WAGtober Meet the WAGS: Shekinah Young

WAGtober Meet the WAGS: Shekinah Young

Meet Shekinah. The Memphis-bred beauty making waves in the beauty industry. She is the wife to NBA player, Thaddeus Young, and a mamapreneur. Shekinah sat down with our editors to discuss hidden talents, love, and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Read our exclusive interview after the break!

True Life: I'm a WAG

True Life: I'm a WAG

Where do I even begin with this one? I’ve been asked so many questions about what being a WAG is like, as if it is some superb, unattainable title & world that I’ve magically made my way into. Sadly, the ‘WAG’ shows you watch on your tv are NOTHING like the real WAG world.

WAG OF THE WEEK! 10/13

Today our WOTW is media maven Amina Smith. When she's not in front of the camera reporting from the sidelines or dishing the latest in entertainment news, you can find her in the boxing ring! She's the girlfriend of Chicago Bears Safety, Deon Bush, and loves to travel to different countries throughout the year to give back and experience different cultures. Read more about this talented beauty below! 

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More on Amina...

Hi!

I'm originally from Brooklyn, NY. I'm a city girl to the core! I spend most of my time traveling and working (most of the time they're one in the same lol). I travel a lot for work! 

I cover sports and entertainment and both take me all over the country. I'm not sure if there's really ever a "typical" day for a reporter. One day I can be working in NYC, the next in L.A., and the next I could be in Chicago waking up to do a morning show at 2:30am! It's definitely a life of organized chaos. 

I have two style icons, Rihanna and LaLa Anthony. I love how they both can get glammed up and steal the show, but also dress it down and still slay! 

My most recent projects include appearing as a regular host for BET Breaks, covering MTV's VMA's, and reporting for Chicago's brand new morning show The Jam.

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My favorite quote is: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." 

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Well said from a WAG who possesses both! We are SO here for it!!

Catch more of Amina and her next media move on social media @aminajadetv

WAG OF THE WEEK is brought to you by WAGS REDEFINED (@WAGSREDEFINED) and LUX WAGS (@LUXWAGS). Want to nominate a WAG? Email LUXWAGS@GMAIL.COM

Featured WAG: Behind the Brand with TV Show Host Jackie Long, Jack Of All Tastes

Featured WAG: Behind the Brand with TV Show Host Jackie Long, Jack Of All Tastes

This TV host was destined for show biz from a young age. Read Jackie's interview then watch the Season 1 pilot of Jack Of All Tastes at the end!

For the love of the GAME

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When I was four years old, I began what I thought would just be a hobby.  Playing soccer became my entire life and my identity as a person and I loved it.  It taught me discipline, responsibility, and even gave me friends all around the United States.  I never envisioned my life without it until I had no choice but to quit. When Life Hands you Lemons

In September 2011, I suffered my third and final concussion. At that point, I had played soccer year-round for 15 years.  I had to reinvent myself as a person, find new hobbies and even new friends.  God knew what he was doing.  I transferred schools, met some really cool people and even discovered a hidden artistic talent.  But, the best part is I had the oppurtunity to take my situation and make a change.  I joined in a lawsuit against the NCAA that ultimately changed college sports forever.  I was featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, had interviews with Fox Sports; I was in articles everywhere. Even with all of this, I still didn't feel as though I had made a difference.  It wasn’t until a week ago that I truly understood the magnitude of what I had accomplished.

Make Lemonade

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of children as well as their parents about the dangers of concussions.  They were some of the most skilled and talented young athletes I have ever had the chance to witness and it was amazing.  There was nothing like that (a platform to share about the dangers of concussions) when I was a kid growing up but that was when I realized this is what/who we do it for.  Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain were a few of the pioneers of women’s sports. They were the first group of female athletes to fill major stadiums and make a difference.  They endured what they had to in order to make things better and easier for the generations to come.  I’m not comparing myself to them except to point out the fact that things only change when someone has the courage to make it change.  It’s like Newton’s First Law of Motion; “An object at rest, stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion...” I had to speak up for what I believed mattered.  I couldn’t sit back and allow what happened to me to happen to someone else.  In January 2016, the settlement  changed the concussion protocol.  The return-to-play rules following a concussion are now stricter and more clearly defined.  There is a $70 million dollar fund to test for brain trauma; which is available to former, present, and future college athletes.  The biggest difference that I have observed so far is that college athletes will no longer have to worry about losing their scholarships due to the inability to play.

#Blessingsonblessings

There is nothing I would change about what I went through. I am blessed, and thankful that God used me to help make a difference.  At one point, it was one of the worst experiences of my life but He only gives you what you can handle and by His grace, I am here today. I know that I have had the opportunity to do something that will help future generations which now includes my own son and daughter.  That alone; is greater than any reward I could imagine.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Butler Bora Bora Heart
Butler Bora Bora Heart

One of my favorite quotes is, "There is nowhere to go but everywhere so keep on rolling under the stars." I feel invigorated every time I think of this quote because it instantly sparks energy, curiosity and excitement in me. Someone once told me they believe there are three things that can bring someone happiness: 1) Being with the one you love and caring for people 2) Giving back through charity and community work 3) Going outside your comfort zone and doing something completely new.

Despite what people may think, us wives, fiancées and girlfriends usually stick to routines. During the season, your other half has his superstitions and diet/nutrition he maintains, so you probably don’t waver far off track. In addition to sticking to those habits, you are juggling your family’s daily activities and community service events while taking care of yourself too!

