New Year Do’s and Don’ts

Last year around this time, I had never felt lonelier, as financially frustrated or emotionally fragile. So when 2020 emerged, I was ready to leave 2019 for a fresh new start. Not even Miss Cleo could predict what was to come. Technically the CDC and supposedly Bill Gates did, but I digress. The point is, like millions of others I started the new year with a long list of things I wanted to change. 2020 had its own plans. It came in like a ball of acid wrecking everything in its sight. Day to day plans disintegrated and life stood still as the calendar days painstakingly ticked away. Time was no longer measured by how much was done, but how many survived. Welcome to a new reality.

I’ve decided to take a few things I’ve learned from 2020 into 2021 with me. Here’s my list of New Year Do’s and Don’ts.

Don’t Create New Year Resolutions. If you want to do something you’ve never done or have put off-then just do it! You don’t have to wait until the beginning of the year to be a better you. One thing that 2020 has taught us is time waits for no one. We might not get the opportunity to do it later. Start now!

Do Create a Vision Board. Grab a stack of old magazines or photos, a pair of scissors, glue or tape and a poster board and get to visioning! A vision board captures the things you love and desire through photos and fun graphics, leaving you feeling inspired to explore, dream and crush your goals. Love to travel? Find images of all the places you’ve been and would like to go. Wanna lose weight? Rather than staring at “Go to Gym” and feeling instant anxiety, a water bottle image or photo of a mountain/hiking trail map can calmly communicate the need to practice a healthy lifestyle . Ultimately, a vision board gives life to your goals. Seeing an image of what you want to accomplish allows yourself to see the finish line even if you haven’t started yet.

Do Put Family First. 2020 taught us that some things can wait. Spending time with your loved ones isn’t one of them. Distance learning and remote work has created its own challenges, but the biggest plus has been more quality time together in the home. As the world returns back to long office hours and no days off, remember to keep family first. Whether it’s family dinner at the table or a quick meal together on the couch, it’s the effort that counts. Don’t forget a check-in call to friends and family afar goes a long way.

Don’t Stop Safe Practices. Listen, going into 2021 is not going to magically erase the pandemic. Even if the fairy god scientists eradicate COVID from the face of earth when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, let’s continue to give random strangers 6 feet of personal space and follow precautions. Too many times I’ve encountered that person that stands way too close for comfort in line at the bank or grocery store. We all deserve to have our own little bubble. My motto all 2021 is please don’t stand in my bubble! Oh, and it should go without saying that we should all continue to stay at home if you’re sick. Parents, stop dropping your sick kids off at school and if you’re sick yourself, don’t go into work! This also goes for businesses, please keep your hand sanitizer dispensers filled and carts wiped clean year round! May we all continue to be safe and healthy in 2021.

Do Have A Back Up Plan. Life can go astray and jobs can be lost in a blink of an eye. Having a second source of income is essential. Side gigs can range from a hobby that pays to charging for a service. My son created his business, Art Effect Kid, in the middle of the pandemic. He drew a picture representing the Black Lives Matter protest, in which I shared on social media. Almost immediately I began receiving requests for t-shirts of his art. After a bit of research, we soon began selling Art Effect Kid shirts…lots of them! I then purchased a LLC, obtained a seller’s permit and opened a bank account. The earnings aren’t enough to send him off to college, but it’s a start to generating extra income. Like my son, many adults have talents that they never thought could be lucrative. I challenge everyone in the new year to push themselves creatively and financially.

Christmas Magic or Just A Bunch of Smoke?

Let’s talk about the magic of Christmas. You know, Santa and his crew sliding down chimneys leaving presents for good little boys and girls and lumps of coal for those who have been naughty. Is it all a bunch of smoke? Is it fair to believe in Santa when so many families are struggling financially especially during COVID? I saw this post online and wanted to share my thoughts.

