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Holiday Issue

Ashley or Angelina: Who Made The Better Bride?


3.5.7 Recounts Hammer Time

Is He Mr.Right or Mr.Right Now?


Deborah Hightower

Raises Money For The Cost Of Curing Sexual Slaves

Tips To Keep

Healthy Over The Holidays The Next Big


Married to the Mission:

Lisa Nicole Cloud

Editor-in-Chief, Annette Johnson Managing Editor, Morgan Hufstader Editorial Assistant, Lauren Tullis Online Editor, Bianca Nelson Social Media Director, Tamara King Design Director, Joey Shepherd Marketing Director, Veronique Thomas Contributors: Alicia Emamdee Anastasia Nikolskaya Charvella Campbell Cherrye S. Vasquez Christina Gordon Cory Huff Darcell Lawrence Denise Renee Dr. Kristen Coles Eileen L. Collins Jenie Gekas Jenny Miranda Katrina Holt Kimberley Seals Keith Johnson Linnet Brown Lisa Amato Peggy Hattendorf Samantha Laughlin Sandra Gabriel Siddharth Delhi Toby Nyghtstorm Fallon Armbrister was the makeup artist for photos of B Angie B Customer Service For subscription service or change of address, including email, contact or write to P.O. Box 1071, Atlanta, GA 30301 Hers (ISSN 2372-3785) is published six per year by Allwrite Communications, 241 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 400, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404-221-0703



F E AT U R E S T O R I E S 22 Smoke-Free Doesn’t Mean Lung Cancer Free More and more, young women who have never smoked are getting lung cancer. We bust lung cancer myths and share a heart-touching story in the process.

60 Married to the Mission of Women’s Empowerment: Lisa Nicole Cloud



Finding the Right Comforter The winter chill is rolling in; how will you stay warm?

HER FLAVOR 15 Best Beauty Product of 2014 This product not only helps you stay beautiful, but also saves

42 How to Speak to Your Children About Sexual Abuse The best way to keep

you a pretty penny.

your children safe is to provide them with the tools to protect

Atlanta is busting out in a creative

28 ATL Fashion Night Out and stylish way.


44 Mr. Right Now to Mr. Right How do you know if he’s here for now or here to stay? Learn the difference between a one and the one.

30 Warm Up Your Blonde Hair For Fall It’s cold outside,

that doesn’t mean your hair has to get dry and brittle. Keep it warm and fresh, blondes!

HER LESSONS 8 The Cost of Hope 36 Are Biracial Children Damaged? One mother stands

up for her child after a friend tells her that her biracial daughter has a troubling future.

39 Information: the Gift that Keeps on Giving The

more you know, the stronger your plan of action will be.

46 Break Down the Roadblocks Feeling stuck? Here are a couple tips to get you out of that funk.

HER WORK ON THE COVER 13 Best Weddings of the Year


Love was in the air for 2014. Who do you think said “I do” best?

How Networking Savvy Are You? Networking is only half the battle; learn how to prepare for and follow up with your contacts.



ave you ever woken up one morning (or a few mornings) and asked yourself, “What have I done, and where am I heading?” I know that I have. In fact, if we never ponder such questions, our lives have become too easy. Comfort can be a good thing, but it may also prevent us from moving forward into the next phase. A few years ago, I experienced that “stuck” feeling. I had a wonderful family, good friends, and a full-time job. I felt truly blessed and counted myself fortunate to have so much. Yet that constant, nagging voice in my head kept telling me that something was missing. I was trying my best not to listen to that voice as it urged me to challenge myself further. What else did I need to do with my life? Suddenly the answer struck me as a bolt of lightning: I had to finish what I had started. For a long time, I had put off getting my college degree. I had completed a year of college, became frustrated, and stopped cold turkey. I gave up at the time, thinking I couldn’t do it. Each time I revisited the idea, my mind shifted to something much easier to tackle. Well, ignoring it certainly did not make the nagging go away. I finally buckled down and put my mind to achieving my goals and, four years later, I graduated college with a BA in English Literature. I also trained in grant proposal writing and currently volunteer for nonprofit organizations, researching potential funding sources, letter writing and spreading the word. Becoming unstuck allowed me to face my fears, challenge myself, and walk through new doors of opportunity. As a result, I’ve not only benefited myself,

Break Down The roaDBlocks

I’ve also found ways to use my new talent to help others along the way. Whenever I am bored or stumped, I recognize that it’s time to re-evaluate and move forward. Asking myself those difficult questions only draws me a step closer to where I need and want to be. We all have periods in our lives when we’re completely stuck. However, reaching a crossroad is not failure. Nor does it mean that we, wives, mothers and hard workers, are restless. Stuck is that little voice in your head encouraging you to realize your full potential, whether that entails pouring your heart into writing a memoir, returning to school, or going for that well-deserved promotion. Giving yourself permission to move forward is a learning experience because you’ll find out exactly what you’re made of and be glad that you had the courage to try. Here are a few of my favorite selfmotivating phrases: I deserve a shot at this. If I don’t try, I’ll always wonder what could’ve been. Good things aren’t just for somebody else. They’re for me too. If I remain stuck here, I can’t get to the other side. Get out of your (my) own way. Keeping a mental note of such expressions will come in handy when you’re in need of inspiration. Try them out. Trust me, they work.

Christmas cheer for cheap.

58 The Next Big iThing

Apple products have defined the face of modern technology; what do they have in store for us next?



38 Take A Moment For Other

6 Can I Really Make Money On Etsy?How to sell

Take some time over the holidays to give to those who have nothing.

40 Understanding Your Body Type + HER BY EXAMPLE

57 How to Save Money for Christmas Bring on the

Are you a banana, an apple, or a pear? Changing your body type may not be as hard as it seems.

41 Your Healthiest Holiday Habbits

How to combat the holiday binge eating and hibernation lull.

your homemade products and make Etsy work for you.

61 Top 5 Kickass Heroines of 2014 From Katniss to

Maleficent, we’ve got you covered for all of your strong heroine needs.

63 Interactive Theater in the Streets: The 5Arts Festival 65 Holiday Travel Tips

When and where to celebrate the holidays this year.

Charvella Campbell is an editor, writer, and volunteer for nonprofit agencies. She owns a business called Campbell Editing & Proofing Services, LLC. Her website is www.



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Sell Art On Etsy

How to

T hese

days, with a little bit of talent and drive, anyone can be their own business owner. Sites like Etsy have become the popular way for people to sell their own homemade products. I spoke with two successful Etsy sellers, Nova and Mimi, who sell “Mousesnaps,” personalized mousetraps. They shared the following tips on how to sell your work on Etsy: BY CORY HUFF

Invest in your photos. Photos on any online store do much more than just showcase your item; they represent how seriously you take your business and the overall quality of your products. Invest in a good camera, learn basic photography techniques, and take plenty of photos for your shop. Of course, not everyone is a convincing photographer. If you can’t seem to take good photos, enlist the help of a friend who’s more skilled or has a better camera. A lot of amateur photographers will be willing to take photos if you offer them a photo credit on your site.

Stage your postings. When you post a new item on Etsy, it’s listed at the top of the corresponding section for a short period of time. This gives you and your store increased visibility. Most major sales happen immediately after a new posting. If you have several items to upload, space your postings over a period of days to maximize your exposure.


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Selling Art on Etsy Isn’t That Hard Do the math. Calculate the cost of your materials, your time and Etsy fees to price your products appropriately. Don’t just pick a round number because it sounds good. Also, be honest with yourself about how much you’re charging. A good way to test the quality of your product against your price is by going to a flea market or craft fair and setting up a booth. People will be brutally honest if they think your product is overpriced. Similarly, if your product is flying off the table, you know you can raise your price. Take advantage of categories and tags. Etsy’s suggested tags are there for a reason; they are common items people look for on the site. Use Etsy’s suggested language instead of your own. For example, if you’re selling a set of kitchen towels, be sure to use the “towel” tag. Don’t skip that tag and instead create your own “kitchen towel” tag; you will miss anyone who comes to the site and just searches for through the towel tag. If you have available tags left for your posting after you’ve selected any appropriate ones Etsy has listed, feel free to create your own.

Check out the competition. Routinely patrol Etsy for sellers who are making your product or something similar. Are they cheaper? Does their product look better? Adjust your listings so that you’re competitively priced. If you think you have a superior product, explain the difference in your description. Remember what we said about the photos; appearance is everything!

Leverage your personal networks. Cross-promote your Etsy posts on your Facebook page, your blog, Flickr, or Twitter. Etsy even has a toolbar feature that lets you share your new listings on Facebook, provided you’re logged into both sites. Keep in mind that no one likes to be marketed to constantly, so be sure to keep your postings entertaining for those in your networks. Don’t only tweet when you’re posting a new item. Keep people involved in your business by posting anecdotes about your creation process, giving an inside look at something as its being completed, or just keep people up to date on your related endeavors. It’s much more interesting that way.

Love what you do. It sounds so corny, but you have to like what you’re doing to be successful. It’s a real shocker that the two of us love mousetraps so much – but it’s true! We’ve had huge orders come in and had to drop plans and paint all day and night to get them out. It was strangely fun for us, so we know we’re on the right track. Cory Huff runs, where he teaches artists to dispel the myth of the starving artist by learning to sell art online.



he hailed from a successful, prestigious family, but Angela says her relationship with that family, namely her mother, was merely superficial. She had all the material things she wanted at home, but she longed to meet her natural father, someone she thought would finally love her unconditionally. Her mother warned her that her ex and his family, who she looked down on, was going to ruin Angela. Looking for an outlet, she ignored her mother’s counsel about going to stay with her father. Shortly after becoming more acquainted with the other, or more aptly the alternate, side of her family, Angela got pregnant at 18 years old. Her mother begged her not to keep the child, saying, “We don’t have those types of issues in our family.” Angela decided otherwise, determined to establish with her child the first, real loving bond that she had ever had. After living with different relatives didn’t work out, Angela decided to take the baby and move to Atlanta, where her brother lived. She ended up staying with a woman she barely knew but


became close friends with over time. Angela even met and married the woman’s brother. It was a tumultuous marriage, according to Angela, as many in her husband’s conservative Christian family saw Angela as a less than ideal mate because she already had a child. Her daughter, perhaps, suffered the greatest torment in being rejected by her new paternal family as well as Angela’s own family. “My mother didn’t accept her until she was 5,” says Angela, “and then her father didn’t acknowledge her. It was just rejection after rejection.” She eventually became a rebellious child, and she ran away one day after having an argument with her mother. “That was the last time I saw her for nine months,” recalls Angela of her then 16-year-old daughter. “That was the first time in my life that I developed the most powerful feeling that I could think of ever having, and that was hope. I embraced the spirit of hope.” She believes that the umbilical cord mothers have with their children is not just physical; it represents a spiritual connection that supersedes mother’s intuition. She calls it a “soul tie,” adding, “Children are like having your own twin. With that, I was able to keep a [spiritual] connection while my daughter

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Deborah Hightower

“I didn’t have instructions when I picked her up from the police department. I brought home a broken vessel” was gone.” She says she went down to Atlanta City Hall for help and refused to leave until she got help finding her daughter. “I refused to see my daughter as a victim.” When the staff asked her to leave, she fell out on the carpet and said she wouldn’t leave until she saw the chief of police. “I made such a scene that they brought me all the way upstairs to the top man. I said, ‘I gotta find my daughter. My daughter is missing in this state. She has been talking to me, and I know she is alive.’” Angela figured her last statement would assure them that she was crazy, but his response surprised her. He said, “I believe you because I believe in the power of prayer.” He assigned her case to a Zone 4 police officer, Mark House. One Wednesday, on her way to Bible study, she says she heard TD Jakes preaching, “Some woman is watching, and your daughter is missing. And the Lord said, ‘She’ll be home by Christmas.’” It was November. That night the case was broken, and her daughter was home the next day, December 1st. While the case had been resolved, the details were only then forthcoming. Angela’s daughter had been kidnapped from Lawrenceville and taken to Douglasville, Ga, and other states, where she was prostituted. Describing Officer House as “my personal Denzel Washington,” she 10

said they were able to find not only her daughter, but 12 other missing girls who were also part of a sex trafficking ring. The youngest was 10 years old. “It has taken a toll on her,” say Angela. It has taken many years of healing, including suicide attempts, mental institutions, and rejecting men in favor of same- sex relationships. Her daughter now has a baby named Faith, and “she is in her right mind and disease free.” Angela has her own struggles with being overprotective of her daughter, who is now 25. She admits not even wanting her to move out on her own. While dealing with her own frustration and insecurities, she says, “I don’t cry anymore because there is hope.” Healing Begins Hope is what Deborah Hightower wants to focus on through her affiliation with Wellspring Living, a nonprofit that helps to rehabilitate former victims of sexual trafficking. Deborah says the girls stay in the residential program, on average, for about a year. “I didn’t have instructions when I picked her up from the police department. I brought home a broken vessel” says Angela. Parents of sex trafficking survivors such as Angela often have little to no restoration support once they are united with their children. This support is critical because many of the girls do not have good relationships with their mothers, according to Deborah. She says she really didn’t know anything about human trafficking or Wellspring until a couple of years ago when a friend asked her to attend a fashion show that was benefitting Wellspring. “When I was there, I found out about the plight of these girls who are caught in human trafficking. So many times we think of human trafficking and slavery as being in a third world country, but it’s happening right here in the United States. And Atlanta has

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been named as one of the top cities for underage commercial sex trafficking. It’s a $300 million industry, and those are 2007 numbers.” Renowned for assisting individuals, corporations, non-profit organizations, and trustees with financial plan development and investment planning, Deborah has received many awards and accolades. As a best-selling author and singer, she never imagined her life would include championing as cause such as sexual exploitation of youth. “When I heard the stories, when I heard the plight of the girls about this big issue in our community, I just knew it was something I wanted to get involved with. “These girls who are runaways or they’re kidnapped or even a girl who might be having an issue at home for a moment, get swept away in these promises that everything is better if you come and be part of this club. Then everything will be better in their life. These girls are falling for that, and once they get caught up, it’s hard to get out.” he target in Atlanta is mainly African American and Latino girls, according to Deborah. “The Latino girls are so underground that it’s hard to get to them.” By the time victims are rescued or found, the girls are so broken. “They’re broken physically, mentally and spiritually. Their self-confidence is gone. They need a safe place to begin the healing process, so the better of life starts for them.”


Getting Involved Deborah has been involved for the organization for two years now and was one of the organizers and performers at a benefit concert on October 2 at Mount Paran Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The concert will provide funds to support the Wellsprings’ effort to house and empower women as they transition from sexual slavery back to society. The organization has 53 of the only 200 beds provided for such

Angela Murray: Discusses her child’s plight in human trafficking Distributing information on Wellspring Spring services during a fundraising event

services throughout the country. Deborah says, “They need more.” Recalling the famous words of Martin Luther King, she suggests, “‘What affects you directly, affects me indirectly.’ All of this affects us indirectly. So all of the people who live on the right side of town that think that this has nothing to do with them, could not be more wrong... It affects our schools. It affects our police department. It affects our revenue. It affects where our tax money is being spent. It affects everything...To say that it has nothing to do with everybody is wrong.” She has become so engrossed with the project that she is mentoring one young woman who she met while giving a talk as a keynote speaker at a conference for business people. The title of her speech was “Poised, Prepared and in Hot Pursuit of Your Passion.” She spoke for 45 minutes and says she kept making eye contact with one woman in the audience. “I really didn’t think anything about it because some people are more into what you’re saying than others. My eyes kept going back to her, though. She was so pretty and so attentive, writing notes.” At the end of the speech, the young woman stood in line to meet Deborah.

She told her, “You have fueled my purpose today. I want to help girls who are caught in sex trafficking.” The next statement both shocked and humbled Deborah. “I want to help because I was one of those girls.” Deborah said she couldn’t believe the words coming out of the woman’s mouth because she was just starting to help with Wellspring. That incidental reminder was what she deemed as a sign that she was going in the right direction. She said, “This was a confirmation, but it was not only a confirmation for me, it was a confirmation for her.” Upon further conservation, she admitted to Deborah she didn’t have money to purchase a ticket for the event, and the only reason she had been able to attend was because someone else bought tickets as gifts to those who couldn’t afford to attend. Someone had been given one of those free tickets. “I would have never thought in a million years that she was a victim of sex trafficking. She is so beautiful and poised. She spoke so well.” She says people should always be aware that they never know who is in their midst. “Who would think that you’re at a business conference, but you have no idea what battle someone is going through.”

Practicing in preparation for a fundraising concert to help survivors of human trafficking

She recalls the story of her mentee with a melancholy tone, as if this was someone she had loved and lost. “She, like many, didn’t have a good relationship with her mother and was tired of being home and bored. She was walking away from school alone, away from the group, and a cute guy with a lot of gold chains pulled up beside her in a smooth car with expensive rims. He started talking to her, and then they exchanged numbers. They started talking on the phone. They became boyfriend and

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+ H E R F E AT U R E

girlfriend until they weren’t, and he turned her out. She accepted it because she thought he loved her, and that’s too often the story.” She was 14 years old at the time, and today she has three children. “It’s easy to break someone’s spirit. Parents do it to their kids and don’t even realize it. When a spirit is broken, it makes you look for a replacement. It’s like your heart being broken. When your heart has a hole in it, you’re looking for something to fill that hole. Too many times, it’s not something good.” The young woman is now 10 years removed from sexual slavery, but Deborah mentors her about being ready to actu12

ally become a change agent in this regard. “It doesn’t matter if you’re on a spiritual, professional or personal journey,” Deborah says. “You must be prepared. Until you’re poised and you are prepared, you better not start pursuing. That’s when people get in trouble.” She advises that people have to be ready for the emotional ride, being poised, and the resource ride, being prepared with money. Gathering resources to help with survivors’ recovery is what both Angela and Deborah are committed to achieving. Deborah is working with Saxy Butler of Put a Bow On It, an organization that helps nonprofits obtain and manage funding. Meanwhile, Angela, a travel agent, is

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preparing for efforts including a Cruising for a Cause. No matter the approach, the goal remains the same: rescue, recovery and restoration.

Signs of Human Trafficking: 1. Traveling with an older man 2. Chronic runaway 3. Special marked tattoos Substance abuse 4. Multiple delinquent charges 5. Homelessness/Street living - ARJ

+ H E R F E AT U R E


C eleb r ity We d d i ng s 2 0 1 4

ove is in the air and going down the aisle. This year, celebrity couples have been getting married back to back! In keeping with the marital hype, we created a Facebook survey to get your opinions on these weddings. From Kim Kardashian & Kanye West “Kimye” to Jill Dugger and Derick Dillard (from TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting) wedding bells are certainly ringing this year! As for the best-dressed showdown, Angelina Jolie and Gabrielle Union were tied for best wedding dress at 31%. Is it that we are reverting to more traditional looking wedding gowns, as a simple “ A-Line” design prevailed in the poll? The other brides such as Naya Rivera (15%) and Kim Kardashian (19%) wore form fitting gowns that accentuated their curves rather than any particular design theme.

Throughout the years, there have been an increase in themed weddings and Kandi’s was definitely themed! Kandi from The Real Housewives of Atlanta who wore a very exotic gown with a 12-foot train made of ostrich feathers to match her Coming to America themed wedding. Some of the most creative wedding gowns and veils were displayed, including Angelina Jolie’s wedding veil with embroidery of drawings from her six children. We asked which newlywed couple would stay married the longest. There was a three-way tie between Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade, Kelly Rowland & Tim Witherspoon, and Kandi Burruss & Todd Tucker. Those three couples trumped Kimye and Ashlee Simpson & Evan Ross who placed at a 9% of all votes. If Kim’s last encounters with marriage are any indication for this marriage, it may be true that Kimye won’t stand the test of time. Despite what has occurred with her past

marriages, I do believe that this marriage may last because they can relate on so many levels. Hollywood has a tendency of tearing relationships apart due to the added pressure of media exposure and insinuations about one or both partners. Anything can happen with these couples, but we wish them all the best. Overall, the best went wedding ceremony, according to Hers readers, went to Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade at 39%. Second place went to Brangelina at 35%. No matter what you may think of them, Kimye’s stylish, remote ceremony stayed ahead in the poll for some time before ultimately falling into third place at 26%. Keep in mind, the poll didn’t include George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s recent wedding in Venice. Weddings come and weddings go, but in 2014 the weddings stole the show! -Lauren Tullis

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Beauty Product OF 2014 ?

Women invest a lot to look and feel great. We purchase lipstick after lipstick to enhance our natural beauty. Unfortunately, 30% of our investment is wasted. When a lipstick tube is finished, we throw away almost a third of the product still stuck in the old tube!

Lil’MorStix is the groundbreaking new product that enables women to capture more from their cosmetics. Its state of the art design allows you to reclaim that 30% in an attractive and easy-to-use tube. Now your pocketbook can look as good as you do.

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Snuggle Up with the Right Comforter SAMANTHA LAUGHLIN

Love it or hate it, winter is coming. Which means one thing: getting cozy at night with your favorite comforter. Finding the right comforter is one of the most important bedroom choices you will make. A comforter can add elegance to your room and hours to your sleep. But not all comforters are created equal. Some comforters will provide the right warmth and feel to give you that good, hibernation-style sleep. A bad comforter will fit like a bag and remind you it’s there all night. The trick to get the right comforter is to choose the right fabric and fill.

The Right Fabric: Comforter fabric makes up the outside shell of the bedding. It consists of type, such as cotton or silk, and thread count. Thread count is the number of threads in a square inch, counted both lengthwise and widthwise. Comforters with 200-thread count have 100 lengthwise threads woven together with 100 widthwise threads. The higher the thread count, the tighter the weave, and the tighter the weave, the better the quality.

What to choose: 180-thread count is the lowest you want to go with a comforter. It provides a loose weave and minimal quality. Thread counts of 400 or more provide sleepers with higher quality fabric. These are often advertised as “luxury” or “premium.”

The Right Fill: Fill is the material that goes inside the fabric and provides the “puff � in comforters. Fill power, as it is measured, is rated by the amount of cubic inches required to contain an ounce of filling. A high fill power has more insulating air pockets, resulting in a better-insulated, warmer comforter.

What to choose: A fill power of 400-500 is considered medium quality. This will provide you with decent warmth for the price. Fill power of 700 or more is considered excellent, with optimal insulation.

A comforter is more than just a material to cover your bed. Comforters serve a tactical (comfort) and stylistic (appearance) purpose. You can’t just wander down the aisle and pick out any comforter. Their labels are like control panels, telling you how each one functions. Consider the price and performance of the comforter when finding one that fits you and your bed. Samantha Laughlin is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area. is a company that specializes in comforters.

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Is Barter Better For Business? By Denise Renee


here’s nothing new under the sun, as the saying goes.Before there was a centralized monetary system, there was bartering: the simple act of exchanging an item or service you had for a different item or service you wanted or needed. Not just for cavemen or pioneers, bartering has evolved along with the times. Today, bartering is a viable way for businesses to preserve precious cash flow while potentially gaining card-carrying, cashpaying customers. The question: is bartering right for your business? It just might be if you have unfilled tables at your restaurant or empty guest rooms at your hotel; bartering is a way to help keep you at capacity. Similarly, if you are a dentist or lawn care company with unfilled appointment slots, bartering could help keep you busy. Manufacturers and businesses with excess inventory can also find bartering useful and more cost effective than tossing out or destroying aging inventory. Essentially, if you are a small or mid-sized businesses plagued with slow times and can handle more customers and appointments or you have perishable products to sell, you are the business type that tends to benefit greatly from bartering. Wondering how, since you’re not exchanging cash for services, bartering can become lucrative for you? First, having a booked roster of clients or filled dining or waiting


room shows your paying customers that you are a robust business which will likely be around for a while. That positive perception will help them feel comfortable with continuing to do business with you. As for your non-cash barter clients, once you dazzle them with great service, they often spread the good news and help generate referrals for you. And the resulting new referral businesses bring in cold, hard cash! If your company is looking at different options for cutting costs and managing cash flow, you can barter services that are essential for day-today operations and long-term growth such as advertising, printing, website services, business consulting and more. Savvy businesses even use bartering to offer their employees supplemental health care benefits without all the high costs. Two Ways To Barter: Go It Alone or Enlist a Partner Today, there are two main ways business can barter: peer-to-peer (also known as direct barter) or via a barter association. Peer to peer bartering is simply an agreement you can strike (verbal or formal) with another business owner to exchange goods and/or services. This is a very alluring option for cash strapped companies that could potentially capitalize on bartering to fulfill immediate needs. However, the challenges with peerto-peer bartering might give you room to pause. Unless you personally

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know the business owner you are entering an agreement with (and even then!), it may be difficult to vouch for the quality of the products or service you’ll receive in the exchange. Even though you are not spending cash, you may want to make sure there is a guarantee that they’ll honor should anything go wrong. If the other business owner fails to live up to their end of the agreement, you may not have much recourse, especially if you only have a “handshake” agreement. Additionally, because you are not


exchanging money, it could be hard to have an established value for what you are bringing to your side of the table. Depending on how much time or resources are required for you to produce your product or perform your service, you could wind up expending more energy living up to your end of the agreement than you receive in exchange. So how do you avoid these and other challenges with peer-to-peer bartering? Enter a barter exchange.

Barter exchanges bring a great level of organization to the process. Barter exchanges allow members to ascribe a monetary value to the services or products they offer. When another member “purchases” from them, they earn trade “dollars” or “credits” that correlate to monetary value of the service. The member then can use the trade credits it accumulates to purchase goods and services it needs or wants from other members in the association.

One of the top benefits of being a member of a barter exchange is that it provides some level of accountability. While these organizations are not regulatory in nature, there are usually some guidelines that allow members to have some recourse in case another member does not live up to their end of the agreement or does not have enough trade credits to complete a transaction. Laurie Sossa, founder of the Southern Barter Club, explains further exactly how a

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barter exchange works: “Barter within an organized exchange network is a system that allows payment for goods or services in trade dollars that have the same value as a cash dollar and that can be spent with any other listed business in the barter system. So if a hair salon wants a website, they pay the website designer’s fee in trade dollars, not by directly exchanging haircuts equal to the monetary value of the website service. They have already earned trade dollars by cutting several other members hair throughout the month. “We are a third party record keeper

which manages the trade debits and credits and we send out a statement each month to members as well as a 1099 at the end of the year. In simple terms, we are a payment-processing system that aggressively sells for our members.” Laurie, who has been a successful entrepreneur for more 20 years and a business consultant, saw that many businesses were always looking for ways to grow. She says she founded Southern Barter Club as a means to expand the resources and client base of small businesses.

Costs of Bartering While barter exchanges, such as the Southern Barter Club, can help you breathe a sigh of relief as far as protecting your investments of time and resources, being a part of an exchange is not without its costs. Literally. If you are a cash-strapped start-up business, you’ll want to keep the associated charges in mind plus consult with your accountant regarding any tax liabilities which might be associated with giving and receiving bartered services. Many barter exchanges charge an initial joining and/or annual of between


Laurie Sossa

$500 and $1,000 dollars. In the case of SBC, they only charge $299 for a lifetime membership. Also, every time you barter, there is a cash fee that must be paid to the barter organization of between 5% and 15% of each transaction. Before you cry “unfair,” remember that the brokerage is a business too that has employees who need to be paid. Ultimately, you’ll be getting services and goods cheaper than if you had to pay full price out of pocket. So if you are looking for absolutely no exchange of cash, a barter association may not be for you. Keep in mind that just because you have joined a barter association and may also get a free listing in their print or online directory, a flood of business isn’t just going to start pouring in. You will have to make an effort to become known throughout the organizations so that members can think of you and your services when they have a need. Many barter associations have memberonly events. It’s a good idea to show up to these and network with the other members. Sometimes barter associations have special events and sell ad space in a commemorative journal or program. Whether you spend some green or your virtual trade dollars in order to participate, you should consider doing it because it can

If you are considering joining a barter organization, you should find out what kind of assistance they can offer to help you to lock in trade business from the members. be a great opportunity to bring exposure to your products and services to your fellow members. If you are considering joining a barter organization, you should find out what kind of assistance they can offer to help you to lock in trade business from the members. At the Southern Barter Club, Laurie Sossa says that each business is assigned a broker who gets familiar with them and what they have to offer. Then when another member identifies a need, that broker can help make a recommendation on that brand’s behalf. It is also a good idea to be judicious about – and possibly even limit - which products and services you make available to be purchased with trade dollars so that the exchange is beneficial and ultimately profitable for you. SBC’s Sossa explains: “Every company has their cost of doing business and so when they invest in their own wholesale cash into their raw materials, supply or services, they yield full retail in spending. By bartering, it is possible to earn the same amount in valuable trade points. As an example: a business owner invests $500 cash of her own money to purchase jewelry at wholesale. The woman can now sell to members of the barter network $1,000 worth of jewelry orders and accept $1,000

trade dollars. “Once she has earned $1,000 of barter funds, she can go get $1,000 worth of dental work but the reality is that although she purchases and receives $1,000 worth of dental work, it didn’t cost her $1,000 in cash. It only cost her $500 cash since that is what she invested in the first place to yield $1,000 sales in retail trade dollars.” Taking that example further, as a member of the SBA in particular, this jewelry owner can also use her trade credits for goods and services across a network of other barter exchanges throughout the country. So if she wanted to take a Napa Valley vacation at a destination that participates in an exchange located in California that is connected with SBC, she could! Ultimately, there are lots of factors to consider when it comes to bartering. Whether you decide to join a barter organization or simply find other businesses to trade with directly, make sure that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks as you make the determination if bartering is right for you. Denise Renee is an Atlanta based freelance B2B copywriter and blogs about business marketing, career and lifestyle topics.  Find her on Twitter @ MeetDeniseRenee.

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C Emily B. Taylor, Miles (her husband) and Bonnie J. Addario, founder of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation.

arol, a tall, slender married mom of four maintained an active lifestyle, walking at least two miles a day. When she began experiencing a persistent cough, pain in her legs, and feeling very sluggish, she scheduled a doctor’s visit. Her doctor prescribed medication for her nagging cough, but it wouldn’t go away. She was a CNA working in a 24-hour skilled nursing facility. Her job was to assist the sick, but she couldn’t understand what was happening to her body. She initially attributed it as a sign of turning 40 and growing older. After many doctor visits, her physician eventually diagnosed her with lung cancer. By the time the cancer was detected, it had grown to about the size of a grapefruit. She immediately began chemotherapy and radiation treatments that lasted nearly a year and half. The aggressive treatments left her body weak some days, and her long hair fell out from chemo. The treatments shrunk the cancer but didn’t remove it entirely. She was scheduled for surgery to remove the remaining cancer in December 1990. The surgery was unsuccessful, though, as her lung cancer had started spreading to other parts of her body, typical of stage IV cancer.

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Her surgeon gave her family the grim diagnosis that the cancer was too aggressive, and she had approximately six months to live. She was sent home, where she had a big support system: her husband, children, siblings, and her mother took turns caring for her. A little over two years later, in March 1993, Carol lost her battle with lung cancer at the age of 45. Carol was my mother. I was in my mid 20s when she succumbed to lung cancer. The news of my mom’s premature death left my family devastated. My lingering question has always been: could my mother 24

have done something to prevent her from developing lung cancer or could the doctors have caught this disease in an earlier stage? Emily’s Story Emily Bennett Taylor, 28, spent her time playing volleyball several times per week and going on hikes with friends. A nonsmoker and self-described “healthy eater,” Emily never saw a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis coming. The former state track champion and college volleyball player says she has never smoked or even been exposed to second-hand smoke in her life.

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After wheezing, coughing and having persistent pain in her right shoulder blade for two months, she went to her regular physician who thought it was probably asthma. She gave Emily an inhaler but still suggested she have a chest X-Ray. Emily had an X-Ray done at a pulmonologist who detected haziness in her right lung. Of the prognosis, she says, “It was a slow realization for me. Your mind goes toward the worst thought, but you don’t really let it. You think, ‘I’m young, healthy and never smoked, so nothing could be wrong.’” Several days later, she had a CT scan that confirmed it was cancer. She says she was initially misdiagnosed with lymphoma because that is more common in young people and it was near the lymph area. “I cried a lot, and I was alone because it was right after work and my husband was at his own business meeting, so he wasn’t able to be there. I was freaking out because I couldn’t get him…When I told everyone it was a tumor and it was cancer that was devastating for them. “My first question was ‘will I lose my hair?’ It was my attempt to reconcile what was happening to me with what I had seen on TV.” She was told that if lymphoma is caught early enough, it’s pretty curable. Wanting to act quickly, her doctors scheduled her for a biopsy the next day. The biopsy showed it was stage IV lung cancer. “This started a whole different spiral of ‘how can that be?’ That’s how I got involved with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF). We had a friend who connected us with them. Danielle, who is Bonnie’s daughter, called us while she was on a family vacation after we emailed the foundation asking for any advice or direction. She talked us through what we needed to do in terms of being tested and making sure we got second opinions. She stayed with my husband on the phone for about an hour.” As the founder of ALCF, Bonnie is on a personal crusade to help empower women when it comes to battling lung cancer.


“Be selective and take your time. Just don’t go too fast.” The organization, however, began long before its official start date when Bonnie received her own lung cancer diagnosis, and her life was redefined. Her prognosis was grim when she was diagnosed in 2004. Following a 14-hour surgery, a battery of nurses and doctors, an army of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, blood clots, procedures, and tubes that invaded her formerly predictable life, Bonnie became a lung cancer survivor. In a unique position to become the voice for the other 1.5 million people personally affected by the number one cancer killer, she began to think of ways to help people facing the crisis. On March 6, 2006, when the news broke that Dana Reeve, wife of actor Christopher Reeve and a nonsmoker, lost her battle with lung cancer, Bonnie de-

cided: “Enough was enough!” ALCF was bor n. “Each time someone stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope…” Bonnie says this is one of her favorite quotes, which is by Robert F. Kennedy, and it was a huge catalyst in her life. Fighting Against Certain Death Emily learned that the lung cancer survival rate is 16%, and that’s including stage 1 and 2, and at stage 4 it is 1-2% survival rate. It kills more people than the other top four cancers combined. After the diagnosis and being armed with information, Emily went to City of Hope for cancer treatment, where she was treated by Dr. Karen Reckamp, a lung cancer specialist. “It’s so important to see the best specialist at the best cancer treatment center that you can find because there so many discoveries being made in cancer treatment on a daily basis and a specialist is going to know about them.” Still shocked by the diagnosis, Emily

wanted her doctor to tell her how and why she got lung cancer after living a healthy lifestyle, including never smoking or being around it. “I remember [Dr. Reckamp] looking at me and saying, ‘I need you to be comfortable with the idea that we may never know why you got this, but we need to move forward and beat it.’ “While I still really wanted to know, that was probably the best thing I could have heard at the time,” admits Emily. “I needed to stop focusing on the past and look toward the future.” Emily is not alone, for many young, healthy, active nonsmokers are being diagnosed with lung cancer. ALCF is launching a study to determine why this is happening to people like Emily. Radon gas may be one cause. It is the second known leading cause of lung cancer. “I grew up in Idaho where the radon level is very high,” says Emily. “Most houses in Idaho have working basements. My bedroom was downstairs, so I probably got a good dose of radon.” he other possibility is having a genetic predisposition to lung cancer. Emily says her paternal grandmother, a smoker, was the only known family member to die (age 52) from lung cancer. “Maybe she had a gene that made her more susceptible to cigarette smoke. That gene may have made me more susceptible to radon. She could have passed that gene on to me.” At stage IV, Emily says, “I had to go with a doctor who believed me and was willing to fight for my life.” She found a doctor in New York who was willing to do the surgery to remove the cancer. “He ended up taking out my entire right lung, the pericardium (sac around the heart), my lymph nodes, and part of my right diaphragm.” After eight rounds of chemotherapy with no hair loss, just some thinning, and 28 rounds of high-dose radiation, Emily is now N-E-D, or no evidence of the disease. “We can’t see any cancer, but they don’t


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Chief of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Raja Flores, sharing the news with Emily that he saw ‘no evidence of disease’ following her procedure. She was NED.


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want to say I’m cancer free.” Today, she says she’s still able to lead a somewhat active life but has to be careful. “I have to make sure that I’m not wearing myself out.” Still, she says, “Life with one lung can be very, very full, active and healthy. I walk and I’m able to exercise… I really don’t notice that I have one lung most days.” While she relishes the fact that she is alive and not bedridden, she remembers to rest. “Because I’m only getting 50 percent of the oxygen that everyone else is, I have to rest a lot more. I sleep about 10 hours a night and sometimes 12 if I have a busy day.” She credits the great medical staff, advisors, friends, and even her in-laws who moved in to help with her care, but most of all, she says she could not have made it through successfully without her number one supporter, her husband, Miles Taylor. “My husband is the best provider and caregiver. He stayed up until two or three in the morning researching to make sure we were on the right path and got the best doctors. He has never ever missed an appointment and there have been hundreds over the years. He still takes care of me.” The couple met at age 20 while in college at Claremont Colleges in California. She was on the volleyball team, and he played basketball. They have been together ever since. Will the couple have children? “I’m not afraid to have children because of this. It does make me a bit more trepiditious about it, but I know the signs, so it makes me less worried. What gives me a little less fear is that [lung cancer] could probably skip a generation. I’m having children with the hopeful mind toward the future that we’ll be able to have even better information in terms of lung cancer research.” Emily, now 30, lives in Southern California with her husband and their two lovable mutts, Ginny and Tonic. Why Nonsmokers? Dr. Barbara Gitlitz, associate professor of Clinical Medicine at Keck Medicine of USC, explains that breast cancer is the most

common cause of cancer in women and prostrate in men, but the most common cause of death from cancer is lung cancer. In other cancers, such as breast cancer and leukemia, research has clearly demonstrated that occurrence at a younger age is associated with a distinct biology that guides treatment. Thus, development of a unique treatment approach for young lung cancer is needed. The reason lung cancer occurs in young adults is not clear, and this question has never been formally studied until Dr. Gitlitz’ study of Genomics of Young Lung Cancer (GOLYC). Lung cancer most commonly occurs in people in their 60s and 70s, but younger people in their 20s and 30s are getting diagnosed with it more often today. The focus of Dr. Gitlitz new study, GOYLC, is to understand why lung cancer occurs in young adults who quite often are athletic, never smoked and do not exhibit any of the known lung cancer genetic mutations. This genomic study began in order to identify new genome-defined subtypes of lung cancer and accelerate delivery of more effective targeted therapies. Doctors are finding specific subsets of people with lung cancer that behave differently than other subsets and, most importantly, may be driven by genes that are activated. “More and more, we are not looking at lung cancer for one unifying diagnosis. We are finding out that lung cancer might comprised of smaller subsets that might may make up a whole lot of people,” says Dr. Gitliz. She believes that lung cancer research has been notoriously underfunded, but she feels it’s definitely getting better because of the eroding stigma that only smoking causes lung cancer. Lung cancer typically doesn’t cause signs and symptoms in its earliest stages. In approximately 40 percent of people, the diagnosis is made after the disease has advanced. That’s why it’s highly encouraged and equally important to be aware of its signs. If you suspect something is abnormal on an x-ray, your doctor should request a CT scan for further examination.

Signs And Symptoms May Include: 1.

A new persistent cough or worsening of an existing cough, especially if you are a smoker

2. Coughing up blood, even a small amount 3. Becoming easily winded or shortness of breath 4. Pain in the chest area or shoulder 5. Wheezing 6. Difficulty swallowing 7.

Hoarseness or raspy voice

8. Weight loss, weakness and fatigue 9. Bone pain 10. Headache

For more information on lung cancer and for ways to donate and participate in the ongoing Genomics of Lung Cancer Study, visit their website at

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Fashion Designer Q&A


How did your love of design start? It started when I was a young child. As a little girl, instead of my parents buying me dolls, they bought creative toys such as weaving looms and pottery wheels.  By nurturing this creative side of me, it turned into a desire to become an architect, so I took industrial arts and drafting classes.  My high school drafting instructor exposed me to interior design, so I pursued both in college, majoring in interior design and minoring in architecture.

Why purses? I’ve been an interior designer for 27 years. Throughout my career, I’ve had moments when I’ve felt the need to be challenged, to evolve.  One of those moments happened when I decided to pursue furniture design.  As an adjunct to the furnishings, I decided to play around with home accessories starting with accent pillows.  When my design mentor, an architect, saw my designs, he thought I should be pursuing handbag designs.  I resisted because I had a vision of building my brand from an interior design perspective.  After all, it was what I knew. He convinced me that my fundamental design skills could be applied to many things.  He said that I should take the limits off of myself... I am a designer, not just for interiors.  I started sketching, building prototypes, sourcing materials and I was hooked!


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Handbag Designer Lorra Rivers

Who or what brand has been your fashion inspiration? Designers who successfully push the envelope with cutting edge designs but balance with refinement are my inspiration. I’ve honestly seen a lot of amazing talent in the industry, but I don’t have one singular brand that inspires me.  I tend to draw inspiration from and follow the basic design principles of ‘form follows function’ and adhere to the fundamentals of proper scale, balance and proportion.  There are many designers that execute this beautifully.  As a designer coming from an interior design/architectural background, marrying my love of textiles with such fashion staples as handbags and accessories, is a match made in heaven.  I want to establish a handbag brand that creates modern interpretations of chic and future classics.


Who would you like to personally create a purse design for? Women who aren’t afraid to express themselves with modern sophistication and a sexy twist of edge is my ideal woman. Fashion trendsetters Kerry Washington, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, and Beyonce come to mind. All of these women exude amazing confidence and are unapologetic about how they choose to rock their femininity.

What is the process as far as you coming up with your designs? Most creative people will tell you that we have to be inspired. I draw a lot of inspiration from nature.  Not unlike my interiors or furniture designs, I love mixing mediums, utilizing clean, sculptural lines, and I tend to be very tactile.  I think of the function of the bag first and aesthetics second.  It’s how I approach all of my design disciplines.  I’m very big on editing. I believe that each component of the design has a position to play so that a balanced and harmonious product is achieved.

Do you have plans to expand your line? Absolutely. My ultimate goal is to consolidate all of my passions under one lifestyle brand.  For the handbag collection, my male friends and clientele are speaking loud and clear that they want to see leather goods for them.  I’ll also pursue designing backpacks, and I’m even thinking of diaper bags that will adapt once the diapers are gone.  Adaptability is definitely part of being green!

Runway Pictures from Atlanta’s Fashion Night Out 2014

Photo credit: Gerald Ringgold


Warm Up Your Blonde Hair For Fall I

t’s finally fall! It’s time to pull out your sweaters and boots and drink your pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks again. You change your wardrobes to warmer clothes, but don’t forget about your blonde hair. Odds are, it needs to be warmed up too! Your hair has been neglected during a summer full of swimming pools and ponytails, and the color has probably faded a bit due to sun exposure. So how can you freshen and warm up your blonde hair for fall? Here are a few tips… How Low Can You Go? I love adding lowlights to my blonde clients to get some dimension back into their hair for the winter months. This goes especially for highlighted blondes, as their hair tends to look solid on the ends after being in the sun too much. Keep close to your natural color; just add some warm tones into the mix. I would recommend Balayage or panel lowlights to keep your color 30

from looking streaky or chunky. I know the thought of lowlights may scare some of you blondes, but this is actually a way to still look sun kissed with just a subtle, warmer change for the cool seasons ahead.

Go for the Gloss For the ladies rocking an all over blonde color, try a toner or gloss. After time, hair color always fades, especially in the summer time. Talk to your stylist about using a toner or gloss with your next color appointment. This will deposit a sheer color all over your hair and add lots of shine. Ask to look at the color swatches and tones with your stylist. Depending on what color you are aiming for, there are so many pretty blonde hues that are perfect for fall. I love Dialight. Dialight is a demipermanent color line from Loreal Professional that is low in ammonia. You will love the shine it gives dry, summerworn hair. Adding a gold tone

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or wheat/beige tone can add enough color to look different with out being too drastic. Double Up If you are a double processed blonde, try lowlights, a gloss, or both! Adding lowlights and a toner/gloss is a great way to still stay blonde but feel and look different for the fall and winter months. Many double processed blondes are paler in the fall because they are not in the sun as much. By adding warmth back into your hair color, it actually warms up your skin tone too! Additionally, when you are ready to be all blonde again for spring and summer, it won’t be difficult to transition back at all. Embrace Ombre Ombre is still one of the hottest color trends for all hair hues. Who would have ever thought having lighter ends and darker roots would be a trend, let alone for this long! So why not rock it out and have some fun while low

maintenance color is in style? It’s that easy. Not sure where to start? I typically stain the roots of my clients with their natural color or a shade darker, and then add a toner/gloss on the ends. Adding a warmer tone to your old highlights can definitely look different and keep you low maintenance through the fall and winter months. With any of these situations, I would definitely suggest to look at pictures, find what you like and bring it to your stylist. This way, both of you are on the same page when it comes to your new look. Seasons change, so why not change your hair color too? Happy coloring, blondes!. Reaching over 3 million women each month, (http://www. is the most popular online destination for women and hairstylists looking for today’s latest hairstyle trends, tutorials, tips and advice.


What Pets Think About the Holidays



hroughout the holidays, there is a lot of planning in terms of travel, food, gifts, and so much more. But how do your pets fit into the equation? It is easy to get caught up in the bustle of the holidays and leave your furry friends behind. However, the holidays can be just as exciting, overwhelming, and stressful for your pets as they are for you. Here is a quick and easy guide for navigating the holidays with your pets: Thanksgiving: Dogs tend to love Thanksgiving as much as you do. The reason is simple: family and food. Most dogs love the company of other people since they know they’ll get even more attention and petting than usual. Be aware that, if you leave your dog out during the Thanksgiving feast, unless you have a particularly well-trained dog chances are, he will spend the whole time begging for scraps. Cats are far less social than dogs and, for that reason, often do not handle the holidays well. Instead of scrounging under the table for food, your cat is far more likely to be found hiding in her “safe space” or a place where the other humans cannot get to her. Christmas: As with Thanksgiving, dogs love the influx of guests that Christmas brings. However, if you have children coming over to spend Christmas with you, try to give your dog time to recuperate over the course of the day. A child’s high energy (on top of everything else going on) may overwhelm your dog and cause the

animal to growl or snap at the child. Christmas is probably a cat’s favorite time of the year. Chances are, you will find your cat tangled in tinsel and batting your most expensive, shiny Christmas ornaments. You will want to keep an eye on the presents under the tree as well to make sure your cat doesn’t claw and shred the wrapping paper. New Years: Dogs are not fans of fireworks. More often than not, your canine companion will spend New Years hiding under table or barking at the window. New Years might be a good time to invest in a Thundershirt or herbal anti-anxiety medication for your dog. Cats have mixed feelings about fireworks; some cats will run and hide, other cats will sleep on as normal. Depending on your cat, you might want to make your cat is as comfortable as possible so she can wait out the fireworks in peace. Lastly, when you go out to celebrate, don’t forget to leave your pets plenty of food and water. If you have a dog, make sure you come back to walk him regularly. Cats are relatively self-sufficient and can be left along for longer stretches of time, but that doesn’t mean they always enjoy being left alone. Taking a couple minutes out of your party time to come back home and give your pets a little affection before you go out can make all the difference. Dr. Anastasia Nikolskaya is a renowned pet psychologist and the author of “Your Pets Peeves.” Her website is

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Kiki’s Yogurt Cake Yogurt cake can be made for any occasion. There are many variations and all Greek cooks believe theirs is the best. Some cakes are very dense and firm, while others, like my sister Kiki’s recipe, are light and moist and truly retain the yogurt flavor. This cake is like a pound cake but not as dense. It has become our family’s favorite during the holidays.

Ingredients 3 cups pastry flour ¼ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ pound butter

2 cups sugar 5 egg yolks 1 cup plain yogurt 5 egg whites Confectioners’ sugar for top of cake

Directions Combine the flour, salt and baking powder. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until mixture is fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Beat in yogurt. Add the flour mixture a little at a time and blend well. In a medium bowl beat the egg whites until stiff and fold gently into batter. Pour batter into a greased and floured bunt pan or angel food cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the cake is done. Cool 10 minutes. Turn out onto a cake rack and cool completely. Sift confectioners’ sugar on top to decorate if desired. Genie’s Bio Genie Gekas (aka Genie the Spice Goddess) does her lineage proud by sharing her culinary tradition with the world. Born into a Greek family in Tucson, Arizona, she learned to cook while standing on a stool in her parents’ 5-star restaurant with its European and Greek cuisine. Genie created Greek Village Market Spices so she could share her family’s Greek cooking traditions with you and yours.Watch for her latest book, Greek Recipes and Remembrances by Genie Gekas. Visit Genie the Spice Goddess on or Facebook and .


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JUST $9.95

F E AT U R E S • H E A R T • F L AVO R • H E A LT H L E S S O N S • W O R K • P L AY W W W. H E R S - M A G A Z I N E . C O M

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o 7 tips t

Start Over in the New Year BY ALICIA EMAMDEE


thought I knew what I wanted out of life—go to college, get my degree, work in my field of choice, get married, live in the suburbs in my 3 bed/2.5 bath home with the spacious backyard, along with my 2.5 kids and 2 dogs. That plan changed, however, when I was diagnosed in my late 20s with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes pain, extreme fatigue, cognitive difficulties, muscle stiffness and weakness. I was forced to stop working and my plan—the one I’d constructed in my mind since I was a child—evaporated right before my eyes. The thought of starting over was overwhelming, but with acceptance and understanding came a whole new approach. As strange as it may sound, my illness made me a better person. It forced me to change and reevaluate my priorities. People get the opportunity to restart their lives every year, without the dire pressure of a diagnosis hanging over their heads. With the New Year fast approaching, the idea of beginning anew and starting over becomes tempting and brings out a feeling of hope. Change... such an intimidating word, isn’t it? But sometimes change is exactly what you need in order to move ahead. Here are seven tips I’ve learned while starting over that maybe helpful to you in the New Year:



Your life will not turn out exactly the way you have pictured, and guess what? That’s okay. Things happen that can throw a huge wrench in your life plan. Mine hit me smack dab in the face, knocking me and my big plans right to the ground. That’s just life. I learned that what matters most is not how big the wrench is, but my reaction to that wrench. When life throws you a huge challenge, take time to express your emotions. It’s okay to be angry or depressed for a while so let it out, but don’t let those feelings engulf you. Talk to your loved ones, keep a journal, or help relieve some of your stress by exercising or meditating. Work

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through your feelings, know that they won’t last forever, then pick yourself up and move on.


Stop being hard on yourself. Could you believe I actually blamed myself for my illness? I felt guilty that I couldn’t become the person I wanted to be, when the only thing I was guilty of was being too critical of myself. Whatever challenges come your way, don’t blame yourself for them. Even if you’ve made a mistake, putting yourself down will get you nowhere; no one is perfect. You can’t learn and grow if you don’t make mistakes every now and then.


aside a few minutes a day to touch base and scheduling weekly activities with your loved ones show them how important they are to you.


Set new goals for yourself. One of my biggest issues was not being able to work my dream job anymore. I needed to find something I could do at home and at my own pace. I realized huge changes were necessary in order for me to adapt to my new situation, so using the strengths I have, I created new goals for myself. Now I am finally working in my career of choice by writing inspirational and motivational books. If you want to make a change for the better, develop new goals for yourself. This may seem overwhelming at first, so set small goals that will eventually lead you to accomplishing the big ones. Take it step by step, and as time goes by, you will see just how far you have progressed.

7 3

Use your strengths to help keep you on track. Make a list of your strengths and utilize them in ways that will help you move forward. For some, this might be a difficult task since most of us would rather degrade ourselves than praise ourselves. Ask friends and family what they think your strengths are if you can’t think of any on your own.


Look on the bright side of life. There are far more people out there going through much worse than I. Once I started thinking that way, I began to feel much better about my situation and with that feeling came one of gratitude for all the good in my life.

My “poor me” moments and feelings of frustration and anger still rear their heads every so often, but just knowing those feelings will eventually go away gets me right back on the positivity track. Things may not always turn out the way you want, but once you start looking on the brighter side of life, you will begin to feel a whole lot lighter so make sure you start off the New Year with a positive attitude. Be kind to others. Remember, you never know what people are going through in their personal lives, so be kind to others as much as possible. There are times when we get so caught up in our own stress-filled lives that we tend to forget about the needs and wants of our family and friends. Setting


Don’t give up. My journey still has many challenges, but I no longer see them as roadblocks—just temporary obstacles that I know I can jump over. I’ve learned to keep moving forward no matter what may come my way. There will be times when you feel frustrated, drained, or angry but don’t throw in the towel, and most of all, learn to be patient. Your efforts will all be worth it in the end, and as long as you are passionate and determined, you can do anything you set your mind to do. The road of life is not an easy one but know that you are strong enough to face whatever challenges or changes come your way. In the meantime, stay focused, stay close to your loved ones and don’t forget to enjoy your life! Best wishes to you in the New Year! Alicia Emamdee is the author of the YA romance novel, “Aloha Self-Esteem?” which provides ways for teen girls to help improve their self-esteem. Alicia is currently working on her second novel in the self-esteem series for women in their 30s and 40s.

Are Biracial Children Damaged? CHERRYE S. VASQUEZ


pproximately seven years ago, I was engaged in what I thought was a friendly conversation with a group of ladies at my work. As mothers, we often talked about the daily activities our children were engaged in. Our conversations were personal, easy stress relievers, and generally ended with much laughter among the group. When I ended my “story for the day” on the subject of my daughter’s latest activity, one of the ladies turned and said, “Well, she’s going to have psychological problems anyway.” I looked at her, startled, and asked what she meant by that. “Well, she’s biracial,” she continued, “and all biracial children end up with psychological problems.” This woman was the first person who’d ever made such an asinine statement to me, but unfortunately not the last. What she claimed never crossed my mind. Why would it? My daughter is a charming, well-rounded, culturally balanced, beautiful biracial girl who excels academically, and—I might add—is one very fine pianist. She has friends of all racial heritages, and she loves people. In fact, whenever someone refers to my daughter as one ethnic group over


another, she’ll quickly inform she’s neither one over the other, but both (AfricanAmerican and Hispanic), thus bi-racial She loves all of who she is and is very proud of both her heritages. I must admit, I’ve heard of and have

“Multicultural education is key to diversity and an important factor for decreasing bullying behaviors” read stories about biracial children and adults alleging they’ve encountered problems fitting into groups, but I truly hadn’t spent any time at all pondering over this subject where my own child is concerned. Don’t get me wrong, I did my homework; as a parent, I made sure to do my part to balance my child’s life to include knowledge of both heritages, and pointedly built her character, self-esteem, and self-worth. This is mainly because self-esteem challenges, good or bad, have to do with any parenting and environmental situations,

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and not based on one’s racial make-up. Because I happen to be an AfricanAmerican mother of a biracial child whose father is Hispanic, I felt if there are those who declare just because a child is born biracial they will automatically have psychological problems, then I needed to set a platform about diversity and bullying in motion. The truth of the matter is, children have it hard these days, no matter what their ethnic background. Psychological problems stem from a child’s own lack of self-worth, not from the color of the child’s skin. If anything, the problem stems from adults’ bigotry and small-mindedness. In twentyfirst century America, there is no room for biases and division. Multicultural education is key to diversity and an important factor for decreasing bullying behaviors. We need to stop making assumptions about children based on what they look like and allow them the chance they deserve to grow into the healthy, well-adjusted individuals. Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D. is the author of “Books That Sow: Strength Character & Diversity.” The collection of books builds character, self-worth, and empowers all children, whether monoculture, biracial or multiracial. Visit her website for more information at


What’s Your

Political IQ?


he political structure of our nation is one established by men and still mainly managed by men. Despite that fact, women are having greater impact and influence. We want women to be just as acquainted with our political system as men, so we put women to the test, literally! We created our own political IQ quiz that questions the basic

understanding of our government. Furthermore, because election season is coming up in November, we thought it best to make Hers readers aware of some fundamentals. Have you ever been watching the news during election season and not know what the news reporters were talking about? We wanted to help ease the confusion. Even though you may not know all there is to know about

the government, it is good to know the basics. To take the quiz, visit our Facebook page www.facebook. com/hersmagazine It’s under the “Exclusive” tab. We even invite you to discuss your results online (tag us, of course) or drop us a line about it via email -Lauren

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t’s hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. You have presents to buy, cookies to make, decorations to set, and, as the modern woman, on top of that all, you’ve got to close a major business deal, entertain the kids over Christmas break, and find a boyfriend for the company holiday party. Good luck finding time for yourself, let alone anyone else, right? There is another option, though, one that rarely comes to mind when you think of all the planning you have to do for the holiday season. It’s not on your to-do list, but it’s something that you greatly need: to give help to others. If you take just two hours out of your holiday schedule to share your time and generosity with others, you can make such a difference in the life of a man, woman or child. Just think, while you are enjoying a Thanksgiving feast, filling up your Christmas list, and spending time with family this season, there are people who will not. The reason for this absence in their life doesn’t matter; they are the forgotten, the frowned upon, and, in


the case of children, the innocent. As we are distracted by the bright lights of Christmastime, they have nothing and no one to celebrate with. I know, you hear the same thing every year. I know, you gave to the ministry at your church already. I know, you have things to do, people to meet, and you don’t have the time or gas to make a real effort, but they are in your prayers. I know. But what if, for a moment, we can come out of the business of our world and enter the world of another just long enough to serve a bowl of soup, pour a glass of water, or share a smile with a child. If you are willing to do this, to take just a single moment, I will make you a promise. I promise you that, because of that one moment you took, your Thanksgiving meal will taste that much sweeter, that towering Christmas tree will look that much better, and the laughter and good times with your family and friends will be that much more precious. The principle is that when we spread love, we feel love. True giving has nothing to do with bragging rights or showing off; it’s a blessing you receive deep in your soul.

