I AM ME Digital Magazine Jan/Feb 2017

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INSIDE Publishers Note Spiritual Space Beauty Bar Event Recap: Relationship Room Hair Haven Fashion Fitting Room Brand U Ask Althema Cooking Class Health Hub Entrepreneur Enclave Just My Two Cents Travel Treasures New Year New You FEATURE: Blocks of Love Black History Month SPOTLIGHT: Health


M asthead Publi sher/M anagi ng Edi tor: Deni se Best Edi tor: Althema Goodson

Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Edi tor: Pauli ne Alleyne Edi tor: Lady B Strak er Creati ve Di rector: D. Best & W. Keeby Soci al M edi a Di rector: Jessi ca Wi lson Contri buti ng Wri ters: Elli ot Allen M i chele Allen Tamyk ah Anthony-M arston Ti ffani e Bernard Ni cole Brown ?Purple Lezzi pop? Aja Davi s Denni s Edwards Gleni se Gomez Ak yi i a Harri son N. Chanel Hunter Kevi n Lawrence Haydee Lee

The New Year is like getting a new notebook full of empty pages that we have 365 days to fill. This year I have a brand new book, as much technology has taken over our lives (computers, tablets & smart phones) there is just something so permanent about writing things down and being accountable for your words. Welcome to the first issue of I AM ME digital magazine of the new year. This issue we will focus on a New Year New You & Brand U this has nothing to do with just losing weight but with taking the steps to embrace your ?I AM?. We also celebrate Black History Month as well as Valentine?s Day: African Americans ? The State of Black America? Where are we now, and we end the issue talking about LOVE! We are also pleased to add a few new writers to our family , we actually have a couple writing in this issue as we offer you the same great articles that you loved in the previous issues.

Andrew Levi n Chef Dani elle M oore Renee Purdi e

Regards Denise Best

Ti ffany Shawntay Jamell Smi th


Latoya Stegall

I AM Beautiful

Nancy Vi rden

I AM Brave

Jessi ca Wi lson

I AM Kind I AM Humble I AM LOVE

Ph ot ogr aph er : Tyqu an e Kai Bat es M ak e-Up Ar t ist s: Ak yiia Har r ison & Ajh an e Holm es


1 Corinthians 13 1) If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3) If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6)

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.


It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8) Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9)

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,


But when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

11) When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12) For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13)

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Small business START-ups!

First of all, do as I say, not as I do (lol) because I haven?t followed one or two of these steps myself. Yet! So, before you run out to get a website, have business cards printed, etc. you really need to create your strategic marketing plan ? But even before you do that, you actually need to find out if there?s a market for your business because it?s a WHOLE lot easier to supply demand than to CREATE it. Also, while you might be the best marketer on this planet, there may be 1,000,000 of them in your immediate area. Either get a USP that is light years better than anyone else?s or consider finding a niche. OK, now that you know there?s a demand for your product or service, you need to create a strategic marketing plan. Once you?ve created your strategic marketing plan, get your business REGISTERED with local, state and Federal departments, as required by law. You may also need to have a chat with the Internal Revenue Service (yep, Uncle Sam). You might also need to contact an attorney that specializes in registering intellectual property such as trademarks. It?s best to get all of this squared away at the early stages BEFORE you register your website and social media names rather than backtracking if you find out there?s a conflict with another established business. Now you need to decide on what your BUDGET is for your business. Remember too that if you plan to do this full-time (a leap), you will need to make sure that you can survive for at least two years as that?s generally how long it takes for most businesses to start making a profit. Do the math! OK, here?s the fun stuff! You need to create marketing materials such as business cards, your website and actually start with the nuts and bolts of creating social media accounts. Each one of those is an article in itself, but if you don?t have expertise with creating a website, or money to hire someone like me to do it for you, you?re going to need to spend time researching how to go about all this. We?re talking about business START-ups so I?m going to include some cost-effective ways to get your name out there.


Use social media. It?s free!

2. Start blogging on your website and be sure to share the links on social media. Did I mention that it?s free? 3. Offer to write an article for a local newspaper so you can start building your bylines and media cred. 4.

Offer a FREE workshop at a community center.

5 Pick a charity and agree to give them a certain percentage of your proceeds. Yeah, I know you want to MAKE money, but giving back to your community is a great way to get your name out there. Plus, it just feels good, right? You can do a co-event that lets you perhaps invite their target market. While I?m on the topic, your target market should CLOSELY align with the charity you select. As I said before, I could probably write a book on this topic, and someday I just might, but this should get you STARTED. That?s really the key to anything: the first step. Then just put one foot in front of the other!!! RenÊe Purdie is a Visual & Written Communications Expert with Š. Her areas of expertise include: writing, editing, design, photography and strategic marketing. She also loves supporting her church and Church Women United. To get your dreams from your head into REALITY, email her today on: info@msrisingstar.com or visit her website: www.msrisingstar.com.

Setting powder line up Okay so we have all seen it; the girl with the white flashback in a picture, or the white residue under her eyes that?s not blended out. So we use setting powder to let either foundation or concealer but bug question is which one is best. Well that answer is different for everyone. In almost every makeup tutorial you see Laura Mercier setting powder being used by almost everyone. I have seen and heard mixed reviews on Laura Mercier some say that its someone?s holy grail or that it leaves a white cast. And white cast can be left on any skin tone. I have used many setting powders and the top 5 are: Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder $36 at sephora.com Ben Nye Banana Powder $20 on amazon.com Sacha Buttercup Setting Powder $20 on amazon.com Maybelline Master fix Loose Powder $8.99 Ulta.com Coty Airspun translucent powder $6.88 at walmart (price varies by region)

The only one that left me with a white cast was the Ben Nye banana powder. I think it was because I used it to bake instead of just using it to set and brush away. I let the powder sit on my face for too long. The Laura Mercier to me was very similar to the Maybelline and I almost didn?t see a difference between the two other than the Laura Mercier being more of a finer powder. The Sacha Buttercup setting powder is a great powder to set my face. Coty Airspun has been around for ages and I normally mix it with the Ben Nye to give a better color because the airspun can be too white for darker skin tones. Also if you can get past the baby powder scent it isn?t a bad setting powder. So bottom line the one you can eliminate is the Laura Mercier powder which is quite possibly duped by the Maybelline powder. The other powders are a good thing to have in your makeup supply.

Nicole Brown Note: the above review is not endorsed nor do I have any affiliation with any company. The product was purchased using my own personal funds. If you are a company that wants me to do a review or would like to send me products you may email me at purplelezzipop@gmail.com

Have You Gained Commonalty? It?s that time of year again the NFL playoffs have begun and many fans are excitedly talking about their favorite team and being a Georgia native I claim the Atlanta Falcons. My girlfriend on the other hand is Bronx-born and bred and she loves the Jets. The only condolences I can offer is we both love our teams and we do support each others games but otherwise our loyalties remain with our perspective teams and no one is budging. When we met one of our first dates was at a sports bar to catch a game so we knew that we wouldn?t have no trouble about where I would be on Sundays in the fall. I feel privileged that my lady and I share such commonality. For we can talk about spirituality,politics,and a host and I can relish in the thought of knowing she knows what an IFormation is but I can appreciate her for more than this. We both have common goals and aspirations especially towards family and living life to the full and it?s heartwarming to know someone is as striving and hardworking as you are in an effort to achieve this. I find these things essential to building love and a lasting bond. It?s not enough to be able to smile cause she keeps my company well but no, I relish the fact that each idea or thoughts we share builds upon the next. As much as I enjoy our similarities I respect the differences. It always tickles me how when we make plans to go out and I asks her what she wants to do she rarely will give a straightforward reply but will deflect it back to me. I usually smile and decide something. It?s these small seemingly insignificant moments that draws two together and can teach us about each other. As we grow older and look forward to walking into a new year together we often expect to reach a point where one can settle down. Does this require someone with which we must be compatible? Perhaps, or is it more of an acceptance of one?s individuality coupled with an appreciation for the things we hold in common? .Before we can answer that though its important that we first appreciate what commonality is. Commonality is: Is sharing features and attributes. It is this sharing of interests that leads to mutual cooperation. I believe that it takes maturity and experience along with patience to gain this though. It involves give and take and also giving a little space. When two individuals communicate well and there's as a mutual understanding you can go far. What though if you feel like you?re in a rut and the two of you doesn?t appear to have any common interest? First, look back to where it all begin and see if you?ve lost the magic. As busy as life is making a living, rearing children, and making room for personal time our love life can easy get pushed aside

Get back to the basics. Set aside a date and time according to your schedule to spend time doing something you both enjoyed. If you find yourself running out of ideas involve another couple for outings or a game-in. I?ve found hanging out with your mate and their friends can open up new horizons in a stale relationship. Consider too: Sometimes we have to step out our comfort zone and gain different experiences. These new experiences shape us and give us something to share with others and in this case our mate. We find ourselves happiest when we're giving of ourselves to others. So, whether you?ll find yourself somewhere yelling at your favorite team after they?ve scored a big touchdown or curled up on the couch reading a good book, or hiking the Grand Canyon remember to share. Yes, share your love, mind, heart, and time with the one who you you?ve chosen. Don?t be afraid of trying something out of the box? who?s to say where you might find common ground. Jamell Smith is a proud father of four, Savannah native, and die-hard Atlanta Falcons fan. His current relationship status? "Taken!"

