No More Playing Small…

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ― Nelson Mandela


Today, I participated in a panel on WCIU’s The Jam TV Show as an expert for job hunters. This opportunity came to me because of a social media post I made a few weeks ago about hiring talented people. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m usually a behind the scenes person. Don’t get me wrong, I can speak live on camera, but when given the option I usually push other people forward to speak, and only speak when I have to.

I was also joined by two powerhouses on today’s panel, and two women I have deep admiration and respect for – Adrienne Samuels-Gibbs and Kris Christian.


Today I made a decision that I will no longer play small.

When given the opportunity to highlight my accomplishments, my plans or my voice, I will seize it.

When someone sees something good in me that I may not see in myself, I will be gracious and receptive, instead of dismissive or reductive about it.

When someone advocates for me, I will respond to that advocacy with affirmation and confirmation.

When the next step toward my dream is visible, I will take it and will not feel guilty about it or feel bad about it.

When a person wants to take a photo with me, I will pose with great posture and serve face, hip and lip.

I will nominate myself. I will write myself in. I will show up for myself.

I will walk in my calling when I hear my name called.


You can watch the full segment here.


Thank you to Producer Melissa Perez for the invitation!

Note: I am wearing my signature Crystal Ball Bracelet in Pyrite + Amethyst, as well as a necklace from Love Peridot. My custom jewelry and accessories can be purchased here.



Designs By DNS… My New Jewelry Collection

In the spring of 2014, my friend Dana Todd Pope complimented me on the jewelry I had on at the time. She also told me that my accessories are always amazing and that one day I’d “design my own collection.” I remember feeling so good that someone even noticed and my friend Dana is an incredible artist so the compliment meant even more coming from her.

When I was in High School I had a job working at Marshall Fields at the Flagship store in downtown Minneapolis. My assignment? The accessories counter. I sold belts, scarves and other outfit accents. I enjoyed when my clients of all ages would come in and need my assistance finding the perfect scarf or belt to go with their outfits. I was about 16 years old and it was then that I learned how the accessories really make the outfit.

I remember being into crystals as a little girl, but recently returned back to my love of them. I have a great collection of loose stones but my favorite way to work with the energy of the stones is through wearing them. I’ve amassed a pretty impressive collection of bracelets, pendants and rings. One of the things that I’ve always loved is purse charms, but I had not seen purse charms made out of crystals.


Caption: My collection of non-crystal purse charms. I wear one of them daily with my bags. 

All summer I’ve been going through the process of learning about creating jewelry. Experimenting with different tools and supplies. I’ve finally gotten to a place where I’m ready to begin selling and launched my Designs by DNS collection yesterday! Here are some of the pieces currently available:



Each of my pieces use Genuine Gemstones and each is created around certain energies. The purse charms are centered around the energies of love, abundance or prosperity. The bracelets are called Crystal Ball Bracelets and have a large stone surrounded by smaller beaded stones. I am excited that to bring another offering to the world and I am looking forward to helping people ROCK their magic as I have done and will continue to do! I’d also like to thank my friend Dana again for her words of affirmation AND for being my first customer! I’m so grateful and appreciate!

Currently I’m…

It’s been a while. Before diving in to a topic, I wanted to catch you up on what I’ve been up to. I’m planning to get back into my weekly routine again. As you will see below this Summer has been intense!

Reading… I’ve been reading social media primarily and spiritual books. I created a list on Twitter called Sources of Light. Here are the Twitter Handles currently included on that list in no particular order:

  • @TheSerpentCast
  • @MillennialTarot
  • @OshunsM
  • @Neptunebbys
  • @AmeliaQuint
  • @thejessicadore
  • @blackgirlinom
  • @LalahDelia
  • @drcrystaljones
  • @blksoltheory
  • @TatiannaTarot
  • @jessicalanyadoo
  • @moonandquartz
  • @thehoodwitch
  • @TheMidheaven
  • @oldewaysbrujo
  • @ashleighdjay
  • @graphicMedium
  • @starsmoonandsun
  • @angelicabastien
  • @JSoAbove
  • @TheMeccanism
  • @heymysticmamma
  • @chaninicholas
  • @GabyHerstik
  • @YungKundalini
  • @amberjfinney

The nice thing about the Twitter List Feature is that you can name your list whatever you want and then you can add whichever handles you want to it. When you click on the list, you will only see the timelines of those who have been added.

