Announcing the #CourageToWrite Movement + Contest Winner: A’driane Nieves

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You deserve to live your courage.

Blogs were born out of the need to spark courageous conversations, and to create communities of people with similar passions, experiences, challenges, and triumphs. One virtue connected  all of these realities: courage. cour·age -mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Your Voice Matters.

The courage to speak your piece and boldly live your truth is the most fundamental human right. And, with this courage, blogs were born, revolutions were ignited, and Blogalicious came to be.  

Wear Your Courage.

The mission of Blogalicious is to be known as the go-to destination and resource for influential multi-cultural women social media enthusiasts from all over the world to collaborate, connect and uplift one another. To further this commitment, Blogalicious is teaming up with Liquid Courage Cosmetics to help you wear your courage with the #couragetowrite movement. The #couragetowrite movement is designed to encourage bloggers that have stopped blogging or considered the thought of muting their voice. Now is your moment to wear your courage well.

Knowing that studies have shown women wearing make-up feel it gives an advantage at work and made them feel more in control, Liquid Courage Cosmetics debuted “Blogalicious”, a lipstick at the #BeGreatB6 Blogalicious conference

 

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GET YOURS TODAY.

We also awarded the first #CourageToWrite winner while in San Antonio.  Thanks to all who had the courage to share their words and to submit to the contest!

