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The Hopeless State of Today Featured Article

hopelessnessLast night, I along with thousands across the country, watched as Prosecutor Robert McCulloch read that a grand jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, Jr. I knew in my heart what the conclusion would be, but I was hopeful. I tuned in not to hear a guilty verdict, but just to hear that the situation warranted additional review, investigation, a fair trial in light of all the witness reports and evidence that had come to light.

Last night, I watched as people took their anger out in the worst way. They burned a community, businesses, dreams. They burned respect. They played into the hands of those who thought the worst of them. And we (the world) were watching. Thousands in other places protested in peace, but we did not see them because the focus was on the destruction that took place in Ferguson.

There will be questions asked for days, weeks and months to come. Why was the grand jury handled this way? Why was the announcement made at 9 p.m.? Why this, why that? We may never know the answers. Without answers, can we ever really find a solution?

Today, I read posts from people who I have followed for some time. At a time when my heart was heavy, they did nothing to lighten the burden. Today, I have unfollowed people who have shown where their true feelings lie. Everyone is entitled to their thoughts and opinions. But everyone is not entitled to my friendship or my support.

Last night and today, my heart was heavy with the hopelessness of yet another life lost. My soul was filled with the hopelessness of feeling that as a Black female, I will once again have to explain why I am angry, frightened, sad. My mind was filled with the hopelessness of knowing that this will not be the last time that a life will be lost, a community will be torn into two and a nation will once again be at odds with itself.

Today, I choose to proudly speak my mind. Today, I choose to value my friends (of all walks of life). Today, I choose to say that although I will not let society define me by my race; my race — my heritage — is the very essence of who I am. It is that heritage that calms me by knowing that the generations before me endured, persevered and thrived during times when hope was plentiful and when it was not. They survived so that our generation could have opportunities. They were quiet so our generation could speak (and yell when necessary).

Today, people promoted a Black Friday boycott. For me, I have decided to boycott those whose comments I find hurtful and divisive. My timelines are not places for ill will to live. Today, I chose civility.

Last night, today and each day to come, I will choose peace.


How Do You Say Goodbye… in Emails Featured Article

FullSizeRenderThe following discussion came up in a Facebook group that I belong to. A member was seeking advice on what type of closing is appropriate for a business email. For me, I am a traditionalist and like to use either Sincerely or Best Regards. In the article article “57 Ways To Sign Off On An Email,” Susan Adams has an extensive (and humorous) list and her preferences for each.

So what is your favorite way to sign off? Please share.

As I signoff…


BlogHer14… Get Ready to Meet the New & Improved Phoenix Tribe! Featured Article

2013-08-04 22.13.37Last year, a small group of friends from Phoenix attended our very first BlogHer conference. There were three ladies and a pre-teen blogger in the making attending the workshops, socializing with new people and taking it all in.

We had the most unimaginable time! So much so, that when we returned, we talked, and talked, and talked… and talked some more about the time that we had.

As a result, our numbers have grown… so in addition to those returning — Maria, Sharon and I (LT), we will be joined by Ricki and Tameka who are venturing out on their new blogging journeys. Our pre-teen Bailey will not be in attendance, but she has started her own food blog for youth from the knowledge that she gathered last year.

So when you see us around (look for me… the chick with the flower in the big, curly hair) stop and say hello. We’ll Instagram with you, tweet you and follow you on your blogging journey.

See you soon!



Tell Your Story on Facebook… the Right Way Featured Article

image-facebookMy good friend and creative partner, Maria Benson (Ms. Clique) sent me a tweet (a Twitter message) and asked me to share a small business tip (she periodically does this to keep me on my toes, I think). After she made that request, I saw a great blog post entitled “10 Tips for Mastering Facebook” that provides some great tips. So let me begin by sharing some don’ts before you read about the dos. I’ll focus on Tip #7… Etiquette should be a top priority.

Your Facebook business page (and for that matter your personal page) is not your online journal. It is not where you express the random emotions that you are having today. Consider it an online face for your business, similar to your website with a little more activity. Do not write about the awful day that you’re having. Do not post negative comments about your customers, your vendors or your employees. Do not wage a social media war with media representatives. Be nice, be polite and be professional at all times.

Think of your business strategy and your communication or marketing plan and be strategic in what information you distribute… and when. Remember that you only have the reader for a small amount of time. Why focus on something negative when you could be sharing positive news?

When posting, always think about what the first time reader would think of your content and ask yourself the following:

  • Is the content informative?
  • Is the content engaging?
  • Is the content relevant to the product or service that you provide?

 If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you should rethink your post.

You have the ultimate power to tell your story and connect with your audience. Take the time to do it the right way and you will keep your reader coming back time and time again.


The Political Upset That No One Saw Coming Featured Article

cantor 3Today, in Virginia, the unthinkable happened in the world of politics. Rep. Eric Cantor, Majority Leader and the number 2 guy in the House met defeat at the hands of a virtual political unknown, see Eric Cantor loses GOP primary to tea party challenger Dave Brat.”

