Meet The Author: Tanya Armstrong


A Little About Tanya:  I have known Tanya since I was 13 years old.   And, NO … I am not about to tell you how long we have been friends. But, lets just say that we have had the pleasure of being part of each other’s journey.  As a friend, it was particularly hard for me to watch Tanya experience any kind of pain.  But, if ever I have met someone whose life is a testimony, it would be her.  She maintained a buoyant spirit, because she knew, even in the thick of it,  that In God’s Hands Intended Evil becomes Eventual Good.  Her story is one of perseverance, triumph, and strength.  And, I am proud of her for sharing her story and her truth.  I sincerely hope that you will run out and her purchase her book, The Moment I Decided to Own It. (Follow the link to purchase on Amazon)

When did you know in your heart that it was time for you to move on?

When the tone in his voice changed. We used to speak and you could hear that he cared and loved me and then one day I realized there was absolutely no love in his voice.  It was cold and direct and I realized that I no longer possessed his heart

What signs did you see or that you now recognize in retrospect?

The signs had always been there. The lying was there, the cheating was there but I became so comfortable in my dysfunction or dysfunctional marriage that I chose not to leave.  I chose to act as if it were out of sight out of mind to keep my sanity, because my former husband was either deployed a lot while in the military or working as a contractor overseas for the last 10 years of our marriage.

What convinced you to turn your trial into a testimony and essentially a victory?

This book started  off as a conversation between myself and a very close friend. I was telling her about some of the difficulties and frustration that I was feeling while going through my divorce and dealing with my soon-to-be ex husband. And she said, girl you need to write a book because nobody would really believe everything that you’ve been through.  I proceeded to tell her nobody wants to really hear my story and she said yes they do. So on a Sunday night two years ago I started to write

Was the process of writing the book healing for you?

Definitely!! While writing this book I had to revisit some very painful moments and instead of just tucking them away as if they never existed, I had to truly deal with them.  Looking at my pain face to face and not backing down. I had to rip off Band-Aids and shed a lot of tears, but after I did that my soul started to heal.

Explain how you felt when the book was complete?

That final moment when the book was completed I truly felt accomplished. I had that AHA moment. I thought that this baby that I was carrying for the last two years was finally here.

Advice for wives?  Advice for young ladies starting out in a relationship?

The advice that I have for wives is don’t become complacent with your heart don’t allow other people to take that precious gift that you’re offering to them for granted. The advice that I have for young ladies is never settle.  If you are unhappy in your present situation,  do not allow yourself to feel that this is the best you can get.  And ALWAYS trust your gut instincts.  If I had trusted my own 20 years ago my life could’ve been very different. But, please don’t misunderstand, I do not regret any of the decisions that I made because as a product of that union, I have five magnificent beautiful children.

Favorite Quote from The Moment I Decided to Own It:

“I have to get through today, to get to tomorrow, because tomorrow has to be better than today.”

Favorite Book : I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Favorite Author:  Maya  Angelou

Favorite Quote or Motto: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou

You can find Tanya all over Social Media  :

On Facebook On Twitter On Instagram

or On Her Website


Setting the Stage for an Event to Remember

Setting the Stage Hero Image 1

When did you first know that event planning was your passion and what made you want to do this as a business?

When my first daughter was born her birthdays were not normal or typical, they were a show. Everyone looked forward to the next year and it became a holiday of its own. It was a few years after her first birthdays that I finally said to myself that I really enjoy creating events for people and the joy it brought gave me delight.

When was your company started?

Although I had been doing events since childhood and really got into it when my daughter was born in 2002, C&R Promotions officially started in 2007. My then boyfriend, now husband, and I both felt like all the details that I put into my events were evidence that I needed to plan for others.

What has been your favorite event to plan to date and why? 

