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ptimal Living M A G A Z I N E

Why irsty Women Finish Last in Relationships

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Simple Ways to Increase Your Credit Score

Do What You Love & e Money Will Follow + Much More!

Fit, Fabulous & Full of Faith: A Candid Conversation with Toni Carey, co-founder of Black Girls Run 2014 January/February Issue


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Optimal Living Magazine


TABLE of CONTENTS

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e Publisher’s Perspective

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Purpose Driven Living Tips

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Feature Story

True Confessions of a Saved Man

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e Wifey 101 Series Career & Leadership Insight

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Lifestyles Poetic Moments

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e Spices of Life Recipes A Time of Intercession

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OUR STAFF

PUBLISHER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tanisha R. Hopson EDITORS LaKeta Lewis Mark McDonald GRAPHIC MEDIA DESIGN Kevin J. Hadden OUR CONTRIBUTORS Alana B. Gregory Cherubin Janita Colbert Christopher Evans Lynette Harrison Michelle Wilson Kesi Stribling Rosemarie Phipps

Optimal Living Magazine is published six times per year with a mission to encourage our readers to live the most abundant life possible, as it relates to their spirituality, purpose, finances, health/wellness and relationships. Advertisers who offer products, services and events in support of our mission are encouraged to contact our Advertisement Sales Department at: 1-888-876-1722 or adsales@optimal-livingmagazine.com. Copyright 2008 – 2013. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including photocopying, electronic retrieval of publication without written permission of the Publisher.

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KAF KMC MULTIPURPOSE CENTER

“From Your Business Priority to Your Annual Party…You Have Discovered a Rare Diamond”.

“Premier Sponsor of Optimal Living Magazine’s 2014 Fit, Fabulous & Full of Faith event” Visit our website: www.kafkmc.com Mention Optimal Living Magazine & Save 10% Off Your Next Event Offer ends on March 15, 2014 6343 South Kings Highway Alexandria, Virginia 22306 Phone: (703) 765-6343 Facility Manager: Mr. Michael Hill


e Publishers Perspective When One Door Closes, Another One Opens must x our minds and hearts to move on, once and for all. Wa l k i n g t h r o u g h o u r G o d ordained open doors involves three key factors: forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, and burying the past to embrace our God ordained new beginnings. Henry Ward Beecher once said, “I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note--torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.”

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e have all heard the famous cliché, “When one door closes, a n o t h e r o n e o p e n s .” B u t unfortunately, some people are so busy looking at the closed doors of the past that they can't walk through the open doors of the present. Does that sound kind of like you?

So, my question for you today is: What do you need to bury for 2014? Will you bury your past and embrace new opportunities for

career growth, newfound friendships, and all types of open doors with your name on them? Or, will you keep letting your past rob you of new experiences that God has for you? I hope this special New Years' issue will be a tremendous motivator and blessing to your life. Happy New Year! e best is yet to come.

With Warm Regards,

Tanisha R. Hopson Tanisha R. Hopson Editor-In-Chief, Publisher Optimal Living Magazine

For many people, from all walks of life, getting over the past can be quite a challenge. Although many times we want to move on, our hearts can hold on to things for much longer than originally intended. However, in order to successfully welcome in 2014, we Ms. Hopson is available for speaking engagements! For more information, contact: media@optimal-livingmagazine.com Follow her on Facebook @ OptimalLivingMagazine and on Twitter @ Olmagazine 6

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Philadelphia, PA

O ptimal Living M A G A Z I N E


Purpose Driven Living Tips: By Michelle Wilson

He Is More Than Worth The Wait “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40: 31

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as anyone ever told you that something was “worth the wait?” Well, speaking from experience, sometimes they are and other times not so much. When we really want something badly, our emotions tend to take over and we become consumed with impatience. Pebbles turn into boulders and hills turn into mountains. Although we didn't get into these situations overnight, we fully expect to get out of them as quick as we got into them. erefore, we go to God in fervent prayer begging Him to show us favor through His eternal gis of grace and mercy. Yet, even in the midst of making the request, we have trouble relaxing and letting go; not because of a

