Interview: Joya Dass of LadyDrinks


By day, she’s telling us about top lines and bottom lines. By evening, she’s helping other South Asian female professionals to mind theirs. I am excited to be chatting with the co-founder of LadyDrinks. Joya Dass is being featured as one of MFBS’ inspiring women. In this interview she tells us how she went from business news anchor to helming a women’s movement.  And why drinking Riojas is in her near distant future…

Betty: Joya, you wear several hats. Can you tell MFBS readers about how you went from interviewing CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to founding a women’s movement?

Joya: Hi Betty. Thank you for having me. Yea, this is a common question.  I’ve been a business news anchor in New York for the last 15 years. I’ve logged time with Bloomberg, CNN, and ABC. These days, you can see me reporting from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for NY1. Business news works with my no bullshit personality I think. The markets are either up or down. Oil is either higher or lower. I also enjoy the math and science that goes into explaining why business news is important.  About five years ago, I had been on a tough morning news schedule, where I was up every morning by 2:30, into work by 3:30 and on the air by five. I logged those hours for 4 years, and decided that this brand of journalism just wasn’t feeding me anymore. I went freelance and launched my production company. But I remained on the air part time. In order to mind the massive projects I was on, I took a partner. She had great success founding LadyDrinks in Toronto, in response to the Recession. We began the New York iteration July 2012.

Betty: How does LadyDrinks work?

Joya:  As we turn three years old next July, the business model remains the same. We host an event on the first Thursday of each month. Each month’s event is different. For example, one month, we had five LinkedIn experts come in and attendees signed up for 20 minute slots with each to revise their profiles. The sixth station was a hair, makeup, and photography station to generate a new LinkedIn Profile picture. Our October event was a panel discussion on “How to Get Clients?” We had a doctor, lawyer, a real estate developer and someone from the beauty industry on it. And so on.

Betty: Where do you host your events?

Joya: All over New York City. Generally at a boutique or store owned by a female business owner. We like to be able to support them too. Catering of food and drinks will also work to support other small business owners. The pendulum has also swung the opposite direction where we’ve also hosted at Henri Bendel and DeBeers on Fifth Avenue.

Betty:  In 2015, LadyDrinks turns 3. What new events or programs are you introducing?

Joya: We will continue with our monthly events, including a panel on “How to Network Better” and a “Pitch the Media” event in March. We are introducing a film and theater series to galvanize women on, say a Saturday night, to enjoy another way to meet.  I am thrilled to announce that this April I will be leading my second five-day women’s retreat.

The retreat will start on April 14th and end on April 19th and be held in Basque Country, Spain.  The idea being that I eject you WAY out of your comfort zone to some place beautiful. And we take dedicated time to investigate how fear is keeping us from being more confident and fearless in our lives. And have conversations about our hurdles as professional women. Conversations we’re not having with our spouses, parents, or friends…because there is no time. Last year’s retreat in Florence was life changing for the five women who attended. Zankhna Parekh made the biggest breakthrough in launching her bespoke and custom tailored business.  There will be guided meditation sessions to kick off each morning, and lots of time to share meals and evening Riojas while bonding with like-minded professional women.

The retreat will take place at a chateau called Irarte Jauregia, nestled deep in the north of Spain, just outside of San Sebastian. The facility has a gourmet chef, spas, and a forest for hiking. I am anticipating seven to ten women on this year’s retreat.  I am so excited about this retreat that I wish it could start even sooner than April!

Betty: Ooh, I might come! How do ladies sign up?

Joya: Deposits are due by January 20th. You can sign up at

Betty. I’ve seen you in action. You make it seem so seamless and effortless when you’re on camera. Do you have any pre camera rituals?

Joya: I have the uncanny ability to block out everything around when talking to camera. This probably comes from years of reporting on the testosterone-filled floor of the stock exchange —-smack in the middle of the daily melee. I have to drone out all the ambient screaming and yelling around me in order to do my job.

I do yoga at least once a week.   I can tell the days that I haven’t gone. My focus is different when I turn to face the camera.

Betty: Do you consider yourself a role model?

