Thursday, June 1, 2017

One Step at a Time

"When you can't wait any longer
But there's no end in sight (When you need to find the strength)
It's your faith that makes you stronger
The only we get there is one step at a time

Take one step at a time
There's no need to rush
It's like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It's gonna happen and it's
Supposed to happen that we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time"
~Jordin Sparks,  One Step at a Time.

These are lyrics from one of my favorite songs. For me at this point in my life, I'm going one step at a time. I need this for my healing.  I have my good days and my bad days, but eventually my good days will outweigh my bad days. This part of grieving hurts for me because I want to bypass the pain and feel my best again, but I can't.  This frustrates me, because who wants to continue to feel that pain? I know that in time that it will happen naturally. That's where my relationship with God and staying connected to my support system strengthens me.  There will be times I want my space to be alone, but I don't ever want to completely disconnect with my support. Through this time God is showing me his faithfulness.  He isn't going to leave me.

To anyone who is going through or will go through a difficult time, it is ok to go through the many emotions you will feel. Do not fight the feeling. You need to allow yourself to properly heal.  Lean on God and he will see you through. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Be Gentle with Yourself

I am truly taking life one day at a time. Losing our son so early in my pregnancy has been the most difficult trial of my life.  I have to be gentle with myself.  I have set some fitness goals for myself since I have put on weight. My husband had to remind me that I have been pregnant back to back. During my pregnancies, I had complications that landed me in the ER as well. My energy has been non-existent for many months now so for me, training has been difficult.  I am now motivated and my exercise is a part of my therapy. Through this difficult time, I am learning so much about myself and I know I am scratching the surface. 

My advice to anyone reading this is to take time to evaluate your life and where you are at the current moment.  If you are not satisfied with your situation,  create a plan and do what's needed to make the proper changes.  You have to be patient and be gentle with yourself because everything will not happen on your time. Trust in God and allow him to direct your path.

"Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Psalm 37:4 NIV

Monday, May 15, 2017

Thank You Mommy and Daddy

This weekend was such a blessing. We didn't do a lot, we just spent time with my parents. I'm at the point in my life where all I want is time because I know how precious it is. I came home to my favorite favorite foods and the foods to satisfy my cravings. She even made sweet tea just for Nygel 😊.  We were Joking and talking with my dad. I enjoyed the fact my hubby spent guy time with him. My parents had things for me to take back home including my Harry Potter book. They still buy things for all of us. Although their children are adults with their own families, they still care for us. They show me time and time again the type of parent I will strive to be. I want Jeremiah and our little sweet pea on the way to know we will always love them and care for them. The job of a parent never ends. Thank you Mommy and Daddy.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

AMPed Life Women Sherena King: Engineer, Queen, and Health Enthusiast. A Real Life Wonder Woman

Photo Courtesy of Sherena King
Sherena, Tell us about yourself.
I work as a QA Validation Oversight employee at a pharmaceutical company.  I’ve been married for 3 years to my husband Xavier.  Together we enjoy world travel, binging on Netflix’s Vampire Diaries, YouTube vlogs and knocking items off of my bucket list.  I also love event planning, playing with textures while interior decorating, collecting Wonder Woman paraphernalia, playing in makeup and transforming my body through different avenues of physical activity.  I’d like to think of myself as a true Jill of All Trades; I am Wonder Woman!!!

Why did you decide to get involved in competing in pageants?
I always wanted to be involved with the entertainment, beauty and/or modeling industry.  I believe pageantry would be an excellent avenue to gain exposure and network with individuals in those industries.

Photo Courtesy of Sherena King
What is your platform and why did you decide to use this platform.?
My platform is “Fighting Obesity through physical fitness and clean eating.” I've struggled with weight my entire life. I know what it's like to be in an obese weight range for my height, so if I can help others then I feel I've done my part. Daily physical activity and clean eating can be hard. It's good to have an accountability partner.

Most people who participate in pageants have coaches, but you decided to go without. Why did you decide to forego a coach?

When I competed for the title of Mrs. United States in 2014, I decided to forego a coach to present an authentic package to the judges.  Without proper coaching and technique I would be sure to standout and be completely myself.  

What skills do you gain when you compete in pageants?

Competing in pageants require you to be physically, socially and intellectually at your best.  I was able to enhance my social skills and strengthen my public speaking abilities.  I was always confident, but presenting my best physique during the swimsuit portion definitely took my confidence to a new level.  

