5 Founder’s Note 6 We Are Thankful 8 The Monthly Review 10 Quarterly New Member Mixer 16 Vendor Spotlight 18 A Survivor’s Story 20 Community Spotlight 28 A Daughter’s Reflection 30 Member Spotlight 34 The Magic of Being Grateful 36 Pop-Up Boutique 2
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Issue 7 November 2015
EDITOR AT LARGE
LaShanda Pitts Tarrah Gales Avis Pitts Robin Overmyer Janine Lattimore Robyn Hutcherson Yvette Chambers
Jason Byrdsell (www.enphocusphotography.com) DESIGN DIRECTOR
Simone Darlington (www.tamlyndesign.com) BE A PART OF THE NEXT CLASSY CHRONICES
For advertisting or editorial contribution, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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Photo: Jason Byrdsell of www.enphocusphotography.com.
Founder’s Note Sometimes it’s the smallest gestures or slightest acknowledgments that creates the greatest impact in life. This month is an amazing time to reflect on all that I’m most grateful for. Without question, I’m extremely appreciative of finances, nice gifts and family. However it’s unnecessary small things which tug at my heart like none other. For instance, my husband walking in with my favorite candy or picking up a personal need that I didn’t ask for, even though he was out shopping for himself. I find myself overcome with joy when I receive a birthday card or gift that screams “this is so LaLa”! My friends and I absolutely love greeting cards; it seems they always come during trying times, when a laugh is most needed. Receiving a greetings card from me, filled with confetti is no surprise. Despite the fuss about cleaning the little pieces up afterwards, they are quickly reminded that I care. So whether sealed with a warm hug or wrapped in confetti, small things are the important factors that change big stresses of the day. Often times the small gesture can create the greatest gratitude.
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WE ARE THANKFUL With Thanksgiving, and subsequently the Christmas holidays and New Year upon us, most of us begin to reflect more on what we are thankful for. Classy Living Society instills in its members an enthusiasm and zeal for service. With that comes not only an enhanced desire to connect with others outside of the organization, but also within. We are not only grateful for one another and the community at large, but we are grateful for the components of our lives that make each of us who we are. Take a peek inside and learn what the ladies of Classy Living Society are grateful for:
I am grateful for my spiritual journey and the wisdom God has blessed me with. Learning to be present and living in the moment is truly a blessing!
– Karen Seward
God’s grace and mercy!
– Susan Joy
I’m grateful for my solid foundation in God, without Him I can’t do anything. I’m grateful that He sent me a husband who loves me unconditionally. I am grateful for my family and being surrounded with people who want nothing but the best for me.
– Robin Overmyer
I’m grateful for every day God has blessed me with .
– Yvette Chambers
I’m grateful for the amazing journey God has given me. He is blessing me beyond my expectations.
– Brenda Gonzalez
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– Bettye J. Burney
I’m grateful for Love, Health, Strength, Compassion. Open mind, sense of humor and courage
– LaShanda Pitts
I’m grateful for living in my new Season right now!
- Janine Lattimore
I am grateful that God allows me to open my eyes every morning and gives me yet another day to make a difference in someone’s life, to be good to the people I love.
– Kristell Sigmone Douglas
I’m grateful for the breath I just took!
