|Posted on July 5, 2019 at 12:35 AM||comments (2)|
It’s been a week since I have returned from Italy. I am still riding high on a cloud. The jet lag has finally left my bones but my mind is 5,686 miles away. I must admit, I am bored. I needed something to do so I decided to blog and podcast about this beautiful place. Italy was filled with rolling hills, quaint towns tucked away in the Earth’s surface, cobblestone streets with remnants of history, and mountains that touched the sky. I can’t put this experience into words but I will try my best. All I can say is, this trip is one for the books. From Rome to Florence, I believe we left an impression in Italy and Italy left an impression on us. Shout out to my personal travel cultivator, Detra Alton and Almeda Travel for believing in my brand to put a trip of this magnitude together. The vision came to life on June 17 as we invaded airports with big hopes and dreams. Twenty-one women traveled safely across the globe and back without any major issues. Nobody ended up in the infirmary, Roman jail, or captive in a medieval castle in a dungeon in the Tuscany hills. That’s huge. Thank you to everyone who prayed for us and prayed with us as we traveled to foreign lands. God’s hand was definitely upon us.
I toured Italy with 21 phenomenal women from different walks of life. Girl’s trips scare me because women can be catty, but these women were mature and professional. Many of us didn’t know each other, but we meshed well together. Our lives, situations and circumstances bonded us together. We laughed a little, cried a lot, shared stories and toured foreign lands until our feet were swollen. Simply put, for seven days we ate, drank and lived in merriment. We started with fellowship and ended as a sisterhood. Strangers were now friends built on organic encounters and experiences. At first, people were skeptical and didn’t have a clue how a trip with 21 women with unexplainable personalities with diverse needs was going to unfold. Guess what, it worked! This trip was planned with free time built in so you can do you! Some women shopped until they dropped, went on private excursions, and ate real Italian cuisine.
It will be an exaggeration to say, I immensely enjoyed myself in the country of Italy. This trip was more than a passport stamp, it was filled with purpose. I learned some new Italian words and saw sights and monuments that were once a dream. The Vatican, the Coliseum, and St. Peter's Basilica. Now, in Pompeii I learned that Basilica means the place of judgment where others believe Basilica means a church. I had the opportunity to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece in The Sistine chapel along with the statue of David, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Forum and the Holy road. There were many more but the sites are too numerous to list them all. Just know I saw a lot, walked a lot and learned a lot.
Through it all with every sight and every ruin, I looked at everything as a lesson. I constantly asked myself, “What is the take away?” What is it that God wants me to learn? What is it he wants me to see? There was so much to digest on a spiritual and emotional level. To be honest, I’m still processing it all.
Here are my thoughts. Some are deep. Some are funny and some are on the surface but none the less, I wanted to share them with you.
- God is real- Duh! I knew that already but I could feel the presence of God as I walked the cobbled stone streets. As I stepped back through time and history, I couldn’t help but to think of my faith and my religion. Knowing that the Romans crucified my Lord had me spellbound. Then to know two of his faithful disciples were executed in Rome while spreading the gospel made me realize how my religion has stood the test of time. At one point it was illegal to be a Christian and here I was walking freely while singing songs of Zion in Rome and in Apollo’s sanctuary. My take away... The word of God will never come back void and shall stand forever more.
- It's good to be missed sometimes- People don't realize the importance of your existence in their lives until you are not readily available to them. Meaningless conversations were almost nonexistent because I was seven hours ahead of those back home in America. My favorite text message was from my mom asking when will I return home because she missed talking to me. That made me smile! Love is shown in action and the smallest gestures can go a long way. My take away... Know that you add value to your love ones lives rather they tell you or not.
- Family is everything- One thing Europe hasn’t lost is the sense of family. It’s truly a unit that is meant to connect and empower. Maybe I noticed that more because I desire a true family unit deep within. It gives me great joy to see a husband leading, the wife serving, the children laughing and playing while the grandmother looks on in silence. That scene warms my heart. The family (la famiglia) is the most important aspect of an Italian’s life. Actually, it is a crucial necessity. They believe the family unit is important because it provides love, support and a framework of values to each of its members. Italians have stronger feelings of loyalty to their family than they have to their country. My take away... Blood IS thicker than water.
