July 1, 2011

Countdown to 2012

Typically, I am not one to create New Years resolutions because so many of us, including myself, do not fulfill our promises. However, 2012 is going to be a BIG year for me in so many ways that I thought it may be advantageous to develop a few personal goals for the remaining 6 months of 2011. I have 6 categories with a few goals under each:

  1. Running: Incorporate hill workouts and speed training into my regular running regimen.
  2. Nutrition: Embody the "clean eating" philosophy, specifically emphasizing my water consumption and decrease my dairy intake (that is not a component of "clean eating", but a personal desire).
  3. Dissertation: Complete my proposed edits from my proposal hearing as well as write the Results chapter.
  4. Mind/Body: Embody calming and de-stressing techniques specifically the practice of yoga and pilates. In addition, I must get in the habit of stretching post-runs (I rarely do this). 
  5. Enjoy cohabitation: Moving in with my fiancee (YES, we are ENGAGED) at the end of the month!
  6. Plan my August 2012 wedding.
Does anyone re-evaluate their New Year resolutions mid-year? What do you think of my goals/aspirations?

June 15, 2011


Are you sick of your nails chipping after 2 days? Or, accidentally nicking a nail the MOMENT you step out of the salon? We have all dealt with post-manicure devastation in our day.

Save that frustration and try- SHELLAC!

  • 14-day wear (you can actually go like 20)
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  • Shiny finish
  • Comes off quickly & pain-free
  • No nicks, smudges, or chips!
  • Few color choices vs traditional nail polish

Visit their website to find a salon in your area!


June 10, 2011

Restful Retreat: Lake Geneva Style

A few weeks ago J surprised me with a celebratory and relaxing get away to Grand Geneva Resort & Spa! For some time now I knew that he would plan a restful retreat the week after my dissertation proposal, but he outdid himself. Here is the picture of The Lodge where we stayed at Grand Geneva.

I was so excited to go to Lake Geneva for the weekend as I had heard great reviews. Lake Geneva has a long history of being a popular summer retreat for Chicago's wealthy termed, the "Hamptons of the Midwest." The town is so cute with a scenic downtown area filled with boutiques, fudge shops, and other great fooderies!

Our room faced the golf course and lake

Although this shot was taken from their website, I think it is a pretty close estimate of our location from the 2nd floor balcony. 

And we had a tv INSIDE the bathroom mirror! How cool is that?

The weekend was filled with many firsts!

Our first FIRST: We went horseback riding!!!! I had never been horseback riding and have shared with J my desires to so one day. When he told me to dress casually in jeans and tennis shoes for our ride from Madison to Lake Geneva; I was a little skeptical as to what was in store. I NEVER wear jeans and tennis shoes! (The only time I wear tennis shoes is to go running or to go to the gym!) When I saw the jeans J was wearing to pick me up,  I was still clueless. Clueless because he was wearing jeans that I despise and the whole car ride down I was thinking how I should have disposed of those particular jeans last summer when we purchase two new pair! To make matters worse- we checked in, walked around the resort and even downtown Lake Geneva with him IN THOSE JEANS! When we pulled up to the barn I finally got it! I began to cry out of pure excitement! I have found a man that truly listens!

Our second FIRST: Wine tasting!!!! Now, I have partaken in plenty of "wine tasting" in my day, but never with professionals! Now, that we have one under our belt, I am ready for more. I so enjoyed the interesting facts the wine guides (I am not certain of their official name) shared during the wine tasting. We tried 6 different wine (3 white, 3 red) and we even found a red that Jason and I both enjoy. The food at the wine tasting was also ah-ma-zing! They had mustard pickled dried fruit that was simply delicious, so light and refreshing. I am sure many of you are thinking eww, but do not turn up your nose until you try it for yourself. And there was so many other good yummies to accompany the dried fruit like breads, cheeses, olives, artichokes, the list goes on..... Yum! Next time we go on a wine tour, one of us has to be the note-taker like Js mother does when his parents visit Napa Valley. She does not drink alcohol, so Dr. K enjoys the wine tasting and she takes notes!

Our third FIRST: Couples massage!!!! Before our Lake Geneva Retreat J had never gotten a message! It was his first time getting a massage, my 100th, but both of ours first couples massage. It too was so nice. They gave us a foot bath prior to the massage and really made us feel calm and relaxed. J was so relaxed that he fell asleep and began snoring softly. It was so cute and I just smiled checking in on him periodically from my table.

Our fourth FIRST: Lake Geneva Boat Ride!!!!  It was so neat going on a narrated excursion of the Geneva Bay area of Lake Geneva. This portion of the lake houses all the elegant estates and summer homes of the very wealthy including: the Wrigleys, Schwinns, Maytags, and countless others. Simply breathtaking!

Thank you Love for a wonderful, restful retreat and I look forward to many more to come!


I Found It!

