Author Archives: Teyonna Ridgeway

3 Life Lessons Learned From SkyDiving

I’ve always been a risk taker. I decided to attend Howard University without touring the school. I run to the scariest roller coaster when I’m at an amusement park. I don’t hesitate to go zip lining.  But skydiving out of a plane that was 14,000 feet high was the biggest risk I’ll likely ever take.

skydiving

Taking a leap of faith. YIKESS!!

Skydiving allowed me to feel every emotion. Initially I decided to take the leap of faith for my 25th birthday – but when my birthday weekend rolled around, it was too windy to jump so I had to reschedule. A month later my initial excitement went away and I felt anxious about skydiving. Whenever I thought about the waiver that I signed stating (in bold and underlined font I might add) that I was putting my life in danger and giving up my family’s legal rights to sue in the event of injury or death, I got nervous and questioned if this was something I should even be doing. But I stuck it out and kept the appointment – bringing my mom to watch for moral support.

When I got to the Skydive Georgia, I saw people landing safely and I became excited again and more confident about jumping. But anxiety crept in while waiting for my turn. When my name was called I hopped up quickly – ready to get the party that I planned months ago started. I listened intensely to the directions and practiced lifting my legs so I had a smooth landing. This was tandem skydiving so I had a professional jump out with me, but I still contemplated on what could go wrong.

On the ride up I shed a tear but quickly wiped it away so the other 15+ people on the small airplane didn’t get concerned. Despite watching us elevate thousands of feet in the sky, I felt a sense of peace. I prayed like crazy up until that point, and on the plane and I knew that I would make it back down in one piece.

When I saw people falling out of the plane, I knew that it was time. I slid out of the helicopter and screamed for God to take the wheel. A paid extra to have a professional skydiving photographer jump out in front of me and capture the experience (and my ugly faces). The fall down was terrifying, but when my tandem instructor pulled the parachute it was the most peaceful experience.

skydiving

skydiving

skydiving

skydiving

skydiving

skydiving

The emotional rollercoaster that I went through during my skydiving adventure taught me three life lessons that I’ll always carry with me:

  1.   God got you. Being that close to God strengthened my faith. Skydiving was the epitome of putting my life in his hands.
  2.   On the outside of your comfort zone lies the greatest reward. The pruning process isn’t supposed to be comfortable, but it’s crucial to your growth.
  3.   Fear is mental slavery. What do we truly have to fear? There’s a lot of things in life that give me anxiety (like parallel parking and babies that won’t stop crying). But I’ve come to realize that when we know God, we have nothing to fear.

Check out the video below to see my skydiving experience on YouTube!

Is skydiving on your bucket list? Share what is in the comments below!

Blossom Network Redefines Reality For Women Of Color in Television

Blossom Network

Blossom Team

Apple, Uber, Netflix — the world’s most disruptive companies have made such a substantial impact because they filled a need through innovation and strategy.

Diamonde Williamson, the founder of Blossom, is taking the same approach to change the narrative of multicultural women in the media.

Blossom is a breath of fresh air in a world where a new ratchet reality show pops up nearly every month. Through the digital television platform, Diamonde and her team creates impactful content to empower women of color. This content includes short films, web series, think pieces, feature films, docu-series, indie shorts, features and more that tackles every topic under the sun including current events, politics, sports, and the authentic lifestyle of multicultural women.

Diamonde is no newbie to the television industry. She’s worked as a producer on popular shows including Iylana Fix My Life, Chrissy Knows Best and Selling It In The ATL prior to venturing on her own. After she found herself growing tired of working in reality TV, she knew she wanted to create programming that embodied love instead of drama.

Blossom Network

Photo: Blossom Network

She created Blossom in 2016 after mainstream media denied her opportunities to make content that reflected multidimensional women of color. Diamonde built the subscription-based platform from the ground up and carefully selected a team of other multicultural women who would help execute her vision. She keeps a tight-knit Operations Team of less than 10 people, but the Original Productions Team consists of 30+ content creators and she’s always open to more.

Diamonde acknowledges two major problems that Blossom is solving. “First, women of color who are actually living the stories the media and entertainment consistently portray, never get to tell their own stories. Blossom provides them with a platform. And second, women of color also deserve to watch more realistic experiences of themselves played on television.”

As the Founder and President of Special Projects + Programming, Diamonde wears many hats. She’s responsible for content development and programming, marketing and brand strategy, social media, partnerships, legal, and the overall structure of the platform. Diamonde oversees every single piece of the business while giving her team creative control to produce programming that reflects the unique journey of multicultural womanhood.

Blossom Network

Diamonde Williamson, founder of Blossom

Even as a child, Diamonde knew she was destined for greatness.

“I never played small. At one point I wanted to be an interior designer and have my own show on HGTV. I also wanted to be a painter and would tell my mom that I wanted to be the next Picasso,” she says. “Whatever I wanted to do, I wanted to be great at it.”

