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www.womans-essence.com -

Publisher Adryana Nicoleta

Editor-in-chief Ojay Milah

editors Allyson Deese Leanne Haynes Ijeoma Osadebe Deanna Proach

Contributing writers Sharon Fox Brandie Kekoa Augusta Marquis Trina Sims Ellenore Angelidis Amanda Bears Johneen Jones

Contributing Websites balancingmotherhoodcareer.blogspot.com www.trendzona.com

Design

Grafx Passion www.grafxpasion.wordpress.com grafxpasion@gmail.com

photography In The Moment Portraiture www.nthemoment.com

Yaya Combs Photography www.facebook.com/YayaPhotography www.gettyimages.com www.magic-tricks-for-beginners.org Follow WEmag on Twitter! www.twitter.com/WomansEssence Find us on facebook! www.facebook.com/womans.essence

Woman’s Essence Magazine www.womans-essence.com womans.essence.magazine@gmail.com

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Editor’s note The Best Job in the World My mother is the best mother in the world.

There’s no disputing this fact, although I know many people will still want to contest it. To make that almost impossible, let me remind here that when I was young and needed nurture, it was my mother that was there for me. When I began to grow and learned to play outdoors, biking; days when I got injured on my knees, whose mother was hysterical and kindly applied first aid before calling the clinic? My mother! I am not a parent yet, but from the smile on my mother’s face, any time I’m mentioned, I know that the best job in the world is parenting. I have had the privilege of interviewing mothers in the last 10 months. Whenever there’s a question about their children, the enthusiasm is such that you can almost touch it. But I’m also forced to say that it is the most challenging. Forget journalism, medicine, law, engineering and whatever job out there, parenting ranks number 1 as the most back breaking job ever invented. This is not based on a research, yes, but by a natural, unquestionable harmonious agreement by every human. I almost forgot; who raised company executives to the level where they could succeed at any profession? Mothers! For this, anytime we celebrate Father’s, Children’s, Worker’s or any other day in particular, it is because of the selflessness of mothers in raising their children (who eventually become parents and worker’s) that any of such groups can be celebrated. It is like saying, without mothers there is no father, children nor workers.

The role of mothers in the family and scheme of things in the world is great. No wonder that people who’ve grasped this understanding keep clamoring for better treatment and equal rights between men and women, although treatment of women all over the world is still alarming. Women, the backbone and nurturers of society are made to go through malicious treatment from people they can call their children. In Woman’s Essence, we recognize and celebrate the very important role of women, and want to remind everyone that whenever any other groups of people are celebrated, it is because many wo-men over the world succeeded in their roles of being nurturers.

Happy Children’s Day! Happy Father’s Day! Again, Happy Mother’s Day! WE Always Love You!

Ojay Milah Editor-in-chief Your comments, letters and Suggestions are most welcome. Write to womans.essence.magazine@gmail.com

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Contributors Leanne Haynes editor

With a PhD in Literature, Leanne is a Proofreader for ARC Magazine, which specialises in Caribbean Arts and Culture and has an online column called ‘Artistic Horizons’, where she writes about new and emerging Caribbean artists, and works as Special Projects Editor for another Caribbean focused magazine. She is an amateur photographer and poet, with publications in the UK and US. drleahaynes@gmail.com

Allyson M. Deese editor

Featured in two inspirational anthologies, Allyson who has written and released three inspirational short stories recently released her debut novel, “Discovering The Joy Within”. Allyson currently resides in Asheville, NC with her husband and family. Visit Allyson’s online home at www.allysonmdeese.com

Deanna Proach editor

Deanna Proach is the author of two novels, ‘Day of Revenge’ (Inkwater Press) and ‘To be Maria’ (PULSE). When she’s not writing, Deanna’s involved in her local theatre community as an actress, and she’s learning the art of sword fighting. You can learn more about Deanna at her blog, www.desstories.blogspot.com

Josette Wyatt contributing photographer

Josette always had the feeling she should be doing more, then took her love for photography and turned it into something beautiful and gratifying. In The Moment Portraiture is your photographer for weddings, engagements, boudoirs, head shots, fashion portfolios, children, families, and events. Although based in Southern California, In The Moment Portraiture travels the world for the love of photography. www.nthemoment.com

Yaya Combs contributing photographer

24 years old, and raised in Sweden with a Ugandan mother and American father, Yaya is married to an American soldier, with whom she has a 2 years old son. She has always been interested in photography, but just recently (2011) decided to start her own business. A peep at her profile and it’s obvious she’s growing at it with every picture taken. www.facebook.com/YayaPhotography 6


Augusta Marquis interviewer

Lagos, Nigeria based Marquis Olufunke Augusta, is presently, a Student in her finals studying Business Administration in Lagos State University. She enjoys reading and meeting people and sees herself as an articulate, focused lady who believes in team work. Her skills are in good human relations and effective problem solving. She can be reached on funke_marquis@yahoo.com

Brandie Kekoa editor fashion

&

beauty

Founder of Be Kekoa Hair Studio, Brandie has been involved with the textured hair industry from childhood and started as an assistant in 2001 at Barry’s Bad Creations Salon in Rialto California. After becoming a licensed cosmetologist Brandie has steadily built a stable clientele and coordinated and styled on several photo shoot and fashion show projects. www.bekekoa.com

Sharon Fox editor food

&

drinks

Magazine Food Editor, Sharon is the author of ‘COMFORT FOOD for the Mind, Body, and Soul’. Working as a Cake Designer, Caterer, Cooking Instructor, Private Chef, and Party Planner has given Sharon over 35 years of culinary experience. She is currently about to go in the studio for production of her TV show Healthy Living, a new cook talk show. goodcooking4u2@gmail.com www.goodcookin4u2.webs.com

Trina Sims

editor weddings

Chicago based Wedding Planner for 10 years and owner of Divine Elegance and Things, Trinas, CAAWP first passion was modeling. This led her behind the curtains, dressing models for fashion shows. Soon she began production, organizing and planning of these shows. With this new found love, she began helping friends and family plan their events and weddings. Now, she and her team plans about 20 weddings and events every year. divineelegancethings@yahoo.com

Amanda Bears contributing writer

Amanda struggled with infertility for 2 years, suffering two losses, which made her dedicate time and energy into helping other women with their dreams on creating a family, through a website, myfertilityawareness.com. Amanda loves being part of educating women about fertility and infertility. www.amandabears.com

Ellenore Angelidis contributing writer

Ellenore is a happily married, working mother of three kids ranging in age from teenager to toddler. Being a member of the working mom club for the last fourteen years produced many stories. They range from the profound to the ridiculous as well as tips and strategies to keep balance or at least maintain a sense of humor. Follow along to hear more. www.balancingmotherhoodcareer.blogspot.com 7


CONTENTS JUNE 2012

58 Women Who Love To Write

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10 Business & Career

Am I a Bad Mom if I “Want It All” - career & kids

12 Fashion & Beauty 12 Fashion Trends: Diary of a Curvy Size Woman - Embrace your Curves 16 Beauty Tips: Makeup Tips with my favorite makeup artist 18 Jewelry: Wearable Work of Art

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20 WE Style Pick

June Style pick - by Brandie Kekoa - BeKekoa

Lisa K. Winkler A black Cowboy’s Ride Across America Lavada Dale The Tears of an Inmate’s Wife Jamila E. Gomez Birthday Girl

62 Food & Drinks

- Dad’s baby back ribs - Grilled Honey Mustart Chicken - Perfect steak for Dad - Fajita Burgers - Chocolate, Strawberry, and Banana Milkshake - Strawberry Shortcake Kebabs with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

24 Cover Story - Interview 68 Home & Decor Interview with Brittany Cameron A New Lease of Life

How to choose your Kids Furniture

78 Partners & Sponsors

34 Special Feature

Eleanor Leonne Bennett An artist ahead of her time

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42 Cutest Baby Smile - photo contest winners 50 Health & Fitness The perfect picnic

52 Love & Relationships 52 Relationships: Is Trying to Make a Baby Ruining Your Relationship? 54 Weddings: Who’s Your Photographer?

