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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!

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.            

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

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

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.  

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

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!!

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

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

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!

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!  

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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!

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!    

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!

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!

Real Women Read ATL Meet-Up with Author R.L. Byrd

Saturday, the Atlanta area members of my social media book club, #RealWomenRead, had an opportunity to meet one another AND get to meet the author of our October Book of the Month, Black Coffee.  The meet-up was held at Cafe Intermezzo in Dunwoody.  The weather was perfect and the ladies in attendance were ready to peek into the male mind. Author, R.L. Byrd gave the women a synopsis of the book, "Black Coffee", also detailing the various topics on love and relationships that is covered in the book.  The women and myself were extremely interested because this book covers the male POV in all of these situations.  Of course, my ladies had some strong questions and it made for a very lively conversation!  However, R.L. Byrd was able to hold his own.  We love seeing that, right?!  Check out video from our Periscope broadcast of the event below and be sure to purchase your copy of "Black Coffee" here.

Impressed with imPRESS Manicure Press On Nails

// I'm a believer in the little things.  I have a list of "little" things, you know, the small luxuries of life.  I think it's important to surround yourself with these small tokens of satisfaction as they can make an ordinary day far more than mundane.  One of my "little" things is a great manicure.  I paint my nails weekly.  I have an extensive nail polish stock pile and I'm constantly adding to it. Giving myself a home manicure is like therapy for me.  It's an opportunity to easily pamper myself without breaking the bank.  However, the busyness of my hectic schedule can sometimes make it difficult to keep my nails as perfect as I'd like.  So, you can imagine my elation at the opportunity to try the imPRESS manicure press on nails.  Seriously the hardest part about it is picking out your sizes.  It comes with a various nail sizes, but I seemed to have the most difficulty here.  Other than that, the process is very simple: Simply peel backing and press on!  There's no drying time and no mess.  It's perfect for people like myself who are usually in a rush and need to be runway ready in a flash.  For more info on the imPRESS manicure, you can visit the website:  www.imPRESSmanicure.com.  You can purchase them for only $7.99 at your local Walgreens.   *This is a sponsored post however, the opinions and comments are my own*

10 Fav Fall Beauty Must-Haves

Fall is here...I'm not a fan.  However, change is inevitable and I'm a proponent of acceptance of change.  With that being said, this is the time of year in which sisters the world wide, retire their summer handbags and prepare their fall bags with all the things they'd rather not leave home without.  As you guys know, I was carrying a small handbag all summer that served me well! RELATED STORY:  SUMMER FESTIVAL MUST-HAVES As I transitioned, I also noted items that had to be included in my Fall purse.  I decided to share these items with you guys, because hey... that's what I do! Without further ado, here are my 10 Fav Fall Beauty Must-Haves:  Rimmel London's Keep Calm Lip Balm-  These are fun tinted lip balms with various "Keep Calm" phrases on them.  My favorite is the "Keep Calm & Party" lip balm in Violet Rush.  It makes your lips super soft while giving a hint of color. Natty Coco's Hair & Scalp Oil- I keep my natural hair twisted 80% of the time.  I merely mist in the morning with H2O and massage this blend of Vitamin E, rosemary, soybean, coconut, shea butter, jojoba oil, cupuacu butter and sage into my twists.  Visit their website:  www.nattycoco.com. Fragrant Body Oil- I have bad allergies and most perfumes send me into a ridiculous bout of the sneezies.  Instead, I opt for a fragrant body oil that can be purchased at the neighborhood beauty supply for under $2.  My favorite is the Chanel #5 scent.  OMG! Apply with lotion and the scent will be all over and stay all day! INDEED Nanoblur- this stuff is like an instagram filter for your face.  It's supposed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  I don't have any of that, but I used it on top of my foundation and noticed that it made my skin look super smooth!  My photo's are tagged #nofilter, because when wearing this stuff there really is no need.  You can purchase it in my Astore for only $7 here. Rmmel London "Lift Me Up" Cucumber Melon Wonder-Lash Mascara- I'm not a fan of false lashes, I like a natural look.  This mascara gives me fuller looking lashes and the cucumber extract helps the lashes feel conditioned throughout the day. Mary Kay "Satin Hands" Hand Cream- this stuff is amazing.  If you're like me and shake hands a lot at networking events, you know that first impressions are everything!  Well, you need to have some super soft hands that people can remember.  This stuff helps you do it.  It's not greasy and a little goes a long way.  Only $10!  My Mary Kay rep is offering a special 10% off your purchase if you mention I Hear That Girl!.  Click here to get your savings! Kami Cosmetics Liquid Matte Smooch in "Devoted"-  This is a go to lipwear for me.  It's a creamy matte, full coverage longwear liquid lipstick.  And it really does last all day!  Visit www.kamicosmetics.com for more info. Trident "White" Gum- because everyone needs to have a beautiful

Friendship…Road Tested, Soul Approved

It's good to have friends.  It's great to have best friends, that are like sisters.  As we mature into adults we meet amazing people.  Some of those people will become acquaintances.  But sometimes, if you're really lucky, you'll gain a sister.  I've been blessed to experience these defining moments five times in the span of 36 years.  I can remember each initial meeting and the moment we clicked. Recently, I was able to connect with my college sisters.  We don't all live in the same state, some are married and have kids.  Life gets in the way.  You know how it is.  So, when Monica (the only one out of state) let us know she was making a trip to ATL, we planned to spend time together.  It was a busy weekend for me with ONE Musicfest, Triumph Awards, and the Misayo House launch commitments.  However, we were able to find time to be with each other Friday and Saturday.  I had been test driving the new 2016 Mazda 6 for the week, so over the weekend we were able to get around town in style.  The vehicle that was delivered to me, appropriately, was "Soul Red".  Besides an amazingly sexy exterior, there was so much more going on inside.  Describes me perfectly!! LOL!  Seriously though...it does. Friday evening, the ladies and I went to see the opening night film, Perfect Guy.  Following the movie, we hopped into the Mazda 6 and scuttled over to a dessert bar for late night chats, cake, and coffee.  As, I sat there, catching up with these women who shared a period of my life in which we were all trying to define who we are or who we wanted to be, I began to realize that my girls and the "Soul Red" Mazda 6 had so much in common. Sophistication:  The thing I love about the Mazda 6 is that it is such an appropriate vehicle for a woman my age.  It has a level of maturity to it without losing the spunk of a sports car.  That's the personality of my college sister and soror, Monica.  She has this sophistication about herself.  She holds her head up high, she's graceful, and articulate.  Yet, her smile and laughter exude her youth. Calculated:  The mechanics team at Mazda not only focused on design, but on how well the car would handle on the road.  The fuel efficiency was amazing!  With all the driving I did, I didn't have to refuel once the entire week!  It gets an average 40mpg!!  The ride was extremely smooth and with a 4-cylinder engine, it still had pep!  I definitely felt like I was enjoying a sports car.  I liken the mechanics to the personality of Tyrese.  She's what I consider the stable one.  She's a planner, calculated in her moves, and you will have to try hard to catch her off guard. Entertaining:  The sound system in the Mazda 6...let's just say, there was no shortage of 'Party Moments' in this car!  Bose® Centerpoint Surround

Show Girls You CARE About Their Education!

