Because I want MORE

What do I want? I want MORE. MORE time. MORE support. MORE opportunities. MORE for me.

Last week while I was on a play date, a friend asked me why I had started my company MORE. And I gave her the most authentic answer that I could. I said because I want MORE for me.

I didn't have a chance to go into details because we were with our toddlers, but I wanted to. I wanted to tell her that I, just like her, was in pursuit of MORE.

More time to nurture my relationship with my husband and opportunities to look beyond the shadow that I see during our baby handoffs. I want more chances to talk with him. To tell him I love him and to hug him until I decide to let go. I want to make sure he knows every minute of the day that we are in this thing together.

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I want to be able to enjoy my son's stages instead of wishing pieces of them away. I want to be there, every time, present and engaged. I want to be the one who instills in him the confidence he's going to need to navigate through the rocky path that's in front of him. I want to hear him say out loud that he is beautiful, smart, special and loved and then know deep down that he believes it. I want to give him the very best — the best education, the best experiences and the best of me. I want to be able to say YES at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday if he asks me to play Spider-Man.

I want more creative freedom to figure out what I'm capable of doing. For the majority of my life, I've spent my time helping other people build their dreams. I want the opportunity to build mine.  I want to be able to step out on my own and release something into the world without my imposter syndrome holding me back.

I want more genuine friends. People who refer to me as passionate instead of aggressive. I want to find more people who, just like me, are trying to be the good in the world that they want to see. I want to find my tribe.

I want to be around to see others find their MORE. Like Stephanie, who is one of the most brilliant, genuine and kind-hearted people I've ever known. I want her to find her happy place, and I want to see her thrive. I want to see her create the space to cook with her son, write freely and share her wits with the world. And when I tell her that I love her and will always be here to support her; I want her to know that I mean it.

I want Joy, who lost her daughter Elli several years ago, to find solace knowing that Elli lives on. I want to be around when she finds the space to tell her story. And I want to be the first person in line at her book release party, waiting patiently, with a smile, a few tears and a big hug.

I want Nailah, who's so incredibly beautiful and strong to feel supported as she creates more safe spaces for women of color black girls, in particular — to be free and vulnerable and to grow. The work she is doing is so important. So needed and so brave. I don't want her ever to feel like she's doing it alone.

But most of all, what I want is MORE Spaces. MORE Spaces where we can be authentic, vulnerable, feel safe and be brave enough to keep going. Space to be the husbands, wives, mothers, business owners, working professionals, family members, friends and humans we want to be. MORE Spaces is what I want for you and me.



My beautiful threats

Today was going to be our last visit. We've had issues with this company before, but there's record-breaking heat in the forecast, we have a 3-year-old, and our AC needs repair ...

This morning was set to be a beautiful day. I woke up next to my family – which is a treat because I usually get up between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. to work while Kai and Kayson sleep. It may seem small, waking up together every day, but it means a lot to me. When Kayson was in the hospital, it was all that I could see. 

I prayed that one day we would be together, the three of us, snuggled tight, without a worry in sight. I prayed to God, Budda, Muhammad, anyone that would listen, to keep my family safe. When I get up, at 2 a.m. to work I do it because I remember those moments. WE (Kai and I) do it for us. 

It was 6:45 a.m. by the time we bounced out of bed. We had an appointment with an AC company, whom we've used for over three years, to repair our unit. The unit that was broken again – regardless of the fact that we had followed all of their recommendations, instructions, service repairs and re-repairs due to poor performance. Our technician, Dodd, was scheduled to arrive by 7.

At 7:10 a.m. I started to think something was wrong. They've been here many times before. Perhaps they're running late. I'll wait. But, by 7:30 a.m. I decided to call. And gratefully I did, as the owner's wife said Dodd had just turned around since we were not responding. 

"Not responding?" That's weird. My phone is right here. 
"Well we called, and your husband gave us the wrong gate code." She said.
I assure you that's not true. I replied. We've been waiting for you. Perhaps you have the wrong number? Maybe you want to check it again. 
"Sure." She said with an irritated reply. "I have XXX-XXX-XXXX ... which now, after looking at the caller Id, I see is incorrect." 
OK. I replied.

And then Dodd rang the door bell. 

Two worlds collide

He was a tall white guy above 6 feet, who'd been there before. I called Kai down and took Kayson from his arms as they continued to the back yard. The job was supposed to be easy, it wouldn't take more than 20-minutes to fix, but 10 minutes in I heard arguing. I grabbed Kayson and stepped outside to see Dodd yelling at Kai. 

