Saturday, December 30, 2017

How A Blogger Finds Their Purpose



Today is Day 5 of Kwanzaa..

❤️🖤💚 NIA 💚🖤❤️

PURPOSE: To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness. 


For me, this day is intertwined so tightly with Kujichagulia (Day 2) that I had to go back and revisit the quote I paired with this day in reflection. 

"If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive" - Audre Lorde

I live by this quote.

Depending on the day you ask me, my answer will be different in which one comes first. The definition or the purpose. Whether you define yourself, and once you define yourself, you find your purpose; or whether finding your purpose helps you fully and truly define who you are. I could make arguments for both. I have had life defining moments from both.

But what I do know is that EVERYONE HAS A PURPOSE. And everyone's purpose can be an asset to our community.

When it comes to bloggers, influencers, and other social media marketers and networkers... for some reason a common theme I have been noticing over the years is the quick dismissal of our craft. Our GIFTS.

If you are a blogger with an audience, you have a particular gift that God has given you that you have learned how to tap into. 

Bloggers are:


  • Writers - People forget that in order to blog, you have to have some kind of passion for writing. For me, writing has always been a passion of mine. I remember in middle school I would write these short stories and skits, print them out like a "weekly paper" on colorful printer paper and pass them out to my friends, hoping to make them laugh and relate. When I got older, I began writing poetry, I have filled up so many notebooks and journals -- full of poems that hold the happiness, pain, and trauma of a woman's growing pains to adulthood. 
  • Charismatic - Bloggers have a way of drawing people in. You obviously made people want to listen to what you have to say. Give yourself credit for that. Because we live in a world that is QUICK to silence you.
  • Salesman - Lets be honest. I wouldn't be the me that you KNOW always keeps it real with you, if I didn't include this in. Bloggers are growing into this world's #1 marketing tool because of the time WE take to make things look appealing ... (or to let you know it isn't 🙃)
  • Entertaining - The most successful bloggers (and vloggers) usually all have one thing in common. They are entertaining. This is what makes the difference in someone being invested in the article of the moment, or the blogger themselves.
  • Giving - I want to really highlight this one. Because somewhere along the lines, the common narrative for all bloggers/social media influencers is that we ALL are selfie-loving narcissists -- "chasing fame" and doing it by any means necessary. While I understand that there are people out there who will ALWAYS enter ANY career field for the wrong reasons... By far and large, most bloggers out here are just people who needed an outlet to express their creativity. Bloggers not only dedicate hours upon hours on end just to make one thing look visually appealing enough that you will even WANT to take in the helpful advice they're trying to share. But they also publicly open themselves up to you. To the world. They share their thoughts, goals, and dreams with you. They share their FAMILIES with you. Something as simple as wanting to share a picture of you and your significant other becomes that much more heightened as a public figure. Because now people feel ENTITLED to an opinion on your life. 

So with all this being said, understand that it's 2017, it will be 2018 in 2 days. We are no longer in the days where doctor, lawyer & school teacher are the ONLY "dignified" or "legitimate" jobs to have. 

Times are changing. We live in a technology driven world. Now you don't have to clock in at a 9-5 to market to a targeted audience if you don't want to; or have weekly boardroom meetings on strategies for how to make someone else richer and further their dreams. 

Now you can market right from your bed, or outside in the park as you sip coffee. You decide what you want to promote and WHO you want to promote. You can work for yourself. 

That "selfie" that everyone seems to think was so minimal in purpose or impact. The one that actually took HOURS of preparation on the backend... being your own makeup artist, hair stylist, & photographer (or hell, even investing in hiring one). The investment you put into your lighting, camera equipment, operating and editing systems... 

That selfie stopped time for a second and made people want to hear what YOU had to say. Your influence persuaded someone to not give up, try something new, or saved them money on a purchase because of your honesty. 

YOU HAVE IMPACT. 

The thing about being a blogger, as I begin to bring this back full circle to my mantra for this season of my life... you have to be secure in who you are... define YOURSELF and the message you are passionate about. Otherwise, this social media world can be an UGLY place full of people who will dim your light, simply because they don't see the purpose of it (your light) being there. 

So finally...

How do you find purpose and how do you make it apply to your community?

FIND YOU

Find what YOU love and the WAY that you love do it. Don't use anyone else's blueprint and don't let anyone force you into remodeling yours. 

You help your community first and foremost just by succeeding. By beating the odds. 

But then, just like a seed, plant it back into another

I walk in my purpose every single day by encouraging other women (and men) to live in THEIR truths. By supporting my sisters and brothers, and trying to always be a person who speaks LIFE into them, or doesn't speak at all. 

