Spring 2022 One Room Challenge: Week 4

 

We’re at the halfway mark of the 10th anniversary One Room Challenge! Week 4 came and went before I knew it, and with it came another design change.

So, this week’s to-do list included pricing wood, buying the tile, and painting the walls. How many of these tasks did I complete you ask? Zero! Absolutely none of them! I did work on the room, though, just not on what I said I’d do.

 


As I’ve said before, this room needs a lot of foundational work before any pretty stuff can start. So I ended up being in the thick of figuring out how to fix/replace the moulding on the doorframe without having to replace the whole thing. That would need to be done before painting starts on that wall.

I’ve also decided to change the tile on the accent wall (where the washer and dryer are). Though the tile itself was a reasonable price for my budget, the shipping cost was not! So, I’m going to have to find something at Home Depot with free in-store pickup or free shipping because the budget comes first!

 

 

Since I didn’t do anything in the laundry room, I started back on the entryway, figuring out how I wanted our gallery wall. I also wanted to share pics of how it currently looks since you’ve never seen it at it’s current phase. So, those are the photos you see throughout this blog post.

 

 

Next week is William’s birthday. So, I don’t imagine I’ll get a whole lot of work done then because I’m a BIG birthday freak! I love celebrating birthdays, whether it’s mine, a loved one, or just a random person I see celebrating their birthday. Every year we’re still here is a gift. So we should honor that and celebrate it to maximum capacity!

 

 

Anywho, with that being said, I’m still stacking on the tasks for next week because I need to play catch up a bit. So, please hold me accountable to complete them!

 

 

Well, that’s it for this week’s updates. Here’s to a more visibly productive week next week and a happy birthday for my hubby. 😊

Also, remember to check out the other participants on the One Room Challenge blog!

 

Spring 2022 One Room Challenge: Week 3

 

Well well well, looks like it’s week 3 already. Seems like it was just 4 days ago when I posted my week 2 blog (because it was).

Weeks 2 and 3 kind of merged together because I started week 2’s tasks a few days before the week was over. So, here’s the progress from week 3.

 


So, if you saw my original mood board or have been following along on Instagram, you saw that I found my dream washer and dryer set that I didn’t even know existed. It was a brushed black Samsung set with all the bells and whistles. They’re truly beautiful! They were on sale for $798 each at Home Depot, and we were looking around hoping to find them for an even lower price.

Then, I was scrolling through Facebook on my work break and saw that one of my friends was moving and selling her basically new set for just $200! That’s the price for both, together!

 

 

Installing the new appliances, the actual process of hooking them up, wasn’t hard. The hard part was lugging these gargantuan things from the garage into the laundry room!

On a regular day, this is about a 2 step walk, but while dollying and maneuvering this 5’ tall washer and dryer, it was about 55 steps each! Did I mention there’s a step up from the garage to the laundry room?? Luckily William was able to borrow a dollie. Otherwise, they’d still be in the same spot! Oh, and shout out to our friend Mike for helping William get them out the truck. I definitely couldn’t help with that at ALL!

 

 

Now, in a perfect world, I wouldn’t have been worn out and would’ve painted the wall before we put the washer and dryer in the room, but this isn’t a perfect world. So, we- I’ll just have to deal with it. Hopefully it won’t be too hard or terrible.

As far as cleaning, the floors are completely clean now. So much so, that I haven’t let the dogs back in there yet. Now that the grout is dry, it actually does look like when the floors were first done. All it took was some toilet cleaner and a little bit of elbow grease!

The walls on the other hand . . . let’s just say they need a bit more work.

It’s been a while since I actually designed our laundry room makeover. I was just doing it as a type of daydreaming thing. Then our washer went out about a month ago, and I had my chance to make it a reality. When we started looking for a new washer, I saw it was time to register for the Spring round of the One Room Challenge for this year. So I pounced on the opportunity without a second thought!

 

 

Since it had been a while since I came up with the original mood board, though, some of the materials were sold out or just no longer sold altogether, the most important being the rug. So, that was part of my mission this week, finding a new rug that fit the room and also went with the new washer and dryer that also weren’t part of the original plan.

