A Beautiful Mine…

In my early 20’s my definition of beauty was greatly influenced by the commercial images that saturated magazine covers and television. I was a slave to society’s definition of beauty; so much so that it altered my perception of my own beauty.     

I remember standing in line at the grocery store staring into the faces of people who looked NOTHING like me. The hue of their skin was either white or light, their hair, long and straight and their bodies fit and lean. Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Time, People, Ebony or even my beloved Essence Magazine didn’t believe women that looked like ME were beautiful enough to grace their covers. 

The BEAUTY of aging is the wisdom of the life you’ve already lived; and the lessons you’ve gathered along the journey. I realize now that the absence of ME and women baring my resemblance, forced me to look inside mySELF and take note of the BEAUTY that dwelled within ME. It also made me appreciate the simplicity of life and find JOY in the BEAUTY of things that are often overlooked and taken for granted.

This month in O Magazine, Lady O poses the question,

“What’s BEAUTIFUL to YOU?” 

My initial thought, “O Magazine is about to redefine Beauty as we know it. An all inclusive celebration, encompassing women from all walks of life in different shapes, sizes and hues. A celebration of REAL women.”

I was elated as I thumbed through the pages looking for the featured article. I reached page 94, paused, and then flipped back to the front cover…

“What’s Beautiful to YOU?”

How To Find The Lovely In Every Day…

Instead of the Superficial celebration of  external Beauty I expected, I found an insightful exploration into the simple joy of LIFE. Eight enchanting stories about discovering the BEAUTY of the unexpected. From sugary treats to snail trails, these first-person narratives fed my soul and led me to reflect upon my own definition of Beautiful.

A Beautiful Mine… 

I was about 12 when I fell in love with WORDS. I was mesmerized by the captivating  beauty of a well written story. The alluring love affair of nouns, adjectives and properly placed punctuation would send my heart racing.  I was a bookworm and WORDS were my EVERYTHING.

Books and the artistry of brilliant authors were the gateway to my awakening. The works of Hughes, Angelou and Hurston slowly changed my perception of BEAUTY and the ESSENCE of being a full-figured,  black woman in America.    


WORDS are Transformative. WORDS changed ME. They continue to change ME.

The inspirational WORDS written on post-it notes that frame my bathroom mirror motivate ME. The reassuring WORDS of loved ones and friends lift ME and give ME strength and the Life affirming WORD of GOD repairs and restores ME. Words are my EVERYTHING.

It is the power of WORDS that empower ME and reassure ME that I am enough. My narrative is constantly evolving and as my story changes, so do the illustrations that accompany it. The young girl who once shied away from the camera, has become the Selfie Queen. A woman that fully embraces her brown skin, chubby cheeks, large thighs and ample bosom.

I will always be a work in progress, making self improvements and tweaks along the way but the improvements are by choice, not force. I’ve reached that part of the journey where I can Unapologetically say, “F@#K Society’s Beauty Standards!”          










TCFStyle Expo 2018

Ignite ~ Engage ~ Empower

When you hear the words “Style Expo”,  you automatically think Fashion. And for the most part, The TCF Style Expo is just that. Two days of plus size fashion, workshops and runway shows to embrace women and their curves. A weekend of fun and laughter celebrating women of substance and women with purpose, women like me. Unapologetically Big, Beautiful, Bold women like me. Bloggers, models, brands and everyday women with at least one common thread, a love of all things FASHION gather together to Network and Glow. 

That being said, this year’s TCF Style Expo was so much more than Fashion for me. Several times during the weekend, surrounded by women who shared many of the same Hopes, Dreams and Desires that I hold in my heart, I felt enamored with myself and the possibilities of ME. In the days that followed, once I was home and settled; I was able to reflect and truly appreciate the event for what it was. I took time to take in the experience as a whole and ask myself the questions of Why I felt the need to be included in “This Tribe Called Plus”.

Why was I there? What value did I gain from the experience and more importantly what was my contribution to the community?

The answers come in waves. Aha! Moments that lend clarity and direction to a woman standing at a fork in the road, ready to make decisions and move forward.

