Author Archives: becomingbrilliance@gmail.com

I Like Who I’m Becoming: 7 Steps To Becoming Brilliance

brilliance

When we created Becoming Brilliance, we wanted to develop a platform where we could share our journey as twenty-something-year-olds who are trying to figure out adulting. Our slogan, “I like who I’m becoming” is so fitting because we’re constantly evolving into the best version of ourselves.

A brilliant beauty who likes who she’s becoming understands that she is a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time. She celebrates her strengths, embraces her flaws, and strives to be better each day. She knows that brilliance is her birthright, and that her light is needed in the world.

Here are a few ways to ensure that you like who you’re becoming:

Liking who you’re becoming doesn’t mean that you have it all figured out! It’s about enjoying the journey and loving the woman you currently are, and are striving to be.

Read more about unleashing your brilliance HERE. 

What’s your becoming brilliance journey like? Share more in the comments!

For The Culture: The Must Have App for a Lit Game Night

 

Dope app that reminds you to do it For The Culture! 

If you don’t have game night with your friends and family, you need to make that happen! It’s a great, inexpensive way to spend time with your loved ones. Comedy mixed with competition can strengthen a friendship, or at the very least create some of the best memories. We’ve spent many nights laughing until our stomach hurts while playing games like Taboo and Family Feud.

We recently discovered a new must have for game night — a free app called For The Culture, which is available on iTunes and Google Play. Founded by Teddy Phillips of Ark Creative Company this game is “a modern spin on the classic guessing game charades that incorporates African American Culture, History, Music and Film into a game that you can play anywhere with your friends and family.”For The Culture

With entertaining categories such as TV Shows, Music, and Black History, For The Culture will be a favorite during game night. You can continue the fun by purchasing other categories such as 90s, Dances, and Destinations starting at $.99

We had a blast playing the game together! Check out our YouTube video to see it in action.

We caught up with Teddy to learn more about how he and his team came up with For The Culture, and what they hope to achieve with the app:

1. Please provide a brief description of your company.

“Ark Creative Company develops products to bring cultures together. Our aim is to Inform, Inspire and Include different cultures in every product we create. Our first product is For The Culture.”

2. What inspired you to create For The Culture?

“I was inspired to create For The Culture because I felt the gaming culture lacked representation from the most commonly adopted culture. Right then, I saw the need to put Black culture, history and arts all into one interactive game.”

3. What was your experience creating the app?

“It was a great learning experience that showed me how deeply rooted and impacting Black culture really is. I had already developed products for Fortune 100 companies, but what made this more exciting was that I was able to connect more emotionally with this product and put my community’s experiences and interests into a platform that could scale worldwide. I never would have thought that China would be our second largest region for app downloads behind the United States. This simple metric validated the entire vision and the power of this culture.”

4. What’s your favorite category in the app and why?

“From an educational aspect, Black History is my favorite category. Not only did I feel it was important to have historic figures and innovators, but I also wanted to highlight individuals who had their lives cut short by senseless acts of injustice and police brutality. I wanted to find a way to extend their memory beyond a hashtag that trended for a week or two. I feel like these individuals are apart of a larger discussion that leads to more conversations about equality. I felt it was important to honor these men and women and never forget the impact they had on the community.”

5. What do you want people to feel when they play For The Culture?

“When people play FTC, I want them to feel educated by the content, empowered by the design and entertained with culture that reflects their daily lives.”

For The Culture

Teddy and his team at the Ark Creative Company are definitely off to a great start with For The Culture! Download the free app on iTunes and Google Play for your next game night.

We hope you have as much fun playing as we did!

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#SummerSlaySeries + GIVEAWAY

What’s your summer slay?

SUMMERSLAY

#SummerSlay isn’t just what’s on the outside but more importantly how you’re “slaying” in all aspects of your ever-changing life whether in career, travel, relationships or health and wellness. We want to hear from you all as we kick-off our #SummerSlaySeries!

Check out our latest YouTube video to learn more about our #SummerSlaySeries and our challenge to you!

Sharing a photo is the first step of our #SummerSlay Brilliance Box giveaway!! At the end of the summer we’ll select one brilliant beauty to receive a box of goodies worth $100+ worth that will help you extend your slay from summer to fall!

Here’s how you enter:

1. Share your #SUMMERSLAY!

Show us how you’re spending the last few months of summer! Send us a video or tag us in your social media pics @becomingbrilliance. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #summerslay AND #becomingbrilliance. You can also email us photos contact@becomingbrilliance.co

2. Enter your email address to sign up for our Brilliant Beginnings newsletter

BONUS POINTS: 

3. Join our NEW Facebook Group: Becoming Brilliance Tribe

4. Be our friend on Instagram: @BecomingBrilliance

5. Subscribe to our YouTube channel 

ENTER HERE:
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Becoming Brilliance at A Pink Affair II

Becoming Brilliance

Whether it’s your biological mother or another woman who was mother-like, we all have amazing women in our life who support and guide us. This Mother’s Day weekend, we were amongst powerful women full of brilliance like this at A Pink Affair II, hosted by Tonya Henderson Freeman of Dolls to Divas, Inc.

We had an incredible time connecting with beautiful women who were pretty in pink. With a shoe cam, step and repeat banner and gorgeous courtyard at The Villa Christina in Atlanta, A Pink Affair II was the perfect event to get cute, take pictures and embrace everything girly.

At our table, we encouraged attendees to write what #mamatoldme on a mini chalkboard.

