Hey everybody! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my posts about Operation #ALLTheThings where my friend and I have been living it up before she moves away. Well, this weekend we completed our mission with the most epic girls trip ever! There’s nothing like a good girls trip to help you revive, rejuvenate, and reset yourself while indulging in rest, relaxation, and a little ratchetness! Yes, I said ratchetness. We ALL have it in us so don’t play. Anywho, self-care is something that is extremely important, and I’m a HUGE advocate of it. It’s pertinent to make time for YOU especially when you’re a mom who has to keep your household afloat on a daily basis. Time with my girls is one of the most effective self-care tools that I like to use, and this weekend, we took our shenanigans on the road to New Orleans. We soaked up all of the Black Girl Magic at the Essence Festival, and it was exactly what I needed! There were so many events and moments that empowered me as a black woman and even as a mom.
Although a 7.5 hour drive may sound horrible to some, I was excited for our journey. Luckily for me and my crew, Texas has the most magical gas station you could ever imagine. If you follow me on Instagram, you also have seen me post about Buc-ee’s. Hear me when I say that absolutely NO road trip is complete without a stop at Buc-ee’s. Sure, you can have a successful road trip without it, but adding a stop at this magical place just takes your entire experience up about one thousand notches! Another ingredient for the perfect road trip is the music. You’ve got to have a combination of playlists that will give you what you need for every mood or vibe. Our playlists consisted of gospel, oldies, rap, and 90s R&B. The singalongs were like none other, and we all mastered the art of dancing while seated by the end of the trip.
If you ask my husband, he will tell you just how much I love a good hotel stay. However, an Airbnb is definitely the better choice for certain trips. I prefer staying in a house when traveling with my girls for a few reasons:
- Everyone has more space to set up shop. We women tend to overpack when we travel, and we need room to lay out all of our jewelry and glasses. Well, at least I do.
- You have access to a full-size refrigerator to store all snacks and restaurant leftovers. This also gives the option of making a grocery store run and whipping something up for yourself.
- Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about being too noisy like you would in a hotel. So when you get that late night twerk session started, you can crank up the music!
Our little house was so cute and so New Orleans. It definitely added value to our trip. Staying there saved us money and gave us the opportunity to live like locals for a few days.
One of the first things I did on Friday morning was read my Mommy devotional. When I turned to the devotion for July 5th I saw the title which read “Mom’s Gotta Get A Life.” I always have separation anxiety and a little bit of mommy guilt once the time comes for me to leave me baby and do things for me. This devotion was sent by God. It was confirmation that the time that I was spending with my girls to replenish myself was what I needed and that I was not a bad mom for leaving my son with his capable father so that I could have a good time with friends. God always speaks to me right on time! I got ready with absolutely no guilt, and I approached the day with that same attitude.
The moment we walked into the convention center, you could just feel the black excellence and positive vibes in the air. The first interaction that I had upon entering the convention was with a group of black men. They were wearing shirts that said “Breastfeeding is a team sport,” and I was intrigued. I stopped to take a picture with them and we ended up chatting for a brief moment.
It turns out that they were part of a group called Reaching Our Brothers Everywhere. Their mission is to impact an increase in breastfeeding rates and a decrease in infant mortality rates by educating, equipping, and empowering men. They also do the same for women through Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere. Their work made me feel supported, appreciated, and empowered. I knew it was a foreshadowing of all of the amazing things that were going to take place throughout the weekend.
There was so much to do and see, and we tried our best to do and see ALL the things. I wanted to go to an influencer talk with the one and only Ms. Funky Dineva so I separated from the pack temporarily. After listening to him speak about how he combined his God-given talent with his truth in order to become successful, I had the chance to actually meet him, and boy was a bugging OUT!
That whole experience was awesome, but it got even better. I heard a familiar voice coming from one of the stages as we were casually strolling through the convention center. So I decided to go over and check it out, and that’s when I saw the beautiful Angela Simmons. I was so glad that I came across her when I did because she said some things that I needed to hear. She talked about the importance of trial and error when it comes to being successful and how failure and perseverance are both necessary elements of the process. These two speakers had poured into without even knowing it.
The icing on top of the cake was all of the free swag that we collected. The lines were long, but they moved fast. Each one we stood in was worth the wait. Not only did I walk away with lots of natural hair care products but I also learned a lot about the products and was introduced to a line that I had never heard of before. Ever heard of Deva Curl? Did you know that they created the co-wash 25 years ago? Don’t feel bad because I didn’t know that either. What I DO know is that I will definitely be using all of the free products that they gave me.
Some of the best moments happened when we were just minding our own business and not trying to have a great moment. As we were walking through the crowd again, all of a sudden security started yelling “MOVE! MOVE!” and pushing everyone to the side. I immediately got nervous because I had no idea what was going on. But then as the crowd parted, a beam of sunshine made its way into the building and landed on Kofi Siriboe being escorted through the crowd. Ladies…y’all already know! I didn’t even get a picture of him because I was too busy saying “OH MY GOD!” over and over again! But that memory will last forever in my mind. Not only is he a beautiful specimen, but he also led us to the area where celebrities were being snuck in and out of the building. Jackpot! So what did we do?
We set up shop right there and just chilled for about an hour. We got close to so many celebrities including Anthony Hamilton (who shook my hand), Kirk Franklin, and Anthony Anderson, just to name a few. After that, there was nothing left to do but head over to the New Orleans Bounce party and dance until they kicked us out. It. Was. EPIC!
We started our day a little earlier in attempts to beat the crowd. Boy was there a crowd! There were WAY more people at the convention center on Saturday than there were on Friday, and the lines for swag were already longer than they were the previous day. We had already gotten our products the day before so we were unbothered. We managed to roll up on some free breakfast so we fueled ourselves with that before exploring.
The one and only Ms. Quad of Married to Medicine was on the lineup to do a cooking demonstration. I knew that I definitely wanted to be there because I love Quad and I love to cook. After starting off her session with a 15 minute dance party with the DJ, she prepared coconut shrimp with a remoulade sauce and promoted her cookbook. The audience asked questions throughout and I could tell by her answers that she knows exactly what she’s doing in the kitchen. So I invested in myself and purchased her cookbook, and I can’t wait to use it!
We headed back to the house after happily leaving the convention center early. We had just enough time to get ready and eat before the main attraction…Michelle Obama! We made our way to our seats early because we did not want to take a chance on missing even one second of her time on stage. Her introduction consisted of a video that warmed my heart. I fought back the tears as I watched. The crowd screamed and cheered in unison at various moments. The energy in the room was electric and it felt like one big family. When she finally came onto the stage I couldn’t fight it anymore. My eyes watered up and the tears fell. I was in the same room as our Forever First Lady, a woman who exudes the very definition of Black Girl Magic, and her words were golden.
Earlier that day I found myself in tears as a result of someone (a repeat offender hater) trying to personally attack me. It was still bothering me hours later. I was frustrated and angry. Then, she said something that we have all heard her say before. “When they go low, we go high,” was what she said. I felt my eyes watering again, but this time it was not out of frustration or anger. They were tears of joy because that message came at a time when I really needed it. As I sat there and listen to her talk about her experiences as the First Lady, I felt a peace come over me. I knew that I would know exactly how to handle this particular person as well as my other haters moving forward. I would do it with the same grace and poise that our Forever First Lady has always displayed. Thank you Mrs. Obama. You have helped me more than you will ever know.
This trip was full of so many things that uplifted, encouraged, and empowered me and made me proud to be a black woman. But the thing that I know I will never forget is the time that I spent with my girls. From the drive to the late night chatting at the house, I feel closer to them than I ever have before. We worked out together during the trip, laughed uncontrollably, and danced like crazy. They were also there to encourage me and give me Godly advice when the devil crept in and tried to ruin my good time. This girls trip owes me NOTHING, and New Orleans will never be the same after THIS Texas trio.
To all of my fellow first time mommies out there, please listen up. Take care of you. Sometimes separation anxiety (for you and baby) and mommy guilt make it hard to leave your baby, but it’s important to make time for yourself. Being a mother is too great of a responsibility for you to not be at your best. So whatever it is that brings you peace, joy, happiness, balance, and relaxation, as long as it’s legal, DO IT! It may be hard to make the initial step, but once you get on the other side, you’ll be so glad that you did it.
Light and Love,