From Graduation to Greatness

graduation

 

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Hallelujah! That’s probably how you felt when you handed in your last paper and took your last final.

Flashback about 30 days ago you were in great anticipation of walking across the stage, shaking hands with the president of the college, turning your tassel and celebrating commencement with your friends, and family.

Today is different.

Graduation has come, your moment on stage has passed, and the fanfare has died down.

Reality is starting to settle in; YOU’RE FINISHED.

You’ve graduated. Congratulations.

Did you know that the word graduation has its roots and etymology with the Latin word ‘gradus’ which means to STEP toward?

Fascinating, huh?

When you graduated from college you actually stepped toward something, so my question to you is what are you stepping toward? Before you answer that question the first thing I want you to do is to stop, reflect and appreciate yourself as a college graduate. Truly embrace your inner genius, your fortitude and courage that you’ve employed to get to this point in your journey.

Trust me when I say this, you’re an anomaly.   Almost 50% of people who enter college end up dropping out, but not you.

You pushed through.

You stayed the course.

You worked two jobs, juggled an internship, stayed up late and wrote papers in the middle of the night.

Women like you are SUPER FLY or as Maya Angelou would say, “You’re a phenomenal woman.”

I’m actually gushing over your exceptional drive, your beautiful spirit and extraordinary determination, because I truly understand that your graduation is a result of grit and grace. I applaud you.

But, I want to get back to my original question, what are you stepping towards?

I strongly believe that graduation is your step towards GREATNESS.

Greatness is about being “big in size.”

Graduation is about having a degree of knowledge in a particular field of study.

Greatness is about showing up alive, full and in your true power.

Graduation is about releasing you into your new career path, completely prepared to become a practicing journalist, a remarkable teacher, a creative director, or whatever unique and innovative career path that’s calling you.

I remember the morning of my graduation. I was ridden with excitement, a tad bit nervous and totally unprepared for the dreaded question, what are you going to do next year? I had ten minutes before I had to meet my friends in the quad, but my nerves started getting the best of me, I suddenly felt a strong tingling sensation of butterflies in my stomach. I stood in the mirror, and took one last look at my room. I realized that I would be moving out within 24-hours. I looked down at my watch, and quickly sectioned out the last part of my hair, picked up the curling iron and wrapped my hair around it in attempt to get the perfect curl. I threw on my cap and gown and flew out the door. Walking across the stage was surreal for me and after receiving a bachelor’s degree, a California Clear multiple subject teaching credential and a Master’s Degree in Human Development over the past ten years, I can say with confidence that if you don’t undergird these achievements with inner greatness you’ll never become the woman that God has called you to be.

I urge you to ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What am I stepping towards?
  2. How can I use my gifts to create a career filled with purpose and passion?
  3. In what ways can I show up bigger, better and bolder?

As you answer these questions, you’ll know without a shadow of a doubt what you’re stepping towards.

I commend you.

Rise

And

Shine.

Queenie Johnson, is a Female Success Brand Strategist & Mindset Mastery Maven. She is the founder of sheRISES.org and works with corporate leaders and modern women that are on mission to change the world with their God-given gifts. Her VIP coaching and business consulting clients learn how to break through their glass ceiling, unlock their hidden genius and increase their influence so that they can build a career and business they absolutely love. You can contact Queenie at queenie@sheRISES.org .

A Rise in Plastic Surgery

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Chade Nix, 27, clicked on various websites surveying the different options of plastic surgeons near her Marietta, Georgia home. As she studies the ‘before and after’ photos from different surgical procedures, she glances at the reflection of her almond shaped eyes, high cheek bones and protruding lips. Nix expresses her excitement at the idea of a possible consultation regarding which of her own physical features could possibly be altered or enhanced to achieve her idea of perfection.

“Women want to be pretty, and whatever that look is, that’s what they want to be,” said Nix. “If this means being an over-processed blonde, or a long wavy brunette, a refined nose or ears pinned back. Whatever will make you reach that pillar of success or at least look the part.”