Becoming Brilliance

Becoming Brilliance

We love ya’ll too much to allow you to miss out on the gems that was dropped at A Pink Affair II. Here are a few key takeaways that the speakers shared:

  1. Alissa Jones spoke shared how to elevate your confidence. Start by acknowledging when you have those low confidence moments. Then think about what you need to do to change your mindset. Wake up everyday and understand that as long as you speak positive to you, nothing else matters.
  2. Some things are just a moment – it’s not a destination. Don’t take residence in a feeling when a feeling was just meant to be a moment.
  3. Carol from GlitzyGals, LLC shared a few tips about etiquette. When dining, pass the shared plates to the right. Also when passing the salt, always pass the salt and the pepper together since they are a pair.            
  4. Camille Cameron encouraged attendees to dream big and clearly establish exactly what you want out of life. She wears many hats, and how she became successful by getting intentional about where she wants to go and not limiting herself.                       
  5. Take your experiences and struggles and use it for greater good. After successfully battling breast cancer, Tammy Bolton started The Pink Frog Foundation, Inc. to help other women who were going through treatment. At A Pink Affair II she shared her journey and it was a reminder that we were all put here for a greater purpose – even if that means using your obstacles to make a difference in someone else’s life.                                                

Becoming Brilliance

On our journey of becoming brilliance, we are blessed to be amongst other women who just want to see each other shine! Tonya from Dolls to Divas, Inc. has been mentoring young women for more than 30 years. Through her organization she helps cultivate positive girls into extraordinary women through group mentoring, events and other programs. In addition to A Pink Affair, she hosts monthly events to help women and girls celebrate, network and empower each other. She can be reached at dolls2divas@comcast.net for more information.

We’re looking forward to A Pink Affair II next year! If you’re in Atlanta, we encourage you to join us!

Kudos Queen: A Pink Affair II Edition

Kudos Queen

Don’t ya’ll love seeing other women shine?

It’s a beautiful sight when you see another Queen doing her thing — you have to give her kudos!

We’re looking forward to networking with other brilliant beauties at A Pink Affair II on Saturday, May 13, 2017 in Atlanta. Although the tickets are now sold out, we’ll be giving you behind the scenes via our Instagram Story, so tune in between 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.!

Here’s six Queens who’ll be dropping gems and shining their light at the event:


Tonya Henderson Freeman,  Dolls to Divas, Inc.

Tonya is the heartbeat of A Pink Affair II, and the event is one of her many projects to inspire and motivate women of all ages. Through her organization, Dolls to Divas, Inc., she works with young women from elementary school to college, and cultivates them to become extraordinary women.  In this era, DIVA can carry a negative tone but Tonya is defining “A Different Type of Diva” —  one who thinks outside the box about life and career choices.  

Tonya’s Kudos Queen quote: “Every queen should have confidence, a great circle of girlfriends and a mirror.”


Yakira Praise

Yakira Prise, Relator

This Modern Renaissance Woman has more than 12 years of experience in the marketing, real estate, business consulting, and lifestyle management industries. The St. Louis native, Atlanta transplant is a self-described “ball of energy” and is in the business of extraordinary living. 

Yakira’s Kudos Queen quote: “My goal in life is to be all I can be, to inspire, and to enhance. I just work hard to use all the time God has given me as wisely as possible.”


Alissa Jones

Alissa Jones, Author and Motivational Speaker

Alissa shares her truth in hopes of setting others free. The notable author and speaker founded the Survivors With Voices Foundation to provide an open forum for survivors to be supported by their peers with similar circumstances. She recently won President Barack Obama’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her tremendous work that positively impacts the community.  At A Pink Affair II, Alissa will be sharing how to elevate your confidence and boldly unleash your truth.

Alissa’s Kudos Queen quote: Aside from her crown, every queen should carry with her her King (Revelation 17:14), purpose and confidence.” 


Carol Rey

Carol Rey Dorsey, Founder and Owner of GlitzyGalz, LLC

Carol has 21 years of teaching experience as an educator in the public school system, and she’s continuing her passion for teaching through GlitzyGalz, LLC, a Southern charm brand and movement that helps individuals learn and understand the technicalities of proper etiquette. With etiquette and fine dining classes and a growing line of apparel and accessories, Carol’s lessons are engaging and encourages self- confidence.

Carol’s Kudos Queen quote: “Pretty is as pretty does.”


Camille Cameron

Camille Cameron, Creative Artist

Camille is multi-talented force to reckon with. The accomplished artist, photographer, and singer/songwriter is the owner and creator of A Paint Party, a mobile art studio servicing the Atlanta area. She’s also owned her online graphic design and art studio, Simply Camille, since 2009.

Camille’s Kudos Queen quote: “A Queen should have confidence, courage, and her own style.”


Tammy Bolton

Tammy L. Bolton, Founder, The Pink Frog Foundation, Inc.

Tammy is on a mission to fight against breast cancer. Through her nonprofit, The Pink Frog Foundation, she raises awareness about breast cancer and helps breast cancer patients while they are undergoing treatment by providing transportation, maid and nutrition services. 


Stay tuned for another post about A Pink Affair II after the event so you can read more brilliant gems from inspirational women!

Bill of Brilliance: 6 Affirmations To Tap Into Your Magic

Bill of Brilliance

Did you know that brilliance and beauty is your birthright? You owe it to yourself and your creator to live up to your full potential. It serves no purpose for you to play small. You were created to shine!

We created a Bill of Brilliance to help you do just that! It’s comprised of six affirmations to ensure that you like who you’re becoming.

