Rolling the Dice On My Life

Remember the New Year’s post I wrote, 2009 is mine? I wrote words that were meant to inspire and electrify, but I didn’t explicitly state the kind of changes I had in store.

When I said: “2009 is MINE.

My year to grab life by the reins. My year to be the change I’ve been looking for. My year to stop wishing and hoping and praying for things that are within my grasp. MY. YEAR.”

I meant every word of it.

The time has come. I’m taking what I said to heart, and I have a big announcement to make.

I put in notice at my day job last week. My last day will be in mid-February.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you all (or go into details about) the whys and wherefores of my decision. Just know that it wasn’t an easy one.

This August would have been five years that I worked as an editor of the calendar section of the Miami New Times. While I was at this job, I’ve enjoyed some wonderful opportunities, interviewed celebrities I admire, and even managed to have two cover stories. They’re framed and hang in a place of pride in my living room.

Because of my job, I learned how to drive, bought a car (that’s since been discontinued by the automaker, but I digress), and became a stronger, more confident person and a better writer. I made amazing friends, had crazy experiences, and discovered new things about myself and the world. There are many aspects of my job that I will sincerely miss.

So why am I leaving all this behind? Why trade a secure thing for an unknown quantity, especially in a season where job numbers are in the toilet and the economy seems way too shaky?

Quite simply — it was my time. And that’s not all.

My husband and I have made the decision to leave Miami. We’ve called the 305 home for ten years now. And we’re ready for new adventures and opportunities in another great American city. Which brings me to announcement number two!

Afrobella’s moving to Chicago!!

If you’ve been reading for a while, you already know I love the city. My in-laws live there, we’ve got wonderful friends who live there, and I honestly see it as a city of opportunity.

With journalism taking the tragic downslide it has taken, I’m considering all kinds of ways to reinvent myself and make use of the valuable skills I gained through working for a newspaper. In Chi-town, there are so many places, people, and organizations I’d love to work with — obviously there’s Oprah (hello!) and EbonyJet.com. Then there’s the Shedd Aquarium or the Field Museum, the Lincoln Park Zoo, or PAWS Chicago, the city’s largest No Kill humane organization.

Right now, Nas’ I Can feels like my theme song. I know I can be what I wanna be. If I work hard at it, I’ll be where I wanna be.

In the meantime, I’m job hunting, working on some really exciting Afrobella projects, and actively seeking paid freelance opportunities. If you’re a magazine editor, blogger, or just in need of a strong, professional writer with proven skills, drop me an e mail at bella@afrobella.com.

I can’t lie, bellas and fellas. This was a big, scary decision that took a long time to make. This isn’t advice I’d give to anybody right now. But it was time for me to stop talking about it and start being about it. I figure, I’m young enough, talented enough, and I have a lot to offer the world. And gosh darn it, people like me. So screw conventional wisdom and conservative advice — right now, I’m rolling the dice! And I feel lucky. And brave.

Thankfully, I’ve got the complete and unwavering support of my husband and our families. And you. Yes, you. Because without those of you who click on those ads and leave comments and come to visit and drop knowledge on this blog every day… without Afrobella being the strong, empowering community that it is, I couldn’t have made this leap of faith. And finally, I can take Afrobella to the next level. 2009, I’m gonna shine!

Wish me luck!

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Comments

  1. Wow! I love it! Much success and love to you and your hubby on all of your new endeavors!

  2. I have been reading your blog for little over a year and it is definitely an inspiration to me, and I thank you for allowing us, your readers, into your world. I know you will have continued success in your endeavors and I look forward to the adventures of Afrobella in chi-town!

  3. Proud of you! Very proud.

  4. Go Bella go!!!!!! I’m SO proud of you girl…I really hope we get to hang again soon. Maybe at a conference or something this year…

  5. Good for you. I wish you much success.
    xo,
    CC

  6. Congrats! We don’t get many truly turning points in our lives, but when they come, they come strong and with a purpose. Here’s hoping your purpose surfaces with the class and style you seek! It’s all yours for the taking. (I know – been there, done that, may do it again.)

  7. Sometimes you have to walk out on faith and do what your hearts tells you to do. Chicago is a wonderful city which holds limitless opportunities for both you and your husband. I look forward to seeing how your journey unfolds. The world is yours. :)

  8. Omg! Patrice you will be sincerely missed in the 305, you better come back and visit us from time to time! And of course, thanks for all the calendar love. <3

  9. OMG!!! I’m so excited for you!! Girl, you do the doggone thang!!!

    Much Luv…

  10. Oh, these comments just make me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. I LOVE you guys!! Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers. They mean a LOT right now. More than you may know. =)

  11. politicallyincorrect says:

    Wow, buy a heavy winter coat

  12. Congratulations!! You won’t like the winters much but the rest of the year is fabulous. I love Chicago!

  13. Awwwwww I love you!! You’re my SHE-RO, lol… I often think the same things myself: I’m young, child-less and have no other responsibility besides myself. I also feel like I have sooo much to offer the world, yet here I sit stifled behind someone’s desk. I want to get up, get out and DO something! But unfortunately, finances are always the one thing holding me back :-(

  14. good luck Bella!!! You will be taken care of. the simple fact that you have the support of your husband and families means a lot.. YOU WILL SUCCEED!!!

  15. WooHoo for you and your husband! I love chicago myself, being from the midwest (Nebraska). I applaud you for taking your life and destiny into your own hands and honoring the impulse that says it’s time to go.