Playing… More than last Summer, I have been really being intentional about getting out in Chicago. I attended Pitchfork Festival to see Chaka Khan, Dram and Lauryn Hill, and I also have gone to a few social events including Sophistiratchet Radio’s Brunch-n-Trap Event (thanks to my Bestie Jamila for the invite).

Watching… My favorite TV Shows currently on the air are Queen Sugar, Love Is, Insecure & Power. The season finales of Queen Sugar and Love Is aired this week, so they won’t be back until 2019, but one of my other favorite shows Greenleaf comes back next week. Most of my favorite shows are on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). It is so encouraging to see a black woman be able to green light and provide a platform for such rich, beautiful content about black people. I pray that as I pursue and achieve my personal goals that I can continue to make room and create opportunities for others.

Trying… Honestly I’ve been removing the word “try” from my vocabulary. I believe that “try” is like a chicken exit to not do something. Either it is… or it isn’t. If I am still in “try” mode there is usually something else there to unpack… fear, reluctance, etc.

Cooking… My hubby was away more often than he was home for most of 2018. He has been home for about a month and I have been practically living in my kitchen. This week alone I made 3 new recipes – Spinach Enchiladas, Chicken Gumbo (I bought boneless or filet chicken thighs and non-pork Chicken Andouille Sausage). and Tonight I’m making Teriyaki Wings. I won’t link to the recipe until I taste it to make sure it is actually good! The first two recipes will definitely be in regular rotation.

Eating… I’ve been eating well. Drinking more water and cutting out sugar. I’ve set some health goals for my birthday in January and eating well is a big part of my ability to achieve those goals.

Drinking… Since I’ve been hanging out more socially, I’ve discovered that my favorite alcoholic drink besides Moscato Di’Asti, and Prosecco is a Mai Tai.

Calling… my bestie more often. We have the best conversations…

Texting… using lots of Emojis and GIFs.

Pinning… I’ve been thinking a lot about my Fall Wardrobe. The weather today felt very Fall-like. Fall is also my favorite season. You can check out my latest Pins here.

Tweeting… I’ve been super active on all of my social media platforms. My favorite thing to do is watch TV and Tweet at the same time. You find the hashtag for the show to see what everyone else is saying and you can contribute to the conversation. Most of the time I’m laughing and having super insightful and reflective conversations with people who are taking in the same content. It’s pretty amazing.

Crafting… I’m working on a major craft project that involves crystals and gemstones. I’m hoping to have some things to unveil no later than the beginning of October.


Caption: Beads for an upcoming project. 

Scrapping… My honey and I took the most epic road trip. We drove from LA to Tucson, AZ, to Marfa, TX, to Dallas, TX to my family reunion in Atkins, Arkansas, and back home to Chicago. We drove 7 – 8 hours during the day and then would hang out in a different town each night. We had a chance to see places in America that we’d never see, catch up and spend some good quality time together. I’m excited to scrapbook that trip. My husband jumped out of a plane for the 60th Annual Air and Water Show with the Golden Knights. I have of ton of pics. I have to order prints from my favorite Printer – Persnickety Prints and then I can get busy.



Doing… Exercise. I’ve been back in the saddle for two weeks now and it feels great. Someone asked me if I’d gone Vegan recently because my skin looks so good. I said no, but have significantly increased my water intake and I’ve added exercise back into my life.

Going… Connected to my craft project I’ve found a wholesale Bead Store in Downers Grove that I’d like to go to. First I need to make a list of the beads I’d like to purchase.

Loving… Life. This has been a great summer.

Discovering… myself. I finished up a journal that started in April of 2017 recently. I started writing in new journal today and look forward to continuing to work on and with myself.

Enjoying… So every night before I go to bed, I usually watch my two favorite Instagram Comedians – @iamzoie and @yep_im_kajun. I really enjoy falling asleep laughing every night and the first thing I remember when I wake up is going to bed laughing!

Thinking… As the organization I’ve founded Art of Culture Inc. has been undergoing a rebrand from Donda’s House Inc. it has given me the opportunity to really comb through our business model, our infrastructure and our future. I can’t wait to share publicly some of the things I’ve been thinking about! Stay tuned…

Feeling… productive! The sun is in Virgo, and since my Moon is in Virgo, this feels like a really good time for me. Eclipse season really tore me up! I’ve been feeling grounded and rooted and I am certain that is because of the energy of the earth sign!

Hoping for… I’m doing some consulting work and I just put in a bid for a major client. I am hopeful that the contract will come through as I am super excited about what I can bring to the table for them!