Choosing a favorite event is hard, but I think it was obvious. I have done so many events for close family and small events for friends and I even did my own wedding, but the event that I chose as my favorite was for my brother-in-law in May 2016. It was an all white affair with a rustic, country feel. There were accents of gold and burlap. I chose this as my favorite because one, I had complete control basically and my visions are sometimes hard to explain. Secondly, is was the most put together event thus far. I finished way before the event start time and did not feel rushed or like something was missing. Moreover, people outside of close friends and family finally could see first hand what C & R Promotions was capable of.

Setting the Stage for an Event to Remember: Guest Blog Roberta Isom

All White Party Event Styled by C& R Promotions

Give your philosophy on party planning.

My philosophy of planning is not like others, I don’t believe. In 2004, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). It took a toll on how I processed information and remembered information. I began to make list of things to remember on a daily basis, I was in school and had to have things in order or the information would be lost, and everyday tasks were documented in order to stay organized. So, when I decided to start event planning, the order of things needed to stay the same. I believe that with well planned buying schedules and organization, anyone can afford the event of their dreams on a minimum budget. I have yet to feel that I cannot handle any budget and make a customer’s dream come true. Everyone has the choice to choose to party!

What are some tips you can give on how to do more with less?

To do more with less takes preparation. If you take time to find deals and set up a realistic plan for you event you can always save money and have everything that you want.

How do you balance your home and work life?

Never really figured out how to successfully balance home and work since I work from home, but having the ability to start and stop work throughout the day makes life a lot easier for me.

Causes you support, hobbies, favorite pass times?

I am a proud supporter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and have done numerous events to contribute to finding a cure. My most recent cause is autism. I have a small cousin that was diagnosed at three and have seen his progress and hope that one day we both can say we have overcome a disease. I do not have many hobbies. In my spare time I am usually finding ways to promote my business or how to make something great for an event.

Getting A Little Personal..
Being diagnosed in 2004, with MS has changed my life. For most of the beginning years I was in denial, I was depressed, and I just could not deal. However, I took the diagnosis and began to help others manage and found an inner strength that only God knows where it came from. Everything was different and I had to either accept it or stop living. I chose to live. I chose to take my illness and become someone that people could look up to. My family and friends were supportive and their passion to help me made me want to help myself. Having MS is the reason I plan the events in the manner that I do.  MS helped me become a planner, a manager, an entrepreneur. I wish there was a cure, but under the circumstances, I would not be who I am without MS.

Where Can You Be Found Across the Internet? (clickable links)




Roberta Isom and Family

Roberta Isom, Owner/Proprietor of C& R Promotions

Roberta, the sixth child of eight, was raised in a single parent home with her three brothers and and four sisters. Throughout her childhood and beyond she managed to stay a star student and earn an associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree in various fields. Although being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2004, she has managed to stay active and has a progressing business as an event planner. She is a mother of two girls, 2 and 14, and a wife and looks forward to reaching new heights in the future.





When I asked Roberta to do this Guest Interview, I truly wasn’t sure what her answer would be.  But, I was very pleased when she said yes.  I knew that not only would I be asking her about her passion for Event Planning, but I would be asking her to share some truly personal parts of her life with my readers.  But, she rolled with it and held nothing back.  If you reside in Birmingham, Metro Atlanta and or Eufaula, Alabama her services are available to you.  Be sure to follow her on her Social Media Channels listed above to keep up with her ever growing Event Planning company. Roberta has a birthday coming up.  Help her celebrate by donating to her cause here.

Maintaining Order

maintaining-order-host-image When Sheree reached out to me to be a guest blogger, I was excited because I love to talk about organization and can talk about it for hours. I hope that the tips I provide for you today resonate with you enough to make real change within your space or home and most importantly to be intentional behind the act.

Recently, I completed an Instagram organizing challenge to motivate individuals to let go of items so that they could organize specific areas for 15 minutes. But Instagram only provides a limited amount of space to share content so I thought this would be the perfect time to expound on those tips plus more. Now you may be thinking, that it’s not possible to get organized within 15 minutes but it is! After you purge items, you feel lighter and motivated to continue organizing and that was the ultimate goal of the 15 minute organizing challenge. The challenge also shed light on the areas that tend to be overlooked when it comes to organizing and items that no longer serve a purpose.

