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!

Twitter



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Pink

It's Wednesday--Why Wear Pink?

Last we we talked about October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but as you know, it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  To refresh your memory, we're giving you a few important facts about breast cancer, and encouraging you to show your support and solidarity in finding a cure.  

Share these facts with those you love, and always make annual (at minimum) appointments with your doctor a priority.  Knowing and acting is the healthiest thing you can do.  No fear!


1.  Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. It affects millions of women, and thankfully gets the needed attention to fight its surge.  

2.  Regular doctor visits and mammograms for women over the age of 40 are critical in breast health.  If you are at risk for breast cancer, because of a history of the condition in your family, you should have mammograms sooner for early detection.  Many insurance companies have improved coverage for breast health, and social service centers are helping out as well.  Check our local area for more.  

3. Each year it is estimated that nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.  We must get these numbers lower.  


4. Breast cancer impacts us all. Approximately 1,700 men ill also be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year.  This isn't just about the ladies, gents.  


We hope we're inspiring you to show your awareness (backed by action) all month long.  Like the last couple years, we're wearing pink on Wednesdays to show support for breast cancer awareness.  To recognize domestic violence awareness, we're wearing purple on Thursdays!  

Fashion for a cause--It's the B.A.F.F.L.E.D. way! 

Share your pics on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook with these hashtags!

#WearPinkWednesdaysBCA



*Don't forget about October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, too!

#WearPurpleThursdaysDVA

Join is as we raise awareness this month, and always.  Awareness and action don't end when the month does.    

Monday, October 9, 2017

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

France Continues Lead in Positive Body Imaging--

In late 2015, France took a stand against negative body images continuing to rule the fashion industry. The nation began requiring fashion models to provide a doctor's approval, certifying they were healthy enough to walk the runway. As a cornerstone in the age old fashion industry, France's moves are always seen with deference.  The U.S. has made attempts to address child labor laws, but are still working on achieving something similar for adults.  The American Journal of Public Health praised what France did in '15.  


This time, France is requiring publishers and photographers to include a warning label, "Photographie Retouchee'", on any picture with retouched or photoshopped models. Major fines will be assessed if the warning is not included.  The hook is to warn consumers when they are seeing an image of a model altered to look skinnier than they actually are---further "skinny praising", less natural body praising in general.  

The law was first filed in 2009, but hasn't come to fruition until now.  Over the years, there's been praise and opposition for it.  Some see it as necessary to reversing the many years of trends in skinny overruling all other sizes.  Others see it as unnecessary--"we know ads are made to sell dreams and make-believe".  

How do you think this will work?  Is it necessary?  Should other countries require it, too?


This photo shows a body chain made by B.A.F.F.L.E.D. fave, Ready to Stare - a body positive brand.  



Thursday, October 5, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Purple

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month--


As we step into the 4th quarter of 2017, we also recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Sharing critical information about domestic violence is critical, so we all can continue pushing forward toward a remedy.  You've seen some of these facts before, but they are always relevant.

Domestic violence is unfortunately more common than we realize, and actually spurred by other issues being dealt with, mostly with abusers.  To address this problem, we must educate and spread the word. 


Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) spurred from the "Day of Unity" in October 1981, by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The vision was to connect advocates across the country, working to end violence against women and their children. Like many other causes, such a short time to promote awareness was not long enough, so all of October is now dedicated to this cause.


Here's what you should know:

1. Domestic violence sees no race, color, ethnic background, or economic status.  It affects people in all walks of life.  Men are also impacted, not just women and children.  It's also more than just physical abuse.  Emotional abuse counts, too.  

2. Domestic violence is cyclical.  Although many who are abused feel pain and resent their abusers, they often go on to repeat the behavior.  For children, it is often the only way they know.  Without education and therapy to deal with the circumstance, the problem can perpetuate.

3. Due to lack of resources, the number of survivors to whom local Coalitions Against Domestic Violence (CADV) have provided shelter has decreased by 20%, while the number of victims turned away has increased by 16% over the last four years.  In the last year alone CADVs saw a drastic 12% drop in the number survivors who obtained safe, emergency shelter. Despite this fact, survivors and their children received over 522,000 hours of service last year alone. 

4. Help is available at all times.  Victims, and even offenders who know they need help, may not know where to turn.  To get things rolling, anyone can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-800-799-SAFE.  

5.  Safety Plans help.  The hotline is an amazing tool, but creating safety plans takes things a step further.  The plan will help victims route their escape from pain and chart their journey to a better life.  Plans can include starting a separate savings account, thinking of exit routes from the home, avoiding arguments where weapons are readily accessible, i.e. the kitchen, and having someone available at all times to pick you up or be home when you need them.  For more ideas, click here.