"What is your problem? You're at my house, fixing my stuff, don't talk that way in front of my wife and my son." Kai said.
Dodd said You're my fucking problem (or something along those lines).

As Kai began to reply, Dodd stood up. He picked up a piece of our AC unit and threw it against the wall, slammed our gate and left us sitting there.

Kai opened the gate and yelled,

"Hey man, you owe me an apology."
"Let him go," I said. "He's obviously crazy."
"Something's wrong with that guy. He came in with an attitude. I asked him a few questions like I always do." He replied. 

As he took Kayson and we made our way upstairs. My stomach began to sink. Something didn't feel right. I tried the AC company but wasn't able to reach anyone, so I hung up and called the police.

"I would like to file a police report."
"Sure. For what?" The lady on the end replied.
An AC technician, who has been in our house and has our gate code was acting irate and just cussed my husband out. No. I don't know why? I don't even know his last name, but something is not right.

She asked me a few other questions and said she'd send a police officer by. I told Kai, who at this point is visibly upset that it's going to be OK. 

About 30 minutes later the police arrive, and as we're talking the owner of the AC company, Tom arrives. He's here to fix our unit, which Dodd had disconnected. Kai gives the policeman his statement, and the two pull the owner aside.

The officer asks him what happened and the owner begins to defend "his guy." He then proceeds to explain how Dodd was justified because

"... he felt threatened." 

My beautiful threats

Threatened? What? Is that really his reply? I am the one who called the police because I feared we were in the presence of a crazy guy.

How could the tables be turned so quickly? How could it be that the perpetrator was now my 5'7 black husband inside. The man who, honestly, wouldn't hurt a fly. Now this is how it starts. Dodd arrives at our house, becomes irate, slams a gate and escapes without an apology or anyone questioning his fate. 

When I heard Tom offer up this defense, so many thoughts ran through my head. I thought about Emmitt Till, Trayvon Martin and so many others who through this same "I felt threatened" defense are now dead. 

what do i tell my son? 

When things like this happen, how are we suppose to reply? After calling the police we realized that the officer didn't even get the names of these guys. He stood there, calmly, listening in. And then when the story was finished he left us with Tom nervous and shaking.

As the mother of a beautiful chocolate boy and a brilliant chocolate man, this is my reality. It's these microagressive comments and lack of action that leave us wondering. 

And after all of this I don't know what to tell my son. 

"Mommy, why was that man so mean to my dad?" Kayson said.
"I don't know, honey. I don't know why he did that to dad. Eat your pancakes before they get cold. Don't be sad. We're OK. That man is not coming back. You're safe."

Shortly after this exchange Kai walked in. I hugged him. Then I walked back to my office, turned on my computer and I cried. 

Please world, have mercy on my beautiful threats. I promise you. They are not the bad guys.

The Day After. Life. Politics & Friendships.

Please help me. I can not breathe. My chest is tight. And there are tears in my eyes as my son lies here next to me.

This is not about an election. It's about our ability to keep going - our ability to believe. You see next week my son; he turns three and as a former preemie that means we should be happy.

Another year. Another life. Another opportunity. Another chance to raise him to be an amazing, beautiful, kind, brilliant and loving man, just like his daddy.

As I sit here nauseous at 3:10 am I know deep inside that this has nothing to do with an election. This feeling is about me. I am a wife. A mother. A boss. People are counting on me. And tonight, as I sit here, I am struggling to breathe. This is not about an election.

An election is nothing but a process - it's just plans and forms which without context are irrelevant. They don't matter. It's the people behind the polls that count. It's my "friends," colleagues, teachers, mentors, and mentees that with all my positive vibes, charm and wits went into that booth and didn't think once about me.

It's about my former best friend, a woman who I have known and loved since high school, who believes that a Donald Trump presidency will be ok for me. She thinks that because HER children will benefit the same goes for mine because, in HER view, we're all the same, like a Dr. Suess nursery rhyme - we're just thing one and thing two.

It's about her husband who, she admits, has said Nigger more times than I'd like to count, but still is considered a "good guy" so his insulting, degrading and racists words do not count.

It's about how my friend's parents, one who is an immigrant herself, have been provided with the luxury of light skin and have chosen to use it to "blend in." Their kids do not have to worry because they are the epitome of white privilege.

This is not about the election. It is about the fact that we were never friends, just acquaintances, and I am heartbroken because I let you get too close to me. It's about the fact that I believed that we were equal; that we were free. But we're not. At least I am not, because as you wake up happy and relishing in your victory, my husband, my son and my family wait silently for a sign that it is safe to come out.

We. Are. Afraid. Don't you see?

The new president-elect is being supported by the KKK. They do not care about the issues impacting me and my family.