I totally understand that we are busy, busy people who are juggling a lot – work, school, family, personal relationships and most importantly the relationship with ourselves. But through it all we have to maintain order to make it through our daily routines. So, I wanted to share four items and spaces that you can purge and then organize – restoring order to your home or space that will make you feel lighter and serve as motivation to organize more thoroughly.


About two weeks ago, I was helping my client purge through their items which isn’t the most favorite thing to do when it comes to organizing but it’s so necessary. It doesn’t make sense to continue to throw items from one box to the next and call it organizing because it isn’t. Purging and letting go of items an essential step that must be done before organizing. So, as we’re sorting through their personal items, I could notice a shift in their movement because they started to quickly identify items that they no longer needed and deemed suitable to purge. Afterwards, they said, “I feel so much lighter – like I was shedding so many layers” and that right there was music to my ears. I try to teach my clients that they have the power over their belongings and not the other way around. It’s ok to purge items that are no longer purposeful. But then the million dollar statement arises, “but this was a gift!” Well, I’m sure the person who gifted you the item intended for you to find the item purposeful and not have the gift collect dust in a box or a closet. This is why it’s important to purge and purging for 15 minutes is a great way to build up momentum and then prompt you to organize because you feel lighter and motivated afterwards.

Here are items and areas that I suggest purging for 15 minutes:

Car Trunk

Many times we throw items inside the trunk of our car only to say, “I will come back and get that later” and unfortunately, later turns into never. Have you ever opened your trunk only to say, “oh that’s where that was – I’ve been looking for that” or have had to push things out of the way to make room for what really belongs in the trunk? Then a purge is needed. I suggest going through the trunk of your car and identify items that truly belong in the trunk, items that need to be discarded and items that need to be stored in another designated space. Once you purge then I suggest, getting a trunk organizer which can prevent clutter from forming again because there are spaces to store items. I purchased mine from The Container Store and I never have to worry about a junky car trunk. The trunk should have items that you need to access for emergencies like:

-jumper cables

-blanket and water

-first aid kit



Photo Source: The Container Store

Pens & Markers

I recently purged a cup that I was using to store pens and markers. When I was watching television and relaxing, I took a blank piece of paper and dribbled on the paper with each pen and marker. This task literally took me anywhere between 7-10 minutes to determine which ones were still functional and which ones were not – threw away the dried up pens and markers and kept the ones that still worked. Simple! I felt lighter and didn’t miss a beat of relaxing and watching television. A simple purging task like this one, can leave you feeling accomplished. Remember purging doesn’t always have to be viewed as being overwhelming because as you can see, even the smallest of items like a cup holding writing tools can build up. I encourage you to go through those pens and markers and purge! And let’s be honest, how many times have you experiences reaching for a pen or marker only to discover that it has dried up and then you have to search through for one that works? You just wasted a solid 5 minutes right there so purging and then organizing those pens and markers will save you time in the end. Save yourself the hassle.

Make Up /Nail Polish

As a woman, I absolutely love dressing up and going out with my friends for a girls night out. We all know that presentation is everything so besides selecting an outfit adorning your face with makeup is also a part of completing the look. But just like the cup of pens and markers, you can experience make-up clutter as well. Have you ever been dressed up and ready to head out and went to put on your favorite lipstick but only to discover that it’s barely any left? Now, I don’t mean to be dramatic but that’s a disappointing feeling to look forward to using something and it not be there. This could have easily been resolved if the make-up was purged, allowing you to take inventory of what you need to re-stock up on and what needs to be thrown out. So go through your make-up and determine what’s essential to hold onto and what can be discarded. Our make-up can definitely accumulate at a quick pace and get out of control and I also believe it’s overlooked when it comes to organizing. Once you have purged and organized the make-up you intend to keep then consider using acrylic organizers. I have one for my make-up and one for my nail polish. It’s a great way to contain your items in a chic but organized manner and your make-up is easily accessible.


