2016 Promises to Myself


It is still slightly unreal to actually think that we are in 2016. I remember when Y2K was a thing. Now it’s 2016, and we are only advancing and in some aspects, regressing, as a society. 2015 proved to be a trying year for our country, but in my own personal life, it was a year of new beginnings and the completion of accomplishments. I am looking into the unknown that is 2016 with anxious, giddy expectation. I am looking at myself, realizing that if anything is going to happen this year, it will require me to show up, to be present. So, here a few of the promises I am making to myself in 2016.

I promise to…

Be healthy!

I can’t take over with the sniffles. The body, the hair, the skin…it’s not going to just happen. I have to put in the work. So I promise to feed it REAL food, exercise at least twice a week, and moisturize the heck out of my hair!

Make that money honey!

I need to do better with my finances. I would like to actually be able to retire one day. As for the right now, the next time Virgin America has a sale, I want to be able to partake. I want my career to advance in a direction that is pleasing to me. I want my creative businesses to grow, become successful, and start to bring in revenue. Time to get all my ducks in a row and befriend a good financial advisor. We’re bringing in the big dogs around here!

Volunteer more.

I want to be more involved in my community. I want to volunteer more. I may join Meet-Ups that do specifically that. I also have a community service project I would like to get up and running this year. That is something I will be working on heavily in the early months of 2016.  I am blessed with so much. It’s time to give back.

Get my passport stamps, because I NEEEED more passport stamps!

This year, I’m going to be a passport stamp junkie. You going somewhere? So am I. I need those stamps and I’ll do just about anything to get them. It sounds crude, but traveling is such an eye opening experience. I learn so much about who I am, what I like and what I don’t, with every trip- big or small. I love seeing and experiencing new environments, and I’m ready for 2016 to give that to me. 6 stamps by the end of year. Ready? Let’s go!Q

Be gentle with myself.

I am my worst critic. I am still kicking myself for things I did wrong in 2014. This year, I’m leaving my baggage at the threshold of 2016 and crossing over without it. I will not beat myself up for bad decisions or mistakes made along the way to greatness. I will change the lenses I view my life through. All things are either a victory or a learning moment. No more beating myself up. Just learn from my mishaps and keep it pushing.

Lastly, but most importantly….

Be closer to Him.

I want to pray more. I want to read my bible more. I want to have a better relationship with Jesus Christ. I can do nothing of importance without him, and everything of any significance with him. This relationship must grow for me to be able to grow in 2016.

So that’s it. I promise to be fearless this year. I promise to stay consistent. I promise to do all things with and in love. When we look back at this list in 2017, my hope is that I was successful in all these areas and more.


What are your 2016 goals/resolutions/promises? Share in a comment below. I’d love to share in your dreams.


Xoxo, Panda


Life Update! New Job! New Place! New Beginnings!

Hey! I have been gone for too long. I definitely have neglected my blog. I know, I know…I should be ashamed of myself. Life started to get crazy, and I became too lazy to be creative. How is that even possible?! It’s totally possible and it happened to me. I was so focused on the complexities of my life at the moment, I would not allow myself to relax and create. I decided today that I would work through the laziness and continue to build my blog.

So…here is the update on my life:

There is no more school. I was on the hunt for a job. I was applying EVERYWHERE in California. Every heard of El Centro? I hadn’t either until I applied there. I was hired to my first registered nurse position at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. It was/is exciting and mostly scary. Every day I leave work without any major issues, it’s another small victory. The hospital was quite a distance from my house, so I decided that I would take this opportunity to move. I had been itching for new scenery and a new environment, and this was my chance. It didn’t take me long to find my new apartment. Let me just say, I am quite smitten with my new home! I can really see myself growing my brand here. It is spacious, it is quiet, and it is more than I expected to find when I started the apartment hunt. I am grateful to say the least. I am all moved in- and far from settled. I still need to unpack, organized, and decorate. I cannot wait to decorate! It is the perfect place to escape to after a long 12 hour shift at the hospital.

My plan is to capitalize on this feeling of newness and really dive back into the blog. I want to produce more content and you deserve fresh content. I have lots of ideas for this virtual space and I am excited to get it out to you. No more hiatus. We’re back in full effect!


What are some things you may like to see here on the site? Share in the comments below.


xoxo, Panda




aiko in wanderland: my experience

Teragram Ballroom, Downtown Los Angeles

Teragram Ballroom, Downtown Los Angeles

On Tuesday, September 15, I got to go to a free concert for one of my new favorite artists- Jhene Aiko. She tweeted out a very vague tweet last week with a link to a site for email subscription to Aiko in Wanderland. After you did that, nothing. I had to wait for further instruction. That was slight torture to say the least. What was she going to do? What did I sign up for? It’s like when you are downloading ANYTHING, or paying your bills and you just click through the term and agreements to get to the end result. Just signing our lives away. I digress. Well Tuesday came and there it was in my inbox- the address and time for what I assumed was a concert. I was too excited! Then hours later, another email. This one though made me smudge my newly done nails with no remorse- a meet and greet for the first 50 people in line. I was in my car 5 minutes later.