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Cover S to r y Interview with Brittany Cameron

A New Lease of Life

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Business & Career

Am I a Bad Mom if I “Want It All” - career & kids? by Ellenore Angelidis

S

ince I started blogging on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle.com and WorkingMothers.com, I spend more time reading other people’s writing. A recent discussion (and blog) pierced at the heart of mommy guilt. The discussion asked, “Would you choose your baby over your career.” I bristled at the question – to me, it implies there are two choices: your career or your child. I obsessed about this when I first became a mother because I wanted both, to be successful at my career and to be a great mom. I needed to believe it was possible, albeit extremely challenging. I wanted a full range of options without feeling like I couldn’t truly be a good mother if I wanted more.

I

was under no illusions that staying home with my baby would guarantee I was a good mom. However you manage your life, motherhood is hard. My mother stayed home with my three sisters and me. She had a successful career as a teacher for ten years before my sister arrived. Those were the expectations of her time; I don’t think she had the same choices available. When my younger sister was 7, my mom planned to return to her beloved vocation. As she got re certified, she exuded joyful anticipation. But then she became unexpectedly pregnant. Even at ten, I felt palpable disappointment mixed with her bubbling excitement of welcoming another child. 10

Later as a teenager, I pushed back hard against my mother when she called me ungrateful. I vividly recall saying, “I didn’t ask to be born. I didn’t ask you to make sacrifices for me. If you are unhappy about either, it’s on you.” I feel almost sick inside thinking about it now. I found out years later from my dad how much I hurt my mother. At the time, she silently left the room. I can almost feel the sucker punch I dealt with those spiteful words as I imagine one of my children saying the same. My mother may have expected more of us because of what not having choices took from her, especially when we pushed for our independence. She also had an extremely challenging experience as a teenager herself.


Having gained these perspectives made it easier to transition back to a job I loved when my first was four months old. Although I had moments like those expressed in this anguished plea from “A Feeling-Absent Mommy”, I also saw an article describing how working and stay at home moms often spend similar amounts of quality time with their kids that acted as a counter-balance. Using my mother as an unscientific sample of one, it seemed about right. And to be honest, I wanted to believe it. I cherished one on one time with my mother when I was young but don’t recall lots of it. Times were tough. She cooked three meals a day, cleaned and managed our extensive garden including freezing and canning. She sewed many of our clothes and stretched every last penny. I am in awe of her now although then I had little appreciation. I recall when I was 9 and home ill. She made a special box with me out of discarded greeting cards and left over bright orange yarn (I still have it). The day stuck in my heart in bright detail because it wasn’t something she had the time or energy to do often. Also, I witnessed a joyful, creative side of my mother. That memory inspired me to try to create these types of special moments with my kids. When I returned to work again after adopting my youngest, I realized my barometer is less my mom now and more my earlier motherhood experiences. My eldest and I have a special bond even as typical teenage challenges are our reality. He is an open, caring, funny kid I adore. I get glimpses of the man he will become and I hope to be friends with that person. Sure, I missed times with him as he grew up. But he always came first (as do his brother and sister) and he knows it.

I adore my little girl with every fiber of my being. But I knew I would return to work before she joined our family. I had much less anxiety about it because of my experience with her brothers. I realize what a gift it is not to carry that burden. We have an amazing connection. I look forward to helping her grow into her larger than life personality. I wish I could tell my younger self not to fret so much because doing so robbed me of joy right in front of me. I wish I could share the same with struggling young mothers like the one who wrote the blog. I don’t think there is a right answer. I do believe “having it all” is uniquely defined for each mother. I needed to be happy and fulfilled to be the best mother I could be and that included pursuing a

career. I communicate to my children often and passionately, no matter what I do for a living, they are always my first priority. When I allow guilt and uncertainty to creep in, they steal my ability to live fully with my kids in the fleeting moments of their passing childhoods. I work to recognize when these unproductive emotions are spawned from other’s judgments like the those implied above. I do my best not to allow them to pull me into their dark undertow. I try instead to hold onto the light and good in my life. I believe I can “have it all” if I chose and work for it. balancingmotherhoodcareer.blogspot.com

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Fashion & Beauty

Diary of a Curvy Size Woman Embrace your Curves by Brandie Kekoa

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am a plus size woman, or should I say a Curvy Sized Woman. Yes ladies, you know darn (damn) well not all of us can be that tiny size 2. Not all of our bodies are made that way. When I was at my thinnest I was nowhere near a size two. I was around a size nine and I was so thin my neck was looking weird. So much so that my boy friend at the time was calling me pencil neck. Yes ladies, if the body type you were born with didn’t give it to you, then you ladies that have had those babies, know the changes that can happen to your body.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” it has been said through the ages. The definition of beauty changes with the generations, like the changing of the seasons, or the ebb and flow of the ocean currents. Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s was a size 12 and was considered one the most beautiful women of her time. By today’s standards she would be considered “Plus Size”. When it comes to beauty, lesson number one is all about the energy, the aura you give off, embracing who you are and your own individual beauty. If you have this first and foremost, the rest should come smoother. Wear comfortable clothes or clothes you feel good in. Being uncomfortable in your clothes can quickly bring your confidence down and people can always notice in your body language if you are comfortable with yourself or not. If confidence is key then comfortable is a good start. Wear outfits and accessories that accentuate your “assets”. For me, I like my muffin top to be less noticeable, so I’ll select a piece like a V-Neck to draw attention to more desirable areas. If you are not sure what your most prized “asset” is, ask a friend or significant other what they think you could put to best use. 12


One last thing I would like to comment on. I know we are going for comfort but, just because clothes are loose fitting or oversized, doesn’t mean its flattering. Trying going with an “Empire Waist”, it will always give an illusion of that flatter tummy and also accentuates your hips. You could also go with A-Symmetrical wrap styles. It allows you to step outside the box, while at the same time remaining stylish and chic. I personally love the styles of Ashley Stewart on ashleystewart.com.

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Makeup Tips with my favorite makeup artist by Brandie Kekoa

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caught up with my favorite makeup artist Alpha Borriboonratana with Sweet Fuss Hair & Makeup to find out what the fuss was about this season. For those who are looking to make a statement, to the makeup minimalist, she had some tips and advice.

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First things first, protect your skin by taking proper care before applying your make up. To do this make sure your skin is always moisturized and it’s good to use a primer to create a barrier between your skin and foundation before you apply it. For oily skin Alpha recommends NARS Pore Refining Primer or similar products. With oily skin, make up can tend to shift as the day goes on if not prepped with a primer. For dry skin it would be good to use a foundation with moisturizing properties. When applying your makeup we start in order of importance. For the minimalist you can start with step one, the most essential, then add your “spice & flavor” to your own tastes. Keep that skin moisturized: Besides keeping the effects of wrinkles and aging at bay, keeping your skin moisturized can help prevent terrors of skin cancer and liver spots.

Even coverage of skin tone: You could use minimal foundation or powder. One of Alpha’s faves for this is Dior Sculpt Lifting Smoothing Concealer for those spot checks. Next, the Eyes: “The eyes are the windows to your soul” as it has been said by many, accentuate them by at least curling your lashes. If you want to press further, you can enhance those lashes with some mascara then some eyeliner for flare. Eye M Glam Highlighter is a fav pick by Alpha when creating those hypnotic eyes. Lustrous Lips: Pastel and bold lips are trending this season according to Alpha, colors like fuchsia pink, pastel purple, or bold red are for those ready to make their statement. For those of us who like to take it a little easy, some lip gloss, lip balm, or chap stick will do nicely. It was great catching up with my favorite makeup artist Alpha and getting these wonderful beauty tips. For a gallery of Alpha’s work you can check her out on sweetfuss.com

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Wearable Work of Art by Brandie Kekoa

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ust like you, custom jewelry by Camille Cole, is one of a kind. All pieces are hand crafted and unique. Whether going to the extreme or keeping it minimal, these exotic pieces can help open new pathways to expressing yourself.

Camille Cole began designing jewelry for herself because she couldn’t find jewelry in the marketplace that expressed her personality and compliment her exotic style. She began creating privately and quickly found out there was a market for her designs. In 2003, she opened her bead shop and passionately continues to pursue her art. She has honed her talents under training from people such as Sharily Miller, Tacho Martinez and Josie 2 Feathers. This style of jewelry can be used for many occasions. It can be bold& dramatic, vibrant & imaginative, graceful & elegant. The artist adores the process of gathering gemstone and eccentric pendants. Then weaving and mingling until the one-of-a-kind wearable work of art is created. “I really like the idea that someone will wear something I made, to help them express who they are. That feels great!” Says Camille when talking to her about her craft.

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Camille Cole shares some of her of jewelry rituals and philosophies with us: Spray perfume on first then put on your jewelry. When you’re wearing natural stones, you don’t want to spray alcohol on them. This could cause you to lose the shine. Don’t put a big necklace together with huge earrings on. Keep it simple and classy. Don’t worry about trends too much. If you like it. . .it’s all good. If your jewelry is your statement piece, keep your clothes simple. Don’t have large patterns or loud colors. People won’t know what to look at, your shirt or your jewelry.

Malena Lopez-Maggi

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WE Style Pick

WE Style Pick Be Kekoa Best Book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne: I love the positive quotes and short passages that I can read throughout the day in this book. It’s good for a positive “pick me up”, to help me get back in the right frame of mind.

by Brandie Kekoa Brandie Kekoa is founder of Be Kekoa Hair Studio and has been involved with textured hair since childhood. After becoming a licensed cosmetologist, Brandie has steadily built a stable clientele as well as taught textured hair workshops at local beauty schools. Brandie is very passionate about her company’s mission to empower her clients with pride and confidence in their natural curly hair.

Keep the laughter All of the Nutty Professor movies with Eddy Murphy: I love comedies. The Nutty Professor movies keep me laughing.

With a focus on bringing out each client’s natural beauty, Brandie and her company Be Kekoa are building products, education, and services with this mission at it’s core. Be on the lookout this summer for her Be Kekoa Natural Curly Wavy hair product launch.

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Favorite Jewelry ABC Scissor Charm Necklace by Brighton: It expresses who I am as a hair stylist & It’s very stylish. It was given to me as a gift.


Hi Low Hem Dress , by Ashly Stewart for $49.50. You can never go wrong with a comfortable little black dress. Simply Vera – Vera Wang Platform Wedge Sandals They are comfortable, cute, and opened toed. Just perfect for ummer, my favorite season.

The Island of Kauai I love the Kauai. Its beautiful, slow paced and relaxing. It’s so great kicking back with family and friends there. It’s a wonderful break from the fast pace of everyday life in Southern California.

Hangout Ponte Estate Winery Temecula CA: Whether catching up with friends, or networking and closing a business deal, when it comes to the hang out spot, it has to be Ponte Estate Winery in Temecula California wine country. The tastes of the variety of wine there is unique and The atmosphere is warm, and the grounds are elegant. A Big Influence - My Mother Lola Robbins: My mother is very successful and constantly strives for more in her career in Finance. No matter how much she has already achieved, she still pushes herself to do more.

MAC Tinted Moisturizer If there is just one piece of makeup I have to have its MAC Tinted Moisturizer. It moisturizes my skin and evens out my tone.

Stevie Wonder song “As”. I love this soulful song because it picks you up and makes you want to dance.

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Cover Story

In tervie w With

Brittany C a m e ro n

A New Lease of Life

by Ojay Milah Photography by: Cathy Schofield & Jen Scholfield CATSMAC Photography www.catsmac.com

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My only concern was my baby (... ) All I wanted was for her to be healthy. I could deal with my own situation later 26


What could be wrong with a childhood memory involving lots of traveling, camping and visits to grandma? Brittany Cameron had a growing up most children would admire from the outside. But then looking at it from the inside like Brittany, it wasn’t always rosy. Born in Mississauga, Brittany moved around from city to city throughout her childhood. By the age of 13, she was living on the streets of Toronto. She began engaging in survival sex-work to get by and became addicted to crack cocaine. At sixteen she was arrested on 93 charges ranging from armed robbery to obstructing justice and spent a year and half in custody. Following her release she moved to Montreal where she fell back into the only lifestyle she knew. How did this all happen? From living with parents and regular visits to grandma, how did Brittany find herself living on the street as a drug addict and sex worker? “My parents were both addicted to heroin”, Britta-

ny explains. Seeing no better example from her parents, teenage Brittany in their footsteps took up drugs. Her entire teen years were spent feeding on drugs and sex. It all happened so quickly. At 20 years old, Brittany became pregnant. 36 weeks into the pregnancy, she was diagnosed with being HIV positive. According to Brittany, with what she’d heard about HIV, the first thought that crossed her mind, was death. “That’s all I knew about HIV at the time,” says Brittany, “I was going to die.” Quickly, this thought was replaced by the concern of Brittany expecting her first child in a matter of weeks. When Brittany first learnt of her pregnancy, she made a conscious decision to start a new life and traveled to Peterborough, away from the drugs and gang violence that were too common in Montreal’s Pointe St. Charles neighbourhood. “I moved to Peterborough so I could clean myself up,” says Brittany. “I was about to have a baby and I had to change the way I was living”.

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The news of living with HIV did have a profound effect on Brittany. Her concern completely shifted from cocaine and sex to her unborn baby. “My only concern was my baby,” says Brittany. “All I wanted was for her to be healthy. I could deal with my own situation later.” Brittany sought medical attention at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto, to see her through the birth of her child. Through anti-retroviral medications that helped reduce the risk of her child contracting HIV, on March 14, 2006, Brittany gave birth via caesarian section, to a healthy girl.

Now 26 years old and still living in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, Brittany is the proud mother of three girls, Alexis (6), Aaliyah (20 months) and Amayah (10 months). Mostly a stay at home mother, Brittany involves in HIV awareness programmes. “When Alexis was about a year and half, I decided to get involved locally, learning about HIV and helping advocate HIV awareness.” She’s been interviewed for 2 documentaries, done some public speaking with both Peterborough AIDS Resource Network as well as The AIDS Committee of Durham Region. She is a former member and volunteer of the Youth Committee, and has participated in events like the Red Ribbon Campaign, The AIDS Walk, and events for World Aids Day. It was difficult at first for Brittany. She used to wish she could meet people also living with the virus, but found it difficult in Peterborough, due to its size. She later found that she can do a lot of effective outreach work online. “When the girls are asleep, I’m on the computer,” she says. Through a Facebook group she discovered last year, comprising of people from around the world who are living with HIV and their allies, Brittany’s been able to create awareness about people living with HIV. There she met a community of women who could re late to her reality, and a place where she could provide advice and guidance to other mothers living with HIV. In the last few months, Brittany has started her own online positive support group. “I do a lot of HIV awareness online through social networking, talking to people about risk factors as well as options for people living with HIV. I advocate often that children can be born without HIV if proper precautions are taken.” Six years now and Brittany has been off crack cocaine. The former sex trade worker now is also a strong advocate for human rights issues, and leaves with her husband, Jason and three daughters, Alexis, Aaliyah and Amayah, who are negative.

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Q

How do you remember your growing up years? There was good and bad. My parents were both addicted to heroin. Although I wasn’t neglected so to speak, there was more that could have been done. Even though they were on drugs almost all of my childhood, I have a lot of good memories. Camping, rocking out in the back of the car, and visiting Grandma’s house.

Q

How did you feel when the doctor said you had contracted HIV? I was shocked but also had a feeling that I may have contracted it because of my risky behaviour. I wondered about my future and that of my unborn child who was due in 4 weeks.

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Q

What effect did the pregnancy have on you? With my first pregnancy it didn’t have very many effects. I only started meds at 36 weeks of my being pregnant and had the C-section at 38 weeks. I had a bit of sickness. When I got pregnant with my third, I was ill most of the time, and the medications were horrible. As for mental effects, when I was first diagnosed, I was also becoming a first time mother so I put it out of my mind and prepared for the best for my child.

Q

At only 20 years old and 36 weeks pregnant, how were you able to handle such troubling news? I had a life within me. I was ready to do anything possible to fight the odds. I also had my family.


Q

How did you feel having a baby at that young age? I was prepared. I realized it was no longer about my life but that of my child’s. I feared and still fear the “young mother” stereotypes but it is what it is and I’m a great Mommy.

Q

What kind of relief did you feel at the birth of your first child? It was a stressful time, becoming a first time mother. I had plans to have a natural birth, to breastfeed, but my HIV diagnosis changed that. I was thrown into life as a first time Mother. I think a lot of the stress was relieved when my first tested HIV negative at 16 months old.

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Did you at some point feared you might transmit the virus to the children during childbirth? Yes, you know there is a risk with each pregnancy be it high risk like my first or low risk as with my second and third.

Q

Was there a time you felt like giving up? I am a Mother, we all have those times. My first child was a blessing, she is the reason I was able to get off the streets and overcome addiction. She is the reason I am alive. I have had many times when I want to give up, but giving up is not an option. I am a fighter and survivor and that’s not something we do.

Q

How did you learn to let go of your past? It’s a part of me. I can’t let it go, but it’s not who I am today. I can’t change the past so I don’t dwell on it.

I was aware of my HIV status so I was able to be on medications that enabled me to give birth the natural way. There is absolutely no better feeling in this world than feeling your body bring your flesh and blood into this world.

Q

What influenced the naming of your babies? Alexis name was picked by her father. I always wanted a child named Summer Raine. When I was pregnant, we called the baby, baby Blue because we didn’t know the sex. Lillian is my Grandmother’s and my middle name so we shortened it and came up with Alexis Blue Lily Raine. When I got pregnant with my second, I wanted a name that flows and was just as unique for her, so I picked Aaliyah. Rose and Skye were to balance with Lily Raine and Zitara is Arabic for Star which is my best friend’s nickname. Amayah I stole from a facebook friend’s daughter and Violet Storm followed the theme.

Q

What’s a normal day like for you and the children? Get up. Diaper changes and breakfast. Get my oldest lunch ready for school and get dressed. We naps around 10am and up for lunch around 12.30. Playtime and errands if applicable, then prep for supper, cleanup, PJ’s, cartoon or story and then cuddles, hugs, kisses and bed.

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What dreams do you have for your children? For them to be successful, to speak out against injustice, make a difference in the life of others. I want them to stay involved with the HIV/AIDS Movement. I want to see my girls get married and see the joy they feel when and if they decide to have babies.

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What about your children brings you so much joy? Everything! Seeing them grow and learn; hugs and kisses, the special moments. Each of my daughters is very unique and I feel so blessed to have each and every one of them.

Q

What is your best mother/baby moment? The moment I gave birth to my second. I was unable to have a natural birth with my first and for a long time I felt broken. With my second, 31


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Photography by: Cathy Schofield & Jen Scholfield | CATSMAC Photography | www.catsmac.com


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Special Feature

An artist

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ahead of her time Quite a few editors have thought with my accolades that I’ve been photographing for 16 years and that is not actually my age.

by Augusta Marquis


International award winning photographer and artist, Eleanor Leonne Bennett, talks to AUGUSTA MARQUIS about her passion for art from the tender age of seven. The young lady, whose creative ideas for her projects can spark from everywhere and anywhere, and has a passion for animation, speaks on how she’s always loved capturing life in some way. At what age did you first discover you had a talent for photography/art? From around age 7, art has been a passion. I won my first art contest when I was 11. Photography came into my life aged 12. Are you still in school? No I am home schooled and have been since the age of 4. What influence did your parents have on your career and what was their perception when you started? They were supportive but the large majority of contests I found myself. All my front cover work has been because I search for calls for submissions and make contacts with publishers and editors. Where and how do you get creative ideas for your projects? They can spark up from everywhere and anywhere. Most of the time good music is a large inspiration. I love rock, hip hop, soul and alternative music. I am a big fan of Gorillaz for which a recent shoot of mine was titled after their song, ‘Kids With Guns’ from Demon Days. Do you have any other pursuits outside your current vocation? Yes, I often write and I used to create mixed media collages and still sometimes do. I used to spend 6 months at a time on an art piece for competitions. It was maddening, so photography is a break but I can still express my heart and mind.

Who do you consider your greatest mentor and how has she/he influenced your work? I met Reza Deghati and received a day mentorship as part of an amazing contest. It was a wonderful day and I got to travel round London taking many images. My first front cover art was taken that day. It was amazing to see my day with the National Geographic Photojournalist on the front page of an American publication. After seeing his work I know my photography needs to convey messages; it has to mean something.

trying to frame my emotions in some way to say “that was wrong to ignore them, people deserve better”. A common theme is crime, abuse, destruction and health. In my images I have been pushed down stairs, left out in the cold, slept in a ruined room, rode in battered cars. I adopt the characters that disrupt and disturb me to try and translate my emotions into something positive.

