ON THE COVER 6 Holiday Decorating on a Dime 10 Healthy Holiday Recipes 18 Mommy Corner, Teaching Children the Blessing of Giving 24 Our California Sisters, Helping to Fight Hunger CLASSY NEWS 5 Founder’s Note 20 The Monthly Review 26 Member Spotlight, Aurora Suggs 28 Community Partner, Atlanta Childrens Shelter 43 Thank You Sponsors and Vendors
FEATURES 6 Decorating on a Dime 8 Dressing Up for the Holidays 18 Mommy Corner, Teaching Children the Blessing of Giving 30 Inspiration Corner, Live a Life of Thanks and Giving
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THE RED DRESS GALA REVIEW
A review of the 2nd Annual Red Dress Gala, a Premiere fundraising event benefitting Jennifer Ann’s group and raising awareness about Teen dating violence.
Issue 8 December 2015
EDITOR AT LARGE
LaShanda Pitts Tiffany Coppins Evonya Easley Tinnie Garlington Eboni Brown Avis Pitts Kimmie Lampkin Nikki Blakely-Simmons Janine Lattimore
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Founder’s Note I received a lesson at the age of nine that changed my entire perspective of self. That day is as vivid now as it was back then. As December quickly approached, my anticipation of preparing my Christmas list grew. All year I planned the perfect gifts to receive. Little did I know, my mom and dad were preparing to teach my siblings and me the true meaning of Christmas. They were preparing to give us the greatest monologue gift a mother and father could give their children, the inscription of humility and love within our hearts. The conversation started with an explanation of why we celebrate Christmas. Of course we were aware that it was Jesus’s birthday but we couldn’t wrap our fingers around why it was so essential for us to give up what we wanted. Everyone else received gifts on this joyous occasion. With time, the purpose behind it became more and more apparent. We were giving the gift of love to less fortunate families, camouflaged as material wants and needs. Our church had a Christmas giving program similar to Angel Tree. However it was a lot more personal and required us to take more than our check books out. During church service, our pastor would read family sizes out to the congregation and each member would raise their hand and accept a little pink card with the family’s contact information. It was then the responsibility of the members to reach out to the family they chose. After reaching out to the families, we went to the family’s house and the entire day would be devoted to making sure their needs were met. We literally picked the family up from their home, went to various stores for gifts and later to the grocery store to pick up cooking needs. We even went out to lunch and dinner with the family. As I got older, I found myself more and more eager to see which family we would select. Now it wasn’t easy at first, considering all of my friends and classmates were coming back to school with their new Christmas “happies”. However I learned to wear my family’s newly accepted tradition as a privilege as opposed to an obligation. I honestly looked forward to helping and I think it’s safe to say, that’s when my desire to help others became apparent. From this experience, my siblings and I learned that Christmas was Jesus’s birthday and the best way to honor his birthday was to reach out to others in need. Just thinking about my parents’desire to change how we looked at mankind, makes me appreciate them that much more. Now Christmas may have been devoted to giving back to others but my parents made sure that we felt honored on our individual birthdays. Just as many individuals wrote out their Christmas lists, I had my birthday list. Birthdays in our home were something to be celebrated and that’s just what we did. I remember asking for nice things like trips to Hawaii, expensive handbags and my very own phone line in my room. Yes, I did say phone line in my room. It was a big deal back then like the cell phones are now. There were no limits on what we wanted for our birthday, we just had to be realistic. So of course, each year my list became more and more lavish. Honoring Jesus on Christmas and being honored on my birthday afforded me understanding that the celebration of life doesn’t have to be selfish. It also gave me a strong desire to want nice things. There’s no question about it, I love fabulous things and I think everyone should have an opportunity to experience acquired luxuries. Now I am not saying that we should teach the world that chasing expensive things is good. I’m simply saying that economic status shouldn’t determine experiences. Servitude is an amazing trait that was instilled in me as a child. For that, I will be forever grateful. I learned the value of a smile the day my parents taught me it was ok to genuinely care about the smile smiling back at me from others. We are all blessed in our very own way and I think the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to share those blessings. So from my heart to yours, add someone else’s happiness to your Christmas list! Give with only the expectation of humanity.
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Decorating on a Dime
Absolutely nothing speaks “Happy Holidays!” like a beautifully decorated home.
