You are here
Home > Lifestyle

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Jess Creating Memories

It's another glorious Friday! And it's time for us to highlight more amazing black entrepreneurs! In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind. IHTG:  Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.). My name is Mrs. Jessielyn Wade. Known to some as Jessie and Nakia. I am from Warrior, Alabama, a small town outside of Birmingham. I'm the middle child of four and have a twin brother. Family time as a child was a must. During the summer we traveled with our grandmother to Buffalo, New York. We looked forward to this trip every year. Our family got together often for dinner, Friday night fish fry's or just to hang out. I was recently married to my wonderful husband Greg on December 10, 2016. We have a beautiful seven-year-old daughter, Leah, who is the princess of the house. I love my family and cherish the time and memories we had and continue to have until this day. I have learned to cherish the time and memories you have of your loved ones while they are still here. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? My business started off as a hobby that I was passionate about. The more pictures I took the more obsessive I became. I began to take classes to learn more about my craft. Soon after, I began to get my business affairs in order. I secured my business name, built my website and began to market my business. I established Jess Creating Memories (JCM) in 2014 which is a manifestation of my passion to create memories. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). JCM is all about creating memories one picture at a time. JCM was founded on the principles of prayer, morals, and integrity. I consider myself a "Passionate Photographer". I look beyond the time of the picture being taken to see what memory can be captured for years to come. After consulting with my clients and getting to know them I begin to get a fell on how to capture their memory. IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? I capture the community prayer walks, back to school events and feeding the homeless just to name a few. My future goal for the community is to have a photo shoot for the nursing homes that would consist of a complete makeover. IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? Starting a business is to first learn the industry (know your craft), read, research, be consistent, get a mentor, plan, get organized and NEVER give up. There will be some struggles along the way, but they will help you in the long run. IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? "Don't take it personal". Everyone is not

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money- MOSAIC Moon

Mosaic Moon

In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  This week, we highlight MOSAIC Moon. IHTG:  Tell us a little about yourself. I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens. I came to Atlanta as an adult and I've made it home. I have a daughter, who is also a part of MOSAIC Moon. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? My husband losing his battle with Brain Cancer, and challenging me to "do what I say, I'm going to do" and "to go all of the way". After he passed my sisters took me to a studio to paint. I realized that when I painted I didn't think about my pain or my problems. I thought that other people in our communities could benefit from the same experiences. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.) MOSAIC is an acronym. It stands for Maintaining, the Onus of Synergy, Authenticity, and Independence in our Communities. Moon was my late husband's nickname. We are a mobile PopUp Painting Experience. We bring everything one would need to have a fun Paint Party and create great art. We are known for our professionalism, punctuality, creativity, and sense of humor. We're unique because we teach several pieces of art at the same time. Everyone can paint what they want to, we have a plethora of art to choose from. No artistic ability is required. We are there for our painters every step of the way. The majority of our painters(87%)are women, but once a man is in front of a canvas, they're hooked. IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? We volunteer with Seniors that have challenges with their memory. Painting helps with cognitive skills in addition to being extremely therapeutic.  We also donate classes to different organizations to give away to their supporters. IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? •Do your research. •Identify your audience •Know your market • Surround yourself with people of like minds and who are smarter. IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? •Don't give up! •Plan, Plan and Plan some more! You can learn more about Sabrina Player and her services by visiting her on Facebook MOSAIC Moon Art Services.

Stacey Abrams’ Run for Governor of Georgia Is #Goals

Governor

I am always on alert for stories about black women defying the odds.  So, when the alert came from Cosmopolitan magazine... yeah, I was a bit intrigued.  Like, are they about to piss me off with an article about "boxer braids" or some other form of cultural appropriation and try to pass it off as an in-depth perspective of black female life?  I'm sorry but I see it so often so I was a bit hesitant.  The headline grabbed my attention immediately "The U.S. Has Never Had A Black Female As Governor..."  I didn't need to the read any further than that. The article goes on to introduce me to Stacey Abrams, Georgia politician making a run for Governor in 2018.  The sister is ambitious, blatantly and I love it.  After all, why not?  In the article, she talks about ambition being used to undermine black women, “When people use the phrase ‘media darling’ as a pejorative, what they’re saying is I’ve done a good job of making people pay attention to a state they did not think they needed to pay attention to.” Seeing black women on political stages is always a cause for celebration.  And seeing a black woman achieve a historical appointment is just the nail needed to break the glass ceiling.  What I love most about her is that her aspirations and ambitions are no different than that of any man.  Yet, when it is that of a woman.  A black woman at that, it is seemingly "out of the norm".  She is showing young black girls to have a "why not" attitude when it comes to reaching these seemingly unattainable goals.  And for that, I have to say, "I Hear That Girl!" Read more about Stacey Abrams and her candidacy by visiting her website, www.staceyabrams.com.  

Africa: A Muse for American Hip-Hop

Hip Hop

Hip-Hop is an art form that I grew up in.  The culture, the aesthetic, the authenticity of it.  So, you can imagine my excitement when I attended the recent art exhibit at the High Museum of Art.  Africa:  A Muse for American Hip-Hop, was a pure treat for any hip-hop enthusiast. Prior to viewing the exhibit, we attended the discussion panel featuring hip-hop connoisseurs, DJ Nabs, Professor Griff, Dr. Paula Grissom-Broughton and moderated by Dr. Joyce Wilson.  There were so many jewels of information dropped during the panel.  The conversation weaved between the new wave of mumble rap to the appropriation of hip-hop to the preservation of the culture.  The entire panel was a delight and very well versed in their appreciation and attribution to the culture.   Following the panel, we visited the exhibit, which held tons of beautiful art pieces from African artists showcasing and interweaving their love for American hip-hop.  It was reflected in the art but it also showed how Africa and Hip-Hop are synonymous.  There is no hip-hop without our African roots.  Which makes it very easy to see why Africa would be drawn to the hip-hop culture.   The Black American has long felt our connection to the continent of Africa.  We know that is where our roots lie.  However, I'd be remiss if I failed to note that the Black American has also developed our own culture.  The melting pot of our fading ties to our African history and culture (thanks to the establishment), we held on to what we could and intertwined it with the European culture that was forced on us.  Sometimes, we were forced to alter some of our cultural behaviors as a way to disguise it from our masters in an attempt to keep it alive.  Yes... it can be so confusing, but those were confusing times.  With all of these factors at play, we created a culture all our own.  This Black American culture, would birth Hip-Hop and take over the world. I am a lover of hip-hop culture in its pure form and I also understand that as with everything it must evolve.  But as DJ Nabs stated during the panel, we have to be careful that in evolution we don't lose the root principals of the culture.  If you get an opportunity to check out the exhibit, please do.  If you've already seen it, leave a comment below telling me your thoughts.  See you guys around town!

Black Woman Makes Video Game for All of Us Tired of People Touching Our Hair

Hair

We've all dealt with it.  Solange made a song about it.  And now, we have a game about it.  Black women have been irked for decades about the intrusion of personal space that is touching our hair.  For whatever reason, folks think they have the right to feel on our tresses!  Even with the highly successful theme song "Don't Touch My Hair", we are still plagued with the audacity of some white folks (I mean, black folks already know what it feels like... ijs) to invade our space. Wieden+Kennedy art director, Momo Pixel found a way to express that frustration we all share when this takes place.  She created Hair Nah!, am 8-bit video game with a simple task of swatting aggravating hands away from character, Aeva's hair.  All the while she's enroute to some amazing travel destination.  How lit is that?!  I played the game this morning while getting my coffee and honey let me tell you, it was hilarious!  I was definitely hooked after playing just 5 minutes.  Desperately tapping away at my phone screen to keep the pale hands out of my dope bantu knots!  Yes!  You get to choose your hairstyle and skin tone of the character, Aeva.  And is it just me or does Aeva resemble Ms. Don't Touch My Hair herself, Solange Knowles??? It seems simple enough, but it is actually a great tool to show the perspective of black women who have to literally deal with this issue DAILY!  I work from home, so I am not so often accosted when it comes to my hair.  Even still, I have experienced it when amongst white associates.  Even with some black people! Pixel, told travel platform, On She Goes, that she hopes the game helps push the conversation forward and helps people understand how offensive it can be to treat someone like they're on display at a petting zoo.  She makes that crystal clear with a note for users after finishing the game (see below).  The game will soon have an app version, for now you can enjoy the game by visiting Momo's website, here. I love it and I love the message!  Let us know what you think about the game in the comments below.  Happy gaming!

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: C Durr Visuals

C Durr Visuals

In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful black dollars amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  This week, we feature C. Durr Visuals. IHTG: Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.) First off, I want to thank you for considering me for this feature. A 25-year-old southern belle. Born & raised in North Carolina. I'm married with no kids (yet)! I would say I'm a nerdy goofball with an edge to me. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? I love working with small businesses especially because of the building from the ground up process. I understand that being creative gets hard for some business owners which is why I dedicate my time to help those in need of new ideas to promote themselves and their businesses. IHTG: Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). I strive to create logos, flyers, and social media content. I work on social media managing and start-up businesses as well♥ IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? As of the holiday season approaching, I plan to donate to nursing and a homeless shelter. IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business?  FOCUS.FOCUS.FOCUS GIRL! First-time entrepreneurs feel the need to jump at every "opportunity" they come across. Trust me, I did. Do one thing perfectly, not 10 things poorly. IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? My best advice came from a fellow designer from "Hope's Harbor, LLC". She told me "Listen. Whatever you do be confident and consistent with your brand. Never charge less than what your work is worth. It's hard to break that habit. You'll have great days, you'll have days you have to think hard to remember why you started...but don't quit! You're so awesome!! Can't wait to watch you SOAR!" ❤❤ You can learn more about Chakarra and her services by visiting www.cdurrvisuals.net and connecting on social media @c.durrvisuals.  Know a business owner that should be featured?  Let us know… shoot me an email:  isis@ihearthatgirl.com!  

Celebrating “Beautifully Driven” Women & Experiences in ATL

Beautifully Driven

This week, I was invited to celebrate the launch of the Beautifully Driven web series starring social influencers, Africa Miranda and Kimberly Lachelle.  Presented by KIA and Harmon Kardon, and held at the Bravo Ocean Studio, it was a jazzy evening on a rainy night. I was happy I decided to drag myself out of the house, despite the rain showers beckoning me back to bed.  I don't know about you guys, but lately, I've become a serious homebody.  I jazzed myself up a bit, played in my makeup, and by the time I headed out the door I was pleasantly pleased with my "look". We previewed the premiere episode of the series and enjoyed a live performance from Chantae Cann and India Shawn.  I had no idea they would be there AND these women are two artists that I truly enjoy.  So, you can imagine my delight. I absolutely love it, when OUR stories are being told.  For that reason alone, I urge you guys to support the series as it serves as a new perspective on life as a black woman.  So yes!  Let me give a loud, "I Hear That Girl!" to Africa Miranda and Kimberly Lachelle! Powered by Kia Motors, "Beautifully Driven" is co-created by Africa Miranda and Kimberly Lachelle and produced by Tomorrow Pictures. The series can be found on beautifullydriven.com.            

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: SHE by Schericka

SHE

It's another glorious Friday! And it's time for us to highlight more amazing black entrepreneurs! In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  Today's feature is SHE by Schericka!  IHTG:  Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.). My name is Schericka Gee and I'm the brand owner of S.H.E. by Schericka, an empowerment brand. I'm from a small town called Bennettsville, SC and I'm a mom to a gorgeous and ambitious 7-year-old daughter named Landyn Kardia. I'm a true lover of fashion and philanthropy. My ultimate objective is simply to be a vessel used to encourage others. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? I was motivated to start SHE because I wanted a business where it was more a catalyst used to unite us as women and encourage us to be greater in all aspects of our lives. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). The brand offers: tees, totes, earrings, candles, nail polish, bracelets, pillows, scented wax melts, coffee mugs, sweathoodies, dresses, hats, and leggings. I hope I didn't forget anything. Lol. I also have other divisions called #SHEbrands and #SHEspeaks. One for branding assistance to other businesses, the other for motivational speaking. IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? I love working with local community philanthropists holding giveaways and charity givebacks. IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? The best advice I'd love to offer to any aspiring entrepreneur would be to always be authentically you in your business and always run your business in your truth. IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? The best advice I've ever been given is to remain consistent and to always remain humble. You can learn more about S.H.E. by Schericka and her services by visiting www.shebyschericka.com and connecting on social media @shebyscherika.  Know a business owner that should be featured?  Let us know... isis@ihearthatgirl.com!

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Uncovering The New U

New U

It's another glorious Friday!  And it's time for us to highlight more amazing black entrepreneurs! In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  This week, we spotlight Uncovering the New U. IHTG: Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.). I am Master Trainer & Life Coach, SheNesia Ewing. I currently hold a Masters in Sports & Health Science with a concentration in sport and exercise performance. I am also a doctoral Psychology Candidate with a focus in Sport Performance. I am currently located in Marietta, GA. I am a mother of a 10-year-old son with 11 additional blessings & a wife. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? It started with a few things: (1) I have been in the United States Army for over 16 ½ years and both of my parents went through life-changing situations while I was overseas that forced me to do whatever I needed to save both of my parents. (2) I was able to transform an environment of soldiers as an amateur spin instructor while in Iraq. (3) My brand for one stands on ethics and honesty. I do not provide any service that is above my skill set. If I don't qualify to help, then I won't take on the client. Secondly, my desire is for all my clients to Uncover the person that they have desired to be mentally, emotionally, physically, & spiritually through what I provide. I empower people to use their own strength to build performance and take their lives back as well. Change in health and wellness is a self-driven initiation. We must hold our selves accountable for how we live and what we put inside of our minds and bodies. The gym does not do that. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). As a Trainer, Nutritionist, and Life Coach I offer a variety of services. I offer individualized nutrition consultation & programs, performance nutrition, athletic training, strength & conditioning programs, peak performance workbooks, Senior strength training, and much more. I am also a functional fitness instructor (Zumba, aerobics, boot camp & spin). Being new to the Atlanta area I currently do not have any current events scheduled. IHTG: How does your business give back to the community? UncoveringTheNewU has donated money to the victims of Harvey & Irma, participated & ran raised money for Breast Cancer, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, and while in Virginia (previous residence) offered a FREE Saturday fitness group in local parks and trails to encourage others to get out and get active. Once I am acclimated into GA I hope to offer the same! IHTG:  What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? JUST DO IT. I had no knowledge of running a business nor what it took for me to

See what she can do… You can find #BlackGirlMagic in her hair!

Magic

Black women are truly magic! Our magic flows through every crevice of our being.  And we love spotlighting those amazing #blackgirlmagic moments. While scrolling my FB timeline, I came across a video courtesy of BBC Africa.  The video showcases, African artist, Laetitia Ky sculpting extraordinary designs in her HAIR!  I'm telling you, when I saw the first 20 seconds of the video, I saved it and began typing this post!  What CAN'T we do??  It's an ingenious idea that involves coat hangers, wire, a few hours and tons of creativity.  Why didn't I think of that?? I just love it when #blackgirlmagic is spread!  So share and let me know what magic you have that should be shared!

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Heart Armor

In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that we can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful black dollars amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind.  This week, we feature Heart Armor. IHTG: Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.). My name is Stephanie Cook, I was born and raised in York, Pa, and as a teenager, I moved to Baltimore, MD, where I currently resided. I am a mother to two children (boy and girl) and a wife. I enjoy working out and spending time with my loved ones. I am always trying to make others smile and laugh. I just enjoy life to the fullest. IHTG:  What motivated you to start this business? What motivated me to start my business is my son. My son Malik was born with Congenital Heart Defects and at the age of 1, he had open heart surgery. To cope with my journey of CHD I wanted to raise awareness and have a brand that represents him. Heart Armor has given me the strength because we still fight in this journey. IHTG:  Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.). Heart Armor is an apparel line in honor of my son. We have t-shirts, sweaters, phone cases, pillows you name it representing my brand. Majority of my customers are those who have loved ones with CHD or just wanting to support Malik. IHTG:  How does your business give back to the community? My business gives back by donating some of the profits to a local Heart foundation to help other Heart parents out there suffering and cannot afford the expenses of surgery. We also plan to start a Heart Walk the week of CHD in February to spread awareness. IHTG:   What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business? The advice I would give someone is to never doubt yourself. Everyone won't believe in your brand but that is perfectly fine. God will provide and bring people in your corner who will support you. If you don't leap you will never sorrow and learn. Go after your dreams! IHTG:  What is the best advice you've received since starting your business? The best advice I received so far is to stay encouraged. Many have told me they believe in me and that when you have individuals who believe in you to keep grinding and shining. I am thankful to those who have supported me through this business journey. Some days I question it but then my peers give me the advice of continuing to spread awareness because people need to hear our story. You can learn more about Stephanie and Heart Armor by visiting her on Facebook & Instagram @HeartArmor.

A Melanated Moment with the ladies of Classy Living Society

Melanated women are magical indeed.  We can turn an everyday moment into a lasting memory.  Because of this, I've decided to highlight the amazing "Melanated Moments" that happen in my life.  You may be asking, "what is a melanated moment"?  Well, I'd like to describe them as those moments when we sisters get together and turn the ordinary into extraordinary! It's those moments when we defy the odds that are stacked against us while coming out the other end chic, fleeky, sophisticated, and fierce!  These are the moments when we adjust our crown so that our little ones never forget or doubt the magic that is being a black woman.  Are you ready? A good friend of mine sent me a text on a Friday evening and stated that she wanted to gift me a ticket to a wine & tapas event for that coming Saturday.  Since I had no plans for the coming weekend, I excitedly accepted her gift and thanked her for the opportunity.  I am a real lover of wine, so anything including wine is a win for me!  This event was a private event being held at Hal's Kitchen.  I had heard a bit about Hal's Kitchen through some media releases but had never made the chance to visit.  Even more interesting, the event was a private event for a volunteer group of sisters called the Classy Living Society. Shortly after accepting, I received a Facebook message from the founder of CLS, LaShanda Pitts.  She kindly greeted me, gave me the details of the event location, what to expect, and more.  After researching the organization, I was really excited to see what this event was all about and to meet these new faces.  When I walked in, I was greeted with hugs and smiles from beautiful melanin women of all shades and sizes. My spirit just expanded with joy to see this sight.  Black women coming together to love on one another.  I mean, they didn't know me from Adam, and they were genuinely treating me like a long lost sister.  The wine was being poured by Pitts herself, and I was all too happy to finally meet her. There was delicious food waiting to be prepared for us ladies by the private chef and her team.  Some of the ladies helped out in preparation, while others milled around to chat.  I decided to chat and get to know the ladies and more about the organization.  I learned a lot about these women and their intense focus of volunteering in their communities and abroad.  The women of CLS are mainly a volunteer organization, and they host events like the one I attended as a way to let their hair down with their sisters after a busy volunteer season. I'm telling you, it was truly a sight to see and experience.  The food was absolutely amazing!  I don't even know where to start.  I believe the menu consisted of 5 courses, be it tapas, I promise you I was stuffed!  I mean... look

Genuine Sisters Organization Announces 5K Walk & Brunch Awards to Honor Cancer & Domestic Violence Survivors

5k

On Saturday October 7th, the Genuine Sisters Supporting Sisters nonprofit organization will host a 5K Walk & Brunch Awards to benefit and celebrate cancer and domestic violence survivors at Stone Mountain Park. Created by Philanthropist, Motivational Speaker and Domestic Violence Survivor, Betty Murray; Atlantans of all facets are invited to register at GenuineSisters5K.Eventbrite.com in support of this empowering community initiative. Attendees will enjoy gourmet brunch, pink carpet arrivals, live music from Collective Element Band, sounds by DJ Amber Jaii, shopping with vendors, fun activities for kids and a 5K Walk to bring united awareness to both causes. Hosted by Melissa D. White, the survivor honorees will be presented with awards during a post-brunch reception and guests will hear from keynote speakers Stacey J and Jameliah Young Mitchell.     About Genuine Sisters Supporting Sisters Founded by Betty Murray, the mission of the Genuine Sisters Supporting Sisters non-profit organization is to restore beauty and dignity inside and out, in support of women who've faced the challenges of Cancer, Domestic Violence, Abandonment, Homelessness, and Incarceration. Genuine Sisters offers 24/7 hotline support, group/individual awareness meetings, housing support, community support, community transitioning planning, and customized wigs for Cancer patients. For more information on Genuine Sisters 5K Walk email, 4GenuineSSS@gmail.com.

Clean Living Tips with Trena Dee: Ditch the Clorox!

