Monya MJ

Monya MJ

A Renaissance Woman

Recent Posts

Food: Beyú Caffè

Food: Beyú Caffè

Food Feature:  Black-Owned Business Beyú Caffè Last year I relocated to Durham County.  I lived in Durham in the early 90’s and I’d frequented the area over the years for Broadway shows and dining out.  Therefore, I was delighted to be back in the area. […]

NCMA Art Preview: The ‘You Are Here’ Experience

NCMA Art Preview: The ‘You Are Here’ Experience

You Are Here: Light, Color, and Sound Experience Earlier this month I got a sneak preview of the “You Are Here: Light, Color, and Sound Experience at the NC Museum of Art (NCMA), Raleigh. This is a mesmerizing and interactive art exhibit that’s truly worth experiencing.  […]

Three Days of No Bull, Big Dreams, and Change

Three Days of No Bull, Big Dreams, and Change

Three Days of No Bull, Big Dreams, and Change

alt="Durham Bull City Blog Monyas Lens"

 

Recently, I attended three distinctive enlightening and energizing events.  These events occurred over the course of three days, resulting in awesome networking and advocacy opportunities.

As a relatively new Durham resident, I’m looking forward to immersing myself in this historically rich and diverse community again (I lived here in my late teens and early 20’s while attending school and later while working in the area).

Over the last 20 years, I lived in a somewhat rural community. Therefore, traveling to the Durham area (and other surrounding cities) was a regular occurrence.

At this season of my life, being back in the center of urban life is a refreshing change of pace. The arts and culture scene, culinary options, notable universities (& their events), advocacy and business opportunities all remind me a little of home, Atlanta.

Since I’ve always enjoyed serving my local community, I’m taking advantage of the many events offered in Durham on any given day to begin making connections again.

Here’s a brief recap of my three days of No Bull, Big Dreams, and Change:

Thursday, March 8:

I attended the Durham Women Take No Bull Durham Chamber of Commerce event at the Carolina Theatre. There were panel discussions from “mature” (the word they used) and younger women business leaders and entrepreneurs during the early morning hours.

alt="Durham Women Take No Bull Recap Monyas Lens"

 

alt="Durham-Women-Panel 1-Monya Lens"
Panel Discussion 1
alt="Durham Women Take No Bull Monyas Lens"
Panel Discussion II

I was truly blessed and amazed by an 11th grade Jordan High School student, Aminah Jenkins. She participated in a one-on-one conversation with the host, Jes Averhart, the Executive Director of the Leadership Triangle.alt="Durham Women Take No Bull Monyas Lens"

Aminah shared practical information on how we can better connect with our youth. She is a brilliant, STEM student; she’s also a leader and is active in her school’s advocacy.

alt=Feel The Fear and Fly Durham Monyas Lens"

This event ended with a luncheon at the Durham Armory. The keynote speaker, Zim Ugochukwu, creator and former CEO of Travel Noire.  Ms. Ugochukwu’s recently sold Travel Noire to Blavity for an undisclosed amount.  She now serves as the Chief Branding Officer for Travel Noire and says she is now living out her best life.

alt="Keynote Speaker Durham Women Zim Travel Noire"
Keynote Speaker, Zim Ugochukwu

Friday night, March 9:

I viewed the motivational Dream, Girl documentary at the Full Frame Theater at the American Tobacco Campus.  This event was sponsored by Dr. Zakiya Leggett, owner of International Minute Press.  It was organized by Ynobe Knows Events (YKE).

alt="Dream Girl Inspire Durham Monyas Lens"
Event Sponsor, Dr. Leggett
alt="Dream Girl Documentary Durham Full Frame Theatre"
Animated Images of Real Women Featured in the Documentary

Saturday, March 10:

My three days of events concluded with the Color of Change Free Brunch Tour at the Millennium Hotel.  This event was lead by passionate leaders from the national organization.  Attendees were also able to hear from local advocacy organization leaders working in collaborative efforts with Color of Change on several collective social (in)justice issues.

alt="Color of Change Durham Brunch Advocacy"

alt="Color of Change Brunch Durham"

All three events were well worth the time and resources to attend.

Look for upcoming posts to learn more about Dr. Leggett, Ms. Averhart, and others as I progress with my black-owned business features segment.

If you know of any organizations in the Durham, Raleigh or Chapel Hill areas you think I should look into, leave a comment or use the contact link to email me.