Diamonde attributes her hustle and networking skills to her upbringing. The Oklahoma native was the only child and her dad was in the Navy so they moved around often. These circumstances made her be able to build relationships and connect with people of diverse backgrounds — a skill that has served her career well. In addition, Diamonde’s grandmother was an entrepreneur and motivated her to create her own opportunities.

Photo: Blossom Network

One of the biggest lessons that everyone can learn from Diamonde is the importance of originality and being ok with what may seem as a “failure.” Prior to launching Blossom, she tried to pitch feel-good TV programming to major networks but was rejected many times.

“No means nothing,” she says. “I don’t believe in failing because even if I fall, I’m determined to figure it out. I’ve never been one to let “no” stop me so God gave me the vision to just do it myself.”

She continues, “You need the idea and the passion. But eventually you have to graduate from a dreamer to a doer.”

The Blossom team has this same drive and confidence, along with originality and a track record of execution. Diamonde looks for content creators who have big ideas and can create without limitations.

“I tell my team, if you have an idea just do it. Just write it down and then we’ll figure it out.”

Photo: Blossom Network

Diamonde has big dreams for Blossom. By the end of 2017, she hopes to house 500 pieces of content. She envisions her business being a digital television destination that shares the experience of women of color in every sector of their life — from home to travel to sexual identity to health to political awareness to economics. She hopes it creates a shift and transforms the way people think and live.

“What’s most important to me is to connect with those people who don’t have access to these types of experiences,” she says. “Content opens up a world, but if the world you’re open to is limited to VHI, you may be considering that you need Red Bottoms to win. But if you see a young girl with a business who is challenging herself, you may be more inspired.”

This representation matters. As the world saw in the groundbreaking film Hidden Figures, when Black women see themselves in other people, it gives them the initiative to think beyond what they know.

Diamonde is #blackgirlmagic personified. Through Blossom she’s encouraging people, especially women of color, to live their truth and tell their stories.

“We have to create our own rules and break the standards that other people created for us.”

Blossom is breaking barriers and redefining reality – showing that the future is female in various shades of brown.

Blossom Network

#SummerSlaySeries: Bomb DIY Pedicure

Trust us – your feet will thank you for this bomb pedicure.

Sandal season is here, so we have to make sure our toes are up to par. While going to the nail salon is a nice treat every once in awhile, the cost can rack up over time. Instead, try a do-it-yourself pedicure that’ll have your toes shining without breaking the bank. There’s an upfront cost for the tools you’ll need, but once you have them, you can do your nails for the low low all season long.

Before getting started, gather your supplies. You can try Target, Walmart and Sally Beauty to pick up everything.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Cuticle softener / remover
  • Cuticle pusher
  • Foot file
  • Buffing block
  • Emery board
  • Nail clipper
  • Base coat
  • Top coat
  • Nail color of your choice
  • Pumi bar or pumice stone
  • Nail Tees or cotton swabs, and cotton balls

Optional

  • Oils (such as peppermint, coconut, tea tree or extra virgin olive oil)
  • Sugar Scrub – white, brown or organic sugar + oils of your choice
  • Shea body butter  – natural shea butter + oils of your choice
  • Cuticle nipper
  • Body wash and epsom salts

The nail polish came from our Just Polish Box. If you’re a nail polish lover who wants a package of goodies delivered to your doorstep every month, be sure to subscribe! With 5 – 6 different bottles of polish from professional brands such as Essie and OPI in some boxes, it’s easy to fall in love with the quality and convenience of Just Polish.

After getting your supplies, follow these eight easy steps to do a fabulous pedicure on a budget.

DIY Pedicure

1. Remove pre-existing nail polish

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important not to miss this step! Ensure that all of your old nail polish is off before giving yourself a new pedicure. Use an acetone nail polish remover and cotton balls to get the polish off.

According to Sally Beauty, acetone is most effective for removing oils and preparing the nails for polish, but it can be drying to the cuticles — so pay extra attention to step #7.

2. Soak your feet

Start by filling your tub with warm water, body wash and a few drops of oil (such as coconut, tea tree or extra virgin olive oil). For an extra touch, add a cup of epsom salts to the water, and then soak your feet for 5 – 10 minutes. This process softens tough calluses and your nails and cuticles, along with removing built up dirt.

3. Gently file your feet

Dry your feet off and use the foot file to remove the dead skin on the heels and balls of your feet. Place a paper towel or wax paper underneath to capture the dead skin. When filing, focus on the rougher areas, but be sure not to scrub too hard so you don’t irritate the skin.

DIY Pedicure

4. Exfoliate with a sugar scrub

In a small bowl, combine a cup of sugar with 2 – 3 tablespoons of oils and mix well. Scoop the sugar scrub on your feet and gently rub using the pumi bar until your feet are smooth. Rinse your feet and the pumi bar (or stone) afterwards.

