Well Read

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She’s known as ‘The Sensuous Author’. Her books push boundaries. She writes what most people think but won’t admit.

What’s your deal breaker? What would make or break a relationship you’ve invested so much time and emotion into?

Would your pride and ego prevent you from continuing a relationship that could be saved?

However Chermean is so much more than her writing.

With two books out and a third on its way you’d think she wouldn’t have time for her other endeavors.

Throw model, spokesperson, health and wellness and brand ambassador into the mix and it’s still just the tip of the iceberg.

Most recently she’s spoken at the Chino Arté by Wayne fashion show and the Urban Tymes Awards.

She’s also the brand ambassador for Dior Brooks makeup and Divine Concepts Organic Shea Butter.

With a few more fabulous projects in the near future, slowing down is not an option.

How does she do it all?

With equal parts of class and sass……

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1616582596/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_xdWQAbBD9QNE3

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1607430738/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_ceWQAbBQP2V2A

http://diorbrooks.com/

https://divineconcepts.store/

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The Tables Have Turned

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I recently sat down with Jon Agnew, creator of Bikedope clothing and podcast host.

I’ve interviewed a lot of people. But interviewing an interviewer would be kind of difficult right?

I normally schedule my meetings wherever is most convenient. But I was strategic in choosing a place this time.

Knowing his curious nature, I had Jon to meet me in the heart of Noda, Charlotte’s quirky, artsy area. And I watched as his attention was drawn by each passerby.

“Everyone has a story” he said. And I share that belief.

We’ve been Instagram friends for awhile. I don’t remember how but I do know why.

I’m a firm believer in God placing people in our lives. I’ve seen it happen in my life over and over.

You might look at us as a mismatched pair. The tough as nails, Detroit born Marine Veteran and the southern fashionista.

But people like us would look at a pair like us and try to find the common denominator.

We share a passion to know everything about everyone. To dig deep and find how people arrived at their place in life.

We’ve both looked death in the eye. We both died and came back. He from a heart attack and me from a car wreck.

And we’ve both heard the terrifying words “your child has tested positive for Sickle Cell”.

Though my daughter is a carrier she does experience symptoms and has had problems her whole life. But Jon’s son has the full blown disease.

Where as I sheltered my child from the reality of Sickle Cell he confronts it head on with his.

He doesn’t baby him. He doesn’t put him in a bubble. He lets him live a normal life. But it’s always looming. Always popping up. And we want to find a cure.

Jon uses his brand as a platform for Sickle Cell advocacy.

He started his podcast to introduce us to the people he encounters.

The homeless guy that rescues dogs, the mother of 13, basketball players and musicians.

He believes simple things in life get overlooked. People are quick to dismiss someone and look down on them.

When you have the inquisitiveness that Jon and I share you look at those that are down and you find out why and how and what you can do to change that.

Bikedope’s mission statement is to encourage the uninspired. Never compromise your inner truth.

The podcast brings a voice to that. He’s not easy on his subjects. He doesn’t sugar coat anything. I’ve listened as he’s gone in hard on them. Not out of cruelty. But to get to them to see the reality of themselves.

His family is kind of weary of his venture. His oldest son thinks it’s cool. The younger one just knows Dad talks to people. And his wife isn’t fond of his language and approach at times. But she realizes he’s following his dreams. She’s seeing the growth. She’s seeing him catching the dreams he’s been chasing.

His mom hasn’t accepted his new path in life yet. He was raised by a single mother who gave of herself to give her only child a better life. Being a mother myself I can understand her desire to see him in a stable career. But she created this stubborn, freethinking passionate being. There’s no changing him.

When you see someone wearing some of his gear you will know they’re a person that’s inspired and believes in themselves. They are dream chasers.

Bikedope stands for

Believe

In

Killing

Everything

Doubting

Ourselves was

Past

Experience

The interview was not difficult at all. I asked the questions that I already knew the answers to. I looked at the world through the eyes of someone that saw things the same way I do.

When the tables were turned I was confronted with a reflection of myself.

https://bikedope.net/

Mama Knows Best

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Raising kids is hard. Raising them alone is even harder. And raising two young boys in the hood without letting the streets claim them is nearly impossible.

But Windy McCorkle did the impossible.

I met her oldest son last year. The Charlotte area rap artist spoke so highly of his mother I just had to meet her.

Devante Long and his younger brother grew up in the hood. But his mom wanted something better for her kids.

Not wanting to depend on anyone, she worked and went to school while Devante took on the roll of Man of the House.

He didn’t understand at the time that she was doing it for their own good.