I arrived at the location, found a great parking space (signs that things would be favorable in my book) and walked to the venue. YES! I am one of the first 50 people. I brought a book to read, I chopped it up with the people around me in line, and then came time for us to get our wristbands. What would I say to Jhene? How would I capture her attention so that we would be having lunch on Thursday? Alas, I did not get my chance. The security personnel got about 4 people ahead of me and stopped giving out meet and greet wristbands? Waaaa?! Well, people were holding places in line for their friends, so what started as only 30-35 people in front of me clearly grew. I was irritated to say the least. I messed up my nails to get there early. I stood out on the streets of Downtown LA for more hours than I needed to so I could meet Jhene. I griped a little, but entered the venue still thankful about the free performance.


Then it happened…the door opened, people started to scream- Jhene walked right passed the crowd inside the venue ON HER WAY to the people who had meet and greet privileges. Oh the joy! The girls who were standing in front of me (who were just as upset about the recent events) were all smiles and we shared an exchange of laughs at how we still got to see her. The doors opened and I made my way to the seats. The venue was small, but very cool and well designed. I was 4 rows from the front. I sat right behind her mom, sister Mila J, best friend Chrissy, her brother, and precious daughter Nami. This evening just kept getting better. It said on the flyer it was very limited capacity, and then I thought to myself, “Where are the people who went to the meet and greet gonna sit?” I soon got my answer. They were first told to stand against the walls; then told to stand in the back. I couldn’t help but smile and giggle to myself. That could have been me. I got to see Jhene, maybe not the way I wanted, but I saw her. I have a seat to be comfortable in, and don’t have to continue to stand for another couple of hours. I got out my seat and went over the girls who were standing in front of me. We laughed together and one of the girls said, “I’m not even salty!”

The concert was great! She sang some of my favorites and made jokes. She even played a new single that I need to find and buy like NOW! At the very end, we were supposed to get a photo opp with her, but that didn’t pan out. When I got to my car, I just smiled. I got to experience something magical and I am couldn’t be happier. It’s times like that I’m extra grateful for all this free time. Thanks Twitter for hooking it up! I would have never known about this without you. ‘Preciate cha!



Tell me about a time you lucked up on some awesome experience. I wanna hear all the deets!


xoxo, Panda





Photo credit:

Photo credit:


Since being done with nursing school (a post on that coming soon), I have found myself trying to sort through all the creative thoughts that were stored in the back of my mind for two years. Now that I finally have the time to pursue these projects/ideas, I have NO idea where to begin. I find myself sitting in my recliner, watching YouTube videos, hoping to become motivated enough to do SOMETHING…ANYTHING. Alas, the ideas I overwhelm me, and I do NOTHING.

Until today.

I did a quick generic search for creative conferences. I have never looked them up, but thought attending a conference or 3 would be a good idea with this newfound free time. I stumbled across a blog post about the top 10 creative conferences to attend (check out the link here). To my surprise, there are many scattered across the U.S. catering to the many different lifestyles of the creative. I even found some that take place in Los Angeles! I was super excited to see that I had only missed one of the conferences, and would be available for the next one in the upcoming weeks.

I began to do the normal- searching for the schedule, exact location, pricing. After that was done, I began to view photos of past events and teasers of what to expect. It was at this point that I noticed one glaring similarity. The majority of the speakers and those in past attendance all looked the same. I did not see one darker toned person represented on the panels or in any of the images for the events. Now, there is nothing PARTICULARLY wrong with this. I am used to being the only African-American woman in most creative spaces I go. I am accustomed to this. Nevertheless, my attention was drawn to the lack of representation in the creative world. Why are we not sought after to speak on panels? Why are we not at the table of building this community? A community basically selling the way to a fulfilled life. It is said around entertainment hubs that the voice of African-American life is too targeted. The audience too focused.  I know plenty of talented photographers, actresses, designers, film makers, and bloggers who have invaluable knowledge and tips that would benefit anyone.

There are two sides to this arguable lack of representation. Where are the conferences for creatives of color? Where can I find those who share in my social creative call to action? It is difficult to see your new business and/or blog grow when you cannot see someone faced with the same hurdles. I want to be uplifted by my own- African-American and creative alike. It is my hope that conferences in the future would be more inclusive of the groupings that may have been deemed as having a too targeted audience. It is also my hope that void for creatives of color would be filled with more events and opportunities for us to connect.


How do you feel about this subject? Do you think the creative industry is too cookie cutter? Where are the resources for creatives of color? What can be done right now to fix this issue? Let me know in a comment below.

xoxo, Panda


THE Royal Playa del Carmen, Mexico

THE Royal Playa del Carmen, Mexico

July has been nothing short of legendary. After a sad and lack luster birthday month, July came around to renew my faith in the magic summer embodies. I am closing out the month volunteering at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games (I will recap that in a future post), ending this world wind month with some sort of normalcy.

