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Posted by & filed under Life In Photos.

It’s that time of year again. Happy Valentine’s Day!

I decided to be festive this year and did a fun shoot with Gossett Photography at a local park to celebrate this annual day of love. 

The balloons were fun to play with. My mom got me this red dress for Christmas from Ann Taylor. I’ve never really worn a lot of red, but now I want to add more red to my wardrobe. It just pops. The color red is associated with energy, strength, power and passion. Red is emotionally intense so no wonder it’s a big on Valentine’s Day.

The photo above ended up being my favorite one of the bunch. The nude heels make my legs look longer. When I did physical therapy for my knee, the therapist said my legs are much longer than my torso. Which makes it hard to adjust a bike for comfort. We learned this early on. I never thought about it, but that theory makes sense for why I love rompers and skirts because they just work well on my shape accenting the legs and helping to give my waist some love too.

I switched it up with a white Calvin Klein jacket, rose gold heels and my Dolce & Gabana red glasses to end the shoot. When I look at this I think about that “Blocking out the haters meme”. Definitely wasn’t thinking that, but the meme does give me a good laugh.

I took these photos on an unusually warm Georgia Sunday. It was a fun day at the park!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted by & filed under Podcast.

Social media gives us instant access to each other. But what’s the value of likes when it comes to relationships? After taking inventory of what stays and what goes for 2017, making in real life connections tops the list of what’s in. Here are a couple of reasons why I want to invest more time in taking the online and making real life.

Likes don’t translate to friends. They are just likes. They don’t mean connection it’s just a casual passing of your content and admiring something about it. I love social media but it’s just false at times. It makes us feel connected when to some extent we are further apart than ever. I just read an article that says while we might have 1500+ friends online that often only equals a circle of friends sized at 150.

In this episode I mention:

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Posted by & filed under Podcast.

Serena Williams recently announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian (on Reddit btw). The relationship hasn’t been splashed all over the internet and social media. I appreciate that. As a single dating woman, I am constantly thinking about how to best guard my love life.
Flowers + bubbles makes it look kind of like a romantic evening on social media right?
Love in the age of digital is hard. There’s FOMO, general sharing of basic couple activities and then there’s flat out show-offs. It’s different for each of us but on the latest episode of The Unshrew Show, I talk about digital boundaries around your love life.

In this episode I mention:
Vogue 73 Questions with Serena Williams
Huffington Post on Engagement Season

Posted by & filed under Podcast.

2017 is officially 3 days away. I’m using this episode to remember the year by naming my Top 5 things about 2016. From the Olympics to Lemondae and all the way through the 2016 election, talk through moments, music and media that made this a great year.

Listen to the latest episode here:

Top 5 Things about 2016

Prince
This year I learned that Prince was going on his Piano and the Microphone tour and stopping in Atlanta. Something in me was like: you have to be there. You’ve gotta go. So I purchased tickets and attended with a friend. It was one of the best decisions that I made this year. If not, the very best one. The people, the music the piano and being in the moment was everything to me. A few days following the concert Prince died. I can’t believe that I attended one of his last concerts ever. I will never forget it.

I took this photo shortly before Prince started. It takes a ton of talent to put on a show with a piano, microphone and candelabra only. It was a night that I will NEVER forget.

Simone Biles
Watching the Rio Olympics and seeing Simone Biles dominate was priceless. She has such a positive spirit about her. I enjoyed everything that I watched with her including a Vogue video interview of her answering 73 questions.
about herself and also a New York Times video breaking down her floor pass called “The Biles” that no one else in the world can do https://youtu.be/yqds04bRxQM. I loved seeing her as the lead love interest in Jake Miller’s video Overnight.

Lemonade
I feel like that was a pretty big thing, if not the biggest thing to happen in music this year. It was different and it surprised us all. Also, I believe that the songs on Lemonade, particularly Formation are a huge departure from the Beyonce that we are used to. It inspired new and varied uses of the word “slay”. The hair and clothing will continue to inspire for years to come and it was a big moment in popular culture.

2016 Election Cycle
Even though it was highly stressful and long, this election cycle was unlike any other that we have experienced as a country. From the media coverage to the behavior of the candidates the whole process was wild. I can’t help but wonder how many people were impacted negatively by the entire cycle. I know that I personally had to have several days of digital detox and time away from the internet just to feel a bit of peace.

Movies & Music
I saw so many great movies this year. Let me just run down a few of my personal favorites: Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool, Zootopia, Moana and Barry. There are still so many that I haven’t seen but I really enjoyed those. Then there’s music. I bought more music this year than I have in the last couple of years. Full albums like A Tribe Called Quest, Beyonce, Bruno Mars and Solange. They were worth every penny.