  16. MzBrowneyez901 says:

    Woooooot! Good for you! Claim the victory in advance! You’ll do just fine in Chicago, which is absolutely an awesome move (but I’m biased, because I was born and raised there).

    Good luck to you and your hubby!

  17. congrats and good luck! what a wonderful thing to hear this morning. go ahead and claim your destiny :)

  18. Annellabella says:

    So brave and inspiring! I’m sending good vibrations your way in hopes of your continued professional success, and general happiness! OMG, if you link up with Oprah, you simply MUST hug her for me (LOL)!

  19. Good Luck Bella! Chicago is my hometown and a wonderful city. There are plenty of opportunites waiting for you here.

  20. Good for you bella!! Stepping out on faith and making a change, I am elated for you sister!!

    I reside in Chicago(born & raised). Miami’s warm weather sure sounds good to my ears right now. I know you all have family here, but from one bella to another, if you need ANY help finding your way around or whatever feel free to email me.
    You will definitely love the summers in Chicago there is ALWAYS something to do. I cannot really say the same about the winter (I prefer to hibernate). :)

    Love and blessings to you and your husband!

  21. Chicago is fantastic! I’m reading the Time Traveler’s Wife right now and totally falling in love with the city again. I visited back in May of last year and had a blast riding down Lake Shore Drive with my best friend (who resides there.)

    I’m way excited for you.

  22. Congrats bella. How exciting!!

    I know things are going to work out for you. You are crazy talented.

    x

  23. OMG!

    Congrats on making this big step! I wish you and your husband nothing but success! Chicago is a great city from what I hear, and they will be a luckier place for having you there!

    Continued blessings to you and thank you for always being such a source of inspiration!

    Peace & Love,
    Aja

  24. Congratulations!!! I read your blog everyday but this is my first time leaving a comment. I had to take this opportunity to say congratulations on stepping forward to a new life that is not yet known visibly in your eyes but in your heart. I wish you and your husband the best on the move to Chicago and you the best on exciting and bountiful job opportunities.

  25. I have the utmost faith in you, bella. And I wish you all the success you deserve. I’m glad you have a husband and a family that supports your decision. And from what I can tell from the comments, your readers support your decision as well. All the best in 2009!

  26. SHUT UP! You’re coming here?! LOL, sorry, but that was the first thing I thought when I read it. In a way, you’ve been a long distance friend in my head, so to know that you will be in the same city to me made me smile :) In all seriousness, I’m very excited for you and your husband. There comes a time when you just know you have to move on, start something fresh and new, and by all means DO IT! Let’s all try to be people of action this year and press towards the mark. Congrats again and please bring some warm clothing :)

  27. bella!! so excited for you and your husband. chicago is fantastic. in fact, you did a post on your last visit there and i took notes–the tall ship windy was awesome. :)

    i think this is such a great opportunity. i look forward to reading a post a year from now, detailing all the wonderful things that came of this decision!

    great gobs of luck to both of you (and the cat…!).

  28. Go Bella. Girl I’m so happy for you. I know this seems like a big leap, but life has taught me that one of the most important assets you can possess is self-confidence. You have to have an unshakable believe in who you are to step out on faith, quit your job and move to a different region. You have that Bella and I know that you are moving on to bigger and better things.

  29. cosmicsistren says:

    wow bella!!1 I am soo proud of you and I don’t even know you. You are trully inspirational. You are so positive. What I love most about you is that you don’t come across as arrogant. You seem to have a wonderful life but you are still humnle at the same time. That is what draws me to reading your blog every day!!!

    I want to move from New York and possibly move to Miami or Jamaica. You have motivated me to believe that if you can do it so can I. I wish you and your fine, gorgeous husband nothing but the best!!!

  30. Go for it!

  31. Way to go Bella!
    While I’m freezing my you-know-what off here in NYC, Miami sounds pretty good right about now. However, you have truly motivatd me to believe that the problems we face now are indeed temporary.
    So there’s no reason for me to continue wasting my talent in a dead end job because it’s safe.
    I’m going to follow your lead and take the bull by the horns.
    Best of luck in Chicago. Don’t forget your snowsuit :)

  32. Wow–congrats! Chicago seems to be the place to go…

  33. afrobello says:

    Girlfriend, you are BRAVE! Not only are you transitioning in your career, but opting for changes in culture, weather and other things. It’s intimidating but inspiring too. I’m just glad you aren’t talking about getting work in a “safe” industry to make those changes easier financially. It seems like compromising your passion is the popular solution in this economy. Please let us know how this phase treats you along the way.

  34. congratulations bella! i’m glad to hear you’re taking a pro-active step for your future and going for what you want and deserve. it’s very inspirational to hear.

  35. 2009 is yours! Claim it and it will happen for you. You already conquered the fear of making a change and leaving your job. Did I say thanks for the Trader Joes conditioner tip months ago. It’s cheap and moisturizes my ultra dry natural hair (big surprise)

  36. God luck Afrobella! You will rise and continue on to greater and greater things. This is going to be a fantastic change.
    Like the Mahatma Gandhi quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” You’ll inspire others to take a leap of faith!

  37. Go do it!! I say there will ALWAYS be something. Believe in yourself, give off good energy and things will come. All the best!!!

  38. Congratulations and Good Luck! Following your heart and your dreams in sometimes scary but never a bad idea. Thank you for all that you do!

  39. Bella, thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us. And that’s what it is an adventure.

    I don’t see you as being brave. I see you as being smart and a woman of faith and hope. Often so many people will choose the safe route. But when we step out to do what we have felt in our hearts to do, it shows we are open to new experiences. It’s truly following our hearts.

