6 ‘Tis The Season
11 What People Are Reading 12 It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas 16 Holiday Style Looks 20 The Perfect Winter Scents 22 My Favorite Things 32 Celebrate, Create and Conserve 34 For Colored Girls that Have Considered
Coloring Santa’s Face 38 The Holiday Season is for Foodies 46 Discover Shay’s Food Journey
classy news 3 Editor’s Corner
24 Introducing Shade 26 Defining Nikki 37 Red Dress Gala Sponsor Spotlight 48 Month in Review 52 Mix, Mingle, and Jingle 56 The Third Annual Red Dress Gala 68 Laughing Out Loud 70 Member Spotlight
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elcome to the Holiday Issue of Classy Chronicles! And as I tell everyone as each issue comes out -- this is our best one yet! (smiles) And it is! By the time you reach the back cover, you will be inspired, you will be touched, you will laugh, and you may even cry...but you won’t come away unscathed.
This issue is jam packed with the good stuff of the holidays, plus inspiring stories of triumph and survival, delicious recipes, decorating and fashion tips, and what have the foot soldiers of CLS been doing out there in the community? They were on the move, that’s what! And of course, Classy Living Society presented their 3rd Annual Red Dress Gala in early November. (Sigh!) and, oh, what a time it was. And you can read all about it right here. The biggest, baddest and bestest announcement of all? SHADE is here! What is SHADE you ask? Why, it’s Classy Living Society’s own line of socially conscious lipsticks! Yesss! Beauty items that give back -- for each lip shade sold, a monetary portion is donated to organizations that are making a difference in the world. A small way to make a bold statement - right there in your makeup bag or purse. You can read all about it right here in this issue AND learn how you can get your lipstick so you can proudly boast #IWEARSHADE! When I think about Classy Living Society’s SHADE - and how just by applying a lovely lip shade to our lips -- by choosing a cause and saying #IWearShade, those same lips are speaking the honest words about society’s sometimes hidden secrets. And the reason these causes are sometimes hidden is because of shame, or the fact that not being “normal” or being “in a situation” is shunned, vilified and stigmatized by society. With that said, the world needs more honesty, the kind that’s pure and unfettered. Like the kind of honesty of someone who just woke up...of a child...or who is in a vulnerable state...or is in love...or when they’re in a “zone”...or crying & sad...or happy... or experiencing nature...or praying/meditating… . There’s nothing more accurate to determine honesty than when someone is open and has bared their soul to reveal their true self. Saying #IWearShade allows us all to knock down the barriers and enable a constrained soul and spirit to break free. For stories to be told. For someone to hear the cries of those who are not empowered enough to speak out loud, or have been held back from asking for help. I am passing the torch to each one of you - to find a cause that speaks to your heart and soul, bring the words of awareness to your lips, and give back to our global family…#iwearshade Happy Holidays and enjoy our Holiday Issue! I’m excited...aren’t you? <3
e n i n Ja
CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
Issue 17 December 2016
Nameica Craig ValÃ©rie Alerte Kavanagh Love Easley Avis Pitts Janine Lattimore Rue Clark Tiffany Coppins
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Jason Byrdsell www.enphocusphotography.com
Simone Darlington Jennifer Hardimon
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by Nameica Craig
‘TIS THE SEASON Seasons Greetings! Oh, the sounds and sights of Holiday Cheer! We see flickering candlelight and stars shimmering in the night sky. We hear the clink of the toasting wine glasses in celebration of all that is. The sounds of laughter, children playing and singing as we gather around in the family room, brings about happiness. We share in the joys of storytelling from the good ole days and annual holiday parties. Everyone sits around the fireplace for the roasting of chestnuts and marshmallow S’mores over open fires and when you step outside Jack Frost is nipping at your noses. The smell of cinnamon, fresh apples and oranges lure us to Grandma’s kitchen. Let’s not forget the baking of Grandma’s sweet potato and pecan pies and our favorite aunt’s red velvet and melt in your mouth pound cakes. Everyone is stuffed from the feast laid out on the family table. There is great joy in family, food and fun during the holidays and being warm and cozy among our loved ones. Don’t you look forward to it? Yes, but not everyone is in the holiday spirit. For many the Holiday season is a time of joy, peace and celebration. For others it’s a dreadful time. Imagine those who get deeply depressed at the thought of wintertime and even more so the closer we get to the holiday season. If you are one who is excited about celebrating, eating, drinking, gift giving and spending family time being merry, please be mindful of those who either do not feel this way, or would like to. 6
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Many people are hurting, grieving or silently suffering during this time of year. They may be reminded of lost loved ones or experiencing hardships in life. While some are singing “joy to the world,” others are truly experiencing dark, lonely and silent nights. Let’s spread some holiday love and cheer by lending a helping hand to those in need and putting smiles on the faces of those in despair. For those whose holiday spirit depends on giving back, the holiday season is all about spreading hope to the hopeless. To them, providing the needs of others in this season is more fulfilling to them than food, desserts, drinks and gifts. Regardless of what you’re experiencing in this season, see it as an opportunity to be grateful. There is hope for a new season after the holidays that will bring about great tidings and cheer. One way to experience joy during the holidays is to be surrounded by those you love. Another way is by serving others or finding a hobby you like to occupy your thoughts and settle your emotions. Time will go by before you know it and guess what? You actually enjoyed the holiday season. ‘Tis the season to be joyful, loving, giving, kind, compassionate, strong and peaceful. May this season and each new season to come be merry for you. Happy Holidays! Nameica Facebook: Fabulously Blessed & Purposeful facebook.com/groups/FabulouslyBlessedWIB
An upscale event coordination company, LAIK is dedicated to transport you and your guests into a unique experience -- upon arrival to departure and everything in between. Let us help make your event the talk of the town. What we do: Let us help you create a one-of-a-kind event experiences that your guest will talk about for years to come. WOW FACTOR EVENT PLANNING From selecting the perfect venue to an over-the-top theme beyond your imagination, LAIK will take care of every detail to make your event carefree and flawlessly managed for you and your guests to enjoy. The right venue goes a long way in setting the proper tone for an event experience, but it is the dĂŠcor that will create a unique atmosphere. Our glamour team will create a splendorous ambiance -- that will captivate your guests from the moment they step into the room, all the while keeping your budget in mind. LaShanda Pitts Laik Experiences 404-476-1903 Experienceit@lovelaik.com www.facebook.com/laikexperiences
What People are READING Did you know that Classy Living Society has its very own book club? Yes, it’s the Classy Woman Reads and they meet on a quarterly basis to discuss the current popular books. The last time they met was back in August in Atlanta, Georgia, and the book of choice was The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Stay tuned for more information on upcoming Classy Woman Reads mixers! Meanwhile, here’s a sample of intriguing and noteworthy reads people are indulging in: 1. LOVE WARRIOR: A MEMOIR by Glennon Doyle Melton. The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage. 2. THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead. A magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. 3. BIRTH OF A NATION: NAT TURNER AND THE MAKING OF A MOVEMENT by Nate Parker. A biopic that tells the tale of the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner - on page and on screen - a tale of defiance and bravery. 4. AROUND THE WAY GIRL by Taraji P. Henson. Everyone’s girlfriend on screen, Taraji P. Henson shares her memoirs regarding her rocky journey to fame. 5. SWING TIME by Zadie Smith. The story of two brown girls who are friends, one is a talented dancer and one has big dreams. Two friends, and their complicated journey together -- and apart -- with race and identity playing a huge part in their lives. 6. JUMP by Steve Harvey. “You can stand at the cliff of life, forever safe. But if you don’t jump, your parachute will never open.” Steve Harvey shares the story of his own leap of faith, and how you can take the leap into a life of abundance on your own. Resources: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/books/oprahs-book-club/ oprahs-book-club-2016/_/N-1fZ29Z8q8Z2jzg Essence Magazine, November 2016, Entertainment Section, pp. 50-55 http://jump.actlikeasuccess.com/
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It’s Beginning to Look
a lot like Christmas “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Everywhere You Go.” These lyrics are known by all across the world. Not to mention there are many renditions of this classic holiday song sung in many languages by all races and creeds, young and old alike. What many, I am sure, do not know is that this song was composed in 1951 by Mr. Meredith Wilson. It is believed that Mr. Wilson wrote this song to celebrate that special time of year when Christmas and holiday decorations began to flood storefronts and public displays all across the world. As a mother of two, I often find myself humming this song with great excitement and joy in my heart, because to me it signifies the time of year when I further emphasize to my children and share with them the gift of Christ through our acts of service and kindness. Interestingly enough, I find that young children ages 3 to 10 years of age seem to be more receptive to giving back to their communities and helping others during the holiday season. In this case, I choose to capitalize on this freely, and use it as a time to share with them the very important life lesson of what it means to make a difference, to give back to those less fortunate, to help others that may need a helping hand, or those who may merely require a warm smile or a homemade meal. I am of the firm belief that life’s “little lessons” and the opportunity to educate and foster our youth in positive and rewarding ways is constant, and the opportunity should always be seized when possible. As adults we are living, breathing examples to our youth. By placing an emphasis on what’s important to you; volunteering (ideally year-round), philanthropy, and always being kind to others, our youth will see your examples of goodness as coveted characteristics and will be drawn to embodying the same. This is where the evolution of world change will be birthed. “Paying it forward,” and the notion of “each-one-teach-one” is how our communities will become stronger and healthier in mind, body and spirit. As a daughter, wife, and mother who is passionate to make a difference in my community, I want to be sure that I can engage both my children at a very young age (presently 1 year old and 3 years old). Granted the young nature of my children may not necessarily lend themselves to arduous activities or tasks. However, I know that setting a good example now while they are this young is imperative. Keeping my mission at hand, I began to research and think creatively and carefully about what acts of kindness they can partake in. I’ll be very honest, as I only came up with a handful of ideas. However, thanks to modern day technology and our society’s infamous search engines, I was able to unearth volunteer activities suitable for ALL ages. It is important to remember, that though our children may be small, their acts of kindness will not be. Please feel free to refer to the following 10 tips (some of which are not my own) on how you and your family can make a difference together and become “Change Agents” as we embark into the New Year. Lastly, let’s not forget, but always remember, it may be time to “Deck the Halls” and “Fa La La” but giving and helping others is our way of being God’s “Angels We Have Heard on High”.