The Mastermind Class was the Spark that IGNITED the fire in me that is still blazing today. Unapologetically Lisa, my blog and my baby that I’ve neglected for far too long, NEEDS my attention. Either, I’m going to nurture it or let it go. Give it LIFE or let it DIE.

The introduction of the Mastermind Class was ingenious and a welcomed addition to the TCF weekend. Marie’s, “Hey Girl Hey”, playfulness that we’ve all grown to love was replaced by Ms. Leggette’s seriousness and MBA that we’ve all learned to respect. I met women that were serious about the Business of Blogging. Women that were open and anxious to SHARE the struggles and triumphs of their journey to becoming successful Bloggers and Media Influencers.

Thus, allowing me to ENGAGE. I interacted and ENGAGED with women I would not normally be drawn to. I opened myself to the possibility that there were bonds to be formulated and collaborations to be explored outside the circumference of my “Sista Circle”.  My conviction that Successful women promote and encourage Success in other women was solidified. 

Which leads me down the road of truly acknowledging my niche and owning my purpose within the Blogging community.

I am not a Fashion Blogger.

Don’t get me wrong. I love pretty clothes and the allure of capturing the perfect picture, but these things are not the core of who I AM and therefore I find it difficult to be consistent. I blog for a while, do a few Instagram post and then slowly lose momentum. Why?


Instead I want to create a platform with content that EMPOWERS others to Live their Best Lives. I want to tell the story of my journey from a disempowered woman afraid to FLY, to the very determined, EMPOWERED woman I am today. A woman ready to BE herself and live her TRUTH ,Unapologetically.

Who would have thought a Style Expo would influence such an awakening. I wonder if the woman behind the brand knows the depth of her REACH. That her influence has exceeded the pretty faces and fashion of the plus size community. That she is a curator of Confidence and an Inspiration to many.

I believe The TCF Style Expo is evolving and Marie Denee Leggette is transcending beyond the boundaries of the Plus Size Community. I’m anxious to see what tricks Ms. Marie has up her sleeve for Twenty Nineteen. Only 350 PLUS days to go! 






Masking Mental Illness

Fashion Designer, Kate Spade dead at 55…        

The apparent suicide of fashion maven Kate Spade has taken the fashion industry by surprise. While thousands try to figure out how a wealthy, influential woman with such a colorful life died such a dark death, I find myself pondering the question, why didn’t anyone notice she was sinking.

I am left to assume that Kate, like many women with mental illness (diagnosed or not), learned to mask her pain. There is a shame and stigma that comes with mental illness that causes its sufferers to retreat and hide in the dark spaces of their own mind.

It’s sad, because if we would simply learn to embrace one another as women and open up during our darkest hours, many of us would feel free to surrender and ask for help.

Kate’s death had an unexpected impact on me. When my girlfriend texted me the news, I was stunned. I immediately wanted to know her story. Was she married or dating? Did she have children? Who was Kate Spade and what drove her to that place of no return? I found myself mourning a woman I never knew.


I have tussled back and forth with my own mental well-being for years, more in the last few months than ever before. I have battled anxiety most of my life. I’ve learned to live with it and function successfully without medication or therapy. But at what cost?

Masking Mental Illness is dangerous and can easily end in destruction. I am fortunate because my condition is not considered severe and can be managed through therapy and some major lifestyle changes. Kate’s death was confirmation that I need to unapologetically begin the process of removing people and situations from my life that cause me stress and anxiety. As my dear girlfriend suggested, I need to reintroduce myself as the person I WANT and NEED to be. It is up to me to train people how to treat me by showing them what level of respect is required to interact with me and what personal boundaries must be adhered to be in my life.

The process of healing seems overwhelming and the thought of embarking on such a journey cause my anxiety to flare, LOL. But at the same time I feel myself exhaling.

Step 1: Yell it from the roof top. The people who love you will come running.

Step 2: Research and find a great therapist. (Referrals Welcome)

Step 3: Open up to the possibilities and Live Out Loud, Unapologetically.



