It is no secret that I am a huge fan of performing arts, so, last month, I was nothing less than pleased to attend the Pee Dee Community Arts Team’s performance of Restored III: An Inspirational Dance Musical Production. The Pee Dee Community Arts Team is comprised of a diverse group of young people who are immensely talented. The group is headed by the very inspiring Minister Leya R. Elijah-Eller. I had been looking forward to this production for a while and I was oh so glad that I attended.
As described on PDCAT’s Facebook page, Restored III is “a moving and soul-stirring story of life and living in a very real world”. It was exactly that. Segments of the production addressed a variety of relevant issues, including personal salvation, police brutality, domestic violence, and more. There were very touching moments. There were through-provoking moments. There were humorous moments. One thing is for sure, there was not a dull moment throughout the show. One of the many highlights of the evening: award-winning vocalist Carlett Martin performed and brought down the house.
Read on for tidbit and pics...
Michael, a member of PDCAT's musician team, got the show started very nicely.
Restored featured the music of Take 6, Sounds of Blackness, Karen Clark-Sheard, John Legend, Kirk Franklin, and more. Very entertaining!
Watching these young people perform reminds me of my own daughter on stage when she was enrolled in dance classes. She studied tap, jazz, and ballet from the age of 4 until she was 9 years old. I was overjoyed to see the poise and confidence in my baby and the other students. Though she decided on sports instead of dance, the benefits of dance have stuck with her until this day. This is why I strive to support the arts in my community.
I am certainly looking forward to PDCAT's next production which is expected to premiere in April 2017! Follow Pee Dee Community Arts Team on Facebook for future show dates.
Are you a fan of performing arts? How did your love of the arts begin? Comment below!
Read on to enjoy tidbits and pics from the Beautiful SistersUnited Meet and Greet Luncheon.
On Saturday September 17th there was nothing less than sheer power in the room at the Beautiful Sisters United Meet and Greet Luncheon. Beautiful Sisters United is an empowerment organization based in South Carolina founded by Audra Blyther. Audra orchestrated the event with the intent to bring awareness to breast cancer and domestic violence, issues that require our attention year-round. The luncheon featured inspiring speakers, spoken word and liturgical performances, and a fabulous fashion showcase.
I had the honor of participating in the event in two capacities: official event blogger and as a model for Outter Wear Boutique and Infinity Boutique during the fashion showcase.
I won't go into detail about each individual speaker for fear of leaving anyone out. One thing is for sure: each story was awe-inspiring. There are so many women who have endured and found the courage to escape domestic violence relationships. There are so many of us who have either directly or through a loved one, witnessed the fight against various forms of cancer. The women featured at this event are those who had the insight and courage to champion for others who may be experiencing the struggles that they once endured.
My Take-Aways from the Event
The fashion showcase featured fall looks from Infinity Boutique and Outter Wear Boutique.
Congratulations to Audra Blyther on a successful event.
Follow Beautiful Sisters United on Facebook!
From time to time I post about things, however trivial, that I feel the need to vent about. Here’s one of those posts!
There’s always that one coworker. I was walking across the office one afternoon, returning from my afternoon break and a male coworker (one who seems to pay attention to my every single move) looked at me and said “it can’t be that bad”. This immediately annoyed me because I already knew that he was referring to my facial expression, but I humored him anyway. I asked “what are you talking about?” He said “well you should smile more. It will make you feel better”. So, yea I had to school him on a few things.
I pulled him aside and let him know 1. I am not here for your entertainment, so there are no smiles on demand (yes, this had to be said due to other comments that he’s made). 2. You’re assuming that I am upset/angry/sad based on a facial expression which is a terrible assumption to make. 3. If you’re truly concerned about how I am feeling, just ask if I’m ok. I know that, to some, this response may seem overboard, but this wasn’t his first time and this whole “you should smile more” “put a smile on your face” thing is a pet peeve of mine. Here are a few reasons why:
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t show concern or care for a loved one when they seem to be feeling down, but what I am saying is that is so unnecessary for you to tell a complete stranger to change their facial expression. We have no need for self-appointed captains of the smile brigade. It’s irksome…it’s annoying. Just stop it because I'm truly ok!
