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Rashad Calhoun


Dahsar by Rashad, LLC was established in 2007 by self-taught fashion designer Rashad Calhoun.  The 2007 Chester High School graduate has been able to express himself freely through his designs.  Dahsar caters to men and women of various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, which includes prominent socialites and reality stars.

Mr. Calhoun, a native of Chester, Pennsylvania (just 19 miles south of Philadelphia) started designing clothes when he was 13-years old.  Uncertain, that he could have a career in fashion, Mr. Calhoun continued to express himself by expanding his brand, which has led to his designs being featured in vibe, 10 and Amina magazines.

Mr. Calhoun gained national recognition in the fashion world when he was invited to New York’s Fashion Week to showcase his trending fashions: “The Black Collection.”  In September 2014, Mr. Calhoun accepted multiple invites to Paris’ Fashion Week to display his clothing line.  In Paris, Mr. Calhoun was requested by a renown boutique to display featured designs from his collections.  Mr. Calhoun was also invited to showcase some pieces from his Dahsar by Rashad collection in New York during the NBA All-Star weekend in February 2015.

Mr. Calhoun has made a name for himself in the fashion world by styling for many celebrity clients.  His vasts resume includes, Syleena Johnson and Lil Mo from TV One hit reality show “R&B Divas”; reality star Diamond Strawberry (Baseball legend Darryl Strawberry’s daughter) of “Love and Hip Hop New York”; Rain Pryor (daughter of comedian Richard Pryor); Mike McCluney of Day 26 and formerly of MTVs Making the Band; Mariah Lynn of “Love and Hip Hop New York”; Moriah Lee of “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta”; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of the Brooklyn Nets for Fashion Magazine, a Sophia Davis Magazine; Natalie DiDonato of “Mob Wives”; Charlie Baltimore; and so many more.

HMM. What was life growing up for you? What kind of family did you grow up in? RC:  Life growing up, I had a very supportive family.  As a child, I always had an interest in art and fashion. I would cut up jeans and clothes that my mother would buy me and recreate it into something new. My mom never understood  why I was cutting up expensive clothing that she bought me, but she finally understands today.

HMM.  How old were you when you knew this was your calling and what you were going to do with the rest of your life? RC:  When I was the age of 14, I bought my own sewing machine. At that time, I didn’t even know how to use it! Soon after, I went to the store and bought easy patterns and would be at home cutting them out from fabric. In my spare time, between school and chores, I learned how to make simple designs.  I guess in some ways you can say I am self-taught.

HMM.  Were you a dreamer growing up?  What kind of dreams did you have?  I was definitely a dreamer when I was young! Looking around me growing up, I used to have a sense that things were impossible. Yet, even with that thought, I never lost faith in myself and/or my dream.  I used to have dreams that I was styling celebrities and attending red carpet events and now it’s coming to life!  Anyone reading this “believe in yourself!” I am a firm believer that “my past does not define my future!”

HMM.  Where were you born and where do you reside?   I was born in a small city outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania called Chester. I currently still reside there.  I am proud of where I came from!   

HMM.  What made you decide to be a clothing designer?  Who were some of your earliest influences?  I love uniqueness. I always felt like I stood out amongst the rest of my family and friends.  Most importantly, I always liked to create a different style that was my own. I was influenced by designers such as Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Versace and so many more. I loved the versatility of their looks.

“Fashion and style are a way to present yourself without having to say a word!”

HMM.  Was it hard breaking into the business?  Who are some of the celebrities you have styled? Explain that experience. Personally, I would not say it was hard, or would I say it was easy, but it definitely required ALOT of sleepless nights, hard work and dedication. After being featured at New York Fashion Week, I received a call from Richard Pryor’s daughter asking me to make her a dress for a red carpet event “Whoopie Goldberg at the Apollo.”  From that moment on, my career took off.  A few bumps in the road, but as they like to say “what does not kill you, will make you stronger!”  I think during this journey, my ups and downs have strengthened me.

HMM. How do you maintain your integrity in an otherwise very competitive and sometimes unscrupulous industry, as the fashion industry can be very cut throat?  I pretty much remain the same. I don’t entertain any negativity. I have no problem helping fellow fashion designers out. There is room for all of us, we all can win.

HMM. When designing, what do you enjoy more? Definitely, prom gowns and designing lines for fashion week. Fashion week lets me design and shows my personality.

HMM.  How difficult is it to maintain a work-life balance?  Splitting time between you and your family?  It or tand be happy if they supersis actually not that difficult. My wife supports my career. We take turns raising our two beautiful children.

HMM.  Would you consider yourself a driven person?  You are considered a “Powerhouse of Fashion.”  What makes you a powerhouse? What is the source of your strength? My creativity drives me and that is also the source of my strength. Give me a theme and I will run with it! One can say I am a trendsetter by nature.

HMM.  How would you define peace? Designing is my peace. Making clothes keeps me calm and focused. It is very meditating and soothing when in my zone.

HMM.  What can we expect from you in the future?  Do you own your own store or
is that a dream of yours? A LOT! Dahsar by Rashad WILL BE A HOUSEHOLD NAME! Own it and Claim it. In the future, there will definitely be a store, but right now with bookings, I travel WAY TOO MUCH!    

