Archive for June, 2012

Join The #KeepItReal 3 Day Challenge!

As a woman, and mother I’ve struggled with my perception of myself and my body. I don’t have to tell you how having a child can change your body, and I have a different relationship with my body since giving birth six years ago. Yeah, I’m a little more self-conscious, and get pretty jealous of the celebrity moms rocking it in their 2 pieces in the magazine. Didn’t they have stretch marks I say? Didn’t their boobs sag afterwards? It’s so strange all throughout my pregnancy my stomach was so smooth, and as soon as I had Lil Mama my stomach told a different story. And let’s not even talk about the boobs!

What is frustrating as a woman and mother to a daughter is how the media portrays beauty. What girls see, what I see is not the reality. There is a perception that beauty should be and is flawless perfection. Eyebrows should be perfectly arched, liner precisely drawn, and beautiful voluptuous curves. These images are splashed in magazines, and in my opinion sharing the wrong image to women and girls about what real beauty is.

The 3 day #KeepItReal concept is amazing. We’re challenges mags to KEEP IT REAL and take the focus off this impractical idea of beauty so girls can have a fun and stress-free summer! So instead of feeling guilty that you can’t fit into the designer 2 piece bikini featured in the latest gossip mag, we are putting pressure on the mags that have such unrealistic views of beauty. The goal of the 3 days is to ask magazines one very reasonable request: to post at least one unphotoshopped image of a model per issue.

How can you get involved? First, download the Keep It Real Toolkit which includes more information and contact info of Magazine Editors we’ll target.

Day One (June 27) was all about tweeting using the #KeepItReal hashtag tweeting to magazines to KEEP IT REAL! I tweeted out to Self Mag & Essence!

Day Two (June 28) is about spreading the #KeepItReal word through blog posts and Facebook, and sharing post url’s to magazines via twitter! Post your own blog or feel free to share this post!

Day Three (June 29) is about capturing real beauty. Get on Instagram and share the image to the left using #KeepItRealChallenge and show the world what REAL beauty looks like to you!! Share the picture via FB and Twitter using the #KeepItReal hashtag! In partnership with Endangered Bodies they’ll be taking the best photo of the day and display it on a billboard in NYC!

Interested? I encourage you to get involved! You can RSVP via their Facebook Event Page. I am committed to helping change the way my daughter grows up and views beauty via these publications. I’ve already got my pictures ready to share via Instagram (follow me: msalexandrav), twitter, and facebook and am excited to be part of this necessary movement!

#KeepItReal !!


O, The Oprah Magazine and embark on a Kindness Mission w/ ‘Random Acts of O”

When my daughter met Oprah a few months ago while she was visiting Harvard University with Lady Gaga (who she met as well) my love for Oprah skyrocketed – which I didn’t think was possible! As an African-American woman who came from poverty and worked her way to the top I have nothing but admiration for her. My daughter was truly in the presence of greatness the day she met Oprah. Being the only person to meet Oprah during her visit to town, I feel very lucky for my daughter to have had that opportunity, and I just know she’ll meet Oprah again :)




So you can imagine how excited I was to hear about the recent collaboration with O, The Oprah Magazine,, and DailyFeats and their new initiative ‘Random Acts of O’ to spread kindness and make the friendlier place. Of course I had to get involved! Over the course of six months readers can participate in monthly challenge based on issue themes via a FB app, and O Magazine and will also bring kindness experiences to life via real-world stunts, surprises, and rewards for doing good! Good deeds now don’t go unnoticed! Via this FB app you can track your good deeds, share them with friends, and win prizes!

First challenge: Pledge to Read! Using their FB app you can pledge to read one of the 20 books featured on O Magazine’s Books of Summer list. Of those that pledge 50 will be randomly selected to win a sweet tote bag filled with all 20 books on the summer list!! But wait…it gets better! Once 50,000 pledges have been collected, $5,000 will be donated to Teach for America, a program that works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunities for children facing poverty. Amazing! Looking for a book to read this summer? Want to enter to win 20 books? Want to help kids facing poverty? Head over and pledge your commitment today! Couldn’t be any easier!!