Twinkling lights, holiday centerpieces, and fragrant greeneries all set the stage for a joyous holiday season. There’s no need to stress out or break the bank to decorate your home for the holidays. Simple strategies and a sprinkle of creativity can build the ambiance that will set the mood for months to come. Try these ideas for the festive--yet frugal--home. One of my favorite holiday decorating ideas is the use of crystal glass pieces as holiday decor. Their groupings around the room create an aura of mystical awe. Glass pieces such as these can be found at garage sales, thrift shops, Salvation Army, and Goodwill. They create an elegant and expensive appearance at a nominal cost. These vintage pieces can be collectible items as well that can be utilized throughout the year.
Host a Holiday Swap Soiree! Invite a few friends over and have your girlfriends bring their past year(s)’ holiday decorations that they no longer use and want a new look for the new holiday season. With a Holiday Decor Swap, everyone will go home inspired and excited about their “new” decor… everyone walks away with a new look and it didn’t cost a thing! Not to mention you’ve enjoyed another memorable night of fun festivities with your girlfriends. How fun!well that can be utilized throughout the year. 6
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Layer Your Home with the Gifts of Mother Nature. So often we tend to overlook the many blessings that Mother Nature yields to us which can actually bring life from the outsideâ&#x20AC;ŚIN. Yes, plan a gathering expedition with your children to gather items from yards and wooded areas around your home. Using evergreen bushings tied with festive ribbon, pinecones glittered to bring extra sparkle to centerpieces, cinnamon sticks to introduce the aroma of the season and holly berries and branches to bring in the color and contrast lend to an atmosphere of natural festivity throughout your home. All these are special touches, and are budgetand family- friendly and are easy to make.
Simply Stunning The trick to making your holiday decor feel like home is by introducing your personal style into the details. By creating some simple holiday vignettes throughout your home, you really can set the mood for the holidays with just a few elements. For example, some ornaments, a wreath, some natural elements from your yard, and a few candles, brings in the memories of the moment. Use your imagination and play around with some holiday decor that you already have to brand some holiday vignettes in your home on buffets, dressers, media stands, coffee tables, and more. Most of these articles can be DIY projects, found at thrift stores, free items, or things that you already have around the house providing an ambiance that does not have to be expensive to be festive and beautiful!
It just takes a little creativity, a few festive touches, and a sprinkle of holiday spirit, and you can have an inexpensive yet fabulous holiday inspired home for the season. Crank up the holiday tunes, light the candles and capture the true magic of the holiday season right in your own homeâ&#x20AC;Ś.creating a frugal and festive ambiance to remember! Tis the season to be Classy, Creative and Cost-conscious!! n Tiffany Coppins CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
Dressing UP for the Holidays The Holiday season is upon us! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the time of year we are invited to our company holiday parties, friends and family gatherings -- almost anyone we have connected with all year are inviting us to their end-of-the-year social events. With so many invitations, we need to dress for every occasion! To make it easier and not have to buy an outfit for every single occasion, we can take what we already own and take it up a notch for the glam factor! So, here are some holiday dressing tips that you can apply to your wardrobe.
First, if you are going to a party straight from work, you can take your desk outfit and turn it into a dinner ensemble! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about adding some glam touches -- like glitzy accessories, such as chandelier earrings or bling and/or statement necklaces and cuffs/bracelets. Adorn your feet with a higher heel, preferably textured in suede, croc or snakeskin. Maybe add a fur scarf or shrug for a touch of luxury. These simple pieces can take you from day to night! Adding some textured tights in lace, or fishnet in a Bordeaux color, a grey sheen or some sparkle tights. These are all simple add-ons and exchanges that can transition you from daytime chic to nighttime glam.
You may also add a few hints of metallic and shine to your wardrobe in a shimmer top or skirt. Sequins is another way to add a luxe holiday factor. Try wearing a sheer fabric and lace; that will certainly take your glam up a notch!
