Motivate Me Monday: Keeping it REAL

Angela Rye was born on October 26, 1979 in Seattle, Washington to Andrea Rye and Eddie Rye Jr and she is also a graduate of the University of Washington and Seattle University School of law. She is a CNN Political Commentator, an NPR Political Analyst, and the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies. Angela has been featured is several publications from Ebony to the Washington Post. Angela has a long list of amazing accomplishments from NAACP Power 40 to Fortunes 40 under 40 Women to watch to DC’s most influential people.

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Angela Rye is the perfect example of keeping it real and she does it with such force and power; she does not hold back nor does she sugar coat anything. We live in a world where we are hit back to back with things that affect us more then we may realize yet people in power try to downplay it in hopes of people forgetting just how bad it is. I have not seen Angela try to downplay nor sugar coat anything and I respect her for that! She brings honesty with a heavy dose of realness to our TV screens because she is not afraid of being ignored or overlooked by other people. She proves time and time again that nothing anyone says nor does will stop her from being as real and as authentic as she can be.

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Often times in life we let what others do to us make us feel powerless and we let the words and actions of people chase us away from being our real, authentic self. Everyone in this world will not like you and they will not agree with you but that should never stop you from standing firm in what you know and believe. Let Angela Rye be the example you need to stand strong no matter what and to remain motivated when trying to achieve what you know you are meant to do in this world.

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Motivate Me Mondays: Chasing after your destiny

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan
I believe it is our responsibility to achieve the things our hearts desire because to live a life with regrets can cause more bad then good. We cannot let fear hold us back because the hardest part about achieving what we want is actually starting it. We can talk about it, think about it, and even dream about it but to make it become something real we must take a chance.  Todays motivational story is about a young lady who is choosing to chase after her destiny and not allowing any obstacles or set backs she may face, to stand in her way; here is her story:
Tell me about yourself
I am Robin Butler, a twenty-four year old licensed natural hair care specialist/ educator in North Carolina and the owner of Created Coily Inc. As a proud alumnus of the Illustrious North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, excellence breeds through my personal and professional brands of success. My holistic view on natural beauty and healthy hair development stems from my lifestyle, focusing on the balance of mind, body, and spirit. Our hair style is simply an expression of our inner minds. 
I’ve always loved hair every since I was a little girl. I would collect and buy so many hair magazines it wasn’t even funny. It has always been my niche; easy and fun for me to talk about. Outside of entrepreneurship and business- I enjoy learning and teaching. I’m preparing to go back to school in the next year to obtain my Juris Doctorate in Law and Masters in Business Administration. I love going to my church, spending time with family and friends, and practicing all things regarding holistic health and beauty.
What is Created Coily Inc. ?
Created Coily Inc. supports a new age of natural beauty which fosters and supports the healthy state of kinky, coily, wavy, and curly hair. Created Coily Inc. (The Experience and Style) is a organization of natural hair professionals and a thriving community of families who embrace natural hair and living. We are the home of C2 products, apparel, and a wide range of services which include Salon Services and Consulting, Educational and Lifestyle Workshops, and the CoilyCRATE subscription box; created with you in mind.
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How long have you been natural ? 
My last chemical service was done in 2013, which was 4 years ago. 
What natural hair tips do you have for all the beautiful natural hair women who are just starting their natural hair journey ?
My natural tips would be to enjoy the ride and not to rush through each stage. My hope would be for you to really take the time to learn not only your hair, but your health, and yourself. That is where the ultimate power and growth begins to transform within yourself.
What makes Created Coily unique?
Created Coily stands alone because it is not only a brand, it is also an identity to the future of Americans. Data presented by the National Geographic Center released in 2015 stated “By 2050 everyone in the United States will have curly hair and some variation of brown skin.”  Created Coily Inc is an American Curl Company, organically grown in North Carolina. We don’t just have lifeless shelf products, we have hair products that are sold in local community beauty salons which help the keep small businesses viable in our community. Our products teach our clients about their hair and are approved by the stylist treating the clients hair. Our apparel “Respect the Fro and Locs” or Black Girl Magic are worn proudly by our consumers around the country. Our quarterly subscription box meets subscribers at their door step every four months to help women stay inspired and find solutions when it comes to their hair journey. Created Coily is unique in the industry because we are natural hair care specialists creating experiences, culture, and style for each one of our customers to fit their healthy hair and lifestyle needs.
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What was the driving force behind you starting this business ?
The driving force behind me starting Created Coily Inc. was knowing that if I looked beyond myself and my own issues, I could create an identity and a platform for the future that would stand the test of time. We would solve solutions to issues and create a space to talk about it. Everyday I’m continuely reminded of this driving force because of my own hair truths, both pretty and ugly.
What set backs or obstacles, if any, have you had to overcome?
In the last two years with Created Coily, there has been a million set backs but I think that is just the nature of the business. It wasn’t one set back that wasn’t worth the experience I gained. I think one of the biggest set backs I had to overcome was having to learn and fill every role of my business until  I get to place I can hire and employ others. I am the web developer, graphic designer, financial analyst, photographer, videographer, IT, supply chain and logistics, stylist/chemist and manufacturer, production manager, public relations, shipping/delivery and legal analyst. You have to not only learn these roles but perform them professionally everyday. My degree was completed in General Economics, so for me this was a learning curve. I fell in love with my brand and that’s the only way I’m overcoming it. 
How would you define success ?
Success is your ability to stay the course and not give up on the very thing that can change the trajectory of your life.
What keeps you motivated ? 
Being able to chase after my destiny and full potential everyday. I love being able to wake every morning and look forward to going to my work space and being able to create what I see in my head then make it into a career; that keeps me motivated. 
What are 3 tips you would say are vital to the success of a business ?
Three tips vital for a successful business in my opinion would be:
1. solid marketing
2. authenticity/creditability within your industry
3. passion/love that is undeniable
Where can people go to learn more about created coily and purchase one of your products?
To learn more about Created Coily Inc. you can visit our websites at www.createdcoily.org to learn more and createdcoily.com to Shop. Be sure to follow us on IG and Twitter @createdcoilyinc. You can also follow my personal and professional journey on Youtube at Naturally Rob.
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Motivate Me Mondays: Achieving the unexpected