Ugh, so I am a little upset with myself for merely buying the first "girly" hydration pack that I could find, but I was somewhat desperate. Look what I found:
First, I am not completely sold on the Annadel as it too holds only 1.5L of h20. Hmm, it looks really cute though. I will continue to do some additional research but as it stands now; this will be my gift to myself when I decide to run my first marathon (more on that later). I will also purchase a new hydration pack after I find the perfect shoes to match! I am thinking the quest for the perfect pink/grey running shoe is going to be more difficult than a quick google search. See, fit/comfort is paramount for running shoes. My days of merely picking out a cute pair of shoes and terming them my “universal athletic shoe” are over. Oh no, this Brains & Beauty Running Girl deliberates on purchasing running shoes. Do not get me wrong- my fashion sense does play a small role in my athletic wear purchases. These decisions, however, are merely not as big as before or in other ensemble decision-making.

SN: It is 60 degrees in Madison. REALLY!

 Off for a run....

<3 Michelyn

June 8, 2011

Hydration 101

The weather in Madison has been so crazy. As I look outside, a huge thunderstorm is coming through town but just yesterday (and the days before it) it was SCORCHING HOT! I am talking about reaching 100 degrees (so it was like 98, close enough). I was beginning to think that I had miraculously got on a plan and traveled down to Tampa! But the problem with the weather is that it just hit us so quickly. It was only like two weeks ago when the temperature was in the 70s.

Well, this wretchedly hot temperature has put a thorn in my side in regards to my running. A few posts ago, I shared about my injury. Well, I can happily share that my ankle is back in perfect shape! I am ecstatic, and can now begin training for an upcoming 1/2 marathon. Yipee. I am planning to run the Detroit Lakes 1/2 Marathon on September 11th. I have never been to the lakes in upper MN, but hear they are beautiful and a few of J's friends have lake homes so I am sure we can make a weekend of it!

Ok, so back on topic- sorry. Last week I began my training for the upcoming half but the heat nearly killed me (Bible!- Kardashian inside joke, hehe). I tried going on a long run (8 miles) Sunday and could only push through 5 miles because I was so dehydrated. Like I am talking about the type of dehydration that the roof of your mouth is like sandpaper. It was all I could to walk the last 3 miles home! I must admit that I struggle running with a water bottle and tried the water belts, but was not keen on them either. I had purchased a cute pink one in size Small and the belt flopped all over my waist. Hmm, I am by no means a tiny person so if a Small moves around on my waist- what does it do on a tiny person's waist? Lately I have been reading more runner's blogs and came across the topic of hydration packs. I had seen/read about these before but reading the post gave me the "ah-ha" moment to purchase my own.

Yesterday I went on a 7 mile run and was comforted with my new 2011 Skeeter Raspberry CamelBak hydration backpack

Isn't it cute? Yes, I know! And it matches my running shoes! Now I must admit that it only holds 1.5L of water, which is not a lot and is intended for kids! Ha, so fitting for me. And it was a "in the moment" purchase so I was happy with the $30 price tag! Since I am currently only training for a half marathon, I think it is fitting. I am going to do some additional research to find a cute grey and pink one to match my Garmin Forerunner 210 which was gifted to me by Jason, and then I should look into a pair of pink/grey running shoes. MOTIVATION!

Now that I have my "Raspberry Pack" I am also on the quest to better hydrate and nourish myself for prosperous runs. Check out this Runner's World article, Drink This, to learn more about fluid replacement and happy running to all!



June 7, 2011

I'm Back!

Hi followers! It has been quite some time since I last blogged! I have not forgotten about you! Instead, I have been following all of you on my "breaks." So some may be wondering- where have I been? Well, I have been quite busy and stressed as I finalized my dissertation proposal. I proposed nearly three weeks ago and it went pretty well. Pretty well for being in a room for 2 hrs with 5 committee members critiquing every minute detail of your research project. Well that stressful period was followed by weekends full of enjoyment! Specifically, I went to DC twice. Once for my cousin's Forever Young 30th Birthday Rendezvous, then two weeks later for her law school graduation and my girlfriend's bridal shower/bachelorette weekend. Then I had a relaxing vacay with my beau to Lake Geneva (can't wait to share that trip!) and a quick Fargo trip to solidify my internship in the Moorhead Area Public Schools. Now that my stress has subsided (thank the Lord).... I am back to blogging. I have so much to share with you!!!


April 16, 2011

Speaking One's World into Existence

Many years ago Florence Scovel Shinn's book, "The Game of Life & How to Play It" was suggested to me. Today, the book resonates with me for so many reasons especially the authors writings about the "law of expectancy." He writes:

" 'Keep thy heart (or imagination) with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.' (Prov. 4:23.) This means that what man images, sooner or later externalizes in his affairs. (p. 7)."

BELIEVE and you can ACHIEVE!


April 10, 2011

Rehabilitation... Not So Much!