 

 

So, behold my new design idea for the laundry room. It’s mostly the same idea, just rotated and adjusted here and there. It should make for a good adventure, but before we can get to the cute stuff, we need to fix/replace these door mouldings and tear some stuff up.

In other words, I’ll see you next week for week 4’s progress report. Let’s hope I keep my promise of posting on time. Also, remember to check out the other participants one the One Room Challenge blog!

Spring 2022 One Room Challenge: Week 2

 

I promise to post on time next week! 😩

It’s week 2 of the Spring ‘22 One Room Challenge, and my entire design is about to change because of this great deal I got on a new washer and dryer! More about that next week.

 


This week, I didn’t really do much, just found the new laundry set and started cleaning the laundry room this morning so we can put the appliances in tomorrow. In my mind, I thought I’d paint the wall today too, but that grout scrubbing (see pictures) wore me out!

I saw a hack a few years ago to use toilet bowl cleaner on your grout (and a bunch of other places) for a deep clean. I use to do it as a spot treatment and clean it up with our steam mop, but our mop fell victim to this hard Texas water. So it’s been a while since I’ve done this.

 


Since it had been so long, I thought I’d treat the whole floor. So I went to work covering every centimeter of grout with the cleaner. I waited 10 minutes then scrubbed it with a brush. Then, I waited another 10 minutes before removing it. When the second 10 minute marker came, I realized I had no clue how to get this stuff off the floor. We don’t have a conventional mop, just one of those in the style of a Swiffer.

After thinking for a sec, I said it’s time to go old school. So I pulled out the biggest bowl I could find and one of our kitchen towels on its last leg and began scrubbing the floor, tile by tile. I worked my way from the front right corner all the way to the back left corner. Afterwards, I mopped the entire floor with Swiffer’s cousin, just to make sure I got everything up.

 


What was left was a new, squeaky clean floor. It’s not as white as it used to be, but it’s leaps and bounds better than before I cleaned it!

Next week’s projects will be a bit more fun.  They include redesigning the room, possibly painting, and finding a rug. For real time updates, tune into my stories on Instagram! See you next week for my Week 3 update, and be sure to check out the other One Room Challenge participants here!

Spring 2022 One Room Challenge: Week 1

 

AHHH!!! I’m so excited!!! I get to participate during the 10th anniversary of the One Room Challenge!!! This year, I’m going to try my best to document everything on my blog, as well as Instagram.

I attempted to document my Spring 2020 challenge here after the fact but failed epically. In my defense, I had just started this blog and was still working out the kinks, as well as discovering my writing style. So, maybe I’ll give it another shot now that I know myself.

Anywho, you’re not here for that existential babble. You want to know what room I’m working on and what my design idea is. So, let’s get to it!


For the Spring challenge, I’ll be finishing our entryway (yes the entryway from the Fall 2020 challenge
🙄) AND reviving our laundry room!

I shared my mood board in my stories on Instagram, and only 14% of the participants guessed that it was for the laundry room. I get it though. Who cares what a laundry room looks like? It’s not like we’re  hanging out in there, reading and the like, but what if part of what makes laundry so unbearable is because of how the room looks?

Usually, laundry rooms are pretty neglected, with dust everywhere from the dryer lint, maybe a cobweb in the corner, plain white walls, etc., but I want every room in our home to have a personality, a story even, and yes. That includes the laundry room. Plus our poor laundry room has been THROUGH it because it’s the dogs’ room.

It’s where Riggs and Murtaugh (bonus points if you get their names) eat, where they stay while we’re out if the weather’s bad outside, and sometimes where they go for time out when they’re acting up. YES, WE PUT OUR DOGS IN TIME OUT! Moving on.

 

 

Because of this, though, the room is even dirtier because they drag in dirt from outside and just reek havoc in there sometimes! Plus, when Riggs was little, he had separation issues. So, he decided to try and eat his way out the room one day while we were gone. He literally ate part of the doorframe, the drywall under it, AND chewed on the beam inside the wall!

 

He luckily is past that now, and they don’t dirty the place up as much anymore either. So, I plan to repair/replace the doorframe, deep clean the room, and somewhat doggy proof it, while making it a bit more modern and fun.

