#BeSureSundays- The Worst Is....No


How many times have you wanted to ask a question but fear of rejection stopped you? ....(Hopefully not a lot.) How many times have you heard the word, "No"? ....(Wow all those times, and look at that you are still alive!) Don't let rejection kill you! Yes it might hurt, cause some tears, and spark depression, but don't let it strip away your sparkle. You all have no idea how many times a day I have to repeat the "Don't Die Afraid" motto internally. Every time I think there will be a negative outcome to something, I have to remind myself, "Go for it, what the hek are you afraid of? You're not living fearlessly! Snap out of it!"

The worst

These negatives thoughts usually materialize in the face of competition....Mental competition that is, my mind distorts reality sometimes to make everything into a competition. My brain works in odd ways, so let me break it down for you. About a month ago I saw an Instagram post calling for DC Bloggers to attend the Ultimate Brown Beauty Retreat. Initially, I thought, "Yay, that's me!....But what if they are looking for someone with a larger audience? I'm convinced Google Analytics overestimates my numbers...What if they want a media kit?....I haven't been writing frequently enough this month....They aren't looking for small bloggers like me, I'm not going to email them. I'll just buy a general ticket.

Do you see how problematic thinking like that can be? I made assumptions about why I wasn't worthy. What is the worst that could have happened? I e-mail them and they say, "No sorry, you don't fit into the demographic we are looking for." Then I would have just bought a regular ticket and called it a day, it wouldn't have been the end of the world.

After reminding myself to live fearlessly, I sent the e-mail and was overjoyed when I received a response inviting me to be one of the guest bloggers! Well, look at that! If I would have let all my unjustifiable concerns prevent me from reaching out, I would have missed an amazing opportunity. What I learned from this experience is that you'll never know what the response is until you ask the question.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation lately? How do you handle someone saying, "No"?


#BeSureSundays- Snooze Button

So today Mr. Fearless and I went to church and the sermon was about Advent being the start of the Christmas season. This period was compared to a wake up call because it is the time to prepare for the coming of Christ-- salvation, hope, and the gift that comes from improving ourselves. The difference between an alarm clock and a spiritual wake up call, is that we can easily hit the snooze button on an alarm clock but a wake up call is inevitable. Most of the time we can envision our dreams, but we fear taking the next step to actually making them real. Fear of failure, not making enough money, not having enough followers, and not wanting to venture into the land of unknown possibilities...

Snooze Button

So this week's #BeSureSundays message is to stop pressing that snooze button of fear. 2015 is coming and we need to be ready and sure of ourselves. Get up and do the damn thang! Achieve that greatness, Don't Die Afraid!


#BeSureSundays- Be Bold

With winter weather basically here, we tend to only see the naked branches and overcast. I chose this photo that I took over the summer of this bed of flowers, to remind us of all the beauty we can find in nature. Be Bold

For this installment of #BeSureSundays, our message for the week is to BE BOLD! This time of the year is stressful for students like myself finishing up final projects and in general for individuals trying to finish the year strong.

Don't let this cold weather suck the life out of us, wear some bold colors, speak up when you feel the urge, and do something daring! Use the hashtag #BeSureSundays to post pictures or tweets about what you are doing today to be sure of yourself, and prepare to conquer the week ahead!

Introducing #BeSureSundays

Sundays nights can be rough! It is the most hated day of the weekend. You can't sleep in late because of errands/church and you can't stay up all night because of work/school. So yeah Sundays are mood killers and a reality slap telling you that soon you'll be waking up to Monday Morning Blues (unless it is a long weekend which we love). But what if we changed our attitudes towards Sunday nights and Monday mornings? On Sundays relax & unwind- catch up on your favorite shows, read a book, drink some wine, take a bath surrounded by candles, read Don't Die Afraid, watch football, cook a hearty meal, go horse back riding, exercise....really do anything that brings you happiness. If your Sunday is spent focusing on joy then you will be ready to conquer all the shenanigans you might face that week.

