Fashion, Food, New And Old Friends

What do you do when you are on your way to one of the most amazing runway shows this side of New York or maybe Paris? You make a stop that has been on your to do list.  First of all you take back the rental car and exchange it for a pickup.  We like to sit up high (thanks Enterprise Rental), and then we hit the road to Austin, Texas to cover Austin Fashion Week–Fashion X Austin and their Celebrating Texas runway show.

On the way we decide to stop at Magnolia Farms and see what Chip and Joanna have done to the place.  After window shopping for a while we were a little thirsty so we decided to go get some original Dr. Pepper at the soda shop next to the Dr. Pepper Museum.  Yes, it does taste different than the regular ones.  Then we were off to Austin, Texas.

This was our second time covering a show at Fashion X Austin, and this was being presented at the Austin American Statesman building.  At first glance you think that it can’t be a lot of difference between Austin and Dallas, but there is.  There were vendors in the gallery, free food and drinks and even photos to be taken.

All of the vendors, food and drinks were staged along the walls of the room which made it seem easier to walk.  The runway was set in the middle of the room with raised seating on each side which made it easier to see and even to take pictures and record the show.

Now most shows don’t want you to talk, but not Austin, they want you to be loud, show your love for the designers and all of their hard work.  The people who came to celebrate the designers of Texas did just that.  It kind of reminded you of the excitement of Friday Night Lights–no band, but still great music.

From the beginning it was not your typical runway show.  The first models to come down the runway were not professional models, and Texas designers did not dress them. They were modeling for the ARC of Texas and Nordstrom’s Department Store provided the outfits.  Austin was electrified.  Showering the models with love and respect.  It was great.  Even those who were so shy as they started their walk down the runway gained so much confidence as they continued their way.  We love Austin for this part of the show.

The excitement continued as each designer sent their models down the runway.  There was no polite applause, there was stadium sized enthusiasm which made it a great experience.  Austin does fashion different than most, but it is a good difference. 

After the show there was a party given at a local hotel with the models, and designers among the many guest.  They did it Texas style.

Since we were in Austin, we wanted to eat like the locals, but semi healthy.  Friends told us to go to Jack Allen’s a farm to table place.  It was funny, but we knew we couldn’t go wrong when our server informed us he was from Fort Worth. Great food and great service. While eating we were still discussing our favorite designers from the night before.

After lunch we decided to see the sights of Austin, but not the usual sights, we decided to walk the trails of Mount Bonnell which overlooks the Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River.  They say it is a popular tourist attraction, but neither of us had ever been. 

We met up with old friends.  Some we were able to see and sit and talk with for a while.

On Sunday we were going to sleep late, and then catch breakfast and head back home, but we were invited to attend church at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and we accepted. It was a spirit filled service lead by Rev. Gaylon Clark. A big church with a small church feel.  Meeting the minster and the members was a blessing that we enjoyed.  Then off to lunch with a friend for more great conversation.  Finally off we went–home. 

We saw great fashion at Austin Fashion Week, ate great food at Jack Allen, fun exercise at Mount Bonnell, wonderful church at Greater Mt. Zion Baptist, and did we forget to say wonderful bed pillows at the JW Marriott. I could go on and on about the pillows since I have not slept on one for over 10 years until Friday.  The best pillows ever.

Remember “thisisyourbesyear”.  You can put a lot of enjoyment into one weekend. Work can be fun!

An Interview With Fort Worth’s Rare Diamond–Author Amara Russell

Fort Worth native, Amara Russell is the author of the much talked about novel “A Rare Diamond”. Even though this is her first novel to be published she is no stranger to writing.  Her love for writing has been evident to those around her since elementary school when her first article was published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It was our honor to have a great conversation with her.

Who are some of the authors you enjoy reading today?

Some of the people I enjoy reading are Priscilla Shirer. Her book “A Jewel in His Crown” is one of my favorites; it has brought me through a lot of things that were occurring in my life at the time. Another author that I like is Lysa Terkeurst.  Her book  “The Best Yes” is about making wise decisions when going through certain situations.

Who and what do you read just for fun? Also, what is a book that you have read more than once?

