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Meet Ashley Griffin – CEO, Yah Roots Official



  • What was life like growing up for you? What kind of family did you grow up in?

I moved around a lot growing up.  I was born in Baltimore, MD but my mother moved us to Wilmington, NC when I was 4.  I lived there all the way through my later teenage years then BOOM, my senior year of high school my family left Wilmington and moved back north to Baltimore.  Imagine relocating as a senior, it was not fun leaving all my childhood friends.  I went to 3 different High schools, however, I was able to make new friends at all of them.  My family is spread out on the east coast so I don’t get to see them often, but when we come together it’s always a lot of dancing, karaoke, and laughter!

  •  How old were you when you knew this is your calling?

As early as 10 I begin to be conscious about hair care and would do my own hair for school.  My hair is curly, so I remember going to hair stores to find hair products that I thought were “good” for my hair, at 10!  By 12, I began to make my own hair serums by mixing oils that my grandmother had and would “deep condition” my hair once a week.  I didn’t think anything about what I was doing at that time until I had my 2 children, I noticed that hair care is my passion.  I gave my son dreadlocks and would make my own twist cream, and I would make deep conditioners for my daughter’s hair from natural and organic ingredients.  As my knowledge for hair care grew, people would come to me for hair care tips, and wanted to know what I was using on my family’s hair.  This is when I knew I wanted to share hair products with the world.

  • How do you maintain your integrity in an otherwise very competitive and sometimes unscrupulous industry, as a business at times can be cutthroat?

I believe that if you stick to your passion and maintain your values and morals then you can face anything that comes your way.  Never lose sight of what your drive is.  There are thousands of hair products out, but I don’t look at them as competition.  I focus on my own brand and knowledge of hair care, so, as long as I am providing the best hair products for my customers, I am happy.  I interact with my customers and I allow them to provide authentic reviews, I feature real everyday people on the Instagram business page @YAHROOTS_OFFICIAL, that’s what drives me to stay focused on my brand.   

  • What advice do you have for others who have the dream?

My number one advice is to invest in yourself!  Invest not only money but time into your goal.  Read, study, and educate yourself on what it is that you trying to accomplish.  Knowledge is power, and with knowledge, you can do anything you put your mind to do.  Second advice, do not be cheap with yourself, if you need a machine that cost $400 that will benefit you, GET IT THAT 400$ machine!  It will all pay off.  

  • What are some of the things you do to wind down and relax after grueling events and preparations for them?

I love music, so when I want to wind down I may play some smooth r&b or smooth Jazz music, it puts me in calming headspace.  Of course, a nice glass of wine is always good to “wine-down”

  • What is your definition of peace? What is your definition of success?

My definition of peace is the space that I call home, and the people I surround myself with.  I do a lot of work from home, so I like to invest in furniture and live plants and flowers, it makes me feel happy and peaceful.  I am very big on good energy from others, so I keep my few close friends around to spread good vibes also. 

Success to me is seeing your dreams become your reality.  Whether big or small, its so amazing to see your hard work and dedication pay off.  It’s not about money it’s about your accomplishments and that priceless feeling of “I DID THAT!”.

  • What is the one thing you want people to remember most about you and your work?

I want people to know that YAH Roots Official is what I prayed for, this is my gift from The Highest and I give all credit to God.  I promote a love of ethnic natural hair of all types.  It is my passion to provide the best products for natural hair.  Every ingredient used in YAH Roots is exclusively chosen by me and beneficial for all hair types.  I like to say its “Made with Love”.

  • What type of legacy do you wish to leave? 

We live in a world that it’s not appealing to love our ethnic hair.  Afros, tight curly hair, thick hair, wavy hair, thin hair, whatever your authentic hair maybe, we hide it with perms, weaves, and wigs.  I want people to know that our ethnic hair is beautiful and there are amazing organic and natural ingredients that God has put on earth for us to maintain and love our hair.  My legacy is to promote knowledge on hair care and beard care and to regain the love for our own natural hair.  YAH Roots is the face of bringing natural hair back in style.    

  • If there’s one thing you could change about your past, what would it be? 

This is a great question; my answer is very simple.  I would not change anything about my past.  My past experiences and tribulations are what make me who I am today.  I am at a good place in my life and I wouldn’t be where I am if I had not gone through life as God planned me too.  As I always say, “Turn your L’s into lessons”

  • If there is one thing you could change about the world what would it be? 

I would love for Black, Native Americas, and Latino cultures to have more opportunities and resources to become business owners. 

  • What advice do you have for the young ladies (teens to young adult age) who are growing up in today’s world with so much influence in music that is not always supportive of their best interests? What advice would you give young men? 

Ladies, I know how easy it is to be on social media and see other people “living their best life” I want you to know that its only entertainment and only believe half of what you see online.  Move at your own pace in life, set your own goals, and do not compare another person’s lifestyle to yours.  Remember you write your own book with your own story, be yourself always.

Men, you play such an important role in this world.  I know there is a lot of influence in our music culture that does not encourage healthy relationships or respect for women and promotes violence.  I encourage you to keep the entertainment separate from your actual goals in life.  Know that it IS cool to be a good guy, and it IS cool to want a healthy relationship with a woman, and it IS cool not to condone in violence.  We need our men.  

  • Are you single? 

Yes, I am single.  Might not be for too much longer though lol  

  • In your opinion why are relationships failing today and if you could remedy them, what would you do?

In my opinion, relationships lack communication and it causes long term issues between you and your partner.   I would say be open to expressing your feelings respectfully to your partner giving the chance to talk things out early on before situations become more complicated.

  • What are you looking for/from a relationship?

I am looking for a spiritual connection with someone.  Someone that will be on the same accord as far as our values, morals, and beliefs.  If we are grounded in The Most High we can get through anything in life. 

Who do you admire most and why?  

I admire my mother Valerie, my father Desmond, and my grandmother Shirley.  These three have been so influential in my life and taught me to never settle.  They are hard workers, true hustlers, and dreamers.  I gained a lot of my hustle and ambition from them.  I am forever grateful to have learned from them.


Ashley Griffin is the creator and founder of YAH Roots Official Hair and Skincare.  Since a child, Ashley has grown a true passion for encouraging women and men to love their authentic ethnic hair.  She loves creating tutorial videos providing knowledge on healthy hair and beard maintenance.  People regularly come to her for hair tips and want to know what she uses in her hair.  This inspired her to create YAH Roots Official for the world.  Ashley’s love of math led her to pursue an education in finance and science, which helped her to become her own formulator for YAH Roots Official; making her own products in a personal lab.  Ashley gained years of extensive research on ingredients and formulating before releasing YAH Roots Official to the world in May 2020.  With a steadily growing amount of positive reviews, she has been able to stay connected with customers providing more than just her products.  Ashley’s goal is to influence people to embrace and care for their natural hair. 

Along with being a full-time entrepreneur, Ashley is also a full-time employee for an Insurance company and single mother of two amazingly intelligent children Jayden and Nyla. When asked how she handles all these responsibilities her answer is simple, “Balance”.  Though her busy schedule, Ashley enjoys making time for her family and herself. She loves planning weekend trips just to get away and enjoy her “me time,” as well as frequently taking road trips with her family to exploring new places.  Outside of traveling, two of her favorite things to do is trying new foods and furniture shopping.  Ashley is a true hustler and goal-getter, giving all credit to God first in everything. 

Demetrius G. Rainer-Advocate/Speaker/Columnist


Demetrius G. Rainer-Advocate | Speaker | Columnist

Demetrius G. Rainer, JD is a former Federal and State Criminal Defense Attorney that has been on both sides of the aisles in the courtroom, on one side defending citizens that had been charged with a crime and on the other as a defendant fighting for her life.
“Dee” as she is affectionately known, is an outspoken Criminal Justice Reform Advocate that focuses on collateral consequences of conviction and how they are hurdles to successful re-entry for returning citizens. Due to her being impacted by collateral consequences of conviction, Dee became Founder and Executive Director of My Meta Re-Entry Services.

Demetrius G. Rainer
Demetrius G. Rainer

Demetrius G. Rainer mission is to remove barriers for returning citizens, reduce recidivism, increase public safety and spur economic growth, by providing resources, information, wrap around services, advocacy and case management to returning citizens for successful reintegration.
Dee is an Executive Board Member for Scotland County Re-entry Council; 2019 Faces of Women Imprisoned Inaugural Co-short Member; Criminal Justice Reform Columnist for Hustle Mama Magazine; Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Renew Life Group, LAC an Outpatient Mental Health Center for Adolescents and Adults;

Dee’s life mission is to see that states repeal all collateral consequences of conviction so that “Time Served” really means “Time Served.”


Demetrius G. Rainer, JD is Wanting to Have the Say So and Last Word…


oh and…On a Mission to Ensure that the Letter of the Law is to the Letter and that their Words Mean Exactly What They Say

HMAG: What was life growing up like for you?
Demetrius G. Rainer: Life growing up for me was easy. I have two older siblings, a brother and a half-brother. Both my parents were teenagers when I was born, and I am sure they had their struggles but me and my brother didn’t suffer. My mom spoiled all of us, including my dad. My dad made sure we were well provided for and disciplined us when necessary. My dad’s only requirement was for me and my brothers to go to school, study hard and make good grades. My parents just celebrated 50 years of marriage.

HMAG: When did you realize what you wanted to do with your life?
Demetrius G. Rainer: I knew early that I wanted to be a lawyer. Maybe by the age of ten. I was drawn to legal shows on TV. I was always opinionated, inquisitive and had to have the last word.
HMAG: Were you a dreamer in your younger years?

Demetrius G. Rainer: Yes, I was a dreamer when I was growing up. I still am. I dreamed about being Diana Ross!! I Loved Her. I can’t tell you how many times growing up I watched Mahogany and Lady Sing the Blues. I also wanted to marry Billy D. Williams.

HMAG: What did you want most to be from those dreams? Is it what you are doing today?
Demetrius G. Rainer: As I stated earlier, I knew early that I wanted a career in the legal profession. So, I went to law school and began practicing law. As for my profession now, being the Founder of My Meta Re-Entry Services, (will be up and running soon) and being a Criminal Justice Reform Advocate, I was thrust into this role due to my being adversely affected by the Criminal Justice System. For almost a decade, I was a Federal and State Criminal Defense Lawyer. I also practiced Real Estate Law. However, after making some unwise decisions in my law practice, I was ultimately disbarred and charged with Money Laundering and Mortgage Fraud. I was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ultimately served 1 yr and tens days. I went from a successful up and coming defense and real estate lawyer to a defendant. I thought I would die. However, through this adversity, I had to reinvent myself. I had to think outside the box and do something different.

I became a Criminal Justice Reform Advocate more specifically focusing on Re-Entry services and collateral consequences of convictions because I have been adversely impacted by this system and collateral consequences of my conviction continue to hinder me, long after my release from imprisonment.

HMAG: What makes you do what you do?
Demetrius G. Rainer: What makes me do what I do, is because of my own personal experience and the experience of others that have been negatively impacted by the criminal justice system.


HMAG: What do you hope for your legacy?
DGR: As for my legacy, I would like to change the Game in the arena that I am in. I would like to work effectively to change laws in the criminal justice reform arena. I want to be a trailblazer in the game. So, when you hear my name it will be synonymous with changing laws and getting things done in criminal justice reform.

HMAG: If you were able, what would you change about the world we live in?
DGR: If I could change one thing in this Nation, I would like to see this Nation become a Nation of second chances where time served really means time served.

“I would like to be remembered most as a servant. I live to serve others…I serve with a Servant’s Heart. I am guided by God and I ask God daily to guide me and allow me to be a blessing to others.”
Dee Rainer

HMAG: Who were some of your life influences?
DGR: Nelson Mandela. Why: This is a man that was sentenced to life imprisonment ultimately served 27 years in prison in a country that wanted his soul, his spirit, his mind and body, a country that wanted him dead…And within 4 years of his released he became the 1st democratically elected President of that Country!!! That is remarkable. He had an indomitable spirit, the will to press on and persevere. How can’t you admire a person like that?

