February 2016

Motivation and Self-Discipline Through Cycling


I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Thomas Adams about cycling as exercise and a hobby. Thomas and I go way back to well…since before I was born. 🙂 As a close family friend, I’ve been able to watch and gain inspiration from his adventures cycling around So Cal and beyond. I thought it’d be a great idea to talk to him because exercise can often be such a scary topic when it should actually be one of the most embraced. Especially under the context of motivation and self-discipline. We all need to put in the work to maintain our bodies and well being. (Note: That would include me!)

9 To Fly Girl: What made you get into cycling?

Thomas: I got old! I used to play basketball but then my knees and back started to hurt. Cycling is low impact but a hard work out at the same time. You can make it what you want…flat ground, hills. I got my first bike when I was living in Atlanta then hooked up with some [other riders] when I got to LA.

9TFG: Were you working out regularly before cycling? If so, what type of workouts?

Thomas: I played basketball pretty regularly. I also golfed which I still do.

9TFG: How has cycling changed your routine both in working out and life in general?

Thomas: In my workout routine…I can work out any where unlike when I was playing basketball. I can cycle at lunch. I can cycle indoors.

As far as life [routine]…I like to make time for long rides on the weekend. Usually 3-3 ½ hours. I love being outside.

9TFG: How many times per week do you cycle?

Thomas: I average a couple times per week when the weather is right. During the summer, about 3 times per week. I take my long rides on the weekend.

9TFG: Who do you cycle with?

Thomas: A bunch of old guys like me! (*Collective laugh*) Some women join the group too. There’s a core group of 6-7 of us but can be as few as 2. Sometimes multiple groups in LA meet up and ride together.

I ride with a great group of friends! It’s fun and motivating.

9TFG: What keeps you going when you get tired?

Thomas: Staying motivated and challenging myself.  Part of it is [being driven by] competition. Other times it’s just motivation to get home! We have called Uber before!

9TFG: I bet! Those are some long rides!

9TFG: Where do you go?

Thomas: We usually meet up in Culver City. Then we decide to go North like Malibu or Marina Del Rey. Or South like Hawthorne. Twice a year we’ll ride all the way to Oxnard.

I love riding on PCH along the water. I take advantage of where we live and the great weather!

9TFG: What’s your workout inspiration?

Thomas: Being outside! As a kid a bike is the first symbol of independence. It reminds me of being a kid. Having a self powered mode of transportation is empowering.

9TFG: How does it help you with work stress?

Thomas: It’s a major stress reliever! I do yoga too but cycling lets me clear my head. I think about things when I’m on the bike. It’s spiritual for me. Like a form of meditation.

9TFG: What advice would you give someone interested in cycling?

Thomas: Start small. Learn how to be safe! I never ride without a helmet.

Enjoy it, do what you want and have fun!


If you want to check out Thomas’ adventures or use them as workout inspo of your own, check him out on Instagram: @bigtomnla !

Life Lessons on Self-Discipline, Growth and Perseverance from “The Wait”


I recently read “The Wait” by Devon Franklin and Megan Good (with Tim Vandehey) and truly enjoyed it! I’ve never been one to re-read  a book, no matter how much I like it, but this is an exception. I could see myself revisiting the book and its wealth of knowledge many times throughout my life’s journey.

I’m sure by now most people are familiar with the general concept of the book. Actress, Meagan Good, and her husband Producer/Writer/Preacher, Devon Franklin, share their experience of practicing celibacy before marriage. For more detailed information about the book, please visit here.) But realize there is so much more to be found in between the covers (no pun intended 🙂 ) of this couple’s love story.

What I gained most out of this book was how to develop a self-discipline strong enough to be patient and persevere through various waiting and growth periods in life. From something as short term as trying to lose weight to as long term as building a dream career, the book is filled with practical knowledge that can be applied to different scenarios.

I am going to highlight just a few areas of the book that exemplify my gainful reading experience. I’ve taken a few excerpts from the book to show parallels. But do realize this is no substitute for the full text. I would highly recommend you go out and purchase a copy if any of the information shared peaks your interest.

The Lessons…

1) In various life periods, sometimes all you can do is wait.

But in the meantime…enjoy your life! Do things that bring you joy. (Not to sound cliché, but really!) Find ways to grow and embrace those opportunities already present. As it is often said, don’t just go through it –grow through it. While you are enjoying the meantime, your reward will be on its way.

