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A Teacher Tomorrow

Today was the first day I wore my diamond wedding ring to work in 4 years. Most recently, I left the world of administration to return to teaching. This has been the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I was an assistant principal for four years. As a teacher for 10 years, IContinue reading “A Teacher Tomorrow”

Table of Contents:

Girls’ Day in the City

Phantom

Atlanta Feature

Level Up

River Tubing

Peace that Surpasses All Understanding

Girls’ Trip

Writing My first Book

Kareem

My UTI Saved My Life

A Teacher Tomorrow

Today was the first day I wore my diamond wedding ring to work in 4 years.

Most recently, I left the world of administration to return to teaching. This has been the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I was an assistant principal for four years. As a teacher for 10 years, I always thought admin was the path I wanted to take to improve my career. Many of my colleagues also glamorized the transition. Man, I was highly mistaken. And, let me clarify, my experience is not everyone’s experience. Some people love it and do an amazing job.

My last goodbye

I do not regret my decision to get my second master’s degree or my decision to apply for the position. I excelled as an administrator, but I wasn’t happy. Until the pandemic, I really wanted to continue the leadership path. 

If you decide to become an administrator, there are several things you need to understand. One thing is you will work long hours. Your responsibility load is through the roof. You may not get a chance to eat or pee during the school day. Your spouse may think you’re having an affair. The biggest thing is, everything is your fault; good or bad. Even if it technically isn’t, it is. You take the blame from students, teachers, parents, and district office personnel. It’s beautiful when you get positive recognition, but those moments are few, and far in between. Most people come to you to complain about everything that is going wrong with everything. I became weary. My husband noticed my mood change. I was exhausted all the time.

Over the past two years, I had constant pain in my hip and shoulder. I visited several doctors who indicated that I was perfectly healthy. I lost weight. I limited my exercises. The pain never went away. I thought I was going to have to suffer the rest of my life. After I resigned, I took the entire month of July off. Guess what, the pain magically disappeared. 

South Beach with my babies

My time home during the pandemic changed my life. I enjoyed spending time with my family. I experienced new outdoor activities. And, I became a published author. It challenged my thinking. I decided to go back into the classroom.

I missed building those positive relationships with the kids. I missed the lightbulb moment, when the kids understood something you’re teaching. I missed my free time and summer breaks.

My AP friends 🙂

Today, I walked into my new classroom at a new school and nearly cried. I didn’t realize how much I missed being on the other side.

Cheers to a fantastic school year.

Hiking the Mountain of Success

Early Saturday morning, I stood at my kitchen island packing my hiking backpack. I gathered up all of my materials and mentally prepared myself for the day ahead. I was excited, but also nervous. I didn’t know what lied ahead of me. It was still dark as I headed out. The sun began to peek through as I made my way to Crowder’s Mountain. Someone who shall remain unnamed called me Dora the explorer, but that’s a story for another day. I frequently participate in activities that expand my circle of experience. As I pulled into the parking lot and saw my friends circled up, I felt my heart grow. Their friendship and this experience gave me so much insight into my leadership style and how I manage to find success in my everyday life. I hope that my thoughts and experiences help you find a way to trek your own mountain of success.

  1. Be prepared

There were different ways I prepared for this endeavor. I had to prepare mentally, physically, and literally put my backpack supplies together. For the weeks leading up to the trip, I trained. Albeit, it was probably not enough because I was sore as all get out for the following days. But, I trained. I ran and walked further and further on the treadmill and elliptical machine to help build up my stamina. I wore a mask to help simulate the breathing difficulties I might face. That morning, I had to make sure I had all of my supplies. I packed sunscreen, bug spray, hiking poles, a change of clothes, food/snacks, gum, Chapstick, a jacket, and water. Without all of these things, the experience would have taxing.

In life, you have to be prepared for whatever journey you plan to take. Your career aspirations will always match your preparation. What have you done to take your career to the next level? Are you working to reach your goals? You may need to take some classes, learn new skills, or change your circle of friends.