I know it's hard to say we have a "comfort zone" in this crazy, unpredictable, yet unbelievable profession - but if we are lucky enough, you can find that comfort zone.

I am extremely grateful for the comfort zone my husband and I have built. I'm simply here to say, during the off-season, step outside of that zone when you can. During the down time, take advantage of this amazing life we live. Travel the world, go to a new continent or country, city or state, or just do a fun day activity in your town!

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Butler Paris
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Butler London

I can't sing enough praises on what a new adventure (big or small) does for your soul and your relationship. My husband and I have been lucky enough to travel to the most amazing destinations due to fun and quirky reasons. Watching a movie lured us to swimming with sharks in the Tahitian Islands. A television show led us to scaling glaciers on a prop plane in New Zealand. This off-season we planned an entire EuroTrip that stemmed from the crazy idea of what it would be like in Dublin, Ireland for St. Patrick's Day.

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Butler Bora Bora
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Butler Bora Bora Sharks-5
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Butler NZ plane
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Butler NZ 2
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Butler Hot Air Balloon 2

If traveling isn’t easy for you because of your beautiful kids or other circumstances, then plan a day activity in your hometown! It has always been on my bucket list to go on a hot air balloon flight but my husband was always terrified and never wanted to. After years of hearing about his fear, this off-season he surprised me and we went on the most awe-inspiring hot air balloon excursion that took us to new heights - 7,000 feet above our breathtaking state of Arizona - creating a million and one memories for the rest of our lives.

It is invigorating and empowering doing something new. Always make an effort to treat yourself and your significant other after a long season of hard work and laser focus. With minicamp recently ending, this is our last bit of off-season before a new (and hopefully long) season begins! So please, go fulfill your desires, chase that daydream and your bucket list one check at a time... You deserve it.

"JUST" a Wife?

Despite what you see on TV and on the blogs, most of the women in the NFL are educated, dedicated and driven. They run their husband’s foundations, their own businesses and they hold down their families like I’ve never seen before. They aren’t all stay at home moms either.  There are some women that work full time and others (like myself) who chose not to move with their men and instead make the decision to continue their education. When my now husband first began his NFL  journey, we were uncertain of his longevity and his future.  He went undrafted and after a season ending injury during his senior year- it wasn’t until 8 months after the draft that he got the call to play again. At the time, it didn't feel like it was in my best interest to move with him so I stayed in Texas.

Staying in Texas was a hard decision- a decision that I made for three straight seasons.  During those three seasons; I worked full time, had a baby, earned a Masters degree and got married.  And after every major life change, I still made the decision to stay (where I was).  There were people who called me selfish and said that I would “miss out on being an NFL wife” and that “men of this caliber want their women to stay home.”  They speculated about his fidelity and the strength of our relationship and because of this, I often felt anxious and uncertain. 

It was never easy but, we trusted each other and knew ourselves. We both had dreams and goals before we met one other and respected the other enough to pursue those goals together and apart. I often wanted to miss those early morning flights home after a late night playoff game—but in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t.

I’ve met many women around the league who work full time, went to graduate school, law school and even medical school.  These women are teachers, reporters and photographers.  Many do not make those moves across the country for 1-year deals or uncertain contracts.  Some live in their home towns until after training camp to be sure their man is on the final roster.  But, in the end we are all sacrificing something to make sure our families are "set" for the future and that is whether you are a stay at home mom or a career women.  There is not one "cookie cutter" way to be a supportive wife and mother and because of THAT, we should never feel guilty.

Mastering Life: NFL & Beyond

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xiaandchimdigrad

A few weeks ago I graduated from the University of Miami with my Master’s in Business Administration. This is my 3rd degree. Yes I know it sounds a bit ridiculous, but I’m what some people call a career student. I thrive on studying my days away, then complaining and counting down the days to freedom from homework, group projects and exams. I don’t know why I continue to torture myself but for some reason I keep going back. You would think that after earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a master’s from Texas Tech in Mass Communications I would have had enough of school, but when an opportunity to pursue my MBA degree came along I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to complete more education. Executive MBA for Artist and Athletes:

The Executive MBA for Artist and Athletes at the University of Miami is a program designed to help professional athletes and their significant other or business partner earn their Master’s in Business Administration in an 18-month long program. The program is completed in six 2-week sessions during the offseason and three online classes during the season. To be honest I had no idea what to expect and I was nervous about doing the program since I was only one of two women joining the incoming class. I knew I would have my husband by my side and the classes would be challenging, but I wasn’t sure how a group of football players would be in the classroom. Upon starting class I quickly learned my classmates were a fun group of guys that were extremely focused and had a strong work ethic.

Perception Not Equal To Reality:

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Being surrounded by such a driven group of individuals made me realize the media often portrays our guys in a negative light. All of my classmates were the complete opposite of how we often see football players characterized. The reality is most of them had established businesses and non-profits prior to joining the program and were working towards building legacies that would sustain their success well beyond football. Several of my classmates were and are some of the top players in the league and had reached what some would call the highest height of achievement by making it to the NFL, and yet they still chose to pursue higher education. These aren’t the images we often see so I’m glad I have this platform to show that these guys are more than just football players. They are great fathers, businessmen and leaders who continue to strive for more than the glory of the game and they deserve to be recognized for their contributions on and of the field.