Jordan Peele, an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film director, was born February 21, 1979 in New York City, New York. Jordan went to middle school at Computer School in I.S. 44, high school at The Calhoun School where he graduated in 1997, and became a 2001 graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. Years later, in 2013, he met Chelsea Peretti who later became his fiancé in November of 2015 and his wife in April of 2016. Jordan and Chelsea recently announced in February of this year that they are expecting their first child.

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Photo Credit: People.com

Jordan Peele is known for his celebrity impersonations, his music video parody for his song “Sad Fifty Cent”, and his appearance in the viral video “Hilary vs. Obama”. Peele has been nominated for and awarded a few awards for his acting and writing skills. Peele has acted in many different TV shows and movies some of which he also wrote, produced, and directed. A few of the films and movies Peele is known for is:

Key and Peele

The Mindy Project

Modern Family

MADtv

Little Fockers

Wanderlust 

Get Out

While Jordan Peeles accomplishments cannot go unnoticed, his 2017 horror/comedy film Get Out, which he wrote, directed, and produced has earned him one of his best accomplishments to date; the FIRST African American Writer-Director with a $100 Million Movie Debut. The film also received 100 percent positive reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and Peele achieved all of this in only 16 days from the movies release date with a $4 million dollar budget and a cast containing quite a few unknown actors. This movie is nothing like your normal horror/comedy movies because the horror it portrays is the real and honest terror that a black men feels living in America. Get Out is the type of movie that requires your full attention or else you will miss the hidden messages and even some of the obvious ones that this film displays. If you have already seen the movie I would encourage you to also read this amazing post written by Jessica Wilkins entitled 15 Easter Eggs from “Get Out”; it will leave you speechless.

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Photo Credit: http://www.getoutfilm.com

Jordan Peele’s accomplishments from the movie Get Out is an example of achieving something completely unexpected; something being better then you ever imagined it would be. Peele was aware that this movie may bring about a lot of negative criticism but that did not stop him nor did it hold him back, which is more then enough proof that you should never second guess yourself when it comes to doing what you believe in. Peele had faith in the success of this movie and he was not afraid to bring awareness to things that are overlooked in todays society, while also adding a nice touch of comedy to the mix; which in my opinion helped balance out the level of intensity the movie has. Let this be a motivation to you to never be afraid to do what is right while still remaining true to yourself.