How does it feel, being so young with so many awards in your field? It feels amazing! I am blessed and I hope to go on What would you say is the central theme/me- to win many more. I feel I am constantly learning ssage of your works? and improving massively. I am only a child, and will Often I am troubled. I have such great empathy still be creating art in my 70’s. I look forward to and take it on my shoulders when bad things ha- seeing the artist I will become. ppen; illogically blaming myself so often, and enjoy 35


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Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Doing front cover artwork of books, magazines, and calendars and playing a very large part as a featured artist in literary magazines. I also hope to win contemporary art awards for my efforts. Amongst all your awards, which makes you happy the most and why? My winning of the National Geographic and, the Visual Voice award in Japan. I love how my work can reach the four corners of the world and still have merit. I like it how people think my art precedes my young age. Quite a few editors have thought with my accolades that I’ve been photographing for 16 years and that is not actually my age. Has being an award winner affected your relationship with your friends? My awards are just hard work and are not me. I can win an award for nature photography or fashion or documentary. I am as varied as the thoughts within me so it is not something I go on bragging about. Are your friends jealous of you and how do you relate with them when you feel that? They aren’t exactly jealous of a girl who has to wake up at 4am to keep in check with her deadlines. They get breaks, I never do. I can see myself finally resting and chilling out in my 40s when I’ve finally made some money and can take a break. Describe your growing up and family. I am the only left handed person in my family. I am with my parents all the time but hardly ever talk to the rest of them. My grandad lives in France, was a producer for the BBC and is a writer. He always wanted to be a photographer and says I have the natural instinct of taking an image before you know you are taking it- the natural impulse. I have no full brothers or sisters. My half brother Matthew teaches business studies. There aren’t any artists in my family which can feel a bit lonely. My cousin Kerry is an actress. Do you have any personal or professional plans for this summer? To try and get a grant for my education or just to win a large contemporary art award.

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Photography by Eleanor Leonne Bennett eleanorleonnebennett.zenfolio.com 41


Most times, baby love is shared between mother and child only. In this Issue of Woman’s Essence magazine, WE decided parents let us in on the love they share with their babies. WE had a photo contest where, based on the many likes on facebook a photo got, 5 winners were selected. Below, their mothers answer few questions about them, sharing with us the mother/baby bond. 42


Kylie Rayne November 18, 2011

Mom Knows Best

Being a mother is the most amazing experience a woman could ask for. As a mother of 4 girls and a photographer, who’s always on the go, Kylie is a constant inspiration in my work. At 6 months she already poses and oozes smiles every time the camera comes out. I see her becoming a model, from literally growing up in front of the camera. She loves being that center of attention. She also loves mashed pears and oddly bread. She is so much like her father; it’s not funny, which is ironic because, out of all my babies she’s my first Mommas Girl. I love that my baby girl’s first words were ‘Mama’ and the quickest way to calm her is me. It can be rough when the nights seem endless and the days are just as rough but I love being a mother and couldn’t ask for a better role in life.

What were your baby’s first words? Mama Among you and your husband, who does your baby take after in character traits? My husband What’s your most funny Mother/Baby moment? When she’s in front of the camera cheese smiling and being far too cute for the camera What is the cutest thing anyone has ever told you about your baby? Not sure on this one

Has your baby begun showing any passion for a particular talent, and what is it? Too young Does your baby have any favorites (person, animation, food)? Me, Rugrats, and pears What is the cutest thing your baby has ever said or done to you? The first time she reached for me and said mama. It was pretty heart tugging.

Who do you see your baby growing up to become? A model, from being in front of the camera since birth

BecKaLs Photography LLC 43


Tanner Dale Gideon August 3, 2011

Mom Knows Best

Raising my son is a blessing. He and my daughter are the reasons I get by everyday. No matter how bad my day was, all I need is that little smile and I know everything will get better. My children are my world and I can’t imagine life without them. All the joy, smiles, hugs, kisses, crying, the times there is hurting, and I wouldn’t have my life any other way. I hope for my children to grow up and do whatever makes them happy and make something of their lives, no matter what it is. As long as there happy that’s all that matters to me! My kids have been through a lot this past year with their dad being deployed, then injured and they’ve been strong through it all. I know they’ll be strong and make it through anything!

What were your baby’s first words? Dada Among you and your husband, who does your baby take after in character traits? His grandparents for sure What’s your most funny Mother/Baby moment? When he copies me or dances. Love when he’s dancing! What is the cutest thing anyone has ever told you about your baby? He is a flirt, lol. Who do you see your baby growing up to become? He’s going to follow on his daddy’s footsteps; little soldier in training. Has your baby begun showing any passion for a particular talent, and what is it? Just dancing Does your baby have any favorites (person, animation, food)? He is a Momma’s boy for sure! He loves sweet potatoes and Barney. What is the cutest thing your baby has ever said or done to you? He always mocks me

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Willie J. White V September 21, 2008

What were your baby’s first words? Da Da Among you and your husband, who does your baby take after in character traits? From me (daddy) he gets athletics and humor What’s your most funny Father/Baby moment? Waking up one day when he was 2 and there was a diaper and a trail of boo leading from the couch where I slept all the way to my naked son reading a book by himself one morning. What is the cutest thing anyone has ever told you about your baby? He looks just like a little you. Who do you see your baby growing up to become? Himself, whoever that will be will be something very special indeed. Has your baby begun showing any passion for a particular talent, and what is it? Sports and reading. Does your baby have any favorites (person, animation, food)? He loves broccoli, The Dinosaur Train Show (anything on the PBS channel) What is the cutest thing your baby has ever said or done to you? When he says Da Da I love you, that gets me every time.

Dad Knows Best

Being a part of two families (his mother’s and mine) my son has a half brother on his mother’s side, whereas he is my one and only child. He spends time with the both of us. He received his nickname “Chill” from me after I observed how calm he was in comparison to the other babies that were more “needy” in the nursery. Chill and I have a funny relationship because even though I am the father, we also share sort of a “great friends” bond that people witness every time we are in public. Being a videographer/photographer, Chill has spent many days with me editing, shooting, directing and even acting, that I believe this will foster his interest in humanities/arts when he gets older. His aptitude for learning is impeccable. No matter what he does, I plan on being there.

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Jayden Ian Ross-Carmichael May 18, 2011

Mom Knows Best

Jayden was a late addition to my life. I have a daughter who is 12 and, although had discussed other children, never really thought I would actually have anymore. I had forgotten exactly how tiring but rewarding babies can be watching them grow and learn and succeed. Also the cuddles, smiles, and tears. From the moment of his birth, he has been a determined little boy. He pushed himself to roll, crawl and to walk. He takes a great pride in all his own accomplishments and brings so much pride and joy to my life. There isn’t a greater gift in the world than being a mother to smart, intelligent and beautiful children. I nurture his natural curiousity and will help him succeed at anything the future brings his way.

What were your baby’s first words? Jayden’s first word was Ambaa, for his sister Amber Among you and your husband, who does your baby take after in character traits? I am not too sure yet who he takes after. He is his own person and different from I and my husband What’s your most funny Mother/Baby moment? Jayden and I don’t have a moment. Life is filled with constant moments. He is full of joy and makes every day a pleasure for me. What is the cutest thing anyone has ever told you about your baby? When we are out in public, Jayden likes to flirt with women. I am constantly being told how sweet, adorable and what a little ladies man he is.

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Who do you see your baby growing up to become? It is too early to choose a career; he’s just becoming a person. As long as he is happy in life, that’s all that matters to me. Has your baby begun showing any passion for a particular talent, and what is it? He loves to dance. Does your baby have any favorites (person, animation, food)? His sister is by far his favourite person. He loves toy cars and Elmo. What is the cutest thing your baby has ever said or done to you? Every time he sees food or eats something he really likes, he walks around saying ‘mmmmmmmmm’


Bokang Owam Seqao February 18, 2011

What were your baby’s first words? Tata Among you and your husband, who does your baby take after in character traits? I will say the combination What’s your most funny Mother/Baby moment? Dances What is the cutest thing anyone has ever told you about your baby? He is an adorable happy angel Who do you see your baby growing up to become? Will Smith (actor) Has your baby begun showing any passion for a particular talent, and what is it? Dancing Does your baby have any favorites (person, animation, food)? Grandmother, likes fruit purities, and watching Cartoons (Tom & Jerry) What is the cutest thing your baby has ever said or done to you? Kissing me in the morning when he wakes up.