Hopefully you stick around to see the magic happen. To see it in real time, tune in to my stories on Instagram, and also be sure to check out the other participants on the One Room Challenge blog! See you next week!

 

2022 Woman on the Move: Keyheira Keys

 

Keyheira Keys, have you heard that name before? Do you know her? You should, and you probably know some of her work or efforts, but not the woman behind them.

Keyheira is an Arkansas native but has been in Austin since 2000. She wears several hats and is a creative’s advocate, while also being a creative herself.

I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions recently to try and get a more behind the scenes look at how she’s able to do so much. After reading her answers, I think you’ll better understand why I chose Ms. Keyheira Keys as my inaugural Woman on the Move for International Women’s Day 2022.

Thanks for talking with me! It’s a true honor. So, for starters, tell us about some of the hats you wear.

By day, I work for the City of Austin in the economic development in cultural arts department as a cultural strategist. I also do consulting for Black and brown business creatives and entrepreneurs.

Most recently, I launched my radio show, Keys to the Streets, on KAZI. All my occupations deal with performing arts, fine arts, and the culinary arts.

 


How long have you lived in Austin?

Since 2000. It was a bit of a culture shock due to the diversity in races and cultures. I came from a city where there were basically only Black or white people. I also couldn’t understand the big difference in cost of living, but we eventually embraced the city and began to love and thrive in it.

 

How do you find time for everything?

It’s (the arts) always been a passion of mine. So it doesn’t seem like a lot of time, and I’m willing to put even more time towards working because of that.

 

Tell us about your time at Baylor.

Talk about a culture shock! After finally being adjusted to Austin, I went somewhere that was, again, a polar opposite.

Ohio State was my first choice, but due to financial reasons, I had to stay in-state. Baylor and UT were tied for my second choice. So I chose Baylor to get away a little.

I went from the world being 2007 to 1907. It was very segregated, and I was expected to only hang out with the Black students. So that was a social culture shock for me because I had a very diverse group of friends before attending.

 

What gives you such a passion about sharing and preserving Black culture in Austin?

It started from  the love East Austin shared with my family when we moved here. The community literally embraced us as their own. Then after going to Baylor and studying sociology, I learned how important it is to preserve stories as well as to tell stories so they’re not lost.

I started doing non-profit work for businesses in East Austin to help preserve the culture for the next generation. I feel it’s important to be able to create your own history while respecting the history and culture of the past.

I want the memories to be around for my children and more children to come.

 

Do you have a mentor? Do you mentor others?

Absolutely! I have several mentors, in different industries. In music, public relations, art, etc. I love learning from those more experienced than I am.

I also mentor others in the various industries I work in. I seriously loves helping someone move up in their industries. Since there’s so few Black women in my industry, I feel it’s my responsibility to help bring more on if it’s something they’re interested in or passionate about.

 

Tell us more about “Keys to the Streets”.  How did it come to be?

It’s a radio show that comprises all that I do in different industries and the multiple markets I work in. I helped bring a lot of new talent to KAZI during their rebranding. So they asked if I’d like her own show, saying, “you’re the key to bringing all this together.”

I originally said no, but after thinking it over, I realized I had a lot to share and offer. With everything I do, I usually like to stay in the background, but when I heard an interview with Issa Rae where she said “it’s looking a lot like me season”, it really resonated with me! So I said yes.

It took me 4 months to record my pilot episode because of fear and nerves, but when I submitted it, the station and listeners loved it!

You can tune in at 9:30am on Monday’s on 88.7, KAZI FM, or online at kazifm.org.

 

If you could share one piece of advice with someone afraid to take their first step towards their dreams and goals, what would it be?

It’s definitely a journey, but it starts with you seeing it for yourself and believing in yourself. I’m just starting to see the harvest from the seeds I planted 5-6 years ago, but you can’t make it anywhere if you don’t start.

 

 

Thank you so much Keyheira for speaking with me! You’re a true role model and silent superhero in our community. It’s great seeing you publicly receive your flowers more and being able to give them to you as well. Congratulations again to our 2022 Woman on the Move, Ms. Keyheira Keys!