6. There's always a hope for change.  No matter how tough the situation appears; for you or someone you're witnessing, various outlets are available to stop the cycle and give families strength. 

We all have to take on a role in resolutions for domestic violence--speaking out, educating, encouraging others to do the same, and seeking help where necessary.  

*If you are experiencing or sensing signs---say or do something.  Don't wait. With so many tough circumstances to face these days, violence among loved ones is never one we need.  Let's turn touch domestic spaces into haves for love, support and encouragement.  

***Don't forget about our colors campaign this month!

#WearPurpleThursdaysDVA

Share your pics on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook with the hashtags!


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Dines

Meals You Can Believe In - Wine That Tells a Story...

Everyone loves good cooking, and largely inspired by southern roots, it's hard to beat cooking (or restaurants) in Chicago.  Today, we're putting you onto fab partnership between Chef Monica J of Tasteful Manners and Love Cork Screw for a food and wine cookbook.  The book is a must-have, and essential to Sommelier-Foodies' guide to good eating.  
http://lovecorkscrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/logo-web.jpghttp://tastefulmannersculinary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/tasteful-manners-tm.jpg



Check it out!

---
Chef and wine enthusiast team up to create cookbook that pairs your palate with your pinot
September 20th, 2017 – CHICAGO – Bon Appetit magazine recently named Chicago the best restaurant city of the year, but there are chefs outside of brick and mortar buildings making moves as well. Chef Monica J of Tasteful Manners NFP has teamed up with her friend and vintner/owner of Love Cork Screw wine company, Chrishon Lampley, to create a cookbook that answers the always pertinent question: What wine should I pair with this dish? The book, “Your Guide to Tasteful Manners with Love Cork Screw” was just released on September 20th and is available for purchase at www.lovecorkscrew.com.
Chef Monica J touts her meals to be easy, healthy and most importantly delicious and puts her food where her mouth is, so to speak. The chef has lost thirty-eight pounds within the last year eating her own culinary creations. Chef Monica J also has had the pleasure of cooking for a certain NBA MVP that used to reside in Chicago and now counts Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx as one of her meal plan prep customers.

“It is imperative that the food that I cook not only taste wonderful, but makes you feel wonderful as well,” Chef Monica J said. “I do not ask anyone else to eat anything that I am not eating, and I believe in my recipes and their results.”
Chrishon Lampley echoes Chef Monica J’s sentiments. “When I am out and about at events and such, people always ask me which one of my wines would I pair with a particular dish,” Chrishon said. “I thought that this book would be a great way to showcase my choices.”
The book pairs not only the five varietals Love Cork Screw offers but also Chrishon's choice picks from other wine companies. This is rare if not unheard of that a private wine label and a chef do a cookbook together, which adds to the cool factor of the project.

Chef Monica J also takes her healthy bites to the classroom where she teaches Chicago Public School students and their families how to make better choices. In her spare time, Chef Monica J mentors students in the popular “Cooking Up Change” competition where high school Chicago Public School students compete to have the healthiest and best-tasting recipes added to their school lunch menu.
“I am extremely passionate about bringing my meals to anyone who wants them or feels that they could benefit from them,” Chef Monica J said. “Nothing makes me light up more than seeing someone enjoy something that I’ve created.”

Instagram: @chefmonicaj
Twitter: @tastefulmanners

Your Guide to Tasteful Manners with Love Cork Screw is available for purchase at: www.lovecorkscrew.com
 
​For PR inquiries, contact: Traci Daniels 312-351-9670



Friday, September 8, 2017

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

Workplace Style with an Expert--

Fashion Group International of Chicago is hosting a great event next week on fashion in the workplace.  Yes, you can be fashionable in the workplace.  Don't succumb to boring!  With image and branding strategist Aaja Corrine sharing tips and tricks, attendants will also experience the fabulous showroom of Style Room 326.

Don't miss this!!

---

#SignatureIsTheNewBlack

While professional dress is always a must for the workplace, it never has to be boring! Being a leader in your industry is measured by both being the expert, but also by looking the part.

Aaja Corinne Magee is an Image and Personal Branding Strategist, who helps high-potential leaders to create game-changing, personal brands by teaching them how to package and platform their purpose. She will teach attendees how to develop their own signature style that compliments their personal brand, without compromising professionalism.

"Signature style begins with deciding how you want to be perceived." -Aaja Corinne
Click Here To Become An FGI Chicago Member

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