September is here and the kids are back in school.  For me, this is the time of year when I experience an influx of college interns contacting me for an opportunity to work for my site.  They honor the opportunity to learn via hands-on experience in their major.  For girls here in the US, our ability to get an education is so common that we can take it for granted.  I created I Hear That Girl! to provide a platform that continuously empowers girl and women.  I believe that girls have so much to contribute to society and an education gives them the necessary scholarly and social skills needed to create true opportunities for success. That is why it is so heartbreaking to know that for some young girls, education is not commonplace.  And getting an education is not always easy.  Meet Jennifer.  Jennifer has to fetch water and work the home...she'd much rather be at school learning.  However, in Ghana, girls are expected to take care of the home and that is priority one.  This type of thinking lowers the possibilities for girls like Jennifer.  More than likely, these girls end up dropping out of school and becoming young mothers.  Did you know: - Keeping girls out of school sentences them to a life of poverty and poor health - Women earn 10-20% more for every year of school completed - Children of educated mothers are 2x as likely to go to school - Children born to literate moms are 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5. Watch Jennifer's story here: https://youtu.be/_GT4r8OzIGo If you're anything like me, you are wondering how something as simple as an education could be withheld from a young girl that is eager to learn.  I know it can be frustrating to hear stories like this.  However, there is something you can do about it.  You can help by supporting CARE.  CARE is a global humanitarian organization that fights poverty by empowering girls and women.  And we are all for GIRL POWER, right?  By visiting CARE.org and purchasing a back to school gift.  CARE’s Gifts of Lasting Change catalog has back-to-school gifts for friends and family that support girls’ education around the world!  How cool is that?  Shopping with a purpose!  I'm invested in this cause and organization, because I want every girl and woman to have the opportunity to learn in an educational environment.  They shouldn't have to decide between education and family.  If you feel the same, I urge you to join me, shop the Gifts of Lasting Change catalog, or make a donation to CARE.

Snack Attack: Savings at Publix

I try my best to be healthy...er.  Well, I'm sure I fail miserably most days.  As a blogger, the days can be pretty darn hectic sometimes and I end up eating out a lot.  Eating out almost nightly can be costly, to not only my bank account but my waistline too.  My mom tells me all the time, "Go grocery shopping.  Meal Plan."  That's all fine and dandy, but it's when I'm in a rush and need to grab something quickly out the door where I find my problem.  And let's be honest, grocery shopping has become expensive as well...depending on where you go and what you're purchasing.  Prices are rising people, and I need help from time to time. I am the consummate snacker.  I have to admit that potato chips are my FAVORITE!  Did I say that out loud?  Yeah...I did.  Anywho, I traveled to Publix and purchased a couple of the Frito-Lay 20-count multipacks.  They have really been helpful in my busy routine.  I can grab a bag as I head out the door, satisfy my hunger when it comes on, and they give me just enough satisfaction to make it back home without stopping for fast food.  As you can tell, I've reasoned my snack needs down to a sensible solution, right?  Ha!  But seriously, it has saved me money.  Dining out is expensive.  Those fast food stops add up, especially when you find yourself eating out daily. Luckily for me and YOU, Publix wants to save you money on the snacks you love.  Click HERE to download a $5 coupon for immediate savings when you buy $20 worth of participating items from Publix between 9/24 and 9/30. Because I'm such a sweetheart and I adore my readers so, I'm hosting a $15 giveaway to help you purchase these great snacks at Publix and take advantage of the Snack, Share, & Save event.  To enter, just comment below telling me your favorite on-the-go snack from the list below: • Yoplait® Greek 100, Greek 100 Whips or Yoplait® Plenti, Yoplait® 4 or 6 oz cups (Light, Original, Whips, etc.) • Frito-Lay® 20-count mutlipacks • Naked® Juice 15.2 oz • Quaker Chewy® Granola Bars or Dipps Value Pack • General Mills Fruit Snacks Value Pack • Popsicle® • Fiber One® Cookies • Chex® Snack Mix • Tostito’s 9 – 14 oz bagged snacks (except Baked, Simply & Artisan blend) • Lipton® Iced Tea 1 gallon jug • Totino’s Pizza Rolls 90 ct. • Magnum® Core 3 ct That's easy enough isn't it!  I will choose a winner 09/21.  Savings are always a great thing.  Be sure to share this post with friends and family so they can get in on the savings as well!  Get your savings by clicking HERE!

Jetting Around Town…Affordably with Mitsubishi Mirage

One of the many perks of being a blogger, is that you get to try out amazing products and services to share with your followers.  Out of the tons of things that are sent my way, there are a few things that I actually rave about or feel you guys would even utilize.  Recently, I was given the opportunity to jet around town in the nifty 2016 Mitsubishi Mirage.  The vehicle they dropped off to me was what I called, "The Gecko Car", aptly named for its lime green appearance, lol. I had plenty of events to cover that weekend including the Bronner Bros. Mid Summer Hair Show.  Driving back and forth around downtown Atlanta was done with ease and I always found a parking spot! ;)  And the gas mileage...AMAZING!  This car gets 40-44 mpg using the Eco drive functionality.  You can imagine my giddiness.  Driving the Mirage felt more like I was in a Matchbox car.  It's only a 2 cylinder vehicle, so you can feel like you're putting around especially on the highways.   This was my first time in a small compact car like this, so it took some getting used to.  I started the night out with the opening night movie, Straight Outta Compton.  A night out with friends, good food, and a great movie was the perfect way to begin my busy weekend plus it gave me an opportunity to test out the Gecko. Later, we picked up my partner's niece, Brittany.  She's a freshman college student from Arkansas.  Even with all three of us and luggage in the car, it was still roomy and I heard no complaints from the back seat.  One of my favorite options on the car was the rear camera and the bluetooth capability.  After a couple of stops in the Mitsubishi Mirage, Brittany, agreed with me that this car has all the amenities you need and makes for a great starter car.  I tried to get her uncle to jump on board and purchase it for her...he gave me a serious side eye!  However, I gave her the deets on the vehicle so she could share with her mom.  A starter car with the bells and whistles that this car had for under $17,000?  Yes!  The Mitsubishi Mirage is a winner! There is seriously more than meets the eye when talking about this car.  It's a small package, but honestly, if you're a single person like me or a college student like Brittany, this car makes so much sense!  It's affordable, saves tons on gas, and is just big enough to carry everything you need.  In a time where abundance seems to be the standard, this car whittles away unnecessary options to show you exactly what is important. I really enjoyed my time trying out the 2016 Mitsubishi Mirage.  It helped me realize that simplicity can be just as, if not more, enjoyable than the over abundance we are faced with daily.