We encourage you to print out the Bill of Brilliance and place it somewhere that you’ll see it every day. Whether it’s near your mirror, by your desk or even in your favorite planner or journal. We’ve shared the power of affirmations in a previous blog post, which you can find here, and the only way for them to truly work is for you to repeatedly see and say them.

The Bill of Brilliance is just a snippet of what you’ll find in our FREE #MyBrilliance Workbook which you can download HERE. The workbook includes 10 pages full of prompts and thought starters created to brighten your light. With a travel bucket list, guide to networking, shero shout outs and more, the #MyBrilliance Workbook  will help you tap into your magic.

We challenge you to complete the workbook and pass it on to another brilliant beauty in your tribe. Let’s keep it going and encourage each other to reflect on the power within us! We hope you enjoy!

#KeysToBrilliance + Giveaway!!

Becoming Brilliance Giveaway Brilliance Box

DJ Khaled isn’t the only one dropping major keys!! Last month we celebrated our one year blogiversary, and during the month of love we’re hosting a giveaway and reflecting on how much we’ve learned from the brilliant beauties (like YOU) that we know in real life and online.

Our sheros have taught us a lot about finding happiness, success and romance, so we’ve compiled our top 10 #keystobrilliance — lessons to live by as we navigate our twenties:

  1. You deserve to be happy
  2. Be strict about your goals, but flexible about your methods
  3. Get comfortable being uncomfortable
  4. Never feel guilty for resting and recharging
  5. Appreciate blessings of every size
  6. What’s for you is for you and no one can take it away
  7. Good vibes only; establish and maintain meaningful relationships
  8. Write down your goals and watch them come to life
  9. Embrace daily challenges, they facilitate growth
  10. Control the controllable, don’t stress about the rest

Enter our giveaway by sharing your #keystobrilliance for a chance to win The Brilliance Box. Don’t wait — the giveaway ends on Saturday Feb. 18 at 11:59 p.m. EST. See the bottom of this post for more details!

We’ve partnered with 4 small business owners / entrepreneurs to bring you a carefully curated box of products / tools that will help you tap into your brilliance — it’s worth more than $100!

Becoming Brilliance Giveaway Brilliance Box Becoming Brilliance Giveaway Brilliance Box

The Brilliance Box includes:

PLUS!

  • A soy candle
  • An “I Like Who I’m Becoming” pin
  • A flashdrive with our NEW #MyBrilliance Digital Workbook + Becoming Brilliance Playlist
  • A cute storage box

Here’s the steps to enter…

Becoming Brilliance Giveaway Brilliance Box

Show some love on the gram!

Becoming BrillianceEmmeline De Le Cruz | Laurette Paige Jewels | Atlanta Bath Company | Alair Hallman

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway runs from Monday, February 13 – Saturday, February 18 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by email, and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected. You can read the rest of the terms and conditions in the widget below.

Thanks to our amazing sponsors!!

One Year of Becoming Brilliance

We’re so excited to celebrate our one year blogiversary for Becoming Brilliance! On this day last year, we launched our blog baby that has served as a therapeutic and reflective creative outlet. We’ve loved sharing our journey with you as we navigate through life as twenty-something year old women pursuing our passions and purpose.

We started this blog to help other women, especially our fellow Millennials, unleash their brilliance. A woman that is becoming brilliance knows that she has a purpose in life, and is trying to discover or currently walking in what she was called to do. She understands that she has a role to play in the advancement of humanity, and by stepping into her light, she gives other people permission to do the same.

We hope that our posts over the past year has helped you on your brilliant journey. Here are 10 of our favorites from our first year of blogging, and why we love them so much:

1. We Need A Resolution: Improving The Nature of Your Friendships

Before we were blog partners, we were friends. Becoming Brilliance wouldn’t be as special for us if we didn’t have that foundation first. We know first hand that having a tribe of people who are supportive, trustworthy and on a path to greatness is essential to your brilliant journey.

2. Dear Me, I Love You…

Self-love is an integral part of Becoming Brilliance.  And reflecting on how far you’ve come is pivotal in how you’ll view yourself and your growth over time. Writing a letter to yourself is a great tool for measuring progression.  It’s guaranteed that after a substantial amount time has gone by and you re-read your letter, you won’t be in the same position as when you wrote it. And that will be an amazing feeling because you’ll see that your life is coming into fruition.

3. 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

There’s no better feeling than supporting brands that we believe in, especially small businesses! We loved highlighting some of our favorites in last year’s gift guide. Although the holidays are over, our round up has gift ideas that would be great for birthdays, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, so be sure to keep these in mind throughout the year!

4. 25 Travel Adventures That’ll Give You Serious Wanderlust

Author Hans Christian Andersen said it best, “to travel is to live.” And we couldn’t agree more! This was one of our favorite posts to write because we loved living vicariously through the jet setters that we featured. The round up helped us expand our travel bucket list and connect with other people who shared reasons why they love to travel locally and abroad.

5. #BeautyBeyondTheBeat

Besides us having so much fun doing the photoshoot for this post, it was truly a passion project that was so well received. We love to beat face every now and again but our best characteristics can’t be seen with the naked eye but rather felt. And that’s what we never want to forget, the beauty beyond being beat.

6. #ExploringEgypt 5 Take-A-Ways From My Egyptian Excursion

It was simply amazing to have this platform and be able to share this experience with our Becoming Brilliance family. We’re all about jetsetting and living beyond what’s just outside your front door. This post was dedicated to all the aspiring wanderers and travel enthusiasts. Where will we go in 2017? There are no limits!

