Classy Chronicles - The Love Issue Feb/Mar 2017

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Founders Corner Simplifying Self Love Volunteer Month In Review A Sister’s Love Avis Pitts Community Partner A.G. Rhodes Member Spotlight Aubrey Smith Broken Heart Syndrome Cynthia’s Story Love Stories How We Met







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EDITOR Eric Thompson


Valérie Alerte Kavanagh Nameica Craig Angela Everett Agnes Jamison Avis Pitts Jaquey Smith Rebecca Walls

DESIGN Jennifer Hardimon

PHOTOGRAPHY Jason Byrdsell

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Simplifying Self-Love

“You deserve the kind of love that makes you feel like the luckiest person alive, that people envy and admire, that makes you love yourself…..” This is quite the popular phrase – and each of us, knowingly or unknowingly, at one point or another, strive to attain this type of love. We live in a world where the images on television and in magazines slowly chisel away at our confidence, esteem and self-image. These subliminal messages are more subtle than you realize – and somehow you are left wondering when you lost your self-assurance, or when you began thinking you are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, educated enough and so on. Suddenly, it appears you’ve been deleted from your own dreams….you are no longer the one receiving Cinderella’s slipper and living “happily ever after” at the end of the story. You’ve become discouraged and unmotivated; and have begun to live a life of failure, sadness and disappointment. How do you reclaim your Cinderella slipper? Where do you begin loving yourself again? Well, listen my Sisters….it all begins with YOU. Yes, that’s right, just like in any other love relationship, you play an important part; the path to self-love begins with you. You may be saying to yourself, well duhhh, of course it begins with me! Self=me, me=self! Stated this way makes it all seem so elementary, right? Well, guess what?? It is!!! WE are the ones who are making it complicated!! Begin with getting out of your own way! Be honest with yourself; only you can save you. Stop looking for others to save you! Learn who you are! Incorporate YOURSELF into your schedule -- just as you schedule time with loved ones and friends or colleagues, carve out time for your enjoyment and self-improvement. Do an abundance of things that you are good at. Schedule a regular block of time to exercise, take in a movie, treat yourself to a fine dinner, a manicure/pedicure or massage, travel, etc. Incorporate a daily regimen of self-love -- it is imperative that you do this for yourself. Negativity kills….you must build a tall wall of confidence to keep the negative thoughts out of your head. Negative self-talk, thoughts and defeatist attitudes have no place when your plan is to love yourself! Self-love means not being afraid to be you. Rid yourself of old things, outdated ways of thinking, relationships that don’t work, ANYTHING that’s not working -- and make room for new things to come into your life. At times we hold onto people and situations because we are waiting for them to return to the good way they used to be. But if it is not working NOW…..let it go, and free your hands for the new great things that await you. Above all remember there is only one of you. Don’t waste time envying the lives or successes of others…your own wealth of victories and greatness lie in store waiting just for you! You are super unique in your own shoes, so become comfortable with how they feel. Yes, slide your feet back into your Cinderella slipper….only YOU can do that. You will find that when you do….they will fit just fine....

LaShanda Pitts 05

A MAGIC RIDE Are you the hopeless romantic? You can never go wrong taking long walks in scenic downtown Atlanta Centennial Park. What’s even better than walking? Taking a ride in the SkyView Ferris Wheel which towers nearly 20 stories above Centennial Park. The Skyview provides a breathtaking panoramic view of Downtown and Metro-Atlanta. Each gondolas is climate controlled and guarantees a comfortable flight. If you’re looking to entertain your date with first class style get your ticket for their VIP gondolas which features a Ferrari style seat, glass floor and a longer flight. SkyView Atlanta is sure to spark magic between you and your date! http://www.skyviewatlanta. com

FUN & GAMES Looking for more fun than romance? Putter up at Top Golf Atlanta! Top Golf offers an action packed 3 story facility with over 100 hitting bays. You’ll enjoy an evening full of games, pool tables, live music, plushed out couches and delicious food. Top Golf is one of Atlanta’s premier places for a grand social experience.

Date Night Spark Fun Date Night Ideas by Nameica


Make this Valentine’s Day even more invigorating by stepping out to some of the city’s most popular & best kept secrets. No matter your style Atlanta has something to offer that will provide the WOW factor on your date night!


NOT SO CLASSIC DINNER & A MOVIE CinéBistro® is the ultimate dinner and a movie experience. Bringing the best of both worlds together in one luxurious package…all delivered right to your seat.


Submerge yourselves in a quiet serine luxurious Bed and Breakfast Inn & Day Spa that sits atop the North Georgia Mountains. Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn & Spa overlooks the skyline of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Sautee Valley, outside of Atlanta. Indulge in a rejuvenating couples massage or take a vigorous hike up the mountains to nearby waterfalls. Lucille’s Mountain Top Inn & Spa is the perfect place for an intimate get away for two. Take the ride, it’s worth it!