About a month ago, actually I know the exact date- Friday, March 4th, I went for a run. During this run I had to make a pit stop to use the restroom and upon leaving the building I missed a step and rolled my ankle. Now this was no ordinary roll, it was with all my force and body weight, ouch! At first, I thought I had really hurt myself but after "walking out the pain" I figured I was a-ok. Hmm, not so much. After a solid 8 mile run, I came home to discover that my ankle was ginormous. O-M-G. What had I done? So a week passed of me being in denial that I had seriously hurt my ankle and I made a few (3, to be exact) attempts to run... After my short denial phase, I realized that I had seriously injured my ankle and went to the doctor. Luckily I had not broken any bones, but I had torn some ligaments on the exterior portion of my ankle (the doctor told me the exact names but they were too technical for me to commit to memory). I met with the Physical Therapist who instructed me to continue to ice 3 x day, gave me some exercises, and a brace to wear at night. She also informed me that it would take a between 6-8 weeks for my ankle to completely heal, but that I could probably begin running after 4-5 weeks....

So for three weeks I have not run outside or inside, for that matter! (although I despise running inside on a treadmill so this rarely occurs) This past month has made me realize that I better never become addicted to anything because I have been so envious of other runners! The weather has been ideal for running and I have not been able to enjoy the perfect running weather.

Well on Friday I had had enough! I went for a run! I know, I should not have but it felt glorious! I even was able to wear my new Under Armor hooded top that Jason bought me! It is so cute! Its purple (of course), long-sleeved with thumb holes, and super comfy. So I probably looked a little foolish on Friday because the weather was cool, but maybe not cool enough to wear ColdGear, but I just had to wear my new gift!

So that was my excuse on Friday. Hmm, I am not certain what my excuse was today besides the fact that my running buddy, Mya, called and asked if I wanted to join her in a short run (3.5 miles). Sure, that is the excuse I will use.

In all, my rehab is not complete. My ankle is not sore at the moment but I think I am going to hold off running Crazy Legs at the end of this month and the Madison 1/2 Marathon at the end of May.  I definitely did not take the advice of the doctor because he said to ease into my running... Does he consider 4 miles easing in? Ha, I think not. He said 1 mile! Oh well, I would not have even broken a sweat with a 1mile run. I have decided that I will only run distances of under 4 miles for the rest of the month. I can truly stick to that. Additionally, I am going to stick to flat terrain.

Happy Running and Rehabilitation for those nursing injuries!


April 5, 2011

Deep Conditioning

You know it never seems to amaze me how much energy and time women spend on beauty products, especially those for their hair and face. This morning I overheard two female gym employees discussing hair products at the front desk. One woman had a pad of paper and pen, while the other was sharing her quintessential hair products. As I checked in, I chuckled and realized that hair is a BIG deal! 

So now I ask you... What conditioners do you swear by? My cousin Jessica recently shared with me that she uses olive oil (yea, the kind you use for cooking) for occasional deep conditioning treatments. My girlfriend, Travelle, swears by Parnevu's Leave-In Conditioner for daily conditioning.

Divulge your conditioners and I will post what everyone shares!

For beauties sake!


March 24, 2011

Sweet 16!

Disclaimer: I am probably the MOST unqualified individual to write a post about sports, in general, and particularly basketball; but, I decided that this is my blog and dating a basketball coach does give me some credibility. So, continue reading if you would like some mid-day amusement over my predictions for this weekends' games. Plus, my analysis of teams is way more entertaining and succinct than those you can find on ESPN!

Thursday Night Games

UConn vs. San Diego State: This is the only game that I will not be watching as I have no preference or interest in who wins, but I predict that Connecticut will take this game. Why? The Connecticut mascot seems a little more fierce and I have never heard of San Diego State until last week!
Winner: UConn

BYU vs. UF: Uhm, is this even a question? My FLORIDA boys got this in the bag! Do not let the sports broadcasters fool you with their discussions of Kenny Boynton's sprained ankle. His absence at a practice or two will not jeopardize his performance; rather, it is allowing him more time to "rest!" Shoot, I have an unidentified ankle "issue" and I ran 8 miles post accident. He will bring his A game. (Yes, I am going to the doctor tomorrow).
Winner: UF

Arizona vs. Duke: #1 seed Duke takes on #5 seed Arizona. Although Arizona had a miraculous and well deserved win verse Texas, we are talking about Duke.
Winner: Duke

Butler vs. WI: This is a tough call... and I am anxiously waiting for 9pm (CT) to watch these two teams duke it out. It is apparent to me that WI has not gotten the respect they deserve in this year's tournament. I am sure you all have heard (or read) about the remarks and questioning per "Wisconsin Basketball." Although to some, WI plays "safe" basketball it appears to work for them. They work as a team, play defense and score! Aren't those essentials for winning? So, I am certain everyone thinks I am going for WI on this one, but I am on the fence. Butler has 11 players returning from last year's team and they have much to prove to the world. This will be decided at the buzzer but because I am acting like a sports broadcaster, I must give a final decision....
Winner: Butler

Friday Night Games

Marquette vs. UNC: This is the Friday night game that I do not have much preference or analysis for... I am hoping Marquette wins!
Winner: Marquette

OSU vs. Kentucky: This is going to be a great game! Thank goodness it will proceed VCU vs FSU. Because I have a fondness for SEC basketball, I am inclined to believe that Kentucky will take this due to their speed and agility. This too will be a close game!
Winner: Kentucky

VCU vs. FSU: Have you watched VCU? If I did not know any better I wold have thought I was watching an ACC or SEC team. Although FSU did beat Notre Dame, killing many hopes of winning their office's bracket competition, FSU is... FSU (Go Gators!). But on a serious note, VCU has the tenacity, coaching staff, and talent to beat "that other school!"
Winner: VCU

Kansas vs. Richmond: Rock, Chalk Jayhawks! Simply put, Kansas has more experience thus they will win!
Winner: Kansas

Who do you think will win on Thursday and Friday?


