The NFL Players Association Will Hold A Special Event During Super Bowl Week Where Kat Tat Will Lead An Instructional Painting Class For Minneapolis High School Students.
Katrina ‘Kat Tat’ Jackson made her mark as an artist at while still in high school at the age of 16! Read more about her story HERE!
Katrina ‘Kat Tat’ Jackson, Super bowl-winning defensive back Duane Starks, former Washington Redskins All-pro kicker Chip Lohmiller, and several other former NFL Players including Brandon Archer, Peter Campion, Cliff Crosby, Omar Gaither, Bradie James, Jon Melander, and many more!
WHAT: Second annual “Smocks and Jocks: Painting With the Pros,” a special community event hosted by the NFLPA’s Professional Athletes Foundation and Painting With A Twist
I’m literally just a regular girl from a regular neighborhood -tried to go off to college, but found my passion in art and tattooing, and I took a risk to make that my career and I made it happen. ” -Katrina (Kat Tat) Jackson
Meet the ARtist
If you were asked to provide an opinion about the artwork of Painter, Katrina Jackson, you may have to search the name, but what if you were asked about that tat-girl, Kat Tat? Kat Tat, from VH1’s hit reality series Black Ink Crew Chicago? Or Kat Tat, the tattoo artist who went viral after tattooing a portrait of a vintage burlesque dancer on her own thigh? Jackson is an artist -a painter and tattoo artist. A fact solidified over a decade ago when the, now, 27 year old entered an art show at the age of 16.
Jackson recalls the childhood experience that helped shape she today.
“I’ve always kind-of possessed the talent of being able to draw. When I was 16, I think, I was in junior in high school and one of my drawings won first place in Illinois, and they flew me across the country to Florida to compete in nationals with like 3,000 other students around the world. That showed me that I could really do something with this art. If I can be in high school and one of my sketches sends me across the country; That shows me that I have some serious talent.”
Flying to Florida served as an eye opener to her talent, but a broken heart would spur on her love for painting and tattoo art and tattooing -earning her the nickname Tat Girl.
“Going into my senior year is when I got the interest in tattooing, and when I really stepped out and started finding myself. I had this boyfriend that I was madly in love with. I thought my life would just be being this guys wife and my senior year in high school is when I had my first break up -my first heartbreak.
from breakup to breaktrhough
So, after the breakup I really started to find who I am and explore things that I want to do, and that’s actually when I got my grades up. It was just like ‘Ok!, Let me focus on this art a little bit. Let me see where this will take me,” she says
Creativity spurred on through the pain of love loss. Imagine that, and who can relate? By college, Jackson’s interest in tattoos grew from paper sketching art work for classmates future tattoos, to freshman-year dorm room “skin work.” Her work, again, proved itself and Jackson became known around campus as “Tat Girl!”
Jackson found her love and passion for painting and tattooing taking over and her grades quickly fell to the back burner yet again. On the other hand, due to her determination and work ethic, her artistry was taking her to places beyond her wildest dreams.
“I tried to go off to college, but found my passion in art and tattooing and I took a risk to make that my career and I made it happen. I don’t really believe in being a starving artist. It may not even be art that’s your passion, but whatever your passion is, it’s important to go out and chase and it and really make it work for you! I’m out here trying to get it and inspire girls that are just like me. I’m just a very very hard working artist,” she says.
2015 was an explosive year for Jackson, showcasing two shows at Miami’s Art Basel and making her television debut as part of the 9Mag Tattoo Studio crew on Black Ink Crew Chicago.
She explains what it was like having two exhibits in Miami’s Art basel and the inspiration brought on by that experience.
“It was great! It’s every artists dream to go to Art Basel and showcase. For me to have two shows in one year it felt amazing. It made me feel like I was doing something right to have my paintings show across the country and it was such a nice, classy event. It’s just another step forward in my career.”
therapy through art
Art is therapeutic for most, Jackson shares with us which creative style is more therapeutic when comparing painting and tattooing.
“The best way to explain it is, with tattooing I’m providing a service, so it’s always that -not even pressure, because it is what I do, but you have to make sure that it’s perfect. You’re providing a service for that person you’re taking their idea and bringing it to life. With painting, it’s mine. It’s whatever I want to do. So if I want to get away from tattooing and do something grip [sic]. If I want to sip on a little wine while I’m painting and see what I come up with it’s a little more relaxing.Tattooing is more my second nature, painting is less pressure -you know, I don’t have to worry about if I mess up.”
keeping it sexy
Jackson explains the importance of sensual and sexual artistic expression, and owning it.
