My first book, Claim Your Crown: Walking in Authority and Worth as a Daughter of the King, has officially been released!
I remember my first blog post – I was assigned to create a digital platform for a school project. Blogging came easy to me and mixing writing and fashion was a no brainer. My class was assigned to post sporadically but I ended up doing so every week. A year later, my readers nominated my blog as The Best International Fashion Blog in the Cosmopolitan UK Blog Awards and the judges named me a finalist! My school sponsored my trip to London and it was the very first time I knew God was up to something with Adorned in Armor.
I remember my first pageant. A young woman told me about how our university hosts one every year and that I would be a great fit. I wore my prom dress to the pageant for the evening gown portion and for talent, I tapped dance as I shared an original spoken-word piece about self-worth. Next thing I knew, I was being crowned by Miss New Jersey and Miss Teen New Jersey. It was the very first time I knew how much I loved pageants.
I remember my first official paid speaking engagement – I was 21 and a senior in college. Previously, in my teen years, I would minister spoken word poetry on YouTube and churches but that time was different. I studied in Washington for a semester the year prior and the president of American University invited me back to speak about my experience in their Journalism & New Media Program. I’ve dreamt of being a motivational speaker before but it was the first time I knew traveling and speaking was my calling.
I also remember my first heartbreak. I remember experiencing betrayal and persecution. I remember losing so much weight because I was depressed. I remember feeling like God wasn’t fighting for me – in fact, I remember feeling like He was against me. I remember feeling like a loser because I didn’t have a real job and couldn’t afford to take care of myself. I remember when I realized that the illness my mom suffers from does affect me and as the oldest of 4, I was holding too much in. I remember getting in touch with my emotions and learning to let myself cry. I remember the stroke she suffered during spring break, I remember when she could walk. I remember because I still witness my mother’s pain today. In fact, a lot of these feelings, I still experience.
Why? Because blessings don’t mean pain won’t come.Blessings don’t mean pain won't come. Click To Tweet
There have been numerous moments in my life where I felt God has failed me. Unanswered prayers and fresh hurts will do that to you. I wouldn’t look forward to things or put my hope in opportunities because there was always a possibility of being let down. I still struggle with this.
But the truth of it all is that I am here…and not on my own.
In the past decade, God has given me the opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of women. I graduated from high school wanting to pursue fashion but stuck to Communications instead. A few months later, Adorned in Armor was birthed through a school project and in one year, was a finalist as the Best International Fashion Blog in the 2014 Cosmopolitan UK Blog Awards.
God sent me brand collaborations I never even pitched and products I needed but I never even asked for. I went from studying in Washington for a semester with leading media outlets to interning with PBS and later, elle.com. I went from winning a school pageant in 2013 to becoming Miss Black New Jersey 2018. I went from graduating college summa cum laude with 6+ honors to being jobless. Forced into entrepreneurship, I went from being a Teen Vogue It Girl to a Teen Vogue Fashion Writer. I went from feeling directionless to obtaining my master’s degree as Syracuse. I went from not knowing enough about my heritage to falling in love with my country, writing for the Haitian Times and being featured, too! I’ve flown around the world to interview leading figures in fashion and film and I’ve developed a softened heart during church mission trips. I’ve gone from sharing my stories of struggles and victory to amplifying the voices of warrior women on @dressedforbattlepodcast.
The biggest surprise of them all is how God brought me FROM WRITING BLOG POSTS TO A TRIPLE BOOK DEAL 🙌🏾
I don’t say these things to boast about myself; I say these things to brag on my God! He can do more than you can imagine.I don’t boast about myself; I brag on my God! Click To Tweet
These opportunities didn’t come because I made them happen. I merely positioned myself – the heavy lifting has always been His move.
I could go on about the moments I remember but then this piece would be forever. As I was looking back on the past ten years on social media, I began to laugh at the hideous photos but I also found beauty in the “aha” moments. There were the moments I spotted God’s hand. (Stay tuned until the very end for some more photos.)
I love that I am able to look back and see how one moment connects to the other but I also find it beautiful that I have absolutely no idea of what’s coming next.
I think it’s fitting I’m reflecting on this before my book release. I feel a huge shift coming. And so I’m writing this so that when I’m discouraged with my journey, I may never forget where God has brought me from.
I wrote this for you, too.
Too often, we get hung up on the comparison game and feeling like we’re running out of time. But I hope this serves as a reminder that God isn’t finished with you yet. If you are still breathing, it is time to begin believing in the promises of God and play your part in furthering His kingdom on earth. We all need you.
And yes, the best is yet to come for you, too.
Comment down below if you believe it!
The Reward for Your Obedience to God – What Are You Willing to Sacrifice?