1. Regularly vi si home, assisted t a “grand-friend” at a nu rsing neighborhood living facility, or in the . Pl ay ca rd g ames, do craf together, teac ts h up stories, ex each other new skills, mak change advice e connection. , and build a re al
for babies 5. Set up a playgroup or play area e or hom ing nurs l loca r you and toddlers at lity. faci g livin sted assi
r 2. Volunteer to deliver meals in you of young nts neighborhood -- perfect for pare children.
3. Raise training a service dog many o commitment , typically a pu have yorganizations e of two years. T ppy ag h ur pet v oluntee er to work wit ere are r. h you a nd
4. Grow vegetables and offer the produce to people who don’t have space to garden, to or new parents who don’t have time to garden, r. cente od better yet, to a hunger/fo DES7GNMGZ
ures. 6. Have little kids draw special pict ing tuck er, pap Use these as wrapping dy can d ppe wra of e piec a inside them like note a or silk flower, along with made “thanks for being so nice” or “you er diap the in e my day.” Then keep thes stay r, ethe tog out ’re you n whe bag and helpful on the lookout for a nice cashier, a out d han to d frien kind or librarian, see surprise package. It cues kids to goodness everywhere.
8. Make animals some no-sew do in fleece re shelters using ing toys for m old blan nants or old to expensive kets, pillo rn jeans. to make U pet beds ws, or fabric rem se nants for shelt ers.
7. Walk dogs, or rake leaves collect mail, shovel snow, neighborhoodfor someone in your who needs th e help.
ilies if fam e r e lt e h s, serv ood s local f to set table r u o y r 9. Askork togethe lean up. can w ages, and c bever
Have Yourselves a CLS Gives Back Holiday! - Valérie Alerte Kavanagh, MBA
rhood 10. Pick up litter in your neighbo . or wildlife area
Resource: Portions of the volunteer ideas list is excerpted from https:// lauragraceweldon.com/2013/06/27/40-ways-kids-can-
e l y t S y a d i l o H Looks! From Cabernet to Merlot to Burgundy, the wines have “it” this season. The holiday season is upon us! So here are a few tips on what to wear to all the parties you have been invited to! First, many of the holiday style trends are made from velvet, which is super soft and looks luxe without adding additional extras. Metallic and sequins is another trend for the holiday season -bling and sparkle are always a great idea for you to shine at every party! The cold shoulder is another great trend -- shoulders are the new sexy, while giving just a hint of skin. Last, but not least -- fur! It gives the practical purpose of keeping you warm, but it’s also stylish and luxe too! Here are some style inspirations from these tips that you can add to your wardrobe for that classy and fab holiday look! Happy Stylish Holidays! Evonya Easley CEO, Love E www.loveefashion.com 16
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ENPHOCUS PHOTOGRAPHY by Jason Byrdsell
Jason began to discover his love for photography while shooting landscapes and oddities during his travels. He continued to shoot and love for the art set in. Since then, heâ€™s been striving to capture those moments that mean the most while continually perfecting his craft. Jason enjoys working with other artistic minds and creative brands. Passion is poured into every project whether itâ€™s a head shot, special event or personal endeavor. Come let Jason transform your ideas and memories into art. Book your session today! Jason Byrdsell Enphocus Photography 678-235-5331 email@example.com www.enphocusphotography.com
Just Trippin’ Travelers Club
Just Trippin’ Travelers Club was birthed out of a desire to see the world----with others! “I love to travel and there’s nothing better than building experiences with friends and family, but for some reason getting my circle to commit to trip is like pulling teeth. Thus the birth of JUST TRIPPIN’ TRAVELERS CLUB! Make new friends that will “commit to trip” with you.”- Rue Clark Popular “get out and do something together” website Meetup.com made it easy to connect with likeminded folks with a desire to travel. Through Meetup.com our membership have risen to well over 1800 Trippers between the South Florida Chapter,Atlanta Chapter and Western New York Chapter. That’s 1800 people that: a.) love to travel, b.) want t o travel, and c.) don’t have anyone to travel with. Our numbers grow daily and soon we’ll have a few more chapters added to the line-up as well. With an extensive calendar, JUST TRIPPIN’ commits to trip throughout these United States and beyond its borders to the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Asia. Members play a big role in TripPlanning so of course your suggestions are welcomed and needed to ensure the continued success of this travelers club. In short, if you love to travel but can never get your family and friends to commit to trip then JUST TRIPPIN’ TRAVELERS CLUB is the group for you. Rue Clark, The Trypk Chick 1-888-99-TRIPS firstname.lastname@example.org www.justtrippintravelersclub.com
CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
the Perfect Scents of
As fall slips into winter and as we celebrate the festive holiday season, it’s time to switch from our light, sparkling, cool and effervescent fragrances to heavier, peppery, woodsy, spicy, “3D” scents – scents that evoke the feel of sweaters, leather, wool and cashmere against the skin and thoughts of cool crisp air, warm fires and mulled wine. Adapted from Marjorie Harvey’s blog “The Lady Loves Couture,” here is a list of the goto fragrances of the season.
DKNY Be Tempted The bottle looks like a candy apple, which isn’t a coinci-
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon & Nirvana Rose
dence—this sweet scent features notes of black currant, lico-
You might still think of them as the Olsen twins, but Mary-
rice, juicy red fruit, wine sap apple, violet, and patchouli. The
Kate and Ashley Olsen have carved out space for themselves
rollerball version is perfect for popping into your clutch and
as hugely successful, hugely respected fashion entrepre-
reapplying throughout the night.
neurs. Their latest Elizabeth and James fragrances are Nirva-
Victoria’s Secret Scandalous Dare
na Rose, a modern floral featuring notes of geranium, rose de
A twist on the original Scandalous scent, Scandalous Dare
mai, and vetiver, and Nirvana Bourbon, containing oriental
is a fruity floral—perfect for holiday parties and wintry date
vanilla bourbon, woody oak, and tuberose.
nights—with sugary notes of iced plum, pink tuberose, and 20
DES7GNMGZ pink jasmine petals.
Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris
A sophisticated and sensual fragrance inspired by the City of Lights, Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris bills itself as a modern floral and features top notes of red berries and pear, middle notes of white datura flower, and base notes of creamy white musks and patchouli. Mais, oui!
SJP Stash Eau de Parfum Sarah Jessica Parker, fragrance maven? Believe it: SJP Stash is an addictive, sensual, woody fragrance that mimics the personal brew Sarah Jessica would whip up for herself over the years. Its notes of black pepper, sage, cedarwood atlas, patchouli, vetiver, and musk are sexy, sexy, sexy.
Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream One of the most revered celebrity makeup artists—her clients include Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Kate Moss— British beauty guru Charlotte Tilbury has just released her first fragrance, a warm floral with notes of lemon, peach, black pepper, mixed perfectly with tuberose, frankincense, and fire tree. Spritz it everywhere and don’t be surprised when the compliments roll in.
Gucci Guilty Platinum Edition
Featuring notes of mandarin, pink pepper, lilac, geranium, peach, patchouli, and amber, Gucci Guilty Platinum is a new, holiday limited-edition version of the classic (and oh-so-romantic) Guilty fragrances. The bottles are collector’s editions, too, decorated with platinum-hued metal and guaranteed to look gorgeous on your vanity.
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Jour d'HermÃ¨s Pefume
SHADE lipstick in Tatas
Verve Champagne Glasses -- a Crate & Barrel Exclusive
aShanda Pitts, Founder
Cane & Fable Cabernet 22
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L.A.M.B. Elastic Shoes
Favorite Things The song “My Favorite Things” from the musical, The Sound of Music is also a popular holiday song that celebrates the favorite things we all possess that make us feel good. Classy Living Society Founder LaShanda Pitts sat down with the Classy Chronicles team and gave us a list of her favorite things. We also surveyed a group of Classy Living Society members and here’s what they said are some of THEIR favorite things.
itura Smith: Bath and Body Works Twilight Woods; Heels, Village Naturals aromatherapy Calm lavender and chamomile shea body butter. Wine -- Merlot or cab. Seafood, massages, favorite color is red, silver jewelry, Pandora charms, stylish sunglasses, Michael Kors. Minions! Gucci Rush, MAC lipstick, Maybelline Volume Express Colossal mascara, and candles. jewelry, Pandora charms, stylish sunglasses, Michael Kors. Minions! Gucci Rush, MAC lipstick, Maybelline Volume Express Colossal mascara, and candles.
ue Clark: Popcorn popped on the stove with real butter drizzled over every single kernel. Great friends. A French Martini. A French Man. Onsie PJ’S with feet.
ebecca Alexander Hyde Walls: I love fragrances -- whether from a candle, aromatherapy, body oils, bath gel. I love unique bath sponges. I like warm and fuzzy things (throws, socks, jammies). I love red wine and dark chocolate! stick, Maybelline Volume Express Colossal mascara, and candles.
elice Albany: Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy line; Energy & Stress Relief are my favorites!
jewelry, Pandora charms, stylish sunglasses, Michael Kors. Minions! Gucci Rush, MAC lipstick, Maybelline Volume Express Colossal mascara, and candles.
iv Wilson: Anything lavender; seafood; fresh & clean or citrus scented perfumes; a good pedicure; good music; and a vacation to name a few!
iffany Coppins: Lemon or clean cotton/ linen scent candles; vacation on any beach; and my favorite PJs - take me there!
tacy Renee: MAC lipsticks, Bath and Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint candles, Gucci Premiére perfume. Love Italian, soul food and anything chocolate (I don’t know that I’d survive without it, lol). I’m more of a Tito’s vodka drinker but do love an occasional glass of Pinot Grigio, Riesling or Merlot.
mily Meeks: Fuzzy socks, Chanel perfume, and Tequila
ubrey Smith: Fruit scented candles, keychains, hand lotion, lip gloss
gnes Rochelle Jamison: My favorite plush blanket, a good classic movie, and a big bowl of REAL popcorn saturated with REAL butter.
ea Harris: Yankee Candles
anessa Parker: Benefit Mascara- They’re Real; Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Pink, Pizza (Nancy’s Pizzeria - Alota Meat Pan), Ferrero Rocher Candy, Malbec or Shiraz Wine and my favorite cocktail is Jameson & Coke!
anine Lattimore: DW Home Candles; Buxom Lash Mascara; MAC lipsticks and lipgloss; Chocolate Chip poundcake from Piece of Cake; Live Music; Summertime!; soup & cornbread or muffins; Egyptian Musk body oil; gel manicures, my Converse Chucks, Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Soap; Starbuck’s
orease Hudson: Foot rubs, extremely hot baths, Christmas music all year around, bling, fresh flowers and red nail polish.
vis Pitts: Origins Ginger Souffle... that smell is amazing! Burberry Body perfume, anything chocolate and I mean anything, and my white wines!
heree Wilkerson: A great high points Cabernet, Dark Chocolate (candy & men), Fluffy Oversized Comforters with Down feather Pillows. And if I can get allll that at the same time = Heaven!
rystal Danzey: MY BED! And the beach as long as it’s the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida. Chocolate and french fries! aminah Childress: Food (all types); Spa day; Dolce & Gabbana Intense; YANY Cosmetics Rose Gold and Black Gold eyeshadow, and VersaRose blush; Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; Live shows (comedy, poetry, music); Castello Del Poggio Moscato; Movie night with my kids; Christmas season; Heels; Long lashes!
udra Luke: Red wine and vodka!
CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
SHADE At the Red Dress Gala on November 6, 2016, Classy Living Society launched a brand new and exciting venture -- a line of lipsticks wholly owned by CLS. SHADE is a socially conscious line of lipsticks bringing awareness to causes affecting the world — a portion 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. SHADE is… SHADE will bolster international character, and will represent the various colors of our international family coming together for a common cause. SHADE will galvanize the social significance of bringing awareness to issues that desperately require our attention. Wearing SHADE will ignite the conversation, incite united support and demonstrate that we are the change we’d like to see in the world. SHADE is designed to bring attention to our words, deeds, voices and call to action. An incredible creation of beauty to highlight who we are, and the cause we represent… a movement that will change the world and mankind. SHADES of red…. SHADE’s lip colors - AdoRED, Classy, Fearless IncREDible, InspiRED, Lady, Smooches, and Tatas - are presented in luscious hues of red, symbolizing and paying homage to CLS’ Annual Red Dress Gala. These high quality shades are packed with antioxidant Vitamin E and contain natural vanillin extract. Choose your SHADE, select your cause and the movement is underway!
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#IWEARSHADE By using the hashtag #IWEARSHADE, those who purchase these fabulous lip shades will be symbolically taking a stand against a number of causes. When I wear SHADE, and you wear SHADE -- WE WEAR SHADE • • • • • • • •
to STOP Domestic Violence to END the DEMAND for Sex & Human Trafficking to STAMP OUT Childhood Hunger to END Childhood Homelessness to PREVENT, REVERSE & BRING AWARENESS to Heart Disease to FIND A CURE for Breast Cancer to BRING AN END to Body Shaming to END Homelessness
In the upcoming issues, Classy Chronicles will visit those organizations that support these causes; the organizations which we partner with through SHADE. Such liaisons sow seeds into the community at large and are in furtherance of CLS’ quest to change the world, one cause and one SHADE at a time. Visit SHADE at iwearshade.com.
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“Everyone around me had already coun ed me out and didn’t think there was an hope for me. I counted myself out too. got to a point where I realized if I stayed down and refused to rise, then how ma others would stay down? So I had to come back.”
Queen of the COMEBACK Life is a glorious, prismatic ride of ups and downs; extreme highs and the lowest lows; ecstasy and devastation; a precious gift that will sometimes feel like a curse. Life will bow you over with praises dripping out of your mouth and in the next moment it’ll make you wanna holla while throwing up your hands. No one knows this better than Nikki Payne. Atlanta native Nikki Payne, born Monika, is a survivor in every sense of the word. Having her 2-year-old daughter Chasmin and 7-year-old son Kevin taken away from her in a murdersuicide committed by her husband Chad in 2007, she’s known catastrophic loss -- and yet she continues to make comeback after victorious comeback. Nikki has pulled herself out of despair to become the selfprofessed “Queen of the Comeback” successfully speaking to and for those who have no voice in Atlanta and throughout the United States. Nikki is a spokesperson for domestic violence survivors and those who have a desire to overcome oppression. She’s also a brand ambassador for Classy Living Society’s newest giving initiative SHADE, a socially conscious line of lipsticks bringing awareness to causes affecting the world. I recently sat down with Nikki in the Kirkwood community of Atlanta, Georgia to talk with her about her life before and after the loss of her family; how she’s come to terms with who
she had to become; how she defines herself today and what defining moments changed the trajectory of her life to lead us all to where she proudly stands todayThe most important thing I learned is that a positive attitude will get you further in life. And that purpose is something we all come here with… you just have to seek within to unlock what God has already placed in you. When you were a child, what were your grown up goals and dreams? At first, I dreamed of being Super Woman. But as l grew older I wanted to be anything that wasn’t my Mom. She was once a beautiful, beautiful woman who became a crack addict. Because of her addiction, I had to watch my stepdad and others beat her for things like smoking up all of the family’s money. It was hard to see my Mom deteriorate over the years because I loved her, but when I grew up I knew I wanted to be anything except her. So it sounds like you were a survivor or secondary-survivor even as a child. Long before you became the Nikki Payne we know of today, you were a victor. Is that right? Well, looking back on it although my life wasn’t the best, I know that in the tough times my family faced God was preparing me for the life I know now. After my children passed, I went through a period of struggle and loss. Once I realized that I still had to live, life was very difficult to maintain because financially I wasn’t able to. I was never financially independent because my husband always took care of the household
ntny It d any
“Go where you are CELEBRATED, not just T expenses and handled all the finances. There were times I had no money, heat, electricity or food. The very things I would be angry with my Mom about when I was younger I was now faced with, however, growing up the way I did helped me handle those tough situations. They didn’t break me. We, the public, have defined you as a Domestic Violence Survivor and a Victor. If you could define yourself by coining a term or a title for yourself what would it be? Comeback Queen! My niece gave me that name and I love it. I identify with Comeback Queen because at one time I was really down. Everyone around me had already counted me out and didn’t think there was any hope for me. I counted myself out too. It got to a point where I realized if I stayed down and refused to rise, then how many others would stay down? How many others would give up on life? So I had to come back. Are Nikki and Monika the same? If not, can you tell us a little about each persona? They are not the same. Monika is the person that I was. Monika is who I was when I worked in the bank and in other corporate environments. Monika was the mother and wife that was afraid to speak up for herself. I knew things internally, but I was always afraid to voice what I knew to be right because I was taught not to. So I would constantly defer to the opinions of others. Nikki is my Sasha Fierce and she just doesn’t care. She’s going to say “it” and if you don’t like Nikki, she still loves you, but she’s going to live. She’s going to move on. There’s a need for both facets, but Nikki is who is present more often in my life now. Nikki is the persona that speaks for those who don’t speak for themselves. Those that don’t have a voice. I’d like to talk about your husband committing suicide and you admit that you, during your lowest moments, wanted to die. With the platform that you now have, do people approach you who are contemplating suicide? What does that conversation sound like? For some people that approach me, it’s situational. “This situation has happened and now I want to die. I don’t want to live.” For some people it’s generational. “Everyone else in my family gives up.” Each conversation is different. I’ve even met people that want to commit suicide to hurt someone else. See, for me, I wanted to die, but I didn’t want to kill myself, so I would pray that I wouldn’t wake up. I used to pray “God if I take these pills please don’t let me wake up.” So, although I wanted to die, I don’t say that I wanted to commit suicide. The pain associated with the loss of my children was always present and unbearable. Eventually, I embraced it, because the pain let me know I was still alive since I’d become numb to everything else. The tattoos and piercings I have are a testament to the need to feel anything. Even pain. 28
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Whenever a holiday or my children’s birthday would approach, I would get a new tattoo or piercing. I would choose these times to inflict pain upon myself because I felt I deserved it. In my husband’s case, it was suicide. After he passed, I found out that other family members had tried to commit suicide as well. Prior to this, I had no idea that suicide could be hereditary. So it made me look at him differently, knowing that suicide could be generational and that there were others in his family that tried. I don’t know all the answers, but if I can get someone to identify what their trigger is; identify what the situation is and confront it, then maybe they’ll change their mindset. More often than not, because I don’t know all the answers, I’ll find someone that is equipped to help them. What was the pivotal moment that helped you make the decision to really live? My mother’s death was the event. In 2011 I found my mother dead. I arrived at my Mom’s home one day and found her in her bed. She was laying in the bed with my daughters Dora the Explorer doll in one hand and my sons Spider Man action figure in other. I touched her and she was so cold so I knew she was dead. I sat in the bedroom next to my mother in silence contemplating the loss of yet another person dear to me. I looked around my mother’s room and realized that, in my mother’s house, time stopped in 2007. My mother stopped living when my children were murdered. My mother had literally grieved to death.
