#GuestPost Finding the Perfect Holiday Gift

xmas gift 2The holidays, as happy as they can be, tend to be a stressful time of year. After all, on top of the normal obligations of daily life, there’s bound to be a slew of festivities to attend or prepare for. Between trimming the tree, baking cookies for Santa, and attending ugly sweater parties, things can get a little hectic. Top it all off with needing to find that perfect gift for your special someone and you’re likely to throw in the towel and curl up by the fire with a glass of eggnog. But finding just the right present for your significant other doesn’t have to be taxing. Take a peek at these fun (and easy!) ideas and before you know it, you’ll have that perfect gift checked off your list.

Something you can do together

Though you and your partner probably see each other quite often, devoting hours each day to just the two of you is unrealistic and often unattainable in today’s world, especially during the busy holiday season. But as Real Simple Magazine points out, getting enough couple time builds intimacy, opens communication, and strengthens your bond, all important factors for fostering a successful relationship.

A gift that allows you and your significant other to enjoy an activity together is two-fold in its purpose: carving out time for just the two of you to reconnect while doing something you wouldn’t usually do. Never got around to taking those ballroom dance lessons you always talked about? Have you always wanted to learn how to make a gourmet meal that would put a world-renowned chef to shame? Sign you and your partner up for a class that provides an exciting experience and a new skill you can learn together.

Something to enhance your love life

They say variety is the spice of life, and that couldn’t be truer than when it comes to how you and your partner spend your time between the sheets. The holidays are about family and togetherness, which often means you and your significant other struggle to get a moment alone. Give him a gift that you’ll both have fun with when you finally escape to the privacy of your bedroom. A special piece of lingerie is a great way to make any night with your other half feel even more memorable. For a holiday twist on things, Adam & Eve suggests donning a sexy Santa Claus-inspired outfit, sure to get both you and your partner in the festive spirit. With so many options designed specifically with couples in minds, a gift that will enhance your love life is sure to make the rare time you and your significant other have alone during the holiday season that much more amazing.

Something you can enjoy separately of one another

As noted before, spending time with your significant other is important. However, with life moving a mile a minute, it’s essential that you both have time alone in order to relax, recharge, and bring the best version of yourself to the relationship. According to Psychology Today, there are many physical and psychological benefits to spending time alone, including enhancing the quality of your relationships with others.

You and your sweetie may have a ton of common interests, but chances are there’s at least one thing he loves to do that you merely tolerate, and vice versa. So why not take advantage of your differences and gift him something he would enjoy—without you? Maybe that means setting up an afternoon of paintball for him and his friends, or surprising him with an hour-long rental of the car of his dreams. He’ll appreciate how much thought you put into the planning and you’ll appreciate the free time his golf trip gives you to settle in to a much-needed Netflix marathon. It’s a win-win!

When the idea of finding the perfect gift for the perfect person in your life seems a little too overwhelming, use these ideas as jumping off points to holiday present bliss. Whatever you choose doesn’t have to be complicated or filled to the brim with all the bells and whistles. As long as it’s given with love, your significant other is sure to love it, too.

Intentional Friendship.

LaKesha Womack:

There are not many people that I can truly consider a friend but this little lady is definitely number one on the list!

Originally posted on I go by shy:

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If I told you how my best friend and I became friends you would think we were both crazy.

Real quick. We started communicating on Twitter she ended up being my business coach, we finally got to meet in Atlanta briefly because we both were there on business we planned a family trip to Florida and the rest is history. Oh and I got an amazing God Son out the deal too. Yeah weird I know.

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So the other day I posted a picture (see above– no I don’t own this picture or know who does) and tagged Kesha in it because it reminded me of us.

After laughing about the picture she came up with the great idea that we should have a friend bucket list. I think after the suggestion she got nervous because she knows I will pick something extreme.

But the reason why this is so…

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Join @palitcafe for Speak Out Against HIV & AIDS on World AIDS Day!