And Then I Remembered…Sandra Bland

While out running errands, I made the U-turn to head back home after picking up everything I needed.  I was ready to get home and relax.  Coming down Memorial Drive at 55 mph was typical and well within the speed limit (or so I think).  I was preparing to switch lanes when I saw a cop in the approaching lane.  Immediately, I tensed up, hit the brake, checked my seat belt, and put my signal light on.  There was absolutely no one behind me, but I put that signal light on.  It was in that moment, that I realized just how much the death of my soror, Sandra Bland, had affected me. I almost went into tears thinking to myself, "I don't want to die over a lane change." In the instant of seeing that officer, I didn't think about a speeding ticket...I thought about if I give them any reason to pull me over, I may lose my life.  Think that's far fetched?  As a black person, it's not.  But now as a black woman, it's fact.  Sandra Bland was pulled over for something as simple as failure to signal a lane change.  And now...she is no longer with us.  I almost went into tears thinking to myself, "I don't want to die over a lane change."  Why did I even have to think that? RELATED POST:  Sandra Bland Dies in Police Custody I began to get so angry.  It wasn't fair that as a black woman, I have to even consider that as a realistic scenario.  But, sadly, it is.  There have been countless numbers of black women that have died or been killed while in police custody.  It is a nightmarish reality that most mainstream media has failed to relay to the masses.  My heart sank, I miss my sister.  I miss my soror.  I never met her, but she represents me.  She represents the strength, the weakness, the beauty, the joy, the outspokenness of being a black woman.  She was a champion of truth and justice for her people.  I am thankful that her name has not been forgotten.  Her life was not in vain.  Her work is being seen, noticed, and recognized. RELATED POST:  5 BLACK WOMEN DEAD IN POLICE CUSTODY As long as I live, she will not be forgotten.  Because unfortunately, every time I change lanes, I think of you.  I think of how angry you must have been that you were even dealing with a stop, and then being forced to put out a cigarette in YOUR car.  I can only imagine, how it felt to be dragged out of YOUR car, humiliated by being thrown to the ground, and unjustly arrested.  All because of a lane change. My sister lives on in every sister that hears her name and her story.  For this reason, I will forever remember...soror Sandra Bland.  EEE-Yip!

My Beauty Full Weekend

In my last post, I told you guys that I am going to be proactive about my skincare.  I've been using my black soap nightly and it is making a marked change.  I'm noticing that my skin is a lot clearer and that makes me super happy.  Over the weekend, I had the chance to get dolled up, chat with lovely women at an empowerment session, and get treated with a box full of beauty products!  Let's dish... Friday night, I went to Kami Cosmetic's M3 Affair in the heart of Atlanta's swank Buckhead district.  It was held at the posh Conceited, Inc. lash bar, hosted by owner, Shaunell Kennard.  Guests enjoyed tasty wine selections, infused dessert treats, complimentary beauty services and exciting giveaways, while shopping their favorite products from Kami Cosmetics' signature line.  Additional event partners included Jola's Joyful Events, A Haute Cookie, Tipzy Berries, Sweet Bitch Wines, Lillie Mae PR, Exotic Shotz, Moze Print & Design, Digby Print & Promo & Jes Fabuluxe Events.  The giveaways & buttefly box items were sponsored in part by Godiva, Soap Snob, Foot Kandy, Harbor Mill Candles, Polished Colors LLC, Dezign Ayua Naturals, Dent First, Conceited Inc, Natty Coco, Free Soul Body, Shop Nix Nax, Nneka Nicole NY, Plush Pout by YBF and The Glamatory. RELATED POST:  BLACK DON'T CRACK Now, let's talk about the Butterfly Beauty Box!!  This box was stuffed with products from the aforementioned businesses.  Going through the box, I found nail polishes, bath salts, lashes, and much more to assist me on this beauty kick I'm currently on!  I thought it was so ironic that beauty keeps coming my way on the heels of me making a personal and then public challenge to myself to nurture my beauty needs.  I guess the stars have aligned!  As the second installment of the 'Mix, Mingle, Makeup' series, the Kami Cosmetics team will continue to produce posh event experiences for Atlanta's female influencers. The luxury beauty brand offers paraben free, hypoallergenice products that are a smart & healthy choice for the skin. The line includes multifaceted lip treatments, eyeshadows and brow definers.  For information on the next M3 Affair, connect with the brand on social media @Kami_Cosmetics or visit www.KamiCosmetics.com. There is just something about a woman...we can empathize with one another because in some godly way, we understand...we relate.   Saturday, I was honored to be one of the 4 keynote speakers at the I Am Enough Empowerment Brunch out in Cobb County.  It was presented by Lashielle Denise Creative, LLC and they definitely did an amazing job!  The set up was so beautiful and all of the women in attendance were so ready to receive.  I let my hair down for this event and dolled up with make-up as well.  Demishia, the creator of this event, decided to inspire others as a birthday gift to herself.  Instead of spending money on a party or trip out of town, she decided to host an empowerment event in which the attendees could come for FREE and be inspired!!  How

Taking Comfort In Me…and U By Kotex Liners!

This weekend, I will be speaking to a group of women about the importance of accepting themselves.  I am one of the three keynote speakers for the I Am Enough Empowerment Brunch.  I'll be telling the ladies all about my book, I Hear That Girl:  Life Advice For Every Sista, in which I discuss moments from my life where I've been totally uncomfortable. One particular incident happened during my teenage years when like many other young girls, I was juggling with accepting my own beauty.  The birthmark on my face became something I'd wish away during my freshman year of high school until a boy told me he only sees "Kim" when he looked at me. Fast forward 2o years and a divorce, and you will find a woman who still has her moments of being uncomfortable.  I've learned to love my thunderous laughter, my kinky hair, my round belly, my birthmark, and my weird fascination with spelling.  Acceptance of who I am and WHY I am, helps me appreciate myself.  I now take comfort in all the quirks that make me... me!   I also avoid uncomfortable feminine moments with the U by Kotex liners.  Let's be real ladies...we struggle with a lot of changes that can cause us to feel uncomfortable, but these thin liners can be worn everyday and they give you that extra level of comfort and confidence.  You know, like your favorite pair of granny panties (yes...we all have a pair)!  I actually forgot I was wearing them.  I did notice, however, the subtle feeling of euphoria that comes with feeling protected and clean.   Not to leave out my friends, you can try the U by Kotex liners for free!  We love free don't we?  Free samples are available for redemption on bringcomfyback.com! EACH LINER SAMPLE PACK INCLUDES: 2 U by Kotex Curves® Liners 2 U by Kotex® Lightdays® Liners But wait...there's MORE! Each month, one lucky winner will receive a $200 Urban Outfitters gift card, a Go Pro Hero 3 white camera, a $100 Sephora gift card and U by Kotex products. To enter the #BringComfyBack Contest, visit bringcomfyback.com and upload your creative pic or gif showcasing your best uncomfy face.  Can you beat mine? At the end of the contest, the most creative selfie will be chosen and the winner will receive a trip to L.A. with a girlfriend, an exclusive U by Kotex photo shoot to be their new social star and $2,000 spending cash!  Cha-ching!

Black Don’t Crack! Time To Get Serious About Our Skin!

