The Fearless Female

Truth has power.
Change requires focus. 
You have the capacity to employ both.
Be truthful to yourself and others.
Focus on changing for the better.
Changing for a healthier version of yourself.
Changing for a greater impact in the world. 
Be fearless in all of your endeavors. 
-THE FEARLESS FEMALE 

This past week, I had to really walk in my truth and tap into my power. On Monday, I was super excited. On Tuesday, I was calm cool and collected. On Wednesday, I was a little anxious. On Thursday, overwhelmed, pissed, and disappointed. On Friday, I was drained, but relieved. On Saturday, I was ready and refreshed. On Sunday, I was feeling unstoppable and strong enough to withstand any obstacle standing in my way. On Monday, I was FEARLESS. This past week actually resembled they way I have felt over the last few months. I am sharing my emotions with you because I want you to know I am human too. 

Everything is not perfect. Things rarely go according to plan. But, regardless of how you feel, you have to finish what you have started. Not only do you have to finish it, you have to finish strong!!!!! I went into the retreat knowing I would never do another one. Because the execution was a little more blood, sweat, and tears than I bargained for. But, I stayed the course. Quitting was not an option. I could not start creating a habit of unfinished business because I am a finisher. It is my nature. Not only am I a finisher. I am a child of the Most High. Every time I wanted to panic. I prayed. I prayed. And I prayed. Guess what??? He heard my cry and He delivered exceedingly and abundantly above what I could have imagined. The supernatural occurred. The retreat was not a success because I am so smart or such a great planner. It was a success because I continued to walk by faith and not by sight. I did not allow my fears to stop me, but rather my faith in God to push me closer to the finish line. 

Thank you all for your wishes, prayers, and support. Your words of encouragement were the fuel that kept my tank from becoming empty. 

Get ready for THE FEARLESS FEMALE RETREAT 2020!!!!!!!! #thefearlessfemaleretreat

Becoming… An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama

My hometown of Dallas. Michelle Obama. Becoming. Family. Friends. What more could I ask for? Monday night I cashed in on a once in lifetime opportunity, to sit in the same room with America’s and Black America’s Forever First Lady, Michelle Obama. I arrived in Dallas on Monday evening. After checking into our hotel, my mother, assistant, and I quickly dressed and met my aunt who resides in Dallas downstairs to go to the event. We were just four women together ready to hear the former first lady speak in person about her book, Becoming, which has taken the world by storm.
As the music and clips and pre-show narrations set the stage, my excitement increased. Then, as she began to speak and expound upon question after question, it happened. I became mute, paralyzed, and in complete awe. This was more than a typical book discussion; it really was an intimate conversation with Michelle Obama.

I listened in quiet as the other guests clapped and whistled and hailed praises. I did not want to miss one word in mid-clap.
Michelle spoke frankly about her marriage to Barack Obama and their relationship. She initiated marriage counseling to correct his flaws. Counseling was very helpful in correcting the flaws, hers. While she thought he was the concern, it was actually her. And that resonated with me because my husband and I were on that same avenue about 6 years ago and like Michelle; I was the concern. I entered the session wanting the therapist to fix him. I left furious because I needed the fixing. 

There were so many other parallels between our lives which led me to know she is authentic and true to herself and core values. Recently, I was asked what sets me apart and one attribute was my ability to create and maintain positive relationships. Michelle’s value of friendship and relationship is much like my own. Connections with people are innate for me, but I never take them for granted and apply a great deal of effort to cultivate those worth my time and energy.

My maternal grandmother often spoke of my boldness and said I had a slick tongue. Even at a young age, I was focused and clear on what I wanted. Michelle Robinson was too. She even shared the same sassiness I did and I recognized myself in her story about her conflict and strong-willed personality in a confrontation with her aunt.

Often in her brother’s shadows, she was told by her senior high school counselor she was not Princeton material, the same school her brother attended. My daughter, Jada, was subject to this same type of discouragement in her senior year as she began to apply to
colleges and set her sights on Clark Atlanta University. Jada is dyslexic and the counselor was wrong about it inhibiting her acceptance. She was accepted before graduation! 

I continued to feel more and more body parts grow numb while my adoration for Michelle grew more and more. It was like being in the scene of The Color Purple when Celie saw Shug Avery for the first time. She could not move or speak. She just needed to lay eyes upon her and I needed to keep my eyes and ears on Michelle.