– Avis Pitts
Written by the Members of Classy Living Society
ull speed ahead, Classy Living Society has been busy on our mission to give back. The month of September ended with a volunteer opportunity at Senior Connections, where all hands were on deck to assist in the preparation, packing and clean up involved with their â&#x20AC;&#x153;Meals on Wheelsâ&#x20AC;? Program. Members were broken up into several groups to assist with the packing of hundreds of meals that would later be distributed to the local senior community. It was great! I had the chance to serve on the line where the meal is placed into the packing trays, sealed and labeled in a matter of seconds. I was so impressed with the organization and the efficiency of this process. During this time shared, my CLS sisters and I were able to bond, laugh and make sure our beloved seniors would receive and enjoy their meals made in the name of love. October found CLS members off to a great start getting into the spirit of the holiday season. Members assisted with the registration for The Salvation Armyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Angel Tree Program. Participants in this program are able to receive Christmas gifts for their children who might otherwise have to go without. Our volunteers, wearing big smiles and armed with their typing skills, set out to do their very best to register hundreds of families during what was the final day of registration for the program this year. What a way to start off the holiday season! This year, The Salvation Army of Metro Atlanta has registered almost 12,000 children and seniors for the Angel Tree
Senior Connections In a perfect world, every older adult would have nearby relatives or neighbors to help prepare meals, clean house, make small home repairs and visit regularly. This kind of assistance is imperative to quality of life — but too many members of Atlanta’s senior population have no such support system. Senior Connections not only helps, but also provides dignity, care and choice and the ability to “age in place,” for the older adult community. https://www.seniorconnectionsatl.org/
program. CLS was delighted to support Atlanta Children’s Shelter (“ACS”) recognize and honor extraordinary families who have successfully accomplished their goals and have obtained self-sufficiency through ACS guided programs. CLS members lent their helping hands to the Shelter’s premier gala, the Annual Achiever’s Celebration. This event is held to honor local Atlanta families who have overcome very difficult life situations despite the odds. The evening long celebration was kicked off with a private reception and silent auction. Invited guests and Achievers we also treated to dinner, an awards ceremony, and the personal stories of achievement from each of their Achievers being honored. What a gift; to play a small part in celebrating courageous lives that have been forever changed! Of course, there is always the opportunity for CLS members to remain “classy” while getting fit. The Classy N’ Fit walk for October was the commemoration of 25 years of the AIDS’s Walk Atlanta & 5K Run, held annually at the beginning of fall. The walk makes a significant difference in the lives of people living with and at-risk for HIV/AIDS in Atlanta and we want to thank all of you who were able to take part in the 2015 event. As the temperature drops and we pull out our sweaters, coats, scarves and boots, Classy Living Society is prepared to finish the year off strong serving, volunteering and giving back to the community! Are you with us? n Tarrah Gales
Atlanta Children’s Shelter Since its inception, the Atlanta Children’s Shelter has successfully assisted in stabilizing nearly 5,000 homeless families and over 8,000 homeless children by transitioning homeless families into stable housing and sustainable employment. http://www.acsatl.org/index.php The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program Along with the familiar Red Kettles, the Angel Tree program is one of The Salvation Army’s highest profile Christmas efforts. Angel Tree was created by The Salvation Army in 1979 by Majors Charles and Shirley White when they worked with a Lynchburg, Virginia shopping mall to provide clothing and toys for children at Christmas time. http://angeltreeatlanta.org/ AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run Produced by AID Atlanta, AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run is the largest AIDS-related fundraising event in the Southeastern United States. Now commemorating 25 years of walking and running, AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run continues to raise much needed funds for AIDS Service Organizations throughout the metro-Atlanta area. These organizations provide essential programs and services for men, women, and children who are infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. https://www.aidswalkatlanta.com
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mber Mixer DES7GNMGZ
Nobody knows how to “mix and mingle” better than CLS! On October 8th the sisters of CLS did just that! We mixed...we mingled...we listened and we shared. Our members who joined CLS in the months of July, August and September were treated to a spectacular evening filled with fabulous food and lots of laughter. We listened as our amazing Founder, LaShanda Pitts; gave us the latest classy information. We are branching out into new territories thanks to our founder and her vision of connecting with like minded sisters across the country and beyond. So say hello to our classy sisters in California and Tennessee! Our journey continues to AMAZE!!