Photo Source: Target

Photo Source: Target


Photo Credit: SoleOrganizer

Kids Play Room

The playroom for the kids is just that a room for the kids to let loose and have fun. But as time goes on, the toys begin to overflow from the safety of the storage bins which is a clear indicator that a purge must take place. So, take time to purge through the toys and determine if there are toys that are broken, toys that the kids don’t play with as much and which toys they still find enjoyable. Now it may be hard to let go because of sentimental value but consider donating to other children who aren’t as fortunate. We have to do away with the mentality of holding onto items that aren’t useful and kids are always on to the next best thing.

These purging tasks are meant to de-clutter your space and restore order. But you will also “shed layers” as my client said which will make you feel lighter. You’re letting go of unnecessary items to make room for things that are purposeful and needed. When you purge and then organize, you are creating a foundation which should be solid and should last which is why 15 minutes of purging then organizing to is a great reminder.

I would love to hear about it how lighter you feel after purging! If you need some guidance, I have created a purging checklist to guide you through the purging process which can be downloaded here. Be sure to head to the website to get access to the “Soleful Resource Library” which contains printables + checklists to help you stay on task and organized. Remember that, “being organized is a lifestyle and not a chore”.

You can also find Sole Organizer Here:







SoleOrganizer offers a functional and creative approach to organizing for individuals who are ready to get organized but most importantly stay organized. Nowadays it has become more frequent. to not be able to enjoy the things we once did or even just have the time to relax because our spaces are consumed by clutter.

SoleOrganizer teaches individuals how to restore order back to their lives by educating individuals on letting go of the non-essential items and implement functional systems that will acquire simplicity.

What Financial Foundation are You Laying for Your Child(ren)?

Guest Blogger - Michael G. Thomas Jr. - What Financial Foundation are You Laying for Your Child(ren)?

As a financial counselor, I have had the privilege to serve people from all walks of life and socio-economic statuses. During those experiences, I’ve learned that we are more alike than different. Every family, whether they earned $15,000 or $200,000 a year, sought my services for the same reason – they were STRUGGLING to manage their personal finances.

Now, you might be thinking, how can somebody who earns $200,000 a year struggle???

It’s simple. If you make $200,000 then turn around and spend $200,000, you end up with $0. That person might have more stuff but, at the end of the day, they still don’t have any money. Let’s be honest – saving isn’t the American way.  Amassing more stuff is. Despite its momentary satisfaction, getting more “stuff” rarely creates the peace of mind and satisfaction most people think it will.

When asked, many of my clients can connect their upbringing to their current spending habits. For instance, hypothetically, I might have a client who loves to shop. When exploring the client’s upbringing, we might learn that her family expressed themselves by buying – You Guessed It – stuff! Up to that point, our hypothetical client hadn’t a clue that she was following financial patterns she learned as a child.

This brings us to our main point:What financial foundation are you laying for your child(ren)?

Every parent I know, myself included, wants to ensure that the next generation does better than the last. Unfortunately, although we are well intentioned, we equip our child(ren) the best way we know how – with what we’ve always known. If our children only know how to do what we’ve done, how are we equipping them to be better than we are?

As a parent, it is important for you to know that although you may not have a master’s degree in personal finance, you have a Ph.D. in Life. Your financial experiences, whether good or bad, can be turned in to invaluable learning opportunities.

For example: grocery shopping! You may not create a budget and shopping list at the present time, but you know you should. If you did, you would be less likely to walk out the store with a lot of unnecessary stuff, right??? If your child(ren) experience you repeating this behavior over and over again, you’ve unknowingly set a financial pattern that your child(ren) are likely to repeat when they comes of age.

What can you do about it?

The next time you go to the store, have your child(ren), this works for kids age 6 and up, help you create a grocery list that will not exceed a spending limit of $20. Make it a game! To win the game, your child(ren) must ensure that Mommy or Daddy don’t go over the budget. The prize doesn’t have to be money. It could be more time on the computer or TV, a favorite meal, an extra scoop of ice cream, etc.

