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Edito r’s note www.womans-essence.com
Publisher Adryana Nicoleta
Editor-in-chief Ojay Milah
editors Allyson Deese Leanne Haynes Ijeoma Osadebe
Contributing writers Sharon Fox Brandie Kekoa Dorian Bodnariuc Augusta Marquis Harriet Lerner, Ph.D Trina Sims Marcus Mabry Tiffany Jasper Dawniel Winningham
Contributing Websites www.houseplansandmore.com www.psychologytoday.com www.nytimes.com
Design Grafx Passion www.grafxpassion.co.cc
photography www.nthemoment.com www.gettyimages.com 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 email@example.com
The “Female Power” Edition Finding inspiration to write this
note, I discovered the female character apt enough to draw source. Just like a woman in a professional environment dominated by the male sex, Woman’s Essence magazine, among a plethora of well staffed and funded magazines, with advantages of years and experience has managed to make it since August 2011 to become 10 months old this month of May, 2012.
The making of preceding Issues, till this one, has afforded me a first seat position of witnessing how the female sex triumph, when faced with a challenging situation. Whether it is the bitter-sweet experience of searching for a baby to call her own, the need to prove ones worth in a male domineering workplace, or the arduous, but victorious, battle of surviving sexual abuse to become an advocate, the female character has proven over time that she has the power to become whatever she wants. She’s proven to be a great influence – sometimes even greater – in “a man’s world”. In my view, if to be named, this month would have been the “Female Power Edition”, to envelop such stories like the Lorra Brown’s interview or getting to know Ellenore Angelidis, a woman with a world view to motherhood. These are only few of the inspiring articles written to make an already powerful female character discover and, or harness her essence, so as to become more powerful.
For you, WE have yet another inFor something that began as a teresting Issue, made possible by passionate dream of the Publisher, all those who believe in the dream. Adryana Nicoleta, with me catch- I encourage you to download, read ing on the bug a month later, I have and share. Go on and keep telling seen it sustained by such amazing people about us. You are what keep contribution and encouragement WE alive. from our contributors, editors and WE Always Love You! largely female fans, who, having the option of other numerous female magazines, still preserve in their heart, a place for Woman’s Ojay Milah Essence. Editor-in-chief Your comments, letters and Suggestions are most welcome. Write to
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CONTENTS APRIL 2012
44 Women WE Love
Maureen Forte - A Voice for the Voiceless
12 10 Business & Career An Unconventional Business Model
12 Fashion & Beauty
12 Fashion Trends: Natural Hair – Movement or Passing Trend 14 Beauty Tips: Hydrate your Face 26 Jewelry: Wear what inspires you this spring
18 WE Style Pick
May Style pick - by Trina Sims Trina’s Style in a Wrap
46 Women Who Love To Write Nicola Mitchell - A Cold Piece from the pen of Ni’cola Author Oana The Healings Aija Monique Butler Volume I of My Nemesis Book Series: The Mind’s Eye
50 Food & Drinks
- Cool Barbecue Salad - Healthy Chicken Spring Roll - Fresh Fruit Sangria - Keylime Pie With Vanilla Whipped Cream
20 Cover Story - Interview 56 Home & Decor Interview with Ellenore Angelidis Motherhood Beyond Borders
58 Partners & Sponsors
32 Health & Fitness
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Reflections: How Mirrors Make an Impact on Your Décor
10 Tips for a Great Romantic Massage
34 Love & Relationships
34 Relationships: Beware of the Relationship Experts! 36 Marriage: Placing the Right Value on Family 38 Weddings: Why You Must RSVP to that Wedding Invitation 40 Parenting: Raising Twins Where They May Never ‘Belong’
Cover Story Interview with Ellenore Angelidis Motherhood beyond borders
Born in America to Dutch parents, married to a Greek, with whom they have two boys and an adopted Ethiopian daughter, Ellenore is a great mother, with global perspective to motherhood.
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Business & Career
An Unconventional Business Model
by Augusta Marquis
n inspiration, Lorra Brown coaches’ women in business as well as those who are career inclined, to be the best they can be and empower them to the next level. The owner of J. Stevens & Associates shares some business thoughts with WOMAN’S ESSENCE. Lorra Brown realized how much she wanted to own her business when she discovered her ability to help others with their dreams. Now, through “putting God first”, she successfully runs a consulting firm specializing in servicing women owned businesses, non profits, training, accounting and finance services. She has had numerous successes with fortune 500 companies, where she says some of her achievements include “Improved controls in safeguarding against poor investments, developed daily monitoring systems, researched and resolved coding mistakes caused by a bank, saving over 1 million.” With such good successes, Brown still doesn’t consider herself fulfilled. “I would not say that I am fulfilled.” Consulting for fortune 500 companies is so many consultants dream, so what more is Lorra Brown aiming at “I want to be the Queen of small business and nonprofit accounting.” , 10 Woman’s Essence Magazine
Browns aforementioned consulting achievements were made possible by a blend of faith and finance. An unconventional business model, Brown explains she was able to succeed by “keeping God’s Laws and maintaining standards of accountability that conveys God- honoring ethical practices.” Other salient characteristics she made use of, according to her, were “reflecting willingness to what is right, not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of others, promoting integrity, honesty and openness in the manner in which we conduct daily financial and management operations.” For the past three years, she’s also been involved with SCORE, were she volunteers, helping numerous individuals in financing, marketing, managing their time and making the transition to be a business owner. A regular advice from Brown to women with little or no capital who have businesses is to, “thoroughly research the prospective business model and know the risk involved.”
Also to career women, Brown advice, “don’t give up, instead be patient, while understanding you can’t do it all at once. Find the right mentor who can encourage and hold you accountable, think of what you have to offer and what they can offer you.” A strong supporter of women in government, Brown’s advice to women in general, is to “get into the loop early as possible to keep abreast of new opportunities and to make the connections that matter in terms of career growth.” Not all work without play, Brown says she gets to relax with close friends at least once a week, to make sure she still has a life
beyond work. “Recharging during weekends allows me to clear my mind off things and come up with fresh ideas so I can be of better services to my clients.” A firm believer in change and the need to support women, the 13 years finance veteran, if not running a public accounting firm, says she would have been a doctor. “Through that I would have been able to serve and give back to society. The gratitude on the faces of all those lives you touch is unparalleled.” WE wish Brown and J. Stevens & Associates best of luck as they keep touching lives. , Woman’s Essence Magazine 11
Fashion & Beauty
Natural Hair –
Movement or Passing Trend by Brandie Kekoa
was walking through a winery in Temecula valley wine country in the summer of 2010. A fellow textured haired women called out as I passed by “Hey look at that nappy head girl over there”. I had worn my hair with relaxer treatments since I was 10 years old and had forgotten the decision I had recently made to go “Natural”. As I looked around it dawned on me. She was talking about me! Although there were speed bumps on the way, as a hair stylist and business professional I feel my decision has been a very liberating experience. During the past 3 years of my “Natural” journey it has been encouraging to see more women coming through my salon studio and starting the process to go “Natural”. Many other hair care professionals I have recently interviewed also notice this wave of “Natural” hair. Sheila Wilson, a licensed professional of 20 years said, “I’ve seen it going on for the last 2 years. Women going Natural is triple what I have seen in all my years as a stylist.” Shiela still feels it is a passing trend and due to the recession some clients may be looking to save some money and not get a relaxer. , 12 Woman’s Essence Magazine
Diamond, another licensed stylist, with Designs by Diamond, says “It’s definitely a movement. I’ve had a lot more clients going natural, especially with the younger generation, but not as much older clients.” It is good to see the younger generation leading the current charge for Natural hair. Tiffany, owner of The Loft salon gets excited for her clients when they decide to embrace their natural curls. “There has been an unwritten rule that natural curly hair was not acceptable in a business professional environment. I feel that people are beginning to ask, “Why do I have to straighten my hair to be accepted and taken seriously?” Tiffany added. A trend may not
have the power to challenge this status quo, but a movement if strong enough, may have the potential to alter it. According to market research firm Mintel, chemical hair relaxer sales have dropped by 12 percent in the last two years. At the same time the textured curly hair industry has been growing by double digit percentages year over year during our recession. With market figures like these, the natural hair movement and textured curly hair in general is beginning to attract the attention of the mainstream beauty industry. With such a large surge to Natural there are all kinds of Youtube videos and bloggers coming out of the wood work offering tips, tricks, and advice on going natural. All three of the licensed professionals interviewed above, including my-self, warn to be careful when taking advice from unlicensed and inexperienced bloggers and youtube self-proclaimed gurus. “Every hair type is not the same” says Shiela. “Situations like someone on a no-carb diet or a particular medication can drastically affect how particular products work on clients’ hair” Shiela added. An unlicensed tipster may lack the education or experience to take such things into consideration before posting a recommendation on youtube. If you are considering going natural, here are some pointers and things to consider: • It could be a long process before you get the natural look you want. Your chemically treated hair will need to be cut as your natural hair grows to take its place. You and your stylist will have to work out a personalized plan for the interim stage of going natural. • Keep your natural hair conditioned and moisturized at all times. • Wrap your hair with a satin scarf at night before bed. Just because you are going natural doesn’t mean you can neglect your hair.