Clean Living

Clean living is a thing!  We are inundated with so many products that are hazardous to our health.  And it takes a little research and extra effort to find healthier alternatives.  This goes for things we put into our bodies as well as our homes.  I've embarked on this journey since becoming Vegan a year ago.  Today, I want to share with you an alternative to Clorox bleach. Product crush... chlorine-free bleach!!  Yes, there is such a thing.  The bleaching agent in this product is hydrogen peroxide instead of the toxic chlorine. Non-toxic, emphasis on "TOXIC".  I purchased this particular cleaner from Publix for like $2 and it actually works! I still have to get used to NOT smelling the strong fumes when I clean (potent Pine Sol or Clorox).  It's funny how we can get used to fumes, right?  The transition to natural or more non-toxic products is truly a journey! Side note: Clorox and Pine Sol are TRASH... :-/  

Laila Ali takes on DIY as the new host of “Home Made Simple” on OWN

Laila Ali OWN

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and Procter & Gamble announced today that Laila Ali, undefeated four-time boxing world champion, cookbook author, lifestyle brand creator, inspirational speaker and youngest daughter of Muhammad Ali, will join Daytime Emmy award-winning DIY series "Home Made Simple" as the new host for season seven. "Home Made Simple," which recently earned its fourth consecutive Daytime Emmy nomination as Outstanding Lifestyle Program, will return with an all-new hour-long format on Saturday, November 4 at 9 a.m. ET/PT. Home Made Simple's easy-to-follow DIY projects, delicious recipes and dramatic home makeovers are featured on P&G's popular website www.homemadesimple.com. "I am thrilled to join the OWN family as the new host of 'Home Made Simple,'" said Laila Ali. "Being able to merge my passion for cooking with my longtime love of interior design and the desire I have to help families, all on a network created by Oprah Winfrey, a woman I have always admired, is truly an honor." Creating homes that deserving families love to live in is at the core of "Home Made Simple."  The show pairs inspiring families, a team of professional designers, carpenters and special guest artists, who work together with the families to create simple solutions to everyday home challenges and design dilemmas.   Host Laila Ali will be working alongside families as they transform their living, work and play spaces, revealing the compelling and inspiring stories of the families behind the makeovers. Laila, who describes herself as a "home cook," will also teach the families delicious, easy recipes from her upcoming cookbook "Food For Life," which will be published in January 2018.

How embracing my cycle introduced me to my best friend Ruby

Last month was a busy month for me.  I visited multiple cities to speak and empower sisters.  I love it!  My last event was down in Savannah, Georgia.  I had planned to enjoy the beach with my mentee after speaking to this amazing group.  I also had another friend that I took with me, and I realized that I needed to accept that she was coming.  Ruby.  Ruby is my oldest friend.  She's been in my life since the age of 11.  She and I haven't always been best friends.  Only recently have I come to realize that she is actually a friend.  Ruby, is what I named my cycle. I had this epiphany that at that time of the month, there is an entire metamorphosis that takes place.  I become a different version of myself.  Ruby appears, and she is straightforward, blunt, fatigued, and boy does she have a sweet tooth.  I envy her ability to speak exactly what she wants and she couldn't care less about how the rest of the world sees her.  She relishes in comfort foods, sweets, and chips.  I stopped treating her like a "visitor" and began welcoming her as a "friend".  Maybe it's because I got older and busier and very seldom got those days to do nothing and pig out.  Maybe I began looking forward to Ruby because she gave me what I was afraid to snag for myself. What I learned from accepting Ruby is that self care is utterly important.  Ruby has taught me to listen to my body, because it's always speaking to us.  It tells us when we're motivated, satiated, excited, frustrated, and stressed.  But more importantly, by accepting Ruby as a friend, my cycle is bearable.  It actually doesn't cause me as much pain as before.  I prepare for her with the things she likes most.  We plan her favorite activities (usually Netflix and chill weekends).  I keep my heating pad on the ready, which astoundingly, I haven't had to use as much.  By welcoming her and being thankful for her arrival, I've appreciated the process of my womanhood.  My cycle is not a burden, it is a blessing. Each month, I am reminded of the complex beauty that is me.  The beautiful power of my creator.  The purpose of my being, not necessarily to mother a child (I have no kids), but a symbol of my creativity.  In my creativity, I bring things to life.  I am empowered by Ruby.  Ruby is teaching me to enjoy the life I create one month at a time.  She checks on me every 28 days, and she will be honest and blunt about who I am as a woman.  Ruby arrived yesterday, so quietly, so calm.  I welcomed her, and we've had an amazing weekend together.  She made me slow down and really enjoy my weekend. I hope that this will change your mindset on how you view this beautiful process that we experience each month.  Have you named your cycle?  What do

WYSBSYM: For the entrepreneurs- Are you a GlamBoss?

money-making

Women are kicking butt in the entrepreneurship department.  I love meeting sisters that are taking life into their hands, utilizing their gifts and talents, and making a profit off of their skill set.  On top of that, we make running business look good!  The mixture of glamour and entrepreneurship is the aim of GlamBoss a store filled with educational tools for the blossoming entrepreneur. I frequent the store and have learned a lot from the resources available.  There are ebooks and webinars to help you learn everything you need to know about starting your business.  From teaching you how to get paid to speak, to learning how to utillize Canva, there is a plethora of information available at your fingertips.  There truly is no excuse as to why you haven't stepped out on that dream you've been dreaming for years.  Oh, and wake up!  Realize your dream by taking action.  And if you run into issues, I have just given you another resource to tap into to move you along.  So go get it girl! As President of Lillie Mae PR and Creator of GlamBoss.org - Lillie Mae has dedicated her efforts to empowering, recognizing and supporting entrepreneurs of all facets around the country.  From London to California, she has connected with women through power calls, books, webinars, innovative events and empowerment tours, to provide them with unique resources that will elevate them professionally and personally.  GlamBoss.org has become the go-to source for women to discover products and opportunities to enhance their brand and income! Let's show our sisterpreneur some love and send those coins flowing her way!          

Beach Side Birthday With The Bestie & Bendiware

A month ago, I traveled with my best friend to Mexico to help her celebrate her 40th birthday.  What's better than an international beach getaway?  Drinks!  And lots of it! This was my first trip to Mexico and I had such an amazing time.  I swear, I think I'm Blaxican.  The Mexican culture just feels like home for me.  You know, how people say when you visit Africa, you feel at home?  Well, that's how I felt in Mexico.  I felt the same in Puerto Rico too... so maybe I'm just a Black Latina.  I need to dig deep into my ancestry to see if there are any connections there.  Anywho...let me get back on topic, lol. We visited Costa Maya and Cozumel.  My bestie and I checked out the Mayan Ruins and did our trinket shopping.  However, our entire goal for the trip was to get some real rest and relaxation on the beach!  While in Cozumel, we enjoyed an all inclusive beach, so the drinks were flowing. My bestie and I came prepared to take full advantage of the drinks with our travel cups from Bendiware.  These super portable cups are made of silicon and they bend and fit ANYWHERE.  We were able to stuff them in our crossbody purses and popped them out at a moments notice.  I'm kinda OCD when it comes to cutlery and drinkware at restaurants, especially tourist spots.  You never know how clean the stuff is, ya know? With Bendiware, we had our own drinkware for the duration of our trip.  We were on a 5 day cruise, so you know it got its true wear.  Instead of using the cups on board, we used our Bendiware.  We saw people looking like, "Did they just pull that cup out of their pants pocket?"  Lol.  Decked out in my swimwear for 90% of the trip, I could carry my cup with me everywhere.  You can purchase your own Bendiware drinkware here:  www.bendiware.com.  

Sistas! Protect your melanin, skin cancer affects us too!

Melanin Skin Cancer

36 year old Jacqueline Smith has been spreading the word in the black community about the serious affects of skin cancer.  Although this is not a form of cancer that is often seen in our community, when it does rear its head, the outcome is disparaging.  Many of us, myself included believed that our melanin was all the protection we needed from the sun.  However, 14 years ago, Jacqueline Smith learned first hand the truth of this myth. She was 22 when she noticed a lump in her bikini area.  That inner voice pushed her to see about it and eventually, four years later, she was diagnosed with stage-3 melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer).  That's one of the biggest problems in the black community.  Because we believe that our melanin makes us "exempt" from getting skin cancer, it's easy for us to not seek treatment when symptoms present themselves.  Thus, avoiding catching cancer much earlier than our white counterparts. “It’s important to share my story with other African-Americans so that they can understand that skin cancer is our problem too. I’ve worked with other cancer organizations and have even been to Capitol Hill to spread the word!” According to Cancer.org, the five-year survival rate for African-Americans is 69 percent compared with 93 percent for whites. Experts believe this mortality gap is largely due to the fact that by the time African-Americans are diagnosed, their cancer is at an advanced stage (52 percent compared to 16 percent among whites), which makes it harder to treat.  Also add in the lack of access to health care and a dermatologist, and it’s no wonder why this racial health disparity continues to persist. Jacqueline’s cancer was aggressive and required surgery and serious treatment. She had multiple lymph nodes removed, started an experimental interferon treatment through a clinical trial and underwent radiation treatment.  Ten years later, Jacqueline is cancer-free.  She tells Hello Beautiful in an exclusive interview, “It’s important to share my story with other African-Americans so that they can understand that skin cancer is our problem too. I’ve worked with other cancer organizations and have even been to Capitol Hill to spread the word!”  Jacqueline offers these tips to women of color in regards to staying aware and vigilant in protecting our melanin from skin cancer: Don’t Slack On Getting Screened- Be sure to get your fingernails and toenails and your palms and soles checked as part of the process, and always alert your doctor if you notice anything at all wrong with your skin for more than a few days or weeks," and don't forget the sunscreen and limited exposure to the sun. Advocate For Yourself- You know when something is not right. Don’t Fear Clinical Trials- The black community has a substantiated and real fear of being the government's guinea pigs.  However, it is an avenue to be considered when it comes to increasing your chance of living. Learn more about skin cancer at skincancer.org

Movie Review: Transformers “The Last Knight”

Transformers

Summer is here and a few of my favorite summers things are music festivals, beaches, and movies!  Coming from the class of '79, I am a true Transformers fan.   I was excited to see the screening of Transformers "The Last Knight". It was hosted by Dwight Howard; my ex, lol.  But he really is a handsome specimen isn't he?  In this excerpt of Transformers, humans and Transformers are at war,  and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.   Until this film I have always been an Optimus Prime girl.  However, this installment of the film, has made me the ultimate Bumblebee fan.  Bumblebee's loyalty and friendship shines most above all the action this film brings. One of the morals I stand on is that of loyalty, and Bumblebee exemplifies that.  It is his undying friendship that is able to bring Prime back from the grips of evil. On top of all this, we learn just how bad ass Bumblebee really is and he easily holds his own with Optimus Prime.  I love how he is always there, giving his silent support for those he loves.  When a Nemesis to Prime rears his head, Bumblebee's confusion is all too real.  His loyalty to Prime and to Cade Yeager had him frozen for what his next move should be.  Yet, right was his path and he did what he had to do to save his friend. There is so much action in this film and I am here for it!  I've heard rumors of a Bumblebee spin off from this film, and if so I am so excited to know more about Bumblebee!  He deserves to shine.  He makes me want to buy a Camaro because I feel it'd be that loyal to me and never let me down, lol.  Be sure to take the family out to see this one, although I wouldn't recommend kids under the age of 16 due to the language.    It is surely a summer blockbuster hit!

Sleep, Eats, and Business at Baymont Inn & Suites

Business at Baymont

Summer 2017 has been absolutely amazing already for my business!  I recently celebrated my best friend's birthday in Mexico and since my return, I've hit the pavement speaking at women's events.  Of course, I love traveling and empowering women as I go.  This past weekend, I was asked to speak at an event in Augusta, Georgia. The event was held the day before Father's Day, so I knew I'd have to make a weekend of it to visit with my Father that Sunday.  I stayed at the Baymont Inn & Suites on Riverwatch Parkway for the weekend and it truly was a great choice.  I am very familiar with this area, yet I was unaware of this hotel tucked away from the bustle of Washington Road.  It's close to everything while still giving you the privacy and quiet you need to truly relax.  It only took me 9 minutes to get to my event in the downtown area of Broad Street. At check-in, the staff was super kind and helpful.  Upon entering, I noticed the cleanliness of the establishment.  It smelled super fresh!  That is always a thumbs up for me, lol.  I noticed a lot of families checking in with kids anxious to jump in the pool.  When I got to my room, I was again pleasantly surprised at the space of my room.  I was given a king suite for the weekend and it was HUGE!  It included an almost full kitchen, two bathrooms, living room with sleeper sofa, and working area.  There was also tons of comfortable seating in the suite.  Of course my mind was rolling with ideas of "Girls Night" events that would be perfect for that space! What I enjoyed most during my stay was the bed!  Yes!  The bed was everything.  You have no idea how bad your own bed is until you lie down in a bed like this.  Friday evening, I slept so soundly and comfortably that I did not want to leave the bed Saturday morning for breakfast.  I was able to pull myself out just before the end of breakfast.  Good thing too, because the waffles were delicious.  When I returned to my room I climbed back in bed and enjoyed cartoons and Martin until a couple hours before my event.  I really felt rejuvenated because my sleep was excellent!  I wonder why hotel beds are so awesome? If you're ever in the Augusta area for business or pleasure, I recommend trying the Baymont Inn & Suites on Riverwatch.  As I said, it is just steps away from busy traffic of Washington road, but you can get anywhere you need to in just minutes!  That is big when you want to relax or focus.  I was able to prepare for my speech in peace while getting the necessary relaxation to deliver a powerful and empowering talk to the women at the tea.  It's a hidden gem in Augusta, and I plan on visiting there again.  Make sure you tell them I Hear That Girl!

World Slow Down: What Happened to the Weekend?

Weekends are supposed to be a time of relaxation.  I can remember when I was a young girl, living on the dirt roads of South Carolina, and how we so enjoyed the weekend.  Waking up around 6am, tip-toeing into the kitchen to fix a bowl of cereal.  Then making our way into the living room (back then, there were NO tv's in your bedroom) to catch our favorite cartoons.    My parents would exit their bedroom, fully dressed to take on the day around 10am.  Mom would enter the kitchen and make a filling breakfast, interestingly enough just as Soul Train was preparing to come on (those who don't remember... that's 11am). They later ushered the kids out the house to play, and with that, we knew that meant not to come back in unless you had broken a leg or something that required medical attention.  This was our parents' free time.  They were able to relax from a long work-week and do whatever they wanted to do.  We would run, jump, climb, and play to our heart's content until Mom yelled from the screen door for us to come in and get something to eat.  And that was just Saturday! I miss those days.  I miss enjoying the weekend.  The world today is so fast, so busy.  The world has taken away "the weekend".  We work constantly!  We feel guilty for sleeping in.  Society has us so focused on becoming entrepreneurs or doing "something" with our lives that we shame ourselves for the thing that matters most:  SELF CARE.  "Taking it easy" is a thing of the past.  Why do we have to have a to-do list at every turn? "I can do whatever I want, even if that is nothing at all." - Kimberly "Isis"  Even when we call ourselves enjoying ourselves, we feel obligated to take the perfect picture for Instagram, or capture the best moment for a Boomerang vid or SnapChat.  Our enjoyment has been hijacked by planned exposure.  I'm guilty of this as we all are.  How many times have you been out to eat a lovely brunch and wanted to share a pic of your plate before digging in?  I caught myself about to do that recently, and just said...NO!  I dug into the plate and enjoyed that first bite immensely. How do we take our weekends back?  How do we take our lives back?  I wonder who does this crazy guilt belong to?  You know, the guilt you feel when you sleep in or when you don't want to do anything but NetFlix and chill all day.  We're adults right?  So, who's checking us so hard that we need to feel guilty???  When I asked myself this question, I realized, that I had allowed "society" to dictate my worthiness.  This assumed sense of guilt is a figment of my imagination.  I can do whatever I want, even if that is nothing at all. So, I stayed in.  I was up early, but I asked myself, what do you feel

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Tee’s Hair Secret

money-making

Lots of company's have been making some big blunders lately:  United Airlines, Pepsi, Ebony, Shea Moisture... Yes, I'm still shaking my head over that one.  It just seems like they still haven't figured out that our money is powerful.  And that is the exact reason why each week, I give you a company to put your power to work!  Today, I introduce you to a hair care company.  That's Tee's Hair Secret! RELATED ARTICLE:  SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH & COIN! I've noticed many sisters have vocalized their frustration with hair care companies that fail to remember their core audience or give them any love when it comes to advertising a product that we helped build into a multi-million dollar company.  That's what makes owner, Taneika Randall, so unique.  Her product was created for her.  She is a black woman with all the concerns that we have and she particularly created a formula to alleviate her needs.  Needs that we (black women) share.  In 2011 she was diagnosed with Leukemia and underwent 5 rounds of chemotherapy. By the grace of God she became cancer free but the chemotherapy also unfortunately left her completely bald. She started to research ways to naturally regrow her hair. During this time she also educated family and friends on proper hair care and maintenance. One day it dawned on her to share her passion with the world (Facebook) and by doing so, many friends were interested in trying out her products. After rave reviews and the support of her loving husband; Sweet Soaps and Suds LLC was born. She later went on to develop Tee's Hair Secret, their natural hair care brand. Tee's Hair Secret is much more than hair care, it is a lifestyle.  With offerings of head wraps, soaps, shampoo bars, and much more; you are sure to find something to fit your hair care fancy.  Based in Houston, TX and available worldwide, this is a sista that should be supported by other sistas.  I met Taneika in 2015 at the Nzuri Hair Festival.  She had a sweet and kind demeanor then as she still does today.  Connections are amazing aren't they? Visit her online today:  www.teeshairsecret.com or follow her on Instagram (@teeshairsecret)!  Make sure you let her know we sent you!   Know a business that should be featured in our Where You Should Be Spending Your Money segment?  Shoot us an email:  isis@ihearthatgirl.com.

A Candid Conversation with a Fashionista on the Rise: Cerah Ceesay

Introduce yourself and tell us about Ceesay Banjul:  My name is Cerah.  I was born in the UK, and I'm from West Africa the Gambia. I moved to the United States at a very young age and I've been living in Atlanta, Georgia ever since. I've always had an appreciation for beautiful things, which led me towards my  love for fashion. Years ago, I read an article about Coco Chanel and the things in life that inspired and motivated her. I in return started looking for things that inspired and motivated me. This led to the birth of what is now Ceesay Banjul. I've always looked at my first and last name as something unique so I knew I had to incorporate that in my brand. I've always felt a sense of appreciation for my roots, so I had to give thanks.  My parents were born and raised in the city of Banjul, so therefore all of my values and work ethics are a product of what the people and the city of Banjul taught them.  Ceesay Banjul is a lifestyle brand that caters to all types of styles and backgrounds. My vision is to not have Ceesay Banjul solely be a clothing store, but to expand into a department store. What makes the brand different from others in the industry?  At Ceesay Banjul you will always feel a sense of belonging. Diversity is of great importance to us, so we make sure every piece we pick out from cosmetics, home decor, or fashion is something that will reflect you as an individual. What makes us stand out is the fact that we operate at a high level of integrity and take our time to assure we are giving you quality products. Tell us about your upcoming launch event in Atlanta?  Being that I've always read magazine and articles, editors and bloggers have always been a reliable source for me to turn to. Therefore it only made sense for me to turn to them to bring additional exposure to my brand. On May 20th I will host my first Bi-annual Blog & Brunch. I will be having a private brunch for the top bloggers and editors in Atlanta. After we have properly welcomed our bloggers and editors and introduced them to Ceesay Banjul, we will then open the event up to the public for a pop-up shop with a special preview of our spring/summer collection.   What is next in 2017 for the brand? In 2017 we will be expanding and adding a plus size department, relaunching my beauty department as well as working on electronics and small appliances.   How can readers connect with you online or RSVP for the event?  You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook @CeesayBanjul or check out our website at www.ceesaybanjul.com. For the event please RSVP at: CBfashion.Eventbrite.com. If you are a blogger or editor and want to attend please email: PR@LillieMaePR.com.