I love the example the book provides:

It’s a little like sending the manuscript of your novel to a publisher. You do your best work, cast it into the universe, and cross your fingers. Then you wait. The book might sit on the editor’s desk for months before he reads it, but when he does, he loves it and sends you a letter telling you that he wants to publish it…All this time, while your manuscript is waiting to be read and while the congratulatory letter is making its way to your door, you’re unaware that something terrific is on the way.” (339)

2) Be open to new opportunities and forms in which your desires may be presented.
It’s common to envision your goal and see it coming into play only one way. If it doesn’t happen exactly the way you pictured it, you’re thrown for a loop. (*Waves hand…guilty!*) Specifically, the authors share how your future spouse may not come in the “package” or through the desired path you are expecting. However, this concept can be applied to a list of life goals – career, having children, developing a business and more. In being open, you may end up receiving way more than expected.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

–Joseph Campbell (330 as quoted)

3) Be assertive in chasing your dreams but don’t force things.

There is a difference. You can be determined to get what you want and do anything to get it which is actually vital in success. But if it feels forced, then it probably is. In the end this could turn out to be a rushed version of your dream or even a temporary satisfaction in settling instead of the full manifestation of your original desire.

This is true for so many things in life. When you frantically chase after something, like a dog chasing a car, it actually becomes harder and harder for you to catch. You start making compromises and forgetting who you are, and before long you’ve become someone else. You’ve lost the very qualities that made it possible for you to catch what you were chasing. That’s true for love, career, wealth, you name it.” (199)

4) Appreciate that you may have more to learn before you reach your desired destination.

Perhaps you need to gain more clarity and wisdom that will be required for the next level. Something you’ll be so much more appreciative of down the line. Trust me, true story!

When you wait, things become clear. It’s a bit like walking out of an amusement park into the real world: the rides and games and colorful distractions are gone and things seem a little dull, but then you realize that everything’s open to you from horizon to horizon. That’s empowering.” (206)


I hope that this review has been enlightening for various waiting periods in your life. Whether you agree with Meagan and Devon’s personal practice of celibacy or not, there is much to take away from this book and a wealth of wisdom to apply. Feel free to share any thoughts or questions below. And let me know what you think of the book if you decide to read it! 🙂


You Are A Pink Starburst, Not An Orange One! : Tips on Self Care and Being Assertive


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Alarm clock screaming, eating breakfast in the car, sitting in traffic, work deadlines, family life… Beyoncé dropping a tour out of the clear blue and trying to get your ticket money together before the Hive descends on us all… LAWD! The demands we face on a daily basis are enough to erode even the best of us. The key to staying sane and balanced when the whole world is pulling you in different directions is proper self care.

One way to practice self-care is by using assertive communication to express your feelings, needs, and wants. Being assertive means you firmly state your stance while being courteous and acknowledging the other person’s point of view. It means you monitor your tone of voice, word choice, and body language, but still get your point across.  The goal is to be neither aggressive nor passive, but rather to rest right in the middle of the two, with the goal of getting your needs met. Always remember how the saying goes: you are a pink starburst! Never let someone treat you like an orange one! More importantly, don’t treat yourself like an orange one. It’s not realistic to expect others to treat you well when you don’t take care of yourself.

So how do we practice self-care using assertive communication? 

1. Say “no”

Sometimes the best form of self care is by setting some healthy boundaries with others. Don’t be afraid to decline a few invitations if it means you will have some quiet time to decompress and re-energize. Here’s a secret… Lean in: even if you aren’t doing anything, it doesn’t mean that you are obligated to do someone else a favor. You are not wrong for choosing to spend your free time however you desire.

2. Say “yes”

On the other hand, there are times where you need to be open to new experiences. Try new food. Go to a different type of dance club, maybe salsa or swing dancing. Agree to go out with friends instead of finding reasons to get out of it. Buy a trendy outfit and break your pattern of playing it safe with your wardrobe. Say yes a little more and watch how things blossom for you. It’s very healthy to treat yourself with pleasant things and exciting events every so often.

3. Learn to both accept and pay a complement.

One of the biggest reflections of your self esteem is how you handle compliments. When someone walks up to you and says “you look great today” or “you have a lovely home” and your first reaction is to start highlighting how old your sweater is or the flaws in your couch, it becomes glaringly obvious that you don’t feel good about yourself. Practice accepting compliments graciously by offering nothing more than a “Thank you very much”… No further explanation about anything. No highlighting all the imperfections that the person did not catch. Just a good old fashioned “thank you”.

