Author Archives: Teyonna Ridgeway

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.

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Whether you’re buying a gift for your best friend, sister, mom or coworker, the best presents are thoughtful ones. Corporate giants rake in tons of money during the holidays, so we wanted to highlight gift ideas from 20 small businesses that create brilliant products that everyone on your list would love.

Here are a few to consider this holiday season:


Journals / Planners

Help the lady on your list organize her thoughts or to do list with a new planner or cute journal. There are so many options on the market, so think about how best it’ll serve her. Does she need one all-encompassing planner to help her get her life? Or does she need a little kick of motivation to reach her dreams? Whatever she needs, one of the following are bound to help her slay in 2017:

  • Passion Planner A planner to live by! There are various versions, including an undated one, and tons of blank pages so she can customize her planner and truly make it her own. The website also has tons of tips and tricks to help her get the most from her Passion Planner.
  • Sanity and Success Journal Blogger and digital marketing guru Emmelie De La Cruz will help your favorite girl boss transform her life with this game-changing journal. With practical and reflective writing prompts, a space to jot down wins and losses of the day and a push to take baby steps towards her biggest dreams, the Sanity and Success Journal offers a new way to navigate life, cope with stress and doubt, and shift to a positive mindset, for good.
  • Hustler Manifesto Myleik Teele is an entrepreneur and founder of curlBOX, an exclusive monthly subscription box full of amazing beauty products. Her inspirational journal is a must have for every girl who’s about her business and chasing all that her heart desires.
  • Free Your Mind Journal There is power in the pen and the Free Your Mind Journal will help her reflect to gain clarity and a more positive mindset. With thought-provoking questions, prompts, affirmations, and coloring pages, this therapeutic journal is an outlet for creativity and self-care.

Beauty Products

Treat your favorite brilliant beauty to some much deserved R&R that’ll help her wind down and take better care of her body. Throw in a bottle of wine, and we’re sure that she’ll love you forever!

  • Lavender + Vanilla Gift Set Help your loved one relax with this gift set from Atlanta Bath Company, which offers handcrafted and organic bath and skincare products. The lovely aroma of lavender and vanilla will ease her into a great year.
  • Organic Shea Whip and Balm Oil Treat her skin and hair to amazing softness with these natural beauty products from Authenticality Company. Made from simple ingredients like shea butter and essential oils, they will provide nourishment from head to toe.
  • Natural Beauty Must Haves from Soleil Essentials Compile a care package of beauty essentials made from natural ingredients. From oils to face cleansers to body butters, you’re bound to find a few things that she’ll love.

Subscription Box

Give your loved one the gift that keeps on giving with a unique subscription box filled with goodies that she’ll love. If you don’t want the monthly commitment, get her a one-time box that she can try out.

  • The Bloom Beautifully Box Take “treat yourself” to the next level with this self-care box that makes relaxation a breeze. It comes with five or six self-care essentials centered around a theme that will help her discover more of what makes her happy. Previous boxes have included shower bombs, organic shea butter lip balm, a sleep mask, and a “ME-TIME” door hanger for those days when she just wants to be alone.
  • Femely Box Help make her “Aunt Flo” a little better with a box full of natural feminine care. The monthly or one-time package comes with her preferred feminine products, like 100% cotton tampons or pads, and body care freebies, organic snacks and more. There are also little surprises in every package — previous Femely Boxes have included herbal teas, candles and natural makeup.
  • Love With Food Box Get the foodie in your life the ultimate all-natural snack box for her mid-day or night cravings. The package includes more than eight snacks each month. And for each purchase, the company donates a meal to a hungry child.

Inspirational Apparel & Accessories

Adorn her with clothes and trinkets that reminds her of her purpose and passions and shows how much of a boss babe she is.