- Sharing is caring- A famous Italian saying goes “the appetite comes while you are eating.” Therefore, there is a structure to Italian dining. Much of Italian life revolves around the family dinner table. Meals are often ordered in family style. People pass food to one another from serving dishes over a bottle of wine and stimulating conversation. Conversation is just as important as the meal. I didn’t see cellphones on the table or people texting while dining. They were engaged in conversation over a good meal. What does that say to me... Put my phone down and be present in the moment. If I’m not interested, stay at home.
Here is the structure of Italian dining.
• The antipasto: A traditional Italian meal starts with something to nibble on, called an antipasto, which translates into English as “before the meal.”
• The primo: In Italy, pasta is a first course, or primo, served as an appetizer, not as the main event. Soup, rice, and polenta are the other options for the primo.
• The secondo: The main course is called il secondo, or the second course. Chicken, meat, or fish are the usual choices, and portions are generally small. These main courses are usually fairly simple, especially if a rich pasta or rice dish precedes them.
• The contorno: A platter of vegetables usually accompanies the main course. This side dish highlights the simple goodness of the vegetable. The word contorno loosely translates as “contours” and refers to the fact that the vegetable course helps shape and define the meal.
• The dolce: A dolce (or sweet) ends a traditional Italian meal.
- Olive Garden has us fooled- Our palate is truly Americanized. Day one, I had to wrap my mind around the cuisine in Italy. My first encounter with real Italian food made me come to one conclusion… That Olive Garden is not real Italian food. It didn’t even resemble what I was accustomed too. First of all, the pasta is served al dente. “Al dente” literally means “to the tooth” in Italian. That means that well-cooked pasta must have a soft bite, a “snap” that you can feel when you chew. Pasta that is cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index than pasta that is cooked soft. So basically, al dente pasta is better for you. We overcook our pasta, vegetables and meat in America. Our pizza isn’t even authentic. I ordered a ham, mushroom and mozzarella pizza. The crust was so thin, crispy and flakey. It reminded me of pita bread. The tomato sauce was made from grilled tomatoes that was pureed by somebody’s grandma in the back and the ham came in thin slices. It was actually prosciutto and I was looking for Canadian Bacon. We even eat Mozzarella wrong here in America. When freshly made, you’ll often find it served in restaurants and at the family table as an antipasto, or appetizer, to enjoy with sliced prosciutto, bresaola or salami. I learned that mozzarella is not stored in the refrigerator, unless you are going to using it for cooking. The proper way to store it is at room temperature in the liquid it is packaged in when you buy it. Who knew!!! I was like yeah… this is very different but different can be good because it broadens our perspective. Another plus was the food was fresh and my body appreciates that. It didn’t stay in my digestive track long. My happy point... I ate gelato every single day. Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream. It starts out with a similar custard base as ice cream, but has a higher proportion of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs (or no eggs at all). It is churned at a much slower rate, incorporating less air and leaving the gelato denser than ice cream. Talk about delicious!
- It doesn’t take all that- We do the most while doing the absolute least at the same damn time. We are caught up in our day to day operations that we forget to live. Take time and smell the roses.
- Rome really wasn’t built in a day- I know its cliché’ but there’s truth behind this statement. Rome wasn't built in a day is a proverb attesting to the need for time to create great things. What does that say to me? As I am building this brand, take my time and build it brick by brick, one layer at a time. I want a brand that will last like the Roman Coliseum and leave an impression on each person that I encounter. These buildings and monuments are STILL standing centuries later. Why? Because it was constructed with purpose and designed with every possible mishap in mind. We learned majority of the buildings in Rome were once covered in marble. Today, there is not a trace of marble due to time and greed but here’s the take away. The removal of the marble didn’t strip the edifices of its beauty. It was still an awesome wonder to behold. We weren’t concerned with the outside. We wanted to tour what was on the inside. So what’s the lesson? Glad you asked. People will try to strip your purpose, tell you what you are doing wrong, attempt to take what rightly belongs to you but it doesn’t affect who you are. People are attracted to what’s on the inside. You are still a site to behold.
