Thursday, June 30, 2011


Tell us why you felt at your best in this moment:

I felt better in this picture than I have my in my whole life because it was the ending of a very long struggle with depression and self-unlove (I won't say hatred) and the beginning of a life built on faith, peace, and love.  When I started my Masters program I was living in my parents' dining room literally because there weren't any spare bedrooms. I had just moved home after a failed career, a failed pseudo-relationship, and a failed young professional social life.  I felt like a total failure.  This picture just shows how far a little belief in yourself can get you. I lost somewhere between 40-50lbs, I graduated with a 3.9 and acceptance into a Doctoral program with a full ride, and most of all I was so happy I was glowing.

How do you define beauty:

I think beauty is freedom and simplicity.  Not the freedom to be daring or off the wall or outside the box, but even greater and more radical; the freedom to be yourself.  Your truest, simplist, most stripped down self.  Far too many people are putting on a show, a highlight reel of themselves for the world but then you rob of us the whole story, the real you! Don't cliff's notes yourself. My latest revelation that I'm saying out loud for the world as my ultimate truth is "I am SO MUCH MORE than I always thought I was." Possibility, that's beautiful.

How do you define happiness:
Happiness to me is fleeting, because it is, at its core, only a consequence.  There's this quote by Eckhart Tolle that reads:

"Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace? Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not."
That's what I want, inner peace. I want to be able to enjoy the sum of the human experience and that includes happiness, but also sadness, grieving, anger, love, and pain.  I want to be able to sit in those emotions and accept them, work through them letting them flow through me like water and at the end (or beginning or middle) of the day be able to say that all is forgiven and I will still love.  I think that is the highest power, no matter the religious title you put on it.  To me happiness is nice if and when it comes, but it is not permanent. I just want to learn to be okay with that.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

PLPT GEMS: Meet Tamala

PLPT GEMS Presents
Tamala Baldwin
Performer. Web Host. Change Agent.

Tell us about your background and your journey to discover your purpose.

I remember when it all fell apart like it was yesterday. I was living in beautiful San Diego. I had a lovely apartment, awesome friends, a cool job and I was singing with a local band and taking belly-dancing classes again.

Life was good but I started sensing that there would be more. I was satisfied but I was not full. God must have agreed because in the course of ten days, I lost my job, one of the guys I was singing with decided they wanted to focus on other projects and my car broke down – costing me nearly 2k to get it out. I cried and laughed through it all because it was clearly a sign to move on to the next phase of my life.

So I packed up whatever I could fit into my suitcases and in my newly repaired car and moved back to New York to pursue my dream of performing. I always knew I had this voice, that I was my own instrument, but I was too afraid to use it. Needless to say, since taking this leap of faith, these two years have been the most magical, emotional and invigorating two and a half years of my life! For this short amount of time, I have told stories to bring joy into the lives of others, and to help them see certain issues differently. It has been such a wonderful honor to be able to touch people in such a way.

What is the objective of Soul Kisses TV? How does this project tie in with your purpose?

Soul Kisses is a brand I created a few years ago in graduate school and Soul Kisses TV is the first product of that brand. The goal of Soul Kisses TV is to provide entertaining, inspirational and empowering pieces of media for the world to enjoy. I feel like in the era of Reality TV we are steering away from the type of healthy programming that families can watch together, or that certain groups of people can watch and feel good about themselves. I am a firm believer in being the change you wish to see in the world, so Soul Kisses TV is my way of taking steps to create a platform where that type of programming can thrive. Everyday I get to sing and dance for a living. I make people smile seven days a week and if I can help others find their own joy, I will leave this earth feeling like I did what I was supposed to do.

What resources or tactics have been most effective for you in building and promoting your business?

All blessings from the universe are served through people, so I really try to focus my energy on helping other socially conscious entrepreneurs and artists. This approach has been a fun way of increasing our reach as well as building one on one relationship with like-minded individuals. I also have no problem with asking for help from people that are more experienced in certain areas as well as studying what methods have been successful for other entrepreneurs in a similar space.

How would you describe a typical day for you? What is your favorite part of what you do?

