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LIKE DEAD LEAVES: Doing The Work Of Purging & Pruning


For the past couple of months, nothing has made me feel as good as purging things that I no longer need in my life. Little by little, I’ve been going through all my spaces – physical, mental, emotional – and clearing out the things that aren’t serving me anymore. I haven’t felt this light in a long time.

It started innocently enough, with me going through my closets and transitioning from summer to fall. Away went the wispy fabrics that reminded me of warm nights and sunny days, and out came the comfort clothing that enveloped me in hugs each time I put them on. I encouraged myself to undo the emotional ties to my clothing at the same time, and started my grand purge. Things had to go: worn out shirts, way outdated skirts, and pants that I kept around “just in case” when the case for their continued presence never made itself clear. Soon, drawers that were overflowing could shut properly again, things didn’t topple off the top shelf of my closet anymore, and laundry was no longer as overwhelming a task. After my clothes were addressed I blazed through my home, de-cluttering my night tables, bathroom cabinets, and office spaces, filling garbage bags with things I thought I needed, but truly didn’t.

It felt like I could breathe a bit easier. I liked the feeling, and wondered what else I could let go of.

I started attacking my financial debts with a gusto unseen in recent years. I’m tied to many things, and a lot of them are more suffocating than supportive. Debt was one of those constraints, and I wanted to end that relationship as soon as possible. Having a plan and being utterly serious about sticking to it made all the difference in the world, so seeing positive change each month let me know that some relief was on the way. (This is a wayyyyy simplified few sentences about something that could be its own blog post. But the sentiment stands.)

I decided to let go of some projects I was involved in – some that weren’t serving a purpose, and some that had just run their course. In this new season of the purge, I’ve gotten honest with myself about being busy vs. being productive. There’s a comfort in being busy – a comfort that makes it easy to hide fears and insecurities behind stuff. The Bee who’s everywhere and does everything is a great cover for the Bee who frets over failure and fears that nothing she does will ever matter. Being busy has only left me feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and frustrated, and I want to be happy, accomplished, and ever-evolving. Shedding some layers of busyness will be good for me, and will help me to uncover the real skill of balancing downtime and productivity.

Finally, I took a look at some key relationships and purged what I needed to from them. In some relationships, I purged my inability to ask for what I want. In others, I purged old grudges and gave elephants in rooms their long overdue exit. Other relationships had to come to an end completely, but the main area of purging was looking at relationships I wanted to keep and finding ways to make them better. There have been some tough conversations and some peering through fingertips as I hit “Send” on an email, but every move was a step towards more freedom, and I feel it now.

The thing with purging is you need to know when to stop. I’ve gone through multiple areas of my life and pruned the excess and the overdue, but now it’s time for the new cycle of life – the resting period before allowing new growth. I’ve never been a minimalist, but the freedom of letting things go has renewed my excitement at what’s to come. There is room for the good things now, and I welcome them. I’ll keep them around for as long as they’re good to me – and as I’ve learned about myself these past few months, I won’t be afraid to let them go when their time is up.

CHANGING SEASONS: The Art of Letting Things Go

protect passions

When I started writing this post, I searched “letting things go” on my blog to make sure I hadn’t used the title before.

It felt like something I’ve felt before – and if it’s something I’ve felt before, I’ve probably said it before. And if I’ve said it before, I’ve surely written it before, so my thoughts were that I’d be repeating a sentiment with this piece.

The good news? I hadn’t used those three words in a previous blog post title. The not-so-good news? I’ve definitely expressed this sentiment before: here, here, and here.

I had a bit of a breakdown recently, where I tearfully admitted that “Nothing feels fun anymore.” This blog has led to an incredible amount of awesome opportunities doing things that I’ve really enjoyed. Sure, there have been downsides to it too – chasing freelance publications for monies owed, uncomfortable clashes between online/offline life, battling my own insecurities and imposter syndrome symptoms – but even the crappy moments have become wonderful teachable moments that may not have felt great, but served important purpose. The major lesson I’m learning now is that I’ve hit a wall, and instead of trying to find my way under/over/through it, I need to just sit there for a while with my back against its firmness, and just…be.

At my annual physical, my doctor noted that some of my bloodwork results looked a bit off, and sent me back for a do-over. I’m awaiting those results now, but made the poor decision to find my way down a rabbit hole of WebMD and Mayo Clinic websites, getting more stressed and worried with every click. I’m sure that – as has always been the case – I’m fine, and the majority of my concerns are related to stress that I don’t manage well. In those posts I mentioned before, I’m sure I acknowledged my issues with control, stress, worry, taking on too much, not finding a good balance or taking a break when needed, but I clearly didn’t do a good job of remedying them. I feel like this is the moment where I need to really work on those things and find a way to a healthier and happier me, and I need to be serious about it this time.

