RESPECT! Campaign & Challenge #RESPECTCHALLENGE2014

November 13, 2014

respect challenge

Today I have the honor of partnering with Futures Without Violence (through Popsugar Select Moms) in support of its RESPECT! Challenge. Futures Without Violence provides  programs, policies, and campaigns to end violence against women and children around the world. 

command respect don't demand it

“Command respect. Don’t demand it.”

That is what a mentor told me when I interviewed him for a high school career project. The  summer before I went to college I worked for a Systems Engineering company close to Washington D.C where he (my mentor) was the Founder and CEO. This summer would be one of my first encounters with an entrepreneur. Seeing how a small business worked where everyone had to chip in from developers to support staff. Like my father, he had come from India and built a life for his family in the United States.

I would learn a lot about respect that summer.

I was the front office secretary and I hated it. I split the job with the CEO’s daughter who was just one year behind me in school but was brilliant. She would go on to get a perfect score on her SATs and go into the medical field. My less than perfect score would cause me to struggle with the thought that I was a failure to my Indian heritage.

Boredom was my companion that summer.  I would sit and calculate how much I would make on my paycheck that week to pass the time.  My mind didn’t naturally work in the administrative tasks. At 17 I didn’t know the company mission or understand how support staff was everything to a small company.  I was tired every day from getting up early with my dad and driving through rush hour DC traffic to work and coming home late into the evening. I didn’t know how to take pride in my job.

“Command respect. Don’t demand it.”

These words echo in my mind even 18 years later.

To demand means to: To ask or call for with authority; to claim or seek from, as by authority or right; to claim, as something due. (webster dictionary)

To command means to: To have power or influence of the nature of authority over; to obtain as if by ordering; to receive as a due. (webster dictionary)

The main difference between the words “command and demand”  is that demanding respect is asking, seeking or claiming something that is due. I would elaborate to say that one can think that it is due when it might not be. If you have to ask, seek or claim respect…then you don’t really have it. To command means to have influencing  and to receive something that is due. It is due, there is no question about it. You have it there is no need to seek a claim. Commanding respect means you have earned it and it’s due to you.

At 17 I wanted it. I thought I deserved it. I did well in school, I never caused trouble at home,  and I was going to college soon. However,  I would react in the normal teenager-ish chip on my shoulder way  if I felt disrespected. (I still fight that tendency). I demanded it. I would keep my frustration inside when I didn’t feel like I was getting respect. After all,  this job was easy…just sooo boring. I wanted a project, something to engage my brain. I remember getting a firm talking to for falling asleep at my desk one day. How could you blame me when every 3 hours only 1 person came into the office and the phone rang maybe 1 time an hour? Geesh.

But I didn’t know that when you do a good job at the small things you  get entrusted with the bigger things.

I went to work every day getting up while it was dark, driving through the crazy, scary 6 lanes of traffic (my dad took the drive home), sit at that dang desk for 8 hours and drive another 1 hour and 45 minutes home every day of the work week. I would come home to more chores, family demands and trying to figure out how to prepare for my move to Purdue University. Life wasn’t so carefree anymore.

My father never complained. Not one time that I could remember. He woke up, went to work, came home and dealt with the traffic, bills, family, work at home without complaint.

That summer I saw the work ethic of men who traveled from east to west with courageous hearts to start life for themselves, have a family and give their children the best opportunities they could.

While I internally fumed  at how 13-14 hours of my day were taken up by work, how 4-5 of those hours weren’t even paid for and how I really didn’t like my job; my father went to work and provided for our family without negative words. He just kept going every day…for us.

That summer I learned about respect in the most unexpected way. My dad quietly earned my respect. He commanded it because of his work ethic and his diligence every day for his family. He patiently let me learn about working with patience and support. He could have chosen to react to my bad attitude. But he didn’t.

That summer I had a brief moment of stepping into my dad’s shoes, walking his path. A path that traveled across lands, oceans, and roads to another country, and a new culture. A path that resulted in building a life from the ground up with faith and determination and love. I say love because my mother walked a similar path coming from Jamaica. And so this life they built was together.

