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.



Friday, December 15, 2017

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

Get Ready for Project Style!

It is always a good time for women to empower women, and for young girls to know and see all they can be--no limits.  So, to push this global mission forward, I am joining 3 other wonderful women in launching Project Style!

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.

Self-esteem is one of the leading causes of low attendance rates among adolescent girls.  Over 70% of girls ages 12-17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks.  Project Style is here to help them overcome these feelings.  they'll be more confident on their own, and can inspire others around them to do the same.

Project Style uses fashion as a tool to engage and empower disadvantaged youth at an age when confidence is most critical. Project Style hosts in-school workshops that 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. The girls can take what they learn in the workshops and put it to use as they shop for free from donated clothing pop-up boutiques that we temporarily construct in their school.

We are all greater in teams and sisterhood than we are alone.  

We hope you will join Project Style in inspiring young women across the country.  Connect with us on social media (@ProjectStyleOrg) so we can bring P.S. Confidence to your area.

You can also donate and help dress girls in confidence!





Tuesday, December 12, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Tech

The Net Neutrality Battle--

As Congress prepares for a vote to repeal net neutrality regulations this week, the debate is heating up.  The discussion has been hot for a while--determining whether and to what degree internet users should have to pay for access to the internet.  Net neutrality is the concept of internet service providers (ISPs) offering access equally, without slowing or blocking content based on user type (residential v. commercial, et.al) or payment amount.  Tech companies like Google and Facebook support net neutrality.  They obviously want as much open access as possible.  Service providers clearly see things differently.

The likelihood for a divide would certainly change the face of social media, and at this point, everyday life.  Use of the internet is far more commonplace than it was at the inception of the regs, so capitalistic changes could really send this country into a tailspin.  


Our Tech Guru, GuyverV has offered his take--
It's apparent that a lot of commenters are either spambots or fools. Tom Wheeler did a great thing by classifying the internet companies as utilities. It ensures competition, but also, prevents companies from prioritizing their traffic over that of others.

Amit Pai (Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission/FCC) has nothing but the corporations interests at heart by attempting to "restore internet freedom." The truth is he can't change the rules without showing that something has changed in the market since the rules were put in place.

Not only has nothing changed, but multiple companies have said to their shareholders that the rules aren't affecting their bottom line. Pai can call this initiative whatever he wants, but it's apparent that he's nothing but an errand boy for corporate interest.



What do you think?


Saturday, November 25, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Shops

Small Business Saturday: The Creme of the Crop--

Today is Small Business Saturday, so we want to share some of our favorite brands for you to check out.  They will certainly provide great gifts for the ones you love.

Special thanks to Chris McKenzie, the gift whisperer, for putting this list together in addition to some of our B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Faves (check the * for blog regulars).

Happy Shopping!

Events - NYC
Black Wednesday at Etsy's HQ feat. Etsy's Black sellers (11/29)

In Her Shoes Holiday Bazaar feat. Black women-owned businesses (12/2)

Womenswear





Accessories








Health, wellness, beauty





TGIN (Thank God It's Natural)*

Astrida Naturals*



Stationary, greeting cards
Art luxe Designs



Home decor




Wine, spirits










Monday, October 30, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Spotlights

Beelove--Buzzing Business; Changing Lives

While recently walking through one of the many local fairs in Chicago's Daley Plaza, I came upon beelove.  A friend with me mentioned he'd tried the brand and loved it.  The product junkie in me got excited.  This is a local brand, and as we walked closer, I could smell how sweet the products were.  Excitement.

I looked through the products and found an entire collection of skin and body care items, plus locally produced honey.  My teas would never be the same.  I tried the body balm, and was hooked.  Later, I got the shower gel, body cream, and scrub.  Purchased the lip balm, too.  Even better, I learned more about the brand itself.  Let me tell you about it...

Beelove is a brand with a twist.  In their own words, it is a social enterprise employing formerly incarcerated individuals, teaching them skills through green-collar jobs, working with urban beehives to produce an all-natural line of honey-infused products that improve our skin's hydration. Beelove takes social consciousness to the next level, not only using local bees and other commodities to produce their goods, but have the local workforce to support their mission. In today's society, where the people behind brands, their views and missions really matter, beelove hits the target.

So much thought has been put into this brand. So much thought comes out. It goes beyond a personal care line. The combination of honey bees and formerly incarcerated employees may bring initial pause at first thought. But, once fear is removed and minds are opened, something amazing is produced. This is what our society needs. This is beelove!

Take a look at some of these amazing products, and get your orders in. The holidays are coming!

The beelove® Product Line

12oz. Honey

beelove® 12 oz. Chicagoland raw natural honey

For those who can’t get enough beelove® honey, we offer a 12 oz. jar. The bees in our beelove® Apiaries create a remarkable light and delicious blend that is uniquely ours. Made with the help of our local flowers, beelove® has a rich natural flavor all it’s own. beelove honey has earned the distinguished Certified Naturally Grown label, assuring you of the highest quality. Do not feed honey to infants under one year of age.

 

Honey and brown sugar scrub

beelove® restore polish & glow honey & brown sugar scrub


beelove® honey and botanical oils nourish and pamper your skin while our raw, brown sugar crystals gently smooth away dry, dull skin cells to reveal a fresh, energizing and healthy glow. beelove® polish & glow honey & brown sugar scrub is gentle to the touch and to your skin. 




Body cream

Beelove® nourish & smooth body cream

This is our number one fall and winter product! Our silky, rich, moisturizing cream is perfect for daily use over your entire body, and is great on knees and elbows and sensitively dry areas. Our beelove® nourish & smooth body cream is made with natural honey, 35% shea butter, and silk protein to condition your skin, soften, deeply moisturize, and tone with full hydration for thirsty skin.
Ultimate body balm
beelove® restore & protect ultimate body balm
beelove® restore & protect ultimate body balm seals in moisture and is specially formulated with pure lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus oil-infused beeswax  to deeply protect and soften dry, cracked hands and feet. The balm is gentle enough for daily use and will not leave a sticky residue. Our beelove® restore & protect ultimate body balm is the next step in dry skin therapy and restoration. It protects and easily absorbs into your skin, leaving it soft and you feeling restored.

Follow beelove on social media!

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