Simply Bowie April Publication

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APRIL 2021 APRIL 2021


Fortune Fortune


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theHottest Hottest Wedding Wedding the Trends of of 2021 2021 Trends



ATTENTION HOMEOWNERS: If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, listing it with me NOW will get you the most money! Here’s why:

There is an influx of buyers in our low inventory market which means more offers on your home. With more competition, buyers act fast and are willing to pay more. Bidding wars are common.

Record low interest rates generate more buyers. Buyers can afford to pay more for a home which means the purchase price can be higher yet the monthly payment can remain low.

My non-traditional marketing plan is tailored to get your home the most exposure to attract the most buyers while keeping your family safe and your daily life with minimal disruption.

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The Ultimate REALTOR®

Office: 301-352-4065 4201 Mitchellville Road, Suite 401, Bowie, Maryland 20716

Providing 5-Star Real Estate Services in Maryland & Washington, DC 2


April 2021

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All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. If your home is currently listed, please disregard.

GRAND OPENING Coming Soon to Bowie

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The Dessert Junkie & Bougie Balloons are here to give you the perfect event. We can assist with planning, decorating, and catering.

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Meet our amazing writers and photographers.









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April 2021


Staying Simply Active



MORE THAN JUST A REALTOR Wayne Johnson with Weichert RealtorsTM




Reducing Our Impact On The Earth



What’s Happening Around Town?


SIMPLY ENTERTAINMENT The Future of Live Entertainment



Turning Old Into New



EDITOR IN CHIEF Alyson Turner CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Alyson Turner Jaylin Ward Lauryn Forbes CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Ro Moreno Jonnie Herniquez Marquel Forbes Tanekwa Bournes LAYOUT & AD DESIGN Natthaphon Foithong ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Veronica Fountain 5


April 2021

Cover Photography by Ro Moreno Back Cover Photography by Canberra Wedding Cakes

JONNIE HENRIQUEZ @jonniehphotography Jonnie is a wedding and lifestyle photographer based out of Washington, D.C. “I enjoy art, food, traveling, and I’m at my happiest when I’m photographing people. Photography came into my life after an exhausting search for the perfect desktop wallpaper for my computer. My curiosity grew over the years as I learned more about the art of photography, in 2009, I enrolled in a photography class at school and purchased a Pentax K10-D so I could begin my journey. I was always intrigued by the whole process and always had so much fun with the camera in my hand. What I love most about working with Simply Bowie is that I’ve been able to collaborate with business owners to highlight their success.”

CO NTR I B UTOR S This month we asked our amazing contributors to share a little bit about themselves and tell us their favorite thing about working with Simply Bowie.

JAYLIN WARD – WRITER Jaylin Ward (pronouns they/them) is a non-binary undergraduate senior at Howard University studying Interdisciplinary Journalism. Jaylin is passionate about the environment and solving the climate crisis.

“Working with Simply Bowie is invigorating. My favorite part is having the ability to write about the things that pull my heartstrings.”

RO MORENO – PHOTOGRAPHER @ctmphotographybyro Ro is a photographer who specializes in events & portraits in the Bowie area.

LAURYN FORBES – WRITER Lauryn Forbes is a graduating senior at Howard University with a major in journalism and a minor in history. She is passionate about writing and the media, and hopes to make a difference in that field.

“My favorite part of working with Simply Bowie is that it gives me the ability to impact the local community creatively.”

Ro Moreno is a certified photographer specializing in branding and imaging photography and capturing special moments for clients at a variety of events for corporations, political figures, individuals, weddings, marathons, and university graduations. While involved in a photography session or training program. Ro enjoys cooking, traveling, and listening to music.

“Being a photographer for Simply Bowie Magazine has provided an outlet to express my passion and talents through capturing photos that facilitate the branding and imaging of local entrepreneurs. My goal is to provide a visual medium that will enhance their unique stories while showcasing products and services.”

JOHN WARDELL – PHOTOGRAPHER @wardellbody John Wardell is photographer and works in the Washington DC area.


“The past 3yrs have been the most difficult in my entire life, but Photography is my daily therapy now. I love being a storyteller as well as seeing the joy my images bring my clients. Simply Bowie feels like family, I just joined in July of 2020, but it’s been a lot of fun shooting for the magazine.” | April 2021

Wedding Bells For Spring! S

pring is finally here and with it comes a sense of relief and excitement. Many new opportunities and chances to be outside once again, the re-opening of many schools and businesses bring along a new hope for the future. We are looking forward to many of the things that have been put on hold over the last year including weddings and live entertainment! While the wedding trends might be more different than ever before, the love of a newly married couple and the happiness from the family and friends won’t ever change. This month we are sharing some of the hottest wedding trends of 2021 with more intimate gatherings, outdoor celebrations, and the fantastic use of technology to share their special days with those they love near and far.


We discuss the return to live entertainment including socially-distanced concerts and virtual shows. Spring increases the desire to declutter – check out our features on upcycling and reducing your trash output. This issue also brings a luxury lifestyle brand, outdoor recreation, a chat with a local realtor, and so much more.

from the

We hope you enjoy, Bowie! Light & Kindness

Alyson Turner Editor-In-Chief



April 2021

Tahisha B. Brooks and Her Rising Luxury Empire – Fortune 5! FORTUNE 5 Water™ & FORTUNE 5 Air Charter Jet International® One of the first Black & Native American women to own aviation services in the DMV!