  1. Network

On the hike, I met some of the most amazing people. As we hiked, we talked about careers, our futures, money, etc. It was so nice to connect with people of varied backgrounds. Not only were they dope, but they also offered new insight. In order to grow, you must gain new insight into whatever area you’re looking toward. If your circle is not encouraging you to grow, you may need to look for new folks. Also, I made connections with people who offered skills I could bring to my school to enhance our community. In life, I like to constantly allow opportunities for me to grow and work with people of diverse backgrounds to help make the most of my leadership opportunity. 

  1. Don’t leave anyone behind

The trail that we took on Crowders Mountain is listed as strenuous/ moderately difficult. Our leader instructed us to think of others as we took this journey. We had to wear a whistle in case you got lost or there was danger. We were to exchange phone numbers with others for the same reason. The final thing he said before we began was to never leave others behind. Everyone was not on the same fitness level, therefore, we had to stop to let others catch their breath. We stopped for drinks and restroom breaks. We monitored how each member felt to ensure we were safe to move on.

Outdoor Afro Charlotte

In life, we need to check on our people. See if they are doing ok. How can you help? Also, If you know of an opportunity that your friend qualifies for, help them out. Mention it to them or mention them to the opportunity. Once we move up in life, we must find ways to reach back and pull others up. If you’re in a position to give knowledge or enhance others, do it!

  1. Overcome Obstacles

The mountain, like life, has many obstacles. Instead of rocks, you have racism. Instead of tree branches, you have limited opportunities. Instead of rain or fog, you have financial or health issues. We all have challenges to overcome, but like hiking the mountain you have to take it one step at a time. Start small and build up to where you need to be. It may take some time to get there, but like the peak, seeing the view made the hard work worth it!

  1. GPS

One thing our guide stressed to us was the importance of knowing how to use your map and your GPS. In life, you don’t know how to reach your final destination without following a plan. Talk to people. Do your research. Find the path that will allow you to reach your goals. Just like a map is printed, write down your plan. When you constantly see your vision, it manifests itself.

Remember, when things get tough, that means you’re closer to success. You’re life is not falling a part, but falling into place. Whatever goals you hope to reach, I hope you get there. But we can’t just hope, we have to put work behind it. James 2 says, “Faith without works is dead.” Once you create your plan, you have to go at it. Work your tail off. But once you obtain it, don’t forget to reach back and help others. That’s how we continue to grow as a community. We are not in a competition. If one of us wins, we all win!

Ride it with my Surfboard

Surfing is definitely not the same as paddle boarding!

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A few weeks ago, a young lady posted in one of my Facebook groups that she was interested in learning how to surf. So, being the adventurous person I am, I obliged! She also mentioned that there was a black surfing conference in California every year in June. Initially, I was super interested. Now, I think I’ll be too embarrassed to try in front of all those people.

The three of us researched the closest surf lesson we could find. Charleston, SC. The school, Isla Surf School. We drove three hours, down to the coast for our lesson on Folly Beach. We worked with Jake (not from State Farm) and he did not disappoint. He taught us on land for the first 15 minutes, then we practiced in the water for 45 minutes.

FYI, make sure you pay for parking. I ended up with a ticket by the end of the day. Lastly, after your lesson, walk over to Loggerheads for a seafood lunch.

Isla Surf School

“If you can stand by the end of class, I’ve done my job”

Guess what y’all, we each stood up at least once by the end of class. Here are some pointers if you decide to surf in the near future!

