Friday, 24 January 2014 22:29

Letter From the Made Woman Mag Staff

Hitting Your Stride

Letter from our Editor-in-Chief, Serena Watson -- January 27, 2014

As a writer, a blank white page can be -- at times -- immensely stressful and surprisingly scary. You go to write that show-stopping article and … nothing happens. When crafting copy is your livelihood, writer's block is no joke. I go through stages when I feel my creativity is on low and I have to go out into the world and look for inspiration. But I also have phases when I feel like I've hit my stride creatively and it all starts to flow. We’ve all had those work days when you are “in the zone” from 9am to 5pm. Afterwards, you feel like you deserve a whole damn parade instead of just a happy hour cocktail.

Maybe it’s the alignment of the stars or that extra shot of espresso in your coffee; but when those streaks of hot, raw talent course through your body and you feel “on,” take advantage and push down on the gas pedal. Do an extra project, run an extra mile, or push the limits however you see fit. These periods of creativity and focus can be fleeting and you should capitalize as much as possible.

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What could be a better time to push yourself than when you feel you’ve hit your stride? When things are going well and you finally feel you’ve hit a rhythm, don’t plateau. Raise the bar. Take sure-footed steps in the direction of your dreams. You’ve got this.

Published in Current
Monday, 30 December 2013 06:23

Letter From the Made Woman Mag Staff

Savor The Moment!

Letter from our Editor-in-Chief, Serena Watson -- December 30, 2013

2013 was one for the record books. We all faced changes on every level this year; and as you recap the good, the bad and the ugly 2013 had to offer, it’s easy to beat yourself up over mistakes or setbacks. Why is it that the negative is always so easy to remember -- but happiness can seem so fleeting?

I know the sexy thing is to make up resolutions for the New Year (that you probably won’t keep) -- but I also challenge you to take some time to reflect on the year that just passed. Write down some of your favorite memories, some milestones that you achieved and some things you learned. I, for one, won’t ever forget how excited I was to throw my first professional events. Seeing the network of accomplished professionals gathered in one room was the realization of a dream 3 years in the making. So, don’t throw away 2013 along with your calendar. Take stock of the moves you made and revel in a moment of sheer fabulousness for each win. You deserve it!

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Of course there is always more to be done, but if you’re Made you gave 2013 everything you had. It’s time to celebrate the best the year had to offer. We are celebrating our best with today’s issue, too. Check out our picks for 2013’s Best of Made Woman Mag.

Published in Current

MW of the Month // December 30, 2013

British born, Barbara Sealy’s story is marked by many things. Pain and poverty, hurt…numerous trials and tremendous growth. But her story also represents the essence of achievement, of victory. Last week, I was honored -- or shall I say, “honoured”-- to hear some of Barb’s remarkable story first-hand. In her lovely English accent.

Born and raised in Forest Gate, a community in London’s East End that she compared to US’s inner cities, Barb had a rough childhood. Originally from Barbados (an English colony), she and the rest of her large family arrived in the East End of London in the ‘50s to find a new, diverse community with people from a variety of backgrounds. Growing up, Barb faced extreme poverty and abuse from her father, until her mother took on raising her and her brothers and sisters alone. From an early age, Barb loved music and started using it as an escape: she would lose herself in music and film, and she and her siblings would sing together to cope with their often tumultuous environment. As early as her teens, Barb had inherited a strong work ethic from her mother; she remembers vowing that she would do everything in her power to keep other children from experiencing what she had in her household.

As an adult Barb visited the States on a vacation in 1987, and a year later she decided to make the move permanent. Whereas back home she had never been encouraged to think about career options (she was more focused on survival), she knew deep down that there had to be something more.  By now she knew that she wanted to help people and be a philanthropist, but she wanted her work to be tied into music somehow. “Music lifted my spirits,” she reflects. “I said if I can help another child not feel isolated or scared, and show them -- through music -- that they can achieve what they want, it would be really cool.” And that’s just what she set out to do.

Barb’s first jobs in the US included working for companies like Disney, as an administrator in the Video Division, but she credits her time working with the Grammys as the biggest learning experience of all. As the assistant to Michael Greene, the President of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Barb was truly tested. “Because of how I was raised, I didn’t really have the social skills to help me to see how the corporate side of the world really works... I saw how somebody ran a company from the inside and it really set me up to do what I'm doing now.”