Amidst ridicule, fame, stress, publicity, adoration, and hatred in areas of her life including roles, status, and profession, she was and is always the constant and true to herself. I love the fact that she is clear on who she is, her principles, values, beliefs, and desires. The thing that I love the most about her is she is so REAL. I felt like she was a friend or family member talking. I’m sure everyone in the arena could relate to her in one way or another. 

As the event began to end, I slowly regained the feeling in my body. Michelle Obama thanked the crowd and said farewell. My senses came back together. Blood flowed through my veins again and my heartbeat returned. But, I was not the same NaKeitha I arrived as.For the first time in my life, I became a super fan.

Nice for What!!!!!!

Five years ago I visited Paris and as most people do in the City of Lights, I fell in love with everything about French culture. My initial plan for my 40th birthday was to go to the Caribbean, but being that my birthday is right in the middle of hurricane season, that posed too much of a risk. I was not up for that at all after Hurricane Ike ruined my 30th birthday in 2008!

So, fast forward 10 years later, 22 Americans traveled to the French Riviera. I used the expertise of my travel agent, Tammy, and the reviews from friends who had been before to create the perfect itinerary. My secret passion is history and all things historical. The depth of ideals, customs, and revelations that derive from history are compelling and captivating to me.

During my birthday celebration, family and friends turned family toured and ventured with me through Monte Carlo, Cannes, and Nice. We walked the cobblestone streets of Saint Paul de Vince. My eyes witnessed waters I had yet to see. I am a travelnoire, but just to see new waters and the endless horizons of God’s creations stop my breath each time. In Nice, the pebble beach was exactly that. Real pebble rocks with rushing, yet calm Mediterranean waters washing over them.

Walking through venues and hotels graced with millions, $30 million to be exact, of artifacts and antiques was a blessing. Seeing God’s glory each day is one thing, but to see what He has allowed the hands of man to create and leave for us to enjoy is on another level. God definitely has a job for everyone. Speaking of interesting jobs, I toured a perfumery compound and learned the process of creating some perfumes. The perfumers are extensively trained and have strict restrictions such as not eating spicy foods, smoking, or consuming alcoholic beverages during training or employment.

Anyone who really knows me knows, I love adventures, but I am a creature of habit in many ways. So, this trip, I decided to venture into a few new things. Lobster rolls were a food I tried for the first time in Nice at Lobsta and they were so amazing. I’m a sucker for fine dining. We found a hidden heel called Rina’s. The seafood linguini was delicious. I went back three nights while in Nice! Amongst other firsts were visiting a wine vineyard in Grasse and touring a palace in Monaco. Overall, the entire trip was one of the firsts as every city we went to was a first for me. My guilty pleasure was eating White Chocolate Magnum ice cream bars each day. Some days twice. Don’t tell my trainer though.

Fearless at 40 in the French Riveria… It definitely was one of the most amazing trips of my life! This one just may get a repeat for 50 and my retirement.

Memphis

Where were you April 4, 1968?
Me? I had not been born yet, but the Civil Rights Movement had been. This year, 2018, marks the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis, TN. The I.C.O.N. P.E.A.R.L.S., a girls division of my women’s organization, embarked on a 5-day tour of Memphis. What initially was planned as a commemoration trip evolved into a full-blown tour of decades of Black History.

Day 1

I came into Memphis on Friday which was really day 2 for everyone else. My arrival to the hotel was late and after working and traveling that day, I really wanted to rest for the next day. All that changed when I greeted the children as they played games and ate pizza while they were excitedly telling me about their tour earlier in the day. They visited Slave Haven, a museum site of a home that was a part of the Underground Railroad. They gave me vivid descriptions of what they saw since photos were not allowed inside the home. They actually were able to go into the cellar where slaves hid underneath the house and saw tunnels there as well.

