My Father’s Day Weekend…Planned

Friday 

Today has already been a hectic day, early morning emails, getting Sofia to her last day of  school (finally), vacuuming and washing the car and folding laundry. Yes, all before 9:30am ( actually 9:21am) and with a 4 year old in deep tantrum mode. Mornings like today, I am not only reminded of how much I do, but also how much I can handle. 
This afternoon has to be all about Sofia. It’s finally her last day of school. The last day of 7th grade! It’s been a long school year. Especially the last few weeks while her little sisters have already been enjoying summer vacation. Sofia has worked hard and we are extremely proud of her, not only for her great grades but for her spirit and amazing disposition. I can’t believe she’ll be going into the 8th grade!

Tonight, if we can gather ourselves together the girls and I will attend a fashion show produced by one of my friends, while david heads off to DJ.


Saturday

Tomorrow morning we start our newest activity. Stella would like to learn about all of the historic landmarks in Pittsburgh (I know, this child is pure magic) so every Saturday morning we will head off to visit and learn about a different landmark. This is Stella’s plan and I’m going with it. I told her maybe we could go another day during the week, but she specifically selected Saturday morning so that Sofia and Daddy could be there and I wouldn’t have any gigs. Again, this child. 

Saturday afternoon we’ll head to the Art Institute student fashion show. Luckily I ran into the fabulous Dept. Chair and she told me about the show. I’m excited to see what these amazing students have created!

Saturday evening we’re heading to another family graduation party. Many of the people there are family members we don’t see very often so it will be nice to see them and for the girls to see how big their fathers family really is! They love family gatherings!


Sunday

Sunday is Father’s Day and we can’t wait to celebrate! David will DJ in the morning for brunch at Meat and Potatoes so we’ll have to wait until the afternoon to shower him with love and appreciation. We’ll miss him but we get extra time to prepare an amazing afternoon for him. 


All in All

Love and family. What more do you need? According to my husband and father, David Pugliano…nothing. It’s Fathers Day weekend so we get to give him even more love and show our gratitude, only slightly  different from our regular family time. 

We love him so much. He loves us so much. I can not only feel it, I can see it in his eyes when he looks at me. When he looks at our girls there’s no hiding the love and they have the same sparkle when they look at him. I am blessed to feel the kind of love he has for me but watching him as a father is the greatest joy. David and his girls have a beautiful relationship. It’s somewhat magical, and kind of unbelievable. I love that. As our girls get older I am even more grateful that David is my partner, and the father of my children. He gives them the kind of love and support that almost seems impossible. He has their back, and they certainly have his. Growing up with that kind of comfort, support and love is so important for all children and I am beyond thankful for the father my girls have. 

Special shoutout to my father and father in-law. ❤️

Happy Fathers Day to all!

My Weekend…Planned

This week, although a day shorter, brought a workload twice as long. This weeks to do list has already been added onto next week list!


Friday 

This morning we’re cleaning and preparing for summer. In the afternoon the girls and I will head to my office for a few hours. 

Friday the girls will go to their grandparents house for the night. David and I both have gigs. First up? “WhatsUp” by artists Sarah Zeffiro. A collab with another artist Tom Mosser opening at Irma Freeman Center for Imagination in conjunction with Unblurred on Penn. What’s great about this gig? Not only do I get to perform for a great friend but with great friends. My bandmate Brett Staggs and I will be mixing it up and doing something a little different. Joining us during night, my husband David (yes on Steelpan) and another one of my incredibly talented friends, Ayesha Scott will sing. Join us for a jam session at 10, bring your instrument!


Saturday 

In the morning we’re meeting with another talented friend, artist John Eastman. David, John and I are collaborating on a project that am I completely moved and excited about. 

Saturday evening we’re heading to “Full Bloom” the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre’s annual fundraiser. We’ve supported KST and this event every year since my sister took the position of Executive Director somewhere around 8 years ago.  This is always a fun event. 