Before I get out of bed I say a quick prayer that I have a magical day, then I turn over and check my emails for any good news. Since I am a performer as well, I usually head to a rehearsal or audition, which is always a good time for me. Throughout the day, I am sharing the latest news about Soul Kisses TV across various social networks, which takes a chunk of my time. I also make sure to connect at least once a day with five people or brands that I am trying to build a relationship with. Now that it is warmer, on a good day I am having lunch or drinks with someone in my industry, which I think is incredibly important. You have to get the brand offline and sometimes we forget this. Before I turn in, I pray some more and squeeze in time to run 5 miles.

How do you stay motivated and overcome doubt, fear and negative thinking?

I will be completely honest and say that it is very hard to stay motivated, especially when you are trying to build something very grassroots with a limited budget and on your own. So I speak about my feelings with women that are also building and creating, and we help keep each other uplifted and strong.

Within the first two months of launching Soul Kisses TV I was wondering why I didn’t have millions of views and began to doubt the entire project. Again, this was two months in. I came across a motivational video featuring Will Smith, and he said, when you are trying to build a wall, you don’t focus on the wall. You focus on laying one brick at a time, perfectly. So in times of doubt, fear and negative thinking, I stop thinking about the overall picture – the big impact – and hone in on laying my own brick for the day perfectly.

Praying and speaking positively over my life is probably the most important tool. I can be smack in the middle one of those negative thinking sessions that seem to get louder and louder by the minute; and the moment I speak out loud something that is completely the opposite of what I am thinking, my inner world changes almost immediately. The hardest part is mustering up the will to speak positively because sometimes we want to wallow; but what a beautiful day it is when we speak the truth out loud.

What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?

This may sound morbid, but it is very real and is something we all should consider from time to time. To those people that are afraid of taking that leap toward their dreams, I want you to think about the day that your life has come to an end. When you meet your maker, will you be one of those spirits that will smile like a little child and say, “I WIN! I used every single gift and talent you gave me and made this, this, this and this.” Or will you be one of those people that will say “I didn’t think I was good enough so even though you blessed me with this talent, I didn’t use it. I didn’t think it mattered.”

We are all born with gifts and talent. It is our responsibility to share them and to make the world just a little bit better before we leave. Your gifts will sustain you if you trust in them so the first step is to simply surrender to that idea and leap. Believe, surrender and keep the faith.

Name someone who has inspired you and why.

I meet people on a daily basis that inspire me to be better, however I am going to run with Oprah. Not because she is a talk show icon, but because of how she refused to let her experiences break her and deter her from the life she truly wanted. We all go through painful situations and so many of us let those situations harm us for our entire lives. Oprah was harmed in ways that I couldn’t even imagine and she not only survived through them all, but thrived beyond it and has helped bring healing into the lives of millions. Her strength and vulnerability amazes and inspires me.

How can people connect with you?

It should be no surprise that I am all over the web. You can friend me on Facebook--I love building new relationships. Please check out the show at and on Facebook as well.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't Be Afraid to Recreate Yourself

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." ~Harvey Fierstein

Raise your hand if you've ever talked yourself out of trying something new?  Maybe you didn't want to deal with the extra attention? Perhaps you weren't confident that you would like it, let alone anyone else.  How about this one:  have you ever been afraid to stop doing certain things because it's not what people expect from you?   Maybe you're afraid to stop smoking or drinking or eating unhealthy food?  What if that is all your friends do?   If you change your behavior, will you still be accepted?  I'm certain that we've all experienced this to some extent.

Today, I challenge you to give yourself room to grow.  Be independent of people's opinions!  Learn to accept the feelings of embarrassment and awkardness that come with trying new things.  It's okay if you don't get things right the first time.  You don't have to have all the answers.  You learn with every new experience.  Each experience enhances your awareness by giving you something new to draw upon. 

As you increase your awareness, you open yourself up to new opportunities.   Why should you hold yourself back from exploring everything about yourself because you are afraid of what people will think or say?  Why should you deny yourself for anyone?  The people who truly love you and are meant to stay in your life will stay.  Don't limit yourself to being what you have been.  You owe it to yourself to embrace all that you have inside of you to become. 

Have you been holding yourself back -- afraid to change?   Believe in yourself and take the labels off your mind.   Start now! 

