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Mondays With Michelle: Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween foodie friends!! October 31st is right around the corner... Muwahahahahahaha!

I'm sure a lot of you had some Halloween fun over the weekend, but here are some awesome (and yummy) ideas for some spooky All Hallows Eve dishes for your family and friends...

Sweet Severed Fingers by The Little Ferraro Kitchen

Individual Spooky White Pizzas by The Food Network


How To Walk It Off

This week was not easy. It began on a great note, but Thursday decided to surprise me with a punch that put a hole in my chest in that I can't believe it to the point that I don't notice I'm not breathing, way of surprising you. Something I had been wanting, working for, and hoping for, after months of investment and many prayers, was suddenly gone.

I grieved momentarily, but quickly got over it. Not because I'm special. Not because I have some sort of superior ability to withstand pain. But yes because of my faith, and yes because of the role I play at home. I don't and don't forsee myself ever having the luxury of collapsing in on myself. Too many people under my roof depend on me. Period. If not for money, then for love. If not for love, then for strength. If not for strength, then understanding.

You get what I'm saying.

I was driving on Friday and decided to share what was on my heart with all of you. I mean it and I believe it and I wouldn't have shared it were I not under the belief that it is my duty to share my mess with you guys, my loyal readers, in hopes that I may inspire you to be better men and women and NEVER come down too hard on yourself.

With that said, here is my latest video, Walk It Off.

If I can, you can. Period.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.


AP Husbands: Do It Just Because

A year or so ago, I created the series AP Manhood, as in Advanced Placement, as in the classes only a handful of us got into while in High School and in my case, was occasionally teased about.

Pencil N' Paper

Challenge Number One: Do It Just Because.

This week or upcoming weekend do something around the house or for your wife that noticeably needs to be done that she either asked or didn't ask you to do. Once it's done don't mention it or asked to be thanked. Act as if nothing happened.

Think of it this way to help you in this challenge: Do you do a good job at work just for a raise or accolades or because you also believe in doing a good job and like to put your best foot forward? Because you know it will better who you are in your field. The same should be true of your work as a husband. Don't chase after the reward, just do the job.

Photo Credit: Quacktaculous

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.

Fortune Girls, Inc. Is on To Something: Girl Power

This is not a sponsored post, but as the father of a little girl who is bubbling with confidence I am always on the lookout for ways to nurture that and never let it subside. When Fortune Girls, Inc. approached me I couldn't resist but helping them to share their story. Please continue reading...

How Two Women and a Girl became Fortune Girls

What do you get when you take a girl who has a special gift of drawing, combined with a Mom who discovers her daughter's gift and infuses her professional gift of designing in it, and two Moms who are determined to make a difference in the lives of girls? You get Fortune Girls!


Fatherhood Is...

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.


Mondays With Michelle: Yummy Travels

I have been doing quite a bit of traveling over the last couple of weeks. Denver, Seattle, and then back down south to Destin for a quick weekend getaway. Travel for a foodie like me equals indulging in the local fare and of course lots of enticing food photos.

Check out my delicious journey...

Denver, CO
Denver does beer right! This local pumpkin ale was so good!
To the right is a bison burger with sweet potato tater tots. This was actually
was my first time trying bison... it was divine!


October 11 Is International Day of the Girl

Today in 2012, is the first-ever International Day of the Girl...

As the father of a girl and knowing that my wife was once a girl everyday is Day of the Girl. I can't imagine any harm coming to either of them. But harm comes to girls every day.

Marriage should be a time for celebration and joy – unless you are one of the 60 million girls around the world forced into marriage before the age of 18.

Imagine the life those girls — who are 7, 10 or even 16 years of age — endure. Child brides have a diminished chance of completing their education and are at a higher risk of being physically abused, contracting HIV and other diseases, and dying while pregnant or giving birth.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Help end child marriage visit: http://www.care.org/getinvolved/international-day-of-the-girl/index.asp

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.


#WorkingOutAt40: Mission Accomplished?

I experienced a couple of snafus in the hours before my recent social media presentation in Las Vegas. One of them came about due to my lack of foresight, but more honestly lack of time, to iron the clothing I planned to wear on that Sunday morning. Instead I rifled through what I could find that didn't look like it had been slept in or simply, not ironed --- one of my favorite shirts and a pair of boot cut jeans I bought this past spring that are typically reserved for my high tops or boots.

Eh, nobody has time for all that, I thought as I forced everything into my bag and packed up all my camera equipment and electronics in order to beat the mandated check-out time of 11 a.m. and start talking at 11 a.m.

