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Kokoa On the wings of love Whats your We have the Blues around here

Destination Vol 5



EDITORIAL Executive editor Kita Bryant| Contributor Lindsey Ward| Contributor Jesena Latson| Photographer Lashawn Wiltz| Contributor Latorsha Peake| Contributor Shavon Morris| Published and Dezigned by: Focus Dezigns Images SUBSCRIPTIONS AND FEEDBACK |

Editors Note “Travel doesn’t become adventure until you leave yourself behind.” — Marty Rubin I love to travel but I am afraid of planes...even before 9/11 I have been afraid of flying. It has kept me from enjoying life outside of where my car can hit the road. Don’t get me wrong I do travel but only by car, bus, or train. Travelling is like a breath of fresh air. To meet new people, experience new cultures, taste different foods, and to live. Travelling is about living and going to places unknown. Some of us travel to find ourselves, some of travel for business, some of travel for pure fun, and some of us travel because we love adventure. Whatever your reason for travelling do not be like me. Take a map point to a place, travel and go where your heart leads you to go. When you let fear keep you from life you don’t grow and you don’t experience what life has to offer. I should practice what I preach right? I will and I do truly plan on it. For those of us who are afraid to travel or don’t have the funds to do so take some time to learn about right where you live. You never know what you will discover right outside your door.

Kita Bryant

Spice Grove Designs

Fragrant gifts and dĂŠcor for your home Our mission:

To create beautiful, useful designs and gifts for your home while using the most natural products available, like dried spices, beans, grasses, bark, etc. all while done in as eco-friendly method as possible.

What makes us different?

1. I design products that will gently scent the air while adding a unique and one of a kind look to my home. No chemicals are used, only whole and ground spices and natural materials. 2. Using recycled materials and up cycled items within my designs plays a huge part of my design process. I use up cycled materials in our designs, packaging and shipping materials. 3. Amazing customer service and the ability to easily have a custom design made just for your home! 4. I give back monthly to Charity from the proceeds of our sales!

Spice Grove Designs 3152 B Heath Loop West Point, NY 10996 270.889.3651

Make sure to check out our new CafĂŠ Collection as well as our Fragrant Stationary line!! Both would make wonderful gifts for that special someone!!

Website: Etsy shop: Facebook: Twitter: Pinterest:

Contents Life


Blue Fashion




Justice 55

All Blue Fashion Accessories

Dare to leave home On the wings Of love Roberts travel services

Kickstart Kitchen Life is a Journey

4 Green Vision Jazlyn’s Closet For my Sister Friends

Dare to leave home Latorsha Peake

I am sure all of you have heard the phrase “home is where the heart is�. Everyone has their own way of defining this phrase in their own life, but there is no doubt it means something special to each of us.

There is a place we all yearn to live the rest of our days, and there is a place where our mind travels when we need a safe haven for the times where we need the comforts of a peaceful environment. The places can range from grandma’s front porch rocking chair to a secluded island off the coast of a foreign country. It is your own unique place that one no can deny you, because no one can ever deny you the visions of your mind. But if you have never left home do you really know the other joys outside of your own four walls? In a matter of hours traveling in any direction you can encounter a surrounding that makes you a better you. It could be something as simple as a change in the weather, a job opportunity, or meeting a new person.

“Then there is the great possibility of peace of mind.” My home has always been the comfort of warm, sunny and laid back South Carolina, despite having lived in several other states. I have no regrets about the path my husband and I have traveled through the years. When I chose to follow him in his professional journey over twelve years ago I had no idea the places we would go. Our first move was a little over three hours away from my hometown, and the day I moved I cried like a child while driving north on the interstate. Ironically, fast forward to the recent present I had tears of joy when we relocated back south within four hours of our hometown. But yet I am better because of the ventures outside of my home comfort zone.

I’ve only seen a glimpse of the country in my travels, but I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had by daring to leave home. Those who know me have probably heard me mention my unscheduled “tour” of the east coast in which I have been from Maine to Florida, whether it was just traveling through or stopping to stay awhile. Visiting Niagara Falls, Canada has been one of my favorite places to vacation. No. I’d never want to live in the area, but to stand & see such a great wonder left quite an impact on me. It makes you consider what else in life you might be missing. Have you ever wondered if you are missing out on something great? If so, just maybe that great experience is the missing piece that is needed to ignite your journey to obtaining your dreams and living your purpose. Think about it. Please tell us about the place you’ll always call home and the places you’d like to make part of your journey as you dare to leave home. Share with us! We are listening. Be sure to follow @Kokoamagazine and you can find me @MrsLatorsha

On The Wings of Love: 5 Travel Tips for Couples

As a kid, my family moved around a lot. I mean, A LOT. The fact that I went to three different high schools in three different states, proves that. My family is also from Central America (Roatan, Honduras to be exact), so I had a passport by the time I was five. In other words, I know a thing a two about traveling! What my experiences have taught me is that traveling is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s a beautiful thing to get out and see the world as it functions beyond what happens on your block. Discovering new places, people, and things is an exhilarating part of traveling, and is something I endeavored to incorporate into my marriage when I jumped the broom almost seven years ago. We went to Jamaica for our honeymoon and it was an amazing trip (for obvious reasons). Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to afford a trip like that every year, I began to think of ways we could still see new things together without breaking the bank! These are some tips I’d like to share with you, to help you and your honey rack up some love miles!

Plan a Staycation. Have you ever explored the city you live in?

I live in Southern California, where there are plenty of things to do! One summer I booked an overnight hotel stay, right in the downtown area of our city. We parked the car and walked around to check out new restaurants and shops that were sitting right under our noses! We had a great time getting to know our hometown, without all of the fuss and muss of driving or even flying to get away, which was great for our budget!

Keep a Running List of Places You’d Like to Visit

I have a short list of cities in California that I’d like to visit. Some are 45 minutes away, while others are 3 hours away. When I have some free time, I’ll look around online to see what kinds of things there are to do in these cities, so when it’s time to book a “get away,” I already have a resource to pull from! Saves time and money, for sure!

Use Online Resources

Google is my best friend. Really, it is! I’m able to do my research and find the best bang for my buck online. Before I decide on a hotel, I read the first two pages of reviews (at a minimum) on Then I’ll use to take a look at restaurants that suit our tastes and budget. Both sites are completely free to use! When looking to book flights, Priceline,com and are great starting places.

Never Go Anywhere You Can’t Afford

That’s a key guideline to follow. A few overnight trips throughout the year was enough for us to get our travel fix. When it was time to step it up a notch and actually travel out of state, I was careful to set a budget and stick to it. We went to Miami, Florida for our anniversary, and I took the same approach outlined above. Whatever you plan to do, just plan ahead! Create a budget, stick to it, and prepare to have a ball!

Bonus Tip for Parents:

All of these same tips apply, even when you become parents (we have a toddler). It will take much more planning in advance (i.e. packing toys, snacks, diapers, changes of clothes, the car seat, etc), but it IS possible! While it’s easier to get around without kids, that doesn’t mean you should never include them in your travel plans every now and then! Amber L. Wright, M.A. is a Communication Coach and Consultant. She blogs, where she wants to inspire you to speak from the heart, connect with others, and change your life!