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RISE IN NUMBERS

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2013 statistics indicate a rise since 2012 in the most common procedures of breast augmentations, eyelid surgeries, facelifts, Botox injections, chemical peels and soft tissue fillers.

“Cosmetic surgery has evolved,” said Nix, who feels surgery is no longer as controversial as it was 10 years ago. “Cosmetic surgery now is like scheduling a routine Pap smear. Being ‘au naturel’ is overrated”.

“The rise in numbers is primarily due to the new innovative, minimally-invasive procedures,” said Adeena Badditt, ASPS director of public relations. “Botox became the number one non-surgical procedure and led to fillers, lasers procedures, and all types of new treatments. New technology means new less invasive procedures that people feel more comfortable with.”

“There are two populations of consumers,” said Dr. Edward Farrior, Tampa Florida plastic surgeon. “Younger people are usually coming in to address an unattractive feature. Typically, the older people are perfectly well adjusted with the skeletal characteristic of their face; they just don’t want to look older. There’s always been that dichotomy in the two populations of consumers.”

The conceived benefits of these surgeries include improved self-esteem, enhancing social lives, and even heightening careers. “Self-esteem certainly impacts someone’s ability to perform at work. Cosmetic surgery is known to enhance that,” said Farrior. “So if someone has a distracting feature – a weak chin, a prominent nose – and they address that distraction, when they’re having meetings with people, they’re not concerned with how they look because they know they look good.”

The Facial Plastic Surgery & Reconstructive Surgery Academy has indicated that two-thirds of men and women requested cosmetic surgery because of competition in the workforce where emotional confidence was directly related to better performance, often amplifying success.

Nix considers plastic surgery an investment in personal success and happiness. “Enhancement of one’s career, social status, or love life is kinda the point of well, life”.

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PATIENTS GETTING YOUNGER

Advancements in technology also have influenced a rise among teens who seek to go under the knife. In 2011, plastic surgery in teens accounted for over 131,000 procedures. Recent ASPS statistics reveal that over 160,000 patients between the ages of 13-19 opting for minimally invasive cosmetic surgery throughout 2012.

“I don’t like my boobs. They make me look like I’m 12,” said Long Island high school student, Kira Palmer, 16. Palmer is one of many young girls who feels that enhancement of her cup size would make her more content with her appearance. “I’m still an A [cup], it’s bad”. While Palmer has no immediate intention to alter her looks, she understands the allure. “Plastic surgery is a personal preference. I don’t really see a problem with it”.

“Kids, kids meaning people under 18, are beginning to feel surgery is an option for them whereas, ten years ago, very few teens considered it,” said psychologist Vivian Diller Ph.D. “Now we’re seeing an increase in request for many other surgical procedures including breast reduction and breast enhancement.”

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IMPACTS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

A recent 2014 AAFPRS study indicated that one in three facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in requests for procedures due to social media, attributing increased photo sharing to the dissatisfaction patients have with their own image.

Reports revealed in 2013, more than half of surveyed facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectable in those under age 30.

“If you look at what social media has done with both the way we present ourselves, and with the success of younger people, the perception is in order to remain competitive you have to look young and engaged in more timely appearance,” said Farrior.

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PROCEDURES MORE AFFORDABLE 

Plastic surgery isn’t exclusively for celebs anymore. The recent change in affordability and availability of financing allows those of limited income to afford this luxury.

“Cosmetic surgery is very sensitive to the state of the economy and so when the economy took a downturn, the prices came down. It’s very market sensitive,” said Farrior.

Health insurance may cover some of the cost depending on the procedure. Under the law, breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is covered by health insurance. A deviated septum can, at times be a justifiable reason for rhinoplasty coverage. However, if the purpose of the surgery is intended only to improve physical appearance, no coverage is offered.

Surgical procedures and pricing are discussed during consultations, with all fees reviewed. During this time, financing options are also discussed. These options enable those with average or limited incomes to pay for surgical procedures over a period of time. Popular financing companies include American Benefit Credit, Chase Health Advance, Cosmetic Surgery Financing, and Health One Financial, each offering different revolving lines of credit and interest rates based on individual credit scores.

