Nighty Night–8 Tips For A Better Sleep By Arianna Huffington

I am one of those people who leaves the card on my bed at the hotel because I want the linen changed each day (give me a discount, and I might not).  As I reached for the card at my last hotel stay, I read something that made a lot of sense. It was Arianna Huffington’s  8 Tips For A Better Sleep.

As I have matured sleep has become more important.  At one time I could function very well on 4 to 5 hours of sleep, but as I have matured I need more.  As women of a certain age sometimes our sleeping patterns can go into some craziness because of the dreaded menopause.  You know, you just can’t get to sleep, or you wake up and then you are just up for the rest of the night.

Will her 8 tips work?  I’m not sure, but I do agree with trying them.  There are some things that I probably won’t do.  I can drink coffee at 10 PM and then go to bed, and it does not bother me.

Sleep.jpg

Take a look at the list and hopefully you will get some idea(s) on helping you get a good nights sleep–it’s worth a try.  Sleep does make you feel better and even look better. Ms. Huffington has written a book about the importance of sleep in our everyday life–The Sleep Revolution. It sounds like an interesting read.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear“.  Have a good nights sleep.  Sweet dreams!  In the comment section, tell us some of the things you do to get a good nights sleep.

Breast Cancer Awareness–Prayers For Paulette And Her 8 Children

Bishop T. D. Jakes says it’s your Destiny, you know that happening that was not planned. Rev. Jerome B. Price said it is God talking to you. Who knew that browsing Facebook would lead to something thought-provoking for me, and hopefully for you.

Paulette 19I came upon this site–Prayers For Paulette8Children.  Well you know me, I am assuming there is a mistype, and it should read Prayers for Paulette & Children.  Don’t ask me why I thought that, I just did.  Maybe because I saw this beautiful. bright-eyed young lady with the gorgeous smile smiling at us on most pictures, and besides who has 8 children?  As I read more, I found out this beautiful lady was Paulette McKenzie Leaphart, and yes she has 8 children, and yes they do need our prayers.   Paulette is a breast cancer survivor, she is a fighter, a warrior whose faith continues to keep her, but above all she is a mother of 8 children both biological and adopted.

The following is my interview with Paulette, and I hope I give her and her children the loving justice they deserve.

It took a while for Paulette and I to start the interview, we started by me inboxing her on Facebook, and  connecting by phone to set up the interview. Paulette lives in the Big Easy, and from her tone, she loves New Orleans. 

Paulette’s life before her diagnosis was great, she was beautiful and talented with 8 great children.  She was happily Paulette 15living her life–that is until in a dream God told her she had cancer. Yes, Paulette said God told her she had cancer.  There were no symptoms, but she knew it was the voice of God.  Getting her doctor to believe her was another story.  After finally agreeing to have her do her first mammogram, and it coming back negative, her doctor tried to assure her that she was cancer free.

Paulette knew what she knew, and she was not cancer free.  After seeing how persistent she was he agreed to have her do an ultra sound.  After the radiologist came in and looked at the ultra sound, Paulette knew he had found something, but he did not tell her. A few days later she got a letter telling her to go in to see her doctor because they had found something suspicious. Her doctor performed a biopsy since they had found a tumor–finding breast cancer.

Paulette 16Even after hearing she had breast cancer, Paulette remained calm because she already knew. When talking with her doctor, she was informed that she had a very aggressive cancer, it was stage 2, grade 3.  The doctor told her it was a fast-moving cancer, and because of her family history and the type of cancer, he suggested a double mastectomy.  This was the first time Paulette was at a lost for words, she thought she had been prepared for anything, but a double mastectomy had not ever crossed her mind. Even though she trusted the doctor, she immediately went for a second opinion, and they agreed with the first doctor–a double mastectomy was advised. The surgery was scheduled, and immediately after the surgery there would be breast reconstruction or so she thought.

The doctor who was to do the reconstruction surgery reviewed her files and came to the conclusion that reconstruction surgery would be too taxing on her body since she had other medical ills one of which is a blood clotting disorder.  Paulette thought that this can not be happening, but the doctors explained why they could not recommend the reconstruction, and she agreed and was okay with it.  She had made peace with the idea, but she still sought a second opinion who told her of another procedure that could be done for reconstruction–she decided not to do it.  She was at Paulette3peace with her decision, it was hard, she cried, got angry, but eventually decided no reconstruction was best for her.  In her own words  she told herself “Baby Girl, you still got your sexy”.