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crisis of faith but more so because we don't feel as if we have the strength to endure. However, the word clearly says that if we wait on the Lord our strength will be renewed. He knows just how much we can bear, so He never gives us more than we can handle, whether we believe it or not. We will become like eagles as our spirits soar high above our troubles. We will chase aer what God has planned for us and not get weary or give up. We will walk side by side with our Heavenly Father in dignity without fear of failure. Admittedly, some things in life are overrated and sacri cing time to receive them can be quite disappointing. On the other hand, the power of God's love is absolutely underrated, and He is more than worth the wait! Today, let's humble ourselves to wait on the Lord. Let's put down our plans, in exchange for His

pl an s . L et ' s e x p e r i e nce the refreshing that God wants us to freely enjoy in our everyday lives. Michelle Wilson

About the Writer MICHELLE WILSON (www.miraclescometrue.com) is the author of the book, It's Already Done! is book takes readers through the intimate accounts of her being diagnosed with a series of lifethreatening conditions as a result of a severe allergic reaction. Yet through it all she maintained a strong relationship with God, which ultimately strengthened her faith and led to a greater understanding of His purpose for her life.


Harvest Matters by Gregory Cherubin

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5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Credit Score were paying on successfully for 10 years without ever being late. But one month you just so happen to miss a payment because of some hardship. I can guarantee that your score of 700 would have dropped by 50-70 points because of that one missed 30-day payment. Now imagine what would happen if you missed two or more payments? Enough said. Make the intended effort to pay your bills on time in 2014!

appy New Year!! e beginning of the year is the perfect time to get your nancial house in order. One great way to get started is by understanding what your credit score is and what it means for you. For many people, without an attractive score, usually ranging from 650 or greater, you are forbidden in most cases to make certain purchases (unless you have all the cash necessary, of course). In some cases, people have even been denied job opportunities and lost jobs because of their low credit scores. Nevertheless, being “credible” is simply a matter of positioning yourself for wealth building opportunities. In 5 simple steps, I am going to help you master and take charge of your credit score. Whether you are trying to establish or reestablish your credit score to purchase a home, a new vehicle, or to acquire a loan for a new business venture, I'm going to share with you some simple and powerful tips that can increase your FICO score to obtain your nancial goals. Before you endeavor to take advantage of the tips listed below, be sure to obtain your credit report and scores. A few websites to consider are: www.creditkarma.com, www.annualcreditreport.com, and www.my co.com.

3.Keep all balances low.

"5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Credit Score" 1.Correct all errors. Errors can be found in 80% of all credit reports. It is your duty to review your report and check for errors. By law, you have the right to challenge any error that is on your report. If your dispute proves to be true, then the law requires the bureaus remove the error, which in turn will increase your score. 2.Pay your bills on time. Most people know this, but have no clue how serious this rst point is, so let me give you an example. Let's say your credit score was a 700 and you had a mortgage or credit card that you

Whether you have remaining balances on your store cards, credit cards, and/or installment loans, your goal should always be to pay them off to zero. You may have heard that keeping a low balance on your credit cards have a positive effect, but I would challenge that and say no, not at all. e less debt you are carrying, the higher your credit score will prove to be. So if you have a card with a zero balance, surely that's better than having a card with a 10% balance remaining. NOTE: 30% percent of your score is the amount owed on all cards and accounts. 4.Types of credit in use. e types of accounts you have established determines 15% of your credit score on your report. What I mean by types of credit in use is simply a diversity of accounts. You will have to establish an installment account, such as a car loan, or a borrowed loan from a banking institution Optimal Living Magazine

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Harvest Matters: 5 SimpleWays to Increase Your Credit Score (cont.)

while managing several credit cards (two or three credit cards, at least two). As you pay on these accounts over time, without being late, your scores will gradually increase. 5.Don't ever close existing accounts. You should never look to close out existing accounts, especially if you had a very positive history with the creditor. Closing out your existing accounts because you are no longer using them could impact your score negatively. I highly recommend keeping those cards open. Another reason for keeping the cards open and active is simply due to the history behind the cards. e longer the history

behind the card, the more positive effect the account will have on your score. In conclusion, if you follow these 5 simple and powerful steps, you will almost immediately see an increase in your overall FICO score. Some would have you think that xing your credit score is next to impossible, but I would say it's simply a matter of taking the initiative to follow the guidelines above and maintain a consistent and good history for all established accounts. Aer all, you were created to “be the lender, not the borrower”.