Greater Lesson:

Being in a class of football players I was reminded of how blessed I am to be a part of such a great league but the reality is the NFL is "not for long." The NFL has afforded many of us with the opportunity to build great networks and to travel and experience things that some people only dream of.  Although the ride is often fun, it goes by so fast. I realized the best lesson that I can take away from completing the program didn’t come from my professors or my textbooks, but from the very men I sat next to every day. Their work ethic taught me to go after my passions and dreams, to keep learning and networking and to take advantage of all the resources this league has afforded my husband and I.

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weh quote

My husband is going into his sixth season and I must admit in the beginning of his career it felt like football would last forever. Now that we are much closer to retirement than we are to rookie season the reality has set in to enjoy it while it lasts but to also get prepared for the day when it will all be over.  For many of us women this may be a little more difficult trying to juggle being a wife or a girlfriend, having families and being supportive to our men, but that’s ok. It’s never too late to start fresh just as long as you start. One of greatest gifts we can give everyone around us is to not give up on our dreams and goals no matter what. For some that means picking up that hobby or dream that was set aside temporarily, for others that means trying something new or challenging or maybe going back to school to earn a degree or two.  Whatever it may be I strongly encourage you to take advantage of today. We do not know what tomorrow will bring but we have the ability and power to impact tomorrow by what we do today.

My MBA program taught me a lot about business but so much more about mastering life. Never stop learning, never stop growing and don’t be afraid to take risks. I hope my journey encourages you just a little to jump in head first and do whatever your hearts desire and if you're already doing so kudos to you!

For more information about Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes program feel free to email Jennifer at Jennifer@miamiemba2.com for more information.

XOXO,

Xia

Behind The Brand: Raven Thomas, CEO of The Painted Pretzel

"At first, I didn’t want to do it.  I thought, 'Why would they pick me? I just make chocolate-covered pretzels. It’s not anything glamorous." - Raven Thomas, The Painted Pretzel

There are entrepreneurs and then there are business savvy, mini-moguls who appear on Shark Tank, command the respect and business partnership of heavy hitters such as Mark Cuban and land a life changing --deal of a lifetime overnight. Meet Raven Thomas. She is all of these and much more. I had the pleasure of learning about the woman Behind The Brand. She is genuine, Godly, humble, the wife of retired NFL player Eric Thomas and mother to two young boys. Raven is the Founder and CEO of The Painted Pretzel. Haven’t heard of her genius business and delicious brand? Get acquainted and get motivated!

Name: Raven Thomas

Husband: Eric Thomas

Anniversary: June 24, 2000

Occupation: Entrepreneur (thepaintedpretzel.com)

Husband’s Tenure and Teams: Started with the Jaguars, Buccaneers

Children: Two. Jeremiah (10), Aaron (8)

Cities You've Lived in with NFL: Jacksonville and Tampa

Home: Arizona

Favorite place to visit: San Diego

Your first car: Ford Contour

Music on your playlist: Adele and old school music like LL Cool J. I have a mix of old and new

Hobbies: I like to workout/exercise! CrossFit, Orange Theory Fitness and running sprints are my speed!

Your favorite memory: The day I met my husband.

Q&A

LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?

RT: I’m from Atlanta, Ga. I arrived in Arizona because of my husband’s work.

LM: How did you and your husband meet? What’s your love story?

RT: We met at a party our freshman year of college at FSU. We started talking because neither one of us were dancing and I wasn’t the type to have boyfriends. But he was different; we didn’t see each other again face to face for like a year. My friend used to be lab partners with another football player so I would have her spy in class. When they would do work, she would spy (on him). Fast forward to a few months later, we had a class together over the summer. Once we had that class together, the rest was history…that was 20 years ago.

ON THE NFL:

LM: What are some of the challenges of being married to an NFL player and what do you like about it?

RT: Well, we got married when we were 24 so we were young. A challenge for me was not being able to settle down in a way. We lived in Jacksonville but then we lived in Tampa. NFL sent him to NFL Europe and then he came back so it’s just very unstable. That part is hard. I ended up going back to school and getting my Masters but not when I wanted to because of the instability. When I did go back, I was flying back and forth. He wasn’t a superstar so it was more like “will he have a job next week?” and that part is also tough to deal with. It is stressful.  He was in the NFL for two years and then he played (in the) arena league. He had a stable contract with arena and he was very good at that. Of course the fact still remains that one injury could cause you to lose your job. When Eric left the game, he left on his own. His transition was very easy in that he didn’t long to play anymore.

LM: What is one piece of advice you can give to other women that you wish you would have known prior to your husband playing in the league?

RT: Probably that it’s not what I expected. I don’t know what I expected but I know it wasn’t that. Expect the unexpected! For a few families it’s different, but for the masses it is not glamorous!

LM: Do you believe there are any misconceptions or stereotypes of NFL WAGS? If so, what is your view?

RT: Yes. I think that a lot of times WAGS are seen as gold diggers or just trying to “come up”, get a meal ticket or are in it for the glamour (of it all). I remember someone told me, “Oh, you came up.” That was funny because we’ve been together since he was on the bench at FSU. Sometimes that (“come up”) does happen but overall with most of the women I’ve met, that’s not the case. The other misconception is that these women live off their husbands which is also not true.

ON SHARK TANK:

Editor’s Notes: The Painted Pretzel partnered with Mark Cuban for $100,000 in return for 25% equity in the pretzel business.  Result – The Painted Pretzel is selling in hundreds of stores and has partnered with Landmark Theaters thanks to Mark Cuban.

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LM: Let’s talk about your business, The Painted Pretzel for a moment. Tell us how your idea came about and what the journey has been like?

