Wednesday, August 27, 2014

When Tech Attacks!

When Tech Attacks!

Okay.  I have this dirty little secret.  I have developed a baaaad habit.  I know that many of you are guilty of it too.  That is why I decided to come out and tell you.  I USE MY IPAD RIGHT BEFORE BED!  Yes!  This past year I have started reading random articles,  pinning on Pinterest, watching Youtube and more right before I fall asleep.  For some reason I was thinking that using my tablet would help me to wind down and I would end up falling asleep faster.  Wrong!  What ended up happening was it caused me to experience sleep problems.  I began tossing and turning in my sleep as well as mumbling in my sleep all night long!  My husband finally came out and told me that he was having a hard time sleeping due to my night time movement and mumbling.  I was actually surprised as I did not realize that I was so active at night.  I will admit that I haven't been feeling as refreshed in the morning as I should have been, but I figured I was just fatigued from work.  

This new "Bad Habit" is very surprising  being that I haven't been a fan of having a television in my bedroom for over 10 years.  I always felt that televisions belonged in dens or family rooms and not in bedrooms.  This thinking was based on the fact that bedroom televisions could increase the temptation of watching t.v until late at night.  I realized that watching t.v. late as well as falling asleep with the t.v on was not a good habit as it would not allow the brain to turn down for deep sleep.  Being  snapped back into reality encouraged me to do  research on the effects of Computers and Tablets on sleeping habits.

Per the article "Really? Using a Computer Before Bed Can Disrupt Sleep", I learned how  artificial light from using devices at night may affect brain chemicals that promote sleep.  
The following points especially stood out to me:

"Electronic devices stimulate brain activity...disrupting your ability to drift off to sleep. But according to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 90 percent of Americans regularly use a computer or electronic device of some kind in the hour before bed."   

" Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute showed that exposure to light from computer tablets significantly lowered levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates our internal clocks and plays a role in the sleep cycle." 

"... [a] study, published in the journal Applied Ergonomics...found that two hours of exposure to a bright tablet screen at night reduced melatonin levels by about 22 percent."

"researchers say melatonin suppression may not only cause sleep disturbances, but also raise the risk of obesitydiabetes and other disorders."

I also learned a lot about the effects of Blue Light on eye health.  An article that I read stated that "Blue light is harmful because it's the highest energy wavelength of visible light, able to penetrate all the way to the back of the eye. Although blue light is nothing new, the issue for concern is the amount of blue light exposure that we get each day through technology use. Over time, blue light can impair visual daily performance, disrupt our ability to sleep, and contribute to the development of macular degeneration."

With this information, I decided to set limits on my technology use.  I already performed a few sleep trials to help pinpoint the cause of my night time activity.  I turned off all of my devices 3 hours before bed.  Believe it or not, I was able to sleep soundly, I did not toss and turn as much, and my husband reported that I did not mumble at all!  Problem solved! 

I am so greatful to have this re-epiphany (lol).  I am looking forward to dialing back my technology use and buying back some good sleep.

I suggest you try it as well and make note of how refreshed you start to feel each day!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I Feel Pretty!!!!

I Feel Pretty!!!

I recently had the pleasure of attending a makeup and photo shoot session at Fab'rik in Atlantic Station. This fabulous event was hosted by Images Frozen in Time and My Color Theory.  

The session started with a tour through the store to pick out 2 to 3 fresh looks for the photo shoot.  The friendly and helpful Fab'rik associates helped the event attendees to pick out fresh yet trendy looks.  I was totally in my element once I saw all of the bold and beautiful prints.  My assigned associate for the evening helped me to pick out a fabulous Gold necklace and earring set to start with.      

We them moved on to trendy tops for my first look.  She helped me to find a nice furry vest to layer over the outfit that I wore to the shoot.  

As my look was coming together and I started getting the lay of the land, my associate asked me what I wanted to wear for my second look.  I basically told her that I was open to suggestions and allowed her to pick out a few options for me.  

After picking out several possibilities, we ran across this fabulous one piece Black Sleeveless Jumpsuit.  Although I was reluctant to try on something so "sleeveless" for the shoot, I went ahead and gave it a shot.  