I would find out later that my dad had been laid off from his job and had taken this new job close to D.C., which he was actually over qualified for…to keep us going. My mother kept things going at home while her spouse was away many hours of the day as well. We always had a homecooked meal to come home to, gifted to us by a strong woman raising her children with love and support to go out into the world. Never being selfish or holding us back. These words from her I still hold in my heart:

“The sky is the limit, Dija. You can do anything you want.”

That summer I learned about respect. It’s not pretty, or glamorous, or loud. It’s earned in the quiet, steady work or a person. It’s earned not in loud demands or fearful tones; but it is earned in kindness and diligence.

A beloved leader who has earned his followers respect over time can command his troops into the fiercest battle without fear of rebellion. Commanding respect means you can trust that those you expect it from will give it willingly because you have earned it.

18 years later this lesson has affected my life in a major way. As I parent my children, as I go to work, as I deal in business, or in the community. I remember that respect is earned and then commanded.

Respect is  a good thing, a noble thing. When it’s mutual, amazing things can happen in our world.

When I finally told my dad I felt like a disgrace  because I didn’t get a perfect score on my SATs (I know, I have a dramatic streak.) My dad told me that he was proud of me. He said that he was proud because his kids asked questions, had our own thought processes and didn’t just accept everything that we were taught. He was proud of us no matter what.

Today he tells me the same thing when I feel inadequate having had chosen to stay home to raise our kids. He encourages me in my choice and I know he is just as proud of me (a stay at home mom)  as he is my sis ( a surgeon) and my brother (a father of 4, and VP at an Engineering firm.)

That is the summer I learned about respect. Today I’m working to live it out.

Share who taught  you about respect by joining the Respect Challenge put on by Futures Without Violence and win $10,000 for a non-profit or school or even a VIP trip to NY and a $500 gift card from Macy’s.

Their mission:

“For more than 30 years, FUTURES has been providing groundbreaking programs, policies, and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations working to end violence against women and children around the world.

Providing leadership from offices in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Boston, we’ve established a state-of-the-art Center for Leadership and Action in the Presidio of San Francisco to foster ongoing dialogue about gender-based violence and child abuse.

Striving to reach new audiences and transform social norms, we train professionals such as doctors, nurses, judges, and athletic coaches on improving responses to violence and abuse. We also work with advocates, policy makers, and others to build sustainable community leadership and educate people everywhere about the importance of respect and healthy relationships.

Our vision is a future without violence that provides education, safety, justice, and hope.”

To find out more you can watch the video below. Don’t forget to support a future without violence by liking their facebook page.


Are you a Procrastinator? (31 Days of Focus – Day 5 )

November 6, 2014

31 days of focus for blog header large
Once there was a little girl who had a plastic pearl necklace that she absolutely loved. She would never take it off no matter what. She wore her pearls to the store, to school and even to dinner. Every night her father would ask her if he could have her pearls. Her chubby little hands would grab them tightly to her chest and she would shake her head no. But every night her father persisted in asking if he could have her pearls. After many nights of asking this same question the little girl began to wonder why her daddy wanted the pearls? On this particular night when her dad asked the same question she asked him,

“Dad, why do you want my pearls?”

He responded,

“Why don’t you trust me? Give them to me and you will find out.”

She slowly took her pearls from around her neck. Her little hand trembled as she  placed them gently in her father’s open hand. He smiled widely and gave her a hug. He pulled out a beautiful velvet box from behind her back and handed it to her.

The little girl opened it and inside was a pearl necklace.

The little girl looked up at her father questioningly.

“Another pearl necklace?”

Her father lovingly put them on his daughter and watched her prance around the room. He took her by the hand and sat her down.

” I have something to tell you.  They are real pearls. I love you and I want you to have the very best.  I couldn’t give you these while you still held on to your plastic pearls.”

That story always gets me because it makes me think about the things that I could be holding on to that are just keeping me from moving forward in life.

What emotional baggage, thought processes or habits do you hold on to?