Why is fitness such a big part of your life?
As a young child, I suffered from obesity and grew up to be an overweight young adult.  With extra weight came health problems.  At the age of 16 I was diagnosed with hypertension and had to take medication to control my blood pressure and bring it down to safer levels.  Becoming physically fit has given me a better physique and also keeps me off of the blood pressure medicine I use to take.  

Photo Courtesy of Sherena King
Some people have negative views of women who lift weights.  Has that been a problem for you? What are the usual comments you receive and how do you respond to them?
Fortunately, I haven’t had any problems from those who don’t understand my way of life.  I tend to surround myself with people who understand and see the beauty in women who lift.  However, there’s always that one person who asks if I’ll get too big or too ripped b/c they’re concerned I’ll no longer be feminine and/or pretty.  My usual response to them is, “F your beauty standards!” …and I’ll say it with a smile.

Society has its own standard of beauty.  Has measuring up to those standards been something difficult as a child or an adult? How did you handle societal pressures?
Society tends to be so hard on women.  When I was growing up, the media and magazines I enjoyed promoted women who were tall, very thin (size 0 – 2) with silky straight hair.  That definitely took a toll on me as an African American girl with kinky hair, struggling with her weight.  I was definitely influenced by society’s meaning of beauty; but it wasn’t until after college I dared to be my own type of beautiful.  When you know who you are and whose you are other people’s opinion of you no longer matter.  Self-Validation is the strongest trait a woman can have.  When you can admire another person’s beauty without questioning your own, you can handle the beauty standards society throws at you.    

How do you plan to use your fitness knowledge and your connections and skills? What is your overall goal?

Photo Courtesy of Sherena King
The ultimate goal in the fitness arena of my life is to become a certified personal trainer and obtain a certification in nutrition. I’d use those skills to start a weight loss program for morbidly obese women who lack the finances they need to obtain gym memberships or nutritional advice. I’d also love to teach freelance step and kickboxing classes at various gyms in my community.

How were you able to decide what paths in life you would take? How did your faith play a part of guiding you along the right path?
My family played a huge part in making sure I went off to college and obtained my Engineering degree.  However, my faith in God and my persistent nature are my special superpowers.  When you mix crazy faith with persistence beyond belief, you create a fearless human being not afraid to jump at opportunities.  I let my passions determine my path and I know I can do anything but fail because I have the DNA of Jesus Christ.      
Photo Courtesy of Sherena King

What advice do you have for those out there who want to chase their dream but have not yet?

There’s a reason why certain dreams you have are in the back of your mind and you constantly think about them.  Your dreams are the blueprints to your purpose.  Every day you choose not to pursue your dream you’re missing out on your true purpose and all of the blessings that come along with it!  My advice would be not to wait another day to live a purpose driven life because your purpose is greater than you!  You will be a blessing to so many people by living the dream that God has placed inside your heart.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

AMPed Life Women. Andrian Dennis: Navy Veteran Making Her Mark in Beauty & Glam

Andrian, Tell us about yourself.
Andrian Dennis, Owner of MyArtYourBeauty

My name is Andrian Dennis.  I was born and raised in a small town in South Carolina.  After graduating high school, I joined the United States Navy, where I met my husband and spent 10 years on active duty. We've been married for over 13 1/2 years and have a blended family of seven kids ranging in age from 10 to 21 years old.  There is never a dull moment in the Dennis household, truly LOL.  We decided that I would get out of the Navy to stay at home full time with the kids while he continued to stay active. I always wanted a big family as a kid, I never thought that I would get that and more. I recently started my business in makeup artistry, which I love. 

How do you juggle your responsibilities without becoming overwhelmed? 
Being a military wife and mom as well as a business owner is challenging.  There are times that I get very overwhelmed, but I usually have to schedule out the day and I go by that. It makes my time management easier for me. Getting the kids up and out for school, scheduling clients for a makeup session, doing makeup applications, picking the kids up from school,  and cooking dinner just to do it all over again. Whew! I don't think I would change a thing though.

Why did you decide to launch your makeup business?You know when I decided to start my business, it was so sudden because I really didn't think I was ready. I never thought that this little country girl who made mud pies would have a business that was mine and had a name that I created!  I had family members who were very influential and adamant about me launching the business. They just kept encouraging me and pushing me to do it, so I did.
Photo credit: MyArtYourBeauty

What services do you supply?
The services I supply are full face makeup applications, eyelash applications, beauty tips on skin and makeup products that may be affordable for all women.

