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New Ways


Designing Woman:

Jennifer Adams Making Your Food Look Even Better Than It Tastes







Women To Look For In 2015 Are Female Memes


Editor-in-Chief, Annette Johnson Managing Editor, Morgan Hufstader Design Director, Joey Shepherd Online Editor, Bianca Nelson Beauty Editor, Erika Mitchell Social Media Director, Tamara King Editorial Assistant, Sarah Kitchens Sales Manager, Mic Mell Special Projects Manager, Veronique Thomas Contributors: Andrea Jurjevic Cassandra Hooker Darcell Lawrence Denise Renee Erika Mitchell Genie Patterson Jaime Johnson Keith Johnson Kim Seals Lenise R. Williams Linnet Brown Nicole Brodie Olivia Johnson Paige Hovey Peggy Hattendorf Rhea Li Toby Nyghtstorm Tyra James Claudia Jordan pictures: Juan Gibson, photographer (DNR Customs) Fallon Armbrister, makeup Tyiesha B, hair (HairnistaDivas) Lisa Nicole Collection, clothes 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

New Year


F E AT U R E D S T O R Y 10 Bras and Business: Double Divas in 2015

Is your bra the right fit for you? LifeTime’s Double Divas offer some surprising insight.

28 Women to Look for in 2015 A look at the up and coming powerhouse women of 2015.


The Phantom Comes to Atlanta The Phantom of the Opera is up to new tricks in Atlanta’s inventive productions.

HER FLAVOR 27 Eat Right for Your Skin Type Whether you’re HER HEART


Best Free Apps for Business Women All work and no play can make anyone a little crazy. With these free apps you can transform your phone into your own personal assistant.

9 The Woman Beyond the Pain When a relationship

ends, it’s important to pick yourself up off the ground and start all over again. Easier said than done unless you have these tips to help you through.

32 Education Your Teen About Personal Safety Personal safety is more about physical protection. Make sure your teenage daughter knows the warning signs and protects herself.

suffering from dry or oily skin, these tips will help you take care of your skin.

36 Winter Wardrobe It’s

cold outside, so make that work for you with our fashion tips for the winter season.

37 Moussaka Learn how to

make this healthy Greek treat to ignite your taste buds.

41 Five Fresh Hair Styles for the New Year New year, new you. Flaunt your luscious locks with these inspired winter styles.

HER LESSONS 42 Architects of Change

Two female architects discuss how they exceeded everyone’s expectations in a male dominated field.

46 The Voice You use your voice

daily, but do you really utilize it? Put your voice to the test and reach your full potential.

HER WORK 61 Budgeting Tips for the New Year Your wallet can take

a blow during the holidays. Retake control of your money with these budgeting tips.

ON THE COVER 14 Jennifer Adams

HGTV’s Jennifer Adams sits down with us and gives us never before seen tips and tricks to creating a better home for the new year.

63 3 Ways to Cope with a Layoff Layoff can feel like the end

of an era, but with these three methods, you can embrace it as a new beginning instead.


H E R H E A LT H 18 Accept Change

Change takes place all around us, whether we want it or not. Start embracing change instead of avoiding it.

19 New You for the New Year

It’s easy to set New Years resolutions, but how do you keep them?

24 Four Ways to Manage Stress

Between family, shopping, and cooking, the holidays can make you want to tear your hair out. Keep sane with these easy tips.

50 A Riot in the Soul This

controversial memoir focuses on the peculiar connection between intimacy and abuse through the lens of race, gender, and class.

51 Leading Ladies of 2015

Prepare for a leading lady take over in 2015. Top ladies of film and television to keep an eye on.

53 Most Anticipated Sounds of 2015 From Madonna to SOMEONE, what sounds are you eagerly looking forward to in the new year?

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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 6

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Editor’s Letter

omen are interesting people; we really are. However, you’d never know that by looking at the list of Google’s 10 most popular searches of 2014. What I immediately noticed is that there are no women or even women-oriented things on the list. Robin Williams tops the list followed by the World Cup and then Ebola. Major news stories, which are of interest to everyone, made the list, including Malaysia Airlines, 4, ISIS, 7, and Ferguson, 8. An online game called Flappy Bird and the children’s movie Frozen provided enough interest that they made the list at the 5 and 9 spots, respectively. I would think that the trials of Bill Cosby would get an honorable mention, as a new woman seemingly emerges with a sexual

assault accusation just about every week. Curiously, the topic “police shootings,” or something surrounding that – besides just Ferguson – is nowhere to be found. Has the Oprah effect waned? Neither she nor any of her protégés, such as Dr. Phil or Iyanla Vanzant, made the top 20. Women, no doubt, made a stir in 2014. Seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. College sexual assault came to the forefront with new legislation being passed in California while people debated the legitimacy of an allegation at the University of Virginia. The many celebrity nuptials and pictures had people sharing images and commenting about everything from their unique gowns (Angelina Jolie) or lack thereof (Solange

Knowles) to the potential longevity of the relationship (Kim Kardashian). Meanwhile, “nude picture-gate” exposed both Jennifer Lawrence and Gabrielle Union to a whole new set of eyes. What do we have to look forward to in 2015? Apple and Facebook will be paying for female employees to harvest and freeze their eggs, and maybe this will start a trend. If that’s not interesting enough, we created a list or several to highlight women we think will be noteworthy for various reasons. Check them out and then search for them online. Maybe they’ll make this coming year’s top 10 popular searches. Until, Annette R. Johnson

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Power Couples Begin With Supportive Spouses


hen you look at the couples society has branded as “power couples” such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, David and Victoria Beckham, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, what do you see? What makes them different from other married celebrities or even everyday married couples all over the world? 1. They’re rich. That’s the obvious one. They have access to people and opportunities that the average couple doesn’t. 2. They have been together for a long time; people look up to them. 3. They support each other in their emotional and professional lives.


When people learn that my husband and I work together, we hear the same old story. Over and over again, spouses tell us that they could never work with each other because they use work as a way to get away from each other. I understand their reluctance, but I have a question to pose to them. How much closer would you be to the goals that you have set for your family and the advancements you have in mind for yourselves if you and your spouse learned to build up, motivate, and support one another? When the whole Solange, Beyoncé’s sister, attacked Jay-Z in an elevator, their response was united. Beyoncé addressed the fiasco by saying, “Of course, sometimes (expletive) goes down when there are a billion dollars on

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an elevator.” There wouldn’t be a billion dollars on an elevator if they did not support each other in the good times and in bad. They’re each other’s biggest fans and support each other on and off stage. We as spouses must focus on supportive roots in order to build our own personal empires. If you make this principle a part of your marriage foundation, I promise you will be on the road to Power Couple status and be a force to be reckoned with in no time. Toby George Nyghtstorm is the co-host of the weekly radio show, Nyghtstorm Nation, which helps people deal with issues that affect their everyday lives. She also co-authors the Nyghtstorm blog along with her husband, Y.G. Visit her on her website at

The Woman Beyond the Pain BY DARCELL LAWRENCE

“The woman in me is greater than the pain you might see,” I say to remind myself that I am not the sum total of my failures, missteps, or wounds I’ve received. Granted, moving on from a broken heart can be daunting, but it does not have to be debilitating. If you’re dealing with the pain from a broken relationship, don’t give up! Let that pain serve a purpose and learn from it instead. You made it through the holidays, so let’s start 2015 off right with the woman beyond the pain. Though broken hearts are temporary, when going through the process of pain, it feels like the pain will never end. Everything and everyone seems to remind you of what “once was.” There is a woman inside of you that longs to live beyond that pain. She is an overcomer. In fact, she is unstoppable when she sets her mind to it. Furthermore, that woman is you! The woman beyond the pain knows that even when relationships don’t work out, she is not a failure. She knows that

pain of the heart is temporary once she recognizes a disruptive moment is just that, a moment and not a lifetime. She knows that even if the world seems silent and distant, she can be her biggest cheerleader. And she will overcome. We all have uniquely designed qualities that make us incredibly special. If we trust in those qualities, we will find the inner resources to silence the pain of heartbreak and hurts. Go beyond the pain. Use your time alone to discover the powerful woman inside of you. If fears, insecurities or other pressures have prevented those qualities from showing in the past, now is your time to shine brightly and purposefully. You can now hone your God-given strength and courage and move beyond the pain of a failed relationship. Begin to be different; your desperate days are over. Begin to live as the woman beyond the pain.

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The Butterfly Effects of the Perfect Bra Fit BY DENISE RENEE

Sit down with Cynthia Decker and Molly Hopkins for just a little while and you’ll find their candor, playfulness and sincerity move you to both out-loud laughter and tears…sometimes at the same time! Recently, the ladies of LifeTime’s hit show Double Divas sat down with HERS magazine for an intimate conversation.

“We know women have been going through real issues and that women like us are interested in watching but they weren’t interested.”

The Beginnings Of Something Great Opened in 2006, LiviRae Lingerie was founded by the duo to fill a need they saw in the marketplace: women constantly wearing the wrong sized bra. Molly and Cynthia combined their talents (Molly for business and Cynthia for design) to create a safe space where women can be custom fit, know their correct size, and confidently shop to find underwear that would make them feel pretty, sexy and confident while helping them look great. So with years of experience under their belts, what is the biggest challenge that women have with bras? “It’s the letter,” says Molly. “D is not big. DD is not big. DDD is not big! J, K, L, M, that’s big!” they say in unison. “E, F and G cup sizes are average. The #1 average size we sell in our store is a 34G, as in gorgeous!” If that’s the case, it begins to shed some


light on how so many women, particularly those with larger breasts, come to wear the wrong bra size. Cynthia explains the typical trip to the lingerie section in a major department store: “In America, if you measure a 34 when they put the tape right on your rib cage, they’re going to add 4 to it and put you in a 38. The reason they’re going to do that is because in the 38DD, you get a bigger cup, but the band is too big. They don’t carry anything past that size. A 34G is the exact same cup size as a 38DD, but because they don’t have anything past that letter, they put you into bras with cups too big and bands too small. “So then what happens is your wire sits on the breast tissue and squeezes because you’ve got too much band. It causes calcification of cells or lumps. Anytime you have a pressure that’s sitting on a soft, delicate tissue or cell, the body calcifies that cell over time to protect it.” It’s sobering to think that continually wearing the wrong bra size could lead to

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a health scare, but it is true. Breast tissue and cells are constantly contracting and expanding due to weight gain, weight loss, menopause, and other bodily changes. Add in the pressure of an ill-fitting bra and the calcification process, then finding a hard lump or node will cause alarm. “Doctors find these little hard spots and typically tell you, ‘Oh’ it’s probably benign, but you better have it checked,” warns Cynthia. All that could be prevented with the right bra.

Impacting Women Across The Nation And Across The Ocean Cynthia shared a moving story of a woman who had just given birth and she fitted her for a nursing bra. The customer shared that she was seriously considering not nursing because she was doubtful she would find anything that would work for her, but she found the perfect solution at LiviRae. She turned to Cynthia and asked

“How did you do that?” Cynthia replied “This really is our gift. It’s our God-given talent.” That God-given talent and passion for helping women opened up a whole new world for them. In 2013, the duo found their way into our hearts and homes via their hit show on Lifetime, Double Divas. Their production company pitched them to the network as the “Lucy and Ethel of bras,” and indeed, they are quite the comedic duo. Episodes were usually fun-filled while they helped to bring much-needed transformations to women’s appearances and confidence. Indeed, the response across the country was phenomenal, but they never expected to begin to have a global impact on women around the world. “Guess who wants bras?” Molly excitedly exclaims. “African women! They want bras…badly! It’s the women who are in the social system: schools, hospitals, educators, the business women. There’s a lot of income there, but because of the import/export duties and the tariffs on the components that make up the bras when it’s coming from here going there, it’s too high. Our show has been seen in Nigeria and South Africa, and we get messages daily from African women saying ‘help me.’ “We have clients here,” Cynthia continues, “who are from Nigeria, and they send us pictures of their family members and say please send my sister a bra. They’re very loyal to us, and they want us to help.”

No More Double Divas? After two seasons on Lifetime, no new episodes of Double Divas are currently being taped because Molly and Cynthia didn’t agree with the direction in which the network wanted to take the show. Molly explained: “The head people at Lifetime are men, and the stereotype of lingerie is Victoria’s Secret. So their idea for the show was to put it on at 10 p.m. and see a bunch of sexy girls. When we first started filming, that’s who they

brought us to work with: cheerleaders and perfect bodies. Then they wanted us to have trouble fitting them. Cynthia and I were like, ‘This is fake. That’s not our customer.’” Another major sticking point: their spiritual roots. They didn’t want to compromise their values. Proud of their personal beliefs, Cynthia shared, “I believe the show popularized that, and there was an episode where we went to fit ladies at a church. The producers wanted us to show more sex. We don’t fight and cuss. We had people whose stories we wanted to share. They talked to us about their body shame, their abuse or why they over ate. It became more than just getting a pretty bra; it’s almost like they got their healing through a bra fitting. We know women have been going through real issues and that women like us are interested in watching, but [the TV execs] weren’t interested.”

What’s Next The lack of a TV show currently airing new episodes has actually opened up new possibilities for the ladies, which they’ve been able to give their full attention to since they are no longer filming. For example, at, the ladies have recently launched a “Virtual Fit” where they’ve translated their private, customized fitting experience you get in their store to the online space. “We can virtually fit you in the comfort of your own home or office via Skype without us putting our hands on you.” Also on the immediate horizon is a program they’re about to launch in January 2015 that will allow them to “franchise” their concept by certifying brand ambassadors who are passionate about helping women the LiviRae way and building a business that could help them become more independent. They will come to their store in Kennesaw, GA, for an intense four days of training and will be provided with a tool kit and access to marketing support to help them launch in their area once they return home.

