All The Stars Are Aligning In Your Favor

To all the Savvy Girls out there… It is my sincerest prayer that this short-note will find whomever it needs to find, while in the best of spirits and highest of hopes. I wish to inspire and to empower you to continue to press through whatever journey that you are on right now; whatever path that you have chosen and found to be your passionate destiny.

I hope that it provides the confirmation that you are seeking, in this present moment in time. If you are having a rough day, I hope that this will make you smile. If you are facing difficulties, I hope that this will give you the encouragement that you need today.

I hope that you understand that all the stars are aligning in your favor right now and know that you will flourish if you trust the process.

I would like to share something with you.

I spent the first week of June writing, editing and drafting a book for publication while visiting my parents’ home. Began on 6/4/2018.

When I initially sat down to write, (or should I say, type) it was not my intention to end with a whole book. A book was not on my mind that day at all. However, A book had been on my mind lately, but I did not know what it would be about. I knew it was time for me to write another one, because I had that urge. That urge that would not relent, but I could not put my finger on what I was supposed to be or should be writing about.

Actually, when I sat down at the laptop, I was sifting through topics and looking for something of interest to blog about. At the same time, my mom walked into the room and asked, “What are you doing? Writing another book?” I responded, “Yes.” And just like that, I started writing another book. I wrote until there was nothing else to write about the story I was writing about.

I don’t want to make it sound like it was a simple task or process, because I don’t want to make anyone feel that just because they are not able to do it with ease, that they are doing something wrong.

I thought it was important to share how it happened, because I want to make a point about how the stars always align when it’s your time. And how you will know, if you pay attention.

But let’s go back for just a second. In 2014 I started on a book, which I end up pulling from publication and production. In 2016, I wrote and published a book that talked a little about what was in the book from 2015, but I switched gears somewhere near the beginning because it became more of a celebratory book for me.

The interesting thing is, in that book; I used the example of an incubator and its function, as it related to premature babies, to explain how we are sometimes in places where we are in a premature state of greatness, where being in an incubator is necessary. (such as a seed, in the ground) I described my life at that time, as having been in the incubator.

Reference: An incubator (or isolette) is an apparatus used to maintain environmental conditions suitable for a neonate (newborn baby). It is used in preterm births or for some ill full-term babies. There is additional equipment used to evaluate and treat sick neonates

So, once I released that book in 2016, I thought I hung up my hat in the book writing arena. I literally told everyone, “This will be my last book” All while knowing deep down inside, that there would be more to the story. (That’s called a seed) And if you think in terms of seeds of greatness, you’ll understand where I am trying to go here.

Yolanda Adams sang a song I used to listed to everyday for about 6-months, back in 2007. One of the lines that gives me chills every time I hear it is:

“…So, keep the dream alive don’t let it die

If something deep inside keeps inspiring you to try

Don’t stop

And never give up; don’t ever give up on you.” – Never Give Up

Seeds of greatness are ever-producing. Completing my book last week, brought the 2014 and the 2016 book back to life, with the full story. And what I didn’t realize in the process was that the book was writing itself, every day of my life. What do I mean by that? You ask.

Well, I looked back at where those books began and ended. Then I examined the time in between the then and now. Before those books could be what this new one is, I needed the time between the then and now. (incubating)

In the middle of writing this new book, I was coming to parts where I was able to go back to posts and blogs and articles and journal entries that I had written in the last few years, where they seem to have been created especially for those sections/moments in the book. It was very surreal how they meshed right into format. Some were written while I was angry. Some were written while I was happy. Some while I was frustrated and others when I was completely lost in translation. But it showed growth. (That’s what you see when your seed begins to produce something, and you are now seeing the outcome of what was planted, as it begins to pierce through the dirt; the soil) (Or when that baby is getting stronger and stronger and coming out of that incubator)

What was most amazing about doing all of this, was two things in particular:

1 Looking over to my right and seeing a title on a document I had just dropped in the mail. Instantly, I knew that this was the title of my book

2 Was having the revelation that I had already written the last chapter of the book, without even knowing. I wrote it back in April, for this very platform. At the time I wrote it, I had absolutely no idea that it would end up in a book.

The chapter that I am referring to, was an article post here on SheSavvy. It was titled: Chapter 40; Gratitude Changes Everything. Now, how profound was that!

About a month later, I shared another article on SheSavvy, (A Quick Note on Revisiting The Past) which had actually been written before Gratitude Changes Everything, but it was just sitting in a word document, on my laptop, as I was debating on if I would share it.

This was a testament to how things come together, falling into perfect order, even when you don’t know that they are. For goodness sake, even the titles of the articles were already named appropriately.