When we started LadyDrinks in July 2012 and much to my surprise, some 300 South Asian women were showing up to my events. I realized that I had something here. So I began curate the programming and introduce panels, workshops, lectures, events, and speakers, whom I had access to because of my journalism career.  My nose is always down on the grindstone, trying to find new and exciting ways to engage women in the membership. I should look up more often I guess.

Betty: What else should we know about Miss Joya?

Joya: I love big bold red wines. I love peaty mossy Scotches. And I would be bereft without a life of travel. Nothing makes me happier than experience new lands and new cultures. I go to at least two international destinations a year.

Thank you, Joya!


Top Image: Jinsey Dauk

Holiday Weekend Links from Chicago


Hey! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! We are currently in Chicago with our extended family and as always, we are feeling the love from all of them through food! jajaja! We are eating and drinking well out here and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Can you believe another year has gone by? Super fast? Last year’s weekend links looked like THIS as I did a nice re-cap/year-in-review for 2013. Today, I just can’t stop reading articles and posts that come through my Facebook stream or pop up when I open my email. And then when I find the good stuff, I want to share it with you. I also received a sweet book surprise from my friend (of The Mindful Family) right before Christmas, and I can’t put it down.

Are you ready for the new year? I recently wrote, 5 Reasons to Start Your New Year’s Resolutions Now and if you want to get a head start, go for it! Even it it’s 3 days away! I like to think that every day is a chance to start a good habit, to focus on wanting to be better, and do better. This year, I will continue to work on all the things I have promised in the past years but I really want to focus on only speaking Spanish at home. Why is it soooo hard?? UY! We’re going to do it! jajaja!

Dear readers, have a wonderful, joyful, healthy and prosperous 2015! Enjoy the weekend links…

What My Flawless Holiday Card Says About Me as a Mom. Trust Me: It’s Not What You Think.

Transforming communities by empowering vulnerable women and spreading kindness. Please do a #DeedADay

10 Incredibly Touching Reasons Why Couples Stay Married. My favorite? Because life is scary without backup. Because life is meant to be shared.

 Sleep, I Miss You… Thank you, Celeste!

The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life. Thank you, Maggie!

13 Awesome Characteristics of Highly Sensitive People.

Dresses on sale!

This baby shower

 5 Things Confident Women Do Differently

 52 Children’s Books to Read in 2015

I need to make this Strawberry Mango Salsa!

50 Things I Want for My Little Sister.


Sharing coffee with @lily_and_coco

Have a great week!

Celebratory Weekends


Hola! Did you have a good weekend? We celebrated Hubby’s birthday all weekend long! He helped our dear friend, K celebrate her birthday at Spice Market on Friday night and we ice skated with his company at Rockefeller Center on Saturday. We’re really good at celebrating around here. Last weekend it was Santi’s 4th birthday and my dad celebrated a big one too. I’m glad he was here over the Thanksgiving break so we could party with him.  The boys loved picking out gifts and of course, playing with all of Santi’s new toys! Thank you to our family and friends who were able to celebrate with us over the past two weekends.

I’m pooped. jajaja! But there’s no time for rest. I now have to  focus on everything and anything that has to do with Christmas.  Thank goodness for my mom who put up  the tree and decorations before they all left for Chicago. Even my sister helped stuff envelopes and now our holiday cards are ready to go out (but I haven’t had time to write the addresses on them)! I started shopping too but feel super overwhelmed. Question: do you ask people for ideas so your shopping is easier? I only ask those who ask us because we like to surprise the person receiving the gift. BUT our list is long! Hence, I worry I won’t finish my shopping on time.

Please don’t ask if I have bought myself anything from all these sales…because obviously, I have!! LOL!

Enjoy the weekend links! Lots of inspiring stuff on here today!

LOOK who has her first speaking gig!

The ULTIMATE gift guide for kids over at Mommy Maestra today!

THESE Lil’ Libros!


9 Things Successful People Won’t Do.

How 4 Mexican immigrant kids and their robot beat MIT.

Notable Children’s Books of 2014.

Emmy Award-winning preschool science and math series for 3-5 year olds! Please check out Peep and the Big Wide World!

