30 Things I Love Right Now - My Pretty Brown

30 Things I Love Right Now

Last week, See Jane Write founder Javacia gave us a blogging/writing prompt to get our creative juices flowing. I enjoyed reading her 30 things that she loves (right now), so I said…I can do this! Confession: I’m really digging the writing prompt idea. Well…here goes it!

30 Things I'm Loving Right Now - My Pretty Brown Blog

1) My Gizeh Birkenstock sandals. | (2) Wearing a t-shirt with a cardigan. | (3) Curvy girls who run. | (4) The Hoka Clifton. | (5) My rowing machine. | (6) Run Disney. | (7) Dreaming Big. | (8) Smoked salmon cream cheese from Einstein Bros. Bagels. | (9) Lecrae. | (10) When pineapples and flamingos are printed together (stationary, shirts, pants, etc.) | (11) My Tribe. | (12) Fried chicken. | (13) Grinding my own coffee beans. | (14) Silvertron’s Fried Cheese. (15) Being a marathoner. | (16) “Good For You” by Selena Gomez. | (17) Chocolate girls who feel confident wearing red lipstick and ROCK it! (18) Alex and Ani bangles. | (19) Being unashamed. | (20) That everyone calls me “Artie Cakes”. (21) Downton Abbey (Ready for season 6, not ready for it to be the final season). | (22) Oreo Thins. My love for these tasty treats is real y’all! | (23) Grilled corn. | (24) HB. | (25) Authentic people. | (26) New journals. | (27) Singing, dancing, and feeling FREE when Hillsong’s “This Is Living (Now)” comes on. | (28) Love. | (29) Running for charity. | (30) Being inspired.

 Your turn!

Sloss Fest 2015!

loss Music & Arts Festival

Can you believe it’s almost August? This year is truly flying by! Over the weekend, I attended the inaugural Sloss Music & Arts Festival held at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. It was a two-day music event which brought music to Birmingham while showcasing some of the best food, Birmingham food trucks, craft beer, cocktails, and artists around! It was a hot, fun-filled weekend which included: vendors, poster makers, more than 30 bands, 3 stages and a look into the diverse culture of Birmingham! I only attended the Sunday showcase, but it was nothing short of energetic, fun, and amazing! 

It was so refreshing to see everyone relaxing in their hammocks, enjoying good music, good eats, and having a good time! This “Boho Bella” felt right at home!

Sloss Fest

I walked around for a bit and decided to grab a bite to eat. I kept seeing everyone with what looked to be some type of chicken dish. My discovery…Phat Daddy’s! They were serving up something serious with their Bourbon Chicken and Mac-and-Cheese combo! Goodness, I hope they will return next year!

loss Music & Arts Festival

loss Music & Arts Festival

As part of my 9-mile run recovery time, I sat in the the grassy area and watched the Manchester Orchestra set from a distance. They are an American Indie Rock band out of Atlanta, GA. This band is so dope, y’all! I know I have eclectic taste in music, but this band instantly became one of my new favorites. I “thought” I recorded an Insta vid of the band rockin’ it out on stage, but to my surprise I didn’t hit “send”. Womp! You can watch a short clip of them here. I heard the echoes of those instruments belting out across the grounds and I knew I had to be closer. I hurried to the stage to catch the song before it ended. “Where Have You Been?” is absolutely AMAZING live! 

loss Music & Arts Festival

 loss Music & Arts FestivalThe sun finally started to go down. Thank God because I was a hot, sweaty mess! Festival-goers even had on hydration backpacks…it was just that hot! After Manchester Orchestra performed, I headed to the other stage. I really loved the Sloss Fest set up—after one set finished it flowed into the next.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones is an amazing soul band based out of Birmingham. When I tell you…they had us swaying from side to side! The way Paul Janeway pulled notes from the belly of his soul, you would have thought we were at a hole-in-the wall Circa 1985! The band was awesome! Proud to know that they are a part of Birmingham.