Sunday



Sunday morning we’re heading to the Carnegie Library Extravaganza with our girls. Not only is this a fun event but Stella will be recognized during a ceremony for the “I Do What I Can” Awards presented by WQED, which she received earlier this year for being smart, kind and helpful. I’m so proud of her. In addition to recording a radio interview with SLB Se also gets to take part in this ceremony.?Stella is a wonderful girl; talented, intelligent, inquisitive, kind and so much more. She’s impressive. We’re proud of her and happy to see her recognized at such a young age. 

Sunday evening we’ll gather once again with family to celebrate a high school graduation. One of many family gathering this summer!


All in All

I’ve been thinking a lot about the people that get a lot of praise in our society and what they’re praised and recognized for. I don’t want my children to get caught up in thinking that celebrity, fame, money and materials things lead to happiness or relate to importance or self worth. I’ve never been impressed by those things I’m not sure why others are. 

Who impresses me? Stella impresses me.  Beyoncé impressed me (probably for really different reasons than the screaming fans in the from row.) Entrepreneurs that are great parents and family centered, impress me. Musicians and artists that show exceptional talent, live from their art and share their art with the next generation, impress me. People who work hard, have confidence, achieve but are still kind and dedicate time to others. That really impresses me.

I’m not impressed by people that have accomplished a lot but failed to be there for their children. Or people who are seen as great outside of the home but struggle with relationships within their family. I’m not impressed by those who give a lot to strangers over their family. Or people that aren’t loyal to the people who have been there for them. I am not impressed by ignorance and selfishishness and false praise. 

I am impressed by people who understand recognition means nothing if you’re miserable behind closed doors. And those that realize that pedestals and praise are insignificant if you don’t have real relationships. I’m impressed by mothers and fathers that work extremely hard and raise great kids. By families that support one another. By couples that accomplish separately but achieve together. By families fighting illnesses with conviction. Strong relationships, unbreakable bonds, family first, exceptional achievements, giving hearts…That impresses me. I hope these things continue to impress my children. 

My Memorial Weekend…Planned

Friday

Today started out with my daughters preschool splash party. It was so wonderful to see the children having so much fun in the sun. I was a bit concerned when Cece did not want to get into the pool however, once she saw the fun being had by the other children, all fear and hesitations went away. Then she didn’t want to get out!

After that I’ll go to the office to finish some work before heading back to school. After school my girls will come back to the office to finish some work and lessons before heading home.

 

Saturday

Before we do anything else on Saturday we’re making “big waffles” other wise know as Belgium waffles! This is my husbands specialty and the girls absolutely love them. We haven’t had a Saturday  morning at home in a really long time so we are taking full advantage of this opportunity. Big waffles, strawberries, whipped cream, with a side of bacon. Accompanied by a fabulous latte prepared by my husband David. Later, I’ll probably switch to a mimosa. Sounds like the perfect morning to me. Later we’ll do some yard work and cleaning. 

Saturday evening however  is strictly reserved for my David. Because he shares his birthday with our beautiful daughter, it’s never really about him. Which because he’s amazing, he’s totally ok with. This gives me an even greater reason to plan a special evening just to celebrate him.

 

Sunday

In the morning we’ll head to mass. After church and lunch I have some work complete and I want to  rehearse so we’ll to our new space for a bit. Sunday evening we’ll be partying with the Puglianos! David’s parents have had a Pre-Memorial Day party every year for as long as I’ve known them (and decades prior to that) so we’ll spend the evening there catching up with family and eating some really good food. I’m also really glad I have a day without cooking or cleaning up.

 

Monday

We don’t have a plan for Monday yet. All we know is that we’ll all be together. It’s crazy how excited we get for days like this, but we do. Family time is precious time to us. We do a lot together but we also spend a lot of time apart. At work, at school, especially during the week. We really miss one another by the time the weekend comes around. We’re all extra thankful for an extra day to spend together.

 

All in All

It’s going to be a wonderful family weekend. In addition to spending time together, eating great food and celebrating. David and I always make sure to delve deeper into every holiday so our children understand the origin and what the day is really all about. While I’ve been having conversations with the girls this past week about Memorial Day, Soldiers and war, simply because the are just inquisitive, we will make sure to address the reason we celebrate with our girls on Monday. 

