Tuesday, November 29, 2016

AMPed Life Women: Ticora Davis. Tenacious Lawyer and Momprenuer

Ticora being sworn in as an attorney with her
husband Tyrone holding the bible.
Ticora, tell us about yourself.  
I am an attorney in Charlotte, NC and have been married for two and a half years to my husband Tyrone Davis. My son, Miles Ellington, is six months old and the epitome of joy. Currently, I work as a contract attorney for various firms in town; however, I am preparing to launch my own firm in the spring that caters to the intellectual property and business needs of online entrepreneurs and small business owners.  
I want people to know that I am a multi-passionate mompreneur who loves her God and her family dearly. I loathe injustice. I’m a junk food fanatic (much to my husband’s chagrin). I’m obsessed with business podcasts and passionate about economic development and intellectual property law.  
What is the toughest thing about being a working mom? 
Hands down, the toughest thing about being a working mom is balancing your hustle with your heart. The two ideals are certainly entwined, because I certainly love being an attorney and running my own business; however, I am committed to my husband and son above everything else. My men are my first priority, for sure, but it’s so easy to become consumed by something you want to succeed. I tell myself often to take a break, close my laptop, and be intentional about playing and laughing with our son or unplug from social media and give my husband my full attention. My son will never be this little again so it’s important I am purposeful about enjoying family moments.  
What are the 3 things you value most in your life? How have they shaped you as a person? 
The three things I value most that have shaped my life are: my relationship with Christ, the power of my words, especially “no,” and my family. My faith has shaped my resolve and resilience. It is the constant of my life and, like a magnet, always pulls me back to my center. This life and it’s problems are temporary. Knowing this helps me keep things in perspective when things are not within my control.   
As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to say and own my “no’s.” I used to say “yes” to everything and run myself ragged. I had this false notion that I had to say “yes” because I feared losing some so-called once in a lifetime opportunities and, quite frankly, had too much pride. I’m so happy to be free from that bondage. A “no” is just as good as a “yes.” Furthermore, I value the power of my words. We can manifest a positive or negative life with the “power of our tongues.” It doesn’t matter whether you believe this is biblical or the law of attraction.  It works. We cannot curse ourselves daily and expect to have a successful life, a successful marriage, or a successful business. I strive my best to always speak positively! 
Ticora, a glowing mom to be.
Finally, my family is so dear to me. There is something that happens when you birth a child that sobers you up. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but for me, it humbled me immensely and brought the tangible things that I used to hold high, low.  
What is Pumps & A Bump Maternity? What services do you provide? 
Pumps & A Bump is a maternity boutique offering a collection of styles curated with you and your BUMP in mind. We specialize in offering comfortable looks that celebrate our culture and our unique journey as mothers. We hope to be your "go-to" destination for gifts for the mamas in your life, as well as daily doses of inspiration for mompreneurs and fashionistas. Very soon, we'll be adding apparel for your little ones, as well as men’s wear.    
Why did you decide to start Pumps and a Bump? 
God breathed life into this idea while pregnant with my son Miles. I realized how inconvenient it was for me to purchase maternity clothes that were funny, stylish, and comfortable. As a black woman, I, personally, did not see much imagery or advertising featuring women of color. Identifying this as a problem, which is very personal to me, I thought that I could do something about it.  
Pumps and a Bump merchandise
I began to do some research and brainstorming, but initially didn’t pursue the business with intensity. After having my son, the company I was working for didn’t invite me to come back. In part, they cited my being a new mom as a concern as they felt I would not be as committed to the success of the firm. Hearing this really hurt, because mothers are the most hardworking people that I know! I couldn’t believe that someone would bypass my talent due to ignorance.  
Nonetheless, I’m thankful, because their doubting me was enough motivation to pursue this business venture with reckless abandon, and the tenacity to eventually open my own firm.   
What advice would you have for women who would like to pursue their dream or passion? 
Be confident and wild with your ideas. Smother your fear with faith. If you’re 85% there, you’re likely ready to launch. No one has it all figured out, no matter how beautifully polished their social media highlight reel looks. Trust your gut. Know your stuff. Don’t let anyone treat you poorly, ever. Embody grace. Know the business of your business (i.e. your books, monthly expenses, etc.). Tune out the noise and take the leap into entrepreneurship.  
Finally, know that the gifts you have brewing inside you were planted there for a purpose. The world is waiting on YOU to do what only YOU can do. Get busy. The world is ready, but it won’t wait on you for too long.  
How can anyone contact you about your services or buy merchandise?