Name: Amber L. Wright, M.A. Occupation: Higher Education Professional/Instructor/Communication Coach One word to describe you: Busy! Hobbies: Blogging, Listening to Music, Studying Pop Culture One thing you have learned in life: Pray. Trust. Believe. Repeat. Website: Company Mission Statement: My mission is to guide others toward improving their relationships and overall quality of life, by first improving their communication skills. Because for the boardroom to the bedroom, it all comes back to communication!

Leisel L. Taylor, Realtor, SFR Featured on HGTV House Hunters Short Sales & Foreclosures Agent Keller Williams Preferred Properties Mobile: (240) 417-2087 | Office: (240) 737- 5000 ext. 8185| Toll Free: (866) 782-9135 | Fax: (240) 296-5537 | Website: Website: Email: Delivering Taylor Made Service To You!

1. Tell us why you wanted to get into the Real Estate business and why you stayed although the market looked to be down at one point? I have always wanted to own my own business and practicing real estate provided the opportunity to do this. My work schedule is very flexible as I chose the days and hours I want to work. I am not obligated to a nine to five schedule. Also I love the feeling I get when I help people accomplish their dream of home ownership. It is a feeling you cannot describe especially when you see the tears of joy on new homeowners faces. The market being down depends on what angle you look at. It was definitely down for homeowners that wanted to sell their home for a profit. However if you are a home buyer, it is definitely the best time to buy a home. Interest rates are low, the government is offering many programs to help individuals buy a home and you can definitely purchase more home for your money compared to a few years ago. My business then became focused on buyers as this is where the market was going at that time. 2. Now you are a SFR agent can you tell us what that is exactly and how you help homeowners? SFR means that I am Certified as a Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource by the National Association of Realtors. A real estate agent must complete specialized training and testing to become certified as an SFR agent. I advise homeowners to ensure that the real estate agent that they work with are certified and experienced in handling short sales. A short sale is a very complicated process and the wrong step by the homeowner or the real estate agent can result in the short sale not being approved. I advise homeowners that there are other ways of getting rid of your home instead of going the foreclosure route. A foreclosure is very damaging to a homeowners credit. Plus with a foreclosure on your credit report, an individual will not be able to purchase another home for at least another seven years. It is also very difficult to find a rental home with a foreclosure on your credit report. Short Sale is definitely a better option. Even with a short sale on the credit report, an individual can purchase another home within two to three years. This time frame depends on the type of financing the home owner had on their previous property. When someone decides they want to short sale their home, I meet with them to discuss the entire process in detail so that they can fully understand what is going to happen as we are working with their lender to have their short sale approved. You may wonder why you can purchase a home in two to three years with a short sale on your credit report compared to seven years with a foreclosure. The main reason is that lenders look at a short sale on a credit more favorably as they believe that the homeowner has acted responsibly in doing a short sale on their home as the homeowner has to communicate with the bank throughout the process. A foreclosure is deemed as the homeowner did not care and did not try to work out any type of resolution with the bank in most cases.


3.The short sale process can be long and tedious. What are some great tips to keep in mind while you wait on answers? If you are on the buyer side, this is great. As the buyer is waiting for the short sale approval, this is a great time to continue saving. You are going to be a homeowner soon and you will want to purchase new items for your new home. This way you will be able to buy the items you want with cash, instead of accumulating new debt by using credit. If you are the seller side, this is an opportunity to start going through the house and disposing of the items that you no longer need and want. You can donate the unwanted items to goodwill. You will be moving from your home soon so now you have a longer period of time to start packing and getting ready for your upcoming move.

4. Say the lender denies me for a short sale what other options do I have? If you are denied for a short sale, another option is to apply for a Deed In Lieu. In simple terms, a deed in lieu is where the home owner gives the home to the lender voluntarily in exchange for the lender canceling the loan. The item transferred is the deed to the property. The lender promises not to initiate foreclosure proceedings, and agrees to terminate any foreclosure proceedings already underway. The lender may or may not agree to forgive any deficiency balance that results from the sale of the property. Please note this process is not as simple as it sounds. Another option is to apply for a loan modification. This is where the lender basically agrees to modify the payment terms of your mortgage to more affordable terms. 5. A lot of foreclosures just sit. Do you recommend renting them out or just letting them sit until someone buys them? This is no longer a true statement. Foreclosures do not sit on the market. Foreclosures are sold very quickly as they are a great bargain buy. Foreclosures are now being purchased by First Time Homebuyers, Move Up Buyers and Investors as you can close quickly on these homes. 6. What makes you different than other SFR agents out there? First of all, there are not many SFR agents out there. However more real estate agents are now obtaining this certification as many lenders are now not working with real estate agents if they are not SFR certified. Lenders realize the value of training and knowledge that we receive and prefer to work with us on a short sale in comparison to an agent that is not certified. I have a team of lawyers and negotiators that are very well qualified to negotiate the short sale to ensure that there is a high chance of approval. Therefore when a homeowner lists their home for sale with me, they are not only working with methey are also working with an experienced team whose goal is to have the short sale approved. Our goal is to ensure that the short sale process is done with the least amount of stress possible for the homeowners. I always tell my clients let me handle the stress, all I need is the paperwork.

Roberts Travel Services

Our mission is to provide you with the most comprehensive, complete planning, and travel services so that you can have the adventure of a lifetime that is exciting, comfortable, and worry-free. We look forward to showing you the world!

Memories to last a lifetime How often have you said aloud, “I would love to see the Eiffel Tower someday…” or “My dream in life is to see the pyramids”? I want to Cruise or have a Destination wedding! Now you can stop talking about it and do it! You can see the places in the world where legends were born. See the places you have only dreamed about or have seen in pictures. We make it easy to have your travel dreams come true, with expert planning and the best resources in the world! Yes, now you can travel worry-free and have the adventure of a life time!

Roberts Travel Services Phone 404-935-8113

I found these great ideas from Budget

6 Smart Ways to Save on a Cruise Book Early Reserving six to 12 months ahead of your cruise, you can lock in an early-bird rate that’s 25 to 50 percent lower than the published “brochure” rate most lines advertise. You’ll also have a wider selection of itineraries, dates, and cabins, and possibly get better deals on airfare and hotels. If prices go down after you book, a good travel agent—or the cruise line itself—should help you get the new lower rate. Or Book Late Yes, it runs completely counter to what we just said about booking early, but if you wait 60 to 90 days before you want to sail, cruise lines often drop prices significantly to fill any remaining spaces on their ships. If you’re willing and able to white-knuckle it, this is when you can nab a weeklong Caribbean cruise for under $500. But of course, you won’t have as much choice of itinerary or cabin, it may be tricky to find a low airfare to your port, and last-minute fares are typically nonrefundable. Request a Discount Asking the right questions can work magic. If you’re a return customer, mention it when booking and politely inquire whether you’re eligible for a discount—it can shave 5 to 15 percent off your fare. Since cruise prices are based on double occupancy, a third or fourth person in your cabin should get a 30 to 60 percent discount. If you’re 55 or older, don’t be shy about asking for a 5 percent discount; likewise, active and retired servicemen and women should always ask if the line offers them savings Use a Travel Agent (my favorite) Sites like Kayak and Expedia have put you in the driver’s seat—sometimes literally—but don’t underestimate the role a good agent can play in finding you the right deal. Many have reserved spaces they can sell you at a discount, and they can explain whether an advertised “free” upgrade or allinclusive package is for real or just a ploy. They can also advocate for you if rates drop after you’ve booked your cruise Go Big Large groups—like family reunions at sea—can be complicated to pull together, but they can also knock big bucks off the price of cabins. A group of 16 people in eight cabins, for instance, can sometimes get a steep discount on the 16th fare, or in some cases a free berth. For large groups, booking a year in advance is advised to ensure you get the block of cabins you want Try off Season Sailing when most folks stay home can nab you a modest bargain—maybe 10 percent off typical high-season rates. Here are the best times to find deals in four highly popular cruise regions: Caribbean. September and October, the non-holiday weeks in December, and early January to Presidents’ Day. Europe. Mid-March and April, September to December Alaska. May and September Bermuda. April and October