Day 2

The Lorraine Motel at The National Civil Rights Museum was so spectacular. It was in-depth, thorough, and very enlightening. I couldn’t stop reading. I was captivated by the unending wealth of knowledge and facts that graced the walls. I love facts. 955 communities have streets across America named after MLK.
A few things I learned…
*Hundreds of blacks served as politicians after reconstruction. We haven’t reached that peak since then. 
*The rise of Thurgood Marshall after he won Brown vs. Board of Education. It was unprecedented, but also inevitable. 
*There are countless historical pictures, figures, and facts. It was all too much to capture in one or even two settings. The courage it took to live in the moment not realizing or setting out to make history, but just rather change the present and future, was and is immeasurable. I realized our life must have meaning and purpose. The benefits from our courage and journey is what people use to flourish. I definitely could and will visit NCRM again!
Of course, a trip to Memphis would not be complete without a trip to Beale Street and BB King’s restaurant! Following our museum tour, we took the children to BB King’s. Such a perfect choice! There we were in the heart of the city with heavy and respectful hearts and we dined together for lunch to uplift our spirits. We listened to live music. Real music. Raw talent. True artists. I am glad we were able to expose the children to this rare art form. I even made them get up and dance. They had so much fun. They wanted to come back the next day. The mini-concert was well worth the experience for them.

Day 3

If we can party, we can praise.
We started our Sunday morning at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church. Divinely so, it was their Youth Day. It was such an encouragement to the children and me as well to see the youth facilitating, leading, and participating in worship service.
After church, I had lunch at Memphis BBQ Co., one of the Pittmaster Champions. It was a must I stop by since my husband loves to grill and watch Pittmasters! I had to give him a full report especially since the restaurant was literally across the street from our hotel.
Our last museum tour of our adventure was the Stax Museum. I knew Motown and Detroit had a huge influence of Soul Music. But, I learned that a Memphis has a large imprint on it as well. It was great seeing the artists, studio, instruments, costumes, cars, and old footage. How timely was this visit as I learned more about Aretha Franklin and her legacy just days before her passing. She was the absolute FIRST woman ever to be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame! May she rest in perfect peace. Black people have influenced America and its culture in so many ways.
After three days of history and knowledge, we decided the children needed a brain break. After all, school was about to begin in a few days for some of them. We had a birthday pool party for one of the girls! Who doesn’t love cake, pizza, and a pool all to yourself? I enjoyed watching the children swim and have a great time. I envied those worry free and carefree days.
We ended our trip bar hopping on Beale Street. The adults that is. We started at the Silky O’Sullivan’s. Then, bounced to Rum Boogie Cafe’ and we jammed with the band and Toni, the vocalist until the club closed. It was so much fun. We did not want the fun to end. So, we slid by The Juke Joint next door, an old 1960’s lounge, and listened to the sultry sounds of a male vocalist and enjoyed listening to the harmonica. We ended the evening at BB King’s with even more live music.
Every band, vocalist, and lounge was entertaining and fun. There was not a dull moment. I cannot believe I slept on Memphis, Tennessee. I will be back sooner than later. I have to visit the Slave Haven Museum for myself and party on Beale Street with my husband. He loves the blues and barbecue as much as he loves me. Giggles
Above anything, I was able to share this experience with my 80-year-old grandmother and 8-year-old son and that was well worth every minute of sleep I missed. My grandmother lived through the times we toured about for a better future for the generations of my own and that of my son. I pray he never forgets these moments and we can recreate this tour for his family.

Actually ATL

Actually, Atlanta is like a second home to me. I love the city, people, culture, and social scene. I could pick up and move to Atlanta tomorrow and feel right at home. Being a Dallas native, it is ironic that my connections and relationships in Atlanta exceed my network in Dallas. Maybe it is because Atlanta is the city that I have visited the most within the last 15 years.

Atlanta is a city where I’ve learned a lot of lessons and cultivated many valuable relationships. This city is extremely special to me. It was very instrumental in developing me into the leader and businesswoman that I am today. I did not realize the influence and impact that this city had on my life until I was able to sit at the table with 14 wonderful women on this past Sunday. As I looked across the table at each one of them, I realized the majority of these ladies are deeply connected to me in some form or fashion by way of Georgia’s capital city.

How did this connection occur? I have never lived there or attended college there. Why has Atlanta been so impactful to my life? Design Essentials is how and why. Nearly 15 years ago, I joined their educational styling team. At this time in my life, I did not travel much and nor did I know many people. I certainly did not know many professionals or millionaires. But, Design Essentials changed all of that.

Within the last 15 years, my travels have taken me to over half of the states in the union and to visit places that I had never heard of before. And this connection afforded me the opportunity to teach at least ten thousand hairstylists and cosmetology students by way of Design Essentials. I strengthened my communications skills and became a better public speaker. Even though I have a degree in communications and marketing, I better understood the principles of sales, marketing, and management after working for Design Essentials.

