August 2014 archive

Breast cancer survivor Demarish Ruffin-Smith’s story of hope

Demarish Ruffin-Scott with sons Rich, 13, left, and Reese, 9.

Shelby County’s Demarish Ruffin-Smith today with sons Rich, 13, left, and Reese, 9. They were 8 and 4 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.

By Chanda Temple

Break out the pink. Demarish Ruffin-Smith is celebrating a five-year anniversary today.

She found a lump in her right breast on Aug. 6, 2009 and had a double mastectomy 20 days later. She’s been breast cancer free ever since.

“Most of the time, people are estatic to make it to the five-year mark. Depending on what kind of cancer you have, it can come back,” said Demarish, 43 and a married mother of two sons living in Shelby County, Ala. “I just thank God every day for waking me up.”

Though the lump she found in her right breast was cancer that was in the  early stage and the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes, she wanted to reduce any chances of the cancer returning. She opted for a double mastectomy.

For Demarish, the decision for a double mastectomy was easy. At the time of the diagnosis, her sons were 4 and 8. She wanted to be around to see them grow up. It was a decision that worked for her. Each woman, she said, has to do what works best for them.

“I know there are many other life-threateing diseases. Some people, unfortunately, will not have my outcome,” she said. “I caught it early because I know my body and lead a healthy lifestyle. My prayer is that no matter what your diagnosis is and what course of action you choose to take, that you become an educated patient.”

“Know your options,” she said. “Decide what’s right for you and put your boxing gloves on every day.”

She offers six breast cancer survivor tips:


Monday Motivation: How Comedian Roy Wood Jr. Stays on His Grind

2015 update on Roy Wood Jr.: On Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, Roy Wood Jr. joined Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” as a correspondent. He moved from L.A. to New York to take on the new assignment. The show airs at 10 p.m. CDTFor more info on his new job, go here.

By Chanda Temple

Whenever I need a good laugh, I can count on comedian Roy Wood Jr.

His CDs and stand-up gigs always bring the funny, as do his posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But what Roy is also good at is motivating others. During a recent interview, I realized just how good when I asked him how he stays on his grind as he pursues his acting career on TBS’ “Sullivan & Son,’’ public appearances and comedy tours across America.

“Everybody says that they are just waiting for their light at the end of the tunnel. For me, the light in my tunnel is the train coming up from behind, threatening to run me over if I don’t keep moving,’’ said Roy, 35. “I’m running blindly in the dark, but I’ve never felt more alive.’’

Here are five of Roy’s tips on how he stays ahead of the train:


Motivation Monday: Turn your passion into profits

By Chanda Temple

If you’re still a little blurry on what your passion is, entrepreneur and digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong could help put things into focus.

Starting today, Mario kicks off his Never Settle Club, a free, five-week program designed to help people identify their passion and monetize it. People may sign up at, share their ideas and get feedback from others. The idea of such a community connection, which has its own Facebook page and #neversettleclub hashtag, is to offer powerful advice, resources and homework to build bridges to success. There will also be weekly chats with Mario.

With the help of AT&T, Mario offered such a program this summer. He’s back at it this month. Why? Because he said he feels like there’s an “obligation’’ to help other people live their purpose.

As someone who’s recovered from a failed business venture and a layoff years ago, he hopes the knowledge shared will open doors for others. Currently, he’s an Emmy Award-winning tech commentator for the TODAY Show, CNN, HLN and Fuse. He recently started writing a column for Men’s Fitness magazine.

“I want people to be successful and be happy, living life on purpose,’’ he said in an Aug.11 video included at the top of this post. He added that the program is for people with all kinds of visions and even those still trying to discover their passion.

So how do you find your passion, which is something that should excite and motivate you to live it each day? Mario offers these eight tips:


Oprah Winfrey and my happiness journal

Oprah Winfrey has encouraged me to keep a happiness journal.  Image from Canburak via Flickr/CreativeCommons.

Oprah Winfrey has encouraged me to keep a happiness journal.
Image from Canburak via Flickr/CreativeCommons.

By Chanda Temple

I’ve always wondered why people kept journals. Sure, I used to write in a diary as a kid. But once I got to high school, I stopped. I no longer saw a need to write down my daily thoughts.

But after watching a 2007 episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” today on a 2012 repeat of OWN TV’s “The Best of The Oprah Show,” I’m a believer in the power of the journal. I’ll be starting mine today. (more…)

11 ways to write good content for your blog

Keep your blog golden with good content.  Image via Flicker/Creative Content.

Keep your blog golden with good content.
Image from Flicker/Creative Content via Kris Olin

By Chanda Temple 

I was on a WordCamp Birmingham panel today in downtown Birmingham, Ala. to talk about how to write creative content for a blog. Here are some things that have worked for me:

  • Write it down

When you get an idea, even if it wakes you up out of your sleep, write it down on paper. Sometimes, these are some of the best ideas or headlines for blog posts.

  • Everyone has a story

It’s left up to you to decide if their story is good enough to tell. I’ve written posts based on information from workshops, teleconferences, standing in the checkout line, trends, news, television shows, etc. Stories are out there. You just have to find them.


I started a blog and this happened…

I'll be on a WordPress blogging panel on Aug. 16, 2014

Our handout for today’s session. So proud to be on a WordPress blogging panel with these fine folks today.

By Chanda Temple

In a few hours, I’ll be on a panel for a WordPress conference in Birmingham, Ala. to share thoughts on what I love: to write.

Writing is my passion. It’s what wakes me up in the morning and puts me down at night. So imagine my joy when I was invited to be on a blogging panel for WordCamp Birmingham, a workshop packed with tips for beginner and advanced bloggers, designers and developers. For an all-day conference that’s only $20 and also comes with a lunch, it’s the Deal of the Day.


How WordCamp Birmingham will rock your blogging world

WordPress logo.  Image from  Flickr/Creative Commons.

WordPress is a popular online website creation tool that many bloggers use.
Image by Phil Oakley for Flickr/Creative Commons.

By Chanda Temple

Last summer, I attended a cool conference known as WordCamp Birmingham, which is sort of like a blogging bootcamp for WordPress users. And even though I didn’t have a blog at the time, I took enough notes to fill up a blog for days.

My biggest lesson from last year’s conference came when I heard someone say, “Stop waiting to get your website ‘pretty’ or ‘just right’ before you start blogging. It won’t happen, so you might as well get to writing now. The ‘pretty’ will come later.” (I launched my blog this summer, tweaking the look along the way. I think I used four themes before settling with the current one.)

Straight talk like that will likely be back this year when WordCamp Birmingham returns on Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Harbert Center in downtown Birmingham. Admission is $20. Sessions will focus on helping beginners set up their own website and give them tools to make it successful.

Jump into WordPress. The water's fine.  Photo from HubSpot.

Jump into WordPress. The water’s just fine.
Photo from HubSpot.

If you are new to blogging, you don’t want to miss the sessions, especially the 9:30 a.m. panel discussion with Karla Archer, Wade Kwon, Williesha Morris and moi. Wade will address marketing your blog, Karla will address blog design, Williesha will address blogging for pay and I’ll discuss creating content. It should be fun because these panelists have their pulse on the blogging world and WordPress. I’m just honored to be in their presence. (Go here to see the schedule.)

The panel and other speakers will offer helpful tips that you’ll cherish. I should know. I still have last year’s tips Karla, a Birmingham web designer and lifestyle blogger, gave on blogging. To get you prepped for Saturday, here’s some of her advice.


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