10 Questions with Archie J Jenkins, Owner of 180 Lyfe

 

During Black History Month, I’m interviewing Black business owners and founders to help bring more eyes to their products and services and also to celebrate them. My final interview features Archie J Jenkins, the owner of 180 Lyfe. I asked him 10 questions. Keep reading to find his answers.

 

How did your business come to be? What was your motivation?

My motivation comes directly from my past. In my early adult years, I was charged with a few felony convictions. During my incarceration, I began reflecting on what mattered most to me and 180 Lyfe was created. I’ve always been a visionary, but once I wrote the vision and made it plain, things began to shift in my life.

Giving back to others has always been a passion, but I got to a point where I decided to give back to myself. I knew in order to walk in my purpose, I had to get outside my comfort zone and truly change my mindset.

 

Did you face any adversities or obstacles in the beginning?

I am a creative and entrepreneur with ADHD but I’ve never let it define or cripple me. Also, remembering that being my true authentic self is what has gotten me this far, not faking it or being what others expected me to be. I refused to be put in a box. 

Another obstacle that I’ve had to overcome was mistakes I’ve made with finances. However, I’ve learned from each and every one of them. When it comes to business, I believe that the key to entrepreneurship is budgeting and money management. For example, I know that just because you earn $6,000.00 one month, does not mean you go out and buy a Mercedes Benz because you may only make $1,000.00 the following month. That is the risk with entrepreneurship as a whole, nothing is guaranteed.

 

Did you have a support system starting out?

180 Lyfe was started from the ground up. I took my time to build/nurture relationships, grow my network, and collaborate with other business owners until I was able to stand on my own. It is my desire to be a valuable resource for the community.

 

What void would you like to fill in the Black community with your business?

I am a visionary, and I am passionate about helping other individuals who desire to start a business but do not know where to start. I want to inspire my community and show them that they can take a little and build a lot with the right resources. 

I am also a Youth Advocate, and I am especially interested in the holistic development of our young Black men. I want to help them find their voice because I know the huge impact it can have on one’s life. I would like to use motivational speaking as an outlet for 180 Lyfe to reach the masses.

 

How do you keep yourself motivated to keep going?

I made a commitment to myself and my dreams. A commitment that my God given gifts have laid the groundwork for. With 180 Lyfe flourishing and thriving, I’ve learned a lot, the most important thing is that with hard work, persistence, faith in God and prayer, all things are possible. 

Who, if anyone, has inspired you during your journey?

There are many Greats that have inspired me but one person that stands out is Tyler Perry. Seeing someone that looks like me and has overcome everything from homelessness to rejection. When I learned that early on in his career, he invested his last in a stage play and no one showed up, it made me value his resilience even more. I admire anyone who eliminates the excuses and has the steadfast faith to never give up.

 

How can we, the community, help you exceed your current level?

The community can help me elevate by supporting my events and spreading the word about the 180 movement. Whatever I produce, my goal is to inspire, whether it’s through my magazine, my affirmations book, or a motivational speech, I need help bringing more visibility and exposure to the 180 brand.

Do you have any announcements or good news you’d like to share?

Last year, I was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year and that really gave me some great momentum at the start of this year to maximize all of the great connections I’ve made the previous year. On April 9th, I am bringing the 1st Annual Creative Connections Conference to Houston, TX. This conference will truly embody the “No Creative Left Behind” motto with panel discussions, spoken word performances, networking, live music, book signings, extraordinary vendors, and more.

We hope that this conference will bring forth fruitful relationships, collaboration, and networking opportunities for everyone that is involved. 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone starting the business owner/entrepreneurial journey?

 

BE CONSISTENT AND SHOW UP NO MATTER WHAT!

 

How can we find you to give our support? What’s your website and social media info?

You all can find me at www.180lyfe.com where you are able to shop, support, or leave a review. Follow me on Instagram at 180lyfe_180show. For booking inquiries, please email 180lyfe180show@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

Thank you, Archie, for this great interview! Be sure to check out the 180 Lyfe website to see everything they have to offer!

 

10 Questions with Viral TikTok Photographer, Michael T Davis

 

During Black History Month, I’m interviewing Black business owners and founders to help bring more eyes to their products and services and also to celebrate them. My next interview is with Michael T. Davis, owner of Michael T. Davis Photography, who recently went viral on TikTok. I asked him 10 questions. Below are his answers.

