5 Trips Every Girl Should Take This Year!

Travel the only thing you can spend money on that will make you richer.  So how do you travel when money is tight?  Before getting married, I had a money envelope where I would set aside $50.00-$100.00 per check specifically for travel goals.  I started the habit when the Mr. decided he wanted to celebrate his 30th birthday in Germany. Saving for that trip got me into the habit of making travel a priority.  Germany was actually our first time traveling together….EVER.  We stayed there a few days and then road tripped our way to Prague, in the Czech Republic with his best friends where we rang in his 30th birthday!  Wow, that seems like so long ago.  After that, I kept saving so that when it was time for another trip, I already had money saved.  When we got married, I stopped saving for travel and put that money toward saving for a wedding.  I guess I never picked back up the habit of saving for travel.  That ends now!

The goal is to travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.  According to a survey from by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, 55% of Americans did not take all of their vacation days leaving approximately 658 million unused vacation days on the table.  Taking time for yourself is a very important form of self-care which is why I have created this list of vacation ideas that every millennial woman should strive to take this year.  As you sit in cubicle nation or look out of your office window and picture yourself on a sandy beach with a frose’ in hand, just think that this can all be a reality.  Even you don’t get a lot of vacation time (raise your hand if you have been there) you can monopolize on 3 day holiday weekends to make your days stretch.

The Girl’s Trip

The Road Trip

The Couple’s Trip

The Solo Trip

The Staycation

{Every Woman Should} Get to Talking About Finances

I was contacted by Bustle a few weeks ago asking my advice on how I spend and save money.  Since I LOVE to talk about money, I happily obliged.  The thing is, the good folks over at Bustle conducted a survey that revealed millennial women are NOT discussing personal finances with their inner circle of friends.  Seriously chicas, we have got to do better! We will ask suggestions about hair colorist from our girlfriends but we don’t ask about recommendations for certified financial planners.  The fact that women don’t talk about personal finance is not surprising to me.  Some believe it’s because women are not confident in making big financial decisions while others believe women avoid talking about finances for fear of saying something wrong or sounding dumb.  I’m inclined to disagree.  When armed with the proper tools to make sound financial choices, women prove to be just confident, powerful and commanding in their financial choices as our male counterparts.  The results of the survey inspired Bustle to launch the new series Grown-Ass Finances that gets real about what millennial women are doing with their money.  Check out 21 Millennial Women Making $30K To $150K Explain How They Spend And Save Their Money as a brave group of millennial women start the public conversation about money (you might see a tip or two from yours truly in there, as well).  Listen up ladies, the future is female and if we don’t start these conversations now, what will that mean for our financial futures?

Want To Increase Your Happiness, Start Each Day With This….

By definition, gratitude is the quality or feeling of being grateful.  It is a characteristic that some people naturally possess and that others can cultivate to greatly influence one’s overall happiness and well-being.  According to Psychology Today, “studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially the expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy”.    In the spirit of deliberately cultivating gratitude, I plan to start the week with a gratitude list and I invite you to join me.

Make Your Gratitude List

That’s right, grab a piece of paper and pen and take the next minute to make a list of the all the things in the past 24 hours that you are grateful for.  Seriously, don’t spend more than one minute doing this and don’t over think or judge yourself for something that you think is silly.  This exercise is simply to retrain your brain to recognize the daily blessings and the positive things and moments in your life.

Writer and motivational speaker, William Arthur Ward, once said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”  Let’s kick off this week with intention and gratitude and see how our overall happiness and well-being is positively affected.

 

How to Have the Best Monday Ever!

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How Lifestyle Inflation Is Keeping You From Getting Rich

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Rapper Notorious B.I.G. wasn’t lying when he said “mo money, mo problems”.  That because of something called Lifestyle Inflation where your “lifestyle” needs increase as your income increases; thus, keeping you in the same financial situation.  This reality creeps up when people have debt, don’t save, don’t invest.  They don’t keep up with the Joneses, they are the Joneses.  By no means do I believe that one doesn’t deserve nice things.  In fact, I believe no one should have to sacrifice a quality lifestyle because of lack of resources.   A quality lifestyle comes at a price but let’s try to not dig ourselves into a money pit to experience the finer things in life.

CONFESSION OF A  LIFESTYLE INFLATING MILLENNIAL

I remember being at my job out of college and making around an entry level salary. I owned my car outright, had my student loans paid a year in advance, and was on my way to buying my first house. Back then, you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t living a rich life. I wasn’t rich from a financial standpoint but it was the first time where I was “adulting” and was able to fund my lifestyle by myself.  This was a big deal considering a year and a half before that, I was a senior at Spelman College eating pizza at 1:00 am while pulling all-nighters.   As time passed, income changed, and lifestyle needs matured, I found myself “needing” more.  I had to get another car after mine was totaled in an accident but I couldn’t bear the idea of not driving a luxury German car (thanks Dad for that addiction).  I spent money on home decor so I could have a  “magazine ready” home.  I upgraded my wardrobe.  I was making a little money and working with people whose hourly rate was a luxury car note.  I wanted to show my family and friends that I had it all together….that I belonged in my new life.  That all changed when I left a promising career in one field to follow other dreams for another field.  It was in the transition that I started to place a serious effort in saving money and making smarter financial moves.  I had to.  It was my new reality, we were in a recession, and I was no longer constantly surrounded by the Joneses.  I took the time to invest in my own financial literacy so I could better understand how to stretch my money.  This was also around the time she makes cents was born.