I love romance novels.  There is a book by Eric Jerome Dickey called “Friends and Lovers” about different relationships.  He adds a lot of humor to his books and I enjoy that. It’s a thick little novel, and I have read it several times.

Was “A Rare Diamond” the first manuscript that you finished?

It was the first manuscript that I finished.  It took me a year to write it.  I was laid off my job in 2015, and for the first couple of months, I spent my time trying to find employment. When I didn’t find anything I decided to use the time to do something that I liked–writing.  Writing helped to heal my stress. I put my frustrations into the manuscript.

Writing became my full-time job.  Every day when I woke up, I poured myself into writing.  It was something I loved to do.

Tell us about the inspiration for the novel–was any of it born out of personal experiences?

Actually, there are a lot of bits and pieces of the story that are related to my life, and things around me. I would visit coffee shops, relatives houses and observe activities that I added to the story.

When I found employment, I wasn’t able to put the time I needed into the writing of the book.  When I loss my mom I  was able to relate to Celeste, the main character in the book who loses her mom.  This event inspired me to get back to writing nonstop.

That’s interesting what you said about being able to relate to Celeste after the loss of your mother.  That’s something people tend to think they can relate to but can’t when they have not experienced that loss.  They know what to say, but they can’t relate.

Right, when I would express to people that I was still hurting they couldn’t understand because they had not experienced it, and until they do, they won’t understand.

I understand, and God will get you through it, but you never get over it, and it is never the same.  There is a void that is always going to be there.

Right.

Now Celeste is the main character in your novel.  Tell us a little about her.  I know that you said she loss her mother at 5.  Without giving away the story tell us a little bit more about her.

Celeste is witty, smart and beautiful.  She is courageous, and she doesn’t bite her tongue about anything, but she says what she means in a subtle way.  She takes her characteristics from her mother who was filled with integrity.  Her mother could walk into a room and capture everyone’s attention.  Celeste picked up a lot of those qualities.

The story is about her life from the age of 5 to 25. She is a young woman trying to find her way, her identity without her mom.

What other characters in the novel play a pivotal role?

Derrick is a childhood friend of Celeste who grew up in the neighborhood.  Really he was her brother’s friend first.  As they grew older they were able to relate because he had suffered the loss of his father at an early age, and he had older siblings who were all girls, and her older siblings were boys.

Another main character is her brother Craig. Celeste and Craig have a very close relationship.  She leans on him, and he leans on her in certain situations.  I would say that Derrick and Craig are two of my other main characters.

From some of the comments that we  have read people say that the book kept them on their toes until the very end.  So if we were going to the bookstore what two sections would we find “A Rare Diamond”?

Probably in the Faith-based section and also in the Romance section.

If you were to have “A Rare Diamond” made into a movie, who would you have to play the main characters?

Oh my God, I knew you would ask that, and I have those people written down (laughter).

It’s important because when people read a novel they picture certain people.  I have to read the book before I see the movie.  I remember going to see “Waiting to Exhale”, and none of those people were the people I pictured except Loretta Devine.  She had the sass that was in the book.  I met Walter Mosley and told him that I did not see Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins, and he said he didn’t either.  I told him I pictured a young Laurence Fishburne.  He told me when you sell the rights to your book, then the studio picks the actors.  So who do you have as Celeste?

For Celeste, there were two people. I had in my mind LeToya Luckett could play her or Keisha Knight Pulliam.

Oh, why those two?

The similarities when I envision my character, I see them as her. And then their personalities when I see them in films or on television.  Those personalities fit Celeste.

Ok, what about Derrick?

Derrick, the minute I started writing I don’t know why but I envisioned the actor Lance Gross.

Oh, okay, yes.  That’s a good one.  What about Craig?

Craig because he’s so hilarious–even when I was writing the novel I would crack up from some of the things he would say.  To me, I always said Mike Epps (laughter) .

Oh my God! (laughter).  He would be a wonderful big brother. 

Just to add one more, the mother because she is such an inspiration.  It’s like I didn’t want to kill her off at the beginning so I was kind of going back and forth, but Angela Bassett always came to mind when I was writing the story.