Black don't crack!  If you're a black woman, you've heard that statement time and time again.  And guess what...it's almost damn sure a fact!  Black women have the blessing of melanin and other great genes that seem to preserve the sexy, the tautness of the skin, even the glow.  Most of you can look at your moms right now and see how young these 50 and 60 year olds look!  I met a woman this past weekend at Bronner Bros. Hair Show who was my age...36; with her 19 year old daughter!  When I tell you, they looked like sisters!!  I would have never thought she was 36, maybe 22 but not more than 25.  I told her right then, I need to get all of my life together...and QUICKLY honey! As I've grown older, I've noticed that I suffer from blackheads and breakouts.  Something I never struggled with as a teen up until my 30's.   And it's not like bad breakouts, just those pesky T-Zone area breakouts sporadically through the month.  My hormones surely attribute to this issue, I suffer from hyperthyroidism, and it causes my hormones to fluctuate ridiculously.  Some months, I'm back to my old self and the skin is CRYSTAL!  Other months, I stand in the mirror wondering how did I let it get like this?   Now that I have revealed my truth, let's all get real for a second.  Most black women when asked, do NOT have a skin regimen.  Why?  Because we simply don't really have a need for it.  With little to no maintenance, a black woman's skin will still look damn good as she enters her late 40's.  However, I WANT a skin regimen.  Times have changed.  Social Media is King.  That means, people will see your pretty face time and time and time again for eternity.  We want to look our best right?   Plus, seeing celebrities like Halle Berry, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Beverly Johnson, Garcelle Beauvais, Janet Jackson, and more make you want to step you 35+ game up.  And it's not just celebs.  Some of my friends that are older than me, with kids, look freaking amazing!  Once again...I need to get my total life to maintain this beauty and reclaim my flawless skin.   Last night, I had to make a run to the store to purchase something for another blog post I'm working on.  While I was there, I picked up a bar of black soap.  In that instant, I decided to get serious about my skin care and it would start with a nightly facial cleanse using this bar of black soap.  We've all heard about the fantastic properties in black soap:  thinning fine lines, evening out dark spots, eczema, razor bumps and eliminating blemishes. It is also used to lightly exfoliate and give you healthier looking skin.  I know this is just one of many other steps I can take to restoring my flawless visual.  I just wanted to share with you that I took the first step.  I'm 36 years old

Sooo…Apparently, BET Punk’d Me!

So, apparently, I got punk'd.  BET Uncut is not returning to the television airwaves (thank God).  However, I meant every single word that was said in my blog rant.  Even with the revival of a light-hearted prank show, I still have many questions for the programming team at BET.  There are many other television shows that your loyal viewers would like to see revived.  Especially, some form of news.  But, I must say BET, you got me good!  Had my blood pressure all up and ready to protest in the streets if need be.  Read about BET's ultimate prank here, courtesy of The Washington Post: We saw the #ArchThatBackChallenge and thought what better time to let ya'll know #BETUncut is coming back than NOW!pic.twitter.com/XLAlkNFxYr — BET (@BET) August 6, 2015 Leave it to BET to usher in the resurrection of the celebrity practical joke show “Punk’d” by making its audience its biggest mark. That’s right, if you were one of many either celebrating or scratching your heads upon last week’s announcement that BET would be reviving “BET Uncut,” which was basically BET’s after-hours music video equivalent ofSkinemax, well, congratulations. You’ve been punked. BET doesn't care about black people *Kanye West voice* #BETUncutpic.twitter.com/tYVnwcrhSz — Tha One & Only ® (@RGreen_94) August 12, 2015 Once a staple of the MTV lineup from 2003 to 2007, “Punk’d” was the show that made Ashton Kutcher a household name and trucker hats a years-long regrettable trend. It what made us laugh with glee as poor Justin Timberlake wondered why the Internal Revenue Service was repossessing his entire life. Andrew Bachelor, a guest host of “Punk’d” on BET. (Elton Anderson) BET chose to mark its debut with host DeStorm Power and special guest host Andrew Bachelor by telling viewers that “Uncut” would begin airing Tuesday at 11 p.m. That probably should have set off some alarms, because “Uncut’s” previous witching hour start time of 3 a.m. was what fed its mystique. BET even teased “Uncut’s” return during its lead-in, “Nellyville,” with clips from Nelly’s controversial “Tip Drill” video. Sure enough, Tuesday, the familiar opening of “Uncut” appeared, before it was rudely — some would say thankfully — interrupted by Bachelor and Power. It began with a disclaimer from BET superimposed over the image of three scantily clad women with their backs to the camera. This program is for mature audiences only. It contains material which some viewers may find objectionable or inappropriate for viewing by children under the age of 17. Viewer discretion is advised. A few scenes from “Tip Drill” began, interspersed with static interference, before the camera cut to Bachelor and Power sitting in a couple of director’s chairs. “So ya’ll thought you were going to see ‘BET Uncut?'” Bachelor asked. He and Power pointed at the camera and laughed. “Got ’em!” “Well, we’re here to tell you that you just got punked,” Power finished. But, in what may have proven to be the biggest “Punk’d” moment of all, the show that proceeded wasn’t one of new clips, but old ones from when MTV brought the show and Kutcher back in 2012. The first clip Power and Bachelor introduced was one of

If You Really Cared About The Image of Black Women…Cancel BET Uncut!

BET Network announced that it would be reviving it's 'soft porn' video show, BET Uncut.  I'm sure that many of you felt just as frustrated as I did upon hearing this.  Across social media, many people questioned why would BET bring this show back out of all its other programming choices?  Cries to see Teen Summit, a television show created to highlight and inform the youth of our community with positive commentary, dialogue, and interactions has yet to be heard.  Other shows like, Video Soul, Hitz from the Streets, and more were sadly overlooked when it came to what show to revive.  Really?  BET made a statement that they were bringing this show back due to popular demand.  Popular demand?!  By who?  Based on the response that I've seen on social media, the majority of viewers are scratching their heads just like I am as to how and why this is happening. BET Uncut was at the forefront of the conversation about the degradation of black women.  In all of the videos, you would see women being treated as sexual objects and nothing more.  Nelly's infamous "Tip Drill" video was a cookie-cutter example of the image of black women held in the mindset of most male rappers.  How could you let this nightmare come back to haunt us BET?   Do you even care?  I mean, you didn't think to bring back BET Nightly News?  A news hour that is greatly needed for our community.  With all of the protests, marches, and discussion of #BlackLivesMatter, don't you feel we should have a platform of newsworthy discussion outside of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC?  Or do you even care?  There was no special report on the death of Sandra Bland, Joyce Curnell, Kindra Chapman, and many more.  Why not BET?  Do you no longer have access to reputable journalists like Ed Gordon, that can help you pull together information on stories of interest to the black community? In order for there to be change, we have to be the change we seek.  How will reviving a show that negatively showcases black women in a degrading fashion help our cause?  What will it tell our young girls about their worth and their beauty?  They are already bombarded with images daily telling them that they aren't good enough, smart enough, light enough, thick enough, slim enough, so on and so forth.  But after all, you are Black Entertainment Television.  It's just videos, right?  It's just ENTERTAINMENT.  Right? This is a challenge to all the Greek-letter organizations that created a movement to cancel a reality television show that showed their organizations in a negative light.  What will you do now?  Does the re-emergence of "BET's Uncut" not bother you as much?  After all, anytime a black woman is being exploited; shouldn't that be cause for concern or am I just too deep?  The same uproar that was made over letters, should be made over this show. Just my two cents: I want my sisters and little sisters to see themselves as Queens, not glorified whores.