 

How did your business come to be? What was your motivation?

I photographed my first wedding in Philadelphia, on August 20, 2011, which was also my 1yr wedding anniversary, and my wife has yet to let me live it down. It came about because they saw some of my work on Facebook and decided to reach out. The experience was such a blast! I learned so much and really enjoyed the entire process. Prior to this event, I’ve never photographed a wedding before. So it was a leap of faith that they loved my work and trusted that I would do a great job.

11 yrs later, I photograph weddings full-time, educate others on how to run profitable photography businesses, speak at photography conferences and on podcasts, etc. Some would consider me an expert in the industry. I just consider myself a storyteller and wedding photographer

 

Did you face any adversities or obstacles in the beginning?

The biggest obstacle was learning about the industry. I didn’t know anything about weddings before photographing my first one. So, I did tons of research on timelines, the do’s and don’ts, gear, etiquette, etc. After my first wedding, I began to bring my camera to weddings when I was a guest and photographed that.

About 1-2 yrs after that I was approached by a wedding company in Baltimore to join their team. It was here where I gained the much needed experience and portfolio. I was a 2nd photographer (one who assists the main photographer) for about a year. Then I was promoted as the main photographer. I developed a close relationship with the owners of the company and began to get a better insight on the business side as well.

 

Did you have a support system starting out?

Starting out, I mostly relied on my friend network to practice my photographer skills. They were great at getting in front of the camera so that I can refine my techniques. My wife was, and still is, my biggest advocate. She has been extremely supportive both mentally and physically. Without her, I would probably have never made it because imposter syndrome is so hard to get over without the proper people in your corner.

 

What void would you like to fill in the Black community with your business?

I want to preserve the stories of black families. One of the largest gaps in our community is that we pass down our verbal stories but not the visual ones. I find that it’s mostly because as a whole we don’t prioritize documenting our journey as much as our white counterparts. I want to change that narrative. As a storyteller and photographer, I am using my talents and skills to help black families, not only take more photographs, but hang them on their walls and shelves. Our children need to see themselves hanging on the walls and when they look through albums.

 

How do you keep yourself motivated to keep going?

I surround myself with the right people. I have people in my corner who are further along in the industry, as well as those who are a few steps behind me. This allows me to stay inspired and inspire others in the process. It allows me to practice humility and still grow as an artist and an educator. 

The 2nd biggest motivation is my family. I want to redefine what success looks like for my children. I want them to believe that they have options and that it’s possible to do what you love and be profitable at the same time. They are watching all of my accomplishments as well as setbacks, and it’s important for them to witness what entrepreneurship looks like in real-life, not just in theory.

Who, if anyone, has inspired you during your journey?

My biggest inspiration has always, and continues to be my wife. We had our first child when she was 19. She never took a break from college. She even continued on to get her PhD from Johns Hopkins. Now she is one of the foremost scholars of the history of Black women athletics in the 20th century. Her determination to always push forward, even through the darkest times, keeps me motivated. I push her and she pushes me to be the best for our children, our crafts, and ourselves.

 

How can we, the community, help you exceed your current level?

The best way to help is to hire me and tell others about the work that I do. As a storyteller and photographer, I follow my couples’ journey from the aisle to their 1st born graduating college and beyond. I am my family’s photographer for life.

Do you have any announcements or good news you’d like to share?

This past week, one of my weddings went viral on TikTok. It has had over 7 million views within a 4-day span. I’m so excited that I get to share my work with millions of people around the world! Watch it here.

 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone starting the business owner/entrepreneurial journey?

You can’t do everything well. Invest in yourself. Hire a mentor. Outsource where and when you can. This will allow you to only focus on the things that matter most to you, while everything else is working in the background. This will also help avoid burnout and lead to sustainability and longevity.

How can we find you to give our support? What’s your website and social media info?

website: www.mtdphotography.com

IG: @mtdphotography1914

tiktok: @mtdphotography

FB: Michael T Davis Photography

 

 

 

I’d like to thank Mr. Davis for taking the time to do this interview. Be sure to follow him on social media for more behind the scenes content, and head to his website to book him for your next photography session.

