4 Spiritual Truths I Re-Learned After Having Surgery in Paris

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“Every problem is a gift – without problems we would not grow.” ― Tony Robbins

I’ve been in Paris for over a week now.

But instead of enjoying the sights in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, I’ve been mostly visiting the inside of the Georges Pompidou Hospital.

My plan was to hit the ground running here in the “City of Light” with tours and cooking classes and everything else but instead…

I got hit with a serious nail infection that resulted from a salon manicure I had in Atlanta a few weeks ago. The medical term for the infection is a paronychia and excuse my French, but that shit hurts!

Combine that with the worst jet lag ever and you have a pretty rocky beginning to what was supposed to be a wonderful trip.

It all started with swelling and gradually became worse over the next few days. Of course, my first instinct was to look up my symptoms on the internet and sure enough, it looked and sounded like I had a severe paronychia.

I got an appointment with the nearest “general” doctor, who instructed me to soak my finger in alcohol. That didn’t work AT ALL.

Then, I looked up some home remedies and started soaking my finger in lemon juice and hot water, which helped with the pain but didn’t do anything for the infection that was growing under my skin. I’ll spare you the actual visual but basically, the skin around my nail was starting to look like I had gangrene!

It was time to get myself to the nearest emergency room.

Once I got to the hospital, it took some patience and a divine sense of calm to communicate the care I needed when maybe 1 out of 10 medical personnel spoke any English whatsoever. Using my remedial French and lots of gestures, I finally got in to see a specialist.

The doctor confirmed my biggest fear – the only way to fix the issue was to have surgery on my finger to remove the infection.


The night before surgery, I go to dinner at Le Poincaré, an open air bistro/cafe on the corner near my hotel.

The wind is cool as the sun sets on the city like a blanket.

I order steak and frites and eat slowly, savoring every bite like it’s my last meal.

I relish my glass of vin rouge and fall in love with the restaurant’s famous Nutella & Speculoos tiramisu for dessert.

I sip my espresso, annoyed at the situation that’s messing up my travel plans, but I also notice a strange sense of relief.

It’s the feeling of letting go of my need for control. It’s giving myself permission to slow down and listen to what my body needs right now – rest and healing.

Needless to say, being stuck in a hospital in a foreign country gave me a chance to reflect on some important spiritual reminders.

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How to Spend a Week in Cancun

2014-11-26 10.33.49Back in November, I treated myself to the good life for a week in Mexico!

The first resort I stayed at was Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort. This was an all-inclusive resort, meaning all your meals, cocktails and many amenities are included in the cost of your room – even 24-hour room service!

Sandos Cancun was definitely the kind of place you go to chill ALL the way out for a week-long vacation. In fact, one of my favorite afternoons was spent on the beach just eating, drinking tamarind margaritas and falling asleep to the waves.

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3 Lessons I Learned From Hiring An Image Consultant

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Me and my image consultant Liana at her Beverly Hills studio


I’m in San Diego right now for another few days of learning, networking and FUN with my business mentor and my fellow mastermind members.

I’m enjoying my last week in California before I head back to Hawaii to soak up the sunshine and not have to wear a jacket anymore.

Last night, me and my girl Kristen had a wonderful dinner at Fleming’s Steakhouse in La Jolla and let me tell you…their lobster bisque is off the chain!

Anyway, today I wanted to share a part of my personal development journey for this year.

I’ve been stretching myself in line with my 2015 theme of “fun, love and adventure.”

I’ve been asking myself how I can show up more fully in my life and in my work – for myself and for my tribe of amazing women?

One of my big investments I wanted to make in myself this year was in the area of self-love – to give myself the gift of looking better and feeling better in my body.

Now that I’m in my 30s, my body is beginning to change and I know my personal style is overdue for a change as well.

Not to mention all the events and travel I have to do for my business, which is requiring me to step it up a bit in the clothing department!

So last month, I hired an image consultant.

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How to Write a Love Letter to Your Future Self


“If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.” — Barbara De Angelis

When you look around your life, you have a lot to be grateful for. But you also likely have some areas that you would like to improve.

By now, you probably know that setting goals is a great way to begin the process of creating your ideal life.

But what can you do to lift yourself up as you go through the stages of pursuing those goals?

Well, one of the most creative ways to manifest your big goals is to write them down in the form of a love letter.

No, not to your romantic partner — to yourself.

Here’s an idea.

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6 Powerful Ways to Practice Self-Love


“You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never lose.” – Jo Courdert

This week, I hosted a powerful teleseminar with guest speaker Candace Thoth, a personal transformation consultant, wellness expert and former crisis therapist. Candace shared some useful concepts and exercises to help us practice self-love in our daily lives. If you missed it, you can sign up to get the call recording, plus a special link with all the self-love resources and exercises that Candace shared with us!

Click here to get the call recording

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How to Take a Vacation (Without Feeling Guilty About It)

Happy African American Woman Dancing on Beach One thing I hear a lot from the hard-working women in our community is how difficult it is to take a vacation. Many of us already work long hours at work or in our business, yet for some reason have trouble taking a break! If it’s been years since you’ve given yourself the gift of a proper vacation, read on for some tips to help you step away from the laptop or plot your much-needed escape from the cubicle.