White Shirts and White Blouses


White Shirts and White Blouses

White shirts and white blouses are the cornerstone, of my wardrobe. In fact, I believe they should be the cornerstone of everyone’s wardrobe. Just like a White T-Shirt or Black Turtleneck they’re clean and focused, yet have an amazing opportunity for interpretation and diversity.

The White Shirts and White Blouses can display poise, femininity, strength, professionalism and an official stance, in many eyes. It’s a basic beginner piece and finishing touch, all at the same time.

Just like the Little Black Dress, white blouses and white shirts are an essential item in anyone’s wardrobe.  Yet unlike the black dress, it’s appropriate for a picnic, disco, date night, carnival, interview, black tie event and even a funeral. It goes with jeans, a classic pair of pants in ANY COLOR, a skirt and even as an under pinning with vest, jackets, overalls or the right Little Black Dress.

If you haven’t been hip to this idea, I hope you’ll allow me the opportunity to change you mind.


It’s not all “Happy Go Lucky” with your white blouse. While there will be so many opportunities for you to wear it, there are so many obstacles out to get you.


a good stain fighting pen on hand is always helpful. Try to remain mindful so you don’t need the pen, but mistakes happen, so arm yourself accordingly!


Another form of stain, blue jeans, black leather and colored napkins can be out to get your white shirt. I find the best thing to do is just take a zen approach and know it may happen then be prepared to show your top some love afterwards.


I always find it best to follow the cleaning instructions in any garment, but with white blouses and white shirts, we tend to panic. Spot cleaning is good (for stains) followed by regular cleaning as follow up.


It’s just the way it is. Your white top will start to yellow, because of age, oxidation and chemical cleaning products, this is unavoidable.  Yellow happens very slowly and sometimes unnoticeable until you’re in a situation with a brand new white shirt; it’s like the tissue test for white teeth! Now you have a decision to make, ignore it (keep) or invest in a new shirt (toss).


Now that we’ve gotten all the details out of the way, I urge you to make good investments, in this product. I’m my opinion, you can’t have too many. You can have so many types, fabrics and styles of white shirts, it’s mind boggling. Take this basic item and prepare to make it anything but basic. Think of different necklaces, pins, scarves you can wear with your white shirts and white blouses and experiment. You can essentially wear a different one everyday and make a statement .


Now, this is a subject I’ve mentioned before, but it bares repeating for this important garment; it must fit well. If the blouse is too tight in the shoulders, squeezes your back, is too tight in the armholes or so oversized you feel swallowed, it’s not right. Make sure your top fits your body well. You should look and feel comfortable remember the fact that white highlights too many imperfections, to explain away.  Make sure it looks good across the bust and back and while oversized can be, fun make sure it looks like it was on purpose with the correct look in your bottom and accessories.


WEAR IT: tucked in with a pin at the neck or collar
WEAR IT: untucked with a belt, scarf and skirt
WEAR IT: sleeves rolled up unbuttoned with another top underneath such as a lace tank or stripped top and jeans
WEAR IT: tucked with a large statement necklace and finish off with a classic pant or skirt
WEAR IT: completely clean no jewelry and an extravagant bottom, so the top is your support piece(Co-Star of the show)
WEAR IT: tied at the wait with a long flowy satin or sequins skirt.

Imagine these ideas with your basic white blouse/shirt, but then start to think how far you can go with a more elaborate top; one which is pleated, with an unusual neckline, such as a mandarin collar or bow, enormous sleeves or a grand bib detail. You’re white blouse can also be made of linen, lace, chiffon, knit or a mixture of several fabrics and details. You can even start to design your own blouse, by being creative with ties, ribbons, scissors, safety pins and/or trinkets; with these items you can be as basic or ornate as you wish!

It’s YOUR white blouse, make it express your unique style!♥️

Every Day is Different


Every Day is Different

Sometimes you’re having a wonderful morning; the sun is shinning everything goes easy, your clothes look great and you are out the door with ease. Other days your alarm didn’t go off, your having a hard time getting that hair together and you just can’t figure out WHAT TO WEAR!Every Day is Different and a strong and solid wardrobe with proper options and big enthusiasm can help make this portion easier. Let me offer some help.


I am a VERY firm believer of a healthy wardrobe, meaning some clothes being stuck, in the dry cleaners or any event that pops up at the last minute doesn’t cause a complete melt down.  We recently had articles regarding “The Importance of Basics” and how “Accessories” can increase your wardrobe options. These concepts never go out of style and will keep you from be caught off guard, in any situation. Basic pieces in your wardrobe such as a clean white shirt or a favorite pair of grey pants, which can be paired back to items, in the closet or a great statement necklace can make all the difference in your morning, rain or shine, up easy or a hard time getting out the door.
Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; why wait until that morning to pull it together?  Laying your clothing out the night before make life so much easier!  Organizing your top, bottom, shoes and accessory is a time saver, less stress and lets you focus or more fun ideas. Maybe you can use your extra time to some experiment with hair and makeup.


While I love new clothing, I also love having items that can be pulled out of the closet, properly accessorized and go. With this in mind, think of your wardrobe as part of a functional concept meaning, hair, shoes, nails, handbags and even the right attitude can help you get it together.

Make sure you have several accessories ideas for each outfit/dress. Make it your business to have a couple of necklaces, bracelets, shoes and/or hairstyles for one outfit. This process will help you remain prepared, not only does it help you organize it helps you think, in a way that offers the opportunity for future outfits and the best “Put Together” possible.


We’ve become a society full of picture takers. I can’t speak for others but most of the pictures in my phone will never be published or posted. These are the pictures I use to remember details of places and things; so why can’t you use the same exercise, on your clothing? You can photograph items, on the bed or floor adding in jewelry, belts, shoes or put them on and take pictures. Create your own catalog, which can offer a opportunity to refer to when your feeling “not” as motivated, going on

a business trip, out on a date or attending a wedding, meeting someone you want to impress, trying out a new color/silhouette or need to feel sexy.


The more effort you can put in upfront the more you create a window of opportunity that can be pulled together quickly and with confidence. How great is it to know exactly how that blouse will look with those pants instead of “Gee, I hope that will look good together.”

Preparing removes doubt, builds confidence and allows for less effort when it’s time to wear the outfit (e.g.-I realized the long black beaded necklace looks better with that top than the short pearls.)

“Wow, she always looked great.” and “She’s always so pulled together!” is just what everyone can say about YOU, when you display the right intent and focus in your wardrobe. It’s all  in your effort and visual goal.  By utilizing the ideas I’ve mentioned, use social media to offer you inspiration, excitement and realize while everyday is different there is no reason you can’t maintain your same cynosure. You hold the power to make everyday work, for you.


Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

taking accountability

Too many times, we find ourselves apologizing for things, and for what, half of the times we do not even know. Not just because it seems right, but also our conscious and inner being doesn’t want the stress from arguing to prove a point.

Today’s society seemed to have stopped taking accountability for their actions, and instead of owning their faults, they find a guinea pig and a way around being guilty of an activity that they partook in.

I, too, am guilty of the same. My spirit is so big, and my heart is so loving that I also tend to apologize quickly. To a point, I think the reason I apologize is in part because of my upbringing, whether it is something as far as not returning a call, answering a call, and keeping an appointment. One thing everyone knows “I Am A Woman Of My Word!” I do not say it unless I mean it. I do not accuse unless I have facts. I do not make an appointment unless I am sure it fits into my schedule. Yes, I, too, believe in “Fake It Until You Make It,” but I also am a firm believer that if you have nothing in life, you should at least have your word!

I wrote this piece to say to all those quick apologetic people who tend to apologize for being too kind; for being too good-hearted; for being a person guilty of giving the benefit of the doubt – don’t be sorry. Today, I want you to be Unapologetically. You! The beautiful spirit that God created. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same morals and way of thinking, but there is no need to apologize for everything. Yes, pick your battles and act accordingly, but there is no longer a need to apologize for being you.

There is truth in owning your faults and taking accountability for your actions and sometimes apologizing and meeting the other person in the middle, but you should not find yourself apologizing for everything you do. God created each of us differently for a reason. Yes, we can learn from others, and in no shape or form am I suggesting that you should change because of other people’s actions. I am merely saying, “Be You!” If today you choose not to apologize and that person decides that you are wrong for not doing so, although they know in their heart and spirit you are right, let them go. God does not remove people because He knows they are right; He removes them because He knows they are wrong. God knows your heart, and indeed, that is all that matters. Sometimes we have to allow people to lose us to see their wrongdoings. Sometimes we have to walk away to lessen the burden of the load we carry for others. Sometimes we have to be the one who says, “I Am Not Apologizing, Because I Did Nothing Wrong.”

Wedding Photo Vibes


It’s Here! The Day Most Women Dream Of! Your wedding day is easily one of the most photographed days of your life. Traditionally, most people hire one photographer, because the great photos are usually of the bride. Honestly, if your photographer is good, he or she will know to schedule accordingly, so that you can capture those memorable moments of both the groom and bride. Yes!


It is important to catch those moments before the bride, but I think it is equally important to capture those memorable moments with the groom and his guys as well. Your photographer will likely have thousands of candids of the two of you as you tie the knot, cut the cake, and dance the night away. But before you walk down the aisle and hear the first click of the shutter, it’s a good idea to have a consultation with your photographer to ensure that every pose you want to be included will be there—because, after all, you only have one shot at your wedding day.

Here are 16 poses you’ll want to photograph for your wedding:

1.   Getting Make-Up Done:   Every moment before “I Do” is essential, and catching you getting glammed up is important too.

2.   Putting On Your Dress:    This is true when the magic begins. If you are lucky enough to have your mother present, this is true when the tears start to flow.

3.   The Men Sharing A Laugh:   As they sit around waiting, reminiscing and joking before they start to get dressed.

4.   Time To Get Suited Up:   All women want to see those special shots of them getting dressed, but they also secretly want to see how their groom looked, so it is also important to get pictures of the guys getting dressed.

5.   Putting Your Veil On All queens wear a crown, so it is fitting to get that right shot of you putting on your veil, as you prepare to go from Miss to Mrs.

6.   Let’s Toast To That:  It is essential to capture the shots of the bride and her ladies having a glass of champagne and saying a prayer, as well as the groom and his men, taking a shot of whiskey and a few puffs from a cigar.

7.   Bridal Portrait:  Time to take some candid moment of the future Mrs.

8.   Wedding Party Photos:   Let’s have some jokes, silly photos, and classic memories with the special people you chose to be a part of your special day.

9.   The First Look:  I am not a fan of the first look unless it is still a hidden moment, where we can capture the picture of both of us standing on opposite sides of the door. Most people like it, because it gives them a moment together, away from the crowd, and a moment to get most emotions out.

10.   The First Walk:   After you have said the I Do’s, he has kissed his bride and the nerves have settled, have the photographer take a picture
of you two from behind…. the new couple taking their first walk.

11.   Best Man/Maid of Honor Toast:   This moment is not just for photos, but it is vital to get this on videotape. If you did not hire a videographer, then hope someone videotapes it. Childhood stories, many jokes, and so much more.

12. The First Dance: This moment is so beautiful, between the shared looks, the smiles, the kiss, and the hold, so much sentiment is shared between the newly married couple. At this moment, no one else is in the room but them, well so it seems when you look at the happy couple.

13. You and Mom:  Mothers hold their babies safe through their life, but these photos show how proud they are of the man and woman their child has become and how happy they are of the person they chose to share their life with.

14. Cutting the Cake:  Make sure the photographer takes a few pictures of the cake before the couple stands beside it; a few with the couple and of course, a few when they feed each other.

15.   Throwing the Bouquet:   From the throwing of the bouquet to the removal and catching of the garter. The inner stripper seems to come out of the groom when it’s his time. 16.   Thank You From Bride & Groom:   As they stand to give their final thank you, and they share a few kisses. No better way to end the day, but with some more candid pictures of the newly married couple.

