(Originally published in Exposure Magazine December 20, 2017).
Recently while I was in Kansas City, MO for business, my friend suggested we meet at lunch at Trago Bar & Tapas. I took the opportunity to learn a bit about the place, the owner, and its origins. It was such a unique experience, I decided to do a review and share.
Trago is in a busy shopping area, so it’s convenient for those who might be multitasking. The appearance outside is rather unassuming and basic. The inside, however, is very inviting, warm, and welcoming. I was greeted by the owner, founder and Chef Kandi Kerns. The décor, the food and the atmosphere are just like Kandi: warm, friendly, open, and inviting. It’s understandable that the place is packed on the weekends, including the outdoor patio area.
Sherri: This is a very interesting space, Kandi. How did you arrive at the idea of this kind of establishment?
Kandi: It was inspired by my late grandmother. Her name was Anna Maria Rosa Carlota Urrutia Evans. All the recipes are inspired by her recipes in some way. I was going to start with a food truck, but then suddenly I found myself in this almost 2500 square foot building due to some unexpected financial help.
Sherri: What is your mission with Trago Bar &Tapas?
Kandi: When I returned to Kansas City, I was so welcomed into this community. I knew I wanted to create something that promoted community and made people feel welcome and connected. I wanted to incorporate parts of the community into it, also. We made the bar from repurposed materials, and much of it coming from the Habitat for Humanity store. The tile, the construction, everything is a little part of this community. We have local musicians play every Wednesday evening, which is ladies night.
Sherri: Who is your target customer or patron?
Kandi: (Chuckles) Myself! I strive to put together a place where friends and family could gather in an upscale, yet comfortable place with friends and family, and experience custom drinks and fine dining. A place where memories are made. It’s more than just food and drinks, but an experience people never forget!
Sherri: What do you see as your long-range goals having just celebrated your one-year anniversary on Halloween?
Kandi: I would love to see us within 5 years also in a free standing 2 story building, which would allow more events, live music and entertaining!
Kandi then asked what I chose to eat. Because I knew I wanted to sample a few things, I ordered 3 items to sample and share (which is what Tapas means- shareable plates- usually paired with drinks). I ordered Albóndigas en Salsa de Tomate (Spanish meatballs), Tacos Hinchados (Puffy Tacos), and Pan Plano con Brie (flat-bread with brie). It was so delicious. Fresh ingredients, and a very unique presentation to each dish as well. Palette appealing as well as beautiful to look at. We had fabulous service by Jessica, and I learned so much. Too bad I was driving, because the drink menu is stellar! Be sure to stop in at the Trago Bar & Tapas if you are in Kansas City. You can visit them online at TragoKC.com, follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/tragokc or stop in at 9261 NE 83rd Terrace, Kansas City Mo. I absolutely give Trago Bar& Tapas thumbs up, a 10, a 5 star rating or whatever measure you prefer. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. Order the Puffy Tacos!
(Originally posted in Exposure Magazine on December 4, 2017).
Women….there is a Goddess within all of us. Audrey Davis-Dunning, CEO & Founder of Get Your Goddess, believes this with her whole heart. She has made it her mission to help women reclaim their power by connecting with their Inner Goddess. Although all women have one, somewhere along the line, many tend to lose touch with that Goddess and their confidence along with it. During Audrey’s 24 years of teaching women of all ages, she has found an unfortunate negative common denominator. The recurring theme is, “I’m not good enough.” Women say self-deprecating things to themselves while others are body shaming themselves on a daily basis. After years of experience, Audrey decided to make a change on how women view themselves. The Get Your Goddess Principles were born out of a desire to improve future generations of women by allowing them to reclaim their personal power. Audrey also wanted women to learn how to accept themselves exactly as they are, perceived flaws and all. Learning to love yourself, love your body and accepting that you are a Goddess is the foundation of Audrey’s teachings and Goddess mission.
Audrey has developed a program that embody five specific principles designed to acknowledge and celebrate the Goddess within you. Those five principles are Power, Beauty, Movement, Music & Achievement. Each principle is full of self-discovery and self-love activities and messaging. She revels in presenting this program because it allows women to step into their power. Audrey often shares this message at conferences, via social media and shares additional practices in her private Goddess trainings such as her most popular package called Unapologetically Goddess. She is also creating a Junior Goddess program for young girls. Make no mistake about this, Audrey’s purpose is very clear. She has created Get Your Goddess to inspire women of any age or race everywhere to embrace their Inner Goddess and move powerfully in the world like the Goddesses they are!