When a bullet hit a little too close to home, Windy moved Devante and Devin to the country.

While her younger son adapted to his surroundings, his older brother still yearned to return to the hood.

As with most kids he rebelled. But his mom wasn’t having it.

While she believes in letting her kids make their own mistakes she also made them deal with the results.

“Allow them to live in it and lay in it til you get yourself fixed!” She told me.

And fix themselves they did.

Windy went on to marry and have a daughter with her current husband. And all three of her kids are intelligent, creative and successful.

Each of her children share their mothers creativity. She sings and also earned her Fine Arts Degree.

She believes in letting her kids be comfortable with who they are and what they do.

Milan shares her mom and older brothers love of music. And like her brothers she excels in school.

She has a strong mother and two overprotective big brothers to guide her.

Devin graduated college the day after this interview with a degree in Fine Arts like his mama. He loves sports but will still dabble in music occasionally.

And Devante became IV Montana.

She knew when he was younger that music would be his life. At first she thought it was a hobby and he’d get over it. But she saw his passion and dedication. She supported his dream. And now is the mother to one of Charlotte’s most talented rappers.

Fans go wild over him. But to Windy he’s still ‘Tay’.

She’s proud of each of her kids. But she keeps them grounded. If she sees them getting too full of themselves or straying from their raising she will snatch them back down to earth.

Devante now understands why she worked so hard to give her family a better life.

They say it takes a village to raise a child.

But sometimes it only takes a very strong Queen.

Bowled Over

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I was recently exploring some of the new places at Sun Valley Commons in Indian Trail and happened upon a lady sitting on the sidewalk eating an açaí bowl.

Being the curious cat that I am I had to investigate.

The lady was Toni Carroll and she invited me into her Pineapple adorned Heaven.

Toni and her husband Dennis recently opened the healthy and delicious Frutta Bowl.

The chain was founded by Brooke Gagliano, the daughter of friends. After tasting her first açaí bowl while on vacation, she developed her own recipes and opened her own place.

I was treated to samples and the amazing Fiji Bowl.

Each base was unbelievably smooth. (I know the secret but I’ll never tell!)

They also offer smoothies, oatmeal bowls, kale bowls and pitaya bowls.

The decor, like the owners, is so welcoming. Even the bathroom is cute!!!

You can even wear açaí beads! Who knew?? And it benefits a great cause.

Frutta Bowls was just presented with a New Business Award by the mayor!

Spread the word! Grab your bestie and head over to Frutta Bowls and see for yourself.

Friends don’t let friends eat bad bowls.🍍

Blogger ——->Model

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You read it right. On April 22 this Diva traded fashion blogging for walking the runway.

There were several reasons. It was for a good cause. And I got some behind the scenes experience. And no one tells Lynette Smith “NO”!

When she told me about her foundation I immediately offered to blog it. I told her I’d suffered anxiety and depression my whole life and I’d love to help bring attention to the cause.

She said “You are going to walk in my show!”

There was no getting out of it.

I would be walking the runway along with others as the story of our battle with mental illness was read.

I…was….petrified!!

Lynette started ‘Girls Too Women INC’ as a result of her own battle with depression. She wanted to help other young women that are fighting the same demons.

My transparency could be someone else’s breakthrough.

Words I’ve heard over and over recently. So I took it as a sign.

Dressed provided us with lovely formal wear for the event.

I was so excited to have Bernadette involved. She has an amazing story. She’s one of the first people I met after moving here four years ago and she’s been such an inspiration to me.

The models attended meetings and fittings. We had conference calls and daily group texts.

Some dropped out. We all had our panic moments. But we had each other. And we stuck it out.

Finally the day arrived. A room full of women with anxiety. In overdrive.

But we had fun. We created memories. And we shined.

One by one we walked out in front of a sold out audience as our lowest moments were read aloud.

This one right here!!! We all have that one friend….that one sister….that we always get into mischief with. We were bad. Yet so good. My twin soul. ❤️

This photo affects me deeper than any other moment during the whole show process. The first time I saw her she was sitting in the back of our first meeting. Hood over her head. Sunglasses on. Arms crossed. Not speaking to anyone. Seeing her blossom and come out of her cocoon and becoming this beautiful confident butterfly is something I will never forget. This moment is what the whole movement is all about. I’m so very proud of her. And proud to call her my sister now.

This woman amazes me to no end. The heartbreak she’s suffered is enough to kill even the strongest of us. But she is a survivor. My strong, sassy sister. ❤️

So many times we wanted to cry. To panic. To freak out. And my sister right here lightened the mood each time. She made us laugh when we felt like crying. She made us dance when we felt like hiding. Without her we would have fallen apart.