Listening to… my Spotify workout playlist almost daily and “Whipped Cream” by Ari Lennox. I’ve also had “Mood” by dvsn on repeat and “Ooh Nah Nah” by SiR featuring Masego.

Celebrating… my company’s 5th year Anniversary was 8/1! We’re planning a super cool Pop Up Event on 9/30! We’re also planning for our first gala in February.

Smelling… I burn a Frankincense and Myrrh Incense Stick every morning when I first wake up and I believe that is my favorite scent right now. I’m also loving the Black Cherry Merlot candle from Bath & Body Works.

Thanking… God, my ancestors and my loved ones for holding me down and making me feel so loved.

Considering… Halloween Costumes. Think I’m going to take a trip to NOLA with the hubby for Halloween. I haven’t been since Mardi Gras and I usually go every 3 – 4 months! It’s been 5 months and way too long.

Finishing… our rebranding work. My amazing team and volunteers have been meeting with me weekly for 90 minutes – 2 hours to discuss updating our documents, policies, mission & vision, etc. We present our work to our larger community on Saturday and have an internal deadline of September 1st for everything to be done.

Starting… two new Media Projects. Hubby and I are starting a podcast together soon and we’re working on a book. More details coming soon about both!

Fashion Inspiration

I have been catching up on one of my favorite TV shows, The Crown, and I came across this beautiful outfit:

I believe that my favorite decade for Women’s Fashion was the 1960s! The looks are so timeless!!! Here are some more images:

I love shopping at thrift & consignment stores! Clothing was constructed so much better back then to me. I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday!

How To Practice More Self Love

According to the National Science Foundation, “the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.”

What this means is that every single day, the average person is thinking the same ugly, disturbing thoughts about themselves, other people and the world. This also means that we are basically repeating the same cycles, living the same life and going through the motions every single day.

I am here to interrupt my regularly scheduled program, and yours too. The human brain is a POWERFUL mechanism… think about all of the things that exist because of its brilliance! From the time I turned 25 until about now, I’ve been on this intense path of rewriting my script. I am now 6 months away from my 35th birthday, and now more than ever, I have this intense desire to share what I’ve learned.

How To Practice More Self Love

  • Write a love letter to yourself.  What do you love about yourself? Why are you proud of yourself? When was a time that you came through for yourself in a bind? What makes you beautiful? What is something that you have or can do that no one else has or can do?
  • Write down affirmations and at regular intervals read them. It is not always easy to just think positive thoughts. Sometimes we need tools. Take some index cards and copy down words of encouragement and positive affirmations. Take them out of your bag and read them at the top of every hour. Read them before meals. Read them when you first wake up and when you go to bed.
  • Listen to music that is affirming. Create a playlist of songs that are inspirational and motivational. I have a few of these playlists and will type them up and share them out later this week. I’ll share three of my favorites. “Flawless” by Beyonce. “Satisfaction” by Eve. “Brown Skin” by India Arie. Make these songs a regular part of your routine to combat the negative thinking that happens.
  • Express love and gratitude to others. When someone does something nice for you, send them an e-mail of gratitude describing what they did and how it made you feel. If someone inspires you online, send them a DM or a message about how grateful you are. Gratitude opens up the portal for more blessings, not because you’re going to necessarily get anything new, but because you will start to realize the many ways that your life is abundant… that your prayers are being answered… that your life today is better than it was yesterday… a week ago… five years ago… Gratitude is like putting on another pair of glasses. It changes everything.

So those are the nice and somewhat easy ways to express self-love. Here are more ways to express self-love that may be more challenging. At least these have been more challenging to me.

