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Oprah's Life You Want Weekend Takes Center Stage In Newark

You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!" LOL. Yaaaaasss!! Newark was Oprah's fourth stop on her eight-city arena tour, "Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend," at the Prudential Center on Friday, September 26th - Saturday, September 27, 2014. No, we didn't get a car. Cars lose their value the minute you drive off the lot. We got something much more valuable than a car. We got information!! We learned what Oprah knows for sure!!

"OpraOprah in Newarkh's The Life You Want" Weekend is an eight-city arena tour and transformational weekend featuring Oprah Winfrey and a team of special guests, who she calls her Trailblazers, sponsored by Toyota and Olay. Throughout the weekend event, guests also had the chance to experience O Town, a pop-up town square outside each venue that was an exciting hub of music, activity, food and celebration throughout the tour. There was entertainment, pampering at lounges featuring indulgent massages, makeovers and more. Guests had the chance to interact with celebrities throughout the weekend. Sponsors included Olay, Toyota, IKEA, Wells Fargo, Cover Girl, Pantene, Tide, Bounty, Crest, Beats by Dr. Dre, and Lisette.
Y'all don't understand, I cover events and interview celebrities all of the time, so I'm not star struck; ‪Trust!! The thing is, ‪#‎Oprah is my religion!! LOL. I would follow Oprah to hell in gasoline draws for an interview!! What?? Y'all don't know?? Ask my sister Daphne, she'll tell you. I have been on Oprah since 1986. I...AM...HER...BIGGEST....FAN!!! I've watched every episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years!! I've read every article ever written about Oprah throughout her career! I subscribe to O Magazine!! I've watched every interview every conducted on her!! I've seen every television movie, special and feature film that she's every produced!! As we speak, I'm ordering her new book, ‪#‎WhatIKnowForSure!! And I'm also an ‪#‎OWNer, which is a community of passionate OWN viewers. Passion?? That's an understatement!! LOL. I watch, ‪#‎LifeClass, ‪#‎MasterClass, ‪#‎SuperSoulSundays, ‪#‎OprahPrime, #OprahsNextChapter and ‪#‎IyanlaFixMyLife, to name a few. I have a PHD in‪ #‎Oprahology!! LOL. I'm the only one who can write her unauthorized biography and do it justice!! LOL.

Oprah's the life you want weekendSo when I heard that Oprah's The Life You Want Tour was going down, the weekend of September 26th in ‪#Newark at the ‪#‎PrudentialCenter, Lisa Renee Durden, was NOT letting Oprah Winfrey, roll through the City Of Newark, without being front and center!! If it meant I had to beg, borrow or steal, I WAS GONNA BE IN THE BUILDING!! So first, I went online April 5th to purchase a ticket one week before they went on sale to the public, and discovered that the VIP ticket, which guarantees meeting Oprah, was a whopping $1,000!! I screamed and fell on the floor on my back with my legs and arms up in the air like a dead dog. LOL. Don't get it twisted, a thousand dollars is actually cheap to see an Icon like Oprah. She could have charged $5,000 a ticket and packed the house in a New York minute!! But I'm a small business owner so my money gets very funny. LOL. Needless to say, I'm in the habit of squeezing a dollar till it hollas. LOL. But when Oprah says jump, Lisa Durden says how high!! So I threw caution to the wind and pulled out that debit card to purchase my VIP ticket and SNAP, my worst nightmare was realized, THEY WERE SOLD OUT!! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! #DISASTER!! So I quickly bought the $599 ticket and dared my conscience to have buyer's remorse!! LOL. However, waaaaaay back in July, I also applied for press credentials to do media cover, cause yall know that's what I do!! However, in the event that I was denied a press pass, I was all good because I had a ticket. Oprah quoted #GaryZukav as saying, "every action, thought and feeling, is motivated by intention and that intention is a cause that creates an affect!" My intention was to cover Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend and BOOM, nearly two months later, 24 hours before the event on Wednesday, September 24, at 1 o'clock in the morning, I got the email notifying me that I was approved for press credentials!!! How To Live The Life I Want was in full affect!! It couldn't get no better than that!!