RT: Well, it came about by me going to a spa. Clarification, my sister worked at a spa. The owner would make little snacks around holiday time (Thanksgiving, I believe) where she would have little chocolate-covered pretzels and candies but I recall thinking that she could do better than that. I also liked the idea of giving them as Christmas gifts because I was pregnant with my second child and didn’t want to spend any money on gifts. I did it and everyone liked them, like a lot! Because I am a perfectionist -I said to myself that I need a website (probably didn’t need one at the time) but, people started buying them and it started to grow from there. After that, I thought maybe I could sell them in a store so I took the pretzels to a candy convention in Chicago and I received really big orders from all these stores. It was never my plan to have a business.

LM: Talk about the Shark Tank experience and how that came about?

RT: I hadn’t seen the show before. My father-in-law watched it and suggested I watch it and try to get on the show. At first, I didn’t want to do it. I thought, “Why would they pick me? I just make chocolate-covered pretzels. It’s not anything glamorous.” I ended up sending in an email to the show explaining my business. I didn’t hear back for nearly a year. I had completely forgotten about even wanting to be on the show. One day, the casting director for Shark Tank called me to see if I was still interested. They had already made their choices for the season I applied to but they had saved my application. I almost thought it was a joke it was so random.  I still had to send in my video because I hadn’t done that yet (I had only sent an email). My husband filmed me in our home kitchen. It was hilarious! To this day, I think they picked me because they said this girl cannot be serious. It was unedited. My husband filmed it on his way out the door- one take and that was it, we sent it in.

LM: What role does Mark Cuban play in your business and how has it been working with him?

RT: He’s not involved with the day-to-day operations of the business. He gave me money and if ever I need to contact him, I send him an email and he will respond really quickly. He has a million people who work for him (marketing etc.) so whatever you need; it’s readily available.  At this point, most of our things are made at a huge candy factory. They’re not technically my staff but they make it for me.  I have one person who really helps me with the day to day. I’m very hands on and I am a perfectionist so there is still a lot about our business that I like to oversee. Most of the manufacturing details, I hand off elsewhere.

LM: How did the Shark Tank episode affect your business?

RT:  It’s funny because I made the deal in June but, my episode didn’t air until February. No one knew and I couldn’t tell anyone. For that period of time I ran my business as normal. Literally the moment after it aired, my business grew 1500%! I knew right when my segment aired because my sales jumped immediately! Just being on Shark Tank alone, my business grew. From there, it’s just continued to grow. I’ve been in over 6000 stores and before the show I was in all the Neiman Marcus stores. After, I was in TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and then doors opened to where I had to actually decline offers. I’ve been in movie theaters also! Before the show, I was getting turned away from some places. That part is shocking, really.

LM: It sounds like the show really catapulted your business!

RT: Being in front of millions of people changes things. Customers are calling, emailing and ordering. It wasn’t this beautiful, lovely thing. It was actually just chaos! It was wonderful and terrible at the same time because it was just so much to deal with. I think my episode is the most-aired on CNBC. I could not pay for that kind of publicity. People ask me, how do you get on? And I say “I don’t know.” During my season, somewhere around 34,000 people applied.

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LM: What do you think makes you different?

RT: I think I’m just not afraid to fail. When I went on Shark Tank, I kept getting asked if I was nervous. The only moment I was nervous was when I walked down that long hallway when they call your name. I just didn’t want to fall! Once I got to my spot, I was fine. I did care if they gave me a deal but not to the point where it would change anything. For me, I’m not living by someone else’s standards. I’ve failed many times in business and I think that’s big. That is resilience.

LM: What’s one piece of advice you can give aspiring female entrepreneurs?

RT: Do not be afraid! If you have a dream birthed in your heart, go do it! You shouldn’t let it die there. Whether you are successful or not (and success should be defined by yourself) you should at least try! If you allow your dream to die, it’s like living a life unfulfilled.

ON HERSELF:

LM: What would you like people to know about you?

RT: I’m just a regular girl who once I got started with my business-- I just couldn’t stop. I’ve attempted to stop before, but I felt like this was the path God had for me and everything I’m about is about Jesus. I live for Him on purpose but everything else is accident.

LM: What are your goals?

RT: At this point I’ve decided I just want to really enjoy life. I want to enjoy the things that are around me: family, business, and life in general. At times, I can get so busy that I don’t have time to enjoy anything else. I still work 65 hours per week in the business but I had to start shutting it down for at least a week around the holidays. It’s good to aspire to do and be more but that shouldn’t be your main focus. I’ve accomplished a lot already so I need to be able to step back and say job well done. My goals are to enjoy what I’ve done, enjoy our kids and not let the business be the center of my attention.

LM: What are you most proud of?

RT: I’m proud that I didn’t lock myself in a box (as of yet). I’ve been willing to go where and how I wanted to go instead of going along with how other people think I should. I think that takes a lot of courage. I started this business eight years ago and it was after my first year that I attended the candy show (in Chicago). When I was there, I heard “Oh, that’s a really cute idea” like I should try something else because my idea was silly. I heard that multiple times. I never let the negative talk change my mind or deter me. I just kept going. The arena league folded around the time I went to Chicago and when that happened my husband didn’t have a job but, we had money saved. This was a crossroad for us where I could either try to make it into retail stores and really make this into a business knowing my husband didn’t have a job or I could go get a job.  I could’ve gotten a job – but that’s not where I was supposed to be.

LM: What are you passionate about?

RT: I’m most passionate about living a life that’s pleasing to God where people can see me and know what I stand for. I’m passionate about my family remaining focused on things of God. No matter what we have, what we’ve been given; being able to stay centered on Him is important. Through the ups and downs, neither has broken me because I stay focused on Him.