I want to make sure my girls don’t take things for granted and understand the reasons behind where we are and what we have, good and bad. American holidays actually make me grateful that I’m an immigrant. I know it’s sounds strange but I know many Americans that take this country and among other things for granted. Foreigners are so grateful to be here and for everything that we have.  We know that with hard work, anything is possible. We think big because being here is big. I love that I still believe that anything is possible. I’m blessed to believe I’m capable of rest things but still have gratitude for the work and sacrifice of those that have come before me. That confidence and gratitude are behind why I work so hard, driven to do well and dedicate time to help others . Their sacrifice cannot be in vain. No ones sacrifices should be. When you connect yourself to the world in that way you not only have a clearer vision for your place but you recognize what other give and have given. 

I know many people that believe they succeed on their own yet remove themselves from every failure and every bad thing that happens. It’s actually difficult for me to be around those people. If you’re great, then you have great impact on the good and great impact on the bad. It all starts with gratitude. 

Happy Memorial Day. 

 

My Weekend Planned…

The last time I shared my weekend plans I was naive enough to believe I couldn’t add much more to our already packed lives. Well, I was wrong. Since then, we’ve totally increased our workload, overwhelming so. Caught between looking for a break and understanding we’re on the horizon of great things to come. With that said, weekends like this are a welcomed opportunity to slow down and celebrate the ones I love. 


Friday

I’m so lucky to start off my Friday with preschoolers. My youngest daughter performed in her class play this morning. I couldn’t wait to see what sort of show 3 and 4 year olds could pull off. Eventhough I’m sick super duper sick I was excited to cheer on my little Cece. After that I’ll head to my new office (yay) to wrap up work for the week and prepare for my steelpan lessons later today. The early afternoon will be all about party planning for my daughter Sofia’s 13th birthday party on Saturday. Say a prayer that I can get everything done, I hate being sick when there’s so much to do. 😩


Saturday

I know we’ll be busy running around on Saturday morning. The only thing crazier than planning an event, is planning an event that you’re also performing at. And, crazier than that? Planning an event that you and your husband are both performing at, especially with three kids and a scarily long list of “to do’s”  to check off. Nonetheless, my daughter asked for her father to DJ and her mothers band to perform at her party so that’s exactly what she’ll get. I mean, the girl obviously recognizes talent when she sees it. 

Minor (just kidding) major detail…it’s also my husband David’s birthday (Awwhhh) so I’ll be planning some special surprises for him as well. 😏
Saturday night,  it’s party time! I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter celebrated. Her smile literally lights up the room. She is the kind of girl you want to give the world to, but she would never  ask for it. I can’t wait to celebrate her special birthday with family and friends. 

  


Sunday
Sunday morning we’ll get up and head to mass…although as I’m writing this it’s seems very unlikely so we’ll probably go to mass on Sunday evening. After a early afternoon birthday party for a school friend. We’ll continue the birthday celebrations. I have something special planned for my husband. Sunday evening it’s back to our normal routine. A few loads of laundry, pressing informs for the week and packing lunches. We learned a long time ago that even when we have special moments our responsibilities don’t go away. Continuing to commit to our responsibilities and doing what we’re supposed to do it what helps up to be successful and achieve so much. We all have 24 hours in a day. I do a lot in those hours and in turn, get a lot back.  



All in All

I’m really excited to celebrate David and Sofia. May 21st is such a special day for them and for me. Two people that not only changed my life, but defined it were born on this day. 

  
Sixteen years ago on May 21, I enjoyed a first date with an amazing guy. We laughed so much and talked to each other like we had known one another our whole lives. Although we had an amazing time, David didn’t mention it was his birthday until the end of our date. A unselfish move to not make the day all about him.  
Thirteen years ago on May 21st my first baby girl was born. In that moment something change in the universe. I have understood my purpose ever since. Sofia was a little girl that looked at you with years of knowledge in her eyes and so much joy in her smile. She is thoughtful and patient, loving and kind. She sees the best in everyone, even those who don’t always show their best. We are blessed to know her, honored to raise her and grateful to be in her presence. 