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Motivate Me Mondays: Taking a risk

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” – Robin Williams

In life sometimes we must take risk, we must step outside of our comfort zone to achieve the things we want. In order to make something possible you must have a level of confidence in yourself so that no matter what happens you will not give up before turning that idea into a reality. Todays motivational feature is about Shanea Phillips, a young woman who took a simple idea and turned it into a reality and how it is now becoming bigger and better then she ever imagined; here is her story….

Who is Shanea? Tell a little bit about yourself

I’m just a North Carolina A&T graduate trying to change the world one small step at a time. I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people, building relationships and connecting people in my network to opportunities. This and my passion for helping others influenced both my career and entrepreneurial paths. I work full-time as a Marketing and Communications Associate for a national nonprofit that raises and grants funds to fight HIV/AIDS. In my “spare time” I’m either in class working toward my Master of Public Administration degree, planning the next Brunch N’ Grind networking event or spending time with friends and family.

 

What is brunch n grind?

Brunch N’ Grind, LLC (BNG) provides networking brunch parties for young black professionals in New Jersey and the surrounding areas. BNG attendees can expect unlimited food and drinks, great music and an opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals.

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When did you start brunch n grind? What was the motivation behind starting brunch n grind?

It all started after I hosted a brunch party for my 24th birthday. As I looked around the table I saw engineers, accountants, PHd students and marketing executives and thought we need more opportunities like these! More opportunities to just break bread, grab a few drinks and really connect on a personal level. Brunch brings people from all backgrounds together (as food and libations usually do) and is a great avenue for networking and meeting new people.  Most importantly, I saw a need for more networking and social events for young black professionals in NEW JERSEY! Many professionals are trekking to New York every weekend when there are so many talented people and opportunities right here in the state.

 

In August 2015, I nervously took the lap of faith to start Brunch N’ Grind to serve as an avenue for young black professionals to advance their personal and professional goals. The first one had about 40 people come out to eat, drink, network and socialize and I decided to keep it going

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What keeps you motivated ?

 

Honestly, I’m motivated each and every day by the people around me. So many of my peers, especially black women, are building and starting movements that support and uplift our communities. Thinking about the bigger picture inspires and encourages me to keep going. I realized directly after college that it is about both WHO and WHAT you know. It is becoming increasingly important to build a network and establish social capital while make these career and business moves. Knowing that I can help people accomplish this through my brunches encourages me to improve and grow to reach even more people.

 

How much has it grown since you started?

It’s amazing to see how much Brunch N’ Grind has grown in the past year and a half. As I mentioned before, the first event had 40 attendees, now we reach capacity at each brunch with nearly 100 young black professionals in attendance. The growth is inspiring, because it shows that we are fulfilling our mission to provide a space for people to gather, make connections and support each other

 

As you continue to expand brunch n grind, where would you like things to be in the next 2-3 years?

 

In the next 2-3 years, I hope to offer brunch events more frequently to offer more opportunities to socialize and connect. Additionally, I plan to expand to other cities that have a large young professional audience, but like New Jersey may lack opportunities to come together. Now that I am a year and half into running the business, I plan to create a strategic plan that will outline business goals for the next few years and a plan on how to get there. Part of that is looking into sponsorships and partnerships to offer even more on a bigger and better scale.

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What advice do you have for young women like yourself?

Believe in yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to! I know this may sound cliché, but I find myself lacking confidence and second guessing myself more often than I would like to admit. It’s so easy to scare yourself out of a brilliant idea by thinking you aren’t ready or capable to pull it off! I would say, the first step is believing in yourself, building self-confidence and taking that leap of faith to put yourself out there. Once you do, you’ll realize that you are more than able and fully equipped to handle anything that may come your way. You see a problem? Take initiative and get it done. Lacking in an area? Educate and train yourself or partner with someone in your network.

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Where can people go to find out more about brunch n grind?

You can visit www.brunchngrindnj.com for more information, upcoming events and to sign up for updates. You can also follow us on Instagram @brunchngrind!

 

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Motivate Me Mondays: Breaking Barriers 

Mahershala Ali, born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore in Oakland, California on February 16, 1974, was raised by Willicia and Phillip Gilmore. He was raised Christian but later converted to Islam and graduated from St. Mary’s College of California in 1996 with a degree in Mass Communications. His interest in acting came about after taking part in the staging of Spunk which helped him land an apprenticeship at the California Shakespeare Theater. After a sabbatical year where he worked for Gavin Report, Mahershala enrolled in New York University’s graduate acting program, obtaining his masters in 2000. He is married to Amatus Sami-Karim and on February 22, 2017 they welcomed their first child, a beautiful little girl by the name of Bari Najma.

Mahershala Ali is known for being seen all over our TV screens, on the “BIG SCREEN”, and on stage in quite a few plays. Some of his works are:

House of Cards

The Hunger Games

Luke Cage

The Wronged Man

The 4400

Blues for an Alabama Sky

Smart People

Moonlight 

These are just a few works where he showed his brilliant acting skills but make no mistake there are many many more. The rewards he has recieved show the many accomplishments he has and continues to make in his career. One of his most recent accomplishments is becoming the first Muslim to win an Oscar for his portrayal in Moonlight

Mahershala most recent and awesome accomplishment speaks to ones level of determination to never let anything hold you back. It also speaks to being patient and trusting the process because often times we want success and money right away without putting in real time and effort, while remaining dedicated to the ultimate goal. Do you know what your ultimate goal is? What are the things that you want to achieve that will make you feel like you’re on your way to breaking barriers? These are important questions to think about and refelect on because we all view success differently and we all have ways we can and want to achieve that success. Let Mahershala Ali be all the proof you need that having the right level of determination can get you very far in life!


Photo Credit: Gq.com

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Motivate Me Mondays: Never give up on your dreams!

“The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me” – Ayn Rand
In life we come to a point where we are almost told which directions we should take to live a life that we find comfortable and not really a life that involves us really doing the things we love. We become comfortable with doing what is considered normal and we end up not chasing after our dreams. Often times it is refreshing to me to meet people who are genuinely chasing after their dreams with such high levels of determination. There are not too many people who really chase after their dreams no matter what people may think or say; it takes a lot of courage to keep yourself motivated to do what you know you are meant to do. Todays motivational feature is the story Quayshaun Weston, also known as Kain, has shared about the journey he is currently on in his life. He is an up and coming artist who makes music we can relate to so I asked him a few questions to get a better understanding of his journey. Here is his story……
Who is Quay? Tell a little bit about yourself.
Well, I’m Quay Weston. It’s Quayshaun but people mess it up a lot so I shortened it to Quay. Saves a lot of time and confusion haha. I’m from Pantego NC which is about an hour east of Greenville. I’m from a small town with a small country family so like most I was raised by my grandmother and had to grow up relatively quick. I went to UNC-G where I graduated in 2013 with a Bachelors in Political Science/Pre-Law and minored in Sociology. I’m a member of the ADZ GHOST Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, a mentor, activist, social artist (rapper), and avid reader.
Why do you call yourself Kain?
Kain came along as a second rap name for me. A friend from Philly suggested it and I rolled with it. Now as far as my Enoch brand and my overall journey through life, it’s very relative to the story of Cain in the bible as far as finding myself and being isolated/wandering until I could create the empire that I wish to create.
When did you really start getting into music?
I’ve been writing music since 9 years old but I’ve been professionally pursuing and creating music for about 8 years now. I was creating mixtapes and everything during high school with my group , GHOST Ent, and now I’m creating everything solo for the most part.
What motivates you?
My motivation comes from the energy around me honestly. I can say that I am inspired by the idea that my walk in life and my journey would be an inspiration to someone else. I don’t do what I do for others, I do it because I’m passionate about it, but at the end of the day our works and gifts should bring glory to the kingdom of God. As long as you’re not leading people into the dark, your work should at least show the love of god or your faith in it. That’s what I push for. I’m motivated by family of course and wanting to keep them happy and bring peace to their issues, but I can only do as much as I can. I’m also motivated by the problems of the world. They give me the fuel to realize that as much craziness is going on, there can still be positive energy out there to help people and help myself to get through it.
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What type of message are you trying to convey through your music ?
My music before is all about my journey through life. I speak from the moment or head space that I’m in right now. My most recent project, black: a story told by kain, is all about political issues and social injustice that have been felt by black folks across the world. That’s where I was mentally when it was created. Before that, The Foundation, was a musical journey through my life and the changes I’ve made as a person. So the message I’m trying to convey is for people to realize their journey is different from everyone else’s and that you have to have faith in that process. Embrace that fear that comes with your growth and overcome it. You have to leave something here for the world to remember…what is that going to be for you?
Which one of your songs is your favorite and why? (If you can’t name just one, name at least 2-3)
My favorite song of mine is probably…Insecure. I mean everybody loves Doggin and American Pimp and Transcendence and Hunger Games or Sandra but Insecure was like the truest song that I’ve ever written. Where I was during that time was trying to explain to a girl that I was insecure too, and guys, we don’t say that often. We’re taught to not express things, which hurts more than it helps. That song is lit though.
What obstacles have you faced and how did you handle them ?
In my entire life my biggest obstacle was the normal…money, support, acknowledgement, network. However, after all of that the REAL obstacle that I was having an issue with was confidence. Once I became confident in my own work and believed that rap was my manifest destiny (EXACTLY what I was supposed to be doing)…things started manifesting themselves right in front of me. I had to accept my path and realize my process and my work is nothing close to anyone else’s and I shouldn’t be comparing myself to others because I’m a very unique being. So, most of my own issues were overcoming myself honestly. The other things can be figured out.
What is the end goal?
My ultimate goal is to create a creative arts complex that is designed to shape and mold youth into brands, businesses, and social entrepreneurs. They will come in, create, market, and brand their own products. After they create these things whether it’s music, tech/coding, video, plays, photography, writing, publishing, marketing, or coordinating, they will put together a fully functional event that will demonstrate their abilities. They will plan it, book it, schedule it, set up the entire program, create the promo materials, advertise, and hold the event. It would have to have a outreach factor to it, so we would help them with finding the charity or organization they’d like to donate to or partner with. Ultimately I want to be able to have a team that molds and shows our youth that there are creative processes out there and in order to reach your maximum potential you have to have a space to do what you love. While showing them that, they will be able to generate income for themselves, have income to support them through/during college, and they can employ others/give back to their communities.
What advice do you have for someone whose trying to get their music started?
Don’t make music if you don’t love it. If you’re doing it for money save us some time and stop. Straight up. My main advice would be to love what you do and use your platform to help the overall good of the people. Make good music then give back to your people that are putting you on. Simple. It’ll come back ten fold.
Do you have your hands in anything else besides music?
I’m very active in the community here in Greensboro and neighboring areas. I’m an Omega so service comes first. I am a mentor, we have a mentorship program started at an elementary school here in Greensboro. My team, LGi Dope, book our own shows and hold our own tours. I network and coordinate with activist groups such as Artist4Justice, UmojaLife, UNCG NAACP, Soul Society, and I have my own organization coming soon, the Enoch Coalition.
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Where can people go to learn more about you and hear your music ?
Everything is available right from my website, www.callmekain.com – I have music, videos, photos, you name it (haha, is that still a thing?). You can follow me or reach me and connect on Twitter, IG, Facebook at @callmekain. I follow back and all that so don’t worry about that. I hope you all can check out my latest project black right on the homepage at http://www.callmekain.com – DOWNLOAD THE PROJECT ON BANDCAMP, iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Tidal etc. You can also listen to everything Kain on my Pandora Radio channel!! Thanks you all! Peace.

 

We all want to live a life doing something we truly love to do. If you are able to do what you love go for it, stay consistent, and always remain motivated. Anything is possible!

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Motivate Me Mondays: Breaking Barriers

Katherine Johnson, whose incredible contributions to the space program were displayed in the film Hidden Figures, born August 26, 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, WV, to Joshua and Joylette Coleman and she was the youngest of 4 children. At the young age of 13 Katherine was attending the high school on West Virginia State College campus and graduated at the age of 14.  Years later at the age of 18 she enrolled as a student at West Virginia State College, a historically black college. Katherine, who took every math class the college had to offer, had quite a few teachers taking her under their wing including professor W. W. Schieffelin Clayton, who is the third African American to earn a PhD in Mathematics.

Katherine Johnson graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mathematics and french and then took a teaching job at a black public high school. In 1939 she became one of three African Americans and the only female selected to integrate graduate the program at West Virginia University. She made a decision to leave her teaching job and enroll in the graduate program at the University. Katherine decided to take a career path in mathematics as a research mathematician which was not easy for many African American women to enter. In 1953 Katherine accepted a job offer from National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which later changed its name to NASA, at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, VA.

Katherine Johnson made a lot of things possible for women in mathematics! She broke barriers and took risks and no matter what road blocks she hit along the way she never let it get in here way.

To read more about this amazing women and the rest of her contributions: https://www.nasa.gov/content/katherine-johnson-biography

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Photo Credit: NASA

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Photo Credit: https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/stories/pioneering-nasa-mathematician-katherine-johnson-hidden-figures-movie-poster-everything

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Motivate Me Mondays: Recovering from a loss

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced” – James Baldwin

Tomorrow is not promised and too often we take for granted the day to day interactions we have with those we love the most. Loosing someone is never easy, especially when it is unexpected, which makes it even harder to accept. We start to question things in life and start to loose a grip on our faith. Kenyatta’s story about the loss of her love Lawrence and how she overcame the pain, the hurt, and the tears is more then enough proof that you can make it through ANYTHING. I was able to ask her a few questions, so check out her story below and learn more about her, Lawrence, their relationship, and how she was able to move forward with her life after loosing him unexpectedly. This is her story…….

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Kenyatta Tynes, most people know me as Yaya. I am from Virginia Beach, Va. I received a degree in business management from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. I currently live in chapel hill North Carolina where I am an agent team member at State Farm Charlotte Weaver agency. 

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Who is Lawrence and how did you 2 meet?

Lawerence was my boyfriend/best friend. We both worked at smokey bones bar and grill where he was a bartender and I was a waitress. I didn’t  pay him too much attention until after I was out of another relationship. He paid attention to all these little details about me all he time; when I changed my eye shadow or even when I brought new earrings. Our little conversations became more frequent to a point where I was developing this huge crush for him; I had it bad. I was checking my schedule, as well as his, just to see if we were both working at the same time. Eventually I asked to be a bartender because I wanted a reason to be closer to him. He was such a joy to be around and I just wanted an opportunity  to get to know him better. 

How did he change your life?

Words can’t describe how he changed my life but Lawrence was a breath of fresh air. He reminded me how important it was to live your life to the fullest and how to follow your dreams and ambitions. He helped me remember who I was was as a person, at a time when I thought I lost the Kenyatta I use to be. I remember when I use to look in the mirror and didn’t recognize who I was anymore but he brought me back to life. Our relationship was so fun, a lot of things with him were spur of the moment. We went with the wind, if we felt it then we did it, and everything else didn’t matter. Things would just fall into place as needed. Being with him was like being in the sun for the first time. He made me believe in love again. He reminded me how genuine and how effortless love really is. He was a reminder that if it’s meant to be things will fall into place as they should. 

What did he teach you ?

He taught how to love myself first which is something I struggled with. He helped me understand that I had to live for me too because if I didn’t I could lose myself in everyone and everything else. He told me how laugh through the pain. When I was down or sad that something didn’t go my way I would immediately cry and feel helpless. He was like my super man. He was always rescuing me or saving the day. He always made me feel like there are bigger issues and what I was going through was not worth the tears. He would say,”You’re to pretty to be crying” or “you crying bruh”. He always reminded me that we can always find humor in the situation somewhere so he would always tell me “laugh instead of crying because things will be alright man”.

What happened to Lawrence ?

On April 17,2014, I lost the love of my life to a motorcycle accident. He fought really hard to stay alive because Lawrence was a fighter but the injuries were so severe that he just couldn’t make it. I was waiting for him at our favorite Mexican restaurant to have dinner with him and the guys. I was watching revenge on my phone and drinking my second margarita, when his best friend came into the restaurant and told me that Lawrence had been in a motorcycle accident. For a while I thought it was just his legs; not once did I think it was fatal. The long wait in the hospital ended with the doctor coming into the room where we were waiting to tell us how they did everything they could to save my baby but there was nothing more they could do.  In that moment, I lost my soul. I fell to the ground in shock that the person, I just knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with, was gone. He was my light; he turned my whole world around and in that moment I fell into a dark place. I felt weak and helpless. I was just praying that it was a dream. All is wanted to do was hold him and tell him I loved him one more time. As I looked at the clear plastic bag with his belongings, empty shoes, bloody wallet, and smashed up helmet, was this all I had left. I felt empty. 

What helped you to heal after the loss of Lawrence ?

It was really hard for me to heal. As I mentioned before, I was in a really dark place. It felt like my life was spinning out of control and I didn’t know how to get a grip on things. 

What really helped was my faith in God and my support system. My friends,family, and line sisters were with me every step of the way. Everyday was hard. Holidays were hard. I cried everyday all the time. I cried until I had no more tears to cry. Everything reminded me of him. I even drove past his house just to see if he was home even though I know he was gone. It was hard for me to accept life without him. Greensboro wasn’t the same. I had one more month left before graduation and I was so low that finishing my degree didn’t matter anymore but thank god for friends and family. My friends prayed with me, cried with me, and held me when I needed someone to hold me. They would take me out to get some fresh air and went with me to visit his grave when I was too weak to go alone. I remember that I had to lean on God as well. I may not understand it but it was his will and that everything that happens in this life happens for a reason. Everything we experience and everything we go through had a purpose. It forced me to give my all to him in order to heal. I started praying more and going to church more. It took a year in a half to be okay. 

What keeps you going ? How are you able to remain positive ?

I remember him in everything I do and I think about all the good times we shared. I always smile when I think about the things he use to say to make me laugh or smile. When I’m having a bad day, I can think if a joke he would tell me which helps me to remain positive because I know he is with me everyday. The body has always been a temporary vessel but the spirit lives. Learning to accept the situation also helped me to keep going. The moment I learned to accept it and appreciate his life and all he has done for me is when I really healed and really moved forward with my life. I had to remember what Lawrence would have wanted for me and I know he wouldn’t want me to cry or stop living. He would want me move forward and accomplish all that was intended for me. So when I feel like giving up, I think of him and I look to the sky and say I can make it. 

What did you learn from this? How did it help you grow?

I really really learned and understood that everything happens for a reason; we can not question the plan god has for us. Even though we don’t understand it now, it all works out to benefit us in the end. I also learned that life is short and that it is important to cherish the people in your life because tomorrow is not promised or even the next hour. I had spoke to Lawrence all day that day and it never occurred to me that we wouldn’t have that night or our dinner together as we normally did every night. I learned that I had to live and continue to grow in the way that Lawrence would have wanted  me to do because he always wanted me to happy. In all that I do I remember that if you aren’t happy then your aren’t living and if you’re not living then what is the point of all this?  We have to keep God first and trust him in all that we do. That was the hardest thing I took away from this was trusting God and having faith in his plan. And because I try to live my life that way it has helped me continue to grow and follow my dreams regardless of the circumstances and if the going gets tough I learned to fight though the pain and keep pushing because there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. 

What advice do you have for someone who may be dealing with a situation like this?

The best advice I can give someone is to have faith and pray and trust in the plan that God has for your life. All things work for the good of those that love and trust the Lord and even tho it may not seem like it, your situation is working its self out. The worse thing you can do is get stuck in a dark place so be sure to never let your situation steal your joy. I remember when I was so broken I couldn’t even bring myself to shower or eat and it caused me more pain then good. Let people in and embrace your support system. If it was not for my friends I wouldn’t be where I am today. My friends, my family, and my faith in God is what brought me out of the darkness and into the light. It is when we are at our lowest point that god wants us to reach  out to him the most. I realized that it is those times God allows you to fall into a darkness because he wants your attention and when you finally give it all to him, you will really find your self stepping out the storm. 

Let Tay Tell It

Motivate Me Mondays: Women in Technology

Ursula Burns, born September 20, 1958, was raised by a single mother in the projects on the lower east side of Manhattan. In an online article written about Ursula she stated something that her mother use to tell her growing up; “This is where you are going to grow up, but this is not what defines you”. She obtained a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University as well as a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.  Burns started off here career with Xerox in 1980 as just an intern and a year later, after completing her masters, she joined the company as a full time employee. Eventually, Burns successfully worked her way up to the top of the company.

Ursula Burns is one of the most influential women in the world of technology and in 2009 she made history when she became the FIRST African American Woman CEO to head a fortune 500 company. She was the CEO of Xerox corporation for 6 years, which recently split into two companies, a document technology company and a business process outsourcing company; Ursula Burns is now the chairman of the newly developed company.  This is just one of her many accomplishments in the world of technology, she also supports a number of community, educational, and non profit organizations and she was chosen by Barack Obama to help lead the White House national program on STEM in 2009; just to name a few.

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It is no secret that being a woman in the world of technology is HARD! As women we still face many challenges and set backs that could very easily make us feel as though all of our hard work isn’t worth it. The world of technology is known to be a very male dominated field, even though women, such as Ursula Burns, have been making history for years and years. Ursula Burns story is proof that being raised in the projects by a single mother doesn’t determine what you can and cannot do UNLESS you allow it to. We have to remember to always learn from our past experiences and never allow those experiences to hold us back. Women are taking over the world of technology because we know there is nothing we cannot do!

To all the women in tech like myself, I challenge you to continue finding ways to make your mark in this industry. Always remember to be a voice of inspiration to young women who are working their way to reach levels you have already passed. Continue to strive for greatness and never forget that anything is possible.

Let Tay Tell It

Motivate Me Mondays: I want to TRAVEL

As a 26 year old female who did not take her first plane ride until she was about 20 years old and did not get her first passport until she was 24, I have set out to make sure I travel more while I am young. I did not grow up taking family vacations and having enough money to travel to amazing places at least once a year. I regret putting limits on myself when it came to traveling and I had to learn to lift those limits and find ways to make it happen for myself. Often times we hear of people coming across these amazing deals and traveling to all of these beautiful places but I know we all wonder how much money this will really cost us. Often times it is either money or fear holding us back from traveling and I hope to help you understand that their are ways to move past those fears. DaNae Grubbs is a fearless 26 year old who was willing to share her story of how she came to travel so much and how she even made it possible for mother as well.
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1. Name, age, occupation, little bit about yourself 

Name: DaNae Grubbs

Age: 26

Occupation: IT Infrastructure and Operations Engineer at a large consulting firm

Current City: San Antonio, TX

Hometown: Peoria, IL

Colleges: NCA&T (B.S. Computer Science), Syracuse University (M.S. Telecommunications & Network Management)

I absolutely love to travel – I love the thrill in finding an awesome deal somewhere + having to research about my destination (neighborhoods, public transportation, culture, food, weather, currency, tourist attractions, local hangouts)

2. At what age did you start taking traveling seriously ?

At the age of 21, I landed an opportunity to do an internship in England. Under these circumstances, I had to travel there and navigate the country by myself. From this experience, I became curious of other places in the world and also felt empowered to travel anywhere!

3. What’s your favorite place you’ve visited? (If you can’t name just one name up to 3)

Lisbon, Portugal

Tokyo, Japan

Barcelona, Spain

4. 3 places you still want to visit ?

Bangkok, Thailand (Going in March!)

Hong Kong, China (Going in March!)

Africa (Morocco, South Africa, Tanzania)

5. Best deal you’ve ever come across for a trip?

$214 RT to Lisbon, Portugal (2016)

$218 RT to Abu Dhabi, UAE (2014 “Dubai Christmas Deal”)

6. Where did you take your mom?

Milan, Italy

London, England

Paris, France

 7. Was this her first international trip?

YES!  She had never been out of the country or even had a passport beforehand.

8. What was the driving force behind wanting to make this trip possible for your mom ?

Whenever I travel to different countries, I always made it a priority to FaceTime my mom so she could see the different tourist sites and attractions (with me virtually). I just knew that she would have much rather preferred to be there in person experiencing it with me. My mom has sacrificed a lot for me to get where I am today and although I cannot give her the world, I can at-least show her it. Through my continuous “travel deal” stalking, our tickets were under $500 RT.

 

 

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*Picture of DaNae and her mom*

9. How many countries have you visited?

17

10. What type of advice can you offer those who want to travel more but don’t know how to make it possible ?

  • Reach out to people that you know who travel frequently and inquire about how they make it happen!
  • Save money now for a flight so that when a deal comes, you’re ready to book! ($600)
  • Traveling alone can be scary but it’s normally the more rewarding experiencing.
  • If you want to travel cheaply, it will require a great deal of flexibility.
  • The internet has so much great information – you can research and find anything you want/need to know.
  • #BookDatIsh

I have a ton of resources that I use to gain knowledge about where I am going + to make traveling affordable.

  • TheFlightDeal.com
  • Google Flights
  • HotelTonight
  • AirBnB
  • TripAdvisor
  • Travel.State.Gov
  • Nodmadness Travel Tribe

 

I hope this story will motivate those who want to travel but feel as though they do not have the means to do so. I encourage everyone who wants to travel to just simply do it. Do not let ANYTHING limit you because anything is possible! And in the words of my fellow people who love to travel, as DaNae said, #BookDatIsh !

Let Tay Tell It