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AFROELLE January Issue 2015

Celebrating Women of African Heritage

www.afroellemagazine.com


magazine

AFR ELLE www.afroellemagazine.com AfroElle Magazine is a monthly digital publication celebrating and empowering women of African heritage in Africa and the Diaspora.


FOUNDER & EDITOR Patricia Miswa

PUBLISHER MISWA MEDIA

COVER CREDITS Photographer: Agnes Essonti Model: Miriam Cecile MUA & Hair: Aida Guardia

FOR SUBMISSIONS, GENERAL ENQUIRIES & ADVERTISING AfroElle@gmail.com ONLINE www.afroellemagazine.com AfroElle Magazine is published by Miswa Media copyright Š 2015. All rights reserved.


Thank you to our contributors!

BRENDA IBARAH

AGNES ESSONTI

CORAZON A.

Writer UGANDA

Photographer LONDON/BARCELONA

Writer

KENYA

@afrifleur

agnesessonti.com

@cory_mi


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Renew, Reset, Refresh!

H

APPY NEW YEAR! I hope the new year has started well for you. Welcome to our first issue of the year. A new year for me has always been about renewing my thinking, resetting my goals and refreshing my life.

About two years ago, I stopped the tradition of writing down my New Year resolutions and replaced it with a one word resolution. Settling on the simplicity of one word for the year meant that it would guide my decisions and my overall attitude towards my year.

Sami Khan Photography

My word for this year is FOCUS. I settled for FOCUS because over the years I’ve lost focus on my goals because I was busy comparing my journey with everyone else’s and wishing the highlights of their lives on social media would be mine. Doing this I found myself rearing off my lane and loosing focus on my own race. Having shared my word for the year, in our issue’s special feature 18 women share their New Year traditions, goal setting tips, how they stay motivated through out the year and words of wisdom they swear by. We’re already half way through January and I hope this issue leaves you feeling fired up and ready to achieve incredible things this year. As you move forward I hope you remember that you don’t have to wait for a new year to change your life, every new day presents you with the ability to renew, reset and refresh! Till next time, I leave you with the words of Arnold Bennett, “ The chief beauty abut time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the new day, the next hour are lying ahead ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.”

Peace & Blessings Patricia Miswa Founder and Editor


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26

JANUARY ISSUE

INSIDE

14 In Her Good Books with

Aleya Kassam 17 Nouveau Noir Campaign 18 The Sound of Kaline’s Music 20 Esther Kalenzi On being the Change 22 Aida Nambi: On African Film and Theatre 24 Made in Africa by Tongoro 26 #SheisNairobi 28 Queen of all things Domestic

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SPECIAL FEATURE Renew, Reset, Refresh! [Pg.32-46] Compilation of inspiration from 18 women in variety of fields sharing their New Year’s traditions, personal and professional goals for 2015, tips on how to stay motivated with your goals and words of wisdom they swear by.


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Quotes of the Month “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Stephen A. Brennan “If you want to reach a goal, you must ‘see the reaching’ in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal.” – Zig Ziglar “If you want to be successful in a particular field or endeavor, I think perseverance is one of the key qualities. It’s very important that you find something that you care about, that you have a deep passion for, because you’re going to have to devote a lot of your life to it.” – George Lucas “One of the things that may get in the way of people … is that they’re not in touch with their passion. If you’re passionate about what it is you do, then you’re going to be looking for everything you can to get better at it.” – Jack Canfield “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


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In Her Good Books Aleya Kassam is a bonafide Nairobi girl, born, raised and currently living in the city. She is currently a copy writer with an advertising agency. In pockets of time that she snatches from that world, she writes her own little pieces of mostly non-fiction for her blog, as well as perform on stage, most recently in Sitawa Namwalie’s award winning dramatized poetry show Silence is a Woman. - @aleyakassam chanyando.wordpress.com Photo Credit: Dilman Dila When it comes to book genres, if I was to liken it to a relationship, I’d say I am both an obsessive passionate lover and then very fickle moving on quickly when I get bored. When I find an author or a genre I like, I go out and read everything by that author, or in that genre, picking it apart, allowing it to consume me completely. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to my patterns. I have gone from science fiction collections to young adult fiction. At a point when I was interested in my Indian heritage, I remember going through a gluttony of anything written on the sub-continent, wondering what my ancestor’s lives would have been like, what my life would have been like if they never got on that ship, what pieces of me I might find in those stories. Recently I have been reading a lot of fiction written by contemporary African writers and it has been a revelation. Almost like this incredible treat that I feel so lucky to have found. I do have moods for different types of books. I love to read poetry at night in bed, dipping in and out when I feel like it. I use trashy romances as my palette cleanser in between heavy literary work. I have a book on advertising by Ogilvy that I read snippets

from every now and then. Short story collections when I don’t feel like committing, or don’t want to go too deep, and big fat novels when I just want to escape into a different world.

The first book I remember reading that made you fall in love with reading would have to be the BFG by Roald Dahl. I think I must have read it over twenty times, and would force my sister to sit and listen as I read it aloud to her at bedtime, putting great oomph into the voices and expressions. With the BFG I think it was because of this insane world that Roald Dahl created that was so fantastical and yet completely realistic to me. I imagined myself as Sophie and every night would look out the window expectantly, hopefully, waiting for my own BFG to swoop in. The other reason is that I couldn’t believe that here is this book, with a made up language, that is just so wonderful, and he was allowed to do that!? It boggled my mind. An author can just make stuff up like that? It felt like I had just discovered an endless treasure trove.


I am making my way through the Africa 39 anthology. It is giving me the same sense of awe that the BFG did. This thing where you discover writing you never knew existed, stories that fill you with such pleasure, being able to get a taste of new interesting writing from around the Continent, like an unraveling of inventive ways of telling stories that I didn’t even know existed. Like when you taste salted caramel for the first time, and you think now I can never go back! That is a terrible analogy, but I really do love salted caramel. My favorite author changes all the time. If you had asked me this question a few years ago I would have told you Marquez for his lush, vivid, magical, epic stories. Kundera for making me want to crawl into his brain and be a character in his books. Douglas Adams for his absurd sense of humour that wraps itself so deceptively around a wisdom. But it has all changed in the last year. I used to be very monogamous, faithfully reading one book at a time, making sure I finished every single book I started whether it was tedious or not. No longer. I realized there are far too many wonderful books and not enough time in the world to read them all to waste time on books I am not feeling. Also I discovered second hand book sellers, and so now I am completely spoiled for choice, with dozens of books jealously jostling for space on my bedside table. Right now even as I speak on my bed I have Blink by Malcom Gladwell, non-fiction and I love Gladwell’s bite sized insights and easy going storytelling. If on a Winter’s Night by Italo Calvino feels rather experimental and I am not sure if I have the patience right now to go on that journey with him, Bead Bai by Sultan Somjee , similar to Vassanji, a story from ‘my world’. When you are engulfed by flames by David Sedaris , hilarious essays that

“ Sometimes when I look at my bookshelves, I think of them almost like stacks of perfectly chopped up ingredients like in a cooking show. Like if you were to cut my brain in half, you would find all those books that make up the dish that is my mind. The stories, the worlds, the characters, the poetry, all swirling inside, ripening and marinating simultaneously, seasoning and sizzling, dissolving and bubbling together to make me. It makes me smile. This perfect alchemy that is always changing, the chemistry of the way I look at the world, always adjusting itself to the last ingredient that went in. sometimes make you cock your head in a ‘I don’t get what the point of that was’ kind of way, Africa 39 , fiction anthology and A Scent of Sandalwood: Indo-Ismaili Religious Lyrics, poetic translations of the Ismaili Muslim hymns, I can’t figure out what mood I am in, and when I figure it out, I will run with one of them, and the rest will be put on hold.