Personalize anything with AdLipps.

Heart warming VIDEO. Please watch.

What Minecraft is doing to your kids… (Thanks, Liz!)

A Better Way to Introduce Your Friends at Parties.

This jumpsuit!

IMG_1402Urban Decay Illuminated Face/Body Powder

Urban Decay Black Magic 24/7 Glide On Double Ended Eye Pencil Set

Lips: Arbonne Jam


Top image: CR Photography

Have a great week!

Parenting by Design


Just recently, I noticed that Diego and I were constantly in disagreement. I kept thinking, “This can’t be it! It’s starting and he’s only 7!” How is it possible that I was constantly raising my voice to try to get my intelligent, mature and sweet boy to listen? It felt so odd to see him misbehave but I also knew that I had to get a grip and change the way I was reacting to his behavior…because yelling wasn’t working. Luckily, I have a good friend (who happens to be a family therapist and life coach), Jennifer Bronsnick, who told me to take some time to call her and discuss my latest parenting struggles. I’m so glad I did.

Jennifer had Diego’s energy blueprint and my own ready before our call. It amazed me to learn how our differences in personalities could be mapped out so clearly by submitting basic birth information and by Jennifer being very knowledgeable in Auras. After having worked at Deepak Chopra’s New York City center many years ago, I was not a stranger to energy work. I was happy for the reminder that not all humans are alike and that children often misbehave because they are trying to communicate something important. Jennifer described my Diego perfectly so I trusted her to guide me to parent him effectively and with an open heart.

Parenting is TOUGH.  Every time we think we get the hang of it, our kids throw us a curve ball.  Either they are going through a new developmental challenge, they push our buttons because they have a need that is not getting met, or things just get crazy. Even a difficult Monday morning can get wild while just trying to get my three boys to brush their teeth, get dressed and get to school on time!

I’m recommending all of MFBS mom readers to take a little chunk of time to hear Jennifer speak.  She is having a free tele-class called Parenting by Design.  During this 90 minute class on December 11th, she is going to teach parents how to understand their child’s unique energy blueprint to allow for greater ease, better communication and a happier family life.  I can’t wait to talk to Jennifer about Santi and Jordi. Right now I think I have them figured out but as I have learned with Diego, things change quickly and I want to be prepared with the tools to communicate with them a lot better.

Click HERE for the link to register!!

 Image: mikifoto

Pre-Holiday Weekend


Hi! I hope you had a great weekend! Did you notice it was the last weekend before the official holiday craziness kicks off? We tried to relax as the next few weeks will be a complete whirlwind. I did do a bit of food shopping as my family arrives today and we will be spending Thanksgiving together. I’m cooking!

After Thursday (now actually), you will be bombarded by ads asking you to take advantage of their sales. I already have my favorite shops and will only buy items that are marked down. I’m thinking glam and elegance for all the holiday parties. I received this cute nail polish set from L’Oreal over the weekend and I think the colors are so fun and festive. Eating and shopping: my forecast for the next few weeks!

Here are your weekend links! Enjoy!

The L’Oreal Latina hub!

The Morning Routine of 12 Women Leaders.

Have you heard of ONE?

Modern moms looking for perfection in all the wrong places.

I listened to Deepak Chopra speak about his new book. So intrigued!

Cute gift for wine lovers!

A list of NEW Thanksgiving books for the kiddies.

Normal Barbie is just perfect. Thanks, Lily!

Have a great week!

Drifting Weekend


That’s it! Summer has come to an end for us. I know my boys are ready for school to begin and honestly, so am I! This weekend we did our yearly Connecticut road trip to meet up with Hubby’s really good friends. It’s always a blast, the boys love the beach, and even though this is our fifth year going, I always find something gorgeous to admire at Kinsey’s beach house. Thank you, K & T!

Labor Day is also the unofficial/official (however you will like to see it!) end of summer. I have some great posts coming up on what to wear  as we head into fall. Some days are hot and some days are not! Please come back to look out for that.

We have one more celebratory summer dinner tonight and I should really start prepping. I just wanted to thank Hubby (he better be reading!) that I am so grateful and thankful to have had such an incredible summer with him and our boys. xoxo.