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Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to switch your work handbag for a nighttime clutch or fun purse! For instance, if your work outfit is a pencil skirt, A-line skirt or dress and a blazer and plain pump -- trade the pumps for a bright color, metallic shine or textured stiletto. Trade the plain blazer for a fur accent piece, sequin crop jacket or satin jacket with sheer or lace insets. Then simply add your glitzy accessories -- and just that quick, you are ready for the holiday party! Not only can you make the transition with skirts and dresses, but a great tuxedo suit or jumper and smoking jacket can add a touch of chic and make you stand out in the crowd. These are some very simple tips to take your current work wardrobe and add some glam to for the holiday season! Festive! n Evonya Easley CEO, Love E 404-908-7997 Atlanta, GA www.loveefashion.com CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
Herb Roasted Turkey Ingredients
1 10-12-pound turkey 1/4 cup fresh herbs, plus 20 whole sprigs, such as thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano and/or marjoram, divided 2 tablespoons canola, oil 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Aromatics, onion, apple, lemon and/or orange, cut into 2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups) 3 cups water, plus more as needed
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 475째F. 2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities and reserve for making gravy. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; pat dry with paper towels. Mix minced herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place aromatics and 10 of the herb sprigs in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water and the remaining 10 herb sprigs to the pan. 3. Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. If using a remote digital thermometer, insert it into the deepest part of the thigh, close to the joint. Cover the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to conform to the breast. Reduce oven temperature to 350째 and continue roasting for 11/4 to 13/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water. The turkey is done when the thermometer (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone) registers 165째F. 4. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Remove string and carve. Recipe courtesy of www.eatingwell.com
Braised Greens Mac and Cheeset Ingredients
2 cups dried elbow macaroni Kosher salt 1 pound collard, mustard, or turnip greens 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, additional for the baking dish 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups heavy cream 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1/2 pound grated New York sharp cheddar cheese 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2 1/2–quart, deep casserole dish and set aside. 2. Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil, add 1 teaspoon salt and the macaroni, reduce heat to a low boil, and cook al dente (until it offers a slight resistance when bitten into), about 9 minutes. Empty the macaroni into a colander to drain. 3. Rinse and remove tough stems from greens. Pat dry and cut into strips. Heat the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and garlic and heat until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add greens and cook and gently stir until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the cooked greens to the macaroni in the colander and drain. In the same Dutch oven, heat 4 tablespoons butter with flour over medium heat and stir for 3 minutes. Gradually add the cream and stir until thickened. 4. Mix the parsley, thyme, sage, and rosemary in a small bowl. Stir the cayenne, salt and pepper, and half the herb mixture into the cream sauce. Mix the collards and macaroni into the cream sauce in the Dutch oven. 5. Spread a layer of greens and pasta mix in the casserole, layer with the cheese, repeating the layers with remaining ingredients until casserole is full. Top with the panko and remaining herbs. Dot the top with remaining butter. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serves 6 to 8. Recipe courtesy of “Atlanta Cooks at Home” by Jason Hill, of Wisteria, CityBooks Publishing; www.atlantamagazine.com
Chopped Winter Salad with Butternut Squash t Ingredients
1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 3 tablespoons olive oil kosher salt and black pepper 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 1 small head radicchio, leaves torn (6 cups) 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed 1 cup crumbled Feta (4 ounces) 1 tart apple (such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady), sliced 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved 12
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1. Heat oven to 450° F. Toss the squash, 1 tablespoon of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing once, until tender, 25 to 30 minutes; let cool slightly. 2. Whisk together the vinegar, dill, remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl. 3. Add the squash, radicchio, chickpeas, Feta, apple, and olives and toss to combine. Recipe courtesy of www.realsimple.com
Pineapple-Cranberry Sauce Ingredients
2 (12-ounce) bags cranberries, fresh or frozen 4 cups sugar 3 Tbsp. lemon juice (from 1 lemon) 2 cups orange or apricot marmalade 1 1/2 cups pineapple preserves 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
In a large pot, combine cranberries, sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 cup water, and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring once or twice. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries have popped and are beginning to break down, about 25 minutes. Stir in marmalade, preserves and raisins (if using). Return to a simmer and continue to cook on medium-low, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more. (Sauce will still appear quite liquid, but will thicken as it cools.) Remove from heat; set aside to let cool completely. Spoon into a covered bowl or resealable glass jars and refrigerate until ready to serve. Make ahead: Recipe can be made up to 2 weeks in advance. Recipe courtesy of http://www.oprah.com/food/Pineapple-Cranberry-Sauce#ixzz3sN0A3dUv
Roasted Sweet Potatoes Ingredients
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1½-inch pieces ¼ cup olive oil 2 teaspoons kosher salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°. Toss potatoes, oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, 35–45 minutes. Recipe courtesy of http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/roasted-sweet-potatoes
Broccoli, Ham & Cheese Quiche Ingredients