Name: Jules Taggart & Krystina Feucht Occupation: Entrepreneurs and Co-Founders of Kickstart Kitchen One word to describe you: connectors Hobbies: Jules is a runner, Krystina is a surfer and we both like to try new things that scare us -- like skydiving! One thing you have learned in life: As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.� Company Mission Statement: Kickstart Kitchen is on a mission to empower women entrepreneurs through the shared knowledge and deep connections created within meaningful communities. Connect: @kickstartkitchn

1. Can you tell us a little about your business and why you decided to start it. We envision a future where women have more choices in the type of work that they do. We empower women to use their gifts so they feel passionate, fulfilled and proud of they way they make a living. One of the major challenges we had when starting our solo businesses (before launching Kickstart Kitchen) was finding resources that would show us how to launch and grow a profitable business. There are tons of courses out there to choose from, but we couldn’t find any that fit our schedule since we were both working full time in a corporate setting and only had nights and weekends to devote to building our businesses. That’s when we decided to join forces and create Kickstart Kitchen to provide women with resources and connections that they needed in an ‘on demand’ format that could be accessed at any time. Kickstart Kitchen has evolved since we first launched and now offers online courses, coaching and communities as well for female entrepreneurs. 2. What do you think is the main reason people find it so hard to start a business? One thing we hear over and over from women is “I’d love to start my own business, but I just don’t know what I would do.” To this we ask, “what do you love to do? What are you passionate about?” The reality is that most women actually do know what they would do if they started their own business, but they’re just not sure how to get started and they are fearful that they won’t be able to make a living doing it. The good news is that there are so many resources out there for female entrepreneurs. You can be in business for yourself without being in business by yourself -- connecting with the right people and the right information is easy, but first you have to know what you really, really love to do because launching a growing a profitable business takes time and a lot of energy. If you’re going to do all that work, it might as well be something you love.

3. With the internet being so popular and so many people doing the same business how do you think a business should stand out from the crowd? Don’t be afraid to put more “you” in your business. Just because you own a social media consulting business and everyone you know also offers social media consulting services, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough business to go around. However, it does mean that in order to stand out from all the other options that your customers have access to, you need to connect with them on a personal level. Let your community get to know your real personality. Injecting more of your personality into your brand makes you hard to ignore and easier to trust.

4. Do you think having a degree in business is necessary to start a business? Why or why not? Our perspective on entrepreneurship and education is a little unconventional. Even though we both have degrees in business, but having a piece of paper (an expensive piece of paper at that!) is absolutely unnecessary to start a business. We believe that our peers, colleagues and customers have so much to teach us. One of the most powerful ways we’ve found to gain knowledge is talking with and learning from regular old people who are in the trenches everyday. The great news is that we now have so many more options to choose from. You get to decide what kind of programs you want, from whom you learn, and how you prefer the content de-

livered. Having a business degree is nice, and it probably makes your mom proud of you too. But not building a profitable and successful business without a degree is 100 percent possible.

5. In what ways have you all been successful and can you give us an example? What are your future goals for the company? When we started our business, we really thought that our success would lie in helping female entrepreneurs learn how to start a business. We quickly learned that starting a business was not a challenge that most women struggled with. It turns out that making a profit is a major hurdle -- one that causes many women to give up on their dreams of entrepreneurship altogether. We’ve focused on helping women overcome the profit challenge and actually make some money from doing what they love. That’s the best feeling of all. We are often asked the same questions over and over again -most of which lead back to how to create a fierce brand and market it with a punch. We are currently launching a new company -- a branding and marketing collective which works with small business owners to flaunt their personality to achieve greater results. We are pouring a ton of energy and love into this project and can’t wait to share it with you! 01.

Name: Chris Kerr Occupation: Founder & CEO Justice 55 One word to describe you: Passionate Website: Company mission statement: Our passion to give back while creating and fostering a global sense of community is the driving force to create a partnership for change between consumers and charitable organizations. 1. Can you give us a little background about your company and how you came up with the name?Why Justice 55? By definition Justice is the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness. In numerology, 55, or the double 5 carries powerful vibrations of adventure and versatility, curiosity, facing challenges, learning life lessons through experience, auspicious opportunities, idealism and activity, making positive life choices and important changes. In Greek mythology, the Spartans would carve the number 55 in a Tantric metal board before they went to war. It is believed that this is why Greek soldiers were undefeated in most of the wars In the history of the world. For us, Justice 55 is the beginning of a powerful social movement to drive positive change around the globe through every day consumerism. 2. What are some of the causes you support and can you tell us why you support them? We all have our passions when it comes to causes, we started off with Child Abuse and Child Hunger here in the US. These are 2 ares that get very little press and people just don’t want to talk about them. 5 children die every day in the US from child abuse and 4 of them under the age of 4. 1 in 4/5 children will not eat today in the USA, this is unthinkable in a country with so much wealth and so much abundance. However if you were to poll people on the street and ask them the first thing that comes to mind when you say child hunger their automatic response is AFRICA. Our goal has always to engage the consumer and allow them to be part of the process so we recently added more causes, Autism, Pediatric Cancer and Animal Cruelty. We also now let the consumer choose any charity they like and enter that charity’s name and address and we will forward the donation on their behalf for the purchase.

3. I love that you get to buy something and choose the charity that you want to support with the purchase. What are some of the items you sell? We have our own apparel line primarily T shirts right now but we are expanding into accessories, jewelry, hats and more as we grow the business. 4. How does your company differ from other organizations? Our primary difference from similar organizations is that we engage the consumer in a way no other does. We are very transparent with the donation amount, rather than a % of net proceeds or profits which differ with overhead, we chose to give back 20% of gross sales after shipping costs and post that on every product. We also allow the consumer to choose where the donation should go and they get to do this for each individual product. So they could purchase 2 T shirts and donate to 2 separate causes if they wish. 5. What are your goals for the next three to five years? What priorities will help you achieve them? What barriers are in your way? Our goal for the next 3 to 5 years is to build the company into a globally recognizable brand while making quality apparel domestically and supporting causes not only we are passionate about but our consumers and tracking the impact that the money raised is having on those causes. There are many companies like justice 55 in this cause driven, social good sector and it will take many more to change the world and have the impact I know we all desire. Consumers are becoming more and more aware and actually demand to know what companies are doing to give back and be philanthropic. We hope to be one of those companies that regardless of product or brand consumers can make a purchase and know that part of that purchase is going to help a cause they are passionate about. We have to stay focused on our products we offer and making sure they are of the best quality, provide the best customer support possible and stay focused on our mission to give back and make a difference, not only with $$$ but with community involvement. In terms of barriers like many start ups funding is always a barrier in the early stages, but aside from that our only barrier would be our imagination and determination to succeed. 6. What does the word Justice mean to you in your own words? Justice to me is about righteousness and moral rightness. Nothing is perfect least of all the justice system so we all have to do our part to make the world a better place. f: i: www.instagram/justice_55 t: p:

Name: Mea Boykins Occupation: Founder of the Student Emergency Assistance Scholarship & S.E.A., INC One word to describe you: Resilient Hobbies: Reading, Travelling, Fine Dining One thing you have learned in life: Consistency is key & integrity is essential! Website: Twitter: @emergensea FB: Company Mission Statement: S.E.A. was created to assist juniors and seniors at Spelman College who have exhausted all of their financial resources, including grants, loans, scholarships, work income, and family contribution, thus placing them at risk for expulsion. S.E.A. aims to raise the funds that are necessary to assist these students fulfilling their goals of graduating college

Student Emergency

1. What was the reasons you wanted to start your organization? I come from a place where many people are complacent and don’t desire an education. When I went to Spelman, I was amazed that everyone was accomplished, an overachiever, intelligent, cultured, and desired to give back to the world. It hurt me to see students with such a passion be forced to leave school. 2. Finding money is so hard for college students and although people say there is money out there it’s hard to find. What are some resources or tools that can help college students get a head start on finding money? Tapping into your own networks is vital. If you are really in need you have to be creative as many people in this world are lacking. Organizing an event with the right people present is a sufficient idea to fundraise. If you don’t have access to an efficient list of contacts who can support then seek them out. Contact the donor relations department at your institution and ask if you may contact successful alum from your school and ask them for references where you may find scholarships. 3. What are some of the main goals for the organization? The S.E.A. Fund is dedicated to help juniors and seniors at Spelman College who are in emergency financial need fulfil their goal of graduating college. The S.E.A. INC’s main goal is to motivate disadvantaged and at-risk children to define what success means for them personally and achieve their goals in life.

y Assistance

4. In what ways have this organization’s products/services been most successful over the years? I have witness people’s lives being changed all over the world. S.E.A.’s events have enlightened and inspired homeless men in Atlanta, and motivated youth in Atlanta/NY/London to be better and strive for greatness no matter what struggles arise in your life. 5. What is your background and how did you progress to your present position in the organization? I am a Spelman College alum, C’11 with a Bachelors of Psychology and I am currently attending Kings College London for a Masters in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. 6. How do you differ from other organizations that help students get money for colleges? S.E.A. doesn’t just fundraise, it empowers! 7. What are some future goals for the organization? I plan on purchasing a community center in the next city I move to and eventually starting a charter school in New Orleans, Louisiana. 8. If there was one thing you wanted to change or add to your organization what would that be and why? I would not like to change anything. I would like to add efficient and passionate staff to help me achieve my goals globally.


1. Can you give us insight on why you started this organization and how you came up with the name? 4GreenVision was started by a group of individuals who recognized the need, the dire need, in every community, for better food access and better food alternatives. We recognized a terrible trend of unhealthy, dangerous, chemically treated and chemical-filled foods being produced for the sake of financial gain, at the long-term expense of the unaware consumer. This trend hurts every community, but is most prevalent in the communities that have labeled “food deserts.� A food desert is an area or community that does not have easy access to healthy fruits and vegetables. . Generally, these areas exist more than one mile from the nearest grocery store or supermarket. We have expanded that definition. We believe that you live in a food desert, regardless to the proximity of a grocery store or supermarket, if the food that you have available to you is not of the highest quality.

High quality foods are grown locally, free of pesticides, insecticides and genetic modifications. We also believe that food deserts exist where there is a lack of knowledge and knowledge sharing of the production, processing and distribution of healthy, locally grown foods. 4GreenVision fosters, promotes and builds sustainable food systems using local resources. The number “4” is generally noted as a number of a solid foundation; cars have 4 tires, the sturdiest tables have 4 legs, four corners to every house, etc. With that in mind, we wanted to start everything that we did with a solid foundation. “Green” is pretty self-explanatory, in that we are working in the field of agriculture. But another definition of the word ‘green’ is: youthful, vigorous, brand new and fresh. Thus, we found “Green” to be most appropriate for our efforts. Scripture tells us that ‘where there is no Vision, the people perish.’ We used the word “Vision” to serve as a reminder to ourselves that what we are undertaking is a monumental task, and we must continue to serve beyond what we believe to be our capabilities; an ordinary effort is insufficient for extraordinary problems. “Vision” is also what we ultimately desire to leave with those whom we come in contact. 2. What are some of the main goals for your organization and what do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years? We desire to increase the access to healthy foods in the food desert areas in Fulton County by 1% over the next 5 years. Sixteen percent of those who live in Fulton County, GA, reside in a food desert and Georgia has the second highest rate of childhood obesity in the country (2010 study). Our goal is to create an upward trend of sustainable food systems in these areas such that food deserts are done away with altogether and residents have better control over their health, the health of their families and communities. 3. People are not aware of whats right and whats best how can we get the word out more to others that we can buy fresh fruits and veggies right in our own back yard for the price of fast food? It’s a gradual process, which takes a very concerted effort. At 4GreenVision, we study the history and operations of organizations that are successful and recognize that they didn’t become successful overnight. The process of getting people to buy and eat locally grown, healthy food is a long, arduous one. But, what good is a fight if you don’t have a worthy opponent? 4. What are some of the programs and services you offer? Under our non-profit 501c3, 4GreenVision, Inc., we offer the Agri-Community Education (ACE) Program. We offer several community activities, such as, bi-weekly cooking classes that teach the Art and Science of healthy food preparation and the Art of Canning. We also have an Urban Agriculture activity program that promotes the youth education of Food Science. Working in tandem with 4GreenVision, Inc is the “4GV Mobile Farmers Market.” The 4GV Mobile Farmers Market provides fresh, healthy locally grown fruits and vegetables throughout many communities throughout Metro Atlanta, several days a week. We have established relationships with many local farmers, growers, bakers, and offer fresh fruits, vegetables and other locally produced specialty items throughout from our Mobile Farmers Market, at reasonable prices. By working with local farmers, we are supporting the struggling farming economy, while providing internships and jobs to youth and adults.

We are partnering with faith-based organizations, community centers, senior citizen homes, businesses, colleges and universities to serve as locations (food hubs) for people in the community to access these healthy foods. Our research shows that in many of these areas resides those who have low access to healthy foods, but have easy access to corner convenience stores that sell processed foods and drinks that are major causes of chronic illness. S.N.A.P/EBT Program 4GreenVision knows that many low-income households need help to afford a healthy diet. This is why we are an Authorized SNAP/EBT retailer. Under SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), state and local social service agencies give monthly SNAP benefits to households that qualify. In 2010, over 40 million people, living in 18.6 million households received SNAP in the United States (48% Children, 44% Adults, 8% Elder 60 years and older). We believe that we all deserve healthy foods and we encourage those who qualify, to use their state and federal assistance to provide these healthy foods to their families.