What are some of your pet peeves? We all have our hang-ups and idiosyncracies. It's ok. Comment below!
This post is the first in a series entitled The Gems Before Us. We should take great pride in our history and the legacy of those who came before us. In school, you learn about only a few of the figures who played transformational roles in black history. This series will focus on those who made major impact but who are not talked about as often.
Born in Charleston, SC in 1898, Septima Poinsette Clark rose to become a respected educator and civil rights activist. She played a pivotal role in the education of both youth and adults. Clark was committed to increasing literacy among African Americans. Through the establishment of citizenship schools, Clark took on the task of informing African Americans about citizenship and the democratic process. When you hear people speak of important figures in African American history, hers is a name that should come up more often. Today’s educators, community organizers, and social activists stand on her shoulders. Read on to learn more about the iconic Septima Poinsette Clark.
Inspiring Moments in the Life of Septima Poinsett Clark
There’s so much more to her story and I hope that this post has sparked your interest in knowing more about Septima Poinsette Clark. I will definitely be ordering the autobiographies!
Stay tuned to Truly Charmed for the next post in The Gems Before Us series! Subscribe HERE
There is no doubt that MC Lyte is a pioneer in the hip hop game and she has always been a favorite of mine. It is rare that you will not see Lyte’s name on anyone’s “best of…” hip hop lists. She has a flow like none other and it stands to this day. So, of course I follow MC Lyte on Instagram…and I was so excited when she announced that she has her own app. Sorry that I’m just now getting around to telling you all about it, but you should definitely check it out.
The MC Lyte app features a link to sign up for fan mail and you’ll be the first to receive announcements about Mc Lyte’s upcoming events and projects. Subscribers to the app also gain access to Mc Lyte’s latest studio album Legend (2015). The MC Lyte app is available to both Apple and Android users.
Get the app here!
Let me know what you think!
The word legend is thrown around lightly, but MC Lyte has definitely earned the title. Not only has she established a long list of ‘firsts’ in the music industry, but she has maintained a long-standing and admirable place in the industry as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, inspirational speaker, actress, voiceover artist, and so much more.
Are you an MC Lyte fan? Comment below!
Subscribe to Truly Charmed and stay tuned for more posts about your favorite artists!
After months of planning, my very first Charmed Life Artist RoundUp was held on Saturday June 25, 2016 in Sumter, SC. If you missed it, you missed a treat! As many of you may know from prior posts, art has a very special place in my heart. I came to know writing as a love of mine way back in middle school. It’s only natural that I would use my platform, Truly Charmed, as a way to support other artists. So…on Saturday, 14 local artists decided to share their talents at the RoundUp! I am still in awe of all that took place...the transparency…the cool way in which all of the artists related to one another…the display of undeniable talent. It was a blast.
Emcee, Lady Ty, did a great job of introducing each artist and keeping the crowd energized.
I have to send a HUGE, heartfelt 'Thank You ' to everyone who contributed to the success of the Charmed Life Artist RoundUp. I definitely could not have pulled this off without the artists who took a chance on this brand new platform and decided to participate.
The visual artists displayed their beautiful works and were vulnerable enough to tell us about their inspiration, the ups, downs, and passion that make up their creative process. Thank you Linda Avery, LaToya Thompson,Tony A. Brown, and Earnest Hampton.
The authors intrigued us with snippets and run-downs of their latest novels. Thank you Rod Ballard, Monica Sumter, and Otiti Uwagbai Wright.
The spoken word artists sat quietly at their table, taking in the atmosphere, and then came roaring on the mic during the spoken word session. I was in AWE and so was everyone else! Thank you D Anntonette Sistrunk, Jajuana Smoot, Rian N. Jenkins, and Sequoia T. Gillyard.
