Hashtag Blessed: Still Giving Thanks


Before we get started, let’s take a closer look at that hoodie!

Ah yes, another edition to the Michael Jackson wing of my closet.  Ha, I love it!  It’s so loud and obnoxious…just like me!

Anyway, welcome back to #DoubleFML FatDarrellPalooza!

DoubleFML (2)Wow, it’s December already?  If feels like just yesterday that I was bragging about being ahead with my Christmas purchases but now I suddenly feel behind. 

I’ll have to do another wave of shopping this week but not today.  This is the first chance I’ve had to relax since last week so I’m taking full advantage of it! 

DoubleFML3 (2)Aside from trips to the bathroom, I might not move from this couch until tomorrow! 

That reminds me, I finally need to invent that toilet sofa recliner I’ve joked about over the years.  Hmm…

Anyway, as mentioned, I’ve had quite the whirlwind schedule these past few days!

Wednesday evening, I joined select members of The Atlanta Hawks Entertainment team at a dress rehearsal for The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting the next morning.

Fat Darrell ATL Dancers

Special guests included Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, morning show host Ryan Cameron and every major Atlanta CEO including my millionaire boss for The Atlanta Hawks Steve Koonin and my other billionaire boss at Mercedes Benz Stadium, Arthur Blank! 

And then there’s me, who still debates spending that extra dollar on guacamole at Chipotle…

SONY DSCIf you’ve ever played the Sesame Street game “one of these things does not belong here” you should have no problem identifying the outlier this time! 

Although, if you include my income along with the combined average salary of everyone in the building, my net worth increases by at least $500 thousand dollars so that counts for something I suppose…

Since the event was held at State Farm Arena, one of my roles was to join the entertainment crew to simulate an actual game experience.  So, there were dancers, t-shirt cannons, drummers and more! 

MLSOne of my assignments was to run on stage along with Harry the Hawk and wave this enormous Hawks flag back and forth as they announced the members of the VIP table over the PA system.  Since the VIP’s were literally 5 feet away and I was waving a giant flammable object over 12-foot flames, I’m proud to announce that I didn’t accidentally light Arthur Blank’s tie on fire and ruin the event.  So, hooray for me!

Hooray for Arthur as well since his Atlanta United MLS team will now be playing in the MLS Cup (aka the Superbowl of American soccer) at Mercedes Benz Stadium this Saturday!

The match that qualified them for this honor took place Thursday night at the NY Red Bulls home stadium in New Jersey

After seeing Arthur Blank in the flesh at 1:30pm here in Atlanta, I was shocked to see him walk across the stage in NJ to accept the trophy later that evening! 

It must be nice to have a private jet!  …or 4 in his case.  #goals

#DoubleFML 2Friday morning, I joined Harry the Hawk for another event, this time a pep rally at Heard’s Ferry Elementary School in Sandy Springs, GA.

Pro tip:  If you ever want to know what a mosh pit feels like, try throwing free t-shirts into a crowd of hyped up tweens! 

Saturday, I shifted over to my other gig as a Live Events Associate for Mercedes Benz Stadium where we were hosting the SEC Championship game between The University of Georgia and Alabama. 

Although it rained the entire morning, that didn’t stop these crazy tailgaters from living it up!

Whichever team you were rooting for, it was a great game with a crazy finish!

Here are a few photos that I took during breaks:

I didn’t completely escape basketball that day though since I also ran into Ernie Johnson from Inside the NBA on TNT at the game! 

Fat Darrell Ernie Johnson

Great bowtie Ernie!  Tough loss for UGA though.

#DoubleFML 32I probably should have just slept at the stadium since I was back at 5:30 the next morning to set up for The Atlanta Falcons vs The Baltimore Ravens.

Although I didn’t get much sleep, I woke all the way up once I entered our employee locker room since it still smelled like feet!

Alabama’s football team used our locker room for the SEC Championship game so when we returned to our normal location the next morning, it was full of sweaty used towels!

They were seriously piled to the ceiling…look! 

Although the home team lost, it’s always a fun time at Mercedes Benz Stadium!  Oh yeah, and while I don’t have any footage of this to share yet, I ended up on the Jumbotron for the first time that I was aware of. 