HMM.  What advice would you offer others who are interested in becoming a designer (or who has a dream)?

Designing is a VERY, VERY strict and timely hobby. It becomes a career when you stick with it! Remember when you have a passion for something,“YOU ARE YOUR NUMBER 1 SUPPORTER!”  If you do not believe in yourself and your passion, no one else will.

Let’s Talk – A Letter from The Editor



How can someone know what God’s plan is?  They truly can’t.  The only thing that is certain is that your plan is not God’s plan.  Fortunately, the Bible provides many important principles regarding the will of God.  God is not trying to hide His will for our lives; He wants His children to know His will and follow it.

God wants all believers and naysayers to remember three things:

  1. Be joyful;
  2. Pray often;
  3. Give thanks always.

Regardless of circumstances, He wants you to keep those three things with you.  In no way, shape or form am I speaking for God, but I will speak for His blessings.  No day, life, job or relationship will be perfect, but God wants us to be trustful that He will not bring us to it unless He plans on bringing us through it.

In life, it is not for us to judge or to be judged; the only thing expected of us is to live our best life.

Another part of God’s Plan is to be still.  Be still means to sit and reflect on life, love, goals, etc.  Be still and let whatever happens happen and stop being so quick to always fight.  People sometimes don’t understand, you must choose your battles and some battles you must Let Go and Let God.  Remember, the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord.

Most importantly, Prepare.  Prepare yourself for God’s Plan and Blessings.  Not every Sunday must you sit in a pew and attend a church service, because wherever you are, God knows your heart.  Do the right thing by yourself and in return, you can do right by others.  Sometimes we cannot expect others to be like us, but we can also not allow others to change how we are.  God sends packages of blessings out daily, but you must be ready to receive.  If God sends that blessing to you and you are not ready, it will come, and you won’t even know it.  Prepare and live your best life, so when it becomes your time, you can count your blessings and not block them.

From Beauty Tips to Health Issues to Redefining You, we at Hustle Mama Magazine are here for you! Our articles, inspire, motivate, teach and cultivate the inner you.  Spiritually and Emotionally, we will not just show you that you are not alone, but we will celebrate you and join the forces that guide you, support you and lift you up!


Cecile Anthony-Bryan

Senior Staff Editor

No One Ever Told Me


By Tonya Killikelly

No one ever told me…

They never told me that middle age would be the hardest time of my life.  I thought that my late 40’s and early 50’s would be about freedom: freedom from the responsibilities of raising children, financially and otherwise. I dreamed of my daughter being grown, financially independent and moved into her own place. My time and money would be for my own personal devices. I would travel when and where I wanted. I would be free to have a personal life again; something I denied myself after her father and I broke up. I felt the need to separate my worlds. This is what I explained to my suitors: there is “Mommy World” and “Woman World”. If was seeing a man, he was not welcome or invited into “Mommy World”. It was reserved only for my daughter. I believe that your children shouldn’t be intimately involved, or witness to your personal life unless you’re moving forward in a meaningful relationship.  I’m happy that I’m now living my dream.

But no one ever told me that I’d be surrounded by loss also: the loss of my ancestors and contemporaries all at once.

No one ever told me…that I’d bury my beloved and loving uncle, a man whose smile never left his face, at the ripe old age of 56. He was My Sunshine, My Anchor, and My Non-Judgmental Rock. We received the news of his loss on Super Bowl Sunday and I still can’t bring myself to watch the game since that night. I was inconsolable for months and found myself hospitalized and seeking counseling to help me deal with my loss.

No one ever told me of the classmates, relatives, and friends that I’d say goodbye to at the young ages of 45, 48, and 50.

Today, I received the news that one of my oldest and dearest friends, the twin brother to a sister that I love equally as much, has died at the age of 50…3 days after that milestone. I am ravaged by my grief and feel brutalized. It’s as if I’ve had a fist fight and got walloped. We’ve been friends since kindergarten. I have blood brothers, but I love him just as much because we’ve been together through Sick and Sin. We’ve fought with each other, supported each other, laughed and cried together; that’s family. We accepted each other, no matter what, and there was never a feeling of judgment between us.

I always tell my daughter: understand the difference between family and relatives. We have a ton of relatives, but precious little family. Family is loyalty, connection, understanding, and acceptance one to another. You may not always find this with your blood relations. I consider myself an extremely fortunate person, not just because of the family I was born into, but the family that life has given to me. Sammy is one of those people. We weren’t family born of blood, but life gave us the blood of family.

But they didn’t tell me about the hurt which is beginning to seem endless; the litany of names that I’m going through in my mind right now. This wasn’t supposed to happen. We’re supposed to grow old together, laughing about the children and grandchildren, and all the mistakes we survived and all of the triumphs we’ve had. A good friend told me to think of life as if it were a cruise ship; some people get off at different ports and the ship sails on. I know that time and life are finite things, but now I’m aware of just how finite they are. When we cross that bridge marked “50 years old”, we realize that we have a lot less time and life ahead of us. It’s changing something very elemental inside of me. I’m still full of my usual piss and vinegar, but I feel a definite softening somewhere within. I’m less judgmental, more sympathetic to people and their circumstances, less inclined to hold a grudge. I’m even a little gentler with myself. I’m inspired to pick up the phone more and to text less. I’m reaching out to friends and ancestors that I haven’t seen in a long time to hear the sound of their voices. I’m paying them a visit to give them a hug and the love that just can’t be conveyed via text or social media. We can get so wrapped up in the travails of our own day to day that we may forget to give the thing we want and need the most: Love. We make the mistake of believing that time is on our side. It never was. There’s only now.