That tugging feeling that I kept having, was the nudge saying that it was time. Because I had just arrived at the last chapter. I think I personally had to arrive at the Gratitude I spoke about in that article, before this book would have ever come out of me. And the mere fact that latest article I wrote for SheSavvy, wasn’t sent when it was written, tells me that it’s because it was out of order. It wasn’t supposed to go before gratitude. Once I arrived at gratitude, I was then able to share a story and then tell people about a quick note on revisiting the past.

And that, is literally what the book is and what it does: Revisiting the past, navigating through, falling, flying, hurting, suffering, triumphing, being faithful, being grateful and then sharing your story.

I finished the 3rd draft for the book today and submitted it for publication. I am excited to announce that it will be available in a few short weeks.

And not to sound like that 3am infomercial that wakes you up on Sunday morning, but I hope this note touches whomever it was supposed to touch today, so that you will realize that you have a seed inside of you. You must nurture it and trust the process even when you don’t see immediate results. Know that everything that you are doing, is working for your good.

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Here’s What You Need To Know If You Are Headed to The Beach or Pool This Summer

It’s that time of the year again where children are excited about getting out of school, taking a family vacation and just being away from the classroom for a while. For the adults, summer trips are being planned to the beach, water parks and community pools to escape the heat. This means neighborhood and community pools and parks are gearing up to host hundreds of children throughout these hot, summer months to aid in the cool down. There’s something you need to think about as you head off to these bodies of water: Water Safety!

This includes learning how to swim. Ladies, while I understand the work and cost that goes into keeping our hair up, getting our hair wet is not a good enough reason to not learn how to swim if we are going to be headed to pools and beaches this summer. This topic only came to mind after so many years of swimming myself and learning that a lot of women have not taken advantage of swim lessons. Their main reason was due to their getting their wet, messing up perms, damaging their hair from the harsh chemicals that are in pools.

It’s a sensitive topic, I know. Because usually when you make mention of someone’s hair as it relates to water and the hairdo- someone is bound to talk about how much it cost to get their hair done and how they do not want to waste “all that money” at the beauty shop, just for their child or themselves to jump into the water and mess it up. I get it. I wouldn’t want to either. However, if I am going to make the choice to go to the beach or pool, where I know that I am going to get into water, there’s a chance that my hair will get wet. Knowing how to swim is important to me. It is also important to me that my child knows, since he loves the water as much as I do. Even when you go and wear a cap or have your hair up with no intention on submerging your head, there’s always the possibility of going under, so you still want to be able to swim your way out.

On a trip to LEGOLAND last year, I learned with my own child that you cannot always rely on a lifeguard. Neither should you. It was my own vigilance at the pool and my ability to swim, which rescued him, as the Life-guards stood by watching and others were pre-occupied with talking to each other, distracted by their cell phones and never knew anything happened.

I don’t want to run drowning statistics on you, neither do I want to create a fear that we are never to go into the water again. But I would like to convey that it is a serious matter. While there are several people who drowned who were able to swim, it was under harsh and extreme circumstance. Most drownings were due to an inability to swim.

For the most part, children love water: They love to play in it, jump in it and often underestimate the dangers that surround water. When they see water, the first thing that want to do is run and jump in it.

The first lesson of swimming is that you are going to get your face wet. So, in getting them used to it, we would start with water splashing.  Remove those small fears and it creates an avenue for the beginner lessons to begin, such as putting your face in the water, holding your breath underwater, being comfortable with being submerged in the water…. etc.

Getting back to the hair: In a related article I offered suggestions about a great conditioner for the hair. This was an item that I personally use, but not on a selling trip… merely making the point that a good conditioner may tackle the issues of hair and pool/beach. Invest in a good coverage swim cap. Condition your hair daily, so that the parts that do get wet are safe. Sign up for a beginner’s swim class. Learn to swim.

Additionally, there are hair products such as Aqua Guard pre-swim, which act as a protect layer that you can use on the hair prior to getting into the water. There’s also a product called Ion Swimmers leave in and Surf Cream Rinse Conditioner. These products are designed for protecting the hair against the chemicals in the water. Too much hair for a swim cap? That’s cool…. Leave the cap off and explore those conditioner and pre-pool conditioner options. You can always explore the idea of braids for your child while they are learning to swim or for when your beginner swimmer heads into the water. This will help tremendously with the tangles. Tie the hair up in a tight ball while braided to decrease the number of loose hairs that would get tangled.

The Wrap Up: If we know that even the strongest swimmer can drown, we know that the possibility of drowning increases as we put non-swimmers in beaches and pools without proper training and techniques or even the basics of breathing and staying afloat.

We can tackle these numbers this year by making sure that all children take basic water safety and beginners swim class. Adults can also join in on the fun! You can still get your Friday night hairdo and skip the water for the duration of the time that your style will last but take time in those weeks where you are waiting for an appointment, to make sure that you learn to swim if the pool and beach is on your radar for summer fun.

