Oprah Spoke To My Soul with This Quote

I’ve blogged about the AOL and PBS Makers series before and expressed my genuine appreciation of the videos. Last night, I was digging around in the vault looking for a little inspiration when I came across the following quote from Lady O.

I say, determine for yourself how you are going to serve. And, then lean into that. Lean into that with your whole heart – to serve something greater than yourself.

In the video, Oprah discusses how you can find your significance in the world and the paradigm shift required to make that transition happen. Key takeaway: Determine how you can be significant through service. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why Oprah is Oprah. I can relate to that quote and feel like it speaks directly to my soul!

Watch it for yourself here.

Real Women Give Tickets on Sale Now!

Hey, folks! Tickets to the Real Women Give Launch breakfast are now on sale. Whoo hoo. For the details, check out the invite below or visit the event page . To keep this event intimate and to allow for attendees to interact and learn from one another, the number of tickets is limited.

Feel free to spread the word. See you in a few weeks!


P.S. Did you miss the announcement? Find out what I’m talking about here.

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler at USCA 2013

Good morning from beautiful (and humid) New Orleans! I’m down here for this year’s United States Conference on AIDS and am super geeked for two reasons. First, it is my first work trip. That’s right. I’ve managed to complete the “elusive” task of landing in a job that I’m passionate about. Second, the conference is in New Orleans and I LOVE NEW ORLEANS. The music, the food, the people, the culture… Sigh. I could go on and on. Not only do I plan to get married here but I also wouldn’t mind setting up a part-time residence here later in life.

Enough about my future plans for NOLA. Back to the now. During my time here, I’m looking forward to learning some very useful information that I can apply on the job and with my work with The Red Pump Project. In case you have been living in a bubble, HIV continues to affect people of color at devastating pace so any and all solutions are always needed.

When I’m not at the conference, please know that I will be doing my best to completely pig out on NOLA goodies. I am obsessed with New Orleans cuisine and can always find a Creole/Cajun restaurant no matter what city I’m in.

My first stop when I got in yesterday was Café du Monde for their world-famous beignets. Oh. My. Gawd. They were so so so so good and didn’t last more than seven minutes. All I want to do is stuff my face with them.

As far as my other plans, here’s my NOLA checklist.

  1. Have a cocktail in the courtyard of the W French Quarter. I mean, look at this place.
       2. Try a piece of alligator.
       3. Complete an early morning jog around the Garden District.
Anything else that I should do while I’m down here? Let me know! I’m taking any and all suggestions. Just leave me a note in the comments or shoot me a quick tweet!

What Do Real Women Do?

I have an announcement to make…

I’m excited to share that I am currently working on a new project called “Real Women Give.” Over the past five years, I’ve met so many women who have a desire to make a difference. We have shared tips for cause efforts, cried over inspirational stories, and built a network to encourage and motivate each other. Then, it hit me. Whether it’s tips on supporting a girlfriend battling breast cancer or how to plan a high-profile charity event, this same sphere of influence should be available to women everywhere on a broader basis.


On October 5th – a week before my 30th birthday – I will make a long-time dream a reality by officially launching Real Women Give at a breakfast event in Chicago. I’m so grateful (and excited) that Diane Latiker, the Founder of Kids off the Block and a recent CNN Hero, will deliver remarks about the difference that just one woman can make when she takes her power and decides to use it for good.

Check back on Monday for more details about the breakfast and how to purchase tickets. As I embark on this new journey, please continue to send your thoughts, prayers, and ideas if you have them :-)

Have a FAB weekend!

Adding a New (Furry) Member to My Family

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older or starting to nest, but I’ve decided that I am going to adopt a dog. It’s something that I have been thinking about for a few years now, and I think that now is the time! I’m obsessed with pugs (proof) so my original plan was to buy an adorable pug puppy. But, after talking it over with a few friends, I realized that 1) Puppies are WAY too much work for me and 2) there are so many great shelter dogs that need homes in Chicago.