I have loved both David and Sofia from the first moment we met. But the love I have received back from both of them is indescribable. There are no words for our love and our bond. I didn’t know you could connect with someone so deeply until I met my husband. And I never knew you could love someone so much until Sofia was born. I am blessed to have a family to love and care for and I’m grateful to know the power of love. Happy Birthday to my dear husband and amazing daughter!

My Incredibly “Busy” Pittsburgh Weekend… Planned

Friday

I’ll be working from home all day. Completing tasks and creating timelines for No Crayon Left Behind, StyleWeek Pittsburgh and Barrels to Beethoven. I have a hefty to do list but I’m sure I’ll get it done. Can someone just remind me to stop and eat?! 

Friday Night is where the fun begins. I’m going to start the evening at the Gallery Crawl. My husband David is djing at SPACE gallery so I’m going to stop by for musical inspiration! Next, I’ll be heading to Alpha Lab for the kickoff of Startup Weekend Women. I love the Startup Weekend events and looking forward to the first women focused event. After that I’ll go back downtown to check out the night market and join David at Tako where he’ll be spinning until 1am. I’ll hopefully have an amazing cocktail in my hand by this point in the evening.


Saturday
 

Saturday morning as with many families is all about kids activities. So we’ll start with dance and acting class at Alloy Studios. After lunch we head to Zeffiro Art Studio for the open studio event. My friend Sarah, is an amazing artist. The girls are looking forward to making some art! Saturday evening I’ll be heading to ATC World, a fundraiser for Alumni Theatre Company. I love this organization and the work they do around musical theatre and performance with kids.  
Sunday

Sunday morning as always is for church. This Sunday I’ll be on my own. Just me and the girls. Oh the hair! We’re still celebrating lent and preparing for Easter, Sunday’s mass is important because it’s the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday. If you can have a “favorite” mass, this would be near the top of my list. After Christmas Eve. 

After mass we’ll head downtown to Meat and Potatoes for DJ brunch featuring… You guessed it, David. Aka my husband. Aka DJ illeso. The girls will be excited to see their daddy at work. 

Once David is done we’ll head over to Squirrel Hill for the Purim Festival where my band Rhythm ‘n’ Steel will perform to kick off the festivities!  It’s our first gig in over a month! I’m excited to perform with my bandmates.

After the show, depending on our state of mind and exhaustion level, we may or may not head over to the Ace Hotel for the Spring Market, for local makers. I like to support local artisans and this looks like a great event. Plus I just love this place!

The weekend will end at Startup Weekend’s final pitches event. All of the selected ideas from Friday will have become actual products/companies by Sunday. Now it’s time for the final pitch and the winners will be selected. 

Monday starts spring break! I’m really looking forward to having my girls with me 24/7 for the next two weeks…😁


All in All…

I remember when there was literally one event in Pittsburgh at a time. If you missed it…sucks to be you. Now there are so many events you just have to choose and hope you make the right decision. Although nowadays, you have a great chance of having a great time no matter what. There’s always lots to do.

Although I I used it in the title, I kinda hate the word busy. I see it as just living life. We’ve all chosen to live a certain way. Have certain jobs. Have a child or two. And, all of those choices have responsibilities and unique logistics. When people tell me I’m busy, I feel strange. Although at this particular moment, me and my husband are on the  borderline of exhaustion and up to our chins in work, we’re not quite drowning. In fact, most of our conversations (when we get to have conversations) consist of ways for us to do even more. Be more. Do better. Be better.

Wondering how we got here? About three years ago we made a decision. We decided to try to do all of the things we love and are passionate about. If we could succeed doing what we loved we knew that would be the ultimate achievement for us. So we dived in, head first. First we focused more on our consulting business, then we launched The Boarding School and began working on Barrels to Beethoven. All while David began taking more DJ gigs and I started a new band. I’m not going to lie, the struggle is real, our lives are much different, very hard at times. But hard doesn’t mean bad and now? There is a joy in my heart that transcends any vision of happiness I could have imaged. I just feel good. My husband feels good and my children feel good. I’m beyond proud of my accomplishments as a mother, an entrepreneur, a musician and what I give back to the community. I am not doing what I love, I’m being who I love, and it’s amazing. I don’t feel busy, I feel extremely blessed. 