  • More Faith Less Fear Pillow Spruce up her couch, bedroom or office with a cute pillow that reminds her to believe in the good things that are coming her way.
  • Grace and Glamour Cosmetic bag Get your fro-lover a stylish, unique cosmetic bag that’s perfect for carrying her makeup, brushes, toiletries and other small items.
  • To Travel Is To Live Mug Her morning coffee will come with a motto if you get the lady in your life this cute mug that encourages her to #seesomeworld.
  • Who You Callin’ A B*$%#?! TShirt The only B-Word(s) that are acceptable are the ones on this shirt. Help her celebrate her Blackness proudly and in style with this cute shirt that shows people that she is indeed Bold, Black, Beautiful, Brilliant, and Blessed!
  • African Print Passport Wallet Protect her passport in style with this fierce wallet that’ll encourage her to plan her next trip everytime she sees the bright African print fabric.
  • I Manifest Dreams For A Living Mug We’ve exclaimed how much we love Go and Glow tshirts before, but this mug is perfect for the go-getter in your life who’d like to sip while manifesting her dreams.
  • Blessed Beyond Measure Bracelet This handmade cuff bracelet is the perfect addition to her wardrobe and a gentle reminder to reflect on the many blessings in life both big and small.

Stocking Stuffers + Gift Wrap 

Small touches make all the difference. Make this a holiday to reminder by getting her these dope add ons.

  • University of Dope Card Game Test your favorite lady’s knowledge of Hip Hop culture. From the Fresh Prince of Belair theme song, to the classic Kid N’Play dance — game night will never be the same.
  • Colorful Foil Planner Stickers Make her planner pop with these shimmery stickers that’ll motivate her to get sh*t done.
  • Lastly, step up your gifting game with Fetti Wrap wrapping paper. The cute collection will have your giftee wanting to save the wrapping paper because it’s so unique.

For more brilliant gift ideas, stay tuned for our second holiday gift guide featuring poppin’ t-shirts from Black owned businesses.

Happy shopping!

How To Plan The Perfect Staycation

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Exploring a new city abroad or within the country is exciting, but also exhausting – airplane flights, luggage, lodging and currency exchange if you’re overseas. You have to be on your A game when traveling! Vacations are great, but consider a staycation if you need some time to get yourself together and explore the beauty in your own backyard.

A staycation gives you time off to do whatever you want in your city. I recently took a weeklong staycation and it was everythingggg! It was just what I needed to wrap up summer and prepare for the busy fall season. And Atlanta is a beautiful city, and often times us residents don’t fully appreciate where we are.

Just like a vacation, you must have a plan of what you’ll do during your time off. With a staycation you can be more flexible and go with the flow, but you’ll still want to have a few goals to check off. Every city is different, but here are a few things that you can do for a perfect staycation wherever you live.

Be a hometown tourist

Explore the attractions in your city that you may sometimes take for granted because you live there. Even if you’re town isn’t known for something big, look into local shops or restaurants that you haven’t been to before. Take a stroll through the park, go to the farmers market, learn more about your city and get involved in making it better.

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My hometown tourist activities included going to Stone Mountain Park, Midtown and Ponce City Market. While at PCM, I discovered a pop up office called Atlanta City Design that is planning what Atlanta will look like over the next 20+ years. I moved to metro Atlanta 13 years ago, and it’s amazing to see how much the area has grown, but it also worries me that we don’t have space (per the meme below). I love that GA Tech and the local government created a space that residents could be apart of to visualize and design the future Atlanta.

img_4903Enjoy good food

Say goodbye to the frozen meals and bland sandwiches that you usually bring to lunch during a typical workweek! During your staycation, explore new restaurants in your city, or visit your favorites to thrill your taste buds. Ask your friends, family and coworkers what their go-to spots are to discover other restaurants to try. Then set up lunch or breakfast dates throughout the week with people you haven’t caught up with in awhile or new connections. You can also treat yourself to a meal if you want to go solo!

During my staycation, I visited two new restaurants that are now on my go-to list. Ria’s Blue Bird in Atlanta is a quirky, hipster spot that serves breakfast all day. I got a yummy pasta dish for lunch, but I heard their pancakes are drool-worthy.

5 Church in Midtown was another place that I went to for brunch. I loved the vibe and atmosphere. It had a modern style, and the entire text from the book “The Art of War” was written all over the walls with impactful quotes in bigger letters. I ordered a breakfast dish with eggs, sausage, potatoes and collard greens and it was delicious!

My favorite restaurant during my break was Le Petit Marche in Kirkwood. Melissa and I met up before she left for Egypt and we loved this cute little spot! It’s a Black owned business that serves the best breakfast dishes that the South has seen! I ordered eggs with spinach, olives and feta with a side of pita bread and Delia’s chicken sausage. That meal (and seeing my bff) definitely made me a happy camper!

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Get moving!