Our Community Partners We partner with many anchor institutions in the community to provide healthy food alternatives. A few of our current partners are: • Morehouse College • Greenbriar Mall (Southwest Atlanta) • The Mall West End • Atlanta Food Truck Park (75 & Howell Mill) • Andrew & Walter Young YMCA The 4GreenVision Mobile Farmers Market not only brings healthy foods to communities, but brings a reinvigorated spirit of community, progress, and serves as neighborhood improvement by providing positive, healthy and interactive activities. We provide live demonstrations of the best methods of preparing these healthy fruits and vegetables, as well as providing take-home recipes, and other educational materials. 5. If you could change one thing about your organization good or bad what would it be and why? I wouldn’t change a thing. We believe that we are in step with the time and what must be done for the health of community residents, regardless of race, color, creed or socio-economic background. In doing so, we believe that hard trials are necessary to establish the truth of our efforts and we must work hard, be patient and reflective. 6. What vegetable do you love the most and why? Since we started 4GreenVision, I’ve learned so much about fruits and vegetables that I never knew or even considered before. So, as soon as I think that one vegetable is the best, another one catches my eye due to its wonderful taste and high nutritional value.

Sean Reynolds Community Relations Director 4GreenVision, Inc. 404.600.3123 Like Us on Facebook! [ Follow Us on Twitter!

Name: Tina C. Hines Occupation: President & Life Transformation Specialist One word to describe you: Tranquil Hobbies: Playing tennis, traveling. One thing you have learned in life: When you have a passion deep within, it will unveil itself in many forms until you listen and work towards fulfilling it. Website: Company Mission Statement: For My Sister Friends’ mission is to strive to educate, empower and enlighten women as they embark on their own personal journeys.

1.What was the main reason for coming up with your organization? The inspiration of For My Sister Friends came from my growing awareness of the importance of trusting friendships between women. The kind of friendship that I’m talking about is based on acceptance, empathy, compassion and unqualified support…a relationship that feels closer to sisterhood than a simple friendship. Several years ago I started a book club with my dearest friends. Although we fully intended to discuss books, it didn’t take long before our conversations became more personal, and we set our books aside. We talked about ourselves, our families, our hopes and dreams, our triumphs and disappointments. We turned to each other for advice when we were troubled and we celebrated during times of joy. We cried together, laughed together and talked about everything…not only about our personal lives but also how we felt about contemporary issues. It was a place of safety where we could say anything freely, be ourselves and accept each other. I began to wonder if this small group could be the prototype of an organization that would become International in scope; a place where women could meet…either virtually, or by phone or in person…to have conversations, to seek support and to initiate lasting friendships. 2. How did you come up with the name? Sharing this story always brings tears to my eyes, and when I first shared it with the women who attended the launch of For My Sister Friends, they too were in tears. I have a best friend. We have been “sisters” since we were 13 years old. I am an only child, and she has a brother…but I was, in the deepest sense, her “sister” and she was mine. Our friendship has lasted over 32 years.

We have shared laughter, tears and most importantly, love and acceptance. The term “sister friend” is my way to describe this very special kind of friendship. It is this friendship and the friendship that I now have with the women who come in my midst through my business that makes them my sister friends. All that I am doing to build this business is for them. 3.

What does sister mean to you in your own words?

To me, sister means someone who connects with you in a way that feels like soul has met soul. The trappings of your appearances, your possessions, your careers and social status fall away in the face of pure communication between sisters. A sister doesn’t have to be physically related to you. She just needs to welcome and accept you as you are; empathize with you; share your joys and sorrows; and provide heartfelt advice when needed. Sisterhood stands the test of time. 4. Inspiration is lacking in today’s society among women. Why do you think so many women lack inspiration?

that have have lost tion. One a way to ultimately

I believe it’s because so many women are not living with authenticity. They are not in tune with their inner spirit. They have talents and gifts been submerged so deeply inside that they can no longer be seen. Women touch with these “passions.” Yet these passions hold the key to inspiraof the main themes stressed in For My Sister Friends is for women to find tap into their hidden passions, which will then give them inspiration and will guide them an authentic life.

5. What are some of the main goals for the organization? One central goal is to create an opportunity for women worldwide to connect with and support each other, whether it is through workshops, one-on-one counseling, phone calls or online communication. But more than that…an underlying goal is to create a venue for women to discover their unique passions and then be inspired to use them to guide their lives. My dream goal is to eventually create a safe space for abused women and their children so that patterns of abuse can be disrupted…so that abused women can learn to value themselves, find inspiration through their passions and develop the capacity for healthy relationships that can then serve as models for their children. 6. How does your company differ from other organizations? For My Sister Friends differs because you will find no hidden “agenda.” It’s not a marketing site or a membership site with complicated regulations. Its only requirement is to be supportive and to seek authenticity; it’s a simple invitation to connect with other women and to offer and receive friendship and support.

7. Nothing and no one is perfect. If you could change one thing about this company what would it be? Since I’m learning something new about my business every day, I really wouldn’t change anything at this point. Every step that I’ve taken has revealed the next step. What I will continue to do is to learn from my missteps and not perpetuate anything that is not in alignment with the core mission of For My Sister Friends. 8. Can you give us an example or an inspiring story that may help someone during these tough times? Actually, I’d like to share my own story because I believe that it’s important for women to understand that, although I may seem to be at a successful point in my life, it hasn’t been an easy path. I was a “teen mom” at 19. But that didn’t stop me from dreaming. I thought I would never own a home…now I do. I thought I never would earn a degree… yet I did when I was 40 years old! We are constantly evolving. We don’t have to follow traditional paths to have a full and successful life. Some of us bloom quickly; some of us are slow bloomers. I am no different than you…you are no different than I. We each have talents, passions and a full life of possibilities…and it’s ok to admit that you can’t do it all at once…and sometimes you just need the help and support from trusted sister friends.

Life is a Journey I have always believed traveling is one the best social studies lessons you can ever receive. When you visit places and see how other people live, it opens your eyes to the reality that the world definitely does not revolve around you. In fact, we are all here on a unique journey but we share the same hopes, dreams and desires. Traveling is one of my passions! I have traveled the world extensively for both business and pleasure. I’ve eaten croissants at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, slurped Udon noodles in Japan and devoured authentic pasta in Rome. I’ve also played in the sand on the shorelines of the Bahamas, Jamaica and Miami Beach. I’ve enjoyed the nightlife in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York City. But one of the most memorable trips of my life was saying, “I do” in Diamond Head Park on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii.

Through all of my travels I’ve learned some lessons that have served me well in life: 1. Don’t wait. Many people think they will be able to defer their dreams to travel or open up a cupcake shop or whatever until a “perfect” or magical date in the future. The truth is we don’t know what the future holds but we know what possibilities exist in the present. Find a way to do the things you want to do NOW. You’ll be so glad you did! 2. We’re all more the same than different. Traveling from Mexico to Canada, from London to Asia and every where in between, I’ve learned that all mothers want the best life for their children, the majority of people still believe in love and we all enjoy eating delicious fattening meals. Our languages might be different but our connection as humans is pretty much the same. 3. Stop and smell the roses. We all complain about lack of time but we rarely use time wisely. Since it’s going to pass anyway, take a second or 60 to stop and be present in the moment. Listen, look and engage in life around you! 4. Life is meant to be experienced. It’s cool to live vicariously through other people every now and then but unless you are actually out having incredible experiences yourself, then you’re not doing it right. Don’t just listen to your friends talk about all the fun they had in Las Vegas. Save up your money and experience the Las Vegas strip at night for yourself! 5. Sometimes you don’t get a second chance. It’s not a cliché. Life is short and you don’t know when your time will be up. Seize the day. . .today!