I told myself, “Nikki, you’d better get your sh*t together.” That conversation with myself was the start of living again for me. When I got home that day I looked around and saw the same thing I witnessed at my Mom’s house. My home was suspended in time. 2007 to be exact. My children’s bedrooms were the same as they left them in 2007. Nothing “out of place” or changed since then. I discovered that for four years I
Tolerated.” incident that she would never touch drugs again. I never believed her. Turns out, my mother kept her word to me and my children. I want to talk about your piercings and body art. Now that you’re on the side of victory do you still get tattoos or piercings when holidays, or birthdays are approaching? No. Although I can’t regret what I did in the past and I embrace my tattoos and piercings as part of my healing process, I no longer live for the pain. What I do instead is do something that I know my children would like or love to do. For Chasmin, I’ll go to the mall and buy a new lipstick in a color that I think she’d love. I might buy a new outfit with her in mind imagining how much she’d like it. For Kevin, I’ll go skateboarding or on an adventurous trip. This is the way I honor their memories now. The smile that you wear is miraculous to me. My first reaction when I met you was “wow! Her smile is gorgeous!” Thank you! I didn’t smile for four years. I never smiled after my kids died and when I finally started smiling again, you couldn’t stop me. Yep, that’s what I do. I smile because I find that in most situations when you’re going through something, if someone greets you with a smile it can make a big difference.
had not lived. Simply existed. My husband had almost succeeded in taking my life too but from his grave. In that moment of realization, my mother became my “anti-role model” and I determined that my husband would not win. He would not take my life too. I would not grieve to death like my mother. As I began to purge my home of memories too painful to confront in the past, peace began to settle in my heart and in my home. I begin to truly live a victorious life and in finding my victory and my voice, I was eventually able to help others. Also, regarding my mother’s death, because she was a substance abuser, there were tests taken to determine if illegal substances were the cause. I was told that no trace of any substance could be found. Even in her hair! The medical examiner told me that, according to tests, my mother had been “clean” for at least four years. I was shocked because my mother, for years, would tell me she wasn’t on any drugs and I didn’t believe her. This shocked me because, as I told you earlier, my mother was a crack addict. Because of her addiction, and an incident that occurred when my son was three years old, I wouldn’t leave my children alone with her. Four years earlier, my son found hidden drug paraphernalia in my mother’s home. Since then, because I was worried that it wasn’t safe, I would never let my children stay with her alone. She vowed after that
You are a member/ volunteer for Classy Living Society and you’re also the ambassador for Classy Living Society’s newest giving initiative SHADE. Tell the readers why you decided Classy Living Society was the organization for you, and what it means to be a SHADE ambassador? I do believe God sent me to Classy Living Society. I was browsing through events posted on Eventbrite one day and I saw the Red Dress Gala. I can’t recall what prompted me to send a message, but I felt compelled to e-mail the organizers of the event. Today, I have no idea what my e-mail said, but almost immediately LaShanda Pitts (Founder of CLS) replied to my email and invited me to the Red Dress Gala. When I arrived I was surrounded by gorgeous women. All smiling at me; hugging me; embracing me. I knew I had to be a part of this organization. I said to myself, “I’ve got to be a part of this! I’ve just got to!” Being a SHADE ambassador is exciting because I’m a lipstick lover and to have the ability to endorse something I love for a cause I love is miraculous. I can help other people overcome by encouraging them to purchase something that women use every day. It’s a great product too so it’s a win-win If you can leave a word or a legacy behind to help someone what would it be? Two things. 1. Go where you’re celebrated and not just tolerated. 2. Only associate with people who are fountains and will pour into your life. Not people that are drains that will drain the life out of you.
-- Rue Clark CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
Celebrate, Create Conserve Helpful Tips on Making Your Season Bright!
It’s the holiday season and all that jazz! Are you as excited as I am?? Woot, woot! Decorating, entertaining, cooking, shopping, buying gifts….ughhh, wait a minute! All of this sounds like WORK! How are we going to get through it all? Well, I have some helpful tips for you on making your holiday season bright...and stress-free!
Decorate, decorate, DECORATE! ‘Tis the season to spend and enjoy precious moments with family and friends! There’s nothing quite like a home full of holiday decorations to put you in a festive mood.
So often we find ourselves blowing our holiday budget on decor that may not suit our style in the years to come. Let’s try something new this year…begin capitalizing on your money wisely by selecting decorations that will define your future holiday spirit! Before you decide to purchase more, or even new “themed” decorations, take a mental note of what and how the holiday season defines you. Put some thought into your surroundings. Look at your indoor and outdoor spaces to see how and where to place your creations. 30
Getting the best holiday decorations has very little to do with how much you spend or how many rooms are decorated. The main thing to ponder is which are your most important possessions. Do you want to continue family traditions, start new ones, or simply express yourself? Are you likely to change your themes from year to year? Have you created your own family traditions? For instance, some holiday decorations are meant to be passed down through generations to come. An accumulation of cherished mementoes, like nutcrackers, past holiday portraits, a nativity scene -- all make unique and beautiful displays throughout the house. Now, for some tips on adding your personal touch when spreading the holiday cheer. What’s always fun and exciting is to take a stroll around your neighborhood, not just to view the pretty lights, but to collect nature’s finest favors -pinecones and pine needles. Arrange this free foliage in glass vases and bowls that are already displayed around the house for a fragrant and festive look. You can never overdo the classic winter decoration “the garland of evergreen” -- it’s always so beautiful! Add some eye candy by merging in pinecones, decorative ribbon, ornaments or bright seasonal berries. Whether draped over doorways or tucked between shelves, it’s amazing what a little glue can do! Small treasures like beads, glitter, tinsel and buttons add sparkle and charm to any centerpiece. Bring festive cheer to your home with playful messages or holiday verbiage written in chalk. Just paint the back of an antique picture frame or old piece of wood with black chalkboard paint, then write your favorite phrases. Embrace all the lovely and joyful benefits the season brings! Get every inch of your space into the holiday spirit with these creative ways to deck the halls. Enjoy!
Engage all of the Senses We’ve trimmed the tree and the garland is hung, but there is nothing like the sweet aroma of familiar scents flowing throughout the house! To evoke great holiday memories, you can make a “stove simmer” – a pot of simmering water with citrus slices, fresh herbs, or cinnamon sticks – to fill your home with holiday aromas.
Sip and Sparkle Are you entertaining guests this year? This can throw you into stress overload! Again, make use of items you already have around the house: leftover metallic or colorful wrapping paper can create a festive look as tray liners for serving drinks in your trays or accent pieces. Not only are the bubblies tasty, but let’s complement that with glass décor! Yes, go ahead and
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add the glittery touch of sparkly pipe cleaners to dress the stem of your wine glass or create fun word tags for your glasses -such as Love, Joy, Peace, Festive, or simply your name or the names of your guests. Create a joyful noise for the holidays with songs that delight the soul. No longer worry about CDs, create your own playlist with all the songs that make your heart smile. Music always ignites some type of feeling, but with holiday music there is a very unique sensation that personally brings about feelings of bliss, relaxation, excitement and gratitude – all in one!!
Give Back! If you really want to get into the holiday spirit and shine bright, reach out and touch someone’s life – volunteer your time and include your family and friends to volunteer at local organizations. You can also attach a giving campaign to your party. Yes, you can turn your party into a way to help others, by encouraging the spirit of giving to the less fortunate. Instead of the annual gift exchange, have all your guests bring gift (a toy or toiletries, for example) to donate to a local charity, agree to adopt a family or support a cause for the holidays. Every thought, every effort counts! Make the season a season to remember! Let the festivities begin!!
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-- Tiffany Coppins
ALL SHADES. ONE GOAL.
For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Coloring Santa’s Face When Retailers Don’t Offer Enough For colored girls around the country, our yearly pilgrimage to shop for the holidays is like going on an expedition in search of the Dodo Bird. Search for Christmas Icons that are of a browner hue is often fruitless and frustrating. Enter Jackie Rogers. Jackie Rogers, a resident of Cary, North Carolina, is a mom, wife and stationary snob who decided there would be no more colored pencils for her. Christmas would be decidedly different in her home -- and so would Santa Claus. Armed with an idea, a marketing degree and the support of her husband Shaun, Jackie launched the business that would allow her son, Elijah, to see the “Jolly Man in Red” a bit differently. Jackie, we understand we have your son Elijah to thank for our ability to simply go online and click to purchase black Santa gift wrap. Yes. Last Christmas (December 2015) I was in stores looking for items that my son could relate to, (cards; ornaments; and so on) but I was unable to find anything in retail establishments. The only option that was readily
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available to me at that time was to buy the item, bring it home and color in the face with a colored pencil. At this point, I’d grown tired of doing this [year after year] so I had a conversation with my husband Shaun, telling him that I want [black Santa] wrapping paper for Elijah because I felt it was important. From the moment the idea materialized after that first conversation with Shaun, how long did it take for you to actualize the vision? From our first conversation, it took about a year for the vision to manifest and we’ve been going strong since then. Initially, it was something I just wanted .for our son because Christmas is a very special time for us, but we also wondered if others felt the same way, so we decided to ask via research groups, focus groups, and polls. Feedback from other moms let us know there’s an audience and a void and, outside of us, there were others that really wanted a representation of black holiday icons for their children. So now we have Greentop Gifts.
“Elijah’s first interaction with the man in the red suit is a brown one, and I think it’s awesome.” Is this a family run operation? Yes. Greentop Gifts is owned by my husband, Shaun, and myself. The name itself is a tribute to my family as well because our business’s name was taken from a restaurant/ bar that my Grandfather and Father owned in the 1940’s named Greentop. You’ve created your very own Christmas icon. What is your iconic Santa’s name and is there someone your iconic Santa is modeled after? When we were going through ideas for names for our Claus we went through a long list. We knew we wanted a name that started with a C and eventually we decided to go with Clarence. Oddly enough Clarence is also my father’s name, so this gives it extra special meaning.
When we showed him our image and told him that we would name our Claus “Clarence” he was surprised because Clarence Claus and my father look nothing alike. My Dad’s extremely thin and not as chocolate. Afterward, he kind of chuckled and jokingly asked us to cut him a check. You offer gift wrap that features a brown Santa Claus. You mention on your website that we will soon see brown elves? Are there other holiday figures on the horizon? Clarence [Claus] is it for the 2016 holiday season and he’s keeping us pretty busy, however, we are working on other characters and items that we will launch after holidays. We want Greentop Gifts to be the source for stationary and gift wrap African Americans think about celebrations they’ll think about Greentop Gifts! How can our readers order Clarence Claus gift wrap in time for the holiday? Currently, our products are only available on our website at www.greentopgifts.com. We offer two-day priority shipping so you can get your gift wrap in time for this Christmas if you order by December 20th. Greentop Gifts would like to expand eventually into retail stores if we can find the right retailer. A retailer that will allow our products to be sold in a way that would be easy to offer children and adults, our consumers, access to our products and more options. Congratulations again on your business. I absolutely love your gift wrap and your mission. Thank you. I’m so happy to hear that you like our products. Sounds like you’re a fellow stationary snob yourself.
