We had the good fortune of connecting with Alisha J. and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alisha J., how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance has always been a challenge for me. I am involved in so many things, I work full time as a Implementations Manager, I work as a Makeup Artist, I manage a clothing collection in partnership with Shop Golden Chic, I am a Worship Leader and full time Music and Arts Admin at my church, not to mention I am a part of the Journey to Motherhood Podcast and have my own foundation, The Motherhood Foundation. Juggling all these things in concert with being a minister, daughter, sister, friend, etc. can be both overwhelming and challenging. However, I have found that if I just take a step back and bite off what I can chew, I find that I am more at peace with myself and with my life. When I was younger I used to attempt to do everything and also when I was younger, I had more time, I had more energy, and I was stretching myself thin. As I have aged and become wiser, I have learned the art of saying “No.” No, is a word and a whole sentence. I even say “no” to myself sometimes. In learning the power of that word, I have freed myself from many panic attacks and from doing things that I really did not want to do. I also stopped lying to myself and to others, thinking that I can do everything. I know I can do all things through Christ, but do that doesn’t mean I have to do everything right now.

Additionally, I learned that keeping God first and making time to rest are MAJOR. If I am not aligned with my Abba, my Creator, my Savior, then EVERYTHING else is out of whack. Also, if I don’t take the time to rest, then I have nothing to give. Just like a car needs to refuel, Alisha J, needs to refuel, so I am very intentional about not allowing myself to just go, go, go without having self care days, which could be me just binge watching my favorite show or going to get a massage. Whatever my rest may be, I make sure to get it.

Balance to me is making sure that Alisha is taken care of spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically before making sure everything else tended to. Putting yourself first, in this manner, allows me to be able to be selfless, available, and present for others.

Do I always follow my own advise? Of course not, I am only human, however, I know what to do to get back on track and I strive to stay consistent so that I can show up as the best version of myself everyday.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am currently a full time Implementation Manager for a gift card company and I love it. I love being bi-vocational because it allows me the stability of health insurance and a steady paycheck, while allowing me to work in the gifts God has blessed me with.

I am a graduate of Emory University and always thought that I would be a medical doctor, but God had other plans for my life. I went into project management based on a comment that was made by the University’s Gospel choir director, of which I was a part of. Maury Allums, talented and gifted in his own rights, told me that I should be a Project Manager and that changed the trajectory of my life. After receiving my BA in Psychology, I went to work at the Marcus Institute and found that I was not cut out to be a full time Psychologist. So, I considered a career in Project Management thanks to the urging of Maury Allums and have been in some form of Project/Program/Implementation Management since about 2008.

This journey as a project manager has been stressful, filled with blood, sweat, tears, seasons of unemployment, long nights, but it has made me stronger and more aware of who I am as a business professional.

But before I even got to college, a random stranger told me that I would be a makeup artist. I was 16 and was working a Summer job at Larson Juhl. I’d never met this man before, but one random afternoon while sitting in the break room eating my lunch, this man began asking me questions about what I wanted to be. I began to tell him how I aspired to be a doctor and to find the cure to Cancer, since that was what my mother died from. He then told me that my personality reminded him of his wife, and that she was a doctor, but that she fell in love with makeup and that it would seem that I would do the same. At the time, I had no interest in makeup and was determined to be a doctor. Remember when I mentioned earlier that God had a different plan?

Well fast forward, to my Senior year in high school. My Mother began getting her makeup done when she would go on preaching engagements. That is when my interest was peeked for the first time. Then it was prophesied to me that I would be a makeup artist. I thought the lady who was prophesizing over me wasn’t hearing God correctly because she kept saying that I would be a drawer and I had no interest in being an artist at that time, but God knew. Then one day, I met Alex Butler, celebrity makeup artist, and she became one of my mentors. She helped me to focus more on my craft and become a more refined makeup artist. I eventually went on to attend the Gwynnis Mosby Makeup Academy in Atlanta, GA where I became a certified makeup artist in 2016.

