Change Cadet Live

Click the pic for all of the details about Change Cadet Live!

Click the pic for all of the details about Change Cadet Live!

I have been MIA and there is a good reason for that…GROWTH. We will be talking about it. Trust me. Speaking about talking about growth…

My dear friend Dr. Akilah Cadet (below in all of her glory) is remarkable. According to herself, Akilah is a coach, consultant and the Olivia Pope of diversity in the workplace. I would give you a complete download of her amazingness but I want you to visit her site to see for yourself. Go ahead. Click HERE beautiful.

Why am I telling you about this gorgeous force of nature? Because Akilah is launching a podcast that will change lives and I am honored to be the first guest. In true Akilah form, the podcast will be introduced LIVE on July 20th via a chic modern tea party. I am uber excited to dress up but even more pumped to talk about things that we all need to hear. Akilah’s podcast is going to be about sharing stories of change and transformation and let me tell you hunni, I am right smack in the middle of mine. Guess what? You are too.

I seriously can’t wait! Not only am I excited about being the first guest on The Change Cadet Podcast, I am also excited to meet all of you! The first 65 people get something special but personally, I am getting the greatest gift, spending the afternoon with you!

For all of the details, click HERE. Also, make sure to follow Dr. Akilah Cadet @ChangeCadet and The Change Cadet Podcast @changecadetpodcast. See you on the 20th!

Click the pic for all of the details about Change Cadet Live!

Click the pic for all of the details about Change Cadet Live!

Full Circle

Graduation season is in full swing and recently I had the absolute honor to be the commencement speaker for my Alma Maters Black Graduation. It was a full circle moment for so many reasons. At University of the Pacific, I found my voice. It was where I discovered my confidence and realized that being Black was a privilege. I could explain it further but I thought there was no better way to show my sheer amazement for the day but to post my actual speech. 

I am incredibly grateful for Marshea Pratt and her entire staff for asking me to speak and congratulations to the 2019 University of the Pacific Black Graduates!

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Good evening! How is everyone doing today? Greetings friends, faculty, staff, alumni and the illustrious class of 2019! Yes, you better make some noise for yourself! You did that!

My name is Alicia Jay. I received my Bachelors in broadcasting in 2002 and my Masters in Public Relations in 2003 right here at Pacific. I see you sitting there trying to do the math and let me just do it for you...I am 38 years old and looking great I might add. Now the burning question, did I play a sport at Pacific? Yes. I was the captain of the soccer team. The tallest goalie Pacific has ever had. Y’all actually believed me?

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Really, I played basketball for 5 years because I redshirted for a season. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I was granted an extra year of eligibility because I needed to get stronger. When I walked on this campus I was a very skinny girl, with absolutely no muscle, who didn’t know who she was, with zero confidence. I came all the way down from Beaverton, Oregon where I was one of a few black kids in the school district. Not the school...the entire district. I would walk home from elementary school with my little brother and someone would yell nigger out the window. I had a teacher that would bring me up in front of the class on a regular basis and tell everyone how poor my spelling scores were and what a terrible student I was. Later when I began my career in basketball, my Father pulled me off of the court during a game because he could see that I was visibly shaken due to the other teams racial remarks against me. On top of that, I was bullied on a regular basis for being exceptionally tall. Now, I know that they were making fun of me because they wanted my gift and couldn’t have it but at the time every comment felt like a knife to my side. So by the time I arrived at UOP, I was depleted. I was low. I was suicidal.

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During the first week, my teammate and I got a knock on our door and when we opened it, we were greeted by every black person on campus. The entire black student union came to make sure that we knew that they were there and more importantly that they had our back. After they left, my roommate and teammate who was from Oakland (shout out to Ahshalic) was shocked that the group were ALL of the black people in the student union, but for me, I was juiced! I finally had MY community with me. The 15 people at my door made me feel seen. They are my best friends to this day. They are the people who brought me back from hating who I was and more importantly taught me what a privilege it is to be black. They are my Sorors who I crossed with in 2001 when we reinitiated Delta Sigma Theta Sorority incorporated right here on this campus. They are my community that reminds me every day that I do in fact belong in the rooms that I am in and have the strength of every single black person who paved the way before me.