Foodie Review: Cheeseburger Bobby’s

Thursday evening I went to the Fantastic 4 screening in Brookhaven.  I had the opportunity to catch the cast on the red carpet and even a special pic of Ludacris and the cast as well.  I'm a huge Marvel fan so I was really excited to be a part of the red carpet festivities. After the movie wrapped up, I was starving and decided to check out Cheeseburger Bobby's in Buckhead.  It's a Burger Restaurant that allows you to BYOB or build your own burger.  They offer a plethora of condiments, toppings, seasonings, and all types of trimmings for you to enjoy the burger of your dreams.  I decided on the Bacon Cheeseburger with American cheese combo and paired it with a Java Mocha Custard Shake. My burger came out in perfect timing, you know...quick enough to keep me from dying of starvation and long enough to know my burger wasn't a sitting under a warmer.  I chose to season my fries with ranch seasoning and they give you a TON of fries.  The seasoning choices are really good too, with offerings of Salt & Vinegar to BBQ to Lemon Pepper.  I then made my way over to the trimmings station where I loaded up on pickles, lettuce, and ranch dip! The burger itself was delicious cooked to perfection and the fries were the cherry on top.  I alternated sips between my chilly Java Mocha shake and my ice cold Dr. Pepper after each bite.  I was truly enjoying this meal!  That's when it hit me, something as simple as a good cheeseburger can bring you joy when done right.  It just reminded me that the little things in life can actually add so much value to our mundane quest for abundance.  In a future post, I'll list some of the "little things" that bring me much joy.  As for Cheeseburger Bobby's, it has officially been added to that list!!  

Drop 5 Movement: SlimQuick’s Extra Strength Drink Mix

// If you've been following me on social media, you'd know that I have had my struggles with weight loss and changed my lifestyle to fix it.  About two years ago, I started my low-carb lifestyle.  I found out through my attempt at the Atkins Diet, that bad carbs were my Achilles heel.  I'm not going to go through my experience as a low-carber in depth here, you can read about it in my previous post here. RELATED POST:  WEIGHTLOSS Keeping with my Drop 5 theme, I always try to find something to help me boost weightloss during that one week of each month.  This month, I was able to sample the SlimQuick Extra Strength Drink Mix (available in my aStore HERE)!  I thought this would be a great addition to my low carb lifestyle as I use Sugar Free drink mixes all the time to bring variety to a heavy water based diet.  I'd seen the commercials about SlimQuick so of course, I was interested in trying it for myself.  The instructions on how to begin the SlimQuick  regimen are outlined on the box and are very simple.  Here's a bit of info about SlimQuick: SLIMQUICK Pure Extra Strength Mixed Berries Drink Mix is designed for women to help them lose 3 times the weight by addressing the 6 physical reasons women have trouble losing weight. SLIMQUICK Pure works to -Increase Metabolism -Reduce Appetite -Boost Energy -Reduce Excess Water -Support Hormones -Reduce Stress Of course, the best results will show after 13 weeks using the product, however, I've been using it 2 weeks now.  Last week was my Drop 5 week and I must say, I actually dropped 5 lbs!  I even added the mix to my green smoothies in lieu of fruits and let me tell you, it was super tasty!  I'll post the recipe below for you guys.  If you've never tried Green Smoothies, you should!  They're a great way to get those much needed greens into your system often, and a great way to start your mornings.  The SlimQuick website offers other recipes and weightloss assistance.  Check it out today: www.myslimquick.com.  I'm looking forward to seeing how much weight loss I'll achieve this month, and in the next 10 weeks. Kale & Spinach Super Slim Quick 2 handfuls baby spinach 1 packet SlimQuick Extra Strength Mix in Mixed Berries 6 oz water 1/2 c Ice Just for you guys, here's a coupon in which you can use to save $5 off the SlimQuick Pure Extra Strength Drink Mix.  Get creative with it and share your recipes with me!  Here's to dropping 5!!  Meet you guys at the finish line.   *This is a sponsored post courtesy of SlimQuick Pure Extra Strength Drink Mix.  The review is an honest and true reflection of my experience with the product.*

Tap the Future: 5 Tips for a Winning Pitch

Last night I attended the Miller Lite Tap the Future Pitch Contest with one of my blogger friends, Kyla.  The event featured Daymond John, entrepreneur and star of Shark Tank.  There were many different entrepreneurs in attendance to watch, participate, and cheer on the selected pitchers.  Each company was given 5 minutes to pitch their business/organization to the 4 judge panel.  As each team made their way to the stage and began their pitches, we critiqued their pitches noting both their strengths and weaknesses.  Whenever you are promoting your business, it's important to know a few things.  And of course it's super scary standing in front of a room full of strangers trying to convince them of your dream, but you've got to be confident of what you're saying!  I speak to young people often on the importance of their pitch.  Your pitch is your way of selling that idea, concept, product or service that you believe is the next big thing.  And even more than that, you're pushing your passion.  You've got to leave the room feeling just as passionate about it as you. I recently watched the Steve Jobs movie, and the thing that stood out to me the most was the fact that he was the visionary.  He didn't create a product from scratch...ever.  Instead, he saw what could be in other people and pulled that thing out of them into a tangible product which we revere today as Apple.  Steve Jobs didn't have to work very hard on a pitch, because his belief in his own ability was what he exuded.  He sold you on the possibility.  With that being said, I'm going to give you guys my list of 5 tips to help you create a winning pitch.  These work for me and are foremost in my mind whenever I talk about my brand, build promotions for my brand, or brainstorm ideas for my brand.  Let me know if you have any to add, or what your top 5 tips have been. 5 tips for a WINNING pitch! 1) Don't confuse your audience, be sure YOU know exactly why your company works- It's important to know the workings of your business/service/product like the back of your hand.  You have to be the authority on what you're pitching! 2) Make sure your service/product solves an issue and be sure to point that out in your pitch- 'The consumer doesn't know what they need until you tell them.' This is a summarized quote from Steve Jobs, no one knew they needed an iPod or iPad until he introduced it.  Now, we can't live without it.  Why does the consumer need your service/product?  A question that NEEDS an answer. 3)  Make sure you and your partner are on the same page- There's nothing worse than talking to a business owner and their partner or team has different thoughts on how the business will run.  That's a huge red flag for an investor.  And please be on one accord during your pitch! 4) Know your

Design Essentials Gives Me a Moisture Makeover!