The Creative Mind

Mental health for women vector

Creative Mind

We have all heard stories and witnessed the unraveling of creative people living wild, uncontrollable lives of madness, being genius, and yet still selfish with the thoughts that go on inside their heads. The ‘artistic temperament’ has now entered the cultural mainstream. While their work may be admired, creative people are sometimes dismissed as non-recognizable and non-relatable. In some circles, the term “creative” is tinged with contempt. That is far from real. A creative mind is sometimes misunderstood as anti-social and weird, but a person living with a creative mind seems to have the most fun.

The upside to having a creative mind is that you are always entertained because most times, your brain never sleeps and is also active with thoughts and ideas. When you have a creative mind, your wheels are still turning. You never get a rest from the commotion inside of your mind. Unlike most people, who work a nine to five job, you are unable to stop thinking about work once your head hits the pillow at night. You are inspired to create at odd hours. You wake up in the middle of the night with ideas on your mind. You do not get well-needed breaks during holidays and birthdays. You work through celebrations. Even if you have stepped away from your pencil or paintbrush to spend time with your loved ones, your mind is elsewhere. You are never fully present because you are always thinking, always planning. To me, the best part is being visual with conversations. I still have my coworkers dying with laughter, because we could have a chat or a joke, and within seconds, I respond via email with the visual aspect to that conversation and joke. They are always amazed at how I came up with that so quick or so precise. In my head, there is never a dull moment.

Now, the downside to a creative mind is that sometimes you may tend to think deeper into things, analyze more than usual and/or you are never satisfied with a project, until it comes across just right, wherein you give the person reading and/or watching, the feel of being in the shoes of the creative mind. When you have a creative mind, you are never satisfied. You never think you are doing enough. You push yourself towards the brink of exhaustion. You criticize yourself even when you are trying your hardest. You could get a million compliments on your work and will ignore them to dwell on the one negative comment. Yes, the creative mind is always striving for better.

As for me, my creative mind has taken me many places. I can travel the world and never get on a plane. My creativity started me out and has continued with my love of the arts, writing, and dancing. Still, I sometimes tend to think that I missed my calling and probably should have been in marketing, which was what I majored in high school, but had so many jobs, that I diverted away from it. Life teaches us lessons, and although I may not have followed my dreams of being a dancer and marketing, I still have had the opportunity to do so. With regards to dancing, the many years that I took, I can now teach a young woman or man the skills of perfecting the art of dancing and give criticism and compliment from the director’s eye. With marketing, I can entertain those around me with my visual aspects of the conversation, and I have been blessed to land the opportunity to write for this great magazine and contribute monthly to the meat of the meal when preparing the magazine’s content. I also self-teach myself in whatever field or hobby that I take on, and I am proud to say that I use my many skills to help others.


As the excellent quote says, “Pay It Forward.” I truly believe God has not blessed me with so many great stories, opportunities, and skills to keep it to myself. He is using me to teach and to empower, and I welcome every old and new face that I encounter. No complaints here, I love it! To those of you raising children, never stop them from their life interest, allow them to explore. You will be amazed at what their inner creative mind is thinking. Give them that white sheet or blank canvas and will enable them to paint their picture.

Author Barbie Scott


Author Barbie Scott

A “Hood Romance Author” is how she likes to be described. Hustle Mama Magazine introduces to you, Barbie Scott. A California based writer who is using her God-given talents to the fullest.

Get to Know Barbie Scott

Barbie Scott
Barbie Scott

Growing up in a Trap has been bittersweet for this young author. However, it was a life lesson. Overcoming her suspenseful life in a gang, Barbie Scott has taken a more positive turn. “Barbie Scott, you have been through so much you need to write a book!” Those are the words Barbie normally from people that knew her stories (or better known these days as her truth). In 2016, Barbie was introduced to the ‘Authors Game.’ Adjusting her crown, The Queen began to write a very anticipating book series entitled ‘Trap Girl’ that reflects on her own life. The self-published author has written over 30 novels in such a short time and has over 20 published on Amazon. She has also sold thousands of copies street-wide from the trunk of her car. Her motto is “From Bricks 2 Books,” and she’s blessed to say she has made it this far and has become so passionate about her craft. Now stepping into film, she recently shot a sizzle for “Trap Girl,” in hopes of being picked up as a television series. The book game is no more accessible than the rap game and the TV/movie industry. It starts with a manuscript, but the hard work comes with creativity and drives to make these publishers recognize your skill.

“Street Chic With A Vision!”

HMM:   Tell us a little about your most recent book? What is the title, and what and who inspired you for this story line?

BS:   My most recent book is titled “A Boss Got Me In My Feelings, But A Savage Got My Heart” It’s a story about a girl who’s abandoned by her mother and went from foster home to jail. When she was released, she meets a young guy who takes her in. This guy is cocky, a true savage but lovable. Anyhow! He takes her in and provides for her. He has dreams of becoming a rapper, but he’s so consumed with his mother’s drug addiction he puts his life on hold. After some time, the girl “Lyric” becomes a stylist and lands a gig for a major producer. She sleeps with the producer to get Royal Kane a deal but then regrets it. I don’t want to give up any more of the book, loll. The story is inspired by life experiences as far as how people let fame change them. That’s what happens in this book with money and fame – Royal changes.

HMM:    Are you independently published? Yes? No? If no, please advise who are you published by?
BS: Yes, I am both. Miss Shan publishes me at Shan Presents, and I am also an independent author as well. I believe in the great words by Malcolm X, “By Any Means Necessary!”

HMM:   Where were you born, and where do you currently live?
BS:   I was born in the heart of Los Angeles, California (South Central). I currently live in Los Angeles, California. Although American born, the majority of my family is from Cuba.

HMM:     What was life like growing up for you? What kind of family did you grow up in?
BS:    Life growing up was rough only because of the violence I had to escape. Other than that, I had a crazy but dope family. My grandmother is a full-blooded Cuban, so we spoke Spanish around my home. Spanish was the first language I learned. My family is very close. At a very young age, I was caught up in a gang, and I was also raised in the Trap. Nothing to be proud of, but I’m proud of my accomplishments. I did not let my past life deter me from becoming a positive role model.

“From Bricks to Books!”

HMM:    How old were you when you knew this was your calling and what you were possibly going to do for the rest of your life?
BS:   When I was in junior high, I always wrote poems. I didn’t expect to become a writer professionally. About the age of 24, I picked up a pen and began writing my first book. Everyone that knew me always encouraged it. So finally, I gave it a shot. At the time I was an avid reader, I knew what would excite readers. When I got to about chapter 7, I tossed it to the side. Years later I picked it back up, only this time I used a laptop. I completed it. I got discouraged due to editing issues, and I almost quit (again). One of my friends checked the hell out of me and said: “You better write something else, but you better not give up!” So, I started writing “Trap Girl,” which is my best and favorite book written. I found another editor, and since then, I have not stopped.

HMM:   Are you involved with any workshops, and as an author, how do you help others accomplish their dreams, and what advice do you have for new upcoming aspired writers?
BS:   I’m not in any workshops or anything, but I do consultations via Facebook or Instagram. I want to tell any writer that’s up and coming never to give up. Make every story you write, whether its fiction or real, as realistic as possible. The goal is to capture your readers and make them feel like they are in the character’s shoes. Another thing, especially for male authors, no matter what, there should always be some love story in your novel. Remember, women are your biggest supporters, and women love a damn good love story. I am speaking as an author, a reader, and, most importantly, a woman.

HMM:      What books have you written? Have any been done as a playwright? BS: I’ve written tons of books, but my favorites are the “Trap Girl” series, there are five parts to the series. I’m also in love with “Me, U & Hennessy” and “Stealing The Plugs Heart.” “Trap Girl” is being pitched for a television series. I’m praying it gets picked up. So far, I only shot a sizzle reel. It’s going to be dropping soon. Another message for authors, “never be afraid to invest in yourself.” I took every dollar I had to my name and shot the sizzle. I spent $12,000.00 for 10 minutes. I don’t worry about the money, because if I put my heart and soul into it (which I normally do), I believe one day it will pay off. “Believe in your craft.”

HMM:     Would you consider yourself a driven person? What makes you a “Powerhouse”? What is the source of your strength?
BS:    The source of my strength is my life; my past life motivates me. The crazy thing is most people do not realize that your past can either make you or break you. I chose to allow my past to drive me to be who I am today and become better tomorrow.

“Turn Your Pain Into Your Greatest Purpose!”

Barbie Scott
Barbie Scott

HMM:    Are you currently working on any new books?
BS:     Of course, my pen does not stop! By 2020, I’ll have about 60 books. Loll. I’m working on a novel now called “A Hot girl Summer” that comes out in September, and I’m releasing “Heartbreak In The Hood” on or about August 10, 2019. HMM: What can we expect from you in the future?
BS:   TV shows and movies on the big screen and Netflix, whatever I can get my hands on, and whoever is willing to give this street-chic a shot.

HMM: How can they purchase a copy of this book?
BS: All my books are available on www.amazon.com, and for paperbacks, visit www.authorbarbiescott.com .

To follow Ms. Scott, see her social contact information below:

Website: authorbarbiescott.com
Twitter: autbarbiescott
Instagram: @authorbarbiescott
Facebook: Author Barbie Scott

Art Prodigy Tyler Gordon



PAINTING PRODIGY MAKING A BIG SPLASH – TYLER GORDON, a San Jose, California born, 13-year old young man, who has impressive painting skills and is making a name for himself around town.

In fifth grade, while many of us were running around on playgrounds, Tyler Gordon (“Tyler”) of San Jose, California, had just discovered his endless supply of painting talent. Tyler, who is now 13, paints black, white and gray portraits of celebrities he finds on television, or of people who want a portrait of themselves. He has painted Kevin Durant, Jay-Z, Beyonce, the Beatles, Oprah, and many more famous people. “His paintings are shadows and negative space,” said Nicole Kindle (“Kindle”), his mother.

He has sold dozens of paintings, started a Facebook page to promote his art, and has also appeared on Steve Harvey’s show, “Little Big Shots.” A budding entrepreneur, Tyler also promotes his art on other social media platforms,

June 2019, Tyler was at San Jose’s Juneteenth celebration at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, where he live-painted for several hours, fueled only by a bologna sandwich. He sold more than 40 paintings that day, he said.

Tyler’s living room in San Jose is filled with his painting supplies and the art he has made. He paints many free-art from images from tv or movies, and then there are some he paints while sitting on a stool. Lately, he said he’s been at it for about four hours every day, to fulfill the orders that have come pouring in since he appeared on “Little Big Shots” and at the Juneteenth festival. Despite Tyler’s accomplishments, his mom said that he is still a normal kid who plays outside most of the time, thinks he’s Superman, and always has to finish his homework.

“His school comes first,” Kindle said. “If I see a grade slipping, that’s a priority; the painting will have to wait.” Kindle was the one who encouraged Tyler to start painting, and she instantly recognized his talent. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” Kindle said on Oli Pettigrew’s TV show, “Right This Minute.” “I’ve been painting, and she instantly recognized his talent. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” Kindle said on Oli Pettigrew’s TV show, “Right This Minute.” “I’ve been pushing, trying to get him everything he needs.” Tyler’s accomplishments come despite life-changing hardships. For a while, he was in a wheelchair after breaking his hips, and he is nearly deaf, Kindle said. On Steve Harvey’s show, Tyler got a big surprise when one of his heroes, Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, appeared in a video. “Keep inspiring,” Durant told Tyler. And undoubtedly, Tyler will.

Hustle Mama Magazine takes pride in featuring kids of “Our Future” and this month, we feature 13-year old Tyler Gordon. Here is his story.

“I love painting because it keeps me calm and makes me happy!”

HMM: What was life like growing up for you? What kind of family did you grow up in?
TG: Life growing up for me is excellent. My family is very close. I’m growing up in a fun family. When not in school, my family gets together to play games, go to the beach, church, and every Tuesday, my family has a movie night. Another thing I like to do is help feed the less fortunate.

HMM: How do you maintain your integrity in an otherwise very competitive and
scrupulous industry?
TG: I stay true to who I am. My mom taught me always to be humble and treat the janitor with the same respect that you treat the CEO with.

