August 2021 Wellness Issue

Page 1


august 2021

Blume Founders Taran & Bunny Ghatrora on Sisterhood and Changing the Skincare Game health and wellness entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman redefines oral health

From their Farm to Your Table Four Female Farmers Sowing Seeds of change fashion model jasmyn wilkins launches unisex skincare brand


Tonya Lewis Lee on family, business + advocacy for women and infant health

The Wellness Issue Take our Self-Care Challenge!


august 2021 guest Editor’s note

Cover: tonya Lewis lee Cover Photography: Keith Williams

FOUNDER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Shawn Stuldivant CO-OWNER Barry Stuldivant Guest editor-in-chief jo Jo Harder ISSUE DESIGN BY shawn stuldivant WRITERS Rashida ashley meagan bess jo jo harder priyanka hardikar Jae Marie reggie pierre jade solomon

For those who may feel “zoomed” out, it looks like we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. After a year and a half of being home bound, the pandemic has highlighted the reality that our health is everything. As businesses poise for a new season, and life gets back to some normalcy, opportunities for accessing a healthy lifestyle, are at reach. I am so honored and thankful that Shawn Stuldivant invited me to be guest Editor in Chief of this very important August wellness issue. Health is not only physical, but it is mental, financial, eating right, positivity, and time with family and friends. This month’s empowered guests let us in on their stories, innovations and experiences that transformed their lives. These conversations have never been more relevant, and to bring it to the forefront, I had the pleasure of speaking with Tonya Lewis Lee, producer, entrepreneur and health advocate, who graces this month’s cover. As an advocate for women and infant health, she is a voice of reason that women around the country are eager to hear from right now. Read about her “Tonya Lewis Lee: Champion for the Health of Women and Infants,” starting on page 4. Thank you to everyone who made this powerful issue possible. It is confidence in our mind, body and spirit, that lifts us forward and helps us stay motivated with our health goals. Wishing everyone a safe and healthy transition into the season.

LEWIS LEE 4 TONYA Champion for the Health of COV E R F EA T UR E:

Women and Infants


CONTENTS 2 10 14 20

Jo Jo Ha rd er ' s Op eni ng Messa ge

The Bl u me S i ster s: S hi f ti ng Na rra tiv es Thr ou gh S ki nca r e Pr od u cts

A mer i c a ' s Fema l e Ho r ti c u l tu r i sts

Tea m s w i th Pr o na mel to La u nc h Pro na mel Bo ost

23 24

G ea r s U p to La u nc h U ni sex S ki nc a r e L i ne Mo rni ng Peo p l e

28 32 Red efi ni ng the Mea ni ng of L u xu ry


Fou nd er o f E v ery thi ng She I s, Co

39 40

On the A , B, Cs o f a n A l ka l i ne Ba sed Diet

TONYA LEWIS LEE: By Jo Jo Harder Guest Editor in Chief

Image: Keith Williams



august 2021

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What was your family life like growing up?

How did your life change after marrying Spike Lee?

Image: Shelly Kroeger

You have co-written three children’s books with your husband, ,

Spike Lee:

, and

. What inspired you and Your husband to write children’s books?



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What are your daughter Satchel and son

Your book

, kept me

Jackson up to?

smiling. Do you have a dog now?

In 1998, you founded the media production company, Madstone Company, Drome

Inc., where you worked with Disney and Nickelodeon as well as produced the . Are you


producing any other projects through Madstone?

What prompted you and Nikki Silver to start Tonik Productions? What is in the works for Tonik Productions?

I Sit Where I Want

Miracle’s Boys


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Image: Whitney Thomas

Where did your journey begin with Movita vitamins?

What challenges did you face getting your brand off the ground?



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What are some of the benefits of the vitamins?

Do you have a fitness routine?

Are there any plans to expand Movita products?

How do you juggle your time between

How would you describe your personal style?

producing and managing your wellness business? What is next for Tonya Lewis Lee?

What other practices are you passionate about to help woman achieve their optimal health?

What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

Describe yourself in one word.

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Taran Ghatrora (left) and Bunny Ghatrora (right). Photographer: Alannah Patterson


Taran has always been deeply passionate about

and Bunny, 26 – launched their Canadian

women’s education, health, and reproductive

skincare company, Blume, with the mission to

rights. During college, she volunteered at the

promote healthy skin over perfect skin. After

women’s shelter and worked with the

learning that 60 percent of women feel their self-

courthouses on family law and domestic violence.

esteem plummets during puberty, Taran and

“It was just what I gravitated towards,” she says.

Bunny wanted to empower girls at their most

She proceeded to pursue law at Cardiff University

vulnerable age – during adolescence – by

in Wales and focused on human rights. During

educating them on self-acceptance, self-care, and

her third year in law school, Taran learned about

self-assurance. In addition to skincare and period

how girls overseas were missing school because

products, the sisters created a guide on periods to

of their periods.

help girls feel prepared, supported, and more at ease as they transitioned through the different

She remembered volunteering with her family in

phases of adulthood.

India at a shelter, collecting necessities for

“We believe Blume can be a household name and

families. At that time, she had never thought

when a girl gets her period for the first time, or starts using a face wash or deodorant, we really want Blume to be the go-to brand that she starts using at a young age and grows up with. It really forms habits around self-care and taking care of ourselves, not just during the time of the month but all around – using safe and effective products that are accessible,” Bunny says.

about providing women with menstrual products and no one had brought it up either. Growing up in Vancouver, Canada, she had taken the availability for granted, and it stirred something in her. She ended up writing her master’s thesis on this topic and educated herself on menstrual hygiene and period products. Through her research and her own experiences, she realized that even in North America, there was stigma around a girl’s period, and staying silent about it only perpetuated the shame.

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On their website the sisters wrote: "Why does the

Before they launched the company, the sisters

world treat periods so weird, maybe even wrong?

surveyed over 1,000 women about their

Is the silent treatment society gives periods and

experience with puberty. They found that 60

puberty, somehow connected to the shame girls

percent of the women in their community could

grow up feeling about their bodies?"

pinpoint when their self-esteem plummeted:

Growing up, Taran remembers experiencing stigma around her period, and that it wasn’t just from being South Asian. “It was even in school, too – how when you were on your period, you didn't really want anyone to know,” she recalls. She felt there was a lack of education in school when it came to topics such as girls’ menstrual cycles and avoiding its discussion affected girls and their self-image. “Talking about it is the number one thing,” Taran says, because getting our periods is a completely natural and normal experience, something 50 percent of the population or more goes through; it did not need to be associated with shame and it did not need to get brushed under the rug. Taran wanted to start something that would change the way periods were viewed in society. By inspiring conversations and providing education on the topic, she hoped girls would no longer carry a feeling of shame within themselves or their bodies.

