Suite Life SoCal Magazine Spring 2020 Issue

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Suite Life SoCal SPRING 2020

Health & Wellness Issue staying calm through the

coronavirus cooking for wellness with

finding hope and healing at the

tolbert center for rehabilitation

kitchen divas the day the world mourned — a tribute to

kobe bryant retired gymnast springs into media and entertainment

sophina dejesus



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Suite Life SoCal



Contents 35


IN EVERY ISSUE From the Publisher 6 From the Editor 8 Contributors  10

38 4


The Suite List featuring Event, Media and Marketing Professionals  78





The Day The World Mourned: Adjusting to the Sudden Death of Kobe Bryant By Angela Jackson  12

Samoans in South Bay: The Rich and Storied Legacy of a Community on the Rise By Ashley Yancey Photos by Joshua Berrymon  36

How to Get the Most Out of Spring Cleaning By Quinci LeGardye  70

Artist Keenan Chapman: How Art Therapy Changed this Black Man’s Life and his Mission to Inspire the Next Generation By Ashley Yancey Photos by Joshua Berrymon and @FashionTaxi | Art by Keenan Chapman  14 Janette Robinson Flint: Leader in Wellness for Black Women By Mischa Duffie Photo by Malcolm Ali  16 Superior Court Judge Altus Hudson: Lessons In Co-Parenting By Quinci LeGardye Photo courtesy of Altus Hudson  18

21 LIFE & STYLE Ciera Rogers, Founder of Babes & Felines: Transforming the Online Fashion Boutique By Ashley Yancey Photos by Kristina Dixon and courtesy of Babes & Felines  22 Subtle Tiyes: Melanie Luja Pairs Natural Skincare Products and Teas to Balance the Body’s Inner and Outer Beauty By Quinci LeGardye  26 GHill: Coach and Cheerleader By Angela Jackson Photo courtesy of George Hill  28 Mother’s and Father’s Day Gift Ideas Revisited By Angela Jackson  30 How Faith Fosters Good Health By Quinci LeGardye  32

Jewel Thais-Williams: LGBTQ Activist & Health Guru By Mischa Duffie Photos by Malcolm Ali  38

“Don’t Push Me, ‘Cause I’m Close to the Edge”: Essential Mental Health Resources During the COVID-19 Crisis By Ashley Yancey  72

The Myth of Cinco de Mayo By Eddie Trujillo Grijalva  42

Working Hard or Hardly Working? Tips for Working Remotely By Ashley Yancey  74


Quarantine N’ Chill: What Else is There To Do Besides Drinking All Day? By Ashley Yancey  76

COVER FEATURE Finding Hope and Healing at the Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness By Mischa Duffie Photos by Malcolm Ali  43 Staying Calm during the Coronavirus Pandemic By Dr. Glenna Tolbert  48

The Suite List: An Industry Listing Guide of Event, Media, PR and Marketing Resources SPOTLIGHT: Lady On The Rocks  78

51 SUITECAUSES Kitchen Divas: Cooking for Wellness By Mischa Duffie Photos by Malcolm Ali  52

61 SUITETALK Rebranding Yourself: An Interview with Retired Gymnast Sophina DeJesus By Ashley Yancey Photos by Kristina Dixon  62 Health & Wellness By Wendy Gladney  66




from the publisher

Staying safe, forging ahead As the publisher of Suite Life SoCal Magazine, it is my responsibility to ensure we provide our readers with current information that informs and inspires. Normally this task is not so taxing but this time around, information was changing so fast that I found myself challenged. The silver lining is that we had planned to produce an issue on health and wellness sometime ago so the production of our Spring issue was actually a cathartic process and forced me to think about how we can best complement the moment. Because I have a passion for Southern California and Suite Life SoCal Magazine, I was determined to put out a publication that both spoke to the needs of the people and highlighted some of the people who are integral in making Southern California great. Despite all of the challenges, I am very much excited and happy about the progress we've made since our launch last summer. Our team of contributors have grown, and I am overjoyed to have on board our new Managing Editor, Ms. Angela R. Jackson. A writer, former managing editor for the Carson Courier and a UCLA alum, Angela is a brilliant nd. Her enthusiasm and tenacity to get things done makes my job easier. I am honored to have her as a part of the Suite Life SoCal family. COVID-19 is a menacing foe, but together we shall overcome. I believe that just like a phoenix, the best of what we have to offer will rise from the ashes. In addition to informing and inspiring, our mission is to foster innovation. In short order, I look forward to unveiling our new website for an opportunity to provide dynamic content, resource listings and other services that help foster inventive ideas and enterprising endeavors. From our family to yours, I wish all the best and to keep safe at home or while you are out taking care of your essential errands. Your comments and feedback our welcomed. Please share with us online @suitelifesocal. Stay Suite & Safe! 6


Sarah R. Harris Publisher-in-Chief



My health mantra: “Health and wellness is a common phrase, but perhaps the most important thing we can do. To me, health and wellness is about the body, mind and soul. It also represents our environment. As we are relegated to our domiciles, we are becoming increasingly aware of our surroundings and the impact it has on us. We must take care of our bodies by drinking plenty of water, eating right and exercising. We take care of our minds and soul with meditation, prayer and fortifying our faith. But we must also take care of our environment by recycling and watching our waste and emission contribution to ensure that we leave a healthy planet to the next generation. One positive thing about the stay at home mandate is cleaner air. I am happy for that.“



from the Editor

Infectious Gift-giving When we set out to plan the Spring 2020 edition of Suite Life SoCal, we knew this was our health and wellness issue, but we had no idea that this topic would be the focal point of the entire world. In the Springtime, we usually spend long days outdoors enjoying our local beaches and parks. This Spring, however, to maintain our health and keep from spreading the Coronavirus, we are social distancing and looking for ways to connect online. I have been impressed with humanity thus far. There are several DJs who are online regularly sharing their gift of spinning records. Music truly soothes the soul and, for many of us, invokes great memories. Memories that make us smile and bring gladness. Right now, we need those beautiful thoughts.

Angela R. Jackson, MS Managing Editor @ajgrateful2be


Each of us has a gift. Whether it is the gift of writing, singing, or simply sharing a kind word, I believe we should always offer our gifts to the world -- especially right now. I encourage each of us to hone our gift and share it via social media or other ways like email, our web pages, and through text messages. It's an honor to bring the gift of journalism as your Managing Editor. I am thrilled to be working with our outstanding publisher, Sarah Harris, and with our talented writers and photographers. What a stellar group of individuals. Enjoy this very special edition of Suite Life SoCal Magazine and until next time stay healthy.



My health mantra: “When it comes to health and wellness, I tend to focus on mental health. "Acceptance is the key" is the mantra I speak to myself to get through difficult and challenging times. My tip would be to keep forgiveness of self and others at the forefront of your mind so you can accept each moment for what it is without fear or regret.“



Suite Life SoCal









Mischa Duffie


Wendy Gladney

JUNE 5, 2020

Quinci LeGardye Eddie Trujillo Grijalva


Ashley Yancey

Address: 6709 La Tijera Blvd, #625, Los Angeles 90045 Phone: 323.445.6745


Malcolm Ali


Joshua Berrymon Kristina Dixon

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@suitelifesocal , #suitelifesocal Suite Life SoCal Magazine is published quarterly. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Letters to the publisher are welcome. Email submissions to © 2020 Suite Media




What does Health & Wellness mean to you? Here’s some of our mantras.

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Malcolm Ali

Joshua Berrymon

“My key to good personal health is following a proper diet. Fresh vegetables, fruit, and — cannot forget — my oatmeal every morning with bananas—also, chicken and fish for dinner with steam vegetable and salad. My exercise is a few hours a day in the gym. Shout out to 24 Hr Fitness. YAHOO! I love that place. I do the thread mill, lightweights, and then old school exercises—Jumping Jacks, touch my toes, reach stomach exercises, and ride the stationary bike. Then go home and walk my dog. Can you dig it? Also, I stay off processed food. No Sugar. We all have to learn how to eat to live. One good meal a day and I fast one day a week and drink plenty of water.”

@Falconhurse _ k9

“'Health is wealth' is a mantra I live by. So generic to say now, but that's something I definitely stand by. Every day begins with a mindset, and then your body follows. Clear your mind of the words 'can't' or 'won't' and watch your life elevate. Every morning I start with a small breakfast and a stretch to get the day started, then I meditate for 5-10 minutes to lock my mind in for the day."




Mischa Dufe

Kristina Dixon

“'Take care of your body, and your body will take care of you' is the health and wellness mantra that guides my life. Shared with me years ago by a mother at my church, this wisdom continues to keep me mindful of how I treat my body, mind, and spirit."




“I live by the health and wellness mantras of "Mamba Mentality," "Beastmode" and "Team Work Makes The Dream Work." A few tips I learned are to practice, be patient, and to pace myself."



Quinci LeGardye

Plan your days with

Suite Life SoCal


“My health and wellness mantra is ‘I'm doing this for me.'" I often get distracted from my need for self-care with work or family. So whenever I think about rescheduling therapy or skipping exercise, I remind myself that I'm important, and doing things just for myself is important."


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Eddie Trujillo Grijalva OR MAIL PAYMENT TO: 6709 La Tijera Blvd, #625 Los Angeles, CA 90045 FOR MORE INFORMATION, EMAIL TO: “My wellness Mantra is, 'Make the choice to make a choice, every day.' The way I lived and ate changed everything. I wasn't in shape, but I found centering my diet around leafy greens, fruits, chicken, along with a daily 2-mile run, made a huge difference. Also, taking time out of the week to meditate, pray, or just read quietly for mental health makes a positive difference. If you make the choice every day, you will be a more all-around healthier person."


If the


Ashley Yancey


is for you, “'Slow and steady wins the race' is the mantra I live by. For success, I must be consistent in whatever I do. If I am going to eat better, exercise more regularly, or take mental breaks, it's important to remember moderate and balanced trumps excessive and hardcore (nearly) every time."



