Sunday, May 13, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Celebrates

Happy Mothers' Day!!

It's always a pleasure to reflect and share the things my Mommy taught me. There are so many, countless things she's taught and continues to teach me, but here are some of the ones that stick me time and time again.  Some, she taught me and I got right away, some took time, others...still working on.

What has your mom taught you that has changed or directed your life in a certain way?   Share yours with us!


1. Be nice.
This is a simple lesson, but it goes a long way.  Being nice to people not only gives them a good feeling about you, but also puts out good Karma to come back to you.  My mommy still reminds me today the importance of being nice, especially when it is easy not to.   I see traces of her whenever I feel the need to bake for friends and coworkers, have guests over, style for people, advise on legal matters, or whatever comes to mind to allow me to lend a hand to someone else. I carry this with me all the time.

2. Beauty is simple.
Mommy has made it clear to me, loads of make-up does not make you pretty, and there's a way to look your best without a mess!  Going back to being nice on the inside, it is easy to look nice on the outside, too.  Too much of anything is usually just that--too much and it will catch the wrong eyes most times.  As I put together my looks for each day, I definitely think..."what would Mommy say?"

As Tatyana Ali put it: "My mother is my beauty role model.  She's gorgeous, giving, and gracious - a true G!"

3. Be strong.
I haven't come across a strength like the strength my mother has, and am not sure I will.  Her lessons in being strong go far beyond helping my dad out in the yard against my will.  They extend to knowing things won't always go my way, and when they don't, I cannot give up.  I will encounter some challenges, and as cliche as it sounds I hear her telling me "this, too shall pass".  I may not want to hear it, but I always want to believe it...and in due time, I see it to be true.  I know my mother got her strength from my grandmother, and great-grandmother, so I work hard to be sure I can pass it on someday as well.  Because of my Mommy, I feel there is nothing I cannot do.  

4.  Be....patient!
Ugh!  I am still working on this one, and actually, so is Mommy.  She's been trying to teach me patience all my life, and I think I just may be starting to get it--a little.  I remember as a little girl hearing her tell me "beee..." and waiting for me to say "patient". I'm not sure I always understood the value of patience as a youngster, but I have gotten a much better understanding in my adult life.  I can't count the number of times I hear her in my head reminding me...and sometimes it is her actual voice.  I have found patience to be so critical, especially as I get older, and can say I have received and encountered some wonderful things from being patient.  I keep this lesson with me.  But, she and I both know, I'm not done learning it.

5. Always do your best.
I often look at my mom and think she has so many things on her plate...and wonder how she balances them all.  Then I realize I am, in my own way, doing the same thing.  I have learned over the years, she not only has a lot on her plate, but only enough for her to handle, and handle well.  It appears to be a lot to the onlooker, and I know it is to her as well.  But, the way she handles family, work, and social activities is always with ease and grace.  Mommy has taught me about not taking on too much, but being there to step up and step in if necessary.  Sure, you may have a lot going on, but giving each your very best is all that's acceptable.  I keep this lesson close.

I could go on and on about the lessons my mother has taught me, but the space here is limited.  I am endlessly thankful for such a loving and giving mother, and wouldn't trade her for the world.  Thank you, Mommy for everything.

Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing Mommys out there.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. For the Culture

Meek--Inheriting the Earth...

For anyone with a bit of a scriptural compass, you know the Beatitudes, and you'll recall "blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."  Surely this has its own spiritual meaning, but over the last couple weeks, famed Philadelphia rapper Robert Rihmeek Williams, known as "Meek Mill" has been living that Beatitude and so much more.

As you may know, Meek was sentenced to 2-4 years in prison for violating his probation in November of 2017.  He'd originally be incarcerated on weapons charges, and battled with probation violations for the last 4 years.  Despite also struggling with a opioid addiction, Meek did what he knew best in trying to make a life for himself--traveling for work to do shows and appearances.  In conjunction with his probation woes, be was under the oversight of Judge Genece Brinkley, who often gave him personal and professional advice, both on and off the record.  She even urged him to leave his record label and sign with a friend of hers.  Yes, this is way more off the rails than we thought.  Pitchfork has all the details--including the shoutout she requested on a song.  

While the tea on the Judge's deep, and maybe curious, interest in Meek's case can take us into a whole series, the main point here is the obvious imbalance in probation standards and need for criminal justice reform.  In so many instances, men of color find themselves not only in a situation of perpetual probation, but over-criminalized in the first place.  These are circumstances where they should actually be referred to services, educational opportunities, and guidance onto the right track.  Sure, consistently making the wrong decision must have its consequences, but there is more than enough to be said for the deck being completely stacked against you from the start.

Since Meek's heavy-handed prison sentence was announced, he's received a bevy of support from the music industry, fans, and even sports powerhouses in Philadelphia.   Owners of the 76ers have been openly supportive of Meek, along with legend Julius "Dr. J" Erving--all calling out the injustice his line of sentencing has represented.   Since being released from prison last week, Meek has taken on criminal justice reform as his mission for change.  He's been outspoken about changes needed to level the playing field, and has more than enough credibility to lead on the topic.  It was a challenging, unfair and winding road, but it looks like Meek is using his experience and support to evoke progress.  

Now that's how the Meek inherit the earth.

Photo from FACT Magazine's Meek Released from Prison article

*Catch Dateline this evening at 7/6 CT to hear directly from Meek and those who've been working with him along the way. 

Monday, April 30, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Fashion Law

Business and Legal Tips for the Emerging Designer--

Just this past Friday, I got the magnificent opportunity to sit on a fashion law panel, hosted by the Fashion Law Society at John Marshall Law School in Chicago.  It was a great event, and now the 3rd time I've presented at one of their Symposiums.  Always a great time.

As I, and the 3 other attorneys on the panel took questions, we were asked everything from the best way to set up a fashion business, to the means for protecting a brand once it's up and running.  We gave many tips and cautions, but it reminded me of the information right here to share with designers and brand managers for protecting what's rightfully yours.  

Here are some of the tips we've shared in the past.  Take a look, and let us know what else you'd like to see.  


Saturday, April 28, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Cares

Project Style - Dressing Girls In Confidence!

As you know, Project Style was launched late last year as a means for increasing self-confidence and awareness of self-worth in 
girls.  The mission is to dress girls in confidence
​--teaching them about self worth​
, using fashion as the hook.

Project Style hosts in-school workshops 
 educate girls on how fashion and self-esteem intersect; teaching them the link between confidence and personal style, the difference between expression and objectification, and how to find and embrace their authentic selves.   To date, Project Style has provided programming to over 250 young girls.  Help in reaching more by supporting the inaugural Casino Night event.  Follow the journey at or @projectstyleorg on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

​Come out to
Chips For Charity Casino Night, Thursday, May 3rd at The Montgomery Club in Chicago.  100% of the proceeds will go to Project Style's school programs.

In addition to attending Casino Night, you can join the mission by mentoring a student, volunteering at a youth event, donating
​ to​
 the Casino Night Silent Auction, or sponsoring a table at Casino Night. 

Casino Night will be an evening of fun for all
 attendees at this wonderful event. Your ticket purchase will include an open bar from 6pm-10pm, catering courtesy of Gibson's, and your first $1,000 in chips to use towards blackjack, craps, roulette, and raffle prizes.

Get you tickets now!  Click here.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Honors

 The Magic That Was #BlackHistoryMonth ...and the Further Excellence Ahead-- 

It's been a little while B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Followers, and we apologize for the gap in posts.  Today was the perfect day to pop in and talk about the great things that have been happening recently.  Despite the tragedies so widely reported, there have been so many good things happening.  They deserve attention.