Schedule Time Off from Work Far in Advance

The best way to ensure you take your vacation time is to sit down at the beginning of the year and map out the times you already know you want off. It might be useful to think in terms of seasons. Plan to take some time off during the spring, summer, winter, etc. For instance, no matter where I worked, I always took off from my job for a few days every spring so that I could attend the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. And for the last 3 years in my business, I’ve taken off at least one full month for vacation at some point during the year for travel!

Most people want to spend extended time with their families during various holidays, so you can plan around those as well. If you’re taking time off from your business, block off time in your calendar for the dates you want to get your R&R. If you’re taking time off from your job, make sure you submit your leave request as FAR in advance as possible so your supervisor can approve it in a timely manner. That way, you can work together to make arrangements for other staff or an assistant to cover your responsibilities and take care of clients during your time away, if necessary.

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How to Create an Inspiring Morning Routine

Hot Chocolate, Closed Eyes

Does your morning routine consist of staying in bed as late as possible while barely making it to work on time? If you’re like most people, your morning might go something like this:

  • Alarm goes off.
  • Hit the snooze button (at least three times).
  • Lie there and think about how much you don’t want to get up. Or moan and groan about how much you hate your job.
  • Shower.
  • Get dressed.
  • Run out the door with a honey bun (or nothing) in your hand.

With so many people starting their day off like this, it’s no wonder there’s constant grumbling in the mornings. How can anyone expect to have a great day when their morning routine is rushed and filled with negative thinking? Getting the day off on the wrong foot can sabotage your entire to-do list and prevent you from making progress on your goals. But what if you could change your life simply by developing an inspiring morning routine that sets you up for success?

About a year ago, I started to create my own morning practice that included healthy habits and positive thinking. As I began to follow this routine more and more, I noticed that not only was I feeling better mentally and physically, but that I was also able to focus on my goals and get more done throughout the day.

Here’s the outline of my own practice, with some tips for how you can incorporate this routine into your day as well:

1. Wake up one hour earlier. I don’t consider myself an early riser, but I do feel more inspired to get things done when I wake up before 8:00am. Set your alarm to go off an hour earlier than usual as you’ll need extra time to accommodate your new morning routine. Of course, going to bed earlier makes this task easier!

2. Get up immediately. Avoid lying there and thinking negatively about your day, life, job, challenges or anything else. Instead, get your head up off the pillow quickly before you convince yourself that five more minutes won’t hurt. It helps to place your alarm clock or phone on the other side of the room. That way, you’re actually forced to get up to turn it off.

3. Drink an 8-16 oz. glass of warm water with lemon. Or leave a bottle of water on your nightstand if that’s more convenient. Just be sure to get your water in as soon as you wake. You’ll feel less groggy and ready to get moving! Plus, it’s much easier to continue the act of drinking water throughout the day when you get a head start first thing in the morning.

4. Meditate or pray. Take 5-10 minutes to meditate or pray. Being still or spending time in worship will put you in the right mindset to face the day. My simple meditation process includes reading the daily passage from Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening, then sitting in silence on my yoga mat by the window.

5. Prepare a healthy breakfast. It’s hard to focus on your goals when you miss the most important meal of the day! Try a quick, nutritious meal each morning, Some of my favorite “ready in 10 minutes or less” breakfasts include: fruit smoothies, oatmeal with bananas and almond butter, scrambled eggs with sauteed kale or Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit and granola.

6. Exercise for at least 15 minutes. Take a walk, jump on the treadmill, do a full workout in the gym, etc. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do as long as you get your body moving! I’m not a big fan of the gym, but I enjoy taking walks in the morning as the whole world seems to wake up with the sun, especially the birds!

7. Shower and put on something that makes you feel good. Take a hot shower or warm bath after exercising. Choose one of your favorite outfits or wear a beloved piece of jewelry. For instance, I often wear a gold ring with a small rose engraved on it because it was a gift from my grandmother. Whenever I put on that particular ring, I feel her love and encouragement throughout the day.

This week, try to develop a morning routine that will help you to stay positive and focused. The practice outlined above will likely take you at least 60 minutes to complete. If that’s longer than you can spend, simply come up with an abbreviated version that works for you. For me, putting in the effort to develop an intentional morning routine has definitely had a significant impact on my productivity. Give it a try and see how it changes your day!

Leave a comment below: Do you have a morning routine? Which activities help to put you into a positive and productive frame of mind for the day?

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.

6 Ways to Fall Back in Love With Yourself


You’ll find
There’s no one left to love you
In time
You learn to love yourself
You’ll find
When no one’s thinking of you
It’s time
To care about yourself

– Blue Six, “Love Yourself”

It’s been years since I’ve been in what I would call a “serious” relationship. I’ve dated several men, but nothing that was destined to last more than a few months. While I enjoy dating and meeting new people in general, sometimes I do miss the comfort of being in a monogamous relationship. In lieu of a steady beau (especially around Valentine’s Day!), I find that it helps to remind myself that I am loved and wanted on a daily basis. Whether you’ve been single for a while or recently ended a relationship, it’s important not to focus on the fact that you don’t have a significant other. Instead, focus on the fact that you don’t need a significant other in order to feel loved.

