Hey Everyone! I hope your Friday is going awesome.
Before I talk about how these trains scare me, let me say that I love taking the train. I used to drive everywhere in Chicago, and that just became a drag after a while. But, riding the train is fun, because I get to explore, zone out (when needed), people watch (because, that’s always fun), think about life, pray, and all the cool things that come with being chauffeured around the city. Well, it’s not really being chauffeured, but you get my drift.
Name: Altrichia Cook
Occupation: Founder/Creator, Allusions by A. Lekay Swimwear
A mother at 18, I have learned to appreciate my life’s journey so far. I raised my son, worked two jobs and maintained full time student status at Florida State University for my Bachelor’s and Florida A&M University for my Master’s degrees- all because of determination! I had a lot of sleepless nights, even times where I literally cried myself to sleep. Life is not easy, and those who seem to have an easy life are constantly working and creating ways to expand. All in a short amount of time, Altrichia started her swimwear collection and landed an NYFW runway two years in a row.
Wednesday morning (10/22) felt quite peculiar. My alarm went off at 7a.m., but I felt super groggy, so I hit snooze. It was really me against my body. Unfortunately, my body won the war, and I fell back asleep. The second time I woke up, it was 9:50a.m. This is extremely late for me to wake up. By this time, I felt like I had slept half the day already.
What is life like in New York? How are things going? How is your book doing? I get asked these questions pretty often by friends and family.
The one question that I really hear a lot is: Is it dirty in New York? Sometimes I think people, who have not visited NY think it’s one big trash can, full of rats…but I digress.
Life in New York is a constant transition, but an exciting one. I have always been a lover of the fast- paced city life. Bright lights, exciting events to go to, just a good time all the time.
Me: Far left. That cool guy is my cousin, and those lovely ladies are HU alum.
This weekend I took a trip to Washington, DC to visit my cousin and partake in the Howard University Homecoming festivities. I’ve been out of college for about five years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever attended another university’s homecoming outside of my own- I did party at other campuses though.
I’m not really sure what I expected, but I was totally surprised. A little back story- I went to the University of Illinois (Urbana- Champaign), which is a predominantly white institution. However, during homecoming, there was an African- American homecoming, which I attended. Definitely a great experience to fellowship with people who looked like me.
I don’t believe you can prepare for life.
Life is too random, too sporadic, too unpredictable… Not to mention often times unfair.
Life never gives you time to prepare, but it throws you a bowl of circumstances that force you to either sink or swim.
You better know how to swim.
What if I don’t know how to swim… Guess I’ll sink.
With little preparation… Life teaches you to be present. At some point, the very moments that we enjoy will transform into an uncomfortable situation that will leave you baffled and confused
Being present often leaves you vulnerable to any possibility, favorable and unfavorable. But what is most important is that you’re present.
Life often force teaches us to be fearless, however as humans we do the opposite and shrink with fear. We sink into a place of delusional protection. Then we become stuck.
Life is an ongoing process of losing control- letting yourself free fall into every experience, whether we like it or not.
The present is a gift.
Failure is merely greatness in its infancy! – Alechia Reese
Name: Alechia Reese
Occupation: CEO/President, The Girl Rethought Project & Executive Director, 360 Gateway Brand Management
You never know what you have in common with someone until you spark a conversation. Brandi and I were standing in line at Demetria Lucas’ book signing a couple Mondays ago, and she, myself and couple other women all seemed to migrate towards each other. We all conversed and learned so much about each other in such a short amount of time. That’s when I discovered Brandi had taken the same leap of faith like myself and relocated to New York. We pretty much moved around the same time.
I live in one of the many cities in New Jersey, but luckily, I am about twenty minutes away from NYC. Every time I commute to the city, the gateway station is 34th Street- Penn Station, which positions commuters right in Herald Square- everything is right here. All of your favorite stores from H&M to Macy’s. It’s a few blocks from the bigger Times Square attraction. Depending on which side of Penn Station you enter or exit, you can see the entry to Madison Square Garden.
Name: Jeff Osuji
Graduation Year: 2009, 2011, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
College Degree: BS, Chemistry; MBA Marketing Concentration
What did you have planned after graduation?
After graduation I planned to work for a pharmaceutical company or a medical device company, possibly in sales. I felt this would be a good use of my undergrad chemistry degree and still enable me to interact in a business environment, as opposed to spending my hours in the lab as I did during my undergrad years. Unfortunately, due to the economy, I graduated jobless and spent the weeks after graduation filling out job applications, taking mentors to lunch, and shadowing successful people in my network.
Everyone is in such a rush these days. We rush relationships, weightloss, career paths. This generation is all for instant gratification.
I am even guilty of wanting things instantly. I released my first book, Five Ways to Get Your Ideas out of Your Head, last month, and sometimes I’m like, I should be a best-selling author by now. Then I hear a still, small voice that tells me, be patient.
As much as I enjoy sharing bits and pieces of my life with you, I really want to know your individual stories as well. This site could not possibly be called Yur Storee, without your stories!
I have always heard the saying, be careful how you treat people, because you might be entertaining an angel. I tend to keep that in mind, when I encounter strangers.