Nurturing Your Skin As we welcome another new year we religiously follow the trends of society. One that never instilled in us the regimen of self-care regarding hygiene such as identifying what triggers our greatest organ to react or thrive. What to eat for flawless skin, what skincare to use or how, what the elements can do to damage precious skin and how can counteract it. Let us make a conscious decision to not just make a New Year Resolution but to create a lifestyle that ensures we protect and nurture a part of us that is so revered. The skin defends us from pollutants, protects us from harm, keeps us warm, flushes toxins and best of all contains all the nerve ending that allow us to feel love when expressed through touch. Here are a few vital bits of information for all skin types, races, gender or age: 1: Be gentle! Touch and treat your face and body with love. Overstimulation causes more harm than good. 2: Eat healthy! What you put in is what comes out so consume a wholesome and bright diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. 3: Protect skin with hydrating emollients such as plant oils and butters. They mimic natural sebum and are accepted faster than animal products. Use an SPF 4: Stress less! Life should be enjoyed. Stress and medication are top causes of skin conditions like acne and dark spots. Relax! 5: Pamper yourself! Get a facial or massage. Low on funds? Make a mask with fruit and honey, slather on your skin or a loved ones. Shower together after or massage each other. Last but not least get professional help. There are skin experts available to assist you with looking your best. I am here for you.

Glenise Gomez hails from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. She migrated to the US with hopes to commence a nursing career. She soon discovered that it was difficult to emotionally detach herself from the medical elements and so transferred her zeal to study esthetics. For 13 years she has been titled as a NYS Licensed Esthetician and Laser TechnicianSkin Ethiks is her most recent endeavor. It is an all natural skincare line that incorporates Fair Trade supplies from businesses owned by women who strive for empowerment and sustenance, essential oils that are cold compressed in the best graded facilities and love of maintaining a green environment. . www.skinethiks.com

Black History : Where are we now? The State of Black America has always resided in its history. In our ability to understand where we have come to give credence to where we are going. Now historically our gains have been plenty but for all intentions of this paper we must realize that with the election of Donald Trump all of our gains will be threatened, challenged and possibly taken away. I've always asked myself this question, how can something that we've fought so hard for like our right to vote or our right to choose be taken away? How can, in a progressive country, a race of people can find themselves in a situation where we may have to repeat history and fight all over again for the very same things many of our ancestors died for? While the macro answer to this question remains a tremendous challenge I'd like to focus on the micro side of the issue. See I've always held the contention that everything rises and falls on leadership. And I've always stated the leadership begins and ends in the classroom. In the very place where all learning begins minus the home. That we set up our society based on Truth and what inspires a culture. And that if we as a race of people will ever be truly free we decide that by controlling the very information that will allow us to be Free the opportunity to enjoy all that America has to offer. See our Freedom under all circumstances is in the very thing that enslaved us and in order to reap the True benefits of this history we must seek Reparations. Although the fight in America will always be about human rights I fundamentally think that the fight is in our classrooms. It's in the lack of information used to define us as a culture or even as a race. It's in the very same thing that we been fighting for, for centuries. And that's in our inability to define who we?re and what contributions we've made to this country. How do we start with this solution? Well one way to approach it would be to ask our government to apologize for its atrocities and to compensate us for what was taken away in the form of wealth. One could use the Reconstruction era as a point of reference. The money obtained from Reparations should be put in a national foundation and this foundation should be set up to educate African Americans and form the core of learning in our school system. To be continued...... Dennis Edwards has been happily married over 20 years. Proud father of four who has built a progressive Healthcare career over the past ten years

Top 10 Love Songs 10. We going back to 2006 to my girl Keyshia Cole song is called "Love". 9. Lets go back 2000 to my bros Jagged Edge ft. Run DMC, the song is called "Let's Get Married". 8. Yes I have take you back to 2001, when I heard my girl Alicia Keys song called "Fallin". 7. Lets go to 2010 with Tank song is called "I Can't Make You Love Me" 6. Lets go back to 2009 to King of R&B R. Kelly featuring Keri Hilson called "Number One". We are halfway through the list of my Top 10 Love Songs. 5. Let go back to 1998 to my girl Mya ft. Sisqรณ, song is called "It's All About Me" 4. Lets go back ton1996 to favorite Quad from Bad Boys Entertainment, 112 songs is called "Cupid" 3. Now have to Queen of Pop and R&B The Late Great Icon R.I.P Whitney Houston song is called "I Believe In You And Me" 2. Lets speed it up to 2000 to my favorite girl group Destiny's Child with their song called "Cater 2 U". 1. Goes to the Late Great Legendary Princess of R&B R.I.P Aaliyah song is called "Miss You", Ft. cameos by: Missy Elliott, Lil' Kim, DMX, Toni Braxton, Tweet, Playa, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Tank, AJ & Free, Nick Cannon, Jaheim & Ananda Lewis.

Top 10 Feel Good Songs 10. Goes to my girl Keyshia Cole and Monica song is called "Trust". 9. Goes to Total and Biggie song called "Can't you see" 8. Goes to H-Town song called "Knocking Boots" 7. Goes to Miguel song is called "Girls Like You". 6. Goes to my girl Mya "Fallen" 5. Goes to Mya and Jadakiss song called "The Best Of Me" 4. Az Yet song called "Last Night" 3. Goes to Bobby V. song is called "Tell Me" 2. Goes to Blackstreet song called "Before I let you go" 1. Goes to Mase song is called "Feel so Good"

You can ind me Kevin Kev Lawrence (Facebook & Twitter DJKEV DAGAWD)

5 Ti ps for Getti ng Fi t i n the New Year. Getting fit this year in 2017 doesn?t have to be difficult and in fact, you can look and feel better than ever with just a few simple tweaks. Check out my top tips for getting and staying fit and healthy this year and beyond. 1.

Decide on what you want and WHY you want it.

This may sound like ?duh, of course you have to decide on what you want,? but far too often I have clients who come to me with really vague goals. Vague goals equal weak follow through. Women come to me all the time saying, ?I want to lose 20-30lbs and feel better.? But the reality is, it?s not specific enough and doesn?t provide you with enough motivation to get you through the cold mornings or past the cake in the office. So instead, I encourage clients to set goals that are specific and to get to a deeper reason why they want to accomplish them. A better goal would be ?I want to lose 23lbs because losing that weight will help me feel more confident. When I feel more confident about myself, it will help improve my romantic relationship and give me the courage to ask for a raise at work.? 2.

Don?t eat white processed food (except 1 day week)

Unfortunately you can?t go around eating cupcakes and drinking soda all day expect to lose weight and be at your best. So a general rule I give my clients is to not eat white processed foods, except on cheat days. And you only get one cheat day a week. And really it?s only a cheat meal or two--not an entire day of free for all. You can have the cake or cookies or mac and cheese, just one day a week. White processed foods are anything that comes in a box or wrapping or that was processed before it got to you. So pasta, crackers, breads, cookies, cakes all count as white and processed. Even ?whole grain? foods are in this category. 3.

Eat only whole foods.

So once you cut out anything white and processed that leaves the question? .so what do you eat? So for the other 6 days of the week, you only want to eat things that come in their natural state. A general rule of thumb is that you should be able to recognize the item in nature. This includes proteins such as chicken, bison, fish, eggs; or vegetables: dark leafy greens, beets, carrots, etc; and healthy fats i.e. avocado, grass fed butter, olives. Just replacing white processed foods with whole foods will help your waistline and energy levels for the rest of your life. It?s that simple. 4.

Exercise. The right way.

This is another one that?s a given. But most people exercise incorrectly. You don?t need to spend hours and hours on an elliptical or treadmill. Instead, all cardio should be high intensity intervals and you should lift weights or do some sort of resistance training every workout. Would you believe that just 20-30 minutes of the right exercise at the right intervals 3 or 4 days a week is enough to help most people reach their fitness goals? It is possible when you?re using high intensity training (HIIT) in your regimen.


Get a buddy.

Doing all of these things is important but we?re a thousand times more likely to follow through if we?re accountable to someone. I believe the best accountability partners are the ones you hire such as a trainer, because though friends may have good intentions, once they fall off one day it?s over. So whether it?s a class or a personal trainer that you pay, having someone else there and some place that you must show up to, will boost your likelihood of success by 63%. Getting in shape in 2017 is possible. You can make this your year. Use the 5 tips above to get started and most importantly take action. You can read about how to do these things all day long, but results only come from action. Happy 2017. You Got This. Aja Davis is the founder and CEO of New Body Elite Transformation, Brooklyn?s #1 Fitness Studio for women. Aja is a speaker, blogger, and writes for the Huffington Post. She also hosts the Women Who Conquer Podcast where she interviews phenomenal women who are taking their health, careers and family lives to the next level. To contact Aja, please email aja@newbodybootcampnyc.com or find on www.facebook.com/ aja.davis26

Although heart disease may often be thought of as a problem for men, heart disease is the most common cause of death for both women and men in the United States. One challenge is that some heart disease symptoms in women may be different from those in men. Fortunately, women can take steps to understand these unique symptoms of heart disease and to begin to reduce their risk.