In the same vein, your ability to pay a compliment directly to someone is also a reflection of your self esteem. If every time you see someone with cute shoes, a nice suit, a nice car, you offer up your gas face rather than telling them what you think, it’s obvious, you don’t have the best self esteem. People with high self esteem know that paying a compliment does not take away from what they have to offer. They find joy in pointing out when someone else is doing well. Often times people with low self esteem have an immediate negative reaction when they see someone doing better, having more than them, or doing things that they are afraid of. So rather than point it out, they clam up. Never forget, you are a pink starburst and you have to believe it for yourself! Even if you aren’t exactly where you want to be in life, you still need to treat yourself well. So start telling people when you think they are awesome and start saying “Thank you”.

Overall, we want to use our best communication skills in order to practice proper self care. Sometimes this means saying no, sometimes this means saying yes, and sometimes this means getting comfortable accepting and receiving compliments. It’s just a start, but with these skills, you start to see healthy changes happen for you. But hey, I could be wrong. I’ve always been a bit of an Odd Bird.

Glenna Anderson, LCSW

5 Reasons Not to Give Up

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[Dress H&M; Tights Target; Boots H&M; Necklace Forever 21- old similar; Watch New York and Company]

{Photos: Shot by Kelley B.}

When we think about the idea giving up, the negative aspects often come to mind. We think about why the diet is too hard to follow, how the workout routine is too challenging, the amount of time we’ve been trying to advance our career with no silver lining in sight. The list can go on and I’m sure in this area it can be a pretty exhaustive one for most people. But what about the opposite end of the spectrum? Why should we not give up?

Focusing on the topic of motivation this week, I thought this would be a great time to explore the positive aspects that will promote not giving up. It’s February already and let’s face it, a lot of us are beating ourselves up about not achieving the January goals we were so eager to accomplish around 12/30/15-01/02/16. But look at it this way – it’s only February! You have time! And even if time isn’t on your side for your specific goal, keep going anyway!

Not too long ago I was talking to a friend about a road bump I was facing. She said “it will all work out”. My response was “it better or else I’m running off to Mexico to start a new life”. As exciting as that sounded at the time (and still does some days), she reminded me that south of the border was where I wasn’t going because things will in fact work out. All that to say, we all need a positive reminder every now and then to not give up. And I’m in the boat with you! (Waves from the front of the boat while checking out the view. 🙂 ) Here’s a few reasons to keep in mind as to why to keep plugging along.

5 Reasons Not to Give Up

1) Someone is watching you.

And no, not in an eerie, stalker way. But seriously, whether you know it or not you may be an inspiration to someone. I often hear people referencing this idea when they strive to keep going because of their children. This is an awesome motivator as to why to not give up. Though there could be others you are inspiring as well. Perhaps there’s that mentee (formally or informally), a spouse or significant other who can use a boost themselves, or maybe a close family member or friend who could be down on their luck. Whether you realize it or not, you may be someone else’s hero-motivator extraordinaire.

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2) You know the possibilities if you don’t continue but an amazing unknown is ahead of you if you keep going.

Ever feel like you’re in a bubble? Or living in a comfort zone that’s way more stagnant than full of growth? Most likely you do because these feelings are strong promoters of dreams and goals. It is likely that even if you’re content in your current space, you’re looking to grow or reach a new level in some way. So if you continue where you are, you already know what will happen. While this is comfortable, it limits the possibilities that may lie ahead. You’ll never know these possibilities if you remain in your bubble.

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3) Your intuition is, most likely, going to nag you if you do attempt to quit.

This one is probably a message to myself but I’m sure someone else can relate. You know when you feel in your gut that it’s time to move in a certain direction or grow to another level? You then proceed to start second guessing yourself or attempt to convince yourself that it’s not the right time. Everything seems okay and you go along as planned in your comfort zone. But then that nagging voice or feeling starts getting more intense. It antagonizes you until you make a move toward that original dream or goal you set out for to begin with. Your intuition pushes you toward that accomplishment that was meant for you to work for, not the temporary comfort that you would like to keep going along with.

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4) You’ve come this far, so why undo all the work?

Now this point can be a little challenging because we often do not know when a particular dream will become reality. There are some dreams or goals that we do have a set timeline of, for instance graduating from school. However other pursuits such as trying to open a business or buy a home may present a few more unknowns that could affect what was our ideal timeframe. But the unknown is not a reason to waive the white flag. Even if you don’t know when your dream may come to pass, keep going. No matter how far or close you are in measurement to the achievement of that goal, you’re always going to be closer than when you started. Always. So why sacrifice the blood, sweat and tears (literally and figuratively) in vain?

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5) Your future will thank you.