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Confections 320

money-making

Hey gang!  The weekend is upon us once again and it is time to put you on game on the best places to spend your coin!  Why not satisfy your sweet tooth?!  Confections 320 can help you with that. RELATED ARTICLE:  SKIP TRENDS & FIND YOUR SIGNATURE STYLE If you're visiting the Augusta, GA area, and you're a sucker with a sweet tooth, you will adore Confections 320.  Owner/Baker, Angela Robinson, is one of the kindest spirits you can meet.  She puts all that kindness in her pillowy soft desserts.  Confections 320 is a licensed cottage food delivery bakery service, which means, no standing in lines waiting to get cupcakes for your event. They bring them to you!!  I absolutely love her Key Lime Cupcakes!  To try and describe them would be a disservice.  Trust me, you just want to try them for yourself. Confections 320 began when Angela's daughter wanted to take cake pops to school for Christmas. In response to her request, Angela started researching.  After much practice, she successfully produced the product and shortly after Confections 320 was born. Why 320  you ask? Simple, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" , (Ephesians 3:20) . Believe it or not, their very first order was produced without a mixer!! That's right, she didn't even own a mixer but she had a bowl, spoon and a dream! Fortunately, Christmas was just around the corner and she found her first mixer under the tree and she's been at it ever since. We have to celebrate that type of determination!  It's sisters like Angela and all our previously featured entrepreneurs that inspire and motivate us to continue pursuing our dreams!  There is so much more in store if you just take the leap and walk into your purpose. Confections 320 (Augusta, GA) Phone 706.452.1563 Website:  www.confections320.com  

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: The Blonde Gazelle

money-making

Man, do the weeks seem to be flying by or what?  I'm sure some of you are thankful for the speedy work week and looking at me sideways, lol.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy for the weekend.  It's Friday, and that means it's time for me to enlighten my sisters of just another place they should be spending those hard earned coins.  This week, I'm highlighting The Blonde Gazelle in Decatur, GA. RELATED STORY:  ARE YOU A SOAP SNOB? The Blonde Gazelle is a vintage boutique that specializes in funky, eclectic, and unique women's wear and accessories.  I've been a customer of the boutique since it's infancy on Etsy.  The fashion curator and owner, Zakiyyah Shahid, has been styling me for the red carpet since 2013.  She's an amazing person and makes sure you feel at home in the cozy boutique.  She is sure to help you cultivate your own personal style with her items.  I love the fact that she doesn't sit idly by and allow you to just browse the racks.  She gets involved by asking you about your style and offers suggestions of items she has that would fit you perfectly.  February marked The Blonde Gazelle's first introduction on the Thrifting Atlanta Tour! I always walk out of The Blonde Gazelle with something I know reflects my personal style.  You don't have to fear being cookie-cutter here, because it is anything BUT!  If you are the type of person that wants to define your own personal style, express yourself through fashion, or just want to find those "unique" items... then this is the place for you. Be sure to visit The Blonde Gazelle at her Decatur location this weekend, and don't miss her SIDEWALK SALE BLOWOUT, Saturday April 22nd!!  All items will be $5!  Yes, five bucks!  I will be there and I hope you meet me there as well.   The Blonde Gazelle 4449 Covington Hwy Decatur, GA 30035

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Soap Snob

money-making

It's Friday!!!  And that means it's time to enjoy the wondrous weekend!  Weekends are a great time to rejuvenate and catch up with friends... oh and brunching on the weekend is great too!  Anywho, I need to let you know about another amazing black owned business... female owned business that you should spend all your coins with this weekend!  SERIOUSLY!  Soap Snob is a super cute online boutique chop full of your basic self-care essentials! I met the owner, Monica Dickerson, a while back at a Walker's Legacy event in Tucker that I hosted.  She was eager to learn pertinent information to help bolster her business and she was such an encouraging face in the group of ladies.  Networking is something isn't it ladies?  If you're not out the networking, I encourage you to do so.  I'm actually going to find somewhere to network this weekend. RELATED ARTICLE:  SUPER CHIC GRAPHIC DESIGN FOR YOUR HOME But back to Soap Snob.  This woman hand crafts amazing soaps that help nourish and moisturize your skin.  And it's born of necessity as she battles eczema. "As owner of Soap Snob and sole Soapmaker, I have years of soap making experience, advanced coursework in organic and inorganic chemistry, and membership in the industry’s leading professional organization, the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild. At Soap Snob, I will never compromise the quality of my handmade products by using substandard ingredients or additives. This is my promise to you and your skin." Instead of running to Vicky Secrets or B&B Works... why not hop online and shop with Soap Snob for all natural products, great customer service, and you'll be supporting a sister in the process!  Oh, and try the OMG! Moisture Cream... it will change your life.  Her bath bombs are awesome too.  Visit her site to look around and purchase:  www.thesoapsnobcompany.com

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Kelliebrew’s World

money-making

It's another gorgeous Friday and that means for many of us, it's also payday!  Of course, shopping is that "thing" we do when the weekend comes.  So today, we're giving you another place to sprinkle those coins... enter KellieBrew's World. I met KellieBrew a few years ago at an UNCF event.  She was a person you don't forget.  Edgy, bright, electric and a sweetheart!  We exchanged info and I learned so much more about her.  She's a graphic artist and her work is SICK!!! If you like super dope -ish, then this is exactly where you should be!  Her art is so eclectic and not only can you purchase a piece for your walls, she designs websites, logos, and even SHOWER CURTAINS!  Yes, in her shop, many of her designs can be printed onto various accessories like:  headphones, shower curtains, pillows, and coffee mugs!! A post shared by Kelliebrew (@kelliebrew) on Mar 8, 2017 at 7:14am PST RELATED ARTICLE: Co Working Space for Black Women Entrepreneurs   A post shared by Kelliebrew (@kelliebrew) on Nov 26, 2016Th at 5:55pm PST  When I saw this... This coffee mug will be joining my collection soon!  Oh, and did I mention that this diva is also designing sneakers?!  I live!!!  You've gotta check her out for yourself and see what is "brewing" in her beautiful mind.  Visit her online here:  KellieBrewsWorld                    

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Open For Business Coworking Space

money-making

Look, the sisters are doing it for them selves, are we not?  I love seeing the boss babes in action!  And you know we always put a little magic on everything we touch right?  And I do mean, everything!  Yes, from products to services, we can't help but be magical.  And I know exactly where you can get a super dose of magic while handling your own boss moves...it's at the Open For Business Coworking Space in Atlanta. That's right!  Located on the historic Auburn Avenue, this space is a haven and resource for some serious Girl Power!  It's a place that offers the professionalism of a dedicated office space, without the hefty bill through shared spaces.  You can also invest a bit more to secure a private office space as well.  Either way, you'll not only have access for work space, but access to a plethora of like-minded, educated, and knowledgeable businesswomen.  This is a great added value for those of us in need of a business mentor. RELATED ARTICLE:  Black Owned Nail Salons to Support It is seriously like the coolest, trendiest tribe of black female bosses I have ever seen.  You can't help but be inspired by the amazing decor that fills the walls.  As well, the other businesswomen keep you motivated and inspired.  The visionary behind the space is a bustling boss lady herself, Mrs. Nicole Garner Scott.  She has a long list of entrepreneurial accomplishments, too many to add to this post, so for more info on Mrs. Thang, click here! She created the space to be both a community for women business owners ripe with learning opportunities and a physical collaborative work space where women could come to work, meet, and learn. The surrounding community is alive with new energy, innovation, young business owners and endless opportunity.  Members of OFB are also connected with their parent organization, 100 Female Entrepreneurs and are able to tap into the resources of a global network of raw and rewarding girl power. I know many of my readers are women with some serious goals and aspirations.  That is why I am sharing with you information on a place to invest your hard earned coins towards your goals.  Our money is power, and we should be spending it with businesses that will utilize those funds by pouring them back into the community, back into us.  For more info on OFB, visit their website:  www.openforbusiness.space.  Check out the video below for a virtual peek of what this space has to offer:      

Where You Should Be Spending Your Money: Jazzy Nail Studio

money-making

Hey sistas!  After a busy or hectic work week we all need that self-care fix.  Am I right?  For me, the nail salon is that spot.  However, most of the nail salons in our communities are owned by Asian Americans.  I don't know about you, but I almost NEVER feel respected there.  I mean, even when there is no blatant disrespect, I feel disrespected by the use of two languages! My thing is this... if the majority of your customers speak English and YOU speak English, why in the hell are you speaking to your co-worker in a different language???  I don't know if you're talking about me or not, but the consumer shouldn't feel "uncomfortable".  Especially when I'm funding little Ling Chao's medical degree.  #facts  With that being said, a couple years ago, I was on a mission to spend money with a black owned nail salon.  I found a place where I felt comfortable, met amazing women, shared great stories and even grieved the loss of Prince in true black style, while having my nails sculpted to perfection (shout out to my stylist LaKendra)!  If you have never experienced a black owned nail salon and you're in the Atlanta area, let me introduce you to Jazzy Nail Studio! Business Name:  Jazzy Nail Studio Location:  Norcross, GA About:  Jazzy Nail Studio is an appointment only nail art studio.  We have a talented team of nail artists that specialize in the latest trends in nail art and nail care, all while maintaining the health of your natural nails. We also offer lash extensions, pedicures and henna.     Owner:  Jasmine Requena Jasmine has been a licensed nail technician for over 15 years now. She has used her expertise to brand herself, thus making her stand out among her peers. She is passionate about the nail business and teaches other nail technicians how to tap into their inner artist and grow their business.  Visit her website to book your next appointment!                              

Detroit student, Dannah Wilson, gives stirring response to Betsy DeVos

The new President selected a cabinet to head various departments in the US Federal Government.  One of his selections are for Betsy DeVos, a woman with absolutely NO experience in higher education or education period. She has been tapped to oversee the United States Education Department.  She is undergoing glaring scrutiny during her hearing, as she is most known for steering funds away from public schools.  The most articulate, searing, and insightful response to her speech came from someone who would be the most affected by her confirmation.  Dannah Wilson, a 17-year old Detroit student, gave a stirring speech in response to Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing. I am moved by the passion and intellect from this young lady.  She not only confronts the issues that plague our public school system, she provides insight and possible solutions for what is so greatly needed.  She gives a perspective that only a student invested in the system can give.  As always, I Hear That Girl! stands behind women, young and old, that use their voices to speak up for their beliefs and the empowerment of their communities.  To you Dannah, we say, "I Hear That Girl! and we stand in solidarity along with you."  View her entire speech below:  

Recap: Helping women to Envision Their Vision in Augusta, GA

envision your vision

This past weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet a new set of women.  I visited Augusta, Georgia as we partnered with my mentee, Mone Wallace of Real Talk Girl Talk, for her Envision Your Vision Party!  These women were eager to ignite their visions and set a plan of action.  I am so happy that I had the chance to empower them. Facilitating vision board events is as much a blessing to me as it is to the attendees.  I enjoy talking to women from all walks of life, hearing their stories, their dreams, and their desires.  Everyone wants more.  Everyone wants to be their best.  I get hands on and literally pull their greatness out! The women in Augusta had a great time and felt like they left with a real plan of action, not just a pretty board.  That's what we want...women empowered to take action in their lives!  Email me to book your own vision board event, isis@ihearthatgirl.com.  Check out pics below from the event:  

Motivation Video: An easy way to Push Past The NO!!

NO

You've got to be able to take the no's.  As an entrepreneur, a dreamer, a goal chaser, I heard my share of NO's.  However, I never let a NO stop me.  I just kept pressing for the YES.  And when I got it... oh!!!  How sweet it was.  Knowing you can get that YES means you know you can get even more.  You just have to keep pushing past the NO's.  Everyone is not going to need, want, or desire what you have to offer, don't take it personally.  Just keep going until you find the people that do!!! Don't allow the fear of a NO to stop you from trying.  You will never know the answer if you don't ask.  Keep pushing, never give up.  Your YES could be behind your next NO. Do you struggle with the NO's??  How do you handle them?

Make these small changes today for better Self-Care in 2017!

New Year

2016 is now in the past. Another year has begun. What will 2017 bring for you? There is no way in knowing what to expect during the next 365 days, but you can have a better understanding on how you will move and react to situations in this year.  It's important to plan your attitude for the year as much as we plan our goals. So here are some tips for better self-care in 2017. We always take time to plan out our physical goals, but how much time are you taking in mapping out the emotional you?  Our mental and emotional health is more important than any physical attributes.  No matter what you "physically" achieve, without a healthy mental and emotional life, you will surely lose it.  Pun intended. I had to take this into practice for myself, as I've been really focused on my physical goals, and almost forgot to check in with myself mentally.  I did it yesterday, a full evaluation of my mental and emotional health, on New Year's Eve.  I learned so much about how far I've come and how much more I need to work on.  Take this evaluation for yourself, be honest with your answers, and plan to work on positive changes for 2017:  How do you deserve to be treated?  Why? For many of us, we don't truly understand what we deserve.  Or, we have a construed idea of what we feel we deserve.  This is usually based in a lack of self-esteem, devaluing of self, and in some cases based on someone else's life.  Find out what you feel you deserve, but also speak on WHY you feel you deserve that. How would you like to be treated?  How will you teach others to treat you this way? We teach people how to treat us.  If you want to be treated with respect, you must demand it and be respectful to others.  What are you doing currently that has taught others to treat you the way they do? How do you value yourself?  Are you living up to that level of value? When saying you know your worth, does your life match that value? What will you do to change the way you value yourself? Change begins with you.  YOU have the power to gain the respect you desire, but you must respect yourself.  Whatever it is that you want others to value in you, be sure you are exhibiting the same for yourself.  Invest in yourself, that could be self-care through, books, prayer, meditation, business courses, etc.  My book, I Hear That Girl!:  Life Advice for Every Sista, is a great guide to understanding yourself, your value, and your purpose. ;) As you start this new year, take time for self-care.  Allow yourself room for the truth without judgement and a willingness for change.  I wish you guys the best and a level of self unlike ever before!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Avoid Unnecessary Stress: Finals Week

Finals

Finals Exam Week comes around twice a year in a student's life. At the end of the first and second semester. It has to be one of the most stressful times you will ever experience. The grade from your exam will either make or break you. It's almost like your entire life depends on the outcome of your test. You could be doing great in all your classes the entire semester and one exam grade will ruin that for you. This is why most students, if not all, don't seem to be the same carefree, easygoing students we once were during syllabus week. The entire campus looked sleep deprived and exhausted. The library was also packed. Students were either studying or sleeping with their legs kicked up on the coffee table and using their book bags as pillows. You couldn't walk by without hearing someone discuss how they think they either passed their final or failed it. The week felt like it would never end. I could not sleep or think straight. My mind was constantly in testing mode. All I thought about was how to convince me professors for extra credit even though they made it quite clear that they do not offer it. I thought about all the times I could've kissed up to my professors throughout the year and all the free tutoring sessions I should've attended. The papers and projects I procrastinated doing were piling up and were all due at the same time. It was definitely crunch time. I had to get my life together and I had to do it quick. I studied and prayed to God that I would come out on top. My parents did not send me to college just to find out I was trying to pull my grades together at the last minute when I should've been doing that all semester. Not only did I have to make sure I finished all my work and see to it that I passed all of my tests. I had my parents continuously asking me how was school and how was I doing in school. If it's one thing I know about my parents, it's that they do not play when it comes to school work. My parents did not send me to college just to find out I was trying to pull my grades together at the last minute when I should've been doing that all semester. So I smiled and told them everything was going just fine. Deep down I was crying, panicking, hoping and wishing that I would get everything done in time with excellent grades. After an extremely long, sleepless, gruesome week of memorizing formulas and going over significant dates in history it was time. It was my turn to see how the rest of my college career would play out. I felt like I was ready, but I was also nervous. As a student you already know which classes are easier for you and which classes you have to put a little

A Gift for the Stylish Man & a JORD Watch Giveaway!

With the holiday season upon us, we are usually thinking of the perfect gift for our special someone.  When it comes to the men in my life, I am almost always at a loss here.  Like, why are men so hard to gift?  What do they want??  My beau is no easy task for sure.  He is an extremely stylish man (one of the many qualities I adore) and he already has EVERYTHING! So how do you find something to wow the guy that already has everything?  Luckily for me, and the perks of blogging, I was given the opportunity to gift him the ultra swaggalicious, JORD watch. We had a scheduled weekend getaway to beautiful Charlotte, NC coming up.  My beau is a busy businessman that is always on the go, so having a weekend with him to myself, away from the hustle and bustle of clients, was a special opportunity and I took full advantage of it. My guy loves this watch!  He got tons of compliments on it as many couldn't believe the craft-work of a wooden watch.  I chose the Delmar in dark sandalwood, since his favorite color is black.  He loves unique items and this watch did not disappoint.   This is definitely the gift for the guy who has everything.  But most importantly, the stylish guy who has everything.  It's sophisticated, unique, and stylish just like me guy. The good folks at JORD are giving you a chance to win a $75 e-gift card for any of the amazing watches on their site.  Everyone that enters will receive a $25 e-gift code.  So everybody's a winner!  The contest will close 12/18/16 at 11:59pm.  So don't hesitate enter HERE. This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches, but the fun was all ours!   Wooden Wristwatch

4 Ways the Philmor Academy Girls School is creating Girl Bosses!

Philmor Academy

I recently accepted a position as a Pathway Teacher at the Philmor Academy Girls School in Lithonia, GA.  This private school is educating girls on a whole new level.  Founded by Sherrie Raymore, the Philmor Academy creates a culture of scholarship, sisterhood and the pursuit of excellence. It is the first of it's kind for the city of Lithonia in regards to minority private schools. Philmor Academy Girls School, a grades K-8 private school, is preparing young women today to be leaders of tomorrow through STEAM, Communications/Media and the Arts. Our goal is to ensure that each student is provided with a holistic educational experience that will equip all students with the tools for becoming successful. With a focus in the areas of STEAM and Communications/Media, our students will develop academically, think critically, lead purposefully, and make healthy and responsible decisions. I teach Radio/Media, at the school.  And I love the hands on approach to opening the minds of our young girls.  We are showing them that there is nothing that is impossible.  My girls will soon be launching their very own radio/talk shows to share their viewpoints and use their voices to empower other young girls.  I am so happy to be a part of this amazing school and below, I will give you 4 ways Philmor Academy Girls School is creating "Girl Bosses": 1.  Daily Affirmations The girls begin their day with affirmations that remind them who they are, their potential and encourage them to expect nothing but the best.  Repeating these affirmations cultivates a belief of confidence, surety, and boldness in our students.  They in turn exhibit the level of confidence in their work, their conversations, and interactions.   2.  Sisterhood Research confirms that students who attend gender-based classrooms achieve an edge in the real world.  Philmor Academy girls learn to listen to one another, accept each other, and celebrate the uniqueness of each individual.  They are encouraged to uplift one another instead of tearing each other down.   3.  Pathways Beyond a wide array of core content classes, Philmor Academy Girls School students enjoy the opportunity to explore their interests and develop their talents in a variety of media/broadcasting, the arts, and STEAM curriculum.  I see this each week in my Radio 101 class.  When I entered radio, I was 16 years old, and soaked up every experience.  It is what has allowed me to become the woman I am today.  Opportunities like this at an early age, provoke girls to achieve goals that aren't "typically" expected or afforded to women. 4.  Community The staff and faculty at Philmor Academy serve as passionate role models for the students.  Women like Sherrie and myself are excited to pour into these girls because of our passion to empower young black women.  Girls at Philmor Academy will be surrounded and supported by amazing women in the community who serve as mentors for the school.  This level of positive support helps young girls thrive into young women.  The Philmor Academy culture prizes leadership, character, integrity, and kindness, which means your child will enjoy a safe and supportive environment in

Feeling Stuck? Stressed? Well…Get Over It!

