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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).

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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?

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

Fall.thegreatdanaj

 

I can’t believe that it’s almost fall. Where has the year gone? My summer was relaxing and hot. Exactly what I wanted after my transition earlier this year. I am so excited for fall. Something about the season changing and looking forward has me feeling really good right now. Here are a few things that I want to do this fall:

It’s on my bucket list to go apple picking. I always think about it, but this year I’m actually going for it. I’ve been looking up farms and picking dates.

Fall foods. I’m excited to add acorn squash, apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, figs and winter squash to my weekly meal planning.

Drinking great tea. I’m especially excited for warm green tea lattes with almond milk. I know this is not seasonal, but Starbucks just started offering almond milk as an option for drinks. I prefer almond over soy and coconut milk when I get my signature drink. Coconut and matcha don’t mix well in my opinion. Can’t wait to see how it tastes.

After 70 days of 90+ degree weather, I’m excited for the crisp, cool days of fall. I can’t wait to wear my flannel shirts again.

Try to make the most of the new season.

Happy fall y’all!

Posted by & filed under Events.

Last week, the night before the new Maxwell album came out I got a preview of blackSUMMERS’night his latest album in seven years. I’ve been a Maxwell fan since my cousin played Ascension for me when I was in fourth grade. It sounded so different and he looked like no one else out at the time. In adulthood, I’ve just started to really understand his love songs. What I really like about this album is that you can listen from start to finish and enjoy every single song. I can’t say that for many of the albums out these days. It’s consistent with his previous albums and I like that. Additionally, it’s an album that I wouldn’t mind gifting to others. I still buy albums and songs that I like. I go for the digital copies because my home computer doesn’t have a cd drive and because it’s instant, but I’m not against buying a cd for someone else. My dad is becoming more and more tech savvy. He’s discovering new artists on Vevo. He can’t remember his iTunes password so, the physical cd would make a great gift for him! I think he’d also enjoy this album.

 

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My favorite songs on the album:

Gods

The Fall
Of All Kind

 

Listen to this album when:

– Relaxing over a glass of wine

– Reading a good book

– Chilling by the pool and you want to turn down

– With your summer bae

– During your workout cool down and stretch

 

Have you heard the new Maxwell album? I recommend checking it out.

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

I have always wanted to work in marketing ever since I was younger. I found this great rhythm with working in social media. I knew that I didn’t want to leave this field. However, I just felt like I was living out the movie Groundhog Day with each new professional step. If you haven’t seen that movie before, there’s this guy named Phil Connors (Bill Murray) who lives the same day over and over again. No one knows he’s living out the same day over and over except for him. Which sucks. At first, he has fun with it but eventually he gets fed up. Maybe that’s what happened to me? I became frustrated for too many reasons to list. Then I became sad because things weren’t going my way. It was exhausting.

Then, I stopped trying to force things to happen and I just focused on trying to understand and improve what I could where I could until I learned what I needed to learn and could move on. I had this list of things I wanted in a new opportunity. I wanted to move out of managing the day to day logistics of social and transition into a more strategic role at a larger organization. In Groundhog Day, Phil ends the cycle of waking up everyday to the same day by making it the best day possible. Focusing on making the best of what was in front of him as opposed to anything else.

I’m happy to share that I have found that role and will be starting a new job on Monday! I was able to find a great opportunity focused on doing exactly what I want (strategy) and moving away from day to day social and community engagement. I’ll share more as I ease into the new role. For anyone out there going through something similar: stay encouraged. Find the best part about where you are and focus more on that than what you don’t have. Focus on what your heart desires and less on how disappointed you are. You’ll make it!

%22Keeping your eye on the future is essential for making the most of today.%22-2

Posted by & filed under Books.

LivingForwardBook.thegreatdanaj

I finished reading Living Forward!

I shared 3 of my favorite things about the book after I first started reading. Now that I’m finished, here are my thoughts on the entire book.

Let me preface this by saying, I’m a Michael Hyatt follower and have been for years. So, when I first started reading this book I kept thinking of how the advice sounded like something in one of his blogs or podcasts. I’m totally cool with that. I do think that sometimes we need to hear good advice multiple times before it really sinks in that: hey, I need to actually do this. That’s one thing that really stands out about this book, all of the people who endorse creating a life plan. They aren’t permanently drifting.

 

What is the drift?

 

Well, the drift is something that pulls us of the right course in life. I can speak closely to the concept because I just got out go the drift. It’s when you are living your life and suddenly realize: hey, I’m not doing the things I need to do in order to get where I need to go. Hence, the drift.

 

Like that song Waves says, Drifting Away….wave after wave.

 

It’s when you are doing things living your life but areas of your life are a bit stalled. It happens for so many reasons. Ignoring it doesn’t help, but acknowledging it is essential to helping get back on track! Before I read this chapter of the book, I didn’t really know how to define “the drift”. What I did recognize was the consequences of the drift. Staying off track for too long has detrimental impact on out lives.

 

My favorite thing about this book is it explores the positive and negative aspects of planning and building a future for the reader. That’s an area that needs constant refinement. With a guide like Living Forward, you can continue to create the most optimal future. Yeah, things happen along the way, but with the tips in this book some of the detours can be navigated better. Notice that I did not say you can avoid all of the bad things, but navigating them better is essential. If you are searching for something that can help you lay out a solid plan for planning out your future, check out Living Forward. It’s a quick and impactful read that will offer gems of wisdom over time.

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

I’m glad that this week is over and done. The weather was so rainy and miserable. It’s great to see the sun again today. Here are a few of my favorites from the past couple of days.
Donuts!
I had the pleasure of tasting multiple donuts at Bon Glaze.
All the donuts.
Bon Glaze is a new donut shop in Brookhaven.  They have the cutest little shop next to a pediatric dentist, fitness center and private school. I’ll definitely be going back. Especially for date night.
Selfie with my favorite one, the Butterscotch Bacon!
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Movies
Thanks to Netflix I’ve been watching some great movies. I just saw Dope and over the last week I watched Brotherly Love. I highly recommend both of them. Great story, good looking casts and Brotherly Love had a great unexpected twist to the end.
BrotherlyLoveMoviePoster
At the theater, I checked out Deadpool and it was excellent. It was my very first Ryan Reynolds movie. I thought he was funny and the movie overall was one of the best Marvel movies that I’ve ever seen.
Favorite Quote
This is the quote that stands out most for me out of the book Living Forward. I plan to finish it up over the weekend.
quote.thegreatdanaj
Anything fun planned this weekend? I hope to get outside and enjoy the sun here in ATL.
Have a great one!