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Hydrate your Face by Brandie Kekoa
s we enter spring and the sun begins to show its happy face more often, many of us are eager to bask in its rays once again. Content to leave those cold winter nights behind, we earnestly enter spring for a taste of summer’s promise. Snuggled in the sun’s warmth we unwittingly relax, as the sun’s evil minions plot the destruction of our face & skin. Wrinkles! Photoaging! Liver Spots! Skin Cancer! These are the monsters that lurk in the light, when proper care for your face is not put into practice. In this article, we are talking about dehydration, the loss of water in the skin. This happens when the skin loses more moisture than it takes in. This often leads to a thinning of the skin, which could have undesirable effects such as fine lines, crow’s feet and wrinkles. Dehydration can make your face appear dry and look older. , 14 Woman’s Essence Magazine
So, before you rush off on your Spring and Summer adventures arm yourself with the spells and potions (Tips & Recipes) listed below, to ward off the harmful effects of the sun).
Tips the keeping your face hydrated: • Sunscreen is a given. Keep your face covered when you are in the sun. Wide brimmed hats and sun glasses are a good idea. • Hydrate your face frequently throughout the day, even over makeup. You could use a commercial product, or mix one up yourself with distilled water in a spray bottle and a few sprinkles of chamomile or rose essential oil. Shake the mixture before each use, and spray it on. • Drink lots of water and eat fresh foods. Eat fruits, vegetables, and nuts. • Be gentle when cleaning or applying makeup to your skin. Never tug, pull, or scrub your facial skin. • Keep stress reduction routines, practices, and habits. Stress can take its toll on your face even if you are taking good care of it. You could do things like treat yourself to a home grown facial therapy session. Just kick everyone out of the house and whip up a batch of the easy, low cost, recipes listed below.
Some home grown organic facial recipes: • Avocado Organic Adventure: Ingredients needed - 1 small ripe avocado & Extra Virgin Olive Oil Take 1 small ripe avocado, put it in a blender, and blend until it becomes a mask consistency. Put the blended avocado in a bowl and mix in 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Chill in the refrigerator to desired temperature then apply to face as a mask. Avoid the eyes.
• Kiwi Cucumber Comfort: Ingredients needed- Chilled 1 kiwi or 1 chilled cucumber Cut 2 thin slices of kiwi or cucumber, one quarter to a half inch in thickness. Place over closed eyes. The vitamin K in kiwi helps with dark circles around the eyes, which can be brought on by fatigue, while the cucumber helps puffy eyes by absorbing moisture.
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Wear what inspires you this spring by Brandie Kekoa
hasing the fads of the day can get exhausting. Possibly adding stress to what should be a pleasurable and inspiring part of your daily routine. Inspirational jewelry can be that one magic piece that brings out your personal style. A charm or pendant with a cute little inscription like “Live Love Laugh” can bring a little sunshine to gloomy day.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde
Long ago, jewelry had its beginnings as sacred symbols made of precious metals and stones. Often, jewelry would be handed down through generations, or bestowed on select individuals. These pieces were made with deep meanings, intended to inspire, and denote a unique individual. This spring, step outside the monotony, be bold, and make a statement. This cute inscription piece made by Lulu Bug jewelry at etsy.com is just darling. I love how the sharp edges bring out the quote “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, loved more than you know.” From casual to semi-casual work attire, this piece will complement as well as inspire.
Going green with these hand-made, environmentally friendly, wood carved square dangle earrings by AnnyMay at etsy. com, can be inspiring. With love for Mother Earth and fashion as well, donning these dangles can make an impact and a subtle Afro-centric statement.
These delightful teal flower garden wood earrings, also from environmentally friendly AnnyMay, can bring some color and life to your wardrobe. These light and comfortable earrings are extremely easy to wear. A simple piece when matched with a simple outfit can make a stunning impression. Mix it up with a little natural earthy beauty and the world will feel your spirit as well as your beauty.
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WE Style Pick
WE Style Pick Trina’s Style in a Wrap
by Trina Sims Can’t Stop Reading I am currently reading a good book called “Crazy Love” by David Cook. This book is very inspirational and uplifting. Actually it’s much more than that. You have to read it for yourself.
Chicago based Wedding Planner for 10 years running and, owner of Divine Elegance and Things, Trina Sims, 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, Trina and her team plans and assist with about 20 weddings and events every year. This you can find on her website, www.divineelegancethings. com This month WE chose Trina to show us what style means to her. She picked her best and talked about each one and their importance. Please enjoy and let’s know what you think. My Popcorn Movie My all time favorite movie is “The Wedding Planner. I must add that “Jumping the Broom” is right behind. , 18 Woman’s Essence Magazine
Clothes Am Rocking For the most part, I rock a pair of jeans and a blazer from time to time, but nothing I could call my favorite.
Make My Face Glow While I have such a naturalness of who I am, I do not wear much make up besides some lip gloss from Victoria Secrets and a little eyeliner every now and then.
Music on Replay I love music and dancing. I have been listening to Martha Munizzi, “No Limits” CD 2 for months now. I think I need a new one. It is so awesome!
Daily Inspiration As I continue to move forward in the growth of Weddings and Events By Trina, I am influenced by those that are continuously pushing me to press forward and never give up.
Technology Savvy Me Being a wedding planner, I need a reliable piece of today’s technology to chat, work and get me to each destination on time. I never leave home without my Samsung Epic Buddy – Hello. , Woman’s Essence Magazine 19
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In tervie w With
Motherhood Beyond Borders by Ojay Milah
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Ellenore Angelidis, it’s all about family – her children being the focus. Whether discussing career, writing, food or the meaning of a su-ccessful life, there’s always a connection of these to her family. A great mother, with global perspective to motherhood, Ellenore was born in America to Dutch parents. She’s married to a Greek, with whom they have two boys and an adopted Ethiopian daughter. Among many other issues, she speaks to WOMAN’S ESSENCE, about the passion and family reality of raising global citizens – children – who see everyone as part of one body of people, and not us versus them.