My presentation began at 11:20 am and all I wanted to do was sit at the edge of the stage and talk the way a lounge singer does when they get intimate with their crowd. My only problem was that I was in a grand ballroom and although the crowd was intimate they were all sitting comfortably in the back and I would've been out of sight had I sat down on the edge of the stage.


Five Years Ago Today...

As of 4pm today, October 6th, I will have been married for 5 years. I remember the ceremony like it was yesterday. The rhythmic beat of the Atlantic against Barbados' South Coast shore. I can smell the sea water in the air and feel the occasional breeze that came to cool me from the intensity of the sun. Surrounded by friends and family my wife and I were wed. Although we had known each other for years in advance of Our Loving Day (as our daughter calls it) I remember how brand new I felt when the ceremony was over and how alone I felt. I had been a Man, was already a Dad and now I was a Husband with no playbook and very little direction. At weddings the focus will always be on the bride. But the husband is there too --- often contemplating his new life, his new wife and how he's going to be the man of the house, and maybe even licking some wounds. I lost a couple friends along the way to getting married and was caught off guard as to how un-supportive family can be. The trappings of a wedding can overwhelm the point of a wedding --- the two people who desire to become one. But God had me in the palm of His hand and still does to this day. He works on my heart every second of every hour. I am full of praise and thanksgiving. Though I am no where close to being perfect or righteous, I wouldn't be the man I am today were I not married. Being accountable to woman is a true test of a man that statistics show most fail (and vice versa). I'm thankful for her and the kids she has given me.

Photo Courtesy, Ross Oscar Knight Photography copyright 2007.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.


Being #Blogalicious12 in Vegas

This year I had the honor, the absolute honor of attending the Blogalicious 2012 Conference. But it didn't end there, no it had barely begun. Early in the year with on the recommendation of a fellow blogger, the tech officianado, TechSavvyMama, I secured a slot on the conference agenda as a speaker discussing the topic of storytelling --- something I do here everyday. But trust, I don't say that as if storytelling is easy or blahze, but rather I'm glad to be in the position to now be able to share something I have bled and sweat through.

But it didn't end there, no it truly hadn't begun. I also had the pleasure of securing the position of Official Conference Photographer on the recommendation of another Blogger, the super duper Travel Mami, my hermana from another mother, Carol Cain.

By now you should be able to see that if used for good, social media can be a very edifying, gratifying and potentially financially lucrative experience. So rather than continue to type and narrate I want to tell the story of my first trip to Vegas, albeit a working trip, via pictures and video.

I got the ball rolling a week in advance by introducing myself to the #Blogalicious World in an effort to build awareness and buzz around me, my brand (blog) and me as the photographer.


Mondays With Michelle: October Food Festivals

Happy Monday, Foodie Friends!

There are some very fun, very yummy events coming up this weekend that I absolutely have to share. What better way to get through the week (especially a rainy Monday) than to daydream about some weekend fun?

The first event is The Atlanta Greek Festival...

October 4- October 7

5pm - 10pm Thursday
11am - 11pm Friday & Saturday
11am - 7pm Sunday

Greek Orthodox Cathedral
2500 Clairmont Road, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30329
Exit #91 off I-85
(On Clairmont Rd. between Briarcliff Rd. and LaVista Rd.)

Tickets are only $5 and you can get $1 off if you purchase online here. (Tickets are for admission only, food items and other shopping are for sale.)

I have said many of times, I was definitely Greek in a former life because I just LOVE Greek food. It's flavorful and hearty and just down right YUMMY! This event is packed with Greek Culture-- Food, dancing, more food and more dancing! I love this event because it's not as over crowded as some. You can browse some of the vendors, buy some food then sit and watch some of the festivities.  The food is worth going alone, but if you have the courage you should join one of the many dancing circles that pop up while you are there. OPA!

The next event is the famous Taste of Atlanta...

October 6- October 7

Saturday, October 6: 11am - 6pm
Sunday, October 7: 11am - 6pm

Tech Square in Midtown Atlanta (5th Street from Techwood to West Peachtree Street and Spring Street from Biltmore Place to Armstead Avenue.)

$25 for general admission (includes 10 taste tickets. Extra "taste tickets" can be purchased 10 for $10 or 20 for $20)

If you have never been to the the Taste, you should definitely go. It's a bit crowded and a tad overwhelming, but it is soooo much fun to taste food from so many different vendors. There is a whole list of over 80 great restaurants and other eatery's that will be present. You will find that your taste tickets will go quickly, but you can always get more. There are also several demonstrations and other fun things going on. Check out the schedule and have a great time!

Which festival are you going to be going to this weekend? Post your comments below!

Don't forget to visit my Foodie Blog for more recipes, food tips and other foodie fun. 

See you back here on Monday, October 15th... Thanks for reading!

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @EPayneTheDad.