Light on the food, heavy on the wine please. City Winery is a Hip, intimate venue with a New American restaurant, bar & on-site winery inside the Ponce City Market Place. Enjoy a conversation in a relaxed rustic ambiance and regionally influenced but locally sourced wine paired with wholesome food for a fun date night out in the city. Visit City Winery for great tasting food and wine.

STEP IN THE NAME OF LOVE Class Act Steppers is sure to keep you moving and grooving throughout the night. They offer various styles of “Classy Dancing” with its most popular being Atlanta/Chicago steppn’. With great music and affordable prices this is an exciting way to set your soulmates soul on fire this and dance the night away.

DINING OUT We know, you’re looking for that particular something to make a lasting impression, put the cherry on top of your dinner date. Head on over to Midtown Atlanta to Ecco a seasonal European Restaurant serving Mediterranean and Italian Cuisine. Ecco has a stylish dining room, spacious bar or outdoor patio to choose from. Its exclusive flavors of wine takes you on journeys to Spain, Italy, and France leaving your date feeling cool, sexy and relaxed. If you’re looking for an elite private dining experience, Ecco in Midtown Atlanta is your spot. Make your reservations today!

CLOUD NINE Enjoy a great outdoor escape for two floating in the Georgia sky’s on a hot air balloon ride. Balloons over Georgia offers scenic views over Lake Lanier, Stone Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, the Atlanta skyline and the beginnings of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountain ranges. Balloons over Georgia is the state’s largest Hot Air Balloon ride company and offers considerate discounts on their rates for couples and groups. Float on! Float on! With Balloons over Georgia

LOVE ON YOU DATE YOURSELF Treat yourself to an evening of luxury at the Four Seasons Spa, Monday through Friday evenings from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, choose two 25-minute treatments and enjoy a glass of Prosecco or sparkling cider happy_hour/


the MONTH in REVIEW Happy New Year from Classy Living Society! Our Classy sisters didn’t waste any time getting to the business at hand and Books for Africa was the perfect effort to get the year started off right! Volunteers sorted and packed books to be shipped to students in Africa who without this organization would have no access to books. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is a tradition that takes place all over our nation and the Classy sisters of CLS Atlanta along with our sisters of California were an integral part of that tradition! Volunteers in California participated in projects including managing registration, volunteer assignments, t-shits and media, while Atlanta volunteer’s projects included painting, park bench restoration and historic building preservation. Friends of Disabled Adults and Children operate a thrift store at its facility in Stone Mountain, GA. Volunteers assisted with various aspects of the store operations including pricing, sorting, baling, minor assembly of and testing electronics.


The Tall Society is an empowering and inspiring community that unites tall girls and women 6’2” and above worldwide. CLS volunteers will provide basic assistance at their empowering women only brunch! Volunteers will help with registration, stuffing gift bags and minimal breakdown. The New Year wraps up with CLS joining 4Sarah and Out of Darkness Atlanta Dream Center for our Worldwide Super Bowl Outreach that extends through February 5, 2017. During the week prior to the Super Bowl, our main goal is to identify victims of sex trafficking within the community and train organizations in Georgia and across the United States to reach women and girls online that may be victims. We will connect victims with established organizations and offer resources within their own community to prevent trafficking. After the Super Bowl, our goal is to have established working relationships across the world with like-minded organizations that want to help victims of sex trafficking find a way out.







Natt Taylor Celebrities such as Nicole Ari Parker, NeNe Leakes, Terri Vaughn, Africa Miranda and Keshia Knight-Pulliam have all been seen wearing Natt Taylor. NATT has partnered with major organizations such as Sprite, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and BET Networks. there is no wonder why natt taylor was awarded the 2015 Emerging Designer Award from the City of Atlanta and was recently named Jezebel Magazine’s 2016 Best Fashion Designer. she is a star definitely on the rise.

natt is wearing the signature LOLA Fit and flared dress with self-tie bow photographer - jason brydsell


“Designing Women” is a platform for women designing for women. Natt started Designing Women in 2015 with two other designers. Five designers, including Natt, are being featured this year. You will get to know them in a one on one setting, shop the collections, mix and mingle.