Article By Alyson Turner Photography By Ro Moreno

Tahisha B. Brooks has created more than just the FORTUNE 5 Luxury Lifestyle Brand; she is creating an empire. 8


April 2021


t’s the year 2021 and the United States has elected its first Black & Indian female Vice President. In the face of this momentous step forward, women who are leaders in business, especially women of color, still have to fight to prove their worth purely due to the fact that they are women. The beauty of this courage is that women have accomplished another long-awaited goal and have crushed the ceiling that once hindered their growth. This milestone created a staircase for the next round of women for generations to come.

Dr. Tahisha B. Brooks is the CEO and founder of the FORTUNE 5 brand. This leading luxury lifestyle brand is quickly becoming the 8th wonder of the world. Dr. Tahisha B. Brooks is a woman who is continually shattering those glass ceilings with her brand; making pathways for many women to succeed. Her level of enthusiasm and motivation is unparalleled, “I am excited, because every single day, feels like I just got started – it’s that level of excitement when you are creating something brand new.” Dr. Brooks has over 25 years in the staffing, management, consulting, recruiting industry, as well as owning her own staffing agency. Entrepreneurship has prepared her for the challenges and critical decisions that a global brand may encounter. She primarily worked in the security cleared professional space; for Military, IT, administrative and other logistical high maintenance positions globally. “In my Corporate journey, I have met many people and business owners through networking, conferences, social gathers, business events and entertainment. During that time, I had collected thousands of business cards in diverse industries. I remember saying, “God, what am I supposed to do with all of these business cards; most of them have nothing in common.” It was almost an immediate response, “They are all Bosses”. So, I developed a plan and started a network for Bosses. It initially started as the “BOSS Lady Network”; then eventually it became the BOSS Network after including men. That same year in 2011; I started hosting BOSS Network Events,” Dr. Brooks said. She would host private networking events for all her business and celebrity connections, which eventually led to the



creation of FORTUNE 5 Water™. “I would always host these networking events on my birthday, April 20. One of the most memorable events was sponsored by Voss Water. My theme was the ‘BOSSES drink Voss.’ I will never forget that day, on April 20, 2013 at one of my BOSS Network Events/Birthday Party; someone said to me, ‘Tahisha, why are you working with Voss? Why don’t you make your own beverage company? You have all these high-profile people in your home. If Voss decided not to do business with you any longer, you are left with nothing and they have your entire network that you built’. At that moment, I felt a flood gate of aggression and determination of creativity open. One year, one month and 8 days later, I had a truckload of my luxury water, FORTUNE 5,” she tells us. “I have hit many roadblocks and challenges in my journey. When I found out that I was being scammed and overcharged with production costs by the beverage marketing company I was working with at the time, I called the manufacturing company of the water directly. They told me, that they could not do business with me because I had a contract and connection with the beverage marketing company. I was really upset and bothered by their decision. I prayed and God told me to change the name of my parent company, wait for 30 days and then call them back. I changed the name of my parent company, called them back in 30 days and got the deal of a lifetime.” “I am fully aware that men run this industry. It is not as common to have a woman of color as a business owner in food & beverage or importing and exporting. I would get push back, put on-hold, price gouged, and even sexually harassed; their actions spoke louder than words. It has been a challenge as a woman of color getting into the market,” she said, “So, I became certified in multiple States and in diverse venues, in order to create a platform in the marketplace. When you are diversified in what you are offering, that lets the rest of the world know that this is a real business and that they are required to treat you fairly. There is another side that has been a very dark road while getting to this point. However, the front side is getting

April 2021

R O F y “#Fl

” r i A 5 E N U T

better and now things are slowly getting easier for women in this industry.” FORTUNE 5 Water™ started in 2014; and was originally designed to cater to the high-end, high profile events, celebrities, weddings, hotels, party favors, restaurants and so forth. It has since evolved to a broader reach in the catering industry; chefs and bartenders have also partnered with the brand. FORTUNE 5 Water™ is a Natural Spring Alkaline Water from the beautiful Appalachian/Blue Ridge Mountains. After noticing the response from consumers about the product, regarding its great taste and presentation; it encouraged Dr. Brooks to dive into an aggressive marketing strategy on their social media platforms and expand their global reach. Its popularity has grown from the United States to the Middle East. “I can’t tell you how humbled I am to see how this has unfolded,” she said. When asked if she ever envisioned running a luxury lifestyle brand, Dr. Brooks exclaimed, “I never thought I would have a luxury brand. I always dreamed of being a Hollywood or Global Super Star. Back in the day, you were considered fortunate or cool if you wore luxury brands in fashion. Customized brands and products of my own were the furthest thing from my mind. However, over the years, I became a serial entrepreneur. I have owned and operated multiple award-winning certified businesses including but not limited to a beverage company, a night club–bar and lounge, a spa, staffing agency, sports agency, Pro Men’s/Women’s Basketball Team, and a consulting firm; I am also an author and a film writer.”



Her experience and knowledge have eased the transition to running a brand with multiple arms and products. “I am excited about the future of my brand. I am looking forward to our three annual events: Golf Tournaments, Private Jet Hangar Events, and Christmas Parties! I am also looking forward to upcoming affiliations, partnerships, distribution relationships and seeing FORTUNE 5 Water™ all over the world! I have also developed the FORTUNE 5 Luxury Group,” she tells us, “The FORTUNE 5 Luxury Group is an enterprise of powerhouse entities designed to bring luxury services to the global marketplace. [This includes but not limited to brands such as] • • • • • • • •

FORTUNE 5 TV Network –Live TV Streaming Network Exclusive Private Jet Hangar Events FORTUNE 5 Golf Tournaments FORTUNE 5 Chef Network FORTUNE 5 Magazine FORTUNE 5 Foundation FORTUNAIRE®Club Sha’FORTUNE Luxury Essentials