Jonesing for the NFL Life

We have all heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses,” but for the NFL Family this can be very dangerous. One of the first things I tell my clients is “contrary to popular belief everyone in the NFL is not a millionaire.” Matter of fact, most players are not millionaires and most won’t ever be in that tax bracket solely based on their NFL contracts. From private flights to the infamous red bottom shoe wall, the stereotypical NFL life can be every family’s dream. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to fly private? No pesky security lines or stress of fitting your entire life into 50 pounds or less. But the reality is sometimes flying commercial now prevents you from being broke later. The Athlete

Immediately after players declare for the draft, they are propelled into a life of temptation. From expensive watches or loan advancements for new cars, the stereotypical NFL life seems to be a dream come true. Most players are instantly persuaded by agents, homeboys, family members and even some NFL teammates that they should live like a baller. The irony in this is that most of those influencers who push for the elaborate lifestyle would not be able to live the lifestyle without the generosity of the player.

For the athlete, the pressure to live a lavish lifestyle is very real. They must have the latest Jordan’s and designer brands including the famous Louis belt. Yes clothes, cars and bags are important but the true burden comes from nightlife spending. During the lockout, several players flocked to Miami to train but to also party. We have all heard of “Liv on Sunday,” and Liv was definitely aware of all of the NFL money that was in town. Players spending between $7,000 and $10,000 on a table every weekend was the norm, and complaining about it was simply unacceptable. No one cares about “how their accounts are set up.” If they are in the club, then they are buying tables because once they become a NFL player the expectation of high end living is the new standard.

The Family

The athlete isn’t the only one facing the pressures of living high. NFL wives are judged by their bags, shoes, cars and even eyelashes. Yes even eyelashes! From elaborate weddings and discussions about who has the biggest ring, the standards are high even if your accounts are low. Eyes are watching and unfortunately this is the downfall of a lot of NFL families. Wives aren’t the only ones who fall victim to the extravagant life, family members and homeboys who all of a sudden can no longer take care of themselves and assume the player is now responsible for their existence are some of the biggest culprits in perpetuating the bravado.

The Reality

The truth is some players don’t learn that they can’t keep up with the Joneses until they are already knee deep in debt. Car payments, multiple mortgages, high credit card limits, and countless depreciating assets create unnecessary stress on both the athlete and the family. Someone who is making $500,000 a year can’t live the same lifestyle that someone who is making $10,000,000 a year without some pretty crafty investing. Unfortunately, I have witnessed it all from selling all they had to sending out mass texts to people they barely know asking for $20,000 loans.

The reality: Don’t let the time in the NFL be a waste. Become the Jones don’t try to keep up with them.

For more information on how to start a business or a nonprofit, email me at tpatterson@definitivesportsrepresentation.com.

Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq.

Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless

"How to balance life as a Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur, and Creative Visionary"

My recent interview with Linda Hope, a beautiful Dominicana born and raised in Miami, Florida, and wife of retired NFL probowler and 2011 Super Bowl champion Chris Hope, delivered perspective on how balancing life as a loving mom, driven entrepreneur, and caring wife is possible with intentionality and strategy.

When and where did you and Chris first meet? What is your greatest joy about being married? Chris and I met in Tallahassee, FL back in 2000. He was a junior at Florida State and I was a freshman at Florida A&M. At times, we laugh at our present. The reality that we are married with 2 kids is simply incredible to me. My greatest joy about being married is knowing that I married the man of my dreams and that he wanted to marry me back. That’s a blessing! So many people choose wrong or end up with someone just because they don’t want to be alone. I’m happy I listened to that small voice that assured me that one day he was going to be an incredible husband. I love knowing that I have a person to grow old with that loves me unconditionally. I also love the fact that I have a live-in comedian. My husband is so funny! There’s never a dull moment in our house. I will soon have two for the price of one because my daughter is taking after him.

What are you passionate about and what drives your desire to succeed? 

I am passionate about people. Anything I can do to help people become their best self, I’m all in. Especially women. I truly enjoy empowering and motivating women to recognize the jewels that we truly are.  I also love identifying solutions. Give me a problem and I will solve it. That’s one of the reasons I love designing. In design, we identify the need first, then provide a solution. I also enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures. I truly enjoy new experiences.

Outside of having a degree in Journalism, Linda is currently enrolled and obtaining her degree in Interior Design from the O'More College of Design in Franklin, Tennessee

When did you decide you wanted to pursue your dream as an interior designer? What inspired you to pursue this journey?

After having my daughter; before we decided to conceive, we discussed me staying at home with our first born for a few years.  I believed at the time that staying at home was the perfect fit for my growing family and me.  But, after staying home with Crislyn for about 6 months I soon realized that I missed working. I missed being in a professional environment.  I needed to be mentally stimulated and away from baby babble for few hours a day.  Right before I gave birth, I was actively working in the Real Estate field. I knew that I wanted to go back to work, but I also knew that if I had to choose between showing a house and spending time with my baby girl, Crislyn would win that battle every time. That’s when I realized that it was time for a career change. In that moment, I decided that if I was going back to work it had to be something that I really enjoyed doing. After praying for direction, God showed me Interior Design. Growing up, I was the one in my house that always moved the furniture around. I was in charge of giving our childhood home a face-lift from time to time. As a young adult, I never imagined earning an income doing something that seemed so fun.

How do you balance supporting your husband, taking care of your family and supporting/ chasing your own dreams?

