What I Learned About Shopping On a Budget…

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I know some of you are probably tired of hearing about my experience at the 2014 Pinky Promise Conference, but that doesn’t matter because it was such an awesome conference that I can’t be quiet about it lol. So on one of the days of the conference, there were a couple of workshops. I attended the “Shopping On a Budget” workshop given by Jennifer Richardson. Jennifer is a budget/thrifting/couponing/saving money while still looking glamorous genius lol. I learned so much from that workshop and have already started implementing some of the things I learned. A friend of mine, Teresa, asked me to share what I learned at the workshop so I decided to do this blog. I mean it would be a crime…it would be downright selfish of me to not share all of this wonderful information. Seriously, you can look like a million bucks without even having to spend a fraction of that lol.

Jennifer Richardson gave us many great tips during the conference. One of the key ones is to don’t pay full price. I used to think that this was absurd especially after watching my dad negotiate for a lower price anytime we went shopping, but it is actually wise. Simply ask if they have any special discounts or if they can give it to you for a lower price…haggle if you have to lol. But seriously, a closed mouth don’t get fed so ask! And if they are not willing to give it to you for a cheaper price, shop around. Yes, this requires more work, but it will save you money even if it’s just a few dollars…that’s a few dollars still in your pocket. Another great tip she gave us is to start shopping for next year now. For instance, it’s best to start shopping for next summer in July and August since that’s when retailers began trying to get rid of that stuff to make room for their fall collections. That means that you will see all the clearance, 50% off signs, etc. The best time to shop for next winter is in January and February. I never knew this stuff! She also said to shop at thrift stores and vintage stores. I have never been one to go to thrift stores, but she showed us some of the pieces she found in thrift and vintage stores and I was amazed! You would have thought that she spent her entire paycheck on these items, but nope she spent barely anything! She said the key is to take your time and go through every item. Don’t just rush through, take your time and you will find some nice items.

While at the conference, we had a clothing swap, which was so much fun. Basically, you bring in clothes, shoes, or jewelry that are in pretty good condition, but you haven’t worn since who knows when and are just collecting dust. Then you go through each other’s clothes and take the items you want. It’s shopping without having to spend any money! It was so awesome…I would love to personally thank whoever came up with this genius idea of a clothing swap. Here’s a pic of a few of the goodies I got:

 

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I got two cute dresses and an infinity scarf. Both are in pretty good condition other than having to replace the zipper on the black dress.

You could get together with a bunch of your friends and do a clothing swap in your home. Not only do you get to save money, you get to bond with friends…it’s shopping without even having to face the crowds and you don’t have to spend a dime. What more could you ask for??? There’s also a website for clothing swaps in your area. Just go to www.clothesswap.meetup.com

Jennifer told us about some great websites and apps to check out. Most of us know about amazon.com, zappos.com, and justfab.com. I always go on amazon, but never for clothes…just books and cellphone cases lol. Just the other day I went on their site to check out their clothes. Initially I was turned off by some of their prices, but I kept searching and found some cute stuff for $15-30. With amazon, you just have to search through thoroughly and you will be surprised at what you find.

