Author Archives for Camille M

3 Reusable Products to Keep You OUT of the Stores

In the age of COVID-19, aka Coronavirus, where you can’t find toilet paper, I’m reminded that I could do better at conservation. In the past couple of years, I started looking for ways to cut back on how many products I consume, whether it was to play my part in saving the environment or saving a couple of bucks each month. Now that I’m trying to stay out of the stores, I’m glad I started this particular journey.

Here are three items I’ve started using:


Thinx Logo
  1. Thinx Period Underwear
    Thinx developed washable, reusable, STYLISH period panties, helping you ditch or ease off use of tampons and pads. They offer various panties that can withstand the beginning to end of your monthly cycle. They also offer tween/teen sizes, which I think is a great way to get youngsters involved in conservation efforts and aids in normalizing menstrual cycles. Plus the company makes a concerted effort to give back to local and global communities. And Thinx isn’t the only reusable period pantie brand out there, so do your due diligence and find what works for you.

  1. Wool Dryer Balls

Dryer balls are a great alternative to single-use dryer sheets. Whether they’re wool, plastic, or whatever, they can reduce drying time and static electricity. Most importantly, they are reusable! Save your coins people!
If you’re planning on sticking to dryer sheets, please consider using them to pick up dust around the house after their turn in the dryer.


  1. Reusable Cotton Rounds
    Social distancing is uber important right now, but if you’re like me, you sometimes relax your good habits when you’re staying in the house. A new breakout reminded me to get back onto my beauty regimen. I use these with my toners, DIY oil cleanser, and quick mid-day refreshers. The set of 16 reusable cotton rounds comes in a cinch pouch. I keep the clean rounds in a container on my vanity and gather the used ones in the pouch. Once they’re all used, I throw them in the laundry, and they come out looking brand new.

Well that’s all I have for now but I’d love to hear what reusable items you’re using in your home.

Stay safe!

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Reflections Before Laundry

I was feeling a smidge emotional this morning before I hit the laundry pile, so I decided to clickity-clack on my keyboard to lay down some reflections.

When I lost my sister, I was so young. Losing her hit me, but what broke me was the pain I felt through my parents pain. That’s the empath in me. I felt their pain and the love they had for my sister. Love is what got them through.

Through the years we experienced other losses. Another major hit was when my mom lost her own mother. Her pain was something she expressed regularly. But in true form, Mom persisted. She loved her mommy. I felt that love each time she spoke of Mavis Adams. Love is what got her through.

I broke again when I lost my Mom two years ago. But no matter how fresh the pain, I’m so grateful for her example of surviving through loss. I can feel the love, relish the memories, see the light in my children and take life one day at a time. How my Mom lived her life is probably one of the greatest gifts I will ever receive.

So although I cannot pick up the phone and call her; although I cannot hear her sunshine voice yell out one of my many pet names; although she’s not physically here with me, I will always have her in my heart and soul. She’s with me in everything I do, say and experience. Love is what will get me through.

I love you Mommy!

I love Costco, period.

To know me is to know my love for Costco. Never heard of Costco? Well, what rock have you been living under? Costco is a global warehouse club providing discounted quality products and services for individuals and businesses alike. My husband and I are walking, breathing commercials for them (sadly, we do not get paid for all this love). In fact, lifetime goal #14 is to visit each Costco warehouse outside of the US and report on the experience.

Whenever I plan a vacation in the US or abroad, I check to see if there is a nearby Costco and make a point to visit it. I’m pretty good about these vacation visits except that one time in Puerto Vallarta. Hubby and I were on our *baecation and were loving it up so much we couldn’t bear to leave the adults-only, all-inclusive resort. Teeheehee. And yes, I purchased that getaway through Costco Travel. 😁

(I literally can hear my sisters cackling at me right now. 🙄) 

What’s ironic is when I was younger, I didn’t see the value in box stores and warehouses. All I saw was my parents buying everything in mega-major quantities, and that’s it. And then in our mid 20’s, and before having children, my husband and I didn’t need a 50 pack of toilet paper or a 20 lb bag of coffee beans. Then hubby and I had our first daughter. All of a sudden, I needed all the coffee. And diapers. Then we had another daughter and needed a lot of everything, especially sleep. Sadly, you cannot buy sleep from Costco, but you can buy melatonin.

It was years into having our Costco membership before we realized we had access to many more savings. We saved money on furniture, electronics, appliances, diapers, tires, medication, produce, meat, diapers, wine, and clothing.

