Latest Article Get our latest posts by subscribing this site

Martini Break!!!

Coconut Lime Martini

It’s Thursday. The heat has subsided. The weekend is upon us. So is August. 

Now what?

It’s time for a new martini recipe courtesy of the Martini Chronicles! This week, I thought I’d go for a tropical theme. After all, I would love to be on a tropical island somewhere…sitting on a beach chair…with my sunglasses…near an ocean with blue water…with a frozen drink in one hand…and my iPad in the other. Wishful thinking.

Since my island fantasy is not remotely realistic, I will settle for a really tasty martini. As such, I present the Coconut Lime Martini, inspired by my longing for a relaxing vacation. My hope is that you enjoy the intermingling of the coconut and lime flavors, and that it rejuvenates you over the weekend as you prepare for another work week. Fair enough? Perfect! Now go!


2 oz Coconut Flavored Vodka

1 oz Coconut Flavored Rum

1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

½ oz Rose’s® Lime Juice


Lime Wedges for Garnish


1. In a shaker, combine Vodka, Rum, Fresh Lime Juice, Rose’s® Lime Juice, and Ice. Shake!

2. Strain mixture into a chilled martini glass.

3. Garnish with a lime.

There you have it! The Coconut Lime Martini is your key to the perfect island fantasy…kind of! Enjoy! And Drink Responsibly!

About the Bar Exam...

My Lucky Bar Exam Shirt courtesy of
There’s something about the last week of July that resonates with me. It was almost 6 years ago this week when I stepped into Madison Square Garden to take my first Bar Examination. Fresh off of the daunting feat of completing and graduating from law school two months prior, the Bar Examination is the culmination of 3 years or blood, sweat, and tears….literally!

And then there’s the two months of intense studying. Bar classes, endless practice exams, and multiple MBE questions. There are good moments, and bad moments. There are nagging doubts as to whether you can actually do this. And then there are instances when you know you can. The act of studying for a bar exam invokes several distinct emotions, all at the same time. You are happy to have completed law school, but afraid of what lies ahead. You are apprehensive, yet optimistic. You are one of thousands in the same predicament, yet you feel lonely and isolated. The myriad of emotions is common. And it all leads up to big exam during the last week of July.

This week, law school graduates all over the country will be taking the Bar Exam. Right now, thousands of eager, soon-to-be lawyers are settling into a routine that will repeat itself over the next few days: study, panic, study some more, panic some more, sleep, panic again, sleep some more, awake, and test. The one consistent emotion is fear, and a sense of “did I do everything I could do.” I am way too familiar with this feeling…been there, done that, wrote and starred in the made-for-TV movie. For all of you future esquires preparing to take one of the most important examinations of your life, please let me offer you these words of encouragement:

1. You know more than you think you do!

2. Don’t walk into the examination room with a defeated attitude. Own the fact that you are about to smash this test!

3. You are built for this! You made it through law school, now cross the finish line!

4. HE will never put more on you that you can bear.

Now go ahead and kick the Bar Exam’s ass! Do it like you’re doing it for TV! I’ll be waiting for you on the other side with a glass of your favorite martini to welcome you into an illustrious and exclusive group! Good Luck!

P.S. A special good luck goes out to Carly, Tamika, Darenda, and Luc!

Martini Break...Heat Wave Edition!!!

Frozen Chocolate Martini

Ummm…..what is up with this heat? Seriously! It is ridiculously hot...and humid…my hair is frizzy…I can’t wear makeup because I am continuously sweating it off…did I mention that it is ridiculously hot? 

As I sat in my car this morning dreading the fact that I had to leave the AC and step into the heat, I started to think of today’s martini recipe. I had originally planned to post another sweet, yet potent, recipe for my fellow Professional Divas. And then, I stepped out of my car, and into the heat, and I instantly changed my mind. A fruity martini no longer seemed appropriate. I decided at that very moment that a frozen martini was the way to go. Hence, the Frozen Chocolate Martini! This recipe is cool, tasty, and quick! Not much movement is necessary (as movement creates more heat). Just pull up to the blender with your ingredients, blend, and head back to cooler pastures. Now…..go!

2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 oz Vanilla-flavored Vodka
1 Package of Hot Chocolate Mix
1 Cup of Milk
1 Cup of Ice
Milk or Dark Chocolate Shavings for Garnish

1. Chill martini glass for at least 1 hour.
2. In a blender, combine Bailey’s, Vodka, Hot Chocolate Mix, Milk, and Ice. Blend until mixture is smooth.
3. Pour mixture into chilled martini glass.
4. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

Enjoy the Frozen Chocolate Martini, and enjoy your weekend! Drink Responsibly!