- Get a tour guide- Often we try to tackle unknown places and foreign lands by ourselves. I am queen of that. That’s how I toured Paris, but Italy was a different story. There are many benefits to traveling with tour companies. They really do suit the needs of a lot of travelers. Traveling with a tour company is safer, faster and efficient. We skipped the line at many museums and walked through like we were VIP, which was a bonus. Another added perk is they provide insightful information that adds value to each and every sight. They know the history. Also, guided tours with tour companies can prove to be a great choice for those who want to see as much as they can in a small space of time. Shout out to my two favorite tour guides: Patricia in Rome and Andrea in Florence.
- Invest more in your flight- We've all been there. Long flight, cramped in coach. To fly overseas it is a minimum of 10 hours. I’m telling you, after a flight like that, you are weary and looking for rest as soon as you touch ground. Upgrade your seat to an emergency aisle or an aisle seat so you can stretch out and move around the cabin. Our bodies are not meant to be cooped up like chickens. If your pocket book says it’s ok, opt for one of those fancy pods that allows your seat to recline with the gourmet food. It’s worth it! They look like they had a good night’s rest upon arrival. I looked into the first class section like you lucky son of a guns! One day Lord, one day!
- Compression socks- You finally land and discover your ankles have swollen to twice the normal size and maybe it even hurts to walk to baggage claim. Traveling is so rewarding but can take a toll on your circulation. While the risk of developing blood clots on a flight is low, it goes up as travel time increases. Get you some compression socks. Yes, really! The first time I noticed that I was swelling was on the plane and I didn't have on any socks. I was miserable because I was in the middle section in the middle seat. Getting up was not an easy option. So add compression socks to your traveling list of must haves. These stockings help increase circulation and reduce the risk of swelling or worse deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and clotting on a long flight.
- Fun Fact I learned- The Margherita pizza was designed after the Italian flag. Red is represented by the tomatoes, Green is represented by the basil, and the mozzarella cheese represents the color white.
Prepare: Before, During and After
- Call your bank prior to your departure. Inform them of the dates of travel so when you swipe your card you are not greeted with a nice decline message.
- Get your exercise and water intake on. That goes without saying. There is a lot of walking involved when visiting foreign lands. We drive everywhere in America and that’s an unrealistic expectation for continents like Europe. Be prepared to get your walk on so prepare your cardiovascular system early.
- Also, get some calling cards so you can call home without putting a dent in your phone bill. I am not ready to look at my cell phone bill at all even though I had a global day pass. AT&T charge $10 a day and they are wrong for that.
- Download the WhatsApp so you stay connected to those back home. You can call and text using this app. While in Rome, my phone worked perfectly but other cities infrastructure was not as advanced as Rome. You never want to lose connection with your love ones. GroupMe is a good app to have as well. That's how the Mr. and I stayed connected.
After you return home
- Rest! I thought I was ready to continue to take of the world. Oh, was I wrong. Jet lag is not fictious and your body must get used to being back home on a different time zone. Proper rest is important.
- Wash your dirty clothes immediately. Don't bring those germy clothes into your home.
That’s all for now… Ciao Bella!
Want to learn more... Listen to the Bellissma podcast available on every podcast platform.
|Posted on July 20, 2017 at 12:55 AM||comments (1)|
The stars shine bright big at night… (clap, clap, clap, clap) Deep in the heart of Texas. Whoever believes Texas is full of tumbleweeds, cacti and cows haven’t visited since the oil boom of 1901. Opulence, fashion and fun is the new moniker we wear proudly, but one thing remains. The stars still shine bright on this great state.
Who was the latest star to grace the Lone Star state with its presence? Glad you asked. None other than Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily and celebrity stylist Ty Hunter. (Yes! Beyonce’s former stylist) I had the opportunity to attend a private brunch hosted by them at the chic Sorrento Italian restaurant in the famous Montrose area of Houston. As the mimosas poured, we shared our business brands, advice on work/life balance and networked with some of the finest in the business.