During this time, she met Robert (Bob) Brodhead, and they immediately clicked. They came from similar backgrounds and both had a mission to help young people. The two were asked to start the West Coast operation of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz, an organization that has been thriving in Washington, D.C. for years. In this role, Barb worked to bring the jazz program to inner city kids by building after-school programs and other ventures to keep music education alive. She spoke to music departments at South-Central schools like Hamilton and Washington and found corporate sponsors like Nissan and the NBA to help support the programs. At one point, she coordinated a multi-school jazz band with, Reggie Andrews of Locke High School, that would play pre-game and halftime shows for the Lakers!

During her time with the Institute, she put together a scholarship fund and raised well over a million dollars to help students go to college. “Kids who would not have the opportunity financially were able to attend UCLA, USC, the Manhattan School of Music and the Berklee School of Music. The Monk Institute was very successful.”

What’s more, she taught these students that a solid career in music is not about fame. “I always taught that it’s more about having a career and supporting themselves doing what they loved. Do what you love and the money will come. In the meantime, you must know how to run a business and balance your checkbook.” These weren’t official classes, but kids would hang out after the program and ask Barb and her team about these realities. “They weren't learning this stuff at home. Nobody told them what would happen if they didn't do these simple, but life-changing things.”

After the success of the Thelonius Monk Institute, Barb turned around an after school program called Colors United, and then she and Bob Brodhead founded Creative Counseling Network (CCN) in 2006. Both programs were supported in large part by Barb’s close friend and January’s Made Woman of the Month, Barbara Vohryzek.

With CCN, Barb and Bob created a program that offered performing arts training, as well as mental health treatment. “One thing we noticed when working with other nonprofits was that we were providing great shows and entertainment, but the kids still had to go back to their environments and lacked the mental tools to carry the positivity through.” Sanctioned by the Department of Mental Health, CCN offered psycho-social rehabilitation, and involved social workers and therapists.

After CCN, the unthinkable happened in Barb’s life. She experienced a huge health scare that left her bedridden and fighting for her life. During this dark time, her former students and friends gave her another reason to keep fighting.  “I said, I can't just lay here or I'm going to die.  Part of what kept me going is that many of my students, like Miles Mosley, had called me; they had graduated and gotten their degrees, but the music landscape had changed and they didn't know where to start. So it came to mind that I should create a music management company to represent some of the people that had come through my programs over the years.”  So Barb decided she would See it into Being -- and created SB Music Management.

Photo By: Kristine Ambrose

Barbara started managing multiple artists from her house, even though she struggled just to leave her bed each day. Many of her artists weren’t even aware of her illness, and knowing she had to make a call or send an email was what gave her the resolve to move from her bed, to at least her couch (“I contemplated calling it On the Couch Productions!”); this was literally the difference between her life or death. “Other people give you things to fight for, so you start to fight for yourself,” Barb recalls.

Today, Barb’s music management company is thriving, and she has seen artists like Miles Mosley, described as the Jimi Hendrix of the upright bass, grow to have hugely successful careers. Miles’ group, the West Coast Get Down, is a collective of jazz musicians who have traveled the world together, playing for people like Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, American Idol and the Voice.

By setting her artists up for longevity, Barb is “trying to change the face of management and the music industry by showing artists that they can have well-rounded music careers.” Miles Mosley, for example, has also carved out a niche in the film and video game trailer world, composing scores for major film trailer houses, publishing companies, web series and multiple Viacom projects.

The amazing thing is that through it all, Barb has stayed true to her life’s purpose. She has helped countless young people not only overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, but to gain independence and thrive as well-rounded artists and individuals. “I wanted to teach people to become adults the best way they know how... Just because you came from a hard background, it doesn't mean that you can't have dreams. Young people need to see that they have a place in the world, regardless of their circumstances. But they also need to know that nobody gives you anything; you have to work for it.” If they’re in need of an example of hard work, they don’t need to look too far.

Published in Business

Dating // December 30, 2013

In many ways, I'm quite the typical guy.  I like football, fast cars, and I love a good home-cooked meal. I quote Coming to America whenever I get the chance.  And I love to turn things into a competition, just for the fun of it.  Like I said - typical.

But because of my unique journey, I'm also very different.  Growing up in Oakland makes you develop a little faster.  As a young entrepreneur, swimming in an ocean full of sharks will teach you some cold, hard lessons about business.  Searching for meaning in a world full of chaos tests your resolve.  And getting your heart broken time and time again will challenge what you really believe about love.

Because of culture, media, and our experiences, we can fall into the trap of believing in myths instead of seeking the truth.  If the truth has the power to set you free, myths can keep you stuck in patterns of dysfunction.  This is especially true when applied to relationships between men and women.  While men could stand to learn a thing or two about women, that’s not what I’m here to talk about right now.  I’m here to help squash some of the long-standing beefs women have with men in the dating scene, and it starts with killing some of these myths that keep us at odds. I know it’s hard out there, but I hope these insights help you navigate your relationships with the men you meet.