While enjoying the Essence Festival activities this year, I was invited to participate in Design Essential's "Moisture Makeover"!  As a naturalista, keeping my hair moisturized is always a main concern and issue.  I've used several products to alleviate dry issues, but had yet to find one that ended the moisture loss.  So, of course you know I was excited to have the opportunity to be pampered during my birthday weekend in New Orleans!!  All of those previous happenings equal a GREAT time for me!  To prepare, I kept my hair wrapped in a turban for the trip.  Underneath, my hair was styled in chunky twists.  Nothing fancy mind you, I did a quick co-wash after taking down my Marley Twists.  The condition of my hair was honestly a mess...I hadn't been keeping up with my regimen and I was in desperate need of a detangling session. During my session, my stylist used the Coconut & Monoi products on my hair to take down my twists and style them into a sexy sideswept updo!  I'm telling you, I felt FABULOUS after just a few strokes through my hair with the product.  I was gifted the Design Essentials Naturals product line:  Shampoo, Conditioner, and Leave-In in the Almond & Avocado.  I was told by the stylist that if moisture was an issue, these products will handle that at the ROOT.  When you shampoo your hair, you should be getting a healthy dose of moisture that will maintain until your next shampoo.  For me, shampoos had been falling short on delivering moisture.  Many of them professed they would give me lasting moisture, but in reality, after my hair was dry, it was left DRY and crunchy.  I had yet to find a shampoo that actually delivered on its promise.   Fast forward to yesterday.  I had been putting off dying my hair for a month.  Why?  Pure procrastination and laziness.  My hair is such a task when it comes to shampooing, conditioning, detangling, and styling.  An average session can take upwards of 3-5 hours.  And I knew that this session would be a long one seeing as I still hadn't properly detangled my hair after having it in Marley braids for 6 weeks (yes, I should be ashamed of myself)!  With the urging of my Periscope followers, I decided to go ahead and dye my hair Blazing Burgandy, using the Textures & Tones boxes that had been gathering dust in my bathroom.  I decided this was a perfect time as ever to try out the Design Essentials line as it would be imperative to have highly moisturized hair after dying it.  Well, let me just say this...YES!!!!!  The shampoo sealed it for me.  It's sulfate free, so I wasn't expecting any lather, but I was pleasantly surprised when the suds overwhelmed me.  Throughout the shampoo and conditioning phase I felt the moisturizing effects instantly.  Just before styling, I applied the leave-in conditioner to assist with detangling and let me tell ya, it made things extremely easier.

Essence Festival 2015 Fun on the Floor

With all the events and happenings during Essence Festival Weekend, I finally made my way to the Convention Center Floor to visit all the major sponsors and chat with festival attendees.  Essence truly did #BringTheLove and it was apparent in everyone I met!  It was really like a family reunion.  I truly enjoyed meeting and greeting so many beautiful sisters that came together to be empowered, inspired, and have a great time together!!  Check out my interviews below and if you are one of the many ladies I interviewed, be sure to comment below!! https://youtu.be/GrFt4CeeuQE

Hollywood Divas Paula Jai Parker, Golden Brooks and Lisa Wu talk about Black Women in Unity

The disparaging ratio of African-American actors/actresses to the available roles is no secret.  I had the opportunity to ask the cast of Hollywood Divas about the stereotype that black women can't work together as was shown in Season 1.  And what they think black women in the industry can do to change that. https://youtu.be/CcCU1RmfzaM

Walker’s Legacy Brunch with Mushiya Tshikuka, Melinda Emerson, and Janaye Ingram

The Walker's Legacy Organization hosted a women's empowerment brunch during Essence Fest weekend.  The event was sold out and I was super excited to attend, because I recently hosted a networking mixer on behalf of Walker's Legacy back in May with my good friend, Cherise, and it was so inspiring.  With nothing but great thoughts in mind, I prepared myself to be inspired by the organization's founder, Natalie Medeira Cofield.  The event was held at The Palace on Canal Street and we indulged in delicious eats.  I'm hungry now just thinking about it. The event began on time and we were introduced to our panelists for the day, Mushiya Tshikuka, owner of The Damn Salon and reality tv star of 'Cuttin' It in the ATL'.  Melinda Emerson, Forbes #1 Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs, and Janaye Ingram, National Executive Director of the National Action Network.  Almost immediately, the panelists gave us hard hitting, realistic, sister girl advice on entrepreneurship.  They made it plain, that you can have what you want, if you get out of your own way.   After having a lil church from the preaching sisters, we moved on to an interactive activity that challenged us to use our talents and ideas collectively in order to solve a looming issue among African-American women.  It was a great time to hear the thoughts and ideas of the women and we walked away with a new respect of the resources and power that was present in the room.  I met some wonderful women that I plan on working closely with in the coming months.  Check out a few pics below of the day:

Celebrity Selfies During Essence Festival 2015

This weekend, I attended my first Essence Festival.  It was a stunning display of Black Communal Pride.  I loved seeing so many black people gathered together and having so much good fun!  One person tweeted that the Essence Festival is like one huge Family Reunion!  I concur.  With so much to do, I started off with a walk to the press room, to just get a look around.  Low and behold, who is heading my way?  India Arie!  I grabbed her hand and said, can I take a pic with you?  She stated it had to be quick, I replied "I'll run with you and take it."  She laughed, grabbed my phone and said, 'let's get a good one.'  So, I was able to kick off my Essence with a pic of one my favorite soul singers. At this point, I was elated and super excited to be at Essence Festival.  My goals for the weekend were to enjoy myself, get good coverage, and love on my sisters.  Did I forget to mention that I was also celebrating my 36th birthday?!  Yes!  Later that day, we headed over to Le Meridian for the Design Essentials Gifting Suite with soul vocalist, Ledisi.  She is such a humble and fun artist.  She welcomed everyone to the event and stated she'd be hugging and speaking to everyone in attendance.  She did just that.  I even got her to speak to my Periscope friends! That evening, we headed over to the SuperDome for the Essence Festival concert.  As we were walking through towards the press room, I spotted the beautiful Garcelle Beauvais.  We took a selfie, but my cameraman's flash blasted the results...lol.  He saved the day by getting a gorgeous capture though.  Right after I thanked her for the pic, Malinda Williams came through. After the concert, we decided to grab a beignet from Cafe Du Monde.  The line was long, the patio was packed with patrons, and the aroma was heavenly.  We hopped in line and I noticed Lecrae and his wife, Darragh, standing behind us.  We chatted a bit about his music and how he's been able to reach so many by being true to himself and transparent to his fans.  We snapped a selfie before grabbing our beignets and going our separate ways.   Day 2, I started my day at the Walker's Legacy Brunch at The Palace on Canal St.  It was an amazing event to pull together black female entrepreneurs for networking and collectivizing.  Mushiya Tshikuka, owner of The Damn Salon, was one of the panelists and I was thrilled to see her in all of her fabulousness!   Following that event, I made my way over to the Design Essentials Mini Makeover & Day Party at Le Meridian.  The natural hair beauties were out and about and I scored a selfie with my hair crush, Aevin Dugas.  If you didn't know, she is the Guiness World Record Holder for largest afro!!   The Day Party brought in many celebs who were enjoying the Essence Festival weekend.  Mushiya

Let’s hope I win a Ford during Essence Fest!!

I'll be celebrating my birthday this week at Essence Fest!  I'm super excited because it will be my first time in New Orleans as well as the first time I attend Essence Festival.  Well, now Ford has decided to possibly make my weekend even more exciting!  Ford will give away a chance to win keys to a Ford vehicle of choice* to festival-goers who participate in the ride-and-drive event; participants can test drive some of the most stylish and fun-to-drive vehicles on the road today!  Now wouldn't this make for a great birthday gift?  Everything is aligned for me, I'm naming it and claiming it TODAY!  Now all I need is for you guys to keep the positive energy out there for me.  Can you do that for your girl?  Help a sista out! If you're coming to Essence Festival this weekend, you too have an opportunity to win.  Here are the deets: "Ford Motor Company shares in ESSENCE's commitment to the African American community on this widely celebrated weekend of fun and empowerment," said Shawn Thompson, manager, Ford multicultural marketing. "This annual festival is something we look forward to, seeking new ways every year to engage and excite consumers. The ESSENCE Festival affords us the opportunity to demonstrate our Go Further brand promise and showcase Ford's latest vehicle lineup."   Festival-goers will have the opportunity to take a test drive in Ford's newest products at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and receive a $750** cash offer on a new Ford vehicle for opting-in to Ford communications. Vehicles available for test drives include the 2015 Edge, Focus hatchback, Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, Flex, Escape, F-150 and Explorer.   The all-new Ford GT will be front and center at the Ford display. The all-new supercar serves as the pinnacle product of the new Ford Performance group, setting new standards for Ford innovation in light-weighting, aerodynamics and EcoBoost® engine technology.     Keep your fingers crossed for me folks and send me well wishes via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook posts using hashtag  #IHTGFord36 Thanks in advance and if...I mean, when I win,  holla at ya girl if you see me on the street!!! :)

If You Made Fun of Keyshia Cole’s Independent Announcement…You’re Dumb!