March 18, 2011

Bridal Bliss

Those that know me, know that I am OBSESSED with weddings. So many of my close friends have commented that I should become a wedding planner! In all, I am simply enamored with everything about the nuptials “process.” Ha ok, so it is not a “process” in a mechanical sense of the term, but there are normalized rituals, events, celebrations, etc. that occur from the time a couple becomes engaged until the day the couple says “I Do!” And well, I am OBSESSED with it all! I could and do discuss minute details with my engaged friends for hours; I have even stayed up 24hours on a Chicago street corner to make sure a friend found her ideal wedding dress! Perhaps, I just love my friends? Or is it my fondness for weddings?

So one may ask why I love weddings. Well, I find enjoyment and pleasure planning events, like parties, in general, and getting dressed is my daily a.m. excitement! Put that together with two people in LOVE and you have the most exciting year of events! 

As one can guess, I am counting down the days until Prince William and Catherine get married. Just in case you were not well informed, their wedding date is Friday, April 29th. They even have an official Royal Wedding website! It is saved on my favorites tab! 

Great news last night (well actually early this morning), one of my girlfriends got ENGAGED!!!!! Yea! I am excited, beyond belief. I have yet to get all the details of the proposal story, but I am still ecstatic for the couple. I really really respect both of these two individuals as a couple and individually. Power couple in the making! I said it first!

Five weddings this summer, three of which we can attend because two sets are on the same day. How does that happen? Ugh, I have been so upset about this. I am thinking there should be a “wedding calendar” so a newly engaged couple can pick their family/friends “open” weekends! No, haha? It has not been too much of a conundrum since Jason is standing in one as am I, so that dictates which of the two that weekend we WILL be attending. 

To close, a few of my favorite wedding moments!

The Dress!!!

First Kiss

The Vows

The Newly Married Couple

To love & prosperity <3

March 11, 2011

TRX: Total Body Workout!

Being that I am on the quest for optimal health and fitness, I realize the importance of cross-training. I have shared my reasons for enjoying running, but I have a new found love. Well, I actually have a few favorite cross-training activities, but one that I will discuss today.

TRX Suspension Training! J recently gifted me a month's worth of small-group classes at my health club, and I am in LOVE! Well, I must admit that I have a fondness to personal training, in general, and the small-group format is ideal for me. I capitalize on having the presence of another individual give me directives when its comes to weight-training. And the small-group format is great because I do not want to be the wimp of the group!

At Capital Fitness we typically have a class of about 4 people... today there were only two of us! (Class sizes vary, but the ones I attend have between 2-4 people).

TRX is wonderful for people at any fitness level. By varying one's body angle, foot placement, speed, etc. the degree of difficulty changes. Although you can buy the suspension trainer cords and workout DVD online, I personally enjoy the camaraderie and energy that a health club affords. Hmm, I really enjoy the amenities :) like the sauna, pool (I have never gotten IN the pool), jacuzzi, spa, fit people, in general, lol!

I highly recommend those looking for something new to give it a try. TRX is also coming to the Princeton Club West soon! Here is an informational video:

Next up on my strength training list is Dumbbell Training and CrossFit! Currently, they do not have either at my health club, but I am keeping my eyes open for the opportunity!


March 4, 2011


“Insomnia is a gross feeder.  It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking.”  ~Clifton Fadiman

Over the last few weeks, I have been suffering from horrible insomnia. Now, I must admit that I know the culprit to my inability to sleep- stress! The unfortunate thing about my culprit is that it is not going away anytime soon. I have tried many remedies including yoga, deep breathing exercises, positive thinking; you name it. I have even tried counting from 100, but that has left me quite agitated because mid-count I become engrossed in multiple thoughts and forget where I was…

I finally shared my dilemma with my supervisor and she suggested that I take melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland; and it helps control your sleep and wake cycles.  Melatonin is a relatively inexpensive, over-the-counter supplement and can be purchased at any drug store or super center like Wal-Mart. It is recommended that you take one pill about 1 hour prior to your desired bedtime. Although I have only been taking it for a few days, I can definitely tell the difference in my ability to fall asleep. If you are having difficulties falling asleep, I recommend it. I am not one to revert to prescription drugs so sleeping pills was never an option.