7. 7 #BlackGirlMagic Lessons To Learn From Simone Biles

2016 Olympian Simone Biles is small but mighty and her hustle is definitely inspiring! While watching her take home the gold at the Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Simone taught us the importance of teamwork, believing in yourself, being consistent, and leaping towards your dreams.

8. Demanding Queen Treatment

Millennial women, especially Black Millennial women, are truly channeling the queens that reigned before us and carrying ourselves in high regard in many aspects of life.  However, we relax certain standards we would normally demand from others when it comes to relationships (or situationships). This post is the pep talk we all need from time to time as a reminder of just how valuable we are and to demand what we require in every interaction.

9.  How To Build Your Network Like A Boss

Networking is all about who you know, who knows you, AND the connotation that they have about you. Fortunately, awkward networking events aren’t the only way to build your professional circle — in this post we highlight five other ways we’ve expanded our contacts, including joining professional organizations, volunteering, utilizing our alma mater and tapping into the power of social media to build our network like a boss.

10. Walking In Your Purpose

Now, this is what Becoming Brilliance was created for and this is why we share our journey with you all. Defining our purpose isn’t easy, implementing it sometimes seems impossible.  But the beautiful thing is we’re in this search together and we’re dedicated to sharing the steps we take in defining our destiny, in hopes that it’ll help you do the same.

Was there a certain blog post that you really identified with? We’d love to read what posts impacted you in the comments!

25 Travel Adventures That’ll Give You Serious Wanderlust

wanderlust-1

Once you’ve been bit by the travel bug, there’s no turning back. Traveling shapes and enriches you, allowing you to learn about yourself and the world around you. And while an international excursion is an experience of a lifetime, there’s beauty throughout America waiting to be explored so take advantage!

The following jet setters know firsthand the impact that traveling can have on someone. As the year winds down and you begin to plan 2017, allow their travel adventures to give you serious wanderlust and inspire your next trip. 

Join us on social media and answer: #ITravelBecause … 


1. Nairobi, Kenya

Jasmine Fowlkes Clennon

“This photo was taken at The Giraffe Manor Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya last Thanksgiving morning. This is one of my favorite travel photos because it’s a unique memory that I will never forget. Being that it was very early Thanksgiving morning and the giraffes only come to dine at breakfast, I remember feeling extremely blessed and grateful in this very moment.

#ITravelBecause traveling immerses me in cultures, environments and countries that I am not familiar with, which broadens my horizons to new ways of living. It’s also a humble reminder of how small each of us are in the grand scheme of the world.”

Jasmine Fowlkes Clennon, Ad Innovation Manager | Twitter: @JasmineFelicia IG: @JasmineFelicia


2. Macchu Picchu in Peru

Echo Alpha

Echo Alpha

“Macchu Picchu is the first of the seven world wonders I saw. I learned that my confidence in myself was not misplaced. If you’re interested in traveling here, you don’t have to speak Spanish because I didn’t speak the language…

#ITravelBecause I want to expand my horizons.”

Echo Alpha, Event and Landscape Photographer |  Echo Alpha Media


3. Sedona, Arizona

Saba Tekle

Saba Tekle

“This photo captures both how I felt in that moment and the beauty of Sedona. I learned that I am willing to travel far for peace of mind. I also learned that there are places I have never visited that feel like home once I’ve arrived. When traveling, I suggest you spend the most time meditating, absorbing and reflecting when you arrive and to take a piece of the energy with you when you leave.

#ITravelBecause I want to connect deeper to myself and life. I travel to feel whole and restored. I travel to see and feel beauty.”

Saba Tekle, Publisher and Best Selling Author | SabaTekle.com


4. Dead Sea in Jordan

Georgia Walker

Georgia Walker

“The photo is from my study abroad trip in Jordan, where I floated in the Dead Sea for the first time. It’s one of my favorite travel photos due to the memory it’s tied to. My study abroad classmates felt free for the first time as a group together, splashing around in the water and lathering ourselves in mud. My one piece of advice for someone who wants to travel to Jordan is to not be afraid of meeting strangers and putting themselves out there socially. Jordanians are incredibly friendly and loved having foreigners over for dinner etc.

#ITravelBecause no two places are alike.”

Georgia Walker, Marketing Specialist |Linkedin


5. Dubai Desert Safari 

dubai

Melissa White

“Through traveling I learned how to be in the moment and be mindful.  I was intentional on this vacation to capture moments here and there, but to really focus on the sites, sounds, people and experiences in front of me in that moment.

 When traveling try new food, wear the garmets and learn the customs. This creates a rich experience beyond photos and souvenirs!

#ITravelBecause I love to embrace the culture and experiences.”

Melissa White, Founder of Writing Our Wrongs


6. Guyana, South America

guyana

Michelle MnM Mason

“One of my most memorable trips in 2016 was when I spent three weeks in Guyana with local family members I hadn’t seen in 14 years. This image was taken from a day tour where we travelled one hour by plane and walked about a mile on foot through the Amazon Rainforest to see the Kaieteur Falls; the largest single drop waterfall in the world.

Words simply cannot describe the experience I felt standing there to capture this image. It was breathtakingly amazing to capture the essence of nature in its most pristine and serene element. This is a part of the world where Amerindian natives learn the land for survival and pass the culture through verbal knowledge. As a professional photographer, to be able to document a hidden wonder of the world many have not seen before was invigorating. Even majority of the locals that live in the city haven’t travelled here before, so this image has become a real gem to my collection of travel images.