No one ever told me what this side of life would look and feel like, or how to bear it. How to watch your elders diminish with age and not let them see you cry over it. It reminds me of a line in a song by Bonnie Raitt called “ Nick of Time”:

“I see my folks are getting on and I watch their bodies change.

I’m gonna see the same in me and it makes us both feel strange.

No matter how you tell yourself “it’s what we all go through”.

Those changes are mighty hard to take when they’re staring back at you.”

I heard those lyrics in the 90’s and felt their truth then. The years are now making me feel their truth.

No one ever told me how to bear seeing the vibrant, loving, funny lady who’s your childhood friend’s Mom, and yours too, die the living death that is Alzheimer’s disease; but this is the Wheel of Life, is it not? No one gets out of it alive. I am consoled by the knowledge that our soul enters this life with a purpose, and no soul leaves without that purpose’s fulfillment.

I am reminded of and thankful for the Wheel of Life; that I am still in it and that I have you to share it with me. The Wheel of Life has blessed us with each other through the myriad stages and changes: the schools, lovers, relationships, children, quarrels, jobs, breakdowns, breakups, triumphs, and tragedies.

I hope that no one has to tell you how blessed you are to still be here.

I hope that someone you haven’t heard from in a long time calls you to say: hey! I love you! Thank you! For everything.

Personal Style with Nafeesa


One of the most important part of an essential wardrobe is good fit. An outfit can be perfect in color, texture whether you got it on sale, saved up for it or maxed out your card for it; if it doesn’t fit none of that matters.

As I mentioned I’ve had weight fluctuations over the years, thus several sizes have ended up in my wardrobe. I hate when an item is too tight. I’m self conscious and spend the entire day pulling, tucking trying to make sure I’m giving those stomach muscles the workout, of their life. None of this is helpful. It’s heartbreaking when I see the cutest pants from a distance and learn they don’t have my size. When I try something on and then see myself in a full length mirror and see it’s not working. Or realize that the dress made for a B-Cup will not accommodate the DD-Cup Size. UGH! As painful as it is, let it go!

As a Stylist I always get that customer that starts to tell me how she’s bloated, this is a temporary gain or she’s on this cleansing diet that is going to have the garment fit later. *Deep Eye Roll!” That maybe true, but you never know. Even if you lose the weight how do you know it’s going to be in the places which will have your item be it’s optimum fit. Maybe your thinking, it doesn’t have to be optimum, I just want it. Come on; I want better for you. Would you go to the shoe store and purchase shoes too small with that same idea?? [Side bar, if you do, we need to have a serious discussion!] Purchase items that enhance where you are now! The only exception I allow is weddings 6 months or more away or that $3,000 gown GUCCI item for $400. Even then realize that you may have just wasted $400. trying to lose weight for an item you may never get into.

Let this sink in; Clothing That Fits Well Will Always Look Best. Even the most expensive outfit looks cheap if it doesn’t fit correctly. An inexpensive outfit can look like a million dollars if it fits well. If you focus your energy on fit instead of size, your experience as a well dressed person will always be good. When I work with people I ask what size they wear as a general foundation. In that same respect, if someone gets so caught up in what size they wear that they will not buy an item, I think they’ve completely lost their focus. Sizing is NOT regulated by the government or industry. It is a concept organized by a company and/or designer meaning if one Designer feels a size 4 is a 26” hip and another designer thinks it’s a 26 1/2”, they’re both allowed to be right, for their label. Just because it’s right for their label, doesn’t make it right for your body.

Try on an item you love and want to buy, taking 2 sizes in the dressing room if need be. With each item it should become abundantly clear what is best. Does it pinch? Does it look Ike another person can fit in there with you? Does the item pull or look stretched? Do the shoulders droop or fall at the appropriate spot? Does the bust line stress? Do those bottoms cause discomfort in the crotch (camel toe or wedgie)? Some issues can be fixed with the proper undergarments, but not all. Make sure you have comfort and that your garment will not need an explanation and negative thought process. You should feel good in everything you wear.

A good tailor is essential. Clothing is made for the general public but you are a unique individual and that requires special detail. Maybe it’s too long, the bust fits great but the sleeves are oversized. A tailor enhances a beautiful garment by making sure it fits your body. If you have a great deal of trouble with the way items fit, it can behoove you to make friends with a good tailor. Spend the money. We should all rather have less clothing that fits well than a ton of clothing with ill fit.

Personal Style with Nafeesa Muqtasid


We have so many choices for Personal Style, yet so few of us invest in this concept. It’s not about purchasing expensive clothing or being “GUCCI” down to the socks, but rather investing in an idea that bring out the best “you”. The idea that makes you feel good each and everyday thus when others witness you, it makes them feel good too!

Spend time finding what fits your frame, what colors enhance your skin tone, hair and makes you feel your best each and everyday. No excuses. If it doesn’t fit, why do you have it??