  1. Never wear a two piece: Y’all, my bottoms kept falling off when I jumped up on the board. I’m pretty sure I mooned the entire ocean. Poor kids…lol. Also, they gave me this “rash guard” shirt to wear to prevent me from getting rubbed too much. So, you couldn’t see my cute swimsuit anyway. Insert sad face…lol.
  2. You will fall: and that’s ok. It won’t hurt. Be prepared to fall off the board the first few times. You will either slide off the board or fall backwards. Either way, you’ll end up in the water and it won’t hurt. Be careful that you don’t get hit in the face with the board.
  3. Body: don’t bother trying to keep your hair done because the waves will demolish it. Thankfully, I have locs, so my hair was fine. But, others, their hair looked crazy afterwards. You will need to have some level of fitness to surf. Your arms/ upper body strength will need to be on point to continuously pull yourself up.
  4. Never give up: No matter how hard it gets, never give up. When those waves are rising and your board is thrashing around, just keep trying. The feeling of standing up on your board for the first time will wash away any pain you thought you had from pulling up. Feeling the wind blow past you and hearing the folks in the water cheering is an experience everyone should have.

Overall, I prefer paddle boarding over surfing. However, I will definitely try again!

Love and Other Countries

Available on Amazon

Love and other countries is a romantic collection of five short stories. Each story focuses on finding love in unique ways. Take the journey to discover love with Summer, Chandy, Natalie, Tandy, and Sadie, as they travel through cultures and cities. The delight of Caribbean culture, farmers markets, and music festivals spice up as they entangle with men of other countries. Enjoy the rain and the sunshine that all encompasses the ins and outs of true love.

Fashion on a Budget

Bookies want to look cute too…lol

I remember when I was a poor little girl in Orangeburg. The only places we had to shop at were Roses and Kmart. I used to read fashion magazines and imagine the clothes I wanted to wear. My favorites were Delia’s and Teen Vogue. Clueless and Boomerang were my favorite movies, and I wanted to look just like them. I vowed to myself that when I grew up, I would get a “good job” and buy all the clothes I wanted. Well, I got a decent career/job…lol…but I definitely have to stay on a budget. Mostly, because I spend all of my money traveling (see previous blogs). But, I digress. 

So, to stay on a budget, there are a few shops that I stick with for all of my fashion desires. The prices of each item usually ranges from $5 to $20. Occasionally, I’ll splurge, but not too often. Also, shipping varies. If you spend over a certain dollar amount, shipping is sometimes free. I have Amazon Prime, so those items come within 1 to 2 days and have free shipping. Rainbow usually ships within a few days. The other sites are shipping from China, so it takes 7 to 10 days. Lastly, I mostly shop online. I hate fighting with people in physical stores. Here are some of my favorite looks!

For more looks, check out my TikTok….

Shein
Boohoo
Lulu
Rainbow
Amazon

What’s your favorite budget clothing brand?

Country Style Grill Off

Each year, Art Fennell hosts a grill off in Blenheim/ Bennettsville, South Carolina. Grill masters from all over come to showcase their best ribs and wings. We sampled food from Charlotte, all the way down to Georgia. Grill masters are judged on presentation and taste.

I was so excited to see some of my favorite grill masters. We saw CJ, from my hometown Charlotte. His ribs were so good! We also ran into Gissum, the Dragon, Den Fen, and Bimyah. Gissum’s tent was the most lit. He had a DJ and his line was wrapped around the tent.

There were thousands of people there this year. Thankfully, it didn’t rain like it did last year. If you decide to go next year, make sure to bring chairs, a tent/canopy, an umbrella, bug spray, sunscreen, shades, a large hat, and a cooler full of drinks. It gets really hot out there. There were other vendors out there besides the grill masters also. There were dessert stands, a bar (adult drinks), home decor, and laundry items.

Overall, the event was lit. There are only a few suggestions I’d like to offer. They may need to host at a fairground to help with parking and congestion. Also, there should be separate areas for the tents apart from the cars. Adding more restrooms would be ideal too. But, I would highly suggest visiting. It felt like a large family reunion.

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Philly: Roots Picnic

I’m typing this sad and exhausted, but I wanted you guys to hear about my wonderful weekend before the details got blurry on me. At this point, many things are blurry…lol. So, this review is part Philly and part Roots Picnic. Both deserve a deeper dive, but I don’t have it in me. And, be sure to follow me on TikTok.