DIY Pedicure

 

5. Clip and shape nails

Use the nail clippers to trim toenails straight across and down to your preferred size. Using an emery board, shape your nails to be slightly squared and buff down any sharp edges. If possible, file nails in the same direction to avoid damage.

6. Prepare your cuticles

Your nails are almost ready for polish! Apply a drop of the cuticle softener / remover at the base of each nail. Then gently push the cuticles around each nail back using the cuticule pusher. You can take it a further step and cut the excess skin with a cuticle nipper, but it isn’t mandatory. After preparing your cuticles, rinse and dry your hands and feet.

DIY Pedicure

7. Moisturize and prepare for polish

Shea butter is a great all natural moisturizer, so I like to rub a body butter on my feet to seal in the softness. In a small container or cup, melt the shea butter down a little bit and add oils of your choice until it has a creamy consistency (peppermint oil works and smells great!). Apply the body butter and give your feet a much needed massage. If you don’t want to use the shea butter mix, you can also use a foot lotion of your choice.

8. Apply polish

Get in a position where you can comfortably reach your feet, and then lace toe separators on both feet. Start by applying a base coat which helps the polish stick to your nail easier and protects your nails from damage. After it dries, apply two coats of the color of your choice and then finish off with a clear top coat. Each layer should be thin and given ample time to dry before applying the next coat.

Here’s to looking fly while saving coins this summer!

New movement to Silence The Shame about mental health

silence the shame

Silence the Shame

Openly talking about mental health is a hard, yet healthy conversation to have in the age of social media, police brutality, racial tension and Trump presidency.

The graphic content that we consume, such as watching a police officer shoot an unarmed citizen or seeing an elderly man die on Facebook Live, has an impact on our mental health. And when the Black community in particular couples that with the mental shackles that remain since our ancestors were in slavery, it’s an issue that we can no longer sweep under the rug.

Music veteran executive Shanti Das is making it her mission to openly discuss mental illnesses and dismantle the stigmas and misconceptions that are associated with the taboo subject through her initiative Silence The Shame.

Known as the Hip Hop Professional, Shanti has been instrumental in marketing some of music’s biggest stars for more than 20 years including, Prince, Outkast, TLC, Erykah Badu and Toni Braxton.

Now she’s leveraging her credible platform and influential relationships to get the word out about mental health awareness. Nick Cannon, Usher, Ed Lover, Andra Day, Will Packer, Estelle and more public figures have stood behind Shanti to silence the shame.

“Education is the key to unlocking mental health,” says Shanti. “You don’t know what you don’t know, so we want to educate our community and share information that can help transform and save lives.”

Shanti’s passion to move our culture forward is rooted in her own mental health journey. The effects of her father’s suicide when she was 7 months old made the adult Shanti fear that she would follow in his footsteps, leading to her depression and anxiety.

“It took a long time to be able to talk about my dad’s death. I used to just say he passed away. I wouldn’t say he shot himself because I was afraid of what people would say. I was also angry at him for leaving like that and I suppressed those feelings.”

Shanti admits that she didn’t even want to learn about her dad’s Indian culture, but she finally saw the light when she visited a therapist in 2003. Through a series of counseling sessions, she learned forgiveness and how to understand what her dad might have been going through. She also found a new church in New York where she learned about herself and relationship with God.

“Although I sought therapy and forgave my dad in 2003, in 2015 the depression returned with a vengeance. One of my best friends committed suicide the day before and also I talked myself into a downward spiral from several issues and considered taking pills. That was really the moment I knew I had to get real help.”

These experiences taught Shanti how to silence her shame. By getting help she’s now able to openly talk about her struggle with depression and anxiety in hopes of encouraging others to share their story and seek professional help.

Like Shanti, many people with mental health issues lead a seemingly “normal” life. According to NAMI, 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness. These issues can come from stress, loss of a loved one, divorce, troubled work environment, and traumatic experiences such as sexual assault — things we all deal with to some degree.

silencetheshame

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Here are six actions that we can take to help silence the shame around mental health:

1. Get educated

Shanti recommends learning more about mental disorders, symptoms and treatments by checking out the Mayo Clinic and the National Alliance of Mental Health. Mental Health America also offers online assessments to see if you may have a mental illness, but visit a licensed professional to determine if you are affected.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours / day if you or someone you know is considering suicide.

She also encourages people to attend events to learn more about the topic. Silence The Shame is hosting a Community Mental Health Fair and Symposium in Atlanta on Saturday, May 6th, 2017. Mental health professionals, community leaders and members of the faith community will discuss identifying symptoms, treatment and ways to support others.

2. Raise your voice

Shanti is encouraging everyone to use their platform to speak up about mental health and share resources, especially on Silence the Shame Awareness Day on Friday, May 5th, 2017. With Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Shanti and her team is using this key moment in time to spark a global conversation about the issues via social media using the hashtag #silencetheshame.

anxiety

3. Understand the signs

Shanti knew something was wrong when she didn’t want to get out of bed, despite usually being a morning person. She lost interest in the things that mattered most, including music, and found herself at home alone a lot. She also ate out of depression.

