Category Archives: Personal stories


Growing up in the 80’s in suburban New Jersey as the only multi-racial family in a predominantly Italian/Irish community wasn’t easy for Mike Emory.  In addition to overcoming aggressive and overt racism from birth, Emory’s family struggled financially,  To make his situation even more difficult, Mike’s family ( on his mother’s side) had a history of mental illness. Growing up as a minority, without means, with an emotionally unsupportive family felt as if he was trapped in the walls of insecurity and uncertainty.

Fortunately, Mike Emory found confidence and a path through the discipline of athletics and through the beautiful expression of his art.  Both of these outlets provided him with a vehicle to process adversity spiritually, mentally, and physically which in turn broke down many of his encumbering walls.

Art was always an organic proclivity for me. By nature, I am a creative person and I love to indulge in any/all activities which allow me to exercise that skill set,” says Emory.

From an early age he recalls the magic of crayons in hand and drawing in his coloring books. “Later, I gravitated to graphite as it was the most accessible medium to exercise my creativity.” He’d spend hours focused in his artistic world of inspiration allowing himself to explore and tap into his deepest, spiritual self.  He credits many of the teachers who recognized his talent and helped foster it along the way.

Mike’s work reflects vivid colors, deep expression, and provocative feelings.  Viewing his pieces the observer can experience the angst, the sadness, the joy, the pure talent which Emory brings alive in his work.  His subjects include icons who define both pop and mass culture.  Through them he develops forms that are absent of logic and are instead based on subjective association which by design challenges the viewer to create, then cultivate personal associations.

I enjoy focusing my talents on intriguing and inspirational subjects that reflect life, passion, complexity, and everything insightful.”

The pandemic has opened his mind and talent to a number of diverse ventures.  His focus during these times has led him to pour his energy into outlets that will allow him to maximize his larger connection to mankind.  “Right now, I’m focused on building an infrastructure that allows for a complete interweaving of my creative, professional, artistic, and spiritual goals.”

Mike advises to be open to exploring any new mediums of expression and build your own personal relativity to it.  Invest time and energy to take chances and move the walls of the box so you are able to expand who you are balancing your life to achieve the best results.

One of Emory’s projects is a direct bi-product of the negative propaganda we, as a society, have been saturated by these past years.  His desire is to offer positive and reaffirming messages to inspire our communities.  What he started as a pure artistic platform of expression has now grown into a much larger social movement.

When asked what can we learn or what actions can we implement to create a world without suffocating walls of negativity Mike gave these 5 steps:

  1. Be Open
  2. Follow your heart and listen to your gut instincts
  3. Focus on the positive and don’t fee into negativity
  4. Trust the universe. The Plan is far greater than anyone can comprehend. Take comfort in knowing that your part is important and essential even if you don’t immediately see it.
  5. Be unrelenting and commit to doing whatever you can as every little bit contributes to the greater good.

We, “the Palm Springs Princesses”, are blessed to call Mike Emory our friend.  Not only does his incredible talents paint our world with beauty but his presence and words wrap us with comfort and calm.

Stay connected to Mike and watch him continue to break down walls letting in the pure light:



Aneka BrownShe rose from a diagnosis of a chronic disease and a bout of depression to standing above the pain with a new found strength.

Aneka Brown was  interested in fashion at an early age.   As a child she enjoyed creating new outfits for her dolls and  the possibility of becoming a designer was born  in her ninth grade Home Economics class.  On a school field trip she was immediately drawn to brightly colored African fabrics.  The attraction to these African fabrics would be reawakened later in her life.

While in college, Aneka pushed the idea of fashion to a wardrobe in the back of her mind as she pursued her degree in early childhood education. She would become the director of the Palm Springs Child Care Development Center and mother to two sons.

It wasn’t until after the medication she was prescribed to control her COPD  and adult onset asthma that the door to the wardrobe swung open.  The prednisone was controlling her lung flare ups but causing massive amounts of weight gain.  The frustration of not being able to find chic clothing sparked her creativity to design a jumpsuit around “hammer pants”.  The idea to conceal this weight gain served as the  catalyst for the birth of Aneka Brown Designs.

Teaching herself how to sketch and finding a factory that would produce the jumpsuit sample in a few different colors was the first step towards not only a change in her attitude but a change in her career.  Once her “sister” Keisha showed interest in the jumpsuit she helped convince Aneka that this was her calling. So with  just $250, Aneka Brown Designs was born.

Her school days attraction to the vibrancy of African Wax Cloth entered back into her artistic vision.  Despite the voices of naysayers who felt using the this cloth would limit her clientele base and telling her to “tone the ethnic” sensibility of her work, she took their words as a challenge to educate.