I’ve heard it put another way. If there is a hooptie in your driveway then there’s no room for a Rolls Royce to park.

I made a huge realization this week during some studying I was doing. I realized something about myself that I NEVER realized before. I’m a procrastinator. I’ve never considered myself one. I’m too focused, I work to hard, I’m to driven to be a…procrastinator. But I am…let’s call it what it is. Procrastination is kind of a sneaky thing.

Except I procrastinate in the worst way. By staying busy…super busy. I can find projects and opportunities to take part in like no other when I want to avoid doing the hard work. But in the end the hard work is what I want to be doing. It’s hard work to write a book…but I want to. It’s hard work to produce a movie…but I want to. It’s hard work to figure out how to run an online shop…but I want to. Instead I find that I take on mini-projects to distract me from the fear, worry, and anxiety that grips me when I think about writing a book.

I told a friend that I didn’t feel adequate to write a book. That I was no theological scholar and didn’t think I could do it.

She sent me this in response from a devotional she read:
Too many Christians have already decided how much the Lord can do with them, based on education, personality, or talent. But God isn’t interested in qualifications. He seeks willing followers who echo Isaiah’s call, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8). That’s triumphant living.

“Man! That made me check myself really quick before I wrecked myself! I was certainly holding on to my finite “qualifications” instead of simply having a willing heart. Willing to let go of my plastic projects and receive the real things He wanted me to focus on.

Have you ever experienced this? I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s a great article from to check out on the subject of letting go.

Crafts, Lifestyle

Kidecals Review

November 3, 2014

kidecal review with theinspiredcafe
We are well into the school year and that means it’s really important to stay organized. I will be the first to admit that I’m struggling in this area. With three kids, with three different schedules, homework assignments and organizational personalities it can get overwhelming at times. In the past years, when it didn’t seem as important to stay organized with their preschool and kindergarten work I would just shove all of their papers in a bright green tray I bought  a few years ago. It served it’s purpose well being a gathering area for papers I had no idea what to do with but as each year added another child to the school roster more papers started to pile up at my house.

This year I have a first grader, 3rd grader and a 5th grader. Assignments are starting to get a little more complicated and the papers that come home has tripled. I already have the tendency to miss out on details so not having a system of organization has backfired a few times with missed signing of permission slips or homework assignments

Not good.

I decided to purchase some files  to start organizing the kids’ reports, artwork, and stories they wanted to hold on to. Creating a system to me was the best solution for the kids and myself to not feel overwhelmed with papers. The bonus is that I have a place for those special awards and art projects that we want to keep. Next I needed a way to label the files so that each child would know which one was theirs. I was racking my brain trying to think of different yet creative ways to decorate the files on a budget when kidecals came to the rescue. I know that statement was cheesy but it  was crazy timing seriously!

They contacted me to check out their products so I perused the site and found their amazing chalkboard labels! YES! I’m obsessed with chalkboard everything right now.

The kidecals  labels are very durable and easy to place on a clean surface. I was able to write on the labels easily and if you mess up the chalk labels can be wiped off with a rag and written on again. Bonus. The kids have fun relabeling their files when I’m not looking! lol!
chalkboard labels on file folders-
chalboard labels on files 2
I also got a little something for myself. If you are a creative person or just like pretty things you will love their keyboard labels! I fell in love with this floral print. The kidecals labels I got were designed for a mac keyboard. You can also get a coordinating skin for your laptop. I also made a neat little discovery that you can customize your keycals with your own business logo or design as well. I love making technology prettier and more stylish when I can!
kidecals keyboard labels -
kidecals keyboard labels collage

The labels can be placed on several types of surfaces if  labeling something else is what you need.
kidecals review

These would make some great gifts for Christmas for a busy mom who needs to stay organized. You can go check out Kidecals and right now you can save 15% on your order by signing up for their newsletter. Thanks for stopping by!

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine fo’ sho’.


Tour the Minted Site with me!