Land of the Free, Home of the Not-So Brave

I used to envy Carefreepeople that said they were “People Free”. You know the ones that are so quick to proclaim that they could care less what other people think. I secretly wished I was brave enough to throw all caution and care to the wind and do whatever I wanted, whenever and wherever the urge hit me. What a wonderful Life that must be!

As I sit here this 4th Day of July, watching the amateur fireworks show the neighborhood children are putting on, the thought hit me. I know very few people, perhaps none at all, that are truly Brave enough to be totally Free. Everyone cares how others perceive them. Otherwise we’d all be walking around nappy headed, smelly and grungy, cussing and  acting a fool when the mood hit us.  No, most of us are not that Brave, not at all.  20160705_002902

On the contrary, most of us are in bondage to one thing or the other. We’re obligated to our jobs and businesses. We’re committed to our families and relationships and we’re convicted by our values and personal moral standards. The way we dress, the way we speak and how we conduct ourselves is based upon the way we want others to receive us. We care about the impressions we leave behind and the imprint our presence lends to a situation. We Care… we all do.

I’m finding that Bloggers care more than most.  In a community saturated with beautiful people, the Plus Size Blogger world is perhaps the most judgmental, image conscious industry of them all. The constant quest to take the perfect picture of the perfect outfit and launch the perfect post seems relentlessly daunting. Only to watch your Likes increase…. If that’s not bondage I don’t know what is. These are the same girls however that go on YouTube and rant about how they don’t care what people think. Girl Bye…. You are consumed by what people think.

So the next time someone starts proclaiming their Independence and telling you how you need to join them on the Freedom Trail, give them a good once over. More than likely they’re rocking one or more pieces of designer clothing, driving a nice care, living in their gated community, on the way to their good job with benefits. They care….They care a lot more than they are willing to say.

Truth is we all care; too bad we’re not Brave or Free enough to admit it. But the goal is not to be so FREE that we stop caring but rather FREE enough to not allow the opinions of others to dictate our lives or determine our self esteem.

Proclaim your Independence & Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You…. Unapologetically.




Excuse Me…Not

Excuses-2A Life Filled with Excuses is a Life Full of Disappointments…

I haven’t written or blogged in months. Which is quite troubling to me because I was so motivated when I got started in January. I did my promotions leading up to my launch. I hired a photographer and took fashion pics. I posted about three or four posts and then lost my momentum. Soon after that the excuses started. I was too busy. I didn’t know what to write about. I hadn’t discovered my niche. I had yet to truly define my voice…. yadi-yadi-ya. Excuse after excuse, after excuse.

That’s been my niche and my voice for far too long. I have a million excuses as to why I don’t finish, why I fail to follow through or why I give up before I reach my goals. It seems to be the story of my life and I know I am not the only one. Some of us have been telling ourselves this story for years. Chapter upon chapter of reasons why we haven’t lost the weight, gotten the degree, started the business or achieved our Dreams. Excuses rather than Actions, Procrastination rather than Progress and Regrets rather than Results.

At the end of the day, it’s all a bunch of BullShit and it reeks of disappointment and self-doubt. It’s a never ending pity party that everyone is tired of attending. “My mama didn’t love me enough. I got teased because I was fat. My boyfriend cheated on me. My business fell through. I lost my house… blah, blah, blah.” Who freaking cares?!! Somewhere out there, someone has it worst, has been through just as much and has lost more. Guess what? They survived. They bounced back  and more importantly they CHANGED their story.

I’m an author. I weave words to craft stories. Stories that awaken imaginations. Tales that inspire Happily Ever Afters. There’s NO EXCUSE for my own story not having a Happy Ending. So here goes, NO MORE EXCUSES!

Allow Me to Re-Introduce myself. My name is…

I love the blogging community. I am naturally drawn to the plus size fashion bloggers and the body positive movement they lead. But I don’t want to tell women what they should or should not wear and I have no desire to show them how to DRESS. I would much rather Empower women and inspire others to adDRESS their issues like I did.