While at the store, and you know it’s coming, allow your child(ren)to grab a few random things that are not on the shopping list. Be certain they grab enough items to place you over the $20 spending limit. At checkout, when the cashier rings you up and goes over budget, ask her to make the executive decision on which non-budgeted item(s) should be put back so you do not exceed the spending limit. Most important of all, be sure to pay with CASH! Kids tend to think debit cards have magic fairy dust and an unlimited supply of money.

Now, the thought of making your child(ren) put something back at checkout may sound a bit harsh to some, but you’ve just taught your child(ren) several financial skills without even knowing it:

  1.  You’ve Empowered them by allowing them to be a part of the financial decision making process.
  2.  You’ve taught them how to Plan Ahead.
  3.  You’ve shown them  that it is important to Honor the Spending Limits They Help Set.
  4.  You’ve demonstrated, by using cash, money is not an unlimited resource –No More  Fairy Dust!

As your child(ren) get older, increase the size of the grocery list and the budget they are in charge of overseeing. It’s amazing how kids rise to the occasion when they are empowered to do so! Beyond that, it’s important to make the process fun. My three year old won’t let me brush his hair unless we make a silly game and song out of it. Whether your child is three or fourteen, remember to keep it light.

I’ve worked with a countless number of teens and college students who have never handled money. In many instances, a number of these young adults have never had any meaningful conversations with their families about money. I understand that many families do not feel qualified to teach their children money skills. However, if we truly want the next generation to do better than the last, we have to equip the next generation with better tools than we had. That said, please feel free to like my Facebook page: Modum Solutions. You will find some amazing content throughout the year that will help you become more financially savvy and confident when it comes to talking to your child(ren) about money.

Lastly, if you reside in the state of Georgia and have a child between the age of 11 and 14, I will be co-facilitating a week long financial literacy/awareness camp at the University of Georgia in July of 2016 – Money Dawgs. Follow this  link for more details. For families with limited resources, scholarships are available!!!

Guest Blogger - Michael G. Thomas Jr. - What Financial Foundation are You Laying for Your Child(ren)?

Michael J. Thomas Jr., Servant, Family Man, Public Speaker, Blogger, Author in the Works, Ph. D. Student at UGA, Financial Counselor and Founder of Modom Financial Services

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Dr. King’s quote pretty much sums me up in a nutshell. My life’s work, with regards to my calling, is to provide holistic financial services to under served populations that strengthens families and builds stronger communities.


Mastering Balance by focusing on Faith Family and Fitness -- A Creative Interview-

Akua, and I are members of the Group Passionistas [a group for female entrepreneurs] on Facebook.  After reading many of her posts, I was amazed at all that she packs into one day.  She has a thriving business, a full time career, a family (she’s very involved with), and lots of friends.  And, she finds time for all of it.  This interview was prompted mostly by curiosity.  But, I also wondered what nuggets she could pass on to those of us who are trying to master finding balance in our every day lives.  I truly enjoyed getting to know her better and getting her realistic, “tell it like it is” point of view.  She doesn’t deny that it is work that demands commitment, but demonstrates that it CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED.

How long have you been committed to healthy eating and working out?

I’ve been working out and eating healthy consistently  for the past 10 years.  Please note that for me eating healthy is all about balance.  I’ll say, I eat healthy about 80% of the time, but I also allow some “cheats” 20% of the time. I enjoy going out to eat with my family and friends.  I have found that  this way allows me to remain consistent  and not feel deprived.

What does your routine look like and do you change it up depending on the season or your moods?

My exercise routine changes according to my goals at the time. No 2 days of working out is ever the same. I set mini goals either weekly or monthly for myself. (i.e: hold planks for more minutes, do x amount of pull ups, run a certain amount of miles, etc. )My daily workout can range from full body circuit training, treadmill interval runs with inclines, heavy lifting, Insanity (my fav…Shaun T is my MAN) bleacher circuits, boxing,  and a host of others.  For me it is  all about constantly challenging your routine and shocking your body. A challenged body will be a changed body.!