Our new sisters were able to meet the CLS board and the managers from fundraising, vendor relations, community outreach, marketing, member relations and events. We discussed our vision and our mission and reminded each other that we’re here for a purpose...to be innovators in volunteerism by striving to make a positive, lasting impact on those we serve with our time, talents and compassion. We had a “hands on” session that included learning how to post and more importantly SHARE those classy events and volunteer opportunities that we’re so good at participating in. We heard about our fantastically exciting plans for 2016...events that are going to take us to new heights and fabulous volunteer opportunities that will keep us in the forefront of organizations for women. And oh yes...we did indulge ourselves in one of our favorite activities...SHOPPING!! A special thank you to our own Tijuana Faison, owner of Design Faze; for allowing us to “shop till we drop”. This mixer was another CLS event to remember and if you think we can’t top this one! Get ready sisters...we’re going to take it higher!!! n Avis Pitts
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VENDOR SPOTLIGHT Have you ever just sat down and really thought about the things that you are grateful for? Being grateful is one of those important key elements in life that many people can perhaps take for granted. Most people want to be successful, live a peaceful life, and enjoy the finer things that the world has to offer but it may not always come easy. It’s imperative to take time out of our busy schedules & reflect on how being grateful can guide us closer to inner wealth which can manifest to outer wealth as well. Tijuana Faison, one of our CLS sisters and the owner of Design Faze Boutique, will share with us how she, as an entrepreneur is grateful for the success of her business. When did you start your business? I started Design Faze in November 2007. Prior to opening Design Faze Boutique, I worked in the wholesale industry selling fashion lines to store owners throughout the southeast. After a move to Wisconsin then back to Atlanta, I started selling merchandise to personal clients and supplying businesses with clothing and jewelry that I personally hand-picked or made. That’s when Design Faze “a designer’s showcase boutique” was born! What made you start your business? I wanted to open a store that showcased my designs and my fellow local designers’ fashions as well. I wanted to open a boutique that allowed women to “define their style” by offering fresh concepts in apparel, an eclectic mix of jewelry, distinctive handbags, and the hottest updates in accessories. I wanted to open a boutique that would provide clients with the ingredients to successfully cook up a wardrobe that would enhance their personal style. What does your business specialize in, what services are provided? As the CEO and Buyer, I select fashions for Design Faze Boutique, coordinate and display them with a keen eye toward providing a versatile styling mix for my clients and I become an in-store fashion stylist at their disposal. In addition, Design Faze Boutique teams
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tijuana faison owner ofDesign Faze up with several fashion stylists, personal shoppers, and wardrobe consultants for a more customized service. Schedule an appointment for a personal consultation and have Design Faze Boutique merchandise brought to you!
designers and unique lines throughout the country. Design Faze plans to be a wholesale source to help expand the artists’ talent and increase jobs. Design Faze Boutique will be known for acknowledging the woman in you.
What elements about your business are you grateful for? While in business during the recession, I’ve became more grateful and thankful to be one of few surviving boutiques. I’m even more grateful to have clients visit, see them smile, and feel satisfied walking away with their purchase.
What does your contribution to CLS mean to you? Your business? By being a member of Classy Living Society, I’m able to reach many more women and provide support by donating to the many nonprofits that we assist. CLS gives me the opportunity share ideas and grow with the organization not only on a personal level but also on a business level through the many advertising outlets that have been developed for business owners. n Robin Overmyer Design Faze Boutique Galleria Specialty Mall 1 Galleria Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30339 (770) 953-2440
Where do you see your business in 5 years? In the years to come, Design Faze will be known as being one of Atlanta’s premiere boutiques that continuously spotlight some of the best talent from local
a survivor’s story One Remarkable Journey to a Lifes’ Purpose After years of experiencing roadblocks and hardships, including a series of unhealthy relationships, Brenda Gonzalez embarked on a journey to turn her pain as a domestic violence victim-turned-survivor into a life purpose. Brenda enjoys mentoring, volunteering, and promoting health and wellness in effort to make a difference in society. As a speaker, author and coach, Brenda believes that self-love is the key to true happiness. She is a proud mother of two beautiful children. Discovering her true self through God, she has allowed Him to hold her hand and guide her towards the next steps of her life. Her life experiences and challenges have made her stronger each day. Inspired, she has found strength to finally speak up and help others to make a difference. What was the final act that led you to leave your situation for good? While drunk, he kicked me in front of my brother and sister-in-law and tried to put my children in his car. I knew then I needed to find courage and get out before it was too late. I was not willing to wait and see if things would get better. It had been