My “TRUTH” is my niche and my “JOURNEY” is my Voice. My willingness to be completely transparent is what draws people to me. I enjoy sharing my story. I want to use it to inspire others. I want to encourage anyWOMAN that will listen to get off their asses and stop dreaming… Yes STOP dreaming and LIVE. Do away with the EXCUSES and chase the hell out of your dreams. UNAPOLOGETICALLY Excuse yourself from the hurt of your PAST, the obligations of your PRESENT and the fear of your FUTURE. You’ve finally reached the part of the story where you have to step aside and EXCUSE yourSelf. Tell you to MOVE, Get out the Way! You’ve been holding me back long enough.




How Do You Stay Grounded, When You’re Destined to FLY?!

         I still marvel at how much my life has changed over the past 18 months. I don’t take for granted that God’s hand has been all over my life. He has opened doors that were once closed. He has restored my health and guided me down a path towards Happiness. He has given me wings and allowed me to fly to new heights. He has elevated me and I am on the rise.

IMG_2001A Change in Altitude Requires a Change in Attitude

As my life evolves, so does my attitude. I have been known to over react. I easily get bent out of shape when things get bumpy. I am the passenger on the plane that is hyperventilating and running up and down the aisle, screaming “We’re ALL Gonna DIE!”  Out of Control and Out of Order over NOTHING!

 Turbulence is inevitable. In fact it’s a sign of you CHANGING altitudes. I have learned to CALM my behind down…. no wait, let’s be honest. I am learning to CALM my behind down.

Yes, I still feel OVERWHELMED most of the time with all that is now required but I welcome the responsibilities that come along with RISING to new HEIGHTS. EVERY step up moves me closer to my DESTINY.  In my journey towards becoming centered and grounded, I am always looking for ways to MANAGE ME! Here are some things I am currently working towards integrating into my Daily RoutineIMG_1978

5 Easy Ways to Stay Grounded When You’re Overwhelmed

  1. Start your day with YOU: How you start your morning is a sure indicator as to how your day is going to go. Take 10 to 15 minutes to center yourself. Meditate, Make a quick Journal entry…. a nice cup of hot tea. Whatever it takes to calm you and turn your focus inwardly.
  2. A Healthy Mind is connected to a Healthy Body: Take steps towards fueling your body with GOOD foods. Incorporate high protein meals instead of sugary foods that cause PEAKS and PLUNGES. Exercise is an Excellent Stress reliever. Slap on your gym shoes, plug in those ear bugs and take a quick walk around the parking lot during your Break. You may shed a few pounds while letting go of Mental Weight.
  3. Enjoy the Ride: Use your time in the car to Relax and Decompress. Some light music, a good Podcast or just quiet time with your thoughts is often the BEGINNING of the END of a hard day. The work day should end when you walk out the door. Stop thinking about it, Talking about it and stressing over it. You have already dedicated 9+ hours to it. Let it go and Breath!
  4. A Good Circle of Friends….. Surround yourself with people that support you, encourage you and know you. A strong Support System is imperative to success. Friends and loved ones that know you well enough to know when you’re overwhelmed and not yourself. People that can talk you in off the ledge…
  5. Night, Night! Cut off the television, turn down the ringer on your phone, get in the bed and go to sleep. Pretend you are your parents and give yourself a BEDTIME. A well rested mind and body are more productive. When you are tired LIFE is overwhelming, every little shake feels like an earthquake. Proper rest allows your body the opportunity to REBOOT.

Life is going to keep coming at you from every direction; especially when God is Elevating you and Expanding your territory. Brace yourself for the Turbulence, Relax and lean back for the Incline. And by all means grab a window seat and ENJOY the view. You’re going NEW PLACES! 


Unapologetically Successful…..Unapologetically Lisa

Middle of the Road

IMG_1938-1How do you do what you LOVE, while doing what you MUST?