Please Get Your Goddess in gear at www.getyourgoddess.com to find more information and follow all the latest happenings.
(Originally published in the December 2, 2017 Edition of Exposure Magazine).
What a joy this beautiful lady brings when she shares her gifts with people. Chenoa Alamu is a talented, kind women that resides in Springfield, IL, and inspires others when she plays her violin. In October 2017, she was invited to participate in the Colour of Music Festival held every year in Charleston, SC. It is a music festival for black classical musicians founded by Lee Pringle. The festival just celebrated their 5th anniversary. She believes she was invited through word of mouth, but isn’t sure. She received an email over the summer asking her to be join them, and was elated her scheduled permitted her to participate.
Sherri: Can you share with us about how you became interested in the violin?
Chenoa: As the story goes, my mother took me to my first classical music concert when I was two years old. The Suzuki Violin Method, founded by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, was coming to tour the United States with Japanese children. She told me I showed an interest in the violin during that concert and wanted to enroll me at that age, but was told I was too young. She waited, and at age three, I started violin lessons. As they say, the rest is history!
Sherri: How does the violin relate to your life in terms of happiness and health? When you play or listen to music, does it affect you physically?
Chenoa: I experience immense joy when I play the violin, especially in an orchestral setting. Within the past few months, I’ve been listening to music set to frequencies that have helped me tremendously with my anxiety levels. I would say music has affected me more emotionally and mentally than physically. However, I do have some of my favorite songs chosen for my gym workouts that help keep me in the groove.
Sherri: How do you feel that being an African American woman has impacted your journey?
Chenoa: Growing up, I was told by white male teachers that I had two things going for me as a violinist: One, I am African American, and two, I am a female, I carried this as a sense of pride. However sometimes, I felt torn between two worlds, White and Black. My black friends didn’t understand what I did, although they supported me, and I didn’t quite feel accepted by my white peers, whom I grew up taking violin lessons with. This created a feeling of being off balance constantly. This may sound strange, but it wasn’t until I participated in the Colour of Music Festival that I TRULY felt I belonged, and had something to contribute. I was treated as an equal, not only among my peers but among people who LOOKED liked me and shared the same passion as I did as a classical musician. It was a very powerful experience for me. It boosted my self-esteem as a violinist, as a woman, and as an African American. Having a sense of identity is very important, especially for people of color! Although these two factors haven’t hindered me from experiencing and enjoying this wonderful field, they did have an impact.
Sherri: What is your greatest wish for inspiring the world with your gift of music?
Chenoa: I am blessed to be in a field that has afforded me many opportunities to travel, both in this country and abroad. I’ve met people literally from all over the world, who speak different languages, have different religions, sexual orientations, and no matter what, it’s MUSIC- we are all moved in some way through music. Beethoven’s 5th symphony is the same no matter who you are, where you come from, what teacher you studied with, or the music school you attended. It truly is the world’s UNIVERSAL language. I pray more people realize this, and continue to use music as a tool to bring us closer together!
(Originally published in the November 19th edition of Exposure Magazine.)
I found Jarius Edens by accident. I was looking for a neutral space to share my business with others and The Kreative Lounge name came up. What I found was a lovely lady with a powerful positive energy, excited about helping others find and build their tribe. I felt compelled to share her story and part of her journey. She is a wife, mom, former teacher, copy editor, marketing strategist, innovator, entrepreneur, and so much more!
Sherri: Can you explain how you came up with the idea of The Kreative Lounge and what need you feel it fulfills?
Jarius: I came up with the idea of The Kreative Lounge out of sheer need. I moved to IL not knowing a single person. I needed a place where I could connect with others and be socially creative. It didn’t exist. When I talked to people in Springfield and other states, this type of business and experience was needed. So, I created it. The Kreative Lounge allows those who enter to experience what community feels like. We often talk about being a part of a community, but feeling like a community is a special experience. That’s what The Kreative Lounge is: an experience.
Sherri: As an entrepreneur, and an African American female, what do you feel your role is in inspiring other young women of color or women in general?