Whether you struggle making time to workout or it’s apart of your daily routine, a staycation grants you the opportunity to get some physical activity in. Take a new workout class or go for a morning jog everyday. This break is about taking care of yourself, and what better way to do that than to exercise.

The highlight of my staycation was climbing Stone Mountain. As I listened to the inspirational tunes on Chance the Rapper’s mixtape “The Coloring Book,” I was motivated to keep moving up the mountain even when I felt exhausted. It was also a place where I was able to be still and pray.

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I also rented a bike and rode it along the Atlanta Beltline and Piedmont Park. There’s nothing better than feeling the wind whip pass you as you admire the beauty of your city. The Beltline is a MUST if you’re in Atlanta. It is an old railroad track turned walking trail that wraps around the city. There is interesting art along the way and it’s a good way to explore the area on foot or bike.

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Be a lifelong learner

From cooking to sewing to digital marketing – there is always something new to learn. Sometimes we get so bogged down with work and our other day-to-day responsibilities that we don’t feed our brain with new information. Find something that interests you and learn more about it during your staycation. You can go to a museum or exhibit, take a class, or go to “YouTube academy”– it doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure you learn something new during your time off.

I took a class at General Assembly about advanced social media strategies and it enlightened me on the direct that I’d like to take my career. I also attended an event at GA featuring Atlanta’s shining social media influencers and it was inspiring to hear from people who’ve built their brand online through blogging, Instagram and YouTube. Without this staycation, I wouldn’t have gotten clarity on my next chapter, so I’m thankful that I learned more about something that interested me.

Reconnect and be social

Hang with old and new friends. Meet for coffee, lunch or happy hour. Turn up at a club or bar at least once! Enjoy the people that you’re with and look to expand your circle with more people who will inspire you and help you grow.

Find time to relax, and do what you want to do

Everyday during your time off shouldn’t be jam-packed. The beauty of a staycation is that you’re able to go with the flow and follow your heart to determine what you want to do.

Give yourself an opportunity to do nothing. Take naps, sleep in some days, enjoy a nice bubble bath, binge watch a new show. Each day assess how you’re feeling and what you have the energy to do. If you’d rather relax at home than be a hometown tourist one day, than do just that. It’s YOUR staycation.

Reflect and be still

Often times, we’re busy going through the motions and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This leaves us with no time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go. Find a moment to be still during your staycation. Pray, journal, meditate and have alone time with God to get clarity and comfort on things that may be troubling you. You can learn a lot when you’re still enough to hear God speak to you.

After my staycation, I went to work feeling like a new woman! I caught up on much needed sleep, received clarity on my calling and built on life-long connections.

Definitely consider taking a staycation this year, or plan one for 2017! It may be just what you need to recharge your brilliance and prepare to slay this season in your life.

Pieces of this blog post was first published on Thought Catalog 

7 #BlackGirlMagic Lessons To Learn From Simone Biles

7 #blackgirlmagic lessons to learn from

The world’s greatest gymnast is the epitome of #BlackGirlMagic. 2016 Olympic Champion Simone Biles may still be a teen, but she’s wise beyond her years and everyone can learn a lesson or two from her hustle.

1. Believe in yourself

Simone credits the 2013 World’s Championship as one of her proudest moments.

“I proved to myself that I could do things that I didn’t think I could. I guess I didn’t really believe everyone when they told me how good I was, and so for me to go out there and [win] I kind of started to believe it… I proved to myself that I do have the confidence to go out there and hit it like I do in practice.”

How can you shine if you don’t believe in your own magic? Simone shows that you have to recognize the greatness that is within you and know that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Photo Credit: Simone Biles Twitter

Photo Credit: Simone Biles Twitter

2. Work with what you got

Simone is apart of the small and mighty club. At 4 foot 9, she uses her characteristics to her advantage. Her small stature helps her flip and glide in the air flawlessly during her floor and balance beam routines.

Like Simone, work with what you got! Play the cards that you were handed to the best of your ability. This is your life and it’s up to you to make the most of it using your resources.

 3. Teamwork makes the dream work 

Simone’s longtime relationship with her coach Aimee Boorman contributed to her success. In an interview, the gymnast described the beginning of their relationship as a mutual learning process.

“I think that’s what helped us both, because we were kind of both clueless about it. So we were just learning together.” 

Just as you absorb the information and resources of the people around you, make sure you’re adding value to them as well.