How do you balance a full time job, your family and make time for yourself and your Boot Camp?

The balance  for me took some time. I started  this journey over 10 years ago as a single woman with very few responsibilities aside from my teaching career .  In the process, I’ve gotten married, become a mother and owner of 2 businesses (BodybyAkua Fitness LLC  and Treat You Right Foods LLC ).  My balance comes from knowing that each of these aspects of my life are equally important.   What I know for sure is that we MAKE  time for what we really want . My family and faith are extremely important to me, but I am also aware that to sustain my family, I must work hard to provide. I MAKE time for my fitness lifestyle because without  my health and a clear mind, I cannot be a good wife, mother, friend, and an entrepreneur. These elements are interconnected. I cannot succeed in one without the other.  My Fitness is seriously the magic potion that powers me through the rest of my busy life.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to make positive change for a healthier lifestyle?

My advice  to anyone who wants to make a healthier  lifestyle a part of their routine will be to first figure out why you want to get healthy and fit to begin with.  If your  reason for a healthier lifestyle is temporary,  then your results  will also be temporary.  So for example, if you only want to exercise and get healthy because you are in a wedding, going on a vacation or trying to impress someone at a class reunion, then you are most likely not going to continue once those events come and go.  Being healthy and fit should not be temporary, but rather a part of your regular routine. When you change your mind set  and look at healthy living as a daily necessity, you are most likely to stick with it.   Also, when starting out, start with smaller  changes in order to not feel overwhelmed.  (Cut out one sugary drink daily, eat one less fast food this week, go for a nice easy walk after dinner, park the car a little further  and walk, take the stairs, cook one healthy  meal at home). These changes, while small will eventually become habits and help with your success.

Can you share a favorite quick and easy recipe that our readers can prepare for their families?

I pride myself in being the “queen of quick meals”. With such a hectic schedule, being able to make a quick, yet healthy meal is the way to go. The trick is to have already prepared or quick steamed foods on hand.  Example.: Roasted chicken, egg whites, steam ready brown rice,  veggies,  spices, coconut or olive oil sprays )

My favorite quick meal to prep for my family  is my Healthy chicken Fried Rice with veggies. This meal is loaded with all nutrients needed to sustain a healthy body. (Good carbs, Protein, healthy fats, fiber etc.)

(Steam the rice and veggies in advance)
Heat pan with Spray  of coconut or olive oil .
Add egg whites to pan and cook scramble style, add steamed veggies of choice, mix together  and add your favorite  spices, I also add 2 tbsp of ginger dressing, add 1 tbsp of oil as well as shredded  chicken and steamed brown rice.
Mix all well and cook together for about 3 to 5 minutes.  DONE
During the cold winter months  I use my Crockpot to make steel cut oatmeal overnight, so by morning, it’s ready to go.  just add some fruits or peanut butter.

 What is your favorite exercise and the one you hate but love the results?

Currently, my favorite exercise is any variation of  squats.  Squats are awesome  because since they incorporate  such big muscles, it burn tons of calories and a proper squat can also work the core and other parts of the body besides the lower. Plus, it shapes the Glutes nicely.  I seem to always find a way to add in some squats daily.   I have developed a love /hate relationship with the burpees lately. Burpees are EXCELLENT for total body conditioning. There are so many variations!  It works almost every single muscle in the body. I love them because I know they are effective  but I hate them because they easily wear me out.

Any words of wisdom that you would like to add.

I would like to add that fitness/healthy living is a personal choice. YOUR BODY. YOUR DRIVE. YOUR RESULTS. Please know that you are and should always remain your own competition. Strive to be better each day than the day before.  Set small goals for yourself and find ways to accomplish those goal. It is ok to admire  and be motivated  by others,  but,  please do not compare yourself to others in this journey.  Each individual has their own story and history. Celebrate YOUR accomplishments be it small or big.