-- Rue Clark
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RED DRESS GALA
Angela&Smith Angela was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama but has resided in Metro Atlanta, Georgia for 29 years. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Alabama State University. Angela has 25+ years of lending expertise specializing in FHA, VA, USDA, Conventional Conforming, JUMBO, Home Path, Second Trust and Refinance mortgages and various Down Payment Assistance Programs. She alsoconducts Homebuyers Education Seminars for several programs in Georgia and Alabama. She says her goal is always the same – to provide useful and reliable information so that consumers can make an informed decision before entering into a real estate transaction. This includes providing estimates of what the monthly mortgage payment would be on a wide range of pre-approved prices, as well as estimating the closing costs and down payment needs so there are no surprises at closing. Angela quickly analyzes and recommends the proper loan program to meet the consumer’s goals and objectives. Angela’s philosophy is to combine old fashioned with a high tech touch. This enables her to provide clients the best in personal service as well as access to current industry news, changes, and trends. In addition to being well versed on loan programs and guidelines, Angela says, “mortgage applicants can rely on my integrity and ingenuity for a custom tailored smooth mortgage transaction. As a top producer, I consistently receive referrals and repeat business from former clients, as well as from an extremely loyal following of Realtors. I am proud to be able to provide the type of dependable service that all of my customers depend on.” Classy Living Society thanks you for your support, Angela!
ANGELA SMITH SENIOR MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATOR CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
the Holiday Season
is for FOODIES CLASSY LIVING SOCIETY’S HEALTHY RECIPES
Even if you’re not a “foodie,” you somehow become one at the holidays. Forget Black Friday shopping; Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the eating season! Right after the gobble, gobble of the turkey, you begin to gobble, gobble good eats until Christmas and sometimes beyond (yikes!). Since we’re faced with many opportunities to overindulge between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it would be beneficial to try to incorporate healthy fare, don’t you think? In keeping with our annual tradition, Classy Living’s Society presents a few healthy and delicious choices to keep your diet in tip-top shape! enjoy them. This year, Classy Chronicles shouts a classy and heartfelt thanks to the Lovely and Vivacious CLS Sister Agnes Rochelle Jamison, who chose all of these wonderful delicacies!
Squash and Spinach Lasagne INGREDIENTS 9 no-boil lasagna noodles 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 large onion, finely chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 cups lowfat (1-percent) milk 1/4 cup cornstarch Two 5-ounce packages baby spinach 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus more, for garnish 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1 butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Soak the lasagna noodles in warm water. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and browned, about 10 minutes. If the mixture becomes too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water. Meanwhile, stir together 1/2 cup of the milk and the
cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Heat the remaining 3 1/2 cups milk in a large saucepan until bubbling. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the milk and bring to a boil. Simmer, stirring, until the milk thickens to the consistency of a thin batter, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion mixture, spinach, parsley and nutmeg, and cook until the spinach wilts. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Drain the noodles. Spread 1 cup of the spinach mixture over the bottom of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles over the spinach. Arrange half of the squash over the noodles, overlapping slightly, and sprinkle with one-third of the mozzarella. Spoon 1 cup spinach mixture over the cheese, and top with 3 noodles, the remaining squash and another third of the mozzarella. Top with 1 cup spinach mixture, followed by the last 3 noodles and the remaining 1 cup spinach mixture. Cover tightly with foil; reserve the remaining mozzarella. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella over the top. Bake until bubbling and the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-networkkitchens/s/sq/squ/squa/squash-and-spinach-lasagnarecipe.html
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Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin INGREDIENTS 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing 4 slices bacon, chopped 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 2 pork tenderloins (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total), trimmed 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest DIRECTIONS Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs and all but 2 tablespoons parsley. Let cool.
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Soak 10 to 12 toothpicks in water to prevent them from burning. Rinse the pork and pat dry. Butterfly the pork: Make a 1-inch-deep incision down the length of each tenderloin; do not cut all the way through. Open the meat like a book so the tenderloins lie flat. Cover the pork with plastic wrap; pound with the flat side of a meat mallet until about 1/2 inch thick, starting from the middle and working outward. Spread the mushroom mixture over the 2 tenderloins. Starting with a long side, tightly roll up each tenderloin. Secure the seams with the toothpicks. Preheat a grill to medium high; brush the grates with olive oil. Brush the pork rolls with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning, until a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork registers 140 degrees F, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer
to a cutting board to rest, about 10 minutes. Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons parsley, the lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Remove the toothpicks and slice the pork rolls. Top with parsley oil. http://www.foodnetwork.com/ recipes/food-network-kitchens/m/mu/ mus/mush/mushroom-stuffed-porktenderloin-recipe.html
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate & Hazelnuts INGREDIENTS 1 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved 2 tablespoons canola oil Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses Seeds from 1 pomegranate 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts Finely grated zest of 1 lime 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the Brussels sprouts in a medium roasting pan; toss with the canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until light golden brown and a knife inserted into the centers goes in without any resistance, about 45 minutes. Transfer the sprouts to a large bowl and add the pomegranate molasses, pomegranate seeds, hazelnuts, and lime and orange zests. Season with salt as needed. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobbyflay/r/ro/roa/roas/roasted-brussels-sprouts-withpomegranate-and-hazelnuts-recipe.html
Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Grits INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup instant grits Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact 2 large cloves garlic, minced Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional) Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley DIRECTIONS Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, covered. Uncover and slowly whisk in the grits, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about
5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and parsley; stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve with lemon wedges. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ food-network-kitchens/l/le/lem/lemo/ lemon-garlic-shrimp-and-grits-recipe. html DES7GNMGZ
2 large cloves garlic, minced Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 10 ounces whole-grain linguine or spaghetti 3 tablespoons heavy cream 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil Juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons juice)
Salmon Baked in Foil INGREDIENTS 4 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets 2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons Salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained 2 chopped shallots 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried thyme DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil 42
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packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve http://www.foodnetwork.com/ recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/s/sa/sal/ salm/salmon-baked-in-foil-recipe. html
Lemon Whole-Grain Linguine with Turkey Meatballs INGREDIENTS Cooking spray 1 pound lean ground turkey (about 94 percent lean) 1/2 cup whole-grain breadcrumbs 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1/3 cup grated yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion) 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil plus 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
Directions Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Add the turkey, breadcrumbs, eggs, onions, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, chopped basil, oregano, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes to a large bowl and mix with your hands until evenly combined. Form the mixture into 24 meatballs (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) and place them on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced. Spray the meatballs with cooking spray and roast until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes, turning each meatball over about halfway through. Meanwhile, add the linguine to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Strain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water. Bring the reserved pasta water, cream and oil to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the linguine and toss to combine. Add the lemon juice and meatballs and toss to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/8 teaspoon salt and toss to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Transfer the linguine and meatballs to four large pasta bowls or a large rimmed platter. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and torn basil. http://www.foodnetwork.com/ recipes/food-network-kitchens/l/ le/lem/lemo/lemon-whole-grainlinguine-with-turkey-meatballs.html
And yes, you guessed it! In keeping with tradition,let’s take a left turn away from our healthy journey and enjoy a DECADENT DESSERT!
Heath Bar Cupcakes INGREDIENTS For the Cupcakes 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix 1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix 1 cup sour cream 1 cup vegetable oil 4 eggs, lightly beaten 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water 1 cup Heath English Toffee Bits For the Buttercream 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened pinch of fine grain sea salt 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted 4-6 tablespoons heavy cream or milk For the Ganache 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into very small pieces 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 2 teaspoons vanilla 5 1.4-ounce Heath Bars, chopped into large pieces DIRECTIONS For the Cupcakes Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and espresso water mixture. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined. Fold in Heath English Toffee Bits. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool 44
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on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting. For the Buttercream In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue creaming until well blended. Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy. For the Ganache In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the heavy cream until very hot, but not boiling. Place chocolate pieces in a heat safe bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth and thoroughly combined. Whisk in the honey, corn syrup, and vanilla. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Do not let the glaze sit for too long or it will harden up before you spoon it over the frosting. Spoon the glaze on the tops of the frosted cupcakes, allowing it to drip down the sides a little bit. Don’t add too much glaze or it will drip all over your liners. Top each cupcake with a piece of Heath Bar. Store cupcakes in the refrigerator. Remove them to room temperature one hour before serving. Yields 24 cupcakes MY BAKING ADDICTION: http://www.mybakingaddiction. com/heath-bar-cupcakes-recipe/
hay Davis has a deep appreciation for cooking with an emphasis on a range of various international soul cuisines. She loves taking spices from around the world and concocting dishes to touch the soul of the person enjoying her food. Shay was born into a family of cooks -- she has been cooking since she was two years of age as her grandmother’s little helper in the kitchen – baking cakes, pies and cooking all sorts of dishes. Her mother and father are also excellent cooks. Her mother was always making teas, various sauces and spice mixtures, and while watching her Shay learned how to marry flavors together and to create great dishes. Her father is a native of New Orleans and as we all know, New Orleans cuisine has a soul of its own and that soul was embedded into her.
Originally from Seattle, Washington, Shay made her way to Atlanta, 46
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DISCOVER SHAY’S FOOD JOURNEY Georgia for college. She studied at Clark Atlanta University as a business major and received her Master’s Degree in Accounting and Finance from Keller University. Shay has taken numerous culinary classes and worked at several restaurants. Shay owned her own catering business in 2000, and has catered for several businesses; Delta Airlines, Charles Schwab, and Coca Cola to name a few.
Continuing her passion for all things food, Shay opened Atlanta Fish Cafe in 2007. It was through her restaurant ownership that she developed her own product line -- Divine Kuizine. The remoulade sauce she created, that is now bottled, was in high demand from customers. Customers raved about sugar spice, also packaged through
Divine Kuizine, and was the original sugar and spice mixture in her apple fried pie and sprinkled on her sweet potato fries. After a five-year hiatus from the food industry, Shay has returned and is ready to continue pursuing her passion for food. Through her food blog (shaysfoodjourney.com), viewers/followers can learn how she creates her favorite dishes, get recipes, purchase her Divine Kuizine products and much, much more! Following are three of Shay’s most famous recipes. Bon Appetit!
