1.Rachel Roy Party Shift Dress via Jaci Blue // 2. The Crybaby Club Big Girl Panties Enamel Pin via Jaci Blue // 3. The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna // 4. Shortcakes from Callie's Charleston Biscuits // 5. Russell's Reserve 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey // 6. Women's Mayliss 6-inch Boots by Timberland // 7. Lady Bey Votive Candle (similar) It's that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us. And not a moment too soon given the BAMBOOZLE OF A YEAR that we've lived through. If I thought that we needed a Feel-Good Gift Guide last year, then this year we need a Feel-GREAT Guide, amirite? The last 11 months were a series of ups and downs for me.The Ups? Celebrating my birthday 5 months early at Trinidad Carnival; a fun family Spring Break road trip to Charlotte, NC; witnessing The Teen run in the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics at North Carolina AT&T and qualify for Nationals; pouring into the businesses of my Cycle 2 influencers in the Rockstar Program; presenting at Black Social Media Summit in Austin during SXSW; getting my whole entire life at Odyssey Retreat in Amelia Island as a guest of Coca-Cola; the Tween starting Middle School; rescuing a Bulldog/Boxer mix named Lola; giving a keynote talk at sea during the Midwest Women's Empowerment Summit cruise; eating my face off in New Orleans at the Being Boss Vacation; producing the 9th Annual Blogalicious Weekend in Miami...The Downs? Above everything, the complications that resulted from my hysterectomy and the 6 weeks of tubes, physical and emotional suffering and procedures that followed. The other major down? Your president. I'll leave it at that. And so, in the interest of bringing a little bit of 'Up' into your holiday season, check out my picks for Feel-Good Gifts!Feel-Good for My Curves: Anything from Jaci Blue Boutique (1+2) When I was in NOLA last month, I scheduled my trip so that I would land back home in Maryland just in time to do a quick change and head out to Howard University Homecoming. I wanted to rock something cute so I Yelp'd boutiques in New Orleans since I had a couple of hours to kill before my flight out. Something told me to set myself up for success and to just search for plus-size boutiques so that I wouldn't be wasting time at stores that didn't have clothes that would fit me properly. Imagine my delight when Jaci Blue's Boutique came up in my search - amazing ratings, a cute website and it was open: score! The shop was adorable and the owner was so great - she helped me pick out items to try on and I learned that this was her second venture in the retail game. What I loved most about the boutique was the emphasis on positive body image: she had love notes in the dressing room and books and pins - like the Big Girl Panties pin - and other merch that reinforced her motto that "beauty is a mindset, not a waistline." She even has a blog. My girl.Feel-Good for My … [Read more...] about Fergie’s Feel-Good Gift Guide 2017
I haven't worked out since July. It's a tragedy. After experiencing my BUMMER SUMMER and having multiple procedures and bed rest and extended recovery time, I am just now getting to the point where I can start back up with my exercise routine. Make no mistake, I am not a triathlete or anything, but I *was* going to Zumba and cycling regularly and the occasional yoga class.I say "occasional" because I haven't found a class that I love as much as when I was going to Core Power Yoga. The classes are upbeat (mostly Vinyasa flow), with house or hip hop music, and even incorporating weights. Oh yes and the room is warm - not as hot as Bikram, but CLOSE. Leaving those classes made me feel so energized and grounded and alive. But then we moved to a whole 'nother county. And now the closes CPY is 16 miles way. Which may not sound terribly far, but it's a solid 30mins without any traffic.Now that I've turned 40, my body makes it plain that I need stretching and breathing and centering on a regular basis. The problem is that I keep comparing each yoga class I try to my old one. And they don't measure up. What's this suffering pseudo-yogi to do? … [Read more...] about Missing My Yoga Practice
[The good folks at Olney Theatre invited me to attend this production but I was going to be giving a keynote talk on a cruise for the Midwest Women's Empowerment Summit, so my mom - who traveled to Maryland to watch the kids - went instead! This is her review... thanks Mom!!] I went to this musical production excited to hear one of my favorite scores, which my children have sung since they were toddlers, and I was not disappointed.From the moment Little Orphan Annie’s character, played by Noelle Robinson, appeared on stage, revealing her captivating personality, to the final bows, the show was upbeat, funny and tore at the heartstrings.The production presented some changes to the original score but the old standbys, It’s a Hard Knock Life, Little Girls, I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here, You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile, Easy Street and, of course, Tomorrow were all show stoppers.The performances by members of the diverse cast (i.e. it was exciting to see the lead Annie and Daddy Warbucks played by African-American actors) brought energy and humor, showcasing enormous talent from the delightful orphan Molly, played by Kylee Hope Geraci to the imposing Oliver Warbucks played by Kevin McAllister.The sets, though simple, vividly brought the show to life, transporting the audience from the orphanage to Daddy Warbuck’s mansion and locations in between.This is a ‘must see’ for youth and adults; music lovers and drama aficionados. It is great theatre!---Annie runs November 10, 2017 - December 31, 2017 and tickets begin at $47. Visit OlneyTheatre.org to purchase. ABOUT THE SHOW From the director of last year's hit holiday musical, Mary Poppins, the sun will come out brightly during the holidays. Annie has been the gateway for millions of kids to develop a love of live theatre, with this 40th Anniversary production, a new generation gets its shot. It's the middle of the Great Depression in New York City, and hard-knocks abound, especially for Annie and her friends at the orphanage run by Miss Hannigan. But when billionaire-celebrity Oliver Warbucks requires the presence of an orphan to soften his image, Annie unexpectedly finds a way into his heart. Along the way, Warbucks attempts to help Annie find her lost parents, prompting Miss Hannigan to concoct a scheme intended to get her hands on Annie and Warbucks' cash. Featuring Patricia Hurley (Mary Poppins), Kevin McAllister (Ford's Theatre's Ragtime), Rachel Zampelli (Evita), and Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Rent - Tony Award® Winner). Annie is recommended for ages 5+. **Parental Guidance for the performance HERE.Disclosure: We received complimentary show tickets for this performance. All opinions are Mommy's own! … [Read more...] about A Guest Review of Olney Theatre’s Little Orphan Annie #sponsored
