Picture Time

I spent some time taking pictures yesterday to put on my new website. Immediately afterwards I came home and starting throwing up. And throwing up.

Yeah. My son passed on his sickness to me. Yuck…


I’m off to the bathroom again..

Take a peek at a few of the pictures taken by my friend Marsha and my sister BEFORE the sickness took over.

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Kanye stopped by Miami beach for a quick picture with your girl…

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I sold another story idea today. Whew!


I needed that. You know what’s funny? The ideas that actually SELL seem to be the most simple life observation stories. I won’t tell you the storyline in advance but I guarantee that many of you will be able to identify with it. I don’t get paid in advance and while I’m on the topic, I haven’t actually gotten PAID for the first story yet but I know it’s coming eventually.

So let me get back to my research.

Oh, things are going fine at work. I’m finally back to work and I was so busy today. I love being busy. I came up with three slogans for billboards and wrote copy for 3 press releases, closed out one project and opened another.

This job is kinda cool. I especially love working with the designers. I’m creative but not in a visual sense, so interacting with them inspires me in a different way. I admire people who are gifted in ways that I’m not. There’s a lot to learn in this company. Hopefully I can learn as much as I can before things get too crazy. I’m serious ya’ll. I’m still kinda nervous about my job. You know no job ever works out for me and that bothers me a little.

I end up getting on some people’s nerves somehow. LOL! It’s either my cheerful attitude or my eagerness to learn and do everything fast! I guess it can be annoying if someone comes along always asking questions and wanting to know about everything and they are always giving suggestions on how things could be improved and painting visions of a better company and a LARGER income level for everyone.

LOL! Yeah, that’s me all day! ~shakes head~

Some people are content just doing their job and here I come with these grand visions and suggestions and excitement constantly talking about PURPOSE and VISION and PERSISTENCE.

Lord, when am I gonna be in a place where having those qualities is a benefit and welcomed instead of laughed at and mocked?


In the meantime. I’m still hustling my writing skills and trying to keep my boys fed and happy.

And you know what? I am truly happy right now.

This is so wild!

Blank Pages

Did you know that press releases have a specific formula that they follow?

I found that out today when my company prez called me in and cussed me out for not following it. Yikes! LOL!

I didn’t care. I crave direction. I have an obedient heart. Just tell me how to fix it and I will. I only have a problem with people who have expectations of me and won’t clarify what they are. I’m no mind reader.

At the end of the day, a new team was formed to work with a national client. I thought it was a bit weird that there were 5 graphic designers, our communications VP and me. I’ll be writing all of the copy (words) for all of their marketing material, radio & tv spots, etc.

Five designers and me.

So we all sat down to look at our work timeline and get started on our first projects. The first task, a new logo and mail-out materials for the major conference being held in June. Our company president takes out two pieces of paper that are cut it in half and stapled together like a mini booklet. She sits it on the table and everyone looks at it.

Then she reads the conference theme to us and they all start throwing out ideas for the logo. I’m sitting there stunned. They are sketching away on their notepads and I’m trying to keep up with the visualization but I can’t.

These people look at a BLANK piece of paper and they can SEE something! That’s genius to me!

They come up with a visual concept in their minds, then they draw it on paper. Then they create it somehow on the computer and finally they produce it in a tangible form. Sometimes 3 dimensional products.

It starts with a BLANK PIECE OF PAPER people! Each time I’m amazed. How do they DO THAT?!

I have a new respect for graphic designers and I have MAD respect for the ladies over at The Cute Group for working with me on my new website. They have so much patience cuz I don’t know what I want, I just have a general idea but I’m also a perfectionist so if it isn’t JUST right I won’t let it slide. So pray for us as we work together putting together the main vehicle for the next stage in my career.

Ya’ll not gonna believe this but I sold another idea today. LOL! When it rains, it pours huh? Yeah. This particular editor had my pitches for over a month and never got back to me. She contacts me TODAY telling me that she’d like me to turn in one of my stories by this Friday at 5pm. ~smirk~

But…you know I like a challenge so off I go to write this piece for a print magazine that covers South Florida!