Okay, okay. Here’s what you’ve been waiting for! (I’ll be updating the photos of the past 10 years soon.)
I signed another contract for “Claim Your Crown!” My book will now be on audio!!! And guess what? I’m the narrator 😭🙌🏾
The point of this video is to illustrate that God can do MORE than our requests…more than what we thought we wanted…more than what we didn’t even think of at all.
Yes, I believe in the power of prayer and earnestly seeking God for His “presence,” and not His “presents.” My specific prayer is that we remember in this season and all to come, just how BIG God is.
We won’t always get what we desire but there will be gifts you don’t even ask for and God has the ability to do give them anyway! Check out my mini vlog for behind the scenes and my testimony ♥ Save & share this with someone who needs some encouragement!
👑 “Claim Your Crown” is available for preorder online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and more! (Link also in my bio!)
Hey beautiful people, it’s been a while!
Since I’ve been gone, I’ve submitted my last revisions for my book and celebrated my 25th birthday! I’ll be sharing more details about my book and my celebration dinner on next week’s podcast episode. However, I’m so excited to share that I was blessed to experience total royal treatment at Haven Riviera in Cancun, Mexico!
This travel vlog will answer THREE things:
1. Where you should go for a relaxing vacation *cough* (Haven Riviera in Cancun, Mexico)
2. Show you how the iPhone 11 Pro Max camera quality looks in all sorts of lighting!
3. Answer the question: should you buy the iPhone 11 Pro Max or a new vlog camera?
Hope you enjoy my Mexico travel vlog!
What are you thinking about?
Probably a million of things.
Okay, maybe not a million — but definitely between 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts… today.
It’s proven. The National Science Foundation conducted a study and concluded that’s how many thoughts the average person has. Out of those, 80% of these thoughts are negative and 95% are the same thing we play over and over and over again.
This study was conducted in 2005 — before social media was all the rage it is now. So can you even imagine how much that number has increased?!
Actually, let’s not even think about that.
We don’t need science to know there’s power behind our thoughts — how our thoughts influence our lifestyle. We don’t need science to know self-criticism has the power to hold us back in a multitude of ways.
What we need is a solution to fight back. The world chose affirmations; I choose the word of God.
Right now, mine is one that’s an overwhelming and exhausting marathon. As I prepare for launching my first book, I’m also working on my second while simultaneously trying to maintain my social media presence, write consistently on my blog, post YouTube videos, interview and edit for my podcast, and write my biweekly newsletters.
Needless to say, it’s been exasperating trying to “keep up.” Things have settled down some since I solidified my schedule but it’s still difficult to keep going when it isn’t the season to see the fruits of my labor. I understand that but it still, such a weird place.
Especially because just a few months ago, I was doing even more! I went from traveling to different countries and cities for Teen Vogue to staying at home and working on the assignments and projects God gave to me.
Everything feels so still.
And quite frankly, I am completely over it. I want out!
Recently, as I was scrolling on Instagram, I came across a preview to an official music video posted by Grammy-nominated Christian artist, Jamie Grace. She invited her followers to check out her official music video for “Bella” which shared her beautiful journey from marriage to giving birth to her daughter.
Of course, I had to watch!
Asides from the screaming and changing diapers, I’m a complete sap when it comes to babies — particularly, baby girls. (They’re so fun to dress up, don’t you think?)
The sweet song slips into different languages and serenely captures how God calls us each His own. As I watched the new parents coo over their precious bundle of joy, I caught a sneak peek of what our Heavenly Father must feel as He holds us in His arms.
I couldn’t help but think of how God gushes over us, and sings to us a new song.
You wake up and you check Instagram. You’re on your way to work and you answer some text messages. You work from home and you stare at your computer screen all day. You watch your favorite show and you are live tweeting the whole time. And at the slow moments of the Netflix series you are binging, you scroll through social media.
Our eyes just can’t seem to catch a break. It’s working double duty and paying a hefty price from all that blue light.
As a fashion freelance writer and business owner, I spend ample amount of time on my computer. And now that I have books to write, that time has amplified. (If you missed it, I talk about how I landed a three book deal as a first time author here.)
While working on my first book, I would get splitting migraines. I started to feel pains in my body and fatigue and knew something had to be done. I tried hydrating. Didn’t work. Attempted to sleep more. Didn’t work.
Years ago, my mom ripped out an article from Charisma magazine and handed it to me for my journey back to campus. The writer, Jamie Buckingham, said, “We must dream so big that without the support that comes through favor with God and man, we could never accomplish what is in our hearts.”
That piece of paper has probably been long disposed of, but I recently came across the quote in an old blog post. I find it fitting, especially because “imagine” is my word of 2019.