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Join the Pure Artistry Literary Cafe on December 1st as we speak out against HIV and AIDS!  Your support is needed to help make this event a success in the Montgomery community.  Among the activities for the day long observance will be the viewing of the documentary 25 to LIFE, which chronicles the story of William Brawner, a young man who kept his HIV positive status a secret for over twenty-five years. Now, William seeks redemption from his promiscuous past as he embarks on a new phase of life with his wife who is HIV Negative. We journey with William and his family as he struggles to carve out an open and honest future. 25 TO LIFE is the 2014 American Black Film Festival Grand Prize Jury winner.

Make a donation – http://www.gofundme.com/SpeakOutHIV-AIDS – to help support this free community event (we need money so that the people who need this information won’t have to pay for it) and make plans to attend on December 1st.

Let’s talk about… Insulin

Lindsey Caldwell, the Community Awareness Coordinator with the American Recall Center, contacted me and asked if I would be willing to “talk about my medicine” for Talk About Medicines Month.

As an insulin dependent diabetic, there are a million things that I wish I had known before my diagnosis.  Unfortunately, blogs were not as popular at the time so I felt somewhat clueless and helpless about navigating a my path.  

Once the doctors determined that my body had stopped producing insulin, I was sent home with a vial of insulin, some syringes and a good luck slap on the back (not literally but that’s how it felt).  The nurse did schedule me for a Diabetes Education class a week later but that first night was scary.  I remember sitting on my sofa with one of my friends, looking at the little bottle and needles and crying as I tried to imagine how I was going to manage this for the rest of my life.  How was I going to inject myself EVERY DAY???  

Well, it doesn’t get easier but you will get stronger.

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5 Things I Wish I Had Known

  1. Your body really does need insulin.  I know that sounds crazy but I went through periods when I was first diagnosed of not taking my meds thinking that it might have been a mistake or that my body would be fine without the shots.  Wrong answer!  Your body really does need insulin so skip the denial and move to acceptance as quickly as possible.
  2. Create a system and stick with it.  If you are super busy like me, this may be one of your biggest challenges but you have to set an alarm or determine what times of day you are going to take your meds and stick with it.  I still struggle in this department but having a consistent flow of insulin in your body is better than erratic doses.
  3. FlexPens are awesome!!  Not only do you not have to refrigerate them but they are easy to stick in your bag with a few needles and go.  If you find that they are more expensive than the vials, consider getting a FlexPen to use during the day when you are at work/school and keep the vials refrigerated at home.  (Of course you need to talk to your doctor about which FlexPen is right for you.)
  4. Taking insulin doesn’t give you permission to eat whatever you want.  If can be very tempting to just increase your insulin dose and eat that extra piece of cake or pie but you will be better in the long run if you stick with a low sugar, low carb diet.
  5. Take your diagnosis seriously.  I can’t stress to people enough how serious diabetes is.  It is a silent killer because the effects don’t often show externally but high blood sugars can reek havoc on your internal organs including your kidneys, heart and nervous system.  Whatever your doctor tells you to do, do it.  It may be a pain or inconvenient but it will be much better than being dead.

Hopefully, this will be helpful for someone who may be newly diagnosed and trying to figure out how they are going to live with their new reality.  It has been ten years for me and it hasn’t gotten easy but I have definitely gotten stronger in how I deal with taking my meds, staying active and trying to eat the right foods.

[NEWS RELEASE] Applications available for @Macys Business of Fashion Program

Miami, FL – October 7, 2014 – After four successful courses, The Workshop at Macy’s, the retailer’s innovative “business of fashion” program begins accepting applications today for the 5th Anniversary class of entrepreneurs, who are poised for bigger retail success. In the Spring of 2011, Macy’s created this one-of-a-kind business of retail development program with the aim of mentoring and fostering growth within up-and-coming minority and women-owned businesses. This industry-first initiative has resulted in a number of new vendor relationships with Macy’s and has created a pipeline of enterprises that the company can tap for future product opportunities.

“We are very excited to kick-off the application process for the next Workshop class,” said Shawn Outler, Macy’s group vice-president of Leased Businesses, Vendor Collaboration and Multicultural Business Development. “This program was created to develop minority and women-owned businesses that make great products, but needed additional real-world knowledge and expertise to successfully manage and maintain a thriving business with a large-scale nationwide retailer such as Macy’s. Going into our fifth year, we are truly encouraged by the results so far with a number of graduates of the program now providing goods as Macy’s vendors and a host more in the pipeline for future opportunities. This program helps reinforce Macy’s long-standing commitment to vendor diversity and to providing customers with unique goods and services that meet their lifestyles. We can’t wait to see what the new applicants have to offer.”