The signs that one may be suffering varies based on the type of mental health disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, other symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness or hopelessness; angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters; and sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much.

While anxiety is a normal part of life, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. The Mayo Clinic states that these feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time.

More complex illnesses, like Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder have different symptoms. It’s important to understand the signs so you can address if you or someone you know has a mental health disorder.

silence the shame

4. Get the help you need

Although she is a woman of God, Shanti admits that mental health disorders isn’t something that you can just pray away. That’s the first step, but it’s important to get professional help.

She recommends speaking with someone who is neutral and doesn’t know you or your background to have an unbiased conversation. She also explained that there are levels to professional help. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that evaluates patients and can prescribe medications. A psychologist can offer treatments, but can’t prescribe medications — they can only refer patients. There are also licensed counselors and therapists that can help with coping and managing the illness.

“Seeing a doctor if you think something may be wrong is an act of self love. You have to love yourself to get the help,” says Shanti. “If you don’t love and value yourself, it means that you’ll do anything to the body that God lent you. Make sure that spiritual connection is there by getting help, loving God, and loving yourself.”

5. Be supportive and stop judging

Words have power and using negative terms like “crazy,” “weird” or “insane” further perpetuates the stigma around mental health and discourages suffers from speaking up or getting help.

“We don’t know what people are going through, so sometimes we have to pull it out of them if they aren’t open to talking about it,” says Shanti. “Stop hiding behind social media — pick up the phone and check on people more. Also, don’t take warning signs lightly. It’s better to intervene than to be too late when you could have saved someone’s life.”

Shanti stresses that compassion is essential, and we can’t write people off because of what they suffer from or what they’re experiencing. We have to be there to help one another and start normalizing the conversation around mental health.

6. Practice mental wellness

“The best way to improve your mental wellness is to do whatever brings you peace and balance — do what makes you smile,” Shanti says.

Shanti was on prescribed anti-depressants and weaned herself off of them. Now when depression or anxiety creeps back, she recognizes her triggers, prays, talks to friends, makes herself be around others, works out to build endorphins, and helps other people.

She encourages people to approach mental health like their physical health — intentionally exercise mental wellness every day. While this looks differently for everyone, it may include prayer, thinking happy thoughts, saying affirmations, practicing meditation or yoga, listening to music, going to church, and discovering ways to serve others.

silence the shame

CreateHer Stock

According to ActiveMinds, compared to older adults, the 18-24 year old age group shows the lowest rate of seeking help.

Silence The Shame will continue to reach the public with their Loving U College Tour kicking off later this year. Shanti will join other mental health care professionals and advocates to discuss the importance of taking good care of your mind and coping mechanisms for stress, anxiety and other disorders.

Shanti and her team also has a Silence The Shame podcast where they seek to normalize conversations around managing mental health and healing from illnesses.

It’s ok not to be ok. But we can’t shun people for getting the help they need. It’s time that we educate people, empower them to share their testimony, and dismantle the stigmas around mental health.

Shanti is another example of a woman turning lemons into lemonade and shining a light on the darkness. By openly sharing her struggles and mental health journey, she is freeing other people to do the same and silence their shame.

“You don’t have to tell all of your business, but we all have a duty to share our voice and speak out on what is good and what we believe in,” says Shanti. “We’ve been conditioned to not share, but being vulnerable makes you strong.”

Join in on the conversation by using the hashtag #silencetheshame.

silence the shame

Silence The Shame

3 Steps To Improve Your Online Personal Brand

Personal Brand

Your personal brand  online is just as relevant as your resume —  if not more.

Nowadays, companies want to know who you are. People hire other people that they’d like. A brilliant digital footprint is a great platform to let your personality shine bright before you step foot in the interview. Your resume may be stellar, but it won’t capture their interest like your online persona can.

Here are 3 ways you can improve your online personal brand: 

  1. Enhance your social media strategy

According to the Pew Research Center, 86 percent of people aged 18 – 29 use at least one social media site. No matter what site(s) you’re on, it’s important to tell a digital story that you’re proud of.

Start by reflecting on what you want people to think, feel and know about you when they look at your social media profile. Try this exercise — set a timer for three minutes and write down words that describe your personality, interests, aspirations, experience, societal roles, etc. Then write down the type of content you could post based on those keywords. This all makes up your personal brand.

Next, do some spring cleaning to your social media profiles and delete anything that doesn’t fit into the descriptors that you outlined. Photos and posts about your drunken college nights,  F boy exs, or dreadful coworkers don’t belong in your new and improved online presence.

Also think about how you want your social media feed to look. You can really get creative with your Instagram by strategizing what type of posts you publish when. For instance, you could have an entire row that has quotes, or create a border around certain photos for consistency. You could also use a certain color theme or create art with your photo layout.