To Whom Much Is Given...

Very rarely do I find myself in a position where I am speechless. It just doesn’t happen! I am generally capable of expressing myself easily, so you can imagine how I felt when I found myself speechless. Let me back up and explain.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at the NJLEEP Summer Law Institute. The New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project (NJLEEP) is a not-for-profit organization that provides minority students with the skills necessary to obtain academic success in college and in law school. NJLEEP has implemented various programs to foster this goal, including the Summer Law Institute (SLI). The SLI is a five-week criminal law program for students entering the ninth grade. These students are all residents of Newark and the surrounding areas. As part of the curriculum, SLI invites members of the legal community to come and speak with students about their career paths and current professions, and answer various questions posed by the students.

As I traveled to Seton Hall University School of Law, where the SLI Program is held, I was excited to interact with the students, but I was not prepared for the feeling that overcame me afterwards. I spent the first 10 minutes of my allotted hour introducing myself to the students, and giving a brief synopsis of my resume. I spent the next 30 minutes cautioning the students about their use of social media tools, and the pitfalls of not securing their accounts from the general public (it sounds heavy, but it really wasn’t!). The students were engaged, and they asked a myriad of questions regarding this subject matter. But this was not the impressive part.

After I concluded my presentation, I opened the floor for the students to ask me whatever questions they wanted….and they did! They asked me about the colleges I applied to when I was in high school; what classes I took in high school to prepare for college; what made me choose political science as a major; should they be taking AP courses; did I get loans to finance my education; did I work while I was in college; what would I be doing if I did not become a lawyer. I was not only impressed by the quantity of the questions, but I was blown away by the quality of the questions. Remember, these kids are entering the ninth grade, and they were so focused on what they consider the obvious next step….college! It made my heart smile to see that these students made a choice to take their education seriously at such a young age. I don’t think I was that focused at that age….in fact, I know I wasn’t! I also know that these students did more for me yesterday than I did for them. They made me hopeful for our future. They also reminded me of the old saying “to whom much is given, much is required.” Can we talk about that for a second?

As professionals, we are fortunate to have obtained positions in our respective fields after years of schooling, interning, test taking and “paying dues.” The truth is that all of this means nothing if we don’t give back to those who are trying to do the same thing. Remember, giving back does not always mean donating money…donating your time is just as good, and sometimes better. It felt good to look out at a sea of faces that looked like mine, and give them a little bit of information to consider as they begin preparing for their eventual career. I feel like I made a difference, and all it took was 1 hour. I even received a letter from one of the students asking if I would mentor her…what an awesome feeling!

I say all of this to encourage you all to take a second to appreciate your success, and then take some more time to give back to those who are making their way up the ladder. You have no idea how valuable it is to share your experiences with those hoping to follow in your footsteps. The reception you get from sharing your experiences may leave you feeling like I did when I left these students….speechless! 

I congratulate NJLEEP for its commitment to the Newark community. I applaud the staff of college and law students and legal professionals for their dedication to these students and their education. I was honored and humbled to be a part of such a dynamic program dedicated to nurturing dynamic students.

If you are interested in learning more about and/or donating to NJLEEP, please visit their website at:

Summertime Nostalgia

Summer is in full swing! And with the summer comes plenty of family reunions, barbeques, weddings, and after-work happy hours. As I prepare to head to a family reunion next weekend, I started thinking of those songs that seem to get the Summertime festivities started. You know the ones I’m talking about don’t you? Those songs that force everyone to hit the proverbial dance floor, and party until the sun comes up (or until they pass out, whichever comes first!). 

As a self-proclaimed music junkie, I am always aware of those songs that evoke some sought of emotion within me. In the spirit of sharing, I want to share 6 tracks that spark Summertime nostalgia. Whenever I hear these songs, I automatically think of sunshine, and barbeque charcoal, and the beach, and rooftop parties, and summer cruises, and family reunions… I can go on and on, but I won’t! Instead, check out 6 of my favorite Summertime tracks!

6. Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffith – Guaranteed to jumpstart any party, barbeque, baby shower, wedding, funeral...well, maybe not a funeral. But The Electric Boogie (affectionately known as the Electric Slide) and its accompanying dance is a favorite for all seasons. If you don't know the steps, check them out in the video below!