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faces we love


The Day The World Mourned BY ANGELA JACKSON


hock… Disbelief… Grief…! These were the common stream of emotions when the world heard that 41-year-old Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers great, husband, father, son, brother, coach, mentor, and friend lost his life in a fatal helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. To add to the loss of Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others perished with him when the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain hidden behind a patch of dense fog. Bryant played in the NBA for 20 years. He entered the NBA at age 17 and grew up on the Lakers team before many of our eyes. For Southern Californians, Bryant was a giant among men. His commitment to excellence crossed the court and entered into his personal life and his academic centered sports complex, The Mamba Sports Academy. Bryant was a pillar of excellence and an example of continual growth off and on the court. Still today, the passing of Kobe Bryant is quite fresh and hard to digest. Like a bitter pill that is hard to swallow, the aftertaste remains and the thoughts of having to swallow such a bitter pill play over and over in our heads. I ask myself, why did Kobe's death hit us so hard? Why did his death feel so personal? Was it because he died alongside his 13-year-old daughter, who was following in his footsteps? Was it because he was just 41 and was the father of 4 beautiful girls? Or Was it because I watched him grow up, make mistakes, grow from those mistakes, perfect the areas of weaknesses and turn them into strengths that he would pass onto others as a coach and mentor? No matter how many questions I ask myself, there is no one answer that ts except that Bryant gave us a reason to love and respect the game of basketball and the game of life. He was the Ambassador of Excellence in Basketball and in Personal Self-Mastery. He was the example that with hard work, all things are possible. Bryant made the game of basketball look easy, but we know it took work. He made raising four girls alongside his devoted wife, Vanessa, look seamless, but we know it stretched him to greatness. It is that greatness that his untimely death seems to have cheated the world out on. The greatness of his wife and his three remaining children will gure out how to repackage and deliver. While Bryant left us physically, he did not leave us without his essence. His legacy is in the fabric of basketball, it is in the fabric of fatherhood, and the fabric of the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation. Bryant's spirit, along with his beautiful daughter, Gianna, lives on. Mamba out, but not over! +






Adjusting to the Sudden Death of



faces we love


erhaps you’ve spotted Keenan Chapman’s Nipsey Hussle mural painted at 42nd and St. Andrews in Los Angeles featuring blue and red coloring, a not-so-subtle nod encouraging unity in LA. Or maybe you attended one of Chapman’s Sip and Paint sessions in Atlanta, featuring symbolism inspired by his travels abroad. You may have even seen Snoop Dogg, The Game, or others post his art on their social media pages. A native Angeleno, Chapman is an artist carefully building a legacy to impact future generations.

“Creativity is one of the most healing things you can give to someone,” says Chapman when recounting his childhood, growing up without a parent. “You don’t know you’re killing somebody’s father the day after their 8th birthday.” He continued, “Now they gotta deal with that, every year.” His school counselor began pulling him out of class, helping him navigate his new reality. It was there Chapman became introduced to art and how it could be used as therapy. “My sessions were talking and drawing… pictures of my father ying in the clouds or me and my mom together and crying.” After graduating, Chapman struggled to gain his footing. “I had to learn from a couple [of] head bumps, taking a few risks and going down a few wrong paths.” Experienced in drawing with pencils, Chapman landed a job as a tattoo artist in a local shop where he discovered his love for painting. His rst canvas piece inspired a bidding war. “I didn’t know it was that dope,” Chapman shares about the acrylic painting of Dizzy Gillespie. “Nipsey [Hussle] ended up purchasing it from me.” He continued reecting on his friendship with the late rapper that began when the two were teens. “He wasn’t naïve. He was on a mission and was fearless about what it would take to get there knowing that death could’ve been around the corner at any moment.” 14



KEENAN C In the years since Chapman’s focus has shifted to the impact and legacy, he is leaving behind. “Art is propaganda... We were griots. We’re the storytellers. We’re the ones who keep [our] history alive.” Currently, Chapman is creating the non-prot Royal Roots Foundation, a rite of passage to introduce young boys to art therapy through new experiences and international travel for the disadvantaged and underserved. “Coming from LA and burying people in LA, you really lose sight of your options,” he laments.

Pensive and contemplative, Chapman is focused on his current piece, only inches from his face. “The mind is innite and priceless.” He pauses mid-stroke over the canvas, a colorful image of the late Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant taking form. “He was somebody I planned on connecting with.” +


N CHAPMAN @artistkeenanchapman



faces we love

Leader in Wellness for Black Women

Janette Robinson Flint


orn in Chicago, Illinois, during the Black Panthers Free Breakfast Program era, Janette Robinson Flint's obligation to serve our people was instilled early by her parents.

After a visit in 1977 to see her brother, Flint fell in love with California's weather. Following her visit, Flint realized that she didn't have to continue to endure Chicago's freezing temperatures and, within a year, permanently moved to California. After graduating college, Flint worked as a eld director with the Girl Scouts organization, where she helped a girlfriend open up urban centers for girls of color. She was then recruited by the Los Angeles County Health Department to do health education outreach in the community, which became her entry point into health and wellness. Later, in 1998, while producing a radio show on KPFK 90.7 FM, Flint learned of Kathryn Hall-Trujillo, who founded the Birthing Project to combat Black infant mortality. Hall-Trujillo started small gatherings of women called Baby Bunches. Flint and ve of her friends signed on to organize a Baby Bunch group in Los Angeles. These six visionaries would then become the founders of Black Women for Wellness, which began in one of their homes and is now located in the historic Leimert Park Village community. The rst program of Black Women for Wellness was Keep in Touch, which taught women how to do breast self-exams. Another interest for the women (four of whom were vegetarian) was learning how to eat healthier together. This interest gave birth to a Soulful Vegetarian Class. The class quickly grew in participation, garnering the attention of a funder whose prerequisite for funding the class was that it transitions from just “having fun in the kitchen” to a more qualiable program. The name then changed to Kitchen Divas. Where improving the quality of our health and well-being is concerned, Flint wants women to nd their zen, seek knowledge, and participate in new experiences that allow for constant learning. For more about Kitchen Divas, turn to page 51 to read our feature on the program and their ve talented chefs.


To learn more about Black Women for Wellness and its abundance of life-enhancing programs, visit their website at +

@blackwomenforwellness @bw4wla 16


faces we love

Superior Court Judge

Altus Hudson Lessons In Co-Parenting


uperior Court Judge Altus Hudson speaks on his experience co-parenting at a young age. Though coparenting has become a buzzword in the past decade, parents have been sharing the duties of raising a child while living apart for a long time. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Altus Hudson co-parented his two children, who were born when he was aged nineteen and twenty-one. Now, as he prepares to turn 54, he reects on his youth and offers evergreen advice on how fathers can successfully co-parent. “The rst thing I'd say is that you gotta spend time with the kids, especially if you're living apart from them. I was very consistent with the schedule that we established. You want them to understand your ways. If they’re ever in an unfamiliar situation, I told them that you got to think about what I would do.” Hudson went on to explain that if he was not involved in their lives then they wouldn’t be able to answer the question in that moment. “And time really ies so you got to spend time with the kids,” Hudson says. The root of this advice comes from how he went about things as a young parent - having to mature and choose how to raise his kids. Hudson shared, “I was, you know, nineteen, a very young parent. To every situation that was unfamiliar to me as I was raising my kids, if I did not know what the right answer was, I said, 'Well, what would my dad do under these circumstances?'”


Hudson also attributes raising his kids to help from family. “You know, they always say it takes a village to raise a child, and that is literally what happened in my case. My girlfriend never [had to] wanted for a babysitter. [My sisters] loved her to be around, and they were more than willing to babysit and help us out.” Hudson also advises fathers to cultivate a friendship with their co-parenting partners. “You gotta have open communication with your kids' mom, and if you're not in a relationship with her, you [cannot concern yourself with whom] she's dating and who she's around. You can't be involved in that situation, because you want to make sure that you can remain friends so you can parent the kids together.” +




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Life & Style

The World of

Babes & Felines Online Fashion Boutique

Subtle Tiyes







Life & Style | fashion

PICTURED: Ciera Rogers is wearing one of her own pieces, The Classic Heather Sweater Dress. ON SECTION COVER: Models are wearing the ultra-stretchy, full-length Babes Series Logo Maxi

@babesandfelines @babesandfelines | @cierarogers



More Than Meets the Eye How Entrepreneur,

Ciera Rogers of Babes & Felines

is Transforming the Online Fashion Boutique BY ASHLEY YANCEY | FEATURE PHOTOS BY KRISTINA DIXON


catered to them.” Ranging from small/medium through plus, she is serious about bringing new sizing options to the table.

ho says Instagram eye candy models don’t have what it takes to be truly successful? With over 2 million Instagram followers focused on her striking hourglass gure, Ciera Rogers is a force to be reckoned with. The CEO and Founder of one of the leading online boutiques,, is on a mission to educate and empower her audience on the value of body acceptance and self-love. “The biggest misconception is that [Babes and Felines] is only for curvy girls,” Rogers explains. “We embrace all sizes but because curvy girls were shut out for a long time, I

Originally from Houston, after graduating from college Rogers was confronted with the reality of the bleak job market stemming from 2008’s nancial crisis. Because entry-level jobs were nearly nonexistent, Rogers looked to her family for guidance. “My mom had a vintage store growing up so I was always in the store,” she shares. By 2012 she decided to follow her sister to Los Angeles and try her luck there. “When I moved, [vintage reselling] was my only means to make money. I was able to grow my business from my social media following