DESIGNING WOMEN 2017 Tuesday, March 28th @ 6pm Ventanas - Atlanta, GA


Natt is wearing Emma Fit + Flare dress in Blush.



e sat down some weeks ago to talk with one of today’s hottest fashion designers, Natt Taylor. We set out to get some answers to questions that we thought you would like to know; questions about the fashion designing industry, her road to success plus some fun facts about her. What ensued from that conversation was thoroughly delightful. With her somewhat shy demeanor, infectious smile, eye for design and industry insight, it is easy to see why Natt Taylor is a designer to look out for. Jaquey Smith: Natt Taylor, Can You Tell Us About Yourself? Natt Taylor: I am originally from New Jersey and now based in Atlanta. I’ve been here for close to 20 years. I attended Morris Brown college and graduated with a degree in Accounting. I worked in corporate America for about 2 years and as time went on, I discovered that the corporate life was not for me. So I started making my own clothes and before you know it, my co-workers started noticing and even started placing orders. I realized I could make money by making clothes. With this in mind, I moved to New York and learned everything I could learn about fashion, the fashion industry, and how to run a business. I then moved back to Atlanta and made my fashion designing happen. JS: Can You Tell Us A Little About Your Modeling Days? NT: When I was younger, like 7-8 years old, I modeled with an organization called Little Stars and I was very much involved in that. I was modeling, doing fashion shows, and acting. I even did a photo-shoot with JC Penney. I really thought that this was the direction I was going to take. As I got older, I learned how to make and sell my own clothes and put them in fashion shows. People began to notice but I never had the mindset of becoming a fashion designer, let alone having it as a business. I did it because designing was my passion. JS: What Advice Do Have For Those That Would Love To Venture Into The Fashion World?

NT: The best advice that I would give to someone trying to break into this crazy industry is to start small. I think a lot of times as designers, we jump out and think we have to have these huge collections - 50 pieces on the runway! The reality is, if you have 50 pieces you then have to produce the majority of those pieces. When starting off, you don’t have the capability to do that. Even if you do, it doesn’t make sense because of the amount of money that goes into it. It’s easier and more manageable to start small and at the same time, find your niche. If dresses are your niche, then do 3 or 4 different styles. Your customers will have a chance to see your design style, aesthetics, your brand and then they’ll be able to grow with you . Maybe the next collection can be blazers or pants. Try this instead of beginning with everything. JS: What Would You Tell Your Younger Self? NT: I would tell my younger self to go to school to study fashion. I was pretty much self taught. Everything that I’ve done has been trial and error from beginning to end. I didn’t go to school for fashion. I went to school to study accounting and learned how to sew on my own. I took a sewing class in high school. After that, I pretty much bought McCall patterns and worked through them until they were in my head and I didn’t need to use patterns anymore. I probably would have majored in fashion but at the same time I never regretted studying accounting because if you actually want to start a business, you need to have the accounting knowledge as well. You also need to know about marketing and how to run a business . Accounting actually came in handy in my fashion designing business. If given the opportunity to go back, I would study both fashion and accounting. JS: Can You Tell Us About Your Mentors? NT: Absoulutely. I have some female mentors but most of them are not in the fashion industry. I decided to have lots of mentors from different business backgrounds because they can give advice from different perspectives.

JS: For The Natt Taylor Fans Out There Who Love Your Work, Tell Us Something We Don’t Know About You. NT: I love to sing and I must confess, a lot of people don’t know that. I wanted to become a singer at first, but fashion designing was just the one that worked for me. I’m also really very shy. JS: Tell Us About The Journey To BELK. NT: BELK has a designer competition every year. The first year, I didn’t actually apply for the competition...don’t know why. The following year, I applied and was one of the top ten selected. Out of the 19 semi-finalists, I was happy to be among the first seven to be selected to showcase and be added online. I was among the five designers to win the competition and part of that win was to have our collection in the store for Spring 2016. It did well. I think we sold out online. Especially the LOLA dresses – everyone loves the LOLA dresses. JS: Any Plans To Continue The Relationship With BELK? NT: We do have plans to continue with BELK and hopefully to move to other stores, such as Macy’s and Nordstrom, now that we’ve got the feel for the whole mass production process. There’s a big difference between boutiques and department stores. JS: So What’s The Future For Natt Taylor In The Next Five Years? NT: Right now, I am shifting to bridal. Weddings have become a little more of my thing – custom bridal and having a line of bridesmaid dresses. I’m hoping to get those dresses into some of the top bridal shops here in Atlanta. We will still do the “Ready-To-Wear” seasonal collections and maybe a couple of pop up collections as well but my main focus is going to be “Bridal”. JS: So Where Can We Find You Outside The BELK Stores? NT: Outside the BELK, we are exclusively online at

Follow Natt on Instagram and Facebook: @natttaylor --- Jaquey Smith



A Sister’s Love

What is a sister? According to Webster’s Dictionary, a sister is one that is closely similar to or associated with another, a girl or woman regarded as a comrade. Avis Pitts fits these definitions to a “T”. A paragraph from one of my poems describes Avis best: A sister is someone who loves you from the heart, No matter how much you argue, you cannot be drawn apart. She is a joy that cannot be taken away, Once she enters your life, she is there to stay. Avis is a ray of light that shines so brightly in CLS. She is always there to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. She always has an upbeat attitude, and meets all challenges head on. She is such a joy to be around, her optimism just rubs off on you and you just know that everything will be alright. A sister is someone more special than words. She’s love mixed with friendship; the best things in life. She’s so much inner beauty blended together with an outward appearance that brings a smile to the happiness in your heart... That’s why we LOVE our sister

Avis Pitts.