When it came to telling her children about her breast cancer, it was hardest telling her youngest daughter who is now 8.  Her baby had just gone through seeing someone die from this disease so her only reference to cancer was death.

Her oldest daughter started the Facebook page because she knew they all needed prayers.  Paulette’s first time reading the page was about 3 months after the surgery. After reading and responding to comments, Paulette decided to take over the page herself.

When she had to lose her hair it was hard for her–after all she is a woman. She did everything to keep her hair, researching, buying products, but in the in the hair came out. She was determined that cancer would not win this battle since it was gong to come out, she thought I’ll cut it off myself which she did, and the barber did the rest.  Even her youngest daughter decided to be just like her mom.Paulette 13

Even though it has been hard for Paulette and also hard for her children, they constantly draw strength from each other.  They had been without a home for a while. Since Paulette did not have health insurance, she had to decide on medication or a roof over their heads. Notice that I did not say they were homeless–they always had the love of family and friends and each other, but most of all they had their faith in God.

Her life has changed, but it is not for the worst.  She has been hit, but not knocked down. Paulette has decided to share every step of her journey with others in the hope they can draw strength from her testimony.

It seems that even In the mist of all her troubles, there were those who are determined to do more to make her unhappy.  Paulette did not lose weight, the treatments made her gain weight.  She even seemed to always be smiling so she can’t have cancer some people thought.  It was amazing to me that people could be so cruel, but again her faith in God keeps her strength up.

On good days she takes her youngest children to music and dance while continuing to make their new house a home.  They all attend church together.  I ask Paulette why she decided to adopt children when her children were just about adults, and she told me it was a promise she made to God when she was an abused child.  Her children keep her strong.  Even though they are children, they step up to fill in the gap when Paulette is unable to do so.

Her doctor says she is in remission, but can’t say for sure if she is cancer free.  Paulette says there is no need because God told her she is.

To see more about Paulette’s story, go to her Facebook Page at : https://www.facebook.com/Prayers-For-Paulette8children-468487063257460/timeline/?ref=br_tf.

Her story will inspire you.  I look forward to meeting Paulette and her 8 children in New Orleans when she celebrates her 50th birthday.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

For two of the bravest women I know–Carol Cooper and Renae Ruffin.

The Saga Of The Bra Fitting

When you decide that  you are going to let your new gray neighbors meet the rest of the neighborhood, you must take other things into consideration–jewelry, attitude, clothing fit and more.  Gray hair does not make you look old, but if you have gray hair and the girls (breasts) are not bra fit 4sitting right, then you need to find your correct bra size.

I can remember when Oprah had a person who came on the show and measured her–even Oprah needed some help.  So if Ms. O needs a little help, maybe we do to.

After a month of mammograms, sonograms and MRI’s I decided that the “girls” could use a new dress or two. What I did was to go to a store–Dillard’s to find a person to measure me correctly.  You need someone who has the time to actually measure you, and talk with you about what you are looking far.

All women know that  shoe size changes because our feet change.  The maker of the shoes may make them differently.  Maybe you gained and/or lost weight, that affects your shoe size.  The maker of the shoes could be the problem.  You can wear one size by one designer, but another size with another designer. That’s the way it is in bra sizing. You’ve changed, and so have the “girls”.  Sizing can vary by brands and/or type as the picture below illustrates.

bra fit 9

That’s what happens to the “girls”.  You’ve had children, you gained and/or lost weight, you do weight training (which helps to keep the girls perky) and you are over the age of 35. Some people suggest you measure yourself at least once a year.

After you find the correct fit and make your purchase, it is important that you take care of your bras.  Most women do not hand wash anything now.  If you are washing bras along with everything else you need to put them in a lingerie bag and wash them on the delicate cycle.  This will help the bra keep its shape.  If you have a place to let them dry naturally that will help with the longevity of the bras.

I decided it was time to buy, and lo and behold, the bra lady as I like to call her was my former student.  She measured, looked and remeasured.  Then came back with a group of bras for me to try on.  The very first one was not what she thought it should be.  Even though it was the size she measured, she did not like the fit.  She had me raise my arms up, then outward, she tugged on straps–then went outside and came back with a different size in the same bra.

After the initial sticker shock (I am a bargain shopper) I left Dillard’s with new Wacoal bras, to go along with my clean report from the mammograms, sonograms and the MRI’s.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Don’t forget to have your girls checked out.