Thank you to hip hop artist KuuL for bringing it! Not only did you perform twice at the RoundUp, but you were gracious enough to perform again at the after party. Thanks, Shanika Davis , for making that connection.
Thanks to Young Blaze and J Killa ( Mike Sumter Jkilla Streetera )for performing at the after party. The talent is so real. I hope that you all will come back and perform at the next installment of the RoundUp.
Thanks to CoolCee ThaDj for holding it down in the music and sound dept. I couldn't have done it without you.
Thanks and much love to my family and friends for being a HUGE help to me so that I could focus on the event. My sister, Tameka Williams-Holmes, my daughter, son Zaire Cain, niece, and friends Charlene Frazier and Jilita Johnson.
Thanks to the vendors Ma Connie's Creations and Exotic Appeal Exotic Appeal Fashion & Accessories.
Thanks to every single person who came out to enjoy event. I appreciate you.
Thanks to the sponsors and those who made donations toward the event:Natural Nora's Beauty & Wellness Apothecary, Kari Fraser-Farthing Independent Scentsy Consultant, Ragin Preparatory Christian Academy,SHEAR GLAMOUR SALON, Tiffany Holmes 1K Photography, That Natural Chick , Joyce Pringle of ItWorks! , Kimberly Suber of National Kidney Foundation Team SC
Charmed Life Artist RoundUp...Winter Session!
The creative energy and networking that took place in June was amazing, so we must do it again! Join us at the Charmed Life Artist RoundUp...Winter Session on Saturday December 3, 2016. For details and to purchase tickets, visit theartistroundup.eventbrite.com. The theme for this session is "Shout!". With so much going on in the world, we all need the space and opportunity to let our voices be heard. This is that opportunity! Whether it be about social injustices, concern about the welfare of our children, a celebration of love, or one's personal circumstances, we will Shout! Join us!
Follow the event on Facebook for all updates! HERE! We'll see you at the RoundUp!
Truly Charmed will continue to show appreciation for artists and their precious work. Check out this POST about local musicians Black Alley Band and Tiffany J.
Singer and songwriter TiffanyJ will release her debut album, EVOLving, on Friday May 27, 2016. The project includes 12 tracks (including the prelude), all of which are written by TiffanyJ (co-writer with Bruce Robinson, Jr. on track # 12, “One & Only”). All songs were produced by Bruce Robinson, Jr. of ZamarMuzik (with the exception of the track “End of Time”, produced by Rodrick King of Regal Aftermath and Bruce Robinson, Jr of ZamarMuzik). In writing this review, my focus isn’t so much on vocals because it’s already established that TiffanyJ can ‘sang’. On this album, she gives her all from prelude until the very end of the last track. I mean…she scats…and kills it each time (displayed BEAUTIFULLY on track #8, “Human”). Ella and Sarah (Fitzgerald and Vaughan,that is) would be proud, no doubt. Simply put, TiffanyJ’s talent is undeniable. No debate there. So, let’s talk about the album.
Stylistically, I would call EVOLving an ode to throwback vocal Jazz mixed with the best of neo-soul. There are several intensely jazz-inspired moments that I love in the album (check out track # 5, “Scaredy Cat”). Many artists would be afraid to even attempt it out of fear of sounding dated. However, in EVOLving, it’s finessed in a way that keeps the sound fresh and contemporary.
The album is a rollercoaster ride through so many of the emotions and phases that we experience while growing in love, searching for love, and all of love’s ups and downs. The tracks are ordered perfectly, mimicking the highs and lows of love’s journey. Hence, the title EVOLving. From “Patiently Waiting” to “Movin’ On” to “Being Me”, the dynamics of the album are definitely rooted in reality. We can all relate to at least one, probably most, of the songs on this album.
My Favorite Moment
It’s hard to choose one track as my favorite. There are two that I have played over and over, “Being Me” and “End of Time”. “Being Me” is that up-tempo, uplifting track that you play whenever you need an extra boost of motivation, very much like Jill Scott’s “Golden” and Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine”. It’s not that the sound is similar to these songs, but the songs have a common spirit. “End of Time” is TiffanyJ’s soulful duet with singer, Marcus Allen. Their voices are in perfect harmony and the result is a beautiful song. “End of Time” is the sort of song that we all imagine singing once we find that right partner, “the one”.