This was an out of body experience and I was thankful to sit at the table with them as they imparted wisdom on how to get ahead of the industry. The whole time I was thinking...
Pinch me! This can’t be real.
“If you are in the room with Oprah and you don’t take your chance, that’s on you!” I can still hear the words out of Ty Hunter’s mouth as he candidly spoke to the guest. Those words stabbed my heart like a double edge sword. How many times are we close to “our change” but we are afraid to make the step or say hello.
I am taking pages from their book and sharing some of the information with you. (You can thank me later)
- It’s Ok to take a different path- Claire is a Harvard graduate and worked a 9 to 5 after graduation. She knew there was something better out there for her. She made a conscious decision to quit her job, MOVED TO PARIS to follow her dreams. Look at her now! It doesn’t matter how you get there, just get there!
- If you don’t see it, create it- As a child growing up in the 80’s, you did not see a plus size model nowhere. Now, we are represented by different brands all because of innovators like Claire. She created the way for the fashion industry to be more inclusive by creating a safe space for plus size models to be seen.
- Know yourself- Be confident in who you are and embrace it. Understand what you have to offer and accept nothing less. If they tell you “No,” ask in a different way and knock on a different door. Don’t give up.
- Don’t be afraid to move- “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” – Gail Sheehy Claire is not new to moving, change and growth. She’s leaving the concrete jungle (home) and planting herself in the City of Angels to take her empire to a new level. When growth is necessary, you must be willing to move out of your comfort zone. If you haven't done it, you should try it.
The room was filled with likeminded creatives who cheered you on. We liked and followed each other on every social media platform immediately. Why? Because that’s what collaboration looks like. A wise poet once said, “Smart women don’t compete, we collaborate.” There’s a seat at the table for all of us, but we must be willing to pull up the chair.
Want to see more footage from the day, Click here… https://youtu.be/RtEWJ31ff5s
For more on Claire check out http://fashionbombdaily.com/about/
|Posted on July 20, 2015 at 1:00 AM||comments (0)|
The travel bug keeps biting me. This time he bit me hard. My word! In the matter of 3 days, I've traveled the southern coast of the United States racking up a grand total of 1,367 miles. Not to mention my drive to and from Waco and Dallas. My poor Acura needs a massage and an old fashion hand wash. It's good to get a change of scenery every now and again. Change is good. New places plus new opportunities equals exposure. Many people don't understand why I do what I do, but it's not up for their understanding or questioning. I believe traveling broadens your knowledge base, expands your view of the world and allows you to meet new people. I can remember as a young adolescent in elementary looking in my history and geography books wanting to travel and see the world. My daydreams have turned into my reality. These days most of my travels are in the name of "From the Florist to the Forest." The name of the book alone screams some type of traveling is involved. The exposure to markets outside of Houston will not come while I'm sitting twiddling my thumbs. So I made a conscience decision to actively pursuing my dreams. From the chitterling circuit to large cities everyone can relate to my book's universal message regardless of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. I really believe in my literary piece and I want to share it with the world and anyone who will listen. It's my beautifully transcribe testimony of not waiting on God for my soulmate. I was concerned with the frivolous superficial things and not the real purpose of marriage because of my age. Many women receive it well and encourage me to continue sharing the message because they can relate. I received love from Waco to Birmingham because of its powerful message to Think Deep Before You Leap! Thank you to Marlena Hamilton at KWTX in Waco, TX and Apryl Fort-Kelly for hosting "Glam in the Ham" with Charlie Marcol. Ain't no stopping me now, I'm on the move. (Can you hear me singing the tune) It's nowhere to go but up from here. Next stop, no one knows.... Stay tune.
|Posted on July 18, 2015 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
It is said that opposites attract. Who on earth came up with that theory? Maybe opposites attract for batteries and compasses but in my opinion that theory is not true for people. Applying this lesson to our romantic pursuits is often a recipe for disaster. When it comes to matters of the heart, it gets complicated. Having nothing in common doesn't give you something special or the need to survive. For instance, my positive spirit with his negative attitude gives me a miserable relationship. I can think of a lot of opposite relationships that doesn't work well or integrate. Jesus and the devil, Ike and Tina, oil and water, bleach and ammonia, the educated verses the unlearned even a good looking man that's undetermined. No matter how you try to make any of those combinations work, simply it doesn't. How do I know? Based on pure observation. I'm not an expert in the field of science to know, the laws of physics and love can't exist when there isn't a bond. As I state in Chapter 3 in From the Florist to the Forest, "When something has bonded well together it is difficult to break apart. Bonding forms that indestructible connection that no one can break. With any bond there is a need." The need must exist to create the bond. Without the bond the relationship doesn't thrive. Forming the right bond creates a sense of belonging. Remember, I only speak or write from my personal experience. Your character, personality, goals & desires in life should align with your partner. In a relationship you will have to learn to be flexible, but not so unbalanced that you find yourself making accommodations for everything. Life already presents us challenges, so being a relationship shouldn't be filled with uncompromising drama. According to Psychology today, studies have found that people are more likely to be attracted to and pursue romantic relationships with individuals who are more like themselves in most facets of their lives. I wonder why? Actually I'm learning that when you and your mate are similar, it creates a harmonious peaceful relationship. You will find it easy to make decisions because you and your boo are on the same page about things that matter. You are a force to reckon with because better together than separated. You are secure with each other. You will appear to be happy in your relationship and find it easy like Sunday morning when you are more alike than different. Here are a few things (some are serious and some are funny) I believe a couple should not apply the opposite theory on.
Finances- We don’t have to have money to have a real good time! Said no woman ever! That’s cool for certain instances but is that the way the relationship will operate. Nothing kills a relationship faster than an over spender, a broke buster and a person that lives above their means. Who are you trying to impress? After marriage, you should be building an empire not tearing it down. Is there a retirement fund in place, a nest egg for a rainy day, or a savings account that will cover you just in case the unimaginable happens such as sickness or health was in intervene on your lives.
Energy- Ok, in the game of love we all know what grown people like to do. If he's a dud, and you're a bit experienced things will eventually get boring over time. Like yawning boring... The levels should match to help resist temptation from outside influences. If not, a whole lot of extra stimulation will be needed to keep the fire and desire burning. Again, I'm not an expert but I only speak from experience. (Smile)
Goals- What is the ultimate goal that you want to achieve together? Are you unequally yoked? Does he support you in your endeavors and do you support his dreams. Even if your goals are not aligned, that will create friction in your home. You will begin to resent your partner if for not being able to live out the dreams. When you marry someone unequally yoked, many things are not accomplished within your marriage because you don’t have the same outcome in mind. Instead, you will find yourselves arguing about trivial things. That’s enough to drive a person crazy.
Communication- communication builds bridges not walls. Your communication styles should be very similar in order to be effective. He’s yelling and your crying when disagreement comes creates two crushed spirits. When negativity is spewed like acid, it’s hard to take those words back once they are said.
Family- does he want a family and would you rather focus on your career & see the world. Starting a family is a serious conversation that should be discussed prior to "I do." Oh, and that mother-in-law that you can’t stand will someday become your child’s grandmother if the two of you decided to procreate. And if your husband-to-be is a momma’s boy, forget it. His mother will stand by waiting to catch him when he messes up because she doesn’t trust you.
Shared values & beliefs- Your political and religious views should be complement each other as well. Peoples beliefs say a lot about who they are and their character. For instance, if he is Buddhist and you’re a Christian, he will not understand your religious beliefs, thus creating strife in your home. In times of trouble, where will he turn to for direction, your God or his? How will your children be raised? What holidays will you celebrate? See… typing these questions created confusion in my head. You should be able to identify his work ethic and if you share the same values and morals. This helps establish cohesiveness amongst the two of you.
|Posted on June 17, 2015 at 12:25 AM||comments (0)|
It's the summertime... Our lives are filled with welcomed and unwelcome distractions. We are busy working, going to, pick up, run over here, and gotta get there. When life doesn't have us tied down we are scrolling, uploading, posting, texting, tweeting, IG'ing, and FaceTime'ing that we don't put in the quality time for those that really matter. OURSELVES. My son was away in Missouri all week at a summer camp so this mother took full advantage of the free time. If I told you that I didn't do one thing, that would be a complete lie but my interactions with people was minimal. By Thursday, I was ready to see what I could get into. People need human interaction including myself no matter how much of a hermit we may claim to be. Conversations, laughter, mental stimulation is what I desired. I needed to give myself some quality time outside of my house away from my laptop. So, this past Saturday, I decided to put my phone down, get out the bed, put on one of my cute maxi dresses and take advantage of the Texas Black Expo. I wanted to do something other than a club or day party. The Expo was literally 15 minutes from my house. "Why not go," I thought. My hair was slayed to the Gawds & freshly done. I definitely didn't want it to go to waste. (Besides my hair works for me) Need less to say, I'm so glad that I listened to my inner self! I made up in my mind that Saturday was going to be the day to network, meet people in the business, find vendors for the upcoming Empowerment Breakfast, and introduce Charlie Marcol to potential clients and readers.
I had to walk a green mile to get to Hall A once I arrived at the George R. Brown (GRB). From the moment I stepped into the Expo Hall, we (the hair & the dress) were a hit! I walked in with expectancy. As an author, my first stop was the Author's Network area. Some names were recognizable while others were like me; novice in the literary field. (Hey! We all have to start from somewhere.) It was there I connected with some amazing people who were lucky enough to get their works displayed at this affair. I have a strong spirit of discernment so my gut pulled me to certain people like a magnet. I took business cards and distributed mine. "Oh you're an author?" "Why? Yes I am. I am Charlie Marcol the author of From the Florist to the Forest, where I am challenging women to think deep before you leap into marriage." Their countenance said it all. Their face lit up like City Hall's Christmas tree with pure astonishment. My elevator speech was on point because I wanted to make a lasting impression. I play no games and when it's time to stand and deliver; I deliever.
The absolute highlight on my day was the authors network panel. It was there I had the opportunity to meet Angela Stanton, Eric Jerome Dickey, and ReShonda Tate Billingsley. Of course the formalities were covered and then we switched gears to what we wanted to hear. They were candid, hilarious, and real. I love when people can joke about their craft because it shows they are human. Each of them are successful in their own right, but everyone shared their insight of the literary world that's key for my branding. It's all strategic. We covered distribution deals, rejection from publishers, how to market, and of course self-publishing. Self-publishing is a big deal in the author world. To self-publish or not to self-published, that's the question. Every inspiring author wanted to know if self-publishing is good. When Eric said, "Yes!" I felt like he gave me the stamp of approval! All of these things I've heard before because I have an amazing mentor, but to know I was on the right track gave me the wind to soar higher. Everyone rushed to meet Eric and ReShonda, but there was one that stood out. I knew she was different as she sat on that panel, but she spoke with confidence and the truth. Maybe because she was six feet tall, hazel eyes with red hair. Or was it when she shared she had her child handcuffed to a bed because she was in prison. I don't know what it was exactly, but I love second chance testimonies. I love stories of women who overcome, defy every obstacle set before them and are determined to succeed come hell or high water. (Reminds me of myself) Never judge a book by its cover, especially until you open it up and read it. Angela Stanton poured herself in her memoir The lies of a Real Housewife. I love when an author can open up my eyes to help me remove these rose colored glasses that I wear proudly. Ladies and gentlemen everything we see on reality TV has a back story. Angela's memoir solidified my creed in which I live by, "Don't believe the hype." (Chapter 4 in my book).