Have you entered our giveaway yet? You have a chance to win handmade hair and body products from Afiya, LLC; the new book ZERO TO BREAKTHROUGH; and a Target gift card. Just leave a comment here, telling us when you feel at your best. We'll be accepting entries through June 30th at midnight.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 6/24/11

Don't allow the need for anyone else's approval keep you from achieving your own personal joy. You're responsible for your own happy, just as they are responsible for theirs. Have a fantastic weekend, Lovies!

By the way, have you entered our giveaway yet? There's still time! We're accepting entries through June 30th at midnight. Best of luck!
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

AT YOUR BEST ~ L'oreal

I absolutely love Peace, Love and Pretty Things. My favorite section is the At Your Best. I adore that they take time to let women honor themselves or others when they know they are rocking. So, I was stoked beyond belief when I learned that they were encouraging further submissions for AYB. I immediately wanted to write something. Besides my awful grammar and inability to make coherent, thought provoking sentences--I had one big problem. I didn't really feel at my best. You know how it is when nothing in your life seems to be working. Job stinks. You are gaining weight. You hate all your clothes. Shoot, your nail polish won't even dry correctly. You find yourself in Stinksville, USA. Well, right now, I am the mayor of Stinksville. I am at my worst.

But the beauty of being at my worst is that I always have one friend who loves me no matter what. As far as friendship goes, she is at her best when I am at my worst. She is my best friend and sister, Joy. She has been there for me when I have had some of my ugliest moments, both literally and figuratively. Joy stood by me when I was convinced bodysuits and blunt bangs were cute in the 7th grade. Joy, like no other, was there for me through those first grief stricken, tear-filled days after our dad died of cancer. Whether it is comfort, a bit of humor or fashion intervention, she has been there for me--always at her best.

GG and I always love to share with you, our lovely readers; but we are even more enamored when you all share with us. That is why the At Your Best feature that we post here at PLPT is one of our most favorite things. It is so inspiring to see so many women with a zest for life. We know that submitting an entire feature can be a bit intimidating—whether you’re worried about the quality of your writing, or you can’t find the right picture—but we don’t want that to stop you. We’re always willing to help you out in any way we can if you’re at all interested in sharing.

To that end, I was wildly excited when L’oreal shared this online journal entry with me. She didn’t necessarily intend for this to be her feature—but I wanted to share it with you (with her permission, of course) in the hopes that it will encourage more of you to submit. We’ve missed reading about how amazing you all are.

Please remember that sometimes being “at your best” means being vulnerable and willing to reveal yourself—even the parts that don't feel the best at that moment. We hope to hear from more of you very soon!

Your turn! Send your pics in to and tell us why you felt happy and beautiful and at your best in that moment. Feel free to share your favorite quotes about happiness and beauty and we'll include them with your feature. Please put AT YOUR BEST in the subject line.  
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Have a Fabulous Day


Start the day with your own special routine.
I enjoy being able to relax with my family for awhile before we get moving for the day.  I haven't figured out how to do this on weekdays, but on weekends I get up several hours before I have to be anywhere.  I can straighten up and get organized for the day, cuddle and play with the kids, and eat breakfast.  Everyone starts the day with a better attitude when they're not rushed.

Dress for the occasion AND for your mood.
I have a 9 year old, 5 year old, and a 1 year old.  I have to bend over, squat, and get on my knees a lot.  If I'm planning a day out with the kids, I'm not wearing anything low cut, short, or tight.  My point is that you'll feel more comfortable, confident and easy breezy if your clothes work with you and not against you.  You CAN be comfortable and sexy, trendy, sophisticated all at once.


Don't overschedule yourself.
Be realistic.  Alow time for traffic, people running late, having to stop for gas, etc.  Unfortunately, I'm known for running late and it annoys me that despite my indignation at this label, I consistently perpetuate it.  I'm working on it.  With three kids, you can't plan for some things, but one thing I know I can do better is to allow more time for the unknown.  On work days, sometimes I'll block my calendar so I can have time to prepare for meetings or just simply regroup.  I'm at my best when I have breathers throughout my day.