                I’ve come to a fork in the road. I’ve been here before but this time is different. I finally have direction and I am very clear about my destination. Now all I have to do is figure out how to keep moving forward.  I’m finding it difficult to cram everything I NEED to do and everything I WANT to do in my 24 hour day, 7 day week. Yeah, Yeah I know I have the same 24 hours that Beyoncé has….whatever. She has several personal assistants, managers, drivers, chefs and a slew of Minions to keep her in FORMATION. I am practically a one woman show. It’s me and one Good, Good Girlfriend. So how do I keep the momentum going without having a mental breakdown and CRASHING? IMG_1931-1

           I need MapQuest… I need that Navigation Chick to chime in throughout my day and talk to me. “In 45 minutes post a picture on Instagram. In 3 feet, turn right, sit down at your desk and blog.”  Wouldn’t that be perfect? For me it would be ideal! BUT… since this is NOT about to happen any time soon, I am taking steps to figure it out on my own. To Thy Own Self be True….. Lisa Needs a written plan. I thrive off ‘TO DO LISTS’ and ‘SCHEDULES’. So I went out and purchased a HANDY DANDY NOTEBOOK and devised a Master Plan.

The First 5 Steps

Scheduling for Success and Planning for Progress

  1. Pray Daily, reconnect with Myself and God. Ask for His direction.
  2. Devise an hour by hour schedule that will help develop a routine that incorporates work obligations, writing/blogging, exercise and relaxation.
  3. Eliminate distractions and activities that are not productive.
  4. Eliminate the people and situations that are weighing me down.
  5. DO!!! Put steps 1 through 4 into ACTION! Open the doors that Lead to Success and Get Moving! IMG_1906-1 IMG_1923-1








The Mad Hatter

It seems I’ve fallen in love with hats. I’ve purchased several over the last few months. Big ones, small ones, straw ones, leather ones and even a couple of tams. Anything that catches my eye and pulls at my inner Diva. I find myself trying them on and standing in the mirror admiring my curly tendrils sprouting from beneath. I often smile inwardly because I love them all and most were purchased because they made me feel a bit of nostalgia. My lavender tam always summons memories of my beautiful Grandmother, Carrie. She had an array of tams in several colors that crowned her head and made her look regal. My chocolate Kangol instantly conjures images of my father and his undeniable swag.  And my floppy brim, I purchased to pay homage to my beloved Zora Neal Hurtson. I feel feisty when I put it on and inspired to write something saucy and revolutionary.

I’ve been wearing hats all my life….figuratively that is. I use to complain about being overwhelmed and weighed down by the responsibility of being so many things to so many people. By all intents and purposes, I am the heroic version of “The Mad Hatter” and I often feel like I am lost in WOnderLaNd.  I am a daughter to one, sister to two, Auntie to one and friend to many. I am an entrepreneur, an educator, an author, an event planner, a blogger, a public speaker and a Best Life influencer. I am all these things and more….much more. As much as I want to amp up the harp strings and cue the sad music, I won’t. I am beginning to fancy a new hat to compliment my new Life.  It’s a church going hat with a neat little bow to the side. When I slip it on I instantly think about the goodness of God and all that He has blessed me with. I smile to myself in spite of  my woes because I know, “To whom much is given, much is required.”  God has plans for me, Top Hat plans.









A Statement Peace….

Since I launched my blog I’ve had several people question the name, Unapologetically Lisa. “What made you name it that?” they quiz. “What is that all about?” others pry giving a little side eye shade. First and foremost this is my Space in the Internet Universe to do as I please. Never once have I accepted an invitation to someone’s house and been so rude as to question the décor. It’s just not proper etiquette!

That being said, Unapologetically Lisa was born during my rebirth. Once I made the decision to take charge of my LIFE and LIVE, I had to make some hard choices. The hardest choice was putting Lisa first. I had to learn to say NO to stressful situations and people that were draining me of all of ME! And I had to do so without Apologies. Amazingly, I lost some friends and gained some frenemies. It seems a lot of people were okay with me NOT LIVING. They were comfortable with me being Morbidly Obese and DEAD!

I was available to EVERYBODY! It seems I was the Dream Keeper, living vicariously through others. Helping them plan their lives and bring their Dreams to fruition. I was fully vested in their Happiness, expecting the same in return once I found mine. So you can only imagine my surprise and despair when I got just the opposite. WTF! Are you kidding me? The more I started living the more some of my relationships started to die. I mean some of my “So Called” Ride or Dies were flat out upset with me because I was no longer readily available. Wow!