I always start out excited about things. Sometimes I’m giddy and passionate about an idea I’ve come up with, or I’m honoured to be approached by someone else who wants to work with me. Sometimes I see a posting for an opportunity that I know I’d be perfect for. Other times I say yes to something because of what I hope it will lead to. The FOMO (fear of missing out) hit me not as a fear of missing out on social media, but a fear of missing out on some incredible opportunity. I’d say “yes” then find myself in the midst of emails and meetings and drafts and rehearsals and busyness with nothing but good intention, ready to grow as a multi-faceted person who’s aware that she’s cultivating a personal brand at the same time. Some of the things I was excited about recently have left me feeling anything but. Chasing entities for thousands of dollars owed, being asked to work for compensation below my worth, consistently showing up for others and noting that reciprocity isn’t in everyone’s vocabulary – these things have been draining me lately, but I’ve kept pressing on.  Other things I remain excited about, but I feel burned out to the point where I have nothing left to give them right now. I miss things like Sunday mornings before anyone else is awake – just me, a cup of tea, and my blog. I miss feeling like I’m not always behind or chasing an ever-lengthening to-do list. I miss taking the time to enjoy life and be inspired by it. The work is fun until it’s not – and it happens so rarely that when I feel it as strongly as I do now, I need to heed the message.

All of the things I do are supposed to compliment each other and give me outlets that other parts of my life don’t provide. When my outlets start feeling like burdens, it’s the most frustrating thing – where do you turn next? During a Twitter chat about making your side hustle a full-time entrepreneurial pursuit, I tweeted that it was crucial to protect your passions – just because your passion becomes your full-time gig, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever end up disillusioned by it like any other job. My passions need to be protected right now. My health needs to be protected right now. My desire to be and do and create needs to be protected right now. All of these things need to be tended to, cared for, nurtured back to a place of fruitfulness and rejuvenation, otherwise nothing that I am or do will ever be where I want and need it to be.

It’s a new season, and we always joke about the cold weather being our sign that it’s time to make like bears and hibernate from the social scene. Instead of thinking of it as hibernation, I’ll take my cue from the trees. There’s something beautiful about the way trees shift, change, and let go, taking time to be still before flourishing again. Maybe that’s what I need. Maybe that’s what more of us need. There’s much to be said about the doing of life, but none of us can afford to miss out on the being. This is the season to pick and choose; to be careful and intentional about what I do and how I do it. I’m sure that soon enough the balance, inspiration, passion, and fun will all return for me, and until then, I’ll just take my time.

#WFC2015: The 2015 Women’s Freedom Conference Is Coming!


Life has been hectic, but it’s generally been the kind of good hectic that keeps butterflies in my tummy and gives life the sort of exciting, out-of-control feeling that I thrive on at times.

A lot of wonderful new things are in the works, and one of those things is the 1st Women’s Freedom Conference, which I am SO proud to be a part of! If you’re a dope woman of colour, or know a dope woman of colour – keep reading.

While I believe that those of us who are “other” can and should find ways to burrow ourselves into the mainstream, I’m a huge advocate of creating your own space – space to exist, to shine, to share, to be. It’s no secret that marginalized people don’t have red carpets rolled out in their honour, with escorts at the ready to usher them to spaces where they are positively centered. With the Women’s Freedom Conference, intersectional women of colour are creating that space for other intersectional women of colour, to share their stories, their expertise, and their perspectives on life and liberation.

Our Leadership Team and Advisory Board are made up of incredible women like Feminista Jones, Reagan Gomez-Preston, Jamilah Lemieux, Linda Sarsour, and many others who represent the spectrum of women we hope to hear speak on October 25th.

Here’s a bit from our press release:

“On October 25, 2015, the Women’s Freedom Conference will center and amplify the unique voices and experiences of underrepresented women who have been disenfranchised beyond gender alone– women of color whose identities are intersectional and whose womanhood is shaped and defined along those intersections.

Last year, three close friends were having a conversation and one raised the idea of hosting an action that would bring together women of color from around the world together in one space. She asked the other two women if they would be interested in working to make it happen and they enthusiastically agreed. Initially conceived as a “freedom march” that would convene thousands of women in one American city, the women later decided that the platform would be more widely accessible to more people if it was a digital conference that could be accessed from anywhere in the world.”

My favourite thing about this conference is that it’s all digital – no need to travel across states and borders to attend. Find an internet connection, and you’re in there. As the International Marketing & Promotion Committee Leader, this is HUGE for me in encouraging women outside of the U.S. to attend and participate, and eliminates a lot of obstacles that women would face otherwise.

“The mission of the conference is to center Women of Color– our success, our concerns, our work, our activism, and our existence as vital contributors to making the world a better place. We want to make sure that women of color from around the world have a space to speak out and be heard, to teach others and to learn from each other, and to inform people of the work that they are doing in their respective communities.

Our goals include providing practical, real-world information from a diverse group of women, many of whom are actively working to improve the lives of women of color around the world. We want to make this information available to as many people as possible and we believe that utilizing modern technology is the best way to do so. Participants will engage in conversations, seminars, and direct actions focused on the empowerment of women of color by building solidarity and promoting sisterhood.”

Our Call for Submissions is now LIVE! If you are a woman of colour who has something to say or to share with the world, here is your chance.  Please review our submission details, and throw your brilliant hat in the ring!

Perhaps you don’t want to speak, but you want to attend virtually – stay tuned for more info as we get ready to launch the Women’s Freedom Conference on October 25th from 9am-9pm EST! Watch by yourself or organize a “watch party” with some friends, and take in all the amazing things we’ll have to offer! There may be opportunities to attend official watch parties in your city or town (Toronto, I’ve gotchu), so feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to know if someone is hosting in your area, or if you’re interested in doing so yourself!