Gregory Cherubin

About the Writer Mr. Gregory Cherubin is Founder and CEO of American Life Financial Company (ALFCO), a nancial management company in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. ALFCO's main goal is to position extraordinary people for generational wealth building opportunities. Visit us

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What Healthy Sisters Do to Stay Fit, Fabulous & Full of Faith for 2014! A Candid Conversation with Black Girls RUN co-founder, Mrs. Toni Carey

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TC: My favorite snacks are sliced apples with peanut butter. It satis es my sweet tooth while giving me the protein I need.

t the beginning of every year, many people make solemn vows to get back on track with their weight loss and diets. Some of the most popular get slim quick diets include: the no carb diet, the lemon cleanse diet, and sometimes the “I'll start Monday diet”. Yes, we've tried just about everything to get healthy. However, while cutting calories is key to maintaining a healthy weight, it is undeniable that physical exercise plays an equally important role. is year, Optimal Living Magazine had the awesome privilege to talk to co-founder, Mrs. Toni Carey, of Black Girls RUN. Black Girls RUN, co-founded by Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks, is an organization that was established to help African-American women RUN! Aer starting the organization in 2009, the organization has been growing by leaps and bounds, as women from different cities are connecting to improve their health by running and walking with other likeminded ladies. OLM: What inspired the start of Black Girls RUN?

OLM: Maintaining a woman's “do” can be one of the biggest drawbacks of working out. Do you have a go-to product or style to maintain your tresses while getting your sweat on? TC: During the summer I wear a wash and go and during the winter I wear my hair straightened. Keeping your scalp clean and moisturized is key. OLM: What is the latest national marathon or run you have been a part of? to get and remain healthy? TC: Women in general come up with a thousand excuses as to why we can't do something. e biggest hurdle to overcome is the limitations we put on ourselves. We have to b e ou r bi g ge st advocate and rise above the real and perceived challenges. OLM: Hitting the pavement isn't for everyone, what are other workouts to stay t and fab?

TC: I participated in the Disney Marathon in Orlando Florida! Running through each of the parks was amazing and it will be an experience I will never forget. OLM: Has faith played a part in keeping "the movement" of Black Girls RUN going? TC: Absolutely! About a year ago, I made the decision to work for Black Girls RUN full time. Talk about a faith walk! But, I knew that this was my purpose that I needed to ful ll.

TC: We started Black Girls RUN to encourage black women to get active, as well as develop a community for AfricanAmerican females who love to run.

TC: Research has shown that walking just 30 minutes a day has a signi cant impact on your health. Anything is good for you as long as it gets you up and moving!

O L M : D o y o u h av e s t ro ng Christian roots? What is a scripture you live by?

O L M : W h at i s t h e b ig g e s t challenge you see facing AfricanAmerican woman in the struggle

OLM: What's your favorite snack that is tasty, but won't give you all the calories of junk food?

TC: Yes! I was born and raised in church. Right now my husband and I attend Northpoint Church Optimal Living Magazine

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What Healthy Sisters Do to Stay Fit, Fabulous & Full of Faith for 2014! (cont.)

in Atlanta, GA. It's hard to choose a favorite, but I love Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. OLM: ere is a strong entrepreneurial spirit amongst millennials, what is a tip you have for women to start their dream? TC: Just go for it. Sometimes we can be paralyzed by the details, but if you believe in your dream, you will nd a way to make it work! OLM: How do you stay fashionable in your workout

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gear? What are you favorite workout clothes to wear?

OLM: What's next for Black Girls RUN?