I spent my Fourth of July in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was extremely hot, not to crowded, and pretty much perfect. I danced my nights away, baked in the sun by the Palms pool for Ditch Fridays, and at until my stomach hurt. It was filled with tasty treats and festive drinks. I finally traveled to the Lone Star state and resided in Houston for 6 days. I bar hopped through Third Ward (waddup Bey?!), day partied in Midtown, and spent quality time with loved ones. I had Texas style bbq made my a native Texan. I found my new favorite place- Bourbon St. Dacquiris (do yourself a favor, find them, give them your money, and have a great day). My mother was ever so gracious to take me to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for a graduation present. There I was fearless- swimming in cenotes (look it up! I didn’t know what it was until that day), rappelling, snorkeling (who knew breathing out of your mouth would take so much concentration?!), zip lining, and jet skiing! I walked around Tulum, and marveled at the Mayan ruins. I walked freely in a tropical down pour and smiled like never before (cue Carl Thomas “Summer Rain”. Look it up). I felt like I could do anything. It was an unreal feeling that I have been searching for since I’ve been back.

There is no other feeling than the one that traveling allows you the freedom to experience. July has been great month. Traveling has allowed me to be free and live in the moment. As I looked out the window down on mountains that look so miniscule and frankly fake, clouds that looked no bigger than cotton balls, I realized how blessed I am to have the capacity and freedom to go where I please (for the most part) and experience life.

Traveling this month means so much more to me because soon, I won’t have the opportunity to travel so freely. Graduate school ends in August. With this, ends my freedom. By freedom, I am referring to all the glorious school breaks granted to you by the school district. No more spring break, winter break, Thanksgiving break, summer break…nothing! In order to escape life, I will have to put in a PTO request and HOPE it’s approved. There is something to be said for responsibility and being an adult. Oh, it’s so great! (Sarcasm) With a steady income, I can afford grander trip. With a steady income comes responsibility. With a steady income come time constraints. This I am not looking forward to. Honestly, I’m not looking forward to being a full fledge adult. It’s so overrated. After this month, all I want to do is travel, get home, do laundry to repack, and be back on the road. There is nothing like traveling and how it makes you feel. After this month, I am determined to make this a constant thread in my life.


How has traveling changed your life? Where have you gone this summer? Where are you going this summer? Share in the comments below.

xoxo, Panda



The Art of Confrontation

for Us Non-Confrontational Types

I am not good at confrontation. I shy away from it like a vampire does sunlight. I have never been in a physical fight. I wouldn’t even know what to do. Arguments and disagreements make me uncomfortable. I am so bad that I would rather eat my feelings and deal with them internally without resolution than speaking about them. This is by no means healthy, and I realize that. It doesn’t help that I am WAY too emotional. I cry when I’m mad, frustrated, upset, sad, happy, hurt, a good kitty litter commercial. I’m pretty bad. So recently when I had to confront some feelings and issues I was having with friends, it took me three days to address it. I went back and forth with myself as to whether I should even say anything.

“Do I send a group text?”

“Was I going to address both friends at the same time?”

“Should I do it via text or phone call?”

I would like to say that I know confrontation has a negative connotation. I realize sometimes you have to address those people in your life who habitually cross that line. There are also positive confrontations. Those you enter into with resolution in mind and wanting a positive outcome. Then I realized that not addressing them would be doing a disservice to me and those who I say I care about. Being able to articulate emotions is an asset I value. Being able to express what bothers me in a positive tone and actively listen to those who hurt me with ears of forgiveness and reconciliation is something I am growing into.

What do you do if you’re scary like me and can never speak up about your hurt and pain? I have some ideas that sometimes help me be brave in standing up for my emotional health- even against myself.

  1. Writing out your thoughts

It’s ok to ramble. It gets it all out.

  1. Bullet points

Short, simple sentences can help you stay on track with the conversation. This way, you don’t miss any key discussion points.

  1. Practice makes perfect

If you begin to stutter due to how angry you are, or cry at the thought of confronting people, maybe practicing will help clear the jitters and build up your courage.

  1. Don’t let it fester

If possible, talk about it as soon after the incident as you can. This deters you from treating people differently based on hurt that they may not know exists.

  1. Be Honest

Don’t skate around the important issues. It’s ok to address the elephant in the room. You don’t have to continue hurting because you are afraid of what reaction you’ll get. Be true to yourself.

I texted my friends because I am better at expressing myself through the written word than in person most times. A few emails were sent back and forth and we can now move forward having been honest about all our feelings. Will things go back to normal? In a few weeks. Wounds need time to heal, but we have taken a step in the right direction. I encourage you to try the tips out the next time you find yourself holding back due to the fear of confrontation.


Do you have any tips on how to talk to someone who has hurt you or made you angry? Share them below.

xoxo, Panda





So…I graduated. Well…participated in the ceremony because:

  1. There is only one graduation ceremony at my school
  2. I don’t finish my program until the END of the summer
  3. I was NOT going to miss this opportunity to enjoy my accomplishments

Here is an interview of me done prior to the ceremony speaking about being a student leader. Enjoy!

xoxo, Panda

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