I have a terrible memory, and immediately forget a book the moment I have put it down. This is great, because it means I can re-read books several times and be surprised every single time! Since I started writing more, I also read differently. My first reading will be as a reader. My second as a writer, trying to unravel the fabric of how the story is woven together. I will also sometimes pick up a book and just re-read a random section because I feel like being in that author’s world at that particular time. >>


Aleya’s Book Share If I were to have date with an author- live or dead, it would be Audre Lorde. I have been reading snippets of her work, and I feel like an afternoon with her would be worth a lifetime. At the same time, I am rather skeptical of meeting authors. Having produced the Storymoja Festival for a few years, I have been disappointed meeting certain authors whose work I really loved. I unfairly expected them to be a certain way, and when they weren’t, it was a little disorienting. One author in particular whose work I really loved was rather unpleasant. Ever since then, I can’t bring myself to read anything else by him, because his personality keeps interfering with my reading. It is a very unfair thing of me to say. Authors are authors. No more, no less. But sometimes we place our on expectations on them, thinking if we love their work, it must mean they should be loveable as people to all their readers. So much pressure! *+

Kintu by Jennifer Makumbi consumed me from the moment I started it. Her multi-generational story of the myth of Kintu in Uganda is probably one of the freshest pieces of literature I have read in a long time. I am not used to reading the stories from our Continent without the often invasive lenses of colonialism. How refreshing it was to read this book. And it is beautifully written.

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. NoViolet’s cheeky sense of humour is disarming, particularly as the themes are not exactly light. The voice of her characters stayed with me for a long time after I put this one down.

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi. Heartbreakingly beautifully written. I actually put it down the first time I tried to read it, and when I picked it up again, sped right through it. I am a firm believer that books find their way to you at the right time.

Dust by Yvonne Owour. This one took me a really long time to read. Her writing makes me breathless. It is one of those books where I would read a sentence, put the book down, look up at the ceiling, contemplate the beauty of her words, and then after 10 minutes pick the book up again!

Diaries of a Dead African by Chuma Nwokolo. It was hilarious and heartbreaking all at once and written in a language that felt so unusual to read, it was like discovering a new country.

London, Joburg, Cape Town by Zukiswa Wanner. I read this book in one night, literally tore through it. She is a master storyteller and the end of the book had me gasping for air.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit. This is one of those books that finds you. It is an incredible account of loss. Losing things, self, places, people, time. This was the biggest gift to me this year. Philosophical, lush, beautiful, thought provoking.*+


Nouveau Noir There’s a revolution happening in Africa and the newly launched campaign, Nouveau Noir is capturing it. Started by Daron Bandiera , founder of Afrobougee , the campaign aims to centralize all the creative talents Africa’s new generation has to offer and unleash them as an unstoppable force to the world. “This campaign is living proof that everything we hoped Africa would be is here, whatever we were walking towards as far as the self-actualization of the people, the thoughts and the ideas, are all here.” says Daron. Afrobougee describes the Nouveau Noir woman as a woman who defines beauty on her own terms, lives purposefully, accepts what makes her truly unique, and allows herself to fall in love with all of who she is. To be a card carrying member of the Nouveau Noir you must open doors, not merely walk through them. Multi-talented Ghanaian actress and producer, Maame Adjei of An African City is a striking example of the Nouveau Noir woman. Serving as the face of the campaign, Maame says that being part of the Nouveau Noir starts with telling stories that haven't been told yet through locally invested shows like An African City. She feels young creatives on the rise, and already dominating, are doing things that have more depth and dynamics than before. “As an actress and a producer I tell stories that exist in a new way, re-imagining and re branding what it is to be a young creative and African, that's who I want my work to speak to, the new generation of Africans who are bold enough to pursue creative endeavours.” she explains. “When I first met with Afrobougee to discuss the idea of Nouveau Noir I completely got it, but when I saw the ideas manifested I was blown away.” Nouveau Noir is redefining the core of African identity. Afrobougee is Africa’s premium portal delivering an invigorating perspective on all aspects of the African art spectrum. Keep updated WATCH THE with the campaign through CAMPAIGN afrobougee.com VIDEO HERE


Kaline’s

Sound of

F

music

or the sake of relatability, Nigerian Afro-Soul singer – songwriter, Kaline describes her music as alternative afro- soul’. The singer who has been likened to artists like Sade, Corinne Bailey Rae, Asa, Alicia Keys and Minnie Riperton, had her first experience with music at the age of 5 and expresses that she hated it for the first 5 years. Coming from a musical family, Kaline’s mother who was her first piano teacher, gave up as her teacher within the first year and hired a piano teacher for Kaline and her brothers. Kaline later took up violin at the age of 8 and started voice classes at 13. It wasn’t until Kaline got to music college that she combined piano and voice, making that combination an important part of her brand image. Her father was instrumental in bringing a different element of music to Kaline’s craft – he exposed her to all kinds of genres and artists . “I remember dancing to Bobby Brown at a very young age and I also remember sitting and listening attentively to artists like Carole King and The Beatles.” But Kaline’s life changing moment happened when she first heard Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album. “That was the moment I knew music meant a lot more to me than just listening pleasure.” she remembers. Michael Jackson has since become the singers all-time favorite musician, “not just for his stagecraft but his compassion embedded in his lyrical content.” Some of Kaline’s other musical influences include Stevie Wonder and Prince. “I listened to a lot of Whitney Houston and Carole King growing up. Fela is a major part of the development of my rhythmic vocabulary as well as Lagbaja. I


was mentored by the late great Steve Rhodes; Gloria Rhodes-Nash his daughter is my God mother and has certainly been a major part of my growth.” She adds. “ Cobhams Asuquo, Sound Sultan, Omawumi, Bez, Temi Dollface Niyola have all been guardian angels in my life, holding my hand down this rough and rugged path and I only hope to make all of them constantly proud of my choices and decisions” For Kaline, what she considers her successes to be few but very important to her. She has been the official opening act for Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo and Bob James and Fourplay, won various awards for her songwriting and has also been asked to perform her version of the Nigerian National Anthem at several events and conferences all over the world. “ I think the best compliments however, are still those moments where people I don’t even know who’ve heard my music send me a message or walk up to me and tell me I have been a blessing to their lives. That’s the real success because that’s exactly what I do this for.” says the songbird. Kaline believes in having a message behind her music that may evolve but is consistent with purpose. “My music aims to empower people and equip listeners with the knowledge that as long as we all stay true to who we are, we will all be able to reach our full potential a lot quicker. I want to stand for boldness, honesty, strength and elegance.” she says. On what she has learned so far on her journey as a musician, Kaline says, “ I’ve learned that I must constantly and consistently embrace my uniqueness, use it to my advantage and continue to use the medium of music to bring about positive change. I mustn’t forget also, that all must be done to the glory of God who gave me this talent in the first place. I don’t want to embark on any journey that is not approved by him first.” And to those interested in pursuing a music career she advices to stay true to yourself and your craft. Be Consistent, Be Patient and Practice practice practice.—AE TO LISTEN TO KALINE’S MUSIC VISIT