5. Cupid Shuffle by Cupid – Dubbed the modern day Electric Slide, the Cupid Shuffle is another song, and dance, that will get everyone off the lawn chairs. No need to worry about learning the steps to this dance….the song will show you the way!

4. P.Y.T. by Michael Jackson – The late, great Michael Jackson released this track in 1983, and it has been getting booties on the dance floor ever since. And there's something about the Summertime that gives this track an extra something. MJ may be gone, but this classic lives on! 

3. Before I Let Go by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly – Have you ever been at a function when the first beat of this song drops? Instant pandemonium! I guarantee that everyone at your event will know the words…all of them…and will be singing them out loud…off beat…but out loud nonetheless!

2. Music by Erick Sermon – A brilliant collaboration between the veteran rapper and the late Marvin Gaye. This song is as smooth and laid back as a Classic Martini. And adding Marvin’s melodic vocals to the Erick Sermon’s easy flow…Brilliant!

1. Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – No song has ever made me happier about Summer than this classic track by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. The whole song is pure perfection! From Kool & the Gang’s Summer Madness sample, to the Fresh Prince’s simple and relateable lyrics, this song oozes pure happiness and fun.  This song has marked the beginning of the Summer for me since 1991, and the world around me seems to miraculously brighten when it comes on. Every lyric brings back a fond memory and sparks nostalgia. In my humble opinion, this is Summer's them song…second to none!

Martini Break!!!

Bay Breeze Martini

Simplicity. This little word has been my mantra this week. This week, I’ve encountered a myriad of situations that required me to employ the simplest means to obtain maximum results. Isn’t it always like that though? In my profession, I often look for a solution in the most complicated and difficult places…even when the best solution is right in front of you. Simple.

In the spirit of simplicity, this week’s recipe is simple and quick. The Bay Breeze Martini is a variation of the classic cocktail, and is actually one of the simplest cocktail recipes that I remember from bartending school. It is also quite refreshing, and perfect for the warm weather. After a long week full of simple encounters, the Bay Breeze Martini seems appropriate. Enjoy!


3 oz Your Favorite Vodka
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
½ Teaspoon of Sugar
Lime Wedges for Garnish


1. In a shaker, combine Vodka, Cranberry Juice, Pineapple Juice, sugar and Ice. Shake!
2. Pour mixture into a chilled martini glass.
3. Garnish with a lime.

Sweet…Sour…Simple! Have a fabulous weekend! And Drink Responsibly!

Diva Spotlight!!!

Kia Smith

Greetings Divas! It has been a while, but it’s time to catapult yet another fabulous lady into the Diva Spotlight! For those of you who are new to the Martini Chronicles, the Diva Spotlight introduces you to some of the most dynamic and successful professional women in various sectors of the business world. I completely believe that fabulousness should not be contained, and that I should highlight the accomplishments of my fellow Professional Divas who are dedicated to being the best at what they do.

This time, I am so excited to introduce you to Kia Smith. Kia hails from Gadsden, Alabama, and is a freelance writer and editor. Kia earned her B.A. in English from Spelman College (Go JAGUARS!), and her M.A. in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University. Additionally, Kia is the Founder and Executive Director of DRIVEN Youth, Inc., a mentoring and youth development organization that partners with urban high schools to provide college preparatory services and develop student leaders who will promote change in their communities.

We put Kia in the “Haute Seat,” and here’s what she had to say:

1. Can you give a description of what you do in your current position?

A a writer and editor, I work with a variety of organizations and publishers to produce and edit copy. Services offered include:
  • Advertisements
  • Annual Reports
  • Biographies
  • Blogs
  • Copyediting
  • Dissertation Editing
  • Fundraising Kits
  • Magazine Features and Articles
  • Manuscript Editing
  • Media Kits 
  • Web Copy
As Founder and Executive Director of DRIVEN Youth, Inc., I am responsible for developing the organization's programs and running its day-to-day operations.

2. Please give a summary of your resume, and how you landed at your current position.

My resume reads like a fruit salad with lots of seemingly random experiences that mix wonderfully together and provide me with everything I need in order to do exactly what I am doing today.

In college I fell in love with two things: writing and music. I began working as a freelance writer for a number of local publications. I also worked record promotions for a local promotions company and interned with Def Jam Recordings. Upon graduating in 2004, I combined my writing, public relations and promotions experience and started Kia Smith Communications, a boutique communications firm. While running Kia Smith Communications, I also became the founding editorial manager of Black Health Magazine and Household Publishing, where I developed a nationwide publication and edited a number of non-fiction books.