Think about what you want your personal brand to be, and then line up your social media profiles to look like your vision. It’s your story, so tell an authentic narrative.

Personal Brand

2. Spruce up your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn makes networking, especially reaching out to strangers, much easier. It’s a must to have a profile, but there are ways to take yours to the next level.

Start by reading your profile from top to bottom as if you are viewing it for the first time. Then think about what copy you can make more concise or engaging, and what sections need to be improved or updated.

Customizing your professional headline is a great way to spruce up your profile. This is the line that appears directly below your name. Although it’s common to list your work role, that isn’t a must as long is it captures who you are and what your brand is. Use keywords and traits that are specific to your industry in your professional headline to make your profile stand out.

Personal Brand

3. Create or update your website / portfolio

Make sure the basics are on the website — a well written bio, professional photos, work experience, contact information and social media presence. You can also add more personal photos of your hobbies and interests to your site, such as traveling or volunteering.

If you already have a website, review these elements to make sure they are still on-brand for you based on the exercise previously mentioned. Jazz up your bio with those keywords that describe you.

No worries if you don’t currently have a website! There are many easy-to use platforms to create one including WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, AboutMe and so many more.

Your digital footprint is an extension of who you are, so make sure it’s something you’d be proud of no matter who found it online.

10 Gems Every GirlBoss Can Learn From R.Kristi

popbliss

Photo courtesy of Kesha Lambert Photography

It’s not often that someone disrupts a $50MM industry — but that’s exactly what entrepreneur and girlboss Racquel Kristi has done with PopBliss, a pop-up destination wedding for unconventional couples. Her team thoughtfully selects up to 10 adventure-seeking couples to tie the knot during a luxury group wedding celebration. They take care of all of the details — including the location, vendors, decor and food. The couples don’t know anything until their wedding weekend — they just book their flight, show up in their attire of choice and prepare for the royal treatment.

popbliss

The New York native has learned a lot about being a #girlboss since launching her event planning company RKristi Modern Hospitality in 2009 and executing the first PopBliss event in 2016. She also coaches entrepreneurs on how to make their dreams a reality.

Here are 10 gems she dropped for Becoming Brilliance:

1. Being a girlboss starts with the right mindset — so take yourself seriously
“It’s either you will or you won’t — there is no try. Make the decision to follow your dreams and then be hungry and focused on making it happen… We all already have everything we need, we just have to tap into it.”

popbliss

Photo courtesy of Racquel Kristi

2. Don’t jump in before you’re ready.
Kristi stressed the importance of researching your industry if you work for someone, but it’s even more essential if you’re an entrepreneur. She also recommends staying abreast of what’s changing, and having a clear business plan — something she wishes she would have done first to avoid a lot of stress. Kristi also recommends creating a road map for your career journey. It can be tweaked along the way, but it’ll help guide your business ventures and keep you on track.

“The intent to start a business is to stay in business, therefore you need to do your homework and be in it for the long haul,” she says. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor or an event planner — we’re in the people business and you have to know everything about your industry so your client wants it from you and only you.”

3. If you aren’t willing to make sacrifices for your dreams, then you don’t want it bad enough
“You may prepare mentally, emotionally and physically, but there are certain aspects you’re not prepared for until you’re in it,” says Kristi. “It takes strong willpower, determination, and sacrifices. Every day you wake up and go harder.”

4.A girlboss should always keep a notebook handy
Like some of her other ideas, PopBliss came to Kristi in a dream. She woke up and scribbled down her thoughts before the slumber knocked her out again.

Even if you don’t sleep with a pen and paper like Kristi does, make sure you have a small notebook or use a digital notetaker like Evernote around to capture your thoughts.

popbliss

5. Your ideas are golden
Whether your ideas are small or lofty, it’s essential to have confidence in your brilliance. You bring a unique perspective to the table, so Kristi recommends basking in that.

“There’s no need to copy or duplicate someone else’s idea. That’s basically stating that you’re not creative enough to come up with something yourself. So if you don’t believe in yourself and your potential, why would someone else? Trust in your ability.”

6. Be intentional about everything
We can’t get our time and energy back, so Kristi suggests being intentional about everything that we do.

“If you aren’t working towards your goal, then you’re working against yourself. Every decision, interaction, and movement you make needs to be connected to your reaching your goal. You have to be intentional about the reasons why you do everything that you do.”

7. Do not count the bad … count the good
“Don’t get caught up in the number of family members or friends that support you, your social media following or amount of clients. Remember that your journey is unique and therefore it will look like nothing you have seen before. Count all the great things happening for you to help stay focused on the road ahead.”

8. Pay attention to your childhood interests
Before Kristi was a girlboss, she grew up in New York around a lot of West Indians and Hispanics. She’s of West Indian descent and noticed that her culture didn’t typically have big birthday celebrations like their Hispanic counterparts did for a young lady’s Quinceañera. This inspired Kristi and her friends to plan their own birthday celebrations and she’s loved event planning ever since then.

