Archives for April 2018

My favorite things: Miami weekend pop up edition

There is something so special about a quick weekend trip because you are willing to put your foot on the gas to make sure you get all the fun in on one weekend. When your turn around trip has a destination of Miami you already know it is going to be one helluva weekend.  So while my trip to Miami was filled with pre-planned fun like the Museum of Ice Cream and the Veuve Carnival, I also wanted to make sure to get in some of my old and new favs to check off my list

To start the hotel. The location of your hotel can be tricky because you have to balance the cost of South Beach hotels with the convenience of being close to the action.  For me being centrally located in a city where you are on the move helps you keep the party going when the wear and tear of a busy weekend may start to kick in.  For this trip I pulled a sister hotel from one my Miami favs and stayed at the Redbury Miami.  This hotel is new to the SLS properties and while just across the street from sister hotels like the SLS South Beach and the Delano it definitely offers its own unique twist on luxury Miami hotels.  As the hotel has had recent upgrades it has a very retro renaissance vibe that is completely different.  The rooms are definitely a pleasant surprise from some of the South Beach tiny quarters.  With bigger spaces in both bed area and the bathroom you get more of a chance to really stretch out.  What may be missing in the lux factor is definitely made up in two other important areas, price and access.  Yep this hotel hits a much lower price point than say the SLS and offers breakfast as part of the room packages.  To add to that attraction you also get all the access to the sister hotels such as the restaurant at the Raleigh, the pool, club and beach at the SLS and even the infamous Delano pool.  If your goal is to be on the move than access alone makes the value of this hotel triple what the charges are.

Next comes the fun. Miami is a great to do a little of everything so yes to strolling clubs on South Beach and also yes to planning a more purposeful evening at a club like Liv.  With the first night being filled with Museum of Ice Cream fun we decided to check out one of the tried and true bars Wet Willies.  Located in the middle of ocean of course you head there for the strong frozen drinks but the crowd of all walks of life that frequents the bar is equally amazing in a people watching train crash kind of way.  Sunday was of course reserved for Sunday Funday starting with the infamous brunch at Nikki Beach.  While it is not for the club like atmosphere the brunch is also delicioso.  With live music and dancers, food at every turn, and drinks pouring all while enjoying the ocean breeze it is a must for anyone who likes a side of fun with their food.  And as if that was not enough Sunday Fun we headed to the pool at the Mandarian Oriental giving phenomenal views of the city and a posh place to relax or turn up as you choose.  Later on in the night we took on the challenge of Liv which of course comes with long waits at the doors and high entrance fees.   All that said wondering up on a performance of Gucci Mane and Little Wayne at the club is just a normal thing that could happen during your visit.

Finally is food. Yep there is ton of titillating treats to eat in Miami so do not dare miss out on some of the deliciousness.  This time I tried something a little new with Prime Italian.  With patio seating that keeps you in the middle of the action and food that is simply amazing it is a great way to add some real laughs into what could be a quiet evening.  When all this is done while you stuff your face with impeccable scallop stuffed lobster there is no shortage of must haves for the night.  So when in Miami for the weekend do not be afraid to take on the challenge and she just how much moving and shaking you can get done in a weekend!

Day 3 of BE Women in Power highlights Success, Fashion and Adventure

So yes sitting in seminars can be inspirational, but in Day 3 of the BE Women in Power Summit we were reminded that all work and no play make for a pretty boring conference.   By mixing dynamic speakers with fashion highlights, opportunities to relax and network, fashion therapy and some magical adventures only Disneyworld can provide you take a conference from good to extraordinary.

The day kicked off with something that really got me ready to launch on chasing my dreams. In a conference tailored for women we had our one and only male speaker, none other than Richelieu Dennis, the founder of Shea Moisture and new owner of Essence Magazine.  His harrowing rags to riches tail is a true example of the American dream and a testament to why hard work and perseverance will always be the stepping stones to greatness.  From refugee to street vendor to CEO of a game changer in the beauty market for women of color and now the owner of one of the most impactful magazines for black women, Richelieu’s life has all the makings for any great success story.  But the true awe of the story is how he has managed to travel so high and remain so humble and manifested things in his life many would never dream of all starting.  It all began with the birth of Shea Moisture and first identifying his guiding star.  This foundational principal in which both business operates to not only launch his business to places unknown but also to anchor it to its customer base as he saw his grandmother do as a provider for her family and leader of her village of Sierra Leone. Of course storms always test any philosophy so when its recent branding problems arose they were able to use it as a guiding light back to who made them, them…Black Woman.  It also led them to share just how deep the love for their base was rooted as they spent years reinvesting in communities and the customers that grew the company from a homemade, handmade shea butter production company to a global beauty brand.  Through these decades of struggle Richelieu transformed his love for our culture to appreciate it as an asset.  Not one to be created and driven it only to have others monetize it but to own reclaim our stories from the narrative, to the distribution and capital to lead to economic independence.  Needless to say hearing this story is a true reminder that you can indeed reach to the stars if you chart a path to success and stay determined on your journey.