Mommy Corner

GONE FI HOLLY REID provides guiding principles and practical activities to teach children, kindergarten through high school, money management concepts and a critical life skill they should adopt as they begin to understand money.


n perusing the December 2016 issue of the Classy Chronicles, I came across a full page advertisement which highlighted the book, “Teach Your Child to Fish, Five Money Habits Every Child Should Master� by Holly D. Reid, CPA, who possess over 15 years of experience as a Certified Public Accountant and finance professional. The title of this book immediately caught my attention and it made me wonder how many other mommies would find it interesting and worthy of a mom carving


out time to quickly learn and master the five habits Ms. Reid references in her book’s well stated title. With that said, I was curious to know if other mothers thought about when, and most importantly how, they would broach the topic of money management with their teens, school aged children, or even with their toddlers? As mothers, I am sure we are well equipped and prepared to discuss a plethora of topics with our children to best help them navigate through life. Such topics as sex, drugs, the importance of having a moral compass, and excelling academically are some of the life lessons

which I am sure we will consistently drill into the minds of our children. However, interestingly enough, many parents overlook and perhaps even struggle with how to best engage and interest their children to want to partake in open discussions about managing finances and financially responsibility. After all, money management may be a foreign term to children that are accustomed to parents that as parents that provide financially. In her book, Holly D. Reid, makes many clear references and provides examples on easy and non-threatening ways to introduce children (as young as 2 years of age) to

ISHING what it means to spend wisely, save, and donate.

Ms. Reid enables her readers to see a path which can be easily followed as a guide to achieving financial understanding and success for children. The following are the five habits which are discussed in great detail: 1) Work Hard and Be Rewarded 2) Spend Wisely and Consistently 3) Save first and Consistently 4) Use Credit Responsibly 5) Give Generously Throughout the book, biblical scriptures and quotes are used which, in essence, help the reader to understand that the discussion of money, rewards, needs vs. wants, the use of credit, savings, and the act of giving freely is necessary to have with children. This is not a novel idea, but the understanding and education that comes with sustaining wealth is significant. In addition, Ms. Reid provides her readers with a complimentary workbook to help tackle each money management habit effectively. She offers the reader personal stories that allow for one to connect with her family, especially the lessons learned from her siblings. As the youngest of four children, she shares that, despite being brought up in the same household with

her sisters, they each have very different money management styles. Her parents were wonderful examples and taught their children through their actions how to shop wisely, how to save consistently, how to avoid the entrapment of excessive debt and how to donate not only financial gifts, but also the gift of their talents as well. It is important to remember that not all parents are setting such examples for their children. However, this book is an opportunity for parents to reintroduce the topic into conversation. Ms. Reid states, “it is important to practice repetition of the five habits in order to master them,” and to further ask ourselves “what legacy are we leaving for our children’s financial future?”

To connect with the author, sign up for her newsletter, and join The Master Playbook Community please visit the links below. Website: Blog: Instagram: Facebook: Twitter: Pinterest: Amazon Author Page: Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.) Goodreads: show/29492265-teach-your-child-to-fish

If you are interested in a book that will enlighten you on how to be better with your finances, making a difference in the lives of your children by introducing and involving them in the often time “dreaded finance” conversation, then this book truly will equip you with the knowledge you need to raise financially consciousness. Moreover, “Teach Your Child to Fish, Five Money Habits Every Child Should Master” is a book that shows parents how to raise financially responsible children all while using fun, creative, and interactive methods of learning.

Written by Valérie Alerte Kavanagh, MBA 17

I keep going because God continues to confirm that I am on the right path as well as continues to open doors for me to keep moving forward. I give credit to God

20 Questions WITH

andromeda by Angela Everett


he is an Empowerment Coach, Social Media Consultant and professional Speaker who is all about empowering women. Founder of Women by Choice, Andromeda Raheem has been featured in the Huffington Post as “Your Ambitious Women’s Expert”, as well as countless speaking engagements. Women by Choice has gained a following of over 80,000 women through social media. Andromeda has expanded her following by excerpts from her blog containing empowering messages, encouraging women to collaborate instead of compete. This is what we call being the change you want to see in the world! It was only a matter of time before CLS was granted an opportunity to interview this amazing woman. We asked Andromeda to play twenty questions, and this is what she had to share. Name three words that best describe you. Kind, resilient, and determined

the process.

