From Graduation to Greatness

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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 .

Memory Combat

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Memory Combat: How to Keep Your Memory Function Intact

I am “Super Woman,” I can do ALL things.  As we women try to take on the world, competing with our male counterparts, and overloading ourselves with multiple extra-curricular activities, we fail to realize we are straining a very important asset “Our Memory.”

I remember back in 2004, when I started interning at LA Weekly. I was chatting with my assigned mentor and I mentioned that I was finding it difficult to remember certain things and organize my thoughts.  My mentor then said it may be because I was overstressed.  At that time, I worked 30+ hours at a call-center, attended school full-time and was finding time here and there to intern.   Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which way was up, and I never really looked into the whole “Stress=Memory loss” concept.

Here I am today, a working single mother, mental health and fashion writer, and on occasion wardrobe consultant, and you guessed it…still dealing with a stressed memory.  So, I have decided to finally bring to light the true causes of stress related memory loss.

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First off, the term “Stress” is a derivative of “Distress,” which means to draw or pull apart.  Think about it, when you are under stressful circumstances such as: a work deadline, on top of running a household and trying to plan a social event for you and your girlfriends, you could feel like you are being “pulled apart.” When you are under stress, your body reacts by secreting stress hormones, Cortisol and Epinephrine, into the bloodstream.  Over secretion of stress hormones most frequently affects memory negatively.

Since we as women have times of “Hormonal Imbalances,” lapses in memory or foggy thinking are common.  When a woman’s hormones are functioning normally, estrogen levels help regulate cortisol levels which affect the function of neurotransmitters (chemicals used for communication) in your brain. As estrogen levels decline, as is common in perimenopause, the estrogen no longer properly controls the cortisol. As a result, neurotransmitters begin to malfunction, creating these lapses in memory, as sited.   There are ways to combat this imbalance for both the over-stressed and pre-menopausal woman.

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*See a Physician – Do not rely on self – diagnosis, it’s best to speak with a doctor about your memory concerns.  I suggest keeping a journal that contains vital information such as: types of things you forget, your diet, your sleep patterns and your daily activities, all these things play apart in adding stress.

*Eat Brain Foods- Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain,” lists brain foods that promote healthier brain activity: Blueberries, Wild Salmon, Nuts and seeds, Avocados and Whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice are branded as “smart’ foods, with the abilities to increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain/memory.

*There’s An App for that – In the age of the “Smart Phone,” there are Apps for everything, including memory games.  Lumosity is known for its brain training games and there are many  other Apps to choose from that will get your memory back in tip top shape.

*Get those Zzz’s – According to the National Institutes of Health, “sleep is important for storing memories.”  The article, “How Sleep Clears the Brain,” also states that sleep has a restorative function, and that the lack of sleep impairs reasoning, problem solving, and attention to detail.

Now I can go on with more information about how to fight against stress related memory loss, but the key is to treat your brain like your body: Exercise it, Nourish it, give it rest and you stand the chance of at least being able to find your  car keys in the morning.

Written By Ricki Jae. Morris: “Since of Style Need Not Make Sense,” is her motto.  This Southern Cali Girl is not opposed to standing out in the name of Fashion & Art. As a mother of a 4-year old daughter, she strives to set an example of “Success with Class,” by always being a lady and staying true to self.  In her spare time, Ricki Jae. Blogs about Fashion Designers and Events.

 

Secrets of a Raw Vegan

Live healthier and apply these raw vegan techniques to enhance your Vitality!

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With cancer rates higher than ever, many people might be interested in knowing what they put into their bodies to not only prevent disease but to feel their best all the time, because who wouldn’t want to feel their best all the time? And as we all know, you literally ARE what you EAT, so come on people wake up! If you are inspired to eat cleaner and live a healthier lifestyle then you may be interested in taking diet and lifestyle principals from a raw vegan and introducing such concepts into your non-raw vegan life!