TC: I tend to wear a lot of black with pops of color. When it comes to fab running gear, you can never go wrong with Brooks, Nike, and UnderArmour. Look for items that can be worn on and off the pavement.

TC: We hope to continue to grow our membership, as well as our 3rd annual Sweat with Your Sole race and conference that will be held September 2014 in Atlanta.

OLM: What are some suggestions you can offer our readers on staying t, fabulous, and full of faith for the year 2014? TC: Set attainable goals and set yourself up for success. Plug your workout into your schedule as if it's a meeting.

OLM: How can our readers start a running group in their area? TC: You can nd a Black Girls RUN group in your city by visiting our website, blackgirlsrun.com. If you don’t see a group in your area, you can request to have one added, however, with the demand, we only add about 5 groups a year.


True Confessions of a Saved Man by Christopher Evans

Why Thirsty Women Always Finish Last in Relationships you answered yes to either of these, then yes, you are thirsty!

ere is an urban term in our society for people who crave attention from the opposite sex, called “irsty”. As your big brother in Christ, I would say to single ladies in our society today that being thirsty means you are trying too hard, overdoing it and you are letting everyone around you know you are available! Possessing this character trait is extremely dangerous to women because, in essence, what you are saying is “I am needy”. is message is loud and clear to men who see women that act in this manner. ere are a lot of men who will entertain thirsty women, just for the sake of using them because they know it will be a short term relationship. Moreover, some men will make sure they look for “thirsty”women for that sole purpose. Real men are not looking for short gain relationships, which

do not last. No ma'am, we are looking for a lasting relationship and marriage with a woman that has values, her own goals, and ambitions. ose are just some of the qualities that men are attracted to. We enjoy seeing a woman that possess' class, beauty, and dignity. God fearing men of integrity are seeking women that have assets like that. We love a woman that we can take to dinner and take home to our mothers. However, thirsty women will not get that privilege. Have you ever heard that saying, “You are what you eat”? Well in relationships terms, you are who you are in a relationship with. If you have not been introduced to his mother yet, aer 6-12 months of dating, this may be the reason. If you are unsure whether you fall into the “thirsty” category, ask yourself this question: Have I ever desperately exposed myself too fast, too soon, or too hard for the sake of getting that man? If

But there is hope! God's word tells us in “Proverbs 31:10-11, A wife of noble character who can nd? She is worth far more than rubies”. If you have a noble character, you do not need to over indulge yourself in destructive patterns to gain attention from a man because you know your worth. You need only to walk in integrity, be the best you, you can be, and let God lead you into righteousness. You do not have to be emotionally bankrupt from trying so hard to be seen. You can be con dent that your self-esteem is not based on how much attention a man gives you. But you can be con dent that when you are found by a worthy man, you are fully prepared and equipped to keep the relationship. Always remember, “irsty Women Always Finish Last in a relationship”. Christopher Evans

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e Wifey 101 Series: By Lynette Harrison

What to Do After Infidelity Creeps Into Your Marriage “Sin feels good for a season” (Hebrews 11:25). However, in marriage, one of the most devastating sins is “in delity”. It hurts because no one saw it coming. When you rst said “I do” at the altar with your husband, those thoughts never entered your mind. All you could see is the wedding, the dress, your audience, and your continual happiness, security, and unconditional love with your mate. But aer the wedding, the reality of marriage and life begins to set in. In some cases, aer time goes by, feelings of anger, frustration, and insecurity can become a quick reality. So, what do you do when the nasty, ugly monster of in delity creeps into your marriage and you are feeling jaded by a cheating husband? Well, the rst thing you should do is let God be God and c om m it you r hus b and to prayer. Consecrate yourself to God and live your life. By doing so, you are allowing God to get in your situation and work it out for your good. He then can intervene because you are out of the way. God can get to your husband and turn his heart. God will do one of three things: 1. Move you from the situation, 2. Move the situation from you, or 3. Give you the grace to go through it. Either way it will work out best for your good. 14