kalineofficial.com Photo Courtesy of Kaline/ Facebook


Esther Kalenzi On Being the Change In 2012, at the beginning of Lent season, Ugandan native Esther Kalenzi decided that as a Christian, she needed to do more for the season than to fast and pray. Having realized that she was spending a good amount of time on Facebook, she decided to open a Facebook page and over 40 days ask her friends to donate items such as food, clothes, books, toys, money and join her during the Easter weekend to deliver the items and celebrate with the kids. That weekend, Esther and her friends reached close to 120 children. What started as a simple dream for Esther to be the change she wanted to see in her community resulted in a revolution that is now 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation, a Kampala based independent, youth-led, charity organization that is committed to helping vulnerable children and communities to access quality, all-round education support and entrepreneurial training aimed at self-sustainability. “I have always thought I would do charity work. I love children and hoped that somehow I’d make a difference in the lives of those who are underprivileged in the future.” says Esther. “After that Easter weekend, my life was not the same. All I could think of was what more I could do for those children. Luckily, I had friends who were also touched and wanted to do more.” Together with her friends, Esther decided to continue supporting orphans and vulnerable children. In 2013, they registered the organization. “We kept the name because it has a story.” she explains further. “It is a bit of a mouthful, I know. However, it always prompts

questions and I guess that is a good thing.” 40- 40 mainly focuses on improving livelihoods of vulnerable children, “They may not have families, come from poor backgrounds or be suffering from a terminal illness. Either way, they still deserve to have a regular childhood.” explains Esther, “That is where we come in. We try to make life ‘normal’ whether it is through our monthly breakfasts where we play, talk to and read with the kids or by building a dormitory which can accommodate them and give them a sense of protection.” Since its inception, 40-40 has used social media as the main tool of raising funds and awareness for their campaigns. The organization’s activities are mainly based on programs that support value addition in education like Food and Nutrition, Literacy, Health and Sanitation, and extra-curricular activities with the main idea being to integrate the programs with the community so that the problem is solved communally, to encourage


Dorm built for 210 children through #BuyABrick Esther with the kids at Akiba, home for children with cancer

Literally building a dorm

self-sustainability and avoid dependency. For sustainability, Esther and her team decided to focus on fun fundraising events to encourage young people to get involved and ‘have fun while changing someone’s life.’ They settled for sports, music and poetry events. Their sports events, that are now annual, are #5AsideUG and #Hoops4Grace. Their first soccer event in 2012 had about 30 people and 2 teams. In 2014, they had 42 teams and over 1200 people attending. Their music and poetry event is called #CroakAndRhyme. On which event campaign has registered the most success, Esther says, “I think 5 Aside brought the most people. It is pretty humbling to see those numbers after relying on a few people armed with a smart phone or computer. We had an online

“I try as much as I can to walk the talk. If I tell you to work hard, it is because I have. I want to inspire people, especially young women, to get out of their comfort zones and follow their dreams. How do I do that? Well, I live my dream the best way I can and hope to change a life or two along the way.”

campaign, #BuyABrick which totally blew our minds. We were raising funds to build a dormitory in Luweero. We raised about 8 million in 10 days on Twitter and Facebook alone using that hash tag. Eventually we did build and open the dormitory in April 2013.” Esther considers that as one the proudest moments of her life. Through the events, that hosts over 1000 youths, and their networks, 40 Smiles over 40 Days has raised over Ushs 100 Million and invested it in the lives of over 500 children. In 2013, 40 - 40 emerged the Best social media campaign in Uganda, ahead of other prominent companies such MTN, Coca Cola and Airtel. For Esther, her everyday life is governed by a desire for her life to be a testimony. “I try as much as I can to walk the talk. If I tell you to work hard, it is because I have. I want to inspire people, especially young women, to get out of their comfort zones and follow their dreams. How do I do that? Well, I live my dream the best way I can and hope to change a life or two along the way.”*+ - AE

Keep up to date with 40 Days over 40 smiles’ activities or Get involved through Twitter @40days_40smiles 40daysover40smiles.org


Aida Nambi: On African Film and Theatre AIDA NAMBI MBOWA, IS A KENYAN BORN, UGANDAN DIRECTOR, WRITER AND ACTRESS. SHE IS A GRADUATE OF STANFORD UNIVERSITY WITH A PHD IN DRAMA AND IS A TRAINED PERFORMER WITH THE LONDON ACADEMY OF MUSIC & DRAMATIC ARTS. AIDA REPRESENTED UGANDA AT THE FIRST SUNDANCE THEATRE EAST AFRICA DIRECTOR’S LAB IN 2012 AND ONCE AGAIN REPRESENTED THE COUNTRY AT THE 2013 SUNDANCE THEATRE LAB IN UTAH. LAST YEAR, SHE COLLABORATED WITH ACTOR AND DIRECTOR NTARE GUMA MBAHO MWINE ( HEROES, BLOOD DIAMONDS) ON A SHORT FILM CALLED 'MISSING' WHICH WAS NOMINATED FOR THE UGANDA FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS. WE CAUGHT UP WITH HER AND TALKED ABOUT THE FILM AND HER THOUGHTS ON AFRICAN CINEMA AND THEATRE.— words by Brenda

Ibarah

You collaborated with Ntare Mwine on the film 'Missing'. What is the film about and how did that come about? Well, Missing is an abstract film, so it is about whatever the viewer thinks it's about. My interpretation is no more correct than your interpretation. And even though we made the film together, Ntare and I have different interpretations altogether. The the film is dealing with a couple where one of them (the man) has died and the woman is trying to come to terms with her loss. Ntare posted on his Facebook that he was going to be in Uganda and also in Zanzibar working on a short film. He was looking for someone to work with. I looked at my calendar and realized that I was going to be in Zanzibar and also in Uganda around the same time .And so I reached out to him and we started communicating back and forth about the different ideas we had for the film. Initially he wanted to work on the theme of love but I told him that love was boring and that we should


look at death instead! (laughs)

do in theatre and you cannot do in film. For instance if I shot a film in Uganda, and I tried to convince people that I was in Sweden, the audience would know that I shot this film behind some building and lied about it being Sweden. Whereas in theatre, I can sit on a chair and say that I am in Sweden and the audience would believe it. Also film is way more costly than theatre. So yeah, I think I prefer theatre to film.