    All the best

  40. goldenstar says:

    Congratulations!!!!!!!

    And welcome to Chicago!

    If you need some help w/ job leads, feel free to email me. Would love to help out..

  41. goldenstar says:

    Oh, and how appropriate to make the announcement on the first day of Lunar New Year!

    Happy New Year!

  42. You are an inspiration. Good luck!

  43. AWESOME!!! God Bless. I hear Chi-town is cool (and very cold). I almost had an interview for a job there once……

  44. Congrats Afrobella!

    I’m sure you will succeed in your new venture :o)

  45. Congratulations and good luck Bella!
    I hope you host an Afrobella round table in Chicago, it would be cool to meet other afrobella readers.

  46. wow!!, i truly admire you…you are an inspiration, good luck in the windy city…(but girl your gonna miss that warm miami weather, hope your ready) :)

  47. Good luck Afrobella! I’ll pray for your success!

  48. congrats bella! buena suerte!

  49. What courage……

    Thank your family and husband for support.

    As a middle-aged woman – I say do it before life drags you down.

    Go girl

  50. I am certainly happy your presence will be blessing the Chicago area in the near future!!!! I’m a south-sider, and although I miss the warmness of Florida every winter day, Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities to live in and a lot of fun all year long.

    Peace, love and much happiness to you and your family on all your new changes.

  51. CONGRATS BELLA!!!

    As someone who took the leap of faith myself 2 years ago and walked away from teaching, I complete understand that feeling of standing on the edge and then finally flying free. It’s exhilirating and terrifying at the same time. Hold tight to that feeling – it helps during those moments of self doubt and “holy $#!* what did I do?!!!” I have all the faith that you will land exactly where you are meant to be and I can’t wait to read about this new adventure.

  52. Girl dont move until after the snow melts…lol GOOD LUCK!!!

  53. Hi Afrobella,
    I wish you much success and tons more happiness. It takes courage to listen to your heart and follow through with what you want to do. I am currently working on my dissertation and I am often reminded of the difficulties of following your passion and yet… I still feel this desire to continue on because I know that the future rewards are wayyyy greater than if I were to be “conventional”.
    As you continue with fulfilling your passion, it is important that you continuously refuel yourself with positivity and inspiration. I do this…that’s why I am at your site now and have been an avid reader for a couple of years!
    x

  54. Congratulations on taking that step and prayers for you and hubby as you move onward and forward. Chicago is an exciting city and with your skills, I am sure that you will be a success, way to go!

  55. Wish you all the best! You can’t let the economy slow down your pursuit of your dreams and Chicago sounds so exciting! My husband and I will be moving too, but to allow me, because I have a wonderful hubby, to pursue a graduate degree in the field of my dreams…I am also counting down to that specific day this year and I can’t wait…

  56. Oh wow, that’s good news. I kind of fell off of commenting even though I read your site every day and I felt compelled to write. I’m sure you’ll love Chicago (my hometown, by the by). Even though I don’t live there now, I still think it’s a great city and you’ll thrive there. It’s kind of refreshing to hear about someone who knows they need to make a change and just goes for it, regardless of “conventional” wisdom. Keep us abreast of new developments!

  57. YAAAY Patrice! I am so, so happy for you!!!!! Congratulations on your move and all of the exciting things Chicago has to offer. And please let me know when the going-away party is…I miss you!

  58. Bella, I’m so glad you are doing!! Life is too short to play it safe. I feel by making this bold move, you have opened the door for all kind of wonderful opportunities to come your way.

  59. What exciting news!! Yes, my dear, you are uber talented…there are not many blogs that I visit every ev-er-y day! I wish you much success and many blessings. You are courageous and have a lot to offer Chi-Town…they are lucky to have you.

    Sending love & light!

  60. Congratulations and welcome to The Chi. Chicago is a wonderful city with plenty of opportunities for you, just dress warm. Today it’s 10 degrees here and that’s a warm up!

  61. Good luck, Bella! I wish you the best in Chicago. =)

  62. I really needed to see these word because I’m in the process of taking a big leap of faith as well.
    Continued sucess to you and your husband.

  63. Dear Bella,

    You go girl! Do us all a favor and promise that you won’t disappear from the blogosphere. This brave move of yours is just one more of the many reasons we all love you so much!

    I have gotten so much from your blog: your thoughts, your wisdom, your beauty, your strength, your PASSION…Your ability to just live life to the fullest and the way you share that with your readers in such and eloquent way motivates and inspires me to attempt to get up off my derriere and do the same.

    Good luck lovely bella and I look forward to reading about your adventures in Chi-town!

  64. Good luck! i believe in you bella, but most of all you believe in yourself. you got this!

  65. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    Bella, you have really inspired me to give all I have to achieve my goals.You are so not afraid to “go for it”.I wish you,and your husband nothing but the best in Chicago.You will find a job girl, you are to talented for the unemploymant line.

  66. sincerely says:

    Bella your sooo inspiring! I wish you the best of luck in all your endevours. I love your site and know your gonna do really well wherever yo go!!!

  67. Amen! Girl I understand knowing when it is time to make a transition. I left my last job on just a gut instict 2 years ago and I haven’t looked back. Something about knowing you’re in the wrong place or that you’ve grown past it will tug on your soul and simply wear you out until you do something about it.
    And I have to say you’re moving to a FABULOUS city. And yes “SOUTH SIDE, CHI TOWN!!!” I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else (even tho you will want to dropkick this snow and cold a** weather). God Bless and hopefully I run into you one day!

