MSA Auditions


My Coffee Shop at EastLake

I live in Midtown Atlanta. I have the pick of at least 10 coffee shop options within a 4 mile radius of my home. My options range from pop up coffee shops, to specialty breakfast spots with coffee, and of course 3 locations of the “siren of all coffee shops.”


I don’t usually travel to east Atlanta. A few Sunday’s ago I had a meeting in Decatur, Georgia (which in my head is just as far as Decatur, Alabama to me). The client pushed our appointment a few hours forward (insert sarcasm here, GREAT). The change left me scrambling the area (Ok, I’m being dramatic, I scrambled on GOOGLE) to secure a temporary work space until our meeting. SEARCH: Coffee Shops Near Me. RESULTS: Dunkin Donuts. Now I’m thinking, does Google have jokes? I don’t drink coffee so I really just need a place to plug up my laptop and work until my appointment (Forgive me Google for questioning your capabilities, you know me so well). So, if Google says Dunkin, Dunkin Donuts it is. The Dunkin Donuts wasn’t glamorous, but I’m an artist, my creativity does not cometh from walls! I only needed a few hours of uninterrupted workflow to deem my morning productive. Unfortunately, as soon as I was able to secure a donut-sized round table, my laptop died and I realized there were no noticeable power outlets. The universe (and Google) were testing my gangsta!’

I scoured at Google after another search revealed that there were no coffee shops in Decatur (between Flat Shoals Road and Candler Road). Sure the new Decatur (Ponce De Leon) has infamous coffee shops, but the old Decatur (Candler Road) has McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts. I thought to myself, if I lived in this area, there would be no place for me to conduct a brainstorming session, suck up free Wi-Fi or meet a Tinder date. I was so desperate, I even stopped at the McDonald’s (they have free Wi-Fi), but there were no visible power outlets. I don’t even drink coffee but suddenly I wanted to see the Seattle Siren just to be connected to commerce, to have my name mispronounced and to hear the annoying sound of froth being heated. The coffee shop is very important to small business owners. It seems cliché but when your livelihood begins and ends at a home (office) sometimes you need a change of venue to jog your creativity. Also, everyone’s living space is not conducive to business meetings. I can’t ask a client to sign a contract while sitting on the bean bag chair that I’ve had since college.

I angrily turned left on Memorial Drive and drove less than 2 miles. I stopped at a light at a curved fork in the road. In reality I got lost and ran into My Coffee Shop. In the novelist version the universe led me to a storefront coffee shop nestled between four other businesses in a brick building with its own parking lot. Inside the combination of earth tones and foliage gave it a very organic and cozy feel. The waitress (who I later discovered was the owner) started me off with Peppermint tea. I wrote, I edited, I researched, and I observed (that two hours had gone by). The atmosphere was exactly what I needed to connect and finalize my project (web content for an Atlanta church website). Another two hours went by and it was lunch time. My Coffee Shop has impressive soul food breakfast and lunch options made to order. When you have to feed your creativity, a finger sandwich is almost disrespectful to your craft. I had the best turkey burger that you wouldn’t expect from a coffee shop (On Texas Toast). I do want to remind you, My Coffee Shop is an actually coffee shop with numerous coffee blends. Patrons are served coffee and assorted teas in actual mugs. Oh and they have honey. Actual honey and not honey packets (I’m at home with honey).


I watched patrons come and go, meet and greet, eat and drink; It was beautiful and I never felt rushed or like I was taking up too much space (which I was). I had taken over an entire booth with a power outlet for each of my 4 devices (laptop, phone, tablet, extra battery pack) and my purse and briefcase occupied the space across from me. I made My Coffee Shop, literally, My Coffee Shop and there were no objections.

I can’t speak on the coffee, but I’m pretty sure I overheard a few oooh’s and ahhhh’s. According to their IG, My Coffee Shop just celebrated 6 years with one extraordinary Decatur location. When you have 1,000 locations, it’s hard to make it everyone’s coffee shop. It takes a special place for each customer to be able to call it, my coffee shop. Just like they say when you find love, when you know you’ve found your coffee shop, you’ll just know. At My Coffee Shop I had a turkey burger with Peppermint tea and a corner of the universe to energize my dream and write – in Decatur, Where It’s Greater. I knew you had it in you Decatur (but you may want to tell Google).

My Coffee Shop is located at 2462 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30317.

iSpy Zoobilee You


Ever get that feeling you’re not-so-fresh?

Not in the way that you are thinking (there’s an easy solution for that type of not-so-fresh).

I mean, your ideas are not fresh, your outlook is not fresh and your disposition is stale.

A Facebook Friend posted a photo of the cast of Zoobilee Zoo on her wall, today. I remember watching this show as a child.