“We’re going to start the ‘Mary Kay’ of bras! We’re taking 10 people at a time. We’re going to do an interview process to make sure they’re right for this and really want to do it because we’re not going to send people out there who don’t have a compassion for women or the passion for this business like we do. We’re not going to multi-level it, and we’re not going to join the direct sales association because we don’t want to let just any and everybody purchase a kit to make money. They’ll be certified by us to do what we do.” And don’t be surprised when one day, they launch their own line of bras. “The reason we want to do it is because we know bra fitting,” says Cynthia confidently. “We know what’s needed in the marketplace. We know what’s out there and what is being discontinued because of the lack of demand of more stores and boutiques placing orders. We want to make beautiful bras that fit big girls. The women who fit a 50N want to feel sexy too; they don’t want to see a granny pattern peaking through their shirts!”

-----------------About the Author Denise Renee is a professional copywriter, freelance journalist and blogger based in Atlanta, GA. Connect with her on Twitter via @MeetDeniseRenee.

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DESIGNING WOMAN Jennifer Adams explains how she created her prized interior design brand and how you can too.


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ennifer Adams may have gotten paid a pittance to clean houses for a living when she was growing up, but today, she has earned millions for decorating them. Adams grew up so poor that she had to help her mother literally make furniture for their 1,000 sq. ft. Oregon home. She was the oldest of four children and started a housekeeping service with her sister in high school making $50 per job. Realizing her passion for designing beautiful spaces, she worked as a receptionist to pay her way through design school, and by age 27, she opened her own interior design firm. The former lead designer on HGTV’s “My First Place” and the a current design expert on Hallmark Channel’s “The Better Show,” Adams says, “A lot of women don’t have the confidence to believe that they can start their own business while men, for some reason, feel more confidence in their business or their idea.” Getting past the “mental stereotyping,” as Adams calls it, or overcoming our own mental barriers, and having confidence and perseverance are the biggest challenges to female entrepreneurs. “Women tend to believe that when they do start their own business, that they’re not going to be a good enough mom or a good enough wife or a good enough partner. That’s something I hear continually.” While she hasn’t had children yet, the 40-year-old married designer says it’s something she still considers. “I don’t think you have to sacrifice [having a family], though. I do think it’s more of a mental thing, and there are ways you can do it and make it work. There are so many women who do. Look at Sarah Palin. She has five kids. You can do it and keep your family intact. I think the kids will be better off for it because the kids will learn from their mom’s entrepreneurial spirit, especially in empowering the girls.” Adams feels that female entrepreneurs have more of a “unique path” than men, in part, due to the additional insecurities and guilt many women, especially mothers, have in trying to become successful in business. This is why she believes that having positive, supportive people around is pivotal for businesswomen. “My sister and I used to sleep in the same bed together, and we cleaned houses together… We did every single thing together.” Still, she had to branch out on her own in business. With little support, she launched her award-winning interior decorating firm in 1999. “When I started my interior design business, everybody knew I had been the receptionist the day before,” she recalls. “You shouldn’t look to your family, friends, and the people closest to you to support your new business.

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They’re too close to you. Look for other people in the field or the trade.” At the beginning of her career, Adams admits that she secondguessed herself. “There were times like I think every woman goes through in their career, when we ask, ‘Am I on the right path? Is there something more that I should be doing? Is there something different I should be doing?’ We all have roadblocks…We all have extremely scary moments, no matter what. During those times, it so easy to bail and think that the grass is greener.” She says there were so many times she felt “burned out,” but the solution wasn’t in abandoning her career. Instead, it lay in adjusting her course. I would think, ‘Where is my next client going to come from?’ I had those years for so long…When I would get to a real burnout phase, I’d go back to my goal-setting, journaling, and vision-boarding. I would write, ‘What is it that I really like to do and what is it that I don’t like to do? What do I really want for myself ?’ I would also sit down with different mentors. A lot of older people who have been successful are usually willing to sit down with you and give you their time. They are a world of knowledge.” At one point, she thought about being a real estate agent, and she even went to real estate school. What she realized in hashing out her thoughts is that she didn’t need a new career, but rather she needed to “delegate” so she was no longer doing some of the things she doesn’t like to do. She needed to focus instead on what she is good at doing. “It was a scary step to bring in more qualified people than I am in certain areas. When I did, then my business started to flourish.” Here is something she says she learned: “If you hire people who have the same skillset as you, your business will never grow. If you hire people who have a unique skillset to yours, totally different, your company will grow.” That’s the best advice Adams says she was ever given. “Oh my gosh,” she realized one day, “I have a bunch of me’s. Now, I hardly have anybody like me. Everybody is different, and it makes it so much better. Now I can really do the stuff that I love to do and not the stuff I don’t like to do.” She proudly declares, “I’m so grateful that I stayed the course.” In 2009, she expanded her offerings to include her own signature, high-quality bedding, furniture, fabrics, and rugs. “You can make your career what you want without [escaping] the industry you’re in.” She admittedly got emerged in being in people’s homes and the design aspect, so she started delegating that part of her business. “I’m really into the products that I bring into people’s homes and providing inspirational information for people to make home improvements on their own as opposed to me going in their homes and doing it. “ In focusing on helping people find the tools to do it themselves, she says, “I offer good solutions and practical products in the marketplace, and I love that.”


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“You can make your career what you want without [escaping] the industry you’re in.”

HOME DECORATING TIPS by Jennifer Adams Inexpensive ways people can design their living space: 1. Get rid of clutter. A lot of times people’s homes don’t look good because they have so much stuff in there. They have to strip it down and lose the emotional attachment to the items. Get the space cleaned up and organized before you bring in any new things or begin to change anything. Start with a blank slate. 2. Paint or repurpose furniture. People get intimidated by this because they think you’re not supposed to paint or hurt wood. Chalk painting, for instance, is easy to do and it can quickly transform a wooden bed, nightstand, dresser or table. Simply changing the hardware is another solution for upgrading or enhancing a piece.

3. Decorate the walls. Frame pieces of fabric or wallpaper that you love or even pictures from books and magazines. For instance, matching the fabric you have on pillows, putting the fabric in picture frames, and then hanging them on a wall, will create a unified room. In general, hang a series of pictures, 12 or so, with the same theme in one room. Adams has framed recipe cards in her kitchen. 4. Reupholster chairs. Adams says this can be done in five minutes. In fact, it’s one of the easiest most inexpensive DIY room enhancements. “Buy the best quality that you can afford,” Adams suggests. “Vintage is so chic now, so people can go to vintage shops, flea

markets, garage sales, and online resources for vintage pieces. People can get a better quality, higher-end piece for a lesser price than some of the retail stores. Dig before you just go to buy something brand new. Be creative and don’t be afraid to repurpose or refinish pieces.” An admitted online shopping addict but not a brand enthusiast, her favorite sites besides her own ( include: • •

One Kings Lane Restoration Hardware


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Change + H E R FA I T H


Change is everywhere. It’s taking place all around us. Change occurs in our lives whether we initiate it or not. Not all change is voluntary. Without any effort from us, every 60 seconds produces a minute. Every 60 minutes then turns into an hour. Every 24 hours marks a new day. Change is ever-present. The Purpose of Change Whether we like it or not, change is necessary. If we aren’t growing, we’re dying. If we’re not transforming, we’re stuck. Stuck is neither improving, nor getting worse. We get stuck in many ways – probably too many to number—in our attitudes, our health, our habits, our professions, and even in our relationships. After a while, being stuck can get old. Our level of satisfaction begins to wane and we find ourselves craving a change. Change is the effort required to move us beyond our present circumstances. Change is necessary if we are going to keep advancing, growing, and improving. Even change that’s generated by pain is a necessary evil that prompts growth in our character and integrity. In the end, change is good. Anticipate Change Each year, corporations invest millions of dollars in change management initiatives. They actively devise an approach to transition individuals, teams, and their organization to a desired future state. Thus, they anticipate change and decide, in advance, their status or outcome as a result of that change. As these professional change managers anticipate changes in the marketplace that will require adjustments in the way they do business, we too should anticipate changes in our lives. Everything changes; nothing remains the same. And in light of this truth, we have the choice to embrace change voluntarily or involuntarily. We do not have to become victims of change, accosted by its unannounced impact, adjustments, and demands.


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We can prove victorious in light of change, if we learn to manage it properly. Maintain Your Goal The first step in successfully managing change is defining our goal. As mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, aunts, nieces, friends, entrepreneurs, managers, and coworkers, we have personal and professional goals. Goals provide purpose for the time we expend each day. Without goals, unfortunately, we are merely wasting time. Goals are set. Setting goals is like driving a stake in the ground and marking one’s destination. Goals are declarations of advancement, and when we encounter change in our lives, it can threaten our ability or desire to achieve the goal we have set for ourselves. As long as a goal is positive and does not promote harm in our lives or the lives of others, we should maintain our commitment to achieving it regardless of the challenges we may face. Altering our goals promotes instability and uncertainty. Just as shifting targets are more difficult to hit, shifting goals are more difficult to achieve. Exercise Flexibility Adapting within – not to – our circumstances is not an admission of failure, but wisdom. When we adapt, we demonstrate our ability to alter our path to success, without removing the option of success. We do not change our goal, but rather we change the means by which we achieve it. Success is our only option, but how we achieve that success is up to us.



New You for the New Year The New Year is here! While many, many people plan to use this landmark time to get healthier or lose weight, the problem with these goals is that they are difficult to maintain. Most people want to see a significant weight loss within a few months or hope to change eating habits within a few weeks. Unfortunately, weight loss can be more complicated than that, but here are some tips to help you reach your goals. Set Realistic Goals First, choose a resolution that is attainable. For example, set a time frame that within 3 months, you will lose 10 pounds. This would be a healthy way to lose weight, about 1-2 pounds per week. It is possible that you could actually lose more weight, which would make you feel that losing weight is easy. If you were trying to be healthier either through diet or exercise, set a more realistic goal. For instance, plan to exercise for 30 minutes 2-3 days per week, and gradually increase throughout the year. I always tell my patients to set goals for the week or month. When trying to eat healthier, make small changes, such as eating one fruit per day, and increase as this becomes a daily habit. Get Support To help you meet your resolutions, you also need support within your everyday life. While family and friends are a great support system, you also need to “redo” your house and office space. Try to eliminate all the “junk” foods or foods that you have a weakness for. This could include chips, crackers, cookies, bread, or the granola bar that you have at your desk every afternoon. Replace these items with healthier

alternatives in your refrigerator, pantry, and at work. Consider including yogurt (Greek yogurt will provide more protein, making you feel fuller longer), whole grain crackers or bread, high fiber cereal (already portioned in separate containers or bags), oatmeal, fresh fruit or vegetables, and water. In the last few months, I started adding yogurt to my daily routine. As someone who does not particularly like the taste, I now have it almost daily, helping me resist my neighbor’s candy jar. Ease into Exercise Additionally, you can try to set a time to exercise with friends or family. If this is difficult, try to have your workout attire ready to go each day as a reminder to take action. Take breaks or walks during your work day to help get in the 30 minutes that you might not have time for later in the day. Once you do this for a couple of weeks, it will become more habitual. Most cell phones and other technology can help you set an alarm that will remind you to exercise.

Make Your Health a Priority Perhaps the most difficult thing to do is to make all of this work in your hectic schedule. It usually helps to maintain a list of things you need to do. To help with your cooking, try to plan a menu each week so you will know exactly what you need at the grocery store - and to minimize the possibility of ordering take-out. If you must eat lunch or dinner out, remember that healthy choices, such as salads or wraps, are better options. However, moderation is also okay. Occasionally having the dinner that you enjoy will not hinder your ultimate weight loss goal. In sum, don’t try to put too much on your plate (so to speak). Take each day as it comes, and do not get frustrated if you slip up every now and then. Don’t be afraid to start again! Once you establish healthy habits, the rest will be that much easier. Treat yourself for reaching each goal or staying on track for a certain amount of time. Good luck with your resolutions!

Rhea Li is a Registered Dietitian who received her

Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Texas. She has a special interest in working with children and has received her certification in pediatric weight management. Currently, she is working on a research study to determine the importance of nutrition in pediatric cancer patients. In the past, she has worked with pregnant women and their children. In her spare time, she enjoys being with family, exercising, traveling and of course, eating. Rhea can be reached via Twitter at @rhea_li.

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air is a woman’s crowning glory. So, when we don’t like the hair coming out of our heads, we have no problems changing it with a wig, extensions or a weave. Even if you didn’t know that the hair care industry is a $4 Billion (with a “B”!) industry, just about any woman knows that it is easy to lay down a small fortune for good products, good service, or any hair we want added to our own. So what comes to mind when you hear that you can walk into a salon - without an appointment - and get a weave starting at $45 and walk out (on the quicker side of things) in about an hour? Are you thinking, “Well, how good can that be?” Don’t worry, it wasn’t a trick question; you’re not alone. Many women, in fact, already think that’s impossible for a truly professional weave job. However, Maja Sly would like the opportunity to show you just how great (forget good) it truly can be. With six locations across Atlanta, Columbus, GA and now Charlotte, NC, Walk-in-Weaves is a concept salon that is a force to be reckoned with in the salon industry. “My motto is ‘We’re affordable; we’re not cheap,” says Sly, a savvy entrepreneur. “I wanted to bring something to the marketplace so that women could afford to maintain their style and look without sacrificing their purse.” Multi-talented and multi-faceted, Maja holds a degree in finance and has been successful in other ventures. But hair is her calling. “I’m a real estate broker. I’ve made a lot more money in other industries doing a lot less work. This is a passion for me.” 22