Why the name Women by Choice? I started Women By Choice as my own You have a ton of quotes on your Insta- personal blog. I entitled it Women gram account, but what is your favorite By Choice because I documented my journey from girl to woman. I began with quote? explaining how at 18 years old, I thought Oh wow, that’s a really great questhat I was grown and knew everything tion. I have many favorite quotes. One and made a lot of mistakes because of that I find myself reflecting on often comes from Dr. Maya Angelou. “Each one that mindset. I shared that it wasn’t until I was 28 years old that I could truly look of us has lived through some devastamyself in the mirror and call myself a tion, some loneliness, some weather woman because it was then that I realsuperstorm or spiritual superstorm, when we look at each other we must say, ized that I need to make myself accountI understand. I understand how you feel able for my choices and be responsible for my own happiness and success. I because I have been there myself. We must support each other and empathize believe that being a woman is more than a matter of age, it’s about making with each other because each of us is the choice to be empowered confident, more alike than we are unalike.” accountable, and responsible for your own happiness and success. What would you tell your 18-year-old self? What can women expect by becoming Enjoy every moment, listen to your a member? elders, and have faith in your journey. The Women By Choice Network is a What is the best advice you have ever been given? Why? The best advice I have ever been given came from my father. He told me not to fear darkness and discomfort on my journey because it is a sign that I am going to a new level. This was really important for me to understand because without this knowledge, I would run back to my comfort zone every time things got uncomfortable. It’s important to understand that discomfort is necessary for growth. I’ve learned to embrace

community of women who support, respect, and value one another. We encourage collaboration over competition and provide both an online and offline environment for women to network and build both personal and professional relationships . Our ultimate goal is for women to pull together their ideas, resources, and connections to assist each other to win. Our mantra is “When Women Support Women, We ALL Win!” We host events around the country, go on retreats, offer educational webi-

nars, provide savings on products and services tailored specifically for women, and much more. We also assist with the growth of women-owned businesses through strategic advertising Since, starting Women by Choice, what is the best lesson you have learned? The best lesson that I have learned is not to take everything so personally or dwell over things that I can’t change. Where do you see Women by Choice in the next five years? In the next 5 years, I see us having local chapters in every region of the United States. I see us providing grants to women entrepreneurs and scholarships to college students. I see our network growing to a level where we will be able to provide employment to women across the country. I see us being hands on in our communities. Who or what has been your biggest motivator? My biggest motivators are the Women By Choice members and the women who follow @womenbychoice on Instagram. On days when my spirit is low or I’m mentally exhausted, they give me life. This is much bigger than me. Why is it so important for you to empower and unite women? Nothing is more beautiful to me than seeing a woman genuinely smile and


do, I will always have all the support that I need.

walk confidently in the life she has chosen. I am a true believer in girl power. I see the value and potential in all women because I know that we are all here for a purpose. I believe that once a woman understands her power, she will begin to live the life she deserves and in turn be a catalyst for improving the world around her. I also believe that the key to ending the divisiveness, drama, cattiness, and lack of support between women is for all women to feel confident and empowered. Growing up, how were your relationships with women and how have they changed? My relationships with women in the past were mostly rocky. I remember incidents of being bullied in elementary school and feeling like I didn’t belong. Due to being an introvert, I was misunderstood for being stuck-up or weird. Today, my mindset is completely different and I am happy with the many valuable relationships I have with women. Through Women By Choice, I have had the opportunity to form relationships with positive, kind, thoughtful, like-minded women. These women bring joy to my life and keep my spirits lifted. I thank God for them daily. Have you ever thought about giving up on trying to improve relationships between women? Yes, I have had days when I felt like giving up on trying to improve relationships with women. I used to get discouraged when the support that I gave wasn’t reciprocated, but I learned that as long as I am walking in my purpose and doing what God has called me to


How do you maintain work, life, balance? It is still somewhat of a struggle for me because I love what I do and do not mind working all day. However, my husband, family, and friends have complained about feeling neglected and I learned that I operate better when I take mental breaks so I have started scheduling out time every week specifically for myself and my loved ones. What do you want your legacy to say about you? I want my legacy to say that I lead an organization of women who love themselves, know their power, support other women, and make a positive difference. I want to leave the world a better place by healing hearts, educating minds, and assisting women to unite and win together. What are you most proud of? I am most proud of the beautiful relationships I’ve seen formed through the Women By Choice network. I take pride in being a catalyst for sisterhood and unity. If you could have a super power, what would it be? My superpower would be to heal women of past pains that are keeping them from progressing. Your business has grown leaps and bounds, what keeps you grounded? I stay grounded because I don’t take all the credit for the growth of Women By Choice. I understand that the amazing things that have happened in such a short amount of time is due not only to the work I have put in, but also by God’s permission. It took a lot of faith