I have a few more pitches out there, let’s cross our fingers that they get approved!

Shake it Mama!

Twirk it! Twirk it!

Pop that thang!

Made For Me

I got another letter from my pen pal. He’s my cousin who is in prison. I still write him because I know I would want someone to think of me if I ever ended up there. It’s hard to write though because I don’t really know what to say. I can’t ask him how he’s doing. I can’t say I’ll see you soon. So I just print out a couple of my blog posts, sometimes I tear pictures of pretty women out of magazines and I send him those.

He sent me this picture that he had someone draw for me. I have a feeling that there is a lot of wasted talent in prison.

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Ya’ll Don’t Know My Struggle,
Ya’ll Don’t Know MY Hustle

There’s a process to my side hustle that is very particular.

As a freelance writer you aren’t usually handed assignments and paychecks. No, no, no! It’s like this.

The first thing you have to do is develop a relationship with the publication of your choice. You can do this by emailing the freelance editor and introducing yourself or calling and asking for the Freelance Submission Guidelines. Also ask for a list of themes and deadlines for article submission.

The BEST way to break into the hearts of an editor is to call with a GREAT story idea that she can’t refuse. This is how I got through to the Miami Herald.

“Hi.I have a story idea that I’d like to share.”

“Really? What’s it about?”

“There’s a club right here in Miami that you can take your kids to! It’s amazing and clean and fun for the whole family! It’s really a place that you can relax and watch the kids have a great time while you do too!”

“Wow, what a great idea. Tell me a little more. Where is it?”

“It’s on 36th and NW 27th avenue. It’s called XYZ!”

“Thanks for the tip!”

“Excuse me! That wasn’t a tip. I’d like to write the story.”


“What writing experience do you have?”

“I graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and I have experience in print and online magazines. I’m passionate and I love to write!”

“Hmmm… Do you have writing samples?”

“I sure do!”

“Well, go ahead and email me a few samples. We’re always looking for good freelance writers. There are plenty of freelancers out there, but we only want the GOOD ones.”

“Thanks so much. I’ll get those to you as soon as possible.”

I had my writing samples in her inbox within two hours.

Two days later I called her back and she asked me to call her back the following day. I followed instructions and she said, “Ok, we’ll give you a try. I’ll give you a month to do it and make it 700 words. Fill out a request for a photographer and get some good shots and we’ll see how it turns out.”

I screamed in her ear because I was soooo excited!

LOL! Yeah, I acted like a rookie. ~smile~

And I went out and WROTE THE HELL OUTTA THAT STORY! I had a great time writing it. It only took me a few hours. I never turn in a story that I am not salivating over. When i get done writing, I usually stand back and say, “DAMN! THAT WAS GOOD!” If I don’t have that feeling, I won’t turn it in.

But she didn’t publish it for weeks and weeks but when she did, I knew that I must have some kind of skills because the MIAMI HERALD published my story with very little, if any editing.


And every week I try to send her at least 3 ideas. This is called pitching stories. I’m getting better at understanding what she is looking for and I’m sure over time she’ll accept most of my proposals.

I never write a story unless an editor has given it the green light. Sometimes after I write it, they don’t like the direction I went and won’t publish it. This has actually happened to me twice in the past but never again!

And I repeat the same process with other online and print magazines. My specialty is FEATURE stories. The stories about people and their lives.

I love my side hustle.

How successful I am depends on how hungry I am. And ladies and gentlemen you KNOW I need a housekeeper so I gotta keep it shakin!

Check out this article on the Bittervibes blog about freelancing. It was a great read and confirmed that I’m headed down the right path and doing things the right way.

Sickness and Closed Doors

During the early morning hours I woke up to a familiar movement at the foot of my bed. I didn’t even open my eyes I just waited until I felt a soft body press against my side. But this time the body felt warmer than usual. The entire length of the body was HOT and I sprang up immediately, eyes still half closed and walked to the bathroom. I opened the cabinet and found the thermometer then I walked back to my bed to see which child was running a fever.

