Product Review: Aurelia Zierre

aurelia zierre

The problem with store bought scrubs and cleansers has never been that they don’t get the job done. Typically, they leave your face feeling clean enough and one is just as good as another. But along with that cleanliness comes a dried out feeling that falls very short of refreshing. The unnatural ingredients in store bought products is what brings on this dryness. Aurelia Zierre says that “we started our company in order to give people a safer and more natural alternative to caring for their skin” and I believe they’re doing just that!

honeysuckle mintAurelia Zierre’s Honeysuckle Mint Exfoliating Facial Scrub muscles up where many other scrubs wimp out. It seems they know just what’s needed to leave a face renewed and nourished, and don’t bother adding anything other than that. Another great thing about Aurelia Zierre’s products is that purchasing them allows the opportunity to “pay it forward”. The company, based in Washington, DC, is connected to local charities such as The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project”. Having volunteered at this program (along with Raven!) a few years ago, I know first hand that they do good and important work in the community, offering parents some time for themselves while giving children a break from the trials of homelessness.

On working with “The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project”, Aurelia Zierre says, “We decided to partner with local charities because we’ve always done volunteer work throughout the city and believe that we could also help by donating 10% of our proceeds to local charities. We reached out to our supporters and customers in order to get an understanding of what charities people held dearest to their hearts. We wanted to only partner with organizations that had a direct impact on the lives of Washington DC residents in need of a little extra help. Playtime Project was an organization that we heard plenty about when we reached out; we fell in love with what they do and made sure to link them to our altruistic dreams. We will continue to add products to our line with the hopes of partnering with more charities. As we grow so will our reach.”

Review written by Kesia Webster

To try out the  Honeysuckle Mint Exfoliating Facial Scrub visit Aurelia Zierre’s store at AureliaZierre.storenvy.com or check them out at the H Street Market at 806 H St. Northeast, Washington, DC.

Also check out their other sites:

Blog– AureliaZierre.tumblr.com
Email– AZ.Scrubs@gmail.com
Instagram– Aurelia.Zierre

 

You can also check out homemade soap by Yiaya, their sister store, which I also had a chance to try and adored! Products include Vanilla, orange, clovebus, vanilla pomegranate and colendula and honey with arise.

Email– loveyiaya@gmail.com
Instagram– yia_ya

The BE! Life: The Key to Loving Life is Self Love

Tiffany Wright, MSWTiffany2

Occupation/Title: Owner of BE!
Age: 27
Hometown: Inglewood,  CA

1. Personal Background, please introduce yourself. Of course your job title, education etc, but also your hobbies, your passions, the things that make you YOU.

I have a passion for change and positive experiences that elicit change. Life is an adventure and an opportunity for all of us to learn and teach. Thus I live my life accordingly and follow my mantra, Live a Life Worth Living! I’m all about outdoor adventures and motorized sports. Skydiving,  Atv’ing, zip lining, jet skiing, race car driving, hiking, water rafting, etc. I feel that adventure awakens the spirit and elevates you to another level, which is what my company is about.

All things Disney, Romantic, and Colorful are all of me. On the flip side I love watching History, Discover and the Food Channel haha. I love being with genuine people that make me laugh, think, and grow and that sentiment overflows into my work.I am the founder of the empowerment brand and movement, BE! In which I promote self love to millennial women.

2. State the name and mission of your organization.

BE! is an empowerment lifestyle brand that promotes self love to millennial women.Through special events and media, BE promotes its ideals, BE Inspired, BE Empowered, BE Well and BE YOU to audiences. BE! illuminates and affirms the self-inspired passions and goals envisioned by women on a spiritual journey to find their place in this world.

Tiffany9

3. How did you get to where you are today?

Put simply, BE! is a life calling because my message, in its purity, is a reflection of my own truth. It’s been a journey. At 7 I decided I wanted to be a child psychologist because I wanted to help and empower children coming from dysfunctional families. By the time I got to college I was set on my majors, Sociology and Psychology. I also minored in African American studies and it got me really interested in learning about the depths of identity development.  Upon graduation I was not confident enough to apply to PH.D programs but I knew I wanted to have my own organization and help people, so I applied to MSW and went to Columbia in New York. NYC was the birthing place of BE!  From 2009 up until 2013 I progressively got interested in yoga, nutrition, personal development and mindfulness books, and finally launched The BE Life, my blog, in November 2013.

Tiffany7It took a string of unhealthy relationships, a layoff, and a physical transformation for me to open my eyes and think, what the heck has been going on? Look how much healing I need to do. I want everything to change but I need to work on me.