10 Questions with Tanya Walker, Founder of Black Women Who Kayak+

 

During Black History Month, I’m interviewing Black business owners and founders to help bring more eyes to their products and services and also to celebrate them. Today, I’m featuring Tanya Walker, the founder of BWWK+ (Black Women who Kayak+). I asked her 10 questions. These are her answers.

 

How did your business come to be? What was your motivation?

It was never my intention to start Black Women Who Kayak+ as a business. The idea for Black Women Who Kayak+ came from me trying to get a couple of people to come kayaking with me. There were rarely any people of color I saw, especially women, when I was kayaking. My former fiancé is the one that encouraged me to start a Facebook group to see if anyone would join me.

There was only one woman who showed up at each event I created. I initially considered closing the group page because I was discouraged, but the lady encouraged me to keep it open. Therefore, I created another event. Initially, I did not realize I was up against one of our barriers (which I later addressed by partnering with The British Swim School), the discomfort associated with large bodies of water.

So, this time kayaking, I reached out to Whirlpool Caverns to create the BWWK+  Cave Exploring/Spelunking event. I still didn’t think anyone would attend. However, each lady who RSVP’d came, making it one of the most memorable events we have ever experienced. We did something that people of color typically don’t do. At that moment, I realized that this platform could serve much more purposeful purposes.

My motivation came when I realized that there is nothing that people of color can’t accomplish with the right opportunities, access, supportive environment, and knowledge. In an effort to change those myths about what people of color can and cannot achieve, it became my mission and vision to use my platform to break down those barriers and more. 

 

Did you face any adversities or obstacles in the beginning?

I get asked this in every interview. I always say the same thing. There’s a higher being that chose me for this journey. That higher being has aligned me with some of the most influential people and organizations. Those experiences have not only shown the importance of creating an environment that welcomes all people of color. However, they see that implementing more diversity, equality, and inclusion in their work environments is essential. 

I wouldn’t say this journey has been easy. It hasn’t been. But God has never promised me that my purpose would be easy. My biggest challenge has been learning business skills. Many of us have a general understanding of how to run a business. However, building a successful business takes more than general knowledge. It is imperative for you to acquire more than common knowledge, or you will end up working harder than smarter.

 

Did you have a support system starting out?

Just getting started. No. I had to build it. I had to be able to demonstrate that my vision and determination were genuine. Eventually, my community joined me in this movement after people noticed I had something here. Now I have a strong support system. It makes the challenging days less painful and more manageable. In the context of the support system, I am referring to my family and my team of ladies. My vision and the rewarding feeling of making such a positive impact on so many women and their children keeps us growing and going strong.  

 

What void would you like to fill in the Black community with your business?

I was exposed to all of the things our chapters do now when I was pulled out of my environment. In a Christian youth group, a Caucasian woman noticed an opportunity and purpose where she could serve. Many times, white people come into black communities and expose them to things they would normally not see or experience. These encounters are known as The Great White Hope. I am grateful for my Great White Hope. Because she has saved me in many ways, and the Birth of BWWK+ would not have even existed without her. 

However, the truth about the Great White Hope is, generally speaking, they couldn’t relate to me. They can’t understand why there are barriers and myths that are ingrained in our culture. No. It isn’t necessary to be in poverty to relate to someone who is. Nonetheless, wouldn’t it be nice for the brown or black children to be rescued by someone who truly understands their plight? The intervention would be more impactful if brown or black people were to introduce kids and their mothers to activities that we don’t typically see ourselves in. Also letting them know that we can do those things, too. By providing that level of access, knowledge, and a welcoming environment. It is our goal at Black Women Who Kayak+ to make the mother feel comfortable enough to not only step outside her comfort zone but also bring her family and children.

 

How do you keep yourself motivated to keep going?

What a great question. Watching the looks on the faces of our members who have taken advantage of our partnership with British Swim School to learn how to swim for the first time. Watching kids and their mothers holding space within the community of rowers. Our partnership with The Texas Rowing Center has given them this opportunity. Whenever members who were considering not coming to one of our events tell me how happy they are that they did attend. They did something that we aren’t used to seeing us do. They stepped outside their comfort zone and now feel accomplished and empowered, with other ladies who look like them and possibly felt the same way.