HMM: At such a young age, what makes you a POWERHOUSE? What is the source of your strength?
TG: I paint from my soul, from deep down. I guess you can say that I paint my feelings. I put some of me in every piece I do. My style of painting, as well as my speed, sets me apart from the other artist. When I did my first painting, which unbeknownst to my mom (I had it in me), I shocked her by the fact that I could paint, let alone the fact that I finished it in approximately 20 minutes.

“I love painting because it keeps me calm and makes me happy!”

HMM: Who are some of your earlier influences?
TG: My earliest influence is my mom. She paints good too. She also started painting at a young age. I like her style, it’s like mine, although the truth is I get it from her. I’m also influenced by Floyd Norman, Basquiat, and Bob Ross.

HMM: You have painted many celebrities from Kevin Durant, Jay-Z, Beyonce, the Beatles, Oprah, and many more famous people. Who is someone you would love to paint and sell a portrait to?
TG: I would love to sell a portrait to Former President, Barack Obama.

HMM: What advice would you offer to kids with a “DREAM”?
TG: I would say, “Never stop going after your dream!” I know, first hand, with determination, it will come true. I’m living my dream right now.

To follow Tyler Gordon, see his contact information below:

Facebook: Tyler Gordon Young Artist
Instagram: Official_tylergordon

How Innovation Is Key For An Introvert Entrepreneur

introvert entrepreneur
Girl take glasses off and suspiciously looking at other person hand that giving here something.

By: Kim Beasley, Introvert Entrepreneur Coach

Did you know becoming an introvert entrepreneur starts with an idea to start a business? Have you been holding back from starting your business because of fear or not wanting to get out of your comfort zone? Then keep reading because I have some innovative tips that will help you move forward.

I’m Kim Beasley and I’m an introvert entrepreneur who has been facing my fears and choosing to grow my business online. Part of growing my business online has been showing my face or voice via my podcast or videos. In the beginning, I was terrified of being seen. But then I realized when I shared my message that it could help my fellow introverts by encouraging them to start their own business.

Wow! What a concept!

Innovation tips for an introvert entrepreneur to implement

As an introvert entrepreneur, your ability to excel with an online business increases when you create a business that leans into your strengths. For example, I’m a creative person so I consider myself a creative introvert entrepreneur. I lean into coaching my fellow introverts because it allows me to be creative by developing online courses.

How can you use the same concept of leaning into your strengths to create an innovative business? Let’s take a moment to check out an acronym I’ve created using the word S.T.R.E.N.G.T.H.S. to help you figure out how to do it.

  • S – Start with researching your target buyers
  • T – Take time to poll your target buyers to see what they want
  • R – Refine your findings from research to focus on your target buyers’ needs
  • E – Ensure you create an ideal customer profile (ICP) based on your research
  • N – Nurture your relationship with your ICPs
  • G – Give your ICPs a reason to engage with you online
  • T – Treasure your relationship with your ICPs and cultivate it regularly
  • H – Help your ICPs understand the focus of your business
  • S – Support your ICPs with FAQs, live chat, or allowing them to email you with questions

This simple acronym can help you get started with being innovative as you, an introvert entrepreneur, start your business.

How you can excel with your online business

Now that you have a few tips that will help you incorporate innovation into your online business, let’s now learn about a few things that can help you excel with your online business. One resource I used for this section was the article on Forbes.com called “10 Social Media Tips For Introverted Business Leaders“.

Create an engaging website: having a website that inspires engagement with your website visitors can help inspire them to come back. Simple things that can help your website be engaging is to have exit-intent pop-ups when someone is about to leave your website or incorporate forms where your website visitors can send you a message.

Consistent business branding message: when you create your business branding, things to keep in mind are the colors you will use or the logo that will represent your business. Also, being able to communicate your vision in a branding message is important. These should be the same wherever you share your business brand message.

Engaging social media business profiles: one of the best ways to engage on social media is to have a regular schedule of content that your ICPs are looking for. I suggest that you have at least 2 social media profiles for your business that you keep active. Keep it simple and be open to curating content from industry leaders that you share on your profiles.

Cross-promotion with peers or competitors: hear me out with this one before you disagree with it. When you cross-promote with others whether they are your peers or competitors, you gain the opportunity to be seen by their mailing list or audience. This is a great way to grow your circle of influence online, too.

Create a well thought out strategy: having a strategy, will help you have a clearly defined plan for how you will develop your online business. Remember to build in fun, innovation, and ways you will engage your ICPs online. Keep in mind that when you host contests or giveaways, it is important to have a plan to regularly engage with those who sign up.

Final thoughts

I love being a creative introvert entrepreneur and I hope this article helps you learn different ways you can use innovation too. If you have questions or want to reach out to me online, you can always connect with me via my website: kimbeasley.com. If you would like to learn how to use LinkedIn to grow your business online then check out my online course, LinkedIn Marketing for Introverts: lmi.kbctraining.com.


the eyes

So, we’re going to be spending a great deal of time with these masks on! If you’re anything like me, you’ve been adding expression to your communication through your hand gestures, body movements, and EYES!

While there is so much to be said about mask-wearing in public, the biggest feature is that we’re forced to connect through eye contact more than ever. I don’t know about you, but not being able to see what someone is saying and relying on the other senses has taken its toll on me. I have to focus on a person’s facial expression for communication as much as possible because I don’t have the benefit of reading their lips, being able to stand too close or witness their gorgeous smile.  Think of this time as an opportunity instead of a hindrance.

Since everyone is paying more attention to your eyes, give them something beautiful to gaze upon.  I am suggesting the importance of eye makeup. This is a chance for you to add lashes, perfect that liquid liner, learn about the perfect smoky eye and intensify that eyelid with color.

Lashes are something I just don’t go without. I love the look and find that once I put them on, very little makeup is needed. While people constantly ask if “they are mine”, I still prefer added length and thickness. Lashes offer drama. I believe the secret to great-looking lashes is consistency. Don’t overdo them so you look like a giraffe, but add enough so mascara becomes a thing of the past. Each blink becomes a sonnet.

Liquid liner is another opportunity for the drama. While you can be the girl who does the lash and liner remember the liner is strong enough to stand on its own. Just like a calligraphy pen, allow the pointed tip to accentuate all positive details of your eyes with a thick line in the middle and that oh so special swoosh at the end!  I believe the classic black works best but make sure you try different ideas based on your skin, eye color and find what will best highlight your features.

The same opportunities apply for pencil liners as well. While more rigid than liquid lines, you may feel more comfortable and be able to harness more control with the pencil. Using charcoal or basic pencil gives you the ability to smear for that famous smokey eye.

You will never hide, in these shadows but rather show yourself. Use bright colors that will highlight your eye color, your outfits, or your mood.

This is the strongest and most dramatic change in eye enhancement without contacts. I believe in the opportunity to show your personality with strong color. There have been excellent advancements in cream applications and saturated colors, which are important in the quality of your expression.

The punctuation on your sentence is the eyebrow. What better way to accentuate your beautiful eyes and eye makeup then making sure your eyebrows look just as good.

Brow pencils help to add depth to your eyebrows by giving you a more saturated appearance. You don’t want your eyebrows to spear gangly or sparse. A clean eyebrow with little or no stray hair helps to keep the importance on your eyes and eye makeup.

I believe having a good eyebrow helps to make your eye makeup stronger.  The eyebrows help to frame your face and allow others to take your eye makeup more seriously.

Make sure you keep all these ideas in mind, when looking to enhance your look and how everyone else looks at you! These days we have a plethora of demonstrations, online teaching you how to apply makeup. Take advantage of digital classes, because it allows you to learn a new skill, have a great look, and stay safe with continuous social distancing.

Please look, to stay safe!

Happy gazing!♥️

Avoiding Foreclosure or Eviction due to Covid-19 Pandemic

mortgage holder
Property auction, Woman hand holding gavel wooden and model house on natural green background, lawyer of home real estate and ownership property concept

Written by:
Susan Myers, Georgia REALTOR

The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our economy causing millions to lose their jobs or close their businesses only to fall on hard times. Many have depleted their
savings and 401(k)s to stay afloat. According to the Labor Department, over 20 million people are receiving unemployment benefits. These job losses and closed businesses,
caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, have resulted in widespread concerns for homeowners and renters fearing foreclosure or eviction from their homes because they
can no longer pay their mortgage or rent.

On September 4, 2020, the CDC announced an order that temporarily halted residential evictions, and this order expired on December 31, 2020. This order does not reduce
the amount owed for missed payments, late fees, penalties, or interests. If you owe it you are obligated to pay it, eventually. Several states are working with lawmakers to
extend the renter moratorium to July 1, 2021. However, if this moratorium is extended, renters should be prepared to pay for all the months missed when the moratorium

There’s also help for homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments. To start, be sure to speak with your mortgage holder to inform them of your temporary
financial hardship. Don’t wait until you’re a month, or more, behind before calling your mortgage holder, call them as soon as you know you’re not going to be able to make a
mortgage payment. This is the time to ask your mortgage holder about a mortgage forbearance which will cause less damage to your credit than a foreclosure. And, more
importantly, a forbearance will allow you to remain in your home. Mortgage forbearance is an agreement with the mortgage holder and can be used when a homeowner has fallen on hard times and isn’t able to make their mortgage payments. A forbearance can last for one month, several months, or even as much as one year. It depends on your situation and what your mortgage holder will allow. Keep in mind, you will have to make up the missing payments, at some point, after the forbearance.

There are two most common repayment options for a forbearance, and they are increased payments or extending the mortgage term. Should the mortgage holder choose an increased monthly payment they will determine the amount and will then add that amount to your regular monthly payment. The increased payments will continue until all the missing payments have been paid. The second option is to add the missed payments to the term of your mortgage. Again, this is something you should discuss with your mortgage holder before signing the agreement to ensure you know what’s going to happen once the forbearance period has ended.

Like most things in life, there are pros and cons with a mortgage forbearance. First, let’s look at the pros:
• a forbearance will have less of a negative impact on your credit than missed payments or a foreclosure;
• it gives you time to address your temporary financial hardship; and,
• avoid foreclosure and remain in your home.

Now, let’s take a look at the cons of a mortgage forbearance:
• you must qualify for a forbearance;
• your mortgage holder may increase your mortgage payment after the forbearance to make up the missed payments;
• you won’t benefit from the forbearance if you are having frequent challenges paying your mortgage;
• the missed payments will continue to accrue, and you are required to pay them; and,
• oftentimes, when using a government mortgage relief program there will be a negative impact on your credit and your ability to possibly purchase or refinance in the future.

It is up to your mortgage holder to determine the terms of your forbearance. Make sure you request everything in writing and read it thoroughly to ensure you understand the
terms before you sign the agreement. To learn what’s best for your situation, contact your mortgage holder to discuss your options and what they are willing to approve for your temporary financial hardship. Remember, banks are not in the business to own real estate. They will be more than happy to help you keep your home.


chemical hair relaxers

by Dr. Melanye Maclin, M.D.
Hair Research Dermatologist 

Serious news regarding the use of hair chemicals and a significant health issue officially emerged in December 2019 that I must share with you! Let me first begin by stating that I am not against chemical hair relaxers or dyes.

My first relaxer was at age 10, but my last one was at age 30, a year after starting my hair research company and gaining knowledge about potentially serious health links.

Many have thought it was ridiculous for hair chemicals or hair dyes to affect the reproductive system for years. However, the chemicals, especially the hydroxide in lye relaxers(sodium hydroxide) and no-lye relaxers/texturizers/ kiddie perms (calcium hydroxide, lithium hydroxide, guanine hydroxide) can absorb and ‘burn’ into your scalp through the numerous pores, cuts, and scratches. These chemicals can not only damage your hair roots but, more importantly, absorb into your scalp blood vessels, therefore entering your main bloodstream. This can result in your body producing hormone-disrupting chemicals affecting both your reproductive system and breast.

Since 1999, I have studied thousands of hair loss cases, many of which resulted from chemical relaxers. However, it was interesting that many of these women were also suffering from uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths). The fibroids cause longer and heavier monthly bleeding, resulting in taking iron pills for anemia. When 2011 published studies linked chemical hair relaxers to early menses/puberty before age ten, uterine fibroids, infertility, and early hysterectomy before age 40, I was not surprised as I had already suspected a potential link in the early 2000s.  