16 ounces precooked shredded potatoes or frozen hash browns (thawed) 1 3/4 cups liquid egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters, divided 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese 3/4 cup finely diced smoked ham 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream 1/4 cup minced fresh chives 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. 2. If using hash browns, squeeze any excess moisture from the thawed potatoes. Toss shredded potatoes (or hash browns) with 1/4 cup egg substitute, flour, oil and salt in a medium bowl. Pat the mixture into the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the prepared springform pan. Bake until the potatoes are beginning to brown at the edges, 35 to 40 minutes. 3. Fill the crust with broccoli, cheese and ham. Whisk the remaining 11/2 cups egg substitute, sour cream, chives and pepper in a medium bowl. Place the pan on the prepared baking sheet and pour the egg mixture over the filling. 4. Bake the quiche until the center is just set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the sides, remove the pan sides and cut the quiche into wedges Serves 6 to 8. Recipe courtesy of http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/broccoli_ham_quiche.html
Okay, okay, okay…..everyone enjoys and deserves a really great INDULGENT dessert or dish to try! Coming up next -14
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The Indulgent Dessert
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Brown Sugar Poundcake Ingredients
1-1/2 cups butter, softened 2 cups light brown sugar, packed 1 cup granulated sugar 5 large eggs 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup whole milk 1 – 8 ounce bag of toffee bits 1 cup pecans, chopped 1 recipe CARAMEL DRIZZLE
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 2. Spray a 12 CUP Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray with flour. Set aside. 3. Beat the butter until creamy. Add sugars, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Stir in toffee bits and pecans. 4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. 5. Bake until a wood pick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean, 75 to 85 minutes. 6. Cover top of cake with foil to prevent excess browning if necessary. 7. Let cake cool in pan for 30 minutes. 8. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. NOTE: Don’t freak out if some of the cake sticks. Mine did too. It’s because this cake is so moist. GOOD NEWS! We get to cover all the imperfections with yummy caramel! 9. Spoon Caramel Drizzle over cooled cake.
Easy Caramel Drizzle Ingredients
1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup light brown sugar, packed 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine condensed milk and brown sugar; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, and SIMMER for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla. NOTE: Make sure you drizzle the caramel while it’s still HOT. When cooled the caramel does somewhat harden. Recipe courtesy of www.ladybehindthecurtain.com/brown-sugar-pound-cake
Teaching Children the Blessing of Giving I can recall my mother and I hopping on the MARTA bus and riding over to Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta to stand in line for our Empty Stocking Fund Christmas gifts. I would be so excited because I was not aware of what was in the bag, but I knew great goodies would be under the tree for me on Christmas morning. As I began to understand the meaning of Christmas, I gained a sense of awareness that Christmas was not just about gifts, but spreading love and being able to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. As parents, we try to plant seeds of wisdom into our children. The purpose of this article is to bring awareness to the importance of giving back, understanding needs versus wants, and how to balance the two. Yes, we desire to see our children’s eyes light up as they tear open the gifts under the tree. They are wondering if we truly listened to their frantic requests for the latest this or that they saw flash across the screen during the commercial break of their favorite show, or the awesome billboard they saw while riding down the street. Giving to others is an essential part of the life cycle. The holidays are a time of happiness for some and a time of grief for others. Christmas is a time when everyone spends a great deal of money on things, but the greatest gift is the ability to see the needs of others and take a moment to give. As I mentioned earlier, I was super excited to receive the gifts that others took the time to give when my mother was unable to afford Christmas. Now, any opportunity I have to do the same, I am always excited to give back. When it comes to needs versus wants during the holidays, I have several suggestions to ensure that our children understand the difference. Strategic Marketing attempts to make our children believe that everything is a need. Being a mother of two, I have learned that teaching my children that everything is not a need and the toys they receive at Christmas are bonuses for their great behavior throughout the year. A need is something we require to live and maintain, but a want is something that is pleasing to the eye and will soon become a non-factor later on, in some cases, within the next five minutes. I chuckle just thinking about the “next five minute” thing because I can recall getting a gift I just had to have and when it didn’t meet my expectation, became a dust collector. As parents, grandparents, or guardians, it is our responsibility to tell our children the truth about the difference between needs and wants, and how there are others who do not have an option of choosing a need over a want. In this day and time, our children are exposed to so much, but as their guide, it is our responsibility to plant seeds of truth and wisdom at an early age. Having to experience standing in line to receive a gift and having the ability to stand in line to purchase a gift to give to someone less fortunate, gave me a broader perspective on the difference between a need or want. I would advise giving your children the experience of helping out at a shelter and being exposed to others who are less fortunate so they see what you are saying for themselves I am so appreciative today because I was exposed to the blessing of giving back. Happy Holidays and let’s spread love through giving! n Tinnie Garlington CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