Our childhood interests and hobbies can shed light into our passions, so think about who you were as a child and how that can impact or personalize your business ventures.

9. Be able to say NO
“Never make a decision out of desperation, fear or lack because it will turn out to be the opposite of what you wanted in the first place. Say no and be confident that what is coming next is exactly what is for you.”

10. Strive to make an impact
Celebrating is a common thread in all people no matter what culture or background they have. Kristi is pioneering a new way of thinking regarding what marriage and celebrating is all about. She hopes her events allow people to have fun, stress less and lower divorce rate if possible.
popbliss

The next PopBliss ceremony will take place October 17 – 19, 2017 in Las Vegas! If you know a couple that’ll be interested in having Kristi coordinate their wedding, direct them to register here and use offer code “luv17” to receive a special gift that’ll jumpstart their journey to matrimony.

17 Random Acts of Kindness You Should Try For #RAKWeek2017

Random Acts of Kindness #RAKWeek2017

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  – Aesop

Without a doubt, we need more kindness in the world. While we all have differences, at our core, we are all humans who want to be loved and appreciated. 

We each can make an impact on someone else from where we are and what resources we have. When we do something nice for someone else, it makes us feel better about ourselves.

This week kicks off #RAKWeek2017, which encourages people to do random acts of kindness from Feb. 12-18. Founded by the RAK Foundation, this observance helps us connect to humanity and show how much love there is in the world.

Random Acts of Kindness #RAKWeek2017

Hopefully these 17 random acts of kindness will inspire you to pay it forward this week and beyond:

1.Write down things that you love about someone in your life on sticky notes. Then post them where they can see them — such as a coworker’s desk, your boo’s mirror or on the refrigerator at your parent’s home.

2. If you grab a meal at a relatively inexpensive restaurant like Chipotle or Panera, pick up the tab for the person behind you; or purchase a $10 gas card and give it to someone at the gas station.

3. Send someone that you haven’t spoken to in a long time, such as a former teacher or old classmate, a handwritten note.

4. Text five of your closest friends or family members and tell them how much you appreciate them. Get a little sappy and share some of your favorite characteristics about them.

5. Give a homeless person that you see food and strike up a quick convo with them. You can ask them where they are originally from or something random like what they wanted to be when they were a child. Often times, the homeless feels invisible because they are ignored or belittled, so having a brief conversation reminds them that they too are human.

6. Give three people that you don’t know well or at all a genuine compliment

Random Acts of Kindness #RAKWeek20177. Stop by your local hospital or clinic and give the nurses flowers as a way to thank them for their work.

8. Purchase a bouquet of roses (or less expensive flowers) and hand them out to strangers and then ask them to pass it on to make someone else smile.

9. Print this image and place it in a public area (such as a coffee shop or mall) for people to take what they need.

10. Go to the Dollar Store and purchase $10 – $20 worth of toys and donate them to a local children’s shelter or hospital with sick kids.

11. Call an old friend and catch up — as simple as it sounds, having a phone conversation is much more personal and impactful than just texting.

12. You know your parents, boo or best friend pretty well, so do something special that they would appreciate, such as washing the dishes all weekend, cooking breakfast, or binge watching Netflix for the umpteen time.

13. Learn the names of people you see everyday — such as the office security guard or the person at the front desk. Greet them by name everyday moving forward.

14. Purchase a product from a small business owner and then give them a special shoutout on Facebook.

15. Offer a ride to someone that’s sitting at a bus stop.

16. Bring in food or snacks for your coworkers or classmates.

17. Last but not least, be kind to yourself. Write a list of things that you’re grateful for — strive to jot down at least 25 things.

What other random acts of kindness have you done or will do during #RAKWeek2017 and beyond?

 

#Kudos Queen: Coriya Burns Falker

Michelle Obama, Necole Kane and Beyonce are just a few of the Queens that we look up to. However there are so many women who aren’t as well-known, but are just as admirable. We’re excited to present our monthly #KudosQueen spotlight, which pays homage to brilliant women in various industries that we look up to!

I landed my first internship the summer after my freshman year of college, and those three months at Radio One Atlanta were LIT 🔥 🔥 🔥 to say the least. I learned the latest dance moves during promo events at summer camps, rode the elevator with Brian McKnight, and kept my composure watching Chris Brown and Lloyd (my husband in my head) walk backstage during Birthday Bash, Atlanta’s biggest annual hip hop concert. But the highlight of my summer wasn’t being in the presence of celebrities or staffing radio events, it was working under an amazing, powerful, God-fearing woman named Ms. Coriya… our first Kudos Queen Spotlight!

Coriya Burns Falker, also known as C. Burns, has worked at Radio One Atlanta for more than 21 years as a sales and media specialist. Aside from her work in radio, she wears many hats as a business owner, motivational speaker, wife and mother to her ambitious son Bryce. She is also a Minister at the Light & Salvation Outreach Church in Douglasville, GA where she primarily works with youth and single women.

