Looking Ahead to 2016 (The Goal-Getter in Me)

20150906_155418cIt’s been 9 years that I’ve been blogging off and on (I started this blog in January 2007).  This is Part 3 of 3 in my 2015 yearly review.


5 PLACES I WANTED TO GO in 2015–and those To Be Continued…
– NYC (I did that in July, visiting old friends I hadn’t seen in over a decade, and their small children. It’s funny, the last time I saw those ladies, they weren’t moms.)
– L.A., to be on another talk show like Ellen, Wendy, Fallon or The REAL and be in the audience with my sister. I went to the Wendy Show in July, during the trip mentioned above, but I had no luck getting a booking for Ellen during her 12 Days of Christmas where she gives away EPIC gifts that almost rival Oprah’s. I also was an audience member of Family Feud in May, and another show in March called “Fake Off.”

Continue reading “Looking Ahead to 2016 (The Goal-Getter in Me)”

2015: Looking Ahead

This blog is entering its 8th year (I started it in January 2007).  I usually write about goals and such between my birthday (in November) and the close of the year. This is Part 3 of 3 in my 2014 yearly review.


5 PLACES I WANT TO GO in 2015picjumbo.com_HNCK2304-40e
– NYC (I would have gone in October, but a race I scheduled there was cancelled)
– L.A. (to be on another talk show like Ellen, Wendy, Fallon or The REAL and be in the audience with my sister)
– EssenceFest*
– Puerto Rico* and/or Hawaii* (these have been on my list for years, as I’ve never done them)
– My hometown (I have not been to my hometown in 12 years, and there is a 15K race I want to do–it was even recommended as a go-to in Runner’s World magazine this month)

Continue reading “2015: Looking Ahead”

Still Trippin’: The Big Easy, Sweetie Pies, and A Christmas Story

Today I’m going to recap a few of my most recent travels. When it comes to traveling, I can’t allow years to pass me by waiting for friends to be ready to go where and when I want to. So since I’m free most of the summer, my get-aways are flexible, and solo.


Daree wears an original Mardi Gras costume at the World of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, LA.
Mardi Gras costume

I’ve had a trip to the Big Easy on my list for some years, but it’s usually in the context of the annual Essence Music Festival at the Superdome on July 4.  Every year I think about who would go to NOLA with me, and I can never find anyone to go. Then on July 4th, I see lots of posts and pics online of friends at the EMF. This year, I did the world’s largest 10K race–Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race–which is also held on July 4th. So I decided that even if I had to go alone, I would go to New Orleans in July.

My trip was about a 7-hour drive each way, on a beautiful weekend. I had been warned about how much hotter it was in the Gulf area, but brushed it off. After all, I live in Hotlanta! How much hotter could it be? Continue reading “Still Trippin’: The Big Easy, Sweetie Pies, and A Christmas Story”

I Had Them at Hello, But I Didn’t Back It Up

My last three speeches were all in the same week. One was at a local book festival, and two were at conferences for audiences that I have not spoken to before. My former speech coach and mentor encouraged me and recommended that I submit proposals to these conferences that she has been a part of in the past. She is a survivor of domestic violence, social worker, and all-around advocate for better self-esteem and life choices.

They Really Liked Me!

The 25th Daniel Memorial National Independent Living Conference Growing Pains 2012 was geared to youth service professionals, independent living professionals, and youth aged 15 and up. Many of the youth I spoke with were in group homes of some sort, or working with youth in foster care and similar living environments. Adding to the pressure was the fact that A) I knew I would not have a projector to show slides during my presentation, and B) my love had just sworn me off literally the night before.

My talk was slated for 1:00 on the first day of the conference, right after lunch. As I looked around the grand ballroom at lunchtime, I thought to myself, “Will they care what I have to say? Can I relate to their struggles? Will I get through to them?” You just never know, and it looked like I might have a tough crowd. Not to mention, although my program description was accurate, I wasn’t sure if young people really sought help for their low self-esteem (as applicable) or cared to dig into media literacy (LINK).  But I know better than to doubt myself, and I was as prepared as one could be. I just prayed everything would turn out alright and the afternoon wouldn’t be a total waste of time. Continue reading “I Had Them at Hello, But I Didn’t Back It Up”

Why Can’t I Find a Man Like THAT?

On a whim, I went to Texas last week and visited my cousin Desi* and his family there. What a treat! I haven’t seen him in over 30 yrs–which means that I really don’t remember him. I knew of him through family members and pictures, and a couple of years ago, he “found” me on Facebook.

Desi took care of me, talked to me, hung out with me and listened to me. He treated me so well. Simply put, he showed me love. Some of that love came in helping me promote my debut book wherever we went, and I was surprised how many of these strangers were ready to buy on the spot. I’ve got plans to return to TX as a stop on my book tour. Continue reading “Why Can’t I Find a Man Like THAT?”

Cramming It All In Without Checking In

I can be somewhat of a cheapskate (some people say I should use the word “thrifty,” but call it what you will). I try to avoid fees whenever possible and anyone who has been out and about with me knows I’m not ashamed to use coupons in stores and restaurants.

I remember one of my weeklong trips to a tourist city last year. I didn’t want to pay any baggage fees newly mandated by the airline I was using, and I had a suitcase small enough to fit in an average plane’s overhead compartment. I figured I could pack clothes and keep the jeans to a minimum, washing a load of clothes in the middle of the week. I was determined not to buy much since I have visited before).

Well, so much for that. I did end up buying a few things, and because I didn’t have the exact same configuration I did when I arrived, I spent some time on the morning of my departure date sitting, rocking, and lying on the suitcase to get it closed. I was pulling zippers, rearranging stuff inside, you name it. I finally got it to work. The suitcase was completely closed—bulging but closed. I was afraid to re-open it before I got home, which wouldn’t be for about 8 hours.

Continue reading “Cramming It All In Without Checking In”