My eyes adjusted to the darkness and I saw that it was my 5 year old son. “Are you okay?” I asked him.
“Yes I am.”
“Well, you’re very hot right now. Let me take your temperature.”

A minute later I give him some tylenol and we both go to sleep.

In the morning my hand finds his forehead and I can tell his fever has not broken. He says he’s fine but I’m getting worried. For some reason I’m thinking, “Am I doing something wrong as a mother? Why do my sons keep getting sick?”

I don’t get it. It seems like they are sick often because there are two of them. I have to realize that there’s nothing I can do to prevent some sicknesses but I constantly blame myself for anything that goes wrong.

He’s in the bed now resting. His fever still hasn’t broken and I’m nervous. I called the doctor and he said to medicate the fever and watch for other symptoms and to bring him in on Monday morning if he’s not better.

The Cute Group, not so cute
Review of The Cute Group Design Team

To add insult to injury I got an early morning email from the designers I have been working with on my site. I’m reading it as I watch my son’s temperature get higher.

I have decided that I am thoroughly dissatisfied with their services and we have dissolved our relationship. It kinda got me down for a minute. I don’t have much money and dumping my money into this project was a big investment for me. They didn’t refund all of my money saying that they would keep a portion for services rendered. Huh? I asked for a web site design and hosting. I did not get that.

I do not recommend working with The Cute Group unless you are going in with a completed design idea and a wealth of knowledge about the web design business. Those of us who know nothing about the process will get lost in their impersonal back and forth communication style.

My suggestions for the company:
1) Develop a contract for new clients detailing packages that you offer or a list of services and their prices BEFORE you accept their money. It wastes time to begin and then realize that what you are actually offering for the price quoted does not meet the needs of the client.

2) Make a work plan. This outlines what will be done in what time frame and also lets the client know what they need to do to make the process easier. Ex: Day 1- Theme: Client will provide ideas for a theme and colors any photos and an outline of the pages they wish to have included. Designer will present two drafts of design to choose from.

3) Assign each client ONE designer as the main communicator for the project. Others may contribute behind the scenes but when multiple people are interjecting their thoughts, communication styles to a client via e-mail, there is much room for a misunderstanding in tone and intention.

4) Introduce yourself by telephone and introduce the other members of your staff that may contact the client. I would receive emails from people I had never heard of and it made me feel like my project was being thrown around between them.

5) If the client is not satisified with the design or services NEVER try to blame the client for the experience. I was told, “But you didnt (ask), so we were sure that you, just as others that we deal with, knew what you were getting and more importantly what you were wanting.” Don’t assume, make life easy for both client and service provider by explaining even the most simple details. Or ask, “May I explain the process to you before we begin?” I knew exactly what I wanted on each page, but as far as design, I hired the group to do that. Show me what you can do and let me give feedback.

My concern during this process was that I have no experience in design. They asked for ideas and I gave them to them. Two ideas to be exact but they were completely different. I asked them to do drafts of the two so that I could choose and I was told that mockups take too much time. They asked for pictures. I told them that I would take some. When I gave them the pictures they asked me if I had any with plain backgrounds. I was annoyed. If you wanted pictures with plain backgrounds you could have told me and that is what I would have done.

This company assumes that the client will know just what to do and what they are getting without the aid of any written documents. I told them upfront that I did not know a thing about any of this or the program that they were going to use to design it. I suggested that they draft a contract so that I could see what I’m getting. No response on this suggestion.

When I worked with Courtney, she was a gem. We actually got a design that I was falling in love with. She even went the extra mile of adding me to her IM so that we could chat while she designed. I loved that! But another person, whose title and position still remains unclear to me, named JR was often curt and asked me if I wanted to consider working with someone else as if he was annoyed by my questions.

All in all I am sad that I had to pay them $100 (the portion of the money that they are not refunding) just to have some email conversations and a bad attitude. I chose this group, because the owner is a blogger in our community and she’s Black and I wanted to support other bloggers in whatever way I can. I realize now that when it comes to business, that wasn’t a very smart move. Business decisions shouldn’t be made on emotions. But I am quite sure that this door is closing with all of it’s limitations because another one with more to offer, will open soon.