It’s Time For A Little Spring Cleaning…For Your Business!

As we get our minds and bodies used to the change in time and ready for spring. Most of us start thinking about change. Cleaning out closets, preparing the yard for spring, and planning for summer. That same way of thinking should be in the minds of business owners and leaders. What needs to change? How can I prepare my business, my team for Q2? Here’s where you can start. 

1.) Review your goals and mission statement.
Before you start making changes. Look back at the mission of your organization and goals set for 2016. Are you on track? It’s really important that every decision you make correlate to the goals you’ve set to achieve.

2.) Analyze your team.
This is the time to look at performance. You may love your team but do they work for you? Do their strengths and priorities align with you mission? Determine what behaviors and traits are helping your organization to succeed and what needs to change. Prepare performance reviews, schedule individual conversations and check in. This is also a good time to determine who needs to go, and that’s ok too. 

3.) Clean up.
Winter brings more than cold temps and snow, it brings dirt and grime. I’ve visited several restaurants, boutiques and offices that could use a big clean up and scrub down. And don’t forget the bathroom, you can tell a lot about a business or organization by how well that area is kept.

4.) Get organized.
Spend a day reorganizing. If you need more than a day, you may need some new systems or processes. Nothing says spring like reorganizing. Just like your home, it’s important to keep your office and workspaces well organized. This will certainly increase productivity.

5.) Set new short terms goals.
You have your Mission Statement and you’ve set your goals for 2016. Now break it down even more. What does Q2 look like? What are your revenue goals? Customer outreach goals? Performance goals? Etc. 

Once you’ve reviewed your mission and goals for 2016, analyzed your team, cleaned up, organized, and set new goals…it’s time to implement. And keep in mind a critical element for success…the daily work must reflect the goal. In other words, what you do, how you do it and what you focus on daily must align with the goals and expectations of your organization. 

Love Is All You Need

I’ve been thinking a lot about love and relationships lately. Maybe with Valetines Day around the corner and most celebrations beginning this week, love is on my mind. More than love, relationships with people you love, or deeply care for.

What makes a great relationship? And, what makes the relationship between two people endure? Not just marriages, but any relationship. Friends, siblings, parents…what makes them last, what makes them special, what makes them great? 

I’ve spent a lot of time researching and learning about love, human interactions and relationships. It’s always been something that interests me, especially in regards to how human behavior impacts the experience and the relationship we have with others and what makes a relationship strong and endure.Even if we say we don’t need anyone, I think once you feel the power of a strong relationship, of love, you seek to make all of your relationships as strong.

So what is a strong relationship? How do we know when to walk away and when to fight harder? I feel like I know the answer but I also understand that I probably don’t know. In reading about love and relationships, listening to people that have had long standing, strong relationships with friends, their parents, siblings or partners, I’ve learned there are some consistencies.  

1.) Do you think about the other person? I’ve determined that the people you think about most often, family members, friends, acquaintances, mean something to you. Don’t disregard that or fight those feelings. Even if a part of you wants to act like you don’t need them, fight that urge to be selfish or self righteous and continue to show that person that you care and want to be a significant part of their lives.


2.) Does this person inspire you to be kind and inclusive? Some people start to exclude others or become selective as they build new relationships. Never a good sign. The better a relationship, the more people you want to be around and share that experience with. Great partnerships, marriages and friendships should include and inspire others, not make people feel isolated or shut out. 


3.) Are you able to be yourself? No matter what, you cannot have a great relationship with someone if you can’t fully be yourself. That doesn’t mean you share everything all the time, and speak every thought that comes to mind, but you’re comfortable and free to be the real you. The authentic you, good and the bad. 


4.) Are you challenged to improve and grow? There are a few people in my life that will not let me make poor decisions, that give real advice even if it’s difficult. I cherish those people. Even if it’s hard to hear, to know that someone wants you to be your best self, and gives honest feedback that comes from a good place…that is an absolute blessing. 


