Nesting (Unplugged)

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Does fall automatically trigger the urge to nest? I believe that I fell down the domestic rabbit hole on August 15th. We’ve been in our new place since May and I just haven’t been in the mood to be a homemaker. That was up until a few weeks ago. Now, I can’t seem to pull myself away from Pinterest for decorating tips. I make stews and desserts. Oh, and let’s not forget the Powerpoint slides that I created to help guide my interior design projects.

Is this normal? Maybe I’m finally starting to settle into my reality that I am a suburban wife now and my single city girl days are done. *pours glass of wine*

So, let’s talk about the projects that I’m really looking forward to completing over the next month.

1. Reupholster two ottomans that I purchased about seven years ago. The fabric is beige microsuede and I’m over it. I’ve been scouting Jo-Ann Fabric for some great swatches and have narrowed it down to four patterns. Hopefully, I can make a decision. #LibraProblems

2. Find the perfect turquoise accents for my living room. My color palette for the space is brown/orange/cream with turquoise mixed in. I will probably kickoff my search at Home Goods and Goodwill. Both stores have a great selection of knick-knacks.

Room Inspiration (Source: Pinterest.com)

Room Inspiration (Source: Pinterest.com)

3. Let Pinterest guide me to the perfect apple pie recipe. My husband wants pie but this city girl has never attempted such a dessert in her life.

4. Track down my Moulin Rouge poster and (finally) hang it in my kitchen. The movers left my framed poster on their truck and they finally found it. It is the ooh-la-la piece that my kitchen needs.

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5. Set up the home office. Currently, our office is filled with boxes of books, office supplies, bins of Red Pump materials and the couch from my old apartment. I’m thinking that we will need lots of storage and a big bookcase to help us get started. I’m in charge of organizing the room. My husband is responsible for furnishing it.

There are probably other things that I could add to this list, but I’m trying not to overwhelm myself with the pressures of domesticity. Up until Monday, I kept experiencing minor anxiety attacks while trying to find the perfect dining room table. Luckily, we were able to snag a beautiful Ethan Allen table (plus six chairs) for an incredible price from a couple preparing for a cross-country move. #Blessings

I wish I could say that I was going to do some before and after shots, but I’m not that evolved. I will promise to snap some pics on Instagram. Who knew that I had a domestic side? My mother is probably in heaven grinning from ear to ear. We’ll see how this goes!

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Laced Up and on the Move

I have been trying to become a true runner for yearssss. Last year, with my sister’s encouragement, I finally completed a 5K during the AIDS Run Walk. It was a sweaty, ugly completion, but at least I crossed the finish line. With my 2013 accomplishment in mind, I jumped at a couple of opportunities to get my reignite my interest in running while supporting two separate but worthy causes: fighting hunger and supporting children’s hospitals.

After completing my first 5K!

After completing my first 5K!

Today marks the beginning of the Miracle Marathon, a cool event to support my local Children’s Miracle Network hospital. Before you fall out of your seat, this is not a traditional marathon. Instead of running a bajillion miles at one time, everyone just commits to run one mile/day from September 16th to October 12th (my birthday!). If only all marathons could be so simple, right?! I’m looking forward to this running event because it is such a simple idea and will help keep me on track for the next item on my fall race agenda.

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That item would be Run 10 FEED 10 on October 19th in Chicago. I have a confession about this event. I signed up a couple of years ago but never ran it. *winces* So, I have to redeem myself and prove that I can complete a 10K, even if my legs and lungs turn against me. I’ve been doing training runs, but am nowhere near where I need to be. Thank God for my trusty dusty training plan. It is giving me the confidence that I need to prayerfully knock out these miles.

With all of this running, I have been on the prowl for a great pair of running shoes but I’ll save that for another post. In the meantime, I would love to hear any suggestions for becoming a better runner. Help!

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Domestic Violence Resources in Chicago

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This week, the topic of domestic violence has been ALL over the media thanks to TMZ’s release of the video capturing Ray Rice attacking his wife, Janay. Much has been said about the NFL’s reaction, Janay’s statement on Instagram, and why Ray did what he did. I haven’t really joined these discussions and I probably won’t. However, a few things come through the conversations loud and clear. Domestic violence is incredibly personal, painfully real, and swept under the rug way too often. I didn’t need a video to tell me that though.