~MONYA MJ~
INQUIRE. INFORM. INSPIRE.

 

Food: Another Broken Egg Cafe for Brunch

Food: Another Broken Egg Cafe for Brunch

Sunday Brunch: Another Broken Egg Cafe Cary, NC I recently visited Another Broken Egg Cafe, located in Parkside Town Commons, for brunch.  I’ve been to this location twice since relocating; no complaints with the food or the service thus far. Both times I’ve eaten at this […]

It’s Been A Minute!

It’s Been A Minute!

It’s Been A Minute!   Where does the time go?  It’s been a minute since my last blog post. I was about to feature a restaurant and noticed my last post was August of last year! Yikes! I will spare you the excuses, and any […]

Food: La Farm Bakery Tour

Food: La Farm Bakery Tour

Disclaimer: This event was sponsored by La Farm Bakery in collaboration with NC Blogger Network.
Views expressed here are my own.

La Farm Bakery: New Production Facility Tour

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Len

Recently, I took a delightful tour of La Farm Bakery’s new production facility in downtown Cary, NC.  This new cutting-edge bread and pastry production facility, owned by Missy and Lionel Vatinet, opened on June 15, 2017.  According to Lionel Vatinet, a Master Baker, this facility also serves as a research and development lab to work with more grains.  As I listened to Mr. Vatinet, his passion for exploring grains and creating varieties of delicious, fresh baked goods was palpable.

During the tour, Mr. Vatinet detailed the businesses rich history and explained the inner workings of his new facility. 

The original La Farm Bakery, located in  Cary’s Preston’s Corner, opened in 1999.  Since its opening, the Vatinet’s expanded their reach by selling their fresh loaves of bread in 5 Whole Food Markets in the Triangle area, adding a cafe, and a bread truck. 

LaFarm-Bakery-FoodTruck-Monyas-Lens

 

As a part of the tour, Mr. Vatinet demonstrated the best way to cut a loaf of bread.  He also delighted in showing us the importance of smelling freshly cut bread.

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Lens

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Lens

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Lens

Later he shared stories regarding the noteworthiness of bread crust — its sound when cutting and its crunch when eating.

At La Farms each loaf of bread is shaped by hand. The Vatinet’s team of dedicated staff start baking at 2-3am daily to provide fresh baked goods to Whole Foods and their Preston Corners location. 

La Farm-Bakery-Tour-MonyasLens

La Farm-Bakery-Tour-MonyasLens

La Farm-Bakery-Tour-MonyasLens

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Lens

La Farm-Bakery-Tour-MonyasLens

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Lens

La Farm-Bakery-Tour-MonyasLens

It is evident Vatinet loves what he does, takes pride in his craft, and delights in interacting with his community. 

La Farm’s new production facility is well-orchestrated.  This new facility has a separate, temperature controlled pastry room.  It provides ample cooling space to store a variety of grains.  In addition, it has a superior chemical free duct system circulating air throughout the facility to prevent the crust from forming on the dough during the production stage.

This was an informative and fun tour!  Lionel Vatinet enjoys sharing his wealth of baking knowledge with others.

A few years ago he released a book, A Passion For Bread: Lessons from a Master Baker, to share his wisdom.  In addition, La Farm offers regular baking classes where Mr. Vatinet admits he willingly shares recipe secrets.

At the end of our tour, we were treated with an assortment of fresh and favorable sandwiches and pastries.   La Farm-Bakery-Tour

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Len

 

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Len

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Lens

LaFarm-Bakery-Tour-Monyas-Lens

We also received an added bonus: a La Farm gift bag filled with a signature loaf of bread, granola, and an apron.

La Farm Bakery-GoodieBag-Monya

La Farm Bakery-Goodie Bag-Monya-Lens

 

Much thanks to La Farm Bakery and the NC Blogger Network for the opportunity to experience the bakery’s warmth, care, and dedication to the community it serves.

Monya MJ
Inquire. Inform. Inspire.

*Photo Credit: Monya MJ

Food: True Flavors

Food: True Flavors

True Flavors Diner and Catering Durham, NC True Flavors Diner is a charming black-owned restaurant in Durham, NC.  I discovered this neat little diner a few years ago.  One weekend my family was headed out to eat when my son mentioned he was craving chicken and […]


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