image credit: ei1.com Ahhh Fall. It's the season for comfy sweaters, fabulous boots, spiced lattes and ... coming down with a nasty bug. Don't try to deny it - it's the truth! With less outdoor activity happening, and more time spent cooped up without fresh air, the germ game is on 100. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Staples, more than 73% of people catch the flu at work. I wasn't expecting to hear this stat because I was certain that it was our little petri dishes (i.e. kiddos) bringing the flu home from school. Turns out, it's our colleagues and co-workers that are sharing the germy love. The good news is that you can fight back with a strategy that might come as a surprise: Feng Shui.For guidance on how the art of Feng Shui can help keep my fellow entrepreneurs, small business owners and me healthy this flu season, I had the pleasure of speaking to expert Susan Chan of Feng Shui Creative. Susan started out as a graphic designer and also working in corporate event spaces -- it was during that time that she really embraced how our surroundings can affect us. Let me know if you can relate to this: you're trying your best to meet a deadline or create a piece of content, but you're completely distracted by the clutter on your desk or the lack of sunlight or feeling cramped. It happens to me too. Once Susan started implementing the concepts of Feng Shui, she started feeling a change internally and externally. image credit: decoist Here's how we can think outside of the box and take a total wellness approach: It's All About Energy Feng Shui is based on the seasons and elements. This is the time of year when our energy -- or chi -- contracts, and so it's important to achieve that perfect balance of energy flow. I found this tidbit to be so interesting: if the energy around you is moving too fast, you can't absorb all of the good energy; on the flip side, if it's too slow, then the energy stagnates.To help out the flow of energy in your space:Make sure to open windows and doors as often as you can (to allow the energy to move) Practice yoga or Qigong (to keep your energy flowing) Position your desk in a quiet space (to reduce overwhelm) Use uplighting (it pushes the energy upwards) -- even better if you are using full spectrum lightsEmbrace the Elements This probably won't come as a surprise but nature has a lot of the answers. Bring plants into your workspace (even if you can only swing a small one), since they are natural air purifiers. Susan also recommends that you introduce the colors of green and purple into your office space, which are considered wood elements. Lush and healing, wood elements bring the energy of vibrant health, vitality and growth to a workspace. Adding in some pretty rocks to your decor can also boost the energy as rock are considered earth elements. The Basics Do Work Regular hand washing and disinfecting surfaces really do make a difference. Even actions such … [Read more...] about Feng Shui the Flu Away with Staples
A few months ago, I was attending a parent meeting at my daughter's school where the principal was explaining their approach to academic placement, homework, and the middle experience in general. He said that his philosophy was that children should experience what he calls: "Productive Struggle."On the one hand, we want our children to be challenged and pushed to maximum potential; on the other hand, we don't want them to be challenged to the point of frustration and overwhelm, which can cause them to become disengaged and lose confidence.The happy middle ground, he suggested, is where they are being challenged, but also being successful and making progress. This is what he identifies as "productive struggle." When he said this, bells started going off in my head! I thought it was brilliant, while at the same time, being such a simple yet effective approach to learning.Ever since that evening, that term has stuck with me. I've mentally applied it to my children's participation in sports activities, and even selecting books at the public library. It works when considering troubled relationships too. I surprised myself, however, when I unintentionally applied it to a fellow entrepreneur (and adult)! She was lamenting how difficult keeping her business running had become, and was questioning whether it was time throw in the towel. It made me think: maybe the way to decide when it's quitting time is to determine when the entrepreneurial struggle is no longer productive.Being an entrepreneur is the opposite of easy. The "hustle" is glorified these days and those who are pursuing their passions and are quitting their day jobs and are on #TeamNoSleep are championed through an incessant amount of colorful quotes on Instagram. The truth is, being an entrepreneur is grueling - mentally, physically, financially, emotionally and more. (The ones who are honest will talk about these aspects too - not just that one time they had a 5-figure month or when Usher posted a pic of himself wearing their t-shirt on IG). Let's be real: those of us on the full-time entrepreneur grind probably question our sanity about once a week.Tweet It: Let's be real: those of us on the full-time entrepreneur grind probably question our sanity about once a week. SN: I was joking (sorta) with a fellow girl boss over text last week that sometimes I fantasize about working at the soft pretzel kiosk at the mall. Clock in. Serve pretzels. Clock out. Sounds glorious.But you know what keeps us at it? The fact that our Struggle has definite moments of Productivity. The good outweighs the bad. We have that bang-up month after barely breaking even for weeks. We land that client that we've been courting for months. We finally figure out a sales funnel that converts. We get a book deal. A media outlet asks to interview us. And so on.It's when we are stuck in an endless, fruitless struggle that might be the clue to re-evaluate. What that looks like? Only you can … [Read more...] about Is your entrepreneurial struggle no longer productive? A perspective.