{Congratulations to A’Driane Nieves!}

Submission from: A’Driane Nieves of Butterfly Confessions Dancing in the Light During the Seasons When Darkness Abounds Confession: My greatest fear is that I will lose my life to suicide. I don’t say that to be melodramatic, I simply state it as a fact. As a person living with bipolar disorder, it is a fear that silently stalks me, always watching for a misstep to expose a weakness it can take advantage of, a crack it can slide itself into. Once inside it starts searching for the gaps serotonin has been unable to fill, settling into each one, and methodically goes to work on eroding my mind’s defenses. Sometimes the process is slow, my mental erosion, building up to a collapse. Others it is swift and jarring, flinging me from the light of life into a plunging darkness that swallows my soul instantly. And then there are times when it’s an excavation of my insides, a scooping and hollowing out of my personhood designed to leave me as nothing more than an outward shell of a woman. When I was 13, years of abuse at the hands of my father gave birth to a despair that swiftly engulfed me one Saturday afternoon while my belly was empty from hunger and my father was out on a golf outing. That time it was pills. It was an amateurish and desperate attempt at escaping the hell I lived in that lead me to a drugged sleep but not death. At 20 it found me after a series of rapid changes over a short amount of time and the hormonal shift that comes with miscarriage. Becoming an airman, being stationed at my first base, the dissolving of a tech school relationship that had left me pregnant and then suddenly not, surrounded by people I did not know, working a job that wasn’t what I had envisioned or hoped for when I swore an oath to protect and serve my country, being estranged from my family…it found me in my dorm room and I went to work at my next shift, telling my supervisor I couldn’t arm up and that instead, I needed to be taken to the mental health clinic on base to be seen. It started feverishly raking its claws on the walls of my mind daily just shy of Alex’s first birthday. I was constantly triggered by anxiety and depression, guilt over not being the mother I thought my kids deserved, feelings of overwhelm when he would scream inconsolably, and my thoughts dancing with sudden desires to just leave and never come back. I started seeing a therapist who specialized in treated women with postpartum mood disorders like PPD and its grasp on my mind unclenched just enough for light to enter in again. In July 2011 I woke up on a Monday, found it staring me steadfastly in the eyes and just knew: I wouldn’t make it past the next two weeks alive if I didn’t get help. Even with the help I had been getting, my symptoms had been getting worse. I was dancing with what I know now was hypomania and plummeting into gravity wells of depression hourly. It was constant and unrelenting, its devouring and feasting on my mind. It’s appetite was insatiable and if I wasn’t crying from the burn depression’s cold grip had around my heart, I was screaming from the rage flashing through me…if I wasn’t bounding off the Earth from the energy vibrating through my body and bursting out of my fingertips, I was pressing my sweating, anxious body into the coolness of my bathroom floor, praying each inhalation would quell the panic trying to claw it’s way out of my skin. My mind was too loud, full of thoughts that spun and splintered into chaos at a pace that often left me nauseated. Two days later, I found a sitter for Brennan, put myself on a bus with Alex wrapped to my chest in the Moby, and walked into the VA Behavioral Health Clinic in Philadelphia, with whispers of death roaring in my ears. The intake psych diagnosed me with rapid cycling bipolar disorder type 2 & OCD and put me on a mood stabilizer. Within a week it kicked in and I embarked on a new treatment journey for an illness that I could more accurately name. Treatment has helped, and while other times it just shows up to flirt, every Fall has become hunting season. Suicide is the predator, my life and sanity the prey. No matter how well I’ve been taking care of myself and compliant in treatment, it hunts me down, licking its chops as it circles me, watching…waiting. Two years ago I had to go inpatient to stay safe from its advances. I slowly paced the halls of the VA Mental Health psychiatric ward in Waco in my green, floppy, foam sock shoes desperately wanting to go home to my boys and my life but at the same time stay hidden, monitored by those who whose job it was to not let Death have me. “Do you really want to die?” the doctor had asked me. No. I didn’t. I just wanted relief and couldn’t find it in living with a mind designed to self-destruct…fray at the edges…unravel…erode…become my enemy. It’s found me again as I’m nearing one year postpartum. It’s been a year that’s come with it’s difficulties as I’ve adjusted to mothering three while living with this illness, but joy has found me at various points throughout, grabbing my hand and saying, “dance with me, Addye. Be free.” This is the freest I’ve ever felt in my almost 32 years of living and yet here I am again staring at the whites of Suicide’s eyes and searching desperately for a gun to shoot it with… I want to keep dancing in the light. But my marriage is barely breathing as my husband and I scour the landscape for a path that brings us back to each other. Each of my sons has An Issue that demands every ounce of my mental capacity daily that leaves me exhausted and specialized attention that is straining our finances. Writing here has brought some success this year, but exposure saw my inboxes become inundated with vitriol from those who’d rather the Other stay silent. I look at my baby as he screams and cries like babies do and brace myself against the panic that floods my system. Images I’d rather not see flash through my mind, unwarranted and unwanted. Overwhelm asks me repeatedly throughout the day if I’m done and my breath is labored when I whisper “No.” Worry fills me. Depression courts me. Anxiety ravages my insides, ripping me open, exposing where my heart and resolve are weak. I want to keep dancing in the light. So I tighten my grip as my mind cycles from one extreme to the next. I expand my ribs out as far as my bones and skin will allow and I drink in the morning air as I take Alex to school. I concentrate on the laughs bubbling up and spilling out of my infant son and use it to anchor me to the present. I respond when Brennan asks me if I know that lions are the only big cats that live in packs, and beg him to tell me more so I can marvel at how much information his brain clamors to hold. I take their pictures on my phone and use them to dig in and root deeper when the darkness pulls at me. I paint my lips with my favorite shade of purple lipstick because it makes my heart beat a little faster and my hips sway with power and allure when I walk. I text my friends. I use the internet to distract. I read the words of others, press my hands in paint, go away for a weekend retreat to hold onto myself. I call my psychiatrist and resolve to hold on until December 9th when I can sit in her office and say “help me.” And I come here. Today. To find my way back after struggling to see Why My Words Matter in the hopes that it will help me remember why my life does. For them. For me. I’m here to dance in the light even in the seasons when it can’t be found. Selah.

We thank A’Driane for her beautiful submission and hope that it inspires you to have the #CourageToWrite.

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Oprah’s #LifeYouWant Tour Standing O-vation Award presented by Toyota

Live The Life You Want Weekend

In the coolest turn of events ever, the folks at Toyota (our Blogalicious 2014 Title Sponsor) invited me to attend the Washington, DC stop of Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend Tour as their guest because – get this – Toyota is a sponsor of Oprah’s tour as well! Six degrees of separation y’all. Six degrees.