As you all know, February is Black History Month.  African-Americans are celebrated at a heightened level, and encourage year-round celebration through activities, campaigns, events, and inspiration.  This month, world-renowned Marvel Comics film, Black Panther took theaters and box offices by storm.  It also inspired many.  The cast has been gracious in their promo tour--inspiring kids to believe in the magic of Wakanda and know the power of their own strength and intelligence.  This movie broke records, reignited interest in STEM, and deepened the pride those with African descent feel, walking their walk in life each day.  We hope this vibranium-powered movement is only in its beginning stages.

The Triibe, a West Side (Best Side) of Chicago-based news outlet has launched an indigogo campaign.  The Triibe is a fresh face in telling the untold story of African-Americans in the City of Chicago.  Their events are intelligence-powered, and their content is something the young Black professional has been waiting for.  Check out their indigogo, and share in their growth.

Project Style launched!  Project Style’s mission is to educate at-risk youth on the connection between self-esteem and the way we dress, with the goal to increase confidence, self-worth, and academic success rates. To donate to this cause, click here!

My Block, My City, My Hood shoveled its way into our hearts.  Led by the socially innovative Jah​mal Cole, My Block My City, My Hood has not only taken children out of their Chicago neighborhoods to explore others in the City, but it's also working toward exploration in other countries.  Following the City's last snow globe experience, Jah​mal used the power of social media to gather over 100 people to shovel snow for seniors.  This is Black Boy Joy.

Black Lives Matter pushed further for gun control.  In addition to the empowered voices of the teen survivors and mourners of the Florida high school shooting, the voices of African-American teens has grown louder.  Gun violence plagues our country in a way no other nation experiences.  It's sad to know our reality, but it's magnificent to know how energized young people are in forcing change and leading the conversation.  We commend all of these teenagers, and support them as they take our society to the next level--positively.

In the, now Wonder-Woman World of Sports, NBA team Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced Cynthia Marshall as interim CEO of the organization.  As sexual harassment has plagued many industries and organizations--from entertainment to sports, to government, we have seen and heard some tough stories.  Here though, is something good.  We're seeing a seasoned telecommunications executive take the lead of an organization needing to overcome obstacles.  We're also seeing a change in tide in a male-dominated industry.  Cynthia is breaking barriers as the 1st female CEO in the league.  This trailblazing is amazing and necessary for young women to follow.  Aspiration on 100!

​Speaking of sports, ESPN's The Undefeated aired Dear Black Athlete--a look at the impact Black athletes have had on professional sports, and the impact sports has had on them.  This feature examined race and protest in sports, in today's backdrop, while reflecting on the same over time.  Hosted by ​Cari Champion, athletes spoke about their individual experiences, wrote letters to their communities and fans, and told stories of courage and the work their doing to progress their worlds forward.  This is more than worth watching.

In beauty news, Shark Tank competitors of The Lip Bar have signed a deal with Target!  This bit of Black Girl Magic was great news and a fantastic leap forward for African-American beauty brands.  Getting placement in Target is just proof dedication and hard work always pay off.  Whatever is for you, is for you.  No one (or voting panel) can take it away.  Order now!

Forever (in our hearts) FLOTUS, Michelle Obama announced she will be releasing her "deeply personal" memoir this coming fall.  Can't wait!

So here's some of the amazing stuff that happened in February.  What do you have to share?  What's up for Women's History Month in March?

Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Writes

Journal Into January--

It's almost 2018, and just about time for those new year's resolutions to start rolling.   While we're all for resolutions, having a way to keep yourself accountable for every day progress, whatever the sort, is even more helpful.

Our friends at B.M.M.O. Consulting have shared these January Journal Prompts to help you keep your thoughts together throughout the month.  It's a great complement to the other plans you have for the year.  You can also see their prompts from June.  Journal prompts are generally pretty fitting for any month.  Mix them up if you want!

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Empowers

So...About These Heels...

While reading Bonnie Wertheim's recent New York Times article on high heels, I became energized to write.  Within the first few paragraphs, I already had my wheels spinning about what to say.  She wrote about so much--feminism, women in the workplace, harassment, the history of heels.  I had to dive into this topic.  Heels are my favorite.  