Any Low Points?
Honestly, no. I listened to the album repeatedly, with a critical ear, and found that EVOLving is not your typical neo-soul album. It’s not cliché at all. There are tracks on the album that are unexpected…welcomed…but unexpected. In addition to the jazz track “Scaredy Cat”, already mentioned, Track #6 “Science” addresses undeniable romantic chemistry in a very unique way. “New Side Chick, track #9 is a no holds barred anthem for the ladies. EVOLving addresses an old, familiar topic (love) in a very cutting-edge way. This is what makes the album a definite hit. The songwriting on this album is A-1. Without hesitation, I would recommend that you cop “EVOLving” as soon as it’s released on May 27th.
Don’t forget to come back and let me know if you agree with my review of the album.
Disclosure: Truly Charmed is a sponsor of TiffanyJ’s Gold & White Album Release Party. However, this is an unbiased review of the album, EVOLving. Truly Charmed was remunerated in no way for this music review.
Connect With TiffanyJ
Did you miss my first write-up about songstress TiffanyJ? Read it HERE
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Innovative. Go-getter. These are words that came to mind during my interview with New Jersey native E’toshia McFarland. Simply put, E’toshia is a woman of many hats. She has an idea and she puts it into action. This is the process that gave birth to all…yes, all…of her business pursuits. E’toshia is owner and creator of Faces by E’tosh, Events by E’tosh, and her blog, E’tosh Xperience. This interview definitely reaffirmed the idea that we should all pursue our passion. Read on to get to know E’toshia McFarland.
.AC: Tell me about E’toshia, the woman.
EM: I’m originally from Newark NJ, where I attended a performing arts high school. I came down here (to South Carolina) in 2003 when I graduated from high school. I attended Morris College for two semesters and then I transferred to USC after my mom suggested that I continue to pursue my dance career. I became a dance major. I changed my major and decided to teach. That’s what I’m doing now. I’m a teaching assistant at a preschool. I wear many hats. I am a self-taugh make-up artist, blogger, and I host events through my business, Events by E’tosh.
AC: When did you decide that entrepreneurship was the move for you?
EM: It was about two years ago. I decided that the same way that I’m putting so much time into someone else’s business by going to work every day, I could be using my own talents.
AC: As you said, you wear so many hats, building each of your businesses. What is your passion?
EM: They all tie in to each other. I like the production part of things because I’m able to execute my ideas and see them come to life. This is how Bow Ties & Heels came about. I wanted to create something unique for people to do, so in 2012 my boyfriend and I coordinated the first Bow Ties & Heels. We’ve held the party annually since then. I see it as a home brand that I’m trying to build.
AC: I’ve heard about your Musical Beauty Circuit class. Tell me more about it.
EM: I’ve been doing makeup for a while (Faces by E’tosh). I love being a make-up artist because it allows me to creating eye-popping beauty looks for women. My Musical Beauty Circuit class is an extension of Faces by E’tosh. I came up with this idea when I participated in a six-week business program for women entrepreneurs at Columbia College (Columbia, SC). The idea of the Musical Beauty Circuit was influenced by my background in dance. I wanted to make a production of it. The class is composed of three segments, like an exercise class, the warm-up, the routine, and the cool down. The warm-up is me discussing skincare. The routine is the part of class when I instruct about make-up, whether I focus on eyes or whatever the clients wants. During the cool-down we review what was taught.
AC: How often are the classes held?
EM: The first one was held in January of this year. I decided that they will be held every other month, unless someone wants to host a class in their home. This allows me time to re-up on supplies and advertise.
AC: Is there a certain business person who inspires you?
EM: That’s a hard question. I have loved ones who I can always go to for advice and encouragement-my sorority sisters, my mom, my boyfriend. They're always there for me. They will also bring me back down to earth when needed.