“Financing makes it better,” said Astoria, Queens resident Elizabeth Garcia, 24. “It’s more affordable. I wouldn’t think twice now about wanting to get something done. If I wanted [a procedure], I would just put it on a credit card.”

Less recovery time has also led many to think more favorably towards plastic surgery. Non – invasive procedures are also more isolated allowing surgeons to perform major operations without large incisions. The use of new technology such as lasers, results in less pain, minimal scarring, and a speedy recovery allowing the patient to return work sooner.

“Having any downtime can cost you your job these days”, said Garcia who considers the quick recovery a significant perk of the new advanced procedures. “Now you can get a little nip/tuck on Friday and be back to work by Monday. Talk about convenient.”

Written By Janurie Ulett: Hailing from quaint suburbia, Long Island meets the fabulousness of NYC. With a Bachelors degree in journalism from Brooklyn College, Janurie’s passion for writing comes naturally, fueling her career as a health and fitness freelance journalist. Her signature flair can be described as 19th-century English meets modern day Dear Abby as she faithfully satisfies her readers’ appetites, one word at a time.

Black Hollywood History

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Celebrities in Black Hollywood are on fire! This talented class of artists continue to perfect their craft and fight for recognition among their peers.  African Americans undoubtedly contribute their creativity to the entertainment of the world. But, before modern day superstars there were great musicians and actors that paved the way – making it possible for us to enjoy the sensations we all know as household names. Cheers to African American entertainment greats in music, television, and film!

Music

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Music

Before musical icons such as Beyonce, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson topped the charts there were a host of African American artists who paved the way with their music talents. We may be used to these aformentioned artists toping the charts but when Rock & Roll, Jazz, and Blues were king artists such as The Platters broke racial barriers as the first to reach the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for their song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” in 1958.  Proceeding them were the Mills Brothers “Paper Doll” in 1943 as the first African AMerican artists to hit #1 on the Billboard charts and in 1950 Nat King Cole become the first African American solo singer to have a #1 hit on the Billboard charts for his song, “Mona Lisa.”
Perhaps the biggest accolade of any musician, is a Grammy win. Though modern day couple Beyonce and hubby Jay Z are two of the leading African Americans with the most Grammy wins, in 1959 Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie became the first African-American Grammy Award winners. Ella won Best Female Vocal Performance for “But Not For Me” and Best Individual Jazz Performance for “Ella Swings Lightly.” For his role as a musical composer in the film Duke won two Grammys for Best Sound Track Album – Background Score from a motion picture and Best Musical Composition.
Ethel Waters

Television

Many of us love leading ladies such as Kerry Washington and Gabrielle Union of Scandal and Being Mary Jane respectively. Their shows and talent have won accolades during this award season but before HD, DVR, and Internet television, African American actors paved the way for these lovelies to shine on the silver screen.  In 1939, Ethel Waters became the first African to star in her own television show, The Ethel Waters Show which aired on NBC.  Bob Howard was the first African American to star in a regularly scheduled network television series, The Bob Howard Show in 1948. That same year Amanda Randolph starred in the television show, The Laytons. Several years later, before his widely known success on The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby became the first African American to star in a network drama, I Spy, for which he would later be the first African American male to be nominated for and win a Primetime Emmy Award.

As a television actor, winning an Emmy is a golden moment where you are recognized by peers for your talent and artistry. Before Halle Berry, Lauretta Divine, and even Bill Cosby won their awards, African American actors proceeding them paved the way. Notably, Diahann Carroll was the first African American to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series in 1969. She was nominated for her role in Julia in which she became the first African American to play lead in a role outside of being a domestic. She won a Golden Globe for this same performance. Later, in 1979 Ester Rolle became the first African American and person to win an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries.