In the beginning I felt bad. I mean for three or four years these were my peoples…. Literally people that rallied around me and supported me in my Fatcation from life. Then one day like a subtle breeze the Truth blew in. They weren’t there for me, they were there for themselves. Girl they WUZ using Me!!! I can joke about it now, but back then I was heartbroken. These were the people I thought would be there to Celebrate the New Me with Me. They didn’t even LIKE the New Me! LOL!!!

Anyway once the initial shock wore off, I developed what one of my Good, Good Girlfriends refers to as the “F Them” mentality. I decided to Unapologetically choose me, over and over again. I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE for living my life instead of watching you live yours. I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE for chasing my Dreams instead of yours and I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE for choosing to no longer WEIGHT to LIVE.

I have Fashioned my life around decisions that best Fit me. I Accessorize my day with just the right No’s and Yes’s to make my outfit complete. I only invite people in that compliment my overall Look. Unapologetically Lisa is my Statement of Peace. The peace I speak into my Life and over my Life everyday. I will not Apologize for seeking a Life that is Tailored to Suit me.

Unapologetically Lisa….SheezMee


PhotoGrid_1454627496257    PhotoGrid_1454627209102





To Thy Own Selfie Be True

It seems like just yesterday that the mere presence of a camera would have me running for the hills. I refused to pose for pictures, let alone take any of myself. And the thought of anyone posting pictures of me on any type of Social Media site would send me into a cussing frenzy. How dare you give the world proof of my state of being. I was Morbidly Obese, therefore I had to remain an invisible enigma. Standing in the shadows….out of SITE.

Oh but I had a DREAM….

I remember spending hours perusing the blogs of my favorite Blogger Baes. The Natural Fashionista, Marie Denee, Ms. Grown and Curvy and Chasity Garner were all Blogger Goddesses to me. I adored the images that adorned their pages. They seemed so confident, so sure of themselves. I wanted to be a part of their Plus Size Revolution. I wanted to Live and Thrive in their community. But in my eyes my size alone would keep them from rolling out the WELCOME mat on my behalf.  And despite the countless number of Supersized Bloggers that boldly flaunted their size confidence, I felt I wasn’t good enough. So I weighted. I weighted until I felt I was picture perfect. I weighted until I was confident in my SELFie.



Knock, Knock…. I’s HERE!

Blogger Life and the Social Media Scene are all about capturing the Perfect Picture. A Sensational Selfie is all a sista needs to be LIKED. The right pose at just the right angle can stop a person in mid scroll and have them tapping away to show you Insta Love. I for one have been swept away by the trappings and thrills that come along with having a picture LIKED by complete strangers. BUT do all those little thumbs and hearts come at a cost? Have we lost our sense of Self in the pursuit of the perfect Selfie?

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good selfie, I really do. I’ve been late for events standing in the mirror snapping picture after picture. Smile, no smile, head tilted, shoulders back and stomach held in….all in an effort to capture a pic worthy of posting. Which is all fine and dandy within reason, especially if it leads people to my blog. I will Unapologetically abide by the rules and pay dues in the community I want to live in. What I will not do is compromise the contents of my HOME or my character to FIT in. What is IN my heart is far more important to me than the number of hearts on my Instagram posts. A picture may be worth a thousand words but a strong sense of SELF is priceless.

If you are a part of my Facebook family you know that I have recently started a Selfie Challenge. Being the perfectionist that I am, I want to work on taking a better picture. I love the arts and photography; so I would love to be able to capture pictures and moments that are visually stimulating. BUT I also want to Influence my Rubees to capture the beauty that lies within. The beauty that will truly elevate you to a higher level of understanding and loving yourSELF. So YES I do SELFies. I AM a Self-Educated, Self-Employed woman who has the Self-Confidence needed to know her Self-Worth. I am nothing without a full sense of SELF. Self-Love, Self-Respect, Self-Confidence, Self-Awareness…

Until you find yourSELF and embrace the parts of your inner being that really matter, you will be lost and broken and there is no amount of LIKES that can fix that.



To thy own SELFie be TRUE, Rubees!