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With lots of prayer, a plan and help. A very wise friend told me after I had my second child and was feeling a little overwhelmed, “there’s no problem that can’t be solved with a little help.” And she was right! I welcomed more help and recognized that I could not do it all and remain sane. I also got more organized. I started managing my time better. You’d be amazed at how much more efficient you are with a plan and great time management skills.

So tell me about your career with Beautycounter?

Where do I begin!?!? I LOVE being a part of this amazing company. It has completely changed the way I see the beauty industry, an industry I fell in love with at a very young age.  Based in Santa Monica, CA, Beautycounter is a disruptive brand with the mission to get safer skin care and cosmetics products into the hands of everyone. A B Corporation, Beautycounter has created unparalleled transparency and safety in the personal care industry—a severely under-regulated space. To top it off, our products are amazing! I use them all and love them. To me, Beautycounter is another vehicle that God has blessed me with to fulfill my life's mission to empower people to be their best self in every area of their life. What I love most about being a part of this incredible movement is connecting with amazing women all over the world that want to leave a better beauty legacy for our future generations.

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What is your favorite Beautycounter product?

Hands down...Our Lustro Face Oil # 3! It's a beautiful blend of light weight pure plant based and essential oils that balances and moisturizes my skin. I love it!

Linda Hope, the picture of multi-faceted perfection!

NFL Player Engagement Programs Focus on Life Beyond the NFL

Playing in the NFL is a dream for many but only attained by few. It is a small fraternity of men and their families that are connected forever. The NFL launched the NFL Families initiative that not only focused on active players but former players as well, and how they defined FAMILY. It’s more than adorable Dad-Do commercials and invigorating ads, the NFL Family initiative is bridging that gap between the images of fantasy players to seeing players as real people too! Part of this initiative includes the NFL Player Engagement (NFLPE) which focuses on three themes: Prep, Life, and Next. NFLplayer_engagement

 

NFL Prep is for high school and college student-athletes of all sports, and provides them with tools to help them succeed in life, focused on awareness, prevention, and education. NFL Life provides active NFL players with professional and personal development resources, “while supporting and educating players’ families to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded to them by their NFL experience.” NFL Next Legends “serve, equip, and empower former players and their families during the transition from their NFL experience and throughout their lives.” See www.nflplayerengagement.com for more information.

Many players have taken advantage of the various resources available through the NFL Player Engagement. However, there are some players who are completely unaware of the benefits of these resources during their career and in planning for their post-NFL career. From coaching boot camps to personal finance workshops, the Player Engagement programs prove to be worth it. Some programs are even open to spouses. See below for some of the programs scheduled for this year:

 

personal-financeNFL BOOT CAMP PERSONAL FINANCE: April 4th-April 7th, 2016

This program will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida offering a relaxed learning environment for current and former players and their significant others. This year’s program will provide participants the opportunity to acquire knowledge that directly relates to their finances and lifestyles. Education will be provided by TD Ameritrade and the University of Miami’s School of Business Administration.

sports-journalism

NFL BOOT CAMP SPORTS JOURNALISM & RADIO: April 14th-17th, 2016

Sports Journalism and Radio Boot Camp will take place at Bowling Green State University. This boot camp provides the opportunity for current and former players to enhance their writing skills, build journalism and radio portfolios, and receive on-site feedback and mentoring from ESPN Radio, Westwood One, and Bowling Green faculty. Following the completion of this boot camp, qualified candidates may have the opportunity to participate on ESPN Radio.

advanced-broadcastingNFL BOOT CAMP ADVANCED BROADCASTING: May 16th - 19th, 2016

The NFL Advanced Broadcast Boot Camp takes place in Mt. Laurel, NJ at NFL Films and is open to those who have completed Broadcasting Boot Camp. This provides the opportunity to build on the foundation from previous training and strengthen broadcasting skills. This program provides increased knowledge and follow through with more possible job opportunities and internships.

broadcastingNFL BOOT CAMP BROADCASTING: May 16th-19th, 2016

This year Player Engagement celebrates the 10th annual Broadcasting Boot Camp. Broadcasting Boot Camp provides players on-set training in broadcasting to build experience and determine interests. Players can explore multiple on-air job functions in television/media. Key learnings include: Tape study, show preparation, field reporting, and production meetings.

bill_walsh_minority_coaching620_330Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship

Providing talented minority coaches an opportunity to observe and participate during NFL OTA’s, mini and training camp and assist them in gaining experience to pursue a full-time NFL coaching position.

 

Resources

MyGoalline.com

In this site, you will find information about your benefits as an NFL player. These benefits protect you while you play, help ease the transition to life and work after football, and provide a base upon which to build for your retirement. We believe that, overall, these benefits are the best available in professional sports. https://www.mygoalline.com/

All Pro Dads

Our message will inspire you to embrace who you are, give you tenderness of heart, and boldness of character as a dad and husband. We are consistently here for you to provide guidance and practical tips in raising your kids in a life giving way.  http://www.allprodad.com/

NFL Foundation

The NFL Foundation is the league’s nonprofit organization representing the 32 NFL clubs. Its mission is to support the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football and the communities which support our game. http://www.nflfoundation.org/

Professional Football Wives Association

The Professional Football Wives Association (PFWA) was founded on a mission comprised of three basic tenets: Faith, Family and Football. PFWA's mission is to be a faith based organization that promotes unity and friendship among football wives, fiancées, and girlfriends, that positively redefines the stereotypes of NFL families, and that serves as a support system for women of the NFL. http://www.profootballwives.org

Don’t see a program you like? Contact the NFL Player Engagement office at www.nflplayerengagement.com for more information.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin

For more information email me at: tpatterson@definitivesportsrepresentation.com!

Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq.

Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless

Facebook: Tenisha Patterson Brown

Instagram: @TPattBrown

Twitter: @TPatt12

SnapChat: TPattBrown

My Journey Through Law School as an NFL WAG

Ryann Gray and Jurrell Casey When 26-year-old Oakland, California native Ryann Gray, is not cheering on her future husband, Pro Bowl Defensive Lineman Jurrell Casey, she is in the courtroom changing the way others think and respond to the justice system, and ensuring they understand the importance of good, quality criminal defense attorneys.

During her journey at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Ryann was actively involved in many organizations, including Project for the Innocent. This project provided for her second realization of the differing impacts the criminal justice system had on certain types of people.

When and where did you and Jurrell first meet?
We met at  The University of Southern California and became close friends after taking a class together. From the beginning, we always had a solid friendship.
When did you decide you wanted to practice law? What inspired you to pursue this journey? 
I realized discrepancies existed throughout the criminal justice system between the ways people were treated in my hometown. Many individuals (mainly of color) struggle to properly articulate their rights, which sadly yields same crimes and extremely different punishments. As an attorney, I desire to make the playing field more equal, this includes defending people accused of crimes to the best of my ability. I often hear criticisms from family and friends about defending people that are (or may be) guilty of crimes. For me, I am more concerned with ensuring that their constitutional rights are maintained and that prosecutors are abiding by proper rules.
Secondly, my goals include changing the way others think and respond to the justice system, and ensuring they understand the importance of good, quality criminal defense attorneys.
What are your ultimate career goals? 
My ultimate goal in life is to have a private criminal defense firm, that caters to and provides quality legal counsel to both the privileged and underprivileged. I also desire to create a resource center that works directly with incarcerated men and women. Oftentimes, the recidivism rates for former inmates are so high, because they are not provided with the proper resources when they get out of jail. Instead, they find themselves back in the same environment and susceptible to the same troubles. The goal of this center would be to allow former inmates to bounce back into “outside society” through the use of already procured schooling, training, jobs, training, and housing.
How do you balance supporting your future husband and supporting your dreams? Is there ever any guilt, frustrations, added stress when juggling both your hectic schedules? How do you both insure to carve out time for your relationship?  
Throughout Law School, maintaining a long distance relationship, especially with a professional athlete was extremely stressful. We were both extremely busy, but I made it a priority to travel to Nashville multiple times throughout the year, especially during football season, to provide extra support to him. However, often, our schedules did not match. When he was getting out of practice, I was just getting into the groove with my homework. Honestly, because of my school schedule, I missed out on a lot of Jurrell’s events and even more importantly, some of his accomplishments. I had to rely on pictures instead of being there myself. This led to a lot of frustration within both of us, and even more guilt within me. I had to remind myself that I had to be concerned with not only his happiness, but my continued success. Sometimes, this thought process provided some solace for me, but other times my frustration and guilt remained unchanged. My last year of law school was especially frustrating. Jurrell and I were growing closer, which only made the distance and time between seeing each other seem even further and more spread apart.
To combat these feelings, Jurrell and I regularly prayed with each other and had Bible study’s together. Also, we constantly sacrificed for one another. Sometimes, this meant Jurrell staying up a little later or sometimes me getting up a little earlier in the morning. I am blessed to have a man that is not only patient, but supports my dreams. I am truly grateful for him.

Social Media: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Social media is a must-have if you want to stay relevant in promoting a business or promoting yourself. These days, when anyone wants to learn more about you or your business, they will first rush to Google. From there they will discover your Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagram images ... if you have accounts and consistently post. Should you dive in? Before you do, know that -- just like most things in life -- there are good, bad and ugly aspects of social media.

The Good

Businesses who have a large social media presence have better sales and more access to their clients or customers. Social media accounts are a gold mine for start-ups with small marketing budgets and a willingness to invest time in posting. The best marketing tool is word of mouth from a satisfied customer, and social media gives customers the power to make quick posts that are shared instantly across the world.

A recent example of this tremendous effect is the Patti LaBelle pie frenzy. James Wright posted a video on YouTube that went viral, now bolstering over 4 million views. Wright gave an animated review of Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pies being sold exclusively at Wal-Mart. With each share and re-post, pie sales increased, reaching $2.3 million in just one week.

Wright wasn't a celebrity. He simply posted a video, but the power of social media not only increased the sales of those sweet potato pies, it led to the launch of his musical career.

The Bad

Social media is perceived as all facts and no fiction. Celebrities and athletes understand this concept all too well.

In the world of "share first" and "verify the truth" second, celebrities and athletes are at the mercy of gossip sites and professional social media users looking to gain followers at any cost. With any post, followers weigh in on Vine videos, Snapchat, Tweets or Facebook posts, and develop conclusions that may be far from the actual facts.

Unfortunately, the dog-eat-dog world of social media lives to get as many followers as possible, meaning users will sacrifice quality content for an audience.

The Ugly

Ayesha Curry Social MediaAyesha Curry -- wife of NBA Champion Steph Curry -- is no stranger to social media buzz and recently made headlines after tweeting her wardrobe preferences. Ayesha is typically adored by fans for her cooking skills, relationship with her husband and children, and her relationship with God. Photos of her and her husband are often followed by the hashtag “relationship goals” due to the perception of her perfect life.