Jarius: My role is to show young women of color, and women in general, the power of stepping out of the box and using their gifts to serve. Many African American women are multifaceted, yet are shoved into careers and positions that stunt their blossoming. Our gifts will make room for us, and the universe is waiting for us to make the move and do something crazy amazing.
Sherri: What are your future goals as an entrepreneur?
Jarius: My goal is to become an angel investor for other young entrepreneurs looking to disrupt industries and build creative legacies.
That answer that describes why she is such a powerful, wonderful inspiration to others. Jarius Edens is a beautiful person with a huge heart and passion for helping others! I feel blessed to know her and share her with the world.
Jarius Edens can be contacted at
https://www.facebook.com/thekreativelounge/ or visit the
(Originally published in Exposure Magazine.)
As we stroll through life we are presented with people and opportunities that change us. This lovely lady I speak of has changed me in the short time I have known her. Micca Donohoo is a registered dietician who knew early on she wanted to help other people live a healthy life, push away from the table, push away the guilt and shame related to their food choices and manifest a better healthier lifestyle. Not necessarily just by learning about your plate choices, but by the choices we make in our head. She refers to it as manifesting your health, not being on a diet. She helps people of all shapes, sizes and ages.
Sherri: Being a dietician for over 16 years has brought many types of people your way. What type of person would you say you enjoy helping most?
Micca: I worked with bariatric patients for over 10 years from start to finish, pre-surgical to lifetime post op. I see surgery simply as a tool, embedded in the concept of a lifestyle change. To create any lifestyle change, there needs to be adequate and continued support. I loved being that support.
Sherri: If someone wants to make some small yet significant changes immediately what would you recommend?
Micca: 1. Put yourself on your own to do list. YOU are important. 2. Schedule healthy snacks during the day. Honor your hunger! Hunger is a sign your body is requesting fuel/food. 3. What is your plate size? Plates should be 9-10 inches in diameter for best results. We eat with our eyes first. Our eyes LOVE a full plate. When working on portion control, its more appealing on a smaller plate.
Sherri: You are about to start on a new adventure. Can you share a little about what you are creating?
Micca: My vision is to create a loving space to be able to serve the bariatric surgery community in a global way. I envision this program to be flexible, and accessible to all, anywhere at any time. This new branch of NiCHE Nutrition and Health will include a virtual community, a monthly resource toolkit, online courses, and personalized coaching. To build a healthy and loving community, I aim to partner with local, national, and global medical experts that share my vision.
Thanks to Micca Donohoo from NiCHE Nutrition and Health for sharing a way to help our friends to better health! You can contact Micca at NIche Nutrition And Health by clicking on the Contact button.
Proverbs 3:27: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
Today, especially in the United States, we are so richly blessed. Most of us don’t wonder whether we will have water, food, heat, lights, etc. We take it for granted those luxuries are there. Yes, they are luxuries. Many people around the world don’t have any of these things regularly. They often must humble themselves to receive these things from the kindness of strangers. When was the last time you were that stranger? What have you given lately to help someone in need? Not because you wanted to look good, but simply because God has blessed you with more than you need and likely more than you deserve. Simply look in the mirror and ask if you have been a good steward of your blessings. The fabulous fact is that if your answer is no, you can change that with your next breath. There are people all around you in need. Some will simply need a kind word or a smile. These cost nothing but a little effort. Some will need clothes or shelter, and if you have more than you can use, share. Some will need the fast food you just bought or the overflowing freezer you have. This article was inspired by a friend who has been struggling with so much difficulty in her life. She has shown courage, compassion and kindness to so many that she deserves to be reached out to. In our conversation, she was thanking me for helping her family and I simply said that I would rather die broke than broken. Helping others helps you. It heals you and builds you. It’s a two-way blessing. I ask you to stop for a minute and ponder when the last time was that you responded to someone out of compassion and kindness by helping with whatever ability you have. It isn’t difficult, or time consuming, or expensive to simply be kind. If you need a new pair of gloves, buy two and drop one at the nearest homeless shelter or give it to someone who lives on the street you go by every day on the way to work. People NEED people. Sometimes all they need is to know someone cares, or listens. If you aren’t doing these things, I assure you that you are likely broken. So, “If you had to choose, would you rather be broke, or broken?”