Heart attack symptoms for women The most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it is not always severe or even the most prominent symptom, particularly in women. And, sometimes, women may have a heart attack without chest pain. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as: -

Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort Shortness of breath Pain in one or both arms Nausea or vomiting Sweating Lightheaded or dizziness Unusual fatigue

These symptoms can be more subtle than the obvious crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. Women may describe chest pain as pressure or a tightness. This may be because women tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries but also in the smaller arteries that supply blood to the heart ? a condition called small vessel heart disease or coronary micro-vascular disease. Women's symptoms may occur more often when women are resting, or even when they're asleep. Mental stress also may trigger heart attack symptoms in women.

Most common heart disease Coronary artery disease Damage or disease in the heart's major blood vessels. High blood pressure A condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. Cardiac arrest Sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness.

Congestive heart failure A chronic condition in which the heart doesn't pump blood as well as it should. Arrhythmia Improper beating of the heart, whether irregular, too fast, or too slow. Peripheral artery disease A circulatory condition in which narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs. Stroke Damage to the brain from interruption of its blood supply. Congenital heart disease An abnormality in the heart that develops before birth.

How to Decrease your risk of heart disease Eating many fruits and vegetables not only can help prevent heart disease, but also may help improve your blood pressure,cholesterol levels and diabetes. Eating two or more servings a week of certain fish, such as salmon and tuna, may decrease your risk of heart disease. -

Don?t smoke or use tobacco Exercise for about 30 minutes regularly Eat a heart healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid too much salt and sugar in your diet Maintain a healthy weight Get enough sleep Manage stress Get regular health screenings: Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes screening

Click the link below for more information: www.secondscount.org https:// medlineplus.gov/ heartdiseaseinwomen.html https:// www.goredforwomen.org

?THE BODY GOES WHERE THE MIND GOES? Although I am a mother, women?s advocate, entrepreneur, and someone who is spiritually grounded in Jesus, when I first heard that the body goes where the mind goes, I must admit that I did not totally understand what this meant. The truth is that most of us from urban neighborhoods do not, or we choose to ignore the signs. Many will ask, ?How can you say this with such certainty?? My response, ?The answer is simple, our actions.? I myself had to learn this way of thinking. I was asleep to the power that I had living within me. My thoughts were the pebbles that began the ripple effects or what I experienced in this world and the same holds true for you. What you think will affect your emotions. Your emotions will affect your behavior, and your behavior will affect your reality. Unfortunately Mental Health and Wellness is not a socially acceptable topic of discussion in most urban communities. Although there has been great improvement, the lack of conversation, Media influences and systematic oppression has created an associated stigma that unfortunately is responsible for people with feelings of shame, denial and living with untreated illnesses such as Depression, Anxiety, Alcoholism, PTSD and Bipolar. I myself am a survivor of bullying, molestation, emotional abuse, grief from extensive loss and extreme poverty. As a result I?ve developed a program called Love Thyself First to encourage women to love themselves first, step out in faith and live in purpose, despite dehumanizing stigmas associated with mental health barriers. As a program LTF fosters women?s psychological and spiritual growth through the arts. Since 2015, this platform has been carefully creating opportunities for conversations on Mental Health, self love, and living in purpose by facilitating workshop based support groups, panel discussions, and annual women?s celebrations. I share all of this to say that, despite the trauma I?ve experienced in my life it remained possible for me to find my purpose and I did, when I reappraised my thinking. We may sometimes be pressured into having a ?fixed? way of thinking. For example when we make mistakes we believe that we are not good at something. We stop striving to succeed in that particular area of our lives. We then give up and another dream falls by the wayside. Or better yet we scare ourselves away from another chance to take a bolder step closer towards our goals. A fixed way of thinking can also derive from low self esteem.

When self esteem or self worth is not present, it ultimately leads to unhealthy thought patterns that become paralyzing and destructive to an individual's journey towards finding purpose and prosperity in life. When negative influences and thoughts are prevalent ? or generated either from within ourselves or through others ? it adversely affects the way we think and feel about ourselves. This then affects the experiences we have in our lives because of the lenses in which we view them through. And here we come full circle to that still small voice reminding us that the body goes where the mind goes. It all starts with your mind and the practices of mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. Therefore we must develop Love for ourselves and others and find the service or contribution that we are designed to contribute to this world. A part of living a flexible life requires us to learn how to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones. The brain is a muscle and just like any other muscle in our body it needs to be worked out and our thinking needs to be trained into change. It takes awareness and effort to rewire the way we think and the efforts prove limitless. It is important to learn the way your body works so that you know how to use it to its optimal function for your favor. Here are 4 tools to help you DETOX that stinking thinking and live in FREEDOM Declarations of HOPE: ?I AM? is the most powerful statement you can claim in your life. It is the universal language of both requesting and receiving in your life. Create intentional ?I AM? statements in the present tense and declare these words out loud to yourself daily preferably during the first 30 minutes of awakening. Be intentional, declare with expectation. Walking in LOVE: Our relationship with our creator is the most important connection to acquire to fully understand the multidimensional experience and/ or decision that is LOVE. This four letter power packed word is necessary for the renewal of the mind, however, Submission and opening up your heart space is vital.

Organization: Focus on what matters the most to you. Discard of unnecessary items, people, and experiences and surround yourself with things in your life that make you happy. Clear the clutter in your house and in your head. I?m talking physical and mental organizing. Action: There is nothing like action followed by success to immediately changes a perception on a situation that was once perceived as negative. See Haydee Lee in the next issue of I AM ME for more for more conversation on Mental Health and Wellness Opportunitiesandchange.org Lovethyself1stmovement@gmail.com

Going Natural A "going natural" Google search will produce thousands of results about transitioning from chemically treated relaxed hair to crowns in their natural state whether that be a 3b or 4c texture. There has definitely been a growing trend over the past few years of melanated sisters ditching the "creamy crack" and embracing their textured crowns in a larger effort to embrace their natural beauty. As a Black woman, I love it and I too have left the relaxers behind. But as a toxicologist, I love it even more. Smooth silky straight hair should never be enough of a reason to put sodium hydroxide on any part of the body and with recent studies linking the use of relaxers to increased fibroids in Black women, I implore all my sisters to leave it alone! The hair movement is not the only movement to a more natural and healthy lifestyle. More and more people are looking for ways to eat better by abandoning processed and ?fast? foods and replacing them with the newest vegan, organic, GMO-free, or gluten-free craze. More people are juicing and cleansing too and this is all wonderful, but are we still missing some crucial ways to transition to natural? What I do not see much of is the shifting to more natural bath, body and home care products. What?s the point of eating better if your deodorant, toothpaste, candles (yes I said candles) and cleaning products are killing you? If more people were aware of the harmful toxins (ingredients) in some of their signature hygiene products, they would probably make better choices. But who can really read the product labels with those long, hyphenated, scientific words that even Google sometimes has trouble with. Thankfully, I went through the grueling work of becoming a scientist so I could help out on this one. There are many more body parts and rituals that should be going natural along with your hair. Let's start with your underarms! Everyone wants dry and baby powder fresh pits right? No one wants to stink and no one wants to sweat so since the onset of stinky puberty, we have lathered our pits with the likes of Secret, Dove and Sure antiperspirants. But how exactly do they stop us from sweating? Actually, most antiperspirants use some form of aluminum to swell up our sweat glands and block sweat from escaping onto our expensive clothes. Aluminum is a neuro toxin that can be absorbed by the skin and has been linked to breast cancer. When you measure the short distance between your breasts and your pits, it makes sense. Aluminum is just one toxic ingredient in antiperspirants. Most have at least 6 other equally scary ingredients. Take your armpits on the natural journey and invest in a deodorant that will keep you smelling fresh, naturally. And stop worrying about sweating! Worrying more makes you sweat more and sweating is natural. Sweating keeps your body cool and releases toxins. Still not convinced to join the natural pits movement? What about those yellow armpit stains on those white shirts that you wash and wash and never go away? That is NOT an indication that you are dirty or even that your sweat is dirty. That stain actually comes from a reaction between your sweat and the aluminum in your antiperspirant. So....going natural also means saving money by not having to replace shirts constantly!

Who doesn't love to unwind with a soothing bath and scented candles?! I know I used to until I learned how toxic scented candles are! All those beautifully colored waxes with the serenity inspiring scents sitting harmlessly on store shelves are actually toxic bombs waiting to be lit by you and pollute your homes. Most scented candles are made from paraffin which is a petroleum waste product that needs to be chemically treated and deodorized to make it suitable for candles. Scented candles are a big source of indoor air pollution and when burned they release carcinogens (cancer causing agents) that are the same found in diesel fuel fumes and just as toxic as second hand smoke! And that is just the wax! The wick that you light is usually made with heavy metals like lead (yep!) and burning the wick emits lead levels sometimes 5 times the limit acceptable for children. Scented candles are even more toxic because of the artificial dyes and scents used to create them that pollute the air when burned. So what is the natural alternative? Beeswax candles! Not only are beeswax candles safe, but they also clean and purify the air. The details may be quite boring to most but, long science lecture cut short, beeswax emits negative (good) ions which bind to positive (not so good) ions making them heavy where they can no longer float in the air and pollute your home! So help your air go natural by investing in some beeswax candles. Now someone's grandmother is going to be upset with me for this, but ammonia and bleach are NOT safe cleaning agents! They are both strong respiratory irritants meaning they will either create or aggravate respiratory issues like asthma. We have all been taught that if you want to kill all the germs and get something extra clean and white, then bleach and ammonia are a necessity, but at what cost? The labels on containers of bleach warn about it being corrosive and a skin and eye irritant but, even worse, just inhaling bleach can cause scarring to the respiratory tract and deterioration of the lungs. That means that anyone in your household present while you are cleaning with it is affected, especially with use over time. Ammonia, also a powerful irritant, is not a better choice and has more instant negative effects. So what can we use instead? How can we ?go natural? with our cleaning? Baking soda and vinegar can both be used to clean pretty much anything in your home safely and naturally. If you are looking for a green cleaner, there are also some great alternatives out there that will clean effectively without the health hazards. If reading any of this has inspired you to make some lifestyle changes, then I have done my job. If you are looking for a brand to help you ?go natural?, check out Xanthines CafĂŠ (www.xanthinescafe.com) for all natural alternatives to the toxic products I mentioned here and more. This is a brand I can vouch for because I created it! Tamykah Anthony-Marston is a passionate scientistpreneur and Founder of Xanthines CafĂŠ, a company that uses science to promote and inspire a more connected lifestyle through education and enrichment by teaching you about YOU.