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“This is a new economy and a new world in the hair industry and if you do not adjust, you will not be open for too much longer,” Exposed to weaving and the hair care industry at the tender age of 12 by her uncle who was a sought-after stylist, Maja used her skills doing hair to earn extra money throughout college. Although she went on to establish herself in the real estate industry, her passion for hair was never diminished. Sly will be the first to tell you that she didn’t invent the concept of a low-cost weave service, but she certainly saw ways to improve upon the model. “This is a new economy and a new world in the hair industry, and if you do not adjust, you will not be open for too much longer,” shares Sly. “It’s not enough to be just a talented stylist anymore. You have to study the market and the trends and know what the customer wants.” What the customer wants, she’s discovered, is to have quality hair and quality service at an affordable price. Sly admits to keeping prices competitive with similar concept salons, but her biggest differentiator is on customer service. Her gold standard that she and her team strives for? “It’s going to be right, every time! And if it’s not right, we’ll get it right.” She’s intent on winning and keeping

repeat business and referrals. Every emailed customer complaint goes directly to her phone, and she personally calls clients to understand their problem, working towards a solution that leaves everyone satisfied. Another important part of creating a different customer experience is giving her clients the option to purchase her own line of 100% virgin hair through her shops. Sly feels this helps her clients by taking the guess work out of wondering if they purchased the right hair or not. By offering her clients top quality, they can then have more styling options, such as applying heat or color and reusing the hair without fear of shredding. Because it is her own brand, she says she was able to partner with a supplier and guarantee the highest level of quality for a competitive price. The final ingredients in her ultimate customer experience at Walk-in Weaves is only staffing her six salon locations with knowledgeable, licensed stylists who can not only install a weave but also care for their underlying hair. “Women get weaves for different reasons,” explains Sly. Those reasons could run from simply desiring a

differ level of thickness, length or style to a struggle with alopecia or other type of hair loss. The underlying hair must still be protected in the process. Maja says she ensures that all her stylists are trained in installation methods that help protect – rather than further damage – the hair. The advice you’ll hear from all her stylists is that a weave should be maintained every two weeks and should not remain installed for more than two months to allow time to treat your own hair. Because of her business background, Maja sees things differently. It allows her to be more invested in the consumer experience or how the consumer thinks. She’s been able to survive, evolve and see what didn’t exist in the marketplace, what customers wanted and needed. This translated into Sly developing her newly launched Restorative Hair Complex. Available through her salons, she says the instant reception has been phenomenal. She’s had case studies commissioned before introducing it to help ensure clients would truly benefit from it. Next up? She’s working on developing a hair care line created specifically for maintaining weaves and extending their longevity. “Using the wrong products on a weave will dry out the hair and cause it to shred!” Since she says, “There’s no reason to have a bad weave,” her business model and impending hair care products are designed to eliminate bad hair days for women who wear weaves. Expect to hear and see a lot more from Maja, perhaps even on reality TV in 2015, as she continues to grow her empire. Competition in her line of business is fierce, and she is preparing for a salon war, so to speak. -----------------About the Author Denise Renee is a professional copywriter, freelance journalist and blogger based in Atlanta, GA. Connect with her on Twitter via @MeetDeniseRenee.

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4 Ways to Manage Stress BY NICOLE BRODIE

W hat is the number one thing in life that people can do without? When asked that question, many answer with just one word: “stress.” Being a single mother of a set of twins, working a full-time job, and pursuing my life’s passions keeps me on the hunt for new ways to manage my stress level at all times. Stress to many is synonymous to the air they breathe. It’s not that people purposely go out looking for reasons to be stressed, it’s that stress is one of the easiest emotions to channel especially when those around us demand so much from us. Stress is a component to life that is unavoidable; however, it is manageable. Here are four ways to manage stress so that you can get back to the things that matter:


Evaluate the Company You Keep At times, those around us will keep us grounded and share our value of friends and family; however, there’s nothing like a good trial or tribulation to bring to light the need to take inventory on those we depend on. Unfortunately, life has a way of forcing us to make hard decisions that often include the need to terminate certain relationships that are doing us more harm than good. Never get so busy or too flippant that you become unaware of the people that are negatively influencing decisions that affect your life. It’s important that we keep ourselves surrounded with people who tell us the truth and who have our best interest at heart.

Know the Importance of the Word “No” As a nurturer, advisor, and an answer to someone’s bad day, it’s hard to leave much room for the word “no,” and that lack of space often causes the stress level of many women to hit its highest peak. We’ve all heard that stress is a silent killer, and some of us have even been warned of the physical dangers come with a stress filled life; yet there are still those of us who insist on learning the repercussions of stress the hard way. It’s important that we listen to our body and realize that our world will not fall apart just because we can’t answer every call or solve every problem presented to us. Our reputation of being the “super hero” in the lives of those we love will not get tarnished just because we have to say the word “no.” The word “no” will be a lifesaver to those who learn how to properly use it.

Do Something Just For You Women in today’s world have the added stress of surpassing the stigmas and prejudices of society. Many of us get so caught up in the

hustle and bustle of everyday life that we become completely neglectful of our own needs. We have to understand that we are no good to those around us or to the responsibilities that we attach ourselves to if we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves. When a person neglects to address their need to do something that feeds their soul and fuels their inner being, they become unhappy and eventually depressed. Recognize when you are running on empty and take the time to do things that make you smile and remind you that you are alive.

Make Mental Rest a Priority When many of us say, “I’m tired,” we are not always talking about being physically tired. When our mind is on overload and we are being pulled in many directions, we can become mentally drained and unable to function at our full potential. Though our bodies are moving to and fro, our mind is stuck in quick sand and our emotions are tangled in a web of confusion. It’s important that we take time out of our busy schedules for a mental break. Taking a mental break can be as simple as meditating or reading a good inspirational book. Prioritizing mental rest is a way of putting ourselves back on track with the things that are important to us. When we are mentally rejuvenated, we are then able to handle all that life has to offer. Author Nicole Brodie takes great pride in inspiring people to live a happier, more productive life through her articles on topics covering self-esteem and accepting personal responsibility in the pursuit of freedom. Nicole is also the author of “Exposing the Bondage Within,” which is an inspirational and motivational tool designed to inspire those to take the journey of self-evaluation in order to find freedom from what keeps them from forward movement. To learn, more visit


Ditch Your Routine Try Four All-Natural Products to Hydrate and Heal Your Skin This Winter JAIME JOHNSON

Winter is here, and with colder temperatures,

making the skin feel soft and hydrated, but quickly

lower humidity, and cold wind comes dry, flaky,

dry out, leaving drier skin behind-along with the

ashy, and even chapped skin. While there are

need to apply even more lotion. Why not try some

numerous commercial lotions and creams

time-tested, all-natural products to moisturize this

available to help combat your dry skin, some of

winter, especially if you have sensitive skin or skin

these products actually make your skin drier

allergies. Some of these ingredients may be items

with use. These lotions apply a burst of moisture,

you already have in your cupboard.

Olive oil is a long-used folk remedy for treating dry, flaky skin. Rich in antioxidants, olive oil moisturizes the skin and may help prevent signs of aging while providing some protection against the sun’s UV rays. This is a very moisturizing oil, leaving the skin feeling smooth and supple. Olive oil generally does not cause allergic reactions, making it a good oil for most people to use on their skin. To use, rub a few drops directly on the skin or add a few tablespoons to your bathwater. Using any oil in the bath may create a slippery situation, so use care when getting in and out of the tub. Cocoa butter comes from the cacao bean. When used as a moisturizer, cocoa butter provides deep-down hydration and nourishment to the skin thanks to


its fatty acids, which allow nutrients to penetrate past the skin’s top layer. Rich in antioxidants, cocoa butter is said to help prevent premature aging and is frequently used to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. Cocoa butter is a solid form which quickly melts at body temperature. It can be rubbed directly onto the skin and has a pleasant, natural chocolate fragrance. Coconut oil is a good choice for most skin types, due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties which come from the oil’s lauric acid content. Applied to the skin, the oil sinks in quickly to condition and moisturize the skin. The antioxidants found in coconut oil help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This oil helps exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells which are one cause of

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rough, flaky skin. Like olive oil, you can use coconut oil directly on the skin or put in your bathwater. Vitamin E oil can work wonders on your skin. This thick oil is best applied in small amounts, especially at bedtime. It is full of antioxidants that repair skin and help to heal damaged tissues. This nourishing oil temporarily increases blood flow to the area to which it is applied, helping to hydrate and moisturize the skin. Vitamin E can be purchased in bottles in the health and beauty section of most grocery and drug stores or can be found capsule form in the vitamin section. To use the capsule, simply pierce one of the capsule’s ends with a needle and squeeze the contents onto a fingertip. Dab gently onto the skin to moisturize and heal.


Eat Right for Your Skin Type By Erika Mitchell

The old saying is true: you are what you eat! Your skin is the body’s largest organ and it is vastly affected by your diet. If you are having issues with your skin, chances are, you need to make a change in the food you ear. Here are dietary tips based on your skin type. them whole or take as fresh juices. Eat foods rich in pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), such as quark, raw. Milk, cheese, natural plain yogurt, kefir, leafy green vegetables, nutritional yeast and wheat germ are also good. Pantothenic acid is need for the synthesis of fats and oils used by the skin.

Diet Recommendations for Dry Skin

Eat a balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, and nuts. Eat quality protein from vegetable sources. Increase your intake of raw foods. Eat foods such as garlic, onions, eggs, and asparagus that are high in sulfur, which helps to keep the skin smooth and youthful. Consume plenty of yellow and orange vegetables. These are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant. Carrots are especially good. Unrefined, cold-pressed flax seed oil used daily on salads and baked potatoes, or mixed into any dishes which do not require heating to high temperatures will make dry skin moist and supple. Flax seed oil contains the essential fatty acids, Omega-3 Alpha Linolenic acid and Omega-6 Linoleic acid. These are converted in the body into hormone, like substances called Prostaglandins, which support skin health. Cantaloupes, carrots and apricots are heating foods for dry skin because they are rich in the vitamins A and C, both important for a supple, smooth skin. Eat

Drink at least two quarts of quality water every day to keep the skin well hydrated.

Avoid fried foods, animal fats, and heat-processed vegetable oils. Use cold- pressed oils only. Heating oils leads to the production of free radicals, which have a destructive effect on the skin.

Do not drink soft drinks or eat sugar, chocolate, potato chips, or other junk foods.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These substances have a diuretic effect, causing the body and skin cells to lose fluids and essential minerals.

Diet for Oily Skin

Take a diet rich in proteins but restricted in sugar, fluids and salt.

Take plenty of leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits.

Have your blood brought up to par by the suitable administration of necessary vitamins, iron and similar substances.

Even a slight deficiency in vitamin B2 can cause oily skin. Nutritional yeast, wheat germ and organ meats provide both vitamin B5 and vitamin B2. Other good sources of vitamin B2 are whole grains, beans, nuts, and royal jelly. Buckwheat, black beans and whole rice are excellent to supply the body with iron and rejuvenate pate skin.

Drink plenty of quality water to keep the skin hydrated and flush out toxins.

Reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Avoid pork and fried and highly seasoned foods. Consume no animal fats, or heat-processed vegetable oils.

Do not cook with oil. Do not eat any oils that have been subjected to heat, whether in processing or cooking. If a little oil is necessary, such as in salad dressing, use coldpressed canola or olive oil only.

Do not drink soft drinks or alcoholic beverages. Avoid sugar, chocolate, and junk food.

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Women to Watch in




2 Who: Maja Sly What Area: Business Where She’s Located: Atlanta, GA Why: She’s a Real Estate mogul, owns

several locations of an innovative concept beauty salon, and carries a degree in finance. Is there anything Maja Sly can’t do? Maja has been a quiet tour de force in the Metro Atlanta area, but living under the radar will not last for long. Once considered for the cast of Real Housewives of Atlanta and Married to Medicine, don’t be surprised if you see Maya on a TV screen near you soon! Learn more about Maja Sly’s current ventures in our feature article.

Who: Erin Brockovich What Area: Advocacy Where She’s Located: Agoura Hills, CA Why: Erin Brockovich became a household name

back in 2000 when Julia Roberts portrayed her so well in a movie bearing Brockovich’s name that Roberts won an Oscar for Best Actress. However, major corporations who were wreaking havoc on the environment already knew her name since 1993 and have been shaking in their boots ever since. Fast forward 20 years and Erin is still going strong, championing causes and still holding major corporations accountable through her firm Brockovich Research & Consulting. Although synonymous with championing environmental causes, she has expanded her advocacy to include assisting those wronged by pharmaceutical companies and their products as well as personal injury cases. A few of her current projects include helping those affected by the drugs Xarelto and Lipitor as well as women who underwent unnecessary hysterectomies to treat fibroids. Learn more at


Who: Condoleezza Rice What Area: Sports Where She’s Located: Stamford, CT Why: She’s most known for being the 66th Secretary of

State of the US and for her academic career at Stamford University. However, Condoleezza Rice is a woman of many talents; and they extend beyond her classical piano skills. In October 2013, Rice was selected to be one of the 13 inaugural members of the College Football Playoff, Postseason Selection Committee. She endured initial criticism over her selection. But her dad’s influence (who was a football coach), her experiences dealing with athletic issues in her role as Provost at Stamford, plus her own dedication to the game (she watches 13 – 15 college match ups every week!) has helped to quiet the naysayers. Keep up with the former Madam Secretary at CondoleezzaRice.


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Who: Jessica Camerata and

Cathy Anderson What Area: Business Where She’s Located:

Atlanta, GA

Why: The two fashion bloggers


Who: “Rowdy” Ronda

Rousey What Area: Sports &

Entertainment Where She’s Located:

Venice, CA Why: Rhonda Rousey is an

accomplished Judoka, having won a Bronze Medal in Judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Not one to rest on her laurels, Rousey entered the Mixed Martial Arts arena as an amateur but quickly became one of its’ brightest rising stars. Currently, Rousey is literally at the top of her game, being ranked the #1 female MMA fighter in the world. What’s next for this champion? Maybe an Oscar? In 2014, Rousey appeared in the Sylvester Stallone film The Expendable’s 3. Look for her on the big screen near you in April when Furious 7 is released and remember: you heard it here first! Get more first looks at

founded the Southern Blog Society in January of 2012 and then recently launched the Southwest Blog Society in September 2014. For 2015, they plan to host the “biggest” annual blogger event to date in Charleston, SC, at the Belmond Hotel and potentially launch a third blogger region. Cathy Anderson, the former NYC fashion magazine editor, is the voice behind the style blog Poor Little It Girl. She has been featured in People StyleWatch among other publications. Jessica Camerata’s blog, My Style Vita, is where she shares fashion and beauty tips and inspiration, beauty, recipes and home decor inspiration.