Some of the apps Jennifer mentioned were scout mob, snip snap coupon, red laser, and listia. I have only had the chance to fully explore listia. This app/website is amazing! Basically you auction off stuff that’s just sitting around your house collecting dust and taking up space. It can be anything, from clothes to appliances…anything you want to get rid of just post it. You determine the length of your auction, the starting bid, whether or not you’re going to do free shipping. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah that sounds nice, but how much is it?” That’s the best part, no money is involved! Well, let me clarify. Money is only involved if you bid on an item in which the seller has decided to not do free shipping. So, how do you get items and what’s the point? Here is how it works: instead of using money, you get credits. You get credits for the things you auction, credits for joining, credits for logging in, credits for commenting, etc. Basically there are a variety of ways to get credits. With those credits you can bid on items or if it’s a GIN (get it now) item, you can pay the full amount of credits and automatically win the auction. I have already won two items and I currently have a few auctions going on, one of which is doing extremely well (it’s up to over 5000 credits!). I bid on the cutest belt and top. The belt works as a nice accessory to add to dresses or long tops to cinch the waist and give your outfit that “pop” lol. The top is sooooooo pretty! It’s a bright yellow and beautiful and just looks gorgeous! I will post pics once I get them in the mail. I only had to pay for shipping on the top, which only cost me $6. Now this shirt would probably be sold in a store for $20-30 and I got it for $6 and 500 credits. The belt I pretty much got for free since I didn’t have to pay for shipping. I did the GIN, which came out to a little over 2000 credits and the bonus of free shipping! This website is truly amazing. People auction off some really nice items. It’s like ebay, but without having to come out of pocket and if you do have to come out of pocket it’s only for shipping. The people on there are really nice and will help you figure out how to maneuver the website.

Now there is much more I could share, but this post is becoming fairly lengthy so I will leave you with this: use wisdom when shopping. Become the coupon queen. If you have a friend that is an expert at couponing or thrifting, ask them to take you under their wing! That’s what I’m doing. One of my friend’s, Emily, is the thrifting queen. I told her to let me tag along the next time she goes thrifting. Saving money is a good thing. You can honestly look glamorous without going broke or going into debt. There are even online thrift stores for those who just hate having to go shopping in any store and some of those sites even offer free shipping, such as www.atticclothes.com. Also, check out Jennifer Richardson’s online boutique: recessionistascloset.com. I checked out the site and she has cute items for reasonable prices!

All you have to do is search and you will find amazing finds at ridiculously cheap or at least reasonable prices! Shopping on a budget allows you to look great without going home crying because of the status of your bank account. If you have any tips or know of any great websites, apps, ect., please comment below! Don’t hoard your knowledge, share it!

How Do you Handle Criticism?

deeper-conversation

As I mentioned in my last post (A Life Changing Experience | The Journey of a Daughter of the King), I attended the 2014 Pinky Promise Conference last week and there were some things that God ministered to me. God placed it on my heart to share something else He ministered to me. He spoke to me about criticism. Whenever I hear the word criticism, I cringe. I have always thought of that word in a negative sense. Whenever I feel like someone is criticizing me, I often get on the defensive and become downright angry. During quiet time at the conference, the Lord gave me a scripture to read that is about criticism in the Biblical sense. He led me to read Proverbs 27:5, “An open rebuke is better than hidden love!”.  After reading that scripture, I was just like, “Okay Lord, what are You trying to tell me?” He then began to minister to me about how I react to my mom when she lovingly corrects me. I literally shut down on my mom and, in my head, I feel like she’s being mean and judgmental. He showed me that she’s not trying to be mean to me or put me down, she’s trying to help me. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” What does that mean? That means that there are going to be times when our friends, family, etc. are going to correct us when we are wrong and that “criticism” is going to hurt, it’s going to sting, but it’s for our own good. Those who tell us what we want to hear instead of the truth are not really trying to help us. If anything, they are setting us back. God further ministered to me about this topic this morning. Proverbs 29:1, “Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.” Destroyed beyond recovery???? I don’t know about you, but those words terrify me! All those times I gave my mom attitude because she was correcting me…that could have led to me being destroyed beyond recovery meaning no coming back. I thank God for not allowing that to happen, but I know if I continue to refuse to accept criticism or respond in anger when I am being lovingly corrected, His mercy will run out. We need those in our life who are going to correct us when we are wrong, those who are not going to sugarcoat things, but tell it like it is. I’m not talking about those who are really trying to discourage and break us down. I’m talking about those who truly love us and because they have our best interest at heart, they are going to tell us what we need to hear no matter how difficult it may be.

