California Dreamin’

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While preparing for a phone interview with Bay Area singer Estelle California, I was worried about us being able to communicate.

With her French and my thick Tennessee accent I thought we might need a translator.

But we understood each other. In so many ways.

Growing up in a racist environment as a child, she knew from an early age the things she was hearing were wrong.

She developed a fondness for the Africans that lived in France and was heartbroken by their plight.

She explained to me when she was growing up, females were to be ‘seen not heard’. But she often voiced her concerns about racism.

She also discovered her gift of music at an early age. Her talent led her to training as a classical pianist.

She later discovered the saxophone. Perhaps it’s soulful cry echoed the pain she feels inside for those suffering from the hate and racism in the world.

It wasn’t until she was in her mid-twenties someone commented that she speaks with ‘a singing voice’.

She wants her music to bring light to the dark world. For people to come together and listen. And not care about the race of the person listening next to them. To let their hearts sing along. And for a brief moment, everyone feels Love.

I asked her to send me some pictures that bring her joy.

After speaking with this fellow ‘old soul’ I can understand what she sees in these three.

Freedom. Pride. Joy. Beauty.

Much like her idol, Nina Simone, Estelle Speaks out for those who have lost their voice to oppression. She uses her voice in many ways.

She’s unapologetically determined fight racism. Bigotry and hatred are learned behaviors. No one is born believing they are above anyone else.

Her young daughter sings her songs, and loves everyone, because that’s the behavior SHE was taught.

Fresh from her hit single ‘Star’ from her EP ‘My Name is Freedom’ the artist is working on more projects. It’s not about the money and fame for her, it’s about spreading the light.

“If you don’t work hard to keep your essence, then you will lose it all.”

Estelle took the last name ‘California’ after the state where she finally found herself.

She was ‘Reborn’ there. She belongs to No Man. She belongs to California. And will keep her dream of equality alive.

https://smarturl.it/StarEC

Lootswaay Fest 2019

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Collaboration over competition. These are three words I live by. And I only surround myself with like minded people.

Robert ‘Reasons’ Brown is one of those people. We were actually introduced by another such person, Rapper IV Montana.

The three of us are constantly hustling to make a name for ourselves. But none of us want to make it to the top alone.

This is the premise for Lootswaay Fest 2019.

Named after his clothing line, Lootswaay, Robert practiced what he preaches.

He put together an event for fellow musicians to showcase their talents. And he asked me to come along.

I got to speak to a few of them before they went on stage. I asked about their journey. I asked about their ups and downs. And their favorite moments in their careers so far.

One young man name Kiiba told me he is the best rapper around.

I was intrigued. Trying to see the fine line between confidence and arrogance.

As he left the stage I shook his hand. “You most certainly proved yourself” I told him.

His range. His ability to freestyle. And to change gears so quickly. His confidence was validated.

Another young man, Leo, didn’t exude confidence. He was quitter than most musicians I’ve talked to before. And I pretty much had to pull details of his quite impressive career out of him.

He hit the stage and immediately transported me back in time to the old school R&B I grew up hearing.

The body of a young man held the soul and voice of an old soul.

When Jeronica picked up the mic I turned to IV Montana and said “Her voice needs to meet your voice and I need to hear it!”

He was thinking the same thing. I’m excited for the upcoming collab between these two.

Collaboration over competition. That’s what it’s all about.

IV Montana showed up, not to perform. Not to be seen. But to support his friend.

I’ve written about these guys and I’ll link those blogs below so you can see how amazing they both are.

Instead of stepping over people and forgetting those that helped to rise to the top, these two pull the rest of us along with them.

Collaboration…it’s the only way. It’s Lootswaay.

https://designerdivamedianc.com/2019/02/10/rhyme-or-reason/

https://designerdivamedianc.com/2018/01/18/mountains-dont-move-themselves/

Well now…

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When I really don’t know what to say and need a moment to process my thoughts I tend to say ‘well now’.

Mental Health is one of those things people don’t know how to talk about. Especially men.

Men are taught to hide their feelings. To be strong. Not to show weakness. And never ever cry.

This leads to suffering in silence. Because men cannot show weakness.

Or can they?

I recently attended ‘Barbershop Talk’ at West Charlotte High School. It was hosted by Derrick ‘Fly Ty’ Jacobs and was organized by Novant Health and The National African American Male Wellness Walk Initiative.

Medical professionals were set up giving information about physical health.

‘Know your Numbers’! Blood pressure, weight, blood sugar etc. are often overlooked by men. Ignorance is bliss. ‘Not knowing there’s a problem means there isn’t a problem’ is a dangerous mindset.

Mental Health professionals made up the panel. They addressed many issues.

Mental and physical health. Sex and relationships. Nothing was off limits.

Mental wellness looks different in everyone. Some push through and pray through it.

Some need more. And it’s ok. God put professionals on earth. He gave them the knowledge to help.

So many suffer in silence. But that thought process needs to be changed.

Check your thoughts. What causes you to lash out when the women in your lives express concern? How do you get over that fear of not being 100 percent well?

Communication and transparency is key. Define your intimacy and create your love language. You have to teach someone HOW to love you.

And this is where the ladies in the audience came in. We were split up into groups and participated in workshops.

I know this sounds outdated and may get some flack from The Women’s Liberation movement, but ladies, we have to take care of our men!!!

How do we get them to communicate? Adapt healthy eating habits? Have a healthy disagreement?

Men have a built in defense mechanism. If you come at him yelling he’s going to come back even louder.

Learn to change how you approach him.

First identify any red flags. You know your man. You know when something is off.