When I initially told friends that I was going to Philly for the Roots Picnic, I was met with much criticism. Many were concerned about my safety. Which is valid. And, yes, there was a massive shooting while I was there. I was not in the area, and I’m so glad I wasn’t. Based on our talks with the Uber drivers, many are emotionally damaged from the increase in violence. One even compared it to Chicago. And, FYI, if you use an Uber or Lyft while you’re traveling, please be nice to your drivers. Our first driver, Maria, was literally shaken by the time she picked us up due to her previous ride. She thanked us for listening to her vent, and said that our presence helped her make it through the night. We got you boo!

The one thing I always wanted to see in Philly was the guys who ride ATVs down the street like in the DMX video. Guess what! I saw them, but couldn’t get my phone out fast enough to record it.

Now, we stayed at Club Quarters hotel on Chestnut street. It’s the perfect location. Also, from the airport, you can catch a train that goes straight to the hotel. You’ll get off at the Suburban station. Make sure to keep your ticket, so you can get out of the train station. From the airport, the ticket was only like six bucks, versus the Uber is around $30. The only complaint I had about the hotel was the thin walls. You can hear everything someone says and do.

The Roots Picnic was created a few years about by the Roots crew and has crowds that range up to 60,000 people. The festival used to be a one day event, now it’s two days. I’m glad I was one in the number. The acts included Rick Ross, Keshia Cole, Jazmine Sullivan, Mary J. Blige, and Summer Walker. The second day’s lineup wasn’t as good as the first day. There was also a DJ stage and a Podcast stage. The DJ was lit. It literally felt like a club. The podcast Whoreable Decisions were there and they did not disappoint. Overall, they did a great job with organization. However, they needed to try harder with sound production. If you were at the back, you could barely hear the backup singers. Many of the performers were not on time, but we sang and danced all night anyway. I only saw like two guys in hoochie daddy shorts, so that was disappointing.

If you’ve seen the movie, “Urban Cowboys,” you’ll know how excited I was to see them waiting outside of the festival. It’s real, and I’m so proud of them. Most of the riders were between 12 and 15 years old. Even though we didn’t ride, we donated. They deserve it!

If you trust it, there were some guys grilling and selling plates outside of festival. It smelled really good, but I gotta be careful with what I eat.

If you decide to attend a music festival, there are a few things you should know:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Wipes (bc sometimes they run out of tissue in the port o potties)
  4. Bug spray
  5. Umbrella (or the fake one for alcohol)
  6. Blanket (it’s a legit picnic)
  7. Ibuprofen/ stomach meds
  8. Hand sanitizer
  9. Lip gloss/ Chapstick
  10. Clear Bag
  11. Fanny pack
  12. Portable charger/chord

There are tons of things to do in Philly. I didn’t get to do them all, but I made you a list! You’re welcome.

  1. Cafe La Maude
  2. El Vez
  3. Harper’s Garden
  4. Green Egg
  5. Random Tea Room
  6. Harriet’s Bookstore (black owned)
  7. City Planter (plant store)
  8. Farmer’s Market at Rittenhouse Square

For more things to do, visit here.

Pardon me as I cry looking through these pics…

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South Beach

Itinerary

I’ve been to Miami several times, but this is my first time taking the kids. Therefore, I had to do a ton of research for kid friendly things to do. We went down for spring break. Many of my options were inspired by Mom Trotter. We didn’t get to do everything we wanted, so we’ll definitely have to come back. I hope you enjoy.

Day 1:

Flight: Spirit $200 roundtrip for all three of us 🥰

Rental Car: Thrifty at the airport

Hotel: Claremont (in the heart of Collins Ave. Walkable to everything)

Lunch- Le Chick

Wynwood Walls art tour

Dessert- Italian Trattoria

Day 2 :

Wilde on the Porch-breakfast

beach

pool

South Beach Botanical Garden (free)

Catalina- lunch

Day 3:

Duck tour: explore the city and the water. It drives on both!