The Workshop at Macy’s is a four and a half-day intensive training course developed by a consortium of experts from Macy’s Learning & Development, Macy’s Multicultural Merchandising and Vendor Development, Babson College, the nation’s leading business school for entrepreneurship, and with select Macy’s merchants and vendors. The specially designed business development curriculum is aimed at minority and women-owned retail businesses that make department store products and are poised to grow beyond self-distribution or low volume retailing. The goal of this annual program is to help create a pipeline of viable enterprises that will grow to become successful partners within Macy’s own vendor community often bringing unique goods and trend perspectives to stores across the country.

The Workshop at Macy’s allows selected participants to collaborate with fellow aspiring vendors, gain access to industry experts and solicit one-on-one business coaching. The course work includes classes on merchandising and assortment planning, marketing, EDI, financial management, and access to capital.

From intimate apparel to jewelry and cosmetics, the Workshop at Macy’s vendors all conclude that the program helped them identify opportunities and put into practice policies that have led to successful and long-term growth. Psychelia Terry, President and Founder of Urban Intimates, stated, “I found the Workshop at Macy’s to be more than just a ‘workshop,’ it was life changing. Every team that worked with us demonstrated unparalleled knowledge about retail and wholesale partnerships. They sincerely cared about our business and our future success as a brand and company. We will be forever grateful for the 700% revenue increase that we have seen companywide because of the training, hand-holding and detailed instructions we learned from the Workshop at Macy’s.” She added, “Our company now successfully partners with Macy’s and other retailers in the US because of the information we learned and put into practice during our training.”

Alex Woo, President and Designer of “Alex Woo,” a fine jewelry vendor concurred, “The Workshop at Macy’s provided an amazing support network of industry experts and leaders in the field of fashion and retail like nowhere else. As a Made in New York brand, the chance to work with the world’s largest and most iconic store was an opportunity that no one should pass up!”

Built as a long-term program, the Workshop team is in constant communication with current vendors and past participants as they progress through the opportunities outlined during the coursework. Mateo Bijoux, a graduate and Macy’s men’s furnishings vendor under the “Mateo New York” brand, referred to this ongoing open dialogue and follow-through, when he stated, “The Workshop at Macy’s was and is the foster father of my business! It has made me a sharper entrepreneur!”

WWD-ChairNew applications will be accepted beginning on October 7, 2014. To be eligible, an applicant must be the majority (51% or more of equity) owner, co-owner or otherwise have operational control (per applicable status rules) of a business that has been in operation for a least two consecutive years and be its primary decision maker.  Eligible applications will include a 250-word biographical statement, look book/line sheets or images of product including costs, resumes on all owners, financial statements for the business for 2 years, fall within the minority and women-owned definition of the program and provide verification of the business as a legal entity (i.e. Corporation, LLC, etc.), among other requirements. Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by February 1, 2015 by 11:59pm EST. All information including full program requirements are available online at www.macysinc.com/workshop. All eligible applications will be reviewed and select applicants will be asked to attend an in-person interview. Final selections will be made after all prospective candidates are interviewed. The program will take place in New York City in late April/early May of 2015.

For more information on The Workshop at Macy’s, please visit www.macysinc.com/workshop.

2014 Diabetes Awareness Walk

You’re invited to the 2014 Diabetes Awareness Walk!

We will be walking from Lomax-Hannon Jr. College in Greenville Alabama around the courthouse and back on Saturday, October 11 beginning at 7am.

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Almost everyone knows someone who has been effected by diabetes.  The Christian Education Department of the AME Zion Church sponsors this walk each year during the South Alabama Annual Conference to help raise awareness about this illness.

Even if you can’t attend, show your support by ordering a tee shirt or making a donation through our Square store – https://squareup.com/market/christian-education-department

and

Invite your friends to join us – https://www.facebook.com/events/1468232756799508/ – by sharing this event on Facebook

As one of the more than 26 million persons living with diabetes, I appreciate the support and look forward to the day when the numbers start to decrease…

THANK YOU!