Go with the flow.
Be prepared for your plans to change.  Keep your energy positive.  Don't get bent out of shape when things don't go exactly according to plan.  Unexpected changes don't have to mean that the day is ruined.  It's OK to have plans, but when you can't be flexible, you set yourself up to be disappointed.  Life is unpredictable, so we should flow with it and not against it. 

Freshen up.
Drink water and eat small snacks throughout the day.  If you sit at a desk all day, try to take a walk or go to the gym.  A couple of my friends tease me for having so many makeup bags in my purse.  I keep one for makeup and one for toiletries like body spray, toothpaste, etc.  I feel so refreshed when I can freshen up after lunch.  I work 8 - 10 hours a day, so freshening up half way through the day gives me a boost of energy and confidence to take on the rest of my day.  On weekends or when I'm with my kids, I plan for a lot of bathroom and snack breaks.


Listen to your "happy" soundtrack.
If you're a music person (how can you not be?!), keep some positive, energizing tunes playing as much as possible throughout the day - at your desk, in your car, at the gym, etc. 

Be Present.
Pay mindful attention to each situation or task you encounter.  We are more likely to make mistakes when we are distracted or preoccupied.   When you feel yourself getting frazzled, stop, breathe, count to ten.  Slow down.  It's bettter to be in the right mindset than to drive yourself crazy trying to think about and do too many things at once.  Plus, you'll miss out on the small miracles and special moments when you're not focusing.   God is in the details.

What other tips can you share that you help ensure a fabulous day?!  Please share in the comments.

Have you entered our giveaway yet? You have a chance to win handmade hair and body products from Afiya, LLC; the new book ZERO TO BREAKTHROUGH; and a Target gift card. Just leave a comment here, telling us when you feel at your best. We'll be accepting entries through June 30th at midnight.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Food For Thought: Just A One Night Stand

"You should stay another night with me. (I just want your body baby)
Oh woahh.
A one night stand is all I need. (All I need)
Just you and me.
(Baby you) You should stay another night with me.
Oh woahh. (Only want you to stay until the morning come)
A one night stand is all I need."

The first time I heard this song (by Keri Hilson, featuring Chris Brown), I was in the car with my Honey and we both kind of looked at each other like, "Huh? Did we really just hear that?" A bit irritated by the lyrics, I launched into a diatribe about how women complain so often that there are no good men; yet, in fact, they're not representing themselves properly. They tell men all they want is a one-night stand; they get it; and yet are later upset that this same man isn't looking to start a relationship with them. What a mixed message! Honey just kind of chuckled and nodded confirmation. But I steamed for another minute or two, wondering, "Is this really the message we want to send out?"

This was not a self-righteous rant, I assure you. There was a time in my life where I said I wanted one thing, but continuously accepted the complete opposite, expecting things to change later on down the road. I pretended to be on board with situations that didn't serve me because I was too afraid that if I let one man go, there wouldn't be another to come along who was as "great". Silly me.

Since then, I've learned the power of letting go. When we release people and situations from our lives that represent what we don't want; we make a ton of room for those people and situations that we DO want to show up.

One last note, to clarify: I will not judge you because you just want a one-night stand. If you're a mature, responsible woman and that's your real choice, I respect it. However, if you are attempting to use it as a jumping off point for relationships; if you are constantly lamenting the shallow pool of available relationship-worthy men; or if you continuously blame your single status on statistics, let me ask you a tough question: Are you presenting yourself as a woman who is worthy of a relationship? 

Think carefully and answer honestly--not for me, but for yourself--because you're going to get exactly what you're asking for. So, do you want a one-night stand, or a relationship? The choice is ultimately yours to make.

What do you guys think: Do you agree? Or is a song just a song? Let's discuss.

Have you entered our giveaway yet? You have a chance to win handmade hair and body products from Afiya, LLC; the new book ZERO TO BREAKTHROUGH; and a Target gift card. Just leave a comment here, telling us when you feel at your best. We'll be accepting entries through June 30th at midnight.
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 6/17/11

Have a great weekend!!  xoxo

Have you entered our giveaway yet? You have a chance to win handmade hair and body products from Afiya, LLC; the new book ZERO TO BREAKTHROUGH; and a Target gift card. Just leave a comment here, telling us when you feel at your best. We'll be accepting entries through June 30th at midnight.

