30 Things I Love Right Now - pen HEAVEN  RIVER WILD | My Pretty Brown Fit

30 Things I Love Right Now

(1) OPEN HEAVEN / River Wild album by Hillsong Worship.  (2) Pumpkin Spice everything.  (3) Distance running. (4) Food photography. (5) Heated throw (best invention ever). (6) OISM leg and foot massager. (7) Being CHANGED. (8) Marriage Small Group.  (9) Tuna Creations. (10) #BlogLikeCrazy. (11) Cooking during the holiday season. I can taste my sweet potato and pecan pie right now. (12) Overcoming my fears. (13) Hot chicken. (14) Loredona Riesling. (15) Being a Marine Corps Marathon finisher. (16) Ranch Fries from Wings Plus. (17) Running Turtles. (18) “Hello” by Adele on repeat. (19) The Hoka Clifton 2. (20) Perseverance. (21) My running bestie (BRF). (22) Being an overcomer. (23) Trap music. (24) Fall. My favorite season. (25) Piña Fraise LaCroix (Translates to Pineapple Strawberry). (26) Grace. (27) The Shrimp Basket. Yes! to all-you-can-eat shrimp. (28) The Scott Family. (29) Holiday-inspired flavored coffee drinks. (30) Every single person that encouraged me, prayed for me, and sent me well wishes on my journey to the Marine Corps Marathon.

30 Things I Love Right Now — Part 1


8 Ways To Start Your Day - My Pretty Brown Fit

8 Ways to Kick-Start Your Day

I’m happy that it’s Monday! Yes, you read that right! I love the start of a new week because it gives me a fresh start and a new perspective. Last week (and weekend) was so busy. I was ready for a fresh start. Last night was also the first night I actually felt like I gained an hour of sleep and felt rested. I woke up refreshed! In honor of my good sleep, I’m sharing ways to kick-start your day!

8 Ways To Start Your Day - My Pretty Brown Fit


1.  Prayer/Meditation: Prayer/meditation will center your mind, body, and spirit. It creates an atmosphere for positive energy that will lead to a productive day.

2.  Water:  Before I go to bed at night, I place a bottle of water on my nightstand. While we are asleep our metabolism slows down and our body is slightly dehydrated—which is why I drink 8 ounces of water before my feet hit the floor every morning. This also helps get a kick-start on getting those recommended glasses in.

3.  Morning Stretches:  I get up and stretch for 10-15 minutes every morning. I also like using a foam roller, resistance bands, or even a towel to get my stretch on. I feel so relaxed and ready for what’s next! Check out these 8 stretches you should do every morning!

4. Exercise:  I love starting my day with a workout when I can say “NO” to Mr. Snooze. I feel better when I get it done early rather than late. For those who need a little motivation to start the week (especially Monday motivation), Move It Monday is an international campaign that encourages people of all fitness levels to get moving each week starting on Mondays. Check it out! Also, if you are a blogger or writer, See Jane Write shares why bloggers and writers need to exercise!

5. But first, Coffee:  Admit it. Everything is better with coffee! There’s something about it that gives that extra boost to start the day. Green tea works, too. If you are looking for ways to energize your day and clear your brain, read this post!

6.  Eat Breakfast: We hear it all the time. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, it’s true. It also keeps you from becoming a Crabster! It’s best to go for a protein-packed, fiber rich breakfast that will keep you full until lunch. I like to eat every to 2 to 2.5 hours, so a healthy snack in between breakfast and lunch is a great option, too!

7.  Writing Out Goals/To-Do-ListWriting out goals and a to-do-list really help me organize my day. As I complete a task, I mark it off my list then move on to the next one. Before I know it, my tasks are complete.

8. Turn up the music:  There’s something about music that just gets me pumped up! Turn on your favorite playlist and move and groove your way out the door to an awesome day!

[Tweet “Here are 8 ways to kick-start your day! #health #wellness”]


How do you kick-start your day?



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.

[Tweet “Check out my 30 things that I love right now! #30ThingsILove #Bloganista”]

 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