In the next few days, political pundits will be dissecting this defeat and its implications for the Republic party, for the House leadership and for the “Young Guns” that Cantor had created. They will try to determine if this loss was a result of Cantor’s stance on immigration reform or was it something much larger than that. Some will say that his attention to detail as a DC political operative came took his eyes away from the district, and constituents, that sent him to the House seven terms ago.

Cantor’s concession speech was very short and too the point, but the ensuing critique of his performance, both on the campaign trail and off, will not be.

Stay tuned politicos.

Don’t Mess with My Scandal Featured Article

IMG_1633Beware I am venting. 

I am officially tired of the “what if Scandal… ” scenarios. What if President Grant was Black? What if Kerry Washington played Mellie and a White actress played Olivia Pope? Would Black women still watch in earnest?


Why does any of that matter? Why do we continue to have these discussions after three seasons? Why do you continue to care? If you don’t watch the show, you won’t ever understand. But since this keeps showing up on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram timelines, I will give you some insight to help possibly answer your questions.

Please know that I am not speaking for all Black women but I am a Black female gladiator (I’ll address that later).

First, I think Shonda Rhimes is brilliant. And as a regular viewer of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “The Practice” (before it ended) I am both a supporter and a fan. She is a gifted writer who keeps you on the edge of your seat week after week with compelling storylines… and she’s Black.

Second, I think Judy Smith is a trailblazer. To have a professional career that can provide — even in the smallest inkling — a backdrop to some of the storylines on “Scandal” is amazing and I am in awe. She is definitely at the top of her game and she’s Black.

Third, and pay attention, the show revolves around a Black, female lead. Something that has not happened since Diahann Caroll. Finally, we — as Black women —  are not the backdrop to someone else’s center stage…we ARE the center stage. We are not playing the drug addict, the prostitute, the downtrodden woman who is overlooked by society and falls into societal ills. In “Scandal” we are viewed as a woman of power, a woman that has many intricate layers to her. A woman who is loved by many, feared by some and revered overall. And for us, for Black women, that’s rare.

But please know, that if Olivia Pope was not Black, I would still be a huge fan of the show because it is a brilliant collaboration of actors who present lines that are sometimes works of verbal art that can leave you speechless and reaching for the remote so you can relive that minute once again.

And for those who challenge the show based upon the decisions made by the lead character, I provide these thoughts for you to ponder.

The character of Olivia Pope is a complicated, sensitive, proud, defiant, flawed, overworked, misunderstood woman who takes no prisoners, fights for her team (called gladiators), has major family issues and a way of drawing in any man she wants. She makes mistakes. She is not perfect and is not a role model (if your kids watch scandal …well that’s another blog post).

But here is the kicker… It’s a damn show! It is fiction! It is not a documentary or a testimonial on how to live your life. She is a fictional character doing fictional things with fictional people. She just happens to do it with an outstanding wardrobe and a purse collection that I might fight someone for. SO GET OVER IT! When people watched “24” or “The Unit,” they were are not thinking about how to build a bomb out two soda cans and wire because it was fiction!

So tonight, I will watch the season finale settled comfortably on my couch with my remote control in hand. And as I prepare, please be so kind as to hold your tongue and your comments, but pass me some popcorn, a glass of Merlot so I can enjoy the show in true gladiator style! And if you still don’t understand? Just leave me the hell alone this Thursday night.

Thank you.

Signed a proud gladiator in Arizona.

A Story of Brotherhood, Love and Strength Featured Article

Earlier today, I was scouring the web for interesting news headlines. This is a regular Monday morning ritual that I do to start my week and get my head in the gamfor the day. I check my LinkedIn Pulse and sites like USA TodayHuffington Post and Google News. It was Google News that provided the article that most caught my attention this morning.

The New York Times posted a story called “A Year After the Boston Marathon Bombings, Injured Brothers Endure.” The story was about Paul and J.P. Norden, brothers who lost their legs while watching the Boston Marathon last year. They were there to support a friend who was running and in the tragic circumstances that followed, they both lost their right legs.

Their story is compelling and drew me in, so much so, that I am also purchasing their book “Twice as Strong.” In the article, by Katharine Q. Seelye, there was this…

Before the marathon, Paul said, he was complacent about life and didn’t see much purpose in it. “I didn’t care,” he said. “Like, I wasn’t sad, but I wasn’t thrilled, like, ‘Oh, my life’s awesome.’ ”

Now, he sets goals — getting out of the wheelchair, losing the crutches, walking the dogs. “Me and my brother, we’re happy and motivated to do things every day because we’re obviously lucky to be alive,” he said.

It made me wonder, am I as complacent about my life as Paul was? Are you?

So the next time, you start thinking how you can’t, or you shouldn’t, or you won’t be successful, read this story and think about Paul and J.P. and strive to be strong … and dare to be “Twice as Strong.”

Missing Flight…When Will This Mystery End? Featured Article

How does a plane just disappear? I cannot recall an instance of a plane with more than 200 passengers just vanishing.