Now an even more severe health link to hair chemicals was confirmed in December 2019. Official National Institutes of Health (NIH) eight-year study of over 46,000 women of all races between ages 35-74 linked chemical hair relaxers and semi/permanent hair dyes to breast cancer. However, African-American women had an astounding 45% increase in breast cancer risk compared to other races, with the relaxers causing more issues.

With this significant new health link to breast cancer in addition to reproductive issues, we must continue to sound the alarm and share this vital information. It is especially the early and constant exposure that makes one more likely to get hormone disruption. Therefore. My ongoing passion is to educate against the use of hair chemicals in girls under 18. In fact, in the 2009 Chris Rock film Good Hair, I specifically gave expert advice about adverse hair issues from using chemical relaxers too early in our girls to reduce hair damage. However, given the more severe health links, we must be extra cautious. If over 18 and no hormone health issues still desire to use hair chemicals, please protect the entire scalp with a petroleum base to reduce absorption or use natural alternatives. Continue to join me in helping to spread this critical health information!

For those suffering hair loss, check out the dermatologist-developed natural hair supplement, BellaNutri. Your hair roots can become revived to grow hair thicker, faster, longer, and healthier. www.bellanutri.com 

Get Rid of Depression

battle depression
Sad depressed fail down perforated paper

Are you moody, anxious, grumpy, exhausted, inundated, or emotionally unstable? These kinds of mood disorders have become shockingly widespread, and in a lot of circumstances, may soon be solved.

Depression and anxiety particularly have become so common that it’s incredibly typical for individuals to be taking medication for any of these mood disorders. Since 1990, the incidence of depression and anxiety has tripled, and more than twenty-five percent of the U.S. grown-up population suffer from one or more of these conditions.

Often depression or a blue mood might have no apparent cause, and sometimes it might be caused by numerous factors. Having a journal is among the most effective tools possible for personal growth and emotional healing. It should be a day-to-day ritual. Setting down our views allows us to see them essentially separate from ourselves.

A wellness checklist ought to manage the needs of mind, body, and soul by providing simple everyday goals. It’s intended to inspire you as you battle depression, not suffocate you, so keep it simple.

Beneficial nourishment is essential when you need to battle depression. This is difficult, as depression tends to cut off your appetite. To win against depression, you need to monitor your calories and nutrients intake to provide your body and brain strength.

Sleep furnishes the armor you require to battle depression. Without enough rest, you’re more susceptible to those damaging messages twirling around in your brain and less able to do beneficial things on your behalf.

Depression is probably one of the worst illnesses we know, but it’s very treatable. Determining what works might require weeks or months – and occasionally even years – of disappointment and heartbreak, but with the series of choices we now have, your chances are good. Furthermore, we’re not helpless bystanders. The choices we make affect our lifestyles, which can dramatically improve the odds in our favor. To those of you, who are depressed, don’t be ashamed to ask for help – you shouldn’t have to worry any longer than you have to. For those of you working with your treatments, don’t give up hope. A brighter future lies ahead.

Teaching History in Your Homeschool


History is not focused on so much in school these days. I was disappointed to learn that it isn’t even included on the big, important ACT. But a knowledge of history is vital to Americans. History is where you know the average length of time the world’s civilizations have endured and where we are currently on that time clock. It’s where you learn from the past about what works and what doesn’t so you don’t make the same mistakes as a society. But it can also be one of the driest subjects to children. The teacher must have a fire for the matter herself and then transmit that excitement to her students.

Take a page from my own childhood experience. I entered sixth grade very excited to have my first encounter with world history. Still, it quickly became an overwhelming bore, with dozens of end-of-chapter questions that had to be answered in complete sentences, hundreds of vocabulary words, and memorization of meaningless facts. History did not come alive for me at all, and I made a D, yes, a D in history, my only one ever, and only because of so many incomplete assignments. That class effectively killed my budding love of record for the next ten years.

So we make history differently in our homeschool. Yes, there are still assignments, and I do like my children to be familiar with a few key dates (Columbus-1492, Civil War-1861-1865, etc.) But my goal has been to bring out the importance of history and its effects on all of our lives and inspire with the curious and innovative spirits of so many historical figures. Both of my kids have indicated that they “get it,” and one has even stated that he likes history. A beautiful moment!

So for our “spine,” as it’s called (the primary resource you use as an overview of history), we used some excellent textbooks, just your basic, “This happened, followed by this happening, etc.,” not always fascinating by itself. Still, I like my children to get the big picture of the world’s history to date. The supplemental resources we’ve used are really where it’s at, where you get the words of people who say, “I was there, and this is what it was like.” In that vein, we read lots of books and watched lots of documentaries and films. There are many exciting biographies, written on a children’s level, that you can buy or check out from your local library. Many homeschool websites provide resources and recommendations for history supplements that include hands-on activities, games, crafts, stories, and other things that make the subject come alive for kids.

Timelines are handy for seeing how events fit together in history and to see what was going on in different parts of the world at the same time. We have a large, comprehensive one covering one wall of our schoolroom, plus each child has their sketchbook where they keep a timeline with small drawings of each entry. History can become a favorite subject in your homeschool too.

Boost Your Productivity

Boost Your Productivity

4 Ways to Boost Your Productivity And Increase Your Success

To have more success in your life, you need to learn how to boost your productivity. Being more productive within a specific period is key to getting more done in less time and being more successful. However, many people struggle to boost their productivity, thinking it takes significant effort to do it. In truth, the actions are not that difficult to do, but one must be committed to doing them consistently. Learn four ways to boost your productivity and increase your success below.

One way to boost your productivity and increase your success is by getting more rest. You may think, “How does resting help productivity?”

Getting more rest is critical because your mind is more precise and more focused when you are well-rested. When you are tired from lack of sleep, you lose focus more quickly, causing you to be less productive.

A second way to boost your productivity and is by eating a healthy diet. Suppose you’re eating beneficial nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body diseases and microorganisms. There are many many lost work hours employees and business people the common cold and flu. Even if you do show up, you won’t be able to focus, which will lower your effectiveness.

A third way to boost your productivity and is to eliminate or reduce distractions. If you are producing content or a product, don’t log into your while doing so. Either turn off your phone or place. Any distraction that affects you will cause you to be meaning that it will take longer to achieve your goals.

A fourth way to boost your productivity and increase your success is to focus on the task at hand and not worry about what lies ahead. If you worry about a future study you need to complete, you’ll lose focus and concentration on your current task, which means it will take longer to complete it. Plus, you will still have to deal with the future mission and its challenges even by worrying about it; it will just take longer to get to. Therefore, please focus on the task at hand and only the task at hand; then, once it’s completed, move onto the next task and its challenges.

Lotions vs Skin Care Creams

skin care creams

Name an ailment, and you will find hundreds of skin care creams, lotions, and other products for it. As a result of ongoing research and due to ever-increasing demand, the number of skincare products seems to be on the increase.

Skincare lotions and skin care creams are the most popular forms in which these products are available, and they’re always seems to be a debate on which form is better?

Well, there is no definitive answer to this. It seems more like a matter of personal choice. However, greasy creams are less popular than the non-greasy (or less greasy) ones.

Since the application of skincare creams is more manageable, they seem to be preferred (over lotions) in cases where the skincare product is not to be removed immediately after application.

So, skincare creams seem more popular as moisturizers than as cleansers or toners. For toners, lotions seem to be preferred over skincare creams. Some skin care creams act as toners too, but the toners are generally available in liquid form only. For cleansing, lotions and skincare creams are equally popular; however, the tilt seems more towards lotions.

Creams are most effective in keeping skin moist; hence, skincare creams’ most popular form is moisturizers. Due to the same reason, many people tend to associate skin care creams with dry and sensitive skin. Though it is right to a certain extent, skincare creams are not used only for dry skin; they are also used for making products for oily skin, e.g., vitamin A creams and sulfur creams that help reduce the rate of sebum production.

Skincare creams are also used for products that cater to skin disorders, especially for conditions that require the application of product over a small localized area. This is again due to the fact that skin care creams are easier to apply (without wastage) to the affected area. However, in cases where skin needs to be washed using a medicine/product, a lotion is a better choice. Mostly, the manufacturers too realize this fact, making it easier for you

How to Recognize a Great Opportunity

Great Opportunity
Businessman with a magnet pulls green figures of people out of the crowd. Recruiting new workers. Formation of a new business team of applicants. Search talented workers with great career potential

If you aspire to be a successful businessperson, one of the things you’re going to have to do is recognize a great opportunity when it knocks on your door.

An opportunity to fill a demand-driven gap in the market or develop your business to take advantage of a trend could mean the difference between small success and massive impact. Therefore, you must know how these opportunities look like so that you can grab them when you see them.

Below are three tips on how to recognize an opportunity. Use them as guidelines at any point in your endeavors.

Tip #1 The Opportunity Might Not Be Perfect

One of the excellent opportunity principles is that it doesn’t seem too right to be true.

A real opportunity that has great potential isn’t going to be perfect when you encounter it. You’re going to have to do the hard work to transform it into a successful venture.

However, one crucial component it should have is potential. If you can see the thing becoming a tremendous revolutionary idea in the future, it might just be a random exciting thing. You should adequately pay attention to it and see if you can do something about it. Just because some basic concepts aren’t perfect doesn’t mean they can’t be viable solutions to specific problems.

Tip #2 It Is Built on Past Failures

The best approaches are the ones that have developed because they have been honed through past failures. If a process has been through the furnace of discovery, there is a much higher chance of making it work to achieve new gains.

In other words, you might need to give an ideal time to fail a few times before you choose to run with it yourself because otherwise, you’ll be making all of those misconceptions yourself, and that won’t end in the grand opportunity you’re envisioning.

Tip #3 The Final Solution Might Not Be What You Intended It To be Originally

Few of the best ideas that have ever been considered were different from what a product or service was initially designed for.

The idea might have been a failure as it was intended, but it sparked an entirely new thought process and brand-new applications. These unexpected designs ended up being something totally different because someone could see past the initial application. For example, both the slinky and silly putty toys were designed for industrial purposes. However, they failed as planned and rather became some of the most popular toys ever created.

So ideas come and go, so as opportunities. Use these three guidelines when you do your research and due diligence, so you don’t risk missing out on the great life-changing ones.


chicken soup for the soul

HMM: What was family life growing up for you?

JC: I grew up in a fairly typical middle-class family in Wheeling, West Virginia, across the river from Marshfield, Ohio, which is, you know, several miles apart. My mother was very loving but also an alcoholic, which made it somewhat tricky. My dad was a heavy drinker and became violent when he was drunk. When I was around six, my mother divorced my dad, and she, myself, and two younger brothers moved in with my grandmother. My mother remarried. My stepfather had just gotten out of the Navy after World War II. I had a typical childhood. In high school, I played football, ran track, was captain of the basketball team, and joined the swimming team. It was ‘huge’ in my school to be in sports at all times. I wasn’t unusual in any particular way.

HMM: Were you a dreamer growing up? What dreams did you have for yourself?

JC: I was not a dreamer in a big way. I just wanted to succeed, but I didn’t have much of a dream of what I wanted to do when I grew up.

I just wanted to do the next thing; make the football team, graduate high school, go to college, make the rugby team, graduate from college, get a great job opportunity, and win the rugby games. I was always looking ahead just a little bit. It wasn’t until I was a senior in college that I took an elective class. My major was Chinese history. The elective course I took was Social Relations. It was a private development group where we talked about our feelings, how we felt about each other and, how to use our communication skills. Wow (I said to myself), I want to grow up and do this. That was the first time that I felt like I found something that I wanted to do.