ten years and the situation only kept getting worse. People on the outside looking in are often unaware of a domestic violence victim’s plight. What would you say to people who ask “Why didn’t you leave sooner?” I would tell them that they would have to walk in a victim’s shoes before being judgmental. For victims, it is a cycle and we think it’s normal, because it’s all we know. We also feel shame and fear and it is not that easy to leave. No matter what, however, one thing is for sure – it is never our fault. What would you tell someone who is a new survivor to inspire them to heal? I would tell them to take all the time they need. To allow enough time to heal their wounds properly. To seek and get all the help they need and to never be ashamed. Your children are also survivors! How are they doing now? I learned the essence of building them up after witnessing traumatic scenes. I send them daily text messages telling them how amazing they are. They are now all grown up. My daughter is in college and son my son in high school. Thank God they are doing
great. You mentioned you have two writing projects underway. What is your progress on those and when can we expect them? Yes, I’m so excited. I decided to write my memoir and turn it into a teaching book. I want to empower women and inspire them to find courage. I also want to bring awareness and expose some of the signs to look for. I’m hoping to complete it by the end of this year, and publish it in early 2016. I am also taking part in a book project where twelve survivors collaborate to tell their stories. This book is to be published in December. After coming out of your journey, what are you most grateful for? I am grateful for life, happiness and inner peace. I am grateful for the strength and courage to talk and share my story with others. I want to make a difference in the lives of others. Leave us with some final words to describe your journey to survival and where you are now. It was a struggle to be a single mom, and shoulder the blame for breaking up our family. My kids resented me for a few years. I had to find strength each day to overcome my journey. Last year I gave myself to the Lord and he transformed my life. I found my purpose in life and began my journey in becoming a Life Coach to help others using my own life experiences. n Janine Lattimore
NOVEMBER 8TH SEE YOU AT THE GALA!
american cancer societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk 20
On Saturday, October 24th, Team ClassyNFit walked 3 miles in support of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta! It was a beautiful, brisk and clear morning, ideal for CLS members, friends, and family to meet up for this walk through downtown Atlanta together with over 8,000 other participants representing more than 1,100 teams. Assembled throughout the park and beaming with anticipation of embarking on this symbolic 5K walk towards a cure, are survivors, supporters and organizations – women, men and children of all ages – joined and interwoven in a sea of shades of pink in solidarity for this momentous event. The journey was an energy-filled passage through the streets as we united with strangers, instantly acquainted, and were witnesses to each other’s joy, strength, fight, determination and triumph of spirit. Together we danced and sang and partied over bridges and around corners to the music filling the air with a collective sense of hope, joyfulness and harmony not often experienced or expected during a one hour walk! It was, for me, a great privilege to stroll shoulder to shoulder with the ladies of Classy Living Society as we donned our commemorative breast cancer t-shirts for the second year and participated in raising awareness and dollars to come one step closer to curing
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this disease that snatches our loved ones too soon and leaves behind pain in the hearts of so many. To that end, before one step was taken and the 5K began, the total of money raised by the Atlanta Walk was over $495,000– amazing! Driven by the PASSION to fight for those directly affected, walk participants held banners in the name of their pledge to the fight; were overjoyed with the POWER of claiming victory in the name of their beloved who “fought the fight and won the battle” –forever a conqueror in the name of this most deadly disease; and they also represented with powerful PURPOSE wearing t-shirts in loving memory of the dearly departed. As a an organization of women, it was a no brainer for CLS to get involved with the Making Strides walk as we have all been affected, directly or indirectly, and impacted forever, by the most common cancer diagnosed in women in our nation. We came together and formed a TEAM in the name of sisterhood to walk in honor of those we love, those we have lost, and those who stand strong as survivors and stare in the face breast cancer to boldly shout and demand: “WE NEED A CURE!” n Tarrah D. Gales
About Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Considered by many to be the premiere breast cancer walk in the cities itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s held, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks are the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, uniting nearly 300 communities with a shared determination to finish the fight. Every Making Strides event is an incredible and inspiring opportunity to unite as a community to honor and celebrate breast cancer survivors, raise awareness about the disease, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society save lives from breast cancer by funding groundbreaking breast cancer research, providing free comprehensive information and support, and helping people take steps to reduce their risk of the disease or find it early when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most treatable.