“And if tonight my soul may find her peace 
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
 and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
 then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.”
~D.H. Lawrence

<3 Michelyn

March 2, 2011


So as you all know I am feverishly working on my dissertation. Yesterday I was in the library for 10 HOURS! Reading the literature on my dissertation topic, summarizing it, then writing an intelligent and coherent paper takes A LOT of work. I am not so certain that obtaining a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) requires intelligence; but, I assure you it requires perseverance, dedication, interest in a specific topic, energy, and so much more!

Ok, so that is not why I am writing today… I must admit that my mind does wander quite a bit while “working.” These days my mind keeps taking me to ideal cities to live. I have even gotten so bad that I am now frequenting real estate websites in these cities.

Now, I am a person that believes in “speaking your world into existence;” however, I am beginning to think that I may be taking it a little far, if I do not say so myself.

A girl can dream can’t she?

Ideally I would move to one of these cities like tomorrow and live there for about 5 years. After that I would be ready to live in the suburbs with a lawn and white picket fence! Here are my four wishful places of residents.

  1. CHICAGO. Although I would never have dreamed that I enjoy the winter; I have come to really appreciate winter-weather wardrobe. I L-O-V-E boots, coats, furs, sweaters… And well, Chicago is the town to show off that type of wardrobe! What is there not to love about the Windy City? My boyfriend’s father had an apartment there for a short period of time. I was so distraught when he decided to sell his place. It was right by Navy Pier (sad face). Although Chicago is in the Midwest it definitely has an East Coast vibe which I love. There are plenty of restaurants, theatres, museums, parks, sporting events, nightlife. Ugh, so much I am getting envious thinking about it!
  2. PHILADELPHIA. Jen, my best girlfriend and BAP, (plus her hubby and baby in the oven) reside in Philadelphia. Specifically, they live in the Northern Liberties area so I have frequented this area often. I like Philly because it is so close to New York and New Jersey. Jen can get in the car and zip over to New Jersey in like 10mins or she can take the train to New York! Who would not love that ability? Although I do enjoy the bustle of New York- I could never envision myself living there because it is simply too much. But, I would thoroughly enjoy the option for “weekend get-aways.”
  3. HOUSTON. Ok, so I have never been to Houston or Texas for that matter, but I have heard that Houston is a “fun” city, so I have been perusing those real estate options, as well.
  4. MINNEAPOLIS. Although I realize that Chicago and Minneapolis have MANY differences, I still would not mind living in the Cities for many of the same reasons. However, in my opinion, Minneapolis does have a Midwestern feel which I do enjoy! Plus, Prince lives there!

Where would you like to move?

<3 Michelyn

February 27, 2011

Honoring Women of Color at Miss USA

In honor of Black History Month I wanted to share this chart. I must admit that I am not the original author (Butler, R. originally cited from Francis AKA Pageant Fan). Needless to say, with only two more days left in February, i.e., Black History Month, what better reason to make a post like this. It is most important to pay tribute to the many women, including myself, who have made history and/or competed in the Miss USA system! If you are interested in competing in the Miss USA or Miss America system, do not hesitate to message me with any inquiries!

<3 Michelyn

Miss Ohio USA 1960 Corrine Huff Semi finals
Miss Idaho USA 1964 Dorothy Johnson....In 1963 the state of Idaho did not compete at Miss USA...The next year Johnson won the title and made it all the way to the Semi finals
Miss Ohio USA 1986 Halle Berry
1st RU to Miss USA
Alabama: 1993, 1996, 2000 (part black), 2002 (biracial)
Alaska: 1979
Arizona: 1976, 1999, 2003 (part black), 2010 (part black)
California: 1994, 2003, 2006, 2007
Colorado: 2000, 2004, 2011
Connecticut: 1976, 1995, 2000, 2002
District of Colombia: 1985-1988, 1990-1998, 2000-2011
Florida: 1987, 2009
Georgia: 1999, 2005
Idaho: 1964, 1988, 2005
Illinois: 2007, 2011
Indiana: 1976, 1993, 2002
Iowa: 2000
Kansas: 1974, 1995 (part black), 1997
Kentucky: 1973, 2008, 2011
Louisiana: 2005
Maryland: 1994, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007
Massachusetts: 1973, 1979, 1988 (biracial), 2001, 2002
Michigan: 1967, 1978, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1994 (biracial), 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004
Minnesota: 1973, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2006, 2009
Nebraska: 2001 (Korean/black), 2005, 2007, 2010
Nevada: 1986 (biracial), 1988, 1992, 2004
New Hampshire: 1976
New Jersey: 1970, 1986, 1991, 1994 (afro-latina), 2003, 2004, 2009 (afro-latina), 2010
New Mexico: 1992, 2003, 2009 (biracial)
New York: 1965, 1966, 1972, 1985, 1998, 2000, 2006 (afro-latina), 2008, 2010 (biracial)
North Carolina: 1997, 1998, 2000, 2010
Ohio: 1960, 1970, 1986, 2000, 2003, 2005
Oklahoma: 1985, 1992 (Japanese/black), 1995, 2003
Oregon: 2001, 2003, 2007
Pennsylvania: 1993, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011
Rhode Island: 1997
South Carolina: 1991
South Dakota: 2008
Tennessee: 1990, 1991, 1997, 2000 (debatable), 2007, 2010
Texas: 1995 (biracial), 2008
Utah: 1979
Vermont: 2010 (Afro-Latina)
Virginia: 1994, 2003
Washington: 1985, 1998 (biracial), 2007
West Virginia: 2002
Wisconsin: 1996, 2008, 2011
Miss Florida USA 1987 Clotilde Helen Cabrera.. First African American Women to Win Miss Florida USA 1st RU to Miss USA
Miss New York USA 1972 Alberta Phillips 1st RU to Miss USA
Miss Nebraska USA 2001 Sujoing "Sue" Drakeford... First African American women to win Miss Nebraska USA