I attended the University of Chicago in 1968 to get a Master’s degree in Education. My practical teaching took place in an all-black inner-city high school on the south side of Chicago. It was a very radical time in terms of black consciousness. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated and, people were starting to challenge racial injustices, inequality, and disparities. I started taking classes on achieving and motivation. I then started applying these principles to goal setting, using visualization, affirmations, taking action, asking for what you want, supporting, and everything along those lines. My students responded well to it. They would sneak in and out of school, hoping they wouldn’t get caught because they didn’t want to miss my class. The school administration wanted me to train teachers. Here is when I realized this is what I loved. The Stone Foundation hired me to travel the mid-west teaching teachers motivation and self-esteem building skills. That’s when it all shifted, and I went into my life’s work. Being a Transformational Speaker is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, it was a slow fathomable one step to the next step. I always teach people if there’s something in front of you and you do it well then, the next thing will show up, and if you’re not clear about what you want to do, then try something else. For me, it was always leaning into something and seeing if that works to make me happy. I teach the joy of the internal guidance system, and if you are doing something and experiencing pleasure, it feeds back from your body. It could also be said from the universe that, of course, you are on purpose. You’re doing the things that get you where you want to go.

HMM: How do you maintain your integrity in an otherwise very competitive and sometimes unscrupulous industry, as the business at times can be cutthroat?

JC: I never considered the work I do as competitive. I know there are many people in the field with human potential. There were notable people like Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy in the Training and Lifespring when I started. I always thought there was enough for everybody since so many people do not have access to this work, nor have they been exposed to it. These same people haven’t awakened and said, now I’m enlightened. Millions of people in the United States and worldwide are an untapped market if you want to call them the market. Keep doing your work, and do it well. Indeed, you want to learn about social media and marketing and sales and all that. I don’t think you have to think of that as a cutthroat business. I always say shine your light brightly so that people can see it and be attracted to it. I do what I do and do it well, and people keep coming.

HMM: What advice do you have for others who have THE dream?

JC: Well, we all have THE DREAM. I assume that you have to know what you want to do. I would say: follow it, trust it, trust your heart, trust what you are attracted to, and ask yourself, is this my ego? Do I want to be famous, rich, and powerful? Or is this something I love doing? I have three sons and a daughter who are all into music and arts. I’ve been continuously sharing with them not to focus on becoming the next big thing. Focus on doing what you do because you love it. If you get to perform, record, sing, draw, paint, write songs and have a good time, you are already winning! I told them to make sure to do what you love, and once you get clear about that, it’s great to have goals and time-bound those goals.

When you want to record these many songs by this date, reach out to these many people by these dates, you know how much you want to have or how many followers on social media by a specific date, and use visualization. Visualize yourself as having achieved your goals. Use your affirmations (I’m so happy and grateful that I am now witnessing my one million followers, I am delighted and grateful I am currently performing on stage at a local coffee house). Ensure that you have affirmations that describe your goal as you achieve it, then visualize it (close your eyes every day and say your pledge, see yourself already living that life. Who would your friends be, what would you be doing, where would you live, what kind of car would you drive, would you be traveling, would you be home, would you be online? See all that you want to get to and also see enjoying the path of getting there). I want you to do that twice a day- once in the morning and once at night before you go to bed. The other thing is to make sure you do five actions a day that will get you to your goal, like spend an hour writing a song, write a chord if you are in the music room, make five sales call if you’re into sales, send emails out after spending 5 hours writing the perfect ad copy for it.

Five actions a day you can check off towards achieving your goal show you are in motion. Someone once said you don’t write your future script for the words you write over the action you take. I think you write and put your comment in your mind, but you have to take action to go for it. Tell people what your goal is, have a vision board with all your pictures of what you want to accomplish on there. Create a dream team, a team of people who support you. Set up a mastermind group where you get together on the phone, zoom or, skype every couple of weeks. You can discuss what challenges are faced and what you’ve committed to getting accomplished over the next couple of weeks. You can brainstorm solutions for each other’s challenges and problems, refer to each other books, podcasts, youtube videos, things to watch and read to enable you to get where you want to go.

I would finally say that most dreams take a little longer to get to where you are going. Don’t get disappointed or discourage when you don’t get there exactly on the date that you think that you should’ve arrived. I set a goal once to make a million-dollar one year, but it didn’t happen until eight years later. However, I’ve not made less than a million-dollar since then. Please have a little patience, a lot of perseverance, don’t give up too quickly, keep on keeping on, be committed to it, and let people know. Put them on your website; this is my dream; this is my goal; if you want to play, let’s talk.

HMM: How difficult is it to maintain a work-life balance? What measures do you take to ensure that you have that?

JC: For me, I’ve always worked very, very hard. I would say in my early days, I didn’t have an outstanding work-life balance. I wasn’t there for my first two children very much. I was on the road to give seminars, give lectures, speak, appear on tv shows, promote my books, book signings, and things like that. I think they paid the price for that, and looking back, I think I paid the cost as well. But, I learned that I didn’t want to continue that by the time they were teenagers. I spent more time with my son from the second marriage, and now every Sunday, my wife and I have a date night (no work allowed). We play ping pong, play scrabble, make gloves, sit in our hot tub, go out for dinner but no so much this covid 19, but we used to.

Still, we ordered in, or we cooked our meals. We took a month off every year. One year, we took a month off and went to Mumbai, India, at the healing clinic just to detox. We did a lot of yoga, breathing work, and meditation. We ate a lot of Mung bean soup. In the previous year, we rented a house in Hawaii for a month. You know, with my kids, Christmas, Thanksgiving, summer vacations, family reunions all fit into the schedule. There’s one year we spent 12 days in Africa visiting different villages. When my kids turned 16, I took them anywhere in the world for a week. We bonded and created memories.

Building time into your schedule is essential. For example, my wife and I sit down at the beginning of the year to plan out our long weekends, vacations, and the time we’re going to spend with our kids (I have a seven-year-old grandson). At 5’oclock our time and 8 o’clock New York time (He lives in Brooklyn, NY), my wife and our grandson get on facetime, and they spend an hour together. She reads to him, plays games, and probably gets on there once a week. That connection is vital for both of them. It is essential to have that schedule.

HMM: Would you consider yourself a driven person? What makes you a powerhouse? What is the source of your strength?

JC: Yeah, I am! Driven by a purpose. I believe everybody is born with an inborn sense of purpose. When you’re fulfilling your goal to express, create, do or, learn what you enjoy, then you’re going to be happy. For me, my life purpose is to inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in the context of love and joy. So, inspiration from the Chicken Soup For The Soul stories, other stories like that I would tell, empowering people through books like “The Success Principles,” “The Success Principles Workbook,” and “The Power of Focus.”

Writing books, doing workshops, and providing training programs for trainers, coaches, and speakers to teach and coach success principles gives me fulfillment. I love what I do. I’m 76, and my wife keeps saying, ‘you should retire,’ and do what? Golf? I love working with people; I love writing; I love working with clients, helping them breakthrough blocks; I love teaching; I love playing games, even singing and dancing.

All the things we do in our seminars that, to me, is the best time ever. I love it, and I would say early on in my marriage, my wife probably thought I worked too much, traveled so much, but now there is Covid, and I’ve stayed at home for almost a year. We found a new balance, and I think working online helped us and allowed me to do the work I do without traveling. I now do webinars, podcasts, and things like that.

HMM: What are some of the things you do to prepare for events, and how do you wind down to relax after grueling events?

JC: I usually don’t have to wind down from them. Just content when I finished it. Sometimes I do a 7-day training over training trainers. I’ve always built into that another day at the hotel where I make it a spa day. Get a massage; I’ll sit in the sun, I’ll sit in the sauna, relax and go out for dinner that night. I’m a big fan of massages. My wife and I are both licensed masseuses. I took a massage training course once to do that. We trade massages which, is another way of winding down. But, again, I play ping pong, we have a pool table, playing scrabble, and watching movie series’ is our way of relaxing.

HMM: What is your definition of peace? What is your definition of success?

JC: I used to think that success could create any result you wanted in life. Being able to do whatever you want, wherever you want, as much as you want. But, ten years ago, I changed that to success is fulfilling your soul’s purpose. Suppose we go back to the idea that we each have a sense of the need to fulfill the need to be: an artist, a great chef, a mother that raises two healthy kids, to start a business, to the right a wrong in the world like a social justice issue you take on, a great teacher in a school, etc. I know a lot of readers are entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs figure out how to solve a problem in the world and get paid for it.

Whether you’re creating fashion, finding a cure for a disease, bringing a product to people, doing coaching and therapy, whatever it is, if you’re doing that entirely, then you are fulfilling your purpose and can be successful. I mentioned my children. None of them is wealthy in doing what they do, but they are all delighted. One is a hip-hop singer, and he has a studio in his condo, and he’s making music all the time, and he’s also a DJ. Another one is a drummer of a band, and another one is a singer, and my stepdaughter is also a singer and an artist, and they’re always making music, performing, etc., and they love what they do.

Whether or not they ever reach the status of Billy Joel or a Lady Gaga is not essential. It’s they’re having fun doing it, and they’re fulfilling their purpose. If individuals are doing what they enjoy and are being fulfilled by what they are doing, they are successful.


HMM: What type of legacy do you wish to leave?

JC: Two legacies. One of the books is over 200 chicken for the soul books now and sold over 500 million copies worldwide. So I’m thrilled with the impact that it has made in opening people’s hearts and helping them believe that everything is possible, helping them connect with people with love, and overcoming the obstacles that usually stop them from achieving their goals. Also, the work I do with the success principles of trainers.

We now have over 3000 certified trainers in 170 countries globally, so that’s very fulfilling for me. Now, I’m throwing out huge numbers, and it could be intimidating for some people. The fact is it’s taking me years and years to reach those numbers for the first chicken soup for the soul book was turned down by 144 publishers then when it was finally published, it took 14 months before we made the bestseller list, but once we did, we climbed up to #1 in the New York Times and stayed there for three years.

Eventually, we had seven books on the New York times list, but each one of those books took us about a year to write, so after several years, we started writing 4 to 5 books a year by working with co-authors, and then eventually, we end up to 200. It took us 15 years to get to that level, and so we just worked at it and keep working and keep working and keep visualizing and keep being observers and keep responding to the feedback. I think you can leave a great legacy.

Finally, we started developing a curriculum for schools, teaching success principles. I desire to see the staff taught while in school, so we use podcasts, webinars, and seminars. Those are the legacies I want to leave.

HMM: What is the one dream for yourself you most look forward to having come true?

JC: I have a book I am currently working on about choosing love rather than fear of being misguiding you in your life. It’s a book that I sometimes don’t work on because sometimes the topic overwhelms me, sometimes I’m just too busy doing delivery of interviews and things like that. Still, I am looking forward to finishing that book, and also, we have a goal to have a million trainers by the year 2030 teaching our work.

HMM: If there’s one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?

JC: I would say if I could snap my finger and everybody would change. Everybody would be feeding each other with love and respect, and acceptance. We could stop trying to convince everyone of who they are is wrong. We should do it our way. We’d love everyone to have their own beliefs, their religious beliefs, their political beliefs, and we still love and respect them and can move far, far away from that. If everyone will follow their heart and do what’s in their heart and get over their wounds, which leads people angry for what they think they want and need, and we wouldn’t have racism.

We wouldn’t have the classism that we have right now. People would be much more generous and kind and compassionate and responsible for themselves and each other. I would like to see people fulfilled in their own heart’s desires such that they can allow everyone else to be who they are and let them pursue the fulfillment of their heart’s desires.


HMM: What advice do you have for the young ladies (teens to young adult age) who are growing up in today’s world with so much influence in music that is not always supportive of their best interest? What advice would you give to the young men?

JC: I think the advice I would have for both, and I know it’s not always easy when you’re young. You’re looking to try and figure out who you are. Unfortunately, a lot of times, we think we have to be what the media portrays as the image of what’s lovable, whether that supper thin, or cool, or having the right kind of hair or the right body type, or the right clothes, being on social media all the time.

We share tons of research on how damaging it is. I know many young women who can’t go through the day without their cellphone next to them if it rings or incase someone post about them, and they don’t have a chance to respond. We are so afraid of what’s going to happen on social media, and I think when we’re living in fear instead of living with a love of who you are. Standing up to trust your desires, your tastes, things you want to do.

