2 Weeks in San Diego: New Photo Shoot, Wine Country and Love on the Road


Last month when I was in San Diego, I scheduled a photo shoot with the amazing Stacey Canfield!

I spent a couple hours in her studio and came away with brand new images that reflect my evolving Happy Black Woman brand, focused on helping women all over the world create lives of happiness, success and freedom through personal development and entrepreneurship.

Here are some of my favorites!


I brought in my actual carry-on bag of choice – the black Tumi Super Leger (from their Voyageur line) to use as a prop! It was so fitting for my brand, because along with my passport, these are the basic tools of my life as a minimalist traveler.


And I couldn’t forget my black Tumi Calais backpack that serves as my “mobile office” – where I store my laptop, wallet, Moleskine notebooks and everything else I use to run my online business!

Not surprisingly, one of the most frequent questions I get about my location-independent lifestyle is:

How do you date when you’re always on the road?

My short answer is:

I love men. I love to date. And I love dating men while I’m on the road!

Here’s a sneak peek into what that looks like for me…

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Do You Need Your Family and Friends to Support Your Dreams? (The Answer Might Surprise You)


“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” – Alice Walker

When I initially made the decision to quit my full-time job back in 2009, the first person I told was my mom. I could tell that she wasn’t 100% sold on the idea, but eventually she came around. “You can always go back,” she said.

When I told my grandmother, however, I received a more panicked reaction. All of a sudden, my typically supportive Grama turned into a shrewd news reporter. She immediately launched into this “who? what? when? where? how?” spiel, followed by a few worst-case scenarios. I think I finally ended the conversation with, “don’t worry Grama, I know what I’m doing.”

In reality, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was scared and anxious and all I wanted to hear was that everything was going to work out and I wouldn’t end up homeless on the streets of DC.

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The Best Way to Waste Your Life


In February of 2006, I probably listened to Anthony Hamilton’s “Can’t Let Go” more than a thousand times. That was the month my fiance and I split.

I knew it was the right decision, but that didn’t stop my heart from breaking in two every time that song came on. For some reason, I couldn’t stop replaying our entire relationship in my mind. It was a mental movie on repeat with two actors who love each other, but just can’t figure out how to make it work. I kept thinking: we were supposed to have our honeymoon in Bora Bora.

For the next year, I swore off any “serious” dating. I told myself I needed time to mourn, but mostly all I did was go to work, come home, cook one of his favorite meals to eat for dinner, then drink wine until I fell asleep in my clothes.

Then one day, I suddenly remembered something really important.

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How to Bounce Back From a Painful Breakup (and Become Happier in the Process)

Joy comes in the morning

This is a guest post by LaDonna Green, a communication and relationship coach. Please welcome LaDonna to the HBW Community!

I’ve always been that person everyone bounces ideas off of. The advisor, the editor and often the shoulder to cry on. At times, my shoulders have been drenched from the tears of the burdens of others. Other times, I have been there to share in their moments of elation and success. I have accepted my intuitive, empathetic nature, as well as the phone calls and conversations that go along with being a trusted confidant. Most of the conversations deal with love and relationships so I have had my fair share of pep-talks and advice sessions with friends and family experiencing difficulties with love.

Yet, a few years ago when I separated from my husband (now ex-husband), I found myself in a quagmire of being the advice-giver needing advice. My head was spinning! I had so many doubts and questions. My emotions ran the gamut, from sadness to anger to despair and back to anger again! Out of all the questions I had, the one that resonated most was:

“Now, what am I supposed to do?”

If you have ever experienced a breakup, I’m sure you can relate. Breakups are never easy, but there IS life and love afterwards. I won’t profess that I have found the “holy grail” of how to deal with breakups. But what I can say is that a breakup is an opportunity for you to experience  breakthroughs! You can do this through what I call the the “Triple A” process: Acknowledge, Accept, Advance.


Acknowledgement of the end of a relationship sound like a no brainer, right? If your partner came to you (or you to them) and said it’s over, then it’s over! How could someone not acknowledge that? In some cases though, it’s not that simple. As individuals, our perspectives change when we couple up; during that time our individual experiences and desires continue to evolve. In some instances, the evolution draws us away from our partner. At the end of the relationship, you may not have a clear understanding of the how, when, why, and where the shift happened. That’s OK! The important thing is to acknowledge the end. You can’t move forward without acknowledging that the relationship is officially over.


It’s over. You could now be living in separate parts of the house or one of you may have moved out. Whether you’ve unfriended and blocked them on Facebook or vowed to maintain civil communication with your ex; it’s over. Acceptance is a conduit for change. Playing the shoulda, woulda, coulda game with your relationship is counterproductive to acceptance and can breed doubt. Doubt can quench motivation and in turn, interrupt constructive thought processes. But when you accept that you are now no longer a part of a couple, you must focus on self. For some, this is the hardest aspect of the “Triple A” process. Once your partner is gone, there are no more distractions, no more pointing out the wrongs of the other person. During this stage, it’s important to minimize distractions (like going to get a new puppy, another car, or a new relationship). Instead, consider seeking a local support group, counseling session or therapy to navigate through dealing with your loss. Although I had already had a therapist prior to my breakup, my therapist was a tremendous help through my divorce. She assisted me in finding the tools that I needed for the next step in the process.


Advance means to move forward. Identifying and evolving self is important in advancing your life. Here are some ideas for how to do this:

  1. Take this time after your breakup to advance through education, networking and building relationships within your community. Go back to school to finish that degree or get a certification that you have been putting off. Join a local community group or volunteer organization. I started volunteering at a domestic violence shelter and it changed my life! After that experience, I changed my college major and hope to one day open my own nonprofit rehabilitation center for survivors of domestic violence. Volunteering is what opened eyes to a devastating social issue and birthed my talent to help others in need.
  2. Explore your spirituality. Take that mission trip that you have always wanted to take. Practice daily meditation and prayer. Heck, I don’t care if you sit on the beach to watch the sunset rise and marvel at the wonders of the universe. Just make sure you find the connection between spirit, being and self to continue your journey to self-actualization.
  3. Practice holistic living. Exercise, eat well, remove stress and get adequate rest. Eliminate everything in excess: food, wine, negativity, social media, and anything else that you can think of that has the ability to stop you from reaching your maximum potential.

The key is to get in the habit of finding value in yourself and the activities that you participate in. Loving self is the door to reciprocated love from others, when that time comes. But right now, your job is to focus on you!

I have experienced love four times in my life. Each of my partners offered me something special that forged the bonds of love between us. During these relationships, I experienced memorable moments that will last a lifetime. Some moments were filled with tears and some with laughter. The gaining and then subsequent loss of their love, helped me reach a level of self-love that I will forever be thankful to them for. Their gifts of introspection at different stages in my life have helped me acknowledge, accept and advance to the place where I am now. And today, I am happier, healthier and more determined than ever to continue on the journey of becoming the best me that I can be!

What strategies have you used to bounce back from a painful breakup? Which aspect of the “Triple A” process resonates with you the most?


LGreen CULaDonna Green is a communication and relationship coach based in Orlando, Florida. After working for years in a corporate setting as an analyst, facilitator and coach, LaDonna has balanced her passion of helping others with her talent to teach others to maximize their full potential. Learn more about LaDonna’s work on her website, Communication for Life.

16 Important Truths About Forgiveness

Like many of you, I’ve had my share of bad experiences over the course of my short life. I’ve dealt with lies, abuse, rejection and family dysfunction. I’ve gone through painful breakups and the death of loved ones, discovering that those events often bring out the worst in people (including me).

Along the way though, I’ve also learned how important it is to forgive. And I used to be the best grudge-holder you’ve ever met. I could give friends and family the “silent treatment” for weeks. I could be so cold when I wanted to be, just to “punish” someone for treating me badly. I was vehemently opposed to forgiving anyone who dared hurt me.

Until I realized that holding on to all that resentment was doing me more harm than the people who did me wrong. 

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No One Can Make You Happy

“There is only one person who could ever make you happy, and that person is you.”

– David Burns

This is a common complaint in romantic relationships: “He doesn’t make me happy.”

Well, of course he doesn’t. Because he can’t.

No one can “make” you happy.

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How to Make Time for the People Who Really Matter

I haven’t really been working this week. Instead of being hunched over my laptop, I’ve been doing a lot of other things that make me happy. Like visiting my grandmother in Ohio for her 64th birthday. Yes, she’s a young Grama LOL! Me and mom flew out to celebrate our favorite girl and it was a lovely trip. In my first proud travel hacking moment, I was able to find a last minute roundtrip flight on United for only $160 from DC to Cleveland! *dusts shoulders off*

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Go After What You Really Want

Parisian Love Lock

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.” – Steven Pressfield

For most of us, there seems to be this huge gap between the life we live and the life we really want.

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10 Reminders to Be More Compassionate

When you're ready...

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. – Plato

My personal mantra for 2012 is: “do everything in love.” One of the practices that goes along with that statement, for me, is compassion. The root of the word compassion means to suffer together with. How this virtue plays out in my daily life now is that whenever I feel myself getting annoyed or angry or judgmental, I do my best to ground myself in empathy for the other person. In this way, I am able to bypass a lot of negative, unloving feelings. It’s been a long time, actually, since I was really and truly angry at someone.

These are some of the reminders I use for myself to be more compassionate in my daily life. Perhaps they will prove useful to you as well.

  1. Remember that everyone you encounter today has been through or is going through something. Treat them accordingly.
  2. We all have feelings and needs. We all have trouble communicating them clearly. That’s just how it is. Listen to people and try to hear what’s not being said.
  3. Forgiveness is the ultimate form of love. Let disagreements and grudges go as soon as possible. The longer you let them fester, the longer it takes to get back to love.
  4. Always smile at the cashier in a long line. Assume that she’s doing her best under the circumstances. Give her a break. Same goes for restaurant workers and all other service professionals.
  5. Everyone wants to love and be loved. Let people love you without questioning their motives.
  6. Stop making people “earn” your kindness. Be kind because you want to, not as a reward for the other person being kind to you first.
  7. Don’t let one negative experience (or five) with a stranger, friend or lover keep you from being the loving person you really want to be.
  8. Begin to see every human encounter you have as an opportunity to learn how to become a more loving person.
  9. Instead of asking what you can get from others, ask yourself: What is the best part of myself I can give in this moment? How can I offer to help another person today?
  10. Say “thank you.” Say “I love you.” Say “I’m sorry.” Repeat often.
How are you practicing compassion in your own life?