A lot of this anxiety about the weekend being over comes from us not being sure of ourselves. We aren't sure we can deal with the bullcrap we might endure for the week. BUT WE CAN! WE CAN DO IT ALL because we aren't dying afraid, we are a fearless family!


So with that mindset, I came up with the idea of #BeSureSundays. On Sundays, let's focus on seizing the last ounce of the weekend by doing things that makes us smile. Use the hashtag #BeSureSundays to post pictures or tweets about what you are doing that Sunday to be fulfilled, sure of yourself, and ready to conquer the week ahead! I'll also post an inspirational quote, that will be used to get us through the week.

As for Monday mornings, let's remember to be grateful for another day of life.

What do you do on Sundays to prepare for the week?

What is your favorite day of the week?

With Gratitude


So I realized I get bothered by certain people. However, it isn't just any type of person...so don't go writing me off as being hostile towards the world. It takes a particular individual to make me mad. Want to guess what type of person it is? If you said "an ungrateful person" then DING, DING, DING you are correct! I was raised by my Nana who was 72 when I was born. So yes I know you females out there are saying, "I need to have my first child by 30!" Well imagine being 72 and having one. Exactly! It wasn't the easiest task especially with a husband who previously had a stroke and was paralyzed on one side. Yes, I know my Nana is amazing! With Gratitude

I was secretly jealous of my classmates who were being raised by their parents. I always longed for family road trips, having my dad intimidate any guy who came to the house, cooking in the kitchen with my mom, and yelling at annoying siblings. You know, that whole idealistic "nuclear family" that we all have seen in popular TV shows. My Nana has always instilled in me gratitude because despite all the obstacles we had, God made a way for us. Over time I became more thankful to have her as a caregiver because who knows where I would have ended up.With Gratitude

Years later I continue to have a spirit of gratitude. I try my best to express to others how much I appreciate them. I always keep some stacks of thank you cards so whenever the moment arises I can send it to someone who has been a blessing to me. These Green Inspired cards below are exclusively sold at Target. I love the detailing on the envelope, the front design, and that it is green inspired (chlorine free and use soy ink). It doesn't get any better than that!With Gratitude

I read an article years ago about how people who exhibit appreciation for the little things in life are happier. I am a living testament that it's true! Don't get me wrong, I have my days of sulking and saying...."Ughhh not another problem...why me?...*insert other complaints here*.." But my new attitude has become, "Why focus on the negative and crap you can't change? All it does is create negative energy and nobody has time for that!With GratitudeEvery night I exercise gratitude by writing on a post-it what I am thankful for that day. I just throw them in this tin can and in a year I plan on opening them and reliving all those happy moments. I suggest this activity for you if you feel stressed or find it hard to see the silver lining in life. It forces you to think about the highlight of your day, which can be really encouraging after a rough day. These notes can be some of the simplest like, "I'm grateful for the stranger I saw on the train who smiled back at me." Try it out for a month and let me know how it impacts your life!

What activities do you practice to stay positive?

Who taught you gratitude?

The Limited 'Scandal' Collection

Where are my gladiator fashionistas? Oh yeah!!! The Limited Scandal Collection

So how many of you were excited when you found out that The Limited Scandal Collection was coming out? Then you saw prices starting at $49 and thought, "Not bad, I can do that." You went to sleep Monday night dreaming of all the pieces you can buy to foster your inner Olivia Pope. Then you woke up eagerly on the morning of the 23rd, went to The Limited's website just to be heartbroken because your favorite pieces are out of your price range.

The Limited Scandal Collection

Maybe I was naive for thinking it would be affordable knowing it was coming from The Limited. Literally, "The limited people who can afford this store." I had hope though because I've purchased a couple of items from there before, with these cool scratch of discount cards I was handed when I walked in the store. Am I the only gladiator on a budget? I definitely looked at those prices like, "Que?"

The Limited Scandal Collection

Yes I have a job and a ton of money in my savings account but I also know what a smart purchase is and what isn't. Buying something from this collection definitely doesn't fall under smart. I'm a grad student living in my own apartment for the first time. (That should spell out S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E for you.)