Website for Pumps and a Bump Maternity:

My contact information concerning Pumps & A Bump Maternity. 
My contact information concerning business consulting and legal issues. For now, I’ll put interested parties on my newsletter so they’ll be the first to know when my firm launches.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

AMPed Life Women : Leah McPherson. The Engineer and Yogi

Tell us a little about yourself Leah. Where are you from? What's your Occupation?
I was born in Boston raised in Greensboro, NC.  I graduated from Johnson C. Smith University in 2005 and I've been living in Charlotte, NC ever since.  Occupation, I always say by day I'm a Data Cleansing Engineer, but by passion I teach yoga.

 You run marathons correct? What is the most difficult part about preparing for the race?
I have actually never run a full marathon, I have done a few half marathons.  The most difficult part about preparing for race is getting mentally focused.  Four years ago I lost over 100 pounds. One strategy I used to get me through my weight loss journey is I would tell myself, "I'm so proud of you!"  "We are doing something great for our body!"  "I'm so happy I'm further today than I was yesterday!" I still use some of those things. Often I tell myself, "I'm so grateful for my body," or "I am so grateful to be able to move like I wasn't able to before."  I try to stay in the present moment and be appreciative of every step.  It's not always easy, but I love the challenge.

Why did you decide to become a vegan? What changes have you noticed since becoming vegan?
About a year into my weight loss journey, my dad suggested I read a book called "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Furhman.  My dad has lead a healthy life style my whole life, so anything he suggest on health, I took to heart.  I was so desperate to get the information that I bought the paper back and audio book. I would listen to the audio book and cook the meals in the paperback book.  I found the things he had to say convincing.  I first started cutting meat and dairy out of my breakfast, then lunch, then dinner. Since I've been vegan, I think I've noticed that physically I have endurance, and feel like I'm doing something good for my body.  Mentally and socially I've discovered how strong I am, it's not easy being vegan especially a black vegan.  My friends, family, and people I meet will pick on me sometimes, but I don't take it personally I laugh along with them, so it taught me not to take myself to seriously.  Also I've been vegan for four years, and by seeing my transformation some of my friends have even tried it for a while or they like what I cook.  I've never been one to go along to get along and the people close to me know that so even though they pick on me, I know they respect me.
Leah teaches classes at her clubhouse.

Why did you get involved in yoga?
I first practiced yoga in high school, I bought a VHS tape and I loved it.  From there, I would practice with my VHS tape or along with this lady that used to come on PBS.  As I got older, I will always find myself coming back to yoga hopping from studios here and there.  This year I decided to get more dedicated to it.  Plus I wanted to help others to see how beneficial yoga is, so I decided to get certified.

Why is yoga beneficial?
Yoga is beneficial in many ways.  I teach kids and teenagers. For them, it helps with mental focus, flexibility, and I truly believe it just makes them kinder.  I often tell yogis, adults or otherwise, this is the only form of exercise where the instructor is not going to tell you to push.  Your yoga practice is your own, I'm only there to guide and help facilitate.  I think you can learn so many things about your body. I tell people to notice pain or that you're able to do a pose you weren't able to do before and it's just really a time to get in tune with your body.  In a modern world, we don't get to many opportunities to do that, so it great to take an 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or an hour just for yourself. What a gift.

To whom do you teach yoga and why is it beneficial for those groups?
Leah facilitates a Yoga class for a high school's football team.
I mainly teach teenagers and children.  I kind of fell into this age group. I was offered an opportunity to teach at a summer camp, then a high school football team and I really love it.  For the children it calms them, it teaches them mindfulness, and I do a lot of partner work, so it teaches them how to get along with others.  For the football players, it's beneficial to them because becoming more flexible helps to prevent injury.  Also, doing it as a team is just another way to bond them and help them to be better young men in society.  Very proud of my athletes.