So at the crack of dawn on Thursday, September 25th, I was blowing up every videographer's phone who I've worked with in the state of New Jersey, until someone said, "yes! I'm available." And my boy Stanley, "Fame" Little said, "yes! I'm available. On Friday morning, September 26th, I went to work at Essex County College Training Inc. to teach my Customer Service Course, then, I got my face "snatched," compliments of make-up artist ‪#‎TanikaMuaGreen. Lisa must always be camera ready!! LOL. Then I bounced down to the Prudential Center to cover day 1 of Oprah's The #LifeYouWantNJ Weekend. Before Oprah took the stage to bring her personal story and insights to life in a one of a kind intimate evening, #DJKiss got the party started with some hot music, as we waited with baited breath for Oprah to make her grand entrance. As they began to play clips to chronologically tell the story of Oprah's life, the applause was deafening!! Then she appeared! Graceful, powerful and beautiful. Cameras were popping! Music was playing! People were screaming her name as if she were family. I have never in my entire life experienced this kind of love and admiration. Oprah, gurl, when you walked down that runway, you brought new meaning to the words, color purple!! That gorgeous, purple, haute couture gown you wore Friday, was #EVERYTHING!! #Boom #PowPow!!

The energy throughout the entire arena was super positive! Seeing Oprah up close and personal was surreal! I was literally having an outer body experience. Oprah's ‪#LifeYouWantNJ jumped off with a bang!! Her session was called, "An Evening with Oprah." So for 90 minutes, Oprah simply talked to us in a very familiar way. Her light was shining soooo bright, but yet not blinding. She shared her story, her life lessons and What She Knows For Sure. I am a self-proclaimed Oprah expert so I've already heard every story that she shared, but I listened with fresh ears. And for those less fanatical Oprah fans, I can imagine that she endeared them to her even more. The jewels were endless! "All of my life, I have wanted to lead people to an empathy space. To a gratitude space," said Oprah Winfrey. "I want us all to fulfill our greatest potential. To find our calling, and summon the courage to live it! We come from the stars. Nitrogen is in our DNA! What will you do Newark with the energy that...is...you!!! I get to stand on this stage right here in Newark, because that's where the spirit guided me!!" Applause broke out at a feverish pitch!! She continued...."as long as you have breath, I believe you can grow into the Life You Want," says Oprah, "I know for sure there is no life without a spiritual journey to that which is truly you!! Oprah was funny, vulnerable, certain and open. Interspersed between telling her stories and sharing her affirmations, she dropped unforgettable quotes. In my Oprah voice, I had multiple light bulb moments; bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing!!

Then on Saturday, September 27th, Oprah lead a day-long gathering of thousands with handpicked thought leaders and pop culture icons who she refers to as Trailblazers, including Mark Nepo poet, philosopher, and author of 15 books most recently, The Book Of Awakening; Iyanla Vanzant, star of OWN's hit series "Iyanla Fix My Life," regular O Magazine contributor, best-selling author and spiritual life coach; best-selling author of Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert; and one of Time's 100's Most Influential People, Pastor Rob Bell. Each trailblazer spoke about 30 minutes and they were all phenomenal!!! Mark's session was called, "The Life You Want Meditation." He was peaceful, steady and approachable. "The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart, explained Mark. "You can't have the life you want, by staying in the life you have!" Whoa, DEEP!! Elizabeth Gilbert's session was called, "The Quest." She was passionate, super funny and very self-assured. "Your life is in your hands and it has been for quite a long time now, so what have you come here to do??" encouraged Elizabeth. "Think long and hard about it before you answer. Be brave about it! Be stubborn! Never have I heard someone say to be stubborn as a good thing. I took that to mean, stand in cement. Which is hard to do, but necessary. I also loved this next quote she shared, "It's better to live your own destiny imperfectly, than to live a perfect limitation of someone else's life_The Bhagavad Gita! Drop the mic!! ABSOLUTELY! Rob's session was called, "Everything is spiritual." He began by saying, "The life that you want, begins with embracing the life that you have and the life that you have, is miraculous!!" Ouch!! I have to work on that one. Because I don't see being poor as miraculous. "May you embrace the life you have and know that you are living the life you want," concludes Rob. I needed to hear that because I'm famous for not having gratitude for the life I have now. Strengthening my spirituality has been my biggest weakness because it requires unyielding faith. However, his words are just the tools I needed to push me. Let's just hope I don't run out of steam. LOL.

During the breaks between speakers, Oprah would take the stage and give us workbook exercises to complete. To our surprise, she even came down into the audience to check the answers of the participants. Thank goodness I was raised to respect people's personal space because if weren't, as Oprah strolled down my isle, I would have gone rogue and knocked over the three ladies to my left to get to her. I decided not to act a fool because I didn't want my mother to turn over in her grave. LOL. And just when I thought the event couldn't get any better, Stacey Griffith, an instructor  for #SoulCycle,  co-founded by Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, is a premiere full-body, indoor cycling workout that energized the arena during a customized workout. Soul Cycle jumped off with a BANG!! Oprah's a baaaaaad girl!! She had the entire Prudential Center, exercising in tandem #Awesomeness!! Super fun!!

Iyanla Vasant & Oprah in NewarkThe last speaker of the day was Ms. Iyanla Vanzant. Oprah introduced her in grand style. As she stepped on that platform, everybody in the arena rose to their feet and clapped for her like she was a rock star. She had her bottle of campaign on the table chilling on ice, with her glass full, which she intermittently sipped. Girlfriend felt right at home with us. Her session was called, "Here's To Life." Very apropos! It was clear that Iyanla came to keep it real!! When my girl ‪#‎IyanlaVanzant opened her mouth, flailed her arms and laughed that unique laugh, it was as if the skies opened up. She KILLED IT!! She burned up the Prudential Center stage! Iyanla was on FIYA!!! We hung on her every word!! She told the story of her life. She dropped knowledge!! She shared endless quotes. It felt like my fingers were bleeding, I was typing so fast and furious!! LOL. I didn't wanna miss one single syllable!! Everything she shared was juicy!! "Stop trying to squeeze yourself into things that don't fit you anymore. Why try to squeeze yourselves into situations you've outgrown," advised Iyanla. "Life speaks in simple sentences: Yes go, stop no! Live your life in simple sentences, cause the minute you live it in run on sentences, you in trooooouuuuuble! Life always tells you the truth....your job is to recognize it and accept it." And scene!!! Oprah Winfrey closed the day by recognizing the Toyota Brand Ambassadors, Amy Purdy, Paralympic Bronze Medalist snowboarder and former Dancing with Stars contestant and Tawanda Jones, founder of Camden Sophisticated Sisters, who were honored with The Toyota "Standing O-Vation" Award.

Anybody who said that they wanted to attend Oprah's the #LifeYouWantNJ Weekend, but complained that it was too expensive to attend, let's keep it real, they're clearly not interested in investing in making a better life for themselves!! Don't get me wrong, if you are unemployed or impoverished, no, it would have been a financial hardship to afford to buy a ticket, because your immediate needs must be met. However, for those folks who work, but choose to spend their money on weaves, mani pedi's, $200 sneakers, designer shoes, clothes and handbags, y'all could have spent that money on attending Life You Want NJ Weekend. The tickets were very affordable, they ranged from, $99, $199, $299, $599 to $999.

Be sure to catch Life Class Presents. A Forgiveness #LifeClass with Iyala called How to Forgive Everyone For Everything....a six week eCourse. Lord knows I need that class!! LOL. Oprah is also premiering a new series on OWN called BELIEF. It's about what God is, to different people, from different walks of life. It begs the question, what do you believe. The trailer looked good. Of course that will be appointment television.

I had a stellar weekend doing media coverage for Oprah's The Life You Want event at the Prudential Center in Newark. Kudos to OWN'S press people. They were not only consummate professional's, they were thrilled that the press was there and did whatever was needed to be gracious, accommodating and inclusive. They treated all of us like Rock Stars!! I gotta tell ya, it was a breath of fresh air!! A stark contrast to a recent situation where I covered a big event in Newark a couple of months ago and not only was I excluded from the press conference, the press people running the event were resist, negative and exclusionary. Very sad and disappointing!! Oprah CAN afford to be stank and dismissive, but it's no surprise that she isn't! It's clear to me that what SHE knows for sure is all people have value!! Which is why Oprah is outrageously successful and at the top of THE game!! Oprah has AUTHENTIC POWER!! "YOU BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE! YOU DON'T BECOME WHAT YOU WISH," declared Oprah. My life lesson; I no longer WISH to be respected by random people. I believe I DESERVE it!!! That message crystalized for me at Oprah's How To Get The Life You Want Weekend and I'm gonna be stubborn about it!!

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