I’m a sucker for black and white photos, so here are a few moments…




I headed towards the purple lights and third stage area to see Purity Ring, but the way the crowd was set up…it just did not happen. I love that it was a packed out show, but I wish I could have seen the performance. I watched heads bob through about four songs and decided it was time to call it a night. I was zapped! I missed Primus, Tyler–the Creator, and The Avett Brothers–but I know the rest of the shows were awesome! Too bad you can’t be everywhere at the same time. You can check out the full line-up here.

loss Music & Arts Festival

Next year, I definitely plan to attend and YOU don’t want to miss it!


When Did You Get Here?

hellodecI can’t believe December is here! It seriously snuck up on me and my goodness–this is the last month in 2013! I’m looking forward to so many things in the upcoming weeks–Holiday cheer, concerts, The Chipmunks Christmas Carols (Yes, I still love them), peppermint mocha coffee, peppermint bark, and baking my favorite sweet eats like peppermint bark fudge, found here. I’m sure you see a trend here. The older I get, the more I appreciate this time of year. I get to spend time with family, go on a random Starbuck’s run for a Gingerbread Latte, or just relax in my Snuggie by the fireplace.

snowmanI found this cute, little mug at the Dollar Tree to go with my Mocha Mint Cappuccino. Cheers to the Holiday Season!


Looking for some great Christmas music? Check out Highlands Worship A Highlands Christmas-My King Is Here CD! You can find it here.

Let the countdown to Christmas begin! Do you have any plans for the holiday season?

Recreate13 Women's Conference

#reCreate13 Recap: I Was There!


On last Friday and Saturday I attended my first reCreate (Women’s) Conference! It was one of the most incredible, empowering conferences that I’ve ever attended in my life! As a woman, a wife, and a future Mommy–it created an atmosphere for transparency, learning, growth and beyond. Talk about inspiring! Hearing from powerhouses such as Lisa Bevere, Priscilla Shirer, and Charlotte Gambill will bless your LIFE!

We all want to make our mark in this world and it is my hope that we all desire to change lives. I’m so very grateful to my Church of the Highlands family and my Pastor, Chris Hodges, and his beautiful wife, Mrs. Tammy for creating such an atmosphere to make it possible. They are so selfless and they both strive to help make this world a better place. I truly believe it’s their desire for us to have the most abundantly, blessed life ever! Being a part of this conference ignited something in me. I’ve been inspired by so many beautiful people and it’s a MUST that as I learn and grow–I pay it forward!

20131008-144425.jpgPhoto: nicoleunser on Instagram

As we (women) pulled into the entrance of the church, the men were holding signs that said, “You Are Beautiful!”, “You Are Cherished!”, “You Are a Warrior Princess!” — When I tell you after I saw the first sign, tears filled my eyes and I was done for the day! In my mind I was saying, Wow God! All of this for me? This is how you feel!?  I was so overwhelmed with emotion, I could hardly contain myself!


I was in awe when I walked in. The entire building was decorated beautifully.



Our first session began with worship led by Christy Nockels! She has the sweetest voice ever and I absolutely adore her!



Photo: Charlotte Gambill, Priscilla Shirer, and Lisa Bevere — Empowering Women!




Priscilla Shirer spoke to us for two sessions. She was so laid back (as they all were) and witty, engaging, and transparent. I think every single woman in that room could relate. She is a wife, mother, and her outreach is with Going Beyond Ministries. Mrs. Shirer has published work including: Discerning the Voice of God, God is Able, A Jewel in His Crown, Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected, and other great works.

I also enjoyed hearing Charlotte Gambill. I love her British accent, too. Charlotte is a wife, mother, author, speaker, and pastor who is very enthusiastic about teaching and building up and strengthening leadership. She leads Life Church with her Husband in London, England. She is also the author of Turnaround God: Discovering God’s Transformational Power.


lisabevere2I had the opportunity to meet Lisa Bevere, Christian author of Girls With Swords, Fight Like a Girl, Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry, Lioness Arising, and many more. I loved how she brought the “Lioness” into her talk with us. You must get the book! She was super sweet and I told her she had to be one of THE most FABulous women I know–especially to have “G-babies”, as she calls them. What I loved about her was she was dressed in black faux leather pants, black biker boots, and she had so much charisma with a side of “edge”!


reCreate continues…



My friend, Candra and I, at the After Party on the lawn enjoying some “Welcome to Moe’s”! We even got photo-bombed by a Coca Cola! Everything was very good and we also had Gigi’s Cupcakes minis for dessert! Yum to my Tum!