Who: Yuxi Bi What Area: Fashion Where She’s Located:

Paris, France

Why: Yuxi Bi is a designer to watch. Recently graduating from top design school Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), she secured herself the prestigious honor of showing her collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week as a finalist in the 2014 Suprima Design Competition. In her romance-inspired collection, Bi draped and twisted the fabrics in to luxurious gowns that enhanced a woman’s body. Yuxi’s true passion, though, lies in Haute Couture. Having moved to Savannah from her home in the Heilongjiang Province in China, Yuxi packed her bags one more time and recently headed off the Paris, France to take on an apprenticeship at a Parisian couture design house. Stay on the lookout for more to come from this rising star.

Who: Elizabeth Warren What Area: Politics Where She’s Located: Cambridge, MA

Why: Elizabeth Warren is not only a woman to keep an eye on this year but, quite

possibly, in the years to come. The Massachusetts Senator has been recently labeled as a leading figure for the Democratic Party and, quite possibly, a major contender in the 2016 presidential elections. Warren’s main focus is on financial issues; not surprising, considering she was involved in overseeing many of the relief programs in the 2008 financial crisis. Her latest battle looks to be centered on the recent Congressional effort to overturn the Dodd-Frank law, an act that, she claims, would dismantle programs vital to the regulation of Wall Street and the prevention of another financial crisis. If she is, in fact, gearing up to run in 2016, we anticipate big efforts in the works for Elizabeth Warren in 2015.

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Who: Loretta Elizabeth Lynch What Area: Law and Politics Where She’s Located: Brooklyn, NY Why: In November 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Loretta

Elizabeth Lynch for U.S. Attorney General, succeeding Eric Holder. If the Senate confirms her, she will be the first African American woman in this position and the second woman, after Janet Reno, to hold this office. As the current U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Lynch oversees federal prosecutions in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island. She has held this office twice, under two presidents. Unafraid to take on big cases, including political corruption, will she now take on the nation’s legal challenges in 2015? We’ll see.



Who: Jhene Aiko What Area: Music Where She’s Located:

Los Angeles, CA

Why: Her effortless, honey-dipped

voice made huge waves in the music industry in 2014. After a few powerhouse singles were released earlier in the year, the final quarter ended with a bang, starting with the release of her debut solo album and a slew of award nominations and winning BET’s Centric Award for her song “The Worst.” Although she was nominated for Best New Artist at the Soul Train Awards, the 26-year-old actually has been in the game for a “minute,” starting off contributing vocals to acts like B2K in the early 2000s. Setbacks (such as her first studio effort never seeing the light of day and switching labels) haven’t stopped her. In fact, they may have all served to propel her into an even bigger spotlight in 2015. Get first dibs on when she’s coming to your town at

Who: The Double Divas What Area: Fashion Where She’s Located: Kennesaw, GA

Why: Best friends and business partners Molly Hopkins and Cynthia Decker are owners of LiviRae Lingerie and specialize in custom bra fittings for women. The Lifetime network brought them into our homes via the show Double Diva’s and thrust them into the national spotlight. Since then, their already popular store has been getting more business than they can handle at times but they’ve recently launched a solution for that. Learn more about the Double Divas in our feature article.


Who: Tory

Johnson What Area:

Women’s Professional & Entrepreneurial Empowerment Where She’s Located: New York City, NY Why: If 2014 seemed to be the

year of actress Lupita Nyong’o, get ready for 2015 to be the year of Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She’s been the buzz on everyone’s lips with not one but two stellar (if not breakout) performances in 2014 movies “Bell” and “Beyond the Lights.” While it may seem she’s “come out of no where,” she’s actually been floating in and out of American TV shows and movies since 2010 after successfully launching her career in her native England and becoming nominated for several British film awards. Look for Gugu in at least three projects in 2015, including Jupiter Ascending and an unnamed project starring Will Smith, and as a possible nominee for Best Actress in the Oscars. 30

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Who: Gugu Mbatha-Raw What Area: Entertainment Where She’s Located: Los Angeles, CA / London,

England Why: If 2014 seemed to be the year of actress Lupita Nyong’o, get ready for 2015 to be the year of Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She’s been the buzz on everyone’s lips with not one but two stellar (if not breakout) performances in 2014 movies “Bell” and “Beyond the Lights.” While it may seem she’s “come out of no where,” she’s actually been floating in and out of American TV shows and movies since 2010 after successfully launching her career in her native England and becoming nominated for several British film awards. Look for Gugu in at least three projects in 2015, including Jupiter Ascending and an unnamed project starring Will Smith, and as a possible nominee for Best Actress in the Oscars.


Who: Egypt Sherrod What Area: Charity / Community Where She’s Located: Atlanta, GA Why: Probably most known for being the host of


Who: Rassalyn

Willis What Area:

Charity and Community Service Where She’s Located: Atlanta, GA Why: Rassalyn is the founder of

Motherless Daughters Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to embracing and encouraging the growth and development of young girls entering their adolescent years without the support of their natural mother. Since its 2013 inception, Willis has been able to attract the attention of influential women such as Xernona Clayton (“Honorary Mother”) and entities, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The mother of four wanted to influence and uplift these young girls, who hail from various backgrounds and situations, but who all needed a mother figure. In 2014, the girls participated in a golf tournament and other activities while getting essential back-to-school shopping done at Old Navy. Willis plans to ramp up her efforts in 2015, taking on new girls and incorporating activities such as outdoor hiking and indoor workshops.

HGTV’s hit show Property Virgins, there’s more to real estate expert Egypt Sherrod. A former radio personality, this mom of two founded The Egypt Cares Family Foundation to provide resources to educate families on financial literacy, the importance of home ownership and other areas that strengthen the family unit. Bringing annual programs and events to life such as the Egypt Gives Back Holiday Tour and Egypt’s Rising Media Stars Bootcamp for teens has gained her recognition, praise and awards from groups like the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network. In addition to her continued work on HGTV, look out for more TV projects executive produced by Sherrod in 2015. Learn more at

About the Author Denise Renee is a professional copywriter, freelance journalist and blogger based in Atlanta, GA. Connect with her on Twitter via @ MeetDeniseRenee.

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Training Young Girls in Emotional Self-Defense BY MORGAN HUFSTADER

The statistics of violence against females are staggering. According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey in 2010, 80% of rape victims were younger than 25. Of that number, 42% were raped before the age of 18. Teens and young adults run the highest risk of falling victim to sexual assault.


ennifer Riis-Poulsen, founder of Powerhouse Self-Defense, saw this problem and wanted to do something to change those statistics. “There are so many self-defense programs out there,” Jennifer Riis-Poulsen reported. “I’m in martial arts and I know the kind of self-defense that we teach…it’s not working. We need to teach more than just that physical aspect.” With a background in psychology, RiisPoulsen decided to move away from the physical aspect of self-defense and, instead, started to teach young women about awareness. “[When most] self defense classes teach awareness, it’s more like be aware of strangers, don’t take this, don’t do that. It has to be more than that.” Powerhouse Self-Defense teaches emotional self-defense, where young women learn how to predict behaviors 32

and made decisions based off of those predictions. “We made predictions all the time,” Riis-Poulsen explained. “When reading books, we can predict the end; when watching movies, we can predict the end. But in our real lives, we’re not doing that in terms of personal safety.” Imagine trying to watch a movie while the person next to you is talking the entire time. You lost track of the plot and become distracted. Riis-Poulsen explained that the same reaction occurs in our everyday lives. “[We are] interrupted all time, so we’re not getting the full picture and we’re not able to predict what is going to happen…My teaching helps them predict certain behaviors in certain situations and recognize the danger signs. And I don’t mean the danger signs of someone coming towards you with an axe, that’s a very overt sign, we’re talking about subtle

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mind manipulations involved in grooming or luring someone, lurking them, calling them, doing things to play on your emotions. We focus on that; we train on women how to identify those warning signs.” In order to recognize warning signs, Powerhouse Self-Defense makes a point to teach women the power of observation. They give them activities to hone their observation techniques and make them more aware of their surroundings. We’re not as observant as we think we are, Riis-Poulsen said. “It’s called intentional blindness; we’re looking around without seeing what’s right in front of us.” Part of sharpening your observation skill involves developing your intuition. Intuition, Riis-Poulsen explained, is more than a feeling. Rather, intuition is an understanding of the way your body reactions to fight and flight instincts, for example, the way your heart beat picks up when sensing danger. We’re biologically connected to our animal instincts, but technology has dulls our senses and judgment occasionally forces us to overthink situations. “We need to get back to our actual instincts.” Emotional self-defense is preventative as well as practical. Riis-Poulsen said, “Sex trafficking is on the rise—it’s huge—it’s one of the most heinous crimes and it’s effecting our young girls. [Not just the] girls from different economic backgrounds; we’re talking about the girl next door, right here in your neighborhood. We need to educate young girls to identify and recognize the signs of grooming so they don’t get caught up in that industry. We want them to enjoy their lives, we want them to have their goals, but…there’s a lot happening out there and teenage girls are very vulnerable. Their self-esteem issues are bad and the perpetrators know this. My program is there to educate them and empower them to avoid things like that.” Emotional self-defense is not only for young women, but also for women of all ages. “The powerhouse mission is to empower all woman to live safe, healthy, and active lives.” Learn more about Powerhouse Self-Defense at


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Fashion Designer Q&A


How did your interest in shoe design start?

My interest in shoe designing started when I majored in fashion merchandising at Mary Mount University in Virginia. The apparel industry is saturated, so I wanted to make my mark in the footwear industry. What’s next in your shoe or fashion line?

Why purple bottom shoes and not some other color?

I choose purple because of the strong meaning behind the color: Royalty, Ambition, Wisdom, Dignity, Independence, Peace, etc. These are all the things that I and so many others pride themselves on. Who or what fashion brand was or has been your inspiration?

Steve Madden has been my inspiration. This designer started selling shoes out of the trunk of his car. Now he is a multi-millionaire, and through his hardship, he still persevered. He also does a lot of charity work, which I’m all for.

We are adding more shoes, two different lines. The biggest thing is that we are opening up an actual shoe boutique location. That will be announced in the near future, and this is a blessing because I’ve always wanted to have my own store. What constitutes a fashionable shoe?

A shoe that has uniqueness, fits your mood and style while providing comfort, something that sets you apart from the rest, but still falls in line with the world of fashion footwear. What would the fashion world miss without you?

It would miss a new fresh footwear designer that is brings sophistication, fun, casual, business, and comfort to a shoe line, plus a giving heart, because when you shop my shoe line, 3% of sales goes to three different charities: 1% to Atlanta Mission (My Sisters House), 1% to Miriam’s Kitchen, and 1% to Food for the Poor.

What guides or influences your creative process?

I always look at the trend of what’s going on right now and put my twist on it using colors, shapes and materials to make my brand different. What materials do you use to design?

It is very important to me that no harm is done to any animals in the production of my product, so I went with faux leather. It is durable, comfortable and still has the feel of actual leather. Plus, I have a new line of shoes coming out using material that has not been touched on yet, at least not on the scale we are doing it. You have to wait for that to come out, though. I’m very excited.


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The Perfect Smokey Eyes

How to Create


The key to the perfect Smokey Eye is prepping the eye and the proper blending. Make sure that the colors are vibrant and colors are blended together flawlessly. It is important to first prep the eyelid with eye primer or concealor. Apply a light base colors with rich dark colors. A nice mix include: soft gold base with deep purple on top of eye lid, champagne base with bright blue and peach base with green hue on lid. In order to do this, you will need: - A dark brown or dark color shadow - A medium or dark golden shadow - A cream pearly shadow (very light) - A black eye pencil - Black mascara - An eye shadow brush

Follow these steps: 1. Prep the Lid. The key to keeping eye shadow from melting into the eyelid crease as the day goes on is to kept eyelid oil-free. Start with an eye shadow base or primer. 2. Apply light base color: cream shade or shimmer shadow all over the lid to the brow bone. 3. Apply the golden shadow on the entire eyelid just as you see in the drawing:

4. Increase the intensity of the color as much as you wish, applying the golden shadow on the eyelid. It’s very important that you make up just up to the bone area and not beyond:

5. Blend in darker colors, but keep dark color below the crease. Using a shadow brush blend in color starting at your lash line, blending up.

May add lashes for more volume.

Cheeks - Give a light touch of rose blush to your cheeks. When you have darker skin, it’s very flattering.


6. Apply eyeliner brown, black, or gray to the upper lash line, drawing

line thicker in the middle of the eye. Black pencil will give more intensity to the look. The key is to smudge it.

Apply the gold tone under the lower lid and blend. Then give a touch of color on the fixed eyelid with the pearly shadow.

Lips - You can make up the lips in a gold tone to create harmony with the eyes, or if you prefer just use a transparent gloss.

Finish with several coast of volumizing mascara. | Januar y /Februar y 2 0 1 5 | H ER S Ma gazin e |



Your New Winter Wardrobe

Upgrading your wardrobe is an easy fix for the wintertime. With just a couple of pieces, you can make your closet go from boring and drab to cute and stylish! Your friends will swear that you have hit the lottery if you endeavor to make small, smart changes this winter.



A poncho will make you look fabulous in an instant! You just throw it on and you will look like a celebrity. It gives you that “stop and look at me” flair! Not only that, you can also use them as outwear when paired with appropriate clothing underneath it. Boots

Any boots will give you a great feedback with an outfit. They always add that extra kick when you need it. Not only will your feet be warm, but cute as well. Scarves

them as mild or as daring as you wish Explore all colors, textures, and materials to make it your own look. Oversized Sweaters

One of the easiest looks to do is an oversized sweater. You can pair them with anything! But remember, to avoid looking bulky, pair with smaller bottoms such as leggings, skinny jeans, and skirts. These few items can make a world of difference in your quest to be stylish this winter. Investigate different stores and score some of these items! Bring out your inner Diva!