The journey as a makeup artist has caused me to reevaluate myself as a person. As an artist, I am sensitive about my work and can take things personally when a client is not satisfied with my work. I have had many days when I have beat myself up because after reviewing photos, I noticed I missed this or that, or my client’s eyebrows weren’t right, or that was the wrong eyeshadow color, etc. I am a perfectionist, so this slows me down and I suffer from anxiety when I am not given the proper amount of time I need to complete a face, which is about 2 hours. I like to take my time and make changes if needed. I have doubted myself, been ready to quit because I was comparing my Makeup Artist journey to other’s, thinking I should be further along, but forgetting that my path and purpose as an MUA is not the same as theirs. I am finally getting to a place of acceptance as to where my artistry is going, but always open to learn and be mentored. I am not sure what else God has in store for me as a makeup artist, but it has helped me to grow as a Minister as I find that being a MUA is ministry and it has revealed things in me, like my best work is usually after 11 AM.

In addition to being an MUA, I am also the founder of the Motherhood Foundation, established in 2019. At the age of 34, I began having severe hot flashes, usually linked to perimenopause. I found it abnormal and began searching for the root cause. After many tests, it was determined that I was indeed perimenopausal and experiencing pre-mature ovarian failure. As an unmarried woman without children, this news devastated me. Spending most of my 20’s and 30’s working and building I businesses, she assumed there was more time because my grandmother had her last child in her early 40’s.

Alisha was advised to seek an infertility clinic to attempt to freeze any remaining eggs. After being informed it would cost around $11,000 to do so, she had a difficult decision to make. Unfortunately, while beginning the process, Alisha lost her job and insurance did not cover fertility treatment costs. It was by the grace of God she received funding. However, after a week of hormone therapy, it was determined that she did not have enough follicles to complete her egg freezing process. She was devastated and fell into a deep depression.

With the lifelong dream of being a wife and mother, I was unsure of my next phase in life. It was during this time that I gave birth to purpose and vowed that no other woman would have to suffer as I did. I have made it her mission to educate women of all ages about knowing their fertility status. I also became very determined to raise money to sponsor families who do not have the means to adopt or afford fertility treatments, which resulted in the birth of The Motherhood Foundation, Inc. Shortly following, I began the Mind Your Own Uterus Campaign™ where I have set out to educate others in a loving way on what not to say to women on their fertility journey, and how those women should respond.

Additionally, I host a podcast called the Journey to Motherhood with Geri Alicea where we talk about all things fertility.

Recently, I partnered with Golden Armstrong owner of Shop Golden Chic to do a clothing collection focused on Church Girls. It’s appropriately named The Church Girl Collection. It was a year long journey starting this collection. I actually had a dream about clothes of all shapes and sizes, but didn’t know what it meant. I have always loved fashion, so it was only appropriate that I start a collection and meeting Golden was a blessing in disguise. I met her at a Women’s 360 event held by one of my good friends, Brandy Stinson. Golden was one of the vendors and after my Mother patronized her booth, she introduced us and we have been friends ever since. She has been so kind and gracious enough to allow me to sell my collection through her boutique. It was a collaboration that took about a year to birth, but it was well worth it. The reason for the process is that I was in the midst of building my first house and needed time to invest in the line as well as save for my house. But the launch has been successful thus far.

I almost forgot to mention, that I once was a radio show host of my own radio show and YouTube Show called Church Girl Reality. I haven’t been doing much with this lately, but the episodes for the YouTube show will be coming soon.

I also am a Worship Leader at Hopewell North East and I will be starting a Bible Study for Makeup Artists really soon.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The Beltline is an AMAZING place to visit. So is Ponce City Market. There are so many great things to do there.

You can also come North of the City to Buford. There is Top Golf, Seasons 52, the Mall of GA, and Chateau Elan, where you can get massages and wine tasting.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First, I would like to thank God, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit for leading and guiding me everyday of my life.

Second, I would like to thank my parents, Pastors Veta and Gerard Blanding, Sr. for raising me and for always being my biggest supporters. Also, to my birth Mother, Alfreda Starks Blanding, who birthed me. May she continue to rest in Heaven.

To my Brother, Gerard Blanding, Jr. aka Gerard Alain, for being a motivator, confidant, and friend.

To my village, which is so extensive, thank you for being the best friends and family members that I could ever pray for.

Shout out to Golden Armstrong for nominating me to be a part of this series and thank you for our friendship!

Website: www.allthingsalishaj.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/allthingsalishaj

Linkedin: Alisha Blanding

Facebook: www.facebook.com/allthingsalishaj

Youtube: www.youtube.com/ChurchGirlMakeup

Other: The Church Girl Collection bit.ly/TheChurchGirlCollection

Image Credits
Alwon Mayweather (Mayweather Images) Tammie Spivey Peterson (Capturing the Moments) Denise Hall Gerald Carter (Diversity Photos)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.