Also discussed:
The swift rise and fall of Pokemon Go.
Vine – is it going or staying?

Posted by & filed under Podcast.

I spent a good amount of time over the weekend really diving into my plans for 2017.
The first step for me was looking back on the areas where I did well in 2016 and the not so well parts too. I’m talking through the good, great and not so great on this week’s episode of The Unshrew Show. Most importantly, I talk about how to grow from the bombs and appreciate the wins to make for a better 2017 and beyond.

Things mentioned in this episode:
Living Forward by Michael Hyatt read my review here
Mr. Probz Waves song
Chance the Rapper on SNL
My Spotify Holiday Playlist

Posted by & filed under Podcast.

Big news to share – I’m now podcasting!

I’ve wanted to podcast for a long time about digital marketing, millennial life and pop culture trends but I kept putting it off.

No more of that!

I’m officially launched in iTunes and I’m approved for Google Play. Please subscribe! Here’s my very first episode.

For my first show, I talk about all of the marketing reasons that won Donald Trump the election and all of the latest online trends.

My goal is to update weekly and I really enjoy doing it so far. I can’t wait to share more with you guys!

Posted by & filed under Events.

This past weekend, I attended my fourth Blogalicious Conference here in Atlanta. I can’t believe that I have been to 4 of them.

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Kim, Niki, Tamara and I at the Dove Day Party

This past conference was a reminder of why I continue to come back. Blogalicious is always a ray of light for me professionally. Especially this week when it feels like we are all so divided and frustrated around the election cycle. See, when I went to my first conference I was essentially hustling as a social media professional. I was fresh off of leaving a job where I was the sole social media person managing way too many accounts learning very little and slowly crashing and burning. I had stopped learning and lost inspiration.

I needed to find “my place”. By my place I mean, I needed to find a supportive, diverse space where people “got digital”. A place where the value was apparent and where people were having successful outcomes through leveraging social platforms. Blogalicious is that place for me! Here are my four major keys from this weekend’s conference:

1. Use Your Voice
During the first night of Blogalicious I had the opportunity to talk to Tracey Hutchins from CBS46 about women of color having a voice online during this election cycle. I am so grateful for the opportunity because just days after the monumental election of Donald Trump, I appreciate the power of having a voice now more than ever. I definitely plan to use my voice more to drive positive conversation and change.

Check out the interview here.

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2. Surround yourself with people in all different areas of their career

At the conference, I met entrepreneurs, talked to students, and individuals just launching blogs and digital channels. It’s nice to collaborate with others in all areas because a diverse group of opinions can really add value to the conversation.

2I met Madison, a Georgia State student at a pre-event happy hour and I’m glad that she was able to attend the conference and she looked so fabulous!

3. Invest in Yourself
On the last night of the conference I explained to a friend the quantifiable value of attending the conference against the cost of the event tickets. After really comparing the two, I realized that what I’ve learned and who I have met at these conferences has paid off in value that exceeds the cost to attend. Has it always been easy to get to the conferences? No. Has it always been worth it? Absolutely. If there’s any lesson that I would share with other young professionals it would be: invest in yourself.

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After yoga on the final conference day was such a breath of fresh air.

4. Brands that get it
I like seeing brands who get it at conferences like this. It’s not a surprise to me that some brands just don’t understand influencers or the true power of social media. I’ve had to work with executives and directors who don’t understand. I get it. It’s refreshing for me to see brands like Dove who believe in the power of influencers and are adamant about changing the conversation online with the #SpeakBeautiful campaign. That campaign hopes to change how women and girls speak about themselves especially.

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With our goddess braids courtesy of Dove at the closing day party.

Read about my experience from 2012, 2013, 2014
Check out a few of my favorite conference recaps from other bloggers who attended:
Manifest Yourself
The Positive Mom

Posted by & filed under Events.

I’m still on cloud nine after this weekend’s Create Cultivate. I contemplated attending and finally caved in to buy a ticket last month and up until the day of the conference I could feel my excitement growing. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the day with 500+ other women at Mason Fine Art at the beautifully decorated Create Cultivate space.

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This conference had the most insta-worthy backdrops of all time. I saw some of my favorite brands and learned about a few new ones.

 

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With Rhonda at the Erin Condren booth (I’ve used their life planner for the last few years)

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Great wall setup from Framebridge

The biggest takeaway for me: now is a great time to be creating and working in digital. For all of us. There’s this huge community of support and the feeling you get while in it is unbeatable. Seriously, all I felt was good vibes while navigating the conference all day. I’m fortunate to be in this field and to be in such a supportive space and I don’t want to take it for granted.

