Dating // August 18, 2014

Ahhh, the one night stand. Whether they admit it or not, many people have had this casual sexual experience at least once, and usually during their 20’s. However common an occurrence in pop culture they may be, not everyone is sold on the one night stand (O.N.S) experience. Some view them as the greatest “after the party it’s the after party” night cap; in a glass half full kinda way. Others see them as the most embarrassing thing they’ve ever done after leaving the club; in a glass half empty kinda way. However you choose to look at your glass, there’s one undeniable fact: somebody quenched their thirst and got some.

One of the reasons why one night stands have become so prevalent is because the modern dating scene has become a little complicated. For some, dating has become something like the job interview process where, if you’re lucky, by the final stage of questioning you get laid. People don’t really have patience for the run around routine of dating anymore. The beauty of a one night stand is that it isn’t about checking your relationship resume. They don’t require confessing the background story on your last boyfriend or three dinner dates before you…. can show you’re qualified. The prerequisites for a one night stand are easy: as long as you have the complementary parts to get the job done, you’re hired.

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One night stands may seem like “the norm”, but trust me, they aren’t for everyone. Some are just using sex as a Band-Aid to cover up pain from past relationships, or as a tool to manipulate and hurt other people. (Payback for an ex maybe?) But O.N.S. do happen. So, when you leave the club this weekend, before for you decide to subscribe to the mantra of “YOLO” and go home with that cutie you JUST met, here are some questions to ask yourself: 


1) Can you accept responsibility for what is about to happen?

They say the first step to addiction rehabilitation is admitting you have a problem and thus accepting responsibility for it. Well, the first question of a one night stand is similar to that in that you have have to go into that experience knowing and accepting that whatever sexual encounter that is about to happen, is happening because YOU want it to. Far too often people find themselves making excuses for why they had a O.N.S because they feel embarrassed that this type of behavior may be deemed socially unacceptable. Don’t feel like you have to find fault with deciding to spend the night with someone you met hours before. So you slept with the guy from the wedding reception. Hey, it happens. We aren’t judging. But if you know you are going to end up making excuses for it after the fact by saying you were “soooooooo drunk “and blaming it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol, maybe the O.N.S. isn’t for you. Be a big girl and own your mistakes with the same fervor as you would own your triumphs. If you’re confident in your decisions, there’s no reason to be ashamed. And vice versa, if you aren’t confident then don’t do it!

2) Can you Get In, Get Off and Get Out?

When you choose to have a one night stand, there’s a 90% chance that you aren’t looking at the guy you’re going to marry (that remaining 10% only happens in movies that are rarely based on a true story). As a matter of fact, a O.N.S is probably the most non-committal thing you could ever do. One night stands are strictly about sex - not love, not relationships.  Don’t expect breakfast or for your night time fun to sprawl over into a day date or some whirlwind romance. He probably won’t call you the next day (even though he said he would) and you have to be OK with that. Typically women are emotional beings and we tend to attach ourselves to situations relatively easy. If you’re the type to ask “what are we” in a relationship, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT partake in one night stand activity unless you want your feelings hurt when he says, “we aren’t anything”.  This all goes back to the #1 rule of a one night stand. If you know your reasons for sleeping with someone and you’re legitimately OK with the consequences, you won’t be shocked by the big let down that he doesn’t want to take you home to meet his mother because you don’t want to meet her anyway.

3) A One Night Stand Does Not a Whore Make

OK, so this isn’t a question but from the beginning of time, society has always classified women in two categories: the good girl and the bad girl. You’re either a virgin or a harlot. Marilyn Monroe or a Jackie O. Beyonce or Rihanna. Apparently as a woman, you can either have no sexual desires outside of the satisfaction of your marriage or you’re some wild woman out here bedding everyone with a penis. Don’t feel like you’re some skank or sexual deviant because you chose casual sex over companionship. We see it all the time with society’s double standard when it comes to sex: A man can have a wife, girlfriend and a side-chick and be considered “the man”, but let a woman sleep with people she is casually dating and she’s a ho. It’s ridiculous. I’m not encouraging you to change the way society views sex by hooking up with everyone to make a point, but I am telling you not to feel bad for getting it in a time or two. As long as you are responsible in your bed buddy choices, feel free to sleep with whoever, whenever and however you want to. Although they’ll try, nobody can really tell you what you can and cannot do with your body. Begin to own your sexuality. It’s surprising how empowered you’ll feel once you start being OK with your sexual preferences and stop comparing them to other people’s.