In the midst of learning and growing, I was able to fall in love with some outstanding people that will always be apart of my life. The ladies that joined me at dinner was a perfect composition of my personal and professional relationships. Some of the most amazing women I am connected with reside in or near Atlanta and were at the table, in addition to those that traveled to Atlanta just for the dinner. It was so surreal sitting at the dinner table on Sunday and realizing my life would not be the same without Atlanta. For this reason, I will gracefully wear the title of “Georgia’s Peach”. Atlanta has made my life more fruitful and abundant.

21 Again

29 ladies. 4 days. 1,543 miles. We traveled from Houston to Cabo to celebrate the 21st birthday of my oldest child and only daughter, Jada. The theme song of the getaway was “I Like It” by Cardi B. Very appropriate for this Mexican excursion.

With every great celebration comes a theme! Jada, like me, loves a play on words. Jada Rose’ All Day was adorned everywhere and incorporated in everything we could. Custom swimwear, beach hats, shirts, and even her cake and dessert bar reminded everyone why we came to celebrate!

But in all the celebrating, I could not help but think, “What did I do for my 21st birthday?” After several moments, nothing stood out and nothing registered. I set my mind to enjoying my daughter and the mixture of family, friends, and loved ones who were connected to us both in some way. I watched and smiled every time she popped a bottle of Rose’, danced randomly, and basked in the sun in the cool water of the infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean from her villa.

I am turning 40 this year in September, but oh to be 21 again! Talk about living your best life. A seemingly carefree life without the real responsibilities of life and work and family. The carefree life of moving and shaking and social outings. 21 is a great age because in all things you have complete and full access in America. Even though I do not recall my own 21st birthday, I am so glad I could relive it with my own daughter for hers. I felt young, free, and vibrant.

Dinner & Dialogue

“Be open. Be honest. Be you.

This was definitely the theme of my first Boss Up Dinner and Dialogue. For some years, I have had the desire to create a platform of female entrepreneurs and leaders in their fields and rising stars too. But, I allowed my own inhibitions to talk me out of it. Exactly the opposite of what I was encouraging to do. So, with the constant encouragement and support of my business coach, I leaped and landed perfectly smooth! It was a success!

That’s the short version. Now, here’s the real deal. It was work! It was phenomenal. It was a perfect catapult into summer and planning for the 4th quarter. I planned and set an agenda. My guests were hand picked rather than random from public advertising. I chose women I knew were leaders in a variety of fields and experts in their own way. They all brought something to the table. But, here is the AMAZING part… None of them knew exactly what the evening held for them. They knew logistical details and that I was hosting. According to them, that is all they needed to know and gladly accepted the invite.

Boss- Up
verb. to take control of one’s own destiny.

Sitting in the private room of a fine restaurant in Houston, these women were open candid and vulnerable. Where did we start? We simply started with introductions and the conversations took off from there. Bosses, leaders, pillars. They all let their guards down and passed Kleenex amongst each other.

Another favorite part of the evening for me was seeing the expressions on their faces as they read affirmation cards that were placed in their seat. Each affirmation was selected according to what I already knew about the women. Little did I know the impact of the selections were far greater than I designed. I know God was all over this event because His divinity was present the entire evening.

I am in such awe of the power of words and simple, honest, and real dialogue amongst women who were trusting and fearless in accepting an invitation to dinner with me.

My favorite part of all was the connections. I was able to bring 15 other women I am connected with to connect with each other. 16 women of purpose and passion living lives of maximum potential. This is the epitome of the Boss Up movement!

Hawaiian Hiatus

People see you traveling and smiling. They assume you are on vacation. But, I’m actually working. I have been traveling every week for work for the last three weeks. But, I took a hiatus to Hawaii for Spring Break with my loves. It was much needed rest and relaxation. And like I said, it was with my loves- my family. I work an extremely busy schedule, but in that, I include my family because after all, the work I do is for them just as much as it is for me. Legacy… But, that is a different blog entry all together.

Anyway, this Hawaiian hiatus was what I needed to rest, recharge, and revive myself. It was Spring Break for my son and my sister, who is an educator, and I was thousands of miles away from the direct moving and shaking of entrepreneurial life. My goal was to disconnect from my everyday fast life and plug into myself and my family, my core.