Suggestions for Swim Class: American Red Cross, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of America, Private Lessons int eh community and neighborhood, Community Colleges and Summer Programs. There is a plethora of options.

A “GETAWAY” is Not Always About “Getting Away” From Something You Don’t Like

beach, lady, laptop

Some of the best travel experiences I have had included Las Vegas, Nevada. Yup, right here in the United States. The first time I traveled there was in 2010, on assignment during the time I spent writing for Examiner.com. It was a media assignment to cover the Floyd “Money” Mayweather and “Sugar” Shane Mosley Boxing match.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley was a boxing welterweight non-title super fight, in which Mayweather won by unanimous decision with two judges scoring it 119–109 and one judge scoring it 118–110.

I visited again while writing for Examiner.com to cover another fight: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, billed as The Fight of the Century, or the Battle for Greatness, was a professional boxing match between undefeated five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather.

While I had a strong interest in the sport of boxing, being in attendance for both the weigh-in and the fight, along with the activities and events that surrounded the weekend; it was the time I spent sightseeing in my free time that I was able to fully enjoy being in the city. So many things to do and so many things to see was what inspired my third trip simply because I couldn’t pack it all into the first two.

architecture, attraction, building

Getting off the plane on that third visit to Las Vegas was majestic. It was hot as tamales of course, with temperature up to 110 when I arrived, but once I kicked the layers off, threw on some shorts, sandals, a tank top and tied my hair back, the rest was history. This time, I was still on assignment but was writing with a media outlet where I had more freedom to explore the city and share with my readers all that Vegas had to offer. So, while I was still working, I was having fun doing something that I loved to do. I had found a way to combine work with play.

Vegas is truly like one super-sized adult theme park on steroids! From the architectural designs of the buildings/hotels to the layout of the famous Vegas Strip. A sea of lights and it’s no wonder it’s called the city that never sleeps!

The highlights of my trip included:

The Mob Museum: Officially the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is a history museum located in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas Observation Wheel: High Roller is a 550-foot tall, 520-foot diameter giant Ferris wheel on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, United States of America. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Freemont Street Experience: Sprawling 24-hour mall featuring a huge LED canopy, casino & restaurant access & free entertainment.

Aerial Photography of City during Evening

The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is a public aquarium located at and owned by the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Its main tank is 1,300,000 US gallons, one of the largest in North America

Madame Tussauds Las Vegas: a wax museum located in the Las Vegas Strip at The Venetian Las Vegas casino resort in Paradise, Nevada. The attraction opened in 1999, becoming the first Madame Tussauds venue to open in the United States.

The Grand Canyon Tour: Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters – This magnificent helicopter ride provides stunning aerial views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West. Additionally, passengers will experience an exhilarating landing at the bottom of the canyon on our private plateau overlooking the mighty Colorado River. Upon landing, guests enjoy a champagne picnic with refreshments and have ample time to explore the awe-inspiring grandeur that is the Grand Canyon.

Vegas Shows: Baz! Set in a modern and intimate cabaret, BAZ is a celebration, a mash-up of music, and moments from the greatest love stories imagined by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award-nominated director Baz Luhrmann. Theatregoers follow the romances from Luhrmann’s iconic films: Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and The Great Gatsby as the lovers discover whether fortune is in their favor.

Las Vegas Strip Signage

I encourage everyone to do a little traveling in their lifetime. Even if it starts with visiting the next state or over from them. There is so much more out there to see. But here’s why I think that part is important: It broadens your horizons. You meet new people. It connects you with people. You learn about culture. You become more versed in communication.

Being knowledgeable/aware of different things helps you understand different people and with that understanding, it organically generates compassion in the vessels of the heart. Depending on where you go or how far you travel outside of your comfort zone, it opens your mind to the things going on around the world, in which you will most likely relate to or at least have more insight into.

I came across a post on twitter recently, where the twitter user referenced “people who have to getaway” It read: “People are always talking about getting away and taking a getaway. If they didn’t hate their lives and were to create a life that they are happy with or if you were a happy person, there would be no need for a getaway. You don’t need to getaway if you are happy.” She then referenced hotel and vacation advertisements that use the word “getaway.”