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ere is no foolproof method of ensuring that your husband doesn't cheat on you. Sadly, many women have resolved to making themselves sleuths and Barney Fives in order to keep up with their husbands, which is never going to work because it's rooted in fear and manifested through jealousy; both of which are works of the esh. Now, Jesus put it very simply with this principle, which says “Whatever is done in the dark will come to the light” (Luke 12:3). e second thing you would have to work on if your husband cheated on you is the forgiveness factor. Betrayal is a hard pi l l to s w a l l ow and unforgiveness is not an option. It is a non-negotiable factor, in all areas of your marriage,

including in delity. You will have to allow yourself to grieve for what you lost- the innocence and illusion of the perfect mate, who does everything right and who would never hurt or betray you; for that you must grieve for a time, but you must not stop there. Forgiveness must begin. Beginning with prayer for your husband's state is a start, because something is deeply wrong and his connection with God has been broken. Some would say, a wife will keep her husband happy and he will not cheat if she becomes every woman. Keeping the marriage bed warm and inviting, keeping her appearance up, not nagging, etc…but this can't be it alone for there are beautiful women whose husbands have cheated on them. Rich women,


e Wifey 101 Series: What To Do After Infidelity Creeps Into Your Marriage (cont.)

independent non-cling y women, slim women, quiet wom e n , an d opi n i on ate d women have all been betrayed by in delity in their marriages, so that alone can't be the reason. Luther Ingram penned a song called,”If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)”. is song is a declaration of willful sin against God and the marriage because it feels so good. Ingram's lyrics depict that he doesn't care what her parents said, what others say. He recognizes he has a wife and two children depending on him. While he never says he will leave his wife and children, he makes it clear that he doesn't want to be right.

In conclusion, in delity in marriage starts in the heart and will of a person. My advice for a woman whose husband cheats on her is this: Give your marriage back to God and let Him be the center piece, the essence, and source of your union so that when things go wrong (and they will), God will be the repairer of the breach. You cannot control what your husband does and does not do. You can only control what you do. What goes wrong in your marriage may not be in delity, but no matter what goes wrong, leave the rest to God.

Lynette Harrison

About the Writer Lynette is the President/Founder of WOMAN, INC (Women of God On the Move Making a Difference Achieving Greatness Now), non-pro t organization since 2007. She is also the President/Founder of Lynette Harrison Enterprises and author of: Reduce Me to Christ, W.O.M.A.N. Lessons, and Baby I Didn't Marry You for Your Feet! President/Founder: e W.O.M.A.N. INSTITUTE. To purchase products or to book Lynette to speak at your engagement visit: www.LHEnterprises.org

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Optimal Living Business Spotlight CHRISTOPH WRITES LLC: FIGHTING CANCER WITH POETRY In memory of a young man, named Justin Izlar, who succumbed to a 7-year battle with osteosarcoma, Christoph Writes, LLC has started a movement that was once just a campaign to show people that we they can ght cancer with their talents and passions. Justin Izlar's 7-year battle with sarcoma is exemplary of optimism and perseverance. Although Justin passed away, he believed that one shouldn't leave this earth without leaving something behind that can potentially change someone's life for the better. And indeed, he did just that. In building awareness for sarcoma, and to honor Justin and those who have died from this disease, we, at Christoph Writes, are lming a 12-episode docu-series that takes the story told by Justin's poems and brings them to life. We believe that this is the greatest way to share his life and allow it to be a testament that it is important to keep pressing forward no matter what or who drags you down or pulls you back. Justin had a vision that would soon become part of his legacy. He envisioned an initiative that would continually raise funds and support the efforts toward nding a cure for sarcoma. He called this initiative "Seize e Spread of Sarcoma". Christoph Writes has partnered with the Sarcoma Foundation of America to assist in the medical research efforts toward nding a cure for sarcoma. To stay up-to-date with the happenings of this movement against cancer, follow @ChristophWrites on Twitter.