I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend – beginning with an evening with Oprah and then a full day with her Trailblazers – in fact, I’ve been quoting Oprah ever since.  More on my takeaways later.  One of the highlights of the weekend was watching Jas Booth of Final Salute, a Washington, D.C.-based organization Boothe founded to help homeless female veterans in the United States by providing them and their children with transitional housing – win the  “Standing O-Vation” award.  Thank to Toyota, Final Salute will receive a $25,000 grant in support of their outstanding commitment to supporting homeless female veterans in the local Washington D.C. community.  It was such a powerful moment to witness and what was even more special was having the opportunity to meet with Jas backstage.  She was so humble and focused and crystal clear that her goal was to be out of business as quickly as possible; because that would mean that there were no more homeless female veterans.

Watch her story here:

 

 

Jas shared with us that the money received from Toyota would go directly to help paying the mortgage on the home that she shares with the homeless female veterans and funding activities (like Girls Night In or Move Night) that make the women feel ‘normal.’  Hearing the truths about how veterans are treated from someone who experienced it first-hand was upsetting, and a reminder to use my platform to spread awareness about these kinds of issues.  A huge ‘thank you’ to Toyota for recognizing the important work that Jas and Final Salute is doing and for supporting them in a such a big way.

The driving force behind The Toyota “Standing O-Vation” stems from the automaker’s commitment to fostering women’s interests.  While reflecting the kind of stories that define the brand, The Toyota “Standing O-Vation” is an opportunity to celebrate remarkable women who are not only making the world a better place, but also motivating others to spark their own journey of personal change.

 

You can learn more about the Toyota Standing O-Vation Award winners from each city on the tour, HERE.

 

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary ticket to attend Oprah’s ‘The Life You Want Tour’ as well as media access to interview Jas Booth.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Watch “black-ish” TONIGHT 9/24 on ABC @ 9:30pm ET

Last week Xina, Jazzy, Jana and I were invited to a premier of the new comedy series, ‘black-ish’ – set to begin tonight on ABC.  I didn’t know what to expect from the show’s pilot, but I knew that Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross were both hilarious, solid actors and so I assumed it would be entertaining and a good way to spend my Tuesday evening. I was right.  While watching the first episode, I realized that I was expecting it to be a challenge of the typical stereotypes of African-Americans from a humorous perspective – and it is in part – but it’s also a look at how the Black families that don’t frequently show up on television live.  I quickly related to the story of the fictitious Johnsons, a well-to-do Black family living in a predominantly white suburb, since it was a romanticized version of my very upbringing in Canada. More on that HERE.  From me and my sister being two of a dozen Blacks at our high school (shoutout to Shawn, Shawnette, Joel, Robert, Samuel, Vicki, Janelle, Ian, Sean, and Miki); to my playing field hockey and becoming a junior figure skating coach (for Pete’s sake); to me going to prom with a white guy; to me becoming an avid U2 and Pearl Jam fan (still am!) – I think it’s safe to say that I was definitely ‘black-ish’ for much of my childhood. Probably still am. It wasn’t until I started dating Shawn (see above), that I was introduced to ‘Black Montreal‘ and all that it entailed.  And I loved it. Once I got to CEGEP (i.e. junior college), I joined the Association of Caribbean Students and immersed myself in Afro-Canadian-Caribbean culture – largely by way of going to every single party, block-o, and club possible with my long-time friend Danielle.  (Thanks Dani!)  I can clearly pinpoint that year as being pivotal in helping me find my way to my identity.  And it was just in time too, because the next year I would find myself in the United States of America at a university of 50,000, where only 2,000 were Black – smack in the middle of rural, North Florida.  Like the storyline of the show (or at least the first episode), I found peace in embracing all sides of myself and honored my life circumstances and upbringing without feeling lost in the middle. I applaud ABC for taking the risk of doing something that hasn’t been done in a smart and relatable way, and I applaud the actors for taking on the project – one that certainly will be the subject of backlash from critics, no doubt.  My hope is that the show sparks conversations about identity at dinner tables across America and helps young people everywhere to embrace their full selves – because having both Guns ‘n Roses and Wu-Tang Clan on their iPod and enjoying pâté and collard greens is totally fine. Just ask me.

‘black-ish’ will air on ABC at 9:30pm ET starting tonight 9/24

 

Watch the Trailer:

Schooled by ‘The Intern Queen’ ~ Guest Post by @CaraPaigePR

 

Cara_Paige_Intern_Queen_Interview-2She started her business with a chunky Dell laptop and $5K. Today, Lauren Berger is CEO of InternQueen.com, author of the National Campus Best-Seller, All Work, No Pay and her newest work, Welcome to The Real World, not to mention the go-to expert on all things internships.