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Grateful for Eleanor Jones A DAUGHTER’S REFLECTION...
If we are blessed enough, there comes a day when the eyes that have always made you feel safe, loved and protected will stare back at you with the innocence of a child and you will know in that moment it’s your turn. Your turn to care for your parent in the way they have always cared for you, to step up and let them know you’ve got it. New Years’ Eve 2013, I spent the first night of many at the foot of my mother’s hospital bed praying that this was not her time to leave me. As she lay in front of me with wide glossy eyes, the only child of this unyielding force that had guided my life and molded me into the woman I am, was scared each labored breath would be her last. I was scared as hell but poker face intact, I stared back. I showed her the strength I learned from watching her and I put her at ease so that she would get the rest she would need to fight whatever was attacking her body. Behind the hiss of the oxygen machine and the beep of the heart monitor I can hear the countdown ushering in a new year and I can’t help be reflect on our journey.
children. So what was I to do? My plan was to rent my house out and move in with her. Some things never change, so I was prepared for the laundry list of rules that would apply for me and my children moving into her house. I lowered my head and waited for her to begin to list them. I was not, however, prepared for her response. My mother started slowly but surely as she said…. “The children are comfortable where they are, they have friends in the neighborhood. I want to rent my house and I will move in with you….. .”
My single mother Eleanor Jones made many sacrifices, most of which would go unnoticed by me for decades. I noticed the 14-, even 16-hour work days in my teens mostly because of the freedom it offered. I noticed a bit more after I became a mother myself, as she scheduled her vacation around my children’s school breaks because of the money it saved me. However, it wasn’t until I had experienced life awhile myself that I truly paid attention to her dedication to her family. After she retired from more than 30 years of long hours working for the railroad, she was ready for a change and wanted to live closer to me and my children. Ready for a change myself, I convinced her with little more than a few home sale listings Atlanta should be our new home.
My mother spent the better part of 2014 very ill which meant frequent prolonged stays in the hospital. The time she was able to spend at home required constant care managing her mobility, medicine and meals. As they struggled to figure out what was wrong with her, I struggled to manage work, home, children and her care. Suddenly, I was not only a mother but a caregiver to my own mother and I exhausted! Just when I had accepted this as my new life, the doctors finally figured it out! My mother had been exposed to Hepatitis C through a blood transfusion many years ago which was the root of all her issues. Although she has lasting effects she was able to recover and steadily improved throughout 2015. Slowly but surely, I began to disassemble the makeshift hospital room her bedroom had become, but I knew it wasn’t good enough. God had given her health back and now all she was missing was her home.
I must admit, she surprised me with how swiftly she formulated and executed her relocation plan selling her home in California before ever setting foot on Georgia soil. It actually made me a little nervous! What if it wasn’t what she expected? There was no turning back, it was too late now! I didn’t know then that this Georgia plan wasn’t mine but what God had in store to reward her for all she had worked for. I smiled as I reflected on her broad smile as she walked into the kitchen of the home she would buy as she said YES!!! She was beautiful and beaming with pride and I was proud of her. Caught up in the memory, I laughed out loud and quickly quieted myself and watched to ensure I had not disturbed her. Somehow she looked smaller in the bed with all of those monitors hooked up to her and I started to wonder if all of the sacrifices had finally worn her down. My mind began to drift again and I recalled the day I called her to say I had been laid off from my job, a day that came only three months after my marriage ended leaving me single with three
I was glad she was sleeping because the tears now flowed freely in a constant stream down my face, thinking of how sad she had to be to move out of her dream home to help me. Two years had passed and she was still there, good days and bad, she was still there. It was in that moment my reflections turned to prayer and I asked God for strength, guidance and the opportunity to give her back what she had so selflessly offered to me. So began my test.
