Growing up in church, I often heard preachers begin their sermons with a joke, saying their wives told them before service to remember to KISS when delivering their sermon. “Keep It Short, Stupid.”

I want to first say a special “Thank you” to a few of my fellow bloggers for telling me to KISS. They didn’t verbally tell me this, but their brief but effective and engaging posts have encouraged me to tell myself to KISS.

I haven’t posted in This and That With Calandra for a little while very long time! Several posts ago I vowed not to get wrapped up in the (in)frequency of my posts. I wouldn’t write if I didn’t have anything to say. Well now I’m tackling the issue of brevity. Sometimes I have something to say, but I feel like it’s not enough content for a post. But as Cochise said to Preach in Cooley High, “You ain’t got to make no speech brotha…Go!”

Having said that, look for more posts to come!

Shout out to my “brief bloggers” Lisa Stanton (I Am A New Lis) and DK Wyatt (My Love For Music)




ChallengesThe past few years have been a real mind stretch for me. Leading a new major project at work, stepping up my blogging game and building a business with new partners have me doing things I have never done before. I always say that I love a challenge, even though I am usually terrified when first faced with one! But in July, the rubber really hit the road and I went way out on a limb. I had been toying with the idea of podcasting, but I knew I did not have the audio equipment I needed…so I thought. Thanks to fellow blogger and podcaster Ray Garraud, I learned that for the level of podcasting I wanted to do, I needed very few tools. Ray, along with friend to This and That With Calandra, Mr. Fresh, also introduced me to AudioMo, an annual month-long challenge to create daily audio posts, linking each one to Twitter via hashtag #AudioMo. I downloaded and learned to use a few new apps and podcasting services, and on July 4, I officially joined the challenge and completed 27 of 31 days of audio posts as part of AudioMo, even meeting a few new folks along the way (big shout out to johnmill79 of A Blind Man’s Journey!)

I was quite proud of the fact that I actually found something to talk about every day, and I knew that my podcasting days had just begun! And then on July 31, something interesting happened – I found another challenge! One of my favorite bloggers, Luvvie Ajayi, was hosting her annual 31WriteNow Challenge, which was a blog post each day for the month of August. I knew that I was destined for it! And my podcasting friends Ray and John decided to join me! Clearly, writing has been much more of a daily challenge, but if I could do something I had never done before for a whole month, then I should be able to tackle writing – I mean, I already have a blog, right? LOL

But for me, nothing is ever just that simple. I am reminded of other challenges I have faced in life. I have learned to be self-forgiving when my initial reaction is a fearful one. That’s just human nature. The challenge of a challenge is to not remain fearful, but to turn that fear into energy to rise to the challenge! There’s no greater joy than to feel you have successfully ventured into unknown territory. Greater still is the knowledge that each challenge met brings more peace of mind and erodes some of the fear I experience at the onset of the next challenge.

So…are you ready for your next challenge?

(31WriteNow Challenge Day 18)

I’m Not Great at Networking, But…

With fellow Social Media panelist, Nicole McGarrell, owner of Sunny Day Marketing.

On Thursday, October 25, 2012, an amazing group of women and men assembled at the BNY Mellon Building in Lower Manhattan to attend the 10th Annual Women’s Business Leadership Conference, sponsored by the Women’s Business Committee of the National Minority Business Council. The theme for the day was Reflect, Rekindle, Refocus, Resolve, and featured Vera Moore, President & CEO of Vera Moore Cosmetics, as keynote speaker.

A few months ago, I was asked to become part of the conference planning committee, as well as one of the social media panelists. I had a great time meeting new people and feeling the energy in a room full of entrepreneurs. I surveyed the land and saw eager faces, picking up new ideas, especially from Laurana Edwards, author of My Business Plan Book: New Venture Starter Kit. Even those who were already in business for themselves were able to benefit from Ms. Edwards’ wisdom.

Social Media: The Alternative Marketing Strategy is the panel I served on, along with 3 other women who are involved in social media education and social media marketing. I felt a little bit like a fish out of water, considering my social media “work” is strictly personal and I spend very little time actually promoting my side business. However, I was able to introduce the concept of blogging and how I became interested in it. As I prepared for the panel discussion, I realized how many nice people I have met, and cool opportunities have come my way since my brief three years in social media world, especially in the last two years since I started this blog. And for you, my This and That With Calandra family, I think I represented TTWC well!

Crowdfunding: Is it Right for Your Business? featured a panel of individuals who were owners of crowdfunding sites as well as actual business owners who ran successful crowdfunding campaigns. Personally, I have supported a few Kickstarter projects and I think it’s a great resource. The sites represented at the Conference were Lucky Ant and RocketHub.

Duane Reade LOOK Boutique location, courtesy of Vera Moore Cosmetics

But for me, the highlight of my day was meeting Vera Moore! She is an absolutely beautiful, charming and witty woman whom I have come to admire for her years of dedication to the cosmetics industry, as well as her business acumen. She recently completed a deal with Duane Reade/Walgreens, and her cosmetics line is being featured in selected stores’ LOOK Boutiques. What I loved most about meeting her is that despite all that she has accomplished in over 40 years in business, she has such a humble spirit about her. She is so encouraging of others and their business aspirations. She said to me, as she said to many others who were in attendance, “We need to stay in touch! Don’t forget now!” She understands the true value of networking.

The day was a great experience and I look forward to continuing my work with the Women’s Business Committee. I have to give a special shout out to Dawn Henning, who introduced me to the WBC and invited me to participate. I’m happy to say that she is a regular subscriber to This and That With Calandra AND we actually met through Facebook connections! Now how’s THAT for social media networking! 🙂

This and That This Week: MortarNBrique

ImageGood morning Team “This and That With Calandra”!!! Happy April! Welcome Spring!

