CEOMOM Holiday 2021

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Holiday 2021









Mixi Avenue produces all natural products using premium

ingredients to give your hair and skin optimal nourishment.

POLISHED EXISTS to gather young professional women to navigate career and

explore faith.

CONTENTS 06 LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER No matter your story, this holiday season you are likely getting back to tradition. For some that means routines, for others it’s reconnecting to loved ones.

12 LOVE THE BODY YOU’RE IN Laurie B. Style focuses on reminding women who they are, empowering them to dress like their brightest selves and create the life they’ve always dreamed.

28 MEET AARTI SEQUEIRA Food Network star is helping families capture memories and stories through her new book, My Family Recipe Journal.

38 2021 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE Here’s our picks for the 2021 must-have gifts. CEOMOM




BACK TO TRADITION Publisher/Founder Vonna Matthews

Editor JJ Davis Kim Fields Photography Kenya “K Cams” Campbell Contributing Photographer Lauren Wesley Designs Contributing Photographer Shelly Waldman Contributing Photographer Stephanie Todaro Contributing Writer Leigh Singleton Contributing Writer Katie Sandler

Main Editorial Office 9355 John W. Elliott Drive Suite 25449 Frisco, TX 75033 +1-972-302-9150 | CEOMOM Magazine is published by For Her Media Frisco, TX 75033 | +1-972-302-9150


In a lot of ways, 2021 has felt like an extension of 2020. Depending on who you ask, some aspects are better, others remain the same. Many of us are still working to get our footing while others are relishing in the gifts of their pivot. No matter your story, this holiday season you are likely getting back to tradition. As families get back together and many return to normal, may the new serve as the perfect complement to what is familiar… what is home.




J. Joy Davis is the Female Founder of THE FIRM MANAGEMENT, a company with a capacity for management, creative production and brand strategy that is best suited for women who dare to live as large as they dream. She has spent over a decade working with multilocation entrepreneurs, investors, luxury retailers and Fortune 500 companies including but, not limited to NBA, WNBA, Marriott, Michael Kors, BCBG, Max Azria, Tory Burch as well as nonprofits and charitable foundations on the Business Development, Corporate Sales and Relationship Management sides of the table. Joy has developed a keen business sense as to how to connect the right people with the right resources to move the needle in the right places. CEOMOM



With a love for academia and a heart for empowering young power players, she is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte where she teaches Business Communication courses for Belk College of Business. She is currently working on what she is manifesting to be her first best-seller while praying for a publisher who is AS obsessed about the plights of the high achieving woman as she is! Her greatest joy is being a mother to her teenage son, Nolan. Thus, Joy believes that while success is a powerful antidote, it is authenticity where God shines the brightest. Follow Joy: @thefirmwins

4 HOLIDAY GIFTS THAT WILL MAKE SHOPPING EASY 01 BIFTIES GIFTS Design personalized box of lifestyle gifts at Bifties, the premier gifting marketplace offering curated gift boxes that feature uplifting products from Blackowned businesses. From candles, cards, confectionery, to unique journals and self-care gifts, personalize gifts for anyone on your list this holiday season. Shop at

02 BRIGHTBOX Pick out a curated box that your special someone will love or build-a-box filled with everything that’s perfect for them! Send over a Sweet Surprise, a token of appreciation with the Grateful For You box, or get into the holiday spirit with the Christmas candy bomb or Let it Snow box! Shop at CEOMOM | 8

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03 INSTACAKE CARDS Send a celebration through a card for the sweet tooth in your life! InstaCake Cards combines our love of a classic dessert with a memorable and interactive way to mark each occasion. A “cake in a card” is more than a novel idea - it’s a celebration in a box with a delicious treat made from premium ingredients. All flavors (Confetti Vanilla, Double Chocolate, and Zesty Lemon) are peanut-free with gluten-free options available. Shop at

04 HEIRLOOM Upgrade your greeting cards to a whole new level! Heirloom allows you to create custom video books to send to someone you love. It is fast, easy, and oh-so-beautiful that you will want to make more for different occasions. To get started you select videos in the Heirloom app or directly on! Once completed, Heirloom will ship your video book directly to the recipient. Each book comes fully charged and videos play automatically when the cover is opened. Shop at





After graduating from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising, Laurie B. Style moved to New York City to start her career in the fashion industry. She spent the first few months working with a celebrity stylist, and then landed a job at Glamour magazine in the fashion department. It was her first foray into living the “Devil Wears Prada” life. That eye opening experience propelled her into the design world, translating her love for fashion and eye for trends into designing for the everyday woman. In seven years, Laurie B. Style went from an assistant designer to a senior designer, designing for companies like Macy's, JCPenney, Target, Kohl’s and Walmart. But it wasn’t until she started to study Image Consulting at the Fashion Institute of Technology that things really clicked for her. After moving back in with her parents at twenty-eight years old, she started LaurieBstyle in her high school bedroom. She now focuses on reminding women who they are, empowering them to dress like their brightest selves and create the life they’ve always dreamed.