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When you look into the eyes of a person who expected absolutely nothing from you and see that, in that moment, you have given them the world, that satisfaction is more priceless than anything bought in a store. As God has told us, “Test me and see that I am good.” Try it and understand just how good your holiday season can be. Have a happy holiday season everyone and remember to bless others as God has blessed you. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Toby George Nyghtstorm is CEO of Nyghtstorm International, LLC, cofounder and secretary of the Victor Sims Foundation and President and cofounder of Yahby, LLC. Lady Nyghtstorm, as she is known to her listeners, is not afraid to tell the truth about how things really are. She is the co-host of the weekly radio show, Nyghtstorm Nation, which focuses on helping people deal with issues that affect their everyday lives. She also coauthors the Nyghtstorm blog along with her husband, Y.G. Visit her on her website at


Information: the Gift that Keeps on Giving BY KIMBERLEY SEALS


uring the holidays, people invest a great deal of effort in searching for that perfect gift. In recent years, creativity has become the name of the gift-giving game. Homemade and even hand-made items such as cakes, pies, picture frames, or scrapbooks have become popular sentiments shared among family and friends. Whether homemade, handmade, or store-bought, gifts are usually welcomed by the recipient. Giving at some expense or cost is a heartfelt action; and what is given from the heart, reaches the heart. Over the years, my mindset about holiday giving has changed. I used to go for broke in the mall to the satisfaction of the retailers. In recent years, my favorite gift to share is information. I enjoy sharing lessons learned from my life’s experience. Recently, I shared my knowledge of where to hit the Heinz ketchup bottle in order to get the ketchup to flow with a man in a diner. His face lit up when he saw the ketchup flow effortlessly from the bottle. “How did you

know that?” he exclaimed. It never ceases to amaze me what bit of information can make one person ecstatic and have absolutely no effect on another. While I have often heard it said that information is power, I cannot help but raise the question, “What is empowering about it?” When we share information, we guide others from a dimly lit path to the light. Our experiences are not solely for our benefit. Lessons we’ve learned are meant to be shared. Helping others by sharing the wisdom we’ve gained lightens the burdens of beginners coming behind us. When we choose not to share the knowledge gained from our experiences with someone else, we succumb to fears that motivate us to conform to the habits of a reservoir and not a stream. Reservoirs withhold information in hopes of solely benefitting instead of relinquishing it freely to those in need of its life-giving power. When we share information, we grant others the opportunity to forgo the mistakes we may have made, and

we cast our shadows beyond its normal boundaries, allowing a small part of us to reach places we may never physically visit. In the age of re-gifting, who can ever be certain their gift is truly appreciated?

Information is the perfect gift to pass along to the next person. It’s long-lasting and of considerable value to individuals whether of a professional or personal nature. How does one package info? Here are some ideas: 1. Books 2. CDs/DVDs 3. Memberships to beneficial groups and activities 4. Scrapbook 5. Educational Trip or Tour

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Train for Success: Understanding Your Body Type


Women, we are not all meant to be a size zero! Women come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re shaped like a pear, apple, or banana, you should love your body no matter what. However, you are not stuck with one body type; regardless of genetic predisposition, you can alter your body type through diet and exercise. Once you know and understand your body type, and you can design a personalized, effective program for your body image goals and, quite honestly, save yourself from a lot of emotional distress. The three primary body types are bananas (ectomorph), pears (mesomorph), and apples (endomorph).

Ectomorph (Banana) A “banana” body type is generally characterized as someone who is slim or thin, struggles to gain weight because of a fast metabolism, and has the ability to lose weight easily. Ectomorphs should focus on weight training and targeting large muscle groups for muscle definition and healthy weight gain. Avoid steady cardio with little or no resistance (i.e. running long distance at a moderate pace). Increase the incline and resistance on cardio machines and/or take advantage of hills and stairs as much as possible to build muscle. Your cardio bursts should be short if you want to hold on to healthy weight gain from building lean muscle. Ectomorphs should add healthy fats into their diets and consider adding additional calories and supplements to their daily food intake for substantial muscle and/or weight gain

Endomorph (Apple) “Apple” shaped women (Endomorphs) tend to be full-figured, carry extra weight in their midsections, and have higher percentages of overall body fat. Initially, aerobic (cardio) training will be important for fat loss. However, weight training is also very important for building lean muscle, which speeds up your metabolism. Be active 5-6 days per week and commit to weight training at least 2-3 days. You can alternate between cardio and weight training days, but be sure to keep your heart rate up even during your weight training sessions. Some recommended classes are cycling, dance, walking/running groups, and bootcamps. Your diet should consist of frequent, small meals and snacks. Eat lean meats, complex carbohydrates, fruit, and vegetables.

Mesomorph (Pear) A “pear” (mesomorph) body type is naturally athletically inclined and builds muscle easily. On the positive side, mesomorphs tend to see results and muscle definition pretty quickly, but they also have to be cautious of overtraining. When designing an exercise program, be sure to diversify your workout to maintain your ideal weight and shape. Avoid sticking to only one form of training. Too much weight training for women in this category will in fact make them bulky, but cardio alone will cause them to lose healthy muscle. Circuit training is a great happy medium. In terms of eating, focus on maintaining a well-balanced diet and avoid extreme fad diets for weight loss or weight gain.

About the Author: In addition to years of experience as a certified wellness professional, Christina C. Gordon holds a BA in Sociology from Columbia University, an MBA in Healthcare Administration and fitness certifications from UCLA and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. In 2014, Christina launched her own company, Journey2Wellness, in Atlanta, GA. Certified by the Wellness Councils of America, Journey2Wellness creates personalized wellness programs, community outreach programs, and consults with companies and organizations on building their corporate wellness and fitness programs.  You can learn more about Christina and Journey2Wellness by visiting 


Your Healthiest Holiday Habits BY DR. KRISTEN COLES


he holidays tend to tempt even the best intentioned of us to throw in the towel on our healthy habits. These days, the holiday season has become a six to eight week extended binge of foods rich in sugar and fats, excess calories, and alcohol, combined with overbooked schedules, high stress, and often poor weather. This is clearly a recipe for a health disaster. But who wants to give up Thanksgiving dinner? Instead, of removing bad habits, try focusing on adding positive habits to your life. This will make your healthier holiday habits more successful and longer lasting. To help your health this holiday, try adding these simple habits: Healthy Habit #1 - Food Log It’s easy to overindulge in food choices and a consequently gain weight over the holidays. Instead of trying to set unrealistic food goals, keep a food log of everything you eat and drink. It helps to remind yourself of my two favorite mottos: “If you snack it, track it,” and “If you bite it, write it.” The small act of logging daily food intake will cause you to be more mindful of what you have already eaten that day and can help you keep your hands off cookie number five. Using a food journal is associated with a greater amount of weight loss in women especially. The food log can even be used as goal tracker to make sure that you are getting your daily-recommended intake of five servings of vegetables. Tip: One serving of fruits or vegetables equals the size of your closed fist. Healthy Habit #2 - Exercise Is there anything that exercise doesn’t help with? Exercise boosts our mood, burns calories, stimulates our immune system, and helps decrease stress - all common complaints come January 1st. What if we could preempt the post-holiday depression, weight gain, cold and flu, and high stress by simple working out daily? Aim for 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise where your heart rate increases to 60% of your max heart rate every day.

Tip: To add exercise into the holiday hustle: park at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs instead of the escalator, and choose to walk instead of taking the trams when travelling through the airport. Healthy Habit #3 - Deep Breathing When you’re stuck in a long line of traffic trying to get out of the mall, instead of spending the time aggravated and annoyed, allow yourself to take some deep breaths. Shallow breathing is a common reaction to increased stress and too many people go days without ever stopping to focus on their breathing. The act of taking a slow, relaxed, belly breathes lowers blood pressure and allows for relaxation. Remind to yourself to use the holiday stress to focus on your breathing. For maximum benefit, aim for 5-10 minutes of deep breathing a day. Tip: If you need guidance on how to use deep breathing, check out the app BreathPacer for iPhone which times inhales and exhales based on height and allows you to follow along either visually or with sound. Consider adding one or more of these healthy habits into your holiday routine this year and come 2015 you will have one less item on that New Year’s Resolution List! Dr. Kristen Coles is a licensed naturopathic physician and acupuncturist committed to spreading the benefits of natural medicine. Her tips for staying healthy through using natural remedies have been featured on Doctor Health Radio, the Bastyr Center for Natural Health newsletter and various health blogs. Dr. Coles holds a B.A. in psychology from Naropa University, a master’s degree in acupuncture and oriental medicine from Bastyr University and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University. For more information, visit:

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Our children face the risk of sexual abuse every day. Terrifying, isn’t it? Sexual abuse cases are on the rise and parents need to be vigilant now more than ever. The truth of the matter is, our children are often most at risk with people we initially considered safe. The average sex abuser is not a hooded man in a van; more often than not, they’re friends, professionals, and even family members. So how do we keep our children safe? The best thing you can do for your children is to give them the tools to protect themselves; if you inform your children about the dangers of sexual abuse, you are sharpening their intuition and giving them a healthy dose of self-preservation. I am aware that, in some cultures, parents do not sit with kids and talk to them about subjects of a sexual nature, but it’s better to have that hard conversation than it is for your child to learn about it incorrectly from someone else. Many parents also 42

struggle with talking to their children about such a heavy topic without using frightening or catastrophic language. Here are a few valuable tips to pave the way for that important conversation: 1. For minor children, use appropriate language. Talk to young children around their bodies and use dolls as appropriate. Tell your kids that their bodies belong only to them and no one else has the right to touch certain parts, except for a doctor, and even then only if one of the parents are present. 2. Spend quality time with you kid. Minors need to have positive one-on-one

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attention from their parents, and not just when they misbehave. If children are not getting love and attention at home, they will seek it out from people who may sexually abuse them. In the digital age, kids will often search on social media for someone to show them love and end up talking to the wrong kind of person. You can monitor your child’s online use, but the best way to prevent something of that nature is to simply spend more time with your child. 3. Give your child age-appropriate

educational books.

Educating your child by providing them with age appropriate literature is a very


powerful tool. It takes some of the “fear factor” out of the conversation if the child can distance him or herself from the situation by reading about it through a book and identifying with the characters on the page. This is a very effective tool and helps take some of the pressure off of the parent. 4. Explain to your child how to identify telltale signs of “grooming.” Often, pedophiles don’t strike immediately, they “groom” or slowly gain a child’s trust first. This can involve certain activities involving the touching of their private parts, kissing like an adult, or exposing the child to any sort of inappropriate affection.

You need to explain to your children that these “games” are not good and that they should tell you immediately if anyone attempts to play such games with them. 5. Know where your child is and whom he/she is with. Tell your child to always get your consent before he or she goes somewhere with his/ her friends. Especially when your child is a minor, you should always know where he/ she is and whom he/she is with. With these five steps, you should be able to foster a protective environment for your child. If your child believes that you have her back and best interest at all times, she will even feel more at ease coming to you

if she feels someone is being inappropriate with her so you can nip the situation in the bud. The proper prevention methods and education will give your child the tools he or she needs to grow up safe and happy. Linnet Brown has worked as a teacher, a day nursery manager and a qualified social worker. She has been a foster parent for over ten years and ikes to use stories to teach moral values to her children and others. Her children’s book, “Secrets Can Be Told,” speaks directly to the hearts of kids on how to help keep them safe. This book is available at Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Chapter/indigo.

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Who Wins in the Battle of Love vs. Career? By Sandra Gabriel


recious Blue Johnson is a ballet dancer on the verge of achieving a major career milestone while breaking down industry barriers to make her dreams come true. She is also a woman in love, engaged to one man while another man (her leading dance partner) blatantly pursues her. Precious’ fiancé threatens to leave unless she stops dancing with her dance partner. So, what is an ambitious, heart-full-of-love woman to do? Precious’ story is told in the novel: Blue Butterfly by Marian. L. Thomas, but it is not uncommon to find career versus relationship scenarios among everyday people, leaving them to make a decision between work and love. shared a scenario from The Bachelorette where contestant Ed Swiderski told bachelorette Jillian Harris that he had to return to Chicago to work because he wasn’t being fair to his employer. But in a few short weeks, Ed took Jillian’s advice to choose love over work and he returned to the show and they got engaged. Choosing love over career might


“Your partner should have some input in your career moves, but more importantly, you should hear their input,” seem like a crazy idea; however, a recent survey by the staffing company Spherion reveals that, for many, the decision may not be so tough. According to Spherion’s “Worksphere” survey, many workers are more than willing to sacrifice their careers for love with 70 percent agreeing that it’s more important to focus on their personal life than their career and 87 percent responding that they would forgo a career for the sake of love, marriage or a personal relationship. But just because most people would choose love over labor, does that make it right? Relationship Expert Tony Gaskins Jr. advises that in marriage, there are only benefits, but girlfriends, boyfriends and even friends don’t deserve the benefit of such a sacrifice. “The only time we should

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consider sacrificing career is when it’s best for the family,” says Gaskins Jr. So how do you know when your career might be affecting your relationship? Gaskins Jr. says you’ll see signs of jealousy, insecurity, and meaningless bickering about your work, and when you see these signs showing up in your relationship, communication might be the key to saving it. “Your partner should have some input in your career moves, but more importantly, you should hear their input,” says Gaskins Jr. “The final decision should be yours, but weigh the consequences because if your partner feels betrayed or disrespected, you’re begging for the end of your relationship.” Overall, no one can tell us what is more important between love and career. As Gaskins Jr. says, the decision is yours and once you have set your priorities, nothing should be able to shake them. When you come to a full and complete understanding of yourself, your needs and desires, it’s either your career will fall in line with love or love will fall in line with your career.



From Mr. Right-Now to Mr. Right DARCELL LAWRENCE


ou know, when you think about it, sometimes we enter relationships with the wrong people because of where we are in our lives. Whether due to loneliness, a perceived opportunity, financial reasons, or just the gnawing tiredness of lacking the blissful happiness we see others enjoying, it’s often easy to make poor choices regarding relationships. Depending on what stage of life you are in, Mr. Right-Now could appear to be your only option, but I personally believe that sometimes hope, coupled with patience is all you need for Mr. Right. As his name implies, Mr. RightNow is only temporary. He provides momentary satisfaction to your craving for companionship or even sex, but he is not committed to being a dependable and stable presence. If he soothes the pains of loneliness but shuns commitment, is he anything more than a makeshift fantasy? He’s a sprinter, not a marathon runner. The sprinter has no plans of sticking around for long—he’s a temporary fix who will eventually need to be replaced. Let him be who he is, and you will realize you have a short-distance runner competing in a long-distance race. Waiting can be hard, though, especially when your entire being longs to experience the euphoria of a joyful, fulfilling relationship. Living in a society that places the highest premium on instant gratification doesn’t help. Just because we want something doesn’t necessarily mean we are ready to have it. Yet if we mistake delay for denial and obtain something prematurely without being fully ready, we can end up being ruined by that very thing. I believe everything in life needs a preparation period. When you are applying for a job, you prepare

“I wanted a relationship so badly that I spent most days and nights praying to God to send a husband to me. for that position. You make sure you have an up-to-date résumé, you go online and research to ensure you have the qualifications needed, and you even pick out the perfect outfit to complement the position. Your dating life should be treated similarly. If you are looking, or waiting, for Mr. Right, then start preparing for him instead of wasting your time with Mr. Right-Now. And be mindful, you don’t have to pursue what you can attract! In my book, Be Different Not Desperate: a Woman’s Guide to Love, I discuss the perils of women settling for dead-end relationships because of unwillingness to prepare and wait for the right one. Before I got married, I wanted a relationship so badly that I spent most days and nights praying to God to send a husband to me. I could hardly focus on anything else in life besides that one desire, so when I met my husband, I immediately put him in a nice little box and wrapped him up because I believe he was my gift from God. Even though all signs pointed in the direction of “no, not now,” I ignored them and headed straight down the road that was clearly

labeled ‘dead end’. Had I paid attention to those signs, I would have saved myself some unwanted pain and made a better decision. Now, don’t get me wrong, my now exhusband is a great guy and he is one of my best friends. The problem was that neither one of us was ready for marriage. Though I so longed for this thing called love, I didn’t prepare myself for it and rushed into something I wasn’t ready for. Sadly, we do more harm to ourselves by accepting the right now instead of waiting for the right one. The pangs of loneliness or relationship envy are typically heightened during the holidays, when we see happy couples together at parties or in the media. However, our lives are full of moments each day—happy moments, sad moments, angry moments, lonely moments—they are all just moments. If we would just wait sometimes for an undesirable moment to pass, instead of making rash decisions, we would be far better off. Mr. Right could be so, so very close, but we might miss him because Mr. Right-Now is blocking our view. You will know when you’re dating Mr. Right-Now because even when you’re with him, you still do not feel completely satisfied. You might even still feel lonely and not know why. It doesn’t make sense does it? But yet it does. Perhaps because the very one your soul is deeply longing for is not too far from you. How and when he enters our lives is, in part, up to us. I believe we can begin to move from the wrong relationships to the right one by paying attention to the signs, waiting, preparing ourselves, and not compromising the destiny and delight of Mr. Right with the distractions of Mr. Right-Now.