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m still learning and growing. As someone whose weight has fluctuated, fell in love with outfits that didn’t love me back, purchased high heels I can barely walk in, practically lost my mind over a blouse or skirt that I forgot about two weeks later; I consider myself a work in progress yet try each and everyday. OThe key word is PROGRESS!  Always try show effort each day. I call my outfits “Put Togethers” because not only do I put them together it reminds me that I relay a message with each item, clothing, shoes, hairstyle, make-up, jewelry and all I wish to communicate with these items. I want to appear Put Together!

MY STYLE ICONS (To name a few)
Tracee Ellis Ross, Erykah Badu, Jenna Lyons, Lauryn Hill and Sarah Jessica Parker are amongst my favorites.

Think of your favorite piece of clothing, your favorite outfit, your favorite color and look for ways to build pieces around it. Your favorite blouse or top should go with more than one pant or skirt. Find ways for it to work with another piece maybe a different color skirt or short pants instead of long pants. If it’s a dress can you change the  accessories to give it another look. Maybe change your hair style; if you wear it down with high heeled shoes, maybe try wearing it up with sandals.

Don’t ever feel like you have to do it on your own. You have a plethora or magazines, style channels, YouTube Videos and Pinterest  photos at your disposal offering looks, suggestions and ideas that you can use. If you find it interesting why can’t it be interesting on YOU??

How is it with so many beautiful choices there are still so many people who leave their home looking …not so put together?? Let’s fix it. Make each day a choice. Decide what you want to convey and bring forward these thoughts in your appearance!  There is nothing wrong with planning your outfits, preparing items the night before work, dates, meetings or church, so you can decide on your accessories, hair make-up even your under garments. One of my favorite questions to ask myself & others ask me “What are you going to wear?” If this question becomes part of your routine you are progressing towards your own personal style.

Join me on this fabulous journey!

Disney – Why?


My Thoughts On The 65 Show Rule | By:  Mariel Ferry

I have been in love with Disney ever since I was a little girl. There is always something for people of all ages. Even though I am not part of the target demographic, I still watch and keep up with the Disney Channel shows and stars then and now. However, even though Disney comes up with some very creative content, there is one personal bone I want to pick with Disney.

Disney Channel comes up with some very creative content, but their 65 episodes rule needs to go! What are the 65 episodes rule you might wonder? It is a controversial rule in the Disney television books stating that no show can go beyond 65 episodes or 2 or 3 seasons. This started in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. This is why Disney goes through TV shows like women go through shoes.  I and a bunch of other Disney fans don’t particularly like this because doing this creates a bunch of problems. For example, Disney could be in the middle of a season of Liv and Maddie, start a really good season plot, reach the climax of a plot between the characters, and quickly tie a little bow on a resolution because that is episode 64 and 65 and they can’t exceed that. This makes viewers so mad because they were so invested in what was going to happen and Disney didn’t follow through. This leaves Disney wondering why they always lose their viewers.

Girl Meets World, a spinoff of the 7-season 90’s show Boy Meets World, captured the hearts and investment of people in America young and old. People loved it. Corey Matthews, played by Ben Savage, was now the new Mr. Feeny, teaching life lessons to his class every day which would basically be the focal point of each episode.  He would always tell them to do good in the world and make the world a better place. The new friends’ group in series was Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley Matthews (representing Cory), Maya Hart (representing Shawn Hunter), Farkle Minkus (representing Stewart Minkus), and Lucas Friar (as Topanga). This show pushed the envelope on topics like romance, bullying, not being a bystander, parent/child relationship issues, finding yourself and your identity and being ok with who you are and much more.

There was a topic in each show that everyone of all ages could relate to in an engaging yet self- reflective way. Then came the 65-episode rule to ruin everything. Disney promised there were going to be talks of a season 4 as the show only lasted 3 seasons, but Disney went back on their word and tied a pretty little bow on the entire series. The only reason that Boy Meets World ever lasted 7 seasons was that after they were done with their content, ABC bought the show to continue it. Viewers pleaded with Disney to keep the show on. They put online petitions together, wrote letters, and even asked Netflix or another channel to keep the show alive. They explained there was so much more content that was still to come in season 4 so why leave us all upset and cancel the show in the middle of investing everyone in a juicy plot line.  Everyone wanted to at least know the ending, but season 4 never happened.

If I were Disney I would come to a consensus that this is how you lose your viewers. Not a lot of people watch Disney anymore because either they take a really long hiatus with their content or they constantly turn it over. Nobody knows Stuck in The Middle from Bunk’d anymore because shows are always changing. They never let viewers fully get drawn into a show anymore. Like I said Disney has such creative content but they need to handle how they deal with it a lot better.

Mindset Over Skill Set


By:  Mariel Ferry

Your mindset has to be strong enough to propel you through inevitable obstacles that will stand in your way of accomplishing your goals.  Skills are no doubt an important part of the equation and they are absolutely necessary to achieve anything, but without the mindset to succeed through adversity, skill alone will never get you where you want to go.  There are people with the skill set to get them to the top, but because of their mindset and evil ways, they won’t get past a certain floor.  It is not for you to use your skills and/or position to get ahead or to stab others in the back, because those same people you saw on the way up, you will see on the way down.

