I have officially declared 2021 as the YEAR OF THE WOMAN. This year, WE as an entire body, WILL. GET. STUFF. DONE. PERIOD! Connecting. Collaborating. Celebrating. Breaking Barriers. Blazing Trails. Shattering Glass Ceilings. Shaking the Planet. I thought somebody said something...tuh!
All year long, Simply Divine will highlight THE WOMAN in all of our splendor. For waaaayyyyyy too long we’ve taken a back seat to everything and everybody. We've put our agendas on the back burner, Well this year, I am committed to putting US on centerstage and what a wild and fun ride this will be! You ridin' or hidin'!! Let's Get It Ladies!
I launched this blog almost two weeks ago and I still can’t believe I finally did it. I have my own blog y’all! I almost feel overwhelmed that the things that I’ve prayed for for so long are finally manifesting. Well, let me preface that by saying not all the stuff I prayed for was given to me LOLBVS. However, those things that I know deep down in my heart that is a part of my destiny and God’s plan for my life are starting to line up and unfold. I promise y’all, at one point, I thought I was on the wrong path, walking and working aimlessly, just all over the place with no purpose or vision. I’ve had so many rejections, let-downs, and failures and thought that no good thing would ever happen for me. I event went so far to think that being unsuccessful would always be my end-result. Last week, I experienced issue after issue with my laptop and then on Facebook - I just could not catch a break. Old feelings started to creep into the point that I was so broken that I posted TWO dangerous words: “I QUIT!” Then, something immediate and extraordinary happened! My group of ridiculously amazing women, some whom I’ve only interacted with on Facebook and never met face to face, came to my rescue and WOULD NOT LET ME SINK NOR DROWN. They got me all the way together. Baby, they had me saying boo and bye to that pity party!! I am so thankful to have a relationship with God, first and foremost who never lets me down. I am so grateful for the fierce, solid circle of women who will not allow me for one second to mingle with mental madness or flirt with foolishness. I do realize that EVERYTHING I went through was indeed necessary to get me to this point. There will always be bumps, bruises, and blows in the road. But one thing about us women, when the stuff hits the fan, we get tunnel vision, rise to the occasion and make it happen. We may cry, fuss, and have a fit but the bottomline is...we simply GET. STUFF. DONE. Amen ladies? Amen indeed!
YEAR OF THE WOMAN - What does that really mean?
Honestly, my theme for the year hit me a week after the Presidential inauguration. I was so moved by the presentation of quintessential girl power - Vice President Kamala Harris, the first female and woman of color to ever do it, our new First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, our former First Lady Michelle Obama, Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, Firefighter Andrea Hall, and Lady Gaga and J-Lo with their beautiful renditions of The National Anthem and This Land is Your Land, and America, the Beautiful, respectively. Each woman was elegant, poised, beautiful, dressed to the nines, and was a powerful display of what it looks like when you own who you are in your own way - no intimidation, no drama, no mess, all snaps ‘yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssss hunnies!’ As a matter of fact, let’s pause for a few seconds of silence for the fierce, fabulous, and phenomenal femininity we were all so blessed to witness almost two weeks ago on the inaugural stage.
CHEW ON THIS.
For those of you who do not know, I am a contributing writer for the Chicago Defender. Last week, I was granted the amazing opportunity to interview Chicago native, TV personality, social media maven, and professional, celebrity chef, Chef Lovely. She has her own show on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Lovely Bites and a new, original show on Discovery+ network, Lovely Bites with Chef Lovely.
Chef Lovely spoke with me about the challenges she faced and how she overcame those adversities to gain the success she is enjoying today. Though she’s been living in California for nine years now, she has not lost her Chicago edge and swag. She fully understands that she will always have to work harder than her male and even White female counterparts. And, for the record, is humbly unbothered by it. She has taken that challenge by the proverbial balls and is blazing the trail for so many women from all walks of life (including myself) who “dare” to embark on the ‘road less traveled.’ Let’s pause once again for a moment of celebratory silence for Chef Lovely, Chicago’s own - the ground-breaking, glass ceiling shattering siSTAR who is inarguably #blackgirlmagic personified!! See the clip below to find out who sparked her love for cooking and her secret.
Chef Lovely is genuinely passionate about the work that she does inside and outside of the kitchen. She is a chef instructor and mentor and has been committed to propelling children and families for 10 years plus. She talked about how hard she’s worked to get to this point. Take a look-see at the clip below a very refreshing and lovely exchange of encouraging words between Chef Lovely and me.
Finally, I am so excited to announce that my article featuring Chef Lovely is now live on the Chicago Defender website just in time for her birthday which is February 2nd. Tomorrow, let’s bombard her Instagram (@cheflovely) with Happy Biirthday wishes and make sure to tell her Kim Durden, (tag @DivineDineFoodieTours) sent ya.
SPOILER ALERT: On Saturday, February 6, Chef Lovely will debut her live show on Instagram called Live with Lovely, 5PM PST / 8PM EST. Tune in for an intimate look at Chef Lovely, live and in living color.
Let me just say this really quickly: Our interview was a whole entire vibe. It was like two girlfriends who hadn’t seen each other in a while just chatting it up. She just gave me so much life and we ended with all smiles and lots of laughter. See the clip below to see just how much a “whole vibe” this interview really was.
If you're having trouble watching the video, click here.
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Whether you read all of the above to get here or skipped it all and scrolled down to get here, you’ve reached my favorite part of this blog. I am a natural encourager and seriously everybody’s cheerleader. I truly get great joy when I see folks grinning and winning. Let me ask you this: “What’s stopping you from doing that thing that brings YOU great joy? Take a moment and ask yourself, Am I really living in my purpose? Am I doing that thing or those things that I know I was born to do?” However, you answer these questions, make sure that you’re being honest with yourself and begin to make a plan to start or continue doing whatever you need to be doing to live a fulfilling life. This is the YEAR OF THE WOMAN. I’m rooting for you to get the stuff done in your life without regret or shame. Do it sis! It’s your time to shine!
WHAT’S ON TAP FOR NEXT WEEK?
Another Chicago Defender exclusive featuring Lauran Smith, founder of Chicago Black Restaurant Week (CBRW). You do not want to miss this!
Galentine’s Day! Say what now?? Yep, yep! It’s the unofficial day that ladies celebrate ladies - friendships and sisterhood. Cheesy to some but I love it and I’m here for all of it!
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May your day, week, and year be filled with love, laughter, joy, and all things Simply Divine.
“Hear me as a woman, Have me as your sister...So I might say our victory is just beginning, See me as change, Say I am movement, That I am the year And I am the era Of the women.” - Won’t You Be My Sister, Amanda Gorman