sent out period products and third-party self-care products and received feedback. Taran discovered that there were a lot of products people were requesting that simply did not exist, including acne treatment you could wear under makeup or that was natural and that wouldn’t make their skin peel, and a natural, unscented deodorant. “The common thread here is we kept following our curiosity but also, our customers and what they wanted,” Taran says. “The best advice I’ve ever gotten is to follow your curiosity. At the end of the day, it leads you to what you’re interested in and ultimately, what you’re passionate about. For us, it’s the mission that matters the most. The ‘what’ may have changed or been adapted over time, but the ‘why’ has always remained the same.” This led to Blume’s first line of products: nonstripping face wash, meltdown acne oil – first

At the time, organic period products were only available at Whole Foods and there was a lack of accessibility and education that Taran envisioned and aspired for. She came up with the idea of starting a subscription-based skincare product company in Canada. The first person on board was her younger sister, Bunny, who she had always been close with. They had worked together before at a cake decorating company Taran had started in 2010, and working together was seamless for them.


during puberty. Every month, they developed and

of its kind – and natural, unscented deodorant endorsed by Gigi Hadid. “It was a small line to begin with but everything was co-created with our community and what they wanted and always with this mission to raise girls’ selfesteem as they grow up,” Taran says. During the initial stage, the sisters kept their fulltime jobs – Taran working in family law and Bunny in accounting. Their different skill sets allowed them to divide up responsibilities Bunny handled the finance and operations side

The sisters liked the idea of blooming as an

and the marketing and products came more

analogy of growing up, like a flower blooming.

naturally to Taran.They spent their evenings and

The company’s name Blume came from the word,

weekends on Blume, working on everything from

‘bloom,’ which was all about thriving, flourishing,

printing their own stickers, packaging, taking

just being your best self – everything they wanted

their own photographs, and building their first

their company to embody.

website on Squarespace.


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At one point, Taran remembers the business

showing real skin and promoting content that is

really picking up and that they were packing

focused on self-love, confidence and self-care,”

5,000 orders a month. Family and friends

Taran says.

stepped in – delivering a package for them or helping in any way they could. “Looking back, it was fun. We were so resourceful,” Taran reminisces. “The good thing about it was we learned so much in the process.” To continue their mission, they also started “Blume University” for teenagers, a blog providing information about acne, getting your first period, gynecologist visits and related topics. They also worked with a sex educator in

All Blume products are vegan, cruelty free and do not use ingredients banned in the European Union, even if they are legal in the United States. Taran adds: “We have really stringent standards for our ingredients and our products are all formulated with sensitive skin and skin barrier protection top of mind. There are no sulfates or anything stripping in our face wash. There’s no benzoyl peroxide in our acne treatment. We keep our products very simple, minimal, clean and

Vancouver to build a comprehensive sex


education curriculum. One of the lines I liked in it

From the very beginning, Blume has worked with

was: When you consent to something, you are saying, “I feel safe and comfortable” in this situation.

the organization, “Days for Girls,” which provides period products to girls in India and Kenya. A portion of all Blume sales goes to the

Blume has grown into a team of 11 women,


based in Vancouver, Canada, though 90 percent

For more information, check out Blume’s website

of their customer base is in the U.S. and about 10

and Instagram and Days for Girls.

percent in Canada. Recently, Blume also launched their products in Ulta stores.

BLUME PRODUCTS Taran and Bunny created Blume products to promote and nurture healthy and real skin, not “perfect” skin. Blume intentionally avoids using photoshop, filters, or retouching in their campaigns. Their products are not working towards an illusion of perfection; rather, the focus is to shift the narrative around real skin, to break taboos around acne, sex education, periods, and change the statistic that 60 percent of women’ feel their self-esteem plummets during puberty, Taran explains. Also, girls tend to drop out of STEM fields between ages 9-12. “As a teenager, you really need to be able to focus on the things that matter to you whether it’s sports or art and not be stressing about your period or what your eyebrows look like. Of course, we’re always going to have those stresses but they shouldn’t take up a disproportionate amount of our self esteem and confidence. As a company, our mission is about

Bunny Ghatrora (left) and Taran Ghatrora (right). Photographer: Alannah Patterson

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All across America, female farmers of color are staking their claim. Whether she is a business founder, farm manager, or community garden leader, female growers are sowing the seeds of change. Seeing women of color growing healthy food while having a spiritual connection with the land can be healing. For many, this movement evokes memories that have been tucked away; like fond memories, of great-grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers and aunts, growing, cooking, and sharing food. Women have been a vital part of farming for centuries but haven't been recognized for being an agricultural and business skill-based professional. According to the 2017 Untied States Census of Agriculture which is conducted every 5 years, female-operated farms – the 1.1 million farms with one or more female producers responsible for making decisions about the farm’s operation – were 56 percent of total farms. The percentage of black female farmers is 1.1 percent. This number is low; however, a shift is starting to take place. Women of color are entering a new space in agriculture, and they have an opportunity to be the change we want to see in this industry. Meet four inspiring female horticulturists that are galvanizing a new generation to make its living off the land.

LaTonya Andrews - Soul City Farm

A former Air Force medic who now works as a research assistant at UNC, LaTonya Andrews took a methodical approach to cultivating land that had lain dormant for more than a decade. The 60-acre parcel of farm land which she purchased and successfully cultivated is located in Norlina, North Carolina.

On what prompted her to take the leap: “My earliest experiences with farming were from growing up spending all of my weekends and summers on the very land that I am now cultivating on. The land was originally my great-grandmother’s, my grandfather’s, then my father’s and I am now the fourth-generation farm owner. I recall picking cucumbers, shucking corn, shelling peas and going with my grandfather to feed the livestock. Following my service commitment to the U.S. Air Force, I became interested in gardening but it wasn’t until I was faced with the opportunity of owning the farm that I saw myself as taking on the role as a farmer. The opportunity to purchase the farm came about when my father



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was preparing for retirement following his

faced with having all of this produce but nowhere

prostate cancer diagnosis in 2017. He was

to sell it. The Farm and Faith Partnership through

prepared to sell the land to someone outside of

RAFI-USA has been pivotal in creating a market

the family and I quickly held my hand up with

for black farmers to sell their produce. We have

interest to purchase the property. I was able to

just completed our first successful 8-week season

purchase the farm and keep the land as part of

with three congregations sharing in nearly

our family legacy.

$20,000 of produce sales. Soul City Farm has

Our farm is definitely a family operation. My husband and I manage most of the workload. Our

signed on 6 churches for our summer growing season growing our CSA participation.

8-year-old daughter also helps with planting and

We are very thankful for the connection between

weeding. We are currently cultivating/rotating

faith organizations and farmers through RAFI -

crops on 5 acres of land on our 60-acre farm. We

USA pilot program. We are proud to be one of

are growing organically and using regenerative practices such as no/low till, composting and sustainable practices. We are working towards GAP and organic certifications to be able to expand into more commercial markets. Soul City Farm has dedicated approximately 40 acres to forest management, conservation and leasing for recreational activities to a local hunting club. Additionally, we have a serene creekside, outdoor event space that can be used for hosting events such as weddings, farm to table gatherings, family reunions/reconnection experiences or leisure. We are also developing a youth sensory space for learning about gardening/agricultural practices, food production and healthy eating.”