    Robin

  68. Congrats on the move!

  69. Congrats Bella!!!!!!! We all know that great things are in store for you.

    And, for selfish reasons, I can’t wait to see some of your product recommendations for dealing with the cold weather and your curls. This is my first full winter as a natural and a sistah needs something to moisturize these kinks :) Something that actually works. Congrats again!

  70. I wish you the very best with this decision! Thank you for sharing. I know you will shine this year. :)

  71. Go and get yours…

  72. Nothing beats a fail but a try. I say go for it as long as you have a plan!

  73. MUCH success to you, Afrobella! Chicago’s my hometown and I know you’ll love it as much as I do. Keep pressing forward woman. Keep the faith and watch doors open for you! =)

  74. how inspiring are you. I pray God blesses you ith all you need as you transition to Chi-town.

    ditto cold weather products….

    i know you will be fine

  75. Ooo…I am so excited and proud of you!! Claim what you want.

    I wish you and your hubby the best of luck. Chi-town is the BEST place in the world, besides…NYC. LOL

  76. Hi!!! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now. I’m a Chicago gal so it’s nice to know another fabulous and stylish woman will be joining the rest of us, lol.

  77. muslimahlocs says:

    congratulations. hope you wait until after winter to move!

  78. sandra G. says:

    Bella….yo gooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Curl…..I did the same thing when I was younger and never regretted it. If not now, WHEN?
    I’ll keep my eyes open for opportunities for ya! Chi-town is the place to be and I know your light will shine all over!
    Yay! I only wish more young people had the courage; in this economy you need to move to areas which support your knowledge and expertise! This good news has made my day…

  79. OMG BELLA! This is wonderful news! I love people like you – not afraid to risk it all because they know what they’re worth and how many wonderful things they can accomplish. I love people who have faith in themselves. It’s a wonderful quality that infects anyone who is around them.

    I wish you, the hubby, and Max the best of luck. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like going from Miami to Chi-town; girl, you better be prepared for THE COLD!

  80. Welcome to Chicago Bella! You’ll love it here. Despite the snow. lol.

  81. Caribbean Girl says:

    wow – go girl – I wish you all the best. Change is a good thing sometimes and as scary as it is to step out on that ledge I do believe that it brings true growth.

  82. Congratulations!

  83. Welcome,

    Bring your family, winter coat, and your appetite to Chicago. I’m looking for work, and as much as I tell friends, “oh yeah, I’m so open to relocation” my heart is and always be in Chicago.
    Maybe I’ll run into you at Garretts Popcorn LOL

  84. Congrats on everything. I thought u were also going to tell us that you are pregnant. ;-D

    You will be much closer to me…a few hours drive away. woohoo Anyhoo, when it is negative degrees, do not curse @ the weather. Will u be living in the city or in the ‘burbs?

  85. Congrats on your decision! I am sure that you will do well.

    This saying came to mind as I read your post:

    “When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He’ll catch you when you fall, or He’ll teach you how to fly!”

    Are you ready to fly Bella? :-)

  86. Congratulations, you are so very inspiring. I actually think this is the PERFECT time for reinvention and taking big risks. Things are unstable, but that is also opening the door for great opportunities and for new blood to liven things up. Good luck with your relocation!

  87. Good luck!!!

    2009 is definitely a year for change . . . you picked the perfect time.

    I look forward to hearing about your exploits in the Windy City . . . I’ve always wanted to go there.

  88. Welcome to Chicago my town; having family and friends here is a great launching point. I know that you will love it here and be very successful at the same time.

    God Bless you!

  89. Best of luck to you on your move. I much envy you for the courage a move like yours takes. New to the site found you by way of Siditty’s.

  90. Bridgette says:

    Congratulations! I know you’ll enjoy this change in your life.

  91. success gal says:

    L.E.T.’S S.H.I.N.E.

    2009! I am so happy for you! Congrats, thanks for the inspiration through your blog and much love from Paris!

  92. Good luck! You are an inspiration.

  93. Congratulations and I wish you the very best! You continue to inspire me through your blog and life story.

  94. WARRIOR11209 says:

    Congrats Bella – it may be scary initially , but it will be well worth it. I know that were ever you go you, your husband and Max(I think that’s your cat’s name) will succeed. I’m VERY excited for you – everyone needs to take advantage of the opportunities to shake their lives up and take an unknown path! All Blessings to you!!

  95. …your faith and your strength has grown so much that it is now time for God to elevate you to the next level. His will is for all of us to find out our gifts…and that will be the way we make our living….it will be our passion…we will bless and minister to people along the way because we have been on that path…i commend you. i made this similar decision in 2007. i quit a job i had been on for 12 years…educated my self in my gift and graduated in 2006…i am now working solely as a nail artist/esthetician. Some days are better than others…but God always provides…now i have clients of every race…and making more money now than ever before!!! God is good!! The key to prosperity and wealth is FAITH!!! because without FAITH it is impossible to please HIM! Afrobella- you have certainly pleased God and you are elevated!!! This is definitely your season!!! Watch your name be in lights this year!!!!! CONGRATS!!!!

  96. Much Success Bella, you are truly an inspiration and I absolutley love this site !

  97. tracey in Ohio says:

    Best of luck! Keep us posted on your big move so we don’t lose you! (LOL!) You’re such an inspiration & I’ve found other great sites thru you. Hooray for stepping out on your faith! When you move, God moves (move just like that..sung to the tune of Ludacris’ Stand Up!LOL!)