For example, did you know that one in three little black boys born after 2002 will spend life behind bars mostly because of racially bias government policies? Or that the black family has been dismantled and is suffering drastically because of issues that happened back in slavery? Nearly 70% of black children (that's seven out of ten) do not know what it's like to have a father to hold. How about the fact that as an African-American, a women and a business owner my path to success is so fucking rocky. No one believes in you but you. Every day is spent proving people wrong and in the world of "hustling," you are left physically exhausted, mentally beaten up, isolated and completely withdrawn.

As I said before, this is not about an election.

An election is a set of processes and forms. No. This is about the humans behind the booths who found the changing landscape of this country threatening.

It's about you. It's about me. It's about the fact that today, November 9th, the day after election day, America has shown it's true colors. We were never friends, just acquaintances and I let you get too close to me.

Right now I can not breathe because I believed it when you told me that I could be anything. I had hope after my friend's father made a racists comment that he was the minority. I sat silent after being raped in college because I knew no one would believe me. I ignored the sexist comments and worked my way up the corporate ladder in IT because you told me to "Lean In." I believed you when you vowed to protect and serve even after you put my husband's life in danger because he looked "suspicious." I was a good friend.

In your quest to make America Great Again you forgot about me. My son. My family. The America that you seek is designed for you, not me. It is filled with negativity, lies, and deceit. It embraces segregation and hatred. The America that you seek looks just like 1963

This is not about politics. This is about the pain that comes after you realize that a friend has betrayed you. This is what it feels like when you realize that history is and always will be true. There is no progress without honesty. There is no truth in our lies. And for this, I am saddened because I have to tell you goodbye.  

I will never forget this day and how it made me feel. Today I am left scared, lonely and confused. But tomorrow I'll pick my head up and keep going because I have to. I have a son to raise. 

But, today. Today, I am going to sit here and remember. Today, I am going to allow myself to feel this pain because some of us (people of color, women, Muslims and the LGBT community specifically) have been betrayed. 

Good luck as you work to Make America Great Again. Good luck as you turn it into a world that is designed JUST FOR YOU. I wonder if you'll notice that I'm gone. I wonder if you'll realize that this was never about me or us. No. This entire relationship has always been about you.

This is not about an election. This is about how when the time came to stand up for someone else, someone you called a friend, you thought about no one else but yourself. And now we have to live with the consequences for at least four more years. 

This is not about an election. This is, and has always been, about you looking out for you. 

We. You + Me.

WE, me and you and you and me, in 14 years, have been through so much.  


WE have loved, lost, fought, won, fell, and got back up.

WE have learned to love through good and bad times. When faced with obstacles, we decided to stand up straight, hold hands, and plow through them together.

WE, not just you, and not just me, have built a life together that is exactly what WE wanted it to be.

WE are in love more today than we were 14 years ago, and to this day, not just in public but in the way we live each day.

WE, Kai-Saun, are meant to be . . . together.

WE, not you or me, decided to forgo the "big" wedding so that we could save our money - choosing instead to get married in our living room.

WE, bought our wedding rings off of Amazon and our flowers from Costco because we knew that what mattered most was how we felt, and that as long as I had you, and you had me, that WE would live happily every after.

WE ignored the chatter as people questioned our decisions, our faith, our resistance and decided to do what was best for us.

WE decided to forgo a honeymoon so that we could take my niece to Disneyland after experiencing trials that even an adult woman couldn't get through.

WE lay there as she played her video games, smiling and holding hands, thanking God silently for making you my man and me your woman.


WE were just happy to be together.

WE went on to have a beautiful baby, and although his entrance into this world was crazy, we stayed there next to him, promising never to leave - EVER.

WE watched as our fathers moved farther and farther away, crying to one another each day, making a pact, no matter what happens, never to leave.

WE stuck by each other as more and more people began to go. During what felt like some of our weakest times, we held our own and, as always, chose to grow.

WE, yes, Kai-Saun Tskei, held on as things got harder and harder, believing that as long as we had each other, we had ENOUGH.

WE kept going and going like the energizer bunny even after knowing that we were alone.


We made a beautiful little boy. 

WE love our son. He's the reason we are here, and with every ounce of ourselves, we give back to him.

WE forgo date nights, vacations, money, and time so that HE can have a better life.

WE know that the world is not what we want it to be, yet we keep pushing and giving so we can make it better.

WE, not you and not me, know that we already "have it all" as long as we are together.

WE don't care about appearances, clothes, cars, shoes, houses, bank accounts, fancy this, or fancy that because it is you AND it is me that bring real happiness.

WE have grown so much. You have watched me become a wife and a mother, and I have watched you become the most astounding husband and father.


WE are stronger together.

WE have grown despite our circumstances from workers to business owners, and at the end of each day, WE can say that we are freaking KILLING it.

WE, not a nanny, not daycare, and not a stranger but you and I are raising the strongest, smartest, wisest, kindest, friendliest, most genuine, and amazing kid on this planet. We are choosing to give him everything we have and MORE.

WE strive to be our son's role models, not some guy who's 7'6".

WE do not exchange gifts on anniversaries and holidays because we know there are no materials worthy of the time I get to spend with you each day.

WE wake up every day with smiles because marriage is our utopia.

WE, you and me, Kai-Saun, is what REAL love looks like, and I promise you that my heart will stay true even after I fade away.

WE, a combination of you and me, are the true definition of always and forever.

Happy anniversary, Kai-Saun. I love you more today than I did yesterday. 

Love always & forever, 


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My heart skipped a beat the moment we met.

I was 20, and you were 22. There was ASU. The Language and Literature building. A frat party flyer and just me and you.

"I thought you were perfect"

I thought you were perfect - good looking, kind, gentle, funny, brilliant, confident, caring and genuine. You told me I could call you Kai and so I did.

In a world designed never to feel like you have "enough," I wake up every day #grateful for you.

You have given me more than I ever dreamed of; more than I knew was possible, of a husband, best friend, and father. 

"You are the perfect verse over a tight beat."

- Taye Diggs, Brown Sugar

I will love you always for the man you were then, the man you are today and the amazing man you'll teach our son to be. I love you more today than I did yesterday and I always will.

Happy Birthday, Kai-Saun Tskei Anderson

When life meets work.

For ten years... 

I dedicated my life to my work, committing myself to every project, every deadline, every boss and every opportunity that came my way.

I drove initiatives, built products, launched new services and made the companies I worked for lots and lots of money.

Coming from a working class family, putting in hard work was just something you had to do. I viewed it as a right of passage, for moving up a tier, and I took it on as a challenge.

I gave the best of me to my career and to the people I worked with. Anything they threw my way, I ran with. Were there challenges? Of course, but I always had the strength to get past them and the drive to keep going. I was committed. I was loyal. I was young. And, I was also smart.

I knew how things worked, especially in technology. Your value is defined by the last project you complete, not by your past experiences. The challenge, however, is that once that project is finished, there would always be another and then another and then another. To keep going, you had to stay fresh and on your toes. There was no time for breaks. Things had to be done. I remember my husband, Kai-Saun, pulling me aside one day and saying, "Amber you need your rest. You can't keep working like this. You're going to burn out." At that point, I was waking up at 1 a.m. every morning to work and had pulled a couple of all-nighters. I smiled at him and gave him a kiss. I knew he was right, that I couldn't keep this up forever, but I couldn't stop. Not now. I was so close. I was almost there. So, I waited until he fell asleep and then got back on my computer and picked up where I left off.

I remember justifying my actions in my head. "I have to do this." "He doesn't understand; I'm almost there." "I'm the breadwinner of our family." "We need this. I need this." "Don't worry. One day, they'll notice me, and when that happens, I will rest." But that day never came.

In November 2013, after returning home from a business trip just a few weeks before, I went into labor with my son. I was 31 weeks pregnant (9 weeks early) and at work when my water broke. His name is Kayson. His weight was 3lbs, 11 oz. His chance of survival was 50%.


Work. work. work. Life.

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For as long as I can remember, I have been focused on where work would take me. However, in reality, everything that I needed and wanted I already had. It's hard in today's society to stop for a moment and think. Put your phone down, and think about what really matters to you. Think about the people in front of you. Think about your family. They don't care about the new product you built, or how amazing your startup is, or how quickly you can get your company to grow. They just want you.

Today is Wednesday. It is the third day of spring and a few weeks after spring break. Most children are back to school and parents back at work. Everyone's settled back into his or her routine. Old projects are closing, and new ones are opening, and it won't be until the next holiday that everyone will be able to "relax" again.

After Kayson was born, my life changed drastically. I contemplated going back to work but decided not to because I knew that I did not have the energy to "keep up". Nor was I willing to make the sacrifices it would take to remain "competitive".

It was hard at first, seeing all of those years of hard work left behind and someone younger, more eager, with more time and more support, take my place, but I try really hard not to own that, because it's a false sense of reality.

Success is not defined by what you will obtain in the future. It is defined by where you are today. And, for me, the only things that matter are the opportunities that allow me to soak up as much time as I can with my Kayson and Kai-Saun.