I left there again feeling accomplished. Not only did I meet and network with different entrepreneurs, activists and authors, I was granted an interview with D-Mars magazine of Houston. In the words of James Cleveland. "It was a good day and I thank God for it."
|Posted on June 2, 2015 at 12:35 AM||comments (3)|
Wow! What a busy weekend. This past weekend was so special to me. I mean, this one is goes down in my history books. Sometimes you experience something that changes your perspective forever. Let me be transparent for a moment. I've been drained and lacked the motivation to do anything but get up, go to work, return home to go to sleep. This was the story of my life and that cycle was beginning to take a toll on my mental state. This weekend was what I needed to jump start my summer into over drive. I stepped out of my comfort zone and traveled to foriegn lands. A book signing and a conference was on the agenda. I wanted to kick off my tour in the the land of peaches, the state of Georgia where everything is sweet including the tea. It's no secret that Atlanta is well known for its debauchery, ill mannered house wives, and cutting up with total ratchetness. We sensationalize and idolize the wrong women trying to pattern our lifestyles after them. Despite of Atlanta's sour taste, there is some sweetness wrapped with goodness happening there. There are positive things that we don't see on TV. No water throwing in the face, friendship contracts or Mr. Chocolate sightings. I found hidden jewels rippened with knowledge ready to share it with the world. These southern belles embraced me, empowered me, and inspired me to be greater. Saturday was beyond amazing for me. The Stilettos & Strategies conference blessed my soul immensely. These women poured into my spirit with their wisdom, knowledge and stories. I felt such a connection with all of the women. I truly believe that things are orchestrated by God and everything is his own timing. The warm welcome that I received when I walked through the door reminded me of home. It felt familiar because it was familiar. The organizer, Nu Epps the mastermind behind the conference was a home grown Houston, Texas girl. WHO KNEW! Immediately the hiccups and nervous energy I felt going in remained on the other side of the door. There I met women who were just like me; making it their life's mission to better other women who share similar journeys. As I sat there and listened wholeheartedly to each speaker share their story, I realized that we as women are more alike than we are different. It takes courage to be transparent about your life. Broken marriages, sickness, starting over, changes in careers, loss of a job, raising children alone, moving to find yourself... The list went on and on but through it all, they never lost their way but found theirselves fighting to get on top. Just like those women, my story is currently shaping my life. I felt compelled to share my testimony when asked. The floodgates of my eyes opened and the tears begin to fall. As I looked around the room, I noticed I was not alone. Women that I did not know transitioned from conference attendees to my sisterskeeper. Even though they listened as tears stained their faces, I knew these women understood me. The Bible tells us, "The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." God knows that my spirit was crushed and I needed to be revived. I went there to sell books, but left there stronger. Those women blessed my spirit. Big ups to Judi Mason for the spiritual cleansing. (picture below) I left there with a renewed energy to make some changes immediately. Now, I have clarity and direction to push myself even further.What a way to start my Saturday. Sunday morning I woke up still on that natural high from the conference but today was showtime for me. This is what I came to Atlanta for. This is what I wanted more than anything! I wanted to introduce myself and my brand to a new market. My mind was filled with what ifs? and will theys? I had to stop with the over analyzing and take this moment in. One year ago, the book was still in the writing phase and here I am today with the book in tow in another major city. LOOK AT GOD! I think it was the rain that was affecting me. Earlier that day, the storm clouds opened up showers upon showers and "flooded" the city. (Inside joke) None the less, the show had to go on. The rain stopped and the sun made an apprerance long enough to let the guest trickle in to hear what we had to say and what we had to say was good. The Battle of the Sexes with Troy Spry was the truth. Our perspective and dynamic working together was FIRE! It was moderated by author and activist Skyy Banks who presented thought provoking questions that made you reflect on your approach to marriage, dating and love. We realized that everyone does not date with a purpose in mind. Everyone in attendance gained a new perspective about themselves and how to approach relationships. Even though we disagreed in some areas, we came to one common thread... "When love is right, it's easy." This event was the start of a beautiful friendship. We want The Battle of the Sexes to return to a city near you. Bigger and better than before. Get ready!
I think overall I achieved my goal. I am happy with the outcome, the networks that were built and the friendships that were made. Life really is just peachy...
Simply put, this weekend was a sweet as a peach! (Literally) Thank you Atlanta for treating me well. Special thanks goes out to my mentor, Skyy Banks and the best collaborator on the other side of the Mississippi River Troy Spry. Thank you for the perfect partnership.