I walk in my purpose knowing that it is not attached to any other person or their agenda for me. 

As a blogger, you find your purpose when you find your voice. 


- F. Amber 💞



Friday, December 29, 2017

My TOP 4 Black Owned Businesses of 2017

What's up, cousins? It's still Kwanzaa 2017 and each day I try to publicly reflect on what each day of Kwanzaa and it's principles mean for me at this stage in my life.

(scroll to middle to jump straight to my favorites)

Today is ❤️💚🖤 DAY 4 - UJAMAA 🖤💚❤️

COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS :

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together. 


For me, buying black is an investment in my community the same way I tithe and invest in my church community. I tithe because ALL of what's mine belongs to God. I have what I have only because He allows me to have it. So I give back to Him only a portion of what He have given to me. I do this through monetary tithing at my church home (because I believe in what they are doing in my community of Birmingham, AL), and I also do this through volunteering my time and other items in my community. 

I apply this same concept to buying black. I invest in my black community because my community (and the communities my parents, grandparents, and ancestors) invests in me. They have invested in me. I get joy out of seeing my brothers and sisters becoming entrepreneurs and succeeding in their own lanes. I've said this before, but I'll say it again. No matter WHAT your passion is: if you have found a way to work for yourself, call your own shots, create your own revenue for a sustainable life for yourself. I SUPPORT YOU. 

I don't "exclusively" buy black. My favorite hair product for a wash and go isn't from a Black Owned Business. My car is German. My clothes aren't all hand-stitched from a black sista. But I make a conscious effort to always support dope black artists, entrepreneurs, and business owners when: a) I believe in their brand 2) I believe in their product 3) I believe in their business practices. 

I am a blogger. Which means I try numerous different things and brands, and share them with you guys so that you can hear first hand from someone you (hopefully) trust. 


UJAMAA for me, doesn't mean that I am confined to ONLY shopping black out of obligation, or to prove some level of "blackness" I need to be... for me, it means finding actual JOY in aiding in the economic advancement of my people in my own ways. 


Now let's jump in. 




(Pictured: Full Low Porosity Hair Care System)

You guys have heard me rant and rant about this product numerous times if you are subscribed to me on YouTube, but especially if you follow me on Instagram. Hands down, these were my favorite hair products of 2017. (IG:kriyabotanicals)

What I love about this line is that it is very specific to your hair type and your hair's needs. It's not just a general "Natural Hair Moisture" product. Because all moisture isn't created equal. Different hair needs different things to reach it's full potential. 

These products are the BEST answer to the question I get at least one time a day: "How do I find products that work well for my hair?"

They have formulated a product line specifically for what YOUR hair is. Whether its: High Porosity, Low Porosity, Curly, Kinky, Wavy, Dry, Itchy, etc)

If I were to recommend one brand to you from this year. This would be it. Not only was I able to try a complete line from start to finish. I have used (and re-used) numerous different products from this line over and over and they hold true to their power. 

My Favorites (hard to choose): Veggies & Herbs Deep Conditioner & Low Porosity Hair Oil 




By now, you have seen this immensely talented sister's work all over not only my apartment, but in some of the very hands of the icons she has painted. (IG: Kashmirviii)

I TRULY have an old soul that is stuck in the 90s and any one of her designs will give a nostalgic feel every time you look at them. 

My Favorite: Different World Print Set 



I was actually able to meet the creator of this brand during my appearance at my very first hair show as a blogger in Hunstville, AL. She told me her story on how her brand came to life from a prayer she sent up to God to help her find relief for the pain her child was having with his teeth. Through that answered prayer came the formula for this amazing organic toothpaste. 

I tested out the toothpaste right there on the spot and saw an INSTANT change in my teeth. You guys are always asking me about my teeth, and I use different things throughout the year, but this brand definitely deserves to be on my life because my teeth never felt or looked healthier than this. 


#4 Eden Body Works

This is obviously the largest brand out of all the brands that I have named on this list. I felt it was important to include this brand, not only because of the amazing products, but also because I think sometimes when shopping black, we tend to give larger companies a hard time, or once they become "big" all of sudden they become the enemy or no longer in need of our support. 

Let's not forget we got them there for a reason. 

That should be our goal for all our business that they grow and thrive beyond measure

I am including this brand because this year is the first year I have really made an effort to try numerous different products from them and nothing disappointed me. Their different deep conditioner options each serve for different times and purposes and I literally found my new favorite leave-in conditioner of all time. 