This is a truly special initiative, and something that means a lot to me, not only because I love Oprah and love to read, but because a few years ago I collected 500 books to send to an impoverished school in Zimbabwe. On June 27th, O and will also thank the new Teach for America recruits at St. John’s University in Queens,NY.

I’ve already pledged to read Wild & Tell The Wolves I’m Home – Will you pledge?


12 Weeks of Summer Vacation Sweepstakes!

I desperately need a vacation!! I work too hard and don’t play enough! Could you use a vacation too? Be sure to enter this amazing giveaway where you can win vacation packages to San Francisco, Zion Utah, Cancun Mexico, Pennsylvania, Galveston Island, Colorado and more!  Destinations are still being added so return to our site often to see what’s new!!

This summer has created a promotion that celebrates the family vacation by giving away 12 incredible trips for families looking to create their own memories. They have hand picked some of the most memorable destinations their families have experienced and asked them to provide a FREE vacation to award to perhaps YOU!

One entry per day
Prizes will be awarded beginning June 1 through July 31

Good Luck!!


Father’s Day Reflections from a Single Mom & Fatherless Child

The beer has been cracked, presents opened, and countless #FathersDay shoutouts on Twitter and Facebook have finally settled down, and I’m here reflecting on another Father’s Day searching for a man to look up too, to praise for putting his kids first. I’ve started this post now three times, trying to get my thoughts together, trying to understand my feelings. I don’t know why I still get so emotional on Father’s Day. This is now the second time I’ve teared up today; I swear I’m stronger than this. My heart aches for the fatherless child I was, who spent years trying to understand why her Father didn’t love her, why he didn’t want to spend time with her. I’d leave angry voicemails for him cursing him for loving his new family, and not loving me. I needed him…and he was never there. It took me a long time to stop being angry at him, to release the pain and accept the past for what it was. He was supposed to be the first real “man” in my life – and he left. So much for a good role model. His absence affected me in ways I didn’t realize until now. It shaped my view of me and men. For the longest time I thought, how is any man supposed to love me when my own Father doesn’t?

Lil Mama & her Dad (2008)

Luckily his absence doesn’t cripple me anymore, I’ve been able to look past it, but I still don’t have a great father role model to look up too. I lost my one good example of a strong father role model, my Grandpa, four years ago on the morning of my 23rd birthday. Bless his beautiful soul. So on this Father’s Day I look past my blues and praise all of the amazing Fathers out there who love their children and show them every chance they get. Being a Father to me is one thing, but being a Dad is another. Dad’s sacrifice, get their hands dirty, and get silly with their kids. Kids need their Dad’s, regardless of if their parents are in a relationship or not. This took me awhile to fully understand, being the Ox that I am I thought “single parent” I can do that single-handedly, no problem! Uh-uh. There are important things her Dad needs to experience with her, even though we have differences nothing compares to the smile she has when she sees him, and for that I am grateful. We won’t always see eye to eye as parents, but I’ll never question if he has his daughter’s back. She knows that her Daddy loves her, even though he has a different house and another family – this is what is most important. She is very lucky to have two parents who love her and would do anything for her. To quote John Mayer, “fathers be good to your daughters.”


FREE Week at The Biggest Loser Resorts!

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Reservations must be made by July 31, 2012. (There’s limited availability, so be sure to book quickly.) Additional terms and conditions apply, so contact their customer service representatives at this special number to 877-423-2760 learn more. Or visit

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Terms and conditions: Available for double occupancy only in Utah and Niagara. Single or Double Occupancy in Malibu. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers. If booking multiple weeks, this offer applies only to the first week. Transportation, taxes, spa treatments, private training, and amenities not included. Scheduling is subject to availability. Reservations must be made by July 31, 2012, and stays must occur in the timeframe referenced above. The Biggest Loser Resort reserves the right to end this offer any time.