St. Pablo Tour stops in Grand Rapids

Considering I haven’t been to a concert since, B2K was a thing. Going to the St. Pablo
Tour was another great experience for 2016. I was able to see why people pay the big bucks for the closer seats, although my seats were just as great. The concert took place in the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI., where the streets flooded with people from all over West Michigan to experience Mr. West and his hovering stage.

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Kanye hit the platform at 9:21p.m., and the crowd went crazy. I’ll be honest, I enjoy Kanye as an artist and producer, but I really wasn’t a die hard fan–until now. The energy in that arena was amazing, I enjoyed every bit of it.

He performed several hits like, Jesus Walks, FourFive Seconds, Can’t Tell Me Nothing and several songs from Life of Pablo, obviously. Opening  with Father Stretch My Hands.

As I said before, I hadn’t been to a concert since watching Omarion glide across the stage at Joe Louis Arena, or maybe it was Lloyd…I’m not sure, but it has been a while. Of course, me being “Jill the camera lady” I wanted to capture so many great moments, for this post specifically. I had my phone out the entire time, recording and taking pictures.

I joked about how the set up and lighting made me feel like I was standing in the middle of Zion in the Matrix movie, because that’s exactly how it felt. The yellow lights gave it a real ambient touch. Listening to the crowd sing all the lyrics as if they were on stage performing. Needless-to-say, I had a ball and I need to learn more Yeezy songs new and old.

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 Follow me on Instagram @j.levaeepr and Twitter @jlevaee

Time waits for No One, So use it wisely

Fall is here and the world has never been busier. Students are back to school, Parents are working double time but the days are getting shorter. It’s almost as if we run out of time during the autumn season. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your work days with you as a focus.

Being a student is hard work, whether you are in high school or college, there never seems to be enough time for you no matter how many planners you have. “Students are working an average of 30 hours a week, Georgetown researchers found. However, about 25 percent of working students are simultaneously employed full-time and enrolled in college full-time.” Considering this study was done in 2015, I’m sure that number has increased since then.

If this is you…KEEP READING.

“Having great time management” is something that has been preached to you since about 11th grade. Getting a planner and writing down everything you have to do for that week and sticking to that to-do list. Though this tactic is great, you’re still in shallow waters in the sea of time management. Let’s take this habit a step further. What in your to-do list is major priority?

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These are the task that have to get done ASAP. They usually have a time stamp on them. This can include papers, responding to emails, scheduling appointments etc. Contrary to popular belief, not all task have to get done at that very moment. Find out what is important and needs most of your attention, tackle that first.

Learning how to allocate your free time wisely is the most important skill for managing time. Outside of work and class, what other activities do you have listed that are worth your time? For example, when I was attending Western Michigan University, I purposely scheduled my classes for Tuesday and Thursdays only. That way Monday, Wednesday and Friday were days for work and anything else I wanted to do.  The weekends were days I would do homework and things I personally enjoyed. Moments where I had free time, I made sure I allocated it to something I would be the primary beneficiary.

Most of the time, I took naps but you get the point. Free time shouldn’t be completely spent doing things like studying. Mental health should always be your number one priority.

When do you work best? Are you a rooster or a night owl? Once you find out when you do the best work, you’ll be able to work more effectively and efficiently. Time management is important but never forget to work in a way that’s best for you.

 

 

Bedroom Diaries: Knocked Out By Karma

College is the reward for surviving high school. Most people have great fun stories from college and nightmare stories from high school. College is your home away from home where you can live young, wild, and free!

We’ve all been there a time or two where our parents believe that we’re once place and yet we’re somewhere totally different. Not to mention that when you have a significant other listening to your heart over your head will certainly have you doing some stupid things that you may have to regret in the future. This episode of Bedroom Diaries explains how I, Sydney B., was knocked out by karma! Let’s just say this was one bloody situation. Check it out and tell about how your worst encounter with karma.

 

#MotivationMonday: Never Feel Guilty About Doing What Makes You Happy

I had to take a proctored exam this past Friday. I walked into the office at Ellsworth Hall, and a middle-aged African American woman approached me (I didn’t catch her name), explaining the process of the exam and whatnot. When she was done, I took a seat and awaited the exam time. Having a severe case of exam anxiety, I quickly took out my laptop and swiftly studied as many notes as I could.

The woman politely interrupted my frantic studying and asked, can you come here for a minute?

 Sure! I walked over to her desk.

She turned her computer screen towards my direction and asked is this you on the computer, on WMU’s homepage?

 Honored and blushing, I told her yeah, that’s me!

 Her reaction: priceless.