“I think that women are beautiful and I think that it’s ok for women to own their sexuality and feel beautiful and just be feminine and sexy. Me being a tattoo artist, I want to change the stereotype of tattoo artists and the whole tattoo industry, cause people think biker and edgy. So my latest collection was painting women with tattoos and still making them look soft and exude sexiness and focus on their beauty and show that they can wear these tattoos without distracting their beauty.”
Jackson has to proven herself as an artist since high school, quickly rising to fame with 9Mag and Black Ink Crew Chicago. With fame comes with money, power and influence. Jackson details how fame and the experiences that come along with it have affected her artistically?
fame, focus and the future
“I have stayed super super focused while still being transparent on TV, like I go through some stuff on TV. But when we got this opportunity I was like, ‘I’m gonna make it. I’m going to work my ass off during this short opportunity, cause TV can be here today and gone tomorrow.’ So it has put me in full throttle -not the pressure but the platform made it very important for me to put out my best work. It really pushed me and it showed me what I’m capable of and It’s enabled me to work to my full potential, it’s even shown too. When I tell you I go through some stuff on this show, but when I put out my work people don’t care. They’re like, ‘Yeah, she’s this, but she can tattoo.’ Or ‘oh yeah, she acts like this, but she can paint her ass off.’ So my talent overshadows it.”
As for the future, Jackson will continue tattooing portraits and black and gray realism, but plans on learning a new-school “neo traditional” type method of tattooing. And if you want a “tat” from Kat?
“It’s very easy, just email Kat@kattatgirl.com, you can google Kat Black Ink, and my website and everything will pop up and there are direct links, and everything will take you to my email. On Instagram I’m @kattatgirl. Just send me an email and you’ll get an automatic response with everything you need, then just decide how you gonna book.”
Kat’s latest paintings, modeling pictures and her portfolio can also be found at www.kattatgirl.com.
After more than a decade of “living the dream”, Dallas native, stay-a-home mother of four and wife, TaShara ‘TJ’ Robinson found herself in an unfamiliar space.
“To make a long story short, I ended up filing for divorce after 19 years of marriage,” she says the discussion about her contribution to the newly released POWER Moms book begins.
Who signed up for this
“I met my husband at Texas A&M University and we dated for a few years. Got married, and I decided to be a stay-at-home mom -we had already had the conversation and decided that if we had kids, I’d stay home and raise the kids, and at the time I felt like that was the best decision for me. I wanted to just, you know, be a mom -be a good mom, and I wanted to be a good wife as well. And you know, even as noble as that desire sounded, I found that I still had to deal with real life and a real marriage,” she says.
steps to overcoming
It’s easy to feel alone when faced with adversity, but Robinson explains that, “I find that I have an -unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon story. So, I am encouraging people who have experienced any type of loss. My loss, in particular, was a divorce. So I’m just sharing all the wisdom I have learned,” she says.
”There was a lot of journaling where I was processing a lot of decisions that I knew I would have to make. The journaling, for me, is what helped me come to that decision and even after the divorce, there was still a lot of adjustment with my children and family and friends and -wow, I felt like I just had get it out,” she says.
Through the POWER Moms book, Robinson provides a glimpse into what she had to overcome and shows that, “Hey, everything can look good, but yet there are still some difficulties,” she says.
judging a book by its cover
“The years leading up to that divorce, and, even now it’s been two and a half years, I’ve had a lot of introspection time where I actually had to decide for myself how I wanted my life to go and run and operate,” she says.
She recalls being compared to the Obamas from those on the outside looking in and says, “I thought to myself that they [the Obamas] would be mad with y’all comparing us to them! No, ma’am!” Because everything and everyone who looks good on paper is good, right?
“To be clear, the 19 years weren’t all bad. We have four beautiful children who are emotionally healthy and physically healthy that I’m extremely proud of,” she says.
in the end, it’s a win
Be assured that her story does not end there. The best part of Overcoming obstacles and adversity is most definitely the Win! In reflection of the journey, and while working on POWER Moms, Robinson came to realizations and discovered Empowering things about herself.