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Optimal Living Business Spotlight KAF KMC Multipurpose Center If you want a place to hold a special event, training, conference, or seminar, look no further than KAF KMC Multipurpose Center located at 6343 South Kings Highway, in historic Alexandria, Virginia. is state-ofthe-art venue is very well kept and offers a myriad of business office and meeting space for start-up and established rms, which comes complete with mailboxes, community meeting rooms, a computer learning center, and a modern kitchen space. e Multipurpose Center hosts various conferences and meetings on a monthly basis including the Retired Officers (ROCKS) of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia Medical Association monthly meetings. e Global Business Network Association (GBNA), Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce and the Kappa's of Alexandria Fairfax, VA utilize the facility weekly to host various seminars and special events for the community including Project Giveback, Kamp Kappa, Toys for Tots, Voter registration, Zumba exercise classes, and the 2014 Optimal Living Magazine New Years' Healthy Living Toast event – just to name a few.

For more information about how to get started with hosting your next conference, family reunion, networking reception, or company party, please contact the facility manager, Mr. Michael Hill at: (703) 765-6343, or email him at: michaelhillkaf@hotmail.com

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Career and Leadership Insight by Kesi Stribling

Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow

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few years ago, I i n f or m a l l y s u r v e y e d people whom I met at networking events or conducted workshops for about their career satisfaction. Out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to know if they were happy, just getting by, or utterly dissatis ed in their careers.

Prepare and Proceed We oen get excited about an idea or life change, and want to jump right into the new opportunity. However, successful transition into a career change takes lots of preparation, work, and a plan. Your professional strategic plan should include your top career interests, additional education needed including continuing education courses or certi cation, t he t asks you have a lre ady accomplished that transition to the new job opportunities you would like to pursue, and how you will measure your progress or success.

eir responses did not startle me, as I've heard all types of career conundrums in my profession. Of the 100 or so people I spoke with, less than 10% expressed enthusiasm for what they did on the job, or were fully engaged at work. e top reasons these “focus group” members are not doing what they love, based on their responses, are the fear of not having enough money to pay the bills and not knowing how to seek career opportunities that allowed them to pursue what they love. ey, like many others, sacri ce career satisfaction to fear of the unknown, and therefore, become immobilized and unmotivated to gure out how to make a living doing what truly excites them. Any life change, small or monumental, requires proper planning and strategy to achieve the desired outcome. e four areas to help you transition into a career you love, while making a living in the process, include identifying what motivates you, preparing for change, networking, and continuous learning.

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What Motivates You? Before you can put your plan together, you have to know what motivates or inspires you. Are you driven by community causes, or does injustice bother you? Does starting a business generate creativity and ideas? Are you comfortable instructing others? ese likes, or motivators, can lead you to a career change. For example, if you are interested in teaching, but think the pay might not cover living expenses, consider becoming a trainer or educational consultant part-time before making a full-time commitment. You will become acclimated to the tasks associated with the job, have past performance under your belt, and clients who can refer you to future customers or provide a testimonial.

Build in dates to keep yourself on track and ask a friend or family member to check in with you, so that you have extra motivation, especially when progress is not as swi as you would like it to be. A crucial part of your plan includes putting money aside that may come in handy during your transition. Even if you don't have much le over aer the bills are paid, you can always sacri ce your daily coffee purchase, the extra night out on the town, or cute designer purse you really want. Ready, Set, Network Once you have created your professional strategic plan, it is time to network with others who may be future employers or clients, as well as mentors and cheerleaders when your fear reemerges or you doubt yourself.


Career and Leadership Insight: Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow (cont.)

Whether attending an event in your desired industry, connecting with a company on LinkedIn, or Tweeting about your progress, networking with others can lead to career opportunities.

learning and knowledge to bolster your new career, put you in a position for promotion, and ensure that you are a valuable member of the team whose input is respected.

Kesi Stribling

If you are ner vous about introducing yourself during networking events, join your local Toastmasters group to help build your con dence. Learn and Evolve N o m a t t e r y o u r i n d u s t r y, including entrepreneurship, it is important to continue to learn and evolve. Tracking industry trends, certi cations, and staying in tune with organizational changes at your workplace help give you the competitive a dv ant age. Us e c ont i nu ous

About the Writer Kesi Stribling is the CEO & Chief Strategist of KSG Strategic Consulting, whose career initiative, Career Connect USA, provides coaching, workshops, and events to help job seekers meld their professional passions with career success. She also hosts î ˘e Strategy Sessions Radio Show. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook @KesiStribling, or visit www.ksgsc.com.