Nothing says warm like a statement scarf around your neck. You can make

Cassandra Parks Hooker has always held fast to the saying, “some girls are just born with glitter in their veins.” When she’s not keeping up to date with the latest accessories, hats, and jewelry trends, she spends her time as a certified relationship life coach, freelance make up artist, and writer, as well as a full-time mother.


| HERS M a gazine | Januar y/Feb ru ar y 2015 |





Contrary to common belief, the Greek word “Moussaka” does not mean eggplant. Rather, it means “casserole.” Let’s discuss eggplant. Many people see the beautiful aubergine color of eggplant and are attracted to it because of the color and the shapes. However, not many people truly know how to cook it. Cooking Moussaka is a great way to conquer your fear and take a stab at eggplant. The most common complaints is that eggplant is very bitter, mushy, and the skin is tough. In order to prepare an eggplant and make it less bitter, soak the eggplant slices in salted water for 30 or 45 minutes and then drain them on paper towels. You can also salt the slices and let them sit on

paper towels for 20 minutes and then wipe off the moisture that the salt has brought to the surface. As far as keeping the eggplant from getting mushy, you can overcome this by sautéing the eggplant at a very high temperature so it becomes crunchy on the outside and not over cooked in the inside. If the skin tastes too tough, I advise you to do a partial peel, making stripes down the length of the eggplant and leaving just enough skin to hold the pieces together and keep the beautiful aubergine color. I have included my family’s favorite recipe for Moussaka below. Enjoy it as it comes from many loving, Greek women in my family.

3 eggplants Olive oil 2 pounds ground beef 8 ounce can tomato paste, (diluted in 1 cup water) 1 cup dry white wine

Directions Peel and slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. Salt both sides of the eggplant slices and let them stand for one hour. Then rinse the slices in cold water and drain. Sauté the eggplant slices in olive oil. Drain on paper towels. Sauté onion in butter, add meat, brown well. Add tomato paste, wine, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, parsley and 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Simmer until well blended. White sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour gradually, stirring until well blended. Add the heated milk. Stir until thickened. Stir in the well-beaten eggs, and remainder of nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook for one minute, stirring


constantly. Add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch pan. In layers, add 1/2 eggplant, 1/2 meat mixture, 1/3 cheese, and 1/3 bread crumbs. Repeat layers. Pour white sauce over the eggplant, top with remaining cheese and breads crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before cutting. Please also visit my shop on Etsy at GenietheSpiceGoddess Follow me on Twitter @GrkVillageMkt “Like” us on Facebook Genie the Spice Goddess

1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 2 tablespoons chopped parsley 1 cup dry bread crumbs 1 cup grated kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese White sauce 1/4 pound butter 1 cup flour 1 quart milk, heated 2 eggs, beaten ½ cup grated cheese

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Couture Bakery + HER FOOD


Sharon Hudson has her own secret recipe for success. This female entrepreneur started her own bakery— AKAKery—with her daughter, Hillary. She operates out of Atlanta, Georgia, and designs custom cakes and cupcakes. We had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Sharon Hudson about her delectable bakery.



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How long have you been in business and why did you start? I’ve officially been in business since 2010. Prior to that time, I’ve been baking for family and close friends.  Through their encouragement, I took the plunge into full time baking as a way to spread happiness and good cheer. How did you learn to bake? I was raised by my great grandparents in a very old school manner.  Dinner was served every night at 6:00 p.m. with several courses, including dessert.  My great grandmother cooked everything from scratch; so many of my cake recipes were memorized when I was a child and incorporated today. Some of the best memories of childhood were of freshly baked cakes with fluffy icing swirled on top, so I strive to recreate that with every cake I bake. I’ve taken a few decorating classes to perfect some of the techniques used now, but learning to bake was taught in my great grandmother’s kitchen.  I am a lifetime learner and I learn different tips and tricks by talking to fellow bakers worldwide through a number of different groups and associations. Where do you get you design ideas from? Design ideas come from everywhere.  I am blessed to be able to recreate anything I see through the medium of cake.  Customers give me pictures and I can recreate.  Customers can state an idea and I can transform their idea from a conception into cake.  If you can conceive it, I can recreate it in 2D or 3D form through cake.

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How long does it take you to make one of your designer cakes from start to finish? It takes me about three days to create a cake from start to finish. The easiest part of creating a cake is actually baking it. The baked cake is my medium for design and once the cake has been properly baked and cooled, I can begin the artistry.  After the cake has cooled and been refrigerated overnight, I can then begin the design work.  Often this takes several instances of icing and refrigerating to “set” the icing, which takes place on day two.  The third day is putting the finishing touches on the cake and delivery to the customer.

“Some of the best memories of childhood were of freshly baked cakes with fluffy icing swirled on top,”

What guides or influences your creative process? Artistic self-expression. I am an extremely creative person and I work with a number of different mediums - sewing, crocheting, knitting, and various types of needlework. It seems that another offshoot of my selfexpression is to marry my love of cake with the creativity of cake design.  I can see something on paper and bring it to life through cake.  My knowledge of color, shading, and texture obtained through fabric crafts transfers to cakes when using different techniques and different design mediums such as choosing fondant versus buttercream icing. I can create draping and fluid movement on cake just as I can with fabric by using fondant.

know to do. [Other] challenging designs are shoes, boots, [and] skates.  Something we don’t typically think of as edible has to be realistic enough, yet whimsical enough to want the customer to cut right in.

What is the most challenging design you’ve done thus far?

Who would you like to decorate or design a cake for as your own personal challenge or interest?

The challenge in cake design for me is properly stacking cakes so that they don’t lean or wobble and are 100% level. Nothing worse than creating the Leaning Tower of Pisa when it is supposed to be perfectly aligned.  To that end, cakes that are designed to be off center and tapered are equally as maddening to me. The “topsy -turvy” design challenges me every time.  It’s supposed to teeter and not fall, but mine tend to slip.  I have to convince myself to do almost opposite [of what] I

There are a number of people and entities who I would like to take on the challenge of designing a cake. Arthur Blank comes to mind as I’m a huge football fan, a huge Atlanta Falcon’s fan.  I would thrilled if I could design a cake for our hometown team.  As Arthur Blank is also a co-owner in Home Depot, he might like the… cupcakes and cakes I made for a child’s birthday party.  It would be an honor to design for both Home Depot and our Atlanta Falcons.


| HERS M a gazine | Januar y/Feb ru ar y 2015 |

Are your cakes affordable for a simple birthday or are you more geared toward high-end, bigger events? AKAKery has affordable cakes for anyone who eats cake. I create delicious cakes in a variety of sizes from 4” up to 22” inches.   The more elaborate the decor the cost increases accordingly.  A simply designed cake such as what you would expect to find for Sunday dinner is as lovingly prepared as a showpiece.  Cupcakes are another option, which can be perfect for a child’s birthday party or a formal evening wedding. Visit Sharon Hudson bakery and view her designs at AKAKery’s website, http://

Five Fresh Hairstyles for the New Year

How many times at the beginning of each year have you said that you a new hair style but have no idea what you want? Well hopefully this will give you some new ideas for a new you, a better you! These are classic, yet simple ways to get a breathe of fresh air for your hair routine!


4) Hair Extensions Hair Extensions can be one of the greatest ways to change your new look for the New Year! In one two to three hour session, you can totally transform your hair. Look into the different textures, colors, and styles for a Diva look!


1) Color Color is the easiest way to get a new look. Thinking you want to change something but not know what? Color is the answer. For the first time coloring your hair, there are two things that should be done. First, go to a professional. The first time you experiment with hair color, a professional should be involved to achieve the look that is wanted. Second, if you have not colored your hair before, stick to no more than two shade lighter than your hair color now. After judging what you think, you can go up or down the color spectrum to your liking. Also, I recommend going to a wig store to try you know color before you commit to any color.

2) Bob Oh My! What is more classic than a Bob?!? A Bob can show class, elegance, and grace all with just one glance. Depending on the various styles of a Bob, you can curl, pin, or wear straight. A Bob can also be Asymmetric for a edgy spin to it! Think of Beyonce’s Bob last year in that stunning Platinum Blonde color...FAB!

3) Updo’s What can change you from blah to sexy almost instantly? Pulling your hair up! A sleek updo can carry you into any situation with style. Especially great for a big event or just want to have a sassy day at work.

5) Ponytail Even though it may sound juvenile, but a ponytail can give you a youthfulness. You can play with them High with a bang, side swept low for a side bun, or even a Pompadour and a middle pony for a Rocker Style.

Bonus The Short Cut Nothing speaks change than a Short Cut! Whether it is a Pixie or another cute Short Cut, you will really change your look! Go to a Professional that will cut a Short Cut according to your face shape...and remember to Rock It!!! As the New Year comes in, let your imagination run wild! You can change your style to fit you mood any day, look at what you like and try just might like the new you!! Cassandra Parks Hooker has always held fast to the saying, “some girls are just born with glitter in their veins.” When she’s not keeping up to date with the latest accessories, hats, and jewelry trends, she spends her time as a certified relationship life coach, freelance make up artist, and writer, as well as a full-time mother.



“I would hear people say, Did you know there’s a child protégé here? For a while, I thought they were talking about me…I didn’t realize there were two of us.” Rosannah Sandoval attended college at only 12 years old after passing the California proficiency exam. She then enrolled in architecture school and immersed herself in “architecture boot camp.” After nine years of intensive mandatory training, Rosannah became the youngest licensed architect in the history of the American Institute of Architects at age 23. She was not alone. Courtney Brett found her own loophole. An anxious test-taker as a child, her parents encouraged her to take the SAT for practice so that, by time she reached high school, she would get the hang of it. To her surprise, Mary Baldwin College received her SAT scores and contacted her about starting college early. “I’m a high school drop out,” she laughed as she recounted how she left high school to start college at the young age of 14. Blueprints for a Future What drove these two women to accomplish so much at such a young age? Was it nurture or nature? For Courtney Brett, the key to her early success involved both a clear direction and the support of her family to encourage her down the right path. “I’ve wanted to be an architect

since I was 10,” she said. Her father was in the Air Force, her mother a stay-at-home parent, and they travelled frequently, following her father from base to base. On the car drive back and forth, her mother used to give Courtney and her sister paper and pens to play with. Instead of drawing dragons and princesses, Courtney drew blueprints of the different houses they lived in and the schools they attended. On her 11th birthday, her parents gave her a scale and graph paper and explained what an architect did. After that, she was hooked. Courtney never felt the pressure of gender roles in her household. “I was raised to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could do anything, be anything.” Her father did the same things with his daughters that he would’ve done with sons and took them sailing and golfing. Her mother made it clear that she was a stay-at-home mother not to fill a gender role, but because that was her passion in life, and she told her children that they had the option to follow in those footsteps when they grew older. “It wasn’t, ‘you can be an architect if you want to be an architect’…I never had a doubt that I could do anything. That really helped me.” With the support of her parents, Courtney attended the school she wanted, got her dream job, and even set up her own architecture firm.

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“I’ve always been surprised by what you can get if you just ask for it,” Redesigning the Glass Ceiling Like Courtney, Rosannah also came from a supportive family and, coincidentally enough, a military family, constantly on the move. She knew she wanted to get into architecture and her family encouraged her into it from a young age. She met very few hurdles based on her gender, though she claimed, “I had more obstacles because of my age rather than my gender. Academically, I was at the level of my peers, but there was a social discrepancy…People observed me as a young female and thought, ‘I don’t know if 44

she can keep up.’” According to The American Institute of Architects’ 2014 Foresight Report, only 15% of their licensed members are women. “The air gets thinner the higher I climb,” Courtney explained. While there are plenty of women in the educational programs, very few women actually attain their license. Courtney added that there had not been what she called a “defining moment of prejudice” in her life. She acknowledged that prejudice existed, but explained that she did not let it hamper her career choices. “[Prejudice] does not define their path in life,” she said when she spoke about women struggling in male-dominated professions. “While it may happen, it doesn’t need to be a defining moment.” The lack of women in leadership positions becomes a problem when young architects are looking for role models. Rosannah, however, claimed she had plenty of mentors to help her along the

| HERS M a gazine | Januar y/Feb ru ar y 2015 |

way. In her second year at architecture school, Rosannah met the “other child protégé,” Courtney Brett, and they lived under the same roof for four months while building family houses. Even when they went their separate ways, they still kept in touch and encouraged one another professionally. “I always found amazing female mentors,” Rosannah said. “That’s key for women in any profession, find someone who you want to see yourself as. I wanted to speak to people as they did, command an audience as they did.” Driven by sheer determination and a desire to prove the naysayers wrong, Rosannah accomplished what many would have only dreamt of doing at her age. Half of her success, she claimed, came from learning not to fear failure. “I’ve always been surprised by what you can get if you just ask for it,” she said. “I always wanted to live in New York and go to graduate school, but the program I was interested in had a 9% acceptance

Building a Life Around Success

rate.” She had a moment of doubt, but her friends and mentors encouraged her to apply anyway. Rosannah received an acceptance letter and a full scholarship from Cooper Union. She recently graduated and currently works on inventing independent gallery

exhibition spaces for performers and nonprofits. “There are so many opportunities for women and young people,” she claimed. “It’s just a matter of going after it and putting yourself 100% behind it. Take the long shots.”

Not all of Courtney’s successes have been business related. She met her husband-to-be in college, dated across state lines for a couple of years, and then finally got married. Within six months of their wedding, Courtney started her own firm. “My life is a little like a pendulum,” Courtney stated. “For me, the balance is that the pendulum rhythmically swings. I’ll never get it to stop in the middle; [I’m always] half at home and half at work. But I love what I do and I love my family, so I don’t have any trouble with it.” Her husband owns his own business as well, so they weather the stress of entrepreneurship together. “The pendulum swings for him too,” she says. Courtney plans for children in the near future and hopes that, with kids, their pendulums will “swing out of sync” so they can both continue to work as well as spend time at home with their children.

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top…close your eyes and ponder this question. How long would it take for anyone to notice you have stopped using your voice? I know it may seem like an odd question, however your answer may be quite revealing. What is the purpose of your voice? You have a voice for three reasons: expression, distinction, and protection. Expression involves process of making known one’s thoughts or feelings. As infants, children, and teens, this component of the voice is often used very freely, to the point where it can be humorous, liberating, or annoying to their adult counterparts. Nevertheless, the parent or guardian consciously or unconsciously begins the process of quieting the child’s expression and, in most cases, justifiably. This “quieting process” leads to learned behavior which often follows into adulthood, and affects your expression of who you really are. What you feel, like, want, and love is then expressed often quietly or not at all. Express yourself ! Let your unique and valuable voice out. Use it in a way that will bring love, peace, and joy to your family, friends, and community. The second reason for having a voice is distinction. Distinction means the difference or contrast between similar things or people; it’s the ability to define that “thing” that sets someone or something apart from others. There is only one you. Does that bring a smile to your face? Your voice has its own identity. Take a moment to think of your favorite singer. Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Celine Dion, or Patti LaBelle. Collectively, they’re professional singers,


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however there is a magnificent distinct difference between the way Elvis Presley sings verses the way Patti LaBelle sings. They have decided express themselves through their own unique musical style. Have you decided how to distinctively identify yourself ? What do you give to your family, friends, and community? What is your magnificent, distinct difference? Your difference is your reward. Discover it, use it, and share it! The third reason for having a voice is for protection. Protection prevents someone or something from suffering harm or injury. Dare to be vulnerable and live authentically in every component of the voice, especially this one. As a child, I suffered sexual abuse and I didn’t have my voice to protect me. I now use my voice to bring awareness and to teach others to protect themselves with their voice. This may not be your story, but for what cause are you using your voice to protect someone or something in this world? My challenge to you today…speak! Find your voice and, in doing so, you will encourage others to find theirs. A powerful positive and larger than life force of personality, Tyra James brings a special brand of evolving and wholeness to her life coaching business. Tyra is a Certified Life Coach, conference speaker, seminar presenter, and motivational teacher. She received her life coaching certification from The Life Coach Institute (LCI), and has dedicated 17 years to helping women and men overcome various problems concerning their health and life. Tyra D. James, Certified Life Coach,, 419.271.7758


HERS New Year’s Resolution Tracker What do you want to change for 2015? Plan : Here is our 4A’s method to successfully achieve your goals: 1.) State or admit without excuses or blame that you have a particular problem. For example: “I am a procrastinator.” 2.) Apologize directly or indirectly (i.e. letter) to those, including yourself, who you have hurt or disappointed because of this personal shortcoming or issue. 3.) Determine what action you need to take in order to immediately change or begin to minimize this behavior. Complete both statements below: What do I need to stop to reach this goal? What do I need to start to reach this goal? 4.) What’s your motivation, or aim? If you already haven’t, you will need to identify a reason that is inspiring or stimulating enough to keep you going.

For example: “I could lose ________________ (something you value) if I don’t change.” For example: “I could gain ________________ (something you value) if I change.”

Popular Resolutions You can use this list or modify it to include your resolutions Stop smoking Weight loss Career change Save money Spend more time with the family _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ _______________________________________ Post Post your goals online and tag us at #hers2015goals #hersmagazine

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Are Memes SEXIST?


picture is worth a thousand words, and nowhere is that more on point than on the Internet, where the most popular form of self-expression can be communicated through a selfie or meme. While selfies may capture your personal mood and style, memes do it indirectly through the use of funny, sometimes controversial pictures of celebrities, animals, and everyday people. A picture alone is not what makes a muchshared meme, the words must complement the picture in a way that both elicits a response and invokes an opinion. The comments serve to pinpoint an audience or individual and make a declaration using sarcasm, irony, or cynicism. People even “troll” popular posts simply to read or even “steal” other people’s memes. The ability to be anonymous behind a computer leaves the door wide open for people to remain faceless/nameless and to toss their negative or oftentimes ignorant opinion into a stream of otherwise corresponding comments. These memes



are occasionally funny but often crude form of self-expression. Pronounced like the word “me,” memes are often sexist. Memes feature women are almost always either sexualized or promoting the stereotype of the “stupid woman.” Some of the more popular memes are Idiot Nerd Girl, a hipster character who pretends to be nerdy to “fit in” with an alternative group. Confused Black Girl is another popular meme character who wears an incredulous expression and points out the confounding dilemmas of daily life. Lastly, Overly Attached Girlfriend perpetuates the stereotype of the “psycho” clingy girlfriend who commits wild antics to keep her boyfriend.

on Twitter: “I’m always amused by the @ OvrlyAttachdGF tweets. Then I realize my face is associated with it and I’m slightly disturbed. Still awesome.” Others have felt attacked by the memes and even attempted to file lawsuits to get their image removed from these meme-making sites.

It is important to note that none of the woman in the images are actually writing any of the memes; rather, their likeness has been duplicated by strangers over the internet who use the image as a humorous outlet. Some of the unintentional “meme models,” such as Laina Walker of the “Overly Attached Girlfriend” fame embrace the meme and even mentioned

You can laugh, shrug, or debate about this assertion, but it remains a fact that people like making fun of other people’s perceived shortcomings, mishaps, unfortunate situations, and even status in life. Do you find memes offensive or funny? Email us your answer at with the subject MEME DEBATE. Now smile.

| HERS M a gazine | Januar y/Feb ru ar y 2015 |

From there, memes range from classy comedic satire to downright degrading and offensive. As I furthered my (little to no) research by Googling simply “kitchen jokes,” I found a litany of jokes geared toward popular gender perceptions. It seems that the best way to combat or cope with it is to laugh or personally strive to overcome such perceptions.



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Faces of Intimacy BY ANDREA JURJEVIĆ


anielle Cadena Deulen’s memoir The Riots is composed of creative nonfiction essays that focus on personal relationships while exploring the peculiar connection between intimacy and abuse through the lens of race, gender and class. (The title essay, “The Riots,” after all, focuses on ’92 Los Angeles Riots.) These are personal, bitter stories told in a fascinating manner. As readers, we are equally captivated by the beauty, perceptiveness, and sensitivity of Deulen’s narrative as we are by the jarring truth she reveals. For example, “Aperture,” a story about her autistic brother, describes their tender relationship, a bond that is not complicated by his disorder but by the daily beatings the brother sustains by their father—a mercurial man with a raging drug addiction. Heartbreak, family drama, and gender roles weigh heavy in these essays, but this heft somehow results in the speaker’s acute awareness of her identity as a woman. For example, in “Soliloquies With Strangers,” an essay on the fleeting nature of romantic love, Duelen states, “The thing about being a woman, honey, is that we’re all taught to hate each other—to mimic our mothers’ humiliation—direct our rage toward ourselves.” After reading this memoir, it is difficult not to wonder how much our ability to connect intimately is a product of expectations, be those personal, familial, or cultural. Deulen fails to fit identities given to her. She is a half-Latina who looks white, and that “whiteness” is the reason her schoolmates shun her and later her lover gets repulsed by her. She is from a poor family yet is educated well. Caught in social and bodily constructs, Duelen fails to reach intimacy. Her differences, atypical traits, yield

loneliness and melancholy. However, Duelen sees libration and connection through creative expression. She includes snippets of the story of Pygmalion thorough her more tragic essays (which creates an effect of pleasant music playing during otherwise disturbing scenes). Of course, as the myth goes, Pygmalion falls in love with his sculpture, but the emphasis here is on being set free out of the sculpting material. At the heart of the book is the idea that freedom from being trapped in a form, in a given body, is reached through creativity, love, and intimacy. It is only fitting, therefore, that Deulen’s writing is poetic and soulful, and her wisdom hauntingly resonant. Her vivid language and authentic emotion coexist with tragic reality. This is a book of beautiful prose as much as of gritty realism that shows the old truth—art helps us deal with our mortality. Cadena Deulen, Danielle. The Riots. Athens: The University of Georgia Press. 2011

+ H E R E N T E R TA I N M E N T

Leading Ladies of 2015

3. Fifty Shades of Grey: Set BY OLIVIA JOHNSON

There are many highly anticipated movies set for release next year, and while in the past women have often found it difficult to see themselves in the forefront, things are changing. With the success of strong female leads in television, it seems that the silver screen is continuing this pattern. These are just a few of the films set for release in 2015 that include a female lead:

for release February 2015, this film is based on the very popular novel. It stars actress Dakota Johnson, who plays the main character Anastasia Steele. The film follows the young woman whose life changes forever after she meets Christian Grey.

1. Star Wars: Episode 7: The latest edition to the saga is set to release late 2015. The film will take place thirty years after the demise of the well-known character, Darth Vader. JJ Abrams will direct it, and Carrie Fisher will be playing Princess Leia. There are rumors that the film might include a female protagonist, and recently there have been a few female additions to the cast. Games of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie, Academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o and undiscovered talent Crystal Clarke have all been added the cast. It has not yet been disclosed who they will be playing, but nevertheless this film is definitely a must watch!

4. Focus: Starring Will Smith and

2. Ghostbusters 3: Set possibly for release in 2015 and directed by Bridesmaid’s Paul Feig, it has been confirmed that the film will serve to reboot the franchise. Not much is known about the plotline; nevertheless the plan is for this film to be completely separate and different from the past films. The third installment will star women, something that has never been done before in the history of the franchise. No lead roles have been cast yet, but there are a few names being thrown around.

Margot Robbie, Focus is a romantic comedy-drama set for release in February 2015. Will Smith plays Nicky Spurgeon, a con man that falls in love with Jess Barrett, played by Margot Robbie. The film already has trailers out and seems to marry drama with charming undertones. What female-centric movies are you looking forward to this year? Let us know which movies we left off the list by sending an email with the subject line LEADING LADIES to

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+ H E R E N T E R TA I N M E N T

The Phantom

Opera of the



he latest tour of Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera boasted some fresh new aesthetic changes to the well-known sets and staging we’ve seen in previous shows. This was the first substantial update done to the theater work since its inception in 1986. The legendary production came “Down Once More” to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta from October 22nd-November 2nd. Phantom is Broadway’s longest-running show of all time, and for good reason. With a haunting undertone, an elegant overtone, and a passionate yet demented antagonist, the musical is Broadway at its best.   There were a few noticeable changes even before the overture began. The quintessential one-ton chandelier has varied slightly, taking on a rounded, more tiered look than the original oval, stacked fixture. The new piece is also more lavish and worthy of the radiance of its surroundings. Additionally remarkable was the exchange of a common velvet theater curtain for a delicate layer of a cotton material pulled to simulate cobwebs. This was a very inventive trade that signified the abandonment and deterioration the Opera Populaire had suffered with age.   Paul Brown’s inventive new set relied largely on a massive half cylinder that moved on a circular axis. At first glance, it seemed to be an unequipped structure for functional purposes. As the show unfolded, “The Beast,” as crewmembers call it, proved itself to be a multiplex 52

hub. With each scene came a new set, including an office unfolding from the cylinder, and a spacious dressing room for Christine. From there, the audience was taken down and away to the Phantom’s world on a cryptic and intimidating course that kept viewers guessing and generated the same angst Christine must have felt before descending into the darkness. One by one, a twisting set of floating stairs appeared around the cylinder, leading down to the cellar of the opera house. The Phantom’s lair was among the most altered of the sets. In the traditional show, the cavern is vast and, like the Angel of Music himself, seems to have no limits. It is dark and deep but ominously illuminated, visually uniting warm and cold. Unfortunately, most would likely consider the hideaway’s changes a downgrade. His new dwellings have lost some token elements and are confined within the cylinder’s axis track, creating the feel of an offhand basement guestroom. The space looked a bit cramped and somewhat scrapped together with whatever furniture could be found. This would be realistic for a person living under the circumstances, but the Phantom we know is far too visionary and innovative not to put great thought and care into his living quarters. What did seem inspired, however, were the many added ropes hanging overhead. Some were looped to give the impression of a noose, a muted reminder to both characters and audience of the chilling threat and inescapable danger of

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the Opera Ghost. Such a reminder was needed as Cooper Grodin’s performance as The Phantom of the Opera left something to be desired. The delivery lacked intensity and sincerity, as well as consistency; his conduct was either too little or too much. It’s difficult to pinpoint whether the actor was to blame for noticeably hollow chemistry with Christine. Julia Udine accurately portrayed Miss Daaé as an impressionable, budding young vocalist. As an individual, her acting was adequate. It was the no-show chemistry with the Phantom that fell flat. The duo was missing that irresistible magnetism to one another, which compels the audience to root for the Phantom, despite his villainy. Meanwhile, Ben Jacoby hit the mark as Raoul, an honest, courageous, yet naive combatant. His love with and for Christine was never in question. Construction of a new set raised the bar for the musical, while more freedom granted to the performers may have lowered it. Paul’s Brown’s new designs made us forget that every event took place on the same platform, as each setting was a unique statement. In hindsight, straying from the lucrative Phantom formula was a bold departure likely to please more viewers than not. Paige Hovey is an Atlanta-based freelance columnist specializing in food writing, theater, interpersonal dynamics, religious philosophy, and personal growth. She can be reached at


Top Albums to Look Out for in 2015 BY MORGAN HUFSTADER

Great music is on the rise and female singers have been taking over the airway by storm. So why stop now? 2015 looks like it will be just another great year for female singers. Be sure to keep your ears to the ground for new upcoming albums from these artists:

1. Marina and the Diamonds: Perhaps the lesser-known band on this list, Marina and The Diamonds is taking over indie pop. Her vibrantly elastic, deep-throated voice brings something new to the stage. The Welsh singer has already invaded the UK’s top charts and is coming out with her new album, Froot, on April 3. You can already preorder it online and be the first of your friends to discover the next big pop talent.

3. Demi Lovato Despite having just come out with a new album, Demi, in 2014, Demi Lovato shows no signs of slowing down! While there’s no release date, Demi Lovato claimed that she started writing new music on the road during her last tour and should be recording this year.

5. Madonna

2. Björk: Björk is nothing if not a woman of incredibly unique talent. It is safe to say there is no other woman in the music industry who has a voice or style quick as eclectic and jarring as Björk’s. Björk fans and followers should fasten in their seatbelts for her next album upcoming in 2015, coproduced by Arca, who knows his way around apocalyptic electronic. If it sounds earth shattering, it’s because it probably is.

4. Ellie Goulding: Although initially tight-lipped about any new material, Ellie Goulding finally announced that she will be releasing a new album in 2015. Her first two albums—Lights and Halcyon—were instant successes. Anticipate a new looping of Ellie Goulding sounds on the radio this year as her new songs start to trickle out.