“Obstacles act as an astringent, they bring things out of you. I realized that I operated in a lot of fear. I was afraid…of a lot of things. Like, I’ve been married for 19 years and I haven’t worked in so long. How am I going to make it? I have four kids! How am I going to do that? Can I do this? I don’t know! So, the fear and the self-doubt I dealt with, but what I also found me,” she says.
“Like, ‘Ok, you might be scared, but we g’on [sic] figure it out!’ That’s what this drew out of me so, I’m not afraid to move past that fear anymore. That’s where I am right now and that’s what that obstacle drew out of me,” she says.
The P.O.W.E.R Moms book is a compilation of stories of by 12 mothers who exemplify P.O.W.E.R., an acronym for Persevere Overcome Win Empower and Restore. Read more of Tashara’s story, and for book signings, additional POWER Mom events and to purchase your copy, visit www.powermombook.com/t-robinson
“I couldn’t be more proud of these products. They’re about health. They’re about wellness. They’re about making you smell good, feel good, look good and they check a lot of boxes -they hit home on a lot of levels. They’re premium quality products that are healthy for you and your skin, but at the same time they’re very affordable.” -Hill Harper
The Architect & co.
Hill Harper debuted H2L and JUA via The Architect & Co. in March 2017. H2L and JUA are natural, non-toxic grooming products for men and women. Over a pre-Thanksgiving midday chat, Harper explains, “The company that we founded is called The Architect & Co., betheartitect.com, it’s foundationally a health and wellness company built off the idea -what I write about in my book, that we are all active architects of our own life. And we can build our life like an architect builds a structure, but we have to start with a real strong blueprint or a plan and then we have to have the right foundation. And so, the first line of product we have for men is called H2L, and for women it’s called JUA. JUA means sun in Swahili, and H2L is just a play on my name; there are two H’s and two L’s in my name.”
Harper, is best known for his role as Dr. Shelton Hawkes in the CBS hit drama serie CSI: NY and has a long list of noteworthy experiences spanning from critically acclaimed actor, to author, to Harvard Law Graduate. So what inspired the creation of an all natural line, in the beauty genre and something as intimate as a skincare?
It would take a personal experiences with cancer, in combination with serving as a member of a cancer panel, could with his passion for community to add founder of affordable and health driven grooming products into his notable list of accomplishments.
“In 2010 I was doing a movie, For Colored Girls, in Atlanta. Kerry Washington was playing my wife and we were there shooting and I woke up one morning and I couldn’t swallow very well and, ultimately, to make a long story short, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. My father had actually died of pancreatic cancer, but when he was my, almost, same age he had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer,” he says.
The Architect & Co. formulates products with consideration to melanin, and they launched their mens and womens lines simultaneously. Knowing that cancer is one of the leading causes of death for the Black male demographic, I couldn’t help but wonder, so I asked, “was the creation of this product, in-part, due to the lack of attention that Black males, in particular, pay to healthcare?”
He replied, “I created this line and it’s healthy for everybody. But, it particularly has properties for folks with melanin in their skin. We tend to have a lack of Vitamin D and Vitamin D is something that is critical for good health, so I put in a lot of oils that have a lot of Vitamin D and things like that. But at the same time you’re absolutely right, as African American men, we have a tendency to not stay on top of our health or our health checks on a regular basis; but we still use products we just throw some stuff on and keep it moving.
After I’d had surgery for my thyroid, President Obama -who I’ve been friends with for a number of years, asked me to join his President’s Cancer panel, which is a three-member panel that makes recommendations for the White House. There are two scientist on the panel and one non-scientist, and I was that non-scientist. Different experts would come present to the panel; we would take their information and make recommendations.
Many of these doctors and experts would talk about what we put on our skin. And the fact that our skin is our largest organ on our body, and it absorbs everything you put on it, almost like eating it. And they were making a point, to me, and to the panel, that the same companies who own the drug company are the same ones, these multi-national conglomerate companies, that own most of the products that come out for skincare, lotions and etcetera. These companies own these companies and so there’s not a big interest in doing research and study on the impact of having these carcinogenic elements that are in many of these products. And I thought about our community. I remember when I was young, my grandmother was like, ‘You gonna put some Vaseline on that?’ [Right] Vaseline is Petroleum Jelly, it is a toxic byproduct of oil, you know, oil refining.”