Enjoy your weekly links! But first…



…may they always be this close and happy.

Perfect end-of-summer song.

Your September horoscope.

Ronaldo, James and now Chicharito on the same team? LAWD! Be still my heart.

L.A friends say Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros’ #ProfanityPop exhibition was a success! Thank you @raisedbyculture !

THIS nail polish is on backorder. Are you buying it?

THIS jumpsuit

Bullying begins even before kids start school

Technology in our schools.

18 Surprising Things About Parenting in Chile

Santi’s tee

Diego’s tee (sold out but similar HERE)

Jordi’s tee

Have a great week! 

News and Weekend Links


Hi there! Did you have a nice weekend? We spent a lot of time on the beach and can’t be thankful enough for another wonderful, happy, sunny weekend. The boys are ready for school to begin but we have one more fun in the sun road trip planned for them for Labor Day weekend. I feel summer just slipping away and I envy those who live in warm climates!

Nevertheless, I always welcome the fall and love that here in NJ you truly feel all four seasons. I’m all about change! AND this is great time to share my big news with you! Some of you might know already but I have recently joined the Latina Bloggers Connect team and I couldn’t be more grateful. You know how some of the sponsored content on MFBS is in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect? Well, I will now be on the other end of blogging, assisting other bloggers and making connections with brands we know their readers will love. It’s all about growing together, really, and I’m so proud to be a part of a group that is empowering to women.

I will still be here and I hope you continue to visit My Friend Betty Says!! I love blogging and know I will find balance with it all.  Thank you for your support (I feel the love!). Here are your weekend links:

The image above is from our NYC’s High Line visit a few weeks ago (I wrote this!)

My sister started a blog! Visit Lily and Coco‘s Stylish Diary and please like her on Facebook!

How to Make Your Kids Smarter (Thanks Caro!)

Hoping Diego enjoys this book series

In case you missed it…8 Questions to Ask Your Child After School (I wrote this!)

Just donate the money

Inspiring Celebrity Denim

10 Stylish Eyeglasses for Kids

Super cute Baked Birthday Doughnuts!

What Parents Tell Their Kids About Tragedies in the News

Even if you don’t like them…The Kardashian’s Just Owned the VMAs Red Carpet and I agree.

A quote: “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it” 
― Thomas Jefferson

Have a great week!!

36th Birthday Weekend






I used to make sure I planned a whole week of celebrations for my birthday (doesn’t every Leo?)! Life is a little more busy now with three little guys! Thankfully, August is a slow month so I can narrow it down to a weekend. jajaja!

Hubby and I started on Friday night with a fabulous dinner with friends at Son Cubano. Mojitos, platanos maduros, chimichurri on skirt skirt and churros for dessert…PLUS we had a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline and you know I absolutely love that! On Saturday, we took the boys to our town’s pool and later to a minor league baseball game. It was one of those perfect summer days that end with sticky fingers and faces from too many ballpark treats; one that I wouldn’t trade for the world. As I counted my blessings during the colorful display, my boys gazed at the sky in awe but I couldn’t stop staring at them.

Yesterday, we met our Brooklyn BFF at Sarabeth’s in the city for brunch. Some of you may remember from previous posts that she is a childhood friend. This year will mark our 29th year of friendship. Amazing. Our birthdays are two weeks apart and we make sure to see each other to celebrate and toast with our favorite brunch drink.

So…today is my actual birthday!!!! I feel incredibly blessed and happy and bursting with crazy emotions. Life is never perfect for anyone, but I have learned that if you surround yourself with positive people who you truly love AND you live your life with purpose…it’s all good. Really. I really hope you find some of today’s links useful!

P.s. I made two looks of my Sunday brunch outfit. Notice that at the end of day in the city, I swapped my shoes for more comfy walking ones!

My 35th in Puerto Vallarta last year…

And remember when I received THIS on my 34th??

6 Back-to-School Tips for Parents (I wrote this!)

Let the kids eat a little junk food. Thank you, Caro!