With the craze  of social media and “fitness models” on the internet,  people tend to want to look like these models and look for quick fixes to get there.. Well the truth is there is NO PILL,  NO TEA,  NO WRAP,  NO CREAM OR WAIST TRAINER that can take the place of eating healthy  and moving the body. The only way to a fitter body is to put in some hard a** work and a balanced clean diet. .

You can find Akua all over the web:







Mastering Balance - Akua Boakye - A Creative Interview -

Stage Presents: Not Your Average Teacher – Nigel Walker Ed. S.

Making the Pieces Fit - Not Your Average Teacher In my opinion, teaching is one of the hardest and most noble professions.  It takes a certain kind of dedication and commitment to be able to reach, mold, and engage young minds.  As a parent, I have had the opportunity to experience  many different teachers and administrators.  I have always been fascinated by the way that certain teachers can capture both the affection and the imagination of  the children that they teach. In today’s society, I find that the focus has shifted away from those who teach because they love to teach and have a genuine passion for reaching those in their charge.  So, I wanted to do this Creative Interview to showcase a Teacher who is definitely “Not Your Average Teacher”.  They do EXIST.  In addition to being a teacher, Nigel Walker is also a published author, three times over.  You will find the links to his books in his bio at the end of this blog.  Be sure to Like and Follow him on his various Social Media Channels.  He definitely gets the Stage Presents Seal of Approval.

What made you want to become a teacher?

After changing my mind several times, I began to think about what I could do that I would enjoy other than writing, music or theater.  Even though I delighted in those things, I was looking for a more stable career.  I then thought about how much I liked to tutor other students in High School, and I recalled that my Spanish class taught basic Spanish to elementary school children, and so began my interest in teaching.

What makes your teaching style unique?

My upbringing  helps me to relate to more of the students that are considered “at risk”.  My diverse interests in music and pop culture help me to relate to the average student, and my use of music and creative teaching techniques keep the students engaged.  I also pair that with the very high expectations to draw a belief out of all my students that they can achieve   Many will tell you that it is a difficult and scarcely seen task to maintain high expectations amidst student and parent resistance, as well as changing standards and expectations.

What is your goal for your students each year?

I tell my students at the beginning of each year that it is my goal for 100% of them to have a passing grade and/or pass whatever standardized test we are giving, and I believe that is possible.

Ultimately, what do you see as your end game?  What do you think that your experience and education has prepared you for?

My ultimate goal is to open my own school, whether it is private or charter.  I have have had the good fortune of being acquainted with Ron Clark and Kim Bearden, co-founders of the Ron Clark Academy and some of their outstanding teachers.  I have also had the privilege of working under the 2013 Metlife/NASSP National Principal of the Year, Dr. Laurie Barron.  In those experiences, I have shared my goals and have been advised by people I think are the best equipped to give advice.  My experience as a professional speaker and community activist has prepared me to understand the sense of community it truly takes to help in the development of a child.  I am prepared to embark on my own personal journey to develop the next generation of leaders in the community.

What is your vision for your school?  Tell me a little about it.

The vision of the school is to use an energized curriculum based on music and the arts to engage students in rigorous instruction.  It is also to discover or utilize talent to serve the community, while building lasting qualities of good character.  I want my school to change the culture of how underprivileged and underrepresented students are viewed in society and build a legacy of leadership and scholarship that they will brag about being a a part of.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In the next three and a half years, I hope to finish my doctorate in Curriculum and Leadership and if  I decide to go with a Charter School, I hope to be ready to open my school in the 5th year.

What advice would you give to a newly graduated teacher, getting ready to enter the School House in the Fall?

Don’t go in alone.  Find a mentor and a support group.  Teaching is not a piece of cake.  Be in it for the right reasons, the students!!  Be consistent.  Be fair.  Understand your student’s personalities and try to find ways to incorporate them in your expectations, so that they can be themselves.  Stay within the standards that you set in your classroom.

What’s your favorite quote?

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Where can we find you around the web?