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ave you ever woken up one morning (or a few mornings) and asked yourself, “What have I done, and where am I heading?” I know that I have. In fact, if we never ponder such questions, our lives have become too easy. Comfort can be a good thing, but it may also prevent us from moving forward into the next phase. A few years ago, I experienced that “stuck” feeling. I had a wonderful family, good friends, and a full-time job. I felt truly blessed and counted myself fortunate to have so much. Yet that constant, nagging voice in my head kept telling me that something was missing. I was trying my best not to listen to that voice as it urged me to challenge myself further. What else did I need to do with my life? Suddenly the answer struck me as a bolt of lightning: I had to finish what I had started. For a long time, I had put off getting my college degree. I had completed a year of college, became frustrated, and stopped cold turkey. I gave up at the time, thinking I couldn’t do it. Each time I revisited the idea, my mind shifted to something much easier to tackle. Well, ignoring it certainly did not make the nagging go away. I finally buckled down and put my mind to achieving my goals and, four years later, I graduated college with a BA in English Literature. I also trained in grant proposal writing and currently volunteer for nonprofit organizations, researching potential funding sources, letter writing and spreading the word. Becoming unstuck allowed me to face my fears, challenge myself, and walk through new doors of opportunity. As a result, I’ve not only benefited myself,

I’ve also found ways to use my new talent to help others along the way. Whenever I am bored or stumped, I recognize that it’s time to re-evaluate and move forward. Asking myself those difficult questions only draws me a step closer to where I need and want to be. We all have periods in our lives when we’re completely stuck. However, reaching a crossroad is not failure. Nor does it mean that we, wives, mothers and hard workers, are restless. Stuck is that little voice in your head encouraging you to realize your full potential, whether that entails pouring your heart into writing a memoir, returning to school, or going for that well-deserved promotion. Giving yourself permission to move forward is a learning experience because you’ll find out exactly what you’re made of and be glad that you had the courage to try. Here are a few of my favorite selfmotivating phrases: I deserve a shot at this. If I don’t try, I’ll always wonder what could’ve been. Good things aren’t just for somebody else. They’re for me too. If I remain stuck here, I can’t get to the other side. Get out of your (my) own way. Keeping a mental note of such expressions will come in handy when you’re in need of inspiration. Try them out. Trust me, they work. Charvella Campbell is an editor, writer, and volunteer for nonprofit agencies. She owns a business called Campbell Editing & Proofing Services, LLC. Her website is www. 

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The Girl with the Sharp Object BY MORGAN HUFSTADER


hances are, you probably know Gillian Flynn as the author of Gone Girl, the summer bestseller and soon-to-be movie featuring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck and (fittingly) directed by David Fincher. Gillian Flynn made her debut with the lesser known but equally dark Sharp Objects, a novel about Camille Preaker, a young journalist who, in order to get the biggest story of her career, has to return to the one place she’d hoped she’d never see again: home. However, the opportunity to report on a serial murderer of young girls in her hometown proves too tempting and Camille finds herself back in her old stomping grounds. She is forced to stay with her hypochondriac mother, her distant stepfather, and her thirteenyear-old half-sister who fluctuates somewhere between “baby girl” and “vicious temptress” and, somehow, try to retain her sanity. Sharp Objects is hauntingly disturbing, but Camille Preaker’s acidic humor and eye for detail keeps the pages turning. Most striking about this book, however, is the fact that every important character in the novel is female. Talk about female empowerment—from the good, to the bad, to the ugly, Sharp Objects takes a stab at all shades of femininity. Gone is the damsel in distress or the handsome hero to save the day; from page one, it becomes clear that the only person that can both save and destroy Camille is herself. One of the most interesting topics that Sharp Objects touches on is women’s capacity for violence. Often, women are seen as gentle, nurturing creatures. Even the wickedest of female villains tend to prefer to use their feminine wiles and skills of manipulation to get what they want. However, in Sharp Objects, we get a glimpse of women very deliberately harming themselves and others and even, at times, taking a near erotic pleasure in the act of violence. Author Gillian Flynn had something to say about this and wrote on her website: “Libraries are filled with stories on generations of brutal men, trapped in a cycle of aggression. I wanted to write about the violence of women. So I did. I wrote a dark, dark book…It’s not a particularly flattering portrait of women, which is fine by me. Isn’t it time to acknowledge the ugly side? I’ve grown quite weary of the spunky heroines, brave rape victims, soul-searching fashionistas that stock so many books. I particularly mourn the lack of female villains — 48

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good, potent female villains…I’m talking violent, wicked women. Scary women. Don’t tell me you don’t know some. The point is, women have spent so many years girl-powering ourselves — to the point of almost parodic encouragement — we’ve left no room to acknowledge our dark side. Dark sides are important. They should be nurtured like nasty black orchids. So Sharp Objects is my creepy little bouquet.” As Gillian Flynn suggests, “girl power” can only go so far. In order to truly see women equality represented in fiction, authors must not only cast them as the spunky heroines, but they must also shed light on the darker side of femininity. Sharp Objects does just that, penning ugly truths with beautiful, relentless prose. For avid readers of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and other such sinister mysterious, I highly suggest cleaving open Sharp Objects.


Top 5 Kickass Heroines of 2014

Maleficent (Maleficent) Sometimes, a casting director just seems to get everything right. Such is the case with Angelina Jolie’s part in Maleficent. She is haunting, ethereal, dark and material. Yet, Sleeping Beauty’s villain takes on a very empathetic role as she struggles against the evils of greedy men and her own, very human affections.

Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy) Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the highest grossing movies of the year, an impressive feat for a movie based off of a lesser-known comic. The often typecast, “B-list” actors really pulled their weight to make the movie fun, hilarious, and even moving. To be honest, it was a toss up between Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and her evil sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), but we had to give Gamora props for her master assassin techniques, her take-noprisoners attitude, and her single-minded path to justice.

Katniss (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Lucy (Lucy)

Tris (Divergent) Between Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, 2014 was a good year for Shailene Woodley. Her role as Tris Prior, however, stands out as a great example of what a strong, young woman can accomplish even in a world where she appears to stand out from the rest. Woodley’s ability to command the screen and her authentic acting make her character stand out among the best this year.

While the movie may have received less than its fair share of good reviews, it’s impossible to leave Lucy off this list. Hollywood has always been awash with male protagonists in action movies— from 007 to Jason Bourne—and it’s refreshing to see the ladies get in on the action. Scarlett Johansson is sleek, beautiful, and deadly.

This list wouldn’t be complete, after all, without a mention of Jennifer Lawrence. Katniss stands apart as one of the best role models for young women (if they can stand a little violence!) as someone who surpasses her own fears and trepidations to fulfill a role larger than herself. The next installation of The Hunger Games looks to be the most exciting and surprising one yet. Our list definitely captures an array of great female characters, but there are so many more. Who do you think deserved a spot on this list? Email us at editor@ with the subject like MOVIE CHICKS and tell us which female character you think was the heroine of the year!

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r e k a e r b t Hear dd

e R e i l r Ka

Love and Hip Hop Atlanta star Karlie Redd premiered her new music video for “Heartbreaker,” directed by Gabriel Hart, on September in Atlanta, Georgia, at Tees & Quotes of FreddyO. The single features Young Dro and exposes a love affair gone wrong — a mirror of her relationship on the show this season with Yung Joc, who was the original feature on the song. Guests, including Mona Scott Young, were among the 300 who attended to get an exclusive look at her video. Mona-Scott Young, CEO of Monami Entertainment


The Myths about Sex Addiction BY JENNY MIRANDA


s your spouse a “super freak” in the bedroom? Does he flirt with other women? Is he impossible to satisfy? Can sex addiction explain his inappropriate behavior?  Maybe or maybe not, but here are some facts to help you uncover the truth. In the movie Addicted, the main character, Zoe (Sharon Leal), is driven by her sexual impulses to the point of jeopardizing her seemingly perfect marriage and family. The drama/thriller is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Zane. In his book titled The Myth of Sex Addiction, David J. Ley states that the idea of sex addiction is based on flawed research and moral judgments. He goes on to say that labeling dysfunctional sexual behavior as an addiction removes the individual’s personal responsibility. Ley feels that sex addiction treatment industry is money-driven. Unfortunately, sex addiction is no myth. The “treatment industry” for sex addiction is still in its infancy compared to the treatment programs established for substance abuse. For many therapists, to claim that people are not suffering from an addiction is to avoid reality. Much research has been completed and many treatment programs developed to help eliminate patterns of sexually acting out in destructive ways. Assessment It is important to understand that the assessment of sex addiction is not based on what “turns someone on.” Sexual addiction is diagnosed by repeated patterns of sexual behavior that create negative life consequences for the individual. A true sex addict will continue their destructive behavior despite losing relationships, getting diseases, and/or experiencing legal problems connected with their behavior. As in all behavioral addictions, sex addiction is a process that works on fantasy-based, euphoria-driven behavior to escape or manage otherwise intolerable emotions and psychological conditions. Sex addicts tend to seek out sexual highs as a distraction from loneliness, feelings of low self-worth, and depression.   Myth 1: Good Morals Will Keep a Person From Being a Sex Addict A person is not a sex addict because of an absence of morals. However, a person could be a sex addict if their behavior takes them outside of the boundaries of

their own values and beliefs. Going outside of one’s own comfort zone to chase a sexual high is a warning sign of sexual addiction. It’s not about morals or ethics. Anyone caught up in an addiction can act in ways contrary to their belief system. Myth 2: A Belief in God Will Keep a Person from Acting Out Sexually A person doesn’t become a sex addict because of an insufficient, or even a nonexisting, belief system. Myth 3: Sex Addiction is a Man’s World Roughly 15% of people seeking help for sexual addiction are women. Because of societal taboos, it is often more difficult for a women to seek help. While men chasing a sexual high are focused primarily on the physical aspect, women tend to look for a relationship-centered experience. Women in treatment often talk about the need they have to find someone capable of “completing them.”  

Myth 4: All Gays are Sex Addicts Love and sex addiction is not just a problem among gays. The problems are widespread among the heterosexual community. Gay sex addicts act out in many of the same ways that straight men do; they just act out in different settings and choose men instead of women. Getting Help If someone you love may be afflicted with sexual addiction, it’s best to work through the issue with professional counseling. Recovery is not a quick, one visit fix and it won’t stop the behavior immediately. There are a lot of treatment centers, such as Holistic Light or Recovery Ranch, that have specialized programs for sex addicts.  Recovery is a long, soulsearching process where the addicted and their partner must maintain a commitment to fixing themselves and the relationship.

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Oaktown’s 3.5.7. Recounts Hammer Time


.C. Hammer has been an unforgettable presence in hip-hop history. The electrifying dancing rapper surrounded himself with people who could both complement his onstage energy and ultimately hold their own when he launched their careers. Among the most memorable female fixtures in the posse were Phyllis Charles (Lil’ P), Tabatha King (Terrible T), and Djuana J. Johnican (Sweet LD), known as Oaktown’s 3.5.7. In September 2014, the group received the Pioneer of Hip-Hop Award at the 2014 Female Hip-Hop Honor Awards in 52

Los Angeles, CA. Beyond the honor of the award, Terrible T and Sweet LD got to do something they hadn’t done in 20 years: perform as a group on stage. “It was well overdue,” says Terrible T. In 1989, Oaktown’s 3.5.7. released their first album titled Wild & Loose, which included hits such as “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,” “3.5.7 Straight at You,” “We Like It” and “Juicy Gotcha Krazy.”  They followed up their initial success with the album Fully Loaded in 1991. Two things were missing on this new project: Lil’ P had left the group and loyal fans, who had gradually begun moving on past all things Hammer. Today, going by the name Suhayla Sabir,

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Sweet LD says of her musical career, “I miss the performances most.” To that, Terrible T agrees, describing the “rush” of performing. What neither woman misses is the degradation from their management, particularly Louis Burrell, the brother of M.C. Hammer, who functioned as executive producer and composer on their projects, as well as his famous brother’s. They feel they had been sabotaged, to some degree, by their own management and loyalty. Let’s Get It Started Terrible T says she fell in love with dance by watching her older brother do


“Back then, we couldn’t be mean to anybody. We couldn’t belittle, be negative, or demean anybody. It was a very hard environment to work in. We had to be seen, not heard.”