February 24, 2011

Busy Little Bee

Today I returned from my last trip for the month of FEBRUARY! Oh, you have no idea how excited I am to know that I will NOT be traveling the month of March and am crossing my fingers for the same in April. I am a person who really enjoys routine and all my constant traveling has put a wrench in my daily planning. And, lets not even discuss my productivity... Sigh.

But on a good note, a participant at the conference approached me and shared that my presentation (I was lead author but 3 other ladies from my program also presented and contributed equally) was by far the best she had attended at the conference! WHAT?!?! I still can NOT believe it! Ha, goes to show you that hard work + dedication= SUCCESS!!!

“Michelyn Productivity” begins TOMORROW! I do have a dissertation to propose sometime in this century!

<3 Michelyn

February 15, 2011

Put Your Best Foot Forward

On February 11th my boyfriend turned 30 years old. To commemorate this milestone, I bought him a nice pair of dress shoes! See, I believe that the way a person dresses tells you a lot about their character and where they are headed in life. As a basketball coach, dress wear is essential! I always check out the coaches’ wardrobe. 

Oh wait! This is not normal? So fans do not attend games to view the coaches' wardrobe? Check out the cheerleaders? Ok, haha. I know. Only I do this....

Anyways, I respect a sharp-looking dresser-- they always seem to have more swag and overall professionalism.

Here is a picture of J in his new Allen Edmonds.

He is destined for success!

<3 Michelyn

February 11, 2011

Time is Ticking Away……

Or, is it?

A few posts ago I explained why I enjoy running so much. Specifically, I shared with you my five reasons for running. Reason #3 stated that running is a time in which my mind processes lots of my thoughts. Well, back in November I had a “brain fart” mid-run… I literally forgot how old I was! I actually stopped running and began calculating my age. “Wait”, I thought. “Am I really 28 years-old?... O-M-G! I am!” So after my brief calculation break, my disbelief at my age, I began running again. As an aside, I cannot be certain if the cold weather (20 F) or the long run (9 miles) was the culprit to my inability to recollect my age. I figure both are valid hypothesis.

I continued my run reflecting on the milestones that at one time I had planned for myself. These included that I was to be married by 25 and have my first child by 27 or 28 (there were a host more, but these are the important ones for this post). Well, obviously those milestones did not occur, lol. But what I really realized is that age is just a number and that I am on a journey through life.  Sometimes you can’t put an age criteria for accomplishing a goal or life experience.

This topic resonates because today is my boyfriend’s 30th birthday! This morning I asked if he felt any different and he responded: “I feel like an old man.” Well, I hope he is kidding because I do not think 30 is old at all. Hasn’t he just started?!?

I guess I look at my parents who are nearing sixty and don’t view them as elderly one bit. My mother is still out here dressing fly as ever, going to the gym… Shoot she even decided to be a flight attendant in her 50s. She wanted to do something for herself. She explained that she has lived for others (following my dad around, raising me, etc.) that she now wanted to do something adventurous. I am so proud of her. She travels worldwide and loves it (My father on the other hand... Well, he would be happy if she sat at home, lol).

So I guess this post is for those that are feeling the “clock ticking” or for those that are tired of people asking when will you graduate, get married, have children, start a different job, buy a home….. My message is to make these steps when YOU are ready. People and society, in general, place too much pressure on conformity to certain age-like milestones. I just do not think they are fair! Be you, be different!

<3 Michelyn

February 7, 2011


It seems that I am the person that incurs the most traumatic beauty experiences. November 24, 2010 was the last time I had my eyebrows shaped! Can you believe it? Yes, it has been quite a stressful 2 months. I typically have my eyebrows threaded and there is only one lady in Madison who does this procedure. Well, she was definitely experiencing an “off” day and I left her salon the day before Thanksgiving with NO EYEBROWS! Ugh, I was so distraught! I decided on that day that I would allow my eyebrows to “grow out” so that I could have them re-shaped at a later time. Well, over the weekend I traveled to Philadelphia to celebrate my best friend’s baby shower and realized that an intervention (aka eyebrow waxing or threading) had to occur.

My eyebrow horror stories are making me consider a more permanent eyebrow fix. Perhaps I will have them tattooed or laser hair removal. What are your opinions?