to start this journey and push through the obstacles and challenges I’ve experienced so I give God the glory. Name some of your guilty pleasures. I’m not sure if these would be considered guilty pleasures, but I eat popcorn almost every day, I love red wine and pizza, my favorite movies are raunchy comedies, and I tend to turn my favorite songs up loud while driving in my car. What advice would you give to other women on their entrepreneur journey, that say they want to give up? The longer you stay in it, the more you learn, the stronger you become, and the better it gets. Nothing worth having comes easy. If you want it, you’re going to have to be willing to fight for it and if you choose to fight, it will be so worth it. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Put in the work, plant seeds daily, be patient with your progress, and trust the process. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Focus on your own purpose. Do the best you can with what you have at each stage of your journey and you will continue to rise. Believe in yourself even when it feels like no one else does and have faith that as long as you are doing good, things are always working out for your good. What’s next for Andromeda? I will be publishing my book entitled She Wins this year. I look forward to a book tour following the release of my book and the amazing opportunities that will come from that. I will also be hosting more events around the country including Stepping N2 Sisterhood Atlanta (scheduled for April 20 Website: IG: womenbychoice


Ladies, across the country, are wearing SHADE, to stand united in purpose. SHADE is a socially conscious line of lipsticks bringing awareness to causes affecting the world — $2.00 from each lipstick purchase will be donated to a number of non-profit organizations that are making a difference in the lives of people who need it most. Shop today at

All Shades. One Goal. YUMIKA GRIGSBY wears Tatas. “My skin color is DARK and chocolate because God made me this way. I love the shade of my skin. I once was considered a little, skinny BLACK girl. Now I am considered all colors of every woman! Love the skin you’re in! I wear Shade against Body Shaming!” Yumika Grigsby Stylist and Owner of: Meekz Hair Salon 2616 South Loop West #345 Houston Texas 77459 Phone (713) 663-6335 NATT TAYLOR wears IncREDible. “I wear Shade to make a difference in the lives of those who live in fear of being verbally and physically abused. I wear Shade to stop Domestic Violence!” ANDROMEDA RAHEEM wears InspiRED “I support the cause to end acts of violence against women. I wear Shade for rape victims and the survivors of sexual assault.”

Yumika Grigsby 22

Natt taylor

Shade by CLS would like to extend a HUGE thank you to those who supported the #CHOOSEYOU Campaign. The response was overwhelming and we truly appreciate your support. #CHOOSEYOU ON VALENTINE’S DAY!

Andromeda Raheem

Shade has partnered up with one of its beneficiaries of the Shade proceeds, Shelter of Love - Leading Others to Victory & Empowerment to introduce our new Shade lip gloss called LOVE

and our Choose You bags to introduce our Shade in the Community initiative. Each Choose You bag will be filled with the items listed below and donated to survivors of domestic violence. Once you place your order, we will take care of everything from there. We will fill your bag and deliver to The Shelter of Love on your behalf. 23


A.G. RHODES A.G. Rhodes of Atlanta 350 Boulevard SE Atlanta, GA 30312 404-688-6731 A.G. Rhodes of Cobb 900 Wylie Rd. SE Marietta, GA 30067 770-427-8727 A.G. Rhodes at Wesley Woods 1819 Clifton Rd. NE Atlanta, GA 30329 404-315-0900


A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab provides expert and compassionate rehabilitation therapy and residential care to seniors in metro Atlanta. As a mission-driven organization, we are guided by what is best for our patients and residents. Their physical, social and psychological well-being is our chief concern, and has been for more than 110 years. We recognize that there are many relationships that are critical to our success and long-standing reputation as a trusted leader in senior care. Our residents and their families, staff, health care agencies, hospitals, board members, donors, volunteers and the community as whole, are central to realizing our mission. We’re always looking for ways to improve our standard of care, and our unflagging commitment extends beyond providing quality health care. We are equally committed to providing an excellent quality of life for the seniors who stay with us. We offer a homelike environment where seniors are connected to and supported by their families and communities. At A.G. Rhodes, seniors receive the care they need to live well .

Care Partnership Philosophy We are dedicated to delivering compassionate and high-quality care to our short-term and long-term residents. While each of our employees has a specific role, such as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Activities Director or Laundry Aide, all of our employees are members of a care partnership team. A care partnership promotes the idea that care partners—including staff, other health care professionals, families, friends, volunteers, others in the community, and most importantly; the residents themselves—can achieve higher-quality resident care and a more meaningful quality of life when they all work together. This collaborative and creative approach hinges on the belief that members in the care partnership team are equally involved in the planning and delivery of resident care. A successful care partnership will use the resources and skills from the entire team to foster relationships which are mutually beneficial and meaningful to all members.