Have the mindset to help others achieve for good, not for ones one personal needs.  If you are willing to take the time to teach someone, show them the right way.  Do not set them up to fail, because they will show you how they are meant to succeed.   I have met some of those people and it’s not a good look.  It makes them very untrustworthy and it puts them in a very bad light.  If you have a skill that another person is trying to achieve, not to take it from you, but to claim their own, be secure within yourself to show them and be happy if they supersede your expectations and/or position.  Most people want help to help themselves not to take from you.  It is best that while you are building your skill set, you also strengthen your mindset.  Not everyone wants to see you happy, especially if you appear to be happier than them.

On your journey of life, you will suffer some tribulation and strife.  You will encounter people with great skills, but a miserable mindset.  You will come upon lots of obstacles in your path from people who smile in your face but talk about you behind your back.  Those people have not learned “don’t burn bridges.”  Sometimes the same person you tried to stab or trip up, maybe the only ones still standing to possibly help you.  Remember the golden rule “treat others as you want to be treated!”  The key here is being nice to people.   The temptation will come when you meet those miserable minded people to just smack them into the reality that “we all can win”, but instead just pray for them and continue on your way.  If people work together nicely there could be a drastic difference in the way people see others and the way we can achieve a form of unity in the workplace.  |   (Photo: Author Mariel Ferry)


Stop – You Are Endangering Your Heart



By: Cecile Anthony-Bryan

There are many things that can cause danger to your ticker.  Here I give you seven of the most popular dangers that can lead to heart attacks and/or heart failures. You don’t need to be the neighborhood health addict, but you just need to stop making a few common blunders that elevate the risk of heart disease.

  1. Excessive Smoking

Heavy smokers know they should quit.  So, should occasional smokers.  In fact, no one has it worse than a second-hand smoker.  Innocently standing around with the avid smoker and while they are exhaling, the second-hand smoker is inhaling.

  1. Skipping Your Walk

When you tend to drive daily, your body gets relaxed and set in a state of comfortability.  Whether you drive or take public transportation, it is good to take a brisk walk on a daily basis.  You don’t have to be physically active, but try to a 30-minute walk or exercise into your daily regimen and you will start to see and feel a difference.

  1. An Extra Snack

Don’t skip a meal and figure you will take a snack instead.  Bypass those temptations (junk food) and grab a quick bite to eat.  If you are over 40, the weight creeps up on you quicker than when you were in your teens or early twenties. Start a better eating pattern and see the weight loss begin and/or see how much you start to not gain the extra pounds.  If you are one that needs a snack, then replace your junk food with fruits, nuts and/or a healthy chip.  A cheat day is good, but be mindful of how much cheating you are doing weekly.

  1. Eating Out of a Box

Fast food is the number health hazard.  Majority of fast foods are fried and saturated in oil.  If you venture over to a fast food joint, instead of getting a boxed meal, get something in a bowl, like a salad.

  1. You Ignore Your Veggies

A lot of foods seem healthy in nature, but most lack nutritional value.  Try to eat a serving of fruits and/or vegetables with every meal.  Don’t care for actual vegetables on your plate, the healthy alternative is a salad or a vegetable soup.  Maybe even consider adding your vegetables to your smoothies.  Try potassium-rich foods, such as sweet potatoes, spinach, beets, beans and/or yogurt.

  1. Stress

Don’t lose your cool.  Chronic stress can put you and your heart at a health risk.  Raising your blood pressure can add stress to the heart.  Learn to ignore some things.  If you find that the same people are causing your daily grief or are part of the reason for elevated pressure, then change your circle.  Same way you have to cut out certain foods, cut out certain people.

  1. Over-Drinking

Yes, most people say “A Drink A Day, Keeps The Doctor Away!”  That may be particularly true with wine, but not with hard liquor.  Either way, drinking should be done in moderation.  Statistics show, that drinking on a daily basis should be kept to a minimum, 1 drink for women and no more than 2 drinks for men.  If you are a person who loves a beer with your drink, then consider the 2 together, your 2 drinks.  Tomorrow is always another day.  Also, be mindful if you are taking medication.  Same rules apply as drinking is prohibited for pregnant women, it is also prohibited with taking medication.

When you take into consideration certain things you do on a daily basis and you moderate the 7 blunders listed above, you will find that things change: You wake up feeling good, you feel motivated to walk and/or work out and you may even find that you get a better night’s sleep.

Make good choices to live a better life! We only have 1, so take care of it!

Unique Vegetable Soup

Unique Vegetable Soup

You are probably wondering about the perfect food that is quick and easy to prepare, has myriads of choices of ingredients, benefits you with better health, and is cost effective to make? Then, the answer to all your questions is vegetable soup.

Why is vegetable soup so important?

For starters, this soup is very easy to prepare. With just few easy steps, anyone can prepare it.

There are plenty of soup recipes available. You can try out different vegetables every time you prepare it.

Although for most recipes, the method of preparation remains the same, it may vary a little depending on the ingredients you choose.

You may not have adequate vegetables in your diet at the moment. For instance, most American diets have a lesser vegetable content. So, with vegetable soup, you can boost your vegetable intake to meet your five-a-day recommended portion.

Consuming this soup is advantageous to your health, as vegetables reduce the chances of heart disease, hypertension, Diabetes, it protects you against specific type of cancers, and, in general, it leads to an increase in the body’s resistance against many diseases and aliments through improving the body’s immune system.

If you are weight conscious, vegetable soup acts like a diet soup, which limits unwanted calories and fat build-up in your body unlike other foods. It can help you reduce and maintain the required weight.

If you are sick, vegetable soup acts like a healthy soup that improves your health by providing you with the necessary nutrients.

Here are some ingredients to prepare vegetable soup:

50 grams each of any two vegetables. They can be carrots, onions, potatoes, cauliflower, etc. They can be scraped and chopped depending on your choice.

200 grams of tomatoes.

20 grams of butter.

1 tablespoon of oats

2 teaspoons of ginger and garlic paste

50 milliliters of fresh skimmed milk

2 teaspoons of oil

1 tablespoon of flour (all purpose)

1 teaspoon of pepper powder

Salt as per your taste

1 – 2 green chilies

5 – 6 cups of water

5 – 6 neatly chopped Coriander leaves.

Method of preparation of vegetable soup:

You have to ignite or switch on your stove, and place a pan on it.

Put 5 – 10 grams of butter in the pan, and heat it. You have to let the butter span across the pan as it melts.

Put the ginger and garlic paste into the pan, and fry it for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring it so that it does not stick to the pan.

Put in the vegetables and tomatoes into the pan.

Put in 5 – 8 cups of water, and let it boil. Time is dependent on the flame intensity.

When you feel the vegetables are cooked, you can sprinkle some pepper powder upon it depending on your taste.

Now, you have to mix milk, flour, and oats in a jug, and then add the mixture to the pan.

Now, you can decrease the flame intensity to a simmer.

Fry oil with a mixture of the Coriander leaves and green chilies for about 1 – 2 minutes in another pan, and then transfer it to the vegetable soup pan. Take care to protect yourself from the oil if it spurts when you transfer it to the soup.

Simmer for 2 more minutes, and stir the contents well.

Now your vegetable soup is ready.

Dear Mama



By: Cecile Anthony-Bryan

Chester, Pennsylvania

Breaking the internet and stealing America’s heart was the last thing on their minds, but when their story broke, that is exactly what happened.  It is my honor to share this story with you as well.

At the time that Fatima Faruq was due to graduate from high school, she found herself pregnant with her son, Nassir “Nas” Al-Faruq.  Just six months shy of graduating, she opted for motherhood over her prom, giving birth to a beautiful baby boy and using her prom money to look for an apartment.  Attending her prom was something she had dreamed about and could not wait for, but being a mother came first.

Being a mother is a full-time job, so eighteen years later, not much had changed as far as her priorities.  What was first back then, still comes first.  Yet, this single mother of two never would have thought that a deep conversation she had with her young son, would still hold weight as he prepared to graduate from high school and enter manhood.

Growing up, his bond with his mother grew stronger and their friendship deeper. Nas knew there was no other special girl/lady in the world besides his mother and he wanted to share this special moment with her.  Fatima was the first girl/lady he fell in love with and Nas was the first to feel her heart from the inside.

A few months ago, as a senior at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, PA, and remembering that conversation he had with his mother many years ago, he knew at that time what he wanted to do.  When Nas asked his mother to the prom, Fatima was shocked.  Nas told her he remembered what she did for him and that he would be honored to have her as his date.  Fatima gladly accepted (with tears in her eyes) his heartfelt invitation.

On April 13, 2018, not only were these two the talk of the town but they soon also became the new talk of America with their story going viral over the internet and still going abuzz on social media.  Teaming up with a designer, Dahsar by Rashad (Rashad Calhoun), this mother-son duo entered the prom in matching outfits.  While Nas wore a black suit with his sleeves matching his mother’s dress, along with smoking slippers and aviator sunglasses; his beautiful mother, Fatima, wore a form-fitting, long-sleeved custom gown, with damask detailing.

Although the night came and went, these two beautiful people have a lifetime of memories and lots of great pictures to cherish.  Cinderella found her prince and she did not have to look far.  There’s nothing better than a woman raising a King and a prince appreciating his Queen.  People remember… fairytales do come true.  Psalms 46:5.

Darkness Falls



Standing there in the open, no light, no sound,

Staring into the distance, nothing can be found.

You try to search for any form of civilization or a hint of gleam,

But you have that feeling of someone watching you, so you scream.

Moving forward through this cold and weary place,

Unfamiliar objects brush pass your fingers and your heart begins to race.

You start running through the eeriness, petrified and in shock,

Stumbling to the ground you hear it and scramble for a rock.

Now wet and shaking, you look around, still nothing can be seen,

But that sound you heard, will haunt you in your dreams.

Fleeing frantically from a place that is not known,

A trail that seems so endless and in the distance, finally you’re home.


Beautiful Traditions in a Jewish Wedding


By: Cecile Anthony-Bryan

When one or both members of a couple are Jewish, it a great honor and respectable thing to do as far as to include elements from a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony.  Depending on how devout you are, depends on the type of tradition you may choose to use.

  1. The Chuppah

One of the most popular tradition to incorporate into a Jewish wedding, the Chuppah is a beautifully decorated altar made up of four corners and a covered roof, sometimes made out of a prayer shawl.  The Chuppah represents the home you will create with each other.  Some couples invite family members and/or friends under The Chuppah to show their support of the couple, standing close to the “walls of the house.”