H2L and JUA, affordable solutions
A thyroid cancer diagnosis and working so closely with research surrounding cancer lead Harper to being aware and conscious of daily-use products. He is also aware of the price tag associated with non-toxic living and says, “I was in a position where I could afford these high-end products that didn’t have any carcinogens, but I said to myself, ‘What about people in the community? They can’t afford $40 for conditioner or $40 for the organic shampoo.’ I said, “There has to be a way that you can have non-carcinogenic products at an affordable price -the same price as some of these other brands.”
Shop now and save
Hill has done just that by offering H2L and JUA exclusively from his production plant TheArchitect & Co. via bethearchitect.com. A subscription based model that renews annually, or as frequently as necessary through a la carte orders. Ladies, subscribe for your JUA and hook your man up too, with a subscription to H2L for the year.
Use the Promo Code: TRY ME 20 for 20% off of your order now through the 2017 Holiday Season!
I have wanted my daughters (specifically my oldest) to have a red carpet experience since the Oscars, Grammy’s and Golden Globes started doing celebrity red carpet looks with children a few years ago. This year, I am excited to attend Let’s Start Giving Foundation’s Red Carpet Gala with my family on November 4th at the Social Arts Event Room in Duncanville, Texas! If you’ve been keeping up with @lsgfoundation16 on Instagram and the Lets Start Giving Foundation 2017 Gala event page, then you know that the night will be filled with charity fundraising, and wholesome entertainment!
Let’s Start Giving Foundation is a non-profit organization providing persons at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness with essential day-to-day needs through individual donations and partnerships with local businesses and community agencies. LSGF’s founder, Alaia Stinson is currently ten (10) years old! And, with the help of her parents and siblings, the foundation is in its second year of operation, continuing to work towards her dream of providing a shelter facility for homeless families.
a red carpet affair
Proceeds from LSGF’s Red Carpet Gala will be donated to Ola’s House of Hope and used to make a direct impact on the Dallas County homeless community through boot-on-the-ground efforts. Expect nothing less from this gala than you would on any other gala, or upscale night out. Look forward to extravagant gowns and dresses, suave suits and fly outfits as well as keynote speakers, honored guests, silent auctions and raffles.
Family Friendly entertainment
But what makes LSGF’s Red Carpet Gala unique is the family friendly entertainment lineup! Live Stand-up comedy by Edwin Douglas.Triple D Dance Company is ready to tare the floor up! The Dallas Holmesboyz Steppers are gonna take you down memory lane and back to the yard! And Destinee Duncan, Ms. Glossy Girls herself; winner of the DFW Fashion Week Fashion Show 2017 Young Talented & Gifted Designer of the Year Award, will be showcasing her collection!
Let’s Start Giving!
The timing is perfect, it’s the holiday season, giving season, charity ball season! Don’t miss this opportunity to go glam and include your family, all while giving back to the community. I sure won’t! CLICK HERE to purchase tickets!
Séxūal by Michel Germain was founded on love and is a romantic fragrance, frequently referred to as, “A love note in a bottle.”
Michel Germain, a French-Canadian Perfumer for more than 25 years, known for his prestigious fragrances. Germain credits the sustainability of his brand to creating a storyline that stands out and does something that no one has ever done. When shopping for a fragrance you want compliments. Michel Germain Parfums wants you to get noticed and asked what you’re wearing!
I had the pleasure of co-hosting the Séxūal by Michel Germain Pop-up at Macy’s in NorthPark Center Mall in Dallas, Texas on October 21st.
Attendees enjoyed treats, and detailed information about the brand and the Séxūal line by a Michel Germain Account Executive.
“I haven’t found a fragrance that makes me feel confident. I haven’t found a fragrance that lasts and I haven’t found a fragrance that makes me feel like i’m the only women in the world.” -Norma germain
But what goes into making a fragrance that makes a women feel like the only women in the world? This sent Germain on a five year quest through France, Africa and the North East for the perfect notes needed to create a fragrance that would do all those things. Ultimately creating Séxūal, a fragrance that exudes romance. MG Account Exec explains that, “In all Séxūal fragrances there is a hidden note, an aphrodisiac. It invites closeness. It invites romance, hugs, and kisses guaranteed. That is what makes this frangrance so unique. They are also oil based, the natural oils blend with your body chemistry and creates your own signature fragrance.