What's your favorite thing(s) about yoga?
I am addicted to the look on people's faces after a yoga session.  I can literally see how a weight has been lifted in that moment in time. I can see that they are happy that they took this time out of their day to do something for themselves.  Another thing I love about yoga is that anyone can do it, young/old, athletic/mostly sedentary, beginner/super yogi.

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting yoga?
Yoga for the children.
I would say go to beginner's class at your gym, a local studio, or your local YMCA.  If you go into a power yoga or hot yoga class as your first class, you may be turned off from yoga because the instructor is going to assume most people in the class have a regular practice and therefore may not give you the attention you need especially if it's a full class of about 30.  Don't count yourself out before you even start.  I often hear, "I would like to try yoga but I'm not flexible or I might fall."  Yoga is to make you more flexible and to find balance.  Like anything else you get better with practice.

How are you able to balance your engineering career along with your yoga lessons?
My apartment complex is great that they let me use their space, so I basically schedule my sessions around my full time work schedule.  Also my job is really flexible, if I have to teach my kids, I'll take an extended lunch break and I'm allowed to make up my time by staying a little later.  If you're passionate about something, you find a way to work it out.

What advice would you give to women with regards to chasing their dreams and living their life to the fullest?
I would say start small. Everyday do at least one thing that's going to get you closer to the life you desire.  Focus on yourself and the things you can control.  Your emotions are the biggest indicator or what you're focusing on.  I once heard something like if you're feeling feelings of depression you're focusing to much on the past and if you feel feelings of anxiety you're focusing too much on the future.  Try to stay in the present moment where you are right now and what you and only you have control over.  There's always going to be things that happen that's going not feel good or not go the way you want, but just trust that God is working things out for you to have the best life.  Most of all, laugh!  Don't take yourself too seriously, I believe we are here to enjoy this life.

How can people get in touch with you to find about your classes or for yoga guidance?
If they want to get in contact with me they can follow me on IG(Instagram): @le_naturally. The link to sign up for classes is on my profile or if they have any special projects they need me for, they can email me at lenaturally@gmail.com

Sunday, November 13, 2016

We Need to do a Better Job Celebrating Fathers

The Friday before Father's Day. I took off work to make the drive to pick up our son from his Mom's home a few hours away. I spent most my day on the road, but I was able to get back in time to surprise my hubby as he left his office. It was a long journey, but to see these two smile...it was well worth it and made it an amazing start to our Father's Day weekend.

I sometimes feel Father's Day gets tainted by a lot negativity in comparison to Mother's Day. Not every mother is a good mother but we don't hear about that as often. I'm not saying that we should either, but we need to give our men credit when it's due. Father's Day is supposed to be a day to uplift men who are doing what they are supposed to do as fathers or as father figures. It is not time to bash the men who aren't handling their responsibility. Publicly berating the man will not always encourage the man to step up to the plate and and in some cases make him development resentment and push him further away.

The honest truth is he may never step up or it maybe years before he returns. We need to use our words to encourage these men to step up and do what they are supposed to do. Words have power to speak life or death.  We need to be our brother's keeper.  If you know a friend isn't doing his job as a father, talk to him about it. Find out what's going on, and encourage him to do the right thing.  This world is in such turmoil and a we need to do our part to make it a better place.

Fathers are just as important as mothers.  They just have a different value they add to the dynamic of raising a child. A woman cannot be both a mother and a father; nor should she try.  There are great fathers out there and they should be celebrated as such.  They need to know they are appreciated and they truly matter. 

Keep the Love Fire Burning Bright in Your Relationship

I was speaking with my mom about relationships the other day and she told me that she and my dad have been together for almost 50 years (dating and married). One thing I can truly say is I have seen them love on each other and I think it's beautiful. I have my view on how to keep things going over time, but I did ask her to see if my views aligned with hers and I am happy to say they do.  I have been using these skills and learning as I go because my relationship changes daily.