2016 is almost over.  At this time of the year, many of us can feel stressed, depressed, and stuck.  We may not have reached the goals we set at the beginning of the year.  Setbacks and failures can mount to where we don't know how to pick up the pieces.  We hear you, and we've got tips to help you get over it!  Here's a special one on one interview with empowerologist, Dr. Adair.  As a best-selling author and motivational speaker for the last 22 years, Dr. Adair has created various avenues for self-empowerment and resiliency strategies for women and teens. IHTG:  You made the "jump" from a six-figure career of over 20 years.  How did you find the confidence to do it and why do you think it's so hard for a lot of people?  Dr. Adair:  I was unhappy at the time, and I’ve never been the type of person to wallow in unhappiness, despair, and misery.  I knew that I needed a change but was unsure what the change was.  After all, I had been comfortable in that position for many years and I actually still enjoyed many aspects of it, but because I found myself more unhappy than happy, I knew that a change was imminent. My confidence is embedded in my spirit.  You see, I knew that my life was not just about what I wanted because I have Faith that God has a plan for me and orders my steps.  There were several life-changing events that happened to be over the course of the year that I walked away from that position that clearly impacted my worldview and my spirit.  Because my confidence is aligned with my spirit and my spirit was no longer actively engaged in the position I knew it was time to “walk away” and I also knew my confidence was intact. Please understand, though, that I had a plan…I didn’t just wake up and say “I’m out!”  I was still working in another professional position that I also was passionate about, and I had written and released my first book.  Between the two of those and my strong belief that God had created this path for me to follow, I had the confidence to know and believed that everything would be alright.  So I took that leap of Faith, and everything was alright. I think that it is challenging for others to make the “jump” because we have a natural fear of the unknown.  We are comfortable where we are because we are comfortable where we are.  It’s as simple as that.  I had a friend once tell me that we would rather “live in a comfortable hell than strive to be in an uncomfortable heaven” because it is easier there.  We know what to expect, and in many cases, we have conditioned our responses.  It’s easier for people to dream about their dreams because they know it can’t hurt to dream.  But the reality is that by just dreaming and not doing we are

My first run in with campus racism

racism on campus

I was raised in an area filled with African Americans. My parents’ home is located in an area where hard working blacks thrive. The high school I graduated from was almost 100% African American and had a 100% graduation rate in 2015. I never attended a predominantly white school because the area I lived in did not have much white people. All the clubs I joined, sports I played, classes I sat in, and grocery stores I shopped at were filled with beautiful people of color. When I graduated high school I decided to attend a school with more diversity. An institute where I could interact with other races and gain more knowledge and understanding of other backgrounds. The first few weeks were going well. I was meeting new people and learning things I did not know before. A few more weeks passed and I noticed people physically expressing their negative beliefs. I starting noticing people wearing t-shirts with the confederate flag printed right along the front of the shirt. It was exposed for the whole campus to see. This was my first time ever seeing something like this in person. The person and shirt left me speechless. I was disgusted. Just knowing there are people in this world that actually support the meaning and idea behind the Confederate flag infuriates me. "...you can imagine the look on my face or anyone’s face to realize that students are being harassed and degraded because of the color of their skin in an environment that is supposed to feel and be safe."  A few weeks ago as I was leaving my 9 am class to go meet up with some of my friends I heard someone shouting a few derogatory remarks behind me. I was not sure if I was hearing correctly. It was early in the morning of course and anything between 8 am to 10 am does not register in my mind properly. I kept hearing the phrases become louder and bolder, “white power not black power!” “Vote Donald Trump to restore power!” and even a dumb phrase like, “If it’s black take it back.” At this point I knew my hearing was perfectly fine. I kept walking and contemplated for two seconds whether I should or shouldn’t say something to the person. I heard giggles and laughter from what sounded like a young lady behind me. I knew something had to be said because obviously she found it amusing. As if the entire existence of black people is to be used as punchlines to pathetic jokes. I turned around and began to tell the young man to shut his mouth, he quickly interrupted and said “It’s okay to not be white,” to patronize me. From there he quickly ran out the door with his friend trailing behind him. I could not believe what I just experienced. I was in utter disbelief. It was like everyone around me was already used to this type of behavior. No one seemed phased by his words. As I told

Building Businesses in 2017 with Women of Color

Business women of color

2016 was an interesting year for me business-wise.  I saw the launch of the highly successful STRONGER Empowerment Tour and I also had a few failures.  However, one thing I've learned this year is that 2017 will be an even bigger entrepreneurial year of businesses for women of color.  I'm planning to stand side by side with my sisters in order to learn more, share more, and become a better businesswoman in my community. Odyssey Media, the leading brand in the empowerment of influential and affluent multicultural women, has announced the return of "IN THE BLACK," a dynamic tour of powerful networking experiences that allows women business professionals to share insights, discover strategies and build relationships.   Building on the success of last year's event, the "IN THE BLACK" Tour will take place November 11-18, 2016 and will host events in Newark, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta. Each event will feature a chic cocktail hour and high-energy presentations by notable business experts and speakers, including Odyssey Media founder Linda Spradley Dunn.   On the heels of one of the most polarizing elections in history, IN THE BLACK will be the nation's largest gathering of a key voting demographic: multicultural women business owners. For the past two terms, it has been widely recognized that this important group has been instrumental in deciding who fills the White House office as President. IN THE BLACK will include frank, post-election discussion topics ranging from the influence of our vote and the business of politics to inking the important documents needed to run a successful business.   This year, to reach a broader group of women, "IN THE BLACK" will host virtual watch receptions on November 18th in twenty additional cities nationwide where guests can experience this one of a kind tour via streaming video.   "The success of last year's tour inspired us to revamp our original concept to allow more women to join the movement that is 'IN THE BLACK,'" says Dunn. "By expanding our reach, we will be able share more information, provide more resources, create more opportunities and overall better serve the various needs of America's fastest-growing community of entrepreneurs – and that is multicultural women. I'm excited about the possibilities."   Confirmed speakers for the tour are:   Newark - 11/11 Tara Setmayer Love, CNN Contributor Jane Carter, Entrepreneur www.janecartersolution.com/ Gayle Hawkins, Prudential Financial Becky Davis, National Speaker, Business Coach http://www.beckyadavis.com/ Mikki Taylor, Editor at Large, Essence Magazine   DC - 11/13 Twyla Garret, Entrepreneur, http://womensventurefund.org/twyla-garrett/ Silvia Tarvas, Prudential Financial Monica Cost, Business Coach http://monicacost.com/ Mikki Taylor, Editor at Large, Essence Magazine   Chicago - 11/15 Amy Hilliard, Entrepreneur ShirleyAnn Robertson, Prudential Financial Monica Cost, Business Coach Mikki Taylor, Editor at Large, Essence Magazine   Atlanta - 11/17 Sharmeen Hawkins, Entrepreneur Lydia Reid, Prudential Financial Becky Davis, National Speaker, Business Coach http://www.beckyadavis.com/ Mikki Taylor, Editor at Large, Essence Magazine   The tour is presented by Coca-Cola 5by20, an initiative developed to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs worldwide by the year 2020. Additional sponsors of "IN THE BLACK" include Prudential, The COTY Family of Products (COVERGIRL, Sally Hansen and Clairol) and Life Reimagined.   Launched in 2015, "In the Black" was founded on the premise that women need several tools to succeed, including: a black book (with

Save Your Coins with Kroger Click List

If you can save your coins, it is the number one way to build wealth.  I am looking for ways to build wealth as I close out 2016 and enter 2017.  I think so many people have gotten caught up in the idea of making money, but have totally forgotten the importance of saving.  I tried out Kroger's new convenient shopping app Click List to see if it could help me save more. One of the easiest ways to save money is to take a look at how and where you're currently spending it.  For me, grocery shopping was one of the places I was seeing an increase in the amount I spend and an increase in wasted food.  :(  I don't like wasting food, and I also don't like wasting money.  It's hard when you're shopping for one because most meals are made to serve at least 4.  Walking in the store is also a coin drainer for me because if it's on sale, sweet, or salty and maybe not on my list, I'm bound to purchase it.  Oh, and don't be hungry when you go shopping either.  Before you know it, your grocery bill has doubled. Yes, this was me. Preparing for an upcoming grocery store run, I decided to get my list together and stick to it.  So I began pulling recipes for the week.  Once I had that together, I knew the items I needed to purchase.  Kroger Click List is an easy tool that allows you to grocery shop online and pick up. You simply visit the Kroger.com website or use your Kroger app to start shopping.  Kroger is the store I usually patronize.  All my previous shopping lists were already on my app, plus my Kroger Plus coupons! I scheduled my order to pick up the next morning.  When I arrived at the store, I followed the signs to park in the rear for pick up.  Once parked, I called the number posted on a sign in front of me to let them know I was there to pick up my order.  Two super nice young ladies named Zaria and Karen came out to my car to review my order and let me know of any substitutions they had to make.  I only had four substitutions.  I was fine with them as my items were actually upgraded to name brand items at the same price of the Kroger value items. Once all my items were confirmed, I was given my total, which was $10 less than I expected (with coupons, Kroger Plus discounts, etc.) and paid with my debit card.  The entire pick up took less than 5 minutes and my groceries were loaded without me ever having to leave my vehicle. I will definitely be using this service again, as I was able to come under budget this grocery trip, while also getting everything I needed with no hassle, and super quick.  It's a great service for busy moms, elderly people, and those who need help staying on budget with little to

Election 2016: I’m in a glass case of emotion!

Election 2016

Today, November 8th, 2016, is a day of many emotions.  I'm conflicted, irritated, numb, and happy all at the same time.  It's election day and although I've voted early, this date signals the end of Election 2016.  Whew!  I know I'm not the only one who just breathed a sigh of relief at the end of this ridiculous melee for the position of President of the United States. I've voted in five presidential elections and I can honestly say that Election 2016 is the ONLY one in which I have felt as if my vote really didn't count.  The candidates we have to choose between in the major political parties (Clinton/Trump) are people that individually I can't stand behind.  And don't think I'm overlooking the Green and Libertarian party.  After looking at both of their platforms, I would have voted for Jill Stein, but the odds of her winning swayed me to believe I'd be wasting my vote again.  Geesh!  I get frustrated just thinking about the thought process I've had to employ over the past few months.     It irritates me that Trump is even a contender in this election.  I mean, what does that say about our country?  Everyone gets so caught up in what he's saying but the fact that he's even a part of the conversation says a lot more about us as a country.   Having to explain that to people caused me to avoid political conversations all together.  I've even had to stay away from certain discussions on social media.  Election 2016 has revealed the inner racist in many a social media commenter.  The sheer foolishness that has been posted sometimes drove me nearly insane.  I love my life, so this election has been horrible for my stress levels.  It's been too easy to get pissed off at peoples ignorance in this election. I'm really trying to do better on giving folks a good cuss every now and then. A lot of my friends and peers are suffering from the same election frustration.  And the results from this election will be felt for some time after.  Personally, I have lost all confidence and hope in our government.  PERIOD.  There is no way that you could believe after this horrible election campaign that politicians actually care or have concern for the citizens of America.  If you do...send some hope my way in your comments below or via email to: isis@ihearthatgirl.com. Seriously. I need it. PS- Be safe out there and exercise your RIGHT to vote!

I could stand a money-making getaway, could you?

money-making

Sisters are doing it and doing it for themselves!  While African-American women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs and the most educated group in America; our finances aren't reaching positive milestones.  Our money-making skills are great, but we definitely have trouble holding on to it. Women control 75% of the wealth in America and are in more control of the purse strings in their households. Women are also the biggest consumers. They have reached $18 trillion in spending power and have decision-making influence over $11.2 trillion of investable assets. A Prudential research report reveals that just one-third of women have a detailed financial plan in place. Only 53% of women indicated that they had begun saving for retirement, compared with 65% of men.  And women with some retirement savings have accumulated less than half of what men have saved. Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group is a boutique financial advisory firm focused on educating and supporting professional women and the community to build and transfer wealth. Her firm’s goal is to help clients achieve financial success by guiding them through major life-changing events, such as marriage, divorce, widowhood, career transitions, or the selling of a business.  to help women better manage their money, investments, and give them the chance to focus on themselves for a change, Harris is kicking off a Finance ‘n Stilettos Wealth Retreat. This retreat will allow high achieving, professional women plan their financial future and become the best version of themselves. Participants will meet one-on-one with a female certified financial planner to learn strategies on how to make their money work for them. While mapping out the ultimate prosperity plan, attendees also have the opportunity to network with other women.  They'll take advantage of full body massages, sample some exclusive wines, and enjoy luxury shopping. Women in attendance will rejuvenate physically, mentally, as well as financially. The trans-formative event will take place April 26–29, 2017, at the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa. For more information on this event, click here.

America’s school system could learn a LOT from this woman!

America's School System

Without telling my age, schools just aren't what they used to be.  When I was going to school, it was more of an extension of my home life.  My teachers and principals were like my aunts and uncles.  And my peers, were like cousins.  My parents knew my teachers, we all lived in the same neighborhoods.  It was perfectly normal to see our teachers during a grocery trip or at the local park.  It takes a village to raise a child was a true sentiment that we were living out.  Today, America's school system could benefit greatly from this blast from the past. Back then, the teachers were concerned with your overall well being because they cared for you as if you were their own.  So if you were getting out of hand, there was no need to send a student to the principal, when the teacher had full authority (by the principal AND your parents) to discipline you as necessary.  THEN, your parents would also be made aware of your behavior.  But that's the time when children revered their parents.  "I'm gonna tell your mama," was an actual threat.  Today, it seems we have lost the sense of community.  The understanding that the entire community shared in the development of not just successful students, but all around good people for society.  Everyone took part in this development:  parents, teachers, board of education, council persons, etc.  Today, there is just a lot of placing the blame. I was happy to run across the story of Dr. Nadia Lopez, the Principal and founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY.  She has taken the extra step to show how true concern and love can be the best form of developing great individuals (students).  Her story is so inspiring because she is serving an under-served community and shining a spotlight on the brilliant minds located there.  There's nothing wrong with our students, instead, there is something wrong with the way we are schooling them.  And it's time for a change.  I'm proud to see this sister at the helm, leading the charge.  Watch the video below for more information on Dr. Nadia Lopez and her role in the educational system in America.  From us to you...I Hear That Girl!

Purple Affair Celebrates Survivors of Domestic Violence

Survivor: (noun) a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died.  That's webster's definition, but we at I Hear That Girl define survivor as Tamiko Lawry-Pugh! A victim of domestic violence herself (Mrs. Pugh) learned to live life as a survivor which prompted her to launch the #StillStanding Foundation. This foundation helps abused women turn their lives around one loving step at a time. The setting for the evening was all of that befitting a survivors party: Purple Affair: Honoring Survivors of Domestic Violence, with the color purple as the theme color. The banquet style setting featured a live band and guest singers. Survivors and those who accompanied them were all adorned in their purple gowns, serving us life honey!! All in attendance went through hell & high water, some giving their personal testimonies of how they nearly died at the hands of their abusers.   Take for instance, Ms. Nikki Payne, who's husband shot and killed their 2 year old daughter and 7 year old son before turning the gun on himself. "He didn't just kill himself, but he killed me to." Mrs. April Kelly, who was sexually abused by a man at her church. He used God to control her and made her feel that it was God's will for them to be together. "Imagine my surprise when I found out he was living a double life. He used to be a pimp who wined & dined young girls to lure them into a relationship with him." Mrs. Tamiko Pugh,  whose ex-husband beat her to within an inch of her life on the side of the interstate; "People were blowing their horns and swerving trying not to hit me. Then a couple stopped an told me they saw everything, called the police, and helped me to safety. Y'all I could've died that night." These were just some of the powerful testimonies of the night. Also featured at the Purple Affair was a live & silent auction. Some of the items were authentic autographed pictures of the nation's 44th President, Barack Obama, the legendary late great Muhamad Ali, and actor Will Smith. Drawings by Olympian artist Jessie Russel who drew a portrait of 1st Lady Michelle Obama.   The best highlights of the evening goes the #StillStandingFoundation Fashion Models these victors strutted their way across the purple runway with grace & confidence letting the world know, "I SURVIVED!" Special guest of the evening included host and Fox 5 Atlanta's own Ms. Lisa Raham. Congrats on the success of this great event. Mrs. Tamiko Lawry-Pugh , staff, and survivors, "We Hear That Girl!"  

Ester Mahlangu Brings Atlanta the Art Experience

Esther Mahlunga

Last night, I Hear That Girl was in the building at the High Museum of Art right here in Atlanta, for the Art Experience with African Artist Ester Mahlangu. Short and petite, but a giant in art, this 80 year old artist shared artwork from her latest project with Belvedere Red, to celebrate 10 years of her life changing charity work. Many came out to support and learn Ester’s unique form of drawing and painting with feathers, as well as trying the new limited edition brand of Belvedere Red Vodka. Those who attended the festivities had fun, learned new art techniques, took a tour of the art museum, and will even have their artwork signed by Mahlangu and mailed back to them. Attendees also enjoyed the cocktail reception that proceeded after the main event.   The unique pattern for the new vodka bottle was chosen by brand ambassador and R&B Superstar John Legend and Ester Mahlangu. The patterns reinterpreted the four campaign symbols which Mahlangu uses in her artwork. The symbols represent security, unity, change, and support which are the core values for the campaign which bring awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Ms. Mahlangu, “We hear that girl!”

College Is Supposed To Be Scary

Graduating high school a few months ago had to be one of my greatest moments of 2016. I reached a milestone, but I never really spoke about my unease with going to college during the first few weeks of the summer. I’m a person that absolutely hates change. It scares me to know that I won’t always live life at my normal routine because I enjoy being around familiar places, people, sounds, and even smells. The thought of College came as something that I simply was not ready to take on. Over the course of June and July my mom was making me take on new responsibilities. I started scheduling my own doctors and dentist appointments, getting up early in the morning to buy groceries, and even had to handle a traffic violation...yes... all on my own. Even though these things were very minor it led to a realization. I realized that I actually was growing up and things were going to change whether I liked it or not. I was nervous, scared, anxious, and had no clue what to expect. My friends and I were going to be apart after years of being together, I was not going to see my family’s faces everyday, and the workload that I was used to was going to change. Everything began to come at full force. I felt like I was the only one going through this because everyone around me seemed so excited to move on. At this time college was nothing more than a symbol of change that I did not want. With the first semester quickly approaching, I had to overcome my fears and discover ways to cope with it. I started by tackling my biggest issue… the workload. I had many expectations for my first year of college and failing was not an option. I knew that I wanted to work, join multiple clubs, and still be able to get my assignments done. One night I sat down and created a plan. The first thing that I listed was what I was trying to accomplish within the first and second semester. I listed things that were important to me and not as important. First I had a bullet point for my assignments. Next, I wrote down clubs and organizations that I was interested in. After that I included a space for my work schedule, then a section for anything else that would come up. The key was prioritizing and figuring out what was important and not as important. I even purchased a planner because I knew this would help me in planning out my week. This gave me a clear understanding of everything that would be going on. Everything was mapped out. It made my mind feel less cluttered because I could see everything physically. I am the type of person that likes to know when and how everything is going to be done. I want to know how certain professors are in class, how to get to class, how

Positive Outlook Challenge… Join Me!

PositiveOutlookChallenge

Mondays.  Well...you know it can be a sad realization when we realize it's time to get back to work and our weekends are over.  Today, when my alarm clock went off at 6:30am, I had the same thought most people have, "I want to sleep just a couple more hours."  Instantly, something switched in me.  A small voice inside spoke brightly, "No!  We are happy to have this day and we are ready to seize it!"  In that moment, I made a pact with myself to try something different.  I instituted the Positive Outlook Challenge for me and me alone. While preparing for the radio show, I reminded myself to replace each negative thought that enters my mind with an opposing positive thought.  Simple as that.  I am training my mind to always see the bright side of every situation.  I believe that positive thinking is contagious and has a snowball effect as do negative thoughts.  I'd rather positivity consume my life than negativity.  How about you? My challenge is a 7 day challenge.  However, I want to make it a habit.  You can extend or stop after 7 days, but I want you to at least commit to a week of positive vibes.  I am sure it will bring forth the most amazing week you've ever had!  Consciously choosing to have a positive outlook on life is sure to give us abundant life and who doesn't want that?  So, are you with me?  Check out my FB Live video below as I tell you all about the #PositiveOutlookChallenge!  Be sure to share your experience with me here, via social media (@ihearthatgirl), or by emailing me:  isis@ihearthatgirl.com.  I can't wait to hear from you!  

Serena Covers SELF Magazine & We Love It!

It's no secret that we here at I Hear That Girl! absolutely adore Serena Williams.  She embodies the beauty of black women.  Everything that defies the European Standard.  And I LOVE IT!  The Super Star Athlete, Serena covers SELF magazine and what she says about loving herself and accepting her body, is the stuff dreams are made of.  She is TRULY a deserving role model for our young girls. "I love my body, and I would never change anything about it," she says of dealing with criticism. "I'm not asking you to like my body. I'm just asking you to let me be me. Because I'm going to influence a girl who does look like me, and I want her to feel good about herself." She goes on to say she hopes to be a great role model for African-American youth.  "I can't say I am the pioneer because it was Althea Gibson, it was Zina Garrison, it was Arthur Ashe, it was so many people before me. [But] I appreciate being in a position where I was chosen to be a role model," she explains. "Obviously, being black in tennis wasn't easy, even in the '90s." Make sure to check out Serena's full interview with Self, when the September issue hits newsstands August 9th!