oming off the high of the Annual Red Dress Gala, Classy members wer excited to get back out and volunteer. As we transition into the holiday season, the first opportunity was to volunteer with Atlanta Community Food Bank. CLS members assisted with sorting and packing over 17,581 pounds of food which would go to provide 14,640 meals to families during the holiday season and beyond. Here’s what members had to say about the experience: Shona Hill “I had a great time and you are absolutely correct. The things we take for granted, there are people that wish they had just a portion of what we’ve already been blessed with. The sorting and packing of some dented, crushed or not so perfect items...........that I would probably NOT buy in my local grocery store for my family.......some homeless or needy family is more than HAPPY to receive. Such an eye opener and a moment of GRATITUDE!!!” Janine Lattimore “It was really a lot of fun! The whole time I was putting cake mixes, frostings, hot chocolate and other good things, I was thinking about some lucky children whose mom was going to have the chance to bake them something good and sweet, when they may not otherwise have the chance. Not to mention the health and beauty products some lucky people were going to get - things that a LOT of people can’t afford. Just a great day! Yvette Chambers “It was awesome! Janine Lattimore and I were packing buddies! And she’s right! We were packing those boxes like..”hmmmm...some kid is going to be very happy with all of these Brownies!” LOL! And it helped that the instructor was a stand up comedian!!!!!” Continuing on in the spirit of the season, Classy Ladies volunteered during a mid-week opportunity and joined the kids of the Atlanta Children’s Shelter for their Annual Thanksgiving Luncheon. Members served the kids and their families, sat down to help with an arts and crafts project, and just lent a hand to whatever was needed to make the holiday time feel special. Here are reflections of that experience:
Jamina Kess Celebrity Massage Therapist 404-951-4142 Roswell, GA www.jaminabenjamin.wix.com/theremarkabletouch
Angie Davis “I enjoyed sitting with the babies helping them to color their placemats. They didn’t want me to leave. So adorable.” Shona Hill “Helping them color their turkeyss and proudly showing me their colorful masterpiece and the professional photo shoot of all the little ones were priceless!!!!” During the time of year when everyone is anxious to volunteer and give back, Classy Living Society remains on the front line. We look forward to ending 2015 with a bang and making a huge impact and difference in our community. n Eboni Brown
Atlanta Community Food Bank Founded in 1979, ACFB procures more than 60 million pounds of food and groceries each year and distributes it to more than 600 nonprofit partner agencies serving families and individuals in 29 metro Atlanta and north Georgia counties http://www.acfb.org Atlanta Children’s Shelter Since its inception, the Atlanta Children’s Shelter has successfully assisted in stabilizing nearly 5,000 homeless families and over 8,000 homeless children by transitioning homeless families into stable housing and sustainable employment. http://www.acsatl.org/index.php 22
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OUR CALIFORNIA SISTERS... HELPING TO FIGHT hunger the
On November 15, 2015, CLS California helped take a bite out of hunger. Our team supported the SOVA Community Food & Resource Program through the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. At the West Hollywood pantry location, our volunteers assisted clients with food selection and distribution. It was a privilege for CLS to be able to help provide needy families with food and other resources. We look forward to continuing our partnership with SOVA as they make strides in the Los Angeles area and provide a much needed resource for the community. SOVA shared itsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; dedication and CLS shared itsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; commitment to meet the needs of the community, one family at a time. nAvis Pitts
JFS SOVA Community Food and Resource Program This program is dedicated to alleviating hunger and poverty in Los Angeles through food distribution and a wide range of supportive services. Pantries are stocked with canned and packaged foods, bakery products and fresh produce. Families are given a 3-4 day supply of groceries and personal hygiene products when needed. SOVA believes in upholding family dignity, individuality and privacy. www.jfsla.org. 24
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a r o r Au Suggs ings h T d o Go e m o C o D t In Quiees Packag
hen you meet Aurora Suggs, you’ll notice her soft spokenness, humility, and willingness to be the support that people turn to. Even the smallest stars twinkle and you can certainly see the sparkle in Aurora’s eyes…especially when you talk about volunteering and making a difference in the community. Aurora grew up in West Helena, Arkansas as the oldest of two children. Her home was filled with love from both of her parents as she saw them making sacrifices for the family. At an early age, Aurora learned what it meant to prioritize from them. With all that love…with all that support, Aurora entered college in Little Rock, AR with a wealth of determination. When her father died a week before her 20th birthday, she was even more intent on succeeding and making her father proud. How did Aurora end up in Atlanta? She has the MLK holiday festivities to thank for that! She came…she visited…she stayed. Like so many others, Aurora fell in love with Atlanta. But trying to keep up with her family, Aurora briefly moved to Charlotte. Even though she was with family, she knew that Charlotte was not going to be her home. Aurora met the man of her dreams…or so she thought, and she moved to Maryland. We all know that there are no accidents in life and even though her relationship didn’t work, she met some awesome women who helped change her life in many ways. With their influence and support, Aurora become the “coding queen”, got her certification and ended up working for Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Her experience at Walter Reed gave her a jump start into travel coding and led the way to numerous assignments in Minnesota, Arizona, South Dakota, Texas, New York, Mississippi, Virginia, Ohio, Louisiana and North Carolina. Well versed and well traveled…Aurora soon longed for a little more stability in her life. It was time to go back to HOME SWEET HOME ATLANTA! Aurora shows us how far you can go when you have family support and lots of love. And she’s not finished with her journey yet! Her dedicated spirit won’t let her stay in the background anymore. Aurora’s passion to serve is giving her everything she needs to grow, engage and shine! How did you become interested in joining Classy Living Society? After buying my new home, I decided to work remotely. It was very isolating and I felt I was losing my social skills. I had to get out of the house and meet people.