So what happens when you wear the Séxūal? It’s not, ‘oh, you’re wearing this, or are you wearing that? The question becomes, ‘oh my goodness miss! What is that that you’re wearing?’ They can’t identify the scent, because you’ve just created your own signature fragrance through the natural oils, through the aphrodisiacs. That’s why you want to own Séxūal!”
Never in my young adult life did I EVER imagine being sexually empowered and secure enough in my femininity to hit M.I.L.F. status. But here I am, “HEY GIRL!” And yes, the euphemism may have some of you clutching pearls and judging. But I’ve birthed two children and this body has been through some things; ain’t nothing wrong feeling great about looking good!
Motherhood is an experience like no other. I wouldn’t trade it for the world -well, I wouldn’t trade parts of it. Motherhood is the most instinctually selfless process humanly possible. Understand that most days are not pretty, there simply isn’t time for it all.
Enjoying Blogger Mom life with my youngest.
Out shopping with my oldest
And because we are women and much is expected and required of us, it’s easy for us to lose anything we’ve ever known about ourselves when we become a mothers. Add marriage and a job to that equation, and you will unknowingly find yourself stretched as thin as ice. Your days start to run together and life passes you by.
Just like the weather, we go through seasons in our lives. It’s our job to learn how to best navigate through life during each of those seasons. Once we learn how to seamlessly adjust to change, things start looking up. I believe it is true that, “with age comes wisdom.” Settling into this crazy, sexy, cool life that I’ve created for myself and some days are a struggle. I’m not too proud to admit that, but when I’m on, I’m on and it’s so refreshing.
Self-care is all the rage now days and something that I believe in wholeheartedly. It helps me stay focused and at at my best. In today’s society, we allocate the majority of our time to our to-do list leaving little time for rest and relaxation. That can be problematic. As a mother of two, full-time employee, blogger, beauty expert, freelance writer who is married to a high school athletic coach, I have to take “Me-Time” whenever and however I can get it. Some of the ways I sneak in time for self-care are:
Play in makeup – Little girls aren’t the only ones who love to see themselves dolled up. Playing in makeup is good for practicing applying your favorite looks. It can help you get used to seeing yourself in colors you may normally not wear, and it’s a self-esteem booster.
Have sex -I’m talking about the sex that YOU like. What you like, how you like it and for how long. It’s your world, squirrel! Have the kind of sex that blows your mind and makes you roll over butt-naked, smiling so hard that you have to hide your face in the sheets so your partner doesn’t witness you melting inside.
Working Out -When my schedule allows, I hit the gym and work up a good sweat. Working out helps to relieve stress and tension, and it also helps maintain weight, build muscle and it’s an overall health benefit.
Spa Treatments -A facial, Swedish massage, manicure and pedicure are the ultimate in self-care. But, they can be pricy so on to the next!
Home Spa Treatments -My Toxin-Free facial is relaxing, affordable and will leave your skin feeling silly smooth.
Sitting in silence –I’m not often afforded the opportunity to have the house (or any space) to myself. When those occasions present themselves, I sit in silence. No TV, no radio, and sometimes no cell phone or any other electronic device.
Go out –Meet your girls, go to brunch, go shopping, go to an empowerment event, go dancing. Do whatever makes your heart smile -and be sure to laugh and take pictures while you’re doing it.
When I make sure to take time for self-care it shows! My family and friends notice, but most of all, my husband notices. And trust, when I’m top of my game, he reminds me often. After all, he reaps the benefits from it!
Being human goes hand-in-hand with having purpose. God put every single one of us here to serve in our purpose. We have also been filled with passion for specific things meant to help drive that purpose.
So, as Oprah would say, “You have a purpose! You have a purpose! You have a purpose! You, yes you, and you have a purpose too!” But, what is purpose and how do you recognize and tap into it? Is purpose something that can be sought out? Can I really do what I love and prosper from it by serving in my purpose?
On July 31st the Purpose Seekers Tour made its fourth stop, in Dallas Texas, and answered those questions. Created by Tiffany Gillespie, The Purpose Seekers Tour-Purpose to Prosperity, includes a panel of entrepreneurs who have trusted God, stepped out on faith, married passion with purpose, and have successfully maintained businesses beyond the start-up phase. A platform of encouragement lead by example.
