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Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
We could not let February pass us by without acknowledging Black History Month. On this last Wednesday of the month, we would like to pay homage to WOWomen: past, present and future.
First, we must pay our respects to those women who have made it possible for many of the privileges we have today:
- Madam CJ Walker, who was an entrepreneur and became the first self-made female millionaire.
- The founders of African American Sororities: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, trailblazing organizations that continue to affect the lives of millions of women around the world.
Next, we must acknowledge those still paving the way for us:
- Oprah, whose influence is immeasurable.
- President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, a dynamic duo who has been a stellar example for our generation, all races alike.
On this journey we have had the privilege of meeting and working with some amazing women who will certainly be recognized in the future for the history they are making today:
- Sil Lai Abrams, a woman who has transformed her own experiences with domestic abuse into a powerful campaign to save other women in similar situations
- Leah Smith, a young woman who at the beginning of her journey has already made a name for herself through her music. We invite you to get to know her better in our next issue.
We know that this is not even the tip of the iceberg. We'd love to hear from you. Which women throughout history have inspired you most?
Photo credit: http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e75/MoneyMa210/Black-History.jpg
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I've never been to Philly during the day. I've not yet spent any real substantial time in Philly- our first introduction came in the form of a stop-over on a drive back from Virginia at like 2 or 3AM. Let's just say-- the irony of rats and drug fiends inside the famous Love Park, where the statue resides, left me scratching my head.
But, last Thursday night, Philly almost reedemed itself. In the name of spontaneity the boo asked me to hop on a bus and meet him there for dinner. I must admit, my natural reaction was to complain about how tired I was after a long day of work. But considering the alternative (Chinese food stop before heading home to watch the stupid box) I chose the adventure instead. I couldn't even complain about how late I would be getting to bed, because I have a habit of squeezing the most time of my nights, mostly because I feel like there's never enough R&R time during the weeknights.
The ride down alone transformed me into the silent watcher. Well, more like watcher, listener and note-taker. The perfect sociologist. Instead of tuning out with headphones, my cell phone, or my current read (Sidney Poitier's Measure of a Man), I took in all the sights, sounds and smells the marvelous Chinatown bus has to offer.
Funny how much our world has to offer us if we just took the time to unplug from the world of digital information. I didn't let the 18-month old squeaking baby boy across from me annoy me, I mean, isn't squeaking your real job at that age anyway?
Seated in front of the mother and baby, sat a tall black man, who had tried his luck at conversation with the young lady who occupied the seat before he sat down. When he realized he wasn't going to get very far, he simply advised her that if his music gets too loud, she should free to ask him to turn it down. She had headphones of her own on, so really, he should have told that to the 4 people in his vicinity, without headphones on. Including me. I then noticed the black woman primping in the seat behind me-- I assumed she was preparing to see someone special, and then started to wonder why I wasn't doing the same as she...
"We were all people from all walks of life, with one thing in common, we all had the City of Brotherly Love on our minds."
I arrived at the Chinatown bus station in Philly, a place equipped with no heat, the dirtiest bathrooms known to woman, and a fully-lit and decorated Christmas tree. My boo is waiting there with a Zipcar, and we made our way to dinner.
We arrived at Alma de Cuba, a fancy-shmancy "Modern Latin cuisine" restaurant in which the chef, the boo shares, beat Bobby Flay in his famous Throwdown show. The decor is beautiful. I feel under-dressed with some plain black work pants, a sweater, and some Diesel's but because this was a spontaneous outing, I'm not too concerned about it. We are seated on the second floor, check out the menu, decide on some chicken (for me) and beef (the boo) combos and wait in anticipation.
Alma de Cuba gets an "A" on presentation, for sure. The first thing that came out was yucca bread, an Ecuadorian favorite for me! They were delicious, not compared to the real deal I had back in Guayaquil, but pretty darn close! Our appetizers, my Black Bean soup and the boo's Sancocho soup were next. My Grandmother would not have approved of my soup, simply because the beans were still intact, and I agree, black bean soup should not look like a side of beans with sour cream on top. You gotta mush those suckas up! The sancocho soup was okay, if you like coconut flavored broth.