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Look around you right now. No matter where you go, you will always have a thread of being in this graduating class with each other. This moment is the starting point to the rest of your lives. Now, I’m gonna take it church. I need you to greet your graduating class right now. Hug your neighbor to the left and the right. Congratulate them. Really. Do it right now. Don’t make me come down there and hug each and every one of you because I will...

Now, why am I up here? Sure. I have accomplished some things. I could talk about how after graduating from Pacific, I commenced a 13 year career in corporate America with the Golden State Warriors in Game operations and marketing. I won awards, produced championship games, I was in parades and I have three rings which of course I am wearing tonight because I earned these bad boys and paid the taxes on them so please believe I wear them whenever I get the chance.

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I could talk about creating a successful lifestyle platform called TallSWAG that helps people to stand tall every day, in every way, that has brought me to many stages just like this one, enabled me to change lives and even star in a number one hit television show on TLC that was watched by millions of viewers. BTW I’m @TallSWAG on all social channels.

Click the photo for more about why I decided to go on a show with the word GIANT in the title.

Click the photo for more about why I decided to go on a show with the word GIANT in the title.

I could also talk about meeting Michelle Obama. I have proof y’all. Look. She is hugging me like I’m family. That’s not photoshopped. I still can’t believe that.

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But I am not going to talk about any of those things. Today, I am going to talk about painting your own picture.

The other day, I went to one of those paint and sip classes for the first time. If you haven’t been, it’s a class that teaches you how to paint the template of a picture while you sip the drink of your choice.
This was the one that we were going to paint.

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So, I get there. Find my easel. And I see the outline that is drawn. I make sure all of the colors are there and I am ready to paint it exactly how they told me too and something just clicked...why? There’s nothing wrong with it but I don’t put flowers in my hair and these colors don’t really go with my apartment...why did I have to stay in these lines? The answer is...you don’t.

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As you walk into the rest of your lives there are many people that are going to try and box you in and up. They will put parameters around you and give you parameters to stick to.

They will tell you your hair is too natural,
that you can’t deviate from the plan,
that you are intimidating,
that you don’t deserve the promotion, a seat at the table or can create your own table.

That is their version of the painting. Those are their lines. Don’t let those lies incarcerate your truth. You are bold. You are dynamic. You are a game changer and a history maker. You are everything that many people don’t want you to be

and they will do things to make you believe that their version is better. Do not let them.

8 months ago I listened to myself say this and walked away from a guided portrait to pursue my own work of art. I am now a full time entrepreneur. It has been challenging, it is taking prayer, patience and persistence but any great feat does. In your path you will encounter many lessons and it is your job to live through them, learn from them and pass them on, so today that is what I am going to do for you. These are lessons I learned for someone in this room today and you better appreciate them because they were not pleasant but like all lessons completely necessary...

Starting over is essential. You will do it many times throughout your life. They will all be scary. They will all be worth it. You arrive at every new start with the necessary lessons for that level of your life. Nothing is wasted. Use the levels, don’t let the levels use you.

You belong in the room. Whether it be a room that you created or one that you are helping to create, you deserve to be there. Your path led you to this place.

God makes no mistakes. Embrace it and thrive in it.

You are the only one with your gifts. No two people are the same. We are created to accomplish things that only we can do. Stop comparing your gifts to someone else’s. There is no comparison. Create your lane and thrive in your purpose.

Congratulate and Collaborate. We are here to build with our community. We achieve together. Our gifts are to be shared and celebrated. Contribute to and gain from your community.

Hard work always pays off. You must move your feet or someone else will. Purpose cannot be achieved without movement.

Never stand at closed doors. Closed doors are a blessing. They carve our path just like open ones do. Do not stare at them. They are there to create movement. Thank them for the experience and move forward.

The bear is scared of you. Your gifts will scare people into forming weapons against you. They will not prosper. Move past their noise and towards the achievement of your goals.

Ignore the clock. Shed the worlds timeline of success. Work hard. Follow your path and let your purpose unfold in the way that it was meant to. Don’t rush your story. Live it.

Get out of your own way. Your feelings will stop you from doing what it takes to accomplish your purpose. Choose faith over feelings always.

Leave it here. You will never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. You are here to leave a positive mark on the world. Get out there and use your gifts to do it. Use your influence to the fullest.