So, I’ve been doing my research at on the sites below and I even got a chance to experience life with a dog this past weekend. As you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed my precious time dog-sitting Marley. My planned timeline has me finalizing an adoption in mid-October. Have any of you ever adopted a dog before? Do you have any tips to share with a soon-to-be dog mommy?

Chicago-Area Pet Shelters

PAWS Chicago – http://www.pawschicago.org/

Chicago Canine Rescue – http://www.chicagocaninerescue.com/

Animal Welfare League – http://www.animalwelfareleague.com/

Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago – http://www.anticruelty.org/


Four Chicago Volunteer Opportunities for September

It’s hard to believe that Labor Day has come and gone. It is officially time to start talking about football, pumpkin spice lattes, and knee-high boots. No matter which topic of conversation you choose, don’t forget that there’s always room to chat about volunteering. Or better yet… There’s always time to actually get out there and volunteer.

I haven’t done one of these in a couple of months, but here are four volunteer opportunities that you can sign up for this month!

Cheer on Half Marathon Runners

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is assembling a team of volunteers to help cheer on and hydrate runners during the 17th Annual Chicago Half Marathon. Helpers will staff the info tent and guide runners at the end of the race.

Date: Sunday, September 8th

How to sign up: Send an email to volunteer_ILC@lls.org. (Volunteers must be 16 and older)

Serve Lunch to Veterans on September 11th

As a special thank you to those in the Armed Forces and to commemorate National Day of Service and Remembrance, the Chicago White Sox have partnered with USO of Illinois to host a lunch for vets.

Date: Wednesday, September 11th

How to sign up: Head on over to the Chicago White Sox Volunteer Corps page and sign up.

Grocery Shop at Vital Bridges Groceryland

Vital Bridges runs four grocery centers across Chicago that cater to the specific dietary needs of people living with HIV. After clients fill out their grocery menu, volunteers shop the food pantry for the items. I’ve done this service project before and it’s actually is one of my favs!

Date: Saturday, September 21st

How to sign up: Register on the Chicago Cares website. Note: If you don’t have an account already, you’ll need to sign up for one.

Volunteer at the AIDS Run & Walk Chicago

From packet stuffing to race day support, there are a couple of opportunities to help out with this signature event that benefits the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and several local HIV/AIDS service organizations.

Date: Saturday, September 28th

How to sign up: Visit the race site to sign up.



P.S. I love the photo above. It perfectly represents fall in Chicago. If you like it too, you can order a print here.

Do You Have a “Do Good Bucket List?”

Lately, I’ve been all about creating lists and mapping out my life. Things can get a little chaotic, and I like to make plans (even if I change them later or never get started on them). The other day, I was thinking of the various volunteer activities that I would like to do one of these days. So, that inspired me to create a “do gooder bucket list.” It may sound odd, but I think it’s a good idea! I’m still in the process of adding things, but here is where I’m at so far.

Before I kick the bucket, I hope to…

1. Help build a house with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans

2. Volunteer at a Special Olympics competition

3. Complete the two-day Capital Challenge Walk for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

4. Make care packages for our troops

5. Read to a group of children at a local children’s hospital

6. Run in a charity race (10K or longer)

7. Sing carols at a nursing home or hospital

8. Spend a week at an AIDS orphanage volunteering with the children and learning from the medical staff

9. Serve as a volunteer baby rocker and feeder for infants in the NICU.

10. Host an amazing conference for teen caregivers.

Some of these things are probably going to happen before others, but at least it’s a start. What service project would you like to complete before you kick the bucket?


Save 20% Today on FEED for Target Items

SALE alert! Today only, you can save 20% AND score free shipping on the FEED x Target collection online only. I’ve been stalking this collection for a while now and have chosen my four things that I want right now.

Have you snagged any items from this collection yet? If not, better get on it soon! This is a great way to help provide meals to families in need while getting some cool pieces for yourself, for your home, and as gifts.


Newborn Bib Set, $12-$15 (Provides 12 meals)

Orange Polka Dot Scarf, $14 (Provides 14 meals)

Fabric Storage Bins, $30 (Provides 24 meals)

Large Bakeware Dish, $30 (Provides 25 meals)


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