BALLIN’ & BROKE

As you vibrate higher so will your expectations of people, experiences,  and things around you. The good thing is there are ways around lifestyle inflation where you can enhance your life without feeling broke. Lifestyle inflation keeps you in a constant state of financial paralysis because your need for “things” is keeping pace with your increasing lifestyle.  That’s how a millennial couple with no kids can feel financially stretched in a $100,000+ income household. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the topics of lifestyle inflating from a millennial perspective and explore opportunities to elevate your life without the elevated price tag.shemakescents-com-1

Steals & Deals | White Pineapple Lamp

I have been obsessed with pineapples before they became a trend. A friend of mine once shared the funniest story about pineapples and since then, every time I saw something pineapple related I thought of him. Being from the south, they are also a welcoming sign of hospitality so it’s no wonder why I incorporating pineapple decor for the shemakescents office was a must.  I was on the hunt to replace my desk lamp since the layout of the new shemakescents office is totally different that where I blogged since 2011.  Then it came down to two options.

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The more expensive lamp gave me the chic and slightly playful design and I wanted to blend into the design.  What it was lacking was respect to my budget.  I kept looking and while shopping at Hobby Lobby one day with my best friend, I found the exact lamp I was looking for; aesthetically and financially.  In fact, I loved it more for the gold accents that match other gold accents in the office.  Retailing at $59.99 + the 40% off coupon that I use EVERY TIME I shop at Hobby Lobby, I ended up paying $36.00 (not including taxes).  This has been my favorite decor steal, thus far, for the shemakescents office!steals-deals-1

Jumpstart Your Week With Action!

I know Monday’s can come with a bit of eek to them.  It represents the end of the leisurely weekend where brunch rules supreme and making time for the things you want to do becomes a priority (#WeekendGoals).  Now it is back to reality and time to prioritize all the things that need to happen to help you be successful throughout the week.  I want you to think about this quote. “You are always one decision away from a totally different life”.  The decisions you make, good or bad, big or small, can have a major impact on the direction your life takes.  I once made the small decision to go see my little sister dance in a recital and I met my husband.  I have a friend who was unhappy with her job but loved her career.  She made the decision to apply to three jobs in three weeks and she now has a signed offer at another company with better benefits and a better salary.  Since following through on a decision requires action you need to think about what actions you make today that will align with your money, career, or lifestyle goals for tomorrow.header-logo-2017

The Biggest Mistake Women Make During Career Introductions

As an avid reader of the Cosmo, I have been a fan of Joanna Coles, former Editor-In-Chief, since her early days of at the magazine.  She expanded the content to career advice, finances, and other less traditional “Cosmo” topics making it my all around go to along with Forbes and Inc.  That’s right, I am a Cosmo girl.  My fan girl experience, with regards to Joanna, went to a level 10 when she liked and retweeted something I wrote back in 2014  about rock star women in business.  I felt like that was a small example of how supportive she is of women and their careers.  She is one of my celebrity mentors (in my mind) that I actually have never met but learn so much from.2

Career Advice from Joanna Coles

While watching episode 1 of So Cosmo, Joanna imparted her wisdom on a group of unsuspecting millennials visiting the Cosmo office.  During an introduction exchange between Joanna and the group, one woman introduced herself  by her first name only.  Joanna explains, “First rule of Joanne Coles, women in particular should always say both names [when introducing their selves].  Women always go, hi, I’m Julie.  You have to go hi, I’m Julie Thompson.  Men never ever worry about doing that.”  She further goes on to explain her rationale behind the “first rule of Joanna Coles” to relationship expert, Matthew Hussey, who overheard the exchange between Coles and the millennials.  “It is very important.  It’s my signature thing. Cause you think of yourself as Matthew Hussey, but if you were a girl you would just think of yourself as Matthew.”


Hello, I am….

In that moment, I replayed several instances when I introduced myself to clients as simply Danielle when my male counterpart would introduce himself first name last name.  While doing a little research about introductions, I found that when people properly introduce themselves by first name last name, the other people is more likely to rememer you and your name.  Remember my whole, Hi nice to meet you, I forgot your name already phase??  Perhaps this would have helped everyone back then.  What I like about the “first rule of Joanna Coles”,  is the expression of assertiveness  and dominance in the first introduction.   It’s like “leaning in” before anyone has even had time to make any judgements, good, bad, or indifferent, and letting them know you are  a boss chick in the room.  If this is the first rule of Joanna Coles, I can’t wait to see what else I learn from my celebrity mentor.She Makes Cents Logo

3 Organic Products That Will Change Your Beauty Routine

I wanted to take a moment and share three game-changing organic products under the $15.00 price point.  Not only have I personally sampled each recommended product, they have now replaced other beauty staples in my daily routine.  While some organic products can be more expensive than their chemically treated counterparts, these are a splurge, if you can even call it that, that is worth the upgrade.  Be good to your body and it will be good to you!