Second, you have to choose when to approach him about it. One woman said she chooses early morning over coffee to talk to her husband. Another chooses the car ride to school to talk to her teenage son. (Yes we need to apply this to all men in our lives. Fathers, husbands, sons or friends)

Third is how we approach them. We learned to try the method of 5 positives and 1 negative.

Lay the problem on the table. Drive home the positives. And explain how the negative impacts those positives.

We create the rules in our relationship.

Have a dialogue not a monologue.

Queens, take care of your Kings!

https://www.aawalk.org/

https://www.novanthealth.org/

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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‘To love and to be loved is the greatest gift of all.’

We’ve all heard this quote before. But one young author I recently interviewed questions what do we do with the love we receive.

In her book ‘Be You Beloved’ Miranda Trudeau documents her journey.

Her journey is not only about receiving love from God, but also loving herself. And how the two are entwined.

When her Publicist contacted me about writing a blog about her I knew I really didn’t have the time to do it. But heard myself saying “Ok, Set it up.”

That didn’t come from within me. That was God’s way of placing someone in my life that He knew I needed to meet.

It began as a dreaded phone interview. I really dislike this way of getting to know my subject.

But within five minutes we were bonded. Finishing each other’s sentences. And telling very similar stories.

Both of us were raised in families following the same religion. And experienced the same confusion. Asked the same questions. And felt the same shame for being unsure of Gods love for us.

We both took Religion in college to try and gain insight into our frustrations. And neither of us got the answers we needed.

Visiting different churches and finally finding our niche, we both finally could start accepting Gods love.

Now that we have graciously received His love we have to learn to love ourselves.

If He loves us then we must be worthy of our own love right?

Self love is the most difficult form of love to me. And to hear someone experience the same fears, curiosity, doubt and even shame has given my own journey Validation.

At the end of each chapter are questions. How God spoke to you in the chapter. What are some things that happened to you to make you feel certain ways. This interactive addition lets you see God’s fingerprint on certain events in your life.

One thing I noticed when reading this book was the progression of the photos scattered throughout.

As you can see, one of the first photos is clouded. And you can barely see her face.

As you make your way through each section you get a clearer look.

By the end of the book as she finds herself, we also find her.

And reading through our answers at the end of each chapter, we can now see ourselves.

So what’s love got to do with it?

Everything!

Be You Beloved is the greatest gift of all.

https://www.mirandatrudeau.com/hello

https://www.tsunamigroupinc.com/

Random Acts of Glamour

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I met designer Nelli Levental recently at a Charlotte Seen Model call.

After models are approved for the show they’re led into a room with the designers.

Each designer then picks which models they want to show their designs on the runway.

I was struck by the intricate neck piece she was wearing.

The bits of twisted metal molded into an owl looked incredible on her.

So I set up an interview to find out more about this wearable art.

She conducted a psychological experiment.

With a background in art, Nelli decided to use her gift to help women feel better about themselves.

She watched women’s demeanor change. As they picked up a piece and placed it on themselves, they immediately brightened up.

They stood a little taller. Smiled with confidence. And felt Glamorous.

Her pieces make women look at themselves differently.

They make you feel regal. But they’re not made from the finest gold and gemstones on earth.

In fact they’re mostly made of recycled, everyday items.

Felt and packing paper mixed with epoxy and varnish brings her imagination to life.

From left over bits and bobs, Nelli creates a fairy land effect.

Fashion is more than clothing and accessories. It’s a feeling. A confidence. A touch of Random Glam.

https://nellilevental.com/

https://charlotteseen.com/

The New Super Bowl

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It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s SUPERFOOD!!!!

Saturday, Frutta Bowls Indian Trail launched their new base made from Graviola.

Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either. So I did some Googling.

Also called the Soursop Fruit it’s quite…well, ugly.

Don’t let the ‘not so cute’ outside throw you. It’s actually delicious. With a citrus/coconut/banana taste it makes for the perfect base for bowls and smoothies.

This tropical fruit has many health benefits.

Chocked full of vitamins and antioxidants, it makes eating healthy easy.

The new bowl base is Graviola. Topped with fruit and sprinkled with coconut. Yummy!!!

And the smoothie!!! What a beauty!!! The ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan!! The Pitaya drizzle makes this drink is a real cutie!!!

With each sip, a different flavor emerges.

Influencers, forget the colorful, overpriced coffee drinks with all those artificial flavors and flood your pages with Instagram worthy pics of this healthy drink!!!

Superfood…rescuing you from boring unhealthy food!!!!

https://fruttabowls.revelup.com/weborder/?establishment=13#landing

Haute Dogs In the City: From Rescue to Runway

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My blogging career has gone to the dogs. Literally.

Charlotte Seen let the fur fly today during Haute Dogs In the City.

Our furry friends hit the runway dressed in the finest Doggie Couture.

There were Dapper Dudes.

And Supermodels sporting pink.

There were Divas. This one was giving me a run for my money.

Some were just ready for a nap.

This one proudly showed off her bikini and coordinating sunglasses.

Doggie Couture was available for the shopaholic doggies.

There was ‘Pup Corn’.

And ‘Haute Dogs’.

With ‘Paw-Tato’ Chips.

There were giveaways from our sponsor New South Insurance.

And we were safe with Skye from Paw Patrol on duty.

There was music and dancing.

Most importantly we got to hear these furry models stories.

Many were rescued. Some were service animals. And some were longtime family pets.

We heard stories of one dog predicting the changes in its owners blood sugar. And the emotional support one gave it’s cancer survivor owner.

We learned that North Carolina has one of the highest numbers of euthanized animals.

And the importance of Pet Adoption.

Spread the news! Make sure your pets are spayed and neutered. Foster and adopt.

We all have to do more for mans best friend.