The After Party on the lawn was so much fun! The band, The Only’s, performed and kept the party all the way live! Everyone had a blast doing the Cupid Shuffle and I was so excited when they performed one of my favorite old school jams, “Word Up” by Cameo! I know I’m telling my age.

photo 4a

Up early for day two of the conference!

Highlands Worship Team


The guys performed a boy-band’ish song dedicated to us! It was hilariously cute! And believe it or not, they really can sing and perform!

This is one of the pictures that was hung in the building. A team of ladies took pieces and hand-painted them many months before the conference to hang as decor! I love the chalkboard photo idea. Simply lovely.


Pastor Chris and his wife, Mrs. Tammy, during our Q & A Session.


I had such an amazing and unforgettable experience, I didn’t want it to end. To learn more about reCreate Women and the conference, visit www.recreatewomen.com!




“Heyyyy…Mrs. Carter!” Experience and Takeover at EMF!

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Well since it’s  Sasha “Fierce Friday” and I’m listening to Beyoncé on Spotify I figured I would finally post the awesomeness that is the — MRS. CARTER Experience at Essence Festival 2013! I know it’s almost October, but as long as 2014 didn’t hit then I’m not too late, right? And besides, it’s never too late to post about the Queen! I shared about my trip here–but the icing on the cake was seeing Baddie Bey perform LIVE in concert! I saw/heard her for the first time in D.C. at Inauguration 2013  (yes, she did actually sing, I don’t care what anybody says). BUT…there is NOTHING like hearing her sing and watching her float across that stage and gyrate to different rhythms/beats! So you know I had to kick it up a notch for my girl! Yes, we’re Besties in my head.

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Mrs. Carter READY!

I call this my “big hair don’t care ” look — Kimmie Gee meets Ashley E (Beyoncé’s dancers)! I’ll share the deets on my outfit in a later post.

Pre-Concert Festivities — The CoverGirl Queendom Party


Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog Me and the Girls on the Pink Carpet at the CoverGirl Queendom Party!

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Look who we ran into!?

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Yes, that’s the gorgeous Nicole Murphy and Andrea Kelly from the show Hollywood Exes! But who cares about exes when you are that fabulous!

The Concert!

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

I briefly went to hear Luke James perform in the Super Lounge. I’ve seen him perform several times so I didn’t stay long and decided to head to the main stage to hear TGT. I couldn’t post pictures because Tank and Tyrese was showing out taking off all their clothes! LOL (Kidding…but they really were).

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Janelle Monáe was on the main stage!

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

I really enjoyed Janelle Monáe! Her performance was awesome! She’s truly one of a kind and I love her eclectic style. Get her album! You’ll thank me later.




Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Let me just say…Beyoncé TRULY delivered–simply AMAZING! From her vast wardrobe changes, colorful ensembles, band, dancers, singers, voice, stage presence–it was nothing less than perfection! I’m glad I was able to capture some great moments of her thanks to a very special gift!

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog


Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog “I’m a growwwwwn woman”

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Essence Festival - Heyyy Mrs. Carter - My Pretty Brown Blog

Essence Festival 2013 | My Pretty Brown Blog

Essence Music Festival 2013 Rewind!

Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

I know you thought I forgot, right!? Not me! It’s been crazy-hectic and when it comes to getting pictures off of my camera–let me just say, I’m a little slow. Blame technology and the convenience of sharing capabilities on smartphones, tablets, etc. I traveled to New Orleans (NOLA) on July 5-8 to attend the Essence Music Festival (EMF) for the second time. My HB and I went for the first time last year and we had a blast! This year I went with girlfriends and it was fun times, indeed!

Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

After a long train ride, me and the girls were ready to hit Bourbon! First stop…hand grenades. Everybody had hand grenades on the brain, because I think we made 5 stops before we found the frozen kind! Next stop…Razzoo! Photo op with some of the crew + Keisha (who we met). It was so SUPER packed and HOT, but we had a great time!



Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

Guess who was spotted out and about and got featured?

Lane Bryant featured me on their Instagram for their #LBSummerStyle during EMF Weekend! I thought that was pretty cool! I was also featured on the Coca Cola Happiness Wall in the Convention Center for the entire EMF weekend.


First Stop…

Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

African Pride “Beauty and the Beat” Pop-Up Beauty Suite was so much fun! As soon as we walked in they were passing out Mimosas for us to indulge in, taking photos, and I even received an awesome swag bag full of goodies! Kelly Price was there and DJ Spinderella was doing her thang on the turntables with all of the old-school hits! I took home lots of new hair products and I can’t wait to use them all. I’m still using products I swagged from the beauty suite last year!


Convention Center Bound!

Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

There’s always tons to do at the convention center! Eric Benét was singing his pretty, little heart out in one corner, McDonald’s was giving away gift cards and bags in another. There was much more where that came from. I had the opportunity to see a lot of great acts, performances, a fashion show, and I didn’t leave empty handed!


Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

I ran into my Line Sister, Alisha, at the convention center. We always seem to find each other in the midst of all the Essence festivities!


Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

I was sad that the River Walk was closed until 2014 due to renovations. No bread pudding from the hot spot. *sad face* This gives my HB and I an excuse to make another trip!


Later that night…

Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

Partyayyy with my Chicas (Chevy, Krystel, and Katina)! Gotta love the photo-bomb! We attended a party hosted by Laz Alonso with special guests, Lance Gross and Pooch Hall. I danced my tail off that night and burned about 1000 calories!  


Celeb Sightings!

Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

Miss Jill Scott! — Let me just say I have never been star struck–but when Jill passed by me in the convention center, I could hardly contain myself! I could literally reach out and touch her. As we were leaving, I kept hearing a crowd going wild. A lot of the celebs were leaving the building at the same time and they greeted fans before they departed. I was excited to get another glimpse of her and all her FABulousness. She just exudes grace and confidence–Simply gorgeous! And yes, I will STAN for Miss Jill!


Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

I had so many pictures I wanted to include, but this post would have a million photos!

First Photo — Empowerment Sunday — Top/Bottom: Singer, Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child) was tearing up the stage taking us back to Old Church! She was awesome! Center: Kurt Carr and the Kurt Carr singers. If you’ve ever attended EMF and didn’t go to Empowerment Sunday, you are truly missing out! It’s an incredible worship experience. If you ever decide to go–don’t leave there without attending!

Center Photo — Kevin Hart leaving the convention center. It was his birthday and he took photos of the crowd and posted an Instagram video of us singing Happy Birthday to him.

Right Photo — Eric Benét performed a mini-concert–Boris Kodjoe, leaving the convention center in all of his gorgeousness (I think the ladies will agree with me on this)–AJ Johnson was in the “AJ ZONE” giving the people what they want…FITNESS style, promoting better health! We even did the Wobble! Yes, that’s a workout in itself.

There were more sightings: Roblé, Roland Martin, Yolanda Adams, Tasha Cobbs, and Brandy…just to name a few!


Stay Tuned for Part Two of the EMF Rewind

The Mrs. (Beyoncé) Carter TAKEOVER!

Essence Festival 2013 - My Pretty Brown Blog

New Music: Tamar Braxton – ‘Love and War’


The wait is over! Okay y’all…I normally don’t “promote” music, because I know how some people can get  pushy with tweeting music downloads, links, writing on ya FB wall! I swear I JUST got a notification from some random artist asking me to follow them and tweet their music as I’m typing this. lol

But seriously when I run across some good music I love to share it! We have grown to love, crazy, reality star/bombshell “She” aka Tamar Braxton and her ever-so vocal self. She has been so passionate about her music career and one thing is for sure, patience is a virtue! When I heard her new song “Love And War”…chiiiileeeee I had to go to iTunes and download it ret then!!! This song is AH-maze!!! It reminds me of the REAL R&B — that feel good music from back in the day.

You can download it here. I promise it won’t disappoint.  Also if you would like to hear a snippet of her “Love and War” Showcase (Acoustic) rehearsal you can hear it here! This is some good stuff!

Enjoy Music Lovers!!!