Have you met my friend  (and recipe developer), Melissa? Check out her blog! You can thank me later.

Can I be a little girl again? Just look at these adorable outfits!

THIS pillow. Hola!

Making this champagne cocktail next!

What it means to be a little boy’s mama. Sob! Thank you again, Carol!

Comino Island: Heaven on Earth

Thinking about going back

3 Ways Parents Can Encourage Rigorous Learning

THESE shoes! Do I really need them? jajaja! 

Have a great week! 

Topshop overlay dress
Michael Kors Sandals
Earrings at Bungalow
Stella & Dot Portia bracelet
JCrew Marina mini wedge (almost gone!)

Are You Still Pinning?

Screenshot 2014-08-07 at 2.45.59 PM

Sometimes I can’t believe how long I have been working on My Friend Betty Says. The blog is about 2 1/2 years old now and I have tried to post at least four times a week (notice it didn’t happen this week!). It really is my fourth child and it’s probably more exhausting than the other three! There is also the freelance writing for other sites and I must confess that at times, I don’t know what I am going to write until the absolute last minute on the night before the deadline!

Because I am so busy lately, inspiration has to come from the books I read and from tons of time on social media. I love Instagram, but follow a very specific bunch. Just this week, I came back to Pinterest (I was only pinning my own images! Tsk tsk!). I haven’t had a party to plan or a room to decorate and have been so consumed with just trying to finish work. This time when I stumbled on Pinterest again, I was automatically hooked again.

Whenever I am on Pinterest, I also like to guess what other users are trying to put together! “Oh! Celeste must be planning a birthday party!” and “Why is my sister pinning wedding dresses??? She better tell me first!” jajaja! Here are a few pins that I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else. Can you tell what I’m thinking about? Isn’t the internet so much fun sometimes? What social media outlet do you use for inspiration? 

Let’s follow each other! Here are some of my most recent pins. Enjoy!


Screenshot 2014-08-07 at 11.34.35 PM

Second City Weekend




Hi guys! We’ve been little tourists all over Chicago this past week! I really enjoy showing my boys everything including the Little Village block I grew up in (made a quick stop for pan dulce at La Espiga de Oro!) to the 10 year-old Millenium Park!  My sister-in-law and mom made the trip downtown with us to visit the Willis Tower (#SearsToMe!) and today we went to the Adler Planetarium. The boys are also enjoying time visiting great grandma and playing with all their cousins. They just happen to have so many BOY cousins, so of course, they have been totally psyched. My brother also treated all of us to an amazing BBQ dinner at a place called Lillie’s Q in Wicker Park. YUM!

It does seem like I have been eating and eating since arriving in Chicago! I have been meeting up with my sister and BFFs for various dinners too. Every time I visit here I must stop at my old time favorites such as Pequod’s on the North Side, Margarita’s and Maya del Sol in Oak Park, and for the first time, I tried a rico cafecito from Cafe Jumping Bean in Pilsen.  Lord. It’s all been soooo good.

Regardless of all the fun, I have continued to write late at night and every free moment I get. There has been lots of freelance work for me and my personal posts on this blog continue as usual. I even had an awesome photo shoot with the talented Nancy Huayek here in Chicago! I’m excited to share those pictures with you soon. Thank you for supporting my educational, parenting and lifestyle posts on other sites and for reading and engaging on brand sponsored posts that help support My Friend Betty Says. I really do appreciate it.


How to Raise Kind Boys (I wrote it!)

5 Tips for the Hostess and Overnight Guest (I wrote this too!)

All about the new 9/11 Memorial and Museum (…and this one!)

Should playdates be banished?

Hilarious video (in Spanish) to watch!

This doggie video will melt your heart… (thanks, Lily!)

What I’m reading now.

While out shopping, my mom and I couldn’t decide on these trousers for me.

Did you enter the Fisher Price giveaway? Winner announced!

Have a great week! 


What I wore:
Madewell Popover
JCrew Toothpick Denim
TOMS Sunnies
Stella & Dot Chandeliers

Cloud Gate (“Bean”) and Jay Pritzker Pavilion Images by Tiz and My Friend Betty Says