There is NOTHING like ending dinner in a romantic sexy way with......DESSERT. There's nothing more sexy than making dessert and you both eating it together. So I put together my take on a Strawberry ShortCut Cake Recipe You can make these in 2 small glasses or 1 big glass and share. NO FIGHTING PLEASE...You can make your cake or buy it ready made. The fun is making the whip cream.

Here is what you need: 1 or 2 Glasses

Mason Jar (Discount store has them)

Store bought cake


Confection Sugar

Heavy Cream Vanilla

FOR BEST RESULTS CHILL THE JAR IN THE FREEZER Make the whipped cream 1st 1 Cup Heavy Cream 2 1/ 2 teaspoons of Confection Sugar A DALLOP of Vanilla Give the jar to your significant other and have them shake vigorously. It will take 5 minutes of continuous shaking but when you taste this whip cream it will be worth it.... Meanwhile...Slice up a few strawberries.. Cut up the cake and place in the Glass or Glasses. Arrange the strawberries in the glass Add the whip cream Then repeat these steps and top with a Strawberry VOĂ?LA

TThe year I was in school to be a veterinary nurse my Grandmother Annie Mae lost her battle with breast cancer 3 days before my birthday during breast cancer awareness month. I made a decision to not go back to school and focus on keeping her legacy alive. So was born Annie Mae?s Bakery www.anniemaescheesecakes.com

"Classy Come back Finding your Authentic Self " New Year ,New You.... Have you had one of those crappy days and it insults you? Instead of throwing out unforgivable curses that could make you seem sluggish, you should fight back with a classy comeback. There is nothing like after a long exhausting work week than unwinding with a weekend spa session; getting hair and nails treatment with your close friends while enjoying the best self-care reinforcement. Don't we all need self-care reinforcement at times? When was the last time you told yourself that you want to feel amazing? It's said that your own personal self-care ornament is your own personal graffiti. Likewise, for me personally, there is no greater expression of how I'm feeling on any particular day than the state of my hair condition. When my hair looks good, I feel great. As a full time professional stylist, I may not have the time to hit the nail salon, so I always give myself the best self-care reinforcement at home. This is easy for every woman to do, and at no cost, by giving yourself a manicure and pedicure treatment right from your own home. There are some great inexpensive products available to your needs. Take the time and think about what you want to do for yourself. It all starts with you. Sometimes we lack because we want to seek a professional to do our nails and pedicures when we can learn how to be our own professional therapist to our beauty needs.... and still feel amazing. When it comes to my hair care needs, I think about Hair Extending. Yes, we as women love options, and extending our hair is a quick way to create a new look. This new look can be a manageable and lasting style just to end the harsh bad hair days .What styles would you recommend that works well for you? When I?m on the go, I love weaves such as sew-ins. And with the best quality of hair, you can save yourself money and more importantly, time. Make a list of your options when purchasing weaves. Considering the number that are available, there?s one to suite all of your personal needs. There are so many ways to make every day count; we just have to learn how to use the tools available for us. Making great hair care decisions on desired styles during your Classy Comeback Journey is very important because you should always appear sophisticated and intelligent. Finding your Authentic Self is like going into something more. You're embarking on a new journey, facing your future by making time for yourself, and improving yourself by excavating your past. We are always afraid to start something we want to make good. Are you with me? If you are, you've got to make a conscious choice to shed the ?the old you? and the old patterns. We no longer have the luxury of wallowing in what's holding us back. This is an emotional baggage that is standing between you and your dreams of becoming a New You! If you want to discover your Something More, the adventure requires a point of departure on your new journey. You must have the willingness to shed what?s predictable, in order to embrace the New You and your passion. Latoya Stegall known as ?Mz Toya? a writer from Tupelo,Ms she now resides in Atlanta, Ga. Latoya has been writing since her youth in high school ,she started to show her talents publicly when she landed her first contract in 2013 where she was offered to write for an Urban Professional.Magazine in Dayton ,Ohio. After five years successful years of writing over 30 articles in print magazines she began to expand her audience writing for various of different magazines and working with upcoming talents and conducting Celebrity interviews.

New Year, New You: Wig Out!!

Happy New Year Lovelies!!! It is 2017 and I am excited for the many possibilities the New Year brings. For most people, the start of the new year is a great time for reinvention and a great way to reinvent your look...WIGS!!! When it comes to my hair, I love to try new things. I've had short, long, straight, curly, wavy, blue, black, red, blonde, purple and even grey hair!! I'm always changing my look. So with a new year as we get to working off those holiday pounds and getting our summer bodies ready, why not try some new hair? The commercial hair industry when it comes to wigs has definitely stepped up the game. These ain't grandma's wigs anymore (Not that I don't love your wigs Nana) there are tons of options including: Half wigs that will allow you to use a perimeter of your own hair for a natural blend Full wigs for the ultimate coverage can be worn completely over your hair And lace fronts which feature parting spaces made of individually vented hair strands for an even more natural look. These wigs come in different fibers such as human, synthetic, blends and Futura (a less expensive option which allows you to use heat for styling); and come in a wide variety of colors and trendy hairstyles. Prices depend on brand, style, hair fiber and customization and can range from $20 to $400+. So it's your first time, you're a wig virgin and this all sounds intimidating, no worries!! Here's a few of my personal tips for finding just what's right for you.


Take it for a spin: try before you buy. Go into your local beauty supply store and ask for assistance in trying on a few. You'll be asked to purchase a wig (stocking) cap if you don't have your own and the store associates will help you try them on, adjust them to your liking and help you to decide what you are going for.


Get online! If you know a little about what you are looking for, there are great beauty supply stores right at your fingertips. Check out sites like Sam's Beauty, Elevate Styles, Wig Types and Sista Wigs for loads of options. Compare prices, available colors and selections and have them shipped right to your door!


Pop on the Tube. Last but definitely not least, hop on YouTube. I love watching hair reviews (I can literally do it all day!) What better than not only someone whose already tried it to give you the pros and cons of what to expect but being able to see how it looks and is styled on a real person. You can just type in "Wig reviews" in the search bar and get comfortable!! A few of my favorite YouTube wig sisters include Ms MuffinIsMyLovers, TheHeartsandCake90, and GirlRatesWorld...these ladies will have you ordering boxes of wigs in no time (OK maybe that's just me, just start with one lol)

Wigs are great because you can try out many cuts and colors with no damage or wear and tear to your natural hair. (Always remember to protect your hair under your wigs!!) With the right wig, makeup and outfit, you'll be feeling like a new 2017 you every day and you can tell the old you, "New hair, who dis?" These are some of my 2016 wig looks that I had fun changing up with. Tag me on Instagram @TiffanyShawntay in some of your favorite wigs! I look forward to seeing the new you! As always, take care of those tresses!

Tiffany Shawntay is a 30(ish) Brooklyn born, NYC based Hairstylist and Freelance Writer. She is currently working on her first blog. You can keep up with her across social media platforms as TiffanyShawntay.