4) What’s Really Going On? Get Introspective...

Although it would be nice to say that all one night stands happen because you just felt the urge to get laid, there is a chance that your promiscuity is coming from someplace deeper. Contrary to popular belief, the best way to get over someone is not to get under someone else. Sex doesn’t equal love the same way a one night stand doesn’t equal commitment. A one night stand may sound like a great resolution to cure a bad breakup, but in reality it’s only masking an insecurity or self esteem issues you may have. A O.N.S works best when it is happening with purpose. Are you considering a one night stand because you want to let loose for a night or are you trying to get back at an ex by sleeping with his coworker in hopes to make him jealous? Be honest with yourself. Sex is more than just a physical act, it also warrants an emotional connection. Listen to your intuition and make sure you’re sleeping with people for the right reasons.

5) Are You Being Safe?

This isn’t just a PSA about practicing safe sex and using condoms (which is mandatory for a O.N.S by the way), but this is also about protecting your physical and emotional safety as well. Don’t sleep with someone who disrespects you or who doesn’t take your sexual boundaries seriously. Be cautious of who you give your address to and invite into your home. ALWAYS tell someone you trust (a girlfriend, a neighbor, your mom, etc.) your whereabouts and give as much detail about your partner as possible via text. Check in with your confidant if you can, so they know you’re OK. This tip may take the fun out of a casual hookup, but a huge part of owning your decision to partake in a one night stand is being responsible and protecting yourself.

So how do you know if you are capable of pulling off a O.N.S? Well for starters, make sure you aren’t just a girl looking for love. Make sure you aren’t just bed hopping in the hopes that someone will validate your worth and find you pretty or smart or funny. Don’t just succumb to the peer pressures of “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” and irresponsibly sleep with people to uphold some warped self image. One night stands are for the girls who know who they are and what they have to offer outside of the bedroom. They are for the women who can look at a one night stand for exactly what it is: one night of safe, no strings attached, see ya when I see ya sex. Make sure you know who you are, what you can handle and what you are getting yourself into before you attempt to execute a O.N.S. Because while you do only live once, you don’t want to live with regrets.


Published in Dating

MW of the Month // August 4, 2014

Cold, sweet ice cream smashed between two yummy cookies may just sound like a great summertime snack to you, but for Natasha Case, Founder of Coolhaus, ice cream sandwiches have become dessert gold. A young entrepreneur and student of architecture, Natasha has relied on her instincts and passions to fuel her business and take her to the next level. What started out as making ice cream with her then girlfriend and later business partner, Freya Estreller, has turned into a multi-million dollar enterprise, with retail stores in LA, Austin, Dallas and New York and distribution nationwide through grocery store chain, Wholefoods.

It always fascinates me when Made Women are able to take start something on a small scale and turn it into a dream career. As Coolhaus’ founder, Natasha went from selling her unique brand of ice cream from the back of an old ice cream truck to now having a coffee table book called Coolhaus Ice Cream book, partnerships with huge brands and more. I met Natasha recently at the Tribe Talk event right here in LA and was excited to pick her brain a bit and see how she made it all happen:

SW: You didn’t always make ice cream. Tell me a little about your architecture background.


NC: I went to Berkeley for my undergraduate, I studied architecture and design. I studied abroad with Cornell in Rome. Everything they do in Italy had a huge influence on me in terms of quality, from the tailor made suits, to the food, to the architecture, and really realizing that, the best ingredients make the best product. And then I came back, finished Berkeley, and then I went to UCLA for grad school for architecture.

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SW: I know that you have used some of the things you have learned about architecture to inspire design with with Coolhaus and that’s what you studied. So why ice cream? Why food? Why not just architecture all the way?

NC: I had a really fun idea that food... kind of opens up the discussion a lot more. Food is something everyone can relate to. It’s comforting, it’s fun, it’s memorable. I got more intrigued in my own architecture work knowing that.

