is no where to be found. These people are leeches on your personality, time, and energy. Evaluate what you are getting out of your relationships, tweak them if you can, and if not, move on. There is someone else out there who needs a does of your unique awesomesauce.

Let me know! Share your declarations in the comments below or tweet me (@KelDaroe) using #forabeautifullife

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Small Steps Count + July Wallpaper and Worksheet

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Floral desktop wallpaper
DOWNLOAD WALLPAPER HERE: 1920 x 1451 | 1280 x 967 | 1024 x 774 | iPhone + Android

Oh hey July! Didn’t see you coming. Wasn’t it just January?

Where has the year gone? More than half of the year has passed and I am not really sure how I feel about that. On the one hand I am like “yay  161 days until my birthday” and on the other hand I am like “what the heck have I accomplished since January 1st?”

Ever feel like that? 

Chances are you’ve accomplished lots since the start of the new year but like me, you’re probably giving your small steps and small wins the side-eye like “that’s it.”

I am a huge proponent of taking stock of the things going right (and wrong) in your life and celebrating your wins. I do struggle with knowing what “win” warrants a celebration. Should I celebrate hitting publish on that blog post? Should I celebrate creating pretty digital goodies for you to download for a 3rd month in a row? Should I celebrate the fact that I’ve been mostly consistent in checking in with my accountability partner even if my weekly output has been less than ideal? 

Yes, yes, and yes.

Same goes for you too darling. Small steps count.

Small steps toward the goals you’ve set before you are still steps and worthy of celebration. Sure your steps might not be perfect and you may even trip a couple of times but you’re stepping and that is all that matters.

Keep going. Ok.

Make July beautiful and remember small steps count.

BONUS: I had so much fun making and using last month’s worksheet that I made another one. This month we break down our one thing into small steps (and check boxes cause nothing feels better than DONE and CHECK ha!). Sign-up for my newsletter. I’ll be sending printable like these out to my Beautiful Life Makers every month (psst: if you’re already on the list check your in-box for the Small Steps printable).

small steps worksheet

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Dance with Me (Part Deux)

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dance with me vintage black women

In my effort to be the best me I can be and usher in my 32nd year of life, I have been a sweaty, disgusting, growling mess.

That’s right. I have been dancing.

If you are a part of the standard American cubicle village, you probably spend 75 hours on your arse and 40 of those using the virtual world to make your connections and get things done. I am no different. I like typing as fast as I can, getting things off of my to-do list, and checking out with Pinterest. Especially checking out with Pinterest.

But in my quest to get back to my more authentic self, I realize that I am missing connection. Connection as in, like actually touching people. Here in New York City, we play a daily game to see how we can get through the most crowded place in the nation while interacting with the absolute minimum. I find myself putting in headphones even when music isn’t playing to distance myself from the world. Although I did this originally to remain unfazed by the 384 cat calls I receive each day, I have quickly realized that the life I lead is one devoid of hugs, touches, and pats on the back. I am a Southerner. I cannot live like that, ya’ll.

In my effort to get back to what made 13 year old Kel Daroe smile, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time (and even more coins) on the dance floor. Monday is salsa. Wednesday is hip hop. Thursday is tap. Saturday is salsa party My back hurts, but I could not be happier. And the funny thing about happiness is that it can’t be contained. Happiness in one area of your life can’t help but spill into another.

Let me tell you a secret. I am in charge. I go to a job where I am known for getting things done. I stay there for an unreasonable amount of time. I go home to my single apartment, and arrangement that I have had for nearly 15 years. And I live the luxury of not having to ask anyone what I should cook for dinner or if they mind if I wear no pants.

It’s pretty luxurious at times. And other times, pretty freaking miserable. Introspection, therapy, and a session or two with a love coach have let me know that the characteristics that make me superwoman at work have me seem utterly unavailable and invulnerable to one of the things I want most–connection, community, and love.

But on the dancefloor, there is no pedigree. There is no superwoman. I cannot lead. The best I can do is follow. Truthfully, that is a great relief.

Deep down, I can’t change that much. I will still have to call the shots at work and at home. 

But on the floor, I can wait for him to give me a signal and react just in time. I am a girl, apart from current cultural norms and expectations. I am free and I can breathe.

And boy, oh boy, can I dance. 

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