  98. Congrats to you Afrobella!!! I am so proud of you. I also took a leap of faith and quit my job in May 2008 to LIVE MY DREAM and renew the creative passion that was within me. I have no regrets and neither will YOU!!! So you GO GIRL. I will support you always in anything you do.

  99. I applaud your bravery! The midwest is cold, but I bet you’re going to love the fall and spring, and it gets nice and steamy in the summer, too, LOL! Now winter, for an island girl like you, might be a bit of a challenge, but girl think of all the fabulous sweaters you can wear!! I wish you and all of your family the best, and Max will have a great time with all the new flora and fauna, I’m sure. Things with fur as opposed to scales, don’t cha know. Chicago is an exciting place. I was thinking the same thing as Apple Diva — another addition was coming! Well, when/if it does, you will LOVE being close to some of your family, trust and believe! And ditto on looking to see what cold weather products you find to keep the kinks and curls moisturized.

  100. Well Ms.Bella I have to say I am proud of the bravery you have to branch out into life even more than you already have. I think it is GREAT! You have actually motivated me to think the same way. I am currently feeling the same about making decisions outside of the conservative way, and i feel taking the chance to take advantage of awesome opportunities when you are at a younger age is something everyone should do in order to learn more about yourself. I wish you all the best and keep up the outstanding work! :-)

  101. Wow. 100 comments! I feel so overwhelmed with love and support. Thank you ALL for your blessings. They mean so very much. I can’t wait until I can finally focus my attentions completely on Afrobella. It’s going to be amazing.

    Can’t remember who asked, but yes – moving to the city, and I do plan on hosting events eventually! I’d love to put together an Afrobella ladies’ night out shopping event someday. And Bebroma and Apple Diva — you’re close but not just yet! Of course I’ll let you know when a little Afrobella’s on the way. =)

  102. Oprah here you come!!!! I can see it!!!!

  103. urbanbydesign says:

    Congratulations Bella! I know that you will continue to do the great things in Chicago, and will enjoy a whole new level of exploration of life’s beauty. :)

    BTW, thank you for the great post on Black dolls back in November. I recently bought Cecile (Corelle doll) for a Francophile friend, and she fell instantly in love with her! Thank you for giving us as readers the precious gift of your blog! Keep shining! :)

  104. Congrats Bella! I think that is wonderful! You are the true definition of exactly what my blog is about. “No Fear, Just DIVA!” I did the same thing with packing up and moving to LA. I was accepted into fashion school but had no job and no place to live but on the wings of faith and well wishes of my friends I went on, and I could not be more blessed.

    So today I send you those same blessings and well wished that have kept me afloat and just want to say we are right behind you! Trust and faith take you so far, and you are a perfect example of that.
    “Happy Travels”

  105. May the new digs and 2009 be all you need and want it to be! Blessings to you on your new journey!

  106. Bella–Congrats on your journey to becoming a “midwest gal”. I live in St. Louis, which is only a 5 hr (4 if you are a lead-foot) drive from the Chi. I would love to go to an Afrobella ladies night in the future. You have truly inspired me to change because I want 2009 to be my “year of action” also. I figure that I’m still fairly young, I don’t have a mate or kids right now, so I shouldn’t be holding myself back or strapping myself down. Wait until the snow melts to move, but other than that, I wish you, Steve, and your furry baby a wonderful trip to your new beginning.

  107. Wow!Best wishes to you & your husband in Chicagoland! You have that energy about you that will help you to succeed wherever you go! And with the support of family, friends, and a 100+ afrobellas ‘n fellas behind you…I say go where there is no path and leave a trail!

  108. Bella, again it cannot be understated how much of an inspiration you are just by trying to affect change in your life.

    I can’t wait to see your hair posts from Chicago! I found NYC weather to be very different on my hair than my Houston weather, so I’m sure Miami and Chicago will be comparable.

    I am staying tuned for updates!

  109. Afrobella, I love visiting your site. I’m so happy to hear that you are claiming this year to be your year. We all should really. I know it’s mine in 2009!!

    Good Luck with everything and God Bless!

    p.s. How do we email you?!

  110. Good for you girl!!!I know you will be successful!

  111. WARRIOR11209 says:

    After checking back and reading the new posts – I had to wish you well TWICE. We all just luv you!

  112. ChiLady119 says:

    Hey Afrobella! That’s fantastic you’re moving to the Chi. Wish you lots of luck.

  113. Dad and Mom says:

    You are in charge of your own destiny. With trust in God, confidence in your abilities and a bit of luck, there is nothing that you cannot accomplish.
    We are totally in your corner and feel assured that big doors will open for you in the very near future.
    You will thrive beyond belief. Just keep the faith and be strong. You have already done the most dificult part.
    Love always,
    D&M

  114. YAY BELLA!! Chicago will accept you with open arms. Just bring (or buy) a northface coat and all shall be well. Oh, and some extra moisturizer for ur hair and face for our harsh winter.

  115. RegalRenee says:

    I am 52 years old and do not have my driver’s license, but just the mention that you learned to drive and brought your own car inspired me to make this the year I learn to drive. I’ve been blessed, but have been hampered from doing some of things I really wanted to do, so I need to step out on faith this year and go for it and get rid of the fear. Thank you for being so open, honest and real, all the best to you in your new endeavor!