One of the best days I ever had was when I gave her renters notice to vacate. Once of the worst days I ever had was when I saw the condition of the home once they were gone. Everywhere I looked something was damaged, dirty or missing and I could not believe how the renters treated my mother’s beautiful home. I felt every range of emotion you could imagine, guilt, anger, frustration, hurt, sadness -- all of it overwhelmed me. Eyes blurred with tears, I walked the house and suddenly the only thing I felt was grateful. Grateful for a family matriarch that gives so much of herself and grateful to God for the opportunity I prayed for to return it. Last month I was able to walk my mother back into her home and she never had to see the damage that was done. What she sees is her family worked together to make it beautiful because her sacrifices are no longer unnoticed. Eleanor Jones, your family is grateful for her health, your loyalty and your love. n Robyn Hutcherson
Too Late to Achieve Success? Not According to
By virtue of her name, Felice exemplifies a true dedication to service and orderâ&#x20AC;Ś ingredients that have helped her build a truly successful life. Born in Oakland, California; Felice was raised the only girl of four children in an extremely close knit middle class family. She was part of an era when the Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party held an extremely strong presence in the country. Her grandfather was a Minister in the Nation of Islam so her early years were a bit sheltered and she spent most of her time with her brothers and other family members. She had very few outside influences.
When Felice turned nine years old, her family moved from California and migrated to Chattanooga, Tennessee. In California, Felice had only attended a Muslim school. so when she moved to Tennessee and started attending public school…well let’s just say it was definitely a culture shock! Felice was already observed to be a gifted student and even though she was in the 4th grade, she was enrolled in 6th grade classes. She excelled in all of her classes but she was also known as a “tomboy” in school and was often teased by other girls. This made her very insecure and quite shy and led to Felice’s challenges with developing close relationships with women. When she was 13, her parents suddenly divorced. She has always maintained a close relationship with her father but her mother has been the woman that’s instilled independence in her. Her mother has always encouraged her to be strong and aspire to achieve all that she could in life. Felice, her mother and her younger brother moved to Atlanta, Georgia when she was 15 years old. When she graduated from high school at 17, Felice chose the military instead of going to a traditional college. While enlisted, she married and had a son, but her marriage ended after seven years. Finding herself divorced, Felice knew without a doubt that it was time to do something different. She decided to get her certification and pursue a career in travel. She had many years of success in this field but after the tragic events of 9/11, Felice found herself unemployed. She knew what she had to do -- she decided to take charge of her life and go back to school. Soon after that, opportunity came knocking on the door for Felice as she was offered a corporate customer service position and she then decided to quit school, work and take care of her beautiful son. Even though she excelled in many other corporate customer service positions, Felice once again knew something was missing. In 2014, Felice decided to take her career to the next level and once again pursue higher education. She was determined, and is now currently enrolled at Georgia State where she is finishing her Business Degree and completing her Project Management Certification. Felice is truly one determined lady! Tell us how you first got involved with Classy Living Society. LaShanda Pitts and I became friends through her husband and she invited me to the CLS launch event…”Skinny Jeans and Stilettos” and I knew this organization was for me. What was your first impression of CLS? My first, current and lasting impression of CLS will always remain the same. I am honestly truly impressed! Over the years, I have participated here and there in volunteer efforts but I had never experienced the concept of giving back in such a unique way until I joined CLS. It’s fresh, fabulous and trendsetting all rolled up into one. The concept of partnering with smaller businesses and local charities makes it so much more rewarding to give back. You get to experience firsthand the impact you’re making in changing people’s lives. CLS goes above and