When I was reading your article in incultureparent.com about the connection between Baklava and Doro Wat, it felt like a novel. Have you ever thought of writing one about your life? I had aspirations to be a writer as a child. I remember writing elaborate outlines of chapter headings of science fiction tomes, where I literally dreamed of the plots in my sleep. I also won some early awards for short stories of real events that occurred to me, an indication, perhaps, of what should have been the primary subject of my writing. Later in life, I had it on my bucket list to write a novel (or if I am completely honest, be a well respective novelist). I saw two likely subjects in my grandmothers, as strong independent women, who survived grave challenges – both had amazing WWII survival stories. However, like my earliest science fiction efforts, I never made it past the outline phase. , 22 Woman’s Essence Magazine
Then I read a post from a blo-gger, who was using blo-gging as a manageable way to write her book. I didn’t nece-ssarily think my blogs would end up as a book. But I thought it would give me a chance to practice my writing regularly; posts seemed doable. And I had been looking for a way to give back – in the context of adopting from Ethiopia and of being a working mother. So that’s how I started. I learned, the more I put of myself in the posts, the more they seem to resonate with others. I find the act of writing leads me down different paths of reason and thought than I originally intended. I like to write whatever is swirling in my head, rather than focus on one or two topics. This has led me to having two of my own blogs, as well as write for few online magazines with different audiences. I often tear up while writing, since much is personal and emotional for me and I am at heart a private person. When I hit “publish”, I feel a little queasy. Who knows, maybe some of my posts will turn themselves into a book one day.
How challenging, and interesting has it been for you, being a part of many cul-
I found life much richer, because you constantly have to stretch, learn and see it from another’s perspective. It is also tough sometimes, not to have a base of common culture and understanding to build on, whether it be with my parents who experience differs mine culturally as well as historically (growing up during a challenging time), my husband whose path to adulthood was a world away from mine or my daughter whose path was altered through adoption. I found you can inadvertently cause angst or heartache, because you don’t fully appreciate the importance of something in another culture that doesn’t have the same importance in yours. For example, in the Greek culture, the godparent is particularly important. I did not fully understand this until we had baptized our children and experienced the role their godparents continue to play in their lives. I remember arguing for people in my life taking that role. But in the Dutch culture, it did not have a formal or prominent role outside the early years. I don’t have a godparent and neither do my three sisters. Also since the Greek family and friends misses so much of our day to day lives because they live so far away, it feels appropriate they have this important status with our children.
What about your husband was the spark that made you fall in love with him, and eventually accept to marry him? Michael and I are quite different in many visible ways. He is an imposing presence with a booming deep voice. He can command a classroom or basketball court with ease. We met when I went back to college, after living in Europe for a bit. He was an assistant basketball coach and part time math teacher (I never took any of his classes – many asked me that during our early dating) I was drawn to his self confidence. He is authentic and larger than life. With him, I am completely myself. He has a big heart and pushes me, because his approach to life is so diverse from mine. He challenges everything that I felt comfortable with, encourages risk taking and living in the moment, when I am more cautious and a planner. But, we were first friends, who respected and listened to each other. And we could make each other laugh. Humor is a big part of our connection. I learned I preferred the roller coaster to the merry go round when it came to who I wanted to share my life with – although my natural tendency was to seek safer. Life together has never been boring and we are still laughing..
The barrier that language creates, you seem to have found a solution in food. Which is of a deeper connection to you, food or language? I would have to say food, although it feels a bit odd to say, given how powerful I find language. Food for me is so accessible and inclusive. Language has been much more difficult. When I was growing up, I wanted to be American and pushed back on learning my parents’ native Dutch. I was self conscious about using it with cousins and friends when I lived in Holland in my twenties. After two decades of being Greek by marriage, my language skills in my husband’s mother tongue is still quite basic. In my daughter’s native land, Amharic from well meaning individuals was often directed toward her although she now only knows English and a bit of Spanish (she surprises us with the occasionally “adios amigos!!”) and sign language (which she still uses for basic needs like asking for “more”) as a preschooler. But food is simple, easy and pleasurable for me. I can take from all our cultures and happily blend without complicating aromas and tastes in our lives. I add spices from each to dishes and experiment. My kids love Dutch pannekoeken and olibolen, as well as Greek souvlaki, gyros and lamb burgers. My daughter shares my love of Indian vegetable dishes I learned from close friends, and the spicier dishes from her East African land. With food, so much more than language, I feel competent and free to blend, enjoy and share.
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What cultural differences did you and which gives us an opportunity to celebrate some of our diyour husband face at the early stage of fference, rather than see them as something that divides us. your marriage? We find our approach to most things, whether it is professional, like a work challenge or personal like resolving a dispute between our kids, still varies significantly. However, we both moved more toward the middle. We kid that we rubbed off on each other and not always the good stuff. When my husband gets more lost now than he did previously, he blames me for sharing that undesirable trait of mine. I also found I am much louder and vocal. I noticed that, particularly when around my Dutch family who are more reserved. We have mutual respect for what the other brings to the table and learned we often find a better answer by taking some of each approach. We are truly best friends, which motivates us to find resolutions that work for both. We try to understand if an issue that we donâ€™t agree on is more important to one or another. We look for creative win-win solutions or agree to disagree in non critical areas, if that is not possible. Areas we still find on-going challenges are supporting two careers through different evolutions as well as raising children. On the career front, we try to make it good for both as much as possible. When I moved to Seattle, Michael stayed in Chicago for a year because he made a commitment he wanted to see through. On raising children, we unite on our approach to the most important issues that reflect our shared values. We also try to honor all our cultures in our family,
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Are there still any of such differences that maybe are un-reconcilable cultural differences between you two? If there are, how have the two of you been able to manage them? We find our approach to most things, whether it is professional, like a work challenge or personal like resolving a dispute between our kids, still varies significantly. However, we both moved more toward the middle. We kid that we rubbed off on each other and not always the good stuff. When my husband gets more lost now than he did previously, he blames me for sharing that undesirable trait of mine. I also found I am much louder and vocal. I noticed that, particularly when around my Dutch family who are more reserved. We have mutual respect for what the other brings to the table and learned we often find a better answer by taking some of each approach. We are truly best friends, which motivates us to find resolutions that work for both. We try to understand if an issue that we donâ€™t agree on is more important to one or another. We look for creative win-win solutions or agree to disagree in non critical areas, if that is not possible. Areas we still find on-going challenges are supporting two careers through different evolutions as well as raising children. On the career front, we try to make it good for both
as much as possible. When I moved to Seattle, Michael stayed in Chicago for a year because he made a commitment he wanted to see through. On raising children, we unite on our approach to the most important issues that reflect our shared values. We also try to honor all our cultures in our family, which gives us an opportunity to celebrate some of our difference, rather than see them as something that divides us.
go, while engaging many parts of my body at the same time. I find it both challenging and rewarding. The process itself pushes me to understand my priorities and get better at focusing and understanding myself and those that matter most to me. This is an individual process and decision. I have friends who have made the full gamut of choices, from stay at home to part time to flex time to full time. Each had to find out what was right for them. I find the support of other women, who are trying to find balance, very Initially, you and your husband were con- empowering and educational. And the sharing of the burden sidering adopting from Russia; what in- with each other definitely lightens it.
spired the later choice for an Ethiopian daughter?
When we decided to pursue our third child through adoption, we spent a lot of time talking about what was right for our family and what we thought we could take on as a couple. We agreed, with two careers and two active boys, a priority for us was the health of the child. We also wanted a little girl to round up our family. We initially pursued China, because we knew a number of friends who had a positive experience adopting their children from that country. However, as is the norm with international adoption, the China program changed dramatically by the time we entered into it. And, we soon found out my medical history would exclude us from this option. We then took a broad view of all available countries. The three that met our initial criteria and we theirs, were Russia, Vietnam and Ethiopia. In digging a bit deeper, the high incidence of fetal alcohol syndrome and effect, led us away from Russia. We then pursued both Vietnam and Ethiopia, simultaneously. But, the more we learned about Ethiopia, the more it felt right for us. We saw the similarities to the Greek culture, with its ancient roots, as well as ties to Orthodox Christianity. Vietnam, sort of faded away for us. We submitted our paperwork for Ethiopia in February 2008, which is a big month for us. Michael and I met in February and, both our boys were born in February – on the same day even. We received our referral for a 4 month old baby girl (younger than we anticipated) later that fall. Our connections to Ethiopia continued to expand and grow, which affirmed that, Ethiopia was the right choice for us. My eldest has an interesting way of pu-tting it, “I am glad China didn’t work out.” Not the way I would have phrased it, but I understand what he means.