That’s when CLS came into my life! My fellow CLS sister and long-time friend Raphanie introduced me to LaShanda, who told me about her vision and I was so impressed! I had to be part of bringing this vision to life! Tell us how CLS has helped you? I’ve been extremely shy most of my life. LaShanda and CLS have encouraged me to get out of “my shell” and stop hiding in the background. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m getting better! What has belonging to CLS meant to you? I’ve always had compassion for people in need and the opportunities and sisterhood have been amazing. I definitely leave our classy events feeling so inspired and uplifted. I’m so honored to be part of such a positive organization. What do you like to do in your spare time? I enjoy working out regularly, taking spontaneous trips, and inspiring others to become their very best…emotionally, financially and spiritually. Three words that would best describe you are… compassionate, driven, and generous. What is something that people would be surprised to know about you? I can’t do the electric slide…LOL!!! What would you say to someone who’s considering joining CLS? I would say that CLS is an organization where you’ll meet ladies who are truly gifted with various talents and who are so inspiring. I’d say CLS is a very positive sisterhood with awesome events and volunteer opportunities. What is your true passion? My true passion is being there for others who are hurting in different areas of their lives and being a great support when needed. What is your favorite quote? It’s Maya Angelou’s… ”When you know better…do better. When you learn…teach and when you get…give.” That’s what I live by and that pretty much says it all for me. Tell us about your future goals. I plan to own my home…mortgage free…before I turn 50, retire early and complete my journey of visiting all 50 states as well as travel abroad. AND…if the Lord decides that I should be married with a family…that will be good too! I’m open to the possibilities! If not, I’ll continue to LIVE MY LIFE LIKE IT’S GOLDEN!!! n Avis Pitts CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
Atlanta Children’s Shelter Watching the news, driving down the street, even sitting for dinner at a restaurant; one may find themselves asking, “Why is love such a deficit in a world full of possibilities?” Empathy is veiled by jealousy and compassion is replaced with greed. However there are a few places where love is felt in abundance. One of those places is Atlanta Children’s Shelter, an organization formed to assist dislocated or struggling families with finding stability. This isn’t your traditional shelter, offering bed and breakfast. Rather, within the four walls of this amazing organization is free quality day care, emotional support for the family and social services. Through collaborative efforts, the Atlanta Children’s Shelter helps families throughout the metro Atlanta area obtain self-
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sufficiency. Established in 1986 by the Junior League of Atlanta, the Atlanta Children’s Shelter (ACS) has helped many with finding stabilization. ACS provides childcare free to dislocated families with children under the age of four. Their goal is to help families overcome the issues that contributed to homelessness. These issues range anywhere from loss of job to domestic violence. Whatever the unfortunate situation may have been, ACS works with each family to help minimize the possibilities of reoccurrence. I had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Barry Hundley, ACS’s Development Director.
Speaking with Barry, one thing is for certain -- he holds high standards of humanity and dignity. He left Corporate America in search of opportunities that offered more meaning. It was then that he found Atlanta Children’s Shelter. Since joining ACS’ team of dedicated staff, Barry stated he has seen firsthand how much of a difference working together can make. Other questions asked are listed below. How are you affiliated with ACS?
“I am the Development Director.” What are the responsibilities of the Development Director?
it’s here, how does that typically work around ACS? “For Christmas, we are having the Holiday House. It’s Christmas Shopping with love. Parents of children from infant to 17, will come in at various times and choose gifts they feel is most appropriate for their children. I like this process most because it doesn’t rob the parent of giving their child or children gifts primarily from them. After the gifts have been selected, ACS gift wraps each one and the parents take them and distribute to their children based on their personal family values. The children are never made aware that the gifts weren’t actually purchased by their parents.” Is there anything in particular you want to say?