Special Limited- Tie Dye Logo Comfy Jogger

The Zebra Wifey Shaping *MIDI* 2

The Wrap Bodycon Maxi Dress Olive

The Wrap Bodycon Maxi


Reworked Boxer Crewneck

BABES SERIES Black Cotton Tummy Control Legging


Life & Style | fashion

The Wifey Collection






and things took off from there.” Within a year she graduated to selling wholesale apparel where “Babes and Felines” was born. With an emphasis on neutral basics for the Brought back by popular everyday girl, this entrepreneur focuses on demand for Spring, maintaining an inventory of quality items using premium fabrics and materials. “We’ve been this body-hugging stretchy selling the same staple pieces since day one. Our number is a must-have. customer knows what to expect with us.” In addition, she hires every day girls to serve as models and shies away from heavily editing the images that eventually make it onto her site. “The market has changed-there’s a lot of competition, so the fact that we’re able to stay in it is an accomplishment to me,” Rogers says. THE WIFEY SHAPING MIDI While Rogers originally handpicked her “TWO TONE PINK” inventory from wholesalers, it wasn’t long before she began designing and creating her own apparel created with her Babes in mind. When asked about the #1 product she’s designed that the site offers, “It’s the tummy control legging!” She continued, “It’s a basic legging that has a girdle affect in the waist and that’s it. I’ve been selling it for over six years now.” From inception to nished piece, Rogers’ timeline to complete a new design is about six months. While grateful she can offer unique sizing for her customers, it doesn’t come without its share of setbacks. “I just came out with a luxury legging and a month later I started seeing it on a bunch of boutiques,” Rogers recounts. “I Forever an innovator at heart, Rogers is careful not to let it have to design it, receive samples, get the fabric, dim her shine. She has already mapped out her next apparel test it out, and then put it in production. By the time I get it and venture.“I’m starting a [medical] scrubs company,” she post it, people in China and wholesale sites have it copied reveals. “I can’t wait, because the scrubs out now are ugly!” within weeks.” Planned for a Spring 2020 release, Rogers has designed her With a staff of just four and an ofce space not far from her regulation scrubs with the curvy girl body shape in mind. home, it is a rare moment when you nd Rogers not working. “When nurses are bending over, it’s restrictive fabric so I’m While self-care is important, she admits she hasn’t been the trying to nd something with a little more stretch and more best at prioritizing time away from the ofce. “I like to work,” pockets,” she explains. “No one else in the industry is doing it she plainly states. “I don’t have much of a social life and feel now.” weird being away from my ofce.“ The entrepreneur Gearing up for summer 2020 Rogers is also getting ready to understands the importance of time away and is taking small tap into swim. By offering one-piece swimsuits with alternative steps, where she can, to prioritize self-care. “Downtime is sizing on the upper and lower sections, she hopes to when I get the best ideas for work.” Scheduling more days off, accommodate the overwhelming number of women who are going to the spa, watching a movie, or going out to lunch with not the standard single-size top and bottom. “I’m so excited!” her sister are slowly becoming a part of her routine. “I have to she gushes as she explains her unique sizing model. force myself to leave my laptop at home.” Looking ahead to the future, Rogers wants to continue to When it comes to mental health in the age of social media, build Babes and Felines into a brand that all women can look to the social media maven has chosen to take a step back from her when they want to feel accepted and celebrated. An millions of followers in the last few months. “I just turned my entrepreneur, online retailer, designer, and social media guru, notications off,” she says. “When you post a picture, they start Ciera Rogers is one Angeleno who is making this city more arguing in the comments and start critiquing me and each inclusive, one tummy control legging at a time. + other. People can be really mean on social media sometimes.”



Life & Style | health







oul work practitioner and life purpose coach Melanie Luja’s line of hair and skin-care products, Subtle Tiyes, are bringing the natural healing properties of teas to the body’s outer layer. The products are designed to be used in conjunction with a variety of over 100 healing teas. The pairings of Luja’s products and teas expose the healing properties to the entirety of the body. Luja says, “All of the products are made from teas and essential oils. What you put inside of your body reects on the outside as well, so we paired the skincare and hair care products alongside the tea.” The products treat skin and hair just as important as internal organs. Luja says, “When you release the toxins from the inside sometimes it shows up on the outside negatively. So we have to be able to treat the outside of our skin as well. Our skin is an organ just like our heart, stomach, liver and everything else. So we're going to treat the outside as just as important.” In addition to her natural healing work, Melanie is an awardwinning poet and performs spoken word regularly. She and her husband Oshea, also a renowned poet, founded The Balance Portal, a private wellness practice where they teach workshops on soul work and life-purpose alignment. Oshea and Melanie work together closely, coproducing the line of products and performing and coaching together regularly. Their 5-year-old daughter, Love, also participates, introducing her parents at performances and using the Subtle Tiyes products herself. The Subtle Tiyes line of products has been featured in the Lujas’ Internal Balance Retreats, which are centered around the sun and moon, taking place four times a year on each equinox and each solstice. They take place on private estates in locales like Sequoia and Temecula, and the days are lled with wellness activities. In all their work, Melanie and Oshea follow love as their guiding principle. “Love is the number one thing that allows you to move in your light, to be able to identify what your purpose is in this world. Essentially it's about love.” +

All of the products are made from teas and essential oils. What you put inside of your body reects on the outside as well, so we paired the skincare and hair care products alongside the tea.” @subtletiyesproducts



Life & Style | health






Coach & Cheerleader


y love for watching people become their best self is what motivated me to become a personal trainer” George Hill revealed in a Suite Life SoCal interview with one of Southern California’s local heroes. When he’s not modeling or working on his music career, Hill is helping others overcome their physical and nutritional challenges. GHill's experience as a promising college athlete taught him the importance of taking care of the physical body, and after he tore his ACL, he had to apply all he had learned to recover. This is where he developed an understanding of the power of the mind. After successfully regaining his strength and recovering, GHill became a certied personal trainer under the American Council on Exercise. As a personal trainer, GHill has discovered the most signicant challenge his clients have is focus. So what's the solution we asked? “It starts with having the mindset that you want to do better,” GHill “This is one of the best Explains. The same challenge that GHill faces and every athlete faces happens to be times for people to pay the same for anyone desiring to get healthy. attention to their diet. You have to want to be your best. The entire world is focused When asked to reect on one of his most challenging clients, GHill mentioned the on health. Why not make client who needs to change his/her diet and this personal and look at nds it difcult to break bad eating habits your personal health goals?” has been the most [challenging] client.” All people are challenged with change.” Breaking old habits is difcult for anyone; that's why GHill declared it would take focus and a made-up mind to achieve your tness goals. So how does GHill suggest we stay physically t during the coronavirus quarantine? “This is one of the best times for people to pay attention to their diet. The entire world is focused on health. Why not make this personal and look at your personal health goals?” While focusing on yourself, GHill shares that planning is essential. GHill helps you plan in all seasons and enables you to execute your plan. That's why personal trainers are important. They are your coach and cheerleader wrapped into one. + @hillhousefitness



Life & Style | gift suite

Mother’s and Father’s Day



ach year sons and daughters, young and old, prepare to show their parents how much they appreciate them while Moms and Dads gear up to receive the typical owers and ties pawned off to hopeful consumers. This year Mother's Day and Father's Day doesn't have to be predictable or expensive. In 2020, Suite Life SoCal guides you to be both creative and thoughtful in considering the following ideas. When it comes to nding creative gifts, Pinterest has become a go-to online aggregate platform. From handmade bookmarks for parents who love to read to handmade bottle caps that teens can make that express how much Mom and Dad are loved. If you are 2 to 72, you can nd something to make inexpensively that is guaranteed to touch the heart of your parent. Depending on your skill level, homemade gifts are received in the hands and the heart of all parents. Now that we live in a world of social media and have the world wide web at our ngertips, we have access to the ideas of bloggers and vloggers to help us determine what gift best suits our parents and our pocketbooks. Practical yet unique gifts can be discovered beginning at zero dollars. Gifts for under $100 to satisfy the average consumer include gifts like portable back and feet massagers, a pair of walking shoes for health benets, or a pair of tickets to an upcoming live show. Some gifts may require some consideration but are all thoughtful options. To the reader that likes to plan what to buy, there are an endless amount of personalized gifts from bracelets to t-shirts that you can place your parents' or family's name on to put a smile on their face. Finally, if money is not an object, go all out and purchase that once in a lifetime vacation to your parents' favorite part of the world. What better way is there to say “Thank You” from a child that has nally arrived than a dream vacation planned from the heart. +



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Faith & Purpose

How Faith Fosters

Good Health


ealing ministries help maintain positive energy and outlook through prayer. The power of faith can lend itself to healing through positivity and outlook. Healing ministries harness the power of faith to help people along the way to recovery. Faith healing is practiced in many Christian denominations. A 2009 article, written by psychologist E. Anthony Allen, examined the biblical perspectives of the healing ministry. Allen quoted Luke chapter 9, verses 1-4, where Jesus gave his disciples the power to “drive out all demons and cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” While the healing power of Jesus is commonly a central principle of the healing ministry, the type of healing that the ministry focuses on can be different. Healing ministries have grown around drug addiction and alcoholism. Also, many churches have internal healing ministries, where congregants can meet in a smaller group for anyone who needs extra prayer for healing. The New City Church of Los Angeles and Westside Vineyard both have healing ministries that include intensive healing prayer. Faith healing takes the power of faith to restore or strengthen a person from the realm of the mind to the realm 32


of the body. A component of faith and prayer has always been comfort coming from the knowledge that Christ loves his followers. With faith healing, the power of faith can become so strong that a person can get through a severe disease or injury through the belief that they are loved and comforted by Jesus. Faith healing also brings the mind and mental well-being to the forefront. Multiple studies, including a 2015 survey from the London School of Economics, have found that people who are religious or spiritual tend to be happier than those who aren't and that participating in a religious organization is the only social activity that brought sustained happiness. In a 2011 CNN article, Deepak Chopra said that a large part of wellness is a positive attitude. It's easy to draw the line between happiness, faith, and wellness. The ability to see ahead to being well again also plays a big part in faith healing. During times like these amid the COVID19 crisis, it becomes more important than ever to maintain a modicum of optimism. The way that cancer is often referred to as a “battle,” many diseases require resilience to get through. That resilience can be hard if there's no optimism about healing from an illness. Part of many faith healing practices is strengthening the belief that healing is possible. Faith healing helps people imagine that they'll be well again, and that belief leads to the mind-body effect that helps them recuperate. +










Jewel Thais-Williams LOS ANGELES ICON

heritage Suite


'm not sure if you're aware, but it's the South Bay who has the highest concentration of Samoans outside of the mainland,” says Lakei Tuiasosopo (”Lake” for short), a half-Samoan professional who resides there. At only 27 years old, his pride for the culture is unwavering. “We are strong. We didn't allow the United States to fully take over as other islands have.”




