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What Empowerment Means to Me


What does empowerment mean to you?

That’s the question that Kristen Greenwood of GirlSpring asked me when she interviewed me for GirlSpring’s Sheroctober, a series of videos featuring Birmingham area women considered “sheroes” of the city. Girlspring is a nonprofit organization and online publication based in Birmingham, Alabama, that focuses on the issues, activities, and concerns of girls and young women. The “sheroes” interviewed for this series included artists, educators, entrepreneurs, and other professionals in practically every field. And so many of these women are true trailblazers. It is an honor to be included. You can see my video here (and be sure to give me a thumbs up while you’re watching. The shero with the most thumbs up will win tickets to see Janet Jackson live in concert!)


Magic City Fashion Week Emerging Designer Shannon Warren

Shannon Warren

Years ago I figured out that to be a successful blogger I must not only be a writer but also an entrepreneur and thus I need to learn not only from other writers but from any creative person seeking to use her talents to make money and make a difference. This is one reason I love immersing myself in Birmingham’s fashion community. And if you think Birmingham doesn’t have a fashion community you obviously haven’t been following all of the events being hosted by the organizers of Magic City Fashion Week. (You can learn more here.)

One event of the week you definitely don’t want to miss is Friday’s Emerging Designer Competition. Hosted by Ty Hunter and Raquel Smith of Beyonce’s style team, the show will feature the works of five emerging designers competing for a prize package valued at $5,000. The show will also include looks from Macy’s and luxury streetwear by Splashed by DKG. This event is set for 6 to 11 p.m. and will be held at the Goldstein & Cohen building in Ensley.

I had the chance to interview one of the emerging designers who will be featured in Friday’s show — Shannon Warren of the Shan Latris Collection.

Warren’s advice for other emerging designers could so easily be applied to writing and blogging and there are so many takeaways from her journey that we can learn from, too.

Do what you can with what you have. Warren couldn’t sew when she was a kid so she used a hot glue gun to alter clothes!

Read, read, read. Before Warren could afford to go to design school she went to the library and read every book she could find about fashion design. And Warren continues to learn more about and work on her craft. We writers and bloggers must remember to do the same.

And whether she knows it or not, when Warren designs her clothes she actually uses Edgar Allan Poe’s single effect theory! She seeks to evoke a single emotion from her customer with each piece she designs just as Poe sought to evoke a single emotion from his readers with each short story and poem he wrote.

Take a look at my chat with Warren.


How to Make the Most of a Blogging Conference

I was all smiles after attending my first WordCamp Birmingham. And I got a free T-shirt!


I have a confession: I am obsessed with blogging conferences. I attend at least one each year and some years I attend one each season. One year I attended three blogging conferences in a single summer! From big national conferences like BlogHer and Blogalicious to Birmingham-based conferences like Y’all Connect and WordCamp Birmingham, if I can be there, I will be.

Once a friend asked me if I actually still get anything out of blogging conferences since I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade and since I have attended so many blogging workshops and events. My answer was simple: “Absolutely!”


Have Girls’ Day Out at Birmingham’s Southern Women’s Show

My mom and I at the 2014 Southern Women’s Show

It’s become a family tradition. Every fall my mother and I have a girls’ day out at Birmingham’s Southern Women’s Show. Some years the day is extra special when my favorite aunt and cousin come along, too. Yesterday, I and a few other local bloggers and influencers got a special preview of this year’s show, which will be held October 5 – 8 at Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

Savannah Chrisley from the hit TV show Chrisley Knows Best will be featured on the Fashion & Entertainment Stage Saturday, October 7 at 1 p.m. Savannah is the youngest person to ever appear on HSN, where she debuted her fashion line “Faith Over Fear” at 19. Savannah also gives back, working with organizations that help rescue women from sex trafficking and with groups that help provide clean water to those in need.

If you’re heading to the show on Friday, make your way to the Fashion & Entertainment Stage at 6 p.m. for Girls’ Night Out, a special show presented by the men of the Birmingham Fire Department to raise money for the American Cancer Society. For reasons you can probably guess, my mom and aunt LOVE this part of the show. And the phrase “Ah, sookie, sookie, now!” is repeated often. You can also buy a calendar featuring these handsome heroes for $20 while you’re at the show.

My fellow writers and book lovers will be happy to know that this year the Southern Women’s Show will feature a Southern Authors Showcase including Judy Renee Singer (author of In the Shadows of Alabama), Food Network star Martie Duncan (author of Martie Knows Parties), Kimberly Lang (author of More Than Anything), Olivia Debelle Byrd (author of Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle), Diane Burch (author of Maxnificent! The Polka Dot Pyrenees; Max will be there, too), and Katherine Clark (author of the Mountain Brook novels — The Ex-Suicide, The Harvard Bride, All the Governor’s Men, and The Headmaster’s Darlings.

photo by Chanda Temple

The authors will be featured on the Spotlight Stage throughout the weekend. On that stage, you’ll also find fitness demonstrations, essential oils workshops, and much more. At the Fashion & Entertainment Stage, you can see fashion shows, dance and music performances, contests, and more. Unclaimed Baggage will also be on the Spotlight Stage hosting various activities, including the opportunity to explore a suitcase that’s never been opened. And be sure to stop by the Unclaimed Baggage vendor booth where you can take a fun photo inside a stack of luggage!

Speaking of fun photos, you must get some snapshots at the Happy Trails Photo Booth while you’re at the show. You’ll also find yourself taking pictures of the photo booth itself because it’s so adorable. But first head to the Aveda Institute of Birmingham booth or the Salon 43 One booth so you can check out their Braid Bar.  That’s right; you can get your hair braided while you’re at the show — for free!


Happy Trails Photo Booth

One of thing my mom and aunt love to do at the show is hang out at the cooking stage, which features local chefs whipping up delicious dishes that attendees get to sample. During last night’s preview, I had a chance to sample some pasta prepared by Linda Croley owner of Bare Naked Noodles.  Their pasta is made from farm fresh local ingredients and with the help of family recipes.

The Birmingham Southern Women’s Show will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $12 at the door, but I’m giving away a pair of tickets today over on Instagram. Follow me at @seejavaciawrite for details.


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