Speaking of artists who never seem to slow down, Madonna has been reportedly hard at work at her latest album. No surprise, seeing as she’s already started to drum up some fresh attention with stunts such as her recent topless photo shoot. Ever the stirrer of controversy, Madonna is certainly one to keep an eye on in the upcoming year. Who are you looking forward to most in 2015? Are there any artists we’ve left out? Let us know at with the subject line 2015 MUSIC.

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+ H E R E N T E R TA I N M E N T


Fall TV is splashing this season with a variety of shows sporting strong female leads. There seems to be no shortage of women on television, which is exciting. It seems we are entering a new era of female leads! These are just a few television shows on air right now.

3. How to Get Away With Murder: We all know the queen of Thursday night television, Shonda Rhimes, would not disappoint with her latest addition to the television world. How to Get Away with Murder, starring Oscar nominated actress Viola Davis, is a drama series following a group of law students trying to impress their professor. The show certainly has a gripping storyline, as the characters find themselves in the middle of a murder plot that will change all of their lives. The show airs Thursdays on ABC.

1. The Real Housewives of Atlanta The housewives are back for a 7th season! Joining the cast as the newest member is Claudia Jordan. Before joining the show, she was a model on Deal or No Deal. Afterwards she was a fierce competitor on the reality show The Apprentice for seasons 2 and 6. Now, she joins Cynthia Bailey, Kandi Burress, Phaedra Parks, Nene Leaks, and Kenya Moore for the new season that premiered on November 9th. Adding Jordan to the show is sure to produce conflict, as she is currently dating Kordell Stewart who is her co-star, Porscha William’s ex husband. The show airs Sundays on Bravo. 54

2. State of Affairs: Starring

Katherine Heigl, State of Affairs follows a CIA officer who works very closely with the President. It is a fast-paced thriller, showcasing the pros and cons of navigating such a high-powered job. Heigl suffered some major blows to her career in the past, and many critics are questioning whether this show will serve to boost her career or damage it further. That remains to be seen; the show premiered on November 17th on NBC.

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4. New Girl: New Girl is back for season 4! Starring Zooey Deschanel, the comedy follows a quirky young woman living with four single men as they try to figure out their lives. Its cleverly balanced level of comedy, romance, and sentiment make for a perfect mixture. The show is incredibly successful and never disappoints. The new season premiered on November 18th on Fox.


Reinvent Your Downtime

to 5 Ways

The New Year is a time for reinvention, so why not do something different this year? As mothers, wives, and professional women, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine. The start of the New Year is a great time to make some changes in your life. This is your opportunity to take on some new projects and uncover a hidden talent you didn’t know you had. Here are five new hobbies you might consider challenging yourself with this year: BY MORGAN HUFSTADER

1. Write a Book. This is perhaps one of the more daunting hobbies to take on, but it can also be the most rewarding. You can record stories from your own life to keep them for your family, or you can invent a whole new world for yourself and throw yourself in fiction. Test your imagination; you never know what might come of it! Great for: empty nesters, retired women, and self-employed women.

2. Read. If you don’t have the time to write a novel, why not try reading them? Reading is a great way to boost your vocabulary and learn about different cultures, times, and places. You can impress your colleagues with your newfound knowledge of Nepalese culture after reading Running from the Dreamland by Tulasi Acharya, or you can

simply sit back on a plane or train ride and give yourself permission to indulge in a little fun reading. Great for: women on business trips, mothers, and travellers.

3. Wine Tasting. Wine tasting is a great way to break out of that business shell and reconnect with a loved one or with your friends for a ladies night out. Furthermore, you can impress your business partners and clients with your sophisticated palate and your knowledge of good wines. Great for: couples and friends.

4. Join a Cooking Class. Gone are the days of the Tupperware parties and here are the days of the fermentation parties! Learn to cook healthier foods by taking unique cooking

classes. Try your hand at raw foods or macrobiotic diets. Take a friend or spouse with you to get a much needed social break. For a little extra fun, invite your friends over once a month for cooking parties (you’ll have leftovers for days!). Great for: couples and friends.

5. Paint. Sometimes, it’s easy to focus solely on the right side of the brain. You have emails to answer, to-do lists to conquer, places to be and children to pick up and it’s hard to get out of that routine. Opening up your creative side, however, may be just the thing you need to shake up your routine. Paint on your own or have your children paint with you for a great bonding experience. Great for: families.

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15 Must-See Spots for


Singapore – The Lion City achieved independence from Malaysia in 1965 and is celebrating her Golden Jubilee in 2015. This financial, commercial, and economic powerhouse of Southeast Asia it has taken the nod from Tokyo as the most expensive city in the world. When to go – It has a tropical year-round climate. High season is November-June. Why - In anticipation of the festivities and events, the City boasts several new developments including Marina Bay, a defined entertainment district, a new National Art Gallery, Sports Hub, and expanded Metro system. Enjoy shopping along famed Orchard Road, visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum and delight in the 10,000 plants, trees and rainforest at the Botanic Gardens.


These are destinations that deserve “serious consideration” for travel in 2015. Whether you love sightseeing, shopping, delectable cuisine or adventure – these places deliver. Below you will find places to go for white, pink hued, or black sand beaches for that relaxing escape. If your interests rest in world and military history or ancient civilizations and ruins, this list contain the blockbusters. Here are the top 15 places to travel for 2015:


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Steamboat Springs, Colorado – This charming town, often overshadowed by the more “glitzy” cities of Vail and Aspen, is known as “Ski Town USA.” Here lives the true spirit of the West. Howelsen Hill is the state’s oldest continuously operated ski area with the largest natural ski-jumping complex in North America. When to go – It’s a year-round destination. Why – Enjoy downhill skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, ice fishing and even ice climbing in the winter. The winter carnival features an amusing scene with adults on shovels being pulled behind horses down


Main Street. Summer brings both the Annual Cowboys Roundup Days and a Hot Air Balloon Rodeo. Fall presents the perfect time for hiking and biking along the scenic Yampa River Core Trail.

Empire. Machu Picchu is a 15th Century Inca site located 7,972 + feet above sea level. Arequipa, called the “White City” was built on a white volcanic stone called sillar rock. It holds the UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site.

through August. The months of November - March represent the prime ski season.

Peru – With over 5,000 years of history, this is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Did you know the Norte Chico civilization has been established as the oldest civilization in the Americas? The Incas, the largest and most powerful empire in the Southern Hemisphere, came from Peru. Painstaking efforts have been made to conserve the architecture and archeology of these fascinating cultures. When to go – Two main seasons: wet season from November-March and dry season from April-October. Weather varies greatly by geographic region and elevation. Why – Go to experience the ancient ruins and culture and to meet the extremely polite and peaceful Peruvian people.

Lima, the City of Kings, is a modern and cosmopolitan capital city that has careful preserved the historical center. Peruvian cuisine has gained worldwide acclaim. Cuzco is both the archaeological capital of America and the capital of the Inca

Bermuda – There is no need to “cross the pond” to hear a British Ascent. Set 650 miles off the coast of North Carolina, this striking grey rock is one of the prettiest islands in the world. Today it still remains a British territory. As a low-key and gentrified getaway for decades, it’s now a financial hub as well.

Why – Calgary is perched in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. A visit should include Heritage Park to relive the City’s Wild West past in the 66 acre living history village. The World Famous Calgary Stampede is a must-see. Edmonton, the capital city, is known as the Festival City with over 30 arts and cultural festivities every year. A trip to Alberta would not be complete without seeing Banff and Jasper Nationals Parks.

When to go – The Gulf Stream affords two seasons: spring and summer. Why - To feast your senses on the yellow, pink, red and white oleander and hibiscus flowers that adorn the pastel houses, buildings and street lamps. Did you know Crustaceans give the beach sands its iconic pink hues? Elbow Beach and Horseshoe Bay remain tourist favorites. British traditions abound with afternoon tea and cricket matches. Bermudian dishes include Fish Chowder and grilled Rock Fish. Tour the island by scooter but save time for duty-free shopping. Alberta, Canada – This Western Canadian Province brims with diverse landscapes sandwiched by the Rocky Mountains to the West and the Canadian Badlands, a wind-eroded moonscape of canyons and coulees, to the Southeast. When to go – Special events in most of the cities in Alberta take place from June

Chile – The Andes Mountains rise majestically to the East and to the West the Pacific Ocean splashes on the shores of this long narrow strip of land. While Argentina, its larger neighbor, may get more attention, Chile is a stand-alone tourist destination. It boasts 2,672 miles of coastline as well as the world’s driest desert. It sports glaciers and fjords and an array of volcanoes along the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire.” When to go – With the country’s vast north to South layout, the weather is extremely varied. The seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. It’s


best to visit Santiago and the Lake District in the spring and autumn. Easter Island, a territory of Chile, famous for its 887 monumental statues called moai, has a temperate climate. A trip to Patagonia is best in summer. Some attractions close in winter. Why – Santiago has a great view of the city at the summit of Cerro San Cristobal. There you will also find the largest public park, botanical gardens, the National Zoo and a public swimming pool. Chile has substantial wine regions with areas both North and South of Santiago. Valparaiso is the largest port city dating back to 1536. Multi-colored houses dot the countless hills connected by an intertwining maze of streets, long staircases and lookout points. Folded between the hills and the sea is the beautiful downtown. For more adventure, sample Patagonia to discover the untouched majesty of mountains, fjords, glaciers, forests and steppes and the Atacama Desert extending over 600 miles.

Morocco – The country is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert. But did you know Morocco is one of only three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines? When to go – Spring is considered the best season from late March-May. With the brutal summer from July-September some establishments close especially in August. Why – Tourism is well developed and costs are relatively low. Fez is considered

the most complete medieval city in the Arab world, having the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Marrakesh is the 3rd largest city located in the Northern foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Rabat, the capital, is located on the Atlantic Ocean. The Oudaia Gate is beautifully preserved in the medieval Moorish tradition. Casablanca is the country’s largest city, industrial hub and primary seaport. The Hassan II Mosque registers as the largest mosque in Morocco as well as Africa and carries the tallest minaret at 60 stories high. The mosque sets partially on land and partially over the Atlantic Ocean.

Canada’s Maritime Provinces – As the name “Maritime” implies, the sea plays major factors in everything for these three Provinces– Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Although visually stunning, with its long jagged coastline, towering cliffs, artistic bays, attractive beaches and quaint towns, this area remains relatively unknown to tourists. When to go – Summer and fall are best due to the harsh winters and openness to the seas. Why – The Maritimes have a rich heritage and were one of the first areas in Canada to be settled by Europeans. Scottish, Irish and British influences can be found throughout the region. Halifax is the capital and principal city of Nova Scotia. Notable sites are Citadel Hill with the Fort George fortified summit and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Venture 30 to 60 minutes from Halifax and you’ll find

Peggy’s Cove, a small rural community with its picture postcard famous Lighthouse. Lunenburg is a charming town with shops filled with Canadian arts and crafts set along the scenic southern shore of Nova Scotia. Travel north of Halifax to reach Cape Breton Island. The province of New Brunswick has revitalized the port of Saint John. Here you will hear Acadian French spoken in the North and English in the south. The Bay of Fundy is known to have the highest tides in the world and when the tide is out you can walk on the ocean floor.

Poland – There has been an uptick in tourism since the country joined the European Union in 2004, but it’s still often overlooked as a major destination. The natural beauty abounds from the Tatra Mountains, the highest mountain range between the Alps and the Caucasus, to the Baltic Sea and coastline. The historic sites of Auschwitz and Birkenau, the German Nazi Concentration and Extermination camps will give pause, but should be experienced. When to go – Spring is the best time to visit from April to June. Summers are wet and warm. The weather is unpredictable in autumn and winter is usually quite cold.


Why – Warsaw was totally rebuilt following its destruction during World War II. Now it has a vibrant downtown with skyscrapers. The skyline, however, is still dominated by the Palace of Culture and Science, a donation from Stalin. See the Old Town, the magnificent palaces, the Chopin Museum and the former Jewish Ghetto. Krakow, the medieval Old Town is a World Heritage Site with a Renaissance castle, Baroque churches and art nouveau theatre. The Bochnia Salt Mine is one of the oldest in the world and houses an underground church created in the 18th century. Gdansk, the principal seaport, has an attractive old town and is the center of the Amber industry.

National Park. Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian Temples abound and are active centers of culture and worship. Taipei is the cultural and economic force that drives the country. The National Palace Museum houses a major collection of China’s artistic heritage from paintings, scrolls, ancient porcelain and statues. The Museum of World Religions and the Miniatures Museum are not to be missed. Wulai Falls can be see by taking a cable car to the top for the view, or head to Kenting for its breathtaking beaches and forests.

museums. To visit, one must walk over the Queen Emma Bridge, a floating pontoon bridge made of wood. The other district is called Otrobanda or “the other side” and is a mix of twisted residential streets.

Fiji – Fiji lies in the heart of the South Pacific and consists of an archipelago that includes 332 islands of which only onethird are inhabited. It’s a volcanic island with warm tropical waters, lush rainforests, coconut plantations and pristine beaches.