My Sister’s Famous Pot Roast This is my sister’s famous pot roast recipe which is a family favorite for holidays. The recipe is a crowd pleaser and is simple and easy to prepare. Serves 4-6 Ingredients 2 to 3 pounds chuck roast, boneless Coarse or Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper or seasoned pepper Olive oil or Canola oil 6 to 8 garlic cloves sliced into halves 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups) 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme Beef Broth-16oz Preheat oven 350F. Poke holes in meat and insert garlic into meat, then season on all sides with salt and pepper (great amount of seasoning on both sides). Heat pan with oil to barely coat bottom of pot over high heat for 2 minutes. Sear the meat until golden brown, turning to cook all sides evenly, about 8 minutes. Once it is nicely browned all over, remove it from the pot. Place the onion slices evenly at the bottom of the roasting pan (make sure your roasting pan has a lid on it). Place the meat on top of the onions and pour the beef broth in the roasting pan. Pull the thyme leaves off the sprigs and scatter all over the top of the roast. Place roast in oven for about 3 to 4 hours with lid on. Cook time may vary depending on the size of the roast. Good rule to follow if the roast is 3 pounds it should be done in 3 hours. Start to check your roast the last 30 minutes to see if it is done, or needs that last 30
minutes. Let roast stand for about 20 minutes, then slice to desired thickness. Spoon some sauce over pot roast from the roast juices in roasting pan and serve! Enjoy with family and friends! Broccoli and Peppers Broccoli is one of my favorite go-to vegetables. Not too expensive and everyone in my family eats it. This is quick and easy vegetable recipe that your family will enjoy. Serves 4 1 pound of fresh broccoli ½ of red onion, cut julienne ½ red pepper, cut julienne ½ of green pepper, chopped ½ jalapeno, cut julienne 1 garlic clove, chopped finely 2 tablespoons of butter ¼ olive oil Salt and pepper to taste ½ chicken bouillon cube 2 tablespoons of brown sugar ¼ cup of water In a skillet, add olive oil and sauté broccoli, peppers, garlic, onions, over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, brown sugar, butter and bouillon cube. Turn heat to medium. Pour in water and place top over pan. Steam broccoli until tender not too soft -- it should still have a bite and bright green in color. About 10-15 minutes. Maple Bacon Corn Muffins With hints of pure maple syrup and bits of crisp bacon throughout, these cornbread muffins are sure to please! Perfect for a holiday dinner or brunch! Serves 12
Ingredients: 1/2 cup unsalted butter 2 tablespoons of bacon oil 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/3 cup white sugar 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup 2 eggs 1 cup milk or half and half 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal 1 cup of all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 8 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces 1 jalapeño deseeded , chopped finely 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped finely 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped finely Preheat oven to 350 F degrees . Line a muffin tin with muffin liners and lightly coat with cooking spray. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook bacon until extra crispy, about 7- 10 minutes. Reserve the oil from the bacon. Place crumbled bacon on a paper towel. Sauté peppers in olive oil for about 1 minute until slightly softened. Melt butter in a skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, maple syrup and bacon oil. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine milk, baking soda, cornmeal, flour, salt, peppers, and 1/4 cup bacon in mixing bowl. Stir until blended. Pour batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup up about 2/3 full. Baked in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until a butter knife is n serted in the center and comes out clean. Let muffins cool on wire racks. Remove from muffins cups. Top with warmed maple syrup and bacon bits and serve. Instagram: shaysfoodjourney Facebook: shaysfoodjourney www.shaysfoodjourney.com
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Review BY REBECCA WALLS
There’s a bit of a chill in the air and the Classy Ladies of Classy Living Society began October building tables for the Furniture Bank of Atlanta. This wonderful non-profit organization builds and provides essential household items for clients transitioning from homeless shelters to apartments or homes of their own. Volunteers helped to build three tables, followed by various organizational tasks around the warehouse, focusing specifically on kitchen kits and linens. Across town in Centennial Park, CLS was assigned to assist with registration, food distribution, kids’ zone and tailgate zone for the 2016 Light Up The Night Walk. After our sisters served at their stations, some joined in the walk. What a wonderful way to help those affected by leukemia and lymphoma cancer! CLS always welcomes an invitation from Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation to assist with their Eyeglass Recycling Program. The Foundation’s mission is to provide vision and hearing services through education, detection, prevention and treatment. CLS volunteers assisted in washing, sorting and reading eyeglass prescriptions with a specialized device.
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We love our girls! STEM Expo 2016 - Atlanta Girl Scouts program ignites girls’ natural curiosity and creativity while they build critical thinking and problem solving skills related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Volunteers assisted with registration, greeting guests and several other activities. CLS is always looking for opportunities to include our children and family! The Spook-tober Fall Festival in Herman Perry Park was just that opportunity. Classy volunteers joined in on a fun filled day! Volunteers assisted with registration, decoration, game prizes, equipment and lunch set up as well as breakdown after the event. Meanwhile at Piedmont Park, the Classy ladies of CLS put on their best walking shoes and joined more than 1 million volunteers from around the nation to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, this non-competitive, 3- to 5-mile walk allowed us all to be there to support each individual affected by breast cancer. Our
October with class! California volunteers went to one of the Dream Center Adopt-a-Block sites and asked how to serve them. The Dream Center is a volunteer driven organization that finds and fills the needs of over 80,000 individuals and families each month through mobile hunger relief, medical and rehabilitation programs. Our Cali sisters played games with neighborhood kids, handed out groceries to the elderly and diapers to single mothers. Fall is in full swing in November and Classy Living Societyâ€™s Third Annual Red Dress Gala sets the month off with Amazing Grace! Volunteering for this event provided a wonderful opportunity for those who wished to be behind the scenes at this splendid event. Volunteers acted as runners for the day, including set up before the event and clean up after the event. The volunteers also assisted with special activities within the Galaâ€™s program. Virtual volunteer opportunities are back in November with the Sea Save Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, NC. Volunteers assisted the Sea Save Foundation raise awareness about the beauty of marine ecosystems and their fundamental importance to human survival. Virtual volunteers also assisted the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte whose mission it is to shelter a family in a medical crisis. Volunteers assisted the Sea Save Foundation by posting their Vision and Mission on various social media sites, as well as making purchases on their Amazon site and liking and sharing posted items on social media. Similarly, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte was supported on social media
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worthy cause twice this month by sorting and packing books in preparation for sending to Africa. With the same enthusiasm, and on one of the same days, CLS also supported Lift Up Atlanta, whose mission is to provide homeless women and children in the metro Atlanta area with safe housing, food, clothing and other services designed to help them meet their basic needs, They also aid in supporting education and empowering them to reach sufficiency. CLS volunteers helped to sort and assemble food baskets for the 2016 Atlanta Lift Up Thanksgiving Food Drive. Our Classy sisters donated food for the baskets and gift cards to purchase turkey and ham. With Veterans Day occurring this month, our community outreach team was spot on with the VA Volunteer Call Center opportunity to serve our veterans. Veterans appreciated being reminded about their medical appointments as they tend to forget. Our Classy sisters were happy to remind them. Each Veteran that had an upcoming appointment or appointments was contacted and reminded of the date and location of their appointment. As an extra added bonus, Classy Living Society donated the 400+ canned goods that were collected during their Fedora & Friends event in September to the Veterans Administration and to a local church to add to their Thanksgiving dinner! Our Cali sisters were back in action and closed out the month with Great Beginnings For Black Babies, Inc. The overall mission of this organization is to promote the healthy growth and development of babies, children,
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youth and families in communities of color. CLS provided assistance with Thanksgiving dinner for the Feeding 10 Families event. Volunteers assisted in setting up, serving food and various other tasks as needed. The Holidays are officially here and Classy Living Society kicks off December with Toys for Tots! CLS volunteers helped to sort and gather toys for delivery to those in need. What a wonderful way to do what we do best! Giving back while bonding with our sisters in the spirit of the Holiday Season! Happy Holidays to all!
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e l g n i M , x i mand e l g n Ji 52
ears of joy, amazing smiles and resounding laughter. That’s just a sample of what we experienced at Classy Living Society’s 2016 New Member Mixer and Mingle Jingle on December 17, 2016. Members who joined CLS after July 2016, along with all other members, were treated to an afternoon of fabulous fun, sensational surprises and one of the best bonding experiences a volunteer organization could have at Amelie’s French Bakery in the West Atlanta area. Surrounded by incredibly marvelous holiday decor and delectable treats, the classy sisters truly had a “hands on” CLS afternoon. And the attire...our absolutely gorgeous and creative holiday pajamas! Yes, this was a pajama party where members mixed and mingled the afternoon away. The festive decor included miniature Christmas trees sprayed with magical holiday snow, beautifully wrapped gifts and puffy white “clouds” of snow. The stockings were hung by the “chimney” with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there...and he was! Santa Claus, a right jovial ole chap, arrived and was seated in the corner for conversations with the members right next to a lovely white tree adorned with CLS ornaments and decorated with hanging tags depicting Classy Chronicles magazine covers. When Santa left, I’m sure he did so with the wishes of all of the classy ladies firmly tucked away in his brain. Wishes do come true! When the new members arrived for the New Member Mixer, they were greeted by part of the membership team (better known as the
Classy Concierge). Each attendee was then directed on a “tour” of CLS -- a journey designed for the new sisters to stop at each “station” and learn about all of the moving parts of CLS. The new members had an opportunity to mingle and introduce themselves, telling stories about why they joined. They were also informed about upcoming events, followed by a question and answer session. Armed with a collection of literature and their new CLS t-shirts, and the tour was over, they were ready to jump right into their new classy volunteer organization. After the New Member Mixer, the Mingle Jingle began -- a time for fun and games starting with Karaoke. Founder LaShanda Pitts kicked it off with a Michael Jackson tune and the rest is history! Our sisters know how to shake up those tunes for sure! We were then entertained by dancers from the Eagles Landing Dance Center in Stockbridge, Georgia. The talented youthful dancers with the big holiday smiles and delightful tap shoes took tap dancing to a new level! Can you say Mannequin Challenge? We hit the pause button and did it! FREEZE! Many of the ladies were frozen in poses while applying the beautiful red hues of the SHADE lipstick of their choice. After that, we had had enough of the stillness and quiet so we had to turn up the holiday tunes and of course...start dancing. Our sisters showed off their dance moves from steppin to doing the bump and the Running Man -- we had our time to rock it! 54
Now if that wasn’t enough in one afternoon...we had a heart pounding, edge of your seat raffle. Imagine...the room gets quiet...you’re holding your breath and you’re waiting for your number to be called as you eye the colorful holiday gift bags filled with prizes and lined up on the table -- ready to be claimed. The prizes were out of this world! They ranged from volunteer hours to free 2017 Red Dress Gala tickets. Oh the looks on the winners’ faces...priceless! We can’t forget the most important part of the afternoon...the mission of our day...the
reason why we bond, give and care. We assembled donation bags for the Kory Foundation, Inc. This organizationâ€™s mission is to assist parents of hospitalized children with the cost of their meals, fuel, hotel stay and provide emotional support while their child is hospitalized. Kory provides services for and assists those in the community with food needs. Foundation members visit hospitals and deliver food baskets to the parent waiting rooms each month. Our donation bags were filled to the brim with individually wrapped goodies -- oatmeal, grits, granola/ fruit bars, pop tarts, microwave popcorn, cookies, crackers, chips, cocoa, and juices. CLS assembled over 200 bags for this worthy cause. Koryâ€™s founder, April Royal was on site and expressed her gratitude for helping to make a difference in the lives of those in need. An afternoon of sharing, food, music, dancing, holiday cheer and GIVING BACK! What a way to celebrate the holidays - all in Classy Living Society style! n Avis Pitts and Janine Lattimore
the Third Annua
Red Dress G 56
I It was a glorious day for a Gala as Classy Living Society and guests converged on Twelve Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia for their third annual Red Dress Gala on November 6, 2016. It was a glorious day filled with fragrant roses, fly and fabulous red dresses, tears, laughter, reverence, accolades and many smiling faces.