Unfortunately, where there’s praise there will be criticism. Ayesha tweeted:

“Everyone's into barely wearing clothes these days huh? Not my style. I like to keep the good stuff covered up for the one who matters”

She was immediately bombarded with accusations of judgment, self-righteousness and self-hate. How could a single tweet -- seemingly harmless -- lead to such an uproar that it makes the headlines of every news website? But she is not alone.

The fact is that,once you post, you open yourself up to criticism and judgment ... especially by those who do not know you personally. These “followers” create a perception of you based on a compilation of your Facebook statuses, Instagram photos, Snapchats, Vines, Periscope podcasts, and even your LinkedIn profile that may or may not be accurate.

Social media may carry some bad and some ugly, but the fact is that social media is a necessary evil in marketing yourself or your business. The exposure reaches masses unparalleled to any other marketing tool and the cost is incomparable. There is no hard rule on staying clear of the bad and the ugly of social media but a great tip is think before you share!

For more information about how social media affects your business, email me at: tpatterson@definitivesportsrepresentation.com!

Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq.

Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless

Facebook: Tenisha Patterson Brown

Instagram: @TPattBrown

Twitter: @TPatt12

SnapChat: TPattBrown

 

Network for Charity at the 3rd Annual Holiday Wives Soiree

3rd Annual Holiday Wives SoireeEven though I worked for an NFL team for the better part of 10 years, I never dug deep into what players' wives, fiancees, and girlfriends were doing in their own businesses and foundations. Now that I've been contributing to WAGS Redefined for less than a month, I've actually come across more awesome initiatives by these ladies than I did throughout my entire career with the Detroit Lions.

Many stories are still in their infancy stages, but I've learned of women co-authoring books, owning retail shops, heading up charity initiatives, and selling real estate. It's empowering and important to WAGS Redefined's mission to know about these incredible women, but it's also important that these women know about each other.

That's where the 3rd Annual Holiday Wives Soiree hosted by The RoseMark Group -- a real estate firm specializing in athlete relocation -- comes in. The event will take place Wednesday, December 9, at Totokaelo, a Seattle-based boutique that recently opened up shop in Soho. Wives from the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB will come together for cocktails and conversation that will include networking and philanthropy.

The boutique specializes in brands such as Comme des Garcon, Henrik Vibskov, Issey Miyake, Maison Margiela, Marni, Rick Owens, and Y-3.

In addition to networking, the event will provide business attire to 10 women from the 158th Street Polo Grounds Community Center in Harlem who are joining or re-entering the workforce. Attendees will collaborate to give two full outfits: dresses, pant suits, blouses, jewelry, shoes, outerwear, and handbags.

Women interested in attending the event should contact Keisha Sullivan or Jaclyn Rosenberg from The RoseMark Group.

Taking Time to Enjoy the Grind

  As budding entrepreneurs or established businesswomen, we often push ourselves to the limit for the sake of the “grind.” We feel like there’s simply not enough time in the day although we know if we were given just another hour, we would fill it up with another task. By nature we are multitaskers and especially when we become mothers, but sometimes we spend so much time worrying about others and our respective businesses that we forget about ourselves. Yes I’m all about the grind but I have to constantly remind myself of the old age idiom “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”woman-hand-smartphone-desk

According to numerous research studies on occupational health overwork and the resulting stress, results in health problems include but are not limited to: impaired sleep, heavy drinking, depression and heart disease.

Several studies have been performed about the dangers of overworking but the one that stood out the most was conducted by the Harvard Business Review entitled The Research is Clear: Long Hours Backfire for People and Their Companies. This concept can be applied to business and to home life. Overworking is a common theme for our generation whether driven by personal success or the fear of being outdone.

We believe that by working longer or spending more time harping over a particular issue, that somehow it will result in a better outcome. However the opposite is true. According to numerous research studies on occupational health overwork and the resulting stress, results in health problems include but are not limited to: impaired sleep, heavy drinking, depression and heart disease.

Honestly, as I read through the article I was shocked. How is it possible that extending your hours into the late night results in such dramatic health issues? I quickly recalled that overworking is in fact the opposite of the doctor’s orders. Everything we have been told in the past to live a healthy life is the complete opposite of the constant grind mode. Our grind mode fails to account for necessities such as proper sleep and nutrition. If you are unbothered by the potential health risks, the fact that longer hours doesn’t always equate to better results should concern you. The purpose of working longer is to accomplish more. However, this is not always the case. Apparently, working too hard leads to diminishing returns simply because as you become more tired, you start making more mistakes (the kind of mistakes you don't make when your mind is fresh).

As an attorney and entrepreneur, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. My drive to have successful businesses was actually harming them. I was a one-woman show and when I was not at my best, neither were my companies. After months of late nights and neglecting my personal life, I realized that working well into the night every night was neither beneficial for my businesses or for my marriage. I was forced to develop boundaries because my passion was becoming my burden. When creating your own business, it's difficult to take a step back because it is your baby. You want to see it grow! However, it's crucial to learn when it’s quitting time.

I have heard several of my colleagues and friends say that they can enjoy life once they have achieved their goals. The problem with this mentality is that it lives for the future which is uncertain, not guaranteed. The here and now should take priority. After speaking with several successful people that are at or close to retirement age, the most common regret they had was not enjoying life when they were younger. So I challenge all “grinders” to continue your grind but take some time to enjoy it!

For more information on business devleopment or for business advice, contact me at tpatterson@definitivesportsrepresentation.com. 

Tenisha Patterson Brown, Esq.

Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless