Living away from family and friends can be difficult on anyone.  We’ve all grown up with family traditions and when you are no longer able to participate in those traditions, you create your own! In 2017, I was invited to a Friendsgiving Dinner with about 30 other strangers.  I waited until the last hour to decide to go and show up to a complete stranger’s home, but was overjoyed when a familiar face ( I met my now friend, then stranger, about 3 weeks prior, at a separate meet up) opened the door. Actually, her adorable 2 year old opened the door which made my decision to go even better.

It was at the event where I met my amazing friends who have become like family, so naturally we had to do it all over again.  This year, we decided to pack up the cars, the kids, and the crockpots and drive up to Lake Tahoe for a little more intimate Friendsgiving weekend…with only 15 (including 4 children and minus 4 adults who couldn’t make it) this time.  We rented a cabin at Northstar that slept everyone comfortably and had a great Black time cooking, singing, dancing, eye rolling, dominoes, laughing, and great conversation.

If you want to plan a getaway with a large group, and no Real Housewives of Tahoe drama, here’s how we succeeded.

  • Only invite those you are actually friends with!  Don’t invite people just because they just want to go, or you need to fill a room.  That can create an off balanced dynamic and may not end well. Everyone in our group were actually very familiar with one another.  We’ve all hung out at each other’s homes and have been around our kids, so trust and chemistry wasn’t issue. Plus the kids were comfortable with one another and really like each other.
  • We had two people spearhead the weekend. One person took the reins and sourced the cabin, provided 2-3 options, and we settled on one. The other person grabbed a few of us and met and planned the activities, the meals, and travel arrangements.  Once the plans were made, they were sent to the group to choose what activity and dish they would like to be responsible for.  The least amount of people you have involved in the minute details, the smoother the event. Here is where we lodged. Northstar Resort.
  • Since we planned to cook all of our meals there, we made a decision to make breakfast a group expense.  The planners of the trip arrived in Tahoe early and did the grocery shopping for the house. One person paid for the bill, and we divided the cost amongst the adults, which came to less than $14/person.  This cost also included snacks, and food for Friday night. A steal, right?! Speaking of Friday night, we had the best gumbo and fried fish I’ve had in a while!
  • Friendsgiving Dinner was the big one!  Everyone pitched in and made a traditional Holiday dish. I personally wanted to create a table that made everyone feel special, and a space where we can all sit together and break bread.  You can read about the table in the November issue of the IASH Blogazine here.
  • We researched the area prior to our departure and created a list of events like, hiking and snow tubing, but because there wasn’t enough snow on the ground yet, we weren’t able to tube.  Also, the hiking trail was an hour drive away and didn’t allow us time to drive there, hike, and return back to the cabin in time to start dinner.  We improvised and hopped on the Gondola hung out at the ski lodge, with hot cocoa and wine, around the fire pit and allowed the kids to play in the snow that was there.

Although we weren’t able to participate in the activities we planned, we reveled in each other’s company, which was the real reason we planned this trip.  We took the fun to the cabin, hung out in the hot tub ( I fell asleep), made s’mores and enjoyed hot cups of wassail!

Always remember the real reason you decided to plan any friend or family trip.  At the end of the day it’s about the people you’re with.

Have you taken a trip with a large group of friends?  Where did it go?  What tips do you have to succeed?





Hey Y’all!

A few years ago I created a list of 101 goals to achieve in 1001 days.  You can read that post and list here.  Setting goals are a great way to be intentional with your life and your decisions.  Writing those goals down not only makes you accountable, it puts the wheels in motion.  Once it’s out there, it’s a signal to God and to self to get the process started. The 101 in 1001 list definitely activated some things for me.  I sat back and watched my own words become my own reality.  Once the list was created, I subconsciously started to move in the direction of achieving those goals, simply because I spoke them.  If you don’t get anything from this post, please get that your words are powerful.  What you say, you will convey. Since we have to power to create the life we live, use that power to create the life you WANT to live.

Take a moment and create a list of 101 goals you would like to achieve and allow yourself 1001 days to achieve them.  They don’t have to be huge, just make a list of desires from your heart.  In the end, if there are a few left over that went untouched, don’t be hard on yourself, just carry them over to the next 1001 days.