You have to bake architectural models and I always thought, if I was making this model of cake it would never get boring. So food is fun, and then there is this light at the end of the rainbow because when you are done you can eat it. So it’s always just been a passion/hobby for me, eating and cooking. And then I had the idea of how can you combine architecture with that? What are the ways they overlap? How can you use one to talk about the other? That’s what initially inspired the concept of what we’re doing now with Coolhaus. And a lot of our flavors are named after architects and designers so it’s about building awareness and making it accessible and fun. I call that Frachitecture…. But I still very much consider myself part of both of those worlds.

SW: Right, that’s awesome. It’s just incredible how you started something new and different and it just took off. How big was your team when you guys started out?

NC: Really we started with me and Freya and now we’re over seventy people company wide.


SW: Wow, and also you recently made the Forbes Thirty Under Thirty and Zagats Thirty Under Thirty as well. Congratulations. Were these your biggest accomplishments as an entrepreneur? If not, what was?

NC: To get an acknowledgement or award like that is great but for me the accomplishment is getting into markets in Guam or reaching people with a product that I never thought we were able to reach and running the business properly and being able to reward and bonus the corporate team and also the team on the ground in the trucks and stores. Those are the things that matter to me a lot more. I mean I’m so excited to be acknowledged and that means a lot. But it’s not like, “Oh, that’s my goal is to get Thirty Under Thirty.”

SW: I’m sure it wasn’t easy to go from selling from a refurbished ice cream truck to being in 1500 grocery stores. What has been the biggest challenge through it all?

NC: I think surrounding yourself with the right people -- anyone will tell you -- is the hardest part. Because you [are dealing with] different personalities, and skillsets... And really finetuning to make sure that you have the right team in place and that everyone’s skills are being optimized. The other thing is financially scaling. It’s hard to make the jump from three Wholefoods in 2011 to now over two thousand grocery stores nationwide. Cash flow in a company like ours that is obviously very seasonal is tough. There are times when it’s difficult and how you’re gonna get through it? What kind of precautious do you have to take. You really have to plan, be aware of your budgets. That’s definitely a challenge too.

SW: I know that Freya was your business partner and she worked on the finance and operations side. What was it like for you two as entrepreneurs, co-founders, and significant others? That had to be a lot going on.

NC: Yeah, it’s a lot. I think that while it worked, it worked great because we were able to talk about the company and evaluate it all the time. Then you start to hit a glass ceiling when you say okay, there are limitations to also being romantically involved. It’s not a purely professional relationship and it becomes time to bring in an expert, someone that you don’t have that emotional complication with. So I think it was an amazing thing to do in the startup phase for the company to mature. But I think for the next step, it made sense for Freya to move on and she had other passions she wanted to pursue. So, it all worked out in the end.

SW: That’s great. Your story is very unique, I know that you drove that old ice cream truck to Coachella to launch your product. What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs that are starting out?

NC: We like to say “action not perfection.” If you want to get something out there, don’t be afraid to test the market. The market will teach you a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Don’t feel like you’re always going to have to be perfect before you launch. Because the real test is reality.



SW: You found so many other ways to monetize beyond just ice cream scoops, so can you talk about the other ways that Coolhaus does business.

NC: Yes, so the book, e-commerce that has grown to bars and other clients now, in addition to grocery stores and foodservice accounts.  So, you know, I’ve been coming up with a variety of products and a variety of market channels.

SW: You also talked about partnerships, which ones are going on right now?

NC: We’ve done a big thing with Dexter the Showtime show last year. We did a pre-packaged sandwich and various event activations around it to promote it [along with] various media. This year, we have our partnership with the LA Forum. We have a special sandwich for them. It’s red velvet vanilla because they painted the Forum red. We are working on a partnership with Wholefoods and their Whole Family foundation which is in the very early stages. We have a lot of big brand activations. We are doing something with Jeep.

SW: So, how do you come up with new flavors and new ideas for that?

NC: Sometimes we are inspired by dishes we have in savory restaurants. Sometimes clients commissions us to do something interesting like make a flavor themed by a movie or a show. We did a Spongebob flavor, a 2012 flavor for the movie 2012. Sometimes we just want to push the envelope. We were the first to bring bacon ice cream to the masses and then suddenly people started doing bacon desserts. So we thought, “Okay, what’s the next flavor we can do to push the envelope?” And we came up with chicken and waffles.