Surprisingly, Coriya’s roles at work and church aren’t as different as one might think.  “In each role I’m still taking care of people’s needs. Every client’s goals may differ, but whether you’re in ministry or media, the most critical part is to listen.

The importance of listening was instilled in Coriya early on by her biggest inspiration, her mother, who also taught her not to make excuses. While growing up in Memphis, Coriya and her siblings never felt like they didn’t have much — even if their single mom was actually struggling.

“My mom took what she had and made so much out of it,” she says. “She never allowed us to make excuses. Her philosophy was GET IT DONE! That shaped me more than anything because she showed me how to find a way.” 

That GET IT DONE mentality is what helped Coriya launch #FaithBoard. Through social media, events and conference calls, Coriya’s business encourages people to seek the visionary before casting the vision.

“#FaithBoard is trusting God more than you trust yourself. It’s about asking God what it is He has for your life versus you telling Him what you want,” she says. “And this way is fail-proof. It’s a guarantee that whatever it is you set out to do will happen because it’s His plan and He can’t fail.”

One of her signature events is the #FaithBoardExperience, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 at 10 a.m. Coriya will be discussing “5 Keys to Achieving Your Dreams,” and sharing how in just a few short years she was able to tune in to the voice of God, launch a business with her son, marry the man God had for her, book numerous speaking engagements, run a 1/2 marathon and be recognized as one of the country’s top radio sellers in multiple national publications. If you’re in the Atlanta area, get your ticket to the free event here.

All smiles after running a 1/2 marathon!

Throwback pics of Coriya and Ludacris, who worked at Hot 107.9 before becoming a multiplatinum rapper

I asked Coriya to finish the sentence … a queen is _________, and without hesitation she said “flexible.”

“Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods,” she says. “Roads change all of the time, so be flexible about the path you’re taking to get to your destination.”

This was one of the biggest lessons that Coriya learned from being married over the last five years.

“As women we’ve been forced into a survival mode that was never meant for us. We’ve had to take care of ourselves. So when people are sent to help us, sometimes we don’t know how to receive that.”

Coriya adjusted to being married and letting her husband help her throughout life as God intended.

As a single woman waiting for a man to put a ring on it, I asked Coriya if she had any advice for a Queen that’s trying to find her King, and she replied:

“Don’t look– let him find you! It’s not our job to look for a man, but you should look the part by carrying yourself like a wife.”

For Coriya that meant working on every aspect of herself and ensuring that she was worthy (and ready) to be found. She dropped another gem as a final response to the question — “Remember, no boyfriend deserves wife privileges!” — and I shook my head in agreement. So often we as women give the guys in our lives benefits that should be reserved for our future husband, if commitment is what we seek.

Coriya and her husband, Ryan

This purposeful woman lives by 1 Peter 5:10, which says:

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (New International Version)

Coriya’s journey has been full of twists and turns — from studying Forestry in undergrad to taking a temp job that she hated after moving to Atlanta to making an impact on the music industry with her humble and kind spirit. But the one thing that remained consistent is her faith in the man upstairs. Without a doubt, Coriya is answering God’s calling for her life, and inspiring everyone she meets to do the same. 

The Millennials Guide To Managing Up

The best power move you can make this year is to learn how to manage your boss.

In short, managing up is making your boss shine and getting what you need from them. Managing up is especially crucial if your boss is uninvolved or not tending to your work or career needs.

When done respectfully, managing up helps you build a relationship with someone in your industry and ensures that you get what you need out of your job while you’re there. A lot of us Millennials don’t see ourselves working at the same place for years — we tend to bounce around and explore other opportunities. Instead, utilize the resources and relationships that are available where you are now, knowing that it’s temporary.

Some may say, “But it’s not my job to manage my boss. I don’t get paid enough to do that.”

Managing up is for your personal gain. At the end of the day, your manager has someone to report to that they want to please. Do your job well and find ways to add value to make your manager look good. Plant seeds by being a hard worker and team player now, so you can reap the benefits later.

Here are a few key ways to master the art of managing up:

#1. Make Them Shine

The first step to managing up is to be a superstar employee — get your work done, meet deadlines, flag issues ahead of time, and slay daily! This not only makes you look good, but it also makes your manager shine to their boss.

No matter what type of manager you have, they want to keep their job, so find simple ways to help them. See what admin tasks you can take off their plate, like printing the agendas for a meeting or copyediting documents. Pitch in so you make your manager’s life a tad bit easier.

#2. Understand Their Management Style And Preferences

These psychological concepts are key elements to mastering the art of managing up. To have a better working relationship with your manager, learn their management style. Are they hands off and laid back? Or are they a lowkey micromanager who wants to know everything you’re doing?

Also, understand their communication preferences and writing tone. Do they prefer to send emails or talk in person? When reviewing your work, do they prefer a digital version, a hard copy, or both? Study your manager’s writing tone, especially during the first few months of working with them. Is it friendly or direct? Are happy faces acceptable or inappropriate?