She went on explaining how she has always wanted to meet me after reading my story about my nationally awarded documentary Painting Dreams: The Story of Johnson Simon and all the recognition and honor I’ve received since its completion. She then told me that God has amazing plans for me and my future and that I had a gift that I need to continue to share with others. She said I was smart, beautiful, and that I was going to make it so far in my life. She then shared this Bible verse with me: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3. She said that my time, my season, is now. I need to embrace it, and don’t hold back.

Wow I thought. She moved me so much that I forgot all about the exam I was stressing out about.

Later that day, it got me thinking. So many amazing things have happened to me since I transferred to Western Michigan University 2 years ago from Alma College. Then I thought, what if I never transferred? What if I would have stayed because that’s what everyone else wanted…my friends, parents, boyfriend at the time, teammates on the cheer team? What if I had sacrificed my happiness for theirs?

Transferring to WMU was honestly the first time I actually did something for myself without caring about what other people said or thought about my decision. People said I wouldn’t survive at a big school. People said I wouldn’t get noticed as easily as I did at Alma College. People said I was making a mistake and that I’ll regret leaving.

They. Were. WRONG.

Now, two years later, I’ve done more and accomplished more in these last two years than I have in my entire life! When I transferred to Western, my main goal was to make a name for myself. That’s exactly what I did. I got featured in the last issue of WMU Magazine. I’m on the freakin’ homepage of the University’s website! And so, so much more. I’m a national award-winning documentary filmmaker. Everyone knows Tirrea Shanice Billings. Not too long ago, a faculty member walked passed me and said hey, superstar!

 So much for not going to be noticed.

Not only that, but I’m happy…so, so, so happy. Happier than I’ve ever been. Kalamazoo and WMU has given me a sense of belonging and self-discovery. I truly found myself and my purpose here. And whenever I’m away, I don’t say I can’t wait to get back to Kalamazoo. Instead, I say I can’t wait to get back home.

All this would have never happened if I sacrificed what I wanted for what other people wanted. And at first, I felt bad about transferring and leaving what I had at Alma. I’m a people pleaser, and it was hard seeing people disappointed about my decision to leave. I felt guilty.

Now, two years later, I’m realizing that I should never feel guilty about doing what makes me happy. Nobody knows what’s best for me better than me. I’m graduating from WMU in 5 months with so many accomplishments, goals for the future, and memories that I will cherish forever.

For once, I put my happiness and what I wanted first before anything else, and it payed off.

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Women of Color Wednesday: Jereshia Hawk

I met this amazingly intelligent young woman when taping Episode 10 of Season 3 of The Social B. Show. I must say, I was wildly impressed by her determination, hunger for success, her clarity, and her focus.

This girl knows what she wants, and stops at nothing to move to the next level of achievement.

Ms. Jereshia Hawk is a native of West Bloomfield, Michigan. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering with a minor in Mathematics at Western Michigan University in April of 2014. Currently, she works as a Transmission Pipeline Engineer for Michigan’s largest electric and natural gas utility. Other engineering roles she has had since May 2014 include metering and regulation, and damage prevention public safety outreach, enhancing the quality of life for over 6 million Michigan residents.

Additionally, she has also been dedicated to creating a more engaged workforce whose diversity enables best-in-class performance by chairing a multi-generational employee resource group, co-coordinating the gas engineering intern program, and by being an overall diversity champion. She served as a Product Specialist for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from 2011 to 2014. She also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Love Struck, LLC. from 2012 to 2014, an online women’s boutique that provides high quality products to customers in over 20 countries.

It doesn’t stop there. Hawk is also an entrepreneur! She is the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of the Goal Getter Group, a platform for professionals and entrepreneurs to get to the next level of their lives through self-awareness, support, strategic planning, and accountability. This organization is dedicated to preparing and advancing the empowerment of millennials.

Hawk’s life mission is to advance the empowerment of women. She aims to remove barriers, challenge the status quo, defy stereotypes, and go beyond what is expected; to not only have a seat at the table, but to have a voice, and to create platforms for other women to do the same.

Yes, honey! I’m here for it.

Her inspiring words to women of color are, “You have the power to design and dictate your life. You have the power to choose how you live your life. Raise your bar of excellence and engage in high quality experiences. Define your own standards. Choose who and how you want to engage with the world. Command the types of experiences you want to have. Choose not to settle. You are worth it!”

Hawk’s biggest accomplishment to date is the awareness of growing into her own greatness and defining what that meant for herself. “I was moving through life for so long not knowing or feeling like I had control, that I didn’t have the power to set my own standards and design a life I wanted to live,” she said. “As I became older and grew into my maturity, I discovered that I am a woman of excellence and that I could make the choice to live a life of abundance. Discovering that power within myself took me to the next level!”