Outside of a great start from Richelieu and amazing seminars the Women in Power conference made sure to mix in some fun. Work life balance can be a challenge and the seminar took time to remind participants you have to take time to prioritize and appreciate you.  From massages to caricatures to even a full on fashion show put on by Macy’s Day 3 of the summit really was a great celebration of women.   Whether you spent that time in personal business or financial coaching, or checking out a seminar or chatting with a friend that day allowed you to really soak in some gems learned in the seminars and reconnect to some neglected power in you.  To add a magical extra the closing ceremony was a special night at the Animal Kingdom Park at Disney.  From future to fashion to relaxation to magic the conference offered so many little pieces of life that I needed to feed my soul…Well done Black Enterprise, the conference is something you should not miss!!!

5 Powerful takeaways from Day 2 of the BE Women in Power Summit

As day two of the Black Enterprise Women in Power Summit began, the conference again picked up the pace of motivating, empowering and connecting women in the powerful and tangible way the conference has become known for.  After an inspirational morning it was hard to imagine how the conference could top the words and insight from Donna Brazile, Edith Cooper and Glenda McNeal but somehow they did.  Here are the top five things I gleamed from Day 2 of the BE Women in Power Summit

Value Genuine Connections: At a certain point in your life there is a renewed excitement about making new friends. At this age the mystery around it is gone so you can make genuine connections without the need to put on airs.  You can just be uniquely you and attract those who find those qualities to be a win.  I was able to meet people who were not just great companions, but were a compliment to the skills I bring to the table.

Hop in on the conversation: While it may seem like nothing ever changes the truth is that honest genuine communication can change the world.  A huge part of the summit was to get the conversation started.  Not just on stage but by presenting information powerful enough it kept guests discussing it between breaks and during dinner.

Encouragement counts: Ever wonder why we love anthems, something like a chorus running through your head pushing you forward to put you in the mood to conquer the world. The same is true in a room full of powerful women using their power to propel you further.  To think harder than you thought, to challenge yourself to do more, to be surer of your steps, even into the unknown.  While it is listed as third this may actually first as it is one of the most powerful bonuses of the Women in Power Summit as even from strangers the chorus of yes you can has an amazing ability to help you see yourself in a new light.

You are the brand: Whether you are an entrepreneur or corporate climber the heart and soul of any career path you set off on is you. By being careful on how you curate the brand of you work to ensure your works speak for you even when your name is unknown.

The Power of Numbers when used to give knowledge: At the Accenture seminar the facts were put on the table about fighting wage discrepancy. What was even better is that not only did they show some astounding numbers as to the current status of wage disparity for women and in particular women of color, it also worked to use this information on what we can do for change.  Yes while the facts still show black women make $0.54 for every dollar a white man makes we also learned that transparency has a direct impact on addressing unconscious bias so you can both identify advocates and most importantly advocate for yourself.  All this knowledge can work to effectuate change in the lives of the participants.

Conversations that matter with Day 2 of the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Summit

No need to stop with just one day of fabulousness as the Black Enterprise Women in Power Summit.  And to kick off the first full day of the summit they found the perfect way to continue on the tremendous energy of night one.  Yes, they brought back the speaker responsible for the fire at the end of the night of course!  Day 2 of the Black Enterprise summit started off early with can’t miss segment with the phenomenal Donna Brazile.  Yes we were again pulling ourselves up by our vaginas and getting ready for a big dose of real with Ms. Donna.  With a pinpointed focus on where we can go and grow to next as a community Donna Brazile offered strong words in where we go from where we are now.  Simply put she works both in the present and in the future, wanting the community to learn from leaders of today while also looking for the leaders of the future.  That often means learning the game over and over again to avoid being left behind.  Issues like being smart about cyber hygiene perfectly demonstrated her strong warning of taking lessons of today proactively instead of reactively.