The business of growing and selling: “We have a tailored approach to our farming which helps meet the demand of our CSA participants. Currently we have summer crops in production (squash, tomato, peppers, zucchini, okra, watermelon, cantaloupe, and beans). We will have collards, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, bok choy, mustards, turnips, cabbage in

three black farmers that plant and distribute fresh

the ground and ready for fall. We consistently

produce to participating congregants within

have (10-14) varieties of vegetables in production

several local churches. With the help of our

each season. We start from organic seeds and

partner organization, Black Farmers Hub we are

transplants which makes it easier to manage and

able to sell our produce and deliver from our farm

harvest in stages to keep up with our 8-week

into the community.”

CSA rotation.

Challenges of running a farm business:

One of the major struggles as farmers is finding a

“Our major challenge, which is not in any way

market. When I started growing and became

unique to the farming experience as a business, is

confident to declare myself as a farmer, I got into

funding. Having the resources to obtain needed

the groove of growing but was halted when I was

equipment and infrastructure has been difficult.

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As a legacy farm owner, a black farmer, there

producing and providing fresh produce to the

is a lot of pressure to be a great steward of the

community. Farming is a gateway to generational

land, grow the business for generations to come

freedom and sustainability and I want to continue

and at the simplest level, just be able to keep and

to carry that torch and pass it forward.”

afford the land. The biggest threat as a grower is

Contact: Facebook and Instagram: @soulcityfarm;

weeds! They just never stop! Aside from that, I


would say the natural elements of weather and animal life have a desire to enjoy our product!”

On the pandemic and COVID-19 relief bill:

Samantha Foxx – Mother’s Finest Farms Samantha Foxx, a native of North Carolina and a

“The pandemic has affected our business as it

master beekeeper, started Mother’s Finest Urban

halted our growth as we had plans to expand into

Farms, 4-years ago, in Winston-Salem, in an

different markets such as grocery stores and

effort to serve the local community, educate, and

restaurants. Though there was a high demand for

inspire people to look after the earth. Her

food, many people were out of work and found

education and experience have led her innovative

themselves unable to afford food. It has definitely

path on a journey as a leading healing force of

been a trying time for everyone. Personally, I have

holistic remedies, farming and beekeeping. Her

not benefited from the COVID-19 relief bill but I

family farm consists of 2.5 acres of growing

am so thankful that relief will be available

space in an urban environment and leasing 5

particularly for black farmers. Finally having relief

more Acres in the other city limits to expand

available will hopefully increase the amount of

farming production. On her farm she has bees,

land that is in production by black farmers, recoup

chickens, worms, mushrooms, and specialty

some of the land loss through systemic racism

items. Her children are trained to handle basic

and predatory lending practices and increase

farm operations, beekeeping, vermiculture,

interest in agriculture in our communities.”

poultry care, growing food and processing value-

Health and wellness initiatives:

added products. Her holistic products include skincare creams, organic honey soap, Jamaican

“We will host farm to table events to demonstrate

scotch bonnet infused honey and tonics. Many of

healthy eating options using produce grown on-site.

those products are made using the honey

Following this summer's growing season we will also

produced in her own beehives, which she

introduce a number of videos and healthy recipes via

cultivates while also teaching beekeeping.

an e-newsletter platform to our CSA participants.”

Advice for women interested in getting into farming: “I know that we are far and few between but my advice to women interested in farming would be to partner with other women farmers/gardeners/ landowners for support. Also, to reach out to organizations such as Cooperative Extensions, and network with other farmers. You belong in this space, do not become discouraged as farming is a lot of trying, and having faith in the tiniest of seeds but it is also rewarding.”

Personal mission:

“My personal mission is to be a good steward on the land of this fourth-generation farm. My goal is to continue the legacy of my great-grandmother by Photographer: Leia Vita



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Inspiration for starting a farm business:

Health and wellness initiatives:

“Memories. I grew up on a farm, but after moving

“I share informational videos on farming and

to Chicago, I got disconnected. I was inspired to

beekeeping to encourage others. I talk to people

get back in touch with nature after realizing the

face to face all the time about connection to the

importance of self-sufficiency for me and my

land and healing. I have also started to share

family. I think growing your food is not only

more recipes on how to cook with the produce we

fulfilling but a major step to having better health

offer and encourage families to try new ways to

as families and an entire community.

eat healthy balanced meals.”

Representation is so important in this industry

Advice for women interested in getting into farming:

and by showing and teaching I am leading the way for future generations to come. Preserving our history in farming is important each and every time we show up to the land; we are keeping that history going.”

On becoming a certified beekeeper:

“Don’t ask for permission to accomplish your goals. Be self-empowered and also willing to put in the work for what you want. Start out small and keep building, it takes years to be a successful farm-her. Don’t be afraid to fail, the

“I decided to become a certified beekeeper to

lessons offer room for growth. Take care of

challenge myself and to also inspire other women to

yourself and don’t be afraid to say no. This work

become bee keepers. I truly believe in the power of

is hard and demanding!”

representation and how it can inspire others. I also wanted to get active and involved in helping the bee population as well educating others. It was a great decision and I have learned so much about the world of bees.”

On developing holistic products:

“I wanted to see a healthier community and have conversations centered around holistic health. My

Watch Believe in Ghosts by Courtney Dixen, a new documentary short about Samantha Foxx's empowering journey: For more information about Mother's Finest Urban Farm, visit

Monisha Brooks – Green Acres Farm

Grow Green Acres LLC, owned by Monisha Brooks,

products start at the farm with ingredients. I have

is a 15-acre farm located in the southeastern

a quality over quantity approach. I also love the

portion of Columbus County in Nakina, North

handmade aspect behind the products and I think

Carolina. It is a women led, family run produce farm

it is a tradition that needs to keep going.”

that focuses on sustainable organic farming. Their

Greatest challenge as a female horticulturist?

current operation has an additional 10 acres as a

But, as long as you have a level head and nothing

planted crops this year.

“Earning respect in the industry can be difficult.

to prove to anyone I think you will be a success.”

Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Business: “We’ve been able to scale up! People that do not want to shop in grocery stores are investing more into their local farmers and seeing food as a source of wellness and having access to fresh quality produce. We have done well at the farmer’s market.”

test bed, and they have tackled roughly 20 acres of

Inspiration for starting a farm business:

“My family has been in farming all their lives. I

Advice for women interested in getting into farming:

purchased my portion of farm land from my uncles,

“Don’t doubt yourself. You can do it. Just like

who inherited land from their forefathers in 2015. I

anything else you put your mind to do. Start

started farming on it in 2018. It was a tobacco farm

small, market yourself, and be generous.”

before we developed the land for produce. We were inspired to start producing fruits and vegetables to help my ailing mother recover from a battle with

Angelique Taylor – Smarter by Nature “In 2011 while studying environmental science at


Florida A&M University, Angelique Taylor had the

Our focus is truly "farm to table,” even though that

opportunity to travel to New York City for the New

saying has been used lots lately, we like to see our

York People's Climate March in 2014. She learned a

produce in someone's hands the same day we

lot about the food system and after returning from

harvest it. Our crops consist of the kinds of veggies

that trip, she wanted to do something to address

you'd pick out of your own backyard, so, tomatoes,

the food insecurity in her area.

cucumbers, squash, peppers, corn, beans, and watermelons to name a few. We have turned our attention to introducing or re-introducing different shapes and colors of your familiar favorites to the public, so that means round zucchini, pattypan squash and heirloom tomatoes and watermelons with yellow and orange flesh. The land we farm has been in our family and farmed for more than 100 years and I am working on getting all the title work into the NCUSDA to get the Century farm certification. Our farm is strictly a family produce farm. We have a few chickens (not for sale) and two dogs. Help consists solely of family members. People come to Grow Green Acres to purchase our produce. We are in the process of solidifying a permanent farm stand where people can buy our naturally grown farm products.”

Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Business: “Last year’s pandemic pretty much halted our operation all together. The seeds were planted, then the news of the pandemic shutdown happened, and that ended all on farm help. We are a grant recipient of the Rural Advancement Foundation International - USA (RAFI-USA) Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Fund. The grant was used to dig a well which greatly helped our crops this year.”

Health and wellness initiatives: “My plan is to incorporate a nonprofit geared towards getting fresh local veggies to the elderly and single parent households. Still working out the details.”



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How she got her start in farming:

“I got together with some friends to start a student community garden. I learned a lot about gardening and enjoyed visiting other community gardens. I would get up at 7am to garden, and wanted to make this my lifestyle. So, in 2017, I went into business farming with my partner Kip.

For the past four years we have been growing food on borrowed land. We are helping to set up the foundation for a community sustainable project. Our vision is to one day create our own urban farm here in the city of Tallahassee, Florida, that would help to feed our community and educate people on how to grow their own food sustainably. We are currently making sure we have a solid business plan as well as finding funding for our projects.

Health and wellness initiatives: "Smarter by Nature TV, our YouTube channel is a way that we share experiences and information about farming. We share videos about growing food and plant-based living. Our monthly newsletter has information about how to prepare fresh food. It includes recipes and other ideas for incorporating fresh foods into your diet. I also do cooking videos and will start cooking demonstrations again at the market. It's all about

Five acres are used for growing, with one acre

what you put in your body. Look for different

under development. Right now, we are growing

types of vegetables to incorporate in your diet to

seasonal vegetables, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a

make it more interesting. Be creative and open to

variety of spinach. We are also growing flowers

trying new fresh foods.”

and fruit trees that produce bananas, persimmons, and citrus. We sell to Frenchtown Farmers market every Saturday.”

On the pandemic and COVID-19 relief bill: “It showed us that a lot of people are concerned about where their food is coming from. Some people are hesitant about shopping at supermarkets, and there are more requests for fresh local food. The pandemic has also refocused our attention to grow more long-term plants like fruit trees and perennials. Our farm received a small grant from the COVID-19 relief bill, that we used to help with the operations of our business."

Greatest challenge as a female horticulturist? “My greatest challenge has been finding resources to develop the infrastructure of my small-scale farming business.”


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Hannah Bronfman Teams with Pronamel to launch Pronamel Mineral Boost By Rashida Ashley

For health and wellness entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman, oral health is an essential aspect of self care. Since her bike accident in 2015 which affected her teeth, she has made it her mission to refocus her self care regime. This refocus has led her to partner with Pronamel to launch Pronamel Mineral Boost - a new toothpaste that actively helps replenish acid-weakened tooth enamel. “We already go to great lengths to future-proof our skin, our hair, our eyes – why not our teeth?!” With 87% of people at risk of enamel damage, despite 73% believing their enamel is in good condition, Pronamel has made it their mission to strengthen and protect teeth from enamel erosion. Tooth enamel is vital in guarding the teeth from becoming too sensitive. If the enamel is destroyed, there will be no regrowth. That is why it is essential to take proper care when using products for oral hygiene. Pronamel Mineral Boost acts to strengthen and re-harden acid-weakened enamel for ongoing protection against tooth erosion with twice daily brushing. It is available online and at major retail stores nationwide. In addition to her partnership with Pronamel, Hannah has recently launched HBFit, a one stop market for health, beauty and fitness. Her products such as the brand new CBD bath bomb are sure to leave you feeling relieved of stress and tension. As Hannah diligently maintains a healthy lifestyle while keeping special attention to her oral hygiene, she also balances being a new mom. 20


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Tell us about your partnership with Pronamel and how it has impacted your lifestyle.

and that content was becoming really

I was really excited to partner with

“.com,” and that was almost six years ago.

Pronamel on Mineral Boost due to having been on a pretty long, oral health journey over the past couple of years. I was really excited to continue chatting about the importance of oral health, and their great products made it easy to bring that conversation back to the forefront of my community, being that it's a part of the whole wellness conversation, which I think is overlooked. Your mouth is such a gateway for the rest of your body and it should be treated as something that isn't a standalone thing, but it really does impact overall wellness and the body, so I was really excited to partner with Pronamel Mineral Boost. It's an amazing product and I love the topic.

What inspired the launch of HBFit? The fact that I was constantly showcasing my healthy lifestyle by using the hashtag, #HBFit. I realized that kind of conversation

sticky. I took HBFit from a hashtag to a Just this past September we launched an Ecommerce platform to the site. So, now we’re a content and commerce site with some products, which we're really excited about. We've got more in the pipeline, so we're really excited to have a new offering for our consumers.

Last year you welcomed your beautiful son into your loving family. What are some of your happiest moments with your son and what have these moments taught you? Every day it feels as if something new is happening. It's just amazing to have this new person in our life who my husband and I look at and say, ‘what was our life like beforehand?’ It's just so crazy to us because we were waiting for him for so long. So it still feels surreal, even though we're eight months in already. It's impacted my life in a way that I wasn't even prepared for. You

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hear all these things like how motherhood changes you; and you don't really get it until you go through it because it's so true. I feel like I'm a more patient version of myself. I'm doing things that feel inherently natural that I wouldn't have thought I’d find myself doing. It's hard to explain but it's been incredible.