I am part of the guilty parents committee that still leaves presents from Santa for my kid. Last year, Santa delivered a hoverboard, an action camera, and a VR headset. Even though he’s 12 now, he chooses to still believe. Trust me, I have tried to convince him to let Santa come for the little ones but he looked me dead in the eyes and declared that Santa must come this year. Looks like Santa will be creeping through our sliding door again this year (our alternative entrance since we don’t have a chimney!). While writing this post, I asked my son what does Santa represent for him. He responded it’s the excitement of opening different gifts on Christmas morning. Gifts from Mom, aunties, uncles, grandparents…and Santa. It doesn’t matter if it’s one gift per person it’s the idea that he received love from so many people on this day and for an only child that’s major.

So let’s tackle the first sentence in ALL CAPS, might I add, from the post-Stop telling kids expensive gifts are from Santa. I understand that other kids aren’t as fortunate. Hell, I was that “other kid”. Growing up we knew Christmas as Jesus’ Birthday and that’s all. Gifts under the tree weren’t ever from Santa, but like many kids, we watched the Christmas Story and all the other sappy, make believe movies about Christmas magic. I remember one year getting jeans (ugh, getting clothes for Christmas as a kid is the absolute worst) and a used (it wasn’t even in a box) Easy Bake Oven when my sister and I already had one. It didn’t get any better when we later visited our cousins’ house and saw all the cool stuff they got for Christmas that we didn’t. Based on my memory, that was the worst Christmas ever. But we never blamed Santa, we blamed our circumstances. Our mom was raising four kids on her own and money was always tight. Truth is, when you’re poor the fantasy is that Santa always has more money than your parents! A gift from Santa is exactly what we needed as kids.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I go into debt on Christmas just to impress my kid. It does mean that I use all the resources I can to make this day as magical as possible, even when the gifts are donated, discounted, refurbished, or used. When I was making minimum wage, I received Toys for Tots donations to place under the tree from Santa. When I couldn’t afford a huge tree, I decorated a small tabletop tree from the thrift store. Even with the advancement of my career, I still buy refurbished electronics and shop for the best deals. The hoverboard last year was from his Granddad that agreed to say the gift was from Santa. More importantly, I remind my son of the true meaning of Christmas, as we watch Christmas movies together, bake cookies, drive around to see Christmas lights, and bond. I even leave a bit of “Santa dust”, where I sprinkle a trail of flour and glitter on the floor to show Santa was here. In my opinion, it’s the magic of Christmas that makes kids feel good enough. A $10 toy from Santa can feel like a million bucks in a warm and loving home. It doesn’t take a lot of expensive toys or a huge budget to create Christmas magic and it doesn’t hurt to say a really good gift that you worked hard for is from Santa.

Join the discussion below. Do you think it’s not fair if Santa leaves some kids socks and others a hoverboard? Does it make a difference if the hoverboard was from a parent and the socks were from Santa?

A Letter To Society

Comparison is the thief of joy. This also goes for when others compare you to the norm. For so long, I questioned why I wasn’t more a certain way. The answer is simple: life isn’t meant to be lived in a box.

Dear Society,

You can keep your box.

For so long I questioned why I didn’t enjoy the monotone, barely there, beige is the new black-modern, minimalist decor aka be like the Kim Kardashian’s of the world. Fact is, I’m more of a Drew Barrymore. A wild flower that doesn’t want to be picked. The things I love most have a story to tell. That rug. Found buried under boxes at a garage sale. That lamp. Found at a thrift shop-surprised it actually works. That couch. Found sitting in a driveway and when it was too big to fit in my car, the owners loaded it in their vehicle and delivered it for free!

If everything is too new, too perfect, too perfectly placed, the space itself loses its soul. Treasured finds are constantly in rotation, drifting from room to room in search of the perfect home. And when I no longer feel a connection, I store them for a later inspiration or release them back into the universe. From thrift it came, to thrift it return.

This also reflects my philosophy on life. My closest friends are those who were drawn to me, where the bond was instant. When I feel a shift in energy, I pause to give it a chance to autocorrect and, if not, I give myself permission to walk away. I am incapable of making decisions too far in advance. I leave things up to chance and honor how I feel at the moment. I embrace small doses of chaos and the unknown, if everything is too perfectly still and predictable the normalcy drives my crazy.