Myth #1: All Males Are “Men.”

A Made Man operates under a different code than other men.  He’s a leader that lives his life according to clear principles and values.  Men like this stand out and you notice one when you meet him, not because he’s flashy, but because he commands your respect.  And a Made Woman won’t be satisfied in a relationship if she’s not with this type of man.

Myth #2: If He’s Single, Either He’s Gay, Crazy, Or He’s Lying.

If I had a dollar for every time a woman asked me why I was single, I’d be waking up in that new Bugatti that Ace Hood raps about.  I often talk to women who are puzzled by the single man that isn’t actively looking for a wife.  They assume there’s something wrong with him or that he’s afraid of commitment. To me Phonte from the rap group Little Brother said it best: “A woman’s life is love. A man’s love is life.”  For a Made Man, to find a good woman is one of the best gifts he could receive.  But the ultimate pursuit and prize lies in that man finding his purpose and passion, establishing himself in his work, and leaving his mark on the world. The great Steve Jobs talked about “making a dent in the universe.” All Made Men have this inherent desire to make an impact.  It’s how we’re programmed.  We don’t view women as less important than our passions.  They are to be our companions and partners as we go on our journey towards meaning and significance.

Myth #3: There’s No Such Thing As A “Guy Friend,” And If He Says He Wants To Be Your Friend, He’s Lying.

This is a tricky one because there are a few ways guys can act when it comes to friendship with women. Many women can remember a time where they thought they had built a solid friendship with a guy who just genuinely seemed interested in being their friend.  But in the end, it turned out that he was trying to figure out how to use his charm to get past her defenses and make his move.  This cunning scheme has broken the trust of women around the world, and it has ruined it for men that value platonic female friendships.  Some men are mature enough to enjoy the company and energy of a woman, and some men aren’t.  It’s too bad that the wolves in sheep’s clothing ruin it for the good guys that just want female companionship.

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But there are, in fact, some men that want to establish a solid friendship with a woman before taking it to the next level.  These men need to get know the real woman before they consider them as a potential suitable life partner.  They need to see the woman as she really is, and without the veneer that’s often put up during courtship. There is nothing conniving about this.  In fact, with the divorce rate what it is, it's probably smart for him to do his homework in this way. Women need to be able to identify this man, and appreciate the fact that he cares about his future and his family enough to choose his mate wisely. The difference between this guy and the wolf in sheep’s clothing is that instead of just saying he wants to be friends he proves it over time by showing he cares about you.

Myth #4: Men Are Intimidated By Strong Women.

Men can be just as insecure as some women are, and strong women can scare them.  But a Made Man is never intimidated by a strong woman.  He’s excited about her.  Because he’s secure in his identity, he isn’t threatened.  Instead, he’s excited to see her grow and thrive.  If you find yourself scaring off all the men you encounter, you could possibly be around a bunch of fragile boys in men’s clothing.  Steer clear of them for now.  But a word of caution: don’t confuse the word “strong” as a license for you to be disrespectful or insensitive.  It can be easy slip into cynicism, but don’t give in to it.  You might miss a Made Man when he appears.

Myth #5: Age Equals Maturity.

Just because a guy is older doesn’t mean he has his life together.  I know some 40 year-old guys who look for a  girlfriend that will take on the role of  their mother.  And I know some 20 year-olds that are ready to be the head of their household. From an emotional and psychological standpoint, some guys never leave the nest. They expect their woman to be compliant and always able to fix whatever mess he gets himself into.  Every man wants a woman who will be his biggest supporter and cheerleader.  But any guy who would rather have an enabler more than a co-pilot is not a Made Man.  A Made Man knows that every power couple is made up of two strong individuals.  He’s not looking for his mom.  He’s looking for his match.

These are just a few of the myths that women believe about men, and we’ll explore a few more in the next column.  But I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think these are myths?  Or are these realities that men will never be able to escape from?

Next Issue:  10 Myths Women Believe about Men (Part 2)

Published in Dating

Style // December 30, 2013

If you’re reading this, odds are you are part of a very fortunate bunch. You obviously have access to a computer, the Internet, have a few leisurely moments, and are blessed with eyesight. I think many Made Women (myself included) can sometimes take for granted all the good fortune we experience day-to-day.