Simone couldn’t have won gold at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games without her team – Gabby, Aly, Laurie and Madison. From encouragement during rigorous practices to sideline cheers during solo routines, her team offers love and support that keeps her going.

Surround yourself with positive people who want to be apart of your journey and be great with you. When we channel our energy into collaboration and productivity, we accomplish more together than we can apart.

 

4. You define you 

The Ohio native wrote her own narrative. Simone pursued her passion and unique talents, and practiced her craft for years. Although her biological mother was addicted to drugs and alcohol, that didn’t inhabit her brilliance.

Your past, family, and childhood help mold you but they don’t define you. Who do you want to be? What do you want to be known for? It’s up to you to write your story.

5. Family and friends are important, and you can’t make it on your own 

From her grandparents adopting her and her sister to having the same gymnastics coach since she was 8, Simone’s circle helped her step into her light.

Appreciate your loved ones and cherish the time that you get to spend with them when your not hustlin’ in your field.

6. Practicing consistency is major key 

A gymnast doesn’t get a chance to compete in the Olympics overnight. They consistently practice so they come to competitions prepared. Simone is confident when it’s game time because she knows how hard she’s worked to get there.

Life is a process. To move up the ranks in your field, it will take sweat, tears and maybe a little blood. But consistency is the key to make your dreams come true.

7. Reach for your dreams 

The first female gymnast since 1974 to win four consecutive all-around titles at the U.S. national championships. 

The first woman ever to be the all-around world champion three years in a row.

The recipient of fourteen world championships medals – the most ever won by an American woman.

These are just a few of Simone’s accolades, and it’s clear that she will continue to make history and show the world how magical Black girls are.

Like Simone, there is nothing keeping you from following dreams but yourself. Now forward roll over your fears, cartwheel towards consistency and flip to success. Keep reaching for your dreams!

Walking In Your Purpose

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“Don’t forget who you are and who’s you are…”

Did your mother say this every time you stepped out in public too? This was my mother’s consistent reminder / threat not to misbehave because it would surely get back to her. Often times I’d roll my eyes at the repetitive statement, but as I got older and truly began to understand whom I was, her saying had a different yet applicable meaning.

I’m a 24 year-old Black woman who was raised in Atlanta and educated at the illustrious Howard University (Go Bison!!). I’m an introvert by nature who can flip on her extrovert switch in seconds. But labels don’t capture who we are in totality.

Our gender, race, upbringing and education help make up who we are, but we are not defined or limited by those labels.

So who are you?

Even if I’ve never met you, I know that you’re a spiritual being with a divine purpose.

You may have noticed that “purpose” has become the latest buzzword. People always say that you should find yours, but they don’t always tell you how. They say that it will make your life or career more fulfilling, but that can be a challenge if you don’t clearly see why you were put on this earth. If you don’t already know your divine calling, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • If money wasn’t a factor, what would you do for the rest of your life?

A lot of us may say we’d travel the world, but what would you do while you’re there? Would you scour the international streets looking for the latest fashion trends or volunteer abroad? How you’d spend your time if given the opportunity to do whatever you want instead of working just to make a living can shed light on your calling.

  • What are you good at or what are people always going to you for?

You may be a wiz at creating budgets on Excel or a lover of cooking healthy meals for your family and friends. Your unique gifts and talents aren’t coincidental – somehow they may fit into the plan for your life. 

  • What’s your role in your friend circle?

Maybe you’re the mother figure that always knows what to say. Or you’re the socially conscious friend encouraging others to vote or protest. Just as much as people were placed in your life for a reason, you have a purpose in their life as well. And this role may have a bigger meaning into your life’s purpose.

In the last few weeks, I’ve heard multiple people say that I was inspiring. I think my purpose is to help people unleash their brilliance by sharing my testimony and offering words of encouragement. That’s an honor because I’m always motivated by other people, so to be light to someone else gives me fuel to keep going even on my worse days.

Your purpose helps you continue pushing even in the face of adversity or obstacles. It’s your why. It’s something that you would spend the rest of your life doing (even for free) if you had a chance.

While our purpose may evolve or shift over the years, knowing that we are called to do something greater than just live day-to-day is motivation to live our best lives. There was a reason that God created you, and it’s up to you to figure out your why and walk in that purpose.