I’ve learned to accept my oddities. Move that rug for the hundredth time unapologetically. Avoid accidents as I swerve across multiple lanes to follow an estate sale sign. I’ve learned to be more of ME and love every indecisive, need to get a grip, so what if this doesn’t match I’m wearing it, unrelenting, wild child minute. And although I may look back from time to time and wish I was more like the rest, I know no matter how hard I try, the box will never fit.

Life Lessons

For the past 6 months I’ve been completing what should have been a 5-day inspirational plan titled How Do I Find My Calling? This plan helped me to dig deep and reach the surface of my insecurities. A much needed soul cleansing. I’ve decided to share the plan and a few of my responses.

Question: If you could do anything you wanted to do, you had unlimited time to get further training, unlimited money, and you could not fail, what would you do?

My Response:

  • Be a writer/journalist
  • Own a consignment/vintage/thrift store

Task/Assignment: When discerning your calling, it is helpful to give a thoughtful examination of your life. Note what you have enjoyed doing and feel like you have done well. List at least three illustrations in each period of your life: grade school, junior high, high school, college, post-college.

  • What kinds of challenges trigger your motivations.
  • How and why you are motivated to learn.

MY RESPONSE: I realized a common denominator throughout my entire life is CREATIVITY and more importantly using CREATIVITY TO EXPRESS MYSELF when going thru personal challenges. When work and life is overwhelmingly stressful (my trigger) I cope by immersing myself in a CREATIVE project (my motivations).

My BUSINESS side is what keeps me motivated to learn. It’s my strong side; my “get her done”. It’s the side of me that excels in the workplace and walks confidently in a boardroom. She is relentless and goes after whatever she wants. Unfortunately, there 
comes a point where I become tired, bored or not challenged enough, or even afraid of my own strength (my trigger) which motivates me to switch to creative projects (my motivations).


Final Conclusion: So often I feel torn between my CREATIVE and BUSINESS side. My feelings are if I’m in creative mode, then I’m not focused on business (work/real-life responsibilities). As of now this blog represents my creative side. After  my uncle passed away I found the motivation to begin my blog, but truthfully the idea long existed. Dealing with loss gave me the courage to follow a dream. It was the push I needed. I’m still working on establishing a business from my creative talents. I’ve been dreaming about it, mentally developing a business plan, secretly researching ideas and opportunities. I just need another push to bring both worlds together-for good.


I challenge you to answer these questions for yourself. What have you learned about your own triggers?


Motivated By Death

As I travel to say my goodbyes to my dear uncle who suddenly passed away from pancreatic cancer, I can’t help but notice all the empty promises I have made, the to-do list I never finished and the dreams I half accomplished.

At this moment, life has never felt shorter. As the scripture resonates within my soul, no one knows the day or hour.  By acknowledging death we are truly able to live for today. It is when we overlook and underestimate time that it catches us off guard and desperately unprepared. I know that one day we must all leave this earth, so from this moment on I choose to be motivated by the present. For it is what we do in the present that dictates our life after death.


Bloggin’ Ain’t Easy

Pimpin’ ain’t easy and neither is Bloggin’

When I decided to live true to my creative self, I thought that setting up a blog would be nice and easy.  Fast forward a few months later and I haven’t done much… besides posting this blog… on me not having done much!

Every so often I have to remind myself that there is no competition. I’m in my own lane, more like the slow, right lane versus the left. Creative processes take time and I’ve got plenty of it. So whether I post every week or once a year… it doesn’t matter as long as I make myself proud.

Here’s a sticker to anyone else who needs to be reminded to breathe, take your time and make YOUrself proud.

Ungracefully Leaping

“Life remains unchanged till a leap of faith runs towards heaven”  

Life is about taking chances. It is through these leaps of faith that we uncover our strong and successful selves. Moving from South Carolina to New Mexico was definitely not as graceful as I would’ve hoped. Leaving my loved ones to live in an unfamiliar place felt more like a crash-landing. I didn’t have a clue of the true happiness and adventures that awaited me. What once was a strange land has blossomed into a home away from home.  Through EllaBea, I am excited to share my moments of truth.