As 2017 has given us a lot to talk about in regards to women and their roles everywhere, the theme of high heels and their place is really striking.  Wertheim wrote about an upset arts publicist/mom of 3 who was overdone by the limit (one) of shoes in the emoji library.  It basically signified the high heel was the only way to signify womanhood.  No boots or flats of any sort.  Just a heel, and a high one at that.  

Sliding my foot in...
I should share my bias before going any further.  I absolutely love heels.  I wear them every day while at work (I do use flats or boots as necessary for transportation.  Walking long distances or dealing with Chicago snow are not ideal for heel or foot care).  I should also note, I am 4'11", so for me, a heel of almost any sort just gets me in the game.  People literally talk above my head, so being at a height extreme kind of creates a need for additional inches.  Plus, I just like heels.  In liking heels, I know the importance of heel care.  Avoiding cracks and grates (this can sometimes be hard), so wear platforms when possible, they absorb the shock when walking), wearing flats when necessary (because too much of anything isn't so good), having a good shoe shop on hand at all times (this is obvious), and of course--actually wearing them.  You can't get good and comfortable with it if you don't practice.  

Stepping back from my disclaimer, I agree with the sentiment--women should not be limited to dusty old stereotypes when it comes to apparel and ability.  If a woman can star in, produce, and direct a critically acclaimed movie, she should not be told by a film festival she must wear heels.  If for any reason--style, form, function, preference or physical need--a woman decides heels are not for her, she should have a plethora of acceptable options.  She should have this without repercussions--even if it's in her emoji library.  

More inches...
But what about the other side to this argument?  No, women should not be bound be historical references to femininity and status when it comes to appearance.  And nope, she shouldn't be wearing high heels in a flood either--purely based on the obvious circumstances of what's literally appropriate for the situation (See. ...never mind).  However, women should not have to be neutralized in their femininity in order to be accepted.  

When Hillary Clinton was running for President the 1st time, the "Traveling Pantsuits" was its own phenomenon.  But it spoke to something.  Women had to appear as close to masculine as possible--without crossing that line--in order to be accepted in such a male-dominated field.  This is just as bad as women being cornered into heels only.  

Just because a woman wears heels and other traditionally feminine pieces doesn't mean she's to be any less accepted in her field or industry.  As noted in Time Magazine's recent piece on female leaders becoming the norm, less than 50 women have been elected to the U.S. Senate in the chamber's history.  But numbers like this are changing--right along with the way the women look.  Sure, you'll always find professional women in the pantsuit or even skirt suit of her choice.  Yet these days, even with just 6% of Fortune 500 companies being run by women, you'll see plenty in heels, flowy dresses, and other ultra-feminine looks.  I bet you won't mess with them in the halls of your local statehouse or boardroom, though.  They know what they're doing.  They're experts in their industry and role models to those behind them.  More than heels for sure.  

The next step...
Today's lexicon is filled with themes of women having to overcome many of the issues we thought we were working through decades, even centuries ago.  Sexual harassment (regardless of the attire) has been a mainstay, and equality for women of all races is still quite the uphill battle.  

As we ladies continue to push forward, make our voices heard, and show our daughters how it's done, we have to lean on our many options--both in attire and profession.  We cannot be bound by overly feminine roles and apparel.  And we must not let our counterparts force us into the submission of neutrality.  Further noted in the Time article, "research shows that at least 30% of a group has to consist of nonconformists before the "other" label is abandoned, and each member is valued for him--or herself".  Also, the more homogenous a group, the lower the cumulative IQ dwindles. We have to put effort into moving the needle here.  

Let's do it.

In the meantime, here are some high heel faves...
Kendall Miles - Super cute, trailblazing; with Chicago ties
Ron White - Form and function; cute and comfortable
Tiannia Barnes - Fun, fashionable, and inspiring

Here, also are some of our other posts on shoes...particularly the ones every woman should own.

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