Read more »

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are You Awake?

In this PLPT Guest Post, Pastor/Professor Lawrence Ware reminds us to stop doing and start living.

Life is busy. We are in this seemingly never ending race. We chase the American Dream. We chase happiness. We cannot sit still long enough to enjoy much of what we accomplish—we are too busy thinking about something else. We think about vacation while at work. We think about work while on vacation. We text friends while with our kids. We watch TV while eating dinner.

Death by multi tasking.

One of my favorite plays is entitled Our Town by Thornton Wilder. The play takes place in a small town at the turn of the twentieth century. In the final act, a young girl named Emily dies giving birth, and she finds herself in the graveyard with other people from town who are recently deceased. She learns that she is allowed to relive a single day from her living life, and she decides to relive her twelfth birthday.

Emily is overwhelmed by the beauty of everything she sees. “I love you all, everything—I cannot look at things hard enough,” she says. But soon she is saddened because she realizes that the living do not see what she sees. All that she encounters are too caught up in the business of their life—they do not really look at one another. In frustration with her mother for being busy planning her birthday party, but not really giving her any attention, Emily cries: “Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me.”

Sadly, her mother is too busy.

This is an analogy for how we live our lives. We are too busy being busy that we fail to see and experience what is around us. J. de Caussade once said: “The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams, but you will only enjoy them to the extent of your awareness of them.”

Please, wake up.

Realize that each day could be your last. Savor your cup of coffee. Notice the sunset. Enjoy the sounds of the rain pattering upon your window—understanding that without this rain we all perish— instead of complaining about how it ruins your plans.

Look at your children. No, really look at them. They grow so fast. Soon you will not recognize them. You will not know what happened or how time went by so fast.

I like to put little sticky notes around my office and home with the phrase: ARE YOU AWAKE? It helps me to realize that there is beauty all around me; I only need to awaken myself to it.

Understand that God’s fingerprints are everywhere. You only need to be sensitive to seeing them.

Are you awake?

Lawrence Ware is lecturing professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University and Pastor of Christian Education at Prospect Church. He writes for Tikkun and Religion Dispatchers all while living in Oklahoma City with his wife and sons.

Have you entered our giveaway yet? You have a chance to win handmade hair and body products from Afiya, LLC; the new book ZERO TO BREAKTHROUGH; and a Target gift card. Just leave a comment here, telling us when you feel at your best. We'll be accepting entries through June 30th at midnight.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

10 Ways to Get Your Happy Back

 Need a boost? 
Here's some food for thought to get you out of the dumps and back into the light.  

1.  Focus on what matters to you.  
Happiness is about perspective.  What is important to you?
Are you expressing those values in how you live? 
Are you sacrificing your own happiness in order to please others?

2.  Everything is temporary. 
Research has shown that pessimists believe that whatever bad thing happening is everlasting,
while optimists view the same thing as only temporary.  Feeling stuck is what causes most of the suffering.

3.  Make a Worry List.
Write down what is bothering you.  Seeing your worries on paper helps you realize that they are outside of you rather than internalized.  This will help you approach them one at a time.

4.  Create a morning ritual.
What small thing can you do when you wake up in the morning to tap into your magic before you start your day?  Play a special piece of music?  Read something inspirational?

5.  What Door is Opening?
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which as been opened before us." - Hellen Keller

6.  Feed your mind.
Boredom is a happiness killer because a great deal of happiness comes from the challenge of learning something new.  If your mind is stagnant, that's an ideal environment for negative thoughts to grow.  Read a book, take a class, take a trip to a new place. 

7.  Sleep Well.
If you're not getting enough sleep, you're not going to function at your best and your thoughts are likely to turn negative. 

8.  Give a compliment.
Saying something nice to someone is not only a great spirit lifter for the other person, but for you as well.  Also, the more you say wonderful things about people, the more you are perceived as being wonderful.  (Conversely, the same is true for those who say negative things about people.  Makes sense.)

9.  Acknowledge Anger.
Blowing up in anger and stifling it are both bad for you - emotionally and physically.  Both tactics lead to elevated levels of LDL (bad cholesterol).  Acknowledge your anger, but using breathing and counting techniques to compose yourself until you can express yourself calmly.