Every single raw vegan I have ever met raves about being eating raw vegan because they feel ‘sooo good all the time’. After hearing this repeatedly from both strangers and my college roommates whom were either vegan or raw vegan, I decided to take on the raw vegan lifestyle myself for a few months during my junior year of college. Months later, after eating only a diet full of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and soy products, I started noticing changes in not only my physical appearance but most importantly in my mood and energy. I soon began understanding what these raw vegans and vegans were talking about when they said they had a certain special ‘high’ on life, describing it as a constant happy and peaceful mentality with little to no depression, anxiety or mood swings.

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First, let’s discuss what exactly is the difference between Veganism and Raw Veganism.

  • Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes dairy, eggs or anything that derives from an animal, such as honey. Also, vegans do not eat anything that is made using animal products, like refined white sugar.
  • Raw veganism combines veganism and raw foodism, excluding any food that comes from animal origins and also any food that is cooked over 118 degrees Fahrenheit.  

So, why is your health and vitality amplified when you incorporate Veganism into your lifestyle?

Due to human evolution and our adaption to a certain environments millions of years ago (think of cave men scouring the land for berries or whatever the terrain had to offer) certain evolutionary conditions challenged and conditioned our bodies to adapt and rely on such environments in order to be at the top of our body’s health. Our bodies relied on fruits and vegetables because that’s what was available. Until today, our bodies still rely on those original evolutionary conditions such as eating from food that is grown from the land. This food is untouched, whole, has no soul that has to die for you to consume it, and no hormones either. The problem is, in modern society many people do not take this into consideration and do not realize what our bodies actually need. In order to be at our best health, modern society must stay as close as possible to our body’s natural evolutionary roots of eating a predominantly plant based diet straight from mother earth herself. A concept that is the foundation of raw veganism is the idea of cooking our food. In modern society, humans are the only animals who cook their food and in fact, according to famous raw food blog Raw School, “No other animal on Earth cooks its food, and no other animal besides humans (and the animals we feed) experiences disease on the scale that we do”

The science behind veganism is one that might change your perspective on what you choose to put inside your body and no, this has nothing to do with losing weight (although that’s often a side effect). This has everything to do with health, longevity, vitality and disease prevention, so you’re not shallow for thinking vegan, you are smart!

Vegans understand that heat actually changes the molecular structure of foods, making the nutrients ‘unstable’ and pretty much useless. Vegans believe the more raw the food, the better for you because cooked food is unnatural and your body has a much harder time digesting it than when food is in its whole and raw form. Eating cooked foods actually confuses your body, because the molecular structure has been changed (due to heat) the body does not absorb the nutrients in the same way or recognize it as nutrition at all. This results in accumulated waste inside the body and this is where disease arises. “It is this accumulation that leads to an overall toxemic state in the body and results in disease. Biologically-appropriate, raw food is almost entirely usable by the body, and provides all the nutrients that the body requires, as it does for all the other species of animals on the planet” (Raw School).

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A vegan and raw vegan diet has the following benefits:

The absence of animal hormones in your diet will allow your body to feel the natural balance of your own hormones, improving your mood and helping with any future mood swings. Also, veganism is a diet in reduced saturated fats, improving your cardiovascular health. Veganism amplifies the following: antioxidant, vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, fiber, protein, phytochemicals, potassium, magnesium intake helping you fight cancers, repair and regenerate cells, red and white blood cells, higher energy levels, metabolizing amino acids, boosting your immune system, improving your heart, skin, eyes, brain. It may even help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease, fighting arthritis and cataracts, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and help fight type 2 diabetes. On the vanity side, being vegan makes you look amazing! The physical benefits of veganism is a healthier weight, healthy skin (due to high intake of nuts, vitamin E and A) vegans almost always have amazing skin. Also, vegans are known to live longer than non-vegans by about 3-6 years. The elimination of body odor, bad breath, PMS, allergies and migraines is another great beautifying side effect of eating vegan. Lastly, the hair and nails become stronger, healthier and shiner. Consider either transitioning slowly to make only some of your diet vegan or go all out and be a true raw vegan for optimum results.

