$105 – topman.com
I was not going to go. Everything that could be a reason, in my mind, gave me a reason not to attend Orlando’s biggest reunion. What should I wear? How do I introduce myself? What if I run into someone and they ask; what are you doing back in Orlando?
My desire to attend the reunion was quenched by a bottle full of False Evidence Appearing Real — FEAR! While the excuses filled my mind, I texted my cousin and said, “Girl, it cost twenty dollars to park, I have bills to pay, and as much as I want to go, I don’t think I will attend.”
Yes, the writer who brings you influential post on following your dreams with passion, was afraid to attend the annual 2015 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion at Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Less than 20 minutes away from my home, media entrepreneur Tom Joyner gathered influential media mavens, today’s top celebrities, entertainers, and creatives of every sort, to showcase a weekend full of inspiration and fun for an international crowd.
While doubts bombarded my mind, a conscious whisper to my heart said, “Go to the reunion. You will gain more than you can lose.” So with the gentle force of that whisper, I got dressed and headed towards my destiny.
Guest this year included cast members from shows like Blackish and Living Single. AfroFunkymama showed the crowd how to groove and get physically fit. Yolanda Adams, Jazmine Sullivan, and Kirk Franklin sang to the souls of the crowd. Several vendors, writers, and directors were also in this year’s line up of guest.
My favorite experience this weekend was attending writing workshops headlined by Bentley Kyle Evans and Stacey Lyn Evans. You know the black sitcoms and films that we all love like Martin, The Parkers, Meet The Browns, The Jamie Foxx Show, and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate? Well, this brother and sister duo-dynamo both created and helped bring these shows to life.
Along with @AbstractCreates, who invited me to the Tom Joyner Reunion, I had the privilege to sit in on two valuable workshops that practically rekindled my long time love affair with writing. As a gift to my readers, I would like to share three valuable points from Bentley and Stacey:
- “Believe in YOUR vision!”
- “Hard work is NEVER done in vain.”
- “Do NOT wait for anyone to tell you YES or NO!”
The training I gathered from the Evans’ was invaluable. While these tips are self explanatory, they also come with a great deal of sacrifice. In order to succeed, you have to be HUNGRY, you have to stay hydrated on MOTIVATION, and you have to ACT as though fears do not exist. YOU have to believe in YOU! Cultivate your thoughts into a champion’s mindset and rid your mind of excuses. This process takes a lot of practice and courage.
As I reflect on the value of this weekend, it would have been more expensive for me not to attend The Tom Joyner Family Reunion. I am truly humbled by the experience. I met so many influential people. The worth of the reunion, was more valuable than the five-figure price-tag of my first semester of graduate school. Who would have thought, less than 10 miles from my house, I’d connect with success and be more motivated than ever to continue writing.
Oh, and guess what? My twenty dollar parking fee was complimentary. Talk about divine alignment and favor 🙂
Your Goal This Week: Listen to the whispers of faith… No excuses! That my friends, along with tips from the Evans’ family is what will drive you to success! As always…Be Your Best!
Shared in Love,
BENTLEY EVANS SHARES BEHIND THE SCENES PRODUCTION:
I haven’t dined inside of a McDonald’s restaurant since I lived in the Bronx, New York. In High School, we were allowed to leave the school on our lunch break so the Jerome Avenue McDonald’s was “popping.” A majority of my friends and I were students in the MACY Honors and Gifted program. Most of us had full class schedules including extracurricular activities. The hour break from the pale blue crackled walls of our High School was sacred for us. We absolutely enjoyed those adventures.
Yesterday, I went to McDonald’s with my brother and nephew. On this particular McDonald’s outing, we took a seat by two women who were communicating through American Sign Language. I took American Sign Language in college and quickly learned how much I forgot the art behind it. Comparable to learning anything new, you have to continue practicing to keep up.
One of the women were hearing impaired and the other deaf. Naturally, my brother is a great communicator so it was easy for him to strike a conversation with the women. They were really cool about conversing with us. In the short time talking with both individuals, we learned about the deaf culture and all that Central Florida has to offer the deaf community.
I especially enjoyed speaking with the women because they were humble. They both are currently seeking employment and they both aspire to succeed. One of the women said “my life is no different from anyone else’s, I am hoping for better and we are living in hard times.” Like many Americans, both ladies are having a difficult time finding employment. Aside from the limited employment options for the deaf or hearing impaired, they both faced discrimination in their search due to their impairments.
After speaking to the ladies, I felt humbled and so very grateful for life. I realized how easy it is for those of us without an impairment to overlook how difficult everyday life experiences may be for someone with one. I thanked God for granting me the ability to use all of my senses. I also thanked God for allowing me to connect with others. Even a simple McDonald’s outing can become an adventure. 🙂
In a technology driven world, it’s so refreshing to be able to communicate and connect with others. You never know what you’ll learn about a person’s life story or how beautiful of a conversation you can have. There is inspiration all around us. More than anything people want to be understood and accepted for who they are.
My challenge for you is to go out and meet someone new. Strike a conversation. There’s so much life happening outside of the digital world.
Go for it… meet someone new today!
Shared in Love,
Note: While I would love to be, I am in no way sponsored by McDonald’s. I am simply sharing a real life experience with the hope of inspiring someone through my writing .
This post is going to be short…My only hope in writing is to positively impact readers.
Many of us, especially the millennial bunch, joined the trend of seeking “the answer” to help us step into our destiny. We read books, spend hours reading quotes on Instagram and Pintrest, or watch “Guru” videos to help guide us to the light.
While scouting resources as a host of motivation is not a bad idea, how many times are we going to read and watch the same things, with the same messages, and not walk forward?
Many of us have become complacent with “quick fix joy.” Many people, including myself, seek happiness through another person’s success. We feel good after reading a few sentences that we feel connected to…All the while following the same routine…and not progressing.
So how does one step into their destiny?
BY STEPPING INTO THEIR DESTINY!
I don’t know what your goal is, your family doesn’t know the answer to your prayers, and your “guru guide” can’t help you either.
YOU have to make up your mind. YOU have to want to live out your dream. YOU have to decide that despite your circumstances, YOU will give YOUR dream YOUR ALL.
Put the motivational book down, tune out the tube for a bit, and write down your goal. Come up with a step-by-step plan of action and give it all you’ve got. FOLLOW YOUR PLAN! The more I read about success the more I learn the simplicity behind it.
SUCCESS is a CHOICE.
Do you want to step into your destiny? Well, if you’re ready…Put on your imaginary tunnel vision frames, hop on the success train, and MOVE IT!!
It is NEVER too late!
Shared in Love,
FACT: The only way you can become successful is to train your mind.
For the past few days, I felt a bit nostalgic. Just a week ago, I was in my hometown New York City surrounded by art, culture, and diversity. If life were an ice cream sundae those are the exact ingredients I’d need to fulfill my sweet tooth.
Being in the vibrant city of New York makes me feel at peace. Aside from the coughing on the subway train, or hustlers trying to sell you a bag of potato chips in front of the Bodega doors, there isn’t anything I can say that I dislike about New York.
Everyone seems to be on a mission. Everyone is on the hunt for a dollar. It’s a beautiful culture for the entrepreneurial mind. It makes you want to do more…it makes you want to be apart of something greater than yourself. Being in a metropolitan city will make you want to create.
For the past few months, I have focused all of my energy into something that my heart isn’t completely for. Eventually, today I realized that I want nothing more in this world than to write.
I want to write, publish books, and be apart of the cultured world. Most people remember their first kiss in elementary school. I, on the other hand, remember the first time I went to see The Lion King on Broadway.
I remember how being at the theater made me feel. I was exuberantly happy. I remember the beauty of the artistry that actors placed into their roles. Also, I remember telling myself; somehow, someday, I would become a part of this world.
So I’m here now…at 25 years old, living in Florida, and still holding on to that goal. I’ve tried to talk myself out of a writing career so many times. However, the thought of not writing creeps me out how I’d imagine Sarah Jessica Parker would hurl over knock off Prada.