Last month I had the chance to sit down with Lauren at her inaugural Intern Queen Party in DC. We talked blogs, the benefit of breaking the rules, how to make it without a mentor, and how a celebrity chef inspired her business.

 

Cara Paige: So, how did Intern Queen get its start?

Lauren Berger: I had 15 internships when I was in college…which is a little crazy… no one needs 15 internships. I was the ambitious “little-engine-that-could” and no one would help me. So, I got all my internships on my own through breaking all the rules… cold calls and everything else they tell you not to do.

When I graduated college I thought ‘what if there were a resource, person or destination that could help connect students with the opportunity of their dreams?’ Then a light bulb went off and I said fifteen internships… my friends and peers can learn so much from my experiences. Why don’t I call myself the Intern Queen? The goal was to be the Rachel Ray of the ‘internship world’ and to have a more personal website, because I knew that places like CareerBuilder and Monster could be so overwhelming.  That’s how it all started.

 

 

CP: Did you have a mentor? 

Not really. A big misconception is that everyone has these mentors and that’s just not true. I reached out to so many people for advice and no one really wanted to help me and I get it… I was just a girl with a laptop. So I felt that I really needed to prove myself then people started turning their heads a little bit and saying “Oh I’d love to talk to you” or  “I’d love to help you.” But I think there’s a difference between the people that say they want to help versus the people that actually help. In my entire career I think there have only been a few people that have helped. I think a lot of times people are waiting for this “knight-in-shining-armor-mentor” that’s gonna turn their lives upside down, and I think you have to turn inwards and kinda be your own mentor.

 Blogalicious Cara Paige Intern Queen Interview

CP: So why is blogging important for you?

On InternQueen.com we’re blogging about internship advice so it’s important for us to constantly be giving our audience a wealth of new information. Just when they think they’ve heard everything about their resume, they hear something else from us. We need to keep them motivated that way.

Our new site, LaurenBergerInc.com, was launched because I [personally] wanted a new challenge and a lot of the users that have been with us since 2009 are graduating and going into that first, second or third job. I wanted to be there to help them. So it’s been a fun challenge for me to launch the new book Welcome to The Real World, helping our audience connect with advice and information about the opportunities of their dreams.

CP: What’s next for Lauren Berger?

We’re taking over the world…  at least that’s on my agenda today (snickers). Just kidding, our goal is always for every student in the world to know about Intern Queen.  We have a lot of work to do still. Slow and steady wins the race and we’ve been in the game about 5 years now, so it’s onward and upward from here. We’re also planning on increasing our career content so that when students graduate they don’t loose Intern Queen and I, Lauren Berger can still be someone that helps them through their career.

 

Thanks for this insightful interview, Cara! We love hearing about smart online brands like Lauren’s. Have a ‘Getting Schooled’ Moment that you’d like to share on the Blogalicious blog? Let us know!

Special Announcement! The Perfect Pitch 2.0 Contest at #BeGreatB6

Calling all Small Business owners!

Wells Fargo is excited to return to Blogalicious with…

 

The Perfect Pitch 2.0
Small Business Pitch Event

Friday, November 7
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Blogalicious Weekend 2014 in San Antonio, TX

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Pitch your business to our expert panel of judges for a chance to win $8,000 (and other prizes) to support your business.

Entry Information:

Contest Eligibility: One to five years in business

Submission Criteria:

  1. One-minute video introduction (published to You Tube)
  2. Business plan overview (PDF)
  3. Case study of a successful project (PDF)
  4. Headshot and bio be provided with the submission (Hi-Res)

 

Submissions will be accepted via email to: info  (at) beblogalicious.com and should contain a link to the video on YouTube, business plan, case study, bio and headshot.

Submission Deadline Is Friday, October 17th, 2014 @ 5pm PST. 