So, what am I looking for?

I hope you’re as excited for the Women’s Freedom Conference as I am! More good things are on the way!

SAVE ROOM: Learning How To Make Space For Life


I get dramatic about birthdays. I love my birthday, and a personal goal is to accomplish something so incredible in life that May 10th becomes a national (or international!) holiday.

I know I’m dramatic. Luckily for the people who are forced to put up with me, I can step outside of myself and see how ridiculously extravagant I get about each new rotation around the sun.  That being said, this year feels even more profound than usual. I initially chalked it up to needing some positive anticipation – last year was an overwhelming whirlwind of amazing highs and troubling lows, and this year I know I need more stability and growth. But as I thought about it more, I realized this birthday felt so profound because I finally learned a crucial lesson:

I need to make room in my life to let life happen. 

Things have been severely crowded for too long. Moving + baby + work + side hustles + bills + friends + trying not to forget about Bee = a life so stuffed that some days felt downright paralyzing. The most crippling thing was the fact that everything I had gotten myself into, I had chosen to do – so I had no one to blame but myself, and it seemed like no one could help me but myself. Nothing felt optional. I had to go to work. I had to take care of my daughter. I had to pay bills and take care of home repairs. I had to keep up with my freelancing. I had to keep working with the film festivals and magazines and youth groups and projects I was tied to. Everything linked to something else: I kept taking on cool projects because maybe something would pop off and I wouldn’t have to go back to my day job after mat leave. I forced myself to do daily social media management for clients because I needed the extra money to help with diapers and daycare. I felt obligated to try to plan events because I thought I had fallen off and wasn’t “on the scene” anymore like I used to be. Everything seemed indispensable, so while I started feeling stifled, I told myself I couldn’t drop any of it. If I was feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I convinced myself that the problem wasn’t the amount of things I tasked myself with, it was my work ethic. I had to find ways to focus, to be more efficient, to make sure I got things done and done well – in short, I wasn’t kind to myself at all.

Yes – I have an amazing partner in life who shares many of the responsibilities I named above, but when it came down to the things I do outside of home and baby, he wasn’t with me shooting in the gym. The writing, the events, the projects, the work – the choice to do them and the reason why I was doing them lived solely in my head and heart. The pressure I was putting on myself to do them lived there too, so I knew that while HomieLuva is an incredible sounding board, I’d have to initiate any change I wanted in my life on my own.

I started off by doing a basic time audit of my life. My days were full of things to do, but I soon realized that a lot of these things weren’t serving me well anymore. There were things I was doing simply because I told myself I had to, and further – I told myself that to not do them was to be a quitter or a failure. When I was honest about what some of these things were doing for me, I realized they weren’t doing a gotdamn thing except stressing me out. I could barely stand things that used to fill me with excitement, and it was downright depressing. My next realization was that there was a constant, nagging feeling of some awesome opportunity just within my grasp, but my life was so cluttered that there was no room for it. I felt things passing me by and though I couldn’t definitely state what it was that I missed out on, I knew that I literally had no space for anything new – so good things were undoubtedly floating away.

Next, I thought about my current priorities. Taking care of my family, my finances, and investing in myself topped the list. Comparing my priorities to my audit, I realized that a lot of the things I felt obligated to do didn’t fall in line with any of my priorities. They may have had a place at one point in time, but things changed and I was now just forcing a square peg into a round hole. There were things I knew I’d have to say goodbye to, say “not now but maybe later” to, say a firm no to – and I had to say it all immediately. Over the last couple of weeks, emails have gone out, calls have been made, and the things that I needed to say have been said. I’ve finally reclaimed a bit of freedom. I have room to breathe and to just be without having to do, and it’s the best birthday present I could have asked for.

I’ve given myself the gift of leaving room for life. I’m trading in excessive guilt and undue self-imposed pressures for the space to find things to enjoy, inspire me, and help me grow. I’m letting go of things that put some dollars in my bank account, and believing that things are coming that will give me even greater prosperity. I’m clearing things out and making a new foundation, and it feels like I have nowhere to go from here but up.

Let’s toast to fresh starts and swift, sustained ascents. Happy birthday to me.

AND THE WINNER IS…: 2014 Black Canadian Awards Recap

The best way for me to start off this post is by saying “thank you” – quite literally, if it weren’t for you all this past Saturday would have never played out for me the way it did.

Last summer, I was contacted by the Black Canadian Awards (run via the Diversity Advancement Network). I was going to be honoured as a Role Model in the Black Canadian community, and had also been nominated in the Best Blogger Award category for their 2014 awards ceremony. To say I was floored was an understatement. The majority of my readership and recognition in the blogging world has come from south of the border, so being recognized for my work here at home was an awesome feeling.

We were urged to solicit votes from friends, family, readers, social media followers, anyandeverydamnbody, and I’ll be honest – I kind of balked at that. I’m not the biggest fan of “Who can get the most votes?” methods of award winning, and prefer to be judged on merit and a standard of work. When other nominees have larger social media followings and connections to networks you lack, it can seem very daunting – and the competition in my category seemed fairly stiff. A later email did state that votes plus review from a nomination committee would contribute to winning the award, so I sought votes from you all, but made sure my content and work was the best it could be along the way.