This angel. My little sister. The one that was supposed to be learning from me. Yet taught me so much.

I watched her from the time she entered the room to get ready. As the makeup and hair and dress came together and she looked in the mirror she saw what we saw. Bravery. Beauty. Strength.

She was the quietest of us all. And her story was one of the most painful. The grief in her eyes and in her posture disappeared and was replaced by this strong, gorgeous, amazing woman. My sisters silence spoke to us the loudest.

I don’t know how they put up with all of us. Two very strong men right here!! Our brothers in a henhouse full of mean ole sisters. Thank you for sharing your story. For inspiring us with your strength.

This woman….our Queen. Our leader. And her family that graciously let us borrow her for this event. She gave it her all and her beautiful family was right by her side supporting her. Supporting all of us. My sister. My niece and nephew. ❤️

I was grateful to see familiar faces. Lorri and Winston from the Prosocialites rocked the Red Carpet. And my friend Chris graced us with one of his spoken word pieces.

I confronted my fears. I stepped outside my comfort zone. I gained lifelong friends. And I saw the makings of a fashion show instead of the watching from the front row.

Photos http://hensleyentertainment.com/

Dressed https://dressedclt.com/pages/make-an-appointment

Prosocialites https://linktr.ee/prosocialites

GTW https://girlstoowomeninc.com/

Art on the Runway

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Some artists work with paint. Some work with clay. Chin Wayne works with fabric. And thread. And imagination.

He has worked with Armani, Kenneth Cole, Claiborne for Men, Ann Taylor and Dillard’s.

He opened the Loft store in South Park.

15 years in the fashion business paved the way for the launch of his own line….Chinó Arté by Wayne.

I was invited to attend the debut. And I was in awe of his work

I’m always drawn to the smallest of details and I had plenty to admire in this show.

The lace trim on these shorts added a pop of elegance.

The button detail on these lend a tailored, retro vibe.

The models skin played a sexy game of peekaboo through the subtle exposures in several of his women’s designs.

His asymmetric designs and use of textures were an attention grabbing addition to his collection.

The detail of the sleeve of this top was one of my favorites and is a perfect representation of Wayne’s work.

The night was a classic and beautiful return to elegance.

The show was hosted at Extravaganza Events and Depot. We were also treated to a lovely reception in the train car and patio area.

The evening was a huge success. It was truly one of the best shows I’ve attended.

Not only is this designer extremely creative and talented, he’s also a witty, down to earth, humble man.

I felt as if I were in an art gallery.

The models were the canvas….

The runway was the frame…

And Chin Wayne was the Artist.

https://www.facebook.com/chinoartebywayne/

http://www.extravaganzaevents.com/

Follow Chin Wayne on social media

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube @Chinoartebywayne

Work Hard, Brunch Harder

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Brunch: The socially acceptable excuse for day drinking.

The Prosocialites recently organized the Charlotte Brunch Festival.

The Queen City’s finest brunch spots assembled under one roof at The Fillmore.

Attendees got to sample from their favorite places while discovering some delicious new fares.

Blackberry and Basil pop tarts from Baked Well and Fried Pepper Jack Grit Balls from Chef Anthony we’re definite favorites!

Uncle D’s Donuts and Hubert’s Lemonade took me back to my childhood summers. My grandmothers kitchen had an unending supply of this snack combo.

We got to make our own mimosa at Jus’ Taste Catering. I also made a mess. I REALLY shouldn’t be allowed to pour my own alcohol…..sorry Jus’ Taste. But it was soooo good!!

The long lines at Caswell Station, The Yolk and Babalu were worth the wait.

Babalu featured an avocado toast that was almost too pretty to eat. I said ALMOST! I love a good avocado toast.

Fahrenheit offered a crowd pleasing Cap’n Crunch pancake. And they made this Diva a bacon free Smoked Gouda Biscuit that was to die for!

I was so excited to see my buddy Chris Soto serving up some of my Flying Biscuit favorites.

If you’ve never had their biscotti you’re not really living your life right!!

Not that you have to save dessert for last (brunch has no rules). A couple of my favs Hey Sugar Shop and King of Pops were there. And I discovered some new sweet spots.

Christine’s Konditorei and Cinnaholic were a treat for my sweet tooth.

Good music, good friends and good food.

Thank you Lorri and Winston for putting together this fabulous event!!!

Viva La Brunch!!!