I like her eyebrows (and eye make-up):

What should a girl do? I truly must apologize to those individuals that I have encountered over the last two months. My faux pas…

<3 Michelyn

February 1, 2011


When getting my mail on Saturday I found the USPS slip for an over-sized package. Now, I must admit that I have an obsession for online shopping and began "jogging" my memory of my last online purchase. At that time, I could not think of anything that I had bought within the last few weeks that I was waiting upon. Well, I had made a purchase for Jen's babyshower, but I was certain that I had that sent to her house...

On Monday morning I went to the post office to retrieve my package and was SURPRISED that it was a gift from my boyfriend <3! I was so excited to open the package and even more elated with what it contained! He bought the "Kardashian Konfidential"book as well as a Vera Bradley notebook. Isn't he the sweetest ever? I called him as soon as I opened the package and thanked him wholeheartedly. Isn't Valentine's just around the corner? He noted that he was aware of the looming holiday, but thought it would be nice to just send me a lil' something. Aww....

Ok, so this gets to my konfession. I am OBSESSED with the Kardashians, especially Khloe! I am really hoping she and Lamar have a show soon. Well, their whole family is my guilty pleasure! I so enjoy following Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe through blogshpere! And Jason is TiVoing all the Kourtney and Kim Take NY! Yipee, I can not wait to watch those :) I know, I have a serious problem.... I was so relieved when my girlfriend Yolanda konfessed she loved them too! That definitely made me feel better, lol!

So, last night I rewarded myself and read the Introduction and Chapter 1 of my new book. I must admit that I am not impressed with the print (i.e., what the girls are writing), but am loving all the pictures! But then again, what should I expect from them, lol. Pure entertainment!

What is your confession?

<3 Michelyn

January 29, 2011

I'm Getting Deep...

Upon beginning this blog I decided that I wanted it to be both informative and insightful. I hope that the three posts thus far have fulfilled these goals. Additionally, I wanted to have a mix of “glamorous” topics as well as some deeper posts. Well, tonight is the night. I have been contemplating how I would introduce this first topic to my readers, so I might as well just get to the point.

As an African-American woman I deliberate often about diversity. My thoughts about diversity are compounded when I think of the education system. Most notably because of my knowledge that teachers’ lack of competency in teaching culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners correlates to students’ persistent achievement difficulties. The data from NCLB indicate that too many of our CLD students are still struggling. I need action!

I am currently an advanced practicum student in a school district that is “grappling” with their diversity “issues” (i.e., disproportionate in special education referral, expulsions, etc.). For the last few years they have been actively working on teacher professional development surrounding culturally responsive teaching/classroom management. Additionally, a group of administrators and support staff (e.g., school psychologist, ELL resource teacher, etc.) are currently participating in a yearlong professional development opportunity through the Department of Instruction. Is this the type of action that I am calling for?

I know that these professional development opportunities are well intentioned, contain evidence-based components, and hence are useful and effective. Ok, perhaps I am not sold on the last part. I am not certain if I believe that a large majority of the teachers and staff “get it,” or ever will. During a staff in-service on Wednesday one teacher completely showed his ignorance and small-mindedness… It was indicative of where some people are!

I ponder everyday if a grown person can learn to accept “others?” Ignorance and racism does not develop overnight. Rather, they are beliefs that a person learns from his/her environment. How does one un-learn?

<3 Michelyn

January 28, 2011

Aw Snap… More Hair Secrets Divulged!

A few days ago I shared some of my favorite curly hair products. I must admit that the post was incomplete. Ok, do not be mad at me but I did not want to earn the “Longest Post in America” award on my first day blogging, lol. I was planning to complete my “hair topic” in a few days, I promise. But, just a few hours ago I got a subsequent text from my cousin, Erica, in excitement because she bought her “first product experiment.” She opted to first try Kinky-Curly. I cannot wait to see pictures of her natural curls flowin’ while she vacations in St. Thomas! (Jealous? I am. My parents are going too!).

In addition to choosing a great styling product, I have also found these tips useful:

  1. Never towel dry curls. The towel makes your hair frizzy. I am certain there is some science to this, but I haven’t the energy to determine what it is. I just follow the guideline.
  2. Use a wide-toothed comb. Never and I mean NEVER use a brush on wet (or dry) curly hair!
  3. Moisturize. Curly hair, particularly African-American curly hair, tends to be dry and brittle. This occurs because it is difficult for the scalps natural oils to move down the hair follicle. To help prevent break-off and damage I use Morrocan Oil. I always apply the oil before applying my “curly hair recipe.” My girlfriend Travelle swears by Parnevu’s Leave-In Conditioner.
  4. A small amount of product goes a LONG way. This lesson took me awhile. I must admit that I used to follow the more = better philosophy. With curly hair and products this is not the case. I use less than a dime size portion for each of my sections.
  5. Use the “Rake and Shake” application procedure.
  6. Co-wash instead of washing. Co-washing, also known as conditioner washing, is a way to clean the hair without using shampoo. Instead, rinse your hair with water, apply conditioner, and rinse out once again!
  7. Air Dry. Ok, this is not always feasible, but my hair looks its best when I allow it to air dry.