Each brand caters to and has its own identity in the industry. I have more ventures on the table and backstage waiting; this is only the beginning.” As a 3rd generation Washington, DC native-born; Dr. Brooks is also proudly one of the first Black & Native American women to own aviation services in the DMV area, [FORTUNE 5 Air Charter Jet International®] along with her Luxury Lifestyle brands. “Aviation has always been fascinating and

April 2021

In addition to the FORTUNE 5 Luxury brand, there is also the Sha’FORTUNE Luxury Essentials brand. “‘SHA’ is derived from the last three alpha characters of my first and middle names Tahisha Bon’Sha. It is pronounced ‘Shaa’ or ‘Shea’. I’ve always loved interior designs, luxury, and quality products. I decided to use the FORTUNE 5 Brand to develop Luxury Essentials for Hotels, Home Essentials, Luxury Skin Care/ Cosmetics and Fashion Accessories; everything from signature Christmas trees, holiday recipes, luxury perfumes to bed linen,” she laughingly said, “I guess you can say I’m a ‘Black Martha Stewart’. I couldn’t leave out the men, so I developed His’FORTUNE Luxury Essentials for HIM! What makes this brand different from others is that it’s one brand with many layers catering to markets and genres of all cultures.” With great Fortune comes an even bigger responsibility to give back to the community. Dr. Brooks goes above and beyond to give back to her community in so many ways. She is at the helm, all while becoming a Certified Leader at The Napoleon Hill Foundation–where areas of study will be the Principles of Success and Personal Achievements. She plans to teach these key Principles at seminars and conferences globally. In 2010, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at Breakthrough Bible College. “I am a Life Coach at heart. I focus my views on principals of achievement, building wealth languages, and connecting your spirit to the process of wealthy thoughts and prosperous thinking.”

is a deep-rooted passion for me. It’s something about being in the air, and being that close to the Universe, it is breathtaking and mind-blowing to me. I have some type of spiritual connection and a feeling of, ‘this is where I belong.’ I always speak daily affirmations of wealth, healing and prosperity in the atmosphere. I focus on what I wanted and I began my affirmation journey towards the industry,” she said. “I started attending Women in Aviation conferences and events. I met some amazing people in the aviation industry and built relationships with pilots and key airport authorities,” Dr. Brooks said, “Since FORTUNE 5 Water™ seems to fit in every luxury setting with elegance, hospitality, hotels, and events, etc. I started the FORTUNE 5 Air Charter Jet International® out of the FORTUNE 5 Brand. It just made sense to build this service and connect it to the brands. I am proud to say that I am one of the first women of color in the DMV to have an aviation company and services.” “Our goal is to provide affordable plans for customers who choose to fly privately. We have exciting upcoming time share plans, group packages and jet pooling coming soon. We have multiple types of jets at our disposal. We have access to G5’s, G4’s, Citations, Falcons, Bombardier Global Express, other Gulfstreams and more. We have an amazing Aviation Team of Executives and Flight Crew. Christian Childs, Director of Operations, and Robert Sproesser, Assistant Director, along with our other Executive Staff members have a combination of over 100 years of experience.”



Dr. Brooks said, “My form of giving back to the community is through your mind, spirit and your personal achievements. If you can reveal knowledge of prosperous thinking to a person’s mind and spirit, you can change the community and the world around them. As I am actively becoming a Certified Leader of the Napoleon Hill Foundation; my role to the community around me will evolve into greater thinking of achieving personal goals and sharing that knowledge through your lifestyle. After the passing of my mother in 2019, my purpose in life has shifted to a greater playing field. It is not all about the wealth, however, I have a self-fulfilling inspiration to help people become successful in their thinking within my journey. My children have always been my inspiration to over-achieving; so I can provide an inheritance for their children’s children. I’ve developed a love for business after seeing my mother as an Entrepreneur. Her determination to succeed gave me the foundation I needed to strive to become the best. I have struggled while trying to find my ‘niche’ because I was good at almost everything I got involved with. After years of trying every type of business; I realized that I was just great at business, period. So, I decided to build a brand that encompasses multiple business structures where my creativity can easily be embraced.”

April 2021

Her philanthropy also stretches across the aisle, and around the world with her FORTUNE 5 Foundation. She has affiliated her brand with Drop in the Bucket. Drop in the Bucket is a non-profit organization geared to digging clean water sanitation systems in the sub-Saharan deserts of Africa. “These wells are being dug in the villages to keep the women and children from walking 8 miles one-way to fetch a bucket of contaminated water from parasite-infested boreholes. The FORTUNE 5 Foundation’s passion is to raise funds to provide to Drop in the Bucket and other organizations who do the same thing; for their tireless efforts in making sure the villagers have clean drinking water. Drop in the Bucket own the drills, the heavy equipment and have built-in relationships with the governments of various African nations, in order to make this a reality for millions. Each drill per hole is around $6,000. We plan to host concerts, 5K walk-a-thons, golf tournaments, and other activities to raise funds for the cause. The FORTUNE 5 Foundation’s tagline is “A Drop in the Bucket for Us, is worth a FORTUNE for Them.” Dr. Brook’s passion goes beyond the FORTUNE 5 Luxury brand from aviation services, private events, Luxury Water, and the cosmetics industry to create a Luxury Essentials line. All while giving back to those near and far. Her vision is endless. “It took courage, perseverance, dedication, sacrifice and prayer to build the FORTUNE 5 brand to where it is today and beyond. [In the future] I see global distribution relationships, endorsements, sponsorships, and a seat at the table of the 1%’ers and Billionaires Club. I love what I do everyday!” One day, we will see the FORTUNE 5 Luxury Lifestyle brand, and its many arms being the number one leading Woman-Owned, diversely cultured Fortune 500 Company in the world.