In 2008, my desire to work with kids called me into the classroom, and I began teaching high school literature and journalism for Clayton County Public Schools in metro-Atlanta. After three years in the classroom, I felt the urge to do less formal teaching and more mentoring and developing. At that point, I quit steady and stable employment, founded DRIVEN Youth, Inc., and dived back into the world of freelancing.

My eclectic experiences have been an absolutely wonderful ride that has brought me before media personalities, Grammy Award-winning artists, U.S. Ambassadors, New York Times bestselling authors and young, bright thinkers who will one day change the world.

3. What professional accomplishment makes you the proudest?

Founding DRIVEN Youth, Inc., has to be my proudest professional accomplishments. The writing, celebrities and red carpets are nice, but nothing is more fulfilling to me than mentoring and developing youth. I love the way their eyes light up when they learn something new or when they get one step closer to accomplishing their dreams. This is what I was born for.

4. What is the one thing you know now that you wished you knew at the beginning of your career?

I wish I had known the importance of networking at the beginning ofcareer!!! Until recently, I have been the absolute worse networker in the world! And a lot of that came from my own insecurities and not knowing how to sell myself. But once I realized that: 1) I am good at what I do, and 2) God placed me here for a reason, networking became much easier. Yes, I still get nervous, but in the word's of Joyce Meyers, I "do it scared." I'm God's girl, so I can't lose! 

5. What is your advice for women who would like to enter into your profession?

The industry is small so ALWAYS carry yourself with integrity. Don't look at those in your field as competition. They are your partners, so I always treat them as such. They are the same individuals who will recommend you for a job or introduce you to a connect. You are your only competition. Work every day to be better than you were the day before.

6. How do you balance your career with your personal life?

Honestly, this is a struggle for me. I tend to throw myself headfirst into whatever I'm doing at the time. If I'm editing a manuscript a may forget to cook dinner (hard to believe, right?) or if I'm cleaning house, I may become so engaged that I won't stop for 6 hours. To combat this, I over plan. I have to-do lists, I schedule everything and I set time deadlines. I don't go to bed until the to-do lists are complete and I move on to the next task when the timer goes off. That's my neurotic way of maintaining some sort of balance in my life.

7. What do you do in your spare time? 

I spend a lot of my spare time with my 11-year-old son, Cameron. I also love listening to music, shopping and traveling.

8. What personal accomplishment makes you the proudest?

The personal accomplishment I'm proudest of is the relationships I've developed with my "kids" over the years. In my three years of teaching, I've collected an entire tribe of kids, and I'm immensely proud of the honest and sincere relationships we have been able to build. Nothing makes me smile harder than the phone calls, texts, tweets, Facebook messages and emails I receive from my kids. I'm humbled that they trust me with their secrets and are open to accepting my raw (and often harsh) advice.

Among the two that make me smile the most are Cameron and Princeton, the son I birthed and the son I claim. When I no longer feel like doing this for me or for the world, I do it for them. These two make me better. All my kids make me better, and I'm immensely proud to be a part of their world.

9. Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years, professionally and personally?

Professionally, I would love to be the hip-hop version of Oprah. I've been saying this since college. I want to build platform and brand that is constantly placing positive media in front of the hip hop generation and encouraging them to live their best life ever. If I can use the platform God gives me to build up others, I will have accomplished God's purpose for my life.

Personally, I want to be happy, I want to know joy and I want to have peace. I want to be married with children (3 boys, 1 girl), connected to all my kids, enjoying every moment of life and deeply in love with God.

10. What else do you want our readers to know about you and/or your career path?

My career path has never been about stability or getting rich. It's always been about going where God says go and doing what He placed me on earth to do. And I am confident that if I chase Him and follow His path for my life, I'll get all the extra stuff people spend a lifetime chasing (Matthew 6:31-33).

11. What is your favorite martini?

Apple Martinis are my favorite, but I'm a tequila girl, so I prefer a top shelf margarita on the rocks...salt always.

I don’t know about you Divas, but I am so ridiculously impressed with Kia. She epitomizes the many reasons why I created the Diva Spotlight. I hope that my Divas-In-Training subscribers take note of Kia’s drive and work ethic, and apply these principles as they chase their professional dreams.

Kia is always looking for new clients. Please feel free to Email her at to get started on your project. She also would love to hear your comments! Email her at

Finally, don’t forget to check out Kia’s blog Kia Speaks at

Copyright © Professional Diva - All Rights Reserved
Proudly powered by Blogger