Who, if anyone, has inspired you during your journey?

The woman I call mother. She’s my biggest supporter. She was a single parent whose first priority was feeding, sheltering, and educating her children. It was a difficult task for her to raise two kids on her own, but she did it! I want to target women like my mom and myself and expose them to something outside of their priorities. Something outside of their norm and what you typically don’t see us doing.

 

How can we, the community, help you exceed your current level?

In all established chapters, we still need more volunteers. In addition, we need ladies who want to open local chapters of Black Women Who Kayak+ in their area. More sponsors and donations would also be appreciated. There is definitely interest in partnering with businesses that offer sailing lessons, skiing lessons, wakeboard/surfing lessons, and flying lessons. Provide transportation for members who require it. Any donated gear for camping, hiking, kayaking, golf, tennis, and more would be appreciated. The plus with Black Women Who Kayak is that we can explore our possibilities beyond what a kid or mother desires, and perhaps provide something extortionate as well. It will be a memory and experience they will never forget.

Do you have any announcements or good news you’d like to share?

Definitely! It is always a pleasure to share the great news about BWWK+. We have recently partnered with NOLS. It is a global organization that offers a once-in-a-lifetime type of excursion to those who can afford it. Part of our partnership with them included a 2,330 sponsorship for one of our members to experience an 8-day backpacking trip to Alaska this year. We raffled off this amazing opportunity and one of our faithful members won. However, we’ll be doing a GoFundMe to assist with covering airfare and the opportunity for one of our admins to attend this trip with that member. One of the barriers we face is that we want to embark on these amazing adventures but the cost and there is no other brown or black person participating. So, we don’t want this member to do this trip alone or feel as if she can’t relate to any of the other participants.

Furthermore, if there are any Kentucky residents, on April 15th, 2022, our Kentucky Chapter will hold its first event at the Mammoth Cave National Park. The cave has a rich history. Attendees must be members of BWWK+. 

Last, for any Arkansas residents, our Arkansas Chapter will be kicking off their first event in June at the 50th Buffalo National River Anniversary. Attendees must be members of BWWK+. 

 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone starting the business owner/entrepreneurial journey?

No matter what, don’t give up. Giving up is easier than keeping going. There is a big difference between taking a step back to evaluate and adjust your approach or how you approach your plan versus giving up completely. Set realistic goals. Browse all free resources for small businesses. Get started with Score. Score is a really handy resource that’s free. Also, capitalize on what makes your business different. Create a strong support system. Learn to delegate when needed. Understand that you can’t do it alone. You need people to help you and don’t be shy about asking for help. Learn to apologize when you’re wrong. Be willing to be taught. Learn to be and do better. Remember, there’s always a bigger picture. Never allow someone’s negativity to change your direction. Keep your head up and pray… pray for guidance, strength, wisdom, courage, humbleness, and for the right people to be aligned with your purpose. 

How can we find you to give our support? What’s your website and social media info?

Facebook, Meetup, IG, and TikTok are our social media platforms! Alternatively, you can search for Black Women Who Kayak+, and you will find us. Furthermore, we have a website at www.blackwomenwhokayak.com.

Currently, our aim is to target women and their children of all social backgrounds, not men. However, we do have events that encourage women to bring their significant others and additional families. Everyone can still keep up with our progress by liking our Facebook Business page, website, or following us on Instagram. 

 

 

 

Thank you, Tanya, for taking the time to do this interview! Everyone, please make sure to check out the BWWK+ website and social accounts to find a chapter near you.

10 Questions with Aden’s Cookie Factory

Each February, I like to gather several diverse Black business owners to interview and learn about their journey, as well as help others discover their products and services.

My first interview this month is with Aden, the 13 year old owner and baker of Aden’s Cookie Factory, in Little Rock, AR. I asked him a few questions, like what motivated him to start and what keeps him going. Keep reading to see this rising star’s answers.

 

 

How long have you been selling cookies, and do you make them by yourself?

This is my first year selling cookies. I have always helped my mom bake. I started making cookies for my family and they were so good, I decided to sell them. I make all my cookies by myself from scratch.

 

What’s your favorite part about having your own business?

My favorite part about having my own business is tasting each batch of cookies and being able to save money for my future.