Do you have an idea of your purpose? Share in the comments below!

5 Ways To Own Your Identity As A Millennial

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Born and raised in the digital age, as Millennials we’re connected to our smartphones and the ever-evolving tech world. We’re socially conscious and we want our careers to be something that we’re proud of. Our entrepreneurial mindset helps us craft the career of our dreams whether we run our own business or slay in Corporate America. We travel around the world, being sure to document our highlights on Instagram and Snapchat. Jet setting, emoji loving, creative beings that seizes the power of opportunities that we make for ourselves.

That’s my interpretation of Millennials, but we’re defined as those born between 1980 and 1995 who came to age in the New Millennium. Currently in our 20s and early 30s.

PEW RESEARCH CENTER

 

We’ve been portrayed as entitled, impatient, lazy and high-maintenance by those who don’t understand us. Despite that, we’re everyone’s favorite demographic. Brands love to target us with ads and engage with us on social media. We have power and we’re climbing our way to take over and modernize what careers traditionally looked like.

Similarly to your race, gender or height, your generation is just one characteristic of who you are. And just like your other traits – you have to own being a Millennial!

Here are 5 ways to do that:

1. Establish an online presence as part of your personal brand. A stellar LinkedIn profile, visual Instagram account or authentic blog are just a few ways you can brand yourself online.

2. Have an entrepreneurial mindset wherever you are – meaning you’re resourceful and identify solutions to your problems. Hustle like you have your own business, even if you have a 9 – 5.

3. Express your passions your way. Maybe it’s starting a food blog, recycling, mentoring a teen, taking dance classes regularly. Pursue something that you love.

4. Channel your fellow Millennial Beyonce and slay at whatever you do. Understand that no one can do what you do quite like you do.

5. Take advantage of the power in surrounding yourself with other likeminded Millennials….

I saw this in full effect when I recently attended the Millennials Brunch – a networking event like no other. Hosted by Intecoo, an experiential marketing agency “connecting brands and influencers that do cool sh*t,” 40 Millennial influencers gathered at General Assembly in Atlanta to fellowship, collaborate, eat a DELICIOUS meal and enjoy bottomless mimosas… Note the emphasis on delicious, that French toast was magical haha. It was inspiring to be amongst other people hustling in their own field – from marketing to graphic design to real estate – and embracing their identity as a Millennial.

In true Millennial fashion, check out my Snaps below highlighting the Millennial Brunch!

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Follow Intecoo for more information about their events designed to empower a culture of collaboration. My first Intecoo event was a panel discussion at General Assembly and I learned different tips that can help you grow no matter what industry you’re in. These events are monthly so get plugged in if you’re in Atlanta!

Shout out to the caterer Nilka Hendricks who brought to-go containers so I could enjoy that French toast the next morning. To reinforce that her cooking is on another level, she was also on season 7 of Hells Kitchen. *drops mic*

What’s your favorite thing about being a Millennial? Share in the comments below! 

Article also published on the Huffington Post .

#BrilliantBites: Mason Jar Breakfast Parfait

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A brilliant beauty can’t slay her day on an empty stomach, so it’s important to eat breakfast to start each day on the right foot. While it’s easy to skip breakfast, you should eat something in the morning to give you the energy needed to make it through the day.

If you’re always on the run like me, the easiest way to eat breakfast is to have something that I can grab quickly. Recently I made a yogurt parfait in a mason jar and it was delicious – my new breakfast go-to! It’s affordable and easy – you can even make a few at once over the weekend so eating breakfast is a no brainer once the work-week starts. Read on to see how you can make this jar of yummy-ness.

What You’ll Need:

  • A small mason jar (I used a large mason jar and made enough yogurt parfait to last a few days)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fruit of choice (I used fresh strawberries and berries, but you can also use frozen fruit)
  • Whole grain granola
  • Optional
    • Shredded almond
    • Chia seeds
    • Raisins 

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Instructions

  1. Add a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt to cover the bottom of the mason jar
  2. Layer fruit on the yogurt
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the granola and other dry ingredients of choice (almonds, chia seeds, raisins, etc.)
  4. Sprinkle the granola mixture on the fruit in the mason jar
  5. Repeat from step 1 until the mason jar is full
  6. Let parfait chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours
  7. Grab & go!

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What are your favorite breakfast meals when you’re on the run? Share in the comments below!