November 2, 2014

I’m a huge fan of stationary. Like HUGE! Pretty paper makes my heart sing. So I was really excited when I found a company called Minted a few months ago while poking around on the internet while researching online card shops. I loved their style and the high quality of their products. What got me over the moon excited was when Minted contacted me to do a review on their site!

minted site tour

A site review?

Yeah that’s what I said.

But when I started looking more deeply into their site and saw that they have a really cool thing going on over there. Not only do they provide stationary and greeting cards, home decor, gifts and event decor; but minted is a marketplace to thousands of independent artists. Meaning if you are an artist looking for a platform to get your work out into the world you can literally design and submit your work to be voted on by the minted community. The winners will have their work sold on the minted platform. There are also opportunities for artists to have their work sold with West Elm through their partnership with the retail store! Minted has curated high quality work for their customers and winners will get a boost in selling their work. Not to mention you get to be part of a community of fellow paper and art lovers! I think it’s a win win situation for everyone!

“Our purpose in life is to uncover exceptional design from all over the world and bring this to savvy consumers who won’t accept anything else.”

Minted also has some programs that you can take advantage of. If you are a blogger that writes related articles you can join the affiliate program to share products with your readers and also earn a commission as well. Also if you are a photographer they have a program for you as well. You can join their photographer’s affiliate program and use minted to help you with your design and printing needs so that you can take your photography business to the next level.

I was thrilled to discover that Minted partners with several non-for profits that work to make our world better.

Minted partners with Plant it 2020 which is a nonprofit founded in 1992 by the late singer John Denver, that plants indigenous tree seedlings in non-logging sites to ensure long-term survival rates. Minted is committed to planting 100,000 trees or more each year which is 7 time more than what they use. I am really impressed with their commitment to go above and beyond replacing resources back into the earth for future generations.

Minted also partners with another nonprofit that is actually close to my heart. As a mother I truly believe in the work that Every Mother Counts does. Every Mother Counts an advocacy and mobilization campaign founded by Christy Turlington Burns.  A percentage from Minted art’s sales will go to benefit Every Mother Counts to help it’s mission to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally.  Christy Turlington Burns was a guest judge for  the recent Little Journeys: The Nursery, Children’s, and Family Tree Art Challenge. I chose a few from the winners that I liked as well!
1. It’s takes a village and lot’s of love print
2. Smile because you are loved print
I’ve been an avid journaler for 20 years now (Ouch, did I really say 20 years?) Having a place to write my thoughts and ideas out is very important to me. The journal design is very important to me as well because when I look the cover I want to be inspired to write. You can also get coordinating planners and address books with your order.

Since we are planning to move by the end of the school year I decided to check out some of their decorative prints. Seriously. Ah-mazing. I literally could have looked all day at what they have to offer.

I love the color and airy feeling in this photo. It just transports me to a more simpler time when I look at it.

What I like about this picture is the simplicity of the sketch with the beautiful pop of color. There is something whimsical and free about this print that I think would go great in a living room or child’s bedroom.

This print just makes me happy. The palm trees make me think of my dream location of Los Angeles and the ferris wheel  just gives me that feeling of fun. Again I love the simplicity of the photo and all of the white space the artist allowed in the photo.

This watercolor print combines one of my favorite mediums as well as my favorite color combination. I would place this print in my dream office with white furniture and femine accents.

I was attracted to this print because I love taking road trips and traveling to new places. The visual of crossing a  bridge into a new adventure is very inspiring to me. The black and white aesthetic is almost dreamlike for me.

I’m planning on getting a headstart on the Holidays this year so I was really geeked to see that Minted has many holiday items available too. As well as…


…and items for parties

and weddings.

Over all the Minted site is jam packed with many beautiful and high quality items. One of my favorite aspects is that many of the products could be personalized so that they reflect your own style like this beautiful family calendar.

I could go on and on but I’ll let you go check out all of the other awesome things Minted has to offer. I want to thank Minted for this opportunity to get to know their company better. It is always exciting to me to find a company that not only creates high quality products but is also committed to serving it’s community, giving opportunities to artists, and striving to make our world a better place.
*This was a sponsored post. All opinions were 100% mine. I had permission to use photos from the site. 