TEDxSMUWomen 2015–Talking And Listening

TED  Heather Hankamer, DirectorSouthern Methodist University, plus TED Talk, plus outstanding women equals an outstanding day–it is TEDxSMUWomen 2015.  This day is a local, self-organized event that brings people together to share in a TED-like experience with both live presentations along with simulcast.  The SMU event was presented by the Dallas Women’s Foundation.  The director of TEDxSMU is Ms. Heather Hankamer who is very passionate about inspiring the next generation of thinkers and leaders.

TEDxSMUWOMEN  Michelle Adams
Photo by Kim Ritzenthater Lesson

The day started with the live presentations which were given by women from all walks of life and varied professions.  There was Ms. Michelle Adams who talked on being true to self which is something that seems to be hard for women to do. She told the audience of her journey.

TEDxSMUWOMEN Jasmin RohmanThere was Ms. Jasmin Rohman who then gave her approach to career success.  I was particularly interested in this presentation when I heard her talk of networking which is one of the things I tell my students.  I am constantly telling them that “you never know who you are going to meet–be prepared”.

TEDxSMUWOMEN
Photo by Kim Ritzenthater Lesson

It was amazing that I just started to follow Ms. Lisa Fey of “Atta Girl” LLC, and she was one of the presenters.  She talked on the power of persistence, and how one phone call changed her life.

TEDxSMUWOMEN  Ann Ransom
Photo by Kim Ritzenthater Lesson

Ms. Ann Ransom talked on the importance of legacy.  This is so important because we are always thinking of what we should have asked or said to someone when we remember them–how we wish we knew more about them now that they are no longer here.

SMUDuring the break we ran into the mistress of ceremony, *Dr. Rochelle Carr and another young lady, professional  speaker/writer, Ms.Shanterra McBride, and the conversation soon turned to East Texas among other things.  It seems everyone in Texas knows someone from East Texas, and it’s always a good way to start a conversation. It was an awesome event that bought together women and men to listen and learn valuable information.

I always remember that my mom would say “If you just sit there and be quiet, you might just learn something”, and at TEXxSMUWomen 2015 we all learned something.

*Dr. Rochelle Carr, the mistress of ceremony has a TEDxSMU presentation that is absolutely wonderful, and most women of a certain age can identify with it.  Sit back and enjoy.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

I Agree With Ann Brenoff

Well Ann Brenoff and I are on the same page.  I agree with her–I am not ready to go gray!  I remember telling the stylist that I needed to come in because there was some white stuff in my hair that would not go away.  He laughed when I came in, and it was the gray.

I have thought about it though, but in all honestly my gray is just ugly.  It didn’t come in like a friend of mine–you know that nice salt and pepper look.  The very bright white which is so pretty.  I do think some people can rock gray, just like I think Mary J. Blige can rock blond and Sharon Osbourne shade of red.

I’ve decided that Ann Brenoff and I will become good friends as we hoard hair color.  Take a look at Ann’s post that appeared on the Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-brenoff/not-ready-to-go-gray_b_6746432.html?utm_hp_ref=fifty&ir=Fifty

You can follow Ann on Twitter at: @AnnBrenoff.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–to go gray or not is your choice!  Thank the Lord!

Summer In Winter Talking Grown Folk

Looking out of the window, I can see the snow falling.  I have my fireplace going and I’m talking Summer–Summer Selby-Drew that is.  To top it off, Summer and I are talking “Grown Folk” conversation.

Summer Selby-Drew
Summer Selby-Drew

You never know who you are going to meet or who might inform you of something or someone interesting. While attending a dinner sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food,  I met a very interesting couple–the lovely actress Carolyn Wickwire and her husband Dennis West.  After talking about “thisisyourbestyear” they informed me I should reach out to Ms. Summer Selby-Drew because we had a lot in common.  They were so right.

Summer has moved from the DFW area and is now residing in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. So we met over the net and telephone.  While researching Summer, I immediately found out that she is a woman of “many” talents.  This woman of a certain age has worn so many different types of hats, but she knew from an early age that she wanted to be in the field of entertainment.  She just needed to map out her journey, and what a journey it continues to be.