beyond to inspire us, encourage us and show how much we are appreciated as a women’s organization. What might we be surprised to know about you? That I sing! I used to be pretty good. I’ve just been really shy to sing around anyone except my family. With a little encouragement, I took a bold step way back in the day and entered my high school talent show. I won second place. I did it for fun but thought about making it a career. Now I’ve retired to only singing in the shower. Ha! Ha! How would someone describe you? I’m family oriented, independent, a little bossy, hardworking, self-motivated and I love to laugh! A few of my family members may say that I’m nosy and that I really should have been a private investigator because I sure do ask a lot of questions. I call it…being inquisitive! What is your favorite quote and why? “Actions speak louder than words” I think that’s pretty self-explanatory, but once you’ve said it, there’s no need to continue to say it…JUST DO IT! What is your true passion? I would have to say that my true passion is travelling. I had worked in the travel industry for a number of years and I’ve had the opportunity to travel but there’s nothing like doing it on your own terms. Now that I have no more children to raise, I’d love to just go and explore far-off places at a moment’s notice. What do you wish other people knew about CLS? How much love, support and genuine encouragement you are given in your efforts and endeavors. It’s not just about a fabulous party (even though CLS parties are truly fabulous)!!! It’s about professional women and entrepreneurs from different backgrounds and walks of life all coming together with a common goal and purpose. That purpose is to give back with our time and talents while remaining positive, motivated and classy. I believe CLS will serve as a blueprint for what other women’s organizations will
aspire to emulate. Name some of the people who’ve influenced you the most on your journey. My grandfather, Minister Henry Majied; my father, Mr. Turan Shaheed and my mother Aaliyah Slaton. They definitely set the foundation of how strong, resilient and independent I am. Kim Harrington-Pete has also been a very positive influence on me. She is my former director and just recently earned her doctoral degree in Education. She can definitely relate to working and pursuing a degree at the same time. She has mentored me a great deal since I’ve been employed at Georgia Tech. I’d also have to name LaShanda Pitts as a positive influence on me. She’s that BIG little sister I’ve always wanted…I’m older than she is! She’s the reason why I know about CLS. LaShanda is so positive, supportive, uplifting and she’s definitely funny! She’s also extremely smart and business savvy. What are some of the challenges you’re facing? Really? Besides math? I need about 15 additional hours in my day to spend doing other things besides working and going to school. How do you really feel about working and going to school at the same time? I feel excited and crazy! It’s been a real challenge and a sacrifice but part of my self-motivation process is not being in competition with anyone but myself. It’s something I always wanted to do. I tried to go back to school in my early years but as we all know life happens and I just wasn’t able to finish at that time. When opportunity presented itself again, I knew I wouldn’t let anyone stop me. I was taught to always believe in myself and that we can do anything we set our mind to do. I truly believe that! Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Finishing my Master’s Degree and working in the Project Management field. Also travelling a lot more! What do you do when you’re not volunteering? Homework! Homework!
Homework! LOL! But seriously… Homework! I’m taking a math class and I’ve always been intimidated by that subject so I spend a lot of time on it. But I do manage to squeeze in some time for family and friends. I love to cook, I do work out occasionally and I’m a DIY queen so I love to shop for gently used items to revamp or repurpose. What has surprised you most about working with CLS? What amazes me is how much I’m learning and how much CLS cares about personal and professional growth. CLS truly embodies and promotes a positive sisterhood environment. CLS certainly believes in its’ members. I have been inspired to bring out a more creative me. I feel empowered to come out of my comfort zone and pursue new opportunities. I’m excited about developing more personal and professional relationships. Name four things that are on your priority list. A makeover!!! A new car!!! A fabulous 50th birthday soon!!! My Master’s Degree!!! In that exact order!!! Anyone who knows Felice knows that she puts the energy in energetic and that she’s definitely a “go getter”. When you see her, you can immediately see the sparkle in her eyes and the pep in her classy steps. Felice has a zest for life and continues to live her life to the fullest! Her journey shows us that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE if you stay focused and keep your eye on your prize. We all have encountered stumbling blocks in our lives…it’s what we do with those blocks that make the difference. Felice is taking those blocks and building a better life for herself, her family and others in the community…one block…one step at a time. n Avis Pitts