I have created a list of a few my goals for you, below and I decided to keep some to myself. Everything isn’t for Everyone. 😉

Start Date: October 9, 2018

End Date: July 6, 2021


Trip to Sierra Leone

Go hiking at Zion National Park

Take a trip to Tulum

Travel to Serengeti for Migration

Visit and Camp at Yosemite


Consistently write CGAL daily newsletters

Host “Black Bay Area Bloggers” Dinner Party

Attend one networking event per month for 3 months

Take the Podcast on a road tour


Take a public speaking class

Join Toastmasters


Purchase riding bike

Workout 3 days a week for 2 months

Drink only water for one week, for 3 months (No coffee)

Gain 15 pounds (muscle)


Journal every day for a month

Read 1 book per month for 6 months

Finish every goal on this list

Join/Donate to Lamar University Alumni Association

Learn Spanish

Send 5 handwritten “Just because” letters

Clean and arrange all of my files on my laptop & desktop

Inspire someone to participate in 101 in 1001

Get a dog


Save $20 for every goal reached

Buy a new car

Purchase Residential Property

Become 100% Debt free


Mail a handwritten birthday card to all friends and family for a year

Send someone flowers, just because

Have lunch/brunch/dinner date with friends at least once per month


Visit The Potter’s House in LA

Expand the Church Girls are Lit Ministry


Join a wine club

Host, or attend, a flower arranging class

Go to Museum of Ice Cream – San Francisco

See The Nutcracker

Reactivate Sorority Membership

Learn to swim

Take a makeup class

Purchase Warriors Season tickets

As you can see, my goals range from lighthearted to life changing. I hope you all decide to join me in this challenge and level up!


♥ Starr


Hey y’all!

Listen, the last year and a half has been an emotional roller coaster, to say the least!  When I moved from Texas, I was not fully prepared for the state of mind, discomfort, and eventually growth, I was about to embark upon. In my time of isolation, I mapped out a plan to make The Bay my home.  By following through with this plan, my journey has become a lot easier to bear.

The three areas of my life that shape and heavily impact who I am, and eventually who I become are, friends/family, spiritual growth, and servicing my community.


I am deeply involved in ministry in both the church I attended in Texas and now the church here in California.  It was very important for me to find a church community that was not focused on religion, but focused on relationship.  A Church that cares about the community, the people, and the Kingdom.


Obviously, all of my friends and family are in Texas and not having that support system near me took me waaayyy out of my comfort zone. I think that was the hardest adjustment for me.  Although, I love being alone, having a community and a support system is crucial for the psyche.  At the end of the day, we need people.


“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Serving my community brings a great deal of satisfaction.  I’ve been extremely blessed in my life and to not share and serve others is a disservice.  I’m working on this last phase of truly becoming acclimated in my new home.  Now that I’ve found a great Kingdom building church, amazing friends, I’m seeking ways to serve.  My first step, reach out to the local chapters of my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  If you’re reading this, you’re in the Bay, and are a member of AKA, holla at your girl!

Although these phases were applied to my life due to my relocation, you can definitely apply them to your life, wherever you are.  Start where you are.  You are not a tree, move.  Move your place of residency.  Move your state of complacency.  Move your current relationship.  Whatever it is and wherever you are, if you are not happy and/or growing…MOVE!

SHOP THE LOOK: Y’all know that I’m not shopping this year, so there are a few items, pictured, that are no longer available for purchase, but I have linked similar items that I would most definitely purchase, so I suggest you do too! FYI: This jumpsuit is on sale in both colors at 30% off!

Floral Printed Platform Heels
Big Chop Accessories Boutique
Boho Stripe Pant Set


♥ Starr



Black women really are magical.  No for real.  Is there really nothing we can’t do?? I don’t think so.  The problem is, not everyone is exposed to this knowledge.  The BIGGER problem is not every BLACK woman knows their magic, sees their magic, or even believes in their magic.

To be clear, a black woman’s magic encompasses the beauty, power and resilience we all hold, as defined by the #blackgirlmagic phrase creator CaShawn Thompson.  CaShawn goes on to explain,  “I say ‘magic’ because it’s something that people don’t always understand.    Sometimes our accomplishments might seem to come out of thin air, because a lot of times, the only people supporting us are other black women.”

For the record, women, in general are forces to be reckoned with. However, I make it my duty, as a black woman, to first look to a black female creator, curator, artist, designer, and, or business owner whenever I have a need.  I take extreme pride in building a team full of BLACK. GIRL. MAGIC!  And you better believe that I’m sharing all of their goodness….When I know, you know.

It’s too often that we don’t get the recognition we deserve, the funding we qualify for, or the platform we’re worthy of. It’s up to black women, to push other black women to the forefront and market them, support them, acknowledge them, share them, and most importantly, spend their money with them.

Black women are out here killing the game, taking over all industries, and saving lives.  Literally!  Recognize your own magic and celebrate the women around you. Sprinkle it everywhere.

(Black) Women who created the magic

Photographer: Rena O Productions

Makeup Artist: Wendy Bhola 

Manicurist/Pedicurist: Face and Body Day Spa

Headwrap: Chi Chi Lamour 

Earrings: Xpozher Accessories & Home Boutique 

Watch: Big Chop Accessories

Sequin Jacket: Melodrama Boutique

I. Am. Woman Shirt: Black Vibe Tribe

White Denim Shorts: Vici Dolls

What female black owned business are you digging right now?



Photos shot by Rena O at the Le Meridien Hotel in Houston, TX