  • Saying no. Peer pressure is a motha. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve agreed to something or said yes just because I wanted to save face, not disappoint someone or not hurt someone else’s feelings. No is one of the first words that we learn, but it is also one that as we get older we start to use less and less. You have the right to determine how you want to spend your time. Who you want to spend time with. The other person will live… and so will you.
  • Allowing your self the grace of changing your mind, walking away or opting out. This is an extension of saying no. Sometimes how we feel today is not how we feel tomorrow. Circumstances change. Our energy changes. Our needs change. If something is not right for you, you have to right to exit or leave it alone. Now you have to do this with great sensitivity because everything that we do impacts other people, but do what you need to do. If you are quitting your job, and there is a two week notice, don’t quit today out of spite (unless your safety or health is at risk). Give them the two weeks notice and move along gracefully and graciously.
  • Value what you bring to the table. Don’t undersell yourself or cut yourself short. If your time is worth $1,000 an hour, then that’s what it’s worth. When I am going into a situation where I have to negotiate, I sometimes write out a list of what I’m bringing to the table and a dollar amount for each. I have an idea of what I’m willing to accept at the minimal and why. This is something that doesn’t just work for me in my head. I literally have to write it out in advance of the negotiation and before making a final commitment, I always say, “I will get back to you.”
  • Allowing yourself time. I picked up this tip from Myleik Teele. You can always ask for more time to think about something. Don’t allow people to pressure you into giving them a response or an answer. I often use the terms “bandwidth” or “capacity.” I will tell someone, I’m working on limited capacity. I need time to consider. Time is our most precious commodity. Now it is important that you honor what you say you’re going to do if you ask for more time. At least you are giving yourself the gift of more consideration, the opportunity to weigh out and explore more options, the opportunity to research, so that when you do return with a response or a decision, it is well thought-out and you can live with it.
  • Charting your own path. One of my favorite quotes is “comparison is the thief of joy.” Put two people who do exactly the same job side by side. I guarantee that they will describe very different pathways. Put two people who were born on the same day. I guarantee that their lives will look very different. There are 7.4 billion people on this planet. That means there are 7.4 billion different ways of thinking… of dreaming… of resting… of being fulfilled. Your life is yours alone and you have the right to live it however you want to.
  • Treating your physical body well. This one is probably the hardest one on the list for me personally. I often go with what feels (and tastes) good for my body, not necessarily what is good for my body. This looks like an addiction to sugar. An aversion to working out and a physical body that isn’t worked out enough. I am still working on this one, but I know that it starts with my mind and being more balanced in how I approach what I eat and what I do(in terms of physical activity). If any of you guys have had success with kicking the sugar addiction, please leave your comments below. If you have been able to make working out a regular part of your routine, please let me know how. My goal is to lose my age (35 lbs) before my birthday.
  • Stop waiting for someone else to come along to receive the type of love you want. Take yourself out on dates. Buy yourself nice gifts. Love on yourself (literally and figuratively). Write love letters to yourself. Say nice things to yourself (like “Good morning gorgeous.” “You can do this.”). Wrap yourself in nice fabrics (my favorite is cashmere and satin). Get massages and facials regularly. Eat good meals. Buy yourself chocolate covered strawberries. Buy yourself flowers. This pattern of self love will only be reflected to you when people come into your life. I’ve been blessed with a very healthy and affirming marriage. I have amazing friends who love and support me. I truly believe that is because I started doing all of those things for myself, so when people come into my life, they pick up on the cues. I am totally and completely in love with myself… but that was not always the case. I encourage you to be totally and completely in love with you. It’s not a permanent thing. Every day I have to wake up and first make the decision to love myself and then do actions that confirm and make that decision true.



From It Will Be To It Is So: Octavia Butler and Erykah Badu

According to

Octavia E. Butler was born on June 22, 1947, in Pasadena, California. She studied at several universities and began her writing career in the 1970s. Her books blended elements of science fiction and African-American spiritualism. Her first novel, Patternmaster (1976), would ultimately become one of the installments in the four-volume Patternist series. Butler went on to write several other novels, including Kindred (1979) as well as Parable of the Sower (1993) and Parable of the Talents (1998), of the Parable series. She continued to write and publish until her death on February 24, 2006, in Seattle, Washington.

She was honored with a Google Doodle this past Friday, on her 71st birthday:


When I woke up yesterday I came across this tweet:


The tweet then provided links to images of Octavia Butler’s journals:



Things I noticed about Ms. Butler’s notes:

(1) The power of repetition: Both in individual entries, she repeated herself and across different entries she repeated herself. In some cases she was general, in other cases she was more specific, but the fruit of what she wanted to manifest remained consistent.

(2) The power of first-person. She used the term “I” often. Manifestation isn’t about what other people do or think. It is about what we do, and what we think about ourselves and our futures.

(3) She used both present tense and future tense. In one entry she focused on what will be… in the other entry she wrote as if she was living the life she wanted to manifest. “I will be…” versus “I am…” Sometimes there is a difference between what we want to happen and what is happening. We become powerful when we close that gap and make what will be… be.