Goal Setting

31 Days of Focus – Day 4

October 28, 2014

31 days of focus for blog header large

In today’s world, multi-tasking has become a way of life. Ask any new mother. Multi-tasking means survival.

David Meyer, a cognitive scientist at the University of Michigan says that multi-tasking can be “very often highly inefficient and can be dangerous to your health.” 

I used to be the mom who thought that I could do a billion things at one time. I would literally stop what I was doing throughout the day every time one of my kids yelled “mommy!” Soon began to realize that I would get NOTHING accomplished. I finally learned how to be deliberate with my daily tasks and that  the kids would be okay if I made them wait a few more minutes while I completed unloading the dryer or making a bed before attending to their request.

Years later I’m in the beginning stages of creating my own business. I’ve had to apply those same skills to getting projects completed throughout the day.  We all know the parable of what sunlight focused through a magnifying glass can do to an ant. I’ve never tried it myself but the point is clear. Here’s another way to look at it. What if you started to cook an egg over the stove and kept turning off the burner every few minutes to go and do something else? The egg would take forever to cook!

Being focused throughout the day isn’t just about DOING. It’s also being effective in what you choose to do during the day.

Doing your best and most focused work requires getting to know yourself. You need to know what time of day you do your best work? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Are you an extrovert or an introvert? What kind of work makes you energized and what kind of work drains you?

Think about these answers as you read the following tips to stay focused.

1. Start your day right so you can make it through the forest.

I am working on the practice of reading scripture and a short devotional in the morning and at night. Then  I take some time to pray and think about what I need to do that day. I’ve begin to ask myself what is the most important things that I need to do today? Then I mentally capture those tasks as my goals in order to summon the energy that will be needed to accomplish those goals in the midst of distraction. I know that sounds a bit dramatic. I look at goals like the holy grail on the other side of the enchanted forest. Waiting to be my reward after dodging the distractions and dangers that await me on the journey. The ferocious emails, the flying arrows of phone calls, the ogres that come to make you upset or even the pretty fairies of pinterest that catch your eyes and make you vear off the path. You have to stay focused to make it to the other side!

2. Make time to think…and nothing else.

I work in a creative field so it’s important that I take time to think and imagine and dream. But I don’t believe that taking time to think is just for creative business owners. It’s for every entrepreneur. Every parent. Everyone. Take time to think and write down your ideas. Take time to dream about where you would like to go with your business or your life. Just breathe. Evaluate what you are currently focusing on and if it’s getting you where you want to go. If not, find a way to change directions, processes, or clients so that you can take your business to the next level. If you never stop to think, you could end up just being busy without progress.

3. Put on your blinders.

In life it’s important to be able to see the big picture, stop and smell the roses and be open to new opportunities. But sometimes you need to block out things that can distract you from what you are trying to accomplish. You need to put on your blinders. Just like horses where side blinders to keep them from losing focus, we need to do the same thing. When you are ready to work you need to know exactly what you are planning on doing so that you can immediately identify what is unnecessary or unimportant. Recognize where you are getting drained and sucked dry for no reason. Maybe it’s social media, maybe it’s a particular client, maybe it’s a co-worker that loves to talk…about nothing. Recognize those things and practice ways to handle them.

4. Have a system to handle email.

Email has been a panic zone for me lately. I’ve spent a lot of time cleaning out and catching up on my emails. I finally learned about tags and archiving email. This has been great for me. Tags are like little file folders that you can file your email into. The emails are still there if you ever need to search for them, but they won’t be cluttering up your inbox. Secondly, I’ve begun to work requests into my project planner so I can go ahead and tag then file the email. For example, I had a deadline for a guest blog post come through my email. Before I would have just left the email in my box and probably forgotten about the due date. Now I can just put the due date into my project planner with a reminder on my task list, then tag and file the email away if I need to refer to the details again! You have no idea how this has helped me! Now I can look at an email, make a decision about it and take action!

