soulfood

Three Inspirational Women and How They've Impacted Me

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again.”
— Sojourner Truth

In honor of International Women’s Month, I felt the need to shed some light on a few lovely ladies that I find most inspiring. They’re a bunch of bosses too so that’s just the cherry on top. Can’t leave out that super important detail. Beauty, brains and a boss mentality? It’s honestly just a trifecta of awesomeness that I’m here for. This month and every month we celebrate women, our achievements and our willingness to succeed in a world where the odds are constantly stacked against us. We are beautiful, ambitious, talented, worthy…literally so much more that can’t be accurately summarized. These three ladies have been key factors when it comes to inspiring me and my grind so I really just want to take a moment to show them some appreciation!

Carlie Carpio of holistically dope.

Women who inspire me to live my best, healthiest and most aligned life are my favorite. Carlie runs a podcast called Carlie’s Couch with Lex where they discuss the importance of crafting a life you love, staying true to self and above all, being gentle with yourself in the process. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be hectic, but we have to always remember to refocus and check in with ourselves internally. Carlie is also a personal trainer and yoga instructor (among wearing so many other professional/creative hats because boss lady) so she’s a true advocate for feeling good from the inside out. She inspires me to be mindful about the food I consume, to make time for more meditation and self awareness, working out and really just putting my goals at the forefront of my life then shamelessly attacking them. Glasses up to you, Carlie girl!

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Courtney brand of thebwerd.

This woman is amazing. She’s a bomb PR professional who is also the creator of one of my absolute favorite lifestyle blogs. Courtney has been SO helpful to me throughout my blogging journey in ways she doesn’t even realize. Through ebooks, resource guides and tons of random info, she helped me realize that when it comes to blogging and creating a strong brand and social media presence, it starts with you and how hard you’re willing to work for it—anything is possible. I was only giving 10% of me thinking I was doing soooo much, but then I’d be upset when my results were 10% as well. My motto for this year has been this very simple phrase: keep your head down and work. Once I got a clear handle on my creative goals, things started to line up for me and the road ahead seemed a little less blurry. But the key thing here is the work. Consistent and hard work. Through the frustrations and self doubt, Courtney has helped me find that spark to continue believing in myself to achieve whatever I set out to do creatively. I just wanna take a minute to thank her for being the boss that she is!

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Michelle obama.

Ah, thee queen. She HAD TO be on this list for me. She just had to. One thing I absolutely adore about this woman is how authentic she is and how she throws inspiration around like confetti. The way she lifts up women (black women especially) is simply beautiful. In her book, she highlights the power we as women possess by merely existing and how she worked to follow her passions yet still make a lasting impacts within her community. Reading about her journey since she was just a little girl instantly made me feel like I could do absolutely anything with a discipline, faith and hard work. Thank you, Auntie Michelle.

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Bottom line: Women are amazing as hell. If you haven’t already, take a moment to reflect on a the women you have in your life that push you to be your best self! Let them know they’re appreciated, loved and respected.

peace and blessings,

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How to Motivate Yourself When Things Are Off

Pull up a chair, love. Lets talk.

No matter who you are or what you do, you’re bound to run into those moments when you’re just not motivated. Those times when the idea of doing nothing but being wrapped up in some warm bedsheets sounds like a dream (thee dream) is unavoidable and they can creep up on us without warning, making us feel inadequate, lazy, etc. Sometimes this happens more often than we would like but we have to keep pushing because responsibilities and real life don’t stop for us. We have a list of things we can’t avoid because we have deadlines to meet. We have people depending on us. But if one were to take a little peek into the cluster fuck of confusion we’re experiencing internally, they’d see we’re not fit to perform at our best. cues tiny violins.

Usually when things are “off” for me creatively, I step away from whatever it is I’m working on until I feel sprouts of inspiration again. I don’t pressure myself to make “magic”. I look at it like this; the whole purpose of creating (for me) is for it to be fun and fulfilling. If things aren’t lining up in that moment, I can’t beat myself up over it. It took me some time to get to this point but I truly feel a sense of peace now that I’ve learned to go with the flow and not let the very natural thing such as not feeling motivated 24/7 bog me down.

“What about when you lack motivation professionally with tasks you can’t just let sit until you feel inspired?”

If you’ve reached a point at work where the thought of mandatory projects or everyday responsibilities makes you cringe, there are a few things you can do to remedy the disinterest. Let’s take me for example: I was having the hardest time at work around this time last month. I lacked enthusiasm and I was in this constant state of annoyance when it came to…working lol. It was a mess and each day seemed to bring on a new set of struggles. Bottom line was that I had to adapt to what was happening because there was no running. I had to get intentional about getting out of that rut because fighters fight…period. If you’re reading this, I believe you’re a fighter too. So c’mon, lets do this. You got it! (This is me being your virtual cheerleader so you might as well embrace it!)

REFOCUS + REDIRECT YOUR ENERGY.