What was the most nerve-wracking thing for you during the process of starting your business?I think the most nerve-wracking thing was creating a business page. I felt nauseous for some reason. I was like, "Okay, all of these strangers would see my work, and judge me for it." So I was very self-conscious and afraid of what someone might say negatively.

What is your favorite thing about having your makeup business?The most favorite thing about having my business is I get to make my clients beautiful.  When they take that last look in the mirror after I'm done with their makeup application and see the transformation, that smile from ear to ear let's me know that I've done my best at my job.

Photo credit: MyArtYourBeauty
What advice do you have for those who want to chase their dream?
The advice I want to give is whatever your dream may be, you should never give up in trying to pursue it.  Work hard, stay focused, ignore the negativity, keep praying, and believe in yourself.  Life in itself can have its road blocks, self-doubt, and the feeling that it all may not be worth it.  Just know that anything is possible, it may not come on your timing, but when the time is right it will.

How can people can people get in contact with you?
I can be reached through my social media.  

Business Facebook: MyArtYourBeauty
Business Instagram: @MyArtYourBeauty 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

My Participation in the Women's March

I heard the details of the Women's March on Washington when three women, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sasour went on the Breakfast Club Morning Show to speak about their involvement with the march.  The ladies spoke about how the march started with a woman from Hawaii inviting her friends to go D.C. to march and the event went viral.
                I was not able to participate in the Women's March on Washington D.C., but I participated in the Women's March On Charlotte, NC. At the march, I was surrounded by what I felt as genuine respect given by men, women, and children of all colors and backgrounds.  I received hugs and high fives from strangers.  There were signs not just for women's rights, but for human rights.  The atmosphere was energizing and powerful. When I got home, I watched videos of people across the country and around the world marching.  I want this energy for change to continue. 

               For me, it did not matter who started the march,  I look at this as an opportunity to spark change for all people.  I look at this moment as an opportunity to create dialogue with people of different ethnicities and backgrounds.  I look at this as a time in our country where we can talk to people about our struggles.  This could be the time where those who initially were closed minded would actually be open to listening and acknowledging things like racism and sexism exist. 

               We should hold each other accountable for lack of action when injustice takes place against anyone. I truly believe this what former President Obama wanted in inspiring hope and change.  My experience was empowering and motivating, and it has pushed me to further think about how I can impact my community.

Friday, December 30, 2016

AMPed Life Women: Mallory B. Richardson: Plus Model, Fashionista, Entrepreneur and Mogul in the Making

Mallory, Tell us about yourself.
I am from Rocky Mount, NC and reside in Raleigh, NC.  I'm a native of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe from Halifax and Warren Counties in North Carolina. I moved to Raleigh to attend NC State University where I earned two bachelor's degrees; one in English, Communication-Media is my second, and a minor in entrepreneurship.  I knew early on that developing my own career path was what my life long goal was. I am the eldest sister. I have an 18 month old niece that I adore and I am in a very loving relationship. I am a homeowner and I am very driven by fashion.  I am a plus size advocate as well as plus size traveling model, so I am experienced. I am a clothing stylist.  People pay me to consult with them about their wardrobe. It can be revamping for major life changes whether it be weight loss, a certain age they feel like is a milestone worth a change in lifestyle for them, or career change, you name it.  People who want to revamp their wardrobe contact me. I also coordinate fashion shows and work with models to do casting calls, coordinate routines as needed, and get the facilities set up for the coordinators' overall vision for their show.

Why did you start Beaucoup? 
I started Beaucoup because I was in the Ms. Full-Figured North Carolina Pageant in 2015; the first of its kind in North Carolina.  I have experience in pageantry.  I enjoy it and as an adult, I thought this is an awesome opportunity.  I'm fully loving the skin I'm in.  Why not do something to empower other plus women?  After being a part of the pageant, I began to realize that it's a larger calling for women that may not be pageant girls or they don't have that venue or the passion in that way to display their love for being plus size or contribute to the community or develop in their fashion and brand awareness. I decided to start a non profit also something that I went back to NC State for a non profit management degree as a graduate student.  I decided to apply and start something that I always wanted to do.  I knew I wanted to be a non profit, but earlier in life I thought children and educational were going to be my area of interest. But after this pageant I, decided there was a different calling and not to say the only calling, but the one at this time that presented itself available to me.  I started Beaucoup with a small group of the girls from the pageant that I became very close with and we took it from there with trying to get the philanthropic views of the pageant, but also merge that with fashion, health and wellness which is also a major thrust in our system for operation in the organization.  That's what really inspired me to start Beaucoup; to get women together that may not be so into pageants but they want to be a part of something bigger and they want and they want to support their communities and they want bond with one another without having a sorority tie.  It was a way for me to create something for the local area and stretching across  North Carolina. I actually have girls in different counties across the state