What is the inspiration behind that? About four years ago my father passed away and this led me to the realization of my own mortality. I was faced with questions about the meaning of life and the fact that the people I love will one day cease to exist. For a long time I have been struggling with this loss and the film is my way of dealing with it. You have spent quite sometime within the Ntare also happens to be taking care of his Ugandan film and ailing father and I theatre circles. What had no idea how he is your take on the was dealing with We are expected to tell African stories progress of Ugandan that so I thought and so it s rare to find filmmakers telling film and Africa as a that it would be good for him to ex- stories about science fiction because they whole? plore the subject I feel like there is so are Ugandan or African. artistically and much limitation when I want to be able to make a film about a maybe it would it comes to film in Afrihelp him cope with ca. We are expected to rabbit and not have that questioned the situation. tell African stories and because I'm supposed to be telling so its rare to find African stories. filmmakers telling stoYou have the lead ries about science ficrole in 'Missing'. tion because they are Tell us a bit about Ugandan or African. I want to be able to make a your transition from being behind the film about a rabbit and not have that questioned camera to the front. Where do you feel because I'm supposed to be telling African stomost comfortable? ries. However I believe that we are off to a good I have done a lot of acting but mostly for start with platforms like the Uganda Film Festistage, so it wasn't so hard. But being more of val and very soon the people will start watching a theatre actor, I do not have the patience for home made films. I really look forward to that. all the takes that are required to get the perfect shot in film, so I find that frustrating As a writer and especially as an African about being in front of the camera. I'm just woman, do you feel compelled to tell womgrateful for Ntare because he was very paen's stories or African stories? tient with me. As for where I am more comfortable, I think that right now I'm more Quite honestly I only tell stories that interest comfortable being behind the camera. I just me. I tell stories from my own perspective. If want to create something amazing and give I'm to write a story about two white men, I will it to the people. Also, I like being in control tell that story according to Aida's view of the of things so being a director comes naturally two white men. It will always be about what I to me. think. So no, I don't really feel the anxiety to tell only a particular type of stories. [] So, what do you prefer? Theatre or film? I think there are certain things that you can


Tongoro Made in Africa

‘TONGORO’ meaning ‘star’ in Sango, a Central African Republic national language is the name of the 100% online store launched Ghubar Magazine editor, Sarh Diouf.

“For every single time we will be asked what Tongoro means, we'll highlight our forgotten land and pay tribute to the very heart of our Mother, wounded, bleeding, yet still blossoming.” says the creative director. Apart from offering quality affordable fashion, Sarah is also looking to deliver more than ‘just’ a fashion brand which will be 100% Made in Africa. “From bargaining fabric kilometers, to


sketching, to finally seeing our designs come to life is a combination of relief and satisfaction.” she says. “ We are producing all items in Dakar, Senegal, and our concept is to offer affordable fashion for the daily life, breathing a touch, a detail, a print, telling a little bit of a story.” “Willing to go in a different direction than already existing African fashion marketplaces, it was important for us to get involved in the process of designing our own collections, the long term goal being to give birth to creative collaborations with the strongest African designers.” she explains. Sarah and her team have designed their

collection with style, comfort and easiness that every girl looks for when buying clothes. “We're working on delivering a strong visual story embracing everything we stand for : Africa, beauty, style and poise.” writes Sarah in her online journal. The full Tongoro SS15 pre-collection will be will be available for sale in Spring 2015 and will vary in taste, shape and style. *+ - AE

Photographer: Mehdi Sefrioui Model : Oceane Makeup: @KarenDoesMakeup Wardrobe: Tongoro by Sarah Diouf


#SheisNairobi #SheisNairobi campaign, is a celebration of inspiring women who are changing the face of Nairobi. The campaign is a collaboration by fashion designer Ann Mpinga, the creative behind Kipusa Clothing, a design company that designs clothes for every type of woman, photographer and creative director, Mia Collis and Cynara Vetch who is a journalist and the campaign manager. The women profiled in #sheisnairobi are intellectuals, entrepreneurs, volunteers, wage earners and creatives . Some of the women featured include fashion stylist, Annabel Onyango, image consultant Connie Alouch, pilot Wanjiru Gichaga and award winning writer Yvonne Adhiambo. #SheisNairobi also serves as the launch of the Kipusa fashion collection, going by the same name and modeled by the role models in the campaign. Anne Mpinga talked to AfroElle to shed more light on #sheisnairobi. Words by Corazon Achieng’ Photography by Mia Collis Anne Mpinga


Who is ‘She’ according to #sheisnairobi? In the words of Whitney Houston, she is every woman. She is the lady that cuts my hair, the lady that manages investment portfolios at a bank, the student discovering a new world through her studies, she is a pilot charting her way across the skies against the tides of gender stereotypes. She is mother, She is Nairobi. How long will this campaign be running? This is just the beginning of what is to come. When Mia Collis, Cynara Vetch and I came together to make the campaign a reality, we wanted to celebrate the women in our city and their achievements. Their stories are inspiring. For as long as we have women ; remarkable role models in Nairobi, we need to continuously celebrate them. It doesn’t stop here. Giving #sheisnairobi a timeline would be limiting.

Is there a criteria for being featured in the campaign? There was no criteria for selecting the women who have featured so far. The women had different stories. They were drawn from all walks of life. Currently, we are asking our fans to nominate women who, in their view, have made a significant contribution to society. We are cognizant of the fact that we have barely scratched the surface of what Nairobi has to offer.

Check out #SheisNairobi to read inspiring stories of women making a difference in Nairobi. You can also nominate a sister, friend, mother or aunt through their social media links. sheisnairobi.wordpress.com Kipusaclothing.com


Vaquesha Taybron is known as the Queen of all Things Domestic’, she was born and raised in San Fransicso around people who loved to cook. Taybron loves to teach women about cooking, cleaning, organic foods, creating a home that they actually want to go home to. She is currently the owner of SaVor V and co-hosts the radio show for The Single Wives Club an international organization preparing women for marriage. Most recently she is a contributing staff writer of the Modern Domestic section of Everything Girls Love online. Taybron talked to AfroElle about her brand and how she’s able to start an online bakery from her love of domestic arts.

WHAT WAS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF BAKING?

Queen Of All Things

Domestic

I started baking with my grandmother Annie Ruth Williams. I was about 4 or 5 years old. In my eyes she was this royal cooking goddess who owned the kitchen. She could cook like no other and she was known for baking the best tea cakes around. In the kitchen she did all things well and I marveled at this. When she passed in 1999 I felt as though she took the spirit of baking with her. It wasn't long before my step mother invited me into her kitchen. This is where I developed a vast knowledge for food and my passion for the kitchen was reignited. This was at about the age 14. I baked cornbread from scratch then graduated


to baked chicken. Before long I had a great command of the kitchen.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE EXPERIENCE ABOUT OWNING YOUR BAKERY? Running an online bakery is not an easy task but when you do what you love it doesn't feel like work. I can say that one of the best experiences was when I received my first international customer. This order came from the troops in Afghanistan. They somehow started receiving my encouraging business newsletters and decided to order. They emailed me asking if I shipped internationally and I responded that I do.

WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS, SAVORV STAND OUT ? My motto is, "made from scratch, produced with love." That is my business truth. Every time you encounter a SaVor V product it's an extension of my heart. Every recipe I create, is created with love and passion. Many people eat their mom's or grandma's cooking and feel like there is no taste better than that. Of course we know we can go to the best restaurant in town and get a piece of fried chicken better than mom and grandma's combined. However, the difference is love. The food was prepared for you by someone who loves and cares about you. People who know me, know that I'm a passionate person and it shows through my products. This is why people are now ordering from all over the world because they feel a connection to my product. This is what makes SaVor V different from anyone else out there.

