Back to Bowie, Maryland in a Mitsubishi

I can’t believe how quickly time flies, it seems as though it was just yesterday when we drove Malik and his belongings down to Bowie State University to start his senior year.  Now, here we are again, heading back down to pick it all up for the summer break…yes, he’s on that 4 ½ year plan so he has another semester to complete.




Thankfully, this time we didn’t have to rent a minivan and we were able to ride down in style thanks to my friends over at *Mitsubishi Motors.



Bowie State University is only 88 miles one way from the house and it’s straight highway, however, crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge can be an uneasy experience especially in a smaller vehicle.  Driving the Mitsubishi made it a comfortable and pleasant ride as it was smooth and steady however, I did set off the lane departure alert a few times.




Malik was attending a campus event that ended later in the day, so hubby and I took our time and stopped at the Bowie Town Center for tea at Starbucks then picked up his aunt to take her to lunch at Panera Bread.  Aunt Alda, though the Mitsubishi was very comfortable and she looked quite happy sitting up front.




Aunt Alda loved the Panoramic Glass Sunroof which allowed the sun to shine down keeping her toasty warm.  I felt safe knowing it had a 7-Airbag Safety System, which covers the front, side curtains and the seventh airbag is underneath the driver’s side dashboard.  






I didn’t get under the hood, however, click here to read the specs if you are interested in the engine.  I was more interested in the cargo space and as you can see, we were able to fit in all of Malik’s belongings and still have a little room in the back seat to take him out to eat before we left to return home.








The week that I had the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport I zipped up and down the state from Wilmington and down to Dover to teach my Building Your Blog Workshop and only had to stop for gas once which was great as the prices have been rising steadily leading up to the holiday weekend.




I loved listening to Watercolors on the Sirius XM Satellite Radio and the four Boise Speakers were bumping, oh, and the folding side mirrors was also a great feature which is perfect for city parking.  The Bluetooth Wireless technology and steering wheel controls make it easy to conduct conference calls as I headed to my virtual office at the Chamber of Commerce.




This particular model has an MSRP of $29,310.00 which is a bit pricey for us now especially with that extra semester of tuition, but the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport AWD would be perfect for a soon-to-be retired couple such as hubby and myself.




Let’s Chat > What do you think, would this be a good vehicle for you and your family? 


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* Disclosure: Mitsubishi loaned me the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport in order to facilitate this review.  However, all opinions are 100% my own. No form of compensation was received in exchange for this post.

#DriveMitsubishi #spon

YWCA Delaware WAND Program


If you are a new business owner or an entrepreneur who is about to launch his or her own business then you know that there are several keys to success and one of them is the importance of having a mentor. When I first started A.Blake Enterprises there were a few women who were and still are very instrumental in helping me become successful and one of them is Troy Farmer.


Some of you may remember my blog post about Troy and her husband David and their business, Farmer’s Famous Fish which I wrote a few years ago.  Well Troy and I met many years ago and she has been my sistah-friend and mentor since day 1.  She has always been very supportive of me and my endeavors and I have in turn been supportive of her and her endeavors.




She is now the Director of the YWCA Delaware WAND Program and last Thursday it was the Mind Your Business Series – Small Business Pitch Graduation Ceremony held at Easter Seals Delaware in New Castle.




WAND = Women Achieving New Directions Program assists entrepreneurs with career readiness/self-employment coaching and development skills.  I have had the privilege of being a Social Media Coach for the past two years and am always so proud of the participants.   You will note, however, that the program is also open to men which is evidenced by the group photos.




YWCA Delaware Wo(men) Achieving New Directions (WAND)  offers support for Self-Employment/Entrepreneurship and Career Readiness.  Each track is designed to help participants,  who are either seeking to start a business, gain entrepreneurial support or develop job seeking strategies with a “hands on approach”.

Most recently, the YWCA Delaware rolled out there fourth, 10-week Mind Your Business Series.  Entrepreneurs are supported in their efforts of part-time or full-time self-employment.  The program provides participants with tools and strategies to help turn a great idea, side job or hobby into a legitimate and profitable business.  Once the participants complete the program they will participate in presenting their business to Marketplace Experts, who will test their business concept.

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The business owner pitches their businesses with a review, that includes their value proposition, competitive analysis, and financials.  Each presenter receives feedback, recommendations and resources to help start, grow or expand their business.  The goal of the program is to create a learning environment for start-ups and help cultivate their knowledge of owning a sustainable business with community and peer support. After the program,  business owners are assisted with the implementation and application phase of turning their dream into a reality.