I was truly inspired when I spoke with a woman whose mission is to change the fortune of those who need it most. Azie Tesfai has traveled the world and sourced the most precious materials to raise awareness and share the stories of those in other cultures. Her company, Fortuned Culture, sells beautiful jewelry and allocates a percentage of the proceeds to charity. Her specialty is highlighting the tales of those who have had terrible experiences and turned them around into life-changing forces.

Made Woman Magazine: Tell me about your background and growing up, and how that led to Fortuned Culture.

Azie Tesfai: What shaped me the most was growing up in L.A. and going back and forth to visit family in Eritrea and Ethiopia. It was an extreme perspective. I knew I was lucky to be raised in the U.S. and that I needed to use that good fortune to help those where I am from. So when an opportunity came to fundraise, I took it. Traveling all over Europe, Africa and the U.S. was the perfect storm of culture, creative passion and good fortune growing up. It exposed me to several precious elements that could be used to help raise funds. These precious metals and stones were important to the culture they came from and I wanted to use them to give back to those people.

MWM: How does the media negatively portray the place your parents were raised in? Conversely, how can the media help causes like yours?

AT: My parents are Eritrean (the country to the North of Ethiopa that gained its independence in the 1990s). Growing up, I would get stereotyped as one of those African children you see on infomercials. But really, these parts of Africa are so beautiful. I didn’t stand up for myself and explain the natural resources and beauty of my homeland. When I got into photography, I got into showing how happy people were with a lot less. I would take pictures when I returned to Africa for a visit. I would see fifteen children with one run-down soccer ball, and you’d never see happier children. The things they valued were family, love, basic goodness and morals. 

Amazing companies are starting to give back, and media is helping those companies. Ryot offers news plus a solution, which is a really cool concept. We always hear about death and negative headline-grabbing stories that don’t have any resolve. I like presenting the news in a way that is effective. I grew up watching the BBC News. The local news just scares you. But everything is changing. Twitter allows for a means to rally and come together; the younger generation will change the way the media sees people. You can’t falsely advertise countries and people through skewed angles in the paper. People will have to tell the truth more.

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MWM: Why jewelry?

AT: In Ethiopian or most African cultures, jewelry has deep meaning. Ethiopian gold has been passed down throughout many generations. It’s extremely personal and possesses great meaning. I like to wear one piece very simply instead of wearing a ton of jewelry. I’ve always made jewelry, especially for events and weddings. Around the time friends asked for jewelry I came to know the Fregenet Foundation, whose meal program got cut. People who are hungry can’t learn. Slowly I realized that I could sell jewelry and add the cost of a meal. Lots of my friends were into quotes and affirmations via social media, so I decided to incorporate these into my jewelry. The “Health” bracelet, for example, is really personal to what they are giving. They know they are giving help to someone else in need and it ended up selling well. So I did a “Love” one benefiting teachers and a “Wisdom” one as well. I wanted there to be meaning for something lacking and a connection between the person buying and the donation. I wanted to make each piece with materials that highlighted the beauty of that culture.

MWM: Tell us about the work you’re doing in Mexico.

AT: My goal is to have a huge row of countries to click on for each charity on our website. I really want to advertise with the best charities, the ones who are giving the highest percentage. I met with the founder of an orphanage in Mexico before, and she is an orphan herself. There are over 800 children now she takes care of, so they have basic needs for things like diapers and books. She is just one person, but I fell in love with her story. Before I design I go down and see the place our jewelry will benefit. I spend my days seeing orphanages. Most have children who just want to be held. I created a necklace inspired by one girl in particular named Lupita. There’s a handwritten note from her inside the necklace. This young girl is so positive and optimistic about life. She and her brother were abandoned by their mother at the orphanage without any papers, so they didn’t know anything about themselves and couldn’t get medical treatment or go to school. The orphanage got them papers and Lupita got to pick out her birthday. She got to create her life and her own destiny as well as that of her brother’s. She looks at the situation in such a better light. She just wants to do well in school and help her brother. So the necklace says “Rebirth” in Spanish on it with a prayer inside. Lupita was so excited to help be part of this necklace’s creation.

MWM: What’s your advice to other women looking to start a similar organization?

AT: Go with your passion. Anything done right will take a lot of work. Helping anyone in a dire situation requires passion. I don’t know how people have companies that don’t give back.

MWM: Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?

AT: I like the Ethiopian cross because I grew up seeing it. They are modern but have an old tradition. The rebirth necklace for Lupita in Mexcio is a little piece of art.

MWM: How can others help?

AT: On our website, there’s a link to the charities we work with, so you can always volunteer. Volunteering is so gratifying. Each piece of jewelry we make does something good for someone else, so buy some for the holidays. Wear these pieces proudly, because each one is a representation of the kids they help.

MWM: Tell us about your partnership with Tom’s.

AT: We are excited to be on the new Tom’s marketplace, opened November 5, 2013. It’s been so inspiring and has caused many people to intern and want to help. Fortuned Culture was even the first item to sell on the Marketplace. We talked about Fortuned Culture to Toms employees. Toms is the biggest socially-conscious brand, so we wanted to incorporate its logo in the Toms blue bracelet, which helps children to go to school. The collaboration was a long process that involved exchanging information back and forth about our company and work ethics. We were so happy Toms approached us. We can now make cooler pieces because we have a buyer and a larger audience. New pieces will be added throughout the year, too. The marketplace has been a really amazing and inspiring experience that has pushed us to do more on another level and reminds us that we aren’t doing this alone. There have been billboards in New York, commercials and lots of magazine features resulting from the Marketplace. Jessica Alba even selected one of our bracelets for her holiday picks. We will probably even have some Black Friday deals. This is bigger than us, and will hopefully change how we shop.

If you’d like to change how you shop, while changing the world, visit Fortuned Culture and make a difference this holiday season.

Published in Style

Business // December 30, 2013

We’ve all had those moments, chatting away at a dinner party, vino in hand ... you ask the smokin’ hot hipster sitting to your left what he does for a living. “Oh, I’m a resort water slide tester,” he casually replies like that’s something you hear everyday. “Excuse me—a what?! Awesome ... I didn’t even know that was a job.”

In today’s world, countless unique careers exist that your parents and college counselor probably never mentioned (or even knew about for that matter.) At a young age, most of us are plopped onto a track heading straight to Normal Jobville. Few kids grow up wanting be to a roller coaster designer, hair stimulation supervisor, menu engineer, ice cream taster, fortune cookie writer, or conlinguist—but they are all very real vocations.

While some high schools and universities are attempting to better prepare future young adults for occupations that are unique or don’t yet exist, most haven’t found effective ways to make students more aware of the wide variety of positions that are available, beyond the basics. So, how does a modern girl discover unconventional career options? It’s not as difficult as one might think.

Start by digging deeper into the world in which you want to work. Food, fashion, photography, medical, writing, hospitality, travel, entertainment, interior design—in each industry, there are a plethora of uncommon jobs. Talk to as many people as you can who work in fashion, if that’s your passion, and Google! The answers are there under simple searches like “unique jobs in fashion.” Another option that yields results—visit the “career opportunities” section on websites of companies you’d like to work for. Often you’ll see job listed that you never knew existed. Here’s an example on

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There are also occupations that are highly unusual by nature and require unique individuals to fulfill the duties—i.e. sea urchin diver, coconut safety engineer, and snake milker—all examples of work that definitely qualify as unique, but also are not for everyone. Because most women I know (not all, but most), don’t want to learn how to extract venom from snakes and sell it to research labs for use in anti-venom medications, here is a list of unconventional jobs that might actually be of interest:

Fashion - beyond the buyer, model, and fashion designer

Textile Distributor

This person is the middleman/woman between textile manufacturers and designers. The job involves a fair amount of travel, as many fabrics are sourced in other countries. It also provides plenty of freedom from being stuck in a office cube. Textile distributors make an average of $105,000 a year.

Fashion Colorist

It’s the job of a colorist to make sure that fabrics are the right color and of the same dye lot. If you have an amazing eye for color differentiation and know how different light sources effect the way we see color, this might be your next job in fashion. Colorists make an average of $53,000 a year.

Other unusual jobs in fashion: Fashion Forecaster, Set Designer, Personal Shopper

Food - beyond the chef and restaurant

Recipe Developer and Tester

Today you don’t have to have a professional culinary degree to get sell your recipes if you’re an amazing cook, uber detail oriented and can write precise directions. Magazines, brands, and even celebrity food personalities are hiring home-chefs to help fill their plates, pages, websites and cookbooks with delicious recipes. This is typically freelance work and it helps to have a food blog to showcase your talents. Recipes are generally sold for between $275 and $1,000 each. If you’re skilled at food photography, you can charge more.

Gourmet Food Buyer

If you have a passion for food, this could be a dream job. Stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Costco all employ people to find and purchase the foods they sell and to decide which items to take off the shelves. To qualify for a position like this, it’s best to have a background in hospitality and gourmet food, but Trader Joe’s is known for promoting from within if you have the drive. Other skills needed: excellent palate, ability to negotiate with vendors, product sourcing, inventory management, marketing, and an understanding of trends in consumer taste. Travel is sometimes involved and salaries range from $50,000 to $80,000.

Other unusual jobs in food: Food Stylist, Culinary Trendologist, Test Kitchen Taste Tester, Restaurant Publicist, Chocolate Explorer

Hospitality - beyond the concierge, front desk, and hotel manager

Cruise Director

This is an amazing way to travel the world, entertain people, and avoid sitting behind a desk all day. Cruise directors are responsible for all on-board hospitality, entertainment and social events. They act as the public face of the company and are constantly interacting with the guests. For this job you’ll need a charismatic personality, tons of energy, the ability to be away from home for extended periods of time, and experience working in recreation, entertainment and/or hospitality. Here is an example of a job listing for Cruise Director for Royal Caribbean. Salaries can range from $45,000 to $150,000.

Vibe Manager

Hot hotels today are hiring “Vibe Managers” to create the overall “vibe” of the hotel—from the music in the lobby, spa and elevators to creating unforgettable corporate meeting experiences for hotel clients, e.g. setting up a DJ booth in the conference room so the CEO can be spinning pre and post meeting. Read more about the Vibe Manager for Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego here. Salaries range from $50,000 to $75,000. Here is a list of other unique jobs in the hospitality industry.

No matter where your passions lie, you can be sure there are unique jobs that exist in that field … you just have to do some digging to uncover your first or next unconventional career!

Published in Job Hunting

Lifestyle // December 30, 2013

This story was originally published on The Los Angeles Post.

Instagram has hands-down reigned the social media world in the past few years, its position solidified with the acquisition by Facebook, the release of the iPhone5 and the addition of video functionality.  Of course you’re following all of your Facebook friends and even a few big names, celebrities, and possibly a few bloggers, but Instagram has allowed a whole new wave of amateur and professional photographers to blossom. From art, culture, style, food and more, here are some of the must-follow people to follow on Instagram... besides your little sister and Rihanna.

1. @Instagrafite

With the uptick of street and graffiti art, we love this visually dynamic virtual gallery showcasing the best street art. Billboards, walls, signs, and even the occasional semi-truck somehow are transformed,giving your inner-art enthusiast a daily shot of awe. We also love that the photos are tagged on the map, so you can visit the pieces that make the grade in your area. Street art tour, anyone?

2. @chrisconnolly

We love diving into the world of mobile developer and all-around web-guy-turned-iPhone-photographer Chris Connolly. Shots of nature, portraits and simple city fixtures become things of beauty in his hands. Chris makes us want to grab our iPhones and start taking pictures of anything and everything.

3. @share_food

Foodies everywhere rejoice when @share_food posts a new photo. Food porn to the extreme, follow to find delicious and beautifully photographed treats like portabella cheeseburgers, chocolate tarts, colorful sushi and more. This is a must-follow account because you can tag your own photos with #sharefood and if your own photo is featured,  it could be viewed by over 62K followers.

4. @OscarPRGirl

Need an injection of style and the latest trends? For an inside look at what’s hot, a must-follow is Erika Bearman, the Communication Director for Oscar de la Renta and her fabulous style envy-inducing photo of outfits, behind-the-scenes, events, swag and more.

Just like shopping, there’s always something new and we are all for living vicariously through Erika’s fabulous life.

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5. @BarackObama

Run by our President’s social media-savvy staff, this Instagram account is full of personal photos of President Obama as well as inspiring shots from around the country on the campaign trail and following his work.

6. @paulscheer

Who doesn’t need some daily dose of humor? Spice it up with this hilarious stream from writer and comedian/TV Paul Scheer who turns ridiculous street sightings into comedy gold. Just be careful not to LOL too loud at work.

7. @dvl

We love the visually stunning photo magic that can only describe the photos posted by usability consultant Dustin Vaughn-Luma. Epic black and white shots, nature’s glory and priceless moments frozen in time abound in his shots.

8. @alifewortheating

Because your life wouldn’t be complete without more stunning photos of food, we’ve added @alifewortheating to our list. Run by self-proclaimed foodie and traveler Adam Goldberg, his photos document his culinary experiences. We love his accessible style and following along in long form with updates to his blog and other social media profiles.

9. @Charitywater

Combining stunning photos with social good, this nonprofit organization made of list of top Instagram accounts to follow for a dose of feel-good and kindness brought by shots of their efforts to bring clean drinking water to communities in developing countries.

10. @kevin

Although he’s no Tom from MySpace, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom made our must-follow list for those that want to stay in the know on the latest of Instagram and some cool behind-the-scenes snaps. However, mostly we just like his lavish, jet-setting and glamorous beach photos. If only we had thought of Instagram.

Share with us! Who are some of your favorite people to follow on Instagram?