<3 Michelyn

January 26, 2011

Runner's World

The title of this post should explain it all. The sport of running is universal- loved by many on a national and international level. My love for running arose during my freshman year at the University of Florida. While walking around campus I would always see people running for exercise. I must admit that I was slow to join the pace, but after learning about Oprah Winfrey’s first and only marathon in 1994 (she ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 4:29:20) and P.Diddy’s  (aka Puff Daddy, Diddy, Sean Combs, Dirty Money… What the hell is his name these days? ) public documentation of his training and completion of the ING New York Marathon in 2003 (he completed 26.2 miles in 4:14:54) I was determined to be like them! Be like them in the sense that I would begin running, not train for a marathon. So I laced my shoes, put one foot in front of the other, and began logging my miles. During my undergraduate career I ran in many 5K and 10K races around Central Florida. I relished in the feeling (and still do to this day) of registering for a race, and then developing a game plan to successfully complete it! I truly believe this skill has assisted me in all my endeavors in my life.

I believe anyone can consider themself a runner. Although I am not competitively fast, I do. Being a runner is a state of mind not a mile/hour pace! So with that said, I encourage each one of you to give it a try, at any age. In 2010, two of my aunts and two cousins ran their first 5K Turkey Trot! My aunt is also planning to do a Family 5K for her birthday.

All in all, I would have never guessed as an undergraduate that I would enjoy running 13 + miles for fun (I have completed 6 half marathons). Today, I can say running is fun :). I find enjoyment and fulfillment every time I return from an outdoor run.

To conclude, I would like to share my top 5 reasons for running.

1.     Healthy Living: Ok, so I must admit that I first began running for the weight loss benefits. Hey! Do not blame me. Society puts a lot of unnecessary pressures on young (and old) women to be thin. But as I have aged, I have grown wiser to the whole body benefits, specifically the cardiovascular benefits to running.

2.     Stress Reliever: Whenever I am stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed going for a run seems to relax me. I also believe this is related to reason #3.

3.     Thought Processing: Let me tell you, I have written a few papers, solved some difficult math problems, shoot I may be close to solving our nation’s problems just from running. While running my mind is able to escape, process, and solve thought provoking issues.

4.     Competition: I am a competitor at heart and running allows me to fill that void. Now that my pageant career is over, what was a girl to do? Running was my pageant replacement!

5.     Learning about your Surroundings: Running has afforded me the opportunity of “finding” new things and places in the cities in which I reside and vacation. Just today I learned that Lululemon Athletica opened a storefront on Monroe Street. Uhm, do you know how psyched I was to learn about this grand opening!?! What holiday is approaching? I love gift certificates… Perhaps someone special will gift one to me ;)

For more information about running, please visit http://www.active.com/running/

<3 Michelyn

January 24, 2011

Sound the Alarm! Curly Hair Products Seminar

Over the last two years I have been on the quest to find the “perfect” product(s) for my natural, curly hair. I must admit that the “going natural” journey has been quite tumultuous with many bumps along the way. Beginning with the BIG CHOP during the Summer of 2009 in which my father asked if something was wrong. You know the majority of black men like long hair and the sight of me with hair to my shoulders terrified my father. Then my journey took a nose-dive when I allowed a “curly hair professional” to trim my hair. Let’s just say that I have never been back to her and she is NO professional.

Although my hair is still “recovering” from my David Scissorhands catastrophe, I can say that I have FINALLY found the perfect combination of products for my hair. Over the past month, I have been stopped by numerous individuals asking me “what product do you use in your hair?,” to which I first ask them to grab a paper and pen and I explain the following:

1.     Every persons curls are different and the right product on me may not work well on you. Additionally, I remind these women that I have many curl patterns in my hair and I just try to work with what I got.
2.     Next, I review the list of products that I have used in the past including:
·      Hair Rules
3.     Lastly, I share my curly hair recipe which is an even combination of:
·      Ouidad’s Styling products 
·      I have tried both the Heat & Humidity Gel and Curl Quencher, and can not tell a difference
·      be curly by Aveda

To all my Curly-Qs and natural hair divas, thank you for giving me inspiration to allow my natural hair to flourish. I must truly thank my cousin Jessica for being the first Butler Girl to go natural. You were my inspiration! My mother at the age of (she would kill me if I divulged that information) has stopped getting relaxers.  And recently I rejoiced when I got a series of text messages from my other cousin, Erica, who has finally decided to end her dependence on that chemical process (i.e., a relaxer). She gave me the inspiration to share my wealth of knowledge about curly hair products to the world. Lastly, to all the ladies on the fence, terrified of letting go of that relaxer… DO IT!!!!

Example of my curls at their best:

P.S. Isn't my bestie and B.A.P. (Black American Princess) rocking the sequin top over her baby bump? Proof that you can still rock-it preggers. xoxo

<3 Michelyn