The truth is, no one can hold you back from your dreams. You are in control of your destiny. Along with the power of God, and the strength of the universe, success is obtainable.
It’s dependent on one little thing….The transformation of your mind. One of my favorite biblical verses states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
In order to succeed, you have to envision yourself living your dream life. You have to practice or study. You have to be determined…and most importantly, YOU CANNOT EVER GIVE UP!
Today, I came across this TED TALK by Carrie Green, creator of The Female Entrepreneurial Association, that speaks on success. Take a moment to check this out. Then join me in transforming your mind for success.
Take a few days to see how this works out for you. Then send me a line with your progress…
Hey, we are all in this together, right?
Be your best,
Last August, I traveled to Chicago, Illinois to spend some time with my dear friend Elsie. Elsie and I met in 2006. We both moved from New York City to Central Florida.
To this day, we still joke about her being a girl from Brooklyn, and me a gal from the Bronx, who ended up in a small town in Central Florida the same week. It was a tough transition. Clearly, the heavens aligned for us to meet and become Sister-friends. Or maybe in our past life experience we promised each other that we’d become “The Pinky and The Brain” of this lifetime.
Whatever the case, even though she now lives in Chicago, we both appreciate our small town Florida experiences. Growing up in New York helps you to see the world through a different lens. You’re a little more hip and naturally a bit more conscious about the world around you. So, when you meet a friend that you can share truthful chats with, it’s a great feeling. We have always been thankful about the stories that we can share together and even now we call each other “Sista.”
While on my voyage to Chicago, we sipped her exclusive tea blends, caught up on art culture, and watched some pretty cool culturati videos online. I really appreciated catching up on some fun sites that I used to peruse from time to time. Although this makes nine years blogging, I have taken a few breaks in between from writing and reading other blogs.
One site that I enjoy watching videos on is StyleLikeU. Stylelikeu.com, showcases various videos about style, empowerment, and the beauty of being a woman. Today on some downtime, I watched “My Way or The Highway” which featured Betsey Johnson.
I absolutely adore Betsey Johnson because she promotes authenticity. There is nothing more wonderful than being your true self. I appreciate people who honor their talents and live in truth of who they are.
I tend to surround myself with artist–people who love what they do and do what they love. In my circle of friends, we all support creativity, individuality, and originality. My friends and I promote child-like wonder in our art forms. There is absolutely nothing more freeing than being able to be yourself around those you love.
Watching this video of Betsey Johnson was refreshing and I plan to share it with all of my friends because it proves that being your true self will get you far in life. Of course, in all things there are challenges, but at the end of the day, if you live in truth of who you are, you will smile a little bigger and your talents will shine much brighter.
To all of my creative friends, this post is for you. May we continue to live in the truth of our artful talents.
Love you all,
Check out this exclusive StyleLikeU video below:
It finally hit me…Life is what you make it. There is no other way to put it. There is no guru to bring forth your desires. As helpful as they may be, all of the life coaches in the world cannot gift you with your destiny. There is no magic ball to answer the questions of your existence.
The answer is within you. YOU ARE THE CREATOR OF YOUR REALITY. YOU CONTROL THE SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE (Or lack thereof)! YOU ARE THE REASON THAT DREAMS COME TRUE.
The question is do you want them to? Do you want to be successful and live the life of YOUR dreams?
Truth: For a while, my dreams scared me. They still do. The goals I have seem way to grand to achieve. How’s a girl from the Bronx, New York, born at a city hospital around Fordham Road supposed to “make it?” What makes me different from every other person from The Bronx? These questions allowed my fears to outweigh my destiny.
Fear is crippling. It places you in a box that sometimes is hard to climb out of. As a result of my fears, there are some consequences that I have to live with. The good thing is that through this process of fear, I acknowledge my strength.
I acknowledge that there is a source of power within me that allows me to keep going, keep pushing, and to never give up. “With God all things are possible.” I believe it. I know the lifestyle I desire, the romantic relationship I desire, the career I desire, the friendships I need in my life etc. I acknowledge these things and the importance of each to my personal joy.