(4) She focused not just on the what – becoming a best-selling author and her financial goals, but she thought about the how to do that. “Tell stories filled with facts…” “Make people feel, feel, feel.” She also focused on what would happen when she manifested her goal. How it would impact her life and the lives of those she cared about. Manifestation doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. We are not isolated beings. We were born into families… we live in neighborhoods…. we are a part of communities. These concentric circles are impacted by our action (or inaction). It is important that we consider how our path will impact those closest to us. When I garden I don’t just plant flowers. I have to dig a whole in the ground (disrupting the growth of grass), I have to add water, weeds often grow alongside or in the same soil as the flowers and ultimately have to be pulled. Life is an orchestra of which we play one tiny part…

Today I encourage you to begin thinking about your most important life’s work. What is that you want to bring into existence? Who will be impacted by the realization of this thing? What do you need to do specifically day-to-day to make it happen? How will you get there…

Research shows that wealthy people have multiple streams of income. What are your streams? Which obstacles do you need to remove from your life so that the streams flow freely?

Finally, I want to leave you with this example from 15 year old Erykah Badu:


Write it down. Take a picture. Spell It out.

It is so….

New Moon in Gemini Tips…


Photo Courtesy of

They say it takes 10,000 hours to become a master. If you do the math and spend one hour a day studying something that is around 27 years. At 34 years old I can’t think of anything that I would consider myself a master of. Maybe writing, maybe teaching, maybe learning… but even with teaching – methodologies, what we know about the brain and the social, political and environmental contexts constantly change, so I don’t know if one is ever really a “Master Teacher.” A master teacher is ultimately truly a master student. This week, I have realized that I suffer from “Oh, squirrel!” brain, and I’m learning to make peace with that. I also launched a new professional website,

At first I was going to get rid of this site, but then I realized I still need this digital studio and lab to think out loud. will be reserved for professional, business and “suited & booted” things. DonnieNicole will be reserved for social commentary, magic, astrology and all of the other glitter, stardust and “oh squirrel” things.

Yesterday there was a New Moon in Gemini. I have Gemini in a couple of places in my chart including my ascendant. I am “Gemini Rising.” So the astrology this month is going to be super strong for me. I am by no means an astrological expert, but I’ve been studying long enough (about 3 years) to navigate the basics.

My rituals included:

  • Burning a New Moon in Gemini Candle from House of Intuition.
  • Burning sage essential oil in my oil diffuser and lavendar cone incense.
  • Adding Agate, Green Aventurine and Citrine to my altar (all stones with correspondences to Mercury). All astrological signs have a ruling planet. Gemini’s ruling planet is Mercury.
  • Writing down my intentions connected to the areas of my life that Mercury influences:
    • Communication
    • Information
    • Networking
    • Travel
    • Trade
    • Merchants
    • Commerce
  • Remember that every month there is a new moon and a full moon. The new moon is a good time to plant seeds, begin new projects, vision, dream, etc. We’ll talk about the full moon when it arrives. Whatever starts at the new moon will be reviewed or “closed” in 6 months at the full moon. It is helpful to keep track of intentions and then six months later to read back over your intentions and do some reflections around lessons learned, insight, clarity, etc. Life is the greatest teacher but it moves so fast, unless we have ways to capture what’s happening and reflect, we will continue to find ourselves reliving the same cycles – in the same way that the sun rises and sets, every single day. Although the sun rises and sets everyday – new things are happening – temperatures change, people are born, and people transition, seeds are being planted, and fruit is being harvested. If we don’t pay attention, we could make the assumption (and mistake) that today is just like yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that…
  • Correspondences are like time tested formulas or prescriptions for calling forth and working with certain energies. When researching correspondences, I generally try to confirm it in at least two or 3 reputable sources before using or trusting the information. I keep a binder/notebook of correspondences organized by intention (protection, love, creativity, etc.).
  • The window for New Moon Rituals is 3 days before to 3 days after.

Most professional astrologers say that the most impactful elements of your birth chart are your Sun Sign (the one that most people know by heart), your Rising Sign (some astrologers say that this is more important than your sun sign and will provide more accurate insight) and your Moon Sign (provides insight on how you process and deal with your emotions).

Here are some helpful articles and resources for understanding how the New Moon in Gemini may influence and impact you:

Emotionally Intense New Supermoon causing major shifts & disruption via Elephant Journal. 

Affirmation Horoscopes via Chani Nicholas. If you have the opportunity to purchase one of Chani’s courses please do so. I am a regular customer because not only does she provide good information, she is a great instructor/teacher. Her horoscopes and astrological advice really allows you to personalize the information!

Jessica Lanyadoo Horoscopes via The Hoodwitch.

New Moon in Gemini via Mystic Mamma.

Happy New Moon!!!