Galatians 6:1, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path…” As brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our job to lovingly correct one another. It makes it so much easier for our siblings in Christ to correct us when we actually listen instead of going off and giving them a piece of our mind. Yes, receiving criticism is hard…it requires us to put aside our pride and humble ourselves. Our job is to listen, and then take that criticism before the Lord and ask Him to reveal our heart to us. Another thing is that at times God will correct us through our siblings in Christ so when we reject that correction, we are actually rejecting God’s correction. Revelation 3:19 says that Jesus corrects and disciplines everyone He loves. When we reject His correction, we are in turn rejecting His love for us. How we respond to criticism also demonstrates whether or not we are wise. Proverbs 9:8-9, “So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more.” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a mocker is “a person who causes repeated emotional pain, distress, or annoyance to another.” I do not want to be labeled as a mocker, I want to be seen as wise and in order to be wise, I must accept correction no matter how painful it is.

Remember that those who love you will correct you when they are wrong. They are not going to tell you what you want to hear, but they will tell you what you need to hear. Humbly receive that criticism, take it before the Lord, and allow Him to correct you and transform you. It will be painful, but it will be so worth it in the end…you will become more and more of the person God has created you to be.

A Life Changing Experience

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This year I had the privilege of attending the 2014 Pinky Promise Conference, which was beyond incredible. For those of you who do not know what Pinky Promise is, it is an organization created by Heather Lindsey in which she encourages women to pursue Jesus and lead a holy, pure life (i.e., save yourself for marriage). It’s also a sisterhood for women to uplift and encourage one another in their Christian walk. It’s a remarkable organization with an anointed leader. If you haven’t already, check out the website www.pinkypromisemovement.com

The Lord put it on my heart to share with you all my experience at the conference and all that He ministered to me. Let me just say that every single woman that attended that conference left a changed woman. I mean the way that God showed up…the way that His Presence fell on that place…we could not help but leave there changed! All of the speakers were phenomenal and truly allowed the Holy Spirit to lead them. Heather said she’s going to post the videos of the speakers on her site so when you get a chance, definitely go check it out.

On Friday and Saturday morning of the conference, we had quiet time. Quiet time was truly a life changing experience for me…God really ministered to me. During quiet time, all the women met in the ballroom to pray (either individually or in groups) while worship music played in the background. During quiet time, God began to reveal my heart to me…He began to show me some unforgiveness in my heart that I was unaware of because I suppressed it…He began to reveal somethings to me about myself that were not easy to accept. You see, I thought that I had my Christ walk together…don’t get me wrong, I knew I was far from perfect, but there were certain things like unforgiveness that I was sure I wasn’t struggling with…boy oh boy was I wrong! God ministered to me about friendships. A few years ago, I was part of a ministry in which a couple of my siblings in Christ hurt and disappointed me. I thought I had forgiven those individuals, but in reality I forced them and those hurts they inflicted to the back of my mind so that I wouldn’t have to think about it. I didn’t realize it, but because I didn’t lay them and the pain I felt at the feet of Jesus, that pain kept me from allowing others get close to me. This is what God told me,

“You have let past friendships that have ended badly harden your heart instead of laying those people and the pain they inflicted at My feet. Because you have held on to this pain, you have put up a barrier preventing others from getting close to you. When others try to get close to you, you hold them at a distance…you only let them get so close to you…you only let them get a glimpse of the real you in order to protect yourself from getting hurt. Although you’ve been able to protect yourself from getting hurt, it was at the expense of some rich and rewarding fellowship and friendships.”

