Monthly Archives

July 2017

In Business & Blogging, Lifestyle on
July 31, 2017

Things to do before 9am for a successful day

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to take an intensive course with Heidi Hope of Heidi Hope Photography and besides all of the wonderful photography related information, I was given, I was also given a lot of wonderful advice.  One bit of advice that was given was from a book by —- called —-.  In the book, — speaks about the importance of your morning routine.  Did you know that 95% of people fail in anything 0_0.  Only 5% succeed and the people who are the most successful have some kind of morning routine.  Well I refuse to fail.  I tell myself every morning “5%” to keep me motivated.  To help in this,  I have adopted a morning routine of my own.  There are some specific things that you should incorporate into your morning routine to help your day flow.  So tomorrow morning, get up at least 30 minutes early and do the following:


Have a Healthy Breakfast

We have all heard it.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  This is the meal that gives us the nutrients and energy we need to get us through the day.  It also helps us to focus. Nothing like working hungry all day and waiting until lunch.  Who can put their all into work when their mind is on food?  I can’t.  I get hangry very easily and no one wants to deal with that beast.

Quiet Time

This is my favorite part of the routine.  Grab your cup of coffee and read for a few minutes, take some time to meditate, or free write.  Just get your mood ready for the day.  No social media. Don’t overstimulate your brain.  Visualize what your day is going to be like. Plan for positivity.  If you’re a creative, this time will give your brain the chance to let go and make room for creativity.


My life struggle!! But working out in the morning really sets a tone for your day.  You will feel refreshed and accomplished and ready to take on what the day brings.

Make Your To Do List

This is the best time to fully plan out your day.  Put the hardest things at the top of your list and work your way done to the easiest. I know I love nothing better then to see things on my to do list crossed or checked off.  It’s really fulfilling and having a daily to do list is a great way to keep your day in order and productive.


Do you find that waking up early and getting a good start to your day makes a difference?  What are some of your morning practices?

successful day - david mao

In Beauty on
July 27, 2017

Fav Swimsuits from Black Designers


While checking out swimsuits this season, I came across so many favorites.  I love getting the chance to support and recommend fellow black owned businesses and so I have chosen some of my favorites that I found in my online shopping endeavors.

I am really into the off the shoulder/bardot type look this year so I am loving Andrea Iyamah’s tropical feather print Carly swimsuit.  The frills on the sleeves really add the extra something to this suit.


Loving the boldness of this Ankara print two piece swimsuit by Red Star. Hard to choose a favorite with all of the wonderful pieces and fabrics in this shop.  Ankara prints are some of my favorites and the swimsuit does not disappoint.


Cheryl Jones’ Asherah Swimear has some wonderful prints this season and I am really loving this Raven one piece.  The varying tones of brown really come together in this swimsuit.  Head over to the site and checkout the back of this swimsuit!!


The print, the off the shoulder, the ruffles. All a win in this Blue Aztec swimsuit by Nakimuli.  This line always knocks it out of the park for me.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out the beautifully designed clothing at Nakimuli, head over there now!


This just makes me want to be far, far away!! The ultimate travel suit, African Flower suit by Rue107. I love how fiercely tropical it is and the extra halter piece looks great for support.  Great options for plus size beauties in this shop too!



Ok so I’m a little bit biased but Cape Verde by Monif C.  is too dope!!  This suit has a matching coverup and this shop is full of curvy girl suits!


Did you find some really great swimsuits this season?  Share some of your favorites below or just some of your favorite black fashion designers!

In Business & Blogging, Lifestyle on
July 14, 2017

Starting a Blog: An Empathy Post

I started a blog.  Actually I started my fifth blog.  I have been giving this blogging thing a go many times throughout out the years.  My second blog was mildly successful but it was never on topic of the things that I wanted to blog about and always ended up being about what I thought people wanted to see and I wasted a lot of time and money doing it.  I keep coming back to blogging because I really love to write and share life through my own unique perspective.  I love the connections I make with people and the stories I get to read sharing with other bloggers and the overall community of bloggers BUT blogging is a lot of work!!