10 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Business

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One of the most important elements of being an entrepreneur, is being able to articulate key areas of your business. Whether you are talking to a potential customer, trying to differentiate yourself from other businesses, or seeking investment or capital, these are standard questions you should be able to answer.

  1. What do you do? This is the most common question that not only business owners get, but adults of all ages get. Can you simplify what you do to one word? One sentence? One “elevator pitch.” Simplification is important, because you want people to remember what you told them AND you want them to be able to share with others they may come in contact with.  My one word for Donda’s House is “access.” My one sentence is “We provide artist development and youth development.” My elevator pitch goes into more detail about what artist development and youth development is, and I also mention Dr. Donda West’s history.
  2. Who is your competition and how are you different or better? It is important to do your due diligence on companies or organizations that do similar work to you. Number one, you will often hear “Have you ever heard of x?” People may have an affinity for the brand or organization and they are curious to know your thoughts about it. Also, people think in patterns. If you can connect what you do to something they are already familiar with, it will be easier for them to digest (and remember) you. For the longest, people were describing their business as the “Uber of X.” You can even say like “The Boys & Girls Club, we do X, but we also do Y.” In business plans, this is called the competitive analysis. Subscribe to industry publications. Join industry membership organizations. Keep your eye on those who are top performers in your sector, and think constantly about how you can separate yourself from the pack.
  3. Who are your partners? Partners are key. Often, your partners will help to legitimize your company! Especially when you are new. Your partners include your collaborators, as well as your clients or recognizable contracts. Bonus points if you can reference any governmental agencies or institutions as partners. The most important thing you have as a business is your reputation. Partnerships help potential clients and partners to mitigate or reduce risk in doing business with you.
  4. Where can I purchase your products or services? This is super important if you sale goods or services. Most businesses are expected to have an online presence like a website, or a portfolio of some kind. Also, try not to make the spelling of your products or services to difficult, so that when people “google” you, they can find you! It is helpful to have something physical that you can leave with people like a sticker, or something else. Sometimes I don’t like to rely on the memory of a potential participant, I like to also collect their contact information and follow up.
  5. What is your plan for growth? If you don’t have a business plan or strategic plan, you should create one, otherwise it is like running a marathon without a finish line. You have to create milestones and checkpoints for your business so that you can measure growth and make adjustments as needed as you pursue your goals. At Donda’s House we are working off of a 10 year strategic plan that we wrote in 2014, that we are constantly adding ideas to. This is also important for potential investors!
  6. How can I help you? You should have 3 – 5 actions that people can do to support you. Do you need people to follow or share content on social media? Do you need people to test a product? Are you looking for case studies? Do you need legal support. Whatever those key priorities are, you should have ready to go, so that when you come across a supporter, you can provide them with the information or tools they need to help you. People are generally very generous with their time and with their network, but can’t help you if you don’t know how to ask for help.
  7. Who is your customer? Your business or service should solve a problem for a very specific customer profile. Who is your customer? Break down as much information as you can about their preferences, their spending habits and their demographics. If everyone is your customer… then no one is your customer. Really focus on developing this, and go find your people!
  8. What or who could threaten your business? You have to be proactive about the challenges and threats your business faces. If you would have told me 20 years ago that music would become digital and there’d be few physical records, I may have laughed in your face. Be mindful of what is happening in the world and in your sector and be prepared to embrace technology, policy (laws) and other external forces that could negatively (or positively) impact your business.
  9. How are you integrating choice into your business model? Even if it is a choice between (a) or (b), people often want choices. Think about how you are integrated choice into your business model.
  10. What is your marketing and outreach plan? You can have the best product or service in the world, but it won’t matter if people don’t know about you. How are you getting the word out about your business? What are you willing to invest (dollar wise) to help get the word out? Could you connect to another brand or business to help amplify the awareness of your business.


Mood Board: Capturing The Magic in the Net

Mood Boards are common tools used by individuals in visual-heavy professions like interior design, event planning, and graphic design. According to a mood board is an arrangement of images, materials, pieces of text, etc., intended to evoke or project a particular style or concept. Check out this How To Create A Moodboard resource from Canva.

I screenshot stuff I like from the internet and instead of keeping it in my private archives, I’ve decided to share it with you, in hopes that it may spark something in you or inspire you. I am also an avid Pinner on Pinterest. You can check out my Pinterest “pins” (items I’ve saved) here.