Your profile says you want to raise global citizens; what do you mean by
Global citizens, to me are children who see everyone as part of one body of people - not us versus them. They embrace all people and celebrate the commonality of our humanity, as well as celebrating and exploring the different ways we choose to live and express both our culture and individuality. I also want them to be comfortable in situations and environments that may be different from their normal. They have all traveled extensively since infants, so they are gaining a lot of experience. We joked, when our daughter joined our family and, in the first year traveled to three continents and twelve countries that she traveled more in her first two years than most people do in a life time.
How would you define a successful life?
To me, a successful life is one driven by a sense of purpose and lived on your own terms. I think to do so, you need to learn about and love yourself first. You need to define what success looks like for you. I think, only then can you truly start to make a positive impact, whether in everyday interactions or in something larger. I want to leave the world a bit better place, for my children and their children. I believe every person has power within themselves to make change and, leave their unique indelible mark on history. If I am not sure what to decide on something of seeming importance, I ask myself “How will I feel about this decision at the end of my life.” I found that a wonderful litmus test for what is real and lasting, versus what is superficial and fleeting.
What is it like, trying to successfully balance family and career?
First, I never feel like I am fully successful at both at any given time. It took some time for me to get okay with that and come to understand that “good enough” was really “good” in the context of my goals and priorities. I focus on what is right for me and for my family – which is a dynamic exercise, since individuals develop and needs change with alarming frequency. I see yoga as a good metaphor for this – the balance I can achieve in any pose requires constant focus and letting
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What were the initial reactions from then had a new worry. “Mommy, what if she doesn’t love me? Damian (his brother) has to love me. But she doesn’t.” your boys towards their sister?
My boys were seven and eleven when their sister joined our family. Although they share a birth day, they are different in many ways. Their reaction to their new little sibling reflected those differences. My eldest, who loves being the center of attention and celebrates different as a goal, embraced the idea of a sister who was different than him in appearance. In fact, when we were considering Russia, he asked me, “Could she look like us then?” I said, “Possibly, although not very likely.” He definitely wanted a sister who looked very different from him. He thought being a “diverse family,” as he put it, was desirable. He, although, struggled with some of the more difficult adoption questions. “What if I don’t love her?” I did not have a good answer, except that I thought he would, since he had a big capacity to love, but that it might take time. When she came home, he fell instantly in love with her, but , 26 Woman’s Essence Magazine
I don’t know where he got the idea, that because she was adopted, she could choose whether to love him. But, it was an interesting question, which was quickly muted when she demonstrated her adoration for this big brother who became her favorite Mommy substitute if I wasn’t around. Processing these questions with him allowed me to work through them myself. The questions voiced by my son are common ones in the adoptive process. My other son, who likes order and everything in its place, was not as comfortable with his sister looking quite different than he and his brother. He said, “Aren’t families supposed to look alike?” I asked him if he thought his dad and I looked alike or if he and his brother looked like me – their dad’s Greek genes had the stronger influence in the looks department (so much so one friend said it looks like my genes were cancelled out). He admitted we did not and seemed satisfied with that reasoning. When we received the referral picture of his potential
new sister, she bore a striking resemblance to his baby pictures, when he was that age, besides the obvious difference in their coloring. He saw it. Quite a number of folks commented on it too, since he had her picture on his desk at school (with special permission). He ended up with a sister who both looks like him and doesn’t. He really enjoyed coming to that place. He struggled a bit too when she came home, because she displaced him as the baby. He told me, “She gets all the “good attention.” After a few months, I asked him about it again and he said, “I feel different now. I may get less attention from you all, but I get more from her.” She is the center of their lives and, can both make them beam with one of her trademark smiles or hugs or scowl if she is not happy with them or refused to interact with them. She wakes up and goes in search of “my boys.” They can often be found sleeping on the floor next to her bed in her room because she requested it. They both comment how glad they are they got a little sister.
Raising children, who possesses some cultural differences, can be challenging; how have you been able to bring your children to accept themselves? My three children are at different stages of development and have their own unique voice and view of who they are as people. For each of them, we have tried to help them think of themselves as a whole person – not just a boy or girl, student or athlete, nice or funny – with unique talents and challenges. We also try to empower them to own their path with the decisions they make. Each day, they have opportunities to make a myriad of choices, from how to dress, act to how to react, that will in some way define who they are becoming. They also have individual needs. My daughter is only in preschool but she is starting to notice she is different from me. She goes back and forth between celebrating that diversity and wanting to be more like me. We are working to give her symbols of beauty and accomplishment that look more like her and honor what is special in her. My middle child is in his teens and a middle child which adds nuance and complexity to his sense of self. My eldest is 15, which still shocks me. I am too young to be his mother! He is learning to be a young man and gain more independence. He is so much of what I wasn’t at that age, which is confident and comfortable in his own skin. I know that is as much who he is as it is his dad and I providing an environment where he can embrace those sides of himself. Since I see myself as a work in progress, I share with my kids, that we all are trying to figure out who we are our whole lives. Parents just have a few more miles and learning’s under our belt that we can share with our kids.
How is it raising a daughter who is culturally unique to what you once knew?
First, raising a daughter is very different than raising a son. No surprise there, but it still hit me when I experienced it. Then, there are the unknown elements with a child who joins your family through adoption. We knew she had a rocky start to her life with multiple transitions in her first six months. But we don’t know all the specifics and couldn’t know the short term and longer term impacts. A unique daily cultural element is caring for her skin and hair, which requires different focus and product than the rest of the family. I didn’t realize culturally the importance of well groomed tresses and, it took me some time where I qualified as a “good mother” by that standard. I also focus on culture and identity for my daughter in a different way than my boys who I wanted to share me and my husband’s culture, in addition to the American one they were born into. For her, I first need to learn and connect to her culture before I can share it with her. Our efforts with library planting and giving back through efforts within our Ethiopian community and those supporting those priorities has been a natural and amazingly effective way to immerse myself in a community that was previously unfamiliar to me. Their openness and welcoming spirit has been extraordinary. I also found reading and listening to the experience of transracially adopted adults is eye opening and helpful. I learned the importance of letting your children find their own unique way but supporting and helping them on the path. The individuality piece hit home when one twin described her birth family search and connection to her birth culture and then said her twin had little interest in pursuing – as least at this point in her life. Because of this learning, I have more actively sought out role models and images for success and culture that my daughter can access when she seeks her cultural identity, since that is an area I am not equipped to be her exclusive guide.
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What lessons have you learnt from running a diverse family unit?
There have been many. I learned that no matter what the differences, there are similarities too. Sometimes, you need to look harder for those, because they might not be as obvious or the surface. I learned children are not “ours” – the parents – although that is a very comfortable assumption when you have only biological children. They are their own people and, we are their guide for the first leg of their journey. And, for my daughter, she has another set of parents that are big part of whom she is and who she will ultimately become. I also learned, weaving cultures together adds such richness to my life and open windows and doors I never would have considered or even been aware of. I also learned, having part of your culture taken away from you through immigration or adoption involves loss and pain. I have seen this play out with my parents, my husband and my daughter. And to a lesser degree, with my sons; they lost the chance to be fully Greek or Dutch because they were born into a blended family. I had to honor that more uncomfortable truth too before I could truly acknowledge the importance piece that culture plays in our lives. , 28 Woman’s Essence Magazine
You said, you initially didn’t know what to do for a career; how did you decide on your current profession?