I cannot resist beautiful scenery and Hawaii did not disappoint! Being from Houston, a progressive city just minutes away from chemical plants, our skies are not always the prettiest. The Hawaiian sky was majestic and spoke to me each day and welcomed me to bask in the beauty of its sun. When I was not with my family laughing and creating lasting memories, I was reading and gaining more clarity about my next moves. Not working, but working. Being able to sit poolside with the aroma of fresh hibiscus surrounding me and enjoying Mai Tai beverages enabled me to clear my mind and check items off my list while preparing for upcoming tasks.

A clear mind allows you to see various aspects of situations and make better decisions. I returned home with a happy son and happy family to a happy husband who understands my need to regroup. I am a better wife to him and person to myself because of these times.

Where and when is your next hiatus?

Champagne Campaign

I had the opportunity to celebrate my best friend’s fiancé’s 40th birthday in Thailand. It was a bottle popping adventure! It was one of the most amazing trips ever for several reasons. I had two of my favorite people with me my husband and best friend. I experienced a few firsts and the place was simply beautiful. We enjoyed beach life in Phuket and city life in Bangkok. We were able to experience the best of both worlds.

Can you imagine waking up to lush landscapes every morning with water flowing beside you while drinking Moët Mimosas? I could definitely wake up to that everyday. Each morning we would discuss the agenda or adventure of the day. Every day was uniquely different. The first day of adventure would be riding an elephant, petting a tiger, and visiting Big Buddha.

Island hopping was day two’s adventure. We visited six undeveloped islands and marveled over their natural beauty. We sailed to the Phi Phi Island and the party began. We explored James Bond Island, snorkeled near Rok Island, and kayaked through Phang Nga Bay. We even sailed through a dark cave and visited a primitive village. Talk about amazing!

Day three was all about R&R. We rested and relaxed at our intimate luxury resort, Sri Panwa Phuket Villas. We soaked up the sun while discussing our new quests that would take place in Bangkok the next day. Bangkok is a big city with great shopping malls, mega markets, street vendors, rooftop bars, and overwhelming traffic.

We only had 36 hours to make our mark in Bangkok. It was not enough. We definitely needed more time to really experience Bangkok in depth. That 36 hours only allowed us to scratch the surface. But, that small dose of Bangkok made me want more. During my time there, I enjoyed a delicious dinner at The JW Marriott’s Steakhouse. It was mouth watering. It was the best meal I encountered my entire trip.

We visited Wat Arun Temple. We shopped at the mall. We went to Harley Davidson Bangkok to pick up souvenirs, did a driving tour through the city, and ended the evening on the rooftop of Banyan Tree Hotel. The view there was breathtaking. As I stood on that rooftop and soaked in the panoramic view of the city, I started to plan my next Thai adventure. Which is very unusual for me because I like to experience a new country and culture each year. But, as I said, I could not get enough!

Thailand was so awesome. I have to do it again SOONER than LATER.

Entourage

I love the holiday season. I absolutely love everything about it from the music to the decor to the festivities. It is my favorite time of the year. But, what I love the most about the holiday season is family. It is the perfect time to reminisce with them, love on them, and showcase them.

Each year, my family takes an annual holiday picture. We have done this every single year since my son Jeremy has been born. This year marks our 9th family holiday photo. When I say family photo, the photos normally consists of my husband (Jeremy), my daughter (Jada), my son (Jeremy Blake), and myself. Each year I’m trying to find the perfect theme for our holiday pictures. My favorite holiday picture of all time was taken four years ago by Alstek Photography. The theme was “FORMAL”. The guys wore black tuxedos and the ladies wore black evening gowns.

This year I wanted to do things a little different. I didn’t want to just photograph my immediate family. I wanted to showcase my extended family better known as the ENTOURAGE. My entourage consisted of my mother (Lisa), my sister (TeLisa), my brother (Cordegus), my nephew (Ralph), my mother-in-law (Patricia), my grandmother (Maxcine), and my cousins (Jamayne, Llewellyn, and Addison). Because I loved the formal theme that we did 4 years ago so much, I decide to do it again with the ENTOURAGE.

It was so much fun. Everyone looked stunning. I loved watching our memories unfold and the outtakes happen. It is not often we see positive images of Black families. I decide to create my own imagery. The people photographed that day are considered my inner circle. I could not imagine life without them.

Who is a part of your ENTOURAGE?