AC: What has been your most challenging obstacle as a business woman and how did you push through it?
EM: My biggest obstacles: keeping my confidence where it needs to be and being consistent. We all have our moments when we doubt ourselves. I’ll find myself thinking about how my business is not growing as expected. Sometimes we compare ourselves to others and that causes doubt. The way that I deal with those moments is by going back and reflecting on all that I have done and not measuring myself by what someone else may be doing. That’s a mistake a lot of us make…comparing ourselves to others. You have to stay in your own lane…celebrate your own accomplishments.
AC: What advice would you give to other women who are considering entrepreneurship?
EM: The advice I would give to a female entrepreneur comes from two quotes. The first quote is from Pinterest and reads "she turned her can'ts into cans and her dreams into plans." The second comes from a recent read, "Girl, Just Quit!," where the author refers to a quote by Grant Cordone. It reads "as long as you are alive, you will either live to accomplish your own goals and dreams or be used as a resource to accomplish someone else's." With these two quotes I would encourage future female entrepreneurs to go for whatever dreams they may have.
AC: What has been your proudest moment in business, so far?
EM: I’m proud of the collaborations with others and relationships that have been built through those collaborations. I love that there is an awareness of my businesses. It makes me feel good when I’m out and about and someone may say “I’m looking forward to the next Bow Ties & Heels, when is it?”
AC: What’s up next for you?
EM: The next Bow Ties & Heels will take place on April 23rd in Columbia. I also co-authored an e-book. The title is “After Why Comes How”. It can be found on Amazon and www.divaswithapurpose.com.
Thanks to E’toshia for this great interview. I definitely wish her continued success in all of her endeavors. Follow E’toshia across social media!
Faces By Etosh: Facesbyetosh.com
Events By Etosh:https://www.facebook.com/EventsbyETOSH-264527200290334/
After Why Comes How: http://bit.ly/23mxiKi
Until next time...let's continue to claim our charmed lives!
Truly Charmed is all about celebrating the accomplishments of women who are determined to make their dreams reality. Have you met Kierra Jones, owner of The K.Jones Collection? Read her story HERE.
Interested in being featured? Email TrulyCharmedOne@gmail.com
How is Kierra Jones, owner and lead buyer of The K. Jones Collection, claiming her charmed life? This style-savvy girl boss is empowering other women through her love of accessories! It was such a pleasure getting to know this highly motivated entrepreneur. Read on and I'm sure that you'll be inspired!
AC: What inspired you to start your business?
K Jones: I have always loved fashion jewelry. Growing up, I was overweight and really insecure. I used oversized clothing to "hide" my body. When I got in high school, I wanted to put more effort into my look. As I began to learn what styles worked for my body, it was accessories that made the styling process fun for me. I found how much you could really use accessories to transform your look. Fast forward to now as an adult, I really wanted to pursue my dreams of being my own girl boss. I decided to put more effort into creating something that was my own, something that embodied me, and allowed me to share my passions. So, a lifelong passion for accessories along with my desire to be my own girl boss finally moved me to start The K. Jones Collection.
AC: What is your advice to young ladies who may be in the same position as you once were, dealing with self-esteem and body image issues?
K.Jones: Before I answer that, here’s advice that I would give to others. When we see a young girl, we’ll quickly say “oh, she’s so cute..she’s so pretty”. It’s nice to give those compliments, but it would be great if we could compliment girls on their personality, on how smart they are. As for the young ladies dealing with self-esteem and body image issues, it’s important that girls look in the mirror and own their confidence. When I was in high school, I really don’t know what made me do it, but I would look in the mirror and repeat “you’re a gift to yourself”. We should believe that more and more as women and girls.
AC: Tell us about The K. Jones Collection
K.Jones: We're an online accessory boutique specializing in fashion jewelry and accessories. Each piece is handpicked for the modern woman who is chic, confident, and has a sophisticated style. She creates her own happiness, and she carries herself with class.
AC: What business woman or women do you admire, famous or not?