I pursued a medical career because I thought that’s what “smart” people did. I grew up with teacher-parents. I wanted a profession where I was respected but, also where I would not have to worry about money every day, which was a big part of my growing experience. When I struggled in my early premedical studies, I felt lost. As I was paying for college, I didn’t want to continue schooling until I figured out what I wanted to do. I took an opportunity to go to Europe and do a little modeling, which I had done as hobby mostly up to that point. While there, I examined what I enjoyed doing most and, examined honestly what I was good at. I decided to pursue a legal career, because it leveraged my ability and affinity to read, write, solve problems, as well gave me an option to make a positive impact and help people. I also wanted a broad set of options and, I saw many within the legal profession. I have made full use of them working in a large law firm, working inhouse in a variety of legal capacities and, also spending time working in business (non-legal) positions.
difficult path of feeling the pain of living it, to learIs there a past mistake you had while growing, that you wish your ning these things on their own in spite of our best efforts. children don’t make? I have some regrets from my early years, because I didn’t try or do something out of fear or insecurity. Now I try to live with “no regrets” – and take more chances. I prefer failure to regret and have generally done a better job living that later in my life. I wished I learned to appreciate my unique value, no matter what outside opinions are. I want my children to learn to value deeper qualities, like relationships and purpose. I know they may need to go through the
That might be one of the more difficult things to accept as a mom. My eldest shared with me recently, “I wished I knew then what I knew now,” referring to grade school as “then”. I worried about all kinds of things that I now know just don’t matter. I responded, “You will find yourself saying that about every decade. Then you start trying to figure out what things you are currently worrying about that won’t matter in 10 years.” We laughed together and, it made me hopeful that he will do better than I did.
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Ellenore Angelidis lives in Seattle with Michael, her husband of twenty
years, their three children, Dimitri, Damian and Leyla. Raising global citizens for her is both a passion and family reality. To keep track of Ellenore and her ties with Ethiopia, follow her on twitter @ellenorea and read her blog posts on balancingmotherhoodcareer.blogspot.com, ethiopianties.blogspot.com, adoptivefamiliescircle.com, workingmother.com, and incultureparent.com , Womanâ€™s Essence Magazine 31
Health & Fitness
10 Tips for a Great Romantic Massage by Dorian Bodnariuc
orries and more worries; we can’t get rid of them. We worry even in our dreams. There is a simple, inexpensive way you can use to pamper your senses and get rid of the stress: massage. Moreover, massage can arouse passion for a couple if both the person who performs the massage and the one who receives it, let themselves be carried away by the moment. There is no need to know professional massage techniques. All you just need is patience and desire.
simple ways to perform a successful massage
1. Remove your jewelry, watch and trim your nails. Your partner wouldn’t like to be scratched. 2. Create a pleasant environment. Light scented candles, use relaxing music and change the linen with a color that makes you feel good. 3. Use essential oil. Massage oils are great because they allow hands to glide more easily on the skin, but also because of their scents, which have relaxation properties and set off the mood. , 32 Woman’s Essence Magazine
4. Be prepared with towels. A towel is placed under the receiver’s neck; Another one is placed under the knees when sitting on the back; Another towel or a blanket is used to cover the parts that are not massaged. 5. Warm up your hands. Cold hands are not a pleasant experience. It is recommended to wash your hands with warm water before the massage and rub hands together to warm them. 6. Adopt a comfortable position. It is very important to find a good position to execute the movements correctly. Your hands have to “dance” on the partner’s skin. In no case your hands should be rigid.
7. Get feedback while massaging. In order to achieve the desired effect, you need to know if the moves you make are appropriate and if your subject is comfortable. You can only find this out from the person massaged, so from time to time ask how they feel, where they want to be massaged and if there is anything that can be changed to improve their experience. 8. How to perform the massage movements? Very simple! Do not think too much about it. Rely solely on instinct. Make this intimate time, a moment of tenderness. First, glide your hands all over his or her body touching every inch of skin; then make gentle pressing movements with your fingers or the heel of your hand. You will feel the person massaged giving in under your hands and relaxing as you go on. Let yourself be ruled by feelings and intuition, and your hands will move and glide over the skin, naturally exactly the way they should. 9. Play with your hands. Use your hands, palms, fingertips, fingers, knuckles, elbows, each part of your hands and arms can play a role. The more imaginative you are the more pleasant surprise you will produce. Use fingertips and palms on the more sensitive areas, such as neck, and use the stronger parts such as elbow on the back. 10. Kneading, friction and tapotement, effleurage, etc. At the beginning of the massage it is good to start with the basic Swedish techniques: friction, kneading and gliding tapotement, to stimulate blood circulation. The closing procedures are gliding and nerve-stroking which are calming and relaxing but wake up latent vital energies.
Tips & Tricks Use aphrodisiac oils as they work wonders. Opt for quality massage oil. This is a very important element for your partner to feel great. If you want the result to be a night of love, then choose an essential oil with aphrodisiac properties. Some of these oils are rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, orange and nutmeg. Avoid varicose veins! Massaging varicose veins, you do more harm than good. Varicose veins cause pain, and the blood clots can be dislodged, can reach the heart, triggering serious problems.
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Love & Relationships
Beware of the Relationship Experts! by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D
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arriage Rules begins with wedding vows that I heard two young people say out loud to each other in front of their community of family and friends.
They said in turn: “I promise to always treat you with kindness and respect. I promise to be faithful, honest, and fair. I promise to listen carefully to what you are saying. I promise to apologize when I am wrong and to repair any harm I have done. I promise to cook and clean for you. I promise to be your partner and best friend in the best and worst of times. I promise to bring my best self into our relationship. I promise to live these promises as a daily practice.” How did this couple come up with their shared promises? Did they plow through blogs and help books? Did they study the latest research on marital success and failure? Of course not, they needed only to consult their own hearts, their core values, life experience and the Golden Rule. If this couple lives their promises as a daily practice (even with a large margin of error) their marriage will do very well, indeed. Need the experts say more? One of my favorite stories is about a farmer whose was invited by a neighbor to attend a meeting at the county seat. “Why should I attend this meeting?” the farmer asked. “It will help you to be a better farmer!” was the neighbor’s enthusiastic reply. The farmer paused and then asked, “Why would I go to a meeting to learn how to be a better farmer when I’m not being as good a farmer as I already know how to be?”
Okay, it’s not that simple. Real life is messy and complicated. People don’t always follow their promises or their best thinking, just like people don’t eat healthfully even when they know what’s good for them. Paradoxically, it’s in our most enduring and important relationships, be it with our partner, our mother, our sister or our child, that we’re least likely to be our most mature and thoughtful selves. Of course, we get stuck. That’s why I wrote Marriage Rules and other relationship books. I believe we’re here to help each other out. I’m not advocating any kind of do-it-yourself approach where relationships are concerned. I’m just suggesting that you check in with your own wisdom before you pay your hard-earned money for expert advice. You may find that you already know what to do to have a good relationship or at least a better one. A good book, blog, or therapist can do wonders, but keep in mind that ultimately you are the best expert on your own self. Remember that you are ultimately the best expert on your own self. That’s this expert’s advice!
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Placing the Right Value on Family by Sharon Fox
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ur family should play a very important part in our lives. But as the saying goes â€œfamiliarity breeds contemptâ€?, when we get familiar with something or someone often times we can neglect the person or thing that we are familiar with... leaving our family to often the object of our neglect. We neglect them for our careers, friends, and even our own selfishness. We sometimes say negative things to them thinking our words won't hurt them 'oh it's only my spouse or my children they'll get over it.' Wrong! Negative words have just as much of an effect on your family. They can cause hurt, pain, confusion, and cause your loved ones to distance themselves from you. We must remember that our ministry starts from the home. We have to build up our families and spend time with them, and always say positive things to uplift them. When was the last time you told your spouse how much they mean to you and how they are the best person in the world, nothing can compare to them? Or told you children that you love them and despite what they're going through, especially in their teen years, you will always be there for them?
When was the last time you all sat around the dining table simply having a conversation or a family meeting? Most important of all, when was the last time you prayed together? Take some time to put your family first, after God. Cherish the time you have with them now because one day they may not be around. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone so make each and every moment count. What better way to enjoy the family than at a picnic? There's nothing like a good meal to bring smiles on the loving faces of your family! Pack up a few of your favorite foods and enjoy a meal in the great outdoors. Play a few games, bring some music, and just enjoy what God has blessed you with... your beautiful family.
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Why You Must RSVP to that Wedding Invitation by Trina Sims
ou spent much time considering and selecting the “Perfect” invitation to send to family and friends for your wedding day. It is one week before the wedding and guess what, you are still waiting for the RSVP.