Mom Knows Best

Bokang Owam Seqao is my first and only baby. Being a first time mother is a feeling of total elation, that’s very difficult to describe with words. I feel so much love and adoration from this little angel of mine. I am so amazed by the perfection of this little treasure and the fact that the feeling of loving him is so unconditional. I already felt us bonding immediately the nurse put him in my arms after his birth. The feeling of having him in my life is perfect, amazing, life changing, and the most beautiful feeling in the world. It’s an instantaneous love that I wish the whole world to see how blessed I am. He is the reason I wake up in the morning to go to work.

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Health & Fitness

The Perfect Picnic by Martina M. Cartwright, PhD, RD

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igher gas prices have many seeking fun in the sun close to home, and what better way to take advantage of spring’s bright sunny days and soft fragrant breezes than to picnic under nature’s canopy? Picnics have been around for as long as humans have eaten leisurely meals outdoors, but the contemporary form arose from the 19th century “Picnic Society,” a group of Londoners who shared refreshments in lush park settings.

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Today’s picnics, whether a romantic surfside interlude for two or a family reunion, include everything from traditional fried chicken to gourmet takeout. Planning the perfect picnic involves some preparation but needn’t be a chore. Before heading out the door with red-checkered cloth in hand, be sure to have everything you need to make your outdoor-dining excursion complete: Safety first. Keep foods at proper temperatures to avoid food-borne illness. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Hot stuff.  If you bring hot dishes, keep them above 140 degrees Fahrenheit to curb bacterial growth. Eat them soon, as bacteria thrive at warm temperatures. Just chill. Keep cold foods cold with ice or artificial ice packs available from camping supply stores. Eggs, meats, cheeses and dairy foods must be chilled, as do cut melons and foods containing mayonnaise.


Wash up. Keep hand sanitizer or soap and water handy. To avoid cross-contamination, make sure utensils stay with the food they are meant to serve. Your serve.  Pack plenty of dishware, utensils and napkins. Don’t forget a bottle/can opener, corkscrew and plastic bags/wrap. Cover foods and beverages to deter buzzing pests. Packable proteins. Traditional foods like fried or baked chicken, lunchmeat sandwiches and cheeses are picnic-friendly, but they have to be kept chilled. Consider these protein-rich foods that require no refrigeration: • peanut butter • unopened cans of tuna, chicken, beans and meats • nuts, seeds and edamame

Portable produce. Bananas, apples, peaches, berries and seasonal fruits are sweet tastes of spring that do not have to be chilled, but sliced melons and salads with dressing should be kept cold. Refreshing warm-weather vegetables include carrots, sliced cucumbers and bagged spinach for sandwiches.

Clean up. Bring a few trash bags, one for litter, another for recyclables.

Mind the melt. Most cookies and baked sweets are picnic-friendly, but chocolate and icing will melt in outdoor warmth.

With a little preplanning, dining outdoors can be a safe, fun and budget-wise cure for spring fever.

Burn it off. Picnics provide the perfect opportunity to expend calories. Work off that fried chicken leg by tossing a Frisbee or playing catch.

About those beverages. Soft drinks, juice and similarly sweet drinks attract bees; keep them covered to avoid stings. Drinking wine, beer and alcohol in temperate climes can trigger dehydration, so bring plenty of water, too. First aid. Insect bites and minor abrasions are common, so pack bandages, antiseptic and antibiotic ointment. Bring medications for tummy troubles. Bee allergy? Know what to do if someone gets stung. Don’t forget sunscreen and bug repellent.

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Love & Relationships

Is Trying to Make a Baby Ruining Your Relationship? by Amanda Bears

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ou’ve made the decision on trying for a baby, but is it causing you more stress in your relationship than you thought? Many couples run into this situation and become “stuck”. Either sex becomes so routine, or you’re just too tired and worn out from trying to make a baby every day. We lose the reason on why we are really trying to conceive. The most important thing to remember: never forget what creates a baby. Love creates a baby, and love is found within you and your partner. Our daily lives already have stress weighing in on us and by the end of the day we come home to the one we love. Adding the stress to conceive can cause performance issues, lack of excitement, stress which then causes no ovulation, and sometimes depression. This is because some couples try so hard to conceive, they stress each other out. 52

Have you ever been stuck with “Are we going to do this, because it’s getting late and I need to get to work in the morning?” Sometimes the stress of trying every day during the days to try to conceive gets to how we treat each other. While you want to build your family, you mustn't forget about the love you have for each other. In the bedroom it should be fun, it should be about loving each other. Not only about making a baby.


Some couples have been trying a long time to have a baby, so intimacy becomes routine, or just not exciting anymore. It’s hard when it gets to this point because the focus now has become “We have to make this baby”, instead of actually loving each other. Our frustration came to the point of pushing the excitement away. In our lives we introduced the “Feather Technique”. What is the “Feather Technique”? This is a form of meditation through couples with each other. Before you start, take 4 beautiful well soft lit candles to make the room dim, yet creating a se-tting that is romantic. Have your partner take a beautiful long, large feather and then have him trace your body with it. No touching. Trace the

entire body and outline from each side to the next, from the back to the front. The rule is, no touching. This will get the mind wondering, curiosity going, and possibly, restore intimacy in the bedroom between you and your partner. End the night with a kiss and that’s it. This way the next night, your romance takes a whole new level behind the door. (If you don’t have a feather use your finger- a touch can simply bond two couples together) Have fun and be romantic. Think of new ideas so intimacy doesn’t become routine. You don’t want to withdraw from each other during the time of building your family.

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Weddings

Who’s Your Photographer? by Trina Sims

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o, you’ve hired a professional photographer for your wedding day and you are ready to take your moment down the aisle, but you see that your family and friends have also come with their own so-called professional equipment.

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and the memories that will be shared and captured will be everlasting. Hiring a professional photographer is top of my to do list. The photographer you hire for your wedding day should be a professional, in the manner of being able to seize the moments in time using proper equipment. Don’t get me wrong, a relative in the family or someone who just takes photos on a regular basis can still play a part in your wedding, but it must be made known who the exclusive photographer is for the day. There are flashes, lights and clicks and snaps during the ceremony, and those are not even from the professional photographer you’ve hired to do the job. Your guest begins to take over and takes over the space of where the hired photographer needs to be. This is not fair to the photographer. The contract clearly states, or should state, that she or he is to have first priority for each moment and in every event to capture the true essence of what is about to happen.

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And while this can be a bit tedious, with all the new technology that we live with today, the photographer finds himself competing with iPods, cell phones, other professional cameras and whatever else is out in the market. Yes, these techs-NO items may capture some photos from various angles, but the photographer will still have a much better resilient to capture the moments if allowed. However, while you may see some great photos from your guest, that should not put your hired photographer in a competing position for your trust. With that in mind, when setting out to hire a professional photographer, be sure that you know what you are considering for the day. Make sure you get a timeline of when the photos are to be ready for viewing, sampling, approving and completion. All of the discussed details should be written in the contract before you sign. Lastly, make sure you ask plenty of questions, because at the end of the day, it’s your wedding and your money that you will be spending. But most of all, professionalism and honesty goes a long way. Again I say, “It’s your wedding. Make it your own.”