t was a glorious day for a Gala as Classy Living Society and guests converged on Twelve Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia for their third annual Red Dress Gala on November 6, 2016. The sun was shining and the weather was unseasonably warm for November – the perfect day for all in attendance to show off their red dress finery without the need for wraps, coats or covers. And show off they did! Upon arrival the ladies were greeted with jazzy, “saxy” tunes from saxophonist Kimberlye McKinney. The vibe created from her music set the tone for the welcome, and it was a blessing to have such a talented artist grace the welcome runway. And even more fitting and in keeping with the “Girls Rock” tone of the day -- she is a lady! The welcome/registration table was adorned with a stunning array of roses in various hues. After being greeted with a smile, the ladies lined up for their turn for photographs on the gorgeous and unique step & repeat. Artfully crafted and unlike any other ever seen, the lengthy step & repeat welcomed all and outlined the vision and mission of Classy Living Society amidst a white background and white, pink and red roses. If that wasn’t enough of a welcome, each lady was dazzled by an additional team of young ladies, who applauded, cheered and held signs saying “You are beautiful” and other affirmations, as each guest proceeded down the yellow carpet for the “catwalk.” Talk about being out of breath with excitement before even reaching the main ballroom! Each guest was made to feel appreciated, embraced, and greeted with much fanfare and splendor. Upon entering the ballroom, one is immediately beguiled by the welldressed tablescapes (should I say “as usual” here?) – elegant table settings with customized Red Dress Gala accoutrements including menu card, and a printed copy of the Red Dress Gala edition of the Classy Chronicles all in hues of pink, white and red. Special guests at the Founder’s table were treated to a champagne brunch elegantly laden with stylish and sophisticated black and golden décor. Plus luscious, fragrant roses, roses, roses, everywhere… The premise behind the Annual Red Dress Gala is to present a fundraising event to further the cause of certain charity-based initiatives in the community by honoring standout organizations which exhibit greatness. Although there are many to be honored, this year Classy Living Society chose to honor and applaud 4Sarah, Inc., Love Rolls, Inc., Girls, Inc., Educated Girls Rock! and Pink S.T.E.M. In keeping with the quest to bring awareness to and end human and sex trafficking, highlighting these exceptional organizations will make a difference in the lives of girls
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and young women of the world. Honorable accolades were doled out to the women at the helm of these extraordinary organizations who are about the mission of helping Girls Rock!: Tamika Ray of Pink S.T.E.M, Anno Hardage of Girls, Inc., Nisha Glenn of Educated Girls Rock! Financial and non-perishable donations were presented to Kasey McClure of 4Sarah, Inc. and lovely 15-year-old Kendall Robinson of Love Rolls, Inc.
this issue!) Other entertainment included the Amazing Grace Dance Company - a dance company like no other who delighted and uplifted the souls and spirits of all of the ladies. Their graceful and flowing liturgical dance movements roused all into a near Hallelujah shout of praise! They ushered in feelings of joy and celebration, release and reverence with their fluid movement about the room. Gifted teen songstress and songwriter Kelly Kalosa sang an original song entitled “E.O.I. (Evolution Over Injustice)” The song’s message? There’s a lot going on in the world today, but we can be the light that shines in the darkness and our purpose is to overflow the world with love. “Why aren’t you smiling?” And at that moment, everyone was...
Through a number of presentations, speeches, films depicting personal stories of triumph and loss connected with sex and human trafficking, awards, and inspiring stories, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the movement toward positive change was in full force as it relates to the future generation of girls and young women. To further the day’s initiative, guests were asked to bring donations of toiletries and beauty items. The collected treasury of items were assembled into beautifully packaged “love gifts” and were donated to those affected by sex and human trafficking.
Acknowledgements were many, and CLS had their own within the organization. Saluted as Volunteer of the Year, Rebecca Alexander Hyde Walls hit the ground running in 2016, clocking in the most hours of community outreach service. For her efforts, she was issued a lovely plaque and won a trip to Martha’s Vineyard during their annual African American Film Festival. Also acknowledged were the founding Sisters of Classy Living Society, Valerie Alerte Kavanagh, ShaRhonda Simmons, Renita Jeffries and Brittany Miles. These ladies sat at the roundtable with Founder LaShanda Pitts during the humble beginnings of the organization and were lauded for their early contribution.
And OH, the entertainment! This year’s Gala was hosted by Ms. LaQuitcha Washington, a/k/a LadyQ who provided a healthy dose of comic relief to the day. It isn’t often that you hear a comic who can really make you laugh until your mascara runs and keep it “clean” at the same time. This lady is successful in doing so -- inspirational, funny, and not to mention CLASSY. In the spirit of Diana Ross, this funny lady changed clothes a couple of times during the Gala! (Wardrobe, please!) She is an entertaining and wonderful talent, and a lovely lady to know. (Read LadyQ’s intriguing story right here in
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inally, the Ladies in Leadership of Classy Living Society gathered together with Founder LaShanda Pitts to make a big announcement! Classy Living Society presented SHADE - 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. “I Wear Shade,” is the bold statement you will make to the world, as you select your shade, you will also choose the cause your shade will stand for -- to stop domestic violence, to end the demand for sex and human trafficking, to stamp out childhood hunger, to end childhood homelessness, to bring awareness to heart disease, find a cure for breast cancer, to end body shaming and homelessness. Lovely high quality shades of red lipsticks, symbolizing the organization’s annual Red Dress Gala -- named AdoRED, Classy, Fearless IncREDible, InspiRED, Lady, Smooches, and Tatas -- are packed with antioxidant Vitamin E and contain natural vanillin extract! Yum! Through their very own line of lipsticks, Classy Living Society will stand up and together with the world and wear SHADE for humanity! WE WEAR SHADE!
It was an awesome day filled with fragrant roses, fly and fabulous red dresses, tears, laughter, reverence, accolades and many smiling faces. This year, the number of attendees increased over those in attendance at past Galas – which is no surprise since anyone who attended the first and second events came away captivated enough to tell everyone and to mark their calendars to attend the next one. Of course, the 3rd Annual Gala did not disappoint! If you were unable to attend this year, or in past years, please immediately mark your calendar for early November 2017 or thereabouts – you don’t want to miss it!! n Janine Lattimore
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4SARAH, INC. - a faith-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower change in the life direction of women and girls in the adult entertainment industry, prostitutes and escorts, porn stars, or victims of sex trafficking by offering a holistic approach as well as educational, emotional, physical and spiritual support. LOVE ROLLS, INC. - founded and run by 15-year-old Kendall Robinson, Love Rolls collects rolls of toilet paper to be distributed to local agencies and directly to the homeless in partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, in an effort to supply rolls to those in need with LOVE. GIRLS, INC. - an international organization with an Atlanta chapter that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold by providing life-changing experiences through mentoring and programs that enhance life skills. EDUCATED GIRLS ROCK! - working in close partnership with educators and technology providers, this organization improves the quality and relevance of girls and young women in education. PINK S.T.E.M. - this worthwhile organization bridges the gap by helping girls and minorities by increasing awareness and interest in science, technology, engineering and math. 64
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H Name It!
ow about some good ole’ soul food? We’ve got beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, lamb, rams, hogs, dogs, chicken, turkeys....You
Well, not exactly. This soul food won’t stick to your hips or nip at your heels. You won’t ingest extra calories or pack on the pounds. In fact, your figure is perfectly safe with what’s on this menu. Instead, this soul food will cause your sides to split, your gut to bust and may even (for a brief moment) take away your ability to breathe. So what’s on this soulful menu? Today’s special is LAUGHTER, dished up heaping spoonful after spoonful by the lady of the house. Lady Q. I had the pleasure of attending Classy Living
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LAUGHING OUT LOUD! Society’s Red Dress Gala in Atlanta, Georgia recently where Ms. LaQuitcha Washington aka Lady Q was the Mistress of Ceremony. As MC of the Red Dress Gala, Lady Q had the difficult task of mastering the flow of an event centered on human and and sex trafficking. Imagine this, women crying after hearing story upon story of women and girls who have been kidnapped, assaulted, sold, and violated. The mood is quite heavy and then, in between each vignette, comes Lady Q who quite effortlessly manages to take everyone out of the quagmire and lead us all into hysterical laughter. Soothing us. Healing us. Reminding each woman present that although life is not always pleasant or under our control, we should find the ability to laugh whenever we can and take full advantage of those moments.
