Halfstack Magazine Summer 2017

Page 1






FASHION & LIFESTYLE Tuli - Poverty Fighting Fashion 54

Summer Style File 58

Emily Vs. Bear



Plus-size Swimwear

Editors Letter 4

Meet the Team 6



The Looks For Less

MUSIC MUSTS Meet Holly Macve 44



Behind the Lens


Meet Rebirth Garments

Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Take the Internship

Throwback at Fleetwood Rink

The Forgotten Protection

Artist Feature: No Philter



Exploring Gender & Race in the Gaming Industry 30


50 52


114 118

Women of PE Intensive 17 124

GROOMING/HEALTH Meet Celeb Groomer: Losi 138

Meet the Founders of Bkr 142

Beauty Must Haves for Her 146

Summer Grooming Guide 150

Nick Stenson - Celeb Stylist 152

The No Makeup Look 156

EDITORS LAST LOOK Starling Candles 158

N’sights for the Soul 160

Cirque Du Soleil - Luzia 164

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


Hello Readers, Welcome to the summer issue of Halfstack Magazine. This issue was inspired by the idea of Chicago Pride, which ended up taking on a double meaning as we worked through organizing it. On one hand, we are showcasing iconic Chicago people, brands and organizations that are making an impact on their local communities. On the other hand, we are celebrating the diversity within Chicago and highlighting LGBTQ communities; with a special focus on the gender spectrum and those who are non-binary through our cover shoot with Rebirth Garments and Designer: Sky Cubacub. Sky’s


vision is an inspiration and the Rebirth line is a vibrant collection that is expressive and fun. We shot the cover story at Fleetwood Roller Rink, an iconic establishment that’s been around for 60 years. Laura and Shirin, were the duo behind the cameras helping me bring this vision to life. We also had some new faces join the crew this issue. Jen Geronimo Smothers worked as our set stylist, Jennie Velasco was on board as set assistant, Danielle Hazekamp and Tanya Renelt created the makeup and hair magic you see in the feature. Our models were a diverse group of women. Patrice Walden works in Fashion Retail Management, Dasha Guyton is the stylist and blogger behind: Windy City Wardrobe and Eli Borrowman is an artist and the designer behind the indie line: Fermented Fruit.

We open up this issue with an incredible Behind the Lens feature on Colleen Chrzanowski. She shares a visual story of a young girl who is as brave as they come. Emmalyn Freeze has encountered countless moments where she would have every right to be tired of her fight, but after 13 brain surgeries she still finds joy in the world around her. Colleen recently completed a beautiful shoot that embodies the spirit of Emmalyn and was kind enough to share the images with us for this issue.

Throughout this issue, we explore themes of feminism, gender equality and highlight companies that are working on creating



change from a global perspective such as: Tuli and Emily Vs. Bear. Jen highlights interviews from 3 female founders from her experience at The Rent the Runway Foundations’ Project Entrepreneur

Venture Competition and Weekend Workshop in New York City in April. Jen also interview’s Michael DeAnda, who is an IIT graduate student who is researching gender and race in the gaming industry. As we enter summer vacation, Liv shares her thoughts on pursuing internships for the college student readers out there. Jen Rector shares a spotlight on Tuli, an accessory company working to fight global poverty through fashion fair trade. Avante has an insightful interview with NYC based Portrait Film Photographer: Olive.

For all of you fashion and beauty mavens out there, this issue is sure to be a hit. Danielle and Michelle have stocked this issue to the brim with grooming and beauty guides, tutorials and interviews of industry Pros. Meanwhile, Teresa is back with her Looks for Less column. We close out this issue with a motivational N’Sights for the Soul column from Nisha and a spotlight on Cirque Du Soleil’s most recent show: Luzia. Jennie Velasco proclaims all our readers need to check it out in July when the big tent hits Chicago.

I hope you enjoy this issue. Thank you for supporting

sky cubacub- rebirth garments cover story - PAGE 96

us! I want to express my gratitude to those of you who are making an impact on the creative vision of our brand as you made your investment to download this issue. I have a vision and it’s incredibly humbling as I continue to see our issues reach readers all around the globe. I can only hope our team inspires each of you as much as the people and organizations inspire us that we feature in each issue.

Thank you for reading! Jennifer M. Veguilla-Lezan | Editor-in-Chief

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017




jennifer lezan creative director @halfstackmag

LAURA LOPEZ lead photographer


perry fish

staff photographer @alluringchicago

SHIRIN KORIL lead photographer @pickaposephotograpy

pearl shin staff photographer @bigdipper4


meet the

teresa cutrera fashion editor


& blogger

jen geronimo smothers


set stylist

nicki niemet west coast correspondant

jennie velasco set stylist/editor

thom olson blogger & digital creative



Creative & Graphics Designer


Creative & Graphics Designer


Creative & Graphics Designer



Creative & Graphics Designer


Creative & Graphics Designer

STELLA QUIMBY Sr. Fashion Editor


DENISE GUEVARA Staff Blogger/Youtuber


OLIVIA LEMLEY Staff Writer/Blogger


TRACI CICARELLI Staff Blogger/Youtuber




Digital Blogger

Digital Blogger

Staff Writer/Blogger

Celia A. Pena Staff Writer/Blogger

JENNIFER OQUENDO Staff Writer/Blogger


Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

Andre Thompson Staff Blogger

KARLI BUTLER Staff Writer/Blogger

JENNIFER GORDON Staff Writer/Blogger

Louis Vasseur Staff Blogger

DWIGHT BEJEC Social Media Director

MICHELLE LANDRIAULT Staff Blogger/Youtuber

DREW POWERS Staff Blogger


EMILY EHARDT Staff Blogger

OLGA IVANIDI Staff Blogger/Youtuber








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Halfstack Magazine | June 2017




a look through the lens Why are photographic images so compelling? A simple snapshot can captivate a viewer and tell a story that goes deeper than the image replicated on paper. Photography belongs both to the realms of reality and imagination – a visual history of time that goes beyond just a record of the moment. The strongest photographs communicate with the viewer. The strongest photographers have a creative vision. They see beyond face value and they can capture the spirit of a person, a place or thing. The iconic photographer, Roobert Frank explains, “There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” If there is one way to describe the work of photographer Colleen Chrzanowski it is: moving. Her vivid travel photography offers a glimpse into the hustle and


bustle of daily life in places far away. Her fashion editorial work is striking and vibrant. But it is her work with people that takes your breath away. It stops you in your tracks and connects you with a stranger. She truly captures humanity in a moment. You can feel the spirit of the life shown within her work. It is that connection that drives the vision behind the work she does. Born in Cleveland and educated in Delaware, Ohio – Colleen Chrzanowski learned to live during her twenties and thirties in NYC. Today, she resides in Chicago and her work takes her all over the world. She is happiest when she is shooting, capturing light, shape and mood. She recently worked on a very special personal project featuring a spirited young girl named: Emmalyn Freeze. During a fateful

flight to NYC, Colleen connected with the enigmatic young girl who was on her 13th journey to the East Coast for her 13th brain surgery. After this chance encounter, Colleen had to capture Emma’s story in the art form she knows best: photography. Colleen took some time to talk with us about this special project and her personal journey in her career. Keep reading for the full interview. 1. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what led you to pursue a career in photography? I was brought up just outside Cleveland in a family steeped in the arts. As a child, I would hang around my fathers drawing table as he worked on illustrations for his commercial jobs for American Greetings as well as his personal work created



Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


both in our house as well as his off premise studio. By the age of 10, I had hijacked my father’s Pentax K1000 and was hooked on photography. In 7th grade, Santa was kind enough to bring me my very own and then in my junior year at Ohio Wesleyan University, photography’s role in my life, took a giant serious leap forward. I came upon a group of students meeting about an off-campus program called the GLCA Arts Program. I heard whispers about NYC and a semester off campus and I stayed to hear more. Fast forward first semester senior year and I was in NYC participating in a program that essentially laid the first brick on the path I am walking down today. My first few years in NYC were spent working for one fashion house and shooting their multiple clothing brands for business-to-business usage. After 9/11 the company “terminated my position” but immediately hired me freelance which was the perfect scenario in that I was now my own boss and already had my first client. And so it began... 2. Can you tell us more about your current work and the vision driving the shoots that you participate in? After 18 years in NYC, my life took me to Chicago. So, currently I split profession-


al time between shooting in NYC and Chicago. My NYC existence involves travel there every couple of months to photograph fashion lines for a couple of different women’s fashion brands - Lilla P and Leo & Sage to name a few. Shooting both the season campaign shoots as well as the e-commerce needs, creates imaging that fulfills B2B needs as well as to-consumer needs. In my Chicago existence, I have a studio in the West Town neighborhood where I am able to work on editorials with models for my own purpose/ growth. A couple of years ago I decided I really wanted to shoot fashion for kiddos. So, I started testing for a few agencies in town and it has snowballed. I now shoot regularly for professional kid models needing to build up their portfolios and recently added a national brand, Matilda Jane Clothing, to my client roster!

than later, second guessing your abilities, moments of creative bliss, etc. we have all experienced relatively the same generalities associated with an artistic adventure. As for what led me to this point in my career? I thought about this one for a few days and the truest answer I could come up with is, well, me. I have led myself here. I have always and only just done the things I believe to be true and a part of me. I have pushed myself when I had fears and doubts. And I have congratulated myself when I had accomplishments, however small they may have been. Me. I have had a TON of help and support. I have had a TON of luck and good fortune. But, if I weren’t able to realize the luck or accept the help, I would not be where I am today. So, yeah...Me. I have led myself to this point in my career. And I will lead myself beyond today as well...it only gets better (I hope!).

3. Can you share a bit about your journey as a photographer, the ups and downs and what led you to this point in your career?

4.Where do you get your creative inspiration and what does your creative “process” look like as you develop your concepts and photograph?

My journey has not been extraordinary - I think every freelance artist has experienced generally the same struggles and triumphs: nailing a client meeting, trying to get paid, hoping for that next gig sooner rather

My creative inspiration happens all the time, anywhere, everywhere, in no specific form or manner. Sometimes a person inspires me. Sometimes a color. Sometimes it is a lighting technique I have

wanted to play with. I feel strongly that the creative process is less of a process and more of a way of being. A process insinuates starting and stopping...my creative way is just how I move along in this world. How I view things. How I see things. What I think about those things and where do those thoughts take me? That is what gives birth to ideas and creative directions. An example would be I was shooting a delightful kiddo model named Matilda Jenkins about a year ago and an image I made of her that day gave birth to an editorial story I did for Babiekins Magazine about the joy of a child when dressing up and where that can take their imagination. 5. Are there people, mentors or figures that have made an impact in your life and career? If so, how? I am fortunate to be able to say yes. My parents, Paula Court, and Ralph Gibson & Mary Jane Marcasiano are key figures in my life. My parents. From a very early age, I was exposed to a world that was way larger than Lakewood, OH: art, culture, music and thoughts. I feel strongly that because the world my parents presented to me was not confined or clearly defined as one way, I was able to forge

my own path. On top of that, my father, an artist, allowed me to bare witness to a career path I would soon know to be my very own. Paula Court - In my off campus semester in college, I was matched with a Theater Performance Photographer, Paula Court. I worked with her everyday doing an array of tasks - developing film, printing in the darkroom, assisting on set, lugging gear, filing negatives, running errands...all the nuts and bolts of a photographer’s life. It was an amazing 3.5 months. I knew immediately, I had to go back to NYC after graduation and photography was the goal. I could do it. Paula can do it...I can do it. I had witnessed a single, female, living in NYC, in a 6th floor walkup, in the center of Soho, who had a consistently successful freelance life that allowed her to live and thrive in such an amazing city. She would tell me stories of when she was 18, living in the height of the Soho art scene in the early 80s - how she had photographed everyone from REM to Willem Defoe to Kate Winslet. When we witness something, or better yet, experience something first hand, for better or worse, we then believe it is true and possible. In this case, it was for the better...I COULD do it.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

Mary Jane Marcasiano & Ralph Gibson. I had the fortunate circumstance that Ralph Gibson, agreed to meet me in his NYC studio on my spring break of senior year. As he flipped through my portfolio - quickly - he finished and told me that I was better than he was at his age and to keep shooting. I quickly offered up my help as a free intern come July as I wanted to move back to NYC. He accepted. After working with him for about a month, he hooked me up with Mary Jane Marcasiano. She is a fashion designer and had been bought out by a larger fashion house and she was growing quickly. I came on board and helped with production duties and was offered the chance to photograph her clothing line each season. Her parent company Marisa Christina, then allotted me the singular task to create all the needed imaging and graphics for all their labels, thus, rapidly allowing me to acquire skills and experience. This was pivotal in preparing me to be freelancing on my own in an industry and a city that moves faster than ice cream on a 100-degree day. 6. Who are some of your favorite photography or inspirational Instagram accounts to follow? So, I do not have any favorite Instagram accounts



I had the hard task and personal goal of capturing moments of Emma that would help visually explain the spirit I encountered on16 that early Sunday morning in March, on a Southwest Flight from MDW to LGA.

DRESS BY: BELLA+SOPHIA H a l f s CLOTHING tack Magazine | June 2017



specifically. In general, I find Instagram to be an amazing source of inspiration daily. It is an endless stream of other people’s vision. I think it is very important in the honing of one’s own aesthetic, to be exposed to a point of view outside and creative vision, other than your own. Knowing what sort of things you don’t like is just as important of knowing what you do like. Following accounts that aren’t in your daily wheelhouse of taste can be just as inspiring as a photographer you adore. And also I find it important to have my feed be more than


just my career - I love to follow my friends and family and get those respites from industry imaging. Well rounded image intake is good for the soul :) Bring on that amazing dessert you had last night or that perfect sunset from your hotel room. 7.How are you remaining innovative when it comes to your work as a photographer? Innovation comes from constant renewal of thought. And I find that collaboration with other minds and talents

breeds those new ideas, which brings on completely new directions. Mostly, though, I feel that innovation comes from investigating a singular concept is everything. Question everything. So, I want to do a story about color. Is it literally about color or could it be the feeling of a color, the temperature of a color, the flavor of a color... what would green feel like? What would it taste like? Does it have an after taste and if so what is THAT color? Innovation in my creative process is probing thought.

8.What kind of obstacles do you see women facing when it comes to entrepreneurship and growth as business owners – specifically within the creative industries? I think business owners in the creative field are all in a particularly tricky boat in that creative industries often have a “product” that is subjectively valued. Simple as that. What one will pay for a painting or a photograph for example, is different based on a host of factors...do I like it, do I want to look at it everyday, how big is it, etc. Being a woman

in ANY field has its host of obstacles and I don’t think the creative field, though, is remarkably any different. Nor do I think I can address it properly in this short format answer response :) There have been SO many articles by scholars and artistic thinkers alike that touch on this topic and there are no “answers” only obviously speculations based on gender inequality since the beginning of time. All I can say is, this is the only existence I know, and the obstacles I encounter are simply that, the obstacles I encounter. It is up to me to take them each on the best way I can,

with the tools I have within me. Whether or not it is true that most solo shows in NYC are given to men, all I know is that my reality is all that matters. So, I deal with the ups and the downs I am presented. It’s all we each can do, right? 9. Can you share more about the current project you are working on featuring Emmalyn? What inspired it and how are you hoping to share her story through a visual medium? It was an early flight. Had to get to NYC for the Lilla P DRESS BY: DEVONS DRAWER

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017




Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


Holiday 2017 Campaign. I sit in my seat - perfect window seat, first row. Down plops this bright eyed smiley kiddo in the middle seat just to my left. She smiles big and just starts talking. I am thinking about the coffee I wish would have had, but also dreaming of my awesome hour and 45 minute nap I am about to take on my way to NYC. But this girl had other plans; I just didn’t know it, yet. She just kept on talking and smiling and laughing and captivating me with her spirit. Eventually, I asked her if this was her first trip to NYC. Nope, she says. In fact, I then find out as she nonchalantly tells me she is on her way to NYC for her 13th brain surgery. What?! I was stunned. This sparkly child with a fervor and non-stop giggle has had 12 brain surgeries already? She can’t be more than 7 or 8, I thought. One brain surgery in someone’s life seems like too many. But 12 in the span of 8 years? Fast-forward and we were fast friends by the time we landed. Her name is Emmalyn Freeze. Needless to day, I never had that nap. I reached out to her mom the day after to start planning this shoot. On the flight, I had asked Emma (have learned she prefers to be called Emma) if she would like to come to my studio in Chicago when she finally felt up for it and there was a resounding enthusiastic YES. So, I went to work, finding an HMUA to donate their time. Then I


began reaching out to some brands I have worked with in the past and was unbelievably overwhelmed by their generosity. I was just hoping for brands to lend me some clothes for Emma to choose from during the shoot so she would feel super special...not only did every brand I ask immediately say OF COURSE, a few of them offered to give her the pieces. It is SO nice to experience first hand how simply divine kindness can be. And know that the look on Emma’s face when she walked in and saw the rack full of amazing beautiful clothes that she was going to get to wear, well, as they say, priceless. The shoot was planned and eventually, the day before had to be rescheduled because Emma had a high fever. We eventually found openings in everyone’s schedule and it finally took place Thursday May 18th! And it was by far my most enjoyable photo session to date. The goal was to give her 4 hours of nothing but joy. NOTHING. BUT. JOY. This article even infringes on my hope that this shoot would be 100% for fun and for her and nothing else. But she needs to be shared because she is special. And I had the hard task and personal goal of capturing moments of Emma that would help visually explain the spirit I encountered on that early Sunday morning in March, on a Southwest Flight from MDW to LGA. I hope you enjoy

these photos as much I did making them. While I have concluded it is impossible to 100% capture the spirit of the Emma I met that morning, I think these images almost succeeded. I saw all sides of her and have chosen these pairings to help you meet her. In hopes you can get a better sense of her. I don’t think however, that my enjoyment or yours will ever match Emma’s that day - and that is just how it should be. HUGE thanks to: Hair and makeup - Kasha Rodig http://www.kasharodig. com/ BRANDS: Tuchinda Design Devon’s Drawer Marin+Morgan Papergirl Collection Ateljee Bella+Sophia Clothing and special thanks to HipKID NYC 10. What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in photography? A successful career in photography comes in many different forms. MANY. From headshots, architecture, portraiture, bridal and so forth. But one thing is constant...however successful your pursuit is in any niche, if you don’t have photography in your veins, it wont work out. When the ups are replaced by the downs, you need that passion of pho-


tography in your blood in order to keep the pursuit in a forward motion. If it isn’t there, that glimmer of a career is in jeopardy. Last bit of advice is ALWAYS stay true to the vision you believe in. You are the photographer, the artist creating a moment in time. If you don’t like something, speak up. Make it work. Move on. Connect with Colleen online: instagram: @chrzanowskicolleen www.colleenchrzanowski.com

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

Photographer Colleen Chrzanowski. Photo by: Michael McWeeney © 2009




I don’t think however, that my enjoyment or yours will ever match Emma’s that day - and that is just how it should be.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


Voices activists try to live simply, share resources radically, and prefer service to dominance. We learn about simple living while staying with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a group we have visited several times a year since 2010. We share resources with them by raising funds to cover costs for two major efforts: the duvet project and the street kids school, both of which help meet basic needs of families afflicted by war and displacement in Kabul.


written by:jennifer veguilla-lezan Working to End War Through Resistance



LOCAL COMMUNITY                                      re·sist·ance rəˈzistəns/ noun 1. the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument. As war rages on in countries far removed from The United States of America, it can seem difficult to gain a grasp on the horrors and realities people face in places such as the Middle East. As of March 2017, the U.S war footprint continued to grow with no viable end in site. 100+ days into the Trump administration, the realities have set in that the U.S involvement in the ever-complicated turmoil within the Middle East is deepening. Fights in Syria and Iraq have reached a critical phase in places such as Mosul and Raqqa where daily bombings and civilian casualties are rapidly increasing. This coincides with the changes being brought in with a president who has made it a goal to intensify the fight

against extremists abroad. The Trump administration budgetary policies and focuses have showcased a military first approach despite proposed cuts in diplomatic expenditures. The war in Afghanistan has gone on for more that 15 years, making it one of the longest conflicts in history. Countless innocent lives have been taken; children and families have been displaced with no safe haven. Yet, the war rages on with no end in sight and no viable solutions to the conflicts that persist within the Middle East. While it may seem that the current administration is focused on increasing the U.S efforts within the war, more and more civilians are speaking out against it. There has been a long history within the United States of resistance to foreign wars. Opposition has often been led by pacifists and empowered by strategic non-violent action. Many organizations ranging from community driven organizations to the arts communities are utilizing the power of non-violence to promote peace.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

Organizations all over the U.S are standing in solidarity to protest, work towards ending war and promoting peace. The essence behind non-violence protest is to seek a win-win solution whenever possible. The goal is to take positive action to resist oppression and bring about change. The aim of non-violent conflict is to convert your opponent; to win over their mind and heart and persuade them that your point of view is right. An important element is often to make sure that the opponent has a face-saving opportunity to show the changing their mind. In non-violent conflict the participant does not want to make their opponent suffer; instead they show that they are willing to suffer themselves in order to bring about change. Some of the techniques used in non-violent protest include: peaceful demonstrations, sit-in, picketing, holding vigils, fasting and hunger strikes, strikes, blockades and civil disobedience.


The Chicago based organization, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, has long-standing roots in active nonviolent resistance to U.S. war-making. The organization launched in the summer of 2005. Voices draws from the experiences of those who challenged the brutal economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and U.N. against the Iraqi people between 1990 and 2003. Members of Voices led over 70 delegations to Iraq to challenge the economic sanctions and were present in Baghdad in resistance the 2003 U.S. military invasion. Since 2009, Voices has led delegations to Afghanistan to listen and learn from nonviolent grassroots movements and to raise awareness about the negative impacts of U.S. militarism in the region. As an organization they believe that we are on the precipice of a full blown world war, if one is not already under way. And they are asking themselves and their communities: what must our response be? And their answer- as tentative, grappling, searching and seeking as it may be- is that it falls upon us as citizens of the country initiating this world war to utilize all nonviolent means available to turn off war. They believe that, as citizens we must engage the electoral and legislative process. They believe that each and every citizen should utilize his or her right to protest, and to march and demonstrate. Voices has a firm standing in the idea that those opposed to war, must also move from protest to active nonviolent resistance. That people must withdraw their collaboration and complicity with the system perpetrating this fighting and use their bodies and lives as a means to bring the machinery of death to a grinding halt.


Nonviolence cannot be a single day event- it must be a commitment that people make and act upon every day of their lives. Voices is committed to strategic campaigns and experiments. They engage in active nonviolent resistance. Halfstack had the opportunity to talk with Kathy Kelly, an American peace activist pacifist, author and the co-coordinator of the Voices for Creative Nonviolence. She took the time to share more about VCNV and their work in the community. Read on for the full interview: 1. Can you please tell us a bit about the VCNV, the mission driving it and how it was started? Voices has antecedents in a Chicago based campaign, begun in 1996, to end the economic sanctions against Iraq. Several Chicagoans had been part of a 1991 peace team in Iraq during the US desert storm war. Realizing that The economic sanctions imposed on were directly and lethally punishing Iraqi children under age 5, our group organized 70 delegations to visit Iraq in open and public defiance of the sanctions. Each group carried medicines and medical relief supplies for delivery to Iraqi children and families. Throughout the 2003 shock and awe bombing, voices activists lived in Baghdad alongside Iraqi civilians. Since 2003, Voices members have assisted numerous Iraqi refugees who’ve fled their homes. Members of the group have also lived with civilians in Gaza, Lebanon and Afghanistan during air strikes, believing that where you stand determines what you see. We continue campaigning to end US military and economic war. Much of our work involves being itinerant educators, visiting

classes, faith based groups, community centers and media interviewers to tell what we’ve seen and heard while living with people who bear the brunt of wars and can’t escape. Actions of nonviolent resistance to war have sometimes landed us in federal prisons and county jails. There we learn more about mass incarceration in the US, a terrible prison-industrial complex that could be considered a war against the most impoverished people in the US. 2. Can you tell us more about your goals as an organization and how your organization is currently making an impact on the communities it is involved with? Voices activists try to live simply, share resources radically, and prefer service to dominance. We learn about simple living while staying with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a group we have visited several times a year since 2010. We share resources with them by raising funds to cover costs for two major efforts: the duvet project and the street kids school, both of which help meet basic needs of families afflicted by war and displacement in Kabul. 3. Can you tell us a bit about a few of the special programs VCNV heads up within the communities you are most active in? (Ex: Street kids school, Duvet Proj. Ground the Drones etc) The duvet project employs women who have no income to manufacture heavy blankets which are then given, free of charge, along with a sack of rice to families with no protection from harsh winter weather. The Street Kids project helps children at risk of being child laborers to attend school. Afghan Peace

LOCAL OPTIONS Volunteers tutor the children and create a supportive community for them and their families. Each child gets a monthly donation of rice, cooking oil and beans to compensate for income they might have earned working in the streets of Kabul. 4. How did your leadership team and volunteers get involved with the organization and what drives them to continue on? We believe that the drones flying over Afghanistan supply footage eventually used for targeted assassination. Weaponized drones become part of aerial terrorism waged by the US. Proliferation of drone wars lowers security by creating antagonists who are more likely to join insurgent groups fighting US invasions and occupations. We have helped organize numerous walks, vigils and nonviolent resistance actions aiming to end drone warfare. We’re motivated by what we’ve seen and heard as eyewitnesses to war, believing that the most crucial ethical question we face is: how can we learn to live together without killing one another. 5. Are there people, mentors or figures that have made an impact on your organization? If so, who and how? We’re influenced by David Dellinger, Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Barbara Deming, Dorothy Day, Dan Berrigan, the Witness Against Torture campaign, the Catholic Worker movement and the Afghan Peace Volunteers.


6. What are the goals for VCNF in the upcoming year? What about the next 2-4 years? We will continue accompanying The Afghan Peace Volunteers. We are beginning to explore activism calling for an end to airstrikes against Yemen, a lifting of the US supported Saudi naval blockade and immediate access to desperately needed aid in Yemen and in the trio of nearby countries also facing conflict driven famine: South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria. 7. During this time of civil unrest in our local communities and violent cycles of war in communities’ abroad, what can we do to make an impact and voice our own concerns? How can we truly make a difference? We can make a difference by aligning our lifestyles with our deepest values, by finding kindred spirits and then organizing ourselves to create a more peaceful world. Some of our activists refuse payment of Federal income tax, choosing instead to live beneath the taxable income.

Movements forming, globally, have presented challenges to power structures that leverage control through entrenched systems. This control is often predicated on a combination of government jobs and corporations profits. It’s difficult to uproot these systems, but creative non-cooperation and evolving visions of how to live harmoniously on earth have shown signs of promising potential. 10. Where can our readers educate themselves about the realities going on around the world in terms of beneficial, honest and unbiased news and media? We learn from Democracy Now, The Real News, and the U.K. publication, Peace News. 11. Finally, where can we learn more about your organization, where can we get involved and how can our readers help? Readers can learn more about us at www.vcnv.org. Write us to receive our email newsletter, our postal newsletter and an invitation for dinner! Info@vcnv.org

8. How do you see artists, creatives, writers and makers worldwide resisting through their art and passions? We feel indebted to Afghan youngsters who have been our mentors. They’ve created hundreds of videos and photo-essays on their website, ourjourneytosmile.com 9. In a day and age of what feels like an immense amount of corruption in our government and world policies, what can we do to not become jaded? What can we do that actually impacts the decision makers in government?

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017



GENDER & RACE IN Exploring gender & race representation in the gaming industry today. Introduction & Interview by: Jennifer Veguilla-Lezan


Representation of female, queer and other non-binary identifying individuals within games is a subject that as only been recently been discussed within the media. Yet, it is a topic that the people who are a part of those groups have often wondered and talked about. The discussion has revolved around the very evident lack of this kind of representation within the gaming and media culture. In her book, Gaming at the Edge: Sexuality and Gender at the Margins of Gamer Culture (2015), Adrienne Shaw investigates the ways in which video game players experience the intersectional relationships of race, gender, and sexuality in the context of a largely heteronormative gaming industry. Shaw explains that, ““Identification is not about a static, linear, measurable connection to a character. Rather, it is about seeing ourselves reflected in the world and relating to images of others, both of which are critically tied to arguments for representation that focus on media’s ability to create possible worlds”.

N GAMING The representation of marginal communities in the gaming world is important to the evolution to the industry and can have a direct impact on society as a whole.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

When looking at and exploring the history behind gaming culture, writers such as Shaw have a strong argument about how important context is in gaming with regard to how audiences engage within the games themselves. Often, it seems that many games fall into a classic misogynistic viewpoint of the characters that are developed within them. Writers like Shaw and a new wave of creative game developers are working hard to break the stereotype that gamers are just young, white, male and heterosexual. There is diverse community within the gaming industry and not enough diversity


TECHNOLOGY within the games themselves. Shaw explains that the primary goal in increasing diverse representation of marginal communities of people in video games is not through developing more customization features when it comes to avatar creation interfaces, “but rather making more games that reflect more modes of being in the world”. The representation of marginal communities in the gaming world is important to the evolution to the industry and can have a direct impact on society as a whole. One might argue that increased representation can have a ripple effect and more broadly change the exclusive nature of the entertainment industry. An industry that has a profound impact on the way individuals view and enact societal norms related to race, gender, and sexuality. The goal behind this is to transform and hopefully create a more inclusive future. In order to explore these themes and ideas more, the Halfstack team spoke with a PhD student at The Illinois Institute of Technology: Michael DeAnda. Michael has a background in Interactive Media and Game Development

and his Ph.D. research focuses on gender representation in media with a focus on video games. He shares his thoughts on the industry today, his goals as he completes his program and ideas on how the gaming world can continue to evolve and be more inclusive when it comes to diversity of all forms. 1. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what led you to pursue gender studies in media? MICHAEL: I grew up in El Paso, TX. I hold a Master of Science degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in Interactive Media and Game Development (IMGD) from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Part of the requirement for my Masters project involved developing a game. I remember being in a meeting with my thesis adviser having been stumped for a couple of weeks about the game I was attempting to conceptualize. He turned to me and asked, “Mike, what do YOU like?” “Drag,” was my immediate response. “Drag, men dressing up like women,” I

I want to create and promote the creation of spaces in games with positive representations of LGBTQ people.


clarified. This led to the design of my very first game, TRANS-Gression, a tabletop game focused on gender performativity by requiring players to strut, dance, and don flamboyant accessories: a boa, gloves, a ring and bracelets to name a few. At the time, I was unaware of the body of gender studies, specifically masculinity studies; and through this project, I found my interest in studying the relationship between gender, sexuality and gaming. 2. Can you tell us more about your goals when it comes to the gaming industry and the role gender plays within the industry (both in terms of those creating in the industry and how the roles are showcased within the actual games?)

conducted on diversity and representation in gaming, finding that players do not limit their gaming habits on whether or not a character matches a part of their identity, such as race, gender, or sexual orientation. She in turn argues that because players don’t really care, this is an opportunity for designers to implement diversity into game, putting it at the core of the game instead of a side feature. Because I want my game to comment on a gay walk of life, I decided that I needed to gather multiple accounts from gay men. I surveyed men who have sex with men and play video games about their gender identity, sexuality, body image, and gaming preferences. Analysis of the data will inform a multi-media game that I will create as part of this project, and I do plan to talk about my findings from the data. I find this type of research necessary in design, especially designing characters from marginalized walks of life, so that the character will not alienate the very people you are designing for, and so that your design doesn’t reify harmful stereotypes.

MICHAEL: Jay Poole, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work, wrote an article about how media in the early 2000s that represented gay men cited heteronormative values of sexual and gender identity. He calls for the creation of spaces to allow LGBTQ people to heal from harmful heteronormative values. Regarding my own designs, I want to create and promote the creation of spaces in games with posi- 4. Is there sexism in the video game industry? If so, tive representations of LGBTQ people. what promotes it and allows it to continue? 3. What are some of the issues arising when it comes to gender roles/representation within media and gaming and what are some of the solutions you are hoping to pursue in the coming years? MICHAEL: In her book, Gaming at the Edge, Adrienne Shaw discusses her findings from interviews she

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

MICHAEL: Definitely! #1ReasonWhy, which trended most on Twitter in the Fall of 2012, contains accounts from women and girls about their experiences facing exclusion and misogyny in games and the gaming industry. Your second question is quite loaded. Women do not


earn equal pay for their work. Furthermore, “crunch time” on games comes at a costly toll, especially for women with families.

6. Do you see social and digital media making an impact on awareness about the current issues facing these industries?

Representation of women in many mainstream games (and some indie games) grossly hypersexualizes and objectify women. Development teams have also said that women’s bodies are too hard to animate.

MICHAEL: Yes, I previously mentioned how women in games used #1ReasonWhy to talk about sexism in games. I would also include Kickstarter as a resource that has impacted awareness of issues of gender and sexuality in games. For instance, GaymerX has used this site to crowdfund some of their conferences. In line with the value of inclusion and diversity, Different Games also livestreams the conference talks in order to allow people unable to attend the conference to view online.

In gaming events, such as conventions and online play, women are interrogated more for not being fans and gamers in the right way. Online gaming spaces are often policed, keeping queer people and women from joining these games. When I was working on my masters, a professor challenged us to game online and hand the microphone to a woman to talk. In my experience, I heard my best friend called horrific words and receive rape threats. All of this contributes to perpetuating sexism in gaming. 5. What do you see the gaming/media industry doing to promote diversity within their industry as well as the games they develop? Are they doing enough MICHAEL: While some games do allow In short, no, the industry is not doing enough. While there are options for diversity in games, these are always at the margins of the game or bonus content. In such positions, players are not required to come into contact with this content unless they seek it out. For instance, some games allow you to change to color of your avatar’s skin, but the default is usually a white male avatar.


7. How are people like Anita Sarkeesian advocating for change despite the out lash they get in their perspective industries for their opinions? MICHAEL: Anita Sarkeesian’s video series Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games is an accessible resource of videos that discuss misogyny and sexist representation of women in games. In these videos, she’s drawing attention to these harmful tropes and discusses the larger social values that are perpetuated in these tropes. Alanah Pearce, a games journalist, started contacting the mothers of boys she would receive rape threats from. Carly A. Kocurek created a video essay for the Journal of Digital and Media Literacy entitled “Gamers vs. Tropes vs. Women,” in which she discusses the harassment aimed at Sarkeesian specifically and women in digital spaces in general as a way to silence women and keep them out of gaming spaces.

8. What can the media and gaming industry do to promote equality and continue to push for diversity? MICHAEL: Start incorporating diversity at the core of designs, not at the margins. In other words, consider how to design around concepts from marginalized perspectives after conducting design research with people from these communities. Companies can also have dependable and approachable Human Resource and sensitivity training programs for employees and enforce zero-tolerance policies for harassment. People working in public relations and as community managers can direct the discourse of consumers away from hate speech to allow for even marginalized people to participate in online communities and message boards instead of letting it pass. 9. As you get closer to completing your PhD – what are you goals in terms of a career focus within your industry? MICHAEL: I plan to go into academia in games studies and continue pursuing the intersection of games, gender and sexual identity.

MICHAEL: In addition to the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series you alluded to earlier, I would also recommend some of these books: From Barbie to Mortal Kombat edited by Justine Cassell and Henry Jenkins Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat edited by Yasmin Kafai, Jennifer Y. Sun, Jill Denner. Diversifying Barbie and Mortal Kombat edited by Yasmin B. Kafai, Gabriela T. Richard, and Brendesha M. Tynes Utopian Entrepreneur by Brenda Laurel Coin-operated Americans: Rebooting Boyhood by Carly Kocurek. Gaming at the Edge by Adrienne Shaw Queer Game Studies edited by Adrienne Shaw and Bonnie Ruberg. Nina Hunteman edited a special collection for Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology had a special issue in 2013 about Feminist Game Studies.

10. What resources can you share with our readers who want to learn more about gender studies and diversity within media/video games?

Representation of women in many mainstream games (and some indie games) grossly hypersexualizes and objectify women. Development teams have also said that women’s bodies are too hard to animate.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017





Halfstack Magazine | June 2017



Halfstack Magazine | June 2017





Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


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SINGE R & S O N GW R I TE R Photos courtesy of Holly Macve - Written By: Louis Vasseur

STAR ON THE RISE                                     Gillian Welch. “Bob Dylan was on constantly in my household growing up and he was a big influence to me when it came to lyrics,” she says. “He made me want to be a good writer.

While watching singer/songwriter Holly Macve perform recently at Chicago’s iconic Beat Kitchen, one word kept reverberating through my head – throwback. Accompanied by her full band, Macve shared a tightly played set of songs from her recently released debut album, Golden Eagle. The audience of local hipsters was transfixed. Towards the end of her set, Macve apologized for performing a second cover song, something she says she rarely does. Accompanying herself on guitar, she then launched into a rendition of the Patsy Cline/Willie Nelson classic, “Crazy” that would make the ghosts of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium take pause.

What surprises many is the fact that the 21-year-old Macve is not from the Country South, but rather the United Kingdom. Born in Galway in western Ireland, Macve and her sister were whisked away in the middle of the night by her mother from their errant father, to live with her grandparents in Yorkshire, in the north of England. Once settled in their new home, Macve quickly responded to music. “My Granddad was a classical composer, and my Mum sang, and she said I was singing before I was talking,” Macve recalls. Her mother’s record collection – lots of old blues and Bo Dylan – shaped Macve’s impressionable mind, before she discovered the likes of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, and

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

People have begun to take notice of this talented up and comer. Macve had a successful series of shows at SXSW in Austin, TX, including supporting Garth Brooks at Auditorium Shores and a set at Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion Festival. “SXSW was quite a mad experience and you’re not sure what to expect from the shows,” shares Macve. “But it has an amazing energy and it’s a great way to meet people, too. One of the days I played an outdoor stage next to another outdoor stage, which had a heavy metal band playing on it, that was an interesting mix of sounds! But, I quite like the chaos of it. It’s a lot of fun.” Jon Pareles chose Macve as one of the New York Times Best of SXSW. He wrote, “There is a cleareyed intractability in the sustained, haunting songs of Holly Macve, an English singer and songwriter who has absorbed the most eerie strains of country and Appalachia.”



“Bob Boilen of NPR wrote after her recent appearance at SXSW, “I think 2017 will be the year the world falls in love the voice of Holly Macve.” Uncut (UK) echoed the sentiment “It’s Macve’s self-assurance and rounded expression that impress – that and her voice, a lustrous and powerful instrument with a yodeling swoop that she wisely never overworks.” Hiding away in Yorkshire, “isolated, surrounded by countryside”, Macve’s imagination took flight. Describing her songwriting style, Macve says, “It’s usually just a flurry of creativity that comes over me and I can’t control when it happens (unfortunately). Sometimes I go for months without writing a new song and then it sort of comes out of nowhere. Most often the words/melody and chords come at the same time but I also turn poems I’ve written into songs from time to time.” Golden Eagle (on Bella Union), a collection of spellbinding country and western ballads delivered with devastating emotion, is Macve’s debut album. Describing how the

project came together she said, “Well, my aim has always been to write a whole album of songs, ever since I was a young child. But I guess I discarded a lot of songs since then (for very good reason). Golden Eagle is a collection of the ten most recent songs I had at the time when I started recording the record and usually the most recent ones are what I am feeling most excited about. Luckily they seemed very cohesive and it all just kind of came together.” One track from Golden Eagle, “All Of Its Glory”, evokes her great-grandfather, serving in WWI, writing impassioned letters (which the family still own, bound in a book) to his wife at home. Other songs describe ‘blood red fields’ and ‘burning skies’, and ‘a man standing by the river bank/ His eyes were blue and his hair was jet black’. “I’m fascinated and drawn to that kind of imagery,” she says. “I went to America for the first time last year to play SXSW and I really felt a connection with the landscape over there.” Music lovers on both sides of the pond are also feeling a connection with the talented artist who pays homage to her musical inspirations and the genre she is exposing a new generation to. Macve is scheduled to spend most of the summer playing a series of festivals throughout Europe. While continuing to tour in support of Golden Eagle, Macve confides she is working on songs for a new project. It can’t come out too soon.

To learn more about Holly Macve, her music, and upcoming shows, visit www.hollymacve.com.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017



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Take the


written by: Olivia Lemley



earching for the perfect internship that can and will set you on the ideal path for your future is no walk in the park. The search is accompanied by a pool of emotions—and not just any pool, but a whirlpool of emotions. Once you have application deadlines and interview dates for the various companies in which you are applying for swimming through your head, it is hard to focus on much else. It consumes your mind in the best way possible. You get to day dream about your career and what you may have in store for your future; you get to ponder the idea of achieving all of your goals and creating new ones you didn’t know you wanted. You get to look back on your aspirations as a kid and look forward to “making it”. That’s what internship are for anyways, right? It is important to understand that neither the size of the company nor prestigious name should make your decision for you. The admiration you receive on Facebook after announcing the huge, well-known company for which you are interning at is nothing short of compelling. Yes, that sounds wonderful, and you will definitely get some extra “cool” points, but internships are so much more than that. Behind that distinguished company name, you need to find a position in which you can explore the opportunities within your desired industry and learn from professionals. You need to be free to apply and further your skill set as an intern, because that is what an internship is all about. You will be learning in’s and out’s of a particular industry that you never even knew existed. Internships provide you with the education no class nor school can teach. The experience is worth more than a thousand words. I would never trade my experiences as an intern. My internship journey into the fashion industry started in the fall of my junior year in high school. The opportunity arose after attending a family-friend’s business launch for OrgaNums. For those of you who do not know, this is a delicious, healthy choice for baby food. An important thing to realize is that I was never expecting to meet someone with much knowledge of the fashion industry at an event for baby food. I learned to always take advantage of possible networking events and attend them in your best business wear, because you never know who you will run into. To my surprise, I met the most influential woman to have met named Jennifer Lezan-Veguilla. Her experience is as extensive as can be, and it has led her down the path of an entrepreneur. She is Editor-in-Chief and CEO of Halfstack

Magazine, as well as the CEO and Designer of Bella+Sophia Clothing. Discovering her immense knowledge of the fashion industry, I continued to pick her brain regarding my career options until she was just about forced to offer me an opportunity to intern for Halfstack Magazine. Since then, I have grown as a writer and dipped my toes into various other pathways of the fashion industry such as Public Relations. During the following summer, I continued my interning experience at Bella+Sophia as Assistant Designer and Marketing Manager. Still younger than most committing to internships, I was able to emerge myself into the creative side of fashion as well as the business and marketing efforts set fourth. None of which would have been in the cards for me if I hadn’t presented myself as an eager-to-learn, persistent worker at that business launch. I have found that opportunities circle around you, and if you are dedicated enough to find them, you will be unstoppable on the path of gold! As I am now ending my sophomore year in college, I have brought it upon myself to seek another internship to fill my summer. The search for internships takes you on a journey through countless websites. You research companies via GlassDoor, you fill out extensive application forms, and the most excruciating part of all? You wait. If you are lucky enough, you may get an offer from a company that has found you to be an asset; if you do, take it. Now, if you have a leprechaun in your pocket, you may get multiple offers, thus leaving you with an important choice. Of course, it is hard to go wrong when it comes to learning experiences, but my advice is to make a pro’s and con’s list to make the best decision for your future. Corny, right? Perhaps it is, but it helps you realize the hidden advantages and disadvantages that may have not been brought to your attention. When I was offered the position as a columnist, I had never envisioned myself working behind the scenes of a magazine, yet I took the leap. I have learned that I have a great deal of skills to contribute to the magazine, and I would not have discovered this talent if I never seized the opportunity. As beautifully stated in the film, The Dead Poets Society by the beloved Robin Williams, “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys [and girls], make your lives extraordinary”. When making your decision, take a deep breath. You may get caught up fantasizing about the well-known company that will be paying you $25/hour. Take a step back and look at your importance to the company and your responsibilities. If you are going to be

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

making coffee runs and erasing idea boards, you may want to reevaluate your priorities. Yes, big name companies have a lot of power, but so does your resume. Even if you plan on embellishing and exaggerating, there is no way to make “getting coffee” sound professional. Find internships where you can learn and broaden your skill sets with hands-on experience. All in all, you should not put your blinders on to only apply for companies paying you the most. Some of the best learning experiences come from the internships with which you are “paid in experience”. You may not be rolling in stacks now, but it just might set you up nicely for your future salaries. Besides, unpaid internships typically are only a few days a week, so there is time to clock in decent hours at a part-time job to support any shopping, coffee or Chipotle addictions. Experience and connections are vital in today’s day and age. For this, LinkedIn has bursted in popularity. After perfecting my profile, I found it was very simple to discover and discuss opportunities with employers and recruiters. Upon getting my first notification that I had received a message from one of my new connections, I got an instant rush of accomplishment. I realized that I was an ideal candidate in the business and fashion industry. I have received job offers, internship opportunities, invitations to grand openings, and even career advice through the network. There are always new positions opening, so it is important to stay on top of your game and have a weekly search through the web to weigh your possibilities.

My Final Advice to Give: When you stumble across your dream internship or job, do not be discouraged by the high-demand of the position. It’s vital to shine with confidence in times that are flooded with competition. Seize the opportunity, and fill out that application with the most charm you have. There is no harm in putting yourself out there. Take any and all opportunities. Your growth with be substantial whether you decide you want to pursue the job as your career or to run far away and never look back.


Be honest. You walked out of the house today and forgot protection, didn’t you? You have your phone, your tablet or laptop, maybe both… You remembered your purse, bag, backpack, and/or briefcase. There’s tons of crap you’ll never use today in those bags, but you forgot protection. And, no, I’m not talking about that protection! This is a financial piece! I’m talking about—and hear me out before you just swipe across the page—the forgotten insurance protection. Seriously, keep reading; it will be okay! Still with me? Good; let’s play a game. Quick, say the first word that comes to mind when you hear, “Insurance.” If you said “Home,” “Auto,” “Health” or “Life” (or some derivative like “Term” or “Obamacare”) then you would match about 95% of the people with whom I have ever discussed this subject. If you said “necessary evil,” or even “too expensive,” then you would match a slight majority of that same 95%. If you



LIFE said “Even Money” or “let it ride” then you have a gambling problem and you need help. But we’re not talking about Health or Life insurance today. We are going to discuss the forgotten insurance coverage, the insurance coverage that protects your income, the insurance that picks up where health insurance falls short but that doesn’t quite qualify for the life insurance payout (i.e., you didn’t die). We are going to discuss—stay with me— Disability Insurance. Still here? Awesome! Let’s do another one: Quick, what picture pops into your mind when I say, “Tom is disabled.” Did you picture a car accident, a body cast, or maybe a guy in a wheel chair? Did you picture Tom Smykowski, the character in Office Space? “Look guys, it’s a Jump to Conclusions mat!” (Again, if you don’t get the reference, then you really need to rent that movie now! While you’re at it, start streaming Fast Times at Ridgemont High, because I’m sure you haven’t gotten around to watching that one, either!) Anyway, if you thought of an accident/ body cast/wheelchair, then congratulations, you match up with the aforementioned 95%. If you thought of a certain company’s oviparous mascot, then once again you’re in the vast majority. So let me set this up in 6 points: One, let’s discuss the need. Industry statistics tell us that about 1 in 3 adults will become disabled for more than 90 days at some point in their working lives. Think about that, 1 in 3. In the grand scheme of everyday risk that is huge. And the problem with being disabled, if you want to call this a problem, is that you’re still alive. You need to pay rent, and you need heat, and you still have to eat, and you still need to get to the store to buy toilet paper and kitty litter… but, oh yeah, you’re not working and you’re not receiving a paycheck. And maybe you need help wiping your own ass. You want your mother doing

that, or your girl/boy-friend, or your spouse? Not me! I’d rather hire a nurse, thank you very much. (For the record, my wife vowed to “stay with me” in sickness and in health—she never said anything about wiping this dude’s ass!) But how do we pay for life without our paycheck? Two, let’s discuss the things that make us disabled, or put another way, make us unable to earn a paycheck. Sure, we can get hit by a bus or fall off a ledge (I have a client who has done both!). It happens, but more likely is that we become sick. Cancer. Multiple Sclerosis. Epilepsy. Parkinson’s. I wish I had a joke to tell right now, but I don’t. This stuff is serious. Three, let’s discuss who needs this coverage. I’m going to argue that everyone who goes to work and earns a paycheck needs this coverage. It doesn’t matter if you’re the breadwinner or not; your paycheck is being spent or saved in some way and some portion of it needs to be protected. Four, let’s discuss how we protect that paycheck. We protect it by acquiring a personally-owned Individual Disability Income Insurance policy that not only meets your current, individualized needs, but that can also grow or change as your needs grow or change. Five, what kinds of things should you look for in a policy? I certainly want to see that it is guaranteed renewable. Some people reading this will absolutely require that the policy they choose be non-cancellable; some people will not see the value of this feature relative to the additional cost. Therefore, I’d prefer a policy that gives you the choice to add or remove it. (By the way, I’ll leave it to the reader to Google these terms; their meanings are not always obvious.) I don’t want to see some 2 or 5 year limitation on Mental/ Nervous or substance abuse claims, a provision many carriers include with their policies. I like policies to include some kind of catastrophic condition rider. If you are seriously laid-up, like in my ass-wiping example, this increases your monthly check so you can afford that nurse. Aside from these points, there may be 20+ different choices to make on each policy; therefore, it is very important that you

work with a professional advisor who can guide you and keep you up to date with the policy as the years go on. Six, are you already covered? You might have some coverage through your employee benefits package at work and you might have even bought supplemental coverage, but neither of those plans is as robust or comprehensive as an individual disability income policy. Furthermore, the benefits from your employer may be taxable. For the young, upwardly mobile, and already affluent readers of Halfstack, you need coverage that suits your status. Hire a professional to help construct a plan that fits your needs and your budget. Did you think I forgot about those naysayers who said “too expensive,” etc.? I didn’t. I bet we can put together a solid plan for less cost per month than your cell phone bill; in some cases way less. Go ahead; ask Siri if she’ll wipe your ass. She won’t. One last thing. I’m sure there are some of you that reached into your pocket/ purse/bag, pulled out a prophylactic, and in your best told-you-so voice said, “Ha! I didn’t forget protection!” Dude, it’s Wednesday, you’re at work, and when you’re done you are going straight home, putting on sweat pants and watching The Voice over a lonely can of soup for one. Your chances of using that thing are way less than one in three, but there it is in your bag, anyway. Plus, you use those things once and they’re done. Why not add something that will be of real value to you every single day for the rest of your working life? Disclosures: All securities products and services of this Representative are offered through AOS, Inc. doing business as MoneyBlock member FINRA/ SIPC, and a Registered Investment Advisor, http://www.MoneyBlock.com -http://www.finra.org/ http://www.sipc.org/

Information provided by AOS, Inc. or their Representatives is informational in nature, and should not be considered tax or legal advice. Should you require tax or legal advice, please consult your tax advisor or attorney. Services offered by this Registered Representative are available only in states where currently registered. Securities offered in: AR, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, IL, IN, KS, KY, MD, ME, MI, MO, NC, NH, NJ, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WV; Investment Advisory Services available in: CO, IL, IN; Life Licensed in: AR, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, IL, IN, KY, MD, ME, MI, MO, NC, NH, NJ, OH, OK, PA, TX, VA, WV; CA License #0H94400 - Residents of any state not listed can receive these services only after such time that the Registered Representative becomes registered in that state.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017




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Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


Power Pieces By: Emily Ehardt Girl power is a must for all ladies out there! What can make you feel more confident and powerful, than a great outfit?! To me, nothing is better than that feeling of putting on a great outfit and feeling that I can conquer the world one stiletto step at a time. I have a few go-to garments that always make me feel powerful, confident, and strong. Below you will find three of my favorites and how I love to style them!

Piece #1: The Midi Dress Dresses are my favorite garments to wear, as they are so effortless, yet chic. This black and white midi dress with a deep V neckline makes me feel confident and sexy. I love styling this dress with a pair of strappy heels and gold jewelry for an edgier take.


Piece #2: The Jumpsuit Jumpsuits have become a classic wardrobe staple, as they are a modern take on a formal look. This jumpsuit has a lacey neckline, which makes it feminine, while still being powerful. I styled it with a pair of gold heels and a red lip for another bold touch.

Piece #3: The Colorful Short Shorts can be one of those garments that many ladies get afraid to wear. However, I always think trying something is a must because you never know if you will love it! I am not a fan of all shorts, but I do love a colored pair that’s slightly above midthigh. If you like shorts a bit shorter or a bit longer, then go for whichever look makes you feel confident. I paired these shorts with a printed blouse to tie the colors together and some black booties for an unexpected take.

Follow @emilyehardtblog on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Stay Classy! ---Emily Ehardt--Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


Fashivism - Style for a Cause MAKING A STATEMENT WITH STYLE

Intro & Interview by: Jennifer Veguilla-Lezan

For many not in the know, the fashion industry can come across as vain and narcissistic. An industry focused on the material and consumerism that seems to be the downfall of civilization, as we know it. Yet, for years designers and creatives in the fashion industry have utilized style and clothing to make a statement. Although 2016/17 has seen an abundance of runways shows being used as a platform by design-


ers to share their stances on themes that range from politics to gay rights and feminism, this isn’t something new. For the intimately involved creatives, dressing the body has always been seen as a form of self-expression. People from all cultures, young and old across the world showcase how fashion can be a visual manifestation of their beliefs, their views of the world and their place in

it. Fashion can also be transformative, an immediate way to transform how one feels about themselves, their view of the world and the way the world views them. Fashion and clothing can act as a cultural time capsule. The look of the season, the sayings on a t-shirt and the subculture surrounding a style genre can speak volumes about the world in which they are a part of.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


This is incredibly evident in the youth culture. Today’s youth pursue interpret fashion trends in a creative manner and adopt the clothing style that suits not only their personal style, but also their values and traits. It’s no surprise that more and more brands are making it a point to explore the idea of fashivism: Fashion Activism. There is an emerging group of fashion anarchists who are demanding to be seen and heard in the industry. They are creating organizations and groups specifically focused on the kind of social and political activism that can help to purge the fashion industry of its transgressions while attempting to try and make the world a better place. They are taking on issues such as cheap labor and sweatshops, over-consumption of resources and deforestation, and animal cruelty in fashion and using tactics of advocacy, education, and mobilization to call for an end to these practices within the industry. Many brands and designers are reacting to the quickly changing and chaotic climate within society with a political consciousness. Utilizing the slogan T-shirt has been the message vessel of choice in today’s market. This idea has its roots in the designs of controversial designers like Vivienne Westwood and Katherine Hamnett, Its beauty arose from the fact that it was easy to do and relatively inexpensive to replicate. All you really needed was a message and a marker. Brands such as EMILY VS. BEAR are taking the slogan


t-shirt to the next level, with witty and beautifully curated designs. EMILY VS BEAR began as a simple concept: American-made luxury. The founders wanted to bring consumers high-quality, classic pieces that they knew were ethically made. Yet, as the years progressed, they found themselves and the world around them becoming increasingly agitated with the current state of affairs. All over the world, people are speaking out and fighting against the current system. The system that destroys our precious planet, exploits the poorest people, and puts money before all else. Hate is not the majority; love is, and love will win. The chaos of the 2016 election propelled the founders into action and changed the focus of what they want to do with their brand. Still American made - Still fucking awesome. Yet, they are now coming at the world with political rhetoric that is unabashedly in your face. Their new ethos is this: Let’s try to figure this shit out before it’s too late and any chance at clean air, water, and food is a fantasy of the past. Albert Einstein once said that, “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” The founders of the brand are believers in the idea that we can create any future we want. EMILY VS BEAR strives to be the voice for a better future. They work to educate and inspire a future we can all be proud of. They are starting by

donating 20% of every purchase to a charity of the purchaser’s choice. Read on to learn more. 1. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what led you to pursue launching your company? Well, I’ve always loved fashion, style, and shopping. And I really started becoming aware of the social and environmental issues of the industry in high school and into college. The company was really born out of my astonishment with what I was finding in boutiques. I started dissecting products and looking at fabric content and country of origin. What I found was that you could be buying a “designer name” and think you’re getting real quality, but you’re really buying a garment that is polyester and made in China - in some cases, for hundreds of dollars! On the flip side, you can get a similar product for say, $30 and it’s still coming from China with the same fabric. So, a lot of the time, the consumer is paying a lot more, simply for the name, than they realize. As a consumer, if I’m paying that kind of money, I want to know it was made ethically and I sure as heck don’t want it to be polyester. That’s how EMILY VS BEAR was born…out of a need for a better product. 2. Can you tell us more about your brand, the idea behind it, the customer you cater to

and the purpose and mission driving it?

I want to build this brand up as a place for people to turn when they feel overwhelmed. It’s why I started it. There is so much going on in the world today: politically, socially, and environmentally. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and give up. I want people to feel empowered and know that decisions they make everyday are affecting the system. I want people to be more conscious of how their consumption habits are directly affecting social and environmental issues. These marches and protests are great, but quite frankly are useless if we are then turning around and supporting the very companies we are fighting. This isn’t about getting Trump out of office or getting democrats back in. It’s about rewriting the whole system. I believe it’s doable, but we have to be honest with ourselves about how we feed the system daily. I want to start an open conversation with all ideas about HOW we move forward and create a better future for everyone. The current system is clearly not working, and that goes beyond America. It’s happening all over the world. The people and money in power put their financial interests before the

wellbeing of the planet and it’s people, and that’s simply unacceptable. 3. What led you to focus on melding fashion, charity and activism? I’ve always been very interested in environmental issues and agricultural practices and how it all creates this big web of issues. I also love fashion and have always been really interested in how companies can do better in terms of helping their communities and creating a system with a lighter environmental footprint. Somewhere along the line, I knew that I wanted to combine the two. 4. Where do you get your creative inspiration and what does your creative “process” look like as you develop your collections? The inspiration is definitely our current political climate and the state of the world. That being said, I have had some of these image ideas in my head for years, so I guess it’s been a long time coming. I’m a visual and hands-on person, so I try to draw out what the picture will look like and set it up the best I can before we shoot and have all the photo-shopping added. 5. Are there people, mentors or figures that have

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

made an impact in your life and career? If so, how? I have to say that Lady Gaga is someone I really admire. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and be vulnerable, but at the same time is very strong. She has so much passion for what she does, it just seeps through in everything she does and I love that! She came out, I think, my first year in college and really had an impact on how I was feeling and what I was thinking. I guess you could say she gave me the confidence to feel okay to be outside of the box. 6. What are your goals for your brand in the next 2-5 years? How do you hope to be making an impact or what kind of growth are you looking forward to? I really hope that the world is in a better place in five years. As for the brand, I definitely have my sights set on growing and even getting involved, perhaps with the non-profit sector. In five years, I also hope I’m helping to influence a new way of how businesses and corporations are run and interacting with society. 7. How is your brand remaining innovative and what are you working towards when it comes to changing


the standards within your industry? I’m a firm believer in American-made, or at least, knowing that products are ethically produced; not just clothing either, but anything that you are consuming. We use organic and American-made products that are fairly local to us in Boston. Even cotton has its pitfalls when you consider how much water goes into the process. So yes, there is still a ways to go, but I think moving towards a more cradle-to-grave future with better materials will be a big part of our future. 8. What kind of obstacles do you see women facing when it comes to entrepreneurship and growth as business owners? It’s crazy that any gap in pay still exists in 2017. I, myself, have been the victim of this and had an employer once lie to me. I think, in general, women are sometimes not taken seriously. We live in such a male-dominated world that has really run us into a ditch. Women are more intuitive and I think will play a big roll in turning all of this around to make sure we come out alive. 9. What has been your greatest success or proudest moment to date?


Getting a final product in my hands after months of a tedious production process is always a great feeling. I also recently realized a lifelong goal of being self-employed and that was really such a great accomplishment. Hopefully, I can keep it up! 10. What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to launch his or her own business?

You really need to be passionate about what you’re doing. If you’re working with a limited budget, I’d say reduce the idea down as much as you can. Start with one thing and do it better than anyone else. There is so much competition out there and it’s so easy to be lost in the shuffle. I think I struggled with that idea for so long. I wanted to do everything all at once, but you need to take a step back and figure out your entry point. I would say also to know your strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes hiring a copywriter or someone to handle your social media makes life a lot easier and is totally worth the small amount it costs.

11. Finally, where can we learn more about your brand online? You can go to Emilyvsbear.com to grab a t-shirt. We donate 20% of every purchase to an organization of your choosing. You can also check out @emilyvsbear on Instagram.com



I want people to be more conscious of how their consumption habits are directly affecting social and environmental issues.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017





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Come on the journey to find the new faces of the Chicago Fashion Industry...the “next� fashion designers, stylists, make-up artists, and much more will be featured along with events, and even the new fashions on the streets!! In Estrella Modas, we keep an eye out for the stars of fashion of tomorrow! READ THE LATEST > 80


Halfstack Magazine | June 2017



SUMMER STYLE + written by: Michelle Landriault



For some of us summer is intimidating! Getting your body ready for summer is something I see all over social media as of late. The reality behind this message is loud and clear. Yet, instead of worrying so much about getting your body ready for summer, I’m saying it’s time you get summer ready for YOUR body! Check out these great plus size swimwear picks that are perfect for showing off those curves and reminding the world that you love your body the way it is. Don’t fret my pets; you can tackle this summer with some good ol’ girl power, confidence, and a smile. You got this baby!

When it comes to flattering looks, it is all about dressing your shape correctly. The suits that I found at Mazu swimwear are the bomb! There’s a wide variety of styles that are suitable for all the beautiful bodies out there. They have sizes 8-24 plus and come in a variety or colors, patterns and cuts. https:// mazuswim.com/collections/plus-size-womens-one-pieces-swimdresses-sizes-18w-24w

I personally really love polka dots, and this sweet skater polka dot number is beautiful! https:// mazuswim.com/collections/ plus-size-womens-one-piecesswimdresses-sizes-18w-24w/ products/copy-of-shirred-womens-plus-size-one-piece-skaterswimdress-by-mazu-swim-3

I like to pair these pieces with this awesome cover-up from Fantasy Figure Swim https://www.fantasyfigureswim.com/collections/ shop-all/products/copy-of-jetblack-laser-cut-tunic-cover-upby-fantasy-figure-swim. I can layout by the pool or hit the beach, and be comfy all day in this beautiful outfit.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

Fantasy Figure Swim https://www.fantasyfigureswim. com/ has a ton of awesome cover-ups. I really like the look of this cute sailor style cover-up. https://www. fantasyfigureswim.com/collections/shop-all/products/divine-white-plus-size-so-soft-terry-clothcover-up-dress-upf-50-by-fantasy-figure-swim. You can pair this with a black ruched suit for a slimming tailored look.

When it comes to flattering looks, it is all about dressing your shape correctly. The suits that I found at Mazu swimwear are the bomb! There’s a wide variety of styles that are suitable for all the beautiful bodies out there. They have sizes 8-24 plus and come in a variety or colors, patterns and cuts. https://mazuswim.com/collections/ plus-size-womens-one-pieces-swimdresses-sizes-18w-24w


stylebysmo.com | 630.251.7339



Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


Looks For Less n o i h s a F l a v i t s e F Summer 2017 By: Teresa Cutrera, Fashion & Style Editor

Chicago may have some of the harshest winters, but in turn, we have some of the most fantastic summers! It’s that short but sweet 3-4 month stretch of awesome weather, beach days, cookouts, tan skin and of course festivals that we wait for all year. Music festivals are the place to go during the summer. It’s the perfect place to stretch your styling skills and try out new and funky things. Virtually anything goes at music festivals. The only thing better than the music at festivals is seeing the new and creative fashions. That’s why I’ve dedicated this Looks For Less to festival season! The days of the flower crown are dead and gone; welcome to the era of more skin, fringe and 80’s vibes. For the guys it’s all about the accessories and going outside of your comfort zone with an eclectic print. Check out the new trends to wear and some that have a definite flashback of retro flair in this latest edition!

Alexandra Mixed Woven Off-The-Shoulder Top BooHoo.com $26.00

Kimchi Blue Bay Off-The-Shoulder Blouse Urban Outfitters $49.00

Eliza Embroidered Tassel Bardot Top BooHoo.com $35.00


Off-The-Shoulder Shoulders are totally having a moment! The trend has been around for the last couple of seasons, but summer is the perfect time to wear this trend. If you want to bare some extra skin, shoot for the crop top version of this style. It’s the perfect combination of boho chic and feminine.

Kimchi Blue Embroidered Mesh Cropped Bardot Top Urban Outfitters $39.00

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

Kimchi Blue Bee Bee Off-The-Shoulder Blouse Urban Outfitters $54.00


Fringe I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again and again; I’m a sucker for fringe. Fringe has always been a staple of festival fashion, but if you’re looking for an update, go for something out of the ordinary. Find a bodysuit with fringe detail or try even a jacket with fringe detailing for those cool festival nights. Of course, if you want to go for classic look, opt for a fringe cross body bag or vest!

Evelyn Boutique Lace Tasseled V-Neck Body Suit BooHoo.com $44.00

I See You Black Mesh Bodysuit Lulus.com $38.00

Skye Mesh Embroidered Bodysuit BooHoo.com $13.00

Sofia Spot Mesh Bodysuit BooHoo.com $14.00


Boutique Zoe Burnou Long Sleeve Body BooHoo.com $13.00

Sky High Slits The whole “skin is in” thing, well it reigns true for festival season. This is probably one of my favorite trends for festival season because it translates so well to everyday wear too. Granted you wear the right layering pieces! A fun print, or vibrant color works best for this trend. Layer it up with boho accessories and comfy booties for an ultra cool, sexy and laid back style!


Melissa Printed Off-The-Shoulder Wrap Skirt Co-ord BooHoo.com $20.00

House Of The Risi

ra Tassel Hem Cami BooHoo.com $7.00

ut Scoop Back

Fringe Jersey Cover Up Topshop $50.00

Death Valley Fringe Moccasin Boot Nasty Gal $70.00

HOLI Festival Fringe Cross Body Bag Topshop $65.00

Sheer Bodysuits Bodysuits are still going strong this season. Especially for music festivals! I love this trend because it looks flattering on everyone! I’m in love with the applique and embroidered style bodysuits. The sheer detailing adds just the right hint of sexy with a fun ultra feminine feel. Pair your bodysuit with a pair of high waisted shorts or even a flirty skirt.

Stick It Mesh Bodysuit Nasty Gal $40.00

ing Sun Maxi Dress Gisella Plain Double Split Front Maxi Skirt H a l f s t a c k M a g a z i n e | J uBooHoo.com ne 2017 Nasty Gal $70.00 $10.00

Floral Maxi Dress Nasty Gal $50.00

God Bless This Mesh Dress Nasty Gal $40.00


Jeepers Peepers Retro Sunglasses ASOS.com $29.00

ASOS Square Sunglasses with Rubberised Black with Orange Lens ASOS.com $16.00

Mirrored Sunglasses It’s easy to see why a lot of guys collect sunglasses. The styles are endless and add a cool factor to any outfit. For summer festivals, experiment with a fun mirrored pair. The mirrored lens is the perfect hint of color for your outfit. Considering you’ll be wearing these just about the whole day, why not make a statement doing it! Heavy Round Sunglasses Urban Outfitters $22.00

AJ Morgan Round Sunglasses ASOS.com $24.00


ASOS Rounded Retro Sunglasses in Black Metal With Mirror Lens ASOS.com $23.00

Statement Hats Hats are another must have accessory for festival season. During Coachella we saw tons of different styles but the reigning favorites were in fedora and baseball hat styles. The fedora makes for a more fashion savvy and updated look, while the baseball hat style is definitely more casual. The baseball hat is the easier of the looks to wear. If you’re trying out a more constructed fedora with a unique style, make it the centerpiece of the rest of your outfit.

FILA Baseball Hat Urban Outfitters $29.00

ASOS Fedora Hat in Black Felt ASOS.com $29.00

Brixton Midland Fedora Hat ASOS.com $143.00

Tommy Jeans 90’s Denim Cap in Mid Wash ASOS.com $56.00

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

ASOS Fedora Hat with High Crown & Tie Dye Band ASOS.com $25.50


Sixth June Denim Jacket In Blue With Back Print ASOS.com $111.00

ASOS Short Overall in Light Wash ASOS.com $60.00

Cheap Monday Solder Denim Shirt ASOS.com $90.00

Gray Muscle Fit Short Sleeve Denim Shirt Topman $50.00

Denim Denim never really goes out of style, and worn correctly, denim makes for a great staple piece this festival season. Go for a lighter denim shirt or even a cutoff denim shirt. Layering it with a basic tee is the best combination. Denim shorts in different rinses are great as well.


BDG Destructed Stonewash Denim Short Urban Outfitters $54.00

Jack & Jones Originals Short Sleeved Shirt in Floral Print ASOS.com $49.41

Camouflage Shirt Zara.com $35.90

ASOS Regular Fit Shirt With Floral Print ASOS.com $40.00

Raw Edge Checked Shirt Zara.com $49.90

Photo Print Spliced Short Sleeve Casual Shirt Topman $55.00

Printed Shirts This is where you can have lots of fun with your outfit for festival season. Try a funky new print or experiment with color! It’s a great way to freshen up your outfit while still being very comfortable! Don’t forget, festival fashion is all about experimenting and having fun! Don’t be afraid to try a print that’s loud. Just make sure to keep the rest of your outfit low key. Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


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Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


recreating gender norms in the fashion industry



Written & Creative Direction By: Jennifer Veguilla-Lezan Featuring clothing by: Rebirth Garments Photography By: Laura Lopez & Shirin Koril of Pickapose Photography Stylist: Jen Geronimo Smothers of Styles By SMO Set Assistant: Jennie Velasco Hair & Makeup By: Danielle Hazekamp & Tanya Renelt Models: Dasha Guyton | Eli Borrowman | Patrice Walden Shot on site at: Fleetwood Roller Rink - Summit, IL

Sky Cubacub - Rebirth Garments In a world where gender stereotypes reign, the traditional fashion industry has played an immense role in establishing the typical ideas of what is feminine and what is masculine within societal norms. Yet, there have always been a handful of innovative and forward thinking designers who were not afraid to blur the lines of expectation. In the 60s men sported long hair, floral patterns and bell bottoms in contrast to the typical 3 piece suits men were expected to wear. Working women donned the power suit in the 80s as they worked to leave their mark on corporate America. Yet, the idea of gender norms has evolved even more. Many people today are not opting to follow the hard and fast rules society has created that set the expectations of who they should be or what they should identify with. Rather, they are making a statement with regards to the gender continuum and are forging a path towards gender fluidity. In the past, fashion has altered identities in relation to how they were seen within the gender-based relations in a society. A man wearing women’s clothing would automatically be labeled feminine

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


and a woman wearing men’s clothing would be seen as masculine. Typically, fashionable clothes are used to make statements about social class and social identity and the way people see their roles in society or at least how they are expected to perceive them. These types of rules are not always about fashion or taste. Rather, it seems they are more about how society marks how we are different. How we enforce and impose restrictive ideas about what it means to be feminine or masculine. Yet, there is a movement underway that is focusing on deconstructing the gender norms and patriarchal dress society has placed upon the community. Sky Cubacub is the creative visionary behind the Rebirth Garments clothing line. Rebirth Garments are gender non-conforming wearables and accessories for people on the full spectrum of gender, size, and ability. The idea for the collection started as dream for Sky in high school. As an individual who identifies as a genderqueer person of color, as well as a QueerCrip (the garments sky wanted were not accessible. So, she decided


to make them on her own. For those who don’t identify with society’s standard of fixed gender – gender affirming or gender –neutralizing styles can help the individual to create the outward appearance they aim for. Rather, than just falling in line with what society expects of them, they are able to take back ownership of their true self. According to the Accelerating Acceptance Report foe 2017 organized by GLAAD, “12% of Millennials identify as transgender or gender nonconforming, meaning they do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth or their gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity – doubling the number of transgender and gender nonconforming people reported by Generation X. Of the 12% of Millennials who identify as transgender and gender nonconforming, 63% also say they do not identify as heterosexual.” There is an obvious need for a brand like Rebirth. They are changing the norms and creating a community that is open, accepting and welcoming through creative style and fash-

ion. The idea of gender fluidity is not new, yet it is now being talked about in a manner that allows individuals to discuss and explore their identity. Sky is doing more than just creating fashion; sky is utilizing a creative platform to bring visibility to issues that affect their communities and is actively looking for ways to bring those communities together. Whether that is by creating designs that are adapted to meet the needs of a genderqueer individual or unique designs created to specifically meet the fit requirements of someone with a disability (both seen and unseen) while still being creatively striking. Sky highlights in the Radical Visibility Manifesto that, “The current situation for trans* undergarments and for people with disabilities is that we shouldn’t be stylish, because we should “want to blend in” A.K.A. society wants us to be invisible and not draw attention to ourselves.” There is an unsaid norm when it comes to fashion for those with disabilities that the item should solely be about function. Yet, with

Model: Patrice Walden

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Model: Dasha Guyton

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Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

Model: Eli Borrowman


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EST. 1957

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e r a e w o h w e r a we

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Rebirth Garments is about claiming our bodies in a social context that is confronting and breaking down Cartesian dichotomies. It is navigating obstacles that social systems construct through disparate points of inspiration.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017



Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


rebirth garments, they are pursuing a QueerCrip dress reform movement that puts aesthetics at the same level as every other requirement. Sky explains that, “Both the disabled and trans* communities have very particular clothing needs that are not adequately served by mainstream clothing designers, not because of governmental laws against dress rights, but due to society not valuing our communities and masking that by this “general assumption” that they are “too small” of a population to bother having clothing designed specifically for them”. Rebirth is focused on the needs of the Trans and Genderqueer communities as well as creating designs to accommodate people with disabilities. These communities have very particular clothing needs that are not adequately served by mainstream clothing designers and Sky is working to fill this void in the market. They take things a step further by being inclusive when it comes to their focus on a full spectrum of sizes. By highlighting that we have to learn to embrace our bodies as they are and shut down fat shaming.


The collection challenges mainstream beauty standards, sizeist/ableist notions and the gender binary. They are working to empower through style. Sky further explains that, “Rebirth Garments is about claiming our bodies in a social context that is confronting and breaking down Cartesian dichotomies. It is navigating obstacles that social systems construct through disparate points of inspiration. This movement celebrates the contradiction. We, as QueerCrips, are living contradictions in a society that wants us dead.” They stand out, loud and proud and with that are embracing radical visibility.

To learn more about Rebirth Garments, place an order or check out the latest visit the brand at: www.rebirthgarments.com

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Dim lights, colorful disco balls, bumping music and a glistening hardwood floor await you as you enter Fleetwood rink. It is an iconic skating rink right outside of Chicago that is best known for its ties to the Lil’ Bowwow film: Roll Bounce. It’s been a family and neighborhood hotspot for 60 years and it is still going strong. Skaters, young and old can be found weekly, enjoying music and weaving in and out on the retro wooden rink in a backdrop of neon lights and mid-century modern signs. The nostalgia is thick and a wonderful reminder that some things don’t need to change and can still be as enjoyable as they were 50+ years ago. Halfstack had the opportunity to shoot on site at Fleetwood Roller Skating Rink in Summit IL, for our summer cover shoot. The rink is located just outside Chicago’s city proper and is a definite throwback to the 70s and 80s. Roller Skating has always been, and continues to be, a great source of family recreation and exercise. It’s an American past time that is seeing a revival in the forms of recreation, competitive skating and roller derby. Roller disco is making a comeback, but the joy of skating has endured because of the fact that it spans across all ages and backgrounds. General Manager, Kathy over at Fleetwood explains that despite the ups and downs, changes in management over the years and interest in skating, the rink has managed to carve a place in the community that brings joy to the neighborhood and beyond. Whether it is just a fun weekend out for the family, a birthday party



or local community event, the rink is a place to go for people to gather.

the essence of skating remains the same. It’s truly fun for everyone.

During our visit, it was eye opening to see the athleticism of the speed skating team and the individual style skaters getting their practice in. Style skaters have been innovating insane dance floor moves while circling the rink since the 1960s. Skating has been an incredible component to both the evolution of popular American dance and dance music over the years. It even occupies a space at the core of America’s civil rights struggles. Chicagoan Ledger Smith, better known as Roller Skate Guy, even skated all the way from the Windy City to the nation’s capital for the 1963 March on Washington of “I Have a Dream” fame.

If you haven’t been skating recently, Fleetwood invites you out to visit their newly renovated facility. Their Roller Skating surface is 75’ x 165’, Hard Maple. The rink offers private birthday parties, events, and birthdays during open skate as well as fundraiser opportunities! Saturday’s you can stop in for $5 skating lessons between 12:451:30PM, and open skate are hours are: Wednesday 6:30-9:0PM, Friday 7:30-10:30PM, Saturday 10:30AM-1:00PM, 1:30-4:30PM, and 7:30-10:30PM and Sunday 1:30-4:30PM and 6:30-9:00PM.

The music styles today range, but you still get a taste of the midtempo soul, funk, old-school hip-hop, reggae, r&b, and of course disco as their soundtrack. Roller rinks across the nation have managed to incorporate dance music subculture and that is evident in the vintage rinks of Chicago that endure on such as Fleetwood.

You can check them out online at: www.fleetwoodrollerrink.com or give them at call at: (708)4580300 and keep up with them at: https://www.facebook.com/ FleetwoodRollerRInk/

Although, you’re likely to see rollerblades of the 90s, more and more rink goers are choosing quads, explained Kathy. She highlights how interesting to see how styles transform over the years, but how

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


Style skaters have been innovating insane dance floor moves while circling the rink since the 1960s. Skating has been an incredible component to both the evolution of popular American dance and dance music over the years.


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118 PHOTOGRAPHY BY & COURESTY OF: www.wyaolive.com

“The photographer is a woman?” “Does she do fashion photography?” If there is anything city of angels native Olive detests more than being called a fashion photographer, I don’t know what it is. It has become an unwarranted assumption that if you possess a vagina and work in the creative realm, you live and die for the September issue. 19-year-old Olive is proving that women are interested in more than just what they wear. This past February on a bleak Saturday, off a winding Chinatown road in Lower East Side Manhattan, Olive unveiled her first exhibit. As a room of 20 people, all under 20 absorbed her stripped down aesthetic, few knew what it took to get her to this point. Olive moved from LA to Chicago to study at Loyola University in 2015. While attending full time and hustling at Uniqlo for cash to support her craft, Olive decided higher education was a distraction from her true calling. “I understand some people need to go to college,” Olive clarifies referencing her best friend’s intended graphic design career. “I told my parents I was taking a break from school so they would deal with it better. I still say that.” It has been just over a year since this free-spirited artist uprooted her life with $1,000 and a vision. Her method of fronting everything on her own dime including the event space for her first exhibit could teach people ten years her senior a thing or two. Saving enough money to make

the move, finding a sublet, locking down a job, and then a second one is one of the hardest things she has ever done. But she did it. Gifted with her first film camera by her dad at the age of 13, she began to become more interested in still image. In many ways, Olive has become a student in the school of life. In her spare time, she studies methodology and practice of photography. Always eager for selfimprovement. Some world renowned greats have even started to take notice like legend Rolling Stones photographer, Michael Halsband who has worked with the likes of Mick Jagger. Though the newfound Harlem resident is not found of celebrity photography, she wouldn’t mind shooting her Filipino counterpart Manny Pacquiao. “He [Pacquiao] is the only star I would shoot,” Olive shrugs. Real people living their lives unapologetically is Olive’s take. Her growing collection of subjects she has shot features one common thread, showcasing them in their element. Her work is Whole Foods level meaning it feels organic, raw, and full of substance. There is no showbiz filter preventing you from seeing who they really are. An experience is what Olive is gifting the photography world, from blemishes to unkept background you get the whole story of who that person was in the moment the image was captured. Olive is already adding a few more occupations to her resume. The next level Filipina has

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already directed her first short film narrated in French, which was filmed in Puerto Rico and on top of all that. Olive wants for women everywhere to define their craft themselves without the influences of what a woman should be interested in. “I do see myself as a feminist. I am not a hardcore one. Being a female and a minority that only increases the power I’m about to take on. I advise women to keep working on what they love doing and trust that it will make a difference because it’ll ultimately shine through female generations yet to come.” “I am a documentary portrait film photographer currently living in New York City.”

While attending full time and hustling at Uniqlo for cash to support her craft, Olive decided higher education was a distraction from her true calling.I understand some people need to go to college, Olive clarifies referencing her best friend’s intended graphic design career. “I told my parents I was taking a break from school so they would deal with it better. I still say that.



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Halfstack Magazine | June 2017





OF PE INTENSIVE 17 On a cool April morning, this past spring over 200 female entrepreneurs made the trek from all over the US to Manhattan’s chic workspace Convene for a weekend of workshops, networking and learning On a cool April morning, this past spring over 200 female entrepreneurs made the trek from all over the US to Manhattan’s chic workspace Convene for a weekend of workshops, networking and learning. Dubbed the Project Entrepreneur Intensive, the event was coordinated by The Rent The Runway Foundation. Project Entrepreneur is a program that is a part of UBS Elevating Entrepreneurs, the firm’s flagship philanthropic entrepreneurship initiative alongside Rent the Runway. The program features a portfolio of partnerships and programs committed to bringing the right resources, to the right entrepreneurs, to help spur economic growth. The purpose behind Project Entrepreneur is to ignite bold ideas by providing women access to the tools, training and networks needed to build scalable, economically impactful companies. Rent the Runway co-founders: Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss have worked to reach this goal through a multi-faceted national initiative that includes this robust digital hub, multi-city events, a


venture competition, and a 5-week accelerator program. Jen and Jenny – in partnership with UBS – are on a mission to break traditional barriers when it comes to women’s paths in the business world. They are hoping to democratize the knowledge and resources necessary to build impactful ventures. The event was flooded with inspiring women making an impact with their startups, looking to change the face of entrepreneurship. Diverse women from a variety of backgrounds came together to on this weekend to build bridges and encourage one another to create businesses that will disrupt and innovate the market. Women now make up 40 percent of new entrepreneurs in the United States — the highest percentage since 1996, according to the 2016 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. Women start companies at a rate 1.5 times the national average, but they account for less than 10 percent of founders at high-growth firms. It is quite obvious that the


passion and talent clearly exists, but there are immense barriers that stand in the way of women maximizing the economic significance of their efforts. Despite substantial progress on the start-up world, the “scale-up gap” between men and women still remains quite large. Female businesses often start small and tend to stay small. The reality is that only 3 percent of women-owned firms in the U.S. have “high economic impact,” generating $500,000 or more in revenue, compared to 9 percent of male-owned firms. According to the 2016 State of Women Owned Businesses report commissioned by American Express OPEN. Relatively few women-owned firms make it beyond the $1 million barrier. Only 27.8 percent of firms with $1 million in revenue or more are owned by women or equally owned by men and women, and just 18.6 percent of companies with 500 employees or more are femaleowned or equally male and female owned, according to research by the Kauffman Foundation.

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Finance is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when it comes to women starting businesses. In actuality, many women raise little financing of any kind in their early ventures. Women entrepreneurs reported self-funding 61 percent of their total business capital, compared to men, who said they self-funded half in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2015 United States Report, prepared by researchers at Babson and Baruch colleges. The research found that when women do raise money, they are far less likely to do so from banks loans and more likely to seek funding from friends and family. Some of the keys to developing scalable women-owned businesses include programs that support women business owners through mentorship, accessibility to capital and a network that allows them to grow. That’s where Project Entrepreneur comes in and they definitely hit the nail on the mark with the Project Entrepreneur Intensive. The invite only event curated a list of women creating, building and looking for opportunities to grow their businesses. With an abundance of workshops meant to build a business toolkit and opportunities to connect with fellow classmates of PE Intensive 2017, the weekend intensive is a step in the right direction for female entrepreneurs. During my time at Project Entrepreneur, I had the opportunity to meet with many fellow female founders. We bonded, connected and confided in each other about the details of our journey. I had the opportunity to connect with 3 companies and their teams to learn more about their companies: The Royal Wild, Zulubots and My Style Authority. Keep reading for their full interviews!

The Royal Wild: Female Voices in Media Diversity in the work place is something that many companies are pursuing more of. Yet, in some industries, the reality is that there isn’t as much diversity as some would like to think. Hollywood is one place that has been in the spotlight for the lack of diversity when it comes to females in lead positions such as directing and cinematography. There were a slew of speeches over the last few years and outcries over equal pay and diverse working situations. Yet, things don’t seem to be getting better. In fact, women comprised of only 7 percent of all directors working on the 250


highest-grossing domestic releases in 2016. That was a decline of two percentage points from the level achieved in 2015 and in 1998, according to the latest report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. There has been a loud debate going on over the lack of female and minority voices and possible gender discrimination in the film and television industry. The numbers don’t fare well. According to the same report, of the top 250 highest grossing films last year, thirty-four percent of the films had no female producers, 79 percent lacked a female editor, 97 percent of films had no female sound designers, and 96 percent didn’t have a female cinematographer. So, where does all of that leave young, hungry and innovative female filmmakers and media mavens? While the industry has shown very little will to change, more and more women are graduating film, new and digital media school ready to create change for themselves. More women in leadership roles are taking it upon themselves to help other women by promoting community support, industry advocacy, and increased recognition amongst one another while continuing to strive for equality in pay and in the work place. Media brands like The Royal Wild are setting out to be a creative catalyst in the media and film industries. What launched as a brand focusing on production and creating media content for businesses has grown immensely over the last few years. They are creative storytellers looking to weave a new narrative in their perspective industry. Founded by Jenny Kleiman and Kayla Morrisey, The Royal Wild, focuses on both narrative and commercial work. Their goal is to create female driven content with an eye toward futurism and wanderlust. The work they create aims to empower. The ladies took some time to answer some questions about their work. Read on to learn more: 1. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what led you to pursue launching The Royal Wild? My name is Jenny Kleiman, and I’m a film and commercial director/ producer based in NYC. I run a production company called The Royal Wild, and we are in pre-production for our first feature titled: TUER LES FLEURS, which

shoots this summer in the South of France. ABOUT THE FILM: Two wild co-eds embark on an outrageous and terrifying journey through the South of France. TEUR LES FLEURS is a psychological thriller that follows Lindsey and Lydia as they spin out on a joyride of poor choices and moral obliviousness on a quest for the “Best Spring Break Ever.” Mysterious omens pepper their trip as they make their way to the medieval town of Vence, where the unapologetic rebels settle in at an ancient Bed and Breakfast. They soon learn of the home’s dark past and discover that they too, have kept secrets from one another. Lindsey and Lydia’s jealousy and manipulative nature pit the girls against each other in a darkly humorous tale of teen angst and betrayal that culminates in an extraordinary and unexpected ending. The Royal Wild is myself and my co-director/ producer, Kayla Morrisey. Kayla and I grew up in Charleston, SC and studied theatre together at the School of the Arts in middle school- we actually helped start an improv troupe at the school which is still around today. We then lost touch for about 10 years, but the funny thing is that we were both living about 3 blocks away from each other in LA. We separately decided to move back to Charleston for a change of pace and re-met in a dog park shortly after the move. Kayla and I immediately started working together after that day, and we launched The Royal Wild within a few months. We had similar styles of storytelling; we have remarkably similar taste in movies. It was a natural fit. 2. Can you tell us more about your brand, the idea behind it and the purpose and mission driving it? I think most people at this point are familiar with how present and real the glass ceiling is for women in film. Because of the lack of opportunity presented to female filmmakers, when Kayla and I started TRW, there was very little precedent of women making edgy, sexy, mind bending content- it was a lot of Lifetime Channel and Nancy Meyers (who’s work we love!). In the meantime, we can make whatever we want! The Royal Wild is future-forward: films for women by women who want real and sometimes abstract stories told from


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a female perspective. In the very early stages of Royal Wild, Kayla approached me with the TUER LES FLEURS script, and it was such a perfect mirror to all of the things we stand for: it’s like if Jawbreaker and Heathers had a baby with Spring Breakers. I get really excited about script and our brand because it’s “us” through and through. 3. What led you to focus on creative story telling? I grew up in the theatre, but at the end of high school, I realized pretty quickly that I wanted to move off the stage. However, at the time, I didn’t really think of film or working behind camera as an option. I went to University of Colorado at Boulder as a theatre major, and about a month into school, I was running late to class. I threw on these really ripped up jeans and scooted out the door. After this theatre class, I was feeling really confused about my path. I posted up on the quad, and my dad called me to say hello. In the meantime, a yellow jacket crawled up my pants and ended up stinging me twice on my bikini line! I was jumping up and down trying to get the bee out of my pants screaming about how I wanted to change my major. It was quite the scene. While I was recovering (it turns out I’m slightly allergic to beestings), I watched a bunch of movies that I missed for a class called “Women in Film,” and it hit me! I have basically been set on becoming a director ever since. I don’t know if it was the bee or the Benadryl, but it was definitely a breakthrough. 4. Where do you get your creative inspiration and what does your creative “process” look like as you develop your concepts? I get really energized by my surroundings- I moved to Chinatown in NYC about six months ago, and I’ve been insanely inspired by the city itself lately. I really love to travel for the same reason because I really connect with my environment. I always loved the quote from Almost Famous about “whenever you feel lost, just go to a record store and visit your friends.” When it’s a grey day or things just feel a little stale, I really escape in music. I really love watching movies- even though I know how they’re made, I really get lost in storylines and the


magic of cinema. My creative process is a little all over the place- to be honest, I’m a bit of a procrastinator, but I tend to do really good work under pressure. I think a lot of people beat themselves up for not working in some remarkable or holistic way- sometimes you just have to get things done, and you make it work. I would love to say I write or shoot everyday, but I do it when it feels right.

on schedule to meet our full goal in the coming weeks. After we actually go into production, we still have post-production, festivals, and distribution. By the time you see it in theaters, it will likely be about 2 years from today. After that- I just want to start the process over again! The goal is always to keep creating smart, interesting content.

5. Are there people, mentors or figures that have made an impact in your life and career? If so, how?

7. How is your company remaining innovative and what are you working towards when it comes to changing the standards within your industry?

Reconnecting with Kayla was a huge turning point in my career, and it’s been amazing to have a peer who really challenges me to work at my highest level. She is one of the hardest-working creatives I know, and it is so motivating.

It’s so sad that just being a woman in most industries is still challenging the norm. The film industry is absolutely no exception. Kayla and I have a few passion projects under the umbrella of Royal Wild to do our part in closing the gender and wage gap.

My mom is a huge inspiration to me- she has worked to help others since the day she could cash a paycheck. My family is full of strong women who are movers and shakers. I like to joke that my aunt is the Leslie Knope of our small island community in Charleston called Isle of Palms, but I’m really not far off with that comparison.

One of these projects is the Women’s Independent Film Channel (WIFC.tv) which we recently launched in beta version. WIFC is the home for women-directed narrative content. We have amazing films you can stream, links to a crowdsourcing resources and women-led projects seeking funding. We are partnering with different women-centric brands to promote Free the Bid (the advertising industry’s dedication to hiring female directors for commercials). Our goal is that even our on-site advertising will be directed by women.

I also am so lucky to have friends that truly look after my well-being. My best friend just gave me a tincture to make sure I’m not overworking myself. I’m not even sure what it does, but I take it everyday. 6. What are your goals for your brand in the next 2-5 years? How do you hope to be making an impact or what kind of growth are you looking forward to? The Royal Wild started as a commercial production company in Charleston- we worked mainly on short form projects like commercials, music videos, short films, etc. Our roots in these quick, yet intense projects helped us establish a working report before jumping into our feature. Most of our future work at The Royal Wild is hyper-focused on creating features, series, and new media projects, and further Kayla and I are spread physically between New York, Miami, and LA most of the time. It’s insane to see how much we’ve grown already, but TUER LES FLEURS is really the game-changer. We have spent about two years raising our budget for the film and are

In addition to the gender and wage gap, there’s a visibility problem for the female directors that do exist. Sundance did a study a few years ago and found that women represent 9% of directors. Not only are there few opportunities for women, but the ones who are working hard have a hard time getting their work in front of mainstream audiences. WIFC is dedicated to showcasing women directors and doing our part to make more women directors household names. Last but not least next year, we’re teaching the next generation of filmmakers at WIFC Bootcamp. We are teaching young women and girls how to work the camera, the basics of filmmaking, and hoping to inspire the next Ava DuVernay or Sofia Coppola. 8. What kind of obstacles do you see women facing when it comes to entrepreneurship and growth as business owners – specifically within the film industry?


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Entrepreneurship is a struggle despite gender, but women certainly have a different set of challenges. For many industries, it’s still a white, old men boys club. Women and POC are natural disruptors to this structure, and there’s so much power in resistance to the norm. In the film industry, if you’re a male director that has a bad movie, you’ll still likely work again. If you’re a woman/ POC- that’s it! Kayla and I have been asked straight out, “How will we make a movie together because we’re both women?” Like that’s even a real question… We’ve been mansplained how to make a movie too many times to even count, and we had plenty of offers along the way for financing if we’d allow them to replace us with a white, male director. Women and POC are truly still working double-time to be at the exact same position as their white, male counterpart- it makes days harder and work more grueling, and you’re constantly trying to show that you’re worth it. 9. What has been your greatest success or proudest moment to date? My first job was working for the Coppola family, and at the time I thought it was the best thing I was ever going to do because I respected and worshiped them and their films so much. However, at the end of the day I was working as a director’s apprentice (who also picked up their laundry from dry cleaning and took lunch orders). Now, I’m about to direct my first feature film, and that’s the best feeling in the world. I thought I would just work for the best directors in the world, and now my goal is to be the best director I can be. Kill your idols. 10. What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to launch his or her own business? It’s going to be a LOT of work, so you better really make sure that it’s the idea that keeps you up at night. Listen when other people give you advice (although maybe not to me haha), but listen to your gut and follow that instead. You can learn more about The Royal Wild at: www.theroyalwild.com and follow the ladies on social @theroyalwild.

Zulubots: Women in Robotics & Engineering Although the statistics relating to women in engineering have seen an uptick since the 1980s, when only 5.8% of engineers in the U.S. were women. The figures today, are still surprisingly low. Currently, only 14% of engineers are women, according to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. It seems that there is a lack of support and role models for young girls within the robotics and engineering industry. Today, the biggest barriers standing between robots and regular people are complexity and price. Issues of representation are evident and prominent in the STEM industries. So, what are women to do in order to get represented in the STEM industries? Showcase women who are pursuing careers and businesses in the industry in order to get girls experimenting, building, coding, tinkering, and problem solving! Zulubots is a woman led company, founded by Elizabeth De Zulueta. Zulubots is working to break the mold and get students excited about a career in engineering and robotics. Zulubots, Inc. is an engineering company that focuses on robotics and automation systems. This focus includes the design, development, fabrication, and implementation of robotics and automation systems. Zulubots provides consulting services for other companies, which include gathering requirements and designing robotics and automation systems. As part of the implementation process, Zulubots also educates its customers on the technology and trains them on how to use and interact with the systems. Another key offering is robotics education. Zulubots has an educational outreach program, which includes workshops and seminars to educate students on how to design and fabricate robotic systems. This also includes training teachers so they can more effectively help students who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Elizabeth took some time to share her story with us, read on for the full interview: 1. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what led you to pursue launching your company?

immigrated from Cuba after the Communist Revolution. I started building robots when I was 14 years-old in an afterschool program. I then went to engineering school and got a BS and an MS in Robotics Engineering. I have always wanted to start a company and when I finished graduate school, I felt it was the right time to plunge into entrepreneurship. 2. Can you tell us more about your brand, the idea behind it, the customer you cater to and the purpose and mission driving it? Our brand is focused on promoting independence and self-reliance. 2 years ago, I injured myself and was in a wheelchair and had to go through the process of relearning how to walk. During this process, I quickly learned how difficult many common, household tasks are when you have any kind of mobility restriction. This is how I developed the idea for my robot and the mission for my company. We cater to individuals who have mobility restrictions, these restrictions may come from illness, injury, or advanced age. Our mission is to improve our customers’ quality of life. 3. What led you to focus on melding technology, health and robotics? Technology is meant to be a tool. Yes, the technology industry is cool and has done many amazing things, but the true promise of technology is to help us live more fulfilled lives. So, I believe the real impact of technology is not in the tech industry but in other industries. For me, the industry that can most benefit from technology is healthcare. My grandmother always says “If you do not have health, you do not have anything.” Although she says it in Spanish, the message isn’t lost in translation. Since health is so important, ensuring we use every tool we have to make the industry and the patient’s life better is essential. I love robotics because it does something that plain software does not, it interacts with us in the physical world. Our health is something we experience in the physical world; it isn’t something that is easily dealt with digitally. So, a technology which leverages the processing speeds and convenience of software but the physical interactions of the real world is vital in the healthcare industry. This is one of the key reasons why robotics is the best tool for this industry.

I grew up in Miami, FL. My grandparents

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4. Where do you get your creative inspiration and what does your creative “process” look like as you develop your inventions/ bots? I get my creative inspirations from my real-life. Yes, sometimes inspiration can come from listening to others, but the best inventions happen when you experience something. For me, the lived experience gives me insight into the problem and that is where the best ideas come from. When it comes to the actual work and developing of the technology, it is more of a ritual. I listen to music I like to get me in a positive mood, I get a cup of coffee, and then I sit still center myself and clear my mind. Then I force myself to jump in. It takes a while to get into the flow of engineering work and takes concentration, so I make sure to prep myself. Like an athlete gets their “head in the game”. 5. Are there people, mentors or figures that have made an impact in your life and career? If so, how? My parents have been very influential in my life. My mother has 2 Masters and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. She got all three of her graduate degrees while working full-time and being a full-time mom. She always taught my brother and I that we could accomplish anything we wanted, as long as we had good time management. She got her first Masters while we were babies and she used to study by reading her engineering books to read us to sleep. She likes to say “you can read anything to a baby, as long as you read it in a nice voice”. While my mom was in books, my dad was hands on. My dad was the person who taught me how to build things with my hands. When I was in 7th grade, I had a science fair project and for the project I built a wind tunnel and airplane wings. The goal of the project was to measure lift and angle of attack. He taught me how to use hand tools and how to choose the right materials. My father is the one who taught me to love being in the machine shop. 6. What are your goals for your brand in the next 2-5 years? How do you hope to be making an impact or what kind of growth are you looking forward to? I want my brand to be synonymous with helping others live life on their own terms. I hope to be positively impacting my customers’


quality of life, especially within their homes. We hope to be experiencing large growth; we are developing are production infrastructure so that right from when we launch we can have steady growth. 7. How is your company remaining innovative and what are you working towards when it comes to changing the standards within your industry? We are always working on our current products, but we also have regular brainstorming meetings. At these meetings, we discuss the direction of the company, our overall mission, and what would be our next ideas and products. The robotics industry is very interesting because it is an emerging technology, but since it is so different from software, the tech industry’s current methods of deployment and interacting with customers are not sufficient. I am excited because I think my high tech industry is going to be disrupted by some old-school methods. High touch methods that are high in compassion and high in customer service are going to be essential in the deployment of robots. 8. What kind of obstacles do you see women facing when it comes to entrepreneurship and growth as business owners? Women open businesses at similar rates as men, where women are struggling is in growth. One key obstacle is the constant focus on women’s shortcomings. We don’t ask for enough money, we don’t negotiate, we internalize failure, etc. Women are then given a list of what they should do to fix those. Yes, understanding one’s weaknesses is important but one must balance that out with and analysis of their strengths. Women are naturally collaborative and communicative which are essential qualities in a leader and in entrepreneurship. Women are better at allocating resources, which is vital for the survival of business. 9. What has been your greatest success or proudest moment to date? My proudest moment was going back to the physical therapy clinic and talking to the therapists and patients who helped me through my injury. I shared with them what I had created and got their feedback. They were so proud and happy for me that many have become my first beta users and focus group participants.

10. What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to launch his or her own business? I would say “do it, but start small”. The idea of starting a business can be daunting and there is so much to do and so much to learn. Start with a PowerPoint and a business card and go talk to people. If you can draw out your idea, make simple sketches and go talk to people. Always touch base with your customers and make improvements after every conversation. At the beginning these will not seem like big steps, you will feel like you aren’t moving forward, at those moments look back at your old PowerPoints and drawings and you will see how much progress you have made. Entrepreneurship isn’t as glamourous as people think, it is about constant work and consistent improvement. You can learn more about Zulubots on their website: www.zulubots.com. Their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/ zulubots and on Twitter at: www.twitter. com/zulubots

My Style Authority: The Creative Vision of Jessica Dew Jessica Dew is the Founder and CEO of My Style Authority (MSA), LLC. With a creative background in wardrobe for the film, television, theater and beauty industry, Jessica saw the need for a platform where professional artists in the beauty and fashion industry could be matched with clientele from all parts of the world. From this experience, her dream of launching a business developed into My Style Authority. My Style Authority is an online platform for matching and connecting beauty and fashion industry professionals with the clients seeking such services or products. My Style Authority features professionals within the Hair, Makeup, Fashion, Spa, and Specialty Cosmetic industries. My Style Authority helps beauty and fashion professionals get matched with clients, book appointments, connect with industry peers, and advertise their brands. For the client, it offers the capability for them to create a user profile that will allow them to look up beauty and fashion professionals, schedule appointments, keep a history of transactions, create


Halfstack Magazine | June 2017




a glam squad, and provide customer feedback on professionals. Not only is MSA a match making site for the clients and professionals, but it’s also a onestop-shop community that allows members to interact through blogs, the news feed and forums. MSA offers a completely user-friendly desktop as well as mobile interface to boost the experience. Jessica took some time to share her journey building My Style Authority and her thoughts on women in entrepreneurship. Working in the film, television, theater and the beauty industry, Jessica recognized the need for a platform where professional artists in the beauty and fashion industry could be matched with clientele worldwide. Most industry professionals and consumers relied on word of mouth restricting access to quality professionals. My Style Authority is an online mobile-friendly website where beauty and fashion professionals are matched and connected to users seeking their services or products. Also, she’s built MSA to be more than a style scheduler and directory; but a one stop shop style community and content platform. Jessica has extensive experience providing image consulting and wardrobe styling services to women, men and children and those seeking work in the entertainment industry. Through her work in features, independent films, television, commercials, web series, plays, concerts and fashion shows, Jessica has worked with a variety of professionals and productions in the beauty, fashion, and entertainment industry; which has garnered her positive reviews. She is also an active member of her local IATSE wardrobe union. Keep reading for the full interview: 1. Can you tell us more about your brand, the idea behind it, the customer you cater to and the purpose and mission driving it? My Style Authority is an online mobilefriendly website that matches quality beauty and fashion professionals to users seeking their services or products. Also, MSA is a one stop shop community and content portal for all things beauty and fashion. MSA features professionals within the hair, makeup, fashion, and spa fields. Targeting the industry elite and rising stars within those fields. The users we target are mainly women between the ages of

18-40, who love social media, trends, celebrities, and who are aspiring or current fashionistas; with a voice. The whole purpose is about having access to quality professionals without search through multiple channels and being inspired through our content. Also, by being a social style community that engages and works with one another. Professionals on MSA get the opportunity to be a star to the masses and the users have the opportunity to look like a star; after utilizing the professionals within the community. 2. What led you to focus on working within the beauty and entertainment industry? Ever since I was a little girl, I never saw myself working a traditional job. The only traditional job I considered was a pediatrician or midwife; but that didn’t last long. Style has always been a passion of mine and I’ve had the opportunity to do production types. Really, I loved how style helps people become more confident and leaves them feeling like they can take over the world. And I like being the instrument to facilitate such a feeling within people. I’ve always loved the entertainment industry, so when I learned that I could combine my love for style and beauty with the entertainment I watch; I was instantly sold. 3. Where do you get your creative inspiration and what does your “process” look like as you pull together projects? I get my creative inspiration from things I see or hear. Also, I get my creative inspiration from feelings. Whether I’m coming up with a creative approach for MSA or working on a project, I always consider how I want someone to feel and then I compose the creative elements to visually express those feelings. I formulate everything around feelings. But, I work with my creative team as well to consider all fresh ideas. 4. Are there people, mentors or figures that have made an impact in your life and career? If so, how? I watch a lot of women empowerment movies and I’m drawn to a strong female lead who made her mark on the world. Therefore, some figures who have made an impact on my career are Steve Jobs (on how he was unapologetic in his innovative approaches), Sara Blakely (how she started with an idea

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

that no one thought would be great, but now she’s a self-made billionaire), Sophia Amoruso ( Nasty Gal) and Joy Mangano. People who have impacted my life are my family and friends who has believed in me from day one and who has never stopped supporting me. My dad who believed and pushed me to pursue all of my dreams, regardless of how BIG they were. Finally, GOD because, my faith is what has opened the doors of success in my life. 5. What are your goals for your brand in the next 2-5 years? How do you hope to be making an impact or what kind of growth are you looking forward to? Within the next 2-5 years my goals for the My Style Authority brand is to be the #1 site that people go to for finding and being matched with top notch professionals within the beauty and fashion industry; having professionals within all of the major cities of the US; having a mobile app in combination with the site and to be a style influencer within the US market. We’re looking forward to having millions of people utilizing MSA for all of their style needs and inspirations. Basically to be a Facebook of the beauty and fashion tech world; or the IMDB of elite talent and content. Next, to scale internationally and be a world renowned brand. 6. How is your brand remaining innovative and what are you working towards when it comes to changing the standards within your industry? We’re remaining innovative by focusing on what our customers want, while coming up with different ways of engagement. MSA is different because of our approach on why people are coming to our site. We stay innovative by giving users multiple reasons to stay on the platform; and the longer users stay engaged, the more our professionals benefit. Also, being that I’m a freelancer myself, I focus on different and unique approaches for professionals to build up their star power on this platform. 7. What kind of obstacles do you see women facing when it comes to entrepreneurship and growth as business owners? The obstacles I see are men not understanding women focused business concepts; and with the lack of understanding comes the lack


of funding. For most entrepreneurs funding is a fundamental step for success; but when you’re a woman, minority, or both the percentage of those funded goes down. Also, in business I believe that a lot of women ask for what they want, like men do. Yet, there is a negative connotation associated with women asking for what they want. This has to stop because, we can’t be concerned with looking like a “Bitch” if all we’re doing is being confident and assertive in business like our male counterparts. 8. What has been your greatest success or proudest moment to date? Besides being a mom to a very divalicious 6 year old named Halo, my greatest success would be giving back to the community using fashion and beauty to inspire and elevate those less fortunate. I’m a self-proclaimed Social Style-Preneur, which is a social entrepreneur who gives back using style. I like to partner with like-minded nonprofits and companies to provide various programs like make overs for women, youth, and veterans. This year alongside my: partner FifteenAve, I am bringing prom makeovers to 10 lucky students in the DC metropolitan area, called the We Promise Makeover Experience. 11. What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to launch his or her own business? Do your research, challenge the norm/be creative, work hard, never give up even if it seems impossible, believe in yourself, and always be willing to help another person. For more information on Jessica and My Style Authority visit: www.mystyleauthority.com FB: My Style Authority IG: mystyleauthority Twitter: MyStyleAuth


Halfstack Magazine | June 2017



You may not know her name or even recognize her face, but I am sure

you know her work. Losi is one of the top professional groomers in the industry. Her work includes magazine covers, advertising and celebrities. By looking at her online portfolio, one can see she has worked with some pretty big named celebrities. In between her hectic schedule, I had the chance to get all the details on her start in the industry, how she creates signature looks and so much more. 138

Halfstack : You have quite the background! You got your start as an assistant with Oribe, which is very impressive. What made you want to become a stylist in the first place? At first you were cutting and styling both men and women’s hair and now you are an A list groomer, how did you get to where you are today? Losi: Unlike a lot of hairstylists I know, there was never a burning desire since high school to pursue this. It even scared me to cut my girlfriends bangs. But I always liked the idea of working with my hands. Later in life several of my friends were hairstylists. Eventually I became a receptionist at one of their salons (Visage owned by Joseph LoVullo). One day after work, there was a cutting class with people waiting in line. I had stopped by to do some paperwork when the owner put scissors in my hand, “Here, cut”. He gave me a guideline to cut the back and the sides and lastly the top. And to my surprise, he liked it, putting $5 in my hand! This is when I met Oribe who was working as an assistant at Visage. How he got from Miami to Buffalo is another story. Fast forward to 5 years later, I moved to NYC to go to Robert Fiance Beauty School. I knew Oribe was now living in NYC, so I got in touch, letting him know what I was doing. As luck would have it, he was interviewing for assistants. He wanted someone who didn’t know how to cut hair as he didn’t want to de-program them. As we all know, Oribe has a unique style of cutting. At the time, he was mainly doing

“When a new client comes in for a cut, we have a holistic consultation. I like to know what they do for a living. Does their job, career, school dictate any guidelines? “

men’s and wanted to change his focus to women’s editorials. When he felt I was ready, whenever a call came for him to do a men’s feature he would get on the phone and convince them to use me. The industry was much more intimate in the ‘80’s. In 1986, Oribe opened his first salon which he referred to as a Workshop. He hired freelance stylists. Our original staff consisted of Danilo, Kevin Mancuso and Eric Gabriel. With only 4 chairs, I was able to manage it for him while still cutting hair (men and woman) and do magazines. Over time my portfolio was evolving from both men and women to primarily men. Noting this, he came to me and said why don’t I work on just men. I jumped at the opportunity. So, by the early 90’s not only was I good groomer, I was pretty much the only groomer in NYC. By 1994, I no longer took

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

on any female clients in the salon. Everything I am, know and have, I owe to Oribe. Halfstack: I read that you are about helping men create and maintain their signature look, how does one come up with creating a signature look for themselves? Losi: When a new client comes in for a cut, we have a holistic consultation. I like to know what they do for a living. Does their job, career, school dictate any guidelines? Questions: length of hair, conservative or do they have free reign? What are their grooming habits? Do they use a blow dryer, what kind of products (if any) do they like, how often do they shampoo? Do they have an active lifestyle sports-gym? Then I ask- not for the style they want - but are they partial to long or short hair? After this, I make my assessment - I look for cowlicks, does


One of my concerns is if they are realistic in their wants. As I relay to them, I don’t want to do a haircut where halfway through the cut I find out the style won’t work.

does their hair stick straight out on the sides if it’s short. What kind of hairline do they have in the back of their neck? Do they have thick or thin hair? Are they losing their hair? How far back is their hairline in the front? After this (it really only takes about 10 minutes) we discuss hairstyles. Do they have anything in mind? I like when they bring photos because it puts us on the same page. Communication is the key. One of my concerns is if they are realistic in their wants. As I relay to them, I don’t want to do a haircut where halfway through the cut I find out the style won’t work.


Lesson 1 - the hair always wins. Regardless of what you want, if you try to conform it into something the hair won’t do - the hair always wins. I feel that if you have to be in front of the mirror for 20 minutes trying to get the style right, it’s the wrong cut for you. For example, a strong forward growth (hair always falls in your face) will always need a strong gel or spray. This is ok(?) if you don’t mind getting a paper cut when you put your fingers through your hair and if you have long hair it should move. From here, I give them my opinion, agree or disagree

with the client. I do have to say that I think men are more open and realistic in their wants than woman. Halfstack: What are some trends that you are seeing for the summer? Losi: Trends go in cycles. Usually every other year. And when summer comes, it’s the time when most men let their hair grow. As we are all product of the environment, hairs grow faster in the summer due to the humidity and sunlight (vitaminD). For instance, the fade is sharp and edgy. You see skin on the sides and back. I think the silhouette will still be there, but not as severe. It’ll be a fade with a softer look. I keep hearing, not too much skin. We have to listen to the word on the street. On the average, men’s hair is short. This gives them the opportunity to change their cut 2- 3 times a year. Letting short hair get long, the cut goes through many stages. This gives you just as many hair styles. There are some men who don’t want the same cut all the time and they come in wanting a different look every other haircut. This can be a challenge, but I’m up for it. However, I think men in general have a philosophy, unlike woman, if it’s not broken don’t fix it. Halftstack: What are some must have items/products that men should be using? Losi: Must haves: paste, crème and gel. Of course, their type of hair dictates what they should use. A paste is too strong for long hair so a great crème and gel is a must. You can use these products on their own or mixed together. You want a

stronger hold, and then mix a greater amount of gel with the crème. The crème prevents the gel from getting too stiff and the gel prevents the crème from getting too greasy. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Then, you determine how much of which product you need to use. You customize your own hair styling product. Paste is great for shorter hair to make it stay in place. I love the paste because it’s like clay. You mess your hair and then you can put it back in place. It is also pliable so that you can actually change the style. As in having the hair stick straight up or push it to the side for a part. I also feel men should be more open to face products. Don’t use soap, a facial cleanser is best. Moisturizer should

also be added to their regime as well as an eye gel. Finally, if one is losing hair on top of the head, please use a sunscreen there. Halfstack: What are some great grooming tips you are willing to share? Losi: When it comes to grooming tips, try to always put any product in your when it’s damp (towel dried). Once the hair dries it’s set. After that, you’re just fighting the hair to put it in a style. Put the desired product in the hair, comb through to the style you want. It can be air dried or blow dried. With long hair, it should just be air dried. When putting any product on, try to start at the back of the head and work your way to the front.

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You have the most product in your hand at this time and if you apply it from the front to the back you end up a greasy or matted highway. Starting from the back distributes it more evenly. If your hair gets too greasy, a shot of hair spray absorbs the excess.


A Q & A with Bkr Founders Tal Winter & Kate Cutler Written by: danielle Hazekamp layout by: Aira Aquino

Not only is drinking water good for your health, but did you also know it is also really good for your skin? Becoming a mother has made me become hyperaware of what things are made of and what chemicals are in my products. I now try to avoid using any plastics where I can, especially when it comes to drinking water. I always feel like water just tastes better in a glass. Thanks to bkr, you can drink water in style. Want to learn more? Check out my interview below with their co-founders: Tal Winter and Kate Cutler 142

What made you want to start and it can be recycled endlessly. Recovered glass is used up bkr? as the majority ingredient in new We always knew that the preglass containers. Without quesscription for good health and tion, everything tastes better gorgeous skin is sleep and out of glass. Also, buying water water, but we found ourselves drinking from tons of plastic dis- is so ridiculous for so many posable water bottles. We were reasons. You save thousands of dollars by skipping the plassmart young lawyers living edited lives and only buying things tic disposables and buying bkr we really loved — it didn’t make bottles instead that you’ll love and adore and use to death. sense that we were essentially drinking from trash. We couldn’t Spend your money on things that make you feel amazing like find a reusable bottle we loved. Louboutins, Spiked Tutu bkrs We hated the smell and taste and massages. Less is really of the metal ones (closing the more. caps was like nails on a chalkWhat sets bkr apart from board!) and we didn’t want to drink out of chemical plastic. So, other water bottle brands? we decided to make exactly the Luxury is in the details and we’re very detail-oriented. It’s bottle we wanted: something some magical combination of soft, beautiful, effortless, pure and chic. We knew if we wanted things — the small mouth, the fact that it’s glass, the way it it, other people would too. Most water bottles are made feels in your hand, the pretty from plastic, what made you sleeves inspired by contemporary culture, the caps that never want to use glass? Glass is better, in every way. It’s squeak or leak — but it’s more better for your body and the en- than that. Our customers have an emotional attachment to their vironment. It’s chemically inert; bkrs. They tell us it’s changed it doesn’t alter the taste of its their lives, it’s their favorite poscontents like metal does and it doesn’t allow any unsafe chemi- session and they never knew how much they could love a cals to leach in and make you water — sick. It’s H a lalso f s t a dishwasher c k M a g a z i nsafe e | June 2 0 1 bottle 7

it’s pretty amazing. Our customers take their bkrs with them everywhere and tell us they’re drinking more water and they see a difference in their skin, hair, lips, energy and health. We have diehard fans. Honestly, you have to have one to understand the obsession. I love how you have multiple collections with different colors and textures, how do you come up with these collections? What do you use as inspiration? We’re pop culture, fashion, and magazine junkies. We go to museums, we travel, we surround ourselves with people who are curious, creative, interested and interesting. Our entire team is all that and smart too. We create what we want to have. We imagine what people don’t even know they want yet and we trust our instincts. We know making sure we drink water is important. What would you say is the best reasons to make sure that you drink enough water? Water is really and truly the foundation of all health and beauty. You can spend a fortune on yoga pants and face products, but if you don’t drink a lot of water there’s no point. Most people don’t drink enough and if you’re even 2% dehydrated it shows on your skin. And by the way – 2% is when you feel thirsty. The idea is to just keep sipping all day. bkr helps you keep sipping. Our customers tell us it makes a mundane chore like drinking water a joy and they’ve never been so hydrated in their lives.


Spike Molly Water Bottle $40 mybkr.com I love love love this water bottle! The bright fuchsia color and spikes give it an attitude, I can’t get enough of. I just feel like it captures my style completely. It’s easy to carry due to the ring cap. All you need to do is slide it onto your finger and you’re good to go. It’s snug enough that I can carry it and carry my toddler down the stairs. The fact that it is made of glass, lets my water keep its taste. Don’t love spikes or even fuchsia? Go and check out the bkr site at http://www. mybkr.com/. I promise you they have a color and style that you can relate to you. You can even get a color that goes with the change of the seasons!


“Spend your money on things that feel amazing!”

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


Written By: Danielle Hazekamp Layout By: Aira Aquino


e makeup h t f o l l a off ing your v “It melts a e l e il h ace w ple” on your f t and sup f o s l e e f skin

beautycounter cleansing balm $80 beautycounter.com This product is amazing! It melts off all of the makeup on your face while leaving your skin feel soft and supple. It even comes with a nice muslin cleansing cloth that you use to wipe off your makeup. What I also enjoyed about this product is how many ways you can use it. It can also be used as an overnight moisturizing mask and let me tell you it works wonders! I have done this on a number of occasions where my skin just needed a little something extra.

baby foot $25 amazon.com Now that I am home full time, I like to walk around barefoot, which surprisingly makes the bottom of my feet incredibly dry. I recently found out that it is because walking around barefoot causes the natural oils on my feet to get rubbed off by my carpet. Since it is hard to go and get pedicures often, I needed something that I could use at home. This product is perfect. One pack is good for one application and it is the easiest thing to use. All you need to do it put the booties on under a pair of slippers and keep them on for the recommend time of an hour, wash off the gel and you are done. Over the next couple of weeks, you will see your skin peeling. No joke. It will peel and it will be gross, but the results are so worth it. A couple of tips to keep in mind when using this: make sure to remove your toe polish, it stained my nails, also after using it make sure to moisturize and wear something on your feet at all times. Follow these tips and your feet will be ready for the summer in no time.

he ss, but t o r g e b l wil eel and it p l il w t I “ orth it.” w o s e r a results

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balm with this d e s s e s b o morning y m “ I am so o t it e added e.” that I hav care routin in k s t h and nig

Beautycounter Lip Conditioner in Calendula $20 beautycounter.com

Being a mom I don’t wear as much lip colors as I used to. However, my lips tend to get dry and so I need something that it going to keep them nice and hydrated. This lip conditioner is one of my favorite lip balms. It contains a ton of good oils that hydrate your lips the moment you put it on. I also love the way it smells and if you prefer something different, this lip conditioner also comes in a peppermint version. I am so obsessed with this balm that I have added it to my morning and night skin care routine.

you need “This kit has everything er you like to do your brows wheth l looking.” them overdone or natura


Kelley Baker Brows Bold and Beautiful Brow Set $79 kellybakerbrows.com I had the pleasure of going to an event where Kelley Baker was promoting a wax line along with her brow cosmetics. I have to say I love the products that I was using at the time but hey it is Kelley Baker and I knew I had to try her products. Luckily at the event I was able to get my brows done by one of her associates. After taking one look at myself in the mirror I knew I had to get my hands on her products. This kit has everything you need to do your brows whether you like them overdone or natural looking. The brow mascara wand is everything, it is nice and tiny so you have good control of where it goes and the brow defining pencil is amazing as well with it being nice and tiny but well pigmented so you can fill in or draw in your brows nicely.

Tria Hair Removal Laser x4 Deluxe Kit $474 triabeauty.com I would highly recommend getting the deluxe kit as it comes with the Smooth Start Calming Gel. The gel helps to soothe any irritation that may occur while using the hair removal laser. Now, let’s review the actual laser. I was a little nervous to try it out because I didn’t know if it would hurt or not. The great thing about this tool is that you can adjust its strength. I started off with level 1 and then went up to level 2 since I couldn’t even feel anything at level 1. I did feel a little tingle when I moved up to level 2. After one treatment, I can already tell that the hair is growing in slower. I can’t wait to see the final results. It is recommended to complete the treatment every 2 weeks for 3 months.

ol is g about this to in th t a re g e Th “ th.” djust its streng a n a c u o y t a th

OPI Pro Spa Micro Exfoliating Hand Polish $41.95 loxabeauty.com I wash my hands constantly and so my hands get dry. Thanks to this product, I am able to gently scrub away all of that dead skin. After one use I swear you will be hooked. I use this every morning and night after I have completed my skin care routine. For best results, follow up with the use of your favorite hand creams.

“After on will be e use I swear hooked you .”

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


My skin and co exfoliating scrub $18.95 gomyskin.com This scrub works amazing alongside the liquid treatment below. It is very gentle yet extremely effective. It also contains the same properties as the liquid treatment so while it is gently exfoliating the dead skin; it is also helping to relieve razor burn.


My skin and co liquid treatment $18.95 (4 oz.) gomyskin.com This is the best treatment for razor burn. Made with tea tree oil, white and black bark, this treatment will help get rid of razor burn. I will say after a couple of days of using it, you will notice a major difference in your skin. Just a warning, though, this product will sting a little if you do have any razor bumps or nicks.

coppertone sport SPF 50 lip balm $7.33 walmart This lip balm provides the right amount of moisture to your lips without looking like a lip-gloss. What is also great is that this lip balm provides a great amount of SPF protection against the sun.

Cremo Face and Beard Cleanser $12 cremocompany.com This face wash is a great option for any guy who has a beard. It is gentle enough on your skin underneath your beard, yet strong enough to clean your beard. I will say this does have a little tingle to it as it contains peppermint and tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is also great to treat ingrown hairs and reduce razor burn.

Proraso Green Refreshing Toning Shaving Cream $9.50 amazon.com This shaving cream is probably one of the best I have ever tried. I know that it is technically made for men, but in most cases men’s shaving products are better when it comes to women shaving. It leaves the skin super soft and smooth. It also helps achieve a nice clean and close shave.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

Maestro’s Mark of a Man Blend Beard Butter $17.95 (3oz) amazon.com Not only does this product smell great, but it also works well too. After washing your face, just work a nickel size dollop of product into your beard and go. This beard butter will leave your beard feeling nice, soft and will help tame those unruly hairs.


Written By: Danielle Hazekamp Layout By: Aira Aquino


Back in March,

I had the pleasure of attending the America Beauty Show. For those who don’t know what the America Beauty Show is: it is a major industry event where all major and even some small hair and beauty brands come to show the latest and greatest products. Most of the major brands have well known hair stylists in the industry come out to give live demos. They showcase not only cuts, but also color and sometimes even styles that are on trend. It is a hairstylist’s dream or any beauty enthusiast for that matter to attend this show. I was lucky enough to get the latest scoop on what is hot for this summer as well as some great tips from the one and only Nick Stenson. Not only is Nick an artistic director for Matrix and celebrity hairstylist, he is also the chief artistic director for ULTA Beauty and has been featured in many popular publications.

1. What hair colors do you see trending for this summer? Smokey blondes and smokey brunettes will be on-trend this season, as well as pastels with hints of silver shades. Keeping hair modern, fresh but looking undone is key to this look.

2. What are some helpful hints to do these styles at home? Texture at any length will be on trend this summer. To create texture, building and layering in products is critical. Using a volumizing foam followed by a texture building spray product from Matrix Style Link line can ensure volume, texture and hold without the stiffness.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


3. What are some must have hair products for the summer? Matrix Style Link line has a variety of products to check out – Style Link Mineral Airy Builder, Style Link Mineral Rough Me Up Spray, Style Link Texture Builder and New Style Link Boho Air-Dry Creams are essential for easy, texturized hair on-the-go.

4. What are some great ways to wear your hair in the summer? Embrace natural texture and accentuate it with product so it looks lived-in, but not done up. Pony tails or updos should be loose and unintentional.

5. What are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to taking care of your hair during the summer? Dos: Use a hair mask at least once a week and get regular trims every 6-8 weeks. Don’t: Don’t think Summer is the right time to skip treatments. Continue your salon visits and see your stylist for professional sealing treatments to avoid damage.


“Embrace natural texture and accentuate it with product so it looks lived in, but not done up.�

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017







Summer is the perfect time to show your skin, and really enjoy it. When it comes to the “no makeup, makeup look” Perricone MD is the authority on everything. They’ve perfected a whole line of amazing products to help you achieve that perfectly effortless look everyone wants. 156







Make sure you’re using an SPF, its really important for the anti-aging process of your skin, and don’t skimp on the moisturizer. I even like to use some that have illuminating properties in it!

Perricone has 2 different foundations to choose from. I like both, however if you’re super fair the No foundation serum may be a tad too dark for you. See if you can get some samples at Sephora to try to color match!

Conceal under your eyes and toward the center of the face to highlight some areas, I just conceal under my eyes and around my nose a tad to help with my imperfections.





They are so easy to blend out with your fingers and they give you the perfect look. I can even use the bronzer to contour.

Apply this to the tip of the nose, the cheek bones, the chin, and brow bone. Anywhere you want the light to reflect nicely.

7 LIPS You can step it up with a matte lip color if you’re going out, or if you’re into a nice daytime adventure you can throw on some lip-gloss.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

6 EYES Apply all over the lid, its a nice soft ivory color and perfect on all skin tones. Take a fluffy crease brush and apply some bronzer to the crease to contour the eye after that.

MICHELLE’S TAKE ON THE LINE I’ve tried almost everything in the line, and I can honestly tell you I love it. Perricone MD has skincare in their makeup also, so it helps your skin instead of clogging it. Try my no makeup look and tell me what you think? Here’s where you can find the whole line: https://www.perriconemd.com/skincare/shop-by-collection/no-makeup-skincare/

If you’re not sure what to do, or how exactly you apply these products, stay tuned to the Halfstack YouTube Channel for a full how to video on this look! It’s my favorite summer look, so I hope you enjoy it!



This Candlemaker is Providing Solar Energy to Under-Resourced Communities Around the World


Starling Candles: Providing Solar Energy to Communities in Need Written By: Michelle Landriault

The Halfstack crew is no stranger to Starling candles; I’ve personally been in love with them since December, and its still going strong. The brand has some amazing scents for summer that are really lighting up my life. The Hyacinth + Bamboo candle scent is clean and heavenly. The quality of these candles is out of this world. I’ve never had anything that makes my house smell this good! Honestly, all the candles are a wonderful addition to add a calming touch to any space. You should spoil yourself and get one this summer. You can check out all of the products at: https://starlingproject.org/shop/ - your neighbors will love you for it too! Starling does more than just sell candles, though! They are on a mission to provide solar energy to communities in need all around the world. You can make a big difference for a community in need with the purchase of one candle! It’s easy and everyone can help. If you’re interested in learning more about The Starling Project you can visit https://starlingproject.org/our-story/ for more info.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017



“Empowerment – More than Eleven Letters”



You could say I can never get anything done on my list because of things or people are always interrupting me and give up. Alternatively, you could say I need to refocus and get started on my list. The latter involves adjusting the plan for the day and making it work in the time left. In the first response you are letting your day control you. In the second response, you are decding to take control of the day. Empowerment is an eleven-let-

One aspect of Empowerment

ter word that means much more

that I think most of us ignore

than its 11 letters can contain.

is the “controlling life” part.

Yet, by definition empowerment

Many of us start each day

is the process of becoming

with some type of plan or a

stronger and more confident,

“To-do” list. We rush through

especially in controlling one’s

our morning routine and before


we know it, half the day has

This leads me to ask the

question, “Are you in control of

gone by. We look at our list

your life?” Or is your life con-

or plan for the day and we

trolling you?

have not completed one item

on the list! At this point, you

start each day with a routine

everything? What’s more, are

can do one of two things – you

and a plan. We are creatures

you one of those who live for

could say, “I can never get any-

of habit. Therefore, a good

Friday, wishing every other day

thing done on my list because

routine is essential to a suc-


‘things’ or ‘people’ are always

cessful day. Knowing when

interrupting me”, an d give up.

to say “no” and not taking on

Alternatively, you could say,

more than you can handle is

“I need to refocus and get

key in controlling your day.

started on my list”. The latter

Now I realize that you may

involves adjusting the plan for

already be aware of this infor-

the day and making it work

mation. However, can you hon-

in the time left. In the first

estly say you have a plan and

response, you are letting the

you work your plan each day?

day con trol you. In the second

Do you have a purpose or long-

response, you are deciding to

term goal that your daily plan

take control of the day. Highly

is propelling you to reach?

effective people do not let

Conversely, do you live each

the day control them. They

day worryin g about the next

If you answered yes to the second or third question, then you are wasting your time. We were put here for a purpose – not to waste our time, not to hurry our time, but to live in our time. Many of us worry because we are thinking about the next hour, the next day, the next week or the next month. Moreover, we do not really appreciate what w e have right now. As this minute goes by, we will never have it and how you will accomplish

Recent events in my life have reminded me how important it is to know you have power. You must use it every day to propel you to your purpose.


again. We will n ever be able to

each moment while you were

amusement ride. However, I

live this moment again. That is

on the ride? Would you take

say all this to show, you have

why it is important to use each

in the view if you were up high

the power to not only control

minute wisely. Think of all

and try to remember it all?

your life, but to make it purposeful. Yes, em powerment

the minutes you have wasted. Now, you may be saying life is

may be the process of becom-

All the time you have spent much more complex than an

ing stronger and more confi-

on needless worry or things amusement park ride. However,

dent, especially i n controlling

out of your control. Tomorrow is it? Life is what you make

one’s life but we must remem-

is not promised to any of us. it. What you create in each

ber it is a journey not a des-

Therefore, the fu ture is a gift. moment is uniquely yours.

tination. The process keeps

So, live in the present. Every minute you are creating

evolving as you develop your Think of life as your favorite

and enhancing your ride, your

ride at an amusement park. It


skills and grow more confident. As you grow into yourself, you could be from when you were a Therefore, why would you ever

grow into your purpose. Thus,

want to rush your favorite

empowering yourself to rise

ride before it was over? When

above. Do not be trapped into

you think about it that way, it

thinking “empowerment” is

does not make sense to rush

given to you. Do not say, “My

from minute to minute. Slow

Manager empowers me to take

down, focus on the task in

care of X, Y and Z.” No, your

front of you. Whatever you do,

manager only gives you respon-

be present. Do not miss the

sibility once you have shown

beauty of your life. Live in

ownership of what you have.

the moment and you will stop

Think about it. As you get

wishing for tomorrow.

increasingly efficient in han-

kid or even today. Remember the excitement you had and that you never wanted it to end. If you were like me, you always thought the ride was too short. Well, the only difference between that ride and your life is that you only get to stand in line once – you only get one ride. Therefore, if you knew this was

dling your day, your manager

your last ride and you could Now, you may say I am digress-

notices and may give you more

never ride again, would you act ing in my analogy regarding the differently? Would you savor


responsibility. He or she knows

your are reliable and respon-

I am doing my job very well

B. If you have a Plan B, you

sible to handle tasks without

and better than my co-workers

will not feel powerless if your

supervision. Through your

are, than the type “empower-

employer decides to downsize.

ability to be organ ized, you

ment” that I want is a promo-

It is unfortunate because none

have shown control over your

tion. If your employer does not

of us want to be “downsized”.

day. I am sure your Manager

want to give you the promotion

However, it feels substantially

would like to think that he or

you deserve, then you have

better if you have a Plan B.

she has empowered you so you

the power to decide if you will

Again, you are taking control of

feel as you are being rewarded.

stay or go. You always have a

the things within your power

Thus, you are content with


and not waiting for things to

your role and the company.

happen to you. Do not only look at empower-

However, remember, you are ment as if it only relates to the

Recent events in my life have

workplace. Take it back from

reminded me how important

the workplace. The word itself

it is to know you have power.

begins with the word “me”

You must use it every day to

(just turn around “em”). That

propel you to your purpose.

To be empowered is to be free

is right, me. Remember, the

Keep in mind, empowerment is

from the fear and worry. They

power starts with me. It does

not just an eleven-letter word,

are the only things that keep

not start with “they”, “he”, or

it is the vehicle that keeps

us from fulfilling our purpose

“she”. We become so caught

moving you forward in life.

and h aving the power to do

up in how our employer sees

Remember, you are not stand-

so. In the workplace, the word

us that we get complacent.

ing in line for your favorite ride

empowered has been used by

So much so, that we grow to

you are on it.

management as a tool. A tool

be dependent on our jobs or

designed to reward you for

the company. Now, I am not

taking the initiative and per-

saying that you do not need a

Hang on tight and enjoy it!

forming your job well. I do

job. What I am saying is that

not know about yo u, but if

you always need to have a Plan

the one with the power not the manager or your job. Once you realize that, you will not be reliant on either one.

Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


Magic is Coming to Chicago:


OF M EXI CO Don’t miss Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico, this summer! Tickets are still available for their Chicago stop.

Written By: Jennie Velasco

Mark Shaub is one of the artistic directors who has long been involved with Cirque, shared some key details on how the show came together.


T h e le g e n d a r y sh ow th at is

y ou is a re v e r ie of magic,

Ci rqu e d u S ol ie l is re tu r n in g

f a n tasy an d som e se riou s l y

t o Ch i cag o with th e ir n e we st

su p e r- h u m a n l y sk il l e d per-

s h o w, Lu z ia: A Wak in g D re a m of

f or m e r s.

M ex i c o. If y ou h a v e e v e r h a d

top wil l b e d isp l ay in g t h e rich-

t h e pr iv il e g e of se e in g a C ir q u e

n e ss th a t is M e x ican cu l t u re.

s h o w, wh e th e r in a n y of th e ir

C ir q u e we n t th rou g h l engt h s t o

res i de n cie s or tou r in g p e r f or-

in cor p or ate cu l tu r a l an d icon ic

m a n c e s, y ou k n ow wh a t a waits

th e m e s th at in cl u d e myt hol ogy,

T h e ir sig n at ure big

i n vo lved with C ir q u e , sh a re d

M ich ae l J ack son : T h e I mmort al

s o m e ke y d e ta il s on h ow th e

Wor l d Tou r to n a m e a few. He

s h o w c a m e tog e th e r. He m e n -

e sse n tia l l y k e e p s th e p rod uct ion

t i o n s t he cre a tiv e d r iv e it took

al iv e wh il e ad h e r in g to t he orig-

t o ex plore th e cu l tu re a n d

in al con ce p t of th e cre at ion. He

i c o n i c t h e m e s associate d with

wor k s cl ose l y with th e creat or an d

t h e s h ow.

th e ar tists to m ain ta in t h e int eg-

He e x p l ain s, “ e a ch

s h o w pre se n ts its own ch al -

r ity of th e stor y l in e . H is art is -

len g es , f or e x am p l e on e n e w

tic te a m con sists of the s t age

t h i n g i s th e u se of wate r u n d e r

m a n a g e r s, a r tists, an d acrobat ic

t h e b i g te n t. T h is is som e -

coach e s. His te am , h e s ays is

t h i n g we h a v e n e v e r a tte m p te d

h is f av or ite p ar t of a l iv e pro-

b ef o re.” He m e n tion s th e in sp i-

d u ction b e ca u se th e y “bring a

ra t i o n com e s f rom th e r a in f or-

p a ssion to th e ir wor k ” t h at makes

es t t h em e s of th e Yu cata n an d

C ir q u e su cce ssf u l . One of t h os e

pres en ts a v e r y p owe r f u l p e r-

ar tists is E n y a , wh o b riefl y s poke

regio nal spe ci e s, a n d s u rre-

f o rm a n c e f rom E n y a , a tr ap e z e

to m e ab ou t h e r tr ap e ze act and


a rt i s t t h at b r in g s th is sp e cif ic

th e cre ativ e con tr ib u ti ons t hat

elem en t to an e a g e r au d ie n ce .

sh e m a d e to h e r p e r f o rmance

So me not a b le n o ds

include t he mona rc h b u t t erfly that mak e s t he i r a n n u a l m i g ra -

to e n h an ce th e u se of t h is new T h e c rea tor of th e sh ow cu r-

tions t o and from M ex i c o t h a t

wa te r e l e m e n t. Lu z ia is act u ren t ly re sid e s in M e x ico a n d in

is repre se nt e d b y a “ ru n n i n g

al l y E n y a ’s f ir st p rof e ss ion al conpa rt n ers h ip with M a r k , b rou g h t

woma n” w ho pays t ri b u t e

tr a ct r ig h t ou t of sch o ol w h ere a n a m a z in g te a m of ath l e te s

to the Tarahumara peo ple o f

sh e su b m itte d a v id e o of a pera n d per f or m e r s tog e th e r th at

Nor the rn Me xi c o ; kn o w n fo r

f or m a n ce . S h e ca l l e d her experiw o u ld p e r f e ctl y re f l e ct th e

their st rong l o ng- di s t a n c e

e n ce “ in te re stin g ” b e c aus e it w as vi b ra n c y of th e stor y a n d th e

femal e runne rs.

h e r f ir st tim e wor k in g w it h ot h er c u lt u re. M a r k h im se l f h a s g ir l s (d a n ce r s) a s p ar t of h er per-

M ar k Shaub i s on e o f t h e a rt i s -

w o rked on oth e r C ir q u e sh ows

tic d i re ct ors who h a s lo n g b een

s u c h a s C or te o, D r al ion , a n d

f or m a n ce . Ye t, sh e f oun d t he t heatr ica l e l e m e n t in cre d ibl y fu l fil l in g Halfstack Magazine | June 2017


and was some t hi n g s h e lo o ked

c a lls o ne of th e m ost p owe r f u l

C ir q u e sh ow on T V, i t w as Quid am.

for ward t o do i ng u po n lea vi n g

m o m en ts in th e e n tire sh ow.

I re ca l l I was in h ig h s chool an d

the Nat i onal Ci rcu s S c h o o l o f

I was ju st b e g in n in g t o d ip my A c o m m on q u e stion I a sk in al l

M ontre al . The re , s h e c o m m i t -

toe in to th e p e r f or m ance art t h at m y i n t e r v ie ws b r in g s u p th e d is-

ted he r t i me t o l ea rn i n g t h e

wou l d e v e n tu a l l y b r ing me t o a c u s s i o n of wh a t th e y wan t th e

bas ics of ac ro b ati c s , j u g gli n g,

care e r in d a n ce . Howev er, aft er a u di en c e to tak e a way f rom

acting and danci ng . Fa lli n g

witn e ssin g th e th e at rics an d w a t c h i n g th e sh ow. M an y wil l

in lov e w i t h t rapeze da n c i n g ,

in n ov a tiv e acts th at t h is s how o f t en br in g som e cl ich é wor d s

is what re al l y cha n ged h er

b rou g h t, it wou l d e v en t u al l y t u rn o f i n s p ir ation or e m otion . Of

life. He r act i n t h e s h o w t a kes

m e in to a “ b ig p ictu re” choreograa ll t h e C ir q u e sh ows I’ v e e x p e r i-

place i n t he de se rt w h ere s h e

p h e r. Wh e re I wou l d v is ual iz e not en c ed, it wou l d h av e b e e n r ig h t-

app e ars t o b e fl y i n g o ver t h e

ju st th e ch ore og r a p hy of a piece, fu lly w a r r a n te d to u se th e se

r ain, w hi ch she e x c i t i n gly

b u t th e f u l l p e r f or m a nce in cl ud w o rds . Wh e n I saw m y f ir st in g l ig h tin g , p rop s, c os t u min g an d tr ick s or e l e m e nt s t o real l y b r in g a l iv e sh ow a nd n ot ju s t a p e r f or m an ce . M y f ir st l iv e C ir q u e s h ow w as C or te o, a b e a u tif u l f u neral proce ssion f or a b e l ov e d cl ow n. It b rou g h t a m e l an ch ol y t on e t h at ad d e d to th e b e au ty of t h is h om a g e an d e sse n tia l l y brou gh t m e to te a r s. S in ce then , I’v e e x p e r ie n ce d M ich ae l Jacks on The Im m or ta l an d Tor u k , bot h of w h ich

Their signature big top will be displaying the richness that is Mexican culture. Cirque went through lengths to incorporate cultural and iconic themes that include mythology, regional species, and surrealism.


b r in g a l l of m y f a v orit e el emen t s of p e r f or m a n ce an d magic. I’v e

This is more than a live event, people deserve to experience the Luzia environment under our big top. a l ways thought o f Ci rq u e a s p h ysical re pre se nt at i on s o f m y ver y real dre ams. Equa t i n g

w i t h h o w i n f re q u e n tl y p e op l e

D on ’t m iss Lu z ia: A Wak in g D ream

f a n t asy an d ni ght mare, b ea u t y

s ee a li ve ev e n t, a n d e n d e d

of M e x ico, th is su m m e r ! Ticket s are

a n d roma nc e ; dre ams t h a t a re

w i t h “ t h i s i s m ore th an a l iv e

stil l av a il a b l e f or th e ir C h icago s t op.

a l m ost nev e r so me t hi n g t h a t

even t , peo ple d e se r v e to e x p e -

c o u ld be de scri b e d wi t h a n y

ri en c e t h e L u z ia e n v iron m e n t

kin d of lo gi c o r rat i o n a li t y.

u n der o u r b i g top . ”

For m ore in f or m ation on C ir que d u S ol ie l , al l of th e tou r in g s h o w s an d re s id e n cie s v is it: W ith the co mb i nat i o n o f

E n y a t o o k a l ot of m y p re v iou s

C i rq ues inno v at i v e an d w o n -

ex peri en c es in to f e w wor d s

d ro us creat i v i t y and p a i ri n g

c o n c lu di n g t h a t it was im p or t-

it with a “Wak i ng dre a m o f

a n t f o r y o u n g ch il d re n an d

M ex ico,” I ’ m i mme di a t ely

a du lt s t o ex p e r ie n ce th e sam e

en riched wi t h b e aut y a n d

“ li b ert y, i n s p ir a tion a n d a l l

my thology. Thi s i s t h e glo ri -

a ro u n d m a gi c th a t is Lu z ia. I

o u s M ex ic o t hat many s h o u ld

w a n t t h em t o g o h om e with

ex p er ience ; l e adi ng t o t h e

t h e g i ft t h a t is e x p e r ie n cin g

res ponses I w as gi v e n f ro m

L u zi a .”

h ttp s : // www. cir qu e d u s ol e il . com/

M a rk and Enya. Mark o pen ed Halfstack Magazine | June 2017








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“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Halfstack Magazine | June 2017

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