New website To Be Announced in the Future!

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful…

I finally got a chance to read the latest issue of Essence.

It had been sitting on my coffee table forever. Blah, blah. I don’t remember reading anything special, except for In The Spirit by Susan Taylor, that was timely and beautiful. I hope one day to have as much of an impact on my readers as she has had on me. Her writing style is soothing and sweet. I write like that too sometimes, it’s my favorite style of writing.

After I was done I closed the magazine and glanced at the back cover. Queen Latifah’s beautiful face stared back at me in a Cover Girl ad announcing her new line of Cover Girl products; Cover Girl Queen.

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Wow. I couldn’t stop staring at this picture.

She is a stunning beauty that has transformed herself into a maintsream money maker. She is respected and is contributing so much to society in terms of bringing self acceptance issues for women to the forefront in the Black community.

She is definately one of the leading Black female role models of today. One of my heart’s desires is to have the same type of impact on women across the globe. My heart is to inspire and change lives through my gift of written and spoken communication.

And…I’ve always dreamt of being a Cover Girl model. When I walk into Walgreens and see Eva or Queen Latifah, I get lost in the fantasy of one day walking in and seeing myself in one of those ads. Lauryn Hill would have been GREAT in those ads too.

I can see myself on a billboard as plain as day. It’s as if it has already happened and I am experiencing deja vu everytime I have that fantasy.


Queen Latifah is definately doing her thing.

Wait up Sister, I’m right behind ya…

Ubiquitous Writer

Last Friday I went to the Black Business Leaders Luncheon held at the Rusty Pelican restaurant. Even though it was Casual Friday, I wore my blue striped shirt with my grey pantsuit and glasses. I was feeling so good that I had my co-workers take a picture of me before I went.

I was so excited to go to this luncheon because I knew that I would be representing my company and possibly meeting most of the Black business leaders in my city.

My company VP and I arrived a bit early and when we walked in everyone was still mingling. I saw my old highschool activities director and went over to say Hi to her and my co-worker disappeared into the crowd to speak to whoever she knew.

I stook there by myself for a minute, put on my best face and looked around. “Ok, whoever is standing by themselves is going to talk to me.” I told myself.

To my left a guy was standing there with a smug expression on his face and his hands in his pocket. I walked over to him and introduced myself. He engaged me in coversation for a while. I teased him about being all alone and he told me that he didn’t really want to come but that his company told him to come so that they could fill up the table they had sponsored. He looked at his watch and shook his head. “UM (University of Miami) is playing right now and I planned to use my lunch break to watch the game, but I’m here instead.”

I laughed at him. He laughed too. “Poor baby,” I told him. I then explained to him how happy I am about my life right now and how exciting my future was. I was in an extremely great mood and all my cheerful banter came tumbling out as we stood side by side in the lobby.

After a momentay pause in conversation, he told me that he was going to find his table and that he hoped we’d keep in touch. He handed me his business card, I dropped it into my bag and walked off to meet the next person standing alone.

OH MY GOSH! I met so many people that day! I met commissioners, judges, doctors, business men and women! I met Mayors and assistants and lawyers too! The great thing about being introduced under my company’s name is the fact that my company president has a STELLAR reputation and being attached to that is great for me!

One judge said to me, “Welcome to the family,” referring to the Miami Business Leaders family. Our former commissioner spoke and she said something to the effect of the future of the city of Miami lies in the hands of our young leaders who are rising up to take the city to a new level. I felt chills when she said that. I knew she meant me.

mental note: Meet her.

Now with all of this networking and card swapping I only had one reservation.

1) I need to get some dental work done BADLY! ughhh! I have horrible teeth! I don’t even feel comfortable having a conversation because my teeth are too through! Everyone has a physical flaw and for me, it’s my teeth. Never had braces, chip toothed, stained, you name it. ~sigh~

My first goal is to get a dental makeover. I once wrote Oprah asking for help but she never got back to me. Oh well, we’ll see.

I got cussed out at work again today.

When I say cussed out, I just mean, corrected. Ofcourse I didn’t mind at all. You know I LOVE correction/direction.