Similar sentiments are echoed by Nuusoliafaifuaina Tuimoloau (Tui or “2E” for short), a Samoan who relocated to the United States with his mother in the mid1950s when he was 10 years old to join the rest of their family. An instructor at Carson High School, Tuimoloau, leads the school's championship-winning robotics program. “[The Samoan kids] walk down the hallway with dignity. They may not wear [Levi] 501s or have [Air] Jordan shoes, but they have pride.” The Samoan culture in Los Angeles has too often been typecast as an underdog whose only channels for escape are through entertainment or athletics. Often identied by strikingly detailed tattoos or impressive physiques, the culture can be misunderstood, and many in Los Angeles want that to change. “It's the most magnicent culture I've ever known,” shares Tuimoloau. “Family, food, and fun. Those are our values.” While there's no denying the impact of gang conict and low education levels on Samoan life in South Bay, it doesn't dene their sense of community, fellowship, and steadfast Christian faith. Hardworking and quite analytical, blue-collar roles and S.T.E.M. opportunities are often where Tui recognizes the opportunities for his community. “You've got to remember, where there's a lot of bad things there's a lot of good things,” With strong ties to the mainland, many Samoan's disputes and agreements are still governed through chiefs and elders back home. This includes preserving the language that is handed down as well as gaining approval from respected community members to receive the highly respected tattoos that outsiders have come to admire and emulate. Lake's younger sister recently underwent Malu, the traditional tribal tattoo experience that is a hallmark of Samoan womanhood. “It was an overwhelming, emotional experience for not only her but our entire family,” he revealed. “It was beautiful that she chose to do this. We're proud of her.” Outsiders were not permitted, nor was photography, as it is considered a sacred and private ritual. Tui rolled up his right sleeve and displayed prominently on his lower forearm was a large tattoo of darkened lines curving in various directions. “This is my wife's and I's wedding band. They are the same, and it tells our marriage story. It is the unity of two families.” Continuing to open up about his background, Tui reveals his father was a WWII veteran who moved to the United States to nish his military career at Point Mugu. “My brothers went to war, Korean and 'Nam. Two brothers went to both Desert Storm, and another has retired from the military.” His story is not unique. In 1951 the U.S. Navy closed the Pago Pago base in Samoa and invited 1,000 Samoans to relocate to the U.S. for naval jobs. Carson and San Pedro absorbed the majority of this inux, and the rest is history. Due to the extensive military inuence on the American Samoan culture, Flag Day is the annual holiday that South Bay Samoans can celebrate, not only their culture but the role that the military has played in strengthening those bonds. “My parents used to take me. It was not only a highlight but a time I was meeting family from down south and up north,” reects Tui. With the existence of holidays such as Flag Day and more of the Samoan culture transitioning to America, fewer are returning or even visiting the mainland. They recognized the unique opportunities here, and over time it became easier to adopt newer ways to connect. That said, as we acknowledge PHOTO: LAKEI TUIASOSOPO | FACEBOOK.COM and salute the achievements of cultures in Asian Pacic American Heritage during May, over the years, Tui has been misidentied as Polynesian, Japanese, and a host of other nationalities. Moving forward, he sees this as each person's responsibility, Samoan and otherwise, to claim their place in the world and fearlessly pursue it. “I think it's important you identify who you are, and if they don't agree, that's their problem.” He pauses briey. “You must tell them.” +



heritage Suite

Jewel Thais-Williams LGBTQ Activist & Health Guru BY MISCHA DUFFIE PHOTOS BY MALCOLM ALI


aving watched Jewel’s Catch One documentary on Netix in preparation for my conversation with the icon and LGBTQ activist, Jewel Thais-Williams, I was prepared to meet a woman with a larger than life personality. But when I walked through the doors of the Village Health Foundation, I met a meek, rmly planted soul, whose presence was so calming it made me want to just sit in silence with her.

Because she had a complexity to her, Jewel also remembers having what some would call tomboyish ways. She shot marbles, played basketball and football. And at times, could be seen playing around in her brother's blazer. Raised in a strictly Southern Baptist home with a mother who, in the words of Jewel, “Was not one to try,” there was no thought about gay or lesbian. “She said she would take us out, and not to dinner.” For this reason, it never entered Jewel's mind at any point that she could be gay. As far as Jewel was concerned, girls were silly. Though popular in school to the point of being elected president of her high school class, Jewel had no close friends.

Born in May 1939, in Garrett, Indiana, to a mother who was a homemaker and a father who was a sharecropper, no one, not even Jewel, knew the enormity or the complexity of the journey that life would take her on. With seven children in tow, Jewel's Having experienced and parents, who were married for seventytwo beautiful years, moved the family watched the intensity of from Indiana to Arkansas and then from discrimination gays and Arkansas to San Diego, California, where lesbians faced in the 1970s, Jewel stayed until attending college at UCLA in Los Angeles. particularly, Black gays and

At 25, things would change and change dramatically. Jewel would be confronted with the reality of who she was when a colleague at the Safeway grocery store she worked at shamelessly kissed her during dinner. Although women were known to “hit on Jewel,” she never made anything of it. Yet a series of interactions with her colleague, Marian, resulted in Jewel coming to terms with the fact that she was gay, and entangled her in an eleven-year long relationship, which was Jewel's rst intimate relationship with a woman.

Responsibility had set in early for lesbians, Jewel had had enough. Jewel. There was no idle time. “Mom and “[Catch One] was about dad made sure we were busy.” This meant that at 7-years-old, Jewel was fulfilling a need...Nobody could taking care of her younger sisters. At 9take me out, and I wouldn't years-old, she was managing her Uncle take myself out.” Bill's market. In the ninth grade, Jewel A fter Jewel's relationship with was sewing her clothes. She would look in Marian ended, she found herself in Seventeen Magazine and get fashion ideas that she would relationships with other women, but none of them meant to then replicate. In high school, she won 2nd place for best Jewel what her wife and partner of thirty-one years has meant dressed. Jewel's affection for fashion would inspire her years to her. Nurturing is the word Jewel used to describe her wife, later to open a women's clothing store. Rue's, best quality. They met at Unity Fellowship of Christ 38




heritage Suite Church, where they both were founding members. Before having their ofcial ceremony in 1989, Jewel, at 50-years-old, nally got up the nerve to tell her parents that she was gay. Even though they knew, and she knew that they knew, Jewel felt it only right to say the words out loud. Having experienced and watched the intensity of discrimination gays and lesbians faced in the 1970s, particularly, Black gays and lesbians, Jewel had had enough. It was time to give the LGBTQ community a safe place to be with one another while having fun. Enter Catch One, which was named because of men saying they were going out to catch one or some. When asked what gave Jewel the condence to take the risk of opening Catch One, a landmark LGBTQ club in 1973 that brought people from all over the world, she said, “It was about fullling a need.” When asked what gave her the determination to keep recovering from the multitude of setbacks she experienced during the forty-year history of Catch One, her response was, “Determination. Nobody could take me out, and I wouldn't take myself out.” After struggling off and on for some years with alcohol and drugs, Jewel decided that she needed to get clean to “Show my best side.” In the spirit of holding herself accountable, Jewel says, “I came from a long history of folk who exceeded their own expectations.” And exceed her own expectations she did. Jewel was busy with Catch One and her café, Vegan Village, when she decided to open The Village Health Foundation.

Treating people, being available to everybody, and getting us o of medicine,” is what she loves about the work she does at The Village Health Foundation.

One evening while watching 20/20 on television, six doctors were asked if they treated Black people differently. All six doctors said, “Yes.” For Jewel, this was conrmation that her people needed and deserved better. Motivated by a fascination with Chinese food and medicine as well as a desire to help people who had been used by doctors in Western medicine, The Village Health Foundation was established in 2001 and nineteen years later has proudly served over 20,000 clients. Through an endearing smile, Jewel acknowledged that treating people, being available to everybody, and getting us off of medicine is what she loves about the work she does at The Village Health Foundation. Having had the honor of watching her grandmother do only right by her health using herbs and supplements, Jewel knew what was possible. She watched her grandmother, who turned 93-years-old without ever having to see a doctor, take great care of herself. When asked what we can do to develop a better relationship with food, Jewel's immediate reply was, “Ditch all prepared food, limit your sugar and salt intake, exercise and get plenty of good sleep.” She went on to say, “We don't know the harm we do to our body with the damaging foods we eat. Literally, we are what we eat.” + 40


heritage Suite



t’s interesting how we can celebrate historical events and not really know what we are celebrating. If you ask any American about The Battle of Puebla not too many would know how to respond. Even in the Mexican-American community the response wouldn’t be much better. But if you ask anyone about Cinco de Mayo, well everyone knows what that is. Right? Or, do people just think they know? Is Cinco de Mayo a myth? We’ve seen the beer commercials and the advertisements for parties. School children may have a little assembly where they bring in the Folklorico dancers and someone says a few words about The Battle of Puebla. But we seldom get the whole picture. We don’t really hear about the nearly sevenyear long struggle of the Second French Intervention into Mexico. We don’t really remember whose blood was spilled on May 5, 1862 but we make elaborate plans to eat Mexican food and get drunk that night. The Battle of Puebla gets lost in the whole Cinco de Mayo saga. Due to great marketing campaigns from primarily beer manufacturers we remember the date but not the details. We



have taken the memory of a Battle and the sacrices therein and merged it with racial identity and the promotion of ethnic consciousness. Then we added beer commercials, which adds to the insane party atmosphere we get in America. Everybody knows beer companies sell a lot of beer on Cinco de Mayo, and the commercials, some of them run for years. Its big business. There are an estimated 150 ofcial locations in the U.S. that have ofcial Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Why does America celebrate this to the point that it has become a secular holiday? Mexico doesn’t even celebrate Cinco de Mayo nationwide. It’s celebrated mainly in the state of Puebla and around the town of Puebla where the battle was fought on May 5, 1862. It was fought to try and repel the French forces who had invaded the year before in an attempt by French Emperor Napoleon III to collect war debts owed by Mexico. Sadly, today the only ght we remember is the ght between the drunken patrons at the local Cinco De Mayo celebration. Let’s pledge to do better. This year if you choose to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, remember the lives lost and the victory proclaimed by the people of Puebla. +

Suite Biz



Suite Biz

Finding Hope and Healing at the Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation An Interview with Dr. Glenna and Kelvin Tolbert



erhaps it was the tranquil color of the paint on the wall, the backdrop of the fountain, the aromatherapy scent permeating the room or the 'FAITH' sign hanging on a patient room that made me feel at ease when I met the husband and wife team, Mr. Kelvin and Dr. Glenna Tolbert, of the Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation where they strive to help people nd hope and healing from a life with pain.

A reader as well, Kelvin, chuckled as he shared that he read to stay out of trouble. With a mother who was a homemaker and a father who was a brick mason, Kelvin shared, “My father didn't play.” The parents of three grown sons themselves, 24, 26, and 29, Kelvin and Dr. Tolbert, always instilled in their sons the importance of God rst, family, service, and excellence as prime virtues. These same virtues have guided everything the Tolberts have put their hands to since becoming one.

Married thirty-one years, Dr. Tolbert, 56, and her husband, Kelvin, 57, are best friends and business partners who would not have it any other way. Originally from Inglewood and then Altadena, California, Dr. Tolbert met Kelvin, who hails from Carson by way of Compton, at UCLA. He majored in mathematics and she in medicine. Initially, Dr. Tolbert was accepted into UCLA for engineering but changed her major to medicine after realizing that she liked people too much.