When did you fall in love with fashion? As a young girl I was always interested in fashion and style. There was literally nothing more exciting than getting a Delia’s catalog in the mail and going through it page by page, just loving on all the square neck tanks, boot leg corduroys, placement striped sweaters and babydoll dresses. But in hindsight, I didn’t realize at all how fashion and style would shape my future career. So much so, I originally went to Indiana University to study theater. I was going to be a famous actress! And when I realized early on that acting was not the path for me, I moved into Apparel Merchandising thinking, “well, I like fashion, why not?” I had no idea what was in store for me. Over the years, I didn’t just fall in love with fashion. I fell in love with selfexpression. I used fashion to narrate the story I wanted to tell. I mixed vintage with new, patterns with patterns, cut up t-shirts with suits. My style was a revolving door of creative ideas that each day I got to re-invent over and over again.

You teach women how to love their bodies. Tell us about your own journey to loving your body. When I look back at old photographs, I often wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying about my weight or being insecure about how I looked. There were so many missed moments wasted on worrying about my body or what other people would think of my body. But even after years of healing, the worst of it hit me when I became pregnant and eventually a mom. I had always imagined that I would feel such joy in my body during that experience. But what I felt instead was deep unresolved body trauma surfacing with the growing of my belly. What I discovered is that I tied my worth into my weight. Even with a growing baby inside of me, I couldn’t shake the feeling that when I looked “fat” in the mirror that I was unworthy as a woman. But realizing this connection was a big part of my healing, especially as I worked through postpartum. I finally learned to give myself grace and compassion, something I had never given to myself prior. Nine months postpartum and I was in the final draft of my book, You are the Style. It took me months to even look at my book. I had been in such a style and body rut that I couldn’t bear to think that I had all the answers. How could I teach women how to get dressed and feel confident in their bodies when I myself couldn’t stand looking at myself or my closet. But as I re-read each chapter, my heart began to crack open. I saw how much body love and wisdom I had accumulated in my life, and in my work! The book I wrote for other women was healing for me, too. I had the answers all along to help me love myself again! Taking each step of my book from mindset shifts, body love acknowledgment, dressing for my new body, and wearing what truly lights me up, led me back to myself.

When we let go of our preconceived definition of “perfect”, “beauty”, and “worthy”, we re-define it for ourselves! One thing is clear to me as we all journey back to ourselves again. We are NOT our bodies. We are so much more than our bodies. And when we let go of our preconceived definition of “perfect”, “beauty”, and “worthy”, we re-define it for ourselves! And with re-writing that story, we can begin to see the beauty of ourselves again, as well as give the grace for others to do the same. We are all on this journey in one way or another. And I believe more than ever, the more we normalize this conversation and bring it to light, we can dissolve those lonely and unworthy feelings and make space for confidence, love, and allowing ourselves to shine again.

What are your three must haves for your holiday style? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we can all be more conscious of our closets, our style and our shopping habits. We as consumers can make a big impact in helping reduce the waste of the fashion industry by being more conscious with how we shop and style to express ourselves! So this season, I am going to focus on finding a few special pieces that are big on the trends but easy on the earth. HEAD TO TOE SWEATER LOUNGE SET One thing on my holiday wish list is a head to toe sweater lounge set. I love this because it’s something you can wear often, is super cozy for the colder days and nights, and brings an element of style and sophistication to even a lazy night at home. LACE UP BOOT STYLE Another very versatile piece that you can add to your wardrobe is a lace up boot style. They are fun, edgy and don’t have to be the 90’s grunge vibe anymore. They pair with everything from cropped denim to dresses with tights! That kind of versatility and wearability makes this boot a must for your winter closet and for seasons to come. Plus as a mom, having a cool stylized boot that is comfortable to walk in is gold! SPARKLING STATEMENT EARRINGS The last thing I think every mom must have in her closet this holiday is sparkling statement earrings. This is also a super versatile piece to invest in and have in your closet always. Of course it will look fabulous with any and all holiday looks, but then you can also translate it into the springtime! Yes, you can wear your sparkling earrings with a light weight sweater and skirt, or even jeans and a white tee. Styling with that creative contrast not only adds visual interest to your look, it adds personality and understated confidence! What are your favorite family holiday traditions? We celebrate Hanukkah in our family so I am looking forward to sharing our holiday traditions with our now two and a half year old son. As we light the candles Menorah each night, I think he is going to be dazzled by the light show. The other tradition that my husband and I have started and have done for the past five years, is going to Descanso Gardens in Pasadena, California for their Enchanted evening nights. It’s the most magical night as they light up the gardens! It’s special for us because we got engaged under the rose garden trellis beneath the twinkling Moroccan star lanterns. So we go back every year to celebrate and to commemorate our year. This year will be especially fun because there are two things our son loves the most - running in open spaces and twinkling lights! So he is in for a real treat! I cannot wait.

Photo Credit: Shelly Waldman CEOMOM | 15

“… No matter your current body type, you can be styled and flattered in a way that enhances you.”