Every time I take it on, I think I’m prepared.  I’m not.  This time I have done so much research and learned TONS of new information to take on this task and now that I have launched the blog I still feel completely unprepared!  Between making sure my SEO is on point, and networking, and sharing my posts, and monetizing …AHHHHH… and that’s without even including writing the content which is the most important part.  Not to mention I am running a creative portrait business full-time, I am a mom, and I am trying my hardest to stop being the disorganized mess I have become.  WHAT WAS I THINKING STARTING A BLOG?? Lol

….but I refuse to be overwhelmed or quit and this time I am going to succeed harder than I have ever succeeded at blogging before.  I know there have to be bloggers out there who are struggling with just getting everything off the ground like me, so this post is in solidarity with all my fellow starter bloggers!  Raise your hand if you’ve thought on occasion, what am I doing?? *raises both hands* We’re all in the same boat and I’m sure there is something that has helped you along the way to stay on track and stay motivated.  For me there are two things.  The first is a content calendar.  Mine is pretty wonky still and I am still working out parts of it but it really helps to keep me on track and make sure I always have something to post.  My second is my community.  Talking and sharing with other bloggers is paramount for the future success of this blog!  I learn so much from others and I find lots of great inspiration and I am motivated to keep going by watching all of the success others have had.  So this journey continues and it is truly a struggle some days but one I am happy for!!

Are you a new blogger?  Have you been blogging for ages?  Please share some of your tips for what keeps you motivated or what you found was the most helpful thing when starting out!  If you’re not a blogger what are somethings you do in your area of expertise to keep you motivated?



In Lifestyle, Uncategorized on
July 6, 2017

3 Notebooks for the Swamped Creative

I don’t know about you guys but as a creative, I am always overwhelmed by how much I have going on and how many thoughts are running through my head.  It always helps me to be able to to organize those thoughts/tasks and release them to help with focus and relaxation.

In finding a way to do that I found a purpose for my notebook obsession as well!  I love notebooks.  Anytime I see a cute notebook, I have to but it with no real plan of what it will ever be used for.  Organizing my plans, thought, and ideas into these notebooks has helped a ton both creatively and organizationally.


The Notes Notebook

This is the notebook I like to call “my brain”.  This is where I do all of my brain dumps.  If I have a new idea, I write it down.  If I need to make a list of anything, it goes in here.  Sometimes I need a complete free write and this is the place.  There’s no organization to it or right way to do it.  The Notes Notebook just takes all of those thoughts out of your head and saves them in a place for you to come back to later.


The Journal

This is a place for more organized thought.  Jot down what has happened in your day, how you’re feeling in the moment, keep track of your memories.  The Journal is a daily/weekly log og the goings on of your life, where you can come back to and see where you once were and how far you’ve come. Journaling is a wonderful way to keep a log of your life.


The Sketchbook

I am totally not the best drawer in the world but you definitely don’t have to be!  You can sketch and doodle and just explore yourself artistically.  It’s a great way to decompress and let your mind relax.  Sometimes we just need a time to be free of out thoughts and let our creative minds take over.  Sketching and scribbling and coloring just gives me some quiet  escape time and can really help to inspire me before my next project.

sketchbook for creative

Bonus Notebook: The Prayer Journal

For those of you who are spiritual, The Prayer Journal can be the most important in your notebook arsenal.  I know for me sometimes it’s hard to focus in prayer being inundated by my many thoughts.  My prayer journal helps me focus through writing.  It’s my time to communicate my thanks and my worries and my needs for my family, my friends, and myself.  Once done writing in my prayer journal and casting my cares, I feel free and confident to take on my day.


Notebooks are more than pretty little pages.  They are a blank space for you to fill up with you!  Getting everything out of your head and having some quiet time can help the creative mind to be open to developing magnificent new ideas and projects and I encourage you to indulge yourself in this wonderful practice.


notebooks for creative

In Lifestyle on
July 3, 2017

Summer Side Dishes Perfect for the 4th of July

potato salad

Since the 4th is tomorrow of course I must have an obligatory food post, it’s only right.  With the many cookouts taking place, I was thinking of what I wanted to eat or make for the holiday this year so I turned to social media to get ideas from friends!! I wanted to know what their favorite summer side dish was and then find a fun recipe to share with all of you!

