For The Love of Money


Love and Money. Two words that can be the basis for many heated arguments.

And this event was no exception.

I met Troy Spry when he was a panelist on the “Ask A Man” series I’ve covered in previous blogs.

When he asked me to cover this event I knew it wouldn’t be tame.

He combined his relationship expertise with financial guru Russell Stewart. Making for an eventful evening.

After everyone arrived we were encouraged to play board games, take pictures, get to know each other and even eat candy.

Troy then gave us instructions for the evening.

“Be honest.”

“Give short answers and don’t hog the mic.”

“Stay off your phone! Except for the Designerdiva she’s working!”

“Have fun and meet someone new.”

And the most important one…

“This is a conversation, not a confrontation!”

Someone at the next table wondered why he would say that. But I knew! I already knew how this was going to go.

The first topic was men making less than their partner.

Basically we learned it’s not what he makes but how he manages it. And how much of the day to day household duties he takes over.

“All areas can’t be lacking.”

And how the female handles it is important. Immature women will throw it in his face. It’s a respect and maturity issue.

Engagement is too late to discuss finances.

This brought on the gold digger discussion.

If a man tells a woman right off how much money he makes does it influence her?

If the man lies at first and later comes clean about being in the NBA how does the woman feel?

Which led to even more questions.

Do you look at their social media?

How much does that play into whether you go out with them or not?

A man in the audience responded “Don’t assume I paid full price for my designer clothes. Do not judge. You don’t know if I’m just trying to create an image or this is just me.”

This is where the ‘conversation not confrontation’ rule came in handy.

There was no set answer. Eventually everyone agreed to disagree and moved on.

Lanard Wentz, Founder of Virile Magazine, was another familiar face from the ‘Ask A Man’ panel. He took part in ‘Love and Finance Triva’.

We learned that 41% of couples in debt argue regularly.

And 33% hide purchases from their spouse.

We moved on to ‘Who pays for the first date?’

Everyone agreed it’s whoever asks.

And that’s the last time everyone agreed.

The men believe that if you can’t finance a date don’t initiate it.

Start small. Or else you will be expected to outdo yourself each time.

The women feel it’s about effort not cost. The men do not believe that.

Men think women want time and money put into dates. Woman voiced time is more of a factor.

“If you pay attention to our conversations you will know where to take us” one woman stated.

At what point should the woman pay for the date. The average answer was the third date.

How many times does a man pay before the woman is deemed selfish?

The men said they want the woman to at least offer. At least reach for the bill.

The women came back with ‘Men shouldn’t assume we will offer.’

Yet again the ‘conversation not confrontation’ rule came up.

But let’s look at the woman’s point of view.

What if the woman is constantly doing little things for the man?

Buying him little things she knows he likes.

Surprising him at work with a home cooked lunch.

Driving him to the airport when he goes out of town.

Stop keeping score. Everything evens out. As long as equal thought is put into the relationship who pays for what shouldn’t be an issue.

Again everyone agreed to disagree.

Russell had us draw a picture of a house.

Our finances should be like the house. The foundation is ‘Protection’. This is insurance. Health, disability, auto and life.

The first floor is an emergency fund. This is a reserve so that one emergency doesn’t send you into debt. The plan is to have 3-6 month of income put back.

The second floor is to have a debt elimination plan.

The attic is your Retirement Plan. Your income determines your Quality of Life.

And the roof is your goals and dreams. These shouldn’t be overlooked and money should be put aside for them.

Women and men will never agree 100% of the time. But as more and more events provoke discussion we can at least begin to see each other’s side.

Troy and Russell left us with these words…

Know where you stand financially.

Inspect what you expect.

Better people make better communities.


YCFW:Behind the Scenes Part XI-The End of The Beginning


It was finally time. After months and months of hard work. Conference calls, meetings, model calls, press conferences and model classes. Fashion Week came to York County, South Carolina.

The brainchild of NaTasha McNeil was finally happening.

Our fearless leader saw the need for the fashion community in her area. York County is rich in independent boutiques and designers and it was time to focus on that.

Online shopping has become such a norm that we sometimes forget all the treasures in our own backyard.

We began with a ribbon cutting and Media Night. Our host Ryan Jor El interviewed everyone from our founder to the youngest of models.