Film

2013 marked an incredible year for Black films such as Fruitvale Station, 12 Years a Slave, and Mandella. Before big time actors such as Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Idris Elba, and Halle Berry commanded millions of dollars for their Blockbuster and award winning films, African American cinema stars years before led the way. Ethel Waters was a prominent actress with roles in such films as Pinky. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee led the way for power couple movie stars like Will and Jada with their decades of film success. Remarkably, not only have African American actors blazed trails in their roles in front of the camera but also behind the scene. Before independent directors such as newcomer Ryan Coogler, or veterans such as John Singleton, and Spike Lee there was Oscar Micheaux. Widely credited as the first African American director, Micheaux made his cinematic debut with the silent film production of his famed book, Homesteaders in 1919. Before there was Tyler Perry Studios, Oscar founded the  Micheaux Film and Book Company to independently produce his own feature films and books.

The success of a movie star is crystalized by recognition from the Academy Award. Denzel Washington and Halle Berry  both made history with their 2001 Oscar wins. Before these greats were African American actors whose performances demanded the attention and recognition of the Academy.  In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in her role in the 1939 classic film, Gone with the Wind. In 1954 Dorothy Dandridge became the first African American women to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Carmen Jones. Halle Berry would later win an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award for her role as Dorothy Dandridge. Sidney Poitier won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964 for his role in Lilies of the Field. During Denzel Washington’s own Oscar acceptance speech he stated about Poitier, “I’ll always be following in your footsteps, there is nothing I would rather do.”

The Contemporary Professional Stylista

Who is the Contemporary, Professional Stylista?

The U Blush Woman is vibrant, multi-faceted, and dynamic! She is best summed as the Contemporary, Professional, Stylista. Otherwise noted, CPS! But who is this woman we speak of? In the the modern world, women are busy and wear multiple hats. We have to juggle our professional life, getting higher education, and pursuing our careers. But that’s not all. We are woman, meaning we are human and we value our womanhood. We break up to make up, travel and eat, and enjoy being entertained. We value our health and wellness, enjoy fashion and looking good.

The CPS represents the balance between one’s professional life and personal interests. At U Blush we recognize the need to have a  platform and community for a well rounded reader. Should the contemporary woman feel fragmented? Should she go to one site for fashion, another for love, and another to be in the know about popular culture and entertainment? No!  The contemporary woman is not broken up into little pieces rather all of her multiple parts come together to make up who she is and that is execatly how her news and information should be – all in one place! The CPS is a full woman, and all her wants, needs, and interests are right at her finger tips at U Blush Magazine.

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Appreciating the Full Woman 

So when we say the Contemporary, Professional, Woman we pay homage the the multi-dimensional woman of today’s world who can rock heels to a board meeting which she heads, strut to happy hour with her her girls, only to come home to her man who takes them off. Or she may dance the night away with a new beau she meets at the hottest lounge, and come home to tell her girls all about it. Either way she is comfortable in her own skin, diverse in her interests and abilities, and valuable to her self and all those around her. She demands respect not so much through her words but through the self respect and humilty that she carries with her daily.

The contemporary professional woman knows how to weather the storms of life. She understand that life has its ups and downs and she has had her fair share of roller coaster rides. She maintains her dignity and respect by keeping faith and continuing to live as the best version of herself. Committed to growth and development she explores the world through travel, dining, and cultural experiences as well as reading and sharing intellectual and regular home girl conversations with old and new friends. The CPS is as strong as she is “weak”, able to put on her big girl shoes to rise to any challenge when the time calls but sheds tears and leans on a friends when its needed.

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The Contemporary Professional Woman is best described as

Bold in her appreciation of Love and the cycles of relationships from embracing her singledom, to enjoying the dating life, entering into relationships, and trusting the time for breakups. Her relationships romantically, with family and friends, and with herself are equally important.

Luxurious in her appreciation of Lifestyle through travel, exploration, fine dinning, and unique experiences. She may be born in the USA but this travelista has a passport and travels the world internationally! Even when she doesn’t she dreams of getting off American shores, researches distant lands, and plans to eventually make her international debut, just when the time is right!

Unique in her appreciation for entertainment. She knows how to relax, enjoy art, maybe even tap into her own creative sides. From watching the latest films, television shows, and listening to the latest music to an appreciation for independent art, this woman can escape the reality of life and appreciate arts imitation of it.