I’m looking forward to finding out where the next Create Cultivate will be.

Posted by & filed under Reviews.

A few months back, I purchased an Apple Watch. Since then, I’ve been able to learn how to use and I love it! I wear my watch almost every single day. During the Apple announcement last week, I noticed that the new series 1 and 2 watches have some slight updates. At this time, I’m sticking with my original!

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Here are a few pros and cons around the Apple Watch.

PROS

1. I love how the rose gold and lavender looks on my arm and paired with other bracelets and accessories. My wrist is on the smaller side, so it just works with the small faced 32mm Apple Watch.

2. Holds a charge for a little over a day. If I plug it in each night, I don’t have to worry about it running out during the day.

3. It reminds me to stand up throughout the day. For those of us with desk jobs, this reminder comes in handy. It makes me feel like my watch wants me to stay fit. We are on the same page!

4. It vibrates when I’m getting directions to help remind me of upcoming turns. I like how it does this so that as a subtle but effective push in the right direction.

5. Makes me look “tech savvy” – it’s definitely a great conversation starter. You see another person wearing one and instantly have an ice breaker. Or if I see someone wearing a different tech watch, we can compare specs. For me, this works mostly with guys. They get really excited to share stories about their watches.

6. I like being able to track my workouts and set fitness goals. It’s great at tracking steps throughout the day and it automatically updates myFitnessPal to adjust my calories for the day.

7. Find my iPhone button – I love this feature. I no longer have to text a friend from my computer or iPad to call me so that I can figure out where my phone went. With the press of a button, my phone bleeps and I can find it. Win all around for me.

8. Voice to text – this just makes life easier when replying to people on the go.

CONS

1. It doesn’t always pair with my iPhone. This isn’t automatic and I thought it would be without me having to do anything.

2. The watch face scratches easily. Mine has a couple of minor scrapes and scratches but nothing major.

3. It’s not waterproof. I’ve worn my watch to the beach and washed dishes without fear, but it’s not waterproof so whenever I have it on I always have to remember to be careful around water. I have never submerged it in water.

4. The charger – It’s different from the iPhone and iPad charger. So, if you forget it, it’s hard to find a replacement or backup on the go. I usually take mine with me if I have to travel overnight. Otherwise, the charge holds solid overnight while I sleep.

Posted by & filed under Fitness.

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen a few posts here and there hinting at the fact that I injured my knee. Today, I’ve decided to share a little bit more about the how.

The last week in April, I was having a super stressful day and decided that I should go for a run. This isn’t out of the blue for me, at the time I averaged between 4-8 miles per week and for that week in particular I had planned to start my Peachtree road race training. My training plan was printed and everything. I left my home and hit the sidewalk for a warm 4 mile run to Beyoncé. A mile out from my house, I felt a sharp pain in my knee. I was running pretty fast and afraid that if I put my knee down the pain would intensify. So, I caught myself with my hands and cell phone (smashed my protective glass cover case and scraped my case).

thegreatdanaj.com

Working out with my brace post injury.

My knee hurt, but the pain wasn’t unfamiliar. I injured my knee in high school trying to do an aerial at cheerleading practice. For those unfamiliar with an aerial: think a cartwheel with no hands. My knee was healthy enough to cheer three more years after that and carry me through countless training runs, 5ks, 10ks and half marathons. This injury was different though. I sat by a telephone pole and mentally convinced myself I was tough enough and no longer embarrassed about falling to walk the mile back home and rest my knee some fully intending to just carry on business as usual the next day.

 

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A side by side comparison of my knees on day 2. On the left is my swollen right knee.

My knee was swollen when I woke up. I couldn’t walk without pain. I worked from home and told myself it would be fine the next day. It wasn’t. One urgent care visit, one orthopedic visit, two braces and an MRI later: I found out I dislocated my patella (knee cap) and had some torn ligaments. The doctor said I was lucky to not need surgery. I felt incredibly blessed that the injury was not worse.

I had to admit to myself that this injury wasn’t one that I could just wait out in hopes that it would go away. It’s been a very humbling and revelatory experience that I plan to share more about. Most importantly, I had to slow down. While running and even power walking are both great stress relievers for me, they are not part of my current fitness routine. I’ve added in workouts like biking, and water aerobics, ice packs and stretching.

I don’t see running in my immediate future. I’m okay with that now, but it definitely took some time to get used to.

Have you ever dealt with an injury that made you change your workout routine?