Not only is Hawk young, educated, and the real definition of “goals,” she is also a woman who lives beyond her expectations and aims to inspire others to do the same through her actions.

As she progresses through her career, Hawk is fully committed to addressing under-representation of females and minorities in high level leadership positions in business, government, and nonprofit organizations by establishing more robust and sustainable pipelines geared for the development of diverse leaders.

Jereshia Hawk is a woman of action, an empowerment enthusiast, absolute optimist, and a solutions architect. Her drive, tenacity, and resilience to pursue her passions is remarkable. She knows what she wants, maps out a plan, and goes for it. She owns her greatness, works tirelessly to climb the corporate ladder, and is constantly #MovingThatNeedle!

You are awesome, Jereshia! It’s women like you who inspire me to empower others, have full confidence and control of my life, and give me the drive to make my dreams become a reality.

 

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Farewell Western| EP. 13|Season 3

Season 3 finale of The Social B. Show! It has been an absolute wonderful season and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the show in the future. Not only was this week a time to say Goodbye to good ol’ Western Michigan University, but also a time to say hello to the show’s new adventure in Detroit. Sydney B. was joined by a few returning guest to end such a great season with a bang! Be sure to check out the full episode and comment below and let us know what you think! Always remember… B Honest. B Humble. B YOU!

 

It’s A Hard Knock Life|EP.8|Season 3

Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says, ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final. That voice that says to you, ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit. With that being said NEVER GIVE UP on your goals! This week on The Social B. Show, Sydney B. sat down with three friends who happen to be graduating seniors of Western Michigan University. Not only did the gang discuss their favorite college memories they even left all incoming freshman’s and current students with a few words of wisdom. Find out Sydney B.’s juicy secret and more by watching the full episode. Always remember… B Honest. B Humble. B YOU!

Beauty Kills| EP.6|Season 2

This week on The Social B. Show, Sydney B. sat with friends Traci Burton, Chelsea Phillips, Matt Bracey, and Daniel Hamilton and discussed how beauty kills. Before she could get deep into discussion with the you know she couldn’t forget this week’s hot topics on The Sting. Be sure to check out the entire episode and let us know what you think. Always remember… B. Honest. B. Humble. B. YOU!

 

Freedom Love and Bullsh*t| EP.7|Season 1

Free your mind. Love everything. Ignore all the BULL!

Freedom of expression encourages you to stand tall, speak loud, and go after what you believe in without letting anyone or anything stop you. This week on The Social B. Show, I sat with the owner and CEO of FLAB Entertainment, GianCarlo Williams.  FLAB Entertainment is an entertainment firm, providing entertainment services to up and coming talent. GianCarlo even dishes some juicy secrets during ‘Secrets of the Hive’. Check out the full interview and let us know what you think!

Always remember… Be Honest. Be Humble. Be YOU!

Carve Your Success; Happy Birthday Sydney B.| EP.1|Season 1

Happy Birthday Sydney B.

Life is a gift offering us the opportunity, privilege, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more than what we were yesterday.

This week on The Social B. show, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christina Todd, founder of Big Sister Mentors of Metro Detroit and the creative director of Clique.

Between inspiring women to become queens and encouraging young people to form a unique crew of their own, Christina shares her success story and what she has in store for 2015!

Check out the interview and tell us what you think! Always remember… Be Honest. Be Humble. Be YOU.

Austin The Icon

Austin
[Credit: Austin The Icon]
Failure is another steppingstone to greatness, and where words fail, music speaks.

Austin Echols is Austin The Icon. A new up and coming rap artist on his way to living what he calls an “iconic lifestyle” as he becomes apart of something elite. Hints the name, Austin The Icon!

He’s a student at Western Michigan University from Southfield, Michigan. Austin began rapping at the age of six, when he started off making bubble gum rap at the lunch table in elementary school.

It wasn’t until high school when the young rapper developed a serious passion for music. Early in his career he joined two rap groups, with close friends and family.

“My brother, my best friend Henry, and I used to get instrumentals off of YouTube and play them while we recorded us rapping on my phone,” says Austin.

Sadly, neither of the groups were as successful as they had hoped it would be. Although neither groups were successful, Austin never lost his passion for making music so he soon became a solo artist.

“I really don’t have a message I’m trying to give to the people,” says Austin. “I just want to give them good rap music because we are losing that in today’s society.”

Currently he is working on his new project “Lessons Learned”, which is set to release in 2015. For more information, visit Austin’s instagram page @AustinTheIcon or his twitter @MrGrammys

Check out Austin The Icon’s latest single “Hour Glass”