5.) Does your relationship inspire others? I know this might sound strange but people are always watching and when they see a sisterhood, friendship or marriage that is thriving, they take note. Although no two relationships are alike, there’s something about a good relationships that’s very inspiring to others. 


6.) Do you want to be better? The best relationships inspire us to improve ourselves not just for you by for them. We should pay attention to the other persons likes and dislikes, know their expectations, and try to meet them. Pay attention, exceed their expectations.  Make constant effort to be the friend, brother, sister, husband, wife that they want and need. 


7.) Does it feel good? They way a person makes us feel is so important yet overlooked by so many. When you’re with someone you love, that truly loves you, time spent together should  always feel magical. Sound childish? It isn’t. Whether it’s a significant other or a great friend you should leave every interaction feeling like you’ve made a great memory and excited for another. No matter what. Even if it’s an argument, you know you’ll move forward. 

We need love and more importantly we need people to love, that’s the relationship, the action. 

Happy Valentines Day!


Corinthians 13 

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.

And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests.

It is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury.

It does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.

For we know partially and we prophesy partially.

But when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.

At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Current Status: Nailed It!

What a week…

I have to write about my girls and motherhood while I’m flying high. As many mothers out there know, that feeling could be gone in an instant by a tantrum, bad grade or much worse. Today however, I feel good. I actually feel great. If I had time to share all of the turmoil currently swirling in the outskirts of my life, it may surprise you that I’m doing well, it actually surprises me. God is good.

At a very young age I began to pray for strength. Not new clothes or a new toy, just strength. And still today, when I sit with God, I pray for my family and for continued strength. Again and again, my prayers have been answered. 

Being a mother of three young girls (insert any number of children and gender) is difficult. My experience isn’t different than most other mothers. You want the best for your children, you do the best you can for your children. 

I used to think that I would have this large village, as they say, of people that would help me raise my girls into exceptional young women. I thought they would have role models at every corner, aunts to teach them this, uncles to teach them that, grandparents, great aunts, cousins and friends. I thought they would be surrounded by love and support and knowledge and wisdom. The truth is not everyone believes in that village mentality. While they do have family that love them, encouraging people to take an active role in their growth and development isn’t easy. People are busy with their own lives and priorities. 

My solution; be the village, pray for the strength and be grateful for the help of a few others. 

Within the last year my girls have all had exceptional teachers. We are so grateful for them. They have taught them above and beyond the classroom. These women have shown actually care and concern and we are blessed to have such wonderful women in their lives. 

Another blessings, friends with time. I’ve had a friend take the time to teach my girls through art. My girls are smart but also creative. It meant the world to me to have someone spend time with them, especially Sofia. 

Then there’s my husband and myself. We are the village. 

I have structured my life in a way that although difficult, allows me to be the type of mother I want to be. After such a busy but successful week, I had to celebrate. 

Disclaimer: I celebrate after a successful day!

My week consisted of 2 consulting proposals, a university  workshop, performance with my band, work due for a new client and a planning meeting for my organization. My husbands consisted of working 40 hours+ of construction, partnering with me with the workshop and performance and 2 DJ gigs of his own. Despite the workload, by weeks end, we were a family accomplished. My oldest daughter and I have been working together for the past few weeks to bring her lower grades up. By Friday? Straight A’s. My middle daughter has been working for weeks getting ready for her class musical. She struggles with her speech and gets a little shy on stage. We worked together, she’s worked very hard. The result? A Stellar performance! My youngest daughter is living the life but my two goals for her are to become a little more mature (less breakdowns) and to learn to read by the end of summer. We have been working very hard on both of those. This week? Minimal breakdowns, more talking through issues and…she read a sentence we made with her new fancy flash cards! We did it! Lo hicimos! 

How can we not celebrate?  I feel so good. In addition to their own accomplishments, my daughters also see me succeeding and helping others. I know I am a great example for them, I work really hard to be. 

I feel so proud. Proud of my girls, proud of my husband and proud of myself. Current status is indeed, Winning!

Why I Do What I Do

This photo by Gordon Parks is so beautiful to me. Every time I see it I stop and ponder. So many thoughts run through my mind. The pain and beauty is awe inspiring. Although it’s sad, to me, it’s also very powerful. 