LAURIE’S TIPS TO HELP WOMEN LOVE THE BODY THEY’RE IN 01 Be honest about what you don’t like about your body. This is probably the hardest part but it is the most important one. It’s facing yourself and your body as it is in this very moment, which can be difficult after having children. Our bodies change so much, and in different ways. Plus each individual experience is different, yet we compare ourselves to other mothers. But to rebuild confidence in yourself you must start with loving and accepting yourself for who you are, where you are now, and what you are now. When we don’t love our bodies and say negative things to ourselves about our bodies, we tend to get dressed being informed by those feelings. We will choose the darker items, the baggier pieces and ironically the least loved ones, as if we don’t deserve to wear the fun stuff right now. But, when we learn to love and accept our bodies, we can take the next step, which is learning the best style tools for the body we are currently in.

02 Understand the styling tools that enhance, fit and flatter your frame as it is right now. It is a vital part of the body love journey. Not because learning how to flatter your figure will fit you into societal “beauty” standards, but instead will help you see YOU in the mirror. It helps you see, no matter your current body type, that you can be styled and flattered in a way that enhances you! And that science of style is unique to you! Learning the proper style tools will help you feel better about the style choices you make overall, which helps with feeling good, but, most importantly, it helps you see in the mirror the natural beauty and curvature of your body. When you start to explore new silhouettes, new ways to style, new tools to flatter your frame, you will be so surprised by what IS possible for you and your style. The more you see YOURSELF this way, the more you begin to believe in yourself.

03 Dress for your body type. Define your waist with a belt. It’s one of the easiest styling tricks that can help balance your body, lengthen your body, and slim your body to its natural curves! I love this for a couple reasons, one is that a belt absolutely adds personality and dimension to any look, which so many moms tend to overlook when getting dressed. (Accessorizing can feel like extra effort!) But it’s worth the few extra minutes because a belt styled at the high waist (and I dive into this in great detail in You are the Style,) will help you stand up straighter and hold your core stronger. This kind of body language has been connected to feelings of confidence and mood boosting! Throw your hands on your hips and stand-in the superwoman pose for a few minutes and now we’re really talking! Do this while standing in the mirror and you have a recipe for rebuilding your body love, one waist defining look at a time! Throw some positive affirmations into the mix and now you have a magic potion you can take daily for owning who you are and using that powerful energy to make an impact in the world.



HER YEAR. HER WAY. Interview by: J. Joy Davis

Actress. Producer. Writer. Coffee CEO. Mother. These are only a few of the crowns worn by the remarkable industry veteran and multi-hyphenate, Kim Fields. Prior to interviewing Kim, I had no expectations other than to have a lively chat about her upcoming VH1 Holiday special airing November 29 called Adventures in Christmasing. But the brilliantly articulate and passionate woman that I conversed with shared such a warm and genuine energy that naturally, I wanted to glean more. The longer we spoke, the more I realized that the confidence she exudes is not only deserving but empowering. Her industry knowledge has catapulted her into a space beyond acting and in what I thought to be considered a male dominated industry, it was Kim who clarified, “I am not a female director, I am a Director.” Talk about a Trailblazer. A Gamechanger. A woman who admittedly, did not simply sit at the table but, built her own. She is the epitome of a CEOMOM and it was even more evident as we engaged by phone. With effortless charisma, I listened as Kim lovingly prepared dinner for her family while patiently connecting with her two boys (Sebastian “the artist”, 14 and Quincy, 8 “the gamer”) all while reminding me to “dance to the beat of your own drum” and “not operate from a place of fear.” We, #boymoms must stick together and not only to share war stories but, to trade secrets on how to continue to connect with our sons in a way that amplifies their gifts and feels authentic to who they are. And who would have known that “Tootie” in all of her gracious glory would give me the best advice of 2021? What was that? You ask? You’ll have to continue reading our interview to find out. CM: Congratulations on the second season of The Upshaws on Netflix. The Upshaws is a huge breakout for Netflix, being one of its only successful multicamera sitcoms. Why do you think the show resonates so much with your audience? What is the key to the show’s breakout success? KF: The show resonates with audiences all over the world because it’s so relatable, pure and simple. (And then) “neck in neck” to that is how funny it is. It really is just witty and flat out funny. The cast (Wanda and Mike, especially) really wanted that classic, throwback style of Norman Lear comedy. When you expect certain things from an actor and then they do something different and then, do it just so…freaking…well…then all anyone can say is oh, ok, I’m not mad at you and simply put, this is what’s happened.


CM: Your holiday movie, Adventures in Christmasing premieres November 29 on VH1. You also co-wrote and executiveproduced the story. What made you want to venture into writing and producing? What can the audience expect from this film? KF: I started looking at writing, producing, and directing in the 90’s when I graduated from college. It came from a place that just like so many other CEOMOMS where you look at something and think what is missing here, what product, what service could I provide? And so, when it came to writing and producing, I just said, I can do this. As far as the movie, you can expect an adventure! Viewers are going to have a wonderful time connecting with marvelously flawed characters and the audience will have a lot of takeaways that they can latch on to.