Instead, you get beyond the need to have everyone love you; you do not measure your success by how many likes you get, how many followers you get now that you’re an influencer and that kind of thing. You’re just you. A lot of times, it’s challenging. You have to try on some items. You can try in all kinds of different ways in the world to see which one fits you, but the main thing I think is, to tell the truth of what you feel, what you want, your hopes, your desires, your fears. We’re so afraid that people would see us being vulnerable.

Being vulnerable is what attracts people to you, so follow your heart and be who you are. You’re a divine being with given talents, don’t compare yourself to anybody. Comparison is a Fasttrack to misery, and I know in social media now is nothing but comparison all day long, but you don’t have to participate in it, and you don’t have to be run by it. You can choose to be your person. You take a social media break, if you will.

Just know that who you are, as an individual, may not be known until later in life. I know many young people who don’t get who they are until they leave home. Perhaps going into the military, getting a job, or going to college, could shed some light on who you will become. I didn’t find out who I was and what I love until I was probably 20 years old and so give yourself a break.

If you are a young adult and already in your twenties, remember you can find a job that will fulfill you. You can find something to do that you love, and if you’re an entrepreneur, which I know a lot of you reading this are, I will encourage you to trust that desire to explore bringing something into the world and never give up on your dream. Respond to feedback, prove the dream, establish your product’s quality, the quality of your service, and always trust that you’re being guided by something magnificent.


HMM: Being in the public eye is not without its consequences; how difficult is it to maintain excellent relationships (those with girlfriends/boyfriends, childhood friends, family, and significant others)? How do you handle that?

JC: I would say, schedule it. That’s the main thing I talked about and mentioned earlier—scheduling time for our family. We are talking about balancing life. When we were raising our kids, Friday night was family night; Saturday night, they could go out on a date with other people, which would be the date night with my wife. Wednesday night, we always have dinner together even though most kids were on the run playing different sports, projects, and things, but we have a lot of family rituals built-in through our family.

The idea of having a rhythm of getting together and connecting is important. We used to do a thing called a heart talk. We used a heart-shaped object to pass around and then picked a theme to talk about at dinner that night. Everyone would get a turn, and if you are holding the heart, nobody could interrupt you. You talked about how you feel about that topic. Maybe what’s your biggest fear? What happened this week that you wish you hadn’t? What are you wanting but not getting? How do you feel as a parent? Whatever. That was very important, and we still do that sometimes when we get together. Build-in that time is essential.


HMM: Who’s been the most significant influence in your life?

JC: I would say that it’s always been the people that were great impactors of social change. People like Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King. I think it’s because I know that’s been my path to have a more considerable impact, not a small impact but an enormous impact. I’m attracted to people, and I admire people, and I want to learn from them how they did what they did. What are their character qualities, and what are some of the things they hold off in their journey. Those are the people that inspire me.

A Love Mindset Transformed

love into your life
love refresh concept with raining drawing on grey background with red heart object and free copyspace for your text

Love into your life—Everything is energy, including us. We’re continually vibrating something. What we center attention on decides how we’re vibrating.

By focussing attention on the heart of who we are, our entire being starts to vibrate more expansively. Then, as like draws in like, we draw to ourselves any and all things that are in sync with this grand heart energy.

We get an increase in love, light, joyfulness, well-being, creativeness, enthusiasm, prosperity, gratitude, and an ever-deepening, awe-filled consciousness of who we are.

This is an abiding principle within universal laws. There’s a limitless Source of everything we require or could ever wish. This grand abundance is already ours, endlessly available to all of our days in and day out.

If we line up with The Law of Abundance, then we move in unity with it. In that unity, the sole thing that restricts you – beliefs in deficiency and limitation – dissolve.

“Happiness is your nature. It isn’t wrong to want it. What is wrong is seeking it outside if it’s inside.”Sri Ramana Maharshi

We draw in a reflection of what’s going on within us into our life story. So if you are feeling pitiful, mad, or restricted because of your weight, wellness, job, or past relationships, then you’ll draw in somebody into your life who’s likewise sad or mad.

If you had an issue with one of your parents, you’d likewise draw in an individual with the same problem into your life story, so you can continue to heal that relationship.

Let’s say, for instance, that your father abandoned you. Meaning, you might draw in a partner who’s afraid of commitment. If your mom was mad and always yelling, you could bring in a mate with an atrocious temper.

So before you center on attracting new love into your life, it’s crucial to do good work on yourself first. Once you’ve achieved these tasks, you’re ready to draw in the right love into your life!

Forging thru the New Slate of a New Now


HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!

Of course, I used yesterday as a holiday, so this is my first post for the year of 2012. WOW, it is so weird writing that. There’s something to be said for the NEW. People love new things. New cars, new homes, new clothes, unique jewelry, new friends, new relationships, new jobs, new hairstyles, new shoes, new handbags, new coats, new music, etc.. There’s something about this human condition that gets excited when we are presented with the NEW of something. There must be an endorphin release, which then sends a message to the brain saying this looks good, smells good, and is GREAT TO HAVE. When a person is converted and becomes saved, that NEW APPEAL of the GOD relationship has the same draw, and an even greater savor and flavor if you will.

People make all of these plans and resolutions to begin their lives anew at the start of each calendar year. It’s as if there is some invisible line drawn where you will do everything you know you do not want to continue doing and get your fill in of that before the 31st while making plans for every bit of behavior modification but not a moment before the 1st of the year. The entire thing is confused if you ask me. How in the world does man miss the NEW of the NOW??? Every day begins with a NEW DAWN, a new DAY that is here but for a time and never to return. We receive a NEW SHINING of the SUN, a NEW set of 24 Hours, and every bit of a NEW OPPORTUNITY to be right, do right and change who we’ve been and how we’ve done things. You don’t need a life-altering event or trigger to make that change. The only thing necessary is the outlook that you are given NEW every day as soon as you wake up to SEE another day.

Don’t live in the despair or the regret of you yesterday. Don’t live in fear and anguish of what you feel you may have to face in your tomorrow. Don’t even subtract from the beauty, the value, and the priceless measure of this day, this brand NEW day, by being held hostage by yesterday’s regretting sentiments, or tomorrow’s coming anguish. Instead, try this. The Bible says, do not let the sun go down on your anger, meaning don’t ever take to sleep with you any ought to discriminate against anyone. What if we were to transfer and use that same principle and refuse to allow the sun to go down on ANY vibrational energy or sentiment as it relates to ourselves, our choices, or our outcomes? What if we were to suddenly begin forgiving ourselves 70*7 in a day in addition to our neighbor? Could you imagine that: Human beings walking in the real-time, unconditional, forgiveness of themselves?

I know that for me, I have made some mistakes in my past… and no, I am not talking my past as in last year although that would be the truth. I am telyou ling the previous year as in the day before yesterday’s REAL TALK. There comes the point in time when you become so tired of making mistakes that when you find yourself a repeat offender of what you should have known better than to do, that you begin to feel there’s no hope. Now I remember that passage that says, “…that I would not want to do I would do”. I believe that our most formidable enemy our entire lifetime is ourselves because we allow the adversary entry into ourselves and our self which is then like being infected with a recurring cold or flu (depending on your ailment).

We must learn to be creatures of only the BEST HABITS possible. We must learn to inhabit behaviors of WALKING IN THE NOW by forging through the NEW of it all REAL-TIME. We must learn to have agape love for ourselves and our transgressions and falls (because I believe there is no such thing as failures) so that we can practice and develop the skill enough to transfer that sentiment towards others and make this world a better place. So yes, I’ve had to let the sun go down on yet another mistake I’ve made and live with the repercussion of the pain of that mistake, but not the regret of it. You see, once you’ve sincerely repented for a transgression, GOD is just to forgive, so now it’s your turn. Do not allow your mind to convince you of anything other than you get a NEW SLATE. Now take that NEW SLATE and create a masterpiece, because at the end of your 24 hours to do so, what you etch and sketch will be gone, and you’ll be called to create another!

Helping Your Teen Deal with Conflict in a Positive Manner


Conflict is difficult to deal with, and it is especially tough in the adolescent years. Your child is already going through many changes in their body and mind.

Conflict simply adds another complex layer to a time in life where things may already feel as though they are in an upheaval.

By supporting your child through any conflict they find themselves in, you can be a stabilizing voice in their life. Here is how you can help your teen deal with conflict in a way that will help them to push through the tough times and find their way to a better place in life.

Learning from Mistakes

Always remind your teen that although conflict is laborious, it is a sure way to learn different kinds of lessons. We can all learn from our mistakes. This means we can explore and find a tangible lesson, and then go forward while being able to avoid the same pitfalls in the future.

Using Conflict to Learn about Themselves

When there has been a disagreement, it is a rare opportunity to search inward and learn about oneself. There are many lessons you can find if you are determined to learn them, and this is important for teens to realize.

Maybe your teen will come to the awareness that he (or she) does not fight in a fair manner, or that he holds his feelings in until he bursts in a dramatic way. Or maybe he will find something positive, such as his strength when forced to stand alone on an issue.

Using Conflict to Learn about Others

Conflict is a great way to learn about others. Your teen can learn about what kinds of friends, family, and other individuals are in their lives based on how conflicts arise and play out. Teach your teen to decipher whether the other party is still supportive during the conflict, or whether they are using it as an opportunity to push your teen down. Is the other party fair and honest, or angry and deceitful? Conflict will reveal all.

Using Conflict as a Springboard to New Opportunities

It is said that unless we grow uncomfortable where we are, we never have the motive necessary to make changes. Conflict can sometimes cause your teen to want to move beyond where they are at the moment.

Maybe being in constant conflict with their boss will push them out of their current workplace and into the job of their dreams. Perhaps conflict experienced with a current boyfriend will prove to your daughter that she deserves better in a partner, and will prompt her to break up and move on.

Be an Emotional Support

During times of conflict, your teen will need your unconditional love and support. Be a strong role model and teacher of how to deal with negative encounters, and most of all let your teen know you will always be there for them.

Spend quality time with your teen and help them get their mind off of their problems. Know when to discuss, and when to suggest taking a mental health break and heading to the mall to grab an ice cream together.

Conflict will be difficult for your child because conflict is difficult for everyone. You will be one of the main guiding supports for your child as they navigate it. Use this opportunity to teach your child about growth, friendship, and self-care, and they will keep those lessons for life.

The Unusual Friend

univeristy campus

In a big city where you know no one, it isn’t easy to find a place of your own—an area which will be home away from home and will offer you a cozy corner. Being in Kolkata for almost three years, I still felt like a stranger. Among all the acquaintances, the count of friends is always a small number. So the journey of survival is, in most parts, a lonely one.

When I studied in the university, I lived in a hostel just across the road, which belonged to a government-aided institution meant for poor children named after a prominent social worker. It had a school within its premises, a hostel for the students studied there, and a dormitory for a few college students. The rent and the meal charges were modest, and so was the living. 

The dormitory was shared by six girls and the caretaker, who was almost deaf, so it didn’t occur as an obstacle in the path of parties, celebrations, and events, which entitled us to yell at the top of our voices. There were a huge study hall and a dining space, both in want of repairs and reconstruction. Though everything looked so dismal, there was a coziness about the environment, which metropolitan cities can rarely offer. There was a slow-moving tram line alongside fast-moving traffic just outside the hostel. 

I used to sit on the stairs outside the hostel building and dream away while staring at the advertisements on the tramcars’ bodies.

The university campus was smaller than usually expected and had four to five buildings. In one such facility at the rear end of the campus was my department. Some classmates became good friends of mine and could instill the illusion of belongingness to unfamiliar circumstances. After the classes, we would go to a small canteen just beside our building and have hot tea and delicious samosa accompanied by long discussions, heated debates, and lively chats on all possible topics under the sun.

Although a lot was happening around me, I felt a vacuum inside me, which never seemed to diminish. Sometimes I used to take a stroll along the sidewalk of the university campus. 

There were vendors of street food, a cobbler, and also a small stationery shop. The last one was almost a tin-wooden cabinet where the pen seller seemed to be permanently installed with no way to exit or enter the shop. Most of the days, I used to stop by this shop and looked at and tested the various pens for hours together. 