5. Know your super objective.

In acting there is a method called the Stanislavski method. In this method we break the script down into objectives that the character wants to achieve in each scene. However, there is something called a super objective which is what the character wants for the duration of the entire play. I liken the super objective like our over all goals in life. For example if your overall goal in life is to live by the ocean you would make choices that build towards your super objective in life. When opportunities present themselves your super objective will guide your decisions.

6. Know your priorities.

This is related to the super objective tip. When you know you’re priorities you can easily make decisions about your time and money without feeling guilty. Make your choices with confidence. I recently had to make a choice to turn down a performance opportunity because it fell on my wedding anniversary. I know that it’s important to that we take time out and celebrate this milestone. I know that my husband would never hold me back from an opportunity but I want him to know that our marriage is the priority. I know some people may not agree with my decision but that’s okay. I can feel confident because I’ve got my priorities set. At the end of the day standing by your priorities will gain you respect…and help you keep from feeling out of control with your commitments the majority of the time.

Staying focused takes practice and discipline but if you put these tips in place I’m sure you will see improvement in your focus. Do you have some more tips for staying focused? Please share!


31 Days of Focus Day 3- The List

October 15, 2014

31 days of focus day 3 -

Day 2 of my 31 Days of Focus entailed me torturing myself by requiring myself to write out a list of things I want to focus towards in my life.

Why did I do that? Ugh!

I’ve been pondering this question for days now. It seems too overwhelming! I have to make the decisions for my entire life in just a few days?

No not really.

I actually started reading the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. This book is really amazing in that he really gets down to super practical things to do to be more efficient. To the point of giving you scripts that you can use until things start to come more naturally to you. One thing that he asks us to do is to write out what we want to have, be and do in 6 months and 12 months time frames.  After that we are supposed to reverse engineer the money it would take to accomplish each goal. What a relief!! I realized that I need to actually set smaller short-term goals so that they are attainable and don’t incite so much anxiety that I could dope up a rhino on the cortisol.

I noticed that my main goals really revolved around paying off debt and writing more. We are currently living with a family member in order to recover from that night and get back on our feet. This weekend my husband and I sat down and decided that we are going to “do this thing”. We are going to live like no one else in order to live like no one else as Dave Ramsey would say. To tell you the truth I’m scared out of my mind! I’m not the lady who goes around trying to clip coupons, or find the best deals for everything to save money. I would rather just go buy what I need at a store than order it online at a discounted price. I’m nervous about the changes that I will have to make and the new relationship with money that I will have to establish. But in the end…I know that we have an opportunity to change our family’s future if we can be focused. There are also other things that I would like to accomplish in terms of my entrepreneurial goals. One thing that I picked up at The Influence Conference this year was to take the time out and make a business plan. I kind of fell into what what I was doing here at The Inspired Cafe as well as Sweatpants & High Heels. When I started I didn’t see it as a business venture. But 6 years later…I think this could become a viable business if I stay focused!

Here are some things I’m working on implementing in my day to create more focus (really remove distractions):

  • Read scripture every morning and night as well as one devotional from my Jesus Calling Calendar
  • I changed my work schedule so I could have 1-2 days free during the week.
  • I’m currently working on cleaning out my email addresses. Afterwards I will delete one account so that I only have 1 personal account and one business account. I’ve also spent time unsubscribing to a ton of newsletters I no longer read.
  • Next I would like to try and delete extra google, google plus and youtube accounts. I know that this is going to be a huge challenge because I DON’T UNDERSTAND google! This way I can streamline my online accounts. If I’m feeling sassy I might delete some extra facebook groups as well.
  • I also have been trying to reduce my daily interruptions. This is a challenge but doable. I have to fight that guilt-ridden voice that pops up when I don’t answer the phone.
  • I am also working to create sense of cohesion with my websites so that someone can find out everything about me at one place. This was suggested to me by my mother (she hasn’t steered me wrong, yet).

What are some ways that you could remove distractions and thus create more focus for your daily life?