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Lifestyles By Janita Colbert

5 Ways to Look Chic This Winter I always cringe a little at the end of summer season in fear of what I will wear for the winter! e cost to bundle up nearly doubles compared to summer clothes; ip ops versus boots, tees versus sweaters, no coat versus coats. Entering winter wardrobe season can bring about a temporary moment of anxiety. Fear not, here are ve chic ways to keep warm all while not breaking the bank!

1. Chunky Scarves ere's something about the texture and weight of a chunky scarf that gives such style appeal! Set aside your thin print scarf and opt for a chunky scarf in a solid color! If you're having trouble guring out what nishing touch your out t needs—voila!

2. Off e Shoulder Sweaters Sometimes you just need a little breathing room. Braving the cold weather in your winter gear can have you tugging at your neckline for a little breathing room. Off the shoulder sweaters give you just the room and style you're looking for!

3. Hats Hats are an accessory that can transform your look. Any hat! Wear a Fedora or Panama hat if you're going for sophistication. Wear a baseball hat if you're going for cool or wear a beanie if you're aiming for boho chic.

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Lifestyles: 5 Ways to Look Chic This Winter (cont.)

4. Riding Boots e quintessential winter accessory: Riding Boots! Invest in a good pair of Riding Boots. You will wear them for seasons to come. is boot has always and will always be in style.

5. Layers Layering adds interest to your out t. Instead of simply wearing a sweater, add a button down shirt or a blouse under it. On top of that, add a few layers of necklaces. Mixing colors, textures and patterns with will give you style and warmth.

Janita Colbert About the Writer Janita Colbert is a proud Alexandria, VA native and the Lifestyles Editor for Optimal Living Magazine! She is currently residing in Greensboro, NC ful lling her career in both the furniture and fashion industry. A graduate of New York City’s prestigious, Parsons School of Design, Janita has over 10 years experience in fashion consulting, personally shopping and styling clients for events and personal life. A member of Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Washington, DC, Janita has an unwavering faith in the Lord! For tips on where to snag stylish looks for your budget, email Janita at: Janita_Colbert@optimal-livingmagazine.com.

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Poetic Moments “On is Day of New Beginnings!" by Alana B.

On this day of new beginnings, this day of possibility, I've decided to embark on a new dream, one special to me. I've kept this dream in my heart, of it I never speak, but now the time seems right, the future no longer bleak. I've done all the research, things are just about right; I've done all things decent and in order, prayed with all my might. New beginnings are important, I am glad for the chance; I will embark on my dream... I will oat like a fairy's dance. I will chase this dream; I will work on it with all I've got, because dreams become reality with God's grace... I've got a shot! He put the dream within me, He's showing me the way, I will start on my dream - I will start right now... today. I'm gonna pray about it, listen for His word, cause following Christ is the best advice I've ever heard. I will follow this dream, I will work hard, not quit, I'm gonna chase this dream... until I catch it.

Ms. Alana B. is a mother, daughter, friend, and, as she describes herself, “inspirational instrument”. Since 2000, this woman of God has self-published two books, Inspire Me Volumes 1 and 2, which were both treasures to her readers. She also took her poetry to another level by enlisting a group of friends and reciting her poetry over sounds of nature. e CD is available through her producer, Romero Wyatt. You can order your CD by emailing drumtalk39@aol.com. Alana is currently working on a third collection of poetry to share with her readers. 22

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Poetic Moments “Procrastination” by Rosemarie Phipps Years have sped by and looking back, I realize Somewhere along the way, I compromised. Many things have been le undone, Gradually my dreams sank into oblivion. Opportunities slipped away unpursued, Talents were either not or barely used. Father God, don't let me from this life depart Harboring regrets and disappointment in my heart. Even though I'm running somewhat behind, You are the regulator of my time. Your grace will enable me to stand strong. I will yet ourish like a Cedar of Lebanon. Equip me with the wisdom to understand, How to get back in step with your Divine plan. ank you, Lord this somewhat painful introspection Has set my course in the right direction. Procrastination, that devious thief, From its insidious hold has been released.