That absolutely wrecked my heart…I honestly did not realize I was doing that, but the more that I thought about it, the more I could see how I did shut people out in order to keep myself from getting hurt again. I just began to cry out to God…pour my heart out to Him, asking Him to help me truly give the past to Him and move forward so that I can experience the friendships He meant for me to have. I asked Him to show me what to do to change and He gave me my answer the next day during quiet time. That next day we were asked to pray and intercede for others so we got into groups of two and more. I got into a group with 3 other women in which we prayed for one another. As we were praying, I could feel a heaviness on one of the women. I tried to ignore it, but the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me so I asked the Holy Spirit what He wanted me to do about it. He told me to go and put my arm around her. Now, for those who know me, y’all know that is way out of my comfort zone. I’m one of the least affectionate people…I wasn’t always that way, but, as mentioned before, my barriers I put up around me kept me from being affectionate. Anyway, I started trying to convince the Holy Spirit that He did not want me to go and put my arm around this woman. I was like, “Holy Spirit, are You sure You don’t want me to just pray for her? Prayer is very powerful!” If you have never experienced the Holy Spirit tugging on your heart, this is how it feels: it’s like a nagging pulling that you can feel all the way to the depths of your soul…it’s a relentless tug…you have no peace or rest until you do what the Holy Spirit has told you to. So now I couldn’t just go back to praying and interceding because I could not even focus! Finally, I put aside my fears and concerns, and scooted myself next to that woman and put my arm around her. As soon as I did that, one of the other women in our group came and started praying for the woman. The woman broke down crying, but it was okay because she had her sisters in Christ there to uplift and comfort her. Now just imagine if I hadn’t obeyed the Holy Spirit. Would the other woman have come over and started praying? What about the woman who was hurting? Would she have left quiet time with that heaviness on her heart? While I was comforting my sister in Christ, the Lord began to minister to me again,

“The remedy to a hardened heart and breaking down barriers is helping and comforting others as I lead you, My child. You must walk in obedience. Obedience allows Me to shape and mold you into the woman I have called you to be. It is through that obedience that you submit to My will for you.”

Just imagine if I hadn’t obeyed the Holy Spirit? Do you think God would have still given me that revelation? I doubt it…or I would have gotten it much later. For those of you reading this, I don’t know what your situation is or what you are going through, but if you have any unforgiveness in your heart, lay it at the feet of Jesus. If you are unsure of whether or not you have unforgiveness in your heart, let me help you out…you know that friend that betrayed you, how do you feel when you see a post from them on Facebook or Instagram? Does anger flare up inside of you? Do you start to think negatively about that person? Then, yes you have unforgiveness in your heart. Maybe it’s not unforgiveness in your heart…maybe fear is holding you back…lay it at the feet of Jesus. 1 Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God,  for He cares about you.” God cares about every single aspect of your life. He cares about when you are hurting, but He doesn’t want you to  hold on to those hurts allowing them to harden your heart. A hardened heart prevents you from feeling and if you can’t feel, how in the world are you supposed to have relationships and friendships? Give all that hurt to God and allow Him to mend your broken heart…let Him make you whole again, and as the Holy Spirit leads you to do something, walk in obedience. Your obedience will allow God to do great and mighty things in your life.

 

 

 

 

One Lovely Blog

Just Shadae

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The wonderful Life in 100 words took me by surprise and nominated me for this award! Thank you so much. And if you haven’t checked her blog out I highly suggest you do. Positively AMAZING.

Requirements:
-Thank and link person(s) who nominated you
-List rules and display the award
-Share 7 facts about yourself
-Comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated

Facts:
1. Apple sauce & bread is my favorite snack. I accidentally mixed it back in 4th grade and have been addicted since.

2. When it’s late I like to dance around my room in my underwear to old school music. It’s really funny.

3. I Keep all of my blog things in a huge binder by my bed. My fiance laughs at me because of it.

4. I have hand in hair syndrome. Like I love my hair and so do my hands…

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Real Brown Girls: Launch Party

Just Shadae

I may have lied, it isn’t really a party lol But Real Brown Girls has been collecting features, short stories, etc… from brown women ALL over the globe. They’re representing and showcasing the journeys of so many women and getting the word out their about the different things they dabble in. I’ve been so excited for them to launch their site, just so I could tell the world to add RBG to their blog roll! You all should give it a look when you’ve got the time! It really is a beautiful and creative site. And while you’re at it be sure to check out my feature ?

-Peace&Love

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