Our purchases were high-quality items at a fraction of the cost at other retailers. And let’s not even talk about the food court and free samples!
Over the years, as our incomes and household budget have grown, we’ve started looking at Costco as a means to save on the “nice to have” items, you know- life’s little luxuries. Want a new car? Check out Costco’s auto buying program to save thousands on your new ride. Want to experience all the health benefits of a sauna? Head to Costco.com to choose from several quality brands of in-home saunas. Want a European vacation? You know what I’m going to say.

Ask me where I got my mahogany wood bedroom furniture, espresso machine, luggage set, or my latest pair of UGGs. Ask me where I bought the oxtails for my Guyanese cookup rice. Costco! Costco! Costco! I don’t need these things dammit, but I sure do enjoy having them. I lie- I need the oxtails.

I love Costco because we can purchase products and services to improve our quality of life (sauna anyone?) and quality ingredients to make healthy, inexpensive meals to feed our family. Before Costco, I would have balked at the price of a pork rib roast for a family dinner, but because of Costco, we purchased a 6 pound one for $9 after a discount. And even when we become empty nesters, my husband and I know we will retire near one of the worldwide Costco’s because who can resist a $1.50 hotdog and drink combo? Even better, Costco’s across the world offer local foods in their food courts. I can imagine hubby and me on a lunch date in a Tokyo Costco enjoying fresh sushi.

It’s not just what I get from Costco that has me hooked; it’s also the high regard for their customers and employees. The majority of interactions I’ve had with Costco employees- instore, corporate and customer service reps- has been pleasant. I don’t feel like I am inconveniencing them by merely shopping there or needing assistance. I feel like a valued member. And you can tell the employees are treated well. Next time you’re in Costco, take a look at the year on the employees’ name badges. Most have been around for a couple of decades. Costco makes a point to promote from within. The company offers career growth and exceptional benefits and pay. Recognition and good pay? That equates to loyalty. Employee loyalty, coupled with quality customer service, results from a customer-centric organizational culture. Employees are empowered to deliver the type of experience they would expect to receive as a warehouse member. (I know these things because my badass alter-ego is a CCXP, MBA, and PMP and founder of business consulting firm Maze Consulting LLC And yes that was a shameless plug.)

My membership to Costco has allowed me to be a more savvy consumer, and more knowledgeable about the care and wellbeing of myself and my family. Through my membership, I experience more luxuries than I would have dreamed of just a few years ago.

Stay tuned for my next blog post about why I’m finally okay with and got over the guilt and shame of having nice things.

Are you a Costco or other warehouse member?

Have you made any surprising purchases from Costco?

*baecation is a vacation with your bae or boo thang

Resolutions or Affirmations?

Now that we’re in a new year and a new decade, I’m thinking about what most people are thinking about- regardless if they make them or not: resolutions. I have never been in the habit of making resolutions, probably because of that whole “fear of failure” thing. But I’m no therapist; what do I know?

Anyway, at the end of 2018, spurred on by my successful weight loss and desire to continue the momentum, I made a bunch of resolutions for 2019, contrary to how I felt. I tracked my goals throughout the year, but in early November 2019, I started taking a closer look at my progress and felt a little crappy about the results. Yes, I followed the SMART goals ideology (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound), but I pretty much fell flat anyway. I had set calendar reminders to check in on my progress, but I was never actually accountable to myself. The goals I resolved to accomplish were shallow, without heart. Why did I want to get down to my goal weight? Why was getting a professional certification a goal? Why did I want to incrementally increase my retirement savings throughout the year?

I had all these goals with no real connection to what I sought in my life, to my legacy, to my desires. Why did I want all these things, and were these things what I needed? Where did they fit in my hierarchy of needs? 

Back to the beginning of November, when I realized the old way of achieving goals just wasn’t working for me: I restarted my journey to reinvent myself. The groundwork for this journey began with Task 1: write 100-lifetime goals. (#100 is to drink only 1 cup of coffee/espresso per day, and #89 is to make edible roti 🙄.)

One of my most important goals is to either recite a mantra or daily affirmations upon waking each morning. The philosophy behind affirmations is that if you state your vision, you will speak it into existence. I desire to start each day living the life my future self lives, not reminding myself that I’m not there yet and that I must continue the struggle to get there, wherever that may be. Who wants to wake up with such depressing thoughts? I want to start my day with statements such as, “Today, I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy,” or “I am calm, happy, and content.” Why? Because I want to hold myself accountable and be mindful of all the necessary choices required to achieve that vision of my future self. 

I am changing from making resolutions to making affirmations because the latter commits me to create my desired future self- a woman with intentionality. “My personality exudes confidence” is more powerful and intentional than “I resolve to be more confident.” Really, what’s better: walking into a room, exuding confidence, or trying to act like a confident person?