[Through traveling], I learned the importance of being able to truly disconnect from technology and use all five senses to embrace the environment. From the constant warm tropical breeze, to the various bird calls and plethora of exotic plants just to name a few, not having access to everyday amenities was a very humbling experience and forced me to adapt to my environment. I also learned that despite my love for traveling, I have definitely become spoiled by the American life of wifi, running water, and electricity; things i wouldn’t be able to give up right now at this point in my life for an extended period of time.

If you are visiting, make sure you are well rested, hydrated, and have lots of mosquito repellant. Do not be afraid because it is truly a breathtaking life changing experience worth having.

#ITravelBecause the world is too vast to limit yourself to one place; traveling expands your mind, appreciation for culture and inspires you to share those experiences with your local community.”

Michelle MnM Mason, Photographer and Designer at Mahogany Lenz | MichelleMnM.com


7. Florence and Rome, Italy

rachel-in-italy

Rachel Solomon

“Indulge in the history and culture of any place you travel abroad to — it’s so important to take advantage of the incredible opportunity you have to educate yourself on a new place and their way of living. Learning to speak Italian, cooking Italian dishes with my host family, and tutoring Italian families really opened my eyes to a new way of life.

While studying abroad in Italy, I took classes on the history of the Rome, photography to learn about the great photographers of Europe, and a class on the European Union to understand the politics and relations within Europe. I felt so blessed going back to the States with so much knowledge and experiences that not many have the chance to get. There’s nothing like that rewarding feeling.

#ITravelBecause of the way it makes me feel – happy, inspired, on-top-of-the-world, and free spirited. I also love to learn new things!”

Rachel Solomon, Brand & Television Account Coordinator | IG: @ciaorachella


italy

Nakimera Moore

“This photo was taken at the Colosseum during Sunset in Rome, Italy. One of my favourite aspects of traveling is the ability to be up close and personal with history. Reading about history when you’re in school and then seeing it with your own eyes when you’re older, is remarkable.

#ITravelBecause the more you learn the less you know.” 

Nakimera Moore, Entertainment


8. Dominican Republic

dominican-republic-2

Kaye-lani

“This is one of my favorite travel photos because life is better at the beach — it’s so peaceful there. This picture was taken at the Macao Beach, Dominican Republic after doing a ATV tour. My advice for anyone traveling to the Dominican Republic is do something you normally wouldn’t do —  conquer a fear, be adventurous and don’t mind getting dirty. Through traveling I learned that I have a greater tolerance for things not going as planned.  

#ITravelBecause it releases me out of my normal and comforting surroundings.”

Kaye-lani Blogger at journ3yon.com | IG: @_lanib_


dominican-republic

CaNesha Gordon

“This photo is from the Dominican Republic at the Royalton Resort and it’s one of my favorite photos because the beach and ocean is where I find the most peace. I love laying out and reading a good book. If I could do it everyday I would.

#ITravelBecause I know I wasn’t put here to just work. Traveling allows me to step away for a while and just BE!!”

CaNesha Gordon, Blogger | IAmAlmost40NowWhat


9. Xunantunich Maya Ruin in Belize

belize

N’Yaisha Aziz

“Climbing to the top of Xunantunich, an ancient Mayan site, was absolutely breathtaking. Not only did it require more steps than I would like to take, but it also had a beautiful view of Belize and its neighboring countries.

What truly makes this my favorite travel moment is knowing my sister was there to capture it. I don’t know of a better travel partner!

#ITravelBecause I live for amazing experiences.”

N’Yaisha Aziz, Social Media Manager at Laundry Service


10. Oaxaca, Mexico

mexico

Darius Thomas

“This is one of my favorite photos because I was able to see one of God’s creations in Oaxaca, Mexico during the summer of 2013. Being around the mountains was a momentous occasion. It allowed me the chance to reflect and think of the unimaginable. The things that I put into my goal list in 2013 have now been accomplished. Going abroad gives you the opportunity to see things that you would have never seen in your country. As American’s we are very privileged. When I venture out into the world, I am able to witness how strong people are and learn new survival tactics.

When you visit the artsy and ancient Oaxaca, Mexico let your hair down and take in the architecture, visit the fantastic museums, pre-Columbian ruins, baroque churches encrusted with gold, and festivals — it’ll definitely be the experience of your life.


#ITravelBecause it makes me appreciate my blessings.”

Darius Thomas, Speech Pathologist | LinkedIn


11. Acropolis Athens, Greece

Danielle Bullock

Danielle Bullock

“[Through traveling] I’ve learned that I’m able to adapt and assimilate in foreign environments. Now that I consider myself an experienced traveler, I don’t give off that ‘tourist’ vibe. It’s truly satisfying to learn that about myself because it relates to life; you’re going to be placed in uncomfortable situations from work to relationships. Overall being placed outside of your comfort zone helps you realize that nothing is permanent and you have the power to take back control in any situation.

If you decide to visit Athens I’ll have to take a note from IHOP’s slogan: Come hungry, leave happy…. [Affordable] Food Heaven for sure. Oh and ancient history is everywhere, so take the time to read the plaques of knowledge throughout the city.

#ITravelBecause once you start it’s hard to stop — there’s never a dull moment.”

Danielle Bullock, Digital Content Specialist / Traveler | IG: @daveranicole


12. Sahara Desert in Egypt

Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin

“This is one of my favorite travel photos because as I stood in the Sahara Desert, paying homage to a symbol that is very significant to me…I was full; spiritually and emotionally.  I had just hiked up to the tomb inside of the Great Pyramid of Giza (largest one to my left) which is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one that remains largely intact. It literally feels like a dream that I was in this magnificent place and photos such as this remind me I was truly there.

