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T.J. Maxx Road to Real: Road to New York!

Where'd I leave you guys last?

So... It was here. T.J. Maxx Road to Real campaign was here. All of the details for our New York trip had been coordinated and my mom & I were beyond excited for what was to come. Even though I was well travelled, this would be the first time that my mom would get to travel with me and see me in this particular light. The light that others saw. I mean, my mom is nothing short of amazing, but even as the most amazing mom, it has been hard for her from time to time to understand the career and journey that I have chosen. She was still holding out for me to be a mathematician. LOL.

It was time to travel to New York. The day before we left I let my mom know that a car would be picking us up from our house to transport us to the airport. She called everyone she thought would pick up to tell them. When I say she was excited, it's an understatement. The next morning a black town car picks us up and we hurriedly hop in grinning from ear to ear at each other. We grinned all the way to New York. Once we landed, there was a driver waiting for us with a "Ms. Nakhid" sign and my mom almost freaked out. If I would have known that a man with my name on a sign would make her feel the way it did... I would arrange for a guy to stand outside her job with a sign that has both our names on it everyday. We pull up to our hotel, Hotel Gansevoort. It was beautiful and our room was extraordinary. There was a note left for me and a gift-card to cover any of our minor expenses. We settled in and then put on our shoes to take a venture in the Meatpacking District where our hotel was located. This was only the beginning and there was more to come the following morning when we would get to see the actual Gallery Exhibit dedicated to T.J. Maxx Road to Real Campaign.

The day had come. The glam squad arrived early that morning to beautify us. I can't lie to you guys, I had to eat an edible because I was soo nervous and anxious. When we were all ready we headed to the lobby to meet with the other 4 ladies and their guests. Then we all walked over to the Sky Gallery which was about a block from the Gansevoort. We arrived before all the guests and had breakfast with Katherine, Andrea, a few of the ladies that worked to put the campaign together and some of the T.J. Maxx executives. There was also a special guest that I had not anticipated. Tai Beauchamp *fan girl moment* who hosted the event. This lady had spoken to me indirectly through her work over the years and unbeknownst to her, I might be one of her biggest fans. This whole experience just kept getting better and better.

After we browsed the gallery at all of the images and words of real women who inspire and encourage, the press arrived. The other ladies and I were escorted to a table together to watch the finished product of the campaign. But, before they played the video we all got to share a little bit about ourselves over giggles and tears. There are no words for how strong these women were. What we all were overcoming and achieving in pursuit of our happiness was remarkable to me. Even though this was the first time I had ever met these women, it was as if we had a sisterhood of triumph. Our stories, tears, hurdles and unwillingness to give up had given us a bond that we could have never expected. Finally, it was time to see what these women and T.J. Maxx had created with our words, stories and imagery. We watched the video. *jaw drops* It was beautiful. I was on a high... and guess who was dead front and center? ME! All I could do was look at my mom's face. She was beaming with pride. When the video was over, I got to share my career intentions with my idol Tai and she gave me some words of encouragement and her number. HER NUMBER! I wished the day wouldn't end. My mom and I went on to have lunch before I had to return for an interview with Marie Claire. You heard me right. All of these people wanted to hear my story. My story. And my mom got to witness it all.

After the final interview, my mom and I walked the streets of New York like giddy kids. We walked from Meatpacking District almost all the way to Times Square, then to Chelsea Pier. We had crepes and rode the carousel on the river, just the two of us. On the walk back my mother told me how proud she was of me. It finally made sense to my mom. All of my life's work. To create, inspire, grow and help others grow as well. She got it and that is what I am most thankful for about the whole experience. I will forever be grateful to the young beautiful red-head, Nicole, that stopped my sister and I in T.J. Maxx that day. She may never know the impact that this journey had on me and those around me. And just like that, it was all over and time to go home. The next morning the ladies and I said our goodbyes, hugged, exchanged contact information and headed in all of our different directions feeling connected by the invisible thread of female strength.

As we headed home, I looked over the photos and videos that I had taken and I just reflected. I reflected on where I want this journey of life to take me, I reflected on my intentions, my career, and what's next? So, what's next?... hmmmm

Check out the photos above and the T.J. MAXX Road to Real campaign below, leave comments and let me know what you think. Thank for stopping by. TTYL

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