I also understand that some decisions, as outlandish as they might be are helping to mold me into a better version of myself. I am learning to become confident about what I want.
My youth depends on me. Within this “home” or this body that I was gifted lay a fervent curious little girl that loves adventure. She loves to write, she loves art and as awkwardly introverted as she may seem she loves meeting people. It adds character to her storybook (life).
One day you’ll have to decide who you gon’ be…a scary [person] or a [person] that’s gon’ rule like me – J.Cole
…and it hit me…I WANT TO RULE.
Join me as I step into this journey of living up to my fullest potential.
What a way to return, huh? I hope my words bring you divine peace.
Thanks for an epic ending…
I moved to Central Florida seven Summers ago. We have the beaches, Cinderella’s castle, great resorts and all that good stuff. Yet, sometimes all I want in the Summer months is to be able to walk down the block to the bodega to purchase my stash of Swedish Fish, sunflower seeds, lemon flavored Italian Ice and Nacho Twister chips. Gone are the days of playing Marco Polo in my back yard with the cousins or going to Dr. Jays for back to school shopping. There is nothing comparable to the memory of a New York Summer. That’s exactly why each year I have to fly home.
I’m a true Yankee, Bronx born and raised; but this August I spent a few days in the country known as Brooklyn (BK). Yes, country. I quote that with slight exaggeration because Brooklyn is definitely a world of its own. “Cross that bridge it’s a consequence,” Jay-Z wasn’t lying. BK goes hard; and the borough gave me life. Over the years, Brooklyn has come a long way housing the best cafes, bars, boutiques, and now the Barclay Center. The art culture in BK has definitely grown as well. I grew up studying the art of the Harlem Renaissance. These days it seems like the millennial generation is starting a new movement of art too.
On August 24th and 25th I attended the annual Afro-Punk Festival. I met natives that attended the festival for over five years and were tremendously pleased at how much the event grew. If I could describe the atmosphere of Afro-Punk in one word it would be euphoric. Imagine a large backyard party with the coolest eclectic crowd of people you know… that is Afro-Punk Fest. in a nutshell. Musicians, dancers, artist, designers, writers, skateboarders and all around vibrant energy filled Commodore Barry Park of Brooklyn, New York for the weekend.
In the words of one Brooklynite, “Afro-Punk by far ain’t no n!gga sh!t; there are just some events where people come together in peace.” Attending Afro-Punk Festival vastly reminded me that there is no such thing as a “racial norm” in art and music. Yes, black people listen to rock music, and yeah, there are some white people that know word for word lyrics of a Jamaican dancehall tune.
Two stages of performers such as “Wicked Wisdom” (Jada Pickett Smith’s band), Questlove, and Dead Prez kept the crowd jumping all day long. Artist like Janelle Monae hit the local Brooklyn venues in the night hours. Some of the best food trucks of New York filled our tummies with scrumptious bites. The notable Chef Roble hosted a private gathering with custom drinks and refreshments for those that paid entry to his “Everyday People” mixer. Both local and out of state vendors kept shoppers decked out with options for custom jewelry and clothing for as low as $5.
Self expression was a definite theme of Afro-Punk. The street style was versatile. Natural hair mavens filled the crowd. Afro-Punk was not a black, white, yellow or pink event, it was simply a time for people to come together, network, and enjoy the present moment. Seeing all shades of people gathered together to commune with each other, for the love of music, for the love of art, for the love of dance, and for the love of fashion, by far was an amazing experience.
Want to know the best catch to Afro-Punk Festival? It is free! Sponsors simply asked for an optional $25 donation to help with the longevity of this annual event. It was my first Afro-Punk Festival and I plan to make it a yearly venture. I know one thing for sure; a year won’t past before I stroll around New York or Brooklyn again. This Bronx born, turned southern belle, was shown mad love, but according to the Notorious B.I.G. that’s the Brooklyn way.
Peace, Light and Love…
Check out a few candid shots below: