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SPRING FOWARD I SSU E APRIL/MAY 2017

THE MATCHMAKING DUO TALKS DATING, MARRIAGE & MORE

OPERATION RELAX TOP BEACH DESTINATIONS

RENEW YOURSELF

10 WAYS TO REJUVENATE

SOCIALIZE. VOLUNTEER. INSPIRE.


APRIL/MAY 2017

EDITOR IN CHIEF - LASHANDA PITTS CREATIVE DIRECTOR LASHANDA PITTS EDITORS ERIC THOMPSON KELLY BARRETT CONTRIBUTING WRITERS MARCY MEIER BRASELTON NAMEICA CRAIG CRAIG HENRY VALERIE ALERTE KAVANAGH AGNES JAMISON JANINE LATTIMORE AVIS PITTS JASMINE RICHARDSON SHARICE STYLES ALIA THOMPSON REBECCA HYDE WALLS MAGAZINE DESIGN JENNIFER HARDIMON WWW.JENNABILITY.COM BE A PART OF THE NEXT CLASSY

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CONTENTS 24 MOMMY CORNER 12 Emma Shares How She Managed Motherhood, Divorce and Finding Herself

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VOLUNTEERING

SPRING INSPIRATION

04 CLS Launches in Charlotte with

08 Spring Clean Eating Recipes

Volunteering and Skinny Jeans &

10 Spring Fashion Trends

marketing@cls-volunteer.org or

Stilettos

16 10 Ways To Rejuvenate

advertising@cls-volunteer.org.

07 Member Spotlight

31 CLS CARES: Grow Your Own Food

28 CLS Month in Reveiw

SOCIALIZE

COMMUNITY

18 The Matchmaking Making Duo

26 free fab’rik

Talks Love and Relationships

INSPIRATION

24 Top Relaxing Beach Destinations

CHRONICES

For advertisting or editorial contributions, please contact us at

14 Adria Robinson


! e t t o l r a SKINNYJEANS h C e m &STILETTOS Welco

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hat do Skinny Jeans and Stilettos have in common? Both “fashion must- haves” require a level of cool sophistication and a measure of incredible class. This unique combination allowed Classy Living Society’s Skinny Jeans and Stilettos Charlotte, North Carolina Launch a major success. Classy Living Society’s Going National Initiative, which focuses on promoting volunteerism efforts across the country, continues to grow as North Carolina joins California and Georgia as leaders in volunteerism. In fact, the weekend of March 17th - 19th, 2017 left many volunteers speechless, grateful and humbled as CLS began by doing what CLS does best...VOLUNTEERING! The first Charlotte volunteer event, Women’s Health and Fitness Day, was sponsored by the non-profit organization, Passion for Life, and was held on Sat., March 18th from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This group encourages women to take care of their bodies and their valuable health. The main event, CLS’s signature launch, Skinny Jeans and Stilettos, occurred at the Charlotte hot spot, Club One. It was an afternoon of fabulous ladies donning classy pink tops, accompanied with donations of necklaces, handbags, earrings, shades and jeans to be given to Green Jeans Sales Consignment. Green Jeans, an organization committed to supporting local charities that provide free clothing services to families in need, takes boutique donations, sells them, and sends the proceeds to nonprofit

organizations. Sisters Cindy Williams and Dana Degan of Green Jeans truly believe in giving back to the community as they shared their remarkable story with the audience. To learn more about these amazing sisters and their mission visit www. greenjeanssale.com. After the donations were collected at the Skinny Jeans and Stilettos event, it was time for more fun! Cameras and lights flashed as the extraordinarily classy ladies modeled breathtaking stilettos. Upon entering the party room, attendees participated in an energizing ice breaker as “all things CLS” looped on monitors around the room. SHADE, CLS’s socially conscious lipstick line, was highlighted and worn by gorgeous masked models. Each model encouraged visitors to sample the various colors of the line and purchase SHADE. SHADE is helping to bring awareness to causes affecting the world such as: domestic violence, sex trafficking, homelessness, body shaming, breast cancer, childhood hunger, and heart disease. $2.00 from each lipstick purchased is donated to various organizations that are making a difference in the lives of people who need it the most. For more information on SHADE visit WWW.IWEARSHADE.COM. Along with sensational SHADE models, visitors were uplifted by the sensational fragrances in Club One attributed to Scents by ShaRhonda. This vendor showcased her designer oils and fragrances. Her motto, “So many fragrances...so many fabulous choices” rang to be true. The North Carolina based Matchmaking Duo, Kelli Fisher and Tana Gilmore, made an impression on the audience by sharing their insight on dating

and their passion for enhancing the lives of others. This Certified Life Coaching Duo definitely had an exhilarating story to tell. For more information about this dynamic duo visit The Matchmaking Duo.com. In addition to the fun, entertainment and amazing stories, CLS drew attention to the unpleasant subject of abuse. Actress Carol McKenith gave an outstanding performance portraying a young woman that experienced both verbal and mental abuse by an over jealous boyfriend. Her act was so realistic and profound that all who watched actually believed that this was really occurring and began to try to assist Carol. Carol gave a heartfelt performance that will well be remembered for a long time. To top the afternoon off, CLS had a raffle that included numerous giveaways of SHADE, a free CLS membership, a Red Dress Gala ticket, a $100 DSW gift card, logos by TamlynDesign.com,business cards by Jennability.com, an autographed copy of the Matchmaking Duo’s book Relationship DuOver, Scents by ShaRhonda, and a $50 gift card from Green Jeans. Yes...Classy Living Society fit all of these spectacular activities into one phenomenal afternoon! There were lots of warm hugs and boisterous laughter with new and well-acquainted family and friends. A number of women made the important decision to join CLS and make volunteering a priority. These women made a commitment to serve through civic engagement in the community. What a beautiful sisterhood bonding experience we had. We are so excited and grateful for our new Charlotte members! All who participated in the Skinny Jeans and Stilettos Charlotte, North Carolina Launch left smiling and full of excitement for the future of our continued dedication to making a noteable difference in this world.

- Avis Pitts 4


VOLUNTEERING

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

AgnesJamison BETTER THE SECOND TIME AROUND

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gnes Jamison continues to take the Classy Living Society volunteering challenge very seriously. As a previous member spotlight winner, Agnes remains focused on being a positive change agent in her community and beyond. You may remember this hard working, dedicated educator from DeWitt, Arkansas. She was our member spotlight winner in our fall 2016 Classy Chronicles issue. Agnes stays focused on making her mark in the field of education as she’s currently teaching 2nd grade in Newton County, GA. Being certified in both special and general education, and after teaching for 20 plus years in special education; Agnes has decided to use her general education certification, to positively impact these students’ lives. We asked Agnes what’s changed and what’s remained the same since we spoke with her last and her reply: “One thing that has changed is the new faces that I continue to see in CLS. I get so excited when I see a new member has joined this great team. I love being a Clutch Buddy and helping new members learn all things CLS. I want to tell them all of the great things that they have to look forward to, and the wonderful sisters that make up CLS!! The one thing that has remained the same, is the level of dedication that each sister shows to giving back to their community. “ It’s great to be the “volunteer queen”! How do you continue to do it, Agnes? What would you say to those who think that they just don’t have the time to volunteer? Agnes humbly states, “I simply realize that being a part of something bigger than yourself is a privilege that must not be taken lightly. Having the opportunity to give back is the best feeling in the world.“ “One goal I hope to achieve in 2017 is to travel abroad I have been outside of the United States on several occasions, but I desire to plan a multiple country tour...Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, and Spain…have passport, will travel!!” One of Agnes’s favorite quotes: “Those who can, do. Those you can do more, volunteer.” - author unknown We can see that Agnes truly values volunteering. She’s usually the first one to arrive and the last one to leave....helping to provide the support that only a true CLS volunteer provides. Her pride is obvious and her genuine and warm smile says it all! Agnes Jamison...showing us that when it comes to volunteering...things do get better...the second time around. - Avis Pitts


spring clean (EAT)ing

eat brighter. feel lighter. I’ve got a thing for spring. I guess you could call it a fling. The longer, warmer days are here and it’s time to shed the bulky sweaters that helped hide my winter indulgences. The change in season means my local farmer’s market will be overflowing with fresh, beautiful, brightly colored fare…fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, meats, cheeses. For me, it’s love at first sight. My kitchen is the center of my universe, literally. It is the space in my life where my family and friends gravitate. In short, it’s my very happy place. I love to eat. I love to cook. It’s all about balance and moderation. I don’t deprive myself of foods I love, I just make healthy choices most of the time. Trust me, there is ALWAYS room in your life for that favorite dessert. The key to clean, light eating is to keep it simple - choose fresh, nutrient-rich ingredients and buy local whenever possible. Here’s what you’ll find in my kitchen this spring: Microgreens – These miniature versions of fully matured plants are harvested in 2 - 4 weeks and pack a concentrated, nutritional punch. Turmeric - “The Wonder Spice” is a mild-flavored, brightly colored root with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Chia seeds - These tiny, nutritional powerhouses are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Ginger - This spicy, aromatic root has been known to promote digestion and stimulate metabolism. I’m delighted to share a few of my recipes that are sure to put a little spring in your step. Marcy Meier Braselton Founder, Community Kitchen Atl Marcy is an imperfect chef and food blogger living in Atlanta with her husband, two children and golden doodle. Follow her on Instagram @ communitykitchenatl and visit www.communitykitchenatl.com for more delicious recipes.


ROASTED RED SNAPPER

2 lb red snapper fillet 3 scallions, thinly sliced 1/2 Cara Cara or navel orange, thinly sliced 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced olive oil salt and pepper Preheat oven or grill to 425 degrees. Rinse the red snapper fillet and place (skin side down) in a large baking dish. Arrange orange and lemon slices on top, sprinkle with scallions, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast or grill for 20 - 22 minutes or until cooked to your liking. If grilling, place skin side down and do not flip. Serves 4 –6

LEMON POUND CAKE 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour 1 t baking powder 1 lemon, zested 10 T cultured butter, softened 1 C caster sugar 2 eggs 1/2 C cultured whole buttermilk powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter and lemon zest on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl, and continue beating for 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined. Reduce speed to LOW and slowly add the flour mixture, scraping down the sides and beating until smooth. Transfer the batter to the lined loaf pan and bake for 55 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serves 6 - 8.

DETOX GREENIE 1 C baby spinach 1 orange, peeled 1 T almond butter 1 T local honey 1 t fresh ginger, peeled and grated 1/4 C coconut water 1 1/2 C ice Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serves 1 - 2

HEARTY OAT & CHIA MUESLI 1/2 C old-fashioned oats 1/3 C chia seeds 1 T ground flaxseed 1 T cacao nibs 1 T raw coconut nectar 2 C unsweetened almond milk Garnish: pepitas, fresh berries and dusting of ground cinnamon In a medium bowl, combine the oats, chia seeds, ground flaxseed and cacao nibs. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut nectar and almond milk. Add to the dry mixture and whisk until completely incorporated. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The following morning, enjoy garnished with pepitas, fresh berries and a dusting of ground cinnamon. Serves 2


Spring

INTO STYLE

What makes every lady want to break out her cute clothes and hit the town? It’s something about the smell of the blooming flowers and the brightness of the spring sun that ignites a spirit of restlessness and excitement. It’s not that we look a mess all winter, but the iridescent hues offered in the spring are so fun and playful. Ladies, this year will be no different! The Pantone top 10 colors of the year are Niagara, Island Paradise, Primrose Yellow, Pale Dogwood, Lapis Blue, Greenery, Flame, Pink Yarrow, Kale and Hazelnut. Although not all of the Pantone top 10 are bright colors, they’re all lighter softer hues that contrast the deeper, darker shades of the winter. You can try mixing and matching these shades or combine them into looks with neutrals like black, white beige or jean. Another great way to wear these colors would be in a monochromatic fashion. For example, one could wear the same shade of color from head to toe and accessorize it with another bright complimenting color or a neutral. Lastly, although I’ve listed all of Pantone’s choices for this spring, the designers have focused very hard on two colors: Greenery and Primrose Yellow. Ladies, get ready to see and wear a lot of both shades! Remember that not every trend is for everyone, so don’t ever feel like you have to try what everyone else is doing. It’s important to wear pieces that make you feel confident and beautiful. Don’t forget, if you still have a pulse you still have a purpose and that purpose has a look. Until next time, Sharice Styles

S t r i pe s

You can mix stripes with solid bottoms or a solid top, or you can wear striped accessories to complement a normal look you’d already wear. There’s really no way to mess up this trend.

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w h i t e sh i r t d r e ss

K h a ki

This trend is really an old classic coming back around, but you’ll see full khaki looks this time. Just think of khaki dresses and khaki jumpsuits. Remember, mix in brighter colors to bring some modern chic to the look while maintaining the clean chic feel.

This trend is a fun take on the woman wearing the man’s shirt, with the difference being the white dress shirt should be worn outside. It’s okay, ladies! You can have some fun and belt it or throw a blazer or cardigan on top.

Western

This trend is going to be a lot of fun for the rustic or boho chic ladies. However, we can all add a touch of western to our wardrobe through studded shoes, tassel handbags, or big belt buckles. Style tips provided by Sharice Styles Sharice Styles is an image consultant for powerhouse female entrepreneurs as well as a motivational speaker. www. ShariceStyles.com Follow on IG, FB & Twitter: @ShariceStyles Pintrest: MzShariceStyles 11


MOMMY CORNER

Emma’sStory maybe I was just in denial, but I had never been happier with myself and I was not about to let anyone take my happiness away from me.” Meet Emma Chesmore. Twenty-something, resident of Bellevue,Washington. Established beach body coach with approximately 15K collective followers of her social media platforms. Mother, wife, and clean eating enthusiast who had known, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that she had already conquered what she thought would be the most trying time of her life. She and her boyfriend from high school were expecting a baby together, in which she got a lot of backlash for from the people in her life. Emma blatantly shamed all of her nay-sayers by bouncing back from what they called a “set-back” and finishing school, getting married, establishing a family, and having a successful career. Emma literally felt as if she were living something out of a movie, “or now days, something you would see on social media,” she coyly adds.

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e have all done this before, the whole transition from winter to spring- we trade in our sweaters and light scarves for rompers and sundresses, box up all of our favorite winter boots to bust out the open-toed sandals and wedges, set our clocks back one hour and look forward to seeing the array of colors from the blossoming flowers and that dry straw-like stuff on your front lawn turning green again. There are times where one can often parallel the changing of the seasons with the seasons of life- we may go through dark, cold times, with an end nowhere in sight. It is in trying times such as this that we should always remember that a new season will come – no matter how dark and bleak it may currently seem. “Maybe I was blind, or

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After a few years of security and marital bliss, Emma undoubtedly believed that she had built foundation for herself by conquering the dark times, turning them around for the better. She was blessed with the news of a lifetime- she was pregnant again, this time, a girl. Emma and her husband were expecting a daughter – the perfect addition to their “perfect” family. But suddenly, she found herself in yet another dark season, this one the darkest of them all. She found herself in a situation that she never expected to be in – married and pregnant,yet alone. Her marriage with her husband had crumbled right before her eyes. Blinded with the pain of infidelity, backstabbing and betrayal, Emma had to do something that she never, ever thought that she would have to do

– leave the home she had established and move back into her parents’ home. She had to start all over again. With so much at stake – children, a career, her followers’ support, Emma did not let her situation get the best of her. She looked forward, pressing through the storm, making the conscious decision to work on herself, more mentally than physically, for a whole year. It ended up boosting her self-esteem. It also boosted her business.

She created The Mind Body Soul Community, an online network in whichwomen in the group make it their mission to uplift, inspire, and encourage one another on a daily basis. “I want to help empower other women to feel the best from the inside out, and I know how important support and accountability is; no one should do life alone.” Seasons come and go, and such is life. Finding yourself in an unexpected valley is definitely not an ideal situation, but there comes a point where you have to press forward and renew, revive, and restore your life. “You realize how far you’ve come and you remember when you felt like you were dying and thought you were such a mess that you would never recover. And you smile,” adds Emma. “You smile because you are TRULY proud of yourself and the person you’ve fought to become. And continue to become.” You may contact Emma (The Mind Body Soul Community) directly via the following platforms: Instagram: @emma_chesmore Facebook: www.facebook.com/emmachesmorefitness Email: emmachesmorefitness@gmail. com -Jasmine Richardson


INSPIRATION Topeka Kansas native, Adria D. Robinson, is a highly sought-after social media magnate. Her gift to inspire myriads of women to pursue their purpose, and to bring reality to their entrepreneurial dreams, is affectionately dubbed the “GirlBoss Savant� - a marketplace influence and global powerhouse. Adria is the mother of two handsome and brilliant sons, Brandon, 15, and Adrian, 12. We were lucky enough to sit down to learn more about Adria and her company, Powerful Women In Business.

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Classy Chronicles: What was the # 1 factor that stemmed from your life’s challenges, that gives you passion to create change and opportunity? Adria: I got tired of having no direction, and I became tired of always being lost and not knowing my purpose. So, I went on a mission to find my purpose and that allowed me to turn to God, get saved and start learning ways to listen to Him. I asked myself: “Like, why am I here? Why do I exist?” The blessing came to me as an opportunity to be a part of the National Congress of Black Women, which was my first time being a part of any type of women’s empowerment association. Candidly, this was conformational for me, especially coming out of a lifestyle where I was lost: I was a street girl and a drug dealer. I really wanted to get out of the game but didn’t know how. This is what the National Congress of Black Women did for me. They were my support system. The more I was around them, the more I became involved in the community, and the more I knew this is where I needed to be. After being a part of the organization for a while, I decided to create my own organization using the vision God gave me. This knowledge served as the catalyst to come up with my first organization: National Association of Professional Women. CC: At what point in your life did you have the “aha” moment? The discovering of your life’s purpose? Adria: At about age 27, my “aha” moment occurred when I was robbed at gunpoint. The gunman put the gun to my head and, at some point in the robbery, attempted to pull the trigger, but it jammed. I had just lost my mother around that time and these events caused me to keep reflecting on my life. I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, I’m supposed to be gone, what’s happening?” wasn’t supposed to be doing, all the things I regretted, things I could have been doing better, and the things I was doubting myself about. I could have died that day, and I wouldn’t have made an impact on the world. In my perspective, I hadn’t accomplished anything: the only constants were burdens, sadness and depression. I started thinking, I have to change my life, I have to find my purpose. Now today, since I have discovered my passion and purpose, I spend every single day doing what I love. Not only do I live each day the way I want to, but I also empower other women to believe in themselves, tell their stories, turn their pain into purpose, their mess into a message and make their testimonies something that will help the next person.

CC: Did you ever struggle with confidence? Adria: Oh, yes! Coming to Atlanta from Kansas as a twelve year old was a big culture shock. Before I moved here, we were sheltered kids, not being allowed to go outside or make friends. I wasn’t confident with who I was and didn’t like the way I looked, and I attribute this lack of self-esteem to the physical and emotional abuse by my stepfather. I didn’t get better with this until I was in high school. Then after high school, the only confidence I had came from men. So because I never had a moment where I actually loved myself without it coming from a man, confidence was something I struggled with for a long time. It wasn’t something someone else could help me with. I had to get in the mindset to build my own self-esteem and confidence. I just had to snap out of it and love myself more and once I did a whole world opened up for me. . CC: What words of wisdom would you share with a new business woman to help her combat lack of confidence or fear? Adria: I would tell new business women to remember their “why.” It isn’t easy but if you always refer back to the actual reason that motivated you to start a new business, then you’re more likely to build the confidence you need. Believe in yourself. If you don’t have the confidence or believe in yourself, then you can’t have a successful business, period. Have faith. No matter what challenges that may rise up against your business, keep the faith and persevere. Personal issues may arise and you may have to put the business on the back burner for a while to get a grip on life. You may have health issues or many other things that may make you feel like you’re putting your dreams on hold, but the key thing will be perseverance. Lastly, you have to work hard and give full effort: not 100 percent, but 100,000 percent. Just remember that whatever energy that you put into building and growing your business, that’s what you’re going to get back.

friends and family members when you first launch the business. So the first thing about PWIB is that we serve as a support system filled with other women entrepreneurs. Secondly, we are all about inspiration and motivation. Sometimes when you feel like you want to give up, you can’t go to those close to you about the pain of building the business. You need the love and support of those who care and understand to give you that attention you need to feel secure to continue building the business. Another is: resources. Other groups are afraid to provide the resources they have. I want the women to be able to come into PWIB to find the resources they need to grow. It can be social media, branding, marketing, blogging, whatever. Another opportunity is providing networking opportunities. Not just networking events but we also teach women networking online. Lastly, we provide business support. The overall goal is to educate, provide resources and support.

CC: How Does Powerful Women In Business serve as an advocate for change to women? Adria: We’re a genuine sisterhood. As an entrepreneur, you may find that you are lonely and sometimes can’t find the support needed from

Follow Nameica on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @NameicaSpeaks

CC: How can other women visionaries join forces with you on your mission to destroy the stereotyping of networking organizations, specifically operated by women of color? Adria: Just shoot me a message via my website at https://adriarobinson. com/workwithme/. Anyone looking to collaborate or connect can message me and I will be willing to connect and make it happen. CC: What can we expect to see next from the awesome Adria? Adria: I just gained the opportunity to be The National Social Media Director for Black CEO. That’s huge for me. In the future, I can see myself speaking more, having my own TV Network, and making my organization a household name. The main goal is to just be a Power House! I see myself as the next Oprah in my field. I just want to see my sign over 285. (Laughs) You can also reach Adria and Powerful Women in Business, LLC on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pwiba - Nameica Craig

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1. EXERCISE

Getting your body moving is one of the fastest methods! It releases endorphins, aids in weight loss and improves overall health. Elaine Johnson, yoga instructor and owner On The Mat, LLC, says, “The most profound benefit from yoga is balance, both mentally and physically. It [teaches you] to calm the mind and learn that transformation begins with Self.” Building mental stability and physical strength through yoga poses and breathing practices nourishes the spirit. Whether you decide on yoga, cardio, cycling, swimming, get moving!

“SPRING” INTO A NEW YOU!

10 FOOLPROOF TIPS TO REJUVENATE YOURSELF

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n our quasi-hibernation during the cold days of winter, we tend to stay indoors more, which leads to days of lounging and reaching for warm, delicious (and fattening) comfort foods. Yet, as soon as are aware that spring is coming, we are ready to shake off our winter funk! Are you in need of simple ways to revitalize yourself to get ready for warmer seasons? The following are 10 foolproof tips toward renewal of mind, body and spirit.

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2. SOCIAL MEDIA/TV BREAK Have you heard the phrase, “you are what you eat?” Same goes for the information we absorb; it becomes part of our psyche. Be careful what you listen to/watch and guard your heart and mind from negative energy. Take a break from “screens” and read a book or sit quietly.


5. CHANGING YOUR DIET Making a commitment to eat clean

doesn’t have to mean torturing yourself with drastic deprivation tactics. Doing one thing at a time, like eliminating sodas, incorporating one additional serving of fruits or vegetables, or cutting down on fried foods can make all the difference in the world.

6. NEW WARDRODE ITEMS Making a commitment to eat clean

doesn’t have to mean torturing yourself with drastic deprivation tactics. Doing one thing at a time, like eliminating sodas, incorporating one additional serving of fruits or vegetables, or cutting down on fried foods can make all the difference in the world.

3.PAMPER SESSIONS Keep a regular schedule of pamper sessions to boost personal well-being, i.e. spa visits, hair appointments, manicures/pedicures, massages, etc. Anything that will make you look and feel fabulous is a winning situation!

7. GET RID OF OLD HABITS AND ESTABLISH NEW ONES Do you

travel the same route on your daily commute? Take a different route occasionally! If you don’t already do so, things like waking up earlier, nightly preparation for the next day and making up your bed each morning are small and simple steps toward a new lease on life. Tons of websites encourage forming new habits to get your happy on – Google it!

8. COUNSELING “Bag lady, you gon’ hurt yo’ back…dragging all

them bags like that.” We are all familiar with Erykah Badu’s song “Bag Lady.” What bags are you carrying? Childhood traumas, hurt, pain, bitterness, guilt...negative emotions and feelings are a heavy load! Find a reputable counselor for your needs. It is an effective stepping stone to enjoying emotional freedom.

9. MAINTAIN AN UNCOMPLICATED LIFE Eliminate and/or divert

anything that makes your life complicated. Strive for simplicity – gather clutter and unused items and donate them – it’s time for spring cleaning anyway! Customize a minimalist lifestyle in all facets of your life - relationships, work and home environs, schedules, etc. Learn to say no and learn to let go!

4. DETOX A detox is a great way to give your body a tune-up and is a great kickoff for a diet or clean eating campaign. It rids your system of toxins from unhealthy foods and the environment. Research the various detox programs online and choose the one that is most appropriate for you.

10. TAME YOUR THOUGHT PROCESSES Let daily positive affirma-

tions become your mantra. We are thinking beings and negative thoughts are unavoidable. Don’t fight them or dwell on them – remind yourself that they are not your reality. You owe it to yourself to recharge! With a little discipline, some research and a PUSH to revive your “get-up-and-go” that seems to have “got-up-and went” during winter months, you’ll be ready for flip-flop season in no time flat!

- Janine Lattimore

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When L ove Calls

THE MATCHMAKING DUO ANSWERS!


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pring has sprung, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and LOVE is most certainly in the air! Just days before Classy Living Society made its debut in Charlotte, North Carolina, with its signature “Skinny Jeans and Stilettos” event, I had the good fortune of engaging in a fun, light-hearted yet enlightening and educational conversation with Charlotte’s very own, nationally acclaimed, Television featured, published authors, podcast hosts, Essence.com Bloggers, experts on Love, Life and Relationships, and to round it all off, successful business owners, Tana Gilmore and Kelli Fisher of The Matchmaking DUO of Fisher Gilmore Matchmaking. Their services include Matchmaking, Date Coaching, Speaking, and Training. In this candid conversation, you will learn about who they are, how they started their business, what makes their clients successful in all things love, and they even shared tips for both singles and married couples alike. Now, go ahead… grab a glass of wine, a pad and pen, and get ready to learn about how to find a loving relationship, be in a loving relationship, and stay in a loving relationship and find happiness all around! Let the conversation begin… Classy Chronicles: First, let me just start by asking how you met each other and how has your relationship evolved? Kelli: Tana and I met about fourteen years ago. We met because we were in the same sorority, and Tana’s company was looking for someone to partner with them on presentations. We presented both of our services to C-level executives, and our companies ended up putting us to work together,. We would travel the country, from Monday thru Thursday, for years presenting and closing deals. Over time, we became really good friends and one day we decided to start sharing and opening up to one another and we uncovered that we were both going through a really difficult time in our respective marriages. We started to coach each other through our marriages and our relationship woes and problems.

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Despite it all, we would have to get ourselves together and go into the boardroom, meet with clients, make presentations, and close the deal. People began to watch our journey, even though our journeys went two totally different directions. After 10 years, my marriage ended up not working out. I moved down to Charlotte, North Carolina after my divorce. Tana and I still worked together and when people would come over to chat with us, for whatever reason, they would start telling us all kinds of personal life stories. Ironically speaking we were “coaching” without even having the credentials. It just seemed like, we were kind-of the “go-to people” for years, even to the point where managers within our companies would say, “Ok, give Kelli and Tana a minute, they’re in the “coaches corner.” So we thought to ourselves, “Hmm, we’re pretty good at this! From that our coaching business began and we became certified and obtained the necessary credentials. Then, as the women we were coaching started to feel better, gain more confidence, and become more energetic and assured in their prospective journeys, they’d say, “Do you know anyone who you could introduce me to?” Tana and I realized that there was a matchmaking institute in New York and we flew up there and received our certifications in matchmaking. We decided to add that component to our business; and here we are, four years later. The Matchmaking Duo of Fisher Gilmore Matchmaking! Tana: Then, with my marriage, we ended up going through a separation for two years. During that time, I worked on myself, spiritually and professionally. In time, my husband and I got back together, and we’ve been married 16 years today. CC: Oh Wow! That’s an amazing blessing! Tana: People do not usually get back together after a separation. Again our clients get two perspectives here. Kelli is actively dating and she’s divorced, and I’m married. Kelli, though divorced, is a firm believer in marriage. This allows our clients to get dual perspectives on relationships and marriage from us. Kelli: A lot of clients will come to me, either on the brink of


divorce, or have just gone through a divorce, and not knowing, that’s a really low point, a lot of times. I mean there are some people who say, “I’m having a divorce party’, but most people really go into marriage for the right reasons, and it takes a lot to build back up again. I, like Tana, had to get back into my faith and really rediscover myself, which is one of the things we had added to our book entitled “Relationship DUOvers: A Guide to Real Life, Real Issues, Real Love and Real Happiness”. We have so many stories and things that we had to overcome that we just had to put it in our book. We also included scenarios shared by our clients using anonymity, and that we believe would resonate with those that are following us and perhaps interested in our coaching and matchmaking services. We have, like Tana said, a dual perspective, and I think one of the things also for people who come to us, since we are either married like Tana, or single like myself, is that we are like our clients and we are not talking down to them. CC: What’s your matchmaking approach and how has it attributed itself to your success to helping men and women find love? Tana: Yes, in helping both men and women our approach is a little different from our colleagues. Everyone that walks through the door of our office, or wherever they may be, because we are a national company, they get coached! They go through an eight-week coaching program first, whether they want it, or feel like they need it or not; because we want them to have the tools to sustain a healthy, happy, long-term, relationship. Matchmaking is significantly tedious, I mean, painstakingly so. It’s a lot of work, but it is a labor of love. By the time it takes us to actually find their optimal match; we want them to have the tools to sustain a relationship. Some of the things we go through are communication tools, such as conflict resolution. We review and determine their love languages, how they communicate with their partner, how they teach their partner to love them, etc. Again, we go through the whole gamut. We talk about flirting, things that are going to keep you happy. We also engage in role playing, so that we know how the client is going to respond when challenges arise, and what to do in those situations. Ultimately, we make sure they’re prepared before we sit them in front of anyone for a first date. Kelli: One other thing too, we help a lot with dating. So many of our clients male and female are very successful. They’ve climbed the corporate ladder, or they’ve started their own business. One thing though is that a lot of times they’ve been so focused on work that they’ve kind of forgotten how to date. So, we rebuild their confidence there in helping them to get date ready to have some conversation topics. First, by removing your corporate titles, and learning who you are at the core, and getting back to that person, just your first name, letting the other person know who you actually are and what you’re offering someone. Tana: Precisely, not what your title is at work. That’s not allowed. Usually, when we ask them, what types of men they are interested in, they’ll have this long laundry list. Then we back into, “what are you offering this man or this woman with this long list that you’re requesting?” and its crickets. They have no idea. This is where we

The Matchmaking DUO gives feedback on Classy Living Society’s Charlotte launch event, Skinny Jeans & Stilettos “I really enjoyed the Skinny Jeans and Stilettos event. As soon as I walked in the vibe felt like family...real sisters united to uplift each other and share a common goal of giving back. The icebreaker was a fun way to get to know other guests so even if someone arrived alone they could make instant connections. The décor was next level so you could feel the effort and attention to detail that was exerted to make every guest feel amazing. Kudos to Classy Living Society and here’s to many more wonderful events all in the name of giving back and helping others.” - Kelli “The Skinny Jeans and Stilettos event was FANTASTIC! I was impressed from the initial warm hug at the door to the classy and tasteful decor of the venue. It was refreshing to be surrounded by amazing women who uplift and support each other all for one purpose “charity!” One thing that resonated with me was, when I purchased a SHADE Lipstick and I was able to choose what charity I wanted my donation to go to, the long charity list of needs for women and children, made me want to do and give more. The name of the organization says it all Classy Living!” Tana help them uncover and extract what it is they’re bringing to the table; their self-worth, their value. Kelli: We talk to men so often that we’re almost translators at many points. We talk to single men every day, so we are able to interpret what men are looking for and what women are looking for, even after they have gone on a first date. You know, a lot of times someone may not have given enough feedback or they didn’t say, “Oh, I had an amazing time”, or “I thought he was wonderful!” In turn, we are here to help them decode the unshared and keep the relationship going, and in doing so, our clients appreciate that aspect of our service as well. CC: I was very fascinated when I listened to one of your podcasts, as part of my research. The name of the podcast

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some tools to be able to make their profile more effective, and let them know how to start the conversation, and then moving to a phone call and then a first date. We will also coach them in the dating department. Tana: Then with Facebook, it being such a huge platform for meeting people, it allows for you to share your relationship status, and take advantage of who is single in your friendship list. So, you can go and see who is single, and check to see who you know mutually, and call that person up or send them a message, or simply just ask them to hang out. We always say that the best introduction is a “friend-troduction”. So we encourage them to find single friends. It’s a huge platform of singles, and it’s free. It gives you your marital status up front, and usually, you’ll have friends in common so you can see some interesting things about them on their page. We have our clients go back and check their social media and maybe rearrange some photos and make sure that it represents what they are looking for and are ready for a relationship, in order for somebody to take them seriously. Kelli: You know in our culture we’ve been taught to just not think about it. (It’ll happen along the way). Technology has made it so that love does not happen as effectively or efficiently along the way. You have to date with intention. In other cultures, what we’ve found is that they are taught at an early age to go to college and they usually come out of school with their degree, but also a fiancé, or a husband and when we as African-American women come out of Kelli Fisher (Date Coach/ Matchmaker) was “The Love Her Show with The DUO”. What was your motivation behind creating the podcast series? I know that it is relatively new, but what made you, after four years, decide that it is now time to launch a podcast? Tana: It’s amazing because Kelli and I really came to the conclusion that we love radio. We’ve been on numerous radio shows, and we love the radio platform. People had been asking us to create a radio show, or podcast, for many years. Our original intention was to just piggy back off of someone else’s or attach ourselves with someone else’s radio show and maybe get a recurring spot on there, but we found that we really needed more time on our own. We have a lot to share, and we wanted a large platform to be able to share our own thoughts and our own ideas with our personal readers and listeners. Kelli: And it’s nice to be able to share. I mean, we get a lot of questions that come to us, since we are Essence.com bloggers. We have a section on our website entitled “Ask the Duo”, that sometimes gets questions from followers and we answer all of them personally. It’s just easier sometimes, if we get something that’s coming to us on a regular basis, to elaborate on it on the podcast, and spend 30 minutes on the topic and give all the answers in one space, because obviously, if they’re coming to us about the same thing, then it would be good to have the opportunity to give more detail on it, and to be able to help the people that follow us and those who are seeking more information. Tana: And we’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people that have been listening and have been enjoying it, so that lets us know that we’re on the right path. CC: In today’s society, where social media and dating websites are all the rave, and instant gratification is what motivates people, What is FGM’s stance on the use of social media as a means of finding love? Kelli: Oh, we love social media, we love online dating too. Our goal is to help people with what’s available, so social media is a great way to meet people, as well as through online dating. There are thousands and thousands of legitimately single people on there who are actually looking for a relationship, so why ignore that? What we’ve done, however, is allow people to be able to come to us and say, “well, we tried online dating, and it didn’t work” and so, then we’ll go in and help them, and give them

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CC: If you could share 5 Dating Tips with us what would they be? What are your Top 5 dating tips? Tana: 1) look approachable. Often times, we find that some people look like they don’t want to be bothered, or they don’t even want to say hello. We want people to look approachable and invite someone to have a conversation with them, with a warm smile and a soft hello. Kelli: 2) Do not miss out on opportunities. You can’t imagine how many people would tell us, “Well, I saw someone in the grocery store, but I didn’t want to look too desperate.” So throw that out of your vocabulary; no more missed opportunities, put yourself in the driver’s seat. DO NOT be afraid to go up and smile or give a compliment. It helps to start the conversation, because you really want to make sure that they know it’s ok to start a conversation. Tana: 3) Have your personal elevator pitch prepared. So, that would mean having a little something about yourself ready to share in the event someone were to say “Tell me a little something about yourself”, you won’t be a deer caught in headlights. You want to at least have a 15 second or so pitch to say about yourself, excluding things about your career. Examples would sound like, “I like to travel” or” I love giving back”, anything about yourself that you can elaborate on and you guys can explore. Kelli: 4) Wear color, or a unique statement piece. Something that would start a conversation, and make it easier to approach you. Black would not be good color to wear because it easily fades into the crowd, but if you wear color, or a statement piece, which can serve as a conversation starter, that’s really going to make your journey easier. Tana: 5) Close the deal. You know, so I’d say at the conclusion of a conversation, “I’d love to keep in touch” or something like that. That’s only giving him the option, or opportunity to ask you for your phone number. So the goal at this point is to exchange contact information. Another example of that would be to say, “I’d love to continue this conversation later”. And you’re still allowing the man to be the aggressor and ask for your number, without you feeling you’re being aggressive. Also, it’s ok to text immediately and say something like, “I had a great conversation and it was great meeting you today; I look forward to hearing from you later”. CC: Does the Matchmaking Duo provide their clients with


how to dress for the first date, and perhaps other dating etiquette tips? Tana: Definitely, we do image consultations with our clients just to prepare them. A lot of times they have tailored suits because they work in corporate America, or their scrubs, because they’re in healthcare, and they don’t really have any dating clothes. So we will send them out with an Image Consultant, to consult with them on a Skype or Zoom platform, and evaluate their wardrobe (or trash it). We also encourage them to get fun dating clothes that they would not wear to work. Kelli- In addition, we encourage our clients to move all of their darker clothes to the back of the closet, and the colored, or brighter garments, to the front so that they highlight their attributes and accentuate the better qualities of their bodies tastefully. Heels and statement pieces are very necessary.

MMD DATING 101

”I think our biggest challenge is for our clients to toss the rules. We encourage them to not worry about work or things of the like. Allow those corporate rules and work rules to fall away and enjoy their personal time. Wear whatever you feel fantastic in, and don’t worry about being conservative or following the rules.” - Tana CC: Now, for our married readers, what Top 3 tips for Married Couples would you give them to ensure that they would not have to DUOver? Kelli: 1) Keeping lines of communication open is important. We hear that so often, but I think the main thing that comes to us, is that again with people climbing the corporate ladder, trying to get the bills paid, and when children come, sometimes, you kind of take each other for granted. It’s important you continue to operate in “date mode”, and just make time for each other. Tana: 2) Bring out your alter ego and add some spice in your relationship and you have to bring that out, you know, spontaneously, or at any given moment. So keep the spice alive and whatever that may be, and have those lines of communication open. Whatever that is, because you should be pulling it out about once a month to break up the monotony. Kelli:Lastly, as the years go by, make a list of the things you fell in love with originally because as things become more difficult, that can become hard to keep in the forefront of your thoughts. We always encourage our clients to pull out that list, and reflect on what it is, what are great points about him or her that made you fall in love with them. A lot of times it will help them to stay grounded. Tana- Bonus Tip: Continue to uplift, and encourage and support each other. Often times we evolve into different people over the years and needs change and so, just be cognizant of the changes and how you can support and encourage your spouse as they occur. CC: You both co-authored a book and released it in February 2015, “Relationship DUOvers: A Guide to Real Life, Real Issues, Real Love and Real Happiness”. What inspired you to write this book? Tana: Well as you can see, we’ve made so many mistakes over the years, that what we realized was these mistakes

were not only for us, but for us to share with the world as well. Our desires stemmed from not having other men and women make the same mistakes that we made in our journeys. Learn from our mistakes. We strive to be as transparent and open as possible to help them in their current relationships as well as future relationships. Kelli: When we first sat down to write the book we thought about it; we had done so much along the way, we’ve had so many ups and downs and we’ve helped so many clients. We just wished that there was a book out there, like a book before you say “I do”. We wanted to share so many things, so that’s really where our inspiration came from. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people in all types of relationships. Whether they are dating, or been married for a years. They seem to just resonate with the things we have gone through and how we handled it. I think people really appreciated that we put everything in the book. CC: What do you want our readers to know about the MMD? Kelli: We want people to know that we’re more than matchmakers. We are two really good friends that have been through a lot together and we’re encouragers! We encourage other people and we encourage you to think outside of your box.

Tana Gilmore (Relationship Coach/ Matchmaker) Learn more about The Matchmaking DUO Visit: www.TheMatchmakingDuo.com Please email: info@FGMatch.com Facebook: @TheMatchMakingDuo Twitter: @TheMatchMa:kingDuo Book can be found on www.Amazon.com “Relationship DUOvers: A Guide to Real Life, Real Issues, Real Love and Real Happiness” - Valérie Alerte Kavanagh

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TOP PICKS

CANCUN, MEXICO b

Cancun offers several different beaches to choose from. If you like large beaches, then Playa Delfines would be the place for you. It’s widely known as the largest beach in this part of Mexico, not to mention it has the brightest water in the city. Another great beach is Playa Tortugas; this beach is situated on a part of the island that has almost no waves. Is there anything more calming than a beach with no waves? Of course not. You’re sure to fall asleep on the beach with drink in hand.

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Relax

OPERATION

Based on what type of travel experience you want, there are plenty of destinations to choose from. While some people want adventure or a trip that provides an educational experience, others desire journeys that may reignite lost passion or help them discover family origin. For certain, there is one thing that can resonate with everyone from all walks of life: relaxation! Craig Henry with The Travel Junkees share his top picks for the ultimate relaxtion getaway.

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SEYCHILLES b

Often times, when we are at work or dealing with the trivialities of our daily lives, we think or dream about a place to escape. In our minds we picture somewhere warm, remote, bright blue waters, tranquil and crowd free. Well insert Seychelles into that dream now. Seychelles is a cluster of 115 islands sprinkled about the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa. They actually have white beaches, and swaying palm trees. What better way to relax than on a beach that resembles a post card?

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PALM ISLAND, ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

Picture yourself romping around on your own island: a private bungalow, no one around for miles, palm trees and the sweet sounds of calm are all part of the reality. Along with picturesque,turquoise waters and sands so soft they feel like talcum powder beneath your feet. Palm Island is a place that will give you privacy.

MOLOKAI, HAWAII b

This beach is great for the perfect getaway. It also has white sands and offers an amazing view and stunning beauty. You’ll also have plenty of seclusion. This beach is quaint: it is three miles long and one mile wide--a great place to watch the Hawaiian sunset.

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Lagos is in the southern part of Portugal, better known as the Algarve region. The town is famous for its old walls, cliffs and beaches. The weather is pretty good all year, but the best time to visit is between the months of May and October. Usually the temperature is a steady 74 to 84 degrees, which is perfect beach weather. Quick warning: don’t expect a lot of tourists in this small southern town. One of the best things about this beach is that visitors definitely have privacy.

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LAGOS, PORTUGAL

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KOH LIPE, THAILAND b

We saved the best for last: this beach is only accessible by boat. After arriving in Phuket, Thailand, you have to take a speedboat 90 minutes out to get to Koh Lipe, known by many as the Maldives of Southeast Asia. With some of the clearest water in the world, this is a snorkeler’s paradise. Villas and huts located near the beach makes for some of the best relaxation. You can literally be on the beach, take ten steps, and then be inside your villa. At night time the only noise you’ll hear is the crashing waves and the occasional boat speeding off in the distance. Take a trip to Koh Lipe to relax, and you may never want to return to civilization.

WRITTEN BY CRAIG HENRY FOR MORE INFO VISIT WWW.THETRAVELJUNKEES.COM 25


FREE SHOPPING SPREES FOR GIRLS IN NEED

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hat do the ladies of Classy Living Society love as much as volunteering? Fashion! There has been a longstanding partnership with CLS and free fab’rik, an organization that offers a chance for girls in need to experience the thrill of boutique shopping without the pressure of price tags. CLS has volunteered with free fab’rik as personal shoppers for their clients for the past few years, and we are always impressed with and motivated by the experience. We had the chance to speak with the Director of free fab’rik, Elizabeth Chancey, and Spree Coordinator, Kayla Hunter to set some things straight (like pronunciation of fab’rik), get details about how we can continue to support free fab’rik, and identify some mutual areas of interest between two organizations dedicated to making an impact.

TEAM MEMBERS AT FREE FAB

Classy Chronicles: How do you pronounce your name, free fab’rik? free fab’rik: It’s pronounced like “fabric.” CC: Wow! I’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly for a while. For anyone that’s not familiar with the work that free fab’rik does, can you give me a little description about who it is that you serve? free fab’rik: We serve women in need. It can really go anywhere from there. We definitely have focused on women coming out of sex trafficking and addiction but it’s really for any women who are in need of clothing or in need of encouragement, or who needs to have an opportunity to have some fun and shop around a little bit and spend time with other women, learning where their hope truly comes from and having the support from the community around them. CC: To your knowledge is there anyone else doing the work that free fab’rik is doing it? free fab’rik: Not that I know of and I know there’s so many incredible organizations that we get to serve. I know amazing groups like CLS, are providing opportunities for people to volunteer but I don’t know of anyone else that is doing the exact same thing that we’re doing. We would love to hear if there are because I think the more that we do to open up people’s eyes to make an impact on all of the sex trafficking going on in the world, the better. CC: Absolutely, I agree. Maybe you guys can be an inspiration for someone to do this for men or the homeless men or partner with a vocational rehab type of training and reintroduce people into the workforce. I think it’s very inspirational what your founder and CEO has done and I think it’s absolutely heartwarming and very inspirational. Hopefully it will inspire someone take it to the next level. free fab’rik: We do hope so too. We would love to see that. We totally agree. We work with women that come out of sex trafficking but also any woman who needs to feel beautiful and loved on, so I would love to see groups kind of reaching out and providing an opportunity for people to volunteer. CC: How many Fab’rik stores do you have? What are their locations? free fab’rik: We have stores in Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, Illinois, Ohio, just a bunch of great places. In all, we have 42 locations and we are growing rapidly. It’s really exciting.Our

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FOUNDERS DANA SPINOLA AND KIM BARTLETT


B’RIK

COMMUNITY PARTNER founder and CEO of Fab’rik, Dana, envisions free fab’rik to be an integral part of our stores and for all of our stores to run sprees in conjunction with non-profit organizations in their area so that’s super exciting. Another thing we have going on right now is we’re building out the back of our office. We realized that it would be a perfect place to set up a boutique and to be able to not just go to organizations and run sprees but also actually host them here. We are so excited! CC: I’m sure that you guys have had really great feedback from some of the beneficiaries. What is some of the most positive feedback you’ve received? free fab’rik: Wow, that’s a great question. Honestly, acrossthe-board we have tons of volunteers who have come, who have never been exposed to the things that we expose them to and they get to a participate in, hear about it, talk about it. When it comes to the girls that we serve, they are all different. Sometimes people who literally just came off the street 2 days ago may not want to talk about it at all. They may be so raw that all they want you to do is sit there and be their friend and comfort them and shop and not talk about that. Then you have other people who are really trying to cope and work through it so sometimes they do want to talk and they do want to tell you their story and remind them where hope comes from. I would say that the coolest thing is about our services is the runway that we do at the end. A lot of times the girls have not held their head up really high in a very long time. Some are hesitant to do it but we encourage them to do it anyway and when they walk that little runway and hold their chin up and smile, it is such an incredible moment! I feel like I cry every single time. I love just cheering them on and empowering them. CC: I’m going to flip that question and ask for some of the negative feedback you’ve received. We view that as an opportunity for CLS or any volunteer organization to come in and say, “well, we would like to assist you guys to turn this negative into a positive.” Is there any negative feedback that you receive about the experience from the participants? free fab’rik: You know I don’t think so it has been wonderful, every single time. I know that sounds unrealistic but we haven’t really had any complaints and that makes us very, very happy but for sure if we did that would be a top priority. There are obvious struggles that we face as an organization. One of them is mainly finding the right clothing and donations to provide. The biggest struggle is with it being a donation-based non-profit, people tend to donate clothes because they’ve outgrown them. They donate items that they wore them when they were younger so we tend to get tons of sizes that are extra small and small. So there is a huge need for people to donate clothing in larger sizes so that women of all shapes and sizes and ages have something that they can wear. Something that we’re considering doing is having a weight loss organization in the area to partner with so that when you have women that lose weight, they can give us those clothes because there’s so many women who are curvy and they need clothing and we want them to have tons of options when we do the sprees. CC: Absolutely and that’s a really awesome idea to go to the weight loss organizations and ask them, through a partnership, to give some of the clothes that you’re not going to wear any more because they don’t plan on going back to that size.

free fab’rik: Yes, because there’s so many women who need it and so that’s something that we’re really hoping to do. I think it will be a really great partnership and I think even the women losing that weight would love knowing that is actually helping other women in the process to be able to clothe themselves and have things that they love in their closet. CC: That’s a great idea. What are you most in need of? Is there anything other than larger or plus-size clothes? free fab’rik: We are always in need of accessories. Those are items women don’t out grow, they tend to keep them and not donate them as much so we’re always in need of jewelry and bags and things like that. Another need that we have is for shoes that haven’t been over worn. Shoes are just one of those items that is best to receive new or in close to new condition. CC: Where can people drop off donations? free fab’rik: People can drop off donations at any Fab’rik store in any city because all of our Fab’rik store will be hosting sprees. You can also drop them off at our corporate office. If you live in Atlanta, bringing them into our corporate office is the best thing to do.

free fab’rik Mobile Boutiques & Pop Up Shops Our free shopping sprees are a chance for girls in need to experience the thrill of boutique shopping, but without the pressure of price tags. With our new mobile boutique, we can take these sprees right to their doorsteps at shelters, foster homes, safe houses and more. While clothing is the catalyst, the purpose is to restore dignity, confidence and hope to ladies who have lost theirs. Pop Up Shops allow you to donate to our cause through get this…shopping with your friends! When you host a private shopping party our truck will pull up to your house, business, sorority, festival or other event filled with a curated collection of gently loved clothing and accessories. Best of all, all profits from these events are donated to our mission. Talk about retail therapy! CC: Do you have any special upcoming events? free fab’rik: So, of course, we do have upcoming sprees that people can attend but we don’t have any any other big event that’s happening. I do know that one of our goals this year is to have a time for people to come see our boutique and then we will also do a charity fashion show every year. It’s a combo of free fab’rik and Fab’rik where people can donate and also see some of Fab’rik’s new items. We will be doing something along those lines. Most likely in the Fall. CC: Tell me how people can sign up for sprees and then how can people interested in volunteering sign up? free fab’rik: People can sign up for our sprees on our website, www. freefabrik.org and there’s link where they can go and see our upcoming sprees and dates. For volunteering, they can reach out to us to let us know they want to help by emailing freefabrik@fabrikstyle.com. We always need help going through donations and we will need help at the boutique. CC: Thank you for your time and sharing this wonderful opportunity with us. free fab’rik: We are so grateful that you all wanted to know more about us and that you all are helping spread our word. Thank you for that. It is such an honor. We love what you do and we love having the ladies of CLS come serve with us.

- Alia Thompson

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ith winter in full swing, our Classy Cali sisters kicked off February engaging in the community to connect good food to those who need it most at the Torrance Farmers Market! Volunteers collected boxes of fresh produce from local farmers to donate to a diverse array of direct-service agencies. Back in Atlanta, February began at the Atlanta Food Bank with Kids in Need. The Kids in Need mission is to provide educational supplies for students whose academic success is threatened by poverty. Volunteers assisted teachers with providing instructions, weighing and recording their supplies and assisting them with packing and loading their supplies into their cars.

the

MONTH in REVIEW

The winter months are tough on needy families. CLS wants to ensure that we are at the forefront of assisting these families. CLS Atlanta volunteers assisted with sorting and bagging food items with the Salvation Army Pantry while CLS California helped to sort, inspect and repackage donated food items from local food drives before being distributed at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Learning is an integral part of Classy Living Society. While we learn, we also volunteer! Volunteers worked directly with our Events Coordinator to set up and break down in preparation for our most informative workshop on taxes and money saving strategies! Across town from our workshop, Friends of Disabled Adults and Children operate a thrift store at its facility in Stone Mountain, GA. Volunteers assisted with various aspects of store operations including pricing, sorting, baling, minor assembly and testing electronics. CLS Volunteers helped the Cherish the Future Auction and Gala go off with a bang! The gala proceeds were directed to the Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta, which provides furniture to people in need. Volunteers were provided dinner and then went on to assist the chef as well as assisting in the ballroom where needed. Our California sisters lent their time to Helping Hands Pantry for food sorting and any other task that would be needed at the time. Helping Hands Pantry distributes food to needy families in the community. CLS wrapped up February with fun and meaningful volunteer events for our seniors and for the children. Our Atlanta sisters participated in Family Night with our seniors at the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball where they escorted residents to the party, assisted with set up and brought their bubbling personalities to be a blessing to everyone they met! Our California sisters were a blessing to the children at Midnight Mission’s Homelight Family Living Program in Inglewood. California volunteers spent time with the children playing games, doing arts and crafts projects, reading books and just having fun while their parents attended classes and counseling sessions. 28

March brings sunshine with just a bit of chill in the air. The ladies of Classy Living Society started the month off with the Sip and Swine Festival whose proceeds benefit the Home of Hope. Home of Hope is a residential care facility that provides both long term and short term care to homeless children with their single mothers who are in need. CLS volunteers assisted with any an d all needs of the festival. A good time was had by all! Classy is as classy does! The ladies of CLS prepared themselves for one of our classiest volunteer spots, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. This Orchestra Usher Orientation prepared us to volunteer as ushers for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Now that’s classy!

Across the country, our sisters in Cali assisted Food Forward by engaging in the community and connecting good food to those who need it most at the Torrance Farmers Market!

Fun, fun and more fun is what we had at Piedmont Park Dog Park assisting with the Doggie Dash 5K. CLS volunteers were prepared to be friendly, flexible and to cheer on race participants rain or shine. CLS goes National! Classy Living Society makes its debut in the city of Charlotte, NC doing what we do best. Volunteering! Women’s Health and Fitness Day will be sponsored by non-profit Passion for Life. The purpose of the event is to inform and encourage women 18 years of age and up to take care of their health. The day began with a fitness walk followed by educational sessions provided by healthcare professionals in the Charlotte area. Welcome to the CLS family Charlotte! Back in the ATL, we were back with our partners Friends of Disabled Adults and Children. Atlanta Women’s 5K wanted CLS at the Finish Line and there we were! CLS supported the race by handing out packets, water, snacks, etc. What a great time we had! Across town CLS gave their support to 4Sarah at the Brave Souls Benefit Dinner. 4Sarah is a nonprofit organization that empowers change in the life direction of women and girls who are seeking a way out of the sex industry through outreach, intervention and scholarship programs. CS volunteers assisted with door registration, setup of table decor, clean up and take down after the event, food setup and serving. The Classy ladies of CLS wrapped up the month of March with the Patron Engagement Volunteer opportunity at the Woodruff Arts Center. As Patron Engagement Volunteers, we assisted with the Family Fun Day Festival by providing information and smiles, making a memorable event for all who attended. Volunteers were needed again to assist with the various aspects of store operations including pricing, sorting, bailing, mirror assembly and testing electronics.

- Rebecca Hyde Walls


VOLUNTEERING

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WWW.IAMAFATHER5K.ORG

Join in the excitement of the 3rd annual I Am a Father 5K event. The event focuses on health and wellness, youth development and mentoring, and family engagement. Don’t miss the signature warm-up with Stepp Stewart, live entertainment from local artists, vendors, health screenings and the 5K Road Race & Tot Trot. In only its 2nd year the event hosted over 800 participants.  Now in its 3rd year, the event has expanded to Birmingham, Alabama, hometown of Founder/CEO David Manuel. Celebrating fatherhood, family and fitness, the I Am a Father 5K event is the place to be..


CLS CARES

Grow Your Own

E

ating fruits and vegetables is a proven way to stay healthier. Many studies have found that people who eat more fruits and vegetables suffer less from cancer and chronic diseases such as heart disease and gastrointestinal disease. Here is a pleasant surprise: It’s a lot easier to get more vegetables into your diet because they can be grown right in your own backyard! Garden grown vegetables will taste better, too, because you can eat them when they’re freshly picked. As well as an improved taste over the common processed vegetables, garden raised vegetables contain the maximum amount of flavor and nutrients. Good-tasting food isn’t the only benefit gardening offers. In fact, it’s also an easy and enjoyable way to spend time in the fresh air and sunshine. Most people agree that gardening is pleasant and relaxing, and it has actually been clinically proven gardening is a healthy, moderate exercise that helps alleviate stress

Girls and greenery - A University of Illinois study found that girls exposed to green settings are better able to handle peer pressure, sexual pressure and other challenging situations as well as perform better in school

Health benefits - There is growing evidence that horticulture is important on a human level. Plants lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension related to stress, improve attention and reduce feelings of fear and anger or aggression.

Mood enhancer - Gardening and yard work contribute to healthy, active living both physically and emotionally. Horticulture therapists have discovered that gardening provides a form of emotional expression and release, and it helps people connect with others

Health benefits in children - Researchers found that Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) symptoms in children are reducedafter contact with nature. Greenery in a child’s everyday environment—even views of green through a window—reduces A.D.D. symptoms

Stress reduction - A study published in Environment and Behavior (Vol 35:311.330) indicates that “…by boosting children’s attentional resources, green spaces may enable them to think more clearly and cope more effectively with life’s stress. - Agnes Jamison


LET’s CHANGE THE WORLD TOGETHER JOIN CLASSY LIVING SOCIETY TODAY! www.cls-volunteer.org

Classy Chronicles - Spring Forward Issue  

Spring is a time for renewal and rejuvenation as such Classy Chronicles proudly presents the “Spring Forward” issue! As the cold days of win...