31 days of blogging challenge

Lifestyle, Productivity

31 Days of Focus Day 3- The Influence Conference Recap

October 12, 2014


A few weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to attend The Influence Conference hosted by The Influence Network. I had been waiting an entire year to attend. Last year I didn’t have the funds but I made sure to have enough this year!

The Influence conference was started by Hayley Morgan and Jess Connelly to bring like-minded creative women together to build a community of individuals who want to use their online work for Christ. I was so stoked because I really felt like I had found my place on the web!

There were so many things that I took away from the workshops and sessions that really helped me to get focused and identify what was holding me down especially this past year. I felt like I walked out 100 lbs lighter and 100 more times focused!

I was able to attend with my good friend Candace who you will hopefully be hearing more from in the near future as she prepares to launch her very own blog! (I’m super excited for this blog surrounding the topic of creativity, community and education!)

So here were my top take aways from the conference:

1. Who’s kingdom are you building?

  • Jess Connelly gave a convicting talk after she shared how God said to her “I hate your kingdom”. At first I was like “What are you building, girlfriend?” and “Why would God say that to you?” After a few minutes of hearing her heart I started asking myself “What am I building?” At the end of the day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. At the end of the day souls are being battled for. At the end of the day whatever we build will crumble and what He builds will be eternal. So are we building His kingdom or our own?

2. Who’s approval are you seeking?

  • Sammy Rhodes, a twitter comedian and pastor spoke about his journey of climbing the ranks of twitter, being invited to sit with celebrities, and having over a hundred thousand twitter followers… to being attacked by the comedy community and becoming the butt of many jokes. He shared how his need for approval took over his life and caused him to act in ways that was damaging to his relationships and his walk of faith. His transparency and honesty was so refreshing and convicting. At the end of the day who’s approval are you seeking? Man’s or God’s?

3. You can have a business that has meaning.

  • I was so encouraged by the Sashes Market which held so many beautiful hand crafted items that when purchased will have a further reach than just taking home a pretty new bag. Some of the items benefitted women in Africa trying to help feed their families, or help a woman come out of the sex trafficking business or a local individual get back on their feet. I was encouraged to look at the business I was building and see how I can create a model that has meaning.

There was so many more but I wanted to share my top take aways. If you think that you might be interested in finding out more or attending the Influence Conference you can click here. They already have the dates set for next year so you can get to planning!

Here are a few tips for you if you are planning to attend!

The 2014 Influence Conference

1. Bring money for shopping! Trust me you will want to have extra funds when you see all of the pretty things you can purchase at the Sashes Market! It’s a great time to stock up on Christmas presents!

2. Bring business cards! This is a great time to network and meet other like-minded ladies! I didn’t have any cards with me but I made sure to get other people’s cards so I could follow up after the conference!

3. Dress cute but comfortably! You will be out all day at the conference so you’ll want to be comfortable. However you will be taking a lot of pictures so you want to look cute too!

4. Don’t feel like you have to connect with everyone! There were over 300 women at the conference so it’s impossible to connect with everyone. I just prayed and asked God to let me connect with whoever He wanted me to connect with. It took the pressure off and allowed me to relax and be myself. I ended up meeting very lovely people that I think will become good friends as time goes on!

There are more tips on the website so I won’t go on and on!

After the conference I really felt like I could let go and let God. Meaning I don’t have to spend so much time researching internet marketing tips or be constantly on social medias. I just felt like I could go back to enjoying blogging while I stop stressing about the other stuff. I’m not saying that we can totally forget the business side of things because that’s necessary but I am saying that it’s important not to lose focus on what is really important at the end of the day. At the end of the day for me it’s about sharing God’s love with the world, inspiring others to live passionate lives, and living with joy.

The Influence Conference Recap Blog Image

Blogging and Business, Productivity

31 Days of Focus Day 2

October 10, 2014

31 days of blogging challenge

Yesterday I jumped into The Nester’s challenge to blog for 31 days straight. I wanted to use this opportunity to create some focus in my life and start to remove things that aren’t working…shave off the fat if you will.

