new york

A Helicopter & the Hamptons

Powherful Enrichment Conference Emcee!

It's no secret that I love New York. The purpose of my latest trip was to emcee Soledad O'Brien's Powherful enrichment conference.  Soledad's Powherful Foundation helps young women get to and through college. It's the reason that I finished college.  Soledad is my mentor and is always providing me with great opportunities, so she flies me around the country to emcee her conferences which bring a day of empowerment to young women who are not in the foundation. I always find myself taking notes at these conferences.  Here are some of the quotes I jotted down this year:

I take notes, and I write lists. I make a list every morning.
— Soledad O'Brien
Some people like to get into a groove. I am not a coaster.
— Bevy Smith, TV & Radio Personality
Whatever you focus on grows
— Kimberley Locke, Former American Idol contestant

Bevy Smith's Radio Show!

I had the amazing opportunity to be on Bevy Smith's radio show on SiriusXM Radio Andy channel 102.  You may know her from Bravo's Fashion Queens.  She is the definition of ALIVE. She is fun, out of the box, inspirational, and encouraging.  I was super excited to be on the show and nervous to be interviewed since I am usually doing the interview, but as with everything Bevy is involved in, it was like big party.I had a blast. We spent 20 minutes chatting about the day's big news.

The Helicopter Ride!

Soledad was the emcee for Russell Simmons' Art for Life gala in the Hamptons. She invited me along, and I was thrilled to find out we were taking a helicopter to the party! It was my first time riding in one. It was a 50 minute ride from Manhattan to the Hamptons. It was super loud inside the helicopter. We had super duty headphones that covered our ears and mics to talk in.  The sights were beautiful!

The Hamptons!

The Art for Life gala was a fabulous time!

The food: Russell Simmons said that he would not be poisoning us with meat. He gave us the heads up that the entire meal would be vegan.  I had the best chicken nuggets and meat sauce with spaghetti and if he would not have told me I would not have known that it was not real meat.

The point: The gala supports RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation which makes arts programs available to young people in inner cities. It was cool to hear them discuss the impact of arts on children living in communities dealing with issues like poverty and crime.

The music:

  • Chuck D of Public Enemy was honored. He spoke about using music to get a message out and then he performed his legendary song, "Fight the Power."
  • Cynthia Erivo won a Tony for her role as Celie in the Broadway adaptation of "The Color Purple."  Her voice is flawless.  She ha all eyes on her performing Whitney Houston's " I Wanna Dance with Somebody" and the gospel song "I Won't Complain."

Travel Roundup: 2016 Trips

I can cut back on shopping, drive an old raggedy car, and skip out on concerts and going out, but one thing I want to splurge on more is travel.  I have some great travel plans for the future. I am grateful that 2016 took me a lot of great places!


LOS ANGELES, CA (JANUARY & DECEMBER 2016)

January: Screen Gems offered to fly me to L.A. for a press junket.  It’s part of the film promotion where they bring in the media to interview key people in a film, like actors and directors.  I had never been to L.A. so I jumped at the chance.  I was doing interviews for two movies Pride & Prejudice Zombies and Risen.  I was only in L.A. for two days and all of it was work.  I didn’t get to see anything in L.A, so on the way back to the airport I asked my cab driver to stop by the Hollywood sign. He was kind enough to get out and snap a picture for me.

December:  I had a chance to go back to L.A. to emcee Soledad O’Brien’s Powherful summit. It was held Dodgers Stadium. While I was in town, I ate at Urth Café in West Hollywood, where I had an epic green tea latte. I had to try Roscoe Chicken & Waffles. I also had a blast hanging out on the Santa Monica pier.  Luckily, I have a few really great friends who live in the area so I was not short on tour guides.

AUSTIN, TX (April 2016)

We haven’t taken a family vacation for years, but last year we got back in the groove with a trip to Austin, TX to visit my older brother.  I’m not a big fan of Texas. I lived just outside of Houston for a year after Hurricane Katrina.  But Austin is a cool city.  We went to a food truck park and explored.  The highlight for me was lining up on the Congress Avenue bridge at sunset to see the bats fly from under the bridge. It was amazing. People actually pay for tours to see them and everything.  We just stood there for free- good enough for me.

NEW YORK, NY (JUNE, JULY, & SEPTEMBER 2016)

June:  I go back to New York every year to be part of the gala for Soledad’s foundation, which is now called, the Powherful Foundation.  But I love New York, so I always stay for a few days of fun.  New York has a million places to eat so I am always trying somewhere new.  On this trip, I fell in love with a place called The Meatball Shop. I am a meatball lover and it was heaven in my mouth! My boyfriend and I also walked crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, which I had never done and got some Brooklyn pizza on the other side.  I visited the High Line for the first time. It’s a beautiful park built on a freight rail above the West Side of Manhattan. We also spent some time in Harlem with friends.

July: This time I was in town to emcee another Powherful summit. This one was at Goggle in New York City, that’s where I took the picture in the green dress.

September: Soledad helped me land a gig hosting, “American Graduate Day” on PBS. It was my first time reporting on National TV.  I did live shots outside of the Lincoln Center for a four hour special on mentoring and even interviewed my mentor, Soledad.

MISSISSIPPI (JULY & SEPTEMBER 2016)

July: My friend’s dad has a camp out in Osyka, Mississippi. I had been once before.  She invited my boyfriend and I to come hang out for the 4th of July weekend.  After a night of Essence festing, we headed out.  We rode boats on the pond, jumped on some RVs, and had one of the most peaceful naps of my entire life.

September: We went to Mississippi to visit some of my boyfriend’s family in September. We found a sweet little horse in a field and he was kind enough to let me pet him.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (October 2016)

Emceeing Soledad’s Powherful summits takes me to a lot of cool places around the country.  I had never been to Minnesota and had never really thought about going.  The summit was held at St. Catherine’s University. The campus was beautiful and since we don’t have real seasons in New Orleans. I was just amazed to see trees with so many beautiful colors.  The most epic part of the trip was the Mall of America. I wasn’t expecting much, but it was so big that there was a full amusement park inside which I could see from sitting in one of the restaurants in the mall.

Here’s to more travel in 2017!