I am excited to announce my newest project…Beginning TODAY, April 2, 2012, I am honored to be part of the MortarNBrique team! MortarNBrique, a wonderful blog co-founded by powerhouses Tonya Giddens and Jill Monroe, is “a collective group of experiences, telling our individual stories to a listening audience.” I will be contributing a weekly column entitled, “The Mommie in Me.” I am SO excited about this challenging assignment.

Please check out my first post HERE and don’t forget to subscribe to MortarNBrique! And thanks to all the supporters of This and That With Calandra. Without This and That, there would have been no Mommie in Me! I am ever grateful for such wonderful opportunities to write and share.

Smooches, Y’all!!

My Adventure at Circle of Sisters in NYC

I’m pretty sure today is the most motivated I have ever been to write a post so quickly…EVER! This weekend is the Annual Circle of Sisters Expo at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. My best friend Stephanie invited me to go and I am SO glad I was able to make it. We have decided to make this an annual pilgrimage.

What is Circle of Sisters? According to their website, “Circle of Sisters is New York’s largest expo for women of color and hosts a variety of speakers, authors, seminars, inspirational services, R&B and gospels concert in addition to the more than 200 vendors and companies selling unique items and services.” What made it special for me today? I met three incredible women for the first time today and each one of them left an indelible impression on me!

Afrobella – As you all already know, Miss Patrice is my favorite beauty blogger, and she is the creator of my FAVORITE MAC lipglass, All of My Purple Life.

I found out she was going to be moderating a Fall Fashion Show for Bali Shapewear and I knew I had to find her at COS and meet her in person. During the day, I saw actor Anthony Anderson, local newswoman Brenda Blackmon and Pastor/Gospel Singer Donnie McClurkin. But it was my meeting with Miss Patrice that absolutely made my day. I was meeting ROYALTY! She is just as amazing and charming in person as she is in social media!

Calandra and Miss Afrobella!

While at Bali, I met Denise A. Johnson, Editor In Chief of Rainy Day Diva. Such a down-to-earth Sistagirlfriend! She and Stephanie and I found ourselves engaged in a very serious conversation about shapewear! Now you know only sistagirlfriends can talk frankly about shapewear! We had such a great time with her – my new Twitter friend!

Calandra with Denise - Rainy Day Diva

The first booth we visited was #200 – Doris New York (www.dorisnewyork.com) – our dear friend and sister Marlene Duperley is Owner and Senior VP of this wonderful hair care product company. You must try the Olive Oil Hair Cream, and Leave In Conditioner. AMAZING products. Stephanie and I met Marlene on Facebook, where she moderates 3 awesome pages – Married to Me, MTM for Men, and MTM for Teens. We became great online friends and FINALLY got a chance to meet in person and hang out with our sister.

Calandra, Marlene, Stephanie - Natural Hair Rules!

We also had the chance to meet and hang out with her colleagues and models – what an awesome time we had with them!

The Doris New York Models

These three Divas have been so inspirational! I am so glad to have been able to spend time with them today. Thank  you Patrice, Denise and Marlene for a wonderful day. And special shout-out to my best friend of 25+ years, Stephanie, for suggesting we go.

Calandra and Stephanie - Best Friends Forever! LOL

(Oh yeah, and the rest of the Expo was pretty cool too! LOL)

This and That This Week: Erin’s Guide to Beauty Blogging

Those of you who follow this blog, or subscribe to my YouTube channel, know that one of my favorite beauty bloggers/vloggers and makeup gurus is Erin Bailey, of Scandalous Beauty (www.scandalousbeautyonline.com). Back in July, I joined her 30 Day YouTube Video Challenge– which challenged us to step up our YouTube game and have a little fun at the same time. Well Ms. Bailey has raised the bar with her newest challenge, “25 Days to a Better Beauty & Fashion Blog.” I don’t really consider myself a beauty or fashion blogger, but I just try to add my 2 cents in the game of natural hair, makeup and parenthood. For this reason, I didn’t officially join the challenge , but as a dedicated reader of Erin’s blog, I have been following along. I am learning that many of her tips are applicable to successful blogging in general, especially in a field where you are trying to reach a specific audience.

So please check out Erin’s challenge, and if you are too impatient to wait for her daily advice, click here for Erin’s Guide to Better Beauty Blogging.  I’m already knee deep in her tips, so look for changes on This and That With Calandra over the next few weeks!

Are you up for the challenge? Are you interested in becoming a better beauty blogger, or even a better blogger in general? Check out Erin’s tips! Good luck! Thanks Erin…you’ve done it again!

13 Personal Question Tag

One of my favorite YouTubers, Brian (ThesPNation) is returning to YouTube with his own personal 31-day commitment to posting videos during the month of August. His first video is a tag of 13 Personal Questions. I decided to answer the tag myself. Feel free to answer them yourself. Here are the tag questions:

13 Personal Questions:

1. What do you order at Starbucks?
2. What’s one thing in your closet that you cannot live without?
3. What’s one thing that most people probably wouldn’t know about you?
4. Name one thing that you want to do before you die
5. What’s one food that you cannot live without?
6. What quote/phrase do you live your life by?
7. What do you like and dislike about the YT community?
8. What’s your number one most listened to song on iTunes?
9. What kind of style would you define yourself as having?
10. What is your favorite number
11. Name two hobbies.
12. Name two pet peeves (if any).
13. Name one guilty pleasure.