Each stop on the Purpose Seekers Tours involves panelists who are willing and eager to share their “secrets to success,” by providing inspiration through personal testimonies of real-life experiences. In short, there is no “secret” to success. Be consistent, listen when God speaks and follow your heart.
Tiffany “To the ‘T'” Gillespie knew that she had a passion for event planning, she trained for it and became certified; but allowed doubt, unfamiliarity, and the opinions and suggestions of others deter her from it. Upon receiving certification she immediately started a business, but did nothing with it for nearly a year. One Sunday morning, in 2012, she heard a sermon that would change her life.
“About five years ago I started my company. I stepped out on faith. I remember hearing a sermon from my pastor about your purpose, and about your God-given gift. And I had never heard anyone teach about passion or purpose. So, when he taught about this, it was like an ah-ha moment. Something went off, like, some lightbulb just went off for me,” she explains.
Passion is that thing that keeps you up at night, that you simply cannot stop thinking about. The thing that consumes your whole self, and at times you don’t even know or realize it.
The Purpose Seekers remind us to always seek God and keep Him first. They provide insight and tools needed to assist in actively and strategically creating profitable business through passion and purpose.
With Tiffany, the Dallas panel: Athena DeVonne, founder of Passion As A Verb, LaKisha Wells, founder of Renee’s Eventi, and Majisty Dennis, founder of Majisty Ministries, all served as opened books, pouring out wealths of knowledge on not only surviving, but prospering from this thing called entrepreneurship!
Athena DeVonne has known about and battled with extreme asthma since the age of nine. Extreme to the point of being told that laughing can be deadly. Imagine having that situation worked out with God, going through life happy without a hitch, then having your world crash down on you. Relationship problems; specifically, divorce, while pregnant with your second child, and having your oldest diagnosed with a brain condition that causes seizures.
This left DeVonne broken, and with zero employment options, as no employer will work around the extensive time she would now be required to be out of office. Out of necessity and her passion for seeing love cultivated and grow, she created her wedding planning business Coalesce Creations. The relationships built from her passion of love (wedding planning) developed into the creation of her blog Passion As A Verb. An inspirational, motivational, resources guide for entrepreneurs who are ready to put the excuses to rest and live their passion as a verb!
She tells us, “I use it [asthma] as a tool to keep going instead of a clutch. It’s part of what I can use as my testimony. If I didn’t have struggles, what would I have to share with you?”
An entrepreneur since the age of fifteen, Majisty Dennis is a self-employed veteran with over a decade in the game. She accredits that to her mom.
“My mom was adamant about imparting the importance of purpose to me, even at a young age. So, she would tell me that, ‘I don’t want you to be waiting til [sic] you grow up to find out what your purpose was,’ she would tell me the things that God was telling her about my life. As I got older, I just continued to seek God about those things for myself, so that I could have my own revelation and continue like that. So, as the Lord gives me adventures and things to take on, I just go for it!”
Dennis started out miming from passion, then developed a business plan and made it a profession. She now, teaches the art of mime, does motivational speaking, and recently released the inspirational book, From Religion to Revival, it can be found and purchased at Majisty Ministries.
As a young entrepreneur keeping intimidation at minimum is crucial to success. Her advice to young entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs in general is, “Be convinced of what you’re trying to tell everyone else. People will tell you that you’re too young, and then , when you get older, they will tell you that you’re too old. You will always be too something, so work on spending your energy on convincing yourself of the message you want to tell everyone else. Once you’re convinced of it, the world will respond to you in a different way.”
However, because of her passion for human connection she pressed forward. Feeling her way around, seemingly lost, and encountering the stumbling blocks of being a new business owner/wedding planner caused Wells to attempt success by mimicking another planner’s style, what they did, and how they communicated with their clients.
“It didn’t work for me. It made me realize who I am as a wedding planner,” she says. “My purpose as a wedding planner is to be authentically me. Who I am is who I am, and I have to make that work in my business.”
Over time, Wells has discovered that It is perfectly ok to be a wedding planner who has a Type A personality full of love and compassion, fully involved with her couples.
“Do I have a Type A personality? Yes! But, I get totally connected with my couples and that’s ok! Once I figured that out, my business began to prosper and I didn’t make excuses for being who I am.”
Wells is also serving in her purpose as the co-founder of Chicks in Pink Stilettos-DFW, a non-profit organization that supports the fight against breast cancer.
