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Rihanna Gave Me Business Advice!

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Recently it was announced by Forbes that Rihanna is the wealthiest female musician alive now.  She’s out earned Madonna ($570 million), Celine Dion ($450 million) and Beyonce ($400 million).

It’s interesting to note, Rihanna hasn’t released new music since 2016. So how in the world is she the wealthiest female musician? Diversity of income.

Rihanna is a prime example of why it is important to diversify your financial portfolio personally and professionally. Her business acumen should be modeled.

She’s more than a singer, she has become a business woman that rivals the Diddies, Dr. Dres and Jay-Zs of the world. More importantly, following Rihanna’s business model can help you grow your business and here’s how:

Serve>Sell

Rihanna continues to win because she doesn’t sell, she serves! I cannot tell you enough times this is the secret sauce! If you look at your business as not “how can I sell, but how can I serve?” you will always profit! Also, find the gap and serve an undeserved market and you are golden.

Where is the Gap?

Serving over selling to someone not represented is how you differentiate and position yourself as an industry leader. Rihanna has been very outspoken on how her brands are inclusive and representative of women, especially women of color. As a black woman, Rihanna saw the limited options in cosmetics, especially the lack of different hues in foundations.

Side bar, black women have the largest buying power. It’s estimated over a trillion, that’s not a M, or B, over a TRILLION! As a result, it decides mainstream culture.

When Rihanna released Fenty Beauty to the marketplace, it disrupted the status quo. Fenty Beauty came through to serve women with darker hues, various shades of skin. Not just the one or two that most major cosmetic brands sold. She SHOOK the industry! Not only did she have makeup foundation for the darker shades, but for the lighter shades on the spectrum. She fulfilled the needs of even albino skin!

When she released her lingerie line, SAVAGE X FENTY it opened up with rave reviews. The line is for ALL body types and she put all on the stage to model  it! She had slender, curvy, even pregnant represented on the stage.

What is the emotional connection? 

People buy off two emotions: pain and pleasure. That’s it. If you can relieve the pain or create a pleasurable experience, you have no choice to win…just like Rihanna.

10 Free Marketing Strategies that Really Work

10 Free Marketing Strategies that Really Work

  1. Create Clear Marketing Goals
  2. Develop a Content Calendar (30 Day Social Media Planner)
  3. Create videos sharing helpful tips
  4. Define your ideal client
  5. Write blog posts from frequently asked questions you receive
  6. Create a Facebook Group and Page
  7. Create an Instagram Page
  8. Engage and respond to all comments (first 30 minutes are crucial)
  9. Like and comment on 10 accounts that specifically are tied to your industry
  10. Like and comment on 10 accounts your ideal client follows

 

 

3 Steps to Higher Instagram Profits and Engagement

 

Here are 3 steps to put you on the path to profitability:

Step #1 – Serve before you sell: Want people to invest their time and money in your products and services? Share VALUABLE tips, strategies, techniques and methods they can use to transform their lives and businesses. Remember it is about serving them, not selling to them.

Step #2 – Show up and be consistent on Instagram: Just like you have to show up to the gym and be consistent with your workout and eating habits to see significant change, is the same for your Instagram presence. You will never build influence or an engaged and dedicated audience by inconsistency. Nobody will know what you do and what to buy if you don’t tell them. Posting selfies, a highly curated photo, meme and motivational quote is NOT enough. If you want people to invest in your business, you must make sure they know the benefits of doing so. Showing up and consistently providing valuable content + consistency = boosted credibility and ultimately sales.

Step #3 – Engage with your current and potential audience: Imagine Instagram is a cocktail party and you arrive in the room and people are complimenting your outfit, but you don’t acknowledge them at all. Wouldn’t it be considered rude, offensive, and unpleasant? After a while, people will stop complimenting. It is the same thing with social media, I see it all the time…people post all day long without getting a single comment or double tap. What are they doing wrong? They’re spending countless hours posting and no time socializing. You see, social media is NOT just about sharing content, it’s about conversing with your audience – asking questions, commenting on THEIR posts and showing up as the solution they’ve been craving.

And there you have it – 3 steps that’ll get you headed in the right direction.

 

Cancuna Matata: No Worries Given

 

The best travel advice I ever got was to “stop waiting on friends or that bae and go solo…” 

And so I did and will continue to do so. 

I only hope you start to experience the greatness of solo travel. 

My latest solocation: Cancun, Mexico. 

Though I traveled by myself it wasn’t long before I was surrounded by a tribe of powerful, passionate black and brown women at the annual Baddies and Bosses Take (Cancun)  retreat. 

This retreat is where women from all over the country link up and put collaboration over competition.  A time to celebrate, slay, socialize, and uplift one another. It is the ultimate weekend getaway for a woman about her business.

Here are a few highlights: 

1. SOLOcation

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Cancun is known for its party scene and turn up vibes. But it is a great spot for unwinding, exploring, and eating the best Mexican cuisine. After a 20 minute ride from the Cancun airport, I settled into my home for the next three days. Now Jade Riveria is a 4-star all inclusive resort that sits right off the beach. All ladies on the retreat stayed in the preferred suite with a beach view, a private balcony with a jacuzzi, and access to the adult only pool.

2.  The Mix(HER) +Din(HER)

After my roomie and I settled in our room, we ventured down to the resort’s The Mix Bar to meet the other ladies! Ahhhhhh….as you can tell this is very Instagram worthy… This beach view bar is everything a blogger/influencer can dream. Instead of the bar being accented by usual bar stools, it has fun swings around it. We socialized, ordered drinks, and watched the sunset over  the ocean. Dinner soon followed at a very swanky restaurant. I didn’t get great pictures due to low lighting, but BEAUTIFUL!

3. Down to Earth 

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Have you ever done yoga on the beach? Well it is hard AF! But yet so peaceful as we inhaled the ocean air, and exhaled the toxicity. Sent from Devyn led this power yoga session and it truly was Devyn Sent! In a wellness space that is predominantly white, it is refreshing to see women of color, especially black women, breaking barriers and making it more inclusive. I have a special place in my heart for Devyn as we are from the same hometown, Texarkana…Texas side of course. Her older sister and I were high school classmates. I am proud of what she has accomplished and what she will continue to do in the wellness space.

4. Let Me Drive the Boat Party (Somebody Sons not pictured)

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It has been declared a Hot Girl Summer thanks to Meg Thee Stallion’s epic flows and her signature Houston flair over hard hitting beats. Her mixtapes were the soundtrack to our party as we took to the blue and green Mexican waters in our private boat! Many thanks to Corinna AKA Glamurosa and her lifestyle brand for the Fineapple visor swag!

5. Poolside Vibes

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How can you not sit by or in the pool to cool off from the Caribbean sun? Do I need to explain more…?

6. Farewell Dinner

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It is always hard to say goodbye, but this was such a beautiful send off. We were asked to wear nude or white to symbolize a new beginning and clean slate. In the middle of our farewell dinner, founders Sade and Sydney surprised me with a birthday cake and the Stevie Wonder version of the Happy Birthday song. Thug tears! We ended the night back at The Mix Bar to set our intentions for the remainder of the year and encourage each other on our journeys ahead.

FG

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 33 FREEMIUMS AND DISCOUNTS FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY!

It’s my born day and in celebration, I curated a list of 33 birthday freemiums & discounts for you who have upcoming birthdays to enjoy. Most of these require your email subscription, so I suggest creating a dummy account for all the emails to enjoy your perks.

Because last thing you need is to do is pay for something on your birthday…

1. A&W All American Food: Get a free root beer float on your birthday by joining the Mug Club.

2. Applebee’s: Sign up for its email club, and get a free gift on your birthday, which could be a free appetizer, free entree, or free dessert – they like to keep it a surprise.

3. Auntie Anne’s: Sign up for Pretzel Perks, and get a free pretzel on your birthday.

4. Baskin Robbins: Create an account, then join the Birthday Club, and get free ice cream on your birthday – be sure to add your family members to your account so they get free ice cream, too!

5. BJ’s Brewhouse: Join Premier Rewards Plus and get a free Pizookie for your birthday – that’s a big, warm cookie smothered in ice cream… yum. What’s even better is you don’t have to wait for your birthday – you’ll also get a free Pizookie just for signing up.

6. Chick-fil-A: Become an Email Insider, and get a special birthday offer. Chick-fil-A does note hat the freebies are at the discretion of the franchise owner, so check with your local store for details.

7. Chili’s: Get a free dessert for your birthday when you join My Chili’s Rewards Club, plus get free chips and salsa or a non-alcoholic beverage with every visit!

8. Chuck E. Cheese’s: Join the The Chuck E-Club, and receive a special treat for your child’s birthday.

9. Disney: Join D23, the Official Disney Fan Club, and receive a special offer for your birthday.

10. Cinemark: Subscribe to the Cinemark Weekly email and receive free birthday popcorn, plus special offers delivered to your inbox every week.

11. Designer Shoe Warehouse: Sign up for DSW Rewards member and receive a special birthday offer.

12. Dunkin’ Donuts: Get a free beverage on your birthday by signing up for the DD Perks Rewards Program. You’ll also get a free drink just for signing up.