The Limited Scandal Collection

The Limited Scandal Collection

Don't jump through the screen because of the comments that are about to follow but it is what it is. I'm not really blown away by anything in the collection.  Don't get me wrong, I would totally wear all of the outerwear if I was rich (or if Mr. Fearless bought it for me as a gift) but honestly, the majority of these looks could be recreated with cheaper clothing. We all believed these outfits would help us channel our inner Liv so we could be totally bad-ass! However, I am starting to believe that what us Olivia Pope inspired women needed was some fashion lessons from Kerry and her styling team so we can dress in a sophisticated manner but on our own budget.

"Sorry I'm not sorry." Now is when you throw rotten tomatoes at me, tell me I am crazy for criticizing the collection, and threaten to expel me from the Gladiator Society. But before you do that, check out my new friends on Twitter who empathize with me.

The Limited Scandal Collection

The Limited Scandal Collection

Although, I will never be able to admire these capes as they hang in my closet I must give Ms. Kerry Washington and Ms. Shonda Rhimes props for having such an impactful show that inspired a clothing line. Kerry also took over InStyle as the guest editor so my girl is just killing it right now! She is also an ambassador for Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse Program, bringing awareness to domestic violence against women which is a topic I am passionate about but it doesn't get enough attention. Kerry designed a trendy purple purse to raise money to supply women with the tools they need to escape abusive relationships.

Purple Purse

Instead of spending money on her new Scandal clothing line, I'm going to donate to the Purple Purse and you can too!


September 11th Salute

My blog focuses on individuals who aren't dying afraid. They pursue their passions without hesitations. Doing this can be an uncomfortable and scary process because you aren't guaranteed to ANYTHING and don't know 100% where your journey will take you. 911 Bridge

On September 11, 2001 individuals were faced  with what was most likely the scariest situation they have ever experienced. These ordinary civilians just at work or walking around the city did not die afraid. Yes they were probably scared because they didn't know what the outcome would be but they were also thinking about their loved ones and trying to help each other escape and to be so selfless at a time when their lives were in jeopardy is FEARLESS. 

911 Judy

The story above is just one example out of hundreds of fearless acts that occurred that day.

I salute all those lost as a result of September 11th and send prayers of comfort to their families.

Give LoudPen Ink on Kickstarter

So earlier this month, LoudPen, a fellow blogger reached out to me via Twitter to tell me how much she liked my blog. I was ecstatic that she found me, as it was my first time being reached out to by a stranger. After talking I learned about her blog, "De La Pen, All Pen Everything" and Kickstarter campaign to help expand her blog's reach into Pen.Point: The Seasoned Traveler and Pen.Style. After checking out her campaign, I donated to it. (My first Kickstarter donation! Yip-ee!) Read below to find out about the woman behind the project and then if you are able to, definitely go donate to her cause! Give to LoudPen

DDA: What initially inspired you to start your blog? LP: I started my blog because I wanted a place to share my opinion on fashion. Since 2010 when I started, it has grown into an international and multicultural online lifestyle magazine. I cover fashion, music, art, travel, events, and more. I want the site to be a place where people can get information on the latest designers, musicians, artists, travel destinations and hotels, not to mention know what events to attend.

DDA: What do you want people to gain from it? LP:I want to inspire people to create their own great work and lastly, I want to unite people from all different cultures and backgrounds. That's why I always emphasize the international & multicultural part so people understand I cover Asian, Hispanic, African-American, African, European, and American culture on the site. I'm proud to say that the majority of my readership is Asian, Hispanic, and African-American so I'm glad my content is reaching a diverse audience.