“The Development Director works closely with the community and other members of the organization to plan events, annual spending, awareness, and much more. I basically help carry out the mission of the organization by giving dislocated families a different outlook on the potential of their futures.”
“I would just like to extend my appreciation to the women of Classy Living Society for their time and being present with our organization. Being there helps our clients see that others truly care about them and their families. It gives them hope to see someone helping that doesn’t have to help”
What do you find most rewarding as Development Director of ACS?
Last week, the Classy Living Society assisted with the Thanksgiving Dinner provided for the clients of Atlanta Children’s Shelter. Everything was simply amazing! Each table was set with Thanksgiving themed placemats that the children could color. The food tables were filled with all of the traditional Thanksgiving favorites, desserts covering one end, and the main dishes on the other. As the families entered, genuine smiles of compassion and appreciation were seen on their faces. It wasn’t a charity event, it was family time. Looking toward the cold drinks, one thing caught my attention. It was a picture frame which read, “Don’t Just Count Your Blessing, Share Them”. It was then that I truly understood that Thanksgivings offers greater meaning when analyzed from the giving end as opposed to the receiving. n Kimmie Lampkin
“Working with various organizations, my faith has been renewed in people who simply want to give back. Receiving phone calls from individuals who want to genuinely help others and their gain is only to make someone else’s life better, refreshes that faith daily. It’s my affirmation that good people do exist.” Does ACS offer housing or is it just focused on the child/children under the age of 4? “ACS does not offer housing for the families but we collaborate with several organizations who do. Our primary goal is to alleviate the stress of not having adequate childcare, while trying to find level grounds. Although this is our primary goal, we host events throughout the year geared towards assisting the entire family with stress, personal necessities and access to multiple resources. We keep the family in mind at all times.” How are the families selected? “Most of the families are referred by a shelter or homeless agency. However there are times when the families find us through previous clients. Based on the family’s need, we typically refer them back to a particular agency so that they may go through the referral process as well.” Holiday time is quickly approaching, well actually
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Live a Life of Thanks and Giving The Holiday Season is upon us! Once again, we gather together with family and friends to fellowship, celebrate and express gratitude for the many blessings we have received throughout the year. However, this time of the year is very much deeper than that. It is also about giving to and helping others that are less fortunate than we are. As we take a look around us, we witness much lack, suffering and unjustifiable disregard for human life. These circumstances alone should ignite and encourage us all to aspire to “Live a Life of Thanks and Giving”. Living a life of thanks and giving means daily showing our gratitude and daily seeking ways to affect positive change in the lives of others one moment of giving at a time. This holiday season, let us not immerse ourselves only into the feast and the celebration, but also focus on how we can become more involved and engaged in saving, changing and transforming lives 365 days a year, by giving. The ability to “give” is the greatest gift given unto man/woman. It affords us opportunity to be a part of something greater than just ourselves. Giving positions us to deposit positively into the lives of others with the certainty of knowing that the return on that investment will net great gains for those whom we serve, and for ourselves. When we willingly become a blessing to others, our very own blessings are multiplied. When we passionately engage in giving, our lives become enriched. When we unselfishly bring joy, happiness and hope to others, we sow the same into our very own lives without even knowing. Living a Life of Thanks and Giving is gift unto others and it is also a gift unto ourselves. During the holiday season and beyond, let’s begin to focus more on expressing our love and empathy towards others through spoken word, written messages and even community service. Exchange a smile, give a hug and engage in dialogue that warms the heart. I challenge every reader to optimize your level of giving by sowing into the life of another and extending that gift throughout the year and into 2016. The seeds that we sow determine the fruit that we bear in our own lives. Live a Life of Thanks and Giving, and strive towards saving, changing and transforming lives. n Nikki Blakely-Simmons
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YOUR AD HERE www.cls-volunteer.org/#!advertise/c2203
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are often the ones who do. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Steve Jobs 34
CLASSY LIVING SOCIETY’S