Cinema In Digita

the electric “boogaloo.” Her mother encouraged her fascination, as Terrible T would dance around the house all the time. Sweet LD took jazz, tap and ballet classes, but she ultimately preferred dancing in the club scene. She, in fact, met Stanley Burrell, or Hammer, at a nightclub in Emeryville, CA, in 1986. “I saw him dancing, doing the Cabbage Patch. I liked the way that he did it. I followed him to the gas station, and I got out when he got out. I walked up to him and asked, ‘Can you show me how to do the Cabbage Patch the way you do it?’ After that, we exchanged numbers, and the rest is history.” “I couldn’t get in the club,” joked Ter-

rible T, who was a teen at the time, “but I dressed up in school like Michael Jackson for spirit week.” She was, however, able to get into a dance club in San Francisco for those 18 and up, the Palladium. While there, a mutual friend of Hammer’s saw Terrible T on the dance floor and asked if she wanted to come to the studio where they recorded. When she went to the studio, she meet Hammer, describing him saying, “He was like a big brother to me.” She also met someone else special there, Sweet LD. Eventually, Hammer asked the girls a life-changing question, “Do you guys want to be in a video?” The answer was obvious, and the girls became the first female background dancers for Hammer. “I just wanted to dance,” says Terrible T, who was only 18 at the time in 1987. “I was able, at a young age, to tour doing something I love.” Sweet LD also loved dancing, so the single mother with a son who was almost 2 set off to tour with M.C. Hammer. Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em Before joining Hammer on stage, the girls learned Hammer’s precisely choreographed dance moves and his relentless work ethic. “We rehearsed at his brother’s office building,” recalls Sweet LD. “There were no mirrors on the walls, so we had to practice all night without a mirror in front of us. We had to do [the routines] again and again until we did it on step without looking at our feet.” Hammer wanted his dancers to have only one focus, the audience. They practiced so intensely, says Sweet LD, “I didn’t have to look to the left or right…When we were on stage, we were trying to kill it. Just like a diamond, we came out shining. We

started this phenomenon with him.” The girls became so polished that they became the official dance teachers for all new dancers, who grew in legendary numbers throughout the tour. According to the girls, Hammer would seemingly pick up new dancers at each tour stop. Terrible T says each new dancer was told, “Go to the girls’ room, and they’re gonna teach you the routine. If they didn’t get it, [Hammer] would get them a bus ticket back home. He would give you an opportunity, though.” There was another female mainstay in the posse at the time, B Angie B, who felt like the girls perhaps pushed too hard. “We pushed her because we were pushed,” says Sweet LD, recalling the perfection Hammer required in both choreography and character of the women on his team. “We were tough on Angie because we were tough on ourselves, and Hammer was tough on us.” What Angie may have called the girls being “mean,” Sweet LD says was better described as sisterly love. “All through that journey, we (B Angie B, Terrible T, Lil’ P) became the original girls. We were gonna fight like sisters and love like we’re family. “Back then, we couldn’t be mean to anybody. We couldn’t belittle, be negative, or demean anybody. It was a very hard environment to work in. We had to be seen, not heard.” Still, the girls feel as if Angie was treated differently than the other female performers on Hammer’s team. “Angie was the first female to speak directly to Hammer about what she wanted. She had a different kind of freedom.” They, meanwhile, felt like their relationship with Hammer had become more like a somewhat distant stepfather who was very strict and deliberate with chastisement. The girls, for instance,

say they didn’t date the entire time they were affiliated with Hammer. Terrible T remembers Arsenio Hall flirting with her once, but she says, “We were trained not to entertain the thought. You didn’t want to be ridiculed on the bus for being loose.” Echoing her sentiments, Sweet LD adds, “That was a clean camp,” meaning no alcohol or drug abuse was allowed. “We couldn’t even watch other acts perform once we left the stage. We could’ve made other connections. We could’ve made friends in the industry. People thought we stuck up, but we weren’t.” When Salt ‘N Pepa toured in 2010 with Kurtis Blow, Kid N Play, and Naughty by Nature, the girls were able to go back stage and fraternize. Salt noticed them and asked, “Didn’t we tour with yall?” After they talked for a while, she said “You guys are actually cool.” “You guys just go straight to your room” is the command they routinely got says Terrible T. “Me and LD, we’d just talk to each other on the phone. We would have to ask somebody to get us some ice.” Heavy D became smitten with LD and purportedly tried to persuade Hammer to talk to her. “He was crazy about me, but I would always put him off.” She said she was more worried about what the crew, namely Hammer, would think if she had. LD says, on one hand, she liked that they were sheltered. “It kept us out of a lot of drama.” On the other hand, she recognized that it was about control. “We may have found out that something was wrong with our deal if we talked to other entertainers…Or we may want to go to another label.” Being on stage, adds Terrible T, was when they could finally be themselves. “If we violated, we were ridiculed the whole time to the next city. “Once in San Francisco, we saw the Digital Underground. They are walking in our direction. Someone from Digital Underground reached in between all of us and hit LD on the butt. We had to go to court when we got to the hotel. It all got reverted back to it’s her fault.” Feel My Power “Originally, when I met Hammer, he was the Holy Ghost Boy,” recalls Ter-


rible T. “Fame changes people, but it also changes the people around you. That’s when greed came in.” “It got big fast,” says Sweet LD. “He trusted his brother with all his business affairs.” In 1991, shortly after the release of their second album, Terrible T says, “They took us off the tour with Hammer and replaced us with TLC.” Subsequently, Hammer’s brother Louis called the girls to meet with him in the studio. “This is your last check,” he said. “Capitol Records released you from your contract. Have a nice day.” He said nothing else, simply waiting for the girls to leave his office. Because a video from the second album was out, LD says she was especially stunned by the news. “I didn’t respond right away. I didn’t understand what was going on.” She was even more surprised when Louis called them back to the office 30 days later, saying, “I made a mistake.” Their main concern was articulated in one simple question from LD: “Are things going to change?” “No, things are not going to change,” responded Louis abruptly. “Well, I’m out.” LD said she decided that she could no longer take the verbal

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“ We were so trusting that’s why we stayed so long. We felt like we were all going to make it. I trusted him. I believed in him.” abuse and the lack of support in any regard. “A budget was set for us, but that didn’t mean all the money would go toward us for promotions and marketing… We were not given enough support out the gate.” Furthermore, she explained, Louis’ tough talk was so demeaning at times that they would question their own self-worth. “He would say, ‘If I put you motherf--kers on the corner right now in LA, no one would know you from the next hoe.’ You would start to question yourself, ‘Well, can I really do this?’” Of Louis’ management style, she says, “He was smart and very aggressive. [Hammer] may not have agreed with his style, but I think he felt that the end justified the means…Chris, his other brother, was a sweetheart.”

Still grateful, Terrible T adds, “I thank [Hammer] for giving me the opportunity to perform. He created Oaktown’s 3.5.7. We were so trusting that’s why we stayed so long. We felt like we were all going to make it. I trusted him. I believed in him.” After the girls were released, she says she had to regroup. “I was trying to figure it out. We started out with no pay and then finally started to get pay. Then it got abruptly cut off. I kind of wanted to disappear. I had to be Tabitha again. I didn’t want to hear, ‘What happened?’ I had so much anger because I didn’t know why.” She ended up working in the financial aid office at school in San Francisco. Even then, she would continue to question Hammer’s loyalty and her own judgment. “Could I be that naive and dumb, so trusting? I was like a kid looking out the window waiting for daddy to come home. He never came…We were all there to the end, at the last day... [Hammer] ordered this was all we ever knew.” “It was too much to have to heal from,” says LD. She didn’t have a job right away, and her son became her focus. “I had to figure out immediately what would I do for income. I went to cosmetology school and finished in 1994.” Her cousin owned a janitorial service, and she worked with him at night. “Yes, I was cleaning toilets. That was perfect for me. I needed to breathe. I needed to get

Hawklight Imagery

myself together.” She says she didn’t want people asking, “Weren’t you…? What happened?” She thought the job was “perfect” at the time. The most important thing they got after their post Hammer days was something they both savor until this day, their friendship. “He gave me LD for the rest of my life. We stuck it out together,” says Terrible T. Too Legit to Quit In March 2014, Terrible says she spoke

to Hammer for the first time in more than 20 years. LD says she saw him for the first time in 2012 during the funeral of a mutual friend in Oklahoma. During the time since they were released from the music label, LD got married in May 2001 and now has two other boys ages 12 and 10. Terrible T got married during the week of 9/11 and has two boys ages 11 and 9. Although they each have begun a new chapter in their lives in being a wife and mother, the love for performing live has never dissipated, especially after returning to the stage for the first time during the 2014 Female Hip-Hop Honor Awards. “I want to perform,” gushes Terrible T. “I just love the excitement. It’s a healthy drug. You can get addicted to it.” Suggesting she should’ve been in “dance rehab” after she left the limelight, her plan is to get back there, on stage performing with LD as Oaktown’s 3.5.7. Similarly, LD adds, “I just want to dance right now and teach.” In heading back to the stage, the girls realize the music landscape has changed for women. “Less is in,” notes LD. “You have to be careful with that, though. Some stuff is too much for kids to take on.” She thinks today’s hip-hop is good, but the industry archetypes lack balance. “It’s funny, back then, they considered us being racy.” Still, she says, “There was a range,” noting the diversity of looks and sounds, including Millie Jackson, Donna Summer, Aretha Franklin, and Chaka Khan. “Today, the kids are not getting a balance. We just need a balance. Being sexy is great. You have to be careful. You can be sexy, but like a wedding day, leave something as a surprise…With rap, we just need a fuller perspective of the women in hip-hop.” As for her journey in hip-hop, Terrible T says her only regret is that “it ended too soon.” Still, the girls have fans who want to see them perform, and they have recorded singles and released them within the last year. Going back to their roots, LD says, “We’re going to get with James Early and see what happens.” Her son who was 2 at the time she joined Hammer’s posse is 29 now, and a musician and producer. “He can write, rap and do it all. He’ll be our DJ.”

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Best International Holiday Celebrations BY PEGGY HATTENDORF


or a Southern flavored holiday, visit Charleston, South Carolina, to enjoy the singing of the choir at Drayton Hall Plantation and try the regional favorites of bourbon eggnog and roasted pecans instead of chestnuts. Venture west to Durango, Colorado, and experience an old-fashioned holiday experience complete with skiing, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a hot-toddy in a true Western atmosphere. A Native American style program captures attention in Taos, New Mexico. Here, one can view the lit luminaries on historic Ledoux Street, see a ceremonial reenactment of Mary and Joseph searching for shelter, and partake in an American Indian Christmas Eve celebration. Or try the charms of the Magnificent Mile aglow with holiday lights. This, along with the Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest and holiday themed amusement park, delight visitors in Chicago, Illinois. More winter charm awaits celebrators


north and south of the border in these bucolic places. The walled town of Quebec City, Canada, captivates as you stroll along its cobblestone streets. It’s been a North American winter wonderland favorite for years. For a warmer vacation spot, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, presents the holidays with Mexican flare. The El Jardin comes alive with fireworks, live music, dancing, and theatrical processions. Set your sights on these small English towns for a true taste of Britain. Castleton, England, can be reached by direct flights to Manchester. In Castleton, stroll through a small stone village, visit Santa’s Grotto, or see Father Christmas parade in a horse drawn cart. Take in the “Carols by Candlelight” concerts inside the show caves where you walk by candlelight through narrow tunnels that open into vast caves. If you prefer to feel like the Lord and Lady of the manor, try the Kilworth House Hotel in Leicestershire, England. It’s a two-hour train ride from

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London or a connecting flight to East Midlands Airport. This English country estate invites an old fashioned English Holiday replete with ornate seasonal decorations and foods. Unique holiday traditions abound in the Scandinavian countries. For adventure, you might try Tromso, Norway. A flight from Oslo, the capital, takes you to this Norwegian city where you can dog sled or ride a mountaintop cable car. Above all, it’s complete with an unforgettable view of the Northern Lights and a visit to the Arctic Circle. Santa prefers Aquavit and herring rather than milk and cookies in Malmo, Sweden, a 24-minute train ride from Copenhagen, Denmark, airport. This is a true “Northern Winter Wonderland.” Lapland, Finland is a mere 90 minutes from the capital, Helsinki. The winter magic includes sledding with reindeer and an once-in-a-lifetime adventure in a fourhour cruise on a former icebreaker ship.



‘Tis the season to watch your wallet. As much as everyone loves to get in the Christmas spirit, unfortunately, the holidays can be costly. Enjoying Christmas on a budget can be a hard task. So, if you are one among those who have planned to make Christmas memorable while on the lookout for cheap Christmas gifts, here are a few ideas: 1) Make gifts at home: Not only does this save money, but homemade gifts also have a special, personalized ring to them, plus it gives you time to enjoy arts and crafts with your children. You can actually search online for fun, homemade ideas, such as baking your own cookies. 2) Find websites that offer cheap Christmas deals: If you are an online shopping enthusiast, you can take advantage of the various online shopping stores that offer gifts at much cheaper

rates. Wholesale stores or even sites such as Ebay offer cheap products and even free products during Christmas. You can actually search for pre-Christmas sales on websites that offer the best of the ways shop cheap for this Christmas. 3) Give gift certificates: If your family and friends have everything they need for Christmas, then it is difficult to find something new to please them. Gift certificates are an excellent method to keep them happy. Gift certificates often give you the opportunity to buy $100 worth of gifts for $80. For the coffee lovers, you can gift them a certificate to Starbucks and for your family, you can try giving a gift certificate for a movie theater. 4) Use social media: Follow your favorite retailers on Twitter and Facebook. Often, around the Christmas season, companies will offer discounts exclusively to their

social media followers. Scroll through their recent posts to reveal money-saving discount codes. 5) Stop early: It may sound counterintuitive, but the earlier you begin your shopping, the less you’re likely to spend. Those who wait until the last second spend much more money on their gifts than early birds, so schedule that mall run sooner rather than later. There are many ways in which you can save your money for this year and make a good beginning for next year, so start it with Christmas. Be proactive and take your own measures to make Christmas merry and cost effective this year. Sing carols, celebrate with family, dance to the merry tune of Christmas, and shop with the best of the prices and savor the Christmas spree.

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Apple products have been on the front lines of new and addictive technology and now it looks like they’ve done it again. Keeping in tradition with making everything sleek, accessible, and personalized, Apple has announced what could be the gadget of 2015: the Apple Watch. Like something out of Mission Impossible, the Apple Watch is the technology of the future, snapped and fitted for your wrist. What Can It Do? The Apple Watch does more than just tell time. The Digital Crown on the side of the watch allows the wearer to scroll, navigate, and zoom through the various options. Apple Watch will enable you to communicate right from your wrist by sending and receiving messages, answering calls to your iPhone, and with Digital Touch, sending something as personal as your own heartbeat. Apple Watch also introduces comprehensive health and fitness apps that can help people lead healthier lives. Apple Watch is available in three distinct collections—Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition. It’s All About You. What makes Apple products so successful? Many would argue that it’s their uncanny ability to market to our vanity. The Apple Watch doesn’t disappoint; if anything, it promises to be their most customizable product yet. “Once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people’s lives,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made.”

Changing The Way We Live. Taking advantage of its location on your wrist, Apple Watch provides timely information that can be viewed at a glance. Smart Replies and dictation let you respond quickly to messages, and with Handoff, you can start a message on your Apple Watch and continue where you left off on your iPhone. Swipe up from the watch face for Glances that quickly show you information you care about, such as your current location, stocks or your next meeting. Pressing the side button brings up Friends, a view of your favorite people, so you can contact them quickly and easily. Digital Touch allows you to send a sketch, a gentle tap, an audio message through Walkie Talkie or even your own heartbeat. Apple Watch lets you interact quickly and conveniently with the world around you, so you can pay for coffee using Apple Pay™, board a plane with a Passbook® boarding pass, control your Apple TV® or get directions. Apple Watch introduces the Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker that together discreetly enable an entirely new vocabulary of alerts and notifications you can both hear and feel. How Do I Get One? Apple Watch will be available in early 2015 starting at $349 (US). It is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS 8.