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So what should I eat?

A diet high in raw vegetables and fruits, grains, nuts, nut pastes, sprouts, seeds, plant oils, herbs and dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products. Take baby steps and transition out red meats slowly giving your body time to get used to the new diet. If you don’t want to go completely vegan try making at least half of your diet vegan, this means you will need to substitute foods! A great technique is to start the day with a green smoothie full of vegan friendly ingredients to super-start your day and throughout the day eat a larabar!

A favorite vegan smoothie recipe is: ½ cup of kale, ½ cup of spinach, 1 frozen banana, a handful of blueberries and ½ cup of almond milk blended with ice. For other great vegan ideas and recipes go to Post Punk Kitchen.

Ultimately this is why raw vegans are healthier and why everyone should borrow from their food habits such as: not eating processed foods, not cooking foods over much as to change their molecular structure, eating only locally grown organic produce, etc. Sooner than later your body will begin craving these things anyways, leading to a life of serious longevity and inner happiness!

Written By Chelsea Clishem: From San Diego, California to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this bicoastal girl loves all things travel, beauty, nutrition, fitness, fashion and entertainment. Chelsea graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara where she began her journey to be an entertainment journalist. Chelsea drops the word ‘fabulous’ on the regular and believes it’s ‘okay’ to freak out with good music and fashion!

A Circle for Success

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In the article, “Be The Star of Your Own Life,” we encouraged you to make yourself the leading lady in your life for 2014.  Now that we are halfway through the second month of the New Year, I would like to revisit one of the points made in our life star article:

  • Encouraging Relationships – It is important to have relationships that push you to better yourself.  Remember, “Birds of a feather flock together” (Be The Star of Your Own Life). 

The women in the last article expressed a strong belief in the value of social relationships that inspire and support you in your life’s aspirations.  The well-known quote “No Man is an Island,” is based on the concept that “human beings don’t thrive when isolated from others.” Nevertheless, you must keep in mind that the key element is picking the right people to create your “Circle for Success.”

Art Enthusiast and Mentor Deborah Charles, 61, who has done everything from Modeling to orchestrating successful art exhibits in honor of her late husband, photographer and author Roland Charles, accredits some of her biggest achievements to her circle of supportive friends. “I’ve been blessed with people, who no matter what I’m involved in they support it,” said Charles.   One of Charles’ life goals is to serve her needs and the needs of others, with such an honorable but challenging endeavor, one must be discerning in the choice of the company they keep.

“…Observe and listen…learn how they would be meaningful to your life,” explained Charles, on her methods for choosing beneficial relationships.  In addition, Charles said those in her social circle have a spirit of gratefulness, a willingness to share their friends, and have similar interest. For her,  the icing on the cake is “people who will speak up for you. ”

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If putting yourself out there to meet new people is a little intimidating, you might join an organized group such as clubs based on your interests or cultural group.  For instance, just last month sororities were celebrating the anniversaries of their organizations, and pictures of women united by their sorority affiliation were all over social media. Who you are is a great place to start when deciding which groups you might want to join.

Middle school english teacher, Aquyla Walker, 32, who is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., says being a member of the prestigious sorority offers a sisterhood with women of high stature. “I am surrounded by women (who) already have achievements,” said Walker. Sororities are known to be networks of educated women, who work towards the betterment of the community and its members.   Being affiliated with such organizations puts you in the environment of upward mobility. “It is the best…I have received jobs because my resume says Delt Sigma Theta Inc,” exclaimed Walker. In addition, Walker says her social circle outside of Delta, is composed of dreamers and visionaries, who are in constant pursuit of their goals. “I believe in having a network of mentors… my friends are people who say, ‘No you [got to] do it’.”

Equally important to the meet, greet, and be-friending process, the golden rule to maintaining positive relationships, is to stay connected.  In an age of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we have to remember a little face to face time can go a long way. Make the time to nurture your relationships, so in turn they too can nurture you.