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“If I woulda, coulda, shoulda, that’s what folks always say…. .” The lyrics from the Lou Rawls song speaks to the fact that we spend an inordinate amount of time wishing we were 10 pounds slimmer, or that our bank accounts were larger, or we were more beautiful or handsome. If only we would’ve chosen to accept that offered position at the other company …. or we just generally envy others’ lives as we perceive them to be better than the one we are experiencing. The reality is we should only be concerned with who we are, what we have and be grateful for it. Apart from love, gratefulness holds the most prolific magic wand over our lives. Actively exercising gratitude has the potential to transform the very nature of our days and compels us concentrate on our present. The future is not ours to see, and reflecting on the past is only useful to remind us of lessons learned. All we have is the present – what we possess and experience right now! I have fostered some of my greatest Law of Attraction concepts from the books “The Secret” and “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne. To turn up your gratitude meter, one of the simplest models to adopt can be exercised before going to sleep at night and rising in the morning. At night, think of at least one thing (you’ll think of many!) that you are grateful for that occurred that day. If you so choose, keep a notepad at your bedside to quickly jot down those reflections. Your notes will become a rudimentary list upon which to rely when you need a gratitude reminder. The next morning, press the refresh button! Before getting out of bed, set your mind on gratitude for the new day. By concentrating on your thankfulness for the events of the day, nothing but goodness will unfold. Go through the day saying “thank you!” for the big and the small – the simplest of things. Say thank you for your toothbrush and your shower, your breakfast and your clothing. Start your car – say thank you! Because you’re in that dreaded traffic means you have a car – say thank you! Your boss gets on your last nerve, but say thank you anyway – because you have a job! That great parking space at the mall, that dress/suit you’ve had your eye on is on sale – THANK YOU! Living a life paying attention to gratefulness and love, every moment of every day and being steadfastly present in your present only brings you more to be grateful for. Do not cling to what you think should be and choose happiness and joy. Be thankful for the good – and even the not-so-good – the possibilities for gratitude are endless. Endless gratitude -- we can even be grateful for that! What are you grateful for? n Janine Lattimore
CLASSY LIVING SOCIETY’S
f you missed the Classy Living Society’s “Pop-Up Boutique” event (benefiting Jennifer Ann’s Group/Stop Teen Domestic Violence campaign), then you missed a spectacular event!
Picture a room full of the most amazing, purpose-driven women, bonding in the name of a great cause at the classy Le Meridien Hotel, surrounded by red satin drapes, feather boas, sparkling crystal, champagne, and red bowed gift boxes! From the fabulous shoes, handbags, jewelry and raffles, to the delicious sweet tasty treats (compliments of “The Cake Studio”) – the event was classy from the door to the floor! CLS wouldn’t have it any other way! And if you are looking for a personal stylist for that special occasion (or just because) then check out Miss Evonya Easley at www. loveefashion.com. Haven’t found that fabulous red dress yet? Give her a try! She’s ready and available. The power of sisterhood is a beautiful sight to see. When powerful women bond and dream together in one room and plan to make a positive impact on the world, the outcome is magical. Making a difference with others who share the same vision is unstoppable. While one woman with an authentic soul can change the environment, a group of women with authentic souls can change the world! n Yvette Chambers
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Making a positive impact on the world has never been so chic and fun.
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Shopping for the cause...
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UPCOMING EVENTS Red Dress Gala November 8, 2015
Quarterly Member Mixer (Member Only) 1st Quarter 2016
CGA Award Ceremony 1st Quarter 2016
Classy Fundraising Brunch 2nd Quarter 2016
Quarterly Member Mixer (Member Only) 2nd Quarter 2016
THE CLASSY LIVING SOCIETY NEEDS YOUR HELP. As we work diligently to make a difference in the lives of others within the Atlanta, Georgia area, we are asking to find it in your hearts to donate to the movement. CLS’s continues to push forward in an effort to help those within our communities which are less fortunate and are in need of a helping hand. Your donations will allow for our “Foot Soldiers” to give back to others who otherwise would be neglected. By partnering with CLS and making a donation, you are taking a stand and helping to make a difference! Go ahead... make a difference today and let your actions speak volumes and please remember that no donation is too small.
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Join Classy Living Society TODAY! www.cls-volunteer.org