Voyage Dallas Magazine Interview

Here is the interview that I gave to Voyage Dallas Magazine.  I hope that you will enjoy reading it. It was a lot of fun to give.

Interview With Voyage Dallas Magazine

Thank you so much for following thisisyourbestyear“.  There is a lot more in store for all of us.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Enjoy life….. and thanks again!

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At The Texas Conference For Women–Women Rock

It is always great to be in the presence of women, especially smart women.  The Texas Conference for Women has so much to see, hear and do that it is hard to decide which way to go. That is why you see me rushing almost running in the halls of the Austin Convention Center with my two bags, comfortable shoes, and phone. I was off to races.

Texas Conference 2 Photo by Getty

I was able to snag two great interviews with two amazing women.  My first interview came as a surprise.  We just struck up a conversation, and I knew women would love to know about her company “iFundWomen”.  Below is the interview that I did with the CEO and founder of “iFundWomen”, Ms. Karen Cahn. For women who are looking for ways to fund their startup, she is the person to know.

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My second interview was with the Emmy award winner, Ms. Gaby Natale.  She is the host of the Emmy award-winning show Super Latina, and now the author of the book El Circulo Virtuoso.  Her story is one that a lot of people can identify with. She is inspirational.  My interview with Gaby is below.

Both women are successful entrepreneurs who have found their passions and turned them into their careers.  As each would tell you it has been a journey that has taken some unexpected turns.  They epitomize the women that attended and participated in the Texas Conference for Women.  This year there were 7,500 women in attendance from all over the United States.

Each of the women had their own schedule to adhere to and knew which sessions they wanted to attend and why.  All of us were able to hear the three keynote speakers, Ms. Anita Hill, Ms. Sheryl Sandberg, and Ms. Viola Davis.  Their presentations were informative and more.  You can see some of Ms. Anita Hill’s talInstagramFacebook Page–thisisyourbestyear, Instagram–thisisyourbestyear and Twitter–@mariciajohns.

If you have never attended this conference, you should think about it for next year.  There is something for everyone from, pitching your product to QVC, working on your Linkedin Page, coping with grief, fitness and much more.

This is one of the highlights of my year, seeing and hearing the speakers and meeting up with other bloggers, photographers, and other media again.  Hope you will take advantage of this great gathering of women.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

To find out more about how to fund your business go to the “iFundWomen” website.

www.ifundwomen.com

If you would like to know about Gaby Natale, and how to contact her for speaking engagements, book signings and more please visit her website.

www.gabynatale.com

Join me on Instagram!

We’re on Instagram as @thisisyourbestyear. Install the app to follow my photos and videos. https://instagram.com/download/?r=380485317

You can also follow us on Facebook–thisisyourbestyear, Twitter–@mariciajohns and of course our website–www.thisisyourbestyear.com.

          Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Enjoy A Great Meal and Make A Difference

I would usually put this post in the What “I” Like section because the food is amazing, but this is more than what I like. It’s about an idea that is not only changing the food scene in Dallas, but it is teaching future chefs and others life skills. It is not a culinary school, it’s not your typical classroom, and these are not your typical educators or your typical students.

Cafe Momentum is a non-profit restaurant and professional training facility that is located in downtown Dallas. Cafe Momentum is in the restaurant business, but more importantly it is in the business of transforming the lives of young people who have been inside juvenile facilities. The restaurant, culinary school, life skills university is the brain child of Chef Chad Houser. Working in collaboration with the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department, Cafe Momentum strives to teach young men and women that it is possible to break the cycle–the cycle of crime, violence and poverty.

The students rotate through a 12 month paid internship program where they do work in every position from dishwasher to server to working along side world class chefs. In addition to culinary skills, they are taught anger management, money management and other life skills. Upon successfully completing the intense program the interns are placed with partners of Cafe Momentum for employment.

The food was scrumptious to the eye and to the palette. Making the night even more enjoyable was the knowledgeably, friendly, professional and courteous staff. We tried and shared several items, but one of my favorites was King Oyster Mushroom Scallops. I love scallops, but I hardly order them because if they are not done correctly they are not very appealing to eat. The mushrooms reminded me of the best scallops that I have ever tasted. They had the same buttery texture–they were wonderful. If I had not been told they were mushrooms, I would have thought I was eating scallops. It is usually hard to fool me when it comes to taste. You know how they say “it taste like” and it doesn’t–this did.