WillEdServices Website



Nigel Walker Ed. S - Not Your Average Teacher

Nigel L. Walker was born February 13, 1980 in Eufaula, AL. He is a teacher, author, speaker, and owner of W.I.L.L. Educational Services, LLC. He has a Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Leadership. His works include poetry books, The Secret Diaries of Jean Batiste and Rose Petals for Josephine: The Secret Diaries Vol. II, and a narrative nonfiction, The Underground Philosophy of Education: Teaching is Not for Dummies. He was a 2010-2011 Teacher of the Year Candidate, 2012 Professional of the Year for Covington’s Who’s Who Professional Registry, and is a member of the Great Black Speaker’s Bureau. He was featured in 7 Black Education Speakers Making a Difference by the Great Black Speaker’s Bureau. He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He is married with two children.

5 Steps to Combat Winter Dryness by Nandi of Nandi’s Naturals

Guest Blog: 5 Steps to Combat Winter Dryness - Written by Nandi of Nandi's Naturals


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Colder months bring with them a new set of skin-care challenges. Unless we live in subtropical climates, the air is usually more frigid and drying, and less humid. With winter well underway, I’m going to share 5 tips for helping your skin survive this year’s cold front.


  1. Stay hydrated. Just because the weather has gotten colder and you may be perspiring less, doesn’t mean your body requires less hydration. Drink up. As a matter of fact, don’t drink any less than you would during hotter months. Your skin requires the moisture that comes from being properly hydrated as much now as it did in warmer months. Colder weather has a tendency to be drier, meaning less available moisture for your skin.
  2. Use thicker, slower-absorbing moisturizers. A few of my favorite products during colder months are Nandi’s Skin Relief Butter and any of their body butter bars or lotion bars. Why? Because these are heavier in consistency and slower to absorb than normal body butters and lotions, therefore being longer lasting on the skin. They’re wonderful for locking in moisture right after a shower or bath. At the same time that these create a protective barrier against moisture loss, they also condition the skin.
  3. More baths, less showers. You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating. Even during summer months, showers can cause buildup on the skin, resulting in scaly and severely dry skin. Bathing opens the pores, provides more absorbent topical moisturizing and helps shed dead skin, especially on legs and feet. Not only that, it’s the perfect way to unwind and release stress. Be sure your baths or showers aren’t too hot, because too much heat can be drying to the skin.
  4. Moisturize heels. Don socks. Sleep. All summer you’ve walked around showing off your toes. Winter is the time to revitalize and pamper them. My nighttime ritual year ’round, but most especially during winter months, is to moisturize my feet, paying special attention to my heels, and slip into a pair of socks at bedtime. Performing this ritual leads to a lot of repairing and conditioning while you snooze. Come summer, you don’t have to get your feet ready, because they’re already ready.
  5. Open your curtains and blinds and let the sun shine in. Okay, okay, this one isn’t exactly a skin-care tip, but in a way it is. Our absorption of vitamin D is decreased during winter months. This could possibly contribute to more illnesses, including depression. Sunlight can help lift your spirits during winter months, which may motivate you to do more to care for your whole body. Your skin being one of your largest organs can’t help but benefit!


About Nandi – 

Here’s an excerpt that I swiped from her website about her Vision. – Born and bred in small-town Louisiana, most of what Nandi’s Naturals founder Yolanda “Nandi” Jacobs consumed came straight from the earth, no additives, no preservatives, no fillers. While life choices might have taken this kreyól girl away from her small-town upbringing, one thing always remained: a desire to recreate her childhood, where figs and pears were picked fresh off the trees in her grandmother’s backyard, where chickens clucked, roosters crowed, cows mooed and birds chirped. Of course, she didn’t want to place all those ingredients in her products, but you get the drift—good products don’t require tons of unpronounceable ingredients, when simple, safe ingredients will do. So, it’s with the vision of summer days eating blackberries until her mouth turned blue and fingertips black, that Nandi set out to create body care products that didn’t require a chemist to translate the ingredient list or cause panic attacks after seeing the price tag. In other words, she wanted her cluck to be a cluck and her moo to be a moo.


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