  116. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    @RegalRenee I am 30 yearsold and I can’t drive either.My husband gets this little look on his face when I need to go extra places,and I can’t stand it.I think this will be my year also so that I can come ,and go as I please.

  117. Oh Bella I am all in tears for you!
    I am so very happy for you and the decision you have made. I KNOW you will be happy!

    When you wrote above that “Right now, Nas’ I Can feels like my theme song. I know I can be what I wanna be. If I work hard at it, I’ll be where I wanna be.”

    Tears… TEARS!

    When my hands were blistered back in 2004 from using a propylene glycol filled hair lotion I still drove to my IT job. I played Nas “I Can” in my car until the day I left my IT job and started to mix my goodies – I look back now and smile with tears in my eyes!

    Afrobella you have been blessed with a talented gift that has been awarded and rewarded!

    Afrobella it’s not about LUCK it’s about YOU and what YOU have to offer!

    Yes, dear heart, YES YOU CAN BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE!
    Please keep us posted on your new beginnings!

  118. Blackbutterfly says:

    Congrats Bella! WOW your moving away from MIA? :( J/K i’m really happy for you girl, you are soo inspiring i wish i had the guts you do.one day i’ll up and make big plans of my own but i’m not ready to be empowered yet. i wish you all the blessings, and i hope you get there safely.

  119. Change is good! My friend recently moved to Chicago a year ago and absolutely love it. She calls it the City of Luck, so I wish you all the luck and prosperity in 2009 and beyond. Go get em’

  120. Wow! This is great news because it’s one of your own choosing and you’re going to have support. All of of those things makes the transition a little bit easier. I could totally see you working for Oprah with your bright smile lighting up the hallways. I’m sure your next move will be writing for Afrobella fulltime and announcing a media partnership with an ad agency or similar. Yeah for you! This is very inspiring for your readers and I hope you realize what a boost you’ve given me just reading this. Thanks!!

  121. Newly Nappy says:

    Welcome to Chi-city Bella!!! Oh i’m so happy, luv u girl and can’t wait for the chance to see your luvly ‘fro’bella floating around town. Bring a gud coat and sum uggs, u’ll have to get used to our subarctic weather. but now u’ll be able to tell us windy city bellas what products we can use to keep the moisture in during such blustery times. so excited! can’t wait for your first post in ur new home. Welcome welcome!

  122. Newly Nappy says:

    Oh yes, just went back and read some other comments. DEFINITELY MUST have an afrobella event of some kind. We are going to love having you here!!

  123. Chi-town is my favorite city. I wish you and your husband much success as you embark on this next phase. I’m sure you will make it happen…

  124. Bella, Congrats….
    I live in Milwaukee and Chicago is a hop,skip and a jump away from us…I luv Chicago & I’m sure you will…..Just try to learn how to drive in the snow as soon as possible cuz they drive crazier than I do down there LOL….

    You’re truly an inspiration….Be Thankful for the many ppl behind you cheering for you to succeed…I havent come across this much positivity on a blog in a very long time….It’s a breath of fresh air….

  125. You go gyal live to the fullest

  126. how brave of you! best of luck!
    peace and blessings!

  127. Bella, Congratulations! i know this change will be uplifting for your body, mind and spirit. you are now able to write and blog with less stress and more ease. u will be a great asset to chicago! just from reading all the many comments, i know that every one of your readers is behind you 100%, and continues to be inspired by your words and actions. much luv and luck to you and hubby in your new adventures. Luv u!

  128. Dear Bella, Good luck with the move. I was shocked and kept in suspense when I started reading the post. First you were leaving your job. My eyes widened. Then you leaving Miami! I gasped out loud. But best wishes to you, your husband and Max. Miami isn’t big enough to hold the talent, and spirit you possess!. So I think Chicago is a good choice. Although, I was hoping you would move to New York. But I digress. I applaud your courage for leaping out there and taking a chance. You won’t regret it!

  129. sandra G. says:

    A lesson here: if you want to change surround yourself with supportive people. And in most cases, people do want the best for you.

  130. That’s great! Congrats. Only you can make the change you want to see in your life.

  131. Bella, I admire what the old folks called “gumption”. And you’ve got it. I’m sure your talent and drive will get you far, and Chicago will be all the better for it. Also, how awesome is it that your boo is down for the move? That’s a lot of love. I’ve brought up the notion to my man and it’s a scary prospect: first to do the proverbial relocation “jump” (to hopefully higher, self-fulfilling heights), and secondly to get your partner in life to “jump”, too.

    Ways, I applaud your boldness, and wish you the very best. You’re inspiring me to claim “2009 is Mine”, too.

  132. cristalle1 says:

    I wish you the best of luck. Keep on keepin’on. I know you’ll be successful in whatever you do.

  133. I lived in Chicago for 17 years and I admit I have a love/hate relationship with the place. But I do get back there a few times a year and coming from my little Iowa town, Chicago always recharges my batteries in a good way.

    You simply MUST blog about your move. Do you know where you’re going to live? What’s hubby going to do for work? Do you know where you’re going to get your down coat and down comforter once you get here? lol Like others have warned, the Chicago winter is NO JOKE…but summer more than makes up for it. There also isn’t the same kind of Caribbean variety that you’re probably used to in Miami but that’s okay…I’m sure you’ll find some fellow Trinis to hook up with.

    2009 is YOUR YEAR! You can do it! Congratulations, good luck, and who knows…I might catch you on the street sometime this summer!