Tiffany Gillespie is an author, event planner, and business consultant who promised God that she would live everyday of her life out loud, for Him, if He allowed her to walk away from brain surgery with all of her pieces in tact in 2013.
Gillespie has always had a passion for event and wedding planning. So much so, that she trained for it, became certified, networked and built relationships within the industry, and started a business in early 2012 that she sat on and did nothing with for nearly a year. Why?
Fear of the unknown caused Gillespie to play it safe, and do what felt most comfortable and familiar, ignoring the (less obvious) signs from God meant to push her into her purpose. She earned a degree in Criminal Justice. She dabbled with her business, doing events here and there, but still focused elsewhere.
She took desk jobs with companies in the event planning industry,in hopes of finding fulfillment from close proximity. It didn’t work, and she found herself feeling chained to a desk, literally drowning in paperwork and very unhappy, but still afraid to take the leap of faith and fully pursue her passion/business.
“While my brother and I were always encouraged to be creative, and to follow our gifts and to follow our passions, we were never encouraged to be business owners. Cause, we we don’t have any business owners in my family. I don’t fault my parents for that, they just didn’t know,” she says.
After chasing the (somebody’s) dream, and landing a series of dead-end jobs, God used a sneeze to jolt her into action with a purpose. Gillespie knew she had a condition that blocks spinal fluid which would eventfully lead to nerve damage. On March 6th 2013 a late night sneeze resulted in a pain so sharp, she fell to the floor. The pain started in her arm and went throuth to her pinky.
Gillespie had surgery on April 1st, was out of the hospital in seven days and recalls that, “When I say God blessed me, God, He and I together, rocked that surgery,” she says. “That moment taught me. This condition and the after effects of the surgery are thorns in my side. But they are the things that always keep me humble, always dependent on God, always going back to Him and never doing my own thing, because I can’t operate in life without Him. And I’m thankful for that, because I don’t know how my life would be or what I would be doing if I did not have this thorn in my side, this thing that keeps me so deeply connected to God. From that moment forward, everything about my life is about walking in purpose.”
Gillespie made one last attempt at squeezing into the “Corporate America” box, and after being fired within 6 month she began working her business full time, and has been successful since. Keep your eye out for Gillespie, the Purpose Seekers Tour is the first of more motivational workshop tours to come!
The ladies left it all on the floor for Dallas. Guests left the event inspired, full, and most importantly, ready to live a prosperous life in their purpose!
“If you aren’t wearing the right accessories, you may as well be nude.” -Meko Krout.
For nine years, Accessories In the Nude has produced the highly anticipated A.I.N. Fashion Show! On Saturday, July 22nd, at the Esé Azenabor Fashion Gallery, A.I.N. held its annual showcase where the 2017 Accessory Designer winner was announced. Six local designers also showcased their collections.
Out of a necessity to support fashion production, creator/owner, Meko Krout founded A.I.N. in 2008.
“We started off wanting to do a fashion show, then decided to branch off into helping other designers build their brand,” she says.
According to Krout, wardrobe designers get highlighted more. “We wanted to focus on accessories and make it a competition,” she says. “Our goal is to help designers build their dream and keep building. The winner receives money towards their business.”
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s showcase will be donated to the non-profit organization, The Birthday Party Project! TBPP provides birthday parties to homeless children in the metroplex.
Krout explains that, “The decision to donate a portion of the proceeds is because we always want to give back. The Birthday Party Project gives back to children! They have birthday parties for homeless children! I try to have people visualize. How did you feel when you had a birthday party experience growing up? Everyone should have that experience. I thought that was something fun, and something everyone would want to jump on.”
“It is a blessing that we continue to grow,” says Krout. “Shout out to my A.I.N. team, especially [Executive Producer] Willie [Johnson]. I think he loves the brand as much as I love it. We couldn’t do it without him, and the entire team; the makeup team and everyone who steps up and assists.”
This year’s winner is Michael “Bow Tie Mike” Williams. Mike has been designing bow ties since 2005 when boredom inspired his creativity.
“I was bored with seeing the same style of ties over and over again,” he says. “I wanted something that stands out. Something to draw people’s attention; get people going. I wanted to do something to put smiles on people’s faces. This tie took five days to create,” says Bow Tie Mike.