 Thankfully, there are many organizations that work very hard to help those dealing with domestic violence escape and recapture control of their lives. Below I’ve rounded up a list of resources here in Chicago. I pray that this list helps someone. Please share and consider giving back with your time and money to help these groups continue this work. For them and the women that they help, this isn’t just this week’s “water-cooler topic.” This is their life. Please show your support.

 

Organizations

Between Friends
P.O. Box 608548
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-5232
http://www.betweenfriendschicago.org/

Between Friends is dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and abuse by providing education, support, counseling and advocacy services to individuals and families affected by abuse.

 

Mujeras Latinas En Accion
2124 W. 21st Place
Chicago IL 60608
(773) 890-7676
http://www.mujereslatinasenaccion.org/

Mujeras Latinas en Accion provides domestic violence and abusive relationship counseling for women.

Family Rescue
9204 S. Commercial Avenue, Suite 401
Chicago, IL 60617
(773) 375-1918
http://www.familyrescueinc.org/

Family Rescue is dedicated to eliminating domestic violence by providing comprehensive support services and shelter to victims of domestic violence, particularly to abused women and their children.

House of the Good Shepherd
P.O. Box 13453
Chicago, IL 60613-0453
(773) 935-3434
http://hgschicago.org/

House of the Good Shepherd offers an intensive residential recovery program for women with children who are struggling to overcome the trauma of domestic violence.

Rainbow House
4149 W. 26th Street
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 521-1815
http://rainbow-house.org/

Rainbow House has two locations and offers intervention, counseling, and advocacy services for women and children affected by abuse.

Connections for Abused Women and Their Children (CAWC)
1116 N. Kedzie, 5th Floor
Chicago, IL 60651
(773) 489-9081
http://cawc.org/

CAWC provides a shelter for women and children, and counseling, advocacy, and a 24-hour hotline for those affected by domestic violence.

Hotlines

Chicago Domestic Violence Help (24 hours/day)
877-863-6338

The Domestic Violence Help Hotline provides referrals (counseling, shelters and legal services) to victims of domestic violence throughout Illinois. The Hotline is operated by The Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network.

Family Rescue (24 hours/day)
800-360-6619

Cook County Domestic Violence Hotline(24 hours/day)
800-603-4357

Legal Resources

Domestic Violence Legal Clinic
Cook County Domestic Violence Courthouse
555 W. Harrison, Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 325-9155
http://www.dvlcchicago.org/

LifeSpan Center for Legal Services & Advocacy
70 E. Lake Street, Suite 700
Chicago, IL 60601
Tel: (312) 408-1210
http://life-span.org/

Life Span provides comprehensive services for women and children ranging from counseling and criminal court advocacy to legal representation in all types of family law cases.

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Photo: Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs

Giving Back with #HashtagLunchbag Chicago

If you’re looking for a fun way to make a difference and meet new people, then come out on Saturday, 8/23 to help the #HashtagLunchbag Chicago team prepare and distribute lunches to fellow Chicagoans. It’s been almost a year since the last time that I participated, but I’m excited to get back into the groove. It’s such a blessing to be a blessing, and you will have a great time while doing so.

The meetup location is at Lacuna Fitness (645 S. Clark, Chicago) at 10a. You can follow @HTLBChicago for additional updates. Hope to see you there!

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Monday Motivation: Encourage Yourself

Every day, I make it a point to find something to motivate me to be better, smarter, and more productive than the day before. Whether it’s the latest Harvard Business Review blogpost or an energizing sunrise, I always manage to find something to remind me that I’m walking into a great day. Well, last night while thinking of today’s post, I asked myself, “What would I focus on today?” Ten minutes later, the answer was simple. “You.” Well, not me…But, you. Each one of us has a story that has crafted us into the person that we are today. Only you know what you’ve had to fight through and that story should propel you into each day.

Every day that we wake up is another day…another chance to do something great. One of my favorite songs is called “Encourage Yourself,” and the premise is so simple yet powerful. We need to encourage ourselves and remind ourselves that

“Sometimes you have to encourage yourself/Sometimes you have to speak victory during the test…”

A winning mindset is the key to prospering today, tomorrow, and years from now. So, how will you speak life into your dreams and goals today? Take some time to really think about the answer. It could be one of the most important thoughts that you have today.