What advice would you give to someone who has no history of a healthy lifestyle that either wants to or is struggling to start their own journey towards being more healthy? I always say it's really important to just start small. If you're feeling dehydrated, start by upping your water intake, and then maybe

What are some of your favorite mantras to live by and how have they impacted your life?

look in to foods that are really hydrating and

A good mantra I like is 'Your body is a

accomplish. It can be so overwhelming

temple.' It's really important that I treat my

when people don't know where to start.

stick with that for two weeks. Then add in something else that you're looking to

body as such. I think for me it means being in tune and listening to my body. It has

So, breaking everything down to micro tasks

impacted my life in a pretty large way

is probably the best way to get that foot

regarding my oral journey. I was

through the door. If your objective is to

experiencing some symptoms that most

workout every day, start with setting a

people, including doctors were mistaking as

small goal to work out for 20 minutes daily

exhaustion and burn out. I really listened to

as opposed to an hour. Sometimes trying to

my body. I knew it wasn't as simple as that

commit early to goals that are too large can

and there was something else going on.

cause anxiety. So, breaking things down to

So I took the time to find someone who could read my blood work in a way that other doctors were not. That's when I learned I had a massive infection in my mouth that was potentially affecting my ability to get pregnant. As a result, I had to undergo surgery. So something as simple as living with a mantra like ‘Your body is a temple,’ can have a really profound effect on your life.



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small attainable goals is the best way of getting your foot through the door and starting on that journey. Keep up with Hannah and her HBFIT brand IG: @hannahbronfman and @hbfit













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Former Miss Georgia USA & Sports Illustrated Model turned Beauty Entrepreneur Jasmyn Wilkins never intended to join a beauty pageant, but she took a chance listening to her roommates’ advice on taking the pageant route as an entry point into the entertainment and modeling industry. Inevitably, Wilkins won Miss Georgia then went on to place fourth runner up for Miss USA in Las Vegas. Shortly after she graduated with her bachelor's degree from Georgia State University in Sociology. Her career blossomed when she channeled all her energy to become a full-time fashion model. Wilkins is currently signed with Next Model Management in Miami as well as ONE Management. During her modeling journey she has modeled for several well-known beauty, fitness, and fashion brands such as Nike, L'Oréal, Maybelline, Savage x Fenty, Adore Me, House of CB, and BITE Beauty. She has been dedicated to using her growing platform to not only show her success in the fashion industry and love of all things health and beauty, but to also bring light and awareness to many social issues such as mental health de-stigmatization, racial injustices, and organ donation. We caught up with Wilkins to chat about her career in modeling, her advocacy and her new skincare line 'Morning People' which launches this fall. . When did pursuing a full-time career in fashion modeling come into play? I’ve always wanted to become a model since I was a kid. The entertainment industry is what attracted me to the profession. At first, I wanted to be an actress after watching Nickelodeon shows like All That. I grew taller as I got older and from there I was always told by peers that I should try to become a model. At first, I was very awkward. I think all models have that first initial awkward phase when they begin. But my dad took me to some castings in high school and I ended up signing with Ford Models Atlanta. However, at the time (and still today) Atlanta didn’t have a broad modeling market like New York and Los Angeles; but I’ve always had that drive. I would watch YouTube videos of models in NYC and the behind-the-scenes action, so from there I gave it a shot and here I am today! Did modeling for L’Oréal, Maybelline, and BITE beauty inspire you to create your own skincare line ‘Morning People?’ If not, what did? I wouldn’t say they necessarily inspired me to create ‘Morning People,’ but what I can say is that I do believe what I’ve learned from being on those beauty sets and the process of how they operate has helped me in my operations of making the brand. I was more so inspired by my love of skincare, beauty, and mental health, and putting that into something that was a tangible product. At first, I wanted to start the line with a body wash, face mist and body lotion. After careful research I decided to start in the skincare space, but I am hoping that my next line can be all body care.

"As I was journaling, I manifested that I wanted to be more of a morning person.."

What was the process like coming up with the name ‘Morning People’ for your skincare line? Last year was very tough for everyone. Even though I was doing great in my career I was still having a lot of anxiety and maybe a little bit of depression. I was just in a rough personal spot. I really like to journal, so when New Year’s rolled around I was writing down my 2021 goals and the space that I wanted to be in. As I was journaling, I manifested that I wanted to be more of a morning person. I realized that waking up early helped me become more productive. I thought of my plans and the term morning people kept sticking with me the whole day and I thought that would be such a cool brand name; like, don't we all want to be morning people even though we aren’t? I started to think about all the things that I love, and skincare just gravitated to me and matched perfectly with the name ‘Morning People.’

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You’ve dedicated your time in using your platform to show success in the fashion, health and beauty industry, but with that you’ve also brought light and awareness to many social issues such as mental health de-stigmatization, racial injustices, and organ donation. Why was that so important for you to do? Mental health and organ donation are really close to my heart for personal reasons. My mother just recently had a liver transplant. She also had one several years ago. She has a unique disease which required her to have a liver transplant to be able to survive. I just wanted people to understand the importance of tissue and organ donation, especially in the black community, because I feel as though we’ve been subjected to a lot of experimentation on our bodies. I think it gets scary when it comes to us giving away our organs or those of our loved ones. Last year was a rude awakening for many people that were able to see a lot of the racial injustices happening on camera. As a person who always kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want to be viewed as that problematic black girl, I just couldn’t stay silent anymore. When you see things that have happened to people like George Floyd and countless others, although I am in an interracial marriage, I felt that it was my duty to speak up! I felt like I had this platform so why not use it to help people really understand what it feels like to be black in America and the racial injustices that we face in our everyday lives.

I am really excited because I wanted the package to also be genderless and not conformed to a certain sex.” With 'Morning People' launching in the fall, what kind of products can we expect? Which products are your favorites and why? For the new line I have three total products, a cleansing bomb, a serum (Sun Baked Serum) and a hydrating moisturizer, but I am launching only one out of the gate. From my research I have found that the three-step skincare routine is unmatched; you can always add supplemental things like toners but for everyday use. The cleansing bomb is a mango cleanser that helps remove makeup. The combination of vitamin C and CBD in the cleansing bomb is just amazing for toning and antiinflammatory benefits. The Sun Baked Serum contains vitamin C and E, glycerin, and it helps add some moisture to the skin. It’s like an amped up version of the moisturizer with the added benefit of vitamin C. All three products are full spectrum CBD. In terms of launching, I am starting with the Sun Baked Serum, then I will slowly launch the cleanser followed by the moisturizer as our additional two products. I think my favorite is definitely the Sun Baked Serum, which is completely custom formulated with amazing ingredients. I use it every morning. Having so much experience in the beauty and selfcare industry, what are your top 5 self-care tips? Are they a part of your daily routine?


Your skincare line is a sustainable unisex skincare brand for all. What can men expect from your skincare line that they haven’t seen before? Men are starting to get very serious about their skin, so I actually wanted the line to be unisex; it is, but the best terminology to use would be ‘genderless.’ Though women and men have different skin care needs, in general our skincare needs are the same. Skin is skin. You need moisture, hydration, antiaging, toning etc. Both men and women want those things. ‘Morning People’ is unisex and genderless in the sense that it is for everybody.

My self-care tips are simple and people probably already do them every day. Getting proper rest is crucial for self-care. I have had several times where I was exhausted, running on a short fuse and snapping at everyone. It's not nice, so make sure you get yourself a certain number of hours of sleep. Part of having a healthy diet consists of drinking lots of water and making sure you take in those nutrients and supplements. I believe that spending time with your family and friends is fundamentally beneficial to your life because having a good circle of people around you is important. Going shopping is another way of self-care. Don’t break the bank but buy yourself something that will make you feel and look good. I also recommend working out, it’s a great way to unwind and is very healthy for your body. ME time is also very important to enjoy your own company and be at peace.” Is there anything on your bucket list that still needs to be fulfilled? Career wise, my next goal is to land a beauty campaign. I think that’s a huge goal for models. I’ve worked with brands like L'Oréal and Maybelline but haven’t had a contract with them, so that would be a huge career goal for me. But personally, I would like to have my own family. Becoming a mother has always been a dream of mine.

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Jae Marie is a NYC-based writer who covers all things food, drink, beauty, travel and lifestyle. When she’s not writing, she can be found on the hunt for the city’s best mojito or cup of hot chocolate. You can follow her blog, By Jae Marie, for more adventures around town.

The summer has been filled with some fun in the sun and showing off that bronze glow. Let’s face it, the adventure has also taken a slight toll on the body, too. Don’t worry, Bronze Beauty! August is National Wellness Month, a time to focus on self-love, reducing stress and adopting healthy lifestyles. Just in time to help setting that summer hue into that fall dew, here are a few tips and tricks we love.


Self-Care Sunday



Who doesn’t love some time dedicated to refreshing? Remember to take care of the mind, body and spirit and take the time to relax. It does not have to be a long vacation to the tropics or an extravagant spa day. Sometimes, all that is needed is a calming evening in. Pour a delicious cocktail or refreshing mocktail, grab some snacks or order take-out. A soothing playlist can help set the mood along with candles and a warm bath. Rejuvenate with a face mask or heel scrub.

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Bath & Body Get the bubble bath flowing with Find Your Happy Place. The Summertime Sprinklers collection is a fun and fruity addition for any self-care Sunday routine. Hints of red berries and peaches are the perfect scent to end the season. Choose from a whipped body scrub, body lotion, scented candle or foaming hand wash. Available at Walmart.


For That Time of the Month Mother Nature is scheduled for a visit, but that does not mean she has to ruin plans. Sexual health is not always the most fun conversation, but an important one to have. Continue those self examinations and pay attention to any changes. When was the last time you visited the doctor? It might be time to schedule a wellness checkup to talk through any concerns. Worried about the area down there? Help keep a fresh feeling all day long with The Honey Pot Company panty sprays. Known for its plant-derived feminine care, the brand now has a selection of non-herbal options. These join its collection of liners, pads, tampons, bath bombs and lubricants for anyone looking for a more natural option.

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Work, Work, Work Work from home has become a reality for many over the last year and a half. With talk of returning back to the office comes the conversation of work-life balance. Be sure to wake up early enough to avoid rushed and chaotic mornings. Prep outfits and meals the night before to save on time. Leave important documents in an easy-to-find location to grab on the way out of the house. Customize the workspace. Add pictures and other trinkets to make any desk cozy again. Guilty of working from bed or the couch while home? Those first few days might not be the most comfortable, but remember, proper posture is important to avoid neck and back pain.

“Make sure to keep your back straight and pressed against your chair,” said Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo, a NYC area spinal and orthopedic surgeon. “Lift your shoulders upwards and back so that they are aligned with your spine and your chest is slightly forward. Your feet should be able to stay flat against the floor in this position. It may be beneficial to keep your computer at eye level so you are not bending your neck downwards or upwards.” Remember to also take breaks. This is important for physical and mental well-being. Go for walks to the local park, for a cup of coffee or simply to the break room and back.


Let’s Get Physical Good posture is not just for the office. As gyms and fitness studios continue to re-open, remember to ease back in. “Both warming up and cooling down are extremely important for activating your muscles and allowing them to recover properly.”



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Did quarantine introduce a new workout? Maybe indoor cycling, running in the neighborhood, yoga or weight training? With sociallydistanced fitness classes filling gym schedules again, this could be a fun opportunity to try something new. Remember to have fun, be openminded and be safe, paying attention to proper technique. “It is imperative that you lift from your legs rather than your back when performing exercises like deadlifts,” explains Dr. Okubadejo. “Start with a lighter weight to ensure that your muscles are properly warmed up and not susceptible to injury. Always keep your core tight and engaged for better balance and form and lift slowly and deliberately.”


Protect the Locks How kind have the sun and water been so far this summer? Whether a curly headed cutie, wearing a protective style or rocking naturally, remember to include hair care in every beauty routine. How can we make sure hair stays healthy and moisturized? “The key to summer hair care is moisture, moisture, moisture,” said Dr. Ena Hennegan, Founder and CEO of Three Daughters of the Doctor, LLC. “The hot, dry temperatures coupled with the UV rays of the sun, which damage the outer layer of the hair, the cuticle, by causing cracks and breaks in its surface, wreak havoc. Not to mention the potential negative impacts of pool water or salty ocean water.”

Now the water. Big fan of the pool? Hair is not a big fan of chlorine! “Chlorine strips away epicuticle cells, the very outer layer of the cuticle part of your hair, and sea salt draws moisture out of your hair, with the potential to cause major permanent damage,” said Dr. Ena, who is also the creator of Many Ethnicities, a natural, multicultural hair care company. “To prevent either of these scenarios from occurring, thoroughly saturate your hair with fresh water, pre-salt and pool water exposure.”


Quality T-I-M-E When not working on personal goals, still remember to spend time with family and friends. Schedule a movie night in the backyard or a day at the beach. As we head into the last few months of the year and the days get shorter, remember to make the moments count.

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Nikita Gibson, CEO of Joire’s Spa

By Jade Solomon

Self proclaimed “Self Care Queen'' Nikita Gibson is an entrepreneur, wife, and mother who built her business empire at the age of twenty five. After losing her mother to breast cancer, Nikita channeled all of her efforts into founding Joire’s Spa in Brooklyn, NY, a space for her community and other women of color to indulge in and prioritize luxury self care; most importantly, dispelling the myth of its unattainability.

I feel that in our community self care is not something that people typically do as often as any other race. For the most part it’s because we don’t have the time. But I feel like my purpose for doing this is to show people that you

Today, Joire’s Spa not only offers services like laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels and laser hair removals, but features its own organic skincare line, Joire’s Skin, and has expanded into everyday, holistic products with Joire’s


"I love everything about taking care of myself."

do have time, and to show the importance of making time; because when you are your best self, you’re able to give your best self. And once people see how acceptable and easy it is, they realize how much they want to make it a


part of their routine.

One of the major motivations for you in opening Joire’s

I love everything about taking care of myself. I love doing

Spa was providing a space that catered specifically to

these things for myself at home, but it felt even better

people of color’s skin and wellness. How did you notice

going out to get it done. And I learned that it's not very

this need that’s often overlooked by the beauty industry,

expensive to do once you prioritize and plan out your

and even our own community?



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What made you decide that Brooklyn, NY was the best

Holistic wellness is also another major focus of your spa.

place for you to open your spa?

I find this very unique because your brand focuses on

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, so I knew it was

what your clientele is consuming, not just the external.

something that I wanted to do to cater to my community first. Being raised in this community, I’ve noticed that you

With that said, you have your Immunitea line. What are the benefits of your tea and what made you want to

don’t see places that cater to women of color that have

incorporate teas specifically into your product line?

great customer service. There’s a lot of places you can go

I am a lover of tea and was making my own at home to

and have a service done but it's more like a transactional

boost my immunity. Everyone saw me doing it and started

business. Intention is important to us at Joire’s Spa. Our

asking for the recipe, so I shared it with them. But no one

customer service is important to us. Some people come

had the time to make their own so that’s why I created it. I

to us to release and relax, so it's about finding those

started doing my research, found a tea manufacturer and

people who enjoy these types of services and creating a

sent him my ingredients. He returned four samples to me.

space where they truly feel valued. That takes the

We went through about four different manufacturers. I

business to another level.

had a lot of my aunts and older people in my family test

Of course, Joire’s Spa focuses on beauty enhancement and providing an experience of relaxation to your clients, but your spa’s mission also encompasses promoting and instilling a message of self-love and acceptance. What

the tea, and we decided on Immunitea. When you taste it you can literally feel it. All the ingredients are boosts, in that they boost your immunity. And it’s something that can be drank hot or cold.

services or practices do you use to address these needs with your clients? Every person that comes in and gets a facial is told an affirmation at the end of their service. Just through conversations you’re able to tell that some people need words of encouragement. Outside of that, the one thing that is utilized in self-reflection and awareness is the sauna. Most people are typically naked in this space and since they’re alone, they have more time to think. During this period they can read my book, The Ultimate Self Care Guide for Internal And External Healing or they can meditate. It is also a moment where people are looking at themselves and taking the time for self-care. If you take the time to look at your body and love on your body, you begin to appreciate it more. Some people are so quick to criticize their bodies, but… if people took the time to reflect on their bodies, they would be so much happier and more willing to learn more by asking themselves, ‘What do I like about my body? What don’t I like about it? And do I just not like it because of what I see on social media?’ It literally starts with self care. But it takes one day at a time, and I love that on my platform I get to share who I am and encourage people to love on themselves.

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If you could only recommend one product to a first time

business builds a new skill in you: resilience. I’m proud to

customer, which one would it be and why?

say that no matter how difficult the challenge was or is,

If I had to pick one product for anyone it would be the

my team and staff have bounced back. We bend, we

Sonic Cleanser and if I had to pick one product for

adjust, but we don’t stop.

someone new to skincare would be the Green Tea Cleanser. Cleansing is the most important step. The Green Tea Cleanser will have you feeling like you’re on a tropical island. And there’s no fragrance. The Sonic Cleanser is so gentle. In our daily routines we have a tendency to rush and do things but it's very important to take your time. Take that 60 seconds and wash your

What are you looking forward to for your brands in the fall/winter/holiday season? We are looking forward to growth! Our priority has always been to normalize luxury in our customers lives and we look forward to doing that by giving them tools, tips, clothing, skincare, and experiences that will level up

face. Taking that extra time makes a huge difference.

their everyday life. Our products aim to make them feel

When the pandemic ensued, you took it a step further

much more. Our products are not just luxury for the eyes,

and created the Joire’s Signature Collector’s Self Care

they’re luxury for the soul too.

like a million bucks while reminding them they’re worth so

Box, which was released right before Mother’s Day earlier this year. Has your collection of brands since

What are some lessons that you’ve learned in the past

added any new products, services, or promotions?

year that you’ve applied since emerging from quarantine

Yes, we love updating the Joire’s franchise inventory.

in your business or personal life?

Keeping our brands fresh and interesting is important to

I’ve learned to prioritize health and happiness in my life.

us. We’ve continued to listen to our customers and they

Life is a gift that we need to be grateful for. Anything and

wouldn’t let us rest until we offered them a full sized

everything I do will be pointless if I’m not around to enjoy

sunscreen bottle, so we’re excited to give them what they

the fruits of my labor. So, now I make it a point to be more

want. Not just the product, but the education to go with

active, less stressed, and as always, count my blessings…

it. For so long the black community was convinced we

then count them again.

didn’t need sunscreen! But we’ve got to protect our skin, and our hydrating formula will do just that. Our latest skin release is dedicated to outside! Our followers are ready to go out again. They’re traveling more and we wanted to make it easy for them to keep up with their routine. Our travel size skincare was released on July 23rd, giving our Joire’s fam one more way to maintain their glow. Joire’s Home focuses on bringing luxury into your home. We recently added our Lux-Joire-Ous Sleepwear set, and have been receiving amazing feedback! While we can’t spill all the details, we will be releasing a new Signature Robe color soon, and another Self Care Box during the holiday season. Epic isn’t even the word! We can’t wait to share it with you all. How has adjusting to post quarantine life been for your business? Has your work life balance changed? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult ! So many industries have struggled to maintain and find employees; yet, dealing with the unexpected and the difficulties of

To schedule a service with Joire’s Spa, visit, where you can also explore Joire’s Skin care line and Joire’s Home products. [This is an edited version of the full article originally published on May 6, 2021 to our blog at]


By Meagan Bess Photography: Lamar Coney



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Candice Jones is a champion for the well-being of young women, especially those of color. Through her community driven platform Everything She Is, Co., Jones has created a safe haven that allows young girls and women to feel seen, heard and accepted; to embrace self-love. When asked what the reason behind her motivation was for bringing Everything She Is, Co. to life Jones says, “It started in college with my own self-love journey and once I graduated from college I was in that period of trying to figure my life out.” Jones’ own self-discovery journey serves as a model for girls and women who are looking for what to do next in their lives while preparing for the unknown. When it comes to providing tips relating to achieving and practicing self-love she recommends to “Give yourself grace, put in the work, and be patient with yourself throughout the process.” Through her popular Self-Love Workbook, Jones uses carefully crafted exercises as a way of supporting women as they expand on their journey of self-discovery. “It was my baby. I was the first customer for it [Self-Love Workbook] not knowing it would be something I would put out to the world. I looked around and it was the lowest point of my life and I needed to do something to get back to who I felt like I was,” Jones shares. In addition to the Self-Love Workbook Jones also offers the 2021 Intention Setting Guide. The purpose of the guide is to work on the manifestation of things you want to come to pass and to make things clearer in all areas of your life. “At the top of 2021, I used it for myself for the purpose of making a distinction between setting an intention and setting a goal.” Everything She Is, Co. uses multiple online platforms, mainly social media and email to keep its community engaged and connected. “We have a newsletter called With Love by ESI. We send out biweekly exercises and checkups. We also engage on our Facebook group and our Instagram page daily through comments and stories,” says Jones. Jones also speaks to her own personal audience, mainly on YouTube, encouraging followers to practice mindfulness. “I’ve done a lot of self-care routines. Mindfulness is what I am learning now, and it is super important. You need to slow down and enjoy the moments where you are right here and right now,” she explains.

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SELF-LOVE Mental health plays an important role in the ESI community and Jones acknowledges how essential it is that girls and women receive support especially when attending class, working remotely or at the office. “People are awakening to the need to tune in and I think especially for black women, who are the cornerstone for empathy and support, we need to turn those qualities inward to make sure we are whole and that we can show up in the world and are confident and fully ourselves without any fear or shame,” Jones declares. When asked what more she sees in the future for ESI Jones responds, “I see more philanthropy happening and I see more involvement within the wider community. It’s an online platform in a digital space but I see it being in a school program, something tangible for young girls who are growing up to understand how important they are to the world and to themselves.”

Jones’ main tip for those who want to join this uplifting community or who are seeking hope in times of heartache and despair is “To do the work. You must do the work to figure out what along your childhood and your journey in life may have traumatized you. Don’t trivialize your trauma because somebody else’s trauma may be larger.” Candice Jones is one to keep up with alongside Everything She is Co. What’s to come for her and her journey with all she has created will be extraordinary. Now it’s up to us black women to join her and do our part.

To find more information about Everything She Is, Co. Visit their website at Or visit them on Instagram at



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5 Days Self-Care Challenge

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Entrepreneur Brandon Burrell on the A,B,Cs of an Alkaline Based Diet By Reggie Pierre

After suffering from chronic sinus issues for 15

quinoa, fonio, rye, wild rice, mushrooms, okra,

years, Brandon Burrell was ready to make a

olives, onions, squash, kelp, wakame, arame and

change. It was a 9 ½ hour long flight without

many spices. I also made my own veggie pizzas

Afrin that caused him to breathe through his

with kamut flour. The only sugars I used were

mouth which became the turning point in his life.

agave and date sugar. I only cooked with

Brandon recalls that the congestion was beyond

avocado, sesame, hempseed, and grapeseed oils.

severe! His nasal passages were completely

Regarding working out, I have worked out my

blocked, he had a headache and was in complete

entire life but had some unhealthy eating habits.

agony. It was the longest most painful 9 ½ hours

Once I started this diet, my workouts increased,

of his life; he’d never been more uncomfortable

and I saw positive results.

than he was on that flight. This experience made him promise that once he got back to the states, he would fix his diet to correct this problem. Within 1 week of following an alkaline only diet, Brandon's sinus problems began to plunge and he was able to breathe normally again. Thereafter, Alkaline Certified was born. What exactly did you eat to turn your situation around? Did you ever workout or consider doing so?

consists of one of the following greens: red kale, dino kale or dandelion greens. I added bladderwrack, sea moss, moringa, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, and ginger. Substituted the fruit from time to time with apples, raspberries, and cherries. All being organic! I used either spring water or coconut water as a liquid. If I was hungry after my smoothie, I would eat a bowl of teff which is a very tasty superfood from Ethiopia. For lunch, I mainly ate salads with arugula or romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocados, chickpeas, cucumbers, wild rice, or quinoa. For snacks, I ate figs, chickpeas, kale chips, raisins, or tamarind. Dinner time was fun because I could eat foods that I normally ate but far healthier options like amaranth, kamut pasta, spelt pasta,


In trying to bring alkaline foods mainstream and more accessible, it was a fun process. I put myself in the shoes of consumers who have zero awareness of alkaline products and want to make a change to the alkaline diet but need assistance identifying these products. Establishing the certification label helps identify alkaline products easily for individuals who are seeking the products. I wanted to make this experience as

I started my day with a green smoothie which


What was the process like creating Alkaline Certified?

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easy and accessible for everyone. Traveling to 8 different countries throughout Southeast Asia and South Africa gave you a unique perspective on how people eat. What kind of experiences did you have with those unique types of food? Most importantly, what did you learn about the kinds of food we consume? Yes, traveling abroad has been an eye opener for me, especially traveling to Asia and Africa. When I started traveling to both places, I had the best experiences with vegetables and the different variations on how veggies are cooked outside of the US. Some of the best meals I've had in my life came from these countries in these continents that were plant based. In America, we tend to eat a diet that’s a lot higher in meat, starches, and

dairy, which all can be detrimental to the body. Our diet here is acidic, which creates a lot of health issues. How has your motivation to dive into the wellness space affected your personal life and career? It has been great! I have helped a lot of people along the way by spreading the awareness of alkaline products and their benefits. People are constantly reaching out to me for tips on what they should eat or if I have any suggestions for them. I enjoy helping people, so this has been fun for me. I look forward to continuing to impact lives as I grow further into the wellness space. My phone is much busier than it used to be!

Brandon explains the difference between Alkaline vs. Acid in food is that Alkaline Foods have a pH value of 7 and above. Foods that are alkaline include organic fruits, nuts, whole grains and vegetables. While acid foods are anything with a pH value of 6.9 and below. Foods that are acidic tend to have meat, dairy, fish, starches, sugars, grains, or alcohol. After shockingly curing himself of his chronic sinus condition, Brandon was extremely happy that he had found a solution for himself that would avoid any further procedures and nasal sprays. His doctor did discuss conducting another nasal surgery to try to give Brandon more space to breathe along with balloon sinuplasty surgery. He has avoided both and has not needed to use any form of nasal sprays in 2 years, nor has he been back to see his doctor for any kind of nasal issues.

some aren’t doing enough. Brandon shares some tips or tweaks that can help you improve your quality of life: “Eliminate meat and dairy, stay away from refined sugars, stick with good carbs that are high in fiber, include magnesium in your diet, stay away from fatty desserts, eliminate alcohol, sodas and caffeine, watch nighttime eating, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly.” So, what’s next for Brandon? He plans to launch his first alkaline certified meal kit, Alkaline Fresh. Here’s what he says you can expect: “Consumers will be able to select the healthiest favorable meals on the planet that are derived from many cultures around the world. I expect our meals to create a positive paradigm shift for the food industry. We are in the process of creating a website that is dedicated to educating consumers and raising awareness for alkaline foods and products. In addition, we will have wellness

Being a Black entrepreneur in the wellness space

events in the communities where we provide our

is something that is very new! Brandon shares his

meals for free and partner with less privileged

unique perspective, “That there are not enough

schools to provide our meals as options for

black entrepreneurs in the wellness space and

student lunches.”

now it is needed more than ever. I would like to see more Black entrepreneurs making this shift as Black people enjoy wellness just like everyone

For more on Alkaline Certified visit:

else.” With plenty of people attempting to lose weight, some are taking drastic measures, and

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