I had the pleasure of lunching with the former preschool teacher turned “CLEAN COMIC” recently and I’ll tell you, she’s really funny, ya’ll. No joke! (Pun intended.) She’s a maestro of comedy who has cultivated her professional career by remaining genuine, enduring hard lessons and relying on her faith in God. Are you originally from Atlanta? I was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. A beautiful and laid back city with lots of history and culture. I grew up in a very small, workingclass neighborhood where, although my parents made a decent living, the neighbors thought we were rich because my parents drove a Lincoln Continental. My neighborhood was all black, but the community that I went to
school in (elementary through high school) was predominantly white. So I had a pretty interesting upbringing because all of my best friends were white and, believe it or not, I can’t recall feeling any racial tension growing up. Well once, (when I was in third grade), a little boy in a class called me the “N” word. I reacted by slapping him so hard that my hand stung. I ended up in Atlanta because I was accepted into Morris-Brown College on a band scholarship. A Band Scholarship? What instrument do you play? I played the clarinet and I was very excited to go to school in Atlanta because we vacationed here. Life at a Historically Black College & University had to be different for you. Was it hard to adapt? Aside from the need to learn how to play and high-step at the same time, attending an all-black school wasn’t a stretch for me. They used to call me Sista Souljah in high school because I was the one that always questioned why there was very little black history in our history books. I already knew about Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks but I would always question why we weren’t taught about our other black leaders. What about W.E.B. DuBois, Malcolm X and other important people of color. Your onstage persona seems like a natural part of who you are, but when did you discover that you were funnier than most people and that people loved being around you? I’ve been a clown all my life. I remember going into rooms of people, filled with friends and family and making them laugh. I’m genuinely hilarious so that came naturally to me, but I thought my family and friends were laughing because of their association with me. I realized I was funny when I stepped out of my comfort zone and let my circle of friends into territory where no one knew me. Your friends and family will support you regardless, but when people (I’d never met) would die
laughing and come to me hugging me, kissing me and saying “Oh my God, you’re so funny!” I knew I had something special. Funny thing is this, I’ve been a professional comic for about nine years now, yet, it’s only been in the last five years that I began to believe that I’m really funny. What was the pivotal moment in your life that let you know your comedic gift would make room for you? When you said “Okay LaQuitcha- we’re going to be Lady Q now. Let’s make this happen!” I remember performing in a New Year’s Eve service at a small church in Union City. My fee was so low that it may as well have been free. It was just $75. At the end of my performance, the Pastor stood up in front of the congregation and told me that I was not charging enough. The Pastor said, “You have a true gift to make people laugh and you are genuinely funny.” In my mind, I thought “I’m just trying to get gas money to make it back to Douglasville.” That night the church blessed me by quadrupling my fee. The second moment is my first professional performance. It was a breast cancer event I performed in with well- known comedians Chocolate and Small Fry. I was almost in tears before the performance out of nervousness but I ripped it. People were on their feet and I was ecstatic. What hurdles do you face as a woman (in the entertainment industry) that has decided to remain a clean comic? Being a woman, being black and being “clean” are some of the hurdles I face so I have to go above and beyond. When people meet me I’m often told that I can’t possibly be funny right away. Often times before they’ve even seen me perform. So what are the reasons? Well, because I’m a clean comic and I don’t use profanity; because I’m a woman and a little pleasing to the eyes; and because of the fact that I choose to stay in stilettos and sometimes a tutu. It’s amazing the obstacles that are sometimes placed in my way initially by some
people. Even colleagues. I’ve reached out to colleagues for guidance when I first became a professional comic and was met with silence. I’ve had people that were hired to work for me steal money from me instead. It’s not been easy, but I’ve learned, even with these stumbling blocks, to manage my business and maintain a booked calendar. You have the ability to make the things that emit negative emotion disappear. It’s uncanny what you did during the Red Dress Gala and I was very impressed. Why, in your opinion, is laughter important? Laughter is healing and it really does soothe the soul. No matter what is happening in your life you’ll know you can handle it much better when you are able to laugh. When I’m performing on stage or speaking with someone face to face, my goal is to change the atmosphere so that everyone can see “the good” and laugh. Lady Q in the future is having a conversation with Lady Q of today. What will she say to you? She would say, “You’re on the right path but you have to continually work to perfect your craft.” She would tell me not to be complacent with the success I have but to do more for greater success. What would you like our readers to know about you that we haven’t discussed in this interview? I’m careful to surround myself with likeminded people. I no longer have a circle of people, I have a dot because the circle I’m a part of is really important to me. Also, one of my favorite quotes is “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the things that take your breath away.” So I look for things to take my breath away.
- RUE CLARK
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Mizette Coakley A Life to Live, A Story to Tell.
Mizette Coakley is a force to be reckoned with and she has a spirit that truly shines! This amazing lady was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, where she learned to bond in sisterhood at an early age. Mizette already had service in her heart as she was an extremely active Brownie and Girl Scout. During those years, her family and friends taught her how to trust and how to build new relationships with other young ladies. Mizette started out strong at the age of 12, when she was a serious fundraising team of ONE! With her determined nature and her laser focused drive, Mizette managed to raise $1,200.00 to travel with her high school so that she could study abroad in Switzerland, London, and Paris for six phenomenal weeks. This was the beginning of Mizette’s soul-searching journey to entrepreneurship. Mizette moved to the United States in 1978 and attended Maryland University on swimming, basketball, and track & field scholarships. When you meet Mizette, it is quite evident that she continues her athletic prowess to this day. Mizette earned her degree in Journalism (Sports Broadcasting) from Maryland University, but didn’t stop there. Her quest for gaining more knowledge helped her to obtain a Real Estate License, Paralegal Diploma, and most importantly her bartending license. Yes…Mizette’s passion for bartending birthed her remarkable MIZETTE’S BARTENDING SERVICES, LLC. She has a wide range of clients that can be found in Nassau, Bahamas; Washington, DC and of course in her town of residence, lovely Atlanta. Mizette knows very well how life’s journey can be lightened by the highs and diminished by the lows. She dealt with several personal losses that have made her the strong and resolute woman she is today. These tragic losses shook Mizette to the core. The loss of her brother, who disappeared during a flight, the loss of her neighborhood best friend and first love, and most recently the loss of her parents and sister have helped Mizette learn how to stay on the path in the midst of adversity. Pushing fear and loss to the side, Mizette continues to press on with the support of counseling, determination, and perseverance. She understands that God has and continues to carry her through it all and that He has and will never fail her. 70
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Mizette’s faith is unwavering and she is extremely active in her Catholic church, Our Lady of Lourdes. She loves her priests and her entire church family and they love her! Wanting to know more about Mizette…we asked these questions.. What motivated you to start you own business? My mother, Mizpah Coakley owned and operated a very popular bakery in Nassau, Bahamas. She made pound cakes for the Queen of England before the Bahamas became independent in 1973. I worked closely with my mother in her bakery all my life. Whenever I visited home, I would help my mother make and prepare orders until the year of her demise (in 2012). I admired her commitment to doing what she loved. She encouraged me to do the same. How did you become interested in joining CLS, and why do you want to work with this organization? Tarrah Gales, one of my very best friends since 1997; knew I liked to volunteer. When she told me about CLS and what the organization was all about…it was a wrap! The women of CLS are positive, secure women that I can relate to and learn from. Wisdom is knowledge! What has surprised you most about working with CLS? I was most surprised by how easy it was for me to promote this organization and help recruit five new members. There is no negativity in this organization unless you bring it yourself. CLS is a loving, welcoming, and positive group. I love the fact that it is so easy to meet new, energetic, beautiful ladies inside and out. Since becoming a member, I’ve met quite a few new sisters who I get together with on a regular. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime! What are your passions and how do your passions tie into CLS’ mission? I LOVE to volunteer and bartend. Volunteering has been in my blood my entire life. My father also instilled this in me, as he was the Chief Scout Commissioner of the Boy Scouts and made my brothers and I volunteer for something every Saturday during our childhood summer breaks. Our entire family worked to inspire others to be great. Helping those less fortunate and giving back to the community is exactly what CLS does and that’s how I tie my passions into this humble and
“CLS is a loving, welcoming, and positive group. I love the fact that it is so easy to meet new, energetic, beautiful ladies inside and out. Since becoming a member, I’ve met quite a few new sisters who I get together with on a regular. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime!”
giving organization. What do you wish other people knew about CLS? That it’s not “cliquish”. Everyone is open to working together for the betterment of the organization when volunteering, while inspiring others and still having BIG fun. I tell people all the time - it’s not about you. What do you feel influenced you the most in getting to where you are today? The love of my immediate family, my church family and very close friends who have become family, as well as my inner strength, have helped to keep me motivated to move forward. I will always keep a positive mindset… regardless. There is nothing like peace of mind. What might we be surprised to know about you? Here goes…I am the President of the Women’s Council at my church, a tenor in my church choir, a lector, a Stephen Ministry leader, and I go to praise HIM every Sunday. I beat a bass drum in a Bahamian Carnival group and I can still play the piano and trumpet a little. I love all types of music and I’m no longer fishing on Plenty of Fish (POF)! LOL! How would someone describe you? My name…Mizette means “Enormous Vitality.” This truly describes me and my personality. I’m also described as a person who lives life to the fullest. I am a gym rat, Caribbean Queen, and a vivacious, funny, loving person. I also tend to be a little on the aggressive side…but in a good way! What do you do when you’re not giving your all to volunteering or working? Besides working out and travelling…I LOVE to entertain. I
usually have friends over for drinks, dinner and socializing every week or go to their homes or meet up for happy hour. I also love my space and spending quiet time alone with my dog Gucci while watching Law & Order or reading a juicy book. I love loving me. Nothing like self-love! Are you where you want to be at this stage in your life? Nowhere close! I’ve wasted a lot of time on trivial matters in my life but that has finally led me to becoming more focused and more serious about my work and my desire to give back. I have lots to work on in many areas of my life and I welcome the challenges and successes before me. Where do you see yourself in three to five years? Hopefully with God’s guidance, I see myself teaching bartending classes at my own bartending school. Once certified to do this, there will be no stopping me! My motto is PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN!! And one more thing… I ALSO SEE MYSELF HAPPILY MARRIED TO MY SOUL MATE!! Mizette is an example of how steady focus and committed planning can help lead you to success. The chapters of her life continue to be written. When reading Mizette’s story, you can spot resilience in every word. She is among a growing group of women who are more than willing to share their journey…hoping that it will help encourage, empower, and embolden others. Mizette is truly PLANNING HER WORK AND WORKING HER PLAN!! --Avis Pitts CLASSY DES7GNMGZ CHRONICLES
Be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Join Classy Living Society TODAY! www.cls-volunteer.org 72