Communicate with your partner. I think a lot of times we tend to stop talking and listening to our spouse after so many years of dating and marriage because we are used to them.  The communication should not stop. You're always learning about each other. You change constantly. Likes can become dislikes and vice versa. Check in with each other regularly to stay connected.  It does not mean anything is wrong, but it can save you and prevent situations from bubbling over.  This is also a time to connect with your spouse on a level other than the physical.

Do things you've never done before.  
Try a new activity. For example, my husband took me on a photography date. He took into account that I love the outdoors and I love pictures. We took a train and took pictures of anything from flowers to graffiti throughout the city. This gave us an opportunity to explore the city in which we are new residents.  It was an inexpensive date but it gave quality time to talk and enjoy each other.  Next time it's my turn to plan something different for us to experience.
  • Try a different restaurant.
  • Book a hotel room for the night.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go on a picnic.
  • Cook a meal at home together.
  • Take a dance class.
  • Give you're spouse a massage.
Connecting sexually with your spouse.
You can talk with your spouse about what they would like to try with you. It can be anything from different positions, role-playing, or lingerie. Sex is something that is intimate and another way to connect with your spouse.  If you're lacking in other areas of intimacy, it can impact your connection in the bedroom. Explore each other mind, body, and soul. Just touch each other, caress every curve, but do not go to the next level to increase the anticipation.  Flirt with each other and show your interest and attraction. The right foreplay can make all the difference in increasing your pleasure.

Your relationship is about your mindset and perspective. 
Do you still find your spouse attractive?  Attraction isn't just about the physical, because looks fade over time. You have to make a conscious choice to love the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with.  Keep doing what you were doing when you first started dating and build on that foundation over time. We get so caught up in the day to day grind, we forget about talking care of ourselves and each other.  Your spouse should be your peace.  If they are not your peace, you should take a step back and make a game plan to reconnect.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Why I Believe In My Husband's Dreams

For those of you who follow me on my different social media accounts, you see that I share and support my husband's work and I am his spokesperson when I need to be.  I fill in any capacity in which he needs me and where I feel I can add value.  I do this because I believe in his work and his vision.

The other day as I was reaching out to people on my Facebook friends' list about his most recent book. A friend asked me if I was his promoter as well as his partner.  My response, 'I'm his everything. Love has no limits.'  I believe this wholeheartedly.  If Nygel succeeds, then I succeed.

Support this project here
I think the support we provide for each other on our different endeavors is another reason our relationship is as strong as it is. I could not be with someone if I did not believe in their abilities.  I am the type of person who is supportive of the people I care about.  I told Nygel from day one that I would not have dated him if I didn't believe in his talents.  I could not listen to his music and read his books if my heart was not into it. Those things are a big part of his life.  He would be able to tell I am not interested and that would hurt his feelings even more.  Lack of support is a reason some relationships fail.

He is realistic about his goals.  I provide a different perspective and I am honest.  I don't hold back my opinion to spare his feelings, but I give constructive criticism.  I think it would be a disservice to him if I am not honest with him.  I want him to be the best and he understands that.  

I support him because he works hard.  After working all day at his job, he comes home and works on his passion.  I will not get in the way of what he's doing because he is still meeting his duties as a man, husband, and father.  Seeing him happy gives me joy.  It is a wonder for me to watch him create and actually share in the creative process with him.

His projects are a labor of love and it connects us in a different way.  Allowing him to be happy and do what he loves allows him to treat me well.  Men will do a lot for a woman who understands them, support them, and give them peace.  I do my best to be his peace and it pays off with the love, attention and devotion he gives me.

My advice to the ladies out there who are with a man who is chasing his dream: let him do it.   As long as he is not being a bum and using his dream as an excuse not to work, support him any way that you can.  He will recognize your value and pay you above your worth.  To the fellas, if you have someone willing to stick by your side as you are chasing your dreams, respect her, love her, and value her.  Allow her to make your life better. Good women have that impact.

Check out my hubby's work:  N.M. Porterfield