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Lisa K. Winkler A black Cowboy’s Ride Across America About the author:

Lisa worked as a journalist and an educator. She wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine’s website, www.smithsonian.com. (April 24, 2009). Two essays have been published in anthologies: “I’m Going to College- Not You!: Surviving the College Search with My Child.” (St. Martin’s Press, 2010), and “Knit One, Purl Two: Life Lessons from Knitting” in Wisdom of our Mothers. (Familia Books, 2010). Lisa wrote for professional journals and for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate. com). Her interviews include authors, college presidents, scientists, and artists, among others, including Miles Dean in February 2009. She holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA in Urban Education from New Jersey City University. Lisa K. Winkler is the mother of hree children, three grandchildren, and loves to cycle, knit, read, write, and cook. www. lisakwinkler.com

Summary: Miles J. Dean, a Newark, NJ schoolteacher, rode his

stallion Sankofa from New York to California to celebrate the contributions African Americans made in the settling of the United States. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Dean first learned about cowboys from watching television. Like any boy at that time, he wanted to be like those heroes and pretended to be a cowboy, galloping through the streets on his bicycle, ambushing outlaws on street corners. Although Hollywood helped keep his dream alive, the cowboys on TV didn’t look like Dean. At age 23, he saw Sidney Poitier

play a cowboy in the 1972 film, “Buck and the Preacher,” and realized he too could be a cowboy. He deferred his teenage dream another 10 years before he could afford riding lessons and eventually bought his first horse. His journey through 12 states brought him to historical monuments, where he paid homage to history’s forgotten heroes, including the black jockeys at Kentucky’s Churchill Downs and soldiers at Tennessee’s African American Civil War Cemetery. His ride through the harsh deserts of the Southwest and across California’s formidable Chocolate Mountains allowed him to re-enact the conditions and perils faced by early cowboys and marshals.

Reviews: “Author Lisa K. Winkler is a journalist and an educator, both attributes that serve her well in this immensely entertaining, informative, and humbling tale …Reading Winkler’s account is both fascinatingly entertaining and educational. Highly Recommended! ” ~By Grady Harp, March 12. (Los Angeles, CA United States, Hall of Fame Reviewer, Vine Voice, Top 50 Reviewer, Real Name)

“…I found myself not only drawn to the experience but what the piece of work itself became. Winkler takes us into the amazing journey of Miles Dean who has always wanted to blaze a trail as a cowboy and is able to see that come to life while he traces some of the places that made the America of today possible. We are able to remember not just the things that have happened over the years on our land, but see how the changes in the world and the people in it have produced individuals that want to see you success and prosper, regardless of what race you are. …We are able to see what is possible by looking at his own life and what we are able to do in our own. This book speaks to history lovers and those who are just looking to be inspired in their own lives. A true literary triumph” ~C. A. Webb “Conversations Book Club” ( Jackson, MS, Top 1000 Reviewer, Vine Voice, Real Name)

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Lavada Dale The Tears of an Inmate’s Wife About the author: Lavada Dale always knew God had a plan for her life but with the many talents she holds, she didn’t know which one to run with. Using modeling as her stepping stone to get her name out there, known to everyone as “Ladyfire”, she pushed for success and didn’t question it. Winning so many poetry contests in elementary school she knew writing was something she was good at. Now being an adult and grown into a published Author, she also wants to work on screen writing, and even her own magazine. Only a month into her newly published book “The Tears of an Inmates Wife”, rates at 5 stars so far and she pushes to be Best Seller. Lavada will continue to write many more books and push to complete her goals she sets for herself. Look forward to seeing Lavada Dale and her work across the world. www.LadyfireEmpire.com

Summary: Sasha was brought up with great morals and values but ends up in the worst situations as an adult. Between having a baby with a man that beats her, going through crisis within her own family, and becoming the wife of a man that’s in prison, her world starts to change very quickly. She learns that being an inmate’s wife is a whole different world and struggles holding him down.

In THE TEARS OF AN INMATE’S WIFE, readers will be regaled as well as touched by Dale’s prose -- at turns engaging and riveting until the pages thin down to the very end.

Review: “Holding a man down as he completes time being incarcerated is a diffe-rent type of life than your average relationship. Whether you can handle the emotions, loneliness, and struggle is something that many women deal with when deciding to stay. Many people judge and think that the women that end up in these relationships are no good and stupid for being in it or even staying. There are so many women that are successful, loving, and good people that end up in the worst situations and Sasha is one of them. Not only does she deal with her relationship with an inmate, but getting out of a domestic violence relationship and going through family crisis of her own takes the reader on a crazy rollercoaster. “The Tears of an Inmates Wife” is emotional, life changing, and so many people can relate to it. This book is very well recommended to people that went through struggle, sacrifice, deal with or have dealt with domestic violence, betrayal, and being in love. A well rounded book that has crazy twist and leave you with emotions in a whole different perspective will leave you speechless, but hold your breath because the second part is coming soon”

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Jamila E. Gomez Birthday Girl

About the author: Jamila E. Gomez, born in Chicago, Ill and living in Lithonia, Georgia, wrote her first poem at age 17. She attended Georgia Perimeter College, taking courses geared towards creative writing and eventually developed an interest in writing poetry. She had three poems published in the school’s literary magazine. Following her schooling, she became a freelance editor, editing “Seven Days, Seven Nights: More Skeletons Revealed” for L’Mignon. In the summer of 2011, Jamila self-published two volumes in a four-part collection of her own poetry in a book entitled, “Pure Confessions”. The book contains poems she had written in a 3-year timeframe. She has also written a novella, entitled “Birthday Girl”. The novella was published under One Karma Publishing. Currently, she works as a freelance copy editor and proofreader. Synopsis: For most folks in Decatur, Georgia, December 16th was

a regular day. However, for Elisha, today was extra special. She was turning 30 and ready to party hard. With her two best friends, Mika and Julie, along for the ride, Elisha was about to experience a weekend that she’d only read about in books and seen in movies. Considering she’d not celebrated her birthday since childhood, Elisha had no idea what was in store for her; not just for the night, but for the entire weekend. She had

one wish for her birthday…Dante. Elisha had been crushing on Dante for as long as she could remember, and he knew it. He saw this as the perfect opportunity to show her that he was well aware of her feelings, and makes a special appearance at Elisha’s birthday party, a party she had not expected. Little did everyone know, his special appearance at the party was not the only surprise of the weekend, not just for Elisha, but for other seemingly innocent bystanders. Jamila Gomez gives you the inside scoop on the twists, turns, ups, and downs of all the events of Elisha’s weekend. Will truths come out for the Birthday Girl?

Review: “From the beginning to the end, this novella kept my attention. I really like the way the characters were developed, so by the time the climax came, you could feel where each character’s feelings were. What I really enjoyed most was the happy ending, the lack of “ghetto” attitudes and drama from the characters, and most of all, how descriptive the author is, appealing to all senses. I am looking forward to any future novellas/ novels from this author!!!!” ~Kimberly

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Food & Drinks

Celebrate Father’s Day by Sharon Fox

Ingredients

2 medium onions, chopped 2 tablespoons butter 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 cup water 1 cup spicy ketchup 3 tablespoons white vinegar 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke 2 teaspoons ground mustard 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper 5 to 6 pounds pork baby back ribs

Method

In a large saucepan, saute onions in butter until tender. Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the brown sugar, water, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Liquid Smoke if desired, mustard, chili powder, paprika and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10-12 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, combine the salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper; sprinkle over ribs. Grill ribs, covered, over indirect medium heat for 1-3/4 hours or until tender. (If it’s raining, bake in a 325 degree oven). Set aside 1 cup barbecue sauce for serving. Brush some of the remaining sauce over ribs; cook 20 minutes longer, turning ribs occasionally and basting with sauce. Serve with reserved sauce. Yield: 5-6 servings.