I say: I’m a director, period. I’m not a female director, I am a director. I don’t wear certain things on my sleeves, and while I may check certain boxes, that isn’t my jump off or my point of entry.

CM: Our Holiday Issue is about “Back to Tradition” which is something that we’ve all had to find again after our pandemic world was flipped upside down. To remain present and exude a level of success that makes you and your tribe proud—What are your constants, your drivers, your ethos, your traditions that you maintain no matter what’s going on around you? KF: FUN! Our family enjoys being with each other, our tribe enjoys being around each other and we understand and value the importance of me time. You can’t pour from an empty cup so give one another the room to fill our own cups. We love to play games in our home and you know, we love to do nothing and just breathe because we are a family who is always on the move. CM: Being in isolation last year, families were forced to forgo many of their holiday traditions. How is your family getting back to tradition this year? What are some of your favorite family holiday traditions? KF: We celebrate the things the kids enjoy. My mom had this wonderful idea to create an art gallery of Sebastian’s art last year. We celebrate their passions and not just their achievements. After a while, they do outgrow certain things but, it is important to show an interest in what they like. We also have family game night so we embrace what they enjoy and we find a way to honor that level of interest with the children.


JD: I want to switch gears for a bit and share with our readers the essence of who you are. CM (JD): I write a column for the magazine called Hello Queen. It’s meant to celebrate a woman who wears many crowns yet who also exists in her highest level of femininity. How have you exuded bold femininity decade after decade in a male dominated industry such as entertainment? KF: I think perspective was a big part of it for me. You know, I grew up in this (entertainment industry) so I wasn’t coming in as a grown up off the gate. Baby I’m Back was produced by a woman with strong female characters and same with Facts of Life who had wonderful females both in front of and behind the camera. I saw people of all races and all genders who looked like me and so that (male dominated perspective) wasn’t my testimony. I certainly stand on the shoulders of individuals who that is their testimony but, once I grew up so to speak and really understood the world, then my perspective evolved. I am often asked; how do you feel as a female director? The answer is simple. I say: I’m a director, period. I’m not a female director, I am a director. I don’t wear certain things on my sleeves, and while I may check certain boxes, that isn’t my jump off or my point of entry. So, when you say bold femininity, I think that I am only beginning to discover a great deal of my own and what that means to me. When I was filming Living Single, I so desperately wanted that boldness, that femininity but, I didn’t even know what to call it. I am just now coming into it at this stage of my life even by directing a show like All The Queen’s Men that is highly charged, sensual and full of strong, bold female characters and entrepreneurs. It is about the support and village behind the entrepreneur so even in that space, I feel like I am just arriving. Maybe ask me again when I feel like I have walked more into my bold femininity. CM: As a woman of color yet, also as a woman, how do you continue to operate from a place of authenticity? KF: I don’t know any other place to be! I learned that concept early on and I never wanted to be anyone but myself. I remember when I went to high school during the 80’s and I can recall seeing girls who were showing all of these different behaviors and mannerisms. As an actor, I never wanted someone to think that who I was displaying wasn’t real. And I get it, we were teenagers who were just trying to figure it out but, I wanted to be my most true self and not portray a character. That was how I came into being my most authentic self. In recent years, my most authentic self looks and feels different than me at 20, 30, 40 and it’s not an age thing but it is a different chapter. I am giving myself permission to lean into her now. Not running from it, not being ashamed of it but, working at not being frustrated with what that authenticity looked like previously in comparison to now.

Photo Credit: Kenya “K Cams” Campbell

”I AM GIVING MYSELF PERMISSION TO LEAN INTO HER NOW. NOT RUNNING FROM IT, NOT BEING ASHAMED OF IT BUT, WORKING AT NOT BEING FRUSTRATED WITH WHAT THAT AUTHENTICITY LOOKED LIKE PREVIOUSLY IN COMPARISON TO NOW. CM: We have all heard the sentiment that there is a seat at the table for every woman to win. What has that theme looked like for you, in your life? KF: Building my own damn table! Building my own room where it’s going to happen because sometimes you don’t get invited and sometimes there isn’t a seat for you, so I had to realize that I am not trying to keep sitting at the same seat. So, I built my own. CM: What has been the catalyst for some of the harder seasons in your life over this past year? KF: The catalyst is something that I heard Sally Fields say in a commercial once. She said, “I have this one life” and if we really want to go back to Janet (hint: What Have You Done For Me Lately), she said it. Things as tragic as a pandemic will certainly put life in perspective. And even if you believe in a culture of faith that says otherwise, we are living in this one life right now, so the catalyst is not operating from a place of fear. And that is a gift. I have learned to expect the unexpected. I’ve been saying that, if nothing else: THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE BADASS! I am still discovering that and that’s why adventure is a concept that is so exciting to me. Take the movie for example (Adventures in Christmasing); it’s about exploring the wild and not being afraid of the unknown You may not know how your kids will get through junior high school or how your business will survive or how to care for your parents while they are living in your home. We've lost so