10.  Beware of Emotional Vampires.
Emotional vampires suck the energy out of you or otherwise bring you down through endlessly complaining, general negativity; bad-mouthing others, etc.  We tend to take on the energy of those we are around, so the more time you spend with emotional vampires, the worse you will feel.

Did you find these helpful?  Let me know and I'll share some more goodies from this book.  It's one of the many books I keep at my desk at work.  You never know when you will need a boost! :)
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Friday, June 10, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 6/10/11

Have a beautiful weekend! Have you entered our giveaway? Click here for details.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Happy Belated Black Girl Day - Link Love!

 We truly look forward to sharing lovely links with you every month on Happy Black Girl Day. So, although we weren't able to post yesterday, the goodies below are just as uplifting today as they would have been yesterday! :)

But first in other news, we want you to know that we've kept the giveaway open because we think it was a bit daunting to require an At Your Best  feature. (Not one entry!) We really want to give these items away, so instead of submitting a feature you can leave a comment stating when you feel at your best. What hobbies, activities or guilty pleasures make you feel like your best self? Please share in the comments of this post to be entered in the giveaway. We'll keep this open until June 30.

Now that housekeeping is done, check out our happy black girl links below!

Happiness can't be bought but it can be created: 3 Ideas for Building the Life You Want
by Amber J.

"Name Your Fear.

This is the first step toward creating happiness for yourself. Why? Because your fears are usually the main thing blocking you. Think about it: What scares you? What is the thing that keeps you up at night? Have you ever acknowledged your fear out loud?

Fear of not being successful is what keeps me up at night. Prior to making some changes in my life, I was spending way too much time subscribing to my own limiting beliefs. One day I decided to write down, “I am afraid of not being successful” on a sheet of paper. Next, I wrote down all of the reasons why lack of success freaks me out. I discovered that the real thing I am afraid of is not “appearing” to be successful. I realized that this directly relates to some of the unwise decisions I have made in the past few years."  Read more

On the Fast Track to the Hair You Want
by Chai

"The art of caring for your natural hair often requires a few trustworthy glances in the mirror, and the ability to be open & honest. Are you doing this for yourself? If so, silence the critics, all the doubts & fears and start an inner dialog. Changing your mindset and approach to how you treat your hair should be a pretty high priority before inspecting the aisles of the local beauty store. Don’t just ‘DO’ your hair, learn to understand why it behaves the way it does, why it might need a bit more TLC than the next natural, and realize there’s nothing more rewarding than when you put in the work & care for something of value." Read more

And Then One Day I Just Chose to Be Happy
by Carmen

"For some of us, it's a boxing match life where every turn you make and every step you take you find someone or something trying to knock you down or put you out for good. And yet some of us discover that most of our challenging opponents have been our own fears and negativity. Our inner voices creating dysfunction where it has no place. Muddying the waters because that's all we know and expect. Putting up walls. Closing doors. Rejecting love and running towards deception. Denying possibilities and embracing the unachievable, simply to justify that unwillingness.

And yet some of us, hopefully many of us, will make magic out of anguish. We'll discover beauty in the monsters. We'll turn cries into music. We'll pen poetry out of misery. We'll learn to dance with the torment. We'll find the way - our way." Read more

For more information on Happy Black Girl Day, visit The Beautiful Struggler.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

PLPT GEMS: Meet Joi-Marie

PLPT GEMS Presents
Editor. Blogger. Innovator.
Tell us about your background and how you came to start The Fab Empire.

The Fab Empire started when I was working as an assistant in a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. I was pretty bored at my day job and decided randomly to start a blog. I brainstormed and even created a failed blog called "Fab! University" as I had recently graduated from University of Maryland. Still, I knew I wanted to create something that didn't just regurgitate what I saw on The YBF or Concrete Loop. I wanted to create something that was original and different. So I focused my scope on covering nightlife and events in Washington, D.C. With the help of my friend Rida, she said, "Why don't you call your blog DC Fab!" and the name stuck.

Months later after the site took off, my friend in New York said “I would love to replicate this in New York”. And then another friend said “why don't we start Bmore Fab?” Next, we recruited someone in Boston to create a sister site there. Thus, The Fab Empire was born.

Please share with us the first five steps you took when you decided to start your own website. How did you know you had found your niche?

The first five steps were:

1. Committing to the idea that I was going to produce something different in the Web space.

2. I had to find my niche. I studied the sites that I visited daily (this was back in 2007), The YBF and Concrete Loop, and asked what do I love about these sites? I loved that they focused on the African-American experience in entertainment. I also loved that they had information that no one else seemed to have. I wanted to replicate that user experience with my site. At the time, no one in Washington, D.C. was covering the social scene for young urban professionals. So, I started doing it.

3. I had to make sure there was a need. I didn't invest in a glitzy site. I just worked with what I had. I used Blogger, a free content management system and began doing the work. Soon people noticed, which led me to step four.

4. I invested in my site. After the investment of creating a better site on an improved platform, I knew I was onto something.

5. I began self-promotion using free Web tools like social networking to get the word out about my site and create brand awareness.

Is managing The Fab Empire your full-time occupation? If not, how do you balance it with your other responsibilities?

The Fab Empire is not my full-time occupation yet. Right now, I am the assistant entertainment editor for The Loop 21 (, covering celebrities, entertainment and society. That's my full-time job and it's really an extension of what I created. Before starting The Fab Empire, I had no editing experience. I didn't know how to find great writers and photographers, and work with them to create a shared vision or product. After I created the site, and it became notable, I was able to fulfill one of my goals in life, which was to become an entertainment editor for a major publication.

How would you describe a day in the life of Joi-Marie? What is your favorite part of what you do?

A day in the life of Joi-Marie. Hmmm, let's see. I wake up, bring my laptop to bed and try to put up the majority of my stories (6-10 posts at 100-200 words each) before 11 a.m. As you probably guessed, I work from home. Then, at 11 a.m., I watch The View. I love their "Hot Topics" segment and sometimes they chat about news of the day that I should post. I blog during the commercial breaks. By 1 p.m., I usually have a conference call. By 2 p.m., I break for lunch. By 3 p.m., I'm emailing writers or publicists to work on stories for the next day or the next week. By 6 p.m., I give it a rest to relax, make dinner and do some chores. By 9 p.m. I'm watching reality shows or perhaps an award show...there might be a story there that I'll need to post for the next day. By 10 p.m., I'm blogging or surfing the Web that I think should be posted the next day. By 1 a.m., I'm hitting the sack!

The favorite part of my day is curating entertainment content for my readers. I love doing my job! 

How do you stay motivated and overcome doubt, fear and negative thinking?

My friends and family continually motivate me. Everyone is on their grind. Everyone is becoming more educated, either getting PhD's or Master's Degrees, everyone is creating a family for themselves, everyone is getting better positions at their workplace or in their extra-curricular activities.

With my inner circle and my family at the top of their game, I have no choice but to grind...or be left behind. Opportunities will come regardless. And if you don't take advantage, someone else will. I want to make sure I'm always available to take advantage of an opportunity. With all of the grinding that I'm doing, negative thinking doesn't have space to exist.

What advice would you offer to others who are searching for their purpose or are afraid to take the first step towards their dreams?

For those of you in search of your purpose, become in tune with yourself. Become your true self. You can't understand or hear what God has called you to do, whether it be a writer, doctor, community advocate, whatever, if you're pretending to be someone else. I learned a long time ago that I can only be my best self. And to have enough grace to let go of everything that I can't be. And have enough sense to hire someone who is more skilled and more connected than me.

Also, many people who are starting their journey to becoming an entrepreneur don't understand the need to fail. Many entrepreneurs will tell you that they've had many failures before they hit big. Be willing to fail and fail fabulously. At least you're on your way to figuring out what works.

Name someone who has inspired you and why.

If there was any one person who has had the greatest impact on my life it would by my Grandmother Ida Murphy Peters. I watched her as she sat at her typewriter, read books, took photos and was out serving her community as the Entertainment Editor for the Afro American Newspaper. Since I was young, I was fascinated with reading and looked up to her tremendously. Looking back, she has had the most profound impact on my curiosity. She's also the only person I know who did what she loved to do until the very day she died. When she passed away she was working a booth for the Afro at For Sister's Only, a community convention for women, in Baltimore. My grandmother passed away inside that convention center working. She loved serving the community and I loved her for that.