Finally, Saturday June 7th rolled around, and it was time for the Black Canadian Awards! After being rescheduled from the original date of March 1st, I just prayed that Little Magician and I still fit into my hot pink Henkaa dress (doing a version of this style), but luckily we did!


HomieLuva was my dapper date for the evening, so we headed on down to Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre and got ready to soak up the night.

Y’all know I keep it 100, so let me get this piece out of the way. There was some level of disorganization that hampered some of my enjoyment of the festivities. Having food available would have been PRIME. Having event organizers easily identifiable would have been WONDERFUL. Maximizing the media that was present and really making use of some of the perks like the nominee limo procession, red carpet walk, and Role Model recognition ceremony would have been AWESOME. The potential for prestige and the necessity of an event such as the BCAs makes these points even more crucial in my eyes, so I hope 2015 is even better.

Anyways – tons of government officials and political figures were in attendance (RCMP, Olivia Chow, John Tory and others), and they took part in the Role Model recognition ceremony. I snagged my certificate of recognition, then hurried to meet the rest of the award nominees for the limo procession, which picked us up and brought us to the awaiting red carpet at the front of the theatre.


After a bit of schmoozing and a quick munch of some poutine that someone smuggled in provided for me, it was time for the show to start!

Hosted by Sean “Subliminal” Mauricette and Dorothy Rhau, the essence of the awards was to showcase excellence in the Black Canadian community, and I appreciated the diversity of the performers and nominees. “Canadian” events in Toronto can be awfully Toronto-centric, but it was great to see the representation from different parts of the country as well. There was a wide range of variety in the performances and the cultures represented therein, with my fave performances being a dope Azonto dance number by Esie Mensah and the Black Stars, and a wicked vocal performance from Shi Wisdom. Though at times it felt a bit too much like a concert sprinkled with awards as opposed to an actual awards show, it was very entertaining.

So. Let’s get down to the most exciting moment, for me, anyways! Near the end of the night, the Best Blogger Award finally rolled around. I was joined in the category by Nikki Johnson, Tatiana King aka Miss Go 2 GirlTeknique, Brenda Chuinkam, and Darling Nicky. As I mentioned before, I felt I was up against some stiff competition, so while I hoped for the best, I was more than prepared to hear one of the other 5 names called instead. Lo and behold, my name was called as the award winner, and I sat there for a moment still waiting for them to say someone else’s name – it wasn’t until HomieLuva smacked me on the leg and told me to get my ass up and get my award that it actually sunk in!


I had to hit a jig in the parking lot while singing “***Flawless” at this point. Lol!

Was I even prepared to make a speech? Not at all – but I got through it without rambling on too much. That was the first time I ever accepted an award on stage, but needless to say, I’ve got the taste for it now (cue up the Freddie McGregor one time)! The best part of it was knowing that the support I received from y’all was so strong, and also feeling like my hard work is paying off in new and awesome ways. Maintaining a blog like mine – not celebrity-focused, not fashion-focused, not in one particular niche – and being a Black Canadian blogger who often gets more interaction from people in countries outside of mine, it’s so easy to feel lost in the sauce of this digital world. At least on some scale, winning this award made me see just how much people support and enjoy my digital comfy couch. As one friend said when I issued my Facebook thank you status:

You can thank us by just keeping on doing what you’ve been doing.

So that’s what I plan to do! Here’s to fresh motivation (especially coming off of my best stats day EVER over the weekend thanks to my Race In Canada post) and a continued sense of pride in creating authentic and engaging content. I hope y’all enjoy, and I hope you feel through this blog how much I appreciate the love, support, and constructive feedback.

Thank you again to the Black Canadian Awards – here’s to an even bigger and better show in 2015!

NO COINCIDENCE IN CHAOS: Coming Out On The Other Side Of Sadness


The start of a new month is always something I look forward to. Setting new goals, anticipating new events, challenging myself to make this month better than the last – in 2013 especially, flipping the calendar to Day 1 has always carried a special sort of excitement. That is, every month until October.

Kicking off October 2013 last week, I didn’t feel that same kind of anticipation. I was apprehensive, fearful, and almost wished that September had a few extra days in it. Last October was an extremely painful month, and it was unfortunately just the start to a devastating end to 2012. I’m now rushing towards the 1-year anniversaries of that pain and devastation, and I’m not sure if I’m ready. Hopefully writing about it will help me to get there.

This post isn’t going to expound upon the details of what happened at the end of 2012, but I will say that I definitely believed the doomsday predictions that swirled around at the time. Just one short year ago, it felt like I was in the midst of the kind of cataclysmic turmoil that was supposed to signal the end of the world, but one year later, here I am.

“There is no coincidence in chaos.”

That’s a phrase that came to my mind last week as I thought about what the next 3 months were going to bring. Aside from my parent’s divorce when I was a teen, 2012 was the next most chaotic time of my life. I’m someone who’s irrationally attached to dates and anniversaries, so in the days and weeks to come, I’ll surely have a few instances of looking at the clock and reliving to the minute what happened one year ago. It’s extremely easy to fall into the habit of saying “Why me? Why now? Why this?” – and while it at times seems like there’s no method to life’s madness, I’ve learned that the connected dots and synchronicities will eventually reveal themselves.