The truth is, I had never shipped internationally in my life but I believe "made from scratch, produced opportunities come to those that seize them. I with love." shipped the baked That is my business truth. goods all the way to Afghanistan. A few weeks later I received a signed certificate in the mail as well as a flag Any tips for entrepreneurs starting their own from the military. They were so happy and bakery? delighted about the desserts that they flew a I have an online bakery. This means for flag in the name of SaVor V. They informed me extremely busy seasons like holidays, I rent that tasting that homemade Wondrous Red kitchen space. It minimizes the overhead of a Velvet was a great feeling for them. That was a store front and I sell online. My product at proud moment for me. SaVorV.com is known as the "shippable dessert line."


If you are an entrepreneur and today is your start day, get online! I cannot stress that enough. I've never been to Canada, Japan, Germany, or Afghanistan but you know what? I have customers in all of those countries. How did they find me? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and my website. The internet bridges the gap between you and the world. Create an online presence, be consistent, and the people will come to you. If you want to get into the food business, study food and people you want to be like. Find a baking or cooking muse. If your dream is to be like Chef Emeril then study him, check out his products, read his interviews, and watch his tv shows. Then create your own. THE AMAZING THING ABOUT SAVOR V IS THAT YOU ALSO PROVIDE LIFESTYLE TIPS, CAN YOU SHARE WITH US A FEW TIPS FOR BETTER LIVNG, FOR OUR READERS AS WE START THE NEW YEAR? SaVor V is a labor of love and I have always considered myself as the Domestic Queen. The home is my business. Do you know what the most important thing in your home is? It is you and your family. SaVor V is a lifestyle. We are beginning a new year and I could give tips all day, and I do. However, information has to fall on fertile ground. As a culture we make resolutions and quit midway. You can't put new ideas in an old mind. The very best lifestyle tip I can give is for the mind because where the mind goes, the body follows. Here's an exercise for you. Decide what you want. What do you want most out of anything in this world? Is it marriage, money, to become an author, to travel the world? What is it that you really want? Write it down. Then move that into immediate

action. If you want to be an author then you must begin writing. You don't need any start up cash to begin writing. You can also self publish. If you want money then begin reading finance books and studying wealthy people. Books are the secret elixir to living the life you want. If you want to know how to achieve a dream, the information to get you to your next level lies within pages of books. Most people don't succeed because most people don't read. Two books that changed my life forever were, Outwitting The Devil and Think and Grow Rich both books are by Napoleon Hill. *+ - AE


Let's Cook 1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Turn your stove onto medium heat. Grab a nice sized skillet and the olive oil to it. Let the oil heat up. While you wait for this sprinkle the salt, pepper, and allspice on the front and back of your lamb.

In The Kitchen With SaVorV Roasted Balsamic Lamb

Ingredients

2. Once this is done put it in the skillet and sear it. You are going to let the lamb get brown on both sides. You aren't completely cooking it in this pan, just browning it. This should only take about 5 minutes. Cook each side for two minutes and 30 seconds. Leave the olive in the pan because you will need it but transfer the lamb to an oven safe baking dish. 3. Place the lamb in the oven and set a timer for 12 minutes. While you are doing this add the onions, garlic, and rosemary to your skillet and let it saute and get tender. Once it looks slightly browned then add your balsamic vinegar. Let this boil for about 2 minutes. Turn the fire down to low and add the butter. Let it melt and stir it. 4. Once it is fully mixed together pour the sauce over your lamb and let your lamb cook in the oven for another 5-15 minutes. It depends on if you like your lamb a little rare or well down. I like mine medium. Once it's cooked take it out, let it cool and get a good knife and slice each rib section vertically. If the meat is not done enough for you that's okay just pop it back in the oven and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes until it is as dark as you like for it to be. Remember it's your food so you can make it as done as you want it to be.

Lamb Chops With Bone One teaspoon of salt One teaspoon of pepper One teaspoon of all spice Two Tablespoons of olive oil One Tablespoon of fresh minced garlic 5. You can pair it with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta, spinach, asparagus, or Two Tablespoons of dried rosemary whatever sides you like. Happy eating! One Cup of Sliced Onion 3/4 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar Recipe From: SaVorV.com 2 Tablespoons of Butter

@SaVorV


Renew, Reset,

REFRESH This special insert is a 15 page compilation of inspiration from 18 women in variety of fields sharing their New Year’s traditions, personal and professional goals for 2015, tips on how to stay motivated and words of wisdom they swear by.

Get a FREE PDF download of our Renew, Reset & Refresh Insert. Email afroellemagazine@gmail.com


FEATURING GG Renee Hill, Independent Author & Coach Courtney Sanders, Founder Think & Grow Chick Amber J. Adams, Brand Strategist & Storyteller ZoĂŠ Zeigler, Founder of Curlz And The City Mattie James, Blogger - Mattieologie T. Espinoza , Founder The Style Medic Dawn Michelle, Jewelry Designer & Writer Kelly Fair, Founder Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program Selina Brown, CEO Little Miss Creative Ashlei Mosley, Freelance writer & style blogger Tiffany Huff, Spiritual & Empowerment Coach, The Best You Julian B. Kiganda, Founder Bold & Fearless Dominique Broadway, CEO & Personal Finance Coach Kim Jackson, Personal Stylist and Writer Andrea Bomo, Journalist and blogger Celena Gill, Bliss Expert and Empowerment Coach Glenys Clarice, Author & Spiritual Advisor Natasha Nyanin, Arts, Culture and Lifestyle Writer


“I truly believe you have to experience your truth on the inside before it becomes real on the outside.�

The only consistent New Year tradition I have is to set a theme for the year. Sometimes I choose a word, but for the last couple of years I've chosen to focus on a feeling. I think about how I want to feel and visions I want to manifest in the new year. I think about the lessons I learned in the prior year and how I want to make them for work me going forward. Year round, I keep a gratitude journal where I write what I am thankful for, including things that have already come to fruition and also things that haven't happened yet. These things work for me because I truly believe you have to experience your truth on the inside before it becomes real on the outside. And everything starts with how we want to feel.

GG Renee Hill Independent Author. Blogger. Coach. allthemanylayers.com Twitter & Instagram: @ggreneewrites

This year my theme is focus and discipline. As a self-employed mom, it has been challenging to juggle my many roles. I love the freedom and creativity of self-employment but last year I struggled with planning and structure. The learning curve has been steep but I'm energized and excited to keep learning and growing. []


“ The easiest way to predict the future is to create it." My mother taught me this quote as a teenager and it has stuck with me. I think we often underestimate how much good we can create in our lives, and the lives of others, if only we would muster the courage to try. When I reflect on this, it reminds me that I have a responsibility in helping to create the future in which I wish to live.�

Courtney S. Founder Think & Grow Chick thinkandgrowchick.com @thinkngrowchick Outside of my birthday, New Year is my favorite time of year. I love the feeling of a fresh, clean start. My tradition for New Years is to (1) choose one main goal that I want to focus on for the year, (2) choose a theme or word that I want to characterize my year, and (3) run out and buy the prettiest planner and blank journal I can find. I always start my year with brand new journals and papers. I don't know what but the clean white pages also symbolize a fresh start to me. This year is the year of forging ahead with my business. I have a certain monthly revenue number that I'm looking to hit with Think & Grow Chick by January of next year. Beyond just making money, I'm really looking to grow my brand, audience, and generally just make a deeper connection with those I serve. 2014 was a great year of growth and planting the seeds for many great connections, so this year I'm hoping a lot of the work i put in will start to bear fruit.