FORTUNE 5 Water™


P se hee Ube C

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Dr. Tahisha B. Brooks


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April 2021

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Fierce Financial Services, LLC is a Wealth Management Firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurial minded professionals create generational wealth in their area of genius so that they can transition from fulfilling their employers’ dreams to fulfilling their own.


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The Hottest WEDDING TRENDS of 2021

Article By Lauryn Forbes Photography By Marquel Forbes & Tanekwa Bournes


uring the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond, many couples have had to figure out how to handle their upcoming nuptials safely. While some put their ceremony on hold in order to have their dream wedding, others reworked what ‘dream wedding’ meant to them—without the hundreds of guests. According to a study conducted by Brides, two in three couples had to postpone their wedding due to COVID-19, but 36% decided to carry on with a wedding during the pandemic. Some couples are even opting for two ceremonies, saving one for when it is safe to convene again. Based in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, wedding planner Chané Barlow of Get the Look Weddings and Events, LLC’s business was on the rise when the pandemic took hold. “It has been, you know, an interesting time for the wedding planning business, and you just have to learn how to be helping each other out, just making sure that dreams are still coming true, even if we have a couple of bumps in the road to now get over”, she said. As vaccinations rise and people become more comfortable leaving the house and attending events, it is likely that there will be a resurgence of the classic wedding, but with some quirks. While some 2020 trends, such as socially-distanced weddings and Zoom ceremonies are on their way out, 2020 trends such virtual planning and greenery are seemingly here to stay. Regardless, 2021 is predicted to be a huge year for weddings, so it may be worth it to keep up with the upcoming trends.



April 2021

reached the world of weddings. Many brides and grooms are opting to go paperless for their engagement announcements, save-the-dates, and even wedding invitations in order to lessen their carbon footprint. Couples are also opting to shop their home for wedding pieces they can refurbish, and brides are opting to use dried flowers that can be kept beyond the wedding.

TRENDS Brunch Weddings: As if brunch couldn’t get anymore popular, its influence has spread to weddings. Though not a new concept, brunch weddings are a trend that is expected to be huge this year. Many are opting for garden party-esque outdoor weddings with the mimosas to match. These receptions also tend to include greenery, breakfast-style food and pastries, as well as a more chilled-out atmosphere.

Weekday Weddings: Because many people had to postpone their weddings, and venues are not fully open, finding availability for those highly soughtafter weekend spots may prove to be very difficult for prospective newlyweds. “They’re saving a lot more money by having a weekday wedding versus a weekend, which could probably cut the venue product [cost] in half”, said Barlow. According to The Knot, weekday and Sunday ceremonies already make up 1/3 of weddings, and having weddings on these days makes it more likely for the couple to get both the venue and vendors that they desire. Virtual Planning: In 2020, couples who decided to hold their wedding had no choice but to plan their wedding remotely, but as the pandemic begins to winds down, it has become clear that this innovation may be here to stay. Many are utilizing the internet and various software to both plan their wedding and to bring awareness to it. Wedding websites and augmented reality (AR) technology are tools that are being increasingly utilized this year.

Bright Colors: In direct contrast with the sad year prior, 2021 weddings will see a resurgence in bright, unique colors and patterns in both the reception decor as well as the floral arrangements. While white and pastel colors are classic, brides and grooms are opting for something a little bit more happy and out of the box, even going as far as experimenting with matching vibrant layers and textures in their decorations. Keep an eye out for bold but naturedriven hues. Outdoor Weddings: Many are finding that holding a wedding outdoors is an easy way to maintain safety and social distance during this uncertain period. “A lot of people are opting away from the traditional church or, you know, garden venues and definitely going with more backyard weddings”, Barlow said. This ensures that there is room to give each other space while still being able to up the capacity. Sustainable Weddings: Being eco-friendly has become more important than ever, and this has



April 2021

WEDDING PLANNING TIPS FOR 2021 Ask Vendors About Rescheduling Policies - Though vaccines are being rolled out, the state of the pandemic is highly unpredictable. It’s important to have a conversation with vendors about their rescheduling and cancellation policies before booking, and make sure to ask any questions you may have. Consider a Small Wedding - One of Barlow’s main pieces of advice for couples wanting to get married this year is to consider having a smaller, more intimate wedding. “Although things have started to ramp back up, we’re still experiencing capacity maximum restrictions,” she said. She advises keeping the guest list short instead of having to cut it due to capacity restrictions. Keep an Open Mind - Many things are subject to change, and during this time it may be a lot harder to have a “dream wedding”. Some things, which might have been set in stone in one’s mind may have to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Some guests may be reluctant to come because of the virus, but its important to keep an open mind over things one cannot control. Consider Having a Wedding Planner - Let’s face it planning a wedding is stressful. Because of all the additional factors coming with wedding planning this year, it might be worth it to seek the help of a professional. However, it is very important that the couple and the planner are and remain on the same page.

Canberra Wedding Cakes

Don’t Forget to Document - Whether a videographer is hired or a simple hashtag is created, it is so important to document the most important day in the lives of many. Last year, many opted to livestream their wedding to guests that were not able to attend, and this is something that that is expected to continue in 2021. Additional Photos Courtesy of





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As the weather warms up and the daylight lasts longer, it’s time to get outside and get active. Article By Jaylin Ward 19


April 2021


Exercise and your daily dose of Vitamin D are non-negotiable, especially in a pandemic, but getting your sweat on with a mask can be an arduous task, given new guidelines suggesting we double up (wear a cloth mask over a surgical mask). Let’s make getting outside easy for ourselves, and responsible for our community.