Did you always aspire to be a model?
You know I never thought I would be. I would have thoughts in my mind of what I would dream of being and being a pageant queen, a model, and a fashionista was a part of it.  Now being 30 years old and looking back to when I was 15 years old and seeing the vision for what I visioned was my reality, I don't think I quite committed to believing in myself at the time. I think that I was a big dreamer and I thought it was far-fetched.  I didn't think it was possible until now. I didn't always know.  I didn't always think I was a model.  I think people gave me a lot of credit for my clothing style for me being a heavier girl and being able to dress well regardless of my size. I was always very positive, but I had my own demons that I had to face.  I mean I did that throughout college as I gained weight and was probably at my heaviest time in life and now at 30, and nearly at my smallest point next to when I was 18, it's been a huge hurdle and still advocate for being plus size even though I am on the smaller end of the spectrum or a petite plus size, even segmenting more.

Have you always had a positive body image of yourself ? If not, how did you obtain that positive image?
I have not always had a positive body image, and as a young girl I was chubby.  I was always petite and short.  I went from friends that made comments, to the looks I would get for being the only plus size girl in my girl group, or from my family. Family can be very harsh and very instrumental to you loving yourself really early or despising yourself or not knowing where you fall in the spectrum.  I encourage people to really think it through when addressing people because the scars it leaves are lifelong and sometimes people decide to cut their lives short because of the way they feel about themselves.  A way I overcame is, it sounds cliché, but that whole concept of, "Her face is pretty."  I always felt pretty.  One thing I felt about me is that my face was a beautiful face. I was always told I look like my mom and she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, but I knew that I just had to work towards my weight and stop viewing it as losing weight and as becoming more healthy.  I come from a family that has MS(multiple sclerosis) , cancer, heart disease, and hypertension and I want to be around as long as I possibly can as long as God will allow me to be here.  Meeting other plus women, understanding what they went through, and knowing that they look to me as a role model than me trying to be one, it made me learn to accept and love myself even a little more.  So I'm thinking I'm helping them but they really did not know how much they were helping me.

Did you ever doubt yourself once your put your plans into motion?
I did doubt myself.  I think we all do at some point in time. "Is my idea good enough?"  "Is my idea big enough?" or "Should I scale back some because this is my first shot at it?" "Do I want to embarrass myself?"  "Who do I talk to?"  Those were some of the biggest questions I asked myself.  My personality is very giving, very understanding, and very loyal. I had to understand that not all people are quite that way.  When coming up with ideas to pursue, going into a public figure space, doing things that impact other people, and working together with other people, it can be a challenge.  When you are pursuing something as I am, that's bigger than myself, then it can't solely involve myself.  That's one of the things I had to get through to myself.  I have to be able to lean and trust somebody because we are in a society where unfortunately, entrepreneurs feel that we have to compete against one another.  Where they have to be the first one with the idea or have the biggest idea that produces the most volume and revenue.  I found myself trying to figure out who can I really trust.

"Am I giving myself enough time?" "Am I as known as I should be to produce what I want, and get the most support?"  Those were a lot of questions I had and then I had to think to myself. I am college educated from a top tier university.  I think things through and I know the right people and I have great networks.  I had to trust that all the things I have obtained as far as skills and knowledge.  Being crafty, being fashionable, and being the person that I want people be which is loyal, friendly, and kind to somebody is in turn going to return on its investment. I just want to build until I find my niche.  I feel like between what I do for my fashion consultation business the
Doll House and what I do for Beaucoup, I'm getting everything I want out of life. So many things are being thrown my way.  It's becoming a struggle to work that nine to five and come home and work all night at something that really drives you.  I thought to myself the other night. My nine to five may keep my bills paid for now, but my dreams keep me up at night. That's what keeps my wheels spinning.