Cardi B recently released an album. She hosted a listening party on Fashionnova’s Instagram Story account. Here are some of the graphics:

Notice how all of the images are “on brand” with the album cover, including taking the very popular meme and converting it into a branded image. During the campaign they played a snippet of one of Cardi’s songs and many of the graphics had some sort of movement. Lessons from this campaign include:

(1) Brand Consistency – Fashionnova used the colors from Cardi’s album, so that everything worked in harmony.

(2) Brand Leverage – Cardi was able to access the 11.4 million Fashionnova following, in addition to her own 21.9 million followers. When it comes to amplifying your brand, you have to “link” or “connect” with other people who may not be in your network. You can assume that the people in your network are going to support you, but how can you build a bigger base for your product or service? What existing and established brands can you partner with to amplify your outcomes?


I could go on and on about Beyonce’s Beychella performance. Instead, I’m going to focus on lessons learned for those who are entrepreneurs.

(1) Accessibility is important. Beyonce & team likely knew that many of her fans would not be able to attend Coachella. So YOUTube & Coachella partnered up to stream it live… for free. It is clear that this was a coordinated effort BECAUSE Beyonce frequently spoke during the performance about the people watching at home. This was also a great move for YOUTube, because they can study whether or not Live Streaming Festival shows is a business venture they should pursue. While the concert was free, imagine being able to pay a fee to access this content in the future. Additionally, Tidal has been playing around with live streaming (via Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival), so this also gives Tidal insight into their streaming vs. YouTube’s streaming. It will be interested to watch what happens moving forward…

Additionally, people there using their phones were sharing their own captured content. Beyonce & Team were able to “control” the narrative and the imagery around what was shared because consumers, with options are generally going to go for the “official” and most high quality footage they can find.

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(2) Timing is everything. Within 24 hours, Beyonce’s website had tons of photos from the show, including lifting up her costume designer Balmain. Beyonce also had Merch available and ready to go within 24 hours of the Coachella showcase. In addition to the 99,000 people in attendance at Coachella, imagine those of us who streamed at home?! When we have access to such a major or captive audience, we have to be able to give them a call to action. We can’t rely that they will care in 24 hours. Take advantage of the moments you are given (press coverage, speaking opportunities, live shows, etc.) to earn some income (via books, merch, additional services, etc.). I like to call this “layering revenue.” The key is to be ready.

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(3) Be a philanthropist. It was also announced that Beyonce offered scholarships to students attending specific HBCUs. This program is called the Homecoming Scholars program and more information is available on her website here. This aligns with her #beygood initiative. Always think about how your for-profit initiatives, can be opportunities to support a cause or mission.

(4) When people visit your website, it should be clear what you want them to do. On Beyonce’s website the only text that you see is the OTR II tickets for sale. You can click the bars on the left hand side to see additional texts and areas of the site, but it is clear that the Call to Action is to first buy tickets for the On The Run Concert. Imagine your website as the roadmap to your brand. What is it that you want people to do when they visit?! Also keep in mind that you don’t have a lot of time to keep their attention so visually, prioritize the things that are important to you.

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(5) Lastly, I grabbed this screenshot from Lenny S (@kodaklens) IG Story of a Fenty Activation at the Festival. Generally, simple items in repetition are incredible. This activation was probably not very expensive and I am sure that everyone wanted to take a photo with it, so it doubles as a photograph background & signage.

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(6) Also this:

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Serves the same purpose as the Fenty Sign. It’s beautiful, serves a functional purpose of signage, and the little box in the window is the perfect picture frame! This was for the Revolve Music Festival.

So these are the items that grabbed my attention this past week on Social Media! Happy creating!

How To Manifest


Caption: A list of my goals from 2004. 

I am a huge believer in the law of attraction, in energy, and in our ability (in collaboration with the spirit realm) to manifest certain things into our lives. I have been in intense study for the last year or so, learning best practices and the methodology behind manifestation.

My earliest memory of manifestation starts with High School. I used to write these lists of my future goals, two of included graduating from college and eventually starting an organization. I am happy to know that those two things have happened. Here are some tips for manifesting things in your own life.

1. Bring the idea from your head & heart into the real world. Use all 5 of your senses in order to actualize what you want to manifest into the real world. What would it look like? What does it sound like? What does it taste, smell and feel like? You can create a vision board and/or journal to really get your ideas out of your head and into the world.

2. Speak to trusted people about the idea. When you verbalize what you want, you are that much closer to manifesting it. Especially when you speak to people who love you and care for you and want to see you have your hearts desires.