Both of the WAND Career-Readiness programs, WorkAbility and 21st Century Job Search Strategies,  help those with barriers to employment or  those who are seeking to transfer their skills into new opportunities for upward mobility. Both programs are robust and rich with engaging the participants in learning how to navigate the job search process, depending upon where the individual are in their job search process.  The WorkAbility Series will be presented and open to the community starting May 14th and the 21st Century Job Search Strategies Series will start in late June.  For more information on any of these programs please email or call 302-224-4060, Ext. 203.


As new business owner another important key to success is data management as you need to ensure that you maintain correct and accurate records.  It doesn’t matter if the records are customer files or inventory control, you have to make sure that they are current and reported timely which can also be time consuming.


The same way companies outsource functions like marketing, sales, development and HR, the fastest growing companies are now using 3rd party tools, like Izenda, to cover their reporting and analytics needs. The tools are licensed to a company and can often be completely invisible as a 3rd party product to the end-user. This model lets businesses focus more time on their core product and far less time on dealing with reporting.



Real time data + self service analytics = happy customers

From a critical presentation in the boardroom to a quick check via cellphone, users can create and share their own ad hoc reports, without having to rely on IT.

Their drag and drop platform makes your novice users feel confident but is robust enough to make your power users celebrate. Users can adjust functions, create groupings, format reports, set up filters, create pivot tables, calculate fields, add charts and data visualizations… basically, they can do anything their hearts’ desire when it comes to building the best reports.

To read more and get a Free Trial of Izenda Business Intelligence Software head over to their website today.

Let’s Chat > What do you think are some other factors to consider when launching and/or maintaining a successful business?

Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker For Fun in the Sun

UE Roll 2 Bluetooth Speaker Review

I hope that by the time you read this post the weather will have warmed up and it will officially be considered Spring.  It has been a cold and damp April but now that we are in the month of May, it’s time to clean off the grill and uncover the pool and hang outdoors longer.


I find working outdoors not only cathartic but healthy as well, using muscles and moving the body really gets the blood flowing and having music can make it even better.



Unfortunately, for this review, you will not see the UE Roll 2 Bluetooth Speaker floating across the pool to show that it is waterproof, however, you will see it hanging from a deck post as I uncovered the patio furniture.


outdooor funs with a bluetooth speaker


I have purchased several Bluetooth Speakers in the past but I can honestly say, this is one of the best not only because of its rich sound, but because of its ability to float along as I float or lay poolside.




As you can hear from the following video The UE Roll 2 Bluetooth Speaker has an amazing clear sound and really brings out the quality of your Smartphone.



So as I work outside pulling weeds and preparing the pool for the season, I can listen to my smooth jazz to make my day go better than planned – as long as I stay away from the poisonous plants which seems to find me every season!


Let’s Chat > Are you ready for some fun in the sun?





  • IPX7 rated: UE ROLL can be immersed in liquid up to 1m for up to 30 minutes
  • Maximum sound level: 85dBA
  • Frequency range: 108Hz-20kHz
  • Drivers: one 2″ driver and two 3/4″ tweeters
  • Rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery for up to 9 hours of battery life between microUSB charges (actual battery life will vary with use, settings and environmental conditions)
  • Charge time: 5.5 hours
  • Pair up to 8 Bluetooth enabled devices
  • Connect up to 2 source devices at the same time
  • Wirelessly play (stream) to 2 UE ROLL 2s from 1 source
  • Mobile range of play is up to 30m or 100′
  • For audio playback: smartphones, tablets and other devices that support Bluetooth wireless audio profile (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile; A2DP) or 3.5mm audio output

Mophie Powerstation Plus XL Review


Mophie Powerstation Plus XL Review by the Delaware Blogger



As a Blogger who is always on the go, oftentimes attending all day events, so much so that when I walk into a room the first thing I look for is an electrical outlet, even in church on Sundays.

Sometimes the choir is on fire and I want to capture it all on Facebook Live, however, the last thing I want to happen is for my Smartphone to die before the end of the selection.  




When I was contacted by Verizon Wireless for a new product review, I immediately chose the Mophie Powerstation Plus XL and it definitely came in handy at The State of Our Union: Black Women and Girls in Delaware event at Delaware State University sponsored by NCBW100.