During the BET Awards show Monday night, Keyshia Cole and Monica took to the stage to present the Centric award nominees.  Keyshia Cole announced that she will soon be releasing her album independently.   The announcement seemed to take Monica aback, and she too followed suit by plugging her new album as well.  Before leaving the stage and after announcing the winner, Keyshia Cole again, announced that she would be releasing her album independently.  For some reason, Twitter users immediately jumped to social media to make fun of Keyshia Cole and her announcement:   keyshia cole .. NOBODY ASKED ABOUT YOUR ALBUM pic.twitter.com/77lSDAgjHY — KWEEN KING (@kingbaddiekee) June 29, 2015 keyshia cole leaving a flyer for her album on every car in that parking lot this evening. — Marlon 23rd (@MarlonXXIII) June 29, 2015 I’m really glad they let Keyshia Cole in this year instead of leaving her outside to sell fish plate — MoonFlower (@dasiepie) June 29, 2015 Meanwhile Keyshia Cole, Keri Hilson, and Ciara are outside the after party jamming to Keyshia’s independent album. pic.twitter.com/MVBGJpxxfo — Pharaoh (@PharaohJF) June 29, 2015 If you were one of the people making fun of her announcement...you're dumb!  I'm sorry, I just had to say it.  Keyshia Cole's announcement wasn't dumb, ignorant, redundant, or unnecessary at all.  It was brilliant!  Now before you jump on Twitter to call me out, let me explain, and then have your way. Over 12 million people tuned in to the BET Awards show Monday night.  If you were going to release an album, wouldn't you like to advertise your endeavor to 12 million people for free?!  An independent release relates to a tight budget, so any free publicity you can garner will always be a WIN! Meeting Prince helped Cole with her decision to go independent. He promised a collaboration once she severs label ties. “He was walking past and I was like, ‘Hey, how are you doin’? Can you do a song with me or nah?’ He said, 'Wait until you go independent ’cause you don’t wanna continue to be signed to a label, and I’ll definitely do a song with you.' So I’ve been waiting for this day.”  Cha-Ching!!  With that kind of collaboration, Keyshia Cole will introduce herself to an entirely new and larger audience! Keyshia Cole is still filming her series with BET, "All In", so every facet of her endeavors will be captured and will continue to market her independent release. All of the haters, Twitter bullies, and those that dislike her music have done nothing more than keep her name and information about her independent release in the public eye.  Thanks again for the FREE promotion! ;) Finally, going independent means, that although you have a higher risk in producing your album (investment, budget, etc), if successful she will recoup 100% of her investment!  I am NOT mad! I'm not a big Keyshia Cole music fan, but I am definitely a fan of any black woman who takes control of her life, business, and her MONEY!  Do your thing Keyshia and I will be purchasing your new

Why Rihanna’s New Fashion Line ‘$CHOOL KILLS’ Is a Brilliant Statement

Rihanna’s made it pretty clear that she has no interest in being anyone’s role model. Last year, she told USA Today, “I can’t really say I’m a role model. I’m not perfect. I’m not trying to sell that.” The year before, she replied to a Daily Mail article shaming her gun tattoos, long nails, and bad girl image with a statement that included, “’Role Model’ is not a position or title that I have ever campaigned for, so chill wit dat!” Yesterday, news broke that Rihanna's company has filed a patent application for '$CHOOL KILLS' to make ‘leather products’ and 'clothing products.  Many are calling this a totally irresponsible message to be sending to her fans.  I have to disagree.  I think this is a brilliant statement...let me tell you why. Over the past three years, my partner and I have been pushing a program in schools entitled, "X=POSURE".  This program's purpose is to open the eyes of students to ALL of the opportunities that are available to them .  It's an eye-opening experience for many of the students to help them see more of what they can do in the world instead of just a linear thinking.  In my book, 'I Hear That Girl:  Life Advice for Every Sista, ' I discuss the importance of thinking "outside of the box".  Our school systems are nothing more than a manufacturing plant.  We set ourselves up to think one way only.  Graduate, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids.  Is that the only path to success and enjoyment of life there is? This is why I believe Rihanna's statement of '$CHOOL KILLS' is brilliant!  If you think she's shaming education, you're wrong!  If you think she's against going to school, you're wrong!  What she's saying here is that the limitations and formatting of schools are indirectly killing your ability to live a truly free life.  It halts the creative process because it fights so hard against it.  "Stay within the lines" is actually taught to our kids!!  Can you see how stifling that can be to a creative person?  We need to have this dialogue in our schools so we can change the "manufactured" style of teaching into a more "free thinking" production. RiRi, I hear what you're saying, society will not dictate my way of thinking.  Maybe I'm thinking too deep, but maybe everyone that has an issue with her fashion line's name, aren't thinking freely.  I'm just saying...

3 Reasons Why Men Can’t Tickle You Anymore

Blogger mom pens understandable fears for her young daughter which leads to "the talk", and the importance of discussion about sex in the black community. *EDITORS NOTE* My blogger buddy, Bernetta has an awesome way of sharing glimpses of her life and family.  I enjoy reading her blogs and this post in particular, I felt the closest to understanding her fears.  As a victim of molestation, this mother's instincts are spot on and it's an important discussion I feel we need to be having with our girls.  However, in the black community, we hardly if ever want to talk about issues that make us uncomfortable.  I applaud her for speaking on this topic and speaking about it with her daughter.  Please follow her blog, BernettaStyle. My daughter is 7 years old. She is full of so much life and is 100% a people person. She has a genuine upbeat, happy, helpful personality and even at 7, everyone knows Bailee. While, I love that about her, she doesn’t always know when people don’t mean well or basically what is sometimes inappropriate. Last week, while at gymnastics my daughter was warming up with the rest of the team. They were doing their backbend stretches when a guy (who I have never seen before) was assisting with warm ups walked by Bailee and tickled her stomach. I sat up straight from the bleachers upstairs and zeroed in on this guy. He walked by my daughter again and she playfully hit his foot, basically to get him to play with her again. He did. He tickled her tummy one more time. She laughed and thought it was so funny. He walked by her one more time, and he tapped him again. Uuughh! It was at that point that I stood up and started shifting back and forth on my feet. I wanted to scream, “Bailee! Stop playing with that man and stretch!” But I didn’t. I knew that the man was just playing with her and wasn’t doing anything that was actually hurting my daughter, but it just made me feel very uncomfortable. It was time Bailee and I had a talk. Why Men Can’t Tickle You As we started to drive to gymnastics practice this week, I was alone with Bailee and started to explain what I saw last week and why it can’t happen again. It’s inappropriate: I am not sure what is the perfect age for men to stop playfully touching my daughter, but she’s 7 and for me it’s time. Bailee has a lot of great strong men in her life, but for the life of me I feel some kind of way when she runs into their arms and they swoop her up like a baby. I explained that the only man that can pick you up now is your daddy! No other MAN needs to be tickling you, carrying you, rubbing you, or letting you sit in his lap!  You are too BIG: I gently tried to explain that although the men in her life do not mean any harm, she isn’t