SW: What’s your favorite flavor?


NC: It really depends on the day. I love our summer flavors right now Sweet Corn and Blueberry. I love the fried chicken and waffles. Our ___ are fresh and they have a touch of brown sugar.

SW: My last question for you, I know you started a company at a young age, what advice or feedback did you receive that kept you going and allowed you to get past your inexperience?

NC: I think you can walk through a wall if you don’t know it’s there. Sometimes not knowing about something makes you take a risk that you don’t even realize you’re taking and that risk can be your secret weapon because you’re going to disrupt the market and give something really cool and unique.

Love this Made Woman’s story? Join us on August 29th for a Twitter chat with her! Tweet us your questions for Natasha using the hashtag #MWChat!


Published in Business
Thursday, 24 April 2014 18:48

30 Days of Made I Day 24: Charity Water

30 Days of Made // April 24, 2014

This article was part of our series "30 Days of Made: Giving Back." In an effort to create social change, each day we will highlight one charity or non-profit organization, and provide information on how you can support them by giving back. Click here to read more!

You are a young woman in Tanzania. You have three children you have to support with the money you make from selling vegetables from your small garden. Every day you walk at least three hours to get water for your family. You carry the water in a yellow jug, that weighs 40 pounds when full. When you can’t make the long, arduous journey for water, you have to send one of your young children, which means that they miss school and could potentially be harmed along the way. All of this for a jug of water which most likely is contaminated. It’s dark, murky and smelly but this is what you must use to water plants bathe, cook, and drink.


  

Although this may not be your reality, nearly 800 million people who don’t have access to clean water face this plight daily. According to the World Health Organization, children in developing countries under the age of 14 suffer the most from unsafe water and lack of hygiene. This amounts to 20% of total deaths in that age group -- 20%!! For us here in the States, where you can just twist a knob or turn on a faucet to get clean water, this may be hard to imagine. But one New York City native, Scott Harrison, saw that this issue needed urgent attention during his time as a photojournalist in Liberia.

Harrison wanted to provide clean water to the one in eight human beings on the planet without access to it but he wanted to do it in a bold new way. So he built his non-profit, Charity: Water, based on the 100% model  – 100% of donations made to the organization go directly to building fresh water wells, and conducting sanitation training in countries around the world. Salaries and overhead for the company are paid for by funding and other methods, which means that every dollar donated counts. Charity: Water prides itself on the return of their donor’s investment saying, “Every $1 invested in improved water supply and sanitation can yield from $4 to $12 for the local economy, depending on the type of project.” They also tailor their approach for creating the water supplies to each village or community. Wells can be drilled, dug by hand or gravity fed.  Additionally, they build rainwater catchments on rooftops, hand-washing stations and latrines for growing communities.


   

What I love about Charity: Water is that they get long-term results.  Since they were founded in 2006, they’ve funded 11,712 clean water projects in 22 countries which will provide over three million people clean drinking water. Pretty impressive, right? They also use merchandising and clever marketing like The Birthday Project (people can pledge to dedicate their birthday to the org and fundraise on their special day) to get celebs and social networks involved.  I tried the Birthday Project myself a few years back and it was a great way to make the day about something more than just opening birthday gifts.

But another great reason to support Charity: Water (as if you needed more) is that while clean water access affects everyone, it is unmistakably a women’s issue. Usually in rural areas it is the women and young girls who are tasked with getting water each day. With closer supplies of clean water, women will have more time and opportunities to do other things with their lives. Charity: Water forms clean water committees in each village or community to ensure sustainability of the water project, and many times for the women who join, it is their first leadership role.

Support Charity Water!

Visit Charity Water’s site to dedicate your birthday, check out their wells around the world with GPS on their Google map and read the stories of people who have clean water for the first time in their lives. You can also use the buttons below to give back and join in!

Published in Current
Friday, 18 April 2014 22:27

Beauty | Easy DIY Spa Treatments

Beauty // May 5, 2014

Even though we know we need some “me time” to decompress and recharge, much like everything else in our lives, we just can’t find the time to do it all. We can’t schedule a massage at the spa - that would take an hour out of our day that we don’t have to spare. When it comes to getting our nails done, anything longer than an express manicure is out of the question. And have you seen how much a facial costs? Oh, hell no. There has to be a solution that allows us to revitalize ourselves while also accommodating our busy lifestyle (and our pockets).