Aneka buys her fabrics through a fair trade system networking various villages and countries in Africa like Nigeria, Ankara, and Madagascar which are all handmade by women.  The money made here goes back into educating the girls of the villages.  Using the traditional African Wax Fabrics and seeing her creations donned by her clients  brings her a great deal of pride and joy.

Through her designs, Aneka strives to provide positive imagery of African Americans to combat the negative  stereotypes that are propagated and pushed by mainstream media.  Aneka makes it her mission to bring together men and women, a multi-ethnic, multi-age, and multi- clothing size group to represent her line when she composes her fashion shows.  Her goal is to promote UNITY, LOVE, AND RESPECT.

In reviving her love of fashion, advocating for both men and women, all ethnicities and all body types, she learned to love herself.  Aneka continues to persevere through the inspiration from the women she has admired such as Dorothy Dandridge, Nina Simone, Grace Jones, Josephine Baker, Diana Ross and Trina Parks.  She believes there are always goals to reach for and that life should be lived to the fullest.  “I’d love to aim to grow Aneka Brown Designs into a Lifestyle Brand that will one day be on store shelves from Target to Saks.” Aneka not only dreams for a multitude of  people to wear her designs but also for them to celebrate and embrace them.

“It’s always been my belief that education is the only tool that can be used to combat racisms. Learning about, acknowledging and being exposed to different ethnicities makes for a better society.”

When asked for her advice on living life she simply but beautifully says, “Never compromise your values, dreams, or goals. STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF AND TO YOUR WORD.”

Aneka’s words need to be heard by all, often.

You can find Aneka Brown Designs on facebook or at

Shop at her online boutique here: Aneka Brown Designs boutique

Damn, where did the time go?

Well, we’d love to blame the pandemic on our lack of keeping up on this blog but it’s been about 4 years since our last posting.   In a way it feels as if the world stopped turning and time took a left, losing us along the path.

As we try to visualize our last four years we are met with a road block:  Moments, memories, laughs and celebrations from those times seem to be kept behind a securely locked door. All we can view is the last tragedy-filled year, and that is extremely heartbreaking.

Like everyone else we have felt agonizingly sad throughout the unpredictability of each day’s beginning.  We have seen our favorite businesses struggle,  loved ones painfully trudging through depression, family and friends battle the virus with fierce strength, and  some losing to this beast throwing us all upside down and nauseatingly dizzy.

We watched friends become enemies because of social media posts, stinging harsh words hurled at those who disagree about the most mundane topics. And frighteningly, we have reckoned with the filthy re-emergence of racism, prejudice, and disrespect.

We are not going to get political here or express our opinions on what we feel is right or wrong. What we are going to say in this post is that we need to find kindness again, to find a way to speak to each other with calm words. To disagree respectfully without violent threats, and to find another way to reach out in a time when we can’t physically give that desperately needed hug.

So, as you look back at our posts you might not agree with all we have experienced or expressed.  That is fine as long as you respectfully disagree.  All we have written at the time were moments of fun, joy, and light-heartedness. We enjoyed sharing memories made with those once friends and those who are still friends.

And now that we have returned to our blog, we choose to walk out of the darkness and with our new stories bring awareness, bring thought-provoking reads, and simple uplifting ones, too. We hope to share our smiles, offer laughter ( and maybe even some playful eye-rolling),  help you find strength, and an escape from what is weighing you down.

In essence we want to offer kindness, patience, virtual hugs, and a way to get the world to turn gently again leading to a path filled with inspiring new day encounters.



By Melissa Neiderman and Teresa Rogers

Dear late teenage years/early twenty-something Melissa,

That character on your favorite daytime soap opera, you know the one with the great accent, good-looking  with the personality that seems filled with humor, yes, that guy, Scorpio. Well, not only will he become a good friend, but his wife will be one of your very best friends. Yes, seriously, it’s true.


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Dance First, Think Later

“Dance First. Think Later”

   A friend of mine gave me a book by Kathryn & Ross Petras with the above title for my 53rd birthday.  The question that opens to the reader is “How should one live life?” Could you answer that question in one sentence or two?

live life to the fullest quotes (2)

The introduction goes on to say that most of us are obsessed with the “practical” advice about money or success or getting ahead.  With that, we lose sight of the big picture.  What is the big picture to you?

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Melissa’s Story


Teresa and I decided that along with our social events and get together with friends, we would add some personal stories to our blog. It’s easy to assume from our writing about galas, birthday parties, fundraisers, and other social gatherings there is a superficial air about us all. There isn’t.  We don’t take what we are blessed with lightly. We don’t take our family and friends for granted. When we are out we actually discuss sensitive topics that are heartfelt and painful.

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