 

 

Is anything hard about your new business?

The hardest part about my cookie business is getting the recipe right to have a delicious cookie each time.

 

How do you keep yourself motivated?

My future keeps me motivated. Thinking about building now for the future keeps me going. My mom taught me that what I do today impacts my tomorrow. I hope that what I am doing will have a positive impact on my future.

 

 

Did anyone inspire you to start?

My mom inspired me to start my own business. She started a business. So I had a chance to see what it is like. I thought I was too young to have a business, but it doesn’t matter how old you are.

 

How can we help you grow your business?

You can help by spreading the word about Aden’s Cookie Factory.

 

 

Do you have any announcements or good news you’d like to share?

No announcements at this time.

 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give another young person starting the business owner/entrepreneurial journey?

Don’t be scared, just do it. If you have a dream, go for it. Set a goal, make a plan, and start!

 

 

Do you have a website or social media account where we can follow and support you?

I’m on Facebook at Aden’s Cookie Factory and on Instagram at adenscookiefactory.

 

 

Thank you so much Aden for taking the time to do this interview with me. You’re so intelligent and talented! You’ll definitely go as far as you desire with your business. 

For those looking to support Aden’s Cookie Factory, he currently sells half dozen cookies for $14 and one dozen cookies for $28 in the Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Pine Bluff areas in Arkansas. He doesn’t currently offer shipping, but be on the lookout for that in the future.

 

 

Ask a Local: Things to Do in New York City

 

William and I are visiting New York for the first time and want to squeeze in as many activities as possible during our trip. I was searching must see attractions, restaurants, you name it. Then I thought why not ask someone who actually lives there?? So, I did just that.

I asked my friend Joyce of JoyofMyLife a few questions about things to do in New York City and thought I’d share her answers with you.

 

 

 

Joyce is a content creator from New York. Her YouTube channel, JoyofMyLife, started as a fun way to make videos but has now become a platform where she ultimately wants to empower  her audience to embrace what makes them unique!

As a Black woman working in the tech industry by day, Joyce strives to show on JoyofMyLife that developers or coders don’t have to fit the typical stereotype and can still be successful while having outside interests like fashion and beauty!

What food spots do you recommend (restaurants, stands, etc.)?

Some places off the top of my head include Il Cortile in Little Italy, Industry Kitchen in South Street Seaport, Tacombi in the Financial District, The Cabin NYC in Alphabet City, and BLVD Bistro in Harlem, but there’s so many different types of food in New York that I don’t think you’ll get bored.

What’s  your favorite side of town or borough?

Hmm, that’s a good question. if I had to pick one, I would say the areas surrounding Union Square – West Village, Chelsea, and Flatiron District..

What’s something tourists think about New York that isn’t true?

Hailing a taxi is not as glamorous as it is in the movies. I can’t remember the last time I was in an actual taxi; I always use the subway or walk if it’s close enough.

 

 

Do you have any touristy guilty pleasures? If so, what?

When I was in high school, I went on a class trip to the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center). It was such a beautiful view, and I have been meaning to go again. So yeah, basically any type of place with a nice skyline view. The Edge is next on my list of touristy things to do. lol 

Is there a #1 must see attraction that you recommend to visitors?

I always say the High Line since it’s more of a leisurely attraction, and you can visit it on a day where you’re not as jam packed with activities. You can decide if you want to walk the entire length or just part of it, and you are also able to see some nice views of the city and the Hudson River.

The South Street Seaport is nice too, with views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

 

Is New York Pizza really that good?

YES! I haven’t found any pizza that is better than New York’s.

What local businesses do you suggest for us to support?

Gooey on the Inside! Such good cookies! 

 

 

I want to thank Joyce for her amazing answers. They definitely added more to our “things to do” list! It was very refreshing to get a local’s point of view instead of reading other tourists tell about their trips and experiences.

I plan to get a local’s suggestions whenever we visit somewhere new from now on. Also, be sure to check out Joyce’s social media outlets. She’s the best! Her links are below.

 

JoyofMyLife

Email: contact@joyofmylife.com

YouTube: YouTube.com/JoyofMyLife

Instagram: Instagram.com/ItsJoyofMyLife