When the day is done and YOUR days are done, what is it that will be said of you? We are blessed to be on this earth for as many days as our Heavenly Father grants us. What are you doing with your days? Are you living your life as if every single moment of every day matters? Are you just trudging through life wishing the day away? Are you impacting the world or spending your time taking the impacts? Will you bless those around you or will you waste your time judging others. I can’t say how you will spend your time, but I know how I am going to spend mine. I will spend my time learning and growing. I will spend time sharing and caring about others, and raining blessings everywhere I go. Some will accept them some won’t, but that won’t determine whether I continue or not. It is my personal mission to help and encourage others. This has been true as long as I can remember. I am not sure anything makes me happier. I encourage you to dig deep and ask yourself what you want to really be known for 30 years from now. What is it that is important to you? How would you write your own obituary? She watched a lot of great TV? He didn’t have very many friends, didn’t go out much? Died with lots of money with no one to give it to? It may seem morbid, but at the end of the day, what you accomplish in this short time on earth is what you will be remembered for. Decide what is important to you. Make a plan to accomplish each and every goal you have because you can create a legacy of meaningful accomplishments through kindness, caring, and determination! I am blessed to be a blessing.
Everyone repeats the statement “Fake it until you make it”. Yes- I am putting it right out there- I HATE this saying so much! Why? Because it feels like saying, “please go ahead and pretend to be something you aren’t”. Lie to people’s faces because eventually you will believe it, too. Then, if and when I make it, it won’t be a lie anymore. Is this sound advice? NO! Control your mindset! Wear the most important fashion you can EVERYDAY; The cloak of confidence! Seriously, let’s face reality and create a positive mind space where we admit who and what we are at this precise time, and recognize we have room to grow and develop. We are in fact on a journey! It’s why we don’t start at the finish line. There is plenty of learning along the way! Enjoy the journey and the growing process. Don’t be fake, or say things that just “look” like you are successful. DO things that create success. Be up front if you are working towards a promotion or a rank or advancement of some kind. Put it right out there for everyone to see and hear. You can’t FAKE confidence; you FEEL it. You also can’t have it unless you claim it as yours. Sometimes people will try to dig at you to make you think you don’t deserve to be confident or successful, or that you are less than what you have already achieved. That is simply a reflection of their own inadequacies and weaknesses. Don’t FAKE it- you will come off as FAKE! Stand in your confidence! Learn everything you can to be strong, educated in your field, a leader and believe in yourself and your talents and gifts. BELIEVE you will achieve your desired goals and you won’t have to fake it, because before you know it, you will have it! Use your talents. Don’t waste time faking it. Make it happen! #BELIEVEYOUCAN #BEREAL
How about plant protein specifically, instead of what probably just came to your mind. Are you aware that the average American consumes almost twice the protein the body needs? The formula is: at least 10% of your daily calories, but not more than 35% of calories, from protein, according to the Institute of Medicine. Protein is essential, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Excess protein can’t be stored in the body, and is more difficult to eliminate. There are many health challenges that can occur because of excess protein over time. Excessive protein consumption has been linked to certain cancers, kidney disease, and osteoporosis. Consider deriving these protein needs from some plant based alternatives as opposed to meat and dairy forms. There are many alternative plant based protein forms. Since protein is made up of amino acids, they are considered essential and foundational for great health. Our skin, hair, nails, muscles, and much more are healthy (or not) because of the protein we take in. Some forms of protein come with unhealthy fats that, given our family medical history, we don’t need. Because of my family history of heart and stroke issues, I chose to reduce my animal proteins. I haven’t eliminated them, I just work hard to diversify my diet. I ask you to consider spending the next 30 days experimenting with various meal choices, where maybe 1-3 days per week you eat only plant based proteins. This isn’t an all or nothing experience. It’s about being aware that food is fuel and that nutrition is key to excellent health! Anything eaten in its whole form will be better for your health. Consider using whole grain bread for toast with almond butter, which packs a whopping 16 grams of protein in a ¼ cup. Or perhaps a smoothie with a ¼ cup of flax seeds ground into it, which provides 7 grams of protein. Proteins are very valuable, as they produce feeling of satiety as well as being good for your body. You will feel full longer. With cooler weather upon us, consider making a soup or chili, but use 4 kinds of beans instead of meat. Experiment and enjoy the process! Protein builds strong bodies!
These are my older blog posts, which originally appeared in my Exposure Magazine Column, "Healthy Living."