Because of my own realization, I became more and more aware of how much power women give up. How much low esteem they have. How much value they put in their bodies and labels as opposed to their visions, desires and purpose. Most importantly, I wanted to impact the nature of how we go into relationships. This right here was the kicker for me because why is ” a good woman like me” attracting the men I’m attracting? It wasn’t the goodness in me that was an issue, it was the brokenness and wounds. That was my aha moment. So much of who we are and what we do and become are affected by our relationships, romantic, familial and platonic. These relationships are often unhealthy spirals leading to further unhealthy spirals. I realized that first exploring the relationship with self, would affect absolutely everything else.

4. Do you feel you’ve made a difference? What changes have you seen/made and what do you hope to see in the future?

The most immediate changes that are evident are amongst my close family and friends.  They use terms like “self love” now haha. They pay attention to what I do, and we fall into a lot of conversations about BEing present, focusing on gratitude, walking through fear, and self serving behaviors and thoughts.  My little sister is the most impact because I don’t have children, she is my legacy. When I teach her about anything, and on her own she responds and reflects it, that it fulfillment.  Breaking cycles of self defeat, self hate, and self sacrificing.

Also I see post of people I know incorporating BE actions in their posts. For example #belove #befree etc. Whereas they Tiffany4may have not done that as much previously.

5. How have you changed since starting your work?

The nature of my personal relationships have dramatically changed. Because I learn to honor myself and my spirit, I’m more adamant and vocal to people about what I will and will not entertain,  likewise in honoring others i am no where near as judgmental as I used to be. I have been able to forgive and let go of a lot of expectations and take people for who they are.

6. You’ve told us the mission for your organization, but what does your work do for you personally?

Accountability.  To know people might be looking for the inspiration or insight of a blog or social media post means I must be selfless and do whats necessary to honor others and myself. Also, one of my aunts says I’m the first student of BE which is true because most content is reflective of personal epiphanies, experiences and conversations. I often am transparent that journeys never end, including my own, So I get to teach and learn cyclically.

7. What advice do you have for women wanting to start their own organization or non-profit?

Do the research,  make a plan, and just go. You don’t always have to “wait for the perfect time,” do what you can with what you have, and whatever is meant to be will unfold.  You will evolve as well as your organization, and sometimes that evolution is appealing to even your first followers. FAITH is the most important,  passion comes next, vision and effort go hand in hand.

Tiffany88. What is a message that you believe every woman should hear?

That self love is the key to loving a life worth living. When you connect to yourself and the idea of self love you will live more fearlessly,  attract healthy platonic and romantic relationships, will be able to give more to the world,  and will fall in love with yourself in and out.

Want to reach out to Tiffany?

youtube: Live the BE Life

Ig: the_be_life

Fb: whatsyourbe

Twitter-@bebebelife

Beyou@livethebelife.com

December: Women Who Give Back

Hi readers!

I know its been a moment since I’ve posted but a lot has been going on! I’m working full time now as a preschool teacher and I’m back in school to get my teaching certifications. So, needless to say I’m still trying to figure out how to juggle everything, bear with me!

I just wanted to take a quick moment and introduce this month’s theme: Women Who Give Back. One of my favorite things about the holiday season is that family and community are brought to the forefront of our conscious. Whether you get it from exchanging gifts, driving past decorated houses, doing community service, or your mom’s mac and cheese: everyone is enveloped in a warm fuzzy feeling. It is a time where you embrace love and inspiration and I just wanted to continue the trend by sharing the stories of some women who inspired me in how they have created non profits in service to their communities. I definitely hope to follow in their foot steps.

Stay tuned and I hope you enjoy!


Happy Holidays 🙂

There is Beauty in Simplicity

HANEEFAH  haneefah3

Age: 23
Occupation: Currently a Student of Pharmacology and Drug Discovery
Hometown: Ilorin, Nigeria

 

How long have you been designing?

I’ve been designing since I was really little. I loved to draw and doodle so I drew designs, but I started it as a small business about a little over two years ago.

 

What kind of women do you design for? How do you want women to feel in your clothes?

I design for the average modest woman. I have had to incorporate my faith into my designs and interpretation of those designs. I want women to feel covered, comfortable and be able to further express themselves with my clothes on them.

haneefah8

Who are some of your favorite designers?

I do not have a particular designer in mind, but I do admire a few design houses, like aab and iamISIGO.

 

How would you describe your style?