Why I’m Loving The Phrase, “Sorry Not Sorry”

sorry-not-sorry

I've adopted the phrase, 'sorry.  not sorry.' as a personal mantra.  I mean, I feel like this phrase has been something people have been wanting to say for years but just couldn't due to all those pesky PC (politically correct) people out there.   Seriously, if you've ever heard or said something like... "I ain't tryna put you out there, but..." or "Let's call a spade a spade..." or "Not trying to be rude or nothing, but..." It just basically means, you're trying to set up your truth with an acceptable buffer so you don't take it 'the wrong way'.  Knowing full well, you want them to take it just like you laid it out there.  And don't forget, if you've ever started a sentence with, "Look,..." that means the receiver (victim) is about to get served them real feelings. I've been spinning Queen Bey's, "Sorry", back to back on my moody days.  Today, I realized I hummed the song from 11:30pm Tuesday evening through today at 2pm!  Yes, I was shocked myself.  So I had to ask myself, "What is it about this song that you love so much?"  So here goes: It's about time people got real about what they're trying to say without pussy-footing over it.  There are just way too many pansies in the world today.  Why?  Because, we tend to care so much more about how others will view us if we hurt someone's feelings, that we forget about our own.  What about your feelings when that cousin or friend keeps asking to borrow 20 dollars? Don't get mad when I respond, "Hell nah!  You don't have a job to pay me back!"  Talking about borrowing something... that's not a borrow situation.  That's a HAVE situation.  You wanna HAVE twenty dollars.  Am I wrong?  Am I?  Sorry, not sorry.   We've forgotten that THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE!  The freedom I'm talking about is being stress free.  Whenever you tell folks the truth, watch them start to disappear.  Well...the ones that can't handle the truth will.  See how I just did that?  The phrase "No shade" is just  the set up to said shade.  Now that's for the people who are afraid to keep it real.  Just say what you really mean and let the chips fall where they may.     It comes from a good place.  It should anyhow.  If not, you're just being a bully.  The statement, "sorry, not sorry" is a statement founded in truth.  It honestly means I'm sorry that what I said bothers you, but I'm not sorry I said it (insert sarcasm).  And how many times have we been there? Feel better?  Embrace the phrase.  Enjoy the phrase.  Don't misuse the phrase.  You'll thank me later.  Always concerned about the plight of my people, I inspire, empower, motivate, and uplift.  Moody Cancerian.  Lover of life.  Tweet me @ihearthatgirl          

What Every Woman Damn Near 40 Should Understand

Sooo...I recently celebrated my 37th birthday and I tell you, it is the first one in which I felt 100% at ease with.  Yes!  I'm damn near 40, and I'm happy!  My thirties have definitely been a journey of endless revelations.  I got divorced at 32, which in and of itself was an opportunity to find out not only who I am, but WHY I am the way that I am.  By 35, I was in my creative stride and sharing that revelation with others.  Now at 37, my attitude is "F$#@ it!  Two tears in a bucket!"  Seriously, I mean that in all positivity, empowerment, and light.  Let me explain:  I have accepted who I am, why I am, and you know what...I LOVE this woman!  I no longer live according to any societal rules or the whims of others.  If it feels right to me, I'm doing it and not even contemplating if I'm wrong for feeling ok with that.  Isis is a fiery, impassioned, lover of justice, understanding, and most importantly, peace.  So I aim to make my life all of that and more.  I am enjoying my life and I have no issues turning down "opportunities" for more important things and people. This birthday, I was supposed to be at Essence Festival.  Well, we all know that plans never go according to plan.  While there is no doubt that had I gone to Essence Festival as planned, I would have had a ball.  Although working, I would have had an opportunity to meet my media role model, Oprah Winfrey. However, I didn't let the dissolution of plans work me into a tizzy.  Instead, I got extremely excited when I realized this detour would allow me to celebrate my birthday with my sisters, family, and my best friends.  I couldn't have asked for anything more.  My best friend, Vett, drove an hour into town just to have a birthday dinner with me (I so love her) and my other best friend, Keshia and I laughed through the night at Waffle House and an impromptu trip to Wal-Mart, into the early morning in an unplanned sleep over (but do we ever really plan them Keesh!).     37 has taught me a few things in just a couple of weeks, and I seriously am looking forward to my future years. Being damn near 40 looks good on me! They're the things that University's & Life Education are made of...they TEACH!  Here are a few things I've learned: Love yourself...UNAPOLOGETICALLY! Best Friends are more valuable than silver or gold.  TREASURE THEM! Death is the only thing that is certain, spend time with those you love and let them KNOW IT! Celebrate whatever and wherever you choose.  Life's a celebration!  (I didn't eat cake for breakfast, girl!  CELEBRATE!  By eating cake! LOL) Coffee is life giving nectar. Curse words aren't bad, they're your life-earned RIGHT! It takes way less energy to say how you feel than to try and filter.  #TEAMNOFILTER You don't always have to voice your opinion.  Let crazy folks be crazy

Feeling Blue Car Review: Mitsubishi Outlander with Alton Walker

After visiting with my parents for their anniversary, I was totally knocked down by my cycle.  I've never felt so fatigued in my life!  It's hard dealing with the fatigue and weakness from my anemia during this time.  When Mitsubishi dropped off the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, I immediately made a drug store run in the rain for a new heating pad.  Yes, the struggle was real. Although it was a short drive, I felt I was in the appropriate vehicle for the weather.  We were experiencing a southern summer downpour and the Outlander Sport definitely gives you that off-roading vibe.  This is definitely the SUV for any adventure enthusiast, as its rugged feel flows throughout.  Even the interior gives you that feel.  Of course, you can add some of the luxuries you may be accustomed too, like heated seats and GPS, but these are add-ons. My business partner and co-host, Alton, had more time to enjoy this car than I did.  Since I was in bed all week, he took our "BlueBerry" (he named it) out to all of his comedy gigs and downtown Atlanta for meetings.  Each time he returned, he had something to share with me that he liked about the ride.  One of his most favorite observations of the Outlander is he felt like he was driving a truck.  This feeling really boosted his male ego.  What is it about men and trucks? He stated that the make-up of the vehicle felt much stronger which gave him an extra sense of confidence on the road.  The tires held the road "tight", so he didn't feel squirrely in the rain and road conditions. The car color is "Electric Blue" and blue is my favorite color!  I was definitely feeling blue about the fact that I didn't get to really experience it.  But I'm really glad the co-host and business partner was able to enjoy a manlier vehicle!  

It’s a Journey! Real Life Relationship Goals

relationship goals

This weekend, we will be celebrating my parents' 44th wedding anniversary.  They've demonstrated how marriage is more about teamwork, support, and faith in character over feelings (which waiver).  They have shown myself and my siblings real life relationship goals. I remember how they orchestrated as a team even on the smallest things.  If we wanted to go to a party, my mom would tell us to "ask your Dad." We'd go to him and he'd reply, " what does your mom say?"  We'd then tell him, she wanted us to ask you.  And he'd say, "well... it's up to her."  LOL.  I laugh at it now, but back then, it was so aggravating.  Their teamwork in providing a happy home for us was so successful and well played.  We never felt that we were lacking anything.  Well... other than a little fun. This year, I brought the fun with me.  I made the trek to South Carolina in the new 2016 Mazda CX-3.  I had the opportunity to preview this vehicle last year in Houston, TX during the Nzuri Hair Festival in which I hosted the Empowerment Stage.    As usual, as soon as I pulled up, my Dad was outside with a big grin on his face.  He strolled to my window and said, "Nice ride ya got there!"  I jumped out and gave him a big hug.  He immediately went under the car and did a full inspection.  Daddy will always make sure his little girl is safe in these streets. This vehicle is just right for me.  The size is perfect.  I'm 5 foot even, and I usually travel alone.  However, I could still haul around my siblings (4 of them) comfortably in this car! I love the ease of the drive, Mazda is great at that.  The ride felt like I was floating on a cloud down I-20.  And with the bluetooth audio system playing my favorite tunes, that 2 hour drive went by so quickly. It's almost an exact copy of the CX-5, which I adored as well, but in a smaller or should I say "petite" size.  Perfect for a queen like me. After all of the family activities of the day, I took my mother and father for a spin in the CX-3.  They sat in the back seat, enjoying the scenery and detailing everything they liked about it.  I took in the slow drive in the country as we pulled up to our family house that these two have made a home.  I was thankful in that moment that they chose to hang in there, stick it out, and work on building a marriage that would be strong enough to develop three amazing black women and one unstoppable prince. They've stuck it out together through the good and the bad and have become a GREAT couple with a lifetime of memories they share among the two of them. That is true relationship goals!! They didn't start out perfect, they learned it all on the journey...together! #RELATIONSHIPGOALS

Change Your Life: Monday Motivation

Happy Monday lovies!  When the alarm goes off on Monday mornings, it's always a reminder of the place in life that many of us don't like.  Why are Monday's so hated?  It's the back to reality mindset.  Or should I say, Monday mornings for many people is like the return to the hamster wheel.  This applies to you if you're unsatisfied with any aspect of your life.  In today's video, I want to motivate you to take back your power and CHANGE IT!  Let me know what you're planning to change in the comments below!  

Video: Just Believe!

I just wanted to share this with you guys.  It's for anyone who may be feeling stuck, frustrated, as if they are not progressing.  This message came to me from my daily devotion.  We all grow weary, we all grow tired.  It's ok, we only have to believe!  Check out the video below.  Peace & Blessings!!

Snatched Edges Are Not Cute! Stylist, Razor Chic Speaks Out!

On May 26th, the renowned, award-winning Atlanta hairstylist, affectionately known as Razor Chic of Atlanta (or Razor Chic), posted a jaw-dropping yet heart-wrenching video across social media, which featured a bold, young woman in her early 20's who shared her hair loss horror story. In the video, the young lady elaborated on how she lost her hair due to years of consistently wearing sew-ins, quick weaves, braids and wigs without ever giving her hair a break in-between installations. As a stylist who is all too familiar with the hair loss stories as experienced by more than half of the new client's coming into her salon, a fed-up Razor Chic took to Facebook and Instagram to address this issue head on. Since then, the video has gone viral reaching more than 5 million viewers across social media. "African American girls and women, in particular, have become addicted to hair extensions as a source of making them look good and feel good," says Jasmine Collins aka Razor Chic of Atlanta. "Many of the women we encounter at my salon claim that their beauty influencers are largely weave-wearing women commonly seen on reality-TV shows, in beauty magazines and websites, music videos as well as YouTube. As a result, nearly half of our clients are distressed women who travel from across the globe, suffering from traction alopecia after years of wearing improperly installed weaves and lace front wigs coupled with neglect for the hair underneath those extensions. The situation is so bad that I believe it has reached epidemic proportions!"  Sadly, this is a true reality for black women at even younger ages as previous generations.  In the various high schools I speak at, I've noticed more and more of the female students rocking these weave styles on a daily basis.  Proper maintenance, upkeep, and rest time is vital to keeping natural hair healthy.  Yet, many of these women are lacking this information and professional knowledge. According to Razor Chic, the placement of sew-ins, tape and glue extensions and lace front wigs are only part of the reasons for self inflicted extreme hair loss amongst females wanting to thicken, lengthen, or change up their style. Other contributing factors include: Lack of proper at-home maintenance and at-home maintenance counsel provided by the hairstylist to his/her clients Tightly braided hair under weaves Leaving extensions in over the 8-week mark Consistently wearing extensions without the recommended break of 6-8 weeks in-between installations Improper cleansing of the hair and scalp while wearing weaves, extensions and braids Improper drying Hair density to weak to handle the extra weight Improper use of glue methods General health of the hair before extensions View the viral video below:

Amandla Stenberg’s Soul Session is a Call to Action for black women

I'm 37 years old and I am still peeling back the layers of me.  The difference now than 10 years ago, is that I am loving everything that I am learning about myself.  It's a true process to full acceptance of self.  It is what goaded me to write my first book, "I Hear That Girl:  Life Advice for Every Sista". Enter, Amandla Stenberg.   She’s been called one of the most influential teenagers in America. Her video history project “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows” went viral with nearly 2 million views. She recently co-directed a series called #BLACKGIRLMAGIC for Teen Vogue. And she’s done it all before even graduating from high school. Recently, the young activist was given a stage to speak and empower black women and girls across the globe.  What better platform than that of Oprah Winfrey and her "Soul Sessions".   When I watched the less than 20 minute video, I found myself recounting the many questions of inferiority and frustrations with society's standard of beauty.  I remember realizing that I didn't fit into that mold and that I never would, and how bad that could be.  It wasn't until years later when I decided, "so what!"  That was the day I began to love myself as a whole.  I work daily to continue to love the woman I am and am still becoming.  It's refreshing to see a young girl that recognizes her queendom so early.  These are the revelations I am impassioned to see on the faces of the many young girls and women I speak with during the STRONGER Tour and within the pages of this blog.  If we can empower our women, we can change our communities. Check out Amandla's moving speech:  My Authenticity is My Activism, below:

A Fallen Love Story

In honor of National Learn How to Swim Day, I thought it'd be great to share a personal story in regards to how important it is to learn how to swim. Back in high school, going to the lake was one of the things you just had to do at least twice in the summer time, its almost like a tradition Arkansans do when there's nothing to do. I went a couple of times, for the sake of my friends and boredom, but never really was a fan of being in dirty water. During my junior year I met a guy named Elijah that was a new student from Denver and at the time, having a new black student was really exciting because we didn't have too many black people in the town, so every black kid at school wanted to be friends with him. Lucky for me, I got to get to know him a little better because we rode the same bus from and to school. We began dating later on that year and it was great until he started hanging around people that were really no good. It was a defining moment where I had to look at my life and say, okay, I have to be even more cautious of what circumstances I could be put in. Well, when the summer rolled around, we parted ways and he started dating someone else. I didn't get to see him in the summer time until I saw on the news that he drowned in Beaver Lake, the lake everyone goes to. I found out when I was at work when everyone kept mentioning an Elijah that died the day before. I went to my boss's office to look up which Elijah they were talking about and once I read the article, my eyes began to fill up with tears and I broke down. Story was that he wasn't drinking or smoking but was out with a couple of friends and current girlfriend at Beaver Lake and he went into the deeper part of the lake and didn't have enough energy to swim back. Since I was almost done with my shift, my manager let me grieve until it was time to clock out. I got in the car and told my mom the news and cried again. I just couldn't believe someone that was close to me was gone. It was a defining moment where I had to look at my life and say, okay, I have to be even more cautious of what circumstances I could be put in. That made me take life very seriously and really made me look forward to my senior year of high school and making sure that I enjoyed it because not everyone is promised another moment. After that, my mother wasted no time in signing my siblings up for swim lessons which is great because now they know the basics and can possibly prevent a drowning from happening around them. A year later in my

Acceptance begins with Self…

I think that self esteem and the need for validation begins at a very young age. Think back to as young as you can remember. How did you feel when you first understood what it meant to be accepted? How did you feel when you were first rejected? I’ll share my first experience of both! My first memory of being rejected was in the second grade, when I began being teased for not wearing the nicest clothes and shoes. I even remember being teased about my odor which I knew was a lie, but it didn’t change how the comments made me feel. At that age all I wanted was recess buddies and naps, the simple life right? Hmph well unfortunately that didn’t happen for me! This went on for years, I think it finally stopped when I started fighting back! No not with words, I got physical! Now by high school I’m feeling myself! I’d finally hit puberty, my curves are filling out, my hormones are kicking in, and I’m a cutie! So now instead of being picked at, I began being harassed.. Yes, my childhood was a cruel one. I’d now become “the new girl that thinks she’s all that”, hence I was always the new girl because I got kicked out of so many schools for fighting. As innocent as I wanted to behave I was never able to because I always felt that I had to prove myself. I had to prove that I could fight in order to be left alone, prove that I was cool enough to no longer be teased because of my no name brand clothes, prove that I could be the class clown because I wanted people to like me.. Boy the effect that this had on my life.. This conditioned me at a young age to live my life according to people’s opinions of me. If I wanted friends, relationships, or to be accepted by a certain group of people, then I felt I had to do what they were doing to fit in. However over the years I’ve lost a lot of “friends” and I may lose a few more because I will continue to grow! And as I grow I realize that everyone can’t go with me. Now I see that I wasn’t created to fit in anyone’s box nor was I to perfect their image of who they wanted me to be. I had to recondition my mind, and I am no longer held bound to the belief that I have to change to “fit” in anyone’s life! I am me, and I am loving learning about every bit of me. For so long I’ve had insecurities about who I am, And finally I see that I only cared so much because I hadn’t accepted myself. I always felt the need to be validated, or like I needed to do or be something else to fit in and it became so stressful. Can you imagine how tiresome it must be to wear so

The Case of Symone Marshall & Why YOU Need to Know

Brace yourself.  I am about to tell you a story that is all too familiar.  However, it is one of many that we NEED to know.  We don't need to become desensitized to the commonality of our fallen sisters.  I demand acknowledgement of the failure to protect these women....OUR women. The 22-year-old was involved in a single-vehicle crash when she and a passenger were arrested. Weeks later, Marshall suffered a reported seizure and was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. According to the news station, Symone Marshall and a female friend were driving along Interstate 45 April 26, when they were involved in a single-vehicle crash. Police and paramedics arrived on the scene and say Marshall and the passenger were evaluated and that both women refused medical treatment.  Both women were arrested and issued misdemeanor and felony charges of cocaine possession. Marshall was also charged with providing a false identification, KHOU reports. The passenger posted bond and was released the next day, but Marshall was unable to secure the $5,000 needed to be released so she spent the next two weeks in custody.  Symone Marshall, told her sister that she wasn't feeling well, her head was hurting and she felt like blacking out, Honey Marshall told the news station. Honey Marshall said she called the jail demanding that her sister be taken to a hospital.  "They told me she's seen the doctor at the jail," Honey Marshall said. "I told them she needs to go to a real hospital."  On May 10, just weeks after being arrested, Symone Marshall suffered a seizure and, according to prison officials, was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.  Police have released little information regarding Marshall's death. An autopsy was conducted by the Harris County Medical Examiner, but results are pending. We give their privilege power because of their rules, their laws, their measurements of happiness. But see...what if we no longer needed that? Then their privilege would be worthless. The details of this tragedy are missing, but the blatant lack of regard for the health of this woman remains.  I find it impossible to believe that a white woman would have endured the same treatment or lack thereof.  Dylann Roof received much care and concern upon his "capture" after the senseless murder of 9 people in Charleston, SC.  He was even offered a meal on the way to lock-up.  You HAVE to see the obvious ludicrous preferential treatment in this and thousands of other cases.  This is what black people know well to be "WHITE PRIVILEGE".  White people get upset when we point this truth out.  They fear losing it.  We don't want to take it away from you white folks, you can keep it.  What we want you to do is ACKNOWLEDGE that you have it.  Then you can stop looking at us as if we're crazy every time we factually pinpoint an instance of white privilege.  That's all we want. Once minorities receive acknowledgement, I believe we can release the power of their privilege.  We give their privilege

How I went from Unfit to #TeamFit Overnight! And how you can too!

I've never been the most athletic kid in school, I liked to sprint, but not in an official capacity.  No, my sprinting sessions happened on the dirt roads off highway 25 where I grew up.  As a youngster I was always super skinny, begging God to put some meat on my bones.  When I graduated high school, I only weighed 86 pounds!  I remember very well my "freshman 15" in college.  I stepped on a scale in the mall and I was 113!  I almost passed out!  LOL, the simpler days. I suffered a bilateral PE and it changed my outlook on everything.  I wanted to do more, go places, hell...I wanted to LIVE! By 25, I was nearing the 140's.  And after 6 years of marriage and a divorce, I was topping out at 166 pounds!  Yes, I was a wreck, but not because of my size, it was because of how I felt inside.  You know how they say if you're sick, dress up and you begin to feel better?  It's the same here.  My weight gain was just a result of the stress and frustration on the inside.  As I began to work those inner things out, things changed on the outside.  But that wasn't "it" for me. RELATED POST:  Weight Loss Keep Pushing Yes, I lost weight, began a low-carb lifestyle, and regained some semblance of who I used to be.  But little did I know that low weight doesn't equate to being healthy.  I suffered a bilateral PE and it changed my outlook on everything.  I wanted to do more, go places, hell...I wanted to LIVE! RELATED POST:  5 Things Helping Me Maintain a Low Carb Lifestyle During recovery, I planned to get it right this time.  I failed, lol.  The "living" concept, I understood that.  The fitness, was hard for me to commit, because in all honesty, I am lazy when it comes to strenuous activity.  One morning, my best friend posted her walk to Facebook and knowing how determined she was to shed pounds and reclaim herself, it motivated me to get out and get moving.  I started walking that day, changed my eating habits, and got serious about being fit in that instant.  So what happened?  What clicked?  I'll break it down for you and hopefully these tips will get you headed towards a fit lifestyle too! Just Do It! I didn't put much thought into it guys.  I just got up and walked outside.  There doesn't have to be a plan or a membership, and at this point, not even a goal!  Just lace up and get moving! Set your own pace!  My day one was a 10 minute walk from my house, up the street, and back.  I was ok with that.  I was just proud that I got out there. Challenge Yourself! Each day, I push myself to go a little further or a little longer.  I also challenge myself with streaks (how many days straight can I do a mile). Don't Beat Yourself Up!  Some days I will walk for 15 minutes

Tracee Ellis-Ross Flawless in French Braids at White House Dinner

One of our Sister Loves, Tracee Ellis-Ross, is forever giving us life, be it as the host of Black Girls Rock, as Bo on the hit sitcom, 'Blackish', T-Murda on social media.  We love love love this woman and she recently gave us even more to gab about with her stylish look at the White House State Dinner. At this past weekend’s White House State Dinner, Tracee was breathtaking in a floor-length white gown. While she could have just opted for a curly updo, she paired it with two long loosely cornrowed braids on either side of her head that stole the night. Still obsessing over the braids I wore last night! You will be seeing them again! Thank u @YeneDamtew! #NordicVisit @VitaFede earrings Make up by me with my latest obsession @ColouredRaine #truffleraine lip A video posted by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross) on May 14, 2016 at 12:14pm PDT I love french braids as well, its such a simple, sexy, cool hairstyle.  My niece is a beast with it, and I have yet to try the long french braids (I always do them tucked into a goddess crown).  This will definitely be one of my summer styles.  What do you think about this style?  Are you loving it as much as we are?