We started with a pickle plate that contained bourbon pickled green tomatoes, sweet cucumbers, hot, very hot jalapenos, Italian cauliflower and more. it was a great taste mixture of sweet, tangy and hot. Everyone at the table seemed to have their favorite. The next item that we shared was the magnificent Charcuteri Plate–it was magnificent. It featured torchon, duck ham, homemade sausage, two types of goat cheese which they lovingly called Lucy and Ethel, and so much more. To see more about this amazing plate (video) go to our Facebook Page–thisisyourbestyear.

Another amazing dish that everyone wanted to have a bite of was Ninny’s (fried) Okra Salad. I am one person who likes okra almost anyway it can be prepared, and this dish was one of the best ways that I have eaten it.

At this point I was a bit full so I order the Ninny Okra Salad for my entree, and nibbled off of everyone’s plate. Someone ordered the Smoked Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens, biscuits and gravy. I tasted it–OMG. The Pork Chop with brown butter, green tomato salad and a 4 bean salad was ordered by a couple of people. I didn’t taste this one, but there wasn’t much left on their plates so I think that makes the point.

The fish of the day was an Opah, yes Opah, not Oprah. Having never heard of it, I was interested in it, but too scared to order. This Opah fish was tasty, not a fishing fish, but a flaky light fish.

At the conclusion we ordered the Olive Oil Cake and the Chai Ice Cream with a chocolate brownie. Everyone at the table got a bite of the Olive Oil Cake while one person hoarded the Chai Ice Cream and chocolate brownie.

Dining at Cafe Momentum is not only an amazing culinary experience, but it is chance to give back to the community of Dallas and beyond. Take some time to learn more about Cafe Momentum and see how you can assist this great endeavor.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Eat, drink, be merry and assist a worthy cause.

Help For The Victims Of Hurricane Harvey

For those wanting to donate financially to help the people of Houston and the other affected areas, you can donate to these sites:

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (Houston)

YouCaring J J Watts (Houston)

American Red Cross (All areas)

  • Call 1-800-RED-CR0SS
  • Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a donation

Salvation Army (All areas)

  • Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY
  • Text the word STORM to 51555

Covenant House Texas (All areas)

Here are some things that we can start to collect to donate to the people in the devastated areas that will assist those in shelters:

  • disposable diapers
  • baby formula
  • water
  • toothbrushes
  • socks
  • soap
  • toothpaste
  • feminine products
  • deodorant
  • shampoo
  • hand sanitizer
  • towels
  • children’s clothing
  • toys (children need some sense of normality)

If you are a member of a Greek organization, check your national website–they will have information as to how you can assist.

Please remember that home insurance does not cover flooding, and most of these people will have lost everything.

If you know of other legitimate organizations offering assistance, please post in the comment section.

 

Can You Do This?

My mother was very good at teaching my sister and I about being an independent woman. She was quick to tell us that we might never marry so we needed to know how to do things for ourselves. At the age of 44 her words rang true for her when our father suddenly died. I can honestly say that my mother never missed a beat.

In time I saw her prepare her will so that my sister would be looked after if something happened to her.  I observed her negotiate to buy my first car, and believe me she was negotiating. As time went on I saw her begin to travel and let go of the fact that she was not willing to stay home and look at an empty house. I saw her sit in the window with her coffee and yes, her cigarette and just pray in all of her kindness.

I was privy to her calls to the city of Longview seeking solutions to potholes, streetlights and much more. Her determination to vote was passed on to her children. She made sure we could do just about anything, and if not at least we knew how locate the people who could.

These and other thing should be passed on to out daughters and granddaughters. I know there will be others, but here are a few things that we need to teach and possibly learn for ourselves.

  • How to check the oil and put air in your car tires–some of our sons need this too. If all else fails how enroll in roadside assistance; and in Texas be able to locate the roadside assistance number on the back of the driver’s license.
  • Take a gun class. Yes, I am serious. If for no other reason than to get over the fear of them.
  • Know your worth. Diamonds shine their brightest when they are buffed so learn to pat yourself on the back sometimes. Just remember only the best can tell real from fake.
  • Learn how to invest. Some of us need to quickly learn this. Social security and employment pensions are becoming a thing of the past. Never leave this to someone else.
  • Stand for something. Wrong is wrong and right is right. Enough said.
  • Know what to say when asked “tell me about yourself”.  You are so much more than a job title.
  • Learn how to read a roadmap. I need to do this better. What happens if there is no cell service or the phone dies. In addition learn how to get out of the garage if the power is off. You still have to go to work.
  • Learn to swim or at least wear a life vest when you are on the water for pleasure.
  • Learn to go it alone. Want to go to movies, out to eat, but no one to go with you?Don’t miss out. It is much easier to add someone, and it makes for a nice surprise.
  • Learn how to put a hem in a garment, sew on a button, use a safety-pin so nobody knows it is there.