Written By Ricki Jae. Morris: “Since of Style Need Not Make Sense,” is her motto.  This Southern Cali Girl is not opposed to standing out in the name of Fashion & Art. As a mother of a 4-year old daughter, she strives to set an example of “Success with Class,” by always being a lady and staying true to self.  In her spare time, Ricki Jae. Blogs about Fashion Designers and Events.

Dine-In For Valentine’s Day

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Are you worried about breaking the bank on Valentines Day? Are you dreading breaking your new year’s resolution diet, letting yourself down in order to indulge in the celebratory yet fattening restaurant meal you and your honey will most likely eat?

Don’t you worry girl friend because this Valentines Day will be different! Learn how to cook a fabulously healthy, inexpensive and restaurant-worthy meal for your honey all while still keeping yourself happy!

Much like the romantic love book and film “Like Water for Chocolate”, where Roasted quail with rose petal jam was the dish that turned everyone on fire in the story. Pair the roasted quail and rose petal jam with roasted potatoes and rose sparkling wine for a sparkling night of love!

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Roasted Quail Rose Petal Jam

Ingredients you need

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 tbs rosewater
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) lemon juice
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 8 small quail, butterflied
  • 6 tbs rose petal jam* or quince paste

Directions

  1. First, place half the garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, the cumin, rosewater and 2 tablespoons each of lemon juice and oil in a glass dish. Stir to combine. Add quail and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat a grill or barbecue plate to high. Remove quail from marinade and grill quail for 2-3 minutes each side, basting with marinade, until cooked through.
  3. Place jam, remaining garlic, cinnamon, lemon juice and oil in a pan over low heat and cook very gently, stirring until combined and heated through.
  4. Lastly, Serve quail with a little sauce and scatter with rose petals.

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Roasted Potatoes

  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with parsley. Toss the potatoes to coat.
  3. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden and crispy on the outside but tender and cooked through on the inside.

Rose Petal Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 pint boiling water
  • 1 lb rose petals
  • 1 lb caster sugar
  • 2 lime, juice of
  • 2 lemon, juice of
  • 2 drops rose water

Directions

  1. Fill a large pan with the boiling water. Add half the rose petals, cover and leave to stand for two hours.
  2. After two hours strain off the liquid and transfer to a clean pan. Discard the steeped rose petals.
  3. Add the sugar to the rosewater and stir over a low heat until dissolved. Add the lime juice and remaining rose petals, reserving a handful for later.
  4. Bring to boiling point, reduce the heat and simmer until setting point is reached. To test for this, pour a little onto a cold saucer. Push it gently with your finger. If it wrinkles, it is ready. If not continue to simmer for a little longer.
  5. Add remaining rose petals and simmer gently for another three minutes then pour into a sterilized jar and seal. The rose petals should rise to the top leaving clear jelly underneath.
  6. Pot and cover the jam.
  7. Note that you’ll need to sterilize the jars or your jam will go mouldy. Wash them thoroughly in warm, clean, soapy water, drain upside down on kitchen towel and place on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 140C/fan120C/gas 1 for 15 minutes.

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For an excellent Rose sparkling wine, try this website for great suggestions!

And if that doesn’t turn you on then there’s nothing that some good home-style Italian can’t do! – Make eggplant parmesan for your sweetie and pair it with a nice red wine for a guaranteed romantic meal while still staying on the healthy side!

Now you have no excuse not to make your honey a delicious meal on Valentine’s Day while still pleasing yourself! Each recipe is fairly easy to make, requiring little time in the kitchen so you can have more time in the bedroom! Bon appetite lovebirds!

Written By Chelsea Clishem: From San Diego, California to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this bicoastal girl loves all things travel, beauty, nutrition, fitness, fashion and entertainment. Chelsea graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara where she began her journey to be an entertainment journalist. Chelsea drops the word ‘fabulous’ on the regular and believes it’s ‘okay’ to freak out with good music and fashion!

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