Mike is a humble, yet appreciative artist. “Bow ties are my life. God is good!”
Six designers. Six collections. Plucked from Dallas’ Fashion Scene. Indigo 1745, Yvonne Johnson, House of No Lady, Jamel Hawk, RADKEEM SIMS, Uyo by Udoh Atelier and Josette Couture made up the montage of futuristic, innovative, avant-garde looks that set the runway on FIRE!
This lady sings no blues. The Josette Couture collection by Josette Gollatt is classy and feminine, with just enough drama.
“I love black. Black is beautiful baby, and white is alright. And what makes us both the same is the Red, the Blood. That is where I come from, says Golatt.”
Gollatt is not new to fashion. Her experience spans from her childhood and continued throughout adulthood.
Gollatt says, “I started sewing at nine with my lunch money. I started then.”
Even as a young girl, Gollatt knew that she had a gift, so she did-away with patterns.
“I wanted to experiment, so mistakes weren’t mistakes,” she says.
“It’s great when someone else loves what you love, and it’s ok if they don’t. That’s the cherry on top, because when you’re designing, you’re in your own headspace, in your own zone and you have to do what comes out of you first -not concerning yourself about anybody else.”
Finally, if you love fashion, you will not miss the 2018 show. Stay in the know. Follow A.I.N. on Instagram @ainshow.
I’m a few years away from being forty, a mom of two, and my husband and I are eight months away from our tenth wedding anniversary. I think it’s safe to say that I’m seasoned with noteworthy life experiences, and for the most part, I’ve settled into who I am confidently. But that doesn’t mean that I’m unwilling, too old or too set in my ways to embrace change (or a little fun).
We planned a five day getaway to Grand Bahama Island, Freeport, Bahamas with my brother, his girlfriend, and my cousin and his wife. My anticipation for the trip grew daily in the months leading up to the trip. Between feeling my way through this new blogger-life and work-life balance stress, I NEEDED THIS TRIP!
We aren’t new to traveling. My husband and I travel with groups of friends regularly, and it’s always a good time. This trip was a little different because I was traveling with my brother (his girlfriend) and male cousin (and his wife), and both couples are a decade younger than us! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a damn good time. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was concerned about how things would play out being a generation older than the other couples. We automatically claimed our roles as the elders of the group, along with a list of things that “we” do (or don’t do) while on vacation. You know, in true old people fashion.
Y’all, this was the best destination vacation trip I’ve been on to-date! The island was crazy, sexy, cool. The people where friendly and welcoming. Our travel group was lit! And I learned three valuable lessons from this trip!
Always, always, always be that girl!
I’m mindful about keeping it sexy and spicy at home, but when it comes to vacation all I want to do is relax! I pack books and loungewear for all vacations. The girls reminded me that even while relaxing, I should to be sexy and spicy for my man. A vacation without the children is the perfect scenario for taking a few additional minutes to oil up from head to toe, throw on a face and prance around scantily clad all day and into the night.
Don’t put so much focus on age appropriateness (especially while on vacation) and relaxation that you miss the opportunity to be reminded of the girl you were when you were younger, and playful undivided attention from your man.
Seek out the fun you want to have and make it happen!
We wanted to experience night life on the island. We asked around, googled a few spots, then called a taxi! While out, we twerked, drank more drinks and took more shots than we should have, and did a damn good job of being hype-men for whomever we pleased. With five days blocked out, there was plenty of time for sleeping in and nap time.
Let your hair down, order the extra drink, take the shot and dance like nobody is looking! What happens on vacation stays there…well kind of, social media has blurred those lines a little. But, there is no crime in wilding out every once in a while.
Expect the unexpected (and still have fun)!
When we finally arrived to our destination, all I wanted to do was freshen up and lay down for hot second, but, of course, our room wasn’t ready. Then, a few days into the trip, someone came down with a stomach virus. Inconvenient? Yes, but we didn’t allow those moments to ruin the entire trip.
Hurry up and wait is definitely a thing during travel. Flight delays, long lines, getting sick, and hotel rooms not being available until check-in are inevitable, so make the best of it. In most cases, your significant other is the only person you might inconvenience on a trip. The rest of the group will find their way and make the best of the situation. Yes, everyone will wish you well with hopes of you getting well or ready soon, but the show will go on. When things are more under control or you start feeling better, hop on the party train and enjoy your time.