Lucky for us, there’s something we can do to fix our problem - starting with forcing ourselves to make personal wellness a priority.  Just because we can’t make it to a luxury spa resort doesn’t mean we can’t pamper ourselves. DIY it and turn your place into a Burke Williams with simple ingredients from your kitchen and some fabulous at home spa treatments. Check ‘em out here:

Bubble Bath With Soothing Lavender Bath Salts

* 1 cup Epsom Salt

* 1 tbsp Baking Soda

* 3 drops of Essential Lavender Oil ( add more drops for a stronger scent)

What’s more “ahhhhhh” than a hot bubble bath? To create this bathtub oasis, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Once you’re ready to hop in the tub, scoop about a half a cup of bath salts into the water and enjoy feeling all your tension melt away.

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Avocado Face Mask for Oily Skin


* 1 small avocado, mashed

* ½ teaspoon lemon juice

* 1 tbsp plain greek yogurt

* 1 egg

Olé! The guacamole facial is perfect to boost your skin’s moisture. Combine all the ingredients together and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, smear a thin layer on your face carefully to avoid your eyes. Sit with the mask on your face for 10 - 15 min before rinsing off with lukewarm water.



Brown Sugar Vanilla Body Scrub


* ½  cup brown sugar

* ¼ cup white sugar

* 3 tbsp vanilla extract

* ¼ cup almond oil

Get your glow on and exfoliate your skin with this yummy smelling body scrub. Mix everything together before lathering it on your skin in the shower to get rid of dead skin. Don’t be afraid to scrub hard and make sure you rinse well -  you don’t want any body parts stuck together!


Relaxing Rosemary Foot Soak


*  Rosemary

* 2 lemons

* ½ cup epsom salt

It’s important that we treat our feet! Show your tired soles some love by letting your feet soak for in this healing treatment. Boil a few branches of rosemary in water for five minutes. Find a separate container that you will use as your “foot bath” or purchase an inexpensive foot spa. Place the lemon slices, epsom salt and rosemary water in your foot bath (be careful!). Soak your feet for 15 minutes. Dry your feet a little bit and if you’d like to, attack those callused heels with a pumice stone. When you’re finished with your feet, lotion up with a creamy moisturizer (like a body butter) and slip into a pair of cotton socks to seal the deal. Hello, heaven!

What are some of your favorite “me time” rituals for a DIY at home spa treatment? Tell us in the comments below!


Published in Beauty

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 CondeNast.com.

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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

Entertainment // November 18, 2013

I hate trends. Trends in music, fashion, beauty, TV … it’s just not my thing. I learned my lesson with trends years ago (remember velour Juicy sweatsuits and Sidekicks? Terrible.) and now I’ve found that I’m better off remaining true to my individuality and not following behind something because it’s popular. More than my dislike of trends, is my disdain for the avalanche effect they cause. Often times, people rally behind a trend uninformed, dragging other ignorant supporters with them. Before you know it, the crazy train is so long and out of control it’s hard to tell where or how it even originated. Example? Hollywood’s obsession with telling the “Black Story.”

Within the past couple of years, Hollywood has had a resurgence in the trend of telling African American history through slavery or Jim Crow inspired struggle films and casting Black actors in self-deprecating roles. I started to notice the trend with 2011’s ever-popular “The Help.” “The Help” captivated audiences with it’s telling of life in the Jim Crow South.  The film’s success included Oscar nominations for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, followed by ample magazine covers, interviews and media coverage; thus, starting the snowball effect of Hollywood’s interest in African American history with Black actors and actresses portraying the less than glamorous side of their heritage. Since “The Help,” Hollywood continues to capitalize on that specific culture with studios releasing “Django,” “The Butler,” and most recently “12 Years a Slave.”