I was also fortunate to be able take my children on several trips. Traveling as a family can sometimes be stressful especially with smaller children but because my children started traveling at such young ages, they are practically pro’s! I think traveling together strengthens familial bonds and teaches children a little something called patience (and tolerance). If you are looking for somewhere to travel this summer or perhaps you want to get a jump on planning for next summer. I have a few family friendly faves for those with younger children:

Crayola Experience- Easton, Pennsylvania. The Crayola Factory is about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. The Crayola Experience allows children and their families to enter a world of discovery where they can experience dozens of exciting interactive games and activities, and learn how the famous Crayola® crayons are made. (via Great Wolf Park- Grapevine, Texas. Indoor waterpark/resort 30 minutes outside of Dallas. The water is kept at a comfortable 84-degrees and there is over 80,000 square feet of water-packed fun. The waterpark is only available to resort guests and there are several restaurants, a game room, story time and other cool activities to keep the kids busy during your stay. (Teens will love this place too!) Legoland- California- San Diego, California. If you have a child that loves LEGO’S® they may never want to leave Legoland! It is an amusement park and waterpark all in one. There is also an aquarium and a hotel on the property making this excursion a one-stop vacation destination. And of course there are an abundance of LEGO® sculptures throughout the park and several shops where you can purchase LEGO’s® to take home. [Travel tip]: Be sure to bring along a backpack filled with snacks, toys, games and other goodies to keep the kiddos occupied on the plane (or in the car) or think about planning your travel around nap time, so that the kids can get some shut eye during the majority of the trip.] I try to live by the quote “Life is a journey, not a destination.” And I want to experience as much as I can on this journey! I hope I’ve inspired you to plan a journey of your own, to not only learn about how other people live but hopefully to take a look at how you live your life as well! Happy and safe travels! Tracie (Phenomenal Mama & frequent flyer)

Name: Tracie Momie Occupation: Graphic designer Hobbies: Reading, writing, & traveling One word to describe you: Creative Website:

My Journey for I have always yearned for you, adored you, desired you and dreamt about you. From the time I was old enough to understand what I thought was love, I wanted it. I was the apple of my daddy’s eye and ever since then, my journey for love from a man has been a long winding road of joy, elation, sadness, heartbreak, sorrow and dead end. When you aren’t the prettiest, smallest, have the longest hair, you think it’s necessary to seek love by any means necessary. I was raised to believe that if I wanted a “decent” husband, I needed to lose weight and quickly. I would try to fit into what everyone wanted for me, it was hard living up to that. I did it because I didn’t want to miss my chance at love though. At the tender age of 11, love meant having a boyfriend that walked you home and gave you a kiss before he had to turn around and go home. We had to kiss about a block away from the house. That started my relationship what I thought was love, the fuzzy feeling when that boy kissed me, holding my hand and how his mom and sister thought I was the best. I was in. Can you believe that I was looking for love that early in life? Yes I was that foolish dreamer, wanting and looking for love. I used to think if you were in love, there wasn’t anything you couldn’t face, any kind of adversity we could handle it because I was in love. I thought love would protect me, wouldn’t let someone hurt me and because I was giving my all, love would always understand. It had too, because I was faithful to love. High school was spent being a typical teenager, friends, studying and having fun. Love gave me a break, I didn’t have time for love at the time. I had a run down Lovers Lane once or twice in high school, but when it was over, I moved on. I was having too much fun being a teenager. Here’s where the journey takes another turn. I went away to college and thought I was grown. I was a young adult, but a long way from being grown. Don’t you know love went with me and hit me the first week of school? He was handsome, and we became an item quickly…real quick. We were inseparable, if we weren’t in class, we were together until visiting time at the dorm was over. This is where I learned some of loves biggest lessons, the kind where you experience a little of everything. I experienced love cheating, controlling and abuse. Instead of leaving, I stayed and put a bunch of unnecessary stress for an 18 year old on myself by trying to make a relationship work. Stress as in crying, fighting, and chasing after this man. It was awful, pitiful and embarrassing. Love had me at an all time low, I felt it had abandoned me. My girlfriends in the dormitory had to sit me down and tell me the truth, let it go. I cried, “but I love him!!!!” I told love that I couldn’t do it anymore after two years.


Looking for love has taken me down the road of marriage three times, I never would have predicted that…never. I wanted the white picket fence, Maturity and reality stepped in and told love and my dreams you don’t get to control all of the emotions, we are going to force this woman make decisions without love always being up in the mix. I love my husband, but I love myself more, not the idea of love. Loving God has given me the understanding and wisdom of that. If I don’t love myself, I’m no good to anyone, and I love me some me. One of my goals as a mother is to talk to my girls and teach them to love themselves before they invest time in loving a man. I can’t stop their journey, but I want to provide them with life skills so they can handle the different situations that come their way when it comes to relationships. I’m still a dreamer but life has taught me to be a realist too. I want my girls to believe in love but also make sure they love themselves so much that a man knows he must come correct and have things going for him. Who knows what’s down the road in my journey for love. I don’t care because I’m holding on to me, loving God and myself. I have armor as my seatbelt and I’m ready to work on my marriage with knowledge, wisdom and my heart.

Whitney Wesley

Travel Abroa When I decided that I would try my hand writing for KoKoa Magazine I began my post as a very eloquent, encouraging, and metaphoric piece. I made reference to the 1970’s film “The Wiz”, an adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” from the lens of the African-American experience. I suggested that the yellow brick road was part of the journey we travel in life and the broken and misshapen bricks represented the bad choices and wrong turns we all take throughout our journey. In short, I was reaching. It took me the better part of two days to compose two corny paragraphs that just didn’t seem to fit the bill. I think I got completely lost in visions of the Lollipop Kids and then that reminded me of Oompa Loompa’s, which then got me to thinking about Edward Scissorhands. The more I typed the more difficult it became for me to stay on subject. Luckily for us all I decided to spare you of my stroll down cinema memories and scraped the original post for a more literal interpretation of the “travel” theme. Never mind the figurative and philosophical post that I original typed (should you care for a dose of confusion I’d be glad to email you the original), I’m going to keep things completely simple and share with you the worst travel experience I’ve ever had. In 2008 my husband proposed to me. Within what seemed like moments after I accepted the engagement ring (I don’t think I ever said yes? Does this marriage of ours even count? Oh well.) I vowed to my husband that we would make it a point to celebrate our wedding anniversary out of state or out of the country. Not sure he agreed at the time but seeing as I’m the trip planner of the family we’ve managed to celebrate the past four anniversaries beyond a 100 miles radius. My husband and I - a 5 months pregnant first time mother-to-be - headed to the Dominican Republican in December of 2009 to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. (I know you’re probably thinking, “They didn’t waste any time getting pregnant.” You’re right, we didn’t. Our pregnancy was the result of being young and “invincible”. Apparently I plan trips, not pregnancies.) We were very excited. Not only was this our first anniversary but it was also the last vacation we’d have as a twosome before baby made our family three. Of course when traveling abroad you want to be punctual because we know how swift and efficient TSA can be. We went to sleep late the night before our flight and woke up extremely early on the morning of. Needless to say I was exhausted. Pregnancy and running last minute errands will leave you exhausted and looking like death every single time. Dark circles, a bad hairdo, and nausea are not my definition of first class travel.