  1. Seven Blessings

Another tradition is reciting the Seven Blessings, known as Sheva Brachot, by the rabbi or honored guests and family.  In the same way that having someone sing at your wedding, these blessings remind the guests and couple of their Jewish heritage.

  1. Bride Circling

A physical reminder of how a new family has been formed or how the groom and bride will now protect each other, a bride circling the groom three or seven times is a traditional element of a Jewish wedding.  The bride circling shows how connected the two are.

  1. Breaking of Glass

After the ceremony, the groom or both members of the couple often step on a glass in a way that makes many people think that the celebration period has begun.  However, this tradition gives the idea that love must be protected because it is delicate and prone to breaking if not protected.

  1. Ketubah

The traditional marriage contract, this document is signed by the couple and witnesses and read before those who are present.  Modern Ketubah can be modified to be more egalitarian and to be written in different languages.

  1. Yichud

A ceremonial silence or reflective time.  Usually, 18 minutes, used for the couple to spend together after the ceremony may seem odd, but nice.  Especially, after spending most of the day or night apart and knowing until the ceremony is finished, they may not get any more quiet time.

  1. The Hora and Other Traditional Dances


A French Holiday Sans Paris


When I first visited Paris, I was awestruck by her beauty and splendor. Be it the old fashioned streets, the beautiful Seine river, the graffiti adorned walls, Paris was a visual treat to the eyes. While I was reveling in this city of love, many travellers end up thinking that they have done justice to this beautiful country by just visiting Paris. Apparently not! There’s more to France than Eiffel Tower and Louvre museum!

5 other cities/towns to consider visiting on your French holiday!

1. Annecy

Fondly known as the “Pearl of the French Alps”, Annecy is also known as the Venice of Savoie. This small medieval town is built of colorful houses, cobbled roads and canal-woven streets that give breathtaking views of the mountains and the lake.

2. Corsica

Lonely Planet calls it an “outdoor lover’s playground” because of the variety it offers. The Mediterranean island of Corsica is every adventurer’s dream. From bays to valleys and forests to hilltop villages, be ready to feel like you are on a different continent every 30 minutes. Enjoy your water sports, hikes, cruises and bask in the warmth of the Mediterranean summer.

3. Nice

If you don’t want to go all the way to the island of Corsica, yet want to enjoy the sea, largest city in Cote d’Azur a.k.a French Riviera, Nice has a dreamy backdrop of the fresh deep blue waters. A stroll on the famous promenade, and one can witness the brilliance of this beautiful beach town with its vibrant architecture and beautiful cathedrals.

4. Lyon

Attention all gastro-lovers! You have officially landed in a city that will surely satiate your gluttony with its extraordinary restaurants. Lyon is at the confluence of rivers Saone and Rhone, offering the visitor a spectacular riverine landscape. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Lyon boasts of 2000 years of rich history some of which we can still visit (don’t miss the roman amphitheaters).

5. Carcassonne

Did you know that the movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was partly shot here? If you have children travelling with you, then enamour them by taking them to the medieval town of Carcassone, situated in the South of France. Of castles, citadels, big walls and spikey towers, this place looks like a place right out of a fairytale storybook! Visit the numerous vineyards in the surroundings and enjoy the beauty of this town at dusk.

Maximise your Provincial French experience

Research well before chalking out a plan and pack accordingly. Some of these cities might not be directly accessible by airports and one might have to take a train or bus. Hence ensure, you have sufficient foreign exchange currency and buy a reliable prepaid travel card for a hassle-free travel experience!

How To Make Your Short Term Rental Stay Enjoyable


Short term rentals are temporary homes you stay in when you just need to be away for a few days or weeks. They make so much better choices than hotels because they have a homely feel to them; they are actually fully furnished apartments that offer you the same comforts you would get at home. Vacation rentals are becoming very popular among holidaymakers and travelers because of the kind of privacy and convenience they offer.

But just like making any other selection, your overall experience depends on the decisions you make hence there is an importance of paying attention to the rental you end up in. To make your short term stay enjoyable and fulfilling, here are a few things you can do.

Think about where the rentals are located

Unlike hotel rooms that could offer you the convenience of having a restaurant and other amenities within the same property, this might not be the case with the vacation rentals. The rental properties could be located further from such facilities and you should always think about how flexible you are and how convenient you find the location for your stay so you are able to make the right choices. If you are more into a romantic getaway away from the hustle and bustle of urban settings, then it is only advisable that you be willing to make trips to access some of the facilities you might need during your stay.

Think of cooking possibilities

The good thing about the rentals is that the majority come with fully equipped and functional kitchens so you can enjoy your favorite meals even when you are that far from home. Check out the kitchen to make sure it has every appliance you might need to make your cooking experience smooth and easy. You of course will need to get your supplies for the cooking, but it is always better to ensure that indeed you will be able to enjoy the kind of cooking you prefer throughout your stay in the rental.

Think of how cleaning will be done

Rental apartments can be big with most coming in two and three bedrooms. You really may not want to clean the entire apartment to be part of what you do when you are to enjoy your stay, Luckily, most come with cleaning services and housekeeping services so you do not have to do all the work yourself. To be on the safe side and to ensure that you stand to enjoy your stay fully, confirm that this is among the services that you get to enjoy with the rental you choose.