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+ H E R F E AT U R E

Married to the Mission of Women’s Empowerment: Lisa Nicole Cloud It wasn’t her looks that did it. It wasn’t her brains that did it. It wasn’t personality that did it. What it took was faith and focus.


hen Lisa Nicole Cloud walked away from a high-paying job as a pharmaceutical sales rep to move into a completely different career direction, she would have no corporate safety net. She would have no base salary or perks. In fact, her new move into direct marketing provided no initial security at all. That was 10 years ago and now millions of dollars later, and she hasn’t looked back since. The “Married to Medicine” star actually looks forward to giving back in a meaningful way now. Through ventures like her Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN), she motivates women to find a profession or opportunity that both suits and supports them. Journey to Success Originally from Maryland but raised in Georgia since the 6th grade, she grew up in a single-family home without her father. She may have spoken with her father on the phone two-three times per year. She says, “We had no natural bond.” While attending a workshop called Inward Journey, she, for the first time, dealt with the pain of paternal rejection and the subconscious damage it caused in her life. During the workshop, she had to go back and relive the pain. It was called “carpet work.” She says, “Once I was able to forgive him for not being there in my life and release all the pain, it set me free. That workshop helped me decide that I didn’t want to be in corporate America anymore. I went from pharmaceutical sales to direct sales…I no longer tried to find a man to fill that void that I didn’t have from my father.”


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As her career in direct sales blossomed, Lisa still hadn’t found a promising relationship. “My grandfather was the one man in my life that I had a strong, loving relationship with.” Lisa would have to find support and in some other regard, which she first began to discover while in college. During her freshman year at Emory University, Lisa received a grant, scholarships, and help from her mother to cover the $30,000 per year tuition. At the onset of her sophomore year, her mother explained that she wouldn’t be able to help pay her tuition anymore. Her mother suggested that Lisa attend a less expensive college. “You don’t have to graduate from Emory,” she said. Determined to complete her studies at Emory, Lisa got a fulltime job to pay for school herself. “I had to be so disciplined. I stayed very focused and very persistent.” She graduated three years later as a psychology and pre-med major, discovering, “There is nothing I was afraid to go after.” She then completed her graduate work at Johns Hopkins University in the leadership development program. She knew her husband in college, but they didn’t date until 10 years when she was on a business trip in D.C. Meanwhile, she dated the same guy throughout college, and they got engaged afterward. “Thankfully, that relationship didn’t work out,” she says, describing him as an insecure man would tried to minimize her achievements. “He wanted to make sure he was the only one out front. People needed to say, ‘Here is Joel and his woman.’ I tried to be that for him, but as a person, I was dying.” She began dating after that relationship ended, but she said the dating scene was “horrible.” Once Lisa read “Lady in Waiting” by Jackie Kendall, she learned that she had to work on herself and recognize her spiritual foundation before aligning herself with a man. “You have to prepare yourself so that you are already whole, not a half waiting on another half to complete you. It’s about two whole people coming together.” Armed with that revelation, she says, “I spent my time working on Lisa, getting my finances and relationship with God in order. Before I knew it, the man came along that was going to be my soul mate. I was not looking for him. When I was looking, I was attracting everything wrong.” Because she grew up in a single-parent home, she wanted her children to be in a two-parent family. She believes that a man should be the head of the household and respects her husband as such, even while sharing that she makes more money. The fact that she is so accomplished and successful was a factor that played into the type of man she knew she had to marry. She realized after dating her college sweetheart and almost “making the mistake” of marrying him, that she needed a confident, secure man, someone who wasn’t intimidated by a woman who other men found attractive or who made more money. “I needed someone who would let me be me.” She says she found that in her husband, Dr. Darren Naugles, an ER physician. After seven years of marriage and two children, DJ and Amira Faith, she declares, “I love being a mother, and I love being a wife. I have a great marriage. I’m really proud of my relationship with my children and husband. My husband and I are friends.” As a society, Lisa believes, women have become stronger and more successful. Then, she says, “They started being with men that they had to take care of because mothers were raising the girls and loving the boys.” She advises women not to settle but also not to set their standards so high that no one can reasonably meet them. “Be realistic and understand that he may earn less but that doesn’t make him less of a man. Stop being superficial and focus on his values.”

“...surround yourself with people who do understand because that negativity can have a very detrimental impact on your goals.” Sacrifices and Rewards Achieving any type of success comes with personal sacrifices. In Lisa’s case, she had to learn to manage and guard her time, making short-term sacrifices for long-term gains, as she describes it. “I sacrificed a lot of time with family members and friends. I had to have real conversations with friends explaining that I wouldn’t be around or available as much. Some people couldn’t take that. My thing is that you have to surround yourself with people who do understand because that negativity can have a very detrimental impact on your goals.” When it comes to her immediate family, including her husband and two children, she admits feeling “guilty,” like most women, about being busy all the time. “We feel very guilty when we are making those types sacrifices. It doesn’t make me less of a mother because I can’t attend every recital or every basketball game.” | N ovem b er / D ec em b er 2 0 1 4 | H ER S M a gaz i ne |


themselves. “As women, we’re taking care of everybody else and the one person we often neglect is ourselves. I have to give myself permission to take care of me.” A firm believer in mediation, she says, “I love the spa.” The spa room in her house is where she is often able to be alone and relax, staring out the window in silent contemplation. “Sometimes you have to sit still to get clarity. I built a massage room in my house… Sometimes when I’m lying on the massage table is when I’m spending time with God.” Even with the pampering she affords herself at times, she says she mainly does her own hair. “I don’t have time to sit around all day at a salon. That won’t work for my schedule.”

Of all the things that Lisa does, however, she says she prefer to spend quality time with her family. “As busy as I am, I like to be home, relaxing and playing games with the kids. I have to push myself to go to all the red carpet events.” She says she turns off her cell phone and the television so she can spend quality time with her family. “If you don’t carve out that time, then you will begin to resent your success,” she warns, especially when it comes to children. “While you may be able to buy your kids all the things they want because you’re making more money, sometimes all a kid wants is you. Sometimes I go to my kids’ school and have lunch with them in the middle of the day.” Lisa also feels that busy women must also find time for


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Helping and Empowering Women Except for “Married to Medicine” and a few other shows like it, Lisa feels disheartened by the way African American women are portrayed on reality TV. In fact, she said “no” to “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and said “no” for the first season of “Married to Medicine.” She says, “The women I was around didn’t act like that. That’s not what I was used to…I’m not your drama queen.” Lisa describes herself as a humble person who believes in helping people. When she joined the cast of “Married to Medicine” in season two, she tried to offer advice to her castmates. “I’ve given them all business advice. With Quad, I always offered her information and marketing strategies. Someone did it for me at some point. “People are not always receptive to that kind of help, though. They feel like it takes away from their success, but every successful person has a mentor. Everyone has some executive to push them to peak. Most successful people are not afraid to be students.” She says she didn’t know many of her co-stars before the show, but she’s probably closest to Heavenly. “We’re closer because we are successful business women. We’re both wives. We both have similar beliefs about our husbands being the head. Heavenly gave me a lot of flak in the beginning, but by the end of the season, she had a respect for me.” Lisa is pouring both some of what she’s learned and earned into WEN, which is in its third year, so that other women can evolve as a result of getting substantial information and resources, as she did. “WEN is my gift. It’s an assignment. It’s not something I’m looking to make money from. It’s an organization I created to dispel the myth that women can’t get along. That’s a stereotype.” She wants women to embrace the spirit of collaboration and sisterhood while building participants up personally, financially and spiritually. Meanwhile, she and her husband prepare for yet another philanthropic endeavor, Fashion for Cause. It involves something close to both her and her husband’s heart, providing direct medical assistance to the impoverished and underserved. Through the conduit of fashion, specifically the Lisa Nicole Collection, the couple is able to raise awareness and money to support their efforts. “It’s our way of bringing help and hope through medical mission trips. We are taking a trip to Haiti next. We have already provided $200,000 in medical supplies, and 12 doctors have agreed to go on the trip to assist.” What’s next is left to be seen on a television screen, runway, book or in business. Stay tuned. -ARJ


THE FIVE ARTS FEST An interactive festival experience, the 5Arts FEST is where each patron becomes the participant. In short, the outdoor event was a mesmerizing experience full of some Atlanta’s most artistic individuals, comprising five arenas of art: literary, visual, recording, performing, and arts & crafts. From street performers to metallurgy, the separate artists displayed a love and talent for their craft. A 500-foot walk from beginning to end lined the streets of Little 5 Points with sculptures, paintings and jewelry all from different vendors was nothing short of hypnotic. The youth in attendance were themselves enjoying the spirit of 5Arts by sporting their creative street styles and summer-fall fashions. Atlanta legendary music producers Rico Wade and DJ Toomp walked amongst the crowds as easily as they produce hits. They provided tips and advice to aspiring artists while both upcoming and wannabe performers took to the stage. As the afternoon pressed on, the food vendors aligned on intersecting streets provided a miracle of gratification and hydration in the heat. With such food as bubble milkshakes and Philly cheesesteaks, the food, fashion and fun proved to be more than a good reason to come back next fall.

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Ring in the

New Year


Any of the wonderful destinations and cities previously mentioned reset for the grand-finale of the year. With that said, let’s spotlight a handful of places deemed the beloved, the raucous, and the “once in a lifetime” experiences. The Beloved: Three major cosmopolitan cities top the beloved list. Paris, France, with the Eiffel Tower as its centerpiece, fashions a spectacular light show and fireworks display while the Champs-Elysees becomes a massive street party. London England’s magnificent lightshow and fireworks display have the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster as the backdrop. Big Ben announces the 64

New Year at the strike of midnight. Of course, there’s New York. From its marching bands, torchlight processions, and fireworks extravaganza, it works its way to the pinnacle with the Ball Drop in Times Square. The Raucous: The raucous list has three notables. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, uses Copacabana Beach to host the celebration. A fairground

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is set up on the beach and boats set off fireworks over the Ocean. New Orleans, Louisiana, calls it the Fleur de Les Drop instead of the Times Square Ball Drop. The partying in the French Quarter is legendary. Not to be outdone, Las Vegas, Nevada, lives up to its name as the “Party Capital of the World.” There is non-stop action on the Strip as well as downtown with partygoers dressed in “almost anything imaginable.” Fireworks and unbelievable pyrotechnic displays light up the sky accompanied by live music venues. Once in a Life Time: For that “once in a life time experience,” Disney World in Orlando, Florida, kicks up the party. The live bands and fireworks displays evoke a Hollywood creation. In Hong Kong, China, the festivities start in the Times Square Shopping Mall complete with a Ball Drop. The spectacular fireworks display is on the waterfront overlooking Victoria Harbour. Edinburgh, Scotland, celebrates with a festival called “Hogmanay,” meaning the last day of the year. It features torchlight processions, a traditional Celtic party, and fireworks. Lastly, from down-under, Sydney, Australia, shines as one of the first cities to ring in the New Year. Celebration centers around Sydney Harbour with the fireworks displays set off from barges on the water lighting up the iconic Sydney Opera House. Wherever your travel plans take you, we wish you a Happy Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year. After embarking on a 25-year career in the travel industry, Peggy Hattendorf has owned several travel companies and co-founded a marketing consortium with 5,000 members. She negotiated supplier contracts and wrote news briefs and a biweekly e-news column. While maintaining an ambitious travel schedule, she continues some consultation. Her background in upscale/luxury travel and products provided the inspiration for her first novel, Son of My Father: A Family Dynasty. Visit her at:




ith origins dating back to the Middle Ages, in the German speaking parts of Europe and the former Holy Roman Empire, Christmas Markets (Christkindlmardt, Marche de Noel, Christkindlesmarkt) were and still are alive to this day. Street markets associated with Christmas operate during the four weeks of Advent. If mulled wine, gingersnaps and gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, and the smell of Christmas trees sounds enticing, there are a number of Christmas Markets in the United States that provide a unique holiday experience. A few of the best include: Union Square in New York City, Bethlehem Pennsylvania, ChristKindlmarket Chicago, Arlington, Texas ChristKindl and the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco. One of the best ways to take in the famous international markets is to book a Holiday River Cruise. This type of cruising provides a delightful way to experience and capture the true essence of these Chriskindlmarkts while traveling through peaceful waterways in an intimate and relaxing setting. Here are several tempting itineraries that offer a chance to discover fairytale like villages and medieval squares with life-size Nativity scenes. Wander the cobblestone streets illuminated by twinkling lights and listen to the holiday choirs while you savor the scents of cinnamon and other holiday favorites in these Christmas markets.

The Classic Christmas Markets Nuremberg – Frankfurt (8 days) Nuremberg has one of the largest Christmas markets with candy-cane striped stalls and the Nuremberg Plum People, which are tiny puppets made with prune limbs, fig torsos, and walnut heads. Stops also include Bamberg for its Nativity Walk and Frankfurt for “Taste of Christmas.” Rhine Holiday Markets - Basel – Cologne (8 days) – Strasbourg, considered the best Christmas market in France, is a prime stop on this Rhine cruise. The city’s festivities include caroling choirs, Nativity plays, and an ice-rink. The Place Kleber is dominated by the beautiful Christmas tree. Danube Holiday Markets - Budapest – Passau (8 days) Budapest’s Christkindlmarkt is centered at Vorosmarty Square.

Vienna complements her holiday magic with the Vienna Boys Choir and the music of Mozart and Strauss at the Viennese Concert Halls on this majestic Danube cruise. These renowned Viennese Christmas Markets are transformed into New Year’s Fairs included on New Year’s Cruise itineraries. But if you prefer to trade winter coats, boots, and gloves to shorts, sandals, and bathing suits, then a tropical holiday may be in order. Cruises again pose a perfect choice. The ships are magnificently adorned with holiday decorations, themed activities, and shows. Regional and international holiday foods and beverages, along with our American Holiday fare, are sumptuously served in the ships’ restaurants. On the islands, you’ll find palm trees adorned with holiday decorations and even hear “Jingle Bells” with a distinct Caribbean beat.

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Hummus Holidays mean an influx of guests and holidays parties, so don’t forget to have some fingerfood out! Hummus is great, healthy party food and just happens to be a Greek specialty.

Ingredients 4 cups garbanzo beans rinsed and drained 1 cup Tahini* 1 cup fresh lemon juice ¼ cup minced fresh garlic ⅔ cup olive oil 2 tablespoons Aegean Gold

Garnishes Yield: 10 Kalamata olives ¼ cup diced parsley ½ euro cucumber, sliced in rings 1 Roma tomato cut into eight 1 tablespoon Aegean Gold** 1 tablespoon olive oil

Serves 6

Directions Place the beans, Tahini, lemon juice and garlic into a food processor and process until smooth and blended. On slowest speed, add the olive oil and Aegean Gold. On a large serving platter, place the hummus in the center and drizzle with onetablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with one tablespoon Aegean Gold and add Kalamata olives, cucumber slices, and Roma tomato pieces as garnishes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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Profile for Hers Magazine

HERS magazine Nov/Dec 2014  

This is our special holiday issue featuring entrepreneur and mini powerhouse Lisa Nicole Cloud, who co-stars on Married to Medicine.

HERS magazine Nov/Dec 2014  

This is our special holiday issue featuring entrepreneur and mini powerhouse Lisa Nicole Cloud, who co-stars on Married to Medicine.