Now, these are very important points but really it all comes down to this very moment. You have accomplished something amazing and I am very proud of you but if you don’t do anything with it, you just paid a lot of money for a cap and gown. Use your gifts, your black privilege and the knowledge that you have gained right here at UOP to change the world in the most humble way possible. There is nobody that can do it in the way that you can except for you.

It has truly been an honor. Thank you for having me and congratulations to OUR new class of 2019!

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Congratulations to the 2019 University of the Pacific Black graduating class!

Congratulations to the 2019 University of the Pacific Black graduating class!

Sweat Equity

We have all been there. You are straight chillin on the couch, when your friend calls last minute with something fun that you just can’t pass up. You only have moments to get ready and are currently in sweat mode. What to do? Remix those sweats boo!

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You can add some very small things that will make a big impact on a chic athleisure look. In this case, I added a simple faux leather jacket, hoops and some nude pumps. Seriously, thats it. I guarantee you already have accessories that you can add. No purchase necessary. Just go in that closet and mix it up.

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ASOS DESIGN Tall Hoodie & Jogger Set (shown in size L) /Faux Leather Jacket - ASOS  (similar here) /Glasses and Hoops - Forever 21/Pumps - Calvin Klein (shown in size 12)  Photos by  Alina Mamlyuk

ASOS DESIGN Tall Hoodie & Jogger Set (shown in size L)/Faux Leather Jacket - ASOS (similar here)/Glasses and Hoops - Forever 21/Pumps - Calvin Klein (shown in size 12)

Photos by Alina Mamlyuk

If you are looking for sweats, I highly recommend the ASOS loungewear line but if you already have them, there are simple, easy and free ways to pump them up 20 notches. Try some things out. The worst thing that can happen is you have to buy a new pair of sweats and the best is unlocking new looks you didn’t even know you had in your closet. That doesn’t sound like much of a risk to me. Besides, you need that emergency look on hand for that one last minute friend that we all have, know and love. Stay ready so you wont have to get ready. Period.

Werking from Home

In the past 8 months, there have been so many changes in my life. Despite the best of plans, I don’t think that you can ever be ready to catapult into full time entrepreneurship. It’s incredibly freeing and sometimes equally as terrifying. You are literally steering the ship and relying on your own volition for everything. It took me some time to adjust. Driving your own cause takes will power, meticulous scheduling and a lot of prayer. I have called out to God more times than I can count. However at the end of the day, it’s completely worth it.

One of the biggest adjustments has been working from home. I was business casual for 13 years and now I have a commute of zero. I literally could work in my pajammie jams all day. Ok, for a time I was but I found that my mind would stay in bed as long as I still had the clothes that I slept in on. So what do you do? Sit at your computer with a full suit on? That would be a full on negative ghostwriter for me. If I am at home, I am going to be comfortable but I also need to be able to pick up and go at a moments notice. So what’s a tall girl to do? I jumped on the net to find the chicest of sweats and landed at our good friend ASOS.

Admittedly, I could wear the ASOS tall line every single day and especially now because the loungewear is straight fire. This ribbed top and pant are a prime example of the amazing pieces they have to kick it in the most fashionable way possible.

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And when I have to run to a meeting or meet up, I pick out my pineapple (aka fluff the fro), throw-on some accessories and I strut down the street like the boss I was created to be. In this case, I literally added an earring, circle bag and block heels. I go from work-at-home chic to power meeting ready in the blink of an eye.

These are sweats people! I mean it’s changed my whole style point of view. Fierce and incredibly comfortable at the same time? Sign me up! Let’s take this lewk in shall we!? Scroll and I will see you at the end…

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You will undoubtably see my style changing in different ways. My life is vastly transforming and that means that everything is morphing to compliment it. I look forward to sharing these new lewks and lookout on life with you. We are constantly learning in growing in all areas and I am honored to do it with each and every one of you. Talk to you soon gorgeous!

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

These jeans are only $39.99. I could just leave that right here and stop the blog because when have you found a jean that fits, with a 37” inseam, at that price lately? But where I am at right now, I can’t just talk about the clothing because there is SO MUCH going on in my life. Jeans are great. We need to clothe our body. These are fabulous, have amazing stretch and beautiful embroidery but I can’t just stop at the denim.