For the main course we had the Chicken Combo (marinated grilled breast over "Arroz Imperial") and Vaca Frita or "Fried Cow" (skirt steak with onions, black beans and white rice), the boo also had a side of more rice, "Respado de Arroz con Pato" which basically looked like a batch of leftover rice, mixed with vegetables and duck and toppled with a runny egg on top (needless to say I had none). I would say dinner got 3 stars out of 5. The rice that came with my chicken was very potent with flavor, too much for even a seasoned Afro-Latin woman like me! The boo said the steak was good, something to be had only once in a while, because we all know how long it takes for beef to digest. We were both full well into lunch the next day!
My favorite part of dinner was dessert, a pumpkin dessert, which I had never seen offered anywhere! It had goat cheese, some piece of "sugar glass" sticking out of it, and "Pepita" ice cream. I don't know who the heck Pepita is, but she knows a thing or two about good ice cream...Check this beaut out...
Well, that brings me to the conclusion of this week's Tica Travels. Overall, Alma de Cuba gets 3 1/2 stars from me, for originality, presentation and taste. This place might leave a big hole in your pocket, but for the dessert and yucca bread, I would say it's worth it. There's also a lounge area on the first floor, which means that you don't have to go there and buy dinner at all. Maybe you won't get complimentary yucca bread, but the flavorful Latin soundtrack, projected photos of random Spanish people I couldn't recognize and intimate atmosphere of the place might be what the "Soul of Cuba" is all about.
To follow Tracey's personal blog, check out Tica Tattleteller. If you have a travel story you'd like featured on our blog, e-mail email@example.com with your submission. Love Park picture courtesy of Fairmount Park website.
Monday, February 22, 2010
This weeks solution is Take 3 Steps to Move Beyond Fear: small, then larger, then bolder. Just take 3 steps.
Babies are born with only two instinctive fears. Fear of loud noises and fear of falling. All other fears are ones that we learn by association. By the time we become adults most of us no longer fear loud noises or falling, but we also have learned to fear many things that we need to do to move forward in our lives.
This Solution is designed to help strengthen your courage so that you can move beyond those fears that we embrace because of social conditioning. When you are facing something that makes you apprehensive or even fearful I want you to just take one small step in the direction you want to go. After you have become comfortable with that small step and your confidence is increased, take a larger step and then lastly a bolder step.
The Motivated Mindset Coach!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Despite the snow we’re getting hit with AGAIN, let’s embrace Mardi Gras and take a quick mental escape to New Orleans. What I love most about New York is its ability to transport you to various places around the world. Even though I have yet to satisfy my burning desire to visit “Nawlins” I have been fortunate enough to catch a few quick glimpses of the culture right here in NYC. Even though I'm sure the experience pales in comparison to the real thing, I was captivated by the richness of the culture, which was reflected in the rich flavor of the food, which I fell in love with. From my first Mardi Gras experience during my senior year in high school to a more recent good time, these places hold a few of my fondest memories:
7020 Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375
40-12 Bell Blvd.
Bayside, NY 11361
Learn more about the history of Mardi Gras and enjoy the festivities vicariously: http://www.mardigras.com/
Photo credit: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.e-masks.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/mardi-gras-mask.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.e-masks.com/mardi-gras-masks/&usg=__oaF2n7a-AcSfpqSY2gU98pXl3Ok=&h=276&w=270&sz=28&hl=en&start=32&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=mK0ALCKch5w8gM:&tbnh=114&tbnw=112&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmardi%2Bgras%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D18%26um%3D1
Saturday, February 13, 2010
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, SPArties Mobile Spa is sponsoring a contest for brides-to-be!