The strain of familial loss, public health, finances, and other pandemic concerns can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Getting frequent exercise and proper nutrition can ease the stressors of the pandemic and can cost almost nothing by taking one simple step- getting outdoors.

Gov. Larry Hogan has renewed Maryland’s state of emergency status every month since the original declaration on March 5, 2020. Related orders like “Regulating certain businesses and facilities and generally requiring the use of face coverings,” has made it very clear that in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 the following are necessary:

Here are some COVID-safe ways to get active outside:

Yoga Yoga is a wellness practice originating in northern India over 5,000 years ago. It is mentioned in the sacred text the Rig Veda, one of four Vedic texts written in Sanskrit. The practice uses an array of poses (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama) to build core strength, increase lung capacity, and center the mind.

• Limit large gatherings to reduce the threat to especially vulnerable populations, including older individuals and those with chronic health conditions • Commit to social distancing • Refrain from congregating in private and public indoor spaces • Get tested frequently • Disinfect surfaces regularly • Wear personal protective equipment

Taking your yoga mat onto your terrace or an outdoor space surrounding your home are some mask-free ways to connect with yourself and nature. If you do not have access to private outdoor space, there are many socially distanced group yoga activities that require a mask, like Yoga at Wildberry Farm + Market which is held every month, March to November, at 7:30 a.m. and Balance and Stretch at Fairwood Community Park: Fridays, March 19 to May 21, at 8:30 a.m.

One thing that is different now than over a year ago is the stay in place order, but that doesn’t mean you cannot get outside with a mask (or two) on. Furthermore, it is imperative that you do so for the sake of your immune system. One of the best things about the state of Maryland is that you can do so many different types of activities all within a relatively short drive. If you are looking for a few more interesting activities this Spring and Summer, why not try: • • • • • •

If group yoga or mornings aren’t your favorites, you can follow guided practices on YouTube and take your mat to your nearest public green space like Watkins or Walker Mill Regional Parks.

Running and Power Walking

Hiking Skateboarding & Rollerblading Surfing Rock Climbing Swimming Tennis & Racquetball

According to the American Lung Association, aerobic activities like running and power walking can reduce your risk of serious illness, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and lung cancer. These illnesses are also among the list of conditions that could make coronavirus infection more harmful.



April 2021

Great locations aren’t hard to find either, you can run around the perimeter of your block, power walk to the pharmacy, or jog through trails at Fox Hill Recreation Center. Fairland Regional Park also has Power Walking group sessions near the ballfields on Tuesdays at 7 am.

Cycling In May 2020, the New York Times reported a shortage of bikes due to public transportation anxiety and cabin-fever. If you were lucky enough to have a bike already or snatch one up on Amazon, the early Spring is a perfect time to ride. The beauty of Maryland offers several scenic bike trails on asphalt such as Folly Branch Trail, WB&A Trail, Northeast Branch Trail, Lone Wolf Trail, and Strawberry Lakeway Path Trail. Getting outdoors even if it’s gazing out a sunny window can be vital for mental, physical, and spiritual health. Vitamin D is a chemical provided by sunshine and supplements your body uses to regulate cholesterol and mood. According to the Issues in Mental Health Nursing Journal, detection and treatment of inadequate vitamin D levels in people with depression and other mental disorders may be an easy and cost-effective therapy to increase one’s quality of life.

Stay healthy. 21


April 2021

More than just a Realtor®

Wayne Johnson, Realtor ® Offering over 20 years’ experience in residential architecture and construction management. When we work together, you are getting someone with the knowledge and experience to see different perspectives. I can explain the home buying and selling process from the inside out. I am here to help you make an informed decision to get you exactly where you want to be.

6911 Laurel-Bowie Road Bowie , MD 20715 Office: 301-262-3100 Direct: 240-375-0583 weichertrealtorwayne



Wayne Johnson Jr. has over 20 years’ experience in residential architecture and construction management. Now, he is helping people get into their dream homes in a different way –as a Realtor®

Article By Alyson Turner Photography By Jonnie Henriquez 23


April 2021



ealtor® Wayne Johnson Jr. with Weichert Realtors, had been working in the front end of the industry for decades in residential architecture and construction management. Now he has a different role in guiding people to their perfect homes. “I’m still relatively new to this side of real-estate working as a full-time realtor. My experience in the industry allows me to explain the homebuying process thoroughly. I want people to know that I am here for them, I care about their goals and dreams, and I can help them find what they are looking for. I love to help people.” We had a chance to speak with Wayne about his journey into real estate and how he plans to serve the community in the future.

Tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into the real estate industry? My parents could not afford to send me to college for architecture which is what I always had a passion for, however, I accepted my reality and put my all into the electrical vocational program offered at my high school. I was one of the top students in the county, won $2,000 in tools and earned a job with Local 26 as an entry level electrician while still in high school. Right before entering the apprenticeship program to pursue my licensing with Local 26, I met the owner of a small custom home design/ build firm. He agreed to allow me to come to his office after I got off work to teach myself the design software. I would work as an electrician from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then train myself at his office from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. This went on for about six months. The owner of the firm saw how serious I was and offered me a job working for him. I was his understudy for about four years. I then interviewed with Richmond American Homes, a national home builder. I was the only interviewee without a degree in architecture, but the only [person] with any type of reallife work experience in the field. I was hired, worked very hard and eventually earned the role of Regional Manager of Architecture & Design. I thought to myself, “I’ve made it’.” However, in 2014, I had to leave my job due to health reasons. I tried to come back, but I got worse physically and had to leave never to return again. That was crushing to me because I had allowed my success at that job define who I was at the time; I think God knew I had some lessons to learn. After a very tough four years, I was healthy again and with a new outlook and appreciation for life. I turned my attention to real estate sales, and in just my second year –during the pandemic – I was recognized as the top producer in my office at the end of 2020 with almost $7,000,000 in production. I’ve beaten the odds once again and I am very thankful and blessed to be where I am in life these days. I often say I am the ‘comeback kid’.

What has helped you become successful in life? First in the construction industry and now in real estate? Attitude, Perseverance and Consistency. Not having a college degree and being the only African American male in my office I felt I had to work twice as hard and be twice as good in order to keep pace. That same ‘underdog’ mentality is still with me today in my real estate career. It drives me and keeps me focused, especially now with a new appreciation for life.

How has your 20 plus years of experience in residential architecture & construction management prepared you for a full-time career in real estate? I think my background in residential architecture and construction management has prepared me to become a



April 2021

full-time realtor in a number of ways. First and foremost, my experience has proven to be a real benefit to my clients. Whether a buyer or seller, I can help them see a home and the lot it sits on from the inside-out, educating and advising them on a homes’ strengths and weaknesses, quality of workmanship, maintenance and thermal envelop efficiency and grading/topography. My clients feel much more prepared and at ease with my practical guidance and professionalism.

Why did you decide to make the move to being a Realtor® full-time? I really have a love for people and I enjoy helping others; there’s more joy in giving. Combine that with my passion for homes and residential architecture & construction, becoming a full-time realtor just proved to be a natural fit for me. I absolutely love it!

What sets you apart from other Realtors® and real estate agents? My genuine love for people and my experience in the front end of the industry. I’m all about my clients and I take a lot of pride in doing everything I can to make sure I help them meet their goals. Unfortunately, great customer service has become somewhat of a ‘lost-art’ these days. I like to think that I specialize in just that–great customer service along honest advisement and education. Nothing feels better than helping an individual or family find a place to call home. Along with that I try to form a real relationship with my clients that lasts way past the settlement table, hopefully we will be close friends for life!

What do you hope people say about working with you? One of the greatest complements I’ve received from a client was that I was ‘a true calming influence’ in their lives. It might sound funny but that meant so much to me, selling or buying a home places a lot of stress on the family, so to earn my clients’ trust and prove to be the stabilizing ‘calm’ amidst of the storm for a family, in my opinion there is no greater compliment.

What would you like to hear clients tell others who looking for recommendations for a Realtor®? My hope is that they will refer me to their friends and family because of how I made them feel. People may not remember everything we say, but they will always remember how we made them feel. Sincerity is not something you can learn in a class or from a sales script, it comes from within a person, straight from the heart.



What do you think are three words that people would use to describe you? Sincere, Industrious, and Trustworthy.

What are you looking forward to in the year 2021? Helping more families through real estate!

What is your favorite thing about living &working in the Bowie area? I absolutely love living in the Bowie area. Anything you could possibly need is just a few minutes away. I love the outdoors, in addition to golf, I’m an avid fishermen/ recreational crabber. Due to Bowie’s central location to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, I can access the water on the Eastern or Western Shore in the same amount of time. Being on the water is like therapy to me, there’s nothing like it.

April 2021

If you are looking for more than just a realtor; an experienced professional and trustworthy guide to all your real estate needs, contact Wayne Johnson Jr. today at

Wayne-Johnson. or 240.375.0583.

6911 Laurel-Bowie Road Bowie, MD 20715 Office: 301-262-3100 Direct: 240-375-0583 Facebook & Instagram @WeichertRealtorWayne



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A guide to zero-waste and slow lifestyles Article By Jaylin Ward


he climate reality has felt like an uneventful tennis match between policymakers and private citizens. Do we stop using single-use items or will the stroke of a pen after a debate sequester carbon from the atmosphere? The answer is both. Environmentalists are changing their lifestyles to minimize their waste to almost zero and slow down our material consumption. These are called zero-waste and slow lifestyles, and they’re not as unattainable or privileged as they seem to be. It is estimated by the Global Footprint Network that by the 2030s, it will take the equivalent of two Earths to support our current lifestyles. Almost everything we consume is produced and delivered by fossil fuel resources from the food we eat down to the soles of our shoes. Sadly, the chances are these things will end up in a landfill… yes, even if you recycled it.

We can all be environmentalists, and you may be one already. Have you repurposed glass tomato sauce jars for homemade jams? Maybe the tin cookie jar is now your sewing kit? These actions coupled with reducing your use of other single-use items, composting at home or in your local community garden, using a refillable water bottle from recycled material, and upcycling other materials you already have are small steps you can take toward keeping carbon out of the atmosphere. Once you’ve gotten a hang of these lifestyle changes, the larger ones like banning the use of plastics in your home and personal life can take hold. At MOM’s Organic Food Market throughout Prince George’s County, you can shop bulk grains, baking needs, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, snacks, pasta, coffee, tea, herbs, spices, coffee, tofu, nut butters, honey, cooking oils, filtered

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 27% of glass is recycled, and it’s far worse for plastic coming in at a staggering eight percent.

A zero-waste lifestyle is an objection to adding any more materials to the landfill or illegal dumping sites. Many zero-wasters can fit years of their trash in a 16 oz glass jar, but how practical is that for the average American?

water, household cleaners, skincare and beauty products, and more. They also offer a select range of zero waste lifestyle products, including reusable cutlery sets, food storage containers, cleaning supplies, and home compost bins.



April 2021

For readers looking for a smaller Black-owned business to support, The Glut Food Co-op offers plastic-free nuts, grains, flour, coffee, dried fruit, all the herbs you could ever need, fruits and vegetables.