3. Ensure that people will not be harmed or minimize harm as much as possible (to avoid the cosmic/karmic boomerang). When it comes to manifestation, things are generally going to work out for your greater good and for the greater good of others. Be sure that in manifesting your desires you aren’t causing harm to others, because that may be the reason why your desires won’t manifest.

4. Make room in your life for whatever it is that you want. If you want to manifest a new business, start the process by securing the domains and social media handles. Begin writing your business plan. If you want to manifest love, take yourself on dates and give yourself the love you want from another. Create literal space and time in your life for whatever you are calling into your life.

5. Be sure that what you want is intrinsically motivated. Do not try to manifest something that is really to impress or please others. That’s not genuine or authentic, and you may in fact get it but be unhappy or unfulfilled. Manifestation has to be about you and your contribution to the universe.

6. Realize that time is more complicated than just dates… there are seasons… Understand that we do not have control over when things manifest in our lives. Sometimes it happens quickly… sometimes it can take years, but ultimately when and if it does happen, it will be at the time that is most appropriate for your life. Don’t give up faith and hope. Keep living life and before you know it, you will be looking at what you wanted actualized. Ecclisiastes 3 is one of my favorite verses:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?


Caption: A list of my goals at 18 years old. I actually need to go back through and add more checks to those things that I have accomplished. 

7. Keep living and firing on all chakras (cylinders)… Manifestation is connected to gratitude. It is difficult to manifest when you are working with energy of desperation, bitterness, or anger. Be grateful for what has manifested in your life, in order to make room for more. When your fists are balled up, you aren’t able to open your hands for more blessings.

8. Have a vision but also be fluid about the execution of the vision. Things may not manifest exactly as you envisioned. For example, if you want a house, you may get a condo at a really good rate. Ultimately the house is about ownership, and the universe may give you want you want in another form.

9. Do the work… What you want isn’t just going to fall out of the sky. You actually have to do the work!

10. Do the research… Do your due diligence to figure out the steps to manifest your dreams. Is there a financial component? Do you need to hire consultants or contractors (in the case of interior design or real estate)? Do you need a stylist or photographer? Write out the steps from idea to manifestation, and do your research so that you can know what you are getting yourself into.

11. Connect with others who have already manifested what you’d like to see in your life and LEARN. You will not likely be the first to manifest or the last. Try to connect with others who are doing what you want to do, or who have what you want to have and learn. Not from the perspective of jealousy or envy, but from the perspective of being a student of their success. Remember that you may not be able to take the same exact path that they took, but you can certainly learn lessons from them.

12. Be reflective. Think about what you are learning about yourself and others as you work to manifest. You are likely going to learn lessons about patience. About collaboration. About resilience. Be sure that you learn the lessons intended for you. Healers often say that lessons in life repeat until we learn what we need to learn. Do you find yourself facing similar challenges over and over again? There may be a lesson or a “board” that you haven’t been able to pass, but need to in order to get to the next level.

13. Understand that everything that is supposed to happen will happen and that just because you want something to manifest it may not…. but even that is ultimately for the greater good. “What’s meant to be will be.” “If it comes, let it. If it goes, let it.”

14. Listen to your gut & your intuition. It is truly the 6th sense. In addition to the 5 senses, there is a 6th sense. Your intuition/your gut. It is just as valid in terms of processing information as the other senses, and some even argue that it is more helpful in processing information. Don’t be afraid to follow that little voice, or that feeling in your stomach.


Caption: A list of my goals from college. The checkmarks represent those things that have been accomplished. I actually need to update it because I have more things to check off. 

15. Pray. Don’t underestimate the power of prayer! Pray to your God! Write letters to your God. Speak to your God. Prayer is significant, as I believe that we need spiritual guidance or spiritual support.

16. Fast. Fasting is a spiritual act. It helps you to hear the spiritual messages and clear away the spiritual clutter. It is a form of submission, and of gaining control of the “flesh” or carnal body.

17. Seek spiritual guidance. Seek spiritual advisors (pastors and priests). Seek healers. Seek astrologers. Sometimes you may need some insight from another spiritually strong individual.

18. Use crystals and other spiritual tools that are known to hold certain energy. Here are the top crystals for manifestation:

  • Citrine (manifests abundance)
  • Quartz (amplifies your desires)
  • Rose Quartz (for manifesting love)
  • Amethyst (for manifesting wisdom & spirituality)


Another tool that I like to use is the Vision Board. You can read more about making a vision board here.

I created an ultimate bucket list, which I call my Manifesto. Check it out here.