Once on, I was totally in love with the outfit, and decided that the jumpsuit would be the one and only outfit for the evening!

After finding the "perfect" outfit, it was on to makeup.  The MUA, Natasha asked me what look I was going for.  I told her to select the best look for me.  

I was so glad that I left this decision up to her professional judgement, because the after product was amazing!  I loved the boldness of my eye makeup as well as the awesome lip color!

I am so glad that I was able to attend this fabulous event!  Make sure to keep up with future #expressminimakeover  events by checking out both Images Frozen in Time's Facebook page (Images Frozen In Time) as well at the Twitter account of My Color Theory (My Color Theory, INC.).

Here are the Before and After Shots! is a video of the event!

It was so much fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Neighborhood Awards 2014!

The Neighborhood Awards 2014!
Group Photo Photo Credit

I had the pleasure of being a VIP guest to enjoy food, folks, and festivities in the Cricket Wireless suite at the 2014 Neighborhood awards!  This year's Neighborhood awards ceremony and concert was held in Atlanta at the Phillips Arena.  It was hosted by Radio Personality, Comedian, and T.V. Game Show Host Steve Harvey.  To learn a little bit more about the Neighborhood awards check out their website

What I enjoyed most about the awards ceremony was the fact that the program for the evening was mixed well with presentations, music, and mini skits.  I was also pleased to see everyday small business owners and people of the community recognized for their good deeds and hard work as citizens.  The nomination categories included best Hair Salon or BBQ restaurant to best community leader.  The music performers were awesome.  Each artist sang between 1 to 3 songs.  I truly enjoyed Anthony Hamilton and India.Arie to name a few.  

All in all, I look forward to attending another Neighborhood Awards weekend in the future!  Thank you again Cricket for inviting me! 

Check out this Concert Footage of Indie.Arie, captured on my Samsung Galaxy S4 by Cricket Wireless! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Using 23andme to Explore Your History!

Using 23andme to Explore Your History! 

I have used 23andme in the past to discover a LOT about my family lineage.  My Previous Posts show my experience with the service and the results I obtained.  I really like how 23andme has provided Google Hangouts to help users learn more about their service.  Check out the following video on the Basics of Genealogy:

I actually made real connections with family members through the 'Family Match' features on 23andme.  My matches and I spoke through the 23andme chat feature, email, and by phone.  Here is another 23andme hangout about relatives that will pop up as matches within their service:

Make sure to check out my Special Link to Start Your Journey today!

Monday, July 7, 2014

I am Giving The Flex Belt a Run!

I am Giving The Flex Belt a Run!

I was contacted by the people at The Flex Belt to try out the Flex Belt for ab toning.  As you all might know, I have been trying to up my fitness and one of my goals is to improve the appearance of my midsection.  With The Flex Belt, my hope is that it can be an addition to my current fitness program and will help to tone up my abs once I begin to burn more fat.  I also have a guest blogger that will be trying out the device and writing a results post as well.

  In the meantime, check out my unboxing video.  

If you are interested in starting your journey to toned abs, click here:   The Flex Belt

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Grillin' and Chillin' with Cricket Wireless!

Grillin' and Chillin' with Cricket Wireless!

Cricket Wireless has some HOT deals and some COOL recommendations for  apps to get your summer sizzlin'!

"Tech recommendations for summer chilling and grilling
It’s summertime! And, whether you’re planning for the annual family reunion or hosting a big BBQ for the fourth of July, Cricket Wireless recommends the following apps, devices and accessories to protect your smartphone during your summer chilling and grilling activities.
App Suggestions
·       Barbeque Grill Recipes Free -- Powered by Riafy Tecnhologies, Barbeque Grill Recipes is an app for lovers of barbeque and grilling. Equipped with varieties of recipes, the app allows you to create and share shopping lists with loved ones. This app is available for download on Android devices.
·       Cooking Timer – A must have for all serious chefs, Cooking Timer provides assistance in the kitchen and outdoors for BBQ events. This app comes with easy to use timers and even works while your device is powered off. This app is available to download for use with Windows devices.
Recommended Accessories
·       BoostPlus Audio Speaker- Are you looking to add some music to your summer shindig? The BoostPlus Audio Speaker amplifies the sound of your mobile device to get the party started.  Small enough to fit in a purse or small bag, this cool and convenient accessory also gives the option of wireless or wired connectivity.
·       Otterbox Commuter Case- A rugged, protective case, the Otterbox Commuter Case for Samsung Galaxy S5 is made to protect during demanding conditions, heavy use and random accidents. This summer, you won’t want to leave the house without it.
Super Cool Devices