I want to use the rose detail to convey a truth that has revealed itself in my life:

every rose has its thorn.

I am happier than I have been in years but there are a lot of unknowns in my life that sometimes keep me awake. I am still single, building an unseen empire, hustling like I never have before and mourning some of the changes that have happened over the last 8 months. It’s been a cornucopia of emotions. Incredible highs and odd lows that I had never felt before all wrapped up in a beautiful package of purpose. I hang on to my vision knowing that is is strong, prosperous and regardless of the current foggy view, will prevail.

When I followed God’s prompt to move and begin, I thought that meant a flawless walk in the steps He had created for me but the truth is, there is no such thing as flawless. In fact, when you follow God more often than not, all of the rough spots become intense. When you are walking in what you were made to be, opposition is at it’s strongest. You can call it a test. You can call it distraction. You can call it an attack from Satan himself. Whatever you want to call it just know that you have to push through it. It’s not an end, it’s a lesson that needs to be learned in order for you to continue down the path that was made for you.

When it comes to anything in life, expect the thorns and embrace them. Nothing you will ever experience that is real and true will be without the prick of something that is perceived as unpleasant. Don’t run from the growth, feel every part of it and use it to strengthen your design.

Currently growing. Currently feeling. Currently becoming who He needs me to be. 

You gotta love a dusty booty from the concrete wall lol. I could have photoshopped it out but it was too much work and plus, who cares that I have dust on my butt from the wall (insert shrugging emoji here).

You gotta love a dusty booty from the concrete wall lol. I could have photoshopped it out but it was too much work and plus, who cares that I have dust on my butt from the wall (insert shrugging emoji here).

Temple Talk

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We will be working on these glutes because I used to have them so I know they are in there somewhere.

We will be working on these glutes because I used to have them so I know they are in there somewhere.

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Exercise is not something that I can say that I enjoy from my soul. It does amazing things for my body, soul and depression but actually doing it is not my version of fun. So I table it often. I can go for months without doing it but in reality it’s something that I must make myself do. My body is literally my temple and I have not been stewarding it well. My family health history is no bueno and I am not helping the cause.

So it’s time. Time to get this healthy living started. Sigh. I really have to mourn my bad healthy eating habits and lazy couch days for a moment because they are so incredibly comfortable, warm and friendly. I go back and forth on uncoupling with them forever or simply hollering at them every now and then. I just don’t know if I can move forward without knowing that I have access to them.

But what I do know, at the current moment, is that I have to be active at least 3 times a week. That means discipline, time and money because training myself is not my forte. I know my strengths and I need someone to coach me or it will more than likely not happen. Side note: if you want to work together with me in some way to strengthen my health and showcase your strengths, let’s make it happen!

So I started this week and got two days in. Those 2 days made me feel phenomenal. I know that I am on the right track and need to continue to push myself because health truly is wealth. I need to do this for my mental, physical and future. It’s not an option, it’s a must.

Of course, I ran into the problem of workout clothes. We are constantly in capri mode. And while that works, it shouldn’t have to be that way. So when I tried on these workout clothes from Long Tall Sally, I lightweight cried. Full disclosure, this doesn’t take much. I am known to shed tears over emotionally charged commercials but having workout clothes that fit definitely is a moment.

These workout pants are everything. I mean everything. They have just the right amount of stretch, are long and I LOVE a high waisted pant so these are my entire jam. The overlay tank is great as well but these pants are legit. In my opinion, they are worth the money because of the fit and construction. Think about how many $30 pants you have bought over the years. Think about how many of these pants that you could have bought with that money. Pants that fit and last? Yessir. Sign me all the way up.

That leads me to another thing I am working on. Quality over quantity. I am selling, giving and pairing down a lot of my things. Things that no longer serve you weigh you down. You have to release them to realize the full power of your path. So you will see me wearing these often because you don’t need a full closet of workout clothes to work out. What you need is a washing machine and I am blessed to have one. Side note: washing machines are a luxury item. Most of the world don’t have them. Be thankful.

I look forward to working on these things with you. I really appreciate you being here. I know it’s hard but I am thankful that we can stand tall through it all together.

XO, Alicia