To SERVE OR NOT TO SERVE That Will Never Be Aubrey C. Smith’s Question!

supportive family. Aubrey lives with her two “fur babies”...her loyal, affectionate, and outgoing Shih Tzu named Noki and her sparky, self-assured, and fearless Yorkshire Terrier named Simon. She loves spending quality time with her babies!


ur Classy Living Society member spotlight winner Aubrey Smith has always taken volunteering seriously and service was on her heart at a young age. Being the typical high school freshman was not in Aubrey’s extensive vocabulary. Her first “job” was at the Rape and Sexual Abuse Center in Nashville, Tennessee where she worked as a volunteer. Aubrey knew that she had a true passion for volunteering. At the center, she answered phones from victims that were in the urgent need for assistance. As she continued to work in this area, she realized that the most valuable service she could give to others was her time and a listening ear. Aubrey also honed in on her interpersonal skills and developed additional skills that she feels have helped her throughout her career. Aubrey moved back to Atlanta three years ago and she is currently a Consumer Interaction Center Lead at Coca-Cola. While working at Coca-Cola, Aubrey has shared her passion for giving back with her coworker and friend Rebecca Walls. She learned about CLS from Rebecca and was

already involved with volunteering through their company. She knew that CLS would be another great opportunity for her. After traveling to New Orleans to bring awareness to human and sex trafficking with the awesome ladies of CLS, Aubrey was certain this organization was the perfect match for her! Aubrey is a native of “Music City, U.S.A”,... Nashville, Tennessee and she attended Hosea Williams, Amanda Davis and Kenny Leon’s alma mater...Clark Atlanta University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and then moved to Jacksonville, Florida shortly after she graduated. She is the oldest of four children and deeply believes that her family is her backbone. Without the constant support from family, Aubrey realizes that she would not be on the firm track she’s on today. Her family has been there for her through thick and thin and she’s forever grateful. They are the most important thing in her life and have been the biggest influence on her life journey. She attributes her success to her solid faith and her unwavering

To Aubrey, the very best part of giving back is knowing that something a simple as taking time out of her busyschedule to help others can make an enormous impact on someone else’s life. She feels that we often take things for granted when we get caught up in our “day to day”, so volunteering helps her remain humble and appreciative of everything she’s been blessed to have. Besides volunteering, Aubrey does have a few hobbies and special interests. She loves to read, travel and is a mystery shopper. Her idea of relaxing is listening to good music and watching television. Her favorite music genre is 90s R&B and currently her favorite TV shows include Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, The Haves and The Have Nots, The Walking Dead and How to Get Away with Murder. Aubrey would also like to learn more about lovely Atlanta since this is now her home. Her future plans include seeing what Atlanta has to offer and visiting well known city sites. As we can see, Aubrey has an active life and her enthusiasm about being part of CLS is contagious!

A quote that fits Aubrey... “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” Mahatma Gandi -- Avis Pitts


February is National American Heart Month. You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease.

Know You DID YOU KNOW? According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute! But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. What’s more: These facts only begin to scratch the surface. There are several misconceptions about heart disease in women, and they could be putting you at risk. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health for this very reason.

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Here are a few unsettling stats:

•Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 50,000 African-American women annually. • Of African-American women

ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart diseases. • Only 1 in 5 African-American women believes she is personally at risk. • Only 52 percent of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. • Only 36 percent of African-American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk. Find out more information at






Broken Heart Syndrome “You can die of a broken heart — it’s scientific fact — and my heart has been breaking since that very first day we met. I can feel it now, aching deep behind my rib cage the way it does every time we’re together, beating a desperate rhythm: Love me. Love me. Love me.” Abby McDonald, Getting Over Garrett Delaney When you think of a broken heart, you may picture a cartoon drawing with a jagged line through it. But a real-life broken heart can actually lead to cardiac consequences. There are established ties between depression, mental health and heart disease. Read on for more information about how an extremely stressful event can have an impact on your heart. Breakdown of a Broken Heart Broken heart syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, can strike even if you’re healthy. Women are more likely than men to experience the sudden, intense chest pain — the reaction to a surge of stress hormones — that can be caused by an emotionally stressful event. It could be the death of a loved one or even a divorce, breakup or physical separation, betrayal or romantic rejection. It could even happen after a good shock (like winning the lottery.) Broken heart syndrome may be misdiagnosed as a heart attack because the symptoms and test results are similar. In fact, tests show dramatic changes in rhythm and blood substances that are typical of a heart attack. But unlike a heart attack, there’s no evidence of blocked heart arteries in broken heart syndrome. In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of your heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions. The bad news: Broken heart syndrome can lead to severe, short-term heart muscle failure. The good news: Broken heart syndrome is usually treatable. Most people who experience it make a full recovery within weeks, and they’re at low risk for it happening again (although in rare cases in can be fatal). Learn More About Broken Heart Syndrome If your doctor thinks you have broken heart syndrome, you may need coronary angiography, a test that uses dye and special X-rays to show the insides of your coronary arteries. Other diagnostic tests are blood tests, EKG, echocardiography (a painless test that uses sound waves to create moving pictures of your heart) and cardiac MRI. To keep tabs on your heart health, your doctor may recommend an echo about a month after you’re diagnosed with the syndrome. Talk with your doctor about how often you should schedule follow-up visits. http://www.