Coconut Natural Leave-in Conditioner 

This has been the first leave-in conditioner in a long time that I felt confident in enough to even attempt a Conditioner-Only wash and go, and it did not fail me. Not only that, but it blends well with almost all of my favorites. 



Honorable Mentions:

Mielle Organics - I want to mention this brand because I literally have not used a bad product from this brand, period. However, I do not feel like I have used enough of a variety of her products this year to truthfully put them on my list for "top". When first trying these products, because of the price, I stuck with very "safe" items; items I had seen enough reviews on to think I would get a result from. For 2018, I will do more exploring of this brand and branch out to see if my theory holds true. 

Genedor Beauty - This is a brand that I know in my gut is going to make a HUGE wave on the natural hair scene once people start really finding out about this company and using the products for themselves. Not only have I used these products multiple times myself, I have watched other blogger reviews and they feel the same way. This is good stuff. Similar to my thoughts with MO, while my absolute love and adoration for that shampoo and deep conditioner is real. I haven't officially made my first re-purchase yet, it sits honorably here until I can test the theory. 


So how about you guys? What were some of your favorite black owned business you tried this year? What are some of the ones you are excited about trying next year? 


- F. AMBER 💞



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

30 Questions You've Wanted To Ask Me



Over the years as I've built what is now considered a "brand" (but back then honestly wasn't anything more than me wanting to be social with tons of people at one time and share my journey), I've gone through many changes. I've been pretty transparent about some, and rightfully private about others. Being a blogger is a constant game of "checks and balances" between wanting to be genuine and let my readers and followers (lovingly known as my "cousins") know who I am, and owning my right to share only what I want to. 

In the coming weeks, as I embrace a new transition as a result of a recent check and balance with myself, I want to let you guys in a bit more of who I am and what turned me into your "Favorite Country Cousin" that I am today. So I thought it would be fun just play a 21 Questions, if you will:

  1. Are you named after anyone? I actually am. I was given my middle name after the woman who helped raise my mother, my aunt. 
  2. When was the last time you cried? Yesterday watching The Best Man Holiday
  3. Do you have kids? Nope. People always seem to be a little too surprised by this. 
  4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself? Definitely. I'm a great to vent to.
  5. Do you use sarcasm a lot? I speak sarcasm in two languages.
  6. What’s the first thing you notice about people? Hair, shoes, facial expression (in that order)
  7. What is your eye color? Chestnut most days. My eyes will change with moods.
  8. Scary movie or happy endings? Scary
  9. Favorite smells? Clean linen, baby powder, citrus.
  10. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home? Mexico
  11. Do you have any special talents? I do, but I usually don't like saying what they are, I just like for people to find out as they get to know me.
  12. Where were you born? Birmingham, AL
  13. What are your hobbies? Reading, Running, (Recently) Yoga, and Writing
  14. Do you have any pets? Dovie is actually my child... but I chose to act right and answer "no" to children question and "yes" to this "pet" question 🙄
  15. Do you have any siblings? Yes
  16. What do you want to be when you grow up? A self-employed Queen married to a self-employed King, spiritually and emotionally whole, with financial overflow. 
  17. Who was your first best friend? Twins named Celeste & Yngrid
  18. How tall are you? 5'4
  19. Funniest moment throughout School? I'm too high for this question.
  20. How many countries have you visited? 2
  21. What was your favorite/worst subject in High School? Favorite: English/Worst: Math
  22. What is your Favorite drink? Animal? Perfume? This is a random grouping of questions: Grapico, Panda, Black Woman (this is actually the name. Not being "woke").
  23. What would you (or have you) name your children? I'm not telling. Swipers swipe every day out here, b. 
  24. What Sports do you play/Have you played? Cheerleading (yes it is a sport), Gymnastics, Soccer, Track, very minimal amount of basketball. 
  25. Who are some of your favorite YouTubers? Alyssa Forever, Jackie Aina, MahoganyCurls, LovelyTi2002.
  26. How many Girlfriends/Boyfriends have you had? As an adult woman and not counting frivolous high school mess? 3
  27. Favorite memory from childhood? Not paying bills.
  28. How would you describe your fashion sense? If I can't wear sneakers with it, I probably complained about wearing it.
  29. What phone do you have? (iOS v Android?) I will own an iPhone until they don't make them anymore.
  30. Tell us one of your bad habits! Explaining myself.

Check out some of my Chit Chat Videos and Get To Know Me Even More!

How I Got Over Ending An Engagement



How I Met My Boyfriend



My MOST Popular "Chit Chat" Video


My Abuse Story