The second night began with pure luxury. VIP guests took a cruise across Lake Wylie to a lakeside mansion for a pre-show cocktail hour.

Freeze Models were lined along the shores, providing an even lovelier view than the sunset.

We were then shuttled to Camp Thunderbird for the show.

Our third night kicked off with a cocktail hour and Bridal Gown Display.

The grounds of The White Home in Rock Hill were beautifully decorated for fall.

Stylists put the finishing touches on the models as they prepared for the show.

Wedding dresses from different eras were displayed on our models .

The gravel pathway leading to the front of the house made for a perfect runway.

Night number four began with a relaxing cocktail hour at our Red Carpet Affair at the Southern Charm Events Venue.

The show featured over 100 models and represented designers and boutiques from several states.

From formal wear to street style and everything in between. This show had something for everyone.

Saturday was all about the kids. The Kids/Teens Showcase took place at The Glennon Center in Tega Cay.

It began with a Snap, Crackle and Pop themed ‘SNACKtail Hour’.

All good things must come to an end.

Ryan Jor El heads to his podium on the tarmac at York County Airport for our closing ceremony.

Private jets were taking off in the background of our cocktail hour as we prepared for our final runway show and Fashion Awards.

Simply Jane Formals owner Beth Vanderwalker received an award for best boutique. She is a dedicated supporter of YCFW and provided many beautiful gowns for our shows.

And Jillian Blankley was awarded for most improved model. I watched her grow throughout this whole process. And I truly enjoyed working with her.

I gained a lot of knowledge during the making of this fashion week. And passed this knowledge along to my readers.

I made new friends. Spent time with old friends. I learned the unique personalities of several models. And made important connections.

Our founder NaTasha McNeil and director Ken Sings outdid themselves.

I’m looking forward to the second York County Fashion Week. Even though it is over I don’t see it as an ending.

I see it as the end of the beginning.

We’re Here For It!!


Happy Blog Day!!


Today my blog, Living La Vida Diva, turns three years old!

Last year I was really proud of how far I’d come. As I look back over the third year I see how much I’ve truly grown.

There were food blogs. And blogs on authors. And musicians!

Rap artist IV Montana remains my most read blog.

He continues to send me people to write about. I even wrote about his mother.

I did a few more collabs with fellow bloggers Reagan and Megan.

I met the greatest group of young people with Inspire the Fire and even interviewed their leader Dennis Reed.

I attended brunches sponsored by the Charlotte Observer.

And I discovered so much talent while covering the Queen City Awards.

I stepped outside my comfort zone and covered some controversial events.

And met some people with amazing stories.

I was there when Ryan Jor El brought his dream to life with the first inaugural Black Fathers Rock event.

And I traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to watch designer Laddie Howard create his beautiful bags.

I covered Fashion shows.

And I walked the runway myself in a show benefitting women’s mental health.

I met with a fascinating young man Francisco Cauldron. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on his blog.

I took inventory of my closet as I chronicled my move.

I’ve worked hard this year building my brand. And the last two weeks have been a result of all that hustling.

I became part of the media team for Charlotte Seen and provided front row coverage for Charlotte Fashion Week.

And I became the official blogger for the first York County Fashion Week in South Carolina. Providing behind the scenes coverage from beginning to end.

I had two weeks of back to back fashion shows.

My blog has grown so much this year. And I’ve learned so much while Living La Vida Diva.

Charlotte Fashion Week


Charlotte Fashion Week just came to an end.

We experienced a weeks worth of elegance by Charlotte Seen.

The week began with a luxurious private launch party poolside at The Vue Charlotte.

We sipped on cocktails by Social House and took in the view while mingling with Charlotte’s most fashionable people.

Night number two was the public launch party at Nordstrom’s South Park. We enjoyed cocktails while learning about Jimmy Choo’s new Made to Order service.

You can now customize shoes or handbags!

We were then treated to three nights of fashion. From emerging designers to recycled fashion, there was something for everyone.

And fashion wasn’t just on the runway. Attendees showed their personalities each night.

Fur, lace and metallics were in abundance. But with the designers spin. Making each piece unique.

There were classics like bright cheerful Lilly Pulitzer and Brahmin, and designers such as Classic Man, Tony Howard and Untitled Facade with their edgy creations.

Another successful Charlotte Fashion Week!! What was your favorite piece from the shows?