Although Kelvin has been in real estate for thirty-ve years as a very successful franchisor who at one point owned a host of commercial properties and had two ofces with as many as twenty-six real estate agents under him, he currently has an ofce in Sherman Oaks with just two agents. When asked why he decided to scale down, Kelvin replied, “I'm human. At some point, you have to consider the limiting part.” I was quite familiar with real estate being called passive income, but Kelvin introduced me to its sister term: horizontal income. Taking full advantage of the benets of horizontal income, Kelvin gave himself the freedom to fully support his wife as she opened the Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness sixteen years ago in Encino, California.

Although they would see each other on campus because they lived in the same dorm, it wasn't until they both participated in the Freshman Summer Program for “colored folk” that a connection was made. Respect, work ethic, discipline, and dignity were virtues bestowed upon both Dr. Tolbert and Kelvin by their parents. “My father was a lab tech. He brought his work home. We drove in the car with my father's specimen. He took an interest in us, and because he took an interest, I felt I could do anything,” said Dr. Tolbert. She went on to share that her mother was an educator who kept books everywhere. “I was always reading books like Black Boy and Invisible Man.”



Having lived with constant pain from her preteen years until well into her thirties, which resulted in her spending a lot of time in the orthopedic world, Dr. Tolbert decided that she had to “get herself out of pain.”



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Suite Biz In this extraordinary time called the Coronavirus Pandemic, aka COVID-19, Dr. Tolbert understands that it is going to take innovative ideas from her and her staff to ensure all of her patients receive adequate care. In her recent blog post, Dr. Tolbert message is to “stay calm during this stressful time.” She goes on to say, “For many people, the coronavirus pandemic may seem like something that is completely out of control. With the number of reported infections continuing to rise exponentially in the U.S. and around the world, we are no doubt in uncharted territory. For our patients at the Tolbert Center, many of whom deal with painful musculoskeletal conditions on a daily basis, I can understand how you might be especially concerned because our entire healthcare system is getting ready to be tested. But did you know that the most important thing to do at this challenging moment is to not fall victim to fear and panic?” “It will be creative ideas and compassionate decisions that make all the difference for us in the end,” Dr. Tolbert cautions each of us. “Now is not the time to revert back to blaming other people for a disease that has unknown origins. It is also not the time to become so caught up in our own pride that we don't take this outbreak seriously.” Through acquiring her medical degree from Howard University, working in medical facilities such as Encino Hospital Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center, and becoming a double board-certied physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Tolbert put her decades of accumulated experience into developing a practice that would restore patients to the highest quality of life without medication or surgery.

Dr. Tolbert goes on to outline her main points: 1) We've Done This Before. We have capable scientists around the world, and the good news is that we've done this before; 2) [It's] an Opportunity to Care for One Another; 3) Listen to What Local Health Ofcials Are Saying; and 4) 'Equanimity Under Duress' which means to maintain a degree of calmness and tranquility because that will allow you to do what is appropriate in any circumstance. To read her full article, turn to the next page.

Dr. Tolbert has long been concerned about the degree to which Corporate America has hijacked the medical profession and patients who are over-medicated on medication that depletes the nutrients from their bodies while also making their hormones crazy. At the state-of-the-art Center, she and her team use an assortment of carefully selected regenerative medicine procedures that include: Platelet Rich Plasma, Prolotherapy, Stem Cell Injections, and Hormone Replacement Therapy to assist the body in healing itself.

And while his wife and her capable team are carefully taking care of patients, Kelvin is busy taking care of the back of the house matters such as counting dollars, managing expenses, determining how to market their brand and who to market it to.

Dr. Tolbert believes in transparency. She believes in being honest with her patients. Having helped more than 3,000 patients heal without surgery, she reminds people who come to her ofce that “It's in the system's best interest to make you think you're sick.” At the same token, she acknowledges that “It's difcult to deprogram people.” Admittedly, Dr. Tolbert does not work in isolation. She has a like-minded team that is equally committed to the mission of her center. And to ensure that they are always taking the boldest steps toward hope and healing, she invites her team to share their innovative ideas, some of which she believes can “save a life.”



When asked what matters most at this point in their lives, Dr. Tolbert and Kelvin unanimously agreed that it's family and fullling their purpose. They are both big on educating “our folk.” Whether it's about real estate or how to take care of your body, education is essential. In fact, as a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Dr. Tolbert has been honored three years in a row for her dedication. About her love for teaching, Dr. Tolbert says, “I enjoy the fresh brains and seeing the hope of young hearts.” She went on to say that not only is she teaching her students, her students teach her as well. Because the Tolberts take wellness to heart, they rely on quarterly staycations to reset and re-calibrate. To reach a broader Los Angeles base, the Tolberts opened a new ofce in Beverly Hills on La Cienega Boulevard in 2018. Visit to learn more. +



Suite Biz

How to Stay Calm During a Pandemic: A Doctor's Guide


or many people, the coronavirus pandemic may seem like something that is completely out of control. With the number of reported infections continuing to rise exponentially in the U.S. and around the world, we are no doubt in uncharted territory. For our patients at the Tolbert Center, many of whom deal with painful musculoskeletal conditions on a daily basis, I can understand how you might be especially concerned because our entire healthcare system is getting ready to be tested. But did you know that the most important thing to do at this challenging moment is not to fall victim to fear and panic? I know it might sound crazy, especially when you hear reports in the news that potentially half the country’s population could become infected with the coronavirus (aka COVID-19). However, I’d like to share some thoughts from a doctor’s perspective. Hopefully, they can ease some of your concerns and change the way we approach things moving forward. While we shouldn’t ignore the facts, the fact of the matter is that humans have been ghting viruses throughout history. According to history, whenever a new virus has emerged, a lot of people usually get infected, and a vaccine is not always readily available. That’s just the reality. Thankfully, science has evolved. As a result, there are countless stories in which doctors and scientists rushed in to nd a cure when it seemed like all hope was lost.




We’ve Done This Before I know what you might be thinking: What are we supposed to do with this virus when it seems like, this time, things are different? Well, the rst thought I’d like to share is that we have capable scientists around the world, and the good news is that we’ve done this before. Here’s what I mean by that statement: Not too long ago, in the mid-20th century, our world was dealing with a terrible polio outbreak that was literally crippling children’s lives. The scariest part about polio was that it thrived in the warmer months, wreaking havoc through Labor Day. Then, it vanished, only to reappear each spring. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were impacted by the disease, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt. So it’s no surprise that the fears we have about COVID-19 today are eerily similar to the fears people had about polio years ago. But you know what? If you ask some of our seniors who lived through that nightmare, they will tell you the other side of that story—a story that’s full of resilience. And that story ends like this: science won. Thanks to Jonas Salk, who developed a successful vaccine for the virus in 1955, polio was eradicated throughout the country, and the number of polio cases throughout the world has decreased by more than 99%. What does this tell us? Just like with the polio vaccine, our modern-day scientists will eventually nd a vaccine for COVID-19, and we should be anticipating the day when we

can view this global pandemic from the rearview mirror.

An Opportunity to Care for One Another The second thought I have is that, yes, you have a right to be upset right now—about how something like this could happen, about how our government is handling things, about how our healthcare system is working. But we can also look at this as an opportunity to care for one another. I’m reminded of stories from my veteran patients who lived through World War II. If you listen to them, you’ll hear memories of how our government and the public rallied together to win the war by producing food and supplies as one nation. There was a sense that, from the top down, everyone had a role to play to ensure our victory. The same is true for what we’re dealing with today. Now is not the time to revert back to blaming other people for a disease that has unknown origins. It is also not time to become so caught up in our own pride that we don’t take this outbreak seriously. My hope is that when all of this is over—and it will end—what will be remembered most is how much compassion we had for each other. At the end of the day, just like in previous wartimes, history will judge us based on how we came together as a community.

Listen to What Local Health O cials Are Saying The third thing I want to share is for our patients at the Tolbert Center and for those who might need help in the Greater Los Angeles area: Please educate yourself and listen to what the local resources are telling us. Both our Encino and Beverly Hills ofces are still open. We are offering telephone visits and making house calls, but we continue to check the news about COVID-19. Since the start of this crisis, we have been following the CDC guidelines to ensure all common areas are wellmaintained and sanitized regularly. We have been encouraging patients to stay at home if they feel ill or are elderly or high risk. We have instructed our team to take the same precautions. We’re in constant talks with our local emergency room, and they are encouraging everyone except for patients who are really sick to stay at home. Really sick means those who are showing symptoms of a fever or having difculty breathing. We also pay attention to other outlets provided to us doctors on a near-daily basis. Unfortunately, there are still too many questions and gaps that exist in our system. The good news is that we have an opportunity to be here for our patients and each other.

The other day, one of our most vulnerable patients came in to get help with his chronic pain. The easy thing to do would have been to prescribe the patient opioids. But we knew that could possibly cause some issues down the road that could eventually make things worse for the patient and our local emergency room. So we decided to get a little bit more creative. The patient has schizophrenia and lives in a group home so that he wouldn’t be a good candidate for prescription pills. Instead of prescribing the opioids, our team is having him do yoga at our clinic. We’re also teaching him how to wash his hands properly. It will be creative ideas and compassionate decisions that make all the difference for us in the end.

‘Equanimity Under Duress’ Back when I was a medical student at Howard University, I spent many nights working in the hospital emergency room. Back then, Washington, D.C., was known as “Dodge City” because there were so many people being admitted to the hospital with bullet wounds. One night, I remember we had a patient come into the emergency room in the worst circumstances. The patient had come in on a gurney and was covered in blood. Being a medical student at the time, I quickly sprung into action to do my part to save the patient’s life. I was so determined to save the patient’s life that, while the other medical staff were rolling the patient in, I jumped on the gurney, straddled the patient’s motionless body and literally placed my hand inside the patient’s chest, held the patient’s heart in my hand and kept it pumping. All of a sudden, in the midst of the panic, I remember one of my mentors, Dr. LaSalle Leffall, standing up in the hallway and calmly yet sternly telling everyone to stop and take stock of the situation in the emergency room. Then he proceeded to share with us his iconic mantra, and it is even more relevant today. “Equanimity under duress,” he said, meaning that one of the best attributes of a surgeon is to maintain a degree of calmness and tranquility because that will allow you to do what is appropriate in any circumstance. If he was still alive today, I’m sure Dr. Leffall would say something like, “When we make decisions out of fear and panic, people will surely die—and that’s not necessary if you practice equanimity under duress.” Bottom line: In the midst of this difcult circumstance, let’s all do our part to do what is appropriate so that we can ensure a victory. +

Reprint permission courteous of the Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness. Please visit their blog at





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Divas “ I want people to know that they can’t cheat on their body. Choose to focus on your wellness now before all you have to focus on is your health. — Charity Faye


@blackwomenforwellness @bw4wla






pilot program launched 15 years ago by Black Women for Wellness, Kitchen Divas is a whole food plant-based cooking demonstration that empowers participants to learn how to make nutritious, avorful and affordable healthy meals for themselves and their families. Through weekly ninety-minute classes taught in four locations by ve incredibly talented chefs, the program provides samples of the food they prepare in class, recipe cards, bags of fresh produce, and information that help participants commit to leading healthier lives.