How many people have you heard tell a success story that involved something happening overnight? (Unless you’re the mega millions winner. If so, congrats!) Unusually success stories involve some sort of obstacles, long suffering, defeat, rejection or combination of all the above. And usually those factors that are externally negative typically become internal promoters of the drive and motivation that gets one to the finish line. As they say, don’t just go through an experience – grow through it. In the future, it will all come full circle in the most positive way.


Giving up is easy and at times it seems warranted granted all the difficulties that may come across our paths. But our future success will far outweigh the temporary discomfort.  So let’s keep going!


What Are You Passionate About?

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[Photo Credit: Shot by Kelley]

Well the week is over and Friday is finally here. (Yay!) You’re ready for the weekend. Time to unwind and get all of your fun, relaxation, randomness, etc. in before the notorious Sunday night reality, right? Well cheers to the weekend for sure! But you don’t want that to be the only thing that keeps you going from week to week. Believe me, I can understand from experience why that would be the case. Though it’s worth noting that it will take much more than the weekly anticipation of 2 days off work to keep you going in the long run.

So I pose the question: What are you passionate about?

Don’t feel the need to answer on the spot but take time to reflect on the question. And if after hours of pondering on the question you still don’t have an answer, that’s okay! It could actually be a good thing because the unknown will spark an interest within to find an answer. On the other hand, if you find yourself with a laundry list after hours of reflection – that’s great too! If you find yourself in the latter group, take the next step of reflecting on how to further explore those passions and dreams.

I wanted to quickly share a particular area that I’m passionate about. This is definitely one item on an extensive list but to keep this post quick I’ll stick to one to encourage a little inspiration. (Because there’s never enough of that!) I also wanted to share this because I’ve gained some new followers and friends (welcome! 🙂 ). So this topic also relates to the purpose of my blog.

My passion is to inspire people.

I set out to focus this blog from a work-life balance perspective with the goal of inspiring people through career ups, downs and in-betweens. This is so close to my heart because I hit a variety of bumps along the career road (heck, still do!) and suffered a lot of unnecessary stress as a result of being uninspired. So I hope to use this written space as a platform to promote positive thinking and share inspirational thoughts, topics and ideas. While I’m still featuring work related topics, I have been working to create more of a lifestyle blog. Because sometimes fashion, pop culture, beauty and other fun topics can be a well deserved break from the norm as well, right?

I hope to go into more depth about this and other passions of mine in future blog posts. But for now, let’s keep it light because it is the weekend after all. 😉 So while you have my permission to relax and enjoy time off of work (you’re welcome!), take a second at some point to think about your own passions. I’m looking forward to hearing about what drives you and keeps you inspired.

Feel free to share your thoughts, passions and reflections below. Happy Weekend! And Happy Reflecting Time!

P.S. Of course I had to end the week with one last post in my fashion passion – stripes. 🙂

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[Outfit details: Dress from New York and Company; Boots from H&M]


Entrepreneurship and Pursuing Your Passion with Slomique Hawrylo

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[Pictured: Slomique Hawrylo of Carpe Diem Events]

I’ve always been fascinated with all things creative. Additionally, I’ve always been intrigued with how people turn their creative passions into businesses. A few years ago I had the pleasure of shadowing Slomique Hawrylo as the owner of her event planning business, Carpe Diem Events. I was fascinated with how she was able to turn events into an experience. As impressed as I was with her event planning capability in her own business, she has not ceased to amaze me.  A few years after our experience, she managed to land an assistant role with David Tutera (one of the most amazing event planners ever) on his WEtv reality show “David Tutera CELEBrations”.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Slomique about her creative drive, development of a business and tools to pursue your passion.


9 to Fly Girl: Tell me about how your business began.

Slomique: I started about 12 years ago. I spoke to people in the industry. My mentor owned a floral prop rental company. I brought books about event planning. Actually, one of them was by David Tutera.

9TFG: Wow…how ironic!

Slomique: Yes. I was committed to my craft. You have to build your portfolio to show your work. When I started I did things for free. I began with social events and it grew into corporate events, award shows and designing hotel displays.

9TFG: What were you doing prior to starting your business?

Slomique: I was working full time at 21st Century Fox. Being a new mom inspired me to go out on my own. If I was going to be away from my child, it was going be for something I’d be passionate about. People thought I was crazy for quitting but I had already established a marketing plan and fan base.

9TFG: What made you get into the event planning field?