New to the Cricket roster, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is the premiere device for your summer needs. This device helps you embrace all that summer has to offer with dustproof and water-resistant technology engineered to withstand the rigors of everyday life. Its 16 megapixel camera allows you to capture your best moments with crystal clear pictures. The Samsung Galaxy S5’s innovative technology keeps getting better with its fingerprint scanner. At the touch of a finger, you can quickly unlock your phone and access your work, websites and more — all without entering a password.

Exclusively at Cricket, the Nokia Lumia 1320 phablet (phone and tablet hybrid) is the perfect summer sidekick. It features all-day battery life that helps you capture and share your summer adventures, stay in touch with loved ones, and surf the web faster with Internet Explorer 10.
No matter where your family reunion or gathering plans take you, Cricket Wireless will have you covered with its reliable nationwide 4G LTE network. If this doesn’t give you enough to smile about this summer, Cricket is also offering new customers $50 off most smartphones after a mail-in-rebate with the Cricket Visa® Promotion Card.  For customers selecting a $49.99 smartphone, the mail-in rebate means they can get a free phone after the mail-in rebate."
Via Flowers Communications

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Road Trip in the 2014 Kia Optima!

Road Trip in the 2014 Kia Optima!
Check out my Adventure on Instagram!

I had the pleasure of taking a Road Trip to Miami with a couple of my friends.  The objective of the trip was to visit friends and family, as well as check out beaches and hotels for my upcoming family reunion.  Kia so graciously accommodated us by loaning  the 2014 Kia Optima SX Turbo*.  Upon delivery, I was already impressed by how sporty and sleek the car looked.  

Upon approaching the car, the rearview mirrors automatically folded out and the interior lights of the vehicle turned on.  Neat!
I immediately got in and started checking out more cool features.  The first thing that impressed me was the leather interior and the interesting shape of the steering wheel.  The seats not only looked cool, but also had a cooling feature that worked well in the summer heat!  Upon pressing the cooling button, the seats released air that was similar to the air temperature of a fan.  The rear seats also had access to the heating and cooling features.  The Optima had automatic seat adjustment settings.  On the door panel there was a number 1 and 2.  The seating distance was able to be set per driver.  I thought this was a neat feature at first, but it became something that I needed to get used to every time I entered the car.  I was not used to seats moving at all upon entry of cars in general. 
The steering wheel, I was told, had a flat shape at the bottom to accommodate larger drivers.  Typical round shaped steering wheels could be uncomfortable for drivers that make bodily contact with the wheel often.  

Next my eye was lead to the center console and then up to the touch screen.

I knew this car meant business when I saw the word 'Turbo' as well as the sporty looking gas and break pedals.

The sunroof was massive and was used often during our trip.  I loved the fact that the passengers in the back seat had the opportunity to enjoy the sun rays and view of the sky as well. 

Florida Sky

I enjoyed the UVO system with easy access to Satellite Radio, Handsfree Phone access, Voice Command, Navigation and more!

The map was VERY detailed and involved.  It took me some getting used to over a few days to get the hang of it.  It could be a bit more user friendly upon user startup, but then again I could have taken a few minutes to read the manual as well (lol).

On the Road

The Optima was a beast on the road.  It had great acceleration and maintained a smooth ride even at higher speeds (50+ MPH).  There was no wind noise in the cabin of the car, and the radio and map voice output was at a good level for listening while driving.  I really liked the 3 driving modes, that included Sport, Normal, and Eco.  Using Eco on a long drive was a wise choice as we only needed to fill up one time during our 600+ mile trip (we started on a full tank).  The Sport drive mode was excellent on the open road, as it allowed us to accelerate and pass pockets of traffic as well as trucks that clogged up the highway.  I REALLY enjoyed the acceleration (+) and deceleration (-) features just behind the steering wheel.  This feature, when toggled while driving, allowed the car to decelerate without touching the breaks.  Now this is a smart move on Kia's part being that this model is a Turbo, and the temptation to test out the turbo engine is great.  In the event that a police officer was spotted ahead, the deceleration feature allowed us to break our speed down without tapping the break.  This was very helpful in keeping us safe as well as helping us to avoid getting a ticket.   