Weddings can be stressful enough with the month to month planning details, researching, deciding on the right vendors for your day, and an unending list of to do’s. After all that, you send out your invitations believing this will seal the deal to every waking moment of the planning process count. Now all you want is for your guests to RSVP in a timely manner.
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Receiving an invitation to a wedding is an honor. An invitation is not just any old piece of paper that comes in the mail. Invitations in the world of weddings are meant to be handled with care and to be considered top priority. That you were invited specifically to share in a moment in time like no other before, be it big or small, is a huge gesture.
While this may seem to be a very simple thing to ask and request, “Please RSVP”, most do not understand how important it is to do so for a wedding, or maybe even why. The term RSVP comes from the French expression “repondez s’il vous plait”, meaning “Please Respond”. Assuming the best, reasons some guests don’t RSVP to an invitation is a case of not clearly understanding that they are supposed to, or possibly, they just think if they received the invite then they are automatically on the list already. This I don’t think so! An RSVP is needed for many reasons. A head count, which when absent, can cause difficulty in the final planning process; planning for food quantities; minimum guarantee count for the venue and more importantly; planning for the seating chart that comes along with its own set of instructions. To NOT RSVP is so inconsiderate to the host, especially a wedding. Planning a wedding today can get pretty expensive, and because every plate counts, that is to be paid for, no one wants to just assume you are coming to pay $50.00 per plate and you don’t even bother to RSVP! There is much preparation involved in planning properly for a wedding. To RSVP is the considerate thing to do, within the specified allotted time on the return card (with the stamped return envelope). So the next time you receive an invitation in the mail, please call the host and/or drop it in the mail promptly. And if you don’t RSVP, do not be surprised when you just assume to arrive and you are not welcomed to join in the planned dinner for the wedding, since there will be no reserved seat for you. All too many times, as a wedding planner handling others wedding, I have seen guests just showing up. At the end of the day, it becomes my wedding for the client and I Make It My Own by politely letting them know that they are welcomed to join us after dinner for the rest of the open bar and other refreshments. When next you get a wedding invitation, make sure you “RSVP PLEASE”.
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Raising Twins Where They May Never ‘Belong’ by Marcus Mabry
y partner likes to say our children will soon be “more British than American.” This is because they will soon spend more of their 2-year-old lives in Britain than in the United States.
But our children’s being British is something that frightens me. Not because I am a jingoistic American expatriate, or a Francophile, but because I don’t want my children to be British. Our children are biracial African-Americans. More important in this context, they have two dads: one black and one white. And while we are not quite extraterrestrials here in London, there is nothing ordinary about us, either. In New York City, being the biracial children of two mothers or two fathers might not be exactly workaday, but there are a lot of circles where it’s starting to feel a little clichéd. Not so here. And even though I want our boys to grow up celebrating and embracing difference — and loving the conflicting multitudes they contain — I do not want them growing up thinking , 40 Woman’s Essence Magazine
their family is weird or, worse yet, thinking it’s weird but believing that politeness precludes discussing it. (A particularly British malady.) I know from life as an expat. I spent most of my adult life overseas as a foreign correspondent. When my partner’s company asked him to move to London, I jumped at the chance. I knew that going abroad with two babies would be a lot more work than it had been for a single person, but I had lived in Paris and Johannesburg. I had covered wars and been shot at and bombed. How much harder could living in London be? In fact, living in cramped temporary housing with two kids who contracted back-to-back pinkeye and ear infections was worse than being shelled. But even worse, I had not bargained
for the biggest complication of being a gay dad abroad, even in London: We are not here. At our boys’ second birthday party, the magician asked me to volunteer as his assistant. Since I had both boys on my knees, I suggested “their other dad.” The magician said, “Uncle, come on over.” I said: “No. Dad, not uncle.” The magician repeated something about uncle or friend. He just couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that our boys have two fathers, even though he was standing in our house and looking us in the face. The reality of being a minority within a minority is that our children will never be normal here. They will never be looked at as a couple of the kids in the class or the school with two dads or two moms. They will, probably, be the only ones. In New York, there is not a private school or a public school that we would
consider sending our children to that would not have at least another gay family — and usually many more than one. Indeed, it’s unlikely that they would even be the only biracial twins with two fathers or two mothers. It’s not that I want my boys to “fit in.” I benefited mightily from being a brainy gay kid in my black public elementary school. I also benefited from being a poor black kid at my rich, white private high school. Being an outsider had its benefits — it built character and filled large personal reserves of grit and determination. But I do not want my children to be aliens, either. I want them to be known for who and what they are and become, not for whom and what they come from. And, for me, that means remaining more American than British.
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Women WE Love
A Voice for the Voiceless by Augusta Marquis
advocate and online radio host personality of ‘N The Know With T eacher, Moe’, Maureen Forte, who’s convinced everyone has a stake in political
and community issues, in this interview with AUGUSTA MARQUIS, reiterates her conviction that “everyone has the right to have their voices heard and the right to make a positive impact on social and economic change.”
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What inspired you to having your own radio show?
In 1997, while serving as the President of the South Suburban Chapter President of Rainbow Push Coalition, under the leadership of Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., I was given a half hour from WBEE owner, Charles R. Sherrell II. Not really knowing what to do with the half hour, I produced the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Talk Radio program. While doing research for these programs, it came to me that I too was the Voice of the Voiceless. I had listened to several other talk radio formats and was not pleased with the attitudes of the radio host with the callers and I swore that I would not be that type of radio host. Talk Radio is an opportunity for listeners to be educated, informed and given an opportunity to express their views and concerns. Many people seriously depend on talk radio for information. So, I was inspired to be that Voice for the People.
How did you switch from teaching to becoming a radio personality?
I wear many hats. I’m a mother of two great professional daughters, Monet and Melissa; a grandmother to a very handsome grandson, Courtland “CJ”; an educator in the Chicago Public School system, where I teach ESL (English as a Second Language) at Sawyer School; a double elected official in the Village where I reside in East Hazel Crest, IL, where I serve as Village Trustee (Alderman) and Trustee for the Library District. I didn’t switch from teaching to radio; I just maintained both with teaching being first priority. I am also an advocate for ex-offenders, and with the Vision of Rev. Harold E. Bailey, President and founder of Probation Challenge, where the motto is “everyone deserves a second chance”. I serve as the Chairman of the board. Here we have a program to educate and prepare those to give back and get back to their families. We also host an internet television and radio program on the PCC Network, www.probationchallenge.org
How do you intend to use your experiences to create equality of rights of all persons?
I work with various people and organizations to embrace the younger generations, to build self esteem and assist them in being leaders. Leadership is within all of us and I’m the one that’s working to open the doors to educate and elevate the generation to come in the role of leadership. My organization and I talk to the people and not at them. Communication is the key to success.
How do you manage career, family life and find time for relaxation?
Like anything you do, I budget my time. I believe in family being first. My children are grown, but they grew up being involved in the process of fighting for people’s rights. They attended forums, marches and, participated in voting education, from stuffing envelopes to phone calls. I take time to get away and, relax by reading. I read everything that is not nailed down. I have great friends and family.
Can you tell us about your successes with NAACP and the RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION?
I served as the Vice-President of the NAACP in the South Suburban Branch. Being involved with NAACP, I as a person endorsed the Million Man March and also increased the Voter Registration, and membership in the area in which I served. After serving in the NAACP, I felt a need to be more aggressive and pro-active. That’s when I formed the South Suburban Chapter of Rainbow Push Coalition. I commend Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. for having the vision to welcome my vision of organizing. At present, I am now the Executive Chapter President of the National Action Network of Chicago, under the leadership of the Rev. Al Sharpton.