many people and that is just unconscionable. We didn’t know how we would react to life without that love, without that check, and so I am going to be bold and I am not going to be meek about it. The year of the badass is for every year until there isn’t another year to live! CM: Advice to your 10 year old (or any age) self KF: You don’t have to think about what other people think you should be thinking about. I had this grand plan at 40 to cut my locs but, I had no real plan, so I changed my look and felt atrocious! But it came from a place of “new decade, new look” so I know now that it was something I probably saw and thought I “should’ do. Dance to the beat of your own drum. I will say this to second grade Kim. Kim, listen when Ms. Hoffman is reading Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory after lunch and she has her big brown and plaid thermos. Remember this exact moment because you are going to own and launch a coffee company. That very vivid feeling that I remember as a little girl is the genesis for who I am as a CEO and I am so glad that I listened. JD: Kim, the pleasure was all mine. Thank you Queen.

Back to Tradition




This holiday season Americans plan to spend more and shop earlier. But experts say make sure to set a budget first! Consumer spending is expected to jump 9% according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast but shipping and product issues will force the season to jump start too. “This year the earlier you start shopping the better off you’ll be. There is a new slew of hiccups you can encounter due to supply chain and inventory issues that have impacted what is available and what is not across the retail sector, among others,” according to Leigh Singleton, a financial educational expert with Monifi. To start the holiday shopping and be successful, Singleton recommends Americans follow these easy steps to financially prepare for the holiday season: CREATE A BUDGET It may seem dull to hear that the first tip is to budget, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and saving for the holidays won’t happen in a month. Start by adding a category in your budget for the holidays and save each month. If you contribute a small amount to your holiday budget each month it can really add up rather than trying to come up with money on the spot. The budget should include spending limits for each gift. If you are exchanging with friends, family, or co-workers, try to encourage everyone to agree on a limit. Be sure to include food and travel into your holiday budget. SHOP EARLY Keep a list of the names of the people or animals in your life for which you plan to purchase a gift. Next to each name, write down the spending limit and ideas for gifts. This allows you to

There is no need to go into debt to purchase gifts that are meant to show love and appreciation. buy gifts early to take the load off during the holiday season. Picture a world in which you are done shopping in October and all you have left to do is wrap and bake. The post-holiday sale season is really the most wonderful time of the year, so begin your 2021 holiday shopping right after the holiday season is over. Decorations, wrapping paper, bows, boxes, gifts, pretty much everything goes on sale.

PUT AWAY PERFECTION The holiday season is about more than just gifts. It is about time spent with people you care about, so put away the notion that every gift and meal must be perfect. While planning and saving twelve months of the year can lessen the stress of affording the holidays, those who are truly admired are the ones who are able to enjoy the season with those they love.

DON’T BREAK THE BANK There is no need to go into debt to purchase gifts that are meant to show love and appreciation. You can show you care without breaking the bank. Find your inner creativity to make your dollar go further. Homemade gifts or food items can add a personalized touch. It’s much easier to buy a gift for one person rather than every family member or every co-worker.

Leigh Singleton is a consumer financial educator with a passion for inspiring people to take control of their money. She is a CPA and certified financial educator who speaks locally in the community and across the country.



TIPS FOR STAYING EMOTIONALLY WELL THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS by Katie Sandler The holiday season can be stressful for millions of people. Not only are there pressures to travel and purchase gifts, but there’s more put on one’s plate than usual. This can lead to people spending a couple of months in an ongoing state of stress or overwhelm. The good news is that there are things people can do to help beat back the blues and combat stress all season long. “Things may be especially stressful this year for some people, due to supply chain issues and the pandemic,” explains Katie Sandler, personal development and career coach. “It’s especially important this time of the year to keep stress under control, so that you can enjoy the holiday season, and go into the new year feeling refreshed.” According to the National Institutes of Health, we all feel stress from time to time, but if it goes on for weeks, it can negatively impact your health. Stress can make you sick, as well as lead to making unhealthy choices, such as eating too much, smoking or drinking alcohol, or not getting proper sleep. Some of the things people can do to help stay emotionally well throughout the holiday season include: Identifying triggers. Determine what those things are that tend to bring you down or stress you the most. What can you do to minimize them or become more resilient? Perhaps you can delegate, hire help, opt for delivery services, etc. Plus, keep in mind that if saying yes to every invite you get this holiday will cause you a lot of stress, it’s time to learn to gracefully say no to some things.