I can’t get one right to save my life! And I’m constantly holding up projects because of it. Today our company prez just said that she didn’t have time to teach me so she would do it herself. I felt kinda bad about it. I have done research on writing press releases and have lots of examples but when I sit down to write it, man, it’s so technical. It’s so structured. It’s definately a challenge for me. I want to master it but I realize that I can’t be great at EVERYTHING so I’ll continue to try my best which is all I can do.

I just wish she’d say, “Hey Tee, you don’t have to do those releases anymore. Go ahead and focus on script writing and feature writing which is what you’re good at .” ~sigh~ But she won’t. I’m going to be a very well rounded writer by the time this is done.

Ahhh… It feels so good to be caught up with my freelance work. I sold an artist bio on Friday! Yay! He liked it a lot. Good! Cuz I didn’t feel like doing it again. I also got a response from a certain Hip Hop magazine I was stalking.

EDITOR: Sorry, your idea is good, but your writing style is not to our taste. We’re looking for someone edgier.

Ahh… That’s okay. Hip Hop writing is wearing me down. I really want to stick to inspirational writing and feature stories. I just figured that I’d try something different and this is way more difficult than I thought it would be due to my extremely limited knowledge of the industry. Hey, you can only write what you know. Others who fake it, don’t make it far.

Now let me go work on my next story….

Whatever it is that is in your heart to do. Don’t wait, do it! You never know what a life change it could be.

My heart ached today.

Another go round at those press releases and they didn’t go well. They were assigned to another writer in the communications department and I was removed from the account. It was one of our more prestigious accounts too. While I’m glad that she trusted me to make me a part of the team, I feel kinda sad that I wasn’t able to come through. I just couldn’t learn in time and everything that I turned in was garbage.

Wow. For the first time in a long time, my writing is not up to par. Crazy! I’ve won awards and gotten so much praise over the years that I thought I was invincible when it comes to my writing. No one has EVER had to tell me to go do something again. Well… I guess there’s a first time for everything.

And this morning as I was trying to put together a listing of all the media in Atlanta I just…got stuck. I couldn’t do it. It’s as if my brain froze up. I kept looking at the diectories but I was so slow at making the database that an hour went by and I only had 5 stations on my list. I couldn’t believe it. For the first time in my life, I’m not working up to par.
I’m not shining. I’m not stunning. And then I realized what the difference is. This type of writing is very routine. It has no substance, no heart, no movement. Creating a huge database is basically data entry and I’m horrible with those type of jobs that I don’t have to think or interpret.

I can do something BIG like come up with an idea for a TV show, research and write the script, make a presentation to pitch the idea and sell my idea, but I can’t do a small routine task that takes no thinking like build a database.

What does that mean?


I went in to speak to my VP about my progress. I could tell she was shocked that I hadn’t gotten farther on my media list. I’m so good at feature stories, slogans and writing copy for brochures, but….

I told her that I really love the company and for the first time I’m connecting with people and I think that maybe some of them may even end up being my friends.

That NEVER happens on any of the jobs I have EVER had. I don’t make friends at work. I try NOT to make friends at work. But without trying I actually like some of them. I want to join them for lunch. I want to accept their invitations to hang out. I never did that at my old job or ANY job for that matter.

I like going there in the morning it’s just…My position. I’m not excelling. I’m not in the right spot. I told my VP all of this and asked her to pray that I will find my place or that God will move me to where He wants me to be. She asked if she could share what is on my heart with our company president and I froze, then I remembered that our company president is a mighty woman of God. She is FIERCE!

I wish you all could meet her, you would LOVE her! Not only is she beautiful she has the grace of a panther and the growl of a lion. She’s as alluring as Aaliyah but as regal as Phylicia Rashad. Being around her makes me want to soak in all the energy she has.

She knows my heart. She knows all I want to do is be an asset to her company. She knows that.

I guess the 3 month probation period is a good idea. It’s the time for you to see if you’re a good fit. It’s been a month for me already.

I trust God.

He has me there for a purpose. I can’t wait to find out what it is.