It’s Black Business Thursday: Maestro Coffee

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This year, I’m committed to support Black entrepreneurs. I respect the courage it takes to thrive and persevere in our business and political culture. So, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

This week, I went to Maestro Coffee in the Natomas area of Sacramento. It’s a quiet, relaxing atmosphere with convenient hours and friendly staff. The ambiance is perfect with Black art, books to borrow and comfortable couches. They have great space for studying and working and the bathroom is always clean.

Most importantly, the coffee is delicious! The menu feature a variety of options including cool drinks like Thai coffee, Cookie Monster snickers latte and Italian sodas.

My return will not just be because this is a Black business but because the service is great and the coffee is amazing! Stop by!

Maestro is located at 2069 Arena Blvd, Suite 130 and is open from 7 am to 7 pm most days!

Holiday Break Goals?

Good Thoughts, Uncategorized

Sorry. This will be contrary to what the average person has planned, but have you considered vacation day goals? The holidays will bring lots of opportunities to do little AND to do a lot. You could make a reasonable list of things you wish to accomplish and reward yourself for the accomplishments!

For me, the holidays mean trekking to Seattle to enjoy my family! Generally, I’m the only one on vacation. Everyone who needs to work is working and so are the folks who enjoy their jobs. The “aha moment” came when I realized that one of the keys to personal success is to only take breaks that you’ve earned.

I’ve adopted a personal mantra…#NoDaysOff. It’s not that I do not intend to rest. It’s Just that I intend to create balance. It would be terrible to rest when you’ve not accomplished a goal. You can gradually reach goals by taking small steps!

Here’s a few things you can do that won’t adversely impact your #VacationMode:

  1. Listen to 3-5 podcast that highlight an area of interest for you. You can do this in the car on your way to the mall!
  2. Spend some time at a bookstore in the section that meets your interest! Check out the periodicals for articles and other inspiration!
  3. Build a Pinterest board that relates to a goal you have!
  4. Pick a time period like 1 month or 6 months and set reminders on your phone or calendar for goals, benchmarks and opportunities to reward yourself.
  5. Pick a closet to clean and/or organize! Set a goal to throw away one bag of things you do not need.
  6. Pick a recipe you have been interested in trying and share the dish with a close friend or associate. It’s a good way to reconnect.
  7. Go somewhere new. Cheat on Starbucks for a local company and share your thoughts with friends on your social media platforms.
  8. Schedule an hour of personal productivity.
  9. Make a list of the things you need that will be better to purchase after Christmas!
  10. Buy a plastic bin and stock up on holiday decor for next year once it goes on sale!

Move ON.

Good Thoughts, Uncategorized

There are so many “help” lists to choose from. There is no shortage of help, I know. Nevertheless, you deserve to be inspired. Inspiration is here! Life will throw al kinds of curve balls but you can rely of God’s help to survive. One gift God gives us is the will and insight it takes to MOVE ON. In my attempt to move on, I ran into these truths.

1. You can abuse freedom. When you get freedom, be intentional about how you use it! Protect it from people who do not respect your time and gifting. Move forward with intentionality.

2. Throw your own party if you have something to celebrate! You don’t even have to invite anyone! The more intimate, the better! It’s easy to confuse the crown with the folks who love you. BUT, it’s not impossible. Move forward with JOY!

3. I am changing so that the people who won’t/can’t will not have control over my experiences/environment. I’m moving forward with plans to improve!

f275828fb98f43b39870c65eb6c6e5bf--keep-moving-forward-hand-lettering

Do. The. Work.

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I vividly recall being the kid with a lot of follow-up questions. I think I may be the reason my grandmother had little tolerance for my quick rebuttals. I had such a passionate belief that asking for clarification was the way to prove I was listening. Grandmother didn’t quite see it that way. Aside from the cautionary reminder not to talk back, her encouragement was more about wanting me to know when I needed to “figure it out” and when clarification was necessary.

As a result, I learned that when a person gives you information, it’s just as much your responsibility to learn more as it is theirs to be clear… but expecting folks to be clear is unrealistic. When we are presented with an opportunity, expect to have to work for it. Don’t be afraid to go in the bathroom stall and Google or take the time to figure what the right questions to ask might be. It always makes me feel good when I thoughtfully pursue clarification and the person responds with “that’s a great question” or “no one has ever asked that.”

Do the work it takes to be great!

Book Review: Debbie Doesn’t Do it Anymore

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I’m not a huge fan of fiction. I never liked Hotwheels that were not like cars you couldn’t see on the street… But I like Walter. I like good stories about redemption. I like thoughtful writing. I like riches-to-rags-to-riches stories. I like learning. So… I’m giving this book a go. Check out the description.

Book Description
Release date: May 13, 2014
In this scorching, mournful, often explicit, and never less than moving literary novel by the famed creator of the Easy Rawlins series, Debbie Dare, a black porn queen, has to come to terms with her sordid life in the adult entertainment industry after her tomcatting husband dies in a hot tub. Electrocuted. With another woman in there with him. Debbie decides she just isn’t going to “do it anymore.” But executing her exit strategy from the porn world is a wrenching and far from simple process.

Millions of men (and no doubt many women) have watched famed black porn queen Debbie Dare—she of the blond wig and blue contacts-“do it” on television and computer screens every which way with every combination of partners the mind of man can imagine. But one day an unexpected and thunderous onset orgasm catches Debbie unawares, and when she returns to the mansion she shares with her husband, insatiable former porn star and “film producer” Theon Pinkney, she discovers that he’s died in a case of hot tub electrocution, “auditioning” an aspiring “starlet.” Burdened with massive debts that her husband incurred, and which various L.A. heavies want to collect on, Debbie must reckon with a life spent in the peculiar subculture of the pornography industry and her estrangement from her family and the child she had to give up. She’s done with porn, but her options for what might come next include the possibility of suicide. Debbie . . . is a portrait of a ransacked but resilient soul in search of salvation and a cure for grief.
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The Change Challenge

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I am not sure if Maya Angelou said it first but I’m sure she said it. She said, “when people show you who they are, believe them.” As simple of a concept as it seems, it’s the hardest truth to swallow. We tend to want to believe that people have temporary failures that don’t completely define them. We make excuses for people because we choose to isolate certain behaviors.

Ponder this question. What is my real potential for change? Am I fully capable of becoming the opposite of what I am for the sake of those who are dissatisfied with me? What will I do if I change but no one believes me?

So… The challenge? The first change is dealing with how we know we are ready for a change. Let’s commit to thinking through what prompts the urge to change. Is it frustration? Is it the fear of failure? Let’s challenge when we engage Change. Let’s entertain Change intentionally. Let’s schedule it.

LESSONS FROM CLEANING OUT MY CAR

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Yesterday, I had the misfortune of losing my keys at a local restaurant. After hours of searching, I conceded. Kind and friends from church made it possible for my car to be towed to my place. It takes about 24 hours to recover, get new keys, change locks, etc. The last 24 hour hours certainly slowed my life down by about 70%. But, I learned some wonderful lessons today as I spent several hours cleaning out my car, reflecting and talking to the Lord.

In my car I found:

1. Things I thought I lost forever.
2. Books I was excited to read but never got to.
3. Things I borrowed but never returned.
4. Things I forgot I had.
5. Things I thought I needed but didn’t.
6. Lots of duplicates.
7. Other folk’s stuff that they left.
8. Money I lost between the seats.
9. Gifts and cards I was too busy to open.
10. Trash that made it hard to find all the things above.

No, I didn’t recover my keys as of yet. But, the Lord answered my prayer. I asked him to use this misfortune to
bring revelation and clarity. The moral of the story?

1. He loves me.

2. Whether it’s the tow truck guy, friends from church or my messy car, there are opportunities and blessings all around.

3. Slowing down, decluttering and paying attention are a part of a healthy life.