Jen says she loves bruschetta as a summer side and her choice was much agreed upon by others. She says, “It’s the side dish that serves as a meal.” So I scoured Pinterest for a great summer version of this dish.  Ciao Florentina did not disappoint.  She adds some cheese to this dish which makes it look like it’s to die for and the grilled garlic bread is excellent for seasonal dining!


Praise says she loves watermelon and feta salad because it’s “refreshing”! Watermelon is super refreshing on hot days and who doesn’t love feta (I mean, besides my own mother! Betrayal.). Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice has a great take on this favorite with added cucumbers for a little veggy crunch and red onions which is just perfection in a salad to me.

Justina’s favorite is Broccoli Cole Slaw because “It’s healthy and delicious.” We all need that dish that makes us feel good about ourselves as we consume overflowing plates and alcohol and this is the one! Cole slaw is another refreshing favorite and the addition of broccoli just take it over the top.  Check out this recipe from Add a Pinch for a quick 10 minute recipe your guests (and you) are sure to love.


Some other favorites I got were classics! Baked beans, macaroni salad, and the ever popular (and my personal favorite) Potato Salad!  Now don’t just go diving into any potato salad recipe you see.  Potato Salad is an art and the test of a true cook. Lol. I mean ok, maybe not all that, but damn it, potato salad needs to be good and my mother makes amazing potato salad.  I’m feeling generous so I’m about to tell you how she makes hers but for real, you guys can’t go telling everybody about this now.


Jan’s Potato Salad


6-8 Red Potatoes

2 Eggs

1-1 1/2 Cups of Mayo

1/4 cup of Mustard

1/4 cup of Relish

Salt, Pepper, and Celery Salt to taste

Paprika for Color (optional)


Boil your potatoes until they are fork tender. Skin off or skin on is up to you. We do either.

Hard boil your eggs.

When potatoes are fork tender. Remove from water and heat and cool.  We like to boil our potatoes the night before so their nice and cold the next day.

Chop your potatoes into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.

Add the mayo to the potatoes and gently turn the potatoes so that they don’t fall apart. You want the mayo to fully coat the potatoes with a little to spare so add a little more mayo if potatoes seem dry.

Add the mustard and relish and do the same.

Season to taste with celery salt (a little goes a long way) then salt and pepper.

Sprinkle paprika on top for color (optional)


That’s my mama’s delicious potato salad!!!


Add some of these summer favorites to your cookouts this year and comment below and tell me how they were!!

In Business & Blogging, Lifestyle on
July 1, 2017

Why I left my job with nothing but hope to pay the bills

I had a tiny bit of savings and a whole lot of hope when I walked out of the door from the job I had been at for the last six years.  It was a good job in that it was very secure and it paid relatively well with increases annually (sometimes three times a year).  Being in that office, I probably would have been set for the life.  There were people retiring who had been there 30+ years and retired with great pensions that would leave them in a good position for the rest of their lives. But I walked out of the door with just enough hope to push me over the threshold and this is why.

A steady paycheck is nice.  IT REALLY IS. But you know what else is nice?  Being healthy. Having peace of mind. Being happy.  My job paid bills and was unhealthy, toxic, and soul-killing.  The anxiety that it caused made me a miserable and barely healthy person.  As I struggle with anxiety as is, working in an atmosphere where you are yelled at daily, over-looked, and over-worked only exacerbates that and once I started being forced to take on work that was not part of my original job description and being punished if I didn’t, I knew it was something I couldn’t do anymore.

Well God knew it too and my job offered layoffs.  The day it happened, my coworkers started emailing me saying, “This is it!” and I knew they were right.

I knew that I had always wanted to work for myself and generate an income off of something that I loved and controlled myself.  So I left with very little money saved and I set out on my adventure.  The adventure of entrepreneurship.

Do I know how I am going to pay my bills from month to month?  Nope!  Is my savings starting to dwindle?  Yep! Am I working harder everyday to get everything in place to be able to sustain a livable income?  Sure am!  …and I am the happiest I have been in a long time and I work everyday to get back on track to being healthy as well.

I jumped …and right now I’m still gliding but one day soon, I will fly and if you stay here with me, you will watch me on my journey to soaring heights.


Follow my blog with Bloglovin