But that is what seems to have happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

There are so many questions, so many theories, numerous scenarios out there. Each day brings a plethora of news stories with more speculation, because the facts just aren’t there.

My heart goes out to the families who just want to find their loved ones.

And I continue to pray for a miracle.

Kicking the Big Red Can Featured Article

Coca Cola at BlogHerI am a Coca Cola girl, not Pepsi, but Coca Cola…and the 100% full strength kind. I don’t do Coke Zero and Diet Coke makes me gag. I don’t drink coffee so my Coca Cola is my morning pick me up. The big red can, or bottle, is like my alarm clock. Years ago, one of the office assistants would check to see if I had my morning “dose” before she would bring anything really big to me (she was playing it safe). It has been my sweet addiction.

I would have at least one glass a day and generally, more than one. I read article after article that told me that to get and stay fit, the soda would have to go. But when I would try to quit, I would undergo days of horrendous headache. So my partnership with my soda remained… until now.

I am happy to say that it has been more than a week since I have had a glass, can or sip of soda (and I have yet to snap on anyone). I’ve had minor headaches here and there, but nothing like what I had before. While I am not banning it completely, I am going to see if I can avoid it for a little longer. Then, I will add it back in moderation, not every day, but just once in a while (maybe once a week).

But what I learned is that while I’m really bad about keeping my fitness goals, I’m getting better! I am exercising more, eating better and I have kicked the soda habit that has been with me for decades. My self awareness for this week is advocacy so today I am an advocate for good health…mine!

The Advocate in Me Featured Article

6th Annual Red Dress Cocktail PartyThis month’s blog posts are a journey in self discovery. Over the years, I have learned the power of advocacy and proudly work to generate awareness for several causes. This week, I would like to tell you about some of the causes that I am most passionate about.

One of the definitions of an advocate is a person who works for a cause or group. One event that I advocate for each spring is the Red Dress Cocktail Party to benefit the American Heart Association.

For 10 years, women have been fighting heart disease individually and collectively as part of the Go Red For Women movement. They have proudly worn red, shared stories of survival and gained greater awareness about the truth regarding women’s hearts and how heart disease can be prevented. More than 627,000 women’s lives have been saved, but the fight is far from over. While heart disease is the primary killer of women, only one in five American women believe heart disease is a health threat.

The Red Dress Cocktail Party is a grassroots event started by my friend and sorority sister Maria Benson after losing several female family members (including her mother) to heart disease. The event is now in its sixth year and continues to grow. If you’re in the Phoenix area, please consider joining us on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 from 5-7 p.m. at our new location, Mercedes-Benz of Scottsdale. This heart-healthy happy hour will include food, fashion and fun along with raffles and vital information on how to prevent heart disease. We are pleased to welcome back the charismatic Steve Irwin of ABC15 News who will reprise his emcee duties for the evening’s fashion show. For more information and to purchase ticket, please visit

To learn more about the Go Red for Women movement, please visit

What causes do you advocate for?



Sharing Your Past with Kids Today…Would You Do It? Featured Article

Recently, I provided comment to a CNN story that followed up on President Barack Obama’s announcement of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. During the announcement, he stated that when he met the young men of the “Becoming a Man” program, he shared his story (including drug use) and admitted that he had made bad choices. The focus of the CNN story was would you share stories of your past with your children or others.

The program that I spoke of in my comments is the INSPIRE Program of Florence Crittenton. The mission of the Inspire Program is “women INSPIRING the teenage girls of Florence Crittenton through personal stories of life’s overwhelming challenges . . . and eventual triumphs.” The program is a volunteer program that enables women to INSPIRE teen girls who are overcoming issues of abuse, neglect, teen pregnancy, teen parenting and behavioral and/or mental health problems. INSPIRE gives successful and dynamic women the chance to share their personal experiences with overcoming obstacles, developing self-esteem, and achieving goals and dreams. Sharing these stories in a group setting gives the girls a higher level of self-awareness, confidence, character and achievement.

There are many programs out there like Becoming a Man or INSPIRE but honestly, you really don’t need one. You’ve heard it before, tell your own story — no one can tell it better than you. No matter what you’ve done or how bad it was, you survived it… and sharing your story may help someone else survive, or better yet, avoid a negative path all together.


Groundhog Day…AZ Style Featured Article

Once again, the eyes of the nation, and the world, are on the country’s 48th state. Arizona has once again thrust itself into the conversation of rights, liberty and the pursuit of … Business????

Senate Bill 1062 is a religious freedom bill for business owners — or so they say. In reality, it is a bill that is bad for business and could be a slippery slope that sets the state back decades.

But we have been here before with the infamous 1070 bill and we are still recovering from the economic damage that legislation caused.

So now we wait. We wait to see what our fate will be as it sits in the hand (or the pen) of Governor Jan Brewer.

While the country continues to watch.

UPDATE: Late this afternoon, Gov. Brewer vetoed SB1062. Sensibility has prevailed in Arizona! (And the groundhog did not see his shadow).