She would be good.  Even in her personal life, she seems to be into her family and her faith. You are going to have a hometown book signing.  Tell us about it.

The book signing will be downtown Fort Worth at the Marie Antoinette Parfumiere and Spa which is located at 101 West 2nd directly across from the Worthington Hotel.  It will be on Saturday, February 10 from 3 to 5.  A pre Valentine event.

Are you working on a sequel or another novel?

I am actually working on a trilogy to “A Rare Diamond”, I’m going to break it up into three parts.

That will be nice.

Well, we thank you for your time.  We’ll see you at your book signing.

Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

 

“A Rare Diamond” can be purchased at Amazon, the Barnes and Noble website or on www.nspired2write247.com.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Survivor Gives Back

You know how some things just catch your attention?  They just stick in your mind.  Well the name “Women With Gifts” was one of those things, and I had to know more about it.  The motto was even intriguing “Growing Roses From A Briefcase”. Then to top it off they were sponsoring a project that was near and dear to my heart.  I survivedThe project is called “I Survived” Gospel Concert.  This is a movement to celebrate survivors of breast cancer, sexual abuse and domestic violence.  This concert will donate the proceeds to Dunbar High School in Fort Worth, Texas and the Umoja mentoring organization. I made an appointment to interview the founder of “Women With Gifts” to learn more about the organization.

I’m always telling my students and children that you never know who you are going to meet.  When I attended the press conference for the announcement of MegaFest coming back to Dallas, I introduced myself to this beautiful young lady who immediately said she knew my name.

Photography by Radiant Sparks
Photography by Radiant Sparks

Then she smiled and said that she was the person that I had an interview with later on that day.  Even in the few minutes that we talked I knew that the interview would be something special.

Mrs. LaNette Kincaid is a woman on a mission.  A mission to give back to the community, to give and to assist other women with their gifts. Let’s first start with the “I Survived” Concert.  Everyone knows someone or maybe they are that someone who has survived breast cancer, domestic violence or sexual abuse and more.  This concert is a celebration of their survival.  When I asked LaNette why gospel music, she talked of her survival through her own illness and how gospel music speaks to the soul.  There is a gospel song for every trial, all tribulations–there is a gospel song for every situation.

She has always given back to the community through coat drives, programs on breast cancer and more. She is intent on helping the community as much as she can.

Her website “Women With Gifts”–“Growing Roses From A Briefcase” not only assist women with using their gifts, but it mentors other women to use their gifts.  She realizes that sometimes women suppress their gifts, and though her mentoring she helps to inspire and motivate them so that they can use what God has given them.

Her determination to help others does not stop with the concert or the mentoring.  She invites other bloggers to post on her blog, giving them a chance for others to read their work.  She says that God gave her the inspiration to launch “Women With Gifts”, and she is determined to assist others in their endeavors.

The “I Survived” Gospel Concert will be held on March 7, 2015 at 6 PM at Dunbar High School (5700 Ramey Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76112).  You can purchase your tickets at: www.eventbrite.com/e/i-survived-gospel-concert-tickets-14746225357. 

You can also purchase the tickets at the Women With Gifts site at: http://womenwithgifts.com/.

Being a survivor and helping others is a way to give back to others.  Mrs. LaNette Kincaid is “Growing Roses From A Briefcase”.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–why not start planting your garden?

MegaFest 2015 August 20-22 In Dallas, Texas

Get ready, it’s coming to Dallas, Texas on August 20–MegaFest.  With more than 85,000 people attending from over 30 countries MegaFest will come once again to the Lone Star State, and they are aiming “Big” with even more attendees and events than before.

Bishop and Mrs. T. D. Jakes,  members of Dallas government and other officials officially kicked off the road to MegaFest 2015 on January 22, 2015 at the beautiful Ritz Carlton Hotel.  The event will again be held at American Airlines Center and other venues throughout Dallas.

This is a family friendly event where there is something for every age group.  It will focus on empowerment, education and digital technology. There will be entertainment, films, workshops, shopping, networking and more.