To follow up on all that fire early in the morning, the Summit brought out some real heavy hitters for up close and personal conversation about success with Edith Cooper, Executive Vice President for Goldman Sachs, and Glenda McNeal, President of Enterprise Strategic Partnerships with American Express. Both women have rose to astronomical levels in corporate America, but still took time to share some of the gems of their experience.  Ms. Cooper, steady, consistent, and driven at for Goldman Sachs proved that indeed risk can be some the best advancement advice, even in a very conservative environment.  Her ultimate success had several critical pivot points including the decision to make an international move with her family in tow.  Throughout it all she kept her personal internal growth at the heart of her decisions, ensuring departure choices she made worked to inspire and develop her.  The process left a lasting impact on how she prioritizes being present and intentional in her work and pairing that intention with preparation and engagement made sure her mark.  As tables were filled with other woman who supported her and were supported by her at Goldman it was clear her mark would be left not just in her company but also in the people who rose with her and even after her.  This focus allowed her to build a legacy that took the time to pay attention to people, trusting in how empowering these true and honest interactions can be in building extraordinary greatness in others.

Mrs. Glenda McNeal showcased a true “I am woman, Hear me Roar” philosophy based in action not words. This passion assisted in moving her away from the typical step up to role at American Express and instead propelling her all the way to the top in an untraditional matriculation through the credit powerhouse.  She offered the advice she has garnered in moving to success from the inside out.  Her guide to moving up and moving out of your own way starts with believing in you.  By centering who you are you can set a pace to move forward and not blocking off the potential of the future by setting boundaries of just how far you can go.  Next she advised to choose courage.  Ultimately balancing the demands of being a brave, daring, risk taker with having humility and being vulnerable provide lessons on both sides of the coin that are critical to conquering uncharted territory.  Her final words were of encouragement to strive for intentional living where you can be deliberate not just in how you what you do but in your time.  Being present in these fleeing moments in time as that is the most valuable resource of all.  By women in living to their best authentic self that not just makes for personal development, but for a legacy you can fill proud of.  Donna Brazile, Edith Cooper, and Glenda McNeal shined a path for not just hope and inspiration but to light a fire under us that any goal is possible when you do the work required to get there.

I Scream, You Scream, we all Scream for the Museum of Ice Cream

I love Ice cream, I love museums, but I never thought combining the two would end up in creating one of the most coveted tickets you can get today at the Museum of Ice Cream. In today’s world of viral attention I often can be left feeling a little skeptical over things that are hyped.  So when my friend first was interested in the Museum of Ice Cream when we were on vacay in LA I thought how much fun can a museum about ice cream be?  So as I prepped to head to Miami and got the scoop from a friend that the travelling museum had extended its stay in Miami I thought well why not, if it’s so in demand let me go check out what all  of the hoopla is about.

In approaching the lit building hosting the Museum of Ice Cream in Miami I quickly had my low expectations checked at the door by the entertaining host. We were each told a little about the museum and most importantly were challenged with coming up with an ice cream name.  The energy and spirit of fun that this set at the door and carries throughout your visit makes the museum the unique and sought-after go so space that it is.  You quickly learn you are not going for the ice cream you are there for the experience.  So with my friends and I hype and my name “Unicorn Sherbet” on lock we began to wind our way through the museum.

As I entered the pink dipped building I began to understand that despite the name the “museum” was more of an ambiance than a place. Yep the full vibe was confirmed with our firs stop, the sprinkle pool.  Yes a full pool filled with sprinkles, plastic albeit, was a great way to literally dive into the fun of the Museum of Ice Cream.  And as you weave your way through the ascending stops you find each room of the museum was uniquely dedicated not specifically to ice cream, but to some of the best nostalgic feelings around ice cream, that of your childhood.

From the look of old school ice cream parlors to giant floating balloon installations to word scrambles and even sandboxes the museum is less about ice cream and more about the laughs and fun of your childhood that gives ice cream the romanticized feeling that it has. As I worked my way through the rooms with my friends, each room providing a completely different look and ice cream sample, my mind was not just filled with fun times from my past but incredible times from my presence and the opportunity to leave the adulting and just have fun.  So no, the ice cream was not the best part of the tour.  Instead the best part of the museum was found in the reconnection to an 8 year old who loved to dance, swing, build sand castles and most of all soak in every moment as the future seemed too far away and the past was a distant memory.  If ice cream was a big part of your favorite memories check out the ice cream museum to reminiscent and if not just go out and take 45 minutes to be a kid again and love every second of it.

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