The Optima had a massive tank.  I was really surprised at how large it was given that I am used to driving a smaller car with a 13 gallon tank.  The Optima's tank is slightly over 18 gallons large!  I did notice a difference at the pump, but on the road we did not have to fill up as much, so that was good.

The side mirrors had blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alerts.  This was helpful on the road and I noticed how helpful it was to help prevent fender benders.    

The Kia Optima has SO MANY FEATURES!  Check out additional features and options here:

Overall this was a very impressive car!  My family and friends were impressed with it.  It made them look at the Kia brand in a whole new light!  My road trip was made 100% better in the Kia Optima!

*The third generation Kia Optima is built and manufactured in West Point, Georgia which began in 2011 with the 2012 model. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Completed My First 5k!

I Completed My First 5k!
I am so proud of myself!  I completed my 1st 5k!  With the recommendation and support of some of my friends, I spent the last few months "training" for this day.  In a past post I shared my strategy for increasing my stamina and upping my fitness.  This actually helped me during my walk.  ALTHOUGH I did not come close to 1st place (lol), I was proud of the fact that I was able to complete the 3.1 mile course in just under an hour.
Cave Springs, Georgia (Georgia School for the Deaf)

Now that one race is under my belt, I am looking forward to attending another one soon!  I will continue walking weekly and improving my stamina for jogging.  My next goal is to join a local Black Girls Run group.  I will keep you all posted on my fitness journey! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tap the Future! Miller Coors Business Pitch Contest

Tap the Future! Miller Coors Business Pitch Contest

I was fortunate to attend a Pitch Contest by Miller Coors this past week in Atlanta.  The contest featured several small business finalists that were competing for a chance to win money to fund their businesses.

The evening began with a panel where media were able to ask the Tap the Future judges business related questions.  Here is a video clip from it:

The next item on the agenda was to watch the pitch contest.  It was an exciting as well as edge of your seat time for the contestants and audience alike.  The contestants were asked to present their product, then were asked a series of questions to shed further light on their plans to advance their companies.  

"Atlanta witnessed five teams of entrepreneurs pitch their business in an effort to win $20,000 at the Miller Lite Tap the Future live pitch event. Teams took the stage of Opera Night Club to impress the audience and a panel of renowned judges, including Daymond John from ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

"Two teams from Georgia, two teams from Tennessee and one team from Wisconsin presented their ideas, but at the end it was Stephen Vlahos and Tripp Stanford who swept away the judges with Bellhops. This business from Chattanooga, TN utilizes innovative technology to hire energetic and charismatic college students to provide affordable and comfortable local moving experience. Pending background check, Vlahos and Stanford will receive $20,000 for their business and advance to the final round of Miller Lite Tap the Future to compete for the grand prize of $200,000."
The other teams that competed were:
- Bankmybiz (Madison, WI)- Your Safe Box (Tucker, GA)- Soberdough (Nashville, TN)- Signature Elite (Conyers, GA)In addition to Daymond John, the judging panel included Marve Frazier, chief creative officer of Moguldom Media Group and CEO of, Lauren Miller, co-owner of Excelegrade, and Joseph Hudson, experienced business developer, community planner, strategist and organizational designer who leads the new voices in the articulation of new approaches fro business development. The remaining Miller Lite Tap the Future semifinalists are scheduled to present their ideas in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Miami later in June and July. People can RSVP at"
Photos and Verbiage via Flowers Communications. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Growing...Changing Your Life. It Happens!

Growing...Changing Your Life.  It Happens!