This past weekend, my husband and I had a chance to spend a few hours together for a quick lunch. Time alone is a little rare. When we get some time together usually chat about our girls, catch up on businesses items and make plans based on some short or long term goals. We also laugh a lot and exchange our funniest stories from the prior week. As we shared some funny stories about our girls, the conversation shifted to their future and my goals for them. The conversation shifted. I then told my husband something I had unintentionally never shared with him before…the burden I carry. I know burden is such a deep and heavy (literally) word, but it is the truest description of what I feel. 

I am responsible for many things. My family, our home, my business,etc. More importantly, I am responsible for raising three girls into women. I carry the burden of raising strong, independent women that are kind, empathetic and emotionally intelligent, among a plethora of other traits. In order to do so I have to provide a solid foundation, be present and continuously supportive. That requires an all-day every-day mentality and focus. There is never a time I am not thinking about that responsibility. I carry the burden of those that have come before me. My parents, and the sacrifices they made to bring my sisters and I to the United States and make a wonderful life for us. I also carry the burden of the people who have fought for the rights of black people in this country and the Caribbean and those that continue to work hard to break down barriers and create change.

All of that I carry. It may sound like a lot but I am grateful for it. Knowing that without the sacrifices of so many I would not be here, able to do what I’m doing, is very humbling and yet inspiring. It’s the driving force behind my work ethic and mission to accomplish so many goals. There are too many people to let down, including myself. 

When people talk about their goals, but do nothing to reach them or don’t take time to do quality work. It confuses me. I am working for all of those that came before me, my girls, and all of the people that will follow. With that mindset, I consider everything I do to have great meaning and great impact. Therefore, I have no choice but to always work hard to reach excellence. When I think of my mother and her continued hard work, my father and his strive to do what he loves, the mothers and fathers that shielded their children from violence during the civil rights movement and the many, many lives lost fighting for freedom and justice around the world…with all that I have, and the opportunities I have been given, how can I waste that? How can I not achieve?

Being a mess is just not an option!

Before I was an entrepreneur, I spent many years in a management position. It was in this role that I learned about human behavior. Everyday, before work, I would review my job description and work towards achieving  every requirement of my position. I held myself accountable and focused on achieving every goal put upon our team. I put great pressure on myself and my team to succeed in our roles. I quickly realized that although I had that passion and drive for achievement, not everyone shared that philosophy. Many were completely okay with producing mediocre results.

Trying to understand their mindset was overwhelmingly difficult. I didn’t understand how there could be clearly placed goals set and someone not try their all to achieve it. I noticed they felt no pressure. No responsibility. Failure was an option and many people are okay with that. 

Well, I feel great pressure. When I look at my children, study our history, or speak with my parents. I feel great pressure. It’s my life’s work. There’s no work-life balance, just life. I work all day and all night. Whether it’s consulting, performing, or teaching my daughter to read. Nothing is optional. I do it all. It all matters. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. What you choose to do and what you choose not to do. It all matters. So I will continue to work hard for the people of the past, the people I share this present with, and the people that will come after I’m gone. And, because of my passion and the work I choose to do, I will always feel accomplished. 

Black History Month 2016

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day…

I am no more inspired to do good on this day than any other. Martin Luther King Jr. was is an inspiration. I’ve read his speeches and watched every biography. I am always and forever moved by his words and conviction. It’s difficult to see the world the way he did. I work, pray and hope for the dreams he had to come to pass. It’s daily work. Every day work. Not just once a year. 

My dream for this day, and every day going forward is that we can get to the root of the issue and we are all honest with where we stand as a nation of people. I hope that all people will take an active role in obtaining the “dream”, recognizing the positive, infinite impact overcoming will have on our society. I pray that white Americans can look at their everyday interactions (or lack there of) with people of color and recognize their personal challenges with diversity. It’s not a grand idea, but recognizing how you speak to, empathize with, react to, and interact with people of color hugely impacts the change we all wish to see. I will work towards creating the world for my children that Martin Luther King Jr. saught for his own. Where they will only be judged by the content of their character.
Happy #MLKDay

life, by design