  134. crystal g. says:

    YOU GO GIRL!!!Keep on walking in God’s faith and wisdom. I’m praying that you will have peace at mind for God’s will to be done in your life. Alway’s much love and respect

  135. Bellenoelle says:

    Hey Now! Big tings agwan! Congrats!congrats!congrats! Much success…

  136. Good luck to you.

    I’m sure you will be very successful there. I hear it’s a great and beautiful city to live in, aside from the cold.

  137. CONGRATS!! I was on staff for an NYC publication until I quit a few weeks ago. I’m working on my novel and freelancing full-time. Good times! Scary, but good. :) I totally understand your position. Best wishes to you and your hubby in your new adventures!

  138. Neat-o! Congrats :D I pray all the best for you and the family. And you MUST blog about your adventures in finding a new stylist…

  139. Congratulations! As a native Chicagoan, I welcome you to THE GREATEST CITY. Lol! Its got so much to offer and I wish you success and happiness in all of your endeavors!

  140. That’s what I call taking charge of your life!! Congratulations to you. I was turned onto your site by my daughter (who seems to know all the great sites)and I am truly glad I kept coming back daily to see what you say about products for all Bellas. Congratulations to you and your husband for taking that leap of faith. Peace and Blessings to you!

  141. christine aka angel79 says:

    Congrats Bella! I know I’m late to the comment train, but I wish you all the best. I wish I was as brave as you…I still don’t know what to do. I’m sure you’ll have much success and as everyone has said just bundle up in a great coat and everything and you will be okay. I live in Toronto, Ontario Canada so I know winter, but the rest of Canada gets it a lot worse. Take care. I’ll say hello on facebook as well.

  142. Hello, all bella’s i really do love this site. Everytime i come here i am inspired and lifted so much. Congratulations to stepping out on faith and go for your dreams. Bella’s please pray for me i stepped out on faith three years now and i cant say god has not kept me but i am really having a hard time and things are stagnated. I thank you all and have a bella ball this year!

  143. Miss Bella, I am so proud of you. I believe that this move will open so many new opportunities for you and your husband. This is an awesome move, you have family and friends in Chi-Town so thats constant love and support. You will be just fine, take advantage of 2009, its a time for new and positive beginnings. Go for it :o) I’m newly engaged so this is definitely new to me, I haven’t even said anything on facebook yet lol. Have a good evening everyone! :o)

    ~Olivia

  144. GOOD FOR YOU!!!

    *holding up a champagne glass full of bubbly* I wish you and your husband the best!! :)

  145. Congratulations Bella!!! I grew up in Chicago!!! I have lived in California for the last ten years. Although I don’t miss the weather in Chicago, there are certain things within the black community there that I really miss….like Steppers Sets!!!

    Best of luck. You will LOVE Chicago!!!

  146. Chelle (the other one) says:

    Wow oh Wow!!! I can’t believe you are leaving the Sunshine State for the Windy City. I was raised in Detroit so I cosign about the winters, but since you haven’t experienced them yet, I don’t want to discourage you. Yes, they are frigid. However, there is nothing like a snow day when you can’t go anywhere and there is plenty of hot chocolate and netflix. Mmmm, I miss those days.

    I love all the things you mentioned about Chicago, but I will also recommend doing the Love Jones tour. One year my friends and I decided to go to all the iconic places in the movie, the fountain, reggae club, poetry cafe, Union station etc. Was a way to see different things and I think we thought we would find our own personal Larenz Tate, lol.

    I vote for an Afrobella meet and greet in the summer, maybe sometime in July around the Taste of Chicago weekend. Sigh, I’m already longing for a bite of that cheesecake on a stick. I’m happy for you and hubby. I know you will love Chicago, but more importantly, I know Chicago will love you.

  147. Jamma Mamma says:

    THANK YOU!

    I read your post earlier this week and was inspired…..(I’ve had a Chicago move on my mind for the past yr and a 1/2 but can’t really make that considering I’m a single 23 yr old with not much saved and renting a room in a family member’s basement) I work at a job that goes right along with my major but not my passion….. after reading your post (CONGRATS!! POSITIVE VIBES YOUR WAY!) I applied for my dream job….less than 24 hours later I had a callback and an interview… I’m on my way to my 2nd interview today and the interviewer has already told me I am highly recommended and she just happens to know my former mentor/internship supervisor very well and contacted her. Needless to say she gushed about me :)

    So Bella….. THANK YOU!

    Nothing is written in stone just yet but with out your post I may not have made that move when I did and we all know timing is everything!

    My resolution was “to come into my own” and I’m on my way! :-D

    THANKS BELLA!

    GOOD LUCK AND WELL WISHES!

  148. Bella,

    Congratulations! Chicago is a wonderful city. I know you will shine there just like you’ve done so in Miami.

  149. Congrats on the new beginnings! The time is ripe and you inspire me! Best of luck in Chi-city…it’s definitely a good place to be and it is lucky to have you. Peace and blessings!

  150. So sad that you’re leaving Miami. but I am absolutely inspired by your bravery! i wish you all the best.

  151. Here’s to a happy move and and endless stream of success!

  152. Good Luck and much success!!!! This Bajan is impressed that a Trini ‘ain’t scared’ of the windy city.

  153. Natural Hair Product Researcher says:

    Congatulations…Sometimes we need new space to create new happening energy.

  154. I know you will be greatful for this move and you will acquire and learn things you never even thought of… Full speed ahead! Your future holds new adventures and that brings new stories to tell:)

  155. Good Luck!!! That is a very brave move but I hear you SISTAH!!!…”I claim the victory” (H. Walker song,) for myself also in 2009, so let’s do it!!! No more excuses…We are the CHANGE yes? YES….