The photo alone gave me this instantaneous euphoric feeling – or was it my 3-hours of sleep last night? Delirium, Euphoria, Depravation….Tomatoe, Tomato !! Generally, children are in a constant state of euphoria and those crumb-snatchers get PLENTY of sleep. They fall asleep ANYWHERE !! I think they are a little narcoleptic, but i’m NO pediatrician. All of these thoughts led me to this (below) episode of Zoobilee Zoo on YouTube.

Zoobilee Zoo -The Genie (Remastered In Stereo):

What an inspiring episode. It stirred me to write this post, to write even more and to take joy in THIS PROCESS of living and loving what I do, WRITE !

*Run with no form, no destination & no direction*

It gave me Pure, Innocent, Joy – The kind of joy that adults aren’t allowed to have. I want to reconnect with that essence of being a child. My parents continue to tell me this story from my childhood. I decided to drive my big wheel bike down the porch steps at our apartment. It was an adventure for me, but for them it was frightening. They saw it as a descent, I saw it as an ascent. Once they ‘met” me at the bottom of the stairs; They were frantic – screaming and crying (it was super dramatic). Their reaction upset me. What I saw as a victory, they saw as a possible tragedy (which is quite warranted considering they were obviously being negligent – sorry mom & dad – I still love you).

*Be inquisitive, even if you’ve been given the answer several times. You learn more as the person you are questioning scrambles to answer your questions in different ways*

It may seem like an extreme comparison, but this happens to us as adults. We have an idea, we have an adventure, we get to the bottom of the stairs, and people are running, screaming, frantically instilling their fears, insecurities and sometimes nonsense theories on us. Don’t download the uncertainties of others. Think about when a toddler is learning how to walk. They take 2 steps…they fall…they get back up. Then they try to run, then they fall down. Imagine that. You can’t walk, but you believe that you can run ! That’s Crazy !! Yet, that’s beautiful !! Imagine if toddlers said to themselves, “I can’t do this, i’m just going to crawl.” They would never experience some of the great joys of being a toddler like sticking combs in electrical sockets, chasing air or smearing peanut butter all over their bodies.

It’s time to reconnect to the essence and innocence of ourselves as children. If you need a little help, there are about 65 episodes of Zoobilee Zoo on YouTube. I’m starting my own 30-day Child-Like Challenge, starting each day with an episode of Zoobilee Zoo.

*Laugh out Loud (literally) take it farther than typing L-O-L. Laugh so hard you snort, laugh so hard you pee a little*

iSpy UNDERwear that should be OVERwear

This slip is so sexy & at $148, I would have to figure out how to wear it out –
SPANX Haute Contour Sexy Chic Half Slip
from What Are the Best Undergarments to Avoid Panty Lines? via @WhoWhatWear


iSPY A Weird Wang Ad

Ok. I’m all about abstract couture & sacrifices in the name of fashion, but a bathroom floor. A PUBLIC bathroom floor, where is the MODEL’S union? #AlexanderWang #SpringAd #EW

iSPY: The Female Success Factor

A factor is an essential element. It’s about numbers (2, is a factor of 90) and it’s about actions (This type of flower will not grow unless I plant this particular seed). Rolling Out’s Female Success Factor 2014 set out to define the success factor based on the unique journey’s of 4 panelists: Black Girls Radio creator & political influencer, Stacii Jae Johnson; Managing partner of 135th Street Agency, Saptosa Foster; VP of TV Adsales for Centric, Michele Thornton; and CEO of GOTO Ladies, Aniesia Williams.

The panelists shared their formal & informal experiences providing attendees with key words and key strategies to insure success:

Knowing your “IT,’ Believing your “IT,” Doing your “IT”
Be Specific about your brand
Sometimes we overstay our welcome in the space in time where we are – GO GO GO
-Stacii Jae Johnson

Sometimes failure makes you hold a mirror up to yourself
Continue to LIVE, you can still find happiness in the hustle
There’s power in positive thinking
-Saptosa Foster

#F-UP (FOCUS-UP) which includes self-awareness (authenticism, knowledge), people (balancing family) & a timeline (strategy)
I can do ANYTHING, but I can’t do EVERYTHING
Fitness, Get your mind fit
Employ a Board of Directors (Sponsor, Advocate, Advisor, Accountability Partner)
-Michele Thornton

Know who you are, whose you are & what you are
Every Red Carpet is not for you
Are you there to take photos with celebrities or are you there to network with the coordinators of the event
-Aniesia (Williams)

There was power in the manner in which the panelists expressed their journeys. They were earnest, they were realistic and they were encouraging as they spoke to the dreamers, the entrepreneurs, and the success-driven women in the room. This Rolling Out audience granted the Atlanta HIStory Center (Atlanta History Center) with a snapshot of a new essential element. The face of the CEO has changed: she’s tough, she’s strategic and she’s black. HERSTORY is the new “IT” factor.

C.Steed (Moderator)
C. Steed
A. Williams
M. Thornton
S. Foster
S.J. Johnson

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