I truly felt at home in Egypt. The people were excited to see little ‘ol me and would yell out “Welcome Home!” I’m just a girl from Stone Mountain, Georgia but I learned that home may be somewhere you’ve never been before. And you won’t find it unless, you get out there and explore.

Egypt is for traveling, not vacation. It’s a beautiful place and there are options if you seek rest and relaxation however, the history is too rich not to spend the majority of your days exploring. I was there for 10 days, started exploring early in the mornings well into the evenings each day and I still feel like I need to go back and cover more ground.  Dive into the culture, rest on the flight back home. 🙂

#ITravelBecause as a natural wanderer, I’m happiest when I’m traveling whether domestic or abroad.  I’m a lifelong learner and simply curious about what’s it like beyond my own front door.”

Melissa Martin, Blogger and Photographer | IG: melissa_joslyn


13. Bali, Indonesia

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Deandrea Taylor

“This is my favorite travel photo from Bali because it really shows endurance. Before this picture was taken, I fell off of the surfboard thirty trillion times. Although I wanted to just say forget it on multiple occasions, I was determined to get up before I gave up. This was the look on my face when I finally got up on the board and now is my screen saver as a constant reminder that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I learned so many lessons in Bali, but if I had to choose the greatest ones it would be the power of forgiveness, gratefulness, and compassion. Being a part of the Balinese culture for more than one week literally made me reevaluate my life. The people in Bali are so welcoming and willing to give you any and everything even if it means it is their last. It was just life changing.

The one piece of advice that I would give a person who wanted to travel to Bali is that if you are in need of healing, pack your bags and go now! You are promised to come back rejuvenated, refreshed and renewed!

#ITravelBecause it has granted me so many opportunities to learn more about myself, different cultures and most of all to just break free out of my normal routine every once in awhile.”

Deandrea Taylor, Nonprofit and Community Outreach | IG: @deandreamarie


14. Uluru, Australia

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Vidiana Cervantes

“Studying and traveling abroad taught me how beautiful it is to explore the world, challenge yourself, make new friends, eat good food, ask questions, get lost, and dream BIG!

#ITravelBecause because it makes me happy!”

Vidiana Cervantes, Public Health


15. Havana, Cuba

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Shaquille Brewster

“This is one of my favorite travel photos because I finally made it to a place I had always wanted to travel, and it exceeded all of my expectations. For decades– and still to this day– the United States has imposed severe restrictions on its citizen’s travels to the island nation. The travel ban, now being slowly chipped away by the Obama administration, was something that always bugged me after meeting travelers from other countries who told me about their freedom to go to Cuba and explore what they described as a beautiful nation. This picture takes me back to the moment when I made a long-time dream happen.

When you travel, you learn a lot about yourself, and one thing that was rediscovered is how much I love to learn about other people. I enjoy learning other cultures, those customs and traditions. I enjoy trying their food and sometimes just people watching to see how similar you are to people whom you’ve never met.

If you are interested in going to Cuba, my one piece of advice is do it as soon as possible. Travel restrictions are being removed and more and more American tourists will travel to the close island nation. I think that will change the country in many ways. Go before that change really takes shape, to see what made Cuba special.

#ITravelBecause I love learning about the world around me.”

Shaquille Brewster, Journalist and Producer | Twitter: @shaqbrewster


16. Hanoi, Vietnam

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Erica Smith

“One of the many things I learned when my husband and I took our recent sabbatical in Southeast Asia is to really let go of “being comfortable” and experience a country’s culture. On this day, we were drinking $0.25 Bia Hoi sitting on stools that literally elevated us 12 inches off the ground (so our knees were in our chest!). Even though we were uncomfortable (and sitting on the street right beside oncoming traffic), we had a blast and it was because we weren’t afraid to immerse ourselves in the Vietnamese culture.

#ITravelBecause the world is bigger than the U.S. And I’m privileged enough as a citizen of the U.S. to explore and experience other countries and cultures that will change my paradigm and worldview. So why not?”

Coredelle and Erica Smith, Bloggers at A Taste of Our City


17. Prague, Czech Republic

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Jerry Bruno

“This is one my favorite photos because of the creative background of the wall. In addition, The Lennon Wall represents not only a memorial to John Lennon and his ideas for peace, but also a monument to free speech and the non-violent rebellion of Czech youth against the regime. It was a small war of Czech people against the communist police who cleaned the wall.

I travel very often and I have learned that my love for humanity grows more and more as I met new people and experience new cultures while traveling. Traveling is so liberating! There is a sense of freedom one can experience when traveling.

#ITravelBecause I have this desire to keep meeting people and learning about their individuality. Traveling keeps me connected to humanity.”

Jerry Bruno, Department of Homeless Services | Twitter: @JerryDBruno


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Audra Mercado

“This is one of my favorite photos because I was traveling alone and Prague was the first leg of my solo trip. I learned to listen to my intuition and never be afraid to share and seek kindness.

One piece of advice for someone traveling to this destination is to bring a camera and perhaps a sketch book because the entire city looks like a fairy tale.

#ITravelBecause there are beautiful places, people and things all around us. I travel because I want to learn, grow and know about other cultures.”

Audra Mercado, Behavior Interventionist | LinkendIn


18. Paris, France

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Roy Broderick, Jr.

“This is my favorite travel photo because every time I look back at it I remember the experience of standing and thanking God for allowing me the opportunity to see Paris. Little did I know one of my classmates snapped a photo.