Now, I am not fully sure of her understanding of a getaway and the purpose that it serves for most people, but on the surface; it sounded (at least to me) as if she was confusing people who are in an unhealthy situation who are always talking about one day getting away from a certain situation, with people who have a natural desire to simply want to getaway to a different place to broaden their horizons.

adult, book, business

I thought to myself that this was probably the most least profound thing that she could have said. Especially being a motivational public figure… (that’s the title individuals give themselves when they have a lot of followers on twitter) LOL

It’s not always about “getting away” from something you don’t like. And just because you take a vacation, (A Getaway: a place suitable for a vacation; a vacation especially of brief duration) doesn’t mean it’s so that you can leave a life behind that you hate. A getaway is just relaxing. For some, it’s therapeutic. For writers, it’s inspiring to have a change of scenery. Sometimes you just want the adventure of exploring new sights, sights unseen… going to unusual places because you cannot live in 100 places all at once.

Who doesn’t need a break from time to time anyway? Are you telling me that you can never go to enjoy the fruits of your labor because if you do, it means you hate your life? If you can show me someone who says they don’t want or need a getaway, I will show you a liar.

But for now, I digress. I would rather balance the universe by stating that it’s perfectly OK to want to getaway. It absolutely does not mean that you are unsatisfied with your life. It means that you are open to discovering the world and that you are realistic about the common day to day life that invites the idea of wanting a break to enjoy the other side of your front door.

7 Simple Summer Must Haves for Every Savvy Girl

Springtime is saying goodbye quicker than it came to us this year. With that, Summertime is Bo-guarding’ it’s way into our lives faster than we can pack away the clutter.  Have you thought about how you will be spending the summer? It’s OK if you haven’t. So long as you have thought about the things you will need to get you through the Summer, it doesn’t matter what you end up doing or where you end up going. Here are my suggestions:

beach,

A great pair of sunglasses: Every Savvy girl needs a chic pair of sunglasses to protect her eyes from the sometimes-dangerous sunrays and overcast. Not to mention, accessories are a wardrobe staple and just what you need to top off that glamorous look that you will be sporting; whether its in your yoga pants while making a run to the store or headed out to brunch with the girls where you’ll be soaking up the sun from the rooftop deck or patio of some mouthwatering establishment. But listen… Some of my favorite sunglasses cost $5-$10, so you don’t have to spend upwards of that to achieve the look of a small fortune. When you keep the cost between $5-$10, you can splurge a little on a few more pair for the summer. If you are a hat person, top off this look with a nice one. Summer always has room for a Diva Hat! (Big Floppy Hat)

adults,

Sunscreen: If there were any lessons taught to me on my trip to The Bahamas, it was that the SUN did not come to play! When it says its hot outside and the sun is out, that is fair warning that you need to protect your skin. After one day in the Bahamas, I was already 3 shades redder. My face is still recovering from the sun, as I made the mistake of laying out without any coverage. It only took about 20 minutes for the burn to occur. Tanning is great, but I don’t think anyone wants to be burned. With adequate sunscreen coverage, you can accomplish your bronzing without the pain of a lingering sunburn. Not to mention, your skin will thank you years later. Pack a small bottle in your purse if you plan on doing any outdoor activities including but not limited to, the beach, the pool, the park, walking and hiking trails. Since were on the subject, don’t forget to pick up a lip balm with SPF 30 to ensure that your lips also get the coverage and moisture that they need for protection against the sun.

Red

Conditioner: Speaking of the damage that the sun can do, you will want to invest in a good hair conditioner for your hair. Whether its long and straight/wavy, short, curly or coiled or a combination of all; moisture is what it will need to keep from breaking or becoming brittle and damaged. This may vary across the board of course. The key is finding the right one for your hair type and there are several out there. I have found my fountain of luck in The TRESemmé Flawless Curls collection for Naturally Curly hair and it has worked wonders in keeping my curls hydrated! I have also used Garnier Fructis Butter Cream, which is a 3-day moisture for defined frizz resistant curls. These products lock in moisture and keep my hair safe against the sun while maintaining the look I am going for throughout the day. When consistent with using it, your hair builds up strength against the weather.

Assorted

Sandals/ flip flops: Yes! Remember that “look” I talked about. Never underestimate the power of a good walk in a comfortable pair of sandals or flip flops with a long sundress, a sleeveless jumpsuit, or romper. Every Savvy girl must have at least one pair heading into the summer. Wonderful thing about flops and sandals are that they come in many neutral colors and can be cross-worn with a majority of your summer wardrobe selections.