I usually have difficulty describing my style really. It projects who I am, it is comfortable, it is versatile and most importantly, simple, because I believe there is beauty in simplicity.

 

What motivated you to pursue this passion?

When I was wrapping up my BSc, I had to spend an extra semester in school, so I had lots of time on my hands. I decided to open a blog and open a portal for discussion for women all over the world; somehow, it evolved into me sharing my work which included the arts and crafts I dabble into all the time. So, with most of the nice comments I got and encouragement, I continued updating the blog at least once a week. Then my mum got me a sewing machine around that time for my birthday, hence started my sewing journey. As I am self-taught, I had to check, learn and re-learn a lot of things online because prior to when I got a sewing machine, I was always looking for no-sew projects I could easily do. I started sewing for myself at first, then friends and family asked for details and wanted to wear my cloths too! I provided the designs people saw on me on request and then went ahead to launch a collection later on. Production is currently on break now because of school. haneefah7

 

What is it like being a brown girl in the fashion industry? 

haneefah6I have not fully incorporated myself into the fashion industry yet but I already know the intense competition out there. Networking is not hard if you have a well-developed and unique brand.

 

Where do you get your ideas on what styles to make? Where do you draw inspiration from?

Mostly online. I love watching E! a lot so I get some ideas there, I love to draw inspiration from nature especially when it is pertaining to colors.

 

haneefah4What advice do you have for other girls who want to pursue designing as a career?

To never give up. Lots of time, I’ve almost quit, but I didn’t, it could get frustrating at times, but the beauty of that is you get to enjoy the good times due to perseverance and hard work.

 

Want to get in touch with Haneefah and see her designs? Check out her blog  www.muslimahanie.comher clothing website http://www.haniecollection. com (not up to date),  follow her on twitter @ms_hanie and instagram @muslimahanie

Additional info: I’m currently in the UK now, for my haneefah1masters degree programme therefore I had to take a break for about a year so that I can focus on my education because I think that is important too. During that period, I would plan better ahead for the future. haneefah2

 

 

Making A Statement Using Fabric

ANGEL Angel1

Age: 29
Occupation: Self Employed/Full Time Medical Student/Mentor
Hometown: Baltimore

 

How long have you been designing?
4 years

What kind of women do you design for? How do you want women to feel in your clothes?

I design clothing for men and women. I design clothing based off the needs of my clients, if they are looking for trendy, traditional,high fashion, I pride myself on listening to my customers needs. I want my clients to feel like they are expressing themselves and feel confident in my items.

Angel4Who are some of your favorite designers?

Yves Saint Laurent, Roberto Cavalli

How would you describe your style? Angel3

I describe my personal style as artistic and without boundaries.

What motivated you to pursue this passion?

I have always loved fashion even as a child, I think that Tyra Banks motivated me to want to be the person who could allow the model to make a statement using fabric.

What is it like being a brown girl in the fashion industry?

Being a brown girl of different ethnic backgrounds and moral backgrounds has made it difficult. Being any kind of true artist you are never really understood for the craft that you love dearly. The journey has been difficult because of me majoring in the medical field. I have two skills that require a lot of my attention, which makes it hard on my social awareness scene. Thus its hard to attend events that could give me exposure so my marketing methods have to be a little more traditional then others. I think the most difficult part about finding support is finding genuine support. A lot of people in our era do not value the concept of continuous hard work so its difficult to find people with the same work ethics as you.

Where do you get your ideas on what styles to make? Where do you draw inspiration from?

I get my ideas from artists. I go to art galleries and sit with art students from across the United States and get a feel of what art is eye indulging. I am also a great fan of DIY projects.

Angel2What advice do you have for other girls who want to pursue designing as a career?

My advice is to learn about fashion, study your target, learn about being in business and always conduct yourself as a professional woman at all times. Integrity, consistency, and hard work is the key to success always.

Want to get in touch with Angel? Check out her Instagram @Aye_itsangel_, her LinkedIn: Angel King or her meet up page: Angel King!

 

As always, if you want to suggest a topic, wish to be featured or have any other feedback, feel free to contact me at raven.best5@gmail.com

 

Our Style, But Where Are We??

So a little while ago, I got a DM on instagram from a lovely lady named Angel King who was inquiring about how to be featured on the blog. She is an upcoming designer in the DMV and is looking to get her name and brand out. Now I jumped at the request because she is the FIRST person to reach out to me and suggest a topic, therefore October on the blog will be showcasing and celebrating brown Female Designers!