There are so many things that we should teach our daughters and granddaughters that it is impossible to list them all. Even with all of our wisdom there are some things that we don’t know how to do. What are some things that you have taught your daughters and granddaughters?  What’s something you need to learn to do? Let’s share the knowledge.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Knowledge is power, and you are never too old to learn.

It’s Your Birthday–Celebrate

Sasha Obama just celebrated her 16th birthday, and she was probably counting the days until she could tell anyone who asked that she was 16.  There was probably some sort of celebration with friends and family. She may have even gotten a great gift from her parents, but everyone who knows her knew it was her birthday.  She told them weeks in advance that it was getting closer.

Most women of a certain age dread birthdays, or at least talking about the age we are as they are a reminder of the fact we are getting older. Remember as a child when someone asked you how old you were you would answer 15 and a half, and I will be 16 on June 23.  It seemed we wanted to be older.  At the age of 20 we would tell people I will be 21 in so many months. Then the dreaded 30 came, and for the most part we would own up to the age of 30, but soon after that we stopped talking about our birthday.

If we celebrated we started to insist that there be no candles on the cake except maybe one in the center because it just looked better, and besides who wanted all the germs from blowing out all of those candles.  Time seemed to speed up, and we zipped through the 40’s some of us the 50’s and beyond by just saying it was our birthday.

Some say you are to never ask a lady her age, it’s equivalent to asking a man how tall he is, and we all know how that goes. But then when we get pass a certain age, we tell our age with pride.

Is age just a number?  If it is, then why do we refuse to acknowledge our birthdays as we mature. When did you stop celebrating, was it when you turned 30, 40, 50 or beyond?  Some say that women stop celebrating because society does not take kindly to women of a certain age.  Men become more distinguished, and women become just older.  We even see it in the national news as was shown by the last presidential election.

There are some who have always celebrated their birthdays with as much gusto and excitement as they did turning Sweet 16.  They party like it’s 1999.  My sorority sister, Hazel is one of those people.  She recently held her 90th birthday party. She put up a huge sign so that you knew her age just in case you forgot.

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Maybe you don’t want a party to celebrate your birthday. Maybe you just want to sit on the patio and drink a nice cup of coffee. Celebrate in your own special way because it is your special day.

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Hazel at her 90th birthday party celebration

Happy 90th Birthday and Many More! because thisisyourbestyear”.

 

 

 

Looking For A Great Girls Outing–Try the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament

First of all let me give you this disclaimer before you read any further.  This will be the last year that the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament will be held at The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.  It will now move to Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.

That being said “the last round” was an amazing girls getaway for those that love golf, like golf, kind of like golf and those that don’t know anything about golf.  There is so much  more to a golf tournament than golf.

At the beautiful Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, maybe it was because it was the “last round” everything was done to perfection.  Even the parking was convenient.

For those that love golf, there were the top players on the PGA participating with some surprises along the way.  There was so much to do, see, eat, drink and enjoy.

Let’s get started first with the resort.  If you were fortunate enough you may have been able to snag a villa with a view of the course from the balcony.  We saw quite a few ladies and gentlemen doing just that. Some had their cocktails and food to enjoy while watching the tournament.

Just walking around was peaceful and beautiful.  The weather for the most part was very nice.  The sponsors tents were great places to stop and enjoy food, drink and great conversation while watching the action on the course. The Grey Goose tent had signature cocktails for enjoyment with cute giveaway glasses. While you sipped your cocktail there was always someone to discuss golf on every level–learning can be fun!

Of course there was the fashion to take in as there is every year at the Byron Nelson; though this year the fashions seemed to be more individualized (no set pattern).  The city of Irving had great events from pictures, to prizes.  You could go inside the AT&T booth and drive a simulator and much more. Cadillac, the official car had their newest models on display for your viewing pleasure.

There were activities in the hotel for those that wanted to relax a bit more.  There was the Well and Being Spa in the hotel. If you felt that you didn’t get enough exercise walking the course they have 4 indoor tennis courts, a massive workout facility, squash courts and more.

The Byron Nelson Golf Tournament at The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas in Las Colinas has something for everyone.  It made a great girls getaway. For those that don’t know a lot about golf, it is a great way to learn–it’s as easy as talking to the person next to you.  You might even enjoy it.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

The Simple Things

My favorite season is Fall. I absolutely love being outside during this time of year and seeing all the beauty God has created. Today my college roommate and I decided to stroll through the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden with a tour of the DeGolyer House. The coolness of the weather, the brightness of the sunshine and friendship made it simple and beautiful.

 Remember  “thisisyourbestyear”.  Enjoy the beauty of nature and friendships.