A lifesaver Bag: A few years ago, I proposed a blog challenge to readers called “What’s in Your Purse” The idea was to discover the things that women carry in their purse and by what’s in their purse, we could tell them what they were ready for. IE: If you had a B/C Powder, you were prepared for a hangover. It was a truly funny assignment in seeing some of the non-sense that we carry around and when faced with the question of, “Why in the HECK do we have that”, you really should have heard some of the creative stories we came up with. But anyhow, I poured out the contents of a bag that I carried and couldn’t believe the things that fell out. I was appalled at how prepared I was for the world to come to an end. LOL. JK…. But I truly was prepared. From that, I aptly began to call it “The Lifesaver Bag”

Six

This bag has come in handy on some many occasions. From being stranded in airports on long layovers, to being out late and having to stay over at a friend’s house, to last minute trips where I would not have to shop for items I already had at home. So, what exactly goes into a lifesaver bag? Whatever you need that will fit into a small bag that you can throw into the trunk of the car. I just use the largest purse I have. In it, goes the travel sized hygiene kit/fem products and travel size items that can be easily slipped into a pocket, such as: Lotion, Deodorant, B/C Powder, Tweezers, Tide Pen, Gel, Hairspray, Wipes, Body Spray, Powder, Soap, Razor, underwear and a change of clothes. Seriously, just trust me on this one. Keep it in the car always.

Trunk Kit: So, the above blog challenge didn’t stop at the “What’s in your Purse” Challenge. It extended itself to the “What’s in your trunk” Challenge. Both challenges worked the same, so without further ado: An Umbrella, Pic-Nic Blanket and a Lawn Chair were the three things that I always keep in my trunk as I never know when my child will want to stop and take 6 solid hours in the park. I must always be prepared! Perhaps you don’t have

alcohol,

A GOOD Drink: What kind of Savvy would I be if I did not mention a Summer Cool Down! This is not limited to Wine… Liquor, because I do realize that there are people who refrain from drinking. And while I am not one of them, because I take my wine red and prefer a glass or two each week; I can suggest many cold Teas and Lemonades that will keep you refreshed this summer. Don’t forget a good Alkaline water and if I had my preference for any water, it would be Essentia or Fiji. Ahhh…. Refreshing and hydrating…Now, you are ready!

Follow Niedria on Twitter and check out her blog.

Here’s What You Need To Know If You Are Headed To The Pool or Beach this Summer

It’s that time of the year again where children are excited about getting out of school, taking a family vacation and just being away from the classroom for a while. For the adults, summer trips are being planned to the beach, water parks and community pools to escape the heat. This means neighborhood and community pools and parks are gearing up to host hundreds of children throughout these hot, summer months to aid in the cool down. There’s something you need to think about as you head off to these bodies of water: Water Safety!

People Near Sea

This includes learning how to swim. Getting your hair wet is not a good enough reason to not learn/know how to swim if you are going to be headed to pools and beaches this summer. I hate to be the one to say it, but this topic came to mind after so many years of swimming myself and learning that a lot of women and their children do not know how to swim and do not care to learn to swim due to the fear of their hair “getting wet” messing up perms, damaging their hair from the harsh chemicals that are in pools. However, everyone wants to take a dip, float around and lay out in 12 feet of water on a floating device that if accidentally tipped, they wouldn’t know what to do.

Girl Wearing Green Wet Suit Riding Inflatable Orange Life Buoy on Top of Body of Water

It’s a sensitive topic, I know. Because usually when you make mention of someone’s hair as it relates to water and the hairdo- someone is bound to talk about how much it cost to get their hair done and how they do not want to waste “all that money” at the beauty shop, just for their child or themselves to jump into the water and mess it up. I get it. I wouldn’t want to either. However, if I am going to make the choice to go to the beach or pool, where I know that I am going to get into water, there’s a chance that my hair will get wet. Knowing how to swim is important enough to my survival and safety…more so than my hair is. I am saying that even when you go and wear a cap or have your hair up with no intention on submerging your head, there’s always the possibility of going under and you still want to be able to swim your way out.

exif_temp_image

On a trip to LEGOLAND last year, I learned with my own child that you cannot always rely on a lifeguard. Neither should you. It was my own vigilance at the pool and my ability to swim, which rescued him, as the Life-guards stood by watching and others were pre-occupied with talking to each other, distracted by their cell phones and never knew anything happened.

I don’t want to run drowning statistics on you, neither do I want to create a fear that we are never to go into the water again. But I would like to convey that it is a serious matter. While there are several people who drowned who were able to swim, it was under harsh and extreme circumstance. Most drownings were due to an inability to swim.

For the most part, children love water: They love to play in it, jump in it and often underestimate the dangers that surround water. When they see water, the first thing that want to do is run and jump in it.

Three Boy's Jumping Into the Water

Then, there are the children who are fearful of water even being splashed in their face. When I see them, I wonder to myself why are they even in the pool right now? (Unless they are in a swimming class, which I strongly encourage) The first lesson of swimming is that you are going to get your face wet. So, in getting them used to it, we would start with water splashing.  Remove those small fears and it creates an avenue for the beginner lessons to begin, such as putting your face in the water, holding your breath underwater, being comfortable with being submerged in the water…. etc.

adorable, beach, beautiful

Getting back to the hair: In a related article I offered suggestions about a great conditioner for the hair. This was an item that I personally use, but not on a selling trip… merely making the point that a good conditioner may tackle the issues of hair and pool/beach. Invest in a good coverage swim cap. Condition your hair daily, so that the parts that do get wet are safe. Sign up for a beginner’s swim class. Learn to swim.