New Year. Fresh Looks. The New Year is now the current year. We've made it through Hollow-Thanks-Kwanza-Hanuk-Christmas-Day. If you're anything like me you've barely made it out. You possibly lost a few brain cells, but most definitely a few hundred strands of hair! Lucky for us the new year can mean a fresh start, a "fresh new you", or a "fresh new (old) you" either way here are some fresh face makeup looks for 2017. Ms. Peachy Keen. Peach is taking the beauty industry by storm. From peach colored lipstick to fresh peachy highlighters, you can't go wrong with the "peachy trend". $49.00 at TooFaced.com Via: stylesweekly.com NARS Orgasm and Burts Bee's Sunny Day MelaniemillsHollywood.com Fresh Face Frenzy. The no makeup-makeup look. This original Starlet look is timeless. Before us Millennials blessed the world with Instagram-Beat Face makeup trends, the "it" girls used this look to enhance their features, rather than make their features look like they were made on an assembly line at a Drag Queen factory. #guilty Via: stylesweekly.com $10 Local Drug Store or blackopalbeauty.com $17 Maccosmetics.com Dark Nudes. When you think nudes you usually think of the lighter fleshy colors. The term Nude is more of a spectrum of colors from fleshy pinks to deep berry hues. Due to poor representation in the beauty industry, almost all dark skin women including myself have made the mistake of thinking "her nude" is "my nude". Via: Diply.com Via: bing.com $6 NYX Brownstone Via: Pinterest.com

Akyiia Harrison Brooklyn Licensed Cosmetologist MUA Hairstylist Blowout Specialist

Business Branding Business branding is like the hot new boyfriend, but marketing is your forever husband. Although people get uber excited about building their brand, the bottom line is if you haven?t taken the time to develop your business and marketing plans, you?re trying to drive without a steering wheel! With that said, let?s talk about branding! I?ll break it down into tips for new and established businesses. So, entrepreneurs who are a couple years into the game, what can I share with you? First of all, if you haven?t looked at your online and offline brand, including all collateral marketing material (brochures, letterhead, business cards, newsletters, etc.) in a while, take off your rose-colored glasses and have a GOOD look. Examine ALL of your social media profiles, including your profile photos, your covers and the (probably tired) graphics you?ve been using. Create some new ones for the new year and Hootsuite or Buffer (or whatever) it up. Automation is the key to staying on top of the social media overload that is prevalent when you run your own business. While I?d much prefer you to hire me to create fabulous graphics for the new year, a lot of businesses have to do it themselves so consider learning a new trick. Canva. If you don?t know what it is, download it. It?s free and fabulous. The mobile version is fantastic, but the one on the desktop is FIRE! Disclaimer: I?m not being paid to promote Canva, but I sure wish I was! If you know people who know people, contact me!!! Where are all of my newbies? Heyyyy! In some ways, you are in the best position. You?re new enough to feel like King Kong scaling those skyscrapers! Us veterans sometimes feel tired and jaded so it?s great to see fresh faces in the game. What?s good for you is we?ve experienced the hard knocks so we can help you get out FAST from the gate. My advice to you is to take some time AND, yes I?m going to say it, MONEY, and invest in growing yourself as well as your business. Don?t think you have to do it ALL, but in the beginning, if you don?t have capital to invest in human capital (employees or outsourcing), you WILL have to do it all. If you?re shaky in some areas, invest in a course. If you don?t know about finances, get some help. If you are color blind and don?t know an em space from a hole in the ground, get some help! Please ...

If you do nothing else, learn about this thing called ?opportunity cost.? If you?re spending 20 hours of time building a website that an expert could create in 1.5 hours, you?re wasting time. The clichĂŠs are often true. TIME IS MONEY. Invest it wisely. So, let?s summarize: -

Either invest in a brand audit or do it yourself with OBJECTIVITY. Invest in the time to learn how to do things or hire experts in the field. Note: ?Pookie and ?em? are not usually experts. Remember that tomorrow is not promised so GO FOR IT! (Okay, I snuck this one in because it?s oh so true!)

It?s 2017 so it?s time to DO THIS!

RenĂŠe Purdie is a branding and communications specialist who PUSHES entrepreneurs to LEVEL UP in their brand, their thinking and their lives. She has over 20 years of writing, editing, design and strategic marketing experience on two continents: Australia and the United States. To DEMOLISH what?s been holding you and your brand back, contact The Dream Pusher on info@MsRisingStar.com.


For the couple that loves to bake together: Totally Sweet Products by Architec brands (http:// architecproducts.com/ tsp/ ) has a number of products designed to give the home baker tools to create a bakery finish every time. When designing this line, the team channeled the home baker but called on the pros to help develop items that would make it easy and fun to produce creative & professional baked goods! And the best part, 5% of TSP sales go toward the Bake for Benny fund, benefitting pet charities & shelters nationwide!

For friends/couples who love to perform: Singing Machine (www.singingmachine.com) lets you and your boo thang rock out to the latest hits on the most tech-savvy karaoke machines. The Carnaval is equipped with all you need to throw an indoor or outdoor party with built-in collapsible handle and wheels for easy mobility. Set up is easy whether you use the system via a power outlet or run it on the integrated rechargeable battery for up to many hours of pure entertainment. Now convenience meets fun because you can search for songs and create custom playlists right from the karaoke system. This usually retails for $229, but can be found at Walmart for $159. (Other models come at different prices.)

For a best friend?s night in: Did someone say makeover?! The best gift for a girl?s night in is a gift set from Urb Apothecary (http:// www.urbapothecary.com/ ). Green your beauty routine with a gift set from the all natural and organic line of skin + hair care that features amazing items such as Copal Palo Santo Body Oil, Cactus Face Polish, Prickly Pear Eye + Face Elixir and more. Gift sets range from $26-95.

For the couple who loves their dog: ZenCrate (www.zendogcrate.com) is the world?s first anti-anxiety dog den. Not only does it alleviate pet stress with vibration dampening feet, motion-sensored fans and an anti-anxiety curated playlist, but it also doubles as a beautiful piece of furniture. ZenCrate is made in the USA with clean products, not nasty chemicals and by-products that are often harmful for dogs. The ZenCrate is perfect for puppy parents and can be purchased online at www.zendogcrate.com.

For the beach babes: BIKINIbox (http:// www.shopbikinibox.com/ ) is the best way to get your gear for the beach and beyond. Featuring the hottest styles of beach wear, Bikini Box is delivered straight to your door! Inventory is always being updated and can be found online.

J Us t i n t i me f or Val ent i ne's Days Tani USA SIl k Cut c ol l ec t i on i nmen's & women's Gi ve your s weet i e s omet hi ng s of t t hi s year ! www.t ani us a.c om

J Us t i n t i me f or Val ent i ne's Days Tani USA SIl k Cut c ol l ec t i on i nmen's & women's www.t ani us a.c om

What i s a Southern Gentleman Recently I had the pleasure of sitting and chatting with some "old school" Southern Gentlemen (R. Stubbs & I. Goodman) and I must say it was a revelation. While we laughed, and joked these gentlemen dropped pearls of knowledge and it was definitely from the heart because these men have daughters and female family members that they hold in high esteem. We touched on so many topics I decided this article would be a series. The first question that I asked them was, ?What defines a southern gentleman?? The answer was so simple, ?southern gentleman are RESPECTFUL.? Now, before a civil war breaks out both men lived in New York for over 40 years so they are more than qualified to answer that question. They also acknowledged that there are some respectful northern gentlemen as well. RESPECTFUL I know what the word means but I needed to know what they meant in context to a southern gentleman. Women: Southern men respect all women always old, young, southern, northern women are to be respected always. They believe women deserve respect because they give life Hats: Northern men wear their hats anyway (backward, to the side etc.) and don't remove their hats when they are indoors or at a restaurant, whereas a southern gentleman will either remove his hat or tips his hat. They did note that not all men in the south are a southern gentleman there are so many men that come from different places that are now in the south that wasn't raised in the south so they don't know the things they need to do to be respectful. A southern gentleman will pull your seat out for you, hold a door open for you either takes his hat off or tips it to greet you. I can attest to this, I visited Hominy Grill in South Carolina and this gentleman was walking out with his party as we were walking in I don't think he saw us but when he realized he came back apologized and held the door which was quite impressive since I?ve encountered a few black males who?ve rushed passed me to get on an elevator first or stepped in front of me to get out first but I digress. My second question: So, is that something that your generation does but that the younger generation doesn?t know or haven?t been taught? The consensus was they haven?t been taught they don't have the fathers or mothers to teach them because mothers and grandmothers can teach them, the problem is we have 50-year-old grandmothers instead of the 80-year-old grandmothers (Big Momma) so one young generation teaches the next generation the bad habits. Television and the commercialism of the world also plays a role, now a good southern gentleman can deal with the commercialism of the world because he was brought up with these three values: -

Care about people Be Courteous Be Kind

Next month we will be talking about relationships and life

Conditioning Our Minds to Prepare for Our Loves As we bring to a close another year and start a new year, the excitement is always refreshing. It is always a time of reflection, possible adjustments, or just overall new goals. As we come out of the holiday season and into a new year, one of the persistent themes during this time is LOVE. The holidays are the time of year we are looking to share special memories and intimate moments with that special person in our lives. For some of us, that special person is already there and we are looking to enhance that relationship. For others, it may be the process of trying to find that special person to enjoy the holidays with AND go into Valentine?s Day building and enjoying the LOVE that is being created. In either situation it is an ongoing process. It is my firm belief that our mindset and our Mental Conditioning is the cornerstone to guiding every aspect of our lives. Although it may seem unconventional, how we condition our minds is pivotal to the direction of finding, accepting, and keeping our Loves!!! In our lives, our LOVES can be intimate relationships as previously mentioned, or can be the LOVE we desire from our families. Sometimes that LOVE can be a strong friendship. The emotion of LOVE is one of the most powerful forces we have on the planet!! The power of LOVE at times causes perceived uncontrollable occurrences in our lives. Those occurrences are sometimes extremely positive and at times overwhelmingly negative. So the question that is on the table here is ?can we control the emotion of LOVE and where it takes us in our lives?? I would say the answer is probably not! However, I would challenge that our mindset and how we condition our minds can control our DECISIONS to matchup with the emotions of LOVE that we cannot control. This is a process that is easier said than done, easier written than executed. This is an illustration of why I use the term ?MENTAL CONDITIONING?. It is a process of constantly exercising our minds to be strong enough to make decisions against an enormous force such as LOVE. It is a never ending, constantly maintaining process that I affirm strongly will give us a foundation in all the previously mentioned LOVE relationships and more. Specifically in our already formulated intimate relationships the rewards are gratifying. One of the critical exercises in Mental Conditioning is formulating a Big Pictures for ourselves. Throughout the process at some point we will find that intimate LOVE that we look at as part of our Big Picture. I encourage everyone to embrace the results. Those results will greatly aid you on the decision making process. The decisions can range from deciding who to marry, to start a family, the lifestyle of a couple, and everything ?in between?. The ?in between? has enormous obstacles that can surely bring things to a standstill. However trust in the Mental Conditioning process and implement the foundation built. The Mental Conditioning Process can be implemented across all of the LOVE relationships mentioned earlier. As family members (Husbands, Wives, Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Fathers, Sons, Daughters, etc.) the power of LOVE has the same uncontrollable effect on our emotions. Consequently with the process of building our mental strength we can improve our decision making in dealing with the emotion of LOVE. The beauty of LOVE is creating a special bond and matchup between individuals. Our mindset is a critical component to creating that bond and special matchup illustrating the beauty of mental conditioning. Elliot Allen is passionate about the topic of Mental Conditioning. He has made it as his life?s mission to prove Mental Conditioning effects every part of our lives. He has been facilitating several seminars/ workshops on various topics and showing the connection to Mental Conditioning. Elliot presently works in law enforcement for the last 12 years. He lives in New York and has an amazing family with his wife and their two sons. Elliot can be contacted by email at eallen067@gmail.com .