I was with a few fellow employees at the time, “Swag Surf” dancing on the field before we threw t-shirts into the crowd. 

As with any time that I’m caught dancing on camera, I’m just happy that I didn’t trip and fall.

Oh yeah, and I also spotted one of my kickboxing clients at the game! 

FatDarell 8

You still owe me a round of push-ups and burpees Wednesday Pettit!  Actually, make that 2 rounds for each beer you ordered!

Monday afternoon, it was back to State Farm Arena as The Atlanta Hawks took on the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors!

Shoutout to Crown Royal who were one of the sponsors for the game and let me pose like an idiot in their prop throne!

Fat Darrell Moes 3Our team meeting before the game was catered by Moe’s Southwest Grill, so I stuffed myself with tacos and nachos and queso, oh my!  That may not have been the best idea before I had to dance around the stadium and hype the crowd on the court during halftime, but we all know I wasn’t going to turn down free tacos! #yolo

Everyone in the building also won free Chick-Fila sandwiches since the Warriors missed 2 free throws in the 4th quarter! 

dConsidering the number of brownies and cookies I also scarfed down with the employee meals we receive at Mercedes Benz Stadium, I may need to join my client when she does those burpees.  I’ve done much more burping than burpees these past few days!

I’ve always found the inner-workings of sports and entertainment fascinating, so hopefully you’re also enjoying these “behind the scenes” recaps.  One thing I can assure you of is that I’m not sharing to brag.  If anything, my problem in the past has been my inability to be present and embrace the moment.

Instead, I’ve typically been so focused on finally getting to “the good part” that I’ve taken some pretty amazing chapters for granted along the way. 

By no means am I encouraging anyone to rest on their laurels but there’s something to be said for focusing on the positive and appreciating what you have already.

In 2018 especially, it’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of life and overlook the beauty all around us.

vibesThat brings us to the title and theme of today’s post. 

I purposefully waited until after Thanksgiving for this topic to drive home the point that you don’t need a giant turkey or a mountain of mashed potatoes to be thankful for what you have.  There are 364  more days on the calendar, appreciate those too!

As divided as the world feels lately, everyone can use a little support, encouragement and a dose of positivity. 

With that said, I’m happy to announce a new section coming soon titled Love, Peace and Tacos!


This will be a separate blog that will feature positive feel good stories, support and motivation.

As for the title?  Well, “love and peace” are fairly obvious, right?  As for “tacos”, have you ever seen anyone look angry while eating one?  It’s nearly impossible!

Obviously FatDarrellPalooza! is my personal blog, but Love, Peace and Tacos is YOUR personal blog.  With that said, I’ll be looking for participation in the form of questions, guest editorials, story ideas and charity suggestions. 

bkIf you have an inspiring neighbor, a great cause or witness a random act of kindness, by all means, share!  The world needs more of that so let’s shine a spotlight on this behavior.

If you’re going through something and want opinions, share that too!

In the meantime, I’ve also reached out to some of the most positive people I know to provide their own unique perspectives.  They each have a different background so I’m looking forward to future panel discussions. 

Allow me to introduce a few of them now!

noemiNoemi Peavie –  Noemi (n oh EH m ee) is creator and host of the weekly podcast, CoffeewithCurls which is a space for non-judgmental discussion about a variety of topics.  She’s a self-described “kid from Brooklyn with a love for coffee” as well as a huge self-care and “living your best life” advocate.

To get the ball rolling, I also asked Noemi how she stays positive and motivated despite so much negativity in the world. 

Noemi –  Understanding I’m responsible for my own energy. Why not use positivity to spread good vibes instead. I see motivation as a daily thing to keep me on track to accomplish my goals.

I also asked her to cast her vote for either hard or soft tacos.  Which are better?

Noemi – Hard tacos.  Why? I like the taste of the shell better 😊

You can check out her on Twitter and Instagram @coffeewithcurls

rashattaMinister Rashatta Daugett – Rashatta is a published author, life coach, event planner, motivational speaker and more!  She’s also the founder of Spiritual Soul Television, coming soon to Xperience on Demand. 

As for how she stays positive and motivated despite so much negativity in the world…

Rashatta – I’m able to stay motivated and positive because 1) I have God on my side and I know He’s looking out for me and 2) I have the best family on the planet! It’s hard not to be happy with this crazy bunch around!