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Charcoal Soap

I’ve been wanting to try charcoal soap for a while after hearing that it removes toxins, pulls all the gross stuff from your pores, and helps with skin issues like my eczema, which conventionally flares during the winter months.  While walking through Atlanta’s  Krog Street Market, I came across this lovely handmade soap shop called Mama Handmade Bath & Body that has since become one of my favorite places to explore there.  While playing with sample oils and inhaling the fabulous scents of the different types of soaps, I found several bars of raw handmade charcoal soap.  I purchased a bar for $8.00 so I could give it a try.  For almost 3 weeks, I have washed my face with this vegan soap and follow-up with the Cerve moisturizer every morning and night.   I knew that it was a naturally anti-fungal and antibacterial soap but was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was loaded with moisturizing oils like avocado, jojoba, and wheat germ.  My face is so clear and smooth and  I have gotten so many compliments on my skin (check out my IG for my Jan 19th selfie…no foundation at all with a little blush!!!) I love that I am not clogging my pores with unnecessary ingredients. 

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Organic Argan Oil

Argan oil, produced from the kernels of the Argan tree, is becoming very popular in the cosmetic world because of the restorative benefits for hair, skin, nails.  I hear it also does wonders for pregnant women with stretch marks.   I was asked to try out a sample of 100% pure Moroccan Argan oil from a brand called Actually Organic and I wanted to see what the hype was all about.

Around the same time the 1 oz bottle of  Argan oil arrived, I have weening myself off gel manicures and was suffering from soft and brittle nails that would break if you just looked at them.  I started moisturizing both my cuticles and my nails and guess what happened… my nails started to grow again. I could even look at them and they would not break.  I then started to use the oil to help heal dry eczema patches on my body and I have really enjoyed the results of smooth nourished skin in these dry winter months.  I originally thought that $12.00 a bottle was a little steep for a 1 oz bottle, but I quickly learned that a little product goes a long way.  This bottle will last me through the August, which is perfect considering Argan oil in its pure form has a 12-month shelf life.  I apply oil to my nails about once a week and I use the oil on my skin to heal specific problem areas like my elbows, inside of my ears (strange, I know), and the crease of my hands. ~ Thank you to the Actually Organic team for providing the She Makes Cents team with this product ~

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Organic Nail Polish Remover

I will be honest, I have had a sample bottle of organic nail polish remover from an old Birchbox for a few months now.  I was cleaning out the house in one of those Kondo Method type of purges when I decided that I would do one of two things with the stockpile of unopened beauty products- use it up or donate to a local women’s shelter.  My 4oz bottle of Soybean and Tea Tree Oil organic nail polish remover from Karma Naturals was on the chopping block because I have always used a standard nail polish remover.  Yes, traditional removers are full of all sorts of harsh chemicals but they always got the job done.  As it was going into the pile of products that would soon be donated, I decided to keep it to see how it removes pink nail polish from my toes.   Compared to traditional removers, it takes a little longer to remove nail polish but that was okay with me once I felt how moisturized my bare toenails were.  It was amazing!!!  I now even take my own bottle of organic remover with my when I go to the nail salon so that they don’t use the harsh remover that I was used to.  This is a vegan and cruelty-free product that has replaced my previous brand FOREVER.

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What The Navient Lawsuit Means for Student Loan Borrowers

The government or more specifically the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)  filed a lawsuit against Navient, the nation’s largest student loan service provider last week. Navient is the twin sister to the head of the student loan mafia, Sallie Mae, Inc. that services the loans of more than 12 million borrowers, including my own.  As a loan service provider, they manage borrowers’ accounts, process monthly payments, and communicate directly with borrowers.  The suit was filed on January 18th  with another following just days before the transition of presidential power.navient-lawsuit

According to the CFPB Director, Richard Cordray, “Navient chose to shortcut and deceive consumers to save on operating costs. Too many borrowers paid more for their loans because Navient illegally cheated them and today’s action seeks to hold them accountable.” Some of the most pressing allegations include failing to correctly apply or allocate borrower payments to their accounts, steering struggling borrowers toward paying more than they have to on loans, obscured information consumers needed to maintain their lower payments and deceived private student loan borrowers about requirements to release their co-signer from the loan.  

What That Means for You?

If this lawsuit is successful, consumers affected by Navient’s alleged misdoings may receive some monetary restitution.  Don’t get too excited yet.  This is not a class-action suit that you can sign up for.  According to ClassAction.org, “Attorneys usually find out those who were affected by looking at the defendant’s records in a phase of the litigation known as the discovery phase. People who could be covered by the suit are usually sent a notice or check in the mail. The agency that filed the lawsuit will also have information on their website about the suit and who can claim money in the event of a settlement”.

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