Big Sis Kandi Burruss shares Money Advice: Girl… Get Your Money Right!

Singer. Songwriter. Hit maker. Producer. Playwright. Host…The list goes on. Reality star Kandi Burruss wears so many hats at once, it’s tough to list them all. The Real Housewives of Atlanta star, 39, made a name for herself as a musical artist, but throughout her career she branded her success and turned it into wealth by extending her reach well beyond her music. Related Stories:  BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS OWNER GIVES TIPS Proving she’s an unbelievably savvy businesswoman, today mom-to-be Burruss owns two trendy clothing boutiques in her hometown of Atlanta, an award-winning intimate toy line, a marketing service and a production company—each of which was a dream she brought to life. Burruss’ biggest secret to success is smart planning and realistic money management. “I try to invest in things that people can use or things they would enjoy,” she shares. “Something that’s easy to market or promote. Also, things that are in a great price point that will sell quickly so that you can make your initial investment back fast.” Dreaming is easy, but stacking the funds to set your dreams in motion can prove to be the biggest challenge you face. Start by curbing your lifestyle and spending habits, Burruss suggests: “I meet people all the time who say they want to do this or that but say they don’t have the money. A lot times they are living to the full extent of their income and they’ll have nice bags and shoes but haven’t even invested in quality business cards or nice website for their brand. Who will want to gamble or invest in you if your not taking the first step to invest in yourself?” Burruss’ best advice for 2016 is to start off the year living below your means, “The money you’re going to save instantly can go toward your dreams,” she adds. But don’t stop there. For Burruss, having multiple sources of income coming in has proved invaluable for making her big ideas a reality. “I never want to depend on one thing,” she says. “I invest in property because you can always leverage your equity to purchase other things.” Although Burruss can offer advice for days on how to build up your bank account and brand, she knows when to take advice too. The best financial advice she ever received came from rap star LL Cool J when Burruss was just 19. “I had just bought my first house while Xscape was on tour with him,” she recalls. “He told me that I should try to pay off my loan as soon as I could because the entertainment business is so up and down you never know how long you’ll be able to afford those expensive notes. He told me to put extra money toward the principle of my loan every time I got a check no matter how big or small because it would knock years off of my loan. He was so right.” She stuck to the plan and when she went back to look at her loan statement, the

An Old Age Secret to Combat Painful Periods

For many of my sisters, we dread our monthly cycle.  I for one, would go into a mild depression as mine neared.  The pain is just way too much to bear.  I've been to doctor after doctor and they all have no real answer as to why I have felt as if my body was ripping away from itself every month since the age of 11. It interferes with my life drastically.  I'm usually bed-ridden for at least 2-3 days, anti-social, and unproductive.  I hate how that one week of each month literally is wasted.  I tried birth control and it helped for a while.  When I got married, I stopped taking birth control, and the pain was still tolerable.  However, after turning 35, the pain returned.  I tried birth control again last year, and again, it eased my pain.  February of this year, I suffered a bilateral pulmonary embolism, due in part to blood clots caused by birth control. So I was now back at square one.  I am at high risk for blood clots, so birth control is no longer an option for me.  While recovering from my PE, I talked to my best friend about how the fear of the next month's cycle was weighing on me.  We prayed that it would be easier and not as painful.  When my cycle rolled around, it was the most painful one I had experienced in quite some time.  Of course being on anticoagulants, severely anemic, and unable to take ibruprofen or aspirin throughout the entire miserable week, only contributed to my pain.  I missed work for the week and was locked in my room for three days. I talked to my mom about what I was going through and she mentioned an old remedy her grandmother had given her.  It was called Lydia Pinkham.  This herbal tonic was concocted back in 1824!  She told me she took it for her bad menstrual cramps and took it again when she was going through menopause.  However, she didn't think they made it anymore as she no longer saw it available in stores.  I pulled out my iPad and went to Amazon to search out this elusive Lydia Pinkham tonic.  Low and behold, I found it on Amazon, available for only $9!!!  I immediately purchased a bottle. I talked to my doctor before taking it, to ensure that it wouldn't interfere with the medications I was already on for my PE recovery.  He assured me there was no harm in taking the Lydia Pinkham tonic, as it is made of 100% natural herbs.  I began taking the tonic at the onset of my next cycle.  You take it three times a day, and I was waiting for the pain to kick in.  Incredibly, I felt no pain on day one and by day two, I had only experience mild cramping.  It was just too good to be true!!  I went from a level 10 pain to level 2, just like that! This month, I switched from the tonic

Change is inevitable, Progress is optional

Change is something that can be very scary. It removes you from your comfort zone, and forces you to think outside the box. Many people are afraid of the unknown, and “change” can be just that, however it can also be a positive transition in life. It has been one of the best things that I’ve experienced yet. Change for me started three years ago when I decided to leave my comfort zone, which was my hometown. I’d grown up there for years and had the same circle of friends. We all had similar goals, which didn’t consist of much. We all had similar agendas, get cute, party, drink, work, begin again. Exciting right? Well we were young, no kids, and no real responsibilities! But being grown and still doing the same things? Oh no! Once I moved away and started meeting new people, my eyes began to open and my mind started to expand. The people that were placed in my path all had something in common, they all had goals! They knew where they were heading and they were passionate about getting there. The things I began to learn about amazed me.  As minute as some of these things were I was shocked that I’d never been exposed to them. Things such as a vision board, something I’d never heard of back home. I was introduced to people from all over that were educated, well-rounded, and well-respected. I knew that if this was going to be my circle, I definitely had some changing to do! Change was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me.  It saved my sanity, changed my direction, my circle of friends and the way I carry myself. Being in a different environment around a new group of people forced me to change my thinking. I was beginning to see exactly how far behind I was and it was not a good feeling...which turned out to be a great thing! It made me so uncomfortable that I wanted to do something different. I think that was the best thing that could've ever happened to me, had I remained stagnant I wouldn’t be sharing my experience. I want to get comfortable with being uncomfortable so that I am always evolving. Life is all about growth and evolving and I was just getting a taste. Each day I started reading new quotes, listening to different motivational speakers and even reading new books.   I am learning to do things that make me uncomfortable, such as dating myself.  Yes I said it, dating myself! You know many of us young women have issues with being alone. We always feel the need to have someone in our lives, in our space, and in our bedrooms. Yes I’m guilty, that was once me as well! Until now, I’ve never truly experienced what it meant to be single, not date, and not have a regular sex partner! But now that I am single and truly just focused on me,

A New Perspective on the Paranormal

Yesterday, I was invited to a private media screening of the all-new series, "Ghost Brothers".  I'm a huge fan of the horror genre and the paranormal.  I'm geeky like that.  Yes, I'm the girl that rushed to literature class whenever we were covering Edgar Allen Poe.  I LOVE it! So you can imagine my delight upon hearing that there was finally going to be an African-American Paranormal team on national television?!  I was ecstatic for a couple of reasons.  One, as I already stated, I am a huge fan of the genre.  In all my time watching these shows, one thing was missing...US!  We react differently in ghostly situations.  We're funny when we're not even trying to be.  That's what I love about this series.  It shows a different perspective of paranormal investigations, but more importantly, it gives viewers a different perspective of black men.  I was especially impressed with how Marcus Harvey sported a "Never Sold Dope" t-shirt in the first episode.  That tee spoke volumes!! Destination America hosted an exclusive press screening at Graveyard Tavern (great food BTW) for their latest show "Ghost Brothers," a six-part docu-series featuring TV's first African-American paranormal investigation team. Cast members Juwan Mass, Dalen Spratt and Marcus Harvey were on hand for a brief Q&A and one-on-one interviews following the sneak peek of the first episode ("Magnolia Plantation"). "Ghost Brothers" follows three best friends- all raised in religious households - who take their healthy curiosity and passion for the paranormal to the next level. The trio tour a series of haunted houses throughout the U.S. to uncover the history and the truth behind the local tales. #GhostBrothers premieres Friday, April 15 at 10/9c on Destination America (@DestAmerica). I implore you to support these brothers and Destination America for showcasing the diversity within our community!  Let me know if you'll be watching!

Road Trippin’ in the New 2016 Kia Sedona

I've been really busy since February with the STRONGER Empowerment Tour.  We've been hitting the road every week to various college campuses in SC, GA, NC, and TN.  It's been an enjoyable tour and I hate to see it come to an end.  Now that spring has sprung, we welcome the road trips with me and the staff. My friends at Drive Shop sent over the 2016 Kia Sedona for our tour stop at College of Charleston.  The Kia Sedona is a surprisingly sophisticated mini-van.  Now, I'm a sports car kinda girl, with no kids, so I definitely would have never considered a mini-van.  It was perfect timing though, as I thought this would be perfect for my staff and I on the trip. The 2016 Kia Sedona is an impressive vehicle.  We need lots of space to load our staging and luggage.  There was ample room available in this ride even without the collapsible rear seats.  Once we put them down, there was TONS of room. And did I mention the reclining passenger seats?  LOVED THEM!  Let me tell you why:  I recently suffered a bilateral pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs).  Since my release from the hospital, my doctor has advised me to avoid sitting for long periods of time in a way that can constrict the veins.  Usually on a road trip any longer than 2 hours, I would have to stop periodically and walk around at a gas station or restaurant for at least 5 minutes.  Having the ability to recline fully made me feel much safer about our 5 hour drive to Charleston, plus we made less stops. I was extremely comfortable the entire trip and I even had a DVD player with wireless headsets ready for viewing.  With multiple charging outlets and USB ports, we dubbed the Kia Sedona our "Office On Wheels".  It allowed the entire team to stay connected with our various cellphones, iPads, and laptops. There are just so many awesome tricks in this minivan, which makes it perfect for vacation season.  There's even a cooler in the glove compartment!!  Wicked!  Lol!  The best thing about it, it drives like a sedan.  I was able to drive and maneuver this vehicle without worry.  And the seating adjustments made it easy for my 5 foot 1 frame to be confident while driving. There's so much to like about this ride.  I was totally surprised with how I'd fall in love with it.  My manager has a family of 5 and he is definitely considering purchasing this vehicle.  Even single people find this ride amazing as well.  My partner, Alton, stated that this was at the top of his list for travel. If you're seeking comfortability for upcoming roadtrips and vacations, I promise you won't go wrong with the 2016 Kia Sedona!

An Empowering Tea With The Tankards

Bravo hosted "Tea With The Tankards", a private press luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead featuring Thicker than Water cast, Jewel Tankard, Brooklyn Tankard, Latisha Tankard and Shanira Tankard. Guests participated in intimate conversations with the cast and enjoyed a classic tea party experience. Yours truly was one of the invited guests and I enjoyed every bit of it.  It's always great to come together with women, fellowship, and empower one another.  We learned so much from the Tankard women.  They shared vulnerabilities, joys, aspirations, and more.  Through the intimate event, I felt I had an opportunity to see a different perspective of these women than what can be packaged in a 60 minute episode on television.  It was refreshing to hear these women be transparent about their lives, their trials, their experiences and most importantly...their revelations. My friend Kyla, of Pink Proverb.com, was my plus one and it was good to link up with her again.  We hadn't seen each other since the Houston event last year.  So, we caught up over delicious teas and crumpets.  The pastries and sandwiches were delicious.  The decor and environment added to the experience (I mean, who doesn't enjoy hanging out at the Ritz-Carlton?).     Watch new episodes of "Thicker than Water" Season 3 on Sundays at 10pm ET on Bravo.

Southern Charm Comes Naturally!

You've heard the saying, "Smiling faces, beautiful places," right?  If not, this is the state slogan for my home state, South Carolina.  I currently reside in Atlanta, GA, and southern hospitality can be found here as well.  There is just something about Carolinians though.  Many of my friends here in Atlanta have often said the people they know from South Carolina, are some of the coolest people they know.  We call it "southern charm".  Heck, most all southerners have it.  It's especially sweet in the details. I recently visited the College of Charleston in historic Charleston, SC, as a part of our STRONGER Empowerment Tour.  The Spring Hill Suites in North Charleston was our Accommodations Sponsor for the event.  General Manager, Radu, was super helpful and made sure everything flowed smoothly.  When we arrived, check-in was super quick and easy.  Walking into my king suite. I was pleasantly satisfied.  It was an awesome space with modern amenities and a taste of chic. There was space for me to work remotely, which really came in handy when it came to downloading images and video after the event, following up on emails, and planning for the next event.  Rest came easy in the luxurious bed (what is the hotel secret to such great beds?).  It was nice having a gorgeous suite to myself because traveling with a team lately, we've been sharing rooms, so this was a welcome retreat. On the wall, there was a huge mural that simply stated, "You are here."  For me, that sentence meant that this was not a dream.  It meant, yes...you are living your purpose. The staff were extremely friendly, which is always a plus when traveling on tour.  I have enough things to stress over when I visit different cities, and having a friendly employee greeting when I arrive definitely puts a smile on your face.  The Stronger Tour has been an amazing vehicle for me to empower women across the Southeast.  Following the event and a bite to eat with the organizers, we retreated back to our rooms to rest up and hit the road the next day.  The sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the moment overcame me when the elevator doors opened.  On the wall, there was a huge mural that simply stated, "You are here."  For me, that sentence meant that this was not a dream.  It meant, yes...you are living your purpose.  You are on the right path.  You're here today and tomorrow you will take you to even more.  I had to stop and get a photo, because those words meant so much to me. It's funny how the little things can mean so much.  A well placed mural, a smile and a thank you at the door.  I didn't want to leave when the sun greeted me the following morning.  My stay rejuvenated me and reminded me to reflect on where I am and where I'm going.  Charleston is a beautiful city and if you're planning a getaway either for business or recreation, let

Sephora Chooses Diverse Beauty Entrepreneurs for Accelerator

courtesy of AJC Even women with the drive to begin their own beauty businesses can use a boost. By 2020, Atlanta-based beauty giant Sephora aims to build an "ecosystem of support" for 50 beauty businesses founded by women. Women of color entrepreneurs will help set the tone for the social impact program, as part of the inaugural Accelerate class of eight female "fellows" hand-selected by Sephora and announced this week. The first, Naa-Sakle Akuete, founder and CEO of Eu'Genia Shea, an all natural shea based moisturizing line.           The second, Candace Mitchell, co-founded Atlanta's Myavana with Chanel Martin.             The third, Lisa Mattam, is the founder and managing principal of an organic skincare line, Sahajan. Positioning itself as the first hair-care recommendation system, Myavana performs analysis of customer hair strands at the microscopic level and then matches hair needs to hair products on the market. The company evolved from Techturized Inc., founded in June 2012 by four female engineers from Georgia Tech. Though beauty industry consumers are overwhelmingly women and girls, female-owned beauty businesses are still underrepresented, and Sephora hopes to compensate with the Accelerate program. Their requirements for this year's inaugural incubator class were businesses founded by a woman, headquartered in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, or Brazil, and sharing a passion for social good through their work, such as sourcing eco-friendly materials or donating sweat equity to charities. They also looked for "early stage" businesses not yet distributing their products widely or carried by Sephora. The fellows will receive an all-expenses paid trip to a boot camp in San Francisco in April, where they'll work on business models, market analysis, growth plans and funding strategy in preparation for a Demo Day in late August. The fellows also receive a $2,500 grant, mentoring, and possibly additional business funds.

Meet the Ladies of La’Roux: Young Beauty Mavens on the Rise

La'Roux Cosmetics is a growing beauty brand and line of sophisticated lip wear for every day, every style, every woman.La'Roux currently offers high-quality lip products; including lipgloss and lipsticks for affordable prices. Products are elegantly packaged and named after such figures as Aphrodite, Cleopatra, and Nefertiti so women can feel like royalty when wearing their lippies. Dawn and Jasmine Walker are young entrepreneurs who turned a simple hobby and passion for beauty into a fast-growing company and brand, La'Roux Cosmetics. Based in Chicago and Atlanta they set out to create a brand that would encourage and empower other women to always exude beauty, elegance, and confidence. Dawn and Jasmine Walker both firmly believe that every woman is a queen, and should feel as such; thus, they emphasize royalty in the La'Roux Cosmetics brand and remind every customer to "stay lavish, regal and never tip her crown!" In 2016, they've launched their #QueenMe2016 campaign and aim to feature their customers, beauty influencers and beyond to redefine what it means to be beautiful and highlight the diversity of the word both inside and out.

Help Young Black Women Escape Stereotypes

I am black. A black girl, more specifically. I go to a predominantly white high school. I live with the pressures of rising above the stereotype of the typical black woman. The definition of a stereotype is any commonly known public belief about a certain social group or a type of individual. Stereotypes are often confused with prejudices because, like prejudices, a stereotype is based on a prior assumption. Stereotypes are often created about people of specific cultures or races. Some stereotypes applied to black females include include: "angry black woman," "undereducated," "having daddy issues," "welfare queens," "always cursing" and many more. There are so many, I could go on for days. I don't want to be that stereotypical black woman. No black girl should want to. We should want to rise above that and make other people see that we are not defined by those stereotypes. If I don't act like those stereotypes, I am considered "too white" or told that I think I am better than everyone else. I have a question: How are black girls supposed to act? You tell me. In my high school, I take all honors classes. I am the only black student in all of those classes. Why? I do not know. The black girls in my school are some of the smartest people I know. I can understand why people would think of black women the way they do. Some of us are those stereotypes, but some of us aren't. Some of us are loud and wild, we do curse a little too much —  but who doesn't? Some of us are under educated, but that is because many of us don't believe we can be anything more. Some of us are "welfare queens," but that is because some of us have never had anyone care enough to help us get off public assistance. A lot of us do have "daddy issues." I do myself, but that is because some of us have never had a strong male figure in our lives. The things we have experienced make us the people we are today. The things we see in our everyday lives do, too. How is it fair to judge an individual black woman by the stereotypes you have of other black women? It's simple. It isn't fair. So, if you don't like the stereotypical black woman, do something to help us change those stereotypes. Don't say we're "ghetto" behind our backs. Help us get to the level you know we deserve to be on. Whether you want to believe it or not, our race has changed the world. You may know that we have changed the music industry, but we have changed so much more. Just last month in Houston, Texas, an educated black woman, opened her own stand-alone, full-service emergency room. Dr. Foyekemi Ikyaator is 31 years old. So, before you think to classify us with stereotypes, think of who we are becoming, who we will become, and remember who you thought we were, just that "stereotypical black girl" — changing the world one curl at a time. NaSiya Taylor is a

Room to Roam in the Mazda CX-5

I like road trips.  There are always some hilarious stories that come from a long ride with my co-host, Alton, and I.  With the hustle and bustle of living in the city, you don't always feel you have the time to relax and enjoy life.  That's why I love road trips.  The open road gives you an opportunity to flex your mind muscles, release the stresses from the daily grind, meditate, and plan.  Lucky for me, as a blogger and author, I'm usually in the streets traveling here and there on tour, covering events, supporting my team and so on. Before our trip to Houston, the Mazda CX-5 arrived and while I was limited on the time I had to enjoy it, we made sure to revel in it!  My first jaunt was a quick errand and stop at the local burger joint.  Our team was working in overdrive with only 4 days until our Houston event, making cooking illogical, lol.  I enjoyed my first spin in the CX-5.  It felt like luxury on the interior but drove like the sporty Mazda 6.  If you missed my review on that beauty, check it out here:  Mazda 6 Review. The space in the cabin of the CX-5 is to me it's strength.  I can definitely see how my team could take a much more enjoyable road trip in one of these babies.  There's plenty of legroom in the rear which would give my crew room to roam during our tour stops.  The technology in the vehicle was everything I had come to love in the Mazda 6.  Which leads me to believe the CX-5 would make a great companion vehicle for the Mazda 6 for any family.  They are the perfect one-two punch.  My co-host took the CX-5 out for a spin the comedy club and he fell in love.  He loved the way it drove, but also stated that it was a perfect fit for a man of his stature (he's roughly 6 feet tall). All in all, I enjoyed the time I had with the CX-5 and wish I had more.  It gave me the rush of a sports car that I felt in the Mazda 6, but the room and space you sometimes need for long trips with a group of your pals.  I'd suggest this vehicle to anyone single or family because it just works.  You can't lose with it.  