If you're unable to have a wedding, for whatever reason, SPArties wants to give you A Complete SPArty Setup-Mini package for you and 9 friends.
All you have to do is:
1. Become a fan of SPArties Mobile Spa on their Facebook fan page.
2. Send your story explaining why you are unable to have a wedding to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After reviewing the stories, the SPArties and Her Journey teams will select the bride who is most deserving of the prize! Only brides in NY, NJ, Philadelphia, South CT and South FL are eligible.
Contest ends Feb 28th!
Monday, February 8, 2010
The Rock the MOJO campaign celebrates the powerful mojo flow that exists in us all. It's all about the mojo you choose to use at any given moment to achieve your goals and dreams.
If you need more mojo to achieve your goals and dreams you'll want to join the campaign and get in the flow.
In the coming months there's going to be all kinds of goodies associated with the campaign. There'll be chances to win prizes and share your mojo story with the world.
The first thing out of the gate is the signature tee shirt. Join the mojo flow and get your jazzy "got mojo? I've got mine" tee shirt while you strut your stuff as you challenge those around you to get in and stay in the mojo flow! --> http://tinyurl.com/ykgk8pf (Use code FRIEND for 15% off!)
Please share what "mojo flow" you're tapping into to achieve your goals and dreams. (post on the Rock the MOJO page on facebook --> http://tinyurl.com/yhtfc70
all my best,
The Motivated Mindset Coach!
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Seeing the skyline from the plane (see pics 1-3), I was immediately excited about my first visit to Chicago. Driving through the city, I could definitely feel the old soul of the city and a sense of its rich history. With names like Oprah, Bernie Mac, R. Kelly and Kanye West associated with Chicago, I was excited to see firsthand what’s so special about Chi Town.
What captivated me most was the musical energy. Maybe I was on a high from Jade’s performance (pic 8), but it is undeniable that music runs through the veins of Chi town. I got a chance to see just how serious stepping is when we caught a steppers party letting out_with couples dressed to the nines, fully decked out in furs and hats. After catching a quick glimpse during one of our nights out, I’m slightly obsessed with footworking. Going along with specific footworking songs or house remixes of popular songs, the dancers move so fast it looks like they’re in fast forward. It looks unreal. Even thought I won’t be attempting that anytime soon, I did pick up a little two step.
Like the Waffle House in Atlanta or a diner in New York, Taco Burrito King served as the perfect after party meal. One chicken and one steak (the better of the two) taco was all it took to fill me before collapsing into bed and convert me into TBK fan. Next was FlatTop, my first build-your-own-stir-fry experience (pics 9-15). After conquering an overwhelming selection of sauces and veggies to add, I was more than happy with my creation: brown and white rice, noodles, bean sprouts, one edamame (out of curiosity), red and green peppers, chopped jalapenos, soy sauce, chili sauce, Asian BBQ sauce, FlatTop sauce and chicken, all topped with the most delicious pita bread. And I can’t forget my yummy Lava Colada. Of course no visit to Chicago is complete with trying the deep dish pizza, and I think we had one of the best. Our experience at Giordano’s was unforgettable (pics 35-43). Our waiter Leo was great, the pizza was delicious, and I fell in love with my drink, The Chocolate Runway. I also finished my trip with a chicken salad sandwich from Potbelly’s, which was like all the toasted goodness of Quizno’s mixed with the personalized deli touch of peppers and seasonings added to my liking.
As a wide-eyed tourist, I got to see the Sears Tower (which is now the Willis Tower), The Bean at Millennium Park (pics 20-29) and the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue (pics 33-34). Because of the fog that covered the top of the tower (pic 31), we weren’t able to go up to the Sky Deck…next time! I also saw Navy Pier from a distance, got a recommendation for Garrett popcorn and heard good things about Flirty Girls. Of course the Oprah Store is a must see; all things on the to-do list for my next visit because this was definitely not my last.
To read about all of Miss Journey's adventures, visit Miss Journey's blog.