Source: American Heart Association 2016 27



Cynthia, born with a heart murmur, yet whose resiliency allowed her to raise a family consisting of 6 children and nine grandchildren, is known by family and friends to be a “fly and ageless woman” at 59-years old, so she did not expect to be rushed to the emergency room on Mother’s Day of 2008, after finding herself lying on the floor having trouble breathing. Just a year prior in July 2007, she lost the love of her life and best friend, her husband, to diabetes and kidney failure. Although life was very stressful during that time, serving as his caregiver prior to his death, she raised their six kids and handled the adversity of his loss with love, laughter and tremendous heart. Mother’s Day 2008 On Mother’s Day in 2008, Cynthia enjoyed the company of friends and loved ones. After a surprise phone call from one of her sons to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day, she nodded off. Yet, 20 minutes later, woke up expecting to see her roommate, only to find herself on the floor, struggling to breathe. Quickly being rushed to the hospital, her next memory was waking up and looking into the eyes of a doctor in the emergency room. She asked, “Really? You brought me back?.” Yes, even amid times that most people would feel fear and panic, Cynthia does have a good sense of humor. The doctors explained that her heart had failed; she did not experience a heart attack, but heart failure instead. The doctor continued by informing Cynthia that she had a blockage in her heart as well as high blood pressure. The fact that she was an Air Force Veteran, constantly moving on the job as the owner of a construction company, avid runner and weighed a svelte 125 lbs, confused Cynthia as to why she was experiencing heart problems. The doctor soon revealed his theory for her ailment: Broken Heart Syndrome. He explained that years of stress and grief from her husband’s death caused short term heart failure. Two Years Later After having three surgeries and stents placed in her valves, Cynthia was not to be deterred. She continued to run every day and took the litany of pills that her doctor prescribed. On a longer than usual visit back home to South Carolina, she decided to get her yearly check-up. Again, she was not prepared to hear that her heart was not doing well and she would need more surgery. November 19th, the day of the surgery, Cynthia went in to have Mitral Valve Replacement surgery. She spent the next two weeks recovering from the surgery while also being told that she would need to have a pacemaker and a defibrillator to help maintain her normal heart rhythm before leaving the hospital. Recovery Things didn’t go well after returning home. Frustrated, she complained,“ After taking 15 pills a day and multiple surgeries, I still felt awful.” Her body rejected the medicine, and the pacemaker did not adjust well. She said, “You could literally see my heart beating under my clothes.” So, after a few discouraging visits to the ER, she starting seeing a new cardiac specialist, Dr. Sorescu at Emory Midtown, Atlanta, GA. Dr. Sorescu placed Cynthia on new meds and recommended that she have another surgery to adjust the pacemaker. He went on to explain that her heart was only working at 5%, and she needed a transplant. She decided to walk one to three miles daily, change her diet, scale back on her meds, and use a product called Isagenix. In the Winter of 2015, her doctor told her that her heart was doing great. Her numbers showed that she functioned at 55%, not the 5% she had been told before. Cynthia admitted to Dr. Sorescu that she made the decision to regain her health “her way” after he said to her, “only you know how your body feels.” Cynthia is happy to report that “Life is good, and there have be no hospital stays in 2016, just great check-ups.” She says, “on February, 3rd, I will turn 60 years’ young, starting a new Decade with a Heart of Gold and Blessed to be alive!” She also could not end her story without saying, “A big shout out to my family and friends,especially my love Q, for being my rock and great support.” 28


Our Love: How We Met RO C K IE & AV IS

My husband of 38 years (yes 38) and I went to the same college...Ohio University. And even though Rockie was a couple of years ahead of me, I had my eyes on him. He had the dreamiest eyes! Talk about tall, dark and handsome! Well after he graduated, he ended up not returning to his hometown of Cincinnati and he landed a job in city. We knew the same people and ran in the same it was inevitable! We hooked up bigtime! Even though one of my best friends had HER eyes on him...I got my man! We went out to a hot club spot with another couple on our first date... he held my hand and walked me to the middle of the dance floor. We’ve been holding hands ever since!








magic? Love is one of our strongest emotions that run through our body and can grow all kinds of other emotions. From the day Jason locked eyes with me across 4 cubicles at the Call Center, a powerful force of Love Magic was made with Communication & Compromise! Love began through our conversations, over Instant Messenger and his strong dedication to make me smile, giggle or laugh multiple times a day. He Still Does this! Months passed and our conversations remained deep, full of wit, honesty and laughter. We fall in love with each other everyday because we enjoy the devotion it takes to compromise and learn from each other and with each other, it’s an everyday contribution to our Magic of love!


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