Taiwan – Officially the Republic of China, is a sovereign state in East Asia. The island is packed with vibrant cities and natural beauty. The North features high mountain peaks and white sandy beaches, while the Central area has the forested highlands. The East finds dense forests, Whitewater Rivers and dramatic gorges. A tropical paradise with plantations and beaches is found in the South. Off-shore islands have extinct volcanoes, rainforests and historical battlefields. When to go – The best time is NovemberJanuary. Typhoon season runs JuneOctober. Why – The Island is located at the top of the “Ring of Fire” and this provides amazing natural hot springs. Mount Yushan (Jade Mountain) is the highest peak in Taiwan with an elevation of 12,965.88 feet. Taroko Gorge is the best known

The Lesser Antilles – The ABC islands – The ABC islands are the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Aruba is a flat island exposed to the currents of the sea, while Bonaire and Curacao are surrounded by reefs and are more sheltered from the weather. When to go – The high season runs from mid-December to mid-May. Geographically fortunate, the ABC islands are outside the Caribbean hurricane belt. Why – Aruba has a mix of interesting beaches including Eagle and Baby beaches. It’s the honeymoon capital of the Caribbean and offers a variety of accommodations and resorts. Add gambling casinos, shopping and delectable cuisine, and you have a great getaway. Bonaire is a scuba divers paradise. Curacao is the largest of the Netherland Antilles group. Here, you can swim with the dolphins. It has two distinct historic areas divided by St. Anna Bay. Punda has neat narrow streets with shops and

When to go – With a tropical climate there is only slight seasonal temperature variations. The South Pacific cyclone season runs from November-April. Why – The Fijian people are known for their friendliness and hospitality. Viti Levu, the largest island, is the commercial and industrial hub of the country. Suva the capital has a rich heritage along with some of the best restaurants and nightlife. Nadi is a waterside gateway and is home to the island’s airport. The north end of the downtown leads to Denarau Island with the top-end resorts and marina. Vanua Levu is the second largest island but with the exception of a few pockets of hustle and bustle, the island remains remote villages, mountain passes and endless strips of forest with an ever changing coastline. Mamanuca Islands are abound with natural beauty. They’re known for world-class surfing, luxury and family style resorts and white sand beaches.


worms in these ancient limestone caves. Wellington is the capital city and is a sparkling jewel set along an impressive waterfront. Venture by ferry for a three hour scenic crossing over Cook Strait to the South Island. Here you will find the sunny beaches of Nelson along with the glaciers and forests of the West Coast. A trip to the South Island would not be complete with seeing the Franz Josef Glacier. Christchurch is the second largest city sandwiched between the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps. Sadly, much of the classic neo-gothic architecture was destroyed by the massive earthquake in 2011, but it still remains a charming “must see” city.

Belgium – This country still sadly remains overshadowed as a travel destination by its neighbors – France, the Netherlands and Great Britain. Today, Belgium is a leading commercial and political centre of the European Union and the headquarters for NATO. When to go – The best time for travel is April to mid-October. Why – Brussels, the capital city, is breathtakingly beautiful. Significant sights include the Palais Royal, the official residence of the King and Queen, the Palais de Justice, the Musical Instruments Museum and the Royal Museum of the Army and Military History. Opening in March 2015, the Waterloo Exhibit near Leon Mound, nine miles south of Brussels, will feature a new film recreating the Battle of Waterloo and Wellington’s epic and decisive victory over Napoleon. Antwerp, Both historical and compact, is known for its interesting nightlife. Bruges is closed to cars and allows one to stroll the cobblestone streets, take a horse-drawn carriage ride or boat along the quiet canals.

New Zealand – New Zealand is a diverse country with a rich history reflecting a unique mix of Maori and European cultures. Often considered a tandem travel destination with its larger neighbor Australia, it is only recently become an independent travel spot. When to go – The best time is summer and autumn, which runs from December-May. Why – Auckland, the largest city, offers world-class shopping and entertainment as well as excellent Pacific Rim cuisine. Not to be missed are the Maori cultural performances at the Auckland Museum, a visit to the top of the Sky Tower and the dramatic black sand beaches. Rotorua is renowned for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs as well as its Maori culture. Stop by the Waitomo Caves as you head to the south-end of the island to view the glow-

Belize – Belize is located on eastern coast of Central America with the Caribbean Sea as its coastline. With its many jungles and wildlife preserves its flora and fauna include the black orchid, the mahogany tree, the toucan and tapirs. When to go – It has a year-round warm and humid climate. The dry season runs from February to May and wet season from June to December. Why – Belize is famous for its snorkeling and scuba diving with the Belize Barrier Reef spanning 185 miles of the country’s coastline. The Blue Hole, shaped like a funnel with a depth of 407 feet, is one of the Top 10 diving sites in the world. Belize City is known for its colonial architecture is a busy port with its famous sea wall and the commercial center for the country. A must-see is a visit to the Maya temples at Altun Ha or the Cerros Maya ruins located on Corozal Bay. Belmopan is the capital city. Enjoy a walk through the Market Square for shopping and local dining.

Budgeting Tips For The New Year BY LINNET BROWN


or some, shopping is fun and entertaining. It’s a way to renew and revitalize your wardrobe, your house, or your kitchen cabinets. However, when finances are limited, shopping can become a major point of stress. For large families on a low income, the month after Christmas can be a tight one. Here are a few budgeting tips for the new year.


. BUDGETING. Calculate a budget of the amount of money you can afford to spend. Most people rely on credit cards to make purchases. If funds are tight, have your kids realize that they cannot go on wild shopping sprees due to lack of finances. Hopefully, you’ve managed to keep within budget over the holidays, or else in the new year all you will be doing is paying back debt and this could create stress and frustration.


. MAKE A SHOPPING LIST. Hold a family meeting and discuss who needs what before you go shopping, so that you do not buy items they would not want. Have a separate shopping list for these items. For example, birthdays and religious festivals. Kids tend to want items that fit in with the season and simply might not require them later on. Discuss and explain to the

child why certain gifts would not be desirable since they are only a seasonal gift. If a kid asked for a puppy for a birthday or during a religious celebration, explain to the child that a puppy is not a toy and would need to be taken care of after the initial excitement wears off. Go through the same steps for food markets. Find out which stores and supermarkets have good bargains and, if possible, make enough purchases to hold out for for a while. Some people tend to make bulk purchases which are cost effective, so try doing this. Try to stick to your list when shopping. There are instances when we get distracted while in the store or supermarket and ignore our list. In doing so, we often end up spending more money than budgeted for.


. DON’T PURCHASE UNWANTED ITEMS. Try not to purchase items that you do not need after the seasonal holiday. Do not over strain your budget to buy everything you want, because some items will be on sale after a few weeks and there will be the chance to get them then. It is

tempting to purchase items that you like rather than what you actually need, so try and hold your focus.


. AVOID LAST MINUTE RUSH. Do not wait until a few days during the shopping rush to make your purchases. Most supermarkets get fresh provisions on a Thurday, so aim to shop on such days. Read the booklets published by the stores and take vantage of the discounted items. During festive seasons, do not wait to perform last minute shopping as most of what you might need could be already gone and you could end up purchasing expensive items left behind. About the Author. Linnet worked as a social worker in a Family Centre in the UK where she conducted group sessions with parents around budgeting and providing cost effective menus for their households. She is also the author of “The Power of Words,” which enables children to be aware of the danger of bullying. She also authored “Stepping Stones For Kids” and “Keep your Optics on the Goal” which help children meet their goals and prepare for adulthood.



The only thing consistent in life is change. Just when you think you have it all together, something happens that pulls the “stability” rug right from under your feet. There are few things that yank that rug more than an unexpected loss of a job. The harsh reality is that it happens to thousands of women daily. Layoffs can happen even after many years of hard work and dedication to a company. Rather than mourning the lost job, this loss may be an open door for you to finally create your own job with unlimited earning potential and fulfill that purpose you’ve been trying to discover. It opens the door to create a new beginning! Here are three steps to transitioning into a new beginning after a lay-off:


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Define Your Passion: Now may be the time to reevaluate your career. Were you happy in your position? Did you enjoy going to work everyday? Now is the time to determine if having a similar position will truly make you happy. If not, is it worth it to apply for those positions? Create a list of dream jobs along with a brief job description. Why would those positions make you happy? Chances are, a brief analogy of the job descriptions that you feel would bring you the most happiness will lead you to discovering your passion! It may be time to create that dream job for yourself !

Consider Your family: Your husband and/or children may have been tired of you working all of those hours at that job! If you aren’t married or don’t have children, your future family may not have been so happy about it either. It may be time to create a job that will allow you to create your own schedule and have more time with your family.

Take Advantage of Your Severance Package: Did your employer give you a severance package? NICE! The severance package definitely makes the blow much less painful. If obtaining a similar position is not the route you want to go, the severance package may allow you to focus your time on creating your own income. Create a strict budget and a strategic plan. You have been awarded the possibility to make yourself rich as opposed to making your employer rich without losing a paycheck!

After careful thought and consideration, you may decide that entrepreneurship is not for you. It’s okay; not everyone can mentally endure the risks. However, this new beginning you are facing may be the opportunity for you to create a plan just in case you are faced with a similar situation with a new employer. Start to think of talents and skills that you possess from which you can generate a profit. You can use those skills and talents to help you earn a residual income. That residual income may eventually become your full time income in the result your new company doesn’t work out! Regardless of whether you opt to find a new position or finally launch that new business, this new beginning will provide you the opportunity to take full control of your destiny and evaluate your earning potential.

Lenise Williams is a mother, attorney, business consultant, author, and entrepreneur educator. Lenise provides female entrepreneurs with business consulting to navigate them through the challenges of launching or growing their businesses into lucrative brands. She also assists entrepreneurs in protecting their brand through proper legal agreements, trademark protection and more. As an entrepreneur educator, Lenise has produced study courses, seminars and material for female entrepreneur. It is Lenise’s goal to launch 1,000 women into entrepreneurship and assist 500 additional women with growing their brand. For more information on Lenise and her products and services, visit

| Januar y /Februar y 2 0 1 5 | H ER S Ma gazin e |



So you’ve started a business, or perhaps you’re trying to grow an existing business? What’s your brand and marketing strategy? How are you promoting your product or service? These are major questions that a professional businesswoman should know the answer to. Surprisingly, many of us who desire to launch a new business or keep one booming lack the tools needed for sustainability. During recent interactions with fellow business owners, I have learned a few things: These women truly want their businesses or brands to flourish. They want to succeed and reach specific consumer groups. However, locating potential customers or clients and establishing long-term relationships have been the challenge. According to research conducted by the Continuum Women’s and Children’s Group in 2011, women controlled more than 80% of U.S. spending. They made final decisions on 91% of home purchases, 65% of car purchases, 80% of healthcare choices, and 66% of computer/technology purchases (Fabry). What does this mean for business owners? Well, four key areas are mentioned: technology, healthcare, automotive and home (such as appliances, equipment). If you are a tech-savvy business woman, why not think about what you can offer? Do you specialize in software products or training of some kind that would be practical for homeschooling parents? Perhaps your business is a brand or service, such as cleaning or interior design. How would you promote your 64

unique service to consumers? What can you provide to stand out among your competitors?

Consumers feel more inclined to conduct repeat business with you if they know you care.

Here are a few tips:

Build or redefine your business platform. Sometimes one of the most difficult things to do is be assertive. It is perfectly fine and

If you don’t have one already, establish an air-tight business plan.

This step is fundamental to getting started. You must know what you want to sell and how to do so. Basic templates are available for download on The Small Business Administration website also provides information for startup and existing business plans. Do some research on your product or service, focusing on methods for reaching a specific group or demographic. is

an excellent site for creating a survey and reviewing results, such as consumer shopping habits and market analysis. Stay active. As your clientele grows,

maintain contact with these clients by finding out what they like about your product or service. Find out what areas you could improve in as well. Invite comments on your website and read them often. Reply promptly via email or by phone. Make it personable, expressing appreciation for the customer’s business. Be quick to resolve any problems, maintaining your integrity and goal of customer satisfaction. Establishing relationships is critical to success.

| HERS M a gazine | Januar y/Feb ru ar y 2015 |

suggested that you promote your business. Let people know what you do and highlight why you’re special in that particular area. Keep business cards available, seeking opportunities to network. Attend business conferences or expos and share ideas with other professionals. The more you get out there, the more comfortable you will feel. Think positively. Whether you’re selling

a product or marketing a brand, believe in it. You know why this venture was important to you in the first place. Remind yourself of why it’s worth the effort and keep pushing forward. Constantly seek ways to enhance your product or service. Customers will return to do business and also refer friends or family. Keep them happy and enjoy your business! Charvella J. Campbell owns an editing company, volunteers as a grant writer for nonprofit agencies and recently released a collection of short stories, A Life Interrupted, available on Contact Charvella Capmbell of Campbell Editing & Proofing Services, Inc. at charvella@


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| Januar y /Februar y 2 0 1 5 | H ER S Ma gazin e |



Best Free Apps for the Business Woman It’s hard to find good help these days, that is, unless you have an iPhone or Android to do the hard work for you. If you don’t have the money or energy for a personal assistant, you can program your iPhone to do all the tedious, time-consuming work for you. Here are five free apps that will do the grunt work for you and free up your time for the important work: If you’re looking for an app to help you with your personal finances, look no more. Mint collects data from your personal finances and then tracks the money you earn and spend through your accounts. The iPhone app encourages you to keep track of your finances and gives you an easy way to track your financial goals and stick to your budgets. is a great list-making app to help you keep track of your day-to-day activities. It helps you to make notes of your tasks and goals and holds you accountable for completing them. It comes with a unique feature called the moment, which compels you to habitually check your daily tasks before starting your day. It comes complete with time, date, and even geolocation reminders.

Cloze BillGuard


Take control of your money with the BillGuard app. This nifty little app is a one of a kind program that tracks your spending, allows you to view your all of accounts in one place, and protects you from unwanted charges. It flags merchants who charge consumers for products or services that automatically subscribe you to unwarranted charges and puts you back in control of your bank account.

Dropbox is the program for the modern business woman. It gives you an easy tool to share files with multiple clients and coworkers all at the same time with one click of a button. Furthermore, you can personalize Dropbox so you can collect files on your laptop, home computer, and office computer all at the same place. Gone are the days of the desperate “where did I save that file…?” hunt with Dropbox.


| HERS M a gazine | Januar y/Feb ru ar y 2015 |

Cloze is the first iPhone app that collects and prioritizes tweets, emails, Facebook posts, and other social media communications. Rather than showing you the last person you talked to, it organizes your social media by the people you talk to most through your contacts, uniquely personalizing your social media experience. Therefore, when your best friend tweets, posts on Facebook, and shares a picture on Instagram, Cloze will notify you and let you see all three posts in one place.

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Something to write with, on, about, and We provide extensive editorial services from inception to production to marketing. We don’t let writers just publish anything because we care about your success.

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| Januar y /Februar y 2 0 1 5 | H ER S Ma gazin e |


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Hers magazine Jan/Feb 2015  

The Jan/Feb 2015 of Hers magazine featuring the "15 Women to Look for in 2015" plus other great features to prepare you for a New Year.

Hers magazine Jan/Feb 2015  

The Jan/Feb 2015 of Hers magazine featuring the "15 Women to Look for in 2015" plus other great features to prepare you for a New Year.