Having had the pleasure of interviewing all ve Kitchen Divas as well as the program director, I can tell you that all six women are as uplifting as the important work they do and hold very rm convictions relative to food’s healing properties, how we should consume food, and the value being a conscious eater can bring to one’s overall health and well-being. Sitting in one of the cooking classes on a beautiful Wednesday morning was gratifyingly eye opening as I watched a gathering of over thirty enthusiastic participants, all over 55 years of age, many who have been cooking for years, hungry for new and different information. “I’m eating better. I got vegan cheese and butter. I don’t have to go out and eat,” said a condent 75-year-old Elma Parker who is retired and has been participating in the cooking class since September of 2019. As a professional chef herself and former cook for neo-soul singer Ledisi, Charity White, program director for Kitchen Divas, says she was drawn to the program out of her desire for people to reclaim their kitchens and understand that food is to keep our body at optimal functioning levels. As the woman tasked with moving Executive Director Janette Robinson Flint’s vision forward, Charity’s rallying call to women is: “I want people to know that they can’t cheat on their body. Choose to focus on your wellness now before all you have to focus on is your health.”




Chef Angela Bowie


CalState Northridge graduate, Angela Bowie, 33, is a passionate proponent of the farm to table concept of eating. Having participated in the planting of the rst edible garden at an elementary school in the country, Chef Angela learned the importance of growing your own food early. This passion persisted over the years as her relationship with food evolved, propelling her to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Food Science & Nutrition and an associate's degree in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of California – Hollywood, allowing Chef Angela to solidify her credibility in the cooking industry. Under the inuence of chef, food activist, and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant, Alice Waters, Angela learned to cook with fresh ingredients. This experience prepared Angela for her role as chef at UCLA's Bruin Plate Restaurant, where she has worked since 2013. Five years later, Chef Angela expanded her culinary reach by joining Black Women for Wellness' Kitchen Divas Program. When asked what she loves about Kitchen Divas, she cheerfully responded, “I love teaching the healthy eating demonstrations to participants forty and up. To develop a better relationship with food, Chef Angela wants women to attend educational cooking classes, take time to cook at home, and realize that food is here to heal the body. When asked what's her favorite dish to cook, Chef Angela wasted no time letting me know that she prepares a must-have kale salad that's so good her friends always ask for seconds. +




Chef Brisa Slaton


eople don't consider the implications of what they eat until something is wrong. Food induced ailments take years to develop, which shows you how powerful food is.” These are the words of food and beauty inuencer, Chef Brisa Marlene Slaton, 23. Born in Central California, Chef Brisa moved to East Los Angeles in 2014 to attend Cal State Los Angeles, where she majored in business. Toward the end of college, however, she began posting pictures of food and video tutorials on her Instagram. With a desire to raise awareness about the Cal State's food pantry where she volunteered, Chef Brisa entered one of her videos in a contest and won. Chef Brisa's love for food didn't start at Cal State, though. It was ignited at eight years old while watching her grandmother make food for celebrations and family reunions. With lots of cookbooks in the kitchen, Chef Brisa followed along as her grandmother went step-bystep to create delicious pies, yams, and rum cake, which is her personal favorite. After her mother was diagnosed with diabetes, Chef Brisa became afraid, got checked out for diabetes herself, and with the good news of being diabetes free, she decided to eat in a preventative way. “People have a misperception that food is not really a contributor to our health and wellbeing when it is. That's why I'm so glad to be working with Kitchen Divas. Like my mom, some of the participants have ailments. My involvement with Kitchen Divas was strategic. I knew that it was my people that I wanted to serve.” To develop a better relationship with food, she encourages women to plan meals and keep a food journal without judgment - so you can see food trends of what you're eating. She uses a food app called LOSE IT to track her calories, which helped her lose forty-ve pounds in eight months. Chef Brisa also encourages women to think of every new meal as a fresh start. Think of every meal as a chance to be healthier. + @briisa_marlene

@brisa-slaton SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | SPRING 2020



Chef Carmen Karlsgodt


health educator who taught French and Spanish for more than fteen years, Chef Carmen Karlsgodt, 40, was lured away from teaching foreign languages and into teaching cooking after healing herself from fatty liver, depression, anxiety, constipation, and restless leg syndrome with food. Originally from Peru, Chef Carmen graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology and a master's degree in Spanish Language from the University of California Santa Barbara. Determined to change people's perception of food, Chef Carmen uses her afliation with a number of local and national healthoriented organizations, her Healthy Con Gusto food blog, her Instagram account, and her platform as a “Kitchen Diva” to sound the alarm that food is more than something to put in your mouth. Chef Carmen wanted people to know that “Healthy food is not what it seems. It's not boring and tasteless.” When asked what she has loved about being with the Kitchen Divas program for the last year, her reply was, “My favorite part of teaching is the student light bulb moments and all the people I get to meet.” To develop a better relationship with food, Chef Carmen says women must redene their relationship with food, cook in as opposed to eating out, and eat what doesn't cause them harm. + @carmen.karlsgodt @carmenbadasskarlsgodt



Chef Kyndra McCrary


riginally from San Diego, Chef Kyndra McCrary, 38, moved to Los Angeles in 2008 and started catering just one year later. With a love for cooking from watching her grandmother cook, Chef Kyndra has been fortunate to hone her craft by cooking for a company that traveled her to fourteen countries around the world. Finding Japan to be the most interesting and Greece and Italy the most fun, Chef Kyndra's plant-based recipes are admittedly inspired by the cultures she experienced during her global travels. With a love for community, Chef Kyndra became a Kitchen Diva in 2019 after working with the program for the holidays. When asked what she loves about Kitchen Divas, she replied, “I enjoy the moms and grandmoms who come out to the weekly cooking classes.” “People are starting to get it,” is Chef Kyndra's belief about the impact of the classes on the participants. And she should know because it was through “getting it” herself that Chef Kyndra was able to eliminate a pre-diabetic diagnosis by changing her eating habits and losing fortyve pounds in just six months. “I don't think most people realize that changing your diet can reverse diseases.” Committed to spreading the word by bringing healthy eating options to the inner city, in October 2019, Chef Kyndra merged her love for food and passion for community and opened Swift Café on the infamous Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles. Because the universe has a beautiful way of letting us know we are on the right path, just four months after opening, Chef Kyndra received a surprise message from a producer of Oprah's 2020 WW Tour which resulted in her café being selected as Oprah's New WW Now LA Restaurant Partner. To develop a better relationship with food, Chef Kyndra encourages women to step out of their comfort zone. + @kyndra.mccrary @theofficialswiftcafe SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | SPRING 2020



Chef Osunkoya Chavon


riginally from Atlanta, GA, Chef Osunkoya Chavon, 24, moved to Santa Barbara six years ago to attend the University of California Santa Barbara, where she majored in Global and International Studies with a focus on food policy and worked with a food co-op. The idea of being involved with creating policy to determine which neighborhoods have access to food while making sure there is curriculum and education for students around food aligned with Chef Osunkoya's communal vision which began at three years old when her mother married into an extended family that hosted spiritual community potluck gatherings where lots of people from places like Belize, Nigerian, Hatia, and the Dominican Republic would eat, dance and talk into the night. “The food was also so colorful it sparked me to create.” As she got older, Chef Osunkoya says, “Most nights, I would be in the kitchen trying to gure out how to recreate something we ate. Mom was a cook, but my stepdad was a private chef for most of his career. We lived in the middle of nowhere, so my entertainment was watching him cook.” At 5 years old, Chef Osunkoya was involved in a car accident, the aftermath of which left her in a coma for a few days and dealing with an unexpected obsessive, compulsive disorder. This led to her being obsessive about school, but also about food—and not in a good way. Years later, she transitioned to a plant-based diet with the help of her stepdad. Led by her passion for being a community informant where food is concerned, Chef Osunkoya picked back up on her involvement with food co-ops and, in 2019, started her food education and individual consulting service called Sun Belly. When asked what she loves about being a Kitchen Diva since joining the team in November 2019, Chef Osunkoya said, “I really like the intergenerational aspect of it. I love that I get to work with my elders and show them how to take dishes we've used for generations and then cook them better.” Interestingly enough, Chef Osunkoya says she thinks of food as something musical. “I taste food in the spirit of music notes that you dance to. Letting food be our musical guide. Letting food guide us back to our ancestral ways.” To develop a healthy relationship with food, Chef Osunkoya wants women to listen to your body, learn to eat with the seasons because our bodies process different ingredients at different times of the year, and be open to new traditions. +

@osunkoyv @rayven.mbryant



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n the harsh world of professional gymnastics, the vast majority can only dream of making it to the top. With barely 1% of all gymnasts ever competing at the elite level, by age 22, Sophina DeJesus had reached the elite level, competed on the U.S. national team, and went viral during her epic oor routine her senior year at UCLA. What does a 25year-old retiree make of life after accomplishing this much so early? “I will always be a gymnast, but I also want to be known as much more than just the gymnast with blue hair who Whip'd and Nae Nae'd.” Growing up, DeJesus' parents kept her busy, allowing her to explore varied interests and passions. “My mom made sure gymnastics wasn't the only thing I ever did. I knew once I was done, I was happy in a sense to move on to something else,” she says matter-of-factly. When confronted with the reality of leaving gymnastics behind, DeJesus has no regrets. “I feel like I served my purpose in a sense.”