Lobster Shack- lunch

Seaquarium

pool

Taco Taco- dinner

Other Ideas:

Museum of Illusions

Versace Mansion

World Famous House of Mac n Cheese

Gator Tour/ Everglades

The Children’s Museum

Fun Dimension

Aqueous Zoo

Miami Farmhouse

Where should we go next??

Dreamville Festival

Raleigh, NC

Synopsis: The second annual Dreamville Festival will once again provide a thoughtfully-curated, multi-stage music event from J. Cole, who himself was raised in nearby Fayetteville, North Carolina. The festival offers an opportunity for J. Cole to give back to his home state that has helped shape the artist he has become with a one-of-a-kind celebration of local culture, food and art that also features a curated selection of music performers blending together some of today’s biggest national acts with exciting up-and-comers. Check the festival out here.

The festival, takes place in Raleigh, NC, and was super organized. All of the acts actually showed up. Although, Moneybagg Yo only performed for about 7 minutes He was the biggest disappointed of the weekend. But, T-Pain, Ari Lennox, and J. Cole definitely made up for the lack. I found a new love for Bas and the Dreamville crew.

We bought the shuttle pass to avoid nightmare parking or walking. The shuttle picks you up at Moore Square and drops you off right at the entrance. The shuttles we’re school buses..lol. It felt like we were going on a field trip. Although the shuttle line initially looked crazy long, it isn’t. He had so many buses that we were out of there as soon as we walked up. Uber/Lyft isn’t super reliable after the festival, fyi.

Being that it is April, I was concerned about the weather. Surprisingly, it was nice. The day was warm, but it got very chilly at night. Thankfully, I brought a blanket. At the festival, there are a plethora of bars, food stands, and restrooms. They even have lockers, so you can lock your stuff up. Portable chargers are also available for a fee. So, you don’t worry about anything.

If you decide to come to the festival, make sure to check out the J. Cole murals in the area!

University Hills, Durham

Near Pit BBQ Raleigh

Raleigh- Durham Area

Which music festival should I check out next?

Afro Nation Puerto Rico

Afro Nation is a traveling Afro beats music festival that takes place annually. The festivals stops in Las Vegas, Portugal, and Puerto Rico. I obviously chose Puerto Rico because it’s so close and I liked the line up better. Perhaps one day, I’ll venture to Portugal. I just hate flights over 4 hours. Any tips for that??

Any who, the festival took place March 24- 26 and was supposed to include artists like Burna Boy, Shenseea, Wizkid, and Tems. Disappointed! The festival team does a great job of being organized on the front end, but dropped the ball the day of. We bought our tickets in the Fall and had been getting weekly emails about things we should do or bring. But, by the time we got there, 7 artists had already dropped out. Burna Boy was replaced with Rick Ross. I love him, but this was not the appropriate show. The festival was definitely giving Fyre Festival vibes. Now, I know the weather was not their fault, but it didn’t help. Because of the rain, we left early the first two nights.

Our saving grace in the rain

Once you get closer to the festival, you should download the Festicket app. The app will allow you to add money to your wristband and serves as your ticket into the festival. Everything at the festival is cashless. So, you can either load your money for drinks, food, and merchandise onto your wristband online, through the app, or at one of the loading stations in the park.

The last night of the festival was the best. The artists actually showed up and the performances were lit. And, the weather was perfect. Meg was my favorite!

I stayed at Nest Hotel. If you’re on a budget, have at it. As for me and my bougie taste, it’s a no. The location is kinda hood, and is way too far from the festival. The cleanliness was not there and the rooms are tiny. You can tell they tried with the main area decor, but it’s a no for me dawg. But this was my fault. I booked my hotel at the last minute, so the good places were sold out.

As you know, I love attending music festivals. This one definitely ranks lower than Essence, Soul Beach, and Memphis in May. I hope they learn from their mistakes and improve. In the future, I may try their Vegas one. Hopefully, Dreamville doesn’t disappointed next week.

Enjoy the gallery below 🙂

Carolina, PR

March 2022

Nest Hotel