Although they had a frightening look, colossal build, and red eyes, the man never showed any irritation towards me. He kept taking out the pens from the behind the glass cases and sometimes also from his hidden stocks.

 After seeing and scribbling with almost all the cells, I would only take a three or four rupees pen, which at that time were the only ones I could afford with my meager pocket-money. I sometimes felt a little afraid that he would shout at me for wasting so much of his time. But throughout the two years I stayed there, he never spoke a crossword to me.

One day, it was raining heavily, and I forgot to bring an umbrella. I had just got down from a bus and had to walk a short distance back to my hostel. I started walking in that direction when I heard somebody shouting, “sister,” “sister.” I looked around and saw the stationery shopkeeper. I went to him and asked what the matter was. 

He said that since it was pouring heavily, I could sit in his shop, check-out the new stock of pens, and go back to the hostel when the rain stops. For a moment, I hesitated, but the prospect of getting to have a look at the pens made me respond in the affirmative. To my surprise, I found out that the shop was more extensive than I thought and had a small lobby behind it. 

He offered me a chair and took out the pens for me. Once I was scribbling with one of them, I glanced at the man and found him smiling at me. I quickly kept the pen aside and put up a poised look on my face. But then he suddenly left, and I was sitting all alone with my eyes wandering here and there when I caught sight of a parker pen. After a little while, he came back with a steaming cup of tea and offered it to me with such a gracious gesture that I couldn’t deny, although I felt odd. I asked him to show me the parker pen. It looked so elegant and wrote so smoothly that I wanted to buy it with all my heart, but it was costly as expected. 

I think I was holding on to the price tag for more than a minute when the shopkeeper said; I can give you the pen for rupees ninety-five instead of a hundred. I looked up and thanked him for the offer but declined as it was still quite costly for me. By that time, the rain had stopped, and after appreciating his kindness, I briskly walked back to my hostel.

After that day, the shop had become my favorite place to hang-out. He used to sell me the pens always at a discounted price and very often also offered me tea. He had a lot of information about the various types of pens and other writing instruments. Although both of us knew nothing about each other, we had a deep friendship based on a common liking for pens.

At the end of two years, I went home to prepare for my final examinations. After my exams got over, I went to the shop, only to find it shut and locked. I looked about but couldn’t find anybody around. Suddenly the cobbler sitting on the footpath called out to me and said that the pen seller had sold his shop and went back to his village. When I asked him what happened, he couldn’t give me any exact information but said that there were some accidents and death in the family. I felt very sorry for the man and went back feeling sad.

I had to leave for my home the next day, so I started packing my things. While arranging the books and the stationery items into my suitcase, I found hundreds of pens, all bought from that stationery shop. I took out one of the pens and thought to myself, how an insignificant acquaintance becomes a significant part of your life. I wanted to meet him one last time and thank him for giving me company in the previous two years. I think that the small shop was more dear to me than all my friends.

Time Management for Freelancers

time management

It demands time to get a freelance business; it takes time to build yourself, and it needs time to earn money. All of this can be nerve-wracking and cause countless restless nights. For better time management, consider our next five tips:

Sets goals
Before starting a freelance activity or freelance project, you should think first about where you want to go. A goal should be clearly defined. This way, you will have one clear direction, and this will help planning your time.

Organize yourself
If you do not know what to do, then there is no point in planning time. You have to study the projects that you’ll do the next day. This way, you’ll be more organized, and the time available will be used efficiently. Try to name tasks with short but representative titles.
Organizing your work will reduce most of your lost time. Organize your computer files, depending on the projects you are working on. Organize your emails in folders using various filters. Do not let any mail “unprocessed.” If you’re asked to do a task in the mail, but it immediately in the “To-Do List”

By organizing your schedule, you can often accommodate all kinds of non-work aspects of your life that are less available to those connected to cubicles, whether that means hobbies, family, or personal wellness.

Prioritize tasks
As a freelancer, it is essential to determine the type of tasks that you’ve set. There are tasks necessary or less critical, urgent and vital, long or short. Combining these features and assigning tasks will get you information on which you can determine the order in which you’ll execute what you have proposed.

Once you start working on a task, focus on it. Remove everything that can distract you: phone, TV, etc. And if you start doing a task, finish it without taking other projects. You don’t want to get to have ten tasks simultaneously, and none of them to be completed.

Take breaks
Even if this advice is easy to follow, it has great importance. If you think you need a break, take a break. Do not forget that you are human. During breaks, talk to others who freelance, learn from their experiences. Grow your ideas.

Each evening, before going to sleep, reflect on what you’ve accomplished that day. Prepare yourself for the next day by preparing your top three priority items for the morning. When you punch in the next day, tackle those tasks before you even look at anything new.

Mo’Neke Ragsdale Seeks to Become the First female President of the Local Branch of the NAACP in America’s Poorest City in the Nation

Mo’Neke Ragsdale

By Crystal Evans, Political Editor

Was there ever a time when your voice was not being heard? Since the beginning of time, women have been passed over in leadership. We have been blatantly ignored, paid less in wages, and taken on the responsibility of being the organizer, planner, and promoter for change. Because we were made to be physically weaker than a man, we have been subjected to abuse, sexually harassed, beaten, raped, blamed, and defamed. But like my favorite poet and author the late Mya Angelou says, “We Rise.”

We carry life within us; we are nurturers to lives we birth. We raise a generation and teach our children the right way to go. We are spiritual, we love deeply, and we are passionate, caring, understanding, and strong. We have been underestimated and shrugged off by arrogance. We have been ignored, but we never give up. We bond in sisterly love and fight to fix wrongs and make them right. We stand together in changing a broken system and speak out in changing a negative mindset to positive thinking. Women have always played an active role in the struggle for universal suffrage. Women have participated in political meetings and organized political societies attended political conventions at the local churches where they planned strategies to gain the right to vote. In the late 1800s, more black women worked for churches, newspapers, and colleges which gave them a larger platform to promote their ideas.

Despite the hard work, many people did not listen to them. Black men and White Women usually led to civil rights organizations and set the agenda. They often excluded black women from their organizations and activities. Unfortunately, the National American Woman Suffrage Associated Prevented Black women from attending their conventions Black women had to often march separately from white women in suffrage parades.

When Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony wrote the History of Woman Suffrage in the 1880s, they featured white suffragists while largely ignoring the contributions of African American suffragists. Though Black women played an important role in getting the Fifteenth and nineteenth amendments passed, many were not remembered, nor given the recognition for their contribution to this historic change. Today we see the long and hard struggle that has paved the way for women of color. Today we witness a woman of color making history by becoming not only the first woman but the first black woman elected to serve as the Vice President for the United States of America. Kamala Harris is a Role Model for women of all ages and colors. In Camden New Jersey we are witnesses to another woman who is looking to step into leadership and fix a city that has been labeled as the Poorest in America. Mo’Neke Ragsdale was born and raised in Camden New Jersey. Camden was once a prosperous city filled with manufacturing jobs and business opportunities, after the manufacturing plants closed and businesses moved out of Camden, new leadership role and took over the city. Camden was run by a political machine boss who controlled elected officials; law enforcement; the legal; education boards, elections, media, real estate, businesses, and many people which were controlled by jobs.

The political boss machine has influence with state legislators and a close relationship with former Attorney General at the time Christopher Christie who later became Governor for New Jersey. The boss machine-controlled and dictated legislation, implemented laws that have benefited his businesses and special interests. The prevailing mantra is: If you do not do as you are told, you will be punished by the machine and/ or one of its many acolytes. Residents live in fear of retaliatory actions which may result in job loss, defamation, or (some claim) even death. It is an authoritarian, dictatorial system where the dictates of one unelected individual have the final word and are the ultimate authority.

On the Camden waterfront, arguably the most lucrative real estate in the Southern half of the state, millions of dollars (in the form of tax incentives) went into businesses that promised to bring high paying jobs. But those promised jobs were transfers and only a few new jobs came to the city. The waterfront and downtown areas saw a flurry of development and new construction, in the outlying communities of Camden streets are in various stages of crumbling roads, potholes, and disrepair. Burned out abandon homes and businesses depress the value of homes; areas of the city are run over by drug addicts living on the streets, in abandoned buildings, under overpasses, and in tent cities. Sadly, at times, it’s as if one were watching a scene from “The Walking Dead.”

The billions of dollars spent in Camden have not benefitted the residents, instead, their lives have been left in ruins. To add insult to the injury, the residents of the city experience a revolving door of local elected officials who serve the interests and at the pleasure of the political boss, with little or no consideration for either the will or interest of the people.

Mo’Neke Ragsdale is a life-long resident who grew up in Camden and became actively involved in the local branch of the NAACP. According to Mo’Neke: “the NAACP was the only civil rights organization in the city geared and ready to fight social injustice”. With this thought in mind, she decided to become a member. Shortly after joining and attending a few meetings, she realized there was both a lack of members and visibility at the Camden branch. Since the city of Camden had achieved the perennial ranking as the nation’s poorest city. Mo’Neke felt it was time to rebuild and re-educate the community about the disparaging conditions that were obstacles to their quality of life.

The people of Camden have been fiscally raped by a political machine and its operatives who have been in control of the billions of dollars that have come into the city over the past 40 years. Recently, former Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that provided more than $265 million, ostensibly for job creation and community revitalization. However, according to Mo’neke and others, the money did not go to its intended beneficiaries going instead to wealthy corporations and politically connected allies of George Norcross. In the meantime, communities outside of the downtown/waterfront area continued to deteriorate, roads fell further into disrepair, buildings continued to crumble and those living in impoverished communities watched as their neighborhoods fell deeper into decay.

Mo’Neke believes the NAACP is the vehicle for exposing the deplorable living conditions of Camden’s residents and address those issues and concerns long ignored by the political apparatus and to begin fighting for the rights of the people. The NAACP played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement of The 1950s and 1960s. One of the organization’s key victories was the U.S. Supreme Court 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed segregation in public schools.

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was founded with the goal of fighting for racial equality for Black Americans. From its inception the organization worked to fight segregation laws, discrimination in housing, education, employment, voting, and transportation and to oppose racism, bigotry, and discrimination in all its forms and further, to ensure Black Americans were able to exercise their Constitutional and Civil Rights. The NAACP was established in 1909 and is America’s oldest, largest, and most renowned civil rights organization. It was formed in New York City by white and black activists, partially in response to the ongoing violence (lynchings, disenfranchisement, and other crimes against humanity) being perpetrated against Black Americans across the country.

Mrs. Ragsdale has traveled across New Jersey, participating in workshops, seeking to empower residents through rallies, sitting on panels, providing testimony, and participating in legislative actions in the interest of education reform and children’s services. She has testified countless times both locally and at the state level on behalf of Camden’s residents. Mo’Neke has been recognized countless times for her parental involvement, community service, and advocacy.

Mo’Neke has said that nothing can be fought alone. You need each other to build and make a difference. There is power in numbers and together we will fix this system that has failed the people. She credits Vida Neal for her strength and for being a voice. Vida has been fighting for the people and the children of this city her entire life. She too is someone who has stood up for the rights of the people Mo’Neke said there are so many women and men who are standing on the front line of the poorest city in America to provide a better quality of life for the residents and the people throughout this city, county, and state. Together we can fix this broken system!

Mo’Neke said she could name dozens of people who have contributed to this movement but wants to see newly elected leaders who are not controlled by a political machine run for office. She would like to see justice prevail and those who have had their civil rights violated be held accountable. Mo’Neke wants the NAACP to help the people fight a political boss machine that has destroyed lives and used his influence to suppress voters and return the same political puppets back in position. She wants the public schools to be restored and given their fair share of funding; clean up the entire community, not just the waterfront area. Mo’Neke, wants jobs for those living in her city who have not been given a chance or opportunities. She hopes the NAACP will recognize and see the disparities that have plagued this city for so long under this political boss machine She feels there needs to be reform on many levels and having the NAACP behind the Camden Chapter will help fix the poorest city in the Nation. The NAACP has the tools and years of leadership to help their chapters who are fighting for the rights of the people.

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