Michelle Levy, Linda Franklin, Karen Head, Lourdes Bryant, Summer Selby-Drew (Hosts of Grown Folk)
Michelle Levy, Linda Franklin, Karen Head, Lourdes Bryant, Summer Selby-Drew (Hosts of Grown Folk)

She has done it all in the field of entertainment.  Summer is an acclaimed actress with stage, television and movie credits.  She has even ventured into voice overs. She is a producer/creator of the television show “Grown Folk” which really sparked my interest because of the market it is aimed toward.  “Grown Folk” is a talk show aimed at women of a certain age.  With a diverse cast, they discuss everything from clothing, cosmetic surgery, lifestyles and more. It fills a much-needed gap in the talk show market. “Grown Folk” has one successful season under its belt.  Since relocating Summer is trying to find a new home for “Grown Folk” in the hopes that it can get syndicated.

Head Ladies In Charge
Head Ladies In Charge

As if all of the above were not enough to keep her busy, she has recently become a published author in the book “Head Ladies in Charge”.  She was selected to be one of the ladies featured in a book that let’s them write the story of their journey to success.  Another book  is already in the works.

Living on the Gulf Coast is not your entertainment mecca, but Summer is a lady that knows how to work it.  “Grown Folk” has a wonderful saying that epitomizes what I got from my interview with Summer, and it goes “Balance out your TV viewing–watch us grown up women work it”.  Summer Selby-Drew is working it!

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. 

You can see more about “Grown Folk” at http://www.grownfolk.info/.

You can also purchase the book “Head Ladies In Charge” by contacting Summer at:  summer@OAProductions.biz.

Gabriela Natale–Beauty, Brains And Giving Back

Teaching is not an easy profession, it is one that cannot be taught, it has to be natural and nurtured.  Gabriela Natale of Super Latina fame is an entertainment star who is also a natural teacher who eagerly gives back. This was one of the times when as an educator, I knew that I had invited the correct person to come and speak with my business leadership class at Tarrant County College.

Gabriela and I had been playing phone tag since about August of 2014, but when we finally got together it was a wonderful class.  A class where the students were attentive, asked questions, talked, laughed and just waited after class to speak with her.

I now see why she has been a successful television personality, event planner and entrepreneur.  She freely gives back by sharing her knowledge with others.  Her passion for her work is contagious.

You can see more of Ms. Gabriela Natale at her sites:

www.superlatina.tv

www.Facebook.com/natalegabriela

@superlatinashow                                                                                                                                                                                         

With all of her accomplishments Gabriela truly knows that “thisisyour(her)bestyear”, and she instilled that in her talk to students who were eager to learn.

A Conference For And About Women

All I can say about the Texas Conference For Women is OUTSTANDING!  It was one of the most outstanding events that I have ever attended. There was something for every woman, no matter what age, education level, lifestyle and more.  It was amazing.

For me it was a win, win situation.  I was able to cover this event, but I was also able to get up-to-date information to take back TEXAS CONFERENCE OPRAHto my students at my day job. It was a day filled with many presentations, workshops, networking and much more. I was not able to get to some of the things that I wanted to see and hear because I was working, and working was fun. To make this event even more special, I was able to work with a photographer that I first met in Houston during the Oprah’s, The Life You Want Weekend–Ms. Melissa Fontenette-Mitchell, the owner of North Star Photography in Cedar Park, Texas. 

I was able to interview three of the most outstanding women I have ever met.  They were so different, but I found myself having so much in common with all three.

TEXAS CONFERENCE INTERVIEWI was able to interview Ms. Cathy Benavides who writes a blog about plus size style called “Austin Slave to Fashion”.  Ms. Benavides was just beautiful.  She started her blog because her friends were tired of her talking about the problems plus sized women had when trying to find beautiful, stylish clothing.  I loved her advice to all women.  She tells all women to ask themselves what makes you feel beautiful, and go from there.

My second interview came from Ms. Amanda Quraishi, who is a blogger, TEXAS CONFERENCE AMANDA QURAISHIinterfaith activist and technology professional. She had me at the word interfaith.  We talked about her blogging, the reaction to her from men in the world of faith– we talked a lot about working together in faith.

TAMARA MELLONI never in a million years thought that I would be able to land an interview with the former chief creative officer of Jimmy Choo–Ms. Tamara Mellon who is now the founder of  the TAMARA MELLON brand, and in competition with yes, you guessed it–Jimmy Choo.  There I was in my Sofft shoes (very comfortable and stylish) interviewing the queen of shoes. It was like talking fashion and life with your best girlfriend.  We even talked about shoes.  And to all my friends and followers who sent me their shoe sizes, she was not giving away samples.

Below are some of the sites from the Texas Conference For Women 2014 featuring Texas First Lady Anita Perry, journalist Soledad O’Brien, Diana Nyad and many others.  Enjoy and remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

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