Additionally, there are hair products such as Aqua Guard pre-swim, which act as a protect layer that you can use on the hair prior to getting into the water. There’s also a product called Ion Swimmers leave in and Surf Cream Rinse Conditioner. These products are designed for protecting the hair against the chemicals in the water. Too much hair for a swim cap? That’s cool…. Leave the cap off and explore those conditioner and pre-pool conditioner options. You can always explore the idea of braids for your child while they are learning to swim or for when your beginner swimmer heads into the water. This will help tremendously with the tangles. Tie the hair up in a tight ball while braided to decrease the number of loose hairs that would get tangled.

The Wrap Up: If we know that even the strongest swimmer can drown, we know that the possibility of drowning increases as we put non-swimmers in beaches and pools without proper training and techniques or even the basics of breathing and staying afloat. With that, it begs the question of why you would allow a child in or around any body of water when they cannot swim? Especially if you cannot swim either.

Girl Wearing Pink and Blue Floral One-piece Bikini Suit

We can tackle these numbers this year by making sure that all children take basic water safety and beginners swim class. Adults can also join in on the fun! You can still get your Friday night hairdo and skip the water for the duration of the time that your style will last but take time in those weeks where you are waiting for an appointment, to make sure that you learn to swim if the pool and beach is on your radar for summer fun.

Suggestions for Swim Class: American Red Cross, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of America, Private Lessons int eh community and neighborhood, Community Colleges and Summer Programs. There is a plethora of options.

Why I personally Love “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett – Smith

It’s no secret that my new favorite weekly episodic Facebook Watch show is Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith along-side her daughter Willow and Jada’s mother Adrienne, also known as Gammy. It’s about three generations of women sharing stories while being very open, honest and transparent about Red Table topics of discussion, which range from marriage, divorce, blended families and loss, to name a few. #AllOnTheTable

While there have only been two episodes to air so far, with the very first episode being May 7th, 2018; it has already offered so much insight, inspiration and empowerment while garnering the attention of an audience comprised of women and men, young and old, of all backgrounds.

When the first episode aired, I was interested in seeing how the relationship between Jada and Will’s first wife, Sheree Fletcher, unfolded, because Will Smith was still married when he began to date Jada and had a young son, Trey, by his estranged wife Sheree. While I yearned to hear more than what was offered in the short episode, it was jam-packed with heat-felt moments, revelations and testimonies about things of the past and how these women came to the point of realization that only one thing mattered; that was that “this is happening.”

Jada, being the new woman and wife was all about blending families. She was very young and under the impression that she could pick the ball up from right where it was and seamlessly continue to carry it without fail. She was ready to accept that Will Smith came with a son and that son had a mother, who would be a part of that package. She was well within her right to want something so perfect, especially when ideally, it’s what we all want to happen when we are in the head-space that this is how it should happen.

Then there is the reality side of things where blending doesn’t mean that problems go away and that whatever one person says, the other person will agree with.

“Do you remember that conversation we had on the phone that one time?” Pinkett Smith asked Fletcher. “They were fighting words.”

Fletcher said she had called the house to speak with her then-3-year-old son Trey, whom she shares with Smith, when Pinkett Smith answered the phone.

“Very few times in my life I can recall being checked real hard where I didn’t have nothing to say,” said Fletcher. “But you weren’t out of line.”

Fletcher admitted that she wasn’t “respectful” when she called, and Pinkett Smith didn’t take kindly to her attitude.

“You basically let me know, ‘I don’t really appreciate your tone,’ ” she recalled. “And you hung up on me.”

When Fletcher called back, things only escalated.

“I happened to say, ‘B—- you living in the house I picked out,” said Fletcher. “You said, ‘It’s my house now.’ ”

Pinkett Smith said things got so heated that her husband had to step in.

“Will Smith let me have it,” said Pinkett Smith. “His take was, ‘That is Trey’s mother and that’s just not your place.’ ”

Here’s where I say that I have a great deal of respect for a man who has respect for the mother of his child and whom has the decency and integrity to speak up and correct a situation when he knows that someone is out of line.

I commented on the post after hearing this, where I said that this is what it takes sometimes. It takes the man to say, “Hey… that’s my child’s mother and you are out of line.” When the man in the situation does not shut stuff like this down, the constant bickering and disrespect will not only get worse, it will linger into the demise of the relationship between parties, causing resentment and pain to become the foundation and prevent future opportunities for communication to occur.