Sophina the Diva Now retired from the sport, DeJesus nds herself busier than ever. “I'm dibbling and dabbling in a lot of things, but I feel like that's what keeps me on my toes and active, fun, and energetic.” With a popular YouTube page, other blossoming social media pages, a role as a co-host on an up-and-coming Indie entertainment talk show, The Breakthrough, and a strong focus on dancing and acting, “Sophina the Diva” as she's called on YouTube, is showing no signs of slowing down. “I'm a nice diva. But I am a diva,” she laughs. Currently, on two Amazon Prime projects, her acting career is showing promise. She stars in the horror lm, Be Our Guests, and appears in episodes of the miniseries Still Broke. Ultimately, this is just the beginning. “I want to have my own series,” she says. 62


I will always be a

gymnast, but I also want to be known as

much more than just

the gymnast with blue hair who Whip'd and Nae Nae'd.”




Sophina with her co-host, Hanif Carter aka “BillionAir Carter”

Sophina the Influencer With so much of her life shared online, the social media inuencer works hard to keep it all in perspective. “It's important that people use it to benet themselves,” she explains. “Sometimes, people get caught up in looking at other people's lives and thinking it's perfect. No one's life is perfect. You denitely have to be careful with that and mindful of that.” When necessary, DeJesus isn't afraid to take a break either. Once a month, she will pick a day or two to unplug completely. “You have to make sure you aren't on your phone every hour of every day because that can make your self-worth plummet.” When it comes to her followers, she pays close attention to maintaining healthy relationships. “A lot of times I get really great DMs and those will make my day. It may be a child saying, 'You inspire me!'” she shares when reecting on the power of social media. “Even if it's not gymnastics-related, I embrace my curly hair, and I embrace my freckles, and they need to see that.” Half Puerto-Rican and half Black, DeJesus is proud of her dual identity, and this condence is what many of her fans connect with her. Because so many young girls admire her, DeJesus does what she can to reach out and offer advice and guidance. “I do a little bit of motivational speaking at gymnastics clubs.” She also tries to cater to her YouTube channel to young gymnasts, sharing reections and inspiration.

Making a Breakthrough So wherein all of this does being a host of a talk show come into play? Hosting a talk show was never a part of DeJesus' plan but because she is open and up for any positive step forward, when the opportunity was presented to be a co-host on The Breakthrough, DeJesus obliged. “I never thought I would or wouldn't host a talk show, but I am denitely a big people person. I love talking, I love showing my personality, that's what I do on my YouTube, so to host a show feels like a great t, and I enjoy doing it.” Thank You MA'AM Productions, a woman-owned production company presents, The Breakthrough an internet television show starring host, indie artists Sophina De Jesus 64


DeJesus and Carter in Atlanta interviewing artist Marsh Arts.

aka “Sophina The Diva” and Hanif Carter aka “BillionAir Carter.” The Breakthrough discusses trending indie topics, interviews indie artists both established and up and coming while going into the streets to discover what it means to be indie. When asked what DeJesus enjoyed the most about being a talk show host, she replied, “I love hosting for various reasons, one reason being that I love that I can be myself, I love that I can meet people, I love that I can showcase other people's talents that can inspire the world and myself.” As an indie entertainer herself, DeJesus shared that traveling and meeting other artists was both encouraging and motivating as she reinvents herself. So how does DeJesus remain stimulated to press toward her lofty goals? She reveals that she lives by the belief, “The best thing you can do is be yourself.” From there, however, she has found inspiration through Venus and Serena Williams. “Even though they're sports-oriented, I absolutely love where they came from and their work ethic.” She continues, “How their dad helped them reminds me of my mom, who is a big person in my life.” With acting, Issa Rae stands out. “[She] came up from a web series, and to see where she is now is inspiring.”

Finding Balance At that moment, DeJesus' phone begins chirping. “Oops! That's my water alarm.” She goes on to explain, “In the middle of the day, I get busy and forget about drinking water.” She also references her Apple Watch. “I just got it, and it tells me when to breathe since it can tell when I'm stressed or can't focus,” DeJesus admits her relationship to health and tness has been a rollercoaster. Despite being an athlete for most of her life, she is just now nding balance. “No one loves every part of themselves, but you do need to learn to love yourself with all your aws and imperfections,” she states. “It's a work in progress, but I'm denitely loving who I am and hopefully who I will be.” When she's lucky enough to enjoy some downtime, she denitely puts it to use. “When I have nothing on the calendar, I take the whole day to Swiffer my apartment and do laundry. Then I'll do face masks and teeth whitening.” As we begin to pack up, she looks off into the distance. “I also love the beach. It's therapeutic, and I'm a Cali girl, born and raised.” +

@sophinathediva @dejesussophina @sophina_dejesus




Finding I Wealth in Health through Forgiveness

recently saw a photo of 50-year-old women from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s versus a 50-year-old from today. The woman from fty to seventy years ago looked very matronly, whereas the 50year-old woman today looks more like our sister instead of our mother. Society has become more concerned about what we look like externally versus doing the internal work to make sure we are truly healthy. Social media began approximately 20 years ago and continues to dominate the actions of how people want to portray themselves to the public. We have lters and so many other ways to edit what we want people to see, but no matter how much we try and disguise our looks, we can't run from what is going on inside.

As I continue to age and get closer to sixty, I understand more than ever the importance of taking care of our bodies, watching what we eat, and making sure we exercise. But I also know that true health and wealth starts from being concerned about our mind, body, and soul. Learning the power and importance of true forgiveness – whether it's forgiving yourself or someone else – can change our lives forever and free us from stress, anxiety, and poisons that can kill our bodies and soul.


Studies have shown that when we forgive, our lives improve. The act of forgiveness and releasing the anger and bitterness that can control our actions and behaviors can also give us better health and achieve real wealth. According to the Mayo Clinic, the benets of forgiveness include: Ÿ Healthier relationships Ÿ Improved mental health and

Learning the power and importance of true forgiveness – whether it's forgiving yourself or someone else – can change our lives forever and free us from stress, anxiety, and poisons that can kill our bodies and soul.”

depression Ÿ Reduced cholesterol levels Ÿ Improved sleep Ÿ Less anxiety, stress, and hostility


Lower blood pressure Fewer symptoms of depression A stronger immune system Improved heart health Improved self-esteem

If research has proven that we are better off by extending forgiveness, then why do we have such a hard time extending it to ourselves and others? There are several answers to this question. It could be because we feel more in control, holding onto the anger and bitterness. We might feel guilty, or sometimes it could be as simple as not understanding how to forgive. There are several steps we can take to help us work on learning how to forgive and achieve better health. The rst thing is whenever you are dealing with a situation, stop and breathe. Don't let anything control you; you control it. An exercise I recommend is taking a ball (like a tennis ball or a stress ball) and squeezing it as hard as you can for 10 seconds. Then release and just let it go. Repeat this ve times, and when you nish, you will feel a tingling sensation that seems to be leaving your body. This is stress, tension, anxiety, and chemicals that do nothing but harm you. If you can master releasing stress, then it will help lead to good health and wealth – both inside and outside your body. Remember, forgiveness is a choice, and it is something that any of us can achieve if we decide to do so.

Wendy Gladney is a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and has coached individuals and business leaders for over a decade. She specializes in helping her clients identify their meaning in Life, establish their Legacy and embrace their position in Leadership. Throughout the duration of her coaching career, Wendy has observed patterns and behaviors specific to her female client base and has developed specific strategies to address some of their biggest issues and concerns. Many women in leadership positions (whether in the boardroom or in their own homes) are often challenged with being "seen, heard, and felt" by their male counterparts. Wendy created 11 Steps to address just that and to empower women to boldly step into their "Season of Greatness." For information on Life, Legacy & Leadership Coaching services, call 951-313-4732 or visit:







SPRING CLEANING: No Better Time To Dive In DON'T PUSH ME, 'CAUSE I'M CLOSE TO THE EDGE: Essential Mental Health Resources During the COVID-19 Crisis WORKING HARD OR HARDLY WORKING? Tips for Working Remotely QUARANTINE N’ CHILL: What Else is There To Do Besides Drinking All Day?



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hether you tackle it all or stretch it out, it's a good time to give your home a refresh.

Spring is here. Time to spring forward. Time for spring cleaning! It's time to emerge from the dark days of winter and give your home a refresh. Though the thought of deep cleaning can be overwhelming, spring cleaning doesn't have to be dreaded. It can be something to look forward to each year, thanks to the advice of cleaning and organizing professionals. Spring cleaning is an event that's been practiced for centuries. According to Barbara Clark Smith, who curated a 2000 Smithsonian exhibit on the history of housecleaning, deep cleaning would happen in spring because the warmer weather gave women the chance to clean the layer that accumulated in winter months. Since homes used to be lit and heated with kerosene and coal, spring was the time to beat the dust out of rugs and make oors and windows spotless. Centuries later, spring is still seen as a refresh, and the time to do the deep clean a house or apartment requires. Lifestyle changes have changed the routine. Though housewives in the 1800s would tackle all the cleaning at once, now there are guides from websites like Apartment Therapy's January Cure that spread the cleaning out a little bit every day. Or, if you prefer the all-day route, has a spring cleaning checklist that tackles the whole house in eight hours. Spring cleaning is also a time to organize and declutter the spaces that have spent the year becoming a jumble of items. If you need help tackling a cumbersome organizing or decluttering project, many professional organizing businesses are available in Los Angeles. Tanisha Ford is the owner of the company Natural Born Organizers and president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing. Ford believes that the home does not always have to be perfect. “Being organized doesn't mean your space will/has to be perfect at ALL times,” Ford says on her website. “What it does it makes maintaining your space measurably easier and less time-consuming.” 70


Whether you like to tackle it all at once or stretch the cleaning out, here are some tips to remember: Scrub the hidden spaces. Don't forget the floorboards or bottoms of furniture that the vacuum doesn't reach.

Spend time decluttering your space. Don't forget to go through the closets, junk drawers, and files to declutter the excess.

Emphasize areas that aren't cleaned regularly. Spring cleaning is the time to tackle the areas that aren't tidied from day to day. Think walls, windows, and rugs.

Separate the tasks among spouses and roommates. If you live with other people, don't be afraid to recruit them to help with the deep clean.

Give your brain something to do. If you don't like cleaning, distract yourself with music, audiobooks, or Netflix.

Seek help with the sizable tasks. If you find yourself overwhelmed or short of hands, try contracting on-demand help through apps like Takl, TaskRabbit, or Handy.