How can people connect with you?

Hit me at Follow me at @dcfab and friend me at
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Monday, June 6, 2011

The Importance of Self-Validation

"Don't reach out when u want validation. Wait & let Love move u. Share from the fullness of your Heart rather than the emptiness of your fear" -Mastin Kipp
When I saw this on twitter a couple of weeks ago, it instantly spoke to me. I remember a time when I was just a big ball of emotional neediness; and, more often than not, I dumped those emotions on the people with whom I was in relationships. I related in a hungry, needy way; as opposed to actually opening up and responding to things lovingly. This type of behavior was such a catch 22 because despite their trying, there was no way anyone could ever give me enough; so I was always begging for more. “Feed me (emotionally)!” “Love Me!” “Soothe Me!” “Validate Me!” was what I seemed to be constantly asking with my actions. I tried to suck them dry as I desperately sought to fill a void that could only be filled from within. And, of course, I felt angry with, or hurt by them for not being what I thought I needed them to be. It was an ugly and self-destructive cycle.

Thankfully, I matured and began to understand the importance of self-soothing and self-validation. I stopped verbally dumping my fears and insecurities on the people around me, expecting them to pick up the pieces and solve my issues. I learned to trust myself, and to walk myself through the pain or uncertainty in a logical, reasonable manner—but most importantly, with love. I like to call it “talking myself off the ledge” and I can do it anywhere and anytime now—out loud or in my head. In the past, there would be instances where I would be steaming mad for hours, cause arguments and stew in anger. Now, I’m able to turn those negative emotions around in minutes; or at least calm myself enough to be able to deal with them privately later on.

As a result, my relationships with everyone around me are so much better because I’m not relying on them to fill me up. I come to all my interactions charged and full of love; ready to give, rather than seeking to receive. And if I get that love back, it’s a beautiful bonus.

If the destructive behavior sounds familiar to you, forgive yourself, and know that it’s easy to overcome. You’re human, so you’re going to feel fear, insecurity, mistrust, hurt and anger; expect it and accept it. It’s what you do with those emotions that will matter. When you feel fearful, spend time alone, sit with your feelings and evaluate them. When you have soothed yourself, loved yourself, and been your own cheerleader; you’ll be better able to choose the best course of action and move forward in love, instead of fear.
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Love Notes - Friday 6/3/11

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hold the Vision for the Life You Want

"Every great work, every great accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement comes apparent failure and discouragement." - Florence Scovel Shinn

This past weekend, I moved into a new place. It meets (almost) every specification I'd desired, and is in a wonderful neighborhood that I've actually driven through for years without knowing the development I now live in was located nearby.

This past Friday, as my mom and I were driving, she turned to me and told me how proud she was of me; that she remembered how I have been telling her for the past couple of years that I would take the long way home from work to ride through this area, and that I would envision myself living here; now I actually live here and she was so happy for me. She reminded me of the power of visualization over other areas of my life too, and told me not to focus on the negative things; but instead to envision the changes that I want.

She was right. So often, we forget the power we have to affect change in our own lives. Whether positive or negative, our thoughts eventually become the concrete matter of our existence. It may seem like we face so much difficulty while we’re in our current situations, but that’s usually when the breakthrough is nearer than we think.

Preceding the move was a very stressful 45 day search, during which I was fearful that I wouldn't find the right place (or any place for that matter) prior to my lease expiring. Just when I reached the pinnacle of that fear though, I changed course and surrendered it, choosing to trust that everything would work out on my behalf. It did.

Whatever your situation, I encourage you to continue dreaming of, and visualizing the life you want. The things you focus on are going to be the things that manifest in your life either way; so make your dreams juicy and full of possibility.

As I was imagining a life here, I didn't realize I was visualizing something that would be brought to fruition--at least not so soon. So my visions were not inhibited by what I believed my reality to be. Even in my wildest daydreams, a move here didn't occur until much farther into the future.

Yet, here I am. And I wasn't even actively looking in this area. Life just knew what it was that I wanted because I’d been visualizing it. So keep holding onto your vision, and watch it manifest in your life.
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