Volunteer. When we spend time helping others, we tend to forget about our own problems, or we gain a new perspective. Altruism leads to a sense of emotional wellbeing. There are always organizations around the holidays that are in need of volunteers, so get a few hours in. Whether it’s helping in a soup kitchen, delivering meals to the elderly, or reading holiday stories to preschoolers, it will help make you happy. Make time for rest. Holidays can be a busy time that leaves some people feeling drained. Try to minimize this by making lists, planning things out, and always scheduling down time. It’s important to have dedicated time for relaxing, unwinding, and recharging at this time of the year. Find an outlet. There are many healthy things you can do to help reduce stress and help your mind stay in a good place. Try meditating, taking a hike, spending time in nature, journaling, or learning something new. If you are busy learning qigong or knitting, for example, your mind will stay focused on those things, instead of holiday stressors. Keep it in perspective. Oftentimes, our thoughts will embellish things and make it seem much worse than it really is – hello catastrophic thinking. We tend to worry about many things that never happen, which zaps us of our energy and mood for no reason. When your mood slumps during the holiday, get to the root of it, tend to it if need be, and keep what is going on in perspective. About Katie Sandler Katie Sandler is a popular impact coach and provides health and wealth coaching and personal and professional development. To learn more about Katie or her services, visit the site:


Aarti Sequeira is a Food Network TV star, famed chef, author, wife, and mom of two. Her latest project, My Family Recipe Journal, is a vehicle for all of us to preserve those beloved family recipes and the stories behind them. Keeping her own recipe journal since she was 10, Aarti is inspiring families to not only cook together, but to preserve the memory of family members who are no longer with us through cherished stories that live in our family recipes. What inspired you to create My Family Recipe Journal? I created my own recipe journal when I was about 10 years old, to capture all the recipes I was testing out and loving. I was inspired by the recipe journal my mum had created, which houses both the family recipes handed down over the generations, and the new ones she's discovered and tweaked to her own palate. If there was a fire, this is one of the things I would grab, because it's a family heirloom, something I hope to pass on to my girls one day. It has helped me combat the fear that I will lose the connection with both my past and my future, and I think this is a fear many people have. Our families are separated by time and space, and food, even a written recipe, has the power to close that gap, even if we don't get to sit at the same dinner table every day. Family recipes are powerful; when I was little, I knew that even if I wasn't in the same time zone as my grandmother, she had probably had a hot cup of chai at 4pm, just like I was having. It has been such a boon to me, that I wanted to share that with everyone! My friend Candace (Cameron Bure) introduced me to the wonderful people at DaySpring, who helped craft this gorgeous, functional recipe journal; I am so proud of it! You can find My Family Recipe Journal by DaySpring on Amazon and at Why is the journal so personal to you? My grandmother, Lucia, passed away when my mum and her siblings were quite young. She was a legendary cook, improvising cakes on the stovetop (because she didn't have an oven) without a recipe, that kind of thing. But when she passed, they realized she hadn't written her recipes down! It was such an additional heartbreak, because being able to cook her recipes would have been a way to connect to her. I am comforted knowing that, when the good Lord calls my mum home, I'll be able to look through her recipe journal, and run my fingers across her handwriting... and show it to my own daughters, who can run their fingers along her handwriting too! It's such a simple, yet powerful way to maintain that connection across generations. Your culinary career has not slowed down since winning the sixth season of Food Network’s Food Network Star. What has been the key to your exponential impact on the culinary world? Curiosity. There is always something new to learn when it comes to food: new dishes, ingredients, cooking techniques. Figuring those out and then sharing them with people with excitement -- that's my bailiwick!


“The only thing that has helped me is realizing that I'm performing for an audience of one, The One, my Maker. And He already loves me more than anyone on the face of the earth." You recently had a candid conversation about the doubt and fear you’ve experienced in your career. Why is it important for you to be open about the role faith has played in your life and career? Imposter syndrome is a very real enemy in my life. I'm constantly dueling with it, because this is my second career (I started as a news and documentary producer!), so I'm constantly secondguessing whether I have the goods to step up to the plate. Couple that with a nearly-neurotic need to please people, and I can sometimes come completely undone. The only thing that has helped me is realizing that I'm performing for an audience of one, The One, my Maker. And He already loves me more than anyone on the face of the earth. I have found so much freedom in that truth. It has helped me understand that my worthiness is not found in my achievements - it's found in my identity as His daughter. I know that I'm not alone in fighting imposter syndrome and peoplepleasing; I want everyone to experience the freedom and peace that I do, so I try to share what works for me. And that's Jesus! What are some of your favorite family holiday recipes? My mum's stuffing. She'd only make it for special occasions, like Christmas or New Year's Day or Easter! It's like confetti: pine nuts, mint, bacon, raisins, garam masala and a little booze. I love it so much! Follow Aarti on Instagram @aartipaartipics

Photo Credit: Stephanie Todaro


Photo Credit: Reem Photography CEOMOM | 34

LENEILLE MOON DESIGNING SPECIAL EVENT DREAMS Leneille Moon is the CEO of Special Event Factory, a floral design studio based in Atlanta Georgia. In 2020, like many companies, Special Event Factory had to pivot in order to keep the business afloat. Leneille spoke to CEOMOM Magazine about her pivot and how it changed the way she does business. When did you develop your love for event planning? What led you to transition to event design? I was always the one to plan family events, and it all started when I planned my own sweet sixteen. I wanted a Cinderella theme, and I wanted everything to be organized and memorable. I minored in Meeting and Tradeshow planning in undergrad so I could become certified, and fell in love with the event industry. I had to transition after having my children because I became a homeschooling mom of three and they became my priority. Unlike event planning which took up so much of my time, floral design allows me flexibility on when I can work. You create gorgeous and elaborate floral designs. Walk us through your process for creating each design. I use the client’s theme and color palette as the inspiration to select seasonal blooms, and then I begin to design each piece according to where it will be

highlighted during the event. For example, the bridal bouquet is the most photographed floral piece in a wedding so I take more time designing it and add more expensive and fragrant florals there. How would you describe your floral and event design style? My style is textured elegance because I love to design luxury floral arrangements using a variety of blooms in various textures. You had to pivot your business during the pandemic. How did you pivot? What did pivoting mean for your business? I had to start teaching virtual floral workshops and offer doorstep deliveries during the pandemic because we weren’t allowed to design large events for months, which was the main source of our income. It meant I had to market my business triple time, create a ton of social media content and spend more time working on my craft and back of the house operations so that when business picked back up, I’d be ready. What are your favorite family holiday traditions? Decorating the tree is usually my favorite thing to do, and driving to Calloway Gardens to look at Christmas lights.

TIPS FOR CREATING HOLIDAY FLORAL ARRANGEMENTS ON ANY BUDGET Use heavy holiday greenery. You can often get free or very cheap Christmas greenery clippings from a fresh Christmas tree farm, and you can use that as a base for your fresh floral arrangement, as well as free pinecones, holly and sometimes berries. All you’d have to purchase would be roses and filler flowers to complete the arrangement.


Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

Photo Credit: Lauren Wesley Designs

Photo Credit: 323 Creative Designs

Aarti Sequeira




WELCOME The holiday season is not only a time to share gifts and moments with loved ones, it is a chance to recharge, reflecting on the events of the year. One of the way moms can recharge and reflect is by celebrating themselves. The CEOMOM 2021 Holiday Gift Guide focuses on beauty and selfcare. From beauty products like vegan and cruelty-free lashes to candles designed to help you relax, we want you to take time for YOU this holiday season.

2021 Holiday Gift Guide







Ashley Kennedy focuses on delivering Clean Beauty luxury lash products specially curated for you. Their products are 100% Vegan and Cruelty Free. Shop at

Photo Credits: Courtesy photo(s) from Ashley Kennedy



CHICA BEAUTY CHICA BEAUTY is inspired by real women, real life and celebrating true beauty. They encourage women to feel empowered, confident and beautiful in their own skin! CHICA BEAUTY provides simple beauty solutions and sets for everyday life. They want women to feel confident and beautiful in their own skin —nothing more, nothing less.

CHICA BEAUTY is a brand that embraces all the different meanings of beauty. “Rather than trying to cover or reshape you, our brand focuses on products that help bring confidence from within,” says Mei-Lon Jimenez. Having been founded by minority sisters, MeiLon Jimenez and Toni Jimenez, the CHICA BEAUTY family is made up of individuals who know that we all look different. That’s what makes us beautiful.

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Photo Credits: Courtesy photo(s) from Chica Beauty

MATTE LIQUID LIPSTICK All day lip coverage so you can look gorgeous wherever you are! CHICA BEAUTY'S buildable, highly-pigmented color comes in a non-sticky matte finish. You'll love their no-fuss applicator that can apply a light hint of color or layered into a lacquered look. Available in three shades: Twirl, Flirt and Passion on the CHICA BEAUTY website. Shop at


Get Bold with Color The holidays is the perfect time to go bolder than usual. Wear a brighter or deeper tone lipstick from CHICA BEAUTY to give your lips a pop that is perfect for any holiday event.



Focus on Your Eyes Alow your eyes to be the star by adding lashes for dimension. Ashley Kennedy has beautiful lashes that allow your lashes to stand out without being overwhelming.


MODERN MOM STYLE BOX What inspired you to start the Modern Mom Style Box? With the "return to normal" back to the office, back to school pick up, etc, we wanted to offer a service where moms can feel good in their clothes again. Some people may be in between sizes right now too. The functional and fashionable subscription service makes it easy for moms to try new styles in an affordable and convenient way, and build their virtual closet with brands like Anne Klein, BB Dakota, Calvin Klein and many more.


Photo Credits: Courtesy photo(s) from Modern Mom Style Box


Other than being for the modern mom, what makes the Modern Mom Style Box different from other fashion subscription boxes? What differentiates the Modern Mom Style Box from other subscription boxes is that we offer a solution for busy moms with unlimited swaps each month, no laundry, and free shipping. So if you want to switch out your 3 pieces, feel free! It's an endless rotation of stylish clothes. Plus new arrivals are dropping weekly. Our box features brands such as Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Loft, Express, and more. One of my favorite things is that we offer free shipping with the US Postal Service, so you can simply leave your


package with your postal carrier. No need to run to the UPS store! Any busy mom appreciates that feature. Another great thing about the box is that clothing rental is a sustainable choice. Clothing waste is a huge problem in this country, and we allow users to have a great wardrobe, without the need to buy items they might only wear once or twice. Describe the modern mom’s style. A modern mom's style is size-inclusive, confidenceinspiring, and ready to take on the world, whether that is in the boardroom or in the playroom.


Tell us about your partnership with CaaStle. How did it come about and what can moms expect from the partnership moving forward? CaaStle handles the logistics of the style box from the merchandising to ecofriendly dry cleaning to shipping and customer service. When I first conceived of a clothing rental company 20 years ago, I lacked the infrastructure. Now with the help of CaaStle, my dreams became a reality.

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" The origin of this project started 20 years ago. While working at my first job, I said to my co-workers, "I want to invent a company where people can rent clothes and give them back after they wear them." Well, look at us now! So never give up on your dreams!

Tara Clark, Founder

QUIANA MCDANIEL Founder, Creator and Visionary behind Dasha Cosmetics and the House of Dasha

Photo Credit: Kauwuane Burton

How has The House of Dasha evolved since the last time you spoke to CEOMOM Magazine in 2018? The House of DASHA has been busy since we last spoke with CEOMOM! Prior to the pandemic in 2019 we added more services to meet the needs of our customers. We offered mobile makeup services from our cosmetics line and style consultations for our customers. Once the pandemic hit in 2020, we focused on building a stronger online presence. We increased our VIP offers and provided online consultation as well as opportunities to shop with us during live fashion segments. Like most businesses, we had to pivot and become more creative with our processes and how we serve our customers, while still providing the most trendy and fashionable apparel. As the owner and CEO of The House of Dasha, my passion is truly serving the community that supports my business. Since we last spoke; I’ve added a few new products to the Dasha brand… BOOKS. Yes, I’m a two-time author now and I share my journey of owning and operating a brick-and-mortar boutique. I share how my love for fashion and styling helped me to find my purpose of helping women build confidence from the inside out.



Describe The House of Dasha style. The House of Dasha brand is bold! We say it with style and encourage women to rock their clothing with confidence! We feature high quality clothing for every woman who dares to be different and is not afraid to turn heads! We pride ourselves with being bold in fashion by using colors and prints. Versatility is the new black at the House of Dasha, so we focus on style flexibility by curating styles that scream creative functionality. Women can be dressed to impress while being able to move without feeling restricted.


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Photo Credits: Courtesy photo(s) from House of Dasha

As a mother of three daughters, what are you teaching your daughters about being bold, and highlighting their inner beauty? As a mother of three beautiful girls my desire is to lead by example. All of my girls have an entrepreneurial mindset. They are assertive and confident about their skills, gifts, and how they show up in the world. I make sure that whenever they show interest in a passion, I give them my all to help bring it to life. My oldest daughter, Nyiana, loves hair so I helped her start her company in 2019. My middle daughter Nyiree loves hats so of course she started her on fedora brand. And my baby girl, Nyilah, loves cosmetics. She creates and has a lip gloss line called Rose Drip Beauty. It’s a joy to see them develop into young ladies who are focused on being creative and contributing to the world through their creativity. Shop at



" My favorite piece for our Fall Collection has to be our Envy Shirt Dress. It’s a gorgeous Kelly Green and White and it has these amazing signature puff sleeves that really shout not your average shirt dress. Quiana McDaniel




Made with you in mind, Cornelia Home’s carefully selected premium ingredients are non-toxic, paraben-free, phthalate-free, cruelty-free and vegan.


Photo Credits: Courtesy photo(s) from Kianna Riley

Tell us about Cornelia Home, a natural home fragrance brand. What products are a part of the brand? Cornelia Home was founded in 2020 and is a natural, nontoxic home fragrance brand that curates coconut wax candles with wooden wicks, rooms sprays and reed diffusers. What inspired you to create Cornelia Home? Being a 2x breast cancer survivor inspired me to create Cornelia Home. After undergoing chemo, I developed a fragrance sensitivity that prohibited me from enjoying store bought smell-goods. I decided to research how to make my own natural and non-toxic home fragrances that are safe for my family and me. What are some of your favorite fragrances from the line? Some of my favorite fragrances from my line are Her, November and Lush. As a 2x breast cancer survivor, what role does Cornelia Home play in your self-care rituals? Cornelia Home plays a significant role in my self-care rituals. I enjoy spraying the room spray and lighting the matching fragrance candle to ring the audible pleasure of the wooden wick burning as I relax to my favorite music. Shop at


Photo Credit: Allie Miller



Being a 2x breast cancer survivor inspired me to create Cornelia Home. After undergoing chemo, I developed a fragrance sensitivity that prohibited me from enjoying store bought smell-goods. I decided to research how to make my own natural and nontoxic home fragrances that are safe for my family and me. Kianna Riley, Founder