Being totally transparent with you, sometimes I don’t always feel like conversing. I have my reasons, because sometimes those encounters are really weird, or I fear that I may have to say something to a person that may not be what they want to hear (this is usually the case, when men try to hit on me, and I am just not feeling it).
It’s amazing how as children we see the world with so many possibilities, and as we age those possibilities seem to become smaller and smaller. I appreciate this four minute reminder from a 6-year-old to go back and imagine the many possibilities that life offers us.
So, last Monday during NYFW, I had the pleasure of meeting the awesome June Ambrose. I’m hardly ever star struck, but her stardom struck me. She was super sweet, and funny.
I usually stay far away from mainstream news, but the constant commentary and coverage regarding Ray Rice and his wife has really been on my mind. Between the media frenzy and social network commentary, somewhere down the line, the fact that these people are human continues to be neglected.
If you have not heard about PRSVR, you need to get in tune. I have been following this brand for about two years now, and their evolution never ceases to amaze me.
Before I go into the advice Rae Holliday shared with me at the Essence Block Party (see post, here), I just wanted to give a little back story to this post- and the many to follow. On occasion I run into individuals who are reflections of where I aspire to be in life, and they share kind words that push me along my journey- so I want to share those words with you too :)
How do you kick off being in New York? With a block party during New York Fashion Week! Major shout out to Essence magazine for putting this awesome event together. I truly enjoyed being amongst such a variety of people- so many stylish entrepreneurs walking around. So, here is my recap from the pordee.
Name: Aaja Corinne
Graduation Year: 2011, Columbia College Chicago
College Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Fashion Studies
Current Occupation: Image Consultant & Brand Stylist, Merchandise Coordinator
Not a goodbye, because I will be back one day. I’m moving on to the next phase in life. For the last year, I have been talking about relocating, but it was just a thought. I thought about it countless times, but I never really acted on the decision. Finally, in December of 2013, I decided something has to change in 2014. I love my city. All of my experiences here have molded me into who I am today. But, it is time to move on.
Over here at Yur Storee, we love to support and showcase people going after their dreams. The artist being featured today is Maryann, and she brings a pretty a dope sound. The multi- talented singer is also a videographer and graphic artist too. Getting her start on a track with Talib Kweli, she has been consistently putting her music out there. This is her latest single, Love Trap, from her sophomore album, Futuristic Always.
Follow Maryann on Twitter: xtraordinaryann
Are you an artist? Submit your work here.
Name: Ryan Johnson
Graduation Year: 2008, University of Illinois (Urbana- Champaign)
College Degree: Bachelor & Master’s of Science, Journalism
Current Occupation: Communications Director, American Heart Association
Name: Nick Brown
Graduation Year: 2011, University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)
College Degree: Masters of Science, Architecture
This week Yur Storee is introducing its Life After College series. As a college graduate myself, I know what it’s like to go to school for one thing, and somehow find yourself on a totally different path during or even after college. So we decided to share a collection of post- college stories in hopes to show you that life is full of changes, and you have to just roll with the punches.
The distance between now, and that moment when everything comes full circle literally feels like an eternity. Why is it so far away?
What does this mean? The very moment that you are hoping for already belongs to you. In my adult life, I have spent so much time searching for opportunities…just always searching. I’ve spent so much time searching, because I didn’t know what I had. I was living in a mindset of lack (and sometimes I still do). I was living like I didn’t have anything. Like, my dreams were unattainable. Like I don’t have the power to make things come true. Like I don’t have any resources around me.
Government name: William James Stokes
His reality: Hip-hop/jazz crooner, composer, philanthropist, entrepreneur
I had an epiphany last night as I was pitching another publication. Before I sent my email, I took a look at the piece I was sending over, and well…let’s just say I found mistakes. Mind you I wrote this piece a year ago- a year ago exactly.
The law of attraction is real. PR opportunities were coming to me left and right. I put it out there I was a writer, and the opportunities were coming to me.
I’m thinking, this entrepreneur life is pretty good. These were unpaid opportunities, of course, that I believed would eventually turn into paid opportunities.
…One night, I remember holding on to my mother’s leg like a baby. My heart was beating so hard, but this time I was not afraid. The whole time, I just kept saying thank you Lord. I literally praised him until it stopped. I remember my mom just rubbing my back, and I kept whispering, thank you Lord. I didn’t know when that episode would end, because it felt like forever- but I knew I had to trust God. That was the night I was healed. I didn’t know it at the time though.
There have been many instances where I’ve had situations occur in my life that seemed to be snippets of my future. I am talking about meeting and exchanging information with editors from high profile magazines that I want to work with. Or even, high profile publications reaching out to me, but something just never seemed to go all the way.
….The feeling I had, when I sat down with my team lead, as I slid him the envelope with my two week notice. The strange thing is, he was actually puzzled as to why I was doing this.
I didn’t care anymore, I was moving on. Finally, I can do my site full time! Even though I still had no job prospects, I knew God was carrying me.
Consider this a formal, but informal introduction. I am Jonnita, the face behind YS Mag Live. I created this site to share the stories of many overcomers, but somehow I neglected my own story. So, here is my story.
Two years ago, I made one of the most challenging decisions ever. I left my comfort zone. Meaning, I left my steady form of income, and we all know how important that is. I left my job. I was not happy, and no longer willing to settle.