Take breaks for fresh air. Once you've finished a room, step outside or open a window to let the fumes clear out and fresh air in.




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Don’t Push Me, ‘Cause I’m Close to the


Essential Mental Health Resources During the COVID-19 Crisis BY ASHLEY YANCEY


hen it comes to COVID-19 coverage, the endless barrage of troubling news reports has been impossible to miss. Information overload, on social media, in particular, has made it challenging to avoid getting swept up in the madness. It's important during times like this to check in with yourself, specically your mental health. What are some effective strategies to quiet the noise, center your thoughts, and focus on your priorities? Below are a few resources to help get you centered.



Shalom & PolePole When it comes to connecting with Mother Nature, people of color often are disproportionately excluded from conversations centered around environmentalism and sustainability. Shalom & PolePole is a carefully curated site for those interested in the benets of slow living and nding joy in the simple things, covering everything from the power of a simple walk around the block to the health benets of free-trade dark chocolate to the necessity of mid-afternoon siestas. Take a moment to unplug, enjoy a hot beverage, and learn new ways to connect with your community and world.

Headspace During this time, many tout the benets of meditation, but what if you've never done it before? How are you supposed to sit still, avoid getting distracted, and focus without allowing your mind to wander? A beginner's guide, this app walks you through the basics, including guided meditations with timers to assist you in the early stages of this journey. Currently, they are offering free access to Weathering the Storm, a new program created to help all who are dealing with anxiety and stress from the current COVID-19 global crisis. Available for iOS and Android.

Calm A meditation and relaxation aid, this app promises to help you sleep better and reduce anxiety through their guided meditations, stories, and music. You can tune in to their nature sounds (such as rain hitting pavement) to help lull you to sleep. Counting the likes of LeBron James as a brand partner, who leads meditations focused on mental tness and managing your emotions, they currently offer a free 7-day trial for new users. Available for iOS and Android.



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Tips for Working Remotely BY ASHLEY YANCEY


ue to the new government quarantine mandates, working from home is a new concept for which not everyone is best prepared. According to the US Census, before the COVID-19 crisis, only about 5% of Americans were working remotely. Now, that number is closer to 30%. Aside from working through technology glitches with new remote software, many people are at a loss when it comes to how best to maximize productivity while ensuring work doesn't monopolize their lives. There's a careful balancing act between working too hard and hardly working. I've had the opportunity to work remotely for quite some time prior to the crisis and below are some tips and tricks that myself, along with other colleagues, rely on to maintain our sanity and productivity.

MINDSET: I know everyone jokes about showing up to video conference calls in just a bathrobe while still wiping the sleep out of their eyes, but the simple act of showering rst thing in the morning and dressing in comfortable clothing can mentally shifts your focus. It's an instant pick-me-up that signies it's time to log-in and get moving. I shower and get dressed (in cozy leggings and oversized tops) every day. WORKSPACE: A dedicated place in your home reserved for work is your best bet when it comes to optimizing productivity. It helps keep you organized and maintain boundaries in your personal work life. For small spaces, perhaps a kitchen counter or corner table will sufce. For me, I've dedicated a corner of my bedroom for my “ofce,” which includes a desk, chair, printer, and double monitors. Whatever you do, avoid planting yourself on your couch in front of the tv-you can ruin your concept of “leisure” time. 74


STRUCTURE: Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you should abandon your alarm clock. Wake up at a decent time, review your day's tasks, and identify three goals to accomplish. Build these goals into your day's calendar to ensure you stay on task and provide a roadmap for when you later get distracted. More often than not, my goals include a daily workout and completing a certain number of items on my To-Do List. Also, have solid start and end times to your day--this will help you avoid 12-hour workdays, which is easy to do when you don't have ofce distractions reminding you of how late it's getting. BREAKS: Everyone's body has its rhythm of productivity-perhaps you're most alert in the mornings and face a midafternoon slump? Or maybe you're sluggish in the mornings, but hit your stride right after lunch? Whatever your ow is, build breaks into your day where you start slowing down and need a mental break. I'm strongest during mornings, so I generally work straight through until lunch-after that my afternoons become break-heavy. When possible, take your break outside to let the sun shine fully on your face-just 15 minutes in the sun can lessen anxiety and stress, leaving you feeling refreshed and focused. HYDRATION: There is not enough that can be said about staying hydrated, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. Being hydrated boosts energy, enhances complexion, ensures organs are running optimally, and improves focus. Keeping a glass of water nearby helps keep it top of mind for me-as soon as I empty my glass, I force myself to pause at work so I can rell my glass.” +



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Quarantine N’ Chill: What Else is There To Do Besides Drinking All Day? BY ASHLEY YANCEY


ince businesses, movie theaters, and all public gathering places have shuttered their doors to the public, many content creators and organizations have been clamoring to nd new ways to distribute their materials to the masses. While being stuck indoors can feel isolating and lonely, below are some ways to help lighten the blow.

Due to schools being closed, Audible has made hundreds of their books free to the public. While many of the titles are aimed towards children and teens, there are several classics and bestsellers for adult readers to take advantage of. What's even better? No subscription, payment, or logins required — you simply go to the website, check out your title, and start listening. In addition, if you'd like access to Audible's more extensive library of titles, they are offering a 30-day trial.

Now is the perfect time to get introduced to the binge-worthy tv series everyone's been raving about but haven't had the time to watch. Between copious glasses of wine and top-rated options — in no particular order — include: Self Made: The Life of Madame C.J. Walker, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, Ozark, Q Ball, Greenleaf, All American, Queen Sono, Gentefied, #blackAF (a new series from Blackish creator, Kenya Barris), Narcos: Mexico, On My Block, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Love is Blind, Stranger Things, You, The Walking Dead, The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, Cheer, American Horror Story, and The Platform.

PREMIUM AT-HOME WORKOUTS: Fitness companies everywhere are offering free online or on-demand classes to suit all fitness levels. Below are a few I've encountered that will have you breaking a sweat, easily accessible, and don't require credit card info to sign up.

BoxUnion: Twice a day, this Santa Monica boxing studio hosts 30-minute classes on their Instagram live that stays posted on their page for a full 24-hours after. So far, they've offered boxing fundamentals, kickboxing, and bodyweight classes. @boxunionstudio 76


Barry's Bootcamp: Also found on Instagram Live, Barry's bootcampstyled HIIT and banded workouts last roughly 20 minutes and feature diverse instructors to lead their classes. These workouts are also found on their Instagram page for 24 hours after. @barrys

Orange Theory: Having created a dedicated site, this popular boutique fitness company has created Orange Theory At-Home, a free service offering daily 30-minute workouts utilizing bodyweight and everyday household items.

Nike: Via their Nike Running Club and Nike Training Club apps, available for both iOS and Android, free workouts of varying length and intensity are offered to help you reach your fitness goals. In addition, the app tracks your workouts over time so you can see your progress and trends.

Modo Yoga LA: A local yoga studio, via Instagram, they are hosting free daily yoga classes. With each class lasting 60-minutes, they are offering tons of variety and for all skill levels. @modoyogala SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | SPRING 2020



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Catering M&G Catering Micheal Chatman (909) 320-0341


Mack Enterprises Unlimited Arnetta Mack (323) 789-6224 FB: mackenterprises Personal Services Plus Wendy Gladney (951) 313-4732 IG: wendygladney / seasonofgreatness Wade & Associates Margo Wade LaDrew (310) 674-6700 FB: margo.ladrew


DJ Higher Lvl Jon Harris (951) 347-6242 @djhigherlvl Good Boy Entertainment Kerry Neal (310) 946-2321

Event Production Fun-PR Events Service Tiffany Bradshaw, MBA (866) 219-8558 Tiffany@Bradshaw&

Splendid Affairs Sabra Diogioes-Waddy (818) 605-7405 FB: splendidaffairsinc The Baker Group Tammy Dickerson FB/TW/IG: tbakergrp The Todd Group Todd Hawkins FB: thetoddgroupla TW: thetoddgroup WP Miller Special Events William P. Miller (310) 242-1039 FB: WP MIller Special Events IG/TW: wpmillermoments

Event Space

Bella Luxe Loft 6081 Center Drive #102 Los Angeles 90045 (323) 423-6446 FB: minordetailsproductions TW: loft_luxe / IG: bellaluxeloftla IG: mdpevents TW: MinorDProds Minor Details Productions Terrina Scott

Photographers 11:ONE VISUALS Kristina Dixon (310) 855-2032 FB/TW/IG: 11onevisuals Foxx Media Group Photography by Foxx Ian Foxx FB: FoxxPhotography Kai Byrd Photography Kai Byrd FB: Kai.Byrd IG: kaibyrd_ Malcolm Ali Photography Malcolm Ali FB: malcolm.ali.98 Sabra Marie Photography Sabra Marie (909) 215-2104 @sabramarie

Print & Web Design B. René Norman (323) 359-0755 René Cross-Washington Art Director/Creative Consultant (323) 292-8302 ATTAIN Design and Marketing Communications Kelcey Newman Creative Director (805) 822-9392 FB: kelcey.newman JAGs Design Studio James Green (951) 251-4852 Kaleidoscope Consulting Group Bonique Edwards Website Development | Graphic Design | Social Media (310) 500-2222d FB: kaleidoscopeconsulting IG: kaleidoscoperocks LI: kaleidoscope-consulting-group Mack Enterprises Unlimited Arnetta Mack (323) 789-6224 FB: mackenterprises

SuiteEvents Sarah Harris (323) 445-6745 FB/TW: @suiteevents

Printer L.A. Business Printing Eric Johnson 6840 La Cienega Blvd Inglewood, CA 90302 (310) 649-5855

Publicists/PR/Marketing CB Communications Cheryl Brownlee (916) 806-3384 CW&Company, Public Relations Counsel Clarence R. Williams Owner (323) 979-4355 ESP Public Relations Edna Sims, Owner 310-770-8117 FD Parker & Associates Farrah Parker (310) 350-1984 FB: Farrah-Parker IG: fdparkerpr TW: LeavUrImge2FDP KRPR MEDIA FIRM KimiRhochelle Porter (909) 543-2978 FB: kimirhochellepr TW: kimirhochelle | krprmedia | urbanlyfestyles Platinum Star PR Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA (213) 276-7827 FB: marie.lemelle IG: platinumstarpr TW: platinumstar Reinvent Communications Vincent Jones IG: reinventcomm The Society Nineteen Group Lela Christine FB/IG: societynineteengroup







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