3 Reasons Self- Love is Not Selfish My desk was absurdly cluttered although the merging piles of documents and craft supplies made sense to me. What did not make sense is how I allowed this to happen. The desk was purely a visual for my thoughts and overwhelming emotions of distress. Those were not as easily managed. I had chosen the needs of others over mine to an extreme level. While intending to help, my strength was exhausted. I remember thinking I could not go on this way, and I was right! Admittedly, self-love was a foreign concept, and taking care of me seemed selfish. There are three (if not more!) vital reasons self-love is not selfish. 1. Self-love allows us to be there for our loved ones. I had fallen prey to one of the oldest and most misleading myths about women - we are superb at multitasking. According to the comprehensive study published by Thomas Buser and Noemi Peter in Experimental Economics,1 no man or woman can have two thoughts or carry out even two simple tasks at the same time. We think we can because our brains switch between them rapidly. When we say yes to too many obligations, we become less available emotionally. Since I could only accomplish one thing at a time, I found myself frustrated to a breaking point. My children did not have my optimum attention. The oldest boy, 12 at the time, said, "Mom, I just want us to be a family again." Ouch. 2. Self-love creates humility. Everyone intuitively understands there is something amiss about an obnoxious fellow employee or social acquaintance who brags and puts other people down. Me, me, me is an exercise in self-focus, not self-love. By first understanding we have needs, we realize our kinship with everyone else. None of us is empty of pain, spiritual hunger, or deep desires. How can I be your answer when I am not perfect? Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, self-love teaches me to see my needs in a sober light. Now I can meaningfully relate to the human race. 3. Self-love allows others to participate Determined to find a sense of balance, I made a few phone calls and stepped down from excess duties. Responses varied. One woman, who had not led a group before, volunteered to teach crafts. A man took over a study group comprised largely of male teens. It had never crossed my mind that a novice might benefit from taking on the work or that by allowing something to go undone, a better idea could take shape. Inadequate multitasking was replaced with more efficiency and success. Self-love blossoms under the nurture of self-care. Proper rest improves my mental health, and taking time to grow spiritually changes my outlook. God's love reaches my heart because it no longer opposes my sense of value. There is room for stronger relationships, proactive love for people who hurt, and a more robust participation in life. By loving me, I can love others. That is never selfish.

Nancy Virden is a suicide attempt survivor turned Mental Health and Recovery Advocate. She is a three-time author and founder of Always the Fight Ministries. You can find out more at http://www.AlwaysTheFight.com Buser, T. & Peter, N., (2012) Multitasking. Experimental Economics, 15(1), 641- 655. Retrieved on January 4, 2016 from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10683-012-9318-8

Self-care is Love: Delivering the Self-Love You Deserve With Valentine?s Day approaching love and romance are in the air. So let?s take a moment to talk about love. There are many forms of love and affection. The love we seek is sometimes the love we owe ourselves. It?s important to make sure that we keep ourselves in mind when we?re giving love. Here are five self-care methods to maximize the love you give to yourself. 1) Affirmations. Affirmations are a powerful tool in creating your reality. Words and thoughts carry energy and when you repeat messages, you begin to will them into existence. Affirming yourself and getting used to praise in your own voice can have an immediate impact on the way you feel. The way you feel will radiate out of you and your light will begin to positively affect everyone around you. There are so many messages of hate and inadequacy in the world so it?s important to be your own safe haven. Give yourself the kindness you would like to receive from others. **When creating affirmations, it is important to focus on positive words. Use the affirmative for whatever it is that you are claiming. For example, instead of saying ?I am not afraid?, not and afraid being negative words, say ?I am brave.? A phrase like ?I have no doubts? can be changed to ?I am reassured.? 2) Meditation/Stillness. Being present with your thoughts is another you can show yourself love. Some people meditate. Others pray and some even write. Whatever your preference, taking pause for reflection or just quietude has great benefits to your health. There is no wrong way as long as you are creating mental space and re-centering yourself. Taking the time to shift your focus to self is a very loving act. You don?t have to be thinking about anything specific for this to be effective. Being still/ quiet and focusing on love is a good place to start, though. As you develop a skill for meditation this becomes easier. You can make adjustment to ensure that you are getting the most out of meditation as you get used to the practice. 3) Unplugging. In line with mediation, unplugging is a good way to express love to yourself. There is so much stimuli around us all of the time. Especially now, with technology advancing social media faster than we can keep up. As difficult as it may be, it?s a good idea to take a break from all of the screens in your life every once in awhile. When you have successfully unplugged, take in what is around you. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is be by yourself sans distraction.

4) Adequate Rest. People truly underestimate the power of rest. Without it, we lack focus and mental clarity. It even affects many of us emotionally when we are in need of rest. Life can get busy and finding the time to get the full recommended 8-9 hours of sleep nightly may seem unrealistic. If you prioritize rest you can find ways to get closer to that ideal. Not getting into bed with your phone is one of the ways; shutting the TV off at a certain time is another. We generally feel better when we are well-rested. Practicing the things that make you feel good and in turn contribute to your happiness is a simple way to give yourself the love you want and deserve. 5) Indulge. The concept of pleasure tends to be associated with guilt. We are taught that we are only supposed to have limited amounts of things that we enjoy. Everything in moderation I suppose, but the idea of ?guilty pleasures? can cause us to deprive ourselves of the things that make us happy. There is nothing wrong with indulging. Instead of constantly striving for perfection in depravation, start embracing good enough by allowing yourself satisfaction. Indulgence is different for everyone. Some people indulge with their favorite foods. Some consider television pleasurable. Choose something that makes you smile or provides you with peace. It really doesn?t matter. Just remember, it?s more than okay to indulge. Allow yourself to have the things that provide you happiness. Love shouldn?t be a complicated process. Most of us have no problem loving outwardly but are lacking when it comes to ourselves. Even when we do, we seem to do it in passing. Love is an action word. That applies to how we love inwardly too! Employing any of these methods for an extended period of time can have great impact on how you feel. And for those of you seeking relationships, these steps can help you manifest the love you desire. Creating a welcoming place within yourself will certainly attract others. Set the tone for the love you not only want but require from your partners. The love you show yourself will in turn attract the same in the people around you. Tiffanie Bernard is the founder and CEO of Embodi Collective, THE place for all things indie, plus-size and dope! Pretty much born with the creative bug, as long as she can remember, she?s had a huge passion for designing and creating. Her most recent endeavors have lead her to women?s fashion.Tiffanie understands the importance of developing your own personal style. Embodi Collective is her answer to that.

10 Dos & DON?Ts to Loving Yourself

DON?T disrespect yourself Death and life is in the tongue. If we speak badly of ourselves then it?s highly possible we will become who we speak about. DO say ?NO? when you need to. It is OKAY to say no when you feel uncomfortable or feel overwhelmed. KNOW your limits. DON?T try to please everyone We can only truly please ourselves. Self-gratification is the best thing we can do for ourselves. Accept that everyone is not your friend and everyone is not here for your success in life. DO show gratitude Showing gratitude allows us to look into what truly matters and what we are blessed to possess in ourselves and what others give us. DON?T fearing change Change is evitable. If we fight change then we are just slowing up the process of our growth, DO feel your feelings It is okay to let your feelings out and express them. Feelings especially grief and pain are better out than in. Building up of negative feelings can only cause explosions and outbursts. DON?T live in the past Living in the past can only bring heartache most times we think about what angers us and this causes setbacks in our present and future endeavors. DO pursue a hobby Pursuing a hobby that makes you happy provides a way to relieve stress and anxiety. We are not looking to be in a comfort zone but we want to be able to be confident in our daily strides and decisions in life. Make your hobby a career if it?s providing you true happiness. DON?T wait for someone else to bring you flowers when you can plant and sow the seeds of life for yourself for your blessings and soul to grow. We can?t look for others to make us happy with ourselves. If those person, places, or things leave our lives then all we have is ourselves.