Foodie Review: Giant Ribeye at Smokey Bones!

There is nothing like a juicy steak.  Medium rare, seasoned to perfection, with various side items...that's heaven to me.  Recently, I was given the opportunity to dine at Smokey Bones, a barbecue restaurant, and try out their latest offering, the Giant Ribeye special.  I brought my radio show co-host along with me to help me tackle this 35 ounce ribeye. I frequent Smokey Bones often, so I'm aware of their delicious offerings.  I usually order the garlic parmesan chicken fingers with a side of fried pickles (they are heavenly).  My co-host loves their smoked wings.  So, when I was told about this latest special, I was sure it would be a filing experience.  Let me break down to you what comes in the Giant Ribeye special: a 35 ounce ribeye cooked the way you like it (feeds 2-3) two salads two sides two drinks a bag of their homemade doughnuts   The great thing about this special is you can feed 2-3 people for only $60!  When our rib-eye came out, we didn't know where to start!  I felt like a cave woman diving into that huge piece of medium-well beef!  It was beyond tender, moist, and no need to use any steak sauce.  Each morsel melts in your mouth and the seasoning is great.  Alicia, our chef, stopped by our table to introduce herself and I just had to tell her what an amazing job she did on the steak.  Our sides were delicious as well (we went with broccoli and stuffed baked potatoes).  We were so full, I really felt like a glutton and we didn't even make a real dent in the meal! When the doughnuts came out, they smelled so heavenly, all I could do was pinch a bit off to savor the warm fluffy goodness.  Our to-go bag was huge and we ended up with enough food to feed us both one more time. That's what I call great left overs!  If you are considering a place to dine for the upcoming Valentine's Day or just want a great weekend meal to give wifey a break; Smokey Bones is a logical choice.  This Giant Ribeye special delivers on taste and is sure to bring the family to the table without breaking the bank.  This is a limited time offer at select Smokey Bones locations, so take advantage of it NOW!  If you visit the Peachtree City location in Georgia, be sure to tell them I sent ya! For more information and menu visit:  www.smokeybones.com.

Stock Up On Scott & Save at Dollar General

In my home, I have 3 roommates.  And they're men...yep, men.  That automatically makes me the mama or big sister of the house.  And when it comes to keeping house, I know that every now and then I'll get that knock on the door or hear a yell from downstairs, "Can I borrow a roll?"  That's why I stock up regularly on Scott paper products.  I've gotta be at the ready for my boys! I've used Scott for quite some time and for a few reasons: Scott's products have great quality!  The Choose-A-Sheet Paper towels stand up to tough messes in the kitchen and work great as disposable hand clothes in the guest bathroom. The Extra Soft Bath Tissue is just that.  I love how soft but yet durable it is!  A little goes a long way and you don't have to worry about any "breaking through" issues. It's affordable!  I don't have to break the bank for Scott products.  And now, with the help of Dollar General, you can save so much more!  Who doesn't like a great deal? Right now, at Dollar General, you can take full advantage of Scott's special bonus packs!  SCOTT® 1000 Bath Tissue, 16 pack (2 Free Rolls) • SCOTT® Choose-A-Sheet Paper Towels, Mega Roll 6 Pack (Bonus 15% Sheets) • SCOTT® Extra Soft Bath Tissue, Double Roll 16 pack (2 Free Rolls) Not only will you save by purchasing Scott's bonus packs, but thanks to Dollar General's digital coupons, you'll also save a bundle when purchasing Scott products!!  I love a great deal, so I was eager to take advantage.  All you have to do is visit the Dollar General Digital Coupon site, here.  Within just a few minutes I'd downloaded tons of great savings, including my Scott coupons as well.  If you want to take advantage of the Scott bonus packs you've got to hurry.  The bonus packs are available in-store for a limited time.  Build your stock today!  Let me know in the comments below who do you stock up for?

It Started With A Tweet: 3 Black Women Start Law Firm

Every business has its Hollywood origin story—the wee-hours revelation, the "Eureka!" moment, the so-crazy-it-just-might-work experiment. But the tale that the partners of the African-American- and female-owned KMR Law Group like to tell isn't some blockbuster epic. It's made of about 140 characters and one very consequential tweet. "I had been doing some work that I definitely didn't love," explains Yondi K. Morris, a founding partner of KMR. "Technically, I was a contract attorney, which means I went into law firms to help them with whatever they needed for some period of time." Newly installed at a law firm that she is too polite to shame, she was on the clock when a partner went over to check in on her progress. "He just looked at me and said, 'Okay, slave, get back to work.'" She was the only person of color in the room. "I looked around and just waited for someone to catch my eye," she remembers. No one met her gaze. Worse still, no one looked surprised. "WE JUST ALL CLICKED—OUR PERSONALITIES, OUR DREAMS, OUR AMBITIONS. IN THAT MOMENT, IT ALL MADE SENSE." "For me, honestly, I wasn't just insulted as an African-American woman. I didn't want to be viewed as a worker bee anymore." She went home and logged on and tweeted, "I need to start my own firm." Keli L. Knight wasted no time. She replied right away, writing, "Let's meet to discuss." They did, and invited Jessica Reddick, an old friend that Morris had known for a decade, to join. "We got together one day in Starbucks and that was the first meeting," Morris says. "We just all clicked—our personalities, our dreams, our ambitions. In that moment, it all made sense." Adrenaline and caffeine flowing, they sketched out a provisional logo on scrap paper and drafted an informal business plan to start a law firm in Chicago. "We decided we were going to do it," Morris says, "and haven't looked back since." To some extent, they've been planning for this for most of their lives. "From the time that I was a child, I was told that I should be a lawyer," Morris says. "I always had something to say. I was always arguing my point. I would organize family meetings when I wanted something." She remembers strategizing how best to convince her parents to have another child. "I had all my points written out," she says. "It was very thought through!" And while Reddick hadn't exactly planned to go to law school, she, too, remembers "sitting [her] parents down" to explain to them why she should have her way. "I had written out almost a motion to try to convince them what I wanted." Reddick credits her parents—both entrepreneurs—for encouraging her to find a path that could make her happy. It wasn't until she ended up on the business side of a law firm in Washington, D.C., that she realized she wanted to go back to school. "It really did just click," she says. But even when she went

Sisterpreneur: Ashley Lounds

T-shirts are expressive.  They can say so much in so little.  They express the personality of the wearer.  That is why I love them.  I'm a true t-shirt and jeans chick!  It can be dressed up or down in an instant.  So you know I was ecstatic to see a new line of tees that would help me express my spiritual side as well.   With a creative blend of classic styles and trendy phrases inspired by popular culture, 1st Kings Apparel brings an exciting new T-shirt line to the faith-based community. Founder, Ashley Lounds, recognizes the importance of spreading positive messages through fashion and her personal life experiences influenced the decision to launch 1st Kings Apparel. "God has showed himself strong in my life and it is my goal to do the same for him. I want my life to reflect his glory," she says.       Using fun lyrical references and hashtags like #WontHeDoit made popular by celebrity favorites, 1st Kings Apparel is poised to be a mega hit among fashion enthusiasts of all facets.     Visit 1stKingsApparel.com to check out their full collection or connect with them on social media @1stKingsApparel.  Let's support our sister in her endeavors!

FLOTUS Gives the #SOTU a little #BlackGirlMagic

Can we just talk about how amazing FLOTUS, Michelle Obama, looked last night?!  She has consistently dropped Black Girl Magic all over Capitol Hill since the Obama's have been in office.  She didn't fail last night either.  She was dressed in a Narciso Rodriguez dress and a purple coat with her bangs side-swept, she looked as bold and as beautiful as ever.   Let's take a look back at some of FLOTUS' looks in SOTU's past:    

Essence Delivers “Black Girl Magic” with February Covers

In ESSENCE’s first-ever “Black Girl Magic” February 2016 issue, the magazine presents three covers celebrating young women who embody the spark and shine that exists in every Black girl: activist Johnetta Elzie, Chi-Raq’s leading lady, Teyonah Parris, and black-ish co-star Yara Shahidi. Plus, ESSENCE’s “Class of 2016” showcases even more young women from the worlds of activism, fashion, the arts, sports and tech whose dynamic actions make us all shine bright, including: Zendaya, Willow Smith, Aja Naomi King, Quvenzhané Wallis, Gabby Douglas, Bree Newsome and more.  For more on the February issue of ESSENCE (which hits newsstands on Friday, January 8th), visit ESSENCE.com. “Being a part of this reemergence of a movement both pro-diversity and pro-woman is the best part of being a Black girl…”—ABC-TV’s blackish star, Yara Shahidi, in ESSENCE. I'm loving this!  It's always great to see images that look like YOU.  Images of strong, beautiful, powerful, and positive women.  They are a reflection of the sisters I know.  Not that false perception that other mass media would have you believe about black women.  I can't wait to pick up my copy!  Check out the beautiful covers here:    

J. LO TAKES ON RISKY ROLE IN “SHADES OF BLUE!”

courtesy of OnGiselleAve Jenny from the Block is serving up sexy tomboy with a side of kick-ass in her latest role on NBC!  There are good cops, there are bad cops; then there is Jennifer Lopez playing a bad ass cop in her latest show, “Shades of Blue,” coming to NBC this Thursday at 10/9 Central! I will admit, I don’t really watch too much TV; but after seeing the show I will be sure to find a friend with a DVR just to catch this show! “Shades of Blue” stars Jennifer Lopez as a NYPD cop who is also a single mother that will do everything— and anything– it takes to protect her daughter’s livelihood. There’s just one twist– Lopez finds herself in the midst of multiple police corruption deals to do so. Whether being paid off by the local business owners, or demanding payouts from drug dealers; J. Lo’s character struggles to remain a “good cop.” The series of twists invites viewers to join the ride as J. Lo navigates her way through the shady police tactics used to “protect and serve.” Frankly, the show is a really good watch. I was glued to the screen as soon as it started, and I can’t wait to see what happens after the first episode!  The timing of the show couldn’t be any better. I mean, let’s be honest, every episode of news we watch today focuses on the police force vs. everybody. Without giving too much detail, I encourage you to check out “Shades of Blue,” when it premieres this Thursday January 7th at 10/9 Central on NBC! #ShadesOfBlue For more information on NBC’s Shades of Blue, click here. Giselle Warren OnGiselleAve  (dot-com) is a space dedicated to amplifying the voice of our directors and clients on the avenue. We provide industry insight on topics including style, wellness, music, lifestyle, beauty, current events, millennials, popular culture, and more– yes, more.

Slay of the Day

We love fashion don't we ladies?  Every day via the gift of social media, I find tons of sisters that SLAY on a daily basis.  With that in mind, I decided to share with you all, the "SLAY OF THE DAY!"  Yasss, these beautiful sisters are giving us life with their impeccable and unique style.  Black women are fierce, fashionable, beyond the trend, and so much more!!  Snaps to you for your Slay-cability!  Yes, I just made up that word!  Check out today's SLAY!  What are your thoughts? StyleIsShe: Neshanta Davis is a blogger and business owner.  She's an amazing fashion and home decor stylist!  Visit her blog, StyleIsShe, for more of her awesome looks!

Doing Community Good

Every Tuesday, I Hear That Girl! and The Radio Revival, will be highlighting a special person and/or organization that is "Doing Community Good".  Do you know someone that is constantly giving back, contributing their time and resources to the community?  If so, we want to salute them.  Send us an email about that person for an opportunity to have them featured in our weekly, "Doing Community Good" feature! This Week's Feature: Kimya Motley- Haven of Light International Kimya Motley has experienced family violence during the course of her lifetime. She accepted those situations as part of the normal progression of life. On September 20, 2011, all of that changed. She was shot by her ex-husband four times in the back of the head, neck, face, and back with a .38 caliber pistol. Additionally, he shot her then 10 -year old daughter, once, at point blank range in the head. Neither were expected to live, but did by God’s grace and love. Kimya knew that with the help of Jesus, she could turn her tragedy into triumph for so many others. Out of her experiences with domestic violence, the idea for Haven of Light International was birthed. Haven of Light seeks to build healthy families through a relationship with Jesus Christ and believes that lasting change is only possible through Him.   Our women's program seeks to equip the women with the necessary tools to rebuild their lives spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially after physical, emotional, verbal, and/or sexual trauma.  For the men that our willing, we partner with local programs to help transform the men from perpetrators to protectors.Furthermore, our community outreach programs educate and provide resources for the public in the education, religious, and business sectors. We are transforming families with God's love in an atmosphere of restoration, healing, forgiveness, and hope. For more information visit:  www.haven-of-light.org Haven of Light will be hosting an upcoming Teen Talk Summit, Sunday, February 27th at Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers, GA.

5 Reasons FYI’s ‘#BlackLove’ Gives Me Life!!

The FYI channel has recently premiered it's latest series, #BlackLove, which follows five black women in the city as they try to find their happy endings love.  We posted about the launch of this series and were hoping it would bring a refreshing perspective of the romantic and loving side of black women.  My fear, was that this "reality-show" would be another platform to show black women at their worst. I am happy to report that this is so not the case.  I''m in love with this show after only 3 episodes and I will tell you why.  So without further ado, here are the 5 reasons FYI's #BlackLove Gives Me LIFE:  The cast gives a true perception of black women- You've got Monet, who is newly divorced; Cynthia, who is separated and facing divorce; Jahmil, the youngest of the bunch that is finding herself in love and bi-sexual; Tennesha, learning to balance "independence" and control; and Laree, who is learning to let her walls down.  It's great to see images of yourself that is relatable and the diverse character and personality of the women breaks so many stereotypes. The focus is on self evaluation.- I love how the facilitators in the workshop always turn the focus on the women.  Because honest, self evaluation, is the only way to truly understand how to love and be loved.  I really felt like this show got me when Monet is discussing the issue most black women face when it comes to showing their emotions in a relationship and the stigma of being seen as the "Angry Black Woman".  I think any black woman watching that scene could relate. The counselors are giving practical activities as steps to discovery.- You could actually follow these steps with the ladies and find your own love language and path to love.  Most of the information that has been given in the series so far, I totally took those same steps during and after my separation and divorce.  I feel this was a huge benefit to my emotional and romantic well-being, preparing me for my future.   Reveals That Finding Love Isn't So Hard.- In each of the episodes, the women are given an opportunity to see that finding love isn't so hard.  We actually make it more difficult than it has to be. How?  Because we start searching without having a true understanding of our own wants and needs.  Women make concessions for others.  We have that innate desire to be a "help-meet" after all.  However, although that characteristic is a blessing, it can also be a curse when we don't value the gift.  'Black Love' showcases how a simple understanding of your strengths and weaknesses will empower you to make better decisions when it comes to the dating world. Accountability is Key.- At the end of the day, this show puts accountability front and center.  It forces the women to face their own actions, behaviors, and thinking.  Which is the only way to grow and better your life.  After all, you have

Mom Uses “Cookie Party” to Create Christmas Memories For Girls

Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away?  With the weather in Atlanta, we've felt anything but in the "holiday" spirit!  And it's been felt really across the country, with most of the east coast experiencing a super mild winter, it just takes a bit more to get you in the mood. "Black families bake. We have holiday traditions,"- Elicia Fletcher Well, my favorite Christmas music is Alexander Oneal's "My Gift To You", and even after hearing it, I still wasn't quite there.  One of my good friends, Licia, a single mom of two gorgeous girls, invited me to a Cookie Party that she hosts annually for her girls and their friends. I'm not a big "kid event" person, BUT, her girls are so well behaved and I wanted to experience the fabled Cookie Party.  When I arrived, the house smelled of warm sugar cookies and vanilla.  Instantly putting me in the holiday spirit!  I entered the kitchen and there were nine young girls and her nephew ranging 3-11 years in age all busy working on batter and chit chat. The "Cookie Party" has been a tradition for Elicia and her family for 18 years.  Her mom, auntie, and sister  all participated in the gathering to further promote positive family traditions.  "Black families bake.  We have holiday traditions," Elicia stated about why she wants to keep it going. The conversations were amazing!  It was great for me to hear young girls discuss the various school house gossip and in the same breath, celebrate the fact that they're a straight A student with sass and snap back.  One of the little girls mispronounced a word, but quickly quipped back, "Don't laugh at me because of the way I talk, because I make straight A's in school and some of y'all don't."  The laughter quickly stopped.  I couldn't help but give her an "I Hear That Girl!" because lil mama was right!  That made my soul beam.  I thought to myself in that instant, 'I hope she holds on to that understanding.  I hope she remembers that her mind is her asset over any other trends or societal pressures'.  Elicia's aunt, a fashion designer, nodded at the young girls retort as well in agreement.  The girls went back to playing with one another, laughing, frosting cookies, and singing Christmas carols.  It was really a refreshing thing to see.  These are the images that mainstream media will not show our girls.  I'm glad my friend was able to show it to these nine girls.   As a single mother, images like this are super important.  It warmed my heart to see my friend put a smile on the faces of all the young girls there.  Knowing the emotional stress of raising kids on your own, Elicia still finds the time to create memories for her girls and girls that they're connected to that will remind them of a joyous holiday season.  This is the strength of mothers.  This is why I respect mothers.  Single, co-parenting, married, it doesn't

Hotel Indigo Brooklyn Delivers Urban Contemporary Style in NY

This weekend, I was in New York for the STRONGER Women's Empowerment Panel at Long Island University!  This wasn't my first trip to NY, but I was looking forward to empowering young women in the multi-cultural city.  I booked my stay at Hotel Indigo in Brooklyn, a cute boutique hotel that was walking distance from the hotel.  How great is that?!  If you're ever staying in New York, I suggest you walk as much as possible.  Driving around is not only expensive, but the time it takes to get to and fro...trust me, you want to walk to it.  Maybe it's a southern thing, I'm not used to that much walking or waiting...we drive to everything, lol. Any who, when I checked in, immediately I was impressed with the hotel.  It was technologically impressive, with the huge, wall screen showing pictures of customers at all of their locations nationally and internationally.  Then I realized that I could snap a picture of myself and add to the screen as well as share it on FB and other social media.  How cool is that?!       The rooms were elegant and very modern.  I felt like I was living in Brooklyn, with the hardwood floors in this contemporary space.  The ceiling was wallpapered with gorgeous beads and diamonds!  Yes, a girls dream.  The rooms aren't super huge, but just enough for me and my guest.  I had a double queen for the night and we thoroughly enjoyed it.  I mean, when you're in New York, are you actually going to stay in anyway?  We hit the town, with some of my girls in tow.     For many that know me, I'm a cancer, and I love the water.  During this trip, I was suffering from really bad migraines and backaches.  It seemed like hot showers were the only thing bringing relief, so to step into the room and see this glorious shower...ya girl was in heaven!   All in all, I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Indigo Brooklyn.  I look forward to staying at their other locations.  So if you're traveling and are considering an affordable place to stay and don't won't to draw back on the luxury, I suggest this boutique hotel!    

Zoes Kitchen Foodie Review

I was recently given an opportunity to try out the fresh taste of Zoes Kitchen.  I was in Augusta, GA during the Thanksgiving break when I received the invite. Honestly, I had never heard of this restaurant.  My bestie told me that there was a Zoes located not even 5 minutes from her home.  This intrigued me because Augusta, well that's my old stomping grounds, and for me not to be aware of certain restaurants in the vicinity of my best friend's home...well...I just felt some type of way about it. Any-who, a week later, I found myself at Zoes Kitchen trying to decide on what I wanted to experience first.  Zoe's Kitchen is fresh, Mediterranean fare.  So if you are tired of heavy food options, this is the place to go to get a "reset" of sorts to your palate.  I decided to try the chicken salad sandwich and boy am I happy I did.  I'm a big fan of chicken salad, however, there are only 2 places in which I would purchase it from.  And Zoe's is one of those restaurants.  What blew me away was the fact that this sandwich was lightly made, not heavy on the mayo (like I usually take it), and it still had tons of flavor.  I paired my sandwich with the potato salad which, once again, was super light and fresh tasting. Before leaving the restaurant, I decided to get some hummus to go.  I love hummus.  If you're not familiar with this appetizer, you should get familiar, and quick.  It makes for a great snack.  It's a basically a chick-pea dip that goes great with veggies or crackers.  I picked up the Basil Pesto Hummus.  Let me just say...this was a delicious party in my mouth.  Packed with flavor, it delivers on fresh taste for sure!  I'll definitely be adding this restaurant as my go-to for a flavor reboot! And how about this?!  I haven't forgotten about you!  Zoe's Kitchen is giving my readers and followers a chance to received free Hummus & Pita!  The instructions on how to redeem are below: Instructions to redeem Free Hummus & Pita: 1. Download the Zoës Kitchen app 2. Go to the menu at the top and select “GOODIES” 3. Select “MY GOODIES” 4. Select “PROMO CODE” 5. Enter “goodness” (all lower case) and press “ENTER” 6. You will have 14 days to redeem this offer from the day you enter “goodness” into the app. December 31st is the last day to enter the code into the app.