“The beginning between us was rough”, Jada tells Sheree in the episode, which focuses on motherhood. “Here’s the one thing I will say in hindsight, because I did not understand marriage, I didn’t understand divorce, I will say that I probably should’ve fell back.”

“You think?” Sheree smiles.

Jada went on to explain, “I would’ve fell back because I feel like when Will and I first started dating, you know, I had this thing in my mind, I was like, ‘Oh OK, well you did that and that’s done.”

Sheree then asks Jada, “Oh, you thought it was done?”

“Right!” Jada replies. “That part, see that’s where I was wrong. Now being a married woman, and if Will and I were to get divorced now, my God!”

Jada tells Sheree that she now recognizes some of her insensitive and inconsiderate actions in regards to her and Will unwinding a marriage.

I could relate to both women in this discussion equally. It’s crazy how in this situation, Jada being the “new woman” who was prematurely trying to bridge the gap and blend the families… whereas in my own situation, I was the one… the “child’s mother”, who was prematurely trying to welcome the new girl and bridge the gap. Strange huh? Lol…Well, Jada acknowledged that her efforts were a little before the times. So, perhaps in doing this myself, I was a little before the time.

I was all in on trying to co-parent and trying to blend the family once I became aware of her existence and the fact that she too had children from a previous relationship. This is where I was much like Jada. It did not occur to me that this woman may not have wanted to blend and blending right then, as other things were taking place, was not where her head was at. (So, in my situation, the roles were kind of reversed). When I made request after request to meet this woman whom I was excited about knowing, to create our blended family; it was never granted. Concerns about why I couldn’t meet the woman who was essentially raising my kid since he was living with his dad full time began to arise. I used to wonder, what kind of woman would do this? I would make propositions such as offering of free tickets to kid’s events in the area, access to ball games, activities etc. where she could take her children or where they could all go to as a family.

But then I realized that it could be for so many other reasons that I had not met her at the time. Maybe they were working out some kinks on their own. Another reason: Since all my request went through my child’s father, I had to explore the thought that the new girl had no idea about the efforts I was making to meet her and know that we were on the same page when it came to my son who was only 3-years old at the time. Sadly, it was that his dad was standing between us meeting, for fear that something about his past and current situation would come up.

When everything is out on the table, as Will Smith put it, there’s no reason for anyone to cover up, stand in the way of or prevent a relationship between his ex-wife, mother of his toddler child/children and the new woman/girlfriend wife… I believe that is what made it so much easier for Will- no secrets and setting boundaries. I also believe that if my ex could simply understand that I had/have zero desire speak to his girlfriend about anything non-related to my child, he would not be so afraid. I’ve always welcomed her existence.

I enjoyed watching Jada and Sheree air this episode because it still offered hope. In seeing the two of them in the lovely state of womanhood, handling and resolving issues, being open with putting it #AllOnTheTable is beautiful to me. I must give credit to Will Smith for not standing in the way of this happening. It shows that his interests are, and have always been, in creating and fostering an environment for his child/children to grow.

Follow Niedria on Twitter and check out her website for more.

Chapter 40: Gratitude Changes Everything (Still Standing)

Can I be honest with you? Do I have your permission to be vulnerable and transparent? Is it OK if I share something with you?

adult, blur, businesswoman

A few short weeks ago I came across a post on Facebook that one of my acquaintances posted which solicited participation from his followers and friends. The post asked that you post your age as the Chapter of your Life, (EX: 40) followed by the title of your chapter, (EX: Over the Hill). I thought to myself wow, this is going to be fun. However, after I typed in the number 40 and attempted to add a title- nothing came to mind. A deer in a headlight moment. Then a few single-word statements came to mind. None of which could be appropriated to my chapter 40, as it pertained to what I wanted it to say.

design, desk, display

I was finding it difficult to do something that I thought should be so easy for me since I have all this “self-awareness” about myself. The fact that I could not come up with a title as fast as I thought I should was nerve-racking grounds for a more solemn discussion to take precedent over the fun, Facebook activity before I could proceed. Now, I could have been over-thinking this moment and maybe I was, but it made me earnestly ponder the question of why I at a loss for words? I thought I had already reached the point of Self-Actualization, so what was the problem? Wasn’t this just an exercise that simply called for a reflection of the following questions: Where are you? Or, where are you going? And, where do you want to go? How will you resume and finish this story? I mean, seriously, this is how you write any book, right? Talk about a humbling moment!

Person Wearing Gray Long-sleeved Mini Dress in Front of Green Leaf Plant

I toggled a few more titles but still, none worthy enough to adequately described or depict what my title should be in CHAPTER 40 of my life.