DO treat yourself Make a budget for yourself that allows you to treat yourself once a week with little things and possibly one big thing a month. Example of this can be a manicure once a week and a massage day once a month. A yearly getaway is advised if and all possible.

Ways to Improve YOU Do a SWOT analysis on yourself. Write your strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats down and plan ways to improve or get rid of those things to be a better, happier YOU. Write yourself a love letter on your bathroom mirror or on something and leave it on your bedroom pillow for when you get home. GET BALANCED- take breaks from social media, your electronic devices, eat healthy, workout regularly and meditate. Raiments to Think About Loving yourself is essential because this is who you will spend the rest of your life with. Loving self is the greatest untelevised revolution one could ever experience in life. Your relationship with yourself sets the tempo for all relationships the you have

N. Chanel Hunter, CPLC Certified Professional Life Coach

L Juan & Y asmin 1. How did you meet? We met on the night of February 11th 2005 in the Bronx on Fordham Road, I was trying to catch a cab and he stopped me and asked me my name 1. How long have we been together? We are going on 12 years... it will be 12 years next month February 23rd. 3. How did you know he or she was the one? Honestly I didn't know he was the one I just simply took a chance with someone who I was interested in and now years later we are here married with 2 kids 4. Tell us two reasons why your love is solid? Our love is solid because first and foremost we have loyalty with in our union... Secondly because we have communication amongst one another. 5. What advice can you offer to someone who is still searching? The only advice I can give honestly speaking is that you have to be willing to give love a chance and also willing to accept a person with flaws and all because everyone comes with a pass. 6. Name one song that sums up your relationship perfectly? Well this is easy I would have to say my wedding song by Jon B- They Don't Know

O Jamal & M ikki 1.

How did you meet?

Mikki: We met a long time ago at a lounge during a Meet and Greet, but stayed connected via Social Media! Then we reconnected a few years ago. Jamal: We met about 10 years ago at a film screening hosted by a mutual friend of ours. 2.

How long have you been together?

Mikki: We've been together almost three years. Jamal: About 4 years 3.

How did you know he or she was ?the one??

Mikki: think "The One" is overrated....I think once you make a connection with someone you realize this person is for you. You create a bond to commit that it will work for you. Once you realize that, love comes in and conquers all. Jamal: We would talk on the phone for hours at a time. Anyone who can catch my attention on the phone for so long must be interesting (I am not one to talk on the phone). Even though we shared the same interest we are entirely two different types of people and that?s the best part because in my life she is the missing piece, she completes me, say for example I am one who would see a ditch and walk over it not thinking about falling in. Mae on the other hand would pull me back and say hold on. I thought that I was the one who would always look out for better ways to enhance our relationship, but no it?s her. I?m in the running but she got me beat by a long run, and that works.


Tell us two reasons why your love is solid?

Mikki: Hummm....interesting question! How do you really know if the LOVE is solid! Sometimes I think people take advantage of the word LOVE! It's more than that, it's about creating a safety net of trust, honesty, respect, faith and security. Love comes and goes, it's the attachment that makes it solid! Jamal: In any endeavor there are times when one falls, it?s not how many times you fall that counts to get to that goal it?s how many times you pick yourself up. That being said, we come to our pitfalls and disagreements, she could tell me something and out of the blue I am infuriated, but we respect each other and care for each other feelings. I would then look at her side of the story and have a uh huh moment. You know something, she may be right or I see what she is saying. Then there?s our relationship I look at it as it?s a not about me It?s about us and everyone that surrounds us such as our children. Our love is based on Christ love for us, meaning just as in the written that he so love the Church and he gave himself for it. That is the spiritual and emotional commitment.


What advice can you offer those that are still searching?

Mikki: For Women, take your time and get to know a Man spiritually, emotionally, verbally, and sensually. Stop looking at a man's financial pockets and seek out his heart first. Then see if he's goal and career oriented minded. Please, find out if he's interested in having a relationship! For Men, get inside a women's heart, soul, and mind. See if she's worth waiting for, in order to build with. Focus on communication, dedication, socialization and determination. Leave the physical and sexual attributes last. Find out is she worthy! Jamal:That?s it, don?t. People who tend to search for someone 9 times out of 10 find someone and concentrate on the relationship other than the person they are looking to have a relationship with. They tend to go all out of their way to impress them, concede to their liking and then in the long run they stress themselves trying to live up to the expected of them and then on the other hand, concentrating on the relationship other than the person you tend not to discover the inner person rather than what you see on the outside. Everything that glitter is not gold. Mae and I wasn?t looking for each other and at the time I wasn?t looking for anyone it just happened.


Name one song that sums up your relationship perfectly?

Mikki: Nobody by KEM Jamal: I Found Heaven by the Rippertons featuring Howard Hewitt

V M elissa & T yrone 1We met when we were teenagers, we dated as teenagers for about 3 years and then separated. We reconnected about 6 years ago after saving me from an abusive relationship. A mutual friend reached out to him, and told him what my situation was, and he immediately came to save me. We were each other?s first love, first everything. 2-

We have been back together now for 6 years, since he saved my life.

3Our love is solid because of communication and understanding. We can be ourselves around each other, we don't have to pretend. And most importantly he is understanding and extremely patience with my aftereffects of my domestic violence past. He doesn't judge me on my past mistakes, and he takes time to understand my anxiety, PTSD and insomnia nights, he holds me and makes me feel secure that he will never ever let anyone hurt me again. It takes a standup guy to deal with a woman who has a broken past trying to help her heal. He is extremely supportive of me becoming an advocate on dv and supports me 100 percent in sharing my story, and for that reason alone he will always hold a very special place in my heart. 4Our love is solid because of trust and communication, which are key components in a successful relationship. 5The best advice I can offer to someone searching for love is STOP searching and just let it happen, it will happen when you least expected. The more you search you may attract the wrong energy. 6I can't name just one song, but I will give you two that we both feel is on point (mine) would be Keith Sweat- Make it last forever (his) Usher & Alicia Keyes- My Boo When we listen to the words of each of those songs, that's our LOVE story.

E T amykahn & Suga R ay 1. How did you meet? Suga Ray: It was December 17th, 2014. One of my favorite days of the year. Not only are we approaching the Winter Solstice at that time, but the 17th is also one my favorite Uncle's birthday. Aside from that, 1+7 = 8 and 8 has always been one of my favorite numbers. Anyway, my day began in Brooklyn doing a clothing give away with some friends. It was one of the young brother's birthday as well and he wanted to celebrate by giving away clothing to people in his community. During the give away I noticed a beautiful, single leaf in the middle of our circle. My Spirit told me to pick it up, so I did, yet I had no legit reason for doing so. Anyway, tired and with a leaf in my pocket I left Brooklyn and headed to Harlem for a meeting we had scheduled with some martial artists. After the meeting I checked my phone and noticed there were several missed calls from a great friend, who happened to be one of my spiritual guides, one that I don't speak with often. She was in the area and felt I was close by. I left the meeting location and went to chill with the friend. I knew something crazy was in the air when she told me it was her birthday as well. I was in awe! Aside from December 17th being one of my favorite days of the year, it happened to be the birthday of three people whom I hold a deep love and respect for. We decided to go chill in Queensbridge, where we both were from. Before we got to our destination she stopped in her tracks and exclaimed "Wait! I have a sister over here that I need to check. Do you mind?" At first I was skeptical. I wanted to go kick back and relax a bit. However, I obliged and we went to visit this friend. When I walked through that door I had no idea I would marry that woman in just a few short months. It was about an hour into the conversation that I felt a huge spark. We were discussing agriculture and general science when my future wife said "Sis, did I tell you about the infatuation my son has with leaves?" I jumped out my seat swearing to them that I had a leaf in my pocket. I went to retrieve the leaf and this little boy, her son, ran to me with excitement on his face and joy in his heart. I gave him the leaf, and today, almost two years later that leaf is still in tact.

2. How long have you been together? We got engaged in February 2015 and married 2 months later in April 2015. We've been together for almost two years. 3.

How did you know he or she was ?the one??

Tamykah: He was the first person who inspired me to love myself by the way that he loved me. Suga Ray: Everything, scientifically, mathematically and spirutally just added up. On top of that, being with her gave me feelings and thoughts that I never experienced before and so I knew early on that I wanted to spend the rest of my life building an empire and creating magic with her. 4.

Tell us two reasons why your love is solid?

Suga Ray: First and foremost, I made a commitment, and although we disagree and argue at times, I wouldn't change it for the world. Additionally, our love is solid because our dreams, our pasts and our visions are so in sync. Tamykah: I would say because the universe worked extremely hard to make sure we met so we both realize the divinity and beauty in that. Also, we have been through more in our first year of marriage than most couples go through in their first 10 years so we can pretty much get through anything at this point 5. What advice can you offer those that are still searching? Suga Ray: Be patient with yourself. Try and try until you get it right. Tamykah: Things will not be peaches and cream all the time like the movies show but it is in those times of adversity in your relationship that defines it and makes it stronger. Grow together. 6. Name one song that sums up your relationship perfectly? That's easy, "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran. This was also our engagement and wedding song.