5 Things ‘Scandal’ Can Teach the Side Chick

This season of Scandal has been up in the air for me.  I've missed the live airings of some of the episodes, but thanks to my DVR, I've always been able to catch up the following day...or weekend.  Anyway, unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the premise of this show is that a successful woman by the name of Olivia Pope, is Washington's "fixer".  She makes a living off of scandals...well actually, off of preventing scandals.  The ironic plot banger here, is that she is a walking talking scandal waiting to happen.  She's in a long-standing intimate affair with the President...Fitz (what's his last name?). Season after season, we have watched her deal with her guilt and love for Fitz.  As viewers, we've been torn.  We are all big saps for a good love story, but can you really root for the Jezebel?  I mean, who wants her to win? She's breaking up a home, stealing another woman's man.  No matter how horribly certain seasons tried to paint Melly as; you still can't deny that Olivia is a mistress, or in today's terms... the "SIDE CHICK".  Problem here, is that, Olivia has gotten so caught up in her romance with Fitz that she AND he begin to believe that she is the MAIN CHICK.  Well...there is much more to being Wifey and this past Thursday night, in Ep. 9 "Baby, It's Cold Outside"; Olivia found that out! Let me just tell you, I was overjoyed at the outcome of this episode.  I was standing up, in front of the screen, yelling, "That's right!  You gon' learn ta-day!"  Because as a former wife, there are things that the side chick needs to know.  You are doing harm.  And not just to the woman who's man you take into your bed, but to yourself.  If you can't tell by now, I am NOT #TeamOlivia but very much #TeamRespectASista!  There's a code... a Woman's Code.  Get your own damn man and don't disrespect another woman!  Ok, now with that, let me give you the 5 Things 'Scandal' Can Teach the Side Chick: 1.  The Honeymoon Will Soon Be Over- Yes, it was all good just a week ago, but living with a man means you see everything!  You get the good and the bad.  Another thing is you begin to lose that spontaneity you once had when you had your own damn place!         2.  'Wifey' Is The Real MVP-  she's great at multitasking. Not only does the she take care of her household she nurtures the kids, stands by her man, pacifies his guests, takes his snob remarks and unappreciative attitude,  all the while working towards her own goals.             3.  You're Nothing More Than A Trophy!-  You soon realize you are no longer a BOSS but the resident "Bakers Man' responsible for snickerdoodles.  The freedom in having your own, as a single woman can be overlooked when you're...ahem, single.  Being a "Wife" means a sacrifice of your time to now focus on someone else as

Let’s Get Married!: Part One- Popping The Question

Love is such a beautiful thing and so are best friends.  It's even more special when you can combine the two.  I've been married before, for 6 years.  And although my marriage didn't last, I still have the utmost respect for what marriage is really all about. My best friend, has been with me since middle school.  I've seen her go through a couple serious relationships as she has with me.  She was there when everything went south in my marriage and she held my hand as I recovered after the divorce.  So you can imagine the happiness I had when she told me, during a romantic birthday getaway, her boyfriend popped the question and she said YES! The planning was underway and a few months later, I received a box from my bestie.  Let me just say that my best friend is so creative.  She bakes and designs the most amazing cakes, she's a photographer, and an all-around DIY-er!  I love that about her.  Creatives stick together ya know.  So, it was just as amazing to see the way she popped the question to me.  She wanted me to be her Maid of Honor.  Of course, I had already planned on being there for her every step of the way title or no, but her invitation was classic Charity... She took a box, and in the lid, there was a card that read:  "I've found my guy, now I need my girl!"   Included in the box was a mini bottle of wine (which is always cause for applause ), EOS lip balm, a wine glass emblazoned with "DIVA" all over it, candy, and a card detailing the Maid-of-Honor's duties.  She really took the time to make her invitation to us just as important and meaningful as the entire wedding will be to her.  I'm really excited to be by her side and help my friend enjoy one of the most important days of her life.  She deserves happiness and love, and I am thankful that I am here to see it through. I'll keep you guys posted as we move on through the wedding planning process...!  What are some Maid-of Honor tips you can share with me?  I want to be the best I can be for my bestie.  Leave your tips in the comment section below, it's greatly appreciated!

RACE- The Jessie Owens Story

The movie”RACE”, focused on the career of Jesse Owens who penetrated the sport of track and field and left his mark. It was overall a good movie. It had the same feel as the movie “42” (2013) which centered on the Jackie Robinson biography. Coincidently, both Jesse and Jackie both reigned in their specific sport in the same era. Furthermore, Jackie’s brother, Matthew MacKenzie “Mack” Robinson participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin and won a silver medal, while Jesse participated in the Olympics the same year winning four gold medals! Makes you wonder if they both met each other. Anyway, most of the movie was centered on Jesse participating in the 1936 Summer Olympics. However, the film showed the struggle of being the best while African American at the time. We all know that segregation was alive and well at that time. But the movie captures much of what Jesse had to go through as an African American athlete who was both loved and hated at the same time. They loved him because of was arguably the fastest man in the world, however, they gave him difficulty because the color of his skin. Based on the movie, you can tell Jesse and his coach at Ohio State University had a close relationship. The relationship seems to be built off the coaches missed opportunity at participating in the Olympic himself, but sees an opportunity to help Jesse make his mark on the world in the 1936 Olympics. If you know anything about history, you’ll realize that this was the time where Hitler was rounding up Jews and shipping them off into concentration camps along with the pre-season of WWII. This part of history was inevitable and could not be left out of the film. Why? Well the 1936 Summer Olympics was held in Berlin! That’s right, in the midst of all the hell breaking out in the world and Germany. In fact, American politicians and businessmen had to pull major strings so Jews and Blacks could participate in the Olympics without any harm. So you already know that when Jesse was leaving all those white Germans in the dust on the track, those Nazi politicians were not happy. It was upsetting to see a “Negro” outrun and jump the supposed “superior race” at the time. Matter of fact, while in Berlin, Jesse bonded with a German who thought Germany’s racial problems were better than America’s. Jesse expressed that their problems were no different than what was happening to blacks back home. But I don’t want to spoil the whole film for you! However, the end of the movie catches a very important and sad fact. Though Jesse thought such achievements would help with acceptance of blacks, when he returned home, he realized that even as the “Great Jesses Owens” who represented the USA outstandingly in Berlin, they still would not recognize his unmatchable achievements (at the time) because of his skin color. Something to take away from the movie is Jesse’s ability to

I Hear That Girl!: Essence Atkins ‘Washing The Feet’ of A Sister

I don't know if you've read this story before or not, but when I did, my heart claimed Essence Atkins as more than a sister...she was immediately a role model.  Her act of kindness, unselfishness, and encouragement echoed in my spirit.  Her act pricked my heart to action!  In her innocence, she inspired me to love harder on my sisters.  Read more about the remarkable act below, courtesy of Huffington Post. Essence Atkins got down on her knees and washed my friend Allison Pecola Person's feet today which I believe is a wonderful way to exude a simple act of kindness. #WWJD #TYL Posted by Michael Adeyeye on Friday, November 13, 2015 Actress Essence Atkins did one of the most humbling things anyone could do for another person -- she washed a woman’s feet. While promoting her new stage play, "Things Your Man Won’t Do," at an Atlanta radio station, the "Smart Guy" actress kneeled down to a seated stranger, Allison Person, and began rolling her sleeves up. Initially a skit about something one's significant other wouldn't do, Atkins turned that moment into a moving gesture. "This wasn't planned for me to do this, but sisters, it's important that we love on each other,” a choked up Atkins said. "I know I just met you today but I know the road that you walk.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UBeeHtZiYM Person became emotional and covered her teary eyes as Atkins continued her heartfelt speech. "I want you to know that I got you, that I support you and I love you," Atkins said. "And if we don't give that to each other y'all we are lost. We will never be what we can be.” Person posted a response video on Facebook expressing her gratitude and urging others to spread the same love she received from Atkins. "It was overwhelming, the love that she gave me being that she didn't know me, still doesn't know me," Person said, saying she had been going through a tough emotional time, unbeknownst to Atkins. "I pray that metaphorically you wash the feet of someone else, you do something that pulls you out of your level of comfortability and serve someone else. It's so much deeper than her washing my feet but it's simply us serving one another." Watch the entire video of this beautiful act of sisterhood above.

Get a Flawless Fall Face with Drugstore Make-Up in 7 steps!

Hey guys, Jay Elise here! Today’s look is simple and easy, it can be dressed up or down.  This is an everyday look for school, if you don’t want too much glam when you go out, or a night out on the town; however you’d like to style it! The products I used were: Elf Tinted Moisturizer in Mocha; L.A. Girl Pro Concealer in Fawn; Maybelline Rocket Volum’ Express Mascara; Profusion FACE Palette; NYX Lipliner in Brown; Elf Lipstick in Nostalgic; and Avon Lip gloss in Sweet Maple.  All of the products listed are super affordable!  They can be found in drug stores, supermarkets, or your local beauty supply! In the collage are 9 pictures, the first 7 are steps to achieve the final look! In the last two pictures, this is what the outcome was, you may add a little extra to get your personal desired look.  I was able to create an easy and cute makeup look by following these steps! Jay Elise is a high school student, beauty addict, and purveyor of all things lovely!  

Survivor Series: Alea Anderson

I’ve been interviewing women that have survived Breast Cancer or Domestic Violence.  Our next featured SURVIVOR is Alea Anderson.  Here is her story: IHTG: What is your job title/business? Alea:   I am the owner of Allure Designs in Atlanta, Georgia. We specialize in in-home paint parties, interior design services, custom paintings and jewelry. IHTG: How old were you when the violence began? Alea:  The violence did not begin until I said, "I do" at the age of 28, however the verbal and emotional abuse began at the age of 15. I married my high school sweetheart. He was older so, manipulation, intimidation, seclusion, and name calling were some of the methods he used to easily control me. Being that I was extremely young and unaware of emotional and verbal abuse, I had no clue that I was being abused. IHTG: Take us back to that day, how did it begin? Alea:  I think this excerpt from a book I recently co-authored where I delve into the abuse I endured explains it best: " “I’m gonna kill you!” he yelled as I stared into his eyes. I no longer recognized him. A pool of darkness had replaced the love that once danced in his pupils. His lifeless eyes reflected no soul. The weight of his body on my chest threatened to crush me. His grip on my neck grew tighter as he gradually choked the life out of me. I stopped fighting, as my attempts to break free were futile against his brute force. I had given up. Maybe I shouldn’t have awakened him to help me with night feedings. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked him to help me bathe her. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked him to watch her while I showered and used the bathroom. Maybe I shouldn’t have asked him to hold her while I cooked. After all, the answer is always “no!” I shouldn’t have upset him like this.These were my thoughts as I struggled to take what I knew would be my last breath. After I left the first time, he promised he would never put his hands on me again. We had just found out I was pregnant with our daughter. The very next day I found myself flying across the living room and crashing into the television. I can’t remember what I had done that time to make him so upset with me. He told me I knew how to press his buttons, so I knew his rage was my fault. That night, I left and ran to my Mother’s house, fearing for my life and fearing that I would lose the baby. The next day, he called begging for me to come home. He said that he was sorry, that he wanted his family back and that he would never put his hands on me again. Me trusting his word and being under the, Battered Woman syndrome spell, I obliged. Against my better judgment and my Mother’s warning, I went back. He kept his promise throughout the rest of my pregnancy. Everything was okay, except for the

Survivor Series: Kim McKelvy

Throughout the month of October, I’ve been interviewing women that have survived Breast Cancer or Domestic Violence.  Our next featured SURVIVOR is Kim McKelvy.  Here is her story: IHTG:  What is your job title/business? Kim:  Dietary Tech @ Hospital IHTG:  In what year were you diagnosed? Kim:  2013, I was 51 and I was diagnosed right before my 52nd birthday. IHTG:  Take us back to that day, how did you take the initial diagnosis? Kim:  I felt horrible. I took the initial diagnosis as a death sentence. You know when you hear the word cancer, you automatically think of death. My mother passed away of Ovarian Cancer in 2004 and my sister is also a breast cancer survivor. I witnessed their walk with cancer. I just saw my life diminish before my eyes. That’s the worst news anybody would want to receive. I called my daughter immediately after I left the doctor’s office to give her the news and we just cried on the phone together. One thing she said was “It’s going to be okay Mama, God got you, you will NOT lose this battle”, at that time I was like no, this thing is going to remove me out of this world. IHTG:  When did you decide to fight and not succumb to the disease? Kim:  My daughter has been a strong believer in the Lord and was always in my ear encouraging me. The question WHY AND WHATS started to play over and over in my mind. WHY ME? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS? WHAT DID I NOT DO RIGHT? WHY AM I BEING PUNISHED? At first I lost my Faith and ALL hope. After about 2 to 3 months, after I went through all the changes and emotions, after it all sunk in…I got up one day and my grandbabies and my daughter were all I could think about and I stood up and said “It’s time to fight! This cancer is NOT going to take me out like this. I am a FIGHTER and I am STRONGER than this!  So that’s what I began to do, with a smile on my face. My Faith in God got stronger and there was so much hope that I was going to survive. IHTG:  What were some of the things you did to keep you motivated throughout the process? Kim:  My daughter was…well is my rock. It didn’t matter what time of day or night it was, I could call her and vent and she would listen and encourage me no matter what I had to say. She would send me scriptures every day and tell me that I would overcome and she would claim my victory and made sure I declared that over my life. She told me that my test would be my testimony. There were times she would post stuff about my situation on Facebook and at first I was mad because I was embarrassed….but when I tell you that over 100 people commented on there with nothing but encouraging words and prayers and positive spoken

Survivor Series: Janie-Aadyah Harris

Throughout the month of October, I’ve been interviewing women that have survived Breast Cancer or Domestic Violence.  Our next featured SURVIVOR is Janie-Aadyah Harris.  Here is her story: IHTG:  What is your job title/business? Janie-Aadyah:  I am the founder of ONFIYA, Inc., a mentoring program for youth and young adults that helps them become self sufficient. IHTG:  How old were you when the violence began? Janie-Aadyah:  I was 15. IHTG:  Take us back to that day, how did it begin? Janie-Aadyah:  In 2012, I took my oldest daughter to go and stay with her dad for a couple of days. Something told me to call her and check on her.  I called her and she stated to that she had not seen her dad since earlier that day and she was in the grocery store with his baby mama.  I got off the phone with her and called her dad to tell him to take her to my father’s house. He said,  "...give him a hour."   An hour passed by and he called me back saying meet him at his grandparents’ house because he was not going to drop her off at my dad’s.  I told him that was fine that I would come and pick her up.  When I pulled up to the home. He approached my vehicle questioning me.  He then told me that my daughter was not leaving his house and there was nothing I could do about it.  I asked his grandparents if they could send my daughter outside, instead the grandma came walking out.  Once she came out, she and I began to talk.  He ran up on me and punched me in my mouth.  I fell to the ground with blood coming from my mouth.  He then proceeded to pull my hair, kick me all over, knee me, and punch me repeatedly.  I'm not sure what made him stop... IHTG:  When did you decide to fight and not succumb to the abuse? Janie-Aadyah:  When I was 3 months pregnant he punched me in my stomach and I also miscarried.  Then my daughter was born and at 2 weeks old he tried to hit me again, but I defended myself and broke up with him and never went back. IHTG:  What were some of the things you did to keep you motivated throughout the process? Janie-Aadyah:  I just really avoided him. I stayed away from him and I turned my life completely around after that situation. God is what kept me motivated. IHTG:  Tell us about the emotions you faced during your battle. Janie-Aadyah:  I felt guilty about what happened. I felt like maybe I deserved for him to have tried to kill me.  I felt afraid for my life.  Just not knowing what he would try to do, knowing he didn’t kill me... it made me numb and very emotionless. IHTG:  How has your outlook on life changed? Janie-Aadyah:  My outlook on life changed tremendously.  I actually changed my whole life around and it made me build a real relationship with GOD.  That incident is what inspired me to incorporate my mentoring program.  I now see my life as an

Survivor Series: Jennifer Buggs

Throughout the month of October, I've been interviewing women that have survived Breast Cancer or Domestic Violence.  Our first featured SURVIVOR is Jennifer Buggs.  Here is her story: IHTG: What is your job title/business? Jennifer:  Payroll Administrator. IHTG: In what year were you diagnosed? Jennifer:  2007, when I was 24. IHTG: Take us back to that day, how did you take the initial diagnosis? Jennifer:  My initial reaction was disbelief and fear… for 2 years doctors were telling me it was just a blocked milk duct, but to find out it was cancer was terrifying. My grandmother died of breast cancer and that was all I knew about it. I was given my diagnosis on September 18, the day before my family and I were scheduled to take family photos for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. Everyone wanted to reschedule because of my diagnosis but me, not knowing what my outcome would be, I wanted to have the pictures as memories. IHTG: When did you decide to fight and not succumb to the disease? Jennifer:  The day that I was given my options of treatments I knew that I would fight until I didn’t have any fight left. My daughter was only 4 at the time and I wanted to see her grow up and become a woman and be able to take care of herself. IHTG: What were some of the things you did to keep you motivated throughout the process? Jennifer:  My daughter was my ultimate motivation, in her 4 years she had been through so much. She was born at 27 weeks, weighing only 2.9lbs before she was even 2 weeks old she had already had 2 major surgeries. On the days I wanted to give up I thought about how I watched her fight for 3 months in the hospital to be here in my life so there was no way I wouldn’t fight to stay in hers. My faith in God kept me going as well, I knew that there was a reason for what I was going through, I just had to be patient and watch God work. IHTG: Tell us about the emotions you faced during your battle. Jennifer:  I experienced every emotion possible at times; I am naturally an emotional person so when I had my double mastectomy I cried for weeks, I felt less of a woman. I feared the unknown of what chemo would do to me and if it would even be effective…but that was on my worst days. I was blessed to have an amazing support system and they never left my side throughout the entire journey and they kept my spirits lifted. Even on days when I wanted to just have pity parties I just couldn’t do it because my situation could have been worse. God was blessing me so who was I to complain. IHTG: How has your outlook on life changed? Jennifer:  I appreciate the people in my life more, they were my biggest supporters and they showed me genuine love even when times were difficult. I now look for the positive in every situation because going through things

The Family Dollar Fabulous Event {Giveaway}

Last week, I was honored to be amongst 40 of the best African-American style/beauty and lifestyle bloggers in the country!  Family Dollar invited us to be a part of the Family Dollar Fabulous event.  In its third year, this event brings bloggers and brands together to discuss how they can work together to promote their individual brands and bring great content to readers. Each brand present at the event, can be found at an extremely affordable price at your local Family Dollar.  I'm a true Family Dollar shopper and I've used each of the brands that were represented there.  It was great to sit down and talk with them about their products, how I use them, what my readers think of the product, and share suggestions to make the products better. We were truly treated like real VIP's.  From the moment we arrived to the evening we left, they ensured that both days were packed with fun-filled activities and much swag!  I mean...we were even given a suitcase to carry all of our swag!!  Speaking of swag...I am going to gift a lucky reader with a swag bag featuring LA Colors, ORS, and Body Fantasies products!  How do you win?  Easy, share this post via one of the links below and comment on how you use Family Dollar to stay FABULOUS! Hurry!  A winner will be announced Friday, October 23rd at 5pm EST via a special PERISCOPE broadcast!  Check out pics from the event below and good luck to you all!  Stay Fabulous!

Recap: Blackberry Naturals Pink Leaf Retreat

Saturday was an eventful day and I was really amped for the Blackberry Naturals Pink Leaf Retreat held at the Stone Mountain Evergreen Marriott. The location was so relaxing and that is what the event was all about.  I was happy to have been asked to be a part of the luncheon and meet all of the amazing businesswomen present.  Anytime I'm given the opportunity to fellowship with a new group of sisters, it's always an honor. Lots of great information was shared on best practices to use Social Media in your business, a step by step guide for blogging, hair styling tutorials  and so much more!  We received full size hair product in our swag bags courtesy of Beautiful Textures and I won a delicious and relaxing Tea Box from Just Add Honey Tea Company!  Check out pics from the event below!

Top