How to Stay Motivated with Your Resolutions 1. Having multiple goals for the year is fine, but try to choose one goal out of your list that you will make your main focus. We tend to lose motivation when we spread our energy too thin, so by choosing one major goal to focus on all year, you're able to devote more attention to it. Also, motivation grows as you make progress. When you have one major goal to put most of your energy into, you tend to make progress more easily and faster than you would with 10 or 15 different goals. The more often you can make progress, the more your motivation will take care of itself. 2. Get an accountability partner! I did this for the first time this year and it's already made a huge impact on my progress. Having someone to answer to on a regular basis is a GREAT way to stay motivated. You'll find that when things get tough and you're tempted to slack off, knowing that you have to report your progress to someone soon will motivate you to stick with it. 3. Only choose goals and resolutions that mean something to you. A lot of people fail at their new years resolutions because they choose one's that just aren't that important. When it comes to goal setting, you have to be careful that you aren't adopting the goals of others for you -- they have to be your own goals. So while Mama, Daddy, your best friend, and that sassy co-worker you go to lunch with may all mean well in giving you their opinions, it's important that you block out all the noise and ultimately commit to only the things YOU want to do. *+


Amber J. Adams Brand Strategist & Storyteller thefablifeproject.com @amberjadams

My new tradition has become to actually allow myself to think about what made me jealous last year. You know how it feels when you are scrolling through your timelines and you see your friends, or people that you are up to doing some fabulous things? And you feel this little twinge inside? Yes!

Around New Year’s, I check in with those feelings because I know that little envious twinge is really my soul’s way of letting me know that I’m either not really tuning in to what I want, or I’m not working as hard as I should be to get those things. Most of the time we aim to push our natural feelings of envy away, but if we sit with it, get comfortable, and start questioning ourselves, we’ll start to really notice the desires we’ve been trying to hide from.

The biggest thing I do to keep myself motivated to keep my resolutions is to remind myself that it is okay if my resolution evolves throughout the year. Sometimes things shift and change, and you have to know when to pivot. A resolution is a guidepost on the big map of a goal. There are many ways to get to your final destination!

So, I circle back, and ask myself, what is it about this (situation) that is bothering me? Doing this works for me because I use those insights to plot out the goals I want to tackle in the new year. I’m basically using envy/jealousy as my personal pathfinder! The biggest resolution or goal rather on my mind is growing my personal branding and marketing strategy consultancy. My background is in journalism, and for a long time I thought I had to be stuck expressing my interest in entrepreneurship by writing about them only, but last year I started to dabble in helping friends market their various businesses, and craft their brand story. By the end of the year I would like to have more clients, and have a clear blueprint for turning this into a full time career over the next two years. *+


“ This year, I'm being very intentional about my goal setting process by creating a vision board that will be a daily visual reminder of what I'm setting out to accomplish this year. It's so easy to get stuck in the trap of setting goals on January 1 and forgetting about them by February 1, if you're not constantly revisiting them. So, I'm posting my vision board everywhere from computer and phone screens to my vanity mirror, so that no matter where I turn I'm reminded constantly to water these 'goal seeds' I've planted on a daily basis throughout the year. One of my goals is to travel to South East Asia, and I'm happy to report that I already have a ticket booked to go to Thailand in the first quarter of 2015!”

Zoé Zeigler Founder of Curlz And The City CurlzAndTheCity.com Instagram.com/MissZZ

This year my resolution is "doing less with more focus". As someone who wants to change the world, I want to do it all. But the truth is you can do so many things that you're doing nothing. You can do anything but not everything. I'm picking what I'm passionate about most - my blog, Mattieologie - and focusing on making it great. A year from now, I'll be glad I did.”

Mattie James Blogger, Mattieologie mattieologie.com


“ In recent years, I’ve tried to kick off the New Year by creating one or more vision boards. I’m a very visual person and I find it helpful to have a visual reminder of my goals where I can see them every day. One of the main reasons I wanted to start my own business was to have the freedom to spend time with my family so this year, my main goal is to do just that. On staying motivated, what I have found to be most helpful is to surround myself with other like-minded women are willing to hold me accountable. Surround yourself with people who push you forward.”

T. Espinoza , The Style Medic TheStyleMedic.com @TheStyleMedic The New Year is a great time for creating vision boards. I have done them for many years and seen the ideas/goals I've put on my vision board manifest. I have yet to create one this year, I plan to make one in the next week or so. One of my new year's resolutions is to begin designing eco-friendly pieces for my capsule wardrobe. I've been wanting to design at least my own clothing for a long time so I'm going for it. I purchased organic cotton terry knit fabric last year and I have already started. I find it helpful to keep your resolutions as simple as possible. There's no point stressing yourself out. If you keep your goals simple and your heart and emotions are in the right place, it is so much easier to accomplish.

Dawn Michelle Jewelry Designer & Writer Minimalistbeauty.com @mnmlistbeauty

I live by "Peace, beauty, and creativity blossom from simplicity." This is what I've experienced personally on my minimalist lifestyle journey. []


I think maintaining New Year's resolutions and new goals is most effective when you're surrounded with a network of individuals who understand you, understand where you're trying to go, and help serve as a community of accountability to help you get there.

“ My church in Chicago has a burning bowl service at the beginning of the year. We start 2015 off right by releasing the junk from your past and claiming the good for your future. First, you write a letter declaring all the unhealthy elements in your life that you want to remove. The letters are collected and burned in a fiery furnace. Then you write a letter to God declaring the goals and good you want to accomplish in the coming year. The letters are collected and stored in a safe place. Throughout the year, the Christ Universal Temple ministerial staff prays over the letters. In June, the letters are mailed out to everyone who attended so you have a personal, mid-year evaluation. Putting myself first is key this year. As a non profit leader, and social entrepreneur, it can be really easy, and tempting, to always put your social cause

Kelly Fair

Founder, Executive Director Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program polishedpebbles.com @kfairthementor @polishedpebbles

before your own needs, personal well-being, and growth. However, as the lead of an organization is important to always set an example of self-love, and selfworth. Therefore, this year I'm being more comfortable with saying no to certain things, and making conscious decisions to handle sometimes my own personal business first before the business of the organization. If I'm not personally balanced and healthy then our organization can't be either. I'm also committing to meditating in the middle of the day as well to keep me focused and motivated. I think maintaining New Year's resolutions and new goals is most effective when you're surrounded with a network of individuals who understand you, understand where you're trying to go, and help serve as a community of accountability to help you get there. This community may be family, friends, colleagues, employees. Your network should be full of individuals who are loving and understanding and want to help you get to your goals because they're just as driven to reaching their goals as well.� []


The quote I live by is “I validate me” – I don’t seek approval from anyone, I get my strength, my happiness from myself. We live in a society where we are constantly fighting to fit in, where we measure ourselves on the amount of followers we have on Instagram, where success is measured by how many awards you’ve won. By validating myself I know that I’m already amazing, I’m the best me, I am complete. And any accolade that people give me is simply add on.

-Selina Brown CEO & Founder, Little Miss Creative wearelmc.com @theselinabrown /@wearelmc “ Every December, I religiously set 3 personal and 3 professional goals for the year ahead, which are always outside of my comfort zone, and also 2 traveling goals. I write them down in a lovely new calendar, so I have specific dates to work towards. From past experience I realized that a goal without a completion date is simply a wish, without locking down a date I start procrastinating. To ensure that I’m progressing I set 4 weekly mini goals, which I review monthly and also have monthly meetings with my accountability buddy. I also have a vision wall in my bedroom, which serves as a daily reminder of the limitless abundance that is in my life, and that awaits. One of my professional goals for this year is to open up a chapter of Little Miss Creative in Africa – we have already successfully launched in America and the UK. *+

4 ways I stay motivated 1. The most important for me is silence and stillness, it’s in those moments I’m able to connect, listen and learn from my higher self. It’s when my work and life is put into perspective and the answers come. 2. I also keep a gratitude jar, every day I write one thing that I’m grateful for and in moments of slowness and confusion, I’ll sit and read all the beautiful things that have taken place in my life, just to remind me. 3. I also journal daily, which is an outlet for my deepest thoughts – the more I’m able to release the lighter my internal load, the better I operate. It’s like having a secret best friend that I can tell everything and anything to without nobody ever knowing. 4. I love to celebrate my successes by traveling, sometimes I work really crazy like 20 hour days, for like 2 months, then I’ll just jump on a plane and escape. I love beaches, I love nature – it’s there I get recharged, it’s there I get my power.


“ I've always made general resolutions each year, which were promptly forgotten by the second week of January. However this year I'm taking a different approach and actually writing out, what I call, dream goals on a whiteboard in my office space so I can see them every day and keep them in mind throughout the year. A resolution I have professionally is to become a full-time freelance writer. I dabbled in freelance writing here and there throughout last year, but for 2015 I want to make it my focus to start doing it full-time. I think it's important to breakdown your resolutions to more bite size action goals you can accomplish each month. One of my favorite quotes is from a poem written by an Australian writer, Erin Hanson:

"There is freedom waiting for you On the breezes of the sky, And you ask 'What if I fall?' Oh but my darling, What if you fly?

Ashlei Mosley

Freelance writer & style blogger kinksarethenewpink.com @KinksarePink

Tiffany Huff Founder/Spiritual & Empowerment Coach, The Best You Tiffany-Huff.com @_thebestyou_ I stopped making New Year's Resolutions a few years ago. I do have goals for the year, a theme, and I also make a vision board each year. This year them is Be Courageous. I know that all that I want to achieve, be, do and have is going to happen according to my willingness to be courageous and do those things that in the past I have allowed fear to interfere with. I set goals each year not only to have something to work towards, but to help me stay focused. If you don't know where you are going, you are likely to end up nowhere fast. My vision board is a constant reminder of what the next year will be like as I move toward the goals I have set, and when I achieve them. It is really important for me that my vision board have pieces that reflect the good things along the way - so that I don't get the feeling I have to "wait until" to be happy, whole, and free. One of my goals this year is to write a book, and I am very excited about it! The tips that help me stay motivated to achieve my goals are first and foremost, being very intentional about setting them. My goals are unique to my life, my passions, my purpose and are not influenced by anything or anyone outside of me. Before I set goals I spend a lot of quiet time reflecting, and praying to be sure that the goals are in alignment for what God has for me, and the path I am on. []


Julian B. Kiganda Founder, Bold & Fearless boldandfearless.me @BoldFearless1 I stopped making New Year resolutions years ago because they're not as powerful as goals. This year, I started a new tradition with my sisters and daughters and nieces: we hosted an end-of-year Vision Board Party at which we had some pretty phenomenal breakthroughs. I did my first vision board years ago and used it to help me build a successful business. In addition to doing a vision board, I write down my vision for the year as well as my monthly goals and have set up an "Accountability Team" to keep me on task and vice versa. There's something powerful about writing down and seeing your vision in front of you. It pushes you to take one step closer every day. I've found that I've accomplished the most in life when I have others to be accountable to and a network around me that is all about supporting one another in reaching our goals. []

“ I've come to learn that all hugely successful people fail, and fail often. That's why they're successful, because they learn to grow and improve from those failures. Sometimes, we doubt whether or not we can achieve the vision that God put in our hearts because we don't think we're "qualified." As I was praying one day, this quote came to me: "God doesn't ask us to be PERFECT. He asks us to be WILLING."


New Year resolutions have never really been my thing. If I want to change something in my life or business, I do it immediately, instead of waiting for the beginning of a year. At the end of the year, I always take time out for reflection. I like to look back over my year and appreciate the accomplishments I’ve made, what was successful, what I enjoyed or not and use this reflection to set expectations and goals for the new year. This time of reflection is also very important as we often tend to forget the many accomplishments we have made throughout the year as we get so caught up in our day to day activities. When I set goals, I create a list of actions items that need to occur in order for me to reach the respective goals. Each of these actions items have a date assigned to them and these dates are what keeps me on track to reach these goals and resolutions. I am a date oriented person, if there is a date set I will get it done! After being able to reach so many goals, its pretty addictive. So now I am addicted to bringing my dreams to reality. Personally, this is my year of travel! I am hoping to do a lot more traveling this year, including trips to Paris to and Greece. Professionally, I am excited to grow the public speaking portion of my business. I have set very high goals to increase paid public speaking engagements and to spread my financial literacy message wider in 2015.

Dominique Broadway CEO & Personal Finance Coach dominiquebroadway.com @MsFinanceCoach


Kim Jackson Freelance Marketing Consultant, Personal Stylist and Writer Creator: PishPoshPerfect.com @PishPoshPerf

“ I love the Marianne Williamson quote about our deepest fear being that we are powerful beyond measure; fear of success is certainly something that I have struggled with. But I also like to remind myself to approach everything and everyone with love—including myself, and including when things don’t go exactly according to plan.

I have a few New Year traditions that I like to use in helping with goal setting. The most powerful of these tools has been the creation of a vision board. I started creating vision boards about 3 years ago, and it works for me because it is a visual goal tracker. I keep it by my bed or my desk so that I can see it each morning as I set about my day, and very easily be able to note which goals I’ve accomplished and which I still need to work toward. And then I can ensure that I am continually taking those baby steps that will eventually bring those big goals to fruition. At the end of the year it is also fun to celebrate the accomplishments that I’ve made. I also make it a practice to keep a running list of smaller goals in a note in my phone because it’s something that I have with me all of the time and I can easily update it as ideas come to me. And finally, I keep a personal growth journal that I read through as each New Year begins, as a means of noting how much I’ve


grown personally and/or professionally over the past year. In each New Year, I like to choose a word that encapsulates what all my efforts will be directed toward. For me, 2015 will be about ‘rebuilding’. The past year was one where I had to make the extremely difficult decision to leave the security of a full time job in favor of selfemployment. This road has been full of speed bumps and U-turns and some old things had to be stripped away to make room for new things. I am looking forward to taking this opportunity to begin again, and to create abundance in my life on my own terms. To stay motivated, I surround myself with positivity. I meditate daily; I love to read coaching and success oriented books. I’m currently reading Successful Women Think Differently by Valorie Burton; I have a creative coach who gives me phenomenal ideas and helps me to set direction; and I have an accountability partner who is also self-employed—we each help to keep the other on track. I would highly recommend any or all of these methods to others as well. There are times when everyone feels down, and that’s natural, but it is really tough to stay in that negative space when you’ve got light all around you. []

Andrea Bomo Journalist and blogger myafricanchronicles.com Twitter: @AndreaBomo Instagram:@Bantuqueen I usually set intentions, instead of resolutions. I choose how I want to feel, be, and accomplish during the year then I write it down. I use it as a morning mantra. It works like magic! I also spend a lot of time visualizing everything I want to do during the year, and make sure to leave behind all negative emotions, attachments, thoughts or events that happened within last year. I'm thinking about doing my first vision board this year, let's see how it works. In 2015 I choose to live in alignment with my passion and purpose. Staying motivated can be very challenging, but it gets easier when you are able to measure your growth and most importantly when you are disciplined. For instance, setting small tasks to accomplish every day, and sticking to it. Then reflecting on what you've accomplished each day/week can help you keep going. The reason why we sometimes fail at keeping our resolutions is because we compare ourselves to others. Being self-centered and focusing on our personal growth is essential when we want to create positive change. Other people can be an inspiration, but only you can walk your path.

I live by this quote "When you learn, teach. But don't forget to remain a student while you teach." I see life as an ongoing learning and giving process. Everything that happens in our lives, good or bad, is there to teach us something about life and about ourselves. Once we learn the lesson, our duty is to share it with the world in the way that resonates the most with our spirit. It could be art, poetry, film or any form of creative expression. The most important: giving authentically and being open to receive. []


Celena Gill Bliss Expert and Empowerment Coach celenagill.com facebook.com/celena.gill Every January 1st, my family creates individual vision boards. All of my four boys---from 15 to 4 years old--and my husband sit down with me and discuss their intentions and goals for the year. We then hang them all together in an area that we pass by every day so that we have a daily reminder of our priorities. This tradition works for us because a vision board is a physical representation of our innermost feelings and most important goals. In order to manifest the life that we want, we must be able to visualize it. It is akin to guided meditation where you are encouraged to imagine an ideal place for relaxation, visions of success, spreading love, etc---in order to invite those scenarios into your life as well as subconsciously pushing you to take those steps forward to meet those dreams. Professionally, my biggest intention is to present on a national stage where I can reach millions of people. I would love to be a presenter at the annual Essence Music Festival, Bishop TD Jakes MegaFest, and a TedX speaker. Personally, I would like to earn enough money to retire my husband!

Celena’s Tips for Staying Motivated to Achieve Your Goals 1. Create a strategy map for your goals. Treat them as a professional work project---break them down into chunks so that you can get each accomplished without experiencing overwhelm. 2. Find an accountability partner---not someone who will pussyfoot around your intentions and goals, but one who will ardently push you to achieving them. That person may be a friend, a family member, your spouse, a mentor, or a hired coach. 3. Remember that just as life is unpredictable and full of change, your goals are flexible too. As your year progresses, you may add or eliminate goals. A vision board ---and your goals---are living and breathing---they can be altered as you transform. A goal may manifest in a manner that you would have never expected. Just relax and accept that change is normal----you are undergoing a miraculous revolution as you manifest your gifts, your divine assignment, and your destiny.


“My New Year traditions involve me writing out my goals in detail a month before the New Year rolls in. I make sure that my goals cover all aspects of my life to include personal, professional, and spiritual. Then from my list of goals, I create a vision board to help me lay out the vision before me and to stay focused. For this year, I not only created a vision board that now hangs over my desk, but I created a digital one using Pinterest. For me, having both helps to keep my goals in front of me no matter if I'm sitting at my desk or waiting in line at the grocery store. In addition to the vision board, I also have a small affirmation board where I stick an affirmation that resonates with me on it daily. It just helps to renew my mind and motivate me to keep going. We have a responsibility to ourselves to encourage ourselves and using the tools and resources available to us should be utilized.

My advice to keep motivated with your goals is to look at them daily. I cannot stress this enough. If they are out of sight, they are out of mind. Every morning I look at my goals. It's one of the first things that I do. Looking at your goals daily reminds you why you wrote them down in the first place. If you need to keep post it notes with your goals written down on them stuck to your desk, computer or bathroom mirror, then do that because the more you see them, the more you will be mindful of what you are striving to accomplish. Looking at my goals daily says to me, that I can't give up and that there is a reason why I'm doing this. Proverbs 3:5-6 has been a scripture that I have come to love because it tells us that we should trust God with everything and not depend on our own understanding of how we may view our life and the circumstances we may face.

One of my personal goals is to complete a forty day fast, which I will start January 5th. Author, Spiritual Advisor If we ask God to help us Last summer I completed a twenty-one day fast and glenysclarice.com and direct our path, He felt the desire to do a forty day Twitter: @glenysclarice will because He ultimately fast at the start of the New knows what's best for us. Year. The reason for my fast is Placing Him first in all to lay a spiritual foundation for things assures us that we my life in 2015 and all that I am expecting will receive His best for our lives on a personal God to do personally and professionally in and professional level. my life. Not only that, I am always seeking a "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean deeper relationship with God and doing this not on your own understanding; in all your fast is one way how I will get there. ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight." []

Glenys Clarice


“ I don't make resolutions in the traditional sense and I don't necessarily commit them to paper as much as I do take a deep breath, read Little Giding and try to approach all endeavors, old and new, with renewed vigor at the "beginning" of each year, even if only for a little while. This year I am striving to continue to strengthen my mental fabric and hopefully achieve some badassness in sundry departments as a fringe benefit. Last year, I made the decision to pursue a career in Fashion Writing despite my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience. When I expressed to a friend, last year that I was having difficulty zeroing in on a career path and committing to it, she simply repeated the words of author, Dominique Browning, to me: "Go where the love is". By this she meant, make a career out of what you truly love . So this year, I am repeating the mantra to myself not only in my professional life, but in my personal life as well: " Go where the love is".

Natasha Nyanin

Arts, Culture and Lifestyle Writer theecstaticflash.com There is no cigar to be had for burying one's star and Twitter: @ecstaticflash not pursuing what one loves, even if seemingly Instagram: @theecstaticflash unpractical. In the same vein, there is no badge of honour in surrounding oneself with people who tear you down rather than uplift and nurture you and your star: I intend to go where the love is in that which concerns friendship, companionship and mentorship rather than banging my head against closed doors. This does not mean shying away from situations or people that challenge or even negate me: there can be a lot of love in those instances too. I am an obsessive list writer. Writing out my objectives for the day helps me feel less overwhelmed as I can see what I have to tackle in black and white and crossing off those I have accomplished engenders a sense of fulfillment that spurs me on to tackle the next objective on the list. []

This year, I am repeating the mantra to myself not only in my professional life, but in my personal life as well: " Go where the love is".


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