K.Jones: I have three that come to mind. I would definitely say Oprah. Beyonce. This has nothing to do with her music…put the music aside. What I like about her is that she is an example of investing in your craft, and learning all sides of it. She’s doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff: such as executive producing and writing. A business is so much more than the glitz and glamour. Beyoncé invested the time to become great at what she’s doing. I also admire Tyra Banks, and it’s for similar reasons. In addition to her business accomplishments, Tyra gives back so much. She has a camp where she works with girls, focusing on their self-esteem. That’s a huge portion of success. Are you looking back and helping others to advance toward their own level of success?
AC: What sets The K. Jones Collection apart from others in your industry?
K.Jones: Other boutiques offer beautiful pieces, as I do. However, it’s about so much more than the product. My story is that I became comfortable in my skin when I started putting effort into how I looked. Accessories made that fun for me and so that was the start of it. I’m trying to provide more than jewelry. I’m offering an experience. I want women to celebrate the gift of who they are. I love the fact that it’s me by myself working. It makes me feel accomplished. I love being able to connect with my customers one on one and have them know that Kierra hand-picked all of these pieces. These aren’t things that I just picked from a catalog. I chose these pieces because they fit my clients’ styles and they fit my style. I just want them to feel a special experience. My clients are beautiful, they’re fabulous, and they just need to accessorize a little bit.
AC: What is your vision for the future of your business?
K.Jones: My vision is to be a regionally known lifestyle and accessory brand. I love my jewelry, so I will never give up my jewelry. I do want to expand when it comes to accessories. I believe every part of life can be accessorized…your home, your office, events, everything. I want to experiment with more life and style products. Expanding as a life and style brand, and becoming regionally known is my vision for The K. Jones Collection
In the words of K.Jones: “Celebrate the gift of you. Share your shine.”
Very wise words from a lady boss who is, no doubt, destined for greatness.
Follow @theKJonesCollection across social media!
Visit the site and receive Free Shipping on Orders of $50 or More!
Learn about other women-owned businesses HERE. Until next time, let's continue to claim our charmed lives!
Truly Charmed is all about encouraging unity among women so that we can claim our Charmed Lives! Great things happen when we come together with the purpose of pouring into each other’s lives. This sentiment was in full display at the Digital Empowerment Mastermind-Luncheon and Workshop on Saturday. The event, held by Katrina Garnes, Director of Cold Storm Media & What’s Going On Webshow and Blog, was advertised as an opportunity for women in digital communications and technology careers to come together and educate, empower, and encourage one another. This is exactly what happened at this awesome event. Read on to check out my take-aways from the workshop.
Natasha Weston, Author and Founder of Confessions of An Ambitious Girl
Ashli Smart, Digital and Web Marketing Consultant, SmartHoopla
Melody Thomas, Owner and Web Designer of The Genius Circle
Caletta Bailey, Owner of Reel 2Real Productions
Melissa Chanel, Creator/Voice of melissachanel.com, a lifestyle blog
Each of the panelists can be described as a woman who is making impressive moves in the digital realm, and each spoke on a topic relevant to their own experiences in their careers. The ladies were transparent about the in’s and out’s of finding their place in business, and each offered real-world advice about the road to success. The one message that dominated during the workshop was the importance of reading and researching. I totally agree with this. It’s what I tell my children. It’s what I tell the co-workers who I mentor on the 9-5. Each panelist also offered unique and powerful messages that resonated with the attendees. I created a gallery of those messages below! I’m sure that they will leave you inspired.
This is one that I hope will become an annual event. It was a wonderful experience.
Until next time,
Let’s continue to claim our Charmed Lives!
Read about women-owned businesses that have been featured on the blog, HERE
The creator of Truly Charmed, Antoinette Cain, delights in all things fashion, all things fostering empowerment, and all things that inspire ambition. Antoinette started this fashion and lifestyle blog to celebrate those who are living their Charmed Lives and to empower those who haven't yet realized that life may be imperfect, but in every day there is a Charmed moment.