DAD’S BABY BACK RIBS

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Grilled Honey Mustart Chicken Ingredients

Method

1 tablespoon lowsodium soy sauce 1/2 cup honey mustard salad dressing 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup lemon juice 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons brown sugar 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1-1/2 cups chicken broth 1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons cornstarch *Hot rice to serve with chicken

In zip-lock bag, combine all ingredients except chicken, chicken broth, cornstarch, and water. Add chicken, seal, place in large bowl, and marinate for at least 15 minutes up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, prepare and preheat grill. Drain chicken, and place marinade and chicken broth in a shallow large saucepan. Start grilling the chicken, and bring

the marinade to a simmer. Grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side, turning once, until just done. When the chicken is almost done, combine cornstarch and water in small bowl and add to marinade in saucepan.

Simmer while chicken finishes cooking. As the chicken finishes, add to the simmering marinade mixture. When all the chicken is added, simmer for 30 seconds, then serve with hot rice. 6-8 servings.

Perfect steak for Dad Ingredients

4 rib eye steaks, filet steaks or top sirloin steaks 2 Cups of Scottish ale 4 tsp of brown sugar 1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper 1 tsp. of season salt Butter

Method 1. Place the steak in small but shallow pan or pie plate. 2. Place the steaks in pan and pour the ale over them. Cover. 3. Refrigerate the marinated steaks for at least an hour. 4. Occasionally turn the steaks so both sides marinated fully. 5. While waiting for the marinated steaks, in another pan combine all the remaining ingredients. 6. Make sure that the ingredients are blended completely. 7. After 1 hour, take out the mari-

nated steaks from the pan with ale to dip into the blended dry ingredients. 8. Make sure the steak coated evenly with the dry ingredients. 9. Once done, cover for 30 minutes, and then refrigerate again. 10. After 30 minutes, preheat the grill pan or iron skillet to medium high heat. 11. In the skillet, add small piece of butter and let it bubble first before putting the steak into the skillet or grill pan. 12. Cook the steak as desired, once done serve immediately. Cook remaining steaks the same way.

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Ingredients 1 pound 90%-lean ground beef 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion 1/4 cup chopped scallions 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 tablespoon chili powder, preferably New Mexican 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise 1 tablespoon lime juice 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo, (see Ingredient Note) 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese 4 French rolls, preferably wholewheat, split and toasted 2 roasted Anaheim or poblano peppers, (see Tip) 1 cup shredded green cabbage 4 slices tomato 4 thin slices red onion

Fajita Burgers TIPS: Preheat grill to medium-high. To oven-roast peppers: Place beef, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1. Preheat oven to 450째F. Place a wire rack on a large onion, scallions, garlic, chili baking sheet. Arrange whole powder, cumin, oregano, bell peppers on the rack. pepper and salt in a large 2. Roast peppers in the cenbowl. Gently combine, ter of the oven, turning owithout over mixing, until ccasionally with tongs, until evenly incorporated. Form blackened in places, 30 to into 4 equal patties, about 40 minutes. 1/2 inch thick and oval3. Transfer the peppers to a shaped to match the rolls. Combine the remaining 1/2 large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam for cup cilantro, mayonnaise, 10 minutes. Uncover and let lime juice and chipotle in a cool. small bowl. 4. With a paring knife, rePeel the roasted peppers, move stems, skins and seeds. halve lengthwise and reIf serving as antipasto, commove the seeds. bine accumulated juices Oil the grill rack. Grill the burgers until about 6 minutes with peppers. per side. Top with cheese To oil the grill rack: Oil a and cook until it is melted, folded paper towel, hold it about 1 minute more. with tongs and rub it over the Assemble the burgers on rack. (Do not use coo-king toasted rolls with the chipospray on a hot grill) When tle mayonnaise, half a grilling delicate foods like tofu roasted pepper, cabbage, and fish, it is helpful to spray tomato and onion. the food with cooking spray.

Method

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Peanut Butter Pie Ingredients

One Oreo pie crust 1 cup creamy peanut butter 8 oz. cream cheese, softened 8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Method

Whip together the peanut butter and cream cheese. Mix in the powdered sugar. Stir in the Cool Whip until light and fluffy. Pour into pie crust and chill several hours or overnight. Cut into 8 slices.


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Chocolate, Strawberry, and Banana Milkshake Ingredients 3 scoops of chocolate ice cream 13 cup of milk 4-5 strawberries, sliced 1 banana, sliced

Method Combine the ice cream, milk, sliced strawberries, and sliced banana together in a blender. Blend until creamy and smooth. Serve in a tall glass with a strawberry garnish. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Strawberry Shortcake Kebabs with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Method Ingredients 1 pint whipped cream (kept cold) 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, more if desired 1 vanilla bean, split down the center, seeds removed Fresh strawberries, stems removed Frozen pound cake, thawed and sliced into bite sized chunks Wooden skewers

Combine the cold whipped cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla beans seeds. Using a beater, whip for 3-4 minutes or until thick and creamy. Place into the refrigerator until needed. Alternate threading the skewers with strawberries and pound cake. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with a side of the whipped cream. Enjoy!

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Home & Decor

How to choose your Kids Furniture Kids room furniture for the home. The Furniture cost is not always different from the amount for adults (although it should ideally meet the child’s age), but has a distinctive appearance.

If you can give the kid a separate room, then for her to spend most bright, dry and warm room in the house, preferably on the sunny side. Ideally, every child must have its own territory, where there is room for games and activities for children. In the nursery there should be nothing superfluous and furniture should be only the most necessary. This will be easier to keep clean and tidy room. 68


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Classic idea for girls room

Kid’s room furniture should be collared in comfortable colours, not to damage the eyes of your child. Better to choose pastel colours: light green, light blue, etc. – Improving the lighting in the room simple and well combined with the warm colour of natural wood. In children the colours look great, but they should not be too much.It is necessary to ensure free access to natural light in the nursery. 70


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Classic idea for girls room Girls kids room

with blue color

The kids room needs bright chandeliers on the ceiling and the wall reading lamp. Moreover, in the area for the child must be table lamps, which stand to the left. The bodies of all lighting fixtures must be unbreakable.The materials that produce furniture for children are particularly demanding in terms of their environmental cleanliness. 72


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Stylish kids room decorations

When purchasing new furniture for kids room in the nursery to check the quality of fittings and joints.If possible do not choose cabinets with glass or mirrored doors, prefer open shelves to close. In addition, the depth of the cabinet must not exceed 50 cm and height is not too large, so that the infant needed only to take his property. 74


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Kids room with wooden furniture

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From this perspective it is better to have furniture made of wood (eg pine – cheap and good things). However, wood is not very practical, since it left indentations, even from small mechanical effects. Be prepared for that, over time, wood furniture will need to be updated, for example to be primed and painted.From the various boards is better to choose high quality MDF or particle CPD low formaldehyde emission (these data should be close to zero). www.trendzona.com 77


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Woman's Essence Magazine June  

A magazine for and about WOMEN the strong independent / business woman, the loving and devoted wife, the irreplaceable mother