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“Ain’t Nobody” Like Chaka Khan

Last week, I had the best week EVER. I hopped over to the West Coast for a work meeting with the Greater Than AIDS team, then went straight to Miami for the ColorComm Conference (recap here), returned to Chicago to participate in the 85th Annual Bud Billiken Parade with the Black McDonald’s Operators Association, AND *insert breath* watched the legendary Chaka Khan take the stage in support of my nonprofit organization, The Red Pump Project.

Is your head spinning yet? Mine certainly was by Saturday night. However, it was totally worth it. I mean, Chaka Khan?! She is every bit as fierce and fabulous as you would imagine her to be. Before the show, Luvvie and I had a chance to meet her backstage and thank her for agreeing to support our organization in this significant way. A few snaps are below.

Welcome to the Chicago Theatre!

Welcome to the Chicago Theatre!

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Red Pump posing with Chaka Khan and the Music is My 1st Love team

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Luvvie and I with the woman of the hour.

It was a night that I will definitely remember for many reasons. My favorite memory of the night? Singing “Sweet Thing” with my husband standing next to me. It doesn’t get any mushier than that, right? Don’t laugh.

We are so grateful to the Music is My 1st Love team for selecting us as recipients of their first benefit concert. They are doing incredible things and I’m looking forward to supporting their future shows.

To Ms. Chaka Khan, there are no words! From one Chicago gal to another, you are a powerhouse. Thank you for rocking the red pump with us.

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Recharging my Life at ColorComm #C2Miami

Last week, I attended the inaugural ColorComm Conference in Miami and it COMPLETELY recharged my life. The high-quality sessions and sisterhood among the attendees were perfectly framed against the beautiful backdrop of the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. If you’re not familiar with ColorComm, it is an organization devoted to women of color in communications. The members of the organization are found in fields such as advertising, public relations, journalism, marketing and more. I’ve been involved with the Chicago group since last year and have met many great women as a result.

Highlights from #C2Miami

 

The conference kicked off with an awards dinner and keynote from Soledad O’Brien and just kept getting better. There were sessions about personal finance, the future of digital communities, mentorship, and integrated marketing communications. I loved the holistic aspect of the sessions and that the topics were designed to make sure that we are well-rounded communications professionals. During the closing luncheon, we heard from Johnson Publishing CEO Desiree Rogers and she shared five tips for us to always keep in mind. I listed them out below because they were too important not to share.

  1.  Carry yourself with confidence.
  2. Don’t be afraid to go with your gut.
  3. Opportunities to create change can be the most rewarding but also the most challenging. (Amen and amen.)
  4. Seek an opportunity that speaks not only to your intellect but to your heart.
  5. Savor every thing, every experience, every relationship.

I left Miami feeling recharged and renewed in my focus on creating and delivering impactful messages. If you are a woman in communications who is looking for a great (and growing) organization to get involved with, then I highly recommend ColorComm. You can learn more here. Also, for other highlights from the event, feel free to check out the #C2Miami tag on Twitter.

 

I Need a Bigger Bookcase

A more appropriate title for this post would be, “I need a bookcase.” We moved into our new place in May and are sadly without any bookcases. This wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t have at least six boxes of my books stuffed in our yet-to-be-furnished home office. You would think that my lack of storage would stop me from buying books, but I can tell you that it hasn’t.

This summer alone, I have purchased seven books and checked out “Gone Girl” from the library. Don’t I seem smart? Well, I would feel even smarter if I took the time to actually finish an entire book instead of hopping from title to title like a frantic bibliophile. So, how do I prioritize?

First up will be “Gone Girl.” Everyone swears that this book is amazing and I have to return it to the library in three weeks. After that? No idea but these four books will definitely be next.

 

1. “Instinct,” T.D. Jakes | 2. “Daring Greatly,” Brene Brown | 3. “No Greatness Without Goodness,” Randy Lewis |4. “My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife,” Sara Horn

 

What books are you planning to read before the end of summer? It’s never too early to start building my September reading list.

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