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Most of the aforementioned films have received rave reviews, but when you have to emotionally prepare yourself for the language, visuals and subject matter of a film, I think it’s time to dial back on the period pieces. We get it - African Americans have a rough history, but for many Black people having to hear depictions or see reenactments of their background over and over again, it becomes insensitive. Hollywood has OD’d on slavery/struggle films and should spark a new trend du jour in telling Black history. Black people were more than maids and field slaves; they also have made a wealth of advancements and achievements not only for their culture, but for American culture as a whole. But I guess those stories are not trendy enough for Hollywood.

I never thought I’d say this but the 1990’s fashion brand FUBU had it right ... with it’s focus on creating things “For Us, By Us.” If history is going to be told, no one can tell a story better than the person who lived it. When it comes to Black history, Black people should be the ones telling the story - the WHOLE story. Thanks to innovators like director Spike Lee or Howard Johnson, who’s publishing house highlights the achievements of Black people through their publications Ebony and Jet, is the true Black story told. Past and present, African Americans are a forward -moving people and that cannot be ignored. Recently, cable network BET (Black Entertainment Television) had a presentation honoring not just the achievements of Black people, but specifically of Black women titled, “Black Girls ROCK!” The showcase was a whirlwind of positivity displaying just how multi-dimensional Black culture truly is.

It’s high time Hollywood takes an interest in the constructive side of Black history  - for heaven’s sake, the leader of the free world is a Black man. There is a whole spectrum of colorful, rich stories from African American history. If the accurate and real portrayal of Black heritage is to be told by Hollywood, the least they can do is their research.

How do you feel about the trend in Jim Crow/slavery themed movies? Tell us in the comments below.


Published in Entertainment
Monday, 23 September 2013 02:21

Dating | Get Closer With the Closer App

Dating // September 23, 2013

Are you a bit like Cher from Clueless… always looking to make the perfect match? Or are you like Tai aka Brittany Murphy who was open to getting matched up by her best friend?

If you answered yes to either of the above, you’re in luck!  Two young entrepreneurs -- aided by the advances in technology (thank you, iPhone!) -- have come in to save the day with a new app called Closer which is “totally bangin!” (sorry, had to bring the Clueless references full circle). Closer lets you play both the matchmaker and the matchmakee all in one place. It’s a mobile tool that makes getting people connected simple.

Here’s how: the application works by connecting with your Facebook account and loading in all your friends. You simply click the friend that you want to match up and the person you’d want to match them with and it sends them the introduction. And if you are looking to meet new people, you can handpick specific friends on Facebook whom you trust and request them to set you up with people they suggest. You just slide to the right or slide to the left to either “get matched” or “start matching.” It’s easy to use and has a very sleek, cool vibe to boot!

Adding on to the basics, there are a few cool extra features like the “You are Close!” feature that allows users to receive push notifications when matches are close by them and the “Matchmaking Feed” that allows users to see when the friends they set up interact on Facebook (become friends, get tagged in a picture together, change their relationship status, etc.)


So, who spearheaded this awesome idea? Ladies of course! The concept came from two friends, both serial female entrepreneurs in their twenties. Pretty awesome, right? Eugenia Kuyda and Taisia Antonova went to school together in Moscow, but lost touch for many years, until they randomly ran into each other at a bar, reconnected and then came up with this idea for an app.

The co-creators say that Closer is their way of fostering authentic human connection -- because at the end of the day, our friends really know us better than any computer algorithm can. Who better to match us than the people who know us best?

Taisia and Eugenia look forward to expanding this project and opening this up as a way for people to not only meet new dates, but also meet new quality friends and business connections. “The tool is there to create matches and this could support various types and forms of relationships throughout life,” Taisia says.

If you’re digging their mission and want to check out Closer, it is FREE on the iTunes App Store. It’s not yet available on Android or on the Web, but that is in the works as well, according to inside sources.

They are looking for feedback on their app as it continues to grow and improve, so if you can, add some comments below and tell them what you think! Cheers to amazing matches in our lives!

Published in Dating
Monday, 23 September 2013 01:59

Lifestyle | Travel Blog: Tanzania

Travel Blog // September 23, 2013

Go on Safari. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Lounge on the beaches of Zanzibar. Two years ago, if you’d asked, “What are you going to do in Tanzania?” I likely would have cited those three activities. When I finally visited Tanzania this past August, those items weren’t even priorities on my list. What was? Filming.

