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  • DREAM - Sometimes It's Just About Being in the Room

     

    I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Penn Women's Conference this October. I was actually working with a friend who captured this awesome image! So I wasn't a patron that was able to select my workshops or take advantage of the small business reviews and all the other amazing resources they provided. BUT, I think I learned an important lesson about just being in the room! 

    One of the cool things about working was that I got a lot of behind the scenes looks at the goings on. It takes a whole heck of a lot of work to put on a conference for 8,000 women that includes top tier speakers, multiple moving parts, and a bunch of staff to oversee. And then there were huge keynotes like Jane Pauley, Robin Roberts and Diane Keaton. This was all great to see as I hope one day to have huge events for my BBB Series. 

    Though I am sure there were a myriad of opportunities to network and share business cards which I didn't necessarily have the chance to do, just being there was inspiring. It was really all I needed. I mean first of all seeing that many women come together was just a sight in itself. And to hear from all these really successful business women was icing on the cake. Just the sheer amount of authors that were there, gave me a kick in the butt. It helped me to know that my dreams of authoring multiple books isn't quite as far fetched as I think. I could literally see myself sitting in those seats signing book after book and chatting with readers. 

    I often mention the importance of vision. So just to be able to see others in the shoes that you one day hope to be in, is sometimes enough. Yes we all have visions of meeting the right person at the right time who just changes our life in a second. But that's not often how it happens. Hearing from and being in the presence of regal women like Robin Roberts can just give you an energy that you need to finish pursuing the dreams and goals that are in your heart. 

    Don't worry if you didn't make that one life changing connection or get to give your business card to the panelist that you slightly stalked out at the conference. Just being in the room, is sometimes enough to ignite the fire to take you to the next level. I know I felt that way! 

    Keep working! Did you attend the Penn Women's Conference? How did you like it? Any other conferences you've attended that were life changing for you? 

  • Upcoming Event - Dear Love Brunch

    When we did the first Dear Love Book Club Brunch, I had no idea how poignant the conversation would be. We took a look at "Joy Journal" questions about love and relationships and the ladies' responses led to some amazing discussion. 

    This brunch gives women an opportunity to talk about love, relationships and personal growth in an environment full of positive women! 

    Don't worry if you don't have the book, this is just an opportunity to speak candidly about our victories and obstacles in our lives over some great food! 

    Reserve your spot here, today as this is a limited capacity event and will be bound to be just as soul healing as the first! 

    I can't wait to meet back up with you all! 

  • Dear Love - Responsibility in Love

    Love isn't just an emotion, it's a responsibility. - Michael S. Huggins

    If you really take the time to think about it, there is so much power that you possess when someone musters up enough of their emotions to say that they love you. It’s not something that should be taken lightly, but often it is. People play games, hurt feelings and all the while don’t think about or care enough about the residual effects that their behavior will have on another person.

    Both men and women have power over one another. Though different, both are extremely important. Have you ever heard someone talk about how women are men’s weakness? We’re their soft spot, so to speak. Yes men are reared to be tough and strong but there is a certain vulnerability many tap into when in love. There, in that space, women have a responsibility to handle that with care.

    We have to be sure not to take advantage of that. We should be reasonable in our demands, caring and sensitive to their hardships and do our best to support them. And when we get angry we have to take special care not to bring the daggers out and attack important their manhood, hit below the belt and make bad decisions with repercussions that won’t end well for anyone.

    I can definitely say that I learned I had a temper this year. I don’t think I ever really thought about it. But I can definitely say things based off emotion. Being angry is not an excuse. Words in the midst of anger linger well after the anger has dissipated. Words cannot be taken back. So it’s important to tread carefully.

    Men also have responsibility. We like to kind of ignore it based on double standards but it’s true nonetheless. Men are leaders and protectors. This is not to say that women aren’t but please just live with me here. Women in a lot of ways look for men to lead and have a very similar “soft spot” for them.

    Women today are so influenced by media and what they see and sometimes instead of helping women to see their true worth in the midst of all these influences, some men take that opportunity to exploit their weaknesses instead of building them up. The influence of a man in a woman’s life often begins with her father. No every woman that is bad in relationships doesn’t necessarily have daddy issues, but it’s clear that this very important relationship can affect women later down the line. It can set her up for failure or success in many instances.

    Men have power. They have an opportunity to help a woman attain her full potential and impact this world and they also have the power to aid in destroying her self-worth, betraying her trust and exploiting her insecurities. Men’s actions matter. Women’s actions matter.

    Overall, we can’t continue to pretend that our actions, man or woman, are solely are own and that we’re not responsible for the long term effects that it may have on another person. I guess what I am trying to say is that when someone loves you, don’t take it lightly. Do your best to keep them safe, to protect them, and to keep their faith in love. The affect can be so much larger than your temporary fulfillment. From cheating, to verbal abuse, to neglect or whatever else people screw up in relationships, take heed. Know that your actions can shape the future of that person’s life in relation to love.

    Yes, we make mistakes. Yes, we hurt people. Yes we get it wrong sometimes. But be aware of your responsibility to provide the best love for that person. We’re all lacking, we all continue to have more to learn in love, but there is a great example in God of how we are responsible to treat one another, especially those that have proclaimed to love us and we in turn have said we love. 

  • WRITE - Thriving Outside Your Comfort Zone

    Our comfort zone is probably one of the most dangerous places to reside. Yet, so many of us get set in our ways and crippled by what makes us “comfortable.” But recently I have noticed that each time I venture out of my comfort zone, I am pleasantly surprised.

    It’s not always about emerging yourself in completely different territory, but your comfort zone can incorporate a lot of different things. I mean something as simple as I was going to shade out an invite from someone to an event because I wasn’t going to know anyone there. But I pushed passed that initial feeling and had a great time.

    What happens to us? I remember the days right after college when I would go anywhere and do anything. Didn’t matter if I knew someone or not. All that mattered was that I saw the end result of where I was trying to get to and I didn’t worry myself too much with the steps it would take to get there. Now at 28, I am often second guessing myself and fighting against my own apprehensions.  

    From learning a new skill to trying new restaurants or engaging in new experiences, I am working to shatter this thing called complacency which feels like where vibrant souls go to die. Yet somehow many of us find ourselves in a comfort zone. I think it’s just a natural progression, but it’s the steps that you take after you realize it that will make all the difference.

    Fear, I have heard people say is like this unconfirmed apprehension about what could possibly happen and not often based in certainty. We pull away from what’s unknown. But it’s like coming up against a dragon that has no flame or a big scary dog with no teeth. You will be so disappointed if you let that stand in the way of where you were trying to go.

    What have I done to help get past those moments? Anytime I am apprehensive about something and I notice I don’t really have a good reason, I just have to do it. There is no other way to get around it. If in my head everything sounds like an excuse instead of an intuition or simply a smarter decision, I have to push through it. Whether it’s making a phone call, or sending an email, or going to an event. I won’t be the person who allows that type of silliness to get in the way of the things I am working to achieve.

    And the craziest part about it is, it’s never quite as bad as you think it’s going to be. I end up thriving most times out of my comfort zone and wondering what took me so long to just take the shot. I remember when I was young I wouldn’t even ask my parents things if I thought the answer might be no. I refuse to be that adult. I’m asking, I am putting myself out there, and I am expanding the boundaries of my comfort zone each and every day.

    What are some of the things you’ve been apprehensive about that you would like to overcome? Don’t be bashful, leave it in the comments! 

  • Philly 360 Playlist: Beano, Let it Go

    Photo: Ricky Codio 

    If you're like us, then you've been waiting for solo music from West Philadelphia singer/songwriterBeano. Although he's rocked many stages, on his own and alongside acts like Chill Moody, we have yet to see a solo project from the Philadelphia crooner. Well, it looks like the wait is over! Because this week the Philly 360° playlist is back with Beano's first single, “Let it Go.” 

    For this mid-tempo danceable, smooth track, Beano sings that his “phone is off” and he's heading out for a night with the boys after a bit of trouble at home. Reminiscent of the vibe of Usher’s “You Don’t Have to Call,” the song has a great feel and will have fans singing along instantly. 

    The track was done by Philly-based producer Dilemma, and samples LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” —  which actually samples a number of older records including a James Brown hit. The break beat gives “Let it Go” a throwback sound with a new school twist. 

    Read the full feature via @Philly360

    Oh and did I mention I co-wrote this record? LOL. Don't forget I am also a songwriter! Fun times. :) 

  • Dear Love - Are We Afraid of Settling?

    So much so that we sabotage good things in the midst of trying to find the perfect fit? We make list, we have expectations, we listen to what friends tell us we should have and we decide that anything less is completely unacceptable. But what happens when that person doesn’t necessarily fit into the mold we create?

    I have listened to the gripes of friends about relationships and I realize that so many have the slightest doubt that their person, is the person for them. There always seems to be the slightest inkling in their mind that maybe there is a person who will possess all their current beaus’ qualities and just have the upper hand on remembering to take out the trash or cleaning the hair out of sink and that will surely make them Mr. Right. It’s not that they don’t love who they’re with, but they have doubts, like many of us do, which is normal and okay.

    But how do you begin to overcome those feelings? Well, first and foremost I continue to say, stop thinking about what love looks like on TV and realize that it’s a choice. Two people are choosing to be in relationship with one another knowing that the other person simply is not and will never be perfect. Yes some people meet each other and fall in love at first sight and things are magical from then on out. I don’t personally know people this has happened for, but I can’t rule it out. Somewhere it might be possible. But at the end of the day, there is a certain amount of teaching that goes into a relationship. Teaching the other person how to love you and how to do things in a way that brings out the best version of you.  

    In my own personal experience, I’ve learned that there will always be give and take in the qualities of a significant other. Period. You just have to prioritize what’s most important to you and go from there. What are the things in your head that your partner must have? Things that you can’t compromise on? Things like if they want a family, do they believe in God, do they believe in marriage, do they treat you kindly? These are important things that you can’t sweep to the side. These are like your staple qualities. And they are going to be different for every person. My staple qualities don’t have to be yours.

    The next step is realizing that a lot of the other stuff becomes a little bit more negotiable. No I am not saying stay with someone who wants kids but beats you or any of the crazy stuff people come up with in comment sections. I am saying that at the basis a significant other who is kind, loving, hardworking, but may have a few things that bug or annoy you is worth it. They’re worth figuring it out, they’re worth the compromise and they’re worth you bending a rigid and unrealistic outlook on love.

    It doesn’t mean that you have to stick with any relationship you try. It doesn’t mean that people haven’t been together for a while and don’t decide to move on from each other and end up happier. It just means that you should seriously analyze those most important qualities when the relationship begins to get more serious and try not to let fear or other people’s staple qualities influence how you feel about an amazing partner.

    They don’t have it all and neither do you. But at the end of the day, one of the most important qualities I have found, is having a partner who is willing to listen to you, grow, and do their best to meet the expectations that will make you the best you in the partnership. And vice versa, I am growing into a woman who wants to do the same.

    Real love is for adults only.

    What do you think are some of your staple qualities that are deal breakers for a relationship? Have you ever been afraid of feeling like you’ve settled? 

  • Philly 360 Playlist: Aaron Camper, My Heart

    Aaron Camper is a man of many talents. The Philly music transplant is a singer, songwriter and a globetrotting band member for major acts like Jill Scott and Justin Timberlake. And, if you're lucky enough to hang out with him backstage at a show or in the studio, you'll quickly learn that Camper is also a comedian. #gotjokes

    Recently, Camper hit us with a brand new single “My Heart,” which is making its way on the Philly 360° Playlist this week!

    The upbeat record was written by singer/songwriter and Maroon 5 member, PJ Mortonand was produced by Warryn Campbell and the head of BASSic Black Entertainment (BBE), Adam Blackstone. Reminiscent of a Michael Jackson throwback, “My Heart” is an infectious track with an undeniable groove that will no doubt have fans moving to the beat and singing along.

    Check the full feature and listen to "My Heart" via @Philly360

  • WRITE - 21 Days of No Complaining

    I think it clicked for me today that my words don’t always line up with my intentions or adequately get the point across that I am trying to express. I mean I have written about how I am a way better written communicator than verbal before, but this manifested itself in a slightly different way to me this time.

    I’ve noticed that when I feel like I am just talking or discussing things that it can come off to others that I am complaining. After a couple different incidents, I quickly decided that is not how I want to come off at all. I love my life. I am so blessed to have all that I do. And I am not talking material things, even just my support system is enough to have a praise break. In an effort to make certain that my words are in line with the fact that I know that I am blessed, I am setting out to do a 21 Day No Complaining Challenge. Funny enough, I read all about one today!

    So the great thing about what I want to attempt over the next 21 days, is that I get to define complaining for myself. Everyone’s definition of complaining can be different, but I have definitely identified key words that I put before statements that make them a complaint. So how do I plan to start?

    1. I cannot put, “I hate when,” or “It annoys me when” in front of anything. This sets the statement up so badly. The other person has no choice but to think that it’s a complaint.
    2. I tend to announce certain things just because I feel it at the moment, but slowly I’m learning to just keep it to myself. I don’t have to announce that I am hungry or that I’m tired. Hello! Easily seen as complaints.
    3. I will try to turn the negative feeling into a positive if possible.
    4. I also want to utilize writing as a tool. So I plan to log each day of my experience. How I felt and what may have happened differently because of my lack of complaining.
    5. I also like that in the aforementioned article, he added solutions to his complaints. What can I do differently to avoid the scenarios that cause the complaint? Yes we all face the unexpected, but certain constants, we can make changes in our behavior to smooth things over.

    Each time you complain in this challenge, you have to start all over again! In their exercise they used a rubber bracelet. Each time they complained they changed the arm on which they wore the bracelet to symbolize them starting from the beginning. But I think that I will just document starting over in my notebook.

    Yes we all have gripes, but when I look at other people that complain all the time, I never want to be that type of person. So the fact that though they weren’t condemning me, people close to me mentioned me complaining, I had a complete ah ha moment. I am looking forward to a positive shift in my atmosphere by trying to focus more on the positive and even when experiencing the negative, not having to voice it all the time. Just like in everything, I hope to have more balance in the end, not to have a bunch of pent up emotions that I can’t express.

    Any bad habits you never realized you had until pointed out to you? Share below in the comments.

    And if you are interested in following along or participating, I’ll do some type of daily post on my social media, just follow the hashtag, #21daysnocomplainingWLD. 

  • WRITE - Love & Hip Hop Hollywood

    Sometimes I literally dislike myself for indulging in such a horrible depiction of my people via Mona Scott and her Love and Hip Hop series. But in reality, there are just a bunch of situations that honestly really make you grateful that you aren’t the crazy people on the television screen. Silver lining maybe? No? Ok well, yea I am definitely reaching. None the less, I thought my awful need for terrible, scripted reality TV drama was going to be over with the latest Hollywood edition. But somehow I am right where I started on Monday nights, shaking my head at ridiculous shenanigans.

    I first wanted to check out the new season because a friend of mine is working on the behind the scenes of the show. Which is such an awesome thing as she just picked up and moved to Cali. Great to see the progress she has made. That out the way, I watched the first episode and thought “I am cured” because the show was awful and I thought I would have to tend to doing something I don’t know productive like reading books on Monday nights instead.

    Here were these characters that I cared absolutely nothing about. A ridiculous hot head, Tierra Marie. Ray J, the king of the sleaze balls. Omarion and his lady, Fizz and his crazy BM, an absolutely delusional Hazel E and a tiny weird man who had one hit single, Yung Berg and some other secondary characters introduced later in the show who I am still trying to find out why they are relevant.

    Yet and still my TV is tuned in to VH1 on Monday nights and I am starting to feel like it’s either an addiction or like seeing road kill, when you don’t really want to look but you are kind of curious what an animal looks like when it explodes. Too much? But anyway, I’m back in the vortex and simply wondering where do they find these people? Then it starts to make me think that there are really people who exist like this outside of the little bubble I have been living in.

    How many times can Yung Berg tell Hazel E that he is just screwing her and doesn’t want a relationship before she will understand? I’m so lost at how a woman can continue to accept the scraps a man is throwing her. I am yelling at my TV, please move on!

    Apryl is Omarion’s lady and dealing with what has become a reality TV staple, the meddling mother. Come on Omarion, stand up to her and move on! Stop making the woman in your life feel like she has to compete. Grow Up.

    There are deadbeat moms, women getting catty over a man that’s clearly lying to them both, drinks flying and a bunch of bad acting in between. One person told me at least they’re younger than the cast of LHHATL, which made sense to me, but dangit, Stevie J was actually entertaining, sad as it may be.

    All that to say? I HATE Love and Hip Hop Hollywood, but clearly Mona is some type of genius because she knows how to make educated people like myself still want to watch though they spend the whole hour with the screw face wondering … what barrel did they scrape these people out of?

    What’s your take on the new season? Are you all in or smart enough to conserve your brain cells by not watching? 

  • WRITE - D is for Dream

    What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

    Or fester like a sore –

    And then run?

    Does it stink like rotten meat?

    Or crust and sugar over –

    Like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags

    like a heavy load.

    Or does it explode?

    -Langston Hughes

     

    I've decided to accept that I am a visionary. I see things and know that I’ll be there. It’s happened since I was a young girl, I just never understood its power. I wanted to speak at my eighth grade graduation, I won a speech writing contest and did. I wanted to be a part of the Pep Squad in high school, I saw myself cheering at the games. I wanted to sit on the stage at high school graduation instead of in the audience with the others, I won two awards that put me on the stage. I wanted to graduate with honors in college, I finished magna cum laude.

    And here I am. Now a woman with more dreams than I can count. More ideas and visions of what I would like my life to become. But now the obstacles have grown greater, the trials, the setbacks and in moments I think to myself “who do you think you are?” Well I’m still seemingly figuring that out but I think I have come to terms with the fact that in the end I will be someone great, someone courageous, someone impactful.

    I rarely dream at night anymore, I spend so much time dreaming while I am awake. See most of us have so much trouble attaining our dreams because we’ve never actually seen ourselves there. We want success, careers, families, love, and more but we don’t have enough quiet moments in the day to close our eyes and literally see ourselves there. If you can’t see it, how can you expect it to materialize?

    Once you see it, it becomes all about the ordered steps that it takes to get there. Here is the daunting task. Staying the course, remaining consistent, trusting the process and most importantly, having faith. If God will do it for Oprah, for Beyonce, for Serena Williams, for Tiger Woods, why wouldn’t he do it for you? Who are we not to see the actualization of our dreams? Who are we not to show the world exactly what we were put on this Earth for?

    I have seen dreams materialize. I have seen the things that people have longed for, worked for, and cried for come to pass. And I know in my heart of hearts that it can happen for you and it can happen for me too. I would rather die knowing every day I took a step closer to the things that bring me so much joy than to live a lifetime in someone else’s dream.

    What do I dream about? Everything. Traveling the world and having stories of bonfires on the beach and exploring new territories. I dream about a husband that adores me and who is an excellent father and partner. I dream of children who know exactly what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. I dream of writing books in the quiet of the morning and them landing on best seller’s list. I dream of a place, a physical location where women come together to talk about books, life, triumphs, failures, goals, and more. I dream of a line of paper, journals, cards and accessories that I will start with my mother. I dream of becoming the woman I always envisioned.

    I dare you to dream too. I dare you to stop letting imaginary chains hold you back from the things that will make you fulfilled in your life. I dare you to speak the life you want, to put it on vision boards and reinforce it with positive affirmations. I dare you to stop confusing nightmares with the dreams that God put in your heart. I dare you to let go of every past hurt, every negative word and every excuse that stands in the way of your vision. God’s people will perish without vision. Tell, me what do you see? Literally, tell me about the things that you envision for your life in the comments below.

     

    This post is part of The Layers of Self-Discovery Tour created by GG Renee of All the Many Layers.  Follow the tour through the blogs of 26 women exploring the complexities of womanhood and self-discovery from A to Z.  Click here to keep up with each post and enter to win a giveaway package full of goodies for your mind, body and soul.  #LayersAtoZTour