Daddy’s Girl- Celebration of a Man

Today is a day for us to celebrate the great men in our lives who have been a consistent prime example of manhood.  My father has been all of that and more.  Every year that I grow older, I am increasingly confident that my father has been the best example to me of what I should expect and deserve from a real man.  I love to tell my father's story, because it just shows how adamant he was on providing a secure place for his family.  My father has overcome so many obstacles in his life.  Through it all, he's shown strength first and sensitivity at a balance that we've never confused.  When he puts his foot down, that's it.  But he has always been open to hearing perspectives and showing empathy in any situation.  He has a forgiving heart and a supreme connection to his little girls.  My father would never allow his girls to do things that he felt a man should do first.  This had nothing to do with a sexist mindset, my dad taught his girls to be independent...yes.  But above all, he stated that men have a Godly duty to women and they should always be willing, ready and able to assume that role and all that comes with being a man.  Provision, protector, and leader. When it comes to a mate, my father has been that image that I've set my standard to.  As most young women do, we base the level of respect, kindness, and appreciation on the model of man that is first introduced in our lives.  For me, my father has always shown me that a man that loves me unconditionally will always be willing to do whatever he has to for my good.  Even when that means doing or saying something I don't want to hear.  I am so proud to have a hard-working, loving, strict, protective Father in my life from day one to now.  He's always been a call away.  This year, my sisters and I gathered to celebrate our Father.  We say "celebrate" because that is what he deserves.  All father's deserve to be celebrated for their exclusive and most necessary role.   We kicked off the weekend with a mixer of all the Daddy's Girl's.  Our cousins came together to celebrate their amazing fathers.  My best friend, whose father is no longer with us, came out as well and we remembered the joy he brought to her life.  Over drinks and appetizers, we laughed and smiled knowing that regardless if we were single, divorced, or married...the men that loved us best were there be it physically or in spirit.  We made these awesome cocktails that represented our Fathers well.  Strong yet smooth.  Everyone enjoyed them and the evening.  Here's the recipe: Cruzan® Sunday Tea Off Ingredients: 1 parts Cruzan® Estate Diamond Light Rum 1/2 part Fresh Lime Juice 2 parts Lemonade 2 parts Ice Tea Mint for Garnish Method: Build Ingredients over large ice cube in rocks glass. Garnish with lime and mint.   I wish all girls knew

Weightloss: Keep Pushing

Ok, so last week, me and my big mouth decided to post on social media my goal for losing FIVE pounds in a week.  Well...in all honesty, when I posted it, I really had all intentions of seriously putting in work (exercise) to get it off.  I've been following the low-carb lifestyle for a while now and I'm at a consistent weight of 146.  I am still 9lbs off from my goal weight of 137.  I know that getting in some exercise weekly would definitely help me shed those last few pounds and also kick-start a better physical lifestyle as well.  When I put the post out there, I had a slew of online friends who decided to take the challenge with me.  It was great and I was pumped! RELATED POST:  5 THINGS THAT HELP ME MAINTAIN MY LOW CARB LIFESTYLE Day one- I ate everything I should eat and that evening was planning to hit the gym for an hour of brisk walking.  My partner, Alton, wasn't able to go with me that night and I don't like going to the gym late at night alone.  So, I chalked it up and planned to try again tomorrow.  Day two- I woke up in a lot of pain.  Cramping had began to take hold, but it was dull and I thought I could push through it.  By the end of the day, I was in moderate pain, so I decided to chuck gym action this week and prepare for Mother Nature.  Day three- one of my friends asked me to take him to the airport...at 6am!!!  When I finally got home, all caution or thoughts of a diet were in the wind!  All I wanted was something salty, something sweet, and an ass load of Ibruprofen!  I stocked up on candy, cookies, and burgers.  By Day six, I was feeling better but the damage to my weightloss goal had been done.  I stepped on the scale Sunday morning expecting to see an increase, but amazingly enough...nothing!  I had been able to maintain my weight through mother nature's visit, a carb splurge, and inactivity. So here I am again, facing another week with the same goal.  5 pounds off this week!  The first step is admitting that if you do everything opposite of what you should to lose weight, then you won't.  For me, honesty helps me keep pushing. What about you?  What keeps you going?  Check back next week to see if I succeed in reaching my 5 Off goal!

5 Things Helping Me Maintain My Low Carb Lifestyle

When it comes to dieting, women have pretty much done it and/or tried it all!  I'm not a tall girl, I'm only five feet tall.  So when I put on weight, you can tell.  About three years ago, I had ballooned to 166 pounds.  That is a lot for me!  My health was pretty bad, I struggled walking not even a mile to the postal center at my apartment complex and I knew that something had to be done.  I'd tried Weight Watchers and while it definitely worked, without counting after a few months, I began to put the weight back on.  I didn't see "counting" as a new lifestyle for me.  So I looked into the Atkin's diet.  It's a low-carb diet that basically cuts out heavy starches and carbohydrates.  Our body's are supposed to burn fat each day, but because we tend to overload it with carbs, it burns carbs instead for energy.  That's when the light bulb came on for me!  No wonder I kept having trouble losing this spare tire around my waist!!  It's pure fat and it's not being burned at all. Carbs have been a pitfall for me...potato chips, cake, sweets...my Achilles's heel so to speak.  I love to snack as I'm a grazer.  I eat a little bit here and there...ALL day long.  I had gotten so bad with potato chips to where I was downing 2 to 3 bags in one day!  I know, I'm ashamed to admit that.  But, it's the truth!  And when it was close to that wondrous time of the month exclusive for us ladies, it got even worse!  I'd stock up on salty & sweet snacks like a whole cake, about 5 bags of potato chips, candy, crackers, popcorn and more! So you can imagine my fear of even implementing the Atkin's diet as all of my favorite things were to be scratched off my "do eat" list.  My hope for a healthier lifestyle outweighed my fear and within 3 months, I was down 30 lbs!  In my first week I lost 9lbs!  And what was the first to go?  My spare tire!  It was then that I knew I had to change my eating habits, especially my snacking habits.  Now, some 3 years later (boy does time fly) I've maintained my weight within 10 lbs of 135.  I do incorporate some carbs into my diet but I'm much more conscious of what I'm eating and how often I'm splurging.  Recently, I talked to a friend who has just started the "low-carb" lifestyle for diabetic reasons and she was nervous as well because at first it just seems so darn hard.  I told her it gets easier and when you see the results, you appreciate it so much more. I decided to share a few of the items that have helped me the most during my low-carb journey when I've considered jumping off the train or giving in to temptation.  These 5 items have definitely kept me sane and helped

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