Single Like a Dollar Bill. It is ok to be single and being single isn?t a death sentence. !! Most of you are reading this is saying, ?Huh where did that come from.? Well, I just came back from a lovely birthday vacation and both my brother and sister wanted to know did I meet a man. While I don?t have a problem with marital bliss or coupledom, I don?t feel that my life is less than because I don?t have it. I have great friends, I travel and I basically do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and without dealing with the opinions or feelings of a mate. For lack of a better word I?m living the life of Riley. Now don?t get me wrong I?m open to being courted (be involved with romantically, typically with the intention of marrying ) the flowers, candy, wining & dining etc bring it on. However, if it doesn?t happen I am quite capable of doing all the above for myself minus all the possible headaches and heartbreaks. I?m too old for a build a man. and since I?m a work in progress I find I only have time for one project at a time. Being single isn?t a curse, I am not doomed to live alone with 10 cats (especially since I don?t like cats) there is a difference between being single and being lonely and I am not lonely. Some are in relationships for sake of the Facebook status. It?s just more to say they have someone but really not having someone. I am also seeing a lot of people in these one sided relationships.. one person is with one and the other is out doing whatever they want to do. In today?s world I am choosing to be happy over everything and If being single means carefree, happy, and no drama then please keep me signed up!

New Year.. New You.. New Love It?s a new year, you?re getting yourself together, Here are the 9 steps to getting you a new love. 1.

Take inventory of yourself, needs, wants, etc.

2. Reflect on your past(s) relationships. What went wrong, what went good, things you did, didn?t do, etc. 3. Out with the old, in with the new? ClichĂŠ or nah?? I do believe that in order to start anything brand new, you must first get rid of everything you already have. So ladies and gents, if you are holding on to those old pictures, text messages, voicemails, etc. LET THEM GO! 4. Identify and be clear on what you are really y looking for. Do you want a full time, part-time, text thing, sex thing, etc. 5. Have an open mind, if you want something different then you need to do something different. 6.

Be Strategic: dating is a sport, so let?s play to win.

7. Go out and date, let?s not fall for the FIRST cute face and smile that we see. Know that there are plenty of fish in the sea. 8. Make a list and check it twice. What are the qualities that you are looking in a mate? What are somethings that you want to stay away from. 9.

Smile you never know who is watching

Althema Goodson of The Goodson Agency possesses a Master?s Degree in Organizational Leadership, a Bachelor?s Degree in Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing and an Associate?s Degree in Marketing. Her formal education is just as versatile as her resume. Being that that she lives in a fast paced society and city (New York) she balances many hats such as Social Philanthropist, Creative Director, Consultant Extraordinaire, Multi-Passionate, Facilitator, Developer, Radio Host and Co-Host among others. Due to her impressive work, Althema has been honored and applauded by Real Sisters Rising, The Phenomenal Women Group, New Beginning Dignity Services, and Premier Sisters Network. You can find her writings in the Suavv Magazine, X3 Magazine, and other literary locations.

Love is in the air! Valentine?s Day is approaching and ladies will be on the hunt for some fabulous looks for the night. Looking for the perfect look that's also flattering to your body shape can be challenging for some. Whether you're going out on the town with your special someone or hanging out at the singles club I've got a look for any event and for all body shapes

Apple or Pear shape You want to make that waist look as small as possible while still showing off your great curves. This capelet banded dress is perfect for a curvy size woman. The top will disguise any imperfections. And the fitted dress will look flattering and accentuate your curves! A more relaxed look! A pair of high waisted jeans and a good pair of pumps can make any curvy shape look great.

Rectangle Shape You want to accentuate your long legs so jumpers are a definite go to. Palazzo or wide leg pants are good styles to help show off those legs. This one sleeve jumper is a great look for a taller slim woman and will showcase your long legs. A perfect look for a rectangle shape or even an hourglass shape if you're tall. A more relaxed look! It takes a taller stature to wear these pants without it looking like too much fabric.

Hourglass Shape You want to show off your curves. Shorter cuts will elongate your legs. Fitted styles work great for these body types. Like pear shapes you want to look for styles that cinch the waist to accentuate your hourglass shape. This tuxedo dress is great for petite statures, the cut is perfect for hourglass figures. A more relaxed look! This A line mini skirt is a great style for hourglass shapes, it accentuates your smaller waist and curvy shape. Jessica Wilson is a 28 year old new blogger. Born and raised in Brooklyn NY she always had an eye for fashion and style even as a young girl. She learned a great deal about fashion from her grandmothers, her paternal grandmother studied fashion at FIT and her maternal grandmother is a self-taught designer. They both could sew and design clothes. So her fascination with fashion became natural. With a background in fashion marketing and a strong passion for fashion and beauty she began giving family and friends fashion tips who then encouraging her to begin blogging to share her fashion inspiration with others. So she created Abitofeverythang.com where she features fashion looks, inspiration, beauty and makeup looks and tips, inspiring stories, history, food and motherhood posts (hence the name Abitofeverythang)

Our Trip to Peru was a lot of fun! Well fun for me, yes, and my wife too! For our trip, we decided to hike double Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is about 8,000 feet above sea level and though we did see it, we went with the Lares Trek which was 15,000 feet. I am not an experienced hiker at all, so this was all new to me.

At the bottom you start off on a nice calm sunny day, maybe 80 degrees. As you continue up the mountain it goes down to 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, degrees and then it starts to rain because now your inside the clouds, then sleet, then hail and eventually snow. But if that is not enough, then you start to get less and less air. You see, right now the pressure on your body is about 14 Lbs., our bodies are used to that pressure, our lungs are really happy at that pressure, however as you go up in elevation that pressure gets less and less. So again it's 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 until you get to a point at maybe 10,000 feet where the best way to describe the way it feels is to pinch your nose and only use a slushy straw to breath, that's how it starts to feel, especially when you are pushing yourself. Everyone who pushed themselves too hard, failed! You had to be slow, calm, and relaxed. Even with all that it was an amazing trip. A real catharsis, mind over matter stuff, I mean, you go through every emotion, everything is telling you to quit! Stop! Go back! It's too hard for you! Your brain keeps repeating this with every step. Moving your legs gets harder with each step now feeling like your walking through sticky bubble gum. You needed to be much focused and talk yourself through it and be mentally strong. But I promise you this, that when you do finally reach the top, and you look back at everything you did, it's really an amazing feeling that I cannot put into words for you. I recommend that all you do something that takes you out of your comfort zone and you push yourself to achieve an even higher goal that accomplishment will stay with you for life, and will hover over you, helping you even when you?re at your lowest points.

Get Your Sh*t Together Please!!

I am home finishing up an order of wedding favors and my phone rings. What happens next changes my world forever. My brother is on the other end of the call and he tells me that?s he received a call from one of our mother?s friends in Florida and mom had a heart attack. She?s in the hospital in ICU. I replay in my head what he just said and I?m frozen stiff. My heart feels like its literally breaking and I suddenly burst into tears. I am a nurse by career so news dealing with health scares is not shocking for me normally, but this is totally something different when it comes to your loved one (in this case my mom). My brother and I coordinate flights to meet in Florida at the airport. A friend of mom picks us up and takes us straight to the hospital. We meet the nurse caring for her that night and she preps us for what we are about to walk in and see. She escorts us in and we see mom hooked up to all sorts of tubes and machines. The scene is something I have seen on a regular night at work, but again this is all different when it?s your loved one laying in the bed. In talking with the different members of mom?s medical team, my brother and I realized that we had to be prepared for the worst. So for the next few days we comb through mom?s papers to try to pay bills and get some understanding of her affairs. Very quickly we realize we know NOTHING about mom?s affairs. Before this heart attack my mom was more than capable of managing all her affairs so we had no reason to question her regarding them. Or so we thought. After hours of going through piles of bills and being told by the bank that they can?t assist me with any details on mom?s account we eventually figured out enough to get her bills paid. Now what I gave you was the short version of what happened. I tell you we learned a lot during this experience and I am on a mission to share my experience. I don?t want you to go through what I went through. So some quick tips. There are some forms that we all need to have in place regardless of age, gender, creed, ethnicity, or health status. The term is called Advance Directives. Advance Directives is the umbrella term that includes the following documents briefly outlined below.

Health Care Proxy---document that you complete giving authorization to 1-2 people in making your medical decision for you in the event you can?t do so for yourself. There is no need for notarization, but the document needs to be signed by 2 witnesses. Living Will? document that you complete with your wishes regarding medical treatment. This document does not need to be notarized. Power of Attorney? document that you designate 1-2 people to make decisions regarding your finances, and other legal matters. This document is to be notarized. Will? document you name people to manage your estate and they disperse your property after death. It?s recommended to utilize a lawyer for this document. I recommend visiting a few websites for more information on advance directives and to get blank advance directives. Google your state?s Department of Health website www.aarp.org www.caringinfo.org www.powerofattorney.com I?m a nurse and I discuss end of life daily with my patients YET I wasn?t ready for when my mom became ill. My mom is in her 60s. I really didn?t think that I would have to deal with any decline in her health for at least another 20 years. Life is unpredictable so there is no set age that a health emergency can happen. All we can do is be as prepared as possible. So please heed my words people and GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!!

Michele Allen is a Registered Nurse with over 10 years of experience. She has started what she?s lovingly termed the ?Get Your Shit Together ? movement to bring awareness on the topic of Advanced Care Planning and having your advance directives in order. Michele is married to her amazing husband Elliot for over 10 years and they are parents to two busy growing boys Isiah (age 10) and Aaron (age 7). To get in contact with Michele you can email her at gystadvancecareplanning@gmail.com .

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