ad Gone Wrong When we finally arrived in the D.R. we pulled up to an expansive piece of property that was still under construction! This little nugget was The Moon Palace in Punta Cana (remember it and do not visit) and it was the new home to our $3500 gone to waste. The lobby was semi-beautiful with faux marble and enough space to do about 100 consecutive somersaults without even the slightest chance of injuring anyone other than myself because the ENTIRE lobby was clear of any other guests. I was waiting for someone to spring from behind the front desk to tell us we were being punked or for tumbleweed to blow past my freshly pedicured toes. I’m not even sure how the resort could even afford the employees at the front desk seeing as there seemed to only be a total of two guests and I was one of the two. Then I remembered that all you need are a few suckas to pay $3500 and the front desk employees could very likely double as waiters and activity directors and you’re in business. Looking around at the vacant lobby my husband and I both knew that we were far from the path we intended to travel when we booked the vacation. We tried to be optimistic for the sake our $3500 so we walked quietly to our room without so much as seeing one other guest. We had officially entered into the twilight zone. The next day was our actual anniversary. Feigning excitement we had a morning pep talk and readied ourselves to experience the resort. Off we went… No activities on dry land. I’m talking none. No pool tables, board games, pick up sticks, double-dutch, nothing. The options were to swim, eat and drink, or go back to the room and shut up. We ate, he drank, and we went to our room and shut up. Maintaining a certain level of optimism we thought, “Nighttime is the right time.” After all that is when the freaks come out. “It’s going to get better,” we thought. Actually we prayed that things would get better. We traveled all the way to the D.R. to enjoy ourselves and we were determined to do just that. I slipped into my sexy dress – it wasn’t even a maternity dress so that goes to show just how sexy I truly thought I was at 5 months pregnant – and we headed to dinner to a Japanese grill on the resort. Our excitement level had risen at the sight and sound of other fools guests who were conned into traveling to the resort. The food wasn’t that great but we got to eat in the company of others. A good sign until I got food poisoning! My husband took ill the very next day. We spent the entire rest of the trip holed up in the room avoiding food service like the plague they proved to be.

Finally the day came for us to hop on a flight back home. That’s when the party really got started. On our layover in Philadelphia my husband so dutifully washed his hands in the airport restroom and left behind the engraved wedding ring that yours truly had worked so hard to pay for. Oh we fussed and steam was likely circling my head sort of like a halo only not angelic at all. After a few big words I gave him the silent treatment for the rest of the trip. At some point during my “I’m ignoring you but really giving you all my attention” stint I realized that my money and brand new camera had been stolen from my carryon luggage. At the revelation of the theft I wanted to die, but I had already died 1000 deaths at the resort and $3500 only buys you 1000 deaths just in case you were wondering. This was the absolute worst travel experience ever. Needless to say the D.R. is banned from our travel list for at least the next 20 years. What the trip from hell taught us about traveling abroad: • When in countries where the drinking water is not safe be mindful of where the ice cubes come from. • Prior to travel contact your health insurance provider to determine your overseas medical coverage. • Have a medical plan in the event of an emergency. • Back up your photos and/or remove the memory card from your camera and keep it on your person. If your camera is misplaced or stolen your photos will remain with you. • Review multiple travel websites for resort and hotel reviews prior to booking your trip. • Consider performing a YouTube search of the hotel or resort you’re interested in traveling to. YouTube is where you’d likely find a visual of the hotel/ resort grounds from a guest’s perspective and an honest review. • Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at This program will assist you in the event of a crisis. BeQuoted – Andrea S. Moore Twitter: @bequotedbyasm Facebook:

Travel Tips from Mike the Mechanic As we all know, June marks the beginning of the traveling season. The kids are out of school, everywhere there are graduation parties to go to, family reunions are being planned but the one thing that gets overlooked or simply pushed aside is getting the family car ready for all the plans that are being made. We would all like to just load up the car, put the family in and just head on down the road but that’s just not possible. The first thing that should always be done is making sure the family vehicle is ready for the trip. Everyone thinks that with todays’ newer vehicles that they can just hop in the car and head out with no problems. Truth is todays’ cars can have more go wrong with them and with no warning. Here are some simple tips to help you prepare for your vacation and have it be as worry free as possible for your car at least.

• Take your car into your local repair shop and have your oil changed along with the air filter. While there, have them do their 25 point inspection to let you know if there is any repairs needed before you go on your trip. • Make sure all your headlights and taillights are working properly. This can be done at the repair shop also. • Have your spare tire checked to make sure its properly inflated and in good shape should you need to use it

• If it’s been a while since the last time you’ve had a tune up done, be sure to get one done. This will greatly improve your gas mileage. • Plan having extra money or credit card set aside for any unexpected repairs that may pop up. If your setting aside money, make it a minimum of $1000.00 because repairs on newer model cars can be very costly. • Go to your local retail store or part store and get an emergency roadside assistance kit that contains flares, safety triangle, jumper cables, etc. in case you should break down somewhere. • Another good thing to do is to check out local repair shops where you plan on being on vacation should you need one to avoid being taken advantage of. You can do that thru AAA or The BBB.

If you follow these simple tips, you will be able to focus more on your vacation and less time worrying about things going wrong. The added advantage of setting money aside for unexpected repairs is you won’t have to dig into your vacation money and possibly cut your vacation short because there is no money left. No one likes to have their vacation cut short due to unexpected car repairs, so setting aside money is a very important part of your vacation planning. All of these tips will allow you to enjoy your vacation and most importantly enjoy the traveling with no worries. I hope these tips help everyone make their vacation planning easier and that you can enjoy your vacation fully. Michael Seel Owner Michaels Garage Twitter @m3chanic Linkedin Michael Seel

Our Fashion has the blues and some Jazz too

BLUE skies in the SPIRIT of JUNE!!

NaturalSense BLUE story: So you are Þnally on vacation and/or out of school for the summer and itÕs a very HOT sunny, breezy, and relaxing day on the FANTASY carnival cruise line! You decide that you want to go for a swim in one of the many luxurious Inside and Outside pools they have to offer. You being the THRIFTY fashionista that you are, made sure that you were ready for it all! Here you have many variations of BLUE accessories to play with, not just for your body but for your phone as well! (IPHONE LOVERS) You can show off that awesome belly with your belly ring and two piece bathing suit, because I know you did your 12 week Þtness workout before going on the cruise, RIGHT? Once you have on your bathing suit and belly ring, the only thing left to do is to slip into your BLUE Colin Stuart sandals, grab your towel and GOOOO! After a nice evening in the pools, you decide you want to grab a bite to eat on the deck so that you can enjoy the fresh air and wind blowing in your hair. So you decide to throw on this awesome new WHITE sundress and you accessorize it with your awesome headband and jewelry pieces. You throw back on your COLIN STUART sandals , along with your trendy scarf and OUT THE DOOR YOU GOOO AGAIN!!......Have Fun on you TRAVELS THIS SUMMER!!