Published in Lifestyle
Saturday, 12 January 2013 18:32

You, Inc. Quarterly Review

Lifestyle // January 14, 2013

From Guest Writer Nailah Blades,

It's the first month of the 2013, which means that if you were a corporation you’d be starting the first quarter of the year: your Q1. This also means you would have all of your super smart business and financial analysts reviewing the past 3 months -- your Q4-- and evaluating where you netted out.

It’s important to take a step back and review where you are from time to time. Being aware of your progress can help you decide what needs to be done to keep moving forward.  Doing an honest review of your last Q4 will help you keep track of your accomplishments and will also help you determine where you need to change direction.

Let’s take a look at the corporation of You for a second – dare I say ‘You, Inc.’ What did the last quarter look like? Were you able to achieve the results you outlined at the beginning of the year? Would your stockholders be pleased? Take around 30 minutes to review the questions below:

  •     What have you accomplished during your Q4?
  •     Any disappointments or setbacks? What can you learn from those experiences?
  •     Are there any goals or projects that need to be adjusted? Any goals that just need to be axed?
  •     What goals have fallen off the radar? What can you do to get them jump started again?
  •     What are your priorities for Q1? How will you adjust your plan to meet your goals in the next few months?
  •     What resources or tools do you need to have a crazy successful Q1? How will you get those resources and tools?

Once you've completed your review, you should have a good idea of what worked and what didn’t in the past few months. You will have a list of your awesome accomplishments as well as goals you still want to work toward. Breaking our big goals into smaller pieces makes them more manageable and will help keep us truckin’ along. Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you work toward your goals so that you can stay motivated and not get burnt-out:

  • Create & Track Milestones -  Working toward a lofty goal can be overwhelming, and you’re more likely to get frustrated and give up when you don’t think you’re moving the needle. Acknowledge when you make it to smaller milestones. If there aren’t any small milestones – make them up. For example, if one of your goals is to run a marathon, start keeping track of when you successfully complete each mile.  Running 1 more mile each week sounds a lot more manageable than running 26.2 miles by a certain deadline.
  • Stay Focused on Your Compelling Vision - It’s a lot easier to tackle tough goals if you know it all fits into your overarching compelling vision. What’s your big “why?” Losing 20 pounds doesn’t sound like fun, but if you know that losing 20 pounds fits into your long-term compelling vision of being healthy and feeling great about yourself, it becomes a bit easier.
  • Be Realistic - Make sure that your ultimate goal is realistic. Maybe the reason you are facing burn-out is because you are trying to achieve the impossible. It’s important to aspire for greatness, but make sure your goal is something that can be steadily worked up to – otherwise you’re liable to throw in the towel.  Make sure you’ve set reasonable timelines for yourself, and continue to evaluate your progress as you go along.  There’s nothing wrong with making adjustments to “the plan”!  Setting a way too aggressive goal for yourself does nothing but bring disappointment.
  • Give Yourself a Break – We’ve all done it: we set a goal up for ourselves that we’re so excited about, we never want to stop working on it. Give yourself a break occasionally! Taking a step back from your project or goal from time to time will help you re-energize, and you’ll feel much more refreshed when you pick it back up again.
Published in Lifestyle
Monday, 31 December 2012 05:36

Shoes | These Heels Were Made for Workin'

Best of 2012 // December 31, 2012

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for a fly pair of heels. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was play dress up--and you can bet that included trying to strut in some over-sized pair of my mom’s high heel shoes. While these days I prefer to wear shoes that are my own size, my love for a sky-high pair of pumps has not waned. 

But I, like many women, am constantly faced with the work/heel dilemmas: are these too high for the office? Too “hooker-ish”? Too night-time? To some it may sound trivial, but these things really do affect how we ladies are perceived in the workplace--even in a more creative environment like the music industry, where I work. And while the goal is always to keep it classy and professional, we also want the world to know we have a little bit of shoe game. Rest assured, I did the work for you and tracked down some of the hottest, work-appropriate heels that’ll carry you through this season and beyond. And they’re far from your momma’s pump.

The Wedge

One of my favorite “trends” this season is the re-emergence of the wedge. It’s been kind of lingering in the background for a while now, but I’m loving that it’s finally taking center stage. It’s a great option if you’re on your feet a lot--or just don’t feel like balancing on stilts all day! 


Rachel Roy “Lacina” – Available at  - $110

This is a cute twist on the nude pump, with a fun pop of color. These are also available in teal, but you’ll be able to get a lot more wear out of the neutral version. These are uber versatile and will pair well with a dress, slacks or skirt/blouse combo.