13. Edible Arrangements: Join Edible Rewards and receive a free 12 count chocolate dipped fruit box during your birthday month.

14. Einstein Bros. Bagels: Get a free egg sandwich with a purchase on your birthday when you join the Shmear Society — not totally free, but hey, you’ll need something to help wash that sandwich down.

15. First Watch: Get a free entree for your birthday as a member of the Sun EClub, plus a BOGO offer for joining

16. Godiva: Get an exclusive birthday gift when you join the Godiva Rewards Club. I am a part of this gang myself, and I get a free candy every month!

17. Great American Cookies: Join the Cookie Club, and get a $3 coupon just for signing up, plus a surprise for your birthday 

18. Hooters: Get some birthday wings when you sign up for Hooters Eclub.

19. IHOP: Sign up for the Pancake Revolution and receive a free meal on your birthday, plus a free meal just for signing up.

20. JCPenney: Receive a birthday gift when you sign up for JCPenney Rewards.

21. Joe’s Crab Shack: Register with Joe’s Catch and receive a birthday offer, plus you’ll get a free appetizer just for signing up.

22a. Kendra Scott: Shop any Kendra Scott physical location for your birthday month and get 50% off an item

22b. Kohl’s: Sign up for Yes2You Rewards and receive a special birthday gift.

23. Krispy Kreme: All Krispy Kreme Rewards members receive a free birthday treat – just download the app to sign up.

24. Old Navy: Subscribe to Old Navy emails to receive a special birthday offer, plus get a 20% off coupon just for signing up.

25. Olive Garden: Get a complimentary appetizer or dessert on your birthday by signing up for the eClub.

26. On the Border: Join Club Cantina and get free queso on your birthday, plus an order of sopapillas just for signing up.

27. Pei Wei: Sign up for My Wei Rewards and choose from these birthday freebies: crab wontons, traditional edamame, vegetable spring rolls, pork egg roll, or Vietnamese chicken salad roll.

28. Petco: Join Petco’s palsrewards and create a pet profile to receive a free gift for your pet’s birthday.

29. P.F. Chang’s: Join P.F. Chang’s Rewards and get a free appetizer or dessert during your birthday month.

30. Sephora: Become a Beauty Insider and receive a free gift for your birthday plus free beauty classes for joining…MY FAVE!

31. Smashbox: Register for the rewards program, and receive a free gift during your birthday month.

32. Sonic: Create a My Sonic account, and receive a special treat on your birthday – just be sure to add your birth date to your profile after signing up, then go get your free medium size slush or drink just for joining

33. Starbucks: Get a birthday reward as a member of Starbucks Rewards.

BONUS!

ULTA Beauty: Receive a free birthday gift with Ultamate Rewards.

Wingstop: Get a free gift on your birthday when you sign up for The Club, plus an order of free fries just for signing up!

World Market: Sign up for the World Market Explorer Rewards Program and get a birthday surprise.

Zaxby’s: Sign up for Zax Mail and get a free Nibbler on your birthday plus a free sandwich meal postcard for signing up.

This list was curated from The Penny Hoarder and The Real Deal by RetailMeNot)

SUMMER WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA: 4 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW!

Have you ever done a social media detox? I am deleting my IG/FB apps from my phone because I need a break.

I am joining my friend and a few others on a Summer Without Social Media starting Monday, June 10-August 1, 2019. I am coming back on the scene a little earlier because my birthday and I have some fabulous things planned. So I will return July 25th.

Enough about me. Going off social media can seem extreme, drastic, and challenging. We are literally addicted to it. The notifications, the likes, comments, etc release dopamine in our systems and gives us a high, it is scientifically proven.

But how many of you know that everything must unplug sometimes to be plugged in again to work optimally? Do you know the same is for you?

Here’s what I know: I need to breathe. I need to be present this summer before I turn over into a new year. I am expecting great things to happen in my new season.

On the real, I know how nervous you can be on going dark, but I assure you it is a chance to recalibrate. Here is some advice and tips on taking the plunge.

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We take better care and protect our phones more than we do ourselves. We make sure the battery never dies, if it does, we quickly recharge it. 

If we only invested this much time in self. 

When is the last time you recharged yourself? Where you truly unplugged from all electronics and social media platforms before plugging back in. There are times we just need to refresh and relax before the recharge. 

There doesn’t need to be a profound reason/epiphany to step away from social media and devices.  If you are just tired of scrolling through your feed looking at the same ol’ same ol’ then maybe it is time.

Many of us fail to realize the occasional  ‘surfin’ is affecting our productivity, If so, it is time for a detox. 

Throw the whole phone away. 

Ok nothing that drastic, maybe not throw…but PUT the phone away. 

Here’s what happens when you unplug from the matrix:

1.) No one notices that you have disappeared. No one cares you are off the grid.

If you don’t think so, deactivate/log off your accounts and tell no one. You will soon join me at the dinner table for a dessert: humble pie. Out of sight, out of mind. No one notices, no one reaches out at all. If they did notice, they didn’t tell me. 

In fact, my first social media detox it took one of my friends at the end of week two of my ghosting to realize I was off the grid. 

“Are you off Instagram and Twitter,” she asked.

“Girl I have been off for almost 3 weeks now,” I revealed.

Eventually more of my friends did notice, but I had been nearly off for six weeks by then. 

Your family, friends, followers, and whomever get caught up in their own life with their problems,  day to day, etc. and aren’t paying it any attention. Neither should you, this is a time for you to be more mindful and present in the moment. Don’t be afraid of FOMO, it will be there once you return.

Sidebar:*** If you are a business account or have a huge following this need not apply. But you should have funnels built out to ensure you continue to bring in revenue.

I hate when people make grandiose announcements that they are taking a much needed break from their social platforms. This is attention seeking to me and unnecessary. 

Just ghost us. Will see you when you return.

2. People will reach out to you more because you are not as accessible. 

How many of us send DMs and also text

our friends at the SAME time? 

How about when it is your birthday and everyone posts to your Facebook wall with all the warm fuzzies? 

But your phone is dry.

Not a call, text, or smoke signal sent. I can admit, I am quick to post a happy birthday message to the ‘book’ and check the box complete. 

But do I follow up with a call or text to my friend’s phone? No. 

Isn’t shouting you out on the ‘gram or Facebook enough? It isn’t. 

I must admit that once I was off my social media, there weren’t many notifications coming through to my phone. 

Once my friends realized I was off the grid, the phone calls and texts were more frequent. When you aren’t as accessible people have the time to miss you in a sense. 

Being off the grid for a moment gave a chance for my friends and family to miss me enough to call and reach out. 

3. More time for Self-Care and Productivity 

My addiction to my phone and social media was out of control. I’m embarrassed to say how much face time I was giving my phone. 

If you are an iPhone user, then you may know a recent update tracks how many times you pick up your phone each day, the average amount you spend on it a week, and even identifies your most frequented apps. 

There is even an option where you can monitor and limit the amount of time you spend on certain apps. I have to give kudos to Apple for bringing some awareness to our daily obsessions. 

I had mentioned to my doctor about my lack of sleep and feeling anxious throughout the day. She asked me how did I start my day and how I ended my day. I ran down my routine.

AM

Wake up.

Check and answer work emails.

Scroll through social media. 

Brush my teeth.

PM

Shower 

Listen to music.

Scroll through social m-

And there it was, the root of my sleepless nights and anxiety throughout the day. My doctor suggested I leave my phone on the other side of the room at night and get an alarm clock. Also, to not check social media first thing and only schedule an amount of time to be on. 

I just decided to go cold turkey altogether and immediately saw a difference with my new routine. I quickly realized how easy it was to relax when I wasn’t glued to my phone. 

I slept better, longer, and deeper. 

I also amped up my self-care routine. 

I started with daily affirmations and my devotionals, those periodic facials became everyday routine. I even had time for bubble baths and to just sit still and pray. 

When you don’t have social media to occupy your time, I guarantee your productivity level will grow exponentially. I am a great starter, but horrible finisher. I would start a project and then get distracted by a few minutes of scrolling that turned into hours on social media. 

During my detox, I was able to optimize my time and my productivity level increased dramatically. 

This also helped with reducing my anxiety because I actually completed tasks in a timely manner. 

I read more of my bible, finished three books, exercised more, and even got in the kitchen…not just to eat, but cook! I started keto and so meal prepping was essential. 

My productivity at work even increased and helped me when I moved into my bigger office. 

When boundaries are set and social media is limited, my anxiety is controlled and I am more productive. 

4. No Longer Keeping Up with the Joneses

Social media is powerful in a positive and negative way. Have you ever logged on and immediately your energy shifted from what you saw on your feed or timeline?

One post, like, comment, or share can affect your mind, body, and spirit. And before we know it, we are playing the comparison game. 

You can’t compare your real life to someone else’s controlled online content. We easily forget and compare our behind the scenes to the the highlight reels shown on social media. 

We must be careful on the content we feed our souls. The content we engage or consume can positively shape or negatively impact. 

There is a constant comparison of relationship goals, accomplishments, careers, etc. that if not checked can become very toxic.

When I was off social media I focused only on me. This detox helped me to become more centered and only focus on my goals and path. 

Social media can be a distraction and slow down your progress if allowed.  So it is important to set periodic breaks to refocus on just you and not compare it to anyone else’s.

-FG

Do you feel like you cannot live without social media? 

Have you overcome it and found a balance? 

If so, what are some tips that you can share about how to unplug from technology and social media?

How to Style Photos for Social Media

 

Let’s be real…if you are wanting to monetize your social media and/or take your business to the next level, you are going to have to know some elements of styling–especially with photos. It is important to make sure you curate a visually appealing feed, especially on a platform like Instagram.

I’m not a professional photographer and I don’t plan on becoming one, but I am fortunate to have an eye. Because of this I have some tips on styling photos that I am excited to share with you today.

Before we get started a couple of disclaimers.

Disclaimer 1: I highly encourage that you invest in a professional photographer eventually. It truly elevates your brand/business and separates you instantly in an overly saturated market. Most photographers are aware of social media photography and how to give you the look and feel you want. It helps with your trust factor and consistency which equals coins!

 

Disclaimer 2: Highly stylized photos doesn’t mean direct sales. It doesn’t work like that, but it does build content for your social media channels and acts as fillers for the high value content you are creating. More than likely, you will not get a ton of likes or engagement as you think, but it is a great way to give yourself a break. Remember this isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. We are in it for the long game.

 

Tip #1: Choose Your Hero in the Photo

Have a main subject around which you can create a theme or mood. Instead of having several things just thrown together, be strategic with your space. Find one main subject, your hero, and have the secondary subjects surrounding it. I like to call it your hero’s supporting cast. The subjects should be distributed in a way that compliments your hero subject not compete for space or attention. The subjects are only there to insinuate the main piece of the photo. My main piece: planner. The notepad, pen, paper clips, and butterfly clips are the supporting cast.

 

Tip #2 Choose Your Color Palette

Remember theme and mood are what we are creating when we style our photos. Colors are a great way to create a theme and communicate with your audience about your brand. It just helps make it more cohesive. Only choose 1 to 2 colors and that they complement each other. Too many colors can be distracting and start to compete with one another. Remember as in the first tip, you want to complement not compete. Pick a main color and you can’t go wrong. A single focused color helps to convey the point you are making more clearly.

Tip #3 Tell the Complete Story

When selecting your props for a photo, make sure they tell a story that is finished. It can be tempting to try to incorporate props that have similar colors, but may not complete your story.  Ensure it drives home your story where it makes sense. Do not be afraid to use the tools you may use to make your product(s) as props.  For example, maybe you are a travel blogger and are heading to one of your fabulous adventures. Think about the tools you use and how you can visually tell the story: a map, passport, sunglasses, your favorite hat, and a travel favorite pouch. In my photo, I am telling a complete story with props on planning, goals, organization, etc.

Tip #4 Crop it Likes its Hot

This is the rule to live by! If you don’t get anything, CROP…CROP…and Crop! Many of us struggle with cropping because we like to show it ALL, but our eye is so smart that it only needs a reference of part of the item to get the full picture…pun intended. When you reference the objects exist, your audience eye will do the rest. A way to crop successfully is style your photo in a circle. The outer props are the ones you can position to crop and still tell a complete story.

 

Tip #5 Gotta Hit Those Angles

You know I had to reference a Drake lyric somewhere. When you have styled the photo the way you want, now you can focus on how to capture it through your camera lens. Try different angles, you want to draw your audience in to your main subject. Where is your subject in the frame? So maybe you angle it off center or direct overview (as my picture is), maybe directly at eye level. This is where the fun continues! Start shooting at different angles and figure what photo you like the best. Always shoot at three different angles to give yourself variety.

BONUS: Now it is time for you to practice. Remember just start doing it! The first few times you will suck at it, let’s just be transparent! BUT! The more you do it, the better you and the photos will get.

 

FG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What You Need To Do To START Your Business in 2019 (Video)

 

What do you need to do to start your online presence for your brand and/or business? Sometimes it’s closer than you think.  You just need to figure out how exactly to do it. Watch this short video on my thoughts and a couple of suggestions on how to make it happen and what you need to START! 

 

 

2019 Fiesta Week Party Guide, April 18-28

As Coachella wraps in a few days, there is another festival on the horizon for us who are Team Nochella and Couchella….VIVA FIESTA!

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Fiesta San Antonio is an 11-day city wide celebration where you can get a taste of cultures from German to Latino, to Cajun to pick your-favorite. It is a chance to truly see the richness of San Antonio’s culture and when you come once, you will see why the city celebrates every year. Check out some events I have highlighted as “must gos” to experience.

Thursday, April 18th Fiesta Fiesta, (Free)

3-9 p.m. @ Hemisfair

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Fiesta Fiesta is the official kickoff to Fiesta San Antonio at Hemisphere Park. As Fiesta grows, the music and cuisine has become more diverse. Experience live music, barter for Fiesta medals from your fave Fiesta events, lounge with your family in a kid-friendly atmosphere, and of course shop!  This is also an opportunity to greet official Fiesta Royalty and special guests!

 Thursday-Sunday, April 18-28th  Fiesta Carnival ($)

@ Alamodome, Parking Lot C, 100 Montana St.

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Thrills and chills fill the air at one of the best carnivals in the land. Glittering lights, exciting rides and a wide assortment of foods in the heart of San Antonio make the Carnival a perennial favorite of Fiesta®-goers. Revenue from this event helps support the activities of Fiesta® San Antonio.

For prices

Friday, April 19th WEBB Party ($$)

@Aztec Theater  7:30 pm-12:00 am 

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The iconic WEBB Party is high-energy dance music, cutting-edge live entertainment, full-service bars, exotic cuisine tastings and an eclectic, fun-loving crowd make it a perennial Fiesta favorite. This year’s theme, “Stayin’ Alive,” celebrates both the Disco Era of the 1970s and the breakthroughs in HIV medical care that have led to longer, healthier lives for those affected. Headliner will be “American Idol” finalist Ada Vox.

Tickets are $75 presale, $90 at the door. VIP packages, military/student discounts and corporate sponsorships are also available.

Friday, April 19th  Fiesta Masquerade Party-Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Psi Alpha Chapter ($)

@Hilton Garden Inn 8:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. 

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The Fiesta Masquerade Party, hosted by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, is a a great way to dress in your fine attire in the spirit of Fiesta.  Trade in your flower crown and flip flops for after 5 dress and mask. Attendees at the event are highly encouraged to dress in the festive outfit of their choice. There’s a $100 cash prize for the best costume. The Fiesta Masquerade Party is expressly designed to get people into the overall fever of the San Antonio Fiesta season.  Price includes food, door prizes and musical entertainment including Zydeco, Jazz, R&B, Ol’ School, Pop, Reggae, Latino/Salsa, etc.  Proceeds from this event go to the Psi Alpha Scholarship Fund.

Admission is $30 in advance and $35 at the door.

https://www.psialphachapter.com/

Saturday, April 20 Piñatas in the Barrio (Free)

12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Guadalupe Theatre

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Pinatas in the Barrio features live entertainment, delicious food and fun for the whole family! 2019 will prove to be a spectacular year with the unveiling of the “Barrio’s Largest Pinata,” San Antonio’s record size Pinata! Rey Feo will crown the Senior Citizen King and Queen of the Barrio at this Official Fiesta event. The Barrio’s King and Queen will participate in the Battle of Flowers Parade and the Fiesta Flambeau Parade.

Admission is Free, Parking is Free

https://www.aueda.org/

Monday, April 22 River Parade

@ River Walk, 7-9 pm

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Each year hundreds of thousands of people line the banks of the San Antonio River to view the most unusual parade in America…the Texas Cavaliers River Parade! Where floats actually float! This year’s parade, entitled “It’s Showtime in San Antonio” promises an evening of family fun with live music, celebrities and lights. More than 50 festively decorated floats (that actually float!) with live music and costumed participants. Monies generated through the parade are donated to local children’s charities through the organization’s Texas Cavaliers Charitable Foundation.

Tuesday, April 23rd Fiesta Tech Trek (Free)

@San Antonio Chamber of Commerce

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What do you get when you mix the excitement of Fiesta and thousands of college students, tech professionals, investors, business owners, and entrepreneurs who are interested in our city’s growing tech industry? Find out at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s 3rd Annual Tech Trek! Over the course of the evening, trekkers will visit participating tech companies, enjoy food and beverages, and get an inside look into San Antonio’s downtown Tech District and the emerging tech scene. Tech Trek is a celebration of entrepreneurship, technology, and most of all, Fiesta!

RSVP : https://satechtrek.splashthat.com/

Starts Tuesday, April 23rd NIOSA (Night In Old San Antonio) ($)La Villita

@La Villita |Bag restrictions apply – see event website for details. 

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“A Night in Old San Antonio®” is a four-night festival in the heart of historic downtown San Antonio that celebrates the city’s diverse culture through the magic of 200-plus food and drink booths; 14 continuous live musical acts and bright and festive decorations in 15 themed areas: Mission Trail, Arneson Theatre, China Town, Clown Alley, French Quarter, Froggy Bottom, Frontier Town, Haymarket, International Walkway, Irish Flats, Main Street USA, Mexican Market, Sauerkraut Bend, South of the Border, and Villa Espana.

Admission for adults is $12 advance and $15 at the gate; children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.

210-226-5188 | niosa@niosa.org | http://www.niosa.org

Tickets available for purchase: NIOSA website, The Fiesta Store®, HEB stores and military bases. E-tickets available at http://www.niosa.org

Wednesday, April 24th Taste of the Northside ($$$)

6:30-11:30 pm The Club at Sonterraupdated.TasteOfTheNorthside

Party with a Purpose at San Antonio’s most exclusive Fiesta event, TASTE of the Northside! Savor delicious cuisine from 60+ local restaurants and sample endless varieties of wine and spirits.

Presale all-inclusive is $85. $100 at the door.
Tickets Available for Purchase at The Fiesta Store® and at www.tasteofthenorthside.org

Thursday, April 25th St. Philip’s Culturefest

10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. St. Philip’s College

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St. Philip’s College CultureFest and Rib Cook-Off is an official Fiesta event on the Eastside. SPC was established in 1898 and is the second fastest growing historically black college in the nation and the only one designated as both an HBCU and HSI. St. Philip’s College, one of the Alamo Colleges, is among the city’s oldest higher-education institutions.

Enjoy a midday Fiesta celebration in a relaxed and family-friendly environment. Arrive early for our opening ceremony featuring Fiesta royalty and don’t miss the car show. CultureFest features live music, food, dance, games and the hottest, celebrity-judged rib competition this side of San Antonio.

Admission and parking are free. Funnel cakes are plentiful. All proceeds support scholarships.

210-486-2135 | awilliams284@alamo.edu | http://www.alamo.edu/spc/culturefest

Sunday, April 28th Texas A&M San Antonio-Festival de Cascarones

@ Texas A&M-San Antonio  (Free)

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Festival De Cascarones presented by H-E-B is proud to have Vertical Horizon, Olivia Lane and Bidi Bidi Banda to perform on April 28.

RSVP

Saturday, April 27th King William Fair ($)

@King William District, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

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Bag Restrictions Apply – see event website for more details.

The King William Fair is a family fair with art and craft vendors, live music and dance on five stages, food and beverage booths, a Kids Kingdom play area and a small but quirky parade, all on the streets of the historic district with its stately homes and gracious gardens.

Admission is $15; children 12 and under are free.
210-271-3247 | syeira@kwfair.org | www.kwfair.org

 Monday, April 29thUIW The Cutting Edge Fiesta Fashion Show

6 p.m. The McNay Art Museum

CuttingEdgeFiestaFashionShow

University of the Incarnate Word student designers will present collections they have designed in a year-long fashion capstone course representing different garment categories and varying model sizes. Up-and-coming student designers will also present their top designs from advanced courses.

Proceeds benefit Fashion Management scholarships for current students. UIW’s Design Program was ranked #8 in the Southwest (Top 25 percent of schools considered).

For ticket info! 210-829-3219  | http://cuttingedge-sa.com

Fiesta Parking Tips

I highly suggest taking the VIA Park & Ride options since traffic will be a cluster! You can also take a Lyft to a VIA Park & Ride location and get a $10 discount!

PARK & RIDE LOCATIONS:

Airport Park & Ride
1350 Northern Blvd.

Crossroads Park & Ride
151 Crossroads Blvd.

Madla Transit Center
1584 Cantrell

Randolph Park & Ride
9500 Ih-35 North

VIA’s Special Event Park & Ride Service eliminates parking hassles, parking fees and traffic headaches, so you can celebrate the biggest 11-day party – Fiesta San Antonio –  with family and friends.

FARES

General | $2.50 each way
Student | $1.25 each way (must have current student ID)

VIAtrans customers and children under the age of 5 ride fare-free.

Fore more info on routes: https://www.viainfo.net/fiesta/

10 Apps To Uplevel Your Social Media Game in 2019 (So Your Followers ‘DONUT’ Scroll/Tap Pass) 

I love donuts. 

And I love word play so don’t mind me on my playground. 

I am asked on the regular about social media and how I grow my engagement and following organically. The most common question I get is what apps I am using. 

In this list, I have broken down my fave apps. Most are FREE 99! Others require a low cost or subscription. 

Get ready to delete some apps, photos, and messages to give you storage room to save these apps!

Content Creation

Regrammer-allows you to save and repost content you see on Instagram without the pesky watermark. 

Tip: Once you copy and paste the link, click the ‘repost’ button select ‘more’ and it will prompt you to save to your phone. This allows you to repost to IG without the watermark. 

Quik-allows you to create videos with your fave photos and videos and works magic! There’s a reason it has 5 stars in the app store with close to a million reviews!

Over-specifically designed for Instagram Stories and a way to use a combo of graphics, fonts, and filters to engage your audience. 

Unfold-I heard about this app on the radio, Kidd Kraddick Morning Show’s Jenna Owens had Unfold featured on her faves segment. MY FAVORITE OUT RIGHT NOW! This is an app big time social media influencers don’t want you to know about because its a jewel and it’s FREE! You can upgrade for additional cost. If you like the clean, polished look for your stories…download it! 

Planoly-if you want to create an aesthetically pleasing Instagram grid like your fave influencer, this app is for you. The free edition let’s you upload your pictures as a preview so you can see how it would look on your actual ‘gram. 

Editing and Filters

VSCO-intuitive and easy to use, a supply of stunning filters and style options is the reason it is one of the most beloved apps.

ColorStory-once you open and use this, you’ll never go back to another app to edit pics. This app is especially good for food, interior and home decor, and scenery images. 

Inshot-has powerful production features that you would think only can be done on a desktop. It takes images or videos and sizes them to your stories via mobile.

Lightroom-even Adobe is in on the mobile editing game. This is especially made for Instagram and the person who wants to take their feed to the next level.

Perfect365-there’s a reason even celebrities such as J.Lo and Kim Kardashian are avid users! A make-up try on app that creates a full makeover at no cost!

Did I miss any? What are some of your fave apps? 

FG

5 Rihanna ‘Songs’ That Perfectly Explain Balancing Your 9 to 5|Side Hustle

I like to think that us side hustlers are flirting with the idea of having our own.

 

Testing the waters.

 

Wondering if we should stick to the 9 to 5 rivers that we’re used to.

 

Having a side hustle is rewarding, but complicated and many don’t explore it because of the fear of being overwhelmed.

 

Balance.

 

It’s key to not only survive, but thrive.

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Rihanna is the Queen of Side Hustle(s). As much as people are in her comment section about releasing new music and dragging her for being the “Avon lady,” she is goals on how to hustle…and do it correctly.

 

Sis is Jill of All Trades, and Master of ALL OF THEM! Though she has remained faithful and loyal in her marriage to music, her side pieces….ahem…businesses still get her undivided attention. She not only rules the charts, but the fashion and beauty industries.  Thanks to the phenomenal success of her FENTY Beauty line and Puma collaboration.

 

Rihanna’s hustle energy is what we should all channel into our daily lives when we venture into the side biz world.

 

Here are 5 Rihanna song titles that explain the balancing act of your 9 to 5ish and side hustle:

 

  1. FourFiveSeconds

 

Time.

 

It’s the one thing we can never get enough and balancing a 9 to 5 and side hustle often feels daunting. If you are struggling to keep up and feel overwhelmed, then you might want to take an audit of your daily life. I challenge you to jot down for a full week how you are spending your time. Even when you go the bathroom…yes it gets that real. What I have found with the many coaches and mentors of my life is they account for every hour, minute, and second on the clock. This is how they are successful and so productive.

 

Once you have finished your audit, you now need to look for the gaps you have in your schedule and this is how you can build in more time for your side biz. It is important to start time blocking your life and intentionally filling your day to day with activities that are productive. This is how you can equally flourish in your career as well as biz.

 

  1. Take Care

 

The old adage is true…

 

If you fail to plan, then plan to fail…

 

If you implement a plan in advance it will take care of you. As much as I would like to admit I have a full on plan for my content strategy on my blog or social media pages, I don’t. But I do plan my writing sessions, photo sessions, or meetings with clients when I can. You need to build in your plan what you need to accomplish. Whether it is writing, scheduling meetings, following up with leads, or content creation it is important to take care of the Big Three first. This simply is to tackle the biggest three tasks on your list first. They are usually the most difficult and bring the biggest headache. But once accomplished, it really does change the trajectory of your productivity for the better.

 

  1. Work

You know this song title had to make it in the lineup.

 

It is very important you utilize the free time you do have. So unfortunately, NO DAYS OFF! Use your time off the 9 to 5 for time on for the side hustle. If you were lucky, you got a long three-day weekend with President’s Day. Though I was off from my 9 to 5ish, I invested the time into build my brand. So take advantage of holidays, early releases, and lunch breaks, it truly makes the difference.

 

  1. Question Existing

 

You may not be familiar with this song choice since it wasn’t released as a single, but it’s a bop.

 

When you are a business leader, owner, and decision maker you will have to ask and answer the hard questions. You will have hard, uncomfortable conversations about the quality of work, your rates, your mess ups…yes you will mess up if you haven’t already.  Side hustles are meant to bring another stream of income and opportunity to grow. If it is doing more harm than good in your life, you might want to ask the questions Rihanna did to herself in this song:

 

Who am I living for?

 

Is this my limit?

 

Can I endure some more?

 

  1. BBHMM

Oh the anthem of all Bosses! Instead of B***h, let’s replace with Biz Better Have My $ for educational purposes. Raise your hand if you would be rich for every “can I pick your brain?” inquiry. I promise to write a post on how annoying AF this is. Stay tuned. For now, you are worth it! When it comes to balance, many times our 9 to 5ish funds our side hustle until it turns a profit. As admiral as it is to take on work for free 99, you need to get paid!  When you first start out, you will more than likely do pro bono work to bring awareness. But you did not invest time, energy, coins, and paper that folds to not get the check! Don’t be afraid to state your price and not compromise. You are not an imposter. You are the truth! You are everything they want and if it is the right fit they will hire you or buy your products/services.

Know Your Worth.

Then Add Tax.

FG

4 Things That Happened When I Ghosted Social Media

We take better care and protect our phones more than we do ourselves. We make sure the battery never dies, if it does, we quickly recharge it. 

If we only invested this much time in self. 

When is the last time you recharged yourself? Where you truly unplugged from all electronics and social media platforms before plugging back in. There are times we just need to refresh and relax before the recharge. 

I wish I could tell you there was a profound reason/epiphany that made me want to take a step back from my social media and devices, but there isn’t. I just was tired of scrolling through my feed looking at the same ol’ same ol’. 

When I realized my ‘surfin’ was affecting my productivity at work, I knew it was time for a detox. 

Throw the whole phone away. 

Ok nothing that drastic, maybe not throw…but PUT the phone away. 

I was only supposed to take a week off social media, it lasted six.

In those six weeks unplugged from the matrix, here’s what happened:

1.) No one notices that you have disappeared. No one cares you are off the grid.

If you don’t think so, deactivate/log off your accounts and tell no one. You will soon join me at the dinner table for a dessert: humble pie. Out of sight, out of mind. No one notices, no one reaches out at all. If they did notice, they didn’t tell me. 

In fact, it took one of my friends at the end of week two of my ghosting to realize I was off the grid. 

“Are you off Instagram and Twitter,” she asked.

“Girl I have been off for almost 3 weeks now,” I revealed.

Eventually more of my friends did notice, but I had been nearly abstaining for six weeks by then. 

Your family, friends, followers, and whomever get caught up in their own life with their problems,  day to day, etc. and aren’t paying it any attention. Neither should you, this is a time for you to be more mindful and present in the moment. Don’t be afraid of FOMO, it will be there once you return.

Sidebar:*** If you are a business account or have a huge following this need not apply.

I hate when people make grandiose announcements that they are taking a much needed break from their social platforms. This is attention seeking to me and unnecessary. 

Just ghost us. Will see you when you return.

2. People will reach out to you more because you are not as accessible. 

How many of us send DMs and also text

our friends at the SAME time? 

How about when it is your birthday and everyone posts to your Facebook wall with all the warm fuzzies? 

But your phone is dry.

Not a call, text, or smoke signal sent. I can admit, I am quick to post a happy birthday message to the ‘book’ and check the box complete. 

But do I follow up with a call or text to my friend’s phone? No. 

Isn’t shouting you out on the ‘gram or Facebook enough? It isn’t. 

I must admit that once I was off my social media, there weren’t many notifications coming through to my phone. 

Once my friends realized I was off the grid, the phone calls and texts were more frequent. When you aren’t as accessible people have the time to miss you in a sense. 

Being off the grid for a moment gave a chance for my friends and family to miss me enough to call and reach out. 

3. More time for Self-Care and Productivity 

My addiction to my phone and social media was out of control. I’m embarrassed to say how much face time I was giving my phone. 

If you are an iPhone user, then you may know a recent update tracks how many times you pick up your phone each day, the average amount you spend on it a week, and even identifies your most frequented apps. 

There is even an option where you can monitor and limit the amount of time you spend on certain apps. I have to give kudos to Apple for bringing some awareness to our daily obsessions. 

I had mentioned to my doctor about my lack of sleep and feeling anxious throughout the day. She asked me how did I start my day and how I ended my day. I ran down my routine.

AM

Wake up.

Check and answer work emails.

Scroll through social media. 

Brush my teeth.

PM

Shower 

Listen to music.

Scroll through social m-

And there it was, the root of my sleepless nights and anxiety throughout the day. My doctor suggested I leave my phone on the other side of the room at night and get an alarm clock. Also, to not check social media first thing and only schedule an amount of time to be on. 

I just decided to go cold turkey altogether and immediately saw a difference with my new routine. I quickly realized how easy it was to relax when I wasn’t glued to my phone. 

I slept better, longer, and deeper. 

I also amped up my self-care routine. 

I started with daily affirmations and my devotionals, those periodic facials became everyday routine. I even had time for bubble baths and to just sit still and pray. 

When you don’t have social media to occupy your time, I guarantee your productivity level will grow exponentially. I am a great starter, but horrible finisher. I would start a project and then get distracted by a few minutes of scrolling that turned into hours on social media. 

During my detox, I was able to optimize my time and my productivity level increased dramatically. 

This also helped with reducing my anxiety because I actually completed tasks in a timely manner. 

I read more of my bible, finished three books, exercised more, and even got in the kitchen…not just to eat, but cook! I started keto and so meal prepping was essential. 

My productivity at work even increased and helped me when I moved into my bigger office. 

When boundaries are set and social media is limited, my anxiety is controlled and I am more productive. 

4. No Longer Keeping Up with the Joneses

Social media is powerful in a positive and negative way. Have you ever logged on and immediately your energy shifted from what you saw on your feed or timeline?

One post, like, comment, or share can affect your mind, body, and spirit. And before we know it, we are playing the comparison game. 

You can’t compare your real life to someone else’s controlled online content. We easily forget and compare our behind the scenes to the the highlight reels shown on social media. 

We must be careful on the content we feed our souls. The content we engage or consume can positively shape or negatively impact. 

There is a constant comparison of relationship goals, accomplishments, careers, etc. that if not checked can become very toxic.

When I was off social media I focused only on me. This detox helped me to become more centered and only focus on my goals and path. 

Social media can be a distraction and slow down your progress if allowed.  So it is important to set periodic breaks to refocus on just you and not compare it to anyone else’s.

-FG

Do you feel like you cannot live without social media? 

Have you overcome it and found a balance? 

If so, what are some tips that you can share about how to unplug from technology and social media?

Closed [Tabs] Don’t Get Fed

Holiday season is upon us and like you I am excited to spend time with family, friends, and RELAAAAAX!

I just X’d out of all my the tabs in my brain as I head out of the office until the new year. Only have one open for the holidaze season.

Thankful to have time off to enjoy and just unwind. But I remember the days I didn’t get to have off. The hustle and fuss of it all.

This is a reminder to think of the many retail/service workers, etc. who have to deal with the holi’craze’ and just want to be home like you.

Be kind.

Be patient.

Smile a little longer.

Tip more. Or just say thank you.

We SEE you. We Love you. We ARE with you.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

-FG

 

 

Hair Isn’t the Only Dead Ends that Need to Be Cut in 2018

“New Year, New Me” is slowly escaping the lips of many as we head out of 2018. Memes will soon follow and fill our feeds and explorer pages. 2019 is lacing up the kicks and waiting by the sideline as 2018 takes its last free throw and taps out. So what is next for you?

GROWTH!

You don’t have to wait until 2019 either to start. Just like you wouldn’t water dead plants, don’t hydrate dead, fake friendships, relationships, or ‘situation’ships. Even if the external is beautiful or Jean Claude Van Damme fine, YOU DESERVE BETTER! Cut it off, let it go…it’s a guarantee when you cut off the dead ends, exponential growth soon follows.

I still remember the time shortly after I moved to San Antonio, I needed to get my hair done, but had no money. I decided to go the cheap route and go to a local beauty school. I had a white girl put a relaxer on my head and apply it like it was color. This is a no-no. Let me edua-ma-cate. When hair has been processed already by a relaxer, you only need to touch up the roots. You only apply the relaxer to the roots and ends when it is virgin hair. My hair hadn’t been virgin since I was six! She also didn’t base my scalp with any grease or protectant so my head had Satan dancing on top. I tried my best to stay calm, but I could clearly see the white girl was in as much distress as me. Black folks’ hair can be intimidating to many people. I eventually asked her to please get an instructor because she had not applied it correctly and Satan wasn’t letting up on the Milly Rock.

The instructor stared in horror and we immediately headed to the shampoo bowl. This basically was the start of a traumatic experience. In just a few days my hair began to come out in clumps and I eventually went back to repair the damage. The next student was on the verge of graduation and was very different. She was confident and black! But she couldn’t salvage my hair and I had to cut it all off! I was mortified and absolutely devastated. I got a big head, I can’t rock a baldie like Lupita…IT AIN’T HAPPENING. But she let me know that the only way my hair could grow, we had to cut the dead off. She reassured me my hair would start to grow and quickly. And correct she was! But it was a process.

The dead hair I was hanging on to for comfort, is so many of us with dead end relationships, jobs, attitudes, beliefs…the list goes on. So let’s get in a warm-up and start now with cutting __________ (you fill in the blank) off and letting _____________ go.  And watch the GROWTH!

-FG

When Life Gives Us Mountains…

“He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.” {-Psalms 95:4}

⛰⛰⛰⛰⛰⛰⛰⛰⛰

A couple weeks after my 32nd birthday I sat numb in my doctor’s office. Her lips moved slowly and precisely, but I didn’t hear a word…just the typing of the transcriber in the room.

The next couple of hours were a blur. I just remember I called my Mom 21 times. She didn’t answer. I refused to do anything else until I heard my Mom’s voice.

So I sat in my car and waited….and waited…my phone buzzed. Work email. And waited. Eventually my Mom called. She had been out grocery shopping and left her phone at the house.

I couldn’t even get it out…I just blubbered like a baby. If there is one thing about Virginia Faye Baker Green…she’s a prayer warrior!

-“Who is bigger Faith? This mountain or God?,” she asked. “Huh?,” I replied. -“You heard me. Who’s bigger? That’s what you ask every time you feel fear, despair, or even this health scare. You already know.” I could feel her smile through the phone.

Fast forward⏭

After many tests, scans, and results, I have experienced a range of emotions, highs and lows, the mountains and valleys. And I know you are experiencing it too and if you aren’t, someone close to you is.

There is a mountain ahead and it’s scary, intimidating, above our scope of understanding and the uncertainty on the other side of it. But guess who’s bigger? I think you know the answer. ✨

 

The Little Black Dress (LBD) That Could…

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That time I tried to slip my favorite pair of jeans over my hips and it didn’t. Or squeeze into my go to LBD and could no longer fit it. 

Alexa play Drake “In My Feelings.” 

There is a range of disbelief, frustration, and sadness. Because there is nothing more humbling than the contents of your closet. Many of us have experienced this feeling and I understand how it can be a devastating blow to our already fragile she-gos.

Weight fluctuation is real! If you deal with a fluctuating body then you have experienced the struggle of something literally fitting amazing and the next time not so much. It is in these insecure moments we must be unapologetic af, own our size and make style choices that reflect the best of our body, instead of our body trying to reflect the style. 

I was invited to a black tie event a couple weeks back and with the holiday season here, you will be soon getting invites to some pretty swanky events too. I wanted to find you some options for that ‘little black dress’ that is perfect for any occasion. 

I have to highlight this fabulous dress I wore to the black tie affair which garnered so many compliments. My friend who is a stylist and manager at AGACI found it! She pulled it straight from the inventory rack. It fit me in all the right places and hid my struggle areas. And it was under $50! 

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The Dare Me Damask Gown is elegant and flirty, perfect for a holiday party or fall wedding. What I loved so much about this dress it is very forgiving in the midsection because of the high waist that leads to a semi-sheer overlay skirt. The sheer skirt allows you to show some leg, but conceal cellulite. It has a deep V split in the bodice and strappy x-back to show off those great arms, back, and bust of yours. Hence, why I nicknamed it “The Little Black Dress that Could…” cover our imperfections, but highlight our fabulous assets (no pun intended :))

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Wanting to explore more LBDs suited for you, click here for a variety of options for you! All under $50!

-FG

Nothing Scarier in 2018 than #Fake News…Happy Halloween!

In a world where social media surrounds us like water surrounds fish, we must be vigilant in seeking the truth. As Auntie Oprah put it at my graduation, “The internet and social media is being used to erode trust in our institutions…interfere in elections and wreak havoc on our infrastructure.”  (Read the 8 Lessons of Auntie Oprah and how it got me all the way together!)

One click spreads fake news stories causing hysteria, an innocent Google search allows advertisers a window to bombard us and our phones have distracted us so much we have walked into traffic.  The solution is to push back with the truth, the only true way to strike down deceit and calm the hysteria. You have to combat the false narratives with real information and solid facts to set the record straight. Your job is to continue to keep the left, right, and center in check by confronting your own bias and reporting only the truth. This will build credibility and protect us from corruption.

My take on “fake news” was a hit at my office party! Take a peek at some of the fun!

Did you dress up for Halloween? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear!

-FG

San Antonio Hotspots That Prove The City Loves Affordable Luxury

The city affectionally named by Texas Monthly as the “Mother of Texas” because it is where history began is indeed filled with opportunities to enjoy affordable luxury. Within San Antonio, you can explore an abundance of culture, including the budding culinary scene, intimate night lounges, thrift-like shops, and tucked-away museums curated especially for the history enthusiast. And what’s San Antonio without the iconic Alamo, River Walk, and the best street tacos? Since SA is home to me and a wealth of must-visit locales, I wanted to introduce you to some hidden gems that you should know if you enjoy affordable luxury. 

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  1. Feast

This eclectic stylish restaurant sits right off South Alamo and is one of the more popular spots in trendy Southtown. The menu changes often with the chef so I hate to recommend a dish and it not be available. Feast lives up to its name with generous portions and great cocktail selections. I work down the street and often come in the evening with colleagues to enjoy a wine down. 

Sunday Brunch is when you must go! The food is fabulous, the fun atmosphere is accented by a DJ spinning on the 1’s and 2’s, and it is a great way to explore the amazing neighborhoods nearby. Parking is tricky so get there as early. There is street parking on South Alamo and throughout the neighborhood. 

 

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2. Feliz Modern

Need a quick birthday card/gift for a friend? Maybe an anniversary is on the horizon…or maybe you want to spruce up your home/office with a bit of fun art? Feliz Modern is the one-stop shop for you!

Feliz Modern is a collective hub for lifestyle items like I have pictured. It is a “mix of modern and vintage goods that combine a love of art, home, and entertainment.” My faves added to my cart have been the “fluent in rap lyrics” coffee mug, the taco/therapy money bags, and the life-size Topo Chico Poster is saved for my future house. I ended up getting the Instagram heart notification pillow for my office at work. 

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3. Hotel Emma’s Sternewirth-The Story of The Three Emmas  

What’s fascinating about San Antonio is the rich culture and history that is stranger than fiction. One of my personal fave spots is Hotel Emma at The Pearl. Hotel Emma is a flagship for Pearl’s culinary and cultural scene. Staying a night or two can be very expensive. For us who enjoy affordable luxury, dining in or having a couple of drinks at the bar will suffice. I highly encourage you to visit Sternewith Tavern & Club Room. Though the hidden gem isn’t the bar itself that boasts 25 ft vaulted ceilings and posh sofas, easy chairs, and lounge areas, it is rather a story….The Three Emmas Story. Make your way to the bartender and order ‘The Three Emmas’ delicious cocktail. Ask the bartender to tell you the scandalous tale about the three Emmas. A true story of love, betrayal, and murder! 

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4. Shotgun House Coffee Roasters

Travel with me to the west side of the city to an up and coming coffee shop, Shotgun House Coffee Roasters. This corner coffee shop is tucked inside Warehouse 5, a recently converted sewing factory. It is now a multi-suite space for creative businesses.

As coffee grounds and tea leaves steeped, I feverishly worked on several projects for work. I am fortunate to work remotely periodically and love coffee shops as my backdrop. It is a quaint, peaceful, and comfortable space that offers a full lineup of espresso drinks, teas, breakfast tacos, and pastries. Fan favorites include the iced horchata latte, salted-caramel latte, chai, and cold brew.

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5. Rebelle

Located directly inside of the Luxury Collection St. Anthony Hotel, Rebelle is a sophisticated dining experience at a price point that won’t break your wallet. This restaurant is the sister to Feast as they are both owned by Andrew Goodman. What I love about Goodman’s collections is they are all similarly the swanky, stylish spot with a unique flare to cuisine. Rebelle focuses on premier seafood.

I recently celebrated my birthday there this year and created some buzz. I hosted my dinner party in their private room. I highly suggest dining there and the best part is complimentary valet parking at the hotel when you dine in. 

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6. Hello Tallulah

I am a girl that loves to thrift shop and have my fair share of items hanging in my closet. Hello Tallulah is a new vintage store that sells more gently used luxury brands with a whimsical touch to the fashion.

There was a recent store pop-up I attended and found the store to be very appealing for the fashionista who is bold, playful, and likes to be daring with colors. It isn’t so much my cup of tea, but super cute and chic. I was eyeing a tan leather bag that looked great. 

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7. Brooklynite

Brooklynite is a remarkably cozy artful bar off Broadway with vintage furnishings and chandeliers as a backdrop for twists on cocktails. I ordered the ‘Thots & Prayers” drink and it didn’t disappoint. It is a laid-back atmosphere and fosters relaxation. I really enjoy the vibe of the music, people and bartenders. The surprising thing is good R&B music is played over the sound system and there is no DJ. It is still great spot to hang or take a date. 

 

-FG

 

Foam Glow 5K is a (Non) Runner’s Dream

Honestly, I am not a runner. I hate it with a passion. So when my amazing FIT friends (who are runners) sent out an email to see if we could get a team together for the Foam Glow Run, well mine conveniently got lost in ‘email hell.’ Followed up by a group text, I politely ignored it. Look, I don’t run for fun. And I refuse to pay to run. I have my personal trainer who I pay very well to do that.  

A week ago, one of my girlfriends hit me via text to ask if I was interested in the Foam Glow Run. It wasn’t two minutes later I got an email from another girlfriend who wanted to gift me her registration to the Foam Glow Run. She no longer could go, but felt compelled to gift it to someone. I was reluctant but I thought it was very thoughtful for her to think of me. I also loved the fact two of my close friends were going and a few others I knew. I decided to do a little research and was pleasantly surprised at Foam Glow. It truly is a ‘fun run’ and designed for us non-runners and the veterans too. 

If you don’t do anything else, watch this awesome video my dear friend Jerry created!

It is an opportunity for (non) runners of all different sizes, shapes, ages, speeds to glow with verve in neon paint and of course…foam. The course is 3 miles and begins with everyone as blank canvases. By the end of the night, everyone is a vibrant tie dye project. Foam Glow Zones are stationed throughout the course and afterparty. The machines periodically splash runners with hues of bright green, orange, and pink that come to life under black light. People go all out for this event, from cutesy tutus, colorful wigs, neon stick glasses, to matching t-shirts (I saw “Steve’s 40th B-Day” T-shirts…great idea!) the night was definitely fun and a must for a (non) runner.

Vibes & Vision: 6 Things You Must Include On Your Vision Board

I am part of The Executives and we recently hosted Vibes and Vision, a vision board party for driven women alike in San Antonio. We held the event at the new women co-working space Annex Coworking. Did I mention the event SOLD OUT!? Kudos to Morgan Taplin for a successful event!

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Yes, women have a vision that they see will be manifested. September may seem like a odd month to host a vision party, but women are always working on new visions and new goals.

 

“Write the vision and make it plain.” Habakkuk 2:2, NIV

If you think vision boards are bogus and don’t work…YOU ARE A LIE! You must be doing it wrong because they work! It is plain and simple, just like the powerful line in the book of Habakkuk. When we write down our mission, vision and goals it has no choice but to manifest. Even our words that come out of our mouth are so powerful it brings them to fruition. When you create a designated space that displays what you want, it brings it to life. 

If you weren’t able to attend Vibes and Visions, here are the six areas your vision needs to focus on to create balance in your life:

-Health (Physical, Mental, Emotional, & Spiritual)

-Home 

-Finance

-Career

-Travel (Recreational)

-Love (Relationships) 

Instead of just putting down pretty pictures and thought-provoking quotes, take it a step further. For example, in the career area I put down Oprah. What does that picture on my vision board really mean? Do I want to be Oprah? Do I want to meet Oprah? This is why it is important to also incorporate goals. 

Write one important goal for each of the six areas. Once you define each goal: 

-Write it in present tense

-Use illustrative descriptions that make the vision a reality

-Include timelines and guidelines

-Repeat daily

-FG

 

The Wine Down: A Recap of My Insecure S3 Premiere Watch Party

 

It was the moment we as Insecure fans have been waiting for…the return of Season 3! We were excited AF and were not disappointed! Whether you are Team Issa, Team Molly, Team Daaaaaang Daniel, or Team No Lawrence the premiere has us all wanting more!

I have loved and supported Issa Rae since her groundbreaking Youtube series Awkward Black Girl. HBO’s Insecure has become a cultural phenomenon and I couldn’t be happier for Issa’s success. She is a brilliant content creator and I am so glad the world is finally taking notice. It was only right that I threw an Insecure Watch Party in my city! All this golden content she’s producing, I knew there were other fans like me who would want to come together.

Many thanks to The South Chicken & Waffles for hosting us! The bartenders even made a thematic menu of food and drinks for the party like my fave the ‘black girl magic.’ ⁠ DJ Fat had the ultimate Insecure playlist to set the scene before the premiere. (click through images for more deets.)

Shoutout to the brothers that came out in full force to support!

 

 

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Early birders and select VIP got a surprise gift…Issa’s Box of Faves. Each item was significant to InsecureHBO⁠ :

 •🍷⬇️ Wine Down (Issa loves her Moscato and Prosecco)

• Hot Cheetos (when Molly + Issa had their first make up in Season 1, Issa brings Hot Cheetos as a peace offering )

•Treat Yourself-From manicures, pedicures, facials to therapy, self care is a common theme throughout the show

•🍾Lituation-Issa is known to turn up and a little brown/clear liquor does the trick

•Kleenex-Issa 👁💦🍆  Well this infamous scene toward the end of season 2 with Issa and Daniel had Twitterverse a buzz with the great debate. 😩😂

Thanks to everyone that came out and supported. Can’t wait for episode 2!

 

-FRG

The Selfie 6-pack Every Woman Should Know (Even Beyonce Will Approve!)

The Selfie 6-pack Every Woman Should Know (Even Beyonce Will Approve!)

Imagine you are at a rooftop party with your friends with amazing vibes. The sun is peeking through the clouds ever so slightly and a nice, flirty wind joins in. The DJ is spinning hella tunes and the bartender mixed your drink just the way you like. You wonder to yourself “can it get anymore perfect?” A commotion is stirring up by the entrance and you catch it out the corner of your eye. You turn your head to get a better view…

And in struts Queen Bey…

The flirty wind catches her long blonde tresses and lifts a few over her face ever so slightly tickling her nose. Uh oh, she sneezes on the beat and the beat gets sicker…YONCE is passing by you and your heart is beating quicker.

(Yo, I totally freestyled that last line, give me some cred).

Your friend is in stride with Bey as she ‘struts’ through the party. Yes, YOUR friend is coming YOUR way to make the intro and YOUR edges are about to be snatched. Are you ready for the convo with Queen Bey? What if she is wants to take a pic with you? Are you ready…? Are you ready to nail the perfect selfie?

Ok…maybe Beyonce at a rooftop party is overreaching, but I now have your attention!

I am shocked that a lot of women (men too) really don’t know how to take a selfie, but secretly want to learn. I honestly never thought much about mine until my closest friends started asking me for tips. Trust me, I have been there. Not knowing what to do, how to do it, but once I started using my “selfie six-pack” it changed the game. Went 0 to 100 (likes) real quick…ok let me leave Drake out of this.

Let me share.

1.) CLEAN YOUR LENS

Cloudy photos are the worst (eye roll). This is my ‘pet peeve.’ This may sound like a no brainer, but we forget how much we use our phone and handling it all day creates smudges. A tiny bit of dirt or dust can make a photo blurry or out of focus.

Most smart phones have decent cameras now, you really just have to clean it every time you use it to snap a photo. I suggest keeping a small microfiber cloth in your purse to wipe down the lens. I can’t tell you how many times I have been out with friends and how amazed they are with the quality of photos, after I clean the lens.

HACK: Using the back camera takes your selfie up another notch. The only downside is, you can’t see yourself until after you take the photo. A few practices and you will know how to position your phone to nail the selfie.

Though iPhone and the others have worked wonders in upgrading the selfie mode, the main camera on the backside is still the reigning champ…IMO.

Here is an example…notice the difference?

2.)  MANUALLY SET FOCAL POINT

Of course you want to focus on YOU, so simply tap on the screen of your phone and it will focus on you precisely. Sometimes it can be overexposed, simply tap again and it will go to previous focus. You can play around with the focal by tapping on different areas of the screen.

3.) SET EXPOSURE 

Your exposure is how bright or dark an image is. You already are setting the exposure when you manually set your focal point. Tapping on the screen helps the camera know what to prioritize lighting on, of course we want all attention on you!

4.) LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING

The best lighting I have nicknamed “SONlight” or when there is an overcast it is perfect. If at all possible, shoot in natural light. Why are car selfies the best? Yes, that natural lighting girl! The BEST time to shoot is Sunrise + Sunset…all the feels! Really bright sunlight is not complimentary and can be very harsh. Find open shade on bright sunny days (under trees, between buildings, alley, under the bridge). My fave spot if trying to take your selfie inside…THE WINDOW! Never ever have a window behind you, always face it and put your selfie camera up. Yeeeeeees! I see you girl! The window works every time, especially on cloudy days.

If it is the night time or you are in dark areas….TURN FLASH OFF. Don’t even use your phone’s built in flash. I highly suggest investing in phone accessories that create the flash for you.  The LuMee light-up phone case is very popular and works. I personally recommend the GlowMe LED Selfie Ring Light (USB Rechargeable) because you can clip on your phone and other devices. Plus, it is a great conversation piece.

5.) APPS: NO ONE IS PRETTIER THAN YOU, THEY JUST HAVE MORE APPS

Even Beyonce uses apps! After capturing the selfie you love, it is now time to edit it. Sometimes, your lighting and camera skills are so A1, no editing is needed. 60% of the other time, you will. Two of my fave go to apps are Perfect365 and Facetune.

I am sure Perfect365 is free, but Facetune is a small fee. All of your favorite IG instastars use it! Both apps are very intuitive and easy to navigate. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need tips and tricks. Want to smooth those wrinkles out in your forehead, smooth that pesky zit, or add more lighting…these two apps are for you! JUST DON’T OVER DO IT! I cringe when I see how someone has overdone it.  Not cute and Beyonce wouldn’t approve.

6.) PATIENCE 

Listen to me, for every one bad a$$ selfie photo your fave dropped, there’s 100 rejects. It takes time and many angles to nail that selfie. I would love to see the selfies on Beyonce’s cutting room floor…sure they are all flawless and being kept hostage in a Beyonce museum our kids will visit one day.

It will take time, but sticking to these “selfie six” will guarantee you the perfect selfie. Make sure and tag me on your IG post so I can see you! Hey @Beyonce too, you never know ;-).

FG

The Ladies & CalCan Productions Presents an Official Insecure Season 3 Premiere Watch Party @ The South Chicken & Waffles

My friend Azari and I (The Ladies) have teamed up with CalCan Productions to host our first event!

It’s the Official Insecure Season 3 Watch Party! If you are in the San Antonio area come out to eat and vibe with Insecure Fans from all over the city!

Attire is Casual Vintage or Insecure Thrifty like our girl Issa! Join us! We have will have giveaways and music by DJ FAT!

See you at The South Chicken & Waffles on Callaghan on Sunday, August 12th from 7pm-11pm.  

Purchase tickets here!

What ‘They’ Won’t Tell You About Travel…

Wise words from the late great Anthony Bourdain on truly what travel is and isn’t. I can tell you one thing…travel isn’t what you see on your social media channels. It is easy to look at your favorite blogger, influencer, and celebrity and have travel envy as they “jet set” to exclusive getaways and post pictures effortlessly. Social media has given a false reality of many aspects of our lives especially with travel. If you are doing it just for the ‘gram…you are in for a rude awakening of the true meaning of travel. 

Rarely do you see the delayed/canceled flights, travel illnesses (Google Montezuma’s Revenge…that alone will make you give major side eye), lost baggage, language barriers, or the real dangers you can experience while traveling. Bourdain’s words resonate because it captures the essence of travel. 

As someone who frequently travels, l get a lot of questions…the main one…how?  I want to be very transparent about my journey on how I do it and how many of your faves do it too. Forgive me if I ramble on this post, but I am coming from the heart…LET’S GO! 

You Gotta Make Travel A Priority  

Have you ever heard the phrase “you make time for what you want to make time for”…? Insert an eye roll here because I hear my personal trainer now after I have slacked from a week’s worth of workouts. But it is true, you make time for what you really want…we text, call, spend on what we want. The excuse of “too busy” or “I don’t have the money” are LIES we tell ourselves and each other. Don’t believe them or even you if this is what you are telling yourself or others. If you truly want to travel, you must prioritize it as a part of your life. Until brands start to sponsor your trips, you will need to be aware of what is in your account and budget accordingly. Which leads me to my next point…

You Gotta Cut Your Expenses

When I got my first big girl job I was excited…Webbie’s I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T rang out from heaven’s ghetto and here I was doing the thang. Webbie and Boosie backed me up with their liberating verse “She got her own house, she got her own car, two jobs, work hard, you a bad broad.” Yes! That was my girls and me, shouting at the top of our lungs “”If you ain’t on, SIT DOWN!” 

I had the nice studio apartment on the 3rd floor, my own car, bought a nice living room and bedroom set, and cable with the premium channels. ALL BILLS PAID ON TIME! I finally made it…right? Uhhh no…I had it all and was miserable, the loneliest period of my life. It also didn’t help that I was in a toxic relationship that no one knew I was in until the end. The main reason I was miserable is because I listened to what people thought would make me happy. I didn’t heed to the inner girl who rather take a trip to Paris than buy new Louboutin’s. I had to shift my mindset on what normal was to me. I loved experiences over things and thank God for social media for confirming there were others there like me.  So with a lot of prayer and gumption, I broke up with the guy and broke up with my lease (side note: I do not recommend breaking a lease, I was fortunate and left without penalty due to a loophole..now a toxic relationship…BREAK IT OFF BOO!).  

You Gotta Sacrifice

I started to create a life that excited me and also afforded me to travel again. Jesus be out here answering prayers precisely. I wish I still had the paper I wrote down my prayer. But I asked Him for low rent (but safe housing), a God fearing tribe, and an opportunity to go back to school to get my Master’s. I mean…HE DID THAT. When I tell you I put down the actual amount for rent and in a few weeks my amazing friend blessed me with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. I moved into her house paying the exact rent I wrote down on paper. I have not had my own space in almost five years because I have been saving, traveling, and finishing grad school. Traveling is so important to me I have sacrificed having my own home and space.

When traveling is a priority, life is about many sacrifices. I have had the same car for 11 years (paid it off five years ago), I don’t have cable, I use someone else’s Netflix and other streaming services. I buy cheap clothes and shoes for the most part. I just wear them over and over again. If you check out my Instagram, you will notice. (Heeeey boyfriend denim shirt..it’s my fave) I live with low overhead and direct my disposable income to travel and doing things that make me happy.

I recently moved in with my best friend to cut even more cost to prepare for the future. Maybe buy a house soon…👀Though traveling is a major priority, saving is still my top. I have about three retirement plans (401K, Roth IRA, and whole life insurance), I have a travel/slush fund, and of course my regular savings. We can discuss finances in another post. 

In the end, you will need to shift your mindset about what a “normal” life looks like, nothing anyone says will move you to live the life that you desire. I created this blog as a platform to inspire travel and not for you to want to duplicate my life, but rather to dream bigger and create the travel journey YOU want to live.

Not Your Mama’s Hotel! Moxy Hotel @ Phoenix

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Yes, instead of throwing an ironing board into every room, there is a designated ironing room with a major distraction.

 

 

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(Take a peek at the slideshow of my weekend at Moxy)

After 18 months on hiatus, it’s back to what I love…travel! A canceled business meeting/concert made room for the perfect weekend to getaway and WRITE! I needed creative inspiration and the perfect backdrop. I am a Marriott rewards member (THIS IS NOT SPONSORED…I PAID FOR MY TRIP LOL) and found a great rate at Moxy for the couple nights I was in Phoenix. I am so glad I did because this will be my new spot to get away when I need to get my creative juices flowing. There are two things I love…affordable and luxury. If you are like me, then this spot is for you to stay! Moxy Hotel is Marriott’s brilliant answer to Airbnb to attract us Millennials and Gen Z.

Moxy is fun, bold, and stylish  and most importantly offers affordable luxury for the cost conscious.  The atmosphere is so inviting you almost can’t resist capturing every moment, hence my Instagram stories. Where else can you check-in at the bar, receive a complimentary drink, and sing karaoke all in the same night?

 

You Wouldn’t Water Dead Flowers…

IMG_7286So why is it we continue to water the dead “flowers” in our lives? I was scrolling through my feed on Twitter and @kelebom tweet read “Yooo, stop texting first and see how many dead flowers you’ve been watering.” This tweet resonated with me and I remixed it a bit as a caption on one of my Instagram post. But seriously, if you stopped texting/calling first would you realize how many dead flowers you have been watering? Or better yet, how many fake flowers have you been watering?

Last weekend I stayed at a beautiful lake house in hill country of Austin. I snapped this photo of these gorgeous flowers because I looooove white flowers. They are so classic, subtle and beautiful….BUT these jokers are FAKE as Steve Harvey’s toupee in the 90’s. Just like you wouldn’t water these, don’t hydrate dead, fake friendships and situationships that doesn’t need saving. Even if the external is beautiful, YOU DESERVE BETTER. Cut it off girl, let it go…hair isn’t the only dead ends that need to be cut some times.

FG

 

Why You Need to Build Your Personal Brand (FREE AUDIT INSIDE)

Whether you have just started branding yourself online, not exactly sure why you need to be doing it, or you have been at it awhile and not seeing results–this Personal Brand Audit is for you!

Social media is the fastest and most effective way to position your personal brand. There is value in developing your story, from a senior in high school to a senior executive. The best way to plan an effective brand strategy is to know where you are starting from. Once you have a point of reference, you can really start making changes and measuring growth. Use this audit to figure out where your brand currently stands, what you are saying online, and how you can improve your growth strategy.

Get Your Download

Baby, You Aren’t Nike, But Just Do It!

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I waited patiently as those three little dots popped on my phone screen…
And then disappeared.
To reappear seconds later.
And there it was, her vulnerability, her rawness, her BIG idea, her brilliance all summed up in a blue message that illuminated on my screen as I sat on this very beach.
I was blown away. Like how? How was she sitting on this excellence?
I feverishly texted back.
To give her the co-sign she needed.
To give her the permission that so many of us long for.
If you need confirmation, a sign, or
permission.
Here it is!
Baby, you aren’t Nike, but Just Do It!
Many of you are sitting on BRILLIANCE!

Like y’all got the next best movement in between your ears, between those tear-stained pages, in between the grocery lists in the Notes section of your phone…STOP OVERTHINKING AND LAUNCH IT!
Can you believe in short of 3 months is a brand new decade!?
Don’t wait. What will you do today that you have been putting off?