Class is still in session, but I’m learning things about myself that I don’t believe I would have discovered without 2012’s hard lessons. I’m learning what forgiveness looks like in different spheres – forgiving those who actively seek to right wrongs, forgiving people who I know will never atone for what they’ve done, and forgiving myself for internally blaming and shaming when I really need not. I’m learning how to rebuild – how to craft the kind of existence I will be proud of when this life is over. I’m learning new limits and stretching myself beyond the ones I had set previously. I’m learning how to step outside of my comfort zone, and I’m learning how to trust myself when I tell myself that it’ll be OK. I’m learning how to be a better friend, daughter, sister, wife, human being – and I’m learning how to not punish myself too harshly when I feel I’ve missed the mark. I’m learning that taking care of myself is a more intricate feat than I originally thought, and I’m learning that I do myself a disservice when I gloss over those complexities. I’m learning about my needs and wants; what I can do without; what I can’t live without. I’m learning how to heal, how to survive, and how to thrive. All of this isn’t easy, but it’s essential.


I don’t believe in coincidences on a whole, but especially not when it comes to the chaos of life. I read a quote last year that helped me to begin to put things into perspective:

“The Buddhists believe that sometimes when everything is in turmoil, it’s because something wonderful is ready to be born and that thing is distracting you so it can have some privacy during the birthing process.” – Pearl Cleage

The blessing inside all of the burden has been that there is life on the other side of sadness, and there are wonderful things that may be distracting you during their birth. While I often throw my head to the sky and say “But, why did I have to go through _________ to get ________?” I know it’s a wholly rhetorical question. Though certain life events are extremely painful and seem totally unnecessary, I try not to dwell on the dramatic fashion that life’s lessons are doled out, and instead heed the call to action. In almost all of 2012’s bombshells, I now see that there were indeed warning signs. My personal answer to the “Why?” question is that I simply wasn’t paying attention, so life demanded it, undivided. My eyes are open wider now.

Can I honestly say that I’m grateful for what I’ve endured, or that I’m happy it all happened? Nope. I’m not there yet. What I can say is that I’m starting to understand, and I’m proud of myself. I’m starting to understand why that act of my life played out the way it did, and that the chaos was necessary and not a chance occurrence. I’m proud of myself that in the year since, I can see progress. Baby steps are still steps, and there’s bravery in deciding to take them. When the tough days with even tougher memories come, I hope I can remember that.

BALANCING ACTS: Women’s Diverse Roles & The Impact On Self-Care [via UPTOWN Magazine]

In case you missed it – as of last month, I officially got on-board with UPTOWN Magazine as a contributing writer. Because I lost all power thanks to the crazy storm in Toronto last night, I didn’t get to finish the piece that I wanted to post today – however, I thought I’d re-up my first piece for UPTOWN! This is one that I have to repeatedly read to myself as a reminder to work towards better balance and self-care. Take a read and let me know what you think!


image via shutterstock

The lyrical enchantress known as Erykah Badu once sang, “Been such a long time/I forgot that I was fine” – and for me in this moment, truer words have never been spoken.

In my hopeful naïveté, I always thought I’d be one of those women who would always have everything together. I thought that once I got all the pieces of life in place (happy relationship, fulfilling career, great friendships, healthy lifestyle, etc.), I’d be able to maintain and side-step the gaping hole of “letting oneself go” that I had witnessed other women tumbling into. That won’t be me, I thought – until it was.

With the New York Times reporting that women are more likely to be primary caregivers and are rising as primary breadwinners, women are redefining balance.  Increasing responsibilities, diverse roles, and juggling it all in today’s world means that it’s only natural for some balls to get dropped while focusing on all the others in the air. Thanks to life’s realities my naïve bubble has been burst, but I’m working on doing a better job with my own juggling act.

My mother is a key representation of balance – both the blueprint and the “Don’t try this at home!” model. As one of the key women represented in the NY Times article (a single mother, primary caregiver, and primary breadwinner in subsequent relationships), she exemplified the great ways to maintain balance, and imprinted in my mind the things I wanted to avoid. When she was bad, she was very, very bad – constantly taking on extra shifts at work, turning down opportunities to spend time with friends, and missing out on chances to do the things she loved like traveling and working out. When she was good, she was great – making time to pamper herself, enrolling herself in Continuing Education classes to fulfill personal passions, and finding time to enjoy the mature woman’s dating scene. Though her life’s motto was “Everything I do is for my kids,” my younger siblings and I found her so much more interesting when she did things for herself.

These days, I’ve got a lot on my plate. I try to be am an attentive wife, productive employee, consistent blogger/writer, engaged community builder, household financial planner, dope sister/daughter/friend, and more. Unfortunately, self-care and ‘me time’ have gone right out the window as I work to build an empire, keep bills paid and make others happy. Erykah forgot that she was fine, and I have too. I’ve also forgotten that I love Afro-Cuban dance, working out at home, getting dolled up for dates with my husband, and spending quiet time writing in my journal. So, what can I (and the multitude of women who are experiencing the same thing) do?

It’s simple. Make YOU a priority.

Far too often, we can feel that making ourselves a priority alludes to the neglect of others – and while it’s a hard function to re-wire in our brains, we must. A friend reminded me that when we fly, we’re instructed to put on our oxygen masks before we assist others with theirs – so life must follow a similar principle. When I’m not balanced, I’m not happy. When I’m not happy, I’m not of good service to myself or others.  I’ve resolved to make Bee a priority in order to restore balance, be happier, and have more to offer to the world around me.

This morning I laid in bed and wrote in my journal while singing to Teedra Moses. Next week I’m buying a new blender to get back to making my favorite green smoothies. Tomorrow I’ll be returning to my beloved Afro-Cuban dance classes. The sensuality and passion I feel from dancing will no doubt transfer to my current schleppy appearance. Bright colors in my wardrobe, flirty summer dresses, getting a much overdue  mani-pedi, and taking time to do my hair are all part of my new balancing act.

For many of us, the NY Times are just catching up to a reality that many of us (and our mamas, and our mamas’ mamas) have lived for ages. We’ve been caring for others and bringing home the bread, bacon, and milk for decades. Simply put, we’ve mastered that. We now need to master the art of balance, and ensure that we nourish all aspects of our lives – not just the financial/career/family obligations. Operation Find Your Mojo/Get Fine & Prioritize is on – are you joining me?

6 DOWN, 6 TO GO: Bee’s “Halfway Through 2013” Check In


We’ve crossed the halfway mark, folks. We’re in the beginning days of July, which means we’re in the beginning days of the 2nd half of 2013. How’s it lookin’ for y’all so far?

As I sat home yesterday celebrating Canada Day (yay for poutine, good healthcare, and Ryan Gosling!), I thought about what the first half of 2013 meant to me, and pondered what the remainder of the year would look like. I took a look at my vision board. I went back to my post on December 31st, 2012. I looked back over my Media + More page where I track some of the cool things I’ve done. It’s scarily awesome that so many things I’ve wanted to happen have taken place already – albeit not always in the form I thought they would.

Looking at my vision board, I’ve had successes in the areas of hosting an ’83 To Infinity event, jumping into public speaking, and growing as a published digital writer. Traveling to NYC was on there as well, and as my last blog post detailed, I’ve done that too. I wrote “Entrepreneurial experiences, entrepreneurial money” on the board, and I’ve been blessed to see both the experiences and the money come to fruition. I’m nowhere near rich and famous, but I’m glad that I’ve taken the baby steps to get to where I want to be.

In my post on New Year’s Eve 2012, I wrote the following passage:

Like I said earlier, 2012′s theme was betrayal. I learned that anything is possible, in a negative way. For 2013, I’m armed with my vision board and clear goals – but I’m flipping the themes of 2012 into positive ones for the new year. Betrayal will turn into trust – most importantly, trust in myself. I’m telling myself that I can do it, I can go there, I can make the right decisions. If those decisions mean cutting loose the people who’ve betrayed and the situations that have caused me to 2nd guess myself, I trust that Bee knows what the hell she’s doing. And yes – in 2013, the “anything is possible” meme will continue, but in a positive light. As I wrote in a previous post, “thoughts become things”, so I will make it my mission to set my mind onto the positive and manifest my wildest dreams into reality.


2012 was like a devil on my shoulder, whispering all kinds of negative and hurtful things in my ear. Luckily, 2013 has become an angel on my other shoulder, pushing me to move past the past and take charge of the present and future. There have been low points, tough lessons, and hot, angry tears – but overall? I’ve made it through the first half of 2013 with a glass half full mentality. I do trust myself more. I do know what the hell I’m doing. I’ve made gains in 6 months that only rested in my imagination for the longest time – and while it’s not always easy, it’s always been worth it.

One of the other things I wrote on my vision board was “Get the f*ck out of your comfort zone!” Listen. I don’t even remember what my comfort zone feels like anymore. One look at my Media + More page shows me I’ve done at least one thing every month that I’ve never done before. From co-hosting a webshow to being hired as an official event blogger to being featured in Ebony Magazine to being on TV to planning and executing a comedy show – so many incredible opportunities have presented themselves because people thought I was capable of pulling them off. Pride hasn’t come solely from being able to confirm that for them, but in confirming it for myself.

To put it plainly, the 1st 6 months of 2013 have been awesome, game-changing, and busy as all hell. So, where am I putting my energies for the 2nd half of the year? Squarely on myself.

There are still health and wellness issues I have to work out. Being as insanely busy as I was from January-June means that I got to a point where balance was nothing but a word in the dictionary. I’m still working to get my mind, body, and soul back to a place of equilibrium, because I’ve been so incredibly off lately. Getting enough sleep, working out, eating right, taking time to unwind and destress – those are some of the things I’ll be working on. I’ve already put the wheels in motion to check a few more things off of my vision board, so my beast mode hasn’t been deactivated – I just need to do a better job of balancing all of life’s various aspects. Needless to say, I’m excited about the future, and can’t wait to see how the next 6 months will play out. You know I’ll have some more exciting news to share with y’all soon, so as always – stay tuned!

How has the 1st half of 2013 been for you? If you do vision boards or goal lists, how are they looking? Is there anything you wanted to have happen by now that hasn’t yet? Do you have a game plan for the 2nd half of the year? Let a sista know! 

BEE IN NYC: Our Take On Arise TV, Blogging While Brown + More


If you follow me on Twitter, you saw me tweet over the past few weeks about the #BeeinNYC escapades I had planned for this past weekend. After a failed attempt at reaching the Big Apple in February, I was finally going to touch down in the city for a whirlwind weekend. Wondering what I got into? Here’s the recap:

Greyhound Fiascos and TV Time

I chose to take the Greyhound bus down to NYC. I left on Thursday night and was scheduled to arrive in NYC on Friday morning at around 10am. Without falling back into the blind rage I was in during my trip, I’ll just say this: the bus was late. Instead of getting in at 10:15am, we pulled into the terminal at the Port Authority at 1pm. Now, sore bum aside – I may not have minded had I not had somewhere VERY important to be.

Last week, I was contacted on Twitter by a TV producer from Arise TV – an American network that’s also carried in England and South Africa. The producer was aware that I was going to be in NYC for the Blogging While Brown Conference, and wanted to talk to me about appearing on their new show, Our Take. I had to re-read the tweet and Google the producer’s name to ensure I wasn’t being punked. Me? On TV? Whodathunkit? Long story short, we chatted back and forth and it was settled – I would be a guest on Our Take on Friday afternoon. With a live taping from 1-2pm, I was advised to come to the studio for 11:45am, dressed and ready for the camera. “Sure!” I said. “No problem!” I thought. My bus gets in at 10:15am. I’ll be about 10 mins from the studio. I’ll get ready at the terminal and head right on over. That was the plan until I ended up standing outside of a Burger King in the middle of the Poconos at 10:30am, calling the producer with “a slight issue.”

Hair and makeup done en route

Hair and makeup done en route

Once the bus got rolling on the remaining 2 hours of our trip, I hustled into Superwoman mode. I took my dress from Bedo into the bus bathroom (with no working lights) and got changed. Headed back to my seat and styled my hair (twisted by Dixie at Curl Bar Beauty Salon) into a fly updo. Pulled out my makeup bag and somehow managed to do a full face of makeup (eyeliner and all) on a moving bus without poking my eye out. Then, I packed everything up so that I would be able to jump out of the bus and into a taxi as soon as we pulled in. With my luck, I jumped into the cab of a driver who said it was his first day on the job, and didn’t know how to get to my destination. Jumped into another waiting cab, and I was on my way.

Luckily for me, the producers were extremely accommodating and had moved my segment from the top spot to the last spot to give me more time. Thanks to NYC traffic, I arrived at the studios at 1:33pm – got miked up, took a sip of water, then was on the set at 1:40pm, ready to go. MAJOR shouts out to all of the staff at Our Take on Arise TV – it was an incredible experience! I spoke on international health and medical tourism, and had a great time doing so.

I STILL haven’t watched myself on camera yet, but here’s my segment:

YouTube Preview Image

Blogging While Brown

My original intent for my June version of #BeeinNYC was to speak at the Blogging While Brown Conference in Harlem. I attended for the first time last year, and was excited to return this year in a speaker’s capacity. I had a wonderful time at the Colgate-sponsored White Party on Friday night, reconnecting with friends from last year and meeting new ones. Saturday was chock-full of incredible information sharing and bonding – I took away some awesome tech tips (the bane of my blogging existence), learned how to improve my writing, and sat in on some great presentations on diversity and accessing business opportunities from blogging. Of course, I had the jitters for the first part of the day as I geared up for my own presentation! Being a blogger from outside of the USA, I wanted to use my experiences to encourage bloggers to look beyond their borders for connections. I’ll say this: for all my stressing and worrying, I think I did pretty damn good! I wanted to just get through the presentation without too many “umms” and “uhhs”, avoid any technical difficulties, and not have anyone fall asleep or get up and leave. The standing-room only at the beginning of my session +the lineup of people waiting to chat with me after my session was just icing on the cake!

Luvvie and I

Luvvie and I

Presentation time!

Presentation time!

Some of my favourite folks in the blogosphere were in the house, including Luvvie, Scott Hanselman, Necole Bitchie, Claire of The Fashion Bomb, Angel Laws of Concrete Loop, and Karen Civil. If you’re interested in attending the conference, next year’s Blogging While Brown will be held in New York City again! I loved the genuine and real conversations I had with people who are all at different stages of their blogging lives – and it was great to support and learn from each other.

An Empire State of Mind

In between all the TV stuff and conference stuff, I got to enjoy a tiny piece of the city. I stayed in Harlem (thanks to a cute little spot I booked through, and LOVED the vibe. Walking up Lenox Ave, eating at Sylvia’s, sitting on my stoop and listening to neighbours chat with each other as they passed by…Harlem was lovely. I ended up doing something I never thought I’d do – take the subway by myself – and traveled to Brooklyn for dinner with a homegirl I connected with through Twitter. Me and Keya Maeesha (the incredible show curator behind Date Night NYC and Date Night DC) laughed it up, ate it up, and drank it up at Sugarcane in Brooklyn, which was DOPE. From there, we headed to MeLa Machinko’s album listening party (cop her album Hov Said It Best now!) where I met more Twitter homies in the flesh, including the incomparable Jean Grae! I ended up leaving 10 minutes before Pharoahe Monch showed up, and I had a major case of the sads when I found out. What can I say? It was a perfect NYC summer night, and I had an awesome time soaking up the entire vibe. I was so happy to finally meet some of the people who I’ve been chatting with forever, and I flew out the next morning knowing I had to come back asaptually.



As crazy and time-crunched as the weekend was, it was an important one filled for crucial firsts for me. I know that everything I experienced in NYC is going to set the tone of things to come, and I’m excited to see what’s next. However, a sista needs a break! It’s time to get back to regular blogging, more writing, and more spending time with HomieLoverFriend. A little time to breathe is always good – until the next adventure rolls around!

Were you at #BWBNYC last weekend? What are your favourite things to do/see in NYC? 

BEE’S BUSINESS TIPS: Working With Less Than 6 Degrees Of Separation


Two weeks ago when I attended the Herbert Carnegie Future Aces Gala, something really interesting unfolded as the night went on.

First, I ran into someone who knew me from my work last year with the Caribbean Tales Film Festival.

Then, I ran into a fellow Battle of the Sexes Show panelist.

Then, I ran into one of the girls I mentored at the Ladies on the Rise program.

Finally, I ran into 3 sisters – two who attended Curls, Coils & Cocktails, and one who remembered me from hosting The Mystic Effect show.

Now, I don’t write this to exemplify my overactive calendar and various engagements, but to highlight an important point that is relevant for Toronto, if not other areas of the world.

This place is too damn small.

These days, we no longer need 6 degrees of separation between us. Social media has played a major role in tightening circles, but even without that medium, I find that it’s just too easy to know someone who knows someone who’s connected to you in some way. As I do more work with my blogging, writing, speaking, and other community building projects, I see that this fact is crucial to remember in a business sense. In Toronto, everybody knows everybody – so being aware of that will help or hurt you as you move about on your hustle.

For me, this 1-2 degree of separation reality we currently live in means that I have to stay on top of 3 major components: quality of work, professional conduct, and personality. I’ll break it down.


Quality of Work

I understand that we live in a microwave popcorn society, where it seems like the people who make the most flamboyant show of doing absolutely nothing get put on to fame and riches. I get it and I see it, but for me, hard work always pays off. I feel I’m neither the tortoise nor the hare; I’ve taken the best qualities from both and have created a new animal that is diligent, dedicated, and hardworking – but is also strategic and doesn’t waste time jumping on great opportunities. I try to maintain that my quality of work is something I can consistently be proud of – I’m constantly learning and improving, but I try to remember one of Don Miguel Ruiz’ Four Agreements that states to always do your best. Whether it’s a blog post, a freelance piece, a speaking engagement, or an event – and whether I can do it with my eyes closed or it’s my first time out the gate – I aim to do my ultimate best at it. No short cuts or excuses are allowed.  When people link you with consistent good work, it will take you far. It may not happen overnight, but eventually you’ll stop to look back and think, “Damn. I really did come up, didn’t I?”


Professional Conduct

Not everything is going to go swimmingly. You won’t get along with everyone or like their style of how they do their thing. Common sense is not common, therefore clashes in business are inevitable – but how you handle them is key. I got an email a few weeks ago from someone I was trying to do business with that had me ready to hit Reply and unleash a string of expletives in straight English and patois. I instead chose to vent to my husband, send some key friends “Can you BELIEVE what this MF tried to do?” text messages, and stepped away from my email inbox for a while. When I did respond, I did so in a way that clearly let the recipient know in no uncertain terms that I was displeased and no longer interested in working with them, but that could not be held against me as being over-the-top or unnecessarily harsh.  When it comes to business, I will get in your ass just enough for you to realize the error of your ways, but will not give you extra ammo to play the victim role with. Now, if I ever did have to go there and really let someone have it? I’d have to take responsibility for any consequence that may come from those actions. It’s not about being fake or a pushover, but it’s also not about blowing things out of proportion or inappropriately burning bridges either. Toronto consistently reminds me that you never know who knows who – so I move about my day ensuring that I can always stand by anything I’ve done or said.

In a positive light, maintaining professionalism just adds to your reputation. When people feel that they can depend on you and communicate well with you, that will push you to the top of the list for new opportunities.

Work Hard 1


Hard work is crucial, and being professional is priceless. But if no one likes you as a person? You’ll be hard-pressed to find success. I’m much more drawn to people who have some personality, kindness, and sincerity behind the resume and accolades. When you’re aloof, egotistical, or downright rude, my immediate reaction is to overlook everything you do (no matter how well), and take you in for who you are.

At the Future Aces Gala, I ran into people from 5 different areas of life and business. Some of these people introduced me to other people who could be the gateway to new partnerships and opportunities, which is ultimately a blessing. Luckily for me, I have had all positive interactions with everyone I encountered, so I wasn’t worried about how I would be perceived to the new people I met. Simply put, being nice is worth it. Making positive impressions pays off. Having a unique personality means you’ll be remembered. Just ensure that you’re etched in someone’s memory for the right reasons.

Are you feeling the ‘2 degrees of separation’ crunch these days? Does it change depending on if you work in the digital sphere or more face-to-face? What are your main tenets of doing business?

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