I had lunch with a male cousin recently.  He was in Atlanta from Philadelphia to attend the Black Greek weekend.  I was intrigued and asked a lot of questions about Greek life, and why he chose the fraternity that he is associated with.  His answers varied and gave me a some insight on how the organizations are not mainly based on partying (as many believe) but are also big on community outreach.  During our conversation, he mentioned that this was going to be his last time attending the Greek Weekend, as he was looking forward to settling down more and moving forward in his personal life.  He mentioned that a lot of the events surrounding the Greek Weekend are mainly attended by individuals of college age, and he felt that he and his friends were starting to age out of that scene (they are in their mid to late 20's).  One of his friends is getting married, another is taking on a new job, etc.  His sentiments made me reflect on my changes in life over the years.  

I can clearly recall all of the changes and phases that I experienced in my life.  From Elementary School to Middle School.  Middle School to High School.  High School to College.  College to my 1st real job.  All of those phases were essential for progressing in life.  Once I had accomplished all of those milestones, I was nestled and snuggled into my comfort zone.  I was living in the Atlanta area, had a "Real" job, bought my first house (and a new car to match), and had met awesome working class people in my age group.  Then as life would have it, some of my friends started settling down and getting married.  Others were moving away.  Many moved to other states such as Florida, Texas, and Washington.  Some even moved out of the country to places like the Dominican Republic, Switzerland, Guam, Australia, and even Africa!  I was still nestled in the Atlanta area in my comfort zone throughout all of these changes.  

I was supportive of my friends when they ventured off to other parts of the world.   I desired  the same type of change, but was too scared to get out of my comfort zone.  After getting married and merging my life with my husband's, a lot of other "Changes" had to take place.  Now I was having to experience life changes with another person.  Any decisions that needed to take place had to be a 'Team' effort.  Fortunately, my husband is very supportive and open to change.  
An essential piece to making changes in your life is to set goals.  Because I am a planner by nature, it can be difficult for me to handle abrupt changes.   Despite the occasional disruption in life, I have learned how to cope with unexpected changes.  Other than unplanned occurrences,  I have learned to create some predictable changes by setting specific goals.  The few Lifestyle goals that I have set to accomplish within the next year or so include going back to school (to add a certification), taking on a few more public speaking jobs, revamping my approach to Social Media events, and setting up helpful programs for the community (stay tuned for my Financial Wellness series).  These are a few short term goals that I hope to accomplish in the near future.  Long term goals, of course, include traveling abroad more and living in another country for a while.  I actually have a lot more personal goals that I would like to accomplish.  Many of which are being accomplished at this very moment!

Let's look at a few easy ways to approach goals:

1.  Write Your Goals Down
An easy way to keep up with your goals is to write them down.  I am what people call "Old School".  Yes, I still use paper and pencil! Paper and pencil is a great way to write and edit your thoughts on the  spot.  Since goal writing is so specific, a lot of what we write has to be tweaked often to fit our desired outcome.  My next step is to add my goals to my "New School" platform, which is Evernote.  Evernote is a great way to keep notes in typed, pictorial, and auditory format.  The Snapshot below is an example of how you can create a simple checklist in Evernote. 

If you want to make your Goals a lot more specific, then take a look at the SMART Goals criteria:

SMART is a mnemonic acronym, giving criteria to guide in the setting of objectives, for example in project management, employee performance management and personal development. The letters S and M usually mean specific and measurable
  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

2.  Take Action!

Now that you have your goals written out, it is time to take action!  Place that phone call, send that email, visit that location.  Whatever you have to do, make sure you follow through with your plans and goals.  This is a surefire way to success and achievement.

3.  Get Surrounded with Progressive People!
A key to setting goals and making sure they are successful, is to have like minded people in your circle.  If you are looking to start and maintain a business, then seek out local networking events of like minded business people.  Your local Small Business Administration frequently has events and seminars geared toward small business owners (on and offline).   Linkedin is also a good platform for networking and finding chat groups of individuals in your area of interest.  Or if your interest is improving your writing skills, try platforms like for local writers groups or look at local colleges to explore continuing education classes.  

4. Achieve!

Achievement is one of life's greatest moments!  Whether you graduate from college, finish painting your living room, or complete a 5k, all are great moments that result from setting and completing goals.  Make sure to steady the course and keep moving forward toward your dreams.  You will be glad that you did!