While thinking about the types of questions for this set of features, I realized how necessary this theme was, especially considering the numerous fashion weeks taking place across the globe during this time of year. I’ve been noticing a lot of people commenting on how (once again) many components of black culture are being adopted into the fashion industry. For example, all of sudden baby hair, durags and head wraps are in style on the runway. What may seem to be “new” accessories or hair styles to some, these trends have been a part of black hair culture for decades. But all of a sudden they are now high fashion and deemed “urban fabulous” because they’ve been attached to white bodies.

It never ceases to amaze me how much of our culture is appropriated without due credit, representation or respect. How many black fashion designers do we see during the fashion weeks in New York and Paris? How many black contestants are included on tv shows like Project Runway? But our styles and concepts are quick to be copied, rebranded and resold while we are excluded. So in an attempt to increase visibility and appreciated for black female designers, the features for this month are of women trying to make a name for themselves in fashion; to share their stories, designs and passion.

 

As always, to be featured or to suggest a topic, feel free to email me at raven.best5@gmail.com!

 

Remember to follow The Free Your Mind Project on Instagram @fymproject and like The Free Your Mind Project on Facebook.


Thanks for reading!

Proving Them All Wrong

DAVIAN davian3

Age: 21
Occupation: 1st Grade Teacher at Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School
Hometown: Washington, DC/Oxon Hill, MD

 

Life as a Black man in the U.S. has been a definite struggle but I would never change any part of who I am, even if it means that my life would be “easier.” Growing up in SouthEast DC, one of the poorest predominantly Black cities in the U.S. and moving to Prince George’s County, Maryland, one of the most affluent majority-Black counties in the country has come with it’s fair share of trials and tribulations. I love who I am. Where I come from. What I represent. But to some, who I am, where I come from, and what I represent does not sit well with them and they feel threatened by my mere existence. Stereotypes, judgements, perceptions. I would be a fool not acknowledge that Black men are targets for destruction in today’s society and the truth is being a black, Christian“gay” male doesn’t many things any easier for me. The intersection of these identities has presented a plethora of very unique and challenging experiences throughout my life. But I can’t help who I am or how other people judge me..and honestly, I couldn’t give a shit.

davian4Recently, it “seems” as though more and more black males have been the victim of senseless acts of violence, racism, and discrimination but this isn’t necessarily true. It isn’t that it’s happening more often, but more often it is coming to the light of public acknowledgement. It is sad to say that this is nothing new and to some it’s the norm. But why is this the case? You would think that after slavery was abolished nearly 150 years ago, the Civil Rights Movement 50 years ago, and the election of this country’s FIRST Black president 6 years ago, that we would see progress. Indeed, some progress has been made but it has been very, very miniscule. The truth is…shit hasn’t changed.

Hearing stories like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Jonathan Ferrell, Eric Garner (the list goes on and on…and on) truly disgust me. Why am I still more likely to get pulled over? Why am I still more likely to get arrested? Why am I still more likely to serve more time in jail? Why am I still more likely to be shot and killed by an officer (a white officer)? It seems like no one can give me a true/valid answer. Nowadays, Cops are not shooting to wound or apprehend. They are shooting to KILL! Their force is excessive. Why? Because they are threatened. But why are they threatened? Because Black men are stereotypically labeled as aggressive, negligent, killing

machines. Black men are constantly demonized and criminalized. We are not provided the same opportunities as other men and when we are,Davian2 we have to fight for the leftovers.

Even after attending the University of Maryland, College Park, a mixing bowl of students of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, abilities, sexual orientations, backgrounds, lifestyles, etc. I could not forget that it is still a predominantly white institution. I truly enjoyed my experience there and the people I have met but I will never forget the subtle signs of racism, the stares when I was the only Black male in my engineering courses, the white female students who crossed the street when they saw me coming, the group of drunk white guys who didn’t think I heard them call me a nigga or a fag on the Quad. It could have been so easy for me to look down on white people as a group for the poor actions some of them have made but that wouldn’t make any sense. Just how all Black men should not be ridiculed for the poor actions that other Black have men have made (rape, murder, abuse, theft, etc.)

Last October, I joined the 2014 Teach For America DC Corps and I am currently a 1st grade teacher at Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School in SouthEast, DC. Of a staff of almost 50, I’m one of three males of color. In a field where white females are the majority and less than 2% of teachers in the U.S. are Black men, I feel even more marginalized. Black male over-representation in the U.S. prison system and under-representation in the U.S. school system has always been a painful nerve in the back of my head. But that makes my job so much more important for not only me but for my students. It’s important for my students (who are majority Black) to know that black men can be teachers. We are not all aggressive. We are not all gangbangers. We are not all drug dealers. We are not all NFL/NBA players. They all have a “choice” in what they want to be when they grow up but it will not be easy. They have to fight back. They have to advocate for themselves. But in a very proactive, productive, and non-violent way because if they choose the opposite, we will only be acting as the fools they predicted us to behave as.

davian1I know people didn’t expect me to make it this far. To make it past my teen years. To graduate from high school as Salutatorian. To attend a predominantly white university on a full ride and graduate on time. To start my master’s program in education at Johns Hopkins University. But that’s fine. I’m not going to stop until I get my PhD and become another black man who they address as “doctor”.

 

Want to reach out to Davian? Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @davey_divito or Email him at davianmorgan1@gmail.com

Second Chances

KOLAWOLE SOLOMON Instagram: execwalls

Age: 27
Occupation: Healthcare Administrator
Hometown: PG County, MD – by way of Nigeria

 

“I obsess over my own perfection, but is it possible that even in my imperfect form, I create the highest standard?” –K.S.F

 

It’s been told so often that I’m sure you’ve heard this story before. A group of young black males, late teens to mid-twenties, who aren’t used to having a lot – devise a quick plan in order to gain more. However, this plan, like so many others before it, forces these young men down the road to perdition – often called “the prison system.”

The year is 2005. After a string of armed robberies in Prince Georges County, Maryland – a group of young men conclude their night by robbing a Wendy’s fast food restaurant. This unfortunate event was witnessed by an undercover cop, which led to a high speed chase down a residential neighborhood. The young men are cornered by two squad cars on a one-way street.

After complying with instructions to turn off the engine of the car and toss the keys out of the window, via megaphone, the young men prepare themselves to surrender. Yet it seems that one of the two policemen still felt that deadly force was necessary in order to apprehend these young black men. The officer, by all accounts, proceeds to fire two shots directly at the vehicle, which prompted one of the young men to open fire at the officers in an attempt to save his own life by fleeing the scene.

 

That young man was Charles Vincent Cole, Inmate #336052 – a friend and a brother.

PROFILE PICTURE

Charles remained a fugitive for a few months, until officers were able to identify him with the help of statements given by his accomplices and other unrelated individuals seeking lesser jail time. He pled guilty to 3 of 32 charges and was sentenced to 25 years in a Maryland state prison.

I frequently reminisce on the events of that night, exploring how my own life could have easily traveled down the same road my brother’s had. I most likely would have been chilling with that group of men on that fateful evening had it not been for the fact that I had to work and was uninformed of the scheme until its aftermath. Maybe it was luck, maybe it was divine intervention – but whatever it was, it gave me a greater sense of purpose moving forward.

Within every human is a piece of ourselves.

The year is now 2014 and my life somehow mirrors Charles’ own. I have used my background in business administration to invest in and operate a boutique home health agency serving seniors in the DC area. I also run a website dedicated to my creative endeavors: photography, literature, and illustrations – which I also plan to make a business of. I workout at least 4 days a week and eat a lot healthier meals.  My mind is open and my views are liberal.

CHARLESA lot has been accomplished in the 9 years Charles has served. He has gained his GED, scoring so high that he was made the instructor of the GED prep course. He’s held a steady job in the prison kitchen, which has allowed him to make a few dollars as well as build himself from 150lbs to 225lbs. With the extra weight comes fitness – Charles leads a small fitness club within the prison, sharing workout techniques with other inmates. He’s also maintained good behavior throughout his incarceration, so much so that he is now housed in the “Honor Tier,” a section that offers a greater level of freedom and privilege.

Every visit I make to see my brother, I’m instead greeted by a new person, an improved man. I mean, dude even taught himself how to play acoustic guitar – a feat he would have never attempted a decade ago. Although neither of us is particularly religious, we both believe in the power of positive thinking. So you’ll never hear Charles complain about his situation or his past. He’s one of the most optimistic, forward-facing human beings I’ve ever known.

Charles is a living example that personal redemption is attainable for every man, woman, and child who seeks it.

Perspective dictates all. Therefore, our constant pursuit of self-improvement, regardless of circumstance, propels us closer towards our own level of perfection. I never have to say, “Free Charles Cole,” because he is a man whose mind has been freed a long time ago.

 

Follow Kolawole on Tumblr:  www.exec-walls.tumblr.com