Another helpful way to understand their management method is to take the DISC Assessment together to better understand each other’s work styles. This personal assessment can help improve work productivity, teamwork, and communication by analyzing conflict resolution tactics, motivations, stress triggers, work preferences, and more.

The assessment analyzes where you fall on the spectrum of dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. I took the assessment with my coworkers and found that my boss and I were more similar than I thought — we ranked high on the conscientiousness scale and I learned that he also is motivated by opportunities to gain knowledge and appreciated details and independence. Knowing his DISC Assessment helped me understand how to approach him and work with him throughout the year.

#3. Check in regularly and have open communication

One of the biggest issues that people have with their manager is poor communication. If you don’t already have recurring meetings with your manager, be proactive and schedule them.

The frequency of the meetings depends on your needs and working relationship with your manager. If they are involved in your day-to-day work, you might want to meet weekly or biweekly. If they are hands off or travel often, put a monthly invite on their calendar to touch bases on everything. Even if they are busy — they are obligated to give you time and attention when necessary.

Have a brief agenda or a few key points you’d like to touch on during your meetings, such as current work, career goals, raises and promotions, or recent events. Be prepared so you get the most of the meeting.

To build trust with your manager, it’s important to have open communication. Be sure to flag issues early — if you’ll miss a deadline or be late to work, tell them as soon as possible so you aren’t leaving them in a bind.

#4. Be personable and seek guidance

The key to winning people over is to have a genuine interest in their lives. Get to know your boss by allowing them to talk about themselves (people usually LOVE to talk about themselves). Work appropriate topics include hobbies, children, weekend plans, holiday plans, favorite books or podcasts, and lessons they’ve learned through navigating their career. If you’re traveling to a city that your boss has visited, ask what their favorite restaurants or attractions were.

While some people may still be cold despite your efforts to be personable, this is usually a great way to build a good relationship with your boss.

#5. Help your boss help you

In life, but especially at work, it’s important to speak up! Have an open dialogue with your manager about your career goals. Don’t expect your manager to know what you want to do. If you aren’t feeling challenged, or if you’re interested in other projects, it’s up to you to bring it to your boss. Also pick their brain about their career experiences to see if it can shape your journey somehow.

Navigating your career is challenging, but understanding how to get the most from your managers is a skill that you’ll always appreciate! In what ways do you build a relationship with your manager? Share in the comments below!

Also published on xoNecole.com 

The One Gamechanging Journal You Need In Your Life

I hate to admit it, but I’m a journal hoarder! Every time I’m at a store and I find a cute journal with an inspirational message on it, I pick it up knowing that I have many more at home waiting to be used. A gal can never have too many journals! Haha.  

Each of my journals serves a different purpose — daily reflections like a diary, prayers to God, blogging ideas and random notes. While I loved having countless blank pages to jot down my thoughts, I was yearning for a journal that would help me reach my full potential.

The Sanity + Success Journal was that gamechanger for me! With prompts to help navigate daily life, cope with stress and doubt, and shift my mindset, this is hands down my favorite journal.

Digital strategist, blogger and my online big sister Emmelie De La Cruz created this reflection journal for anyone who needs a confidence boost or clarity on their calling. The prompts help you manifest the things you want and make strides towards goals that may have previously felt impossible.

One of my favorite aspects of this journal is how reflective and self-aware it encourages you to be. There’s a space for you to write your daily lessons, wins and losses so you can keep track of your experiences and use them as learning opportunities. I love that each page also has a section for you to write your mood which Emmelie says can help you “become conscious of certain trends in your moods and how they are affecting your life, your outlook, and the people around you.”

I tend to have tunnel vision with my goals. I clearly see what I want to accomplish, but sometimes I struggle with breaking it down into actions. I love that the Sanity + Success Journal has a section on each page for your goals and the baby steps that will help you get there. Goal-setting is essential for productivity, and this journal helps you make strides towards your vision.

Because I love you brilliant beauties, here’s a sneak peek of some of my favorite prompts from the Sanity + Success Journal:

  • What did you achieve in the last 12 months that you are proud of?
  • What does happiness look like for you?
  • List things you are grateful for.
  • What do you want to accomplish, and why does it need to be accomplished this year?
  • Remove mental and emotional clutter. List five ways to simplify your life.
  • What experience changed you for the better?
  • Describe a failure that turned out to be a blessing.
  • What are you most afraid of?
  • What does bloom where you are planted mean to you?
  • How does your relationship with your mom impact your relationships today?

That is just a glimpse of the gems that you’ll find in the Sanity + Success Journal! It’s the perfect tool to write your vision down and reflect on your past experiences so you can attract your heart’s desires.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for an exciting opportunity to discover the greatness in the Sanity + Success Journal for yourself! I promise that it’ll change the game and help you reflect your way to a better life, business and career.