Slomique: Sometimes the universe puts things in your space. I hosted events in college for my friends like dinner parties and other creative events. I wanted to be able to work from home and build a relationship with my kids. Kids will make you sink or swim. They make you get yourself in order. I want to be a role model for them.

This also helps my relationships with clients. I’m able to identify with them because for many women getting married, kids are the next step.

9TFG: What is the best thing about working for yourself?

Slomique: You personally reap the reward versus a company benefitting from your sweat. It’s your name that’s on the company.

9TFG: What is the most challenging part about working for yourself?

Slomique: You work a lot, there is no clock. No matter what, there’s always a check with a 9-5 – not always with your own business. You usually don’t reap the rewards in the first 2 years. It’s not for the weak. It’s not for everyone.

9TFG: Yeah, people usually see just the glamorous parts.

Slomique: It’s a whole lot of sweat. Some questions to ask would be: “Am I dedicated? Am I afraid to fail? Do I have what it takes to be dedicated?”

9TFG: Tell me about your other business ventures.

Slomique: I try to stay as humble as possible in my journey. I want to bless others. I’m working on a new project in an area where you can find people like me, a person of color, who is at the top of their game.

9TFG: Speaking of business ventures, how did the reality show come up?

Slomique: David Tutera had a casting call for the show. My brother and sister sent me the information separately, without knowing that the other sent it!

9TFG: Oh wow!

Slomique: As Oprah says: “Preparation meets opportunity”. I was prepared when the opportunity came.

9TFG: How has reality tv helped grow you and your business?

Slomique: I now have a bigger platform. I gained a bigger Black audience. It’s made me validated that I’m good at what I do.

9TFG: What advice would you give someone trying to start a creative business?


  • Never get caught not knowing.

Do your homework and know your craft. I wanted to know as much as I could especially as a Black woman.

  • You should always be ready.

Find the best in the industry and what they’re doing. Then find your own niche.

  • Know your audience.

9TFG: Ohh! That’s a good one!

Slomique: Yes, and with that know that you’re not going to make everyone happy. But if you have confidence in yourself, others will see that and follow. You lead the charge of how people view you and your business.

9TFG: Interesting.


  • Know and be truly honest with yourself.

You need more than an amazing line. You have to have personality because you are the sales rep. You’ll need more than a product.

  • Always be willing to learn from others and their mistakes.
  • Have a goal: for every day, every week, every month.

Set deadlines and implement a plan to achieve it.


I hope that this interview has inspired you whether you desire to one day start your own business or are happy working for an employer. May this interview encourage you in the goals you plan to set, personally or professionally, in the new year.

If you have any questions for Slomique, her services, work and contact information can be found at And as always, feel free to leave any questions, comments or other feedback for me below. 🙂

Fashion Passions, Social Media and Stripes

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[Photos shot by Kelley]

Happy Monday all! So I thought I’d do something a little different today. I haven’t done an outfit post in awhile and figured it would be a good pick me up to start off the week. I plan to focus on the idea of passion this week as it relates to our drive for hopes, goals and dreams. However, I want to start off the week a little light. I’m sure most people are still recovering from the weekend. And of course, the fact that it’s Monday once again. With that being said, I’ll leave the heartier passion related topics for later in the week. 🙂

I was recently talking to a few friends about fashion as it relates to social media. I see multiple fashion posts that receive tons of likes and comments. I shared with my friends that I too love looking at cute outfits and gaining new fashion inspiration. Though I still wondered what makes people (women in particular though many men as well) so passionate about fashion. As I discussed the subject, I had an epiphany. People enjoy fashion (and other creative forms) so much because it’s an escape from the everyday. Everyone has their own style. And some people may not be as captivated by fashion as others. But no matter the type, there’s some sort of commonality that fashion is a pleasing art form to the eye. Not to mention something fun and effortless to look at after a long day of reading emails, memos and any other mundane tasks that may occur throughout one’s day.

When it comes to fashion for me, I’m no regular at New York Fashion Week nor a designer clothing connoisseur. Though I too enjoy browsing for cute outfit ideas on the net for inspiration and even just as a pastime to unwind.

This post is an ode to a fashion passion of my own – stripes. I’m not sure why but I am finding more stripes in my closet recently. Maybe it’s the idea of getting various colors out of one piece while eliminating the effort of putting multiple items together.

So here’s to unwinding, ootd day dreams, fashion passions and stripes!

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[Outfit details: Blouse (similar), skirt and necklace (similar) from New York and Company; Bangle from Francessca’s; Satchel from Target (similar); Heels from Forever 21]

What are some of your fashion passions? How do you find outfit inspiration?