Rosemarie Phipps has been writing poetry and short stories since she was a young child. Much of the inspiration for her writing comes from Scripture. One of her favorite scriptures is, "I take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and use it against the enemy." (Eph. 6:17)

Optimal Living Magazine

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e Spices of Life Recipes: Curried Salmon Cakes - Grilled Peach and Avocado Salad

Ingredients: · 1 pound skinless salmon let, halved crosswise · 2 teaspoons curry powder, preferably hot · Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper · 8 tablespoons store-bought tartar sauce · 1/4 cup cracker meal or crushed saltines, plus more for sprinkling · 2 tablespoons grated peeled ginger · 1 bunch scallions, nely chopped · 1 large egg, lightly beaten · 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced · 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced · 1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced · Juice of 1 lime · Vegetable oil for frying

Preparation: 1. Put the salmon, 1 tablespoon water, 1 1/2 teaspoons

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curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a microwave-safe bowl. 2. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the sh is opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Flake with a fork and cool slightly. Stir in 1 tablespoon tartar sauce, the cracker meal, ginger, half of the scallions and the egg. Form into 4 patties and freeze until rm, about 10 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 7 tablespoons tartar sauce and 1/2 teaspoon curry powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of the curried tartar sauce with the bell pepper, celery, mango, remaining scallions, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. 4. Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the patties with cracker meal on both sides and fry until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with the mango salad and curried tartar sauce.


e Spices of Life Recipes: Grilled Peach and Avocado Salad (cont.)

Ingredients: · 1 large peach, peeled and chopped · 6 tablespoons canola oil · 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white vinegar · 1/2 teaspoon honey · 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt · 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper · 3 large peaches, peeled and halved · 2 rm avocados, peeled and quartered · 1 tablespoon canola oil · Salt and pepper to taste · 6 cups loosely packed arugula · 1/2 cup freshly grated Manchego or Parmesan

Preparation: 1. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Process 1 large peach, peeled and chopped; 6 Tbsp. canola oil; vinegar; and honey in a blender until smooth. Add 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper. Gently toss 3 large peaches, peeled and halved, and avocados in 1 Tbsp. canola oil and salt and pepper to taste. Grill, covered with grill lid, 2 minutes on each side or until charred. Slice and serve over arugula. Top with peach vinaigrette and Manchego or Parmesan.

Optimal Living Magazine

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A Time of Intercession

Dear Heavenly Father: I give your name praise and honor just for one more day!!! We are all truly blessed beyond measure because we get another opportunity to dwell in your presence, and simply say “thank you”. Father, I want to thank you for each and every Optimal Living Magazine reader today. ank you for all the gis, talents and unique qualities that make each and every person special to you Heavenly Father. Where there is strife, let there be your peace that passes all understanding. Where there is confusion, let wisdom show up and preserve them. Where there is sickness and lack, let your Word of healing/provision make them well and nancially established. Father, I pray that you would give my brothers and sisters in Christ wisdom, strength, and the fortitude to ght the good ght of faith today according to your Word. Be with us today. Be our joy, be our peace and let your love dwell in each and every one of us, so that others may know that we belong to you and seek a deeper relationship with you. We glorify you and bless you forever more Lord! You are worthy to be praised... Happy New Year!! May it be well with you and your family. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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Optimal Living Magazine is the premiere Christian lifestyle magazine encouraging readers to live the most abundant life possible as it relates to their finances, spiritual wellness, purpose, careers, and relationships!

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Optimal Living Magazine: 2014 January/February Issue  

Optimal Living Magazine's Special New Years Issue: Fit, Fabulous & Full of Faith, features the founders of Black Girls RUN, Toni Carey and A...

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