Tory Burch “Emilie” -  Available on - $350

To me, this color color epitomizes Spring.  I just think of freshly cut grass and walking through a field of flowers.  I love this wedge paired with a wrap dress or tapered trousers for a laid back sophistication. 


Dolce Vita “Pilar” – Available at Bloomingdales - $100

These are for the ladies who have a more casual work environment. While these are more of a fall look, you can nab this style at a discount now and they’ll carry you into next fall. And if you live in LA like me, you can get away with a cute neutral bootie like this year-round. 

The Classic Pump, With a Twist

Pumps are the obvious choice in an office setting. But that doesn’t mean they have to be as drab as the neutral paint on the office walls. Here are a few options to spruce up your pump rotation:


Steve Madden “Knoyzz” – Available at - $89.95

I love the 1950s feel of this shoe, with its elongated round toe.  The reasonable stacked heel and the give of the leather will keep your feet feeling great all day. Plus the plum color is so classy and wearable year-round. 


Sam Edelman “Orly” – Available at - $120

So I must admit: I’m generally not the hugest fan of kitten heels or slingbacks. But what’s not to love here? The style and pattern combo is so Parisian chic, and the heel won’t put pressure on the ball of your foot like those Kim K platform stilettos you see everywhere. It also comes in a variety of patterns to suit your taste.


Elie Tahari "Bretta" – Available at - $174

So you know how every year all the stylists say how “in” leopard is this season? In my opinion, it’s safe to say that leopard isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I still get compliments when I pull out my leopard pumps I bought in like 2005. This pump has such a versatile, timeless style that can be dressed up or down--it’s sure to be a great investment.

Put Some Spring in Your Step

What kind of person would I be if I didn’t give you some cute, springy options to choose from? This season is always a great time to play around with color and more easy, breezy shoe options. Here are a few of my fave styles:


Juicy Couture “Flash Color Block” – Available on - $228

I seriously almost started drooling when I saw this shoe. The color blocking offers an understated sexiness, and the chunky heel is easily dressed up for work, or down for a weekend outing with the girls. 


Nine West “Feelngood” – Available at - $99

A floral pump is so fun as an accent piece this Spring. Wear one color head to toe and pop these on, and you’ll have the whole office asking who you’re wearing. I’m loving the unique cut, and the classy pattern somehow reigns in the bright colors.


Vince Camuto “Bello” – Available on - $129

I love this shoe for a casual Friday. Mint coloring is huge this season and can easily be thrown on with a pencil skirt for work, and a cute dress for a weekend brunch.

Keep in mind, these heel options are meant to be a jumping off point. If these options don’t quite fit your style or budget, use them for inspiration and add your own twist to find something that works for you. That’s what makes fashion fun in the first place. Happy strutting!

Published in Style
Monday, 31 December 2012 05:31

Day 13: Ode to Big Bones

Best of 2012 // December 31, 2012

Ode To Big Bones

I love Me enough for the both of us trust, it's just my Big thing.

In spite of your judgmental nature

and piercing words that define your stature

A Big coping-mechanism of sorts is to blame…

Something to best explain why your face contorts when I stand before you.


Maybe it's my size that intimidates you

My extreme curves and chocolate thighs

make you look twice and think your thoughts through.

Have you hypothesizing what it’d feel like

to be inside of my Big,


mind & things ...

seems like you’ve got some Big explaining to do.

I know I’m far different from the image

depicted on the silver screen

A sliver of society’s magazine pin-up wet dream

Seems its proved to be problematic

You write my name with only what your eyes have seen



And even though its not my job to fill all your potholes & shit

I guess you assumed all my excess thick would do the trick…

But Big intellect is not wearable, honey.

Try that on for size.

The irony of a Big girl possessing more swag than you do is unbearable..

I know, it can’t be true.

And when my Big mouth met your open ears,

I know the depth of my Big vocabulary was too much for you to handle.

You play pretend like my Big presence doesn’t make you uncomfortable.

Like this room isn’t big enough for me, you & your chauvinistic ego

Little do you know, relationships they come, they go

But I still remain here…



I despise the way you look at me as if your stare isn’t see-thru,

I know your story so well, I could recite it back to you.

If I had a nickel for every time I ran over a superficial so’n’so like you,

I’d have collected enough dimes to fill up the space occupied by this one-of-a-kind

behind, combined with enough residual to change your cadaverous mind into

appreciating Big beauty… Soak it up.

This post was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Love Yourself." Each day we released updates of videos, poetry, images, and original content, all based on the theme of loving yourself. Click the link to read more!

Published in Current
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