Give to LoudPen

DDA: People always want to know where their money is going before the just give it away. For your Kickstarter, how did you determine $2,500 as your goal? Do you have a budget that you can share with us that explains the items you wish you to purchase with this money?  LP: Yes, I definitely have a budget! I would like everyone to know that I worked on the Give LoudPen Ink campaign for 3 months prior to launching it. First, I created a budget which breaks down into: $250 for travel to Dallas which is the 2nd location for the Pen.Point: The Seasoned Traveler campaign. The $250 will cover gas & my rental car. The next part is $650 for Advertising & Marketing. I am planning to launch Google AdWords campaigns and as well as using Facebook and Twitter Advertising. I ran a Facebook ad campaign for my blog a few months ago because I got a free $50 credit and it got me 50 new fans. That's a dollar per fan so I decided to include advertising in the budget. My site gets great traffic and I have a loyal following but major brands work with bloggers who have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers. If I can run a few campaigns, I would see an increase in my numbers and be able to show brands, I know how to blog and use digital/social advertising to increase my campaign reach. That would make me more valuable and make brands more likely to hire me for projects. The next $500 is for photography since that is crucial to having non-grainy photos. The last $400 is to purchase supplies like makeup, beauty products, clothes, and accessories. This is specifically for the Pen.Style shoots because since it's a series of fashion/lifestyle editorials, I want to feature great fashion and fabulous beauty in cool locations. That said, my total budget is $1800, but the reason I'm seeking $2500 is because Kickstarter charges a 5% fee for funds raised and Amazon Payments charges a 2-3% fee. So I wanted to raise enough to cover my costs and those fees.

Give to LoudPen

DDA: So what do you do in order to relax from all the blogging, your day job, and planning out all these social media strategies? LP: Honestly, right now I don't have a favorite place to relax because I rarely let myself do so. I'm not where I want to be with my business and career so I'm usually working. Once my finances start flowing more I fully intend to take vacation or short weekend trips every 2-3 months. I will say that right now, my home is my sanctuary so on the weekends, I'll chill out there and I don't do any work. I usually do a full on digital detox by not using social media either.

DDA: You've been blogging since 2008, that is a long ass time. Like you said it takes money and not to mention all the time and research that goes into it as well. So when was the defining moment that made you decide that you aren't going to die afraid, you were going to just keep inking that page and sharing with your followers what is on your mind? LP: Yes, like we said on Twitter, I'm like the grandma of blogging! It has been such a crazy ass ride navigating the blogosphere. But I'll say it was my first trip to Uzbekistan in 2010 and in 2012 to cover events for the Fund Forum of Arts & Culture Uzbekistan. The Fund Forum is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting Uzbek fashion, music, and art so I was sponsored to attend and cover some of their events. Lots of family members & friends told me not to go but I took a chance and went anyway and that was a pivotal moment for me because it made me a professional blogger officially. I had a major brand cover my travel and accommodations to go all the way to Central Asia. Then when I got back I met my business partner and we co-founded our agency, The Network. With so many unique experiences, I know I won't die afraid because I've taken so many huge risks some have failed, some have been tremendously successful. Either way, "I did it my way" as Jay Z would say.

Have you ever given to a Kickstarter campaign?

What are the most effective ways of fundraising?

John Legend's "You & I" Video

John Legend's "You & I (Nobody In The World)" video made me love the song even more. When I initially heard the album, I imagined him or my husband singing it to me at my wedding. I expected the video to revolve around an intimate moment with his sexy wife Chrissy Teigen like all the rest of his videos duhhh. But nope, instead he surprised me by including a diverse group of women to show that all those flaws we think we have are actually beautiful. Where do women get cast for these things? John Legend if you are reading this, I would love to be in your next video! John Legend's You & I Video

Women can get so consumed with outer appearances, it usually fogs our mirror when we see our reflection. I have plenty insecurities and sometimes I find myself so focused on those instead of the features I love about myself. Now of course this is attributed to society's model of perfection and just always striving to be "better" (I say that in parentheses because enhancements or changes aren't always better, they come with their cons as well.)

John Legend's You & I Video

This video symbolizes the experience of a woman at all stages of life. As a little girl brushing her teeth in the mirror, as a graduate tackling the real world, as a woman in the workplace dominated by men, as a pregnant mother, as a cancer survivor, and simple moments such as checking ourselves out in a car mirror while on a jog.

John Legend's You & I Video

All women can relate to this video and I applaud John Legend for including our experiences as a whole. It displays many facets of a woman's life and shows that "you don't even have to try," which is such a relief.