I also asked her to share a few things she’s thankful for:

Rashatta –  I’m most thankful for my family and friends. They keep me grounded and motivated to accomplish more.

Last but not least, what about the tacos?

Rashatta –  Hard all day! Wimps eat soft tacos!…LOL!

You can check out her full bio at www.rashatta.com and check out her latest book, Daughters of Triumph on Amazon by clicking here!   

JenniJenni Frank Willhelm – Jenni is the founder of Younique with Jenni where she shares her passion for makeup, positive vibes and her love for tacos.  She even has a ton of crazy taco themed clothing and accessories.  Clearly, you can see why we get along.

As for how she stays positive and motivated despite so much negativity in the world…

Jenni –  I stay positive because a smile is free and can save the world. I believe I need darkness for my rainbows to be more beautiful.

What she’s thankful for:  I’m so thankful for my babies. They keep me sane in this whirlwind.  I’m also thankful for my friends who help guide me along. Help my missions of being a good human.

And of course, the great taco debate…

Jenni – Hard tacos. But any taco is great!!!!!

She wasn’t lying, check out those glasses!

For more information about Jenni, check out uniquewithjenni.com!

Last but not least is:

DawnDawn Gallahue – Dawn is a children’s book author, energy healer, licensed massage therapist, life coach, and an aspiring herbalist who loves spending time outside with her family, surrounded by nature.

I first met Dawn when she was a member of the boot camp class I ran.  Hmm, now that I think about it, she may also owe me a few burpees…

Anyway, how does she stay positive and motivated?

Dawn – Crawl under a rock and hide? I kid, I kid….(kinda). Seriously, though. Sometimes I really have to take a step back-from social media, family or friends in my life that tend to focus on the negative. I stay off social media for a while, avoid talking with people for a few days and take some time to clear my mind. And sometimes I just have to allow myself to FEEL it all. Let it out. There’s a lot of terrible sh-t that goes on in this world, and we can’t avoid it, so I allow myself the space to cry, scream, feel bummed out, whatever the emotion is. I also give myself a time frame for this. Once it’s out, time to count my blessings. I remind myself what I am grateful for every day.  I mean, we live in America, running water and having a toilet is something pretty much all of us can be grateful for! I also pray, ask my angels, guides and ancestors to support me.

DoubleFML 9By the way, this is a topic I could go on for days about! I focus a lot of my healing work with clients on this topic and have spent many, many years working very hard to bring myself to a place where I could find the positive.

Here are a few of my real secrets on staying positive:

 When I know I am going to be around negative people or situations, I surround myself with an energetic shield to keep out other people’s negative energy. (I know to some this might sound strange, but it works for me!) You can do this in a number of ways, and it all starts with intention. You can imagine a force surrounding your body, like a big bubble, or a shield or an army of angels with shields.

Find what resonates and stick with it.

cryCranking some angry music in the car and screaming my head off followed by some awesome feel good music (can you say MJ all day, baby???) pumping loud and belting out the lyrics helps, too.

And lastly, I look for the good. If I am on social media, I seek out the feel-good stories or inspirational quotes. I look at my four-year-old son and watch the joy he finds in so many simple things in life. I get down and play with him. I ask him what his favorite part of the day was, and I soak it all in. And I hug him, kiss him, and tell him I love him. Nothing beats that.

As for staying motivated? Haha, that’s something I struggle with (major procrastinator over here)! I need accountability and the support of good friends and family. My tribe is so important!

What is she thankful for?

Dawn – Another one of my favorite subjects! Today, I am so very thankful to have a REAL Christmas tree in our new home. We are first time home owners as of October, and I am so very thankful for all that goes along with this (especially sliding into home ownership just shy of 40). I am always thankful for my son, husband, family and friends. Hot coffee, healing herbs, pizza and chocolate are also some things I am thankful for and my cozy couch blanket. And Star Wars…can’t forget about Star Wars (We recently bought all the movies on Amazon, and we’re watching it now. I couldn’t leave it out). May the force be with you.

