I’ve had ups, I’ve had downs. But thankfully, 2010 was mostly a positive year filled with strong friendships, love and support from my family, travel, adventure and opportunities I couldn’t have dreamed of. Here are some of the best memories from 2010 — some of which you may have read about before, and others for one reason or another, didn’t wind up being blogged about before here on Afrobella.

Going to Hawaii for BlackAtlas.com.

What a way to start off the year! I was so proud of myself and my husband – he filmed and photographed every moment of our trip to Honolulu which resulted in some pretty great blog posts for BlackAtlas.com if I do say so myself! I definitely wasn’t yet fully comfortable with being on camera yet – that came with time and practice throughout the year!

— Basseyworld Live in NYC.

If you were there, then you know. If you weren’t, you have NO idea. Basseyworld Live was the most fun, ratchet, off the chain part of my Twitter timeline come to life. It was so wonderful and amazing to be in a room of friends who know and love me as well as I know and love them…despite the fact that we’d never seen each other face to face before. This night will live on in my memory as a shining example of the power of social media at it’s best.

— The Unilever Penthouse for BlogHer.

I didn’t attend BlogHer itself per se…although we did crash a few parties at the end! I came to New York for a truly special event – the Unilever Penthouse at the Royalton Hotel in NYC. This whole experience was uber glam. The hotel is now one of my absolute faves in the city! Unilever booked the whole penthouse floor and each room was transformed into a brand experience. In the Dove Go Fresh room, we made customized flip flops with beads and glitter. In the Vaseline room they were giving mini makeovers and hand massages – that’s where I took this photo with my boo Lianne The Makeup Girl and the amazing James Vincent (who looks so tough but is really a big talented teddybear of a man!) Thanks to Unilever for bringing me into such a wonderful experience, and here’s hoping there’ll be another one!

— Surviving another New York Fashion Week.

I’ll be honest and I know this may sound ridiculous to anyone who truly YEARNS for the experience…after last September’s NYFW I wasn’t sure if I was ready to return for another one. It was just too MUCH. Too much drama, too many transportation issues, too much of that stereotypically nasty NYFW attitude. But besides all the drama, there were highlights of fun (Cocktails and Couture! And hosting my natural hair meetup at Karen’s Body Beautiful in Brooklyn!). Memories of those events just might bring me back in September 2011!

— speaking on my first panel at Blogging While Brown.

There’s Luvvie and I, on our way! Even though BWB really does feel like a family reunion, I was SO nervous to speak on my first panel! I’m super comfortable one on one or at a social event…but being on stage with a microphone, sitting between Anil Dash and Baratunde Thurston…I did feel out of my league for a minute there. Reassuring responses from the audience REALLY helped. I had a blast at 2010’s Blogging While Brown and I can’t wait for LA in 2011! See you soon!!

— speaking at my second panel at Blogalicious in Miami.

In October I returned to Miami for a whirlwind weekend of craziness. Admittedly, I didn’t make it to as many panels and events as I wanted to, but together with Nichelle of Stylemom.com, we presented an awesome and informative panel on beauty and fashion blogging. Everyone in attendance seemed enthused by the info we shared, and Nichelle and I made a great yin and yang panel pairing! Blogalicious was quite the action packed experience – I had a BLAST at the beauty bash, I hosted my first ever “cooking” demonstration!

And I threw my first real beauty blogger soiree. Which was a highlight in itself!

— Oasis Pink. The video speaks for itself.

We shut it DOWN. The first ever Afrobella/Stylemom event was AMAZING and I have Stylemom to thank for everything. I learned so much from the experience, and we really did show our guests an amazing time. I was so proud of us. Oasis Pink ROCKED!

The Women’s Conference.

I look back on 2010 as a before and after. Before The Women’s Conference, and after The Women’s Conference. The experience I had in Long Beach California can be described simply, as transformative. Being in the presence of so many icons, inspirations, famous faces, and forces of nature…it can’t help but change you. I was so blessed to experience it all. Takeaway moment – at the Minerva Awards. Hearing the stories of regular women who in their own, special way have rolled the dice and changed lives through their acts of charity. The Women’s Conference inspired me to be a better person. I really need to write a longer post about it all. For now I’ll just say, it was a life changing experience, I was blessed to be there, and it will forever live in my memory. Heartfelt thanks to Glam Media for making it possible!

— Teaching my Mediabistro class. As soon as I came back from The Women’s Conference, I had NO time to rest. I came home from the airport, changed and didn’t even have time for decent makeup, got my laptop hailed a cab and headed over to teach my first ever Mediabistro class on Blogging Essentials. I was exhausted and nervous and NOT at my best…but still I managed to connect with a room of first time students varying in age and experience. I got such amazing e mailed reviews from my students, and a few of them even keep in touch with me via Twitter and Facebook now. It was a triumphant return to teaching and reignited my desire to get back into the classroom. There’s something really fulfilling about teaching and I didn’t realize I missed it until I had a chance to do it again!

— Exciting new experiences GALORE. I definitely kept one of my 2010 resolutions – try new things and be a braver blogger! I amped up my YouTube presence and started really making videos in earnest. I’ve got plans to make them even better in 2011, too – now that I finally feel more comfortable on camera and have gotten such a warm reception from all of you! I hosted Afrobella Radio for an incredible 6 month run, and it was absolutely amazing. It was a true labor of love, and every week resulted in fresh challenges and fresh triumphs. I am SO glad I did it, and please know you haven’t heard the last of me on the radio. I’ll be back in some form or another! In terms of my hair-related freelance writing, I’ve stopped contributing to Black Voices Hair Talk and now I am focusing solely on natural hair for Essence.com. I’m SO proud to be representing and revealing natural hair experiences and I hope to inspire readers around the world!

— Overcoming the obstacles. You already know if you’re a regular reader…this last quarter has been ROUGH. In order: I got super sick from mid October until late November with a cold that turned into a nasty sinus infection. At the same time my site got hacked repeatedly and it took a team of four amazing individuals to help me finally resolve all the issues. Guests for my radio show thought it was cool to just cancel on me, leaving me in the lurch moments before broadcast. Relatives in my family and in my husband’s family passed away under tragic circumstances. The plans we were making to go to Trinidad for Christmas fell through and I had to call Mama Bella and break her heart. We found out our in laws would be moving from Chicago. Mad behind the scenes drama went down. I’d be going about my business and then an e mail would just land in my inbox and screw up my whole entire DAY.

It was just a Murphy’s Law kind of fourth quarter, whatever could go wrong, went wrong. There were days in October, November and December when I just wanted to stay curled up in my bed all day. But without struggle, there is no growth. I discovered my own inner strength and resilience, and my family, friends and readers like you got me through some really tough times.

Thanks to my husband Steve for everything. He knows. Thanks to my family in Trinidad and here in Chicago – I’ve been richly blessed by having you in my life. Thanks to my friends here in Chicago, in Trinidad, in England, wherever you are. I’d be so much less cooler and capable without you. And thanks to YOU for reading, for supporting me through thick and thin, for commenting on my posts, for supporting everything Afrobella.

Peace out, 2010. Here’s to an amazing 2011 packed with exciting new opportunities and adventures!

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