Think about what matters during your stay

If you can’t do without internet even during your short stay, then it helps to find out whether you have internet access or WiFi in the rental that you choose. The same should go for things such as parking and cable TV and laundry facilities. Your stay may not be that long, but you want to have the best time throughout.

Choosing a Hotel Online


Choosing a hotel online can be such a difficult decision as you never know what you are going to get when you arrive. Thousands of travellers take to the internet each and every day to find their dream hotel where they can relax, be pampered and have a well deserved break. For some, this perfect paradise dream crashes when they arrive at the hotel to see that it isn’t what was advertised online, which is why you need to know how to choose a hotel online so you are guaranteed to receive what you pay for.

The first thing to choosing a hotel online is to have an idea of what you expect from the hotel and your room. Are you looking for sheer luxury or maybe just a quick relaxing stop over somewhere? This will help you identify if you want to be looking at five star luxury hotels or you are happy with a four or three star comfortable hotel. Do you want a hotel with an on-site restaurant? What about a fitness centre? Maybe a wellness centre? These are important considerations which can help you start identifying the hotels that tick all the boxes.

Set yourself a budget before you start your in-depth search into the hotels available. With a budget you have something to work to, this way you can identify quickly which establishments come in within your budget, helping you narrow down your short-list that little bit faster.

Next identify the location that you feel you want to visit. You may be travelling to explore a capital city or you may be heading to a large city for business purposes. With a location in mind, a budget and knowing what you expect you will be able to browse a host of hotels, put a short list together that can help you make your final decision.

Always compare the hotels in the local area to identify what they offer, their prices, their services and more. When you have one or two hotels in mind in a certain area, having a closer look at the hotels and comparing them against each other is often the easiest way to come to your final decision and book your room or suite.

Take a close look at the facilities and services provided in the hotels you are most interested in. Some hotels will offer particular services or facilities that are more important to you than others, this can also help you make a final decision. Five star hotels will provide you with a host of superior five star services and facilities from free Wi-Fi throughout the building to an indoor swimming pool and an on-site wellness centre to restaurant offering the added convenience of room service.

A five star establishment should also provide you access to a fitness centre. They will have a twenty four hour reception desk and a concierge service for added convenience. Their host of services and facilities will be vast, so you are guaranteed to tick all your boxes with ease and confidence.

With your final hotel in mind, you now want to check availability to ensure that they can accommodate you on your chosen dates. Remember the earlier you book, not only will you get the room you want for the dates you want, but many hotels offer early bird discounts, so you can save money when booking a couple of weeks in advance.

Make your booking and ensure you receive a confirmation that your booking has been secured. Check the dates on the confirmation and keep it with you for a fast and effective check in experience.

A Thailand Spa Holiday


Thailand has become a popular spa destination and people from all around the world are choosing the country for their spa holidays. Many of the spa resorts in Thailand offer excellent packages that people can choose to meet their needs. There are spa resorts affiliated with major commercial chains in addition to the more personalized boutique resorts. Both have their own individual charm and come at different price points. You can choose whichever works the best for you.

Major commercial chain spa resorts offer standard services, and you can be sure of the good quality of their services since they are established and cater to many people. However, boutique resorts offer more personalized services and often better value.

If you are planning to visit Thailand for a spa holiday, here are the top 3 places to consider.

Koh Samui: The scenic, tropical beaches on the island of Koh Samui in Thailand make it one of the best locations for a spa holiday. The spa resorts here offer pampering spa services such as foot reflexology, Shirodhara, Ayurvedic treatments, Indian head massage and a range of traditional Thai spa treatments. You can choose services that target specific parts of the body if you are dealing with specific issues but usually a holistic approach works best. For complete rejuvenation, you can opt for full body massages, body wraps, etc. These are very relaxing and help you feel refreshed. Since you will be staying near the beach, you can spend your time relaxing on the beach in between the spa session. To get more health benefits, you can select the detoxification programs that these spa resorts offer.

Chiang Mai: For people who connect more with the tranquil atmosphere of the mountains, you can select any reputed spa resort at Chiang Mai. This location is surrounded by the foothill of the Himalayas and offers a memorable spa experience because of the scenic beauty and quiet atmosphere. The spa resorts here offer various detoxification, rejuvenation and yoga programs in addition to spa services for your overall well-being. Whether you are just going for a weekend or planning to stay for more than a few days, you can choose different packages to make the best of your trip. You can spend your time in between the different spa services exploring the location and enjoy the location.

Phuket: The spa resorts in Phuket offer a range of Asian therapies. Their services focus on the overall wellbeing of a person and try to create spiritual, mental and physical harmony. Many of these resorts also offer meditation programs, yoga classes and more in addition to spa services. You can also get guidance from certified trainers and experts to plan a workout regime for you. The mouthwatering and healthy Thai dishes are sure to make your taste buds crave for more. There is a good mix of luxury and affordable spa service packages offered by the resorts here. When you opt for a spa resort in Phuket, you can also take some time out to explore the island, which is a very popular tourist destination.

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Rashad Calhoun

Dahsar by Rashad, LLC was established in 2007 by self-taught fashion designer Rashad Calhoun.  The 2007 Chester High School graduate has been able to...

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