The first thing that I focused on yesterday was cleaning up one of my email accounts. I cleaned out over 4,500 emails and let me tell you how good it felt to look at that cleaned up mailbox! I know it sounds like a small thing but I would literally feel my heart beating faster every time I opened up that email account. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders to tell you the truth!

Today I’d like to work on creating a list of the most important things I want to focus on in my life.

How do you create more focus in your life? I think it takes some time to sit down and think about the type of life that you want. Write down your goals and main things that you desire in life. Do you want to create more financial stability? Lose weight? Take a trip? Do you see yourself living somewhere else or changing careers?

I spend a lot of time journaling and dreaming. I think about what types of things are most meaningful to me. What am I most passionate about? How do I want to help the community? What are my gifts and talents and how can I use them in a way that pleases God?

You probably know what kind of life you want to live. You’ve probably found yourself day dreaming about the things you are passionate about every now and then. Maybe you are currently living your dream life and you just want to take it to the next level or increase your reach with what you are currently doing.

  • Make a list of the 5 most important projects you want to accomplish in the next 6-12 months. You might find that something you’ve been wanting to do didn’t make the top 5. That’s okay. It just might have to be done at a later time.
  • Think about what you envision your day like. Do you have a lot of free time? Are you working at the same job? Are in a flexible position at work? Are you working for yourself?
  • Write down your time priorities. Who are you giving your time to now? Where would you like to see your time spent?
  • What is your biggest desire?

Be honest.

The Nester - 31 days of blogging challenge

I did this a year and half ago and I was really surprised to see that I hadn’t listed having an online store in the top projects. I’ve been wanting to find a way to create pretty things and sell them online. Now a year and a half later I know that I want to create some online products but I’m not sure how to go about doing it or if it’s the best time. At least I’ll know where it fits and can possibly spend time researching and planning for that move for whenever the time is appropriate. It can seem scary to cut out what is not really being effective in your life but I believe that the end result will leave you feeling more accomplished, focused and productive.

God Bless


Blogging and Business

The Nester’s Challenge: 31 Days of Focus

October 8, 2014

31 days of blogging challenge

I’ve been feeling completely overwhelmed…

Overwhelmed with God’s goodness…

Overwhelmed wit His mercy…

Overwhelmed with ideas…

Overwhelmed with God’s love…

Overwhelmed with information…

Overwhelmed with desire to create…

There is so much that I want to do. So many ideas I have. The problem with today’s technology is that you can actually make those ideas happen! That is both a blessing and a curse for someone like me who is a doer. I hear INFJ’s work hard to make the visions in their minds come to life. But I’m beginning to realize that in order to accomplish the things that I want to do I really need to focus on tuning other things out.

Which sucks for someone who is an information, seeking community, I wanna support, be in the know, read everything junkie.

Recently I found out about 31 day challenge The Nester has  going on. Basically it’s 31 days of blogging in October. I’ve been wanting to join since I found out about it a few days ago. It’s taken me a few days to get past the worry that it was too late to start or not having a cohesive theme to start with. But I figured it would get me back into the habit of daily writing.

I haven’t been writing consistently on my blog since this spring when our lives got flipped turned upside down (What’s up Fresh Prince reference!). On top of it I’ve started working and producing my web series Sweatpants & High Heels which has been INTENSE. I’m so excited about launching this project soon!

However, I’m finding out that with working, and family it’s really hard to find time to dedicate to the things I want to do.

So like a good blogger I’ve decided that one way I can write consistently and do what I need to do I can use blogging to keep track of my goals.  Kind of a one two punch, you know! A girl’s gotta consolidate where she can, right? After attending the Influence Conference a few weeks ago I’ve been extremely focused on…well getting focused. I want to make sure that I’m maintaining focus on God and what He wants me to do rather than chasing approval or a way into a crowd. I want to take time to focus in and make sure that I’m spending the little time that I have on the things that are most important for my spiritual growth, my family, my marriage and my business.

I encourage you to check out the 31 day challenge over at The Nester and let me know if you have joined!

God bless