Remember That You Are Worthy

“Self-worth cannot be verified by others. You are worthy because you say it is so. If you depend on others for your value it is other-worth.” – Wayne Dyer

We often restrict our idea of “loving” to the image of someone else loving us. Someone else doing things for us, kissing us, taking us places, buying things for us. We often go “out there” seeking someone to make us feel good. But looking outside ourselves for love is one of the biggest obstacles to self-love. When you rely on other people or institutions to deem you worthy, there is no place where you can access that feeling of importance from within. That’s why when someone loses their job, they can easily fall into a deep depression if their position in the company was viewed as a direct reflection of their worth.

Sure, I’ve fallen in love with many men over the years. But what I’ve also been able to do is fall back in love with myself. Here are some activities you can do to cultivate that feeling of companionship and contentment, even in the absence of a significant other.

1. Spend Time Alone

Many women like to fill their nights with friends and parties when they’re single, for various reasons. Some people just really like to go out and socialize, but some are more interested in filling the void so that they don’t have to be alone. In my opinion, solitude has become extremely underrated. There’s the assumption that if you’re hanging solo on Saturday night, you’re lonely and would rather be on a date. I know it can feel lame not to have weekend plans with a boo, but part of being in love with yourself is enjoying your own company. If YOU don’t like being alone with you, what makes you think someone else will? Challenge yourself to let go of the idea that you need to “be social” every weekend. Instead, set aside some time to be alone and rediscover all the things that make you amazing.

2. Wear Your Good Panties

I’ve done it a million times – bought a new outfit just to let it hang out in my closet until the right event, date or holiday gathering. I’ve had new clothes sit around with the price tags still on for months. I’ve let pretty Vickie Secret’s drawls languish in my underwear drawer, waiting on the right man to come along so I could wear them for him. Why do we do this to ourselves? Do we really get some sort of twisted satisfaction from denying ourselves the gratification of wearing nice things? Do we not fully enjoy the effect of looking amazing unless someone else notices? Wear your good panties – for no reason at all – to remind yourself that you alone are worth the occasion. Break out the lacy underthings you’ve been “saving” to wear with that special someone. Put on the good panties today because YOU are that special someone.

3. Buy Fresh Flowers for Yourself

Don’t wait until you find “Mr. Right” who will show up at your door with long-stemmed roses. I once dated a man who always brought me flowers – for dates, for special occasions, just because it was Tuesday. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed them until I was getting them all the time. After we broke up, I would buy bright, colorful bouquets from the grocery store each week as a nice addition to my dining room table. Not only did they smell lovely, but they also made my living space look more vibrant. Seeing fresh flowers when I walked through the door after work felt like I was entering a special place that wasn’t lonely, but lively. The presence of living, breathing plants can be a constant reminder that even though you don’t have a man, you still have a life.

4. Prepare Home-Cooked Meals for One

Cooking for one is challenging. I know because I love to cook. Whether it’s a gourmet meal or a simple dish, I like to throw down in the kitchen. Even though I’m only cooking for one, I still try to cook a really good meal at least twice a week. “Good” meaning a complete meal with an entree, side dish and dessert. In my family, when you cook for someone, it’s a sign of love and care for that person, and that’s exactly what you want to be doing for yourself. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you have to eat out all the time. Buy some groceries and prepare meals for yourself on a regular basis. It’s much healthier than running to Chipotle three times a week, and easier on your wallet!

5. Take Yourself Out On a Date

One Valentine’s Day, I took myself out to dinner. Yep, I went out amongst all the lovers, all by myself. I got a booth at one of my favorite restaurants and ordered everything I wanted off the menu – appetizer, entree, dessert and a few glasses of wine. I brought my notebook with me so that I could write for a bit, since I love writing but often find it difficult to make time for journaling. I was enjoying myself so much that it didn’t feel awkward to me to be dining alone. I just felt lucky that I was able to take a little time away from work and the busyness of life to sit down and relax at dinner with no pressure to entertain anyone but myself. Don’t miss out on a great meal or even a good movie just because you don’t have a date to take you out. When you commit to taking yourself out on dates periodically, it reminds you that you don’t need a plus one to have fun.

6. Explore Your Creative Side

Last summer, I took a six-week poetry class when I was living in Charlottesville. In college, I majored in English and studied poetry during my time there. Over the years though, I’ve only written poems off and on, pretty inconsistent related to the craft I used to practice almost daily. After taking the poetry class, I realized that hey, I still got it! I haven’t lost my ability to pen a poem, to tap into my experiences and present them elegantly as free verse. It definitely upped my confidence in my own creativity. If you’re feeling a little lackluster in that department, consider taking a cooking class or writing workshop to get re-ignited. Or sign up to learn how to make art through painting or photography. The possibilities are endless for you to nurture the artist within and remind yourself just how beautifully brilliant you are.

Have you had to learn how to fall back in love with yourself in lieu of being in a steady romantic relationship? If so, how?