What has this journey taught you about yourself
That if you don't risk something for it, then it doesn't mean enough to you.  This year has been so pivotal and trivial all at the same time.  It really made me wonder, "Are you going nuts? Is this the best thing for you to do right now? You haven't worked in months."  I took a period in between jobs and I really pushed to do some things which was awesome because it made me stretch my head to the other side of where I see myself. But then I also had to realize that I didn't work so hard to obtain the home I own, the car that I own, and the material things that I have to keep to keep myself afloat. I can't lose sight of maintaining those while trying to pursue the ambition.  That's what got me to working back at a job so that I could get myself suitable for a transition over time versus a hard stop. Nobody could really tell me anything. I was just going for what knew. I was working on 30 and tired of working for other people knowing that I had a blessing and a gift from God that I really needed to explore. I know for myself and probably many other entrepreneurs whether local, national or international, they will probably vouch for saying they gave something up along the way, and if they didn't do it, then they probably wouldn't be where they are at this point in their career. I'm not saying that I regret it one bit because I learned about myself within the last year.  People I think see the social media and get caught up in the hype and think that people are just posting pictures or saying the right things to get the right attention. But truly it's people that are working hard and believing in themselves and are trying to share that with the next person that may be able to be helped by what they do.  There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.

Have you incorporated your Native American culture into your style?
I do! I am a very proud American Indian woman.  There are eight tribes in North Carolina.  When I told you I had prior history in pageants.  I ran for Miss Indian North Carolina where I received first runner up in 2010. I am a strong advocate for Indian people not only of this state, but of this world.  I was the only Native American in the Ms. Full-Figured North Carolina which was predominantly African American women.  In many platforms, I am the one and the only. Luckily I do share the forefront with a couple popular plus size models from North Carolina that are native American.  We are getting the word out that even though our population is small, or that people don't know that we exist anymore, that we are present and we are here to stay.  I do incorporate it into my clothing. I actually did a photoshoot not too long ago because the American Indian Heritage month is in November each and every year and it's honored by the state of North Carolina and has been implemented for several years now.  I did a shoot that was totally dedicated to traditional garments.

What advice do you have for someone about going after their dreams?
I would tell them to take a moment and pray about it and make sure it is the right path and that it is God led and not person led.  People talk about how their gut talks to them and I was talking about mine earlier today and that it is really and truly not the gut.  It is the instinct that the Lord instilled in each of us.  I would say take a moment and pray and really let him guide the path.  Once that happens and you have clear direction, reach out to people that support you. You know its not a bad thing to tie people in that love you because they can give you the real of the real.  Maybe all amazing news and some maybe critical feedback, or things that you should think about.

You always want to try and plan your steps. sometimes things happen spontaneously which are amazing. I love spontaneity, but I'm a big planner.  I've been planning for an upcoming event titled Crusade for Curves that I'm having March 30 -April 1, 2017 for at least a year now. Trust yourself.  Allow yourself freedom to brainstorm and collaborate, to partner, and to know the right resources.  Resources are instrumental in success.  No one can do it alone.  If you don't know how to do something, there is a how to tool just about everywhere and if its not written down somewhere, I'm sure a peer that's in that industry or interest group knows how to do what you are looking for. 

It is very important to keep a positive and professional rapport publicly.  Off the scene away from social media you can be a little more free forming, but you know you want to make sure that you are portraying the proper image in most accounts.  People let their guard down too easily and speak too freely and it can be received poorly.  So when you are talking business or thinking about what direction you're headed or you're brand new to an industry, you want to take all you can in.  Have some voice and thought about yourself, but take more in than you say is a good way to go about it.

There is just so much to learn.  People want to know that you're genuine . They want to see your zeal for your passion.  They want to see your authenticity. I would say that has helped me along the way.  People will see my pictures and hear about what I am doing, but if I was a bitter mean person nobody would care enough to reach out.  You have to be able to relate to people no matter their color, upbringing, or socioeconomic background.

How can you be contacted?

My website launches Sunday 1//1/17 at midnight.
Facebook: Mallory B. Richardson
Instagram: @malthemodel

The Doll House on Instagram: @largerthanlifestyling 

The Beaucoup non profit on Instagram @beaucoup919

Mallory would like to thank her family, faith, and significant other for their continuous support.