On the first Sunday afternoon in November, Classy Living Society presented its premiere event of the year. The Second Annual Red Dress Gala was held at the prestigious Le Meridien Hotel in Dunwoody, Georgia. A sold-out gathering of 200 fashionably red dressgarbed CLS members and friends enjoyed an afternoon of matchless elegance in the intimate opulence of the hotel’s Grand Ballroom. This year’s Gala was held in benefit of Jennifer Ann’s Group, a non-profit organization founded by Mr. Drew Crecente. The goal of Mr. Crecente’s organization, in memory of his daughter,
Jennifer Ann, is to prevent teen dating violence through awareness, education and advocacy. The afternoon began with registration, an informal meet and greet, photographs, networking and shopping with the vendors. As the attendees settled in their seats at the fabulously decorated tables, each adorned with a lovely vase of fragrant red roses, the hotel staff set up a scrumptious champagne buffet featuring upscale Southern brunch cuisine. Soon after, the program began with CLS leadership team member Robyn Hutcherson taking the helm as the afternoon’s host. All in attendance were entertained, inspired, dazzled and educated. There was not a dry eye in the building as the attendees heard the moving speeches of Ms. Kimya Motley and Ms. Nikki Payne, who spoke about their life experiences and journeys to becoming domestic violence survivors and their fight against domestic violence. As special guest, Mr. Drew Crecente spoke about his organization, Jennifer Ann’s Group. Mr. Crecente, clearly passionate about his cause, exuded humbleness, graciousness and is staunchly committed to memorializing his daughter in the fight against teen domestic violence. Among the other events of the program, Classy Living Society’s service work in the community, member
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vendors and sponsors were celebrated. Then on to the entertainment! Ms. Regina Troupe, international R&B vocalist, tore the house down with her rousing rendition of Jill Scott’s hit single “Golden.” The CLS sisters and friends were on their feet, singing, dancing and enjoying the music. Then laughter overflowed as Lady Q the Comedian told a few funny stories and jokes during her stand-up performance. If that were not enough, there was also a silent auction, where a few delightful treasures were sold to lucky benefactors. Of honorable mention -- an inspirational speech given by CLS’ illustrious Founder LaShanda Pitts served as a “state of the union” address for members and all in attendance about exciting new things on the horizon for CLS. Classy Living Society’s goal is to socialize, volunteer and inspire. During the afternoon of networking, shopping, inspiration, entertainment, delicious food and amazing surprises, those goals were clearly demonstrated. With that in mind, it was quite difficult for anyone to be present in the Grand Ballroom of the Le Meridien Hotel that afternoon who did not come away awestruck, in a natural state of euphoria, harboring a newfound or rekindled zest for community outreach, or just plain and simple love and admiration for humankind. The energy in the room was simply amazing!!! The “crystal ball” reveals – next year’s Gala will be even better! n Janine Lattimore
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5220 Austell Road Suite F Austell, Ga 30168 LaTeasha Blackwell 678 779 5556 www.facebook.com/kaylas2012boutique
I’ve never seen a woman pack a room like you did today at the Classy Living Society’s Red Dress Gala. There were no “celebrities” just a lot of beautiful women in red vowing to socialize, inspire and volunteer. I was moved to tears and could not contain my emotions. YOU ROCK!
~ Deborah Jennings CLASSY CHRONICLES DES7GNMGZ
UPCOMING EVENTS Hosting an event comparable to CLS’ recent Red Dress Gala requires many helping hands: coordination and planning, decorating, an audio team, promotions, budgeting, etc., etc., etc. However, without the generous involvement and support of our sponsors and vendors, this event, in whole or in part, would not have been possible. It is with heartfelt gratitude that we acknowledge and show appreciation for the unmitigated support of so many. As we all know, the goal of Classy Living Society is to foster unity, to give back and to support one another for a common goal. It is not often we can say, individually or collectively, that we have so many great sponsors to depend on for support, and we recognize the effort. Thus, it is difficult to put into words how much you are appreciated, and for lack of more magnanimous words, we shall just wholeheartedly express a great big THANK YOU!
Women in History January 2016
Quarterly Member Mixer (Member Only) 1st Quarter 2016
CGA Award Ceremony 1st Quarter 2016
CLS in the City 2nd Quarter 2016
Classy Fundraising Brunch 2nd Quarter 2016
Quarterly Member Mixer (Member Only) 2nd Quarter 2016
THE CLASSY LIVING SOCIETY NEEDS YOUR HELP. As we work diligently to make a difference in the lives of others within the Atlanta, Georgia area, we are asking to find it in your hearts to donate to the movement. CLS’s continues to push forward in an effort to help those within our communities which are less fortunate and are in need of a helping hand. Your donations will allow for our “Foot Soldiers” to give back to others who otherwise would be neglected. By partnering with CLS and making a donation, you are taking a stand and helping to make a difference! Go ahead... make a difference today and let your actions speak volumes and please remember that no donation is too small.
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Give the gift that keeps on giving... Join Classy Living Society TODAY! www.cls-volunteer.org