To find out more about the wonderful event go to: www.mega-fest.com.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Women Of A Certain Age–Dance Like David

Ms. CortezGuest blogger, Ms. Theresa Cortez is “a woman of a certain age” attending Tarrant County College where she is majoring in business administration.  She has attended Texas Woman’s University and The Potter’s House School of Ministry.  She is a licensed minister, an ordained elder and a Stephens Crisis Minister with All Saints Episcopal Church.  Ms. Cortez is the founder of Wealth and Riches–God’s Plan for Men, and the Dance Like David Studios for Women of a Certain Age.

In this post Ms. Cortez is talking about the Dance Like David Studio, and it’s benefits for “women of a certain age”. Contact Ms. Cortez about gift certificates for Christmas.

Women of a Certain Age

To those girls blessed enough to have turned 50

This is a new lease on life

What we must first realize is that the world does not define us!  God’s word does. We will not sit down until we have been called up.

We shall teach, exhort and instruct our young daughters, through this charge –

Titus 2:3-5

We are vibrant, as they shall be, resilient, exuberant, happy, and wealthy in God’s resources, rich in His Glory, wise in His knowledge and yes we still dance!

Daughters of Zion.

Women there is work to do! Get fit! Get active!

Dance! And get out there!

Women of a Certain Age

Come and Dance like David, this studio is tailor-made for you.

1623 B N. Crowley Rd.

Crowley, TX 76036

Praise! Dance! Worship!

50 and Over

Dance

Praise God Get Fit!

Dance like David Studios 1623 (B) N. Crowley Rd. Crowley, TX 76036

Contact Theresa Cortez @ 817-247-0518

dance

Praise

Worship

Exercise

Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:00 p.m. And 7:00 p.m.

5:00 p.m. Saturday

Women of a Certain Age

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

 

A Taste Of Hollywood in Texas (Forest Hill)

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         I felt like I was really in Hollywood. Here I am with actor Charles Malik Whitfield. He was at the premiere with other members of the cast and production team of the movie “Steps of Faith”. They are left to right Gwen Barbee, director of the Film and Movie Institute, actress Tracey Ross, producer Kelly Gray and actress Chrystee Pharris.

Take a look at the trailer for “Steps of Faith” below. 

It was a night to remember–red carpet and all!  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Worthy Causes and New Friends

 

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Years ago I was a member of the Tarrant County Aids Interfaith Network.  After the organization consolidated with the Aids Outreach Center I kind of loss touch.  Recently I volunteered for their Evening of Hope event.  I met so many wonderful people, reconnected with some and just talked with others I see all the time.

One of the most outstanding individuals that I met is pictured above with me.  Her name is Ms. Beverly Davis, and she was a volunteer too.  What made her so wonderful was not her working with this cause, it was her “testimony”–her faith in God.  As we waited for the event to start we talked about children, jobs and life in general.  Beverly had worked with state of Louisiana (she’s from New Orleans) in educating their citizens about HIV.  This is all well and good, but her testimony was what amazed me more.

With faith she had overcome, early marriage, single motherhood, lack of education, paralysis, parasite infection from water that killed others, and so much more.  She overcame all of those things, and she will tell you–it was her faith in God that got her though all of this.  She is a successful business woman, gospel singer, mother and grandmother who walks in faith.

She makes me remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

 

My Day At Treasure You Was Indeed A Treasure!

“Celebrating Second Chances for Overcomers” through Treasure You was an amazing event. The founder of Treasure You, Pat Smith believes everyone deserves a second change. She is using her experience to help women find a renewed sense of power and purpose. In a partnership with the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau she is bring together women from Dallas and across the United States who have overcome adversity for a celebration of new beginnings. Pat Smith is indeed a “treasure” whose nonprofit is ready to take the national stage by faith.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”

Treasure You is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women in financial, emotional or spiritual need. You can learn more about their wonderful work at www.treasureyou.org.

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Homey Hideaways At Home

Finding a space to rewind and just clear your mind at home can be hard.  This article gives you a few ideas–click the link and take a look.

Homey Hideaways At Home

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This is one of my favorite hideaways–the sun room in my pj’s with a good cup of coffee looking at the wonder of God. What’s yours?

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.