To new beginnings

Happy new year!

For most people, the 1st of January marks the start of new beginnings. They make plans, set resolutions, close last year's books and get ready to start fresh. For many years, I was that person.

Every year I'd have some new goal that I wanted to accomplish. For example, run a 1/2 marathon, graduate from college, play on a D1 softball team, start a business, lose some weight, spend more time with my husband, work less, laugh more, track the moon changes for one full month, take a vacation. Have a healthy baby. Live life happier. 

Some years, I accomplished my goals. Some years, I didn't. Some things that I wanted in hindsight were clearly nice to haves - I could live without that trip to Fiji. Other things that I wished for I wanted more than anything in the world, like having a healthy baby, and when it didn't happen the way I envisioned, it nearly broke me. 

For the last two years, I haven't had the time to plan what my life looks like. That could be because I have a healthy and active two-year-old or because I'm too busy living it. I'm not sure, but what I can say is that today, March 1st, 2016, three months past the "traditional date" I'm in a place where I've never been before. 

I've done a lot of amazing things in my life but nothing as true, raw and real as the two things I'm announcing today. After I had Kayson, I quit my job so I could be at home with son. When I did it, some people called me brave, and some called me crazy (behind my back of course). To be honest, I hate both labels. Letting go of my "professional" career was the hardest thing I have ever done. I was on the up and up - offered partnership in an engineering firm, leading initiatives for presidents and executives and reaching every goal, I'd ever made and worked my ass off for. I wasn't brave. I was desperate, and I wasn't crazy, I was a mother. 

And for a while, I didn't know how to respond. Most of the time I just smiled and said thank you. But in reality, every day felt like a moment in Walking Dead. A fight for survival which only my husband could understand.  He was there the moment my son was born. He knows what it's like to almost lose someone you love more than anything in the world. And he, more than anyone, can relate to what it feels like to be present. 

After I had Kayson, I said I wanted to focus on me. And that's what I'm doing. There were two goals I set for myself this year. Learn more about Amber and go on a vacation. I'm happy to report both are in full force. As a small business owner, it's hard to get away, so I built a vacation around the two biggest things in my life, my business and my family. 

Welcome to Amber and MORE: the retreat.

Amber will be the space I'll use to find my voice, document my journey and learn more about Amber. MORE: the retreat is the place I'll go to prove that I'm not crazy, but that work and life can mingle together.

Amber Anderson (dot) Me

My son is who some would call a spirited child. He is driven, passionate, loving, stubborn, super intelligent, dedicated, tender-hearted, a light sleeper, and a little bossy.

He knows what he wants and expects to get it, whatever "it" is, exactly how he asked for it, preferably as quickly as possible. He has high expectations, of himself and others. 

At two years old, he knows no fear. To Kayson, there are no boundaries, only opportunities, and even though the world is much bigger than he is, he lives life to the fullest. From the time he wakes up in the morning to the time he goes to bed, he is on: touching everything, seeing everything, discussing everything, and being everywhere. He gives 150%.

Kayson doesn't know anything about racism, sexism, Instagram followers, the Kardashians, or limitations. Decisions are made easily by how things make him feel. Happy face means good! Sad face means bad! And, when things are really bad, he cries.

He loves dancing, guacamole, french fries, sports, Michael Jackson, Thomas the Train, and the movie Cars. He'll jump off the bed and the couch and the chair and the table if you let him, because he relishes the feeling of accomplishment. When you try to correct him, he will look you straight in the eyes, smile, say he's sorry, and then do it again. And, just as you begin to think you can't possibly take any more, he'll say something cute and give you a kiss.                                                      

When my mother looks at Kayson, she sees a spitting image of me. Not only because he has my eyes, but because he has my heart. Driven, passionate, loving, stubborn, super intelligent, dedicated, tender-hearted, a light sleeper, and a little bossy are characteristics used to describe my son, and they are characteristics commonly used to describe me.

Kayson and I are passionate people—always striving to be better. Our nature is to give first and think later, and when we love, we love hard. The first thing people notice about us, if it is not our laugh, is our size. He was born premature, weighing in at 3 lbs 11 oz and is in the 10% range of his peers. And me, I'm just petite. We both love food, chips, sweets, and an amazing man named Kai-Saun—who I call Kai and Kayson calls daddy.


Kai is a professional photographer and the glue in our family—he's silly, funny, kind, genuine, creative, charismatic, and loving. His calm & methodical demeanor complements Kayson & my fast-paced lifestyle nicely, making him the perfect yin to our yang.

Those two are my family—the center of my being and the "why" behind everything that makes up Amber Anderson (dot) me.

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