For fourteen days, my biggest adventure was filming One Day I Too Fly in Africa, a documentary following five African students at one of the U.S.’s premier technological universities. The purpose of our production trip was to follow our student, Sante, home. As expected, her reunion with family was emotional – but so was our visit to a new country. In addition to adjusting to an entirely different culture, my producing partner and I had to navigate foreign production laws. There was no time for jet lag. Nearly every day, we were up by 5am, out by 6am and home close to midnight. We researched a ton before leaving, but our trip ended up being mostly trial and error. My knowledge of Swahili has grown exponentially – though many people in the city of Dar Es Salaam understood and spoke English.


An Education

Four days of our schedule were spent in Sante’s family’s village of Kirua Vunjo. Within moments of arriving in their village, a squirrel and a large spider attacked me. I quickly realized that we were in Mother Nature’s arena. Located in sight of Mount Kilimanjaro, Kirua Vunjo’s primary source of water comes from the tippy-top of the mountain. Read: glacial shower water. For a chick who’s used to taking two hot showers a day, this was quite an adjustment. I can honestly say that those four days made me completely rethink my routine in the U.S. My luxurious 20-minute showers now seem over-indulgent. But despite missing certain creature comforts, Kirua began to feel like home.

For four lovely days, we embedded in Sante’s family, made new friends, and got our behinds kicked playing soccer with local kids. Our experience was one that we never could have had on a “vacation” in Tanzania. We witnessed lifestyles in the city and in the villages, saw the landscape of a vast expanse of the country, and learned stories that only locals could tell.


While I can’t give you the “traditional” must do’s in Tanzania, here’s a list of things to do and try, if you’re interested in sampling the life of a true Tanzanian:

1. Take a drive down Bagamoyo: This road connects Dar Es Salaam to the city of Bagamoyo, which used to be the center of slave trade. Bagamoyo means “Lay Down Your Heart. ”It’s believed that the name could be tied to slaves who were separated from their families, or perhaps to sailors who left for long trips from port.
2. Make a friend: This is very broad, but the best moments of our trip were spent over tea or dinner with people we’d just met. If you make a friend, they may just invite you over for dinner. Since returning home, I have decided to be equally gracious with my home and food.

3. Drive, drive and drive some more: If you’re going to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, or on a safari, it’s easy to catch a flight from city to city. But, if you can, find someone to drive you between cities (driving in Tanzania is 10 times more intense than driving in NYC, so you’ll want a driver). While passing through, slow down and observe as much you can. You’ll miss out on a lot if you opt to fly.
4. Go to Mblamwezi Beach Club: Have you ever dreamed of an open-air bar on the beach with late night Karaoke? This is it! The D.J. is great, but please note that we left the club as Karaoke legends – you have big shoes to fill.
5. Dance the night away at Club Bilicanas: Located in Dar Es Salaam, this club is a popular spot for locals. I now have an entire Spotify playlist dedicated to songs discovered at Bilicanas.

Our next production trip for One Day I Too Go Fly is to Rwanda, in December. If it’s half as amazing as Tanzania, it will be a success.

Published in Travel

Business // June 17, 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 CondeNast.com.

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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 // March 25, 2013 

It’s been 10 years since you have seen your high school classmates. It seems like another lifetime ago. You may find yourself curious every now and again about ex-boyfriends and the “popular” crowd, but is that enough to motivate you to revisit the high school days? Plus, the five social networks you actively use have made it impossible to lose touch with anyone since 2004. I admit, I am a bit torn about attending my own high school reunion. So I did what any other 28-year-old professional woman would do and made a list:

1. The Facebook Factor

Con:

One of the main arguments I’ve heard for not attending these reunions is that you can already catch up with those you care about (and some you don’t) via Facebook. The pictures, status updates and timelines already clue us in as to whether or not our ex is fat and lonely and if the “it” couple ever got married. And when you are looking on Facebook, it saves you the awkwardness of those face to face encounters (you know you don’t remember the names of half your graduating class).

Pro:

While social media does allow us to connect and share, the experiences we have connecting in the real world far outweigh that virtual high. While most of the people I do want to be reunited with are my Facebook friends, I still would like to see them in person, give them a hug and meet their spouses. I would like to hear about their travels firsthand rather than just browse a photo album. Plus, Facebook is a great tool for warming up for a reunion. If you are looking to make business connections or are struggling to remember a face, use “the book” to look it up pre-event and save yourself time and potential embarrassment.

