Alicia Jay

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.

Audience of One

Photo -  Nikki Notarte   Entire outfit -  Long Tall Sally

Photo - Nikki Notarte

Entire outfit - Long Tall Sally

To say that this time of my life has been formative is an understatement. It’s been almost 7 months of discovering things about myself that I never would have if I didn’t follow the step of obedience of resigning from the job that I had for 13 years.

It’s been beautiful. It’s been terrifying. It’s been a ball of every emotion that you could ever have. There are so many unknowns in my path but the one thing that I do know is; I am on the right one.

I have been grinding behind the scenes on some pretty amazing things. As an entrepreneur you always have multiple irons in the fire. Some of them come to fruition, some aren’t meant to be and most you have to relentlessly pursue and simply make them happen. As they say, often the ones that succeed aren’t the first to do it, they are just the people that never gave up. 

And I am one of those people. I won’t give up on the things that God told me to do but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel every emotion while I am doing it. I have felt the warmth of joy and the sting of tears running down my cheeks on a regular basis. I don’t care how much faith you have, nobody is immune to feeling feelings.

With that breakdown in tow, fear is the main culprit right now. Not a fear of God not coming through but more a sheer fear of what people are thinking of my path.

Is she crazy? What is she even doing? Is she just sitting at home? She made a mistake. She isn’t a success.

All of these statements flow through my mind and at times have literally kept me captive. Not since I found my confidence have I cared what people thought, until now. 

So I sat with those feels for awhile. I interviewed them, broke bread with them and stared intently into their eyes so that I could figure out a way to handle them. You see. Feelings will always be there. You must pinpoint a way to get them on the side of right.

Every analysis boiled down to this fact: God is the only audience we should care about.

If God tells you to do it, no matter what it may look like to the world, do it for His applause and his applause only. No worldly opinion should matter. Do not let yourself, social media, haters or even friends and family supersede the ovation of God. No matter the size of the stage you find yourself on, let His claps guide the way to His purpose for your life.

So moving forward, let’s mute the approval of the world and look to God for everything that we need. Stand tall in the certainty that there is only one stamp of approval you need and that is from Him.

Moving forward I will be adding an audio version of my blogs for the visually impaired (or any else that wants to listen instead of read:). Thank you for the suggestion Patricia! I am sorry I didn’t think of it before!

Just Give me the Light

Warning. I really liked this outfit and photos so there are a plethora of them. Like 12. There is also different lighting in almost every photo because the sun was going bananas. It’s cool though because it shows you that you should never compare yourself to others because what you are comparing yourself to could just be great lighting. Love yourself, love your lane and by all means, take 1000 selfies in some bomb lighting. Let’s get to outfit shall we?…

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Can we talk about this jean jacket? It’s from Alloy (which is clearly one of my favorite tall retailers). Also, If you have been on their site, the beautiful Jamie Lea is rocking it in the fiercest way possible. As you can see on her and I, this jacket has an amazing cut and is super flattering. Alloy really constructed it right. It’s tall in the right places. You know what I mean. Some “tall” clothes out there are just tall all over. The arms, the body, even the dang pockets are over cut. This jacket does not do that. I love the wash, quality and price. It’s only $64.90. Also, Alloy always has some sort of amazing coupon code so if you don’t see it on their site, google that bad boy.

I’m geeked about the jacket and also pumped about the sneakers…here’s why…

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As you may or may have not seen, I recently took a trip to the Nike World Campus in my hometown of Beaverton, Oregon to visit one of my High School basketball coaches. His name is Sam McCracken. He was a great coach and now he is the founder, General Manager and visionary of the Nike N7 fund and collection. These kicks (specifically the Nike Air Huarache City Utility Premium N7) are one of my favorites from the line. I love them but I love what they do even more. All of the proceeds from the Huarache (and entire line), are given back to youth sport and physical activity programs in the Native American Community. The line is fire and the power of change that it provides is phenomenal. I am so proud of my coach and his entire team for all that they do.

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Whhhhhhew that was a lot of scrolling. I hope you are still with me!

I seriously love this outfit because it’s very much the direction I am going with my style. I am changing in so many ways right now and the way I am dressing is one of them. This is me 76% of the time (hence the 1000th time you have seen these skinny jeans).

I look forward to sharing all of these changes with you and what I am rockin along the way. Thank you for being there, thank you for being you, thank you for giving me your light and love. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

Winter Werk

Hey! It’s been a minute. I’m working hard and for me that meant I had to step away from the blog for a moment to lay a foundation. I had to plan some things, connect with a lot of people, present some concepts and prepare like no other. I have also been applying to programs that will strengthen my knowledge and preparation. Basically, I have been out here hustlin.

While I was hustlin, I asked you on IG what you wanted to see more of and overwhelmingly you said jeans, shoes and coats. I will be working to bring you more coverage of all of those things but it’s cold right now so let’s start off with an amazing tall coat

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This beauty right here is the Teddy Bear Faux Fur coat from Long Tall Sally. It really is soft like a teddy bear, the proportions are spot on (meaning the arms and body are actually long enough) and it’s timeless. I love the color and it’s super warm. Everything I need in outerwear this season. You will probably see me wearing it a lot in the coming months. When I like something, I stick to it.

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It just so happens that I am also wearing the other 2 items you wanted to see (don’t worry, there will be many more). While I have already showed both on the blog, I think they deserve another mention don’t you?

Hey skinny jeans! These are haute, go with anything and I love the rip detail in the appropriate places. They go up to a 38” inseam. Check out all of the skinny jean options HERE. Including these maternity options that I was so excited to see (NOT BECAUSE I’M PREGNANT BECAUSE I AM FAR FROM IT LOL) because it’s hard out there for expecting Tall mamas.

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I will be werking this coat all winter and want to see your favorite LTS winter looks. In fact, you can enter to win your own winter wardrobe from Long Tall Sally! Check out THE CHRISTMAS SHOP for more details about the #MerryEverything contest.

Great luck on winning the wardrobe…talk to you soon beautiful!