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Nicola Mitchell A Cold Piece from the pen of Ni’cola About the author:
Striving to inject her unique flair into the realm of contemporary fiction, Award-Winning, BestSelling author Nicola Mitchell entered the literary scene with one main objective: To Stimulate Your Mind, One Word at a Time. Through her independent publishing company NCM Publishing, Ni cola published numerous titles which have been featured on various best-selling lists throughout the country. Much of her work revolves around complex relationship issues and Mitchell s compulsive desire to see women overcome challenges. Currently, Nicola Mitchell is touring across the country, speaking about the importance of going after your dreams and overcoming obstacles, and how to self-publish your book successfully. Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Mitchell currently resides in North Las Vegas, Nevada, with her two daughters, Destani and Diamond. She holds a Bachelors degree of Science in Business Management and is currently pursuing a Masters of Business Administration in Small Business. www.ncmpublishing.com www.nicolacmitchell.com
Summary: Lisa Oliver had it all. A beautiful home, luxury cars, a
lavish lifestyle, and a wonderful husband Anthony who loved and adored her until…. That dreaded morning when her perfect life spiraled into extinction, right before her eyes. After hiring a private investigator, Anthony learns about her dark hidden secrets, and comes up with a plan to get away from this evil seductress. Serving her with divorce papers after a passionate mor-ning sexapade, Lisa is on wits end because Anthony would not give her a reason and shut her out of his life
completely. Solitude makes Lisa go crazy and is on a rampage to get her man back… at any cost. After two years Anthony has gone on with his life, but everything changes when everyone around him comes up missing, hurt, or dead. From the pen of award winning, bestselling author Ni’cola Mitchell comes a cold, gritty tale that takes you into the mind of a woman that has lost everything and there is only one to blame. This suspenseful thriller will remind you of a cross between Obsessed, Single White Female and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.
Reviews: “This was a straight. Page Turner loved loved. This book. NM never lets me down. An amazing read. I would have never guessed the happenings of this story.I was s tourprised. In how true to life this was. Buy this NOW you wont be disappointed.” ~By Nicola Motley “The Book guru” (Redford, MI)
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Author Oana The Healings About the author:
Born in Bucharest, Romania, Oana lived twenty years under the grotesque dictatorial regime of Ceausescu. After the fall of the communism in 1989 she studied languages at the University in Bucharest, then received her Master’s at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. English is her third language. She has worn many hats, working as a translator, as a teacher, and eventually caring for animals both domestic and wild. She volunteered and worked for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centers both in the US and Canada. She lives in Arizona, where she continues to dedicate most of her time to her animals and to writing. Her current projects include a memoir titled, Romanian Rhapsody, a children’s book,Dr.Schnauzer and Nurse Lhassa as well as numerous scripts and unfinished short stories. She is also an active member of Central Phoenix Writing Workshop and a columnist on Author’s Info. . www.thehealings.net www.blogtalkradio.com/monicabrinkmanandoana
Synopsis: The Healings The character in The Healings is a depressed male - the universal human being in search of his own Self and his place in the society and, on a deeper level in the world. In his quest for healing, he is accompanied by his one and only partner, his talking cat.
Written in the first person, the short stories depict his encounters with those whom he calls “sources of wisdom,” from shamans to scientists, from dream interpreters to psychiatrists, from flesh-and-bone creatures to illusory entities or just bizarre life situations.
I invite you to take a very vivid and strong journey into The thoughts and dialogues, naive and hilarious as they the raw and uncensored human mind. seem, offer a deep insight into life, death and what’s in between.
Review: “It is six o’clock in the morning and I am framing my review of The Healings. I wonder how it was created. Could this apparent whole have been written backwards, or in juxtaposition with a labyrinthine puzzle in an Eastern European maze? Could the stories be interchanged? In The Healings, I recognize the searching of lost Americans for truth among the milkman or in garbage heaps or in the inaudible musical chambers of the charlatans and word misters. I become breathless when I soon discover am in the hands of such a gifted master. In The Healings, Oana does nothing but reveal in sometimes whimsical, almost flirtatious irony, nothing less than the narrator’s vulnerable soul. Even in the ultimate folly of searching for truth. It is not Depression that this narrator suffers from. It is far worse, and more reminiscent of Soren Kierkegaard. Forgive my Latin but it is something like...” diapsalmata ad se ipsum,” Melancholia brought on by world weariness. This is the disease of mankind. Oana is a modern day existentialist and here introspection are so important to help us understand the way to truth. Introspection has been a lost art. Oana’s truths, and her nuanced curtsies from irony to acceptance are like a minuet of erotic parody and one is able to even be seduced by the folly of the dance. Hearts are revealed by this master writer. Truths are tempered with wisdom and forbearance. A unique, highly original work that is yet reminiscent of great masters, The Healings is a must read.” ~Robert Rubenstein, Author of Ghost Runners and The White Bridge , 48 Woman’s Essence Magazine
Aija Monique Butler Volume I of My Nemesis Book Series: The Mind’s Eye About the author:
Born in San Diego California, 1979, Author Aija Monique Butler, is a Residential Care Facility Administrator for the State of California, Specializing in Acute Care, Dementia, and Diabetes, for the elderly. She has an academic background in psychology and medicine. An advocate and philanthropist for non-profit program development in the areas of Youth and Social Service Development, Aija is the founder and executive director of “Dis Me, The Blog Diary’s”, a literary group which looks to help students learn how to use effective communication in expressing thoughts and feelings with their peers and elders. This advocacy program is dedicated to an effort to cease violence among teens and bullying in schools. She is a grant writer, poet, novelist, writer of memoirs and screen plays. With numerous authored books, and some more soon to hit the world of literature this year 2012, Aija currently resides in the San Francisco Bay area.
Summary: Volume I: The Mind’s Eye
Samantha, Joy’s younger sister, is faced with a chance to live beyond her sister’s shadow. She must either choose to save Joy from her behavioral dysfunctions or her already troublesome marriage. Joy’s Mother n Law continues to plan a memorial service Joy refuses to attend, while Sam’s Husband Charles and business partner of Joy’s late husband Justin sets his sights on a fund that could clear his name of all gambling debts.
After a tragic storm claims the lives of Joy Anderson’s family, Joy awakes to find herself strapped to a bed, afraid of her own reflection. “My Husband and children are alive, their bodies were never recovered,” Joy yells hysterically at the crowd of spectators expressing their condolences. Joy’s delusional sightings of her children and husband become the highlight of conversation for friends, family, and business associates. The once prized literary Charles is making moves, Darrin is having trouble deciding the agent and book guru has lost her senses, fighting with her reflec- matters of his heart, and Sam is as nasty as ever. There is a million dollars at stake. Lines are crossed and bonds are broken. Will Joy tion and talking aloud to presumably no one. uncover who her nemesis is? Is she her worst enemy?
Review: “This book will speak volumes to those that always rush through life and don’t stop to appreciate the small things or the important people. It can all be gone in the blink of an eye. This book touches on some very important issues that will touch everyone. If it doesn’t touch you personally you might know somebody that it can touch. So get the book for them. I got the privilege of buying Volume I and Volume II together. Anticipating Volume III. Get caught up now.” ~Marissa Palmer on Amazon.com “Often times writers leave out important parts of the story. Aija M. Butler did an excellent job of describing each character in the story. Everything was on point throughout the entire book, it was disappointing when the story ended. I can’t wait to read Volume II to see what happens next” ~ Phillip from goodreads “Great Read! Myself and my wife read this book as well as volume two and we loved it. We are avid book readers she reads one then I pick up the next. I haven’t heard of this gal so i figure she is new to the scene. Glad she decided to bless us with her writing. The book is definitely filled with some entertaining topics. Some wow moments and as my wife blurted oh uh uh about sister Sam. She takes the cake. See for yourself. It was a great read and I hear there is another book to follow after vengeance is mine.” ~ Trey Simmons of Los Angeles
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Food & Drinks
3 lb pork tenderloin 1 tsp ground black pepper 1 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tbsp chili powder 1 tbsp ground cumin 1 tbsp dark brown sugar 1 tbsp dried oregano 2 tbsp paprika 1 tbsp table salt 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
Combine spices in a small bowl. Trim any vis-
ible fat from pork and rub spices allover meat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 3 hours or overnight. Place pork loin in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Drain excess liquid, reserving 1/4 cup of liquid. Combine reserved liquid with barbecue sauce. Pull pork using two forks and return to slow cooker. Mix thoroughly with barbecue sauce and cook on low for at least 30 additional minutes.
For the salad dressing 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels 2 T olive oil juice of 1 lemon 1 garlic clove 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp white sugar salt and pepper Whisk together.
Cool Barbecue Salad by Sharon Fox
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Mix dressing with about 8 cups of salad greens. Top with cold barbecue.
Healthy Chicken Spring Roll Ingredients rice paper roasted chicken (rotisserie will work) 1 avocado (sliced) 1 red pepper (sliced) 1 baked plantain (cut length wise) leaf lettuce cilantro (chopped)
1 mango 1 jalapeno (seeded, diced) 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
Method Remove rice paper from package and quickly dampen in warm water till pliable.
Place mango, jalapeno, and cilantro in food processor. Blend to make the sauce.
Fill rice paper with all ingredients, except mango and jalapeno. Roll rice paper to make a tight spring roll and cut in half.
Serve spring rolls with mango sauce. Make as many as you need, adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly. , Womanâ€™s Essence Magazine 51
Fresh Fruit Sangria Ingredients 8 cups dry red wine 8 cups apple juice 1 medium apple, diced 1 small pear, diced 1 small grapefruit, cut into pieces 1 medium orange, sliced thin 1 medium lemon, sliced thin
Day 1: Combine together wine, apple juice, and grapefruit in a large pitcher. Mix it, cover and refrigerate overnight. Day 2: Remove the mixture from refrigerator and add orange and lemon slices to it. Refrigerate it for another 3 hours. An hour before serving add diced pear and apple to the mixture. This allows mixture to absorb flavor. Mix well and serve over ice. * Use fresh fruits serve chilled *Toss in some strawberries before serving
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Keylime Pie With Vanilla Whipped Cream Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (from 9 graham crackers) 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 cup shredded coconut Pinch kosher salt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk 2/3 cup key lime juice Zest of 2 limes
1 cup whipping cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/4 cup sugar
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Method Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oven rack in middle position. Make crust: In the bowl of a food processor, process the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, shredded coconut, and salt until blended. Pour into a bowl and add melted butter. Stir well to combine; pour into 9-inch pie plate. Press graham cracker mixture evenly onto the bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on a rack. Leave oven on.
Make filling: In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and cream cheese until well blended and no lumps remain. Add sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, and lime zest and beat until incorporated and smooth. Pour into pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely on rack, then cover and refrigerate overnight or 8 hours. Make topping: With an electric mixer (or a stand mixer using the whisk attachment), beat cream, vanilla, and sugar together on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Serve with key lime pie.
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Home & Decor
Reflections: How Mirrors Make an Impact on Your DĂŠcor F
or centuries, mirrors have fascinated humankind. Beginning as reflections in a still pool of water, they evolved to precious stone and metal reflections owned only by the wealthy. The Romans first created glass mirrors around the first century AD. Over the years, humans begin to discover the multiple uses of the reflection.
Many people attach a powerful lore to them, while others started using them for scientific purposes. Artists began creating with mirrors and using them in their endeavors. They have become a reflection of not only the outside, but also the inner soul and possibly other dimensions. From protective to reflective; to just checking your appearance, humans have been using mirrors for hundreds of years. A good place to start when choosing mirrors in your home is considering the shape of a mirror. Round mirrors symbolize unity and wealth. Square and rectangle shapes are used to create balance and octagonal shapes present power. Try to use your mirror shape to imitate other shapes in the room. For example, a round mirror in the bathroom will echo the circular shapes commonly found in the sink and the tub. It is also important to consider the frame materials of the mirror. Mirror frames can come in every conceivable furniture style and period. Frame finishes can be just about anything, the most popular including traditional woods, antique goldâ€™s, metal and decorated finishes. The finish of the frame should match the level of formality or informality of the furniture in the room. , 56 Womanâ€™s Essence Magazine
Decoratively framed mirrors are most effective when placed in a position to capture the reflection of a beautiful scene or object. Beveled-edged mirrors work well in Traditional interiors because they are heavier and more substantial looking. Plain-edged mirrors look especially sleek in Contemporary settings. Size is of considerable interest when placing a mirror in the home. Keep in mind that a mirror, like other art pieces, should not be wider than the furniture below it nor less than two-thirds the width. Living rooms are a great space for installing a super-large mirror. They can serve as art installations while opening up the space with the reflection of the room and creating more light. A hallway is another good spot for a large mirror. A hallway mirror will open up the area and help eliminate the confined feeling of the narrow space. If a mirror is too small to adequately fill the wall, consider adding paintings or other decorative elements on either side to enhance the area. Small mirrors strategically placed around each other can create an artistic effect and expand the space at the same time. Once the mirror has been decided, it is crucial to understand the importance of placement and what the mirror will reflect. Mirrors placed in the home absorb or reflect positive and negative energy, so be sure that your mirrors reflect beautiful surroundings. It is good planning to position mirrors to pick up pleasing views of the outdoors whenever possible. Properly placed mirrors can allow for a stunning outdoor view for everyone in the room. They can reflect lovely pieces of art or be a focal point for the space. Others often reflect thoughts and actions back to us, just like mirrors reflect their images. There are just a few more tips that are good to follow when picking and placing mirrors in the home. Be sure to hang the mirror high enough to see your entire head. Chopped heads challenge the viewer with a negative self-image. Also, remember to clean your mirrors frequently to ensure a clear image. Mirrors are interior decorating magic. They can serve as looking glasses, expand the space, brighten the area and reflect gorgeous views. When properly placed, mirrors will be beautiful additions to your home and ensure positive energy throughout each room. houseplansandmore.com , Woman’s Essence Magazine 57
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Tiff’s Editing Cafe run by Tiffany Jasper She specializes in editing manuscripts, resumes/cover letters, writing proposals, essays and many other writing services. If you need an editor to create or update your resume or cover letter, she has formats that are professional and pleasing to the eye of your potential employer. Feel free to check out Tiff’s EditingCafe website www.tiffseditingcafe.webs.com
In The Moment Portraiture Represented by Josette Wyat, In The Moment Portraiture may be based in Southern California but love to travel in the name of photography. Contact Josette – a lady who strives to provide timeless and memorable images – and watch her transform your weddings, engagements, boudoirs, fashion, children and family events. www.nthemoment.com
“Weddings by Trina” Trina and her team plans and assist with about 20 weddings and events during the year. Weddings are her favorite. Trina plans each wedding with the common goal for her clients to Make It Their Own!!!! Check out and contact Chicago Wedding Planner - Trina Sims (Wedding Planning & Design Decor) on: www.divineelegancethings.com
COMFORT FOOD for the Mind, Body, and Soul by Sharon Fox
Sharon Fox is the author of COMFORT FOOD for the Mind, Body, and Soul. She is also Food Editor for 3 other magazines. Working as a Cake Designer, Caterer, Cooking Instructor, Private Chef, and Party Planner has given her over 35 years of culinary experience. Her love for creativity has now birthed not only a cookbook writer, but an inspirational author as well. Sharon is currently working on the production of her TV show “Healthy Living”, a new cook/talk show. Also she is working on her next 2 books, another cookbook and a daily devotional. Keep your eyes and ears open because Sharon Fox is going places, and you best believe it’s going to be an exciting journey!
Girl! Power by Dawniel Patterson-Winningham If you want to publish your own book or need help discovering your purpose? Have a business and want ideas on how to take it to the next level? Dream of starting your own life coaching practice? Contact Dawniel Patterson Winningham to be YOUR life coach and with her help you can make all of these DREAMS a reality! www.yourgirlpower.com
Johneen Jones “Aunty Neenee” Acting Instructor, and Actress at Back 2 One School of Acting, she is our columnist for Q&A page for all your relationship issues.
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