Shopping zero-waste can be intimidating, especially when people can fit a decade of their trash into a single mason jar. Though that is admirable, most Americans cannot avoid certain small things like the plastic in our clothes from the tag to the actual fabric. Fossil fuels produce almost all of the goods we need to thrive- yes even solar panels. Many of the zero-waste goods made of aluminum and glass use fossil fuels to be produced too. Everything we buy online has been sourced from somewhere overseas, and the fuel to get it here needs oil and gas- a fossil fuel. That’s where the Slow Movement steps in. The slow buying movement is just how it sounds, buy slowly and produce slowly. The movement advocates for more ethical ways of production like smaller manufacturing businesses that run on renewable energy (geothermal, wind, and solar) and use sustainable plant-based materials for production (bamboo, avocado seeds, recycled cotton, and hemp).

Nest Natural Home in the Baltimore Conscious Corner strip mall offers sustainable fashion and home decor. If that’s too out of the way visiting antique or consignment stores and thrift shops will never go out of style. Shops like Value Village, Curated DMV, and New Digz Consignment are saving tons of decor and fashion from landfills. If thrifting is not your style, sustainable designers like Tanzania James offers an online store of upcycled womenswear fit for a staycation, or a Zoom party. Fast fashion brands like H&M, Zara, Super Dry, and Uniqlo also offer classic silhouettes in their conscious lines- a step forward nonetheless (even if it’s greenwashing).

For upscale or high street shopping, fashion brands like Madewell, Reformation, and Everlane offer sustainable knitwear, and stretch-free denim (because the microplastics can contaminate water and fisheries). Though we should all have access to these things, the price point sadly reflects how much it costs to avoid the loops and bounds of relying on fossil fuels. The slow movement isn’t only centered around buying. The reality is that we overbuy. If the seam on your favorite leggings is ripped, take it to your local seamstress or dry cleaners for a repair. If the sole of your shoe thinks swiss cheese is in vogue, take them to a local cobbler to patch those holes. Old denim and cargos can be

turned into cleaning rags or upcycled by small businesses like Things of That Nature, a reusable tote bag business operating out of D.C. The climate crisis looks very different here than abroad. In Savar, Bangladesh factories supporting fast fashion businesses like H&M have polluted canals with clothing dye so pungent that it has decreased air quality. Exported clothing waste from the USA ends up in landfills in South Africa polluting their environment, yet the USDA reports that it “helps global and local economies” without assessing the environmental impact abroad. Together, we can be better global citizens by minimizing our impact on the Earth and the lives of our global family.

UK-based company BIOHM is turning waste into sustainable construction materials

• Regenerative Manufacturing – Our approach to manufacturing is regenerative. Our community led facilities re-use waste, growing responsible, healthy construction materials. • Orb-Organic Refuse Bio-compound – Orb is manufactured from difficult to reuse or recycle by-products; utilizing resources that would otherwise go to landfill. • Mycelium – We harness the power of mycelium - the vegetative filament root structure of mushrooms - to grow our materials using organic and synthetic substrates that are the by-products or ‘wastes’ of other industries.

For more information, 29 | Aprilvisit 2021

Biohm – the future of home – is a leading pioneer in the research and development of bio-based materials, particularly in the fields of bio-manufacturing materials for construction, made from waste. Their mission is to create a healthier environment with bio-based materials. According to their website, they offer:



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April 2021


Article By Lauryn Forbes Photo Courtesy of

BOWIE TEACHER GIVEN NATIONAL AWARD FOR VIRTUAL TEACHING Julia Balsam, a third-grade teacher at Tulip Grove Elementary school of Bowie, Maryland has been awarded this month’s Honored National Teaching Award. The nonprofit, named Honored, gives out a monthly award along with a gift of $5,000. A Maryland native, Balsam grew up in Montgomery County before graduating from the University of Maryland and Walden University where she earned her master’s degree. She has been teaching for almost 9 years, starting as a first grade teacher for six years. Teaching is one of the many professions impacted by Covid-19, and this has forced educators to come up with creative ways to keep their students engaged and eager to learn. In the onset of the pandemic and beyond, Balsam was concerned that she would not be able to make personal connections with her students over Zoom, but the 33-year old employed methods such as interactive scavenger hunts and virtual board games. Balsam was honored for impacting her students, whether personal, academic, or inspirational as a teacher here in Bowie. In the write-up about her accomplishments, she said, “I’ve been pleasantly surprised that we’re still able to get to know each other… I can still feel their energy through the screen, and they can hopefully feel mine, too”. According to their website, Honored is an organization “dedicated to keeping great teachers in the classroom and to inspiring a new generation of talent to pursue teaching”. Teachers can be nominated no matter where they live in the country as well as any subject at any type of school. Nominations are made by students and students alone, honoring the special student-teacher relationship that the organization is passionate about. In a time period filled with worry and uncertainty, parents of Balsam’s students should feel proud to know that their child is being taken care of, virtual or not.

LOCAL ORGANIZATION TO HOST A VIRTUAL SHOPPING TRIP Valuable Blessings, Inc. will be hosting a virtual shopping trip fundraiser on April 10, 2021 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in order for local businesses to showcase their products and services to the community. Categories range from apparel & accessories to service providers & contractors. Interested shoppers must register online in order to gain access to the event. According to their website, Valuable Blessing, Inc. is a local 501c(3) nonprofit organization “working to provide Higher Education, Spiritual Empowerment and Entrepreneurial/Leadership services amongst our adult and youth community”. Based in Capitol Heights, Maryland, aside from this event, this organization participates in mentoring, senior citizen services, and community resources.