[Through traveling I learned that] I am horrible at reading maps and still must checking with my parents daily. Way too much is going on in the world to be thousands of miles away and not connected… If you’re traveling to Paris, know that Paris gets pretty cold — this was March and it was freezing….

#ITravelBecause I like seeing the world vs. the continent so that I can truly have a worldwide view of an African American male…”

Roy Broderick, Jr., Marketing professional and CEO of The Intuition Consulting Firm | IntuitionAtl.com


19. Granada, Spain

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Jarrod Jackson

“La Alhambra is one of Spain’s most iconic destinations and attracts more than a million visitors each year.  I had the pleasure of showing my family around Granada when they came to visit me while I was studying abroad. La Alhambra was the first place I took them, and they loved it. The experience was particularly special because my six-year-old sister was able to experience something I’d waited until my 20s to enjoy.

Traveling has helped me build a deep sense of assurance in myself and my ability to navigate unfamiliar places and experiences. Even if I don’t know the native language, or where to go, or what the people are like, I do know how to prepare in advance, create contingency plans, be resourceful and, if all else fails, smile and ask questions!

As someone who’s interested in the stories of people of color wherever I go, I was fascinated to learn the Moors played a significant role in the development and culture of southern Spain, especially Granada. That said, I’d encourage anyone who’s interested in traveling to the city to recognize the influence people of color had in creating such a beautiful city.

#ITravelBecause my mother always told me the world is bigger than where I’m from. And I’m excited to see, taste and feel as much of the world as possible.”

Jarrod Jackson, Audio and Community Relations Specialist | LinkedIn


20. Morocco

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Kiah Clingman

“I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in London while I was in college at Howard University. While I was abroad I made sure to take advantage of the cities and countries around me. One of my favorite trips was to Morocco, Africa. I literally felt like I was in a whole new world. And you know why? Because I was.

Traveling gives you the opportunity to experience another life other than your own. You appreciate the life you have and those of others so much more. I don’t even mean just internationally, but domestically. There are so many gems in America that we miss out on because we think we have to travel internationally…but some of the greatest moments and experiences are literally right around the corner.

Traveling is about getting out of your comfort zone and eliminating fear. If you want to travel to Morocco, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Mississippi… just do it!!! Don’t let finances, time, or distance be a factor to hold you back. If you have a goal to travel, then save up, make the time, and don’t let the distance scare you away.

#ITravelBecause I am able to connect my spirit to others around the world.”

Kiah Clingman, Actress | KiahClingman.com 


21. Krasnaya Polyana, (Southern) Russia

Vivian Nweze

Vivian Nweze

“I never dreamed that I would travel to Russia, let alone work at the Winter Olympics. This photo reminds me of the line from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the places you’ll go.” I had no idea what was in store for me when the opportunity presented itself, but I took a risk, worked extremely hard, and had one of the best international adventures imaginable.

I learned how much I could grow if I let myself be open to basically anything and made an effort to engage with people around me. English is barely spoken in Russia, unless you’re in a major city like Moscow. I quickly learned a lot of Russian and garnered so much more respect from the people around me for clearly trying to understand their culture.

My biggest advice for anyone wanting to visit Russia is to not let the stereotypes about the country scare them away. Southern Russia, like the southern United States, has a friendlier vibe than famous northern cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Not everything you read and see about Russia is true.

#ITravelBecause I want to know more about people of all walks of life and learn more about the world.”

Vivian Nweze, Entertainment Journalist | VivaciouslyVivian.com | PoshPoisePolish.com


22. Cape Town, South Africa

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Jasmine Chapman

#ITravelBecause it broadens my perspective. We get so caught up in our daily rituals and routines that we begin to wrap our thinking around the things only concerning ourselves. We tend to forget that at the end of the day, we’re just one very small piece of a bigger picture.

Traveling is a gateway that provides a glimpse into that bigger picture. By physically removing myself out my usual comfort zone, I’m able to take the time to escape my own sense of “reality” and better appreciate the beauty of new cultures, new places, and new people. It’s humbling, life changing and soul fulfilling all at the same time.

The picture is me on the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. Table Mountain is one of the 7 Wonders of the World.”
Jasmine Chapman, Digital Media Specialist | Twitter: @_theCOACH

23. Los Angeles, California

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Tiffany Malone

“I hiked to the Hollywood sign with my friends/business partners. And just as we climbed this mountain, we are currently helping each other climb our mountain to success together. This picture is a reminder, that we too can reach the top. It’s just around the corner.

I’ve learned that there is so much more I need to discover in the world and within myself. I’m just open to everything God has to show me.

There is so much to do in LA! Stay somewhere that is close to everything. We stayed in West Hollywood — it was walking distance to shops on Melrose and amazing restaurants.

#ITravelBecause there is so much more I need to learn, discover and explore.”

Tiffany Malone, Blogger | InspireFireDaily.com | YouTube: MyChocolateGurl


24. Honolulu, Hawaii

Safia Hurst

Safia Hurst

“Hawaii is so beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it. This picture reminds me that I want to keep feeling that sense of awe over and over again as I travel to new places around the world.

This picture was taken on a hike through a rainforest. I am normally NOT one to hike at all. I’m far from being an outdoorsy gal but the view at the top of the trail was well worth it. I learned that sometimes the prettiest things can be furthest outside my comfort zone.

If you go to any of the Hawaiian islands remember to experience the culture of the people native to the area. The high-traffic tourist and shopping areas tend to be a representation of traditional western culture, which you can get anywhere on the mainland, so be sure to venture outside of that. Also, bring mosquito repellant if you go on any rainforest hikes!