Sophisticated in her appreciation for maintaining her health and wellness. Recognizing that self care is important she seeks to live well through taking care of her mind, body, and soul  – nutritious eating, exercise, and inspirational writing can maintain her need for wellness.

Haute in her appreciation for fashion and make up. Yes this woman likes to look good and see’s her wardrobe and face as a means of sharing her beauty with the world. Her sense of style is a picture of what’s inside, it reveals inner parts of her because who she is shines bright in what she presents to the world.

Cheers to the U Blush Woman in You!

Rebelling Against the Status Quo

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There is a new kind of woman in town and she’s a professional, yet ambitious woman, who despises mediocrity, craves creativity and is on an irresistible quest to change the world with her gifts and talents.

Who is she, might you ask?

She’s a modern woman, a contemporary professional stylista, the type of woman who cares for her family, juggles a relationship, her career and a business with stunning ease.

She infuses everything that she does with her feminine essence.

Some might call her a super achiever because she’s ultra-determined to leave her mark and create a breath-taking legacy. In actuality, this is the portrait of a woman who is rebelling against the status quo.

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The status quo denies your greatness, hides your unique abilities and keeps you playing small. Small is being out of alignment with who you were called to be – mighty, magnificent and made to make a difference.

Women who make the courageous decision to rebel against the status quo, are fiercely focused on their purpose, willing to chart new courses and are seeking to RISE to greater heights in every area of their lives.

Rebellious women are gutsy, stylish and unabashed in their pursuit of their goals.

Do you know a woman like this?

A woman who embraces the Law of the Creative Dynamic- and knows that it’s necessary for her to have a grand vision and a core dream, especially since dreams fuel our lives, allowing  us to live life on a higher plane with more awareness to the beauty and significance surrounding us.

I know women like this, but the big question is, are you ready to rebel against the status quo?

  • Rebelling against the status quo enables you to access untapped creative powers that lie laden within you, and become a woman of courage that’s led by faith and directed by wisdom.
  • Rebelling against the status quo is a lifestyle and a different way of seeing the world.

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If you’re ready to life at the highest level than it’s time to abandon any habit or mindset that’s stopping you from living life to the fullest.

Three keys that will help you to identify and develop your rebellious style:

  • Increase your Feminine Influence – identify three ways in which your voice is heard and the areas in which you add significant value to others around you. Grow that area.
  • Uncover your hidden genius- and tap into your most genuine place of greatness, this place is your effortless brilliance. Work from this place. It’s super easy to flow from this place because you shine bright doing what you do.
  • Develop your Female Success Brand- use your visionary perspective to craft a stylish brand that attracts and appeals to the core audience of people you’re called to serve in your business and career. This increases your impact in the world.
  • Discover & Develop Your Core Message– Each of us has a message of truth that we are called to share with the world. Dig deep, unearth it, craft it and share it with the world. Communicate it with “evangelistic” type passion. When others feel your passion it gives them permission to do the same.
  • Create your Elegant Execution Plan – To rebel properly you’ll need a mixture of crazy ambition, killer strategy, and crystal clear vision. Let’s put your goals into action and create massive momentum so that you can get stuff done. You can do it. I’m rooting for you.

Today is your day to rebel against the status quo and embrace your personal power. It’s time to shine your light.

Remember this type of lifestyle is for women who are “obsessed with possibility and live for the rush of turning a thought into an idea, and despise being normal.” This is the ultimate course of action for a woman like you. In the words of Peter Senge, “Ready, aim, fire? Fire. Fire. Fire.”

 

Queenie Johnson, is a Female Success Brand Strategist & Mindset Mastery Maven. She is the founder of sheRISES.org and works with corporate leaders and modern women that are on mission to change the world with their God-given gifts. Her VIP coaching and business consulting clients learn how to break through their glass ceiling, unlock their hidden genius and increase their influence so that they can build a career and business they absolutely love. You can contact Queenie at queenie@sheRISES.org .

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