I obviously co-sign her pizza comment but what about those tacos?

giphyDawn – I much prefer soft tacos. Don’t get me wrong, a crunchy shell with ground beef and all kinds of sweet taco goodness is awesome, BUT it is so not worth the disappointment when the grease causes the bottom of that shell to weaken then PLOP! All that taco-ey goodness on the table, floor or worse, your shirt! It’s just not worth the possible disappointment!

With a soft shell, all that goodness is tucked in neatly and securely, like a cozy little blanket. The chewiness of a good soft shell just melts in your mouth and blends the flavors so nicely. I know, I know, sometimes the grease sneaks out the end and drips down your hand causing a mess, but this isn’t as emotionally jarring as losing your whole meal as you’re about to shove it in your mouth like with a hard shell.

You can check out Dawn’s book Many Colors of Me: Breathing in a Rainbow of Feelings on Amazon by clicking here!

Impressive panel so far eh?  But don’t worry, several others, including guys, will be added to the mix as well so we get varying viewpoints. 

DoubleFML 10Anyway, stay tuned for the upcoming section.  I’ll provide more details as it gets closer to launching.

I know we’re running a bit long here but as for my answer to the tacos debate, that’s tricky.  Hard shell tacos are the classic original version, but soft shell can hold more ingredients.  For tradition’s sake, I’m going to vote for hard tacos but I’m more likely to order soft shell in public since they’re easier to eat!

What’s your vote?  Comment below!  Also join our Facebook foodie group, Phenomnomnomenal, by clicking here!

Today’s Soundtrack

sourceUptown Funk – Bruno Mars

Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Swag Surfin’ – F.L.Y.

Juicy – Nortorious B.I.G.

Do you have another song that fits today’s themes or that’s just so great we should check it out anyway?  Share in the comments below!

Well, that escalated quickly.  It seems the drastic weather changes and my hectic schedule have finally caught up to me.  I’m definitely not feeling well and it seems to be getting worse by the minute!

Before I head off to my date with a bowl of chicken soup and box of tissues, let’s first check out the next batch of “foodie holidays” that land between this and next post:


“Cook for Christmas Day”?  Already?  They must mean baking or something.  I haven’t even finished shopping yet so making a pie is definitely not on the agenda!  

doublefml11Actually, nothing else is on the agenda today.  My energy is fading fast so I’d better wrap this up.

Before you go though, please leave a comment below!  Also make sure to follow me on social media by clicking the logos on the main menu.

Okay folks, thanks again for dropping by.  

Until next time my friends, May the Fork be With You…


ps.  zzzzzzzzzz….



16 thoughts on “Hashtag Blessed: Still Giving Thanks

  1. I am trying to figure out how you found time to create such a thrilling post considering your work schedule recently! Thanks for sharing ALL of your experiences with the Atlanta Flight Team and Mercedes Benz Stadium. Never crossed my mind that you are bragging, because this is “good stuff”. Thoroughly enjoyed ALL. You go Darrell!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I agree, your Michael Jackson hoodie is loud and obnoxious, but at the same time “so cool!” I LOVE IT!! However, I disagree – you are not loud and obnoxious, especially after offering up such powerful positions by you and panelists on staying positive. Can’t wait for upcoming blog because the world definitely needs this right now. By the way, stuffing yourself with tacos, nachos, etc. before crowd hyping is a definite no no! Did everything go well with you after this? LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, it turned out okay the first night. We ended up having tacos again before our next game! I wasn’t feeling as well that time though lol….I still ate several though! #yolo


  3. That Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Annual meeting was truly a “Big Deal!” Way to go Darrell! This is sort of rubbing elbows with VIPs, millionaire and billionaire folks —Awesome!!! Your Mercedes Benz Stadium gig and this Atlanta Hawks Flight Team is taking you somewhere! I feel somewhere indescribable great in the future. Continue to Stay positive and leading others to do the same!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am going to label you a time management guru! Why? Because you rose to the occasion in dealing with a whirlwind schedule and still found time to post this blog. Thanks. Enjoyed pics and reading about your experiences. Looking forward to future doses of staying positive in your future blog LOVE, PEACE & TACOS. What an awesome idea!!!. The featured panelists are truly impressive and their diverse views on staying positive will definitely help countless others as a result of you sharing them with your blog readers.

    Liked by 1 person

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