#ITravelBecause I want to continue to expand my understanding of culture.”
Safia Hurst, Advertising Specialist | LinkedIn  

25. Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Teyonna Lanez

“This photo was taken a few days after my 21st birthday, which I celebrated with my study abroad roommates in our London suite. Amsterdam was the beginning of a month-long travel adventure — where I also visited Morocco and Oxford. Amsterdam was one of the best trips from my time abroad because it was a completely different world. From the coffee shops to the narrow homes to the legal prostitution — it was so different from America and people seemed happier and healthier. During this trip, I also visited the Anne Frank House and saw what the brave young woman experienced during the Holocaust.

If you travel to Amsterdam, head to the “I AMSTERDAM” sign EARLY in the morning to get your photos. Otherwise your pictures will be swarmed with tourists.

#ITravelBecause God created this world for us to explore… I need to see as much of it as possible.”

Teyonna Lanez, Lifestyle Blogger and Public Relations Specialist | TeyonnaRidgeway.com


Thank you jet setters for sharing your travel adventures!

14 Songs To Help Us Through The Next 4 Years


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The 2016 presidential election was an emotional rollercoaster for everyone. Whether you voted for Trump, Clinton or an independent candidate, one thing that we all can agree on is that America’s mask as a “post racial” nation was ripped off — this election showed how scarred our country still is.

Slightly over 50 years after Jim Crow was abolished, America is still healing.  And while we try to overcome the adversity and racial injustice that plagues our country, we have to accept that Donald Trump is our next president, even if we don’t agree with his stance.

The next four years will definitely be much different from when Obama was in office. However, we must not forget the power that is within us — a power that is much greater when we unite for the good. We have to continue to live life to the fullest, build up our communities and move America forward. We owe it to ourselves and our future kids to make this world a better place however we can.

Like you, music is also powerful. It connects us and helps us get through the ups and downs of life. Here’s 14 inspirational tunes to help us get through the era of Trump:


1. Rise Up – Andra Day

And we’ll rise up / Rise like the waves / We’ll rise up / In spite of the ache / We’ll rise up / And we’ll do it a thousands times again…


2. Alright – Kendrick Lamar

But if God got us we then gon’ be alright / We gon’ be alright / Do you hear me, do you feel me? / We gon’ be alright…


3.Powerful – Empire (feat. Jussie Smollet and Alicia Keys)

Every shade was beautifully made / And powerful / There’s so much strength in you and me / Powerful / A breath away from victory / I matter, you matter, we matter all / I matter, you matter, we matter all / Powerful…


4. Stand Up – Destiny’s Child

And I believe that in my life / I will see / An end to hopelessness / Or giving up / Or suffering / If we all stand together this one time / Then no one will get left behind / And stand up for life / Stand up for love…


5. Nobody Wins a War – Raheem DeVaughn (feat. Jill Scott, Bilal, Anthony Hamilton, Algebra, Chrisette Michele, Shelby Johnson, Ledisi, Citizen Cope, Dwele, Chico DeBarge, Rudy Currence)

Nobody wins a war / We, the people speak, speak / We want to be free of this sick bureaucracy / No more death tolls with our morning coffee / Oh, government, you have lost your feeling for life…


6. Where is the Love – Black Eyed Peas

People killin’, people dyin’ / Children hurt and you hear them cryin’ / Can you practice what you preach? / Or would you turn the other cheek? / Father, Father, Father help us / Send some guidance from above / ‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’ / Where is the love…


7. Need Freedom – Empire Cast (feat. Sierra McClain)

Need freedom / Our world is cryin’, no more silence, with guns and violence / Need freedom / I can’t keep dyin’, we’re way too quiet, no more silence / Need freedom / Stop this evil, free my people, we’re all equal / Need freedom / Our world get’s brighter, keep on tryin’, keep on fightin’ for freedom…


8. Pretty Bird (Freestyle) – Jhené Aiko (feat. Common)

Pretty bird, pretty bird, I know you’re hurtin’ / Well so am I, so am I / Pretty bird, pretty bird, pretty bird, pretty bird / Please don’t cry, you can fly / And there’s a blinding light inside of you / And they can not deny you / Pretty bird, pretty bird, pretty bird…


9. Finish Line – Chance The Rapper

All my days I prayed and prayed and now I see the finish line / I’m gonna finish mine ye ah


10. Nas Album Done – DJ Khaled (feat. Nas)

This trend I was settin’ came to fruition / I’m assistin’ to push the culture forward / To all my go supporters, go support us / Like a local black-owned grocery store / Cause in the hood sh*t ain’t passed down through blood…


11. Liberation – Outkast (feat. Cee-Lo, Erykah Badu, and Big Rube)

Is there anything I can say to help you find your way / Touch ya soul, make ya whole, the same for you and I / There’s not a minute that goes by that I don’t believe / We can fly but I can feel it in the wind / The beginning or the end / So people keep your head to the sky / Shake that load off, shake that load off…


12. Blessed – Jill Scott

Woke up in the morning feeling fresh to death / Went to sleep stressed woke up refreshed / Momma’s on my right side, daddy on my left / I’m so blessed, yes yes yes…


13. Celebrate – Anderson .Paak

Time never cares, if you’re there or not there / All you ever needed was a simple plan / But you’re doing well, I mean you’re not dead / So let’s celebrate while we still can…


14. Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

It’s been too hard living but I’m afraid to die / Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky / It’s been a long, a long time coming / But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will…


Those were just a few songs to keep us encouraged over the next four years. What other inspirational tunes do you recommend?