On an early Saturday morning, my girlfriend, Donna and I drove down to Dover for what turned out to be a very informative, educational and enlightening event.  We arrived late, however, was right on time to listen to the “Living Room Conversation” which featured several women speakers including our friends Nicolle Surrette and Taria Prichett and thanks to the Mophie Powerstation Plus XL, I was able to live stream Nicolle’s entire presentation and still have plenty of power left for a lot of pictures afterwards. 




We also arrived in plenty of time to hear the announced acknowledgement of my “big sis” Esther Rich, founder of Special Touch Card Creation, who was chosen this year’s New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year.





The mophie powerstation plus XL is an external battery with over 48 hours of power, easily connects to an Android or iOS Smartphone and it fully charged my phone in less than 2 hours.  


The Rose Gold and White Aluminum finish was nice and Donna really liked the color especially since she is a member of AKA Sorority and their colors are pink and green, however, it is also available in Space Gray.




The mophie powerstation plus XL is made for iPods, iPhones, iPads as well as all Android devices, cameras, headphones, gaming devices and Smart watches, with a suggested retail price is $99.99.


  • 12,000mAh portable battery with build-in switch-tip cable
  • Triple-tested battery ensures peak performance and safe operation
  • 2.1 amp output-charge smartphones or tablets
  • Slim easy-to-carry design and aluminum finish
  • The #1 and most trusted brand in portable power




Let’s Chat > How often does your Smartphone need recharging?




It was a great day to be with old friends and meet new ones.













3 E’s – When Working From Home


Okay, so it has officially been 1 week since I started working from home as the owner of ABlake Enterprises, Social Media Management and Consulting.  

Needless to say, there have been several lessons that I’ve learned in such a short period of time and today I am going to start with the 3 E’s – When Working From Home or in other words “Working From Home Tips from Toni, owner of ABlake Enterprises”.







However, before I get started, let me tell you that this is not the first time that I actually worked from home. Back in 2004, when I was a Procurement Specialist for IBM I worked from home for about a year, and trust me, after that year ended I realized just how hard I had worked.  




Successfully starting your own business entails hard work and long hours which I am willing to do because it’s a direct reward to me and my family and not for someone else, however, I will not make the same mistakes twice.


3 E’s – When Working From Home


Rising at 6:30 am was something that I never did when I worked outside the home so this means that I have also changed my morning routine. After dressing and putting on makeup, yes, no bare face for me, at least not yet, instead of grabbing a mug of coffee and a breakfast bar running to the car for a 50-mile commute, I can now enjoy a sit-down meal. 


After dressing, reading scriptures and praying, I jump start my digestive system with a small glass of lemon water, take my vitamins and then brew a cup of coffee.


A few hours later, hubby and I prepare and enjoy a meal together, he has been retired for a few years so he rises when he wants, none of that waking up at 6:30 jazz, especially after getting up every morning at 5:00 am to pray.




I do have to remind myself to stop mid day for a snack or shake and then shut down at 5:00 p.m. and “leave the office” before dinner, which is now eaten before 8:00 PM!



Unlike being in an office where you can stop at someone’s cubicle to chat, working alone in a home office can be very isolating so it’s important to get up and walk away.  If you remember my Podcast with Dr. Dave, then you know that sitting can be the new smoking and the last thing I need is a bigger blogger’s butt!


I try to get up and walk outside or around the house a few times during the day, stopping sometimes to watch an episode of a “judge show” which I found to be one of hubby’s guilty pleasures.






No, I am not talking about taking in a mid-day movie or sitting on the sofa all afternoon watching television. I have found listening to smooth jazz helps me to concentrate as I work on client’s content and Alexa has my playlist down pat.  


I also take time to listen to informative Podcasts and videos, however, I never start my day without first listening to Les Brown or Tony Robbins on YouTube which is something that I did during my morning commute before I started working from home.


There are many other perks for working from home and I will continue to blog about them as time goes on, however, if you want to read more about how other entrepreneurs have started a successful business, check out Krystal Perkins as she has assisted many with successfully starting a business.




Krystal Perkins is a marketing and Information Technology professional who is based in Sydney, Australia. She has over 15 years experience in digital marketing, strategic marketing, digital inclusion, technology, telecommunications, and IT and related services.    Krystal mentors and coaches local marketing teams to grow their brand and deliver strategic B2B Marketing.

With the assistance of Krystal, numerous entrepreneurs have started a successful business in Australia. She advises most of these business owners that they do not require a lot of capital, however, proper insurance is required, and small marketing purchases including a website, business cards and a design for a logo are necessary.   

To learn more about Krystal Perkins, please head over to her website.

Let’s Chat > Do you have any tips as I continue my journey and work from home?

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