 

Scoring:

Submissions will be judged by our expert panelists/judges based on the following:

1.  20% Originality of Business Concept

  • Demonstrate that you have a unique and innovative business concept that differentiates you from other businesses

2.  50% Business Pitch

  • Clear articulation of your business plan and model
  • Concise explanation on why your business should be selected

3.  30% Package Quality

  • Submission is visually appealing and creative
  • Demonstrates professionalism

 

Scoring Guidelines: Each submission will be rated in each category on a five point scale.

Finalists Selection:

Three finalists will be selected based on highest cumulative scores as determined by the scoring process. Blogalicious will notify both the finalists, and those not selected, via email on Friday, October 31st.

Click Here for Official Rules.

Good Luck!!

 

3 Days Left Grab Our Labor Day Special!
Labor Day Sale
Join Us! Sunday, August 10th @ 9pm ET: Blogalicious Presents #365BlackAwards Twitter Chat!

The Blogalicious Family is all about community!  That’s why we’re so honored and excited to help our long-time partner McDonald’s, celebrate those who are giving back to their communities by supporting the 365Black Awards.

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McDonald’s 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American community.

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Hosted by actor/television correspondent Terrence J and actress Tika Sumpter, the 11th annual awards show will broadcast on BET® Networks on August 10 at 10 p.m. EDT/9 p.m. CDT. The awards ceremony will also air on CENTRIC on August 17 at 11 p.m. EDT/10 p.m.  The one-hour program will feature powerful performances from the music industry’s leading artists like Ledisi, Pastor Kim Burrell, Tank, Leela James, Jazmine Sullivan, Kierra Sheard and Mali Music. Additionally, singer/actress Michelle Williams, veteran radio personality Tom Joyner, news correspondent Soledad O’Brien, film director Warrington Hudlin, actress Naturi Naughton and news correspondent Nischelle Turner will be among celebrities on hand to present the distinguished awards.

McDonald’s 365Black Awards launched in 2003 as an extension of the company’s 365Black platform, which celebrates the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year-round.

The 11th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards Honorees

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McDonald’s Partnership with Harlem’s Fashion Row

New this year, McDonald’s collaborated with Harlem’s Fashion Rowa unique movement founded to increase diversity in fashion - to provide a HBCU fashion design student the opportunity to compete to have their design showcased on the 365Black Awards Golden Carpet.  Bowie State University’s TraVonne Walker’s design proved to be the winning piece and was rocked by Janell Snowden, this year’s Golden Carpet Correspondent – Congratulations TraVonne!

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Tune in to watch this year’s McDonald’s 365Black Awards broadcast, Sunday, August 10, 2014, at 10:00 p.m. EDT on BET® Networks. The show will rebroadcast Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 11:00 p.m. EDT on CENTRIC-TV.

 

An Invitation

We are so inspired by the achievements of each of the honorees and we’d like to celebrate the best way Blogalicious knows how – on social media!  Logon to Twitter on Sunday, August 10th, 2014 at 9:00pm ET for a fun and celebratory chat about the awards show and 365Black initiative.  

Beginning just one hour before the main event, we will be giving away prizes and chatting with awards’ host Terrence J (@TerrenceJ), Honorees, Skyler Grey (@SkylerGreyArt) and Gabrielle Jordan Williams (@GabrielleIntl), and Harlem’s Fashion Row’s Brandice Henderson (@HFRMovement).  They each want to chat with you so be sure to tweet them!

And remember to tune in to watch this year’s broadcast at 10pm ET on BET!

Event Details

WHO:

Follow @BeBlogalicious, @McDScene, @TerrenceJ, @SkylerGreyArt, @GabrielleIntl, @HFRMovement

WHAT:

Twitter event to have a conversation about the 11th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards, given annually to honor and recognize outstanding individuals who make significant contributions that strengthen the African-American community, and airing THIS Sunday, August 10th at 10:00pm ET.

WHERE:

On Twitter! Follow hashtag: #365BlackAwards.  Feel free to use this dedicated chat room for the conversation: http://twubs.com/365blackawards

WHEN:

Sunday, August 10th, 2014 at 9pm ET (6pm PT)

PRIZES:

Nine (9) $25 McDonald’s Arch Cards and One (1) $50 McDonald’s Arch Card.

Giveaway open to U.S. residents age 18 and older.  Visit this page for complete rules.

RSVP HERE

 

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