If you’re like me, when you’re really bothered, it’s difficult to focus on what’s right. You’re wrapped up in the problem at hand. Please realize that this is just a phase and how you get through it is up to you (because you WILL get through it). In that initial moment of feeling a lack of motivation, think about what could’ve brought you to this point. Be honest with yourself and think about what could’ve been a trigger. Instead of complaining, be driven to find solutions; that alone will improve your mood and help you get back on track. As cliche as it sounds, the power of the mind is something serious. Think it and it shall be.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
— Confucious

Give yourself some time

YOU GUESSED IT. TAKE A BREAK. STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND BREATHE. I don’t know why I used to feel like if I shut down shop for any amount of time, that would cause everything around me to go haywire. When you think about it, you’d actually be worse off if you force yourself to do shit you’re not in headspace thats conducive to any type of real results. Trust me on this one, relax. Take some time for self then get back in the swing of things when you’re feeling better.

eliminate distractions

I think most of the times that I find myself truly unmotivated, a direct cause is the fact that I’m hella distracted. Usually if I can get some damn order in my personal life, that motivation isn’t too far behind. For example, I love to read. Mindful reading requires concentration and the ability to stay focused for an extended period of time. If I can’t sit for 30 minutes to an hour and just read, that’s how I know in some area of my life motivation is lacking. Ah, gotta love self awareness.

turn to your feel-good playlist

Because some songs just make you feel like you’re the baddest, most invincible being known to man. You need the same energy rappers have when they talk about their money and success. Buck that head of yours up and get to work, sis.

look at how far you’ve come

Look at your progress. Look at all the leaps and bounds you’ve made and think back to when you were hoping and praying to be where you are now. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you’ve done and use that as fuel to keep on pushing. The road to whatever the fuck it is you’re trying to achieve isn’t some cakewalk, so definitely remember where you came from. I instantly feel relief and a sense of peace whenever I’m reminded of my own progress. It’s refreshing and humbling and also makes me get out of my own head when things don’t immediately go my way.

peace and blessings,

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The Perfect Pour: All Things Wine with Rob Haynes

I love wine, red wine specifically.

If you follow me on Instagram and have ever taken a look at my stories, you’ve seen a large goblet filled with Merlot or something like it coupled with a good read. It’s a thing and because it’s such a thing, I met up with Rob a couple months ago over at Second Vine Wine. We indulged in a wine tasting plus more glasses of wine while I got the chance to learn a bit more about his profession. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a sommelier, keep reading. If you love wine, keep reading. if you’ve made it to this sentence, keep reading.

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LA: What is it about wine that sparked such great interest to you?

RH: Just seeing something go from seed to bottle. The process from start to finish. I like to see the work, the dedication and love put into each bottle.

I know that Tasting Tuesdays is your wine tasting event business. Can you explain where the idea/inspiration for it came from? And when can we expect another event?

The inspiration came when I met with Daniel Victory of Victory Bar—I was a frequent flyer over there and we ended up talking over a bahn mi and sushi from Viet Pho. I talked to them and they said I could do some wine tastings over there. I never did public speaking (hated public speaking), but I knew a good bit about wine. The first class had 18 people, second one had 33 and the third one had 47. At that point I got accepted into UC Davis, the number one wine making school in the nation and I also had four offers to different wineries out there. Everything kinda falls into place, the universe speaks to you and everything makes sense.

As far as Tasting Tuesdays goes….

As far as the next tasting, I took some time off. I’m finding more inspiration on the consulting and production side. I didn’t do any public events this whole year and I’m not in the space of forcing anything. Whatever happens, happens. Really just depends on when I feel inspired.

What was running though your mind when you realized your true passion for the production side of wine? Do you see it as a calling or something that developed over time?

It developed over time. Wine making is definitely some of the hardest work that can be done. You’re looking at 12-14 hour days…

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What is your favorite part about being a sommelier?

It’s a conversation. When someone tells you what their go to drink is, it allows you to give them a personal recommendation from your experience and stories. Each bottle has a different story and history and each bottle has a different story tied into it for me.

What advice do you have for someone interested in pursuing this career path?

Try a little of everything. I never thought I’d be doing production. I thought I was gonna own a couple restaurants and nightclubs around the world—that changed. Have an open mind; try sales, hospitality and see what fits and speaks to your spirit.

What factors make a wine excellent?

It’s all subjective. I could tell you what’s good, great and amazing, but you might think it’s terrible. That’s something I learned at UC Davis, what my palate is and what yours is are two different things. You have to keep trying things—the more you expose yourself, the more you broaden your horizons and palate.

Stemmed or stemless glasses?

Definitely stemmed. Reason being, stemless is easier—but with stemless, you’re actually warming the wine and destroying the flavor. It’s cool and looks nice, but nah.

Did you ever have any doubts about your ability to succeed when you started? How’d you push through those thoughts?

Absolutely. There are always uncertainties and doubts. I went from a predominately white industry in hospitality into an even more white predominant industry in wine. There are ups and downs and you just embrace them.

What are some good food pairings for red wines in general?

Food, like regions, opposites attracts. Opposite of sweet is spicy. So if you had some Thai food, do some Riesling. There are really no boundaries; just try things out and see if you like it.

How do you network efficiently in your industry?

Tastings, tastings and more tastings. Just trying wines and being open minded. A year ago, I never liked Italian wine, but I kept trying and trying and over time I just developed an arsenal.

What skills make you a great sommelier?

Good memory. Being able to tell the story and just having fun with it. The second you lose fun in anything you’re doing, it becomes work. Remain humble and true to whatever you’re doing.

Make sure you follow Rob on Instagram to stay in the loop about upcoming events and all things wine. You really never know when another wine tasting event will be in the works and I know y’all don’t wanna miss it! In the meantime, make sure you hold your glasses by the stem and lightly sniff your fine beverage to make it look like you know what you’re doing. K byeeeeee.

peace and blessings,

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