April 2021


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SIMPLY ENTERTAINMENT The Future of Live Music, Shows & More

The COVID-19 pandemic caused live entertainment to grind to a halt in March 2020. What is the future looking like for concerts, shows, and more?

In March 2020, the American entertainment scene was dealt an unimaginable blow when the spread of Covid-19 shut down concerts, tours, shows, gatherings, and life as we know it. A year later we are finally starting to see some progress with rapid vaccine deployment and creative ways to stay socially-distanced while enjoying live entertainment. What does all of this mean for the future of the entertainment industry? While outdoor concerts have always been popular, the sheer amount of people in close proximity to one another doesn’t really allow for social distancing. Indoor venues are even more challenging. Here are a few of the changes we have seen this past year that might become the way of the future. 1.

Bubbles – The Flaming Lips, a psych-rock band in the Oklahoma City area, has held several concerts in which the attendees and the band members were in their own plastic bubbles. Staff was on hand to escort people to the bathroom with masks on or those who wanted to leave the area. Photos Courtesy of Reuters. 2. Pods – Pod seating has been built with social distancing in mind. Guests can have 4 to 6 people in their party that can sit together while still enjoying live music. Pod seating initially became popular in England, and then made its way to the US. Photos Courtesy of 3. Virtual – The world of virtual entertainment has exploded since the beginning of the pandemic. Artists have used streaming services and partnered with major networks to create a unique experience for viewers.



April 2021

UPCYCLING Turning Old Into New Article By Lauryn Forbes


efined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “to recycle (something) in such a way that the resulting product is of a higher value than the original item”, upcycling is a trend that has taken the world (and the internet) by storm. Also known as creative reuse, upcycling is an eco-friendly way to update or personalize old clothes, furniture and more. This method encourages a no-waste lifestyle. According to Heal the Planet, some of the long-term effects of upcycling include reducing air and water pollution, reducing the strain of valuable resources, and simply saving money and getting the most use out of products. Some people choose to refurbish furniture they already own, while others specifically seek out gently-used finds at thrift stores and beyond. Popular social media sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, and now TikTok have made tips, tricks, and inspiration more accessible to the common consumer. Not only is this hobby beneficial to the environment, but it is also an opportunity to explore one’s creativity and customize the home.

IDEAS Transform a desk into two nightstands: If you are able to get your hands on a desk with drawers on each side you may have stumbled across a bedroom goldmine! By simply separating the desk in half and painting it to match your own touch, you now have a pair of stylish matching end tables. Transform a door into a headboard: Though they may be a little bit hard to come across, using an old door as a refurbished headboard is a trend that has taken social media by storm. With paint and a little trim, they’re unrecognizable from wooden headboards from popular furniture stores. Transform a coffee table into an ottoman: Have an old coffee table without a place in your home? With a fresh paint and a cushion added on top, it can become a chic statement piece in your living room. Transform a ladder into a bookshelf: By using an old A-frame ladder, it’s extremely easy to create a bohoinspired shelf fit for any space. Paint it and place your books, plants, and knickknacks on it, it’ll add immediate character to the room.



April 2021

PLACES TO FIND THINGS TO UPCYCLE 1. Facebook Marketplace - Facebook Marketplace is an extremely popular resource for thrifters and upcyclers alike.Additionally, on Facebook Marketplace, there is a potential to find free things that people simply want to get rid of. 2. Thrift Stores - Thrift stores are the perfect place to find cheap, gently used furniture. Places like Value Village (which has seven Maryland locations) offer an extensive selection. 3. Ebay - This nostalgic buying and selling website may be out of its prime, but it still continues to be a great resource for people looking for gently-used clothes and furniture. 4. Yard/Estate Sales: One of the most classic ways to obtain used furniture is the yard sale. With this, it is easier to negotiate prices while face-to-face (before Covid at least). 5. Etsy - Don’t feel like doing the upcycling yourself? Though the prices may tend to be higher, this online marketplaces boasts the best of homemade and refurbished items with some even having an option to customize. Prices are also often negotiable.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR UPCYCLING • Preparation is Key: Before you begin, it’s imperative to have a clear idea of what you are doing, as well as of all of the tools and materials you will need. It’s also very important to take any safety precautions that may be needed for the project. It should be worth noting that it might be a good idea to invest in some good paintbrushes. • Look for Inspiration Everywhere: To keep up the hobby, it’s a good idea to make a Pinterest board of everything that inspires you. It’s also a great idea to find YouTubers and bloggers that you resonate with that participate in upcycling. The internet is your friend there are thousands of how-to articles right at your disposal. Train your eye to recognize new projects as new furniture trends come around. Find inspiration in the objects in your own home before going to shop. • Don’t Forget Preservation: Before you showcase your new piece of furniture, make sure to protect it with a varnish or a wax to ensure its longevity and make sure all that work was not for nothing. • Start Small: Though videos and pictures make it look easy, upcycling a large piece of furniture is not a simple task. It may be a good idea to start small and work your way up to making those large statement pieces to avoid discouragement or the burnout of a new hobby. Far from arts and crafts, sanding, waxing, and staining is harder than it looks. However, don’t be afraid to take risks and showcase your creativity! • Find Your Own Style: Though it may be tempting to recreate exactly what your favorite DIY blogger created, it may be worth it to try things based on your own personal style as well as the style of your home. Always ask yourself if it’ll match - whether that’s the colors in your home or your mood. • Make it Fun: Just because you’re doing “housework” doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Make it an escape from your daily routine or a creative outlet. It also may be worth it to get the whole family involved as way to bond with your household. Photos Courtesy of Pinterest



April 2021

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