Starting my day by stating, “Today, I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy,” means I need to get out of bed and stretch. I need to have a healthy breakfast. I need to participate in some form of exercise. I will be happy about this new day, even if it’s cold and gloomy outside.

Some people may find all of this hokey and pointless, but I know it resonates with many adults in similar stages of life. A few days ago, I had a long conversation with one of my oldest and most insightful girlfriends (love you, Mrs. Scott!). Our conversation was a reminder of why I Stan that woman so much! We live hundreds of miles away from each other, but no matter how far apart nor how much time has transpired between our calls, our journeys are connected. We spoke of our children, goals, entrepreneurship, and hitting milestone ages, and eventually, we fell upon the topic of affirmations and how critical they are to furthering our development. I realized I was indeed on to something. This Savvy Survivor knows affirmations are deeper and more meaningful to growth and development than resolutions will ever be.  

Agree or disagree? What are your thoughts about resolutions and affirmations?

Do you have any affirmations you would like to share?

Like, follow, share.

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A God Wink: the story behind my Christmas tree topper

It’s Christmas day and the second Christmas I’ll be celebrating without my dear mother. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true, the holidays are not the same without Constance “Connie” Gardner. My mom- the mother to six, a wife, a sister, a friend, a nurse- was a beautiful woman with an incredible heart. She was classy and sassy and loved life. Her presence energized you. She cooked like a chef, danced with grace, and walked like a queen. She was royal (cue Tarrus Riley).

We lost my lovely mother to the dreaded “C” word in February 2018. Her death was the greatest tragedy of my life, and it showed. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment or conversation, but I owe it to my sisters for leading me out of the fog of loss and into the light of remembering the meaning of Mom’s life. Remembering her joy and zest for living, the care that she had for all, and her love of all things luxurious is what made me change my trajectory. By the summer of 2018, I was once again ready to embrace the beauty and joy of life, hopeful to experience the world anew, with purpose.

By December 2018, I knocked a few items off my ever-growing bucket list. I set out to cross off another: purchasing a Christmas tree topper. That task seems pretty mundane, but I assure you it was everything but. 

I was looking for an angel topper to honor my mother, my angel. Nothing ordinary would do, after all, Mom was far from ordinary. I spent half a day perusing Etsy and came across the perfect item from The Divine Angel Shop. I snatched it up right quick! After my purchase, I received a message from the seller:

“Note from Connie

Thank you for your purchase. The Divine Angel Shop is here to serve your decorating, gift giving and collecting fancies. I work hard to produce a quality one of kind item and want you to know that I appreciate your business.

Be Blessed and Please Come Again!

You guessed it. I was floored and speechless once I read the seller’s name. Connie. It took me a day to respond because I was so emotional.

Dear Connie,

For years, I have been thinking about purchasing a tree topper, but was never inspired and was okay with my two girls making them all this time. This year, however, I was finally inspired. We lost my Mom in February, and in her memory, I decided to look for a black angel Christmas tree topper. I found your beautiful creation, and soon after purchasing it received a lovely message from you signed Connie. This was my Mom’s name. I don’t even know how to describe how seeing your name as a result of this purchase made my heart smile. Thank you!

Camille

Ms. Connie was swift to respond:

Camille. You are not going to believe this but I lost my only daughter in July of last year and her name was CAMILLE. I thinthis was a God wink! 😍”

I sat there, reading Ms. Connie’s last message over and over again. Unable to move, to breathe. Then because I am paranoid by nature, I did some research and found her story to be true. 

This Christmas tree angel is a God Wink. A reminder that my mom was still there for me. Like she always was. Telling me how proud she was of me. How happy she was for me. Always being my cheerleader. Never dictating how I lived my life, but always encouraging me to be true to myself, my dreams, my desires. I didn’t realize until then that I was waiting for Mom’s acknowledgment that these changes I was making in my life were on point. Acceptable in her book because they were true to my authentic self.

The Savvy Survivor dictates that if one must spend money, the item or experience better provide lasting value. Well folks, my Christmas tree angel topper was an investment that ended up having more value than I could have ever imagined. 

Merry Christmas!

Who is The Savvy Survivor?

So what makes me a Savvy Survivor?

I’m a savvy lady with tips, tricks, and tools for surviving life and living it to the fullest, but on a budget. 😉
I enthusiastically find and use the right resources that allow me to survive motherhood, marriage, sisterhood, and entrepreneurship while maintaining my sanity! I look forward to sharing with you my savvy techniques to thriving while enjoying life’s treasures.
#staysavvy
#thesavvysurvivor101