I couldn’t summarize it in a Chapter title, so I bargained for answers with this approach: Niedria, do you even know where you are and what you want? What do you intend on doing at this point in life? That would be your chapter title.

I had to break it down: I began to focus in on the perfect title that would describe where I am as it related to where I have been and then consider what I want and where I want to go. (Side note: Sometimes we are so caught up in where we are trying to go and what we want, that we forget that we must acknowledge where we are first because that’s our starting point or our point of continuation) So having a complete, sound, embracive and merciful understanding of where I was, was important. Being transparent, forgiving and truthful with ourselves will open the avenue for this understanding to flow.

There’s nothing wrong with knowing where you want to go or what you want, but you must know where you are first.

I arrived at a title by telling myself to instead, first come up with a title that would speak to where I am at this moment which would address the question. In doing that, I would clarify some things for myself first. And so, I decided to use a statement to describe what I have learned, which I believe is helping me to live my best life in this present moment at 40, which provided dual-purpose in moving forward: Chapter 40: Gratitude Changes Everything (Still Standing) From where I am, all I can say is that I am grateful that I am still standing.

Woman in Blue Jeans Standing on Clear Glass

I came up with the title only because I considered where I was at 20, at 25, at 30 and at 35. (Being through a lot, but having done a lot of things) Just like any book, you want the next chapter to be an extension of the last chapter, expounding more on the story. So, you must know where you are in your book. I had to scan back over my life so that I would know for myself where I was. I am still standing. That’s where I am.

Since we are in a current and constant state of living, we know that life is an “on-GROW-ing” thing until we make our final departure. All we can do to make it better, is to make sure that we are “living” out our best life. Chapter 40 is not about one thing. It’s a culmination of things that I have learned and how I am applying gratitude, to make it my best life today in order to have fulfillment in the rest of my life.

With consideration given to where I am going, what I want and what I intend on doing; I must apply gratitude. What I have learned about gratitude and how it has and is changing things is that when we recognize the lessons and value the experiences we’ve had and are able to see the good in it all and be grateful that we were chosen for those assignments which made us stronger, better and wiser-it manipulates life by altering our mindset. This new set of lenses changes our lives as we are then able to elevate to a higher state of conscious awareness, acquiring the ability to then utilize everything we have learned and apply it to the next steps of life.

My life went from “You don’t know My Story” to “Let me tell you my story” to “This is my Story” to “I didn’t choose this story; this story chose me.” It’s only fair now that I’ve told my story, that you know that I am grateful for my story. That’s precisely what it is all about. So, I am grateful for the lessons, experiences, journeys, friends, family –and most of all, the good and bad of it all. I am grateful for those who told me no and those who said I couldn’t. I am grateful for those who supported me and were equally happy to see me prevail. That gratefulness and gratitude for those things is what enables me to eradicate mendacities spoken about me. That gratitude is what authorizes me to write the next chapter.

Woman Drinking Water Beside Mountain

Switching Gears: With that, this is what I think living your best life is: It is knowing where you stand today. Deciding where you want to go from here and what it will take. Deciding what you want, no matter if it is to live more of a healthy lifestyle, pursue a more lucrative career, go back to a more simpler life, embark on a new journey or pursuit and all around doing what makes you happy despite what anyone else thinks of it. It is taking your given set of circumstance and making the absolute best of it as you continue in life and expound into new territories IE: New Chapters. You must make sure it’s the best that you can do though. Have you done the best you can with what you are working with?

On a much broader note: Living your best life works best when you concern yourself with yourself. Be selfless when it comes to helping others but selfish when it comes to taking care of yourself. Focus on what you want, stay in your lane and take care of your business. You may not be exactly where you know and feel that you need and want to be. It doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong. You don’t have to settle in who you are today, but you can accept who you are now and still be determined to have more in your life and live more abundantly.

Sometimes we get tossed around in the wreckage of life (divorce, break-ups, lay-offs, illness etc.) where we get lost or set back. Other times, we get caught up in the wonders of the world while living the fab life (leisurely travel, marriage, children, promotions, new homes, business ventures etc.) Whatever life we were living, it’s quite possible to forget where we are at times. The need for awareness that life is still happening when those joys or heartbreaks become things of the past is a reality that we face one day when we are trying to determine where to next. To avoid feelings of displacement, a Full assessment and inventory of our life is required. If you remember that life is on-GROW-ing, you can make changes along the way that will be conducive to the lifestyle that you want.

Everything you have done and have been through (good and bad) in your life has prepared you for this moment.

Yesterday is a chapter of the past but even if it is still a part of your story, you can turn the page into something new and improved because now it’s time for the story to go on. What would be your title?

Article originally posted on SheSavvy.com and was recently selected First Place for the “Best Life” writing contest.