  156. ayomidejpw says:

    I wish you great success. I too did what you are doing and it is scary and uncertain but wonderful things are straight ahead. I moved from the east to the west coast and entered and dropped out of graduation school(like Monday after a year and half in school). Do what makes you happy and it is great to have a supportive husband, I have one too. They come in handy when you think you have done the wrong thing. Keep your head up and get a good winter coat cause it is brick in Chicago! Good luck!

  157. wow! this is great!

    i went to school in hyde park. i’m also an island/florida girl and those winters weren’t easy. even now, i tell friends i’m no good from december to early March. But honestly, get you a couple different coats, a car, some shea butter and a sense of fun and adventure and you’re good. it’s all about layering. Not just your clothes but your life. I have a tendency to just wear one bulky thing, usually either work or a relationship. and that doesn’t work no matter where you live. When I first moved to Chicago I thought bulky cotton sweaters were warm. so silly!

    it was nice living in such a big city. and it was nice to be in a black city in terms of the political representation, the sophistication of how layered the city was. it wasn’t just the city and then the wasteland was where black people lived. lots to do. i used to jog at the lake front from hyde park all the way downtown. i remember looking out at the lake a lot. even in winter, it was really striking and beautiful to me. i missed the ocean. but i don’t know. the lake had it’s issues.

    well, brings back good memories.

    can’t wait to read about your chicago adventures.

  158. So exciting Bella!! I know Chicago is going to treat you well!!! Can’t wait to read all about it

  159. flygyrl72 says:

    What up?! You gonna be a Chi-town girl now?! Welcome to the family. YOU.WILL.LOVE.IT.

    I’m almost jealous, but having been raised there, I’m still enjoying LA’s weather too much to move back yet…LOL…

    And, no worries Bella, the universe has so much in store for you, I’m sure of it. Ya’ll will be fine.

    And, now that you’ll be there, thru your blog, I’ll be able to keep up with what’s fresh & new in Chicago too. A win-win! LOL…

    Continued success.

  160. Congrats on your decision. I too will be making moves this year of a similar fashion and am trying to have the courage when all around me doubt the possibilities. I can’t let a recession stop me. I have to let my faith in God and myself take over. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  161. My sister is a brave and wonderful person! Hugs to you & kudos for making the BIG MOVE! Now I just have to get cold weather clothes and come visit *grin.*

  162. coco_fiere says:

    Welcome to Chicago! I didn’t realize how many of us devoted Afrobellas live in the same city. Wow…..Anyhoo, to survive our winters, you just need to be prepared. Grab a long down coat (at least 60% down) with a hood you can close snugly without smushing your hair. A polarfleece scarf/hood combo to wear underneath, ski gloves,tights/leggings to layer under pants/skirts and warm, waterproof boots (preferably knee-high for when the snow or wind is wicked)will keep you toasty. If you guys will be driving, buy a metal shovel for the ice and snow. Bring ALL your shea butter and cream leave-in conditioners for what the dry air and strong winds can do to your hair and skin. The summer will more than make up for the winter, I promise!
    Don’t forget your smile….we’ll be smiling back at you. Blessings to you and your family!

  163. I just decided back in November to move back to Chicago to be close to my mother. You’ll love it there!

  164. Congrats Bella (and fam)! It takes a phenomenal person to choose big dreams over the the economics of these days, but I do believe that you were born to do big Afrobella things. And you absolutely do not need luck girl. You got this!

    Keep shining in 2009!!

    Much Love & Respect

  165. You have no idea how inspirational reading this post is. So many people around me in the journalism fields are losing their jobs, myself included, and I keep hearing stories about people on the verge of eviction. It’s just really sad and hard not to be depressed, but reading this post really helped me feel like things will be ok for me. January was not a good month for me. I lost what I thought was a dream job (at a hip-hop mag) only to realize that not only was the position I held, not for me, but that I wanted to quit anyway. I was just so comfortable there that I wasn’t going to quit until I found another gig. Now, that I’ve been laid off, I dont have a new gig yet but I’m working on it. I think things with work out. If you leap, the net will appear. It was nice reading this. Now, my wavering faith can fly high again. Thanks for the inspiration.

  166. Congratulations!!! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for the past 2 years & I’ve very proud of all your successes whenever I seen,heard or read about you. Like an another reader said “You’re my best friend in my head”. You also remind me of my best friends, a fellow Trini girl. Roll the dice,have faith and all will work out.

  167. I am very proud of you! You go girl! I’ve enjoyed working with you … I know this year is really going to be yours! Seize it.

  168. I am so late reading this But congrats…and welcome to my city!!!! Dont worry Spring and Summer will be here soon and then so will the Taste Of Chicago!!!!! Best of wishes…

  169. Hey girl!!!

    I can’ wait for you to come to Chicago!!! Chicago is a wonderful city, I hope you can make the most of its awesomeness. I try to every single day. =D Congratulations on changing your direction. Best luck and godspeed.

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  1. [...] you already know I just put in notice at my high-stress vocation to put myself, my health, and Afrobella on the front burner where they should [...]

  2. [...] and taking Afrobella to a whole new level. She encouraged me behind the scenes to follow my dreams. She wrote the first comment on this post, Rolling The Dice On My Life, which was about the decision to leave the Miami New Times and Miami altogether. My Miami experience [...]

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