The Perfect Jeans for the Perfect Shape Written by: Michelle Shavon

We can all relate to the struggle of finding the perfect pair of jeans. Men too, even though most will never admit it. Sure, we all have that one pair of jeans that makes our body look so totally awsome, it looks like someone painted them on. Child! But, you can’t wear those everyday. So, how can you make sure every pair of jeans you own give you that same feeling? Quite simple... Know, understand, love, and embrace your body type. For me, American Eagle and Jordache, do an awesome trick. And yes, I said Jordache... Don’t judge me. Be careful not to choose your jeans according to the latest trend or the hottest brand out at the moment. Beyonce’s House of Derreon, works wonders for the women with all those luscious curves. Now keep in mind ladies, if you know you have a little muffin top action going on.... Stay away from low rise jeans. Its just not a good look for any size. For my fellow skinny minnies wondering why those skinny jeans you purchased don’t make your booty a little tooty, stick with jeans made from a more stretchy material. Jeans with stretchy materials cling more to your body and give a more curvaceous look. For all my cute in the face, thin in the waist... And big ole booty... You, like us skinny minnies, must search for jeans with a more stretchy material as well. If you fall in the “no booty at all” category, Aeropostale is your best friend. And, so is the low rise waistline. For my ladies who happen to have a little muffin top action going on, stick with the high waist jeans. I know what you’re thinking, “Those are my mom’s jeans”. The high waist tucks that muffin top away and gives you a smoother look. Plus, there are lots of fashionable high waist jeans out right now. Well, that’s my advice on finding the perfect jeans. Now, go forth and be fabulous honey!

Name: Rashana Wright Occupation: Mom and entrepreneur. I guess that’s a ‘mompreneur”. CEO of girls tween clothing and accessories line Jazlyn’s Closet. One word to describe you: Focused Hobbies: Crafting! Reading (when I can find time), Writing, Catching up on my shows on the DVR One thing you have learned in life: Mistakes don’t mean failure. I am stronger than I have ever been because I learn from my mistakes and I am constantly growing and maturing. It doesn’t feel good to make mistakes but it feels great to gain strength. Website: Company Mission Statement: Through fashion and personal style, the mission of our brand is to remind this special group of girls--the ones who are in ‘beTWEEN’, that they are, and always will be, fearfully and wonderfully made...even through the growing pains. 1. Can you give us a little history behind your clothing line including how you came up with your name. Jazlyn’s Closet is named after my oldest daughter. The company was started at a time when she was coming into her own as a ‘tween’ girl. She’s very much into how she looks now, likes to pick out her own clothes, and I like to see what she comes up with everyday. One day, she pulled open her closet and said to me, ‘Mom, I don’t have that many dresses. I really need more dresses for church.’ She then proceeded to complain that her little sister has so many more cute dresses than her. At that moment, I had an inspiration. I came up with an idea…something that would ensure she would always have beautiful dresses in her closet (for a few years at least)—Jazlyn’s Closet, Inc. was born on 6/1/12. We’ve since transitioned from making large wholesale only collections via a factory to making small themed collections, mostly handmade or hand designed by us. Handmade beaded jewelry and other custom designs were added on 8 months later. 2. What other items do you offer besides clothing and Accessories? We now offer custom designs. We tried to think about what kinds of things girls at this age would like and what they would benefit from. They love to ‘see their name in lights’, if you know what I mean so we felt having a small collection of custom products would be fun and ideal.

3. What are the price ranges for your outfits and do you offer them in sets or separate? Price ranges vary per season and per design but in general our average prices range from $15-$40. At this time, everything we currently sell can be purchased separately. 4. Do you sell just online or do you sell to retailers also? If you do retailers can you tell us which ones and where? We don’t have an actual storefront. We sell only online and yes we do sell limited styles wholesale to retailers. Since we’ve completely revamped, we’ve also revamped our wholesale program. We have several retailers on board but at this time we don’t know who, if any, will be carrying the fall collection. As we pick up retailers who will actually carry our products, we will update our website with that information. 5. What is your inspiration behind each piece? I’m just a naturally creative person. I don’t always have an inspiration for the jewelry. Sometimes I just look at what I have and start designing. As for our seasonal collections, those are designed based on a specific theme that promotes positive self-esteem and self-image amongst tween girls. For example, our fall/winter ‘13 collection is entitled Fearfully & Wonderfully Made from Psalms in the bible. This seeks to remind our girls that they will and always be special and created for a purpose. Our custom designs are inspired by our customers. We share their vision and create based on that. 6. Do you try to keep up with the trends or create your own? We are trendsetters. I think Yves Saint. Laurent said it best when he said, ‘Fashion fades, style is eternal.’ We listen to our customers. We try to incorporate things that they like and what they are buzzing about. After all, it is about them. However, we don’t pour over fashion magazines trying to keep up on latest trends. We design from the heart and what feels good and that usually gets the best response for us. 7. What makes your company different than any other businesses like yours? Honestly, I don’t think there are a lot of businesses out there like ours. We do things very differently. For one, there are a ton of girls clothing lines, jewelry lines, etc. However, we cater to a very small niche--tween girls ages 7-14. There are very few ‘for tweens only’ small businesses. We love this group of girls. They are like little ladies but they also are at a point in their life where they really need nurturing. They’re in that ‘in-between’ stage of life. Also, we don’t just buy our jewelry supplies we also actually make some of our beads and pendants by hand, especially for our custom designs. We’re not your traditional clothing line. We don’t do these large collections, we do very small themed collections which consist of a combination of an outfit with matching accessories and other items. We donate a portion of our profits from our seasonal collections to a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering/mentoring young girls. Last but not least, we have a whole custom design section where we offer several products that are available to be personalized. 8. What are some of your future goals for the company? I would love to add a non-profit sector to our business that would offer scholarships to girls in some capacity. That may be further down the road but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Other than that, I just want to reach as many people as we can, get our name out there, and put smiles on people’s faces.

So let’s just get right to it! It’s time for Father’s Day and there doesn’t seem to be any excitement in the air. How unfortunate. How did we get here? As a single solo parent, I’m very familiar with all the reasons why confetti might not get tossed, however, there are just as many reasons why the music should be turned all the way up and grills around the world should be lit and filling the air with the smell of good times to be had! So it’s very clear that the face of fatherhood has evolved over the years so here’s ten “father figures” we can roll the red carpet out for this whole month: 1. The neighborhood barber who makes sure his shop is a safe place for young boys and men to share conversation and guidance 2. The man who doesn’t have any kids of his own but is available for being a mentor 3. The surrogate dad who is present for his child’s friends who may not have an active dad 4. Male friends that rally around fatherless children and become the world’s greatest uncles 5. Coaches (and not just sports) who understand and accept the role they play in instilling character traits 6. Grandfathers who are pulling double duty 7. Stepfathers who adopt the children of their new wife without a second thought 8. Big brothers who care for their younger siblings 9. Fraternities who take their mission seriously by enriching and uplifting the lives of young boys and girls without a father in their lives 10. That man who has ALWAYS taken care of his children and never needed a reason to do so whether he’s head of household or living separately It’s all there and I’m sure you have plenty of these characteristics in your community! I know I do! There may be 1 man who possesses more than 5 of these traits! Shouldn’t we really celebrate?! Well we are! We won’t let the few who won’t overshadow the many who DO! As a matter fact, we invite those who haven’t been there to fellowship and be around a support system that will help you find your way back to your rightful place on your child’s life. Visit to stay connected for upcoming events celebrating The Year of the Gentleman! I want to say HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to 1-10 and to my father Walter “Al” Alcox, Sr. What you’ve shown me over the years is the true value of a hard day’s work, how to take care of each other, how to be a supportive woman instead of an enabler and most importantly how I should be treated as a woman. Thank you for being there for me and your grandson, Nicholas! I love you and celebrate you everyday!


Kokoa Magazine June 1st issue

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