2. Romy & Michelle in Real Life

Con:

We all think of Romy and Michelle pretending to invent Post-Its and we laugh, but the truth is, we can relate. The thing about these reunions is that they can drive us to examine ourselves under a harsh microscope. We can begin to compare ourselves to other people who we feel have accomplished more. It also forces us to be harder on ourselves in terms of getting our butts into gear for starting that business, leaving that job, or writing that book. Not being where you thought you’d be professionally is a lot more depressing when you find out that the guy voted least likely to succeed is making $100k a year.

Pro:

While it is always tempting to compare ourselves to others, we should definitely refrain. Use this gathering as an opportunity to be proud of what you have done in the 10 years since you donned that cap and gown. I guarantee that when you compare yourself to how you were at 18 you will definitely feel like you have come a long way. This can also be an excellent eye-opening experience. Maybe a conversation will inspire you to move forward. This reunion might be the extra motivation you need, and you may find that your high school buddies are still some of your biggest cheerleaders. Remember, success is defined differently by everyone. You may have all been competing for the same guy, top spot in the class or prom queen, but you all know now that life is about so much more than all that.

3. Bad Memories

Con:

You don’t want to drudge up past drama. Let’s admit it: high school is full of as many feuds, fails and awkward moments as it is fun times.  There will always be those people you just don’t want to see and those things you just don’t want to remember... like your sophomore yearbook picture.

Pro:

True, there will always be that time you fell and ate it bad outside of French class (true story) or the girl who made fun of you for what you wore, but are these things worth missing one of life’s milestones? No matter how hard it is to be the bigger person or come back from an absolute embarrassment, it is always worse to not show up at all. Besides, everyone probably forgot about your fall (here’s hoping), and that girl who made your life miserable may want to apologize. Let’s all remember, there have been way more trying times since high school (college, anyone?), and those are great equalizers.

4. Serving Your Interests

Con:

Reunions can be costly. I’ve heard of some that seem like prom (formal dress, exotic venue) 10 years later.

Pro:

If money is a factor for you, and you truly can’t justify a steep cost (especially if you have to travel to get back to your hometown) then don’t go. However, if you have advance notice and can find some other classmates who are willing to go with you and maybe carpool (think those who rode in and helped pay for the prom limo) then try and make it work. A great way to find out how much this will cost you and offer suggestions for savings would be to track down members of the organizing committee on Facebook and inquire. Ask them if they’ve planned yet and what they are thinking about doing so you can get an idea.

5. Show Off

OK, I’m just gonna say it. A really great reason to go to your reunion is to flaunt what you’ve got. I was never the valedictorian or the homecoming queen or a star athlete, but at least I have some great clothes, a great job and a wonderful man to take as my date. I am really looking forward to showing all that off at the reunion. I don’t mean that to be snobby, I really want my high school mates to meet my guy and for everyone to know that if you work your ass off, you can have everything you want. That’s a message I love sharing with everyone.  If you have three kids, go to your reunion with their pictures to show off proudly. If you have a blog, go with business cards ready to show off your space. Brag about those things that make you, you. And of course, network galore.

6. Missing Persons

The last reason I have for going back to school is one of pure hope. There is always that one person who has gotten away. They don’t seem to be on Facebook and no one has heard from them. Sure, there is always a chance they won’t show, but if they were truly your friend years ago, you go in hopes that they do.

You don’t have to take my advice on all this. I am considering this as someone who has never been to a reunion before and still keeps in touch with a lot of the people I was friends with back then (case in point, Made Woman Editor-in-Chief, Serena Watson). Do I need a reunion with everyone? No, not necessarily. I could just as easily set up coffee dates and lunches via Facebook or send emails. But if my school is going to go through the trouble, I figure, why not? While we can’t go back and change the past, we can stare it in the face with new found confidence and relive those moments that made us the person we are today. The decision is yours, but whatever it is, make sure you are making it based on who you are today and not who you think you were then. Bring someone you know you will have a good time with and devote your evening to speaking with those who you truly miss or would like to reconnect with.

Published in Lifestyle
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